Saturday, September 20, 2003

The Categories OfBush's Lies  

Kevin Drum attempts a first attempt.Briefly, they are:

1. The Brazen Lie (BL)
2. The Currently Unprovable Assertion (CUA)
3. The Technical Lie (TL)

Kevin gives examples of all three. I could add a few more categories and will post them after I've thought of them. Then it's time for some cataloguing!

Right Wing Meme Watch: "The Angry Left"  

In order to avoid talking about the issues, the new buzzphrase is no longer "The Shrill Paul Krugman." It's now "The Angry Left." From David Corn:
Derision can be an effective tool for Bush’s defenders. If his most fervent opponents can be cast as overly choleric, then their arguments need not be considered. Bush foes should expect the anger-baiting to continue, and they should hope that Bush critics counter it with the right mix of calm indignation and well-founded accusations.
via Cursor

Atrios Is Exactly Right  

He's talking about the theory that the US had to show the Arabs we meant business:
In the end, this was the reason why most of the warbloggers were so in love with this endeavor. Afghanistan just didn't satisfy their bloodlust, so they wanted to go punch someone else. Anyone else. The Neocons were on record all over the place (pre and post 9/11) discussing the need to project American might through a major military conquest so that nations would tremble before us. It isn't an agenda I'd sign up for, but aside from that the the obvious problem with is that if it fails - and regardless of what eventually unfolds in Iraq it already has failed - the consequences aren't desirable. I may not want projecting our military might to be the cornerstone of our foreign policy, but I sure as hell don't want projecting our weakness to be it either.

Iraqmire: Woman Member of Iraqi Council Shot  

One of three women on the council.
Akila al-Hashimi, a member of Iraq's newly established Governing Council was shot Saturday, local police and officials told CNN.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Finally, Bush Tells The Truth About Iraq And Who Cares?  

The Wall Street Journal Didn't Even Bother To Report It
For months leading up this year's war on Iraq, the Bush administration implied that Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The argument was well-received by Americans, and might have been the single leading factor behind public support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. An oft-cited poll conducted by The Washington Post last month revealed that 69% of Americans continue to believe it likely that Hussein was personally involved in 9/11.

No real evidence to support this has emerged, however, leading some (including E&P, just last week) to declare that the media had failed in its duty to correct the public misperception.

So when President George Bush admitted on Wednesday, for the first time, that there was 'no evidence that Hussein was involved with the September 11th' attacks, one would assume that would be big news and an opportunity for the press to make up for past failings.

And according to some newspapers, it was a big story. The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune (both owned by the Tribune Co.) ran front-page stories on the revelation Thursday. But an analysis of most major American newspapers found the story either buried deep within the paper -- or completely absent.

Of America's 12 highest-circulation daily papers, only the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News ran anything about it on the front page. In The New York Times, the story was relegated to page 22. USA Today: page 16. The Houston Chronicle: page 3. The San Francisco Chronicle: page 14. The Washington Post: page 18. Newsday: page 41. The New York Daily News: page 14.

The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal didn't mention it at all.

Among large papers outside of the top 12 that ran the news on Page One were The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The story was even more dramatic because Bush's remarks came on the heels of an assertion to the contrary made by Vice President Dick Cheney Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press.' When asked about the poll that shows Americans overwhelmingly believe Hussein was involved in 9/11, Cheney replied that he thinks 'it's not surprising that people make that connection. ... If we're successful in Iraq then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.'

The Confessions Of George W. Bush  

emailed to me by a friend:

I attacked and took over two countries. 

I spent the US surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury..

I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history (not

I set an economic record for the most personal bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.

I set all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.

I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.

In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history (tough to beat my dad's, but I did).

After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.

I set the record for most campaign fund raising trips by any president in US history.

In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.

I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.

I set the all-time record for most real estate foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.

I set the record for the fewest press conferences of any president, since the advent of TV. 

I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any other US president in history.

I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to
intervene when corruption was revealed.

I cut health care benefits for war veterans.

I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.

I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.

I've made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.

Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The poorest multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.)

I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously struggle against bankruptcy.

I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any market in any country in the history of the world. 

I am the first president in US history to order a US attack AND military
occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the
United Nations and the vast majority of the international community.

I have created the largest government department bureaucracy in the
history of the United States, called the "Bureau of Homeland
Security" (only one letter away from BS). 

I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases,
more than any other president in US history (Ronnie was tough to beat, but I did it!!).

I am the first president in US history to compel the United Nations
remove the US from the Human Rights Commission. 

I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove
the US from the Elections Monitoring Board.

I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.

I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.

I withdrew from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.

I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations
election inspectors access during the 2002 US elections.

I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations.

The biggest lifetime contributor to m! y campaign, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy
frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).

I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.

I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack and then lied, saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1) 

I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.

I took the world's sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a
year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the
biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).

I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.

I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I set the all-time record for the number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling their huge investments in
corporations bidding for government contracts.

I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.

I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES: I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).

I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted ! the military during time of war.

I refuse to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.

All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away
to my fathers library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All minutes of meetings of any public corporation for which I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.

The White House,
Washington, DC

(Note: this information should be useful to voters in the 2004
election. Circulate to as many citizens you think would be helped to be
reminded about this record.)

The Crazies  

via Digby comes some insight into exactly how respected the neoocons were during Bush I:

AMY GOODMAN: And you worked directly under George Bush

RAY MCGOVERN: I did when he was director for CIA and later I saw him every other morning for a couple of years in the 80’s when he was Vice President.

AMY GOODMAN: Doing what?

RAY MCGOVERN: I was one of the briefers who prepared the President’s daily brief and delivered it and briefed people one on one with the senior officials downtown.

AMY GOODMAN:Now one of the things we are talking about a lot and seeing a lot is that the same people that were there during the Reagan-Bush years and even before, the Wolfowitzes the Rumsfelds, Cheneys were there then. What was George Bush’s view of these people then?

RAY MCGOVERN: Well, you know it’s really interesting. When we saw these people coming back in town, all of us said who were around in those days said, oh my god, ‘the crazies’ are back – ‘the crazies’ – that’s how we referred to these people.

AMY GOODMAN: Did George Bush refer to them that way?

RAY MCGOVERN: That’s the way everyone referred to them.

AMY GOODMAN: Including George Bush?

RAY MCGOVERN: Well, when Wolfowitz prepared that defense posture statement in 1991, where he elucidated the strategic vision that has now been implemented, Jim Baker, Secretary of State, Brent Scowcroft, security advisor to George Bush, and George Bush said hey, that thing goes right into the circular file. Suppress that thing, get rid of it. Somebody had the presence of mind to leak it and so that was suppressed. But now to see that arise out of the ashes and be implemented. while we start a war against Iraq, I wonder what Bush the first is really thinking. Because these were the same guys that all of us referred to as ‘the crazies’.

Seraphiel's Toon Mailings  

One of the great reasons to get up in the morning and turn on the computer is that my friend Serpahiel has me on a mailing list for the best cartoons that he culls off the net. The last two days were true banner ones for him, and for cartoons: Here's a bunch of links for your viewing pleasure:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Josh Interviews Joseph Wilson  

Get the details from Mr. Yellowcake himself. The interview is long and the part about Niger is towards the end. Bottom line: it would have been all but impossible for Niger to have sold, or tried to sell, Saddam uranium without there being a paper trail and the involvement of numerous governments, including the French. Hence, the accusation did nothing to ease the attention between the Bushites and the cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

Flood the Zone Fridays: Patriot Act  

Care of Not Geniuses, here are the talking points for the Patriot Act:

The PATRIOT Act has:

  • Increased the Government's ability to gain access to our records. The FBI can force anyone, doctors, libraries, universities, or whomever else they please, to turn over your records merely by claiming that it is part of an investigation relating to terrorism. They are no longer required to demonstrate probable cause. (Section 215)

  • Secret Searches. Previously, the Government had to serve you with a warrant in order to search your property, they couldn't do it secretly. If you weren't home and they had to do it immediately, they could, but you had to be given the warrant at the first available opportunity. This ends the protection of a warrant, both the ability to point out problems (i.e, the house they're looking for is next door) and prove that the police overstepped their boundaries (they cut open your mattress while looking for a stolen helicopter). Worst of all, these searches can be kept secret for over a month, and they do not have to be carried out in an investigation relating to terrorism -- ordinary suspects are in danger as well. (Section 213)

  • The FBI can secretly wiretap you without probable cause. Previously, they could only do this to gather foreign intelligence, now they can find out if you smoke pot. (Section 218)

  • Creates a new crime called "domestic terrorism". This crime is loosely defined, transforming protesters into terrorists if they engage in conduct that "involves acts dangerous to human life" to "influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion." How easily that can be perverted to apply to a rowdy peace protester I leave to your imagination. Further, if you give money to a group or person declared "domestic terrorists", you can be detained or deported. Better keep those contributions to Greenpeace in your pocket.

  • Indefinite detention of non-citizens. If the AG feels a citizen is a threat to the country, they can detain them. If no country will accept them back, they can detain them indefinitely.

    Most of the above information comes from the ACLU.

    And who to send your letter to? For a list of places to write, you can do no better than click here, enter your zip code and click "get info."

    Today's The Day  

    Ahoy, ye maties!

    Buried Stories  

    Posted for those who think the US got a fair and balanced look at the issues last winter/spring:
    On February 7, two days after Colin Powell's much-lauded presentation before the United Nations Security Council, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus described how foreign government officials, terrorism experts and members of Congress disputed a key claim: the supposed link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Despite the article's relevance, the Post buried it in journalistic no man's land--page A21--where it had little effect. An article a week later by Pincus and military correspondent Dana Priest, 'Bin Laden-Hussein Link Hazy,' got a similar A20 placement.

    On March 16 another Pincus article, 'U.S. Lacks Specifics on Banned Arms,' explained that US intelligence agencies believed the Bush Administration had exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam's purported stocks of WMD. Its placement: A17. Two days later, Pincus and White House correspondent Dana Milbank wrote a strenuous indictment of the Administration's rationales for war: 'As the Bush Administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged--and in some cases disproved--by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports.' That one managed to vault only up to A13.

    It wasn't until May 29, almost a month after Bush declared an end to major combat operations, that Pincus, along with co-writer Karen DeYoung, broke onto the front page with a story headlined 'U.S. Hedges on Finding Iraqi Weapons; Officials Cite the Possibilities of Long or Fruitless Search for Banned Arms.' At that point, with guerrilla attacks rising, postwar planning in disarray and the weapons highlighted by the Bush Administration nowhere to be found, experts and politicians on Pincus's intelligence beat--and, more important, his own editors--began to stir. In June and July, stories about Iraq-related intelligence controversies written or co-written by Pincus, Priest and Milbank appeared on the front page twenty-one times. Between July 15 and July 21, their breaking news stories were on page one seven days in a row.

    The Post's sluggish start, followed by its abrupt shift into high gear, was not lost on readers--including its own ombudsman. 'There was a disconcerting pattern of underplayed or missed stories that were not up to the coverage that followed during and after the war,' says Michael Getler, who's written critically of his paper's prewar failure to acknowledge dissenting voices.

    Iraqmire: 3 More Soldiers Killed, 2 More Wounded  

    And more sabotage:
    Three U.S. soldiers investigating a suspected launch site for rocket-propelled grenades were killed in an ambush near Tikrit Thursday night, U.S. military officials said. Two other soldiers were wounded by the small-arms fire, military officials said.

    Thursday, September 18, 2003


    From the build a better mousetrap department:
    Herds of buffalo-sized guinea pigs roamed South America millions of years ago, according to a study of a fossil that is today recognised as the biggest rodent ever discovered.

    Christianism And Demonizing Gays (Pardon Me: Hating Their Acts)  

    Veritas mentions but does not link to a post about the "hate the sin, love the sinner" trope that I wrote about last week. In response to his points:
    Unfortunately, this comment does little to convince me of Tristero's ability to constructively engage in conversation with those with whom he disagrees.
    Well, as the saying goes, honest folks can disagree. The problem is that Christianists aren't honest. Christianists have an agenda, which is to replace American democracy with a bleak and ugly theocracy, a theocracy which would punish with extremely tough "love" those sinners they profess to love so much. Would that this was paranoia, but the published rantings of Scalia, Robertson, Falwell, et al. ad nauseatum make their intentions quite plain. They have all the mercy and good intentions of medieval inquisitors.

    As for my being unconstructive, I'd like to remind Veritas that I never implied that Robertson or Falwell brought September 11 on this country a scant three days after the attack. Those two slimeballs set a new standard for trash talk which is quite an accomplishment, given the considerable prior achievement of Limbaugh and Savage in sewering American discourse.

    Seriously, how does one respond to such garbage (I mean Robertson or Falwell, not their ideas) in a reasonable tone? You can't ignore them; we liberals tried it and look what happened: we now have Bush. And you can't "debate" them because they have no ideas: Christianism - based on a misreading of selected texts from a long and rich spiritual tradition - is theologically sterile by design. Indeed, to debate them - say, pairing Pat Robertson and Steven Weinberg at the University of Notre Dame - raises their status,. It not only insults Weinberg. It insults anyone with intelligence while giving Robertson more mainstream cred for his crud.

    First of all, he refers to Christians by the strange word "Christianists." Why, I have no idea... isn't it best to refer to people using the label they chose?
    It depends. If they're honest, sure. If my friends P and S, two women who have been together for 22 years and counting, who have raised a beautiful daughter and have a marvelous life, wish to consider themselves a married couple, I'll call them married. 'Cause that's what they are.

    But to call Pat Robertson, a man whose every pore reeks of his hate and his greed, a Christian? Oh, please. To call Eric Rudolph, a vile murderer, a Christian? Phyllis Schafly, a woman so morally obtuse she denies her own son's identity merely because he loves men, that's Christianity? It most certainly is not. Unlike so many on the right, I do believe words signify real things. I will not besmirch a perfectly marvelous word, "Christian", - which in my mind, despite its numerous historical lapses, is always associated with a rich spiritual tradition combined with a passionate love and acceptance of the differences in people - by applying it to men and women of such low character.

    The term "Christianist" refers specifically to people whose principal use for Christianity is to advance their secular power, analogous to the way Islamists like Qutb, Zawahiri, and bin Laden distort a great religion - Islam, -or Judaicists like Kahane use Judaism for political power. Christianism uses many of the same techniques as fascism, although for many reasons, they are quite different. I discuss "Christianism" at length here. The distinction is important: Christianists are not Christians, but militant political operatives who use Christian iconography to gain political power. And yes, "Christianism" is an ugly word. That's why it's so apt.

    Second, he is of the same opinion as too many people: that those who view homosexual acts as self-destructive actually hate homosexuals. This simply isn't the case... Christians also view lying as wrong, but you don't hear about Christians hating liars, do you?
    Actually, I do, but let's keep to the subject.

    First of all, the term is "gay." Isn't it best to refer to people using the label they chose?

    Second, considering the way Christianists in the past have expressed their overwhelming love for people while hating their self-destructive acts, I think my refusal to go along with the charade of "love the sin, hate the sinner" is quite sensible. It is instructive in this context to read the transcript of Joan of Arc's trial for heresy. They all loved her, every single last corpulent, corrupt, ambitious bastard of them, and there were very many of those loving, compassionate judges, including some of the greatest scholars of the 15th century. All they hated was merely her sin. And they condemned her to a death more horrible than can be imagined.*

    Third, he compares the orthodox Christian view of the morality of homosexual acts to pornography... not the best way to engage in a calm & fruitful discussion on an issue.
    There is an assumption on Veritas's part that I am interested in a calm, fruitful discussion regarding the morality of intimacy with someone who thinks it's their business to tell others who they can love, and how. That assumption is wrong.

    Finally, he appears to be completely unfamiliar with the rational arguments which all sorts of people (political philosopher Robert George comes to mind) offer against homosexual acts. While I can't completely blame him for this -- there is probably too much mere assertion by the fundamentalist crowd -- I think he must take some responsibility to investigate the matter and determine if there are perhaps more serious arguments offered by those who oppose homosexual acts.
    Sigh. Veritas, truly...Let me you answer you this way.

    Many years ago, I had occasion to learn more about the theory of the origin of continents called plate tectonics. I'm not a scientist, but I was astounded, riveted by it; I was amazed furthermore that the theory was so new that much of what geologists knew prior to 1967 had to be revised. I bought geology texts by the pound, struggling through the hard science. I found excuses in my life to visit some utterly fascinating places, like the Hawaiian Islands, where you can actually see the theories at work in the most dramatic way. To this day, I continue my minor interest in geology. I just read Krakatoa, a magnificent book, about an almost forgotten event, a volcano so powerful that its shock wave ripped over the face of the earth three times before subsiding.

    Another thing: Recently, there was a lot of discussion about Leo Strauss, a philosopher who had apparently influenced the neo-cons. Knowing full well how distorted popular rehashes of academic work can be, I bought several books by Strauss . I went back to my Plato and re-read passages Strauss referred to. I went back to Strauss and read more, concluding that Strauss reasoned so poorly and had misunderstood Plato so badly that it had suffering from some kind of intellectual, if not mental, illness. I would attribute it to his experience with the Holocaust if I did not know personally people who endured far worse than he who emerged with their faculties intact. This Google search lists some.

    Now geology and Strauss have nothing to do with the subject at hand, nor my work, and that is exactly the point. As folks go, I'm pretty open and curious about the world. So I hope Veritas will understand me and not take this out of context. I am indeed "completely unfamiliar with the rational arguments which all sorts of people...offer against homosexual acts [sic]" including Robert George. I am also totally uninterested in learning more about these arguments.

    I can hear his objections. "How dare you be so, so, narrow-minded? Not even to read them?"

    To explain. There are people, like Immanuel Velikovsky, the Heaven's Gate people, Richard Perle, and my friend L who's into crystals for healing, who believe the nuttiest things. Each one of them, when you enter their world, has a consistent, rational explanation for their beliefs. Their delusion starts with their basic premises, which is just plain bonkers. I'm not interested in learning more about Heaven's Gate cosmology; I know there is no UFO behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Likewise, I'm not interested in reading "rational" arguments that apply a sickly sugar coating of logic over someone's bigotry.

    Life is far too short to appear open to such nonsense. There are of course very interesting issues to be studied about sexual expression, just as there are very exciting issues to be studied about the origin of species.

    But those issues cannot be discussed in the context of texts written by intellectual perverts. For such indeed are those who fallaciously claim the very existence of "homosexual acts". There is not a single behavior that men (or women) have done with members of their own gender that haven't also been done countless millions of times by members of different genders with equally pleasurable, unpleasurable, healthy, or unhealthy consequences. There is no rational basis - none - upon which to condemn same sex intimacy and pleasure. Furthermore, homosexuality is simply one of the most monumentally trivial differences that there are between people. There is no sensible case to be made against gay marriage (which does not prevent the immoral moralists on the right from confecting them).

    And so, Veritas, I know, just as I know a priori that there can be nothing important in the writings of the Intelligent Design IDiots, there is nothing of interest in the writings you proffer for my study.

    Could I be wrong? Just another close-minded fellow like the clerics who refused to look through Galileo's telescope? Sure, I suppose I could be.

    But I'm not. I'm not wrong either about the ugly intentions of the Christianists.

    And that's the truth.

    *To pick nits, which the rightwing is doing so creatively these days in trying to prove that Bush didn't lie, the judges didn't actually condemn Joan. They simply excommunicated her and turned her over to the secular authority to do with as they would. So, yes, legally, no priest burnt Joan of Arc. And strictly speaking, Bush never claimed Saddam was trying to acquire uranium from Africa, just the Brits said he did. If I was up on my Dante, I'm sure I could locate precisely which circle such duplicity earns one's soul in the inferno.

    Hurricane On The Horizon  

    Conason points to the coming maelstrom of invective.
    What is coming already -- as my friend Hesiod points out in a fascinating, thorough post on Counterspin Central -- is the predictable sliming of Clark by his moral inferiors, descending from Rush Limbaugh to David Horowitz.
    I never knew one could make discriminations that fine.

    A Dean/Clark or Clark/Dean ticket would be quite the thing. But Clark will not "save" the Democrats. The only thing that will is a forthright committment to stand up and tell the truth about Bush and Bushism. If Clark's up for it, great. If not, step aside General, and let the real fighters take over.

    Friedman Is Off His Meds  

    Mon Dieu!
    France wants America to sink in a quagmire there in the crazy hope that a weakened U.S. will pave the way for France to assume its "rightful" place as America's equal, if not superior, in shaping world affairs.

    [UPDATE] The consensus around the blogosphere is that this may rank as Tom's worst column ever. See Atrios for many groovy links. I dunno, though, there are so many lousy columns to choose from by Tom. Why choose?

    [UPDATE] Digby weighs in on the Tomster.

    Liberal Ink: New Mag For The Web's Cool Kids  

    There's a very neat new web based magazine from The Century Foundation, the fine, fine folks who published War on Our Freedoms. The new magazine is called Liberal Ink with the subtitle "A Forum For Young Progressives". Click on the link and download a pdf copy. It's got links to interesting articles for 20 somethings as well as other resources. In the current issue, there's a link to mail a question to music mogul Danny Goldberg, author of Dispatches from the Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit

    Cheney Caught In Another Lie  

    Dems and press are starting to wake up, perhaps, to the enormous extent of them.
    Vice President Dick
    Cheney, a former CEO of Halliburton Co., has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company since taking office while asserting he has no financial interest in the company, Senate Democrats said Tuesday.

    The Democrats demanded to know why Cheney claimed to have cut ties with the oil services company, involved in a large no-bid contract for oil reconstruction work in Iraq, when he was still receiving large deferred salary payments.

    Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said the revelations reinforced the need for hearings about the no-bid contracts Halliburton received from the Bush administration.

    "The vice president needs to explain how he reconciles the claim that he has 'no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind' with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in deferred salary payments he receives from Halliburton," Daschle said in a statement.

    On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Cheney, who was Halliburton's CEO from 1995 to 2000, said he had severed all ties with the Houston-based company.

    "I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now for over three years," he said.
    via Lisa Rein


    Backing off Drilling in ANWR
    Leading lawmakers told President Bush Wednesday they are prepared to abandon his proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a key provision in the national energy strategy Bush is close to pushing through Congress.

    Bush himself was noncommittal about whether he will fight vigorously to open the refuge to drilling as congressional negotiators grind toward agreement.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2003

    From the WTF Is THIS All About Department?  

    Curiouser and curiouser
    US President George Bush has said there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks.

    The comments - among his most explicit so far on the issue - come after a recent opinion poll found that nearly 70% of those asked believed the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks.

    Iraq Art Looting: Just A Few Clay Pots. NOT  

    The New York Review of Books has a good update. It's pretty bad, with the sites outside of Baghdad being basically emptied of art.
    After much initial confusion, the scale and significance of the looting are gradually becoming clearer. Initial estimates of 170,000 missing objects were hasty extrapolations from reports that "everything" was gone. It soon turned out that many of the showcases were empty because the museum's staff had removed the important objects to more secure locations, and that most of the collection was still intact (more or less) in the storerooms. This created something of a backlash. Having initially denounced the scandal of troops being stationed at the oil ministry while one of the world's great museums was looted— "protecting Iraq's oil but not its cultural motherlode"[2] —much of the press has since played down the disaster as overblown. This is not the case. The quantities of works stolen were substantial and, more to the point, their cultural significance immense.

    A recent official estimate[3] is that around forty major works were taken from the main public galleries, including the Warka Vase (later returned) and the Warka Head—two of the greatest masterpieces of Sumerian art, found at the site of ancient Uruk (modern Warka) in Southern Iraq. They also included Assyrian ivories, a large copper sculpture of a hero, and a number of other irreplaceable works. Much more was taken from the storerooms, including nearly all of the museum's collection of cylinder seals—some 4,800 small stone cylinders carved in intaglio with miniature figured and decorative scenes that were rolled over damp clay tablets. The finest of these are exquisite and powerful works of art. Also gone are much jewelry, sculpture, metalwork, and ceramics.

    At the urging of mosque leaders and museum authorities, some objects were brought back in the days immediately after the looting, and many more have since been seized both in Iraq and in customs and police operations in Jordan, Italy, Britain, and New York. As of July 11, a total of 13,515 objects had been confirmed as stolen, of which 10,580 were still missing, including all but a handful of the most important works.

    As terrible as these losses are, even greater damage has been done in the months since the fall of Baghdad by the extensive, organized, and in some cases mechanized plundering of archaeological sites in the Sumerian heartland of southern Iraq. After the first Gulf War there were reports of illicit excavations and of unusual quantities of "fresh" artifacts reaching Western markets. During the past four months clandestine digging on a much greater scale by AK-47-toting bands has again been rampant at several important Sumerian sites. Some are already almost entirely gone; others are riddled with trenches and tunnels. "The looters stop at nothing," says Pietro Cordone, head of cultural affairs in the Coalition Provisional Authority, "they use trucks, excavators, and armed guards to steal objects of great value without being disturbed. We've tried everything to end this systematic pillaging, military patrols at the site and helicopter overflights, but so far we haven't been successful."[4] Officials on the ground still report a lack of funding for the basic necessities of site protection—guards, vehicles, and guns. This is where the Bremer administration, UNESCO, and other supranational organizations should concentrate their resources, shutting down the looting at its source.[5] What has happened in recent months is already among the worst mass desecrations of cultural sites in our lifetime, perhaps the worst. If more time is lost before the sites are protected effectively we shall be in need of a lamentation over Sumer and Baghdad worthy of the Sumerian poets.

    In Other Words  

    Bush conquered Iraq for no reason at all.
    Breaking with other top Bush administration officials, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice disputed the possibility yesterday that Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

    'I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say' Saddam was linked to Al Qaeda's suicidal hijackings, Rumsfeld said.

    'We have never claimed that Saddam Hussein had either direction or control of 9/11,' Rice added.

    But with the White House having asserted otherwise, recent polls showed nearly 70% of Americans believe there was an Al Qaeda-Iraq link to 9/11, and Vice President Cheney said Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press' that Iraq was 'the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11.
    Stupidest, most dangerous decision I can remember ever being made by a US President.

    Tapped Is Right  

    And if this is so, I am wrong about Hillary:
    CLINTON VERSUS CLARK? If, as The Washington Times reports, Hillary Clinton will serve as co-chair of Wes Clark's presidential campaign, doesn't that put the damper on right-wing speculation that Clinton wants the weakest possible Democrat to win the nomination, so that she can take the nomination in 2008 without having to beat an incumbent Democrat?

    Yes. Yes, it would. Hillary and Bill both want what other Democrats want: to get a Democrat back in the Oval Office in 2004. Unless you despise Hillary, there's no good reason to believe otherwise.
    And I certainly hope that I was completely wrong about her. This would be great, great news.

    Paranoia Strikes Deep  

    JetBlue provided customer data on millions of passengers to the government which turned it over to a private firm. Includes social security numbers and credit history.

    via Atrios

    UPDATE: NY Times confirms that this story is true.

    Coulter's Derriere Fact Checked  

    Eric Alterman has a great link to this pdf file that details 101 errors in Ann Coulter's new book in her discussion of Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chamber alone. Grab it. Here's one great example to give you a sense of how poorly made Coulter's case is:
    Error No. 82: Coulter, again on page 27, says the person who advised Roosevelt when
    he was handing over Poland to Stalin was Alger Hiss. Even if Roosevelt had been in a position to
    hand over Poland, which he wasn’t (see Error No. 81); and even if Hiss had been sent to Yalta
    because Roosevelt wanted him there, which he hadn’t (the Secretary of State had brought Hiss
    along as a last-minute replacement for another man – see Error No. 14); and even if Hiss had
    been a spy (which he denied, as did Whittaker Chambers for nine years between 1939 and 1948),
    Hiss at Yalta was a junior official who had no means or opportunity to wield Svengalian
    influence over either Roosevelt or the rest of the Allies, who notably included Churchill, who as
    Prime Minister of Great Britain personally endorsed the Yalta agreements.
    And while you're at it, check out the author's website entitled The Alger Hiss Story.

    The Gospel of Supply Side Jesus  

    Don't miss it. By Al Franken and Don Simpson

    Nicholas Lemann Reads This Blog  

    [Note from the author: Nicholas Lemann in the article discussed here (as well as elsewhere in his writing about Bush), shows himself suffering from a variant of the syndrome Krugman identified when he quipped, "If Bush said the Earth was flat, the resulting article would say 'Shape of the Earth: Views Differ.' " Now, if I were a real writer instead of a mere blogger, I'd revise this long fisk into a masterful, succinct essay. Alas, someone else will have to do that. Certainly someone should. But I think the point is important, so I offer it to you in all its rambling awfulness. ]

    Tristero on February 28, 2003
    (Headline)The Real Reason the US Is Going To War In Iraq  

    because we can. No more, no less
    Nicholas Lemann in The New Yorker on September 22, 2003:
    ...Bush’s statement does claim that reducing terrorism justifies virtually any use of American force. If you believe this, as Bush seems to do with every fibre of his being, how could you in good conscience not go to war in the region from which the worst terrorism emanates? Back in June, Thomas Friedman, of the Times , wrote breezily, “The ‘real reason’ for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world.” Well, now Bush has as much as stated it. Friedman went on, “Smashing Saudi Arabia or Syria would have been fine. But we hit Saddam for one simple reason: because we could, and because he deserved it, and because he was right in the heart of that world.”
    Ah, sez you, Mr or Ms Sceptic: That merely proves Lemann reads Friedman. Well, I riposte, since I wrote my comment in February and Tom's was in June, Friedman reads me too, obviously!

    Nick, Nick, you really don't get it. Yes, you don't agree with Bush but you actually think he has ideas worth discussing. Consider these bizarre phrasings from your column:
    The first link in his chain of logic
    Logic? Bush?!??! Nick, what on earth have you been smoking?

    Or how about:
    [Bush states that] just about any forceful response to terrorism, or to the “radical allies” of terrorism (a group that included Saddam, evidently), would cause terrorism to decrease. As Bush said, “We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.”

    This doesn’t quite parse—it doesn’t allow for the terrorist attacks that have followed the use of force in Iraq, or for the evident immunity of most of the world’s weaklings to terrorist attacks.
    "This doesn't quite parse" ? Huh? How about "This flies in the face of history and all that experts know about terrorism and its motivations."

    Then there's:
    ...Bush’s statement does claim that reducing terrorism justifies virtually any use of American force.
    No, Nick. Bush never, ever said he wanted to reduce terrorism. He wants to eliminate evil. There's a difference. One is a reasonable goal. The other is whack. Haven't you learned yet to read exactly what Bush says, not what you hope that a reasonable president might say?

    Here you go again:
    Bush’s second point was that, like the use of strength, freedom and democracy inevitably reduce terrorism, too. The choice is simple: “The Middle East will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will be an exporter of violence and terror that takes more lives in America and in other free nations.” This, again, is impressive in its clarity and certainty...
    Wha?? There's nothing impressive about what Bush said at all, except for the sheer stupidity of framing an argument so badly. The Middle East will never be a place that is either progressive and peaceful or violent and terrifying. The world doesn't work that way. There is never peace or violence; they must inevitably coexist. To frame the Middle East situation as Bush does is, at best, an invitation to an endless, fruitless, insane crusade (yes, that word) to eliminate evil. It can never be accomplished because evil, as Bush uses the term, is a worthless concept. Bush's reasoning is the reasoning of a moral idiot and you are an enabler of his idiocy by declaring it "impressive", despite the fact that you refute his point immediately afterwards.

    You do this a lot, Nick. You seem to admire Bush's words and merely regret that his words don't apply very well to the situation. You are making a terrible mistake. Bush's premises are profoundly flawed. For example, you write:
    Goals as morally grand as defeating terrorism and ending tyranny make any objection to the program for reasons of logic or practicality look puny, niggling, and cynical.
    There's nothing "morally grand" about pursuing things that can never happen; such a quest is rightly deemed "quixotic" or "wildly realistic" or "incredibly simplistic to the point of stupidity" instead. Nick, you know, and I know, in fact everyone knows (including Bush, of course) that terrorism will never be defeated and tyranny will never end. They will always exist in the world. Yes, their levels can be reduced, but that is not what Bush is saying to his fellow citizens. There is nothing "morally grand" whatsoever about windmill tilting. Rather, it is wasteful of precious energy and time.

    And again you praise his character:
    It stemmed from the President’s soaring conviction that courageous intentions must inevitably produce pleasing results.
    As you describe it Bush's mindset is not "soaring" but indicative of crazy, illogical, magical thinking. Courageous intentions do not inevitably produce pleasing results as everyone knows. Bush's convictions are grandiose to the point of mental illness. You reinforce his sense of mission even as you voice your self-described puny objections (soaring convictions are Good Things To Have; such a pity they sometimes don't work out).
    As we are finding out in Iraq, military boldness does not always decrease terrorism. It can, in fact, inspire it...
    Who do you mean by "we"? Everyone but Bush and his neocons knew this. Even a foreign policy naif like myself knew this. Don't let Bush off the hook. "We" knew better than he and his compadres.
    Bush’s desire to end terrorism and spread democracy can’t be gainsaid
    It most certainly can. Terrorism cannot be ended; it can only be reduced or increased. Bush's desire to end it will only increase it. As for spreading democracy, you cannot spread democracy at the end of a gun. History proves that spreading democracy rarely happens the way Bush thinks it could.

    So, Nick, in conclusion, your heart's in the right place, but you are naive about Bush and you are not reading him closely. Bush's stated goals - not what you think he means but his actual, stated goals - are impossible to achieve. He lies to the American people by framing the world's problems the way he does and he creates never-ending anxiety and fear by doing so. You know this but you continue to insist that his goals are grand, ambitious, and bold. They are not and you lose not a jot or a tittle of objectivity by saying so.

    You're a respected voice, Nick. For the good of your country, you simply must start calling a spade a spade.

    Letter To The Washington Post  

    Sent to:,

    (Bo Jones is the publisher of the Washington Post. The ombudsman investigates complaints against the paper.)

    Dear Mr. Jones,

    In an August 31, 2003 column, George Will wrote the following about Wesley Clark:

    ...[Clark] said on June 15 that on 9/11 "I got a call at my home" saying that when he was to appear on CNN, "You've got to say this is connected" to Iraq. "It came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over." But who exactly called Clark?

    July 1: "A fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank." There is no such Canadian institution.

    (column found here.)

    In fact, there is such Canadian Institution. In fact there are at least three:

    Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
    Canadian Arab Federation
    Canadian Center for Jewish Research

    George Will is entitled to whatever opinion he likes about General Clark. But he is not entitled to ignore reality and to duck responsibility for conducting his research in such a shoddy fashion. Please issue a correction and an apology to General Clark for impugning his reputation in this matter.

    (Research based on posts from here, here, and here. Differs from the original only in html formatting.)

    Tuesday, September 16, 2003

    Bush on the end of the day, 9/11/01: "That's Right --we got a laugh out of it."  

    Ha, ha. Truly sickening:
    Peggy Noonan (the interviewer): You were separated on September 11th. What was it like when you saw each other again?

    Laura Bush: Well, we just hugged. I think there was a certain amount of security in being with each other than being apart.

    George W. Bush: But the day ended on a relatively humorous note. The agents said, "you'll be sleeping downstairs. Washington's still a dangerous place." And I said no, I can't sleep down there, the bed didn't look comfortable. I was really tired, Laura was tired, we like our own bed. We like our own routine. You know, kind of a nester. I knew I had to deal with the issue the next day and provide strength and comfort to the country, and so I needed rest in order to be mentally prepared. So I told the agent we're going upstairs, and he reluctantly said okay. Laura wears contacts, and she was sound asleep. Barney was there. And the agent comes running up and says, "We're under attack. We need you downstairs," and so there we go. I'm in my running shorts and my T-shirt, and I'm barefooted. Got the dog in one hand, Laura had a cat, I'm holding Laura --

    Laura Bush: I don't have my contacts in , and I'm in my fuzzy house slippers --

    George W. Bush: And this guy's out of breath, and we're heading straight down to the basement because there's an incoming unidentified airplane, which is coming toward the White House. Then the guy says it's a friendly airplane. And we hustle all the way back up stairs and go to bed.

    Mrs. Bush: [LAUGHS] And we just lay there thinking about the way we must have looked.

    Peggy Noonan (interviewer): So the day starts in tragedy and ends in Marx Brothers.

    George W. Bush: That's right--we got a laugh out of it.
    I remember how I ended September 11. Hugging my wife and kid, hiding my tears.


    Thy name is Wolfowitz:
    Say what you want people to believe for the front page and on TV, then whisper a halfhearted correction or apology that slips under the radar. It is really quite ingenious in its cynical effectiveness, and Wolfowitz's latest performance is a classic example ˜ even his correction needs correcting.
    Click the link above for the details.

    Ok, So Which Is it Boys?  

    Now they can't even get their stories straight:
    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday he had no reason to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

    At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked about a poll that indicated nearly 70 percent of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved.

    "I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that," Rumsfeld said.

    He added: "We know he was giving $25,000 a family for anyone who would go out and kill innocent men, women and children. And we know of various other activities. But on that specific one, no, not to my knowledge."

    The Bush administration has asserted that Saddam's government had links to al-Qaida, the terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden that masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks. And in various public statements over the past year or so administration officials have suggested close links.

    Vice President Dick Cheney said on Sunday, for example, that success in stabilizing and democratizing Iraq would strike a major blow at the "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

    In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney was asked whether he was surprised that more than two-thirds of Americans in the Washington Post poll would express a belief that Iraq was behind the attacks.

    "No, I think it's not surprising that people make that connection," he replied.

    Cheney said he recalled being asked about an Iraq connection to 9/11 shortly after the attacks, and he recalled saying he knew of no evidence at that point.

    "Subsequent to that, we have learned a couple of things," he said. "We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s; that it involved training, for example, on BW (biological warfare) and CW (chemical warfare) — that al-Qaida sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems, and involved the Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaida organization."

    Josh Marshall On Dean  

    He thinks the situation is very hard to call. I think he's wrong, but I respect his judgement, nevertheless. Both Dean and Clark, to say nothing of Kerry and Edwards, even Gephardt, are superb candidates who would do the country proud to have as president. This will be a race with genuine choices where the voters will be well served. Unfortunately, then they have to deal with the sleazy Bush, who has enough money to make the race very difficult for the country. Nevertheless, unlike Josh, I think any of the presently main contenders has a chance to clobber Bush badly.
    Dean's supporters ... believe that he is the only candidate who can beat George W. Bush, and that it is his early opposition to the war, the defiance of his message, and his social liberalism that makes him such a strong candidate.

    To them I can only say that, with sincere respect, I disagree with their judgment. Or, at least, I'm deeply skeptical.

    Now, what chance does Clark have?

    All my experience of conventional, real-world politics tells me that political outsiders and late-entrants end up not winning. And that experience says that Clark doesn't win. But this is already far from a normal or conventional political moment. Howard Dean's extremely impressive run to date, if nothing else, shows that. Add to that the very unsettled international scene, President Bush's wobbly approval ratings, a shaky economy, and the demonstrable inability -- as noted above -- for any of the other candidates to get any traction.

    Buy Krugman's Book  

    Here it is. It's called The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century

    Bush Shortchanges Funding for His Own Emergency AIDS Program  

    Courtesy of MoveOn

    The President heavily promoted his emergency relief for AIDS after announcing it at this year's State of the Union speech, signing a $15 billion law to be spent over five years. But while the President is publicly calling for full funding, he's actively seeking to underfund his own program.

    The President said in Africa this July that "The House of Representatives and the United States Senate must fully fund this initiative, for the good of the people on this continent of Africa," Less than a week later, he sent a letter to Congress asking for 1/3rd less than full funding.

    The law that Bush signed authorized $3 billion a year, but President Bush has requested only $2 billion in his 2004 budget. Despite the claim to fully fund the program in the State of the Union, the Bush Administration is now claiming that AIDS service organizations cannot absorb full funding immediately. The service organizations themselves disagree with the White House's position.

    The Republican-led Foreign Operations subcommittee also disagreed when it approved a doubling of the commitment for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS from $200 million to $400 million, despite a letter from the White House requesting the lower figure. It was later scrapped by the full committee under White House pressure.

    And the bottom line? The president's push for $1 billion less than authorized by Congress (and promoted by the President himself) blocks 1 million people from treatment and nearly 2.5 million new HIV infections that could be avoided.

    Score One For The Good Guys  

    Senate Approves Measure to Undo FCC Rules
    The Senate voted 55 to 40 today to wipe out all of the Federal Communication Commission's controversial new media rules, employing a little used legislative tool for overturning agency regulations.

    The resolution of disapproval, sponsored by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), is now put on the House calendar, where a tougher vote is expected. Even if passed by the House, the White House has promised a veto.

    Dorgan's resolution is the most sweeping of several challenges to the FCC's rules, which make it easier for media corporations to buy more newspapers and television stations but tighten radio ownership rules.

    Think The Patriot Act Won't Be Abused?  

    Think again.
    In the two years since law enforcement agencies gained fresh powers to help them track down and punish terrorists, police and prosecutors have increasingly turned the force of the new laws not on al-Qaida cells but on people charged with common crimes.

    The Justice Department said it has used authority given to it by the USA Patriot Act to crack down on currency smugglers and seize money hidden overseas by alleged bookies, con artists and drug dealers.

    Federal prosecutors used the act in June to file a charge of "terrorism using a weapon of mass destruction" against a California man after a pipe bomb exploded in his lap, wounding him as he sat in his car.

    A North Carolina county prosecutor charged a man accused of running a methamphetamine lab with breaking a new state law barring the manufacture of chemical weapons. If convicted, Martin Dwayne Miller could get 12 years to life in prison for a crime that usually brings about six months.

    Prosecutor Jerry Wilson says he isn't abusing the law, which defines chemical weapons of mass destruction as "any substance that is designed or has the capability to cause death or serious injury" and contains toxic chemicals.

    Civil liberties and legal defense groups are bothered by the string of cases, and say the government soon will be routinely using harsh anti-terrorism laws against run-of-the-mill lawbreakers.

    "Within six months of passing the Patriot Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases," said Dan Dodson, a spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "They say they want the Patriot Act to fight terrorism, then, within six months, they are teaching their people how to use it on ordinary citizens."
    Naturally, no one feels sorry for meth manufacturers, but that's not the point. These laws were passed for specific purposes only, and the temptation to extend them to the point where ordinary citizens can be intimidated is great. Consider that the Department of Homeland Security was used, probably by Tom Delay, to locate (and thereby intimidate) Texas Democrats recently. See here for that ugly little story. Whatever else the Democrats were doing, they were not threats to homeland security.

    One Year Ago Today  

    Courtesy of Today in Iraq comes this link from September 16, 2002 with the heartening news that Saddam agreed to allow the inspectors back:
    Iraq says it will allow United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country.

    President Bush had threatened a military strike against Iraq if it did not allow the inspectors in to search for weapons of mass destruction.

    Wesley Clark About To Enter  

    Oh for a ticket with both Dean and Clark...

    Kevin Drum Interviews Paul Krugman  

    And it's terrific. Kudos, Kevin, for bagging The Man, and for doing such an excellent job. Here's a taste, but read it all:
    If you were king of the economy, what's the Krugman plan?

    A phased elimination of all the Bush tax cuts, plus some additional taxes. I'd probably look first at some way to make the corporate profits tax actually effective again — the nominal rate is 35% but the effective rate is only 15% or so. Look at some cuts, maybe you start to talk about retirement age, and possibly some means testing of Medicare, and that's enough to bring the budget under control. And meanwhile you have to manage the economy, you have to talk about what we can do to actually get demand going faster, and there are lots of things you can do….

    Are there? We're running a $500 billion deficit, interest rates are at one percent…

    We're running the wrong kind of deficit. We need aid to state and local government, more checks to lower and middle income people. We need some WPA type of projects, and as it happens the homeland security stuff would be a perfect candidate. I just looked to find out how much of that $20 billion New York has actually gotten so far, and the answer is $5.6 billion. Two years after September 11th New York has gotten less than $6 billion in aid, so how about a little bit more on all of that?

    In terms of a classic Keynesian stimulus, homeland security is a perfect fit.

    Yeah, but they don't want to do it. Partly because they don't like government, partly because a lot of it would be going to New York and they don't like New York. It's pretty amazing.

    Brooks' Advice To Dems: Pick a Boring Candidate  

    Brooks is just Fox News in a tweed jacket.
    George Bush makes many liberal Democrats froth at the mouth, but he does not have this effect on most independents. Democrats are behaving suicidally by not embracing what you might, even after yesterday's court decision, call the Schwarzenegger Option: supporting a candidate so ideologically amorphous that he can appeal to these swingers.
    Incidentally, nowhere does Brooks support that first sentence with polling data.

    Monday, September 15, 2003

    Kay Report Is Not Okay  

    One of many bloggings, this one from Kos about the "delayed" Kay report which, you may recall, was to have evidence of Saddam's wmd's. Guess they couldn't find any. It would be funny if hadn't cost thousands of lives and casualties and 75 billion with 87 more (you can double that 87 to be accurate) in the the near future.

    And for the record, I am agnostic on the wmd's. And Bush didn't know either. The difference is Bush never cared.

    [UPDATE] According to Kevin Drum, there probably will be a report, but nothing in it of importance.

    Recall Delayed  

    A US federal appeals court has delayed a vote to decide the future of California's governor amid concern over outdated voting equipment.

    In a two-part vote which was to be held on 7 October, Californians were to be asked whether they wanted to recall Governor Gray Davis and then to pick a replacement.

    The court said the vote could not proceed as scheduled because votes in some counties would be cast using outmoded punch-card ballot machines.

    However, it decided to allow a week for appeals to the Supreme Court.

    MoveOn's New Blog:  

    Tracks the daily lies and distortions of the Bush administration. Bookmark it now.

    Whitewater Perjurer Paid $118,000/Year By US Taxpayers  

    From Newsweek:
    The Bush administration has quietly installed a surprising figure in a high-level Pentagon post: L. Jean Lewis, the former federal fraud investigator who kicked up major controversy in the ’90s over her allegations about the Clintons’ Whitewater dealings.

    Although there's been no public announcement of her return to government, Lewis has been given a $118,000-a-year job as chief of staff in the traditionally nonpartisan Defense Department’s inspector general office. With 1,240 employees and a budget of $160 million, this office is the largest of its kind in the government. It investigates fraud and audits Pentagon contracts, including the billions of dollars being awarded in Iraq to companies like Halliburton and Bechtel.

            As an investigator for the now defunct Resolution Trust Corp. in 1993, Lewis drafted a criminal referral alleging illegal Whitewater dealings that eventually became the basis for Ken Starr’s probe. Republicans praised Lewis as a whistle-blower; Democrats blasted her as a partisan. (In a private letter on her computer, she once called Bill Clinton a “lying bastard.”) Lewis told NEWSWEEK she got her new job last year after interviewing with top administration officials at Defense. Although they were aware of her background, she says, “I would prefer to think it was my ability and skills they were interested in.”
    Dave Neiwert is all over this outrage, and why you should be furious here and here.

    Surprise! US Media Admits Capitulation To Bush  

    I've actually talked to media people who believe that this wasn't so.
    [Said Christiane Amanpour,] "I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."

    Brown then asked Amanpour if there was any story during the war that she couldn't report.

    "It's not a question of couldn't do it, it's a question of tone," Amanpour said. "It's a question of being rigorous. It's really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."
    Oh, and then here's a perfect fallacy of the excluded middle, the bastard:
    Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."

    Typo Of The Month  

    Courtesy of The New York Times which has this such a great maloprop today that it may have been intentional:
    President Álvaro Uribe, who enjoys strong public support for vowing to bring order to Colombia, is proposing a law that would effectively grant impunity to right-wing death squads that lay down their arms.

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