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...And once more through the Looking Glass.
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2004 11:45am PT  

George W. Bush met today with Pope John Paul, who had shared these thoughts with him:

"In the past few weeks other deplorable events have come to light which have troubled the civic and religious conscience of all and made more difficult a serene and resolute commitment to shared human values," he said.

"In the absence of such a commitment, neither war nor terrorism will ever be overcome."

Pretending not to hear him, as usual, Bush moments later awarded the Pontiff the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In completely unrelated news, John Kerry is leading Bush by 9% amongst Catholic voters, and recently Catholic Bishops have suggested that Pro-Choice political candidates should not be given communion.

There has yet to be any condemnation by the Bishops of political candidates who favor the Death Penalty. Like, for example, George W. Bush who oversaw, as Governor of Texas, more state sanctioned murder than any other Governor in US history, putting an end to the lives of almost 150 people. Not all that many, really, in comparison to those he sent to their deaths in Iraq.

For his part, Bush told the Pope that the US would work for "human liberty and human dignity."

No word on when that program will begin.

The Mad Hatter was late for an appointment, so had no time to make comment.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2004 10:55pm PT  

June 1, 2004:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Chalabi is an Iraqi leader that's fallen out of favor within your administration. I'm wondering if you feel that he provided any false information, or are you particularly --

THE PRESIDENT: Chalabi?

Q Yes, with Chalabi.

THE PRESIDENT: My meetings with him were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven't had any extensive conversations with him.

January 10, 2002:

Q When was the last time you talked to either Mr. Lay or any other Enron official, about the --- about anything? And did discussions involve the financial problems of the company?

THE PRESIDENT: I have never discussed, with Mr. Lay, the financial problems of the company. The last time that I saw Mr. Lay was at my mother's fundraising event to --- for literacy, in Houston. That would have been last spring. I do know that Mr. Lay came to the White House in --- early in my administration, along with, I think 20 other business leaders, to discuss the state of the economy. It was just kind of a general discussion. I have not met with him personally.

Character counts.

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Is there nothing these guys will tell the truth about?
By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2004 10:38pm PT  

Is it me, or didn't Bush tell us that the UN, in the person of Lakhdar Brahimi, would be in charge of choosing the new Iraqi Interim Governing council? I'm pretty sure he did.

Over the weekend it seemed, however, that the process got hijacked by the Interim Governing Council who made their President, the new President, their Foreign Minister the new Foreign Minister etc. And then they "dissolved" themselves. Neat trick. What could possibly go wrong?

But --- as ever with these liars (sorry, it's an overused word, blame them, not me, cause they're seemingly addicted to it) --- America apparently doesn't deserve the truth.

From Knight-Ridder:

Asked how big a role the American administration had in forming the government and selecting the prime minister and president, Brahimi reminded reporters that American Ambassador L. Paul Bremer runs things in Iraq.

"Bremer is the dictator of Iraq," he said. "He has the money. He has the signature."

He later added: "I will not say who was my first choice, and who was not my first choice ... I will remind you that the Americans are governing this country."

No good man goes unpunished by the Mayberry Machiavellis.

After he finished speaking, he walked off from the podium, alone. A U.N. banner was tacked on the wall behind him, waiting to be taken down and replaced by the Americans in time for the next news conference.
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...One more to go.
By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2004 11:39am PT  

To toot my own horn (for a change ;-) ...I predicted on April 4 that at least two Admin members would resign before the elections.

That prediction was made prior to both Abu Ghraib and the worst month of fighting in Iraq to date (more US Servicemen and women were killed in April than any other month so far).

My list would have looked a bit different after Abu Ghraib perhaps, but this is who I predicted would be gone back then:

(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

...Looks like one down and --- so far --- in my predicted order to boot...Horn well tooted.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2004 10:48am PT  

It has been said, that John Kerry is a "Flip-Flopper". Said by those who are quite professional at creating a false impression of their challenger. And for good reason. It's the only chance they have.

I've spoken about this successfully waged fallacy before, but apparently the message still needs to get out on who the real "Flip-Flopper" in this contest is. Thankfully, the nice folks at the Center for American Progress have put together a short sheet listing 20 of the Flip-Flopper-In-Chief's greatest hits.

To put it all in perspective, they open with this:

From the beginning, George W. Bush has made his own credibility a central issue. On 10/11/00, then Governor Bush said: "I think credibility is important. It is going to be important for the president to be credible with Congress, important for the president to be credible with foreign nations." But President Bush's serial flip-flopping raises serious questions about whether Congress and foreign leaders can rely on what he says.

Then they list 20 of Bush's Flips and Flops. They've left out quite a few, but on the other hand, unlike the charges against Kerry from Team Bush, these charges are actually sourced so folks can both trust and verify.

(Thanks to the ever-on-the-ball KJO for the find!)

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By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2004 9:35am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2004 4:40pm PT  

While a new investigation gets under way to look into the revelations that Chalabi gave highly classified info to Iran --- specifically, which higher up it was who would have had such info in the first place and the access to share it with Chalabi --- here's another breaking story...

Just one foreboding line from Josh Marshall a few minutes ago:

President hires outside counsel in the Plame case.

Undoubtedly, details to follow soon...

UPDATE (5:38p PT): CBS and AP confirm. Whitehouse spokeswoman "deflected questions about whether Bush had been asked to appear before a grand jury in the case."

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By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2004 6:48pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2004 11:34am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2004 11:21am PT  

As one of the points in my original "GOP Win-Win Spin-Spin" piece (re-published today on DemocraticUnderground.com as their lead story), the Bushies used the excuse of the economic downturn to sell the same Tax Plan that they had previously devised in December of 1999 as necessary for the economic boom we were facing originally.

I must have had something right there, as Josh Marshell today goes into more detail on that same topic today in his examination of the flagrantly misleading David Brooks piece in the Times.

(After the Iraq/Judith Miller/Chalabi mess in the Times one would really have thought they'd begin being a bit more responsible in their unchecked Administration log-rolling, but perhaps not.)

Underscoring precisely one of the points in my piece, Marshall says:

For the authors of the plan, the tax cut was a justification in itself; the White House simply grasped on to whatever explanation made most sense at the given moment to advance it. That's why a plan devised at the height of a boom --- to cull an oversized surplus --- made equally great sense when the economy was in free-fall. The policy was driving the rationale, not the other way around.

This new argument --- that the White House pushed through big tax cuts because of the economic slow-down of early 2001 --- is simply an effort to retrospectively exonerate reckless and dishonest behavior which was demonstrably reckless and dishonest at the time. Columnists should challenge that sort of mendacity, not abet it.

But to connect the latest dots, I should have also realized that Bush's latest spin, on why he should be re-"elected", is also more of the (soon to be Trademarked?) GOP Win-Win Spin-Spin machine. As discussed a day or two ago, Bush now has the temerity to suggest that he should be re-upped because he is the man to clean up the mess that he created.

In other words, "My plan for Iraq is best, because it takes into account everything that I fucked up, and therefore, am the best person to fix because who knows those fuck ups better than me?!"

These guys are a marvel. If Democrats could spin this well, they would own the world.

Next thing you know they'll start telling us their plan for allowing Brahimi and the UN to select the new Caretaker Government in Iraq to whom we hand over "complete sovereignty" in a few weeks is going just as planned! Oh, wait...well, whaddaya know?!

Coming Soon: How "complete sovereignty" doesn't actually mean complete sovereignty! (and you thought the meaning of "is" was confusing!)

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By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2004 10:36am PT  

Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head in his analysis of last week's speech by Bush.

He points out that as Bush continues to inch ever closer to Kerry's position on Iraq, he is no longer trying to sell what good may come of the mess he made there, but rather, that he is the best equipped to not fuck up too much more than what he has already so desperately fucked up:

Originally, the case for war was built on claims about the Iraqi regime's possession of weapons of mass destruction and its support for terrorist groups like al qaida. To a lesser degree, but with increasing force as these other rationales faded way, the case was made on the basis of democratizing and liberalizing Iraq.

As that prospect too has become increasingly distant and improbable, President Bush has taken a fundamentally different tack. His emphasis now is seldom on what good might come of his Iraq policy but rather the dire consequences of its unmitigated 'failure' or its premature abandonment.

In other words, the president now argues that he is best equipped to guard the country from the full brunt of the consequences of his own misguided actions, managerial incompetence and dishonesty.

Sounds about right. He closes with a wonderfully disturbing metaphor...

The president's actions, if not his words, concede that Iraq has become the geopolitical equivalent of a botched surgery --- botched through some mix of the misdiagnosis of the original malady and the incompetence of the surgeon. Achieving the original goal of the surgery is now close to an afterthought. The effort is confined to closing up as quickly as possible and preventing the patient from dying on the table. And now the 'doctor', pressed for time and desperate for insight, stands over the patient with a scalpel in one hand and the other hurriedly leafing through a first year anatomy text book.

New Bush-Cheney campaign slogan?: "Vote for us! How much worse could we possibly do?!"

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By Brad Friedman on 5/31/2004 9:45am PT  

Now that the dissembling, history re-writing and legacy creating on Iraq is in full swing by the Republican Spinmeisters (I actually had one Rightwingnut blogger write me recently with a straight face that he "didn't think Bush actually said anything about nuclear weapons...") we can thank the fine Americans in Rep. Henry Waxman's office for providing a searchable database on Administration lies and misstatements on the threat posed by Iraq.

So next time you hear one of your brain-addled Rightwing friends or family members regurgitate Paul Wolfowitz saying on the radio (as he did on March 16th, 2004) that "We never said there were stockpiles." ...

Or Rumsfeld shows up on Face the Nation (as he did on March 14th, 2004) to say "Well, you're the ... you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase 'immediate threat.' I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's... that's what's happened."...

You'll be able to stop by this database, and easily find the time when Rumsfeld said to the Congressional Armed Services Committee on September 19th, 2002:

"[N]o terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein and Iraq."

You can only fool some of the people some of the time. Thankfully, it's getting much harder for these bad bad dangerous irresponsible folks to be able to do just that. Is it time to start calling him "Baghdad Bush"?

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By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2004 1:22am PT  

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Coming Soon...Everywhere you turn.
Brad Blog responds: 'Bring it on!'
By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2004 1:19pm PT  

It's only gonna get worse before it gets better, I'm afraid. The faint of heart may want to turn back now.

Bill Sammon, the Whitehouse mouthpiece from the Washington Times, the Whitehouse organ, reports the new plan...

President Bush's political strategists have concluded that the way to battle back from record low job-approval ratings and months of bad news from Iraq is to talk about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.
...
"We are going to continue talking about it through ads, through the Web, through surrogate events, through remarks by the president, by the vice president, through talk radio, through all kinds of different sources of information," Mr. Mehlman said.
...
"The days of there being three networks that provided people all their information that they needed to know are gone," Mr. Mehlman said. "Today, they get information from cable; they get information from original newspapers; they get information from blogs; they get information from talk radio."

The campaign has resolved to push its message through all these outlets whenever possible.

Try to keep all of the above in mind as you listen and watch the Mainstream Conservative Media over the next six months. The message from all corners should be in remarkably predictable GOP lockstep coordination, unless they really start to panic. In which case, all bets are off.

For the record, all opinions on the BRAD BLOG are the original thought of it's author and belong neither to the DNC, the DCCC, the Kerry Campaign, or the Daily Barbra Streistand Talking Points Memo.

Bring it on.

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Vote a new loser off each week!
By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2004 12:09pm PT  

View the Trailer and sign up to watch new episodes for free...Looks like it should be funny. For Survivor fans and Democrats anyway...Or Republicans with a sense of humor (therefore, Republican viewership may be very low).

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