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Same Dumb Bush
By Winter Patriot on 8/27/2004 7:40pm PT  

(NOTE: This item guest blogged by Jaime)

Knowing his support amongst Cuban Americans in the battleground state of Florida is slipping, George W. Bush went stumping in Miami today. Like a broken record, Mr. Bush accused John Kerry of flip flopping in his vote against the Helms-Burton law. Kerry had actually voted for two earlier versions of the bill and eventually voted against the final passage due to provisions he did not like in the final draft. Simple to understand. Something a Senator does all the time. But Mr. Bush wanted to highlight his point to his captive audience and added this nugget of insight:

To clear things up, his campaign said that while he did vote against final passages, he had voted for it more earlier.

Seeing his numbers drop from 88 percent support to the mid sixties among Cuban-American voters in Florida, he pulled the old bait and switch by addressing not what the people are so upset about (travel and spending restrictions) but by aggressively attacking Kerry's Flip Flops. Besides failing English, Bush seemingly has failed history as his unwavering stance on the travel ban proves.

The embargo didn't work with Kennedy...or Johnson...or Nixon...or Ford...or Carter...or Reagan...or Daddy...or Clinton...or 3 years into Dubya's term. By heeding the advice of dusting himself off and getting back on the saddle, Bush's election year embargo frenzy is seemingly backfiring. The embargo has outlasted president after president. It never worked and it won't ever work.

What America, and the Cuban-American families, need is a more better policy that should have been enacted more earlier. One that overwhelms Cuba with capital not deprive it of State-side assistance. Unfortunately, in the Bush administration consistency trumps accuracy and the once solid dissident base in Florida will more likely vote no' on Bush rather than Si.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2004 12:31pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from the road...)

Not sure if last night's show was a repeat or not, I've missed quite a few while being on the road, but the interview with Bill Clinton (following the one with John Kerry a few days before) was quite a coup for the basic cable, low rent comedy show.

None the less, The Daily Show continues to offer the best coverage of Election '04 available believe it or not. So it's little wonder that so many are now getting the bulk of their news from it, according to a Pew poll released last week.

Surely Daily Show viewers are at least as informed about what the hell is going out on out there as Fox News watchers. And undoubtedly, more so.

Last night, Stephen Colbert's interview with "The Democratic Party" was a stitch. My quick search of The Daily's website didn't turn up the video. So if anyone has a link to it, please post it in comments. (I believe the show will re-run today at 7pm, otherwise).

And while you're there, Rob Corddry's "Don't Mess With Texas" piece was also a hoot. I was able to find the video for that one. Enjoy!

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...And the loss of the Public Airwaves.
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2004 11:48am PT  

(Blogged on the road by Brad...)

Blowing back in a southerly trajectory towards L.A., I came across a review of OutFoxed in the Eugene Weekly I picked up at the motel. I never got around to posting a full "review" of the excellent documentary here. Now that it's making the unheard of jump from DVD to Theater-Near-You, I oughta get around to it.

But not for the moment. Instead, a quick thought on Lois Wadsworth's review in the Weekly. She pegs Fox News' Carl Cameron as a "bootlicker" in regards to the ass-kissing he's overseen committing with Dubya on the "feed" prior to his "Fox News Exclusive" with Bush during the 2000 campaign (Cameron's wife worked for the Bush Campaign at the time, no conflict apparently for Fox's "Chief Political Correspondent").

This is not a pretty picture, but it is a cogent commentary on the state of Fox News. The "deregulation" of television began back in the Reagan administration, aided and abetted by Oregon's own bad-boy Republican Senator Bob Packwood. Prior to that time, news organizations were required to provide free, equal time to candidates to rebut the slanted messages candidates with money could buy. If this topic is ancient history to you, Google it. You may be surprised to learn the airwaves used to belong to the people.

Imagine that.

(Another, carbon-based way to learn more about the unravelling of real "fair and balance" on the people's airwaves is The Control Room : How Television Calls the Shots in Presidential Elections, a book by Martin Plissner. It's an excellent pre-2000 examination of the breakdown of the "equal time rules" on television, and how the structure of today's Presidential Elections in America are virtually 100% the product of the News Media.)

And, of course, you can still purchase the OutFoxed DVD for $9.95 online if the film is not playing near you. Or you'd just like to have a copy to pass around to those "Fox Fans" who may need a reality check.

One other point that I'd been meaning to discuss since watching the film, is the study they document showing that people who watch Fox News regularly are far less informed than those who get their news from other sources. The study shows that Fox News viewers get an inordinate amount of simple, fact-based questions --- like, "Was Saddam Hussein responsible for 9/11?" or "Did we find WMD in Iraq?" --- completely wrong.

That survey synchs up with one a few years back (I believe it was a Pew study, can't look it up from the road for now) showing that while Rush Limbaugh listeners thought they were the most informed, it turned out that they were instead amongst the least informed of those who followed current events.

Makes sense. At this point, to be a Bush supporter, one would have to be either uninformed or misinformed. And that's exactly what Fox News, Rush and Team Bush are all counting on.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2004 9:52pm PT  

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And other Presidential Distractions...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2004 9:28pm PT  

I've been in the woods for the past three days without cable or radio. When I came out, same old thing as before I went in.

Dubya, who didn't want to sign the Campaign Finance Reform bill in the first place (after originally supporting it) --- the one that paved the way for the 527's --- because it would supposedly take away "free speech" from those who wanted to band together to make political statements (presumably like the NRA, and other Right Wing groups), is still calling for the end to all those "shadowy groups". Even after he flip-flopped a second time and signed the legislation under pressure to do so.

So he supported those "shadowy groups" before, but now that it turns out most of the folks supporting their "free speech" rights through such groups are freely speaking against Bush, well, now it turns out he's against those groups. Another flip-flop. Follow all of that?

To make matters more appalling, he's against "all" the 527's only now that everyone, including Senator John McCain, has called on him to condemn the despicable smear campaign of the Swifties for Bush in which they've out and out said he lied about his record in Vietnam, including self-inflicting two wounds to win two of his three purple hearts. (Anything to win.)

Will Bush condemn the ads now that the group has been discredited? Now that two members of Bush's own campaign have had to resign because they broke the law and coordinated with the Swifties? Apparently not. Instead, he hides behind his new found distaste for the groups that he had so feared would lose their right to free speech in the past.

Yo, Dubya, you like to tell us about your moral conviction. So do your surrogates. And yet, where is it?

Let's see some, Mr. "President". CONDEMN THE ADS!

Or continue to be the flip-flopping, misleading, lying puppet you've been for the last four years. No suprises there. Just continued disappointment.

That said, some Americans may prefer to choose their President based on things like what they will do about the worst unemployment record since Herbert Hoover, what they will do about more Americans than ever without health insurance, what they will do about losing all credibility throughout the world, and becoming more vulnerable to terrorism than ever before.

Then there's the trouble with oil, a deteriorating environment, and...ya know...actual issues. I guess the Bushies would rather not discuss that.

Never mind. Shoulda stayed in the woods.

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The Rain Forests of Washington state
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2004 9:22pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from inside the Quinault Rain Forest 8/25/04 at 9:42am PT...to be posted whenever I find net access again.)

Who even knew there were rain forests in the U.S.A.? I didn't. But after having spent the last several days in the Quinault Rain Forest just south of the Olympic National Park in Northwest Washington state, I couldn't be happier about it.

Awesome. Be sure to spend some time to check 'em out if you ever happen to be up in this corner of the country. The hikes among the gi-normous Douglas Firs, Western Red Cedars and Western Hemlocks are awesome. Towering. And even as I write, I'm no more than 100 yards or so from the largest Sitka Spruce tree in the world.

Best thing about spending three days here, in virtually non-stop rain in the Rain Forest? Nobody ever complains about the weather! Truth in advertising. Toss on your raincoat, get out there and enjoy!

Two related political notes:

1) When driving up the near-coastal 101 Northwards toward the Olympic National Forest, it is at times like driving through the apocolypse as the landscape features thousands of acres of once-towering pines that have been devastatingly clearcut for miles in all directions from the highway. It's awful. And then suddenly, a sign that we are "Now entering Olympic National Forest" at the exact point at which the trees once again shoot up towards the heavens, replacing the scrappy, dry hillsides of scarred stumpage with thick, lush, breathable greenery --- hopefully --- protected (by the Government!) for generations to come. Sadly, trees don't get to vote, or have much of a lobby to protect them. So, it's up to folks like you and me. Don't let either party screw up that legacy of a country once smart enough to protect our natural resources. And don't let George W. Bush tell you that he's "protecting the forests" by letting his Timber Lobby have at 'em!

2) Since leaving California, we've been able to drink the water right out of the tap! And it's great! From Oregon up through Washington, we've not once had to pay for clean water. Why isn't clean, drinkable, delicious water out of the tap a top priority for all Americans? If I ever run for office, I believe I'll have to form the W.A.T.E.R. (Water, Air, Trees, Earth, Renew!) Party and run with "Clean Drinking Water from the Tap! For All!" as my number one platform. Someone's gotta do it. Apparently.

UPDATE 8/30/04: Pictures from Lake Quinault Rain Forest and the rest of the Road Trip now online here!

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2004 5:10pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from an Espresso shop in Westport, WA...)

I've been making the case for years that George W. Bush and his supporters are certainly not "Conservative". Not in any classic, Goldwater sense for sure. I've taken to referring to them as Fake Conservatives. Conservative when it serves them politically, and beyond that, happy to spend into oblivion and/or outstretch the arms of the Federal Government into just about any area of private life they wish to. Nothing "conservative" about either of those ideas.

And it looks like Pat Buchanan, of all folks, is helping to make the case.

Drudge breaks the skinny on Buchanan's new book, WHERE THE RIGHT WENT WRONG: How Neoconservatives Subverted The Reagan Revolution And Hijacked the Bush Presidency.

I'm on the move, so don't have too much time. Will just post a couple of quotes from the book. See the link to Drudge above for a full boatload that are sure to put a burr under Rove, Rush and Hannity's Fake Conservative saddles.

"There is no conservative party left in Washington. Conservative thinkers and writers who were to be the watchdogs of orthodoxy have been as vigilant in policing party deviations from principle as was Cardinal Law in collaring the predator-priests of the Boston archdiocese."

"The Beltway Right has entered into a civil union with Big Brother."

"Under the rubric of conservatism, the Republican party of Bush I and II has been reinventing itself into what conservatives would have once recognized as a Rockefeller party reciting Reaganite rhetoric."

"[A] civil war is going to break out inside the Republican Party along the old trench lines of the Goldwater-Rockefeller wars of the 1960s, a war for the heart and soul and future of the party for the new century."

"Kristol's warning that neoconservatives could go to Kerry was an admission of what many have long recognized. The neoconservatives are not really conservatives at all. They are impostors and opportunists."

"This is democratic imperialism. This will bleed, bankrupt and isolate this republic. This overthrows the wisdom of the Founding Fathers about what America should be all about."

"[L]istening to the neoconservatives, Bush invaded Iraq, united the Arab world against us, isolated us from Europe, and fulfilled to the letter bin Laden's prophecy as to what we were about. We won the war in three weeks --- and we may have lost the Islamic world for a generation."

"We are not hated for who we are. We are hated for what we do. It is not our principles that have spawned pandemic hatred of America in the Islamic world. It is our policies."

"Often, terrorism succeeded in the 20th century, and, when it did, the ex-terrorists achieved power, glory and immortality, with streets, towns and cities named for them....America today recognizes every regime to come out of these wars where terrorism was a common tactic."

"There is no conservative party in Washington. There is a Democratic Party of tax-and-spend and a Republican Party of guns and butter and tax cuts, too. Washington is all accelerator, the brakes are gone."

"Bush has compiled a fiscal record of startling recklessness."

Hate to give it to a borderline Nazi sympathizer like Pat Buchanan, but it does look like he's the recipient of the latest rarely given "Intellectually Honest Conservative" Award as occasionally bestowed by the BRAD BLOG. And the republic gently weeps.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2004 11:12am PT  

Beginning the long journey home now. Access to the net may again be sporadic. We'll see. So we'll leave it to our fine Guest Bloggers to jump in once again, as they have time, to help save the world in my possible absense.

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By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2004 11:01am PT  

(Blogged by Brad from the road...)

Yesterday, I focused briefly on the King of Republican Lies and Moral Depravity: Rush Limbaugh, in his role as "apologist" for the torturers and murderers at Abu Ghraib.

Today, we'll take a look at the Crown Prince, Sean Hannity.

The Center for American Progress, has put together a swell list of just 15 of his greatest "hits". I think it's a good idea to occassional post one or two here to remind our friends on the Right of just who it is they are getting their Talking Points from, the accuracy of that information, and the veracity of the person they are counting on to give them their "information".

So here's the first in a series. All of these quotes are from the "Hannity and Colmes" show on the Fox "News" Channel.

HANNITY: "I never questioned anyone's patriotism." (9/18/03)

FACT:

HANNITY: (to attorney Stanley Cohen) "Is it you hate this president or that you hate America?" (4/30/03)

HANNITY: "Governor, why wouldn't anyone want to say the Pledge of Allegiance, unless they detested their own country or were ignorant of its greatness?" (6/12/03)

HANNITY: "You could explain something about your magazine, [the Nation]. Lisa Featherstone writing about the hate America march, the [anti-war] march that took place over the weekend..." (1/22/03)

HANNITY: "'I hate America.' This is the extreme left. There is a portion of the left --- not everybody who's left --- that does hate this country and blame this country for the ills of the world..." (1/23/02)

HANNITY: (speaking to Sara Flounders co-director of the International Action Center) "You don't like this country, do you? You don't --- you think this is an evil country. By your description of it right here, you think it's a bad country." (9/25/01)

In case you're wondering, the definition of "Patriotism", the only one given by Merriam-Webster, is as follows:

Patriotism
Function: noun
: love for or devotion to one's country

Saying one thing, doing another. Flip-flopping. Lying. Misleading. However you wanna put it, it's the stock-in-trade for the Right's newest Golden Boy. No wonder the Rightwingers commenting here and elsewhere can't seem to get any of their facts correct. Look who their role models are!

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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2004 2:05pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from the road...)

"People were --- they were saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bullseye on his head. It was scary."

So said Maxine Carroll, the sister-in-law of Army reservist Spc. Joseph M. Darby on ABC's "Good Morning America" last Monday about her brother-in-law and sister now in protective military custody. Somewhere.

Carroll doesn't know where her sister and brother-in-law Darby are now. For their own protection. Due to the many death threats he's received.

What did Darby do to bring such threats upon himself? He tipped off investigators to the abuse by his fellow soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Mind you, he didn't tell the media. He told military investigators about what was going on.

Darby would seem to be a very courageous and upstanding American to do what he did, turning in criminals who were damaging our efforts to win the peace in Iraq.

So seriously, who would put a "bullseye" on such a man's head? Who would threaten such a person with death?

I'd not think that terrorists, like al-Qaeda would do so. After all, it's arguable that folks sympathetic to their cause might have found the confirmation they were looking for in the photos that subsequently came out of Abu Ghraib.

I don't think Democrats or supporters of John Kerry would threaten Darby, given that the scandal only served to help support their argument that this war was being run irresponsibly, chaotically, and without the necessary resources.

So really, all bias aside, in all reality, what sort of people would do such a thing? What sort of people would stoop so low? Who's supporters would possibly be interested in threatening the life of the brave Army Spc. Joseph M. Darby?!

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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2004 12:18pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from the road...)

Even as the Rightwingnuts try to apologize for everything from killing thousands of innocent men, women, children and babies in Iraq (see the Comments on this item wherein they justify the killing of tens of thousands of civilians, for instance) to the refusal to allow American's to see their own sitting President if they won't sign a loyality oath, or dare to wear a sticker on their shirt that supports the other candidate, the truth is, they get their marching orders from one man; Rush Limbaugh.

Rush sets not only the agenda for the entire marching band of Rightwing nutballs, but he is their "moral" and "spiritual" inspiration for justifying and apologizing for every appalling act committed against the people of the world, and of course, the Constitution of the United States of America.

Why do these folks despise everything that America stands for? I'll have to assume it's the love of power. How else to explain the moral depravity found in their inspirational leader as exemplified by this montage of Rush clips concerning Abu Ghraib?

Give it a listen!

Be prepared to be appalled. But perhaps it'll give you some idea of who these guys idolize, and how they feel justified spewing the sort of moral depravity that they do every day. If the most popular radio show in America has those sorts of things to say every day, it's little wonder that so do his fans.

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So much for Freedom of Speech under Bush/Cheney '04
By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2004 7:17pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from the road...)

Loyalty oaths, journalist nationalities profiled, T-shirts banned, and now a tiny sticker will get you tossed from a Bush/Cheney rally. Noticing a pattern here yet?

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Kathryn Mead wanted to see her first sitting president when George W. Bush visited the city.

Instead, Bush campaign staffers tore up the 55-year-old social studies teacher's ticket and refused her admission because she sported a small sticker on her blouse that touted the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards.

"I had my ticket and photo identification, but they would not let me in because of this sticker," said Mead, a teacher at Traverse City West Senior High, who said she has seen Queen Elizabeth and Pope John Paul in person.

Remind me again...what is we're supposedly fighting for in Iraq? Why does Bush/Cheney '04 hate freedom?

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Bush/Cheney '04 doesn't think so!
By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2004 1:52pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from the road...)

First Bush exploited and politicized the victims of 9/11 by showing dead people in the rubble in one campaign spot. And now he's doing it again, using the Iraq soccer team in his latest campaign spots, and in his latest stump speeches.

He didn't ask the 9/11 families if they liked the idea, and I guess he didn't bother to ask the Iraqi soccer team either, according to this piece from Sports Illustrated. It turns out, they don't like it any more than the 9/11 Families did:

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," [Iraqi midfielder Salih] Sadir told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes."

...

"My problems are not with the American people," says Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad. "They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq."

For the record, as of 8/19/04:

Total number of American civilians killed on 9/11: 2,976
Minimum number of Iraqi civilians killed in the war so far: 11,619

Geez, what are they so angry about?!

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Jack Ohman / Portland Oregonian Edition
By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2004 1:14pm PT  

(Blogged by Brad from the road...)

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By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2004 12:27pm PT  

(Brad still blogging from the road...)

Updating the recent embarrassing Bush "sovereignty" quote as blogged a few days ago. Alert BB commenter Corey has sent a link to the video of the quote.

If you thought reading the quote itself was either troubling or funny, take a look at the actual video! (Listen for the tittering in the background from the impressed crowd).

Then try to tell us how it's just a slip of the tongue versus a guy who doesn't know what the hell he's actually talking about.

Then tell us how you could possibly feel good about this guy being the leader of your country, much less the free world.

Then tell us what drugs you're taking, which grade you were able to complete in elementary school before dropping out or what it's like being married to your own sister...or what county in Texas you're actually from.

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