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Looks like it's true. Al Franken's radio show, beginning this week, will in fact, be called "The O'Franken Factor". Too brilliant.
I wish him luck. He's gonna need it. It looks like they're starting in three big markets (NY, LA and Chicago), but on puny stations in each city. The unremarkable Air America website doesn't give me much confidence either considering they open for business this Wednesday! They've got some great folks in the line-up and it'll be nice to have someone - anyone - on the Left to give us all an occasional break from the big fat lying liars on the Right. But it remains to be seen if the Air America business folks can step up and get the job done. So far, I'm underwhelmed. But I sure as hell am looking forward to Wednesday!
What an astounding week. The crush of events and dirty dealing swirling around the bombshells Richard Clarke dropped this week have been almost too much for even me to keep up with. And I eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kudos are due to the remarkable coverage this week from master blogger Josh Marshall of the Talking Points Memo for his detailed and meticulous blow by blow on the continuing fallout and the desperately run counter-offensive from the Whitehouse. He has been, minute by minute, exhaustively sourced, from the right and the left, exposing every hypocrisy and misstep as every shoe continues to fall. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't follow him closely.
So who let the dogs out? Apparently it was Dubya hisself who realized last Monday morning that he may be on the verge of losing the only re-elect issue he has left with which to fool some of the American people some of the time.
But will the desperate, all-out, mis-coordinated flight of the Bush Attack Monkeys work to save the impression that a slim majority of Americans still have that George W. Bush has been so-far-so-good on the "War on Terror"? Or are they simply making matters worse for themselves?
To be fair, I'll disclose once again my personal view of what a horrible mistake I believe the War in Iraq to have been. In the early months following 9/11, I was all ears to the Bushies arguments on the despicable Saddam. Then, as it became increasingly clear that they had no real interest in their very own argument - that Saddam's WMD program was a danger the world couldn't afford to ignore - by undermining themselves with that whole UN/Hans Blix charade they put on, all credibility quickly dissipated, and has been in continuous freefall from where I sit ever since.
So through those eyes, I've watched as nearly 600 American servicemen died, some 13,400 medical evacuees, anywhere from 4800 to 6400 Iraqi military killed (the great majority of them inscripted by threat of death), and a stunning 7000 to 13,500 Iraqi Civilians killed (depending on the source, for example Bill O'Reilly likes to quote 10,000 as the number) in this disgraceful debacle waged under the guise of "Making the world safe from terror" or "Liberation" or "Draining the swamp" or whatever the hell the talking points of the week were.
Then comes forth Richard Clarke, registered Republican, and top Counterterror Advisor to four US Presidents going back to the Reagan Administration who originally appointed him. He unleashes the wrath of the Bushies in one fell swoop, stating in no uncertain terms - under oath - that "By invading Iraq the President of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terror."
Uh, oh. Game over.
And the Bushies went apeshit and began shooting in every possible direction, but continue to hit seemingly only themselves.
I have been, from time to time, the intended prey of wolves out to save themselves at any cost. I've seen such characters foolishly attempt to personally destroy those they see as opposition, instead of simply answering to the charges made with substantive information if it exists and/or simply taking accountability for failures. So as one who has been there - albeit on an admittedly smaller and ultimately insignificant level - I would like to go on record to say: Richard Clarke is an American Hero. History, I'm certain, will bare me out on that one.
In the meantime, what a godforsaken mess they've handed themselves at the Whitehouse.
For a bunch who claim to be fighting to protect America, isn't a bit strange that they seem to be tone deaf to the spontaneous applause for Clarke by the families of the 9/11 victims at this week's hearing? That they ignore their pleas for them to cooperate with the 9/11 Commision? That they laugh off the complaints of those same families when they suggest it might be inappropriate to use the dead bodies of their loved ones in campaign commercials? That they didn't understand in advance that jokes about the lack of WMD's aren't particular funny when so many thousands have died in a war predicated - falsely or otherwise - by same? That they'd allow their National Security Advisor, the once-respected Condoleezza Rice, to testify only privately and never via SWORN testimony to the bipartisan blue ribbon commission convened to investigate the greatest National Security failure in the history of the country?
Who are these folk really trying to protect? And what must they be thinking?
Now, of course, as you know by my admissions above concerning the war, I'm an Anti-American, Liberal, Communist, Pinko, God Hating, Heathen, so don't listen to me. But when Conservatives like Pat Buchanan concede that "the cancer of Terrorism has metastasized due to the War in Iraq" (McLaughlin Group, 3/27/04) you'd think this bunch might wanna sit up and start paying attention.
Of course, they have been sitting up, and they have been paying attention. They just don't seem to be getting the message. Or perhaps they do, but having gone so far down the wrong path, with eyes and ears shut to anyone - even within their own ranks - who didn't tell them what they wanted to believe, they have no choice but to follow the same misbegotten path no matter where it now leads. No matter how many more dead Americans lay along it. No matter how much farther on this fools errand we seem to be running in this misconceived, ill-waged "War on Terror".
There may be good news at the end of the path, however. It's looking more and more each day like that path may, in fact, soon reach it's end. Smack dab in the middle of Midland, Texas. Game over. Or so we can only hope.
Never one to shy away from tooting my own horn, regretfully or otherwise, I came across this item this morning about a crop of babies born in Gaza today, named after the Hamas Leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated yesterday by Israel.
On September 14th, 2001, I wrote a "Speech to the Nation�were I President" to no one in particular that I shared only with my family and a friend or two at the time (the family, by the way, was quite critical of it).
Reading the news item above, I recalled the following paragraph from that "speech":
I've heard Bush and Israeli Officials over the last 24 hours describe Yassin as "Israel's Bin Laden". And today, we seem to - quite literally - have quite a few more "Yassins" born in his place.
Something to ponder as we continue down the short-sighted, narrow-minded, fear-based, vengeful, seek-and-destroy strategy currently employed as our own "War on Terror". I have no reason to believe that this strategy will work any better for us than it has for Israel.
Just a note of advice to the John F. Notbush Media Team from someone you'll pay no attention to whatsoever:
In your Campaign Commercials, such as the one you released yesterday, when the Senator is speaking to the camera --- telling us "We need to get some things done in this country" and "Really investing in our kids" --- it'd be wise if he wasn't nodding "NO" while hoping to convince us that he actually means what he's saying.
You can thank me later.
A good catch this morning by the ever-vigilant Josh Marshall vis a vis the Rush/Cheney interview referenced in my previous entry on the stunning Richard Clarke revelations.
Tag-teaming for their attempted one-two knockout blow to Clarke, Cheney, once again, as is his proclivity, happily mis-states the facts in order to paint his preferred Rosey Scenario. Completely misleading the DittoHeads about Clarke's actual responsibilities in the Bush Administration.
Easy enough to do for the benefit of Rush's Will-Believe-Anything audience. But, of course, worth continuing to let you know about, since we believe an informed and de-spun American Electorate is a far less dangerous one.
Wow...Stunning and explosive info from former Bush Terrorism Czar, Richard Clarke on last night's 60 Minutes. But the real "Must See TV" will be this week when he testifies publically before the 9/11 Commission. Here's the star-studded schedule. Not to be missed!
Of course, as with the previous Bushmen-Who-Left-the-Reservation like Paul O'Niell and David Kay before him, the Right Wing Attack Dogs are wasting no time trying to get out in front of the story to call their own man a complete whacko.
When Rush gets Dick Cheney for a live interview, and Condi Rice Op-Eds in the Washington Post you know the Whitehouse understands they're in trouble and they'd better get out in front quickly. They're trying.
Clarke, a Reagan appointee who worked for Bush 41 and then as Clinton's Terrorism Czar and then stayed on in the post for Bush 43, is no whacko. In other words, whatever they will try to do now to crush him, this man is no Dick Morris, and that is clearly scaring the hell out of them.
His words and credentials speak volumes, which is what makes him so dangerous, and why he must be discredited immediately! Most alarmingly, we may finally begin to see why the Administration has been - shall we say - less than eager to give their whole side of the story to the 9/11 Commission.
It's tough to isolate the most damning revelations from Clarke's appearance last night:
There's so much incredible stuff to chose from, but here's a few key items for you. I'd suggest you check out the whole interview if you missed it last night...
"There's a lot of blame to go around, and I probably deserve some blame, too. But on January 24th, 2001, I wrote a memo to Condoleezza Rice asking for, urgently --- underlined urgently --- a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with the impending al Qaeda attack. And that urgent memo-- wasn't acted on.
"I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back. They wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceding eight years."
Clarke finally got his meeting about al Qaeda in April, three months after his urgent request. But it wasn't with the president or cabinet. It was with the second-in-command in each relevant department.
For the Pentagon, it was Paul Wolfowitz.
Clarke relates, "I began saying, 'We have to deal with bin Laden; we have to deal with al Qaeda.' Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, said, 'No, no, no. We don't have to deal with al Qaeda. Why are we talking about that little guy? We have to talk about Iraqi terrorism against the United States.'
"And I said, 'Paul, there hasn't been any Iraqi terrorism against the United States in eight years!' And I turned to the deputy director of the CIA and said, 'Isn't that right?' And he said, 'Yeah, that's right. There is no Iraqi terrorism against the United States."
Clarke went on to add, "There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever."
"I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.'
"He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report."
Clarke continued, "It was a serious look. We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. We wrote the report. We sent the report out to CIA and found FBI and said, 'Will you sign this report?' They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.'
"I have no idea, to this day, if the President saw it, because after we did it again, it came to the same conclusion. And frankly, I don't think the people around the president show him memos like that. I don't think he sees memos that he doesn't-- wouldn't like the answer."
It's still a long way to November 2nd, but if the story continues unfolding this way on Bush's number one issue, the "War on Terror", he may find himself in big big trouble on Election Day.
(If you're scratching your head, trying to figure out why Bush is keeping CIA Head, George Tenet on board, I think you can wonder no longer!)
But don't underestimate the ability of, John F. Kerry --- or John F. Notbush, as I prefer to think of him --- to rise to the typical Democrat talent of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
And here I thought it possible that the Bush Administration would figure out that decieving, misleading and keeping secrets from the American People was actually counter-productive to their chances of staying in office.
What was I thinking?!
A stunning report today from AP uncovers a recent memo from a National Park Services Deputy Director that not only outlines planned cutbacks to our National Treasures, but the directive to keep them a secret from the public, the media and even congress!
From the memo:
It then goes on to say:
"If you must inform the public"?? Good lord. Anyone up for an 'executive branch adjustment' this November?
After pondering and reading and pondering some more...It seems there is a real lesson to learn from the horror of Madrid. The knee-jerk one, of course, is that Terrorism works. At least that's the one that al-Qaeda will take away, and the one that ought to terrify everyone. But that's a lesson al-Qaeda already knows, in no small part, from the capitulation to Bin Laden demands that has already quietly occured when Bush pulled our troops out of Saudi Arabia. Just as Osama requested on 9/12.
The real lesson is one for the Bush Administration. Though it may contain a bit more nuance than the true DittoHead believers are capable of understanding as I mentioned yesterday. They certainly won't have this nuance explained to them by Lord and Savior Rush.
The lesson that the Bush Administration may or may not begin to understand is that the Conservatives in Spain were ousted by the people not for their stand on Iraq or their complicity with the Bush Administration, but because - in the face of the bombings and the impending elections - they lied to the electorate and expected the people to be dumb enough to fall for it.
The Spanish people are well aware of the type of attacks to expect from ETA (the Basque Terrorists that they have been dealing with for years), and they were smart enough to immediately recognize that the Train Bombings were most definitely not the work of ETA, but the work of al-Qaeda.
None the less, the Conservative Aznar government insisted on trying to sell the idea to the people that it was the work of ETA - a long-time opponent of the Aznar government.
The people knew better. The people didn't appreciate being lied to for political purposes. And so the people removed the Aznar government.
It is that lesson which ought to be sending a chill through the Karl Rove Bunch right about now. But they've proven themselves willing to put their head in the sand before, so only time will tell if they will finally get it, or if they will continue on their current trajectory towards defeat this November by trying - as Aznar did - to obfuscate what the People are able to see quite clearly.
See the fascinating broken English letter to Tom Tomorrow from a Spanish voter for one inside account of what happened there last week.
On the homefront then, Bush needs to put the lesson learned into action immediately if he wants a chance of hanging onto Power this November (and we all know they want nothing more desperately than that).
They best heed the warnings coming from inside their very own base and come clean about their various and numerous failures in their mismanaged "War on Terror".
As the excellent David Corn pointed out, the "Washington Post quoted a Senior CIA official last week as stating that thanks to the war in Iraq, the CIA 'is stretched beyond their limits.'"
He goes on to point to more failures and misdirections currently being obfuscated by this Administration:
A few weeks ago, James Webb, secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, made the same point more brutally: �Bush arguably has committed the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory. To put it bluntly, he attacked the wrong target. While he boasts of removing Saddam Hussein from power, he did far more than that. He decapitated the government of a country that was not directly threatening the United States and, in so doing, bogged down a huge percentage of our military in a region that never has known peace. Our military is being forced to trade away its maneuverability in the wider war against terrorism while being placed on the defensive in a single country that never will fully accept its presence.� Webb added, �The reckless course that Bush and his advisers have set will affect the economic and military energy of our nation for decades. It is only the tactical competence of our military that, to this point, has protected him from the harsh judgment that he deserves.�
We know that Bush doesn't much listen to the common folk (or bother reading their Newspapers), but if they wish to stop the hemorrhaging of their own base, not to mention the all-import "middle", they may want to start coming clean on the only issue on which the American people are still barely willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They need to begin telling the truth about their failures in the "War on Terror" and stop under-estimating the ability of the Electorate to smell a rat and turn insulted enough to hold them accountable for it at the next Election.
Otherwise, they risk missing the real lesson to be learned from Spain last week. I have no idea whether this bunch will "get it" or not. It would certainly be much better for the country if they did.
It seems to me that the most dangerous internal threat to our country, may just be the coup d'�tat by the Right to counter what they see as Liberal Media Bias by taking over said media and spinning it so far beyond reason to the Right, with such daily lockstep consistency, that it's become very difficult for the average American to even realize they are being spun anymore.
Thus, the Brad Blog - as a public service to America - is pleased to offer the occasional correction to the record.
True, we don't have a 3-hour-a-day radio show (yet), but we gotta start somewhere. So here we go:
Dear DittoHeads: Today Riush is telling you that "Liberals were in a panic" after the terrorist attack in Madrid last week because it demonstrated that Bush was proven right about this being a dangerous world. The "Liberals were terrified", Rush told you, until, of course, they began dancing with the joy three days later after the surprise victory of the Socialist Party in the elections which ousted the Conservative Administration that was complicit with Bush and his elective War on Iraq.
The result of those elections, Rush instructs you, was that "the terrorist have won" (true) and thus Liberals in this country are beside themselves with happiness over those results (a complete and total fabrication made up to suit Rush's agenda).
Now despite Rush's misinformation to the contrary - he doesn't actually know any Liberals or what they actually think about anything, or if he does, he won't waste his time by reporting it, but rather will simply makes up an absurd position for them that best fits his need to fill 3-hours-a-day with Pro-Republican propaganda.
Yo, Rushies, you are being played by your Master! Don't be a DittoChump!
It was the Bush Administration that was, and continues to be in a panic over these attacks. At least they should be (you see, I don't actually know anybody in the Bush Administration, so I'd merely be speculating on what they feel. See how I've actually told you about that? - That's what intellectual honest folks do. Get it?) But, if I were them, I would certainly be concerned. Both over the attacks, and the chill that must be running through their bones upon seeing the reactionary results of the election that followed.
It was the Bush Administration who didn't want to admit to you over the weekend (see Colin Powell's contortions on Sunday's Meet the Press for example) what was so obvious from the beginning: That these attacks were clearly the work of al-Qaeda. The same al-Qaeda that you have previously been told are "on the run" and "decimated" and "crippled". They are - clearly - no such thing. They have been radicalized and enthused by the West having fallen into the sand trap they've laid for us. We fell for it. Lost the focus on the War on Terrorism by our distraction in Iraq. An invasion which is the very Public Service Announcement that The Terrorists were looking for to display to their potential recruits that America is a threat to Islam.
That can't be admitted, of course, because it wouldn't do for the Bushies to be seen again as misleaders. Especially on the issue of Terrorism. Not for now, anyway. Not until they do their inevitable pre-Election switcheroo and go into The-World-is-More-Dangerous-than-Ever-and-only-Republicans-Can-Save-You! Mode. Coming soon to a Presidential Campaign near you!
It may take a while, but we will do our best to de-Spin you, DittoHeads! It's our patriotic American duty at least to try.
For the record, anybody who could speculate that the attacks in Madrid weren't the work of al-Qaeda, should note that the attack in Madrid came on March 11, 2004 - the precise 2� year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and exactly 911 days since that day! Coincidence? We report, you decide. But try not to be a sucker in the meantime. Really, it's just not good for the country - or the world.
Never one to miss the bandwagon, I present you with the Brad Blog's very own video campaign commercial! Created by the erstwhile Mr. Jaime Robledo and myself.
Enjoy and feel free to link back to us all you like!
For the record, as I'm still a bit dubious about the Democrats as a party - as stated previously in this blog - the turn of phrase we used at the end of this ad still makes me a touch uncomfortable. But eternally, and cautiously, optimistic, I just couldn't help myself. Let's hope for the best!...Enjoy!
"I believe privacy is a fundamental right, and that every American should have absolute control over his or her personal information." - George W. Bush, October 2000
Okay. That's nice...But, as Arch Conservative Bill Saffire points out in today's NY Times, last month, John Ashcroft's Justice Department said - as they were subpoenaing the medical records of about 500 women who had had abortions - that medical patients can "no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential."
Okay. That's not so nice. Not a surprise - from the Ashcroft clan - but not so nice.
Now, I don't have anything in particular that I feel I need to hide, so I've never been one of those folks to get their panties overly bunched about perceived threats of invasions of privacy by the government. But even I can spot hypocrisy a mile away, and I hate it. Even more than foolish government policy.
The hypocrisy I'm talking about here is not Dubya saying one thing before getting elected, and then doing another. We're all well used to that old trick by now (aren't we? See his statements against "Nation Building", standing up to OPEC to keep spiggots open and gas prices down, not using 9/11 for political purposes etc. etc. etc.) - but it's once again, the Right Wing Echo Chamber of "conservative" talk radio and "news" that's really irritating.
How often do we have to listen to Rush and friends and read Drudge and listen to Fox about how poor poor Oxycontin Junkie Rush Limbaugh is being abused by Prosecutors who are seeking his medical records in a criminal investigation?
Oh, the Right is beside themselves with outrage about the treatment of poor Rush. But - to paraphrase our good friend - not hypocritical at all - William "Lucky 7's" Bennet - where's the outrage when it comes to the 500 anonymous women who are not even suspected of breaking any law at all having their medical records seized?
Has anybody heard Hannity going on about that one?
And today then, we learn that Dubya has had some 270 overnight guests in the Whitehouse and at least that many at Camp David. The bulk of them - you guessed it - Fundraisers.
Now, once again, I don't give much of a damn about it. But I do suspect you won't hear a lot about it in the Media. After all, how many years later were they still on about Clinton's fundraising pals despoiling the Lincoln Bedroom with their very presence?
Apparently it was Dubya himself that said, again, during the 2000 Election Campaign: "I believe they've moved that sign, `The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to `The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country."
I'm sure Fair & Balanced will be all over it first thing in the morning.
In happier news though, am I the only one who had a flashback while watching Mary Matalin on last Sunday's Meet the Press, trying desperately to describe how good Bush has been for our country and how bad this Liberal Democrat will be if he's elected?
It was like 1992 all over again, and we all know how well it turned out the last time Mary Matalin was forced to desperately defend her Bush.
Fox News Channel's General Manager Roger Ailes announced at a press conference today that, as of this Friday, the all-news cable outlet's primetime news debate program, "Hannity & Colmes", would be officially retitled "Hannity & Christ".
The name change comes after eight full weeks of leading each evening's show with a discussion of the important and breaking news concerning the fact that there is a movie called "The Passion of the Christ" currently playing in movie houses, virtually, across the nation!
"It took a while for us to get our footing there." Ailes said. "For several years we were dallying about with topics of lesser news value at the top of the show, like Americans being killed in foreign lands, or various discussion about the economy, or who might be the next leader of the Free World. Finally though - thanks in no small part to the persistent vision and nose for news of the great Sean Hannity - we've officially gotten our priorities straight."
"Fox News Channel is the most trusted name in news," Hannity told reporters. "If we are to continue to own that title, we must continue to help the average American Family cut through the daily clutter of news and information to understand what is really important to them in their every day life."
When asked for comment on the program's retooling today, Hannity's far Left Socialist Liberal Bleeding-heart Pitbull Adversary, Alan Colmes, came out from under the table where Mr. Hannity was seated, pulled up his pants and informed reporters that "whatever Sean thinks, sounds great to me."
The name change goes into effect officially tomorrow evening, "which will make it a good Friday, indeed!" announced Hannity.
In other completely wholly totally unrelated news, George W. Bush's job approval ratings continue to fall, 2 more servicemen were killed in Iraq, an International Court has ordered a retrial for the only 9/11 figure ever to stand trial due to the U.S. having withheld evidence, anarchy continues in Haiti and the Bush/Cheney Re-election campaign trampled on 3000 dead people in their latest media buy.
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