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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

More from the 'American Shame' File.
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 11:57pm PT  

I don't even know what to write about this one.

Read it yourself, and perhaps you can answer the question that AMERICABlog aptly asked about it..."Who are we anymore?"

I have no idea how to answer that question at this point. This isn't my America.

But as an American greater than I (Howard Dean) used to say..."You have the power! You have the power! You have the power!..."

Take it back November 2nd. Your conscience --- and grandchildren --- will thank you.

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Worth the mouth they come from.
Another sordid chapter from the 'Anything to Win' File...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 11:39pm PT  


BUSH: I don't see how you can lead this country in a time of war, in a time of uncertainty, if you change your mind because of politics.

That was then (last Friday's Debate).

This is now (today's LA Times)...

The Bush administration plans to delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November, say administration officials, mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.
...
"When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously," said one senior administration official involved in strategic planning, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Once you're past the election, it changes the political ramifications" of a large-scale offensive, the official said. "We're not on hold right now. We're just not as aggressive."

It's the credibility, Stupid.

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Oh, yeah...he's a 'conservative' alright.
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 10:35pm PT  

Catching up on a few items I've had sitting around...From Debate #2, Dubyanocchio said:

BUSH: Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent, because we're working together to try to bring this deficit under control.

I realize I may be naive, but surely there's must be some "rationale" for his "1 percent" number. Perhaps there's some Freepers around who can explain to me how he managed to use that number, in public, and on national television, without it being an out and out lie.

Kevin Drum did some digging, and has more details, but basically, these seem to be the numbers for increases in discretionary spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office, over the last six administrations:

Non-Defense Related Discretionary Spending

Nixon/Ford: 6.8% per year
Carter: 2.0% per year
Reagan: -1.3% per year
Bush 1: 4.0% per year
Clinton: 2.5% per year
Bush Jr: 8.2% per year

Quite a different story than the tale spun for America last Friday night. And one that should make any real conservative (not the fake Bush conservatives, apparently) shudder.

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...And Your Country in the Bargain.
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 3:41pm PT  

I've been too busy of late with a few non-blog realted deadlines to give the proper coverage to the story of the 62 ABC Affilliates being ordered by their owner, the rightwing Sinclair Broadcast Group, to run an anti-Kerry propoganda documentary in the days before the election on all of their local ABC afflilliate stations.

Sinclair is the same group that ordered their affilliates not to run the Nightline broadcast in which Ted Koppel read the names of those killed in Iraq. At the time, Sinclair did so because they charged, without even seeing the broadcast in question, that the show was "motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq," and charged that "ABC is disguising political statements as news content."

Apparently that concern only applies to the political statements that Sinclair Broadcast Group themselves don't wish to force their afflilliates to make.

As I say, I've not been able to adequately cover this story. It's a very important one for you to follow however and help educate folks about. So I'm gonna point you towards both Josh Marshall who has some good coverage today (read the linked article, and the one below it) as well as Left Coaster who has more detail and what you can do to help put a stop to this egregious abuse of the public airwaves for political gamesmanship by the Republican Media Elite who control it!

If there's one thing I believe we've all learned over these last few months (and four years); Democracy is not free. Vigilance and hard work is sometimes required to maintain the very democracy that our Government claims (often quite cynically) to be trying to defend. You (yes, you reading this) must do something on occassion to keep these cretins and cynics honest and to keep your democracy flowing.

UPDATE: The Boycott of Sinclair is on! Here is a list of Sinclair's advertisers and contacts for them! Let them hear from you! BE CLEAR AND DIRECT, BUT BE POLITE WHEN MAKING CONTACT!

UPDATE: More from Marshall pointing out how the "documentary" in question is actually an hour-long anti-Kerry spot actually made by the SwiftBoats Vets for Bush!

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A BRAD BLOG Prediction...
(Worth the 'Internets' it's Printed On?)
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 12:55pm PT  

I've warned you many times about taking polls with a grain of salt by noting that only the Zogby poll has come close to being right over the last two elections (their final poll in 1996 was within within one-tenth of one percent of the final results that year).

So though I pay attention to trends in the polls, I would warn you to not give them to much credence. That said, Zogby's latest daily tracking poll has Kerry widening his lead over Bush to 3 points with the numbers currently at 47%-44% averaged over the last three days.

And all of that said, I'll tell you my personal opinion that, barring a number of potentional external events, and there are quite a few possible, I am now predicting a Kerry landslide. That's right, a landslide. All Battleground States will go to Kerry (including Florida) and a number of "solid red states" to boot.

I don't often make predictions, as it's a perilous game that usually comes back to bite the predictor. Not to mention that predictions are like assholes because everybody's got one. I understand that could well be the case here. But what fun is life if you don't go out on a limb occassionally?

The main reason for my prediction is that the polls, even Zogby's, I believe, will proven to be entirely off again this year as they currently fail to account for the huge number of newly registered voters (mostly Democrat and ticked off about a myriad of things) and the enormous number of underground and unpolled folks who either don't own, or don't answer polls via land-line telephones (by law, cell phone users cannot be polled).

As I mentioned above, however, there are still a healthy number of mitigating factors (those "external events" I alluded to), that could still well come into play in the 25 days between now and Election Day and which could serve to effect my current prediction. They would include the effects and/or possibilities of (in no particular order of probability):

A major Kerry or Edwards screw-up on the trail or in the final debate.
Dirty tricks by Karl Rove and Clan which we know are on the way.
October Surprises (like Bin Laden captured or killed) by Karl Rove and Clan which we know are on the way
Terrorist attack in America. Unlikely between now and the election, but which you likely will be increasingly "warned about" by Bush's Public Officials none the less right up to and on Election Day.
GOP steals the election through various means of voter fraud (including electronic voting) in any number of states.

If none of the above materialize to any great extent, this is Kerry's race at this point. The "Liberal" media has not yet figured it out, so you haven't yet heard much of the above from the talking heads. No clue if they'll figure it out or not prior to the Election.

Sorry to you folks who believe in "jinxing" things, but I'm calling 'em here as I see 'em. Feel free to go on record in comments to tell me how I'm wrong or what I'm missing here.

UPDATE: Latest Gallup Tracking Poll now shows Kerry over Bush by 2 points (50% to 48%)! Notable mostly because this same poll had Bush up by 13 points just over three weeks ago!

UPDATE: And, oh yeah, forgot to mention. The Dems take back the Senate in the bargain as well.

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Fighting for Truth, Justice and the America Way
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2004 12:25pm PT  

Over on the Rightwing Hate site Free Republic, the top destination on the Internets for Bush Supporters, the webmaster has had to delete several posts apparently about Christopher Reeve. These are a few selections (courtesy of Digby, who has more) that were not deleted by the "America Loving Freepers":

"Wonder if Hell is handicapped accessible.."

"I'm sorry, but I have no compassion for this man. He suffered a terrible injury through his own fault and, instead of accepting it, he lashes out in anger against Bush."

"Contrary to mythology, he sunk into bitter, violent anger, pouring every ounce of derision he possibly could on Christianity and America. And then he simply died."

"Is there no level of filth to which these Dems won't sink?"

"You think you're cynical? I am wondering if Clark Kent would possibly pull the plug on himself in a desperate attempt to "matyrize" the stem-cell issue and help Kerry?"

"Reeve seemed like a nice chap until he got involved with the pro-death wing of the democrat party. We can't always get what we want, but we often get what we deserve."

"The fact is, Mr. Reeve spent his last days using his fame and access to champion the murder of unborn children."

"He was not willing to let a fetus stand between him and his goalpost."

"Sure hope he was a saved man. Otherwise right now he is roasting in hell."

Classy.

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Christoper Reeve 1952-2004
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2004 11:20pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2004 11:35am PT  

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Let's go to the video tape...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2004 3:49pm PT  

I've been having an Email exchange of late with one of our more Right-leaning readers who, after suggesting that he felt the Fox News Channel was not necessarily all that biased he admitted that he wasn't all that familiar with Roger Ailes, the Fox News General Manager and former media manager for Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Rush Limbaugh.

Here's a new video from MoveOn.org that gives some information on Mr. Ailes. You may conclude that MoveOn.org might only give "one side" of the issue, but the fact is there is no other side of the issue. Everything in this video is fact.

If you Rightwingers think that someone who has helped manage the political careers of folks like Reagan, Nixon, Bush Sr. and Limbaugh for at least three decades could now possibly be either fair or balanced now that he runs a news outlet, I'd ask you if you would feel the same way if James Carville or Paul Begala opened up a "news" network and claimed that they just wanted to be "fair and balanced".

Inform yourself. Watch the video.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2004 3:20pm PT  

Since my pal Fin of What We Know did such a great job with his Toon selection yesterday, I will save myself some work, and just point you over to them.

Speaking of Fin, if you haven't check out his previous video ad, "Lone Wolf", I'd recommend it. Beyond that, he has another one coming shortly (that I've gotten a preview of) and it kicks ass. Coming soon! We'll let ya know!

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2004 3:01pm PT  

Andrew Sullivan (who himself has already won the above mentioned and rarely given award) posts this "Email-of-the-Day" from one of his readers:

"I started reading your work about a year ago on the suggestion of a friend because I was convinced that the actions of the Bush Administration were making life impossible for a fair-minded and intelligent Conservatives. Obviously, there is a great deal of cognitive dissonance in leaving the Party that brought you to this point. But defending the Bush Administration has forced any Conservative thinker who is fairminded and intelligent into either turning himself into rhetorical knots or altogether ignoring reality....

It has been refreshing to see you come to the conclusion that you cannot be Conservative, intelligent and fair minded and continue to support this administration. In fact, at the risk of being melodramatic, it renews my faith in the idea that a fairminded struggle with ideas can result in progress, rather than further entrenchment at the expense of logic, fairness and reality.

So much of Conservative ideology is already part and parcel of the current political millieu on both sides of the aisle--a faith in American power, free market ideology, personal responsibility--that a Conservative can vote for John Kerry without sacrificing his ideals. (After all, it was Bill Clinton who led Welfare Reform and the formation of NAFTA, two actions that were absolute anathema to the Left. He also balanced the budget ... remember when Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility?)"

Kudos Unnamed Andrew Sullivan reader! You are the latest BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative" Award Winner! Don't spend all that credibility in one place!

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2004 2:04pm PT  

No, not the Presidential Debate, but very heated Real Time with Bill Maher that followed it on HBO. If you are able to check in on one of HBO's reruns today or over the next few, do yourself the favor.

For now, all I'll say is that it was quite a knock-down drag-out brawl largely from top to bottom. It was instructive, to say the least, watching panelist Tony Snow of Fox News firmly outside of the protective environs of "Fair and Balanced". Beyond that, if I can transcribe Maher's closing "New Rule" later on today I will try to do so here. It was both brutal and right on the money.

For the record, it's America's loss (and Disney/ABC's eternal shame) that Maher is not on network TV five nights a week anymore.

One quickie from last night; One of Maher's monologue jokes (paraphrasing here) "Bush was asked by one of the questioners in the debate tonight to name three mistakes he's made since being in office. Bush replied, agreeing to last week's debate, tonight's debate and next week's debate."

Yup.

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Right Wing Nuts Run With it.
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2004 1:04pm PT  

No doubt you've heard or read the story by now. Drudge ran it, and so Fox (and all of the Rightwing sycophants that suck off their teets) dutifully repeated Drudge's twisted and wholly misleading interpretation.

Just prior to last night's debate, Drudge ran this screamer headline which is still at the top of his site: "ABCNEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR MEMO SPARKS CONTROVERSY: BOTH SIDES NOT 'EQUALLY ACCOUNTABLE' ..."

The desperate and gullible on the Right all dutifully repeated it out in the blogosphere and on Fox News. But of course, if anybody actually reads the memo in question (linked above), they'd see not just the absurd claim Drudge is making, but also the validity of the memo they are choosing to disparage as some form of "proof" that ABC News is biased.

The passage in the memo that Drudge characterizes as "BOTH SIDES NOT 'EQUALLY ACCOUNTABLE'":

We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides "equally" accountable when the facts don't warrant that.

...So in other words, the words "we have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable" means "BOTH SIDES NOT 'EQUALLY ACCOUNTABLE'" in Wingnut World 2004.

Drudge's purposeful mischaracterization aside, what ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin seems to be writing about, if this memo is real, is something I've been pondering and hoped to touch on for some time here.

The fact is, the Right has got the supposedly "Liberal" Media so frightened and in their pocket, that they've lost all understanding of what "fair and balance" actually means!

An example; Let's say one candidate in a debate (Bush or Cheney for example) gives incorrect information 15 times in one of the debates. And in that same debate, the other candidate (Kerry or Edwards for example) give incorrect information 2 times.

What does the lamestream media report in their post-debate "Fact Check" segments? "Both candidates distorted some facts in last night's debate". And then they go about showing two examples of Bush/Cheney doing it and two examples of Kerry/Edwards doing it. Never mind that Bush/Cheney was wrong some 15 times versus Kerry/Edwards' 2 times. The wingnuts would cry "Media Bias!!!" if the media didn't equalize the rather unequal situation by showing 2 errors each.

That's precisely what's been happening since the debates began if not well before. After the first Presidential debate, for instance, Fox reported on some of Bush's questionable claims (alright, lies) about the situation in Iraq. He repeated demonstrably fallacious information on many many occassions. Fox reported one or two of those, and then reported the one or two times that Kerry misspoke (when he identified the KGB headquarters in "Treblinka Square" instead Lubyanka Square, or referred to the $200 Billion appropriated for the War by Congress as inaccurate because only $120 Billion of that has so far been spent.)

Those "errors" were reported as if they were equal, with both candidates being incorrect at some points in the debate. That sort of reporting paints an egregiously inaccurate assessment of the event.

Halperin's memo was right on the money as far as I'm concerned. Two inequal candidates do not deserve to be covered "equally". But the media has become so frightened of it's own shadow, that they are serving as equalizers for Bush/Cheney when Bush/Cheney deserves nothing of the kind from any sober and unbiased assessment of the facts and the way these campaigns are being run.

Sadly however, the media has boxed themselves in by running scared for years now. To the point where they won't likely even be able to rebuff Drudge's gross misinterpretation of Halperin's memo ("BOTH SIDES NOT 'EQUALLY ACCOUNTABLE'"??) effectively. I suppose that's where those of us with any sense of fairness and honesty and reason have to step in. Unfortunately, there's not all that many of us left with a voice that can be heard over the brilliantly orchestrated din of lies from the Right.

UPDATE: To give you an idea of the breathless coverage the wingnuts are giving to this non-story (apparently they only bothered to read the headline, not the actual memo). Look no further than this from the rightwing blog Power Line...

ABC Bombshell: Media Bias Unleashed
Drudge has the most astonishing media bombshell ever...

Sigh...If Drudge prints it...they will come.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall's take on this nonsense.

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U.S. Only Kills a few dozen!
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2004 12:28pm PT  

Remember the good old days when the U.S. simply toppled governments, installed their man, and then shut up about it?

Well, in a stunner of an election today in Afghanistan, it seems that the U.S. installed interim leader Hamid Karzai also seems to have won the election! What are the odds?

Well, the odds might have been 1 in 16 if you don't consider that the other 15 candidates who ran against him have all withdrawn from the election sighting unfairness in the election process.

And the good news? The wide-spread violence that was feared didn't happen, according to Reuters:

In the biggest incident, a U.S. bombing raid killed 24 Taliban in the central province of Uruzgan, local officials said.

The Afghan Islamic Press quoted residents as saying 14 residents were also killed, mostly women and children.

So we may have had to kill a few folks on Election Day, and all 15 non-U.S.-supported candidates dropped out of the race. But hey, nothing's perfect!

As Donald Rumsfeld recently reminded Congress (and as I'm sure you'll remember on our own Election Day coming up...especially you Floridians who may not have your vote properly counted...sorry!):

"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great. Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet."

Bush/Cheney '04: Lowering the Bar to Spread "Freedom"

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...From tonight's Debate
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2004 12:00pm PT  

Bush said tonight, "Al Qaida no longer has a place to plan."

Apparently they do, Mr. "President"....From ABC: Al-Qaida Blamed in Egypt Blasts; 30 Dead

And as to this question from a fine, but well-spun St. Louisan:

BRONSING: Senator Kerry, we have been fortunate that there have been no further terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11. Why do you think this is?

Kerry gave some answer or another...but here's what I wish he had said:

"Well, Ann, I wish that was the case. Unfortunately, you may recall the deadly anthrax attacks that have occured since 9/11. Unfortunately, not a single person has been captured in the those attacks, and as you've noticed, the President and his Administration don't much like talking about it for just that reason."

...Or something like that. And along those lines, I'd point you to this Democratic Underground article of mine from June of this year.

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