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Condit Pap, Pundit Pap
for Sunday, August 26
by Morrie Friendly

Sunday, August 26, 2001 -- WASHINGTON (APJP) -- Technically, the entire APJ staff is away on vacation -- after all, August is usually the most dead-boring month when it comes to the Sunday Gasbags. They usually have to scrape the bottom of the barrel or stretch credulity in search of topical themes to simultaneously puff up their egos and provide ample justification for going on the air in the first place; after all, Congress and His Fraudulence are both out of town.  Even the Christmas season provides more content -- usually in the form of silly "year in review/what's next" prognostications -- than that hot, humid and uncomfortably moribund stretch leading up to Labor Day.

But the 24-hour news cycle and the never-ending search for sexy, titillating stories has changed all that.

The media sharks are circling Rep. Gary Condit (phony D-CA) while trying to assert that "the story is really about Chandra Levy" (yeah, sure), so this writer thought that a peek at a couple of the pundit shows might be worth it.

And it was -- in that it demonstrated once again that the business of television news is business: stories more appropriate for cable's E! entertainment channel trump real news.

So here it goes for this week -- a look at the two top offenders.


FAUX Spin Sunday
Mr. "Kim Hume" props up Smith, proclaims doom for Condit

Tony Snow is away on vacation (getting a tan on Republican Beach, we can only wonder?) -- leaving the hosting duties to Brit Hume, who previewed the program's Condit Pap and then immediately flogged "...the story that has captivated the nation for four days!!"

No, it wasn't the Connie Chung interview with Condit that triggered a news feeding frenzy -- Brit had us laughing as he read the winning PowerBall numbers!  

But in the opening "news update," the tarted-up FAUX News vixen (we missed the name of the guilty party) made a point to emphasize that Condit was "Clintonesque" and "parsing words" in his dealings with the press.

Clintonesque?  Hardly -- Clinton was the Kevlar President and a master at showing top reporters to be the hypocrites that they generally are .  On the other hand, Condit up to now has been pure Velcro!  And "parsing words?"  Hell, Condit did succeed at one thing: he put Billy Martin, the lawyer for Chandra Levy's parents, on the spot by honoring Martin's request that Condit refrain from commenting on the relationship with Levy.  That's just what Martin and Levy's parents deserve -- especially the latter, two "blame game" opportunists who seem more hell-bent on assassinating Condit's character than in helping DC police and other law enforcement officials locate their own daughter.

Of course, the press want to paint Condit as being evasive -- but the truth is that most people don't trust the corporate media anymore. Most adults did NOT view the ABC interview, and those that did are likely to trust Connie "Mrs. Maury Povich" Chung even less than Condit.  Condit did absolutely the right thing by calling Martin and the Levys on their two-faced tactics.  Now it's time for Condit to get even nastier and go after the press AND the Levys for their hypocrisy -- and their using a missing woman to attack him and try him in the press.

But I digress.

Brit led with the "Anne Marie Smith" story -- she is the stewardess who claims she had an affair with Condit and gave the story "exclusively" to FAUX News.  The guest -- Smith's attorney, Jim Robinson.

Talk about coincidences -- is he any relation to the nutcase owner of Free Republic who goes by the same name? We can only wonder.

It was a truly bizarre segment. Robinson, who spent most of his face time mumbling in a lifeless monotone, said he planned to serve papers on Condit, but added "nothing criminal can happen tomorrow."  Panelist Juan Williams got Robinson to admit that he has not talked to the FBI since May.  Robinson, tipping his political and ideological hand, said Condit is using "the Clinton playbook" and is "parsing words."  Gee, didn't the FAUX News babe use just those very phrases?  Who's giving him his cue cards -- Kim Hume?  Can anyone say "orchestration?"  It looked like an even bigger setup than the Lewinsky flap!  Hume said something about a "recreational relationship" between Condit and Smith.  Robinson err'd and umm'd.

Ceci Connelly asked why Smith "wanted to come forward and submit herself to public scrutiny" -- a not-so-obvious cue for Robinson to claim that Condit suborned perjury by attempting to get Smith to sign an affidavit (Abbe Lowell would do a great job of skewering this notion -- and the press's handling of this facet of the story -- on Meet the Press).  Hume made the "point" that Smith had gotten no remuneration.  Really, Brit?  Do you know that she was expecting a payoff -- maybe form your bosses, including your wife? Or Roger Ailes? Maybe Rupert "Real American, Oye, Oye, Oye" Murdoch? Or  Sun Myung Moon?

Robinson whined that he'd shelled out a few thousand already.  What a laugh -- it's called a "loss leader." Come to think of it, this segment served in part as an unpaid ad for Robinson's legal services in much the same way that Donovan Campbell's appearances on behalf of his liar client Paula Jones did. 

Bill Kristol asked about Smith's and Robinson's dealings with the FBI and asserted that Condit would somehow be "worried" about Smith's "testimony" to the FBI (probably in much the same way that Clinton was concerned that Paula Jones's lies were being used by right-wingers, and for good reason).  Robinson said that Condit claimed that five people were lying and had "absolute ice water going through their veins."

Of course, Robinson forgets that we've all seen pretty much the same situation before -- in the form of professional liars like Kathleen Willey, David Brock and Ted Olson.  And who turned out to be the liars, Robinson?  One lied so nice she was immunized twice; one has 'fessed up and become the target of hate from America's Neofascist power players; and one is now snidely and openly referred to in Washington as the "Perjurer General."

So it might be a good idea to put a sock in it when a politician who has good reason to do so says someone is being less than candid.

In fact, Robinson's weak claim only served to drive home the idea that the whole segment was a major effort at damage control by the FAUX News Channel.  They are shoring up a story that they invested in almost as heavily as their broadcast network invested in Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire -- and now Condit has forcefully and specifically blown a hole in their "star witness" -- or, more accurately, star "witless".  And the truth is that in this particular game of "he said, she said," we wouldn't be surprised in the least if Condit is right.  Getting her somnambulist-mouthed attorney to push "obstructing justice and suborning perjury" is a risky strategy on the part of both Smith and FAUX -- one that could blow up in both their faces and demolish all of their credibility.

Roger Ailes, usually a pretty savvy player, should have just plain known better.

Hume then continued the assault on Condit from a different tack: Democrats are "attacking" him. Hume ran a clip of Dick Gephardt expressing his displeasure, then turned to guest Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY).  Rangel, God bless him, actually took a swipe at the Robinson interview -- and Hume rose to the bait by asking if getting Smith to sign an affidavit was a huge crime ("...that she KNEW to be false" -- oh, really, Brit?  Are you sure?) -- but then admitted that Condit did NOT consider any dealings with Smith an affair.  Rangel fired back: Chandra Levy is the story, the DC Police are leaking like a sieve, and Hume can't PROVE wrongdoing but sure is taking plenty of potshots (read: cheap shots).

Juan Williams said that Condit has brought disrepute to the House and could be blackmailed.  What a laugh!  Any less than Newt or Livingston brought disrepute to the House, Juan?  Heck, they were both blackmailed, but from WITHIN!  And Condit said that inappropriate relations with a "stewardess" (Juan even used the politically incorrect term for a flight attendant) don't have anything to do with Levy.  Ceci chose to talk about liabilities and distractions, and Rangel said the truth of the matter is that unless there's something to bring before the Ethics Committee, nothing can be done.

Hume said that Ethics Committee could do something, and Rangel confronted him: WHAT CHARGES?  Hume fell back on that old moralist refrain, "bringing disrepute."  Rangel nearly laughed out loud, then said that the claim is ridiculously broad.  Hume then played a clip of the DC Police Chief saying something about Condit -- and Rangel said that they screwed up the investigation, and the clip is not exactly the sort of thing that would impress the Ethics Committee.

Thank God for Bill Kristol -- it was 25 minutes into FAUX Spin Sunday, and Bill raised the first real issue of the program as he asked Rangel about the deficit and tax cuts!  Rangel pointed out that Smirk has broken his promises, the tax cuts are irresponsible, and the surplus is gone.

Following the half-time break and that sole question about a real political concern, Smirk's economic advisor Larry "Supply-Side Stooge" Lindsey was the guest.  He claimed the tax cut had stopped the economic slide -- "We've hit it about right."  What a cut-up!  Hume tried to claim that running ANY kind of surplus (meaning Social Security) during a financial downturn is not a good idea.  Lindsey promoted privatization of Social Security as helping the economy (read: brokerage firms) -- talk about a non-sequitur.  Hume then attacked Lindsey, saying that Team Smirk would raid Social Security.  Lindsey called it "rearranging."

That must be the new Beltway term for "creative accounting."

And Hume continued hammering, calling it yet another form of IOUs.  Lindsey seemed to give up the spin fight.

Talk then turned to the possibility of "negative growth."  All Lindsey could do is say that by definition, one such quarter is not a recession but two are.   He made sure to say that the scam "rebate" is in the mail and talked about "robust growth."

What a hypocrite -- Smirk-O-Nomics is putting the "bust" in "robust."

Finally, Hume mentioned unemployment.  Who's hiring?

Hume then said that Lindsey had taken money out of the market before the boom -- would he put it in now?  Lindsey's answer -- he'd put it into "something better."

Right -- canned food and small firearms.

Hume then welcomed John Spratt, top Democrat on the Budget Committee.  He talked about the big turnaround from deficits to surpluses, and Hume tried to accuse Spratt of not including the congressional GOP.  Spratt said he had: "That's why I said US!"

We're shocked that Hume didn't accuse Spratt of "parsing words."

Spratt mentioned a wonkish point, but one that should be made -- President Greenspan has been lowering short-term interest rates, but there has been no reduction in long-term 30-year bond rates.  Spratt also slammed the Smirk for stealing $30 billion by "shifting" numbers to make it appear that there is a surplus.  He also said that it's not time to talk about revoking the tax cut -- because it's already structured to self-destruct.  But he did say that there is concern because of the "fragile" state of the economy.  "Bear this in mind" -- Smirk is counting on a bounce-back, but Lindsey's admitted that the third quarter looks pretty bad, and this may not be a cyclical downturn but a bigger problem.

Panel time -- or, more accurately, "stalk Condit" time.  Juan talked short-term damage -- but also said that the idea that the DC Police may have missed a multiple killer and the idea of a "safety zone" around private conduct may gain traction and help Condit. Ceci flogged Robinson's legal attacks on Condit; Kristol said that it's over for Condit, "the Democrats have thrown him overboard."  Ceci said that Condit should announce his retirement because otherwise it will hurt the Dems; Hume wanted public "ostracisation"; Juan said that the attacks on Bill Clinton were partisan and that Condit got bad political advice.  Kristol said that there is a burden on Hastert and GOP committee leaders to act on Condit -- as a goofy "FAUX News Alert" with those winning PowerBall numbers popped up.  Hume obsessed about "private behavior" -- and, of course, bashed Bill Clinton.  Juan scoffed at Condit having called himself a moral man, and Ceci slammed Condit for calling for Clinton to "come forward" and not doing so himself.

You could have predicted it all.

The final word: Hume showed Bill "Heinrich" O'Reilly singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field, a longtime tradition during the "seventh inning stretch" at Chicago Cubs game -- and a silly-ass promotional stunt for the right-wing commentator's prime-time hour of lies, smear and innuendo on the FAUX News Channel.

Let's just say Tony Bennett has little to worry about.


Eat the Press
Tim's attacks backfire as Lowell makes fool of porcine prince of pundit hypocrisy

There's no vacation for Tim Russert.  And given hammering Russert took from his first guest, Gary Condit's lawyer Abbe Lowell, we're sure he wishes he had been on vacation and First Lady Andrea Greenspan had been guest host.  At the top of the show, Tim said that Condit and the dwindling Smirk surplus were the top topics -- but hardly a word was mentioned about the latter.

Tim had cast Condit's media blitz as a failure.  Was it?  Lowell said yes and no.  Then Tim engaged in his favorite attack strategy -- video clips and newspaper clippings, this time using Gephardt's Meet the Press interview in which he said all the facts were not in, then a newspaper article in which Gephardt's angry comments about Condit were played up.  Lowell said that people should take a real careful look at ALL the interviews, not just Condit's run-in with Connie "Ask the same question eight different ways" Chung, and also mentioned that Gephardt and Condit have not met.  And those claims that Condit could be blackmailed?  The truth is out there, said Lowell, and Condit's about the only guy on the committee who can't be blackmailed.

Lowell also made a telling comment: Condit's not the kind of guy who will go on TV and tell people what they WANT to hear.

Tim kept pushing the "shouldn't Condit be kicked off his committees" pap (does this guy get his marching orders from Jim Gilmore, Jack Welch, or both?) and Lowell swatted him down , essentially saying, "You don't get it, do you, Tim -- he can't be blackmailed, he's very effective on committee, and YOU can't get your perverted little mitts out of his pants, can you."

Then Tim moved to some meaningless, emotionally charged survey results -- as if the MTP viewership doesn't understand a slanted poll.  Lowell said that if Condit wanted to handle the Chandra Levy matter in a PR manner, he would -- and would have talked sex, sex, sex.  Instead, Condit wanted to get the facts out.  Tim, naturally, played the segment of the Chung interview in which Condit said that Levy's mom was mistaken about a conversation, then played a clip in which Billy Martin essentially called Condit a liar.  Lowell pointed out that the Levys were leveraging Condit's low favorability, then said that IF it happened as Levy said, people can forgive Condit for not having said the "right" thing.

Tim then tried to ambush Condit by using Billy Martin's having said that the Levys now have no objection to Condit talking about the relationship.  And Lowell pounced -- saying that the press is ONLY pushing the sexual aspect of the story; this should be about a MISSING PERSON.  We could practically see the expression on Lowell's face betraying his thoughts: "Do you think these viewers are STUPID, Tim?  They're not.  They saw you attack Gore last year.  They're seeing you on the attack now.  They're onto your game -- and you don't even see it!"

Foolishly, Tim pursued the "desire" of the Levy's and their investigators to meet together with Condit.  We could see where this was going -- Tim was going to INSIST that this is the ONLY way to resolve the issue.  Lowell said that Condit had said he is open to meeting with the Levys and with their PIs -- and that the press was being unfair by suddently pushing the Levy's change of heart.

Tim practically demanded  -- over and over and over and over --  the idea of Condit meeting with the Levys and their PIs together.  And Lowell again made mincemeat (or is it mince-lard) of the fat pundit, essentially demanding that the PIs get a hold of him and the DC Police to familiarize themselves with the case.

Tim kept pushing the "romance," news stories about the affair, and Condit having allegedly lied about his affair to his own staff.  Meanwhile, he had missed Lowell's obvious meaning -- his implication that the cops and FBI are pursuing other and highly promising leads.  Lowell swatted down Tim's assertion that Condit asked his staff to lie.

Tim continued to obsess about Condit and Levy, asking about phone calls.  Lowell said there's a big difference between giving Tim Russert and law enforcement phone records -- and people understand that.

But that was not good enough -- Abbe should have jumped on this opening to say that all Russert cares about is twisting the facts and causing Condit and his family further grief.  Someone has to call this egomaniacal swine on his attack tactics -- and this was a great opportunity.  Sure, Russert would never invite him back -- a small price to pay for tearing the Emperor of Sunday Spin's clothes off.  The business he would have garnered would have been worth the price. 

Tim then tried to play up more trumped-up tripe: a story about Condit having thrown out a box that somehow "proves" he's a crook, a woman named Jolene McCay (McCoy?), and that Anne Marie Smith woman that FAUX News has glommed on to.  Tim kept hammering "two women concerned about their safety."

How about "two women out to profit from the Levys' and Condits' misery?"  That sounds closer to the mark to us -- but Lord forbid Tim should slam anyone that makes an elected Democrat look bad! 

Of course, Tim made sure to attack Bill Clinton -- about the definition of oral sex and "what is is" -- and Condit's claim that these people are lying.  Lowell then slammed Tim for being unfair and yelling his questions -- which Tim was doing but denied -- and then Tim CUT LOWELL OFF as he began to read claims made by Anne Marie Smith.  Lowell dismissed Smith -- then said Condit is in a position of having to make a checklist of allegations, and it's funny that Tim didn't mention that preacher who claimed that Condit had an affair with his daughter, a headline-maker that turned out to be a LIE that had made fools out of national news organizations.

Tim then tried to use a so-called "false affidavit."  Lowell chopped Tim down to size, saying it's funny that the press does not mention that the affidavit was headed a correctable DRAFT and that it was the result of an exchange between lawyers, not Smith and Condit.

And, by the way, IF there was indeed anything between Smith and Condit that included sex, that does not constitute romance.  But don't tell that to Tim.

Lowell also slammed Tim for using a one-sided quote from the chief of the DC police to "prove" Condit was uncooperative -- Lowell used other quotes to "prove" the opposite and make a fool out of Tim. Lowell added that there were NO complaints from the DC cops about Condit's third interview until a couple of days ago.

Tim then turned to another old news story from a month ago about the polygraph test that Condit took, and practically demanded that Condit take an FBI-administered test.  Lowell said that FBI agents had met with Condit's polygrapher, one Mr. Colvert, and that Tim was taunting Condit.  Tim denied it.  Lowell said that he had heard from the FBI that "they do get it."

And here's where my own inside sources come into play -- one of them has told me that Condit's polygrapher is considered one of the best in the world -- and that key players in both the DC police and the FBI agree with Colvert's view that Condit answered truthfully and now believe that Condit had nothing to do with Levy's disappearance.  Don't look for THAT on NBC or FAUX.

Following a string of commercials, Tim welcomed a panel of self-promoters.  Michael "Lucianne's Marionette" Isikoff, one of the most partisan and corrupt pseudojournalists in the world, previewed his interview with Condit in Newsleak. Lisa "Broaddrick" Myers declared Condit politically dead.  David "Who The Hell Cares Anymore" Broder declared him dead and talked about "parsing of words" -- and oblique negative comparison to Bill Clinton. Tim plugged Mike Barone's Almanac of American Politics (a big picture of the book had been paraded on the screen at the opening of MTP), and Barone talked about California redistricting and the possibility that Democrats may redistrict Condit out of existence.

Forty-six minutes into MTP came the first real issue: the coming deficit.  Tim played a clip of the stammering Bogus POTUS saying that he may rob the Social Security trust fund.  Broder, who doesn't give a goddamn about people his age who saved the world from Fascism yet now see their Social Security benefits endangered, likes the idea.  Tim then mentioned the LA Times article in which HHS boss Tommy "Cheesehead" Thompson admitted that Smirk's bad management has endangered any chance of prescription relief for the elderly.  Porcine Ms. Myers said the obvious -- programs that help people are in danger.  Barone said that a political downturn "could be a real political concern" for the GOP (translation: prepare for Speaker Gephardt).  We ignored Isikoff's comments.  Broder finally admitted that boomers are in danger of losing Social Security and medical benefits.

Finally, Tim's Meet the Press minute featured Jesse Helms fifteen years ago -- saying that he was delighted with Bill "Segregationist" Rehnquist being the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Tony Scalia's nomination to the court.

That was about the only mention of the one REAL bombshell story out of the Beltway this weekend.

But what more would you expect?  Sex sells -- especially when an intern is involved.


Capital Punishment, Capitol Gang for August 26

Today's episode -- featuring guest John Podesta, former Clinton chief of staff. And Bog Novak's got Tax Cut Fever! Catch it!

Out of the chute was a clip of the cocky smart-ass personified, Mitch Daniels, the chimp's director of the Office of Management and Budget -- who, responding to the Democratic chairman of the Budget committee, suggested the chairman "breath into a paper bag for a while", because he'd dared to expose the alarming mess the Bush budget was creating. Daniels announced that (surprise!), there's now a 40% drop in the previously projected surplus.

This exposes yet another of the outrageous lies perpetrated on the American public by Bush during and after his theft of the White House: that we had surpluses as far as the eye could see, so a trillion dollar or so tax cut to the wealthy wouldn't hurt anything. Besides, this huge surplus meant that the government had taken too much money from those good multi-millionaires and so they deserved it back (oh yeah, and a few bucks for you "good hard-working 'murcans" too.)

How does one put a good face on an admission that you've LIED? Well, Daniels said that this report "confirms" that the nation has entered an era of "solid surpluses."

Well... if you say so.

Then the Simian Prince appears, wildly gesticulating in a meaningless way and ssspitting out his ssssssssss'sss like he was pissssed about sssomething. Why? We get no clue. This is what happens when Karen Hughes tells him to sound "passssssionate" I suppose.

He points out that the budget will have the 2nd largest surplus in history, as if he had ANYTHING to do with that, and then claimed partial credit for it, which though totally dishonest, is surprising in that he didn't take ALL the credit. George the Incurious then said that this was due to his administration taking swift action against the downturn that resulted when world markets saw that this idiot was in charge of the largest economy on the planet, by ramming through a huge tax break.

Let's see here... we have a huge surplus. This is because you saw a downturn in the economy and, with lightning quick reflexes, gave almost all of the surplus you inherited from Clinton away to the wealthy. Uh, OK. I must be missing something in the translation. It makes no sense to a simple man like me.

Then the well-embalmed Robert Byrd appeared saying that maybe we ought to take a look the budget and think about maybe, maybe, tossing around the idea of beging to discuss starting to consider perhaps forming an idea about not automatically letting the Bushoids (read corporations) have their way.

The ever-lovable Kate O'Beirne brightened up our day by saying that Smirk is right, we have a HUGE surplus, and that taxes are too high, that we pay tens of billions of dollars in taxes that the government "doesn't immediately need."

Well Kate, are you suggesting that it will NEVER need these funds? Like in a few years when Social Security and Medicaid start going bust? You seem to be suggesting that maybe we can tinker with taxes the way a small business adjusts their prices, where we can lower them or give taxes back if there's a surplus, then instantly raise them again if we run a deficit? Somehow I donít think we'll hear Kate or any of the right calling for an increase in taxes when we're plunged into deficits as far as the eye can see once again.

She then suggested that both Dems and Repubs on the hill are protecting the Social Security trust fund, which she thinks is just stupid and that it should never be protected or "locked" away.

Look for this readers, coming to your town. The Republican drumbeat will be that it's just fine to spend the Social Security trust fund. And anyone that is alarmed about it is just ignorant and silly. You heard it here first when I predicted that the right is on a jihad to destroy both S.S. and Medicaid and will do so if allowed to.

Then she finally came out and actually admitted something like the truth. She said that if the economy doesn't strengthen, that it will be a problem for the Bushoids, and that it's OK to raid the Social Security trust fund, AND, in Kate's words, "run a small deficit."

I am no economist, but there has got to be a way that the wealthy profit incredibly by running deficits. Perhaps it's bonds or something -- I don't know, but it's blatantly clear that the right is in love with running deficits, the bigger the better.

Podesta pointed out what every schoolchild should know: that under Clinton, the balance sheet got better and better, and under Smirk, it's gotten worse and worse.

Sheilds pointed out how Tom "Bugged Out" DeLay and the right crowed about how the S.S. trust fund was sacrosanct and untouchable. Now they're changing their tune with a vanishing surplus down to 1 billion.

Novakula reared his cuddly little head to say that the idea of a Social Security "lockbox" is "silly." Then as if to convince himself, he said we don't have a 1 billion dollar surplus, that it's a 160 billion dollar surplus and that there simply is no Social Security trust fund.

He blamed the downturn in the economy on Al Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, which is in keeping with the ongoing effort by Wall Street and the right to vilify Greenspan as a scapegoat for any economic downturn.

He then managed to get in a plea for even more tax cuts, this time demanding a cut in capital gains taxes which would benefit only those with large sums of money to play in the market. Then he tried to blame the Clinton administration for having the audacity of thinking that either increasing taxes and reducing spending is a way to actually balance the budget and improve the economy, calling it "ridiculous."

Since when is the idea that to balance a budget, one has to either increase revenue or cut expenditures considered "ridiculous"? Since now, evidently.

Al Hunt then pointed out to Novak that Clinton's policies had resulted in the best 7 years in Novak's miserable life! They then did a quick cut to Novak and he was literally sitting there rolling his eyes back into his head and moaning as if he were on the verge of passing out! Ha, ha, hahaha! I live for those moments! Evidently, old Bob has an allergic reaction to solid, irrefutable facts.

Al agreed that there really is no S.S. trust fund, as it consists of in essence only I.O.U.s -- but he said it illustrates the debate between 3 choices: going back to red ink, as in the Reagan/Bush era, roll back the insane tax cut that Smirk got passed, or abandon increased spending for defense, education, or health care for poor children.

Kate said there was another way: economic growth, which she believes cures EVERYTHING. She said tax cuts equal economic growth. That's bull, and we've already seen proof of that! But the right has a very, very poor memory, and is hoping the public does too. And she says that capital gains tax cuts are "self-financing." This kind of code word means we're supposed to think it will have no effect on revenues, which is pure B.S.

Then Novak inspired a good dust up, which of course, is always great and often hilarious, though unintentionally on his part.

Shields made a great point: that it is up to the Dems to point out that there is a CHOICE to be made here. The Chimp made his choice, and it was a tax cut, and saying no to prescription drug benefits, no to children's health coverage, and no to a huge list of things, including ballistic missile defense.

Novak then came out swinging against Podesta. He has a visceral knee jerk reaction when anyone even suggests taking away his much loved tax cuts. Novak is obsessed with tax cuts. That is his issue. Tax cuts are, in Novak-land, a cure for EVERYTHING. Got a hangnail? TAX CUTS! Kids giving you a hard time? TAX CUTS!! Pissed about getting a whiff of cigarette smoke? TAX CUTS!! Someone send you a nasty e-mail? TAX CUTS!!! Did you have to wait too long in the check out line yesterday? TAX CUTS!!! Crabgrass? TAX CUTS!!! Don't pay taxes? You STILL need a tax cut!!! It's the miracle cure for all of life's ills. And if you don't believe it, just ask Bob.

He recited a litany of examples about how the economy is tanking, then asked Podesta if he'd really take back or curtail the Chimp's tax cuts, no doubt shaking with rage. Podesta got half an answer out, then Novak jumped on him and asked what he'd do "RIGHT NOW?" Podesta, not to his credit, stammered a bit, and Hunt bailed him out.

Hunt spoke up strongly, saying, "What I'd do is take away the tax cut that rich people like you are supposed to get in 3 or 4 years." WOOHOO! That's guaranteed to put some stress on old Novak's arteries! Them's fighting words for sure!

So Hunt continued, pointing out that the much talked about projected shortfall in Social Security is about HALF what the still to come tax giveaway to the wealthy will be in 3 or 4 years. "So yes, I'd take away YOUR tax give back, but not the ones for the working people and middle class." Amen, brother Hunt.

I knew that spittle was about to fly, and I wasn't wrong. HAHA!

Boob started by taking a jab at Hunt about how he USED to know a lot about economics when he covered the Ways and Means committee, but he obviously has forgotten. Haha!

Novak spluttered, "But Al, if you take away those tax cuts, (Hunt: "Take away YOURS?") the economy is IN THE CAN!" HAHAHAHA!!!

Podesta to Novak in the background: "That's what you said in '93!!"

Shields joined the fray saying, "You sit there BADGERING John Podesta for an answer, when he was the co-captain of an Administration that brought unprecedented prosperity! (Novak: "Ooooooh Gag me!") And you sit here as a slavish devotee of Larry Lindsey, who put it in the junkyard!!"

(Lindsey is Dim Son's economic advisor.)

Hunt said, "8 years ago, he (Novak) said it would be a disaster, he said it!"

Shields: "He did! He did! I don't know what I'm going to do with you, Novak!" HA!!

Podesta got in and said that the only thing going into the dumpster was the Social Security lockbox.

Novak then proved me correct by saying twice, "I hope it does! I hope it does."

There followed yet another commercial for the Williams company, showing their gas pipeline in aerial shots designed to show how beautiful the country was that it traversed. I guess the idea was to make it seem majestic and in tune with nature.

Without even checking, I feel confident that Williams is a huge contributor to Smirk and plays a part in the shadow government.

The only thing which stuck out like a sore thumb were the SCARS this pipeline had made on the land! I couldn't believe that they hadn't digitally removed them somehow.

The voiceover intoned how it crossed valleys, (showing a huge monstrosity of a structure over a beautiful canyon) crossed mountains (showing a huge swath of forest, with this big ugly bare strip carving through it for miles) and across deserts (a shot that showed this long and plainly visible scar stretching to the horizon across a fragile and beautiful desert.)

Should we be surprised that they don't even bother hiding the damage they do anymore? I guess they're now attempting to train us to find those sorts of scars beautiful as well as perfectly natural.

Again, to avoid running on at too great a length, I'll skip the other segments of the show, one of which, of course, was about the Condit/Levy freak show. I am proud to have not waded into that sewer, and am happy to not do so today. It has now officially and permanently crossed over into the realm of media insanity.

And why don't we hear a peep about the DEAD woman found in Florida Republican congressman Joe Scarborough's own office? Despite being high profile, young, and destined for big things, Scarborough mysteriously announced that he would not run for office in the next election. It doesn't get any more suspicious than this, complete with a discredited coroner who had been disciplined in the past for filing false reports giving an incredibly implausible cause of death.

So to top things off, we'll go straight to the "Outrage of the Week."

Mark Shields led off with a GREAT outrage! It's a gem.

His lead question was, "Is there a double standard among my conservative brothers in the press?" I had to pause the tape to recover from my laughing jag, but then picked myself up off the floor and continued.

This merits the full "transcript" treatment. Here is Shield's outrage:

"Consider this, on the July 28th Capital Gang, when former congressman Pete Peterson, and authentic American hero of the Vietnam war, and ambassador to Vietnam, misstated a single syllable, good old Bob Novak called him, quote, 'A little unsteady', unquote.

"That's OK, but what about the total conservative LOCKJAW (haha) when USA Today's Judy Keen quoted the leader of the free world as saying this:

"An expert in Texas trees described by Bush as an 'ARBOLIST'---'look up the word,' he said, 'I don't know, maybe I made it up.' Anyway, it's an arbo-tree-ist, somebody who knows about trees.

"TELL US, Bob Novak, would you say that President Bush was 'a little unsteady?'"

I don't think that needs any comment, and will stand on it's own as the stunningly revealing glimpse into this idiot's attitude that it is (other than suggesting it should be engraved on his tomb whenever Smirk kicks the bucket).

Links to this story and another about the Chimp's visit to his ranch and his pathetic attempt to seem intelligent, and to be a real nature lover are below. They're must reads (but not before eating).

Novak then replied to Shields' rhetorical question of whether he'd say the Chimp was "a little unsteady."

"Never!", said Novak.

Then he went on to his own outrage. It contained an irrational, illogical, and ridiculous argument. But hey, do we expect less?

He recounted the massacre in Sacramento where a 27-year-old immigrant went out of his mind and slaughtered 6 members of his family including his pregnant wife and 3 year old son. Boob spluttered in rising indignation, "And yet the LIBERAL ESTABLISHMENT DID NOT SEEM INTERESTED, Sen. Chuck Schumer did NOT make a speech advocating gun control. That's because Nicolai Soltys did NOT use a GUN, HE USED AN AX on his killing spree, (ominously) but nobody is advocating AX CONTROL! The problem is serial killers, not weapons! The real agenda of the liberals is to curtail gun ownership, and they demonstrated that this week."

"EXcellent point Bob", said Kate.

Where to begin with this? It's nonsense, pure and simple, to even TRY to equate axes with guns. Period. And here Novak also manages to make "curtailing" gun ownership seem truly menacing and un-American, when the truth is that an overwhelming majority of American's think that there should be common sense gun control.

This is rank distortion at it's worst. To suggest that "The Liberal Establishment" (nice code word, Bob) and Chuck Schumer don't give a damn about a slaughtered family because it was achieved with an ax is the REAL outrage here! All one needs do is consider all the deaths and tragedies caused with a gun, and contrast that with the deaths caused by axes, and this BS goes up in smoke.

No Bob, no one's calling for "ax control" because axes aren't used in the deaths of dozens of people, many of them children, each and every day! But of course, Kate thinks it's an "EXcellent Point."

Speaking of our dear Kate, it seems she's steamed about the NY GOP. Huh? Yep, that's correct. It seems that Kate was all on board with the cynical attempt by the Repugs to lure Hispanics into their fold.

The New York GOP has lined up against Puerto Rican NY mayoral candidate Herman Padillo, who had switched to the GOP several years ago, and instead is backing billionaire Michael Bloomburg, who was, as Kate puts it, "a liberal Democrat", until switching to the GOP just months ago. She correctly wonders why Hispanic voters should give the GOP a try when the GOP won't support Hispanic candidates.

Well Kate, you see, they worship immense wealth over EVERYTHING, and it trumps even their supposedly passionately held political beliefs, and they dislike minorities, except as cheap labor, and... well, if you can't figure it out, I'm not going to help you.

Al Hunt quipped, "I want Bob to share his gun collection with us, Mark." His outrage was that just released FBI files show that good old J. Edgar "Call Me Loretta" Hoover had waged a years long vendetta against the last Senator Al Gore Sr. Why? Because Gore Sr. had once had the nerve to criticize the FBI.

Hunt said this is yet another reminder of what a disgrace this Coolidge-appointed FBI director was. He called for taking Hoover's name off the FBI building, "and while we're at it, throw away the high-heel pumps he loved to secretly wear." HA! We're all for that Al!

Here are the promised web links.

Morrie Friendly is a retired advisor to elected Republicans (but not neo-Confederates). He lives and works in Georgetown and supports statehood for the District of Columbia.

Dash Riprock is a free lance smart-aleck based in Moline, IL who has never met a Turk he didn't like. He welcomes comments, kudos, and fire-breathing excoriation at

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