Friday, January 30, 2004
McCain Calls For Independent Investigation of Pre-War Intel, Bush "Wants Facts", but Says "No"
You have to love John McCain. I was pretty peeved to see him stumping for the guy that flung so much shit at him in 2000 up in New Hampshire last week, but he redeemed himself today.
President Bush, in his usual ass-backwards manner says he "wants the facts", but doesn't want an independent investigation. I'm already having CIA Leak flashbacks!
My concern here is that McCain is trying to lay the blame for intelligence failures on the CIA. Last time I checked, the President was supposed to bear the responsibility for sending troops into battle under shady pretenses...
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Condi Dodges a Tough Question...
Try not to go into shock...
Matt Lauer (I'm as surprised as you guys!) asked a great question:
"If what David Kay says is true--that intelligence officials let Bush down by giving him bad information--then why isn't Bush advocating some sort of inquiry or a special investigation to get behind this?"
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller???
BUSH CLAIMS TO NEVER SAY IRAQ WAS "IMMINENT THREAT"
Facing mounting pressure over charges that the White House
deliberately misled the American people about Iraq's WMD, President
Bush is now claiming that U.N. weapons inspectors were not allowed
into Iraq before the war. Yesterday, the president said, Iraq "chose
defiance. It was [Saddam's] choice to make, and he did not let us in."
But U.N. weapons inspections led by Hans Blix began on November 27th,
2002, as noted by the State Department at the time. Over the course
of the next five months, those inspections found "little more
than 'debris'" from a WMD program that had long since been destroyed.
The weapons inspectors were forced to leave when Bush ordered the
invasion of Iraq. President Bush then "refused to permit the U.N.
inspectors to return to Iraq."
When asked about the issue yesterday, White House spokesman Scott
McClellan claimed the entire WMD issue was unimportant because the
Bush Administration had never said Iraq was a threat. He said, "the
media have chosen to use the word 'imminent'" to describe the
Iraqi "threat" - not the Bush Administration.
But the record shows the Administration repeatedly said Iraq was an
"imminent threat." On May 7th, less than a week after the president
announced the end of major combat operations, White House spokesman
Ari Fleischer was asked, "Didn't we go to war because we said WMD
were a direct and imminent threat to the U.S.?" He
replied, "Absolutely." Similarly, in November 2002, Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, "I would look you in the eye and I
would say, go back before September 11 and ask yourself this
question: Was the attack that took place on September 11 an imminent
threat the month before or two months before or three months before
or six months before? When did the attack on September 11 become an
imminent threat? Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years or
a week or a month...So the question is, when is it such an immediate
threat that you must do something?" Most notably, Vice President
Cheney said two days after President Bush's 2003 State of the Union
that Saddam Hussein "threatens the United States of America."
Big thanks to Dr. Masse for sending me this piece...
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Andrew Sullivan Sees Trouble For Bush Running on 9-11...
...and he ain't no liberal! In fact he's a hero to some of my conservative buddies...
BUSH IS IN DEEP TROUBLE: I'd say something else. The huge turn-out in New Hampshire; the electability factor for Kerry; the passion of the Dean people: all this shows how thoroughly energized the Democrats are to win back the White House. Bush is in the Rove-Cheney cocoon right now. From the SOTU, it looks like he's going to run on 9/11. Bad, backward-looking idea. His coalition is fracturing; his reach out to Hispanics seems to have hurt him more with the base than won him new votes; his spending has independents deeply concerned; Iraq is still a wild card; prescription drugs pandering hasn't swayed any seniors; the religious right wants him to attack gay couples in the Constitution - which will lose him the center. More worrying: I'm not sure he even knows he's in trouble.
9-11 is Bush's crutch. It has been for two and a half years. Too bad for him that New Yorkers are fed up with his empty promises.
Flash forward to September 2004 at the Republican National Convention: Thousands of protestors lining the streets of NYC to protest our lying President. That is if the convention is not moved to a cruise ship!
Another prediction: You'll probably be seeing quite a few yellow "Fire Fighters for Kerry" signs and shirts as well...
PS. Anyone else notice that the Republicans don't want the 9-11 Commission to delay their findings, in spite of the Commissions insistence that they receive an extension because of the White House's stonewalling.
"Republicans fear a report landing too close to the 2004 elections."
That's not even my quote! That's straight from the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and that ain't no liberal rag!
9-11 Changed Dennis Miller, Did It Change You?
I don't know why I do these things. I'm truly a glutton for punishment, I guess. I checked out Dennis Miller's new CNBC show on Monday night...
Let me start by saying that I used to be a HUGE Dennis Miller fan. He could give it to both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, some of his best stuff was busting on former President Clinton. He was a legitimately funny and intelligent guy.
Things started to go downhill after Miller took a job doing Monday Night Footbal commentary. Initially, I was excited. But after a few weeks, the gimmick did indeed get old.
After the September 11th attacks, Miller's mindset took a HARD right. He was spewing anti-Arab sentiment and propping up President Bush so much you would've thought he's changed his name to Jerry Falwell. On an unrelated note, I even heard Miller say he didn't care if the entire Catholic church "burned to the ground".
After being dropped by Monday Night Football and losing his once terrific HBO show, Miller honed his conservative chops by (in a move I actually predicted about two months previous) doing guest spots on Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes (Read as: Faux News's Hannity and Slinky-spined "Liberal").
After that, CNBC, sensing a disturbing lack of liberal-bashing gabfests in the primetime television arena (what with Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, Lou Dobbs, Paula Zahn already on the air), decided to give newly-minted neo-conservative Miller a shot.
Thank God for the media's hard core liberal bias!
Miller pretty much outed himself before his first show aired when he proclaimed he would "give him (Bush) a pass". He went so far to say:
"I take care of my friends."
It certainly was good to see Miller's unbiased eye for journalism back in full flourish...
Miller opened his first show by stating "9-11 changed me..." More so than anything else he said in the hour that followed, this statement made me think.
So this was what some of my conservative friends referred to as "seeing the light" in a political sense. It's always a religious experience isn't it?
For the record, this has not, and will not happen to me. 9-11 was easily one of the worst days of my life, and I didn't even know any of the dead. That being said, in my heart, I knew this world was a dangerous place on September 10th and before that. Horrible things have been happening around the world for thousands of years, and will surely continue.
Do I think we deserved 9-11? NO.
Do I think it was finally our turn? NO.
Did it piss me off to no end to see my nation attacked like that? YOU BET YOUR ASS...
Do I believe President Bush uses 9-11 as a crutch to fall back on when he has nothing worthwhile to say? Again, YOU BET YOUR ASS...(Crap, there goes my ride on Air Force One)
But, for all my anger and frustration, it led me to the conclusion that if 9-11 can change your beliefs view of the world THAT much, you probably weren't terribly committed to your beliefs in the first place.
I liken it to racism. If an African-American steals my car tomorrow, it would not turn me into a virulent racist overnight. I'm confident in my view of the world and truly believe it will not change under any sort of duress.
The rest of Miller's first show consisted of an interview with the newly-elected Governator of California in which Miller referred to a Democratic lawmaker from California as a "borderline Socialist." Nothing like elevating the dialogue, eh?
He also had a panel discussion with 2 hardcore conservatives (including the always lovable David Horowitz) and one left-leaning woman. Three to one is never good odds in an argument, and they proved it....
I won't watch his show any more, obviously. Especially when there's so much good "fair and balanced" coverage out there for me. Let's see, there's.......well there's.......oh and um.......oh, that other guy.......Oops.......maybe not! That's a story for another time....
Friday, January 23, 2004
Halliburton Continues To Earn It's $6 Billion
When you've got the President and Vice President in your back pocket, why bother doing things legally and ethically! It's not like they set a bad example or anything...
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil services company Halliburton Co has told the Pentagon that two employees took up to $6 million in kickbacks for awarding a Kuwaiti-based company with work supplying U.S. troops in Iraq, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday.
It is the first solid indication of corruption involving U.S.-funded projects in Iraq, and could expose the company to fines and potential fraud charges, the paper said...
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Nothing To See Here!!!
Hypothetical situation: You're the defendant in a very high-profile court case. The judge presiding over the case happens to be a personal friend of yours. That's the beginning of a problem right there...
But you take it a step further: Three weeks after the case is accepted by the court, you go on a duck-hunting trip with said judge/friend!
Well, now that's just friggin' obvious!!!
Sound crazy??? Implausible??? Just too wacky to be for real???
A scant three weeks after the Supreme Court of the United States decided to rule on whether or not Vice President Dick Cheney's secret meetings with energy industry lobbyists violated US law, justice Antonin Scalia and VP Cheney were off on a duck-hunting trip in Louisiana...
Truth is always way stranger than fiction...
The excuse that Scalia gave rings painfully hollow, as well. He claims that Supreme Court justices are regularly invited to the White House for dinners, events, etc...This situation is far more specific in that Scalia's decision can basically exonerate a good friend who's found himself in a much-deserved heap of trouble. A hunting trip is slightly more personal than an open event at the White House...
The federal code of judicial conduct requires that any justice "shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."
This situation literally defines the phrase "conflict of interest", but as with every outrage that the current administration unleashes on the country on a daily basis, it will probably be ignored by an obedient media and allowed to blow over by a Democratic party with a pair of raisins where their balls should be...
Here's your link. Read up and get pissed, the Democrats probably won't do it for you...
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Kerry, Edwards Make Big Impact in Iowa
My hat's off to last night's winners at the Iowa Caucus. I truly hope their success will set the tone for the race to come. They both managed to stay (mostly) positive and reaped massive benefits at the cost of Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt who basically cannibalized each other...
Watch for both Kerry and Edwards to get a huge bump in New Hampshire, but in my mind, Gen. Wesley Clark still has Uncle Mo on his side where NH is concerned...
Joe Lieberman Continues to Impress Voters That Will Never Vote For Him
The two descriptions I like best about Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman are as follows:
"Joe Lieberman: A New Kind of Democrat, the Republican Kind..."
"Joe Lieberman is the candidate for people who like George W. Bush, but think he isn't Jewish enough."
Lieberman's campaign on all things slightly-right-of-center has earned him an endorsement from New Hampshire's largest news paper, The Union Leader. For a little background, The Union Leader's editorial page makes the Wall Street Journal look like it was written by Ralph Nader.
Here's a question I think is pretty valid as far Joe is concerned. Do you honestly believe the authors of this ringing endorsement...
"Make no mistake. We have great differences with many of his social and big-spending positions, but in a campaign in which the flip-flops and outrageous statements are unending, Joe Lieberman's refusal to pander is refreshing and remarkable. He is worth the consideration and support of independent-minded primary voters..."
....would EVER vote for you against George Bush in 2004??? Keep on working the Fox News crowd, Joe. You're almost out of the race!
Forgive me for being a cynic, but The Union Leader endorsing Joe Lieberman makes about as much sense as me putting together a list of my all-time favorite Dallas Cowboys...
I gotta try this:
"Joe Lieberman: The Democrat That Republicans Pretend to Not Hate..."
There Are No Words...
Carolina Panthers 14, Philadelphia Eagles 3
The last two years, the Eagles pissed me off. This year, they just hurt me...
My friend, the immortal Dr. Masse believes there is a curse on the city of Philadelphia. I'm finding it harder and harder to disagree with him...
I should thank the many people that called my house yesterday in a sort of "Unofficial Brian Suicide Watch"...Sorry I didn't answer. I'm not dead...
A quick final note: Anyone reading this who blames Donovan McNabb for this loss wasn't really watching the game, and should keep their head firmly planted up their ass where it was during the game.
P.S. I hope to add more when I get a little distance from this mess...
Thursday, January 15, 2004
How Exactly is a Democrat's Wife Supposed to Behave?
On the heels of this week's "revelation" that Howard Dean's wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean, is *gasp* not actively involved in her husband's political career, I decided to figure out what is deemed acceptable behavior for the spouse of a Democratic politician. Before I do, I have to tip my cap to the always prescient and wholly unbiased Matt Drudge for bringing this shocking bit of news to America's consciousness. Way to dig deep, Matt...
The standard is pretty much set by Sen. Hillary Clinton. The former First Lady has been called many things. Hypocritical right-wingers love to refer to her as "Hitlery", all the while screaming at those who dare compare the actions of George Bush to those of Adolf Hitler. She's been called a lesbian, a murderer, an unfit mother, and probably even worse things that I haven't yet had the displeasure to hear.
Why has she been such a lightning rod for Republican aggression? Because she speaks her mind? She has ambition outside of being a Stepford wife to the Big Dog? She dared run for the Senate after her husband left politics?
It seems like it could be any of a number of these reasons, but are Republicans that scared of a woman with a passion for what she does and a vision of what's good for this nation? And the last time I checked, Elizabeth Dole was one of my Senators and nary a peep is heard about her being an evil anti-American lesbian.
John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry is a very outspoken individual. Not surprisingly, she too has snagged a few labels from the conservatives among us.
Tipper Gore was ridiculed and insulted for daring to have opinions of her own (some of which I strongly oppose) and working for what she believed in...
Why is it then that Republicans are now going after Governor Dean's wife for shying away from the shitstorm that they would inevitably unleash on her? Why would she want to be a part of this???
What is acceptable behavior for a Democratic politician's wife? More to the point, does it even remotely resemble what is acceptable behavior for a Republican politician's wife?
When the first lady of Maryland (her hubby has an "R" by his name) said she wanted to shoot Britney Spears, it was seen some sort of call for morality by the right wing powers that be. I'd like see what would happen if Governor Mike Easley's wife tried that.
My advice to any man or woman married to a Democratic politician would be simply this: Don't listen to what they say...They don't matter...Live your life and be happy, because those who seek to tear you down are making themselves miserable by reviling you...
I would, however, like to see some of these Democratic politicians take a more forceful tone against these kind of BS ad hominem attacks against their spouses.
If I ever choose to enter the political arena, my advice to the naysayers would be simply this:
My wife is the most precious thing in my world, and if you ever dare to say a crass word about her, you've got something unpleasant coming your way, and it rhymes with GRASS-PICKING...
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
See the Difference???
Number of days between Novak column outing Valerie Plame and announcement of investigation: 74 days.
Number of days between O'Neill 60 Minutes interview and announcement of investigation: 1 day.
Having the administration reveal itself as a gaggle of hypocritcal goons... Priceless...
Big thanks to Josh Marshall @ Talking Points Memo for this piece of info...
Monday, January 12, 2004
Why Didn't Bush Run on Iraqi Liberation in 2000?
With the new (albeit, not terribly surprising) revelation from former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill that the Bush administration was planning an invasion of Iraq long before the September 11th attacks, one question is popping up in my mind:
Why didn't Bush run on the idea of "freeing the Iraqi people" during the 2000 election?
Since this was his motivation long before he was elected (read all about the Project for a New American Century), why did he deride the Clinton administration for its "nation-building" efforts when he planned to do the very same thing, if elected. This President REPEATEDLY railed Al Gore during the 2000 debates, flatly stating that he would not engage in such nation-building which he said "stretched our military" too thin. Here's an exact quote:
"If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. I'm going to prevent that."
This is the most crystal clear example of bait-and-switch politics in recent memory, and now our military is stretched to an extent that the Clinton administration never could have dreamed of...
Destiny Gets Lost On the Schuylkill Expressway
Philadelphia Eagles 20, Green Bay Packers 17
This game was certainly set up as a Good vs. Evil contest, with the Fox NFL Sunday crew openly pining for a Packers victory.
Terry Bradshaw even went so far as to say God himself was guiding Brett Favre's passes this offseason. Now, I'm no clergyman, but I have to believe God has better things to do on a Sunday, even if that is His day off. Then again, football is pretty cool.
I don't begrudge Brett Favre for all the "Team of Destiny" talk. If I lost my father, that would've ended my season. Period. I agree it was inspiring to see Favre pull his team together the way he did.
What I find unfortunate is that my team got painted as the bad guys in this "ride to destiny".
Look at the facts. Here are two teams that:
1. Started the season WELL below expectations.
2. Had their QB dinged up for most of the season.
3. Had said QB endure external pressures that made their job extremely difficult (no, I'm not saying the McNabb-Limbaugh debacle comes close to comparing with the loss of Brett Favre's father, I'm just setting up a frame of reference)
4. Pulled their act together in the last 11 weeks of the season in order to get back into the playoffs...
Still, there I was yesterday hearing the same old lines about "rabid" and "unruly" Eagles fans...
Maybe Destiny has a new darling. The Eagles? The Panthers? Who knows...
I hope Brett Favre does not retire any time soon. He is an absolute pleasure to watch and a sportsman of the highest caliber. I hope he has a peaceful postseason...
Tony Blair Finally Gives Up the WMD Ghost
I'm sure you all remember Tony Blair, he's the British Prime Minister that the Bush Administration uses to support it's WMD claims when the general public starts to catch on to the fact that W ain't too bright. Blair is a very articulate speaker, so when he talks, people, for the most part listen.
Blair is also the one who brought to fruition the claim that Saddam Hussein could use his WMD's with 45 minutes notice. Let's just say his story has changed slightly:
Asked if he had been wrong in highlighting the weapons threat, cited as the main justification for the US-led war, Blair told BBC television: "You can't say that at this point in time."
He was 100% sure back in March. Now? Not so much...
Friday, January 9, 2004
Like Everything Else He's Done, Bush's Recovery Is A Falsehood
I will preface these comments by saying that the GDP and several other indicators have shown that the US economy is improving.
That being said, what good is an economic recovery if the more than 2.3 million Americans that have lost jobs on Mr. Bush's watch still can't find a job?
When the December jobs report came out this morning, the consensus among economists was that the economy would add around 135,000 jobs. In reality, the economy added a whopping 1,000 jobs. I'll let that sink in...
While it's sinking in, allow me to bring up the startling fact that October's positive job growth was revised DOWN to 100,000 jobs from 137,000...
And for the finale, November's number was also revised DOWN to 43,000 from 57,000.
The revisions are actually more disturbing, because these are numbers that conservatives have used to justify their claims of a healthy economy.
Lot's of numbers. Yes. Lots of good news. No.
The rosy picture that Bush apologists like to paint of our current economic situation holds a tinge of truth, but without jobs, does the average American care? I think they would prefer knowing their job is safe and that others are out there...
On a quick aside, maybe Saddam Hussein can help us find out where all our jobs have gone since President Bush took over! Maybe they're in Syria with all the weapons of mass destruction that are nowhere to be found!
Fake economic recovery, fake justification for a war that has cost 500 US soldiers their lives, fake commitment to schools and AIDS...
Real reasons for change in 2004...
Wednesday, January 7, 2004
Conservatives Don't Like the Taste of Their Own Medicine
Recently, an organization called Moveon.org ran a contest entitled "Bush in 30 Seconds". MoveOn is an organization that seeks to bring more people into politics that have been disenchanted with the process. They are *gasp* a left-leaning organization.
The contest in question asked competitors to create their own 30-second commercials that creatively expose the truth about President Bush's policies. Thousands of submissions were entered, and as with any open competition, a few wingnut commercials got through.
A couple of the commercials compared Bush to Adolf Hitler. To me that's tasteless and complete and utter bullshit. Bush is a lot of things (many of them bad), but he's not a Hitler. Asshole, maybe. Hitler, no.
The offending commercials were removed from the site, and as MoveOn's founder states, "The two offending ads can only be found one place now -- on the Republican National Committee website!"
Seems like an open-and-shut case, eh? Thin-skinned conservatives didn't think so. Particularly the head of the RNC, Ed Gillespie. He could be found on Faux News Sunday screaming about the removed ads. How dare they do this to our fearless flight-suited leader. They are evil-doers!!! Sound familar?
All that being said, here's what I want to know:
Where was Gillespie's outrage in 2002 when decorated Vietnam War veteran and Democratic Senator Max Cleland, who left three limbs on the battlefield, was featured in a Republican attack ad showing his face morphing into Osama bin Laden's?
Where was Gillespie's outrage earlier this week when the New York Post ran an editorial describing Howard Dean as resembling Hitler? The opinion piece even referred to Governor Dean as "Herr Howie"...
Why don't Gillespie's panties get in a wad every time some loudmouth yaps about "Hitlery" Clinton and "Feminazis"?
Where was ol' Easy Ed when Stephen Moore of the ultra-conservative, anti-tax Club for Growth was labeling 3 REPUBLICANS as "Franco-Republicans" because they wouldn't vote for Bush's irresponsible tax giveaway? I mean, look at this quote!!!
"President Bush courageously led the forces of freedom," the ad goes. "But some so-called allies like France stood in the way. At home, President Bush has proposed bold job-creating tax cuts to boost our economy. But some so-called Republicans like" -- the Maine ads mention Republican Senator Olympia Snowe; the Ohio ads, Senator George Voinovich -- "stand in the way."
Add to this the French flag flying in the background during the ad (I'm not making that up), and you've got a full-on commercial for Freedom Fries!
Mr. Gillespie, and indeed, the Republican power structure including the Bush Administration turn their heads to these kinds of attacks only when they are the ones delivering the blows.
Case in point: After John McCain walked away with the New Hampshire primary in 2000, Team Bush was reeling and they knew they had to win in South Carolina. What did they do to make it happen? They smeared McCain and intimated through telephone "push-polling" that McCain may have had a black love child! Classy. Bush wins in SC, you know the rest...
The Hitler ads were wrong, this much is true. But, if the RNC and the Republican party as a whole want to retain some level of consistency and avoid the kind of hypocrisy that Bill Bennett, Rush Limbaugh, and Arnold Schwarzenegger took to new heights in 2003, then they should turn the scope back on themselves occasionally.
Naturally, I won't be holding my breath....
For a terrific outlook on this topic, check out Take Back the Media's Don Waller:
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Tug McGraw 1944-2004
When the Philadelphia Phillies won the 1980 World Series, I was all of 3 years old. People rarely remember moments that take place at such a young age. I'm no different in that respect, save a very few stand-out moments.
One such moment was seeing Tug McGraw leap into the air after striking out the Royals' Willie Wilson for the final out of Game 6. Sure I've seen it roughly 26,875 times since (hey, we Philly fans hang on to the good times!), but I do remember that moment. My family went insane, as did the entire city of Philadelphia, The Tugger leapt in the air, Mike Schmidt seemingly flew onto the top of the pile of delirious Phillies.
Seeing Tug take to the mound last year for the closing ceremonies of Veteran's Stadium was incredibly moving. There he was, in the stadium who's incomparable character he helped to define, re-enacting the definitive moment in Phils' history. Despite showing the effects of the disease that eventually took his life, he was still the same ol' Tug McGraw the city loved so much.
Baseball is small in the big scheme of things. Tug was a great family man and a great person as well. In addition, he was a true natural character. Few people are. He coined the phrase "Ya gotta believe!" during the 1973 playoffs while playing for the New York Mets.
I now take the opportunity to thank Tug for the greatest moment in Philadelphia sports history, and for being the kind of person we all should hope to be someday.
"Ya Gotta Believe!"
Thanks, Tug. We'll miss you...
Friday, January 2, 2004
"Whether or not you think you can do something, you're probably right."
My wife related this quote to me, and it seems so fitting at a time when even fellow Democrats tell me "We can't beat Bush in 2004."
That attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I for one, will never succumb to it. This sort of defeatist drivel does the Republicans' work for them. I'm know I couldn't live with myself if George Bush was re-elected in 2004 and my only answer to his hijacking of America was "We can't win!"
Don't buy into this crap. Any of our candidates could take Bush to task. All we have to do is believe, and GET INVOLVED!!!
Doubters be damned, take that weak shit elsewhere....