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Or just needs a time-out?
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2004 1:17am PT  

Is it just me? Or is this odd? From a press session Monday morning with Bush in North Carolina:

THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you a couple of questions. Who is the AP person?

Q I am.

THE PRESIDENT: You are?

Q Sir, in regard to --

THE PRESIDENT: Who are you talking to?

Q Mr. President, in regard to the June 30th deadline, is there a chance that that would be moved back?

...Okay...and then, shortly after, this:

Q Mr. President, can you just tell me --- the 9/11 Commission, the Chairman yesterday, Governor Kean, said a date had been set, I think, for your testimony and the Vice President's. Is that --

THE PRESIDENT: I would call it a meeting.

Q A meeting, I'm sorry.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

...Touchy?...The rest of the session then rambled as follows, with this burst seemingly out of nowhere. Picking up precisely where the above left off, which was the only allusion to 9/11 at all to this point:

Q Has that date been set, and could you share it with us? And number two, can you tell us the rationale as to why you have chosen to testify or rather meet with them with the Vice President?

THE PRESIDENT: First of all, it will be a great opportunity from them to ask both of us our opinions on the subject. And we're meeting with the entire commission. I'm not exactly sure what the status is of putting out the date. I told them I'd meet with them at a time that's convenient for all of us, and hopefully we'll come to that date soon.

I look forward to sharing information with them. Let me just be very clear about this: Had we had the information that was necessary to stop an attack, I'd have stopped the attack. And I'm convinced any other government would have, too. I mean, make no mistake about it; if we'd had known that the enemy was going to fly airplanes into our buildings, we'd have done everything in our power to stop it. And what is important for them to hear, not only is that, but that when I realized that the stakes had changed, that this country immediately went on war footing, and we went to war against al Qaeda. It took me very little time to make up my mind, once I determined al Qaeda to do it, to say, we're going to go get them. And we have, and we're going to keep after them until they're brought to justice and America is secure.

But I'm looking forward to the conversation. I'm looking forward to Condi testifying. I made a decision to allow her to do so because I was assured that it would not jeopardize executive privilege. And she'll be great. She's a very smart, capable person who knows exactly what took place, and will lay out the facts. And that's what the commission's job is meant to do, and that's what the American people want to see. I'm looking forward to people hearing her.

Wish I had seen the above on video, cuz the official transcript from the Whitehouse just reads...like he's coming unglued? Bizaare...




By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2004 11:15am PT  

On the front page of Rush's website today, you'll find the following link to a transcript from a call about Condi Rice: "Like Clarence Thomas, this self-made black leader must be destroyed..."

Apparently, this is the stunning next chapter in the Right's desperate attempt at the Defense of Condi Rice. This bizaare strategy was first floated by Bob Novak last week when he sandbagged Rahm Emanuel on Crossfire:

NOVAK: Congressman, do you believe, you're a sophisticated guy, do you believe watching these hearings that Dick Clarke has a problem with this African-American woman Condoleezza Rice?

EMANUEL: Say that again?

NOVAK: Do you believe that Dick Clarke has a problem with this African-American woman Condoleezza Rice?

Huh? Emanuel was as flumoxed as I was by the odd question.

I believe it was The Daily Show who later complimented Novak on having "played a race card from a deck which nobody even realized had one".

A day or two later, like clockwork, one of Brad Blog's favorite DittoHead commenters did his good soldier Right Wing Echo Chamber duty by repeating the suggestion: "I hope it doesn't turn out to be a 'high-tech lynching of an uppity black.'"

Mission accomplished.

Have we ever seen an Administration so freaked out by the merest suggestion that they - perhaps - haven't done everything perfectly? It's rather astounding to watch.

Are these guys that desperate to defend Bush at all costs that they're already falling back to the Clarence Thomas "defense" here? Apparently so. Last week Rush answered a Liberal caller's question about why --- if the Bush Administration had such a wonderful Anti-Terrorism program from Day 1 --- why it wasn't actually ever implemented until after 9/11.

The answer was classic Rush. First, he informs us, it was because the Bushies were too busy at first because the Florida Election Debacle cost them so much valuable time that they had to work with Clinton Appointees like Richard Clarke (never mind that he was actually a Reagan appointee - DittoHeads aren't big on Facts).

But then there's this:

RUSH: ...it's all about powerful blacks in the Republican Party just are not tolerable. It is just intolerable. Condoleezza Rice stands as an exact antidote to what the liberal Democrats are telling the black population of this country. She can get where she got and she didn't have to be a Democrat, and she didn't have to be part of the civil rights coalitions, she didn't have to use affirmative action. It was the same thing that scared them about Clarence Thomas and there's an all-out effort now to destroy her as well.

Well, okay. I guess that explains that.

I guess I'll have to do some research on Condi to find out exactly where "she didn't have to use affirmative action." Perhaps she was admitted to Yale with a C+ grade average and received a Legacy admittance like Dubya. I'll get back to you on that.

By the way, if you do click-through to the Rush transcript posted above, be sure to note the section where Rush has been going on and on, until the caller finally breaks in with:

CALLER: I don't mean to cut you off, Rush, but that is laughable.

RUSH: I'm not through with --

CALLER: Let me --- you're telling me --

RUSH: Sean. Sean. Sean. You are a caller, and you can't cut me off. Now, if you keep on filibustering like this, I'll just take you down so we can't hear you.

I hate it when those callers filibuster poor Rush and never let him get in a word edgewise. Classic. And the DittoMonkeys eat it up.




By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2004 8:44am PT  




Worth the paper they're printed on
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2004 6:52pm PT  

As the bad news for the Administration continues to unfold over the next several months (continuing trouble in Iraq as we approach 1 July, a passel of new books that they won't be able to stand any more than they could stand Richard Clarke's, the 9/11 Commission Report, as well as fallout from the widening investigations of the outrageous and still under-reported Medicaire hoax and the growing Plame outing scandal) someone is gonna have to take a fall or two for Bush's re-select chances to survive.

Thus, I offer my stunning prediction that at least two of the following will not be a part of the Administration by the time we get to November 2nd. CYA Mitigator --- While I believe at least two of them will actually resign, the worst case scenario is that instead of actually resigning they will announce *ahead* of the election that they will not be serving in a second Bush term:

(Listed in order of likelihood that they'll be gone - sez me)
George Tenet
Richard Foster
Dick Cheney
Karl Rove
Paul Wolfowitz
Condoleezza Rice
Colin Powell

Anyone I missed?




By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2004 3:58pm PT  




Sometimes a trailer is just a trailer.
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2004 11:24am PT  

On late Friday afternoon --- the best time to hide embarrasing information from the news media and the public - Colin Powell finally admitted in regards to his United Nations testimony that would eventually send this country to war and 600 Americans (so far) to die, that the information he presented now "appears not to be the case that it was that solid."

Um, duh? Anyway, will anybody ever take any responsibility for this debacle? Powell seems to continue the idea of blaming it all on the Intelligence Agencies. So, who is it who takes responsibility for those agencies anyway? Apparently nobody.




(and a reason to support Kerry other than he's not Bush?)
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2004 6:20pm PT  

It's nice occasionally to come across the intellectually honest Conservative. A rare breed these days. So it was nice to catch this blog item from Andrew Sullivan today. Of note...

CONCEDING A POINT: Here's where some war critics surely have a point. Fighting back aggressively can and will increase the numbers of alienated young men across the globe eager to kill in the name of anti-Western Islamism...The strongest argument for Kerry is that we have already gained as much as we can for the time being with hard power and war; he won't pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan; he won't be able to duck a serious response to another terror attack; but he might help ease some of the hatred of the United States that this president has - undeservedly, in my view, but still undeniably - ratcheted to unseen levels.

Not sure if it's because he's British or gay, but it's certainly nice to see a bit of both "nuance" (overworked word of the year so far in 2004) and honesty from the Right.




By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2004 12:20pm PT  

So the Whitehouse has finally come to their senses and will "allow" Condoleezza Rice to testify in public under oath before the 9/11 Commission. How very thoughtful. I guess I was wrong, they really do wish to investigate what went wrong that day and how it might be avoided in the future.

But wait, another caveat or two from the Whitehouse counsel before proceeding:

"the Commission must agree in writing that it will not request additional public testimony from any White House official, including Dr. Rice."

...That way, they won't have to bother with cleaning up any inconvenient loose ends in the future.

Furthermore, they care so much that they will not only have the President testify (in private, not under oath) to the Commission, but they'll be kind enough to throw in the Vice-President on that same day, at that same session at no additional cost! More from the counsel to the President:

"I would also like to take this occasion to offer an accommodation on another issue on which we have not yet reached an agreement - Commission access to the President and Vice President. I am authorized to advise you that the President and Vice President have agreed to one joint private session with all 10 Commissioners, with one Commission staff member present to take notes of the session."

Why waste time asking the President and Vice-President to testify separately, when they can be in the same room at the same time in a "joint private session" to keep their stories straight and avoid any confusion?!

These guys are amazing.




By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2004 11:57am PT  

From Drudge just now...

9-11 COMMISSION TO ASK Condoleezza RICE TO TESTIFY UNDER OATH...White House officials worked Monday evening to negotiate compromise that would allow public release of Condoleezza Rice testimony before commission looking into 9/11, the WASHINGTON POST and NY TIMES are planning to report in Tuesday editions. White House did not allow a recording to be made of what Rice said when she met privately with commissioners for 4 hours in Feb. However, staff members have notes that were described as being nearly verbatim.... MORE... Rice may submit to another private session with the commissioners and allow them to release a transcript... 'I would like to have her testimony under the penalty of perjury' the commission's chairman says... Two Dem senators, Ed Kennedy and Charles Schumer, planned to introduce formal resolution in the Senate calling on Rice to testify under oath, the LOS ANGELES TIMES reporting in its bulldog edition...

...Could that be right? Condi's first testimony was not even allowed to be recorded? By order of the Whitehouse?!

So she not only had to testify under oath, but they wouldn't even allow the session to be recorded or a stenographer to take a verbatim transcript of the National Security Advisors testimony with the Commission investigating the greatest National Security failure in the history of our nation!

Man...Of course, the pundit echoes continue to the effect of "We've heard Condi on every show in the world, clearly she has nothing to hide! She should testify".

The more I keeping hearing that "Condi has nothing to hide" from the talking heads, the more I begin to wonder if she must!

Keep in mind, all the Whitehouse "precedent" protestations aside, including Condi's own tortured logic on 60 Minutes, to wit:

"We have yet to find an example of a national security advisor, sitting national security advisor, who has - been willing to testify on matters of policy. "

...Which is valid only if you disregard Sandy Berger (Clinton's NSA) and Zbignew Bzerzinksi (Carter's NSA), both "sitting national security advisors" at the time having testified in the past and consider their testimony to not have been about "policy" but about a criminal investigation. More to the point, though, the precedent being shoehorned into this situation concerns an NSA testifying before Congress. The 9/11 Commission, however, is not "congress". It was created by a vote of Congress with it's Head chosen by the President of the United States. A fact conveniently omited by the dubious and ultimately self-defeating explanation from Condi and friends.

As, once again, Josh Marshall so brilliantly put it:

She might just as easily have argued that they have found no record of a National Security Advisor named Rice testifying before congress, or a female NSC Director testifying, or one who served under a Republican president. Each would have made about as much sense.

UPDATE: Since writing the above yesterday, when this site was down due to a network outage, the Whitehouse has finalized their "accommodation" with the 9-11 Commission for Condi to testify. Well, that took long enough, huh? More on that shortly....




By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2004 4:24pm PT  

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":

We must avoid the easy, and well-justified, temptation to avenge. To create more hostility, and, as Nobel Peace Laureate Nelson Mandela so wisely said, �to avoid any course of action that will be as unpopular as the terrorists� in the eyes of the world. For if we fail to do so, certain death and destruction will inevitably be borne from it. Borne by rash and imprudent action. Both by us, and by those that wish to destroy us. For every Usama bin Laden that we destroy, a thousand will be born in his place.

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.




By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2004 2:56pm PT  

Rummy Busted on Live TV!...Youch...Great piece of tape posted today by MoveOn.org. Check it out. Somehow, I guess the Administration hasn't yet heeded the warnings of my "Lessons from Madrid" article yet. Oh, well.




The Real Lessons...not the Spin
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2004 1:48pm PT  

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:

It's not just the usual anti-war types who have argued that Bush undermined the war on terror with his war in Iraq. In December, the Strategic Studies Institute of the Army War College published a report that harshly called the war on Iraq �an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred Iraq that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from securing the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable al Qaeda. The war against Iraq was not integral to the [global war on terrorism], but rather a detour from it.�

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.




A Public Service to America
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2004 6:05pm PT  

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.




By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2004 1:23pm PT  

Good news! As a followup to my recent article on the Done Deal that is Gay Marriage, and in light of the many impassioned comments that article has engendered, I've learned a couple of things.

I've come to realize, of late, that I've been too hasty in overlooking the self-proclaimed accomplishments of our "President". As you know, he and his minions have been highlighting his undeniable successes in the "War on Terror".

The facts, they suggest, speak for themselves: There's not been a single terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. Not one!

Putting aside the Anthrax Attacks for the moment - as they do - I believe it's only fair of me to acknowledge what a success Dubya has been on this count! There's not been a single attack! His strategy is clearly working!

In light of that success, and logic, I've also now come to realize another thing. Gay Marriage in America is an equally undeniable success! In fact, Gay Marriage may have single-handedly brought the Sanctity back to the Institution of Marriage in this country!

The facts speak for themselves: There has not been one single Gay Married Couple in this country, since Gay Marriage began, to file for a Divorce! Not one! Ever!

Gay Marriage has a 100% success rate! Clearly, by Dubya's own logic, this accomplishment is undebatable! It does, however, disturbingly highlight the Crisis we're now facing in regards to Heterosexual Marriage in America, which has a Divorce Rate of more than 50%.

I'm seriously concerned that Heterosexuals are making a mockery of the Sacred Institution of Marriage, and in light of this crisis, I and am calling for an immediate Constitutional Amendment banning Heterosexual Marriage in America. This step is a necessary one if we are to preserve the Sanctity of Marriage in this country. I'm sorry to say, it's the only thing we can do, at this time, in light of the disturbing statistics that are now ravaging many of the great cities in our land.

Please join me in this effort. May God bless you, and may God bless America.




'Bout time.
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2004 12:52pm PT  

"The fact of the matter is, we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody...And I think that means that people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It's really no one else's business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard...The next step, then...is the question you ask of whether or not there ought to be some kind of official sanction, if you will, of the relationship. That matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy." - Dick Cheney on 'Gay Marriage' during the 2000 Vice-Presidential Debate

That was then. This is 2004. And now Vice President Cheney whistles a different tune. He now supports a ban on gay marriage.

Well, you could knock me over with a feather! A Republican as cynical hypocrite?! What were the odds?! Usually such occurences are happily overlooked by the Marching Band of Right Wing Footsoldiers in flyover country. But in this case, it makes the new GOP line against Kerry ("He's on both sides of every issue" - which he is, by the way!) a particularly hard sell. Even the Ditto Heads ought to be able to notice the transparency of that particular game as it relates to Election '04's number one social issue.

That said, by the time November rolls around, I don't believe it'll all make much of a difference either way what anybody has to say about it. The wall seems to be finally coming down, and the GOP and DNC are as powerless to stop it as East German Chancellor Erich Honecker was to stop the Berlin Wall from toppling in '89.

All eyes now on Chicago where Mayor Richard Daley has said that he'd have "no problem" with city commissioners offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

And so it goes. Another barrier falls. The greatest singular moment in History for the Gay Community since Stonewall. And it's about frickin' time.

UPDATE 2:21pm: And here goes New Mexico!

Irony Drippin' Quote of the Day:
"I have ultimate confidence in the American People's ability to separate B.S. from the truth." - Rush Limbaugh during the first broacast hour, 2/20/04




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