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Step off, old man!
Friday, 13 August 2004
Pass the Bayer, Damn the terrorists
This comes from Kevin Drum of "Washington Monthly", who is quoting CNN. Everything, it appears, is the fault of terrorism, including tooth decay and bad reception on your TV. Here it is:

George Bush's Medicare bill prohibits the importation of cheap drugs from Canada. This has proven to be an unpopular rule, and Bush spokesmen have struggled to come up with persuasive reasons for their stand.

Today they finally did:

"Cues from chatter" gathered around the world are raising concerns that terrorists might try to attack the domestic food and drug supply, particularly illegally imported prescription drugs, acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford says.

....Crawford said the possibility of such an attack was the most serious of his concerns about the increase in states and municipalities trying to import drugs from Canada to save money."

Are there any depths to which these guys won't sink? What's next? Alleged al-Qaeda infiltration of labor unions? Email from Osama to the NAACP?

Every time I think the Bush administration can't get any worse, they get worse. Every. Single. Time.

Posted by brettdavey at 1:00 PM EDT
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Cheney thinks you're dumb...
In case you didn't know, Dick Cheney thinks you're an idiot. There can really be no other explanation for his bufoonery yesterday regarding John Kerry's "sensitive war on terror" comment. Of course, Kerry was talking about a smarter war, one where we actually plan for the aftermath of combat and treat our long-time allies with some respect.

I've said before that Bush can't win unless the American people are afraid. Even then, he might not win. Here's a surprising story from today's Chicago Sun-Times. If it's true, Bush is all done.

"A new study reveals a surprising twist on the conventional wisdom about November's presidential election: While political pundits seem to agree that news of terrorist threats and other dangers from abroad is good news for President Bush's re-election bid, the opposite might be true.

Michigan State University political science professors Darren W. Davis and Brian D. Silver say their study found that the more worried people are about the possibility of another terrorist attack, the more likely they are to vote for John Kerry. The research will be presented at a meeting of political scientists in Chicago next month.

The professors have been tracking Americans' attitudes about politics, civil liberties and security in a series of national and Michigan-wide surveys since 2001.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they found that people who expressed greater concern about threats of future terrorism were more likely to approve of Bush's presidential performance, while those who were less worried were less likely to support the president.

But by spring 2004, "this relationship had reversed: Those who were more concerned about terrorism were less likely to approve of Bush's performance," the professors say in their report.

And, the professors say, that trend is influencing how people plan to vote in the November election.

The two researchers' most recent survey, conducted in Michigan from April 19 to June 15, indicates that 24 percent of respondents -- a sampling of Michigan residents statistically weighted to reflect the adult U.S. population -- were "very concerned" about the possibility of another terrorist attack and 44 percent were "somewhat concerned."

When respondents were asked how they planned to vote in the November election, a narrow majority -- 51 percent -- said they would vote for Bush.

Davis and Silver then examined the respondents' voting preferences and how they related to the respondents' levels of concern about terrorism. Of those who were "very concerned," 38 percent said they planned to vote to re-elect President Bush, while 76 percent of those who were "not at all concerned" said they would vote for Bush.

Americans' concern about the possibility of a terrorist attack on the United States has generally declined over the last three years, from 85 percent of Americans surveyed between November 2001 and January 2002 saying they were either very or somewhat concerned to 68 percent reporting those levels of concern in a survey conducted from April to June 2004.

Terror concerns have increased sharply only twice since 2001, around the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and during the invasion of Iraq. Both times, Davis and Silver's research showed -- and other national surveys agreed -- that the heightened concern was accompanied by increased approval of Bush's performance in office.

In the most recent Michigan State survey, however, increased concern was no longer linked to increased approval of Bush's performance. Davis and Silver found that among those who are very concerned about another attack, just 29 percent approve of Bush. But among people who say they are not at all concerned about another attack, the president's approval rating is 30 points higher: 59 percent.

Davis and Silver will present their findings in detail at the Sept. 2 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association being held in Chicago."

Posted by brettdavey at 9:41 AM EDT
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We're still going!
This is from an AP story:

"Bush's acceptance speech will be laced with policy initiatives, some of them new, in a bid to persuade voters that he has a second-term agenda for the economy, health care and other issues that Democrats consider their own."

Does this mean we're still going to Mars? Awesome!

Posted by brettdavey at 9:01 AM EDT
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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Be ashamed...
I have friends who are Republicans and support Bush. For the most part, they're bright people who don't follow the news that closely, but have one pet issue. Usually, it's taxes.

If I was a Bush supporter, I would be ashamed. The attacks being run against Kerry are disgraceful and Bush and his spokesman remain silent. It's pathetic. And let's not act like it's not being done on Bush's behalf. The guy who's funding the Swift Veterans was a huge supporter of Bush in Texas.

If the media had any balls, they would turn this against Bush and these dirtbags, but it ain't gonna happen. Again, it's the disgrace of the 24-hour news cycle that these faux journalists need something to talk about.

Kerry is going to have to turn it against Bush himself. Here's how he can do it. During the debates, turn to Bush and say:

"You've often said we should honor our veterans. I'm a veteran. I served. You have been repeatedly asked to denounce attacks against me that are sponsored by a donor of yours. You refuse to do so. In 2000, your people smeared John McCain, his military service, and even his wife and child. As usual, you had others do the dirty work for you. This same brand of disgraceful politics was used against Max Cleland, a veteran who lost three limbs in service for his country. This stops now. Let's compare our military records. Let's look at Dick Cheney's record, with five deferments so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam. Your refusal to condemn this kind of politics against our veterans says everything about your character. And believe me, what is says is none too flattering."

Posted by brettdavey at 9:12 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Olberman notices...but no one else does
Keith Olberman is just about the best thing on television, after Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, of course. During "Countdown" last night, he showed footage of President Bush at a rally in Florida. Sitting behind the President, soaking it all in, was Joe Scarborough, MSNBC host. Huh? Imagine if Tom Brokaw or Chris Matthews was a guest at a Kerry rally. All the wowsers in the world would go nuts.

Anyway, after showing the clip of the President, Olberman acted befuddled, asking to the people off camera,"Who was that behind the President? Who was that?"

Ahhh, someone on cable with a conscience!

Posted by brettdavey at 8:32 AM EDT
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Unfit to opine
When you're filled with irrational hatred for someone, it's likely that you're, well, just filled with irrational hatred in general. This is from

"One of the authors of a new anti-John Kerry book frequently posted comments on a conservative Web site describing Muslims and Catholics as pedophiles and Pope John Paul II as senile.

But as he prepared to launch the book, "Unfit for Command," Jerry Corsi apologized for the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday, saying they were meant as a joke and he never intended to offend anyone.

In chat room entry last year on, Corsi writes: "Islam is a peaceful religion -- just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed."

In another entry, he says: "So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the lawyers rip the gold off the Vatican (news - web sites) altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it."

Corsi, who described himself as a "devout Catholic," said the comments are being taken out of context. "I considered them a joke," said Corsi, who owns a financial services company and has written extensively on the anti-war movement.

In a March posting, Corsi discussed Kerry's faith, writing: "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judaism? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"

Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, are Catholic.

"I don't stand by any of those comments and I apologize if they offended anybody," Corsi said.

The Kerry campaign called Corsi's Web chat postings disgusting. "President Bush should immediately condemn this sleazy book written by a virulent anti-Catholic bigot. It says something about the smear campaign against John Kerry that it has stooped to enlist a hatemonger," said campaign spokesman Chad Clanton.

Calls to the Bush-Cheney campaign were not immediately returned.

"Unfit for Command," which goes on sale Wednesday, accuses the Democratic presidential nominee of lying about his decorated wartime record and betraying comrades by returning from Vietnam and alleging widespread atrocities by U.S. troops.

The book claims that Kerry earned his Silver Star not in a barrage of enemy fire, but rather by killing a fleeing Viet Cong teenager. It also questions the three Purple Hearts that Kerry earned, saying that none was for serious injuries and two wounds were self-inflicted.

According to medical records from his naval service, Kerry still has shrapnel in his thigh from a war injury.

"I think it's important the country have the facts about John Kerry so that they can reach a reasonable decision," said co-author John O'Neill, who succeeded Kerry in command of a swift boat. O'Neill also is spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which began airing an anti-Kerry ad last week."

So right, Mr. O'Neill. Let's have the facts about you and your hatemongering crew so we can make a reasonable decision.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:25 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
O'Reilly on the couch
Last night, I saw the Bill O'Reilly-Paul Krugman showdown on Tim Russert's show. I swear, O'Reilly is becoming more and more unhinged every day. He really looks like he's going to lose it. Here's why:

He went "all in" with Bush. You've seen those Texas Hold 'Em poker tournaments, right? "All in" is when you bet everything you have. That's what O'Reilly and a bunch of other conservatives did. Now, they're screwed because they're stuck with Bush and his terrible record.

Krugman is a NY Times columnist who is an economics professor at Princeton. O'Reilly couldn't win with the facts so he did his usual number: interrupted, pointed his finger, and said things like Krugman quoting would be comparable to O'Reilly quoting the KKK.

Honest, that's what he said.

Ever notice that people, when they know they're right, don't feel the need to scream, interrupt and insult like they're a member of Hulk Hogan's entourage.

Then, think about the O'Reilly and Hannity's of the world.

Posted by brettdavey at 11:31 AM EDT
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I saw the movie "Napoleon Dynamite" yesterday. Damn, was it good.

Posted by brettdavey at 11:19 AM EDT
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Monday, 9 August 2004
Who's responsible?
I was thinking last night about the poor bastards who are going to take the fall for the prison abuse scandal. Listen, I can't completely exonerate those who took part, but if you're from a small town and you're 20 years old, it's easy to get caught up in that. Again, it's no excuse.

But to know these kids will go to prison for carrying out a philosophy that sprung from this administration is sad.

This is from this morning's St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"THE PRETRIAL HEARING for Pfc. Lynndie R. England has the makings of a show trial. The military parades this pregnant, unmarried 21-year-old clerk in front of the world as one of a handful of rogue MPs responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon, officials huddle in their bunkers seeking to avoid responsibility.

Pentagon prosecutors have managed to unearth the details of Ms. England's sexual escapades with Spc. Charles A. Granger Jr., the alleged ringleader of the rogue police. But the Pentagon has been unable to muster the effort to probe the details of 94 documented cases of prison abuse, including 40 deaths.

Last month, the Pentagon's Inspector General listed these cases of abuse, but concluded that they were "aberrations." Compliant members of Congress expressed relief. "This senator never doubted for a minute," said Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., ". . . that no senior leader in the United States Army or in the government . . . would tolerate inhumanity or cruelty to prisoners."

Unfortunately, the facts suggest otherwise. The green light for ignoring the Geneva Conventions for the humane treatment of prisoners came straight from President George W. Bush, who decided that Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners didn't qualify for protection as prisoners of war.

That decision was based on administration memos in which one top lawyer in the Justice Department argued that the president's war power gave him the constitutional authority to order torture. Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, now a judge, also argued that only the most "extreme acts" that could lead to "death or organ failure" would amount to torture.

Last week, 12 former judges and seven past presidents of the America Bar Association called for an inquiry into these administration memos.

Two people who have defended Mr. Bush in the past - Ruth Wedgewood, a top international law expert, and James Woolsey, a former CIA director - also criticized the memos. "One cannot dismiss them (the memos) as mere academic musings," they wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, "for they served as the starting point for other deliberations on appropriate standards for detention and interrogation."

Even at the England hearing, evidence of complicity by higher-ups is emerging. Capt. Carolina A. Wood, a top military intelligence commander at Abu Ghraib, testified that Col. Thomas M. Pappas, another intelligence commander, brought dogs to the prison. Capt. Wood said the use of dogs in interrogations would be abuse, but only if the dogs were "very close and unmuzzled."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also may be in for a surprise. Newsweek reports that a panel he appointed, headed by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, is concluding that a climate of abuse stemmed from failures of command and control.

In this light, there is something absurd about pinning a scarlet letter on a pathetic - though perverse - 21-year-old private from West Virginia, while the president and the secretary of defense skate. "

Posted by brettdavey at 8:31 AM EDT
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Throw your TV out the window
It's inevitable. If you watch what passes for TV news these days, you'll inevitably feel like throwing your set out the window. This morning, I first had to listen to Evan Thomas of Newsweek on the Imus Show. Thomas said Kerry had overplayed his service record and accused him of scratching himself to gain a Purple Heart. Basically, what he did was defend the Swift boat vets who are attacking Kerry. Thomas was one of the many mainstream journalists who did a hatchet job on Gore during the 2000 election. Amazingly, he is using the exact same script on Kerry: rich kid with no friends who spends his life trying to prove himself to his father. It's amazing. Read some back issues of for more on this topic.

Then, I got treated to Matt Lauer on the Today Show telling me about killer helicopters and limos. It made me think of the poison pens and other diabolical weapons Al Quaeda was planning to use. Watch "Farenheit 9-11" or "Outfoxed" for a good laugh on this topic. Of course, they didn't talk about this (from the AP):

"The effort by U.S. officials to justify raising the terror alert level last week may have shut down an important source of information that has already led to a series of al Qaeda arrests, Pakistani intelligence sources say. Until U.S. officials leaked the arrest of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan to reporters, Pakistan had been using him in a sting operation to track down al Qaeda operatives around the world, the sources said."

Way to go, guys.

Lastly, I heard pundit Jeff Greenfield on CNN blasting Kerry on a few fronts. The best was that he hasn't gone in front of a hostile audience yet, the way Bush did when he went in front of the UNITY journalists group last week. I almost fell off my chair. Has there ever been a more protected and coddled president than Bush?

Yesterday, I did hear something from a conservative commentator that made me think. David Brooks of the NY Times dismissed the idea that the Administration would ever use the terror alert system to manipulate the public. That's not what made me think.

He said that people on the left think every single thing the Administration does is for political reasons. I admit, I'm one of those people. The problem is, I can't think of much the Administration has done that hasn't been for political effect.

I am also somewhat conspiratorial. Will Bin Laden be captured right before the election? Will people really be allowed to vote? What the hell is going on with those electronic voting machines? Then I step back for a minute.

They might be able to steal Florida again, but you know what? I don't think it' s going to matter. I feel like Bush is going to get steamrolled just like his old man. That is, unless something huge happens right before the election like Bin Laden's capture.

Back to Conspiracy Theory 101.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:28 AM EDT
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