August 11, 2004

Another Bush Flip-flop: It appears we're not "turning the corner" after all.

August 10, 2004

The Politics of Hate: Well, this is a shock: the man behind the "Swift Boat" allegations has turned out to be a bigot who has spent a little too much time posting his anti-papist and anti-Muslim views on a white supremacist hate site. Jerry Corsi, co-author of the latest chickenblogger manifesto, Unfit for Command, was quoted making the following witicisms last year on
"'Islam is a peaceful religion -- just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed.' In another entry, he says: 'So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the lawyers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it.'...(I)n a March posting, Corsi discussed Kerry's faith, writing: 'After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judaism? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?'" (above quotes courtesy of the Associated Press)
Wink, wink.
The Bush campaign, which no doubt hoped that it could skate into the convention without having its own side constantly remind the public that John Kerry served in Vietnam, and certainly not wishing to be implicitly attacking the credibility of the decorations other veterans have earned over the years, reacted angrily to the absurd notion that they had anything to do with the controversial ads or their politically extreme auteur (btw, who knew that anyone in this country still used the word "buggered"?). Masochistically, the wingnuts have begun to obsess over whether Kerry actually entered Cambodia (as he has said several times, including a coy allusion written in his battlefield journal in 1968 [see bottom paragraph]) during his tour of duty, or was merely on the border; either way, it's a distinction that cannot fail to make Kerry's battlefield exploits seem more intriguing to swing voters. It seems Kerry has the same good political fortune in the enemies he has drawn that Clinton had back in '92. [links via Atrios (who has more on the partisan insights of Mr. Corsi) and Kevin Drum]
In what has to be considered a death knell for the prosecution, the accuser of Kobe Bryant has filed a civil action seeking mucho dinero. Since an obvious defense is always going to be that the alleged victim is trying to scam money from the NBA star, the filing of the civil action before trial all but concedes that point. In addition, the civil complaint publicly regurgitates, in graphic detail, the act in question, openly defying the gag order issued by the court. We can assume the prosecution will drop this in a matter of days.

As far as the civil case against Bryant, I have felt all along that this would be the more preferable arena for both sides. Because the sole issue of consequence from now on will be money, the Laker star can either settle or not settle, depending on how much he can afford to spend, without any further erosion of his public image or having to register as a sex offender (not to mention the threat of prison). His attorneys can also delve more freely into the plaintiff's past than they could in a criminal case (as, of course, can her attorney). On the other hand, the plaintiff can build a case against Bryant based on simple assault, without any of the baggage that a rape charge entails before a jury; the fact that she had sex with another man hours later, while material in defense of a charge that her injuries were caused by Bryant, is now less important, merely a factor that may or may not be weighed by a jury if it awards damages. And, of course, the burden of proof is a lot easier to sustain in civil court.