Thursday, September 02, 2004

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Celebrate the End of the
Dog and Pony Show in New York

Had enough
Fear and Loathing to last you a lifetime? Answer their ranting, their smirking and their lies. Do something good for America.


We CAN do better.

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Road Trip

Looks like I'll be away from the keyboard for a few days. Mrs. Rain Storm has declared that we are going on a road trip, and so we are.

If any of you are in the Bay Area, look for us with our kids at Muir Woods and the Discovery Museum. And that will be me, eyeing the bottles of Three Buck Chuck at the Trader Joe's in San Rafael.

Have a good weekend. And go register some voters. Remember, no matter what the polls say, we want it more than they do.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

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Why do We Even Bother
to preach the "Rule of Law"

Even if John Ashcroft allows the FBI to follow all the connections in the case of neocons in the Pentagon passing classified information to the Israelis, Chalabi, and who knows who else,
Professor Juan Cole has his doubts about anybody in the administration actually doing any hard time:
By the way, I personally do not expect any dramatic developments from all these investigations. AIPAC has powerful protectors on Capitol Hill, and past charges that it was involved in espionage for Israel have always been buried. As for the Neocon cult in the Pentagon, even if they did something illegal, they will not suffer much because of it. Look at where the Iran-Contra criminals are, who subverted the US Constitution and stole arms from the Pentagon to sell illegally to Khomeini. One Iran-Contra figure, who lied to Congress, now serves in the National Security Council as the person in charge of the Israeli-Palestine issue. That is Elliot Abrams, who was pardoned by Bush the elder and now sets White House policy on among the more important issues affecting US relations with the Muslim world. Bush may as well have just appointed Ariel Sharon to advise him on how to deal with Ariel Sharon (though to be fair, Sharon is probably more pragmatic than and to the left of Abrams).
When an administration has absolutely no shame, no integrity, and frankly, no competence, this is the sort of governance you get.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004

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Why I'm not watching the Convention

Kevin Drum writes:
Overwhelmingly, liberal bloggers seem to feel that if they watch the Republican convention speakers any longer they will explode. So they aren't.
Well, I can't speak for other bloggers. But Mrs. Rain Storm really hates it when I vomit all over the futon.

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What They Should Teach
in Journalism Schools

Joshua Bearman offers a little critique of what passes for modern American journalism:
Whatever paperwork discrepancies exist between Kerry’s paperwork and diaries and so on are not commensurate with the Swift Vets’ flat-out intentional and politically motivated falsehoods. Contrary to the dogma of J-schools across the country, there are not always two sides to a story. Balance is often necessary and indispensable, but there are times when the media might have to, um, mediate a bunch of information and make a judgment. And in those instances, presenting contrasting information as if it’s equally important is, in fact, the false representation – more false than saying, “I’ve gathered a lot of material and vetted it all, and here’s my assessment.”

Just because you can always find a counter quote, or an “expert” who will say that evolution is a disputed science, or some guy who will tell you that Kerry didn’t go to Cambodia doesn’t mean you should repeat it. Here’s a new principle they might add to the J-School dogma: don’t quote people who are lying just to have “both sides” represented. And here’s a tip: don’t source with fringe nuts. That’s not objectivity; it’s retarded. If you want to saunter around the Time Warner Center looking so satisfied with yourselves as the guardians of information, then the least you could do is live up to your role. Don’t be afraid of judgment. It’s all you have left.
I might add: If you're not willing to get off your lazy ass and do your homework, find a line of work that doesn't require any actual research.

Thanks to Susan for the link. Send that girl some turkee.

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A Tale of Two Outings:
Where's the Balance?

That Colored Fella is pointing out that the broadcast media, which was all over the flurry that surrounded the Democrat Governor of New Jersey acknowledging his sexual orientation, is giving scant mention to a conservative Republican congressman from Virginia getting outed.

Given the similarities between the McGreevey and Schrock stories, I think TCF and the rest of Left Blogistan are well within our rights to ask "WTF?"

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Flip Flop Flip Flop
Flip Flop Flip Flop

Bush: I don’t think you can win.

Bush: But make no mistake about it, we are winning and we will win.

Nothing like steady leadership in a time of crisis.

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Purple Heart Bandages
and Political Hate Speech

Digby cuts to the heart of the latest Republican Hate Kerry prank, this one taking place at the Republican Dog & Pony Show in New York yesterday. Quoting the Chicago Sun-Times:

A GOP delegate handed out bandages with purple hearts on them Monday night at the Republican National Convention in a swipe at Democratic nominee John Kerry's war record, but national GOP officials have asked him to stop.

The bandages were handed out by Morton Blackwell, a longtime GOP activist from Virginia, with the message: ''It was just a self-inflicted scratch, but you see I got a Purple Heart for it.''

Kerry won three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star for his service in the Vietnam War. A group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking Kerry as a liar through campaign ads and media interviews, but Kerry's wartime experiences have been backed by crewmates and official records.

''It is inexcusable for a delegate to mock anyone who has ever put on a soldier's uniform,'' said Democratic Chairman Terry McAuliffe. ''It is inexcusable to mock service and sacrifice.''

Blackwell, who gave out almost 250 of the bandages, said veterans have every right to be angry about anti-war comments Kerry made after returning to this country.
Party Chairman Ed Gillespie spoke to Blackwell, and they agreed that he would not distribute the bandages tonight, said GOP spokesman Jim Dyke.

If Mr. Blackwell and some veterans didn't care for John Kerry's congressional testimony of more than 30 years ago, fine. But to mock Kerry's (or any other veteran's) Purple Hearts and other combat decorations is inexcusable. Ed Gillespie and the RNC can disavow Blackwell's actions (wink, wink, nod), and say such actions don't represent the "official" party position. But that's just a load of crap.

Digby is right that this is dirty campaigning -- and really does constitute political hate speech -- but I think it also represents a genuine hostility within the Republican party toward veterans.

Let's face it, most of the party big wigs never served their country. They pander to the military because it is the tool they need to realize the Great American Empire the neocons are so hot to establish.

But when it comes to things like actually taking care of veterans, we are viewed with the same disdain that they attach to the recipients of any of the other entitlement programs they hate so much. Blackwell is just a cheap poster boy of how the Republicans really feel about veterans.

Atrios has
more on Blackwell here.


Monday, August 30, 2004

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2 for 1 Day at the DNC

Here's a great way to support the Kerry/Edwards ticket and send George back to his hog farm in Crawford.

Through midnight Tuesday, a group of high-end Democratic stalwarts will match donations to the DNC, dollar for dollar, up to $2 million. It's the big last day of the month fundraising push.

Give a little and make it count twice. This is how we win -- through millions of regular Americans registering voters, volunteering their time for the campaign, and donating what they can afford.

So get more bang for your buck. Follow this link to make your contribution. Nobody wants to wake up on November 3 and say, "if I had just done a little bit more..."

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Who Leaked the Story about

the FBI Pentagon investigation?

A side story in the FBI's investigation of classified information leaking out of the Pentagon involves who leaked the story on Sunday and why.

As I noted below, Mark Kleiman has some interesting ideas. Today, Juan Cole links to The American Muckraker, offering this perspective:
In a later broadcast on MSNBC, former CIA officer and NBC analyst Larry Johnson reported that for months he had been aware of an investigation that had led to tonight's revelation, one that had originally focused on the source of a forged document indicating that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger, presumably for making nuclear weapons. Johnson speculated that Israel may have been behind the forgery which was used by the administration to bolster its case for invasion. If so, he said, the espionage case could tie to an ongoing Justice Department criminal investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative by right-wing columnist Robert Novak. Johnson also said the FBI was furious that news of the espionage investigation had leaked. Johnson opined that the investigation could lead from DOD to the National Security Council, and that the timing of the leak just before the start of the Republican convention was not coincidental. In a post on the dailykos weblog, one contributor noted that "when Tom Clancy and [Gen.] Zinni were running around flogging their book, they were on Deborah Norville. [During the show, Norville] asked Clancy of his impression of Wolfowitz. 'Is he working for our side?' [Clancy] replied." As an example of yet another intelligence failure on the Bush administration's watch, this latest spy drama could overshadow news during next week's Republican National Convention in New York. It is certainly the type of story cable news bobbleheads love to gibber about.
It's interesting that, according to Johnson, so many of the dirty little stories about the Bush administration's misadventures with intelligence seem to be tied together.

But it's still not clear to me if the story was leaked when it was in order give people at the Pentagon time to run for cover while the convention is on, or if it was timed to bring the administration more bad press just as the Republicans are trying there best at the convention to portray Bush as a strong leader, as opposed to a miserable failure whose subordinates are clearly out of control.

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Tucker Carlson Gets It:
Bush is a Coward

I've never been a Tucker Carlson fan. He has always struck me as one of those ubiquitous preppy geeks that seem to fill the ranks of the upscale right: smart, well-connected, and someone for whom military service (or service of any kind) was never, ever a serious consideration.

Kos picked up on something Carlson wrote recently for Esquire, and I have to give Tucker credit for getting it right:
... The attacks initially made me sorry I voted for him. For most of that day, as my wife and children stayed inside our house listening to the roar of fighter jets overhead, and black smoke from the Pentagon hovered above our neighborhood, Bush failed to return to Washington. My family sat unprotected a few miles from the scene of a terrorist attack; Bush hid in a bunker on some faraway military base.

It infuriated me, as did the subsequent excuses from White House spokesman. There was a risk in coming back, they said. There was a risk in coming back, they said. Of course there was. That's the point: Leaders must take risks, sometimes physical ones. Bush should have elbowed his Secret Service detail out of the way and returned in a display of fearlessness to his nation's capital. I found it distressingly revealing that he didn't.
Exactly the same sort of personal and moral courage that had Bush jumping to the front of the line to get into the Texas Air National Guard to avoid Vietnam. Makes me feel safer everyday.


Sunday, August 29, 2004

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Many Thanks

Just want to express my appreciation to everyone who sent some cash to Rain Storm this month. Thanks again to Valerie, and all the rest of you.

And Scott, when I saw your gift I thought someone had slipped a decimal place somewhere.

Please accept my sincere gratitude for your generosity.


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Consistent to the End

In case you've been off the planet for the past three and a half years,
Kos points out that the latest intelligence scandal is just part of a continuing pattern of the Bush administration's bungling:

9/11. Ashcroft de-emphasizes anti-terrorist activities in order to satiate his anti-pornography obsession. Bush completely ignores a document titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike the United States" and promptly went on a month-long vacation.

Plame Affair. The administration outs the CIA's top nuclear non-proliferation official in bid to discredit administration critic.

Saddam's WMD. Bush and Cheney make clear they want evidence, regardless the truth. They create a shadow intelligence inside the Pentagon to independently assess intelligence when CIA doesn't offer the expected "truth".

Saddam's WMD, Part II. Colin Powell makes an ass of himself at Security Council when he tries to prove Saddam's evil intent, and proves nothing more than that Iraq has warehouses and trucks.

Chalabi. The Pentagon's top choice for Iraq's post-war leadership lets Iran know we have cracked their communication code. Once upon a time we could listen in to one of the Axil of Evil's most guarded communications, including communications with terrorist groups like Hizbollah. Now we cannot. An intelligence failure of epic proportions.

Administration outs Al Qaida mole. We finally turn one of Bin Laden's baddies, and the administration outs him days later to justify terror alert. Terror alert turns out to be unjustifiable anyway, based on years-old info.

Wouldn't it be nice to have the adults in charge again?

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Pentagon Turf War
gets out of control

Josh Marshall, Laura Rozen and Paul Glastris have published their
Washington Monthly article on meetings between people in Doug Feith's office and Iranian exiles, partiularly the infamous Iran-Contra middle-man, Manucher Ghorbanifar, and the connections to the current FBI espionage investigation:

The investigation of Franklin is now shining a bright light on a shadowy struggle within the Bush administration over the direction of U.S. policy toward Iran. In particular, the FBI is looking with renewed interest at an unauthorized back-channel between Iranian dissidents and advisers in Feith's office, which more-senior administration officials first tried in vain to shut down and then later attempted to cover up.

[. . .]

The meetings turn out to have been far more extensive and much less under White House control than originally reported. One of the meetings, which Pentagon officials have long characterized as merely a "chance encounter" seems in fact to have been planned long in advance by Rhode and Ghorbanifar. Another has never been reported in the American press. The administration's reluctance to disclose these details seems clear: the DoD-Ghorbanifar meetings suggest the possibility that a rogue faction at the Pentagon was trying to work outside normal US foreign policy channels to advance a "regime change" agenda not approved by the president's foreign policy principals or even the president himself.

Read it all. I suspect that there is a lot more to this story than we're seeing right now, but this is a good start.

UPDATE 8/29/04: Forgot to mention. To get a handle on Middle East issues and intrigue, one should always check in with Professor Juan Cole.


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