July 10, 2012

Republicans Attacking Obama Because Republicans Blocked "Buy American" In Stimulus

Sometimes it is painful to live in America and to also have a memory...

In the news, Republicans are running ads attacking Obama for "sending taxpayer dollars" out of the country in the stimulus... Republicans level outsourcing accusations against Obama,

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday launched a new website charging that Obama “sent taxpayer dollars” to build solar panels in Mexico, windmills in Denmark and batteries in South Korea. The accusation involves money from the 2009 stimulus package that went to foreign-owned companies or to companies relying on foreign suppliers.

And GOP looks to paint Obama as outsourcer of stimulus dollars,

At an event in Iowa on Tuesday, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus will debut a new website — ObamanomicsOutsourced.com — that features companies that received stimulus dollars and opened factories in foreign countries. Among the examples: a solar panel factory in Mexico, windmills in Denmark and a battery manufacturer in South Korea.

... “President Obama has promised over and over that he would focus on creating ‘jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced,’ but his record speaks otherwise,” said Priebus in a statement. “Through his ‘stimulus’ program, billions of dollars from hardworking taxpayers were sent overseas.

But here is what I remember about this:

Top Republican: Scrap 'buy American' stimulus clause.


Debate over 'buy American' in stimulus,

A "Buy American" provision being debated as part of the Senate's nearly $900 billion economic stimulus package - requiring that infrastructure projects use U.S.-made materials and equipment - is sparking talk of a trade war and is forcing President Obama to choose whether to defend domestic industries or champion free trade.

The top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Monday that the measure should be stripped from the bill, saying it could endanger more U.S. jobs than it protects.

"I don't think we ought to use a measure that is supposed to be timely, temporary and targeted to set off trade wars when the entire world is experiencing a downturn in the economy," McConnell said. "It's a bad idea to put it in a bill like this, which is supposed to be about jump-starting the economy."

Remember the Seeing the Forest rule: "When right-wingers are accusing others of something it is usually a cover for something THEY are doing."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:27 PM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

July 8, 2012

A Clue To What's Coming

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: "When right-wingers are accusing others of something it is usually a cover for something THEY are doing."

So here is a clue to what's coming from the billion-dollar Republican campaign: the biggest smear and lie campaign ever "in US history.

RNC’s Reince Priebus Tears Into Obama: ‘Most Divisive, Nasty, Negative Campaigner’ In U.S. History | Mediaite

“This president has already shown that he’s not who he said he was. He claimed he was going to bring everyone together, he was going to be this uniter. He’s been the most divisive, nasty, negative campaigner this country’s ever seen without running any positive ads.”

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

January 22, 2010

Hey, It's Copyrighted -- The STF Rule!

From the post, Balloon Juice サ Blog Archive サ There Is Your Opening, President Obama,

And, as a side note, this merely confirms what we already know- whenever the Republicans accuse someone of something, they are already doing it. Class warfare? Has he watched the GOP the last twenty years?

Now just a minute, that's copyrighted. And trademarked. And patented. And placed in a lockbox. It's called the Seeing the Forest Rule. (Click and scroll down...)
The old "Seeing the Forest Rule" is "When right-wingers are accusing others of something it is usually a cover for something THEY are doing."

You'll be getting a letter from my lawyers.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:57 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

August 11, 2009

"Death Panels" - How Rovian

The old "Seeing the Forest Rule" is "When right-wingers are accusing others of something it is usually a cover for something THEY are doing." It is also very Carl Rovian, using the Sun Tzu tactic of attacking the enemy's greatest strength in ways that turn it into a weakness.

So if you look at health care reform, one of the biggest complaints people have -- and therefore one of reform's biggest strengths -- is that the insurance companies deny coverage if treatment is expensive: if the treatment might get in the way of the CEO's bonus the patient can just die.

So guess what, now they are saying that health care reform means that if treatment is expensive you can just die. This is the basis of the "Death Panel" myth.

I hope people can figure out what is happening here.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:15 AM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

April 13, 2009

Teabagger Parties - Remember The Seeing the Forest Rule

The Seeing the Forest Rule: When right-wingers are accusing others of something it is usually a cover for something THEY are doing. Today's variation is when they claim they are doing the honest, innocent thing it usually means they doing are the dishonest, conniving thing. The promoters of the upcoming anti-Obama "tea parties" claim that they are "grassroots" but really they are one more corporate-funded, lobbyist-organized Republican bait-and-switch operation, tricking their supporters into supporting even more corporate tax cuts and tax cuts for the rich.

Here is what I am talking about. The NY Post is owned by the same company as FOX News. SO take a look at this: TEA PARTIES: REAL GRASSROOTS - New York Post,

...these Tea Party protests aren't the same old rituals with the same old marchers.

These aren't the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs; most have never attended a protest march before. They represent a kind of energy that our politics hasn't seen lately, and an influx of new activists.
[. . .] Instead of the "astroturf" that has marked the ACORN-organized AIG protests, this movement is real grassroots. So if you've had enough, consider visiting a Tea Party protest in your area -- there's bound to be one.

It's your chance to be part of an authentic popular protest movement, one that just might save America from the greed and ineptitude of the folks who have been running it into the ground.

There are numerous posts and articles like this one, all claiming this is a "spontaneous" and "grassroots" event. In fact, as Jane at Firedoglake points out, the tea parties are organized, funded and promoted by a big lobbyist organization. Think Progress also writes about this and Media Matters writes about how these anti-Obama events are receiving exhaustive on-the-air promotion from FOX News, to the point of calling them "FNC Tea Parties." (So does Think Progress.)

Also be sure to read Oliver Willis, The Seminal, Crooks & Liars, Washington Monthly, Newshounds and DownWithTyranny writes about the calls to violence associated with the tea parties.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:48 PM | Comments (1) | Link Cosmos

November 2, 2008

Justice Dept Politicization - The STF Rule

The Seeing the Forest Rule (click and scroll down for examples): when Republicans accuse it is a cover story for something THEY are doing.

Take a look at this nonsense: The Columbus Dispatch : Boehner attacks Justice Department over ballots; House GOP leader says cabinet department employs Obama supporters,

The highest-ranking Republican in the House is accusing the Republican-led U.S. Justice Department of playing politics when it comes to investigating voting-fraud allegations and monitoring balloting in Ohio.

. . . Boehner said today that the agency has been infiltrated by supporters of Democrat Barack Obama.

So here we are in the which year of a special prosecutor investigating the politicization of the Justice Department by the Republicans, where they were using the department as an arm of the Republican Party. And Boehner is accusing the department of being "infiltrated" by Obama supporters. Wow.

OK, this is the HOUSE MINORITY LEADER, one of the top positions in our government.

The country is facing serious problems that we have to solve. In fact we are facing this BECAUSE of people like this. We need to replace these people with competent people who are ready to approach the problems we face.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | Link Cosmos

October 12, 2008

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

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 7, 2008

Palin's Relationship With America-Haters

So McCain and Palin want to accuse Obama "associating with terrorists."

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans accuse, it usually means they're doing whatever it is they are accusing others of.

Maybe we ought to look at Palin's associations:

Posted by Dave Johnson at 10:56 AM | 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

September 22, 2008

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: when a Republican is accusing it usually means it is something the Republican has been doing.

HERE is why the McCain campaign is falsely accusing Obama of somehow being involved with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Loan Titans Paid McCain Adviser Nearly $2 Million,

Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say.

. . . “The value that he brought to the relationship was the closeness to Senator McCain and the possibility that Senator McCain was going to run for president again,” said Robert McCarson, a former spokesman for Fannie Mae, who said that while he worked there from 2000 to 2002, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together paid Mr. Davis’s firm $35,000 a month. Mr. Davis “didn’t really do anything,” Mr. McCarson, a Democrat, said.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:10 AM | Comments (2) | 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

October 29, 2007

Why Is Mitt Romney Taking Mooney Money?

A friend's elderly mother received a scam letter, and I started looking into it. The trail led to a discovery that the Romney campaign is receiving Moonie money.

The scam letter is from the American Federation of Senior Citizens (AFSC). Tracing them down, it turns out it is a scam run by the Moonies.

The head of AFSC is Gary Jarmin. Jarmin is a member of the secretive, right-wing Council for National Policy. He words (or worked) as Government Liason of the Washington Times, a Moonie outfit. He's also the guy who booked the room in the Senate Office Building which Moon was crowned Messiah, if you remember that event.

The address of ASFC, 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, according to Raw Story, is also the address of a number of other Moonie outfits,

Christian Voice 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-1421

Jar-Mon Consultants (Global Dominion Communications Inc.) 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-4904

US Cuba Foundation 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-4904

American Christian Cause 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 715-6523 (703) 548-1840

Pacific Asia Foundation 208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 548-4906

AFSC uses a PR firm, Global Dominion Communications, also used by Christian Voice.

So I started looking into these groups a bit, and guess what I found?

More orgs at 208 N. Patrick:
Americans for Faith and Freedom
The Seniors Center

A list of contributions to the Romney campaign shows Global Communications giving the max - $2300.

More research discovers that the Romney website proudly announces that Gary Jarmin is a "Romney For President National Faith And Values Steering Committee Vice-Chair". Jarmin is listed there as President of the American Service Council.

The Christian Voice website declares, "Christian Voice is a program of American Service Council, Inc." (208 North Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314) and the ASC website lists:
Special Programs of ASC

* Americans for Faith and Freedom
* The Seniors Center
* Citizen's Voter Drive
* National Council of Survivors
* Christian Voice

Now, I don't have time to trace this further -- I haven't even traced the donations of these other Moonie fronts -- but the way the Moonie organization works I bet with just a little work we'd find many, many more connections between the Romney (and other Republican candidates) organization and the Moonies. If you are reading this and have some time, see what you find and let us know in the comments here. Is Romney taking more Moonie money? Is he working with other Moonie fronts? Are the other Republican candidates?

Here's why: The right wants to imply something sinister out of Hillary Clinton accepting donations from people with Asian names. Maybe they're just following the STF Rule.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 6, 2007

Actually... The STF Rule

This post gets is a bit wrong:

OK, repeat after me: what is the first rule of White House spin? If they are accusing you of doing it, it doesn’t mean you are doing it, it means they are doing it.
Actually that has a name. It's called the Seeing the Forest Rule, or The STF Rule. (Also, click the STF Rule archives in the right column.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 5:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

December 27, 2006

Ford's Mistake

Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, which prevented a full criminal investigation and trial. He felt it would help to heal the country, which had been through assassinations, riots and the divisive Vietnam war. But the pardon had the unintended consequence of creating an impression that those in the highest office really aren't accountable to the public if their actions violate the law.

Four years later the Reagan administration picked up right where Nixon's had left off, and got caught. Other select insiders made the decision not to pursue Reagan.

As chair of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, Hamilton chose not to investigate President Ronald Reagan or President George H. W. Bush, stating that he did not think it would be "good for the country" to put the public through another impeachment trial.
At a time when thousands were being sent away for years for smoking a joint or doing a line, the country was learning that things really are different for those at the very top.

Bush1 then pardoned everyone involved, especially those being pressured by Lawrence Walsh to testify against him for his own possibly criminal part in it. The public got the message clearly that time.

So by the time Clinton took office the public was ready to believe that all of the country's leaders are corrupt and pay no price for it. The conservatives had an opening to demand that a President finally be held to account. It's the old Seeing the Forest Rule: Republicans accuse others of what they are in fact doing themselves. They accused Clinton of everything, but the investigations found nothing. They impeached him anyway. Now the public understood just who the rules were for and not for. After what Nixon, Reagan and Bush1 had gotten away with, Clinton didn't even have to break any rules, yet he was impeached.

And so here we are. Bush2 can do anything with impunity - and says so with a smirk. His cronies loot, lie and steal. The public and especially the Washington insider class are conditioned to accept that this is the way things are done. All partly tracable back to Ford's subversion of accountability. A mistake. A big one.

Let's learn from Ford's mistake. HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE! Demand that the actions of those in power in the last six years are investigated and any crimes discovered are punished to the fullest extent of the law. Let's set the country and democracy back on course.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 7, 2006

Today's Humor Column

Remember the Seeing the Forest Rule - when Republicans accuse, it usually means it's something they are doing.

Townhall.com::The new voter fraud

There is no real question that Democrats are more skilled at politics than the Republicans are. Democrats are more articulate, not to say glib, and they know how to stick together.

You don't see individual Democrats in the Senate going off to do their own thing in concert with the opposition and against the interest of their own party, as Senator John McCain has done with so-called "campaign finance reform" co-sponsored with ultra-liberal Senator Russ Feingold, and as he attempted to do on immigration with liberal icon Ted Kennedy.

[. . .] Democrats have learned to avoid admitting to being liberals and this year are running a number of moderate candidates.

If these new moderate candidates are elected and give the Democrats control of Congress, that control will be exercised by senior Democrats who will hold leadership positions -- and all of them are liberal extremists, whether people like Nancy Pelosi in the House or Ted Kennedy and John Kerry in the Senate.

Getting people to vote for moderates, in order to put extremists in power, may be the newest and biggest voter fraud.

What can I add to that?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:42 AM | Comments (0) | 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

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.

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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 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 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 18, 2006

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

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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?

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Purging Moderates

Shorter Digby: The Republicans have been and are finalizing a purge of their moderates. Therefore the media narrative is that the Democrats are purging their moderates.

The STF Rule:

Remember the Seeing the Forest rule: when you see a Republican accusing others of something, it means they are probably doing that thing.

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April 14, 2006

How Republicans Solve a Problem - Just Lie

The Republicans passed a law making it a felony to be an undocumented immigrant. (Obviously targeted at Mexicans, not Canadians or Europeans, talking about how "they" will do certain jobs that "we" won't...)

Hispanics - incuding American citizens - react to the racist insult with mass demonstrations. They are obviously angry enough to vote in large numbers.

How do the Republicans solve the huge problem they created for themselves? Very simple, do what Republicans always do -- just lie. Republicans are running Spanish-language ads saying that this was a Democratic bill, passed by Democrats. Also this from AP.

Problem solved.

The Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans accuse, it means they are doing what they are accusing of.

Update - More here.

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January 21, 2006

Al Queda Comparisons

So Repubicans want to make comparisons with Al Queda? And what is the Seeing the Forest Rule? When Republicans accuse...

Daily Kos: So You Want to Play Hardball Eh?,

They are vehemently against abortion, they resist progressive woman's rights. They view homosexuality as a crime against nature and God, some advocate the death penalty as an option for it. Separation of Church and State is despised by these folks; they insist the nation is founded on the principles of their religion, and they work hard to bring that de facto theocracy about. They deplore strong language, gay characters, and sexual content on TV and in the media. And they ignore the Geneva Convention when it suits their ideological purposes, including provisions against torture or due process.

They're anti-stem cell research, pro-creationism, and generally distrustful of science. These folks are easily whipped into a state of frenzy with ideological manipulation to the point where they will commit violence, or at least tacitly endorse that violence is acceptable, if it advances their Divine agenda. They then take great pains to justify that violence, including unprovoked attack of civilian areas, under certain conditions, with convoluted theological gymnastics. They are almost to the man pro-death penalty ... Am I railing against the religious right again?

Could be, but my target here is actually Al Qaeda and related fundamentalist Wahhabism; the source of terrorism, the scourge of our planet, the Axis of Evil.

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November 14, 2005

Who Is "Rewriting?"

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans Accuse, it usually means they're doing whatever they're accusing of. Think about this every time you hear about Bush says critics 'rewriting history' over Iraq war.

Bush, pointing figner

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November 6, 2005

Deception Is Reality

Or "How I Discovered Karl Rove's Brilliant Political Strategy At The Spy Museum." Those of you who are familiar with The Spy Museum in Washington D.C., know that there are two basic principles for an international spy:

(1.) Deception is reality.

(2.) Deny everything.

I think that about sums it up. Last week the L.A. Times published a perfect example of this strategy that illustrates how deeply it has infiltrated the Reich Wing Noise Machine. Plamegate's Real Liar: SCOOTER" LIBBY'S indictment was not exactly good news for the White House, but it could have been a lot worse. Feverish speculation had been building that Karl Rove would soon be "frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs," as Valerie Plame's bombastic hubby, Joe Wilson, had hoped. Or even that Dick Cheney would have to resign.

Before I go any further, I would like to point out that on The Daily Show last week, Jon Stewart played clips of David Brooks, Bill Kristol and four other neo-con commentators all saying verbatim, "There was no conspiracy." That is just one example of how deeply these two lessons have been absorbed by the Reich Wing Borg Collective. I'm sure they would all deny that there is a conspiracy to deny the conspiracy. There was no memo. They just happened to all be on the same wavelength.

Like all good neo-cons, Max Boot wears deception like a second skin. Let's take a belated look at Max's analysis of Fitgerald's investigation.

But with his investigation all but over, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has found no criminal conspiracy and no violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it a crime in some circumstances to disclose the names of undercover CIA operatives. Among other problems, Plame doesn't seem to fit the act's definition of a "covert agent" — someone who "has within the last five years served outside the United States." By 2003, Plame had apparently been working in Langley, Va., for at least six years, which means that, mystery of mysteries, the vice president's chief of staff was indicted for covering up something that wasn't a crime.

Before he is even half way through the first sentence Boot tells his first lie. Fitzgerald's investigation is far from being all over. Rove and Cheney are not even close to being off the hook commiting treason. The problem with Boot's claim that Plame was not a covert agent is that it begs the question, "Then why did the CIA refer a criminal complaint to the Justice Department?" Perhaps the CIA is confused about whether of not Valerie Plame was a covert agent. Espionage is so confusing. Maybe the CIA doesn't get it.

Mystery of mysteries! Scooter Libbey "was indicted for covering up something that wasn't a crime!" Tony Snow made the very same claim on the Bill Maher show, i.e. "Scooter was basically indicted for talking to reporters." Actually, Scooter Libbey was indicted on exactly the same grounds as Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton. Somebody should tell Fitzgerald that the rule of law does not apply to neo-cons. When neo-cons lie under oath they are just playing hardball politics.

Here comes the core deception that the neo-cons are attempting to pass off as reality:

Making the best of a weak hand, Democrats argued that the case was not about petty-ante perjury but, as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid put it, "about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president." The problem here is that the one undisputed liar in this whole sordid affair doesn't work for the administration. In his attempts to turn his wife into an antiwar martyr, Joseph C. Wilson IV has retailed more whoppers than Burger King.

So even though Joe Wilson was right and Bush has admitted that his infamous sixteen words should not have been included in his SOTU address, Joe Wilson was wrong and Bush and the neo-cons were right. I guess we must have found WMD in Iraq after all.

For the record, eriposte has put together an incredibly in depth analysis of WMD intelligence under the heading Treasongate. One of his articles deals directly with False Neo-con Claims Against Joe Wilson.

With that in mind, let's continue to examine Max Boot's fairy tale version of events:

The least consequential of these fibs was his denial that it was his wife who got him sent to Niger in February 2002 to check out claims that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later stated, in a bipartisan report, that evidence indicated it was Mrs. Wilson who "had suggested his name for the trip." By leaking this fact to the news media, Libby and other White House officials were merely setting the record straight — not, as Wilson would have it, punishing his Mata Hari wife.
(emphasis added)

A key characteristic of the neo-con dialectic is that they have absolutely no shame about telling brazen lies and sliming their political opponents. Has Valerie Plame done anything to deserve being described as Mata Hari?

Since I'm assuming that all of our Seeing the Forest readers have not been able to read all of eriposte's articles about this whole sorry episode, let me help out a little bit. Read eriposte's last article about the SSCI Report. That would be Part 3A-6. Allow me to summarize. The SSCI Report was a whitewash, which is why Sen. Roberts and the entire Republican Senate Caucus is trying to stall phase II, about manipulation of WMD intelligence.

On the outside chance that there are a tiny minority of Seeing the Forest readers who are skeptical that government officials would lie to cover their political ass, I should also point out that eriposte has informed us of what most Brits already know. Surprise, surprise! The Butler Report was a whitewash. That dispenses with practically Boot's entire editorial smear of Joe Wilson and his wife.

Let's move ahead a little bit to a little known report called The Robb-Silverman Report:

This is not an isolated example. Pretty much all of the claims that the administration doctored evidence about Iraq have been euthanized, not only by the Senate committee but also by the equally bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission.

Now, again courtesy of eriposte, let's take a look at one direct excerpt from The Robb-Silverman Report:

3. Senate and House Intelligence Committees knew that uranium from Africa claim was baseless, before Joseph Wilson's op-ed in 2003

This is the only significant new finding for me in this report and it means that any Senate or House Intelligence Committee member who kept claiming, after June 19, 2003, that there was still evidence supporting the claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa was simply a brazen liar.

On June 17, 2003, CIA produced a memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) stating that "since learning that the Iraq-Niger uranium deal was based on false documents earlier this spring we no longer believe that there is sufficient other reporting to conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad." [216] The NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs also briefed the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, on June 18 and 19, respectively, on the CIA's conclusions in this regard. [217]
Why didn't I know about this before? Well, because the Senate (SSCI) Report conveniently left it out as the Robb-Silberman report points out

Maybe there was a second Robb-Silverman Report on WMD. The one eriposte quotes from is very clear that there was no doubt that WMD intelligence depended on an unrealiable source who was a known liar and everybody that was interested in the truth knew it.

Next Boot turns to what he himself describes as "an unlikely source":

The latest proof that intelligence was not "politicized" comes from an unlikely source — Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, who has been denouncing the hawkish "cabal" supposedly leading us toward "disaster." Yet, in between bouts of trashing the administration, Wilkerson said on Oct. 19 that "the consensus of the intelligence community was overwhelming" that Hussein was building illicit weapons. This view was endorsed by "the French, the Germans, the Brits." The French, of all people, even offered "proof positive" that Hussein was buying aluminum tubes "for centrifuges." Wilkerson also recalled seeing satellite photos "that would lead me to believe that Saddam Hussein, at least on occasion, was … giving us disinformation."

Boot does not provide a source for Wilkerson's statement, but here is what Wilkerson had to say about overall foreign policy in the Bush administration, on October 19th, during an extensive Policy Forum presented by Steve Clemmons at The Washington Note:

But the case that I saw for four-plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to the national security decision-making process. What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. And then when the bureaucracy was presented with the decision to carry them out, it was presented in a such a disjointed, incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn’t know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out.

And there's this as well:

And so we got into Iraq, and so George Packer quotes Richard Haas in his book as saying, “To this day I still don’t know why we went to war in Iraq.” I can go through all the things we listed, from WMD to human rights to – I can go through it – terrorism, but I really can’t sit here and tell you, George, why we went to war in Iraq.

Wilkerson does indeed make a statement or two to the effect that the Bush administration and the neo-cons may have managed to convince themselves that Hussein had WMD, but at best Max Boot is being disingenuous and taking a quote out of context. Boot is guilty of the same crime the neo-cons in the administration committed to lead us into an immoral war. He is stovepiping selective disinformation. Boot concludes:

So much for the lies that led to war. What we're left with is the lies that led to the antiwar movement. Good thing for Wilson and his pals that deceiving the press and the public isn't a crime.

There you have it. The neo-con strategy in a nutshell. Deception is Reality and Deny Everything. If deceiving the public were a crime, Max Boot would be incarcerated for felonious aggravated serial deception. As Dave is fond of saying "It's what they do." I would take it a step farther and say they have been doing it for so long, that it is also who they are. I don't believe there is a neo-con in the entire country who is capable of discussing politics without resorting to malignant deceptions of the highest order.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at 4:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

November 5, 2005

Accusing Clinton Of Something Bush 1 Did

Remember the STF Rule: When Republicans Accuse ... look deeper and you'll discover they're actually doing what they're accusing others of.

So think back to the accusations that Clinton was somehow being paid off by the Chinese, which somehow resulted in the Chinese obtaining our military secrets. Remember that accusation? Well guess what really happened?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

October 7, 2005

When Republicans Accuse!

DeLay accuses Earle of taking corporate funds�.

Always remember the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans are accusing, it usuay means they are guilty of that which they are accusing others of. This is more of a catch-up attempt. But here we are with a Republican trying to deflect the charges against him by accusing the other side of what he is doing. Could it be more obvious?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 7:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

September 29, 2005


Remember the STF Rule: When Republicans accuse... Then read Blogs for Bush: Do the Democrats Want a Civil War? and the supportive comments the post intended to evoke. (Also note that anyone disagreeing is banned from the site.)

Update - To illustrate the mindset - from some of the comments:

"The Democrats, a party that has mutated into a totally unrecognizable form of its past self want one thing . . . Power. That alone is not unusual but in their case they are willing to achieve power through deceit, deception, and even forceful revolution. Take a close look at the people leading the antiwar protests; they are constituents of the Democrats. It's time to stop fooling ourselves; this mutant form of a once proud political party is a danger to the Republic and what it stands for."

"we must find out as much dirt as we can on the this sorry prosectuor."

"Donks are the ones who upgraded the judicial fight to filibusters for any nominee whose views they didn't like - not Republicans."

"Civil war? Interesting view, since the democrats are against the 2nd ammendment. Then logically they are not armed as we are. Are they trying to go to a rifle fight with a pen? The reality is that they are armed as well, I know several democrats that hunt. They aren't armed as well as most Faithfull hunters though. The democrats that I know who hunt do it in those ranches for the trophy, you know where the game doesn't have a fair chance. But if they are itching for a civil war then so be their demise. I personally think they are after a racial war myself."

"You know the thought of civil war is scary and yet I sometimes find myself wishing for it. Theres no doubt in my mind who would win and as it doesnt seem that the LLL is capable of rational thought...it may be inevitable. The cost would be terrible but the Carthaginian's didnt like it when the Roman's kicked their butts either. We all are victims of our time in history...you either rise to the occasion or get buried. LLL's generally are cowards and I guess I'm tired of all the BS...if enevitable lets get it over with. It's wabbit season....heh heh heh heh heh."

"Civil war? Sounds good to me."

Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 20, 2005

Bush Caves On the Freedom Thing

One of the Right's favorite accusations is that liberals side with the terrorists. What's the STF rule?

U.S. concedes ground to Islamists on Iraqi law,

U.S. diplomats have conceded ground to Islamists on the role of religion in Iraq, negotiators said on Saturday...

"We understand the Americans have sided with the Shi'ites," he said. "It's shocking. It doesn't fit American values. They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state ... I can't believe that's what the Americans really want or what the American people want."

[. . .] An official of one of the main Shi'ite Islamist parties in the interim government confirmed the deal on law and Islam.

Bush invades secular Iraq to set up an Islamic state. Jeeze. Could things be going better for bin Laden, the Taliban and Iran? How soon will women here be forced to wear burkas and stay at home?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 8:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

August 18, 2005


Comments (edited to make me look better) I left to the Left Coaster post Jeopardy – the Iraq edition:

I think just leaving is actually the worst of all solutions for a number of reasons. The first is legal - we broke it we fix it - occupying powers are responsible for security so it would be illegal for us to just leave. When we say "they" don't want us there, who do we mean? Iraq is not a "they" it is millions of individuals with different interests and concerns. (Most Americans mean brown people when they think of any "they" anywhere...)

The second is thinking about what happens if we do leave. Civil war will kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. So would chaos. An Islamic Republic would enslave the women. The most likely result is Iran takes over the Shiite terrirories - and the oil.

And, frankly, we must not leave behind a determined enemy with all the resources of an oil-rich nation-state. When we invaded it was not that, but it could be that now.


And out of that chaos will come a national security nightmare that we can not now even imagine.

And if the US does cut and run with those results "the left" will be blamed for decades.


My "position" on Iraq is that we should send as many troops as is needed to restore order, allow them to develop a stable government and rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq. That is my position.

This would require a draft, and taxes sufficient to pay for the effort (incuding reconstructing Iraq.) If we instead ask the UN to take over, we should be the ones who pay for their forces and the reconstruction.

I know it will never happen, but this is the legal, moral and responsible thing to do. WE - Bush in our name - invaded the country, destroyed its stability (maybe now people understand why Iraq had such a tyrannical regime) and destroyed its infrastructure.

I do not advocate any other position. If we are going to cut and run and allow Iraq and the region to descend into murderous chaos, let that be on the head of Bush and the Right who brought this on.

Advocating cutting and running is advocating letting the Republicans off the hook and offering to shoulder the blame in their place.


Posted by Dave Johnson at 9:10 AM | Comments (23) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 16, 2005

Arnold Appoints Conservative Movement Golden Boy to Board of Forestry

UPDATE: Hmm... I appear to have hit a nerve, as Ms. Ridenour has dismissed this posting as "leftie silliness" and "way too partisan". What's the STF rule? If they accuse you of doing it...

Seriously folks, it is possible to scuttle this guy's nomination. The Democrats did it to Nancy Drinkard (from my neck of the woods) when local environmentalists protested - they can do it again.

ORIGINAL STORY: Time to make a fuss, folks... the Governator is attempting to appoint a golden boy of the right to the California Board of Forestry, and he's hoping the Democrats in the State Senate don't notice his track record and associations or don't think it is worth the political capital required to force him to come back with someone more reasonable. Call your State Senator today and tell them to oppose this guy, make this appointment D.O.A. today.

Here's the news blurb:

Ronald Nehring, 35, of El Cajon, has been appointed to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. He has served as senior consultant for Americans for Tax Reform since 1998 and is currently a member of the Governing Board for Grossmont Union High School District. Nehring is also the vice-chairman of the California Republican Party. He was previously director of development and public affairs for the National Center for Public Policy Research. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Nehring is a Republican.

Innocous enough? Well... John Meyers of Capitol Notes point out that this guy is an aide to anti-tax/anti-government crusader Grover Norquist.

This guy is the worst possible pick for the Board of Forestry; check out this NCPPR blog entry from Amy Ridenour... "It looks like Ron Nehring and everyone else involved in preventing and fighting forest fires [aka promoting "Healthy Forests"] will have their work cut out for them. Good luck to all of them."

To give you an idea of how this guy thinks, here's a quote of his from an earlier posting of hers, referenced in the entry above:

"And as for global warming, the government can't even put out a FIRE, and they think the government can affect the whole PLANET??? They should get their priorities straight. When they've mastered the skill of putting a bucket of water on a fire, they can come back and talk about doing something with the planet."

She says that this guy is responsible for putting "Project 21" (an initiative to promote "black conservatives" in the media) on the map (one of the primary NCPPR programs described in the Media Transparency article below).

Also, check out this article by Bill Berkowitz from Media Transparency on the "National Center for Public Policy Research": Tom DeLay's Right Arm

This article goes into great detail about the anti-environmental efforts of this think tank, focusing specifically on their "Earth Day Information Center" project... which offered "to provide journalists and broadcasters with scientists and policy experts who are able to discuss Earth Day-related issues."

The guy who did the research to track down who these people were says, "This is hard-core anti-environmental ideologues presenting themselves as spokespersons for Earth Day 2005."

Not exactly the resume one would look for in someone entrusted with stewardship of California's forests. This guy is not just your average run of the mill mainstream Republican... he's one of the right wing's golden boys, raised and nutured (and enriched) in the hothouse environment of right-wing think tank utopia. One of the primary conditions for success in this environment is to believe, heart and soul, in the inherent evilness and incompetence of government (and never question it even once) - this guy is *GUARANTEED* to vote the WRONG WAY on EVERYTHING - his career, his position in the movement, everything demands this. Bad bad bad.

This is not an innocuous appointment, this is a total sell out to the "wise-use", hard right.

I hope the Democrats in the Senate make an issue of this and force Arnold to come back with someone more reasonable - but given the relative lack of prominence of this appointment, it probably requires that we in the Blogosphere make a lot of noise before that happens.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at 9:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 12, 2005

Focus Group Phrases vs Reality

We often find ourselves arguing over the things right-wingers say. That is a distraction. We should instead learn to focus on what they do. One form of this is the STF Rule, when right-wingers accuse it usually means that is what they are themselves doing. Say vs. do.

It happens over and over and over. They throw a bunch of smoke in the air and we chase it instead of keeping our eye on what is really going on. It's like the Peanuts cartoon, where every year Charlie Brown runs up to kick the football, and just before he gets there Lucy snatches the ball away and he flies in the air and lands on his head.

In a recent NY Times piece, So Who Are the Activists? the authors applied actual data (reality, or the doing) to test the right-wing accusatory phrase "judicial activists" (the words).

Here is the question we asked: How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?

[. . .] We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so.

The Seeing the Forest Rule -- they are accusing "liberal judges" of being "activist judges" and it turns out that it is the right-wing judges who are the activists! I am so very surprised!

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.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 6:06 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

Republicans Accuse Dems Of Being "Far Left"

From the Republican Party website, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman Statement On The Partisan Attack On Karl Rove:

"It's disappointing that once again, so many Democrat leaders are taking their political cues from the far-left, Moveon wing of the party. The bottom line is Karl Rove was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise and the Democrats are engaging in blatant partisan political attacks." -RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman
What's the STF Rule? When Republicans accuse it usually means they're doing whatever it is they are accusing others of. Here they are accusing the other party of being in the hands of political extremists.

And, by the way, this is Dean's counterpart saying stuff like this about the opposition. Where is the outrage?

Finally, look at the rest of the stuff on the page - attacks on Joe Wilson!

Posted by Dave Johnson at 11:39 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

July 3, 2005

Rove Security Clearance & Access

John at AMERICAblog makes a very good point. Why is Karl Rove in the White House today? We have a guy here accused of one of the most serious acts of treason in our country's history, and they won't revoke his security clearance and remove him from the White House while the charges are looked into? Huh? This guy has access to everything, and is accused of divulging secrets! And he hangs with people who have been indicted for revealing national security secrets to other countries!

Remember the STF Rule: when Republicans accuse it usually means it is something THEY are doing. Rove recently accused Democrats of treason.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:58 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 23, 2005

More On Rove

White House Chief of Staff comments on Karl Rove saying that the "motive" of liberals is they want American troops to die. Here

Andy Card just said this on CNN:

"Karl Rove's speech was a speech that I think reflected some of the rhetoric that a lot of people feel."

Karl Rove and Andrew Card are not Republican Party officials, they are government officials. When they speak, they speak for the President and the government of the United States. This is the government of the United States telling people that liberals want American troops to die.

Remember the STF Rule: When right-wingers make accusations, you need to look at whether it is just a cover for something THEY are really doing. Here they are accusing Democrats of wanting to kill American troops. But who sent those troops to Iraq?

Posted by Dave Johnson at 3:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

June 21, 2005

Like A Novel

Wouldn't it be interesting if it turned out that one of the major players in convincing America to tie its military up in Iraq, was at the same time providing North Korea with technology to improve its missiles? (Not to mention providing NK with submarines.)

Wouldn't it be interesting if it turned out that one of the major players in convincing America to take sides in the Middle East conflict turned out to be an espionage front for that side? (See also here.)

Remember the STF rule. When Republicans accuse...

(See more accusations here, here, here, here, here, here, here,
here ...)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 22, 2005


The STF Rule, when they accuse, it usually means...

From Crooks and Liars, through Shakespeare's Sister, who got it from Left Edge North.

Posted by Dave Johnson at 1:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 20, 2005

Accusing Others

The STF Rule: when right-wingers accuse others, it usually means they are doing it themselves. Here we have a right-wing blog accusing "liberals" of not "supporting the troops." And the evidence? One comment at Democratic Underground, something from Scaife's NewsMax, and media reporting on torture and humiliation of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, or otherwise criticizing Bush's policies and conduct of the war.

Well, no, the "liberal" position is that supporting the troops means not prosecuting only those at the bottom for doing what they are told or encouraged or at the very least were not stopped from doing. The "liberal" position is holding the chain of command and the policies from the top responsible as well. AND the liberal position demands that Bush change his offensive policies of torture and humiliation and "rendition" that are enraging the entire Muslim and non-Muslim world! Criticizing Bush's policies and conduct of the war is not criticism of "the troops." By ignoring the responsibility of the chain of command this right-wing blog - and the right-wing line it follows - lays all responsibility for what is going on squarely on the troops. In other words, the right-wing blog - and conservatives generally - are blaming the troops.

(And, if you want to feel really bad about where Bush has taken the country and the military, read the comments.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at 12:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos

May 19, 2005

Of Course

Digby found something that makes me say "of course."

Preface: what's the STF Rule? When The Party is accusing you should look to see if it's what they're doing. And they're accusing Newsweek of causing riots. Well guess what? The Washington Times recently printed a cartoon showing a US soldier patting a dog on the head, and on the dog was written "Pakistan." Which is what caused the riots. Oh, go read at Hullabaloo.

But that's not all. What ELSE has the Right been accusing others of?

And, of course, guess what. Tongsun Park. Are you old enough to remember that name? Brought to you by the Moonies. Yes, the Washington Times, major right-wing funding, vowed-to-destroy-Christianity Moonies...

Posted by Dave Johnson at 4:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | Link Cosmos