"If they’re resorting to blatant distortions and untruths this quickly they must not have a good defense."

Josh Marshall reflects on Cheney’s rejoinder to Clarke’s allegations. I agree, it is more of an indictment of the administration than a defense. Cheney, on Rush Limbaugh’s show, claims that Clarke was ‘out of the loop’ on counterterrorism, having moved over to cyberterrorism, one of his pet projects. Cheney conveniently neglects to tell us that it was not until after Sept. 11th that this happened. But let’s ignore this for a moment. As Marshall points out, Clarke was counterterrorism coordinator at the NSC and, if he was ‘out of the loop’, that says something pretty profound about the failure of interagency communication in the Bush dysadministration. The closer we look, the more corroboration there is for the thesis I keep reminding you Seymour Hersh first laid out around the Uraniumgate lies that laid the groundwork for the Iraq invasion — that the Bush team, and particular Cheney’s office, were so intent on hearing what they wanted to that they intimidated, marginalized, ignored and supplanted the entire intelligence analysis apparatus of the country, and ever since then have been scapegoating the ‘faulty intelligence’.

By the way, Marshall does not comment on the other discrediting strategy that is evident in Cheney’s counterattack:

“…the only thing I can say about Dick Clarke is he was here throughout those eight years going back to 1993, and the first attack on the World Trade Center in ’98 when the embassies were hit in east Africa, in 2000 when the USS Cole was hit, and the question that out to be asked is, what were they doing in those days when they — when he was in charge of counterterrorism efforts?”

So now they can neatly have it both ways. Clarke doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding counterterrorism, and he is responsible for its earlier failures. C’mon, Dick, wouldn’t it have been easier to manufacture evidence that says Clarke was fully ‘in the loop’ but blames him for being alseep at the wheel? That shouldn’t be too hard for a man with your capacity to distort the truth.

And, as Marshall also points out, who at the New York Times must the Bush Leaguers have in their pocket to insure that Judith Miller would do their coverage of Clarke? She misstates Clarke’s thesis, devotes little space to the particulars, and gives free rein to White House counterstatements.

Miller hasn’t been publishing as much of late. And someone needs to clue her into the revised rules. It’s been at least a few months since reporters have willingly published demonstrably false statements from administration officials and spokespersons.

Ask Bush to Stand Up to a Real Debate

“In the face of an extremely negative campaign, Senator Kerry has asked President Bush to engage in a series of monthly debates on the country’s future — debates on the real substance of the issues that face us. It’s a simple proposal that could elevate the campaign and truly educate the country about the positions and records of each candidate. But President Bush’s campaign brushed off the suggestion with a snide remark. That’s why we’re asking:

‘President Bush, please stand up to real debates on the issues that face our country.’” —MoveOn

Crawford Do’s and Don’t’s

Protests, Even Buttons, Verboten: “If you’re ever thinking about going down to Crawford, Texas, to protest against Bush, beware.

The police do not take kindly to demonstrators there–or legal observers, for that matter.

And even if you’re just wearing an anti-Bush button, you could get arrested.

That’s the message a local jury sent last month.” —Alternative Press Review

Pouring Gasoline on the Fire

“Israeli aircraft attacked and killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader and founder of Hamas and Israel’s top target, as he was pushed in a wheelchair from morning prayers at a Gaza City mosque early Monday, according to announcements blared over mosques across the city.

…Israeli AH-64 Apache helicopters fired three missiles at Yassin just outside the mosque, killing the partially blind and paralyzed Hamas leader, along with seven other people, including three bodyguards…” —Washington Post Commentators left and right state that this is ‘the end of the peace process’. Pardon me, but what peace process is that? It is arguable that, relative to the Hamas fanatics, Ahmed Yassin was a moderate, restraining their fury, which will henceforth be unbounded. But Sharon has been spoiling for that…

The Ring of truth

“Sagas are back – if they ever went away. The National Theatre has a sell-out on its hands with an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials; Peter Jackson’s film trilogy of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has won record audiences and Oscars; and on Friday night at London’s Coliseum, there wasn’t an empty seat for English National Opera’s performance of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold.

We are rediscovering the compelling attraction of those alternative, mythical universes peopled by demons, pagan forces of awesome power, warrior armies of mutant human beings, spells and curses against which the heroes battle.

The English tradition, exemplified by Tolkien and Pullman, is one where, on the whole, we know good will finally triumph over evil and whatever the tribulations, the identifiable hero or heroine will win in the end. This is the reason video-game software writers find such literature a treasure trove.

But Wagner doesn’t do good and evil quite so easily; he both revolts and attracts simultaneously, although even his sternest critic has to acknowledge that he is the composer of some of the most transcendent and original music ever written. Yes, he is quarrying the same mine of myth as Tolkien and Pullman; Das Rheingold ‘s characters could have come straight from Northern Lights or the Two Towers. But there are no forces of unambiguous good or bad. Every character is compromised by some combination of lust, quest for power and uncertainty about its moral compass…” —Guardian.UK