September 25, 2004
Say anything.... except "liar"
I'm interested in how there's an unspoken rule in politics that a candidate can never call his opponent a liar, nor can the media suggest that someone has made a lie. It's been mentioned on a few talk shows that "Kerry won't go that far" or "Bush isn't calling Kerry one" but I don't recall any presidential candidate in my lifetime directly telling his opponent that he lies, nor have I heard any news anchor (not opinion talking heads, mind you, who call Kerry a liar as often as they call Hillary Clinton the secret head of the DNC) describe the President as such.
This is ironic, because not only is Bush a liar, he lies in ways that allow him to say essentially anything he wants without being accused of lying.
For example, today's headline that Bush "twists words on Iraq." Here's the example:
Campaigning by bus through hotly contested Wisconsin on Friday, Bush sought to counter recently sharpened criticism by Kerry about his Iraq policies:Okay, that's not "twisting Kerry's words." That's lying. George W. Bush said that Kerry stated he would prefer Saddam Hussein back in power. John Kerry never said this. George Bush knows John Kerry never said this.
He stated flatly that Kerry had said earlier in the week "he would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today." The line drew gasps of surprise from Bush's audience in a Racine, Wis., park. "I just strongly disagree," the president said.
But Kerry never said that. In a speech at New York University on Monday, he called Saddam "a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell." He added, "The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."
George W. Bush is a liar. This isn't hard, nor is the word "liar" open to interpretation. While I admire the Associated Press for being at least this brave, it's the job of journalists to point out the honest truth to the American public. Instead, we have members of the media who have gone as far as to fabricate quotes from John Kerry themselves.
It feels as though we've reached the "say anything" election race. As long as Bush doesn't call Kerry a liar, and as long as the media doesn't "outrage" Bush by noting that he's a liar himself, then anything goes. I think it's time for the media to ask an honest question: "Mr. President, do you actually believe your own statements about John Kerry? That is, do you believe that he actually said what you just claimed he said?"
I don't think George W. Bush does. He knows he's not telling the truth about Kerry, and that makes him a liar. If he actually believes Kerry said this, he's either incopetent or woefully out of touch with the world around him. Given the current climate, any of these possibilites makes him unfit to hold office.
I can't say it any better than Kevin Drum just did. This is absolutely ridiculous.
I didn't think CBS getting fake information and reporting an unverified story destroyed the credibility of the network. I think something like this does. Everyone gets a bad lead; hell, Fox News does deliberately what 60 Minutes did accidentally on a weekly basis.
This isn't just a case of shoddy journalism. This is being afraid to run a story you know is true. That's betraying journalism.
September 24, 2004
It's only news when told the way I want to hear it
World O' Crap covers Michelle Malkin and Friends' delightful new toy which selectively edits news stories to use words they prefer.
Apparently, this is the point we've reached, in which right-wing bloggers not only refuse to listen to news from sources they deem as unagreeable with them, but insist that words like "militant" and "insurgent" and "suicide bomber" are replaced with words that they choose to push their personal opinions about the War on Terrorism. On a side note, we have always been at war with some cliched line from Orwell that's so frequently used it makes you cry over how frequently right-wingers provide the opportunity to use it.
This would be hilarious if it wasn't that unique blend of scary and pathetic that The Usual Suspects tend to invoke in their paranoid ramblings about the world being against them just because they have a skewed sense of reality that only 5 or 6 percent of the planet shares with them, but I'll enjoy World O' Craps outright mockery nonetheless.
I wonder if you can set Moveable Type to automatically replace "Michelle Malkin" with "racist lunatic." But that's a cheap shot, isn't it? Wait, it's not? Oh, good.
September 23, 2004
We live in the most advanced nation on earth. Just a reminder.
I'd like to repeat that, because it sounds vaguely important.
Monkeys. Can hack into Diebold voting machines. And change your vote.
(via Sadly, No!)
I'm going to sound pretentious, but what the hell.
Look, I agree with everyone that Tina Brown wrote this great article today that totally sums up how the blogosphere is treated in the eyes of the media and that it's understandable that people like Jesse and Kevin Drum are pointing to how eloquent and everything it is.
And I'd be a lot more willing to share in their exuberance I didn't feel that this was all something I said, you know, two freaking weeks ago.
Now, granted, Tina Brown is a bit more friendly and objective than I was, what with me declaring right-wing bloggers such as Matt Drudge "the biggest abortion of everything journalism stands for." And perhaps it was just a little overzealous to make statements such as "webloggers telling the mainstream media about being partisan and non-objective is like John Wayne Gacy telling Ronald McDonald how to be a clown." Though, to my credit, that's probably one of the cleverest things I've ever said. And, of course, there's the whole fact that while Tina Brown actually gets seen in a newspaper with several hundred thousand readers, I have yet to reach a syndication deal with the Weekly Shopper let alone a major publication, thus making the odds of her comments being read slightly higher.
But still, I think it's kind of amazing that after the last several weeks of bloggers arguing over how superior and/or inferior they might be to the mainstream media, the blogosphere has become fascinated for the day with a mainstream media source declaring, essentially, "boy, those weblogs are something, aren't they?" Yes, it's a well-done piece, but did we really need Tina Brown to tell us that weblogging is a popular hobby, of which the politically-oriented wing is prominently partisan and likely set to wane exponentially following the most significant election in terms of partisanship since Watergate? I could have told you that, and when I try it's with crude scribblings that, if you squint hard enough, look somewhat human.
If there is anything I have to give praise to Brown for with her article over any insight webloggers may have provided, it is my undying admiration in her calling this the "Dan Rather affair." Because, frankly, if one more weblogger calls it "Rathergate," or for that matter calls any other scandal remotely connected to politics something with "-gate" attached to the end of it, I'm going to find where their server is located and hit it with a baseball bat until such time as it can be classified as snortable.
Dare you face the Republican nightmare of.... Gaymerica?
I... umm... think they're trying to make some kind of point. (via reader Renee Anderson)
September 22, 2004
Ask and ye shall recieve
Behold, the Some Guy with a Website store.
Enjoy. More products and designs to be added shortly.
Update: a few more things are now available to meet various reader requests- a few of you were interested in the dog shirts, so one is now available, and you can now also outfit your newborns and toddlers in official indicators that they've been born beyond "old media."
Finally, I said "hell with it" and put up the cartoon as a poster print. Outside of my own book, this is the only time I've ever actually sold a copy of a cartoon, and this is the first time I've ever sold one in color. (That I've only made five strips in color probably has something to do with it.)
So, requests are being met. As to you all being honest in saying you'd actually buy them if I made them.... that's up to you.
Redacted: Irony discovered to be alive and well
Okay, folks. You're going to love this one.
Newsweek is now reporting that CBS and 60 Minutes, in order to make room for their now-infamous report on alleged documents from George Bush's National Guard Service, dropped their originally planned piece for that evening's show... about the Bush administration being misled on erroneous documents pertaining to the alleged Iraqi purchases of uranium from Niger.
Seriously. Someone just shoot me in the head.
We're turning the corner
A year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.-Richard Perle - September 22, 2003
At least 20 Iraqis were killed and more than 200 wounded in fresh violence through Baghdad and fears grew for a British hostage whose two US colleagues were savagely beheaded by Islamist captors.-The Associated Foreign Press - September 22, 2004
Homeland Security: because Muslims don't vote Republican, that's why
A little-noticed but chilling scene at Opa-locka Airport outside Miami last month demonstrates that the Bush administration's commitment to fighting international terrorism can be overtaken by presidential politics — even if that means admitting known terrorists onto U.S. soil.Additional info here.
That's what happened when outgoing Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso inexplicably pardoned four Cuban exiles convicted of "endangering public safety" for their role in an assassination plot against Fidel Castro during a 2000 international summit in Panama.
After their release, three of the four immediately flew via private jet to Miami, where they were greeted with a cheering fiesta organized by the hard-line anti-Castro community. Federal officials briefly interviewed the pardoned men — all holders of U.S. passports — and then let them go their way.
The fourth man, Luis Posada Carriles, was the most notorious member of this anti-Castro cell. He is an escapee from a prison in Venezuela, where he was incarcerated for blowing up an Air Cubana passenger plane in 1976, killing 73. He also admitted plotting six hotel bombings in Havana that killed one tourist and injured 11 others in 1997. Posada has gone into hiding in Honduras while seeking a Central American country that will harbor him, prompting Honduran President Ricardo Maduro to demand an explanation from the Bush administration on how a renowned terrorist could enter his country using a false U.S. passport.
This may be a startling revelation to the warblogger crowd, but there are actually a siginificant number of terrorists in this world who don't come from Arab states. While I'm sure the people these guys murdered will understand completely that it's okay because they're actually called "freedom fighters," maybe the President could double think repatriating convicted murderers for the sake a a few thousand votes in Florida.
September 21, 2004
Feeling a draft coming on
During a phone conversation with my dad the other day it came to light that he's legitimately afraid that Bush would re-institute a military draft should he be re-elected. (I'm 23; my brother turns 21 in October) Considering that John Edwards has stated emphatically that this would never happen in a Kerry administration, I guess the new bumper sticker could very well read "Kerry/Edwards '04: Seriously, Your Life Depends On It."
I guess it's one of the reasons I'm somewhat pissed off at one of my friends right now, who actually told me this morning that he's not going to register to vote this year because he has too much to do. Compulsory military service will solve that "I-banking never lets you sleep" problem real quick, but I digress.
Howard Dean is making a compelling case that Bush's draft plan is inevitable. A website that admittedly leans just over the looney edge of left has found something a bit more frightening: an apparent internal memo from the Selective Service System outlining a proposed implementation of a military callup in 2005. This memo was also analyzed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which focused on the "we're drafting women too" angle.
I'm very mixed on the whole idea of a possible draft. Not the idea- I clearly oppose it and should one exist I'd freely and openly defy it- but I'm mixed on actually believing one is possible.
For one thing, first and foremost, it's political suicide. I couldn't imagine, in this day and age of mass communication and instant online access, that the global community wouldn't turn George W. Bush into Satan overnight if he announced that young men and women would begin being forced into fighting overseas.
For another thing, and this is much scarier, I don't think a military draft is Bush's main plan for additional troops. Considering the participation of mercenaries (or "private contractors," what have you) in Iraq and Afghanistan, taking their cuts sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to do some major dirty work, I think we should be much more afraid of the privatizing of our armed forces... imagine, if you will, an army of private citizens, contract killers not under the technical guidelines of any military code of conduct, performing little Iran-Contras all over the world.
If it's any consolation, young Americans are registering to vote at a record level. There's no data on a military draft being a chief issue, but it's clear that my age group is paying attention to something. Hopefully they agree that this is literally a life-altering issue.
Look, over there. For the love of god.
Forgive me, everyone, if this sounds like the ultimate flip-flop combined with the cop-out of the century, but the CBS Memo thing should seriously be considered over by both sides. Like, right now.
Before the right-wingers jump on me for that statement, understand that I'm not implying that I want to stop talking about it because CBS' latest admission of lackluster credibility is a "victory" or that "the left" has been "defeated" or any other "series" of "random terms" that I could put in between "quotes."
If I may, let's go over what the last 48 hours has presented:
First of all, CBS hasn't said the memos were forged- they said, and I'm quoting here- that they "cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them." I'm sure many will accuse me of "liberal trickery" now, but there's a difference. Unless I misread the CBS statement, no one has declared the memos a guaranteed forgery, and certainly no one has identified a forger.
That doesn't mean they've done no wrong: CBS, without a doubt, is guilty of lousy journalism, much to the chagrin of thousands of warbloggers, their own lack of integrity in what they call "journalism" irrelevant on the grounds that nothing matters when it involves making Dan Rather look bad. Or something.
Second of all, the "Kerry is behind this stuff" is laughable. No one outside of the most extreme baseless right-wingers have suggested that Kerry is involved with this, and there's even less actual evidence that Kerry has anything to do with this than there is of the memos being forgeries. Some blogs have cited the fact that Killian met with Lockheart, and for some reason felt that the entire article was good except for the title, which they rewrote to fit their personal opinion.
As the actual text of the article shows, Lockheart did indeed meet with Killian. In fact, there seems to be a pattern of Killian trying over and over to get in with the Kerry campaign. As Jesse notes, this seems to prove, if anything, that Kerry had nothing to do with this, as opposed to the connection the Command Post implied in their "creative license" with reposting entire news articles and selectively altering the title.
Third: with the exception of Dan Rather himself, I don't really see that many people saying that CBS is some poor helpless victim- they fucked up. I'm just laughing at the idea the wingers are pushing that CBS- the network itself- actually created a lie. They ran a bogus story they thought was true. Matt Drudge does this eight days a week, and you know what? The Guys With Websites are gonna be linking to his bullshit tomorrow and the day after and half the blogosphere is going to pretend there's nothing wrong with that.
Fourth, I'm hard-pressed on what time frame there is for "more to be uncovered"- the wingers' desire to keep the CBS issue on the front burner has all but eliminated their own side's personal smear campaign- the Swift Boat Liars, who haven't been mentioned in two weeks now, and with their book no longer topping the charts and the quagmire in Iraq taking full force once again, likely won't be again.
I'm not trying to brag, but it's really the truth- the righties desperate to smear CBS and defeat their self-percieved "liberal" enemy diverted all their resources from a smear tactic that was effectively damaging Kerry toward this little crusade of theirs. Kerry owes the Power Line blog a debt of gratitude for kicking the Swift Boat Liars off the front page.
Let's look at the honest, actual end-game of this entire issue: everyone came out with something. Rightwingers were convinced that CBS was a liberal slander-house. They now have something that will fuel their beliefs for at least a year. CBS gets off with a bruised ego but ethically scott-free; after all it's not like they lied, only their sources did. They get to play the victim and while no one will believe it, it's enough. Lefties are happy because, as I noted, this whole story dropped the Swift Boat guys dead in the water, and in all honesty the media as a whole is probably tapping the pulse of the entire Vietnam flashback debate and realizing they need something new to keep viewers interested. The memos are still ambiguous as to how accurate they are, yet the issue of Bush's AWOLing has become openly addressed again. There's no connection to the Bush campaign, there's no connection to the Kerry campaign, and there will likely be no connection to any actual guilty party. Everyone's got at least some egg on the side of their face, but they all choose to see out the other eye.
Meanwhile, the Navy closed the book on Kerry's medals, Bush still hasn't accounted for his Guard service but it's officially safe to say no one cares, it's exactly six weeks until the election, we're 10 days away from the first debate, and in two weeks people are going to be watching the Yankees and the Red Sox fight it out again for the pennant, not updates on 60 Minutes.
Forget a lack of interest, there's literally no time left for this non-issue because the rest of the schedule is already booked. To the right-wingers insisting they can get Rather fired, and to the left-wingers insisting they can prove Karl Rove was all behind this: stop now. You're not going to do it, and no one is going to care.
Does that mean this issue is resolved? Nope. Never will be. But it's certainly over anywhere except in Some Guy with a Website's comments section. The blogs will no doubt try to keep pushing this, especially the ones who seethe in anger over the fact that Dan Rather will not be found guilty of anything more than exuberant gullibility- something that, in today's modern, "sophisticated" media, will in no way cost him his job. Lest we forget, of course, that many got away with worse.
September 20, 2004
I think I should make T-shirts or something.
Newest comic - "Just keep him busy"It's much more complicated than depicted here, so the presentation of cleaning a flea-ridden cat is pure fantasy. The remaining questions, and conversation thereof, is real, and one I have pondered internally for many months now.
The idea of Dick Cheney secretly running the show is hardly new, but it amazes me that very few people have come to any other logical conclusion: the President is simply not doing anything. He seems to claim that his major time expense has been toward the war in Iraq, yet it's not like he's some kind of real-time RISK commander, single-handedly running all operations in the Middle East. Donald Rumsfeld is doing the military planning, and a craptacular job he's pulled off.
So while the question of what the President actually does remains unanswered, I can at least offer this fact: no actual cats were harmed, or for that matter flea-dipped, during the research for this cartoon.
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