Courtesy: General J.C. Christian, guest blogger.
Update: 06:15 Sunday:
The Farmer at Corrente has more on the Keyes 'Legacy of Lunacy'.
Because Liberals Indoctrinate Kids
Oh, hell no.
"Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! A Small Lesson in Conservatism" is a wonderful way to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. In simple text, parents and children follow Tommy and Lou on their quest to earn money for a swing set their parents cannot afford. As their dream gets stuck in Liberaland, Tommy and Lou’s lemonade stand is hit with many obstacles.
Liberals keep appearing from behind their lemon tree, taking half of their money in taxes, forbidding them to hang a picture of Jesus atop their stand, and making them give broccoli with each glass sold.
Law after law instituted by the press-hungry liberals finally results in the liberals taking over Tommy and Lou’s stand and offering sour lemonade at astronomical prices to the customers.
Then conservatives come along and propose no regulation whatsoever, even when Tommy urinates in each pitcher. They then propose a consumption tax on nonessential items like lemonade, which means that they now have to charge $.75 a glass instead of $.50.
They then release a terror alert just for the block, telling people to be highly afraid of any suspicious activity, but also reminding them to go shop.
[. . .]
The key sentence is this one: "the U.S. military—the only force in Iraq remotely capable of keeping the country from falling apart—finds itself in a maddening situation where tactical victories yield strategic setbacks."
[. . .]
And the key is Kaplan's point about tactical victories and strategic setbacks. Yet, I think we can go further and say that these don't 'yield' strategic setbacks, they are strategic setbacks in and of themselves.
Winning a pitched battle against Shi'a insurgents in the heart of one of Shi'a Islam's holiest sites (and by this I mean not just the Imam Ali Mosque, but the cemetery near it and the area immediately surrounding it) is itself a defeat for us.
(Here is a piece just out from the Post that illustrates the bind into which we've sunk the Army and Marines.)
As the shrewdest thinkers on the left and the right concede on this issue, our true strategic challenges in the Muslim Middle East are not conventional military ones, but hearts-and-minds challenges. . .
[. . .]
TRENTON, New Jersey (CNN) -- New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey -- who said he would step down in November after admitting an extramarital gay affair -- faced pressure Friday to resign immediately amid accusations that he abused his office and power to pursue a sexual relationship with the man.
"While employed by one of the most powerful politicians in the country, New Jersey Governor McGreevey, I was the victim of repeated sexual advances by him," said attorney Allen Lowy, reading a statement on behalf of his client Golan Cipel.
McGreevey, who stunned the political world with his announcement Thursday that he is gay, had cheated on his wife and would leave office in three months, has not publicly identified the man he was involved with.
[. . .]
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
I'll be back in my hometown of New York City for the 2004 Republican Convention, spending some time on a Prospect credential and some time hanging out with the other independent progressive bloggers come to document the goings on. I know New York pretty well, and I know that New Yorkers (a) don't like Republicans, (b) regard 9-11 as their tragedy and don't like to see it exploited by Republicans they don't like, (c) don't like seeing traffic all fucked up, (d) don't like tourists, and (e) did I mention they don't like Republicans. I mean, Bush is really hated. NYC has got to be the least Republican place on the planet this side of the Gaza Strip. It even passed through the whole realignment thing unaffected -- give us Lincoln and we won't vote for him, the City went for McGovern and it went for Mondale. It really hates Republicans.
So, speaking personally, I'm torn between a desire to see New York kick some ass and really teach the GOP a lesson for having the balls to repeatedly screw the city over on counterterrorism stuff, then show up in town trying to gay bash and 9-11ify their way to reelection, and a fear that over-the-top protests will bolster Bush's reelection effort.
This individual seeks an executive position. He will be available next
January, and is willing to relocate.
GEORGE W. BUSH
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.
I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.
I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.
PAST WORK EXPERIENCE:
I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock. I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS:
- I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.
- I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
- I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
- With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT:
- I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
- I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
- I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
- I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
- I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
- I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
- I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.
- I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
- I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.
- I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
- My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. History, Enron.
- My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.
- I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
- I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
- I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
- I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history.
- I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
- I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
- I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
- I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.
- I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
- I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).
- I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
- I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
- I garnered the most sympathy ever for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
- I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
- I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world community.
- I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.
- In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.
- I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
- I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.
- I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.
RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
-All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
- All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
- All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
An unbalanced global economy is back on the razor’s edge. High oil prices are taking a toll on the US growth dynamic at precisely the point when a Fed tightening cycle has begun -- a risky combination by any standards. At the same time, a shift to policy austerity in China has led to a modest slowing of that overheated economy, with a good deal more to come. That puts a two-engine world -- driven by the American consumer on the demand side and the Chinese producer on the supply side -- in a zone of heightened vulnerability. As I see it, the risks on the downside outweigh those on the upside by a factor of three to one. I would now assign a 40% probability to a recessionary relapse in the global economy in 2005.
[. . .]
The Washington Post has an interesting article about the changes in the tax structure under Bush. Essentially, the Bush tax cuts, in terms of the relative burden, have given tiny, almost imperceptible relief to the lowest two quintals, massive relief to the richest quintile, and made the middle class pay the difference. . .
[. . .]
These are not words often seen together. The twin peaks of contemporary Republicanism are the Taliban wing, which would just as soon not even acknowledge the existance of breasts, and the Have-And-Have-More faction, which tends to pick their second and third wives on the basis of mammary size.
So far these A-versus-D cup factions have coexisted uneasily in an increasingly mismatched Victoria's Secret of mutual electoral uplift. Appropriately enough it may be in another place known for high peaks that the sag begins to set in:
(via WaPo's E. J. Dionne)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- You've probably seen those sexy twins in the Coors beer ads. Alluring women selling products is a way of life in our country. We are about to learn if the mogul who ran those ads can successfully cast himself as a friend of conservative family values.
Conservatism is a noble tradition and an intellectual mess. Conservatives say they revere both traditional and market values. But those two sets of values so often contradict each other that conservatives have to cover their eyes -- from the twins ads, for example -- if they are to pretend to be consistent.
What is the most powerful force for permissiveness in the United States? It is not liberalism. It is the free market's use of sexuality to sell products.
Do conservative politicians who care primarily about taxes and the interests of big business merely use "conservative values" as a slogan for attracting votes from the less well-off who gain little or nothing from their economic programs?
What do conservatives really care about -- their values or their incomes? The Colorado Senate race gives them an excellent opportunity to show what matters most.
General Wesley Clark, USA (ret) released the following statement today [12 Aug] in response to Vice President Dick Cheney’s attacks on John Kerry:
“I spent almost all of my adult life in uniform serving this great nation in the United States Army. I have led American soldiers into battle and led an international coalition in the Balkans where diplomacy, backed by force, was the winning formula.
“George W. Bush failed to learn the lessons from his predecessor or history. His ideologues who control American foreign policy have squandered much of our credibility with our allies and failed to achieve victory in the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. They gambled with a go it alone policy and our soldiers are paying with their lives.
[. . .]
“But then, maybe that’s to be expected. Neither George Bush nor Dick Cheney has ever heard a shot fired in anger. Never worried whether he’d ever see his family again or seen the destruction caused by the weapons he’s wielded. The losses of war are permanent. The consequences are unpredictable. That’s why John Kerry has always said force should be a last resort. [my emphasis]
[. . .]
[. . .]
Call me naïve, but I thought all Americans have a vital stake in the nation's future, regardless of how much property they own. (Should we go back to the days when states, arguing that only men of sufficient substance could be trusted, imposed property qualifications for voting?) Even if Mr. Bush is talking only about the economic future, don't workers have as much stake as property owners in the economy's success?
But there's a political imperative behind the "ownership society" theme: the need to provide pseudopopulist cover to policies that are, in reality, highly elitist. [my emphasis]
[. . .]
All you clowns who are told to evacuate the storm areas? Listen to the fucking warnings and leave. I'm watching the news and you see the inevitable old geezer saying, 'lived here for ninety years and I ain't leavin'''. Have a nice funeral, dickhead. Man, I was on a detail to Altus AFB, Oklahoma to help them clean up after a tornado. Lemmie tell you what. The day you see an Air Force C-5 (2nd biggest plane in the world) that the wind picked up, carried a hundred yards (over two other C-5s) and set down on top of another, is the day you realize the extent of Mother Nature's fury. Listen to me. GET THE FUCK OUT!!! It's only stuff, it ain't worth risking your life for. Pack up the wife, the kids, and the pets, and get the fuck out. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The last four polls out of Pennsylvania
Strategic Vision (R). 8/2 - 8/4. MoE 3%:
SurveyUSA. 7/31 - 8/2. MoE 3.7%:
Los Angeles Times. 7/17-21. MoE 4%:
Quinnipiac Univ. 7/6-11. MoE 2.5%:
It's not so early anymore. Absent some major changes in the electoral dynamics, PA looks increasingly out of reach to Bush. The only Gore states threatening to bolt the Blue fold are Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
More from Garrison Keillor's new book:
Democrats have changed America in simple basic ways in the last fifty years that have benefited everyone. Race has become less and less an issue in people's lives and racism has ceased to be socially acceptable anywhere. Women have moved into every realm of society and this is everywhere accepted without much comment. Equal opportunity in education, employment, and housing. There is general agreement on the right to a dignified old age, guaranteed by the state. Democrats led the way in bringing these things about. It's one thing to get into power and do favors for your friends; it's quite another to touch the conscience of a nation. The last Republican to do that was Teddy Roosevelt.
(Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat. pp. 11-12)
[. . .]
What the 9-11 Commission Report does not explain is why, on the morning of September 11, 2001, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and other top officials were essentially missing in action.
“Who’s our quarterback” in case of a future terrorist attack? “Who’s in charge?” That was the core question members of the 9-11 commission put to every government official they interviewed. “The reason that you’re hearing such a tone of urgency in our voices is because the answer to the question was almost uniform,” said commissioner Jamie Gorelick at the press conference following today’s release of the 600 page final 9-11 Commission Report. The person in charge, she said the commissioners had been told over and over again, would be the president.
“It is an impossible situation for that to remain the case,” Gorelick observed. Impossible, because the commission’s report clearly shows that on the morning of September 11, 2001, the president and the other top officials in charge of the systems to defend the country from attack were, in essence, missing in action: They did not communicate, did not coordinate a response to the catastrophe, and in some cases did not even get involved in discussions about the attacks until after all of the hijacked planes had crashed.
[. . .]
Damn, that took guts. I'm impressed.
Playing Nice in NYC
Thu Aug 12th, 2004 at 17:27:45 GMT
A Guide to the NYC Protests
So much healthy, wonderful bile yesterday as Kossacks went to war with each other over whether or not going to NYC to protest during the GOP Convention will help or hinder Kerry's bid for the presidency. Of course, that's up to god-shiva-trees-luck-themedia or whatever. There are some things we can do to help, though.
1. Don't be a Dick
This is basically true in all things you do (as Jesus often said), but especially so when the world is watching... and extremely so when The Man is just waiting for you to slip up and toss a soft pretzel at a cop on a horse or something. Resist the temptation. You could get us all killed.
2. Police Yourselves
Yes, this means that when that kid sidles up next to you wearing a baseball cap, Che tee shirt, sunglasses and a bandana over his face, you should tell him or her to see rule #1. Likewise, if this is the uniform that you were planning on wearing... think about staying home and playing Neverwinter Nights instead. If you see a gang of thugs trying to tear down the temporary cyclone fencing that might be the only thing between you and a can of tear gas, politely ask them to knock it off.
3. Speaking of Attire...
Be yourself. If nipple rings, a codpiece, a thong and leather chaps is the way you usually dress, go for it (I'm still looking for a place to stay, by the way.) However, if you normally dress sorta preppy, don't show up wearing your "Grim Reaper" costume from two Halloweens ago. (Zeke L gets a special permit from me to dress like Jesus and reenact the Passion as he makes his way toward MSG... shouldering a Styrofoam® crucifix and being pelted with Gummi Bears® and/or whipped with Gummi Worms® by the members of his congregation.)
4. Have a Beer with theoria
Nothing says "Don't Tear Gas Me" like kicking back and having a brew with a widely respected, universally admired, brilliant, witty, talented blogger. But since Meteor Blades won't be there, you can have one with me instead. I'll be the guy popping Advil and downloading porn over The Tank's T1 line as he pretends to blog.
More information below the belt... read on.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's Supreme Court annulled more than 4,000 gay marriages in San Francisco on Thursday, finding that the city acted improperly in granting the marriage licenses earlier this year in defiance of state law..
The mayor of the liberal city ignited a passionate nationwide debate in February by allowing 4,037 same-sex couples to wed over a four-week period before the California high court halted them as it reviewed the city's actions.
A California law backed by a voter referendum defines marriage as a union of man and women, and polls show most Californians continue to oppose gay marriage
So, after having re-re-disposed of the monster, exit our hero through the front door, stage right.
[. . .]
Like I've said, the more the Bush campaign talks about how great the economy is doing, the more out of touch it will appear to folks on the ground. We all know someone who is unemployed, or undemployed, or overworked and miserable at workplaces decimated by layoffs, or trapped at a dead-end job without any other prospects.
The turning a corner line was a huge blunder -- one not backed by either the economy or the situation in Iraq. And, it was tacit admission that things were shitty.
An incumbent isn't allowed to run on change. It fails the laugh test. If the voters want change, they'll choose the other guy.
It was finally too obvious for the campaign to keep talking about turning corners. They'll have to go back to that old standard -- the terrorist boogeyman. [my emphasis]
My server for my home network crashed today. Fortunately, I have internet access, however my network in the house is down, so the computers can't talk to one another. Wonderful. Spent the afternoon reinstalling software so hardly any blogging today. Mrs. F is also leaving for Charlotte tomorrow morning so we're running around like idiots. Oy. More tomorrow.
"Are you a Presidential candidate?"
"Uh, unoffcially. See my 'unofficial' plane from my 'unoffcial' airline, 'unoffcially' Southwest."
Chadian farmers are now threatened by a plague of locusts that has already destroyed crops in Mali, Mauritania and Niger. If the locusts are not controlled, people and livestock may face starvation throughout the Sahel, and the affected countries lack both pesticides and the infrastructure to deploy them:
Mali has so far raised only one third of the US$3 million requested from donors to step up locust control measures.
“To date, we have been invaded by 63 swarms, but we only have a third of the resources we need to treat the area of nearly 650,000 hectares that is currently infested”, Brahima Koni, the deputy coordinator of Mali's locust control campaign, told IRIN by telephone from Bamako.
So far, he added, Mali only has 18 spray teams deployed on the ground.
Thus far, the majority of aid has come not from wealthy donor countries but from the Maghrebi states, which recently battled locust infestations and have delivered pesticides and crop dusting planes to the affected area. Morocco has been particularly speedy in delivering assistance. More money is on its way from the donor community, but United Nations officials estimate that "it takes about a month to get the goods on the ground" once the funds are approved. In the meantime, the food situation in the Sahel may become critical. [my emphasis]
Pakistani National Arrested After Videotaping Bank Skyscrapers in Charlotte, N.C.
(Charlotte, N.C.-AP, August 10, 2004) — A Pakistani citizen is in federal custody after being arrested by a police officer who spotted him videotaping the 60-story Bank of America headquarters and another skyscraper in downtown Charlotte.
[. . .]
You know, so much shit is hitting the fan that it's not possible to keep track of what's flying where. Just today, Iraq is moving rapidly into failed state territory, the Plame Affair seems to be grinding toward some kind of hideous climax, the puppet Iraqi government is after neo-con man slut Ahmed Chalabi for murder and fraud...
And we still have 12 weeks to go before the election—assuming there is an election—so things haven't really started to heat up.
Of course, we're still waiting on the AP suit to (finally) reveal the microfilm of aWol's military records, and then Hersh's book is coming out in September....
Pass the popcorn!
[. . .]
Well, the Democrats may feel politically compelled to pull their punches, but former CIA Director Stansfield Turner apparently does not:
"This is the worst appointment that's ever been made to the office of director of central intelligence because that's an office that needs to be kept above partisan politics."
If anything, that seems a bit of an understatement. When Richard Nixon decided to bang heads together at the CIA, and thereby stop the flow of Watergate-related leaks he suspected were originating there, he at least sent in James Schlesinger - an experienced bureacrat who'd already paid his dues in the national security state. Bush, on the other hand, is sending in a partisan hack congressman with absolutely no experience managing large organizations, and whose glory days as a CIA operative are more than three decades in the past.
[. . .]
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Throughout his first term in the White House, President Bush has consistently rewarded his biggest financial supporters with special favors, insider access and prized federal appointments at home and abroad. Last Friday, Bush quietly appointed major fundraisers as ambassadors to the Bahamas and Estonia as well as to two positions on the board of directors of the Inter-American Foundation.
[. . . ]
[St. Paul, Minnesota is] a city of yellow-dog Democrats, so there is a high value placed on public services. If you call 911 in St. Paul, the cops or the EMTs will arrive within four minutes. In the Republican suburbs, where No New Taxes is the beginning and the end of politics and emergency services depend on volunteers, the response time can be anywhere between ten or fifteen and thirty minutes.
This is the difference between Democrats and Republicans in 2004, when it comes right down to it: Republicans are all about Old Glory and school prayer and the sanctity of marriage and the Fatherhood of God but when it comes down to actually needing help from them, you shouldn't get your hopes up. They might send an ambulance or they might just send a Get Well card.
Because we Democrats feel that the people of St. Paul are entitled to the best when it comes to what's crucial. You can be a Christian, athiest, Buddhist, nudist, and the rescue squad will be there for you within four minutes.
Republicans have perfectly nice manners, normal hair, pleasant smiles, good deoderants, but when it comes down to cases, you do not want them to be monitoring your oxygen flow: they will set it to the minimum necessary to sustain basic brain function, and then they will recite a little prayer for you. They are a party that is all about perceptions, the Christian party that conceals enormous glittering malice and is led by brilliant bandits who are dividing and conquering the sweet land I grew up in. I don't accept this.
We Democrats are deciduous. We fade, lose heart, become torpid, languish, then the sap rises again, and we are passionate. This is a year for passion.
(Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat. pp. 11-12)
It is a word impossible to say. Congressional Committees. Angry men in dark suits and narrow ties.
Someone is burning US intel assets. An al-Qaida regional communications officer (Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan). Two Federal moles in Arab upstate New York (Yassin Muhiddin Aref and Mohammed Mosharref Hossain). An al-Qaida operations officer (Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani). NSA intercepts and national technical capabilities. CIA covert officers and HUMINT/I capabilities.
I'm concerned that there may be agency in these acts. Agency beyond incompetence, the normal signature of this administration. Agency beyond managing the news cycle, the normal responsive media ploys of many administrations. Agency beyond institutional friction, a normal problem even without the "Homeland Security" re-org .
The net effect is hardening al-Qaida, and softening the United States. Perhaps it is just a series of coincidences, the weekly media gaming of a regime to dumb and venal to govern with consent or campaign on the issues, and not a planned covert reduction of defense, but that appears to be what is in fact happening.
[. . .]
 Suggestion to the K/E campaign. That re-org may have passed its sell-by date, and two paragraphs on unscrambling the bureacratic omlette may resonate in the standard stump. Try it in a focus group.
I haven't seen any news stories about it, but I just got tipped by a guy who works in Washington, and this GSA page confirms: September is about to become "National Preparedness Month."
Heck, this Red Cross page flatly states that Tom Ridge will make the official announcement on September 9th.
(Why September 9th? That's awfully late, if it's supposed to be the entire month. My guess, thinking like Karl Rove: this year's 9/11 anniversary falls on a Saturday, so an announcement on the date or even Friday would only get a burst of free media on a weekend. But by timing it for the 6 pm news on Thursday, it'll reach the Friday papers, and thus be fully-injected into all of the emotion-laden anniversary coverage, plus the Sunday morning talk shows.)
The idea, obviously, is to throw a large amount of focus, possibly for weeks on end, on the only issue on which Bush outpolls Kerry. And of course this will come on the heels of the GOP convention. So where the Democrats' post-convention media got blitzed with terror warnings based on years-old intelligence, the Republicans' afterglow might well be favorably extended, implied message being:
"Why, with George Bush and enough shovels, we'll all be just fine."
[. . .]
This is transparently a continuation of the Bush campaign by other means, financed with everyone's tax dollars, out of funds that could be used, say, to hire more actual first-responders, Pushtun translators, or troops to replace the exhausted guardsmen.
Bush should be called out on this, and now, by journalists, by the Kerry campaign, and by everyone who prefers actual security over campaign propaganda.
Our tipster said something I want to share:
Those of us who actually work on this sort of thing, in addition to wondering what the other 35 months since 9/11 have been, are of course not thrilled that this is so obviously being politicized.
It's three years after 9/11, and less than three months before an election, and now we get a National Preparedness Month.
And yes, let's ask Bush and Tom Ridge the simple question: what the hell do these people think the previous 35 months were?
[. . .]
Laura Bush: No, I'm not a scientist, but we had lots of science books when I was a librarian....
Laura Bush takes a stand...and shows why she probably shouldn't be allowed to take a stand:
First lady Laura Bush defended her husband's policy on embryonic stem cell research Monday, calling Democratic rival John Kerry (news - web sites)'s criticism "ridiculous" and accusing proponents of overstating the potential for medical breakthroughs.
"We don't even know that stem cell research will provide cures for anything — much less that it's very close" to yielding major advances, Mrs. Bush said.
So...we don't know if research will pay off so we should limit the research to ensure that it won't pay off.
Maybe we should put that money into research to cure stupidity...
Why, exactly, am I supposed to trust the Bush Administration with the security of the United States? Over the weekend, Condi Rice admitted that the Bush Administration outed Kahn -- perhaps the deepest undercover agent we have ever had in al-Queda -- to the New York Times. The Bush Administration has been facing scepticism about it's most recent terror warning. COnsidering that the last terror warning was based on no new information, and considering that Tom Ridge used the announcement of this warning to stump for the Bush campaign, and considering that the Bush Administration has a history of releasing warnings on the heels of bad news for the Bush Campaign, the skepticism doesn't seem completely unwarranted. In the face of that skepticism, the Bush Administration has been strenuously defending the alert -- despite the fact that Laura Bush attended a campaign event in one of the buildings listed as under threat the day of the warning. Some have suggested that the outing was done as part of the campaign to convince the press that the alert was not based on political considerations. If true, the Bush Administration would have endangered national security in the hope of limiting the political damage of the impression that they damaged national security. The parallels to the Valerie Plame affair are almost sickening.
[. . .]
Bush also said high taxes on the rich are a failed strategy because "the really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway." [my emphasis]
Asked about that comment, Jonathan Beeton, spokesman for Kerry's campaign in Virginia, said "George Bush can speak with authority about really rich people. ... That's his base, so I'm sure he knows what he's talking about. But that doesn't make it right."
[. . .]
Update: In the comments many of you make the point that this [Bush's] line isn't a gaffe, but a standard part of his stump speech.
Jess Bravin reports in this morning's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) that the JAG attorneys detailed to defend detainees at Guantanamo before pending military tribunals are suffering from a lack of resources in several key areas. Among other things, they are being forced to mount a defense with just a few weeks of prep time since their assignment, and without sufficient staff support or translator support. Here's an excerpt from the article:
... Army Maj. Mark Bridges and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Philip Sundel, say they lost their first Arabic interpreter months ago and haven't received a replacement.
"Without being able to communicate with our client, how can we possibly represent his issues?" says Maj. Bridges.
That problem, one of several affecting four Guantanamo defendants facing potential life sentences for war crimes, hasn't deterred the Bush administration from pressing forward with the proceedings, defense attorneys say. Col. Peter Brownback III, a retired Army judge, was named in June to head the first U.S. military commission to try foreign prisoners for war crimes since the end of World War II. Col. Brownback has set initial hearings at the Guantanamo naval base for the week of Aug. 23, imposing a breakneck timetable on a process that has been stymied by legal and policy debates inside government and a diplomatic dispute with Britain over the possible prosecution of British nationals held at Guantanamo.
[. . .]
Analysis: Mr. Bravin's article reports on a litany of other issues plaguing the upcoming tribunal prosecutions, such as potential conflicts of interest between the attorneys on the government side and the judges. But the real meat of the story is this lack-of-resources problem. And here's why: the President has pledged to make these "full and fair" trials, notwithstanding their departures from well-settled military and civilian criminal law. Few scholars believe that's possible, given the way the tribunal rules and procedures are currently written. So far, the best hope for the administration has been these defense attorneys -- whose zealous pursuit of justice has lended an air of legitimacy to the tribunals which they would otherwise not have. By hobbling the defense attorneys in this case with a lack of resources, the Pentagon has undermined the most important and most visible source of legitimacy for these tribunals. Men like USMC Maj. Michael Mori, detailed to defend Austrailian prisoner David Hicks, have become literal folk heroes around the world for their stand on this issue. Their ability to continue the fight on behalf of their clients may well save these proceedings from being seen as "kangaroo courts", to borrow Bill Safire's phrase. Thus, if the Pentagon and the White House really want these proceedings to be fair, and to be perceived as such, they will rectify these resource shortfalls quickly.
The Sudanese Foreign Minister has accused the leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement, one of the main rebel factions in Darfur, of "making regular visits to Israel." Both the JEM and Israel deny the accusation, and its timing is, to say the least, suspicious. There have been no previous reports of Israeli involvement in Darfur, and Khartoum's announcement comes at a time when it is trying to rally Arab support against Western intervention, and playing the Israel card seems calculated to do just that.
On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if Israel were backing the JEM. Israel has connections to Uganda, Eritrea and the SPLM, all of which oppose Khartoum, and it has often followed a strategic policy of allying with non-Arab peoples on the fringes of the Arab world. It would be entirely in character for Israel to support the Darfur rebels - and if so, there are plenty of worse things Israel could do than offer aid to people facing ethnic cleansing and mass murder.
[. . .]
I don't approve of this sentiment - in fact, I disapprove in the strongest terms - but it does exist and it's something that has to be taken into account in planning interventions in the region. There's a reason why Israel hasn't been asked, for instance, to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq, and that reason may be morally unsound but it's very sound realpolitik. I wish this were a world in which Israel could do the right thing in Darfur without leading to adverse political consequences for its people, but unfortunately we're not living in that world.
Ahmad Chalabi and his nephew Salem Chalabi said Monday that warrants issued for their arrests by Iraq's Central Criminal Court were part of a political conspiracy trumped up by former Saddam Hussein loyalists.
Ahmad Chalabi, a former Governing Council member with strong U.S. ties, was wanted in Iraq on counterfeiting charges, while Salem Chalabi, head of the special tribunal in charge of trying Saddam, faced an arrest warrant for murder, Iraq's chief investigating judge said Sunday.
"Three more months, three more months, three more months!"
[. . .]
Next we come to a guy who embarasses even Tennessee Republicans, which, trust me, takes some doing. We get this, interestingly enough, via the Taipei Times, proving this fellow, James Hart, is mortifying the Volunteer State in places that previously had been unaware it existed:
An unabashed racist will represent the Republican party in the November election for a congressional seat after a write-in candidate failed to derail his effort.
With 86 percent of the primary vote counted on Thursday, write-in candidate Dennis Bertrand had just 1,554 votes compared to 7,671, or 83 percent, for James Hart, a believer in the discredited, phony science of eugenics.
In November, the Republican candidate will oppose Representative John Tanner, a Democrat who has represented the northwest Tennessee district for 15 years.
Hart, 60, vows if elected to work toward keeping "less favored races" from reproducing or immigrating to the US.
Hart said he will have lots of time to campaign for the general election since he was forced Wednesday to resign from his job as a real estate salesman because of the attention he drew during the primary.
While campaigning, Hart sometimes wears a protective vest and carries a .40-caliber pistol, but he said he has run into no trouble.
"When I knock on a door and say white children deserve the same rights as everybody else, the enthusiastic response is truly amazing," he said.
If a black person opens the door, he says he simply drops off campaign literature and leaves.
Via his campaign website we note the above, plus the following:
[. . .]
SEQUEL ONE—$87 BILLION REDUX: “All of this should have been done a year ago,” this morning’s Times editorial says. The editorial is called “The Iraq Reconstruction Fiasco,” and it discusses that $18.4 billion in reconstruction money which Congress voted last October. The money was part of the famous $87 billion to “fund the troops”—the bill which Kerry voted against, a vote for which he is now routinely trashed. The editorial notes that Bush Admin has failed to put that $18 billion to work:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL: Of the $18.4 billion Congress approved last fall, only about $600 million has actually been paid out. Billions more have been designated for giant projects still in the planning stage. Part of the blame rests with the Pentagon's planning failures and the occupation authority's reluctance to consult qualified Iraqis. Instead, the administration brought in American defense contractors who had little clue about what was most urgently needed or how to handle the unfamiliar and highly insecure climate. [my emphasis]
Gee! Any chance that Kerry (and others) may have been right when they said they wanted a more detailed plan before giving Bush this “blank check?” The editorial fails to raise this point, but that’s the way your press corps works. . .
[. . .]
Quite simply, I knew that Alan Keyes -- whom I recently called the master of grandiloquent nonsense -- would not let me down.
Keyes kicked off his campaign in what I guess we should be calling his new hometown of Chicago today. But first he had to get over the fact that a few years ago he not only knocked Hillary Clinton for relocating to New York to run for Senate -- after all most every Republican did that -- but had to dress it up in typically Keyesian mumbo-jumbo
Harkening back to the wisdom of no one in particular, Keyes intoned, "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it."
The best walk back I heard for this one was the response from a Republican party official in Illinois a few days ago -- as related to me by a TPM reader -- who, when confronted with this seeming change of mind, shot back that ... you guessed it, 9/11 changed everything!
[. . .]
[. . .]
As Republicans get excited about converging on Madison Square Garden to bask in the political limelight this month, many New Yorkers apparently are not amused. A recent survey by a Manhattan public relations firm found 83 percent of those polled do not want the Republican convention in town. When asked why, more than half, 53 percent, were worried about traffic, street closures, and security hassles. All of this, prompting the city's biggest cheerleaders to soothe and reassure New Yorkers that it will all be worth it.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City(R[-Asshole]): "It is not going to cost the city anything other than the $25 million in security and it'll generate hundreds of millions in economic activity. It's really going to be great for the whole city. And I think everybody is really looking forward it."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly adding the city can handle large-scale events without a hiccup, and that it won't be as bad as many fear.
Ray Kelly, NYC Police Commissioner : "I think there will be a lot less disruption than people seem to think or the media has been talking about...certainly in the vicinity of Madison Square Garden."
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York City (R): "The fact is, you are in the hands of the New York Police Department, they have done a masterful job of making the city safer than it was before September 11th, 2001."
While city leaders past and present put the best spin on the convention, the same poll found 70 percent are afraid to go to work the week of August 30th because of security concerns. Tapping into the fear factor, other states are now trying to lure New Yorkers away for the week.
Amanda Smart, Manhattan Resident: "I feel like it is going to be a mad house. We have a hard time getting to work. It is going to be terrible to be in the city that week." [my emphasis]
[. . .]
Kasim Hilas told a CID investigator that he witnessed a harrowing incident one night on Tier 1A. "I saw the translator Abu Hamid fucking a kid," Hilas stated. "His age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn't covered and I saw Abu Hamid, who was wearing the military uniform, putting his dick in the little kid's ass. I couldn't see the face of the kid because his face wasn't in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures. Abu Hamid, I think he is Egyptian because of his accent, and he was not skinny or short, and he acted like a homosexual (gay). And that was in cell #23 as best as I remember."
[. . .]
Just as the Abu Ghraib sergeant knew his revelations would invite a backlash, Kerry was aware he'd get a backlash, too. Thirty-two years later, some are pissed at him still.
I not only view Kerry as a hero for his service in 'Nam. He was a hero for risking the wrath of some vets in his effort to end the war and save thousands of more lives from being wasted. That's the sort of gratitude one gets for moral courage: 32 years of bitterness and ads timed to hurt him politically.
They just don't get that he's already a winner and will be even if he doesn't get elected. Moral courage is something I haven't seen in the White House in a couple of decades.
[. . .]
One month to Arrival Day
Eleven months ago on September 7, 2003, The Head Heeb celebrated the first annual Arrival Day, a secular commemoration of the first American Jews' landing in New Amsterdam in 1654:
Arrival Day is different from other Jewish holidays in that it is a purely secular occasion - a celebration of the Jewish ethnic group rather than the Jewish religion. As such, non-Jews are allowed, and indeed encouraged, to participate. Just as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, on Arrival Day everyone is Jewish.
The occasion was marked with a blogburst featuring 16 essays on the American Jewish experience, preceded by a series of discussions on the past and present of the American Jewish community.
This September 7 will be the second Arrival Day. I'd like to at least match last year's participation, and as before, both Jews and non-Jews are welcome to take part. I ask only that the entries touch somehow on Jews, Judaism, Jewish thought, perceptions of Jews or interaction between Jews and gentiles. Because this year is the 350th anniversary of the American Jewish community, I also ask - although I won't require - that the essays focus on a common theme: the Jewish future. Between now and September 7, I will post a weekly series of articles on that subject; all those who want to join in, please let me know.