According to Oliver Willis, here's a paraphrase of GOP strategy: "Senator Kerry, please explain to us what you did with the medals you won for being shot at and for saving lives during your service for our country, while President Bush and Vice President Cheney were avoiding the draft. Senator Kerry, release your military records so we can reveal your excellent performance reviews and compare them to President Bush's middling and missing ones."
According to Poynter Online, The Sinclair Broadcast group, which owns several ABC affiliates, mainly in the Southeast, will refuse to air Friday night's Nightline. Why? Because Ted Koppel will read the names of the servicemen and women who have died in Iraq. Here's part of Sinclair's reasoning. It's flawed. Click the link above for the whole disgusting thing: "The ABC Television network announced on Tuesday that the Friday, April 30th edition of Nightline will consist entirely of Ted Koppel reading aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in action in Iraq. Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." Thankfully, ABC responds, in part: "We respectfully disagree with Sinclair's decision to pre-empt "Nightline's" tribute to America's fallen soldiers which will air this Friday, April 30. The Nightline broadcast is an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country. ABC News is dedicated to thoughtful and balanced coverage and reports on the events shaping our world with neither fear nor favor -- as our audience expects, deserves, and rightly demands. Contrary to the statement issued by Sinclair, which takes issue with our level of coverage of the effects of terrorism on our citizens, ABC News and all of our broadcasts, including "Nightline," have reported hundreds of stories on 9-11. Indeed, on the first anniversary of 9-11, ABC News broadcast the names of the victims of that horrific attack."
Check out Wes Clark's brilliant defense of Kerry's Vietnam War Record in today's New York Times. "When John Kerry released his military records to the public last week, Americans learned a lot about Mr. Kerry's exceptional service in Vietnam. They also learned a lot about the Republican attack machine." "The evaluations were uniformly glowing. One commander wrote that Mr. Kerry ranked among 'the top few' in three categories: initiative, cooperation and personal behavior. Another commander wrote, 'In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, Lt. j.g. Kerry was unsurpassed.' The citation for Mr. Kerry's Bronze Star praises his 'calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire.'" "In the United States military, there's no ideology - there are no labels, Republican or Democrat - when superiors evaluate a man or woman's service to country. Mr. Kerry's commander for a brief time, Grant Hibbard, now a Republican, gave Mr. Kerry top marks 36 years ago." "Now the standards are those of politics, not the military. Despite his positive evaluations, Mr. Hibbard recently questioned whether Mr. Kerry deserved one of his three Purple Hearts. In the heat of a political campaign, attacks come from all directions." Go check out the rest.
The slime du jour is the old charge that Kerry-claimed-he-threw-his-medals-but-never-really-threw-them. Tom Oliphant pretty much puts an end to this latest GOP nonsense in today's Boston Globe. "ON THE WAY to the fence where he threw some of his military decorations 33 years ago, I was 4 or 5 feet behind John Kerry." "As he neared the spot from which members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War were parting with a few of the trappings of their difficult past to help them face their future more squarely, I watched Kerry reach with his right hand into the breast pocket of his fatigue shirt. The hand emerged with several of the ribbons that most of the vets had been wearing that unique week of protest, much as they are worn on a uniform blouse." The point is that "medals" and "ribbons" was interchangeable back then. The ribbons one wore on one's uniform symbolized, among other things, medals that the soldier had won. Obviously, unless you're a member of the Soviet Politburo, you don't go around wearing medals all the time. They get cumbersome, you know. So, because Kerry said he threw his "medals" when, in fact, he kept the metal medal but threw the ribbon instead, the GOP is trying to paint Kerry as a liar and, probably, a murderer of small animals. Next.
We're fighting two old-fashioned wars overseas. We're fighting a newfangled war against terrorism. Things are, by most accounts, not going swimmingly. In the middle of all of this, the right-wing attack squads are all over John Kerry's military record. Release it all! they scream. That first purple heart was for a mere flesh wound! they yell. Well, Kerry released his entire military file. Bush still can't account for a good chunk of his service. In any event, here is something to consider: From George W. Bush's file: From John Kerry's file: 'Nuff said, really. Thanks to The Washington Monthly for the quick info.
We're the wealthiest country in the world. Bush has about $150 million in his campaign treasury. Don't you think that any 13-year old with a PC and photoshop could have done a better job than this juvenile, tacky background? It looks like "protection" is most important. it appears, in one form or another, seven times. Next comes "prevention", which appears five times. Bringing up the rear is "enforcement", which merits only four entries. I like how there is uneven spacing between "prevention" and "enforcement" on the second row. I also like that "protection" appears next to itself on the fourth row down. Finally, note how the words are arranged in such a way as to perfectly surround the President's head. That's quite creepy.
I've been relatively busy lately and haven't been too active. Sorry about that. The President came to Buffalo yesterday. I was, frankly, more interested in seeing a 747/AFO land at Buffalo-Niagara than I was in what Bush had to say. It was a campaign photo-op, pure and simple - even though he doesn't have a prayer to win in New York. Bush was in town to stump for re-election, and to provide some inarticulate puffery for the Patriot Act, which is set to expire next year. Honestly, I think it's pretty significant that Bush doesn't have a chance to win in the state which bore the brunt of Septemebr 11th - New York. I also think it's pretty significant, and underscores a complete lack of understanding of the issues that Bush comes to Buffalo and doesn't say anything about the Homeland Security issues surrounding our border with Canada. It was all nothing but a big photo-op, complete with "Mission Accomplished"-style background. I'd like to give a belated shout-out to the good folks who protested Bush's visit to Kleinhans yesterday.
Look. Either we have public funding of campaigns, or we don't. In this case, Bush and Kerry both explicitly rejected matching funds, so they're both supposed to be using money they raise on their own to pay for their campaigns, right? Well, apparently Mr. Rule-of-Law, who makes a big deal out of seeing things in black and white, found some grey after all: Go to this blog and compare a quote on the Treasury's website (for which you and I pay), and another quote at the RNC's website. Bush. Ain't he a stinker?
According to this WaPo article, the US is gearing up to finally let the UN handle some of the Iraq reconstruction. The problem is that Iraq is completely devoid of meaningful security. You know, back in the winter of 2002-2003, when my goverment told me there were WMD and a nuclear program in Iraq, I believed it. When it told me that these WMDs were not only violative of existing UN resolutions and posed a growing threat, I believed it. I mean, why would my government, in a post-Watergate, post-Lewinsky era, LIE to me about matters of such import? Not only that, but I certainly believed that these experienced people would devise a coherent plan decisively to win that war, and quickly bring peace and stability to this newly-occupied country. Wouldn't they? Well, as it turns out, they lied to me about WMDs, they lied to me about nuclear weapons, and they had absolutely no post-war plan. Just about anyone with half a brain can tell you that before you go into an adversarial situation, you analyze all of the possible outcomes and prepare for them. Obviously, the UN doesn't want to go near Iraq without some security. So, the US wants to put together a "New Global Force" to protect it. Among the countries the Bush administration is courting to join this force? France. (as Atrios asks, do they still call them "Freedom Fries" in the House cafeterias?). France, India and Pakistan, among others. Any Arab countries? No. Any of Iraq's neighbors? No. Turkey? No. Simply beyond inept, beyond pathetic. Over 600 US servicemen have died for what really has become a folly. I'd love for someone to explain, with a straight face, how the war in Iraq has made us safer from terrorism. Please.
I am really, really disappointed that no local affiliate carries Air America, and I'm not about to get XM radio - at least, not until the Sopranos is done for this season. Franken does have a sort of nascent blog, and brilliantly eviscerates Sean Hannity's (and the remainer of the proto-fascist right's) disgraceful, cheap and ignorant attacks on Kerry. You absolutely must read this in its entirety. Here's the intro: "About a week ago on Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity spewed a litany of lies about John Kerry being a flip-flopper and tax raiser, lies that came directly from the Bush campaign. Oddly, Alan Colmes did not respond. So we will. Hannity said: 'Here's a guy that supported gay marriage, now against it. Here's a guy that by my count has had six separate different unique positions on the war on Iraq. Here's a guy that voted for the $87 billion to fund the war before he voted against it. Here's a guy that was for the Patriot Act. Now against it. No Child Left Behind, for it, now against it. Here's a guy that supported -- was against the death penalty for terrorists who kill Americans. Now he's for it. The only thing he seems consistent on is that, throughout the 19 years he was in the Senate, he voted to raise taxes consistently 350 times. What does that tell us about a man that has no core values or principles? Franken takes these on one at a time. With actual facts and quotes. Would that Hannity, Limbaugh and the rest of the chickenhawk parrots could do the same.
Through this press release, we also learn that, "on February 3rd, 1987, John Kerry and 15 Senators cosponsored a resolution in opposition to import fees and taxes on oil, including Republican Senators John Heinz and Alphonse D'Amato. Senator Pell said that "the truth is that an oil import fee is not a good idea and would certainly not be painless for consumers. An oil import fee would impose heavy new costs on all who use oil and oil products in manufacturing and production. It would also impose higher costs on all who heat their homes with oil or use oil-generated electricity. In addition, by increasing the production costs of energy and raw materials, an oil import fee would make American manufacturers far less competitive in world markets-a situation certainly not tolerable with today's current trade imbalance."
By now, if you have cable or satellite TV, you've probably seen this ad that Bush/Cheney 04 are running. You may also have noticed that, to date, not one single, solitary POSITIVE Bush ad has been in rotation. The ONLY Bush ads anyone has seen have been crude hits against Kerry. It begs the question, why can't Bush just run on his own record? Because his record sucks eggs everywhere, in every way. Back to the point... So, this recent Bush ad contains the following: "Some people have wacky ideas, like taxing gasoline more -- so people will drive less. That's John Kerry. He supported a 50-cent gas tax." Wow, you say. How embarassing for Kerry, you say. Geez, what was he thinking, you say. Heck, I just paid $35 to fill up a tank of gas. The last thing I need is a 50% increase in that amount, right? Sure. But what if the copy went like this: "Some people have wacky ideas, like taxing gasoline more -- to artificially prop up the price of a barrel of oil so oil producers can charge a premium. That's Dick Cheney. In 1986, he introduced a bill in Congress that would have artificially kept the price of a barrel of oil at $24, at a time when the market price was consistently $18." Well, it doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, but it's true. In 1986, Mister "gas taxes are crazy" said this: "'Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States,' The Times/IHT continues: "Oil prices had plunged to $15 from nearly $40 a barrel in the early 1980s, and Cheney argued the tax was needed to stabilize oil-state economies devastated by the collapse. "...the cost of Cheney's oil-tax plan ultimately would have been passed on to consumers through higher prices on gasoline and other petroleum products. "Under Cheney's proposal, any imported oil bought for less than $24 a barrel would have been taxed with a fee equal to the difference between the cost of that oil and the $24 base price. "'It is hard to explain how they could attack John Kerry for even considering a 50-cent gas tax, which he didn't introduce or vote for, and ignore Cheney's own legislation in 1986 which would have dramatically raised the cost of gasoline," [Senator Richard] Durbin [(D) Ill.] said.
Not from this Bush administration. Although there is not enough money for basic homeland security services such as Immigration, border control, and first responders, I'm glad to see that the fanatically right-wing theocrat John Ashcroft is spending millions to go after what I guess is now public enemy #1. Adult porn.
There's a rising star in the conservative punditry named Kathleen Parker. She is a syndicated columnist, and a contributor to the right-wing Townhall.com site. This week, she revealed that the "unanimous" decision in her household was that the entire "Sunni Triangle" area of Iraq. (You know - that country Bush & co. lied about so he could fight a war). Remember Dick Cheney on Meet the Press, predicting how we'd be greeted as liberator. Some greeting. Anyway - completely ignoring the irony - this conservative commentator opines that we should just obliterate hundreds of thousands of innocent (and maybe a couple of guilty) Iraqis. Just kill them dead. Why? Because 4 American "private security contractors" (read: mercenaries) were killed, and their bodies desecrated. I seem to recall that, in their occupied territories, the Nazis would murder 10 local, innocent civilians for every 1 Nazi soldier killed in partisan ambushes. The new conservatives are merely chips off the old block. Here's Ms. Parker's wish that we use a final, nuclear solution on Fallujah. Here, Ms. Parker gets it completely wrong about gay marriage, and stereotypically lumps homosexual men and women with transvestites. She also approvingly quoted conservative "democrat" Zell Miller as advocating that the then-9 democratic presidential candidates be "lined up and slapped." Ha ha! Of course, the original column, and the actual quote, advocated that these 9 candidates be lined up and shot. Tee hee.
Honestly, he always has. Still think that the White House won't blatantly lie its way out of any stupid little thing? Then you should read about the shenanigans between the White House and CNN regarding a funny video from a Bush speech that Letterman ran earlier this week. "On Monday, Mr. Letterman ran a video clip of a boy yawning and fidgeting during a speech by George Bush. It was harmless stuff; a White House that thinks it's cute to have Mr. Bush make jokes about missing W.M.D. should be able to handle a little ribbing about boring speeches. "CNN ran the Letterman clip on Tuesday, just before a commercial. Then the CNN anchor Daryn Kagan came back to inform viewers that the clip was a fake: 'We're being told by the White House that the kid, as funny as he was, was edited into that video.' Later in the day, another anchor amended that: the boy was at the rally, but not where he was shown in the video. "On his Tuesday night show, Mr. Letterman was not amused: 'That is an out and out 100 percent absolute lie. The kid absolutely was there, and he absolutely was doing everything we pictured via the videotape.'" Bush has already alienated Howard Stern, who had been a big supporter in the wake of 9/11. Now he's alienated Letterman.
Wow. The Bush administration cares soooo much about national security that it's willing to out an active, covert CIA operative just to embarass her husband. But that's not all. Oh, no. That is not all. The NY Times reports that the FBI is now expanding itsinvestigation: "Prosecutors investigating whether someone in the Bush administration improperly disclosed the identity of a C.I.A. officer have expanded their inquiry to examine whether White House officials lied to investigators or mishandled classified information related to the case, lawyers involved in the case and government officials say." The coverup was worse than the crime in the early 1970s. What makes this crowd think it's any different in the early 2000s? The more things change...