The political smear: why does the Right use it better than the Left?

Posted by Adam Ash on August 31, 2005 10:29 AM (See all posts by Adam Ash)

I’ve noticed a peculiar difference between rightwing and leftwing political attacks.

Whereas both the left and the right are equally adept at calling each other names (on the Blogcritics site, for example), the strategy of The Big Smear -- the broad wipe of a very personal and dirty accusation -- seems to be almost exclusively rightwing.

Rush Limbaugh and other rightwing commentators are consistent practitioners of The Big Smear. Notice the personal smears dumped all over the head of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war mother of dead Iraqi soldier Casey Sheehan. Leftwing commentators appear to largely steer clear of The Big Smear, as much as they like to indulge in name-calling. They seem to get enough kicks from calling Bush a chimp, which is hardly a smear, unless you’re a chimp.

Greens and Libertarians: Bring the Troops Home Now

Wisconsin Green Party

August 29th, 2005

Arif Khan, Chair, Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, 920-251-0844
Jeff Peterson, Campaign Coordinator, Referendum on Troop Withdrawal from Iraq 715.472.2728
Jill Bussiere, Co-Chair, Wisconsin Green Party
920.388.0529, cell 920.255.2175,

The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Green Party have joined in calling for support for U.S. troops in Iraq by bringing them home as soon as possible.

The Green and Libertarian Parties both oppose the current U.S. occupation. Both believe war should be waged only to defend the United States, and that the war on Iraq did not meet that condition. Both parties' 2004 presidential candidates proposed withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Both are concerned that the longer the U.S. occupation remains in Iraq, the more long-term will be the damage. They agree the best thing for the United States and Iraq is to bring U.S. troops home as quickly as possible. "The United States was not threatened by Iraq," said Jill Bussiere, Co-chair of the Wisconsin Green Party. "Many of us knew there were no weapons of mass destruction well before the invasion, and the administration knew it too, having fixed the 'intelligence around the policy' as the Downing Street memo notes. Now, we find that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have decreased our national security - just the opposite of what the administration claims."


A TvNewsLIES FANTASY - TVNL Contributing Editor
August 31, 2005

A TvNewsLIES FANTASY - TVNL Contributing Editor

Abandon the search for Truth; settle for a good fantasy: Anon.

Note: An employer can request an employee to submit to a polygraph test if "the test is being administered in connection with an ongoing investigation.

Reader Defends Cindy


Name: Carl
From: E-Mail:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Regarding your article listed above, I think you are missing the point of Ms. Sheehan's protesting. Many people have suggested that because she previously met with the president and made "some" good remarks about the visit and his sincerity, that she is now just a tool for the left wing. While I realize that you have not made this claim (at least not that I have read), I am mentioning this because it is directly related to Ms. Sheehan's reason for protesting the war.

Cindy Sheehan first met with the president soon after her son died (June 2004). A few months ago, the Downing Street Minutes were leaked. THIS is the main reason that Cindy Sheehan changed her perspective on the situation, and she has said this all along. She believes (as many others do, and as the evidence strongly suggests) that George W. Bush lied about the reason to invade Iraq and consequently has caused thousands of deaths across the world.

Time For Accountability Of Our Leaders

The time has come for Americans to demand accountability of our leaders. Never before has the corruption ran as deep as it does now in Washington. Everyday we learn more about the lies that led this country into war and the people who hijacked the tragedy of 9/11 to pursue an imperialistic agenda.

This isn't a partisan issue. It isn't red or blue. It's about the truth. George Bush said he had no intentions of nation building before he took office. Yet we know for a fact that many high ranking members of his administration were members of a group of people who lobbied and supported regime change in Iraq.

An Unlikely Conversation With The Cowards in Congress

Contributing Editor -
August 15, 2005

Suppose you were an idiot... And suppose you were a member of Congress...
But I repeat myself. -- Mark Twain


What shameful toads you are! Yes you, our elected lawmakers. Yes you, the folks we sent to Washington in our names. Yes you, the most spineless, cowardly and craven Congress people in history. Yes you, the most bullied, gutless and shameful herd of legislators ever elected. And you know exactly who you are.

Where in hell is your integrity? Where in hell is your self-respect? You’ve been led by your submissive noses to do the bidding of liars and warmongers. You’ve been suckered into applauding some of the most egregious crimes ever committed by a US government. You’ve become such a pitiful collection of sniveling sycophants. And you know damn well who you are.

Fixing the Intelligence and Facts

By Carol Wolman

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." (Downing Street minutes- July 2002)

The story of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame is a prime example of how Bush went about concocting and distorting intelligence. The Bush administration claimed, on the basis of flimsy evidence, that Saddam was trying to buy uranium yellowcake, the raw material for nuclear weapons, from the African country of Niger. The CIA sent Joe Wilson, longtime ambassador, a man familiar with Niger, to investigate this charge. Wilson found that the story was based on badly forged documents, and was untrue. He came back and reported this to the CIA, which duly passed the correction up the chain of command.

Iraq War Splurge Hits Home at 150 MPH

By Jim Lobe

With state, local, and federal officials still grappling with the extent of the devastation and human suffering inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and points east, suggestions that the already plunging political standing of President George W. Bush could also be a major casualty of the disaster have begun taking hold.

While few observers underestimate the Bush team's proven ability to seize the political initiative, particularly in times of crisis, as in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the fact that the kind of destruction wreaked by Katrina was both predictable – and indeed actually predicted – and avoidable gives the president's foes much more ammunition than they had after 9/11.

Sheehan brings protest here

She makes a symbolic visit to DeLay's office, attends anti-war rally at a church
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

She went to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's office in Stafford and an evening anti-war rally at a local church.

At DeLay's office, she asked to meet with the Republican power broker and supporter of the Iraq war. But DeLay wasn't there to hear her plea.

"We didn't get an appointment. We were told by his staffer we could put in a request and perhaps we would get a meeting," Sheehan said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

She acknowledged that they didn't really expect a meeting and that the visit was largely symbolic.

The Pandora’s box is open

The Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)
2 September 2005

AT FIRST glance it does not look like much of a challenge. On one side you have the president of the United States, most powerful man in the world, figuratively speaking of course, retrenched inside his Crawford, Texas ranch, secured by phalanxes of Secret Service agents armed to the teeth with deadly weapons and the latest gadgetry in James Bondry.

The president, who is on a five-week working vacation in his Texas ranch occasionally zooms off in his heavily armoured presidential limousine surrounded by dozens of other armoured cars filled with serious-looking bodyguards toting automatic weapons which they will not hesitate to point at anyone who might represent a threat to the president. Sometimes the president will board Air Force One and travel around the country before returning to the relative remoteness and serenity of his ranch.

Starting with the Mothers

Starting with the Mothers
By Nina Utne

“When I nursed him, I promised him that I would never let him go to war. I broke that promise to him. I can’t bear for another mother to go through the pain that I’m going through. And that is the only reason that I’m doing what I’m doing.

Dallas to house 25,000 refugees (Reunion Arena and the convention center)

Dallas to house 25,000 refugees (Reunion Arena and the convention center)

Dallas soon will be the temporary home for at least 25,000 Hurricane Katrina refugees from Louisiana, state and local officials confirmed on Thursday. City and county leaders scrambled to locate suitable shelter for such an influx of storm victims, who they expected to arrive primarily by bus and plane beginning Saturday.

Reunion Arena and a 200,000-square-foot portion of the Dallas Convention center, both downtown, could house as many as 12,000 people, City Manager Mary Suhm said.

Florida State University doesn't cancel the game but asks fans to lend a hand


Florida State University is rallying to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and is asking fans coming to Monday's football game against Miami to lend a hand.

With hotel space at a premium this weekend as hurricane refugees seek shelter, FSU is asking local FSU friends and families to open their doors to old friends from out of town. If you're coming to the game from out of town, FSU asks that you consider staying with FSU friends who live in or around Tallahassee. This could free up much-needed hotel space.

Hotels to evacuees: Go before big game

Hotels to evacuees: Go before big game

Many Tallahassee hotels have told hurricane evacuees they'll have to move by the day of the FSU-Miami football game so that fan bookings can be honored.

You have to register to get whole article.

Some of the hotels asking people to leave & links to their corporate headquarters:
Howard Johnson: owned by Cedant
Marriott Courtyard:
Doubletree & Homewood Suites: owned by Hilton

Planning, Response Are Faulted


Planning, Response Are Faulted

By Josh White and Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 2, 2005; Page A01

Tens of thousands of people remain stranded on the streets of New Orleans in desperate conditions because officials failed to plan for a serious levee breach and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina was slow, according to disaster experts and Louisiana government officials.

Though experts had long predicted that the city -- which sits below sea level and is surrounded by water -- would face unprecedented devastation after an immense hurricane, they said problems were worsened by a late evacuation order and insufficient emergency shelter for as many as 100,000 people.

Is Bush's weak response to the hurricane the tipping point for major corporate media?

Is Bush's weak response to the hurricane the tipping point for major corporate media?

There's a good case to be made that MCM has finally shaken off its fear of the Bush regime. Has the protective propaganda fog around this presidency finally been blown away? That good case is made by Tim Grieve (Salon - War Room) in one of the best essays I've read so far about the political fallout from Katrina. Here's an excerpt:

The first real sign may have come Tuesday afternoon, when CNN's Jack Cafferty, in the middle of a somber exegesis on the devastation in New Orleans, interrupted himself to ask: "Where's President Bush? Is he still on vacation?" Wolf Blitzer said the president was preparing to head back to Washington early. "Oh, that would be a good idea," Cafferty said, his voice dripping with a condescending sort of sarcasm. "Based on his approval rating, based on the latest polls, my guess is getting back to work might not be a terrible idea."

What follows is a concise summary of similar observances from the New Hampshire Union Leader, Newsweek's Fineman, NY Times and the Washington Post.


2 September 2005

From Ryan Parry, Us Correspondent, Inside The New Orleans Superdome
BRITISH students told yesterday how they stepped out of the horror of Hurricane Katrina into the hell of their Superdome "shelter".

A place of refuge became a terrifying trap, where knives and guns, crack cocaine use, threats of violence and racial abuse were rife.

Jamie Trout, 22, who kept a record of his four days there, said: "It was like something out of Lord of the Flies - one minute everything is calm and civil, the next it descends into chaos."

'Casual to the point of careless' - Bush under fire for slow reaction

By Andrew Gumbel
Published: 02 September 2005

President Bush faced not only the fallout of Hurricane Katrina but also an intense political storm yesterday as relief experts, government officials and newspaper editorials criticised everything from his administration's disaster preparedness policies to the manner in which he made his public entry into the growing crisis on the Gulf coast.

The New York Times said of a speech he made on Tuesday: "Nothing about the President's demeanour yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis."

FEMA Directing Donations To Rev. Pat Robertson


FEMA Directing Donations To Rev.
Pat Robertson
09/01/05 02:45 PM Eastern

FEMA was called today and the Robertson listing is old. According to the person, it will be gone by tomorrow. FEMA is, no doubt, underfunded, like every other service agency in this government.

FEMA Urges Americans to Donate to Pat Robertson Organization

Incredibly enough, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is listing Pat Robertson's organization Operation Blessing as one of its top three groups to which Americans should send cash to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Robertson has previously used Operation Blessings plane's and resources to ferry equipment to his diamond mining corporation in Africa.

FEMA's actions were first pointed out by the website Sploid.

Save the People in the Superdome


As we write this to you, thousands of New Orleans residents at the Superdome are stranded and without water. According to many news reports, people are dying from dehydration while 82 buses sit outside the Superdome. There are confusing reports about why they are not evacuating people.

We know for certain that there are ACORN members and their families in the Superdome. They need water. We do not know why FEMA is not bringing water. We also heard there was water available at the Ritz Carlton Hotel nearby, but we can't enter the city or reach folks there.

Please call your Members of Congress and ask them to pressure the Administration and FEMA to save the people at the Superdome. You can call toll-free 1-800-643-9557 and ask to speak to your representative.

Police: Miss. Man Kills Sister Over Bag Of Ice

Police: Miss. Man Kills Sister Over Bag Of Ice

POSTED: 12:14 am EDT September 1, 2005
UPDATED: 5:53 am EDT September 1, 2005

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Police in Hattiesburg, Miss., said a man fatally shot his sister in the head over a bag of ice.

Authorities say 35-year-old Antonio Page shot his sister with a handgun on a street corner Tuesday night.

Police Chief David Wynn said the woman's name was not available.

Wynn said tempers are short, but he can't understand why a member of someone's family could take that step.

The shooting is being treated like a homicide, Wynn said.

New Orleans in Anarchy With Fights, Rapes

New Orleans in Anarchy With Fights, Rapes

By ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press Writer
18 minutes ago

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday, as corpses lay abandoned in street medians, fights and fires broke out and storm survivors battled for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos. The tired and hungry seethed, saying they had been forsaken.

"I'm not sure I'm going to get out of here alive," said Canadian tourist Larry Mitzel, who handed a reporter his business card in case he goes missing. "I'm scared of riots. I'm scared of the locals. We might get caught in the crossfire."

Congress Sending $10.5B in Relief Aid

Congress Sending $10.5B in Relief Aid


By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent
10 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Congress rushed to provide a $10.5 billion down payment in relief aid for Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina on Thursday as President Bush ordered new action to minimize disruptions in the nation's energy supplies.

"Don't buy gas if you don't need it," he urged consumers already hit by sharply rising prices.

Amid lawlessness in flooded, chaotic New Orleans, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced plans to deploy 1,400 additional National Guard personnel each day for the next several days.

New Orleans mayor issues 'desperate SOS'


New Orleans mayor issues 'desperate SOS'
Violence disrupts evacuation, rescue efforts

Thursday, September 1, 2005 Posted: 2223 GMT (0623 HKT)

Crowds of New Orleans residents try to get on buses at an evacuation staging area on Interstate 10.

The mayor of New Orleans issued a "desperate SOS" Thursday as violence disrupted efforts to rescue people still trapped in the flooded city and evacuate thousands of displaced residents living amid corpses and human waste.

Residents expressed growing frustration with the disorder evident on the streets, raising questions about the coordination and timeliness of relief efforts.

White House Briefing: McClellan Responds to Criticism Related to Hurricane

White House Briefing: McClellan Responds to Criticism Related to Hurricane

By E&P Staff

Published: September 01, 2005 4:10 PM ET

NEW YORK White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan met with reporters today, explained what the president plans to do about hurricane relief, and faced questions about whether that relief could have come stronger and sooner--and if, perhaps, Washington could have done more to prevent this tragedy.

Relevant excerpts follow:

Q People on the ground, though are questioning why it's taken three days or more for federal help to arrive, notwithstanding all of the preparations. There's considerable bitterness in some places. We had one woman ask on camera last night, where's the cavalry? And then there's been editorial criticism across the country of the President for not acting sooner, or not coming back sooner. What do you say to all that?

Editorials Raise Questions About President's Response to Katrina--and Lack of Preparations

Editorials Raise Questions About President's Response to Katrina--and Lack of Preparations

By E&P Staff

Published: August 31, 2005 10:30 PM ET

NEW YORK As the truth sinks in--this is the worst natural disaster in the nation's history--editorials in a wide range of newspapers have now raised critical issues about the lack of preparation, the effects of so many National Guard sent to Iraq, and the response of President Bush to the tragedy this week.

One of the most stalwart conservative newspapers in the nation, the Union Leader of New Hampshire, today blasted Bush's response to the great Gulf Coast hurricane.

Adding Insult to Injury

The Waterbury, Conn., Republican-American newspaper wrote an editorial Wednesday entitled, "Is New Orleans worth reclaiming?"

"Americans' hearts go out to the people in Katrina's path," it said. "But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist on living in harm's way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property."


But did the people of New Orleans send the Guard to fight for oil in the Middle East? Did the people of New Orleans slash the funding for the levees? Did the people of New Orleans turn our national energy policy over to oil barrons?

Katrina's Real Name

Published on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 by the Boston Globe
Via Common Dreams
By Ross Gelbspan

The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.
When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause was global warming.

When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the United Kingdom, the driver was global warming.

When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the reason was global warming.


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