Friday, July 09, 2004

Disappointed: My Democratic Convention Press Credentials Have Been Rescinded

Disappointed: My Democratic Convention Press Credentials Have Been Rescinded

I was ready to tell you the good news-- that I would be going to Boston to officially cover the convention as a blogger. I had received a letter of confirmation from the Convention officials and was beginning to make travel plans. Unfortunately, there were a number of bloggers who had been offered credentials who had to be cut because the officials had accepted more bloggers than they could accommodate. Thus, they acted as quickly as possible to notify people of their error.

So I will not be one of the first-ever batch of bloggers to cover a National Convention.

Am I disappointed?

You bet.

Am I happy to have been considered as a fitting candidate?

Most certainly.

As it stands, I'll be watching the Convention from here in my lovely city of Syracuse and commenting from my easy-chair. (The next best thing to being there.) I have blogging-acquaintances who will be there to provide great insight and am very excited to see them getting recognition as the new and exciting brand of journalists they are.

You can read all about the Convention bloggers at Daily Kos and PressThink.

And here at CBS.

And here at the Boston Globe.

The Buzzmachine thinks all the disinvited bloggers should be reinstated.

Quote of the Day- Kenneth S. Baer

Quote of the Day- Kenneth S. Baer

"A candidate must appeal to those who wear trucker hats because they are fashionable, as well as those who are actually truckers; those whose Sunday morning ritual includes brunch and The New York Times, and those whose Sunday rituals take place in church; those who believe a bass is an integral part of a jazz combo, and those who believe it’s something to catch and release with buddies over a beer."

--American Prospect writer Kenneth S. Baer, explaining how Senator John Edwards helps the Democratic ticket appeal to both the cosmopolitan and the provincial.


According to Adam Nagourney, the Kerry camp sees John Edwards helping with the rural vote.

Rove thinks Bush has the November election sewn up

Rove thinks Bush has the November election sewn up
...but what happens if the values begin to unravel?

According to ABC's Political Note, The Associated Press' Ron Fournier did an interview with Karl Rove at some point on Thursday. Rove told Mr Fournier "the conditions for a Bush victory are all there -- a strong economy, an improving position in the global war on terror and a growing sense that there are sharp and clear differences in values between the two campaigns".

Values seems to be an important new addition to the Bush campaign strategy (along with a resurging economy and a hoped-for improvement in Iraq security.)

Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post talks about the Values issue today in his column.

"The theme increasingly running through President Bush's public messages these days (even more than his constant insistence that he is optimistic) is that his values are America's values.
Bush is hoping to persuade American voters that his own morality, faith and patriotism stand in contrast to Senator John F. Kerry's and more closely mirror their own. It's a powerful assertion.
But it's an assertion that is vehemently challenged by Democrats -- and it may have some risks.
Imagine what would happen if, for instance, it were to turn out that Bush was using terror warnings for political purposes; or if he shirked his National Guard duty in Vietnam; or if one of his top aides were charged with outing a CIA operative as an act of political retaliation; or if he is perceived as being part and parcel with the likes of indicted former Enron Corp. Chairman Kenneth L. Lay..."

I gave that some thought...Ken Lay....recently trotted out in handcuffs for all America to see....

I wonder what the American people would think of Bush-values if they heard about 1997, when Karl Rove, (then TX Gov. Bush's closest political advisor), went to someone at Enron and asked that person to hire Ralph Reed, who was just leaving his job as head of the Christian Coalition. The Enron gig was a biggie for Mr. Reed. According to Robert Bryce at

"As one of his first clients, Enron gave his new outfit, Century Strategies, instant credibility. It also put Reed squarely on the Bush/Rove/Lay team. And in those days, as Bush was cranking up his presidential run, having Reed on his side was critically important. Lay could explain why Enron decided to hire Reed. He could tell us whether Rove offered him any quid pro quo. He could also offer his opinion on whether Reed was worth the expense and describe exactly what Reed did for Enron. Finally, he could explain why, just a few months before Enron filed for bankruptcy, Reed was given an additional contract, this one paying him $30,000 per month plus expenses."

You can read David Corn's 7 July article on The Democrats' V-Word HERE.

OUTFOXED: Press Release/Eric Alterman

OUTFOXED: Press Release
Republican Bias at Fox News Documented in New Film

Source:; Center for American Progress
Friday July 9, 12:29 pm ET
Former Fox Journalists, Internal Memos to Blow the Whistle on Fox Partisan Bias
Progressives Call for Media Reform



See Eric Alterman's "Think Again: Media Concentration: The Repudiation of Mr. Powell" HERE.

"The Center for American Progress, the World Policy Institute and the American Prospect will sponsor an all-star panel discussion on this issue, preceding an airing of a new documentary by Robert Greenwald, "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism." The hope is to find some common ground for media activists, interested citizens, and journalists and intellectuals concerned about the future of a democratic and diverse media. The issue could hardly be more crucial than during an election year. As former FCC member Nicholas Johnson frequently notes, "Whatever your first issue of concern, media had better be your second, because without change in the media, progress in your primary area is far less likely."

UPDATE: July 11th WP article

NYT Magazine- How to Make a Guerilla Documentary

Editor and Publisher article about OUTFOXED

Valerie Plame Watch

Valerie Plame Watch

As you probably know, Valerie Plame was the CIA agent whose identity was leaked to journalists (Bob Novak used her best) in an attempt to counter allegations by her
husband (Joseph Wilson) about Bush administration exaggerations on the alleged purchase of yellowcake from Niger (as used badly in Bush's 2002 State of the Union speech).

In American Prospect, Murray S. Waas says that before a special counsel was appointed to lead the investigation, John Ashcroft was getting frequent, detailed updates "relating to the potential culpability of several close political associates in the Bush administration..." and that "Ashcroft was provided extensive details of an FBI interview of Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's chief political advisor." "In addition, sources said, Ashcroft received a briefing regarding copious notes maintained by I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney."

Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post says:

Waas writes that some of Libby's notes describe efforts to discredit Wilson by the mysterious cabal known as the White House Iraq Group. Little is known about that group beyond what Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus wrote in The Washington Post last August. But it included Rove, Libby, adviser Karen Hughes and other top White House players.

Anyway, once Ashcroft bowed to political pressure and appointed U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald as a special counsel, the briefings ended.

And as Waas writes, "Fitzgerald's intentions currently remain one of the most tightly held secrets in Washington."

Democrats far too passive on Senate Intelligence investigation

Democrats far too passive on Senate Intelligence investigation

At Salon, Mary Jacoby is making a point to which I believe we need to pay close attention. As I reported yesterday, there are two official WMD-related reports coming out soon. One is due today from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Ms Jacoby reveals, through unnamed sources, that the Democrats in the Senate are not being as forceful as they should be in looking out for the people's best interests. Once again (as in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion), our Democratic representatives in the Senate are wimping out on us. They're allowing Senator Pat Roberts and his GOP partners on the Intelligence Committee to blame it all on bad intelligence and delay the next phase ("Phase Two"), which will be examining the administration's decision to invade Iraq (using/abusing the bad intelligence). The Senate Democrats "laid the groundwork for their own political defeat" last February when they agreed to delay the second phase of the investigation until after this November's election.

Senator Roberts has allegedly been back-pedaling on "Phase Two" of this committee investigation, but the resolution establishing the committee clearly has extended its purview to the "use of information" about "collected, analyzed, produced and disseminated intelligence." A former Democratic aide is quoted as saying about the current report: "....they tried to put a bipartisan patina on it, but anybody who accepts that on face value is out of touch.." The Republicans are running the show on this committee and while we know it, most of the general public will only hear what the GOP wants them to hear.

The saddest part of the story is that our Democratic representation has wimped out again.
As the unnamed Democratic source told Ms Jacoby for this article, the Democrats need to push the envelope. I've commented previously (on Iddybud blog) that I felt Jay Rockefeller was too lame and tame on this issue and I don't see that he's changed one iota since.

An excerpt from the article will show you what I mean:

Roberts will argue that the report puts to rest the question of whether President Bush misled the nation about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Instead, it was Bush who was misled by the Central Intelligence Agency, Roberts will contend. He will also note that of 200 intelligence analysts interviewed by the panel, none said they were ordered by the administration to tailor their reports to bolster the argument for war.

Rockefeller will parry that the issue is more complicated. Did the administration's predetermination that Iraq was a threat influence a politically pliable intelligence bureaucracy to produce judgments that would support that conclusion? And what about those intelligence analysts who said they felt no pressure -- did the committee ask them the right questions? Perhaps no one directly told them to change their conclusions, Rockefeller will argue, but it's less clear whether they faced more subtle institutional pressures to exaggerate the threat.

..According to Democratic sources... the committee focused narrowly on whether analysts were given direct orders to change wording. The panel did not explore the more nuanced question of whether institutional pressures and politics played a role in shaping the analysis. Rockefeller is expected to maintain that because the White House started from the premise that war was necessary, the intelligence bureaucracy was under pressure to tell policymakers what they wanted to hear.

Those questions of Senator Rockefeller's will be all well and good....but we know we won't have any answers until well after November, 2004 (and perhaps no investigation at all).

Remember the old song that goes "Johnny get angry...Johnny get mad...!" I can't imagine Senator Rockefeller getting "mad" and giving Pat Roberts the "biggest lecture he ever had". His passivity on this intelligence investigation, along with his Democratic counterparts, could prove a costly error for John Kerry's presidential campaign.

I want a brave man.

I want a cave man.

Democrats will be BIG losers as long as they timidly allow the GOP continue to whitewash their crimes (including theft of internal Democratic memos) and run away unscarred.

To our Troops on July 4: "We didn't want this for you."

To our Troops on 4 July:
"We didn't want this for you."

....and we tried to stop it...."

Independence Day
4 July, 2004
by Todd Schneider

This an unsettling day for me. It is a day wrapped up in an American flag - a symbol of our great Republic and (most importantly) our Constitution. But this dear symbol of ours, which we all hope represents goodness and mercy to all those outside our borders, and a symbol of pride to we citizens when it does represent these ideals, has become little more than a propaganda tool for commerce and Machiavellian politicians.

It is an unsettling day because the stories of my ancestors are entwined with the stories of our great nation's flag, and its military endeavors; some necessary, and some not so. I have a grandfather (Gx4) who was a hero of the revolution, and his son a volunteer in the war of 1812. I have an ancestor that died from eating poison pies made by the women (what our government would call 'insurgents' today) of Perote Mexico, while marching on Mexico City with Winfield Scott in the questionable Mexican War. And I have a Gx3 uncle who was one of the first group of union soldiers interred at Andersonville. He died there. His grave is #2183. I am the keeper of these dead ancestors' stories. I love the memory of their honor, loyalty and sacrifice. And these are ideals that I've always made certain that my sons understood - ideals that hold more value than all others.

But something has changed, and it has changed me. What has changed is our current administration's brazen use of our military as a corporate and electioneering tool. Likewise, in the private sector, the Bishops of the Church of Never-Ending Consumption have consciously decided to use our flag as a gimmick in order to sell something - anything to a public that so much wants to do the right thing by being patriotic.

Now, I have just enough education to know that the use of our military for questionable purposes is not unprecedented in our country's history. As long as we have the danger of war, we will have the military, and the chance they will be misused. In the extreme view, some would say that the military will always be misused, therefore should not exist. I do not share this view, because WE DID help to stop Hitler, and I would hope that we could stop another tyrant bent on world domination if we have to. But what bothers me so intensely is that the bush administration has openly and unapologetically used our young men and women and a sense of ultra-nationalism to enrich their contributors and demand the full and uncompromising loyalty of the electorate.

Today, with all I have come to know about matters of ultra-nationalism, patrioteering, vote-pandering and greed, I have been forced to look at things very skeptically, and I don't feel comfortable with my own tainted view. But unless we have a change in leadership, I'm afraid there's no turning back. When I see the National Guard folks leaving from Stow, I have to wonder whether they are leaving in service to a citizenry that loves them, or are they off to be pawns in some commercial exploitation scheme. Worse yet, are they an election tool for an administration that seems bent on dispensing with Democracy? And similarly, when I gaze upon a well intentioned person with an American flag-adorned garment, or see a car with an appliqué American flag on it's door, do they not know that they disrespect the flag according to Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8 of the United States Code? Okay, maybe they don't, but you can almost bet the company that manufactured them did.

So, I am here today to say to our military people that I am sorry. I am sorry that my feelings have changed, and it's not your fault. It's the fault of unscrupulous merchants and a more unscrupulous band of politicians and their strategists that have made a conscious decision to exploit our sense of loyalty and duty. We do love you, and didn't want you to go to this war that will forever color what our military represents to the world. We knew you might be killed. We knew that you might be horribly wounded. We knew that you might be in a position to do things that are not your nature and may suffer inside because of it. We didn't want this for you, and we tried to stop it. And when my heart less than 'swells with pride' when I view public displays of patriotism, please forgive me. It's not you. And it’s certainly not our wonderful land, with all its blessings. This is between me and Karl Rove, Karen Hughes and Dick Cheney.

On the other hand, to those who use patriotism for their political and commercial advantage, there will be no apologies from me or my family. What you do is a disgrace, and cheapens everything in the American ideal. The act of using patriotism for personal gain is itself a dishonest act that preys on the most vulnerable natures of our citizens, and is a most dreadful stunt indeed We will fight this evil sleight of hand in discussion, by boycott and at the polls.

Used with the author's permission