Dover Bitch

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's like a huge tax gap

While everybody talks about Bush selling our ports to the U.A.E and questions whether this administration is putting profits over our national security interests, DB thinks it might be a good time to reflect back on this exchange:

LEHRER: We'll come back to Iraq in a moment. But I want to come back to where I began, on homeland security. This is a two-minute new question, Senator Kerry.

As president, what would you do, specifically, in addition to or differently to increase the homeland security of the United States than what President Bush is doing?

KERRY: Jim, let me tell you exactly what I'll do. And there are a long list of thing. First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you have $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq, and the president is cutting the COPS program in America?

What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq, but we're shutting firehouses who are the first- responders here in America.

The president hasn't put one nickel, not one nickel into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most exposed subway systems. That's why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there. We hadn't done the work that ought to be done.

The president -- 95 percent of the containers that come into the ports, right here in Florida, are not inspected. Civilians get onto aircraft, and their luggage is X-rayed, but the cargo hold is not X- rayed.

Does that make you feel safer in America?

This president thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in America a tax cut rather than invest in homeland security. Those aren't my values. I believe in protecting America first.

And long before President Bush and I get a tax cut -- and that's who gets it -- long before we do, I'm going to invest in homeland security and I'm going to make sure we're not cutting COPS programs in America and we're fully staffed in our firehouses and that we protect the nuclear and chemical plants.

The president also unfortunately gave in to the chemical industry, which didn't want to do some of the things necessary to strengthen our chemical plant exposure.

And there's an enormous undone job to protect the loose nuclear materials in the world that are able to get to terrorists. That's a whole other subject, but I see we still have a little bit more time.

Let me just quickly say, at the current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union -- former Soviet Union for 13 years. I'm going to do it in four years. And we're going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists.

LEHRER: Ninety-second response, Mr. President.

BUSH: I don't think we want to get to how he's going to pay for all these promises. It's like a huge tax gap. Anyway, that's for another debate.

My administration has tripled the amount of money we're spending on homeland security to $30 billion a year.

My administration worked with the Congress to create the Department of Homeland Security so we could better coordinate our borders and ports. We've got 1,000 extra border patrol on the southern border; want 1,000 on the northern border. We're modernizing our borders.

We spent $3.1 billion for fire and police, $3.1 billion.

We're doing our duty to provide the funding.

But the best way to protect this homeland is to stay on the offense.

You know, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. And the enemy only has to be right once to hurt us.

There's a lot of good people working hard.

And by the way, we've also changed the culture of the FBI to have counterterrorism as its number one priority. We're communicating better. We're going to reform our intelligence services to make sure that we get the best intelligence possible.

The Patriot Act is vital -- is vital that the Congress renew the Patriot Act which enables our law enforcement to disrupt terror cells.

But again, I repeat to my fellow citizens, the best way to protection is to stay on the offense.

LEHRER: Yes, let's do a little -- yes, 30 seconds.

KERRY: The president just said the FBI had changed its culture. We just read on the front pages of America's papers that there are over 100,000 hours of tapes, unlistened to. On one of those tapes may be the enemy being right the next time.

And the test is not whether you're spending more money. The test is, are you doing everything possible to make America safe?

We didn't need that tax cut. America needed to be safe.

BUSH: Of course we're doing everything we can to protect America. I wake up every day thinking about how best to protect America. That's my job.

I work with Director Mueller of the FBI; comes in my office when I'm in Washington every morning, talking about how to protect us. There's a lot of really good people working hard to do so.

It's hard work. But, again, I want to tell the American people, we're doing everything we can at home, but you better have a president who chases these terrorists down and bring them to justice before they hurt us again.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

There was a war?

Who then will control the Democrats' crazies? Give those guys committee gavels, and they will be as manic about investigating the Bush administration as Republicans were about investigating the Clinton administration. (Do you remember Whitewater? Can you say anything about what was at issue?) Furthermore, there might be a noisy and not negligible cohort pushing for impeachment of President Bush for such high crimes and misdemeanors as the premise of the war with Iraq and the presence of Dick Cheney. Short-term memory loss being a bipartisan affliction, Democrats probably would not remember that the public was so annoyed by Republican attempts to impeach Bill Clinton for his glandular excesses, Democrats actually gained House seats in the first post-Monica election.

George Will is, in this blogger's opinion, on the wrong side of a majority of debates. But they're real debates and that is to Will's credit.

DB will hold off on the praise this time, though. Is he really comparing Whitewater to Iraq? Clinton's "glandular excesses" to the:

  • Illegal wiretapping
  • Outing of a CIA operative
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Katrina
  • Abramoff
  • Etc., etc., etc...

    Gimme a break. Will starts his column with this (emphasis mine):

    The electorate's dyspeptic mood about the nation's politics reflects the fact that, as is frequently the case, the party in power in Washington has done much to earn a rebuke but the opposition party has done nothing to earn a reward.

    The party in power has screwed up... but Democrats should think twice about trying to get to the bottom of it.

    Democrats haven't accomplished anything as an opposition party... but when they actually are capable of doing something, they shouldn't.

    Gimme a break.

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  • Sunday, February 12, 2006

    Cheney's got a gun

    No, it's not the Onion. Dick Cheney really shot somebody (stupid enough to be around an armed Dick Cheney).


    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Personalize it

    Over at The Next Hurrah, emptywheel gives a great example of something DB considers to be an important shortcoming in the way in which Democrats use language:

    One of the most effective ways I've used to convince fairly rational fiscally conservative people to hate Republicans is by reciting how much they've spent on a stupid Republican boondoggle.

    "You've spent $1,500 this year to bomb Afghans. Did you know that? Oh wait. I forgot, you make twice the median income. Make that $3,000 to bomb Afghans."

    (Of course, now I'd have to say, "they just took out a $5,000 dollar loan in your name with which to bomb Iraqi civilians.")

    Works like a charm, with the added advantage that people believe dollars are a more real sign than other facts. They think of all the added features they could have had on their last car with that $5,000 and it feels "real" to them.

    So why aren't we asking people, "Say, did you hear the Republicans just put an accused money-launderer in charge of your pocket-book?"

    Right on target. But let's take it even further, this theme of personalization.

    DB thinks that personalization is a crucial part of communicating with voters, in any discussion. For example, John Kerry mentioned over and over in the 2004 campaign that 45 million Americans lacked health insurance. That's a big number, but for 250 million Americans, that's a big number of other people.

    Why not say, "That's one in six Americans. The next time you get on an airplane and breathe that recycled air, look at the two people sitting next to you and the three sitting right behind you and ask yourself which one of those people hasn't been to a doctor in over a year."

    Or maybe, "Who hasn't been to a doctor in over a year? Your waiter? The person who just refilled your water? The guy who tossed the salad you're eating? Or maybe the person cooking your dinner?"

    Not to get too Howard Hughes on everybody here, but there's a way of stating problems so they sound huge and insurmountable and then there's ways of stating them so they have some sort of relationship to the people you are trying to reach.

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    What's the opposite of a King?

    DB is a little late on this (despite a snappy retort the other day) and so many excellent bloggers have had their say on it, but Kate O'Beirne really, really sucks.

    Take this exchange on "Hardball" during Coretta Scott King's funeral Tuesday:

    MATTHEWS: Well, there you have it, Kate. What do you make of this day? Was this the Democratic convention or a funeral? What was it?

    KATE O'BEIRNE, NATIONAL REVIEW: Both were completely inappropriate. Just because politicians are present and they're present as former presidents, they're representing the country. President Bush explained he's there on behalf of all Americans.

    It's not a convention or a campaign event, just because former presidents are there. It's a funeral. It's completely inappropriate for both Reverend Lowery to have made the remarks he did, and for former President Jimmy Carter to do what he did, which is a cheap, political shot. Liberals don't seem to be able to keep politics away from funerals.

    O'Beirne, you're entitled to your opinion, but DB thinks George W. Bush would be even farther away from that funeral than you were had he not been elected president. You have as much right to judge what is done or said at someone else's funeral as DB has to say what would be appropriate at yours.

    Bush is usually too busy lying and speaking with guys he pretends not to know to ever be seen in the same room as many of the people attending that funeral. Bush was there for a photo op. Ken Mehlman was probably soggy all over about the potential for a mammoth leap to a three percent approval rating among African-Americans.

    You said "President Bush explained he's there on behalf of all Americans." Well, tough shit. He can't pick and choose when he represents all of us. The fact is, most of the time he's working on behalf of a minority of us. This is the president who made his first and only foray into civil rights by filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of three mediocre white kids who couldn't get into Michigan. This is the president who pointed out that African-Americans don't statistically live long enough to collect Social Security and tried to solve the problem... by changing Social Security.

    But he's representing all Americans at King's funeral? What a joke. Was Dick Cheney even there? He voted against MLK Day and is admittedly completely ignorant about the grim HIV numbers affecting African-American women. I guess he probably does represent people like you.

    CHRIS MATTHEWS: So you think it's a partisan problem, it's not just bad form?

    O'BEIRNE: Well, it was reminiscent of Senator Wellstone's funeral. And look what we're talking about. We're talking about Reverend Lowery's cheap shot about the war, regardless of whether or not Coretta Scott King held pacifist views.

    And we're talking about former President Carter's cheap shot. Yesterday, of course, he launched this initially, calling the NSA surveillance program incorrectly domestic surveillance, and then calling it both disgraceful and illegal, knowing he was going to be seeing President Bush. If it's possible for him to be a worse former president than he was a president, I think he's now achieved that.

    "Regardless of whether or not Coretta Scott King held pacifist views?" It's her funeral and, for the record, she did. In fact, now's maybe a good time to mention that there's probably no person on earth with less in common with Coretta Scott King than you. Not even Mary Matalin.

    What Bush is doing to the Fourth Amendment is criminal and if there's anybody who represents the potential for abuse by the government it's King. What Jimmy Carter said was heroic. And incidentally, if Carter spent only five minutes of his post-presidency building houses for the homeless or helping other countries carry out peaceful elections, I'm thinking that's five more minutes than you.

    Carter also talked about the Gulf Coast. After Bush's shameful response to Katrina and grand promises to New Orleans (and Trent Lott's porch), he spent almost no time in the SOTU discussing an entire city going underwater. This from a president who mentions 9/11 every damn day. The truth is, there is a large number of people in America that this president doesn't give a crap about. Good for Carter.

    MATTHEWS: Was there something inaccurate in what they said, either he or Dr. Lowery?

    O'BEIRNE: It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if they were reading factual material to make a cheap political point. It totally is contrary to the spirit and we're not talking about Coretta Scott King and the incredible legacy of the Kings and her incredibly dignified life, which this runs counter to, I might add. We're talking about these two political characters.

    Of course it matters. There's nothing "cheap" about talking about peace. There's nothing cheap about calling for a government that takes care of the poor. "Contrary to the spirit?" What spirit? Who the hell are you to define "the spirit" of King's funeral. You're nobody.

    And now, possibly the worst part. The part that made DB revisit this segment:

    "We're not talking about Coretta Scott King and the incredible legacy of the Kings and her incredibly dignified life..."

    No, you're not. You couldn't. You wouldn't know where the hell to begin. You're delighted that there were two examples of quips during hours of celebration. Otherwise you'd have to talk about her legacy, possibly for the first time in your sorry life. Actually, Chris Matthews would probably have invited somebody else on his lousy show.

    You could've said "It was inappropriate, but let's talk about her legacy." But you didn't. You started spewing bile, like always. Every day of the week, on MSNBC and all the others, blowhards like you answer the questions they wished they had been asked instead of the ones they were actually asked. But on this day, you were incapable of changing the subject.

    Those awful Democrats made you talk about them. And they obviously made Matthews ask.

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    Big scare in Los Angeles

    "We now know that in October 2001 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks who was captured in 2003, had already set in motion a plan to have terrorist operatives hijack an airplane using shoe bombs to breach the cockpit door and fly the plane into the tallest building on the West Coast." -- George W. Bush, Feb. 9, 2006

    We now know? Yeah right, just came out.

    DB has said that the fear card won't work anymore, but this time, this blogger is panic-stricken!

    DB scanned the television and Neternitâ„¢, every picture of the "Liberty Tower," but there's no sight of Laura and the Twins!! Aren't they supposed to show up at the target whenever three-year-old information about a plot is released? Aren't they supposed to be there smiling for the cameras and making us all feel safer? For the love of God, WHERE ARE THEY?? ARE THEY OK??

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he was "blindsided" by Bush's announcement. What's he all worked up about? If there ever were some sort of major catastrophe, Bush would take care of it. And besides, I'm sure he would never dream of blaming any failures on the local officials. Especially Democrats.

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    Memo to Bush: You're not science

    In a follow-up to an earlier post, Memo to Bush: You're not a scientist, DB will just endorse and refer you to Josh Marshall's observations on the latest news from George Deutsch.

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    Tuesday, February 07, 2006


    Just to be clear about one thing here, George Deutsch, the 24-year-old journalism major who, on behalf of the Bush administration, defined for NASA the parameters regarding its presentation of the Big Bang, may be a bad writer and it may be true that he didn't graduate from college.

    But the important part of that paragraph above is this: On behalf of the Bush administration.

    This kid may be dumber than a boot full of hammers, but the only reason that would matter is that it highlights the cronyisms and incompetence of the administration. The reason they sent him to NASA, however, is clear. They have a history of interfering with scientific research based strictly on ideology (and occasionally, greed).

    We should never forget that the greatest scientific breakthroughs, particularly in cosmology and astronomy, were possible because of the independence of a handful of geniuses, who were fortunate to have benefactors behind them or were otherwise independently wealthy. It is only in the last century that governments have so widely invested in researching purely scientific questions with no seemingly immediate applications in defense or marketable technology.

    The threat of ideology interfering with the progress towards the ultimate understanding of our universe is grave. Already, many of the next wave of breakthroughs appear more likely to come from another continent. America should think twice before allowing politicians and preachers to determine the legitimacy of certain scientific observations and programs.

    UPDATE: Via Atrios: Deutsch resigned because he lied about having a college degree. Swell, but that won't stop the Bush administration from interfering with science. Only the electorate can do that.

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    Hardball quote of the day

    "Liberals don't seem to be able to keep politics away from funerals." -- Kate O'Beirne

    Let me fix that for you, Kate.

    Republicans don't seem to be able to keep funerals away from politics.

    Runner-up: Chris Matthews desperately wondering if there's any hope of preventing "some blogger" without an editor or "institution of a newspaper" from triggering riots like the cartoon riots.

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    Oh, snap!

    That's gotta hurt. Check out Bush's face while Jimmy Carter points out that the devastation of Katrina proves the playing field's still not even in America.

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    Saturday, February 04, 2006

    Memo to Bush: You're not a scientist

    DB is so profoundly disturbed by the Bush administration's attempts to inject itself and its ideology into NASA's presentation of the Big Bang in teaching materials, that this blog has awoken from a month-long slumber. Let's get a few things straight:

    1. Arguably the first proponent of a cosmological theory of expansion from singularity, based upon Einstein's Relativity, was Belgian physicist Georges LeMaitre, who also happened to be a Catholic priest. After he proposed his theory, he was criticized and even ridiculed for it because there was little evidence to support it at that time. Some members of the scientific establishment pointed to LeMaitre's position with the church and accused him of trying to bring religion, in the form of creationism, into cosmology. From this, we should realize two things: Scientists can be close-minded and stubborn sometimes and, second, religious ideology has no place in science, either in driving it or in obstructing it.

    2. While the probability is relatively high that someone who disagrees with the Big Bang theory is either ignorant or just plain stupid, it is possible to be highly intelligent and still take that position. Fred Hoyle, not only gave the Big Bang theory its name (actually, in an attempt to mock it), but he had one of the greatest intuitive leaps in scientific history, when he used deductive reasoning and the anthropic principle to determine that there was a particular excited state of carbon that would be necessary for heavier elements to exist in the universe. Despite exhaustive analysis of carbon, this state wasn't discovered until he directed researchers to look again, at which point its existence was confirmed. His prediction and its confirmation shored up a large hole in Big Bang (and his own Steady-State theory), but Hoyle went to his grave in 2001 still believing that Big Bang was incorrect.

    3. The Big Bang theory has a mountain of evidence in its corner. Not only has the theory survived every discovery and more detailed analysis of the universe, no matter how groundbreaking or revolutionary, but all these discoveries have strengthened the basis of the theory. From Einstein's upheaval of Newtonian physics to Hubble's discovery that all galaxies outside our local cluster are receding... From our understanding of the nuclear processes in stars to the detailed mapping of the cosmic background radiation... Each piece of the puzzle has revealed a clearer picture of the processes that have been in motion since shortly after time (and space) began. People challenging the Big Bang theory better have more on their side than just faith. Otherwise, they have no real business getting into the debate.

    If you're interested in reading about the theory, which has to be considered one of if not the greatest collective accomplishments of human thinking, DB recommends "Big Bang" by Simon Singh.

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