The Peach

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Saturday, October 02, 2004

Was Bush Wired During Debate?

It's been suggested that Bush may have been wearing some kind of wireless earpiece during the debate, through which aides could coach him on answers and body language.

The evidence in favor of this possibility: Sixty seconds into his first 90 second answer during the debate, Bush could be heard to mutter “let me finish” before continuing his answer. He had plenty of time left, and neither Jim Lehrer nor Senator Kerry had made any move to interrupt.

The suspicious minds on the Web are wondering, who was Bush talking to? Their conclusion: Bush was equipped with an earpiece, and someone assigned to prompt him was interrupting a train of thought. You can check out the audio clip for yourself at indymedia's Web site, and reach your own conclusions. Other conspiracy theorists on the Web insist that at various times Bush made ear-rubbing gestures, consistent with wearing an ear-device.

The evidence against: Bush's performance in the debate overall was so abysmal. If someone was prompting him, surely he would have done a better job. If he was being coached, he should really fire the people doing the coaching. Think about it.

Pique Performance

The Peach is sure there were even better Bush facial expressions during the debate than the pouting, simpering, eye-rolling ones captured on this clip. But it's still great, brought to you courtesy of the Democratic Party. Enjoy.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The Best Moment of Last Night's Debate

It's hard to pick a favorite, given that our hero mostly wiped the floor with Bush, who alternately repeated vacuous, scripted talking points and looked petulant. A lot of people, us included, loved the part where Kerry pointed out in lucid, clear English, that it was Al Quaeda that attacked the United States, not Iraq. Others might say it was when our famously lazy president uttered the phrase "it's hard work" for the umpteenth time.

But for The Peach's money, the standout highlight was Bush's rebuttal to Kerry's response to this question: "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 outlined a lengthy list of really basic, obvious safeguards that have yet to be implemented on the homeland security front.

Then the big Bush gaffe:

"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"

At the risk of sounding like Bush himself, say what? Now let us get this straight: Our safety is on the back burner so that Bush can give a big tax cut to rich people and pay for a completely unnecessary war. Okay, er, got it. We encourage our readers to spread this gaffe around the Internet and send to every media outlet you can.

And we have to add that Bush's later contention, that "we've increased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation, about 35 percent since I've been the president," is a flat-out lie. According to FactCheck.org, "The Washington Post reported Oct. 1 that Bush proposed a 13 percent cut in his first budget as President -- about $116 million. Much of the increases since then have been added by Congress, the Post reported."

We are grateful that, for the moment anyway, much of the mainstream media seems to be more or less calling it as it was.



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Thursday, September 30, 2004

"Are We Not Dolphins?"

The Peach would like to shout a big "Thank You" to Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Joel Connelly for his honest and important piece documenting the Bush/Cheney flip-flops of the past four years. More significantly, our new found hero Connelly gives top-billing to a speech delivered by then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney in 1992 to the Discovery Institute in Seattle. The speech was given a short while after the end of the first Iraq war. In it Dick "Flipper" Cheney explains why the Bush I administration decided to forego entering Baghdad and allowing Saddam to remain in power. What The Peach found most telling was this quote:
"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."
The Gulf War suffered 146 American casualities. In the current Iraq war we are over 1,000 and counting. Is this a case of fuzzy math? Wasn't Saddam more dangerous then? Remember, this was before sanctions and inspections were implemented so it's easy to assume that access to WMD's was easier then.

And, finally, aren't we bogged down now? The documented lunacy of this administration is enough to make The Peach's fuzz crawl. Read the whole piece. Mr. Connelly goes on to give a long list of Bush/Cheney flip-flopping instances.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Dick's Lemonade Stand

After months of denying any financial interest, a recent New York Times article has shown that Dick "you've got to pick a pocket or two" Cheney's old company Haliburton has not only received a substantial amount of favoritism from this administration, but that Dick himself is squeezing a little extra lunch money for himself. It seems that since the Bush/Cheney coup of 2000 Haliburton has rocketed from twenty-second largest military contractor to seventh.

Of course, much of this windfall can be attributed to the war in Iraq and the fact that Haliburton was the first to receive no-bid contracts. In 2003 the Pentagon awarded such a contract to a construction and subsidiary wing of Haliburton. The contract was reported to be worth as much as seven billion dollars. In all fairness, the administration claims that it would have been impractical to have open bids for these contracts because Haliburton already had an established position in Iraq and it would have compromised this country's war plans.

Impractical? What was more impractical then going to war in the first place? And what war plan? This is a war plan?

The article also stated that since becoming vice president elect, Dick has received nearly two million dollars from the company as a deferred bonus and deferred salary, and continues to hold options to buy stock. White House officials claim that Cheney has promised to donate to charity any after-tax profits he made from exercising his stock options.

The Peach wouldn't be surprised if those charities were pro-Bush organizations such as "Catholics against Kerry" and "Security Moms for Bush."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bush's Hometown Paper Endorses . . . Kerry!

Music to The Peach's ears was this editorial in the Lone Star Iconoclast of Crawford, Texas. According to DailyKos, the paper endorsed Bush in 2000 and is currently edited by Leon Smith, former editor of the Clifton Record, which also endorsed Bush in 2000.

The Peach loves the way the editorial characterizes Bush's failures as campaign promises, and notes that if he'd made them explicitly, no one would have voted for him. Isn't it funny how that works?

Baron's Brain: All The President's Dead Brain Cells

A Peach reader recently sent us this video clip. It led the Brain down a long list of tangential questions and into wondering why this government makes more enemies than friends and basically doesn't care about it. The Brain has a theory. See if you can follow the Brain Train of logic.

OK, the president claims he doesn't read because he doesn't need to know what other people think, which basically leaves him perpetually ill-informed (does the Brain have to bring up that Iraq thing again?). He is also incapable of speaking unless everything is scripted and thoroughly rehearsed. That's why, at speaking engagements, all his handlers have to do is pull a string and watch his jaws flap. Finally, he would rather be (what he calls) direct, instead of engage in any form of meaningful dialogue. This subsequently allows him the convenience of sidestepping the need to think about anything. The Brain has closely examined this video, has watched the president on TV, repeating his talking points ad infinitum, has pondered all of the above, and has finally come to a revelation. Our Fearless Leader just isn't that smart.

Think about it. If you were as sharp as a bowling ball you would not only walk away from any form of intelligent discourse, you would avoid it like the plague. Well, let's take it one step further and play connect the dots. If you were that brain-dead and KNEW IT, you would work pretty hard to conceal your shortcomings. So what do you do? You basically start off by angering all the intelligent leaders of the free world so they won't speak to you, which ultimately prevents them from discovering that you're a complete nincompoop. You then befriend leaders of obscure, barely-developing nations (with the exception of Italy, but hey, their PM's are all criminals) because you realize they're unable to discern just how dull-witted you are.

Finally, you isolate our nation to prevent anyone outside from seeing that your supporters are almost uniformly mentally challenged. Meanwhile, within our borders, you work to assure these same supporters that they are the real America (the Brain asks all readers to take a close at Bushies. Doesn't it look as if their eyes are a little too close together?).

In any case, watch the video and listen for the laughter in the background. It's really embarassing, isn't it? This is the leader of the free world. God help us.

Baron's Brain

How the Right Does It

For a fascinating peek into the workings of the Administration PR machine, check out this piece from In These Times, which describes a media workshop given by DHS and keynoted by Tom Ridge, to "educate" journalists on reporting on terrorism, Republican-style.

Ridge apparently described the session's goal as equipping the assembled journalists with a ""detailed playbook" for responding to crisis, providing journalists with the strategies and (government-affiliated) contacts needed to deal with a terrorist scenario. “A consistent message to the public is critical.”" Attendees were encouraged to report government-approved "facts" and to consult government-approved "experts," but refrain from any critical thinking about the international context of terrorism, our government's policies or anything else that might distract the populace from a narrow set of establishment-affirming storylines.

In essence, as far as DHS is concerned, journalism's role in a terrorist situation is to report whatever Tom Ridge tells it to report. Writer Maya Schenwar describes the scene: ""The role of the press, said moderator John McWethy of ABC News, is to accurately report information as government officials release it. In other words, in a state of emergency, the media morph into a PR department for Washington."

The piece is fascinating for revealing by this one instance how the Republican machine has succeeded across the board in warping our national media. Ridge is seen here pre-packaging the story in a way that many busy journalists must find irresistible. Here are your facts -- and they're pre-checked for accuracy; Here are your experts -- with phone numbers! Here's your storyline. It must be hard at times, under the pressure of the 24-hour news cycle, to walk away from that kind of thing. Nevertheless, we expect real journalists to do so.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Thank You, Reuters

This piece, which could be headlined "Bush a Lying Sack of S***," was balm to our troubled soul here at The Peach. Reuters reporter Adam Entous leads off with a little pure fact: "Many of President Bush's assertions about progress in Iraq -- from police training and reconstruction to preparations for January elections -- are in dispute."

The article goes on to catalogue specific Bush claims about the war, and the facts that directly refute each. Again, it is depressing that we are this pathetically grateful when a reporter just does his job, but thanks anyway, Mr. Entous. You have made our day.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Bush Camp in Disarray on Iraq

The BBC reports that Colin Powell has said the insurgency in Iraq is getting worse, not better. This would seem to be a striking departure from the the optimistic line that Bush and Ayad Allawi have been taking. At the same time, it is somewhat supportive of the dissonant view of Rumsfeld, who suggested that the violence may prevent elections being held throughout the country, if and when elections do take place.

Indeed, the Bush team seems also to be coming apart over the whole question of elections. Bush waxes sentimental about Iraqi freedom, while Rumsfeld suggests that elections may not take place everywhere in the country and if they don't, c'est la vie.

On This Week today, Madeleine Albright made the excellent point that the whole purpose of holding elections in Iraq is to arrive at a government that the majority of citizens will view as legitimate. An election that excludes a substantial portion of the electorate will not do the job.