January 4, 2013

Don't Feed The Debt Ceiling Trolls

Bloggers have learned some hard lessons about engaging with right-wing nutcases who leave nasty comments: "Don't feed the trolls." Starve them of the attention they seek. Ignore them and move on. This advice also applies to the right-wing nutcases threatening to bring down our economy by refusing to raise the debt-ceiling limit. They won't get any traction on this unless Democrats engage with them. So ignore them, isolate them and scorn them but do not engage with them. Their billionaire & Wall Street funders will stop them and the pubic will see them for what they are, but only if we all just leave them alone. They aren't really going to hold their breath until we all die.

And if they actually did take down the economy (they won't), the country will be better off in the long run because it means the end of the radical right as a force in our politics.

So let them hold their breath until the country turns blue.

Crisis To Crisis, Destruction As A Tactic

Our country is now governed by crisis. We go from crisis to crisis because causing a crisis and making everyone panic works. But it only works if we let it work.

Look at the obstruction and destruction of the last few years. Obstruction has kept us from hiring millions to modernize our infrastructure, making our buildings and homes more energy efficient, helping people with things like the Dream Act and Medicare-for-All, sufficiently stimulating new industries like wind and solar energy production, and SO MUCH more.

And the accelerating, destructive hostage-taking has cost us so much! Giving in to hostage-taking in the first place has only meant more and more of it, with bigger and bigger costs. We gave in when they held back from authorizing unemployment benefits for millions. We gave in when they threatened to shut down the government, including denying elderly people their Social Security checks. The fiscal cliff "crisis" was just more hostage-taking.

Now they are actually threatening again to take the entire economy hostage, if we don't give in and hurt our people even more.

Crisis to crisis. Hostage to hostage. Destruction to destruction. And always obstruction and destruction of the things We, the People to do make our lives better.

Again and again. They hold their breath and threaten to do damage, and we give in and let them hurt us a little so they don't hurt use a lot. And so they do it more.

Crisis to crisis. As long as we engage, it works for them. Each time a bigger hostage, demanding that we hurt ourselves even more before they will take the gun away from the hostage's head.

Now the biggest hostage, the debt ceiling.

What The Debt Limit Is

The process of raising the debt ceiling is basically a mistake in the law. Raising the debt ceiling authorizes Congress to pay the bills that Congress has already committed to paying. But since the Reagan tax cuts and then the 'W' Bush tax cuts the country has not had sufficient revenue to meet the needs of our people without borrowing, so the debt keeps increasing.

What the Republicans are threatening to do is refuse to honor our debts and pay the bills that the United States has already promised to pay. They would default on our bonds - most of which are held by Americans. This would ruin the credit of the country, dramatically increase all future borrowing costs, and forever end America's status as a "safe haven" place to keep money. It would end our status as the "reserve currency." It would be a vote to tell the world that the US dollar is not worth the paper it is printed on.

This would crash our economy and take the world's economy down with it.

That is what they are threatening to do. They are literally threatening to hold their breath until they die because we are afraid we will die, too.

What Is Their Real Power?

The Republican Party is threatening to take us all down with them unless we hurt ourselves even more. But they only have power on this IF we engage. If we don’t engage on this they have no power. If we don't engage they are just a bunch of crazy people threatening to kill themselves if we don't kill ourselves, and that's crazy.

They can’t be serious, so don’t take them seriously. Ignore them. Don't feed the trolls. They have no power this time if we just ignore them.

And ignore the corporate media that feeds on crisis and feeds panic, and the "Fix the Debt" corporate-funded propaganda that tries to convince us to engage.

The debt ceiling is not a crisis unless we help them make it into a crisis. If we ignore them they have to go away.

Not A Crisis Unless We Make It One

This is not a crisis unless we make it a crisis.

Are we really afraid the 2-year-old will actually hold its breath until it dies? Seriously?

And haven't we learned yet what happens later, after we give them what they want when they hold their breath?

Do we really believe the Republicans would take down the whole economy? Really? Do we really believe Wall Street and their billionaire funders will let them do this?

They only have power if we engage with them on this. Their only power is making us afraid.

What To Do This Time

Ignore them. No negotiations, not even any conversations. Don’t fall for it this time. If someone even says the words "debt ceiling" just tell them to go away, you have things that need doing, that deserve attention. Just let them spout their nonsense and don’t respond. Like the crazy guy who stands up at the city council meeting and talks about how UFOs are shooting energy waves into his brain, when he gets done say “Thank you” and just move on to the next item.

Seriously, they threaten to destroy the economy if they don't get what they want? And what they want is things that make our lives harder and less healthy? Really? Then just let them shout it, and let the voters see it, and hold them accountable.

They won't really do that. And if you think they will actually vote to do that -– and the people who fund the Republican Party won’t stop them at the last minute -– then just let them this time. And let them own the reaction. Because if they do that, our country’s minority-party obstruction/destruction/hostage-taking/extortion/intimidation problem will be over.

If debt-ceiling day comes and they are still threatening to do it, just sit back and watch their Wall Street and billionaire funders panic.

Do not engage. Let them hold their breath until the country turns blue.


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 16, 2012


I've been trying to figure out what the Republicans are going on about with Benghazi. They have themselves all in one of their frenzies. But no one can figure out why.

It started out with Romney saying Obama "sympathized with the attackers." But now they're going on about how there is a cover-up that is worse than Watergate. (But they always say that...)

So like most of us, I haven't been able to figure out just what was supposed to have been covered up. But now I think I get it.

Here is what I think is going on: They are trying to say Obama covered up that there was an attack because the election was coming. They believe that all news of attacks helps Republicans and hurts Democrats! So they think if the pubic had known there had been an attack (which everyone of course did know) then they all would have decided to vote for Republicans. And that's why they say Obama "covered up" that there had been an attack.

That's why Romney did that weird thing in the debate about how Obama never said there had been an attack, and it turned out he had said it immediately.

Remember, when Bush was President, how they would make it seem like there was a terrorist around every corner? Two dark-skinned guys on a boat with a camera and the whole right-wing media machine would go nuts about "terrorists planning an attack." They would make up stories about terrorist attacks at convenient times, and raise the alert level from red to dark-red, etc. Remember how they would use terrorism to silence everyone, and get more votes?

Republicans believe that news of an attack helps them, and hurts Democrats. That is what you have to understand, to understand this whole Benghazi thing. When you try to understand just what Obama is supposed to have covered up, that's it.

They are screaming because Obama didn't go all "noun verb 9/11." They believe they own that.

Of course, everyone knew there had been an attack. But never mind that.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:28 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 18, 2012

Early Bain-Ization - How A Few Got Rich Illegally Suppressing Unions

A look at one of Bain Capital's first deals shows a get-rich-quick-at-everyone-else's-expense pattern forming: borrow heavily, gut assets, cut wages, cut safety, crush unions, restructure for tax avoidance and sell with a sweetheart, insider deal. That pattern foreshadowed what happened to our jobs, communities, industries, economy and country since the early 1980s. An already-wealthy few got fantastically rich(er) and the rest of us paid the price.

A Financial Times Investigation

In FT investigation: Romney’s take-off the Financial Times (FT) investigated the $5 million buyout of Key Airlines, a "formative" deal from Mitt Romney's company Bain Capital's early years.

At the time Mitt Romney was at the consultant firm Bain & Company, and heard that Key Airlines was looking to be bought. Key Airlines had a $10 million per year government contract to shuttle pilots and support workers between Las Vegas and "Area 52," where they were working on the then-secret F-117A stealth fighter. Romney formed Bain Capital in part to buy the airline. T. Coleman Andrews III, a former White House official recruited to Bain by Romney led the buyout for Bain and chaired its board of directors.

The Financial Times investigation showed how the purchase of Key Airlines helped establish the company's method of doing business. They bought the company by borrowing all the money needed, 100% debt-financed, meaning Romney and Bain put up no money -- and very little risk -- of their own. They "restructured" the company; according to FT, "Bain also reshaped Key Airlines, turning it from a profitable, taxpaying company with a $13m balance sheet and its own aircraft, into an operating company with a $2m balance sheet and a holding company from which it sold assets separately."

When the pilots tried to start a union, the company unlawfully suppressed the effort with what a federal judge called "blatant, grievous, wilful, deliberate and repeated violations."

No-Risk Leveraged Purchase

One of the ways private-equity companies make money is by borrowing using the purchased company's assets as collateral, and passing some or all of the borrowed money to themselves. Romney and Bain purchased Key Airlines by securing a $5 million loan with $2.5 million worth of aircraft owned by the company, and a $2 million guarantee of their own. In other words, they borrowed money to buy the company by promising the lender they would put up the company's assets as collateral. (The company had a $10 million per year government contract.)

The bank lent the money with part of it personally guaranteed after satisfying themselves that the investors were worth enough money. In other words, they could finance a debt-only deal because they were already rich.

Restructuring To Avoid Taxes

When purchased, Key Airlines was making money and paying taxes. By borrowing, the company incurred debt servicing costs, which are deductible against taxes. The company also restructured in ways that cut taxes. According to FT, "Bain also reshaped Key Airlines, turning it from a profitable, taxpaying company with a $13m balance sheet and its own aircraft, into an operating company with a $2m balance sheet and a holding company from which it sold assets separately."

Crushing The Union

Private equity companies cut costs. If you are not rich and have to work for a living, you are one of those "costs" that has to be cut. Your pay or your job are in the way of someone making a whole lot of money. Another "cost" to cut is the work environment. Worker safety can cost money, so it is one more thing that is in the way of someone making a whole lot of money. Providing a good, reliable product is another "cost" that is in the way of someone making a whole lot of money, and in an airline that "cost" is safe, well-maintained airplanes.

In 1985 a majority of Key's pilots tried to form a union. According to FT, "the pilots cited safety concerns; management said that the pilots were unhappy because of their low pay."

Bain was getting ready to sell the airline, and the worst thing that could happen to them would be a union, which could demand fair pay, worker safety and better maintenance and air safety procedures. Crushing the union -- keeping pay low, and being able to ignore pleas for safer conditions for workers and passengers -- would mean the Bain investors would make a lot of money. So they crushed the union.

According to FT,

There followed an unlawful attempt by Mr Andrews and Key management, in the words of District Court judge Roger Foley, “to stamp out any cockpit crew members’ union before it could come into being”.

In January 1986, Mr Andrews and Olen Rae Goodwin, interim president of the union, met in the Key Airlines trailer at Nellis. The court ruled that Mr Andrews had then “threatened [Mr] Goodwin’s job and he threatened to leave Key, and that the management team would also leave. He threatened to sell Key”.

A court later found that Key's management had illegally suppressed the union, and awarded $500,000 in punitive damages.

Labor bosses: When asked about this recently Romney had this to say,

“President Obama continues to put the interests of labour bosses ahead of the interests of Americans looking for work. By contrast, Governor Romney has grown companies and created jobs, in the private sector and as governor of Massachusetts, and will get America working again,” said Michele Davis, a spokeswoman.

Please click through to the original Financial Times story for more.

"Blatant, grievous, wilful, deliberate and repeated violations": Another FT story, Romney link to union suppression ruling explains further,

“The anti-union activities in this case are not merely unfair labour practices as Key argues, but blatant, grievous, wilful, deliberate and repeated violations of the Railway Labour Act,” Roger Foley, federal judge for the District of Nevada, wrote in 1992, in a case brought by two Key pilots.

That's how a federal judge worded it. (Note how a case that started in 85 takes till 92 to get a ruling.) This is what the airline had done:

According to the court ruling, Key held coercive meetings with pilots; said management would leave and the company lose contracts; and told pilots that salaries, bonuses and benefits could be frozen. Federal labour law forbids an airline “to interfere in any way with the organisation of its employees”.

Sold For A Lot

The once-profitable company was struggling, losing money, had only $2 million in assets -- down from $13 million when Bain bought it -- and had just avoided (illegally suppressed) unionization. But Bain was able to sell part of it to Presidential Airways-- a company in which Bain was also an investor, with Andrews on its Board -- for $18 million. They sold other parts of the company for further profit. The Bain partners got rich(er).

According to FT

In the final analysis, it is hard to say whether Bain Capital was good or bad for Key Airlines.

The operating company had higher sales, was more focused, more efficient and employed more people by the time that Bain sold out.

On the other hand, it was also more fragile, with only one line of business, net losses and a weak balance sheet.

So a look at Bain Capital's early, "formative" years tell us a lot about what has happened to our country, and our jobs, and our economy. This was the beginning of a pattern of Bain-ization that swept through the economy. Good jobs were replaced with low-wage, insecure jobs. They used various schemes to avoid taxes. They suppressed unions. They gutted the assets of good companies. They cut costs (us) and cut costs (safety) and cut costs (product quality) and cut costs (customer support) and cut corners and cut We, the People out of the equation.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:20 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 8, 2012

What Is The Calculation Behind Romney's Campaign Of Lies?

The Romney campaign has turned to a strategy of swamping the public with flat-out, blatant lies, one after another, again and again, endlessly and lavishly repeated. They do this because they are making a calculation that it will work! So what is going on? And can democracy survive this assault?

The Growing List Of Lies

This week's lie is the "Obama gutted welfare reform" nonsense. See Bill Scher's must-read response, Romney's Welfare Lie: A Betrayal Of Conservatism. The reporting conveys the Romney message, like this: Romney accuses Obama of dismantling welfare reform. The lie is driven home by a massive $$-driven carpet bombing of ads.

The next-most recent lie was the "Obama is trying to keep military families from voting" lie. This lie, repeated over and over, coordinated with outside groups, reinforces the "Democrats are anti-military" narrative.

Before that was the "You didn't build that" lie, where the Romney campaign doctored audio to make it sound as though President Obama said something he didn't say. (And got away with it.) This lie, repeated over and over, reinforces the "Democrats are anti-business" narrative.

This one on welfare reinforces the "Democrats take your money and give it to black people" narrative. "We will end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good, hard work," said Romney, promising to make them work good and hard.

Rachel Maddow's blog has been keeping track of the Romney lies, and it is a loooooong list.

How It Is Done

Here is how it works. Each lie is developed in the right's machine, using something currently in the news to reinforce an ongoing narrative about "liberals." The lie percolates up through a well-worn process where the germ of the story is planted in smaller outlets, and variations of it are tried out until one seems to resonate. Next, larger right-wing media operations pick up the developed "story" and drive it further. It gets amplified on the radio, FOX News and the right's newspapers. Finally the corporate media takes it out to more and more people, covering themselves with the claim they are just "reporting" on a "story" that is "already out there."

One way or another the lie is repeated and repeated and repeated (and repeated) in various forms through various channels that reach various target groups, until it becomes a "truth." Once it has become a "truth" the Romney campaign uses this "truth" to claim Democrats and President Obama are harming the country.

The Solyndra story is a good example. The right developed a lie about "cronyism," claiming that a Democratic donor is "tied to" solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra because a foundation with his name on it was an investor in the company. Because a foundation was the investor there was no possibility for the donor to benefit. But that doesn't matter, they used this "tie" to spread a lie the Obama administration was steering money into someone's pocket, and they repeated it and repeated it and repeated it.

After months of repetition of this lie, the Romney campaign understood that the lie has become a "truth," and is using that "truth" themselves in campaign ads and Romney's stump speech! Romney talks about "cronyism" in the Obama administration, understanding that much of the public now believes this is established fact.

The Calculation

The Romney campaign is limiting media access to the candidate and offering little in the way of substantive policy proposals. They are instead using press releases, advertisements, message-trained surrogates, cooperative media like FOX, Drudge, talk radio, allied newspapers and the right's blogosphere, while coordinating with massively-funded outside groups like Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Foundation and others.

This is a key thing to get, the Romney campaign believes that they can win this election using lies and propaganda as "truths" to drive their campaign story. They are making the calculation that the right's media machine has become sufficiently powerful for their version of reality to reach enough of the public, and that it is sticking in their minds as "truths!"

They are also making the calculation -- so far validated by the media response -- that there will be little if any pushback from "mainstream" media. They trust that the media will look the other way, report lies as "one side says X, the other says Y," tell the public "both sides do it," and say this is just par for the course.

But if there is media resistance, they are calculating that the right's own media power can override any pushback that might come. They might also believe they can turn media resistance to their advantage. Decades have been spent convincing their followers to see potentially objective information sources as "the liberal media," enemy of conservatism, and any pushback for lying could just increase support for their campaign.

So the Romney campaign, like the recent Bush administration, are conscious that they do not need to work with facts. Instead they believe they can "create truth" through the manipulation of perception. This is hardly new in Repubican circles. The phrase "reality-based community" came out of the previous Republican administration's calculations of what the public will and won't learn about. This famous quote from Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush by Ron Suskind, explains,

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

What Does The Public "Know?"

If you are reading this you are likely very well-informed. You pay attention to the mainstream news, as well as read various progressive sources. But much of the public is not very well-informed, and faces the problem of not knowing what sources to trust. Subjected to a constant battering of corporate/conservative propaganda and disinformation, they are busy, and not ready or able to do the extensive research needed to make informed decisions.

Progressives and "liberals" try to solve this problem by trying to help people get informed. Conservatives, however, try to use it to their advantage, spreading self-serving misinformation.

The well-funded propagandists study and understand the shorthand methods people use to determine what to believe. This is the reason for the ongoing attacks on the credibility of what would normally be seen as trustworthy sources, like PBS, NPR and what the rest of what has been disparaged for decades as "the liberal media." This is also the reason for the establishment of so many corporate-funded conservative "institutes" and other academic and authoritative-sounding organizations that issue "studies" and "reports" that always echo the corporate-conservative positions.

The "mainstream" corporate media has also undergone a change over recent decades. Many outlets now see themselves as businesses with a product that has to appeal to "the market" to make money. They no longer see their mission to be informing the public so citizens have the information that is needed to function in a democracy, but instead as "maximizing shareholder return," by "driving traffic" and whatever else it takes to sell advertising. And many people working as "journalists" understand that advancing their own careers means not making waves by being perceived as "leftist" or "anti-business."

The Test

Steve Benen calls this a "test for the political world," writing,

How are we to respond to a campaign that deliberately deceives the public without shame? This lie about welfare policy comes on the heels of Romney's lie about voting rights in Ohio, which came on the heels of Romney's lies about the economy; which came on the heels of Romney's lies about health care; which came on the heels of Romney's lies about taxes.

The Republican nominee for president is working under the assumption that he can make transparently false claims, in writing and in campaign advertising, with impunity. Romney is convinced that there are no consequences for breathtaking dishonesty.

The test, then, comes down to a simple question: is he right?

This is a test for the political world, as well as a challenge to the viability of our democratic system. We can expect this to continue and accelerate until election day, driven by hundreds of millions of dollars from billionaires and their huge corporations. The question is, will enough of our misinformed public be tricked by the lies? If this succeeds, what kind of country will we become? What will be left?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:03 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

July 27, 2012

He's Not White (video) - updated

That's what this ad really says. Look at the ad with the sound off, and you'll see it.

Stunning, an ad with a doctored audio in it that makes it seem Obama said something that he didn't, and then the ad goes on with people saying "I can't believe he just said that."

He didn't say it, it's a lie.

PS We're not allowed to know which billionaire, company or country paid for this ad, by the way.

Update - Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly Political Animal, Return of the Scary Black Man,

Looking at the particular Crossroads ad Chait’s talking about, it is striking that all the “small business owners” who are reacting with horror to the highly edited Obama excerpts are white, and are watching him on what appears to be an iPad—like you’d watch some scary figure—maybe a criminal—in a distant news event. One through gritted teeth growls that she “worked—for—every—thing—we’ve—gotten”—a sentiment you hear often from middle-class retirees as well as “job creators.”

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:28 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

July 25, 2012

On Romney Saying He Is Anglo Saxon, Obama Foreign

How many Republicans - including Romney himself - called Obama "foreign" this week? And what about this thing where Romney makes the point that he is "Anglo Saxon" and Obama isn't?

My theory: Romney's racist attack - "foreign" and "Anglo Saxon" - are about locking in a certain voter who would otherwise vote against Mormons.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:19 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

July 19, 2012

Deceptive New Romney Ad Is Key Test For Media

The Romney campaign has released an astonishingly deceptive new ad, containing a blatant, flat-out lie. The new ad actually edits together snippets of words and sentences to make it sound as if President Obama said something he did not say, and then attacks him for saying it. How will America's news media respond? Will the public be informed that they are being lied to? And if not, what comes next -- "photos" of the President robbing a bank?

The New Romney Ad

This is the new Romney ad, intended to shock opinion leaders enough to move public scrutiny away from the problems of his tax returns, conflicting statements about when he was or was not at Bain Capital, and possible possible illegal conduct.

Here is what the President actually said: (from Monday's post, The Latest Lie: "You Didn't Build That")

President Obama pointed out that businesses did not build the roads and bridges that help them get their products to markets. He said that in the United States we succeed together. Here is the full quote:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

Media MUST Take Sides On This

What is the purpose and function of our news media? This country was once a self-respecting democracy and the purpose of the news media was to provide needed information to the public so We, the People could make informed decisions. And people who entered the journalism profession did so to serve as watchdogs of the public interest.

That was then. Today, many say that the purpose of the media -- and everything else -- is to make money for those who own it. And that means respecting and never, ever going against those with the most money. And today the ambition of many in the profession is to follow a corporate career path, maybe eventually land a major-media gig. Going down that path means playing ball, not making waves, and most of all not being branded as "anti-business." And all that means, of course, never, ever going against those with the most money.

This new journalistic model -- never, ever going against those with the most money -- is what the Romney campaign is counting on today.

In this model news is supposed to be "objective" and "not take sides" as long as you take a side against those who are not "business friendly." The new standard for news reporting is to follow a "he said, she said" storyline. And always throw in a dose of "both sides do it" false equivalence.

So what about when a big, flat-out, blatant lie -- a knowing fraud with clear intent to deceive people -- comes down the pike? What should journalists and news organizations do then? Should they pass the buck over to snarky "two pinnochio" pretend-fact checkers, or should they take it on and warn the public?

This ad is a key test of the direction of our national news media.

The media can't just take the usual "one side said, the other side said" approach, because we can see what "one side" actually said and it isn't at all what "the other side" says was said. This ad is just a lie. It is a fraud against the public and democracy for a campaign for President of the United States to do this.

So, news media, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to warn the public? Or are you going to claim that "both sides do it"?

Questions For Comments

Leave a comment, what do you think?

How should the news media respond when something like this -- so far out of the boundaries of conduct for American Presidential campaigns -- comes along? How should the media handle blatant lies?

Is this the most deceptive ad in Presidential campaign history?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:10 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Elections Based On Lies Bring Policies That Hurt Us -- See Update With Astonishing Lie

Note -- see the update at end of post, in which the Romney campaign uses astonishingly doctored audio, to make it seem as if Obama said something he never said.

Early in this campaign the Romney team put out an ad with a doctored Obama quote. Now Romney is again claiming Obama said things he never said. The billionaire-corporate-funded right-wing media machine drives the lie to millions. This might well work, which brings up a question: If someone gets into office based on lies, what kind of policies result? Those policies help the people pushing the lies, but do those policies help or hurt us in the real world in the long run?

The Lie The First Time

In November the Romney campaign was caught editing a quote in an ad to make it sound like Obama had said something he never said. The ad portrayed Obama as saying, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," when Obama had really said (four years previously), "Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."

The Romney campaign defended this use of lies, saying they are just showing they are willing to do what it takes to win. The Boston Globe reported, "Romney aides even said they were proud of the reaction and suggested that the ad was deliberately misleading to garner attention."

At the time Thomas B Edsall wrote in the NY Times,

"...the spot’s direct duplicity is also the latest step in the transgression by political operatives of formerly agreed-upon ethical boundaries. What was once considered sleazy becomes the norm."

And so the sleazy became the norm for the Romney campaign.

The Lie This Time

The sleazy became the norm, so they're cranking it up. This time, the lie machine is telling people that President Obama said that business owners didn't build their businesses, government did. What President Obama actually said was that businesses did not build the roads and bridges that help them get their products to markets:

Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.

The billionaire-corporate lie machine version? Heritage Foundation: Obama Tells Entrepreneurs "You Didn't Build" Your Business.

Watch the beginning of this FOX News segment, note how the editing actually shows Obama's mouth moving, before they bring the sound up partway through what he is saying, then listen to the commentators as they pretend this is what Obama actually said. (Of course they know this is not what he actually said, which makes the performance so shocking.)
width="650" height="390" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" style="visibility: visible;"> allowNetworking="all" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" wmode="transparent"

The lie is propelled through the right-wing media: FOX News, Wall Street Journal and other Murdoch-owned papers, Limbaugh and the rest of talk radio, Washington Times, Weekly Standard, NewsMax, WorldNet Daily, hundreds of right-wing blogs, etc., and then posted by paid operatives as "reader comments" at local news sites, hundreds of sports and auto and other discussion forums, and many, many other places until it "becomes truth."

Watch the kind of crap that much of the public is hearing from almost every media source many of them are exposed to. Seriously, make yourself watch the whole thing, and then think about how many people watch FOX News or listen to talk radio or read the Wall Street Journal or one of the other newspapers that pushes this stuff, or read right-wing blogs -- and even CNN. There is a huge corporate-billionaire-funded media machine pushing this stuff, and it seems it is almost everywhere now.
width="650" height="390" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" style="visibility: visible;"> allowNetworking="all" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" wmode="transparent"

And then, once it "becomes truth" the Presidential candidate repeats it. WaPo: Romney Hits 'Didn't Build That' Obama Remark

Romney: "I’m convinced he wants Americans to be ashamed of success … [but] I don’t want government to take credit for what individuals accomplish” ...

FOX News dedicated 2 hours, 42 segments, to pushing the lie. CNN even helped push the lie.

So, once again, the lie machine is working to "kinda catapult the propaganda."

Policies Resulting From Lies

What is the result when policies are made, based on lies?

If you believe that Iraq is refusing to turn over their chemical and biological weapons, and that invading that country will be a "cakewalk," then you want Iraq invaded. We all know how that one worked out.

If you believe that cutting taxes increases government revenue, then you want taxes cut. The real-world result, of course, is huge budget deficits -- and dramatically increased income inequality.

If you believe that President Obama's policies made the jobs emergency worse, then you support the anti-government policies that fired teachers and police officers and cut off unemployment benefits for desperate people. (The last month of Bush's Presidency the economy lost 815,000 jobs. Now it is gaining jobs.)

If you believe that we shouldn't be trying to win a share of the new green industries (lies about Solyndra and saying the Chevy Volt is flammable) then you vote for oil-company-backed policies that leave us dependent on oil and coal and refuse to combat climate change.

Basically, look at the results of most of the policies the country has followed since Reagan, and you get the picture.

Reagan Revolution Home To Roost -- In Charts

Reagan Revolution Home To Roost: America Is Crumbling

Reagan Revolution Home To Roost: America Drowning In Debt

Finance, Mine, Oil & Debt Disasters: THIS Is Deregulation

The Reagan Ruins

Revisiting the Reagan Nightmare

Reagan's Mean-Spirited Legacy of Economic Disaster

The Real Effect Of 'Reaganomics'

Third World America: Reagan Revolution Drags Us Down

You Aint Seen Nothin Yet

And this latest lie is just a warm-up. The corporate-billionaire-funded machine will seriously be in operation in October, just before the election. The lies will be all over the place, and democracy doesn't have an advertising budget.

Update - We Hadn't Seen Nothin Yet

The Romney campaign has released an ad with astonishingly doctored audio -- even more doctored than the FOX video above.

The Plum Line: The Morning Plum: Romney video deceptively edits Obama speech to make it sound anti-business,

So here’s where this is going. The Romney campaign is out with a new Web video hitting Obama over the “don’t build that” quote. It features a business owner who is angry at Obama for supposedly insulting his hard work. “My hands didn’t build this company?” the man asks. “Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it?”

But the video deceptively edits Obama’s remarks to seamlessly link up two different parts of the speech, removing a chunk in order to make Obama’s remarks seem far worse than they are.

What Did He Really Say?

Here is what the President actually said: (from Monday's post, The Latest Lie: "You Didn't Build That":

President Obama pointed out that businesses did not build the roads and bridges that help them get their products to markets. He said that in the United States we succeed together. Here is the full quote:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:07 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

But The Chevy Volt Is Flammable

Ford recalls 2013 Escapes; engines can catch fire | Business

Ford Motor Co. is telling owners of one version of the brand-new Ford Escape not to drive the SUVs until dealers can fix fuel lines that can crack and spill gasoline, causing engine fires.

But the Chevy Volt is flammable!!!!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

July 14, 2012

Romney/Bain/Accounts - Where Is Our Country's News Media?

Back when Bill Clinton was President there was a huge media-swarm controversy because a decade before her husband was elected Hillary Clinton had made $100,000 over ten months by investing in cattle futures. Now, skip forward to 2012. Report after report circulates about a candidate for President who owns a secret company in Bermuda, Swiss and Cayman Islands bank accounts and an IRA containing as much as $100 million -- and who may have filed SEC documents containing false information (a felony). Huge media swarm this time? Not so much.

Cattle Futures?

In the 1970s Hillary Clinton made some speculative investments. Over a period of 10 months she made investments in cattle futures that did well, earning $100,000. Later when her husband was President, the media wanted to find out how she was able to make such a large, huge, ginormous sum from speculative investments.

Take a look at the 350,000-or-so web references to cattle futures trades made by Hillary Clinton way back in the 1970s. This might give you an idea of how big a deal it was back in the mid-90's that Hillary Clinton had made $100,000 (!!!) on speculative investments back in the 1970s. (The number of stories located online is possibly reduced by the fact that the media swarm happened in the mid-1990s -- largely before the Internet.)

Look at the outlets that assigned teams of reporters to investigate: All the TV networks, the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, and all of the rest of the jouranilmalism crowd were all over what was considered to be a major story.

This story was investigated, written about, investigated, written about, and investigated. No evidence of any wrongdoing was ever found -- which many in the media took as clear proof that there had been a massive cover-up.

Today - Not So Much

Today things are different. Compare the magnitude of Hillary's $100,000 profit to the recent disclosure of as much as $100,000,000 -- one hundred million dollars -- turning up in Mitt Romney's IRA which is a personal retirement investment vehicle that is limited to a few thousand in contributions each year. (Remember, the gains made in an IRA are not taxed.) Romney is already retired, and the one completed tax return he has disclosed shows that he currently has an income of approx. $450,000 per week.

So how did $100 million end up an an IRA that is limited to deposits of a maximum $6,000 a year (after you reach a certain age)? How many reporters has each major news organization assigned to find out why he has up to $100 million in an IRA?

Compare Hillary's $100,000 profit to the disclosure that Mitt Romney has a Swiss bank account. A candidate for President of the United States has a Swiss bank account? (And a Caymans bank account? And others?) Why? What is the explanation? How many reporters has each major news organization assigned to find out?

Compare it to the disclosure that Mitt Romney owns a secret company in Bermuda, which was transferred to his wife the day before he had to disclose it, or what it is or does. How many reporters has each major news organization assigned to find out why he has a secret company in Bermuda, and what that company does, how much it pays in taxes and how much money it holds, and why it was transferred to his wife the day before he took office as Governor?

Compare it to the more recent disclosure that after 1999 Romney's company Bain Capital was telling the government and other parties that Romney owned all the shares, was President and CEO and managing the place, but now says that was all a scam and he wasn't really! (That's illegal -- a felony -- by the way.) How many reporters has each major news organization assigned to find out if he lied on his SEC forms? ONE news organization did report this story -- well, actually they reported information originally uncovered by a progressive website and a progressive magazine.

Where Is Our Media?

News media. Information. Informed decision-making in a democracy. Investigative reporting. The public's need to know. What has happened to these concepts? They seem alien in today's media environment.

Our news media's purpose is supposed to be to provide the public with the information that is needed to make informed decision. It is supposed to be investigating our leaders to find out if they are really acting in our interest. Why are they not doing this at this crucial time?

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:57 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 17, 2012

More Indicators A Nasty, Say-Anything Republican Campaign Is Coming - And See Updates

There is a news report that yet another right-wing billionaire is going to spend even more millions to run even more poisonous, divisive, racist, degrading, insulting, lying, character-assassination ads designed to turn people against government and democracy. And an added bonus (for Republicans) will be turning people away from even voting. They're going to do this because it works -- for them and the billionaires who back them.

NY Times: G.O.P. ‘Super PAC’ Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama,

A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.

... The $10 million plan ... includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright...

The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

Obama is black, black, black, black, black. And in case you miss it, here is Republican Strategist Lee Atwater explaining the Republican strategy:

You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

It Works

Just lying -- making stuff up and blasting it out there -- works. In 2010 Republicans spent millions and millions on ads saying “Democrats cut half a trillion from Medicare" and captured the senior vote for the first time, throwing the House over to them. It worked, they spent millions broadcasting lies, they took the House -- and then voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

From the post, "Half A Trillion In Cuts To Medicare"

In the 2010 election campaign Republican groups ran millions and millions of dollars of ads promising not to cut Medicare, and to increase Social Security. They campaigned against Democrats for "cutting $500 billion from Medicare" and not increasing Social Security cost-of-living. As a result, for the first time the senior vote went to Republicans.

Here are just a few of the ads that saturated the airwaves, saying that Democrats should be thrown out for cutting Medicare:

And voters were sent flyers like this: (click for larger)


The Obstruct-And-Lie Strategy

Republicans have a huge “noise machine” and they know how to use it. And they really, really don’t care if they are telling the truth or not, they say what they need to say to win.

After years of blocking President Obama's efforts to try to create more jobs, Repubicans are campaigning saying Obama didn’t create more jobs.

After running up huge deficits -- Clinton left behind a surplus, Bush left behind a $1.4 trillion deficit -- Republicans are campaigning that Obama has run up huge deficits.

This summer when student loan rates double because Republicans blocked efforts to keep them from doubling, Republicans will blast out that Obama doubled student loan rates.

Negative Ads Suppress Turnout

The point of running negative ads is not to get people to show up and vote for someone. Negative ads are about turning people off from voting. Negative ads tell people they should not have hope, that anyone they think could be a leader is actually a scoundrel, etc. The point of the millions and millions of dollars that will be spent by Republicans on negative ads this year is to try to keep the kind of surge election that brought so many people out to vote in the 2008 election from happening this time.

The Media Enablers

Republican media outlets like FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh will go ahead and repeat the party line (when they aren't out front creating it). They reach a lot of people, and the rest of the Republican "noise machine"' is very skilled at echoing the lies until they become "truthy." But the rest of the media does not serve as a counterweight, bringing people the facts. As a result almost everyone -- consumers of the right's propaganda and people who think they aren't -- is left misinformed in ways that serve Republicans and their billionaire backers and hurt everyone else.

Greg Sargent wrote the other day in, How Mitt Romney gets away with his lying,

If you scan through all the media attention Romney’s speech received, you are hard-pressed to find any news accounts that tell readers the following rather relevant points:

1) Nonpartisan experts believe Romney’s plans would increase the deficit far more than Obama’s would.

2) George W. Bush’s policies arguably are more responsible for increasing the deficit than Obama's are.

[. . .] The two bullet points above could not be more central to the debate over the debt that Romney’s big speech set in motion yesterday. Yet the vast majority of news consumers who now know that Romney has accused Obama of lighting a “prairie fire of debt” that threatens to engulf our children and our future haven’t been told about either of them.

Sargent writes about how the "mainstream media" for one reason or another won't call out the Republican machine for spreading lies. Again, the result is that almost everyone -- consumers of the right's propaganda and people who think they aren't -- is left misinformed in ways that serve Republicans and their billionaire backers and hurt everyone else.

Update: How Citizens United Is Leading To More Racism In TV Campaign Ads

Update 2: Huge headline at The Drudge Report reads: 'BORN IN KENYA'

Update 3: Rep. Mike Coffman: Obama in his heart 'not an American'

Update 4: Ben Stein speaking on FOX: Ben Stein: Obama's not very smart

Update 5: Romney accuses Obama of character assassination: "Character assassination has become the nature of his campaign," Romney said.

These updates are all from just today, and this is only May.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:22 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 1, 2012

Republican Noise Machine Accuses President Of Politicizing 9-11

The full Republican media "noise" machine is rising up in a full-scale "hissy fit" because the President pointed out that Osama bin Laden was killed a year ago, under his watch. They are pretending to be absolutely outraged, accusing the President of politicizing the killing of bin Laden.

Yes, that would be the very same Republicans known for this:

Here is the 9-11 video shown at the Republican National Convention (oh, no, no politicizing here, look away, look away):

Yes, these Republicans: (Watch the whole video, and remember.)

Yes, those Republicans.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:31 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 7, 2012

Chevy Volt Flammable? Compared to GASOLINE?

The right-wingers smearing the Volt as "flammable" don't get it that cars now run on GASOLINE? Which isn't flammable? HOW many gasoline car fires are there a year? (Hint: the answer is "In 2003-2007, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 287,000 vehicle fires per year. These fires caused an average of 480 civilian deaths, 1,525 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage annually.")

My favorite right-wing propaganda about the Volt was that it "ran out of juice in the Lincoln Tunnel" on a test drive. Of course, what happened was that the battery ran down and it switched on the gas engine and kept going, but ... whatever. It sure SOUNDS bad.

By the way, to learn about how the right's propaganda machine works, click that link and observe just how many sites repeated the lie.

One more thing about electric cars. Think about this: How often do you need to service your refrigerator motor? You will never have to replace the water pump, or adjust the valves, replace the muffler, etc. New tires and lubrication is about it. One Ford engineer told me they have some electric cars on the track that are over 1 million miles.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 1, 2012

Conservative Bullying

This post by Sara Robinson is SO important, please read: Conservative Bullying Has Made America Into a Broken, Dysfunctional Family: But There Are Ways to Regain Our Well-Being | | AlterNet

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:44 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 26, 2012

The Origins Of The Right's Smear Machine

This is a must-read to understand the history. Starting with Nixon, again and again Dems let Republicans off the hook, again and again they respond by doing even more and worse. Background: Dems had evidence that Nixon's presidential campaign sabotaged peace talks that could have ended the Vietnam war in 68, to help Nixon in the election. Dems kept this secret "for the good of the country." Nixon then kept the war going four more years so he could announce its "end" just before the 72 election. ("Peace is at hand.")

How the Right’s Smear Machine Started | Consortiumnews,

... the decision by President Lyndon Johnson and his top aides to withhold from the public their evidence of Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks in fall 1968 proved to be the opposite of their stated intention: to hide the dirty secret for “the good of the country.”

As Johnson’s national security adviser Walt W. Rostow observed in 1973 as the Watergate scandal was unfolding, Nixon may have dared undertake that domestic spying program because he had gotten away with his 1968 skullduggery unscathed.With the evidence of Nixon’s “treason” kept under wraps, Republicans could fancy themselves the real victims in the Watergate scandal and thus could justify doing whatever was necessary to protect some future GOP president from similar treatment.
With the evidence of Nixon’s “treason” kept under wraps, Republicans could fancy themselves the real victims in the Watergate scandal and thus could justify doing whatever was necessary to protect some future GOP president from similar treatment.

Reagan let off the hook for Iran Contra and for sabatoging Carter's hostage talks. Bush let off the hook for torture and illegal war and various acts of corruption. ... and so on.

Some examples include evidence of another October Surprise dirty trick in 1980 (with Reagan’s campaign frustrating President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to free 52 American hostages in Iran), the Iran-Contra sequel (as President Reagan traded more arms to Iran for more U.S. hostages in 1985-86), the Iraq-gate scandal of secretly arming Saddam Hussein (which put President George H.W. Bush on the spot after the Persian Gulf War in 1991), or the Plame-gate affair (which involved George W. Bush’s administration leaking the identity of a covert CIA officer to get back at her husband for exposing a lie behind the Iraq War in 2003).

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 8, 2012

These People Are Just Nuts

The latest right-wing frenzy is over a film of Barack Obama as a student giving a speech in favor of racial diversity in universities, and then hugging Derrick Bell, who was the first black law professor at Harvard. At the time Obama has been elected President of Harvard Law Review - the first black person in that position.

That's it. They are saying that advocating racial diversity is "Marxist" and that being the first black law professor proves the guy is a "radical." They say that letting a black guy be a law professor is "demonizing whites." They say that Obama advocating racial diversity reveals "another corner of the president’s murky past," and proves that "Obama is not so secretly a radical."

That's it. He was the first black law professor at Harvard, therefore he is a "Marxist" and a "radical." Because Harvard is such a "radical" institution, I guess. Even though it didn't hire any black law professors before the 90s.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:40 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 18, 2011

Let's Just Lie

Over at Smoking Politics: Let’s Just Lie — ‘Occupy Shooter’ | Smoking Politics

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 9, 2011

Latest Right-Wing Lie

Over at Smoking Politics I write about The ‘Christmas Tree Tax’ Lie.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:39 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 1, 2011

The Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Accusation

This post originally appeared at Smoking Politics.

Politico has revealed allegations that Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain, the front-runner in the Republican Presidential primaries, was accused of sexual harassment in the late 90s and that his employer, the National Restaurant Association, settled the charges with a cash payout. His explanation is that he made a certain gesture and said his wife is "this tall," and was sued for a lot of money.

My take on it: I don't see it. Unless something else comes up I have not heard enough evidence to make me question Cain's character -- on this issue. (His 9-9-9 plan is a whole different story.) I haven't heard of anything that might indicate a pattern. I don't even think it looks bad that this was settled. I think the Association would have settled rather than fight the charges because that saves a great deal of money, even if Cain was innocent, so settling, to me, is not evidence of guilt. I've run a company, people sue you when you run a company or an association or other organization. (My own policy was never settle, and that ended up costing me a great deal of money going to court and winning.) They say something happened at an event "at a hotel." It sounds bad that it happened at an event at a hotel, but this was the Restaurant Association and they do all kinds of events at hotels. And here is the main thing: there are two major Presidential campaigns that have very good reason to make Cain look bad. So I am withholding judgement.

Where Did It Come From?

This story likely came from either Rick Perry or Mitt Romney's campaign, in my opinion. Cain is the front-runner in the polls, Perry and Romney believe they are entitled to be the candidate, they feel Cain is a distraction from the "serious people's" race and they really, really want Cain out of the way so they can get at tearing each other up instead. Of course one of them set this up.

This is not a particularly bad thing. A Presidential candidate needs to be able to field this kind of thing. It's part of the screening, part of the landscape of this. A President is going to be accused of things; do we want a President who flubs it when accused of things he or she actually didn't do? No, we want to know that a President can get distractions out of the way. (We also want to know if the candidate really does have a character flaw, like I said I am withholding judgement until I see more to go on.)

Is This A Smear?

Do the accusations rise to the level of a smear, like the Swift Boat attack on Kerry, or the various attacks on Gore and Obama? I don't classify this as a smear, I'd call it typical campaign stuff. Seriously, it is just a media outlet reporting some facts. There is no echo chamber primed to amplify it, no larger narrative that it is intended to reinforce. I would say that a smear -- the kind we fight here at Smoking Politics -- is a false charge designed to fit into a larger narrative that is part of an ideological strategy. This is just a news report about something that did happen -- the accusation and settlement. It is not structured around a narrative about Cain, it's just a typical campaign hit to try to knock him out of the primary. Just no big deal, let's see how well Cain handles it.

Bigger Picture -- The Narrative

So on to the bigger picture of how these stories affect campaigns and our politics, which is what Smoking Politics is about. How should we react to this story? And how is it being used? Specifically, what narrative, or propaganda point, is the being driven with the story?

The movement right sees an opportunity to use this to further their anti-"liberal" propaganda narrative. (That's who they are, that's what they do.) They are charging that this is an example of "liberals" attacking a conservative. They are saying Cain is a victim of liberal attacks. Heh.

Rush Limbaugh says this is the "mainstream media" attacking a conservative, and adds a racial element. (Because that's what he does.) From the transcript: We Should Not be Surprised by the Left's Racist Hit Job on Herman Cain.

"Look at how quickly what is known as the mainstream media goes for the ugliest racial stereotypes they can to attack a black conservative. ... The racial stereotypes that these people are using to go after Herman Cain, what is the one thing that it tells us? It tells us who the real racists are, yeah, but it tells us that Herman Cain is somebody. Something's going on out there. Herman Cain obviously is making some people nervous for this kind of thing to happen.

[. . .] We cannot have a black Republican running for the office of president. We can't have one elected. We can't have an Hispanic. The left owns those two groups, and those two groups are gonna forever be minorities. Those groups cannot ever be seen to be self-sufficient or rising above, on their own. Those two groups are owned -- lock, stock, and barrel -- by the Democrat Party and anything good that happens to any black or Hispanic in American politics can only happen via the Democrat Party. "If it happens elsewhere, we're gonna destroy those people -- a la Clarence Thomas."

The poisonous Ann Coulter says it is "liberals" doing this. She told - who else - Fox News,

“It’s outrageous the way liberals treat a black conservative,” she told Geraldo. “This is another high-tech lynching. … Nothing liberals fear more than a black conservative."


Please, one thing that Democrats want more than anything is for Cain to be the candidate. And calling Politico a liberal, mainstream media outlet? It's not for nothing that bloggers call it "Drudgico."

How To React?

This sort of thing happens in campaigns -- and it should. Like I said, it's just a news report about an accusation and settlement from a long time ago. It gives us a chance to learn about Cain. It gives Cain a chance to show us how he handles things. It isn't a smear, it's a news report about something that happened. We'll see how he does.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:35 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 17, 2011

Republicans Say Unemployed Are "Slackers"

Seriously, see for yourself: Rep. Steve King: Unemployment Benefits Have Created "A Nation Of Slackers"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:14 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 16, 2011

Top 5 List: 5 Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Solyndra

Oil-backed conservatives have been absolutely ecstatic over the collapse of American solar-power company Solyndra and the rise of China as the dominant country in green energy, because they think they can turn this into a story that makes President Obama and government look bad. It also gives them a bonus opportunity to attack alternatives to coal and oil. So is there really a "scandal" behind what happened to Solyndra? Or is this just one more conservative smear, made up from whole cloth and spread around conservative outlets, talk radio and FOX News, hoping the "mainstream media" will be tricked into propelling the propaganda out to the public?

The Smear Machine

When Bill Clinton was President conservatives developed and refined a "smear machine" technique of making up accusation after accusation after accusation (after accusation after accusation), repeating them endlessly and hysterically in conservative-funded outlets, and working to get major media outlets to pick up and repeat them. Unfortunately they were often successful at driving phony smears into the public arena. Even though the stories were invariably refuted after investigation, by the time each smear was refuted many, many more were circulating. After a while people began to believe "where there's smoke there's fire." One such story that major outlets repeated involved the supposed "sale" of an Arlington cemetery plot for campaign contributions. When it was proven to be nothing more than a false smear the repetition in major outlets was justified "because it's just the sort of thing he might have done."

In the 2004 election we saw the process repeated with the "Swift Boat" smear that turned around John Kerry's lead in the polls. It was entirely a made-up lie but the mainstream media picked it up and propelled it.

Since President Obama's election right-wing media outlets have again been engaged in creating a constant stream of negative and destructive "stories" that try to turn the public against the President, Democrats in general and government itself. We have been told that the President is secretly a Muslim terrorist, was not born in the United States and therefore is an illegitimate President and is a "Socialist" out to destroy our way of life. They have claimed he raised taxes when in reality he cut taxes, that he "tripled the deficit" when in reality he cut the deficit from the $1.4 trillion hole Bush left us in, that his stimulus plan "created zero jobs" when in reality it turned around a rapidly-deteriorating situation, that he has dramatically increased spending when in reality he did not, and many other untruths all in an attempt to turn people against him and against the idea that government can be a force for good. (See Three Charts To Email To Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law.) Accusation after accusation has been shot down.

The Top Five Lies

Now they're at it again, this time trying to turn the unfortunate bankruptcy of a solar-power company named Solyndra into an all-out anti-Obama and anti-government attack. Here is a countdown of the top five lies they are telling about what happened with Solyndra:

5) The biggest investor in Solyndra was an Obama donor. Conservatives (and now picked up by corporate "mainstream" outlets) make the accusation that there was corruption in the process by which Solyndra received its loan because a major Obama donor named George Kaiser is a major investor in Solyndra. The charge is that Solyndra only received the loan guarantee as a result of campaign contributions by people "connected to" Solyndra. The problem with this is that George Kaiser was not an investor in Solyndra. According to Tulsa World,

In an emailed statement to the Tulsa World, a representative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation said the organization made the investment through Argonaut.

"George Kaiser is not an investor in Solyndra and did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan," the statement said. "GKFF invests in a globally diversified portfolio across many different asset classes."

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a philanthropic organization, which means Kaiser (or anyone else) could not personally profit from a successful investment by the foundation.

4) Green energy is a bad investment. Oil-connected conservatives have been trying to kill off investment in green energy for some time. They see opportunity in hyping up a "scandal" over the bankruptcy of Solyndra as a way to attack the idea of developing a green-energy industry in the US. Just today, Heritage Foundation, which for months has been attacking the idea of creating green jobs, has this posted: Solyndra Scandal Ends Green Jobs Myth. (I have several examples of conservative attacks on green manufacturing in the post, The Phony Solyndra Solar Scandal.)

Just in the last year China gave $30 billion financing to 6 solar companies. If the benefits from developing a green energy industry that provides lots of green jobs are a myth then why is China putting so much into this effort?

3) The government lost money "picking winners and losers." This is a core line of attack by the right. By tricking the public into thinking that the purpose of government's efforts to trigger a green-energy industry was to make money for the government by investing in individual companies, they can make this look bad because one company went into bankruptcy. But the purpose of our government's involvement in this is to help trigger an ecosystem around which a green-energy industry can grow. When a new technology is promising, it might be risky to investors, but very beneficial to us as a country to pursue it. That way we end up with a chunk of the millions of jobs and trillions of dollars that result. That benefits everyone.

The government does not operate like a venture capitalist, investing in companies with the hope of reaping a profit for itself. Compare the effort to trigger a green-energy industry to government-funded cancer research. Some directions of exploration don’t pan out. But you don’t know that until you fund the tests. This is what happened with Solyndra. The loan guarantee enabled Solyndra to get private investment hire researchers as well as manufacturing and other employees, to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the US, to develop a supply chain, to buy equipment, etc. This was part of the stimulus and all that money was moved into the economy. And all of those are still in the United States, ready to be part of scaling up a green-energy industry. So where the country is concerned, we didn’t lose at all.

The goal was not to make Solyndra a successful company, the goal was to trigger an ecosystem for the green-energy industry in the US. Weren't the things the money was used for, good for the country? Even though the company Solyndra didn’t make it, the money created jobs and leaves behind technology, trained workrs, equipment and facilities that other companies will use.

2) The Solyndra loan was rushed or pushed. This loan originated under the Bush administration -- and for good reasons. Following the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the government began efforts to cultivate a US-based green-energy industry. Solyndra offered a promising technology and applied for loan guarantees. Following a review by career professionals in the Department of Energy (DOE) Solyndra was asked to provide more information. A few months later, under the new Obama administration, the same career professionals received the requested information and proceeded to approve the loan.

They DOE had some conditions, and a few months later those conditions were met, and the timeline of meeting the conditions meant it happened under the new administration but was handled by the same career professionals. It was the right thing to do for the country to suggest the loan under the Bush administration, which did nothing wrong. Approving the loan under the Obama administration also helps the country because that money went toward helping develop that ecosystem that creates companies and jobs. Stories about rushing the approval are meant to make it sound like it was done to help a major campaign donor who, as point #1 above makes clear, was not the investor. It is the only reason the timing is an issue.

The Number One Lie

And the number 1 lie told by conservatives is:

1) Something bad happened. The right has been trying to push the idea that something bad has happened involving Solyndra. They are calling it a "scandal." But it is entirely a manufactured scandal, like those from the Clinton era. This is what they do. Nothing bad happened.

The supposed campaign donor/investor is not an investor. The timing of the loan is not suspect, it followed the proper, transparent, accountable procedures. The loan assisted the development of a promising technology. The green-energy industry stands to create millions of jobs and trillions of dollars to the countries that are smart enough now to make the investments that help them grab a chunk of it. The loan was good for the country, even though one company went bankrupt.

But by the time this smear is refuted five more will have taken its place.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 14, 2011

The Phony Solyndra Solar Scandal

Well here's a surprise: conservatives and oil interests are pushing deceptive and destructive stories about President Obama and clean energy. Imagine that! Their intent (as always) is to turn people against President Obama, clean energy, national energy policy, stimulus to help the economy, and government in general. It's what they do. Here is some information to help you push back on the latest whipped-up, anti-green, anti-government, anti-Obama "scandal."


Solyndra was a startup solar-power equipment manufacturer based in Fremont, California that went bankrupt at the end of August. The company's solar collectors used a special tubular internal design that let it collect light from all directions, and were made with a copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) thin film that avoided using then-expensive silicon. It was one of several companies that received assistance from the government, in an attempt to push back on China's strategic targeting of green-energy manufacturing.

The company, partly backed by the conservative Walton family had received a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The loan, which was originally pushed by the Bush administration, was 1.3% of the DOE portfolio.

The economy tanked and cut demand, and at the same time Solyndra could not compete with subsidized companies located in China as they rapidly scaled up. So Solyndra ran out of money. Conservatives and oil interests are using the bankruptcy as a platform to attack green energy and the idea of green jobs in general, solar power in particular, President Obama as always, stimulus funding and the idea of developing a national strategic industrial policy to push back on China and others who have their own national policies to win this key industry of the future.

Conservative Attacks

Conservative are accusing the Obama administration of corruption in choosing Solyndra to receive a government loan guarantee. The typical conservative-outlet story follows a template of Glenn-Beckian accusations that someone "connected to" Obama has "ties" to something. When you hear the phrasing "has ties to" you should understand this as code-speak for "has nothing to do with but can be made to appear to have some sinister involvement if you twist the wording a certain way."

Example template story: Bankrupt solar company with fed backing has cozy ties to Obama admin,

A solar energy company that intends to file for bankruptcy received $535 million in backing from the federal government and has a cozy history with Democrats and the Obama administration, campaign finance records show.

Shareholders and executives of Solyndra, a green energy company producing solar panels, fundraised for and donated to the Obama administration to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a key Obama backer who raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for the president’s election campaign, is one of Solyndra’s primary investors. Kaiser himself donated $53,500 to Obama’s 2008 election campaign, split between the DSCC and Obama For America. Kaiser also made several visits to the White House and appeared at some White House events next to Obama officials.

Campaign finance records show Kaiser and Solyndra executives and board members donated $87,050 total to Obama’s election campaign.

And now, just two years after securing a half-billion-dollar federal loan, Solyndra has said that it will declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

(Hold on to this part about Tulsa billionaire Kaiser as an investor for later.)

Another: Big Government, Sweethearts: Bankrupt Solar Power Firm Well Connected to White House, "Obama’s stimulus money handouts carry the stench of political favoritism."

Another: Hot Air: How did Solyndra get a sweetheart interest rate?

FOX News has been promoting this "scandal" story heavily. (It should be noted here that Fox's parent company News Corp's 2nd-largest shareholder is oil billionaire Saudi Prince al-Waleed - an "oil interest" if ever there was one.) For example, FOX News, a template story with the ever-hopeful conservative headline: Obama's Pet Billionaire at Solyndra May Take White House Down,

A high profile, politically well-connected California solar energy company that had won a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama Administration declared bankruptcy earlier this month and closed its doors sending 1100 workers to the unemployment line. The demise of Solyndra has already sparked an FBI investigation, congressional hearings, and raised numerous questions of political cronyism and corruption connected to the highest levels of the Obama Administration.

... One of the company's largest investors, George B. Kaiser of Tulsa, reportedly contributed $53,500 personally and bundled large amounts more for Obama in 2008. Kaiser is a billionaire with banking and oil and gas interests that rank him among the wealthiest people in the world. Kaiser also visited the White House 16 times between 2009 and 2011.

FOX News: RNC Uses Solyndra Investigation to Question New White House Jobs Proposal

FOX News: Could Solyndra Probe Mean Legal Trouble for White House?

FOX News: House GOP Widens Scope of Solyndra Investigation.

Etc., the story is repeated with various twists and added allegations throughout the conservative misinformation engine.

Jumps To "Mainstream"

As so often happens with the conservative machine, the story as spun by the right is jumping to "mainstream" news outlets. For example, this ABC story by Mathew Mosk, formerly of the Washington Times, and others, Emails: Obama White House Monitored Huge Loan to 'Connected' Firm pushes the conservative line, calling the firm "politically connected" and, reminiscent of Clinton-era Whitewater reporting, uses "investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee" -- in other words, conservative operatives -- as a source. The story claims the White House "closely monitored" Solyndra but offers no evidence of "close monitoring," says the company is the "subject of a criminal investigation" without explaining that the investigation is into whether the company misled the government about its financial status which would mean that administration officials did not knowingly provide a loan to a failing company, claims that a prominent Obama donor is "an investor" even though the donor's family foundation is the investor, which means the donor had nothing to gain, and to further the appearance of a sinister scheme by the Obama administration to hand money to political allies leaves out the financial involvement of the conservative Walton family. From ABC,

Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department's deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

The company's solar panel factory was heralded as a centerpiece of the president's green energy plan -- billed as a way to jump start a promising new industry. And internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved.

Background Of Corruption Allegations

Before looking at whether the Obama administration really had "ties to" people who had "ties to" Solyndra who somehow "benefited from" government loan guarantees, let's have a bit of a refresher on our recent history.

Under President Bush, conservative movement partners as well as companies and people with financial ties to Bush administration figures regularly received lucrative contracts under less-than-transparent circumstances that had every direct appearance of (forget "ties to") of corruption and cronyism. For example, Koch Submits Winning Bid To Supply Additional Oil to Strategic Reserve,

Koch Supply & Trading, LP, one of the world's largest crude oil trading companies, will become the newest supplier of crude oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) under President Bush's plan, announced last November, to fill the nation's emergency oil stockpile to its full capacity by 2005.

Example, Fired Army Whistleblower Receives $970K for Exposing Halliburton No-Bid Contract in Iraq,

Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse, the former chief oversight official of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, has reached a $970,000 settlement six years after she was demoted for publicly criticizing a multi-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to Halliburton—the company formerly headed by then-Vice President Dick Cheney. Greenhouse had accused the Pentagon of unfairly awarding the contract to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root. Testifying before Congress in June 2005, she called the contract the worst case of government abuse she had ever witnessed in her 20-year career.

Example, Bush's Housing Secretary was caught awarding contracts based on party affiliation: Probe Finds Jackson Urged Favoritism in HUD Contracts,

An inspector general's report charges that top U.S. housing official Alphonso Jackson urged staff members to favor friends of President Bush when awarding Department of Housing and Urban Development contracts.

Attacking Green Manufacturing

The Solyndra accusations are really just one part of an ongoing conservative and oil-interests-funded anti-green-manufacturing campaign drumbeat. Long before Solyndra's bankruptcy the Heritage Foundation was running stories like 2008's Green Jobs Are Con Jobs, 2009's The Green Job Myth Exposed, and this year's Obama’s “Green Jobs” Pipe Dream, The Green Jobs Story Obama Doesn’t Want You to Hear, Are “Green Jobs” the Answer?, Are Green Jobs ‘Gone with the Wind’?...

Media Matters had previously exposed the nature of this ongoing effort, in Heritage Foundation Green Jobs Panel - Bought and Paid For By ExxonMobil,

Instead of showcasing the views of unbiased academics and economists, the Heritage Foundation put forth a panel of individuals financially connected to ExxonMobil.

... The ENTIRE PANEL Received Money From ExxonMobil.

More conservative-outlet examples include the ever-malignant Fox News: Solyndra Investigation Begins Critical Look at Federally Funded Green Ventures.

Other conservative outlets continue the drumbeat, Obama’s green dream hurting U.S. taxpayers by Linda Chavez.

Another: Obama Green Jobs Con Job and the Ill Wind That Blows from Spain,

Obama has become tiresome. He is over-exposed. He has overstayed his welcome. We can hear the clichés that will be laced through his speech even before he speaks -- the opposite of an echo. The promises will be there -- what else can he sell? Certainly not his record on the economy.

He has always been a snake oil salesman; such people always tempt the needy with promises of great things to come. So we will once more hear him tout his policies as creating legions of new "green jobs" while making America the world leader in green energy. We have heard it before. He must either think we are stuck on stupid or he is the one stuck on stupid. This policy has clearly been one giant Green Jobs Con Job.

Another: Reason: Obama's Green Jobs Failures and Obama's Green-Jobs Fantasy and The Green Jobs Delusion and The Unseen Consequences of "Green Jobs": Will investing in clean energy harm the economy?...

NewsMax: Green Jobs Spending Is a Waste of Greenbacks, "If the congressional “supercommittee” wants to cut wasteful spending, the green-jobs agenda is a great place to start."

And more and more and more and more...

What Really Happened

A very good summary of the whole story, as well as a look into the details of the investment can be found in the Time/Swampland Michael Grunwald story, Big Name Investors Behind Obama’s Failed Green Tech Bet First in Line to Recoup Losses, summary: (read the whole thing)

This is sure to play out as a scandal, but based on what we know so far, it shouldn’t be. Private loans go south all the time. ... The Obama administration has made bets on hundreds of clean-energy companies in dozens of clean-energy sectors; some of those bets in its portfolio are bound to go bad, just as Richard Branson picks an occasional lemon. It’s legitimate to question whether the government should have made this particular bet, or whether it overplayed a weak hand, or whether it should be making bets in the first place. But if we’re going to have a clean energy industry in this country, this kind of thing is going to happen. It doesn’t mean anyone cheated.

Background of the company's failure, from the Swampland piece,

Solyndra’s loan, the first approved under a clean-energy program that was launched during the Bush administration and expanded by Obama’s stimulus bill, was supposed to finance a new state-of-the-art factory for the company’s unique cylindrical solar cells. At the time, Solyndra was an exciting startup; according to the public filings, it attracted big money from bigtime financiers, including $35 million from Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund, $57 million from U.S. Venture Partners, and even $2 million from affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

... [later] The biggest problem was obvious; in an industry where prices were plummeting, Solyndra’s product was too expensive. It desperately needed to finish its new factory, which would increase volume and decrease costs. And it needed more sales.

By last November, the company was running out of cash; according to a January 2011 government document, it had “a very high probability” of bankruptcy and liquidation. This was a big problem, not only because the company had drawn down $460 million of its loan, but because its new factory wasn’t even completed, which meant liquidation would be a fire sale. ...

The other option was restructuring. Kaiser’s Argonaut Ventures and the Walton family’s Madrone Partners would put up an additional $75 million, which would take the first position in case of a liquidation; the government would still be paid first if the company managed to emerge from bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy ... ultimately concluded it did have a potentially viable business. The new factory was on time and on budget. Sales were increasing steadily. And even if Solyndra failed, it would be much more valuable with a completed high-tech plant than with an empty box in Fremont, California.

... “The restructuring gave Solyndra a fighting chance for success,” that same official says. “But then everything fell off a cliff.”

In the summer of 2011, solar panel prices plummeted again. The investors had been poised to inject another $75 million, but this time, they decided not to throw good money after bad. Solyndra shut down and laid off its 1,100 employees.


The conservatives make the accusation that an Obama donor named George Kaiser is a major investor in Solyndra, and Solyndra received the loan guarantee as a result of Kaiser's (and others) campaign contributions, in order to personally profit. The problem with this is that George Kaiser was not an investor in Solyndra, the Kaiser Family Foundation was. According to Tulsa World,

In an emailed statement to the Tulsa World, a representative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation said the organization made the investment through Argonaut.

"George Kaiser is not an investor in Solyndra and did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan," the statement said. "GKFF invests in a globally diversified portfolio across many different asset classes."

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a philanthropic organization, which means Kaiser (or anyone else) could not personally profit from a successful investment by the foundation. One of the areas of focus of the foundation is the National Energy Policy Institute, so Solyndra was a natural investment for the Foundation:

National Energy Policy Institute (NEPI) is a GKFF effort to establish a rational energy policy that will effectively reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. American political leaders have espoused energy independence for decades. NEPI's goal is to move beyond total oil dependence and to supplant consumption of imported oil through increased domestic energy supply, reduced foreign oil and gas demand and lower carbon emissions to include enhancement of traditional sources of domestic oil, gas and coal.

The conservative Wal-Mart Walton Family, however, were private investors through their Madrone Capital, and at the time that the Bush administration started pushing the Solyndra loan were in a position to peronally profit from this investment. If any accusation of an expectation of personal enrichment obtained from political connections should be investigated, it is this one. Will the Republican House look into the connections between the Walton family and Bush administration officials, and the Bush administrations efforts to provide loans to Solyndra?

The Government Didn't Lose

Even though Solyndra went into bankruptcy the government didn't "lose." The purpose of the government's involvement was to help trigger the development of green-energy manufacturing in the United States, not to help individual companies. This was not a direct investment in a company with the expectation of a profit for the government. In the bigger picture of promoting American leadership in the emerging green-energy industry the government's loan guarantee was a success. Even though Solyndra's investors lost out our country retains the trained skilled employees, the intellectual property, the innovators funded, the suppliers, and the factory. As components of a national effort to trigger a key strategic industry, those are all still there and in the US.

It isn't the government's job to make sure the investors make money, the government's job is to work to keep all of these components of an industry here and to grow new ones here, and this is what has been accomplished. When a VC makes an investment, a company failing just goes on the books as a loss. But our government has succeeded even if Solyndra's investors lost money because the country as a whole benefits. All these employees are trained, all the researchers can take what they know to other solar companies, the IP is going to be sold -- and it should be part of the conditions that it be sold to an American company. So while Solyndra's for-profit investors lost money, America's larger effort to nurture a solar-power industry continues toward its goal with assets enabled by this loan guarantee.


The loan program started under President Bush (note - see above, Walton family.) From the San Jose Mercury News, October, 2008:

In late 2007, Solyndra was one of 16 clean-tech companies deemed eligible for $4 billion worth of loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy. Tesla Motors, the Silicon Valley electric carmaker, and Oakland's BrightSource Energy, a builder of solar-thermal plants, also made that list.

The effort to fund Solyndra in particular started under Bush (note - see above, Walton family.) DOE: A Competition Worth Winning, (PS look at the chart in this post to understand why loan guarantees and other government assistance are so important!!!)

This loan guarantee was pursued by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. Private sector investors – who put more than $1 billion of their own money on the line – also saw great potential in the company.

Also, from the DOE post, the reason it is important for government to do this:

Our loan program catalyzes American innovation and private sector investment behind promising companies -- so that American workers have a chance to compete against China and other countries that much more heavily subsidize clean energy companies.

The loan was 1.3% of the DOE portfolio.

Feds Refused to Bail Out Solyndra,

One day after the federal government refused to bail out Solyndra, the Fremont-based solar company announced it was filing for bankruptcy and shedding most of its 1,100 workers.

According to a memo released Monday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, officials with the Department of Energy and Solyndra entered into negotiations "in the first few weeks of August" over a proposed financial restructuring agreement, but were never able to reach an agreement.


Think Progress has an excellent timeline of the Solyndra loan guarantee: Exclusive Timeline: Bush Administration Advanced Solyndra Loan Guarantee for Two Years, Media Blow the Story

Grist has a good story laying out how conservatives are attacking green energy. See The conservative game plan on energy subsidies

Grist also looks into the Bush adminsitration's efforts on behalf of Solyndra, in,Bush admin pushed Solyndra loan guarantee for two years.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:27 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 28, 2011

Three Charts To Email To Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law

Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about "Obama spending" and "Obama deficits" and how the "Stimulus" just made things worse. Solution: Here are three "reality-based" charts to send to him. These charts show what actually happened.


Bush-Obama Spending Chart

Government spending increased dramatically under Bush. It has not increased much under Obama. Note that this chart does not reflect any spending cuts resulting from deficit-cutting deals.


Bush-Obama Deficit Chart

Notes, this chart includes Clinton's last budget year for comparison.

The numbers in these two charts come from Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2012. They are just the amounts that the government spent and borrowed, period, Anyone can go look then up. People who claim that Obama "tripled the deficit" are either misled or are trying to mislead.

The Stimulus and Jobs


In this chart, the RED lines on the left side -- the ones that keep doing DOWN -- show what happened to jobs under the policies of Bush and the Republicans. We were losing lots and lots of jobs every month, and it was getting worse and worse. The BLUE lines -- the ones that just go UP -- show what happened to jobs when the stimulus was in effect. We stopped losing jobs and started gaining jobs, and it was getting better and better. The leveling off on the right side of the chart shows what happened as the stimulus started to wind down: job creation leveled off at too low a level.

It looks a lot like the stimulus reversed what was going on before the stimulus.


More False Things

These are just three of the false things that everyone "knows." Some others are (click through): Obama bailed out the banks, businesses will hire if they get tax cuts, health care reform cost $1 trillion, Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme or is "going broke", government spending "takes money out of the economy."

Why This Matters

These things really matter. We all want to fix the terrible problems the country has. But it is so important to know just what the problems are before you decide how to fix them. Otherwise the things you do to try to solve those problems might just make them worse. If you get tricked into thinking that Obama has made things worse and that we should go back to what we were doing before Obama -- tax cuts for the rich, giving giant corporations and Wall Street everything they want -- when those are the things that caused the problems in the first place, then we will be in real trouble.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 19, 2011

Mr President, Don’t Cut Them Slack When They Threaten Us And Our Economy

Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry, threatening Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, over his efforts to boost the economy:

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in history is almost treasonous in my opinion.”

Perry believes that efforts to help the economy are "politics" because helping the economy helps President Obama in the coming election. Perry’s comments brought into the open the Republican mindset about the economy: They want it to tank – and are working to tank it – because they believe a poor economy will help them in the coming election. They see helping the economy as "politics" that help Obama.

Hostage-Taking And Intimidation

Republicans recently threatened to take the country into default, which brought about the "credit-rating downgrade" from Standard & Poors. The result of this hostage-taking was an economy-killing deal to take trillions of dollars out of the economy, immediately sending the stock market and economic indicators like consumer confidence into a dive. Republicans previously used hostage-taking to keep tax cuts for the wealthy, thereby dramatically increasing deficits and economy-killing income/wealth disparity. Then they used hostage-taking threats to "shut down the government" to force economy-killing cuts in services to regular people.

Time after time Republicans are obstructing, delaying, bullying, doing whatever they can to keep the economy from recovering. Hostage-taking, intimidation, bullying tactics, and they are not even above use of physical threats to get their way.

JFK Assassinated In Texas

This flyer was circulating around Dallas in the days before Kennedy's assassination:


Governor Perry threatened Fed Chair Ben Bernanke’s safety, using language echoing 60s-era accusations against President John F. Kennedy. A person who could be the next President accusing a public official of the death-penalty crime of "treason" is about as serious as it gets. On top of that, it is not easy to forget what this kind of talk means in Texas. President Kennedy was accused of "treason," too, and Texas treated him “ugly” in November, 1963. There is no possibility that a Governor of the state of Texas is not very aware that this event occurred there, and of the political climate in Texas at the time it occurred, and of what saying to a high federal official that "we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas" necessarily brings to mind.

Cut Him Slack?

In response to Perry's threat against Bernanke, President Obama said he will "cut him some slack."

"Mr. Perry just got into the presidential race. I think that everybody who runs for president, it probably takes them a little bit of time before they start realizing that this isn't like running for governor or running for senator or running for Congress, and you've got to be a little more careful about what you say," Obama responded.

"But I'll cut him some slack. He's only been at it for a few days now," he said.

Cut him slack for threatening the Chairman of the Federal Reserve? Cut him slack for saying that efforts to get our economy going are "treason?"

Mr. President, you were elected by We, the People to empower and protect us. You have a duty to take on those who threaten us, and threaten our livelihoods and prosperity and wish to harm our government. You owe it to us to be tough in the face of intimidation and hostage-taking.

Mr. President, do not "cut them some slack" when they threaten us and take hostages! Confront them head on, shame them, call them out for these actions. If you "cut them some slack" the bullies will continue to do these things again and again, as they have been doing for some time. You owe it to us, to We, the People, to put a stop to this and we gave you the power to do that.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:56 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 13, 2011

Republicans Call Instrastructure Spending "Extremism"

Just wow. The following are Republican reactions to this Contract for the American Dream video:

This headline is not the Onion, it's a conservative outlet: Van Jones Forces Innocent Children to Advocate Infrastructure Spending, Oppose Corporate Personhood on YouTube

... cute kids mouth bizarrely sophisticated talking points, including words and phrases they almost certainly don't understand, such as "infrastructure," "living wage," and "tax brackets."

Go read the horrible, nasty comments left by the readers. The usual batch of "High tech Hitler Youth, imo." and "Loving Uncle Sam has nothing but the childrens' best interests at heart. Love The Fatherland."

And this one. Van Jones and MoveOn.Org team up to brainwash children | Wizbang

We’re dealing with some radical folks here… radicals attempting to hide their extremism behind the smiles of unsuspecting and exploited children.

Sick stuff.

Made sicker when, as Michelle Malkin documents, you understand who it is that Van Jones is teaming with to further his agenda… not just MoveOn.Org as Greyhawk notes, but the Union thugs at SEIU and the AFL-CIO.

Jones’ use of children and his choice of thugs as partners in the carrying out of his ideas seems fitting.

... Leftists today will go to any length to advance the cause to include thuggery and the exploitation of children.

Sick stuff indeed.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:04 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

June 14, 2011

Another Racist Republican Corporate-Funded Ad

As offensive as can be... 2012 is going to be just terrible.

This is for a special election in LA with Democrat Janice Hahn against Republican Craig Huey.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:21 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

May 31, 2011

The Politics of 2012 and Maybe 2016

Will Sarah Palin, Congressman Paul Ryan or Newt go under the bus? This is quite a polemic for our Republican brethren that have always made hay on their brilliant use of language while we Dems contemplated our sleepy intellectualism. Perhaps finally in the aftermath of the failed assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the President's irrefutable victories, and the Arab spring -- maybe the forces have finally aligned for the Democrats together with social media to counter balance the megaphone of the Right wing propaganda.

Given that language and propaganda are not working, who will be the first to be thrown under the bus for the greater good of the Republican Party? Will it be Sarah our old pal from the McCain campaign that has built a $25M industry around her 2008 candidacy to the chagrin of the Party elders? Or will it be the "real" Palin appropriately coined as such by the supporters of Michelle Bachman on national television? Or have the women folk run their course in Republican Land? And if so has the time come to "man-up" with a few good, old white conservative male Governors from Conservativeville - like Tim Pawlenty or Jon Huntsman? Or better yet will it be Newt who inappropriately danced on the head of Congressman Paul Ryan and his budget plan -- only to refute it later? Sadly, for the Republicans all of this is off putting for guys like Mitt, or even Governor Chris Christie that appeal to the moderates of both parties.

Admittedly, any candidate, male or female, needs the proverbial brass cajoles, or other such accoutrements to challenge this sitting President after the take down of Osama bin Laden. This factoid together with Obama's recent tough stance on the Middle East clearly levels the playing field. The scare tactics of the past cannot work at this rodeo particularly when bundled with the wholesale lunacy of the Republican leadership on the debt ceiling, Medicare and the budget. Vice President Biden in an LA Times piece summarizes well when referring to the Osama take-down as a "defining moment" for the Obama presidency. Certainly, this together with the broken Republican message machine is having an impact. Terms like "Mediscare" are not getting the same kind of traction as "ObamaCare" did just last year, or the coinage of the term "entitlement" used to pollute a whole generations' thinking on Medicare and Social Security. Of course, Newt and his merry gang of language shapers keep trying to spin, but it is not sticking. Maybe in Newt's case, folks have had enough of those that behave badly, pander family values, but live on the edge of exorbitant wealth. For him it appears that there is just no way to explain away things like the Tiffany's account to the Middle Class. Further is there now cause to wonder if the day has come for Sarah, sweet Sarah, who walks the walk on reality television, but lives shall we say in Palin vernacular, high off the hog.

Indeed, the President and the Party are on the right side of the budget, Medicare, Social Security, national security, jobs and climate change. But can he and the Dems maintain this momentum when the banks, remember those pesky money men, continue to behave poorly. The reality is that folks are as fed up with these fat cats as they are with the empty threats of Right wing rhetoric and the bad behavior of men of a certain age and power whether they represent Hollywood, government or international politics.

Note to the Democratic Party: clean up the banks, the bankers and all of the bad behavior of their ilk and 2012 is a shoe-in, and maybe even 2016. Let's think like Republicans and chart the waters for the next eight years.

Posted by Michelle at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 28, 2011

Typical Conservative Tricksters

Why are so many conservative "arguments" really just tricks, trying to fool people?

See American Thinker: Bush or Obama: The Quiz

4. Bush was criticized for excessive federal spending and running up huge deficits. Bush's deficit in 2008 was the largest in history. In fact, President Obama said,
It's a little hard for me to take criticism from folks about this recovery package after they've presided over a doubling of the national debt ... What I won't do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place.
Whose deficit was more than triple the size of the other's: Bush's in 2008 or Obama's in 2009?
The correct answer? The 2009 budget, with its 1.4 trillion deficit, was also Bush's. The 2009 budget year began in September 2009, before the election. The "stimulus" had barely started b ythe end of that fiscal year. This according to the Cato Institute.

This is what so many "conservatives" are made of. At least Cato Institute showed integrity.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:12 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 14, 2011

Trolling For Assassins

Everyone should read Trolling for Assassins, about "Becking," or "stochastic terrorism":

Think of cigarette smoking. We don’t know who will get cancer from the smoke – even though we can be confident that the death rate goes up the more people smoke. Or think of an advertiser who has no idea which viewers will buy their product -- yet spends millions confident that the ad campaign will pay for itself. As Gabby Giffords said so well, words and images have consequences. She had no way of knowing who the shooter would be, or when violence would strike, or that she herself would be among the victims.

From Stochastic Terrorism: Triggering the shooters:

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

his is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.

This is also the term for what Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and others do. And this is what led directly and predictably to a number of cases of ideologically-motivated murder similar to the Tucson shootings.

. . . Here's the mechanism spelled out concisely:

The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts.

One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act. While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. "given the provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such"), the specific person and the specific act are not predictable (yet).

The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:11 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

July 6, 2010

If You Feed Them They Breed -- And Other Dehumanizing Conservative Idiocy We Should Ignore

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

The country is in an economic emergency. Unemployment -- especially long-term unemployment -- is at extremely high levels and the recovery is faltering. Conservatives are obstructing efforts to solve this because they believe it helps them in the November election. To this end conservatives are throwing out every possible argument against helping the economy to see if any of them stick, and to provide cover for opposing taking any action that might help matters.

The latest nonsense they are spreading is that helping the unemployed keeps them from finding jobs. Good Lord! This is basically the old "if you feed them they just breed" storyline. They say "it makes them dependent" as if hard-working people laid off because of Wall Street's scams are squirrels. Or, to hear the nasty way conservatives talk about these human beings, they are like rats. "Hobos," one Congressman called the unemployed! And the DC elite listen, chuckle and repeat.

But while they say unemployment assistance keeps these lazy parasites from finding jobs, they also obstruct bills that create jobs by maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure. This tells you it's just something they say, to cover for what they do. And what they do is obstruct any effort to fix the problem because they believe they will benefit if it is not fixed.

For example, the big DC drumbeat right now is against "spending." They claim that government spending caused the crisis, ignoring and passing the buck on everything that actually caused it, especially their deregulation and their lack of oversight. They blame government for everything, so why should this be different.

Along these lines they claim that the stimulus didn't work, or even that spending made the problem worse, because there are still people out of work. But look at the following chart. The right side of the chart shows the effect of the stimulus. (Source, Jed Lewison and Karina Newton)


A conservative, anti-government myth that is everywhere now is that "Government forced banks to give loans to people who couldn't pay them back, and this caused the financial collapse" -- and its variant that it was about forcing banks to "help minorities. This is an example of the tactic of repeating a lie over and over until enough people believe it. To deflect people from understanding what really caused the crisis and from seeing that they are obstructing the effort to reform the financial system they made this one up" Unfortunately this has become what bloggers call a "zombie lie" -- no matter how many times you prove it is just a lie, it comes back from the dead.

The Zombie Lie Problem

The "zombie lie" problem shows that it is a mistake to think that just arguing facts is a way to shoot this stuff down. Spending your time arguing facts with people who are trying to mislead misses the point. The lie is not about the facts, it is cover for the obstruction. When you try to argue a fact they will make up something else to throw you off track. Facts are not what this is about, feeding a narrative of no action is what this is about, because they understand that a bad economy helps them in the Fall.

Listening to this stuff at all, and trying to argue facts just contributes to the lack of action. There comes a point when you have to stop llsteneing and getting bogged down by intentional distractions and get something done for the economy and the public.

It Is Time To Stop Listening To This Stuff And ACT

Enough with these stupid, heartless, dehumanizing right wing "if you feed them they breed" arguments that are preventing action. People are out of work and the recovery is faltering. It is time to push aside the nay-sayers, and get something done. The government simply has to step in and act. First, do the minimal, obvious things:

1) Pass the unemployment extension, because people can't find jobs.

2) Continue COBRA subsidies, because so many of the long-term unemployed are older people who cannot get or afford insurance any other way. This is simple humanity, people! And, by the way, COBRA itself is running out for many people, never mind subsidies.

3) Send aid to the states. 900,000 jobs in the states are riding on this help.

At a minimum do this. Don't get lost in the weeds of what bill to attach it to. Just do it. Bring it out by itself for an up or down vote so the public can clearly see who is helping and who is voting against jobs and help for the unemployed.

But what Congress really ought to be doing is passing the George Miller "Local Jobs for America Act." .

As economists like Paul Krugman keep saying we risk going into a serious depression. At the least we are entering a pattern of slight recovery, slight decline for a decade. Look at what happened to Ireland when they tried "austerity."

Here is an undeniable fact about government spending. Government spending on infrastructure creates the conditions that enable businesses to prosper. Tax cuts leave nothing behind, but the roads, transit systems, ports, electric grid, Internet, courts, schools, universities, research, and all the rest that government spending creates make us competitive and are needed by businesses

Do it. Ignore the obstructors who are trying to set the stage for November. Put people to work. Help the long-term unemployed. Pass jobs bills.. And spend on modernizing our infrastructure so American can be competitive again.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:47 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

June 22, 2010

Obama Just Like Hitler

Here we go. Obama is making BP set up a fund to compensate its victims, and this is just like Hitler: Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:53 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 26, 2010

Can You Spot The Lie?

Can you spot the lie in this chart?

Answer is here.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 17, 2010

What We're Up Against

A look at conservative media, from Media Matters:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:03 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Zombie Lies Never Die

Note that the date on this is Saturday, April 17, one or two days after the New Orleans police said that much of what is in this never happened: Republican Officials Attacked and Injured in New Orleans - Townhall.com,

On the night of Friday April 9th, a petite female political operative and her boyfriend were attacked and seriously injured in New Orleans by a vicious group of crazed cowards who shrieked political insults while pouncing. After the pummeling, the petite female and her boyfriend were left, collectively, with a compound leg fracture, a concussion, a broken nose and broken jaw. No robbery occurred.

But wait!....Don’t waste your time--if you’re Googling for this item on CNN, New York Times, Wa-Po, MSNBC, Huff-Po, ABC, Salon, CBS, etc. --that is.

This story builds on the conservative resentment narrative - all those elites pick on people like me. It is very important for conservatives to feel they are victimized. The problem is that this is starting to incite actual violence.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:17 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 4, 2010

Nothing But Lies

Please read Only the truth has been changed to protect the guilty -- It's short and includes this great Rachel Maddow commentary:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:39 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 1, 2010

Look Who's Funding Climate Change Denial

Go see. Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine | Greenpeace USA

So when you hear from the Mercastus Center, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute or a lot of other "think tanks" you're actually hearing from Koch Industries - a giant oil company.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:02 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 13, 2010

Horrible Right-Wingers

This is just horrible: Isn't It Time To Euthanize Reid's Wife?

Of course, the press will dig up something that was posted in a comment on a liberal blog several years ago, and tell the public "both sides do it."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:45 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

March 6, 2010

Conservatives Caused Huge Deficits, Blame Obama

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Headline at Drudge Report: Obama policies projected to add $9.7 trillion to debt by 2020... points to this story, National debt to be higher than White House forecast, CBO says,

President Obama's proposed budget would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, congressional budget analysts said Friday. Proposed tax cuts for the middle class account for nearly a third of that shortfall.

So here is the deal. This Drudge headline, saying Obama's spending "adds to the deficit" is a trick. Here is how it works. Suppose you take over a company that is losing $100 million a year, and your jobs is to turn it around. So perhaps the second year the company only loses $70 million, $30 million the third year, and breaks even in year four. You saved the company. But in those years the company "lost" another $100 million. Should you be fired?

President Obama took office as President of a country with a $1.4 trillion deficit - thanks to the failure of conservative policies. Their tax cuts, wars, military buildups, corruption and incompetence drove the borrowing WAY up, and then their deregulation, corruption and incompetence destroyed the economy, driving the borrowing up into the stratosphere.

If the borrowing just stayed the same at the $1.4 trillion level Obama inherited each year -- never mind that interest on all that borrowing gets higher and higher each year -- that would mean $14 trillion would be added to the deficit by 2020. That's a LOT more than the $9.7 trillion that Drudge and the conservatives are making so much noise about. Obama is dramatically reducing the borrowing, but they use trickery to make it look like he is causing it.

What about that $1.4 trillion deficit? That was the deficit for the 2009 budget year. Conservatives say -- over and over -- that Obama "tripled the deficit" in 2009. This isn't even a trick, it is just a lie. The final Bush budget year ended with a deficit of $1.4 trillion. Conservatives have been telling the public this was an "Obama Deficit" and use graphics and charts that label this last Bush budget as Obama's. Look at that chart, and then look at this. The first chart is nothing more than a lie, of course repeated endlessly.

But what else should you expect? Like the scorpion that stings the frog as the frog ferries it across the river, it's what they do. They screw things up, and then point the finger of blame at everyone else.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:57 PM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

February 25, 2010

NYTimes Owes Us An ACORN Smear Retraction

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

A month ago while covering the arrest of James O'Keefe after his attempt to tamper with the phones at Senator Mary Landrieu's office the New York Times repeated conservative misinformation that smeared ACORN, and is now refusing to retract their "reporting."

James O'Keefe previously had released videos that purported to show ACORN employees supposedly advising a "pimp" on how to evade the law. These videos were widely publicized in conservative outlets as part of a larger conservative campaign to destroy ACORN, because the organization registers poor people to vote. Usually-careful major media outlets like the New York Times then picked up the "story" from these conservative outlets and repeated the false accusations against ACORN.

An an example of how the Times has repeated the misinformation, this Times story, High Jinks to Handcuffs for Landrieu Provocateur, contained the following:

Mr. O’Keefe made his biggest national splash last year when he dressed up as a pimp and trained his secret camera on counselors with the liberal community group Acorn — eliciting advice on financing a brothel on videos that would threaten to become Acorn’s undoing.

In fact, O'Keefe was NOT "dressed as a pimp." He represented himself as a candidate for Congress who was trying to help women who were being exploited. He then doctored the resulting videotapes to make it appear that ACORN acted improperly. He only dressed as a "pimp" when publicizing his videos, using the racist stereotype to amplify his false claims. This preposterous 1970's blaxploitation-movie costume seemed to resonate with media outlets like the Times. (The woman who played the "prostitute" in the videos has herself been videotaped verifying that O'Keefe DID NOT wear a "pimp" costume.)

Compare the impression left by this NY Times story with other independently verified facts of the case as explained in : ACORN Report Finds No Illegal Conduct, which describes former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger's investigation of the accusations. Among the investigation's conclusions,

The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O'Keefe's and Ms. Giles's comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.

The Brad Blog has taken the lead with efforts to get the NY Times to retract their reporting. From yesterday's post, Exclusive: NYTimes Public Editor Declines to Recommend Retraction for Multiple Erroneous Reports on False ACORN 'Pimp' Story,

We've spent the last several weeks here reporting and demonstrating how the O'Keefe/Breitbart ACORN video hoax was exactly that --- a political partisan scam that was publicized uncritically by the New York Times, and dozens of otherwise reputable outlets.

Despite the Times' repeatedly misreporting that O'Keefe was dressed or posed as a "pimp" while meeting with ACORN employees in those videos, and even after being shown in no uncertain terms that he did not, the Times' Public Editor has declined to recommend the paper retract its reporting on this story.

The next day, in NYT Public Editor Accuses The BRAD BLOG of 'Political Agenda' on Par With ACORN Smear Artists, Hoaxsters Breitbart and O'Keefe, New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt offered the following stunning statement,

The story says O’Keefe dressed up as a pimp and trained his hidden camera on Acorn counselors. It does not say he did those two things at the same time

Also at this Brad Blog post are links to a number of other blogs following this story.

You can take action by clicking through to: Tell the NY Times: retract anti-ACORN reportage.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 9, 2010

NYTimes "Stands By" False Reporting

Last month I posted NYT Propels Anti-ACORN Propaganda,

The NY Times ran a story today about the "high jinks" of the right-wing smear artist O'Keefe, repeating the smears on ACORN, without mentioning the investigations that concluded his ACORN videotapes were doctored and that ACORN employees did nothing wrong.

The Times reported as fact that O'Keefe was "dressed as a pimp" - he was not, he was representing himself as a candidate for Congress - and that ACORN employees gave advice on setting up a brothel - when an investigation concluded that the videos were "heavily edited" and had "substitute voicovers" inserted to make it sound like ACORN employees said things they did not.

Brad Friedman pressed the Times on this. The Times said it "stands by" the story and cites FOX News as their source.

Go read the whole thing - it's really quite stunning.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:29 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

December 30, 2009

"The System Worked" Is Another Big Lie

Just so you know the facts:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that once the incident occurred, "the system worked." AFTER the bombing attempt people did their jobs and procedures were followed.

Republicans have twisted this into a widespread big lie that she claimed that "the system worked" in response to questions about how the guy got on the plane with explosives.

Well OF COURSE no one would say that. And the system did work, AFTER the bombing attempt.

Here is what she said, unedited and complete, which you won't see on any Republican news networks:

NAPOLITANO: One thing I’d like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. We instituted new measures on the ground and at screening areas, both here in the United States and in Europe where this flight originated. So, the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly.

Rachel Maddow did a good job on this the other day, so take a look here: Rachel Maddow systematically dismantles GOP attacks on failed Christmas Day bombing attempt.

All they have is smears and lies. Don't fall for it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:14 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

December 28, 2009

The Right's Nasty Propaganda Machine

Here's a typical right-wing propaganda operation. The right has been working to knock down the public's positive impression of John F Kennedy for decades because JFK is a stand-in for "liberals" in people's minds. If they can get people to think negatively about JFK they can get them to think negatively of liberals. I've been watching this campaign unfold for decades. Some billionaire somewhere put a ton of money into this and the funding still hasn't run out...

So out comes a nasty hit piece on JFK, with an old "snapshot" on old, crinkled-up photo paper, supposedly showing JFK on a yacht with naked women.

The sensational headline: "The JFK Photo That Could Have Changed History." The cover story:

The photo was eventually given to a man who owned a car dealership on the East coast. The man kept it in a drawer for years, and would brag to friends he had an image of JFK on a boat with naked women. The man died 10 years ago and one of his sons inherited the photo.

Of course the right's blogs pick it up... eliciting the comments that give voice to what we are all supposed to think:
It just another affirmation that the Kennedy's were PIGS and they lived a life of LIES. They then FORCED their disgusting liberalism on Conservative Americans while professing to live the life of good Catholics while living the life of TRASH!

But now in the age of the internet these kinds of things get exposed and we all find out pretty quickly.
In reality, the photo appeared in story about Playboy's "Charter Yacht Party: How to Have a Ball on the Briny with an Able-Bodied Complement of Ship's Belles." As seen in the below page from the November 1967 issue, the Playboy photo is in color. The "Exclusive" TMZ image is the same photo, just reproduced in black and white.
So, was it up on Drudge and pulled down, or hadn't they put it up yet. Is the Washington Times quickly pulling a front-page story? Will Limbaugh talk about it anyway? Will it become another conservative "truth?"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:36 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

December 15, 2009

This Health Reform Bill Is Political Suicide

I posted this earlier at Open Left

Back in July I wrote here, in Democrats Had Better Find Hiding Places

I said it the other day, and I feel the need to repeat it: the public does not yet understand that the government is about to order people to buy health insurance, with their own money. Yes, the government is about to order people to cough up hundreds of dollars a month each.

When the Republicans start using their toxic message-machine magic on this, and the public starts to understand that they are being ordered by the government to cough up a huge amount of money every month, Democrats had better have good hiding places, because things are going to get really bad out there.

This is the kind of policy that results when "centrist" Democrats give in to to the demands of Republicans and big corporations and the top 1% of the wealthy. Instead of just taxing the wealthy and corporations at reasonable rates and using the money to provide We, the People with health care -- thereby vastly improving the economy for ... the wealthy and big corporations -- they instead come up with a scheme to order regular people to pay for health insurance because they don't already have it because they can't afford it.

Now it is December and the current health care reform bill orders everyone to buy very expensive insurance from the big corporations, with no public option and no Medicare buy-in. Even if you are in the income range where you receive subsidies you have to pay "only" 9 or 10% of your income, at a time when people are runnng up credit cards just to get by as it is. That is with the subsidies. Above that level you pay more.

The public hasn't really tuned into this yet, but if this passes and Republicans start working their toxic magic (with of course little or no organized effort by Dems to counter their lies and sell it to the public) I expect this will be as unppular as Bush's bailout of the big financial firms, which the Republicans have largely engineered the public into thinking was Obama's, just as they did with the Bush deficits.

So I think that when all these factors come into play for the next election, passing this will turn out to be suicide for the Democrats who hold office. They don't see that because at this point are in a mindset that the public wants them to just get it over with and pass anything.

But this is bad beyond just the next election.

Here is the larger problem: the public is going to judge US - progressives, liberals, Democrats, etc. - based on what these clucks pass.

This health "reform" bill plays right into decades of conservative/corporate propaganda about liberals and their policies - and government in general. Republicans will sell it as "big government ordering you around and reaching into your pocket" and the corporate media will echo that until everyone sees it that way. There won't be a word explaining that this money actually goes to big corporations, it will be about everyone losing the insurance they have and how people will soon be paying big money to a "government insurance bureaucracy." (Are we going to counter this by saying, "well, no, actually it goes to big corporations not government"?)

And, frankly, why should the public ever again listen to anyone left of John McCain after this, if this is what happens when Democrats get power? It is just wrong to use that power to order everyone to shell out a huge amount of money - while Wall Street hands out billions of taxpayer dollars as bonuses. They will be portrayed as confirming what the right has been saying about "liberals" they use the power of the state to order people to follow elitist schemes - which is exactly what this is, a scheme where elite people with power decide what is good for the rest of us - mandates are important because you can't cover pre-existing without them, etc. THIS is where a President is supposed to be a leader come in and insist on broader guidelines with a veto threat.

What I am most afraid of is what will happen when Republicans start making up shit about what passed, while people feel no immediate benefit. It doesn't take effect right away so it will just be this looming, terrifying, expensive "big government" program coming at people in a few years that is going to cost everyone a lot of money and ruin our health care system. Without sufficient immediate benefits that people feel, on the scale of free insurance for everyone, the Republicans will have lots of time to just make up shit about what is coming if they don't vote for Republicans so they can repeal it.

Unless you're pretty sure that Repubilcans wouldn't do that, wouldn't just make shit up to scare people. If you're like Senate Democrats who seem to think that, don't worry about this.

Here is what I am talking about. Last night I was driving and heard on the radio that there will be a 15-year jail term if you don't buy this government insurance. The announcer also said the bill bans things like Snickers bars, and that there is funding in the bill for government to come in and check your house for unhealthy food, as the liberals define it.

That is what I heard on the radio last night. This is what's out there now -- just the beginning of the 2010 election mantra.

And what are we going to do, explain that it isn't a 15-year jail term, only a big fine?

The bigger picture - the sellout.

Isn't this mandate to buy insurance really just another form of privatization of a pubilc service? In this case it is maintaining a privatization-by-refusing-to-provide. Most other countries provide health care as a right - a core function of government. But here privateers have seized it for themselves for profit. So to maintain this, to keep taxes low for the rich and keep the profits privatized we are ordered to buy it from companies instead of having it provided as a government service. This is the battle between democracy and plutocracy.

If this bill is passed and signed (progressives can filibuster, too) it means that Democrats as a party have abdicated their role as defenders of democracy against the forces of organized wealth.

Wrap it up

I hate to say this but money flowing out of big corporations has outmaneuvered the public good once again. If we don't pass a health care bill the Democrats have done little to show the public the value of showing up and electing Democrats: there is very high unemployment, no one has been held accountable for the crimes and corruption of the Bush years and Wall Street got and kept their bonuses after crashing the economy - $140 billion just this year. But if we do pass this, the way it is, it's even worse. And the joke is that this fix we're in is being engineered by a bunch of lobbyists!

So I'm with Chris,

I don't intend to help this bill pass. If progressives get backstabbed by Lieberman and then ordered to cave at the finish line, then as far as I am concerned the White House has made its own bed with this. They can try and pass the bill, but they are going to have to do it on their own. I'm not helping. In fact, I kind of just want to hang out in the tall grass for a while and plot my revenge.
But I am also trying to sound a warning, to wake up Democratic leadership and try to head off this disaster. Pass a good bill, not an insurance lobbyist's dream.

Tell me again, why was "Medicare-For-All" off the table? All of this complicated, 2000-page jumble of backroom deals and mandates and confusing formulas is to avoid just giving the people what they want - health care. And the reason it was off the table was to avoid being called "socialst."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:07 PM | Comments (5) | Link Cosmos

November 16, 2009

Washington Times Against Protectionism Before They Were For It

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.

President Obama is visiting Asia, and is blasted over and over about America's supposedly "protectionist" policies.

"China on Monday accused the United States of increasing protectionism..."
Think about it, the country with the massive trade surplus accuses the country with the massive trade deficit of being "protectionist." Call it The Audacity Of Projection.

Our trade opponents have learned that all they have to do is shout the word “protectionist” and their American enablers will quickly run from doing anything that might help American companies and workers. But what happens later, when the consequences start hitting home? Do the "free trade" shouting, foreign-competition enablers take the blame and accept responsibility when Amercan dollars are spent overseas and American workers lose jobs and American factories close? Who could have known that they would point the finger at the President instead of themselves?

Here is what I am talking about:

On February 8, 2009, during the debate over the stimulus package, the conservative Washington Times joined the "free trade" chorus, denouncing the package's proposed "Buy American" requirements as the same kind of "protectionism" that conservative mythology says caused the Great Depression: EDITORIAL: How to cause a depression,

...Tucked within the economic stimulus bill the House passed last week was a clause requiring state and local public works agencies to buy American iron and steel for their reconstruction projects, and the Senate expanded it to all manufactured goods.

[. . .] The stimulus bill has a way to go before it reaches Mr. Obama's desk, but if strong "buy American" mandates are present at that time, he will have no choice but to veto the bill. Otherwise, he will be forever known as Barack H. (Hoover or Hawley) Obama.

Conservative free-traders got what they demanded. In response to these and other cries of “protectionism!” the Senate backed away from the Buy American clause, changing it to vague language requiring that the money be spent in ways consistent with existing treaties.

Since this wording gives the President some discretion in how the money is spent conservatives started demanding the President spend it ... outside of the country. For example, a Washington Times editorial on March 24, EDITORIAL: The Mexican-American War of 2009, ended by blasting President Obama for wanting American stimulus dollars to stimulate America's economy:

"Wasn't Mr. Obama going to be the "international" president who was going to get the rest of the world to love us? The path to improving relations does not involve destroying jobs in other countries as well as in our own."
So now it turns out that many stimulus dollars are being spent according to the wishes of the "free trade" conservatives, with money to purchase wind turbines creating jobs in Europe and China, and who could have known, the very same free-trade conservatives are JUST OUTRAGED that President Obama is sending American stimulus dollars out of the country! For example, a Washington Times editorial on November 13, EDITORIAL: Stimulus creates jobs in China, begins,
Of the $1 billion in clean-energy stimulus money spent since the beginning of September, $850 million has gone to foreign wind companies. It doesn't take a bunch of experts at a hastily planned "jobs summit" to discover this isn't the way to bolster employment in America.

Indeed, the 11 U.S. wind farms that received stimulus money from the Treasury have imported 695 of the 982 wind turbines to be installed, creating 4,500 jobs overseas. That's far more overseas work than the stimulus money has created in the United States.

Yes, how DARE they not require that American stimulus dollars be spent in America! This from the very same Washington Times editors who earlier in the year demanded exactly that.

Who could have known that conservatives would attack President Obama for the consequences of giving in to conservative demands??!! The Washington Times was against protectionism before they were for it. Call it The Audacity Of Hypocrisy.

The lesson to be learned here is to stop listening to these conservative, "free trade" clowns. They are only interested in making the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us and will say whatever advances that goal. We should start just doing what is right for the country, our workers, our factories, our companies and our jobs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:30 PM | Comments (3) | Link Cosmos

November 3, 2009

Fight Clean Energy Smears

Take a look at Fight Clean Energy Smears!

The site looks at the smears and front groups that are working to keep good climate policy from passing.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:09 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 15, 2009

The Next Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory

This is going to sound really weird, but read it, and then come back in a few days and tell me if I was right. The next right-wing conspiracy theory is that Obama is controlling the TV-show companies and using them to control people's minds and get everyone to go join the communist party ... or something.

You have to know how they think to get this one. The prequel is that story about the group of kids in a school who were videotaped singing a song about helping the President. The video got onto YouTube and the wingnuts turned it into a conspiracy theory about "indoctrination." And they hold tea-party-style protests outside of the school now. And, of course, FOX News pushes the whole thing over and over.

So here is the new nutcase conspiracy theory. Between Oct 19 and 25 several TV shows are going to promote volunteerism and service. Therefore you are all going to be forced to join the communist party.

Wow. Get it?


OK, volunteerism and service are ... wait for it ... liberal. Apparently if you click on the website that the shows put up to promote voluneering, you can find AARP, which is a liberal conspiracy.

Yes,that is what they are claiming. Go see for yourself. LEAKED NETWORK MEMO REVEALS: Obama Controls Your Television Set:

But this year there are a couple new strangers in town: “Volunteerism” and “Service.” You’ve heard of them. Their names have been bandied everywhere since President Obama took office...

... suggested topics pitched to an overwhelmingly left-of-center group: Education, health, environment, the economy and lastly — almost as an afterthought as some kind of “bi-partisan” cover – support for military families.

PART II: Search and Ye Shall Find…Left-Wing Advocacy:

The plan is to weave volunteerism and service into the plots of their shows and then, ultimately, encourage viewers to get up off their sofas and go to a handful of web pages that are meant to provide opportunities for service. ... these seemingly benign volunteer search engines often seem to be Trojan Horses for controversial, left-wing causes.

The October 19-25 “I Participate” campaign broadcast on all four major television networks for a full week of programming will point viewers to www.iparticipate.org (as mentioned in Ashton’s tweet) and the AARP’s www.createthegood.com web sites.

. . . When I clicked for more info I found out that the phone bank listing was a month old, but there was a handy link for other opportunities to serve Planned Parenthood...

... if you are in, say, Virginia and want to volunteer on an environmental project, the very first opportunity you get is to volunteer as a Global Warming Ambassador.

It continues like that.

Volunteering and heping others is a communist plot.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:18 PM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

September 22, 2009

ACORN Called Police - Update

Earlier I posted that an ACORN employee called the police on the "pimp & ho" featured in the videos everyone has been seeing. That was in National City, CA, near San Diego.

It turns out that ACORN employees also called police in Philadelphia.

AND ACORN employees in San Bernadino called the police [PDF].

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:19 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

ACORN Worker DID Report Pimp & Ho To Police

Police: ACORN worker in video reported couple:

Police say a worker with the activist group ACORN who was caught on video giving advice about human smuggling to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute had reported the incident to authorities.

Wanna guess how widely this is reported?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:17 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

RW Blogger Says Electing Black Man Bad For Race Relations

Just look at this nonsense, prominently featured at the Republican TownHall site: John Hawkins : 5 Reasons Obama's Election Is Bad For Race Relations

Against this backdrop came Barack Obama with an unspoken promise: elect me as President and America can put race in the rear view mirror once and for all. After all, if Americans elected a black President, how racist could the country really be?

[. . .] With black Americans, race comes first. If white Americans felt the same way, there's certainly no way that Barack Obama could ever have been elected President.

[. . .] Too many people have used racism as an all-purpose excuse for their failures in life. But, after a black man with mediocre qualifications rose all the way up to the become President of the United States, it seems natural to ask how much of an impediment race can really be in America?

[. . .] Barack Obama is playing an extremely cynical game with the race card. ... He doesn't ask his supporters to stop crying "racism." So, everyone who opposes him politically gets smeared as a racist, while he doesn't have to personally get his hands dirty. For a cynical, sleazy, manipulative politician, it's the best of both worlds. For the rest of the country, it's an ugly game that serves the country poorly.

. . . Obama is a bumbling, corrupt, megalomaniacal train wreck who has been a disaster at home and a weakling abroad. He can already legitimately be compared to the worst Presidents in American history -- yet, his approval rating with black Americans is still above 90%.

How healthy is it for the country to have 92% of black Americans approving of the job Obama is doing while only 42% of white Americans approve?

It is weird how color is the only thing Republicans seem to be able to see. That and the color of big-corporate money..

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:25 AM | Comments (2) | Link Cosmos

September 16, 2009

Fight Clean Energy Smears

Take a look at Fight Clean Energy Smears!.

Who's behind the smears? What are the facts of the particular smears?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:23 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 28, 2009

Fox Never Stops

I turn on Fox and they have someone standing in front of the Kennedy service, talking about Chappaquiddick.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:05 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

August 27, 2009

Obama Hunting Licenses - Idaho Repub. Gov. Candidate

This is pretty serious. This is indicative of a culture developing around the idea of assassinating Obama: BlueOregon: Look out teabaggers, birthers and deathers, the eliminationists are going to upstage you

From Oregon's Spain comes a story in which Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell pops off about buying an "Obama tag":

After an audience member shouted a question about "Obama tags" during a discussion on wolves, Rammell responded, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

Rammell later tried to couch his words as a joke, but apparently not enough of a joke to keep him from sending out a press release bragging about saying it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:48 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 10, 2009

Fox Now Pushing Euthenasia Story

Here is a clip from Fox, promoting the story that kids in wheelchairs will be put to death by Obama's health care plan, with an additional incitement that Pelosi is sending thugs to visit people at night to threaten them. "The elderly will be discarded" etc...

Go watch: 'Concerned father' on Fox: Obama's health-care reforms 'sentencing our families to death' | Crooks and Liars.

Watch all the way to the end. There is no question they are trying to rile people up to an extreme degree and incite violence now.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:30 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

August 9, 2009

An Email I Received: Grandmas and Unborn Babies Face Extermination by Obama

This is how stupid they think people are:

Grandmas and Unborn Babies Face Extermination by Obama's "Health" Care Plan

Investors Business Daily has just exposed the Achilles' heel of Obamacare, that hostile, socialist government takeover of your hospital, doctors, children, and grandparents. In an editorial entitled, "How House Bill Runs Over Grandma," the editors report how President Obama was personally confronted by a North Carolina woman asking if "everyone that's Medicare age will be visited and told they have to decide how they wish to die."

In response Obama joked that he hadn't yet hired enough bureaucrats to conduct such an operation, yet he could not deny the New York Post's discovery the House bill "compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care" (pages 425-430). In other words, your grandmother will be told, when insufficient resources are rationed to young people, that her duty to die begins with mandatory "end-of-life counseling," or as Obama explained, "encourage the use of living wills" that terminate otherwise salvageable lives prematurely through signed "do not resuscitate" (DNR) legal releases.

1) EUTHANASIA is the first result of Obama's socialist government "health" care plan.

Bankrupt state can't afford to pay for grandma's hip replacement? Obama's plan sends her a lawyer to make her sign a DNR, explaining her hastened duty to die, and obtaining her signature legally absolving him of all guilt. Euthanasia begins where capitalism ends.

... Widely respected Minister Rick Joyner wrote this week, after reviewing Mat Staver's analysis of H.R. 3200 "Health" care bill, voicing his strong opinion that this bill "is about euthanasia, the power to determine who lives or dies in America. Hitler and Stalin would have loved to have had a means such as this for dispatching the millions they killed-it would have made their job much easier, and probably given them the ability to kill many more than they did. THIS BILL IS THAT SINISTER. This is not a joke."

. . . 3) Obama will REMOVE Christian prayers and symbols from Government-run hospitals

The hostile socialist government takeover of Catholic or Christian hospitals will eventually result in atheistic silencing of religious expression (and removing all Christian symbols) from the very place where faith in God is critical to sick and dying patients. For example, look at the Veterans Hospitals, already government-run, who are busy removing crosses and Christian symbols from their chapels (like in Iowa), because easily-offended atheist complainers have successfully intimidated hospital administrators with threats of lawsuit, by demanding separation of church and state. Just imagine more atheist lawsuits, when all Catholic and Christian hospitals are seized in the same way Obama took control of General Motors, inviting easily-offended atheist complainers to demand we change the name of the hospital from "St. Luke's Memorial" to the "Obama Government" hospital, falsely claiming tax-dollars cannot subsidize religion. But if St. Luke's refuses government subsidies, they will be drummed out of business, and Christian doctors' licenses revoked.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:51 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

August 8, 2009

Death Panels Prove Barack Obama Murdered Vince Foster

The mystery is solved: Barack Obama murdered Vince Foster.

It should have been obvious all along. Of course Hillary could not have murdered Vince Foster in a secret "love nest" apartment. She had her agent Barack Obama do it for her. And Barack Obama put Vince Foster's body into the trunk of a car and drove it to the park where it was "found".

Barack Obama was also secretly smuggling cocaine from an airstrip in Arkansas. He held up traffic at the LA Airport while he got a $500 haircut. He fired the people in the Travel Office so he could give the job to a cousin. He sold plots in Arlington National Cemetery. He accepted secret money from China and transferred out nuclear secrets to the Chinese government.

Barack Obama betrayed us at Yalta.

Now Barack Hussein Obama is setting up Death Panels. This is the whole purpose, the culmination of the plan, the final chapter of health insurance reform, of killing Vince Foster, of smuggling cocaine and selling cemetery plots and taking over the travel office and selling nuclear secrets to China and engaging in the Whitewater scheme and shredding the Rose Law Firm files and crossing the border during the Korean War, and putting the microfilm in the pumpkin: It was, along with George Soros the Jew and other Hell-Demons, to finance the takeover so he could finally set up Death Panels across the country where the true American Patriots will be tried and summarily executed so that the Socialist Elders of the demon-gogs could ARISE and control our minds and sell our ports, and sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids, and put Big Government Labor Bosses over the Silent Majority when he hypnotized the weak from his Pergamon Altar Nazi Pulpit Greek columns in Denver! It is OBVIOS!

Barack Obama has a lot to answer for.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:40 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

July 31, 2009

The Outer Limits!

You think the birthers are over the edge? Here comes the new smear, people:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:49 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

58% Of Republicans Think Obama Not A Citizen Or Not Sure


Disturbing results from a new poll: Only 42 percent of Republicans believe President Obama is a citizen. 28 percent think he's not, and 30 percent say they're not sure.

Overall, the poll -- conducted by Daily Kos and Research 2000 -- found that overwhelming majorities of Democrats and independents do believe Obama's a citizen. 93 percent of self-identified Democrats, along with 83 percent of independents, gave that answer. Four percent of Democrats and eight percent of independents said they think the president is not a citizen.

Here's the thing. EVEN IF HE WAS BORN IN KENYA he would still be a citizen, because his mother was American. Dumbasses.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:52 AM | Comments (8) | Link Cosmos

May 23, 2009

Republicans Insulting Women As Usual

Taylor Marsh has the latest: RNC Tags Pelosi '€˜Pussy Galore'€™ in Video,

At the end it says “Democrats Galore.” Imposed with a naked woman behind the tag line. Get it? Subtle it is not. But check out the video at around :40 seconds; a split screen that says it all. “Pussy Galore” is shown with “Starring Nancy Pelosi the Speaker” over “Pussy’s” image.
Go see the video.

Taylor adds,

That a woman, let alone Speaker of the House, should never be hinted to in any public way through the use of “Pussy” insinuations should be obvious. That this is being used by a once major political party in the 21st century is stunning.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:30 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 26, 2009

On Jerry Brown’s Campaign For California Governor

He was called “Moonbeam” and mocked, but he was right, and we were right, and the country needs to come to terms with this this so we can move on and finally DO right.

Jerry Brown was Governor of California from 1975 to 1983. He was a symbol of “the 60’s” even though it was the 70's, because he came from the times, cared about the issues of the times, spoke the language of the times and governed for the people, from the times. He opposed the Vietnam war. He talked about protecting the environment and conserving energy and providing education and "Buddhist economics." He fought corporate power and sued large corporations, particularly in the area of campaign finance. He was right.

For taking these positions Jerry was called "Moonbeam" and mocked for advocating things that we now all understand were correct and necessary. It is 30 years later and the country needs to get past that mocking of the people who were right. But the mocking and obstruction by entrenched interests are still in the way of letting us move on and do the things we need to do for the economy, the country, and the planet.

Now Jerry is again running for Governor of California and I think this is important to our current national conversation at a time when we must come to terms with the reasons that we have waited 30 years to start doing something about major problems. Jerry’s campaign will force a conversation that will clarify for the country that the "dirty hippies" were right, that we need to learn to ignore the mocking that is a primary weapon of the corporate right, that we need to take care of the planet, that we need to take care of each other, that we need to be in charge of the corporations, not the other way around.

In his speech to the California Democratic Convention he talked about how 30 years ago he changed California's energy policies, and how the result has been that California has barely increased its energy use since while the rest of the country has. He talk about a number of things like this, but what most resonated with me was when he talked about how we educate kids. The current emphasis on testing is stifling the creativity of kids. He says we need to bring back education that stimulates creativity. Wow -- how long since I have heard "60's" talk that's so right?! Talk that recognizes our humanity and says that we are not just cogs in a corporate machine. Who talks about these things today?

A few years ago, when Jerry was running for Attorney General, I wrote,

I've loved Jerry Brown since his 1992 campaign for President. During that campaign he proposed boosting the economy and helping the energy/pollution/Middle East problem with a national program to hire unemployed people to retrofit buildings to be energy efficient. Imagine if we had done that! So now 13 years later we have the Apollo Alliance but Jerry doesn't seem to get much credit for being so far ahead on this.

A few years before that I wrote,

In the 1992 campaign Jerry Brown made a suggestion that I haven't forgotten. He suggested putting the unemployed to work retrofitting buildings and homes to be energy efficient. It requires an up-front investment but it returns a more efficient economy (everyone paying less for energy) and national energy independence as a foreign policy bonus. Meanwhile all those unemployed people are getting and spending paychecks, boosting the economy. It helps everyone but the oil companies. Oh. I guess not, then.
I don’t know right now if Brown can or should win and this is not an endorsement. But I think this is a conversation that we all need to have and learn from.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:03 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 22, 2009

Fraught With Meaning

Headline at Drudge Report: "Why does Obama smile at dictators?"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:33 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

April 12, 2009

Obama's Deficits

1) The current massive budget deficit is Obama's fault, not the Republicans', because Obama has been president for ten weeks.

2) The massive spending on unemployment compensation and food stamps is Obama's responsibility, not the Republicans', because Obama has been president for ten weeks.

3) By the same token, the massive spending on bailing out and backing up the financial system is Obama's responsibility, not the Republicans', because Obama has been president for ten weeks.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:01 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

March 20, 2009

Obama - Two Months

President Obama was sworn in two months ago. Here's a short clip from Media matters about the "honeymoon" he enjoyed:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:56 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

March 14, 2009

Is President Obama A Socialist?

Is President Obama a "socialist?"

During the campaign this accusation was everywhere. According to Google there are currently 4,700,000 sites on the web with the words "Obama" and "Socialist." A couple of pre-election examples: Obama’s International Socialist Connections "Blogger Steve Bartin, who has been following Obama's career and involvement with the Chicago socialists, has uncovered a fascinating video showing Obama campaigning for openly socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.", Is Obama a socialist? "Obama has declared that he believes every person has a "right" to health care. The Socialist Party USA believes every person has a "right" to health care."

As silly as those pre-election accusations were, now it is Republican leaders making the claim that President Obama is a socialist,

Obama's plans are "one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment," asserts House minority leader John Boehner. He's "the world's best salesman of socialism," says Republican Senator Jim DeMint.
Never mind that Republicans don't even know that "socialism" means public ownership of the means of production, operated for the benefit of society and the people-at-large instead of for the profit of a select few. Of course, no one is talking about that, not even the Republicans making the direct "socialist" accusations. They mean something they call "European-style socialism,"
The five-term Republican said that he has gotten praise from his constituents for opposing the stimulus and warned that the country may succumb to "European-style socialism."

As we all know, when Republicans get on a talking point, they all get on it, almost as if someone were telling them to. Other examples of recent Republican accusations that Obama is taking us to "European-style socialism," here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and I'm only stopping because my fingers are getting tired.

So, let's take a look at whether Obama meets the Republican definition of a "European-style socialist" by comparing what we have in the U.S. to some of the things that "socialist" Europe offers to its citizens: (Note - Europe is not socialist...)

National health care system assuring every citizen has equal access to quality care? NO.

Five-six weeks mandatory vacation for everyone? NO.

Extended maternal leave for new parents? NO.

Day care provided for children? NO.

Fair(er) wages for all workers? NO.

Shorter, less stressful working hours? NO.

More even distribution of the benefits of the economy? NO.

Government services for citizens instead of a select few. NO.

Retirement at a relatively young age? NO.

Retirement with a good pension? NO.

Citizens having a say in how the economy is managed? NO.

Citizens protected from predatory corporations? NO.

So, even though the accusation was absurd on the face of it, even comparing Obama's policies to some of the "socialist" things offered to the people in Europe, Obama is not a socialist.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:54 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

February 27, 2009

Senator calls Obama 'world’s best salesman of socialism'

For the second time in as many days, a prominent Republican has likened Pres. Obama's policies to socialism.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Another prominent Republican told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday that the president’s spending plans are pushing the country to the brink of socialism.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the only member of the senate to earn a perfect rating from the American Conservative Union, called President Obama “the world’s best salesman of socialism” on Friday in describing his prime time speech earlier this week.

Socialism is the new GOP meme word for the successful execution of democracy in America by the people.

The strategy is brilliant and the Dems are clueless as to how to respond, and in fact have been caught flat footed.

The GOP machine has won another important battle on another important front in the war to control the terms of the discussion.

Posted by Ron Sheridan at 10:43 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

February 7, 2009

Say Anything Is Back

Republicans are back to a 'say anything' policy. The more outrageous the lie, the more effect it has on their audience.

WorldNetDaily headline, huge, bold letters: Stimulus to ban religious worship

Another: Stimulus could supply illegals with 300,000 jobs

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:25 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

January 22, 2009

NEVER Enough For The Wingnuts

Yesterday in Wingnuts Can Relax I wrote,

The right-wing clownosphere was trying to claim that Obama is not really President because the Chief Justice screwed up the Oath of Office. So, to shut them up, Obama takes presidential oath again after stumble

Not so fast. SCREAMING HEADLINE at Drudge Report:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:17 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 21, 2009

Wingnuts Can Relax

The right-wing clownosphere was trying to claim that Obama is not really President because the Chief Justice screwed up the Oath of Office. So, to shut them up, Obama takes presidential oath again after stumble.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:18 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

November 4, 2008

Mandate For Socialism!

John McCain and the Republicans and the entire conservative machine told the country that Barack Obama is a socialist and the most liberal member of the Senate, and the country responded by voting the guy into office in a landslide.

So we have a huge popular mandate for socialism and extreme liberalism.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:46 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

The Guy In The Black Panther Costume

For the heck of it I turned on FOX News. They've got a guy dressed up in a Black panther costume standing out in front of a polling place in Philadelphia. It's hilarious.

And they're running with this over and over, and they have commentators on talking about it, and this is their big Election-Day national news story. NATIONAL!

They get a guy to dress up in a Black Panther costume and they can run with that ALL DAY???

The fear is just palpable. The terror.

I'm already duct-taping all my windows.

Update - Oh my God, they've got this headlined at Drudge! They get a guy dressed up in a Black Panther costume, a few days after Halloween, and they try to make this a national news hissy fit! I'm afraid to check the right-wing blogs.

Update - Yep, no fewer than 30 right-wing outlets are headlining this NATIONAL story, that a guy dressed up in a Black Panther costume is standing in front of a polling place somewhere. (I only referenced some of them here.)

Update - Of course, Limbaugh ran with it, a guy dressed up in a Black panther costume, for his millions of fans...

SERIOUSLY stuck in the 60's!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:37 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 31, 2008

McCain Robo-Call Script Ideas The Were Rejected

McCain's Rejected Robo-Call Scripts,

"Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama talks during movies. During a recent screening of The Dark Knight, Barack Obama irritated several pro-America patrons when he echoed the famous 'Why so serious?' line to his wife, Michelle, who hasn't always been proud of being an American, much like the Joker. ...
"Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama doesn't use his turn signal when he merges onto a freeway.
There's much more, go read.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:45 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

October 29, 2008

One Of The Worst?

This is one -- just one -- of the sleaziest Republican smear/deceit ads this year. Sen. Dole in North Carolina hires a voice impersonator to sound like her opponent, to say "There is no God" in an ad, saying her opponent "took godless money."

Wow. That's really creepy. And Sen. Dole apparently thinks North Carolina voters are really, really stupid. Is she right?

One thing that comes out of this election: I think it has become pretty obvious what the Republican Party is about. They say nasty and things to trick people who don't follow the news into voting for them, and then they hand over public money to a few wealthy corporation owners who fund all of this.

I think people are starting to become well-enough aware of this game to start doing something about it. ONE thing would be to stop allowing a few people to use corporate resources to influence our politics. It isn't corporations that are the problem, it is this abiloity of a few people to access corporate resources and use them to subvert democracy.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 22, 2008

Race Boating

Great name for what the Republicans are doing: Race Boating.

Go read Open Left:: Race Boating: Swift Boat Backer Funds Racist Mail.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 18, 2008

Video On McCain Robocall Smears

This video plays one of the nasty smear robocalls that McCain and the Republicans are blasting around the country in these days before the election. Obama is a terrorist, etc.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:59 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Election - Final Stretch

We're about to see the full force power and fury of the right-wing machine unleashed. I'm not so sure Obama will keep his lead through the next phase, or if there will be a country when they're done.

The RNC and the McCain campaign has been accusing Obama and Democrats of being "un-American" or "anti-American" and "dangerous" and "terrorists" and anything they can think of. Today McCain said Obama's tax policies are "Socialist." Across the country the first phase of robo-calls has started, with nasty smears, lies, fear-mongering and you-name-it being pumped into people's homes at all hours.

It is only going to get worse. And then it will get worse. And then it will get really nasty. The next two weeks will go down in history. The corporate right faces the prospect of the people bringing them back under control, and a look at where all the money went. The authoritarian right faces investigations for torture and war crimes. The party operatives face jail time for illegal politicization of the entire government. They will not go without a huge fight.

I really don't know where things will go in the next two weeks, but keep up your spirits, and fight back.

And, of course, watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:31 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

October 17, 2008

Republican Persecution Lust

Republicans want everyone to feel sorry for them all the time. They lust to feel persecuted. Here's an example. Some 7th-graders call another 7th-grader a racist. This brings headlines across the Republican universe. Featured at Fox and Drudge, echoed within minutes across the right-wing whine machine:

Girl called racist for wearing Palin t-shirt,

She's only 12 years old but Ashleigh Jones is feeling the heat of this election year.

That’s because the seventh grader at New Smyrna Beach Middle School was called a racist by classmates for wearing a pro-Sarah Palin t-shirt.

Oh poor, poor, picked-on Republicans. I weep for their sacrifice.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 14, 2008

Tell McCain Palin To Stop Using Politics Of Hate

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 12, 2008

More Threats To Kill Obama

This is at a popular right-wing blog. Warning you will need a strong stomach to see this. It is a photo of Obama and a noose and the words "The F**king Solution" - and more, with the usual nasty right-wing victim-complex justifications, all followed by some really nasty comments frok readers. Just go see for yourself.

Update It was removed there, but it is still up here. Update - It's gone there too. Good riddance. Also, I have learned that the one posted at Say Anything was a reader blog, and not from the bloggers at that site. I want to point that out, the blog itself was not responsible.

Update - The whole thing is covered here.

The original post continues:

This had better get the Secret Service involved fast.

And just to document where this stuff is heading, this at Fox news Forums, whipping people up that Obama is rigging the election by accusing ACORN of "vote fraud" even though there has never been a single fraudulent vote cast as a result of voter-registration mistakes.

It makes your everyday smear look almost trivial...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:13 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Palin's Accusation That Obama is A Terrorist

Sarah Palin repeatedly accuses Obama of having various "ties" to terrorists, and pretty buch of being a terrorist himself.

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans Accuse it is a good idea to see if it is what THEY are really doing. The accusation serves as an inoculation. It works like this: Billy steals a cookie from the cookie jar. Billy runs to mommy and tells her Bobby took a cookie. Bobby responds with "No, mommy, Billy did it." This gets Bobby is serious trouble, and Billy gets away scott-free -- plus a cookie.

So of course an investigation into Sarah Palin reveals ... you guessed it. A DailyKos post explains, and David Neiwert has a summary at his blog:
# That Gov. Palin, when a Wasilla city council member, formed an alliance with some of the more radical far-right citizens in Wasilla and vicinity, particularly members of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party who were allied with local John Birch Society activists. These activists played an important role in her election as Wasilla mayor in 1996.

# Once mayor, one of Mrs. Palin’s first acts was to attempt to appoint one of these extremists (a man named Steve Stoll) to her own seat on the city council. This was a man with a history of disrupting city council meetings with intimidating behavior. She was blocked by a single city council member.

# Afterward, Mrs. Palin fired the city’s museum director at the behest of this faction.

# She fomented an ultimately successful effort to derail a piece of local gun-control legislation which would simply have prohibited the open carry of firearms into schools, liquor stores, libraries, courthouses and the like. The people recruited to shout this ordinance down included these same figures, notably the local AIP representative (who became the AIP’s chairman that same year).

# She remained associated politically with the local AIP/Birch faction throughout her tenure as mayor on other issues, particularly a successful effort to amend the Alaska Constitution to prohibit local governments from issuing any local gun-control ordinances.

But really, what did you expect?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 10, 2008

How Low Can McCain Go?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

WHY Are Republicans Accusing ACORN Of Voter Fraud?

The Republican noise machine is going absolutely full-force after ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), accusing them of committing vote fraud on a massive scale. You can't turn on the radio or TV without hearing that millions of illegal votes will be cast for Obama because of ACORN's massive vote fraud. If you Google "Acorn" and "rigging" you get over 50,000 hits.

The Republican National Committee website is headlining the effort. And they are issuing accusation press releases all day, every day, to drive this effort. They have a "fact sheet" listing numerous accusations.

Here's the thing: ACORN is registering voters and is REQUIRED BY LAW to submit voter reg forms as the voter fills them out. Even so, the total "fraudulent" registrations they are accused of submitting nationwide is very low, maybe a few thousand. This is across the entire country when they have registered more than 1.3 million new voters. And this is all about registration forms that are filled out wrong by the voter, not ACORN, or a voter submitting more than one registration. This is what all the noise is about.

This is the key thing to know: None of these faulty registrations are capable of resulting in a single fraudulent vote. The problem is ACORN workers turning in forms that were filled out wrong, in some cases by the workers themselves to make it look like they were working when they weren't. But vote fraud? The most common problems is duplication but if someone fills out 12 registrations, they're still only goign to vote once. It is up to county election officials, not ACORN to worry about election fraud. And on a call today with ACORN they pointed out that while there are bad registration forms submitted, there is not one case of a person commiting actual vote fraud as a result of ACORN's efforts. Not one, ever, anywhere.

So the question is, why? Why the huge hissy fit over ACORN?

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans accuse, it is because it is what they are doing themselves.

Working on the Election Protection Wiki I am seeing more and more accusations of a massive nationwide effort to throw millions of voters off of the registration lists, and otherwise keep them from voting. One example accusation: states like Florida are purging voters whose names do not exactly match their Social Security or drivers license, so "Bob" on one and "Robert" on another disqualifies them from voting. Another, across the country the Republicans are accused of mailing faulty absentee voter applications to Democrats -- they have incorrect addresses for sending the application, or when they can send them in they are thrown out for various reasons to do with the forms. Another: across the country students are being told they can't vote. These are just a few examples -- you may have heard that some states are even throwing people off voter registration roles if their homes are foreclosed.

Could THIS be why there are so many accusations against ACORN? To provide cover for the REAL voting scam that is going on?

Among the accusations is that they have "employed convicts to register people." That sure SOUNDS bad, but so what? Also among the crimes they are accused of is submitting duplicate registrations for voters. Here is the thing to keep in mind, when a duplicate registration is submitted, the person is registered once and the duplicates are thrown out. Again, so what?

ACORN is an organization that helps poor and minority communities. One thing ACORN does is organize people to vote. They have submitted over 1.3 million new voter registrations this year. From their website,

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities.
This sounds exactly like something Repubicans would hate. A lot.

Among the hundreds and hundreds of stories, these today:

ACORN Investigations Provide Rallying Cry for Republicans

Is Acorn Stealing the Election?

Obama Hired ACORN For GOTV

It’s time to shut down ACORN, work against voter fraud

GOP Renews Complaints Over Voter Registrations

ACORN’s Crimes

RNC: CNN Exposes How ACORN Steals Votes & Ties to Obama

Jive Turkey Rides Again

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:23 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 9, 2008

Obama, ACORN, Terrorist, Etc

McCain supporters:

This is a window into the next several years if McCain becomes President.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:04 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 7, 2008

McCain Sows, Reaps

McCain pretends Obama "associates" with terrorists. So after McCain opened the idea of associations, the press looked at McCain. The result? An AP report: McCain linked to group in Iran-Contra affair,

In the 1980s, McCain served on the advisory board to the U.S. chapter of an international group linked to ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America.

[. . .] McCain's tie to Singlaub's council is undergoing renewed scrutiny after his campaign criticized Obama for his link to Ayers, a former radical who engaged in violent acts 40 years ago.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:41 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Cultivating Prejudice, Racism, Fear and Ugliness

At their rallies McCain and Palin have been encouraging the worst from the Republican base. Accusations of "palling around with terrorists" and causing the financial crisis, and you-name-it they're accusing. Jack Turner says what needs to be said, at Jack & Jill Politics,

Everything we need to know about John McCain and Sarah Palin is summed up by their reaction to these incidents. Their positions on health care no longer matter. Their tax policies are irrelevant. Their talking points made moot. Not only do they bring out the worst in people, but they feed the worst in people. They are basing their campaign on painting Obama as a terrorist and monster. They are cultivating prejudice, racism, fear and ugliness.

America has been down this path before, and it is the exact opposite of what this country needs right now.

History awaits moments like these. We are on the brink. When a society’s pent up frustration and anger searches for an outlet, it is a leader’s job to step up and focus those wild emotions away from destruction and toward something productive. At least that is what a good leader would do. [emphasis added]

Go read the rest.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 6, 2008

Palin Gets The Reaction She's Trying For

"Kill him!", Palin supporter says of Obama in her presence. She says nothing.,

"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," Palin said.

"Boooo!" said the crowd.

"And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.

"Boooo!" the crowd repeated.

"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.

Palin went on to say that "Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers's living room, and they've worked together on various projects in Chicago."

Go read the rest. Wow.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:43 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 5, 2008

Palin's Traitor Accusation

Palin says Obama is a traitor. So maybe it's worth pointing out that Palin is associated with groups that hate America enough to call for dissolving it.

Yes, as weird and extreme as it sounds, it is really the truth. Her husband, for example, is a member of one such "secessionist" group that talks about "hatred" of America. I used the word "hatred" in quotes because it is a quote. Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans accuse, it usually means it is something THEY are doing.

Palin's Attack On Obama's Patriotism Legitimizes Questions About The Palins' Association With Group Founded By America-Hating Secessionist

Sarah Palin attacked Obama's patriotism today over his association with former Weatherman Bill Ayers -- a move that makes it perfectly legitimate to raise questions about the Palins' associations with a group founded by an Alaska secessionist who once professed his "hatred for the American government" and cursed our "damn flag."
Go read the rest.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Obama Response To Latest Smears

The Republicans are again trying to change the subject away from the economy and scare people into thinking Obama is a "terrorist." The Obama campaign has a great response:

Will it work?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:41 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 4, 2008

Palin Calls Obama A Terrorist, Traitor

Here it comes, the desperate horror show of an imploding Republican Party -- just in time for Halloween. Palin says Obama 'palling around' with terrorists

Palin told a group of donors at a private airport, "Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country." She also said, "This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America."

Palin, Alaska's governor, said that donors on a greeting line had encouraged her and McCain to get tougher on Obama. She said an aide then advised her, "Sarah, the gloves are off, the heels are on, go get to them."

So they're trying to trigger some of the far-right crazies to go after Obama. This is going to get much worse in the next month as the election approaches.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:49 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

September 28, 2008

What Caused the Financial Crisis?

There are several letters-to-the-editor and TWO op-eds in my morning paper saying that the cause of the financial crisis was Democrats forcing Fannie and Freddie to give mortgages to minorities.

It's everywhere. All over the radio, right-wing blogs, etc. This is how they do it.

P.S. And while we are on the subject of how they do it, an e-mail I just received from the "Republican Majority Campaign" titled, "Truth is Spreading about Obama's Ties to Terrorist!"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:19 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

September 26, 2008

Racism On RW Blogs

Wow. The RW blogs are over the edge, and it's still, what, about 40 days till the election? Take a look at this one:

... Barack Obama Attacked White People! ... Barack Obama was moved to tears when he heard his racist anti-American pastor blame whitey for all of the world's pain and ills. ... Here Barack Obama lashes out at the white man's greed ...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:08 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

September 17, 2008

Republicans and Blatant Racism

If you know what Townhall.com is... Townhall.com :: Obama: Lucifer Is My Homeboy

So... do you think clean campaigner McCain will denounce this?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:37 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

September 14, 2008

McCain Campaign Lie Strategy - Will It Work?

The McCain campaign is being called out on some of the lies they have been telling. The campaign spokesman says that they are in this to win and don't care what the "media filter" says.

I think we will get a test of their theory that the "media filter" doesn't matter anymore. This is to a large degree about who controls the information channels now. The conservative movement has been building to this with their well-funded "liberal media" campaign. They have they're mouthpieces like Rush constantly telling his audience not to ever believe the media. The right has a very large following. The result is that most of the public believes that the major news media is a propaganda machine for liberals and should not be trusted.

And they have the advantage that repetition of messages does work. They are running ads that say Obama will raise your taxes, force sex talk on your kindergartners and all that stuff -- even one that says Obama is the anti-Christ. They have the money to run those ads over and over on shows that lots of people watch. And they have the wealthy and corporate-backed front groups running ads and robo-calls and smear campaigns, etc. against Obama. People don't necessarily watch or believe mainstream news, but they will see these ads again and again.

So do the authoritarian conservatives have the power to override facts and "create their own reality" as they did in the lead-up to the Iraq war? I really don't know the answer and wouldn't bet my house on it either way.

Remember, tobacco company marketing is able to get people to kill themselves, but to hand over much of their money in the process. Modern marketing methods can convince almost anyone to do or believe almost anything.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:00 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 10, 2008

Republicans Just Lie -- It's What They Do

Why are Republicans just saying so much stuff that is not true? Because it works. From April 2005, They Just Say Stuff,

They say what they need to say to make the sale. If the focus groups and polls tell them to say something, they say it. That's all t is. Truth is just not a part of the calculation.
July, 2005: Seeing the Forest: Focus Group Phrases vs Reality
So here is how it works. The right-wingers hold focus groups and ask, "if we told you so-and-so, would you believe such-and-such?" And then they go out and spread the so-and-so, whatever it is, in their effort to persuade people to believe such-and-such. They find out that people don't like "activist judges," or at least react negatively to the phrase, and know that they are going to be appointing judges who are activist, so they repeat that Liberals appoint activist judges in order to get that fixed in the public's mind.

And they follow a strategy of first getting people to believe one thing, and then building on that by adding new elements that depend on the belief they previously established. This is a strategic narrative. It unfolds into a story. "Liberal activist judges" is part of an unfolding narrative of "liberals' meddling with people's daily lives. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth, but it is useful for persuading people to support right-wingers.

October, 2005, Yes, This Is The First Time In Three Decades That Republicans Were Hypocrites. Right.

It's what they do. What they said an hour ago is not relevant - it's what they needed to say then, and that was then. When they need to do something else they willl. They'll just make stuff up, lie and smear people. They'll ask focus groups if they would be against Democrats if they learned that Democrats eat dog toenails on Yugoslavian yogurt at tea time, and if the focus groups said that would turn them against Democrats, we would start hearing that Democrats eat dog toenails on Yugoslavian yogurt at teatime, and we'll hear it on the radio, and in newspapers (incuding the one that published the story referred to above), and on TV and in magazines and in anonymous e-mails, and from friends, and soon "everyone knows" that Democrats do that. And it will work. It's what they do.
So what are we expecting today -- different?

As long as We, the People let this stuff work there is no reason for them to stop.

Never mind the consequences: war, ten trillion dollars in debt, the financial system breaking down, the ice caps melting, people losing pensions and health care and houses and jobs... Look away! Never mind that! Obama tried to force kindergartners to take sex education --- even if he didn't.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:15 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Obama: Enough is Enough

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:13 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

Lies Beyond Even Bush

Reagan picked up where Nixon left off, with no apologies. Bush I picked up from there. And then George W. Bush was literally a corporate coup taking on democracy itself. But McCain? The campaign HE is running? The absolute lies? It's beyond even George W Bush!

Josh Marshall, Unfit for High Office,

It's easy to get twisted up in your head about strategy and message and optics. But what is already apparent is that John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest and race-baiting campaign of our lifetimes. So let's stopped being shocked and awed by every new example of it. It is undignified. What can we do? We've got a dangerously reckless contender for the presidency and a vice presidential candidate who distinguished her self by abuse of office even on the comparatively small political stage of Alaska. They've both embraced a level of dishonesty that disqualifies them for high office. Democrats owe it to the country to make clear who these people are. No apologies or excuses. If Democrats can say at the end of this campaign that they made clear exactly how and why these two are unfit for high office they can be satisfied they served their country.
Update - Andrew Sullivan:
In the end, his [McCain's] final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. ...

McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:15 AM | Comments (3) | Link Cosmos

September 9, 2008

Spinspotter - I Don't Trust It

When you start hearing about Spinspotter, be careful. It appears to be a set-up from a bunch of right wingers. So they're just going to say that "the media has a liberal bias."

Maybe I can be persuaded different, but working with Jonah Goldberg, the CEO of Pajamas Media and people who gave money to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a tip-off that they are either another front group or too naive to understand how the right works and will be co-opted. They have immediately discredited themselves coming out the door.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:42 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 5, 2008

Palin -- Great Leap Forward for GOP

Sarah Palin has singlehandedly dragged the image of the Republican party ahead forty years -- into the 1990s.

She comes straight out of Newt Gingrish's GOPAC, the right-wing candidate recruitment organization that introduced all the nasty insults and divisiveness that poisoned politics starting in the late 1980s and continued through the 1990s up to now. I mean literally. She IS from GOPAC and GOPAC is the organization that taught up and coming Republicans to use nasty, snide, hateful language to smear their opponents.

Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.

decay... failure (fail)... collapse(ing)... deeper... crisis... urgent(cy)... destructive... destroy... sick... pathetic... lie... liberal... they/them... unionized bureaucracy... "compassion" is not enough... betray... consequences... limit(s)... shallow... traitors... sensationalists...

That's right, the advice is to just say stuff that isn't true but sounds nasty. Follow the link to see more.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:20 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

September 3, 2008

WHO Said That?

I keep hearing that "liberals" have been saying that a woman with five kids won't have time to also have a job.

Can anyone point me to anyone, anywhere who ever said that about Palin? Or are they just making it up, the way they do, to make their base feel picked on?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:28 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 28, 2008

Please Go See Media Matters Swiftboating 2.0 Page

Click through to Swiftboating 2.0. There is an incredible chart that outlines the right's attack strategy on Obama.

As the means of communication have evolved, presidential campaigns have grown increasingly multifaceted, with each election featuring layers of complexity that were not present four years before. The most striking feature of the 2008 election may be the sheer volume and variation of the attacks being directed at Sen. Barack Obama. Though they come from many sources, arrive through a variety of media, and cover a wide range of subjects, a close examination reveals a unified thematic structure to these attacks.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:22 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 8, 2008

Quoting KKK Leaders Against Obama

Now the right is promoting the quotes of KKK leaders against Obama. And it's only August.

A headline at Drudge Report: Ex-KKK Leader: Obama Shows Whites 'Have Lost Control' Of America...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 3, 2008

Does McCain's Ad Imply Obama Is Anti-Christ?

The other day I sent people to read about how people are reacting to McCain's ad "The One." I decided to look around the web and see what is circulating about Obama. Well, these people are serious. I posted several links below so you can just go see for yourself. SOME parts of the religious right are serious about this idea that Obama is the "anti-Christ."

In my opinion, the McCain people simply have to know about the stuff that is circulating. If you read some of the stuff you realize that McCain's ad parallels it very closely. It says some of the very same things that the nuts are circulating. So if you are one of the nuts who believes this, you have received validation from the McCain campaign. There is no way around it that the ad is saying to the people receiving the anti-Christ rumors, "Hey, we're with you, we see it, too." It makes you wonder if McCain is trying to provoke the crazies into doing something to Obama.

So here is some of the stuff that is out there. Hold your nose, and be sure to read some of the comments at some of these sites.

Email circulating:

Yahaim wrote:
Obama is the Anti-Christ. This is the evidence:
1.- He will come as a man of Peace (Obama promises peace in Iraq, defeat for the US)
2.- He will come mounted on a white Female horse(Obama mother is white who had 6 African husbands)
3.- He will come to deceive( Obama says he's a Christian but in fact he was born a Muslim, practices the Islamic religion, prays Friday’s facing Mecca)
4.- He will make himself the most powerful man on earth, if elected
5.- He will try to destroy the Jewish People and Israel( Obama has said he loves the Arabs specially the Palestinians, hates Israel and Jews. Admires Hitler, Osama etc)
6.- He will present himself as good and righteous but in fact he's Satan himself. Violence is in his heart
7.- Obama will help Al Qaida in its evil projects.
8.- Barack Hussein Obama is the “King of the South” predicted in the Bible.(Daniel .11, Kenya is south of Jerusalem)
9.- Obama comes to implant muslim Sharia Law upon America.
Obama is the Anti-Christ, beware of him.
Watch him and don't let you be deceived by Him.
Supporters of Obama: 1.5 billion Muslims, Oprah, Louis Farrakanh, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and all American Muslims.
Barack Obama, Anti-Christ? (be sure to read through some of the 850+ comments)
I’m not the first one to say it, but after recently reading the beginning of the Left Behind series and the entire Christ Clone trilogy, it’s not totally wacky to compare Obama’s rise and public adulation to that of the predicted Anti-Christ’s (at least as described in those books).
Hal Lindsey at WorldNetDaily (right-wing religious types take him seriously): How Obama prepped world for the Antichrist

Could Presidential Candidate Barack Hussein Obama be the "Anti-Christ?"

Do you think Obama is the antichrist?

Barack Obama the Antichrist?

Is Barack Hussein Obama the AntiChrist?

Obama The Antichrist? Hmm.

The Liberal's Agenda - Antichrist or just anti-Christ?

Email circulating:

According to The Book of Revelations, the anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal…. the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything ….

Is it OBAMA?? I STRONGLY URGE each one of you to repost this as many times as you can! Each opportunity that you have to send it to a friend or media outlet…do it!

Glenn Beck: 'Is Obama the Antichrist?'

Is Barack Obama the Anti-Christ?

Other progressive bloggers are writing about this:

DailyKos: Obama as Forerunner to the Anti-Christ

DailyKos: McCain's Left Behind Attack

Discourse.net: New Low For McCain Campaign: Obama == The Anti-Christ

BeliefNet: New McCain Ad Implies Obama is the Anti-Christ?

Sadly, No! The Ol’ Dog Whistle Becomes An Air Raid Siren

Blog for Our Future: The Second Coming of Barack Obama

Street Prophets: New McCain Ad Depicts Obama As The Anti-Christ

Here are some of the videos circulating:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:50 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 1, 2008

Obama As Anti-Christ Smear

Just read it: Daily Kos: Obama as Forerunner to the Anti-Christ

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

The Race Card

We learned this week that the McCain campaign had two ads ready to roll after Obama's European trip. There was the one they ran, accusing Obama of playing basketball instead of visiting injured troops -- and the one they didn't run accusing Obama of visiting injured troops for political purposes.

This indicates the extent to which the McCain campaign is planning ahead, intending to play both sides of everything. And it reveals something important about yesterday's accusation by McCain that Obama is "playing the race card." It suggests that the recent racist "celebrity" ads linking Obama and white women were intended to trigger a response from Obama, so they could make this "race card" accusation.

Enabling this "race card" accusation was the real intent of the ads. This "race card" accusation lets McCain appear to be the victim while he runs racist ads. It's a twofer.

Think about the meaning of "playing the race card." The accusation that blacks "play the race card" taps into and amplifies working-class white resentment. It says that black people receive special treatment, have it easy, don't have to work, get government handouts from liberals, while the politically-correct crowd jumps all over you just for trying to point out their true nature.

Accusing Obama of "playing the race card" goes back to the old racist line that black people are always complaining, nothing is good enough for them, and if white pepole try to get what's theirs blacks will play the race card" and say you are taking from them because of their race.

This is only August and McCain's campaign is working hard to divide us and inspire hatred. It is going to get a lot worse.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 31, 2008

McCain The Victim

Did you notice how skillfully they made McCain the victim? McCain runs nasty racist ads, Obama says one thing about it, and they pounce with the prepared line about Obama "playing the race card."

Saying a black man is "playing the race card" is, of course, racist, but who's counting? Those yuppity negroes just everything handed to them.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 30, 2008

Republican Party Pushing "Who Sent Obama?" Smear

The other day I wrote about a coming "Who Sent Obama" smear campaign. Here is an official Republican Party website that advances this smear: BarackBook

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 21, 2008

"Who Sent You?" -- The Coming Attack on Obama

At least one major right-wing smear attack on Obama may be gearing up. I'll call it the "Who Sent You" campaign. As weird as it sounds -- and it is weird stuff -- the gist of it is that Obama's birth was part of a secret plan by communists, Jews and one-worlders to take over the world. As you read this it is going to sound so fanatically wingnut/John Birch Society/black helicopter/precious bodily fluids weird that you are likely to dismiss it as the rantings of crazy people. But I have learned over the years that this stuff resonates with a certain crowd, and they are remarkably effective at tapping the fears of Americans.

Keep in mind how weird and unbelievable the Swift Boat accusations seemed -- and remember the powerful effect they had on the public and election results. In The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water I wrote about the effectiveness of the dishonest accusations,

. . . [one] reason it works is because it is (excuse the pun) offensive. They say that the best defense is a good offense, and considering their candidates, the Republicans certainly needed a defense.

[. . .] So with swiftboating you spread a smear to raise questions with the public about the opponent's patriotism or service. It doesn't have to be true (how quaint) it just has to raise questions. This "neutralizes" the honorable record of or otherwise "discredits" the advantages that opponent has against a Republican with a poor (like George W. Bush's) or no (like Saxby Chambliss or any number of other "chickenhawks") record.

That post also cited the following description of the results of that smear:

"A recent University of Pennsylvania poll showed that its attack ad questioning whether Kerry deserved his medals had been seen or heard of by half the voters questioned.

It also revealed that 44 per cent of independent voters found the advert at least somewhat believable. Meanwhile a CBS poll showed the number of veterans who supported Kerry had dropped from 46 per cent to 37 per cent." [emphasis added]

This effect increased as the election approached.

And here we are again. The widely-spread, widely-repeated -- and consequently widely believed -- smear emails about Obama being a secret Muslim who went to a terrorist training school, burned his flag pin etc. have been "preparing the ground" by "raising questions" that get people ready to give a positive reception to this conspiracy theory. I am seeing signs that the wingnuts are starting to roll out the next phase with the right's recent "Obama forged birth certificate" blogswarm, with stories like this from Christian Web News,

In response to mounting media questions about the failure of the Barack Obama presidential campaign to produce his birth certificate, an official spokesman of the campaign has endorsed as genuine the image of a document purporting to be his "birth certificate." However, experts who have examined that image in high resolution have pointed out inconsistencies and irregularities which suggest that the document is a forgery.
The idea behind this is that Obama was really born in Kenya (in a lab, perhaps?), and was later "smuggled" into Hawaii. From FINAL REPORT ON OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE FORGERY,
It is irrefutable, empirical evidence - Obama's birth certificate is a forgery. Why? Why a COLB (certificate of live birth) forgery? That is the question.
Who Exactly is Obama? from Right Side News, drives home the paranoia:
If elected, he would be the first Arab-American President, not the first black President. Barack Hussein Obama is 50% Caucasian from his mother's side and 43.75% Arabic and 6.25% African Negro from his father's side. While Barack Hussein Obama's father was from Kenya, his father's family was mainly Arabs.. Barack Hussein Obama's father was only 12.5% African Negro and 87.5% Arab.
There are already thousands of references to this weird story on the web.

With all of that as background, here is what I think is an upcoming smear attack that will be echoed across the right's communication channels. In February, The Corner at National Review Online posted Obama's Political Origins.

. . . all of my mixed race, black/white classmates throughout my youth, some of whom I am still in contact with, were the product of very culturally specific unions. They were always the offspring of a white mother, (in my circles, she was usually Jewish, but elsewhere not necessarily) and usually a highly educated black father. And how had these two come together at a time when it was neither natural nor easy for such relationships to flourish? Always through politics. No, not the young Republicans. Usually the Communist Youth League.

. . . I don't know how Barak Obama's parents met. But the Kincaid article referenced above makes a very convincing case that Obama's family, later, (mid 1970s) in Hawaii, had close relations with a known black Communist intellectual.

. . . Political correctness was invented precisely to prevent the mainstream liberal media from persuing the questions which might arise about how Senator Obama's mother, from Kansas, came to marry an African graduate student.

This story refers to this from Accuracy in Media, Obama’s Communist Mentor,
In his biography of Barack Obama, David Mendell writes about Obama's life as a "secret smoker" and how he "went to great lengths to conceal the habit." But what about Obama's secret political life? It turns out that Obama's childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a communist.

[. . .] Obama's communist connection adds to mounting public concern about a candidate who has come out of virtually nowhere, with a brief U.S. Senate legislative record, to become the Democratic Party frontrunner for the U.S. presidency.

. . . AIM recently disclosed that Obama has well-documented socialist connections, which help explain why he sponsored a "Global Poverty Act" designed to send hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. foreign aid to the rest of the world, in order to meet U.N. demands

I suspect this "he came out of nowhere" idea is going to be repeated over and over. It has a "don't trust him" insinuation that feels like it will stick in certain brains. It lends credence to the really weird stuff that I see bubbling up in the right's channels. An example of what is coming can be found in this "PUMA Blog Network" blog "It's The Communism Stupid" titled, Obama Socialist Trojan Horse and Hive Builder. Hear the Buzzing?
Is Obama a Marxist/Stalinist Trojan Horse…..a Marxist Mole?

How else is one to explain this candidate who came out of nowhere and since 1996 and involvement with the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, he has been able to “leap” every three years up the power ladder…..looking for the GOLD Ring of being the most powerful person in the United States?Going back to his roots we find:

1.His father, from Kenya was a Socialist and wrote papers relating to the oppression of the people of Kenya. ...

3.Obama’s grandfather introduced him to Frank Marshall Davis, an activist and poet with ties to the Communist Party. . . .

5.From Occidental College, Obama transferred to Columbia University and majored in political science and international relations.

OK, I admit my favorite is the way this post highlights political science and international relations as proof that something sinister is going on. This is a long, paranoid post (please try to skim it at least) but I am seeing it echoed around the right's networks so you have to take it seriously.

OK, to the the meat of the coming attack. The outlines of it are here in this post, Who "sent" Obama?. I know this is weird stuff, but you can see how this paranoid theme develops if you skim it. It is very difficult to follow the logic, but the claim appears to be that Obama is the product of a secret cabal connected to Stalinist-Maoist-Che Guevara-Hugo Chavez communists. So take a look (again, my apologies, it's weird.)

So it is reasonable to ask, who "sent" Barack Obama? In other words, how can his meteoric rise to political prominence be explained?

[. . .] The people linked to Senator Obama grew to political maturity in the extreme wings of the late 60s student and antiwar movements. They adopted some of the worst forms of sectarian and authoritarian politics.

... Many of them have joined up with other wings of the late 60s and 70s movements, in particular the pro-China maoists elements of that era and are now playing a role in the labor movement and elsewhere.

. . . The most recent effort was by Jonathan Kaufman in the Wall Street Journal who argued that a critical connection for Obama was his links to some in the wealthy and prominent Jewish community in Chicago.

. . . So, who did “send” Obama? . . . more likely to the family of (in)famous former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers – not just Bill Ayers, but also Bill’s father Tom Ayers and his brother John as well.

. . . In my view these types of councils are reminiscent of the manipulative "community" bodies set up in regimes like those of Hugo Chavez and the Sandinistas - used to control genuine democratic movements such as trade unions.

. . . Ayers, of course, had long held what the left once knew, broadly, as “maoist” politics – a view of the world that was opposed to Russian style bureaucratic communism from above, instead advocates of this approach supported sending revolutionary cadre to “swim among the masses like fish in the sea” or attempting to establish guerilla foco as romantically theorized by Regis Debray and carried out with disastrous results by Che Guevara.

[. . .] So, why or how did Obama - at that point not yet the prominent first black president of the Harvard Law Review (that would happen the following year) - end up at Sidley?

Sidley had been long time outside counsel to Commonwealth Edison. The senior Sidley partner who was Comm Ed's key outside counsel, Howard Trienens, was a member of the board of trustees of Northwestern alongside Tom Ayers (and Sidley partner Newton Minow, too). It turns out, Bernardine Dohrn worked at Sidley also. She was hired there in the late 80s, because of the intervention of her father-in-law Tom Ayers, even though she was (and is) not a member of any state bar.

Dohrn ... her former Weather Underground (now recast as the "Revolutionary Armed Task Force") "comrades," including Kathy Boudin (biological mother of Chesa Boudin, who was raised by Ayers and Dohrn) participated. . . . The father of Chesa Boudin, David Gilbert, was sentenced to 75-to-life, with no chance of parole, after a trial in which he refused to participate. Chesa is the co-author of a recent apologia for the regime of Venezuelan "left" strong man, Hugo Chavez.

. . . I can only speculate, but it is possible that Tom Ayers introduced Obama to Sidley. That might have happened if Obama had met up with Bill and Tom and John Ayers prior to attending law school when Obama's DCP group was supporting the reform act passed in 1988. Or it might have been Dohrn who introduced Obama to the law firm.

[. . .] In fact, in retrospect the Ayers/Ayers (business from above, local activism from below) joint campaign against both the Chicago School District bureaucracy and the Teachers Union is reminiscent of the kinds of alliances one finds in neo-stalinist regimes like that of Cuba, China or Sandinista-run Nicaragua. In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, for example, Mao appealed to local activists to attack the party bureaucracy. These authoritarian movements often try to build their power against democratic institutions like unions.

[. . .] As it turns out, there are other ex-SDS types around the Obama campaign as well, including Marilyn Katz, a public relations professional, who was head of security for the SDS during the disaster in the streets of Chicago in 1968.

. . . Davidson and Katz were key organizers of the 2002 anti-war demonstration where Obama made public his opposition to the Iraq war that has been so critical to his successful presidential campaign. Davidson apparently moved into the maoist movements of the 70s after the disintegration of SDS.

... Now that we have some idea of who "sent" Obama, the left and labor movement deserve to know more about how the exhausted ideas of the authoritarian side of 60's politics may still be influencing the thinking of a potential U.S. president. Maybe Andy Stern's endorsement of Obama makes more sense, now.

If you have time, follow the links. They go on and on like that. It seems the idea is if you throw in the words "Maoist" enough times people will get really scared.

I might be right. I might be wrong. But my instincts and experience tell me that this is a smear attack that is bubbling up.

*Let me close with a note on my reference to "precious bodily fluids":

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:18 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 12, 2008

Right Develops Blame Narrative

The right is orchestrating a campaign to blame Democrats for the economic collapse. In cases like this it is often a matter of being the first out there with a story. For example, Progressives and Democrats could have been explaining the economic collapse on the cost of the war, or the huge borrowing that resulted from the tax cuts. But now the right is out there with a story, and the ability to get that story to the public. So we'll see which narrative takes over.

Here's the story. A major bank failed yesterday, and a Bush appointee in the government put out a statement directly blaming Democratic Senator Schumer. So the narrative the right is pumping out is that "the government" says Schumer is at fault for the bank failure. (What Schumer did was say that the bank appears to be insolvent because it was. Republicans say this "caused" a run on the bank. The fact is the bank was closed because it was insolvent, not because people were taking their money out. But facts don't matter.) I suspect you'll be hearing a lot more of this from Limbaugh Monday.

here's a sample of the right's messaging on this:

Senator Schumer Causes Bank Failure

Schumer, whose self-serving publicity hounding is legendary, decided to go public with information that he knew or should have known would be detrimental to the process -- and now he arrogantly refuses to accept any blame for his own politically motivated actions that were the proximate cause of the institution's downfall -- and blames the regulatory process that he created in legislation that he largely wrote back in 1999.

BREAKING: Bank Collapses. Feds cite Sen. Chuck Schumer as "immediate cause" of collapse

Now the question is, did Senator Chuck Schumer cause IndyMac's collapse? The Office of Thrift Supervision, that regulates entities like IndyMac, says "the immediate cause" of IndyMac's collapse was Senator Chuck Schumer.

Chuck Schumer, bank killer,

Two weeks ago, Schumer publicly released a letter he had written to regulatory agencies, demanding action to prevent IndyMac’s collapse. Instead of shoring up the bank, the letter induced depositors to make a run on the bank. Within days, over $1.3 billion in deposits disappeared, forcing the FDIC to close the bank and pay off the insured deposits.

That move cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. Don’t forget to thank Uncle Chuck when you have a chance.

$1.3 billion in losses, brought to you by Chuck Schumer

Maybe, just maybe, things like this could be avoided if the Democrats would stop meddling with the free market. The more Democrats try to interfere with our economy, the more it crashes. And the more it crashes, the more government intervention Democrats think is necessary. And somehow, Americans keep voting Chuck Schumer & Co. into office.

How much money can we afford to lose before we wise up?


LA Times: The chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee caused the second-largest bank collapse in USA history.

... Are Democrats so desperate for power that they are willing to cause bank panics that cost people billions?

Or are they just that incompetent?

... Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer cost the public more than a billion.

Where did the money go?

This casts a huge — $1.3 billion worth — cloud of suspicion over the Democratic Party’s point man in the Senate elections this year.

Update - One more comment: The Fed provides liquidity to banks in this situation. If they are SOLVENT the Fed provides all the cash they need to meet demands of depositors. So a "run" can't cause a bank to close. If they are NOT solvent the FDIC shuts them down right away to prevent a run from draining remaining equity.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:43 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 12, 2008

Obama's Fight The Smears Website

Conservatives campaign with smears. It goes back to the days when the tobacco industry was trying to discredit people who said their product was harmful to people. The way they campaign for office is to destroy their opponents rather than make the case for themselves.

They destroy our leaders. And they have been working to destroy Obama with lies and innuendo and smears.

The Obama campaign has launched a website to fight the smears that are circulating: Fight the Smears.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 11, 2008

Here It Comes

Professional smears - at far-right Media Research Center. This is from April and you're going to be seeing A LOT of this. Eyeblast.tv - A Video Portrait Of Barack Hussein Obama. (Warning, ugly smear video.)

(via Sideshow)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 9, 2008

Today's Obama Smear Attempt -- See Update

Here's one of the ways the right's smear machine works. Far-right blogs post something. Then a site higher up their food chain picks it up, like NewsMax, CNSNews, WorldNetDaily or Politico. Then the Drudge Report or Moon's Washington Times gets it from there and spreads the story further. Somewhere in there Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity talks about it on the air. Finally the corporate media picks it up and uses the excuse that "the story is circulating."

Here's an example today. "Someone" posted an anti-semitic comment at the Obama blog. (See if you can guess who posted a comment that a right-wing blog knew about a few minutes later.) A few minutes later the hate site Little Green Footballs wrote a post saying that the Obama blog says so-and-so. (If you don't know about this site, spend a few minutes there and you'll get the picture. No, it is not a parody of right-wing nuttiness.) Then dozens of far-right-wing sites quickly echoed the "story." It rapidly turns into a great big right-wing hissy fit.

Soon the right's Politico has picked it up. (Which shows they're spending time reading hate sites.) And then Rush Limbaugh talked about it on his show.

You see, someone (guess who) leaving a comment at the Obama site proves that Obama is anti-semitic. You'll be hearing about it from every direction very soon.

Here is what Politico wrote:

Little Green Footballs finds some eyebrow-raisin stuff on Obama's site with the search term "Jewish Lobby." Of course, it's not fair to hold Obama responsible for the occasional crazy post. But it seems reasonable to try to characterize the community, something I haven't seen done, and it's interesting to see what gets taken down and what doesn't -- inevitably a community and moderator choice.
So bloggers - watch out. Right-wingers are posting vile comments at blogs, and then claiming that blog's readers are saying vile things.

Update - Little Green Footballs is sending people over here to saturate us with nasty comments. This one is an example of what to expect from that site (And I do have the IP address proving who it came from): "It's pretty obvious that Davey is so blind queer for 'the boy with the
pickaninny dick' that he is willing to tell any lie necessary 'for the
cause'...even if it's laughably false on its face...maybe he's bucking to
be Barky's personal bitch faggot....if so,he's doing a good job of it"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:39 PM | Comments (183) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 29, 2008

skippy Calls For Boycott Of Dunkin Donuts For Appeasing Right-Wing

Right-wing bloggers recently went nuts because a woman in a Dunkin Donuts ad wore a scarf that, if put on her head, might look like a Muslim woman with a scarf on her head. (No, I'm not kidding.) The called for a boycott of Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts promptly gave in and canceled the ads. By doing so they demeaned women who wear scarves, not to mention supporting the right-wing blogger claims that a woman wearing a scarf (not even on her head) is a terrorist.

See actual photos here: skippy the bush kangaroo: time to stop buying the donuts - an action alert!,

we say, what's good for the batshit insane is good for the logical.

here's dunkin' donuts contact form. why not email them and let them know that you will no longer be buying their donuts or coffee or any product because their actions, at worst, in effect condemn all who wear scarves, and at best, are just plain looney?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 20, 2008

How Republicans Campaign

Look at this Republican candidate's ad. Wow. That's some pretty nasty "San Francisco values' there.

Kind of pathetic. But that's what they do.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 19, 2008

All You Need To Know about Republican Accusations

When you are deciding whether to listen to a Republican when they talk about Democrats as "appeasers," consider this. Crooks and Liars has the story of Oliver North on Fox News backing up Republican accusations that Democrats are "appeasers."

So who is Oliver North? Oliver North is the guy that Republican President Ronald Reagan sent to provide weapons and missiles to Iran.

Let me repeat that because many people today are either too young or don't remember what happened in the 1980s. Not long after the Iranians stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took several American diplomats hostage for 444 days, Republicans gave them missiles and other weapons. Oliver North, hero of the American Right and Fox News pundit, gave advanced weaponry to Iran.

And now they call Democrats "appeasers."

It's called the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans accuse others of something, it usually means it is something they are doing. (See also.)

Is there anything else you need to know about Republicans?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 14, 2008

Purity of Essence

"Full-blooded" Americans have purity of essence.

Like I've been saying, the racist attacks are going to get worse and worse. We have stuff like this, and it's only May. By September it will be full-on "mud people" attacks.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 25, 2008

Flag Pins And Hypocrisy

I was thinking about the "flag pin" question, and went and looked at the video. Sure enough, the woman accusing Obama of being unpatriotic for not wearing a flag pin ... wait for it ... isn't wearing a flag pin. The smarmy anchorman implying Obama isn't patriotic for not wearing a flag pin ... guess what ... isn't wearing a flag pin.

And, of course, if you go to Google Images and look for pics of John McCain, none of them show him wearing a flag pin. Of course, that means that Google in unpatriotic.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

The Republican Plan On Obama -- "Us" vs "Them"

Townhall.com::Is He One of Us?::By Patrick J. Buchanan. Buchanan lays out the basic story that the Republicans are going to try to tell in this campaign. Read the whole thing. Buchanan is telling it like it is for the Republicans, and lays out what they are going to do:

Journalists disagree on whether immigration, Iraq or the economy will be the major issue in 2008. The real issue may be -- and this is what is causing heart palpitations among Democrats -- is Barack Obama one of us, or is he one of them?
This is going to be one nasty, racist, smearing, fear-mongering campaign. It's all they have.

And from the comments:

"Hundreds of white Yankee Soldiers died for freedom for blacks and they never thank anyone."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 24, 2008

McCain And The Smear Ads

John McCain says he can't stop the North Carolina Republican Party and other Republican groups from running ads that smear Barack Obama on race, religion and attack in various other ways. The nominee of the Republican Party says he wants to stop these Republican groups, but can't.

So doesn't this tell us what a McCain administration would be like? Everyone he is supposed to be in charge of will be running around doing whatever they want to do, with McCain saying he can't control them?

Isn't this a reason all by itself to vote against the guy?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 23, 2008

Republicans on Obama -- Yesterday A Gang Member, Today A Terrorist

The Republican campaign is cranking up. Yesterday they were saying that Barack Obama is a gang member. (Black guy, get it?) Today he's a terrorist?

Oh yeah, that's right, last week he was a Communist!

By summer the Republican campaign will be in full swing. I wonder what imaginative things they will come up with?

Too bad the same rules don't apply to McCain.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 11, 2008

Did They Gotcha Obama?

The corporate media pundit class thinks they 'got' Obama. I think it's just more silliness but it looks like they're going to run with it.

In Guns, God and Government: Obama Courts Bitter and Clingy Pennsylvanians the silly, snarky ABC News' The Note writes,

Did Barack Obama just hand Hillary Clinton and John McCain a nicely gift-wrapped, up for interpretation, potentially damaging quote?

... [Obama:] "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

So far, the Obama campaign is not confirming nor refuting the comments, but Clinton has already weighed in on the stump in Philadelphia.

"I saw in the media it's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter. Well, that's not my experience," Clinton said. "As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves. They are working hard everyday for a better future, for themselves and their children. Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them, they need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families."

And more,
Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who leads an influential weekly meeting of conservatives, went as far as to argue that Obama's line would cost Democrats the White House.

"That sentence will lose him the election," Norquist told ABC News. "He just announced to rural America: 'I don't like you.'"

"Now you can vote against that guy not because you don't like him," Norquist added. "You can vote against him because he doesn't like you."

I think Obama did a good job of describing some of how small-town people have been tricked into voting for Republicans. And I think a lot of those people are going to see it, too.

Update - It is starting. Republicans Quickly Pounce on Obama Remarks,

Within moments, Republicans had pounced. Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign told Politico's Jonathan Martin that Obama's comment revealed "an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking." Schmidt added: "It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."

Within hours, the National Republican Congressional Committee had issued a release pushing Rep. Chris Carney -- a vulnerable freshman Democrat from Pennsylvania -- to condemn Obama's remarks.

Here is my take on how they'll use it. They' going to run with "Obama doesn't like you." This gives people cover for bigotry. It's not that they don't like him, they can use this to say he doesn't like them. But Obama does pretty well describe the "Reagan Republican" voters here. And those voters are coming to understand how they have been played. They vote for Republicans, Republican hand the treasury over the Wall Street. They have handed over their pensions, health insurance, jobs, and now their sons and daughters in Iraq so a wealthy few can have ever-bigger jets. And they are figuring that out.

Update - Hillary is also jumping on it, using the Right's talking points. Great. This sort of stuff only helps the Republicans if Obama becomes the nominee. And Obama is right.

Late update - Obama takes it and knocks it out of the park:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:13 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 14, 2008

The Obama Smears

The Nation has a great article out on the Obama smears that are circulating, and looks at where they come from.

Smearing Obama

The purpose of the smear is to paint him as an Arab-loving, Israel-hating, terrorist-coddling, radical black nationalist. That picture couldn't be further from the truth, but you'd be surprised how many people have fallen for it.

[. . .] We may not know who started the smears, but we do know who's amplifying them. The "Obama is a Muslim" rumor began in the fringe conservative blogosphere. "Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always a Muslim," blogger Debbie Schlussel wrote on December 18, 2006. Schlussel had a history of inflammatory rhetoric and baseless accusations. She said journalist Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents in 2006, "hates America" and "hates Israel"; labeled George Soros a "fake Holocaust survivor"; and speculated that Pakistani terrorists were somehow to blame for last year's shootings at Virginia Tech. Yet her post on Obama gained traction; one month later, the Washington Times's Insight magazine alleged that Obama had attended "a so-called Madrassa" and was a secret Muslim.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 11, 2008


People do idiotic things. Not too long ago Republican Senator David Vitter turned up on a list of prostitution customers. How did the Justice Department respond? Well, it didn't. It helped keep his name secret. And good for them for doing that.

But this time it was a Democratic Governor who has been going after securities fraud cases. And the Republican Justice Department responded very differently. First of all, there are questions about how they found out about this at all -- questions that bring the letters FISA to my mind. Next, they organized a major prosecution of the Governor. Then, they gave his name to the press. Then they included details of wiretapped conversations intended to drive a press frenzy.

There is no question that this is another political prosecution. The Justice Department would not have gone full-steam into this if it were a Republican, and if it were not a Democratic Governor. A federal task force because a guy was seeing a prostitute?

Firedoglake has Some Questions About the Spitzer Incident. Please go read.

I have warned that political prosecutions are going to accelerate as election-time approaches. Watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 25, 2008

Because Drudge Says It's True?

All over the progressive blogosphere there is outrage at the Clinton campaign. The Drudge Report had a great big headline "CLINTON STAFFERS CIRCULATE 'DRESSED' OBAMA" and people are outraged.

People, you are being played like a violin.

I posted about this photo yesterday, because several right-wing blogs were carrying it. Not one said anything about it coming from the Clinton campaign. Today the Drudge Report takes the opportunity to inject the photo to the mainstream and gets a twofer bonus, getting all the Obama supporters to blame the Clinton campaign.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that the right wants us divided? Why is it so hard to see that they are working to set us against each other? Come on, people, Hillary Clinton is not your enemy, she is on our side.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 24, 2008

Today's Right-Wingnuts Going Absolutly Apeshit About Obama Post

These people are absolutely nuts. Unfortunately, they also have huge influence over much of the country's media. I might support Obama just because he drives them even crazier than Hillary does.

Nuts: Atlas Shrugs: Obama: Islam's a wink and a nod ;),

...Hussein Obama is Islam's candidate.

... Expect the fantasy mongerers in the mainstream media to continue to scrub and whitewash (no pun) Hussein Obama's Islamic bonafides.

Nuts: WorldNetDaily: Obama worked with terrorist,
The board of a nonprofit organization on which Sen. Barack Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe" and supports intense immigration reform, including providing drivers licenses and education to illegal aliens.
I still think yesterday's beats these, about how Obama is the result of a secret Jewish-Communist conspiracy to generate half-black babies...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 23, 2008

Right Starting To Unload On Obama

A lot of blog readers weren't really old enough to fully experience the Clinton-hatred of the 90's. So they don't really understand why Hillary Clinton is seen as "divisive."

I think they're going to get a dose of the same sort of stuff again, because the right is starting to do its thing on Barack Obama now.

Example, at National Review, Obama's Political Origins,

Political correctness was invented precisely to prevent the mainstream liberal media from persuing the questions which might arise about how Senator Obama's mother, from Kansas, came to marry an African graduate student.

. . . It was, of course, an explicit tactic of the Communist party to stir up discontent among American blacks, with an eye toward using them as the leading edge of the revolution.

Oh, PLEASE go read the whole thing. There's going to be a lot worse coming.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 19, 2008

Right Going After Obama, Too

Senator Barack Obama might be the Democratic Party candidate for President. So I thought I would take a quick look at some right-wing sites.

Some people feel that Senator Hillary Clinton has been too badly "damaged" by years of hysterical right-wing attacks. Will Senator Obama be similarly damaged? (This is not a pro-Hillary or anti-Obama post so no hate-mail please.)

Here are some of the headlines at right-wing site WorldNetDaily:

Obama campaign: Mum's the word!
Refuses to respond to drug accusations

WorldNetDaily Exclusive: Sleaze charge: 'I took drugs, had homo sex with Obama'
Minnesota man takes his case to court, YouTube, $100,000 polygraph challenge

WND POLL: Barack, paper, scissors
What do you think of WND being only news agency publishing Obama drug-sex story?

Obama, Clinton trade plagiarism snipes
Barack says he usually gives credit when quoting people, using ideas

Hillary aide accuses Obama of plagiarism
'He's breaking his promises and his rhetoric isn't his own'

Obama responds to plagiarism charge
'I really don't think this is too big of a deal'

Obama faces open season from right if nominated
Barack's relationship with Chicago developer Tony Rezko could prove costly

And a quick look at a few other places:
Human Events: Che Guevara and the Obama Campaign
Associating with communist murderer Che Guevara says a lot about the Obama campaign.

RedState: To the left of Hillary

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 12, 2008

Watching Freedom's Watch: The Donors

Since 2004, we have been very involved in investigating, exposing, and uncovering the roots and exposing the tactics and lies of the right-wing smear machine. James was involved not only in John Kerry's campaign, but also in the Truth and Trust Team, a group of Kerry friends and family who attempted to fight back against the Swift Boat Veterans.

Dave, of course, followed the campaign and those attacks closely, and then worked with James and others, including our friend, Taylor Marsh, on The Patriot Project in 2006. Created by John Kerry, David Thorne and others, The Patriot Project helped veterans such as Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy and John Murtha defend themselves -- even looking into previous attacks on John McCain. We also were part of the team that exposed the Economic Freedom Fund, a group created with a $5,000,000 donation from Bob Perry that attacked moderate Democrats, primarily in red states.

Why do folks like Bob Perry give money like that? It's strictly business.

Take, for example, the global warming arena where we have shown folks how the same tactics, the same strategies, the same people sometimes who created this whole smear empire with the tobacco companies, are now doing the same with global warming.

ExxonMobil has given these groups $25 million over the years - often, incredibly, as charitable donations. This past quarter, they had $11.7 billion in record profits. That's a return on investment we all would envy.

Now, we are looking forward not back.

And what we see is a front group on steroids, a massive death star of right wing machinery, floating, ready and waiting.

Freedom's Watch, operating like the opposite of a grassroots-funded progressive group like MoveOn.org, was founded by major donors like

... Sheldon G. Adelson, the chairman and chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, who ranks sixth on the Forbes Magazine list of the world's billionaires; Mel Sembler, a shopping center magnate based in St. Petersburg, Fla., who served as the ambassador to Italy and Australia; John M. Templeton Jr., the conservative philanthropist from Bryn Mawr, Pa.; and Anthony H. Gioia, a former ambassador to Malta who heads an investment group based in Buffalo, N.Y. All four men are long-time prolific donors who have raised money on behalf of Republican and conservative causes.
as well as
Richard Fox, one of the major building, development and real estate management companies in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey and a longtime GOP activist. He co-founded the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Gary Erlbaum, owner of Greentree Properties in Ardmore, Pa., who tried to rally Orthodox Jewish support for last year's failed reelection bid of conservative Christian Sen. Rick Santorum.

Freedom's Watch has direct connections with the Republican Party and is staffed by Republican Party operatives like Ari Fleischer, former White House Spokesperson; Bradley A. Blakeman, a former deputy assistant to George W. Bush; Kevin E. Moley, a senior adviser to Dick Cheney during the 2000 campaign.

Check out their site and their rhetoric. It is a major right wing group and here's the scary part:

Freedom's Watch says it plans to raise over $250,000,000 to play in this election. But Freedom's Watch is a 501(c)(4) organization, which means they can engage in political activity but not as their primary mission. They are allowed to lobby on issues but not support candidates. Yet the group appears to be primarily designed to influence elections in favor of Republican candidates

But who is going enforce the laws? The FEC? The Justice Department? Perhaps Senate Democrats can issue one of their strongly-worded statements of disapproval.

So what do we do?

We watch them -- and we start exposing them now, every day, all day.

We are going to post these articles frequently and often.

We are going to launch a Newsladder where we would appreciate everyone joining and linking up anything they see about this group.

We are going to launch in the coming days a new site, www.watchingfreedomswatch.com where, again, will write and expose this group.

The issue isn't you - and what you know. If you are reading this you are a blog-reader and already know more than most people about how these things work. The issue is whether we can drive narratives and how much knowledge we can give the average American about who these folks really are and what they are up to.

Posted by Dave and James at 12:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 10, 2008

Driving A Wedge

The Drudge Report is a right-wing site that is used to drive right-wing propaganda into the large, corporate media outlets. When a story is featured at the Drudge Report, you always have to ask why, and ask what is the right's intent behind getting this story into circulation.

Today Drudge points us to a story, Wilder Still Sore Over Clinton Comment. This story is obviously an effort to drive a wedge between supporters of Senators Obama and Clinton. It uses out-of-context, incomplete quotes and mischaracterizes the intent and meaning of the quotes to drive up tensions.

The nation's first elected black governor said Saturday he is not ready to excuse comments former President Bill Clinton made about Barack Obama.

In campaigning for his wife last month on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Clinton called Obama's opposition to the Iraq war "a fairy tale." Clinton suggested Obama had toned down his early anti-war fervor during his 2004 Senate campaign.

. . . Clinton also implied that an Obama victory in South Carolina would amount to a reward based on race, like the Rev. Jesse Jackson's 20 years earlier.

Wilder said the former president's comments stung him and other black voters and diminished their respect for Clinton.

"It's not just me (who) feels that; any number of people feel that," Wilder said. "A time comes and a time goes. The president has had his time."

This is propaganda at its best.

Readers know that I do not favor one candidate over the other. I think they are both great candidates who would make excellent Presidents, but neither offers the transformational, progressive change I believe would most benefit the country and world. I defend BOTH of them from attacks -- and wish they would defend each other and us from attacks.

This is an attack. It is an obvious attempt to split the Democratic Party and its supporters, going into the elections. Duh!

Are you going to let them play you like a fiddle? Keep in mind who the enemy is here. The stakes are high: If we let the primary contest divide us how many hundred thousand Iraqis or Iranians will be killed before the 2012 elections, how much more will corporations take over our democracy, how much more concentration of wealth at the top will we see? Please do not be fooled by this stuff! If it appears at DRUDGE, you KNOW something is going on.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 17, 2008

How The Right's Machine Works

Atrios notes,

It would be wrong to discuss Mitt Romney's actual religious beliefs, but perfectly fine to discuss Barack Obama's fictitious ones.
Somehow it reminds me of 2006, when anyone who brought up that Bush went AWOL during Vietnam was unpatriotic, while at the same time it was unpatriotic to mention that Kerry was a war hero...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 8, 2008

What People "Know"

We who read and write blogs are what I call "hyper-informed." We not only know about everything that is going on, but we often know about it within minutes or hours.

This can cause us to forget that most people are not up to speed with the kinds of things that you and I take for granted. For example, most people know nothing about the billions of dollars in cash that disappeared in Iraq. You and I know all about it. It was widely reported in the blogs and everyone who frequents blogs read about it. And it is discussed as a given. It forms a foundation of our understanding of what is happening in America - yet it means nothing to most people. There are so many examples like this.

The information gap is so wide that people think something is wrong with you if you try to explain to them what is going on.

Where am I going with this? Yesterday someone told me that most people where she works think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. It's one of those "everyone knows" things.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 10, 2007

Was Leak Designed To Hurt Dems?

AmericaBlog asks Did Bush approve CIA leak to embarrass Pelosi?

Sure looks that way. Today's Washington Post reports that Pelosi was briefed about the CIA's waterboarding in 2002 and raised no objections. A few responses:

It's pretty clear that either one of the Republican members of Congress at the meeting, or the CIA, decided to leak what happened at a super-classified post-9/11 briefing in order to embarrass Pelosi and the Democrats. And I don't doubt for a minute that Bush approved the leak, as he always does.

Go read...
It's also clear that had Pelosi raised any private objections during the meeting - remember, it took place in the first year after September 11 - Bush and the Republicans would have leaked that fact to the public (like they just did) and destroyed her career and marked her publicly as a traitor. No member of Congress, no American, could have spoken up about anything in the months after September 11 and survived. It's patently unfair to suggest that somehow because Pelosi didn't object then that she doesn't have the right to object now.

One final point. I hope this teaches Pelosi and Reid and all the Democrats that no matter what you do, this administration will mark you as a traitor and try to do destroy you. You might as well fight back and try to win, because if you don't, you'll sit back and lose.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 1, 2007

Latest Clinton Smear

Just so you know what's circulating: Hillary's Lesbian Affair with Muslim Aide

Update - Spreading:
Lots are referencing this and this.
Echoed here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,here.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 13, 2007

New Republican "NASCAR" Smear On Democrats

Republicans are circulating a new smear, saying that Democratic Congressional staffers advised aides to get vaccinations before visiting NASCAR events. It is, of course, just a lie designed to drive the "elite limousine liberal" and "Democrats hate regular people" narratives.

In fact the aides were visiting "health care centers, detention facilities and other operations where they could be exposed to communicable diseases" and the immunizations are routine.

The Drudge Report has been headlining the smear for a several days. Of course Republican talk-radio has been running with it. Here are just a few examples of the spread of the smear:

FOX: Aides immunized before NASCAR race,

Going to a NASCAR race? Better get your shots.

That's the message Rep. Robin Hayes seems to think is being sent as a handful of congressional aides were told to get immunized before a fact-finding trip for a House Homeland Security Committee.

The group was immunized for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and influenza before attending last weekend's NASCAR race in Talladega and this weekend's race in Concord, N.C.

Atlanta: GOP outraged over NASCAR-immunizations advisory

And days after the lie was refuted, the lie continues to spread:

Atlanta TV: Congressman Insults NASCAR Fans

Indianapolis: NASCAR races danger to government workers?

One way the Republican machine spreads this stuff is posting to forums. And here is an example of a "regular person" posting a comment in a sports forum:

It is offensive that the Democrats choose to be vaccinated from Nascar fans. I thought they claimed to be inclusive of everyone and they blame Republicans for having stereotypes. If they went to a football, baseball, or basketball game would they have been vaccinated? NO. It's when they go to a Nascar event that they are vaccinated. Obviously they consider Nascar fans to be a group of rednecks, southerners and Christians that are apparently disease ridden.

Here is another sports forum example.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 11, 2007

Al Gore WILL Be Smeared

If Al Gore Is awarded the Nobel Prize he WILL be smeared. There is no question about it.

On May 15, 2007, we wrote a post titled, We Guarantee Al Gore Will Be Attacked Next Week, We Absolutely Guarantee It. We wrote,

Al Gore has a new book coming out next week, titled, The Assault On Reason.

Because he is standing up, telling the truth and because he simply is a Democrat and progressive leader, Al Gore will be smeared mercilessly by the right-wing smear machine. He will be ridiculed, made fun of and mocked. They will tease and make fun of him.

They will rush to say that he is bitter about 2000, crazy, insane, pontificating and out of touch.

They will bring up his utility bills and the boards he is a member of.

They will talk about his kiss with Tipper, her crusade against vulgar rap lyrics.

They will bring up his weight and the beard. And say it's all about 2008.

And, of course, we were right.

And what happened when Al Gore won an Oscar for his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth? Again, smeared. And that smear continues to spread. There are currently 519,000 web pages referencing it.

Now there is a possibility that Al Gore is going to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work warning about and fighting climate change caused by greenhouse gases released into our air.

You would think this was a good thing. But there is a multi-million-dollar "global warming denial industry" operating. It is funded by the big oil and coal companies. Because they have a stranglehold on our economy - and our thinking - these are the most profitable corporations in the history of the world. And they want to keep it that way. So they dish out millions to front-groups to fog over the science that tells us the planet is in danger -- and to smear good people like Al Gore who want us to be more efficient in our energy use, and find alternatives to fuels that pollute.

So if Al Gore is awarded a Nobel Prize, expect the worst -- from the worst.

Posted by Dave and James at 10:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 3, 2007

Hillary Clinton: Mission Accomplished.

On January 22, 2007, as Senator Clinton went viral with her announcement that she was, essentially, running for The White House, we noted that her first challenge was to shatter the prism of the right. We wrote,

[T]his simply is a fact of modern politics in America. For the past three decades, the right wing has employed a powerful strategy of "$ell and $mear." They insist on being the gatekeepers to public opinion and have developed a powerful machine that tells us who to like - and who to hate.

... They $mear Democratic and Progressive heroes, reducing American success stories such as George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis into humiliated historical footnotes. They destroy our leaders. They destroy those that might become our leaders. There is no Democratic or Progressive leader of any note of the last twenty years that has not been attacked.

Essentially, what we meant was:

Imagine if your worse enemies were the ones describing you and creating the world's impression of you. And imagine they did that for close to fifteen years, how would people who hadn't ever met you feel about you? Exactly.

There are far too many people who have never met Hillary who have a fully-formed impression of her, usually quite negative. Not defendably negative mind you, but more of a "I just don't like her" kind of impression.

The prism of the right.

We wrote:

This is Senator Clinton's primary challenge. Because since this strategy has been deployed, no one, not one single politician has been in the eye of the machine longer than Senator Clinton. For almost fifteen years, Americans have been bombarded with smears and negative commentary about her. Virtually every aspect of her life, personal and political, from her hairstyle to private decisions she made within her marriage, has been criticized.
That's the reality that Senator Clinton, her supporters and her staff have had to deal with every single day and to their great credit, they didn't either ignore it, as John Kerry's campaign did in 2004 on many levels, nor did they whine and complain about it.

What Hillary did was what she did in New York State.

She and her staff rolled up their sleeves and went to work. One voter at a time, one appearance at a time, one county, one district, one state. And what happened in New York State was a pretty good precursor to what is happening nationally. Today, she is at the top of the list of home state own-party favorability ratings. Her 81% favorability rating among Democrats in New York State is right up there at the very top, tied with Ted Kennedy's rating among Democrats in Massachusetts. And Kennedy in Massachusettes is probably the golden standard for being liked by your party in your own state.

Grudgingly, we hear from senior people in other campaigns that they are impressed at how hard she works, how good her team is, how they keep working all day, every day.

They're right. She's top in the polls and in the fundraising race not because of some unforeseeable chain of events, she's there because she understood the reality of her situation and she has outworked everyone else.

If she is our nominee, it will because of two core factors.

She didn't attempt to smash the negative perception as much as she shattered it softly and slowly - one person at a time.

She, and her team, have worked hard, and smart.

Kudos to all of them.

Posted by Dave and James at 7:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 2, 2007

Victim Limbaugh

Limbaugh Latest Victim in War of Condemnation - New York Times.

LIMBAUGH is the victim of the Democrats! Wow. There is a brilliance to this.

I bow to them. I am shocked AND awed.

And then there is the difference between Republicans and Democrats on this:

More than 40 Democratic senators signed a letter sent Tuesday to the company that syndicates the radio show, asking that Mr. Limbaugh’s remarks be repudiated.

But no Republican senators signed the letter, highlighting a significant difference between the responses to the MoveOn advertisement and the Limbaugh comments. The Republican-backed plan to condemn the Petraeus advertisement drew substantial Democratic backing in the House and Senate, while Democrats have been unable to splinter Republicans on Mr. Limbaugh.

In fact, Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, has prepared a resolution praising Mr. Limbaugh should Democrats proceed with what he said was an unwarranted attack on a private citizen. “He is a talk show host,” Mr. Kingston said. “He has a right to speak out and say what he thinks.”

There is a time to know when you are just outmatched.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 27, 2007

Rush Says Iraq Troops Are "Phony Soldiers"

In recent days the Senate and then the House voted to condemn MoveOn for an ad that questioned General Petraeus' statistics on improvements in Iraq. Many Democrats joined in the condemnation.

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh said that troops serving in Iraq are "phony soldiers." From Media Matters - Limbaugh: Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are "phony soldiers"

Where are the Democrats who voted to condemn MoveOn? Why are they not demanding a vote to condemn Limbaugh for this? The Carpetbagger Report also wants to know.

Update - Considering that the Congress JUST voted to condemn MoveOn, there are a LOT of upset people. New additions, Crooks and Liars, Down With Tyranny, Cliff Schecter, TalkLeft, AmericaBlog, Digby (with a list of similar comments from Rush - all as yet not condemned by the Congress)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 31, 2007

Five Letters: B.L.A.C.K.

While writing today about what conservatives are saying, I came across this little gem -- The mortgage crisis is because we allowed black people to get mortgages. Townhall.com::The Subprime Mortgage Market In Perspective,

Scarcely a soul will recall that political pressure over red-lining was partially responsible for the subprime failures in the first place.
And while on this subject, in my earlier post about conservative philosophy, I chose not to comment on the blatant racism of the conservative Townhall post but I will point it out now. That post wrote about the "shiftless people" of New Orleans and makes a point of calling the mayor, "Mr. "Chocolate City." And the readers "got it."

I don't usually fault bloggers for the comments they elicit, but this post was very clear in its point, and the number of readers leaving racist comments demonstrated that they got that point. Comment examples,

Yes, Katrina was different. It was different because of the huge fat women sitting on the kerb surrounded by their 12 year old daughters with their babies, chanting WE WANTS HEP! instad of getting up off their fat behinds and looking after themselves.

Two weeks after 9/11 the news cameras had packed up and refused to show us any more video or film; months later in New Orleans we were still being treated to shots of wailing Black women and their fatherless babies sitting on their backsides and screaming for cash.

The difference between Katrina and New York City on 9/11 is five letters long. B L A C K.

Other comment examples:
You're very lucky you don't own a business because a Mr. Jackson and a Mr. Sharpton would be on your doorstep shaking you down for reparations payments.

...Presidents from now on will have to tell all the citizens down there, sitting on their fat, welfare fed butts, that we'll never forget and the checks are coming.

In a nation where many people think that they are entitled to reparations for slavery, it is unlikely we will get over Katrina anytime soon.

Time to get these 'welfare queens' off the government dole.
Has no one noticed that the middle class blacks left New Orleans? It was the ones who were poor that got left behind. And one of the main reasons they are poor are because of liberal policies that hurt family values and promote a general sense of irresponsibility - not just among blacks but among liberals in general.
The fat Blacks in New Orleans should take a note.
...they need a Guliani-esque type mayor to reshape i.e. clean out the inept police force and instill a tough clean up the streets type police chief who will dredge up the thugs that rule New Orleans and deposit them in the can.
Yes, they came here to Houston. Our crime rate is over the top. Between the "victims" and the illegals you can just imagine. ... They are still having regular Americans pay their rent. Of course, ACORN is involved as well as Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Go figure.
Before intergration, we dealt with MORE issues than waiting on a governement check
if the pictures from NOLA had shown fat WHITE women sitting on the kerbstone chanting WE WANTS HEP! instead of stirring their stumps on their own behalf, the answer would now be a yawn, just as it was when the Wal-Mart Looter Video showed that even the Black COPS were stealing. And remember how many of these same people said that the reason "Whitey" did not come with sedan chairs to carry them away to a Five Star Life of Ease was RACISM.
The dems have created, coddled and kept down an entire population for the past forty years. The "victims" have become the life blood of your party. The population of NO is a great example of what your party has done. There are people who literally can't do a darn thing for themselves. That's not being compassionate, that's being elitist and superior. Lastly, I find nothing progressive about your party. You have used the same ploys for decades, race baiting and class envy.
It is NOT katrina that wiped-out and ruined NO. It is a large segment of this citizenry that created the nightmare that is NO prior too, during and after. There is no amount of government money that will make these citizens change themselves or their behaviors.
Nagin's "Chocolate City" was a s*** hole before Katrina, and an even worse one now. I lost whatever sympathy I had for the NO "refugees" a few days after the storm, when so many of them wound up here in Houston, and prompty started scamming everyone in sight, from the Feds on down, for money. Never mind how much the crime rate here skyrocketed after they showed up, and even how the local school district was talking about setting up separate schools for the "refugee's" kids, since they could not seem to attend the regular schools without assaulting the locals right and left.
the theme of blacks on Welfare dominates because in New Orleans, blacks dominate. It is, as the Mayor said, a "chocolate city."
Did you forget to mention that blacks represent 13% of the population yet 47% of the welfare recipients are black? ...You're intellect is stellar. So.....what you meant is blacks are approx. 10 times more likely to be on welfare white people, nnless you "forget" to use poulation statistics.
There is a lot more there but it's too sickening to continue...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 28, 2007

Revived Asian-Donations Smear On Clinton

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

The right is reviving the 90s Asian-donations smear on the Clintons.

Headlined at the Drudge Report, the Wall Street Journal has Big Source of Clinton's Cash Is an Unlikely Address,

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. ...
Did you ask them? Is it your business? Actually they did ask them,
But he added: "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."
But they have a Chinese name, so let's do a big story on it.
The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.
And now we get to the root of the big scandal - (queue horror-movie music) Someone is CHINESE-American!
William and Alice Paw are of Chinese descent..
That's the whole story. There are no accusations of any wrongdoing. Just that a family with a Chinese name gave a lot of money to the Clintons.

In the 1990s the Republicans ran a smear campaign for years, accusing the Clintons of passing nuclear-weapons secrets to China in exchange for campaign donations. There was never anything to back it up, of course, but the racial hatred aspect got them votes. It plays big in the South, I guess.

In case people don't get it, the right's echo chamber cranks up the noise. No subtle implications need apply: Laundering for Hillary?

The little green house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. in Daly City, Calif., (shown right) may spell big trouble for Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York as she pursues the presidency.

And there they go again. The Republicans are gearing up the smear and race-hatred campaign early this time.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 23, 2007

Another Smear/Lie On Bill Clinton Is Circulating

In 1998 President Clinton launched a major attack on al Queda and tried to kill Osama bin Laden:

The United States launched cruise missile strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan yesterday against centres allegedly linked with the terrorist bombings of two American embassies.
At the time the right mocked him for it, claiming he was"wagging the dog" and "bombing an asprin factory" - a chemical plant that belonged to Osama bin Laden.

And just how many cruise missiles were launched at bin Laden in Afghanistan?

About 75 cruise missiles landed in Afghanistan at Bin Laden's camps around Khost and Jalalabad. The Khost camp, Zawhar Kili, was the scene of a meeting of "senior leaders of Islamic militant and terrorist groups linked to bin Laden," and was regarded by Pakistani intelligence as a "summit" convened by bin Laden.
75 cruise missiles launched directly at al Queda camps in Afghanistan. 75 cruise missiles!

Today Newsweek has a craftily-worded story that the right is using to smear former President Bill Clinton, saying he lied about trying to get bin Laden. The Newsweek story, The Report the CIA Didn't Want You to See, contains the following passages,

... The report also seemed to raise new questions about former President Clinton’s angry claim to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace last year that he had authorized the CIA to “kill” Osama bin Laden—a directive that the report suggested was more ambiguous and limited than Clinton asserted.

[. . .] Clinton appeared to have been referring to a December 1999 Memorandum of Notification (MON) he signed that authorized the CIA to use lethal force to capture, not kill, bin Laden. But the inspector general’s report made it clear that the agency never viewed the order as a license to “kill” bin Laden—one reason it never mounted more effective operations against him. “The restrictions in the authorities given the CIA with respect to bin Laden, while arguably, although ambiguously, relaxed for a period of time in late 1998 and early 1999, limited the range of permissible operations,” the report stated.

So let's look at what the right is spreading today.

Don Surber: Clinton lied, people died,

Michael Isikoff, the reporter who broke the Monica Lewinsky story only to have his editors at Newsweek spike the story, has caught Bill Clinton in another lie: He never authorized the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Surber clearly doesn't understand what a cruise missile is - or what 75 of them can do.

Captain's Quarters, Did Clinton Lie About Targeting Bin Laden?,

It appears that Bill Clinton may have exaggerated his record when it came to strategizing against Osama bin Laden. Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball take a look at the Inspector General's report of the pre-9/11 intelligence failures at the CIA and find an interesting nugget. Despite Clinton's angry assertion to Chris Wallace in last year's controversial Fox interview, he never gave the CIA an assassination order regarding bin Laden.
Morrissey apparently also doesn't understand what a cruise missile is capable of.

Macsmind, To Slick Willie it depends on what you mean by “Kill”,

Capt Ed notes that Newsweek (ugh) has apparently caught Slick in another (I’ve lost count) lie.

[. . .] the fact remains that Clinton didn’t do squat because they didn’t see Bin Laden as important as keeping his ass from being removed from office - it’s that simple.

Liberty Pundit, Did Clinton Lie? Is The Pope Catholic?,
How do you know if Bill Clinton is lying? His lips are moving...

[. . .] So Bill Clinton, adamantly saying that he “tried to kill him” was a complete lie. And I’m not surprised one bit that it was.

... He did nothing.

We were attacked at least three times on his watch, and he did nothing (first WTC attack, the African embassies, and the USS Cole…I might be leaving one out).

More examples:

Hang Right Politics, CIA Report Unmasks Another Clinton Lie

Billy Boy Caught In A Lie, Again…

Wake Up America

There is plenty of blame to go around for 9/11 and Clinton is going to have to start accepting his fair share of it.

Clinton Caught In Yet Another Lie

The Strate-Sphere

The conservative bloggers have had Clinton on tape himself commenting on how he talked himself into impotence on Bin Laden. Clinton was not a lame duck in his second term - he was a hamstrung duck. He could not dare to make any bold moves because of his personal/professional issues. So while he was being serviced by an intern in the Oval Office he let Bin Laden run free to finish his work on 9-11. They ultimate screwing of the American people - and he did not even offer us a drink.

Q and O, Clinton caught in another fabrication,
That he lied about his order concerning bin Laden should come as no surprise.

Gateway Pundit, Newsweek Reporters Catch Slick Willy in Another Lie?

Ace of Spades,

Didn't we already know Clinton had refused to actually give a kill order on bin Ladin? We know this, it's proven by documentation, but the media won't report it. I'd say it's possible the media will be shamed into finally reporting it by this new report, but that's simply absurd.

And it goes on and on. That's a whole lot of so-called "conservatives" who don't even know what a cruise missile is.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 13, 2007

Rove Resigning - Updated

Karl "Party over Country" Rove is resigning "to spend more time with his family."

Karl Rove did more to divide America than anyone since Newt Gingrich. (See Language: A Key Mechanism of Control)

Just one example, after 9/11 Rove engineered the creation of the Homeland Security Department, which was entirely a "wedge" device for use in the 2002 elections. The core of the concept was to get rid of government employee unions. The idea was to force the Democrats to either vote against unions or pound them as "unpatriotic." And then, to pound them as unpatriotic anyway.


Simon Rosenberg, How Rove will be remembered,

Karl Rove was the "architect" of one of the worst governments in American history, and the one who engineered the end of modern conservatism, one of the most successful ideological movements of recent times.

Brilliant yes. Bold, without a doubt. A compete and utter failure who left his country and his movement weaker than the found it? Yep.

Eventually, perhaps, disgraced.

How typical of him to slink off out of the bunker and leave the mess for someone else to clean up.
All Karl ever wanted was to be left alone to work in secret to destroy America’s political landscape, and not be held accountable.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 30, 2007

Bill O'Reilly, hatemonger

David Neiwert writes about Bill O'Reilly of FOX News in Orcinus: Bill O'Reilly, hatemonger. He has a number of quotes from O'Reilly himself, including "Well, I want to kill Michael Moore" and "Mexican wetbacks" and talking about a "final solution" for dealing with Arabs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 26, 2007

Become A Fox Attacker

Become a Fox Attacker. Help identify FOX News advertisers (national and local) for the database. Then let advertisers know what is being said on FOX News. This is not a boycott, it is letting advertisers know what is being done with their advertising dollars.

Fight back! Become a Fox Attacker.

Fox is not a legitimate news channel. They consistently misrepresent facts, manufacture terror, and slander progressives.

We're fighting back by identifying and calling all of FOX's advertisers. All of them. Particularly local advertisers who probably have no idea the kind of hatred their money is supporting.
We’re fighting back by identifying and calling all of FOX’s advertisers. All of them. Particularly local advertisers who probably have no idea the kind of hatred their money is supporting.

This is not a boycott. We are simply calling advertisers and informing them about FOX. And making Bill O’Reilly’s life a living hell.

Thanks to Brave New Films.

More at Crooks and Liars, and Rick Perlstein at Common Sense Blog,

I've just become a proud "FOX Attacker". Now you can too. It's not a boycott. It's simply calling advertisers and informing them what FOX says. FOX can't survive that. Have a blog? Then help spread the word.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 23, 2007

Everything You Need To Know About Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney holds up a sign saying "Obama Osama"

Romney on 9/11: "Lighten Up" | Buckeye State Blog

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 21, 2007

JetBlue Caves To Right-Wing Intimidation, Calls DailyKos "Hateful"

Jerome Armstrong has the story: MyDD :: Jet Blue on drugs. The President of JetBlue caves to a right-wing intimidation campaign led by Fox News, and writes a letter echoing Fox news' characterization of DailyKos as a "hate site."

Go read.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 7, 2007

The Fall Lie-Attack Started Today

Yesterday I said the lie-attack would begin this fall, but it only took a day. Yesterday I wrote,

This fall President Bush will veto a number of spending bills, saying that they spend too much money. This will be accompanied by a huge, orchestrated media campaign blasting out the message: "We told you so. Now that Democrats are in charge they have gone wild with spending."

... There will also be an orchestrated campaign to convince the public that Democrats are making their taxes go up - because of the spending.

Today, Bush's radio address, Bush sharpens budget attack on Democrats,

Escalating a budget battle with Democrats who control Congress, President George W. Bush accused them on Saturday of pushing tax-and-spend policies and renewed his veto threat.

"They are working to bring back the failed tax-and-spend policies of the past," he said in his weekly radio address. "Democrats are failing in their responsibility to make tough decisions and spend the people's money wisely."

... Bush accused Democrats of proposing in the next five years the "biggest tax increase in history" though he gave no details how he reached that conclusion. "I have made clear that I will veto any attempt to take America down this road," he said.

Let's hope my other prediction - political prosecutors indicting Democrats - does not come true.

I left out one thing from my prediction: Republicans will block every piece of legislation and then say that the Democrats aren't passing any legislation.

Update - News media plays along, check this headline: Bush rips Democratic lawmakers' failures,

President Bush accused Democratic lawmakers on Saturday of being unable to live up to their duties, citing Congress' inability to pass legislation to fund the federal government.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 26, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards Confronts Ann Coulter

Think Progress サ Elizabeth Edwards Confronts Coulter During Live Television Appearance

Watch it:


Why was this woman FEATURED on a national show, when we all know that her entire routine is hate speech? Shame on Chris Matthews. Shame on MSNBC.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Employee Free Choice Fear and Smear

Bob Geiger has a post up: BobGeiger.com: GOP Gives Employee Free Choice Act Fear-And-Smear Treatment.

The Employee Free Choice Act helps restore some ability for employees to unionize. Under Reagan and then under Bush it has become nearly impossiblefor employees to form a union, and those trying to do so get fired. This is against the law, of course, but who enforces the law when it brushes up against what the big corporations want? And the big corporations do NOT want unions.

So the Republicans are out there with the fear and smear tactics. Read Bob's post for examples.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 20, 2007

Right Circulating A LIE About Hillary and Take Back America

Here is a lie we should try to nip in the bud.

Hillary Clinton spoke at the Take Back America conference this morning. The Corner on National Review Online is circulating the following lie about the event:

When she declared, "The American military has done its job," boos began to be heard around the room. As the boos increased, Sen. Clinton raised her voice. "The American military has succeeded," she said, to more boos. "It is the Iraqi government that has failed to make the tough decisions." Still more boos. [emphasis added]
I was there. I heard what happened. NO ONE in the crowd booed her for saying "The American military has succeeded." That is simply a lie by a professional propagandist.

Bill Scher has more, with video to prove it.

Taylor Marsh has more at Huffington Post.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 12, 2007

Incompetent Hit-Job On Gore

The Washington Post hires far-right Weekly Standard editor Andrew Ferguson to "review" Al Gore's book The Assault On Reason. And what does the guy do? In the first line of the review he writes, "You can't really blame Al Gore for not using footnotes in his new book..." to imply that Gore made up an Abraham Lincoln quote. Ferguson (and the editors) misses that Gore's book has endnotes! No one even checks whether it is a real Lincoln quote! And all this gets into print in the Washington Post!

And there's more. Tom Schaller writes about it in TAPPED. Go read.

Update - Eric Boehlert at Media Matters, The media's assault on reason,

But such is life for Al Gore when dealing with the Beltway press, where his vociferous critics cannot be bothered with the simplest fact-checking task, while oblivious media outlets such as the Post print up the errors.

Of course the thick irony here is that Gore's book laments the state of our crumbling national dialogue, yet it's the press that often deliberately dumbs down and interrupts our "conversation of democracy." Gore doesn't often explicitly connect the dots in his book, but the press remains a culprit throughout.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 28, 2007

Right Fires Up The Smear Machine Against Obama

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

As we write this (Friday), a fresh, still-steaming smear has been dumped on Barack Obama over at The Drudge Report.

A giant headline - almost as big as our computers' monitors - screams, "MCCAIN AIDE: 'OBAMA WOULDN'T KNOW DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN RPG AND A BONG'," linking (as Drudge so often does) to a post at Politico. (Obama's spokesman replied, "America doesn't need juvenile name-calling from Washington, we need a commitment to end this war and bring our brave troops home." Also see the video clip at the end of this post.)

So they're going to try out the old "conservatives are strong on national security" nonsense narrative, even after pushing George Bush on the American public? You would think that with almost all of the conservative leadership having dodged military service and earning the label "chickenhawk" they might not want to push this one. But that narrative runs on progressives and not on conservatives, so it might work - and that's what counts if you care more about power than America. And you run with what you have...

In our December post, How Long Will The Right Let Us Love Obama?, we looked at Obama's high poll numbers and asked where are the rest of our leaders? As deserving as Obama may be, what has happened to the perception of so many progressive leaders, that a newcomer first-term Senator is at the top?

We wrote, This favorability poll proves the power of the Right Wing's ongoing and successful strategy of "SELL and SMEAR."

We continued,

Our point here is not whether you will vote for them, or volunteer for their campaign, or give them money, but do you, the American voting public, have a favorable impression of these leaders?

The sad and resounding answer is no. This is what the machine does to Democratic and Progressive leaders. It smears, and attacks and destroys them. It leaves millions of Americans with an uneasy feeling about John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, a bad taste in the mouth, "I don't know. I just don't like him." It's emotional. It's not rational. But it is very, very real.

And it's not just these our most recent leaders. As we wrote last week, President Jimmy Carter left office virtually in disgrace. What about Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis? Are they perceived as what they really are - respected leaders who are both true American success stories? Hardly. They are perceived in the "conventional wisdom" as jokes and afterthoughts.

Those powerful negative stereotypes were carefully created by the use of brilliant marketing, coordinated messaging, virtually unlimited budgets and a complete lack of morals.

Barack Obama is one more progressive leader climbing up in the public's esteem. So here we are. Another day, another smear.

This time Obama had a great answer:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 18, 2007

And Away We Go: As Al Gore's Book Gathers Steam, So Does The Smearing.

On Thursday, Time magazine put up on its website an advance article of its cover story on Al Gore's new book, with excerpts.

Immediately the right started the character assassination. Just like we predicted, there's not a word about the merits of Gore's arguments. Not a word. Why do you think that is?

MacsMind, Al Gore's assault on our intelligence:

But perhaps the greatest fraud is that Al Gore is being presented as some sort of intellectual when in fact even his ex-boss knew him to be an uninformed and downright ignorant boob.

Ankle Biting Pundits, "Prime Time" Al Gore - The Real "Assault On Reason":

"... a man who sold the most serious vote of his Senate career for 20 minutes of Prime Time TV..."

Gateway Pundit, Al Gore Assaults Reason:

In 1992 Al Gore slammed George Bush for ignoring Saddam Hussein's ties to terrorism and Saddam's building of nuclear weapons.
1992? 15 years ago? Is that the best you can do? And something happened between then and George W. Bush's claims that Iraq had WMD: The Clinton/Gore administration's massive 1998 bombing campaign destroyed Iraq's capacity to develop WMD! Anway...

Riehl World View, The Pot Meets Kettle Lifetime Achievement Ward:

He should follow-up with The Audacity of Hypocrisy and toss his hat into the ring for President. The Nutroots have to love this guy.

EconoPundit, From the man who brought you the drowning polar bear...:

Honestly, this has the same level of economic sophistication as pre-WWII arguments about Jewish bankers causing WWI.

California Conservative, Freudian Slip?:

Of all the people asking why "reason, logic and truth...play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions," Al Gore shouldn't be the one asking. After all, his mindless rants are almost totally devoid of logic. Lord knows that they're essentially fiction, thereby stripping truth from the equation.

Jules Crittenden, Gorespeak:

He was for public dscourse before he was against it. In the same aptly named blatherfest, "The Assault on Reason." What's Al Gore got against "the rejection and distortion of science," anyway? He got an Oscar doing that.

Over at Smoking Politics, we've gotten some really nice comments some of which are actually directed as us for having the audacity to stand up for Vice President Gore.

A few of our favorites:

There is the simple:

"Al Gore is full of shit."

The odd leaps of logic:

"Wow - ridiculed, made fun of and mocked. They will tease and make fun of him.

Those fascist right-wing demogagues. Teasing Al Gore. Next stop - the gas chambers:

Grow up you left wing lunatics"

The poignant:

"You useless idiots."

And our personal favorite, hat tip and thank you to Sam:

"With a few exceptions, this is the most outrageously hilarious set of comments I've yet to see on the WWW, exactly fulfilling Dave Johnson's and James Boyce's prediction.

This site must be high on the list of the lunatic fringe of the right wing

Keep up the good work!"

Join us at Noon EST on Friday when Dave sits in as Guest-Co-Host, with James on "Heading Left's BlogTalkRadio Show" and we discuss these comments, and much more.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 17, 2007

Al Gore Stands Up: Time Cover Story On The Assault On Reason Is Out

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce of Smoking Politics

This morning, thanks to our friends at "Time" we have just seen a glimpse into what we believe is one of the most important political books of the year, Al Gore's, "The Assault On Reason."

This cover story article is fair, balanced and great insight into both Al Gore and the new book.

Of course, this will also start the attacks - but what you see is a man who knows what's right, what to do and how to fight - not to mention what he is fighting far.

It will be interesting to watch the attacks, because they have to make him an object of ridicule.

Why? Well, here's a quote from a tobacco executive:

"Our offensive strategy is to shoot the messenger."

And here's the perfect example from this morning.

John Edwards wants to end the war in Iraq. Mike Huckabee wants to make fun of his haircut. That's pathetic.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 15, 2007

We Guarantee Al Gore Will Be Attacked Next Week. We Absolutely Guarantee It.

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce of Smoking Politics

All too often, Democrats are swiftboated, ozoned, attacked and smeared and after the attacks happen, sometimes they respond - sometimes they don't.

We have had enough.

Here's what we know and here's what we're going to do about it.

On Monday, Al Gore has a new book coming out next week, titled, "The Assault On Reason".

Because he is standing up, telling the truth and because he simply is a Democrat and Progressive leader, Al Gore will be smeared mercilessly by the right-wing smear machine. He will be ridiculed, made fun of and mocked. They will tease and make fun of him.

They will rush to say that he is bitter about 2000, crazy, insane, pontificating and out of touch.

They will bring up his utility bills and the boards he is a member of. They will talk about his kiss with Tipper, her crusade against vulgar rap lyrics.

They will bring up his weight and the beard. And say it's all about 2008.

But what they will not do:


Why are we so sure?

Because this is the core of the Right Wing tobacco-driven strategy. You distract. You create doubt. You sell fear and mock those that are not cool.

You have to do this if you are them because you simply can't talk about the facts. Smoking kills - how are you going to sell that little fact? By ignoring the facts and selling smoking as 'Marlboro Country' clean healthy outdoor living. Right Wing programs and policies are not good for the average American. So how do you sell them? Same way. Ignore the facts. Instead, try to kill the messenger.

In this book, Al Gore is going to go straight up against the Right Wing smear and noise machine - the one that we have been writing about at Smoking Politics. And we know what that means.

Over at Amazon you'll find this description of Gore's upcoming book:

A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degradation of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason

... We live in an age when the thirty-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is this administration's disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning-first among them an embrace of open inquiry in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions.

How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason shows us, we have precious little time to waste.

You stand up and say this, that's courage. Just like Al Gore was right about the Iraq War back in 2002 when Democratic Senators were falling all over themselves to vote FOR THE WAR, and Al Gore was against it.

So at Smoking Politics we are going to try to be ready in advance this time. Imagine that - not on the defensive, not surprised at the smear that shows up, not scrambling around trying to figure out what to do about it.

We're going to respond the minute the first attack shows up. We're going to be researching the apparatus that transmits the smear. We're going to explain the mechanism of the smear. We're going to expose those behind the smear. And we're going to launch a pushback against the smear, into the press.

At Smoking Politics we think that going into the 2008 election cycle - whoever the candidate is - nothing matters as much as this issue - the first thing we have to defeat is this Fear and $mear strategy that has been so effective at destroying our leaders and building up their own.

For the Democratic Party, the Progressive causes it supports and for the country, taking dead aim against the Right on this issue is critical to future success. A most important but often overlooked first step is just to be able to spread the news of the existence of this system and highlight how it impacts public debate. Some of the suggested tactics may seem basic and simplistic, but they are the building blocks we need to execute in order to stand up and defend ourselves, our candidates and our values.

While many feel that the Right's power and influence is diminished by the 2006 election, and that the Republican Party is waning, nothing is further from the truth and the stakes in the next election are extremely high.

Will the party and the leadership that ozoned Al Gore, race-baited John McCain, destroyed Max Cleland and swift-boated John Kerry lay down their arms and play nice? Absolutely not. Why would they?

The famous Chinese warrior Sun Tzu says:

Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

Al Gore is ready to fight and he understands the battle and what's at stake.

We are at peace as you can only be when you know what you're fighting for.

Are you ready to stand up and fight with us?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 9, 2007

Smoking Politics

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

There was a time when this country worked to solve its problems.

There was a time in this country when political campaigns were about issues and solutions and ideas.

There was a time when our legislators honestly debated, and minds could be changed, and bipartisan laws could be passed.

There was a time when America was seen as an honest broker for peace, even in the Middle East. And there was even a time when there were solar panels on roof of the White House.

Ronald Reagan - the "Marlboro Man" - took office as President in 1981 - 26 years ago! That means that people under 40 today don't even remember a time when America "worked" and took care of its people and paid its bills. They don't remember a time when the people rather than the corporations and the rich made the decisions. And it especially means that they don't remember a time when campaigns were about anything other than cheap psychological tricks and smears.

Since then liberals and progressives and Democrats of all kinds and colors have been looking back in shock and awe and wondering what happened to them, and what has been happening to the country. Why have we been getting meaner and uglier and greedier and more violent?

Smoking Politics is about what has been happening to us and our country. Smoking Politics is about looking into and exposing the techniques and the tricks and the scams and the sophisticated psychological persuasion methods that are used on us. Smoking Politics is an organization and website and radio show and campaign to get ahead of this attack politics and restore America's ability to make decisions and solve problems and take care of its people again.

Why the name "Smoking Politics?" In our post announcing Smoking Politics, we wrote,

Why do we call this project "Smoking Politics?" Because the origins of the conservative strategy of Fear and $mear come out of the golden age of the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies learned that with the right combination of psychological persuasion tactics and media budget that literally anything could be marketed to the American public.

They were so good that they could persuade people to kill themselves - and to hand over their money while they did it. The right saw the success of this strategy - and noted the total lack of facts and morals involved and decided - if people will pay to smoke, maybe they could be convinced to support a right-wing agenda which was equally deadly. Maybe they could actually convince blue-collar workers to accept the right-wing agenda that asked them to give up their health care and pensions so CEOs could buy bigger jets? So they took these tactics into the political realm.

In that post we wrote about the tactics of Fear and $mear,
...the tobacco strategy of Fear and $mear, combined with the psychological persuasion tactic of "Marlboro Man" appeals to self-image and its counter-image of ridiculing and humiliating the "wimp" became America's politics.

What is Ronald Reagan's image, hat askew on his horse, if not that of the Marlboro Man?

And how did they cast Jimmy Carter to prepare the country for Reagan's campaign, if not the ineffective wimp and an object of ridicule - despite the fact that Jimmy Carter was a Navy man? Sound familiar? Fear and $mear.

So we are moving rapidly into the 2008 election season, and we're seeing the tactics of Fear and $mear coming out to poison our politics once again.

The most recent example? At the request of the Port of San Francisco, Speaker Nancy Pelosi added a $25 million in waterfront improvements for her city, San Francisco, to a water redevelopment bill passed by the House in April. The Republican Party issued a press release accusing her of corruption, falsely stating that Pelosi had inserted the "earmark" to benefit her husband, who owns property "very close" to the waterfront. AP, without checking any of the facts, wrote a story echoing the Republican Party statement, which was immediately pushed by the Drudge Report.

The right-wing amplifier kicked into action. A few examples:

Greg Sargent of TPM'S Horse's Mouth actually bothered to check the facts, and found that there was nothing to the story, that the Port had requested the improvements, and that Pelosi's husband's property was actually three miles away from the proposed improvement.

Media Matters also has details, in their post AP ran false headline on story reporting baseless GOP allegations against Pelosi

So here we are again, with the so-called "conservatives" using another lie and smear to try to sway people. How long will this continue? Until the public is made aware that they actually do just lie.

And that's what smoking Politics will be working to do - expose the lies, expose the tactic of Fear and $mear. Stop by and say hi. Or listen in today at Noon Eastern as we have our weekly BlogTalkRadio Show, "Smoking Politics Radio Show."

Listen Live

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 3, 2007

SP Alert: Dick Cheney Rips Condoleeza Rice For Talking With Syrians.

Dave Johnson and James Boyce

Secretary of State Condolezza Rice met with the Syrian Foreign Minister today, incurring the wrath of the administration and conservative pundits. Leading the criticism was Vice President Dick Cheney.

In an interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney said Assad has "been isolated and cut off because of his bad behavior, and the unfortunate thing about the "Secretary of State's meeting" is it sort of breaks down that barrier."

Conservative pundits and the White House itself further piled on the Secretary of State. The criticism was direct, clear and very personal.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino strongly criticized "Rice's planned meeting" saying, "We think it is a really bad idea. People should take a stop back and think about the message it sends and the message it sends to our allies," Perino said.

The Heritage Foundation is particularly upset at the incident.
"Rice's meeting is likely to undermine the Bush administration's foreign policy and help the Syrians go back to business as usual - much to the dismay of our Lebanese, Iraqi, and Israeli friends, all of whom want the United States to take a tougher stand against Syria," Jim Phillips, a research fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service .

Yes, we did change all the names in the quotes from Nancy Pelosi to Condolezza Rice to make a simple point.

It is right to talk with the Syrians.

It's hypocritical, repugnant and wrong to point the right wing noise machine at Speaker Pelosi for doing exactly what you're doing.

Bloggers refer to this double standard as "IOKIYAR"

Please join us as we talk about subjects like this this at Smoking Politics and on our "Smoking Politics Radio Show."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 24, 2007

SP Alert: Four Hundred Bucks For A Haircut? WTF?

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

A quick visit to John Edwards's Presidential Campaign web site clearly shows what his passions are and what he wants to talk about. Not necessarily in order of his priority, but John Edwards wants to:

    End the war in Iraq.

    Guarantee affordable health care to every American.

    Fight global warming.

    Eliminate poverty in America.

    Revitalize rural America.

    Restore America's moral authority in the world.

    Help solve the humanitarian crisis in Africa.

It's almost too many critical issues and is more than enough to talk about right?

Well, this past week, we have seen clearly, that the Right Wing doesn't want to talk about these issues. Let's break them down briefly:

End the war in Iraq? No, the Right wants to continue the escalation in Iraq and potentially expand the conflict to Iran.

Fight global warming? No, the Right as best shown by Exxon-funded Media Research Center and their attacks on Laurie David and Sheryl Crow's global warming concert tour insist on putting profit before morality. They know the science as well as anyone but the scientific facts conflict with the profits of their top donors, ergo, their denial program continues.

Guarantee affordable health care to every American? Absolutely not. The cost to corporate donors makes it a necessity to stop this in its tracks. Tens of millions spent fighting and lobbying against health care reform is money well spent by those wishing to block this from becomming a right of every American.

Eliminate poverty in America? No, the programs that would facilitate this, such as the raising of the minimum wage, conflict with the goals of the Right's corporate base.

Revitalize rural America? Again, the programs that would facilitate this would cost large corporations money, no.

Restore America's moral authority in the world? The Right sees this differently. They don't mind torture, choosing war over peace and the death of civilians. It's a fundamental difference of morality.

Help solve the humanitarian crisis in Africa? The Right asks: why bother?

So clearly, there is a conflict because the vast majority would BENEFIT from John Edward's plans and actions (for starters, the 40,000,000 Americans without health care, their lives would greatly benefit.)

So how do they distract people from talking about these issues? The tobacco industry solved this problem nicely by portraying people who didn't smoke as not cool. They couldn't talk about their product honestly, so instead mock and make fun of the people who don't use the product.

So how would you make fun of the son of a mill worker who rose up from poverty himself in rural South Carolina to run for President? How would you distract people from his message and his ideas?

Well, he has too big a house. This is the problem with Liberals, they're not "like us," they think they are better, riding in limo's, drinking their chardonnay and lattes.

Recently, there was a concerted effort to circulate stories that John Edwards is so rich that he has just built a mansion that is the biggest house in the county where he lives in North Carolina. Can you imagine?

What a scum ball! He made enough money to build a big house and he built it. That story struck home with the people the Right wanted to reach. Did their tactic work? Absolutely. According to a Google search there are now over 796,000 web pages that reference the words 'John' 'Edwards' and 'mansion' and 13,800,000 that contain the words 'John' 'Edwards' 'big' and 'house'.

Distract. Distract. Distract.

On April 15th, Presidential Candidates of both parties released their fundraising and expenditure documents and there is a wealth of information iavailable about the candidates, who is giving money and how they are spending their money.

Operatives from both parties trolled through the documents and what did they come up with from the Edwards documents?

A $400 haircut.

Perfect fodder for the machine because blue collar men are not going to like some pretty boy who goes to a spa and spends more on one hair cut than they do in a year. (And if the Right can make Edwards a "pretty boy," maybe those same men will be distracted from realizing that if Edwards was elected, their jobs would come with better pay and benefits, and their kids would have cleaner water to fish in and a better future. Let's talk hair cuts boys.)

The story moves up the food chain on the Right,. And, like the Gore energy bill story, it gets the stamp of validation from Fox News. Millions of Americans are exposed to something that simply doesn't matter.

The story is heavily promoted by Fox News. The online Fox News story begins, "Looking pretty is costing John Edwards' presidential campaign a lot of pennies." The story adds that Edwards visits a salon that caters mostly to women. Double-whammy. Limousine Liberal AND a pretty-boy!

The story has spread rapidly. If you do a Google search for pages that contain the words 'edwards', '$400' and 'haircut' there are already 187,000 web pages that contain those terms! (Testing this by looking at page 43 and then page 100 of the search results, every page cited was still directly about the purported John Edwards $400 haircut.) Similarly, a search for 'John' 'Edwards' 'Breck' and 'girl' yields 134,000 results.

What a 'faggot' as Ann Coulter would - did - say.

What a disgrace we say, that they try to distract us from talking about such important issues.

If you can, join us on our BlogTalkRadio show at noon eastern on Wednesday. We will be discussing this and how we can fight back. We will be taking calls and would love to hear from you.

One final point:

If you are a Barack supporter or a fan of Senator Clinton, or any other Democratic candidate, don't smile at the furor around Senator Edwards and this issue.

Because be it Barack's supposed radical Muslim childhood or Senator Clinton's personal life, they're coming for you next. The way to fight this is to back each other up -- because that backs ALL OF US up.

Please join us as we talk about subjects like this this at Smoking Politics and on our "Smoking Politics Radio Show" on BlogTalkRadio at Noon eastern on Wednesday. We will be taking calls!

blog radio

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 14, 2007

WHY They Say Such Outrageous Things

Jamison Foser writes in this week's "Media Matters",

In the midst of a torrent of comments about "femi-Nazis" and "bitches" and "hos," these more subtle problems are rarely even noticed, and even more rarely discussed among the media elite and those who appear on their shows.

And that may be the most damaging effect of the kind of commentary that we routinely hear from the likes of Imus and Limbaugh and Coulter: Rhetoric that should be unacceptable becomes merely outrageous; that which should be outrageous becomes merely controversial; and that which should be controversial is barely noticed, if at all.

I gave a talk a few weeks ago to an organization that supports public education. My talk as titled We're All In This Together. I began the talk by playing a video clip of Neil Boortz on Fox, saying that teachers unions are more dangerous to America than terrorists armed with nuclear weapons because a nuke could only wipe out 100,000 people but public schools are "destroying a generation."

I talked about the terrible things right-wingers routinely say. Then I explained the Right's Overton Window strategy of walking people's thinking up a ladder that turns unthinkable ideas into acceptable and even reasonable-sounding.

After explaining the Overton Window I said,

NOW we can understand the role of people like the guy from the video clip. He is out at the extreme – on the right side of the see-saw. Anything LESS extreme sounds almost moderate by comparison – in the window of “thinkable.” THIS is why they say those outrageous things. They’re walking people up the ladder. It’s part of the long-term strategy.
If you're interested, I have the whole thing posted over at the Commonweal Institute blog, along with links to reference materials.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 11, 2007

Introducing Smoking Politics. And Our Mission To End The Right Wing Strategy Of Fear and $mear.

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

Today, we are launching a new web site, and a new radio show, and continuing a passion and partnership that has been developing over the past year. The site is Smoking Politics and on it we will track, expose and fight back - hard - every single day against the right's strategy of Fear and $mear. We will also host a weekly BlogTalkRadio show, The Smoking Politics Radio Hour, with our first show today at noon Eastern, 9:00 am Pacific. We will be taking calls.

blog radio

Why do we call this project "Smoking Politics?" Because the origins of the conservative strategy of Fear and $mear come out of the golden age of the tobacco companies. The tobacco companies learned that with the right combination of psychological persuasion tactics and media budget that literally anything could be marketed to the American public.

They were so good that they could persuade people to kill themselves - and to hand over their money while they did it. The right saw the success of this strategy - and noted the total lack of facts and morals involved and decided - if people will pay to smoke, maybe they could be convinced to support a right-wing agenda which was equally deadly. Maybe they could actually convince blue-collar workers to accept the right-wing agenda that asked them to give up their health care and pensions so CEOs could buy bigger jets? So they took these tactics into the political realm.

Look at how much of the right's political agenda is aligned with the needs of the tobacco companies. There's deregulation, especially in the area of protecting the health and safety of the public, or of regulating toxic substances. There's "tort reform" - the attempt to prevent victims of corporate malfeasance from using the courts to hold companies responsible for their actions. And, of course, there's tax cuts for corporations - and the government looking the other way as the tobacco industry continues to spend $35,000,000 a month marketing their product.

There's another critical link between the far-right and the tobacco industry. Few people know that Karl Rove was a tobacco company advisor. Even fewer know that the heads of the "political consulting firms" like DCI that set up Republican-connected 527 front groups like the Swift Boat Vets came from tobacco companies as well. Tobacco funds supported the right. Tobacco consultants sold the agenda.

The recent Union of Concerned Scientists report on the efforts to discredit global warming science describe an in-place infrastructure of organizations that had aided the tobacco companies in their strategy of discrediting the science that said cigarettes were killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. The report describes how Exxon basically took over this infrastructure of science-denial organizations and used it to muddy the waters about the science that shows global warming is occurring.

And look at the ridicule that Al Gore is enduring from the right. Why? Because he is trying to save the planet - he is the object of humiliation. We even saw it just this week when a "charity" who recently gave Rush Limbaugh an award for "media excellence" and accepts $50,000 a year from ExxonMobil attacked Laurie David and Sheryl Crow's Stop Global Warming tour.

So the tobacco strategy of Fear and $mear, combined with the psychological persuasion tactic of "Marlboro Man" appeals to self-image and its counter-image of ridiculing and humiliating the "wimp" became America's politics.

What is Ronald Reagan's image, hat askew on his horse, if not that of the Marlboro Man?

And how did they cast Jimmy Carter to prepare the country for Reagan's campaign, if not the ineffective wimp and an object of ridicule - despite the fact that Jimmy Carter was a Navy man? Sound familiar? Fear and $mear. And how have they cast their politicians and policies since? As variations on the macho Marlboro Man. Do we need to say how our Democratic leaders have been portrayed since? $meared as effete, ineffectual clowns.

And then there's the Fear Factor - we spend more on military than the rest of world's countries combined, but we need to live in fear. Fear of a man in cave. Fear of a country that doesn't even have nuclear weapons. Fear of fighting them here if we don't fight them over there. Fear of 9/11.

At The Patriot Project last fall, we explored and exposed this pattern. We were able to begin to bring awareness of this tactic into the media. Many of those posts are here.

Now we are bringing all this experience to Smoking Politics, where we will fight this fight on a daily basis - exposing the lies and smears and sell strategies that the right uses to win elections and destroy our leaders.

We will show, as Swiftboater-financing Sam Fox's recess appointment, and the ongoing US Attorney scandal clearly showcased - that there is a circle of corruption. Right-wing donors pay for the $mears of our leaders and reap financial benefits and appointments and a government that looks the other way. They win elections through fear and $mear. They make money from their victories and the cycle repeats itself.

We think that going into the 2008 election cycle nothing matters as much as this issue - the first thing we have to defeat is this tobacco Fear and $mear strategy that has been so effective at destroying our leaders and building up their own.

We have plenty of time to lay the groundwork on this effort before the 2008 campaign is in full swing. But we don't have sufficient funding to hire the researchers and writers we need. Stay tuned as we will be announcing fundraising events and online fundraising efforts.

And don't forget to tuned to tune into our show today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 9, 2007

Laurie And Sheryl Didn't Make It Very Far Before Exxon Tried To Slash Tour Bus Tires

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

When Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth won the Oscar for Best Documentary, it didn't take him long to be attacked by the Right Wing $MEAR machine. (And the mainstream media didn't help much but not even checking out the basic facts of the story.)

So this morning when Laurie David and Sheryl Crow kicked off their Stop Global Warming tour, where they are doing outrageous things like discussing the reality of global warming and how concerned college students, aka our nation's future, can become involved, surely you didn't expect the oil companies to let them slide did you. Of course not.

Here are the first couple of shots. One accuses ABC NEWS of letting their on-air talent be used for a "political agenda."

For anyone who wants us to connect the dots, here they are.

1. Newsbusters is a project of The Media Research Center.

2. Media Research Center is, believe it or not, a charitable organization so if you give money to them, you get a tax deduction.

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501 (c)(3) non profit research and education foundation.
3. Media Research recently gave Rush Limbaugh an award for "Media Excellence." We can't make this shit up if we tried.

4. And who gives them a nice $50,000 check every year? And gets the tax deduction? ExxonMobil.

Let's be clear.

Global Warming is not a political issue, it is a scientific fact.

The attempt to turn it into a partisan issue is a political issue and is being done by the Right Wing donors, such as ExxonMobil, who have the most to lose if we move to alternative energies. If you can turn it into a political issue, you can begin to hide the facts.

Know the facts, and you know the truth. So get on the bus with Laurie and Sheryl.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Racism In The Media - With Update

For those of you who do not know, radio personality (simulcast on MSNBC) Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team, which has black members, as "nappy-headed hos." Another guest on the show referred to a game between "The Jigaboos vs. The Wannabees."

Right-wing blogger Macsmind,

Another “White” celebrity in trouble for supposed “racist” remarks, this time it’s Don Imus. [...] this “parsing for racism” ONLY when it’s occurs by whites needs to stop now. ... Until then shut up.
Update - MSNBC today "suspended" Imus for two weeks. MSNBC didn't suspend him after this happened on the show, it suspended him after this started to become a widely discussed issue.

The white boy's club that runs this country...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 4, 2007

As Surely As Night Follows Day - Smears Follow Bush Criticisms

Co-written with James Boyce

The other day in the New York Times, Bush "campaign strategist" Matthew Dowd was quoted saying he had "lost faith" in Bush. From the article, Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd says he has "lost faith in Bush."

"Looking back, Mr. Dowd now says his faith in Mr. Bush was misplaced.

In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush's leadership.

He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a "my way or the highway" mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides."

As surely as night follows day the right began the smear campaign. Mr. Dowd, you see, is "emotional" and has "personal problems."

Through Think Progress, White House Claims Dowd Is Too Emotional, Turned On Bush Because Of 'Personal Turmoil' and The Huffington Post has the following video in White House Blames Matthew Dowd's Criticism Of Bush On "Personal Problems":

Picking up on the White House's cue, conservative weblog Captains Quarter's, in Dowd Bails On Bush, writes,

The man whom I believed so rational turns out to have run on emotion...

... As much as I like Dowd, and he is a very likable man in person ... boo hoo. I can't believe this Dowd is a grown-up.

... So Bush didn't act as a uniter. Neither did the Democrats, who spent most of the first term calling Bush the "Commander-in-Thief", constantly undermining his authority. ...

... Dowd engages in one long, petulant rant, consumed by his disappointment at Bush's failure to change when Dowd changed. I'm sorry for Dowd's disappointment, but this says much more about Dowd's emotionalism than it does about the Bush administration.

Others chimed in:

Are the Only Republicans in the New York Times' Rolodex Liberal Republicans?,

One of the reasons the Left-Wing Media pulled so hard for Democrats to win back Congress in 2006 is surely that they were sick of going to meetings that didn't matter. Hard to impress Hill interns with your access when all you know are disgruntled Democrats.
And others:

The author of "Flip-Flop" flips

April Fool (but no joke)

And finally President Bush himself, always one to pursue a carefully-crafted talking point, said Dowd is "emotional."

...noting that Mr. Dowd has a son in the Army who is awaiting deployment, Mr. Bush added, "I understand his anguish over war; I understand this is an emotional issue for Matthew, as it is for a lot of other people in our country."
Of course no one in President Bush's family - or few other conservative leaders' families, for that matter - is at risk of being sent to Iraq. The logic apparently being that not having to personally face the consequences of their decisions qualifies them to be deciding issues of war and peace.

Update - From a New York Times editorial today,

"President Bush and his advisers have made a lot of ridiculous charges about critics of the war in Iraq: they're unpatriotic, they want the terrorists to win, they don't support the troops, to cite just a few. But none of these seem quite as absurd as President Bush's latest suggestion, that critics of the war whose children are at risk are too "emotional" to see things clearly.

The direct target was Matthew Dowd, one of the chief strategists of Mr. Bush's 2004 presidential campaign, who has grown disillusioned with the president and the war, which he made clear in an interview with Jim Rutenberg published in The Times last Sunday. But by extension, Mr. Bush's comments were insulting to the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and spouses have served or will serve in Iraq. "

Dave Johnson and James Boyce have spent over a year researching, exposing and trying to stop the Right Wing dual strategy of $ell and $mear. You can read more at www.smokingpolitics.com.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Pelosi Wears Scarf - Wingnuts In Full-On Frenzy

Sheesh. Speaker Pelosi wore a head covering whie visiting a mosque, and the right-wingers are in a frothing, seething, full-on anti-Muslim racist frenzy.


Never mind that Laura Bush and Condoleeza Rice ALSO wore headcoverings when visiting mosques, as well as when visiting the Vatican.

22cnd-laura-bush.2.jpg condi.jpg

So here they go: Pelosi Allows Radical Muslim Propaganda Coup,

"The anti-American propaganda this woman has given the very people who want to totally destroy us is immense."
Here's a good one,
"Tired of being beheaded, hijacked, kidnapped and terrorized? Try Dhimmitude! It's 100% submissive and guaranteed to appease the enemies of freedom. Well, temporally anyway. Because that's all we have to do you know, is just be nice to them. [. . .] The left wants peace at any cost. Terrorism pays."
Another, with a dose of pure anti-Muslim racism:
"I guess the Muslims will give her props for the head scarf, after all she is playing the role of a good dhimmicrat. Then again, depending on how sensitive the Syrians are feeling, she may of sparked another international “Religion of Peace” murderous rage."
See also Has speaker Pelosi committed sedition by her visit to the mideast?

Go see the pics and read The Mahablog : Pelosi Wears Scarf; Righties Bark at Moon

And to really understand America's right, read the 800 comments here.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 13, 2007

Did Clinton Also Fire Prosecutors? - UPDATED -

You're going to hear a story that "Clinton fired 93 prosecutors" when he took office, while this whole prosecutor scandal is about Bush firing only 11.

The fact is that EVERY President changes the US Attorneys when taking office. Bush also did the same thing when he took office. That is different. This has never happened before. THIS scandal is about Bush using the federal prosecutors to only go after Democrats, and to ignore crimes by Republicans.

And here's the thing. The ones that were fired were let go because they wouldn't "play ball." So the question is, what about the ones who were not fired?

It is one more example of how the entire government has been converted into a Party apparatus - as well as working to further the interests of the K-Street/Abramoff corruption machine. You hear about Interior Department employees ordered not to discuss global warming. You hear about the head of HUD telling underlings not to give contracts to Democrats. You hear over and over about "conected" companies getting huge no-bid contracts with no accountability...

IF Bush gets away with this - if the current prosecutors, Attorney General, Bush, etc. remain in place - come election time 2008 the only news the PUBLIC will be hearing is news about federal indictments of corrupt Democrats. That's what this is about.

Update - CREW calls for a Special Prosecutor because obviously the Bush Justice Department isn't going to investigate. But who appoints the special prosecutor?

CREW wants the immediate appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate potential criminal violations related to the recent dismissals of eight U.S. Attorneys. Recent revelations indicate that a top-ranking Department of Justice official knew that statements made by top Department officials were not true. Clearly, the Department of Justice cannot investigate itself and prosecute the misconduct of DOJ officials. CREW also asked the Department of Justice’s Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the situation.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 10, 2007

Rumor About Iraq

A rumor I heard - troops in some areas of Iraq are having food rations cut, having to sign for ammo on a per-round basis, and are being told it is because the Democrats in Congress have cut off the funding for the troops.

This is exactly the kind of thing the Republicans would do. These people will be coming back to the US one day, and they will be angry at the Democrats and Volvo-driving liberals who "betrayed them." Bush started a war and lost it, and The Party is setting up to blame liberals and Democrats for the loss.

Please help - if you are in Iraq or have a friend or relative in Iraq please check on the stories that are circulating and let us know.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 5, 2007

Who They Mean When They Say "Leftists"

A wingnut has a post up with examples of "Hate Speech" by "Prominent Leftists." Go read and have a good laugh.

Louis Farrakhan is a "leftist?" Richard Cohen? Nina Totenberg? Leftists? And I haven't heard of half of them. Am I old or something? "British Pundit Charlie Booker?"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Right-Wing Narrative Coming: Government To Blame For VA Mess

Have you been following the Walter Reed & VA Hospital mess? Read this. The Republicans privatized care at Walter Reed (corruptly throwing a contract to the SAME PEOPLE - Republican campaign contributors - who screwed up ice delivery after Katrina). They gutted the professional staff and cut everything so the money would flow to a few rich fucks instead of to caring for the troops.

But what are they telling the public? That it's an example of the problem with GOVERNMENT! After firing all the professional staff and outsourcing everything they're telling people that government can't fire people so they don't care about the troops.

Republicans: Gut the government, pocket the funds, then BLAME the government when things stop working.

Example: NPR : Is Bureaucracy to Blame for Walter Reed Shame?


Newsflash: Government-run health care sucks The Washington Post is back today with another story about the pitfalls of the military health care system.:
Example: Government Healthcare and YOU!
If you’ve been watching the news lately you will most likely will have seen a special or two on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The men and women who put their lives on the line for their country are being placed in horrible conditions.

... THIS, is what you will get nation wide if you decide to hand over your health care to the federal government.

If you had any doubts about universal health care, which is to say, health care furnished and managed by the government, examine the complaints about the health care furnished our veteran's by the government.

If they can't get it together to furnish decent health care to our veteran's, what chance do the rest of us have?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

March 1, 2007

The Al Gore Lie Is Halfway Around The World And The Truth Is Sitting In Nashville.

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce

There's a tragic but true old expression that a lie can make it half way around the world before the truth can even get its pants on. Sadly, this has been proven true again this week with the $mear attack on Vice President Al Gore and his energy consumption.

Today, we noticed that the lie has made it to Germany. How did this happen and, more to the point, why does it continue to happen?

As Media Matters continues to speak out about every single day - and we all owe them thanks - the corporate media in America absolutely fails to serve the interest of the public. How could they spread this lie? How does a small, unknown organization with a $100,000 budget issue a press release containing a $mear on a respected former Vice President of the United States and have their lie echoed around the world within hours? Pathetic. (Just look at their IRS form! No officers, directors or trustees? Very little information? A P.O. box? Is it normal for an organization to spend that high a percentage of their funds on "meals?") One reporter asking one question about this group, or about the facts behind Gore's energy use, and the story is over. But they didn't.

Furthermore, it's our collective fault. As we noted in our post a few days ago, no one should have been surprised when Al Gore was attacked for the positive press he and his movie received last weekend. An Inconvenient Truth was sure to win an Oscar. Gore would then speak to a billion people about the problem of global warming. The well-funded global warming denial industry would respond, and $mearing people is their standard method of attack. They destroy our leaders.

And yet, there was surprise and a lack of preparation to fight back. How many times will one of our leaders be attacked and be marginalized before we get it through our thick heads that this is a pattern? How many times will this happen before we start to do something about it?

Al Gore was mocked as "ozone man". Max Cleland destroyed. Howard Dean screamed out of town. McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, and Bill Clinton $meared and $meared and even impeached. Then the lies about Al Gore during his campaign against Bush. Then John Kerry swiftboated. Now Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama and John Edwards attacked. They destroy our leaders.

And not only are the targets of the attacks often caught off guard, but the Democratic institutions and leaders are often nowhere to be found when it happens!

Where was the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday as these lies gained hold? Where was any Democratic-oriented Group? There were the progressive bloggers, Media Matters and CAP's Think Progess and very few others -- the usual suspects -- and this is all that Gore and our other leaders have watching their backs. They sure aren't watching each other's.

Last fall, we (James, Dave and Taylor Marsh) worked together on The Patriot Project. We struggled mightily to raise money to help veteran candidates like Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy, Charlie Brown, Jack Murtha and Chris Carney. We raised money online but traditional donors didn't help us. The progressive bloggers are also largely unfunded and are the targets of strategic marginalization attacks themselves. The progressive donor base continues to play it safe and avoid controversy, funding the large, stale, DC-based "traditional" organizations.

And the attacks continue.

When John Kerry was the focus of the machine when he botched his joke, the wingnuts misrepresented what he said and pretended outrage, the right's online sites echoed and amplified the smear, the Drudge Report spread it widely, Limbaugh blasted it out, and then the networks dutifully picked it up and spread the lie to the rest of the country. And not only did no Democrat come to his aid, some actually piled on.

When Nancy Pelosi was $meared with the lie that she "demanded a luxury jet" the wingnuts misrepresented what she said and pretended outrage, the right's online sites echoed and amplified the smear, the Drudge Report spread it widely, Limbaugh blasted it out, and then the networks dutifully picked it up and spread the lie to the rest of the country. But how many leading Democrats and organizations joined forces to protect her?

How many similar episodes have we seen in just the last few months? Where are the Democratic institutions? Where are the other Democratic leaders? Don't they understand that they're next?

And this week here was Al Gore getting blind-sided and the silence was deafening. One more sad but clear example of what ails our party and our leaders.

It is a tragedy.

First the wingnuts came for Bill Clinton,
I remained silent;
I am not Bill Clinton.

When they made up stuff about Gore,
I remained silent;
I am not Gore.

When they lied about John Kerry
I didn't speak up for him;
I complained about how he ran his campaign.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out;
I am a Democrat.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:02 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 26, 2007

A Far Too Convenient $mear: Part One - Updated - Rush Update

Co-written with (mostly written by) James Boyce

(Note - visit this follow-up post for a link to Tennessee Center for Policy Research tax forms.)

Did you honestly think that the Right Wing $mear machine was going to let Al Gore stand up with the terrific team who created and direct the movie and receive an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth?"

Did you really believe they would stand by and watch a Democratic leader validated for his life's work?

No chance in hell. As we have said here before, They destroy our leaders. Note to Senator Obama: spare us the hope and bi-partisanship talk and help us fight back.

Here's what we know, what we think, what we're trying to find out and how you can help.

Last night, Al Gore got very favorable national press and worldwide television exposure.

This afternoon, a group calling itself "The Tennessee Center For Policy Research" sent out a press release denouncing Vice President Gore for the size of his household electrical bills.

Let's start right there. How did they get the utility bills? They also didn't have the courtesy to ask Vice President Gore about them (despite their hollow claim of being non-partisan.) And why would a "think tank" possibly care about what Al Gore spends on gas?

Actually, let's start with a more basic question. Who are these people? Well , a quick check of Alexa reveals their web site gets no traffic. Are they legitimate? Well, again, they claim to be non-partisan but only link to far-right and conservative groups so regardless of what their status is with the IRS, this is a conservative, strongly-leaning Republican organization.

We will be digging through IRS documents tonight because if you follow the money, you always find the answers. We will let you know who their donors are as soon as we can.

This group drops the pebble in the lake and now the machine really goes to work.

Front page of Drudge Report at 5:16 reports this press release from a group no one has ever heard of, who may or may not have stolen Al Gore's utility bills. Now, the lie has legs.

In the last twenty minutes, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has updated its website TWICE - both with radio interviews. The damage is being done as we watch.

But guess what? We're going to fight back. All of us.

Why? Well, first of all, Al Gore turning his lights on doesn't make him a hypocrite, it makes him a human.

Second, we've seen this game a few too many damn times. The trick is for them to create doubt and distraction. They need to create doubt all around the country about Al Gore. But there is no doubt.

Al Gore is a hero.

Even heroes need help - join us, add to the comments, let's find out everything we can about these guys and stop them in their tracks. Now.

NOTE: this post is a work in progress and will be updated frequently.

The echo chamber is engaging. Instapundit, Hot Air, Free Republic, WorldNetDaily, TownHall and several others are echoing and amplifying the $mear. RedState, Captain's Quarters. More here and here, here, here, here, here, here, here. Wizbang.

OK, now of course ABC News is picking it up.

A comment at DailyKos: "Hannity got the memo as well and he and Annthrax Coulter are hammering Gore for the same thing tonight."

Tennessee Center's President Drew Johnson comes straight out of the right's network, coming from Exxon-funded American Enterprise Institute and the right-wing-funded National Taxpayers Foundation.

They are part of the right's State Policy Network. According to PFAW,

"SPN is a national network of state-based right-wing organizations in 37 states as well as prominent nationwide right-wing organizations. Through its network SPN advances the public policy ideas of the expansive right-wing political movement on the state and local level."

As of Feb. 16, the Tennessee tax dept. considers them "not a legitimate organization" because of their misrepresenting themselves involving questions about the group's opposition to a state crackdown on drug dealers.

Gore Responds:

Responding to Drudge’s attack, Vice President Gore’s office told ThinkProgress:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.
Morning Echo Chamber Update

CNS News, local TV, another local TV, another, local papers, an, RW outlets (another), other RW "think tanks," more blogs, here, here, here, here, and many, many, others.

Rush Update - Rush Limbaugh is spending a great deal of time promoting this story today, mocking Gore, mocking global warming science, mocking the idea of a carbon footprint, with music to the tune of "Ring of Fire" - the world will be a ring of fire... Said CO2 is put in the air by vegetation... But even though mockingly he did also at least mention Gore's response, that Gore says he buys green - and even gave the carbon footprint website address on the air. This was not to encourage people to visit, but to mock, but it was there at least. Rush says his objection is that environmentalists want people to change their lifestyle - to downsize the American lifestyle. "Ultimate aim of global warming religion followers is to blame the United States ... and empower a larger government to make regulations over how we live." Says Gore is a hypocrite.

After the break Rush said that rich, elitist Democrats want to live better than regular people, etc. Says that Democrats say that only by getting poorer and being controlled by government can we solve the climate crisis - we are being scammed like never before.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:15 PM | Comments (40) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 13, 2007

How the “Pelosi 757” Lie Was Spread

Another day, another right-wing lie spreads through the media and across the country...

The current $mear on Speaker Pelosi is a case study in how the right-wing $mear machine operates. The right has been working to spread a lie that Speaker Pelosi “demanded” a “luxury jet” to fly herself and “supporters” and “contributors” around. The lie is effective because it ties a current event to a deeper, long-term resentment narrative about “limousine liberals” that the right has been pushing for years. It is spreading across the country because it is passed through a prepared pipe to the places where the general public receives their information.

The facts are simple: since 9/11, for obvious security reasons, the Speaker of the House of Representatives (who is next in line behind the Vice President to become President) has flown on government rather than commercial aircraft. Speaker Pelosi is from California, so with the House now back to a five-day workweek the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives requested a jet that can make it to California non-stop. According to the Sergeant-at-Arms,

"The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable."
That is the entire story, period. But the right’s propaganda machine has been working to blow this up into a story that supports their “limousine liberal” resentment narrative, adding various embellishments with each passing day. According to this narrative, liberals are rich “elitists” from the coasts who think they are smarter and generally superior to the “regular people” in “the heartland.” This is meant to create a resentment backlash, bringing votes to conservative candidates so they can get into office … and give tax cuts to rich elitists.

Over several days, the “Pelosi plane” story has been expanded into a fable that has Speaker Pelosi “demanding” a “floating pleasure palace,” a “luxury 757” with two beds, a bar, and 40 first-class seats, so she can “transport her political cronies, favorite Members of Congress, congressional staffers, friends and relatives.”

An interesting point to note about this story is that such government planes do exist. The Bush administration has actually purchased such planes for use by executive branch officials and military brass. But this “use of luxury aircraft at taxpayer's expense” is not objected to in the retelling of this story. The objection is to their use by Speaker of the House Pelosi in particular. So perhaps part of the right’s anger driving this issue can be laid to authoritarian resentment about a member of Congress - “the People’s House” - a female Speaker, no less - being “demanding” enough to possibly gain use of one of “their” luxury planes.

As so many $mears do, this one originated with the Reverend Moon's Washington Times and was quickly spread across the right's echo chamber. Though the Reverend Moon preaches that Christianity must be “torn down” because he is the true Prophet and our “True Parent,” the Christian Coalition again joined forces with him to condemn Pelosi,

Christian Coalition of America condemns the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from San Francisco, for trying to get luxurious travel paid for by the American taxpayers. Is a first class seat on a commercial jet no longer good enough for Speaker Pelosi? Nancy Pelosi is demanding that the Air Force provide her with a large jet on demand - “Pelosi One” - so she can transport her political cronies, favorite Members of Congress, congressional staffers, friends and relatives back and forth to her district in San Francisco every week.
Others joined forces with Moon’s efforts. The New York Post wrote in the story,
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding regular use of the military's "Lincoln Bedroom" in the sky - a luxurious aircraft of the same type that carries Vice President Dick Cheney and First Lady Laura Bush on official trips, officials said yesterday.
In a development that has some Republicans and defense officials fuming, Pelosi recently asked the Pentagon to give her access to the Air Force's super-opulent C-32 for flights to her San Francisco home and other official trips.

The floating pleasure palace is a reconfigured Boeing 757 stored at Andrews Air Force Base with Air Force One and the rest of the fleet of executive aircraft.

The aircraft has a game room, stateroom, showers, a communications center and seats 42 to 50 people, according to the Air Force.

It costs taxpayers $22,000 an hour to operate, according to military and congressional sources.
“It will be a flying Lincoln Bedroom,” said House GOP Whip Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
“This shows an unprecedented sense of entitlement. This is a symbol of hypocrisy, this is a symbol of excess and this is a symbol of arrogance,” said a member of the House Republican Conference.

Far-right outlets like NewsMax echoed and amplified the $mear. The Republican Party itself put up a web page titled, “Non-Stop” Nancy Seeks Flight Of Fancy, claiming,
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Wants Non-Stop Military Aircraft For Herself, Staff, Family, And Other Members In California Delegation
And right-wing talk radio has, of course, echoed the $mear all day, every day.

But the right’s “echo chamber” reaches far beyond newspapers, TV and radio. People receive information in lots of ways, and the conservative machine has studied them and puts them to use. Online message boards and e-mail chain-forwarding, for example, can be a useful barometer of right-wing smear-planting operations. The same wording repeated at many boards often indicates that something is going on. The number of examples resulting from a Google search for the phrase “Nancy Pelosi's Gas Guzzling 757 Flying Bedroom”, for example, demonstrates that this may be occurring.

One message board example, posted by “Air Pelosi One” at various discussion groups, (also found here) reads:

Note: The author of this message requested that it not be archived. This message will be removed from Groups in 4 days (Feb 16, 2:21 pm).
The list of things Nancy Pelosi (allegedly) wants with relation to her air travel just gets funnier and funnier every day. Each new day someone comes up with something wilder she allegedly is asking for. So here's the Top Ten List of what Nancy Pelosi wants:
10. Hot male strippers as pilots
9. Young gay nubile boyz as flight attendants
8. Hot lesbian oil wrestlers for inflight entertainment
7. Nonstop supply of recreational drugs
6. Wall-to-wall mattresses for Democratic Party orgies
5. An olympic sized swimming pool
4. Dubya's bronzed balls mounted in a trophy case by the plane door
3. A Boeing 747 - previously the largest commercial plane in the world
2. An Airbus A380 - the current largest commercial plane in the world
1. The Space Shuttle!
Many similar examples can be found across the Internet. A Google search for the terms “Pelosi” with the term “757” already yields over 160,000 results. A quick check shows that a substantial number of the listed results are about this particular story.
“Heartland” newspapers piled on, picking up the “limousine liberal” narrative. The Evansville Courier Press, for example, in and editorial titled Air Pelosi, The Issue: House speaker demands airliner-sized jet, writes,
… She is demanding - and, given her style, “demand” is the correct verb - that the Pentagon supply her with an airliner-size jet, the military version of a Boeing 757, to fly her to and from her San Francisco district.

… One Republican-allied group weighed in, decrying the “42 leather business-class seats, a fully enclosed stateroom for Nancy Pelosi, stewards who serve meals and tend an open bar, and other such luxuries aboard.”

Maybe that's a little overwrought, but Pelosi should know from what happened to the House Republicans last November that voters resent what they saw as the GOP's overweening sense of entitlement and privilege.

Even though no facts supported Reverend Moon’s smear, the $mear quickly migrated to the corporate media, as documented by Media Matters and Think Progress, with CBS News (and here), Nightline, CNN, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, and , as the right's Media Research Center bragged, others. (Media Matters covers this topic in detail here.)

Right-wing weblogs also helped spread the story. The weblog GOP Bloggers, in Democrats Weak on America's Enemies, Tough on America's Armed Forces, wrote,

If these matters weren't so serious, it would be humorous to watch the Democrats wield their power in the clean, non-corrupt and open way they advertised prior to the election.
The weblog Redstate, in the post, Roy Blunt on "Pelosi One", wrote,
In case you have not heard, Nancy Pelosi is trying to take advantage of her position and force the military to provide her with a 50 passenger plane which would be about the size of a Boeing 757.
[. . .] For those of you who still do not believe Pelosi and Democrats are obessed with power I would ask you to think again.
The weblog Right Wing News, in the post Queen Nancy’s Plane, amplifying yet another Washington Times story on the subject, wrote,
At first, it was hard to pay attention to this scrap between the military and Nancy Pelosi over how big of a military plane she'd get, but when it gets to the point where Pelosi wants to inconvenience the troops so she can shuttle her political supporters around the country with her, that's a little much.
[. . .] If it were up to Nancy Pelosi, the troops getting ready to go overseas would sit and wait for a larger plane while she had the military ferry her and her campaign contributors across the country on junkets. The military is not a taxi service.
The "military weblog" Blackfive, in the post BLACKFIVE: Pelosi's Air Force wrote,
Coming from perhaps the least military friendly district in America, it is a little disgusting to watch Nancy Pelosi shamelessly try to use her new power to get as many toys and perks as possible.

She has basically put the Air Force on notice that she and an entourage must be transported at a moments notice in the largest and most luxurious manner possible. She shunned the C-20 that Speaker Hastert used as insufficient for her needs. It's a Gulfstream IV FFS, a luxury jet that billionaires fly on. But Speaker Grandma needs more. She wants her own military 757 and a crew of 14 to handle her and up to 50 guests, family, and hangers on.

Particularly revealing about these weblog posts are the comments they elicit. For example, one commenter writes,
The idea that Speaker Granny is too lofty to stop in Podunkia somewhere and gas up her Gulfstream IV is pathetic.
Another writes,
They'd have to stop somewhere in "flyover country," and exposure to how the real America lives would be too much for HM Queen Nancy to handle.
Note the "heartland resentment" narrative.

Other comments illustrate anti-democratic authoritarian resentment,

She should be happy the Pentagon makes jets available to her in the first place.
They despise the military, unless and until THEY need them.
Another commenter resorts to eliminationist threats, writing,
…Just throw her out in mid-air. Murtha, what a fat, bloated stuffed shirt. He really f'd himself, he needs a grenade stuffed down his throat.
So there you have it. Another day, another right-wing lie told and re-told. This is the pipe. At one end you have the strategic, coordinated $mear pushed out to the public. Coming out the other end you have the street-level reaction: resentment and threats of violence.

A final note - Newsweek today continues the circulation of the lie, complete with conservative narrative reinforcement, writing, (with a big, red down-arrow):

"Sure Hastert had military jet, but seeking bigger one (to go nonstop) makes her sound like a 757 liberal."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 12, 2007

Barack Obama. Don't Be Our Neville Chamberlain.

(Co-written with James Boyce)

Last Saturday, in the not new news event of the weekend, Senator Barack Obama made it official. He is running for President. He is a strong candidate and a welcome addition to the race. During his remarks, he said this:

"...I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America."
Senator Obama sincerely believes in his vision of a better country, a more hopeful and decent place. But as we checked through the reviews of his announcement, we were filled not with hope, but with concern.

In today's political arena, hope and decency will get you slaughtered. The forces that will line up against the Democratic nominee in 2008 will not be playing a hopeful and decent game - it will be a battle to the death with a neo-conservative, corporatist, authoritarian movement that has spent billions of dollars seizing power over the last forty years. The $mear machine is already directing its guns at Senator Obama with nasty whisper campaigns, racial insinuations, etc.

So would a President Obama be able to work with them, and get them to compromise and put the interests of the country before those of the conservative movement? No. (This has been another episode of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.)

As the old saying goes, "It takes two to tango," and the right isn't in a dancing mood. If we're going to get anything done for the good of the country we, as Digby says, need to drive a stake through the heart of the authoritarian right. Destroy them and then you can rebuild with hope. But have no doubt, you must destroy them first. Here are a few highlights of the recent tactics of this authoritarian-right strategy in action. Hope doesn't have a chance. As Digby wrote,

This is an issue with which every American, regardless of party, should be concerned. The founders knew that relying on the good will of men in power is stupid and we are seeing their predictions come true before our very eyes. The modern Republican leadership may currently have a monopoly on authoritarian impulses, but they are by no means the only people in this country who could be seduced by this Republican notion of executive authority. The constitution is what protects all Americans from the dark side of human nature when it has power over others, regardless of party or political philosophy. Those of us who worry about this usurpation of the constitution and degradation of the Bill of Rights know that this is not a passing fashion that will easily be tucked back into its former shape. Once you allow powerful men to seize power it's awfully hard to persuade their successors to give it back.

John McCain in South Carolina in 2000. Robocalls were used against John McCain by Bush operatives in which South Carolina voters were asked if they really wanted to vote for a man with a 'nigger' baby. (Senator McCain has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh.) Whisper campaigns spread even worse things about him.

Max Cleland, severely wounded serving his country in Vietnam, was $meared as unpatriotic in Georgia in 2002. Saxby Chamblis, who deferred out of Vietnam with a bad knee, ran ads showing pictures of him with pictures of Osama Bin Laden while Max was being attacked for being soft on national security. If he had lost his one remaining limb, would that have been enough sacrifice? No, and they continue to $mear him.

Ambassador Joe Wilson in 2003. Perhaps Senator Obama should take a moment to understand the lessons of the current trial of "Scooter" Libby. The White House, in order to justify a war that will cost $500 billion and thousands of American lies, attacked Joe Wilson (who told the truth) by revealing that his wife was a CIA agent (whose job,by the way, was tracking down terrorists who were attempting to obtain weapons of mass destruction) and didn't bat an eye doing it.

John Kerry in 2004. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were funded largely by three men who gave almost $10 million to pay veterans - veterans who never served with John Kerry - to lie and create doubt about his three Purple Hearts and medals for heroism. The key "Swiftboater" John O'Neill had first been used as a 'counterfoil' to John Kerry by Richard Nixon.

How about the Republican Party running an operation to jam Democratic Party phones during the 2002 election in New Hampshire?

Racist ads. Racist robocalls in Virginia.

Is Senate buddy John McCain ready to be fair and "decent," Senator? A clue may be found from his hiring a campaign manager known for using racist tactics.

You can't beat this with hope, Senator Obama. Hope and decency and belief on fundamental fairness doesn't make you President - touch base with Al Gore about that. Strength beats strength. A degree of evil is required to overcome pure evil. Anything else is not hopeful, but naive - just as Neville Chamberlain discovered when he tried to negotiate peace with the devil.

You can have all the hope in the world, Senator Obama, but you better remember to at least bring a gun to a gun fight.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Task Force to Fight Smears

Frameshop: DNC Must Launch New Task Force on Republican Smears

The recent Republican smear attack of John Edwards' should serve as a bellwether of how the Republicans will once again try win the White House, and of what Democrats must do to moving forward to defend ourselves.

This we know as fact: from this point forward until the election day 2008, every leading Democratic candidate will be attacked by the multi-headed hydra of the Republican smear machine. As a result, the 2008 election season will be marked by a destructive, highly-funded, well-organized, succession of smears--all of which will have shady ties to the RNC, the assistance of a complicit and unwitting broadcast media, and a clear mission of delivering election victory for every Republican.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 10, 2007

Reid Fighting Back?

Everyone says that suing the right-wing media machine for their lies and smears would start to turn things around, but nobody ever seems to do it.

But maybe, just maybe, Harry Reid is going to do it ... Is Harry Reid getting ready to sue AP & John Solomon? - AMERICAblog -- go read it there.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

More Obama Smearing

The right wants to make sure everyone knows that "Barak Hussein Obama" is a strange name. They want it to sound sinister. They want people to react with a feeling: scary black man with a suggestion of terrorist associations.

They destroy our leaders. They are spreading stories that he attended a terrorist school as a child, that his middle name is the same as Saddam's last name, that his church "isn't really Christian," etc. Scary black man with a suggestion of terrorist associations. Eventually people will say, "There's just something I don't like about this guy."

And now they are trying to manufacture a controversy hoping that big media will spread the word for them. To that end, now they are suggesting that Sen. Obama is being cagey - maybe even covering something up - about the origins of his name. Maybe the press will pick it up and spread the smear.

From MyDD's When Petty Reporters Get Mad,

This latest is penned by Mike Allen.
Now, Obama's about to endure a going-over that would make a proctologist blush. Why has he sometimes said his first name is Arabic, and other times Swahili?
How suspicious! The answer, as both Brad Delong and The Poorman note, is that Swahili and Arabic are extremely similar languages because of millenia of trade between East Africa and the Middle East. Delong writes, ""Barack" is both a Swahili word meaning "blessed by God" and an Arabic word meaning "blessed.""
Swahili AND Arabic. Get it? There is no controversey, the point is to just get the words "Swahili" and "Arabic" out to the public, preferably in a headline.

Matt continues,

Whoever gave Allen the smear sought him out because they are building a political narrative around Obama divorced from important political issues. And Allen repeated the smear without checking because it seemed to fit into the story he wanted to tell.
One more thing. "Barak" is not just Swahili and Arabic. It's also Hebrew: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam... (Update - Brad DeLong also noted this. I should have clicked through.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 6, 2007

They Destroy Our Leaders

Most of the Democratic leadership are veterans, and all the veterans who ran for Congress or the Senate in this last election ran as Democrats. I think no Republican leaders except McCain ever served in the military. But that doesn't matter to the so-called "Dean of the Washington Press Corps."

Start with Oliver Willis: David Broder Libels Democrats,

David Broder, the most insider of Washington insiders, perpetuates a lie and smears the Democratic party in "reporting" on this past weekend's meeting of the DNC.
One of the losers in the weekend oratorical marathon was retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who repeatedly invoked the West Point motto of "Duty, Honor, Country," forgetting that few in this particular audience have much experience with, or sympathy for, the military.
That's just a boldfaced lie by Broder, no two ways about it. I happened to be in attendance at the speech in question, just a stone's throw away from General Clark when he gave it. What David Broder is saying here is an absolute lie. The crowd in attendance stood on their feet, clapped their hands loudly and strongly time and time again when speakers - including Gen. Clark - invoked the service and sacrifice of America's fighting men and women.
Then Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report,
I expect these kinds of dishonest smears from Limbaugh, Hannity, and O’Reilly, but Broder is supposed to be credible and serious. Why take such a gratuitous shot at the entire Democratic Party? Why intentionally perpetuate a right-wing lie? Why libel a political party with an observation that’s the opposite of the truth?

There are two angles to Broder’s maliciousness — the facts about Clark’s reception at the meeting, and the broader myth Broder is inexplicably anxious to propagate.

... As for the broader point, how long will Dems have to put up with such transparent nonsense about the party not supporting the troops? How many war heroes — Kerry, Murtha, Webb, Cleland, etc. — have to become Democratic champions before Broder and his brethren give up on such ugly lies?

They destroy our leaders. They $mear us. They $ell the myth of the masculine, all-powerful, all-protecting conservative Saviour.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

February 3, 2007

Long-Term Strategic Narrative: Liberals Hate Christians

Over at Townhall, the "conservative" Republican website: Why Liberals Hate Christians,

Liberals in America despise Christians of true faith.

They do this because in doing so their own guilt is appeased, their anger is justified, and they can finally lay blame for their own misery at someone else's feet.

It's tied to some current event...

This is a strategic narrative - part of a long-term drumbeat designed to bring identity "Christians" into the Republican Party. The script is always tied to some current event, and then the event is used to teach the lesson. I call it "adding the because." Such-and-such happened because of the thing we keep telling you about those people. They hate you, so you should you should vote for us and pay them back by cutting taxes on the rich, etc...

Another "because":

Yes, Bush appointed cronies. Yes, Bush's administration wasn't ready, etc. But -- and here is the important thing -- people added the word BECAUSE, and tied it all to something more fundamental. And this was effective. Bush wasn't ready to respond to Katrina BECAUSE Republicans don't believe in government. Bush appointed cronies BECAUSE Republicans don't believe in government. People suffered and died after Katrina BECAUSE we need government and that is the primary thing government DOES.

See what I mean? When we are criticizing Republicans on narrow issues we should always tie our criticisms to make a point about how Progressive values are better than conservative values.

(Yes, I used to use bold type a lot more than I do now.)

Progressives should learn from this. (I mean, learn to use "because" - not bold type.) Don't just talk about what the right-wingers did today, make it a lesson. Tie the current-event story to a larger view of conservatism and why it is bad for people, and why liberal and progressive values and ideas are better for people. This happened because conservatives think that people should be left on their own, alone against the powerful interests they represent, while progressives think we should all stick together and take care of one another.

In a previous 'Because' post I wrote,

What I mean is, drive the point home, don't make your listener guess. When you cite something bad that the conservatives do, add the "because" that ties it to core right-wing philosophy, and explain why it's the philosophy that's bad and led to the bad thing that is in the news. Make the deeper point -- not just a complaint about the current event. For example, Republicans screwed up Katrina BECAUSE conservatives don't believe in government, they believe in a "you're on your own, dog-eat-dog, everyone out for themselves" philosophy that is not good for regular people. But progressives believe we're all in this together and in watching out for and sticking up for each other.
Always add the because. Drive the point home. They do it -- you should, too.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 31, 2007

On Bush's Use Of "Democrat Party"

In the State of the Union speech, President Bush again referred to the "Democrat Party." Media Matter discusses this insult, and looks at the term's history.

Matthew Yglesias writes about Bush and other Republicans repeatedly using the infantile, schoolyard taunt "Democrat Party" when talking about the Democratic Party.

To call someone by something other than the name he wishes to be called by is rude. To make a mistake is forgivable, but to persist -- deliberately -- in declining to use your adversary's proper name is rude and insulting. It's not a big deal unless you take standing up for yourself to be a big deal. When Democrats go on TV and let a conservative get away with the phrase "Democrat Party" it's signaling that Democrats are weak. They're too weak to stand up for themselves. They're too weak to have a sense of group solidarity or party loyalty. They're inclined to let things slide. They don't want to make a scene. They don't like to have a fight. They're weak. Is a political party that can't even protect its own name really going to keep America safe?

... But the fact that this would seem petty and bizarre is the point: "Democratic" is the correct word and this isn't an obscure point. That everyone lets conservatives say "Democrat" over and over again is part of establishing mainstream acceptance of the idea that the conservative media operates in an accuracy free zone. They're propagandists and that's okay by the MSM -- no need to get things right!

I hwrote about this when Rep. Boenher insulted Speaker Pelosi while handing her the gavel, when Bush did it the day after the election and a year before that, and in 2002 I wrote about the John Birch Society origins of the insult.

Update - Paperwight weighs in:

And it does matter, because it's just a punkass bully trick to show people who's the boss. I had a boss who did this to me once, and it was a deliberate attempt to belittle me. The difference between me and the Democrats is that while I chose not to engage in a career-limiting move by calling my boss a petty jackass, the Dems could actually enhance their position by calling the Republicans on this bullshit:
President Bush/Mitch McConnell/Newt Gingrich/John Gibson/Frank Luntz calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat" Party makes me wonder why any American would take this guy seriously. I mean, there are only two major political parties in the United States, and this guy apparently only knows the name of one. It makes you wonder if they can remember where their front door is, or if they have to ask their wife every morning.
Problem solved. You're not whining, you're not complaining, and your opponent is the dumbass who can't remember your name. And then if they say "oh, I know the name" then they can't ever get it wrong again. This game is not hard, people. Attack, always attack. Force your opponent to defend, request, explain.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 25, 2007

How Long DID The Right Let Us Love Obama?

Co-written with James Boyce

They destroy our leaders.

In our Dec. 11 post How Long Will The Right Let Us Love Obama, we discussed how the right consciously and over time systematically destroys Democratic and Progressive leaders.

We were prompted to write the post because of a national poll of favorability of leading politicians had just been released and Senator Barack Obama, the brightest new star in politics, was the highest ranked Democratic politician in the poll.

As we studied the poll, we asked why our other great leaders were seen unfavorably by so many? We wrote,

"With complete respect to Senator Obama, where are the long-time Democratic leaders who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country? Where are the other possible Presidential contenders? What about Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry? Where are Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? Are they not leaders that deserve at the very least to have decent favorability ratings?

... Our point here is not whether you will vote for them, or volunteer for their campaign, or give them money, but do you, the American voting public, have a favorable impression of these leaders?

We went on to make the claim that we believe our impressions of our leaders have been negatively impacted by the right wing's $mear machine."

"This is what the machine does to Democratic and Progressive leaders. It smears, and attacks and destroys them. It leaves millions of Americans with an uneasy feeling about John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, a bad taste in the mouth, "I don't know. I just don't like him." It's emotional. It's not rational. But it is very, very real.

And it's not just these our most recent leaders. As we wrote last week, President Jimmy Carter left office virtually in disgrace. What about Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis? Are they perceived as what they really are - respected leaders who are both true American success stories? Hardly. They are perceived in the "conventional wisdom" as jokes and afterthoughts.

Those powerful negative stereotypes were carefully created by the use of brilliant marketing, coordinated messaging, virtually unlimited budgets and a complete lack of morals."

Of course, we could have added that the mainstream media in many instances actually assists the machine in the smearing under the "two sides of the story" journalism 101 mantra. But we didn't have to - in fact, Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post did it for us when he called us out and mocked us, writing,
"HuffPosters Dave Johnson and James Boyce devise a novel explanation for Obama's popularity: ... Hardly ... Boy, that must be one powerful machine."
Sadly, exactly as we predicted, the rise of Senator Obama and the media attention paid to him has led directly to a rise in attacks. As the most dynamic young politician of either party to burst on the national scene since John Kennedy captured the attention of the country over forty-five years, Senator Obama is a real threat to the right. Of course, as is usually the case, the attacks were not on his record or his career - in fact their pettiness and immaturity speak for themselves.

On December 18, this appeared from a widely-read right-wing blogger,

... His full name--as by now you have probably heard--is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Hussein is a Muslim name, which comes from the name of Ali's son--Hussein Ibn Ali. And Obama is named after his late Kenyan father, the late Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., apparently a Muslim.

And while Obama may not identify as a Muslim, that's not how the Arab and Muslim Streets see it. In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not.

... So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian, and even if he despised the behavior of his father (as Obama said on Oprah); is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?

About the same time, similar smears started circulating in the stealth, word-of-mouth channels. Reminiscent of the whisper-campaign that destroyed John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primaries, e-mails containing the following are circulating widely:
Essential facts ALL should know concerning Barack Obama

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Muslim from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii.

When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a radical Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a Muslim school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, "He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school."

Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education. Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Osama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.
Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy.

Naturally this vile story isn't just spreading by e-mail. In fact, as of this writing, a Google search for 'Obama' and 'Muslim' yields 873,000 results. Of course many or irrelevant or are even refuting the smear. But scanning the first several pages of results shows websites that are almost all spreading this smear, and this indicates that a good percentage of those results probably reflect this smear. Along these lines, a search on 'Obama', 'stealth' and 'Muslim' yields over 50,000 results. And searching 'Obama', 'ideologically' and 'muslim' yields over 40,000. One result would be too many for decency.

A Reverend Moon outlet, Insight Magazine, carried this on Jan. 16,

Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage?

... "Obama's education began a life-long relationship with Islam as a faith and Muslims as a community," the source said. "This has been a relationship that contains numerous question marks."

(Note CNN's refutation of this false story.)

The Moonies added a nice propaganda touch, claiming the info came from Hillary Clinton's campaign - which it did not - attempting to $mear two birds with one lying article.

Fox News has, of course, picked up on this. Media Matters has a video clip of Fox News' John Gibson repeating the Moonie accusations against both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton.

These attacks serve to create public doubt about the Senator Obama at a time when the public is just beginning to learn about him, by contributing to the coordinated right-wing campaign that insinuates Obama is somehow connected to terrorists.

The tactic of attributing the $mear to the Clinton campaign is an innovative new twist. It deflects attention from the Republican $mear machine - just as the public is becoming increasingly aware that this is a standard Republican tactic.

The attacks also damage the Clinton campaign by implying that Clinton would engage in the kind of smear campaign just at a time when the public is becoming increasingly repulsed by this tactic - because of it widespread use by Republicans.

For those who are thinking, "well, surely, no one will fall for this." We offer two points of evidence to the contrary - all of which we feel are true because on the whole, Americans do not pay as close attention to the political process as readers of this post.

    1. Over 40% of all Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    2. There still is the lingering belief that John Kerry exaggerated, or just plain lied, about his military record in Vietnam.

So if you've ever wondered why the right does this, now you know. Because it works. If you find yourself a year from now thinking, "I just don't like Obama" you know it worked again. To everyone's detriment.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 23, 2007

President Bushes "Ozoned" Al Gore. And The World Is Paying The Price.

Co-written with James Boyce

It's a day of celebration and sadness for those of us who follow the global warming issue. On one hand, Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" received a well-deserved Oscar nomination. Congratulations to all involved but especially Laurie David and Lawrence Bender for their wonderful work in bring the Vice-President's presentation to the big screeen.

However, tragically, today the summary and highlights of the definitive report on global warming was leaked. This 1,600 page report will showcase once and for all, that global warming is real, we are causing it and "the future is dire."

So how is it, one might ask, that we didn't take global warming seriously earlier? Especially when we have an an advocate like Al Gore on the national stage.

It's because the right wing ozoned Al Gore. They mocked him for his concern. The called him "Ozone Man." Like pathetic schoolyard bullies, they picked fun at him, made him uncool.

Who led the charge?

In 1992, the first President Bush:

"This guy is so far out in the environmental extreme we'll be up to our necks in owls and outta work for every American."

In 2000, the second President Bush said of Al Gore

He "likes electric cars. He just doesn't like making electricity."

So when President Bush stands up and talks about global warming, think of Al Gore. He stood up fifteen, twenty years ago, and got mocked for his courage and vision.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 22, 2007

Hillary's Primary Challenge: Shattering The Prism Of The Right.

Co-written with James Boyce

A little over 48 hours ago, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made history when she announced that she had formed an exploratory committee for 2008. She is the first woman to have a legitimate chance to become President of the United States. In fact, she is clearly the front runner, not a long shot.

"I'm in. And I'm in to win." She declared. It was a historic moment.

It is an extraordinary feat by an extraordinary woman. Of course, to win The White House, Senator Clinton will face many challenges and hurdles. But the first may end up being perhaps the most significant. For Senator Clinton and her advisers must find a strategy that makes every voter look at her clearly. Senator Clinton and her advisors must shatter the public's habit of viewing her and her record through the prism of right wing distortions and smears.

This is not a conspiracy theory nor is it an endorsement of Senator Clinton.

But this simply is a fact of modern politics in America. For the past three decades, the right wing has employed a powerful strategy of "$ell and $mear." They insist on being the gatekeepers to public opinion and have developed a powerful machine that tells us who to like - and who to hate.

They $ell their heroes, turning a B-movie actor into the Marlboro Man and President.

They $mear Democratic and Progressive heroes, reducing American success stories such as George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis into humiliated historical footnotes. They destroy our leaders. They destroy those that might become our leaders. There is no Democratic or Progressive leader of any note of the last twenty years that has not been attacked.

One of our core motivations in writing this post is to continue to showcase how this is done, who does it and why. We have written on it here, here and here.

Senator Clinton is unique in this discussion because unlike John Kerry, who had to be turned from war hero into fraud in sixty days, she has been both a past and historical target of the machine on the right and will be its primary target in the month's going forward. Of course, we should expect Senator Obama to face more than his fair share of slurs and attacks as well. As well as any other leader who dares challenge the right-wing $mear machine.

Even now, many Democrats state they "just don't like Hillary." Much like they "just don't like John Kerry." She has "baggage." Or there is something about her "that just bothers me." This is the result of the campaign against her. Just as these people like Coca-Cola or Nike products but can't tell you why, they don't like Hillary. Without conscious reason or explanation.

This is Senator Clinton's primary challenge. Because since this strategy has been deployed, no one, not one single politician has been in the eye of the machine longer than Senator Clinton. For almost fifteen years, Americans have been bombarded with smears and negative commentary about her. Virtually every aspect of her life, personal and political, from her hairstyle to private decisions she made within her marriage, has been criticized.

This will be a longer discussion. This effort will be part of our dialogue for at least the next year. But let's start with two simple questions.


This might seem jarring, moronic or just plain wrong, but the facts are clear. Hillary Clinton is called polarizing as a matter of course, but there really is no basis for the claim.

First, you must realize that any leader of one of the two major parties will have split public opinion because we live in a two party system. By definition any leader will be polarizing. So just as John Kerry, Al Gore and Bill Clinton, recent Democratic nominees for President, have high negatives from the other side of the aisle, so too will whomever is the Democratic nominee in 2008.

Of course, George Bush, Mitt Romney, and John McCain will also all have high negatives from the Democratic side. That's part of the process.

Hillary Clinton is no more polarizing than George Bush - a quick Google search shows that just as many references of George Bush as "too polarizing" as there are for Hillary.

So why do we think Hillary is polarizing? Because we are constantly told so. Again, and again.

They called her ... well, everything a person can be called. They accused her of ... well, every crime a person can be accused of, up to and including murder. A Google search of the words "Hillary" and "murder" yields 1,500,000 results - and be sure to take a look at some of them.

Take a moment and pause. A respected leader of our country is accused of murder by the right, time and time again, and it no longer shocks us. Just as having John Kerry, an authentic American war hero who earned three Purple Hearts, just as having him portrayed as a fraud no longer shocks us. This is what this machine has done to our leaders, and to our country.


This one is another myth made in right wing heaven, but they will repeat it, and smile when Democrats repeat it over the next few months.

First of all, let's judge Mrs. Clinton by her performance as an elected official. She won her Senate easily in 2000 and in 2006 coasted to an absolutely dominating re-election, winning almost every single county in New York State.

Then yesterday, the Washington Post released this poll.

In this poll, Senator Clinton gets 41% of Democrats support. Senator Obama is second at 17%. Some would say this isn't a race yet.

Second, let's look at a state by state map of the blue states that John Kerry won. Is there one that Senator Clinton can not win? Of course not.

Are there other states where she can win that John Kerry didn't and therefore be the President? Absolutely. There are at least five potentially more, depending on her Vice President selection.

Again the Washington Post poll.

In it, Senator Clinton beats the Republican front runners.

The only reason we think Hillary is less electable than the others is that we are conditioned to think that the right's smear machine is unstoppable. (And of course plenty of us will do almost anything just to get them to stop screeching.)


A few weeks ago, we asked "How Long Will The Right Let Us Love Obama?" We, sadly, have started to see the answer. (More on this later.)

The $mear machine will take aim at any Democrat who starts to gain traction. Look back over the years - every single Democratic Presidential candidate has faced the machine, and is now perceived negatively by the public. Again: they destroy our leaders.

Remember that in the 2004 election primaries people supported John Kerry because he was a war hero and therefore "electable?" Remember how the term "swiftboating" then entered the lexicon? John Edwards? Destroying our country with frivolous lawsuits. Bill Richardson? There are plenty of openings - or they'll just make something up. And so on.

It's not that they think each and every one of these Democrats are potential Presidents.

It's just that they want to destroy each and every Democrat. And they're going to start with a remarkable woman who just might be the next President of the United States.

It's up to each and every one of us to stop it.

And it's up to each and everyone of us to look at Senator Clinton without the right telling us what we're looking at.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 16, 2007

Marketing Conservatism and Corporatism

"Conservatives and their ideas are good, liberals and their ideas are bad."

You hear the message repeated a thousand different ways, over and over, every day. It is a strategy, an organized marketing campaign to create demand for conservatives, their policies and their candidates. Over time and unanswered, it sinks into the brain.

The fact is, marketing creates demand. So after decades of this, people start to demand conservative policies and candidates and their politicians just ride that wave. In some areas conservative candidates can just point and shout, "liberal, liberal" and win elections. We see the results all around us - trillions of OUR dollars flow to the top. Our resources are "privatized" into the hands of corporations. We work longer hours for lower pay, losing our health insurance and pensions and rights... Our environment is polluted and our resources extracted.

Repeat: this is a strategic marketing campaign to get people to accept being ruled by wealthy corporatists. Marketing creates demand. Repetition drives a point home.

Today's example just came in the morning e-mail. Read this and you'll see that it follows the same tired script: liberals and their ideas are bad, and conservatives and their ideas are good. Marketing creates demand, and this is marketing, promoting conservative values and ideas and candidates.

The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11

"Why do they hate us?" Some conservatives, following President Bush, believe that Muslim anti-Americanism stems from irrational hatred of our freedom and democracy. Others lay the blame on our foreign policy. Now comes bestselling conservative author Dinesh D'Souza to argue that both views, while they contain elements of truth, miss the larger reason. In The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, D'Souza makes the startling claim that the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist acts around the world can be directly traced to the ideas and attitudes perpetrated by America's cultural left.

"In faulting the cultural left, I am not making the absurd accusation that this group blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon," D'Souza explains. "I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the non-profit sector, and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world. The Muslims who carried out the 9/11 attacks were the product of this visceral rage - some of it based on legitimate concerns, some of it based on wrongful prejudice, but all of it fueled and encouraged by the cultural left."

In The Enemy at Home, D'Souza uncovers the links between the spread of America's decadent pop culture, leftist ideas, and secular values and the rise of virulent Anti-Americanism throughout the world. He shows how liberals are responsible for fostering -- and exporting -- a culture that angers and repulses not just Muslim countries but also traditional and religious societies around the world. He also reveals how liberals' outspoken opposition to American foreign policy -- especially our conduct of the war on terror -- contributes to the growing hostility, encouraging people both at home and abroad to blame America for the problems of the world.

Though we are accustomed to thinking of the war on terror and the culture war as distinct and separate, D'Souza argues, they are really one and the same. Conservatives must recognize that the left is now allied with the Islamic radicals in a combined effort to defeat Bush's war on terror. A whole new strategy is therefore needed to fight both wars. It is only by curtailing the left's attacks on religion, family, and traditional values that we can persuade moderate Muslims and others around the world to cooperate with us and begin to shun the extremists in their own countries. In short, writes D'Souza, "to defeat the Islamic radicals abroad, we must defeat the enemy at home."

This is horrible, lying, smearing propaganda, designed to incite hatred against half of America. And it works. We see this stuff in one form or another every single day. Conservatives bathe in it, but the regular public also is showered with it. The worst thing is, it is largely unanswered. People in some parts of the country never hear an opposing viewpoint.

In Are Progressives Good? Then TELL PEOPLE! I wrote,

So it is time to change the game. It is time to start funding organizations that talk to the public about the benefits that progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates bring to them. $1000 given today toward building public appreciation of progressive values could have greater impact than $100,000 spent in support of a candidate in the days before an election.
And I closed that piece by writing,
Marketing creates demand. Let’s create a demand for progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates.

The Commonweal Institute wants to tell people that progressive values and ideas and policies and candidates are good for them. (Commonweal means "the public good" or "the common good.")

As I wrote the other day, I am an unpaid Commonweal Institute Fellow. Let's change that. Click here to help.

Marketing and repetition work, so Click here to help

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 14, 2007

A Smear The Right Is Circulating

Variations of the following are being posted on boards and forums, including Craigslist and circulated using e-mails. Google shows 873,000 results for 'Obama' and 'Muslim'. Not all of these are repetitions of the smear, of course, and many or irrelevant or are refuting the smear. But the first five pages of results are almost entirely spreading this smear, indicating that a good percentage of those results might reflect this smear. 'Obama', 'stealth' and 'Muslim' yields over 50,000 results. 'Obama', 'ideologically' and 'muslim' yields over 40,000.

THIS is how information spreads "under the radar." Boards, forums, e-mails all trigger word-of-mouth. (I wonder how many church newsletters are repeating the original letter.) This is how "conventional wisdom" spreads. This is how Republicans win elections.

Essential facts ALL should know concerning Barack Obama

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Muslim from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita, Kansas. Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii.

When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a radical Muslim from Indonesia. When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a Muslim school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, “He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.”

Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's education. Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Osama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world.

Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama’s expected presidential candidacy.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

January 4, 2007

Breaking News About Exxon Funding Lies

Reuters - ExxonMobil cultivates global warming doubt -report

Energy giant ExxonMobil borrowed tactics from the tobacco industry to raise doubt about climate change, spending $16 million on groups that question global warming, a science watchdog group said on Wednesday.

"ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile , Research) has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer," Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists said at a telephone news conference releasing the report.

An ExxonMobil spokesman did not respond immediately to calls for comment.

... U.S. tobacco companies used these tactics for decades to hide the hazards of smoking, and were found liable in federal court last year for violating racketeering laws. [emphasis added]

See also AP - Group: ExxonMobil paid to mislead public

ExxonMobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological groups between 1998 and 2005 in an effort to mislead the public by discrediting the science behind global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists asserted Wednesday.

The report by the advocacy group mirrors similar claims by Britain's leading scientific academy. Last September, The Royal Society wrote the oil company asking it to halt support for groups that "misrepresented the science of climate change."

... ExxonMobil lists on its Web site nearly $133 million in 2005 contributions globally, including $6.8 million for "public information and policy research" distributed to more than 140 think tanks, universities, foundations, associations and other groups. Some of those have publicly disputed any link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists' strategy and policy director, said in a teleconference that ExxonMobil based its tactics on those of tobacco companies, spreading uncertainty by misrepresenting peer-reviewed scientific studies or emphasizing only selected facts.

Dr. James McCarthy, a professor at Harvard University, said the company has sought to "create the illusion of a vigorous debate" about global warming.

Finally, see this from September, The Denial Industry,
For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade. But who funded them? Exxon's involvement is well known, but not the strange role of Big Tobacco. In the first of three extracts from his new book, George Monbiot tells a bizarre and shocking new story.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Pelosi And Democrats Insulted

I was listening on the radio to House Republican leader John Boehner introducing the incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

He just couldn't help himself. He just had to throw in a stupid, childish insult.

In his historic introduction of the first woman to be Speaker, he referred to the "Democrat Party."

There is no question that he knew what he was doing, that is was an intentional insult.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 26, 2006

They Never Stop Smearing Our Leaders

This AP story, Candidates turn to Web to reach voters, begins,

Al Gore claimed he invented it. ...

Ah, the Internet.

They just never stop. It just doesn't matter how many ways we try to get the truth out about how the Right's smear machine works... They STILL tell the public that Al Gore is a liar who claimed he invented the Internet.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 9, 2006

OUR Tax Dollars At Work

Your GOVERNMENT spending tax dollars to "debunk" global warming "alarmism." Just out from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: “A Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism. Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle: A Challenge To Journalists who Cover Global Warming.”

Here is some wording about the document, from a press release from YOUR GOVERNMENT:

The color glossy 64 page booklet -- previously was only available in hardcopy to the media and policy makers -- includes speeches, graphs, press releases and scientific articles refuting catastrophe climate fears presented by the media, the United Nations, Hollywood and former Vice President turned-foreign-lobbyist Al Gore.
My wife asked if I'm reading from a joke site.

The press release reads like a parallel universe of a weird cult. My wife says it's like Dr. Who, and you travel in the Tardis and arrive in America in 2006 in December, but everything is strange. Some alien force is in control of things.

“The American people are fed up with the media for promoting the idea that former Vice President Al Gore represents the scientific “consensus” that SUV’s and the modern American way of life have somehow created a 'climate emergency' that only United Nations bureaucrats and wealthy Hollywood liberals can solve,” Senator Inhofe said in October.
We need the Doctor.

Maybe Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the Doctor!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 5, 2006

Kicking An 82 Year Old Man: The Right Attacks Jimmy Carter. Again.

[Co-written with James Boyce, originally at Huffington Post]

Jimmy Carter is not remembered as a great President. Most folks might even consider him a failure, the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. But why exactly do we hold one of the two Democratic Presidents of the last 38 years in such low esteem?

Isn't this the man that held the country together in the years after Watergate? Didn't he bring decency and honesty back to The White House?


Isn't it a great American success story for a man to come from such humble beginnings, serve in defense of his country and then ascend to the highest office?


Isn't it remarkable that back in 1979 he declared "The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our Nation. These are facts and we simply must face them." Isn't that leadership and vision?

Yes. But it was legacy destroying as well. Our memories of Jimmy Carter are memories laced with the poison of a right wing smear campaign because when Jimmy Carter encouraged us to face the facts of the energy crisis, he faced off against the Oil Companies and as the decades passed, it has become sadly clear that the nuclear physicist Naval Officer peanut farmer came out the worse for it. He was portrayed as naive and as a simpleton. He was routinely mocked. A good man's legacy was taken down.

What some would view as terrific achievements, such as reducing America's oil imports by 1.8 million barrels a day or getting the Crude Oil Windfall Profits tax passed to help fund his energy policies (Any spare copies of that bill around by any chance?) others viewed as terrific challenges to their businesses.

According to AmericanPresident.org, a "comprehensive non-partisan resource available on the history and function of the American presidency," Carter accomplished a great deal as President, particularly his energy packages, but:

"Carter gained a reputation for political ineptitude, even though his actual record in dealing with Congress belied that image. His success rate in getting presidential initiatives through Congress was much higher than that of his predecessors Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, and successors Reagan and Bush. One might expect a president with a majority in Congress to do better than presidents facing the opposition party majorities. But Carter was also close to Johnson's success rates, and higher than Kennedy's record. Carter did not like to bargain and remained arrogant and aloof, but at the end of the day, he usually wound up with much of what he sought from Congress. His major problem was that the perception of his leadership did not correspond with the reality of his performance."

Let's repeat that: "the perception of his leadership did not correspond with the reality of his performance." Millions of dollars of smears and attacks will do that to a man. We see the same happening to others, over and over again, to this day. Ask Michael Dukakis or Al Gore or John Kerry or any of the multitude of victims of the right's $mear machine.

We know now that companies like ExxonMobil have created what investigative author George Monboit has called The Denial Industry, consisting of PR attack firms, phony grassroots "astroturf" organizations, think tanks, political front groups and others, all well-paid to confuse the public over the facts of global warming. According to Monboit,

"By funding a large number of organisations, Exxon helps to create the impression that doubt about climate change is widespread. For those who do not understand that scientific findings cannot be trusted if they have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals, the names of these institutes help to suggest that serious researchers are challenging the consensus."

We can see all around us the effect of this kind of operation and the tragic consequences of the resulting delay in dealing with problems like global warming. We can see the effect of similar operations on our health care policies, our disappearing pensions, our low minimum wage, our campaign finance system, our reduced job security and so many other areas.

With this in mind the question has to be asked: Does our negative perception of Jimmy Carter come from the same kind of corporate-sponsored manipulative operation? Does it come from the same kind of smear operation as the one that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the "swiftboating" of John Kerry? Was our preception of Carter formed by an attack campaign from the then-newly-forming web of right-wing "conservative movement" organizations funded by extremely wealthy individuals, corporations and foundations?

Jimmy Carter has spent his years since The White House as admirably as any former President. He's focused on hunger and poverty and promoting democracy around the world. He spent years far from the public view.

But now, Jimmy Carter has again been doing interviews and press. Now, at age eighty-two, he seems to have been moving towards a respected elder statesmen role.

So just this week, an anonymous caller called into a C-SPAN interview and ranted at Jimmy Carter, calling him "a bigot, and a racist and an anti-Semite." The caller continued, accusing Carter of "cozying up with every dictator, thug, Islamic terrorist there is."

The rantings of a lunatic who made it through the pre-call screening somehow right? Time to check the systems and make sure it never happens again? No. This was the result of a coordinated smear where the charges of Jimmy Carter being an "anti-Semite" echoed through the right wing blogs and straight to Drudge Report.

This attack was amplified by numerous current right-wing online attacks on Carter at sites such as www.frontpagemag.com. From the right came a wave of attacks, Carter's been "trying to (expletive) the Jews." He's friends with terrorists. He's this and this and isn't it a little pathetic?

Not to the far right. Not to those who have spent forty years developing a machine that sells us the myth of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and Rudy Guiliani while giving us the smearing of Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry.

No, even if Jimmy Carter is eighty-two years old, a dedicated public servant and American hero in the twilight of his career, if people are actually listening and liking what they hear, it's time to smear.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:10 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 19, 2006

Now I'm An "Edwards Flunkee"

Edwards Finds Another Flunkie | Redstate -- namely ME.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 16, 2006

Wal-Mart Engineers a Smear of Edwards

Wal-Mart has a smear out on John Edwards. What is striking about the smear is the way a corporation feels free to publicize something that a customer did, and to use it as a flat-out, blatant, organized smear campaign. It is starting to appear on all the usual right-wing outlets, and may soon be as widespread as the pre-election Kerry "insulted the troops" smear.

From the story, Edwards acknowledges staff asked Wal-Mart for Playstation 3,

"Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards acknowledged Thursday that amid his criticism of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a volunteer member of his staff asked the world's largest retailer for help obtaining a hot new Sony Playstation 3 for Edwards' family."
According to the article, a volunteer called a local Wal-Mart, on his own, and used Edwards' name. Wal-Mart takes this information and turns it into a national smear, right out of its corporate headquarters.
"While the rest of America's working families are waiting patiently in line, Sen. Edwards wants to cut to the front," the Wal-Mart statement said."
That is an official Wal-Mart statement! Have you ever heard anything like that from a company? Is this the business Wal-Mart is in? What right does a corporation have to issue a statement like that about any citizen?

Is this a company that ought to have its right to operate examined, or what?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 14, 2006

It's Time For Us All To Grow Up - A Rant

It’s time to grow up. We’ve got big problems -- really big problems. Experts tell us that we have only a few years to do something about global warming before it becomes irreversible. The housing bubble is popping, the debt bomb is ready to go off, the dollar is falling and Iraq is deteriorating into civil war. And those are just a few of the problems we face.

But we're worried about whether we'll look like hippies, or not fit in, or be laughed at, or called names or not be part of the group if we "protest" and make demands.

It’s time for us ALL to grow up and stop playing games, posturing, pretending we’re on some TV show, and start working together to solve our problems and fix our system. I mean the right for playing their games, and the rest of us for falling for them. For several years the right - with money from, for example, tobacco companies and Exxon - has been using psychological manipulation tactics, going after our deepest emotions and fears, using humiliation and derision to split us apart and make us afraid or ashamed, and make us feel like we’re not “in the group” or going to be laughed at if we don’t give them what we want. It has been remarkably effective. And the real-world problems just get worse.

But worrying about how something is going to look or what people will think about us is like getting ready for the high school prom. Look, we have less than ten years to SAVE THE PLANET from global warming and I don’t think we should worry about whether it’s going to look like we are “San Francisco Democrats” or “1960s hippies” if, for example, we propose actually paying our bills or implementing solar and wind energy programs. Reach inside yourselves and find a way to get past that stuff. We are talking about SAVING THE PLANET here, not who is going to laugh at us in homeroom. This is a post-traumatic reaction to the psychological tactic of using mockery and humiliation to manipulate people into supporting oil company positions. We need to grow up and get past that. There is work to do.

The President of the United States insulting half of America by using the phrase “Democrat” Party when the party’s name is “Democratic” Party is just a small example of what I am talking about. That is so childish it shouldn’t be part of serious discourse. But it is what we have been reduced to, and it has been done to us on purpose, as a tactic to distract us from tackling the real, serious issues. Because in almost every case, tackling those issues means confronting entrenched economic interests.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 8, 2006

NOT A Good Start

Bush opened his press conference talking about "The Democrat Party." He understands that is an insult.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 7, 2006

Organized Crime

Whiskey Bar: The Octopus

The modern GOP -- or, more specifically, the Axis of '70s Campus Republicans running it -- really is just a criminal enterprise disguised as a political party.

Dirty tricks, large and small, are a sorry fact of life in American politics, but what the Republicans have done over the past few weeks -- the surrealist attack ads, the forged endorsements, the midnight robo calls, the arrest threats, the voter misinformation (did you know your polling station has been moved?) -- is sui generis, at least at the national level.

Even Dick Nixon never tried anything like this on such a grand scale -- although, of course, he also didn't have the technology. The only thing we haven't seen yet is a break in at DNC headquarters. And if the Rovians thought they could get anything out of it that would be useful in this election (nobody else has) we'd probably be reading about that, too.

It's always possible to point to Democratic/liberal offenses, but at this point the comparisons look pretty silly: some downed yard signs here, a few crooked and/or stoned ACORN canvassers there. Not even in the same universe, much less the same ball park.

Couple the GOP's rat-fucking campaign with all the other stuff we already know about -- the collectivized bribery of the K Street Project, the Abramoff casino extortion ring, the Defense and CIA appropriation scams, the Iraq War contracting scams, the Pacific Island sex trade protection racket, the church pulpits doubling as ward halls, the illegal wiretapping, the lies, perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plame case (I really could go on like this all day) -- and it's clear that what we need most isn't a new Congress but a new RICO prosecution, with lots of defendents and unindicted co-conspirators.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 6, 2006

The Calls

The Stakeholder:: DCCC on Robocalls has the most recent list of districts where calls are reported. If you know of calls in other districts please let me know.

Dirty Tricks 2006: GOP Spends $600k on Late Night Attack Phone Calls

Republicans Caught Making Calls to Democratic Voters in the Dead of Night to Anger and Turn Them Off to Voting and Dampen Turnout

... Last week alone, the NRCC spent the following money on attack phone calls on the following Democratic candidates. One news report estimated each call costs only 5 cents each.

* AZ-05: Harry Mitchell: $8210.76
* CA-04: Charlie Brown: $16,617.24
* CA-11: Jerry McNerney: $4120.28
* CA-50: Francine Busby: $2641.68
* CO-04: Angie Paccione: $10,456.32
* CT-02: Joe Courtney: $12,844.56
* CT-04: Diane Farrell: $44,964.56

Click through for the rest of the most recent list.

* CT-05: Chris Murphy: $17,494.08
* FL-13: Christine Jennings: $24,638.82
* FL-16: Tim Mahoney: $16,428.72
* FL-22: Ron Klein: $3813.36
* GA-08: Jim Marshall: $10,546.68
* GA-12: John Barrow: $16,087.86
* IA-01: Bruce Braley: $8386.26
* IA-03: Leonard Boswell: $13,812.12
* ID-01: Larry Grant: $23,752.26
* IL-06: Tammy Duckworth: $11,474.31
* IL-08: Melissa Bean: $14,134.38
* IN-03: Tom Hayhurst: $13,746.88
* IN-09: Baron Hill: $12,852.36
* KS-02: Nancy Boyda: $4,093.74
* KY-02: Mike Weaver: $1,510.74
* KY-04: Ken Lucas: $15,242.10
* MN-06: Patty Wetterling: $21,053.90
* NC-11: Heath Shuler: $11,843.70
* NE-03: Scott Kleeb: $3,492.66
* NH-02: Paul Hodes: $19,321.98
* NM-01: Patricia Madrid: $6,702.42
* NV-02: Jill Derby: $10,934.16
* NV-03: Tessa Hafen: $12,197.70
* NY-19: John Hall: $16,123.62
* NY-20: Kirsten Gillibrand: $11,143.38
* NY-24: Mike Arcuri: $6,824.82
* NY-25: Dan Maffei: $17,183. 46
* NY-29: Eric Massa: $10,855.26
* OH-01: John Cranley: $9,236.64
* OH-02: Victoria Wulsin: $7,953.84
* OH-15: Mary Jo Kilroy: $11,826.84
* PA-04: Jason Altmire: $23,111.61
* PA-06: Lois Murphy: $14,253.66
* PA-08: Patrick Murphy: $18,969.36
* PA-10: Chris Carney: $3,942.00
* TX-22: Nick Lampson: $2,258.61
* VA-02: Phil Kellam: $14,345.58
* WA-08: Darcy Burner: $14,992.80
* WI-08: Steve Kagen: $20,794.68

Republicans Caught Making Calls to Democratic Voters in the Dead of Night to Anger and Turn Them Off to Voting and Dampen Turnout

NRCC Has Spent $2.1 Million on Calls, Nearly $600,000 on Attack Calls in the Last Week Alone.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 4, 2006

Last Week's Kerry 'Fiasco' Was Very Good For Dems

I think last week’s media explosion over Kerry's botched joke was a good thing for the Democrats.

In case you were on the moon last week, let me go over what happened. Kerry was making a joke about Bush not having studied hard in school and ending up getting us stuck in Iraq, and left out the word "us." Republicans decided to try to trick people into thinking that Kerry - a war hero who had volunteered to serve in combat after graduating from Yale - was "insulting our troops." They sent instructions out to their echo chamber to pretend to be outraged. They cranked up the phony outrage across the internet, got the story onto The Drudge Report, got Rush Limbaugh to "run with it," and then the TV networks started non-stop coverage and commentary. It was an instant, manufactured media frenzy. And then it went away. Just like that.

So here is why I think in the end this was a very good thing for the Democrats.

1) It distracted the Republican machine. Kerry isn’t running for anything but the entire conservative outrage machine spent 2 days attacking him instead of talking about anything relevant to the election and to the concerns of voters. Who CARES what John Kerry said? This is not to run down Kerry, but for voters to care it has to be about SOMEONE OR SOMETHING THAT MATTERS TODAY. In this election what John Kerry said just doesn't matter because he isn't running for anything.

But the Republican noise machine IS capable of influencing the public and doing real damage. That was two days in which they could have been causing trouble and instead they were entirely focused on something that just does not matter.

2) Crying 'wolf' too many times reduces the effect of crying "wolf." (That's why they call it "crying wolf.") The Republicans cranked up their machine to absolute full volume over something that wasn't true and just didn't matter, and everybody had to listen to it. So the realization that these people cry "wolf" is sinking in.

John Kerry DIDN'T SAY WHAT THEY SAID HE SAID, and everyone knew it. And it JUST DIDN'T MATTER and everyone knew it. They were crying "wolf" AND EVERYONE KNEW IT!

3) It allowed us a peek behind the curtain. We’re becoming more and more aware of how the Republicans do it, how the sound machine works and how the phony outrage and smear machine operates. We're learning about their techniques. So we’re watching and learning, and this week was like a lab experiment for studying conservative outrage and smears. We are learning how to react, how to keep from getting sucked into the defensiveness game, and how to fight back. Two years ago the swiftboating of Kerry cost him the election. This year Kerry - and all of us by extension - understood more about what was happening and responded effectively.

So yes, I think last week's media frenzy was, on balance, very good for the Democrats.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 3, 2006

Why Haven't You Heard About The Plan?

BobGeiger.com: Proof That Bush Lies Every Day About Dems Lack Of Security Plan

It was just two months ago that Democrats rolled out the Real Security Act of 2006, a plan whose legislative description left no doubt that Democrats had a plan, saying that it was designed "to provide real national security, restore United States leadership, and implement tough and smart policies to win the war on terror."

"The Real Security Act of 2006 marks a major change from status quo Bush Republican policies that have left America less safe than it must be," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in introducing the plan. "Unveiled against the backdrop of a new White House media offensive, the legislation spells out the tough and smart path to make America more secure and to deal more effectively with threats that confront America at home and abroad."

These days, you would never know that such a plan exists for two reasons. The first it that it was killed by the Senate GOP leadership on September 13, 2006 on a roll-call vote that went almost straight down party lines. The same Republicans who killed the Democratic plan now walk around saying the Democrats have no plan.

The second reason that the Democratic strategy is so hard to find is that the corporate media continues to let the no-plan nonsense go unchallenged because, I suppose, it would be too much like real work to read the 528-page piece of security legislation that the Democrats tried to pass.

Go read the whole thing!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 2, 2006

Go See Olbermann

Anyone who hasn't yet seen Keith Olbermann's special comment yesterday should absolutely, absolutely see it.

Crooks & Liars has it.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 31, 2006

Kerry Was Talking About BUSH

There is a full-on right-wing echo chamber attack on Kerry today, saying he insulted "the troops". He said if you don't make an effort in school you get stuck in Iraq.

If you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, you make an effort to be smart you do well, if you don't you get stick in Iraq.
Well it sure sounded to ME like Kerry was talking about BUSH. Bush is stuck in Iraq.

But it doesn't matter -- only what they can make people THINK.

Updates - Carville: "Kerry botched a joke, they botched a war."

Democratic Daily was THERE.

Taylor Marsh is on it: Mangled Statement Caught on Tape

Below is what Kerry actually meant to say.
“I can’t overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq.” - Senator John Kerry
He screwed it up. Period. Hey, but the wingnuts don't care. And now it's on tape!
Kerry's statement on this follows:

Statement of John Kerry Responding to Republican Distortions, Pathetic Tony Snow Diversions and Distractions

Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.”

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Democrats Hate God

Why it seems like just the other day -- oh, wait, Sunday WAS just the other day -- InstaPundit was whining and playing victim and saying,

"If a Republican said something like that about Democrats, it would be a national scandal."
And here we are today, at right-wing TownHall, we have a Republican saying JUST that,
On this week devoted to the doings of the Dark Side, it seems apropos, somehow, to pause and reflect on those who have done so much to darken the spiritual landscape of these United States …

… the earnest advocates of atheism and sexual perversion who yearn, like vampires, to suck the very life out of our religious freedoms and sense of community …

… the too-many innocuous voters and ordinary citizens who, in their thirst to avoid conflict, played along with political correctness at the ballot box, and helped create the monsters of immorality that now dominate the political scene …

… the aggressive attorneys and activists who, wrapped mummy-like in their own agenda, have found their fortune in pressing the lawsuits that have brought paranoia and social paralysis to churches and school districts and businesses all over America.

Between them, this sprawling alliance of anti-God enthusiasts has proven frighteningly efficient at remaking America in their own brutal, dehumanizing image. In the space of a few decades, they have managed to entrench abortion and homosexual behavior, objectify children into sexual objects, criminalize Christianity in the popular culture, and promote guilt and self-doubt as the foremost qualities of our national character.

It goes on. And on...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 29, 2006

Their Own Medicine

How do Republicans handle a dose of their own medicine? Here's what far-right blogger Instapundit.com - today:

REPUBLICANS DON'T LOVE THE LORD? If a Republican said something like that about Democrats, it would be a national scandal. We're seeing a lot of unforced errors from Harold Ford all of a sudden. I think he and his campaign could use a good night's sleep.
IFa Republican said something like that about Democrats? IF? Like that is NOT what the Republicans have been saying about Democrats every minute of every hour of every day for year after year? And is it a "national scandal?"

What a clown. What clowns.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 20, 2006

Calling People Communists

Calling people "Communists" is back in style... In this case, people who talk about "The Commons" or "Common Good" are "Socialists." Others call them "collectivists." (?!)

Fine with me. I believe we're all in this together. I believe that people sticking up for each other and watching out for each other is a better approach to life than the conservative "on your own" and "everyone out for themselves" and "get what you can and screw everyone else" approach. Moral values, and all that...

Go read this silly post: GOP Bloggers :: If It Walks Like a Socialist and Quacks Like a Socialist

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

A Particularly Poisonous Front Group

This piece originally appeared on The Patriot Project

Yet another big-money front group is working the scene – poisoning America’s pre-election civic discussion, spending $1 MILLION to saturate the radio with ads that say,

"Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies," a female announcer in one of the ads says.

"The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual's right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote. Why don't they want our lives?"

According to a story at the far-right NewsMax, (based on this NY Sun story)

Another ad tries to link Democrats to David Duke,a white supremacist who served as a Republican in the Louisiana Legislature. The spot refers to Duke's trip to Syria last year, where he spoke at an anti-war rally.

"I can understand why a Ku Klux Klan cracker like David Duke makes nice with the terrorists," a male voice says. "What I want to know is why so many of the Democrat politicians I helped elect are on the same side of the Iraq war as David Duke."

Johnnie Griffin, a sociology professor at Indiana University, told the Sun: "This is so dirty, but it works. These are race ads. It's incredible."

The front group placing these radio ads in districts around the country is named Americas PAC, and research shows that this one is be part of a web of similar organizations.  Americas PAC received major contributions just this last quarter of over $1.5 million from “Woodland Group Indiana LLC.” 

Almost no information is available on the Woodland Group.  However, from the Center for Public Integrity’s, Silent Partners, How political non-profits work the system,

Three different firms listed at the same address—7440 Woodland Drive in Indianapolis, Ind.—combined to give $2,250,000 mostly to Republican-leaning 527s. That address is home to Golden Rule Insurance Company, one of the biggest backers of medical savings accounts and a longtime GOP supporter.

A spokeswoman for Golden Rule said she had never heard of Woodland Group Indiana LLC, one of the contributors listed at that address.

A search on Woodland Groups’ address, 7440 Woodland Drive, Indianapolis, eventually yields “The Golden Rule Building” and Golden Rule Insurance as well as Educational CHOICE Charitable Trust – “A CEO America Affiliate Program” (Childrens Educational Opportunity).  The Golden Rule Insurance Company’s former head is J. Patrick Rooney.  According to People For the American Way,

J. Patrick Rooney … is well known as one of the largest individual donors to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as well as to his GOPAC and Progress and Freedom Foundation. Rooney is also a founding board member of Republican National Coalition for Life, a PAC founded by Religious Right heavyweights like Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Bauer and Beverly LaHaye to keep the abortion plank in the Republican Party strong.

GOPAC and Newt Gingrich are known for, among other things, introducing the language of incivility into our politics.  For example, the 1994 Newt/GOPAC document "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control," tells Republicans to use words like, “decay... failure… incompetent… sick… traitors” to describe Democrats – just to use the words for the negative effect the words have on people’s perceptions.

Rooney and his Golden Rule Insurance Company have long been major funders of the far right, especially promoting Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and the 2004 Mother Jones article Medicare's Hidden Bonanza may just explain why,

After millions in campaign contributions, an insurance magnate's 10-year lobbying campaign finally pays off. 

… there is little doubt about the biggest short-term winner. He is J. Patrick Rooney, a major Republican campaign donor from Indiana who has done more than anyone else to make health savings accounts a reality. Rooney is the chairman emeritus of the Indianapolis-based Golden Rule Insurance Co., which has been selling health savings accounts through a now-expired pilot program that Rooney helped convince Congress to approve in 1996. Just days before the new Medicare bill passed, UnitedHealth Group, the largest insurer in America, paid $500 million in cash for Rooney's family-owned company—a move that analysts said was directly tied to the Medicare bill's provisions broadening the market for health savings accounts.

A $500 million return on the investment in poisoning America’s political environment!  It brings to mind a cliche -- but at Patriot Project we don’t think we’re in the wrong business.  This is wrong – these front groups are set up to skirt the law, and they harm democracy.  And now some of that $500 million is being funneled back into the political system, diverting the public from problems we need to solve, distracting from the real issues of the election, and aimed at obscuring the corruption and poison these groups spread.

In 2004 Americas PAC received large contributions from another front organization – the Republican Leadership Coalition.  The Republican Leadership Coalition was established by Scott W. Reed, former head of (yet another front group) the American Taxpayers Alliance, which ran ads blaming California Governor Gray Davis for the energy crisis – which readers might recall later turned out to be a manipulation of markets by Enron.  Reed also managed Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign for President, and was executive director of the Republican National Committee under Haley Barbour.  Reed started his career with the Christian Coalition (but is no relation to Jack Abramoff associate Ralph Reed),  in the past worked as a lobbyist for (yet another front group) Americans for Gun Safety (2002), and was President and Founder of the lobbying firm Chesapeake Enterprises (2004)

While Americas Pac lists its location as Marion, Indiana, in previous years they were listed at an address in Overland Kansas.  Americas PAC is affiliated with and gave $260,000 to yet another front group, a 501 (c) 4 “think tank,” Americas Majority, which shared Americas Pac’s earlier address in Overland.  From Americas Majority’s website,

Americas Majority was founded to increase the constituency for conservative causes:  free market economics, international anti-totalitarianism, and morals based on Jewish and Christian scriptures.

According to SourceWatch, Americas Majority is headed by Richard Nadler, an “Intelligent Design” advocate who also heads the firm Access Communications, which receives money (over $400,000 in 2004) to handle the advertising for Americas Majority. Richard Nadler was listed at the 2004 CPAC conference as Political Director of the front group Republican Leadership Coalition – which made Public Citizen’s 2002 list of “shadowy” 527 organizations

Patriot Project is working to expose these front groups, set up at election-time to pervert the process, smear honest public servants and poison our democracy.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 18, 2006

Reid vs Hastert

Media Matters - Why has CNN devoted 50 times as much coverage to Harry Reid's land deal as Dennis Hastert's?,

From October 12-17, CNN aired 3,361 words about allegations that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) improperly reported a land deal in which he made $700,000.

Seventeen different CNN transcripts in the Nexis database include mention of the Reid land deal -- and that doesn't even count October 18, when CNN has aired at least one more lengthy segment on the deal.

By comparison, CNN has aired only 65 words about a land deal in which House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) made nearly $2 million, a story which was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on June 15. By contrast, the Reid land deal first broke a week ago, when the Associated Press reported on October 11 that Reid had made $700,000 "on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Kerry and Patriot Project

In a post to day at Huffington Post John Kerry links to several posts of mine. See The Blog | John Kerry: Will You Fight With Them? | The Huffington Post and SUPPORT THE PATRIOT PROJECT.

The Patriot Project has an incredibly important and concise mission. "Freedom of speech and the right to dissent are cornerstones of our democracy. The Patriot Project will defend any man or woman, regardless of party or affiliation, who is attacked or defamed and whose patriotism is questioned simply because they exercise their rights as Americans. This is our mission."

By the way, Kerry sounds like me - I guess he's been reading blogs:

When I got off the phone with Patrick Murphy after the chickenshit attacks on his military record, something felt awfully familiar and it got me pissed off.
He also has this to say:
Nitpick the campaign I ran all you want, question the tactics, I can take it -- but above all the small criticisms, I know that I lost to two lies backed up by big money: a lie about Iraq and a lie about my military record. Pundits can feast on the little details, I'm busy this year making sure that no veteran loses to a lie in 2006.
Update - Taylor Marsh has more

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 16, 2006

Election Prediction / Voting Machines Post

Prediction: If Republicans lose the House, they are going to accuse Democrats of hacking the voting machines.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 15, 2006

Liberals ARE Satan

Bush and his Repubicans have always been smart enough to use surrogates to spread their hateful, divisive message to his audience. That way he doesn't get blamed for what they say. But you know there is the wink and the nod. The behind-the-scenes payoff. The deal, the contract, the job at the think tank, etc.

Has Bush "The Uniter" EVER condemned the things said in his name? And today here's just one more example.

Today at Republican TownHall, Why Liberals Channel Lucifer,

Thinking they are like the very angel of light, liberals have taken to forked-tongue talk of late. And though they drone in pleasant tones, the bile their words create are some of the fiercest deceptions ever spoken.

Biblically literate people understand that before Satan fell, he shared an exalted place in close communion with God. But through his pride and lust for power he foolishly attempted to think himself equal to God. He so deceived himself in the matter that ultimately he believed that he himself might be able to manipulate God. In my brand new book …, I argue that these are the exact same tactics used by modern liberals.
Where they disagree with the Almighty - they simply dismiss Him.

[. . .] Not that liberals have any interest in truly understanding people of faith in America, because they don't. But if they did, they would never be able to handle the structure of rational, truth-based, commonsense thinking that pervades the communities of the devout today.

So all that's left is to call us "stupid bible thumpers" or "zealous right wingers."

But that's okay, because the false prophets - which is in essence what liberal spokespeople are today - called Jesus much worse.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:41 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 3, 2006

Urban Legends As Propaganda

In 2004 one person may have shouted the word "murderer" at a veteran holding a "Veterans for Bush" sign in a parade. A local columnist wrote about it.

A Google search shows that today, maybe 750 websites refer to the incident. A popular conservative website mentioned it today, writing

"Not that liberals really have any respect for those in uniform."
Remember, ONE person MAY HAVE said something ONCE to someone, and it is now used to reinforce a cult-like belief that liberals-in-general victimize veterans. Some of the sites embellish it into the guy being chased, "pelted," accosted by long-haired mobs...

The right-wing vicitim complex is very strong. They really need to feel persecuted.

But how much of this is JUST word-of-mouth?

A website, bainbridgeislandveteranincident2004, came and went. People posted the story to forums, like this "travel forum," posted with the title, Tour de France "French spectators are spitting at American Lance Armstrong " Just like Kerry voters spitting on Iraqi war Vets.

The story circulates because it is reminiscent of what happened during the Vietnam war when returning soldiers were spat on and called "baby killer." Except there may be a problem with that: one researcher found that there is no evidence that this happened to ANY Vietnam vets - not one documented report that can be verified. That story may have had a little help as well.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 1, 2006

It's The Turnout, Stupid!

Step one, spend millions to saturate the airwaves with the nastiest, ugliest smears and trash of "negative ads" until NO ONE wants to vote for any Democrat.

Then step two, get your own voters to the polls: Pastors Guiding Voters to GOP - Los Angeles Times,

With a pivotal election five weeks away, leaders on the religious right have launched an all-out drive to get Christians from pew to voting booth. Their target: the nearly 30 million Americans who attend church at least once a week but did not vote in 2004.

... The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical in Texas, has recruited 5,000 "patriot pastors" nationwide to promote an agenda that aligns neatly with Republican platforms. "We urge them to avoid legal entanglement, but there are times in a pastor's life when he needs to take a biblical stand," Scarborough said. "Our higher calling is to Christ."

The campaign encourages individual pastors to use sermons, Bible studies and rallies to drive Christians to the polls — and, by implication or outright endorsement, to Republican candidates. One online guide to discussing the election in church, produced by the Focus on the Family ministry, offers this tip: If a congregant says her top concerns are healthcare and national security, suggest that Jesus would make abortion and gay marriage priorities.

At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson told a crowd of 3,000 that it would be "downright frightening" if Republicans lost control of Congress. If there's a good Christian on the ballot, he said, failing to vote "would be a sin."

... Political preaching has been particularly fervent this season in Ohio, where two conservative mega-churches have promoted the Republican candidate for governor, J. Kenneth Blackwell. They've featured him in at least six rallies that blended patriotic appeals with Christian revival.

... Some of this fall's efforts are aimed at energizing politically active but disillusioned Republicans who might otherwise stay home. But Hanna is particularly eager to reach the 30 million regular churchgoers, and an overlapping group of 19 million evangelicals, who did not vote in 2004. Their indifference to politics is "either a tragedy or a scandal," he said, but he's certain it can be overcome.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 30, 2006

John McCain 2000: The Swiftboaters' First Mission

This piece originally appeared on The Patriot Project

Imagine that it’s 1997, and you’re a strategist trying to figure out how to get George W. Bush, of all people, into the White House. Your candidate’s record is, to put it mildly, not so great: he had been elected Governor of Texas in 1994 and before that … well … never mind. His term as government is marked by cronyism and corruption, and if elected to the nation’s highest office it promises to be more of the same.

If you’re going to win this you will need to mask your candidate’s record and agenda. You need a strategy that turns your opponent’s advantages into disadvantages, and, most important, that distracts everyone from your own candidate’s awful record. And to accomplish this you need a team that is willing and cynical enough to do what it is going to take to sell your guy. Bush’s top strategist Karl Rove learned his licks alongside Lee Atwater. Rove and Atwater went back a long ways,

Back in 1972, the 22-year-old Rove was a candidate for chairman of the College Republicans. The rambunctious Atwater was his Southern regional coordinator.
What kind of campaign schooling did Rove receive? In 1981 Atwater, then a Reagan strategist, said in an interview,
You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' - that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff.
In 1988, Atwater ran Bush’s father’s campaign against Michael Dukakis,

During the election, a number of false rumors were reported in the media about Dukakis, including the claim by Idaho Republican Senator Steve Symms that Dukakis's wife Kitty had burned an American flag to protest the Vietnam War, as well as the claim that Dukakis himself had been treated for a mental illness.
Rove’s own background follows a similarly questionable ethical path,
Rove's first foray into politics involved gaining entry to the office of Alan Dixon--a candidate for state treasurer in Illinois in 1970--stealing some campaign stationery and printing and distributing a fake invitation to Dixon's campaign headquarters, promising "free beer, free food, girls, and a good time."
Later, working for Nixon’s “dirty tricks” team,
…Rove infiltrated Democratic organizations on behalf of Nixon's infamous 1972 campaign. Rove's formidable talents came to the attention of George Bush Senior, then incoming Republican National Committee chairman, and the rest is history.
Finally, in Texas,
In 1986, Rove, by then in Texas, announced that his office had been bugged by Democrats during a gubernatorial race. The accusation, which spurred an FBI investigation, never panned out, leading some critics to charge that Rove had bugged his own phone.
So you’ve got your Rove on. Next, you line up your operatives – people like Tom Synhorst and Ralph Reed. If you’ve got a stinker to sell, it’s a good idea turn to the very best at selling real stinkers. Tobacco marketers were so good that they could convince people to kill themselves with your product and hand over their money to you in the process!

Before moving into political consulting, Tom Synhorst had been employed by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company coordinating RJR’s “grassroots” efforts. Later he had worked on George W Bush’s 1994 campaign for Governor of Texas. Mother Jones, in 1996’s groundbreaking story Tobacco Dole,

Synhorst … illustrate[s] an important aspect of the tobacco industry's survival plan: Create grassroots front groups to make pro-tobacco legislation handed down by state and national politicians appear to be the public's will. These groups, many posing as "anti-tax" organizations, are key to the tobacco industry's efforts to win over the anti-big government segment of the electorate.
Known as the “Johnny Appleseed of Astroturf,” Synhorst founded the firm Direct Connect, Inc., or DCI in 1988. DCI continued to work for tobacco companies as well as political campaigns and the NRA, specializing in “strategic message development and delivery,” and using Astroturf methods to make it appear to members of Congress that there was popular support for their positions.

Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition (and now implicated as part of the Abramoff lobbying/corruption ring) is a help, because at some point you want to get your candidate in front of the leaders and followers of the theocratic Right – and especially get their machine behind you. Reed was probably helpful in facilitating a relationship between Bush and the Council for National Policy. (See here, here, here, here and here.)

And if you want to mask Reed’s involvement, just “park” him at Enron and Microsoft. (see also) According to CNN,

The White House acknowledged Friday that in 1997, as George W. Bush was deciding whether to run for president, his senior political adviser Karl Rove recommended GOP strategist Ralph Reed for a consulting job with Enron Corp. Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, went to work for Enron as a strategist, making from $10,000 to $20,000 a month, according to The New York Times.
After you’ve got your operative ducks in a row there’s those pesky primaries to get through (ask Joe Lieberman about that). In the primaries you face John McCain, an experienced Senator, a man perceived as a military hero who had spent five years as a POW, and as an honest “straight talker.” If you are a strategist for George W. Bush, of all people, how do you go up against that?

And then following the primaries you still have the general election where you’ll be up against Al Gore, the most involved Vice President in history, coming from four years of peace and prosperity, a former seminary student, Vietnam veteran, with one of the strongest records of any Senator.

But one of the advantages you have for the coming campaign is… almost all the money in the world.

Turning McCain’s record into a liability – how they did it.

If you’re really, really cynical, why not turn a record of honorable record of military service and dedication to America into a liability!

From Patriot Project’s The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water,

… Bush surrogates (several later involved in the Kerry swiftboating effort) skillfully turned McCain's service record against him (thereby deflecting questions about Bush's own service record.) They planted stories that the torture McCain suffered as a POW had brought about mental instability, including rumors that he had been programmed as a "Manchurian candidate" who "collaborated with the enemy." No longer could McCain use the fact that he had endured torture as evidence of dedication to serving his country.
And as explained in Patriot Project’s Did Paul Galanti Sell His Medals,
In the 2000 South Carolina Presidential primary Bush surrogates circulated stories that McCain’s five years as a POW had made him "mentally unstable," gave him a "loose screw," that he "committed treason while a POW" and "came home and forgot us." The stories also called McCain "the fag candidate," called his wife a drug addict, said McCain “chose to sire children without marriage” and had "a black child" (the actual wording of that last smear from the flyers and e-mails that circulated is not printable here).

And when McCain responded by asking whether this kind of smear campaign showed that voters should think twice about trusting Bush, saying Bush was “twisting the truth like Clinton,” Rove was able to turn that against McCain¸ by accusing McCain of “going negative.” Unlike Rove and Bush, McCain hadn’t understood the value of attacking with surrogates.

This information was passed using flyers, e-mails, word-of-mouth and “push polls.” As McCain’s campaign manager, Richard H. Davis, later wrote in his article about what happened, The anatomy of a smear campaign that,
Anonymous opponents used "push polling" to suggest that McCain's Bangladeshi born daughter was his own, illegitimate black child. In push polling, a voter gets a call, ostensibly from a polling company, asking which candidate the voter supports. In this case, if the "pollster" determined that the person was a McCain supporter, he made statements designed to create doubt about the senator.
But other Bush surrogates threw smoke into the air, accusing the media of making up the whole story,
Thursday night ABC, CBS and NBC all featured full stories about John McCain’s indignation over "push polling" by the Bush campaign -- based solely on the second-hand recitation by a mother about a phone call her 14-year-old son supposedly received tagging McCain a "fraud" and a "liar."

While all the stories included denials from the Bush campaign that they made any such calls, by making the allegation the basis of their campaign story of the night, only ABC ran a second story on another subject (see item #2 below), the networks served the agenda of the McCain campaign.

Synhorst’s firm specialized in push-polling. According to a Feb. 11, 2000 Washington Post story,
[Bush campaign spokesman Ari] Fleischer said the advocacy calls were being made by the firm of Feathers, Hodges, Larson and Synhorst, a Phoenix-based company that has worked extensively for the Bush campaign to identify and turn out voters in key states.
Reed also had his own background in nasty, smearing push polling. According to Josh Marshall,
Back in 1996 Reed was the one who helped save Bob Dole in Iowa by orchestrating a campaign of so-called "push-polls" attacking rival candidate Steve Forbes for, among other things, tolerating his father's "alternative lifestyle."

And, also according to Marshall,

Reed's frequent partner in "astroturf" work is Tom Synhorst. Let's run through some of his exploits in the "astroturf" biz. Synhorst's main shop is Direct Connect Inc., DCI. DCI did the "astroturf" work for the 'Health Benefits Coalition,' trying to kill the Health Care Bill of Rights back in 1998 (Nat. Journal July 11, '98); DCI also spearheaded various efforts by the tobacco industry and the NRA; it also helped set up Americans for Competitive Technology and Americans for Technology Leadership, two Microsoft front groups agitating against the Justice Department's antitrust suit.
(Remember that Reed working for Microsoft at the same time as he was employed as a Bush campaign strategist.)

And finally, let’s bring in the Wyly Brothers. The Wyly Brothers ran their own smear-McCain operation. According to the Dallas Morning News,

During Mr. Bush’s 2000 primary fight with John McCain, the [Wyly] brothers backed a $2.5 million television ad campaign praising Mr. Bush’s environmental record in Texas and attacking Mr. McCain’s Senate votes. Until that point, it was Mr. Bush whose record had come under fire from environmental groups.
The ad’s sponsor was identified only as “Republicans for Clean Air,” a new group at the time…
So what is up with McCain today, turning around and joining up with the very foes who smeared him in 2000?

From the Dallas News story,

Earlier this year, the Wylys’ relationship with Mr. McCain took a surprising turn. They each sent $10,000 checks to his political action committee and were set to co-sponsor a Dallas fundraiser on his behalf.

And from ABC’s April 23, 06 story, Gearing Up for '08? McCain Befriends Old Enemies,

Also co-chairing the [McCain] event are Rob Allyn, a Texas PR man who was paid $46,000 to produce the Wylys' "Republicans for Clean Air" ads, and businessmen Albert Huddleston and Harold Simmons, who gave $100,000 and $3 million respectively to the controversial independent group, "Swift Vets & POWs for Truth." McCain called "dishonest and dishonorable" the "Swift Vets" group's 2004 campaign ads that helped sink the presidential chances of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

… Also co-chairing the event are Rob Allyn, a Texas PR man who was paid $46,000 to produce the Wylys' "Republicans for Clean Air" ads, and businessmen Albert Huddleston and Harold Simmons, who gave $100,000 and $3 million respectively to the controversial independent group, "Swift Vets & POWs for Truth." McCain called "dishonest and dishonorable" the "Swift Vets" group's 2004 campaign ads that helped sink the presidential chances of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

… McCain has been criticized by many liberals and pundits in recent weeks for agreeing to speak on May 13 at Liberty University, the school founded by Christian conservative Rev. Jerry Falwell, who McCain in 2000 labeled "an agent of intolerance." McCain told NBC's Tim Russert earlier this month that he no longer held that opinion.
"The, quote, 'Christian Right' has a major role to play in the Republican Party," McCain said. "One reason is because they're so active, and their followers are."

Interestingly the Wyly Brothers may have gotten the money to smear McCain from Texas taxpayers, with Bush’s help. But that’s a story for later…

John Dean, in the preface to his book Conservatives Without Conscience, writes,

How do people – particularly those who have never put their life on the line fot their country – engage in, or condone, attacks on Senator John McCain’s life-defining experiences as a Vietnam POW or question Senator Ma Cleland’s courage in building a new life after his loss of three limbs in Vietnam? What causes them to dispute Senator John Kerry’s valor during voluntary combat duty in Vietnam or to contest Representative Jack Murtha’s war record in Vietnam? … These questions have clear answers. … In fact, these people cannot be trusted to exercise the powers of government responsibly.

The Patriot Project is working to expose the front groups, their funding, their connections and their tactics.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 29, 2006

It Was BUSH, Not Clinton, Who Refused To Get bin Laden!

Well, now we know WHY there have been so many recent accusations that Clinton had a chance to kill bin Laden and did not. It's because the Republicans knew a book was coming soon that exposed that Bush was begged to do something about bin Laden ad didn't.

What is the STF Rule? When Republicans accuse, it means it is something THEY are guilty of.

From New York Daily News - Home - Chance at Osama pre 9/11, sez book:

CIA Director George Tenet and his counterterrorism head Cofer Black sought an urgent meeting with then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001, writes Bob Woodward in his new book "State of Denial."

They went over top-secret intelligence pointing to an impending attack and "sounded the loudest warning" to the White House of a likely attack on the U.S. by Bin Laden.

... Black later calculated that all he needed was $500 million of covert action funds and reasonable authorization from President Bush to go kill Bin Laden and "he might be able to bring Bin Laden's head back in a box," Woodward writes.

... Tenet said he had hoped the meeting would shock Rice into encouraging the President to take immediate action against Al Qaeda.

... Woodward says that Tenet described the meeting as a "tremendous lost opportunity to prevent or disrupt the 9/11 attacks."

Tenet also claims that his alarm over Bin Laden was downplayed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who asked, "Could all this be a grand deception?"

Also see Think Progress.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 27, 2006

Jokes About Anthrax

I hope Digby doesn't mind too much but I'm just going to quote this entire post. I've had a bad day, and there's the torture bill, and Iraq is falling apart, and the housing bubble popping threatens to explode the debt bomb and maybe I'd better start taking anti-depressants. So here's Digby's post:


by digby

It really takes a lot of gall for the NY Post to obnoxiously ridicule Keith Olberman for calling the police when some asshole sent some white powder to his house with a note that said it was in response to his commentary against the president. The NY Post was one of the places that the original anthrax killer hit in 2001 --- and their own employees got sick.

What in the hell is wrong with these people? Jesus.

I mean, what in hell is wrong with these people? Jesus.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 24, 2006

Clinton and bin Laden

Go watch the clip, the whole clip and everything in the clip.

And then, start DEMANDING that the press ask Bush what HE did about bin Laden before 9/11. Ask Bush what HE did after receiving an August, 2001 intelligence warning titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike WIthin US." Ask Cheney how many times, after being put in charge of the anti-terrorism task force, he met with them. Ask Condi Rice what she did after Richard Clarke asked her to set up a meeting to discuss terrorism.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 22, 2006

Clinton Fights Back

I forget - WHO was it that received a CIA warning titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the US" and did NOTHING, leaving on vacation?

Go read this: Think Progress : Clinton Takes On Fox News,

CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn’t…I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke… So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

McCain Says ACLU Sides With Terrorists

I was watching the morning news as I got ready to head over the the Clinton Global Initiative today. Senator John McCain was on, saying that "the ACLU doesn't want us to question terrorists."


Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 20, 2006

Patriot Project Story

Over at Truthout, Swiftboating the Swiftboaters,

This time, however, the Swiftboaters are not going unanswered. James Boyce, a fifteen-year marketing and advertising veteran who served as a senior advisor to Kerry's presidential campaign, has organized a watchdog group called The Patriot Project. Its mission, according to Boyce, is to "defend any man or woman, regardless of party or affiliation, who is attacked or defamed and whose patriotism is questioned simply because they exercise their rights as Americans. The primary way we do this is to expose and make transparent front groups so that voters who hear their advertising and charges can make an informed decision about those claims.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 16, 2006

New Front-Group Alert: Economic Freedom Fund

This piece originally appeared on The Patriot Project

A new front group has appeared on the scene.  Yesterday in her Patriot Project post Robert J. Perry is Back, Taylor Marsh wrote about Robert J. Perry plunking down $5 million (!) just to fund the Economic Freedom Fund (EFF).  Perry - who has close ties to Karl Rove and Tom DeLay - was a prime funder of the notorious Swift Boat Vets for Freedom - the smear front-group that made claims including that John Kerry shot himself to get his medals - and now this one person is providing $5 million in funding for a national front group that is attempting to have an influence on the control of the Congress in this election.

In government filing documents (here and here) EFF lists its contact as Charles Bell, of the Sacramento, California law firm Bell, Mcandrews & Hiltachk.  Charles Bell is general counsel to the California Republican Party, is Vice Chairman of The Federalist Society's free speech and election law practice group, and is active in the Republican National Lawyers Association.

There is an interesting read at the firm's website, In the Right Place at the Right Time,

"When Charles Bell Jr. got on the bus carrying the California Republican delegation to a party Monday night, he received the kind of introduction political lawyers dream about.

"This guy's Mr. Campaign Law," was how one delegate described Bell to a colleague. "He'll keep you out of jail."

Bell, Mcandrews & Hiltachk's clients include the California Tribal Business Alliance - an "Indian Gaming" organization.  Their mission statement is "to safeguard and enhance the success of the business enterprises of our tribal government members" ....... and "will foster business development and coalition building with like minded government and business leaders in California."

Another Bell, Mcandrews & Hiltachk client was Californians for Paycheck Protection - yet another front group - this one sponsoring a California anti-union ballot initiative. (Their major funders in 2005 (go see how much) included the Chamber of Commerce and the California Republican Party.)

Another client is the notorious anti-environmental Congressman Richard Pombo.

And, of course, always, always showing up with this crowd, big tobacco: BELL, MCANDREWS & HILTACHK Philip Morris Outside Counsel".

A different partner at this firm, Thomas Hiltachk, filed the "Fair Pay Workplace Flexibility Act of 2006" - a stealth attempt to get rid of California's overtime rules.

Stories about this EFF front group running nasty Republican push-polls in districts around the country are popping up in the blogs.  A story about one EFF poll appears at the Iowa Radio Blog,

The call started by asking if I plan to vote in November.  It's a recorded voice asking the questions, and it only accepts "yes" or "no" as responses. ... There were no questions about local races (neither Lamberti nor Nussle), but the questions were designed to cross-check Bush's popularity with the issues Republicans, particularly conservatives, have pushed.
Another blog post appears at Diary of a political madman, clearly about the same Iowa poll but listing a transcription of the questions shows that this is a "push-poll,"
1) Would you like your taxes not raised and if possible cut?

2) Do you believe that frivolous and abusive lawsuits cost us all too much money?

Go read the full list.

EFF push-polling shows up again at the Indiana Democratic Party News page,

INDIANAPOLIS - Voters in Indiana's Ninth District began receiving automated calls yesterday from a group supporting Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel. The call, which attacks Democratic challenger Baron Hill, was paid for by the Economic Freedom Fund, a Virginia-based 527 special interest group.

In response, Indiana Democrats today called on Attorney General Steve Carter to investigate the calls as a violation of Indiana law. Carter issued a letter in August to both major political parties instructing them that automated political calls violate Indiana's Regulation of Automated Dialing Machines Act (IC 24-5-14).

So here we have yet another extremely well-funded, nasty front group, deeply connected to the Republican Party, working to undermine our democracy.

Patriot Project will have more - much more - information on this group and its connections in the next few days.  Stay tuned.

The Patriot Project is working to expose the front groups, their funding, their connections and their tactics.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 14, 2006

Front-Group PFA Echoes Republican "Freedom, Security and Survival" Themes

This piece originally appeared on The Patriot Project

The Republican “527” front-group Progress for America has reemerged, and is running a TV advertisement that echoes and amplifies the “be afraid” election campaign theme launched by President Bush. The ad is currently running in Missouri and nationally on cable TV.

The ad, titled “The War on Terror,” is not even a little bit subtle, marketing pure fear. “There are people who want to KILL … US!” it shouts in a horror-movie-advertisement voice, as dark-skinned, Middle-Eastern faces appear on the screen.

Just as President Bush did all last week (political campaigns traditionally begin on Labor Day), the ad conflates different groups like al Queda, Islamic Jihad, and Hezzbollah together as if they are one group. The ad reinforces the Bush administration and surrogate’s repeated claim that Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attack. Referring to “the evil” that happened five years ago while showing a plane hitting the World Trade Center, the ad then says President Clinton “took little action” against al Queda and says that “after 9/11 we destroyed al Queda terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Also, echoing current Party talking points, the ad claims there are those who want to “cut and run” from the war on terror.

Reflecting another campaign point advocating warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the ad goes on to say “we have narrowly escaped another 9/11, using proven surveillance that some would stop” – even though it was British law enforcement that caught those involved, using warrants.

Finally, the ad closes saying “the war on terror is a war for our country’s freedom, security and survival.”

The Progress for America website claims its mission includes:

• Winning the "War on Terror" in Iraq to prevent future terrorist attacks in America;
• Increasing the public’s awareness of the under-reported positive news and advances in Iraq;
• Educating the public about the necessity of winning the war on terror by completing the mission in Iraq;
Of course, in this supposed war for our very survival there is no call for sacrifice or public effort of any kind beyond voting for Republicans – no draft to provide the needed troops who fight for our freedom and security, no taxes to pay for this war for our survival, and certainly no energy conservation or even fuel use standards to reduce the flow of money flowing to the supposed “enemies” from oil purchases. Such appeals to national sacrifice for the war effort might cause the Republicans and Progress For America to sacrifice something they desire much more than defeating terrorists – votes.

Progress for America is a front-group. It is a “527” organization.  As Patriot Project pointed out in Behind the Front: The Creation of Vets for Freedom, Opensecrets.org writes:

"527 groups are tax-exempt organizations that engage in political activities, often through unlimited soft money contributions. Most 527s on this list are advocacy groups trying to influence federal elections through voter mobilization efforts and so-called issue ads that tout or criticize a candidate's record."

And Common Cause writes:

"In the 2004 election, 527 groups influencing federal elections spent an estimated $400 million. About 25 individuals alone gave $146 million to these groups, some of which were staffed by political operatives who had close ties to the national political parties. The fear was that 527 groups would be a backdoor route for parties to once again collect soft money, and to evade Federal laws on the books for more than 50 years that have prohibited labor unions and corporations from using their treasury funds to influence federal elections."

Initially intended as an Astroturf operation to create the appearance of public support for President Bush’s policies such as tax cuts, energy deregulation and judicial appointments, PFA was one of the largest political operations in the 2004 Presidential campaign. According to SourceWatch,

“In the last three weeks leading up to the November 2, 2004, election, PFA-VF outspent the next largest spending Democratic 527 group three-to-one on political ads.”
Following the election, PFA is reported to have spent as much as $20 million – much of that received from investment firms anticipating commission fees – in support of privatizing Social Security. From the Feb., 2005 Washington Post story, Conservatives Join Forces for Bush Plans,
"For corporations wary of publicity over their involvement in [promoting Social Security privatization, tort reform] and other controversial issues, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, the Club for Growth and Progress for America pointedly offer donors the promise of anonymity."
The next PFA cause was pressing for Bush’s judicial nominations, and later fighting against “Net Neutrality.” And now, like clockwork, PFA has arrived on the scene, with an ad campaign that exactly correlates with the Republican Party and President Bush’s election-season message of extreme fear.

PFA was formed in February 2001 by Tony Feather, who had been political director for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. PFA is closely-linked to the Republican firm Feather, Larson & Synhorst DCI Group (DCI). According to the Center for Media and Democracy,

FLS-DCI specializes in creating phony front groups to make it appear as if there's a groundswell of support for its clients' issues.
Tony Feather was also a founding partner of DCI, which does extensive work for the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney campaign ($17 million combined in 2004). <

Tom Synhorst, PFA strategic advisor, also a veteran of Bush/Cheney 2000, was the founder of DCI. Previously Synhorst worked as a tobacco PR specialist, and an associate of Christian/lobbyist Ralph Reed.

Chris LaCivita, former National Republican Senatorial Committee director, later employed at DCI, became Executive Director of PFA before he went over to help the Swift Boat Vets to attack John Kerry’s service record with claims like he lied, or that he shot himself to get his medals.

(Incidentally, DCI, which is still receiving large payments from PFA – over $147,000 just this year, as of June 30. and its Republican ties have been in the news for other reasons as well. DCI employee James Tobin, New England campaign chairman for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign, was convicted last December for his part in a plot to jam Democrat’s phones on election day.)

So here we have yet another front group, misleading and manipulating the public.  They want us to be afraid.  Perhaps we should be afraid of what they are doing to democracy.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 10, 2006

Republican Ad Echos 'Path To 9/11' Theme

After writing the post below I replayed the new Republican/PFA ad and noticed something. The ad says,

“Many times before 9/11 al Queda attacked America and we took little action."
Interesting how this lie exactly corresponds to the theme of ABC's Path to 9/11. Interesting how the ad is rolled out at the same time.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Election Prediction Update

OK, we're wrapping up the first week of election campaign season, which traditionally begins on Labor Day. How is my July Election Prediction holding up so far? Here is what I wrote then,

Here is my election prediction.

In November we are all going to be in shock that the Republicans would do that, go that far, do such things, let it get to that point. We simply aren't going to believe that that could have happened in this country, this world, this day and age. All of us.

So far we're right on schedule. And remember, Path to 9/11, in which a major TV network tells the public that Clinton was responsible for terrorism, and Bush was a hero trying to prevent the attacks, is only the very beginning. Watch the first PFA ad that will be saturating the airwaves, and read this article, In a Pivotal Year, GOP Plans to Get Personal; Millions to Go to Digging Up Dirt on Democrats, for just a glimpse at next week.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 2:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 9, 2006

The Extent Of ABC Lies

ABC's Path to 9/11 doesn't just fictionalize - it intentionally tells the public the very opposite of what happened. It doesn't just broadcast the right-wing myth that Clinton was responsible for 9/11, it also misleads the public into thinking that the Bush administration was trying to prevent the attacks. But in fact the Clinton administration was "obsessed" with preventing terrorism and the Bush administration ignored terrorism.

According to Joe Conason at Salon, in The Sept. 11 that never was,

The movie shows ... Condoleezza Rice demoting Clarke in January 2001 when she takes over as national security advisor. Clarke tries to warn her that "something spectacular" is going to happen on American soil, and she assures him that "we're on it," which they assuredly were not.

Indeed, the script downplays the neglect of terrorism as a primary threat by the incoming Bush team -- and never mentions the counterterrorism task force, chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney, that never met for nine months before 9/11. The famous Aug. 6 presidential daily briefing, which warned the vacationing Bush that al-Qaida intended to strike here, is given due attention. But the movie then shows Rice telling her associates that "as a result of the Aug. 6 PDB, the president wants to take real action" against al-Qaida. But the 9/11 Commission report's section on the PDB clearly states that the August warning was not followed up on by Rice. [emphasis added]

This is pure right-wing propaganda, following the Republican campaign theme.

Update - Orcinus has more.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

ABC Also Blames American Airlines


Here's what the "Path to 9/11" claims American Airlines did on the morning of September 11. According to Disney/ABC, American Airlines had Mohammad Atta at its ticket counter and a warning came up on the screen when he tried to check in. The AA employee called a supervisor who kind of shrugged and said, blithely, just let him through. The first employee, shocked, turned to her supervisor and said, shouldn't we search him? The American Airlines supervisor responds, nah, just hold his luggage until he boards the plane. The scene is clearly intended to make American Airlines look negligent.

Only problem? It never happened.

We now know that David Horowitz is involved in this smear, and that Horowitz has been working on a long-term strategic effort to rewrite history and shift blame for 9/11 away from Bush and the Republicans and onto Clinton.

We also know that the reality was that the Clinton administration was "obsessed" with preventing terrorism, and that the Bush administration ignored it, and went on vacation after receiving a warning alert titled, "Bin Laden Determined To Attack Within US."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 8, 2006

ABC 'Path To 9/11' Connected To Ongoing Effort To Blame Clinton

According to Max Blumenthal at Huffington Post, Republican strategist (and Karl Rove friend) David Horowitz was involved from the start in ABC's Path to 9/11 smear blaming Clinton for 9/11. This is significant because Horowitz has been involved for some time in a strategic PR effort to shift blame for 9/11 from Bush to Clinton. According to a Feb. 26, 2002 story in O'Dwyer's PR Daily, titled "PR CAMPAIGN BLAMES CLINTON FOR SEPT. 11 ATTACKS",

The Center for the Study of Popular Culture, in Los Angeles, has begun a PR campaign to pin the blame of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Clinton Administration.

The Center has mailed copies of David Horowitz's new pamphlet entitled "How the Left Undermined America's Security," to about 1,500 media outlets on Feb. 19. Horowitz is president of the Center.

The 46-page pamphlet charges that the U.S. national security interests were undermined by the left, leading to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

From Eat The Press | Max Blumenthal: Discover the Secret Right-Wing Network Behind ABC's 9/11 Deception | The Huffington Post,
In fact, "The Path to 9/11" is produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias. This is the network within the ABC network. Its godfather is far right activist David Horowitz, who has worked for more than a decade to establish a right-wing presence in Hollywood and to discredit mainstream film and TV production. On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11's director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to "transform Hollywood" in line with its messianic vision.

...With the LFF now under Horowitz's control, his political machine began drumming up support for Cunningham and Nowrasteh's "Untitled" project, which finally was revealed in late summer as "The Path to 9/11." Horowitz's PR blitz began with an August 16 interview with Nowrasteh on his FrontPageMag webzine. In the interview, Nowrasteh foreshadowed the film's assault on Clinton's record on fighting terror. "The 9/11 report details the Clinton's administration's response -- or lack of response -- to Al Qaeda and how this emboldened Bin Laden to keep attacking American interests," Nowrasteh told FrontPageMag's Jamie Glazov. "There simply was no response. Nothing."
So it is becomming clear that ABC's Path To 9/11 is part of a long-term campaign to smear the Clinton administration - and by extension Democrats and others opposed to Bush's takeover. This is an attempt to distract public attention from Bush's own lack of concern about - and efforts to prevent - terrorism before 9/11.

But remember, George Bush was given an August, 2001 document titled, "Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside U.S." and left for vacation instead of doing anything about it. In contrast Bill Clinton was accused of having an "unhealthy American obscession" with terrorism while Republicans tried to block his administration's anti-terrorism efforts..

This April 2, 2000 Washington Post article, An Obscure Chief in U.S. War on Terror, discusses the extent of Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts - which were ignored or even stopped after Bush took office. I am quoting extensively because of the contrast to the Horiwitz/Republican efforts to rewrite history.

Four weeks before, Clarke had sketched out a plan on the whiteboard in his office at the National Security Council for neutralizing the latest threat from the Afghanistan-based Saudi exile. Approved by President Clinton and his top foreign policy advisers, Clarke's plan became the basis of administration efforts to prevent bin Laden supporters from ringing in the New Year with what officials believed could be dozens, perhaps hundreds, of American deaths in a series of simultaneous attacks from the Middle East to the West Coast.

Central to Clarke's strategy was a major disruption effort, orchestrated by the CIA and implemented by friendly intelligence agencies around the world, aimed at harassing members of bin Laden's al Qaeda organization and forcing them onto the defensive. Other moves included putting the FBI on a heightened state of alert, dispatching counterterrorism teams to Europe and having the State Department issue an informal ultimatum to Afghanistan to keep bin Laden under control.

... As the national coordinator for infrastructure protection and counterterrorism, Clarke has presided over a huge increase in counterterrorism budgets over the past five years to meet a wide array of new--and some would argue, still hypothetical--challenges, such as cyber warfare or chemical or biological attacks in New York or Washington. Last month, the administration submitted an $11.1 billion request to Congress to strengthen "domestic preparedness" against a terrorist attack.

... Such talk irritates national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, Clarke's direct supervisor, who insists that the threat of large-scale terrorist attacks on U.S. soil is "a reality, not a perception." "We would be irresponsible if we did not take this seriously," he says. "I hope that in 10 years' time, they will say we did too much, not too little."

Clarke's warnings about America's vulnerability to new kinds of terrorist attack have found a receptive ear in Clinton. With little fanfare, the president has begun to articulate a new national security doctrine in which terrorists and other "enemies of the nation-state" are coming to occupy the position once filled by a monolithic communist superpower. In January, he departed from the prepared text of his State of the Union address to predict that terrorists and organized criminals "with increasing access to ever more sophisticated chemical and biological weapons" will pose "the major security threat" to the United States in 10 to 20 years.

... He compares the current threat of global terrorism with the situation faced by Western democracies in the period leading up to World War II, when appeasement carried the day. Imagine what would have happened, he says, had Winston Churchill come to power in Britain five years earlier and "aggressively gone after" Nazi Germany. Hitler would have been stopped, but in all likelihood, Clarke says, Churchill would have gone down in history "as a hawk, as someone who exaggerated the threat, who saber-rattled and did needless things."

Which is precisely what some of Clarke's critics have said about him.

... The latest administration request for $11.1 billion in counterterrorism funds--compared with $5.7 billion in 1996--includes $1.5 billion for defense against weapons of mass destruction and almost $2 billion for protection of computer networks, utility systems and other "critical infrastructure." The figures do not include intelligence spending, which remains classified.

... Clarke's authority derives in large measure from the fact that Clinton shares his area of interest. According to aides, the president is a voracious reader of popular books on terrorism...

... The U.S. budget to fight terrorism has grown by more than 90 percent over the past six years in response to a series of terror attacks at home and abroad. New programs have been launched to counter the threat of terrorists using nuclear, chemical or biological agents. But critics question how dangerous the threat remains. [All emphasis added]

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Al Gore Statement On ABC Anti-Clinton Propaganda Piece

At Think Progress, Gore On Path to 9/11: ‘It Would Be Fundamentally Irresponsible To Air Such Distortions’. Gore's statement:

By all accounts, “The Path to 9/11″ is riddled with inaccuracies and contains material that directly contradicts the factual findings of the 9/11 Commission. I am deeply concerned that ABC is considering going forward with their plans to broadcast this so-called docudrama. The lessons from the events leading up to that tragedy are too important to trivialize, and it would be fundamentally irresponsible to air such distortions.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 6, 2006

ABC and Propaganda Blaming Clinton for 9/11

ABC is attempting to spread a lie and manipulate the public to vote for Republicans in the coming election. George Bush let 9/11 happen -- and to cover themselves they launched a campaign to blame Clinton. Now ABC is "propelling the propaganda."

Go to Open Letter to ABC: Don't Airbrush 9/11.

Down the left column (should be at the top) is a TAKE ACTION section. Go do everything they say. Right now.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 5, 2006

The Set-Up - Right-Wingers Leave Comments, Then Complain About Them - Updated

Here is an opportunity to watch a strategic narrative develop in real-time. Remember the other day when the Republican National Committee had a picture of Howard Dean with a Hitler mustache? Maybe that was a tip-off of something coming. The Republicans are trying to make the public think that liberals hate Jews.

A few days ago several bloggers noticed a flurry of anti-Semitic comments suddenly showing up at their blogs. It was obvious that the next step would be widespread circulation of right-wing stories about those anti-Semitic liberals...

And, right on schedue: HATEFUL 'MOVE' VS. JOE By MAGGIE HABERMAN - New York Post Online Edition: News,

A string of anti-Semitic rants about Sen. Joe Lieberman have popped up on the liberal MoveOn.org's open forum Web site, drawing criticism from the Anti-Defamation League.
And of course, the chorus chimes in, here, here, here, here, here, here, and I'll add as they show up...

More here, here, here, here, here and here.

RedState: Ned, Junior, and their hate-filled endorsement,

The type of hatred evinced by MoveOn.org and by George Soros is dangerous.
Right Voices, MoveOn.org and Hateful Jewish Slurs Aimed At Joe

Free Republic, MoveOn.org: Hot-bed for Anti-Semitism

OK, the larger echo chamber is kicking in now:

FrontPage: Moving On to Anti-Semitism

Update - Will we see this in the right-wing media? ADL Welcomes MoveOn.org's Responsiveness in Removing Anti-Semitic Messages,

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the responsiveness of MoveOn.org Political Action in removing anti-Semitic messages that had been posted on the Action Forum on their Web site.

In response to a letter of concern, Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn Political Action, has been in direct contact with ADL. He indicated that MoveOn.org found the comments abhorrent and had them removed.

ADL is pleased with Mr. Pariser's responsiveness to our concerns and believes the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Action Alert - Coming ABC 9/11 Show Contains RW Lies

An upcoming ABC 9/11 "docudrama" contains right-wing-planted propaganda, including a lie that the Clinton administration refused to kill bin Laden. We need people to act on this. Click this link.

In fact, Clinton had authorized killing bin Laden. In fact the Republicans BLOCKED Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts. In fact, Bush received a memo titled Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the US and went on vacation instead of doing something about it.

Think Progress has the story.

Meanwhile, ABC distributed info on the show to right-wing outlets only. Digby has more,

When this was revealed, the lefty bloggers who asked ABC for copies so that they might see it too, were told that they would have to wait until this week. Obviously, none of us will be able to screen it until Wednesday at the earliest and probably not even then.

... Smells of agenda, indeed. Obviously,since only some people have had a chance to watch the movie and guage its accuracy, it's difficult to know.

Firedoglake has more,

When challenged to explain why the right-wing blogosphere is abuzz with praise for the film, director David Cunningham responded that "we are also being accused of being a left wing movie that bashes Bush" — a claim for which there is absolutely no evidence. I searched Technorati for mentions of the film and found 260 references, mostly from conservative websites, every single one of which had nothing but praise for the film. And although I found numerous examples of conservative pundits and bloggers who reported seeing pre-broadcast screenings, no leftist pundits or bloggers had been given a chance to see it...
Also - ABC not allowing progressive bloggers on a press conference call about the show.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 31, 2006

Watch Olbermann's Special Commentary

This is history you're seeing.

Also at Crooks and Liars サ Keith Olbermann Delivers One Hell Of a Commentary on Rumsfeld

This is one to send to friends and family. (Click on E-mail this story below.)

The transcript: (And a good-quality video)

Feeling morally, intellectually confused?

The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones.

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.”

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 30, 2006

The STF Rule

The STF Rule: When Republicans accuse, it usually means they're doing what they are accusing others of.

Question -- does it embolden the terrorists to intentionally split the country right down the middle? Does it weaken the country in a time of war to accuse half of the country of being traitors and helping the enemy? Doesn't THAT "embolden the terrorists?"

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 29, 2006

Did Paul Galanti Sell His Medals?

This piece originally appeared on The Patriot Project

Paul Galanti has earned the nation’s respect. He graduated the U.S. Naval Academy in 1962 and entered Naval flight training, where he became an instructor. In 1965 he was assigned to the USS Hancock, a carrier off Vietnam, and flew 97 combat missions before being shot down on June 17, 1966.  He was captured and kept as a POW for almost seven years, released February 12, 1973. There are good write-ups describing some of his time as a POW and later career available online here, here and here, and the text of a Virginia Senate and Assembly Joint Resolution commending him is available here.

Following post-POW rehabilitation Galanti completed a Masters degree and went on to complete a distinguished career, retiring as Commander in 1983. His military decorations include the Silver Star, Two Legions of Merit for combat, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star for combat, nine Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal for combat and two Purple Hearts. He was on the cover of Life Magazine in October, 1967 and Newsweek, February, 1973. His bio at the Vietnam POW site also notes that he:

"is a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award, the Outstanding Virginian Award and numerous other awards and citations for civic service. He is Past President of the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Past President of Nam-POWs, the national Vietnam POW Fraternity, a River Rat, POW Coordinator for the Skyhawk Association and an Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. Additionally, he was President of his class at Annapolis."

Paul Galanti served with honor and endured a great sacrifice for this country. He stands as a model for overcoming the worst that can be thrown at a person, and honors all of us as Americans. Like his fellow veterans Paul Galanti has earned the respect of every American.

After his retirement from the Navy, Galanti became the first non-pharmacist executive director of the Virginia Pharmaceutical Association. Later he became CEO of the Medical Society of Virginia. These are Virginia trade associations with lobbying arms, similar to and associated with the kind of national lobbying associations that make up Washington’s notorious "K Street."

In 2000 Galanti joined with fellow-former-POW, Senator John McCain, becoming the Virginia Chair for McCain’s campaign for president. It was early in this 2000 campaign that a new kind of political operation was being perfected, and was test-marketed against John McCain in his South Carolina primary fight against George W. Bush. Facing questions about his own National Guard record – especially when running against veterans who served with honor and distinction – Bush's strategists needed a way to turn the attention of voters in another direction. It was already a tried-and-true tactic of Bush's strategist Karl Rove to use a smear for such purposes, and McCain became the victim of an escalation of this approach. 

From Patriot Project’s The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water:

"… Bush surrogates (several later involved in the Kerry swiftboating effort) skillfully turned McCain's service record against him (thereby deflecting questions about Bush's own service record.) They planted stories that the torture McCain suffered as a POW had brought about mental instability, including rumors that he had been programmed as a "Manchurian candidate" who "collaborated with the enemy." No longer could McCain use the fact that he had endured torture as evidence of dedication to serving his country."

In the 2000 South Carolina Presidential primary Bush surrogates circulated stories that McCain’s five years as a POW had made him "mentally unstable," gave him a "loose screw," that he "committed treason while a POW" and "came home and forgot us." The stories also called McCain "the fag candidate," called his wife a drug addict, said McCain “chose to sire children without marriage” and had "a black child" (the actual wording of that last smear from the flyers and e-mails that circulated is not printable here).

And when McCain responded by asking whether this kind of smear campaign showed that voters should think twice about trusting Bush, saying Bush was "twisting the truth like Clinton," Rove was able to turn that against McCain¸by accusing McCain of "going negative."  Unlike Rove and Bush, McCain hadn't understood the value of attacking with surrogates.

A former POW himself, how did Galanti respond to such attacks on his fellow veteran POW? The attacks were designed to turn honorable military service to the country from an asset into a liability. Surely Galanti well understood that McCain's five years as a POW had seasoned McCain as a leader, not turned him into the mentally unstable "Manchurian Candidate" as the Bush surrogates claimed – for he himself had counted out the days, hours and minutes of seven years. But a few years later he joined with some of the same people who had been behind them, first in a very similar attack on another honored Vietnam veteran - John Kerry – and then in a series of similarly-conducted raids-on-honor, always siding with the conservative chickenhawks in their attacks on honored fellow veterans.

It was not an immediate migration from the McCain campaign into joining the conservative movement – in 2001 Galanti supported Democrat Mark Warner for Governor of Virginia.  But then Paul Galanti became one of the infamous "Swiftboaters" during the 2004 Presidential campaign between George W. Bush and John Kerry.  The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was formed by some of the same people and organizations who had participated in the 2000 McCain smearing, and was formed for the same purpose – to deflect voter attention from Gaorge W. Bush’s own service record.  But Galanti joined the attacks on fellow veteran Kerry with the fervor of the converted, saying things like:

"Galanti joined ... in attacking Kerry by accusing him of treason for "[a]iding and abetting the enemy in a time of war"

Paul Galanti went on to become a fixture in the far-right’s extremist attack structure, helping divide and weaken the nation in a time of war by accusing fellow Americans of treason.  For example, in June of 2005, he joined the far-right’s coordinated and misleading PR attack on Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, writing a letter that was echoed throughout the farthest right of the far-right’s outlets:

"Your remarks comparing Guantanamo to the regimes of Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are outrageous. I tried to think of why a rational human being could make such an outlandish statement but I keep coming up short. I thought I'd seen it all when Howard Dean performed his infamous scream in Iowa but your diatribe yesterday eclipsed Dean's moment of Hannibal Lecter lunacy. And your moment of pique will be infinitely more damaging to members of our Armed Forces serving in harm's way.

… You, sir, for having aided and abetted the enemy in time of war, have been relegated in my mind to the status of Jane Fonda and your colleague, John Kerry as contemptible traitors."

And in September 2005 he joined with Vets for Kilgore,  again joining the team of behind-the-scenes professional Swiftboater Chris LaCivita.

And now, most surprisingly, Paul Galanti has joined with LaCivita again, forming the organization Vets for George Allen. It is particularly surprising that Galanti is supporting Senator George Allen against former Reagan Navy Secretary Jim Webb, a Marine who served in Vietnam and was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star Medal, two Bronze Star Medals, and two Purple Hearts.  Previously Galanti had been a supporter of Webb, who resigned as Naval Secretary in 1988 after refusing to agree to a reduction of the Navy's force structure during congressionally-mandated budget cutting. Galanti said in 2001:

"I had a great final three years in the Navy despite the devastation Carter's policies had wrought on the military. My last Navy year was under one of the finest-ever Commanders-in- Chief, who led the country out of Jimmy Carter's unlamented and self-caused "malaise."

(An aside: current events in the Middle East make this an ideal time to revisit Carter's "malaise speech.")

But now Galanti has turned against Webb, a fellow honored veteran., to support a candidate who skipped Vietnam for a "dude ranch,” a candidate who spots a dark-skinned man in an all-white crowd and starts addressing him with the racial slur “macaca,” and saying “welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” (Ironically the man, S.R. Sidarth, was born and raised in Virginia, George Allen was not.)

In What Currency Is Galanti Paid To Attack His Fellow Vets?

Why does Paul Galanti lend his name and the honor he has earned to be used like this to attack his fellow Veterans?

Is it for money? There is a great deal of "Swiftboater"-type money circulating, but there is absolutely no evidence that money is Galanti's price for selling out his fellow veterans.

Is it for position? Before attacking Kerry Galanti and fellow swiftboater Kenneth Cordier were appointed by the Bush administration to a Department of Veterans Affairs advisory panel – even though federal regulations bar advisory committee members from engaging in political activity while performing their committee duties. But he was also appointed to Virginia’s Department of Veterans' Services by Democratic Governor Mark Warner and these are organizations in which Galanti certain has expertise to contribute. Certainly he would not sell out his fellow veterans for this.

Did his time as executive director of the lobbying organizations Virginia Pharmaceutical Association and Medical Society of Virginia somehow draw him into the lobbying/corruption machine that conservatives were forming in Washington? Again, there is no evidence of that.

Is it done for right-wing ideology? Probably not – Galanti is an American hero and in spite of some of his rhetoric, what kind of "American" ideology lends itself to favor the kind of high-level corruption the country is currently witnessing, or to be purchased by an anti-Christian, Korean/Japanese cult.  Surely Galanti sees this occurring, so it could not be that.

So the question is, why does he do it? 

Paul Galanti earned our respect. But he is lending his good name and allowing his reputation to be used to smear other veterans who also served their country. By allowing this he is squandering that respect in service of a cynical smear operation, and knowingly or not is used as a front for people who do not share the hard-won values of the American military, and he should stop it.

Dave Johnson is the lead blogger at Seeing the Forest and a Fellow at the Commonweal Institute, where he studies the conservative movement’s network of foundations and think tanks and the extent of their influence on American society.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 22, 2006

The STF Rule - The Accuser Describes The Accuser

The STF Rule: When Republicans accuse, it means they're probably doing what it is they are accusing others of.

In this fantastic (in the true meaning of the word) piece at right-wing Townhall, Our covert enemies, Michael Barone tries to accuse anyone promoting what he calls "multiculturalism" of being "covert enemies" of the country (i.e. traitors). He follows the narrative's script about "elites" pretty well, so he might get his bonus,

Our covert enemies are harder to identify, for they live in large numbers within our midst. And in terms of intentions, they are not enemies in the sense that they consciously wish to destroy our society. On the contrary, they enjoy our freedoms and often call for their expansion. But they have also been working, over many years, to undermine faith in our society and confidence in its goodness. These covert enemies are those among our elites who have promoted the ideas labeled as multiculturalism, moral relativism and (the term is Professor Samuel Huntington's) transnationalism.
Of course, following the STF Rule, he's describing the conservative movement's own attack on all of the fundamental institutions of our society - government, public schools, the justice system, etc.

But then, OOPS, look how he ends his piece:

We have always had our covert enemies, but their numbers were few until the 1960s. But then the elite young men who declined to serve in the military during the Vietnam War set out to write a narrative in which they, rather than those who obeyed the call to duty, were the heroes. They have propagated their ideas through the universities, the schools and mainstream media to the point that they are the default assumptions of millions.
What is that a description of? "Young men who declined to serve in the military during the Vietnam war?" That's not a description of Gore, Kerry, Murtha, Cleland, etc., it's instead a description of Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh and every single leader of the conservative movement! And this thing about propagating their ideas until they become conventional wisdom -- is a description of the conservative movement itself!

OOPS! Maybe he won't get his bonus after all.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:30 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 20, 2006

Terror Alerts Causing General Racist Reaction

President Bush recently changed his definition of who "the enemy" is from bin Laden and the al Queda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 to "Islamic fascists" in general, sending the right after Islam in general and Middle Easterners in particular. The other day I wrote about how the Right's amplification machine was picking up the signal on this, calling for "racial profiling" of Middle-Easterners, even though not all Muslims are Middle Eastern. Of course, never mind about Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph and others of domestic origin.

Let's be clear what "profiling" means - it means singling out all people of a certain racial appearance for harassment and intimidation. And let's be clear about what complaints about "political correctness" and "multiculturalism" are - they are racist phrases demanding domination and privilege for those of European descent.

The Right is also heavily promoting books like, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam,

When PC propagandists assure us that jihadist terror doesn't reflect "true," "peaceful" Islam, they're not only wrong, they're dangerous...
... reveals all the disturbing facts about Islam and its murderous hostility to the West that other books ignore, soft-pedal -- or simply lie about.

This book is a unique guide to the bloody teachings and history of Islam, and to the Crusades that still stand today as the Western world's most sustained and successful defense against the warrior hordes who were inspired by those teachings.

and The Life and Religion of Mohammed, sold with
"Mohammed: the ugly truth about the founder of the world's most violent religion." and "With Islam on the march everywhere and Muslims streaming into the U.S. in record numbers, the candor, common sense, and solid Christian faith of this book are needed more than ever."
Today the Right is promoting a story about a "mutiny" aboard a British flight in which fearful British passengers refused to let a plane take off because there were two dark-skinned, Arabic-speaking men aboard, encouraging people to follow this example and start taking matters into their own hands. As I write this the lead post at the "respectable" right-wing hub Towhhall has the very popular TV and radio celebrity Bill O'Reilly writing,
Of course, the sane way to protect Americans in the sky is to stop looking for nail files and begin profiling people who might actually cause terror damage. That is not "racial" profiling, that is "terror" profiling. Most of the recent terror activities have been perpetuated by young Muslim men.
Now take a look at this right-wing blog post, British Air Passengers Mutiny and the comments it solicits, the post blaming "politically correct touchy-feely multiculturalism" for the passengers' reaction.

This one, like many others, make the appeal for people to take matters into their own hands.

It appears that if “we the flying public” are going to be safe, no one but ourselves is going to save us. The hell with political correctness! We need more mutinies of this nature. It’s our money paying for these trips and, ultimately, our lives that are in jeopardy. If the airlines and our “PC” brethren don’t like it, I say “Then follow your own rules!”

I now doubt that anything will bring the so-called “moderate Muslims” out from their hiding places, in order to speak against their suicidal and homicidal brethren. But, at least a few, or many, more of these mutinies might just get the airlines to step up and listen. Contrary to politically-correct opinion, profiling is a good thing—at least if you want to have your best chance of remaining alive.

Or take a look at this one that goes after those who resist "profiling," writing,
One mustn’t risk offending anybody, after all, even if tippy-toeing around the obvious truth leads to hundreds or thousands of dead civilians.
This one says "'Asians,' of course, is UK mediaspeak for Muslims." It goes on to make the typical victimized claim that there will now be
"calls by Muslim leaders and their willing Leftist stooges for some kind of institutionalized and nationwide "education" (i.e. propaganda) campaign to prevent this sort of thing."
The comments at these MAINSTREAM hate sites talk about having the "guts" to go after "towel heads" and praising the "Second Amendment," asking for "Arab-free flights" and saying things like, "Arabs and Muslims need to feel the pain." "They [Muslims] Mshould all be banned from flying and have to pay for their own extremists directly by not flying, the extremists and moderates have caused all of this murder and chaos." "I have been reading the articles and comments for over a year and have to say they have woken me up to the reality of Islam."

Is this just a conservative build-up to the election -- or the beginnings of something worse?

Watch your backs.

Update Lawyers Guns and Money noticed this, too. And Mahablog. Glenn Greenwald.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:52 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 17, 2006

Politicizing Security

Orrin Hatch is a Republican Senator from Utah. Hatch says Demo win could help terrorists.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, who continuously decries the bitter partisanship in Washington, implied this week that Democratic success in November's election could result in terrorist attacks on America.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 16, 2006

Indian-American Republicans Say "Macaca" Not Offensive

On July 6 the Indian American Republican Council issued a strong press release rightly denouncing Joe Biden for saying, "You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking." Shame on him.

In response to Republican Senator George Allen's racist slur against Indian Americans they, they issued a press release insisting the term is not offensive. Shame on them.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 14, 2006

CNN Calls Lamont "The al Queda Candidate" - Media Matters Responds

Media Matters - Media Matters to CNN: Will anchor Roberts be disciplined for suggesting Lamont is "the Al Qaeda candidate"?

Jonathan Klein
President, CNN

Rolando H. Santos
Executive Vice President and General Manager, CNN Headline News
One CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30348

Dear Messrs. Klein and Santos:

I am writing to express my great concern over an incident that occurred on your network Friday, August 11, 2006. As the Think Progress weblog noted, during a discussion on CNN Headline News of the recent Connecticut Senate Democratic primary won by Ned Lamont, anchor Chuck Roberts asked: "Might some argue, as some have, that Lamont is the Al Qaeda candidate?"

One expects to hear this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric -- which also perfectly plays into the Republican Party's baseless smears of Democrats as soft on national security -- coming from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, or Michael Savage. CNN, however, is supposed to be a legitimate news organization.

Mr. Roberts might have a defense if it were actually the case that people were calling Mr. Lamont "the Al Qaeda candidate." But as Arianna Huffington pointed out on CNN's own Reliable Sources yesterday, the smear appears to be entirely the creation of Mr. Roberts. We note that Mr. Lamont's opposition to the Iraq war is shared by a majority of the American people; we hope it is not common practice among CNN anchors to refer to most Americans as Al Qaeda sympathizers.

I presume you have a sincere commitment to responsible journalism and accountability within your news organization. We at Media Matters for America, along with your viewers, would like to know what action you intend to take in response to this incident. Will CNN be issuing a retraction? Will Mr. Roberts be offering Mr. Lamont an on-air apology? Will some disciplinary action be taken against Mr. Roberts?

We eagerly await your response.


David Brock
President and CEO
Media Matters for America

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 10, 2006

Republican Party Adds Hitler Mustache to Dean Photo

Dependable Renegade: I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.

See also Interesting Times: GOP paints Hitler moustache on Dean

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 9, 2006

Ask Connecticut Republican Candidates

Someone needs to ask Republican candidates in Connceticut if they agree with their party that,

“Connecticut should have its statehood taken away from it. The foolishness of its pampered residents should be demonstrated to others by a government program to bulldoze the entire state, salt the land and construct a windfarm to supply NYC with electricity. And its residents should be relocated to Guantanamo Bay where they can take a number behind the 3 who hung themselves this weekend, since they seem so intent on suicide.”
Let's hear them explain why they are running as Republicans in a state that Republicans hate.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 6, 2006

Why Liberals Love Pedophiles

Because right-wingers say so - that's why.

How often do you hear one or another variation of the message that liberals are bad and conservatives are good? And how often do you hear messages that counter that? Right. That is because one side is marketing a viewpoint, and the other is not.

At the right-wing Townhall.com, Why liberals love pedophiles

"Since modern liberalism's true goal is the actual eradication of God, moral values, and the ideas of absolute right vs. wrong, it should surprise no one that not a single leftist politician in America has denounced [pedohile no one has ever heard of]. Nor did they denounce [pedohile no one has ever heard of]. The truth is liberals seek sexual utopia where no rules apply. Restraint has in fact become a dirty word to them. Self control - a throughly foreign concept.

... For liberals to denounce pedophiles, ultimately they would have to denounce, lesbianism, homsexuality, and their particular favorite - adultery. And that's just no going to happen.

At the end of the day there are such a thing as moral values, and liberals despise them - because as they see it - those moral values limit their sexual freedoms. And if this is "America" - isn't it all about the freedom to get your groove on?

Liberals love pedophiles.

Isn't it shameful?

And don't we all wish - that they loved the well being of children more?"

The guy tells a story about some pedophile no one has ever heard of, and turns it into a lesson about liberals being immoral. So let's learn from this. Let's look at how movement conservatives do it. They "always add the because". They tie every small story to a larger ideological lesson - a strategic narrative.

But here's the thing. They have that strategic narrative in place to tie their stories to, even if they have to fall back on the old basic one - conservatives are good and liberals are bad. So they have a ready-to-go angle to use with any story that comes along. And they understand the basic marketing reasons to do this. Progressives don't. (Is that because progressives are bad and conservatives are good?)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 1, 2006

Conservatives Really Do Hate America

The STF Rule -- when Republicans accuse, it means they're doing it themselves... And Republicans love to say liberals hate America.

This post at TownHall just drips with elitist hated of Americans. Townhall.com::A military draft?::By Thomas Sowell,

Back in the days of World War II, the military were drafting young men who were, by and large, patriotic Americans, people who felt that they had a duty to protect this country from its enemies.

Today, a military draft would bring in large numbers of people who have been systematically "educated" to believe the worst about this country or, at best, to be non-judgmental about the differences between American society and its enemies.

The fact that we could use a larger army of the kinds of people who have already volunteered to put their lives on the line does not mean that we can get it by adding warm bodies fresh from our politically correct schools and colleges, where standards and self-discipline are greatly lacking.

Just getting such people used to the idea of duty and discipline could be a major drain on the military, not to mention a plague of lawsuits from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union if the little darlings were not handled with kid gloves.

More than that, so many American institutions, from the Congress to the courts, have degenerated into irresponsible self-indulgence that the military is one of the very few institutions left with a sense of purpose for which it is prepared to make sacrifices.

We dare not destroy that institution, or undermine its morale, by pouring into it very different kinds of people, who will be like sand poured into the gears of machinery.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 26, 2006

Swift Boat Vets Money

I have a post up at Patriot Project today, THE BUCK STOPS THERE - The Story Of Who Really Wins When The Right Wing Raises Money about tracing some of the Swift Boat Vets money.

It's also at Huffington Post.

I'll post it here tomorrow.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 18, 2006

Anti-Muslim Fervor Targets American Musims, Too

Go read the latest right-wing racist rant.

Many are anchor babies born here to Muslims in the U.S. illegally.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water

This post was written for and originally appeared at the Patriot Project, which is no longer on the web.

The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water

"Swiftboating" is defined in the Wikipedia as:

"an ad hominem attack against a public figure, coordinated by an independent or pseudo-independent group, usually resulting in a benefit to an established political force. Specifically, this form of attack is controversial, easily repeatable, and difficult to verify or disprove because it is generally based on personal feelings or recollections." 

If you thought the tactic of "swiftboating" ended when John Kerry conceded the 2004 election, or perhaps when report after report and article after article after article refuted the "facts" or discredited those involved, you were wrong.

The professional Republican PR and campaign consultants who created, funded, and coordinated the attacks on John Kerry continue to spread their poison. And now, with the 2006 campaign season upon us they are ready to attack again, creating false stories and spreading doubt and mistrust about the more than fifty veterans running for Congress this fall. We can expect that candidates like Admiral Jim Webb, Admiral Joe Sestak, Lt. Colonel Charlie Brown and Captain Patrick Murphy will be targets for attack. So it’s a good idea to look back and understand what is happening here, how they have perfected the politics of political destruction since the strategy emerged, where some of them are now, and examine some ways to fight back.

Let's start with some background. In 2004, the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth claimed that Kerry was "unfit to serve" because, among other accusations, his wounds were "self-inflicted," and that he was guilty of "withholding and/or distortion of material facts" about his service in Vietnam. The accusations were later proven to be categorically false, and the funding and political team behind the group was shown to be closely associated with the Bush/Cheney campaign. Media Matters' compilation of evidence includes a link to this graphic from the August 25, 2004 New York Times article, Bush Campaign's Top Outside Lawyer Advised Veterans Group (and the chart and article only begin to touch on the connections). 

(Click for an enlarged version.)

But, even though false, the tactic worked. Public opinion shifted dramatically following the August 2004 attacks on Kerry. The Guardian story, Why America is still fighting the battles of Mekong Delta describes this shift beginning soon after the story began to hit the corporate media:

"A recent University of Pennsylvania poll showed that its attack ad questioning whether Kerry deserved his medals had been seen or heard of by half the voters questioned.

It also revealed that 44 per cent of independent voters found the advert at least somewhat believable. Meanwhile a CBS poll showed the number of veterans who supported Kerry had dropped from 46 per cent to 37 per cent." [emphasis added]

By the time of the "Swiftboat" attack on Kerry, the tactic of attacking and spreading doubts about the quality of a person’s service to the country had already been used successfully and refined. For example, in the 2000 South Carolina primary battle between George W. Bush and John McCain, Bush surrogates (several later involved in the Kerry swiftboating effort) skillfully turned McCain's service record against him (thereby deflecting questions about Bush's own service record.) They planted stories that the torture McCain suffered as a POW had brought about mental instability, including rumors that he had been programmed as a "Manchurian candidate" who "collaborated with the enemy." No longer could McCain use the fact that he had endured torture as evidence of dedication to serving his country. 

The tactic was then used on Max Cleland in his 2002 Georgia Senate race against Saxby Chambliss. Chambliss attacked Cleland’s patriotism, "for breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution." Surrogates more recently accused Cleland, who lost 3 limbs in Vietnam and received the Bronze and Silver Star, of being injured from "dropping a grenade" when drunk. 

Richard Clarke, President Bush's counter-terrorism advisor, was attacked after revealing that he had tried unsuccessfully to get the Bush administration to take al-Queda seriously as a threat before the 9/11 attack. Columnist Paul Krugman summarized "a campaign of character assassination" against Clarke, in which un-named administration officials were saying Clarke "wants to make a few bucks, and that [in] his own personal life, they're also suggesting that there are some weird aspects in his life as well." Other surrogates called him a "fraud." 

Even Bush's own Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was attacked with intent to humiliate and discredit him, with inside sources alleging "no one listened to him," accused of misusing classified documents, and forced to recant after he revealed that the Bush administration had been planning to invade Iraq even before the 9/11 attacks. 

And the tactic has continued since the 2004 swiftboating of Kerry. Ambassador Joe Wilson was famously attacked after revealing that the Bush administration had misled the public about Iraqi attempts to purchase "yellowcake" in Niger. His wife's undercover CIA status was "outed," ending her career, and he was accused of committing "treason," and being a "nutcase" and "liar."

In Ohio's 2005 special Congressional election, candidate Paul Hackett was smeared when the Jean Schmidt campaign questioned his service, asking if he "saw combat" and saying "I understand that Hackett did not participate in combat at all."

So why does swiftboating work? First, because it is simple, and lays down a clear good vs. evil, black-and-white narrative that is easily understood by regular people who lead busy lives and don't have the time and energy it takes to closely follow the news and track the real facts. And it is smart, professionally crafted, with tons of money available to do the necessary psychological, polling and focus group work that goes into developing messaging that resonates with the public, and getting that messaging into targeted channels with reach. 

Another reason it works is because it is (excuse the pun) offensive. They say that the best defense is a good offense, and considering their candidates, the Republicans certainly needed a defense. The Republicans have for some time been riding a public perception that they are somehow "better" on defense issues than Democrats. But this certainly isn't true, and they know it. (After all, it wasn’t Democrats who went on vacation, ignoring the intelligence briefing titled "bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the US.") This perception gap has placed them in terrible fear that the voting public might come to see that the reality is very different from the conventional wisdom.  There is also the fear that the pubic might realize that most of the Republican leadership actually had poor or nonexistent service records (see also "chickenhawks"), while many in the Democratic leadership served with honor.  

And in a race between John Kerry and George W. Bush we had a clear contrast when it came to the question of serving with honor. Kerry graduated college and, in the heat of the Vietnam War, signed up for the military. He volunteered for Swift Boat duty in Vietnam. After college Bush managed to move to the head of the line to get into what was called a "champagne unit" of the Texas Air National Guard, while checking the box on his "Application for Extended Active Duty with the United States Air Force" that read "Do not volunteer for overseas." It was clear that any fair debate on who had the courage and desire to serve his country during wartime and who didn’t was going to go one way and only one way. So yes, the Republicans needed an offensive, distracting defense, and they found one. 

So the Republicans decided to take the offense, and as us bloggers like to complain, the Democrats just seemed to take it. In the sixth century BC, Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, "Generally, he who occupies the field of battle first and awaits the enemy is at ease; he who comes later to the scene and rushes into the fight is weary." And in his widely-distributed Republican strategy book, The Art of Political War, David Horowitz advises candidates to "provide a shield from attack." He advises candidates to "lead with" a posture emulating an opponent's expected strength, writing, "...working away from the negative image your opponent wants to pin on you. If you know you are going to be attacked as morally imperious, it is a good idea to lead with a position that is inclusive and tolerant." So following Horowitz's advice (and they do), if you know that you're "weak on defense," you "inoculate" yourself by claiming that you are strong on defense, and attacking your opponent first as being weak on defense. (FYI - Republicans accusing others of what they are themselves doing is formally named "The STF Rule.") 

And finally, in the landmark book Marketing Warfare, authors Trout and Ries talk about the tactic of turning a competitor's strength into a weakness. The idea is to find a way to use that strength against your competitor, so repelling your attack requires them to work against their own strong point. For example, since Hertz is number one, Avis advertises that their lines are shorter. It is hard for Hertz to counter that – what would they say, that they aren't popular? Similarly, by turning a record of honorable service against a campaign opponent, the opponent reminds the voters of the smear with every mention of that service. 

Building on this, Bush adds an "audacity" approach. But don't take my word for it – see the Variety story, 'Swift-boat' pros in demand in D.C. Spinmeisters go negative:  

"If you can construct believable stories with enough truth in them to smear somebody royally, boy, is there a pot of gold waiting for you in D.C. Spin doctors are nothing new in politics, but a certain type -- equal parts scriptwriter, opposition researcher and ruthless street fighter -- is increasingly in demand, and for good reason. Just ask John Kerry, the former Democratic presidential candidate who became the target object of a new verb: “swift-boating.”

[. . .] "Modern communication isn't about truth, it's about a resonant narrative," says Eric Dezenhall, a former Reagan administration aide and now president of his own crisis management firm. "The myth of PR is that you will educate and inform people. No. The public wants to be told in a story who to like and who to hate."

Already suspected by blue-collar America as an elite and effete New Englander, Kerry -- one of the handful of Ivy Leaguers who volunteered to go to Vietnam -- was red meat for the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ad that cast him as a Yale snot who'd come back from Vietnam to trash his largely working-class troops.

If that sounds audacious, it's because, as Dezenhall says, "We're living in an age of audacity," another fact GOP spinmeisters understand and exploit superbly.

"George Bush communicates in terms of audacity," Dezenhall says. Bush's response to questions about the wiretapping was to say that he's just trying to catch terrorists. Bold motivation, easily understood.

"Democrats communicate in terms of complexity," Dezenhall says, referring to their windy explications of a need to pursue enemies within the rule of law as spelled out in various court ..." (snorrrrrrrrrrre).  [Emphasis added]

So with swiftboating you spread a smear to raise questions with the public about the opponent's patriotism or service. It doesn't have to be true (how quaint) it just has to raise questions. This "neutralizes" the honorable record of or otherwise "discredits" the advantages that opponent has against a Republican with a poor (like George W. Bush's) or no (like Saxby Chambliss or any number of other "chickenhawks") record. 

And, finally, the Republicans have the money and organizational connections to overwhelmingly implement their strategy. According to Open Secrets, in 2004 the Swift Boat Veterans spent $22.5 million, Progress for America $35.6 million and the Bush campaign $345.2 million. This is on top of the huge amount of long-term money spent outside the election cycle by the network of conservative think tanks and business groups promoting conservative ideology and issues, repeating to the public in a thousand different ways and through a thousand different channels that conservatives are good and liberals are bad. (Have you heard that?)

Partially shown in the chart above, the anti-Kerry Swiftboat operation involved the interlocking efforts of "closely associated" Republican Party adjuncts like the Progress For America 527 organization, utilizing Party-affiliated consultants like Chris LaCivita, Merrie Spaeth, Keith Appell, Benjamin Ginsberg, Susan Arcaneaux, and companies like Political Compliance Services, Creative Response Concepts (CRC), DCI Group, Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm (SRCP) and The Pinkston Group. Also involved are conservative movement-affiliated media outlets like Media Research Center’s Cybercast News Service (CNS) WorldNetDaily or NewsMax, with Drudge Report, The Washington Times and Fox News operating as echoes and amplifiers to entice the major corporate media to pick up and repeat the smears. 

The February, 2005 New York Times story, A New Target for Advisers to Swift Vets, provides an example of how this kind of interlocking smear operation continues, this time supporting the Social Security privatization efforts of the Bush-affiliated organization USA Next: 

"To help set USA Next's strategy, the group has hired Chris LaCivita, an enthusiastic former marine who advised Swift Vets and P.O.W.'s for Truth, formerly known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, on its media campaign and helped write its potent commercials. He earned more than $30,000 for his work, campaign finance filings show. 

Officials said the group is also seeking to hire Rick Reed, a partner at Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, a firm that was hired by Swift Vets and was paid more than $276,000 to do media production, records show. 

For public relations, USA Next has turned to Creative Response Concepts, a Virginia firm that represented both Swift Vets - the company was paid more than $165,000 - and Regnery Publishing, the publisher of "Unfit for Command," a book about Senator John Kerry's military service whose co-author was John E. O'Neill, one of the primary leaders of Swift Vets."

You might remember this anti-AARP attack ad, which was one result of this effort. Simple, good vs bad, literally using black-and-white: 

Just recently the tactic was used against the "9/11 widows" who came under attack because they had demanded Congressional oversight of the Bush Administration. In return for asking that Congress do its job they were smeared as "enjoying their husbands' deaths." Note how the attack neutralizes their "strength" – the credibility and sympathy they receive from the public because they lost their husbands. This is ongoing, it followed similar attacks by Rush Limbaugh in 2004.

And now there are attempts to do the same with Congressman John Murtha. In a duplication of the Swift Boat attacks, even including similarly-named websites (since moved to bootmurtha.com), some of the very same people involved1 have regrouped to attack Murtha for coming out in opposition to President Bush's Iraq strategy (or lack thereof). Previously, Rep. Jean Schmidt, the same Republican member of Congress who used swiftboating tactics on candidate Paul Hackett, had called Murtha a "coward" on the floor of the House.   

There is some good "fighting back" news on the Murtha front – saved for later. 

And now there is an election coming, with lots of "Fighting Dems" running for office – and the swiftboaters are back in the water. Here are some examples of the most recent crop of swiftboatings from the same scoundrels. Expect more, watch for it so you’re not surprised, and learn how to FIGHT BACK! 

Christopher A. LaCivita is an example of a professional Republican operative working with the swiftboaters. LaCivita served as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth media strategy advisor.  Previously LaCivita served as the political director for the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Executive Director for the Bush-campaign-associated Progress For America organization (founded by 2000 Bush campaign political director Tony Feather). He was an employee of DCI Group when he went to work for the Swiftboat Vets.   

There are conflicting stories about how the group connected with Party professionals like LaCivita. A Richmond Times-Dispatch article (referred to here)2 says:

"Retired Rear Adm. Roy Francis Hoffmann, chairman of the swift-boat group and a virtual neighbor of LaCivita in Chesterfield County ... said CRC (Creative Response Concepts), a public-relations firm in Arlington, put the group in touch with LaCivita. CRC is involved in a number of conservative causes." 

But a Knight Ridder story, Anti-Kerry Veterans' group now political machine with big budget3, reports that major Bush-connected Republican funders enabled the connections, 

"O'Neill said he researched how to form and run [a 527] and got help from Political Compliance Strategies, a suburban Washington organization. Political Compliance Strategies is led by Susan Arceneaux, who was the treasurer of a political action committee associated with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a Texas Republican. [...] Texan Harlan Crow, a trustee of the George Bush Presidential Library Fund, which honors the current president's father, gave $25,000 [note, post-election records show the Crow donations as $100-125,000]. Bob J. Perry, a major GOP donor in Texas and a friend of Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, gave $100,000 on June 30, according to a financial report. [Note, according to John O’Neill Perry ultimately gave a total of $7 million.]

"I'm certain some of the people giving us money are doing it because they think this will help their side of the campaign," O'Neill said. "It's probably fair to say the people more likely to help us are Republicans." 
With money in hand, the group was able to bring on advisers led by Chris LaCivita, a political strategist and an expert in TV ads. LaCivita had worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2002. Last year, he became the executive director of PFA (Progress for America), a Republican-affiliated tax-exempt organization founded by Tony Feather, the political director of Bush's campaign in 2000."

Following the Swift-Boat episode, LaCivita went to work for USA Next, shown above attacking the AARP. 

LaCivita now advises George Allen's Virginia Senate campaign against Jim Webb. And it didn't take long for the swiftboating to begin. But that is also saved for later. 

(And by the way, in that IRS information linked above, was that the same Admiral Roy Hoffman as this one?

"Finance reports filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service show Swift Boat contributed $100,000 on February 8, 2006 to an outfit called the Admiral Roy F. Hoffman Foundation in Fairfax, Virginia.  In 2005, the group donated $10,000 to Hoffmans foundation, $100,000 to the Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation and spent $132,087 on meeting expenses at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.") 

The Republican firm that employed LaCivita, Feather Larson Synhorst-DCI (FLS-DCI), comes out of the tobacco industry and does work for such clients as the NRA, (helping them after Columbine,) Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the National Pork Producers Council (no comment). For others, see Unsavory DCI Clients:

"… DCI seems willing to work with some of the most controversial clients in the world. In 2002, it received $340,000 for eight months of work for the Union of Myanmar (Burma) State Peace & Development Council. The Washington Post’s Al Kamen wrote, "DCI's filings with the Justice Department offer an unusual glimpse into the efforts by the Rangoon junta. DCI lobbyists, featuring Charles Francis, a longtime family friend of the Bushes, ran a sophisticated campaign to improve the regime's image—and steer the conversation away from its rampant human rights abuses and such."

FLS-DCI is currently running phony "Astroturf" campaigns against net neutrality, using fronts like Responsible Electronic Communications Alliance and Hands Off the Internet. 

And DCI isn’t just using the tactics in politics! They're also using it for corporate clients. (If it works, do it again and again…) From this story, HM GETS PR HELP WITH ATTACKS: 

"Houghton Mifflin, publisher of a best-selling children's book critical of the fast-food industry, has brought in Dan Klores Communications to help rebut what it sees as "Swift Boat-Style campaign" attacks on the tome. ... HM sees a "cloud of disinformation" working against the book and orchestrated by the PR firm DCI Group at the behest of the fast-food industry. It has brought in DKC to guide PR for its defense. SVP Ed Tagliaferri heads the work at DKC."

Incidentally, DCI's James Tobin was recently convicted as part of the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming operation. From Talking Points Memo:

"Tobin was the ranking Republican official involved in the New Hampshire phone-jamming operation. An employee of DCI Group at the time of sentencing, he had reported to Chris LaCivita, the NRSC's National Political Director, and to Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), the Senate Majority Leader."

Keith Appell is an employee of Swift Boat media consultants Creative Response Concepts, former Club for Growth spokesperson and former John Ashcroft campaign consultant. Also, according to the Washington Post:

"But Keith Appell, a well-known Republican media adviser in Washington, said same-sex marriage is issue number one now for social conservatives. He has close ties to people like Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Concerned Women for America president Sandy Rios -- the sort of people who can pick up the phone and get Karl Rove at the White House."

Appell was involved with CRC in the Dan Rather Forgeries story. According to the PR Week story, TWO DC FIRMS RAMP UP EFFORTS OVER LATEST PRESIDENTIAL CONTROVERSIES4

"After the CBS story aired, [CNS] called typographical experts, got them on the record that these papers were fishy, and posted a story by 3pm Thursday," said CRC SVP Keith Appell. "We were immediately in contact with Matt Drudge, who loved the story." CRC worked with CNS and the Media Research Center, another media watchdog client, to push the story into the mainstream press." 

So where is Appell now? In May, 2006, Appell joined the John Raese campaign against Senator Robert Byrd. And how long did it take for the swiftboating to begin? Not long: June, 2006, John Raese Approves Dishonest Attack Ad "accusing Senator Robert Byrd of voting against the troops."

Merrie Spaeth, another Republican-connected consultant, was the original Swift Boat media consultant.  How Republican-connected is she? Her husband was George W Bush's Texas running mate in 1994. She had been a Reagan administration press officer, provided debate preparations to George HW Bush, was a volunteer consultant to Ken Starr, advised Wyly brothers Republicans for Clean Air attack on McCain in 2000 – which, incidentally, was funded by some of the same supporters who funded the Swift Boaters.   

Following the Swift Boat episode she wrote the "WORDS MATTER" column distributed by the UPI wire service (owned and operated by the Unification Church, also known as the "Moonies" – who also own The Washington Times, Insight Magazine and World & I Magazine, but that's a topic for a whole other article), and is listed for speaking engagements at Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau, asking $5-10,000 per event. She was also added as a commenter on public broadcasting in June of 2005.

Ms. Spaeth showed up in several news stories posing as a "friend" of Bush Supreme Court nominee Harriet Meirs, naturally without being identified as a long-time Republican PR professional.   

Rick Reed of Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm (SRCP) was hired by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And what have they been up to, you ask? Working with LaCivita at USA Next, for one. From Maine Firm to Help "Dynamite" Opposition to Social Security Privatization:

"The Maine connection comes through Rick Reed, partner at the Maine firm Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm who USA Next is attempting to hire." 

And SRCP is continuing to otherwise stir up trouble. March 2005: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Speak Out Against Misleading Driver’s License TV Ad:

"Recently, the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License, released a television advertisement [created by Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm] regarding the issue of illegal immigrants' access to photo IDs and drivers' licenses. The advertisement incorrectly conflates the issues of immigration and national security while also inflaming fears about Arabs, Muslims, and Arab-Americans. In effect, the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License utilizes anti-terrorism rhetoric to push their anti-immigration agenda."

For 2006 campaign SRCP has signed up with two Ohio Republicans, Craig Foltin and Frank Guglielmi, and sending a media consultant with the Ray Meier campaign in New York. Swiftboating is sure to follow.

The Donateli Group reappeared with the Judicial Confirmation Network (JCN). Additionally, a Kos diary informs us that "JCN has also hired Creative Response Concepts (CRC), the public-relations firm that "advised Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" with, Hughes for America informs us: Ohio's notorious Ken Blackwell acting as spokeman.

Most recently, Donateli is connected with Vets for Freedom, a Bush support group that condemns Rep. John Murtha.

These are examples of some of the better-known Republican swiftboaters, how they work, what they’ve done and what they’re doing now. Meanwhile, of course, "conservative-movement" outlets like Media Research Center's Cybercast News Service and other echo outfits like NewsMax, Washington Times and WorldNetDaily will be ready to spread the poison as it's produced. 

So how DO we fight back? They'll keep doing this as long as it works. But maybe Jim Webb is showing us one way to make it stop working. 

This is what was saved for later. These are examples of fighting back! With Chris LaCivita involved in Virginia’s George Allen Senate campaign, it didn't take long before the swiftboating began, with the campaign attacking Jim Webb’s patriotism. But the Webb campaign was ready. From Webb Rips into Allen over flag:

"George Felix Allen Jr. and his bush-league lapdog, Dick Wadhams, have not earned the right to challenge Jim Webb's position on free speech and flag burning," Webb spokesman Steve Jarding said in a press release. "Jim Webb served and fought for our flag and what it stands for, while George Felix Allen Jr. chose to cut and run. 
"When he and his disrespectful campaign puppets attack Jim Webb, they are attacking every man and woman who served. Their comments are nothing more than weak-kneed attacks by cowards." 
Webb was a Marine in Vietnam, serving as a rifle-platoon leader and company commander. He received the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts, Jarding noted. 

… "This is straight out of the Republican playbook ... taking a candidate's strength and trying to turn it into a weakness," Denny Todd said. "It's what Chris LaCivita did with Swift Boats against John Kerry." 
LaCivita helped orchestrate the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attacks during the 2004 Bush campaign. He now works for Allen. 
"It's been said that Democrats aren't willing to fight back in campaigns," Denny Todd said. "Well, we're willing. We're not letting them get away with it." 

… "While Jim Webb and others of George Felix Allen Jr.'s generation were fighting for our freedoms and for our symbols of freedom in Vietnam, George Felix Allen Jr. was playing cowboy at a dude ranch in Nevada," Jarding said. "People who live in glass dude ranches should not question the patriotism of real soldiers who fought and bled for this country on a real battlefield."

[. . .] Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington, agreed with Sabato. "It's said the best defense is a good offense and it's clear Webb isn't going to be bullied like John Kerry was two years ago," Farnsworth said." 

Now THAT is powerful. As discussed earlier, the swiftboating tactic is based on a strong offense, surprise, extreme audacity and a dependence on the media repeating the charges. With a very strong, fighting response, Jim Webb has found one answer. Webb was ready to fight back with a strategy in place. He fought back immediately with a strong counter-punch. He exposed the plot, describing the "playbook" strategy and naming the players. He exposed the weaknesses the Allen campaign was trying to distract people from. And he gave the media a simple, good vs. evil storyline about the swiftboating playbook and Democrats fighting back.

And, as Taylor Marsh wrote just a few days ago in The Swiftboating of John Murtha at Patriot Project, there is also an ongoing attempt to swiftboat Representative John Murtha for questioning the wisdom of President Bush's Iraq policies. But bloggers and others fought back, exposing the tactic and exposing that so many of the same people and organizations were involved. As discussed above, the Republicans desperately need distractions and misdirections to turn the public's and media’s eyes away from their own foreign policy and national security weaknesses. But this time we have been getting ready, and information about the swiftboaters is available. Because we have started fighting back and exposing the swiftboaters, the stealth and surprise of the tactic are blunted. As the bloggers and organizations like Patriot Project continue their work, exposing and fighting back, maybe – just maybe – we can beat this.

Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson is the lead blogger at Seeing the Forest and a Fellow at the Commonweal Institute, where he studies the conservative movement’s network of foundations and think tanks and the extent of their influence on American society.

[1] Richmond-Times Dispatch on LaCivita introduction to SBVFT available on Nexis, but is referred to here: http://www.augustafreepress.com/stories/storyReader$25489

[2] Knight Ridder, Sept 12, 2004, at http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1:121841720/Anti-Kerry+Veterans+group+now+political+machine+with+big+budget.html?refid=SEO

[3] DCI using swiftboating for a corporate client: HM GETS PR HELP WITH ATTACKS, Dyer’s PR Daily, June 2, 2006, members only: http://www.odwyepr.com/members/0602mifflin.htm.  Available on Nexis.

[4] PRWeek: can be seen at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1219349/posts

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 11, 2006

Murder Supreme Court Justices?

Here we go.

Prominent right-wing blogger today calls for the murder of Supreme Court Justices - the Right fails to condemn it. Go read.

It's based on the Right's call to murder journalists. This has been around a while.

Seriously, watch your backs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 9, 2006

Attack Politics and Playing Victim

Who wrote about,

“providing a shield from attack” by “working away from the negative image your opponent wants to pin on you. If you know you are going to be attacked as morally imperious, it is a good idea to lead with a position that is inclusive and tolerant.” … “Symbols are so powerful that if you manipulate them cleverly … you can even launch mean-spirited attacks on your opponents and pretend to be compassionate while doing it.

… positioning [yourself] as victims gives … a license to attack. … But remember this: using fear as a weapon can be dangerous. Enemies inspire fear, friends do not. … [so let] surrogates do the dirty work. When and how to use fear is a political art. If you are a white male … be careful when you go on the offensive, and be sure to surround yourself with allies who are neither white nor male.”

The first paragraph sounds a LOT like the STF Rule, no?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 7, 2006

Daily Occurrence Now

Half of America insulted, called traitors, a daily occurrence now in the corporate media...

Bob Geiger, The "Liberal Media" on MSNBC,

And on it went, including their own version of analysis on Osama bin Laden in which Carlson opined that "every American will rejoice when that guy suffers and goes to hell" only to have Scarborough sneer "except for the Democratic party."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 6, 2006

How the Press Treats Americans Who Disagree With Bush


But I can't. It only lets you watch if you are using Microsoft's Internet Explorer. I use FireFox. Great. Corporate power used to force me to use a product.

So I powered up Internet Explorer, and this is really worth watching, as much to see how the corporate press treats Americans who disagree with Bush, as anything else. "Fringes, extremist" etc...

You hear about concentration of media into a few corporate hands -- watch this video to see what that means. It's similar to what happens when you allow an operating system to become a monopoly.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 5, 2006

More On Jewish Family Forced to Flee

Monday, in Prayer In Schools I echoed a story about a Jewish family forced to flee a Delaware school district.

The blogosphere is starting to pick this up. This Kos diary has a good summary of some of the activity. Crooks and Liars is on it. Jesus' General, Dispatches from Mike thethe Culture Wars, Talk to Action (and here), Bartholomew's notes on religion, Lawyers Guns and Money, The Green Knight, Mike the Mad Biologist, Pharyngula, Angry Astronomer, The Republic of T.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 2, 2006

Why Swift-Boating Works

From an article I came across: Variety.com - 'Swift-boat' pros in demand in D.C.,

Modern communication isn't about truth, it's about a resonant narrative," says Eric Dezenhall, a former Reagan administration aide and now president of his own crisis management firm. "The myth of PR is that you will educate and inform people. No. The public wants to be told in a story who to like and who to hate."

Already suspected by blue-collar America as an elite and effete New Englander, Kerry -- one of the handful of Ivy Leaguers who volunteered to go to Vietnam -- was red meat for the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ad that cast him as a Yale snot who'd come back from Vietnam to trash his largely working-class troops.

If that sounds audacious, it's because, as Dezenhall says, "We're living in an age of audacity," another fact GOP spinmeisters understand and exploit superbly.

"George Bush communicates in terms of audacity," Dezenhall says. Bush's response to questions about the wiretapping was to say that he's just trying to catch terrorists. Bold motivation, easily understood.

"Democrats communicate in terms of complexity," Dezenhall says, referring to their windy explications of a need to pursue enemies within the rule of law as spelled out in various court ... (snorrrrrrrrrrre).

Hence the lack of public outrage against a possible blatant violation of the Constitution, and the reason why Democrats, yet again, look like feckless pedants on national security.

Resonant narrative in an age of audacity. Ann Coulter is not an accident.

Update -

"We live in the world of the Story, not the world of the truth. Conservatives get that. Liberals are still trying to learn it."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 26, 2006

Bush Sending Signals By Endorsing Coulter

United States Attorney General Gonzales is on the Rush Limbaugh Show as I write this. Coming up soon, Ann Coulter.

I know it's too much to expect of this crowd that they would denounce Coulter for saying Representative Murtha should be murdered for disagreeing with Bush's Iraq policy, or for saying that widows of the 9/11 attack enjoyed their husbands' deaths. But appearing on the Limbaugh show with Coulter is an endorsement.

Previously, the Vice President appeared on a platform with Coulter. This was before these latest remarks, but after she called for the murder of New York Times employees.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:20 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 22, 2006

Coulter or Hitler?

I saw that Fox had Ann Coulter on today. Then i a ocmment I was introduced to the Hitler vs. Coulter Quiz.

Go see how any you get right. I got 8 of 14 correct.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:11 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 20, 2006

Now Republicans Are FOR Adultry?

High Infidelity: What if three admitted adulterers run for president and no one cares?,

Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.

Until relatively recently, a self-confessed adulterer had never sought the presidency.

[. . .] Despite the scandalous details, whether the press will air them is still an open question. When it comes to personal morality, liberal commentators have long argued that the press has one standard for Democrats and another for Republicans (and another one entirely for the Clintons). It's possible that the mainstream media will fail to apply the same scrutiny to the known transgressions of Gingrich, Giuliani and McCain as the Times did to rumors about Hillary Clinton's husband.

SO, will the press give Republicans the same treatment they give Democrats? Did Bush get the same treatment Clintodid? HA!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 17, 2006

Signals Sent

Newspaper Clients, and Syndicate, Stick With Coulter,

Ann Coulter hasn't lost any of her 100-plus newspaper clients, or the support of her syndicate, Universal Press Syndicate, despite her nasty remarks in her new book about 9/11 widows and her comment in an online interview implying that, perhaps, U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) should be "fragged."

A Universal spokesman said there were no discussions going on there about dropping the columnist.

[. . .] Editors, she pointed out, have chosen not to run certain "Doonesbury" or "Boondocks" cartoons, which come from the liberal side of the spectrum. Asked if any paper had ever decided not to run a conservative column or cartoon, she said, "If it's happened, we don't know about it."

[. . .] The Universal columnist has also "joked" about killing other people, including Arabs, Muslims, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and suggested that blowing up The New York Times building might be a good idea, especially if the reporters and editors were still inside.

Even though parts of her recent book were plagiarized. And she continues to appear on network television. The very media people she talks about killing put her in front of a national audeince!

A while back, in the post Juan Cole denied position at Yale for criticizing Bush, Ashleigh Banfield fired from MSNBC for criticizing one-sided media coverage, I wrote,

Suppose you want a career in media, want to rise up, want to buy (or keep) a house and car, have health insurance etc., how does your brain digest this news?
Not just media, but people understand that MANY careers at this point depend on not letting on that you oppose the Republican machine. The signals are sent.

Watch your backs.

Update - I neglected to point out that NBC, the network that fired Ashleigh Banfield for criticizing media one-sidedness, refuses to say they will keep Coulter off the air, even after she called for killing a US Congressman, and members of the media.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:06 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 16, 2006

Coulter Everywhere -- Informed Public Nowhere

After listing just some of the disgusting things Ann Coulter has contributed to the national discourse, Atrios writes,

There's nothing these people can say which will stop the mainstream media from putting them on.
I would like to add to this that "our side" CAN'T say ANYTHING that is able to reach the public.

I was on a conference call with Democratic Minority Leader Pelosi yesterday, during which she outlined some of the things she has been doing and saying. The thing is, there is almost not way you would know what "the Democrats" have been saying if you don't hear it from her directly, or read lots and lots of blogs. You don't hear about it on TV. It is occasionally in the newspapers -- but no one reads newspapers anymore.

America's "marketplace of ideas" is not a marketplace at all, it is a rigged system. It is rigged entirely in favor of the corporate viewpoint. When was the last time you head or saw someone discussing the benefits of joining a union, or perhaps an open discussion of what it would mean to nationalize the oil companies? What ARE the merits for, and arguments against, such an idea anyway?

Did you just snort coffee out of your nose when I wrote "nationalize the oil companies?" Is the very IDEA of someone saying such a thing so far beyond imagination? More to MY point - is that somehow more far-out of an idea than Ann Coulter being invited on national TV over and over again to say the things she says? But we're USED TO that sort of thing on TV - we expect it - but we no longer expect rational discussion of how we as a democratic society should manage our commonly-owned resources.

Anyway, what I am trying to get at is that there are signals that are sent out to a society about what is and is not acceptable public discourse. Putting Ann Coulter on TV is a signal from which the public infers what can and can not be considered. Dick Cheney appearing on stage with Ann Coulter is a signal. President Bush refusing to meet with the Black Caucus or NAACP is a signal. NOT ALLOWING rational discussion of unions and allocation of public resources is a signal. More on this later.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:03 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 7, 2006

Juan Cole Denied Position At Yale For Criticizing Bush Policies

Remember when MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield spoke out against the way the media was covering Iraq. Then, later WorldNetDaily: NBC News dumps Ashleigh Banfield. The reason the far-rght WorldNetDaily trumpets it is because they want the point driven home - -you criticize == you lose your job. MSNBC caved to the far-right. Suppose you want a career in media, want to rise up, want to buy (or keep) a house and car, have health insurance etc., how does your brain digest this news?

And today, Middle East Wars Flare Up At Yale: Controversial academic shot down for appointment; was campaign against him politically motivated?

When Cole’s potential hiring became publicly known, several of his detractors, including the American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin and Washington Times columnist Joel Mowbray, took various steps to protest the decision. They wrote op-ed pieces in various publications and Mowbray went as far as to send a letter to a dozen of Yale’s major donors, many of whom are Jewish, urging them to call the university and protest Cole’s hiring.

... “The articles published in the Yale Standard, the New York Sun, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, and the Washington Times, as part of what was clearly an orchestrated campaign, contained made-up quotes, inaccuracies, and false charges,” he said.

Yale caved to the far-right. Suppose you want a career in academia, want to rise up, want to buy (or keep) a house and car, have health insurance etc., how does your brain digest this news?

We remember McCarthyism as a dark period because people were smeared and denied jobs because of thier political beliefs.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 23, 2006

ABC's Note Says Democrats Want America To Lose In Iraq

Remember the storm back when MSNBC's Chris Matthews compared Americans who are concerned about the war in Iraq to Osama bin Laden?

The narrative continues. ABC News: The Note today writes,

As is always the case with the out-of-power party, Democrats have to root root root for bad news. And no bad news source is better for the Democrats' election prospects than the bad news from Iraq.
That's right, they're repeating the narrative that Democrats are traitors who want America to lose the "war on terror."

Eric Boehlert's GREAT new book, Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush has an entire chapter dedicated to ABC's The Note, detailing not just its overwhelming use of Republicans narrative, but also it's enormous influence over the rest of the media.

At The Grit, Pater Daou writes,

The Note pushes it over the edge with what should be a completely unacceptable comment about Dems and Iraq. And why does it matter what some insider political site says? Because this is emblematic of the ease with which the media establishment slanders Democrats. This kind of dirt infects political coverage and filters to the general public.
(link through Atrios)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

April 27, 2006

The McCarthy CIA Firing

For some reason everyone thinks CIA employee Mary McCarthy leaked information about secret prisons to the press. Right-wngers are calling it treason. Others are calling here a hero.

But both McCarthy AND THE CIA say she didn't leak that to the press.


For the first few days after the action was announced, the agency and the White House let stand the impression that McCarthy had been a source for the stories about secret U.S. detention centers in Europe that won a Pulitzer Prize for The Washington Post's Dana Priest. But when McCarthy's lawyer said she had no part in that transaction, CIA officials confirmed that was the case — leaving it unclear exactly what she had done to bring down the punishment. [emphasis added]

See also Newsweek, Secrets of the CIA - A former colleague says the fired Mary McCarthy ‘categorically denies’ being the source of the leak on agency renditions.

A former CIA officer who was sacked last week after allegedly confessing to leaking secrets has denied she was the source of a controversial Washington Post story about alleged CIA secret detention operations in Eastern Europe, a friend of the operative told NEWSWEEK.

he fired official, Mary O. McCarthy, “categorically denies being the source of the leak,” one of McCarthy’s friends and former colleagues, Rand Beers, said Monday after speaking to McCarthy. Beers said he could not elaborate on this denial and McCarthy herself did not respond to a request for comment left by NEWSWEEK on her home answering machine. A national-security adviser to Democratic Party candidate John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign, Beers worked as the head of intelligence programs on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff and later served as a top deputy on counterterrorism for President Bush in 2002 and 2003. McCarthy, a career CIA analyst, initially worked as a deputy to Beers on the NSC and later took over Beer’s role as the Clinton NSC’s top intelligence expert.

McCarthy's lawyer, Ty Cobb, told NEWSWEEK this afternoon that contrary to public statements by the CIA late last week, McCarthy never confessed to agency interrogators that she had divulged classified information and "didn't even have access to the information" in The Washington Post story in question.

... A counterterrorism official acknowledged to NEWSWEEK today that in firing McCarthy, the CIA was not necessarily accusing her of being the principal, original, or sole leaker of any particular story. Intelligence officials privately acknowledge that key news stories about secret agency prison and “rendition” operations have been based, at least in part, upon information available from unclassified sources.

And US: Fired officer denies being source over secret jails,
The CIA officer fired last week for unauthorised contacts with the media denied allegations that she was the source that led to The Washington Post's award-winning story on secret CIA detention centres, says a lawyer and a friend.

"She did not leak any classified information, and she did not have access to the information apparently attributed to her by some government officials," said Washington lawyer Ty Cobb, representing veteran CIA analyst Mary McCarthy.
... A friend of Ms McCarthy also asserted she was not the Post's source. "She was not the source for that story," said Rand Beers,

Mr Beers -- who headed intelligence programmes at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration -- said Ms McCarthy authorised him to make a brief statement.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos