Lo Siento Sorry about not posting the post I promised but I had to go to a job interview in San Diego for a real job. I'm in Tijuana now and I'm at an internet cafe (I stayed overnight in TJ because hotel rates are cheaper here than San Diego--$13.00 a night). Wish me luck. Because of my interview, I missed the launch of the O'Franken Factor on Air America radio). I just tuned in to Air America's Randi Rhodes; so far so good. Back in December 2002, I told you about Rhodes. On Rhodes' show, I heard an ad for the film Heart of the Beholder; the teaser is slammin'.
UPDATE: As I write this, Rhodes is putting her foot to Ralph Nader's ass.
Richard Clarke I was very impressed with Richard Clarke's performance with Tim Russert on Meet the Press this morning. Clarke effectively told Russert how important it was to focus on the issues and not on personal attacks and libels. I think it is sad when I check my sitemeter stats and find that many people came to my site based on keyword searches of the words "Richard Clarke" and "lies" or "liar." I am also saddened by the attempt by administration surrogates to try to criminalize dissent with these baseless calls to indict Clarke for perjury. Bill Frist and other congressional Republicans are acting like hired guns, not statesmen.
A few hours after accusing Clarke of perjury, [Frist] admits that he has no idea -- not just no idea whether he perjured himself, which is a fairly technical question, but no idea whether there were any inconsistencies at all.
Hate To Break The News I just found out from my Sitemeter stats that this site is one of the top sites that pops ups for a Google search of the words "Richard+Clarke+lies." Sorry to break the news to my web-searching friends but Richard Clarke is telling the truth. Dick Clarke is the real deal. However, if you want right-wing talking points on Clarke, go to NewsMax, WorldNutDaily, or listen to Hannity or El Rushbo. . .Quick notes: Didn't you just love it on Hannity & Colmes last night when guest Charlie Rangel said that the difference between Clarke and Condi Rice is that Clarke is willing to speak under oath? Hannity's lame response: "That's a cheap shot.". . .Joe Conason's latest:
Within days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the White House public-relations office began to shroud those events behind personality propaganda, heroic mythology and even religious mysticism. Over the years to come—and until now, perhaps—stirring words and images would serve not only to repackage George W. Bush, but also to obscure the plain facts about his administration’s fateful errors.
The President’s chief political strategist and his National Security Advisor claimed falsely that Al Qaeda had targeted Air Force One on that terrible late-summer morning, thus transforming his prudent flight from Florida to Nebraska into a dramatic escape from peril. The President’s supporters suggested that God had chosen George W. Bush to lead America, in anticipation of national crisis.
During the ensuing year, while the air was filled with such mystifying nonsense, the President and the Vice President warned Congress against an independent investigation of the circumstances leading up to the disaster. After public clamor for an investigation finally prevailed over that intimidation, the White House tried every conceivable tactic to hinder the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, even while claiming to support the commission unreservedly.
Clearly, the President preferred flattering myths to hard facts about 9/11. Now, with the publication of Richard Clarke’s memoir, Against All Enemies, we know why.
Mr. Clarke is a nonpartisan professional who has devoted his life to national security, serving four Presidents of both parties during a distinguished public career that spanned 30 years. Unlike most of those who have rushed to criticize him, he rose to the highest levels of government strictly on merit rather than family or political connections. His devotion to duty and his qualifications in his field may be measured by his role on Sept. 11, 2001. He ran the Situation Room in the hours immediately after the attacks, while the President flew to Offutt Air Force Base and the Vice President sat in a fortified bunker; and when the White House was evacuated in fear of another suicidal crash assault, he stayed there to continue his work.
Franken on Letterman A friend called last night and said that Al Franken was hilarious on The Late Show with David Letterman. I missed it. Could Franken's appearance be the reason Bill O'Reilly was slamming Letterman on his Radio Factor show yesterday? Possibly. O'Reilly is still smarting about Franken (e.g., O'Reilly doesn't call Franken by his name but calls him "Stuart Smalley").
Wouldn't Sun Myung Moon Be a Great Topic for Howard Stern? I think it's great that Howard Stern is out there bashing Bush. Stern would have a field day discussing Bush friend, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Unification Church (I can only imagine how Stern would broach the topic of "the Holy Handkerchief," the sacred washclothes given to Moon devotees to wipe their genitals after sex). More important is the work that Stern could do to expose the unholy alliance between Unification Church front groups and the Bush administration. One e-mail is all I'm asking: write Howard Stern at email@example.com and tell them to focus on Moon. John Gorenfeld would be a great guest for Stern.
Kerry is now being hit by a barrage of attacks almost all of which, as I've tried to note here, are based on lies and distortions. They're being organized and planned by the president's partner Karl Rove, a man who has specialized for more than thirty years in vicious campaign tactics (remember McCain in South Carolina) and dirty tricks. . .
Kerry is a fighter. I saw it first hand during his 1996 senate race against Bill Weld. But Kerry will never successfully parry these hits by getting tangled and stuck in the molasses of the president's lies and distortions. Getting sidetracked into a discussion of legislative maneuvering isn't the answer to the president's attacks; it's precisely what they're trying to elicit.
The answer is simply to say they're lies (while having surrogates and staffers explain why) and then to go on the attack.
For instance, the Kerry campaign should never have let Bush get the upper hand on the issue of combat pay, health care, and getting things like body-armor to front line troops. One need only be a casual reader of the military press to know that the president is extremely vulnerable on these issues.
Because having too much money – and spending too much time raising it, rather than governing – makes voters uneasy, Kerry's money disadvantage thus becomes a permanent tool of election-year jiu-jitsu. The senator and his surrogates should repeat endlessly that the other guys are loaded, forcing Republicans to waste money drowning out the discomfiting message that they've got way too much of it.
In the 2004 campaign, resources will matter. But using them smartly will matter more. Getting tough on the campaign trail means being lean, quick and stealthy. It means allowing those best-equipped to handle specialty tasks to do so, and attacking with multiple weapons from different angles.
If Kerry, the Democrats and their friends can move around in the electoral ring with that combination of swift, deft and deadly motion, Bush's well-funded message machine will not be able to save him.
Limbaugh's Hate Speech Against Kerry and the Democrats: Quotes Not Taken Out of Context Just a few minutes ago, Rush Limbaugh on Democrats: "They celebrate in private the attack in Spain."
Just a few minutes ago on Limbaugh's show:
They aren’t even the Democrats of JFK. They are the Democrats of Timothy Leary. They’re the Democrats of the anti-war movements of the 1960’s. Nobody’s said this, folks, but in John Kerry and Bill Clinton before him, the Democrats have nominated two huge anti-war radicals. Obviously, Clinton was a draft-dodger. Kerry was one of the most radical and vocal anti-war activists that we’ve had. Clinton did next to nothing about terrorism on his watch; Kerry won’t either. They’re going to bow down to the demands of the European socialists who supported their anti-war activities in the 1960’s. These elitists who have a skepticism of the difference between good and evil.
Later, Limbaugh attacked John Kerry as un-American:
I don’t understand un-Americanism. I don’t understand the Kerrys of the world—and all the Democrats who want us to fail. I don’t understand the people who live—who were born and bred in this country, who grew up in this country—I don’t understand these people who do not believe in the greatness of this country—who think there are greater places in the world than this country. I don’t understand these people who think that we are the original sin of the world. I don’t understand it. Intellectually, I don’t understand. I know who they are; I know what they believe. But I can’t relate. I can’t possibly understand someone who hates this country who was born and raised here. . .I don’t understand what it is about this country that people distrust and do not like--and I'm talking about you liberals and you 60's Democrats in this country.
The administration's first action on the national security front upon taking office was to downgrade the fight against al-Qaeda from the status it held under Bill Clinton, prioritizing instead the danger of "rogue states" by seeking to construct an unworkable missile defense shield. It's impolite to say so, but if Condoleezza Rice had focused less on abrogating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and more on Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger's advice during the transition to "spend more time during your four years on terrorism generally and al-Qaeda specifically than any other issue," there's at least a chance that September 11 might have been averted altogether.
Once the attacks occurred, Bush began to exercise what the media has universally proclaimed to be "strong leadership" on terrorism. In fact, he did nothing of the sort. Instead, after spending the day flying around the country in an apparent state of confusion, he delivered a widely panned address to the nation in which he falsely claimed that, "Immediately following the first attack, I implemented the government's emergency response plans."
The country, however, is in need of a president who can assemble a competent national security team, not a crack staff of speechwriters. The substantive response to the attacks was the war against the Taliban. I, like the vast majority of Americans, supported this effort. Media mythology has it that the military campaign was a stunning success, due to its short duration and low casualty count. This theory conveniently ignores the fact that the president and his team failed to accomplish the actual goals of the war: Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and other top leadership elements got away, and no stable government was introduced in their stead. To this day, the Taliban is conducting military operations in the southern portion of the country.
After 9/11, terrorism could no longer be ignored, and the military conducted a successful campaign against Al Qaeda's Taliban hosts. But the failure to commit sufficient U.S. forces allowed Osama bin Laden to escape. After that, the administration appeared to lose interest in Al Qaeda; by the summer of 2002, bin Laden's name had disappeared from Mr. Bush's speeches. It was all Saddam, all the time.
This wasn't just a rhetorical switch; crucial resources were pulled off the hunt for Al Qaeda, which had attacked America, to prepare for the overthrow of Saddam, who hadn't. If you want confirmation that this seriously impeded the fight against terror, just look at reports about the all-out effort to capture Osama that started, finally, just a few days ago. Why didn't this happen last year, or the year before? According to The New York Times, last year many of the needed forces were tied up in Iraq.
It's now clear that by shifting his focus to Iraq, Mr. Bush did Al Qaeda a huge favor. The terrorists and their Taliban allies were given time to regroup; the resurgent Taliban once again control almost a third of Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda has regained the ability to carry out large-scale atrocities.
If Hannity wants more examples, I would be glad to provide them to the angry Irish ape-man. The example I found over the weekend has to do with Hannity’s good friend Christopher Ruddy. On Saturday, I was at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove in the Fairfax district and I checked out the print edition of Ruddy’s NewsMax. A story that carried no byline caught my attention; it was titled, “Hillary Praises Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.” I checked and found the story on NewsMax’s website. What was the unnamed NewsMax author’s evidence that Senator Clinton praised the brutal 1979 invasion? The story cited a single sentence from Clinton’s December 15, 2003 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations (the speech was over six thousand words and was not linked to in the NewsMax web article): "One of the reasons why we were able to marshal the Mujaheddin and the warlords against the Soviets is because the Soviets tried to provide more opportunities for women."
REALITY: This quote, by itself, could certainly not be taken as praise for the Soviet invasion and installation of a despotic puppet regime. The Najibullah regime was brutal (a fact that Senator Clinton did not deny), but it accorded women more rights than the Taliban (not a difficult task considering the Taliban’s abysmal record). Senator Clinton was simply pointing out the undisputed fact that one of the reasons that the Mujaheddin hated the Soviet puppet regime was that their secular view of women was anathema to their strict Islamic views. Here’s the quote in context (click here for the full speech):
You know, women have always been at the fulcrum of Afghani politics and reaction. It happened in the early part of the 20th century, when the kings of Afghanistan attempted to modernize Afghanistan and pick as one of the principal objectives the more fully participating role of women. And that caused a backlash, which led to all kinds of reaction in the tribal areas. One of the reasons why we were able to marshal the Mujaheddin and the warlords against the Soviets is because the Soviets tried to provide more opportunities for women.
So women's roles is a critical point as to whether there can be a stable, free, democratic Afghanistan. If we were to focus on improving maternal health, that is an objective that is not in any way contradictory to the concerns of the most traditional, as well as the hopes of the most modern Afghans.
I was told that the hospital in Kabul delivers 200 babies a day. That is an astonishing number. And they do it in very difficult circumstances. We could cut in half the maternal death rate in Afghanistan, which is the highest in the world, with relatively little money.
The next step would be more difficult and expensive, but to clearly send a signal that the United States, President Karzai, all of us around the world wish the people of Afghanistan, particularly the mothers of Afghanistan, well would be a political and strategic statement, as well as a humanitarian one. Afghans need better schools, they need more health clinics, and they're expressing that at the loya jirga.
Is the NewsMax story a hatchet job? I’m reporting; you decide.
The Simpsons I wish I can learn how to record stuff from the TV on my VCR (ever since I got cable, I don't know how). Tonight's The Simpsons was great. First, there was a mind-blowing couch gag. However, I couldn't make out what Bart was writing on the chalkboard before that. John Lovitz played Artie who was on the run from the SEC because of his Enron-like corporate practices (The initial of his corporation was tilted just like Enron's was). I laughed the loudest when one of the Flanders kids showed Homer their church's movie guide titled "What Would Jesus View?" which was written by Michael Medved (at the cineplex were the films, The Fashion of the Christ, You're in the Matrix, Charlie Brown, and The Matrix Christmas. Also, I enjoyed the gag about the 1986 Newsweek with the cover story "Why America Loves Saddam Hussein." Oh, I almost forgot, there was a hot tub scene with Artie, Newt Gingrich, Scottie Pippin, and Janeane Garofalo.
Something is Rotten in Coulter-Land When Ann Coulter's most recent column slammed Muslims for allegedly having poor hygiene, "Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of 'kill everyone who doesn't smell bad and doesn't answer to the name Mohammed')", it wasn't the first time. I noted what she said on the radio in 2002,:
Now all of this about respect. And we’re always told Muslims feel humiliated—that’s why they slaughter Americans. It really is stunning how the people with the least self-respect are those most obsessed with others paying it to them. What I find is that a little soap and indoor plumbing goes a long way for your sense of self-respect. I would recommend it over flying planes into buildings.
Let's not forget Coulter's charge in her book Treason: “The principal difference between fifth columnists in the cold war versus the war on terrorism is that you could sit next to a communist in a subway without asphyxiating.”
Kerry's People Should Engage the Enemy Yesterday, John Kerry referred to certain Republicans as "the most crooked. . . lying group I've ever seen." No problem there. After Kerry made the comment, a reporter told Sean Hannity that Kerry spokesperson David Wade singled out Hannity and Rush Limbaugh as belonging to this group. Still no problem. Both Hannity and Limbaugh are claiming this is an unfair accusation. This point is where the situation starts to become problematic. The solution: engage both Hannity and Limbaugh. The Kerry campaign has a lot of ammo if they want to back up the charge against those two. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
UPDATE: Hannity just announced on his radio show that a Kerry spokesperson will be on Hannity & Colmes tonight. If the Kerry representative is prepared, he/she will do well. If he/she is not prepared, he/she will not do well. By preparation, I'm referring to whether the person knows Hannity's record. Also, this would entail being able to counter the arguments Hannity is making on his radio show today (e.g., Hannity is calling Democrats dishonest because of Terry MacAuliffe's truthful reference to Bush's AWOL status and Howard Dean's comment that the Bush might had been warned about an eminent terrorist threat prior to 9/11).
UPDATE: Kerry Senior Advisor Michael Meehan appeared on the show. No knockouts but Meehan held his own when Hannity grilled him. When Hannity asked Meehan for examples of members of the Republican attack machine, Meehan did a good job by pointing out that Hannity gave a platform to Ted Sampley; Meehan rightly mentioned that Sampley has made numerous smears not only against John Kerry but also against Senator John McCain. Meehan should have torn into Limbaugh and Hannity when asked about them, but overall it was a strong performance.
Note: Fred Kaplan puts the lie to the charge made by Hannity, Bush, and the crooked, lying GOP attack machine that John Kerry tried to gut US intelligence in the 1990's.
I Don't Know How It Happened, But... I was not responsible for this but I found it very amusing: check out the first web site listed in Yahoo's directory for Ann Coulter. It's even listed before Coulter's personal web site.
Hiatus Thanks for all the emails. I couldn't begin to answer them all individually. I have decided to go on hiatus instead of quitting. Accordingly, for at least the next month or so, posting will be very light. In my last post, I was kind of hard on Democratic officials (another example of deadwood is my congressman, Xavier Becerra; I'm leaving my ballot blank for the Congressional candidates this fall--Becerra is sure to win).
One Democrat who is earning his keep is Robert Wexler (D-Florida). This guy knows what the score is. I was just about to leave the house yesterday when I channel-flipped to Crossfire (here's the transcript) and he brought down the house with comments such as this:
. . .[The] Miami Herald two days ago had John Kerry up seven points in the state of Florida. The state of Florida is going Democratic.
The good news is, it won't even be close this time. We're probably going to win in a landslide. And that's why some of us want to count all the votes in Florida. We're going to court to count the votes. We want a paper trail, because we're not going to allow Jeb Bush and his brother to steal another one.
Those are the kind of things Democratic officials need to be saying.
I Quit I was going to title this post, “Postmortem of Two Squandered Opportunities” but after writing this post, I have decided to make an important announcement (see the postscript). First things first, here are the postmortems:
Postmortem of Two Squandered Opportunities
THE FIRST SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITY: Last Tuesday, I was listening to Sean Hannity’s radio show. Hannity mentioned that the next night (Wednesday) would be his Salt Lake City speaking engagement for his “Hannitization of America 2004 Tour” in which Hannity is promoting his book, Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism. Hannity mentioned that in a recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune, the head of the Utah Democratic Party, Donald Dunn, had referred to Hannity as “divisive” and “a pimp for the GOP.” Hannity then informed his listeners that he had Dunn on the line and the two began to debate. The results were not pretty. Dunn was completely unprepared for the debate and he fared abysmally. He didn’t have anything concrete to support his allegations (which were truthful).
ANALYSIS: Dunn probably had at least a couple hours to prepare for his radio debate with Hannity. Common sense dictates that one of the first things that Hannity would have done was to ask Dunn to back up his allegations (which Hannity did). A quick Google search prior to the debate would have yielded a lot of ammo for Dunn. For instance, there’s a really good article from Spinsanity that takes Hannity to task. Also, a quick Google search would have informed Dunn about how Al Franken took Hannity apart in his latest book, Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them. My recent post on Hannity could have also been used. This isn’t brain surgery; this is debating a right-wing goon who has said and written many indefensible things. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Dunn failed to take these simple measures. Instead, he winged it and he took a one-way trip to palookaville. Dunn’s comments to the paper were correct; he just didn’t take the time to do the research to back them up.
THE SECOND SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITY: Dunn’s performance was so lackluster that after Hannity got off the phone with Dunn, he said that the offer was still good for a half hour debate with Dunn at his "Hannitization Tour" speaking appearance the next day. When I heard this, I immediately realized what a golden opportunity this would be to pummel this noxious butterball in front of his fans—-it would be a forum in which Hannity didn’t have his mute button (Note to readers: Hannity is not a good debater; Click here and here). I immediately e-mailed Dunn and told him to accept the debate with Hannity. I even emailed a couple of other people in the Utah Democratic Party in case Dunn’s mailbox was full.
Keep in mind: At the time Hannity made the offer, there were thirty hours until the speaking appearance. I was willing to spend the all of that time preparing Dunn for the debate. I was even willing to take a same-day flight to Salt Lake City (with money I didn’t have) and be Dunn’s stand-in in case Dunn didn’t want to debate Hannity. This would have been a perfect forum to mop the floor with Hannity. However, there was only one problem: neither Dunn nor anyone else called me (I left my phone number) or emailed me back. The debate never happened
ANALYSIS: What makes this a crying shame is that it would have been so easy to make a big impact. Because of these two squandered opportunities, Hannity was able to crow on his radio show about how he made mincemeat out of a Democratic Party official. I'm certain that when Hannity took the stage at his Salt Lake City Hannitization Tour appearance, he told the crowd about Dunn and I'm sure they all laughed about it. And why shouldn't they have laughed? It was a great day for the forces of ignorance and reaction.
POSTSCRIPT: THE CONSEQUENCES FOR THIS BLOG
If the sad episodes I just described were isolated incidences, it would be one thing. It’s not. Much of the Democratic Party establishment is out-of-touch and has no clue about politics. These people don’t know the score. What is worse is that they are getting paid to be incompetent.
Politics 101: It’s about winning. It’s about stepping up to the plate and doing what needs to be done.
I started this blog because there were too few people who were doing what needed to be done. Let me give some background: When Bill Clinton was took office in 1993, there was an unprecedented defamation campaign by right-wing operatives: 1) Some were motivated by Richard Mellon Scaife’s money: Chris Ruddy, Joseph Farah, the guys at the American Spectator; 2) Some, like Rush Limbaugh and Roger Ailes, could depend on TV viewers and radio listeners who believed in the magic of Triple Gold Bond powder; 3) Others like Jerry Falwell and Pat Matrisciana, depended on swindling churchgoing people. What resulted were paranoid accusations and an outrageous smear campaign against the Clintons. The smear campaign against Democrats and progressives has been continuous since then.
When these people were smearing the Clintons, I had no voice. Those who had a voice, liberal pundits and Democratic officials, had very little to say. This has enabled these same operatives to be mainstreamed (e.g., sure it’s silly but Ailes can claim to be the head of an objective news organization but he doesn’t face massive ridicule for it by the mainstream media).
In 2001, I had enough. I was in a good-paying administrative position and I threw it away because I held to the novel idea that these people should pay a price. Since then, I’ve been writing this blog and doing flunky jobs to just get by. I did things on this blog—not because I wanted to--but because no one else was doing them. Anyone out there who thinks I don’t have anything better to do than to listen to right-wing talk radio and transcribe the hate speech is mistaken. I do it because--in many cases--if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
It sticks in my craw how I’m scrapping by on nickels and dimes and there are so many in politics are benefiting from treachery (e.g., click here and here) or hackdom (most Democratic officials and most mainstream liberal pundits). Screw that. I thank all of those who have supported this site over the past two years.
I’ve got bills to pay and debts to reconcile. I have decided to look for a real job and no longer devote any more time or energy to politics for the foreseeable future. Adios
Rush Limbaugh Accuses 9/11 Widows of Being "Coached" Today on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh accused widows of 9/11 victims who criticized the new Bush/Cheney ad that included images of the WTC of "sounding like operatives" and said that it was obvious that they were all faxed talking points--supposedly by Democrats. More later.
UPDATE: In the second hour of the show, Limbaugh clearly went from speculation to accusation. Limbaugh said: "It sounds to me, like not only were these women coached, but it sounds to me like somebody fed them to the networks. This just doesn't happen. This is too random. . . It sounds to me like the Democrats have rolled the dice and came up roses that Bush was going to do an ad like this and that they have been planning this in response.
3/12 UPDATE:Read this:
Rush Limbaugh, like the RNC, Wall Street Journal and New York Post, has taken to attacking family members of 9/11 victims for criticizing President Bush for using 9/11 images in his campaign ads. In a radio program this week, Limbaugh said the families were being funded by Teresa Heinz Kerry and berated two family members after playing audio clips of them criticizing Bush: "These people are poisoned. They have literally been poisoned by their hate. They have been poisoned by their rage. It is unbelievable, the depths to which they will sink," Limbaugh said, without identifying the two women.
In an op-ed, Allan P. Duncan does a good job of exposing the conservative conspiracy theory about the 9/11 families. First, Duncan says, the two women Rush attacked but didn't identify were Kristen Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle, "both members of the Family Steering Committee for the 9-11 Commission, and not members of the group Limbaugh claims received funding from Teresa Heinz Kerry. That group, according to news reports that began hitting the wires on March 6th was September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows."
Christian Publishing House Uncovered as Apologist for Racists and Conspiracy Nuts Over a year ago, I uncovered how the respected Christian publishing House, Thomas Nelson Publishing, had prostituted its integrity by joining forces with conspiracy nut and hatemonger Joseph Farah and his organization WorldNetDaily. I pointed out that what made this particularly egregious was that one of the first books published by this unholy alliance was Michael Savage’s scurrilous (and barely coherent) book, The Savage Nation (Thomas Nelson and WND recently published Savage’s latest book, The Enemy Within). Unbelievable as it may seem, Thomas Nelson Publishing has outdone itself yet again with its announcement of the publication of Richard Poe’s Hillary's Secret War: The Clinton Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists which is due out next month (Poe is a former editor of David Horowitz’s FrontPageMagazine). I have only read the forward and description of the book, but based on this limited information, I can conclude that this book is an apologia for smearmongers and racists of the worst kind and one that whitewashes their nefarious activities. Of course, since I haven’t read the book yet, I could be wrong, but I am willing to bet my life that I am giving an accurate description of the book (as George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “You don’t have to eat the whole egg to know that it’s rotten").
From her own “war room” in the White House, Hillary Clinton commanded a secret police operation dedicated to silencing dissent, muzzling media critics, intimidating political foes, whitewashing Clinton scandals, and obstructing justice. Hillary's operatives infiltrated every level of the news media, federal law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and the federal court system. . .They looked upon the “unregulated” datastream of cyberspace as a threat to their power, potentially devastating in its ability to bypass the controlled, corporate media. For that reason, Hillary's secret police persecuted Internet dissidents with special ferocity. . .Mainstream news media spiked the story of Hillary’s secret war—and of the scandals she sought to conceal. But the courageous new journalists of the Internet underground defied the odds and exposed the shocking truth about history’s most corrupt presidency. This is their story.
Whose story is it? According to the Jim Robinson’s forward (see addendum), it is the story of the “courageous new journalists” Christopher Ruddy, Joseph Farah, Matt Drudge, Judge Jim Johnson, David Horowitz, and Robinson himself. For those of you familiar with this web site, what I’m about to write is old news, but it’s important to go over these matters.
Next is Judge Jim Johnson. Johnson, a longtime foe of the Clintons, is a deranged and virulent racist who courted the KKK during his gubernatorial campaign. His writings have included comparisons of African-Americans to apes. Johnson was one of the interviewees in the discredited Clinton Chronicles video (more on this later). Conason and Lyons have a good profile of Johnson in their book The Hunting of the President.
Matt Drudge is Matt Drudge. I had the pleasure of personally questioning Drudge about journalistic ethics and truth telling. Click here and here.
Jim Robinson runs the Free Republic web site. The Free Republic is a major repository for these bizarre conspiracy theories--especially the Clinton Body Count. A case in point is Robinson’s absurd forward. Just one example, in the forward, Robinson writes of “journalists getting knocked upside the head in hotels” supposedly by Hillary’s “secret police operation.” Robinson is referring to TNR’s reporter L.J. Davis who was covering Whitewater. The only problem is that it didn’t happen. Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page also spread this canard before it was debunked (no retractions or apologies from either party). Where’s the fucking editor from Thomas Nelson?
Addendum: I have reprinted the entire Jim Robinson forward from Poe’s website, despite Poe’s warning that “[t]his excerpt may not be reproduced or published, on or offline, except by permission of the publisher.” So sue me, Poe. Here are Robinson’s deranged words in their entirety:
HILLARY'S SECRET WAR by Richard Poe is the first book I’ve read that really pulls together the story of the Internet underground during the Clinton years. I was thrilled to read it. This story has never been told before, and I’m proud to say that I was part of it, in my own small way.
We poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into building FreeRepublic.com and organizing a cyber-community of tens of thousands of Freeper activists all over the United States. We didn’t do that job to win medals or accolades. We did it because it had to be done, just like we went to Vietnam – those of us who went -- because that job had to be done too.
To tell the truth, I was ready to go to my grave knowing that everything we accomplished at Free Republic might be forgotten. That was OK with me. What mattered was doing the job, not getting credit for it. Still, when I read Richard’s book for the first time, it kind of choked me up a little bit, because I saw that somebody had been paying attention; somebody recognized what we were doing. Somebody knew that the Freepers were fighting for liberty on the Internet, just as we veterans fought for freedom in Vietnam. That made me feel pretty good.
For me, it was fascinating to read about the lives and struggles of others involved in this movement that Richard calls the New Underground—people like Chris Ruddy, Joe Farah, Matt Drudge, David Horowitz, J. J. Johnson, and all the rest. Believe it or not, I don’t really know any of those people. I met Drudge once and J. J. Johnson once. But as for Ruddy and Farah, it’s been an e-mail here, a phone call there. And I don’t think I ever communicated with David Horowitz at all.
Hillary says that we’re a vast right-wing conspiracy, but if there’s a conspiracy going on, they sure never let me in on it. I hear Richard Mellon Scaife has given money to a lot of fine causes and organizations, and good for him, but he sure hasn’t thrown any my way.
When it comes to networking and conspiring, I’m not much good at it. It’s hard enough just trying to get Freepers to work together. How do you get tens of thousands of individualists to cooperate on something, each with his or her own opinion and agenda? Trying to keep the Freepers pulling in the same direction is like trying to herd cats.
I love all the details in Richard’s book about the other Web sites and their owners. Reading their stories was eye opening for me. I was so busy fighting my own skirmishes, I didn’t have much time to survey the battlefield as a whole. Hillary’s Secret War showed me that the persecution we endured at Free Republic was part of a bigger picture.
Of course, I knew about Hillary and her secret police. We all knew that. Way back in the early ’90s on the Prodigy message board, we were already talking about how it seemed that Hillary was pulling all the strings. But her war on media dissidents, both on and off the Internet, really was a secret war, just as Richard says. Most people in America had no idea it was going on.
They didn’t know what kinds of pressures and harassment people faced when they tried to speak out and tell the truth about Clinton corruption. Even many of us who were directly involved in the dissident media didn’t always have the perspective to fit the pieces together—the threats and intimidation, the IRS audits, burglaries, lawsuits, surveillance, infiltration, the smear campaigns, false arrests, journalists getting knocked upside the head in hotels, even a lot of folks mysteriously ending up dead.
Now, I want to make one thing clear. I’m not really big on conspiracy theory. If I’m going to believe something, there’s got to be some meat and potatoes to it. I sincerely doubt that Hillary ever personally ordered anyone killed. I just don’t want to believe that Hillary is that rotten. And I don’t think Richard Poe jumps to that conclusion either.
But there were definitely forces at work in America that killed to protect the Clintons and their secrets. Richard doesn’t pull any punches in writing about that. Whether those forces were Chinese intelligence or Dixie Mafia, or whatever they were, I can only guess. But they were out there. And if Hillary ever said to her subordinates, "Gee, I wish such-and-such person would just go away and disappear," I don’t doubt there were people in the kind of circles she moved in who might take a statement like that seriously and do something about it.
Hillary is the godmother of the Clinton crime family. There is no question about it. That’s why she said we need gatekeepers and editors on the Internet. Hillary has a lot to hide and she knows she can’t control the Internet the way she controls Dan Rather. The invention of the printing press freed the masses from the gatekeepers of old. Now anyone with a computer and Internet connection wields the equivalent of his own printing press, along with a worldwide distribution network.
Web sites such as The DrudgeReport, WorldNetDaily, NewsMax, FrontPageMagazine, Lucianne, FreeRepublic, and countless others have given voice to millions of liberty-minded individuals. Underground pamphleteers ignited the flames of revolution in 1776. Now the Internet is fanning those flames all over again. And that’s bad news for Hillary.
She knows she can’t get back in the White House unless she shuts us down first. The secret war Richard writes about is still going on. It died down a little bit when Bush took office, but it’s just the lull before the storm. We know the storm is coming, and we’re getting ready for it.
Random Notes I went to see the limos drop off Oscars guests yesterday. It's always fun but a bit of an anti-climax from two years ago. I saw some Edwards and Kucinich people but nobody from the Kerry campaign . . . I'm not into fantasy films or Tolkien so I skipped all three Lord of the Rings films. I just wish that City of God received one Academy Award. See this film. . . Today on the Radio Factor, Bill O'Reilly called for a boycott of Anheuser-Busch because it is using gansta rapper Ludacris as a spokesman for Budweiser. No problem there. Boycotts are as American as apple pie, Ludacris is a misogynistic (and misanthropic) clown (I think I saw him when I crashed the 2 Fast 2 Furious premiere after-party), and Bud beer sucks (I'm a Corona man). . . John Emerson has a good post on Ted Sampley and his phony Vietnam Veterans against Kerry.
Looking over this book, I'm reminded of the ballroom scene in the 1967 movie, "The Fearless Vampire Killers". Here, the doofy old professor and his hapless young assistant have infiltrated a fancy dress ball of the vampires--in a mirrored ballroom. Bewigged and clad in 18th century garb like the rest; they continue dancing away, heedless of their reflections in the mirrors. As the music and dancing grind to a halt and everyone glares at them, they finally notice what's wrong. The professor's reaction is to start pirouetting again while edging towards an exit. Then the two break into a run while the horde chases after them.
Given the timing of this preposterous book, Mr. Podhoretz must feel like the professor, as public confidence in our Fearless Leader fall faster than price of Enron stock. The author must feel a certain kinship with George W. Bush, considering that they are both are sons of famous fathers, devoid of any other distinction. Both have spent almost their entire adult lives in sinecure jobs without any real responsibility. (Mr. Bush as an ornament on the boards of Harken Energy and the Texas Rangers baseball team; Mr. Podhoretz grinding out hackwork for first, Sun Myung Moon, and later, Rupert Murdoch.)
But I digress... Now this book would scarcely be worth a second glance except for Mr. Podhoretz's smelly little habit of imputing anti-Semitism to critics of Mr. Bush's splendid little war in Iraq. I have no brief to make for critics such as Michael Lind, who I think is harsh--even unfair--in his criticism of the Sharon government and it's more frantic American boosters. But there is an enormous and unbridgable gulf between offenses such as this, and openly expressed wishes that Israel be wiped off the map, or accusations that all Jews all over the world are conspiring with Israel to control governments everywhere. Considering neoconservatives (Yes, Virginia; there really are such things!) rightly decry critics of affirmative action being painted as racists, one would think that they might be a bit more cautious not to smear others in like manner. But flacking for George W. Bush evidently means abandoning all sense, decency, or dignity.
Perhaps if Mr. Bush wins reelection, Mr. Podhoretz can giggle at the thought that crime does indeed pay, but the long term result will be to make the phrase 'anti-Semitism' as debased as the word 'racism' has already become. This is something genuine anti-Semites (and racists) will exult in.