the blog of DC Drinking Liberally
Today the radio show To the Point discussed “America and Islam: Four Years Later”. One of the guests was David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute, who was asked to give his expert opinion on such topics as whether Barack Obama is now or ever has been a Muslim and whether Obama might be targeted for death by the Islamic world for being an apostate. I love listening to “liberal” public radio.
Later in the program Frum provided this bit of insight (my transcription):
The best survey of American attitudes toward the Muslim minority is conducted by Pew, and they’ve done a series of — the Pew Charitable Trust Fund, which has lots of money — and they’ve done a series of these, and what they found was overwhelmingly positive American attitudes toward Muslims. Actually, attitudes became more positive after the 9/11 attacks, if you can believe it. The inflection point — the point at which the attitude becomes much more skeptical — is the Danish cartoon controversy, where a group of imams based in Denmark whipped up this agitation all around the world against people exercising very ordinary free speech rights, and that is the moment where you can see Americans suddenly reconsidering and where if you plot these things as trend lines, the trends change.
While the reaction to the Danish cartoons was a big event in the blogosphere, I somehow doubt that the average American was obsessing about the story, much less that it affected American attitudes more than 9/11 did. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the Pew survey, but even if by some miracle it actually shows significant changes in the directions Frum claims, I doubt the right wing’s favorite cartoons are the explanation.
Apparently the Army hired the Incredible Hulk to come up with its new recruiting slogan:
In its battle to win the hearts and minds of recruiting-age Americans, the Army is replacing its main ad slogan — “An Army of One” — with one it hopes will pack more punch: “Army Strong.”
Or possibly it was the crack marketing team of Tonto, Tarzan, & Frankenstein.
The latest bit of right-wing innumeracy comes from Rep. Peter King (R-IA), who claims to believe that the civilian death rate is lower in Iraq than in Washington, DC. Of course King’s statistics are now making the rounds of the pro-war blogs as an example of why we should be clapping harder. Since King’s conclusion doesn’t correspond to most people’s views of reality, you might guess his numbers are wrong, and you’d be right. Kieran Healy and his commenters at Crooked Timber weigh King’s analysis and find it wanting. And if King really believes what he’s saying, Healy has a proposition for him:
In the meantime, I have an offer for Rep. King. He should pay my expenses for a vacation to DC, including a flight to the city, a taxi to a local hotel, a few dinners out at restaurants. Maybe some tickets some museums and local sights, perhaps a concert or a game. At the same time, he could take a parallel trip to Baghdad and do the same things — commercial flight in, local taxi, wander out for dinner, etc. We’ll both bring camcorders and see how it works out. If DC is so much more dangerous than Iraq I’m sure something like this would really show up people who say the situation in Iraq is terrible.
Via Talking Points Memo, I see Bloomberg has the latest scary Iran news from the Bush administration, under the headline “Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days, U.S. Says”:
Iran, which is defying United Nations Security Council demands to cease its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days if it goes ahead with plans to install thousands of centrifuges at its Natanz plant, a U.S. State Department official said.
“Natanz was constructed to house 50,000 centrifuges,” Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow. “Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days.”
Hmm. If I move some furniture around, I figure I could fit two printing presses into my apartment. And if each press can produce 65,000 $20 bills an hour, I figure I can have $1 billion in 16 days. You can stop by to pick it up on the 28th.
By the way, any idea where I could get the right ink, paper, security strips, and engraved plates? No? Well, I’m sure it won’t be a problem. After all, I already have the space, and that’s the hard part.
Looks like we’re still on course for my sad joke from January.
When I read in Talking Points Memo about the thorough deletion of Abramoff-Bush photos, I thought about writing another post comparing a passage in Orwell’s 1984 to current events (as I did about crimestop and creationism). I didn’t get around to it immediately, and now I see that thetalkingmoose has saved me the trouble.
If you need motivation to get involved in Virginia in the next few days, read this Nation article, “Hitler in Virginia”, about the Rove associate who’s handling the ads for Kilgore. He even has Rove’s concern for truth:
Nearly two weeks after Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore ran two of the most controversial commercials in recent political history, his media consultant would not stand by their truthfulness. “I’d love to belabor that with you,” Scott Howell told me when I asked him about the accuracy of his advertisements. “I just don’t have the — I can’t stand to talk to somebody in the media and be wrong.” He then described his ads as “tasteful.”
Other “tasteful” ads Howell has been responsible for include those used by Republican senatorial candidate Saxby Chambliss in Georgia to defeat his opponent, Senator Max Cleland — who lost three limbs in Vietnam — by associating him with Osama bin Laden, as well as Bush’s “Safer, Stronger” reelection ad, which featured fake firefighters and a shot of a dead body at Ground Zero. Let’s do what we can to see that the slime doesn’t work this time.
(Via Raising Kaine)
Rich at Blogging for Change was yet another observer at the September 25 prowar rally (and like the rest of us might have been included in the count of 400 war supporters). He’s discovered, a week later, that we all missed something important because we left too early: the world premiere of the song “Bush Was Right” by the Right Brothers.
Rich goes through some of the lyrics to that song and other Right Brothers hits, and it’s hard to believe they’re not a parody group, but in these days of the BushFish and comic books about superpowered conservative talk-show hosts, it’s pretty much impossible to come up with a parody of right-wing thinking that won’t be eagerly embraced by the wingers themselves. Particularly disturbing is “Trickle Down”, which defends the powerless, oppressed multimillionaires and billionaires of the country and tells the working man that one day he’ll have his turn to take his place among the ultrarich and benefit from the tax breaks too.
There is one Right Brothers song that I agree with, though I’m not sure how a Bush supporter can sing it. Perhaps they wrote it in 1993. The song is “Wake Up, America”:
There are people in this country
With no idea that something’s wrong
And Mother freedom, she’s been crying
So I just had to write this song
Wake up America you’ve been asleep too long
This country’s being jerked out from under your feet
Open your eyes now and look what’s going on
It’s time to stand and fight for what you believe
Wake up America oh say can’t you see
Can you imagine the Founding Fathers
Coming back to life and standing here today
If they could look out across our nation
I think this might be what they’d say
Wake up, America oh say can’t you see
No doubt these guys will be taking America by storm. Perhaps the Honky Tonkers for Truth (who unfortunately were unable to sway the red states in 2004) can be revived and the two groups can have a fiddling contest or something.
Testimony last Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee:
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: General Abizaid, there was a report sent over, I think last June, that three of the hundred Iraqi battalions were fully trained and equipped, capable of operating independently. What is that number now?
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: The number now is, if you’re talking about level-one trained –
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Yeah.
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: It’s one.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: At one battalion?
GEN. JOHN ABIZAID: Right.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: The previous report was you had three battalions. Now we’re down to one battalion.
Bush in his Saturday radio address:
I’m encouraged by the increasing size and capability of the Iraqi security forces.
The question now is how people are responding. Are we dealing with Orwell’s 1984?
It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it.
Or with Iraqi information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf?
The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad.
Take a look at the headlines various news organizations chose to put on their stories about the GAO’s finding that the administration violated the law in paying commentator Armstrong Williams to shill for No Child Left Behind on his broadcasts:
Does one of them stand out as different? Yes, the headline in our “liberal” Washington Post puts the best spin on the story for the Bush administration — better even than those by Fox News or the Washington Times.
But speaking of the story itself, any bets on whether anyone responsible will have to suffer any consequences for breaking the law other than perhaps promising never to do it again?
DHinMI at the Next Hurrah points out that the White House site now has a “hurricane relief” title bar with a photo apparently representing Bush standing with a hurricane victim and an American flag. This would be unremarkable — except for the fact that Bush has yet to get any closer to a hurricane victim than to fly over in Air Force One.
In related news, the New York Times really didn’t like Bush’s speech about the disaster:
George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.
If you haven’t already, please donate to the Red Cross or other relief organizations.
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