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Spreading fear






Timing is Everything

Paperwight's Fair Shot: Timelines, Fear-Mongering, and Bush

Why A Few Taxpayers Pay So Much Of The Taxes

Stolen from the Bear Left site

Fact of the Week

In 2000, the 400 taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross incomes reported over 1 percent of all income reported to the IRS that year. Their average tax rate was 22.3 percent. If the Bush tax cuts of 2002 and 2003 had been in effect, their tax rate would have declined to 17.5 percent, with an average savings of $8.3 million. These taxpayers are the biggest beneficiaries of these tax cuts. To make the top 400 in 2000, a taxpayer needed taxable income of $86.8 million.

New York Times, 26 June 2003;
IRS report, June 2003.
Update - OK, OK... The reason a few taxpayers pay a lot of the income tax is because they get a lot of the income. When the Republicans say that the top X percent pay most of the taxes IT IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE MOST OF THE INCOME. The fact is that people at the top pay a lower tax rate than people in the middle AND DON'T PAY SOCIAL SECURITY - the largest item in most people's taxes - AT ALL on almost all of their income!!!!

Members of the Press

Members of the Press,

It's time to think about what happens to YOU if Bush is still in office next year. One-party, right-wing governments have a very bad track record for how they deal with members of the press. If you have any doubts about this, look up what happened to Bill Stewart in Nicaragua. There are so many other examples, but I always refer back to this one because I remember seeing him shot on-camera. (I can't find the actual footage online -- let me know if you locate a source.)

THIS right-wing crowd has a very, very bad track record in their dealings with the press. Sure, they have made more than a few of you very rich, but that opportunity lasts only so long as you play entirely by their rules and at their command. For all the rest it is threats and intimidation, mockery, lies, hate campaigns -- you get the e-mails and letters, you know what I'm talking about -- and mass propaganda directed against you.

Listen to Rush Limbaugh for a few days and then tell me how safe and secure you feel in your jobs. They are telling their followers not to trust you or even listen to you or read what you write. What do you think they have in store for you when they have absolute control? Or do you think they do not intend to have absolute control? Read Grover Norquist on the subject of the future of multi-party democracy. (Yes, in fact, he DOES speak for all of the Right.) Read George Will just today.

Honestly, you all remind me of my local newspaper, which carries the Mallard Fillmore comic strip -- a right-wing propaganda outlet that tells its readers not to trust, or even read, the very newspapers that carry it.

Why you gotta be like that?

There might still be time to get out there and REPORT what is happening. To INFORM your readers/listeners/viewers. To EXPOSE corruption in high places. You might be thinking that this is a choice between doing your job in the short term and the best interests of your own career in the long term. Cozying up to power and all that... But face it - and ten minutes of Limbaugh will confirm it - if the Right continues in power your careers are toast anyway.

Bloggered Again Again

The site is blooggered again. The archives are gone, the right column is gone... I apologize to the advertisers.

I am actively looking for new software/hosting. Does anyone have any suggestions?


P.S. Sell Google stock, this is intolerable.


Denver Post - Front Page

DenverPost.com - FRONT PAGE.


Not complaining TOO much, and I didn't ask anyone to, but if when you forward stuff you include the web address where you got it from, people can come back and get more...

Update - Newsweek, too!

Actually, Googling finds over 500 reposts. Cool.

Earpiece IV

Is Bush Wired?

E-Mail This To Your Aunt In Oklahoma

Go see the new video, Cheney vs Reality, at Democratic National Committee. Then send an e-mail to your aunt in Oklahoma and your cousin in Nebraska, urging them to see it, too!

Big Cheney Whopper

During the debate Cheney said that he presides over the Senate on Tuesdays and had never met Edwards until the debate.

Aside from this picture of Cheney sitting next Edwards at a National Prayer Breakfast event, there is the matter of Cheney's ACTUAL Senate attendance.

They just lie. Get that into your head.

Your Tax Dollars at Work!

I have a new post, Your Tax Dollars at Work!, over at The American Street.

Partisanship again

need for partisans

democracy partisanship and advocacy

hack and liar

kevin is not a deep thinker, just a compulsive moderate

"credibility" Rather liberals

a representative

mix in media

not a time for bipartisanship

Kant, Camus, Gandhi, Orwell

too weighty and cheesy for a debate game

too cheesy for a grave Bzrezinski--Kissinger debate

primarily move in partisan game

opportunism of special deals after 1980

WaMonthly wonk competence; TNR, Beck, Greenfield, DLC (Lieberman in Bush's speech today)

administrative/academic non-political

Germans: Mann, Weber (journalists)

My sensible discussion


Edwards Won!

Edwards took the battle to Cheney, and Cheney left many of his points unrebutted and had to lie in order to rebut others. Edwards also brought forward a lot of facts that are old hat to people here, but which most Americans have been previously unaware of.

I don't know what the rules are for scoring formal debates, but if they allow people to win debates by lying, we should ignore them.

You can say, "You know and I know that Edwards won, but in the battle of public opinion, it was a draw". Well, the battle for public opinion isn't finished. It's continuing, and we're now in the post-debate spin period. It's not hard to make a strong case that Edwards won, and we should make it.

I just got myself steamed up over at Kevin Drum, where Kevin thought the debate was mediocre and unimpressive and pretty much a draw. Too goddamn many Democrats are too fine to descend to actually playing the game. They have to speak from this elevated place above the battle. But there really isn't a high elevated truth about one of these political debates -- it's all politics, and if you bother with it at all, you should play. If you're too good for this stuff, you should translate Chinese poetry or something like that. (Which, as it happens, I sometimes do).

As long as Kevin is in the public sphere, he will be taken as a representative of the Democrats, and as a matter of principle, he will always refuse to act as a Democratic advocate. Which means that he will be whipped by the Republican advocate from time to time, like all the various various weak "Democrats" you see on TV. All of whom, of course, are very well paid.

Poor Kevin.


Josh Micah Marshall, as moderate as Kevin, comes to quite a different conclusion.

foreigner points out that you don't really win a debate if your facts are all wrong.

THIS is Where This Debate Will Matter

Poll Shows More than 4 in 10 Still Link Saddam to 9/11:
The same poll in June showed that 56% of all Republicans said they thought Saddam was involved with the 9/11 attacks. In the latest poll that number actually climbs, to 62%.
What it comes down to is, if you believe that Iraq was behind 9/11 then you want to vote for Bush, and if you do not, you do not want to vote for Bush. That's what it comes down to.

I think THIS is where Edwards hit hard at the start of the debate, and it is very, very important. And he repeated it. I don't see how ANYONE can come away from that without questioning their belief that Iraq was behind 9/11.

Debate Post -- Cheney Just Lies!

Cheny just lies! What else is there to say? It is stunning. One lie after another.

Has there ever been anything like this in the country's history? Since McCarthy's fictitious "list" anyway?

Draft Coming

Steve Gilliard's News Blog : Here it comes, the Iraq War draft......

Repeat - You're Gonna Get Drafted

Please take the You're Gonna Get Drafted post, copy it into an e-mail, and send it to people. Or write your own version and send it to people. Send it to people of draft age AND to parents of people approaching draft age. It starts,
"The Draft - A Reason to Vote if You're Under 30

You already blew it: You didn't vote last time, or voted for Nader or Bush, and now you're gonna get drafted. There's no way around it now, the draft is almost a certainty.

You're hearing about Reserve and National Guard units being called up, and about people not allowed to leave the military even though their term is up. Have you thought about what this means to you? You KNOW this means they're having trouble finding enough soldiers to go to Iraq, right? Of course Bush doesn't want to start the draft BEFORE the election. Duh! But what do you think happens the day AFTER the election?

I repeat, they are having trouble finding enough soldiers to go to Iraq. Think about it. Right, you're gonna get drafted."
Because they're gonna get drafted and they had better be voting!

Refighting the Civil War

They're refighting the Civil War right now over at Yglesias. Two of the resident trolls, Brett Bellmore and J. Scott Barnard, are cranking out their loony version of the party line (not exact quotes):

Affirmative action is like lynching. The main racists are the Democrats, especially the black Democrats. Saying that racism is a factor in the South is just as bad as McCarthyism. There was no Southern Strategy, and if there was, it didn't have anything to do with race. When the Dixiecrats left the Democratic Party, it was to get away from the racism of the Democrats. Blacks are Democrats because they are racists and want handouts; it has nothing to do with finally getting the right to vote, or anti-lynching laws.

There happens to be a very exact index of racism: the belief that interracial marriage should be illegal. This is not a proxy issue – there are no non-racist reasons for supporting these laws. In the year 2000, Republican Alabama voted on an constitutional amendment repealing the state constitution's ban on iterracial marriage. About 40% of the voters, and 50% of the white voters, voted to keep the prohibition.

I happen to be a Yankee the way a lot of "southrons" are Rebs, and I'm not too happy with the way they've taken over our government. Someone's got to lose, and right now it's me. Hopefully in the future it will be the CCC (KKK without the bedsheets) which is on the outside looking in, and not the NAACP (and me).


Conclusion from the second link above, a very careful study:

"This gap [between publicly professed racism and the actual vote in favor of a racist law] suggests two possibilities. First, survey measures of white racial attitudes might seriously underestimate the level of white racism: Pressure to give socially acceptable answers seems to lead whites to give response in surveys that they do not reflect the choices that they make in the anonymity of voting booth. Second, these results raise the possibility that the ‘old,’ biological racism that defined white attitudes prior to the civil rights era is not as dead as some have suggested.25 As mentioned previously, laws against interracial marriage grew out of traditional notions of blacks’ biological inferiority. That such views might still persist today suggest that white racism is perhaps both more prevalent and more pernicious than many have previously thought."

If Democrats Were Republicans

If Democrats were Republicans, this e-mail message would have been only the first of many, and would have started circulating a year ago:
How many members of the Bush Administration are needed to replace a lightbulb?

The Answer is TEN:

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb

4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either: "For changing the light bulb or for darkness"

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a stepladder under the banner "Light! Bulb Change Accomplished"

7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally "in the dark"

8. One to viciously smear #7

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along

10. And finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.
One more difference, this e-mail is based entirely on truth.

Kerry / WMD



Dear Mike

Iraq sucks.


Thank you

Awhile back I posted a fundraising plea here. I have finally spent the money, getting a nice new state-of-the-art (ca. 2002) computer that's being closed out. It should last me for awhile.

I didn't say anything about thanking individuals publicly, so I won't (for fear of ruining their lives, for one thing), but "d2" and "d a rvis" gave the heftiest contributions. (I have been able to thank everyone individually by email).

If anyone wants to unload some more cash in this direction, go here. The big-eyed furry little creature (a tarsier) is the button to click. (Not the Tasmanian devil on the top).

Kerry Doesn't Want To Keep Us Safe

Just glancing at CNN, a guy in Ohio, business is way down... but voting for Bush because, "Bush wants to keep us safe. Kerry doesn't want to keep us safe."


Eruption VolcanoCam

Mount Saint Helens VolcanoCam, updated every five minutes.

I just heard on the news that hot magma is working its way up the shaft and an eruption is imminent. That is almost word-for-word, and no one snickered.

Now there is a large bulge forming.

Update - at night you will see just static.

PAINFUL Bush Video

BAGnewsNotes: More Bush Minus the Cue Cards. Others are funny, but it's just painful to watch this one. Moolaahs. Uh, uh, uh, blink blink blink.

Draft Alert!

The Century Foundation - Legions Stretched Thin: The U.S. Army's Manpower Crisis . From the report:
The U.S. military is facing demands that are more wide-ranging and intensive than at any time since the end of the Vietnam War. But evidence is mounting that the armed forces lack the manpower to meet those challenges. The occupation of Iraq, a major ongoing operation in Afghanistan, homeland security missions in the continental United States, and peacekeeping efforts around the globe are straining the military’s capacity to fulfill the Bush administration’s stated geostrategic goals.
How do you THINK Bush will get enough troops to accomplish his goals if he is still in office next year?

Look Over There

While I'm trying to get posting to work here, go read everything at The American Street.

Bloggers Bloggered

Bloggers, are you also experiencing continuing problems with Blogger? For some time it has been hard to reach the posting interface, and scary to click the button to post because there is always the danger that you'll just lose everything. (Usually I remember to copy the post and paste it into a text editor before I click - just in case...) Is it just me?

Is Google ever going to fix this? Or do they have better uses for their billions and billions of dollars?

Better question, when am I going to switch? My first reason is that I don't know how to migrate my archives. I', "tied in" to Blogger. Second is the time to set up something new. Third is the financial commitment of signing up for a new hosting service...

Thoughts? (Now, let's see what happens when I click the "Publish" button. -- First try crashed... Second try crashed... Third try crashed... Fourth try crashed... Fifth try crashed... mOK, I'll stop counting. Eventually you will see this post.)

Update - I see that over at Eschaton, Atrios posted this:
I tried to post about this late last night but Blogger ate the post.
I can now see this post listed in the posting interface, but not at the weblog... When I click to post a message I get the crash with "Server not found." But then I see that it made it as far as Google's Blogger server... but not onto the blog itself so you can read it. HOW high is their stock today?.


Look Who's Telling Catholics What To Believe

Take a look at the Kerry Wrong For Catholics website. Then look at the very bottom of the page, where it says who put the site up.

FOX fails to fact check "Communists for Kerry"

Will FOX News suffer any loss of credibility as a result of relying the assurance of the individual quoted below that his group was "not a parody group"?

Is FOX News in the habit of taking people at their word and not doing any background checks about the credibility or validity of the organization they claim to represent before airing a statement?

Should I call FOX News up, claiming to represent "Communists for Bush", and see if they'll put me on the air? :)

I look forward to seeing an on air apologia from Ms. Roh, and from FOX News, and a through raking of FOX News over the coals by the punditocracy.

Or maybe not...

Thomas Leavitt

P.S. It appears that they've attached a disclaimer:

Editor's Note:
In an version of this article that was published
earlier, the Communists for Kerry were portrayed as a
group that was supporting John Kerry for president.
FOXNews.com's reporter asked the group's representative
several times whether the group was legitimate and
supporting the Democratic candidate, and the spokesman
insisted that it was.

... apparently, this is what passes for "good journalistic practice" at FOX News. I suggest our readers take advantage of this the next time they run into a FOX News reporter. :)

Begin forwarded message:

From: Tim Finin finin@[deleted]
Date: October 2, 2004 7:58:51 PM EDT
To: Dave Farber dave@[deleted]
Subject: Communists for Kerry

Attached is a note I sent to FOXNews. I'm guessing they
assumed that people would see parts of their story on
reactions to the presidential debate as humor. Is it any wonder,
tho, that a study showed that people who get their news from Fox
News are less well informed than people who get their news
from other outlets, even the Jon Stewart's Daily News comedy


Today you published a story written by Jane Roh titled "Some
Voters Still Flip-Flop After Debate Saturday" [1]. The
story quoted a number of people on their reactions to the
first presidential debate. The story says:

"Of course, there were some Kerry supporters in attendance
who had no doubts whatever about their candidate.

"We're trying to get Comrade Kerry elected and get that
capitalist enabler George Bush out of office," said
17-year-old Komoselutes Rob of Communists for Kerry.

"Even though he, too, is a capitalist, he supports my
socialist values more than President Bush," Rob said,
before assuring FOXNews.com that his organization was not
a parody group. When asked his thoughts on Washington's
policy toward Communist holdout North Korea, Rob said:
"The North Koreans are my comrades to a point, and I'm
sure they support Comrade Kerry, too."

It is unclear whether the Kerry campaign has welcomed the
Communists' endorsement."

I am disappointed that your reporter reports this at face
value. Putting "Communists for Kerry" into Google turns up
their web site [2] as the first result. It's obviously a
satirical web site. Moreover, clicking on the "About Us"
navigation link produces a page which explains:

"Communists for Kerry" is a campaign of the Hellgate
Republican Club, a tax exempt non-partisan public advocacy
"527" organization that exists for the purpose of;

"Informing voters with satire and irony, how political
candidates make decisions based on the failed social
economic principles of socialism that punish the
individual by preventing them from becoming their dream
through proven ideas of entrepreneurship and freedom."

Our members help elect candidates who support economic
growth through Entrepreneurship, limited government and
lower taxes. Communists For Kerry is separate and distinct
from the Communist party of America and any of its
organization. None of it's members are members of any
communist organizations.

I'm afraid that this is just horrifically bad journalism.
Were Ms Roh and her editors so gullible that they thought it
was a serious organization? Or are they in the habit of not
doing minimal fact checking for a surprising part of her
story? Or are they in on the joke but wants to fool her
readers? Or do they think that all of your readers will
recognize that it's obviously political theater and not be
fooled? Or is this intended to spread misinformation? Or
some combination of the above?

In any case, it deserves a clarification and rethinking
your policies. It is just not good journalism.

Tim Finin
743 Oella Ave
Oella MD 21043

[1] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,134268,00.html
[2] http://communistsforkerry.com/
[3] http://www.hellgate.org/disclaimer/

Earpiece III

TalkLeft has a lot more about Bush maybe wearing an earpiece.

Also - Drudge and RW sites are launching an all-out "Kerry was cheating" thing, which tells me they are worried about the stories about Bush being caught cheating with an earpiece.

Update - Thanks to a comment here, directing to a post at Digby, the "evidence" that Kerry is cheating -- the accusation is that Kerry takes notes out of his coat pocket -- is a video you can watch, but when you watch it, you can see Bush TAKING NOTES OUT OF HIS COAT POCKET, unfolding them, and placing them on the podium. NO WONDER they have to quickly accuse Kerry of cheating!

AND, even beter, the right-wing site with the video says they had to take the comments down. Guess why? People were probably saying that the video shows BUSH taking out notes!!! Solution? Remove the comments.

If the truth is partisan, print the truth

Brad Delong and Kevin Drum have both commented on this passage by Michael Kinsley (the new editorial and opinion editor of the LA Times):

"The biggest problem is -- and I don't know what the solution is, so it's not a criticism, as much as it is a puzzle -- is that the conventions of objectivity make it very difficult to say that something is a lie. And they require balance, which is often just not justified by reality. The classic thing is the Swift Boats. If you follow what all the papers say, they inch close to saying what they really think by saying, "it's controversial," or "many have challenged it," euphemisms like that. And then they always need to pair it with something else. "Candidate X murdered three people at a rally yesterday, and candidate Y sneezed without using a Kleenex. This is why many people are saying this is the roughest campaign ever."

Why won't reporters call a lie a lie? Or at least (without using the l-word), why won't reporters say so whenever anyone says something that is known to be false?

I don't think that anyone is getting this right. The explanations I've seen over the years include: generalists writing about specialized topics; lack of intelligence and training; both professionalism and lack of professionalism; the herd mentality of the gaggle; and the commercialization of infotainment.

These all play some role, but the role of management and ownership is being allowed to slip by. The reason we have bad reporting is either because management doesn't care, or because management wants bad reporting. (Before you call this a conspiracy theory, by the way, you have to explain to me what's wrong with the idea that managers control the businesses that they're managing).

A pathology of professionalism is clearly at work here. Political reporters are expected to report the facts in a neutral, non-partisan way. So what does a reporter do if the facts are partisan – i.e., if one side is lying? The current rule is to continue to be non-partisan – just report the fact that one side says, for example, that the economy is growing, whereas the other side denies it. This satisfies both sides of the professional rule -- factuality and non-partisanship -- but unfortunately it fails to deal with the question of whether the economy is growing or not. Reporters systematically refuse to say that their sources are saying things that are not true, and they call their failure "professionalism".

It seems that there's really a simple answer to this: just invert the heierarchy of professional rules. "If the truth is partisan, report the truth".* So I've solved the problem, right?

No. For decades reporters have been learning that reporting the truth can be a career-ending move. Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry are probably the two most illustrious examples, but there are dozens of them. (The 2002 book Into the Buzzsaw is a mixed bag of first-person stories). By contrast, media liars like Judith "I Was Fucking Right" Miller, William Safire, etc., etc., have moved always upward and onward.

By watching the patterns of hirings, firings, and promotions, new reporters quickly learn what's expected of them. Since most of them have already picked up a big dose of cynicism by the time they show up for work, professionalism comes to be defined entirely in careerist terms. The professional's goal is to be as rich and famous as possible, and Hersh and Parry and their kind are pitiful losers who failed to understand which side their bread was buttered on.

Successful major-media reporters are paid pretty well, so they can easily manage that special arrogance that comes from driving a really nice car. Furthermore, while journalistic standards have been gutted, reporters still can claim to be professionals, and every profession believes that outsiders aren't qualified to judge their work. So reporters can always say to themselves that their neutrality is really a noble thing, even though ignorant people outside the business fail to understand what it is that they're doing.

In the media the highest management level thinks entirely in bottom-line terms, rather than ideologically. This might mean dumbing things down to get a greater audience. It might mean suppressing negative stories about the ownership's various other enterprises. It might mean trading political support for lower taxes, more favorable regulations, or new intellectual property laws.

Except at Fox, direct orders to lie or to slant the news are rare, but somehow or another big embarrassing stories end up on page sixteen with headlines that contradict the sense of the piece. The stubborn reporters eventually get fired, and the smart reporters learn to read management's lips.

So Kinsley is baffled. The simple solution to his dilemma is what I said: "If the truth is partisan, print the truth" -- but Kinsley can't do that. He thinks that this is because of professional standards, but it's not. It's because Kinsley is hired help.

In practice, Kinsley (like most of Peretz's former lackeys) is exquisitely aware of what's allowed and what's not allowed. But "what's allowed" is not something that he's allowed to write about.

* I've also proposed a supplementary rule, "Try not to be dumber than a bag of rocks", but I think that that is too avant-garde for the world of today.

Into the Buzzsaw

The Global Test

Someone has to tell the peanut gallery that foreign policy has to work outside the U.S. That's why we call it "foreign policy".

A foreign policy customized to appeal to the prejudices of 51% of American voters will be a horrible failure if it doesn't work in the rest of the world. That's "the global test".

Foreign policy is about foreigners. I don't know how to say it more simply than that.

But as O'Neill, Diulio, Clarke, General Shinseki, Genral McPeak, and General Clark and a dozen others have told us, for the Bush administration votes are everything, and reality is nothing.


Through the Looking Glass

Through Charles Dodgson's blog I discovered that David Neiwert has a new series on the conservative movement.

David Brooks Is a Vegetable

At The Mahablog: "David Brooks Is a Vegetable."

Another Video

Go see the Bush Focus Group.


Thanks to Get Donkey I saw this movie over at Oliver Willis' blog.

While you're there, Get Donkey will show you what Kerry REALLY said about a "global test." (Why do the Repubican just lie about everything?) What Kerry SAID was:
"But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

The "Flip-Flopper" Label -- How It's Done

Salon has an article by Matthew Craft today, Winning the war of words, that talks about how the Republicans are so well able to get the public to believe their misleading and distorting slogans. From the article:
"After months of tireless repetition, the Bush-Cheney campaign's 'flip-flop' charge against John Kerry has become a national cliche.
I'm sure you noticed that during the debate Bush kept repeating the "mixed messages" line. Over and over. Whatever the question, Bush returned to this theme, even when it did not seem to be an appropriate answer to the question. This line ties into the "flip-flopper" campaign theme, because what a "flip-flopper" does is send "mixed messages."

You and I are informed and know that Kerry IS NOT a flip-flopper, of course, but what about the general public? The Republicans have spent something like 200 million dollars repeating this message over and over and over and over and over. And not just in TV ads. They are using every channel through which people receive "messages." For example, I've written about receiving e-mail chain-letters -- those things your sister-in-law from Kansas is always forwarding to you, that have about 300 other people's e-mail addresses at the top and have already been forwarded eight times -- that have as the actual message a joke, another joke, a joke about Kerry being a flip-flopper, a joke, and a sign-off about God smiling on little children or something. Well, where do you think those originate? This is just one example of manipulating a channel through which people receive messages.

The result of this comprehensive message communication effort is that people who don't spend a lot of time informing themselves about what is going on in the world have heard this single message repeated on the radio, through the internet, on TV, in articles, and, most importantly, from friends. And so it has become "conventional wisdom," or what you might call "a truth" that you can not trust Kerry because he is a flip-flopper. The Republicans laid out this plan of attack a long time ago and have consistently stuck to this one theme, repeating it over and over, right through the debate and continuing with the ads they are running today. This is how it is done.

From the article,
'That's exactly what research shows,' said George Lakoff, a cognitive scientist at the University of California at Berkeley. 'Repeat something over and over and it gets in people's brains.' Republicans, Lakoff argues, have found success through 'framing' issues along lines that fit their worldview and sticking to them. The Democrats aren't nearly as effective."
Most people do not have time to study issues, and, instead, rely on other cues to decide who to vote for. The Republicans have studied this process and manipulate people using these cues, while Democrats continue to believe that just taking positions on issues is enough. This is why Kerry always talks "positions" and Bush always talks "values." The way to reach people is at a deeper level than "issue arguments."

From the Salon article,
His [George Lakoff's] book "Don't Think of an Elephant," with a foreword by Howard Dean, came out on Sept. 15 and quickly made a cameo among Amazon's bestselling books. What's surprising about Lakoff's analysis is how it can be used to make sense of otherwise conflicting ideas. His theory of political preferences, taken on its merits, offers insights into the Zell Miller enigma and might explain the mystery of why people don't vote in their self-interest.

In the reality show called American politics, you don't need to master the issues to take the White House. In fact, Lakoff and many others now argue, a stance on an issue matters less than the candidate's "values," a recognizable moral system. Many Democrats don't vote for their self-interests, and, as Thomas Franks pointed out in his recent book "What's the Matter with Kansas," most poor Kansans don't either.

"People always vote their values," Lakoff said. Democrats and liberals always assume people vote their self-interests, he said, like shoppers with a grocery list. "Polls and focus groups are based on this metaphor of a political campaign as a marketing campaign. That's just wrong. Cognitive science shows us that's not how people work."

How voters' minds work is, like the study of decision making, a source of endless debate. Political scientists assume that most people skip the hard work of immersing themselves in the issues before picking a candidate and look for shortcuts instead. But what are they, and which come first?
We (Progressives, Liberals, Democrats) need to start thinking past the election cycle. Thinking that a candidate or political party is going to somehow magically know what to say to lead all of us out of this mess is not realistic.

What we need to do is restore in the widespread general public underlying Progressive values, and this will bring support from which candidates can draw their strength. This is what the Right has been doing for thirty years. They have been manipulating the public's underlying values, and THEN their candidates can show up and use code-words to tap into that underlying value "language" they have developed.

This is a long-term war we are in against the Right. They way to win our country back from the "conservative movement" is to work to bring people's underlying values and ideals back to Progressive values and THEREBY win elections. To accomplish this we must start forming AND FUNDING an infrastructure of Progressive "advocacy" and communications organizations. These organizations will study how people receive and interpret messages and how to make them "stick" in people's minds. They will craft language to communicate our shared values and ideals and make them available to other Progressive organizations as well as reaching the public through numerous channels. They would work to restore in the widespread general public an understanding of basic values like Democracy, and to reinforce Progressive values of community, sharing, nurturing and tolerance/understanding. (Read the article to see what I write it this way.)

FROM those underlying values will come the votes on specific issues and for specific candidates! Trying to do it from the candidates is backwards.

I'm not going to give away the rest of this article -- go read it. I will, of course, be writing about all of this a lot more.

So do your homework, read the article, and get Lakoff's book!

Earpiece II

Someone else noticed. Bush was Wired in Debate:
"Bush may not have misspoken but there was something very curious about his speaking style: the unnatural way he would be at a loss for words, pause a couple of seconds looking down at his lectern--as if listening--and then looking up, deliver a full sentence as if it had just come to him out of the blue. This occured several times during the 'debate.' He seemed to be getting live help."

Cheer up a little!

Cheer up! Diana Moon's debate coverage (go to 2.10.04 and read down, no permalinks) reminds us that Kerry won decisively, so we should gloat a little. (Though she also points out that Bush is plenty smart, but just emotionally unstable, which is less cheering.)

Hesiod at Counterspin Central went on hiatus right when I finally put him on my everyday list. He has a nice partisan attitude and comes up with lots of interesting stuff. Anyway, he's been up and running for awhile now.

Saturday Night Live

It has occurred to me to be sure to tape Saturday Night Live tonite. I can't wait to see their version of Bush in the debates!

OMG! Get This On The Air!!

Go see this emotional ad, "A Mother's Tears" at Real Voices and then send them a check to help them get it on the air!!!

I cried watching this. THIS is why we are so angry at Bush! Look what he has done to people both here and Iraq! And watch this short video, keeping in mind that Iraq and the people in the video had nothing to do with 9/11!

Kerry fucked up: he trusted Bush!

FYI, here's Debra Saunders' attempt to respin the debate -- the first RNC plant I've seen. Nothing new here, just the same old "flipflop / didn't support the troops" stuff: if Kerry doesn't support Bush now, why did he support him then? (Rimshot). Her big point:
"But when Kerry attacked Bush on Iraq, he unwittingly crafted a grand argument against himself."

It's true that a lot of people do blame Kerry for supporting Bush's fraudulent and disastrous war, but it really doesn't seem that Bush supporters should go there.

I doubt that this is the best that the Republicans can do, so we should be keeping our eyes open. And we should keep reminding people that Bush lost the debate because he's spoiled, whiny, uninformed, and incapable of functioning outside his bubble. And because his showpiece issue, the Iraq War, was promoted with lies and turned out horribly.

UPDATE: The Chronicle also has its version of the "Debates don't really matter" spin:
"But Republicans and some independent pollsters, many of whom conceded that Kerry had a stronger night than Bush, expressed doubt that the debate would significantly erode Bush's advantage in the polls. They noted that initial assessments of debates are often short-lived. In 2000, for example, two of the three polls conducted immediately after the first Gore-Bush debate showed Gore the victor, though narrowly, over Bush. Within a week, the conventional wisdom was that Gore's sighing and hyper-aggressiveness had hurt his standing."

In other words, the Republicans are relying on the ability of their media plants to make people forget what they saw with their own eyes. That worked last time -- we can't let it happen again.

Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says the same things: "it won't wear well" and "Kerry contradicts himself".

Writing II

As long as we're doing tributes to good writing, try Somerby:

BUZZ, SPIN AND NARRATIVE: It will take a while for spin to form. But we did emit dark chuckles when Aaron Brown asked the Boston Globe’s Nina Easton about last night’s just-concluded debate. The great gods Buzz and Spin weren’t yet active. So Easton bowed low to her cohort’s third great god—Narrative:
EASTON (9/30/00): I think very much tonight you saw—you saw clearly two different men. You saw a thinker and a believer.

You saw in John Kerry—if you want, nuance and complexity, this was your guy. If you. if you want boldness, clarity and so forth, George Bush was your guy. And I do agree with Terry [Neal]. I think it was more of a draw than the initial polls we're seeing.

If you want nuance, your guy was Kerry. If you want clarity, your guy was Bush. And if you want Narrative, just call for Nina Easton! Would anyone have described the debate this way except in fealty to this great god? Brilliantly mouthing these familiar old spins, Easton reminded us how her tribe works. In time, their great god Buzz will send new Spin to earth. But while they wait for Spin to appear, some pundits bow low to Narrative.

The tall dude

The tall dude.



Matt Stoller, writing about Washington, DC at The Blogging of the President: 2004:
"But the most striking thing, to date, is the segregation. This is a black city living next to a white city, and the two interact only in certain stylized ways. The white city fears the black city, the black city resents the white city, serves it, fears it, and occassionally, mugs it. I live in Adams Morgan, which is near a lot of bars and yuppies. Nearly every retail outlet or Starbucks I enter is staffed entirely by blacks, and the customer base is mostly white. It's amazing, not good, not bad, like a couple that has resolved to not get divorced while making no plans to stay together, and above, angrily sleeping in the same bed, night after night. "

Don't let anyone forget "President Whiny"

The post-debate spin is on the way. Immediately after the debates, everyone but Bush's near-psychotic core constituency knew that Kerry had crushed Bush. (When Karl Rove says that the debate won't change anyone's mind, you know that his guy lost really bad.) But memories fade quickly, and the Republican plants in the media will soon be talking about a completely different debate which is more to their liking.

Busybusybusy's summary of David Brooks, a couple of months ago:

"If you were impressed by Kerry's convention speech then trust me, I re-read the transcript and it's really not nearly as good as it sounded when you heard it with your own ears."

That's what they're going to try to do. In 2000, people who had actually watched the Bush-Gore debates mostly thought that Gore had won. But the mighty Wurlitzer went into action, and within a few days it came to be believed that Bush had won. Hopefully Democrats will be smarter and tougher this time around.

David Brock's Media Matters has compared what various Republican tools said before and after the debates. Before the debates, they said that the debates were very important, and that Kerry was really going to have to come through, or else he was dead meat. After the debates, the same people said that debates are really no big deal. (Digby is also tracking the post-debate spin, and Cursor's Derelection 2000 page is a great source.)

The Bush team's immediate response to the debates was mostly a rehash of old stuff, especially the old flipflop/waffle smear. That's a good sign: it means that they haven't been able to come up with anything new. But the RNC vermin are resourceful and diligent, and we should be keeping our eyes open for whatever new BS they manage to cook up. In the meantime, we should just keep asking "What the hell's going on in Iraq?". "Whatever happened to Osama anyway?", "What was Dubya doing when he was supposed to be in the Alabama Guard?", and so on all the way through the Bush Top Ten Fuckup List.

But we should not let them forget this debate, when President Whiny made his grand entry. Allow me to quote myself from this morning:

Bush feels sorry for himself. "It's mean to talk about our allies like that". "I do too know the difference between Saddam and Osama". "It's hard work...."

Where did the John Wayne Leader of the Free World go to? He was fluffing his sound bites. You have to nail them -- otherwise they sound as stupid as they really are. He was hesitating for as much as a second, with that panicked President Bunnypants look on his face. During large parts of the debate, he was backpedaling, treading water, or running out the clock.

Rove says that it was one of Bush's best debates, but that it didn't change any minds. Go figure -- that must be one of the mysteries of faith-based spin.

Rove knows that Bush lost.

Reuters relays Bush spin

Mehlman's spin fails: his first three call-ins were pro-Kerry

Bush spin on debates (from Racicot)

(Note that "What They're Saying: Debate One, Volume One" is missing, as is "What They're Saying: Debate One, Volume Two": the early reviews were pretty uniformly anti-Bush. If anyone can find a cache, send it in.

Racicot: "Truth and optimism are not competing ideals". Sounds like denial to me. Bush always chooses optimism over truth.)

Bush on national security: Be very afraid

In Case You Missed It


Oil, California, Iraq :: OIL

YURICA REPORT: Fraud Traced to the White House: How California's energy scam was inextricably linked to a war for oil scheme.

Investigate Lehrer!!!

Michael Bérubé:
The liberal media paid attention when Bush’s hometown paper delivered a long, detailed endorsement of Kerry, but were strangely, suspiciously silent about the color of Kerry’s face! I demand an investigation!! Send those left-wing Sun-Times editors to Gitmo!!

It’s very sad and a little bit scary, but this really is what the wingnuts are reduced to. They’ve lined up behind the most incompetent U.S. President since Garfield lapsed into that coma, they’ve spent four years comparing him to Churchill, Henry V, and Jesus Christ, and now they’re demanding that media coverage of the 2004 election concentrate on the challenger’s appearance-- or else they’ll take down Jim Lehrer just like they did Dan Rather!

The Party Taking Over CIA

Well, lots of Senate Democrats voted for Porter Goss to be head of the CIA, and guess what? No, he's not turning it into an arm of The Party, is he? No! They wouldn't do THAT! Would they??!!



Fox Forges Picture

Boing Boing: Did Fox News Photoshop a picture to make President Bush look taller?

Bush's Hair

Counterspin Central: LIVE AND LET DYE.

Even Frank Luntz.calls it for Kerry!

Buried inside bloomberg.com:

Frank Luntz is the eminent Republican wordsmith (contract with America) and consumate pollster and spinster.

Last Few Days to Register!

There are only a few days left to get registered to vote. And, if think you already are registered, but you live in a state with a Republican Secretary of State, it might be a good idea to be sure you are STILL registered!

America's Moral Choice

From another reader:
Kerry was good in his debate against Bush, but not good enough. Here he is debating the worst president in the history of the United States, this should be a piece of cake for him. But first and foremost, Kerry didn't bring up the fact that US troops have been torturing enemy prisoners under Bush’s watch, and Bush and his administration have taken none of the responsibility for this.

Rumsfield and the military hid this fact for around six months, making them accomplices to the acts of torture by not acting responsibly and putting a stop to it. Rumsfield also ordered secret prisoners in Iraq, another blatant attempt at hiding the torture of Iraqi prisoners, and an obvious indication that he condoned the practice of torture from the beginning. The fact that Bush has not fired the man who should have been responsible for not allowing the torture to happen and should have put a stop to it, directly implicates his own approval and complicity in these acts of torture.

Because of the Bush administration's obvious stance on the torture of Iraqi and other prisoners of Islamic faith, they have lost the moral and ethical principals of this war in the eyes of the rest of the world. It is up the the people of the United states to choose a new leader and show the world that we are not tyrants and torturers, and put an immediate stop to all forms of torture to all of the prisoners of the United States. Only in this we can we even attempt to claim any moral ground for being the defenders of liberty, democracy, and freedom for all.

Instead of attacking Bush more affectively, Kerry is forced to defend himself against Bushes nursery rhyme rhetoric, and name calling such as "flip flop candidate". Accusing Kerry incorrectly of claiming that the war in Iraq was "the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time", repeatedly like some catchy phrase that even Bush at one point had trouble saying correctly. Forcing Kerry to repeatedly state that he felt it was the right war against a tyrant that needed to be dealt with, but was prosecuted extremely poorly, without the proper planning, military strength, international support, and against the advice of Bush's own military advisors. And that Bush did not prosecute the war as he swore he would do. Apparently Bush thinks so little of the American voter's intelligence that he thinks we will be convinced that he is right by his catchy little phrase, and overlook the facts of his administrations culpable incompetence, and complete denial of the true and dire state of affairs.

I believe it is Kerry's moral duty to the people of the United states to bring up the issue of this administrations culpability and involvement in the torture of enemy prisoners in Guantonimo Bay, Afghanistan, and its spread to Iraq, as an issue of national defense. Clearly the resistance fighting in Iraq intensified significantly after the news of the torture of Iraqi prisoners became public world wide. The fact that Americans have been torturing Iraqi prisoners, and the Bush administration officials did not respond promptly to stop this torture while trying to bury it, implicates this administration in these acts against humanity, and the whole world knows it. This one issue alone has severely increased the risks that our troops must now face in the defense of our country abroad. Because of our recent history of torture, we no longer represent the defenders of freedom, liberty and the American way. We now represent tyranny and oppression as we now occupy a foreign country. These kinds of actions are generally associated with fascist governments, not a democracy that upholds the rights of individuals.

Even if no clear evidence is ever found that will implicate this administration of direct involvement in the torture of the Iraqi prisoners, the Bush administration will forever be tainted by its slow response to the torture, and that it occurred under their watch. Therefore this administration must at all costs be removed from power if America is to ever again regain its former dignity with respect to the rest of the world. Kerry should implore the American people to reject this form of tyranny by voting against Bush and his administration, and place their vote for a candidate who will do everything in his power to put a stop to all forms of torture perpetrated by Americans against enemy prisoners, as prescribed by the Geneva Convention that we have sworn to uphold. We the people of the United States must show the world that we do not stand for the torture of innocent and unconvicted prisoners, and allow these prisoners to face their accusers.

Since none of these prisoners have even been allowed a hearing, there is no way to even determine exactly how many of them are actually innocent. The longer we wait to give these prisoners any type of hearing to try and determine their guilt as enemy combatants, the less accurate the evidence against them will become, allowing some guilty prisoners to potentially go free. These prisoners are human being just as we are and therefore deserve the basic human right to face there accusers and not be tortured, just the same as we do. By taking away these inherent human right from our enemies, we have inadvertently taken away those rights from our own soldiers when they are captured by the enemy.

Al Gore was absolutely correct in his responce to the tortures in Iraq, “How dare they”! I would suggest that Kerry watch that speech again, and get mad mad as hell.

"They are trying to to convince us to lose faith in John Kerry"

From a reader:
I approached the debate tonight with a lot of anxiety because I knew that the media would be merciless if Kerry made any mistake and would forgive Bush anything.

John Kerry could not have done a better job. No matter how it gets spun by the Bush people or the media, Kerry had the best performance I have seen in a debate, and I have been watching since Kennedy Nixon.

There have been a number of times in the campaign when the media story was, "Everything depends on Kerry not fucking this one up" from Iowa to the choice of VP to the acceptance speech. In each case he did the right thing, hit it out of the park and guess what, the next day the story was something different.

We have to remember that the Republican lies are not just for their base and the undecided, they are also trying to undermine our faith in John Kerry.

That is what is behind the media narratives about losing the women's votes, the security moms, the "likely voters" who happen to be 10 points more Republican than any turnout has ever shown. That is why all the NY Times stories are process stories about how effective the Bush campaign is and how much Kerry is struggling. When the Dems out register Republicans 10 to one, it gets buried in the middle of a story about how there seems to be a lot of new voters. Try to find the last positive news article about Kerry in the NY Times, the ultimate so called liberal media.

It is all lies, They are trying to to convince us to lose faith in John Kerry. Well John Kerry may lose as will the rest of the country and the planet but he has my trust and faith.

After the debate, I went to the nearest computer and donated money. Then I came home to write this.

"This is the Road to the Draft"

Steve Gilliard's News Blog : You're in the Army now:
The Army needs about 75K new enlistees a year, a number they usually get. The real issue is that they may not make their numbers even then. If the number of non-hs grads drops below 80 percent, then a draft may really be around the corner.

Yes, my opinion is evolving on this because of one simple fact, the pool of soldiers isn't growing while the demands for US troops is. 40 percent of the troops in Iraq are Guardsmen and reservists and once they get out, they aren't going back. The Guard and Reserve are having even more problems getting and retaining troops, especially Army vets which provide the backbone of Guard units. Once they don't enlist, you have a problem.

Something has to give and Bush's assurences on the draft are as credible as anything else he says.
Gonna vote THIS TIME?

President Whiny

Bush feels sorry for himself. "It's mean to talk about our allies like that". "I do too know the difference between Saddam and Osama". "It's hard work...."

Where did the John Wayne Leader of the Free World go to? He was fluffing his sound bites. You have to nail them -- otherwise they sound as stupid as they really are. He was hesitating for as much as a second, with that panicked President Bunnypants look on his face. During large parts of the debate, he was backpedaling, treading water, or running out the clock.

Rove says that it was Bush's best debate, but that it didn't change any minds. Go figure -- that must be one of the mysteries of faith-based spin. Rove knows that Bush lost.

Faces of Frustration

Go see the new video, Faces of Frustration. Go see this, e-mail the address to friends. This video says it all! Remember the way hearing LATER about Al Gore's "sighs" changed people's perceptions of that debate? Watch this video, spread it around...

Take Them Out

This is what your country is doing in Fallujah.