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Ryan Ignores, Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
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Ann Coulter Fights Pie Terrorism
...By ducking and running.
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 10:39am PT  

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Campaign more important than National Security?
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 9:52am PT  

Haven't we been told by the Bush Administration for months now how al Qaeda would love to disrupt our elections with "a Madrid style attack"? Therefore, shouldn't our National Security Advisor be back at the White House War Room right about now manning her post with ever increasing vigilance the closer we get to the election? Josh Marshall asks just that...

If this whole 'al Qaida disrupting the democratic process' is on the level then we're entering the red zone right about now. We're ten days out from the election.

So why is the National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, out hitting the campaign trail?

Think about that for a second. Is there any possible good answer? Either all the effort to hype an election day al Qaida threat is just another effort to use the White House's control over the intelligence community as a campaign asset or Rice is shirking her duties at a moment of acute national peril.

Tough call. The White House has a long track record to support both of those possibilities. But then...anything to win!

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There is no prize for getting it right.
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 9:18am PT  

Judy Woodruff on CNN was at it again yesterday, only reporting selective polls that were favorable to Bush instead of the several other available polls from the same dates which show Kerry leading, tied, or show a much smaller margin for Bush. That has been CNN's pattern all week.

The possibility that such one-sided reports might serve to dispirit Democrats and keep them away from the polls is potentially true. But brings up an issue I've often wondered about.

Why is it that Americans seem to regard voting in a Presidential Election as if they are placing a bet on a sporting event or something? It's as if there is some urge to vote on who they think will be the winner. This isn't a contest! You don't win a prize for picking the right guy! It's an election! Give your opinion about who you think should win the office!

We've heard so much in previous elections about "wasting your vote" if you voted for a third party candidate like Nader or Perot. True, a vote for Nader this year is certainly a vote for Bush, but in general, it's not a "waste" to vote for anybody you damn well please! There is no prize here for "getting it right"!

So it's troubling to see bad reporting from CNN and others about who's winning the horse-race, but perhaps even more troubling that such reporting should have any effect on that horse-race at all! Sadly, though, it does. So until we can help Americans to understand what the hell voting actually means the media would be far better serving this country if they figured out how to get their shit straight.

But --- since it seems to make a difference to you sports fans voters out there --- my money's still on Kerry! Now get out there a week from Tuesday and go win a million bucks!

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By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 8:04pm PT  

As currently seen (at least until it too gets scrubbed) on this White House website page. Will the irony never end?

(Hat tip to reader "qxy" for the find!)

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Finally, a Triumph in Spin Alley!
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 7:19pm PT  

Our friend Krup has Triumph the Insult Comic Dog after Debate #3 in "Spin Alley" (or, "Deception Lane" as Jon Stewart --- our new Patron Saint of Democracy according to Oliver Willis as I recall --- referred to it on Crossfire).

Triumph's questions are at least as good as Wolf Blitzer's! And almost twice as funny! Check it out.

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...And you thought they hated Hilary?
You ain't seen nothing yet.
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 3:45pm PT  

Is it too early or presumptuous of me to start turning on Kerry yet? As you can tell, I'm chomping at the bit to see him safely in office so we can then start tearing him to pieces.

But why wait? No, seriously...why wait?

Gay.com reports in their interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry:

If her husband is elected president, she pledges to make gay tolerance a centerpiece of her First Lady duties.

Oh, brother. That's gonna go over well. You think the Clinton years were rough? Just watch how they'll be chewing up the Kerrys.

Oh. And get used to hearing her referred to as "Mama T." Already I hate it.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

ReddIt this story!



Loads of Audio & Video Now Found to Have Been Removed from the Site!
** A BRAD BLOG EXCLUSIVE! **
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 3:05pm PT  

Paging the "Liberal" Media! Paging the "Liberal" Media! Hello? Anybody out there?

As reported previously here, here and here, it looks like the scrubbing of various historical documents and other elements of the White House Website is continuing! And may be wider and more systematic than previously known. The BRAD BLOG has discovered a boat-load of audio and video that has been removed from the website!

It's more than just Bush's "I'm not that concerned about Bin Laden" Audio and Video (reported here previously) that's been taken down. And more than the White House's "List of Coalition Members" as reported here.

After reviewing scores of pages of White House transcribed Press Conferences by George Bush, it seems that the removal of certain audio and video clips has perhaps been strategically or systematically orchestrated. Here's a few examples of some of the pages that have had their linked Audio and/or Video clips removed, along with some of the notable Bush quotes --- that "notability" is mere conjecture on my part --- from their transcripts that perhaps the White House would prefer not be easily available to folks anymore (NOTE: The Audio and Video links are still on the following pages, but the content for them, when those links are clicked upon, is no longer available.)


March 29, 2001: "Press Conference by the President"
Notable Quotes:
"Mis-underestimate" and more.
UPDATE 10/25/04: WH seems to have restored this one since we originally published. The others below, as of 7:29pm PT are still missing their Audio/Video.

July 22, 2001: "Press Conference by President Bush and President Putin"
Notable Quotes:
"And I assured them that from a fiscal perspective, one, we're going to hold the line on spending."
"I said my administration has had a full-scale review of the climate issue; that we're in the process of developing a strategy as quickly as we possibly can and one that we look forward to sharing with our friends and allies. A strategy that begins with the notion that we want to reduce greenhouse gasses in America."
"And they're going to find out that when I say we're interested in reducing greenhouse gasses that we mean it."

July 23, 2001: "Press Conference by President Bush and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi"
Notable Quotes:
"it is an issue [stem cell research] that, on the one hand, deals with so much hope, hope that perhaps through research and development we'll be able to save lives. It's also an issue that has got serious moral implications. And our nation must think carefully before we proceed. And, therefore, my process has been, frankly, unusually deliberative for my administration. I'm taking my time."

March 22, 2002: "Press Conference by President Bush and President Fox"
Notable Quotes:
"He is a dangerous man who possesses the world's most dangerous weapons."
"I hope that, of course, he allows inspectors to go into his country, like he promised he would do. Not for he sake of letting inspectors in, but to showing the world that he has no weapons of mass destruction."

April 6, 2002: "President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Hold Press Conference"
Notable Quotes:
"We both recognize the danger of a man who's willing to kill his own people harboring and developing weapons of mass destruction. "
"Maybe I should be a little less direct and be a little more nuanced, and say we support regime change. "
Discussion about "direct linkage" between Al Qaeda and Saddam.

Those are just a few of the examples I've been able to find and just some of the quotes that jumped out at me as items the White House may not like their opposition to be able to use against them during this campaign. I'm sure you may find other now-uncomfortable Bush quotes in some of those transcripts.

I don't pretend to know for certain precisely what they are hoping to accomplish by doing this, other than an attempt to make it less convenient for folks opposed to Bush to use his own words against him in various ways (via homegrown audio and video ads, etc.). Much of the Audio and Video they've removed, no doubt, is publically available via C-SPAN.org and the Broadcast/Cable News operations certainly have their own versions. None the less, it's a lot harder for a guy like me to get a copy of say, Bush's March 22, 2002 Press Conference with Vicente Fox from the internal video tape libraries at CNN than it would be to merely grab it off the White House site where it had previously been available for all Americans.

The idea that the White House may be using their governmental website (which is owned by the People, not by George Bush or the Republicans) for potential partisan advantage is troubling at best and strictly illegal at worst. There is a strict legal line drawn that disallows the use of such public facilities (White House phone lines, etc) for blatant partisan/campaign activities.

It seems clear that the use of the White House website for this purpose would fall under that strict statute and monkeying with it --- and the historical documents it had previously provided --- for political/partisan/campaign gains, I'd think, would be strictly off-limits. I welcome the input from any political legal eagles on this.

I'll note the cautious words of Josh Marshall when he picked up on our earlier coverage of this story last week, "I can't say myself whether there's not some more innocent or more technical-snafu type explanation. But it does strike me as suspicious."

A "technical-snafu" might explain why some of this audio and video is no longer there when it once was, but that benefit-of-the-doubt was removed in at least this one instance when a graphical link to a "Who are the Coalition Members?" document on their special report called "RENEWAL IN IRAQ: The Coalition" was changed to no longer even exist in that report. The document linked from that clickable graphic first disappeared after Cheney accused Edwards of not counting Iraqis amongst the coalition casualties during the V.P. Debate, and after we had informed the webmaster of the problem, the graphic element that linked to that document was removed completely. That could only have been done purposefully by the White House webmaster as opposed to an incorrectly specified link.

Isn't it time someone from the national media asked the Bush White House about this? This has been reported here for about three weeks, and the various broken links reported so far are either still broken or removed entirely.

I'm sure you remember the hue and cry from the Right over Al Gore, back in 2000, making some potential phone-calls to donors that may have occurred on White House phone lines. Isn't the possible systematic removal of archival White House documents from their website for political purposes at least as notable?

Not to mention the continuing question of what else has been removed from the historical record there that is not quite as easy to notice?! Isn't it time the White House was asked about this? If there's an innocent explanation, I'm sure they can give it, and restore those links immediately. Otherwise...what's this all about?

UPDATE 10/22/04: Hooray! Mainstream media finally picks up on this story!

UPDATE 10/24/04: BRAD BLOG reports on more Scrubbing and evidence of violations of the "Presidential Records Act of 1978"! Right Here!

UPDATE 10/25/04: The Washington Post finally picks up the story today! Twice!

UPDATE 10/29/04: BRAD BLOG SUCCESS! WH restores Audio/Video! Though much still missing...

ReddIt this story!



I'm almost ready for my close-up.
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 11:14pm PT  

As I sit here...in the heart of Hollywood...I've been pondering the last few days about my privileged and out-of-touch elitist mind-bending control over the course of events in America. It's curious how upper-classmen such as myself and my pedigreed pals here in the high Hollywood hills, are so able to single-handedly, as O'Reilly points out, (from memory here) "turn America off of and away from the Democrat party."

I hope to have more to say about that idea in the next day or two if I can find time between bottles of Perrier and plates of brie to wrap my brain around all the various implications of the astounding power I wield over all of you mind-numbed zombies. But for now, here's a short video from one of "us" who is supporting George W. Bush this year.

(Thanks Corey for the email and link via Sound of the Crowd)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 5:47pm PT  

This video ad, via Atrios, from the National Republican Campaign Committee is just the tip of the iceberg of sleeze they're running on the ground and under the radar. Who knew MoveOn.org was in favor of terrorism and against the safety of our troops in Iraq?

Please consider giving a dollar or two to the DCCC to help counter the slime. They are uniquely able to fly into difficult races and shore up candidates in trouble. This is crunch time for the House and Senate Democrats (and I'll repeat my earlier prediction that the Dems will take the Senate...none the less, they can still use your help!)

Republicans '04: Anything to Win.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 4:51pm PT  

And please see this brilliant "Modern World" toon which was too unreadable when resized to fit here!

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Mackris Files Additional Charges
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 4:02pm PT  

A major defense in O'Reilly's case against Andrea Mackris' Sexual Harassment case against him is that Mackris didn't follow Fox's prescribed in-house procedures for making such complaints. O'Reilly's extortion suit against her spends the bulk of it's time describing just that. As if to say "if she didn't follow in-house procedures concerning sexual harassment in our work place, the charges can't be held against us!"

Well, more bad news for the "No Spinner". Mackris has amended her complaint to include details of complaints she registered with "top executives of News Corp. [Fox's Parent Company]" according to Newsday.

In a side note, I should point out that Drudge had a link last night to both that story, and another describing O'Reilly's legal team attempting to have Mackris release any tape recordings she may have to them. Today, the link to the latter story is still featured on Drudge, while he's removed the former that I quoted from above. Just in case you wonder where Drudge's concerns in this matter may be leaning.

Previous BRAD BLOG items on this story:
10/13/04: "Big Trouble for Fox and O'Reilly: A Fair and Balanced Look at Sexual Harassment charges against Bill O'Reilly"
10/13/04: "Bad Vibrations for Bill O'Reilly"
10/14/04: "O'Reilly - In Our Unresolved Problem Segment..."
10/19/04: "O'Reilly - In the Personal Story Segment Tonight..."

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...I've got some great vacation property in Fallujah you may be interested in!
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 2:59pm PT  

Still in search of that "Liberal" media. Yesterday "the paper of record" NY Times headlined "Letter Supports Anti-Kerry Bid Over Abortion" which was, of course, then widely reported in the rest of the mainstream U.S. Media.

Today, however, less reported is this: "Vatican Says Anti-Kerry Lawyer Hoodwinked Them"

Mission accomplished.

I spend far too much time here discussing the obvious bias of Fox News. All but those without a shred of intellectual honesty understand FNC's total hard-right bias. The more insidious deceptions are those at the less-than-obvious places like CNN, MSNBC and the Broadcast News Outlets.

CNN has spent much air-time recently in several egregious misleads that are demonstrative of the way they bend towards the will of the Right. On Monday, as documented by Media Matters, Judy Woodruff and Bill Schneider blatantly mislead Americans with very selective polling data:

...on News from CNN, on-screen text falsely suggested that President George W. Bush's favorable rating had risen to 55 percent in multiple polls. Later, on CNN's Inside Politics, host Judy Woodruff selectively cited polls to assert that "the polls seem to be moving in President Bush's favor."

The on-screen text, which aired on News from CNN during a report by CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider, read, "Polls: Bush's favorability rating rose from 51% to 55%." But only one poll conducted in whole or in part since the conclusion of the debates, the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, shows Bush's favorable rating that high. A Washington Post tracking poll conducted October 12-14 gave Bush a 50 percent favorable rating, a TIME magazine poll conducted October 14-15 placed Bush's favorability at 49 percent, and RealClearPolitics.com reported that a Newsweek poll conducted October 14-15 rated Bush's favorability at 51 percent.

And then, almost "incomprehensibly", as Media Matters describes it, CNN did the exact same thing again yesterday when Rush Limbaugh's girlfriend, CNN anchor Daryn Kagan, excluded all but the one or two polls that show Bush with an increasing lead in what she described as a "comprehensive overview" of the latest polls.

But it didn't stop there. Later yesterday, CNN then used a poll taken from Sep. 22 to Oct 1 (prior to even the first Presidential Debate!) to make their case that Bush was leading by 7 points in Ohio! At least five more recent polls in Ohio, show either a tie there, Kerry ahead by several points or Bush ahead within the margin of error.

CNN...Keeping the electorate well disinformed just weeks before they must decide who will lead the "Free World" for the next four years. And again, I must ask, what "Liberal" Media?

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Another Report from the Reality-Based World
(Speaking of lowered 'expectations'!)
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 1:17pm PT  

Christian Coalition Founder, Pat Robertson on CNN's Paul Zahn Now speaking about the meeting he had with Bush prior to the War on Iraq:

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' "

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

For the record, so far we've had almost to 29,000 U.S. military casualties in Iraq. So Bush was only off by 29,000. And we've had 1,102 U.S. military fatalities as well. No idea which number Bush might have been referring to. Though you'd expect a "Commander-in-Chief" to know the difference. As we've said though, and as the above quote shows, expectations are not this Administrations forte.

But, hey, at least Robertson gets to meet with the President about these things! That's more than can be said for folks like Democratic Congressmen or the Black Caucus therein!

George W. Bush: President of Some People in the United States.

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A BRAD BLOG FLASHBACK
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2004 11:22pm PT  

I originally blogged this item a thousand years ago on September 26th. Given some of the latest buzz on the issue however --- for example, Josh Marshall asks why then we have a Selective Service at all, and contingency plans now to draft medical workers as discussed in today's NY Times if, as Bush says, there will be no draft --- it seems a reminder might be in order.

As originally blogged 9/26/04...

A Draft? Read Between the Lines.
It's the carefully chosen language, Stupid.

In the buildup to War on Iraq, when the idea was very unpopular amongst Americans just prior to the 2002 Elections, Bush and his surrogates went out of their way to tell the American people that he had no plans for war on his desk...

"I told the Chancellor that I have no war plans on my desk, which is the truth." - May 23, 2002 to German Chancellor Schroeder

"I told the Prime Minister there are no war plans on my desk." - June 23, 2002 to Australian Prime Minister Howard

"I told President Chirac, I have no war plans on my desk." - May 26, 2002 to French President Chirac

As we later learned, of course, plans for War on Iraq were being readied at the time by the Pentagon even if they weren't yet "on Bush's desk".

This morning, on ABC's This Week Colin Powell made a careful mid-sentence correction when answering a question about whether there are plans for re-instating the Draft in the U.S.:

POWELL: There are no plans for a draft...uuuh...at least President Bush has no plans for a draft.

In other words, Bush "has no plans for a Draft on his desk."

We report, you decide.

(Fool me twice, shame on me?)

ReddIt this story!



Get to work, people!
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2004 10:02pm PT  

Latest battleground numbers from Zogby (via My DD), who's latest national tracking poll is a dead heat at 45-45. That's not a good score for the incumbent right now:

Kerry Bush
OR 55.7 42.6
MN 54.2 43.1
WA 54.3 43.9
NM 53.6 44.1
MI 52.6 45.9
PA 51.8 46.1
NH 51.1 46.0
WI 51.3 47.5
IA 51.1 47.9
WV 45.8 48.6
AR 48.4 49.7
NV 45.9 49.8
FL 48.9 50.1
TN 47.8 50.3
OH 47.6 50.6
MO 47.6 50.7

Kerry supporters, you can win every damn one of those states if you get to work! Pass links to sites like this one around, call your friends and harangue them to call their friends and make sure every goddamn American with a sense of intellectual honesty, a sense of decency and a love for this country stops listening to the bullshit in the "Liberal" media and gets out to the polls to set the record straight this year! If you do, Bush loses. Period. National nightmare over.

(If you need any encouragement, look again at my favorite video so far this year!)

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