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By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2004 2:52pm PT  

Uh, oh. Looks like another bad day in Bushville.

The widow of former President, and Republican icon, Ronald Reagan has told the GOP she wants nothing to do with their upcoming national convention or the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush.

Nancy Reagan turned down numerous invitations to appear at the Republican National Convention and has warned the Bush campaign she will not tolerate any use of her or her late husbands words or images in the President's re-election effort. [emphasis added]

“Mrs. Reagan does not support President Bush's re-election and neither do most members of the President's family,” says a spokesman for the former First Lady.

(First one to catch the inevitable "Nancy Reagan has clearly lost her mind since the death of her husband" line from the Attack Monkeys, be sure to let us know!)

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By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2004 2:39pm PT  

A few final thoughts on the DNC Convention after it's close (other thoughts on the week's activities are sprinkled throughout the last 3 or 4 days worth of Blog items below).

John Kerry said all the right things last night in his speech. A little too quickly perhaps, there was so many applause lines that he'd have better served himself to allow them to reverberate a bit more. But he's never been known for his oratory genius. It's what he said that counted most. At least to me.

Still not certain I'll actually be able to cast my own vote for him, paticularly since I live in the "locked" state of California and my vote may be better spent elsewhere (though, obviously not on Bush). If you live in Missouri or Texas or Ohio or Florida, etc., you'd be crazy to vote for anybody else. Which is what the Bushies are counting hoping for, of course!

I was, however, impressed with the speech in general. He said a lot of things that a lot of us Progressives had been wanting to hear from the man who isn't George W. Bush.

The coverage of the speech, which I watched mostly via Fox, though switched over to CNN and others throughout, showed again how even in their choice of camera shots the Foxies are anti-Democrat and Pro-Republican. While earlier in the week they would cut away to bored folks, dark folks, and folks in funny outfits right in the middle of important points in the various speeches (as opposed to waiting for applause lines and then showing cheering Dems) they subtly switched to a new tact last night.

If you watched Kerry's speech on Fox, you'd think he was actually in Hollywood making his speech! Which was clearly no accident of editing by the Fox directors. Almost every cutaway was to one of those "awful Hollywood Liberal Elitists" (I counted shots of Ben Affleck, Leo DiCaprio, two guys from The West Wing, Rob Reiner, John Cusack, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Steven Spielberg..and oh, yeah, Hillary...all within the first fifteen minutes of the speech!)

There were about five thousand delegates there, 15,000 reporters, scads of Democratic officials, but it was the "Hollywood Liberal Elite" who got the bulk of the camera time. That's Fox for ya. More on them later.

I was a bit mystified by the following comment from Kerry's speech though:

I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another; and let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.

The ideas of building unity and not angry division, and respecting one another, etc., made shrewd sense. But the last part there, about "never misus[ing] for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States" seemed an odd way to end the thought.

I wasn't certain what he was speaking of there, until I saw a Bill Schneider/CNN explanation that he was referring to Bush's cynical and failed "Gay Marriage Amendment". Then it made sense.

Perhaps the most interesting developement of the week was the Dems enormously clever --- and so far very successful --- move to co-opt the "optimistic" tone that Republicans had likely been hoping to seize upon themselves. The Reagan Effect is fully in play suddenly in this year's campaign, and it's the Democrats, ironically, who have successfully taken that legacy (for now) and made it their own. Beating the GOP at their own "we're the party of optimists, they're the party of doom and gloom!" game.

So kudos to whoever came up with that plan!

The Bush-Cheney thugs already look pretty pathetic (and un-American in this case), by tearing into Kerry-Edwards in the bargain. Drudge's lead item at this moment, for example, "Bush Derides Kerry as Man of Few Achievements..." will likely ring pretty poorly today for Team Bush amongst the electorate who really does seem to want some hope and optimism in this country for the first time in years! Yes, I know the pols always claim that "American voters are tired of the negativity"! But this time, I sense that it may actually be true!

Thus, I'd predict the more positive candidate this year may also end up winning because of it! Bush may soon figure that out, but his record of years of ugly divisiveness along with a proven inability to be the "uniter, not a divider" he claimed to be, added to his surrogates complete inability to be positive (that's just not what they're made of, and they don't have positive facts on their side to boot) means that Bush finds himself now in an unfortunate corner.

Anybody wanna start laying bets for which day between now and November 2 that Dubya will have his own "Bozos" moment this year? (Surely you all remember when Papa Bush's chances were so bleak back in '92, that the sitting President referred to his opponents as "those two Bozos".) Desperation does funny things to a guy, I guess. Watch for it from Mr. Bush at some point within the next 95 days.

Also, of note this year, was "Fox Up Against It!" They weren't able to pull of their usual all-out unchallenged assault on the Democrat Party this week. Was it because they were surrounded by Dems? Or is the Anti-Fox Movement really beginning to have an effect in the House that Murdoch Built?

More on that later...and meanwhile, where are those fucking balloons? Well done, CNN! You guys are geniuses!

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But an 'A+' for Partisanship!
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2004 2:05pm PT  

CNN had been posting it's "Pundits Scorecard" each night of the Convention to score the various keynote speakers. Last night, the pundits were asked "How would you rate the Democratic National Convention?" Here's how Tucker Carlson scored it...

Speakers: B+
Themes/Message: A
Kerry's Speech: B+
OVERALL: C-

Hmmm...Average together the B+, A and B+ and come out with a C-! Got it!

(Was Tucker the one responsible for coming up with the bad numbers for Bush's "Prescription Drug Plan" by the way? Or the figures for how much Iraq Reconstruction wouldn't cost the American people? I'm noticing a theme amongst the GOP. Perhaps all Bush Admin Officials should be forced to take the Math Section of their "No Child Left Behind" standardized test! Or at least explain how they can possibly paint the Democrats as the the party of big spenders!!)

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Franken vs. Hannity on Air America
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2004 1:10pm PT  

Photo once again, by Tom Tomorrow, who seemed to be there for all the Alpha-Dog Moments this week! Well done, Tom! (He also captured the Moore/O'Reilly standoff.)

Does anyone know where I can find a link to an archive of the Franken/Hannity matchup on Air America. Word has it that Hannity was pulled in, unscheduled, and was taken to task (meaning given facts and documentation!) for several of Hannity's continuous on-air lies. For example, he was forces to admit that he'd "misspoke" when he claimed that Howard Dean "told people George W. Bush knew about 9/11 in advance." Apparently, Hannity "misspoke" to that effect about 9 or 10 times.

Anyone have a link to copy of the interview?

UPDATE!: Here's the .MP3! Thanks, Jaime!

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By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2004 9:44pm PT  

Surely I'm not the first to mention this, but it occured to me tonight that if John Kerry wins, we'll have our first African-American First Lady!

And it figures she'd be white.

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There is still a war in Iraq. And another in Afghanistan.
Not that your Media would bother to tell you.
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2004 6:11pm PT  

Today, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning "Doctors without Borders" organization announced they are pulling out of Afghanistan after 24 years there "because of security concerns and frustrations with the U.S. military" as the situation in the war-torn nation continues to deteriorate (since we failed to finish one war before beginning another).

Additionally, here's some War News from just yesterday for ya, courtesy of Today in Iraq:

War News for July 28, 2004

Bring ‘em on: Sixty-eight Iraqis killed, 55 wounded by car bomb at Baquba police station.
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, three wounded by roadside bomb near Balad.
Bring ‘em on: Seven Iraqi soldiers killed, 10 wounded in firefight near Suwariyah.
Bring ‘em on: Indian truck driver wounded in convoy ambush near Fallujah.
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi policeman assassinated in Kirkuk.
Bring ‘em on: Nine Iraqis wounded in roadside bomb attack against US convoy near Baquba.
Bring ‘em on: Bulgarian troops mortared near Karbala.
Bring ‘em on: Bomb explodes at entrance to Polish base camp near Hilla.
Bring ‘em on: Two insurgents killed in attempted pipeline sabotage near Kirkuk.

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He's tried the 'prozac' route, perhaps it's time for the 'find a new job' idea.
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2004 2:49pm PT  

Suddenly the story I just reported on in the previous item becomes even more relevant!

Just reported by Reuters:

A campaign worker for President Bush said on Thursday American workers unhappy with low-quality jobs should find new ones --- or pop a Prozac to make themselves feel better.

"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy --- or go on Prozac?" said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.

"Compassionate Conservatism" in action.

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By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2004 2:27pm PT  

Not even sure what to make of this one. Following up on a story headlined "Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides" (as pointed to on the BRAD BLOG last month), Capitol Hill Blue, the self-proclaimed "politically agnostic" news site (the oldest one on the WWW) files a report today headlined "Sullen, Depressed President Retreats Into Private, Paranoid World".

The lack of named sources in the report is again troubling here, but the "newsworthiness" of a "Commander-in-Chief" being prescribed "powerful anti-depressant drugs" is at least as notable as "WOMAN NAMES BILL CLINTON FATHER OF SON IN SHOCKING VIDEO CONFESSION" as reported by Drudge back in 1999. Not to mention that had this story, anonymous sources or not, been about Kerry instead of Bush, you can bet your boots that not only would it be leading The Drudge Report today (with a SIREN!), but it would be splattered over the entire "Liberal" and Extremist Media.

Such as it's about Bush, however, it's been picked up nowhere else yet that I've seen today. I'm waiting for the White House release of today's Press Gaggle to see if anyone asks about the story. Though I have a feeling the "Liberal" Media may drop that ball as well. What a shock.

Here's the first few grafs. The entire story is worth reading however for those familiar with the "dry alcoholic" syndrome or otherwise interested in some stunning (if true) insider gossip about a White House in disarray:

A sullen President George W. Bush is withdrawing more and more from aides and senior staff, retreating into a private, paranoid world where only the ardent loyalists are welcome.

Cabinet officials, senior White House aides and leaders on Capitol Hill complain privately about the increasing lack of “face time” with the President and campaign advisors are worried the depressed President may not be up to the rigors of a tough re-election campaign.

“Yes, there are concerns,” a top Republican political advisor admitted privately Wednesday. “The George W. Bush we see today is not the same, gregarious, back-slapping President of old. He's moody, distrustful and withdrawn.”

Bush's erratic behavior and sharp mood swings led White House physician Col. Richard J. Tubb to put the President on powerful anti-depressant drugs after he stormed off stage rather than answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay, but White House insiders say the strong, prescription medications seem to increase Bush's sullen behavior towards those around him.

“This is a President known for his ability to charm people one-on-one,” says a staff member to House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert. “Not any more.”

(Thanks to Jaime for the tip on this story!)

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By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2004 12:08pm PT  

Comments are frequently made on older blog items that may not be noticed by regular BRAD BLOG readers. I hope to do something about that soon (as soon as my busy schedule of late will allow anyway). But a comment came in this morning on the "Michael Moore Connects the Dots" item that I believe is worth highlighting here, since it may otherwise go largely unnoticed.

"Sam" commented to say:

I lived in Texas in the 60's and moved to California in the 70"s; I was a Lincoln/Douglass republican and now I'm a democrat; I began to move away from the party of Eisenhower and Reagan when I had problems with the 'Contract On America' and the historical basis Newt sited for his tactics; every man (and a woman or two) in my family has served in the military since WWII in and out of combat; F9/11 should be seen by all americans who claim to be patriotic; I will be giving dvd copies of this film away to friends who continue to blindly support an administration that is marching us into fascism step by step.

Given the Right's smoke-screen that "the Military" supports George W. Bush, I think it's important to show what the real story is. That there are millions of Americans out there, yes, many in the Military, who are able to understand the brink of danger that this Administration has brought us towards. Folks who understand, as Bill Clinton said on Tuesday, that "strength and wisdom are not opposing values".

Thank you "Sam" for serving our country in both uniform and by speaking up in hopes of countering the deadly spin of the Right. If you have not yet visited Paul Rieckhoff's website, you (and everyone else) should do so! I highlighted his story some months ago here. He's another great American, one who gave up a cushy Wall Street job after the towers fell to serve his country, and who is not afraid of speaking out when he sees a "Commander-in-Chief" who is dangerously playing partisan games with the Constitutional (and otherwise American) Ideals that this country was founded on and which are being surreptiously frittered away under the cynical guise of "National Strength and Security".

It's not a fight for "National Strength and Security" that the Right is waging. It's just another cynical "wedge issue" being exploited in order to further divide this country, so that the Right might hang on to their power. And it's high time we put an end to such self-destructive nonsense in this country. Thanks, "Sam", for doing more than your part in that regard!

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By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2004 11:33am PT  

At a time when our country is at war in Iraq, and theoretically in the middle of a "War on Terror", shouldn't the positions of the only two parties we essentially get to choose from be fullied aired on the American airwaves so that the populace can make the most informed decision possible?

Surely the conventions now are produced and scripted to appeal to mostly one segment of the voting populace (the middle), but still it seems to me that the more Americans get to see of both major political parties --- even if they are striving to show only their best/most palatable face for four days --- the better the chances are that the people might have a better understanding of the real issues at stake at a crucial moment in our nation's history.

To that end, though the "breaking news" and "Fox News Alerts" may be at a minimum at the modern day Political Convention, it seems to me that the gathering itself, and the ideas presented throughout, ought to be "newsworthy" enough for the Networks to set aside 3 hours a night for 4 days every 4 four measly years even if it means a few dollars lost for their Corporate Parents and Shareholders.

News and Public Affairs has always been a loss-leader for the networks, but it was once the jewel in the crown for the nets, adding a certain prestige to these corporations who are, after all, making money by using our public airwaves.

In service to their country, and to their public, the networks ought to be airing these conventions whether they are, arguably enough, "infomercials" for the party interests or not.

Anything that can be done to aid the voting public in increasing their knowledge about what's going on --- ironically enough at a time when they are being fed more dis-information than ever before via the highly charged partisan media --- would be a service to our country. Even if it means a few dollars lost for the Corporations and their Share Holders.

The biggest "news" at these conventions has become how the "news" business is failing our nation in the name of corporate greed disguised as "news" judgement --- or in reality at this point, a lack thereof.

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By Brad Friedman on 7/28/2004 11:59am PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 11:34pm PT  

Yeah...it could happen.

In another stem-winder (yes, I like that word and one really only gets to use it properly every four years) tonight at the convention, a star was born: Barack Obama, running for the U.S. Senate, so far unopposed, from Illinois.

Here's just some of his mustard:

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America --- there is the United States of America.

There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America --- there is the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.

We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states.

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it.

We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

Expect much in the future from the man who will be our only African-American U.S. Senator in the next congress --- and only the fourth in the 225+ year history of this country!

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More important than at least 900 other Americans
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 11:15pm PT  

In an earlier item here, after reading just the transcript, I gave the advantage to Michael Moore in the big Moore/O'Reilly dustup in Boston.

After seeing the actual broadcast, I'll stand by my original assessment. But I will add that Moore could have better made his case about Bush lying before the war had he remembered to mention Bush's false promise to use the military only as "a last option".

The fact is Bush promised time and again to do so. And in the process of that chest-thumping lie, found enough gullible (or cowardly) Senators --- including John Kerry --- to believe him at the time. They believed him enough that they were willing to vote for a foolish (and cowardly) resolution giving Bush a blank check to screw us over for decades and in the bargain send thousands to their deaths for, shall we charitably call them, dubious reasons.

That little historical fact --- the UN Inspectors who were on the ground, had complete run of the country, and had requested just another 30 or 60 days to complete their work --- is frequently overlooked by both the Anti-Warriors and the Bush Apologists. The latter by convenience, no doubt. And the former have so many Adminstration lies and deceptions to keep track of, it no doubt gets to difficult to remember them in the heat of being bloviated at. Especially on air. Especially by O'Reilly.

Moore was, however, smartly able to get the concession from O'Reilly that this war based on a mistake.

But to the larger point was this key exchange...One that is really at the crux of the entire anti-war argument of folks like myself. And one that I would ask any reader to consider well for themselves:

MOORE: So you would sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah? I want to hear you say that.

O'REILLY: I would sacrifice myself—

MOORE: Your child—Its Bush sending the children there.

O'REILLY: I would sacrifice myself.

MOORE: You and I don't go to war, because we're too old—

O'REILLY: Because if we back down, there will be more deaths and you know it.

MOORE: Say ‘I Bill O'Reilly would sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah'

O'REILLY: I'm not going to say what you say, you're a, that's ridiculous

MOORE: You don't believe that. Why should Bush sacrifice the children of people across America for this?

...

O'REILLY: I'm glad we've had this discussion because it just shows you that I see the world my way, you see the world your way, alright—and the audience is watching us here and they can decide who is right and who is wrong and that's the fair way to do it. Right?

MOORE: Right, I would not sacrifice my child to secure Fallujah and you would?

O'REILLY: I would sacrifice myself.

MOORE: You wouldn't send another child, another parents child to Fallujah, would you? You would sacrifice your life to secure Fallujah?

O'REILLY: I would.

MOORE: Can we sign him up? Can we sign him up right now?

O'REILLY: That's right.

MOORE: Where's the recruiter?

O'REILLY: You'd love to get rid of me.

MOORE: No I don't want—I want you to live. I want you to live.

O'REILLY: I appreciate that. Michael Moore everybody. There he is…

Never mind O'Reilly's false machismo there (I'm sure the U.S. Military could find a place for him if he really meant what he said about sacrificing himself. Apparently, the U.S. Army has just instructed a 67 year-old officer who served for 41 years to report for a physical like 5600 other "retired" non-reservists who have been informed that they may soon be called back to active duty in Iraq!)...But the real question is, would you sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah?

If the answer is yes, I'm sure there's a Recruiting Center nearby. And if the answer is no, but that you'd sacrifice yourself, well, again, I'm sure there's a Recruiting Center nearby and they'd be thrilled to see you!

But if the answer is no on both accounts, and yet you are either in favor of this war, or in favor of Bush this November, then you're either a liar or a hypocrite.

Perhaps if a few more lawmakers asked that question of themselves, or their kids (and that would include those like Bush and Cheney who both opted out of defending their country with their lives when they had the chance, and apparently haven't encouraged their own kids to sign up either!) we'd not be in this fine mess today.

America would be safer for it and a thousand more Americans would be alive to enjoy it.

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Gives Larry King a run for his money!
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 5:21pm PT  

So O'Reilly gives us his usual "Talking Points" at the top of the show, defending against unnamed "members of the press" who are critical of him for not allowing the speeches to play, choosing instead, as he says "to analyze" what's going on at the convention instead of just giving the party spin.

The crucial analysis he's offering live from the DNC Convention? A LIVE interview with important policy maker Ben Affleck!

Bad enough? You'd think. But after the interview, before throwing to commercial, O'Reilly says, "When we come back...We'll let you listen to a little bit of Ted Kennedy...if he shows up!"

"If he shows up"?! NOTE TO O'REILLY: Ted Kennedy showed up. He would be that guy down on the stage behind you speaking to the convention that you're not covering. Right now. While you are busy interviewing Affleck. Turn around and look out your window.

Asshole.

ReddIt this story!



A Thousand Points of Light (for a few days, anyway)
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2004 4:10pm PT  

Republicans are feeding the homeless! Packing up supplies to send to the poor soldiers in Iraq! Visiting the Bronx!

That's right! From this week (the start of the DNC Convention) up until the RNC Convention (if they get that far), the Republicans are acting out their "Compassion Across America" campaign! (Yes, seriously, not making this up!) And the timing couldn't be more obvious better!

BRAD BLOG reader (and close personal friend) Desi sends in this point of light, from the The New York Times.

So how many folks think that Republicans actually know where Harlem is? Much less that they'll be able to overcome their fear of Not-White People in order to actually travel there. (Expect the "Compassion Across America" campaign to be in effect only during day time hours. If at all.)

ReddIt this story!



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