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Tilting at Windmills

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September 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NATIONAL SECURITY....David Weigel asks a GOP consultant if terrorist attacks are good for his clients:

"Would it be good for Republicans if terrorists kept trying to attack us?" ponders Republican consultant John McLaughlin...."You don't want to answer that question. You don't want to see Americans attacked, but this is an issue where Republicans have a decisive lead. It's the one issue where the President has a net approval rating. It's got to help the Republicans when something like this happens."

....In fact, what Republicans really worry about is that one day the Democrats will actually offer their own convincing vision for national security. "I'm kind of surprised a lot more of the Democrats haven't stepped up to run strong on defense, strong on security messages," McLaughlin says. "This could be their strongest issue."

Why yes, it could be! Anyone listening?

Kevin Drum 8:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

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Comments

Everyone knows that Democrats want the IslamoFascists to take over. Duh.

Posted by: Al on September 12, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

OK, that comment convinced me that Al is a complete parody. Maybe I'm behind the curve on this, though.

Posted by: K Boggs on September 12, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

We are losing the war in Iraq, our military is overstressed and demoralized, we have squandered the good will of other nations, our allies in Iraq have left us, our intelligence services have been demonized by the administration, our budget defict constrains us from further ambitious military adventures....

And the Republicans think that they have the upper hand on national security issues?

What the fuck?

Posted by: global yokel on September 12, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

K Boggs, You're behind on the curve on this. Just ignore him.


It would be a rove moment. Bitchslap them hard on their strongest issue and they're surprised and a whole lot more vulnerable. Dems should blast the GOP on the war on Terror. On every other issue the Dems win already.Take down their strongest point and they have nothing left.

Posted by: Ernst on September 12, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

The deep structural problem is that sensible Democratic plans for national and homeland security are non-trimumphalist and don't rely on gimmicks.

Patient police work and cooperation with moderate Muslim states to convince them of the threat from al Qaeda while working with their law enforcement and internal security apparatuses is not as *sexy* as fulminating about World War III.

The Republicans want Osama to fill some mighty big shoes, so the West can look righteous while they look like Evil Incarnate.

The Democrats want to perceive Osama as he is in *reality*: a bloviating little pipsqueak with no support in any properly functioning nation on Earth.

And guess which vision cuts better TV ads ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

As a Deaniac, I also scorned Kerry's record of accomplishment, and I'd contrast it most unfavorably with that of the senior senator in his state.

OTOH, Kerry's fatal flaw in my estimation wasn't that he didn't have impressive accomplishments -- it's that he ran away from them. "Reporting For Duty" was *bound* to prang, coming from a commissioned lieutenant with a set of medals that are, at the very least, questionable. You're going to buddy up with vets -- expect the archconservative cranks among them to attack you -- for being a ninety-day-wonder in an enlisted grunt's war, if nothing else.

Now had he trumpeted his leadership in VVAW and came across as the Reluctant Warrior -- that might've made a difference. Had he called his vote on the IWR a mistake, that might've made a difference. I don't care how he looked in tight pants--the ladies did, *hummana hummana hummana*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats are afraid to lead. The Democrats right now are a docile bunch of good little followers. They don't really want responsibility. At least that is the way they act.

Damn I wish they would just step up to the plate and say GWB has made us weaker. We are ready to take the initiative on the war on the terror. We can win, and we can win without destroying American freedoms.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 12, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

All the Republicans do is say that they are strong on national security and it becomes conventional wisdom. They don't have any coherent plan and they certainly have no rational plan.

The Democrats have been offering rational national security plans for decades to no avail. So just adopt the Republican strategy....don't freaking respond to their attacks or concern troll advice....hammer them on their 'strength' for it truly is a house of cards.

Posted by: Gregor Samsa on September 12, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

That's not the John McLaughlin who was interim head of the CIA, is it?

Posted by: Jim on September 12, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

First, among the many things Democrats need, is a strong activist base that creates an environment of money and PR where politicians are not afraid to offer an alternative to the conservative ethos. Then it is necessary for Democrats to create a national unity party that is strongly patriotic without any of the nasty authoritarian nationalism that characterizes the GOP. I am not one to look to the past for examples, but FDRs anti-fascist version would do just fine. It is a tall order to rescue the flag from people who hate the state and turn it into a religion. While theyre at it the Dems should also rescue Jesus from the power cult.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 12, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Al has to be a total parody.

Nobody is that fucking skull-crushingly stupid.

Posted by: angryspittle on September 12, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

angryspittle,

Being the subject of some seriously unfunny parodying, yeah. *Plenty* of people around here are skull-fuckingly stupid.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Oh man ... somebody's got a major crush on me.

I wrote that Kerry post several months ago. Somebody googled it, saved it, and stuck some Ricky Ricardo-ism in the last line.

Now who here could be THAT ob-com ... decisions, decision ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Directly above isn't me, either.

I really shouldn't respond to this crap at all ...

*sigh*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Indirectly above me isn't me, but it was me just now.

I really should respond to crap ...

*farrrrt*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

If the Dems win the house, of course they would pass a bill funding port protection and other security measures. If the Republicans stand in the way of that, then the security issue is completely redefined.

Posted by: Wagster on September 12, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Why yes, it could be! Anyone listening?"

Maybe in an alternate universe the liberals are on the right side of history.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on September 12, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Al: Everyone knows that Democrats want the IslamoFascists to take over.

Ok everybody. let's just 'fess up. He knows it anyway.

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems will continue to present themsevles as wishy washy spineless losers, even when potential ammo continually falls right into their damn laps.

They haven't figured it out yet, how to actually show the public that they mean business so I fully expect them to lose in the fall again.

Maybe once they get their asses kicked enough, maybe then they can show some spine, but as long as the so called DLC centrists still guide their campaigns, forget it.

Posted by: Press Corpse on September 12, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the first thing I would do would be to point out that the consultant is full of crap. The Republicans no longer have a "decisive lead" on this issue and have not had a lead for some time now.

Moving on, unfortunately, to the pundits and to the press, "strong" usually means "warlike." The Democrats can certainly pump up the testosterone and talk about all of the countries they want to invade and they would undoubtedly get better press, but it's a damn stupid foreign policy. The nuance that would really address this so-called "war on terror" just does not translate to sound bites or to people who want daddy to take care of them, regardless of whether daddy is an incompetent idiot who has been making things worse for years.

Any intelligent and realistic way of dealing with the Middle East and with the various terrorist organizations there and elsewhere in the world is always far more subject to parody and attack than is the simpleminded bullshit that the Bush administration and the Republicans have been spewing.

But, even when you can convincingly point out that the "war on terror" has been a dismal failure, you still get people swooning over the "manliness" of the Bush's and McCain's of the Republican Party. Afghanistan is a mess; Iraq is a mess; the whole fricking Middle East is a mess; terrorist incidents have been rising for the past few years and are significantly higher than when this so-called "war" began. All of this "manliness" has gotten us jack shit. And it's still not enough for the pundits, the press, and all too many of the American people to point this out. No, they want an equally "manly" and "robust" foreign and anti-terrorism policy.

I'm damned if I can see an answer to this conundrum.

Posted by: PaulB on September 12, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm less worried about vetos than I am signing statements with the Roberts court as backup.

Bush could eviscerate whatever toxic-to-veto legislation a Democratic House passes. And if we don't have the other chamber, there are all those games the GOP leadership could play with the conference committee ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

Exactly. As Clinton so pithily put it, the American public seems to prefer a foreign policy that's strong and wrong rather than weak and right.

And it's very hard to frame law enforcement and better relationships with the Muslim world in a way that looks like we're confronting implacable evil.

The first ingredient in the Bush foreign policy frame is "moral clarity." We're good; they're bad. We need a way to leverage the best of our traditions in helping other countries without looking like the same kind of neocon cultural imperialists.

How do you pitch mutual respect in a way that doesn't sound like appeasing fanatics? How do you minimize the presence of the fanatics in the picture so that our policies look like they're aimed at the mass of good Muslims in the world who reject terrorism?

How do you keep Osama from turning into an inflated image and threat much bigger than he is or ever could be?

Paul, I haven't the slighest freakin' idea, either ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

I really should respond to crap ...

*farrrrt*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 9:34 PM

This just moved over the wires...

Haw! It sure did! Ya know, this board could use way more fart jokes.

Posted by: cabledude on September 12, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still laughing at the naive optimist who is hoping the Dems will offer their own plan for national security!!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 12, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

As for that security legislation, Bush is now doing it the way you wanted, by running things through the Congress instead of using executive power.

You're really going to make that process look good now by jamming up the legislation for the next year or so.

This is why wars are approved by Congress, but not fought by them.

Posted by: theotherdarren on September 12, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: I'm less worried about vetos than I am signing statements with the Roberts court as backup. Bush could eviscerate whatever toxic-to-veto legislation a Democratic House passes.

Any Supreme Court justice that decided a "signing statement" was more that a meaningless bit of marginalia, should be impeached. It's meaningless for the same reason a line item veto is unconstitutional.

Seriously. Next you'll tell me that SCOTUS would throw an election. Oh, wait ...

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Republican consultant John McLaughlin ponders ...

"Would it be good for Republicans if terrorists kept trying to attack us? It's got to help the Republicans when something like this happens."

Posted by: John Forde on September 12, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

theotherdarren:

It isn't Democrats who are gumming up the works.

It's that Republican military troika of Warner, McCain and Graham, oh my!

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the Democrats have to offer an alternative. Sometimes being the other guy is good enough. There is one party govenment in America. The GOP owns everything, and if something is broke its because they didn't fix it. So in the unliikely event we do have another domestic attack, the GOP wont get any laurels for being strong. They will be tarred and feathered for being incompetent.

Posted by: aline on September 12, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Oh come off it Kevin. We go over and over this, and you still offer up nothing.

There is absolutely nothing the dems can offer that the Republicans can't trump with more stupid hawkery. If the Dems offer up a plan nuking muslim holy sites, the Republicans will just up the ante and nuke the surrounding 30 miles, and call Democrats weak on security. Which the media and weak-kneed "centrists" would happily parrot.

You know this is true, because the Democrats have offered up comprehensive seciurity plans, which the media ignores and you ignore.

Kerry offered up 40,000 extra troops, many more special forces, a plan for phased withdrawal based on objectives, stronger law enforcement with international partners, real reconstruction for Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, and tighter port security.

And it was ignored, and the similiar position of today's democrats are equally ignored.

Ultimately, the problem is that the threat has been blown out of proportion, and any sane, serious policy has to recognize that.

So put your money where your mouth is Kevin. WTF should the Dems offer up? How do the Dems out-hawk the racist, genocidal, war-profiteering party? Give some policy ideas that actually address a real shortcoming, instead of this incessant "what dems need to do is something I cannot fathom, but they need to do it so I can feel manly about my party."

Posted by: Mysticdog on September 12, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

If the Dems win the house, of course they would pass a bill funding port protection and other security measures. If the Republicans stand in the way of that, then the security issue is completely redefined.

'The security issue' is pollsterese for 'dead brown people'.

You could pass all the legislation in the world, and the Republicans would still own the 'the security issue', because the Democrats don't have any actual hecatombs of dead Moslems to point to and the Republicans do.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 12, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

How can Democrats focus on something as asinine as terrorism when the threat of ABC is real and still out there?

Posted by: Frank J. on September 12, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Get Up Mother Fucker the Sun's Up

Posted by: elmo on September 12, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

"In fact, what Republicans really worry about is that one day the Democrats will actually offer their own convincing vision for national security." I don't think so.

What Republicans really worry about is being unable to steal another election. The Republicans have campaigned over and over on a convincing (to some folks) vision for national insecurity. They want the Democrats to hogtie themselves with a partisan "vision" that Repulicans can attack.

As always, beware of that helping hand from across the aisle.

Posted by: Juggler on September 12, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

The time has finally arrived! No more defending the tiny little pathetic shrubs policies. Now thw faithful dimwits of the repub party are just gonna say "You guys don't have any ideas...". Well, now things are really shitty, aren't they? Ya think maybe you fucked up a little? I gotta idea.."Impeach in 55 days..."

Posted by: American Idiot on September 12, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans love terrorists as a political asset with which to scare American voters. That's why they've been so gung-ho about creating more of them by botching Iraq and Afghanistan, and why they encouraged Israel's ill-conceived and ill-executed campaign against Lebanon.

The last thing Republicans want is to decisively defeat terrorism.

Posted by: McCord on September 12, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Allow me to channel my distaste for the National Security crowd. My dislike is nonpartisan. The very idea that it takes huge amounts of military force to solve the 'terrorist' problem is the reason it still has not been solved. Our national security has been impaired by the very 'thinkers' who insist on using military force to solve a police problem. It has enriched many political contributors though, and don't forget all of that cash gone missing in Iraq, it will line the pockets of Congresspersons for years. It will win votes and it makes me sick. Sen. Kerry and Rep. Murtha like it, though.

Posted by: Hostile on September 12, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

As many said above, the Dems have had many very good alternative proposals for national security. The problem is that the TV news media ignored them. More new proposals aren't going to do shit. One simple, short, hard hitting meme and ad saturation is what we need.
GOP the party of fear. If you're sick of being afraid, vote for the party of hope --vote Democratic in the 2006 election.

BAM, 5 seconds. every station every hour till November. We don't need anything else.

Posted by: joe on September 12, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

What Hostile said. We don't need a $469 billion defense budget to defeat a group that uses boxcutters as their primary weapons system. The fear Bush is selling non-stop is so that you won't scream too loudly when they anally rape you with their obscene defense spending and charge it all on your kid's credit card.

Bend over, the Republicans are drivin'....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 12, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

What Hostile said. BUT, my distaste is partisan. Conservative Deflator: Let's put that bill on Halliburton and Exxons credit cards.

Posted by: American Idiot on September 12, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

The Al-bot: "Everyone knows that Democrats want the IslamoFascists to take over."

Curses -- foiled again.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 12, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Now, here's where the Gramscian rubber meets the PRWeb road.

A month ago the DSCC pulled their web video 'Secure' that tried to indict Bush's homeland security failures.

They disappeared their video after a couple racial interest groups complained.

Clearly, Charles Schumer and the rest of the Dems are not serious about homeland security and are more concerned with avoiding race-baiting press releases than protecting the U.S.

Alternatively, we could talk about the two minutes during the Tempe debate during which John Kerry had the chance to indict Bush for his border security failures.

Instead, he spent half the time going back over the previous question.

Once again: the Dems have much higher priorities than protecting the U.S. That doesn't mean the GOP is much better, but it does mean the Dems are probably never going to be able to get it together.

Posted by: TLB on September 12, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Frank J

>How can Democrats focus on
>something as asinine as
>terrorism when the threat
>of ABC is real and
>still out there?

Okay, shitheel. After looking at what you wrote, I was scratching my head. Parody? Whatawhatawhata?

This country needs a new version of the Rescue Aid Society. Disney put out a film in the 1970s called "The Rescuers" that detailed how a group loosely organized like the United Nations dispatched agents to *help* people who were in trouble. Did you see it?

You then have what's going on right now. ABC owns Disney, Disney puts out "The Path to 9/11" and what the Democrats need to do is ask that the network air the sequel to the Rescuers, which came out in '90 or so, called "The Rescuers Down Under."

This is the one set in Australia. A bad guy kidnaps a kid in order to get the kid to tell him where a magical eagle type bird lives. This is *happening* in Iraq right fucking now, okay? Only *we're* the eagles and the Iraqis are the kid and the Iraqis are also the guy who does the kidnapping.

In this flick you have mice. Yes, I said mice. They represent the Sunnis. Bernard is about to propose to Bianca. The moment is interrupted when they are sent on an urgent mission to Australia to rescue the kidnapped kid who just so happens to spend his days helping local animals in need. There's some unrequited love in here. This represents the desire for the neocons to take Iraqi oil and make *sex lube* out of it. Heh heh heh heh...

In their mission, Bernard and Bianca are joined by yet another albatross (which is the US policy in Iraq, natch), named Wilbur, and outback-savvy kangaroo-mouse Jake (which represents the much wiser Brits who are getting the *fuck* out of Dodge) (who unknowingly pines after Bianca throughout the journey).

Get it? Blair is pining for Bush? See the connection?

This plays out as follows: we need to leave Iraq and start an organization which will help people in need or we're going to be in serious trouble from now on.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Cuomo, Spitzer, Clinton and Chafee all have won.

Posted by: Mike on September 12, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, skyway -- who uses two back-to-back parenthetical clauses, eh?

That one was less amusing than your Kung Fu movie allegory.

But keep trying. One of these days you just might hit on the magic formula :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

Not a suprise in the lot.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 12, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mms on September 13, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Ernst,
That's fine and dandy. But the GOP's strongest issue is that they control the media, because the mainstream media is consolidated into a narrow corporate oligarchy controlled by conservatives.

No other issue is stronger for the GOP.

Karl Rove is not a genius. He simply has the most powerful propaganda machine in the history of mankind at his disposal. That's really all there is to it.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

I'm cracking up at the remark about the Dems being more worked up about ABC than they are about the terrorists.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on September 13, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Frequency:

How worked up about the terrorists do you think we should be, Kenneth?

Will a mild tremor suffice, or are convulsions de rigeur for the more serious among us?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 13, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Chertoff says we can't defend everything; Bush says ("they'll follow us here") that we can't defend anything. The repugs are a 90 lb. weakling on national defence and a decent dem campaign ought to be able to convince a majority of voters that that's the case: they've failed at everything, why should we think they are or will be successful in defending the homeland?

Posted by: Brian Boru on September 13, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Bob, you post often enough to try and yank this thread back on track...:) so I'm wondering:

Why isn't it okay for Democrats to say "We need to clean up the Republican mess in Iraq, and then get out"? As part of the general message, now being pushed by Kerry and others, than we need to refocus on the real war on terrorists, not the one in Iraq. I mean, why isn't it okay to talk about the "Republican mess in Iraq"?

Democrats always seem to talk about having a better plan for Iraq, or a plan for redeployment, or for withdrawal by a certain date, or whatever. But we don't seem to do a good job of communicating that what we're trying to do is to make the best of a bad situation entirely created by Republicans. Why? Isn't it crucial that as part of talking about how we get out of this fix, we make it clear that we got into this fix because of Republican policies?

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 13, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK


November '06 mid term election.

CHIMPEACH.

Eject.

Extradite.

Trial.

Sentancing.

Execution.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans love terrorists as a political asset with which to scare American voters. That's why they've been so gung-ho about creating more of them by botching Iraq and Afghanistan, and why they encouraged Israel's ill-conceived and ill-executed campaign against Lebanon.

"I know Darth Vader's really got you annoyed, but remember if you kill him then you'll be unemployed."

- "Weird Al" Yankovic. Yoda.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

(1) An actuall attack on Americans would demonstrate that the GOP efforts have been complete failures. Another 9/11 wouldn't win any Republican votes.

(2) Democrats have been running strong on defense, strong on security messages about fighting terrorism smarter. The major media has been ignoring those messages because of a combination of partisan bias and (more importantly) pre-written narrative bias—anything that doesn't fit the comfortable spin that the news media likes to put on stories gets ignored until the public developes enough awareness through other channels that the media narratives are at odds with reality that the media is forced to adapt the simplistic narratives it uses to be more in line with public expectations. The news media is an advertising-driven entertainment industry, so the news people get is shaped to fit the forms that the media outlets think consumers want to hear, which is mostly what they are used to hearing. Which is why the major media, particularly TV and radio which are fairly dominant news sources, but provide extraordinarily shallow coverage to start with, aren't anything like informative (indeed, watching more TV news, in every study I've seen, is negatively correlated with awareness of current events facts: not only does TV in general make you stupid, TV "news" makes you ignorant of the actual events going on.)

Posted by: cmdicely on September 13, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

The reason why Democrats dont run strong on national security is they are mostly honest people who feel a little twingy when they have to say things they dont believe.

Most Democrats know this war on terror is no war, that the great threat isnt really so great on the cosmic scale of things and that a bunch of desert ragamuffins with scruffy beards are no way capable of bringing in dirty bombs, anthrax spores, aliens from Planet Xerxes or any of the other fantasies the bed-wetting Americans perceive lurking behind every tree.

The Democrats know they have to say dumb things when they talk about national security because a nation of paranoid people demands it, but they would rather say, Bullshit! So give them credit for honesty when they fail to out tough the Repuglies. Keeping quiet is better than lying and being true to your understanding of the world is better than winning an election.

Posted by: James of DC on September 13, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

That's actually a very deep question. I'm not going to go the Chomskyian route that Chris did (although the imperatives of commercial media narratives surely play a role). And I don't think James of DC's view tells the whole story.

The essential reason is because there's a moral truth to the Pottery Barn Rule that makes it exceedingly difficult for Americans of good will to wash their hands of the Iraqi people in such dire straits.

We broke it; we own it. It doesn't matter if a hard-eyed calculation will tell us that staying may not be preventing bloodshed and even creating it where it wouldn't exist; the narrative people would hear is that American priorities are simply more important than a human tragedy directly created by our actions. As hard and as impossible as the situation looks, there's a moral imperative beyond all reason that says we've *got* to figure out a way to set this right.

Secondly, leaving Iraq would potentially create a new jihadi training ground that could menace America and the Western world anew. Sure, it wasn't there under Saddam. Sure, we directly created the conditions for it to exist. But the potential *does* exist, and our national security demands that we keep this from happening just as assuredly as it demanded that we smash the training camps in Afghanistan.

These two reasons are why you hear Dems like Biden and Hillary continuing to talk about "victory" in Iraq. My own view is that our troops need to disengage from police work and focus exclusively on training the ISF, perhaps relocating to Kurdistan to keep an eye on the borders -- and we should absolutely renounce the permanent bases and our designs on that reason. We have to tell America that Bush's neocon crypto-imperial vision is an abject failure.

But as long as the Iraqis want us there, I do believe that we have a moral obligation to continue to try to rebuild what we wrecked and help the ISF at least get a fighting chance at learning how to defend their country.

I see no other route than this that the Dems could or should talk about.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 13, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

designs on that reason = designs on that region

Posted by: rmck1 on September 13, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, I don't think we're actually going to be able to accomplish much of anything in Iraq, moral obligation or no. What you're talking about is the obligation to be SEEN to be trying to fix Iraq rather than abandoning it. Arguably, cutting US troop presence to about 30,000 and keeping them mostly on their bases and out of harm's way might enable us to stanch the flow of blood and money while appearing to still try to fix the country.

The problem is that the more "responsible" Democrats try to look on Iraq, the less they can distinguish their position from that of the President. "We support redeployment!" just isn't a big anti-Bush rallying cry, I'm sorry. So what's necessary is a rhetorical method for reminding people that Republicans got us into this mess and you'd better vote for a Democrat or they'll get us into worse ones. What I feel is missing is that rhetorical link: that whatever policy we advocate in Iraq is an attempt to CLEAN UP A REPUBICLAN MESS. I don't see this coming through the fog. instead I see the debate being dirempted into a discussion of the meaning of "redeployment", "deadline", "withdrawal" and so forth.

I have a typo above - "Repubiclan" - but I kind of like it.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 13, 2006 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

osama_been_forgotten, Rove's a two trick pony.

He's figured out that if you're just blatant enough in breaking the rules and conventions and simply act like they didn't excist most people will either think it's normal or be too shocked to respond effectively. (and the people who will be shocked wouldn't have voted like him anyway...)

And he knows that the media doesn't fact check anymore and simply parots the person who makes up the best narrative angle, and once they've taken up that narrative that they are very loath to change their "insights"

He doesn't control the media, he's just a better liar then most.

Posted by: Ernst on September 13, 2006 at 3:53 AM | PERMALINK

Do you know the last and only Republican President to ever win a major war? Abe Lincoln.
Democratic Presidents have won two world wars.
Republican't presidents have beaten Grenada and Panama, and along with 42 other countries, Iraq.
After Iraq had fought a long war against Iran.
Republican't presidents have already lost one war against a third world country, Vietnam, and are losing two wars against third world countries right now.
How are they better?

Posted by: merlallen on September 13, 2006 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

A reply to the Republican party on national security and defense.


Please distribute this saying to as many people as you can.

"Despite the Republican propaganda accusing others of weakness on national security and national defense, only the Republican party has demonstrated their weakness on national security and national defense when the planes hit the towers and the pentagon on Sept 11, 2001 which they failed to defend against which resulted in 3,000 deaths."

email this to press people especially and to your freeper family members and coworkers.

fax it to george w bush, ken mehlman, the speaker of the house, the senate majority leader.

The Republican party appears weak and vulnerable at the cash registers of the companies that donate money to them.

This Bush misadministration wants to buy the election with their lowering of the gas prices 60 days before the election. Too little too late and who will find it surprising that they will increase gasoline prices after the election.

The Republican party also plans to attempt to privatize social security in 2007.

Posted by: www.dmocrats.org on September 13, 2006 at 7:06 AM | PERMALINK


Look at this commercial on antiona lsecurity and defense that I created.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glaYJzeGK7I

Posted by: www.dmocrats.org on September 13, 2006 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

Look at this commercial on national security and defense that I created.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glaYJzeGK7I

Posted by: www.dmocrats.org on September 13, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

Again, with people like you, Kevin, talking foolishly, and more perplexingly, needlessly about withdrawl, it's hard for a liberal to come out strong on these issues and not risk being undone by 'activists' and their ilk on the left. Hillary has tried to do it and look how the Kosites treat her. Republicans will feed well and live long off the blood left behind by internecine battles on the left between moderates and 'activists'.

Look at article in todays New Republic Online about the depleted military - written by guys from a right wing think tank! This is what Democrats should be talking about - go strong and hard about how badly Bush has screwed up things that have a sharp security edge to them and will appeal to the dark side - stop talking about withdrawl!! Withdrawl in some form is an inevitability, the logic of the FUBAR situation Bush has created dictates that, so it's profoundly stupid to put yourself in a position where the right can paint you as 'cut and run liberals' talking about something that's going to happen no matter what.

And why do idiots like Kerry keep running their mouths about this? To appeal to the activists all flushed with their gloriously enlightened ideology.

Your "anyone listening" query Kevin is, if not entirely hypocritical, then distressingly detached from reality.

Posted by: saintsimon on September 13, 2006 at 7:45 AM | PERMALINK

I've got a question. The Bush Administration says that the phone tapping, etc. has made us safer and point to the lack of terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 (if you ignore the Anthrax mailings). But what about the other large-scale Al Qaeda attacks: the Madrid train bombings, the bombings in London in '05, the Bali bombings, the bombings in Jordan? Did we not know about those (in which case the violations of our constitutional rights don't accomplish anything) or did we just not share the information with our allies?

Posted by: Jose Padilla on September 13, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats want to perceive Osama as he is in *reality*: a bloviating little pipsqueak with no support in any properly functioning nation on Earth.

Coincidentally, they want to percieve Bush the same way.

Posted by: Gregory on September 13, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: An actuall attack on Americans would demonstrate that the GOP efforts have been complete failures. Another 9/11 wouldn't win any Republican votes.

I agree, obviosuly, but I submit that this has already happened with Hurricane Katrina. Americans looked at the Bush Administration's totally inept response and realized that no, Bush didn't learn one damn thing from 9/11, no matter what he says.

Posted by: Gregory on September 13, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Do you know the last and only Republican President to ever win a major war? Abe Lincoln.
Democratic Presidents have won two world wars.
Republican't presidents have beaten Grenada and Panama, and along with 42 other countries, Iraq.
After Iraq had fought a long war against Iran.
Republican't presidents have already lost one war against a third world country, Vietnam, and are losing two wars against third world countries right now.
How are they better?

Don't forget Republican presidents cut and ran from both Korea AND Vietnam.

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

"Would it be good for Republicans if terrorists kept trying to attack us?" - David Weigel


um....actually no. If such attack occured here, as a conservative I would definitely begin to look for other options for security. I care more about not being attacked than I do for any political ideology.

Most conservatives want to fight Islamo-Fascism with or without GW. Most liberals don't get that. Hell, IF the Dems would proffer up a tough viable alternative, I would listen.

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Terrorists wanting to do us harm seem off the mark in their targets. Economic mayhem seems the area where most damage could be caused. An economic downfall would be far more effective in defeating the United States than acts of terror involving the killing of civilians. Tens of thousands of seemingly innocent, productive employees should be flooded into key sectors such as transportation, energy and manufacturing. Its amazing what a lowly person can get away with as to throwing sands in the gears of machinery (figuratively and literally). Billions in insurance claims for damaged infrastructure, plus the resulting lost time and productivity, add up to immense sums of money. As corporations try to combat the destruction they expend more sums in security and monitoring and screening of employees. Additionally, sabotage wont fan animosity against Muslims/Arabs nearly as much as killing someones brother or spouse in a plane crash. I imagine a smart campaign of thousands of well placed monkey wrenches would go a long way towards bringing down the economy. A death of a thousand cuts, so to speak.

Posted by: steve duncan on September 13, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Republican't presidents have already lost one war against a third world country, Vietnam,....."

um......JFK and LBJ got us into the Vietnam mess. Nixon got us out.

I see Mr. Street is full of more mental diarhea with his rehearsed delusional left wing talking points.

So refreshing.


Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Quarterly data: Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in Q2 2006, according to preliminary estimates.

1st quarter 2006: +5.6
2nd quarter 2006: +2.9

Next release: September 28, 2006


Incidentally Mr. Liberal, these are the GDP #'s I meant to post.

Let's see you spin again how bad the economy is. Of course even losers have a hard time succeeding in a growing economy, so I guess I understand your negativity.

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

".....but I submit that this has already happened with Hurricane Katrina."


Bush's biggest problem with Katrina was that "chocolate" man, Nagin. Who couldn't manage his way out of a paperbag, even if given scissors.

Then there was Blanco, the deer caught in the headlights.

And incidentally, both were Democrats.

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, I'm still laughing 24 hours later at Jay posting UK numbers to try to demonstrate the strength of the US economy. "United" we stand, eh?

Which country are those numbers from today, Jay? Remember, nations in Latin America and Central America aren't the same as our country, Jay. Don't be confused by the word "America"--we'll 'splain it to you later.

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I have listened for any prominent Democrat to say anything negative about the jihadists who attacked us and who have killed innocent people the world over from the US to Madrid to London to Indonesia to India.

No, you haven't.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 13, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

We broke it; we own it. It doesn't matter if a hard-eyed calculation will tell us that staying may not be preventing bloodshed and even creating it where it wouldn't exist; the narrative people would hear is that American priorities are simply more important than a human tragedy directly created by our actions. As hard and as impossible as the situation looks, there's a moral imperative beyond all reason that says we've *got* to figure out a way to set this right.

Yeah, but like I wrote in a thread yesterday, you don't ask the bull to repair the china -- you just try to get it the hell out of the china shop. Moral imperative or not, we CAN'T figure out a way to set this right -- we've been trying and we haven't succeeded -- if anything, we've made things worse, and the longer we've stayed the more broken things have become.

And don't forget we also have a moral imperative to the citizens of our own country, to our servicemen and women not to throw them into a meat grinder, to our own populace not to destroy our military. I'm not willing to sacrifice America for Iraq's sake.

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: um......JFK and LBJ got us into the Vietnam mess. Nixon got us out.

See? Even Jay admits the Republican president cut and ran from Vietnam.

Though he does get one thing wrong -- it was the Republican Eisenhower who got us into Vietnam, not Kennedy.

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Which country are those numbers from today, Jay?" - shorty


It just sucks when the actual numbers belie your talking points, doesn't shorty?


Tell me again how bad the economy is.

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, I can't get enough of you. You're not even embarrassed. Truly amazing.

It does explain, however, how you manage to get up day after day and keep not doing what you're not doing.

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

"Though he does get one thing wrong -- it was the Republican Eisenhower who got us into Vietnam, not Kennedy." - Arminius


um......actually it was the Democrat Truman who began our foray into 'Nam.

The real truth just continues to escape the left doesn't it?

"But there was no fixed beginning for the U.S. war in Vietnam. The United States entered that war incrementally, in a series of steps between 1950 and 1965. In May 1950, President Harry S. Truman authorized a modest program of economic and military aid to the French, who were fighting to retain control of their Indochina colony, including Laos and Cambodia as well as Vietnam."

http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/vietnam/causes.htm

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

"It does explain, however, how you manage to get up day after day and keep not doing what you're not doing." - shorty

That's a double negative shorty. I see you are a product of our current NEA.

And be embarrased in front of this forum? Are you kidding me? There are more mental midgets here than anywhere, you included.

Tell me again how bad the economy is shorty. Or have you run out of spin on that one?

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

This gets better with every post! Jay, I think you might want to look up "double negative" and get back to us. Meanwhile, keep talking! Don't stop!

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Double Negative" = Harry Reid and Howard Dean.

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: Quarterly data: Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in Q2 2006, according to preliminary estimates.....Tell me again how bad the economy is shorty. Or have you run out of spin on that one?

Jay, Jay, Jay -- GDP growth ALWAYS goes up. The fact that the GDP is increasing isn't an indicator by itself -- the question is by how much -- it would only be amazing if it went down. Here are the statistics for the GDP growth by year for the last ten years (five for Bush, five for Clinton):

2005: 3.52
2004: 4.22
2003: 2.70
2002: 1.60
2001: 0.75
2000: 3.66
1999: 4.45
1998: 4.17
1997: 4.50
1996: 3.70

Notice something? Under the last five years of Clinton the economy was going up by average about 4% a year -- under Bush the GDP numbers have been much worse, an average of 2.58% over five years.

Posted by: D'oh Jones on September 13, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK


jay: Tell me again how bad the economy is


americans are stupid...according to jay


"When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 32% approve and 62% disapprove."

http://americanresearchgroup.com/economy/

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 13, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Tues. night as I watched NBC news they opened with the headline "Democrats outraged that Bush politicized his 9-11 speech." Did they show clips of Bush being outrageous? (Jon Stewart did) Did they go to Democrats to learn what they considered outrageous? No. They went straight to Republicans to defend the President. In the face of National news orgasnizations being that partisan and slanted, it doesn't matter what your message is. No one will ever be allowed to hear it.

Posted by: beb on September 13, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

D'oh Jones....

not too mention that the current unemployment rate is about 15-percent higher than it was when bush took office..

despite jay's gdp numbers...

Posted by: mr. irony on September 13, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK


beb: "Democrats outraged that Bush politicized his 9-11 speech."


all the media had to do is count....


Number of times President Bush said "Iraq" in his 9-11 speech commemorating the 9-11 terrorist attack: 16

Posted by: mr. prespective on September 13, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bin Laden & his advisors know that the best thing in the world for them is to have BushCo in office. Therefore why would they perpetrate another attack in this country while he is in office. This is a "no win" situation for the Libs. If there is an attack in US then the scared, little minded people of this country rally behind the Great Leader. However, if there is no attack in US then Great Leader can claim he has protected his sheep.

Someone give me some hope...I'm fading fast.

The October surprise - two choices....

1. Another attack in US
2. Bin Laden captured (dead or alive?) I think they are probably thawing him out now.

Posted by: Paul the Cynic on September 13, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Paul

I think most people are anticipating an October surprise. Nearly all of the people I have talked to believe the lower gas prices we are now enjoying are directly related to the election. I think most people realize the "all we have to sell is fear" party is going to pull something in October. My guess is they will claim to catch Osama just before the election. The claim will turn out to be false, but that won't happen until the first Wednesday in November. Remember they need Osama "alive" and out there to be our boogyman.

Posted by: Ron Byers on September 13, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

despite jay's gdp numbers...

I love that Jay cites a projected GDP growth of 2.9% as "proof" that the economy is doing well when 2.9% is WORSE than GDP last year (3.53%) and even worse than the year before (4.22). The GDP growth rate is declining, and this is somehow a sign that things are going well????

That's like saying I got a 10% raise last year and only a 5% raise this year, so things are great!

Posted by: D'Oh Jones on September 13, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Someone give me some hope...I'm fading fast."

That's been common knowledge since 1994.


"...not too mention that the current unemployment rate is about 15-percent higher than it was when bush took office.." - mr irony


"By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writer
February 3, 2006: 12:43 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in nearly five years in January..."



THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION: AUGUST 2006

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 128,000 in August, and the
unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor
Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Payroll employ-
ment grew notably over the month in education and health services; several
other industries had modest increases. Average hourly earnings rose by 2
cents, or 0.1 percent, in August following larger gains in the prior 2 months."


Click your heels three times and repeat after Howard Dean: "We must convince people that our alternate universe is real".

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

The October surprise - two choices....
1. Another attack in US
2. Bin Laden captured (dead or alive?) I think they are probably thawing him out now.

Instead of the ultimate realities of #1 and #2, they have also had some success using the lesser stimuli of raising the terror alert level and/or releasing some new Bin Laden video.

Posted by: AlAnon on September 13, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

"I love that Jay cites a projected GDP growth of 2.9% as "proof" that the economy is doing well......" - Doh!


Other factors belie your alternate universe (see above unemployment numbers). Again click your heels three times and......

Posted by: Jay on September 13, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Coupla things:
Bob - how is Iraq not ALREADY a jihadi training ground? We're giving them lots of practice on using tactics against US forces, equipment(armor, new tech weaponry) and tactics. Pulling out would at least deprive them of the ability to refine their tactics against US troops.

Jay - you do realize that people killed by medical mistakes, and US troops killed or wounded in action are counted as -contributing- to GDP? Funerary services, legal services, grief counseling, estate auctions and the like are all part of GDP growth. Same with auto accident victims, murder victims, and just about anyone else that has something bad happen to them.
That rosy glow isn't necessarily as healthy as you'd like me to believe.

Posted by: kenga on September 13, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe once they get their asses kicked enough, maybe then they can show some spine, but as long as the so called DLC centrists still guide their campaigns, forget it.

You don't get it. The DLC centrists are there specifically to make sure Dems don't dominate the debate. They are moles, bought and paid for. Lieberman just happens to be less crafty about his open GOP affiliations.

Posted by: Jim J on September 13, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

1. Another attack in US
2. Bin Laden captured (dead or alive?) I think they are probably thawing him out now.

At this point all but the most obtuse surely realize OBL works directly for Bushco. He is their spawn, their creation and their ward. They are sponsors of global terror through him.

Posted by: Jim J on September 13, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe, Arminius & kenga:

I agree with all of you. I am most assuredly not arguing for "stay the course" or that American concerns don't, at the end of the day, trump Iraq. I used to argue against pullout, but that was over a year ago. Murtha convinced me otherwise; we are assuredly making the situation worse, and as kenga points out, offering our troops and highest-tech weapons as the best training jihadis could ever hope to have.

I'm simply trying to explain why the big guns who'll be running for POTUS in our party are going to continue to talk about an Iraq victory and why they're not going to hang the Iraq albatross solely around the necks of the GOP, as brooksfoe suggested they do and Jason suggests is fair turnabout for Vietnam.

One of the most obnoxious and repetitive rebuttals we hear from the trolls is how the Democrats voted for the IRW and so many of them are on record considering Saddam an intolerable threat before the war, etc. etc. Sadly enough, this is true. While my own righteous congresscritter Frank Pallone and my two stalwart NJ senators didn't buy that puppy -- most of the rest of the Party did. This makes it very hard to frame our entry into Iraq as a Republican mistake only.

And I think that every American regardless of party wants the Iraqi people to succeed -- however they themselves get around to defining success.

This is why being objective about our chances of success in Iraq is so politically fraught. I wish it wasn't so; I wish Democrats could just come out and tell it like it is. If Russ Feingold runs, I'll support him for the fact that at least he will, if nobody else does.

These are just the hard political realities.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 13, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, given the massive incompetence of republican rule, an actual terrorist attack would be the worst thing that could happen for republicans as it would further expose their collective corruption and incompentence.

No the republican campaign is to create the image in the minds of 'Murkans that a terrorist attack is imminent, not to actually respond to an attack. Just as republicans are big brave warmongers as long as it isn't them whose life is at risk. republicans are all talk and no walk.

republicans are little-dick bed-wetter sissy snakeoil salesmen selling illusion by manipulating fear.

Posted by: pluege on September 13, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

jay: and the (august 2006) unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent


so you don't contest the fact that....

"...the current unemployment rate is about 15-percent higher than it was when bush took office.."

thanks...

honesty is the best policy....

Posted by: mr. irony on September 14, 2006 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK

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