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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2004 11:52pm PT  

What an astounding week. The crush of events and dirty dealing swirling around the bombshells Richard Clarke dropped this week have been almost too much for even me to keep up with. And I eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Kudos are due to the remarkable coverage this week from master blogger Josh Marshall of the Talking Points Memo for his detailed and meticulous blow by blow on the continuing fallout and the desperately run counter-offensive from the Whitehouse. He has been, minute by minute, exhaustively sourced, from the right and the left, exposing every hypocrisy and misstep as every shoe continues to fall. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't follow him closely.

So who let the dogs out? Apparently it was Dubya hisself who realized last Monday morning that he may be on the verge of losing the only re-elect issue he has left with which to fool some of the American people some of the time.

But will the desperate, all-out, mis-coordinated flight of the Bush Attack Monkeys work to save the impression that a slim majority of Americans still have that George W. Bush has been so-far-so-good on the "War on Terror"? Or are they simply making matters worse for themselves?

To be fair, I'll disclose once again my personal view of what a horrible mistake I believe the War in Iraq to have been. In the early months following 9/11, I was all ears to the Bushies arguments on the despicable Saddam. Then, as it became increasingly clear that they had no real interest in their very own argument - that Saddam's WMD program was a danger the world couldn't afford to ignore - by undermining themselves with that whole UN/Hans Blix charade they put on, all credibility quickly dissipated, and has been in continuous freefall from where I sit ever since.

So through those eyes, I've watched as nearly 600 American servicemen died, some 13,400 medical evacuees, anywhere from 4800 to 6400 Iraqi military killed (the great majority of them inscripted by threat of death), and a stunning 7000 to 13,500 Iraqi Civilians killed (depending on the source, for example Bill O'Reilly likes to quote 10,000 as the number) in this disgraceful debacle waged under the guise of "Making the world safe from terror" or "Liberation" or "Draining the swamp" or whatever the hell the talking points of the week were.

Then comes forth Richard Clarke, registered Republican, and top Counterterror Advisor to four US Presidents going back to the Reagan Administration who originally appointed him. He unleashes the wrath of the Bushies in one fell swoop, stating in no uncertain terms - under oath - that "By invading Iraq the President of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terror."

Uh, oh. Game over.

And the Bushies went apeshit and began shooting in every possible direction, but continue to hit seemingly only themselves.

I have been, from time to time, the intended prey of wolves out to save themselves at any cost. I've seen such characters foolishly attempt to personally destroy those they see as opposition, instead of simply answering to the charges made with substantive information if it exists and/or simply taking accountability for failures. So as one who has been there - albeit on an admittedly smaller and ultimately insignificant level - I would like to go on record to say: Richard Clarke is an American Hero. History, I'm certain, will bare me out on that one.

In the meantime, what a godforsaken mess they've handed themselves at the Whitehouse.

For a bunch who claim to be fighting to protect America, isn't a bit strange that they seem to be tone deaf to the spontaneous applause for Clarke by the families of the 9/11 victims at this week's hearing? That they ignore their pleas for them to cooperate with the 9/11 Commision? That they laugh off the complaints of those same families when they suggest it might be inappropriate to use the dead bodies of their loved ones in campaign commercials? That they didn't understand in advance that jokes about the lack of WMD's aren't particular funny when so many thousands have died in a war predicated - falsely or otherwise - by same? That they'd allow their National Security Advisor, the once-respected Condoleezza Rice, to testify only privately and never via SWORN testimony to the bipartisan blue ribbon commission convened to investigate the greatest National Security failure in the history of the country?

Who are these folk really trying to protect? And what must they be thinking?

Now, of course, as you know by my admissions above concerning the war, I'm an Anti-American, Liberal, Communist, Pinko, God Hating, Heathen, so don't listen to me. But when Conservatives like Pat Buchanan concede that "the cancer of Terrorism has metastasized due to the War in Iraq" (McLaughlin Group, 3/27/04) you'd think this bunch might wanna sit up and start paying attention.

Of course, they have been sitting up, and they have been paying attention. They just don't seem to be getting the message. Or perhaps they do, but having gone so far down the wrong path, with eyes and ears shut to anyone - even within their own ranks - who didn't tell them what they wanted to believe, they have no choice but to follow the same misbegotten path no matter where it now leads. No matter how many more dead Americans lay along it. No matter how much farther on this fools errand we seem to be running in this misconceived, ill-waged "War on Terror".

There may be good news at the end of the path, however. It's looking more and more each day like that path may, in fact, soon reach it's end. Smack dab in the middle of Midland, Texas. Game over. Or so we can only hope.

ReddIt this story!



A CONTINUING Public Service to America
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2004 3:27pm PT  

A good catch this morning by the ever-vigilant Josh Marshall vis a vis the Rush/Cheney interview referenced in my previous entry on the stunning Richard Clarke revelations.

Tag-teaming for their attempted one-two knockout blow to Clarke, Cheney, once again, as is his proclivity, happily mis-states the facts in order to paint his preferred Rosey Scenario. Completely misleading the DittoHeads about Clarke's actual responsibilities in the Bush Administration.

Easy enough to do for the benefit of Rush's Will-Believe-Anything audience. But, of course, worth continuing to let you know about, since we believe an informed and de-spun American Electorate is a far less dangerous one.

ReddIt this story!



Bush can run, but can't seem to hide
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2004 1:28pm PT  

Wow...Stunning and explosive info from former Bush Terrorism Czar, Richard Clarke on last night's 60 Minutes. But the real "Must See TV" will be this week when he testifies publically before the 9/11 Commission. Here's the star-studded schedule. Not to be missed!

Of course, as with the previous Bushmen-Who-Left-the-Reservation like Paul O'Niell and David Kay before him, the Right Wing Attack Dogs are wasting no time trying to get out in front of the story to call their own man a complete whacko.

When Rush gets Dick Cheney for a live interview, and Condi Rice Op-Eds in the Washington Post you know the Whitehouse understands they're in trouble and they'd better get out in front quickly. They're trying.

Clarke, a Reagan appointee who worked for Bush 41 and then as Clinton's Terrorism Czar and then stayed on in the post for Bush 43, is no whacko. In other words, whatever they will try to do now to crush him, this man is no Dick Morris, and that is clearly scaring the hell out of them.

His words and credentials speak volumes, which is what makes him so dangerous, and why he must be discredited immediately! Most alarmingly, we may finally begin to see why the Administration has been - shall we say - less than eager to give their whole side of the story to the 9/11 Commission.

It's tough to isolate the most damning revelations from Clarke's appearance last night:

  • The fact that Clarke's request three days after Inauguration for an "URGENT" meeting about the "impending al Qaeda attack" was ignored until just one week before 9/11.
  • The fact that Wolfowitz couldn't understand why Clarke was so concerned about "that little guy", Bin Laden when they needed to be concerned with "Iraqi Terrorism against the United States" - of which there had been none in eight years since Clinton bombed the Iraq Intelligence building in retaliation for the failed assassination attempt on Bush 41.
  • The analogy that Clarke gives wherein he said it would be as if, after Pearl Harbor, FDR decided to invade and occupy Mexico instead of declaring war on Japan. 
  • His view that the Administration simply came in and picked up where they left off eight years ago with the Cold War, and they were obsessed only with things like Star Wars and Saddam Hussein.
  • There's so much incredible stuff to chose from, but here's a few key items for you. I'd suggest you check out the whole interview if you missed it last night...

    "We had a terrorist organization that was going after us! Al Qaeda. That should have been the first item on the agenda. And it was pushed back and back and back for months.

    "There's a lot of blame to go around, and I probably deserve some blame, too. But on January 24th, 2001, I wrote a memo to Condoleezza Rice asking for, urgently --- underlined urgently --- a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with the impending al Qaeda attack. And that urgent memo-- wasn't acted on.

    "I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back. They wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceding eight years."

    Clarke finally got his meeting about al Qaeda in April, three months after his urgent request. But it wasn't with the president or cabinet. It was with the second-in-command in each relevant department.

    For the Pentagon, it was Paul Wolfowitz.

    Clarke relates, "I began saying, 'We have to deal with bin Laden; we have to deal with al Qaeda.' Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, said, 'No, no, no. We don't have to deal with al Qaeda. Why are we talking about that little guy? We have to talk about Iraqi terrorism against the United States.'

    "And I said, 'Paul, there hasn't been any Iraqi terrorism against the United States in eight years!' And I turned to the deputy director of the CIA and said, 'Isn't that right?' And he said, 'Yeah, that's right. There is no Iraqi terrorism against the United States."

    Clarke went on to add, "There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever."

    And this...

    "The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.

    "I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.'

    "He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report."

    Clarke continued, "It was a serious look. We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. We wrote the report. We sent the report out to CIA and found FBI and said, 'Will you sign this report?' They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.'

    "I have no idea, to this day, if the President saw it, because after we did it again, it came to the same conclusion. And frankly, I don't think the people around the president show him memos like that. I don't think he sees memos that he doesn't-- wouldn't like the answer."

    It's still a long way to November 2nd, but if the story continues unfolding this way on Bush's number one issue, the "War on Terror", he may find himself in big big trouble on Election Day.

    (If you're scratching your head, trying to figure out why Bush is keeping CIA Head, George Tenet on board, I think you can wonder no longer!)

    But don't underestimate the ability of, John F. Kerry --- or John F. Notbush, as I prefer to think of him --- to rise to the typical Democrat talent of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    ReddIt this story!



    What, no more nipple stories?
    By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2004 10:30pm PT  

    Apparently the nipple is old non-news. So too is gay people getting married, I guess.

    So it falls to Jesus Christ to rise from the grave yet again! This time to feed the voracious news beast! And, Christ, could I not care less!

    This is NOT a news story! No matter how much the Right Wing Media try to make it so.

    Here's the deal: There is no controversy. The "Liberal Media" has not tried to keep the movie from being seen. Hollywood is not shaking in it's boots about "what the success of this movie might mean!" The Gospel Truth is nobody gives a crap!

    There are a few Jewish Scholars who may have concerns about the film's Anti-Semetic undertones. (Disclaimer: I haven't seen it, so I don't know if such concerns are justified or not. Haven't seen any Mel Gibson movie, now that I think about it, since the awesome and glorious Galipoli (1981). Go see that, by the way!) But anyone with a real concern is smart enough to know that if they just shut up, this movie will soon enough just go away.

    Only Fox and "Friends" see this as a story, and of course even they know better.

    It seems to me that they actually think they are really pissing off the "Liberal Left" by making a story out of this molehill, panting about it's big opening numbers, and creating a false idol out of the poor beseiged millionaire, Gibson.

    Guess what? We - on the "Liberal Left" - couldn't give a flyin' crap. It's a movie. For Christians. For the love of Christ, can we please get back to nipple stories again? Thank you.

    ReddIt this story!



    By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2004 5:21pm PT  

    ...Invented, adapted, or otherwise...

    + GENTLEMEN, START YOUR PANDERING!: Bush visits Daytona!
    + CASH & KERRY: The woes of Howard Dean!
    + PUTTING THE GRAVE IN GRAVITAS: The candidacy of John F. Kerry!
    + NICE GUYS FINISH SECOND: The John Edwards story!
    + BUSH'S SEMEN-STAINED DRESS: The story of David Kay!
    + DENIAL ISN'T JUST A RIVER IN EGYPT: This Week with Rush Limbaugh!
    + WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHENEY'S GONE?: The One Term Veep Nominee Says Goodbye!

    (With various half-hearted thanks & apologies in part to Fox News, Jaime Robledo, Bill Mahr and my own good conscience.)

    ReddIt this story!



    By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2004 6:15pm PT  

    Having some problems with the COMMENTS FORM not appearing as it should on some Entry Pages! Attempting to fix now! Thanks for your patience...BF

    ReddIt this story!



    By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2004 8:31pm PT  

    Whaddaya know? Dean is not dead after all! Whodathunkit? I'd a thunk it. That's who.

    Watch the Media subtly change their "Dean is Dead" message to "If Dean doesn't win soon he's gonna be dead anytime now...really...we swear!" message.

    Also, watch them overplay the Kerry is King card between now and the next time a good idea occurs to them (or more accurately, is thrust upon them by actual voters).

    I was pullin' for and predicting a slightly better show for Dean in New Hampshire, I'll admit. But he's anything but dead in the water right now. So - as Dean was in his speech tonight - I'll be a bit gracious for a change and say that the Media and I split the difference. Though even that was more gracious than I really feel like being. So much for gracious. Glad that's outta my system.

    It's worth noting that Dean's speech was tremendous and should make a big difference in the coming weeks. It was fascinating watching him attempt to be Presidential. It didn't seem to come easy in the first few minutes, but after about 3 minutes (half an entire news cycle!) he settled in and got it just about right. Watch for more of that in the near future.

    Out of the remaining candidates (the real candidates here, anyway - unfortunately Kusinich and Sharpton not included), I'm proud to say that none of them blow. For a change. That is, since Gephardt mercifully left the race anyway.

    Sadly though, of the 4 or so viable right now, it's the least impressive amongst them who is currently at the top. Other than looking somewhat like a President of the United States (can't recall who said that John Kerry looks like he is actually from Mount Rushmore), I'm so far rather under-whelmed with him and can still only hope that the Democratic party impresses me this year and doesn't give him the nomination. That may be a lot to ask from the Democratic party.

    None the less...with Kerry beginning to look like the front man - ruining Karl Roves previous ruined re-election strategy yet again, it's now back to the old-familiar sometimes-working sometimes-not GOP playbook. Here's what's left in their arsenal. The sum total of their re-election campaign. It goes something like this:

    "Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal! Liberal!"


    Having learned that it's gonna be a long time before they can really figure out exactly who they'll be running against, they can always fall back on the above all-purpose GOP fight song.

    It may work. Better, at least, than last years now scrapped plan for '04, which went something like this:

    "9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!"


    With the failures in Iraq, I think even the shameless GOP will have trouble selling that message this year. Even from near the footprints of Ground Zero in NYC in early September where they plan to tread on the memories of some 3000 dead people to retain their cynical hold on power at this Fall's convention. It's too early to tell for certain, but I have a feeling that ain't gonna work for them either.

    ReddIt this story!



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