As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, August 06, 2004

Wanted: Village Idiot

Those nice blokes across the pond are looking for someone to humiliate on a daily basis again:

"Jester wanted. Must be mirthful and prepared to work summer weekends in 2005. Must have own outfit (with bells). Bladder on stick provided if required. Salary to be negotiated."

I'd nominate Bush, except for that "prepared to work summer weekends" part.


Get yourself to the Howler!

The Daily Howler has been all over the failure of the media to correct or even challenge the Republican Talking Points about John Kerry. He's really worked himself into a lather about it. And for the most part, he's right on (though he never mentioned Jon Stewart's skewering of the "most liberal senator" claim on The Daily Show this week). Here's a sample:

...When GOP hacks say that Kerry and Edwards are first and fourth most liberal senators, they are citing a survey from National Journal. But on March 6, that very same Journal—explicitly responding to this misleading claim—published its list of current senators with the most liberal lifetime voting records. Here it is—the Journal’s Top Ten. Guess whose names aren’t on it?

National Journal: Most liberal senators, lifetime voting
1. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.
2. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md.
3. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
4. Jon Corzine, D-N.J.
5. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
6. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
7. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
8. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.
9. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
10. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt

“By any measure of his votes,” (Tucker) Carlson said, Kerry is “the most liberal member.” Will CNN correct this groaning misstatement—an apparent lie? Of course they won’t; the net doesn’t care... It’s good to be a Washington pundit. Why waste time on such affairs?

There's other good stuff here. Enough to arm yourself against all of these ridiculous talking points in any argument in which you may find yourself.

And bon week-end (was that French? Arrest him!)...


32,000 Jobs

Go ahead and keep saying "we're making progress," guys. People are really believing it, I'm sure. And you've only got two jobs reports left until the election, virtually assuring a net loss in jobs for the first time in a Presidential term since Herbert Hoover. Turned the corner, huh?

Boy, that pat line by Bush at his speeches of "the economy is strong and getting stronger" just rings more hollow every day. But then, did you expect rich people pocketing tax breaks to create jobs for the poor?


Rick James dead

Poor Superfreak. A moment of blog silence, please.


Democracy in Action

Last week, it was revealed that the New Mexico GOP was forcing prospective attendees to Bush-Cheney campaign events to sign loyalty oaths pledging to support Bush for President. Now that's one way to get swing voters... make 'em put it in writing! Apparently, the author of the loyalty oath is fresh off an ESL course, by the way:

"I ... herby (sic) endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States."

Come to think of it, maybe Bush wrote it himself.

While NM Republican Party spokesman Yier Shi promised to fix the spelling and grammatical errors, he promised to continue the practice in the future:

"If we feel our event will get disrupted again, we will use the same method to make sure it's a positive event," Republican Party spokesman Yier Shi said Thursday, defining positive as "without interruption, without debate — just (without) disruption, period."

George Bush's America... without debate, without disruption, period.

Meanwhile, Salon reports that the GOP is simultaneously SENDING Bush supporters over to Kerry rallies. Now that's pre-emption, folks.

I don't think sending protesters over to Kerry campaign events is just confined to New Mexico, it seems there are isolated pockets at almost every stop, and even if there are three yahoos with Bush signs, the SCLM never fails to report "Kerry spoke in front of supporters and a few protesters..." This is why Democrats have to be vigilant. These guys on the other side will stop at nothing.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Comeback Kerry

Not that Big John was ever down and out in this race against Bush, but this comeback is more about the return of a spine into the back of him and his Democratic Party. This week we've seen dozens of examples of Kerry and his surrogates openly challenging the government on a variety of issues. To wit:

1. Howard Dean's claim Sunday that Homeland Security's terror alert for the East Coast may have been politically motivated. He caught heat for it at the time, but once newspapers revealed that much of the threat intelligence predated 9/11, people started wondering, "Hey, maybe that was politically motivated."

2. Kerry mocking the "we've turned the corner" line in Bush's new and improved stump speech, saying that the last President who used that rationale
was Herbert Hoover, and also weaving it into a motif from his acceptance speech:

“Just saying that you’ve turned a corner doesn’t make it so. Just like saying there are weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq) doesn’t make it so. Just like saying you can fight a war on the cheap doesn’t make it so. Just like saying ’mission accomplished’ doesn’t make it so.”

3. Jon Stewart's anal coring of GOP "Rapid Response Team" Rep. Henry Bonilla of Texas, who couldn't even name where he got the statistic that Kerry and Edwards are "the most liberal and the fourth-most liberal US senators." Go read the transcript at the link, it's awesome.

4. Donna Brazile's anal coring of GOP strategist Ed Rogers, bringing him to his knees with a single question:

BRAZILE: Dick Cheney served in Congress for over a decade. How many bills did he pass?

ROGERS: (steam coming out of his ears, long pause) Dick Cheney was very effective...


ROGERS: He was rewarded by his party and he was acknowledged by his party as a leader very early on. He was put in a leadership position in Congress.


BRAZILE: Only two. Only two. John Kerry, 57. We've corrected the record today. We've corrected the record today.

Well, there goes that "Kerry wasn't an effective senator" meme.

5. Kerry actually bringing up the whole Bush reading "The Pet Goat" thing from Fahrenheit 9/11, criticizing the President for his failure of leadership:

“Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whisper in my ear that America is under attack, I would have told those kids very nicely and politely that the president of the United States has something that he needs to attend to,” Kerry said.

6. Kerry's campaigning in traditional Republican strongholds, like Grand Rapids, MI; Davenport, IA; southern and western Missouri; and elsewhere.

7. The media actually catching a Republican in a lie, this being Alan Keyes, who the Illinois GOP has tapped to run against Barack Obama for US Senate, despite the fact that Keyes lives in Maryland. Here's what Keyes had to say in 2000:

I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it.

There are others, but these are the best. All in all, this is a real comeback, a willingness from the mainstream candidates and the mainstream press, not the fringes, to go after the Republican liars and spinmeisters, to force the GOP into account. I love it. Go Big John!


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

We're working on this whole "police state" thing

This is almost worthy of The Onion:

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Three banks were robbed while President George W. Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry were speaking just blocks away from one another Wednesday morning.

The Ralston Credit Union was robbed at 10:45 a.m., shortly after the president began speaking at LeClaire Park in this eastern Iowa town, said Davenport police Capt. David Struckman.

The next robbery, at First National Bank, happened at 11:23 a.m., followed by another at 11:45 a.m. at Southeast National Bank, said Struckman, who also served as the department's liaison to the U.S. Secret Service during the visits from the two political leaders.

Kerry had begun his economic forum at River Center at 10 a.m.

"I'm sure they were counting on the fact that we were short-handed, but we weren't," said Struckman, adding that the patrol was at normal levels. "The only thing we had to do was pull criminal investigators."

Predictably, the Bush campaign blamed the Democrats for being soft on crime, and immediately mobilized to invade "any country that harbors the bank robbers." Meanwhile, the Kerry campaign blamed the robberies on our lack of strong alliances around the world.

Seriously, that's too funny...


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Fire This Man

George W. Bush, August 2nd 2004: “Let me talk about the intelligence in Iraq. First of all, we all thought we’d find stockpiles of weapons. We may still find weapons. We haven’t found them yet. Every person standing up here would say, 'Gosh, we thought it was going to be different.' As did congress, by the way. Members of both parties. And the United Nations. But what we do know is that Saddam Hussein had the capability of making weapons. And ... umm … but let me just say this to you. Knowing what I know today, we still would have gone on into Iraq. We still would have gone to make our country more secure. He had the capability of making weapons. He had terrorist ties. The decision I made was the right decision. The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.”

Is there any other quote that shows the pigheadedness, blindness, and ignorance of this administration any clearer? America isn't even buying this crap anymore, yet alone the rest of the world. My favorite part of this quote is how Bush is about to launch into his familiar "Saddam had the capacity to make weapons" talking point, and then he just says, "Ah, the hell with it," and he goes and says something completely stupid in the hopes that it'll make him look strong.

John Kerry, if you're reading this, all you have to say is, "Well, knowing what we know now, with over 900 dead soldiers, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, 130,000 of our boys stuck over there, a country in complete chaos, our alliances shattered, and with the occupation being used as a new recruiting tool for al Qaeda, I wouldn't have gone into Iraq. Not this way." For some reason, he's wary of saying this. As it is, I think he'll win anyway, but if he just said this, he'd get over 60% of the vote.


Breaking the Talking Point Logic

I'm not sure if I'm the only one that's been pulling their hair out about the "Kerry is a flip-flopper" lie, but there's a very easy and simple way to parry this claim, and also make Republicans look like a bunch of hypocrites, and furthermore, take the fight to them.

How in God's name can Kerry be the man with "the most liberal voting record in the US Senate" AND a flip-flopper? If he's consistently liberal, then, um, he's consistent. It's completely diametrically opposed to say that someone's all over the map, AND to say that he's on the far left and out of the mainstream. So we have to force the Talking Pointers to give up one of these themes. Is he liberal, OR is he a flip-flopper? Because he can't be both. And as soon as they have to give one up, they prove themselves to be liars. Then you just hammer that theme. "But you said for months he was a flip-flopper. Now you're saying he's a Massachusetts liberal? So the $87 billion vote WASN'T a flip-flop? So you're not going to use that vote anymore?" Or, "So he's not a liberal? So he's not out of the mainstream? But you said for months that he was. Then, he represents the views of most people, which are NOT at the extremes, the way Bush is? Because you just said, he's not a liberal, he's a flip-flopper." Then watch the Talking Pointers heads explode.

And if he hasn't walked away, mention the salient fact in today's Daily Howler that Bush threatened to VETO the $87 billion Iraq appropriation if it wasn't provided in block grants instead of loans. Did Bush flip-flop on the $87 billion then? Because he said he would veto it. Does that mean he doesn't support our troops in the field?

This should be the focus of a massive letter-writing campaign to every news outlet, those both left-leaning and right-leaning. It's time to expose these GOP talking points not only as lies, but as having no internal logic.


All together now: "Sorry, Mr. Dean"

Today it was revealed that the intelligence behind Sunday's elevated terror warnings in East Coast cities was years and years old, much of it predating 9/11. Nevertheless, says the White House, the information is relevant. I wonder how this jibes with their oft-repeated claim that since 9/11, over two-thirds of the known al Qaeda leadership has either been captured or killed? In other words, if information was gathered in 2000, and then 2/3 of the leadership that did the gathering is now gone, how can we know if the current leadership even still has the information? So if Tom Ridge claims that the information is relevant, does that mean this leadership is NOT decimated? Which is it, guys? Is al Qaeda dead and buried or alive and well? Of course, the government wants it both ways. You should still be afraid and look to your Dear Leader Preznit Bush to protect you, but also we've destroyed al Qaeda and they're no longer a threat.

This seems to exonerate Howard Dean, who again says what the press decides is an outrageous statement, only to have it proved at least somewhat right in retrospect. First he said "The capture of Saddam Hussein does not make Iraq and the US safer," which shocked everyone until they realized that Americans are dying in Iraq at an ever-faster rate. Now he claims that these constant terror alerts are at least a little politically motivated, and everyone's shocked until the revelation of the ancient nature of the intelligence is revealed THE NEXT DAY. One of Ridge's alibis is that some of the information was updated as recently as this January. Um, so why wasn't the terror alert made IN JANUARY? That doesn't exactly help your case.

Sometimes with this blog I feel like I'm screaming into the wind. At least sites like Daily Kos and Atrios and people like Paul Krugman have reached these conclusions as well. It makes me feel like I'm not going insane.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Terra! Terra! Terra!

So, I woke up this morning to my mother (who's helping me out while I recover from successful ankle surgery) shouting "There's a new terror alert out! It's for banks in New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles!" Now, the alert in question, which came out on Sunday, actually concerns New York, Newark, and Washington DC. But like many fearful potential voters, Mom decided to personalize it by simply changing it in her brain to affect the city she happens to be in at the time. "Now we're not going to any banks this week! We'll have to use ATM's in the supremarkets!" Aha! Al-Qaeda didn't realize I could do my banking at Safeway! America wins again!

Howard Dean, predictably, was among the first to question the timing of this again ill-timed terror alert, on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Idjitzer. I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism... It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there's some of both in it." The Kerry camp, just as predictably, dismissed the concern, and said we have to trust the President that this information is accurate (we have to trust the President... where have I heard that one before?). Meanwhile, instead of terror alerts, there have been more actual terrorist bombings in Baghdad today, killing at least 10 in two separate incidents. But those are Iraqis dying, so why should we care? Well, maybe we should, or at least we should listen to this British report that claims both ends of Bush's Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, are on the verge of becoming failed states:

LONDON (CP) — Afghanistan could "implode" unless NATO does more to help it get on its feet, a group of British MPs said today in a report that also gives a grim assessment on Iraq.

"There is a real danger if these resources are not provided soon that Afghanistan — a fragile state in one of the most sensitive and volatile regions of the world — could implode, with terrible consequences," says the report.

On Iraq, the MPs said there also are not enough troops on the ground to deal with the deteriorating security situation and that countries other than Britain and the United States, including Islamic countries, must be encouraged to provide more soldiers.

"Iraq has become a battle ground for al-Qaida, with appalling consequences for the Iraqi people," the committee said. "However, we also conclude that the coalition's failure to bring law and order to parts of Iraq have created a vacuum into which criminal elements and militias have stepped."

It says "the alternative to a positive outcome in Iraq may be a failed state and regional instability."

Frightened Americans and forgotten, failed states; that is what's left in the wake of George W's war on terra.