Bush's Strange Debate Performance

Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly says just about everything I was about to post (and probably better stated, too):

the DNC has a quickie video up on its site that showcases all of George Bush's off camera grimaces and eye rolling during the debate. Go take a look. It's only about a minute long.

It's worth nothing that this was different from Al Gore's infamous sighing in 2000. Gore's performance was quite obviously that: a performance. He made a conscious decision that this was a good way to get across the idea that Bush was a dimwit. Conversely, Bush's gestures this year seemed entirely genuine.

What does it mean? The sense I got from Bush's weird inability to control himself wasn't so much that he was bored or annoyed — although he was obviously irked during some of his responses — but that he just can't stand to wait around while someone else has the stage. He's the guy in charge, and people are supposed to listen to him, not the other way around.

At least, that's how it struck me. Your mileage may vary.
Let me add just a couple of notes.

Bush seemed awfully eager to interrupt or insist that he get to rebut almost everything Kerry said (broke the rules more than five times, so I can tell, but that's nothing for a privileged little Bushie), but he never had anything to say when he did. Or it was a broken record. He behaved like a pull-string talking doll. Kerry said something to pull the string, and Bush recited a phrase. Sometimes, the very same phrase. It rarely meant much of anything.

But I'd be less generous in saying simply that Bush doesn't like sharing the stage. This man thinks he's such hot shit. And he is hot shit. But as anyone who's ever had explosive diarrhea knows, hot shit is a bad thing.

That comment about "I loved her the best I could" referring to the widow of a dead soldier actually creeped me out more than "the leash" he says he tries to put his daughters on. And I intensely dislike his daughters who are as vain, vapid, and riding along solely on privilege as their dad. But he's 58 and they're 22.

Bush was petulant, pouting, ill prepared with more that his chosen messages, and it's so fucking obvious he doesn't know what's going on and possibly doesn't care. He doesn't feel the need to audition for an audience. Hell, he knows he can be president without the majority of Americans voting for him and without a fair and full count.

Then.. the fucking nerve of the Bush people to claim he was a little off only because he had spent such a tough day dealing with the Florida hurricane victims. Always an excuse for George but never an admission of culpability. Pathetic.

Slacking on Posts

Sorry I haven't posted much today. First, while I started the week with only 16 chapters to write by Monday afternoon, I still have 5 to go (pure madness). Second, it's been a really bad week.

Third? The little kitten we took in just two weeks ago disappeared early this morning. The dog let himself out a sliding door this morning and apparently the kitten debarked. I've been walking miles around in circles screaming myself raw trying to find him, but it's been nothing but rain and wind today which doesn't bode well for the kitten team. We've been up and down roads, looking in culverts, bothering neighbors, and nothing. Damn it.

Another Baghdad Beheading Video

CNN has this, and they even have a shot of the Web page (I guess showing Iraqis dying is fine).

An Islamist terrorist group posted a video on its Web site today that it claims shows the beheading of a Baghdad contractor. In a statement, the Army of Ansar al-Sunna said it captured Bari'e Dawood Ibrahim -- whom it described as a "traitor."


Did Bush Actually Say the Tax Cut is More Important than National Security?

A few other people heard it that way too.

He also told us how tough a job he has 11 different times.

Some Many Lies

Bush's performance - which I have no doubt will be lauded from here til the next one - is terrible. He's lied or misstated on some many issues so far, including:

    What Kerry's said
    * that the coalition can't function unless Bush is president (if true, very bad considering the president's history with bikes, pretzels, and scooters)
    * kept cutely messing up Osama and Saddam's name
    * that were he to question the war at all, "what kind of message would it send to the troops?" (what kind of message does it send to the troops if you kill them without thinking)
    * that Saddam took us to war
    * that he would try not to start a pre-emptive war in the future and that really, he hadn't already (ha!)
    * that he's responsible for Libya (a non-issue for years) disarming
    * tried again to say Saddam attacked us
    * that the only reason we're fighting in either Afghanistan or Iraq is to liberate them (we're liberating 'em right to death)
A bit more debate and my head shall implode.

Delay's Ethics are Among the Worst

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay should not be untouchable. The powerful Texas Republican has wiggled out of ethics investigations before, but not this time. Not when criminal indictments for illegal fund-raising activities are handed up in Texas against three men associated with his political action committee and eight corporations.

The Houston Republican is trying to brush off any attempt to link him to a scandal unfolding in Texas with a PAC he set up, and on whose advisory board he served, by insisting it "isn't about me." Besides, said the tough-talking Texan, "this is 41 days before the election. You do the political math. People see this for what it is."

That they do, which is why the criminal investigation under way in Texas on the conduct of the fund-raising network formed by Mr. DeLay bears urgent examination by the House Ethics Committee.

A Texas grand jury indicted three close Delay associates running his Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, and eight out-of-state companies, on 32 felony charges of illegally funneling corporate money to Republican Texas House candidates.

The $2.5 million in corporate contributions raised and spent in 2002 helped Republicans take control of the Texas House for the first time since Reconstruction. In turn, that majority redrew the state's congressional map under Mr. DeLay's direction to give the GOP as many as seven more U.S. House seats this election.

"What has emerged is the outline of an effort to use corporate contributions to control representative democracy in Texas," said Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle.

The grand jury investigation is chilling both in its scope and its ramifications for the congressman. Prosecution documents say Mr. DeLay's PAC raised corporate contributions that were illegal under state law and laundered the money through other groups, including the Republican National Committee, to state candidates. Those indicted in Texas include Mr. DeLay's top political aide and two key fund-raisers.

Dead Soldier Families Wage Their Own War

From The Times:

Angered by President Bush's policy in Iraq, a group of military families whose relatives died there is targeting the president in new television ads to be aired ahead of the Nov. 2 election.

``I think the American people need to know that we have been betrayed in this rush to war,'' said Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey is among more than 1,000 U.S. troops who died in Iraq.

Sheehan joined a small group of military families at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday to launch new political ads by an interest group called RealVoices.org, which supports Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's White House bid.

The first ads are set to run next week nationally and in battleground cities of Las Vegas, Orlando and Albuquerque.
Watch someone who loves to say "they died for our freedoms" tell these families to shut up, as they did with Sue Niederer. Just think of how the GOPers rallied around Sue to drown her out, had her arrested AFTER she left the hall.


Gads... Is Everything Named Bush Fucked?

Well, at least that previous set of tables are, but all attempts to fix it delete the tables. So... scroll.

Like our leader, I can be a pompous ass.

Cheat Sheet for the Debate

Since the pundits, the media, and the Bush machine have all declared him the winner (like Florida, you can decide the results you want and then not let any nasty details get in the way of obtaining those results), I figure we can stop focusing in on issues.

So, to help, I'm offering these cheat sheets. The first tells you what Bush means when he says something else, while the second tells you what the talking heads mean when they praise Mr. Bush.

Bush Cheat Sheet

What Bush Says What He Means
"I love this country!" "I love what morons you are."
"We rescued the Iraqi people. "They didn't know screwed over til they met me."
"We gotta help Florida." "I already gave 'em $15 billion of your money and had Jeb "fix" the voting machines."
"Why should I have second thoughts?" "That would imply I have first ones. I don't!"
"God told me..." "Dick Cheney or Karl Rove told me..."
"What's Kerry know? He doesn't say 'nucular' right." "Really, all those thousands on my education were misspent."
"I want our kids to grow up strong..." "They effing well better, 'cos I've got wars for 'em to wage."
"We turned the corner..." "...from any hope of redemption to NONE!
"Abu Nadal" "Abu Abbas (I can't get anything right)."

Bushed Talking Heads Cheat Sheet

What the 'Heads Say What They Really Mean
"Bush was never better!" "He didn't drool."
"He's a brilliant orator!" "He got through the words "the" and "a" without messing 'em up."
"Who could possibly beat this man?" "Look, the fix is in. Mr. Bush will return. Don't force us into Abu Ghraib."
"This is a man who thinks on his feet." "Well, he has feet. The rest is questionable."
"This was a sobering moment..." "Karen and Condi wouldn't let him drink beforehand."
"He's firm and decisive!" "God could proclaim he's wrong and George wouldn't listen."
"He's a man's man...." "...who falls off bikes, scooters, and chokes on pretzels."
"He didn't bat an eye." "He couldn't; he couldn't lip-read Dick then."
"Why have two more debates? Bush won!" "Please don't make us sit through 2 more Bush debates. Have mercy."


FEMA: Largest Response Ever?

The media keeps telling us that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is conducting its largest response ever to the latest Florida hurricane, "even larger than 9/11".

What they never do is ask why? This hurricane did less damage than many others in relatively recent history and one questions why it would need to mount a larger effort than 9/11.

The only possible answer to this is because of Bush's desire for the Florida vote. Remember? Alabamans and Louisianans in the wake of the previous hurricane said they got NO attention and help. They're not swing states.

In other words, the country will foot any bill that serves Bush's purpose. This isn't about helping people. This is about helping Bush-Cheney 2004. If Florida wasn't a swing state and the president's porcine brother were not governor, Bush would let it fall into the ocean.

Italian Women Released, Not Executed

Finally, some good news.

Two Italian female aid workers who were reported executed by their Iraqi captors last week have actually been freed instead.

But there's no new word on Mr. Bigley, the British hostage threatened with beheading after his two American contractor colleagues were beheaded early last week.

The Parts of Iraq "Not Safe Enough" to Vote in January?

Well, those "little" sections Donny Rumsfeld talked about not being able to vote in January elections turn out to be the entire city of Baghdad (representing between 25-30% of the entire Iraq population) and two prominent Sunni communities (which may account for another 10-20% of the population). That's more than just a little problem, unless Bush has already told Allawi the election results so people showing up at the polls is an unnecessary step.

By that reasoning, it's fine if Texas, Florida, and Ohio don't get to vote in November. Sheesh.


To Ann Coulter:I Can Smell Your Soul Rotting from Here

Yes, it's from a Daryl Hammond as Chris Matthews spot on SNL (a rerun from 2003) as he talks to "Ann Coulter" (or as James Wolcott refers to her, "the toxic toothpick."

It's my new favorite phrase.

"Rathergate" Hardly Worst Media Scandal Ever

I agree with Jesse Taylor on this point.

DanRather Being Held to a Different Standard

As I read this column by David S Broder today, I was reminded of the right-wing's determination to (and stated outright by some of them) end 60 Minutes, Dan Rather, and the entire "trashy leftwing media".

I'm very bothered if there was a forgery. But PC World among other sources proved that the documents may not have been a forgery since the IBM Selectric of that period could produce that font AND that if the documents were provided as a fax or were scanned into a computer, the font would adjust and you may be no longer able to tell whether they were typewriter or PC printer produced.

Yet I'm even more bothered by the fact that the media allowed itself to buy the font story and run with it, without doing much checking into things. Later, it turned out that people who worked with Killian said the documents - real or fake - reflect what Killian thought of Bush.

I'm also bothered by the fact that Dan Rather is being held to one standard, while the right-wing media (which purports to be the fair and balanced alternative - ha!) calling for his removal has a completely different standard. No journalism for Fox - only what's good for Bush because it's good for Murdoch and O'Reilly. They lie and distort and it becomes truth to some.

And I'm even more bothered that no one sees the irony, the pathology in having a man like Bush take our men and women into constant war, war that doesn't seem to be ending terrorism but is completely enriching Halliburton et al (=Bush-Cheney's corporate sponsors), or that the media is not spending more time on what seems very clearly a) a back door draft b) plans for a more direct draft immediately after Bush-Cheney re-assume the throne and c) the lies with which we keep going to war.

Bush's Spin on Terror Numbers

From Newsweek. Basically, they debunk Bush's constant announcements that they have al Qaeda et al on the run, with the majority in custody or dead. One can hardly accuse the co-author Isikoff of being a Dem whore, considering he's the one he brought us Linda Tripp when no one else would talk to Lucianne Goldberg (who isn't a whore because she gives whores a bad name).

Convenient: Poor Job Market Here Means Lots of Applicants to Work High-Danger Iraq Jobs

That's what NBC News reported tonight. People standing in long lines to get one of the high-paying, "oh yeah, and you might get beheaded or otherwise killed like the other 46 American contractors have" jobs being offered by Halliburton spawn, Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR). Many said they simply couldn't find decent jobs here, and the last few years of sucky economy have left them with debts to pay.

Wow, isn't that convenient that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney led this country and the job market into a massive sink hole so that (wow, what a coinky-dinky) when we realized (ha!) that Iraq was responsible for all the world's terrorism, there would be people willing to lose life, limb, and sometimes head to serve. Oh yeah, and Mr. Cheney led Halliburton, too, such as in 1999 when he told the Senate that Iraq wasn't bad and sanctions should go. And - yet another coincidence - I bet Mr. Cheney goes back to Halliburton if his heart survives another Florida vote-stealing session.

The Censoring Broadcast System and Falwell Says Evangelicals In Charge of US

Buzzflash brings us this worthwhile read by a Congregational minister re: CBS and its policies as well as this scary-but-ignoring-it-could-just-make-it-true piece of fertilizer from the Smite Reverend Jerry Falwell (I hope God has big plans for him - big, big plans and lots and lots of smite).

Time's Analysis of Cat Stevens "Capture" Last Week

Read it and weep.

Bush Says Iraq's Doing Great; Powell Admits Situation Worsening; Rumsfeld Says Democracy Doesn't Require Free Elections

Which is it?

Here's a hint: this is one time recently Colin's correct.

Meanwhile, Donald Strangelove Rumsfeld says it's fine if lots of Iraqis can't vote. I mean, democracies aren't build on free elections. Florida 2000 taught us that, no?

Poverty Rises, Social Services Decline

From Saturday's Washington Post:

Taylor, 44, a single mother, had spent six years on public assistance. After 1996, when changes were made in welfare law to push people into work, she got a job that paid $400 a week and allowed her family to live independently. For the first time in a long time, she could afford to clothe and feed her two children, and even rent a duplex on the beach in Norfolk.

After losing her job last year, however, Taylor has been unable to find full-time work in an economy that still has a million fewer jobs than it did at the start of a brief recession more than three years ago.

She is back in poverty. But she hasn't gone back on welfare.

Her story illustrates a seeming paradox in the U.S. economy: Though the number of welfare recipients continues to decline, poverty rates -- particularly for single mothers and children -- have surged in recent years. Just last month, the government reported that the number of people on welfare had declined by 149,000 at the end of 2003 compared with 2002, while the number in poverty rose by 1.3 million. Those divergent trends offer fresh ammunition to both sides in the debate over whether, eight years after the fact, welfare reform is working.

Nationally, fewer than half of the families eligible for welfare received it in 2001, the most recent year for which statistics are available, compared with roughly 80 percent before the 1996 legislation. Reform supporters say that is exactly what the changes were meant to accomplish -- recasting welfare as a last resort instead of a crutch. "What is happening is that people are making do, without having to go back on welfare," said Douglas J. Besharov, a University of Maryland professor and resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

But some advocates for the poor say cases like Taylor's show that families are not getting the assistance they need at a time when a good job -- or any job -- can be hard to find. "The same people who fall through the employment net now also fall through the welfare net," said Ellen Bravo, outgoing director of the Milwaukee advocacy group 9to5, National Association of Working Women.
I'm all for finding ways to keep people off the welfare rolls. Yes, I actually believe that after a period of time, it becomes more of a societal "learned helplessness" than real aid.

However, I felt Clinton was wrong about the way he helped start welfare reform, and President Mood Swing (Bush) completely killed the economy for many Americans, vastly compounding the problem. Starving children aren't my idea of compassionate conservatism.

Sharon: Israel's Mad Cowboy

Some attention was actually diverted from Florida's hurricane last week to the fact that a young Palestinian woman killed herself and others. What got far less attention, however, was an announcement right before this that Israel no longer planned to honor its commitment to leave some occupied territories this year.

Again and again, Israel's Ariel Sharon pulls this crap; again and again, the U.S. lets him; again and again, the Palestinians send suicide bombers in; again and again, Israel responds by killing lots of civilians by claiming it's going after a terrorist leader. Vicious cycle? You bet.

Sound familiar (think Bush and Iraq) You bet.

Bush Fundraiser Runs Out on Bill

Read this from General JC Christian:

The number-two-rated Bush/Cheney 2004 volunteer, Armando Cortinez, found a great way to meet his fundraising goals at a hoity-toity nightclub last week--he ran out the door when the club's manager brought him the bill.
Don't you love ethical, responsible people? But his business practices are pure Bush/Cheney. And trust us, it won't be his fault. It never is.

Er... George, Tell Them Again Iraq's Great; Some Aren't Getting the Message

Right now, CNN has a poll up asking if we believe Iraq will be safe enough for free and fair elections; 76% say no.

And after we flew Mr. Allawi here at taxpayer expense to lie for George, too.

Fate of British Hostage Still Unknown

American colleague Eugene Armstrong was beheaded a week ago today, and Jack Hensley on Tuesday. But we haven't seen or heard from their British housemate Bigley since he pleaded for his life perhaps last Thursday.

Blue State Homes to Be Seized and Shipped to Florida

"And in an exclusive ONLY reported by us, Faux Newz, President George W. Bush has announced plans to seize homes currently owned by Blue State potential Kerry voters to replace the homes of Florida Republicans who lost their pink flamingos in the latest hurricane."

[Fade to commercial as newsreader, wearing a flag lapel pin, wipes a tear from her glycerine-moistened eye on cue.]

Dowd on the Dance of the Marionettes

And she says it beautifully, may I add?

President Bush has his own Mini-Me now, someone to echo his every word and mimic his every action.

For so long, Mr. Bush has put up with caricatures of a wee W. sitting in the vice president's lap, Charlie McCarthy style, as big Dick Cheney calls the shots. But now the president has his own puppet to play with.

All last week in New York and Washington, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of Iraq parroted Mr. Bush's absurd claims that the fighting in Iraq was an essential part of the U.S. battle against terrorists that started on 9/11, that the neocons' utopian dream of turning Iraq into a modern democracy was going swimmingly, and that the worse things got over there, the better they really were.

It's the media's fault, the two men warble in a duet so perfectly harmonized you wonder if Karen Hughes wrote Mr. Allawi's speech, for not showing the millions of people in Iraq who are not being beheaded, kidnapped, suicide-bombed or caught in the cross-fire every day; and it's John Kerry's fault for abetting the Iraqi insurgents by expressing his doubts about our plan there, as he once did about Vietnam.

"These doubters risk underestimating our country and they risk fueling the hopes of the terrorists," Mr. Allawi told Congress in a rousing anti-Kerry stump speech for Bush/Cheney, a follow-up punch to Mr. Cheney's claim that a vote for John Kerry is a vote for another terrorist attack on America.

First the Swift boat guys; now the swift dhow prime minister.

Just as Mr. Cheney, Rummy and the neocons turned W. into a host body for their old schemes to knock off Saddam, transform the military and set up a pre-emption doctrine to strike at allies and foes that threatened American hyperpower supremacy, so now W. has turned Mr. Allawi into a host body for the Panglossian palaver that he believes will get him re-elected. Every time the administration takes a step it says will reduce the violence, the violence increases.

Mr. Bush doesn't seem to care that by using Mr. Allawi as a puppet in his campaign, he decreases the prime minister's chances of debunking the belief in Iraq that he is a Bush puppet - which is the only way he can gain any credibility to stabilize his devastated country and be elected himself.

Actually, being the president's marionette is a step up from Mr. Allawi's old jobs as henchman for Saddam Hussein and stoolie for the C.I.A.

It's hilarious that the Republicans have trotted out Mr. Allawi as an objective analyst of the state of conditions in Iraq when he's the administration's handpicked guy and has as much riding on putting the chaos in a sunny light as they do. Though Mr. Allawi presents himself as representing all Iraqis, his actions have been devised to put more of the country in the grip of this latest strongman - giving himself the power to declare martial law, bringing back the death penalty and kicking out Al Jazeera.

Bush officials, who proclaim themselves so altruistic about bringing liberty to Iraq, really see Iraq in a creepy narcissistic way: It's all about Mr. Bush's re-election.


Non-stop Hurricane

I've been trying to resist the temptation to watch this non-stop hurricane coverage tonight, and that's been hard considering I was also tempted to bet money on how long it would take Anderson Cooper and Gary Tuchman to blow away in the wind.

Ironically, just on CNN and just today alone, they have spent more time talking about the hurricane than they have EVER spent at any time on the subjects of global warming, what really happened in the Florida 2000 Election, who outed Valerie Plame, and why going into Iraq was wrong COMBINED.

Meanwhile, however, Bush will schedule yet ANOTHER trip to Florida (he's been there 4-5 times in as many weeks, while I believe there are blue states he has been in no more than once in his entire "I'm not the Republican president, I'm the American president" presidency.

Hmm... you know, if Anderson Cooper blows into the weather guy one more time, I think they'll have to get married. But not in Florida, of course.