Jingo All The Way

Not content with French-bashing, it seems the neo-cons are shifting their hands-off policy towards gays. This item from Lloyd Grove's Reliable Source in The Washington Post:
Drudging Up Personal Details

Some folks in the White House were apparently hopping mad when ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman did a story on Tuesday's "World News Tonight" about the plummeting morale of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq.

So angry, in fact, that the next day, a White House operative alerted cyber-gossip Matt Drudge to the fact that Kofman is not only openly gay, he's Canadian.

Yesterday Drudge told us he was unaware of the ABC story until "someone from the White House communications shop tipped me to it" along with a profile of Kofman in the gay-oriented magazine the Advocate. On Wednesday, for 6 hours 38 minutes, the Drudge Report bannered Kofman's widely quoted ABC story -- in which enlisted people questioned the Army's credibility and one irked soldier went on camera to call on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign -- and linked to the Advocate piece with the understated headline "ABC NEWS REPORTER WHO FILED TROOP COMPLAINT STORY IS CANADIAN."

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan "is having a rough first week," Drudge said. "The White House press office is under new management and has become slightly more aggressive about contacting reporters. This story has certainly become talk radio fodder about the cultural wars-slash-liberal bias in the media."

A network insider was less sanguine about the White House tactic: "Playing hardball is one thing. But appealing to homophobia and jingoism is simply ugly."

Kofman said from Baghdad, where he is covering the 3rd Infantry Division: "This morning I had a meeting with one of the commanding officers and we talked about my report and the response back home. He said he'd read about it on the Drudge Report and had just one question. 'Is it true that you're Canadian?' I just smiled and said, 'My life is an open book.' "

ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told us: "Sadly, when people feel wounded by a truthful report, they attempt to attack the messenger." A White House spokesman, meanwhile, disavowed the incident: "This is the first we've heard of it, and it would be totally inappropriate if true."

Yeah yeah yeah. Like we can believe anything that comes out of this administration. But hey, I guess gays can't serve in the millitary -- or write about it.

And this quote, from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), opining on the prospect of gay marriage in Massachusetts, and holding up various fingers to illustrate his points, during a news conference in the Capitol yesterday, from Wednesday's Grove column:
"Marriage is very simple: one man and one woman. Not two men or three men or four men or one man or one woman or two women and three women or three women and three men. It's not that. It's one man, one woman."
Thanks, Bill. That's clear as, ummm, champagne. Four more years of these clowns and 1955, here we come!!!! Woohoo! But hey, it's nice to watch the "compassionate" veneer chip away from the GOP, showing them for what they really are: dividers, not uniters.

UPDATE: Rove must have forced Scott McClellan into a seizure, who in turn must have taken Drudge's head off. Drudge seems to have pulled the story off his site completely. I've searched for any trace of the story and it is gone. Thanks again for the scoop, Mister Grove. If anyone finds a link, please let me know!

RETALIATION BEGINS: This story from the SF Chronicle regarding Pentagon retaliation against GIs who spoke out to the media. I shouldn't be shocked, but I am. I sincerely hope that Howard Dean denounces this behavior towards our over-taxed troops that have been lied to repeatedly by Rummy & Co.



Read My Lips: Trust, Honor & Dignity

There has been unfortunately little posting on the blogs today about the following George Bush quote from this story in the Washinton Post offered as a justification for war with Iraq:
"We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."
Salon.com's Joe Conason has this to say:
Now a presidential statement so frontally at variance with the universally acknowledged facts obviously presents a problem for the White House press corps. He wasn't joking, and he didn't sound disoriented or unwell. Although Dana Priest and Dana Milbank wrote the story as delicately as they possibly could, they couldn't make it seem less weird:

The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective."
What possessed the president to make an assertion that everyone on the planet knows to be untrue? And who is going to take the responsibility for this one? Did George Tenet vet Bush's statement? Do the British have a secret dossier proving that Saddam never actually admitted Hans Blix and the UNMOVIC teams? Will Condi Rice or Donald Rumsfeld show up on Fox News next weekend to explain why Bush's statement is "technically accurate," even though he shouldn't have said it?

As hard to explain as what Bush said is the press corps' failure to report his stunning gaffe. The sentence quoted above doesn't appear in today's New York Times report, for example. Yet there is no question about what he said -- undoubtedly to the amazement of both Kofi Annan, who was sitting beside him at the time, and the dozens of reporters who were present during their brief joint press conference.
Another recent president once said something that was blatantly untrue, if fairly trivial, and the videotape of his statement was replayed again, and again, and again, and again...
Howard over at Hoffmania! has this to say:
So the main cause for war WASN'T:

Weapons of mass destruction, buying yellowcake from Niger, the oppression of the Iraqi people, Saddam threatening Bush I, harboring and training al Qaida, selling nukes to terrorists, direct or indirect help with 9/11, Saddam making crank calls to Cheney, or disarming Saddam of...well...nothing we can find.
And so, my final point: with this quote, and Nigergate, and no WsMD to be found, will Dubya's campaign promise...
"I will bring honor to the process and honor to the office I seek. I will remind Al Gore that Americans do not want a White House where there is 'no controlling legal authority.' I will repair the broken bonds of trust between Americans and their government"
....become as emblematic as his father's promise of "Read my lips: no new taxes!" eventually became?

I mean, Dubya ran on this statement as much as Clinton ran on "It's the economy, stupid." And lies aside, this administarion clearly exagerrated, and they ran their 2000 campaign against Al Gore by defining him as a serial exagerrator that couldn't be trusted.

Hey, George, it's about trust, honor and dignity, stupid. Remember?



The McGovernator

Okay, okay, I know that McGovern can be a sensitive topic for Dean lovers, but this LA Times op ed hit me like a two-by-four while visiting with friends in LA this weekend. I actually read it aloud to a large-ish group of largely non-political but progressive friends who knew little about Dean, and it really floored them all. This of course launched a larger conversation about Dean himself, and we picked up some supporters! I realiized while we chatted that not one of us in the crowd was older than ten during the 1972 election, and most of us were far younger. None of us really knew some of the facts that McGovern relates so effectively in this essay. Though McGovern does not -- wisely, I think -- mention Dean by name, it is hard to imagine that he is not a Dean fan. Snips:
These days, my name is back in the news. I'm being held up as some kind of sober warning to Democratic candidates. Don't be another George McGovern, the warning goes. Don't be too liberal. Don't be too outspoken. Watch what you say and play to the middle, so that you don't end up losing 49 states, too.

It may not surprise you that I regard this as political baloney. I said exactly what I believed in 1972. I told the truth while my opponent betrayed the American public and violated the law repeatedly, engaging in campaign finance dishonesty and illegal wiretapping, invading the confidential files of a doctor, urging the CIA to halt an FBI investigation — to say nothing of running unethical and unlimited campaign advertising that distorted my positions on major issues. These kinds of tactics got him elected — but they also made him the only president in our history forced to resign in disgrace.


Of course, we all like to win — especially against great odds. And I think it's extremely important for the Democrats to win in 2004. But not at the price of their souls. I won a lot of elections in my life, many of them as a liberal in conservative South Dakota, by saying what I believed. As a junior senator from a sparsely settled farm state, I won the presidential nomination in a field of 17 tough contenders, including Hubert Humphrey, Ed Muskie and Henry Jackson. I began with these words: "I make one pledge above all others: to seek and speak the truth."


Nixon had said in seeking the presidency in 1968 that he had a secret plan for ending the war. But once in office, he continued the war for four more years, during which time we suffered the loss of 40% of the Americans who died in that war. I believe that despite my loss, my campaign in 1972 made clear to the public, Congress and the world that nearly 30 million Americans wanted a president who would end the war immediately. No war could have continued long after that election.


I also wish more of our elected officials would raise hard questions about the Patriot Act, which really ought to be called the Anti-Bill of Rights Act. Some searching questions should also be directed to the so-called Homeland Security Act, which has created an enormous, costly bureaucracy that will add little to our security while increasing taxes and red tape.

With the 2004 race about to begin in earnest, I would only add: Give me a presidential candidate who speaks the truth as he sees it and I'll show you a candidate whose campaign, win or lose, will be good for the nation.
I'm glad that McGovern is here with us and chose to defend his real record rather than allow the Republican and DLC spin to stick without a fight. It's well worth a full read.

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