Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Lehman, Thompson, Other GOP Saboteurs Left Red-Faced, Mumbling and Sweating in the Face of the Unflappable Wall of Fact and Truth that Is Clarke 

CLARKE: ...And, yes, I will admit, I co-teach a class at the Harvard University and Georgetown University with Mr. Beers. That, I don't think, makes me a member of the Kerry campaign. The White House has said that my book is an audition for a high- level position in the Kerry campaign. So let me say here as I am under oath, that I will not accept any position in the Kerry administration, should there be one -- on the record, under oath. Now, as to your accusation that there is a difference between what I said to this commission in 15 hours of testimony and what I am saying in my book and what media outlets are asking me to comment on, I think there's a very good reason for that. In the 15 hours of testimony, no one asked me what I thought about the president's invasion of Iraq. And the reason I am strident in my criticism of the president of the United States is because by invading Iraq -- something I was not asked about by the commission, it's something I chose write about a lot in the book -- by invading Iraq the president of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terrorism.

(dead silence)

KEAN: Commissioner Fielding?
All the magic.

AmCop will be on hold for two days, while Blicero returns home on his Northern swing and Richard Clarke endures his flaying, crucifixion, and death.

Back on Friday!

Bush: "I was not on point..." 

An Eschaton reader passes this along:
From Woodward's book "Bush at War," page 39.

"Until September 11, however, Bush had not put that thinking [that Clinton's response to al Qaeda emboldened bin Laden] into practice, nor had he pressed the issue of bin Laden. Though Rice and others were developing a plan to eliminate al Qaeda, no formal recommendations had ever been presented to the president.

"I know there was a plan in the works. . . . I don't know how mature the plan was," Bush recalled. . . .He acknowledged that bin Laden was not his focus or that of his national security team. There was a significant difference in my attitude after September 11. I was not on point [before that date], but I knew he was a menace, and I knew he was a problem."
Kind of amazing. I guess Woodward turned out to have been (unintentionally) a lot more hard-nosed than he seemed!

Armitage's Physical Form Easily More Disturbing Than Janet Jackson's Breast 

Dawkins writes:

Is it just me or does Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage look like some sort of villain from a Batman movie or from a latter-day David Lynch film?

Can someone please comment on Armitage's bizarre:

1. voice
2. hairstyle
3. glasses
4. body shape
[Blicero adds: 4a. pneumatic torso; 4b. size relation of torso to head; 4c. everything from "neck" up; 4d. everything from "neck" down; 4e. "neck"]
5. facial expression

Is he a real person, or simply a sinister caricature set forth to make Colin Powell look more sympathetic and trustworthy by comparison?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Brooks: George W. Bush rules God's land and God's children with God's wisdom 

As a follow-up to speakingcorpse's exemplary friendly letter (see below), Dawkins writes the following:

Hooray to David Brooks for once again subverting the conventional wisdom and giving clear sight to blind liberals like myself! All along, I'd believed that, as a liberal, I had supported the civil rights movement that the Rev. Martin Luther King had given his life for during the 1960s. Now I see myself for the anti-religious racist that I am.

As my favorite Old Testament hero, Job, put it: "Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

Grant me forgiveness, David Brooks!

Let's get to the gist of what David had to say in today's New York Times.

He introduces the topic:
Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether it is constitutional for public school teachers to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, including the phrase "one nation under God," in their classrooms.
(I'm sure it was a just an innocent typo that caused "including the phrase 'one nation under God,'" to be placed in the sentence as a subordinate clause, but actually, if you want to be accurate, the issue here is not "whether it is constitutional for public school teachers to lead the Pledge of Allegiance," but rather whether it is constitutional for the federal government to sanction the establishment of religion in the public schools through the use of the phrase "one nation under God" in the Pledge or Allegiance. Of course, the Pledge of Allegiance existed WITHOUT the phrase "one nation under God" up until 1954, when it was determined that, in part, to fight the Communists, we had to say "God" in the Pledge. So when Brooks says the issue is about whether the Pledge itself is constitutional, rather than the establishment of federal religious belief WITHIN the Pledge, he's full of shit. But I digress.)

Then Brooks digresses, too.

Suddenly he's talking about the civil rights movement, and a book called "A Stone of Hope" by one David L. Chappell, and about how "it's impossible to read the book without doing some fundamental rethinking about the role religion can play in schools and public life."

Stay with us here. Because now we're no longer talking about the federal establishment of religion issue, which is germane to the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Rather, we're talking about "the role religion can play in schools and public life." Like the United States Constitution, I oppose the use of the word God in the Pledge of Allegiance, but now -- wouldn't you know it - I also evidently oppose any role that "religion can play in schools and public life." According to Brooks, I'm not against the unconstitutional federal establishment of state religion, I'm against religion, period.

According to Chappell, there were actually two camps within the civil rights movement. First, there were the mainstream liberals, often white and Northern. These writers and activists tended to have an optimistic view of human nature. Because racism so fundamentally contradicted the American creed, they felt, it would merely take a combination of education, economic development and consciousness-raising to bring out the better angels in people's nature.

The second group, which we might today call the religious left, was mostly black and Southern. Its leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., drew sustenance from a prophetic religious tradition, and took a much darker view of human nature.
Yes, now we have a contrast drawn. "According to Chappell," there were two camps in the civil rights movement: white Northern anti-religious liberals and black Southern religious people. The Northern liberals, evidently, were anti-religion because they believed in fighting racism through "education, economic development and consciousness-raising." The Southern blacks, according to Brooks, "drew sustenance from a prophetic religious tradition" and unilaterally opposed the notion that "education, economic development and consciousness-raising" could improve the lot of blacks in America.

Brooks testifies: "[King] and the other leaders in the movement did not believe that education and economic development would fully bring justice, but believed it would take something as strong as a religious upsurge."

So you see, Martin Luther King, like David Brooks, was an evangelist Christian, a man of faith, who believed that religion would solve the problems of racism in the United States.

Brooks says: "Chappell argues that the civil rights movement was not a political movement with a religious element. It was a religious movement with a political element."

And he continues:
If you believe that the separation of church and state means that people should not bring their religious values into politics, then, if Chappell is right, you have to say goodbye to the civil rights movement. It would not have succeeded as a secular force.
In other words, if you believe, like me (and like the United States Constitution does), that the federal government should not impose a belief in the Judeo-Christian God on children in public schools school reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, then you believe that "people should not bring their religious values into politics" and that you oppose, at its basis, the civil rights movement.

Interesting. And I had thought all along that… oh, never mind.

Brooks is on a roll here, and he doesn't let up!
But the more interesting phenomenon limned in Chappell's book is this: King had a more accurate view of political realities than his more secular liberal allies because he could draw on biblical wisdom about human nature. Religion didn't just make civil rights leaders stronger - it made them smarter.
You see, leaders who "draw on biblical wisdom" are smarter leaders, and they gain a "more accurate view of political realities" than liberals. See where we're going with this?


Martin Luther King = George W. Bush = wise, smart, great leader.
Moreover, this biblical wisdom is deeper and more accurate than the wisdom offered by the secular social sciences, which often treat human beings as soulless utility-maximizers, or as members of this or that demographic group or class.
Well, of course, this is certainly true on face value.
Whether the topic is welfare, education, the regulation of biotechnology or even the war on terrorism, biblical wisdom may offer something that secular thinking does not - not pat answers, but a way to think about things.
Ah, yes! I thought you'd never come to this, David Brooks: "the war on terrorism."

[Blicero adds: for more information about "biblical wisdom" concerning "the war on terrorism," be sure to revisit speakingcorpse's 3/1/04 post, "Jesus: Friend of Israel."]

Now listen closely:
For example, it's been painful to watch thoroughly secularized Europeans try to grapple with Al Qaeda. The bombers declare, "You want life, and we want death"- a (fanatical) religious statement par excellence. But thoroughly secularized listeners lack the mental equipment to even begin to understand that statement. They struggle desperately to convert Al Qaeda into a political phenomenon: the bombers must be expressing some grievance. This is the path to permanent bewilderment.
And so we see:

"Secularized" "Europeans" (Sound like anyone we know? Spanish Socialists? And is there a certain "secularized" "European" senator from Massachusetts in the house?) "struggle desperately to convert Al Qaeda into a political phenomenon: the bombers must be expressing some grievance. This is the path to permanent bewilderment."

So you see, if you try to understand the root causes of terrorism, by looking at such "secular social sciences" as global politics, economics, sociological trends, international diplomacy, you're destined to fail. This is the path to permanent bewilderment, not to mention permanent appeasement of the terrorists.

You can understand religious fanaticism (Al Qaeda) only THROUGH religious fanaticism (George W. Bush / Martin Luther King)!
The lesson I draw from all this is that prayer should not be permitted in public schools, but maybe theology should be mandatory. Students should be introduced to the prophets, to the Old and New Testaments, to the Koran, to a few of the commentators who argue about these texts.
Oh that's all, David Brooks? It seemed for a minute that you were trying to say that religious wisdom conquers all worldly forms of knowledge, that secularists are racists who opposed the civil rights movement and who cannot fight terrorism today, and that George W. Bush, because of his devout faith and trust in God, is the greatest, most wise leader the country has ever seen. All you really want is for students in school to study the Bible and the Koran? Doesn't seem like too much to ask. I guess I was getting all worked up for nothing!

[Blicero adds: if he really means theology, then I might be inclined to agree. A lot of people might be surprised to learn that the body of Christian theology goes deeper than "If you're right with God in your heart, everyone can see it, because you condemn gay people, celebrate mass killings, yearn for the End Times, crave money, and vote Republican."]
From this perspective, what gets recited in the pledge is the least important issue before us. Understanding what the phrase "one nation under God" might mean - that's the important thing. That's not proselytizing; it's citizenship.
Of course! David Brooks realizes that the issue is not about whether children in public schools are forced by the federal government to worship God, because when you really look at it, by the mere fact of being citizens in a nation blessed by God and shepherded by God's vessel on earth, George W. Bush, they already do worship God, each and every day!

God/Bush 1, Liberals 0.

(FOOTNOTE: For more on David L. Chappell, you can read some of his work glowingly praised in this essay on the civil rights era, which debunks "The Myth of the Racist Republicans." The essay is published by the Claremont Institute, an organization committed to restoring "the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life," that counts William J. Bennett as one of its "fellows."

Blicero adds: Of course the Southern Republicans (and Republicans-to-be) weren't racist. They loved black people--but in their own way. They loved blacks because they understood them in ways we carpetbaggers never could. If we northern godless liberals hadn't gone meddling, they would have worked it out peacable for themselves. And plus, aren't Republicans really the cause of the civil rights movement--since without their oppression and violence, we never woulda got around to having one!

Reality TV Today and Wednesday 

Dawkins writes:

Of course, Condi Rice preferred not to participate this go-round and the President himself was too busy running on his treadmill and flipping channels on his TV during lunchtime, but it should be an illuminating and engrossing program without them, particularly Richard Clarke on Wednesday at 1:30pm.

Hearing Agenda

"Counterterrorism Policy" (on C-Span)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

9:00 - 9:30 AM


9:30 - 11:00 AM
The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright
Former Secretary of State

11:00 - 12:30 PM
The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State

12:30 - 1:30 PM

1:30 - 2:00 PM

The Military

2:00 - 3:30 PM
The Honorable William S. Cohen
Former Secretary of Defense

3:30 - 5:00 PM
The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense

Wednesday, March 24 2004

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Intelligence Policy

9:00 - 10:30 AM
The Honorable George J. Tenet
Director of Central Intelligence

10:30 - 11:00 AM

National Policy Coordination

11:00 - 12:30 PM
The Honorable Samuel R. Berger
Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

12:30 - 1:30 PM

1:30 - 4:00 PM
Mr. Richard A. Clarke
Former National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, National Security Council

4:00 - 5:30 PM
The Honorable Richard L. Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State

5:30 PM
Hearing concludes. Press Availability to follow.

Get Off God's Junk 

speakingcorpse writes:

Dear Dirty Asshole,

I am a liberal, but you do not need to tell me that religious values can have a positive impact on politics. I am aware that the civil rights leaders explicitly invoked Jesus, and I am also aware (are you?) of the long history of Christian reform movements in the United States. But these groups were not interested in making religion a matter of official government policy. They took action, and explained their action with reference to religious motivations. But they did not ask that their motivations be codified in the law. Only fascists like yourself seem interested in doing that. Instead of pursuing social reform programs that are consistent with Judeo-Christian ethics, fascists like yourself try to destroy those programs, and then declare that their fascist governments are nonetheless operating under the aegis of God.

Real reformers know that putting a religious label on a state institution is antithetical to reform, and to religion. Human institutions are not godly; they are provisional, and in constant need of improvement. This is what good actions do--they change weak and flawed institutions. Actions are godly. Institutions are evil--necessary, surely, but evil. That's why we need to recognize their provisional nature. Religious fascists deny this sad fact about human institutions. You want to put God's name on institutions, because you are a fascist worshipper of such institutions. As far as I'm concerned, that makes you ungodly and satanic. Only evil satanists fail to understand the lesson of Jesus of Nazareth (who may or may not have been the Christ): render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, render unto God what belongs to Him.

You who have failed to understand this lesson are an evil satanist, a destroyer of your own religion. You are also un American, since you seem unable to recognize that Jesus' lesson was the basis of ALL modern liberal political thought, which found its crowning expression in our Constitution.

Your satanic character, let me add, is consistent with your efforts to terrorize Americans into voting for George Bush. You say that we shouldn't, like the Spaniards, let Al Qaeda influence elections. But you deny the fact that Al Qaeda influenced our elections in 2002, when we let our fear drive us into supporting the party of the brain-damaged piece of terroristic shit, George Bush, despite the fact that he was obviously unable to protect us. Now you imply that if George Bush's policies fail to protect us, we are nonetheless obliged to vote for him again--otherwise we would be appeasers. Such a suicidal voting strategy would prove that the terrorists had affected our elections, and for the worse; we would be letting the terrorists force us to vote against our own interests. Let me note that since the late 19th century, it has always been the fascists that have used the occasion of terrorism to insist that their own satanic parties remain in power (Hitler did this, as did Aznar's exemplar, Francisco Franco).

You hate America. You are an incipient fascist. This only makes sense, as your stance on the Pledge of Allegiance reflects your own allegiance to the devil. You are a practicing satanist (whether you know it or not), and you are, with your terroristic columns, facilitating the cause of Al Qaeda in the United States of America. I only hope that you get right with God before you decide to blow up the New York subway in order to assure the terroristic turd's re-election.



WaPo Front Page Splattered With Its Own Feces 

Here's the news from the front page of the WaPo website:

White House Denounces Former Aide as Partisan

That's right--they denounce him "as partisan." That is the news.

No? Need more news? Well, right beneath that headline is this headline:

GOP Exposé: Kerry, Closet Frenchman

So that's the other news. I guess it "balances out"--embarrassment for Bush (bungled the war against terrorism, failed to take measures to prevent 9/11, lied about it); embarrassment for Kerry (educated, fluent in French).

And Dana Milbank, nonetheless. What the fuck? I thought he was one of the few reporters who had developed a distaste for eating turds, then regurgitating them onto the page so that we might re-eat them?

Help Marshall with massive turd-screening endeavor 

Josh Marshall has a request:
Since Nexis searching is a crude measure, I'd like to know if any readers can point me to pre-9/11, published references to Wolfowitz stating his belief that al Qaida was a "major threat." Doesn't have to be that phrase of course. Just any reference that would back up the present claim.

More generally, and this is the real request, there are a lot of White House appointees and surrogates hitting the airwaves bashing Clarke, many of which are making willfully deceptive claims or simply lying.

Sixty or seventy thousand people come to this site every week day. That should be more than enough eyes to monitor all the relevant chat shows. If you find instances where you think someone is pulling a Cheney and especially if you can point me to a transcript or an online replay, I'd be greatly obliged if you can send it my way.

Shinseki, Wilson, Foster, Clarke; Beers; D'Iulio; O'Neill; (Barbara?) 

It's important, when you read the inevitable attempts to impugn the character of the latest whistle-blower, to realize just how risky it is to reveal awkward truths about the Bush administration. When Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress that postwar Iraq would require a large occupation force, that was the end of his military career. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV revealed that the 2003 State of the Union speech contained information known to be false, someone in the White House destroyed his wife's career by revealing that she was a C.I.A. operative. And we now know that Richard Foster, the Medicare system's chief actuary, was threatened with dismissal if he revealed to Congress the likely cost of the administration's prescription drug plan.
Full story.

Power Abuser Pocket Reference 

I have been alerted to The Carpetbagger Report's useful catalogue of Republican crimes (executive, congressional, state) currently under investigation. It's a nice resource for when you get disoriented by all this GOP "scandal fatigue." The list will also be linked under "Useful Information" in our sidebar.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Sign a quick petition: Ask Bush to stand up to a real debate 

Of course, Bush can't and won't "stand up to a real debate," since he's incapable of either "standing up" or engaging in "debate" (or for that matter, the "real"). All the more reason to sign the petition.

From MoveOn:
Several weeks ago, Tom Cole, a Republican Congressman in Oklahoma spoke to supporters about the upcoming election. "If George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election," he told them. Later, he said that a vote against Bush was like a vote for Adolf Hitler.

These hateful and outrageous remarks -- which neither the RNC nor the Bush/Cheney campaign will repudiate -- are representative of the negative campaign being rolled out against John Kerry. Bush is now airing the first negative ads of the season, which according to nonpartisan monitors seriously misled viewers about Kerry's record.

In response, Senator Kerry is taking the high road. He's asked President Bush to engage in a series of monthly debates on the country's future -- debates on the real substance of the issues that face us. It's a simple proposal that could elevate the campaign and truly educate the country about the positions and records of each candidate. But President Bush's campaign brushed off the suggestion with a snide remark.

Today, we're asking President Bush to stand up and face a real debate. You can join our petition asking President Bush to debate Kerry on the future of our country by clicking here.

A 'national security ultrahawk taking aim at a hawkish president' 

Billmon has a great discussion about Clarke's provenance and why the predictable smears (Clintonite, Democrat, dove) will (i.e., should, in our anti-coprophagic dreams) have a very hard time sticking.

Yet Another Bush Administration Figure Blows the Whistle on Bush's Incompetence and Fraud 

(For someone who prizes "loyalty" above all else, he sure has a weird way of picking his friends.)

I hope everyone had the pleasure of watching the courageous and soon-to-be-shat-on Richard Clarke on 60 Minutes last night. I'm not going to discuss what he said, since what he said speaks for itself. (His report corroborates a picture of the president that has already been revealed by other Bush ex-pats: of a dangerous solipsist, impatient, ignorant and cranky, whose closest advisers are afraid to tell him the truth for fear of causing a little tantrum.)

But the performance of Bush family lackey Stephen Hadley should be noted. Has anyone ever heard less credible statements emanate from the puckered-asshole mouth of such a laughable WASP robot? I particularly pissed myself over these claims:
Hadley staunchly defended the president to Stahl: "The president heard those warnings. The president met daily with ... George Tenet and his staff. They kept him fully informed and at one point the president became somewhat impatient with us and said, 'I'm tired of swatting flies. Where's my new strategy to eliminate al Qaeda?'"
Those were the president's very words, viewers: "Where's my new strategy to eliminate al Qaeda?" (Never mind what the strategy was, and from "where" it was obtained after all present had absorbed this grave command.)
Hadley says that, contrary to Clarke's assertion, Mr. Bush didn't ignore the ominous intelligence chatter in the summer of 2001.

"All the chatter was of an attack, a potential al Qaeda attack overseas. But interestingly enough, the president got concerned about whether there was the possibility of an attack on the homeland.
Interestingly enough, indeed!
He asked the intelligence community: 'Look hard. See if we're missing something about a threat to the homeland.'
Bush can read that intelligence community like a book, cain't he? He just had, oh, a hunch that they weren't seeing the whole picture just then.
"And at that point various alerts went out from the Federal Aviation Administration to the FBI saying the intelligence suggests a threat overseas. We don't want to be caught unprepared. We don't want to rule out the possibility of a threat to the homeland. And therefore preparatory steps need to be made. So the president put us on battle stations."
Well, Clarke has specifically said the president never went to battle stations. But...
Hadley asserts Clarke is "just wrong" in saying the administration didn't go to battle stations.
Well: Clarke said they didn't go. Hadley says Clarke is "just wrong." So there you have it, folks! The matter must remain unsettled!

This, I thought, was the kicker:
As for the alleged pressure from Mr. Bush to find an Iraq-9/11 link, Hadley says, "We cannot find evidence that this conversation between Mr. Clarke and the president ever occurred."

When told by Stahl that 60 Minutes has two sources who tell us independently of Clarke that the encounter happened, including "an actual witness," Hadley responded, "Look, I stand on what I said."
Of course, what he (Hadley) just said was not true. But, then again, he "stands on it." I guess it's up to the viewers who to believe!
Hadley maintained, "Iraq, as the president has said, is at the center of the war on terror. We have narrowed the ground available to al Qaeda and to the terrorists. Their sanctuary in Afghanistan is gone; their sanctuary in Iraq is gone. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are now allies on the war on terror. So Iraq has contributed in that way in narrowing the sanctuaries available to terrorists."
This represents, I think, a brilliant strategy: narrow the ground. Limit the places al Qaeda can find sanctuary. Of course, al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq--but that doesn't matter, since the Iraq sanctuary is now gone. (Except for the fact that terrorists have come there since the elimination of the sanctuary.)

But wait--I believe that al Qaeda actually was in Deerfield Beach and Del Ray Beach--two Florida towns a couple miles south and north (respectively) of where I'm blogging from this week. If we were to blow up Florida, wouldn't that eliminate one hell of a big-ass terrorist sanctuary? Wouldn't it narrow the ground considerably if we took out California for good measure? But why stop there with this anti-terrorist ground-narrowing? Arizona? Virginia? Can anyone say "New Jersey"?

Pray For Them; Pray For Us 

Dawkins reminds us:

Mark your calendars:

Wednesday, March 31, 2004: Air America Radio makes its nationwide debut today.

In New York, the carrier is WLIB AM 1190. Chuck D. will host the morning show, beginning at 7am, Al Franken's "O'Franken Factor" will air from 12pm-3pm, and Jeaneane Garofalo will be on from 8pm-11pm.

Blicero adds: O'Saddama bin Lettermen fills the 3pm-6pm slot; Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ayman "Dr. Zany" al-Zawahiri co-host between 6 and 8. From 11 till midnight a rotating lineup of prominent self-hating Jews will host the "Anti-Semitic America Hour." Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Richard A. Clarke, Bush's former terror adviser: Bush "ignored terrorism," doing "a terrible job on the war against terrorism"  

Dawkins asks:

So what does that make Richard A. Clarke?

a. an appeaser of terrorists
b. weak and indecisive
c. French
d. the father of a black child
e. all of the above
Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism coordinator, accuses the Bush administration of failing to recognize the al-Qaida threat before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and then manipulating America into war with Iraq with dangerous consequences.

He accuses Bush of doing "a terrible job on the war against terrorism."

"I'm sure I'll be criticized for lots of things, and I'm sure they'll launch their dogs on me," Clarke said. "But frankly I find it outrageous that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something."

Almost immediately after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Clarke said the president asked him directly to find whether Iraq was involved in the suicide hijackings.

"Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said, 'Iraq did this,'" said Clarke, who told the president that U.S. intelligence agencies had never found a connection between Iraq and al-Qaida.

"He came back at me and said, 'Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection,' and in a very intimidating way," Clarke said.
[Blicero adds:] Then he said, 'Cheesburgers! Is it possible to get some fucking cheeseburgers around here? Andy, hop to.'

Bush's 'vision' appeals to those unable to care for themselves 

Scat-Man passes along this observation from the comments section on the Clarke item on Brad deLong's blog:
As a resident physician in psychiatry at a major academic institution in California, I would be the last person to pick on the mentally ill. However, I believe I am seeing something of a pattern. Most patients that are rather high functioning seem to have a natural mistrust of the Bush administration. However, I have had a paranoid schizophrenic who 'liked the things Bush was saying'. I had a former veteran crack addict with chronic drug-related low level psychosis who agreed with Bush's war in Iraq, because 'we have to kill the bad guys'. And just yesterday I cared for a very demented 99 year old who can no longer care for herself telling me she was 'for Bush'.

So I think I am beginning to see a pattern- albeit just from my own clinical experience- that cognitively impaired mentally ill patients tend to go for republican posturing. Maybe that's what we progressives have been missing all along...

Posted by non economist at March 19, 2004 07:46 PM

One Path Out of This Shit-Storm 

Josh Marshall lays it out:
Don't complain; fight.

The press is too lazy and insensible to be a watchdog for this sort of business.

Everybody knew who Kerry is going up against. As Clift notes, this is what Kerry told them to bring on. And they're bringing it on. Democrats gave Kerry this chance to take on the president -- whose reelect number is hovering in the low to mid-forties -- because they believed he would fight and that he was electable.

Kerry is a fighter. I saw it first hand during his 1996 senate race against Bill Weld. But Kerry will never successfully parry these hits by getting tangled and stuck in the molasses of the president's lies and distortions. Getting sidetracked into a discussion of legislative maneuvering isn't the answer to the president's attacks; it's precisely what they're trying to elicit.

The answer is simply to say they're lies (while having surrogates and staffers explain why) and then to go on the attack.

For instance, the Kerry campaign should never have let Bush get the upper hand on the issue of combat pay, health care, and getting things like body-armor to front line troops. One need only be a casual reader of the military press to know that the president is extremely vulnerable on these issues.

The Bush campaign against Kerry is already crystal clear: Kerry has no center, no core. That makes him a waffler and weak -- too weak to defend the country in perilous times. That's the whole campaign, the whole message.

The winning campaign against the president is equally clear. He doesn't tell the truth. Almost nothing he has told the American people has turned out to be true (from budgets to jobs, from wmds to his personal past). In many cases, that's because he's lied to them. In others, it's because he's promised things he had no reason to believe were true. In some instances, he just failed to deliver.

As you'll note from the Clift column, Republicans themselves know this is his central vulnerability.
Any questions?

Clinton/Bush aides: Bush administration ignored warnings about Al Qaeda 

Bush, media to respond: Kerry indecisive and weak on national security.
Senior Clinton administration officials called to testify next week before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks say they are prepared to detail how they repeatedly warned their Bush administration counterparts in late 2000 that Al Qaeda posed the worst security threat facing the nation - and how the new administration was slow to act.

One official scheduled to testify, Richard A. Clarke, who was President Bill Clinton's counterterrorism coordinator, said in an interview that the warning about the Qaeda threat could not have been made more bluntly to the incoming Bush officials in intelligence briefings that he led.

In his testimony, Mr. Clarke is also expected to discuss what he believed to be the Bush administration's determination to punish Saddam Hussein for the Sept. 11 attacks even though there was no evidence to tie the Iraqi president to Al Qaeda.
Scats puts it this way:

This may be the last one for a while folks. There's only so long you can browse in the catalogue of the truly synapse frying corruption of the people in power before self-immolation starts to look like a viable career move. Either that or turn your gaze to something else and drink long draughts of ignorance.

One thing at least is clear, if they stay in power and are not held accountable we've lost all claim to being free people and talk of civic virtue will become the hollowest of auto-delusional prattle. If we choose to be ruled by those who hold us in such obvious contempt then we deserve to be bled as dry as they will surely bleed us. They are predators whose vices are their only virtues.

When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy hypocrisy. (A. Lincoln)

Josh Marshall states it thus:
White House Spokesman Sean McCormick told the New York Times: "The president and his team received briefings on the threat from al-Qaida prior to taking office, and fighting terrorism became a top priority when this administration came into office. We actively pursued the Clinton administration's policies on al-Qaida until we could get into place a more comprehensive policy."

But Clark says that's baloney. And he was the one who headed up Clinton's counter-terrorism policies and Bush's. So who are you going to believe?

Now do you understand why they're stonewalling the 9/11 commission?

"George W. Bush is the man!"  

A laughter for your self.

Note how these students (as faithful representatives of the Bush campaign) don't seem to be enthusiastic about Bush's policies, or even his "leadership" (whatever that is)--rather, their mantra is "Keep America safe and free with George W. Bush." Get it? It's not a matter of America progressing or regressing under one or the other of the candidates' policies. If you vote for Kerry, America's safety and freedom are at risk! You're not voting for one presidential candidate or the other--you're voting for or against America!

[Choking...brief recovery...willful self-violence...rapture...coma.]

Dr. Dean's New Thang 

The last week has been a week of Dean nostalgia. Whenever the media's coprophagic frenzy surges, I yearn for the man who knew how to spit it back out. Here is the opening of a Dean email regarding the new organization, Democracy For America. Check it out:
My run for the White House ended last month. But for me, and for supporters around the country, our work to take this country back has just begun. That’s why I have formed Democracy For America, a new organization building on the phenomenal grassroots support for our presidential campaign.


I need your help. Defeating George W. Bush will not be easy. His strategists have a $100 million war chest available to transform his failed record into an avalanche of misleading "morning in America" advertising.

What is the best response? To defeat George Bush, the Democratic Party and its nominee must stand up strong for our principles, not paper over our differences with the most radical White House in our lifetime. We must directly expose the ways in which George Bush’s policies benefit the privileged and right-wing ideologues.

Mightn't we begin the exposure by collectively, publicly and directly calling Bush what he is: a liar?

No Sports Bars 

A special message for AmCop readers who are Brooklynites: please be aware of this significant and not at all unpolitical message:
Most of us in living Brooklyn know very little about the proposed sports arena to be built on Flatbush, but it's time to learn. The deal is NOT about whether Brooklyn gets a basketball team, it's about 6.5 million additional square feet of malls, skyscraping offices, and luxury apartments the deal includes.

Please join Stay Free! in supporting fair development and calling for public input on this real-estate deal.

Rally at the Brooklyn Yards
Sunday, March 28, 2 pm
Pacific bet. 5th and 6th

For a lot more info: http://www.nolandgrab.org
I have to say--of all the information presented here, this caught my attention most unpleasantly:
Brownstones will be replaced by skyscrapers. Small stores and cafes will be replaced with global franchises like Target, Tony Roma, Red Lobster, KFC and McDonald's. Neighborhood bars will be replaced by sports bars filled with the arena visitors.
Sports bars. [Shudder.] Non-smoking sports bars. [Violent shudder; swoon.] Non-smoking sports bars filled with people from suburban New Jersey. [Blackout.]


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