Frame the Debate
Cheney Flip-Flop Reveals Fake Outrage
An exchange in the Oct. 5, 2004 VP Debate:
EDWARDS: Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.
CHENEY: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.
IFILL: That's it?
CHENEY: That's it.
Now here's Cheney on Thursday, Oct. 14,
after the presidential debate where Kerry quite similarly invoked lesbian Mary Cheney:
Cheney told supporters at a rally Thursday in Fort Myers, “You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected, and I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father.” He made no other reference to Kerry’s remarks about his daughter.
Really, is there a difference between what Edwards said and what Kerry said? Both were responding to a question about homosexuality.
What does Mary Cheney think of all this?
It's About Homophobia
John Kerry might have made a blunder by invoking Mary Cheney's lesbianism in the final presidential debate. Why? Because he should have foreseen his comments being used by Bushco/apologists/complicit media to exploit homophobic sentiments, which Republicans have used effectively for years as a wedge issue. As a reminder, Kerry said:
"We're all God's children. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."
His mistake wasn't a moral one. He wasn't outting Mary Cheney - VP Cheney himself acknowledged his daughter's sexual preference in the VP debate.
But his comments allowed exploiters of homophobia to, well, exploit the fears of the ignorant.
The exploiters include Mary Cheney's mother, Lynne, who called Kerry "a bad man" for mentioning her daughter's lesbianism. She should be ashamed of herself for using her daughter's sexuality for a cheap political attack. But that shows how far the right wing will go to win an election.
How to Attack Terrorism
Noam Chomsky says:
There is also a broad consensus on what the proper reaction to terrorism should be. It is two-pronged: directed at the terrorists themselves and at the reservoir of potential support. The appropriate response to terrorist crimes is police work, which has been successful worldwide. More important is the broad constituency the terrorists -- who see themselves as a vanguard -- seek to mobilize, including many who hate and fear them but nevertheless see them as fighting for a just cause. We can help the vanguard mobilize this reservoir of support by violence, or can address the "myriad grievances," many legitimate, that are "the root causes of modern Islamic militancy." That can significantly reduce the threat of terror, and should be undertaken independently of this goal.
False Accusations Take Root
The Swift Boat vet charges have taken a toll on the Kerry presidency. Now Rep. Dennis Hastert chips away (rather pounds a sledge hammer) at the character of George Soros. In both cases, the media lays down for the stories. This from Josh Marshall.
These are scary times. And it's an ominous sign of the times that the Speaker of the House can float such a false and extremely defamatory charge and have the behavior go almost unnoticed in the press.
Think about it.
Long Time No Post.
One month to be exact. This is just a quick update. I haven't blogged in large part because I've been working hard on two primary campaigns:
Carol Jean Mays for Missouri State Senate 11th District. Carol Jean, a term limited 7-time-electee House Rep is running the good race against Victor Callahan, who maneuvered into the Senate when Senator Ronnie DePasco died suddenly mid-term. In his one and only session, Callahan voted with the Republican majority 504 out of 536 votes. As the Kansas City Star quoted me yesterday, if voters (who have sent a Democrat to represent them since at least WWII) send Callahan back to the Senate, they are helping advance the Republican agenda to reduce funding for public education, strip environmental protections in favor of industrial development at the expense of clean air and water, reduce the number of poor eligible for health benefits, and more. Go Carol Jean!
Vicki Walker for Missouri State Representative, 50th District (incumbent). Progressive, smart, hard working, involved with the community, dedicated to economic development through excellent public education, endorsed by Howard Dean, teachers, labor, Kansas City Star, local leaders, women's organizations, et. al., and utterly devoted to causes for working people. How can she lose? Freedom Inc., a KC-based group dedicated to electing African Americans, has targeted her district despite her perfect record of voting and working for the people in the district. We'll see whether they have the clout on August 3rd.It all comes to an end on August 3rd. Until then, I have but one update: The State Dept. issued an updated annual global terrorism report after various groups complained that the first report was bullshit.
I'll have more
on the State Dept.'s reissued terrorism trends report later. For now, I have some questions for the government officials, who, according to Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel:
blamed the errors (in the original report issued on April 29) on a series of bureaucratic mistakes that involved a new agency, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to improve coordination of terrorist data.
The report released in April showed no major terrorist attacks last year after Nov. 11, omitting such incidents as a series of four bombings in Istanbul, Turkey, that killed 61 people and wounded 855.
Black (Cofer Black, State Dept. counterterrorism coordinator) and John Brennan, the director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, said that error and others were due to faulty data that the center supplied to the CIA and the State Department, which didn't catch the mistakes.
Brennan cited an "exceptionally antiquated" database, which he said didn't properly compile data, as well as turnover in the unit's personnel and contractors. The database isn't used to monitor the current terrorist threat, he noted.
"There was insufficient review and quality control throughout this entire ... process," he said. "Anyone who might assert that the numbers were intentionally skewed is mistaken."
TTIC opened in May, 2003, with a mission to "serve as a hub for terrorist threat-related information collected domestically or abroad." It was called crucial to homeland security.
There are two possibilities: Either the administration used the new agency to issue a politicized report meant only to give it a PR boost, or else the agency is a complete bust, wholly failing to complete its mission and endangering security from terrorist threats here and abroad.
If the former: How does a new agency formed in large part to coordinate terrorist data manage to acquire an "exceptionally antiquated" database? The database used to compile previous reports was more than adequate. What was the TTIC using?
All of the assertions of a bum database and personnel turnover are absurd because the data compilation process is extremely straighforward: A terrorist act occurs. TTIC determines whether it fits the reporting criteria and, if so, the information is entered into the database by a human being: Date of attack; location; nature of attack; who was responsible; how many killed; how many injured. Yes there's more than that, but that is the crux, and that is the information reflected in the State Dept. report in question. The database may be nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet, which can produce the kinds of charts presented in the report.
I would like to know this: If the database was so poor, how could the agency produce corrected figures only a few weeks after acknowledging errors in the original report?
Or it could be the latter. And if we take the administration at its word -- that the TTIC simply failed to perform a crucial stated objected -- why should we continue to fund it? Why shouldn't we go back to the data collection and reporting system we were using for the 17 previous years of the report's life, with apparent success? Why don't we fire the incompetent leaders who compromised our security by their inability to set up a reliable system to track terrorist activity, especially when a successful model existed already?
My postulation is TTIC is nothing more than a political tool operated at taxpayer expense. When the administration found it couldn't so easily manipulate the data under the old system, it launched TTIC.
Diplomats say Bush begone
But Neil Cavuto doesn't agree. In questioning Ambassador William Harrap, one of the authors of the anti-Bush statement, Cavuto asked (transcript not available; quotes are approximate): "But sir, aren't we safer with Saddam gone?" Then, picking up a second key administration talking point, he asked, "But we haven't been attacked on our soil since 9/11. Don't you give the administration credit for that?" Let's see, the 1993 WTC bombing was the first time in our nation's history we were so attacked; 9/11/2001 was the second. I can hear Bush now. "We've been attacked by terrorists on our home soil only twice in this nation's history. Once on my predecessor's eight-year watch, and once in three years on my watch. It's obvious to me we're safer now."
Tim Russert can't even ask the right questions.
When Russert asked Colin Powell just now on Meet the Press whether the State Dept.'s 2003 report on global terrorism trends
was politicized, Powell lied through his teeth: "It was a data collection and reporting error,"
The report was deceitful, not sloppy. Russert should have asked whose decision it was to game the report, and specifically what role the White House played in the deception. After all, the White House's pawprints were all over the report, claiming for example that the ousting of Saddam removed a state sponsor of terrorism, and Iraq has become the central front in the war on terrorism. Russert might also have asked why the perpetrators of the fraud should not be indicted, given that the report must comply with Title 22 Section 2656f(a) of the US Code
The report required under subsection (a) of this section shall cover the events of the calendar year preceding the year in which the report is submitted. (emphasis mine)
One of the report's failings is it stops counting attacks after Nov. 11, 2003, omitting, for example, the synogogue bombings in Turkey on Nov. 15. This is a clear violation of the Code. But all Russert could ask was whether the report was politicized, not why those responsible shouldn't be indicted for breaking the law.
The falsified report was an illegal, clumsily transparent effort to cover up Bushco's ineffectiveness against the self-declared, self-named war on terror: Anyone paying attention knew terrorist attacks hadn't abated by any standard. Anyone paying attention would ask why nobody is being held accountable.
"If you have been framed, the only response is to reframe. But you can't do it in a sound bite unless an appropriate progressive language has been built up in advance. Conservatives have worked for decades and spent billions on their think tanks to establish their frames."--George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004