Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Not Anonymous, Now

Writing in the Boston Phoenix, reporter Jason Vest says he knows who "Anonymous" (the author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror and Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America) is, and that:

A Phoenix investigation has discovered that Anonymous does not, in fact, want to be anonymous at all — and that his anonymity is neither enforced nor voluntarily assumed out of fear for his safety, but rather compelled by an arcane set of classified regulations that are arguably being abused in an attempt to spare the CIA possible political inconvenience. In the Phoenix’s view, continued deference by the press to a bogus and unwanted standard of secrecy essentially amounts to colluding with the CIA in muzzling a civil servant — a standard made more ridiculous by the ubiquity of Anonymous’s name in both intelligence and journalistic circles.

When asked to confirm or deny his identity in an interview with the Phoenix last week, Anonymous declined to do either, and said, "I’ve given my word I’m not going to tell anyone who I am, as the organization that employs me has bound me by my word." His publisher, Brassey’s, likewise declined to comment. Nearly a dozen intelligence-community sources, however, say Anonymous is Michael Scheuer — and that his forced anonymity is both unprecedented and telling in the context of CIA history and modern politics.

The entire article is worth reading, especially a sidebar in which Vest discloses that Anonymous/Scheuer's apparent bellicosity may be more of a rhetorical stance adopted to provoke discussion than his bottom-line opinion.

[via War and Piece]

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 11:14:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Schaller: Edwards is best

Speaking of The Gadflyer, Tom Schaller lays out the reasons why Edwards is Kerry's best choice for running mate, simultaneously a safe bet and an aggressive pick.

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 06:40:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Atheistic whine

Let me put on my atheist crabby pants and say that I'm pretty darn tired of hearing about how if Kerry doesn't reach out to religious types he's in danger of losing the election. Amy Sullivan at The Gadflyer can't seem to write about anything else, and everytime Atrios says something about the subject he gets slammed.

This country is severely fucked up right now, and desperately needs to get rid of Bush. If people of religion can't see that, and act to do the right thing to change it, they deserve to suffer four more years of pain, and I don't see where pandering to them is a worthwhile strategy. I'd like it just fine if people would stop harping on it.

Update: Publius notes in a comment:

[A]s a purely pragmatic matter [...] in a presidential election, you gotta get 51% - and that means people have to be comfortable that you're not too secular.

He's right of course, and that's pretty much why I haven't said anything about it before, but the steady drip drip drip on this subject just became a little much for me and I snapped. (When an amateur pundit falls apart, it can get pretty ugly.) So perhaps I should just invoke Emily Latella and move on.

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 06:29:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Marionettes fight evil

Somehow, with all the buzz about the various political films coming out this election cycle, I missed this one (from Variety):

Paramount Pictures has sky-high hopes that action spoof "Team America" by "South Park" honchos Trey Parker and Matt Stone can be ready for a pre-election release.

Though it hasn't been given an official opening date yet, "Team America" has generated positive buzz since it began shooting last month. The studio's best-case scenario for the film, starring marionettes and produced by Scott Rudin and Stone, would be an Oct. 22 release for the film, which would serve as an R-rated comic tonic to the barrage of election news this fall.

Story -- written by "South Park" scribes Parker, Stone and Pam Brady -- centers on a prototypical action hero who's drafted to help Team America thwart the world's evil forces. Much of the cast will get splintered.

Parker and Stone have been shooting the movie during a break from their Comedy Central series "South Park." Pic will cost roughly $20 million. The similarly budgeted "South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut" film (1999) grossed $52 million.

The humor of Parker and Stone is sometimes rather hit or miss, and tends to have a libertarian tinge to it, but it's usually refreshing to see them puncture both liberal and conservative sacred cows (there's an image for you), despite the fact that they occasionally get a little preachy. Not everything they do is great, but the "South Park" movie was very funny, and we can hope that they do as well on "Team America".

Of course, marionettes fighting evil could be one of those concepts that looks funnier on the page than it does on the screen.

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 05:36:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Disney and F9/11

When Disney refused to allow its Miramax subsidiary to have anything to do with Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" (which I have yet to see, but will soon, I hope), there was rampant speculation that the reasons were political, that Disney needed something (tax relief?) from Jeb Bush in Florida and was worried about pissing off the notoriously loyalistic Bush clan. I originally bought into that explanation, but the more I think about it, the more I believe the answer lies instead in the pressure that Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney, is under from Roy Disney, Walt Disney's nephew. Roy is trying to oust Eisner, and has had some modest success in taking him down a little. His basic claim is that Disney should concentrate on its core businesses and brands, and that it's doing stuff (via Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax, for instance) that Walt would never had done were he still running the company.

In short, Eisner's under attack from the (business, not political) right, and the last thing he needed was to have the company connected to what was going to be an very controversial film blasting the person occupying the Oval Office -- certainly that's something that notoriously conservative and authoritarian Walt would never had done, and it would have provided Roy with a huge hammer to hit Eisner over the head with.

(Now, of course, Roy can also say something like "If you're going to be in the business of doing things Walt wouldn't do, at least you should make money out of it, so why did you turn down the heaps of money to be made off of F9/11?," but (1) there's some doubt he would say that (he hasn't yet, to my knowledge) and (2) even if he did, it's not as strong a charge in the Disney world as disloyalty to The Founder's Vision.)

So, I think the answer to why Disney backed out has a lot more to do with the way Eisner's situation had changed from the time the company green-lighted the film (if I recall correctly, based on their agreement with the Weinsteins, Disney had to approve it because it fell above a certain budget figure) to when the film was due to be released, rather than political considerations (although it's still certainly possible that they also might have played a part in the decision-making process).

As for the question, raised by Chris Bowers on MyDD of whether not having Disney (Buena Vista, actually) as the distributor has hurt the films receipts because it did not open on as many screens as other recent films, I believe that I read in Variety that F9/11's opening on 868 screens was the largest roll-out for any documentary to date, so I doubt that Disney's staying on as the distributor would have made much difference (except to Disney's bottom line). Not only that, but the controversy stirred up by Disney's refusal to distribute, and then its apparent unwillingness to give up the film, help to fuel interest in the film, which helped enable it to start on such a relatively large number of screens.

I just don't think you can compare a normal fiction film and a documentary in terms of how many screens they open on, nor do I think it's a good assumption that Disney would have opened the film on more screens if they had stayed involved. (For one thing, I assume that, as the producers of the film, Miramax and the Weinsteins would have been intimately involved in the release strategy if Disney had stayed on, and would have made about the same decisions. Also, there a limit to the number of screens that are available. Possibly, Disney being the powerhouse it is, more screens might have become available, but I'm not certain about that.)

Finally, what about Disney's involvement with the right-wing pressure group "Moving America Forward" (the people trying to stop theatres from showing F9/11) to showcase Disney's rah-rah film "America's Heart and Soul"? Digby sees in it treachery, assuming that the whole conflict between the company and the Weinsteins was a charade, that the ensuing deal was crafted to put money in everyone's pocket, and that, in his words, "the wingnuts are being played."

I don't see it. Under the deal made when Disney cut loose from involvement with F9/11, the Weinsteins, IFC Films and Lion's Gate will see profit, whatever company releases the DVD (to be determined) will probably see profit, and Moore will possibly see some profit as well. Somewhere down the line, a few bucks may filter into Disney's coffers, but the bulk of the money will be going to the companies that are distrubuting the film, the very role that Disney backed out of. Disney really did lose money by backing out, and the Weinsteins (who now own the film outright) gained a great deal.

It's possible that "America's Heart and Soul" is another part of Eisner's attempt to insulate himself from Roy Disney's attack, and it's also possible that Disney (the company) is using Moving America Forward (whose name was obviously chosen to be similar to MoveOn's) as a tool of some sort (to suppress F9/11 and reduce its embarrassment? I dunno), but I doubt Digby's theory that they're using MAF to (in some way) pump money into the Weinstein's pockets.

[Adapted from comments on MyDD and Hullabaloo]

Update: Lightly edited for clarity (more to come).

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 04:02:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Incompetence, again

Does this sound familiar?

1. Expect the most advantageous outcome.
2. Have no contingency plan if things turn out otherwise.

Well, it's certainly how the Bush administration approached the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but it's also, according to the LA Times how the Bushies approached the Supreme Court rulings on Guantanamo, Hamdi and Padilla. Digby's got it.

They didn't really have a specific plan for what to do, case by case, if we lost," a senior Department of Defense official said on condition of anonymity. "The Justice Department didn't have a plan. State didn't have a plan. This wasn't a unilateral mistake on Department of Defense's part. It's astounding to me that these cases have been pending for so long and nobody came up with a contingency plan."

Lack of empathy, inability to see the other side's point of view, no internal discussion of alternatives, ideologically-imposed blindness, gross incompetence -- all the hallmarks of a great administration.

Why do I think that the verdict of history on Bush & Company's tenure in office is going to be very, very harsh?

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 12:14:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


The Luntz Memo

Sisyphus Shrugged has the Frank Luntz memo, outlining the rhetorical strategies that are in use by the administration in promoting and justifying the war in Iraq. As you can read, it does not suggest putting forth reasoned argumentation, even in bulleted "talking points" style appropriate for our mini-media. Instead, it's primer on how to use suggestion, association, implication and inference, and especially the emotional punch of the memory of the 9/11 attacks, to undermine reason and rationality and plant ideas into people's minds without the necessity of logical justification or reference to the facts.

As Eliot Gelwan points out, in his entry about the memo on Follow Me Here (where I got the link), it's full of contempt for the ordinary citizen, and also clearly the strategy of an administration back on its heels, on the defense and in dire need of every rhetorical and propaganda device it can get ahold of. The unfortunate thing is that Lunzt is right, and his strategy is a very powerful one. (Propganda is a practical rhetorical art, based primarily on what works, not on theory, which certainly differentiates it from Bush's foreign policy and the running of the war in Iraq.)


The overwhelming amount of language in this document is intended to create a lexicon for explaining the policy of "preemption" and the "War in Iraq." However, you will not find any instance in which we suggest that you use the actual word "preemption," or the phrase "The War in Iraq" to communicate your policies to the American public. To do so is to undermine your message from the start. Preemption may be the right policy, and Iraq the right place to start. But those are not the right words to use.

Your efforts are about "the principles of prevention and protection" in the greater "War on Terror." Please do not underestimate the importance of these rhetorical nuances. Let us understand the stark reality of public opinion which provides the context for this language research. Like it or not, the situation in Iraq is the poster-child for the War on Terror. It is today’s ground zero. You must develop a better way to talk about Iraq in the greater context of the War on Terror. Here are the five essential message points:


1) "9/11 changed everything" is the context by which everything follows.

No speech about homeland security or Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11.

2) The principles of "prevention and protection" still have universal support and should be addressed prior to talking about Iraq.

3) "Prevention at home can require aggressive action abroad" is the best way to link a principle the public supports with the policies of the Administration. "It is better to fight the War on Terror on the streets of Baghdad than on the streets of New York or Washington."

4) "Terrorism has no boundaries, and neither should efforts to prevent it." Talk about how terrorism has taken the lives of the British, the Spanish, Italians, Germans, Israelis, innocents from all across the globe. Remind listeners that this is truly an international challenge. "Americans are not the only target."

5) "The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein." Enough said.

Know thy enemy, read the rest.

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 04:15:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Was Michael Moore right after all?

Maybe so. This is from "Deserter: The Story of George W. Bush After He Quit the Texas Air National Guard" by Paul Lukasiak, part of the AWOL Project:

An examination of the Bush military files within the context of US Statutory Law, Department of Defense regulations, and Air Force policies and procedures of that era lead to a single conclusion: George W. Bush was considered a deserter by the United States Air Force.

After Bush quit TXANG [Texas Air National Guard], he still had nine months of his six-year military commitment left to serve. As a result, Bush became a member of the Air Force Reserves and was transferred to the authority of the Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) in Denver, Colorado. Because this was supposed to be a temporary assignment, ARPC had to review Bush’s records to determine where he should ultimately be assigned. That examination would have led to three conclusions: That Bush had “failed to satisfactorily participate” as defined by United States law and Air Force policy, that TXANG could not account for Bush’s actions for an entire year, and that Bush’s medical records were not up to date. Regardless of what actions ARPC contemplated when reviewing Bush’s records, all options required that Bush be certified as physically fit to serve, or as unfit to serve. ARPC thus had to order Bush to get a physical examination, for which Bush did not show up. ARPC then designated Bush as AWOL and a “non-locatee” (i.e. a deserter) who had failed to satisfactorily participate in TXANG, and certified him for immediate induction through his local draft board. Once the Houston draft board got wind of the situation, strings were pulled; and documents were generated which directly contradict Air Force policy, and which were inconsistent with the rest of the records released by the White House. [Emphasis added. -- Ed]

[via Orcinus]

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 03:41:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


No, you can't have it, stop asking

Via, this O'Reilly Network post from David Sklar:

The Center for Public Integrity filed a Freedom of Information request to get a copy of the Foreign Agent Registration database, which includes information on activities by registered lobbyists on behalf on foreign governments.

The Justice Department said that it couldn't provide a copy of the entire database because doing so could destroy the database.

Meanwhile, you can go to the appropriate office in Washington DC and pay fifty cents a page to make copies of documents. The information is available in (expensive) page-by-page drips, but not as a whole.

I am curious to learn about the quantum database software in use that could subject the data to changes by reading it. Or perhaps the 8 inch floppies that the data is stored on would get too hot and melt if they had to spin so fast to copy entire files?

An article on the Center for Public Integrity website says that the database

has been allowed to decay to a point they cannot even make a copy of its contents.

Responding to a recent Freedom of Information request from the Center for Public Integrity, the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit said it was unable to copy its records electronically because their computer system was "so fragile." In a letter, the head of the unit's Freedom of Information office said that simply attempting to make an electronic copy of the database "could result in a major loss of data, which would be devastating."

The database details millions of dollars spent on lobbying activities by foreign governments, companies, and foundations.

Those activities include everything from wining and dining lawmakers to broadcasting issue ads on American television and radio stations.

Unlike foreign governments and political parties, foreign companies can file their lobby forms with the Senate Office of Public Records on Capitol Hill. Under the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act, private companies based outside the United States need only to fill out much shorter forms for Congress instead of the substantial information required by FARA.

As the primary collecting point of information on foreign lobbying, the database is vital to tracking the actions of foreign governments in Washington. Yet the system remains susceptible to "a crash that cannot be fixed" if its files were to be copied, according to Justice's Criminal Division Freedom of Information/Privacy Act office.

"The information itself still is very accessible," said Bryan Sierra at the Department of Justice's Office of Public Affairs. "The basic mandate of the office is to provide information to the public."

Sierra and other officials at the Justice Department public affairs office refused to answer follow-up questions on the state of the FARA database. Sierra, through his receptionist, said he would not discuss the subject any further.

It's true that the information contained in the database can be obtained, as long as those seeking it know the precise files they want and have a substantial copying budget.

The Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit, which is responsible for the records, has a public documents room located in a windowless office on New York Avenue in downtown Washington.

Congress's investigative branch, the General Accounting Office, has looked into the FARA office over several decades, culminating in their last report in 1998. More than once, the GAO has found that FARA lacks the resources to fulfill its responsibilities. As a result, several former high-level federal officials lobbying for foreign interests have not adequately disclosed their activities.

The ancient computers the public and staff use often break down, however, and the printers malfunction. The system's document handling software, itself an antique, operates on Microsoft Windows 95.

Copying charges are also incomprehensibly high—50 cents a page for documents that can easily include hundreds of pages each.

Further, none of the actual filings are available online, although a bare-bones index of registrants does appear on the office's website. However, the most current index posted on the site is 18 months old.

Asked why the database had been allowed to deteriorate so badly, Sierra did not provide an explanation.

"I do know every effort is being made to improve it," he said. "That office is dealing with a large amount of data."

One Freedom of Information Act expert called the situation with the FARA database unprecedented and baffling.

"I have never heard of anything like this," said Rebecca Daugherty at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington. "It sounds crazy. They have an obligation to give you this information. It's as simple as that."

So, the data is available, as long as you don't ask for too much of it and are willing to pay an exorbitant price for it, but otherwise it's not available because accessing it could destroy it.

What was it that Brad deLong wrote? "I'll stop calling this administration "Orwellian" when they stop using 1984 as an operations manual."

(Although to be fair -- even if I'm under no particular obligation to do so, considering the record of abuse of Democrats, progressives and liberals coming from the GOP and its cronies in the past 20 years -- this is probably an administrative and bureaucratic screw-up as much as anything else. I've sure that the unit really is underfunded -- after all, you won't find many people lobbying to fund a database which tracks lobbyists, and Senators and Representatives don't have a lot of reason to pour money into a unit which is apt to come up with information which could, potentially, turn off the tap of money flowing into their campaign coffers -- and needs to charge an arm and a leg for its data just to keep afloat, and I'm sure routine maintenance has been deferred for too long for lack of funds as well, but the fact that its coming from Ashcroft's Justice Department is enough to put reasonableness aside and bitch loudly about it. There's plenty of money around to build carpeted platforms for Bush, so his poor tired feet will never have to touch the hard, cold, ground when he makes a speech -- he might stumble, after all, if everything's not completely level -- but none to maintain mandated government services.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 02:53:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Here comes a change up

I watched tonight's Yankee/Red Sox game, and saw that Cheney was there, sitting in Giuliani's box with Rudy and Pataki, but, because I really can't stand "God Bless America," and don't watch when they play it at every seventh-inning stretch at the Stadium (tonight, I swapped over to the Mets games I had on in the picture-in-picture insert box), I didn't see this happen (from AMERICAblog):

During the 7th inning stretch at Yankees Stadium, they play God Bless America and show on the big screen pictures of anyone famous who's in the audience that night. Dick Cheney is apparently in the audience, and as soon as his face went up, the entire crowd started booing! As my friend Michael tells it, this is the blue-collar Bronx we're talking about, and Cheney is still getting booed - not a good sign for the Bush-Cheney ticket. As soon as the camera guys realized Cheney was getting booed, they quickly switched the picture on the screen to someone else.

Good. As someone who in the past has had to squealch any even vaguely liberal political expression while watching a game at Yankee Stadium, for fear of inciting violence upon my person, I can attest that the folks there aren't normally your progressive types. If Bush & Company has started losing them, then perhaps the tide has indeed started to turn.

Update: Coincidentally, the Yankee's cable network, YES (which rebroadcasts the games later in the night), showed this section of the game about 10 minutes after I wrote the above. There was some booing at the beginning of the song, and some cheering near the end, but because the cameras weren't showing what was on the big screen in the Stadium, it's not possible to know from the broadcast whether the crowd was reacting to Cheney or not. Nevertheless, this report of the game in the Hartford Courant says that "Yankee fans booed Cheney during "God Bless America", and it's confirmed by ESPN. Atrios says that the New York Times had it in their account of the game, but removed it later. A Google News search on "Cheney booed" just now brought up reports from the Tampa Tribune and the New York Post (see below), neither of which were there when I looked a few minutes ago.

Vice President Dick Cheney, a Red Sox fan, was among the large gathering. He watched the early innings from George Steinbrenner's box and later sat in the first row next to the Yankees' dugout. Cheney was booed when his picture appeared on the screen during the singing of "God Bless America."

Of course, this puts a bit of a kink in my theory about Bush/Cheney losing their support, because it's always possible that the Yankee Stadium crowd booed him not because he's the worst Vice President in recent memory (and remember, I lived through Spiro Agnew), or because he and Bush have done their damndest to destroy this country's economy, its environment, its relationships with the rest of the world, our civil liberties and everything that America stands for, but because he's apparently a Red Sox fan. In Yankee Stadium, that's a hanging offense.

Update: Although I saw him in Giuliani's usual spot next to the Yankee dugout earlier in the game, apparently Cheney was in Steinbrenner's box by the time of the seventh-inning stretch.

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/30/2004 12:54:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Taibbi's screed

Mike Taibbi has a pretty low opinion of Christopher Hitchens (but then who doesn't?), and he's not all that impressed with Michael Moore either, but he saves the bulk of his anger and contempt for his fellow journalists, and their complicity in making Bush's Iraq war possible:

I've been around journalists my entire life, since I was a little kid, and I haven't met more than five in three-plus decades who wouldn't literally shit from shame before daring to say that their job had anything to do with truth or informing the public. Everyone in the commercial media, and that includes Hitchens, knows what his real job is: feeding the monkey. We are professional space-fillers, frivolously tossing content-pebbles in an ever-widening canyon of demand, cranking out one silly pack-mule after another for toothpaste and sneaker ads to ride on straight into the brains of the stupefied public.

One friend I know describes working in the media as shoveling coal for Satan. That's about right. A worker in a tampon factory has dignity: He just uses his sweat to make a product, a useful product at that, and doesn't lie to himself about what he does. In this business we make commodities for sale and, for the benefit of our consciences and our egos, we call them ideas and truth. And then we go on the lecture circuit. But in 99 cases out of 100, the public has more to learn about humanity from the guy who makes tampons.

I'm enraged by the numerous attempts at verbose, pseudoliterary, "nuanced" criticism of Moore this week by the learned priests of our business. (And no, I'm not overlooking this newspaper.) Michael Moore may be an ass, and impossible to like as a public figure, and a little loose with the facts, and greedy, and a shameless panderer. But he wouldn't be necessary if even one percent of the rest of us had any balls at all.

If even one reporter had stood up during a pre-Iraq Bush press conference last year and shouted, "Bullshit!" it might have made a difference.

If even one network, instead of cheerily re-broadcasting Pentagon-generated aerial bomb footage, had risked its access to the government by saying to the Bush administration, "We're not covering the war unless we can shoot anything we want, without restrictions," that might have made a difference. It might have made this war look like what it is—pointless death and carnage that would have scared away every advertiser in the country—rather than a big fucking football game that you can sell Coke and Pepsi and Scott's Fertilizer to.

Where are the articles about the cowardice of those people? Hitchens in his piece accuses Moore of errors by omission: How come he isn't writing about the CNN producers who every day show us gung-ho Army desert rats instead of legless malcontents in the early stages of a lifelong morphine addiction?

Yeah, well, we don't write about those people, because they're just doing their jobs, whatever that means. For some reason, we in the media can forgive that. We just can't forgive it when someone does our jobs for us. Say what you want about Moore, but he picked himself up and did something, something approximating the role journalism is supposed to play. The rest of us—let's face it—are just souped-up shoe salesmen with lit degrees. Who should shut their mouths in the presence of real people.

[via Atrios]

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/29/2004 10:13:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Under the hood

Got three of these symptoms?:

1. Marked impairment in the use of multiple verbal behaviors such as wild exaggeration, rapid shifts of previously stated opinions to the point of repeated reversal, overuse of words or phrases such as "read my lips," consistent misuse of words, despite opportunities to learn correct usage or pronunciation; eg Nukular, for nuclear. Excessively impressionistic speech patterns, little concrete detail. Significant use of spin, distraction and deletion. Sees no difficulty with phrases such as "collateral damage" "military intelligence" "friendly fire" "compassionate conservative".

2. Grandiosity and self-importance. Exaggerates achievements and talents; eg., created the internet, liberated another country etc. Theatrical, self-dramatization, and exaggerated expression of emotion, Dresses up in costumes of others for self-glorification.

3. Is pre-occupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance to the point of believing in Total Global Dominance. Messianic tendencies. Applies equally to both genders.

4. Has a sense of entitlement which he/she believes is supported by the world in general. Sometimes becomes delusional eg believes the world will donate any resources willingly even to the point of extinction eg forests, animals, ozone layer.

5. Interpersonally exploitative - takes advantage of others to achieve his/her own ends.

6. Requires excessive admiration and needs to be the center of attention.

7. Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriately sexually seductive or provocative behavior. Speech patterns may be immature and aggressive eg Bring 'em on

8. Quotes religious texts ad nauseum to make moral judgments and frequently claims direct communication with God. Sees no problem in selective hallucinations.

9. Absence of a sense of humor.

Then you might be suffering from Politician Syndrome.

Think that Bush has Politician Syndrome, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or Delusional Disorder, or some other mental illness? Then let your voice be heard, and cast your vote here.

Update: More here, on dKos. [Thanks to Margit]

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/29/2004 08:40:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Monday, June 28, 2004

Hot potato

So, I guess there's really no doubt that the security situation in Iraq is totally under control:

Sovereignty handed to Iraqis early

The United States handed formal sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government early Monday during a five-minute, hastily arranged ceremony that had been moved up by two days to foil insurgents whose attacks might have marred the power transfer.

Here, take it, quick!

Ed Fitzgerald | 6/28/2004 12:58:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

Clowns to the left of me,
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Here I am...
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Martin van Creveld - The Transformation of War

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Bullshit, trolling, unthinking knee-jerk dogmatism and the drivel of idiots will be ruthlessly deleted and the posters banned.

Entertaining, interesting, intelligent, informed and informative comments will always be welcome, even when I disagree with them.

I am the sole judge of which of these qualities pertains.

All e-mail received is subject to being published on unfutz without identifying names or addresses.

I correct typos and other simple errors of grammar, syntax, style and presentation in my posts after the fact without necessarily posting notification of the change.

Substantive textual changes, especially reversals or major corrections, will be noted in an "Update" or a footnote.

Also, illustrations may be added to entries after their initial publication.
the story so far
unfutz: toiling in almost complete obscurity for almost 1500 days
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the proud unfutz guarantee
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.

If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.

(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)

Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.

original content
© 2003-2008
Ed Fitzgerald


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