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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Are You Fucking Kidding Me, Part Deux 

According to Drudge, George W. Bush, our President, is going to be on the Rush Limbaugh show today. Perhaps Rush can ask him to compare the torture of Iraqi soldiers with his days as a frat boy at Yale...
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Are You Fucking Kidding Me? 

At The Corner, Katie O'Beirne, a prominent pundit, writes:
Tonight's Message: Republicans fight back. Democrats light candles. It is so striking that the Democrats' Boston tribute to 9/11 was a remembrance of helpless victims who lost their lives that day. Those gutsy women reminded us of the stakes in this election by seeing a call to arms as the fitting tribute to their loved ones. Such a stirring reminder of the selfless heroes who walk among us would be an impossible display for the modern Democratic party.
One reason such a stirring reminder might be impossible is that George W. Bush (who incidentally was a coward when his country called him to serve) would have his Republican friends run ads claiming that these women didn't really lose relatives on 9/11, weren't really close to the relatives they lost, and are in no way deserving of our respect or admiration? Of course, those ads wouldn't be true, but...
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Republicans Mock War Hero's Service 

Apparently, a popular item at the RNC is a small band-aid with a purple heart, intended to mock John Kerry's war record. Via Atrios, via someone else....

Why isn't something like this in every news story concerning attacks on Kerry's service:
While John Kerry received those so-called minor wounds, George W. Bush used his family's connections to avoid service in Vietnam by landing a spot in the National Guard. Those attacking Kerry's war record have been unable to produce a single piece of documentary evidence to support their claims. Meanwhile, all documentary evidence has supported what Kerry has said about his Vietnam service and Bush has been unable to produce records that prove he fulfilled all of his obligations to the National Guard.
Well, a better written version of that paragraph should be in all such news stories.
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Monday, August 30, 2004

9/11 and Iraq 

While writing that last post, I'm listening to Giuliani in the other room. Another blatant attempt to create a false connection between Iraq and 9/11, despite the fact that Iraq is and was, in Michael Moore's words:
A nation that had never attacked the United States. A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen.

Giuliani said this:
And it was here in 2001, in the same lower Manhattan, that President George W. Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center, and he said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, "They will hear from us."

Well, they heard from us.

They heard from us in Afghanistan and we removed the Taliban.

They heard from us in Iraq, and we ended Saddam Hussein's reign of terror.

And we put him where he belongs, in jail.
Was Bush actually promising that he would attack Iraq that day? Were there terrorists in Iraq that had been involved in 9/11? I ask again - are there any Bush-supporters out there who still read this blog with any thoughts on this matter? I really want to know: do you think this administration has been responsible for linking 9/11 and Iraq? Do you deny this, do you defend Bush's saying it, or do you think that it's true?
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McCain 

I was moving tonight, and have only had time to watch part of McCain's speech - on C-Span. I have heard no analysis. Has anyone claimed this speech his good? It's not - it's terrible. I've always thought he was a bad speaker - much worse than Dean on a bad day (except, of course, that ONE bad day) or even Bush on a bad day.

But beyond that... I wonder how conservatives respond to the liberal critique that Bush and the Republicans have tried their hardest to tie September 11 and Iraq together - despite the evidence that there was no such link. I have spoken about this to a few intelligent conservatives, and they insist that Bush has done no such thing. (Anyone out there care to comment on this? Do any of you U of C Federalist types still read our partisan bomb throwing - and also still support Bush? Do you think that Bush did this? Does it bother you?)

And they are right, to an extent. I can point to no transcript where Bush or any important Republican explicitly links the two. Bush, like Clinton, is usually too smart for that. Except, Clinton used clever word games so he wouldn't have to admit that he engaged in consensual face fucking in the oval office. Bush (to the extent that he is able) engages in clever word games so that the American people will support his decision to send young men and women to a foreign land to die.

McCain's speech is a perfect example:
Four years ago, in Philadelphia, I spoke of my confidence that President Bush would accept the responsibilities that come with America's distinction as the world's only superpower.

I promised he would not let America "retreat behind empty threats, false promises and uncertain diplomacy," that he would "confidently defend our interests and values wherever they are threatened."

I knew -- I knew my confidence was well placed when I watched him stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center with his arm around a hero of September 11 and in our moment of mourning and anger, strengthen our unity and our resolve by promising to right this terrible wrong, and to stand up and fight for the values we hold dear.

He promised our enemies would soon hear from us. And so they did. So they did.

He ordered American forces to Afghanistan and took the fight to our enemies and away from our shores, seriously injuring Al Qaeda and destroying the regime that gave them safe haven.

He worked effectively to secure the cooperation of Pakistan, a relationship that's critical to our success against Al Qaeda.

He encouraged other friends to recognize the peril that terrorism posed for them and won their help in apprehending many of those who would attack us again and in helping to freeze the assets they used to fund their bloody work.

After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq.
Where does his discussion of the response to 9/11 end and his discussion of the Iraq war begin? In what way are the connected? How is this speech not planting in the mind of the listener the idea that 9/11 and Iraq are connected?

Moving on... later, McCain said this:
Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Not our political opponents. And certainly -- and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe...

AUDIENCE (Booing filmmaker Michael Moore who attended the convention):

Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

MCCAIN: Please, please, my friends.

That line was so good, I'll use it again. Certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe, my friends, who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace, when in fact -- when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children inside their walls.
And if you could have heard those boos - unlike anything I heard at the DNC. (At least Bush hatred, if it exists, is directed at the actual person in charge of the conservative movement right now.)

Of course, there are many things to criticize about Moore's movie. But his response to this frequently made accusation makes sense. Nobody who watches this movie is unaware that Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator. The media, the President, the Democrats and even the most ardent critics of the war - including Howard Dean, the most vocal - had told us this for years. That doesn't change the fact that somewhere in Iraq, children played in the streets. The actual choice before Iraq was not whether nor not to let a bad man remain in power or to do nothing - the choice involved deciding whether or not it was worth incinerating some of those children remove him. The choice involved deciding how many American mothers had to sacrifice their children to remove him. The media did an abysmal job of presenting that choice; Moore presented only the other side. Whether this is most useful response - and it's probably not - it's understandable, defensible, and certainly not worth talking about during a nationally televised speech.
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Cheerleaders for Truth 

Funny.

Sent by occasional G&G reader D O'B.
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Saturday, August 28, 2004

G&G Reviews Steve Earle 

Steve Earle has a new album out, and a new blog. Find "The Revolution Starts Now" here. Read the four-star Rolling Stone review here.

It is a very good album, and much more political than the (pretty damn political) "Jerusalem." There are some fantastic songs on this album, including the title track and "Rich Man's War." However, I find many of the songs to be structurally (that is, musically) very similar to some of the songs on Jerusalem. Earle makes up for this shortcoming with potent lyrics and emotion.

Another oddity of this album, which was recorded at breakneck speed after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, ("All but two of these songs were recorded within 24 hours of the first line hitting the paper," Earle writes in the liner notes.) is that the strongest songs are, in many ways, the two love songs, especially "Comin' Around," a duet with Emmylou Harris. It's funny, because I thought the best song on Jerusalem, after "John Walker's Blues" was the duet "I Remember You."

Oh, and no review of this album would be complete without, as a code, writing out the chorus to "F the CC:"
Fuck the FCC
Fuck the FBI
Fuck the CIA
Livin' in the motherfucking' USA
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Chris Matthews 

How, Chris Matthews was a guest on Bill Maher last night, and wow, he came really close to endorsing John Kerry. Interesting.
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Friday, August 27, 2004

They're no Fools for the City 

Page Six:
YOU can make a lot of cracks about Foghat, the '70s arena rockers best known for "Slow Ride" - but don't suggest they're backing President Bush. U.S. News & World Report mistakenly reported that the band would be joining Randy Travis and Bobby Womack on a pro-Bush concert tour designed to counter the anti-Bush rock roadshow featuring Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne. "I have no idea where they got that," Foghat drummer Roger Earl tells PAGE SIX. "Foghat are not supporters of George Bush, and we're certainly not going on the road with him." In fact, Earl seemed downright smitten with the John Kerry-favoring Springsteen tour. "I'd like to see Bruce Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt for president. We'd go on tour with them in a minute!" The Long Island resident also offered up Foghat's services to entertain the troops overseas. "We support the troops 110 percent," he said. "We'd love to go over there and play for them, but no one has asked us yet." OK, we get it - you're available!
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Our National Shame 

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:



And note that the poverty level is only $18,660 for a family of four, so there are countless other millions living in de facto poverty that aren't counted by this measure.
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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bill O' Is This Really Worth It Any More? 

Bill O'Reilly has said something very stupid.

His Talking Points Memo from a few days ago starts off with the intriguing question:
The USA dominating at the Olympics, but why?
Why indeed. Basically, the answer is because Americans are achievers; we encourage people to succeed; in general we are better than other people. Fine. I agree, I guess.

Before we move on to this next point, you should know a little background. O'Reilly has recently been focusing his no-spin brilliance on the Canadians. He dislikes them, and if Canada grants asylum to two U.S. Soldiers, he may even propose a boycott of Canada.

His next point is this:
In other countries, the emphasis on self-reliance has been beaten down by nanny states and entitlement cultures. Just take a look at Australia and Canada, for example. The Aussies have 20 million people to draw from. Canada has 30 million. Yet the Aussies have 35 Olympic medals, Canada just five.

"Talking Points" believes this is reflective of the systems in those countries. Australia is a place where self-reliance is emphasized and competition is celebrated. Canada has become increasingly socialistic, as big government programs ensure everyone is marginally taken care of. I may be wrong here, but I see the entitlement culture as a force against self-discipline and motivation.
Remember, more people choose to get their news from this man then any other cable new source.

Apparently, however, Canada's socialistic, big government society must move to Australia during the winter... look at these shocking numbers from the 2002 Salt Lake Games:
Canada: 6 Gold Medals, 3 Silver Medals, 8 Bronze Medals, 17 Total Medals

Australia: 2 Gold Medals, 0 Silver Medals, 0 Bronze Medals, 2 Total Medals.
Will those commie outback freaks ever teach their people about self reliance?

Are there any other possible reasons that explain Canada's relative lack of success in the Summer Olympics as compared to the Winter Olympics other than the welfare state?

Is it worth asking how already-Factor-boycotted France has somehow been able to pull itself out of its O'Reilly-caused recession to win 27 medals?

Is there anything funnier than Bill O'Reilly saying "'Talking Points' believes...."?
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I Agree... 

...with this column on ESPN Page 2. There is something a little racist about Americans rooting against their own basketball team in the Olympics - in fact, there may be something very racist about it. Thoughts anyone?
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A Tale of Two Campaigns 

Bush uses Iraq Olympic team in ads. Iraq Olympic team complains, say they do not want to be part of Bush ads. Bush Campaign's response:
BUSH CAMP SAYS OLYMPIC AD WILL STAY UP:
"We're on very firm legal ground to mention the Olympics, to make a factual point in a political advertisement," said BC'04 spokesman Scott Stanzel... when the olympics is over the campaign will take the ad down, as scheduled.
Kerry uses John McCain in ad. John McCain complains, says he does not want to be part of Kerry ads. Kerry Campaign's response:
KERRY TO TAKE DOWN McCAIN AD:
"We respect John McCain's wishes, and will stop running the ads of him challenging Bush to denounce the attacks on his service. It's long past time that George Bush also take John McCain's advice and do the right thing by putting an end to the smears and lies attacking John Kerry's military service. George Bush needs to say this is wrong, he needs to say it must end," said Kerry spokesperson David Wade.
Remember when Al Gore said "no controlling legal authority" and the Republicans threw a fit. Guess what, Scott Stanzel? Most people who complained about your ad thought it was in poor taste; not illegal. Removing it isn't compelled by law; it's compelled by class and a sense of responsibility for the ads supported by your campaign. Obviously, the Bush campaign has none of that.
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Ask the White House 

The White House web page (the president one, not the porn site) has an "Ask the White House" feature, wherein average citizens can ask questions of noted administration officials via the internet.

Here is a list of recent participants in the chat:

August 12, 2004
Andy Card, Chief of Staff

August 13, 2004
David L. Johnson, Director of the National Weather Service

August 18, 2004
John Snow, Treasury Secretary

August 19, 2004
Don Evans, Commerce Secretary

OK, this all makes sense. Then, this:

August 20, 2004
Kerri Strug

Say what? Lovable Olympian Kerri Strug is authorized to speak on behalf of the White House? Apparently so... here is the full transcript.

The whole thing is pretty stupid. Here was one thing I enjoyed:
Katie, from Washington, DC writes:
Hi Kerri - What is like going from Olympic gold to the frantic world of Washington (especially the White House)? Were you able to carry any lessons you learned as a competitive athlete into politics?

Kerri Strug
It is so exciting living in Washington DC! I think it is essential for young people to work in DC for some period of time. There are so many things to do, see, and learn.
I think this is a strange message for the White House to send, given that the Republican party is supposed to be about states rights. On the other hand, that is so last decade.

Overall, there's nothing too bad in the chat. It's seems obvious to me that Kerri Strug did not write it - though there is nothing as obviously fake as there was when the Bush twins were permitted to speak for the White House for a week.

UPDATE: I tried to post this yesterday, but wanted to post a link to a blog - I thought Wonkette - who demolished an "Ask the White House" with the Bush twins, pointing out how obvious it was that two twenty-something girls did not write this. I couldn't find it. But, yesterday, Wonkette posted this, which similarly mocks a mailing allegedly from the Bush twins. Here is that post:
The twins haven't been especially reliable in keeping up our correspondence, so you can imagine our delight yesterday, when we received a long-awaited email from them. We hadn't heard from them since Christmas, which is fine, because that's apparently the last time someone took a picture of the two of them in which they were neither dressed in ball gowns nor horizontal. And this wasn't just any email: It was a "special message from Jenna and Barbara Bush." Sure, if by "special" you mean stump-speech pabulum, if by "from" you mean put their names on it, and if by "Jenna and Barbara Bush" you mean "Ken Mehlmann." Wait, that's not fair. . . of course Ken Mehlmann didn't write that email. Some assistant of his did. The campaign has as much as admitted this, telling Lloyd Grove that while the girls didn't necessarily write the letter, "the language is largely their own." Huh. What language exactly, you think? We're guessing the words "parties" and maybe "big." Certainly not "integrity."
Click on the link to read the full message. Very funny stuff.

UPDATE: Because I know that many of our 5 readers will not follow the link and read the whole letter by the Bush Twins, here is my favorite paragraph:
Our Dad has qualities that are needed in a good President - loyalty, humor (embarrassing as it sometimes may be), compassion, and, most importantly, integrity. We're not the only ones who see it. In fact, our friends - from varying political backgrounds - are supporting our Dad in November. Not only because of his decisions to liberate the women of Afghanistan or bring freedom to the people of Iraq, but because during the last ten years they met a man whose title was Governor or President, but who was always happy to be known as "our Dad." He made everyone feel welcome and comfortable in our house (except for the occasional boyfriend) and our friends got to know him as a really good guy.


UPDATE: This post is getting too long, but I have to point out that Pandagon has the definitive post on the letter from the Bush twins.
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I'm Voting for Bush 

This settles it. Last year, John Kerry said this at a speech:
I remember well April 1968, I was serving in Vietnam. A place of violence. When the news reports brought home to me and my crew mates the violence back home and the tragic news that one of the bullets flying that terrible spring took the life of Dr. King.
Now, it turns out that JOHN KERRY WAS ACTUALLY IN A BOAT NEAR VIETNAM at the time, and not actually in Vietnam. How can I a man possibly expect to be President when he gave a speech noting the irony that, during the 1960s, there was a lot of violence at home while he was fighting the war abroad, when he fails to mention that at the time he was only on a boat ready to go to war, not actually fighting in a war.

The funny thing is, the above link is to Instapundit, who actually sort of corrects himself and admits that this a "stretch" and not a "lie." (Which, in itself, is at best a "stretch" and more like a "lie.") However, this story apparently came up on Fox News last night - as is noted in these two Corner posts: here and here. I'll let you know if similar corrections are posted there. (In fairness, the second Corner post links to Instapundit.)
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Monday, August 23, 2004

How to respond to Bush's latest talking point: 

Bush is now saying that he doesn't just want the Scumbags for Bush ads off the air, but all ads that don't originate with a campaign or political party. Kind of strange for any champion of free speech.

As to the counter, Ezra nails it:
Wrong and Stupid
I think there's an easy response to this. "We don't want to ban all political speech, we want the president to denounce hateful, dishonest political speech. We know he's not good with nuance, but there's a line in the sand here and the Swift Vets have crossed it and done so funded by long-time supporters of the Bush family." Quite simply, they want the issue to be 527's -- a smart way of turning it on the one institutional advantage of the Democrats. We want the issue to be the unacceptability of lies and hate in the public sphere; that's a values debate and we'll win it. Particularly if we keep driving home the financial connections between Bush and the SwiftVets.

Further, if Bush thinks the campaign finance bill he opposed and then signed outlawed 527's, rather than created them, he was not only, by his own admission, wrong to oppose far-reaching campaign finance reform but too stupid to know what the bill he signed did. That means our president is wrong and stupid. God bless America, hail to the chief.

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

"Outfoxed" 

I'm finally going to watch "Outfoxed" this evening with some friends. To make it a bit more lively, we're going to make a drinking game out of it. I was sure that if I googled "outfoxed drinking game", something would come up. Alas, no. So, we're making up our own rules. Seeing as we haven't seen it yet, we're not sure if it will work. I'll let you know tomorrow. Here's what we have:
  1. Drink whenever Bill O'Reilly says "shut-up."
  2. Drink whenever Bill O'R accuses someone of "dodging" the factor or of otherwise being afraid of the factor.
  3. Drink whenever Bill O'reilly claims that he is non-partisan.
  4. Drink when Sean Hannity questions someone's patriotism
  5. Drink when Sean Hannity says something demonstrably false
  6. Drink then Brit Hume editorializes a straight news piece.
  7. Drink whenever Walter Cronkite is on the screen.
Now is when I wish there was wider readership of this site, because then I could solicit for other ideas. But, well, we're stuck with these for now.

UPDATE: Rule 8: Whenever Neil Cavuto comes on screen, do something crazy

UPDATE 2: Clearly, rule number one will be our downfall. That was a tough three minutes there
UPDATE 3: If you want to get really, really drunk, you should drink every time someone says "some people say." Luckily, we don't have that rule.

UPDATE 4: This was an original rule, and I forgot to list it. Rule 9: Drink everytime Alan Colmes gets bullied. Also, drink every time you hear "fair and balanced."

FINAL UPDATE: Best rule: the Neil Cavuto crazy rule.
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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Libya 

I think I tried to make this point before, but The New Republic does a better job than me.
There is little doubt that Libya's surrender of its nuclear ambitions has made the world safer. Even human rights advocates like Representative Tom Lantos encourage deeper ties with Tripoli to ensure that Libya does not resume its WMD program. "I'm strongly in favor of moving ahead with normalization. It's clearly in our national interests," Lantos told me. But, while the achievement is to be celebrated, the quick rush to reward Qaddafi, an unpredictable and vicious dictator, has cast further doubt on the White House's commitment to one of the pillars of its post-September 11 foreign policy: democratic reform in the Middle East...

Bush has hardly been shy about touting his democratization efforts. Last November, in perhaps his most significant foreign policy speech, the president cast aside six decades of American commitment to stability in the region. Instead, he announced that democratic reform in the Arab world "must be a focus of American policy." After the speech, White House spokesman Scott McClellan described advancing freedom and democracy as "a central element of our national security strategy." And, at the June nato summit in Turkey, a day after Iraq's new government assumed control in Baghdad, Bush again called for democratic change across the Middle East, urging Arab nations to "recognize the direction of the events of the day."

Yet, while Bush champions reform, Libya's massive human rights violations have not retarded Washington's drive toward normalizing relations with Tripoli. "I haven't seen the U.S. emphasize that they want to see progress on human rights," said one analyst with a leading human rights group. "They're too busy rejoicing [over] the encouraging signals on weapons." Adds one Capitol Hill lobbyist, "They're not making it the centerpiece of their discussions. The most important thing for Bush in Libya is that [Qaddafi] gave up WMD. I guess human rights were the price."
Bush can't have it both ways. Why did we go into Iraq? If it was to protect ourselves from WMDs, then it was a mistake: perhaps a mistake made in good faith, but a mistake nevertheless. If we happened to do good while there and overthrow an evil dictator, fine. But that is not U.S. policy. As demonstrated by our Libyan policy, the U.S. message to the citizens of the Middle East is clear: we will let you live in dictatorships, we will let your citizens be tortured, we will let your dissidents rot in jail cells - as long as your government makes our citizens a little safer.

UPDATE: My previous thoughts on Libya here - scroll down for all three posts. I think this is the best point I've made on this blog - I think the second of those posts is the best. (The best posts on this blog are the first post, and this one, both by Goldberg.)
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Monday, August 16, 2004

Bush rally vs. Kerry rally 

I'm stealing this directly from Kos.

Picture of Bush rally:





Picture of Kerry rally:

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

I Found This Article.... 

searching through the CNN archives. From the late 90s... very interesting.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Ken Griffey, Jr. 

Discuss
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Hannity 

I have wanted to post about this strange lie that Hannity tells over and over again. Incomparably, the Daily Howler has beaten me to it. Read it: Hannity consistently shows an interview with John Kerry from the 1970s, and then misquotes it. He does this over and over again. Why? Because he can.
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Guest Post on Swift Boat Vets for Bush 

Goldberg's note: This entire post is the product of friend of G&G P.S. It wass sent to me via an email entited "Purple Heart vs. Pay Stubs"

Start with some premises.

  1. The American attack on Vietnam was among the most divisive wars in American history, one which divided families, households, and people in the military. Unsurprising that veterans aren't united about Kerry.
  2. War crimes were committed in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia by
    individual members of the military. (Let’s set aside the larger
    systemic and structural issues for now).
  3. Criticizing the military for war crimes is not only patriotic but
    obligatory under Nuremburg precedents, Geneva Convention, and the UCMJ.
  4. While in VVAW, Kerry, perhaps a little late, pointed to some war
    crimes he believed were committed by U.S. troops.

Kerry did an honorable thing in using his abilities, experience,
and connections, to help in a small way in the long effort to end the
war against Vietnam and in pointing out that some war crimes were
committed in the field by U.S. troops.

I can understand how members of the military would feel angered by
charges of war crimes by a fellow service member, particularly if
painted with a broad brush or based on loose facts. Those on the left
must recognize that O’Neill, etc. spoke for millions of Americans and
hundreds of thousands of troops who were incensed by certain voices in
the anti-war movement.

But these understandable feelings do not change the facts of war
crimes, do not make the war just, and do not make criticizing the war,
either as an activist or before Congress, an anti-military or unpatriotic
action. I can empathize with those who were upset, but cannot join in
a goose-stepping patriotism in which no flaws are to be conceded, the
military always and everywhere operates with only the noblest
intentions, and criticism of war crimes or opposition to war is
rejected out of hand as an attack on the ‘integrity of our heros’.
The historical precedents on this score are too unsettling to ignore.

So why this discussion?

Because I think this re-fighting of the Vietnam War by Swift Vets,
Corsi, etc., stems from the ideological fights of that era (assuming
it is not merely a political operation, similar to that used against
McCain in South Carolina in 2000).

My strong view is that if Kerry had not joined VVAW, many of these
critics would now be silent, not the political operatives, of course,
but the people they are using.

My feeling is that the crime making Kerry unfit is NOT that he
scrounged around for medals, etc., but that he dared to question the
war and to help organize, if only briefly, to bring it to an end while
charging war crimes.

They are still fighting the Vietnam cultural war. They see Kerry and
think Hanoi Jane and long hairs. They cannot see that opposing the
war, including the crimes carried out by soldiers, need not imply
dehumanization of the individual soldier or a denial of their genuine
sacrifices.

This race is shaping up exactly the way right-wing guru Paul Weyrich
foresaw.

Weyrich wrote, in part:

Right now, voters are beginning to get a vague picture of Kerry.
They like what they see. He seems to be always surrounded by veterans.
They probably have heard that he saved a man in Viet Nam who is now
campaigning for Kerry. They may have seen Kerry suited up and out on
the ice with Hockey players. Hockey is no game for the faint of
heart. They perhaps read that Kerry won lots of medals for bravery in
Viet Nam.[as of mid-August that’s a check; his favorables have
climbed from low 30s to low 50s, negatives have also increased, but
not that much]

The Bush people seem to think that they can just paint Kerry as a
liberal like Ted Kennedy, and suddenly millions of voters will flock
to Bush’s side. I have news for the Bush team. It won’t happen. Kerry
has already inoculated himself against the charge that he is a Walter
Mondale style tax increaser. Kerry has said he will keep the Bush tax
cuts that helped the middle class. But he will repeal the tax cuts for
the rich to help pay for expanded health care coverage. That pitch has
a lot of appeal to the swing voters.

If the Bush campaign allows the Kerry-the-hockey-playing-war-hero
image to be emblazoned in the minds of the swing voters for very long,
by the time politics gets serious in September, it won’t matter what
Bush and company say. That is unless Kerry is stupid enough to give
some Dukakis- like answers in the Presidential debates. My bet is that
Kerry is smarter than that.

And yes, Kerry did things that anger some veterans, such as
throwing other people’s medals away and testifying as to the supposed
atrocities of our servicemen. But if those charges are thrown around
in September, most swing voters will say, ‘That’s just ugly politics.’
Here we are nearly in September and the ugly politics have started.

The new book by GOP activist O’Brien, a Chuck Colson pupil, and Jerome
Corsi makes certain dramatic charges about Kerry’s Vietnam service to
support the conclusion he is “Unfit for Duty”. With Bush having next
to nothing going, including a questionable military 'record', they
must do everything in their power to destroy the picture Weyrich
paints.

The "Unfit" book and the Swift Vets TV ads make identical charges: Kerry did little or nothing to earn his medals in the war, was a coward, was posing for a political future,
etc. Serious stuff.

But see: “Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record: Ad features vets
who claim Kerry "lied" to get Vietnam medals. But other witnesses
disagree.”

What we have here is two sets of witnesses.

We have one set of witnesses who did not serve on Kerry’s boat, were
not present for most of the acts for which he received commendations,
some are funded by a Republican activist from Texas, and two authors,
one of whom the acolyte of Nixon bag-man Colson.

Then we have a second set of witnesses, Sandusky, Rassmann, Zaladonis,
Wasser, etc., who were there, who can say themselves what happened,
and who knew Kerry personally. (Of the ten men on that boat,
Democrats and Republicans, only one is anti-Kerry and his is an
interesting story to say the least…’I had no trouble shooting gooks’).

I think generally juries and judges go with the eye-witness testimony over the hearsay. I think I’ll believe the Green Beret conservative Republican from Oregon, Rassmann, who says Kerry saved his life by pulling him out of the water. I presume he was closer to the action than Kerry’s critics, [name redacted] or me.

Some other choice Jerome Corsi lines - to give you some flavor of the type of person we are dealing with:
CORSI: “Maybe while he's there he can tell the UN what he's going to do about the sexual crimes committed by "priests" in his "Church"
during his tenure. Or, maybe that's the connection -- boy buggering in
both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't
reported by the liberal press (3/30/2003)
CORSI: Let's see exactly why it isn't the case that Islam is a
worthless, dangerous Satanic religion? Where's the proof to the
contrary? (4/24/2004) [Ummm, where to start?]
CORSI: Islam is like a virus -- it affects the mind -- maybe even
better as an analogy -- it is a cancer that destroys the body it
infects... No doctor would hesitate to eliminate cancer cells from the
body. (11/26/02)
So, I propose we make ALL the years 1966-1973 an important part of the
political discourse. Absolutely, let’s do it.

Let’s make this campaign about Vietnam and the two men’s service as
much as humanly possible. There is just no way that dialogue will
break Bush’s way.

Sure, the right-wing wackos will get their shorts all twisted about
Kerry's embellishments, but the Reagan Democrats and swing voters will
listen to Rassmann and McCain. Then the comeback from the Dem's is
dental records, pay stubs, and the missing six months and this thing
is done. Kerry will not be Clelanded or Dukasised.

A TALE OF TWO ELITES: PURPLE HEART vs. PAY STUB

One volunteers to serve…the other volunteers for the beer run.

One saves his brothers’ lives…the other’s life is saved when Poppy
bumps him to the top of the list into the TX Air National Guard.

One returns stateside and works to end an unjust war…the other
disappears into the smoke, surfacing for dental exams and ‘odd jobs’
that no one can remember...

After hearing churlish Republican hacks struggle to paint the hero-
worshipping event that was the Ds convention as ‘relentlessly
negative’ with ‘unrelenting attacks on Bush’ I just had to laugh.
Then when I had a chance to see the ‘extreme makeover’ spin the Reps
were coughing up, I just couldn’t stop laughing.

So, are we going to see the two Pats (Robertson and Buchanan) and an uplifting message focused on policy issues in NYC?

No.

We get the Hypocrisy in the Garden where, according to AP reporter
Fournier:
Bush and his political team contend that Kerry made two mistakes at
his convention, and they vow not to repeat them:
* Kerry and his surrogates didn’t criticize Bush enough.
* There was relatively little talk about Kerry’s policies, though the
Democrat has enough proposals to literally fill a book.
Bush and his allies won’t be shy about going negative against Kerry
during their Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 convention, White House advisers
said.
This race is shaping up to be far more competitive than I figured some
months ago, though Bush's best shots are yet to come. Kerry’s raised
more money than I figured, clearly the genius moniker for Rove was
overplayed, the economy is terrible, Al Qaeda is reorganizing, and
Iraq looks like a catastrophe with others looming in Iran, North
Korea, or in space.

Is it just me or do the Republican strategists just seem less
intelligent than in past years? I mean, they are botching this up.
If I hear Matthew Dowd say one more word out of the side of his mouth
I will never stop laughing

People justly mocked Gore for losing under favorable electoral
conditions. I still think Bush will likely win, but just how stupid
and aggressively reactionary do these strategists need to be to have a
sitting President, during a time of wars, with threats of terrorism
all about, sitting on a razor’s edge for his re-election? Any other
President with another collection of advisors is coasting to victory.
Of course, any other President probably would have had some post-war
plan beyond throwing money at Halliburton and Bechtel.

It is remarkable that Bush is even in a position to possibly lose.

Look, the bottom line, is both these guys are huge problems for anyone
concerned about creating and sustaining a just future. If Kerry wins,
the struggle will still be daunting, in some ways more so. I have no
reason to trust Kerry or believe in him as some kind of positive force
for good.

But Bush is Bush. This guy is setting the world on fire while
cracking jokes.

And when the chips were down, when two sons of privilege were faced
with the choice of serving their country in what they believed then
was a just war, one ran to the enlistment office, volunteered for
combat, was wounded, saved his brothers and the other ran for cover.
It really is that simple.

Nothing could be sweeter than Rove and crew choking on their Chicken
Hawk bone.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I Love Adam Dunn 

In the midst of another terrible Reds season, Adam Dunn just hit a home run 535 feet. For those who aren't baseball fans: that's far.

The ball went into the Ohio River, which I believe is technically in Kentucky. Therefore, he hit the ball into another state. Nice work, Adam.
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Your President... 

...did this:
Bush also said high taxes on the rich are a failed strategy because "the really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway."
I was going to comment on this, but what's the point?
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Friday, August 06, 2004

Role Reversal 

So, Guthrie's been posting like a bat out of hell, and I've been idle. Times change, I guess. Anyway, got a cousin in town visiting, and my parents come in tomorrow, so it will probably be a slow weekend, post-wise. Well, I pretty much agree with everything Guth wrote. This should be added to any "Scumbags for Truth" (TM: Digby) story. It's on the guy who "wrote" the Scumbags for Truth with Kerry-hater John O'Neill (as the aforementioned Digby has said: "John O'Neill has done nothing noteworthy in his life except oppose John Kerry. Indeed, he barely exists as a human being being except for his opposition to John Kerry.")

Anyway, this is it. Read it, and you'll get a sense of how seriously we should take Scumbags for the Truth.
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Sweet Jesus I Hate Bill O'Reilly 

I have been hesitant to link to this site, mostly because there is a shirt available for order on it which appears to advocate killing Bill O'Reilly. (It's a play on the movie title Kill Bill, but it still seems inappropriate to me.)

However, two things have changed my mind:

1.) For the most part, this web site perfectly captures my feelings about Bill O'Reilly - to the point where I seriously wonder whether I'm running this web site in my sleep.

2.) Only about three people read Goldberg and Guthrie, so I don't think this link will do all that much harm.

Enjoy: www.sweetjesusihatebilloreilly.com.
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Bush/Thomas 

Apparently, George W. Bush is now against legacy admissions to Yale. This is somewhat akin to Justice Thomas being opposed to affirmative action.

On a related note, I am now against admitting theatre majors from Otterbein to the University of Chicago. The last thing my alma mater needs is those fruit cakes prancing about its hallowed halls.


(A harsher comparison would be my intellectual opposition to most legalized gambling and the lottery coupled with my frequent poker-playing trips to Gary, IN.)
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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Oh No... 

Kerry is criticizing Bush for what he did on 9/11. I don't think this is fair - the only reason it was so great in Fahrenheit 9/11 was because it debunked the myth of Bush as fearless leader. But Kerry shouldn't be getting into this muck.

I agree with him; I just don't think it's smart politics. I think Bush is going to get a bounce after his convention because he will "remind" people how great he was after 9/11 - and he did provide some measure of comfort by, you know, not dying or immediately surrendering to Osama. I just think this attack comes off as petty.
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Kerry's Vietnam Record 

G & G hasn't commented on this, because it's so disgusting that I can't really think about it without wanting to vomit. It's typical Bush-family politics: even when they are favored to win an election, they simply can't do it without resorting to vicious and ugly personal attacks. Dukakis. Clinton (ironically, the one time it didn't work was when most of the attacks were true). McCain. Gore. Now Kerry.

Of course, there is no evidence that the Bush campaign supports these ads - there never is. But it does not appear that the White House has taken John McCain's suggestion and denounced them.

For those who don't know, a group of "veterans" - I hesitated to use a word normally associated with honor and heroism to describe this collection of human filth - have released a book that argues that Kerry's service in Vietnam was less than honorable; that he fabricated conduct in order to receive medals (but that they were given anyway to boost his unit's morale); that Kerry shot a bunch of small animals with a machine gun (I'm not making it up - that's the allegation); that Kerry shot a teenager in the back; that this brave group was forced to keep quiet until now because of the "military machine" (always well known to favor liberal Democratic Senators from Massachusetts).

Here's the kicker, though: NONE OF THESE PEOPLE SERVED WITH KERRY AND THE PEOPLE WHO SERVED WITH HIM SUPPORT HIM. Despite this fact, millions of idiots will read Drudge and see the ad and think there is a semblance of truth to these allegations. There isn't. Six soldiers served with John Kerry on his boat - five support his campaign and one is dead.

In fact, these allegations are so preposterous and such obvious fabrications that I have actually entertained the possibility that Kerry is somehow behind them - to make Bush look desperate; to convince McCain to come over to our side, etc. But then I remembered - you can tell absurd lies - e.g., claiming that Gore said he "invented" the internet - and despite irrefutable and widely available proof that what you are saying is a lie - the "fair and balanced" media will still report it; after all they have to report both sides.

I personally think Democrats need to respond to this with a vicious personal attack of their own - I don't care. There were always the rumors that Bush impregnated some woman and forced her to have an abortion. You could have a nice ad, run it in the south: "While John Kerry was serving his country, George Bush stayed at home and killed unborn children." That should cut into his base. Of course, this story isn't true - but that's not the standard any more.
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Lies 

On both sides... I can think of no reason not to believe this Spinsanity article: neither Kerry's nor Bush's plan for reducing the deficit makes any sense. Of course, why should one bother to tell the truth about your own numbers when Bush proved in 2000 that you can lie about them at will and the media will never call you on it? I am so glad to be supporting a liar who lies only slightly less than Bush. However, the liar I support served in Vietnam - so take that, Bush.
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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

I Love Chad Johnson 

Chad Johnson is fast becoming my favorite Cincinnati athlete... Sean Casey, Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena are also in the running. From the Bengals' web site... I bolded my favorite parts.
7/11 OR CNN?
Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson’s enthusiasm is everywhere down here at Georgetown College. On Wednesday, he called for a cameraman to take a shot of him lined up against cornerback Deltha O’Neal in one-on-drills.

On Tuesday, he leaped head first into a scuffle between receiver Kevin Walter and defensive back James Allen to break it up and ended up doing a handstand. If he’s not doing that, he’s on the camp walkie-talkies telling workers to come over and watch him, or running downfield on the scout kick team screaming his head off.

“I’m going to do something,” said Johnson of the end-zone celebrations that got him so much notoriety and at least one 15-yard penalty last year. “But nothing that’s going to hurt the team.”

As for the officials supposedly cracking down on DBs for putting their hands on receivers after the wideouts are behind them at least five yards down field, Johnson shrugged.

“No one is going to touch me after five yards,” he said
.

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The Fight 

I needed a break at work, so I thought I'd take on a Corner post. Kathryn Lopez didn't disappoint...
KERRY'S WAR [KJL]

I'm on some annoying Kerry-Edwards e-mail list for donations and nonsense. The e-mail that just came in has the subject line: " What we're fighting for: health care." Yep. That's the war. Over health care. Can we please lay off the war/battle analogies while we're actually fighting a war against people who WANT US DEAD RIGHT NOW?
I sent her an e-mail with the following.
Ms. Lopez-

With regard to your "Kerry's War" post, I found the following after searching for the word "fight" on the Bush/Cheney web site. I look forward to another post along these lines.

President Names Leader in Global Fight Against AIDS
http://www.georgewbush.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=1927


President Helps Communities Fight Illegal Drug Abuse
"There's another war at home, too, and that's to win the war against the scourge of drugs..." George W. Bush
(This only 3 months after 9/11.)
http://www.georgewbush.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=1547

Mrs. Bush Salutes Those Dedicated to Alzheimer's Fight
http://www.georgewbush.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=2365

"The fight against domestic violence is a national movement. I urge people to join the movement. Part of an awareness month is not only making people aware, but a call to service." George W. Bush
http://www.georgewbush.com/News/Read.aspx?ID=2053
I'll let you know if she responds.

UPDATE: Before I actually sent the e-mail, I realized another reader had already made the exact same point. DOH!
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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Rolling Stone Article Update 

Below, I excerpted the part of the article dealing with the specific instances.

CAP went ahead and digested the other part of the article for us--the part dealing with the systemic nature of the abuse:
IRAQ – PENTAGON WITHHOLDING PRISON DOCUMENTS: Rolling Stone reports that newly-revealed Pentagon documents show how far up the food chain the Iraq prison abuse scandal goes. The documents, withheld by the Pentagon from Gen. Antonio Taguba's report, "make clear that responsibility for...abuses extends to several high-ranking officers still serving in command positions." For instance, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, "who is now in charge of all military prisons in Iraq," was dispatched to Abu Ghraib by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last August. In a report marked "secret," Miller recommended that military police at the prison be "actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees." After his plan was adopted, guards began depriving prisoners of sleep and food, subjecting them to painful "stress positions," and terrorizing them with dogs. The Rolling Stone report adds more evidence to an earlier Newsweek report that said President Bush, "along with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft, signed off on [the] secret system of detention and interrogation that opened the door" to the prison abuse scandal in the first place.
See, just a few bad apples, sure.
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Why is Rolling Stone covering Abu Ghraib, but not the New York Times? 

Rolling Stone has an article entitled "The Secret File of Abu Ghraib," referring to the 106 "annexes" of the Taguba Report. Many members of Congress have seen these files, and the pictures and video that goes along with them, yet have decided, at the behest of the Pentagon and the Administration, to not hold any more hearings on the subject. Less you forget what, specifically, we're talking about here, I'm going to excerpt the part of the article that simply lists some of the 94 documented abuses. But don't worry, I'm sure it's all the work of a few bad apples. This is a longer excerpt than I normally would use, but I didn't feel I could cut any more of it out.
In one sworn statement, Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, detainee number 151108, said he witnessed a translator referred to only as Abu Hamid raping a teenage boy. "I saw Abu Hamid, who was wearing the military uniform, putting his dick in the little kid's ass," Hilas testified. "The kid was hurting very bad." A female soldier took pictures of the rape, Hilas said.

During the Muslim holy period of Ramadan, Hilas saw Spc. Charles Graner Jr. and an unnamed "helper" tie a detainee to a bed around midnight. "They . . . inserted the phosphoric light in his ass, and he was yelling for God's help," the prisoner testified. Again, the same female soldier photographed the torture.

Another prisoner, Abd Alwhab Youss, was punished after guards accused him of plotting to attack an MP with a broken toothbrush. Guards took Youss into a closed room, poured cold water on him, pushed his head into urine and beat him with a broom. Then the guards "pressed my ass with a broom and spit on it," Youss said.

Mohanded Juma, detainee number 152307, testified that on his first day at Tier 1A, the west wing of the Hard Site where prisoners were brought for interrogation, he was stripped and left naked in his cell for six days. Graner, the guard in charge of the tier, entered Juma's cell at 2 a.m., cuffed his hands and feet, and took him to the shower room, where a female interrogator questioned him. After she left, Graner and another man threw pepper in Juma's face, beat him with a chair until it broke and choked him until he thought he was going to die. The assault lasted for half an hour. "They got tired from beating me," Juma told investigators. "They took a little break, and then they started kicking me very hard with their feet until I passed out." In another instance, Graner and a fellow guard reportedly beat a detainee until his nose split open.

...

The sworn statement of Amjed Isail Waleed, detainee number 151365, is especially graphic. On his first day at the Hard Site, he told investigators, guards "put me in a dark room and started hitting me in the head and stomach and legs." Then, one day in November, five soldiers took him into a room, put a bag over his head and started beating him. "I could see their feet, only, from under the bag. . . . Some of the things they did was make me sit down like a dog, and they would hold the string from the bag, and they made me bark like a dog, and they were laughing at me." A soldier slammed Waleed's head against the wall, causing the bag to fall off. "One of the police was telling me to crawl, in Arabic," he testified, "so I crawled on my stomach, and the police were spitting on me when I was crawling and hitting me on my back, my head and my feet. It kept going on until their shift ended at four o'clock in the morning. The same thing would happen in the following days."

Finally, after several beatings so severe that he lost consciousness, Waleed was forced to lay on the ground. "One of the police was pissing on me and laughing at me," the prisoner said. He was placed in a dark room and beaten with a broom. "And one of the police, he put a part of his stick that he always carries inside my ass, and I felt it going inside me about two centimeters, approximately. And I started screaming, and he pulled it out and he washed it with water inside the room. And the two American girls that were there when they were beating me, they were hitting me with a ball made of sponge on my dick. And when I was tied up in my room, one of the girls, with blond hair, she is white, she was playing with my dick. I saw inside this facility a lot of punishment just like what they did to me and more. And they were taking pictures of me during all these instances."

...

Al-Yasseri and the other prisoners arrived at the Hard Site with empty sandbags over their heads to prevent them from seeing where they were and their hands bound behind their backs with plastic handcuffs. The guards threw the men against the walls until they collapsed on the floor in what England called a "dog pile." Some of the MPs took turns running across the room and leaping on top of the men. "A couple of the detainees kind of made an 'ah' sound, as if this hurt them or caused them some type of pain," Spc. Jeremy Sivits testified in a sworn statement. While the Iraqis were on the floor, England and Sgt. Javal Davis stomped on their fingers and feet. Sivits was certain that the men felt pain this time because he heard them scream.

So did Sgt. Shannon Snider, who was working in an office on the top tier. Drawn by the cries of pain, Snider leaned over the railing and in a fury yelled down to Davis to stop abusing the prisoners. Davis stepped away from the men, and Snider left.

...

After Snider had gone, the MPs pulled the prisoners to their feet one by one and removed their handcuffs. Graner, who had learned a few key phrases in Arabic, ordered the detainees to strip. As one prisoner took off his clothes, Graner cradled the man's head in one arm and smashed his fist into the naked and hooded man's temple. "Damn, that hurt!" Graner complained, waving his hand in the air. The prisoner went limp, and someone removed his hood. "I walked over to see if the detainee was still alive," Sivits testified. "I could tell that the detainee was unconscious, because his eyes were closed and he was not moving, but I could see his chest rise and fall, so I knew he was still alive."

According to [Pvt. Lynndie] England, Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick made an X on another prisoner's chest with his finger and said, "Watch this." Then the six-foot-tall Fredericks punched the man in the chest. The hooded prisoner lurched backward and fell to his knees. He gasped for air. "Frederick said he thought he put the detainee in cardiac arrest," Sivits later told investigators. England was asked why she thought Frederick assaulted the man. "I guess just because he wanted to hit him," she said.

Eventually, all seven Iraqis were standing naked and hooded, and the MPs got out their cameras. A few pictures had been taken earlier in the evening, but now the abuse turned into a photo-op. Men taught to be ashamed of appearing naked in front of other men were forced to assume a series of humiliating and bizarre poses. Graner had them climb on top of each other to form a human pyramid, and the MPs took turns taking each other's picture standing behind the men. In one photo, Graner and England smile and give the thumbs-up sign behind the men, who are naked except for the green sandbags covering their heads. The Iraqis were made to crawl across the floor on their hands and knees while the guards rode on their backs. Two were posed as if performing oral sex on each other, and others were lined up against the wall and forced to masturbate while England pointed at their genitals and leered. And all the while, the Americans were laughing, cracking jokes and taking pictures.
No reason to investigate this, no.
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Zuckerman, Unbound 

Shorter Mortimer Zuckerman:
Terrorism is bad. We should, like, totally try to stop it
I was going to do a whole excerpt-and-comment thing with this, but got lazy.

Wondering if anyone will get my post title. We'll see.
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Playing Politics with Terror 

I know this is shocking and surprising, but it appears that the Bush Administration may, you know, let politics dictate its homeland security policy. From the Times:
Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday. They reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terrorist plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way.
But the officials continued to regard the information as significant and troubling because the reconnaissance already conducted has provided Al Qaeda with the knowledge necessary to carry out attacks against the sites in Manhattan, Washington and Newark. They said Al Qaeda had often struck years after its operatives began surveillance of an intended target.
It goes on to say that the bulk of the information "described reconaissance carried out before the Sept. 11 attacks." Now, this still is serious, but there seems to be no reason at all why the warning was issued this week, as opposed to last month, or say, early September (hmm, what's going on then that Bush wouldn't want bumped from the front pages?). And why would Bush want terror on the front pages over last weekend and into this week? Couldn't be because of this, could it?
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Monday, August 02, 2004

Birthday Blogging 

Well, I turned 26 today. My little sister called me all the way from Australia, which was a very nice surprise.

Took a hiatus for the weekend...just not much to say, I guess. And Guth was movings across town, so it makes sense that he didn't post anything. Got a couple of things I want to post on that I read today--I'll try to get to it before work tomorrow. First is a gut-wrenching article in Rolling Stone, based, I think, on the "secret" annexes to the Taguba Report. If the descriptions of Abu Ghraib in that article don't convince you that this is really the only issue that matters, you have no shame.

On a lighter note, the other thing I want write about is Mort Zuckerman's latest attempt to definitively prove that, yes, if you own the magazine, you can regurgitate pure shit and still put it in the prime inside-back-cover slot. Unbelievably terrible claptrap.

Oh, one more thing: a friend recommended this new "Modest Mouse" CD that's been getting a lot of word-of-mouth these days. I've listened to it one and a half times, and, overall, seems pretty damn good. Not comfortable making a full-on G&G endorsement yet (with great power comes great responsibility, after all!), but so far, I'm impressed.
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