OK, I’m just plain tired of the lame Swift Boat analyses –

especially those that pretend both “sides” of the story have merit. But I am delighted to see how “swiftly” Joshua Marshall dispenses with Bob Dole’s sorry appearances this weekend. Think anybody in the news business will care to pick up on these discrepancies and hypocrisies? Doubt it.

Remind me: what were Cheney and Bush doing when Kerry was on that Swift Boat? —

Oh, now I remember… So does the typically above-the-fray Middle East Historian Juan Cole: “What was Bush doing with his youth? He was drinking. He was drinking like a fish, every night, into the wee hours. For decades. He gave no service to anyone, risked nothing, and did not even slack off efficiently.” If you spend anytime on Juan Cole’s site, you know he does not typically traffic in baseless internet rumor, so his speculations here are (not new, but) notable:

“The history of alcoholism and possibly other drug use is a key issue because it not only speaks to Bush’s character as an addictive personality, but may tell us something about his erratic and alarming actions as president. His explosive temper probably provoked the disastrous siege of Fallujah last spring, killing 600 Iraqis, most of them women and children, in revenge for the deaths of 4 civilian mercenaries, one of them a South African. (Newsweek reported that Bush commanded his cabinet, “Let heads roll!”) That temper is only one problem. Bush has a sadistic streak. He clearly enjoyed, as governor, watching executions. His delight in killing people became a campaign issue in 2000 when he seemed, in one debate, to enjoy the prospect of executing wrong-doers a little too much. He has clearly gone on enjoying killing people on a large scale in Iraq. Drug abuse can affect the ability of the person to feel deep emotions like empathy. Two decades of pickling his nervous system in various highly toxic substances have left Bush damaged goods. Even for those who later abstain, “visual-spatial abilities, abstraction, problem solving, and short-term memory, are the slowest to recover.” That he managed to get on the wagon (though with that pretzel incident, you wonder how firmly) is laudable. But he suffers the severe effects of the aftermath, and we are all suffering along with him now, since he is the most powerful man in the world.”

Another gem from Josh Marshall —

Reminding us of Karl Rove’s intellectual and philosophical mentor.

FBI: Waging the War on Domestic Protestors —Jeff Cohen agrees with me that tracking protestors is a ridiculous use of apparently limited resources (ok, we probably arrived at the insight independently).

Oh, come on! —

Are journalists and headline writers this stupid? Deliberately obtuse? Or deliberately playing along with the Bushies? Headlines like this – and the oodles like it – serve a very specific purpose: To get the folks who don’t read all those little words under the headline to believe that Bush was a mensch and condemned the ads. Bush did not specifically call for an end to the Swift Boat ad! — he called for an end to 527-financed “attack ads”! He said — apparently forgetting how many 527s are supporting him — that all such ads should stop, and claimed – confirming long-held suspicions that he reads nothing, least of all those long bills he signs — that he thought the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill stopped them. He said, “I think they’re bad for the system.” No, what’s bad for the system are the blatant lies; educational ads, ads that accurately reflect a candidate’s record, for better or worse, are good for the system. Ads that — oh, say — pluck a phrase out of the middle of a lengthy quote so that it no longer means what the speaker intended are bad for the system. Republican tactics in general are bad for the system. But Bush — with his aversion to free speech, full disclosure, and veracity — is really, really bad for the system. Atrios has some useful exercises for make-believe journalists to try.

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