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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Just for the record, here's Virgina Postrel passing along the most likely explanation for Kerry's Holiday in Cambodia.

(Spoiler: the Swift Bunnies won't like it.)
Hmm, this sounds familiar.

Back in the day, John Kerry appeared before Congress to report the findings of the Winter Soldier hearings, passing on the first-hand accounts of other soldiers. Even still, he is villified for 'disgracing our boys' and 'accusing everyone there of being war criminals'.

This week, the Lancet published a piece about the ethical violations of US military medics who stayed silent about the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and who even participated in torture.

The response from the DoD Friday? Calling it a "wholesale indictment" of U.S. medical personnel in Iraq.

The more things change...
A probably futile e-mail to John McCain:

Dear Senator,

I have long been an admirer of yours. Even if our views on a particular issue differed, I had confidence in your essential decency and integrity, as a politician, as a veteran, and as an American.

I was born in 1972, at Camp Le Jeune, so while I'm far too young to have any memories of that conflict I can't pretend to be neutral about the subject of Vietnam. And what I see being done to Senator Kerry by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, done with the tacit approval of the president, sickens me.

How can we possibly win the war we're fighting now in Iraq, when we can't let go of the one we fought in Vietnam?

I'm asking you to please stand up and be a voice for sanity. This isn't a campaign finance issue, important as that issue is. This is an issue of truth, and integrity. Those smearing Senator Kerry have been proven to be liars, mostly recently by William Rood. They are motivated by nothing but politics, and their lies dishonor not just Sen. Kerry but anyone who has ever served their country with pride and dignity.

And those who stand with the liars, including the president, dishonor them as well.

There is no middle ground here, not when the lies are so vicious, and so damaging to us as a nation. As long as you continue to campaign for the president, you are supporting these liars. The statements of the president and his press secretary make it clear that they will not even denounce them without some political prid pro quo, as cynical a display as I can image. And as long as you support the president and campaign for him, despite your denouncing of the SBVFT, you too are putting cynical political considerations ahead of the truth.

Don't throw your integrity away like this. Not on this issue, of all issues.

We are a country in need of leaders. Please, please, be one now.


Yours truly,

etc. etc.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Y'know, just a few hours ago I was thinking to myself, "Self, it's too bad there isn't some sort of smoking gun tying the Swift Bunnies for Low-Fat Truth Substitutes (I Can't Believe It's Not Truth!) directly to the Bush campaign..."

Of course the FEC will try hard to ignore this, but the question is, will Big Media ignore it?

Worst. Campaign. Ever.

Any day now, I fully expect a series of 'You don't change horses in mid-stream' ads from these maroons.

UPDATE: And the laughs just keep on coming, thanks to Reuters:

Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel denied any coordination with the Swift Boat group, calling it "a frivolous complaint."

John O'Neill, a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, called it "completely frivolous" and "a direct assault on the First Amendment of the United States."

Proving "coordination" between the campaign and the Swift Boat group could be difficult and time consuming.


Especially when they use the exact same language to defend themselves against the charges... d'oh!
I am shocked -- shocked! -- that Walter Shapiro doesn't get what's really going on in Fitzgerald v. Media, i.e. the Plame grand jury investigation.

Whoever leaked the name to Cooper, Novak and the rest, is not a 'source' in any reasonable use of the word. The leak was not simply information, it was an invitation to join in a criminal act. Novak accepted the invite. Cooper, to his credit, did not, but is now helping to cover up the crime with his silence.

If someone in the White House had called up some media types and said, "Hey, I'm gonna go set fire to Joe Wilson's house. Wanna come? Don't forget to bring a can of gasoline!", would Cooper still be trying to hide behind the 'protecting his sources' excuse?

The only difference is, of course, that it wasn't Wilson's house that was damaged -- it was our national security interests.
This post, over at Enemy of the People, hits, as they say, the nail on the head.

So here's the question: who will be the Jack Welch of 2004?

Perversely, and against all logic, my money is on Colin Powell. There's still time to save yourself, Colin! Don't wait for the Ghosts of Generals Past, Present and Future to visit you on Election Eve!
Once upon a time, an article like this would have been business as usual for the Senile Old Lady, not something noteworthy.

So the Swift Bunnies for Low-Fat Truth Substitutes (I Can't Believe It's Not Truth!) are liars financed by big-time 'Pub campaign contributors. Their PR hired gun is the widow of Bush's former lieutenant governor. This isn't news, really -- their claims stank from day one.

What is news is the NYT deviating from the "he said she said" script of modern-day political coverage. This time, it's "he said, and here's the evidence he's full of shit".

Which is what it should be. And it doesn't matter who's playing the role of 'he' in tonight's production.

Journos (who don't work for Fox) today spend far too much time worried about appearing 'unbiased', and trying not to appear to favor one side or the other. Hence, "he said she said" -- if you give the Hatfields and McCoys equal time, neither can scream bias.

The problem is, from a professional stand-point it doesn't matter whether a journalist is biased towards one political party or the other. It's irrelevant to their job. The only bias that matters is towards the truth. If one side tells a lie, your job is to expose it. If they keep telling lies, you keep exposing them. And if they whine about 'bias', you tell them to quit lying, and you'll quit writing stories about them.

That's what's been forgotten. The current cream of the Republican party, quite simply, are liars. Congenital and unrepentant. And they've fluorished because the media refused to point out their lies.

Hopefully, that's starting to change.

One little quibble about the article:

Asked about the award, Mr. Thurlow said that he did not recall what the citation said but that he believed it had commended him for saving the lives of sailors on a boat hit by a mine. If it did mention enemy fire, he said, that was based on Mr. Kerry's false reports. The actual citation, Mr. Thurlow said, was with an ex-wife with whom he no longer has contact, and he declined to authorize the Navy to release a copy. But a copy obtained by The New York Times indicates "enemy small arms," "automatic weapons fire" and "enemy bullets flying about him." The citation was first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday.


Actually, Thurlow's Bronze Star was first noted on DKos back on the 5th.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I've adjusted the counter on the left to count US casualties up, rather than counting down to 1000.

A couple of reasons for this -- 1000 is a benchmark, not a goal, and I wanted to make that clear; but more importantly, I realized I probably wasn't going to take it down even when the figure did reach four digits.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

All I can say is, if the Senate Dems bend over for Goss' nomination in the spirit of 'unity' or 'not appearing negative', they should be rounded up and shot:

"The Goss bill tracks current law by stating that the DCI shall “collect, coordinate and direct” the collection of intelligence by the U.S. government—except that the CIA “may not exercise police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers within the United States.”

The bill then adds new language after that clause, however, saying that the ban on domestic law-enforcement operations applies “except as otherwise permitted by law or as directed by the president.”

In effect, one former top U.S. intelligence community official told NEWSWEEK, the language in the Goss bill would enable the president to issue secret findings allowing the CIA to conduct covert operations inside the United States—without even any notification to Congress."


That's right -- Porter thinks it would be a good idea to turn the CIA loose on American citizens at the whim of the President.

I don't give a good goddamn what you think about the War on Terra. The CIA are, basically, scum. They're professional scum, mind you -- that's why we pay them. If they weren't, they wouldn't be of any use to those in power.

If you want a handy pop culture metaphor, CIA spooks are like the Dementors from the latest Harry Potter movie. You might argue about whether they're necessary or not, but you wouldn't want one within a hundred miles of you and yours.

The introduction of this bill alone proves Goss is completely unqualified to head the CIA. If he's that clueless about their very nature, how can he properly lead the department?

Monday, August 16, 2004

What's that phrase...? Oh yeah. The markets have spoken!

(And, umm, the masses too.)

Oil prices today eased back from a run of record highs after Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, declared victory in a national referendum on his presidency.

As the prospect of political uncertainly in the world's fifth largest oil-producing country receded, the cost of a barrel of crude peaked at a 21-year high of $46.91 (£25.43) in New York before dipping back to $46.21.


With all the predictable 'fraud' bluster coming from the opposition, you'd think the Miami Herald, of all papers, would be on board. But it barely rates a mention, and even then contains more than a few hints of simple denial and sour grapes:

Haydee Deutsch, an opposition leader, said fraud had been committed and that the opposition "has no doubt that we won by an overwhelming majority."

At the opposition headquarters in Caracas, opponents watching the Carrasquero's announcement on television shouted "Fraud! Fraud!"

"This is impossible to swallow," said Jesus Torrealba, another opposition leader.


When even the Miami Herald can see the writing on the wall, it's time to pack it in.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Here's another take on Kopel's Fahrenheit 9/11 hatchet job, in handy PDF form... a lot more succinct, and less snarky, than mine.

Since it's clear at this point that Kerry's rapid response team is pulling a Linda Richman -- they seem to be neither rapid, nor responsive -- might I suggest that someone over there at least skim the blogosphere? Hit the righties for the RNC attack points, then hit the lefties for the debunking points? How tough would that be, really?
Whichever side of the conflict you're on, you have to be pleased both with the voter turnout in the Venezuelan recall referendum, and the way it's been handled:

Venezuelans voted in huge numbers on Sunday in a historic referendum on whether to recall left-wing President Hugo Chavez and electoral authorities prolonged voting well into the night.

In an unprecedented turnout, droves of eager voters besieged ballot centers across the world's No. 5 oil exporter and long lines persisted into the evening.

"We have decided to extend the voting period until 12 midnight," senior National Electoral Council official Jorge Rodriguez said.

The latest prolongation followed a previous four-hour extension to cope with the throngs who flooded polling centers, some of them waiting patiently most of the day in the hot sun.


Imagine it. No exit polls -- of any kind -- to taint the process for people who haven't voted yet. Polls left open as long as possible to allow everyone a chance to vote. How... democratic.

I hate to make the obvious joke, but maybe we should bring some Venezuelan electoral officials up for November. I'm sure President Carter can make the arrangements.

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