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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 4:23pm PT  

Several years from now, when you look back and wonder how it ever happened, you'll be able to look back at this, and recognize that you did nothing to stop it. In fact, you allowed 99 Senators from both political parties to suggest that "this is something the public wants."

Or, you can Call or Email your Senator or Congressmen, and tell them to knock it off and stop censoring your public airwaves through the slow, chilling oppression of free speech.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 4:10pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 4:05pm PT  

Special Added Bonus Link from Bizarro World!:
Video of US Attorney General John Ashcroft singing his song "Let the Eagle Soar" during a speech!

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Another sad tale from 'Bizarro World'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2004 1:09pm PT  

It's a sad state of affairs in America when the fake news show, The Daily Show on Comedy Central is doing some of the best journalism on television.

To that end, take a look at this sequence wherein The Daily exposes Dick Cheney (and with him, the entire Bush Administration) to be the manipulative dissemblers that they are.

Jon Stewart is discussing the Administration's recent bone picking with the Media for supposedly mischaracterizing the 9/11 Commission's report that Iraq and al-Qaeda had no substantial cooperative ties and what the Bush Administration may or may not have said about all of that in the lead up to war.

Cheney is seen on tape speaking to a CNBC reporter in an "exclusive" interview:

CHENEY (on tape): One thing we had is the, uh, gravity of a Czech intelligence service report saying that, uh, [9/11 hijacker] Mohammed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official at the embassy on April 9th, 2001. That's never been proven, that's never been refuted.

STEWART (live): "Never been proven, never been refuted"?...Well, I'm not unconvinced! ... [audience laughter] ... For the record, the 9/11 Commission said of the alleged Iraq/Atta encounter or meeting; "We do not believe that such a meeting occurred." But still that's okay because Vice President Cheney never said such a meeting occurred... He just said that you couldn't prove that it hadn't. He never acted like Atta had had that meeting and that meeting had been confirmed. Am I, am I right?

CNBC (on tape): You have said in the past that it was quote "pretty well confirmed..."

CHENEY (on tape): No, I never said that.

CNBC (on tape): Okay...

CHENEY (on tape): I never said that...

CNBC (on tape): I think that is...

CHENEY (on tape): That is...Absolutely not...

STEWART (live): He never said that? Hmm....

CHENEY (on tape, 12/9/01, Meet the Press): It's been pretty well confirmed...[audience cheers] that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April.

[cheers continue]

STEWART (live): Mr. Vice President...I have to inform you...your pants are on fire. [laughter, applause]

Funny? Yes. But also terribly sad that such "reporting" on what our "leaders" are saying to us, and the lies that they are selling to justify a horrendous foreign policy, is virtually only being done on a "fake news" show on a basic cable comedy channel! A disgraceful indictment of the supposedly "liberal" media if you ask me.

That wasn't the only ball that The Daily hit outta the park on last night's show. Stewart's interview with Stephen F. Hayes, author of The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Sadam Hussein Has Endangered America was nothing less than brilliant. If I find time later today, I'll try and transcribe some key moments...Yes, really good journalism.

But for now, for "fair and balanced" sake, here's a great line from a Clinton story that lead last night's show featuring tape from Sunday's 60 Minutes Dan Rather interview:

CLINTON (on tape): ...If there had been no Kenneth Starr...if we had different kind of people, I would have just said "Here are the facts, I'm sorry, deal with it however you please."

STEWART (live): "If there had been no Ken Starr"...he would have confessed! [laugher] You know I'll say this for Bill Clinton, his integrity is at it's highest, when the situation is at it's most hypothetical. [audience laugher, cheers]

So there's a bone for you Fake Conservatives. Unfortunately, while the Clinton bit is funny, yes, it has no importance to anything. His "lies" haven't lead to the death of thousands of innocent human beings. I wish I could say the same for the Dick Cheney stuff...And for the media's part in standing down and/or aiding and abetting that effort throughout the entire shameful chapter.

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Why the results in Afghanistan and Iraq simply make things worse.
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2004 3:58pm PT  

Getting a bit too wonky even for myself here. So I'll hope the BRAD BLOG readers will tolerate this bit of wonkery for the moment. I believe it's important.

In case you're not familiar, an anonymous career CIA analyst/foreign policy expert, having served decades, and still employeed by the agency as I understand it, is releasing a book in a few weeks which is highly critical of the Bush Administration's "War on Terror".

In Imperial Hubris: How the West is Losing the War on Terror the author, Anonymous, goes into a much detailed account of where we went wrong, and what few options we now may be left with.

For those who would (as those who inevitably will, for partisan reasons) see this as just another Bush Bash Fest, it would be a mistake to do so, since Anonymous' prescription for what to do now, is decidely "un-Liberal". Essentially, he calls for Total War. But for an explanation of that actually means --- and how it differs from what is being waged now --- you'll need to read Spencer Ackerman's full article (over on Talking Points Memo where he's currently filling in for the vacationing Josh Marshall).

For the moment, what caught my eye was a useful and sobering post-mortem on where things now stand in both Afghanistan and Iraq:

[Anonymous] sees our intervention in Afghanistan as a disaster. While not as strident, a host of mostly liberal critics generally agree, arguing that the Bush administration has allowed Afghanistan to slip back into warlord-dominated instability. The prescription this critique implies is a vigorous nation-building effort. Anonymous rejects this entirely. Expanding Hamid Karzai's writ across the country is a recipe for violence, he writes: "After twenty years of war and ineffective or alien government in Kabul, the regions, subregions and tribes have never been more autonomously minded and jealous of their prerogatives." Democratization in Afghanistan, he believes, is a mirage. "We focus on issues that don't matter to Afghans--women's rights, democracy--and we denigrate those things that matter to Afghans--Islam, tribal and clan relationships, ethnic pecking orders," he says. Sometime soon, "you're going to have a government back in Kabul that looks like the Taliban, perhaps under a different name." The proper purpose of the 2001 war, he believes, was to use U.S. forces to annihilate the Qaeda presence in the country and do no more. With our inability to do that, our garrisoning of troops in Afghanistan and support of a weak central government of ethnic minorities provides little aside from an Islamist rallying cry against U.S. occupation--what he terms "an unmitigated defeat." [emphasis added]

Then there's Iraq. "[T]here is nothing bin Laden could have hoped for more than the American invasion and occupation of Iraq," he writes.

All Muslims would see each day on television that the United States was occupying a Muslim country, insisting that man-made laws replace God's revealed word, stealing Iraq's oil, and paving the way for the creation of a "Greater Israel." The clerics and scholars would call for a defensive jihad against the United States, young Muslim males would rush from across the Islamic world to fight U.S. troops, and there--in Islam's second holiest land--would erupt a second Afghanistan, a self-perpetuating holy war that would endure whether or not al-Qaeda survived.

The reason we've made these mistakes, he argues, is that we fail to understand that bin Laden doesn't hate us because of our freedom. Or, rather, while he does hate the licentiousness and modernity that the U.S. represents, it's not what compels him to declare war on us. Nor does an anti-modernist bent explain bin Laden's appeal across the Muslim world. Instead, it's what Anonymous identifies as six points bin Laden repeatedly cites in his communiqués: "U.S. support for Israel that keeps the Palestinians in the Israelis' thrall; U.S. and other Western troops on the Arabian peninsula; U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; U.S. support for Russia, India and China against their Muslim militants; U.S. pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low; U.S. support for apostate, corrupt and tyrannical Muslim governments." Combined with his charismatic biography, bin Laden's strategic success has been to frame these arguments through a Koranic prism, "to convince everyone that U.S. policy is deliberately anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic," he says. Bin Laden's critique presents in resonant Islamic terminology a coherent jihadist explanation for practically everything Muslims can find offensive about the U.S.--the most deadly slippery slope there is. And the more Americans insist on treating bin Laden's anger with the U.S. as a pure hatred of freedom, the less equipped we'll be to answer him in a battle of ideas. [emphasis added]

I realize these arguments may be a bit more nuanced and informed than is easily fit onto Headline News, Larry King's brain, or the general limited scope of a Fake Conservative's knee-jerk ideological pallette.

The battle of "Good vs. Evil" is much easier to get across to the Nascar Dad Joe-Sixpacks on whom Dubya's re-election chances now hinge.

None the less, until the United States cares to take a real, sobering, and --- yes --- nuanced look at what this "War" is really about, we're destined to simply keep spinning our wheels in a never-ending, ever-increasing bloody battle that simply cannot be "won".

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By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2004 3:26pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2004 2:54pm PT  

Last night, on a beautiful summer's eve, we took the 40 minute drive or so to one of the few remaining Drive-In Movie's remaining in Southern California. We tend to seek out such places no matter where on the road we might be. Nothing makes a marginal movie better, than seeing it on the cheap and under the stars.

To that end, a few weeks ago near Solvang, we caught both Shrek 2 and Mean Girls. The first was a whole lotta fun, highly recommended, and the second was much better than expected --- and not only because it included some great and smart and actually funny "anti-Liberal" satire. Some thing that is not easy to find these days.

Last night, we saw two more nearer to home. The first was Around the World in 80 Days, which to my great delight and surprise I am herewith proclaiming "an Instant Disney Classic!", and The Stepford Wives which I am herewith proclaiming "uh...not so much".

Actually, Stepford was about as stupid and knee-jerky as they come. Disappointingly unfunny, unscary, and unsmart. All in all, an enormously good idea/opportunity squandered for reasons that likely have to do with "business as usual" amongst the Hollywood Studio Food Chains. Save your time and money. But don't be afraid to catch Around the World... as it was genuinely well done, and actually quite amusing.

Though I'd still recommend you try to catch Control Room first --- as reviewed here previously --- since it'll be harder to find at a later date and it's truly an important film for Americans to see.

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Adding Fairness and Balance to the US Media's portayal of the 'War on Terror'
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2004 1:14pm PT  

At one point in the remarkable new documentary Control Room (view the trailer), one of the women working in production at Al Jazeera (one of the many suprisingly westernized production folks who run the most popular satellite news channel in the Arab World) speaks directly to the point of the "objectivity" of the media.

"Are any U.S. journalists objective about this war?...This word 'objectivity' is almost a mirage."

And so the "mirage" is here seen from a point of view as yet unseen by most Americans in this eye-opening look at the fall of Baghdad as projected through the prism of an Egyptian-American documentarian with insider access to much of the goings on at Al-Jazeera during that period.

The revelations are, to say the very least, quite surprising. The tortured consciences and difficult dilemmas of the gate-keepers in charge of presenting daily events of America's "War on Terror" to the Arab world are shown --- at least in this film --- to be a great deal more thoughtful than the "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable...mouthpiece of Osama bin Laden" that Donald Rumsfeld, and other US officials have painted them to be.

I'll admit that, prior to this film, I too was convinced that Al Jazeera was essentially an Anti-US propoganda machine for the Arab World. I had heard nothing to the contrary via any of the Media in this country, mainstream or otherwise, "liberal" or otherwise. The "fact" that Al Jazeera was an anti-American agenda driven organization was simply a given. I had no reason to believe otherwise.

And that's coming from me, an anti-Iraq War, anti-Bush Administration, "Liberal" (in the eyes of most folks).

Imagine what the bulk of America must think of Al Jazeera!

All of which is, frankly, what makes this film such an important one. If nothing else, as "fair balance" to counter the decidely pro-American bias of the US Media (including CBS, CNN, MSNBC and all the other supposedly "left leaning" outlets in addition to the clearly Rightwing Fox News Channel).

Just one of the several extremely compelling characters who's journey we follow during this period of the Iraq War is Marine Lt. Josh Rushing who --- as a representative for Central Command in Qatar, just a few miles from Al Jazeera's headquarters --- finds himself wresting in the most extraordinary, heartfelt terms with the conflicts of interest he finds himself smack dab in the middle of.

Rushing's job, of course, is to help the US Military paint as positive a picture of their efforts in the Arab World via the Arab Media. But in dealing with actual human beings on the firing end of the blunt super powers of the US, he is seen as clearly challenged to question his own heartfelt beliefs and his own role in the ever-necessary war time struggle to win the hearts and minds of the people being conquered, liberated or occupied (depended on ones point of view) via the media.

"It benefits Al Jazeera to play to Arab nationalism because that's their audience, just like Fox plays to American patriotism for the exact same reason.", Rushing seems to understand.

It's a fascinating story to watch.

That same questioning of ideals and motivations is present in the several other main characters shown here, most of whom work for Al Jazeera - a phenomon since it's inception in 1996 and which could be fairly seen as the "Fox News" of the Arab World, in both popularity, content and "nationalistic" point of view.

The staffers shared sense of self-searching, in the midst of this terror and horror is compellingly captured by filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (co-director of 2001's Startup.com which entertainingly documented the boom and bust of one of the Internet's early startup companies).

Hassan Ibrahim, a Sudanese journalist with Al Jazeera, and just one of the film's players who clearly admires the character of the United States and it's people --- if not the current Administration and policies thereof --- says early on the film that he has "absolute confidence in the United States Constitution and absolute confidence in the American people to stop this." A viewpoint which is decidely uncharacteristic of the general anti-American coloring given by the American media to the bulk of the Arabic world.

And yet, Ibrahim says, "Democracy or I'll shoot you!" won't work.

In defending his network's decision to show footage of US soldiers killed and in captivity and pictures of some of the thousands of Iraqi casualities, he tells Rushing, "I'm sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You are the most powerful nation on earth, I agree. You can defeat everybody, I agree. But don't ask us to love it as well."

There is another remarkable scene where Al Jazeera producer, Samir Khader, berates a staff member for arranging an interview with an American who is completely one-sided against what the American characterizes as a drive for "empiric rule" of an Arab state. Khader is furious that such an unfair, unbalanced viewpoint is being offered up to their viewers. He seems to be rather sincere, as do our journalists, in the hopes at least of offering a broad and balanced picture instead of a one-sided screed.

Whether they are able to do so, and whether American journalists are able to do so is at the heart of this film. It's a question that every American should be forced to ponder and to look at, when watching the media, with a critical eye.

Unfortunately, that seems unlikely to happen --- particularly as Michael Moore's film will likely suck most of the oxygen out of the rest of the Documentary World by next week.

As well, Americans may now well be too well hardened in their partisan positions to be willing to give a fair and balanced look to any other point of view than the one they already subscribe to.

As the credits began to roll, and some of us in the theater found ourselves moved to applaud yesterday, the elderly gentleman in front of us accompanying his wife, turned around and muttered more than quietly "fucking traitors...all a bunch of fucking traitors".

To his credit, at least, he took the time to come out, and bothered to watch the entire film. (More than can be said for Bill O'Reilly in regards to Moore's film). But it's a start.

Go see this movie if it comes to your town. It's a unique, usually unseen perspective in this country, which is direly needed at this time. And in the bargain, as it relates to the choices we make in this necessary "War on Terror", it provides a point of view which is critical for Americans to begin coming to terms with. Sooner, I would urge, rather than later.

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Who can keep up?!
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2004 11:56am PT  

Along with too many other things that are currently keeping me from blogging as much as I'd like of late, the pace of lies, distortions and expository evidence of same is now coming out of Bushville at such an alarming pace, it'd be nearly impossible to keep up. Even if I wasn't otherwise distracted by several pressing items.

So here, without much editorial comment, are just a few of those items that I hope you are all taking note of:


Ron Reagan Jr. on Administration officials who keep invoking Reagan to support their Iraq War: "My father never felt the need to wrap himself in anybody else's mantle or pretend to be anybody else. I don't know what's wrong with these people --- they have to keep invoking him. It is their administration, their war. If they can't stand on their own two feet, they're no Ronald Reagans, for sure."
All mentioned above continue to wonder where oh where the citizens of the United States might have gotten the idea that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. This item might be to explain it for the Bush Dead-enders.

Got an item/link of your own you think BRAD BLOG readers should know about? Add it to the Comments...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/17/2004 10:43pm PT  

Republicans are doing anything to get Ronald Reagan's name anywhere they can. As if displaying the name or face of a Republican who wasn't hated by everybody might make them feel better about themselves. Or something. Who can explain a jackass like Grover Norquist, head of The Reagan Lunacy Legacy Foundation and his life quest to build a monument to Reagan in every county in America?

Unfortunately for the self-esteem of Mr. Norquist, the idea of a new Reagan Memorial in DC is out for now, since Ronald Reagan himself signed the law that requires a person be dead for 25 years before such a non-military commemorative work can be built. Then there's the other law signed by George W. Bush recently that declared the Mall "complete", and thus, no more memorials there period. Darn the luck.

Then there's the idea of, ironically, putting Reagan's mug on money!

Perhaps a new $3 bill to commemorate all of Reagan's fine work in battling AIDS?

No, Norquist, with an assist from Senator Mitch McConnell, is working to replace Alexandar Hamilton on the $10 bill. That lame Revolutionary War hero, Founding Father, signer of the US Constitution, author of the Federalist Papers, founder of the US Marines, the US Navy and the US Naval Academy and --- still more irony --- the first Secretary of the Treasury (among many other contributions).

On Norquist's very own website to promote this "most honorable cause", you'll find this in the archives:

What Mr. Norquist really looks forward to is embarrassing his opposite numbers. "Can you imagine," Mr. Norquist asked, "how petty those little partisan Democrats would look opposing a bill" honoring Reagan?

Oh, yes, they will look petty, Mr. Norquist.

Though not nearly as petty and stupid as you looked last night when The Daily Show showed a clip of him of you on CNN informing us that "Hamilton was a nice guy and all, but he's the only non-President featured on US currency."

To which The Daily's Lewis Black set the record straight:

Really, Mr. Norquist? Hamilton's the only non-President featured on US currency?! Wanna bet a hundred bucks?!!!

This too shall pass.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/17/2004 12:25pm PT  

Message to John Kerry: Please, please, pleeeeeease don't pick the lame, pathetic, useless Richard Gephardt as your running mate! If you even want a chance of getting the vote of folks like myself, you will disabuse yourself of the idea that Gephardt would get you anything but nothing, and very quickly.

I still scratch my head as to why Dubya isn't currently down in the polls with numbers more like 75%-25% quite frankly. The only reason I can come up with, is the public's uncertainly, unfamiliarity with you. But that's a hurdle you can climb. Add Gephardt to your ticket, and your mountain will only get still higher, and again you will certify the beliefs of folks like myself that the Democratic Party is bound and determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of what should be the easiest victory in decades!

On a more positive note, I see that someone out there is floating perhaps the only good idea I've heard since McCain made clear that he's not gonna play along and you foolishly dropped the idea of holding off on accepting the nomination so you could still recieve donations while Bush was busy buying a second term. That would be the idea of Joe Biden, the firebrand, and incredibly smart (nice change of pace) and well spoken Senator from Delaware. GET HIM! He's your VEEP!

Thank you. Here endeth the message.

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The poll they took...and didn't tell you about.
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2004 12:51pm PT  

"Ninety-two percent of the Iraqis said they considered coalition troops occupiers, while just 2 percent called them liberators."

So much for the candy and flowers. And so much for Bush's claims that the Iraqi people, contrary to the claims of the "Liberal" Media, are glad we're there.

From AP:

The poll, requested by the Coalition Provisional Authority last month but not released to the American public, found more than half of Iraqis surveyed believed both that they'd be safer without U.S. forces and that all Americans behave like the military prison guards pictured in the Abu Ghraib abuse photos. [emphasis added]

The survey, obtained by The Associated Press, also found radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is surging in popularity as he leads an insurrection against U.S.-led forces...

The numbers, frankly, are remarkable. Astoundingly one sided against the US and the CPA. (Perhaps Iraqi's really did vote 99.9% in favor Saddam in that last election!) Anway, read the whole thing to get a better idea.

George W. Bush: Misleading America. 24 Hours a day. Is there nothing he can get right?

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Good Morning in America
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2004 9:43am PT  

Rude awakenings. This morning, as my 8am alarm went off with the radio tuned to 790am KABC, I hear "Our first contestant this morning is Brad Friedman..."

Apparently, my 3-minute submission to the KABC "Talk Radio Idol" contest made the cut to be played on the air this morning, to compete with two other submissions for consideration towards the next round (which would lead to a one-hour talk show this Saturday, after which, one of those three finalists will be given their own Talk Radio show contract on KABC, one of LA's oldest and biggest News/Talk Radio outlets. Local home to my friends O'Reilly and Sean and Larry Elder, etc.)

The submission process for this contest had included the information that I'd be notified beforehand if my piece was selected to be played on air. Well, so much for truth in advertising. In anycase, I was lucky enough to have been listening anyway.

My piece was the first of three competing this morning, and I got good marks all around from the two call-in judges and the one "talk radio professional judge" (had I known in advance - AS THEY PROMISED! - I could have recorded the whole thing and made it available here...Oh, well.)

After a commercial break, they then returned to play the other two contestants of the morning. The second entry was a woman who sounded, shall we say, a bit too Public Affairs --- and then finally, the third guy who went on about hitting people over the head with hammers when they say they don't like the war on terror, or something like that. Angry, hostile, far rightwing. You get it.

He was funny, the third guy, to a certain extent. In the brutal and violent way that the harshest rightwing talk radio folks are these days (see Michael Savage), but as he clearly sounded like he was reading his piece, and seemed to have only one "gimmick", I'm not sure how he'd be able to fill an hour with that schtick, much less a three hour weekly show.

Nonetheless, in a split decision, the vote went to him, not me, sadly enough. The host of the show however, LA Talk Radio Legend Ken Minyard of "Ken & Company", who's unable to vote in this round, clearly seemed to indicate that I would have been his favorite, going so far as to mention he "might like to include Brad Friedman as a wildcard".

What that means, and if he can actually do that, I'm not sure. So we'll see. (Feel free to let Ken know you'd like Brad Friedman added as a Wildcard to the finalists in the Talk Radio Idol Contest via email to KenAndCompany@kabc.com if you are so inclined!)

In any case, waking up to "Brad Friedman" this morning is undoubtedly as frightening as clicking on your link to this blog each day, so you have my sympathies.

Here, for the record, is my full 3-minute submission to the "Talk Radio Idol" contest, based on an earlier blog piece here from some weeks ago, and most of which aired this morning on 790am KABC in Los Angeles.

RealPlayer Version...
MS Media Player Version...
MP3 Version...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2004 3:44pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2004 2:58pm PT  

Sadly, I was on appointments during the afternoon and evening of Reagan's funeral (the final one) back at the Library, and only caught pieces of it later in various recaps.

The clips I saw from Ron Reagan Jr's moving eulogy to his father, however, certainly jumped out at me, and I had intended to try and review the transcript in full before posting to make certain that what I thought I'd heard, I actually did hear.

And it seems I heard correctly. Ronny took a not-in-anyway veiled shot at the current "President" in this passage:

"Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man, but he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians - wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference."

Message received.

As the story on the controversy stirred by his remarks in today's NY Times points out, young Reagan has been much more pointed in the past, as he was when he referred to the boy Bush after a Reagan Tribute at the 2000 Republican Convention when he said: "What's his accomplishment? That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?"

Ouch. And then again in a Salon.com interview a few years ago:

"The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly because of the position he's in now. Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the 80's. But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's - these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."

Reagan's daughter Patti was equally unequivocal about the mis-comparisons between Reagan and Bush Jr. when she opined to Newsweek:

"A messy, horrible war that has spun out of control could very well determine the next election," Ms. Davis wrote before her father's death. "So should the miracle of stem-cell research - a miracle the Bush White House thinks it can block."

None the less, it won't stop the Right from doing whatever they can to gain personal political benefit from the dead man they claim to admire, as Newt Gingrich made clear in the Times piece:

"Ronald Reagan has to be looking down from heaven and smiling at the way the current president, generally speaking, stands and the things he's doing, even though they might well disagree on some specifics."

There has been no explanation so far for Newt's ability to receive Divine Messages from his dead hero. None the less, let the piranhic scavenging press on...

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