The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, April 23, 2004


Nothing until late tonight, I think.

(p.s. to whom it may concern: long hair, dark green shirt, black converse)

Thursday, April 22, 2004


Via Kevin Drum, a new poll shows that people haven't learned:
A new poll shows that 57 percent of Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein gave "substantial support" to al-Qaida terrorists before the war with Iraq, despite a lack of evidence of that relationship.

In addition, 45 percent of Americans have the impression that "clear evidence" was found that Iraq worked closely with Osama bin Laden's network, and a majority believe that before the war Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (38 percent) or a major program for developing them (22 percent).

There's no known evidence to date that these statements are true.

U.S. weapons inspector David Kay testified before Congress in January that no weapons were found and prewar intelligence on Iraq was "almost all wrong." CIA Director George Tenet last month rejected assertions by Vice President Dick Cheney that Iraq had cooperated with al-Qaida.
First of all, you'd think that those two WMD numbers would be reversed, since given available evidence, it is slightly more plausible that Saddam had programs capable of churning out WMD (a stretch, given the evidence) than Saddam actually having the WMD themselves.

Conservatives, warbloggers, Bush apologists, are you proud that many Americans still hold blatant misconceptions about Saddam and Al Qaeda? If our involvement in Iraq serves a noble purpose that you believe in so much, shouldn't it be worth telling the truth about it to the greatest extent possible?

Sure, Bush came out -- once -- and told nearby cameras that Saddam did not have meaningful connections with Al Qaeda or Bin Laden. But mere hours after that, Dick Cheney kept spouting the same nonsense as if Dubya hadn't said anything.

With their unwillingness to be totally straight with the American people regarding the FACT that there was no real connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, the Bush administration used rhetorical ambiguity to the extreme to scare convince the American people to go along with the Iraq war.

Now I admit, part of this is Darryl Worley's fault.

But the rest is to be laid straight at the feet of the Bush administration and the media. It's simple, if they had been straight with the American people about the level of evidence linking Saddam to Al Qaeda in the run-up to the war, support for the war would have been substantially lower. Many Americans thought they were avenging 9/11. If the truth had come out in force before the war -- and it certainly could have, and more importantly, should have -- then the debate over the war would certainly have been different. It's not certain whether people would have supported it, but damnit, it would have been on the merits.

Guess the Bushies noticed that the war polled better when people thought Saddam had some direct connection to Al Qaeda. The truth might not have polled as well, but it would have been the truth.

All that said, I'm actually encouraged by the poll results. Why? Simple: We finally have a Democratic spokesman, in John Kerry, who will state unequivocally to the American People that this connection was never backed up by hard facts. Bush's support vis-a-vis Iraq has always been backed up by carefully-protected myths. Kerry's job is to shatter them, search-and-destroy style. He'll get a brand new Silver Star straight from TFM if he does it.

From the AP:
California should ban the use of 15,000 touch-screen voting machines made by Diebold Election Systems from the Nov. 2 general election, an advisory panel to Secretary of State Kevin Shelley recommended Thursday.

By an 8-0 vote, the state's Voting Systems and Procedures Panel recommended that Shelley cease the use of the machines, saying that Texas-based Diebold has performed poorly in California and its machines malfunctioned in the state's March 2 primary election, turning away many voters in San Diego County.

The recommendation affects 15,000 Diebold touch-screen machines in San Diego, Solano, Kern and San Joaquin counties.

Thousands more machines made by Diebold and other manufacturers in 10 other counties are unaffected, although the panel is to make a recommendation regarding them next Wednesday.

The panel's decision has national implications for the voting machine maker, coming as states plan to spend billions of dollars to upgrade election equipment in the wake of the disputed 2000 presidential election in Florida.

If Shelley follows through with the recommendation, the affected counties would have to revert to paper ballots, specifically those marked by filling in ovals which are read by electronic scanners. The prospects of starting anew just months before a presidential election prompted outcries from more than a dozen voting officials statewide who would have to buy voting booths, ballot boxes, marking supplies, card readers and more scanners while retraining poll workers.

"We sold all of our voting booths to Los Angeles County. We sold our surplus card readers to smaller counties," said Riverside County Registrar of Voters Mischelle Townsend, who estimated costs of reverting to paper at $2.5 million.

Diebold was disappointed and disagreed with the recommendation, said its marketing director, Mark Radke. The company will quickly write a report outlining its objections to Shelley, who has until April 30 to make a final decision.
Well, if the timeline to make a decisions was picked to be April 30th, that timeline must have been made with respect to the ability for counties to comply in time to be ready for the November elections, right?

Good to see that the Golden State may be back on the paper trail anytime now. The Bush administration is now officially out of ideas for how to be competitive in California.

It may be a little late for this, but it looks like George W Bush's position on the Ba'ath Party may have returned to where it was back in the good ol' days when we were giving them weapons:
The White House confirmed Thursday that the administration is moving to change a postwar policy that blocked members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party from Iraqi government and military positions.

The sweeping ban was put in place by civilian administrator Paul Bremer, but he now wants to change the policy as part of an effort to convince Sunnis, who dominate the party, that they are welcome members of the postwar political transition in Iraq.

There also have been complaints that the ban has kept teachers, engineers, well-trained technocrats and experienced military officers out of the difficult postwar transition.

Saddam headed the Baath Party in Iraq for decades, and its members were allowed educational opportunities and to hold key posts.

In Baghdad, Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor acknowledged the ban "sometimes excludes innocent, capable people who were Baathists in name only from playing a role in reconstructing Iraq.

"Those are the sorts of people for which there was a process built in to allow exceptions, to allow appeals, but the exceptions and appeals process doesn't do anybody any good if it is not expeditious," Senor said.

"We are reviewing the policy to see if we can better balance the expertise and experience," White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters on Air Force One as President Bush traveled to Maine for an Earth Day event.
No doubt to trumpet the peaceful coexistence of man and fish.

One quibble with John King's article: Sure, Bremer was the Civilian Administrator at the time of "de-baathification", but the ban was put in place on Bush's orders. That is, Bush asked Bremer to do this. This was among the first things to happen under Bremer's CPA, having just replaced Mister Garner, who had other ideas.

Soooooo, is this an implicit admission of a mistake in White House policy? Even with the buck-passing (it was Bremer's fault!) that comes out in King's article? Well, whether or not that's the case, it's definitely another of Bush's flip flops!

Though in this case, it's a flop in the right direction, even if it might be a bit late. Some people have likened membership in the Iraqi Baath Party to membership in the Soviet Communist Party, as in it was a way, perhaps the only way, for some people to get a relatively decent-paying skilled job. Thus, a lot of people with party membership aren't necessarily hard-ass Saddam loyalists, but are merely members of the skilled class of Iraqi workers.

My two-cent analysis is that the de-baathification policy may have been a consequence of Bush's hypersimplistic "with us or against us" view. They joined the party, thus they must have been loyal to Saddam, therefore they must be *evil*, or *threat* or *danger*, or whatever word du jour we're using.

On the whole, the truth is that banning all Baathists was one of many CPA mistakes.

And of course, the Shi'ites will be overjoyed.

...oh, wait, 32 years ago . . . before Roe v Wade was even considered.

Nevermind also that the excerpt from the 1972 article has John Kerry articulating a position on abortion that isn't that far from Bill Clinton's ("It's a tragic day in the lives of everybody when abortion is looked on as an alternative to birth control or as an alternative to having a child", "It should be the very last thing if it has to be anything").

But of course, in going down this particular rabbit hole, Drudge causes a new problem: At least we now have documentation of where one of the two presidential candidates was in late 1972!

Nice try, guys.

UPDATE: And speaking of Drudge, there's also his attempt to paint Michael Moore as a capitalist hypocrite of some sort, all because -- gasp! -- his website was designed by Canadians! This is, of course, another example of rampant anti-Canadianism from Drudge, who last year used his site to attack a reporter critical of the Iraq war as being not only gay, but Canadian.

On this matter, I second Ryan Davis (slightly to my right) of Not Geniuses:
Drudge is just trying to piss off the left before the release of Moore’s new film this fall. It won’t work. If they didn’t get pissed off at him after spending twenty bucks on his last crappy book, they won’t get pissed over anything.
First of all, "crappy" is a very strong word. Second of all, UCSB liberals like myself were indeed pissed last fall that Moore's appearance in Santa Barbara would cost a minimum of $18 (as opposed to $5 at other universities, though his SB appearance was downtown). But we weren't pissed in a "fuck everything he's ever done" kind of sense. That's the sort of thing we save for Saint Ralph! We'll be there for the movie this summer, and nobody, not the Arlington Theater, not Drudge, will stand in our way.

LATE UPDATE: Hahaha, I've never seen this happen before. Drudge had the Kerry abortion (1972) story as his main headline. The previous headline had been that the Pentagon was upset about some Iraq casualty photos had been released online. This evening, returning to Drudge, I noticed that the Iraq photo story was returned to main headline status. Guess the latest Kerry smear didn't fly!
Slate's Bryan Curtis condenses the new Woodward book, identifying the best bits. If I weren't knee-deep in Nietzche, Weber and others right now, I'd have time to read the whole thing, but this will do.

Curtis ends his list of the best snippets with a potpourri of extra miscellaneous items at the end. Some are quite juicy:
Page 11: Bush as glutton: At a Pentagon briefing, staffers lay out peppermint candy for each attendee. Bush scarfs down his peppermint, and then begins to eye Bill Cohen's treat, which the former secretary gladly relinquishes. Gen. Hugh Shelton, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, "noticed Bush eyeing his mint, so he passed it over."

Page 112: On a Mideast trip, Lynne Cheney lunches with an emir's wife. When do the children here in Bahrain begin school? she asks. The emir's wife reminds Cheney that she's in Qatar.

Page 184: The TelePrompTer text of Bush's climactic speech to the United Nations somehow omits his call for resolutions against the Iraqi regime. Bush remembers and ad-libs the line.

Page 186: Bush aide Nick Calio declares his intention to vitiate a congressional filibuster. Bush says, "Nicky, what the fuck are you talking about, vitiate?"


Page 244: Woodward meets Bush at a White House Christmas party in 2002. Though it's months before the prez would declare war on Iraq, Bush suggests that a sequel to Woodward's previous best seller, Bush at War, should be in the works. "Maybe it will be called More Bush at War," Bush says. Laura Bush responds, "Let's hope not."
Bush as a candy-loving, small-vocabularly warmonger? Yeah, that's about right! And *ouch* for Lynne Cheney. Good thing she didn't ask "Do you have Arabs too?"

Coming to UCSB Arts&Lectures: The good, the bad, and the tall!

Sunday, April 25th: Karen Hughes. I'll be in the Bay Area this weekend, so I wont get the chance to think of some creative way to heckle this.

Wednesday, April 28th: Eric Schlosser. You know, of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness fame. I'm there, man.

But now, let's talk about the hijinks of UCSB liberals.

Our liberals are so cute! We're as well-informed as those of any other campus community, yet with half the self-importance of certain other liberal campus communities I could name.

That being said,

Whlie well-intentioned, our liberals can do silly things.

On kiosks all over campus (we don't have a central "dump your papers here" spot, given how bike-centric UCSB is), there are flyers informing students of the upcoming Karen Hughes appearance. As I'm sure you know, Karen Hughes is and has been a longtime friend and personal/political advisor to one George W Bush, serving as his "communications director" while he was both governor and president. She, more than any other person surrounding Dubya, would walk through walls for him. Naturally, such skills require certain personal traits, such as a tendency to take leave of the truth at times. She's got that.

In that regard, some happy UCSB liberals have taken big red markers and scribbled "LIAR" across the flyers. And given the evidence, that's a reasonably fair charge.

But our youngsters went too far. On another flyer I saw on the way into the computer lab, was scribbled: "WAR CRIMINAL". Look, I understand where you're coming from. I don't like Karen Hughes all that much either. But ain't nobody gonna be setting up no ICC tribunal for her. Singling out Karen Hughes as a "war criminal" isn't going to help much of anything. It's this sort of thing going to get us a reputation for being nonsensically sensationalist? We still have a chance guys, cmon!

Full disclosure: While having nothing to do with big red markers, I am a UCSB liberal, damnit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Kevin Drum on the general conservative reaction to the issues surrounding Bush and Kerry's military service records. Hmm, smells like hypocrisy...

...Atrios will be guest-hosting The Majority Report on Air America, subbing for Jeneane Garofalo. Click on the link at the top of the screen to listen online, or go to Air America's website for station information.

By the way, they're adding 15 new stations in May. Does that sound like a radio station that's going under?

Paul points to two more new Kerry ads, hitting the airwaves starting today. They're clear, concise, and not merely pitches for funds. And they sure don't look like DeVry Institute ads, like the previous 3 ads did. In one ad, "Risk", we see John Kerry talking to the camera, offering a proactive--if broad--statement on how he would handle the situation in Iraq. In the other ad, "Committment", we see Kerry listing his major priorities as President, the first being to keep the country "safe and secure" (good), along with jobs and health care. I would note that the out-of-focus windows in the background of "Committment" kind of look like prison bars, but I'm probably just thinking too hard. It takes a very, very good television ad to impress me, and as a one-time Dean supporter, I sure didn't see many of those.

Just as notable as what the ads show, is where they will be aired. Some people were concerned when the round of Kerry ads released a couple days ago were targeted at solid Kerry states. But they can rest easy now:
The ads will air in the following 17 states: Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon, Wisconsin, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, West Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, Washington and Ohio.
That's quite a veritable who's-who of battleground states, ain't it?

And congratulations to the good people of Washington and Wisconsin, who will get to see all five new Kerry ads in heavy rotation!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Two days after his Meet the Press appearance got some people buzzing as to why he hadn't released his full military record, John Kerry has done just that:
Aides to Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign said on Tuesday that they would release all of his military records, including evaluations by his Navy commanders, a day after the campaign had refused to make the documents public.

Mr. Kerry won a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts in Vietnam.

The Boston Globe raised questions last week about the circumstances of his first Purple Heart. Mr. Kerry said on "Meet the Press" on NBC on Sunday that his military records were available for reporters to review at his campaign headquarters here. But when a reporter for The Globe showed up on Monday morning, the campaign withheld several documents, including evaluations by Mr. Kerry's commanders and some medical records.


A senior adviser to Mr. Kerry, Michael Meehan, said the campaign was releasing all the documents because Mr. Kerry was "running on his military record, not from his military record."

Mr. Meehan gave The New York Times documents that certify Mr. Kerry's three Purple Hearts for combat injuries. The documents included details of the wounds that led to his second and third Purple Hearts. Mr. Meehan said no after-action report had been found for the first Purple Heart, awarded, according to the certificate, "for wounds received in action on Dec. 2, 1968." In lieu of that report, Mr. Meehan offered a "Sick Call Treatment Record" from Mr. Kerry's personal medical files with these handwritten notes from someone who treated to him on Dec. 3, 1968, at the naval support center at Cam Ranh Bay:

"Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl bacitracin dressing. Ret to Duty."
That's shrapnel, not pretzels, fyi. But in all seriousness, looks like this worked out in Kerry's distinct favor. He made a couple of ambiguous statements about the status of his military service record, everyone buzzes, people like Drudge and Insty crow about his "hypocrisy", etc. Half a news-cycle later, he releases everything. Now, like a venus flytrap luring unsuspecting insects into its deadly leafish structure (I need some remedial botany), he's got everyone asking about his military record, and those purple hearts and silver stars* are going to give off quite a lot of glare. * - Of course, Kerry's service record is not a breakfast cereal, but you get the point.

Sure, Bush-apologists and try and go after him for being some kind of hypocrite, but they're too late: Kerry's made his service the issue, and he did it quickly. Bush went more than a week from his Russert appearance to releasing his records. And when Bush did release his records, he sure didn't have any Silver Stars or Purple Hearts to point to. Though he probably did have Lucky Charms for breakfast.

So was this Kerry's plan all along, to rope-a-dope, Ali-style, bringing the Foreman-esque media and right wing in for the kill? Who knows. If it was, then they're smarter than I thought.

UPDATE: "I request duty in Vietnam"

2ND UPDATE: Tbogg keeps score.
John Kerry has three new TV ads which will be airing mostly in Democrat-heavy states, such as California and New York, as well as liberal-heavy Wisconsin and Washington.

Huh? Why's he doing that?

Hesiod has a good explanation: "Psychological warfare". That is, running ads in Dem-heavy states will energize the base and boost Kerry's national numbers overall, to counteract the apparent stagnation shown in the just-released polls from Gallup and the Washington Post. (though the Zogby poll, taken during the exact same period, gives Kerry better news)

Consider the content of the ads: One on choice, one on the environment, and on that's a hybrid of those. Those issues are the ones where Kerry can draw the most clear distinction between himself and Bush, saying "a Bush win means restrictions on a woman's right to choose". That message is probably targeted at some of that hypothetical 4% that could support Nader, and there's more of them in the blue states than the red ones. This is "shore up the base" stuff, so it makes sense.

That said, take a look at the commercials. I'm sorry, but if I had to sum up my reaction to their style, I'd give two words: "DeVry Institute". They look like ads for little technical business colleges, with the narrator's tone, the wide-screen with white borders, the music. Maybe I'm a bit off on this, but we can do better right?

Though in general, playing mock ad-exec, light colors and color-cameras equals positive ad, while black borders and b&w equals negative attack ad, right? Anyway, off to dinner.

Damnit, I'll miss The Angry Clam. Rory was the first person to harass me over at the Patriot Watch. I then visited his blog, left a comment or two, went to bed, and came back the next day to find that he and a reader or two of his were discussing my SAT score. So I decided to move on.

From the shameless Instapundit suck-up in the upper-left corner to his frequent and artful use of the word "asshat", the boy was like no other. And it's refreshing to know that some people are willing to discuss their fantasies about protesters being shot. That's nice.

In the Clam's honor, TFM suggests you make a donation to the congressional candidacy of Joanna Conti, who hopes to serve suburban Denver. If he's leaving blogging, he might as well take Tom Tancredo with him.
Libertarian Reluctantly Calls Fire Department
CHEYENNE, WY—After attempting to contain a living-room blaze started by a cigarette, card-carrying Libertarian Trent Jacobs reluctantly called the Cheyenne Fire Department Monday. "Although the community would do better to rely on an efficient, free-market fire-fighting service, the fact is that expensive, unnecessary public fire departments do exist," Jacobs said. "Also, my house was burning down." Jacobs did not offer to pay firefighters for their service.
Hehehe. The picture-headline in the upper-right corner is also quite good.
More NSFW headlines from Drudge:
I didn't want to know.

UPDATE: Though her post lacks a timestamp, I'm pretty sure I beat Wonkette to the punch on this one.

That's good, this blog needs more crotch-based humor.

Billmon points out a gem from the new Wasington Post poll:
Q: Overall do you think George W. Bush has done more to unite the country, or has done more to divide the country?

Unite: 50%
Divide: 48%
Don't Know: 2%
Uh... huh.

I don't know what's funnier, looking at those numbers, or thinking about them. Presumably it is largely Republicans who say "unite" and Democrats who say "divide". That, in itself, is a division, proving the latter group right. Or thinking about it another way, a Bush Republican could try to argue that Democrats are dividing the country by virtue of their opinion in this poll. We could go on for hours.

But returning to objective reality, poll after poll has shown an evenly-divided race, with Bush's approval rating hovering at or just below 50%, and growing disapproval of his Iraq policy, the economy, etc. If I were a neoconservative Republican (or a garden-variety one, for that matter), and I was polled by the Post or anybody else, I'd definitely give answers that express my support for Bush's policies, at least a strong proportion of them. But how could I claim with a straight face that he's "united" the nation with his leadership and policies?

I thought a lot of people, including Bush himself at his press conference a week ago, talked about Iraq in terms of it being messy (and to an extent, controversial) right now, but we'll be proven right in the long run. Doesn't that inherently acknowledge that the policies are divisive at present?

George W Bush flip flops on overtime pay. In this case, good. But yes, this is another of his flip flops.

Or, to put it another way, he waffles on it.

Oh, and did I mention that he's a miserable failure?

Dear wingnuts: Please explain to me how a humanitarian and Nobel Prize winner, a best-selling author and Academy Award winner, and a first lady turned Senator who also happens to be a best-selling author, are miserable failures.

...but I suppose that Fables of the Reconstruction will have to do.

Of course, the article linked has nothing to do with ol' baldy and the boys. Rather, it deals with a memo from a source in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), outlining how the occupation of Iraq is nowhere near as peachy as some people claim it is, noting various mistakes and missteps along the way that have only made the situation worse, factionalizing the country and setting the stage for possible civil war.

Monday, April 19, 2004


4/15/04, morning: Gregg Easterbrook congratulates Bush for taking the initiative in protecting the environment, saying that Bush...
"...has already imposed much stricter antipollution standards for diesel fuel and diesel engines...and the media simply pretend these advances don't exist, in order to sustain the preferred script of Bush "undoing" clean-air policy."
4/15/04, afternoon: After reading this Kevin Drum is quick to note that
But as Easterbrook must well know, these "stricter antipollution standards for diesel fuel and diesel engines" were implemented by the Clinton administration. Bush's only contribution was that he didn't overturn them.
A few days pass.

4/19/04, afternoon/evening: David Brooks sits down to write a new column on Bush's environmental record, ignores the reality pointed out by Drum, and parrots Easterbrook anyway:
The administration's biggest success has been its regulation of diesel fuels. In the face of fierce industry hostility, the Bush crowd decided that the benefits of diesel regulation far outweighed the costs. The Bush initiatives were applauded by even its most ardent critics. An official from the Natural Resources Defense Council called the diesel emissions regulations "the most significant public health proposal in decades."
Not that Brooks hasn't used Easterbrook before: Last fall Brooks devoted an entire column to Easterbrook's book The Progress Paradox. Anyway, hackery all around on Easterbrook and Brooks' parts.

Well, not really. But here's an interestingly dehumanizing piece of rhetoric from our leader (via a kos diary):
And there's only one path to safety and that's the path of action. Congress must act with the Patriot Act. We must continue to stay on the offense when it comes to chasing these killers down and bringing them to justice -- and we will. We've got to be strong and resolute and determined. We will never show weakness in the face of these people who have no soul, who have no conscience, who care less about the life of a man or a woman or a child. We've got to do everything we can here at home. And there's no doubt in my mind that, with the Almighty's blessings and hard work, that we will succeed in our mission. (emphasis TFM's)
Look, I'm not cool with Al Qaeda. (I'm not cool with the Patriot Act, but that's another matter) I think what they've done in NY, DC, Bali, Madrid, etc, is reprehensible.

That said, they have souls, damnit.

They're human beings. They were born. Hell, they're a life form and they were born. Isn't that an automatic pre-requisite for having a soul?

As Gephardt said, I'm sick of this "phony macho rhetoric". Frankly, I'm a bit frightened if Bush actually has such beliefs about the human soul. But of course, I'm not sick of waffles! (hehe)

Just two blantantly sensationalist points, then I'll leave everybody alone:


Brown person in India chosen for a job ahead of an American due to outsourcing: good!

Brown person in America chosen for a job ahead of an American due to affirmative action: bad!

The difference: Corporate profits baybee!

Those business conservatives sure are men of principle huh.


Furthermore, speaking broadly, supporters of supply-side-ish tax cuts and advocates of outsourcing make essentially the same points, right? Think about it:
TAX CUTS -- Those in the top tax brackets get large sums of money, the theory being that their money will either go directly into the economy, thus "raising all boats", or go towards hiring more people, thus helping people in lower tax brackets. People in middle and low tax brackets are screwed by tax cuts because A) they don't get much money, and B) their state and local taxes go up, but because of the just-mentioned boat raising, it all works out and they ride off into the sunset with Cinderella and Jesus and all is well.

OUTSOURCING -- Corporate honchos from the top tax brackets send their receptionist, tech-support, etc jobs overseas, thus greatly increasing their profits. That money, in theory, will either go directly into the economy, thus "raising all boats", potentially enabling other business owners to hire more people, thus helping people in lower tax brackets. People in the middle-class, who were employed as tech support geeks and receptionists, get screwed by outsourcing because A) their job goes elsewhere, and B) the overall job pool in their field in the short-run shrinks, but because of the just-mentioned boat raising, yadda yadda Cinderella and Jesus.
See how much fun that was? The only problem is that in terms of job creation, the tax cuts are lagging far behind projections. Natrually, there are many other issues involved, but what is pretty evident is that there is a lot of overlap between those who support tax cuts and those who are just peachy about outsourcing. Bush's tax cuts have not helped create jobs in any significant way (unless you argue that the tax cuts ended the UFCW strike or something), so why exactly should we listen to the same people who advocated tax cuts say that outsourcing will create jobs in America?

That is all for now. I hope I have insulted everybody who has a strong interest in thoughtful debate on the subject by providing such trite comments as the above.

The press asks Scotty-doo about it, and hilarity ensues.
Pretentious. (-:

At least in a "Psycho Killer" kinda way.

Wonkette has a big scoop on John Kerry.


--Quick, picture Bush's Meet the Press appearance. Now picture Kerry's. Of course, the right is busy parsing it, which is very telling. We didn't have the luxury of being able to parse the long-winded, content-free drivel that escaped George's lips when he appeared with Russert. A thought experiment: Had the nature of their interviews been switched, Kerry's campaign would be deader than disco.

--So Bob Woodward breaks a big story last night that Bush apparently made a deal with Saudi Arabia to affect the 2004 election via oil prices. Kinda brings a special irony to James "Best of the Web" Taranto's frequent headline "Our Friends the Saudis". But of course, no mention of this today. If Kerry/Clinton had...

--Chris Rock was excellent in his new HBO special. His bits on affirmative action, and Michael Jackson ("Twenty minutes late? This ain't `Barbershop 2.' It's court. He didn't even wear a real suit. He came in lookin' like Captain Crunch. Who's your lawyer? Franken Berry?"), were quite memorable. Here's a scoop for Drudge if he wants it:
By the time Rock started slamming President Bush, about 100 people wearing grimaces started exiting the arena. About 4,400 people stayed and laughed, and Rock said black people still don't have equal opportunity in America.

"America is a nation of `B' and `C' students," he said. "A black `C' student can't even be a manager at Burger King. But a white `C' student happens to be president of the United States of America."
Mon dieu! They couldn't have been going to the bathroom could they? Of course, if this story is true, then those 100 people are, well, morons, because Rock made the same joke about Bush that he made about Clinton in 1999's Bigger and Blacker, the joke being that the President likes all these mini-stories that happen (from Columbine to Laci Peterson) because it takes attention off of him. The "C student" joke is more a racial joke than a Bush joke, and besides, Bush himself makes light of his past academic follies. Iraq was mentioned, but only in the context of Tupac. Don't ask.

--The total number of American troops who have perished in Iraq has topped 700 overall, and is now at 101 for April, only after 19 days. Damn.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Tom Tomorrow on "actionable intelligence"

...because of the paper mentioned in the previous post.

However, I have to post this bit from CBS's recounting, via O-Dub and Jesse. Emphasis added:
But, it turns out, two days before the president told Powell, Cheney and Rumsfeld had already briefed Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador.

"Saturday, Jan. 11, with the president's permission, Cheney and Rumsfeld call Bandar to Cheney's West Wing office, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Myers, is there with a top-secret map of the war plan. And it says, 'Top secret. No foreign.' No foreign means no foreigners are supposed to see this," says Woodward.

"They describe in detail the war plan for Bandar. And so Bandar, who's skeptical because he knows in the first Gulf War we didn't get Saddam out, so he says to Cheney and Rumsfeld, 'So Saddam this time is gonna be out, period?'" And Cheney who has said nothing says the following: "Prince Bandar, once we start, Saddam is toast."

After Bandar left, according to Woodward, Cheney said, "I wanted him to know that this is for real. We're really doing it."

But this wasn't enough for Prince Bandar, who Woodward says wanted confirmation from the president. "Then, two days later, Bandar is called to meet with the president and the president says, 'Their message is my message'" says Woodward.

Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election -- to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.
Kyle's mom, do you have any comment?


This is one of those times when a sentence that begins "Imagine if Clinton had..." becomes the catalyst for a brief yet forceful meeting of forehead and table.

Bush devoted a great many positive words in his speech/Q&A last tuesday to the prospect of a democratic Iraq. Yet from this revelation, it's pretty damn clear what he thinks of democracy here in America.

You'd think that after Florida he'd . . . actually scratch that, you wouldn't think.

UPDATE: Jesse has some more thoughts.
The darkly insinuated (and stated) reason for offense at Kerry's "foreign leaders" remark was that Kerry was going to somehow sell out our national security for their support, that he'd promised them things if they'd just do things to support his presidential run.

Bush has done exactly that.

And I have a paper to write, so TFM will be closed until tomorrow.