As though 9/11 caused some permanent, polite amnesia among us all, last night's opening of the Republican National Convention did everything it could to attempt to pretend the words "compassionate" are not a direct contradiction to the current political definition of "conservative" in this country. Remember the last time and how that was a trojan horse Bush rode into what votes he did garner from those on the fence? That's exactly what they're trying now, as though there are people in this country who only saw Bush the last time during the 2000 campaign and somehow missed everything he has done since.
Moderate after moderate popped up and the convention wallowed in perverse nostalgia for 9/11. A delegate interviewed on Fox News spoke of how happy they were walking the streets of New York and feeling that feeling they had on 9/11. (The delegate was from Iowa) What feeling? Panic? Anxiety? The sickness in the pit of your stomach watching people go thud at seven miles a second into the sidewalk? Was 9/11 some kind of Woodstock for Republicans? Who would want to feel that again?
Because judging from the protests clogging the streets(and while showing exactly that on the street, Bill O'Reilly nevertheless attempted to say that the protests were not as large as made out to be and that most of the protestors are local, and "socialists opposed to the government of the United States."), even an illusion of national unity is not the feeling being evoked.
Guiliani surprisingly popped up as anti-Kerry attack dog, attacking Kerry far more intensely and personally than any of the speakers at the DNC a month ago, and doing so in a taunting, charming, joking way. Rudy definitely has a future in stand-up. But he's perfectly willing to betraay the suffering of his people that he stuck with all through that horrible day--while Bush hid in Nebraska after making sure to finish reading "My Pet Goat" to the kiddies(hey, at least this must mean he's very pro-literacy)--to help ol' George out.
And McCain, who is privately furious about the Swift Boat Veterans ad and with good reason, referring to them as "completely nauseating" elsewhere, nevertheless did his duty for his party last night and spoke glowingly of Bush's "service" to America, and how we need his leadership in the War Against Terror. The same war, incidentally, Bush said yesterday could not be won. Such leadership. (And just look what happened, by contrast, to Carter just for saying the word "malaise.") It must be terrible to be valued because you're a principled and good man, and then have to prove it by publicly kissing the ass of a man you despise, and who has the nerve to question the service of those, like Kerry and McCain, who served in Vietnam while he (Bush) couldn't even be bothered to serve his stint in the National Guard. McCain is trying to make certain moderates still have a seat at the Republican table, but it must be rather grueling and require a lot of lube to manage through this.
(Is it not odd, incidentally, that Passion of the Christ--not to mention the South Park parody Passion of the Jew-- should happen to have its DVD release this very week?...)
And then we end our evening with a performance by...Alanis Morrissette. Yes, I didn't know this little Canadian was a Republican either, or perhaps she just goes where the money's thrown. I doubt though you'll get many swing voters with goat girl's voice, except perhaps the five fans she might have left. And did the Christian Right within the GOP forget that she became famous for a song that, among other things, spoke of how she went down on her ex in a theatre or played a female Yahweh in Dogma? Ohh, never mind...
About what was expected. Osama Bin Laden, by the way, was not brought up at all, while Saddam Hussein was brought up many times, with even Guiliani repeating the assertion that Hussein was backing terrorism(and by implication, was behind 9/11).
Have a look here at Michael Moore(who was pointed to and singled out by McCain as a "disingenuous filmmaker," McCain having the crowd chant "four more years" at him--to which his response was "two more months")'s take on the evening, and his description of a new breed known as RINOs--Republicans In Name Only.
"I Don't Think You Can Win It""I Don't Think You Can Win It"--President George W. Bush on the War On Terror "I don't think you can win it," the president said, when asked if the war on terrorism can be won. "But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."
Oh great! So they won't be elected homecoming queen! That'll keep us safe! Not that Bush wants his fake war on terror to end--at least not while he still has to cling to office and only has his miserable record.
Low expectations. Bush's old friend has come to visit once more.
"If the head of a department had to resign every time anyone down below did something wrong, it would be a very empty Cabinet table." --Abu Ghraib investigative panel member Harold Brown, clearing Donald Rumsfeld of blame last week
Maybe one should then look into who one chooses to head departments, instead of simply excusing rank incompetence.
It appears that Donald Rumsfeld has more to worry about this election season than the great Robert Evans depicting him on Kid Notorious as pissing himself in a card game. Already he said he took full responsibility for Abu Ghraib in the strange Republican belief that admission of guilt excuses one from any consequences. (Ever try that at work?) Now it appears that Israel has once again been spying upon the United States regarding policy toward Iran, and doing so via a Pentagon analyst named Lawrence Franklin, in a case the FBI has been probing for a year. All on his watch, though I use the term very loosely.
Bush's Noble Service In VietnamBush's Noble Service In Vietnam
The Bush Beast has hit New York and the protesters are there in droves to meet it. I wonder if he's saying "Bring 'em on" now.
And now it's time for the Bush campaign to reap what it has sown by daring to attempt to make Kerry's service an issue, something Karl Rove has incredible chutzpah for attempting. (He's no Lee Atwater--now there was a master villain) While the Bush campaign, despite its use of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, still cannot find someone who actually served with Kerry who speaks ill of him, someone has now spoken up about Bush's service about the same time. Not someone Bush served with because he was AWOL even from protecting our borders from the feared Mexikaners--indeed, not one man has come forward to confirm Bush even served at all in the minimal way his father managed to swing for him so that he would not have to go die in a useless war like poorer people. Unlike Kerry, also a son of privilege, who volunteered as my dad did.
No, the person confirming that Bush went into the safe Air National guard is the man who arranged it, who now describes his action as something he's deeply ashamed of. This would be former Texas Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes, who speaks of this here. (note: Windows Media Player required--download if needed here)
Some of the things he says:
"Let's talk a minute about John Kerry and George Bush, and I know them both," said Barnes in the video, which was filmed at a gathering of about 200 Kerry supporters in Austin on May 27. "I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas National Guard when I was lieutenant governor, and I'm not necessarily proud of that. But I did it. I got a lot of other people in the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do when you're in office, and you help a lot of rich people." "And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial the other day," Barnes continued, "and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been, because it was the worst thing I ever did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm very ashamed, and I apologize to you as voters of Texas."
Also, here's an interesting essay by William Greider concerning the depths to which Bush will stoop on this campaign in which he's got no record to run upon. Some snippets concerning how the old smear tactics that worked so well for Bush the First in 1988 may not do the same this time:
The President runs on fear and character assassination--big fear and big lies. While Bush's claims and insinuations are utterly distant from the truth, the strategy can't be dismissed, because Republicans are so experienced at this kind of politics. GOP marketing proceeds on a cynical assumption that voters can be moved by the brazen repetition of evocative falsehoods and broad-brush caricature. Their model is 1988, when Bush's daddy used the racist "Willie Horton" ads and "card-carrying member of the ACLU" to defenestrate Michael Dukakis, a decent and capable governor they turned into a national joke...
The man [Bush] will do anything (didn't we already know that?). If Kerry is smart, he can turn this latest hit job into an excellent opportunity. Since Bush has raised the question of character and honesty, by all means let's talk about it. Kerry should open every speech with that line and then review the shameful evidence of Bush's mendacious character, from the fictitious threats from Iraq to the 5 million jobs his rich-guy tax cuts were going to produce for ordinary Americans. Which candidate trashes the truth? By all means let the election be decided on that question...
This is not 1988. To begin with, trying to portray Kerry as a cowardly liar in Vietnam simply doesn't have the emotional resonance of Willie Horton, especially since Bush himself wimped out during that war. More to the point, Kerry is not playing passive, as Dukakis did, but counterpunching smartly, forcefully challenging Bush on the warrior's own turf. Kerry has even introduced the magic word people yearn to hear about Iraq--"withdrawal"--albeit in a backhanded way. Kerry's position is lathered in nuances, calling for an "enormous reduction" starting next year, but he is now positioned to express his idea loudly and often (and "responsibly," of course), if he finds the nerve to do so. A big if, alas. Bush can hardly win points by attacking "withdrawal." He tried to top Kerry by promising to bring US troops home from Europe and Asia, but that's another attempt to change the subject.
Kerry has also acquired an unusual asset--the neutrality of the major media. After playing compliant lapdog for the Warrior in Chief, the New York Times and Washington Post are now creating distance from their former hero and even challenging his distortions (both newspapers recently confessed institutional embarrassment for their go-to-war enthusiasm). At least the big media are not ridiculing Kerry as they did so freely with Al Gore in 2000 and Dukakis in 1988. Reporters and editors read the polls too. They know this incumbent President is in deep trouble. They can see his old moves are not working--not yet, anyway.
Saw the Daily Show this evening. Something weird is occurring there; it seems to be an alternative route for candidates and Ed Gillespie appeared tonight, trying to keep up his Booster Babbitt Grin the whole time, trying to smile and look hip, and Stewart played the friendly host for a while...that boy is deadly though with the dryness of his irony.
He strung Gillespie along for a bit and then, correcting Gillespie on pointing out Kerry voted for Iraq, "No, he voted to authorize your guy to do what he needed to in Iraq, but your guy PUT us there." Point-blank and all color and smile left Smilin' Ed's face.
Completely direct and blunt--I can't see even Koppel or Russert doing that. Damnation but so many journalists must be looking at Stewart and starting to notice that windy space where their balls used to be.Naturally, as Kerry did the show the night before, he asked Gillespie to bring Bush on. "I'll put in a good word," he said, and Stewart said, "You're not going to talk to him at all, are you? Look, I promise, if he comes on, I will be such a pussy." Exact quote. Jesus.
I wonder if Gillespie then noticed how blue the room was.And the delegates have already been greeted by protesters, and onbe ofBush's election lawyers turned out to be also a lawyer for the SwiftBoat Veterans. And now they're going to the heart of the city they have fucked more than any in America. This looks to be fun.
Cheney--possibly stirred by his wife, who believes it's the states' responsibility to determine marriage law, and it's said has a GREAT deal, ahem, incommon with their daughter--made pissant noises in favor of gay unions, taking on again that quiet, harmless tone he adopted in the debate against Lieberman(and I use the word "against" loosely, ofcourse) at a point where we've already seen him show his foulmouthed cyborg ass.
What, are they trying to get back the Log Cabin Republicans? Do they think making trial noises that they're dropping their amendment agenda will help? They're going to try to make us believe that they're compassionate again, after four glaring years acting otherwise. Good heavens. No shame at all.
Oh, and Sean Hannity, dropping every last vestige of pretending to be a journalist, did the RNC "Welcome to NY" video. I had never seen him before--only heard others talking of his ugly show in which he uses Lisa Simpsonesque milquetoast liberal Alan Colmes as a footrest. My god, I thought Shepard Smith looked like a born Republican. What is this puffy,thuggish thing they strategically shaved and stuffed into a suit? Is that supposed to be the host of anything? Fox News are looking more like a marginal cult all the time. And like most cults reaching the end, sooner or later some Kool-Aid will inevitably be offered.
It will be interesting to see the RNC attempt to define anything positive about itself, but as it has nothing to use there they will most likely waste the time attacking Kerry.
The next day now after John Kerry's incredibly cool appearance on the Daily Show Tuesday night. And the "scandal" the Bush machine is trying to keep its fingerprints off of just keeps getting stickier. Oh, they must be sighing miserably, if only Lee Atwater were alive to make us scared of Kerry with a picture of some black guy; "Those were the days," they must mumble between shots of bourbon and snorts of coke...
The Swift Boat Veterans ad just starts to reveal more incompetence from the Bush campaign. They can't even do dirty tricks right. And by the time of the RNC convention we may well be seeing a pretty big campaign finance scandal.
I wonder sometimes if the Republicans just always proceed under the assumption that nobody pays attention. They seem to be so pissed off when they find out otherwise.
So much of the left hand not knowing what the right one's doing in this campaign. I mean, I know there's a major split in left and right in this country, but this is ridiculous. I realize this is kind of an obvious question, but seems to me if you're the president and you're running(ha!) a professional campaign, you'd kind of vet(you'll excuse the pun) those working for you, would you not? Or if you're going to try this sort of violation of campaign finance reform, at the very least make sure journalists have to actually work to get the information, for God's sake!
Let's leave aside the dirty tricks aspect a moment and take them at their word. What kind of incompetent would unknowingly have such people connected to his campaign? An idiot who shouldn't be leader of the free world, perhaps? A stupid rich spoiled son of a famous family who was handed the presidency by his Daddy's friends, who himself runs everything he's put in charge of(think of Harkin Energy, the company he pretty much decimated as CEO) into the deepest abysses in the ground?
Even if you believe him, Bush's constant excuses of oversights and the like point to something far worse, in many ways, and simpler than evil. Does he know he's painting himself into a corner?
A certain Col. Ken Cordier had to resign Saturday as a volunteer for the Bush campaign when it was revealed he also participated (and appeared in) the scurrilous Swift Boat Veterans ad, which the Bush campaign has repeatedly claimed no involvement with. They had no idea! Shocked and stunned, that's what they were! Why, they were apparently so uninvolved they didn't even see the ad, otherwise they'd have known! They wouldn't have put out those ads themselves!
"Yes, it would be wrong, that's for sure." --Richard Nixon
Which, if true, and it isn't, only makes one wonder what kind of incompetent, overconfident campaign doesn't pay attention to the ads running against their opponent.
Why do I smell a major campaign scandal coming on? And why is Bush having the audacity to make Kerry's service in Vietnam an issue? I mean, regardless of what the character of said service was--and it was heroic--at least Kerry's was in Vietnam. And what about the fact that all these people dissing Kerry--though in fact they did not--remember serving with him while Bush can't find a single person who remembers serving with him as he protected us from all threats from the Mexican Air Force while Kerry was getting shrapnel in his leg?
Hubris. It's a wonderful thing.I wonder what Bush thinks he can't brazen his shameless and unprincipled way through.
Just was watching the Daily Show and something VERY interesting. Bloomberg is issuing a discount card to protesters in NY. ("Peaceful" ones) The Republicans are actually encouraging them.
Now I wonder why that would be. Could it be that they might plan some new disaster to shock the country into being behind Bush and this time want to try to demonize protesters? Or it could be Bloomberg's response to DeLay's floating the idea of having the whole thing on a cruise ship in the harbor, thus denying all financial benefits of a convention to NY. Which is of course a classic case of adding insult to injury.
Or perhaps they want to appear to be more tolerant than the Democrats with their infamous Speech-Free Zone. (well, I call it that) Or perhaps they'll wrap themselves in the solemnity of Sept. 11 and thus make the protestors look like they have no respect for the dead.
I certainly don't think that Bloomberg wants Bush defeated or embarrassed. And given the closed-circuit nature of Bush's events--strict loyalty oaths, praise instead of questions(as Jon Stewart said, "How hard IS it to support this guy?"), basically an endless bubble they put him in more to feel good about him than to build support. They're not even trying to win over new voters. So why would they then encourage protest at the convention, the one place he won't be able to completely avoid it?
Possibly because they want the rage saved up so they have activists from around the nation completely converging on the place in a way they could make look like a siege. They want, perhaps, the activists to have so much pent-up anger they do something stupid. With as many coming as I hear are, there will have to be a certain percentage of exactly the same pseudo-anarchist/pseudo- Maoist type of loons I remember from college, and they're exactly the ones who would screw it up for everyone else. You know, the small but loud minority at most every protest that's in it just to break stuff. Well, multiply that proportionally.
Anyone who read my blog in the last few days would have been very surprised to see incomprehensible spam-looking message after message. What happened was that some conservative managed to hack his way in and plant it there. This is being investigated.
Geez, you right-wing waterheaded fuckbrains actually think I'm a threat? I'm flattered.
A couple of very political songs that have come out lately that I've been enjoying. These days that's a rare event.
Mass Destruction, by an odd little British band called Faithless, apparently a cross between punk, dub and trip-hop. The first thing that'll get you is its relentless, doomy groove, but then comes the stuff about Gulf War II, the BBC and Halliburton and all I can say is this thing kicks ass.
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson