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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2004 5:06pm PT  

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The Original Sunday Talker...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2004 2:49pm PT  

You still can't beat The McLaughlin Group for lively, entertaining Sunday Talk.

While McLaughlin's (usually) self-aware pomposity is at least half the fun, the spirited half hour --- sometimes substantive, sometimes less so --- never fails to amuse.

Interestingly enough, after having lost track of "The Group" for the last several years until I finally found them again recently out here on Saturdays and on PBS none the less, McLaughlin himself has taken a suprising turn to the Far Left. At least in regards to his views on Iraq and all the countless flaws thereabouts wrought by Team Bush.

None the less, Eleanor Clift still makes my ears bleed.

Last night's fumbled sign-off was a classic:

McLaughlin: NEXT WEEK! --- Is the oil at the...uh...UN scandal a tempest in a teapot or is it a tempest?!

Bye-bye!

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By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2004 5:47pm PT  

Charlie Rangel called for it over a year ago - before we sent 700+ to die in Iraq.

His point, as I took it at the time, was that perhaps this country would be a lot more judicious when it chose to wage Optional Wars if everyone in America had a real stake, or was likely to know someone who did.

As the death of Pat Tillman yesterday in Afghanastan finally helped remind us, these "wars" are real and there are real Americans who are getting killed over there every single day. Not simply numbers, but real Americans dying.

The notion that a bunch of men - all of whom exploited opportunties to opt out of putting their own life on the line to serve our country in war when they had a chance to do so - are now so cavalierly willing to send off the sons and daughters of others to fight a war that needn't have been fought is nothing less than appalling.

As well, it is my understanding that there is only one - that's right just one - sitting member of the US Congress (including 535 members of both the House and Senate) who has a child in the active service.

As the curtain has been drawn back to expose the real reasons for the War in Iraq (hint: it didn't have much to do with a "War on Terror") and as the faulty premises on which it was sold to the Congress and the American People come to light (hint: there were no WMD's as everyone else in the world told them), it seems time to take another look at the resources America and it's (mostly) Elected Officials are so willing to expend so quickly on dubious and deadly military excursions.

When Dubya's daughters Jenna and Barbara are forced to serve the country in the military, perhaps George won't be as quick to pull the trigger before attaining a true level of certitude that such action is truly warranted to defend our country and it's interests.

Bring back the Draft and perhaps the real consquences and costs of War will become real again. Not just another ratings bump for Fox News.

When everyone in America has a son, a daughter or a next door neighbor that might be shipped off to fight and die in one of these things, perhaps it'll become as real as it became for just a few minutes this morning, when someone that more than just a few Americans actually had heard about was killed in the bargain.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2004 2:04pm PT  

Cpl. Pat Tillman, 1976 - 2004

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The tale of the tape...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2004 6:20pm PT  

As we were rolling back from a few peaceful days in the desert this week, steam was building in the Republican Attack Machine against John Kerry's war record. That, in and of itself, should be jaw-dropping coming as it does from the blustering "We Support our Troops!" crowd. I guess by troops, they don't mean John Kerry. But it seems Americans are becoming immune to such baseless and unsubstianted attacks - and perhaps that's the whole point.

So, kudos are due Kevin Drum (formerly blogging as CalPundit) at The Washington Monthly for putting things in a bit of perspective...

A TALE OF TWO SOLDIERS....Our story so far:

George Bush, fresh out of Yale, uses family connections to join the Air National Guard in order to avoid serving in Vietnam. After four years of a six-year term he decides to skip his annual physical, is grounded, and heads off to Alabama, where he blows off even the minimal annoyance of monthly drills for over six months.

Conservative reaction: why are you impugning the patriotism of this brave man? He got an honorable discharge and that's as much as anyone needs to know.

John Kerry, fresh out of Yale, enlists in the Navy and subsequently requests duty in Vietnam. While there, according to the Boston Globe, he wins a Purple Heart and then follows that up with more than two dozen missions in which he often faced enemy fire, a Silver Star for an action in which he killed an enemy soldier who carried a loaded rocket launcher that could have destroyed his six-man patrol boat, a Bronze Star for rescuing an Army lieutenant who was thrown overboard and under fire, and two more Purple Hearts.

Conservative reaction: Hmmm, that first injury wasn't very serious. This is something that deserves careful and drawn-out investigation, and it would certainly be unfair to impugn "craven or partisan motives" to those doing the impugning.

Are these guys a piece of work, or what?

POSTSCRIPT: Kerry's military records are here.

None the less, I'm sure such to-the-point perspective won't keep the chattering usual suspects from repeating their contemptable claims over and over again until every uninformed DittoHead in America buys it. Or until everyone else is so sick of it they simply give up caring. Mission accomplished.

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Republicans Imitate Satire
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2004 5:53pm PT  

I'd been pondering some kind of a satirical blog item for some time that would line up all the former Bush folks that have been branded as "liars" for exposing information that the Bushies didn't want exposed. It's a growing list of rather impressive and credentialled individuals who have patriotically spoken up and subsequently found themselves systematically trashed by the Whitehouse Attack Monkeys and their loyal band in the Rightwing Echo Chamber.

And then, incredibly, I came across a page called "Meet the Liars: The People Leading the Reckless Charge Against President Bush and the War on Terror" at BushPresident2004.com:

Surely this was a satirical Anti-Bush website in disguise, no?! Incredibly - and sadly - after several astounding pages browsed, I learned that it wasn't.

UPDATE: As eagle-eyed satire exposer and Brad Blog commenter Larry pointed out, the site in question is indeed a satirical one! So kudos to the folks at BushPresident2004.com for putting one over on me! Well done! I guess the lesson is either that I should read more closely next time, or that real Republican sites have become so outrageously ridiculous that they have become virtually indistinguishable from the fake ones making fun of them!

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By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2004 2:33pm PT  
If, as the "Conservatives" like to say, Liberal Talk Radio doesn't much exist because there is no interest in the topic from the majority of Americans, then I suppose then we can judge the current zeitgeist in literature by that same yardstick.

Of the current Best Sellers (Fiction and Non-Fiction both) at Amazon.com, here are 5 of the top 20 as of this moment:


#1

#2

#6


#12

#20

P.S. Not a Conservative-leaning book in the entire Top 20.
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By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2004 2:12pm PT  

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Not just for blowjobs anymore?
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2004 1:59pm PT  

We've been on the road for the past few days, and thus not locked into our usual media routine. Out here, in the desert, we get a dose here and there of Cable News, though without the erstwhile FOX News drone to keep us as aware of what the Evil Doers are up to.

Rush comes in partially, with much static, so I haven't been able to keep up with the Right Wing Marching Orders with my usual alarming up-to-the-moment accuracy. Nor have I had any Internet Access for the last 3 days or so, so please pardon me if I'm missing a beat or two, and - unbeknownst to me - the entire Blogosphere is abuzz with this already. But from here, I've got just one big question since last Sunday's Bob Woodward explosions on 60 Minutes.

(DISCLAIMER: Both CBS, the producer of 60 Minutes and Simon & Schuster, publisher of Woodward's Plan of Attack are owned by the same parent company, Viacom. I have watched CBS before and have read books published by Simon & Schuster. As well, I have also watched both VH-1 and MTV on several occasions. Both of those cable channels are also owned by the parent company Viacom.)

So, anyway...The various Cable News programs we've been able to catch since Sunday, seem to be dwelling on the Powell-outta-the-loop and Bush-Saudi-low-oil-prices-before-the-election issues.

Yes, the most alarming item from Woodward on Sunday to my ears, was the bit about Bush having diverted some $700 million from the Congressionally approved Afghanistan spending over to a secret unapproved pre-Iraq War effort.

So my question is this...If Bill Clinton lying about a blowjob is an Impeachable offense, how can it be that subverting the US Constitution by diverting $700 million to a Congressionally Unapproved project by the this Administration barely raises an eyebrow by anyone? Both the House of Representatives (responsible for instituting Impeachment Proceedings) and the supposed "Liberal Media" seem to be completely ignoring the issue.

Now, I realize that the House is controlled hard by Republicans, but where is that supposedly "Liberal Media" on this one? And how can even the supposedly "Conservative" Republicans in the House sit by and ignore such a blatant disregard - if true - for the United States Constitution by this Administration?

Surely there must be at least a couple of intellectually honest Republicans out there who are outraged enough by this report to begin a very serious investigation into this very serious alleged breach of ethics by this Administration. No?

Can you imagine the Republican apoplectics that would be occurring today if it was Bill Clinton (or John Kerry!) who was reported to have done such a thing?

As Bill Bennet would have certainly asked in such a situation had this been a Democrat at the helm, "Where's the outrage??"

Or is it out there and I'm just missing it?

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(or, Fool us twice, shame on us.)
(or, How Powell & I stopped worrying and learned to love the NeoCons.)
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 11:24am PT  

As the debate continues about the right thing to do in Iraq at this point, it seems a good chance to revisit some of the more memorable lines we were adamently sold by the Conservative Echo Chamber (dutifully selling the NeoCon Party Line of that Moment) in the not-too-distant past. Ah...the memories...

"Iraq is a grave and growing danger to the United States because they posess WMD's!"

"Don't worry! We'll receive the support of the Arab World once they see we're serious this time. They only respect and understand military might! Not political rhetoric, which they perceive as weakness!"

"Don't worry! Once it's clear we're really going to go in, all of our Allies in the UN will line up to join us! They know otherwise they'll be completely shut out from the spoils of war!"

"Don't worry! We'll be greed as Liberators! They'll be dancing in the streets welcoming us! You'll see!"

[After the "liberation" of Baghdad] "Don't worry, we'll find the WMD's! Iraq is a country the size of California! These things require patience!"

"Don't worry! After Sadaam is caught, the violence will end and people will start talking about where those WMD's are. They're just too frightened to do so until they know for sure that Sadaam isn't coming back!"

"Don't worry! We've got plenty of troops in Iraq!"

"Don't worry! It's just pockets of resistance, this is most definitely not guerrila warfare!"

Ah...those were the days....

And now we're supposed to rely on the same folks who sold us the above bill of goods to determine where we should go from here? Surely you're kidding...right?

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 2:39am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 2:27am PT  

Kevin Drum on the blog job over at Washington Monthly:

It's funny that conservatives only started complaining about partisanship when the 9/11 commission started producing testimony damaging to George Bush, isn't it? But where were they when he resisted setting up any kind of commission in the first place? Or when he then tried to make a joke out of it by appointing Henry Kissinger as its head? Or on the repeated occasions when he stonewalled the commission when it requested needed documentation and testimony?

Histrionics are not the only sign of partisanship. On the contrary: although preventing an investigation because it might damage you politically is more subtle, it's every bit as partisan. What's more, it's probably more dangerous in the long run, especially when it comes from a commander-in-chief whose party controls every branch of government.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2004 1:18am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2004 7:12pm PT  

Interesting cross examination of Rep. Patrick Toomey on today's Hardball. Toomey is running in the Republican primary against Sen. Arlen Specter, who Toomey describes as a "Liberal" --- just to give you an idea how far outta touch these Right Wingnutz are.

Anyway, Chris Matthews pressed him hard on his Anti-Abortion position, asking what he would do - after making abortions illegal in the US and in Pennsylvania as he supports - to enforce such a law.

Toomey started to discuss what would happen to the doctor, when Matthews cornered him to ask what would be done to the woman who - by Toomey's own terms - would be a murderer in such a case. Toomey hemmed and hawed and had no answer, but refused to suggest jailtime or anything like it for the woman.

Well done, Chris. Don't know why it all never occured to me in such stark terms before, but if the Anti-Abortionists believe that abortion is murder, one would assume they would back throwing a woman who "commits" one into jail. Or perhaps even sentencing them to the Death Penalty since it would be, by their own definition, a capital crime.

To date, I've yet to see a "pro-life" politician who called for anything but punishment of the doctor who performs the operation in such a supposed crime.

Is the Anti-Abortionists very own premise ("Abortion is murder") simply that weak? Or are they just too cowardly to actually stand behind their own purported convictions?

(I now look forward to DittoHead replies speaking to the Liberal position against the Death Penalty in lieu of an actual explanation for the hypocrisy of the Conservative position on Abortion. When you can't defend yourself, of course, attack the other guy. See any recent Bush attack ad on Kerry for further instructions.)

P.S. Catholic Priest and Novelist Andrew M. Greeley followed that segment on Hardball to toss in an interesting statistic. He once did a survey to find out who was both Anti-Abortion and Anti-War, both tenets of Catholic faith. The answer: just 6% of those surveyed were against both. Telling.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2004 4:30pm PT  

So Jaime Gorelick should resign from the 9/11 Commission even though she already recused herself long ago from questioning any witness with whom she may have had a perceived conflict of interest while sitting on an exploratory commission who will produce a non-binding report of recommendations.

But Antonin Scalia should not recuse himself because there is no "appearance of impropriety" in flying on Airforce Two with the Vice President or going Duck Hunting with him while he is a Defendant in a major case pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.

It's Bizarro World out there I tell ya. More soon...

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