troll bait

Today I'll start with a quote from Mighty Reason Man

..why in God's name am I seeing interview clips that involve your spokespeople beginning sentences by stuttering, looking nonplussed, and saying things like "I believe" and "That's not entirely correct"?

I don't know, maybe you're hiring your favorite nieces or the neighbor children to be your spokespeople, but whatever it is, it ain't gonna cut it my friends. Anyone who goes in front of a camera with the imprimatur of the campaign and is blindsided by quotes, allegations, or outright lies that I have already heard needs to be fired immediately. There's a lot of dirt gonna be thrown your way in the next few months, and the time to pattycake with this bullshit is over.

...is it ever thus? That the Repubs claim the terrain of family values and morally righteous living, and then come out swinging, using every rhetorical trick as a club. They have managed to make liberals ashamed of liberal values. Ashamed of advocating health insurance for all, of unions, of community support services for needy families, and on and on.

I heard David Brooks on the radio the other day and he was the model of civility. His certitude seems to come from his faith in the decency of the people he is representing, those new suburbanites seeking 'safe streets and good schools', those soccer moms in SUV's who see Bush as the man with the swift sword against 'terror'.

I grew up in a seed bed of those new suburbanites, in the south side of chicago. In high school I had to do a project in the community and I thought, hey, white flight, that's happening only a mile or two south! So my little band of mates trooped down to those blocks of broken American apartheid and it was amazing... It took six months for all the whites on a block to sell out, once a single black family moved in. The real estate agents whipped the fear up to a frenzy. One neighborhood newspaper reported real estage agents hiring a black family on welfare and dressing them up in 'native garb' (feathers!) to walk slowly around the block, so the homeowners would panic sell. Dirty american secret: the racism at the heart of white flight is deeply implicated in the dominance of the republican party today.

One problem with conservatives is that they claim for their own values which don't belong to them. Safe streets, strong families and good schools have been undermined by their anti-social policies. Now the chickens are really coming home to roost! The white middle class is finally learning that it's not welcome at the table of their betters. The fantasies of the 'ownership society' are crumbling under the weight of debt, soaring costs not of expendables like dvd players but essentials like housing, college, health care, and worse of all, most terrible -- the collapsing job market. This is an evil situation.

I like to list what makes me hopeful, since it is easy to despair. I am hopeful because one of the late breaks in this presidential race is youth for Kerry. A large margin. The economic & political (not social) conservatism of youth has appalled me. Perhaps these gloomy prospects are opening them up to a change.

One more thing. Perhaps it is the Chicagoan in me, though I've lived in California for a long time. I believe that a tough fight is a good thing. You've got to get dirty. You've got to give it all you've got. The wimpy Democrats have had a roll-over mentality. The apologies need to get tossed, to be replaced by challenges, issued one after another. In domestic policy the Repubs have been a party with one primary value: Americans treat Americans like sh*t. These people should never, ever be allowed to walk away from the table with the chips that represent strong values. Furthermore: they need to be shamed. People talk about the issues of economic policy as if it were a parlor argument but in fact increasing social inequality, declining health care coverage & pension benefits -- these should be shoved in their faces as causes of shame. These policies are anti-social. That means they are anti-community & anti-family (duh!).

Is it any wonder that there is so much sociopathic rhetoric (& behavior) on the right? They are defending policies that hurt people -- even their own family members. There are a lot of white men who are living from paycheck to paycheck who identify with the Repubs. What to say about that? One way is to point out that they are being disloyal to the welfare of their own families and communities. The mantra: health insurance, pensions, social security. The party that guts the safety net is shafting your kids. The nasty way to argue this is that they've joined the party of 'Kiss the ass of the Ruling class'. I haven't used this line yet. I haven't had to, but I'm keeping it in my pocket. Better not to go there, but best of all, be prepared.

This Week's Late Friday Announcement

When the Bush Administration is up to something they don't want a lot of people to know about, they announce it late on a Friday. This week's late Friday announcement: U.S. to Pull 70,000 Troops from Europe, Asia. Guess where they'll be going.

This is the last resort before a draft is absolutely necessary.

A more sensitive gaffe

OK. I've been listening to Randi Rhodes and reading just about everybody, all defending Kerry's "more sensitive war on terror" gaffe.

Sorry, but that's what it is. No matter how many occurences of the word "sensitive" bloggers can google up in quotes of Republicans, I haven't seen one yet that is as flatly stupid as Kerry's "more sensitive war on terror."

Do these people even proofread Kerry's speeches before he gives them?

Among the target audience of Cheney's attack, who is going to know or care about the rest of the paragraph? Who is going to know or care about bloggers' explications and duelling quotes? Even Randi sounds lame on this subject.

This kind of thing wouldn't happen if Kerry were even a little bit mean and angry. Mean and angry people don't say frigging moronic things like a "more sensitive war on terror!"

Four years ago, the right-wingers, abetted by their media, lied about Al Gore. They had to actually make stuff up to ridicule Gore. Kerry and his staff seem to be making it a good bit easier for the bastards this time around. Jeeesh.

Oh, It's THAT Day!

I didn't realize what day it was, until I read this.

Kos: "Who is more decisive in an emergency?"

I don't usually link to Kos (or Atrios) because I assume everyone has already seen it. But go read this, then send it to family and friends around the country, and ask them to do the same. This needs to be passed around and ultimately reach people who listen to Limbaugh...: Daily Kos || Bush or Kerry: Who is more decisive in an emergency?

For Real? Iran Involved in the Fighting

From a site called This Is Rumor Control, here's rumor that Iran is involved in fighting US troops. This would not be a real surprise, since we've been threatening them since the "Axis of Evil" speech, and since keeping us pinned down in Iraq prevents us from being able to invade Iran. Take a look at Intelligence Officials: Iran Battling U.S. In Iraq

Thanks to Matt at BOP News for sending me this link.

House Party Correction

In my "Speaker Pelosi" post below I said that the house parties in Congressional Districts are on the 19th. They are on the 29th, not the 19th. Host a house party in your Congressional District and help us get a Democratic Congress!

And help me meet my goal of 50 people and $1000 to help elect a Democratic Congress by clicking on this banner:


Jimmy reviews the Republicans' typically repressive antics in NYC. As an ex-New Yorker who lived next to the park for many years, I promise you the argument against using it for the demonstration is pure bullshit.

The Republicans seem to be begging for violence. They are relying, in their brazen way, on the media's certain and exclusive focus on the freakiest elements in the crowds. They're probably safe in that reliance. But it's a dangerous bet -- if even a few of Breslin's "old women with peace signs" do get clobbered on camera, the reaction could make Daley's Chicago '68 thuggery look like a minor political error. Or maybe not. We've become a much more violent country, comforted by repression. And the ability of the right-wing dominated media to warp reality beyond all recognition can never be underestimated.

Breslin concludes:
A straight-line march past Madison Square Garden and on to Central Park, where people can congratulate themselves and smile and sing, would be a lovely afternoon, made so meaningful by the size of a crowd whose orderliness, and love, would make the Republicans coming in, these mean whites from low-IQ states, look ill.
It takes a lot for me to miss New York, but "these mean whites from low-IQ states" made me smile, laugh, and recall the effortless arrogance of life at the center of the universe. For the first time in years, I wish I could be there.


Speaker Pelosi

Imagine a Democratic Congress!

On the left you see a new banner that looks like this:

Clicking this banner takes you to my web page for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The DCCC is
"the official national Democratic campaign committee charged with recruiting, assisting, funding, and electing Democrats to the U. S. House of Representatives. We provide services ranging from designing and helping execute field operations, to polling, creating radio and television commercials, fundraising, communications, and management consulting."
If we're going to have a Democratic, the DCCC needs help so they can get resources to the candidates that need it most, and where it will do the most good, in the last weeks before the election.

So please ckick this banner and go give a bit so they can help elect a Democratic CONGRESS! I am hoping to get 50 people to donate a total of $1000 to help elect a DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS!

And think about giving a house party on the 29th. They are hoping to arrange for one house party in each Congressional district. To sign up to host a house party, or just for more information, click here.

And go check out the DCCC blog.

Statement From Kerry Campaign

From the Kerry Campaign:
Statement from Ten Senior Military Officials in Response to Vice President Cheney’s Latest Round of Personal Attacks

Ten senior military officials released the following statement today in response to the Vice President’s attacks on John Kerry today:

“We are deeply disappointed by the tone and tenor of President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s personal attacks on John Kerry, a decorated combat veteran who served his country with courage and honor. John Kerry is talking about his plan to address the most pressing issues facing our nation – jobs, the economy, health care, the war on terror, the war in Iraq. George Bush and Dick Cheney have chosen take their campaign to the gutter. We call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to stop the irresponsible personal attacks and tell us where they want to take the country. Tell us how they plan to win the peace in Iraq. Tell us how they plan to get us back on track with the war on terror. Tell us where they plan to lead the country. The American people and our troops deserve better.”

Signed by:

Admiral William J. Crowe (United States Navy, Retired)

Admiral Stansfield Turner (United States Navy, Retired)

General Wesley K. Clark (United States Army, Retired)

General Merrill “Tony” A. McPeak (United States Air Force, Retired)

General Joseph Hoar (United States Marine Corps, Retired)

General Johnnie E. Wilson (United States Army, Retired)

Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (United States Navy, Retired)

Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy (United States Army, Retired)

Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick (United States Army, Retired)

Lieutenant General Edward D. Baca

MoveOn PAC: "Real People" swing voter ads

I guess this is understandable, people are more motivated by a negative than a positive, but it is striking to me that of the dozen or so ads I clicked on and listened to, none of the people interviewed said anything about how they'd been inspired or convinced by John Kerry - the ads were all about how dissatisfied and betrayed and otherwise pissed off these folk are at George Bush (and the Republican Party, to a lesser extent).

... but what are these folks going to be saying/thinking in four years? I just don't see how ABBA is a formula for anything more than a one-term Kerry presidency... and then a takeover by a more "moderate" Republican whose behavior will (hopefully) be less repulsive than Dubya's.

Ted Rall: Democracy is a wonderful thing.

People Who Don't Get It

Bush is nominating a political hack to head the CIA, bringing the agency under Party control so it can be used to smear Democrats and solidify power. And the Democrats' response? Democrats Don't Plan to Block Confirmation of C.I.A. Nominee:
"The Democrats said that if they opposed the Goss nomination they expected that the White House would cast them as obstructionists who were delaying prosecution of the war on terror."
I refer to this syndrome as being afraid that Rush Limbaugh is going to say bad things about them.
"They said they had learned that lesson the hard way. In 2002, the Democrats opposed a proposal to eliminate some protections for employees of the Department of Homeland Security. Republicans took that as an opening to portray certain Democrats as opposed to protecting the nation."
Oh, I see. THAT was why the Republicans smeared them.

And if they had only voted with Bush, the Republicans WOULDN'T have smeared them?

They just don't get it. They think the way to fight The Party's takeover of the country and destruction of our democracy and constitution is to capitulate, let them have their way, and maybe they'll just go away and leave them alone.

Basic Marketing

Josh a Talking Points Memo writes: "I just saw a preview of a study that finds the Swift Boat ads quite effective among independents in raising doubts about John Kerry's war record."

I was wondering what people were thinking, when they said that McCain saying this ad is "dishonorable," etc. would neutralize the effect of this. That is WAY too "inside baseball." These ads are running in swing states, and they are very effective. Anyone who might change their mind in this election is not someone who even knows or cares who John McCain is!

Update - Let me try to explain it this way. If Pepsi starts running ads that say Coca Cola is made from juices drained from corpses, how much good do you think it would do to counter that by giving the press a statement from the Vice President of the Tropicana Orange Juice company saying that what Pepsi is doing is dishonorable? Do you think Coke sales will rebound? (Sorry for the graphic image, but it seems to me it is a rough equivalent for the smear they are running.)

Why doesn't the Kerry campaign have something ready to counter smears? They should have had something ready in the smear-countering department two years ago, as the necessary first step in launching a campaign against any Republican. This stuff works - that's why they do it! And they do it, over and over and over. At some point one would think that the Democratic leadership would figure out that this is what they do and hire the psychologists and linguists and marketing specialists to come up with ways to effectively counter smears like this.


Why Not 'Clyde'?

Should'a been named 'Clyde' instead of 'Charlie'.

Think about it.


Richard once told me that the way to get really rich in the next few years is to buy puts, and when they expire buy more, and keep this up because one day the chickens are going to come home to roost, and the value of the puts you currently hold will go to the moon. I mentioned that there are also bear funds...

Well, there are a lot of signs that it may be the right time for that strategy. The question is, will it wait for the election or not? But it's coming.

From the Dept. Of Transparent Political Ploys....

...comes the latest from the FDA commissioner. The The Washington Post is reporting that the FDA commissioner is concerned about terrorists tampering with prescription drugs. And guess where there they seem to be most concerned that the terrorists would be able to make such a hit? Drugs from CANADA, of course.

"Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford said possible action by terrorists was the most serious of his concerns about the increasing efforts of states and cities to import drugs from Canada to save money..."

Good grief.

George Bush: ""the really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway."

That's a direct quote, according to AP:

Bush also said high taxes on the rich are a failed strategy because "the really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway."

*this* is the logic our President operates under? We should keep taxes low, because we can't prevent our legislators from writing loopholes into the tax laws?!?

I'm sure that "the really rich" would be no less eager to dodge lower taxes.

Bush campaign holds rally in Va.; Dems sense weakness

Oh, Jesus, don't tell my boss

In case you ever are deluded enough to think that things can't get worse, just remember this

Scientists in the United States have found a way of turning lazy monkeys into workaholics using gene therapy.

Usually monkeys work hard only when they know a reward is coming, but the animals given this treatment did their best all the time.


[The research leader] believes treatments based on this concept could one day benefit people with conditions like depression, where motivation has largely disappeared from their lives.

Mark Morford

I love this stuff:

Hell, it's getting so you can't turn a corner or have a nuanced, humane thought without confronting another hunk of undeniable proof that what these media documents say is true: The Bush administration is quite possibly the most economically destructive, environmentally devastating, ethically corrupt, internationally loathed, deliberately tyrannical, worst-dressed administration in American history.

What, too harsh? Hardly.

When the professors and other intellectuals and the artists and the social workers and the mystics and the truly spiritual among us are appalled and mournful, and the homophobes and the rednecks and the religious zealots are cheering and shooting their guns in the sky, this is how you know.

When America has become a global punch line, a petulant and screeching child in an oversize Texas cowboy hat throwing oily little tantrums on a WMD whim, and the global community can only sit there, stunned and enraged, as every ally withdraws all offers of support and overtures of concern for our well-being, this is how you know.

Destroying Kerry's Legitimacy - And OURS!

This just came in the e-mail, from Heritage Foundation's TownHall. Heritage Foundation is the hub of the Republican Party's network of organizations that spread their ideology to the public.

Dear Fellow Conservative,

Time is short, so I'll get straight to the point: on my desk at this very moment is a book with the potential, on its own, to stop John Kerry from becoming President of the United States.

My name is Tom Winter, editor-in-chief of HUMAN EVENTS. As you probably know, John Kerry rose to fame as a Vietnam War protester. But in recent years he has flipped that perception, remaking himself as a proud Vietnam veteran and war hero.

In UNFIT FOR COMMAND, John O'Neill (who succeeded Kerry as commander of Swift Boat PCF 94 in Vietnam) and co-author Jerry Corsi reveal that Kerry's "war hero" image is one of the most elaborate frauds ever to be foisted on the American public. They also show why Kerry's real record demonstrates that he is grossly unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.

Based on detailed interviews with Swift Boat veterans who served in Vietnam with John Kerry, UNFIT FOR COMMAND -- [. . .] -- gives you news-breaking revelations such as:

  • The facts about all of Kerry's Purple Hearts, none of which were awarded for serious injuries

  • How two of John Kerry's three Purple Hearts resulted from self-inflicted wounds – one of them so small it was treated with a standard bandaid

  • Proof that Kerry lied about his "rescue" of a Swift Boat crewman -- the act for which he received a Bronze Star -- which did not, as he falsely claimed, take place under fire

  • How Kerry spent much of his time in Vietnam filming himself in scenarios carefully designed to look dangerous

  • How Kerry turned the tragic death of a father and a small child in a Vietnamese fishing boat into an act of "heroism" by filing a false report

  • The gunner's mate who sat behind and above Kerry for most of his Vietnam stay: why he came to regard Kerry as incompetent and dishonest

  • Why Swift Boat personnel, fed-up with his reckless behavior, asked Kerry to go home after he had served just four months in Vietnam

  • How John Kerry entered an abandoned Vietnamese village and slaughtered the domestic animals owned by the civilians and burned down their homes with his Zippo lighter
But that's just for starters. UNFIT FOR COMMAND also reveals Kerry's notorious un-American activities as spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- and much more that establishes beyond all doubt that Kerry is truly unfit to be President, including:
  • War hero? Yes -- to the Communists! Why Kerry's photo was found in the "Heroes of the Vietnamese Resistance" section of a war museum in Communist Vietnam

  • Kerry's accusations of war crimes by Americans in Vietnam: how they relied on veteran impersonators who concocted incidents that were exaggerations or pure fabrications

  • Kerry's says he confronted superiors with objections to military policies that he felt were inappropriate. Here’s proof that these conversations never took place

  • How as a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, John Kerry attended a meeting where plans were discussed to assassinate prominent United States Senators who supported the war

  • How Kerry met secretly with Communist delegates at the Paris Peace Conference during the Vietnam War, and why some believe he violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and federal law
UNFIT FOR COMMAND will be a crucial weapon in the battle to prevent a Kerry victory in November. It will go on sale in bookstores next month.

[. . .] [editing out sales stuff, including:]
  • The latest Democrat gambit to win Florida in the 2004 election: HUMAN EVENTS reports that liberal Sunshine State judges are trying to give the right to vote to as many as 620,000 convicted felons. (We can only conclude Democrats consider felons part of their core constituency!)

  • [. . .] Who made it virtually impossible for the FBI to check the backgrounds of Middle Eastern men in U.S. flight schools before 9/11? LIBERALS! The FBI was hamstrung by fear of a politically correct backlash from civil liberties absolutists, ethnic lobbyists and, of course, liberal editorialists and TV newscasters.
[. . .] When patriotic Americans learn the facts in UNFIT FOR COMMAND, they will return this self-serving liar to private life this November. Nothing less than our survival as a nation could hang in the balance.

Sincerely,Thomas S. Winter
President and Editor in Chief
Get the picture? They are starting a full-court press, starting where they left off on Clinton. The same crowd. The same tactics. They are going after Kerry's legitimacy to be President, and going after it hard. And by extension, they are going after our legitimacy to call ourselves Americans! Every one of us! You think it's just Kerry they feel this way about?

I would not be surprised if this kind of stuff incites people to violence. If you believed this kind of stuff, what would you be willing to do to keep Kerry from taking or keeping office? Remember the plane crashing into the White House, not to mention the OKC bombing, at the height of the same kind of stuff being blasted out from the Right's lie factory?

And this is August. As the election draws near this kind of talk has to lead to much more serious opposition to Kerry from people who buy into this crap. I mean, they're accusing Kerry of being a Communist agent who plotted to "assassinate prominent United States Senators"! This isn't a joke. There are people who believe this stuff. That's why they do it -- because it works!

Then what comes if he wins -- and is allowed to take office? I think this gives you an idea of the nature and intensity of attacks to be expecting from this crowd -- from now on.

Will we - and the elected Democrats - be there to help Kerry, or will he be on his own, like Clinton was?

Well hello!

I am Camille Roy, & quite honored to be here. Like any blogger I'm obsessed. In this universe I'm mostly concerned with politics & the economy (in other universes I write software and fiction). I'm passionate about getting rid of George Bush in November for many reasons, the two most pressing being (1) wages in my field have dropped almost a third since he became president. The numbers of jobs available has declined by a larger margin. Way to go, not. (2) Eer-raq war. Note: not EYE-RACK war. Please. My first language was arabic (iraqi!) (though I don't remember it!) but I certainly remember the country and I never thought Dubya was capable of creating anything other than a horrible mess.

Did you know something like 18,000 Americans die every year due to lack of health insurance? How come that doesn't rate as a threat to our security?


Doctors To Attempt Risky Surgical Separation Of Politicians.

Hee'll Be Bock

Think it with a strong Arnold accent, "Hee'll be bock." I suspect we'll hear from John (Zizka) again. Once you start you can't stop, and he has a lot to say.

Yow! Republicans

Republicans... Go see for yourself. James Hart for Congress Committee - Preserving Intellectual Capacity.

How come there's so many Republicans out there doing things that cause me to post with words like "Jeeze!" and "Yow!" ?

And how come the public buys into their stuff?
(Thanks to Daily Kos for the link.)


Florida harbors terrorist!

Eli's got a scary catch.

[F]ormer Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, ... currently ensconced in (where else?) Miami:
[...] "I am working to get rid of Chavez. We will be able to get rid of him through violent means. They are the only means we have."

What ever happened to the Logan Act? And doesn't Bush tell us that conspiracy ("We will...") to violently overthrow a democratically elected government is terrorism?

So isn't the Bush administration now abetting international terrorism? Seriously.

So long for now

I need to take a break. Blogging has become less rewarding as it has become more obsessive, and I've accumulated a number of deficits in other areas of my life over the last year or two. I probably won't disappear entirely, but I need to establish a bit of separation between myself and the internet.

Coincidentally, STF will likely be getting a new member pretty soon: Camille Roy, whose comments I've admired on Brad DeLong's site. Camille is in no sense my replacement, of course, and I originally looked forward to working with her. I will certainly check in to read her stuff (as well as that of the established guys).

I've quit twice before and I've always come back, but you never can tell.

Until then....

Mr. Feely-touchy reaches out to you and me

Apparently Terry Nichols, the Oklahoma City bomber, is prepping for a new career as an inspirational speaker:

Speaking publicly for the first time, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols on Monday asked survivors and families of victims for forgiveness and offered to correspond with them if they felt it would help them cope with the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people.

The slight, bespectacled Nichols made his comments at his sentencing to life in prison on a state conviction of 161 charges of first-degree murder, as well as charges of conspiracy and arson.

"My heart truly goes out to all the victims, survivors and anyone who has been affected by the Oklahoma City bombing," he said. "Words cannot adequately express the sorrow I have had over the years for the grief that so many have endured and continue to suffer. I am truly sorry for what occurred."

Nichols read calmly from a prepared statement as he sat in the witness stand, his ankles and wrists shackled, the word "INMATE" stamped in large black letters on the back of his blue-gray prison suit. He asked for forgiveness and said he had found "a real and personal relationship with God through … Jesus Christ."

"I do pray that for many, that this day will be the beginning of their long-awaited healing process," said Nichols, 49. "And I pray that all who hold any hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness toward me, that they will find in their hearts to forgive me, as others have done, for this is the first stage toward true healing."

And of course, those of us who refuse to forgive him will be damned to everlasting hellfire, and he will look down on us pityingly as he sits at Jesus' right hand.

Digby! Digby! Digby!

I've been thinking about how to word it, that the Republican smear on Kerry is a smear on the military. But Digby (of course) says it far better than I would have, so I'll just point to what he says: Hullabaloo:
"What these people are saying is that the US Navy awarded some of its highest medals for bravery to a coward. The many officers who signed those glowing fitness reports and awarded those citations are either liars or they are incompetent. The word of his shipmates, even the man whose life he saved, are worth nothing. You can't believe military documentary evidence. It was all bullshit, every last piece of it.

And because of this it can now be said that all medals awarded for bravery are suspect. A superior military record is no longer a recommendation. Who can ever believe the government on this issue, now? If they were willing to reward the undeserving Kerry, for reasons about which we can only speculate, then obviously the entire system for awarding valor in combat is corrupt."
Yep. The Republicans are saying that every single medal awarded to every single veteran is suspect -- just to get a smear in on Kerry.

And, of course, by saying Kerry committed "atrocities" they're spitting on the Vietnam Vets, calling them "baby killers."

The Swift Boat Liars

The Swiftboat Vet smears stink of desperation. Some Vietnam vets have hated Kerry so much and for so long because of his antiwar activities (as well as the fake POW issue) that they think that everyone will agree with them about this. Right today they're pushing the wonkish, trivial "Christmas in Cambodia" thing, which they think is an absolute killer. I think that they're pretty sure to overreach and make fools of themselves, though of course the tedious debunking work still has to be done.

9 of the 10 living vets who served on Kerry's boats support him. His opponents include many of his fellow officers and his commanding officers, plus a large number of other Vietnam vets who never even saw Kerry. (One of the leaders of the group, O'Neill, wasn't even in Vietnam at the same time as Kerry.) The testimony posted on the
Swiftvets site is almost entirely about Kerry's antiwar activities (which are misrepresented), rather than about Kerry's time in Vietnam.

One anti-Kerry vet, his former commanding officer George Elliott, has changed his story several times and obviously has someone working him -- his last statement was released through the group rather than personally. It would be well worth someone's time to re-interview a lot of the anti-Kerry vets, because some of the pro-Kerry vets have testified to attempts to misrepresent their statements.

The financing and organization of the group follows the standard average Republican surrogate pattern, with a Republican PR rep and big money coming from people close to Bush and Rove. Of the two authors of the book, one (O'Neill) was the main Nixon administration anti-Kerry guy, and the other (Corsi) is an anti-Catholic Free Republic bigot. Admiral Hoffman, another of the movers and shakers, is a well-known loose cannon and wild man.

One peculiarity of the anti-Kerry testimony is that a lot of people are saying things unofficially thirty years later which contradict what they said officially at the time. No one is perfect, but Kerry got five medals and generally good ratings while he was in the service. (A lot of the anti-Kerry testimony is pretty nitpicky and has the stink of gossip and schoolgirl envy).

Besides his crewmen, Kerry is being supported politically by Generals Clark and McPeak, and the Swiftboat-type smears have been denounced by Sen. McCain and General Franks. On the right-wing chatlines you can read some hilarious bitching about these men, and Farrah at Worldnet has re-smeared McCain.

At this point I think that the Swiftboat attack will disappear without much trace. It only appeals to people who already hate Kerry. Probably Rove knows that the case is weak, and maybe that was why he released the dirt just now instead of closer to the election. (On the other hand, if Rove is using one of his big guns this early, that would mean that he knows he's in real trouble). The overall goal was probably to whittle away a little of Kerry's post-convention bounce, and secondarily to turn some doves against Kerry with the atrocity stories. And of course, military macho is the only thing Bush has to run on, so the weasels are fighting with special desperation.

Rassmann defends Kerry in the Wall Street Journal:

"This hate-filled ad asserts that I was not under fire; it questions my words and Navy records. This smear campaign has been launched by people without decency, people who don't understand the bond of those who serve in combat."

Extraordinarily thorough response by Eriposte

Kerry's official records (scroll to "Fitness Reports" for official evaluations)

Media Matters / Kerry Campaign / Disinfopedia / "Snopes" / Factcheck / Conason I / Conason II / Conason III

Hoffman and O'Neill (Salon)

Discrepancies in the SBV stories

McCain denounces anti-Kerry smears.

McCain resmeared (2004)

Gen. Tommy Franks states that Kerry is qualified to be President.

Swiftvets now report that 12 of 19 officers pictured with Kerry oppose him, and only one supports him (the others being dead or neutral) -- this is down from 19 of 23 reported earlier.

The original
Kerry War crime story (1996) was really quite dubious.

Elliot retracts criticism of Kerry / Elliot retracts retraction /Elliot III / Elliott IV / Elliot V

Swiftboat vets claim that Michael Kranish and the Globe (involved in the Elliott story) are pro-Kerry. This is not true, as shown here:
Slate: Globe is not pro-Kerry I / Slate: Globe is not pro-Kerry II / Kranish is not pro-Kerry . There's a long complicated argument on Drudge and elsewhere claiming that Kranish is working for the Kerry campaign (not true) or that he wrote the introduction for Kerry's official campaign biography (also not true, though he was working at times on an book about Kerry, unconnected to the Kerry organization).

Hoffman and O'Neill

Someone still ought to give Somerby some money, and Scoobie Davis too.

It's an understatement to say that my suggestion that the Democrats ought to hire Bob Somerby didn't create much excitement. (Probably it's the Zizka cooties.) Hopefully someone else will pick up the issue again at some later date.

Two objections were raised to Somerby: first, that his site isn't much fun, and second, that he isn't a team player.

The first objection is profoundly stupid. Somerby's site has been around for about six years, and isn't really a "blog" at all. It's an internet research tool. He isn't trying to produce an entertaining mix of politics, trivia, and personal reportage. He's investigating the American media, reporting his results, and providing the rest of us with a searchable archive. The Daily Howler is the best answer to the question, "Are blogs really journalism?" In his case, the answer is yes. There is information available on his site which is not available anywhere else. Somerby is a researcher who creates knowledge.

The second, team-player objection points to one of the Democratic Party's biggest weaknesses. Democratic pros tend to be credentialed institutional people from universities, unions, and public administration. Their jobs consist of normalization, following and enforcing procedures, achieving consensus, and various sorts of backscratching and brownnosing activities.

Republican pros tend to be small businessmen and semi-criminal elements. Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist work like con men sizing up a mark or burglars casing the joint. They're not interested in normality and keeping the lid on, but are always looking for an edge. And they do a lot of their work through disavowable semicriminal surrogate groups not formally connected with the Republican Party.

I shouldn't have to spell it out, but I'm talking to Democrats, so I will. The advantage is with the Republicans here. They've been winning, and Norquist and Gingrich have been able to destroy their Democratic adversaries. (And sure, Gingrich overreached and got bounced -- but he transformed American politics first. Incidentally, did you know that Norquist is an Islamofascist-symp?)

Somerby understands the political media better than anyone else does, and he knows what needs to be done. The Democrats' media approach has been feckless for decades, and Somerby could help fix that. But it does seem unlikely to me, too, that Somerby could fit into any of the existing Democratic media operations, and still less likely that he will ever be asked to head one of them.

So it makes sense to me for something like this to happen. A donor sets up the requisite legal entity (a 527 or whatever), puts money into it, phones Somerby, asks him how much money he needs, and writes him the check. Easy.

P.S. Scoobie Davis is another unfunded guy who's been studying the political media for years. He has a good handle on the problem and some solid practical proposals, so they should give him money too.

Mary at The Left Coaster Interviews Paul Krugman

The Left Coaster: Revolutionary Power.

DriveDemocracy.Org - Drive Democracy blog

Drive Democracy blog has been following the players Kerry Swift Boat smear.



Kerry: Still Would Have Approved Force for Iraq:
"Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found. "
OK, what?

Update -- (Tuesday) -- Limbaugh was, of course, all over this today, correctly pointing out that Kerry's statement completely undermines all arguments about Bush's credibility on Iraq, and whether invading Iraq was the right thing to do.

And, of course, the Bush campaign knows a huge opportunity when it sees one. Bush Goes After Kerry on Iraq War Admission:
"Bush and his aides delighted in the response and said it showed further evidence of Kerry flip-flopping from an anti-war stance he held during the Democratic primary last winter.

"Now, almost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance," Bush said. "He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq."

"After months of questioning my motives, and even my credibility, Senator Kerry now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpiles of weapons we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) from power. I want to thank Senator Kerry for clearing that up," Bush said."
I really have to wonder what the thinking is in the Kerry campaign. I mean, if this is what Kerry really think, WHY SAY IT? Did they discuss this before Kerry said it, or did he just say it? Don't they understand that he is leading Bush now BECAUSE the public thinks Bush did the wrong thing by invading Iraq? And now he says he SUPPORTS Bush on this?


Bush's justification for invading Iraq was to lie, claiming that he thought they were an imminent threat to the security of our country! But now Kerry is saying he would have invaded Iraq EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT threatening us!


Just For Fun

From the right: Kerry's 'Accidental' Vietnam Atrocities,
Kerry is a jew. The media is controlled by jews. The jews want him elected to the presidency.
Face it, anything that will hurt his chances of getting elected will not be shown by the mass media.
None of the links anyone posted here is from the mainstream media which the majority of Americans get their news and opinions from.
All hail president Kerry/Cohen.
He's referring to the links to articles accusing Kerry of "atrocities..."

I'm curious. Talk radio and the Right's media - Drudge, NewsMax, Insight, Washington Times, TownHall, etc. are all talking about Kerry committing "atrocities" in Vietnam. It's a wonder to me that it's the Republicans who are spitting on the Vietnam Vets and calling them baby killers...


I was in an IM conversation with a friend who prefers to remain anonymous. I mentioned that I parked next to a California Highway Patrol car yesterday and noticed that there was a machine gun in the car, next to the shotgun. I figured that it must be a new anti-terrorist thing. What he said turned out to be a nice haiku:
Machine guns for cops
mowing us down for the man
to keep us in check
Like they say, if you weren't there for the 60's and Nixon, never mind.

September Surprise Warning

Not a joke, and be ready for this. Bloggers take note. Bush is going to use the resources of the government in his campaign, with a September "National Preparedness Month," focused on the swing states. Big dollars, big schedule. The idea is to instill fear in the citizenry.

Read about it here at This Modern World,
It's three years after 9/11, and less than three months before an election, and now we get a National Preparedness Month.
Spread the word and help people understand in advance what they are experiencing.

(Thanks to Cursor.)

From E-mail

Thus just in, from an e-mail, posted without comment: (That doesn't mean YOU can't leave a comment.)
On a tour of Texas, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the coastal area for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the sea wall on Galveston Isle in his Pope mobile when suddenly he notices a frantic commotion just off shore.

There was John Kerry struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark. As the Pope watched, horrified, a speedboat came racing up with two men aboard. One of the men, President George W. Bush quickly fired a harpoon into the shark's side while Dick Cheney reached out and pulled the bleeding, semi-conscious John Kerry from the water. Then using (autographed Round Rock Express) baseball bats, the two heroes beat the shark to death and hauled it into the boat.

Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to the beach. "I give you my blessings for your brave actions," he told them. "I heard that there was some bitter hatred between President Bush and John Kerry, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true."

As the Pope drove off, President Bush asked Dick, "Who was that?"

"It was the Pope," Dick replied. "He is in direct contact with God and has all of God's wisdom."

"Well," President Bush said, "he may have access to God's wisdom, but he doesn't know squat about shark fishing..............how's the bait holding up?"


But LEZ had to go.

Too stupid for words. (That's a joke.)

Why hasn't someone hired Somerby yet?

Doesn't it strike you as strange that no one has hired Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler yet? He's a loyal mainstream Democrat who understands the corrupt workings of the contemporary media as well as anyone does. He's one of the heavyweights, but as far as I can tell, he still has to work for a living doing other stuff.

I suspect that the DNC and the Kerry campaign would have trouble figuring out how to insert him into their chain of command. But couldn't someone or another just give him a nice salary and enough money for an office and a staff, and let him show what he's able to do? Hopefully, at least some of the young pros in those two big operations would be happy to sit at his feet for awhile and find out what's going on in the world.

This doesn't have to be read as a criticism of existing media operations; I'm just pointing out that we have a resource here which is not being supported or fully exploited.

I suppose people who read this will see my suggestion as part of the big Blog Story that people have been flogging for the last few weeks. That's not really my point, though. It's just that Somerby's one of the sharpest guys in the biz, and it seems that there ought to be a place for him somewhere.

I have been declared repulsive :-)

Anne Applebaum recently wrote a balanced SCLM piece quibbling and fudging about the ban on federal funding for stem-cell research. Apparently there are two different problems: fundamentalist monkeywrenching of federal science research funding is one of them, of course, but there are also a lot of exaggerated claims being made for stem-cell research's possibilities. So really, it all evens out in the end. (Chris Mooney very reasonably responds to Anne's piece here.)

She also made this penetrating remark about Ron Reagan Jr: "Ron Reagan, son of the late president, who mistakenly imagined he was being cheered merely for what he said rather than who his father was...." (This is going to be a shocker for Ron Junior. All along he's naively thought that people loved him for himself alone, without regard for his famous dad! It's probably a good thing that someone finally clued him in, but I feel that Anne's tone was unduly harsh.)

So anyway, having nothing better to do, and having a mild buzz on, I wrote her a short, characteristically mild-mannered note:

"Wretched. I'm putting you on the Kristoff list of intimidated journalists who know better but write bad stuff because of gutlessness, opportunism, and the search for a phony balance. The thoughtfulness was totally fake.

Your little dig at Reagan Jr. was supremely silly. The guy has been living with his situation since 1980 at the latest.

John Emerson"

to which she thoughtfully responded

"what a repulsive little note that was".

Well, I guess that puts me in my place! My guess is that when she responded she was drunk too.

Yeah, I'm aware that she's one of the relatively nice ones. So is Kristoff. I really don't see any need to write a fair and balanced piece about stem cells, though. This seems to me to be a legit, unproblematic issue for Kerry, and there was really no reason to devote a column to undercutting him.