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(With 1054 US troops now dead in Iraq. Just by way of reminder.)
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2004 5:21pm PT  

Has it come to this? Doctored pictures on the world wide web's #1 news website in order to try and defeat and/or smear John Kerry?

Drudge has been running this uncredited photo since last night on his website a with the headline "KERRY ON ORANGE ALERT: SKIN TRANSITION ON EVE OF DEBATE"...

Drudge doesn't supply the source for the original photo and we he's run lifted and doctored photos before, as recently as during the Democratic Convention. However, an examination of other news photos from the same event on September 27th in Spring Green, WI, clearly shows Drudge's photo to be either phony or doctored.

This one is from Reuters...


(original photo source page)

Note the bald man to the right of Kerry is the same many on the left of Kerry in the doctored Drudge photo.

And this one also from Reuters...


(original photo source page)

And this one from AP where though Kerry looks a bit more tan, it's nothing like the one that Drudge is running...


(original photo source page)

Note the woman in red behind Kerry in both this and the doctored Drudge photo.

And just for good measure --- what a world --- here's an AP photo of Bush from September 24 --- undoctored --- but appearing rather orange himself...


(original photo source page)

I can't believe, frankly, with thousands dead, dying, injured, held captive and beheaded in Iraq and the largest budget deficit in the history of mankind in this country that we're wasting our time with this kind of bullshit. Such is the case of the world, I guess, when running against the "Anything to Win" man in the White House and his cronies in the Rightwing Smear Media.

(Special thanks to John Aravosis of the excellent AMERICABlog for posting this item for me over there while we were knocked out over here today!)

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Alan Keyes gets spanked in Illinois
(...and he appears to like it!)
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2004 5:00pm PT  

The latest poll in the Obama/Keyes senate race is amazing.

In a flat-out rejection of Republican hypocrisy by Illinois voters, Obama is trouncing the gay hating "family values" champ by 51 points amongst likely voters. He currently leads 68% to 17% in the poll that was taken before the news broke of Keyes' having a lesbian daughter, despite having denounced Mary Cheney as a "selfish hedonist" a few weeks ago because she is a gay.

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...Thanks for standing by.
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2004 4:27pm PT  

Urgh. We got knocked out yesterday at the provider! No explanation other than "it should be back up in 15 minutes". Cut to: 30 hours later...Well, we were planning upgrades shortly anyway to, among other things, better handle all the traffic (via a different provider!). So finally, we went ahead and made the move.

Welcome back. But I apologize in any case for whatever foul-up occurred that drove me nuts, but was out of my control. It was maddening and a horrible time for it to have happened! Thanks for your hanging in there, and for your continued support.

I've got much to catch up on here...stay tuned.

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His Campaign of Smear on America's "Most Watched" News Channel Continues...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2004 12:23pm PT  

So I'm watching Hannity & Colmes tonight and Hannity says something a bit surprising as he's "interviewing" Newt Gingrich while attempting (successfully) to smear both Kennedy and Kerry in the same fell swoop.

As he looks down at his notes, so I'm assuming he had time to plan this out, Hannity says to Gingrich about a Ted Kennedy speech today at George Washington University on the failures of Bush's Iraq policy:

HANNITY: Hey actually Ted Kennedy in that speech today (refers to notes) "Those of us who would like to cut and run" --- he actually said that.

...and then he moved on to something else. Hit-and-Run Smear Accomplished.

But was it a smear? Would Fox's bright, shining star and Rush's heir apparent, Sean Hannity, simply out and out lie like that? And risk the same firing that he's called upon CBS to do to Dan Rather? I replayed my video tape, and that's exactly what he had said. But the outrageous charge about Kennedy seemed odd to say the least, so I did some checking on the speech today to find out for sure.

At Senator Ted Kennedy's site, the text of today's speech is linked on the front page, and it contains this passage:

No issue is more important today. The battle against terrorism is a battle we must win. Even those who opposed the war in Iraq understand that we cannot cut and run, that this is an American issue. But to remain silent in the face of mounting failures by this President and this White House is to weaken our security even further, and we cannot let that happen.

Seems pretty clear that Kennedy decidedly did not say what Hannity quoted him quite specifically as having said.

But this is the "Fair & Balanced" network! "America's News Channel of Political Record" as their ads say. Surely Hannity wouldn't make up such a quote and then claim that Kennedy --- and Kerry by extension, who's position Hannity equated with Kennedy's --- actually felt that way, would he?

Perhaps the text on Kennedy's site was the original text as planned, but he veered from the text as it was originally written. So I stopped by Hannity & Colmes site for more information. They didn't have a transcript of tonight's show yet, but they did have a link to what they called "Raw Data: Kennedy Speech on Iraq War" which has a paragraph similar to the one above, but curiously, it's missing the "cut and run" section entirely! Here's what they have:

No issue is more important today. The battle against terrorism is a battle we must win. To remain silent in the face of mounting failures by this president and this White House is to weaken our security even further.

Hmmm...did Fox have a different version of the speech? A transcript they took themselves perhaps during the actual presentation of the speech? Even so, there seemed nothing about "Those of us who would like to cut and run". There was nothing about either cutting or running in Fox News' transcript.

I kept looking, and finally found over at C-Span the video of the actual speech, as given by Ted Kennedy today.

Some of the text did veer slightly from the version on Kennedy's website. A word or two. But nothing like what either Hannity or the Fox News site described. Here's what Kennedy said verbatim (at 4:18 on the tape):

No issue is more important today. The battle against terrorism is a battle that we must win. Even those of us who opposed the Iraq war understand that we cannot cut and run, that this is an American committment. But to remain silent in the face of mounting failures by this President and this White House is to weaken our security even further, and we cannot let that happen.

Are these guys that desperate to win that they'd just make stuff up out of whole cloth? Apparently so. We've been covering here John McCaslin of The Washington Times, the newspaper equivalent of "Fair and Balanced" Fox, who has been doing exactly that. And so does Hannity. Almost every day.

Please remember that this is the man who has been calling for criminal investigations in the CBS document matter, along with the resignation of Dan Rather virtually every day he's been on the air --- on both his radio and TV shows --- since that story originally aired.

Lesson: Sean Hannity will say anything, do anything, smear anybody and lie about anything to keep his man in office. And the good news for him and the America he claims to love? He gets to do it five nights a week on the country's most watched News channel. Period.

As a side note, I also watched Kennedy's Q&A after his speech, just to make sure the phrase that Hannity made up wasn't said there or something. I didn't see it. But I did see Kennedy ironically mention, about the Bush Team and their continued campaign of lies, distortions and smears about Kerry: "You don't expect this to be done at the presidential level. To mis-represent and distort your opponents positions."

Rely on it Senator.

Mr. Hannity, correct the "mistake" and apologize to Sen. Kennedy on the air the way you've insisted that Rather apology to Bush. Set the example, Mr. Hannity.

Please hold him to it, Mr. Colmes.

Sean Hannity - hannity@foxnews.com

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...In one fell policy swoop.
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2004 1:04am PT  

One of the points in John Kerry's plan for Iraq has been to call on America's allies to "share the burden". However, many of the pundits (from O'Reilly to Maher) have pointed out that it's a swell idea, but it may not be so easy to actually do. If with a new, smarter, less-arrogant, U.S. President. After all, why would France and Germany want to enter this ever increasing morass at this time?

It's a good point, but one which Kerry can dispell in one single policy initiative:

"Hire me, and I'll fire Halliburton"

With billions and billions of dollars worth of contracts then free for the competitive bidding, do you suppose France, Germany and all the others might want a taste of that action?

You bet they would. And all they'd need to do to be allowed into that bidding process is a commitment of troops and/or money for the effort. We could use both.

I know that quite a few Dems in high places read this blog from time to time. Perhaps somehow one of you can get this idea to Kerry before Thursday's foreign policy debate with Bush if he hasn't already thought about it.

Both firing Halliburton (and hey, they can still bid competitively if they want to!) and simply demonstrating how Allies could be brought into the effort in a single policy initiative would be enormously popular with the American people. It would also help win both the election, and the war at the same time.

Pass it on.

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Alan Keyes' Daughter...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 9:38pm PT  

Yes, she's a lesbian. According to her own blog and that of her girlfriend. They both posted this picture on the internet as I understand it. I saw it at her girlfriend's site who also has a gay.com profile (with more Maya pics).

There's been much handwringing in the leftie blogosphere about this picture, and others from the series, and the idea of publicizing Maya's sexuality at all. She is, after all, a 19 year old girl who can't be blamed for being the daughter of a near-psychotically conservative Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate from Maryland Illinois who recently called Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter a "selfish hedonist" because she was gay. Also, she was not outted by anyone other than herself on her own blog. Her Yahoo ID is "dangerousanjul". Indeed.

I too though, thought long and hard before blogging at all on this, and I believe it was finally this passage from Maya's rather moving blog that moved me to go ahead and jump in here:

my parents and I were seriously not getting along and so we needed some time off from each other; the idea was that after a year of being a wonderful good helping-the-poor type person they would once again like me and therefore be willing to pay for my college I'm not so sure that part of it will work; despite the fact that I'm all about working for global justice THEY don't care about that, THEY only care that I am an evil dyke.

And even if I am a charitable dyke I am still a dyke who KISSES GIRLS and especially with the gay marriage thing going on now that's at the front of their minds. So I think I might get back to find out they still don't like me and I won't have a college to go to.

Basically, this young girl describes having the gift of an education being held hostage from her by her parents because she is gay. I guess that's the "Compassionate Conservativism" we've heard so much about. Or would that be "Family Values"? (See chillinois' excellent chronical of many of today's events for more of those moving passages and other commentary from the 'sphere. The articles at Maya's girlfriend's blog --- who's mother seems to be similarly intolerant/cruel are also an object lesson in shame.)

That Maya has been pointing to her own blog for quite a while via her posts on a Keyes Campaign Message Group strikes me --- for all of my armchair psychiatry --- as a cry for help. Well, if America regains its senses and John Kerry is elected, perhaps as he likes to say "help is on the way".

One may note the suprising number of hard-right Conservatives with homosexuals in their immediate family (prominently Cheney's daughter, Gingrich's sister, now Keyes' daughter) and wonder how it is they manage to justify the hatred --- yes, hatred --- that they perpetuate on a daily basis. Through their words, their deeds, and their passive (and not so passive) tolerance for those that who oppress, deny, belittle, hurt, harm, hate and even advocate the murder of other humans solely on the basis of their sexual identities. All in the name of a few more votes.

Perhaps there is hope in this accidentally ironic thought of Alan Keyes from his recent hateful interview; "In the child, the two [parents] transcend their persons and unite together to become a new individual."

We can only hope.

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As this thing gets fun.
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 3:23pm PT  

They're on it. By my count that's about 6 new ads in the last 7 days. Keep firin', boys. The latest are "Doesn't Get It" and "Despicable". Go check 'em out.

The tenor of this whole race is getting absolutely testosteronical as Dubya might say. It's a shame the Bush Campaign has written into the debate rules that the candidates must not approach one another other than to shake hands. Once. Otherwise, this thing could still turn into fisticuffs to determine who is Macho Man Numero Uno. Glad to see Kerry though, necessarily, making up some lost ground on that count. Silly Kerry thought this would be about issues. Glad he's got that ridiculous notion out of the way.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 2:57pm PT  

While I look forward to his interview with Bush tonight (and for the next three!), I've had a few "No Spin" items spinning on my brain for a few days that I'd like to toss out.

ITEM #1: Last week, on The Factor, O'Reilly attempted to marginalize Air America Radio two days in a row by claiming that they were meaningless and failed because they are currently only carried on "20 affiliates". Never mind that when O'Reilly launched his radio show, he had enough money to actually pay stations to carry his show! But more notably, O'Reilly has a long term grudge with Al Franken, one of the AAR hosts, and can't even manage to say his name on his "no-spin" program, spinning him as "Stuart Smalley" instead of using his real name. So O'Reilly continues to spin his own opinions about Franken and AAR by simply lying about them.

A quick check of the Air America Radio website, would have told O'Reilly that they are on "32 Stations Nationwide" according to the banner headline on the front page of their site. After his statement the first day we could have been generous and called it a mistake. Repeating it verbatim the next day, however, was no mistake. It was just spin.

ITEM #2: For the last several weeks O'Reilly has been going on about James Carville and Paul Begala working with the Kerry Campaign in an unpaid advisory capacity while continuing their role as co-hosts on CNN's Crossfire. While, unlike O'Reilly, neither Carville nor Begala refer to themselves as journalists, but rather as admitted partisans who host the liberal side of a political debate show. At the end of last week O'Reilly huffed at one of his guests who challenged "the bloviator's" claim as disingenous because Fox does virtually nothing but support the Bush campaign. O'Reilly then launched into a challenge asking him to "Name names!" about who does that at Fox, promising he would call them out if they did!

The answer (that the guest didn't have at hand) is Sean Hannity who lent his imprimatur to the Republican National Party by narrating videos for the GOP Convention website. I wrote O'Reilly to name the name, but so far, I haven't noticed any on-air corrections or condemnations for it. You can still hear Hannity at the GOPConvention website right here.

ITEM #3: As you may know, O'Reilly still has his silly on-going "Boycott" of France. Here's a quick snippet on that from O'Reilly's interview with Jon Stewart last week:

STEWART: Do you really believe France is, in any way, worthy of a boycott?

O'REILLY: I do. I think France has really hurt the USA, to be...

STEWART: Really?

O'REILLY: Yes, I do.

STEWART: More than like Saudi Arabia? You would advocate a boycott...

O'REILLY: No, I'm not going to say more than Saudi Arabia. But I'm saying we do a lot...

STEWART: So why not boycott them?

O'REILLY: France is supposed to be our friend.

...And he didn't have anymore to say on the matter as the subject was then changed. But Stewart makes an excellent point there. Why aren't all those ridiculous French Bashers out there calling for a boycott of products from Saudi Arabia --- who is also "supposed to be our friend" --- instead? $1.97 a gallon says you know the answer. Hypocrites.

The spin goes on...

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Like Bush, McCaslin just can't seem to come clean.
Blames everyone else for his (not) mistakes.
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 1:36pm PT  

If you've been following the tale of The Washington Times' John McCaslin, we have an update. (If you haven't, read the first item here, and our first update to it here)

McCaslin has now attempted to clarify his previous Correction (which was full of lies) to his original story (which was full of lies) by posting another "Correction" (of a sort) which proceeds to make the case still worse.

Why is it so hard for Republicans to simply say "I made a mistake"? Ya know, kinda the way that awful Dan Rather was able to do when he found problems in his report on the National Guard memos? The wingnuts, of course, continue to insist Rather should resign for his honest mistake while completely ignoring McCaslin/Washington Times' blatant and purposeful lies to smear Kerry. What else is new?

Today McCaslin continues to obfuscate and justify in a story that begins this way:

Quoting Kerry
"We know we can't count on the French. We know we can't count on the Russians."
Not the words of Sen. John Kerry, as a press release from the office of Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, incorrectly stated — and as we passed along in this column last Friday.
The congressman was paraphrasing Mr. Kerry's sentiments on Iraq in a debate on CNN's "Crossfire" in 1997.

He then spends the rest of the ink explaining that somehow the quote he made up that was given to him by King was not really so wrong because John Kerry probably felt that way even if he said something completely different at the time.

McCaslin never bothers to mention in his latest waffle --- which manages to out-Clinton even Clinton himself --- that in his original story which quoted Kerry saying that and more (all made up), that he'd admitted to having an actual video tape of the show he was "quoting" from. Apparently he didn't either bother to watch it before quoting from it, or he simply watched and decided to make up whatever he wanted anyway since he erroneously said that "no 'Crossfire' transcripts from 1997 are available". I guess that's what he was hoping.

So for a second day in a row now, McCaslin is blaming Peter King for his own triumphant journalistic failure or outright lie that he'd hoped he wouldn't get busted for.

As we pointed out, the original lie was picked up and run on Drudge (the #1 Website in the world) and dutifully spread from there by the rest of the Attack Monkey Media for at least 24 hours. Drudge has not bothered to run any of the "Corrections". Damage done. Mission still Accomplished.

John McCaslin - jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com (202) 636-3284
Mng. Editor, Francis B. Coombs Jr. - fcoombs@washingtontimes.com
Washington Times - (202) 636-3000

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By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 1:14pm PT  

If you look carefully at this screenshot, you may be able to find a subtle hint as to who "The Terrorists" actually support!

That, of course, would be political satire/comedy even though there is plenty to support the general premise of the commentary. What isn't satire nor comedy, is when a sitting "Vice-President" of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and even the "President" himself indicate such a sentiment and/or out-and-out state such a notion as fact when it concerns their opponents. And of course to their enternal shame, they have. Many times.

In case you missed it earlier, for the only known statement by a "terrorist" concerning who they actually support, see this previous item.

(Thanks Brian Duffy of "No Bush in 04" for sending in his detective work!)

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By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 12:05pm PT  

A few media items on their way here today...We'll start with the easy one. Finally found ABC News Now on my digital dial (Channel 190 for Los Angelenos in the Adelphia digital 'hood). That would be their new Online and/or Digital Only news operation that began during the Conventions when the Entertainment division thought that Americans were better served by watching "According to Jim" on the free public airwaves instead of learning about the two parties who would be leading the "Free" World for the next four years.

Haven't gotten to watch a whole lot yet, but after the hour or so I did see at 2am last night, so far I can say it a delight! Being able to watch real journalists (well, okay, Sam Donaldson and Jonathan Karl, but you get the idea) talk politics all night long without commercial interruption other than for a few ABC Entertainment plugs was awesome.

I don't think many folks yet get this refreshing alternative to the Cable News spews, but so far, I'm thrilled to have an alternative to the boredom, laziness and Adminstration brown-nosing of CNN, the pedantic schizophrenia of MSNBC, and the out and out Republican Infomercial that is Fox News.

From what I've seen so far, it's a charming mix of the free-form take-all-the-time-ya-need pacing of C-SPAN with the full resources of an actual major news organization that seem to be enjoying themselves without all the pressures of commercial television. We'll see how long it lasts that way...But check it out for yourself if you're lucky enough to pick it up where you are (and lucky enough to be able to figure out where the hell it is! Here's some help!)

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By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2004 2:07am PT  

Was gone all day today. Which is too bad. Cause there was much going on, and much to blog about. Many many thoughts as this thing is heatin' up and just getting fun.

Tomorrow (later today, I guess) I will tell you how Kerry gets his landslide in one fell policy swoop. I know there are a few heavy-hitters in the Kerry/Dem camp who frequent this blog...so pay attention. 2am now though, so I better call it a night and try to get caught up tomorrow. In the meantime, think about those guys on the right. Nite.

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It's the carefully chosen language, Stupid.
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2004 2:03pm PT  

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?)

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The 'Catastrophic Success' continues...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2004 12:23pm PT  

Today Sec. of State Colin Powell said about the Iraq insurgency, "It's getting worse."

A rare moment of honesty from the Bush Administration. Here's the numbers they don't usually enjoy mentioning to the American People...As of 9/26/04:

Attacks by Insurgents per day:
70-80 avg.

U.S. Military Killed in the past Week:
15

U.S. Military Killed from "Mission Accomplished" through hand-over of "Sovereignty":
1.89 per day

U.S. Military Killed from hand-over of "Sovereignty" through Today:
2.34 per day

Total U.S. Military Killed since hand-over of "Sovereignty" (90 days ago):
194

Total UK Military Killed since then:
6

Total U.S. Military Dead since start of War:
1,048

U.S. Military Amputees, Wounded, Injured & Psychologically Disabled,
All now evacuated from Iraq:
27,800 est.

Iraqi Civilians Killed since start of War:
20,900 est.

Iraqi Military Killed (by end of "major hostilities"):
28,000 est.

Total Iraqis Killed (Civilian and Military):
48,900 est.

Population of Iraq:
25 million

Killed in the US on 9/11:
2,973

Population of US:
293 million

Stockpiles of WMD's found in Iraq so far:
0

Sources: Iraq Coalition Casuality Count, U.S. Dept. of Defense, McLaughlin Group

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2004 11:16am PT  

Bush tells O'Reilly in his interview (to be run over three days starting Monday...not spinning at all) that he would do the "Mission Accomplished" thing all over again.

From Reuters:

President Bush said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and would do it all over again if he had the chance, according to excerpts from an television interview released on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News if he still would have put on a flight suit to declare major combat operations in Iraq over, Bush replied, "Absolutely."

When Bush gave his May 1 speech fewer than 150 Americans had died in the war. Since then more than 900 have died.

It brings to mind what John Stewart has been saying lately about Bush. "He drove us into a brick wall...but he didn't blink!"

ReddIt this story!



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