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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Dick Cheney's Favorite Site
 
Big Time Dick's favorite website.

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Rock, Paper, Saddam!!!
 
Ha Ha. Fun with captions.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

Nader Off Arizona Ballot
 
The Arizona Democratic party challenged the Nader petitions and today Nader was ruled off the Arizona ballot in November:

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader removed his name from the Nov. 2 ballot, turning the Grand Canyon State into a one-on-one fight between President Bush and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

The surprising move in court Friday morning should make Arizona even more of a battleground state this fall where both parties will campaign aggressively for swing voters.

Nader's legal team conceded that because of too many "technical errors," he would not have the required 14,694 signatures needed to get on the Arizona ballot. A Nader volunteer said the litigious battle would have been too expensive.


I heard a report on Air America that up to 70% of the signatures were invalid. Talk about a miserable failure.

And check THIS out:

Judge Mark Armstrong of Maricopa County Superior Court issued the order at the start of what was to have been at least a two-day hearing on the Democrats' lawsuit. Nader had just hired Lisa Hauser, a top-flight GOP election law attorney, to keep him on the ballot.


And it wouldn't be a Nader post without some whining:


"Arizona's law requires an excessive signature requirement, has an ambiguously worded statute that provides ... too short a deadline and the lack of safeguards against harassing challenges by opposing political forces who wish to deny tens of thousands of Arizonans the opportunity to vote for the candidates of their choice," Zeese said. "In this case the deep-pocketed harassers were deep-pocket Democrats and their three law firms."


All together now: Awwwwwwwwwww....


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Bring Them On
 
One year ago today, George W. Bush dared Iraqi insurgents to try to kill US troops:

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," Bush said. "We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."


Since then, 655 US soldiers have been killed.

Why does George W. Bush hate our troops?

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Douchebag Of The Week: Michael Smerconish
 
A columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, Michael Smerconish, wrote up a rather harsh review of Fahrenheit 9/11.

I understand that, especially at 'lesser' newspapers, columnists tend to specialize in fact-free hackery designed to cater completely to one side or the other. But this guy's column is really, really sad. He's straining really hard to make a point here... and failing miserably.

Shall we begin?

I stood in a ticket line next to one middle-aged woman whose legs have never seen a razor, and another wearing a Ben & Jerry's shirt. Seated next to me was a guy with "Squash Hunger" emblazoned across his chest, and all around me were Birkenstocks.

Was I at: a) church; b) Great Adventure; c) the National Constitution Center; or d) a theater showing "Fahrenheit 9/11"?

I know. Too easy.


Hey Michael, you forgot to call the woman a feminazi and make a remark about patchouli oil or hippie freaks or the skin color of the crowd in attendance or call them America-haters. Did you miss your dose of Rush Limbaugh today? Or were you just making shit up about the audience? Because where I live, the audience was full of perfectly ordinary people.

Now, I want others to see it because this is so clearly a hit piece, that any reasonable viewer should come away sympathetic to the president.


Heh. Yes, there's been a tremendous upswelling in support for President Bush since Fahrenheit 9/11 came out. That's why every single showing of the film to which I've been (in those notorious liberal outposts of Phoenix and Scottsdale), the audience has applauded long and loud at the end of the movie.

I'm sure Smerconish is right, and the next round of polls will show Bush rising smartly from his current 42% approval thanks to a popular backlash against Fahrenheit 9/11.

How about on 9/11? No way Michael Moore was going to show the airplanes hitting, or people jumping from the Twin Towers, or limbs lying in the rubble. That would have allowed viewers to focus on Bin Laden and al Qaeda, and Michael Moore wants nothing of the kind.


What kind of a drooling moron does it take to write something like that? Is this what happens when columnists huff?

Moore WANTS the focus on bin Laden and al Qaeda. You know, the people who actually did this terrible act, rather than Saddam and Iraq, which is where Chimpus Maximus tried to place the blame.

If Moore HAD shown the footage, hacks like Smerconish would have accused him of exploitation.

Instead we only had to LISTEN to the planes slamming into the WTC. And watch the horrified reactions of onlookers. Accompanied by a mournful score, including the ominous tolling of a bell. Of the four showings of F911 to which I've been, I've cried every time (and I'm not a too-sensitive kind of guy) during that sequence, and so has much of the audience.

Other than all that, yeah, Moore totally ignored the horror of 9/11.

Instead, the film footage on the morning of 9/11 is reserved for the nation's "real" enemy, President Bush, who he denigrates by superimposing a time clock on the screen while suggesting that the president was overcome with bewilderment or guilt. Moore apparently sees greater significance in the first seven minutes of the president's reaction, than the last 2 ½ years.


He 'denigrated' him by noting how much time Bush passed sitting on his ass once he knew we were under attack? How DARE facts criticize the President! (unless he's Clinton...)

I think Moore covers the last 2 1/2 years quite a bit as well. You know, that whole business about Iraq and the real reason we went to war there and all the lies about WMD.

Next is the treatment of Bin Laden family members post-9/11. Moore leaves viewers believing that they were flown out of our country when commercial air traffic was still grounded. That's simply not true. The 9/11 Commission has studied that issue and concluded that the FBI handled the situation professionally - and commercial air travel was restored by the time they were permitted to leave.


Bzzzt! Wrong answer. (scroll down to, "The Great Escape") At this point it becomes obvious that Smerconish is simply repeating Howard Kaloogian's talking points... and badly.

Speaking of military service, Moore claims that no children of members of Congress serve, which left me wondering about an exchange I saw two weeks ago where John Ashcroft was being grilled in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing by Joe Biden, and both acknowledged having sons on active duty.


Were they serving in Iraq? That's what Moore was talking about.

And he leaves on the cutting room floor the response of Congressman Mark Kennedy, who told him that his nephew was headed to Afghanistan!


See above.

My "favorite" however, is the way Moore uses Lila Lipscomb, of Flint, Mich., whose son served in the military in Iraq.


Lila Lipscomb appeared on Air America this week and stated quite clearly that she approved 100% of the way Moore handled her story in the film. She did not feel 'used' or 'exploited' in any way.

Initially, Moore interviewed her as she proudly displayed an American flag in the front of her home. Unfortunately her son died in a helicopter crash, and Moore is only too pleased to capture her grief when she travels to the White House and voices her anger toward the war.


How DARE anyone show the grief and suffering caused by war!!!!! It's un-American! Grieving mothers of the war dead should be shoved WAY back in the closet and ignored, just like the coffins of the war dead!

Had her son lived, would she have made the movie? No way.


And if we had not waged an unnecessary war of choice with Iraq, there may not have been any Moore movie at all and a lot of mothers and fathers would not be grieving the unnecessary sacrifice of their sons' and daughters' lives.

So what exactly is your point, Michael??? I think Lila Lipscomb would have given ANYTHING to not have cause to appear in the film. I think she would vastly prefer to have him alive.

This is not a film about patriotic mothers, of which there are thousands.


And presumably, Mr. Smerconish, Mrs. Lipscomb is not one of them? I'd like to see you say that to her face.

Facts 11, Smerconish 0.

Michael Smerconish is LMC's Douchebag Of The Week!!!!

We'll be sending Michael his prize this weekend.

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F911 - Not Perfect, But...
 
Having seen Fahrenheit 9/11 four times already (yes, I know, a bit obsessive), I am aware it does have some weaknesses, even though the film as a whole is marvelous.

  • The whole Election 2000 debacle isn't really explained, merely asserted. If you already know how the GOP stole the election, you may not need the whole ChoicePoint/Katherine Harris thing explained to you. But for those in the audience not in the know, I think it would have been useful to spend just a couple moments explicating some of Greg Palast's investigative work.

  • I'm not sure what Moore wanted us to think about the US troops searching the Iraqi family's home. The family was terrified, but otherwise it didn't seem this was one of the more egregious things done by our troops in Iraq. Perhaps it's just about the ugliness of occupation. I've heard that one of the things our troops have done that's greatly alienated the Iraqi people, are the numerous, random home invasions looking for insurgents. If this tactic has been overdone, then yeah I can understand how it's a bad thing. In any case, as unpleasant as it is, it's kind of to be expected that things like this will happen in an occupation.

  • The two elderly ladies discussing the whole war, I'm not sure what that added to the movie other than a depiction of what common folks think about the war. They were articulate, that's for sure. Beyond that... I didn't get it.

  • Craig Unger asserts that the bin Laden family has had some contact with Osama despite their denials, but at least in the film, all that it is based on is that one of OBL's sons had a wedding where some family members attended and allegedly Osama was there. OK, and...? It's kind of a slender thread upon which to hang the assertion that the bin Laden family may have known more than they let on, about Osama.


I heard yesterday that F911 will be showing on over 1600 screens this weekend, twice its opening week. It will be interesting to see how it stands up to the opening of Spiderman 2.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Nobody Loves Ralph Nader
 
Maybe because he's a nasty, spiteful little prick.

In various articles from the early 1970s, Ted Jacobs was described as "Nader's closest friend and advisor" and the person who stood "between Nader and the world, absorbing the fury of the attacked, offering solace to the ignored, always speaking the absolute truth within the limits of what he believes Nader would wish him to reveal." But, according to the private papers shared with Salon, he informed Nader sometime in 1974 that he planned to leave the Center for the Study of Responsive Law but would first finish several projects.

On March 8, 1975, Jacobs arrived at the office to find the contents of two large file cabinets missing (including his personal diaries and documents relating to "financial matters") and his desk drawers ransacked. Nader arrived at the office a short while later to tell him he had ordered the files removed. In a state of near shock, Jacobs tendered his resignation and demanded to know what was going on. According to contemporaneous notes written by Jacobs, Nader said he had confiscated the files because a year earlier, Jacobs had signed checks for magazine subscriptions without Nader's permission. Nader also accused Jacobs of writing a check to himself for about $75 for expenses. Dismayed and shaken, Jacobs searched for a new job.

He was being seriously considered for a position as a staff member on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, which required a routine background check conducted by the FBI (which collects raw data on individuals but does not seek to confirm it). While waiting to hear about the job, Jacobs was told that questions had been raised about his character, honesty and trustworthiness. He subsequently learned that the source of the innuendoes was Nader.


"He demanded a kind of loyalty that we found disturbing," says Nick Zill. "Anytime he was going to come into the office, it was like the prophet Mohammed was going to appear. There was this blind obedience that we found cultlike. I think the real reason [Nader told Mott not to hire Anne] was that Stewart was an important source of funds for Nader, and he wanted someone more loyal to him in this position. This nominal dispute over notes is very similar to the Ted Jacobs situation."

While Jacobs may have been damaged more than anyone else by Nader, he was by no means the last intimate associate to suffer Nader's wrath. "These weren't just marginal people who he disagreed with," says Toby Moffett, a former Democratic congressman and another early and close associate of Nader's. "These are people who would have fallen on a sword for him."


After working closely with the old family friend (Nader), (Toby) Moffett ran for Congress from Connecticut in 1974 and won. "Three months after I was elected, [Nader] attacked me," says Moffett. "So our relationship began to sour pretty quickly."

According to Moffett, Nader launched the first of numerous attacks against him over an aircraft noise reduction bill. While the bill stipulated that noise reduction measures would be funded mostly by the airlines, they were also to be subsidized by a tax on airplane travelers -- not the general public -- which Nader dismissed as a corporate handout. Moffett, along with nearly every environmental group, supported the bill. "It was an important piece of legislation that was supported by a coalition of progressive members of Congress, and it passed. Of course, now the Bush administration is tearing it apart."

Nader continued to criticize Moffett during his four terms in Congress, which was disturbing enough, but as with Al Gore, Nader would eventually play a crucial part in ending Moffett's career in elective office. After a fourth term in the House, Moffett ran for the Senate against Lowell Weicker, a Republican, in 1982. "My opponent was running these ads attacking me; the [National Rifle Association] was hammering me from the right," says Moffett. "And then Ralph Nader came up [to Connecticut] and endorsed him. I lost by a very slim margin. My family and I, and my supporters, we just had this blind rage and fury about it. So what he did in 2000 was no shock to me. And what he's doing now is no shock. It's always been about him and his ego."


After Ted Jacobs left his position with Nader, (Joan) Claybrook took over as Nader's right-hand person, and she remained his closest associate until she was appointed by President Carter to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was created in the wake of Nader's auto safety campaign of the 1960s.

Within months of her appointment to the government agency, Nader attacked Claybrook. According to a biography of Nader by Justin Martin, "Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon," Nader wrote a vitriolic 11-page, single-spaced letter that was ostensibly addressed to Claybrook but was in fact distributed widely to the media; Claybrook herself didn't even get a copy.

The letter, parts of which were published in the Washington Post, complained about delays in air bag safety regulation, certainly a legitimate concern. However, Nader went on to berate her for what he perceived as her many shortcomings, and even accused her of being more beholden to the auto industry than to consumers. She felt compelled to call a press conference to address the accusations, and Nader showed up and proceeded to badger her.


"We worked with him on [the Clinton] healthcare initiative," recalls a left-leaning activist who now works as a staff member for a Democratic congressman. She asked not to be identified because of Nader's penchant for retribution. "While we didn't necessarily endorse the Clinton plan, we worked hard to make sure it had a single-payer option. Ralph disagreed with us, completely disagreed with us, and spent time attacking us for selling out. It was a very bitter period of time. If you disagreed with him, you could very quickly become a target even if you were fighting for the same thing."


"He lobbied me, or maybe I should say threatened me," says a senior official in the Clinton administration, who also asked not to be identified. "That's what he does. He will meet with you, you'll have a nice discussion about a policy issue, and you'll agree on goals and debate the means, and then he'll go out and say you're a traitor, that you're not a real Democrat. He's made a career out of it. It's never constructive, but it gets him lots of attention. The right wing, of course, loves it."


There once was a twit named Ralph Nader
A well-known consumer crusader.
He helped George Bush win
And would do it again
Fuck you, dictator enabler.

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GOP Groups Aid Nader
 
WASHINGTON (AP) - A watchdog group says it will file a complaint with federal election officials, accusing two conservative organizations of illegally helping Ralph Nader's presidential campaign, possibly with support from President Bush's re-election campaign.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington planned to file its complaint Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. It says the Oregon Family Council and Citizens for a Sound Economy violated election laws last week by telephoning people and urging them to help Nader get on Oregon's ballot in November.

Spokesmen for both groups denied wrongdoing.

Both groups acknowledge trying to influence Nader's petition drive Saturday in Oregon, in hopes that getting him on the ballot would take votes away from Democrat John Kerry and help Bush win the battleground state.

But Melanie Sloan, the watchdog group's executive director, said Tuesday that the conservative organizations are also corporations that are prohibited by election law from making campaign donations.

Sloan said she also would name the Nader and Bush campaigns in her complaint because of reports that some Bush-Cheney volunteers may have made similar calls from Bush campaign offices.

"If Bush-Cheney was soliciting those corporations to assist the Nader campaign, then that's a violation," she said.


Read the rest of the story here.

Whether it's legal or illegal, the more important point of course is that Nader is taking help from the GOP.

Go Cheney yourself, Ralphie.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Go Cheney Yourself, Hannah Storm
 
The Daily Show excerpted portions of an interview Storm did with Michael Moore on CBS' The Early Show.

It's really quite remarkable. Storm could barely disguise her contempt for Moore from the beginning. She constantly interrupted him and REALLY got offended when he bitch-slapped her and CBS and the rest of the SCLM over their incessant cheer-leading for the war.

You can see the entire interview here. Click on the "Michael Moore Tees Off" link. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Why don't the SCLM ever give the scandal-plagued Bush regime this kind of adversarial treatment?

I would have liked to have seen Moore say that to her in the interview.

Oh, if you want to give Hannah Storm your 2 cents, go here.

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Send Crybaby Ralph A Pacifier
 
Crybaby Ralph Nader was rejected last weekend for Green Party presidential nominee:

A day after not getting the Green Party's endorsement for president, Ralph Nader brushed off the rejection as an inconvenience, described the party as "strange," called the party's national nominating convention "a cabal" and predicted who the big loser in its decision not to endorse him would be.


Then there's crybaby Ralph's letter to Michael Moore:

On Thursday, Moore was the recipient of an open letter from independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who seems stung that his former friend and supporter has parted ways with him and gone to the Democrats. Miffed that he was not invited to the Washington premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11," Nader, whose 6-foot-4 frame is a lean 190 pounds, said Moore's former Naderite friends are "trim and take care of themselves. Girth they avoid. The more you let them see you, the less they will see of you."

..."I've been at him for years, saying 'you've got to lose weight,' " Nader said in the phone interview. "Now, he's doubled. Private exhortations aren't working. It's extremely serious. He's over 300 pounds. He's like a giant beach ball."


And of course, every time someone asks Ralph not to run because he'll help Bush win, he whines about how oppressed he is:

Randi: -- I'm angry at you! I'm a genuine person who's really mad at your candidacy!

Nader: Well, why are you denying millions of people the opportunity to vote for my candidacy --

Randi: Because. We. Can't. Afford. It.

Nader: -- how arrogant, how arrogant can you be? --

Randi: I'm not arrogant, I'm a patriot! I -- we can't afford you, and real patriots have to stand up and question your candidacy!

Nader: Wait a minute! wait a minute. Why are you denying millions of Americans an opportunity to have more choice --


I've had it with Nader's whining. Have you, too?

Buy crybaby Ralph a pacifier so he can suck on that instead of crying and whining, and send it here:

Nader for President 2004
P.O. Box 18002
Washington, DC 20036

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Monday, June 28, 2004

One Can Wish...
 
Wouldn't it be nice if the So-Called Liberal Media would fact-check the Bush administration with as much vigor as they've gone after Michael Moore's film?

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The Consolation Prize
 
Juan Cole dishes up some of the best - OK, IMVHO, THE best - commentary on Iraq to be found in a blogosphere notorious for know-nothings who bloviate about The Way Things Ought To Be in a country they could barely find on a map and certainly don't know much if anything about.

Juan made an interesting point re: the Jack Ryan affair:

If Bush gets reelected but does not have the Senate, the Democratic Senators will finally be in a position to establish some investigatory commissions into Bush administration actions of questionable probity. If that happens, the country will have Jeri Ryan, ex-cyborg, to thank for it.


Well actually, we would have the Chicago media to thank for it, because they are the ones who pushed for release of Ryan's divorce case documents. From all accounts I have read, Jeri Ryan was opposed to their release as well.

We can also thank Ryan himself for being such an obnoxious, hypocritical RePIGlican.

In any case, I truly believe Kerry will win in an electoral college landslide; however if Bush "wins" but the Senate falls into Democrat hands (I think it is increasingly likely), we certainly have the option of opening investigations and even impeachment hearings if the House should also go Democrat.

I also enjoyed this Cole comment:

Another irony is that Ryan pulled the stunt early in the campaign of having a cameraman follow Obama around everywhere, documenting all his moves. Obama could not even speak to his wife on his cellphone in privacy. Ryan tried to create what French philosopher Michel Foucault called a "panopticon," as a way of intimidating his opponent. This move was despicable, an invasion of privacy, and a form of stalking, and should be illegal. (I think it would be in California, which has proper privacy laws). Now Jack Ryan is going to be the one followed around by cameras, into whose private life strangers are going to poke relentlessly. In that sense, the whole thing serves him right.


Plenty of schadenfreude to go around these days, for progressives...

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Sunday, June 27, 2004

George W. Bush - Flip-Flopper!!!!
 
And also soft on terrorists:

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."

-George W. Bush, 13 Sept. 2001


"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."

-George W. Bush, 13 March 2002 (exactly six months later)

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Stupid Criminal Of The Week
 
We interrupt our regular Bush-bashing to bring you this news. Sometimes life is far stranger than fiction:

NAPLES, Florida (AP) -- A man who walked into a Wal-Mart covered in blood and bought garbage bags Friday was charged with murder after authorities found a stabbed body in a trash bin.

Wal-Mart workers called deputies after a blood-soaked man walked into the store and bought some clothes, bandages and trash bags around 4 a.m. He paid with a $100 bill that also appeared to be bloodstained, they said, and drove off in a pickup.

Deputies found a man that matched workers' description, but the man fled. Sheddrick Deon Bentley, 26, was arrested after a second search.

Bentley was charged with killing Cory Brightman, 18, whose body was found in a trash bin about two miles from the hotel where authorities found a white Dodge pickup that had blood on it.

Authorities said Bentley told officers Brightman attacked him with a knife near a trash bin and he fought back in self-defense. Bentley had cuts on his hands, but they didn't appear to be defense injuries, authorities said.

Inside the trash bin was a pair of bloody sneakers that matched the footprints at Wal-Mart and in front of the house of a witness who said she saw Bentley and Brightman fighting.


I think OJ Simpson might have some ideas about finding this guy a good lawyer.

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