Photo by Tom Tomorrow, trailing Moore at the convention.
From his blog item on the meeting:
Should be a good 'Factor' tonight.
w/ Brad & Desi
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Photo by Tom Tomorrow, trailing Moore at the convention.
From his blog item on the meeting:
Should be a good 'Factor' tonight.
I actually didn't plan on watching much of this convention at all! It's the RNC Convention where the fun begins!
But tonight turned out to be a surprise. I was first alerted that Al Gore was being rather funny (claiming he doesn't "lie awake at night counting...and recounting sheep") and pretty sharp ("Wouldn't we be safer with a president who didn't insist on confusing al Qaeda with Iraq?").
So I got sucked in. And as bored as I planned on being, I ended up rather impressed. From Gore to both Clintons (though Hillary was a bit shrill for my taste...if I wanted my ears to bleed I'd listen to Eleanor Clift on the McClaughlin Group each week...oh, wait, I do.)
Anyway, the most endearing --- and ironically, the toughest speaker of the night --- was the 80 year old Jimmy Carter! Who kicked it!
Notable quotes from his speech which is worth the full read! (it's short and sweet):
They knew the horrors of war. And later as commanders in chief, they exercised restraint and judgment, and they had a clear sense of mission.
We had a confidence that our leaders, both military and civilian, would not put our soldiers and sailors in harm's way by initiating wars of choice unless America's vital interests were in danger.
We also were sure that these presidents would not mislead us when issues involved our national security.
I am confident that next January, [John Kerry] will restore the judgment and maturity to our government that nowadays is sorely lacking.
Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world.
[I]n just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all [the] good will [after 9/11] has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations.
Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism.
What a difference these few months of extremism have made.
The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of preemptive war.
We cannot maintain our historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic...we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our country...we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others.
And finally, in the world at large, we cannot lead if our leaders mislead.
You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next, depending on the latest political polls.
Ultimately, the basic issue is whether America will provide global leadership that springs from the unity and the integrity of the American people, or whether extremist doctrines, the manipulation of the truth, will define America's role in the world.
At stake is nothing less than our nation's soul.
You go, boy! It was a humdinger! So much for the idea that ex-Presidents are supposed to shut the hell up! Now that's what a great American looks like boys and girls.
Since the big boy bloggers all got invitations to the Convention (yeah, yeah, I might have as well, had I gotten them a copy of my passport in time, but never mind that!) I guess it's left to duffers like me to cover the coverage that they're missing since they're all in the hall itself, and don't get to watch it on TV!
Switching back and forth between Fox and CNN during Clinton's speech was telling for a start.
Fox was continuously breaking away from their shot of Clinton as he was speaking, to folks in the audience with funny hats, dark skin or, in at least one case, a guy who was either reading his program or falling asleep. (It seems unlikely he was falling asleep, but I have no doubt that's why Fox chose to go to that shot). CNN, for the most part, stayed on Clinton while he was speaking, breaking away only during applause breaks.
Anyway, it was after Clinton's speech that "Fair & Balanced" really came into play for Fox as they analyzed it up in the booth.
On the Right: Brit Hume, Bill Krystol, Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes
On the Left (sorta): Maura Liason
We report, you decide.
I've never been a fan and never much enjoyed listening to him speak, but tonight --- looking leaner and sounding sharper than I've ever seen him --- Bill Clinton's speech at the DNC Convention was nothing less than extraordinary. Had he been that sharp when he was running for President, he might have tricked me into voting for him!
Granted, I only caught the last 20 minutes or so (hope to catch more later on the repeats, along with Gore, Carter, etc.), but the most quotable phrase from his stem-winder tonight:
There was more notable, but I'll have to get back to you with some of the quotes.
By the way, since so few of the networks and cable "news" channels are covering the convention itself (versus the convention going on down in the hall while Bill O'Reilly talks about Lacy Peterson up in the Fox Booth at the convention), you can check C-Span.org anytime video of the full uncut speeches. If you can stand it.
C-Span itself should be noted for actually just playing the convention without all the bullshit. And for those of us on the West Coast, the nightly repeats are much appreciated!
"Media Matters for America" (who were are now linking to in our sidebar here) has been doing a terrific job of meticulously documenting the lies, innuendo, and out and out partisan bullshit echoed in near lock-step by the supposedly "Liberal" (CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, WaPo, etc.) and Extremist Conservative (Fox, Rush, Sean, Savage, Coulter, etc.) Media.
Take for example the Sandy Berger folderol in which a nine-month old investigation was leaked by Ashcroft's Justice Department just two days before the 9-11 Commission was to release it's report.
Rush told his listeners about it. He told them that this was "far worse" than Abu Ghraib. Even Chris Matthews invoked Watergate during a discussion on the topic.
On CNN, Tucker Carlson told America that "Berger stripped the files of every single copy of a single memo which detailed the Clinton administration's response to the Y2K terror threat." (Never mind that the documents alleged to be missing were copies of the originals.)
But then comes the pants and stock stuffing....
It's too late tonight, and I couldn't approach the superb job that Media Matters does in covering how this smear was perpetrated in the once great 4th Estate. So, if you are interested in how the "Liberal"/Rightwing Media plies it's dirty trade, or if you believe they do no such thing, take a look at this fascinating point-by-point timeline/dissection of how it all works.
Then ask yourself why you're not doing more to put an end to it.
Caught by Josh Marshall:
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader's quixotic presidential campaign says it submitted about 5,400 signatures to get on the Michigan ballot, far short of the required number of 30,000. Luckily for him, approximately 43,000 signatures were filed by Michigan Republicans on his behalf, more than meeting the requirement.
Speaks for itself.
I was thinking "cowardly un-American desperate pathetic wussies" ... but "idiots" works as well.
In another fine example of how the mainstream, supposedly "Liberal" Media --- in this case CNN --- passes off White House propoganda as "news", take a look at this exchange from yesterday's Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff on CNN which further underscores a point made here recently (and re-published by the Democratic Underground) about the myth of a "Liberal" Media.
Note Judy's first question in the following exchange and how it would seem to have nothing to do with what she's just been told by the reporter. Also note how, in the end, a report/conversation that certainly sounds like news or analysis is anything but. Instead, it's a virtual echoing of the unsupported White House position that George W. Bush served honorably and was not AWOL from the National Guard in 1972:
Now they say upon further checking, that is not the case. The records were intact and in fact have been found. They say that the reason they were confused before is they had the wrong records access number that was straightened out by a manager of the facility and they have found the payroll records for that quarter which was missing, which was in 1972, the third quarter including July, August and September.
The White House had maintained all along that even though the records were missing they were irrelevant because it was never claimed that President Bush accumulated flying hours during that time. Instead they said he fulfilled his service over a 12-month period and was honorably discharged from the Air Guard.
Nevertheless, the gap in the records caused critics to question what had happened to them. We do have the records now and they do show in fact, as near as I can tell from reading them that President Bush did not accrue any flying hours during that time. But again, the White House said that was irrelevant, but now the records have been found and the record is complete --- Judy.
WOODRUFF: So, Jamie, to clarify, this indicates that President Bush was present and putting his service while he was in the Air Guard, even though he wasn't flying, am I correct?
MCINTYRE: Well, it doesn't show that he accrued any credits during that three-month period, but again, the White House never asserted that he had during that three months. They say that he fulfilled his obligation over a 12-month period and that the records for that exist that show he accumulated the necessary points to have done what he was supposed to do. Critics charge at that point that he was away working on a senatorial campaign and was essentially AWOL for 12 months. The White House says that the documents refute that, but there was always a question about what this gap --- how this gap in the documents came by and now they say they've found that missing document.
WOODRUFF: All right. Jamie McIntyre with this late-breaking development out of the Pentagon. Jamie, thank you very much.
The fact of the matter is that nothing in the newly released documents shows that George W. Bush actually performed his required service in the National Guard. Nothing in any document has actually been able to prove that. Nor has a single witness to Bush's "service" in the last quarter of 1972 come forward to attest to his presence during that time. Not one.
If these newly released records do anything they serve to further underscore there is no proof that George W. Bush did what he claims, and instead likely deserted his post but was given an "honorable discharge" anyway for some reason. Not that having a father who had just become the chairman of the Republican National Committee after serving as ambassador to the United Nations in 1972 would make such a deserter more likely to receive said "honorable discharge".
None the less, the supposedly "Liberal" Media of CNN is happy once again to spin P.R. duties for the White House.
I was listening for a bit yesterday to Larry Elder (just another Rightwing Talk Radio personality, for those of you not familiar) as he was discussing again one of the most troubling threats to our country and democracy today: Linda Ronstadt.
A caller brought up the "good point", as Elder confirmed, that Americans aren't interested in what actors and performers have to say about our country. She further pointed out how amazed she was that any of these actors and performing artists would think that anyone in America actually cared about their opinions on anything.
The implication there being that, unlike trial-lawyer turned Rightwing Political Talk Radio celebrity Elder, or disk jockey at his father's radio station turned Rightwing Political Talk Radio celebrity Rush Limbaugh are somehow better qualified than these other Americans to give their political opinions.
They are smart, and have opinions worth listening to. But Whoopi Goldberg, Rob Reiner, Alec Baldwin, Rosie O'Donnell, Linda Ronstadt are somehow much lesser Americans.
And of course, as we see frequently here on the BRAD BLOG from commentors like our friend "Paul", it's the janitors and secretaries and tech-support "professionals" at bankrupt companies like MCI/Worldcom who feel they somehow are more informed and better able to comment on important political issues than such lowly actors and performers.
Here's the ultimate irony though...As I've been pondering this, I can't really think of any Liberal, Progressive or Democrat Actors/Performers that the Left has actually put into office to make policy decisions for us!
It seems that only the Republican party elevates these "lowly actors" into office. Just a few that come to mind are Governor/President Ronald Reagan, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mayor/U.S. Representative Sonny Bono, U.S. Representative Fred "Gopher" Grandy, Senator Fred Thompson, Mayor Clint Eastwood. Heck, just last week the GOP was on their hands and knees begging Footbal Coach / Broadcaster Mike Ditka to represent them in the U.S. Senate! Now there's a fella with political acumen!
In other words, actors and performers who actually ply their trade on stage as they are trained and practiced in order to raise money and support a Democratic candidate: BAD!
Republican actors and performers who actually wish to make policy decisions (especially at the National level!): GOOD!
The continuing hypocrisy from the faltering Fake "say-anything-to-win" Conservatives just keep going...and going...and going. It's no surpise by now. But when one takes the time to ponder how black-and-white different the rhetoric is on the Right from what they actually do it still never fails to astound.
The Bush Military Payroll records that might have exhonerated him and proved he actually served in the National Guard in Alabama were reported as "inadvertantly destroyed" by the Pentagon.
Today, however, the AP is reporting that they weren't destroyed after all! And they've been released to the AP. Problem is...there's still no record of George W. Bush having served from July to September of 1972:
In the meantime, nobody has yet to claim the $10,000 prize offered to anyone who actually witnessed George W. Bush reporting for drills between May and November of 1972. The prize has been offered for months now by Doonesbury creator G. B. Trudeau. Still no takers.
Fahrenheit 9/11 continues to smash all records for documentary films. After a full month of release, it's still in the top 10 releases in the nation (moving from #4 to #6 as of yesterday) and will, by tonight or tomorrow, cross the unprecendented $100 million mark.
In related news, Michael Moore fan Linda Ronstadt will likely be invited back to the Aladdin in Las Vegas when the new owners take over in September. Moore has said he'd like to join Ms. Ronstadt during that appearance to sing "God Bless America" together and would screen F9/11 for free to all casino guests.
In a quote that may help explain why the Aladdin is currently in bankruptcy and preparing for new owners (Planet Hollywood, ironically enough), outgoing Aladdin President Bill Timmins elucidated upon his poor business judgement to CBS News, explaining why he had Ronstadt escorted off the property without even allowing her back to her hotel room first:
Yes. How inappropriate for a performing artist to feel "free" to ply her trade in front of an audience! What could that woman have been thinking?! Where does she think she is? America?!
"He" is one Dick Cheney, Halliburton CEO and Former Sec. of Defense, speaking in Kuala Lumpur, April 20, 1998.
Whether or not Halliburton violated U.S. sanctions in dealing with Iran during the time that Cheney was its CEO is currently the subject of a grand-jury investigation.
The above quote was taken from a report by The Malaysian National News Agency, courtesy of the indefatigable Josh Marshall. More quotes from his speech can be found here.
Have been busy, and didn't plan on hitting this until I had more time...but since this measure has already passed the House, it seems I better get the word out there.
BRAD BLOG commentor, O.P., is to be commended for his dilligence in keeping this one in front of my face.
It seems that after the Senate failed, to the embarrassment of the Bush Administration, to even muster a simple majority for their Gay Marriage Amendment to the Constitution that the House is hoping to up the ante. They're including a provision in their latest bill that would make it illegal for the bill itself to be reviewed in any way by the Judicial Branch.
Yes. You read that right.
You'd think that was a joke. But we're dealing with a party in desperation here. So the Republicans --- at least until the election --- have decided that the U.S. Constitution is just too darn limiting for the vision they have for America.
Here's part of the latest Homophobia Act (otherwise known as H.R. 3313 or the "Marriage Protection Act of 2004") that passed today in the House:
(a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 99 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
Sec. 1632. Limitation on jurisdiction
No court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of section 1738c of this title or of this section. Neither the Supreme Court nor any court created by Act of Congress shall have any appellate jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of section 7 of title 1.
Okey doke, you "Conservatives" out there! Let's hear from you how this latest scam is another one of those terrific "Conservative" ideals that you think your representatives in the GOP are up there fighting for.
For good measure, O.P. was also kind enough to quote this part of that useless old document we refer to as the United States Constitution:
Silly antiquated U.S. Constitution! Even the Ultra-Rightwing former Congressman Bob Barr is intellectually honest enough to criticize the unconstitutionality of this bill. What a mess the hypocrites in the GOP have wrought.
No more Judicial Branch!!! Vote GOP this November!!!
Everywhere I go (and write) these days there still seems to be a collective sense of shock and/or disbelief from folks on both the Right and the Middle, and even on the Left --- who have been as mind-numbed as those everywhere else --- when I mention the supposedly "Liberal" Mainstream Media's bias towards the Bush Administration.
The bias is not so much because they are supporters of Bush Administration policies per se, but because they have been so cowed for so long by the Administration, and afraid of either losing their access or being labeled "Anti-Bush" or "Anti-American" or simply "unpatriotic" by the rabid Right, that they now err far on the opposite side of the matter. The result has been, over the past several years, that the Right and the Bushies who currently sit at the top of that pyramid have gotten a virtual free pass on everything from the 2000 Election to the Iraq War.
The supposed "Liberal" bastions of CNN and the NY Times are the most obvious examples. Whenever I mention their bias towards Administration positions, I am met with shock, disbelief and indignation from Right Robots everywhere. Of course. Who can blame them? They are behaving as they have been programmed to. (Just like the Mainstream Media!)
The fact that the NY Times all but abdicated it's duties as skeptical journalists, who are supposed to be looking out for our interests, during the run up to the Iraq War has been much discussed in the narrow band of the Blogosphere Left and largely ignored (by convenience?) amongst the more ubiquitous Rightwing and Mainstream (virtual Rightwing) Media.
A tepid and vaguely worded apology was recently issued by the Times for their disastrously inaccurate and misleading pre-war coverage, wherein they essentially echoed the Administration's flawed intelligence every day on Page One of America's "paper of record". The Times eventually apologized for "coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been" and that "In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged."
The Times information was largely spoon-fed to them without question by Ahmad Chalabi --- a man with a very specific mission to tell Americans whatever they needed to hear to encourage them (and us, and the world) towards over-throwing Saddam. He was also a man on the Administration payroll to the tune of some 300k per month. Their apology, of course, unlike the Page One stories, was a Page 14 blip on the media coverage scene. A more recent Op/Ed apology in The Times said that they "should have been more aggressive in helping our readers understand that there was always a possibility that no large stockpiles existed" and that they "did not listen carefully" to those who raised those doubts.
Judith Miller, the Times biggest Page One offender was never singled out by name in either apology, or apparently reprimanded in any way, for her nearly single-handed series of scores of flawed and misleading articles. It's all now too little, too late. As is usually the case when "the paper of records" prints something, many of those articles were then hailed by Bush supporters everywhere to shore up their case for war in every other newspaper and/or media outlet around the world. If, after all, even the "Liberal" NY Times says "Saddam has stockpiles of WMD's" and that "Iraq is a growing threat" then, of course, it must be true!
Of course, we now know it wasn't. But don't expect much more than a quick hand-wringing about that from the same Media that screwed it all up in the first place.
CNN is another supposedly "Liberal" Media outlet that carried the Administration water leading up to and throughout the "initial hostilities" in Iraq.
They, like the rest of what might have been a legitimate media in this country, were cowed from the very first hours after the 9/11 Attacks when FOX NEWS and other Rightwing Hacks accused them of being "unpatriotic" whenever one of their anchors considered the traitorous act of not wearing an American Flag lapel pin while on the air!
CNN's Christian Amanpour, almost alone, was critical of her own network and the many others who "embedded" themselves within the Administration in one way or another. She was, of course, met with much criticism back in September of 2003, when she publicly raised the issue. "I'm sorry to say," Amanpour told USA Today, "but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."
She went on to speak about how this self-censorship seeped its way into the coverage, or lack thereof; "It's a question of being rigorous. It's really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."
Now she tells us.
And now, with WMD's nowhere to be found, the Administration's "informants" proven to have been largley nothing more than opportunistic frauds, and the case for the war virtually shot to hell, it's not just the Bush Administration that is avoiding all mea culpas in not taking real accountability for their culpability in the unncessecary deaths of thousands in this bogus war. The very media that helped them convince America there was a good reason for all of it continue to act, with very few exceptions, like Amanpour above, as though they had no real responsibility in the matter.
Wolf Blitzer, CNN's most prominent face and "top" anchor continues business as usual. Despite so many of his sycophantic and unquestioning softball interviews with so many "top Administration Officials" prior to the war.
Sadly, as has been the case in America over the last few months, it turns out that the hard-hitting fake news program "The Daily Show", as demonstrated here recently, is one of the few voices regularly calling out the Mainstream Media for their vaccuous and inaccurate coverage that helped allow the Bush Administration to lead us into an unnecessary and ultimately self-destructive war.
In truth, the real scandal is how the "real" news outlets turn out to be "comedy", while our comedy shows turn out to be more like real news. We are well beyond the Looking Glass indeed.
Last Monday, the seemingly rather incurious Blitzer was interviewed by "The Daily's" Jon Stewart who didn't much hold back in his questioning of the man who, in no small part, was the "face" of American Media across the world in the panicked rush to war. The discussion was rather telling:
(Pardon the interruption, but I must interject here to note how much Blitzer there sounds like Bush last week when asked how he can still continue to claim that there were ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda. His answer: "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."
Anyway...back to the Blitzer interview...)
Yes, Jon...the whole thing's crazy. And Wolf sums his failure up nicely; Prior to the war, he asked everyone who was in favor of going to war, why we should be going to war. Apparently, though he claims to be "skeptical by [his] very nature", he was not skeptical enough to report on, or give coverage to all of the many voices out here who had different opinions on the efficacy of this thing before it actually happened. Wouldn't want to jeopardize that primo Administration access now would we, Wolf?
A study by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting released in March of 2003, looked at the interviews conducted by CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS in the one week before and then after Colin Powell gave his now infamously misleading (and factually incorrect!) address to the United Nations. Of the 393 interviews during those two weeks on the four major broadcast networks, only three of those interviews were with individuals who were "skeptical of or opposed to the invasion of Iraq."
That means that nearly 97% of what Americans saw on their nightly news was little more than a constant drumbeat for going to war. So much for the myth of the "Liberal" Media.
None the less, some of us who were paying close attention heard all the warnings beforehand. From former Middle East envoy and chief of Central Command in the Middle East, Scott Ritter, from the head of the International Atomic Energy Association, Mohamed al-Baradei and a host of others, who told us --- usually via the tiniest mentions in the Mainstream Media, if that much, more frequently on their own websites or reported via the independent internet websites --- that the WMD were not there, Saddam had no "mushroom cloud material" and the plan for War was simply ill-conceived from the get go.
We, the few of us bothering to pay very close attention on our own, even heard the warnings George W. Bush's own father, who has more than a little familiarity with issues in that tricky and dangerous part of the world. The former President warned in his own memoirs that "Trying to eliminate Saddam ... would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. ... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. ... [T]here was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."
In other words, all of the warnings were out there, yet CNN and the The NY Times and the rest of the Network Broadcast Media, in the wake of blistering criticism from the Right after 9/11 for not being "patriotic" enough, didn't bother to be skeptical enough because that would have required they be --- potentially --- critical of the Administration in their reporting. Which, in turn, would have been "unpatriotic" and/or "un-American" as charged by the folks that have been charging for years that these outlets are "house organs of the Liberal Left" anyway.
They weren't skeptical enough. They should have been. And nearly 900 Americans have now given their lives, thousands more have given their limbs, and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are all dead because of it.
Yes, as the recent Senate Intelligence Report indicates, the CIA blew it. So did the Bush Administration. But make no mistake, the Media --- Mainstream and otherwise --- have the same blood of incompetence, abdication of duty, cowardice and failure of intellectual curiosity on their hands. "Liberal" Media, indeed. Failed, cowed, culpable Administration Media lap dogs appears much closer to reality for anyone willing to look at the actual evidence.
With so many dead, so many failures, it would be nice if that Media started dealing more in reality. For the good of this country. (Which is usually for the good of this world, I might add.) No matter how many Administration Officials or Rightwing Extremist Partisans might cut off their access and baselessly call them names and threaten boycotts because of it.
Message to the Media: Yes, politicians of both the Left and the Right will tell you whatever they are interesting in selling. That's their job. It's your job to get the real story! Not simply serve as a PR outfit for the politicos! We've got xerox machines for that! And we shouldn't have to rely on fake news shows on cable comedy channels for the real news and the hard-hitting interviews. In other words, find some courage and some of that skepticism you claim to have "by nature", and start doing your frickin' job! How many more have to die to remind you of what you should be doing?
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