Monthly Archives: August 2004

How’s Democracy Doing in Afghanistan?

REALLY GOOD! Here’s what Bush said on Rush today:

I just would remind your listeners that Pakistan is now an ally in the war on terror [Except for its government workers and scientists – Kman]. Saudi now takes Al-Qaeda seriously, and they’re after the leadership. Libya is no longer got weapons of mass destruction [They’ve given away the designs to terrorists, too! – Kman]. Afghanistan, I don’t know if you’ve discussed this on your program, but there are over ten million people who have registered to vote in Afghanistan, which is a phenomenal statistic when you think about it.

Bush wasn’t lying either. 10.35 million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan. And that is a phenomenal amount . . . especially when you consider that the U.N. estimated only 9.8 million eligible voters in the country!

Perhaps Bush meant to say that corrupt capitalism must be flourishing in Afghanistan. Yeah, that’s it. With voter registration cards selling on the street at $100 a pop, democracy ain’t lookin’ so good. But corrupt capitalism? Zowie!!

A Day I’ll Never Forget

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. I’ll never forget the day. A fellow pointed at me and said, "Do not let me down." Workers in hard-hats, and police and firefighters were shouting, "Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes." – May 7, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. I’ll never forget that day. There were policemen and firefighters shouting, "Whatever it takes, Mr. President, whatever it takes." A guy in a hard-hat pointed at me and said, "Do not let me down." – May 8, 2004

September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. I’ll never forget that day. Workers in hard-hats were chanting, "Whatever it takes." I remember working — trying to console people, and either a firefighter or a policeman said, "Do not let me down." – July 13, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. I’m never going to forget that moment. There were workers in hard-hats yelling at me, "Whatever it takes." I remember looking in the eyes of either a policeman or firefighter, and he said, "Do not let me down." – July 14, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I’ll never forget. Workers in hard-hats chanted, "Whatever it takes." A fireman or a policeman, I don’t know which one, grabbed me and said, "Do not let me down." – July 14, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I’ll never forget. There were workers in hard-hats yelling at me, "Whatever it takes." A fellow grabbed me by the arm — I can’t remember if he was a policeman or fireman — and he said, "Do not let me down." – July 21, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day that I will never forget. There were workers in hard hats yelling at me, "Whatever it takes." I remember a guy grabbing my arm, a firefighter or policeman, I don’t know which one, he had tears in his eyes and he looked at me and said, "Do not let me down." – July 30, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I will never forget. I remember those guys in hard hats yelling at me: Whatever it takes. I remember the firefighter grabbing me by the arm and looking me in the eye, bloodshot eyes and sweat pouring, and he said: Do not let me down – July 31, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I’ll never forget. There were workers in hard hats yelling at me: Whatever it takes. I remember walking along and a fellow grabbed me, policeman or fireman, I don’t know which one, but he had tears in his eyes and said: Do not let me down – July 31, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I will never forget. There were workers in hard hats yelling at me: Whatever it takes. A guy grabbed me by the arm, he had tears in his eyes, he was exhausted from searching through the rubble to find his friend. He said: Do not let me down. – August 4, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I’ll never forget. I remember workers in hard-hats yelling at me, "Whatever it takes." I’ll never forget the guy that grabbed me by the arm — I don’t remember if he was a firefighter or a policeman. I do know he had been in the rubble searching for a loved one. His eyes were bloodshot. He said, "Do not let me down." – August 4, 2004

September the 14, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I will never forget. I remember the guys in the hard- hats screaming at me, "Whatever it takes." I remember working the rope line and looking in the eyes of a man who had just come out of the rubble searching for a buddy. He said, "Do not let me down." – August 10, 2004

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It’s a day I’ll never forget. Workers in hard-hats were yelling at me, "Whatever it takes." I remember shaking people’s hands and a guy looked me in the eye, his bloodshot eyes, he’d just come out of the rubble, saying, "Do not let me down." – August 18, 2004

All the foregoing — plus lots more of the same — can be found on the White House website (Do a site search for "Do not let me down" in quotations).

[Chris Farley] Hey. You remember when — you remember the part about, uh, the guy who like pointed at Bush or grabbed Bush’s arm or had bloodshot eyes or tears ’cause he had just, like, come out of the rubble looking for his buddy or loved one or whatever, you know? The dude who Bush wasn’t sure if he was a policemen or a firemen (except for July 31, 2004), but he was all like "Do not let me down" and stuff? Y-y-you . . . . remember? Remember that? Yeah, that was awesome. That story rocked. I hope Bush uses that in his convention speech. [/Chris Farley]

But here is my bestest FAVORITEST one — from last Friday — which I saved for last:

I was traveling with Rudy Giuliani yesterday in New Mexico, and I — (applause.) It reminded of the day we spent together, September the 14th, 2001, the day I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers, the day that, obviously, I’ll never forget. There were workers in hard-hats yelling, "Whatever it takes." I was walking down, thanking people, and a fellow looked me and said, "Do not let me down." This is one of these memories that have been indelibly etched in my mind. – August 27, 2004

Yeah, George. Traveling with Rudy "reminded" you of the story which you happen to tell at every single fucking campaign stop.

And then his ad lib at the end: "This is one of these memories that have been indelibly etched in my mind." Yeah, I would think so!

We Can’t Win the War On Terror

Several months ago, and I can’t seem to locate where, I made the point that we can’t actually WIN a war on terror, since "terror" is a tactic and not an enemy. Which is why, I added, that it is wrong to claim that it IS a "war".

It seems Kerry agrees with me:

When asked whether we can "win" the "war on terror" Senator Kerry said: "Can we win? I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.”

Oh, one more thing: Before you wingers jump down Kerry’s throat for being such a woosy spinless negative nay-saying candy-ass wimp, as I’m sure you will want to, check this out

Anatomy of a Smear

In this little essay (post, diatribe, whatever), I am going to write about the smear — the dirty black op of politics.

The important thing to realize about a smear is that it is not a search for the truth. Rather, it is an attempt to create innuendo in order to muddy the truth. The goal isn’t to convince, but to cause you to doubt. Michael Dukakis, for example, never heard of Willie Horton, and had nothing to do with Horton’s ill-advised (in hindsight) release from prison. Yet by the end of that smear campaign, it was almost as if Dukakis personally opened the doors for Horton. That was a very successful smear campaign.

The attacks on Kerry’s medals is another example of a smear. Kerry’s Vietnam record is troublesome to any hawk (or chickenhawk) Bush supporter, especially when Kerry’s Vietnam record is placed in a side-to-side comparison with George Bush’s lack of a Vietnam record. It doesn’t help when Bush says, "I think him going to Vietnam was more heroic than my flying fighter jets . . . He was in harm’s way and I wasn’t."

So what do you do if you are a Bush supporter in that awkward position? Well, you cast doubt on the validity of Kerry’s service. The theory is that if any part of Kerry’s military service — no matter how small — is questionable, then ALL of it (small or not) is questionable.

Now, keep some things in mind. It doesn’t matter if you can’t prove anything — creating doubt-through-innuendo-and-inference is good enough. You want to cripple voter trust in a candidate.

And it doesn’t matter if your smear tactics fail to convince most voters — in a tight race, a successful smear which convinces, say, 3% of the voters, is good enough.

Let’s take a closer look at these tactics, using this post here as our illustrative example.

1. Conspiratorial Tone and Use of Innuendo, Even Where There Is Nothing Controversial

The key to a smear is to give the fake appearance of neutrality and objectivity. If you froth at the mouth and sound like an asshole, nobody’s going to listen to you, much less the smear you are trying to put forth. If you create the tone of objectivity, then you can smear under the radar.

This can be accomplished with a faux folksy "Hey-I’m-just-asking-questions-here" demeanor. Take the title of a post: "Who Signed Kerry’s Silver Star Citation? (and other Irregularities)" Mmmmm. It sure SOUNDS like he’s just asking questions about "irregularities".

But if you continue reading, you see that the very issue of the title — the signing of the citation — DOESN’T INVOLVE AN "IRREGULARITY"! The "mystery" is fabricated. Check it out:

The smearer notes that the signatory of Kerry’s citation, Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, doesn’t remember signing the citation. A discerning reader would ask, at this point, "Well, why WOULD he remember signing this particular document a couple of decades ago? Didn’t he sign LOTS of things?" But never mind that.

The smearer then tosses up a likely answer to this (non)puzzling (non)issue, i.e., Kerry’s citation might have been signed by an autopen, something routinely used in government to sign documents.

Well . . . . mystery solved, right?

Nope. According to the smearer, the new piece of information means that "[t]he plot is indeed thickening."

You are probably asking youself "What is going on here"? And I repeat: it’s all about creating innuendo. Whether Lehman signed the citation or whether an autopen signed it isn’t really important to the smearer or the election. What’s important (to the smearer) is that it can be spun to support what the smear says in the opening graf: "Apparently, there is something very fishy about Kerry’s Silver Star citation, including a very credible claim that the signature was unauthorized." That opening sentence sets the "fishy" tone, the rest of the post is just spin.

2. "But Don’t Take MY Word For It!"

Aside from tone, you need to pay attention to the questionable use of "authorities". We’ve all seen this tactic recently employed (more effectively) with the 200+ Swift Boat Vets who [*cough*] "served with" Kerry. That "served with" made it sound as if all of them were in a position to speak with firsthand knowledge about specifics regarding Kerry’s service/medals. Of course, most of them weren’t in that position (and those few who were contained some clear liars).

The smearer does this same "appeal to biased authority". Check it out:

First, he notes that one of Kerry’s records mentions a “Silver Star with combat V”. The Silver Star is a particular military honor which — according to the smearer — doesn’t exist with a combat V. (Here the innuendo — I’m guessing — is that Kerry is somehow responsible for the ersatz "combat V" reference on his citation, although it is confusing as to why [and how] Kerry would do such a thing. It’s not like people are going to say "Oh, he won a Silver Star with a combat v?? I always thought it was just a regular Silver Star. Well, THAT changes my vote! ." The smearer doesn’t elaborate, but as I wrote above, he doesn’t need to. As long as he convinces people of the POSSIBILITY of fraud, his work is done).

After hyping the "mystery" of the "combat v", he then lays his reader at the feet of "one man" who "makes the argument that this particular error is strongly associated with fraudulent claims of honors".

Who was that one man?

A guy who wrote a book about fraudulent claims of honor.

Now, the smearer goes to lengths to demonstrate that this guy is not politically biased in favor of Bush (although even that is questionable), because — according to smearer — his book isn’t politically biased (so says that well-known bias watchdog, the guy who writes the blurbs for Barnes & Nobles). This, of course, is diversion. Human nature will tell you that if you give a set of facts to an advocate of X, the advocate will likely interpret those facts through his familiarity with X. It’s why most military analysts tend to be, you know, pro-military. It’s why most cable news legal analysts who happen to be prosecutors tend to be pro-prosecutor. And so on.

The smearer’s appeal to biased authority also comes up later when he analyzes the impact of this "story" — i.e., it has "taken on a new life and taken a very deadly turn for Kerry". Why? Because Little Green Footballs and Captain’s Quarters are all over the "story". Yeah. It has taken on a new life because the right-wing blogs are writing about it. Just like Kerry’s mistress.

But again, the point of that is to convince the neutral reader (on the questionable assumption that the smearer has neutral readers) that Kerry has not only possibily engaged in war record fabrication, but that everybody is onto it now and the boom is about to drop . . . and why would you want to back a non-winner like that?

3. What Smears Avoid

Note that the smearer does not (because he cannot) deny the documented actual events that led up to the Silver Star citation (i.e., he turned the swift boat into shore and pursued the VC with the rocket launcher, etc.). Note also that he does not (because he cannot) deny that Kerry deserves the Silver Star citation. If he believes that Kerry did not do these things, or deserve a Silver Star (with or without a "combat v"), he should say so.

This is sort of the meta-function of the political smear. It detracts from the issues, something you do when the issues don’t cut your way. Health care, education, the economy, the war on terror, the war in Iraq? Nah, let’s see if we can smear Kerry’s character and heroism based on something which was, at worst, CLERICAL errors. (Fortunately, sometimes smears backfire, and insinuating that Kerry wasn’t entitled to his Silver Star will truly hurt Bush, given that most people suspect the smears are acquiesced by, if not driven by, the White House. In fact, polls are already showing a backlash.)

One Swift Boat Vet Who Chose Not To Lie

This [Swift Boat Veterans] group asked for my signature on their "open letter" because I also commanded a Swift Boat in Vietnam in 1969 and served alongside many of them and John Kerry. I refused. I knew that what they were doing would only degrade the heroic actions of all Swift Boat veterans. You cannot challenge the process by which one person received recognition without making everyone else’s medals and awards suspect as well.

Many people who served on Swifts performed many acts of heroism and courage but were never recognized for it because no one took the time necessary to submit an award recommendation for them. Over the years these men have shared vicariously in the honors given to select, fortunate individuals. Now with the relentless mudslinging from the Swift Vets for Truth, we are all sharing in the shame that they are bringing on our community. I would prefer that they spend their energy and their money promoting the positive attributes of their candidate rather than trying to settle a 35-year-old score.

Right on, brother.

(Read it all here)

A Lesson of Vietnam

The truth is that atrocities were committed in Vietnam. The worst and most horrendous atrocity was officially sanctioned. The American command coldbloodedly set about to deprive the Communists of the recruits and other assistance the peasantry could provide by emptying the countryside. Peasant hamlets in Communist-dominated areas were deliberately and relentlessly bombed and shelled. Free Fire Zones – anything that moved, human or animal, could be killed – were redlined on military maps.

By 1968, civilian deaths, the great majority from air strikes and artillery, were estimated at about 40,000 a year and seriously wounded at 85,000. The wholesale killing cheapened the value of Vietnamese life in American eyes. It created an atmosphere that fostered the massacre at My Lai hamlet on March 16, 1968, when 347 Vietnamese old men, women, boys, girls and babies were butchered. That same morning another 90 unarmed Vietnamese were slaughtered at a nearby hamlet by a second army unit.

In Vietnam, America the exceptional joined the rest of the human race and demonstrated that it could do evil as easily as it could do good. Mr. Kerry undoubtedly said some intemperate things in 1971. That is the way of youth. But he also showed the moral courage to try to persuade his fellow citizens to halt actions that were disgracing their nation.

— Neil Sheehan (author of 1989 Pulitzer Prize winner "A Bright Shining Lie", here)

Morally, militarily, politically, strategically — there were many lessons to be learned from Vietnam. However, many — from Rush "Abu Ghraib is just fraternity antics" Limbaugh to, regrettably, many of the Swift Boat veterans — have not learned this particular painful lesson of Vietnam: that, yes, even America and Americans are capable of singular evil.

I don’t fault them for that — it is, after all, human nature to pretend that such atrocities do not exist.

But I just don’t think we should pay attention to the voices of people who deny realities. I don’t think we should place credibiliy in those who demonize truth-tellers simply because they don’t like the truth.

A patriot isn’t someone who turns away on those rare occasions when America acts evil. A patriot is someone who fights that evil, who says "no more".

Anyone who thinks patriots must experience a shot fired in anger during wartime is simply wrong. Sometimes a person can be a patriot by taking action in the streets, and bucking governmental authority.

Kerry did both. Bush did neither. Kerry showed up for the 1960’s; Bush drank and chased girls. If we must go back 30 years to decide "character" issues, THAT’S the bottom line, my friends.

Bush Flip-Flop Number . . . oh, Who-Can-Keep-Count?

MEET THE PRESS, March 5, 2000:

Gov. BUSH: Bob, there are people spending ads that say nice things about me. There are people spending money on ads that say ugly things about me.

BORGER: Should…

Gov. BUSH: That’s part of the American–let me finish. That’s part of the American process. There have been ads, independent expenditures, that are saying bad things about me. I don’t particularly care when they do, but that’s what freedom of speech is all about. And this allegation somehow that I’m involved with this is just totally ridiculous. It is uncalled for. There is no–no truth whatsoever. This–the notion that this man who ran the ads spent the night in the governor’s mansion–I think Senator McCain just made that allegation–they’re–they’re just not true.

BORGER: Well, Governor…

Gov. BUSH: It is–yeah?

BORGER: …do you think you should stop these ads?

Gov. BUSH: You know, let me–let me say something to you. People have the right to run ads.They have the right to do what they want to do, under the–under the First Amendment in America.

Today, in the Washington Post:

"The president said he wanted to work together [with McCain] to pursue court action to shut down all the ads and activity by these shadowy 527 groups," White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters on Air Force One after Bush spoke to McCain by telephone from the presidential jet Thursday morning.

How can we trust a man who flip-flops to be President?

Oh, wait. I forgot. 9/11 changed everything. Even issues relating to campaign finance reform and the First Amendment.

The Difference Between Kerry and Bush

Thanks to this post by Instapundit, I came across an out-of-print hard-to-find book called "The New Soldier". Although the book purports to be "by" John Kerry, it is simply a compilation of quotes and memories from various Vietnam veterans (Kerry didn’t even compile the quotes).

In fact, Kerry’s only "new" contribution toward the book was the epilogue. I read it, and was struck most by the last paragraph. Within those few sentences — written more than 30 years ago — flowered the salient differences between John Kerry and George Bush, both as men and as leaders. I will emphasize the key sentences below. Here’s what John Kerry, reflecting on his war experience, wrote:

I myself went into the service with little awareness of the people in the streets. I accepted then and still accept the idea of service to one’s country. But because of all that I saw in Vietnam, the treatment of civilians, the ravaging of their countryside, the needless, useless deaths, the deception and duplicity of our policy, I changed. Traditional assumptions and expectations simply were not enough.

Note to Bush supporters: When people experience things which cause them to change their views, it is not a "flip-flop". It’s called growth and experience. Something the current President lacks.

Going on . . . .

I still want to serve my country. I am still willing to pick up arms and defend it — die for it, if necessary.

Difference #1: Kerry was still willing to pick up arms and defend his country . . . even after going through the Vietnam experience. Bush, on the other hand, who supported Vietnam, wasn’t willing to pick up arms and defend his country.

You can do the song-and-dance about "whether or not Kerry was in Cambodia on Xmas 1968 as opposed to January 1969", and I can do a song-and-dance about whether Bush actually completed his Air National Guard duties, and so on. But . . . we’re all men here (well, most of us), right? Get real and ask yourself: What defines a "patriot"? And which candidate’s life experience more closely fits that definition?

Going on . . .

Now, however, I will not go blindly because my government says I must go. I will not go unless we can make real our promises of self-determination and justice at home. I will not go unless the threat is a real one and we all know it to be so.

Difference #2: Kerry learned the folly of sending troops to fight against a "threat" which is not real. He was talking about this stuff 33 years ago — waaaaay before he was a politician, and waaaaay before he ever ran for President. He was talking about it from first-hand experience.

President Bush, on the other hand, even with the benefit of hindsight, still has not learned that lesson (remember, Bush doesn’t make mistakes).

I recognize that even experienced politicians must endure a learning curve when they enter the Oval Office. But Bush isn’t into learning, and never has been. As a young man, he wasn’t putting himself through the same life experiences as Kerry. And as a older man, he’s still not interested in learning from mistakes, or even getting input from those who might enable him to be make more well-informed decisions.

Pre 9/11, it may not have mattered, but now we can’t afford that amateur-ism in the White House anymore. The above passages show that Kerry is serious about defending the country, but equally serious about not wasting soldiers’ lives needlessly and without just cause. Unlike Kerry, Bush didn’t learn this lesson 33 years ago. What is worse, he is steadfastly refusing to learn that lesson as President — and that’s simply tragic.

Sure, there’s plenty of flaws with Kerry. But in these dangerous times, all of them pale in comparison to the substantial differences between Bush and Kerry that I have raised here. Differences as men. This is a serious time in this country’s history — we should want a serious President with a trunkful of real lifetime experiences relating to the serious issues we face and will continue to face.

Swift Boat Flip Floppers

WTF??

Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the [Swift War Veterans for Truth] group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry’s antiwar positions but said, "I am not going to say anything negative about him." He added, "He’s a good man."

In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry’s Silver Star: "It took guts, and I admire that."

Mmmmmm.

George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was "an act of courage."

George Elliott, if I recall correctly, is the one who recently did 2 or 3 flip-flops about Kerry’s war record in the same week — first saying that he regretted signing the affidavit that accused Kerry of lying . . . then apparently reaffirming the affidavit that he regretted signing . . . and then going on what I am sure is a loooooong-overdue vacation (to the flip-flop funny farm?)

Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him [in 1996] with a statement about the "bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats."

"Senator Kerry was no exception," Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers."

Well, you get the idea. But read the full story. Not only will you learn about the flip-flops, but the money trail behind the Swift Boat ads. I won’t give it all away — but let’s just say that Bush’s shadowy network ain’t that shadowy anymore . . . ’cause now there’s some light on it.

Heh.

For Those Who Missed It . . .

. . . Oliver Willis’ site has the video of Michelle "Little Lulu" Malkin getting bitch-slapped by Chris Matthews.

It’s wonderful to watch, on so many levels. She is unwilling to answer a simple question put to her . . . about whether or not SHE thinks Kerry shot himself on purpose. Of course, her TRUE answer is "Of course I don’t think he shot himself on purpose, Chris, but if I am honest and SAY that on national television, then they kick me out of the I-smear-for-George-Bush Club. So instead, I’ll just dodge your question, and perpetuate the smear even if I personally doubt its veracity."

Toward the end, she then finds a branch to keep herself from drowning. Like a harpy in heat, she asks ‘Why don’t you ask John Kerry?’

See how that works, kids? Apparently anybody can make any absurd allegation, and once done, it becomes incumbant about the candidate to respond to those allegations. Therefore, under Michelle’s reasoning, I suppose we should be asking George Bush about the time he performed an abortion on the underage teenager that he raped. (As Michelle reasons: "Aren’t you curious to find out if it’s true?")

Anyway, it’s nice to finally have someone in the SCLM actually take one of these bozos to task instead of acting as a stenographer for the Bush smear machine.

Oh, and Michelle . . . your 15 minutes are up. Don’t pout. You weren’t going to go far anyway — Ann Coulter isn’t about to relinquish the shrill-female-nutjob-winger chair without a fight.

UPDATE: Little Lulu has a whiny account of it on her site here.

Her best graf:

I am used to playing hardball. I expect it. I am used to ad hominem attacks. I get more in a day than most of these wussies have received in their lifetimes. But what happened last night was pure slimeball and the unfair, unbalanced, and unhinged purveyors of journalism, or whatever it is they call what they do at MSNBC, should be ashamed.

Hahahahaha! Apparently, Michelle thinks that her appearances on the "fair and balanced" network, were all "hardball" encounters. And "ad hominem" attacks? Where was she PERSONALLY attacked?

The next best graf is this:

Olbermann expresses incredulity that I was simply reporting what the Swift Boat Vets’ book says, rather than spouting off in a half-baked manner:

Ms. Malkin wouldn’t even go so far as to attribute the suspicion to herself. It was in the book.

Olbermann, alleged journalist, is smearing me because I agreed to discuss and analyze claims made by the authors of Unfit for Command and actually referred to what was in the book . . .

See, here’s the thing, Michelle Moron. If you agreed to "discuss and analyze claims made by the authors of Unfit for Command", then Matthew’s questions about YOUR ANALYSIS are relevant.

Finally, if you review Michelle’s whiny response to what happened, you will see that she didn’t even support what she said on the show — that the swift boat vets claimed that Kerry shot himself on purpose (as opposed to suffering from a "self-inflicted wound").

So basically, she made up stuff, Chris called her on it, and now she’s whining because she was made to look like an idiot, which she was.

Florida Black Voter Intimidation Starting Earlier Than Usual

From this NY Times op-ed piece:

State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

Nice to see the Republican machine isn’t waiting until the last minute.

Bush Forgets His Lines

The thing about theater is this — you have to remember your lines. And if you forget them, you shouldn’t tell the audience that. Because then it takes them "out of the moment" and reminds them that they are watching a piece of fiction.

Someone should tell that to the President. Here is Bush yesterday at his "Q&A" where he answers supposedly unrehearsed and unvetted questions posed by supposedly regular random people from the Republicans-only audience. Note how the questioner feeds Bush the answer.

Q Mr. President, I would like to know what your administration has done to help women and children in domestic violence situations.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ve said to the Justice Department, work with states to make sure that the states have got the resources . . . [yada yada yada]

And when I was the governor of Texas, we made it easier for an abused spouse to be able to call her spouse into account without facing retribution. We had notification laws . . . . [yada yada yada]

This is — the truth of the matter is, most good policy — or policy is made at the state level under state laws. And what the federal government can do, the federal government can help on grant-making to help states with those type of laws.

Q And what about the Family Justice Center Initiative? Didn’t you announce that last year?

THE PRESIDENT: The family —

Q — the pilot program — $21 million?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I did, so thanks for reminding me. (Laughter.) How quickly we forget. It was a loaded question, wasn’t it?

If Karl Rove had hair, he would pull it out.

Kerry Might Win . . .

. . . if only he’d stop saving the lives of Republicans.

First, we heard about Rassmann (the Vietnam Special Forces dude Kerry plucked from the water, a Republican), and now this guy:

Former U.S. Sen. Chic Hecht of Nevada is a staunch Republican, but he thanks his lucky stars for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

On July 12, 1988, Hecht was attending a weekly Republican luncheon when a piece of apple lodged firmly in his throat.

Hecht stumbled out of the room, thinking he might vomit but not wanting to do it in front of his colleagues. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., thumped his back, but Hecht quickly passed out in the hallway.

Just then, Kerry stepped off an elevator, rushed to Hecht’s side and gave him the Heimlich maneuver — four times. The lifesaving incident made international news, and Dr. Henry Heimlich, who invented the maneuver in 1974, called Hecht to say that had Kerry intervened just 30 seconds later Hecht might have been in a vegetative state for life.

"This man gave me my life," the 75-year-old Hecht said Thursday.

Compare and contrast the heroic, life-saving, Heimlich-maneuvering Kerry, with this guy:

Bush lost consciousness for a brief time in the White House on Sunday evening while eating a pretzel and watching a professional football game on television. He fell from his couch and has a scrape and large bruise on his left cheekbone, plus a bruise on his lower lip, to show for his troubles. His glasses cut the side of his face.

(Source)

Okay. It’s s cheap shot. I know it. Just having a little fun, is all.

Bush and Rugby — A True Spoof

Since the time machine is set on 1968 or thereabouts, let’s poke around. Let’s see . . . Kerry may or may not be on a secret mission in Cambodia. Check that. And where’s W? Oh, THERE he is. Playing varsity rugby at Yale:

In her new book, “Ten Minutes From Normal,” [former Bush aide Karen] Hughes recounts a conversation with Bush after Russian President Vladimir Putin grilled him on his Yale days. “President Putin knew you had played rugby, but he didn’t have the context. I mean, you just played for one semester in college, right?” Hughes said. Bush corrected: “I played for a year, and it was the varsity.” Yesterday, a Yale spokeswoman confirmed that there’s no such thing as varsity rugby at Yale – not when Bush was an undergrad in the 1960s and not today.

(Source). Mmmmm. He played rugby for one year at Yale, and was on the varsity team when there was no varsity team. But wait! What’s this?

Bush joked with Eales and Howard that he used to play rugby for Yale University from 1964-68, but gave it up because he was no good.

(Source). So Bush played rugby for several years at Yale one year, and he was so bad at it that he gave it up . . . even though they put him on the Yale varsity team which, um, didn’t exist. CONCLUSION: obviously, THIS guy can’t be trusted to sit in the Oval Office: Bushsuckerpunch

Cambodia Christmas Controversy For Beginners

Matt Yglesius has the definitive post on Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia, to wit:

This much we know to be true:

(1) John Kerry was in Vietnam serving in the vicinity of the Cambodian border

(2) John Kerry has said repeatedly that he crossed into Cambodia

(3) Some U.S. forces were crossing into Cambodia during the period in question

(4) During the period in question it was being officially denied that U.S. forces crossed into Cambodia

(5) The disjoint between (3) and (4) was the point of the story John Kerry has told

(6) Official records seem to deny that Kerry crossed into Cambodia.

So, either Kerry made this up, or else the official records we’ve seen to date reflect the contemporaneous official lie that no one was in Cambodia, or else it’s somehow in between (like Kerry was immediately adjacent to Cambodia supporting a cross-border incursion and misrepresented his precise location in order to make the point). Which is true? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the usual suspects on the right have lept to the conclusion (a) that Kerry was definitely lying, and — even more preposterously — that (b) voters choosing on the honesty factor would be well-advised to vote for George W. Bush, a man who has never — ever — sold a policy initiative without misleading the American public about the nature of the initiative.

The remarkable thing to me — and everyone glosses over this — is that even if Kerry WAS bolstering his own story, the UNBOLSTERED version still beats Bush, who was several thousands miles from Cambodia AND Vietnam on Christmas Eve 1968.

Conservative Guns Now Point at McCain’s Vietnam Record

Cheesed off that Sen. John McCain, while not moving away from his endorsement of Bush, attacked the Swift Boat Veteran ads as "dishonest and dishonorable", certain elements of the so-called "compassionate" right are now taking their shots . . . at McCain . . . again.

Check out this editorial from the conservatives’ favorite "I-don’t-believe-it-except-in-a-pinch" source, WorldNetDaily.

I swear, if some Republicans had the option to eat their young merely to score a political point, they would.

Veteran Retracts Criticism of Kerry

WASHINGTON — A week after Senator John F. Kerry heralded his wartime experience by surrounding himself at the Democratic convention with his Vietnam ”Band of Brothers," a separate group of veterans has launched a television ad campaign and a book that questions the basis for some of Kerry’s combat medals.

But yesterday, a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry’s former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a ”terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star — one of the main allegations in the book.

***

Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.

”I still don’t think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. ”It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I’m the one in trouble here."

Elliott said he was no under personal or political pressure to sign the statement, but he did feel ”time pressure" from those involved in the book. ”That’s no excuse," Elliott said. ”I knew it was wrong . . . In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake."

The affidavit also contradicted earlier statements by Elliott, who came to Boston during Kerry’s 1996 Senate campaign to defend Kerry on similar charges, saying that Kerry acted properly and deserved the Silver Star.

Heh.

Bush Administration Officially Goes ‘Round The Bend

The better title for this post is "Trust But Verify", but that was already taken. But seriously, what is up with this?

In a significant shift in U.S. policy, the Bush administration announced this week that it will oppose provisions for inspections and verification as part of an international treaty that would ban production of nuclear weapons materials.

For several years the United States and other nations have pursued the treaty, which would ban new production by any state of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons. At an arms-control meeting this week in Geneva, the Bush administration told other nations it still supported a treaty, but not verification.

***

Arms-control specialists reacted negatively, saying the change in U.S. position will dramatically weaken any treaty and make it harder to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

The announcement, they said, also virtually kills a 10-year international effort to lure countries such as Pakistan, India and Israel into accepting some oversight of their nuclear production programs.

The announcement at the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament comes several months after President Bush declared it a top priority of his administration to prevent the production and trafficking in nuclear materials, and as the administration works to blunt criticism by Democrats and others that it has failed to work effectively with the United Nations and other international bodies on such vital global concerns.

"The president has said his priority is to block the spread of nuclear materials to rogue states and terrorists, and a verifiable ban on the production of such materials is an essential part of any such strategy," said Daryl Kimball, director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association. "Which is why it is so surprising and baffling that the administration is not supporting a meaningful treaty."

These guys don’t know what they’re doing . . .