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by Mark Adams

I remember it almost like it was yesterday, trying to outdo other bloggers with cute little names for the guy I called Scotty McManequin: Scott-bot 3000, McClellatron, Scottie McLiar, McClerrator -- good times.

Today, Politico's Mike Allen bypassed the embargoed publication of McClellan's tell-all book by (get this) buying it in a Washington DC bookstore a week before its scheduled release date and documents the atrocities Scotty lays bare in "whacking" Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby and the whole merry band of criminal conspirators who "propagandized" us into war, lied about outing Valerie Plame, and twiddled their thumbs "in shock" for a week during the Katrina mess (much like Bush did upon learning the news of planes crashing into building as he sat stupidly in that classroom).

McClellan also skewers the mainstream press.

"If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.

"The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served."

Next thing you know, Scottie will be referring to the Beltway establishment as Villagers. Funny how some decidedly non-mainstream media folks, my favorite rhetorical bomb throwers The Young Turks, were on this story six months ago, as was Shakes and a few other easily dismissed libs.

I love these guys. Figures that they're not even on Air America anymore. What a shame.

Odds & Sods #15

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  • gerrySpence.jpgSome of you may have a hard time remembering who Gerry Spence is. He was a CNN legal analyst during the O.J. trial -- you remember, he wore the buckskin jacket. Kind of a gentle, folksy guy with a deep voice and friendly, laid-back manner. I think he lived in Montana or Wyoming. Anyway, he has a new book out: Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power: The Rise and Risk of the New Conservative Hate Culture. Not such a folksy title, eh?
    Generalized hate often has a narrow base. It’s easy to hate gays if one can’t find a job that pays more than the minimum starvation wage. It’s easy to jump on the patriotic band wagon to blow the hell out of half the innocent people in Iraq if one has, in effect, been blown to some sort of economic hell and is equally innocent. When people feel hurt they hurt back.
    Um, wow. [P.S. He'll be making the rounds and I'm sure he'll have something to say about the O.J. book as well.]

  • From the Dept. of Unfortunate Metaphors: The Boeing 747 used by the president as Air Force One was grounded in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday because of a mechanical problem.

  • Lieberman's "Party of One" -- and it isn't Lieberman. Jaysus! Whatever happened to party unity?

  • Fox News is preparing a right-wing Daily Show. Gosh, I thought The Colbert Report already covered that territory. What? Oh.
    It would take aim at what [executive producer Joel Surnow] calls "the sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows. "It's a satirical news format that would play more to the Fox News audience than the Michael Moore channel," Surnow said. "It would tip more right as 'The Daily Show' tips left."
    The Fox News audience demographic is older than dirt. And since when did Michael Moore get a channel? Bottom line: it sounds deadly....boring.

Content Isn't King

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"Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about."

----- Cory Doctorow

So...seen any good movies lately?

The video is short -- just 5 minutes. Watch the whole thing, then share it with your friends. Just click the SHARE button (lower right corner of video screen) and insert the appropriate email addresses.

Don't wait -- the election is less than 40 days off. If Bush and the Republicans hold onto their majority, God only knows what's in store for this country over the next two years.

This is what people will be discussing for the next 7 days, at least...

Watch it now and then share it with your friends. Time is tight -- the election is almost on top of us. Get the word out: Vote Democratic and stop Bush before it is too late.

NBC News:

Bob Woodward's new book, State of Denial, accuses US officials of deliberately trying to mislead the public about the worsening state of the war in Iraq.

Bob Woodward: There is public and then there is private. But what did they do with the private? They stamped it secret. No one is supposed to know. Why is that secret?

The book, to be released Monday, also claims senior US officials in Iraq urgently called for more troops as early as September, 2003 to contain the growing insurgency. But they were ignored -- the assessments considered too pessimistic.

Woodward: The insurgents know what they're doing, the level of violence and how effective they are.

Who doesn't know? The American public.

by Mark Adams

Cost of shutting down the Democrats' phones on election day -- 10 months in prison (minimum security recommended); 2 years probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Price of being Jack Abramoff's inside man at the White House and covering up exchanging information for golf trips to Scotland -- up to 20 years and $1 Million in fines.

Dumping Ann Coulter's latest book for a lousy Five Bucks -- PRICELESS.
by Mark Adams

We took our two youngest girls to the bookstores today.  They'd both done outstanding this year in school and been very helpful at home since school let out.  Some kids get rewarded with toys, games and outings.  Mine chose the bookstores to cash in their gift certificates, one each from Barns and Nobels and another from Borders.

And of course, we about tripled their allotment.  They had a ball and I shouldn't hear anymore "I'm bored" and "When's dad going to finish the landscaping and put up the pool?" Not, at least, for a few days.

A few things struck me as I wandered among the stacks.  The first, naturally, was the sight of accused plagiarist Ann Coulter's smug sneer as soon as you enter Borders.  I swear I heard her book whisper, "Go ahead, buy me. Ya pussy."

I physically stopped, and swallowed down the bile inching up my throat.  But we were here for the children.  (It's always for the children.  Just ask Brangelina.)  Needless to say, I was able to avoid the temptation to plunk down my MasterCard for a copy -- even with the 30% off sticker on the cover.

The reaction to the Andrew Dice Clay of political discourse from the right is either deafening silence from elected GOP officials, rousing defense from wingnuttia radio talkers, GOP strategists, and Vice Presidential advisors, or dismissal, from Blogistgan, as someone not to be taken serious, indeed a comic.

Funny thing about humor . . . usually humorous books by funny people are in the, er ... humor section.  I saw a bunch of Al Franken books there: Truth, Lies.  Michael Moore's Stupid White Men was in that category too, as were books calling Franken a liar and Moore a fat white guy.  There they sat along with Jon Stewart, George Carlin, Dave Barry and Robert Klein.

I did pick up one of those thick bathroom readers filled with useless trivia.  I'm sure if I put Coulter in the john, one day when I was out of Charmin . . .

Seriously, the Ann Coulter is no comic, she's a joke.

I didn't see any Ann Coulter books in the humor section, although her last book was in the bargain bin along with Mary Cheney's newly released rant on the trials and tribulations of being an angry gay daughter of one of the angry leaders of the anti-gay party.

Now that is funny.  Mary Cheney got a million bucks and hasn't sold 6,000 books yet.

Even at full price, they need to sell another 34,000 copies just to break even.  Assuming her sales to date were all full price (they aren't since Amazon already cut the price by ten bucks) at the current sales rate of 574 books per week (a miserable figure which will only diminish) and at the $8.99 bargain price I saw at Barns and Nobels, they will take over three years just to pay her off, not including the actual printing cost.  It'll never happen.

One thing is for certain with Ann Coulter.  She knows how to promote her twisted world-view and undoubtedly has already surpassed Cheney's sales.  Funny sells, even whacked out, not really "ha ha" funny but twisted "Would it kill you . . . to do us all a favor and kill yourself" funny, sells better than angry rants about daddy always wanting a boy.

Joe Klein's Turnip Day

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Thomas Frank (What's the Matter With Kansas) skewers Joe Klein's new book, Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid.

P.S. Anyone who still thinks Harry Truman would be a Republican today needs to read Frank's review.

Not a bad mission statement

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Lots of talk about what the Democrats should propose as their manifesto or mission statement for the midterm elections. Of course everyone believes they should come up with the equivalent of "The Contract On For America."

I thought of this again when I was re-reading Bill Moyers' On America. In it, he writes about another time when the public spirited journalism of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World recommended this short platform for politicians back in 1883:

  1. Tax Luxuries
  2. Tax Inheritances
  3. Tax Large Incomes
  4. Tax Monopolies
  5. Tax the Privileged Corporation
  6. A Tariff for Revenue
  7. Reform the Civil Service
  8. Punish Corrupt Officers
  9. Punish Vote Buying
  10. Punish Employers Who Coerce their Employees in Elections
A couple of things are apparent after reading this. One, how little things seem to have changed in 125 years. Two, how the bullet-points really define legislative initiatives. And three, how an independent press used to be able to be a watchdog against bad government.

A person can dream can't he?

Bill Moyers: On America

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I recently read Bill Moyers' On America and was reminded again why Bush Republicans run from him (in the words of Paul Begala) "like vampires from holy water." Moyers is the real deal: a liberal who's beliefs are grounded in morality, passion, history and the American tradition. In short, Moyers is everything they wish they were, but still a Democrat.

In the chapter entitled The Fight of Our Lives, Moyers discusses a subject close to his heart--the media:

When journalism throws in with power, the first news marched by censors to the guillotine is the news the authorities don't want us to know. The greatest moments in the history of the press came not when journalists made common cause with the state but when they stood fearlessly independent of it.
He points out that we live in an age of convergence, when a quasi-official partisan press is ideologically linked to an authoritarian administration that is, itself, linked to power financial interests.

Yeah, I know -- opponents use this kind of observation to accuse Moyers of wearing a tin-foil hat. But that's their standard canard -- call someone crazy when they get too close to the truth:

Conspiracy is unneccessary when ideology hungers for power and its many adherents swarm of their own accord to the same pot of honey.

Stretching from the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal to the faux news of Rupert Murdoch's empire to the nattering nabobs of know-nothing radio to a legion of think tanks bought and paid for by conglomerates, the religious, partisan, and corporate right has raised a mighty megaphone for sectarian, economic, and plitical forces that aim to transform the egalitarian and democratic ideals embodied in our founding documents.

With no strong opposition party to challenge such triumphalist hegemony, it is left to journalismto be domocracy's best friend.

Like I always say: one job of government is to keep an eye on business and make sure the power of money does not overwhelm the power of the people. And who keeps an eye on government? An independent press.

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