Notes: This The Bush administration has admitted that the intelligence report that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from the African country of Niger was false. That's the one George W. Bush cited during his State of the Union address as a reason for taking on Iraq. I'd read months ago that the document the report was based upon was a third-rate forgery that was so obvious that it had officials on the document that were no longer in office at the time it was signed. Nevertheless, Bush stays on message and doesn't address that, but says he was right, anyway. Now, the C.I.A. has taken the fall for the false report, saying it was the fault of the agency that Bush mentioned it.

After seeing this strip, Pat Crowe -- a close friend of mine -- sent me the following E-mail from Atlanta:

"This week's strip matched up nicely with an experience I had last night.

"Sometimes I listen to Sean Hannity on my way home from work in the evening. The drive takes about 20 minutes, which is enough to get my blood up almost every time. Last night he was broadcasting from an amusement park in New Jersey where he was holding some kind of "Celebration of America" thing- "Ollie North was one of his guests, along with Ann Stroud. The Charlie Daniels Band was scheduled to perform.

"Instead of just getting riled up, yelling insults at my radio speakers, this time I had a pretty strong feeling of uneasiness about the whole business. Sean and his guests made several references to religion; they spoke of the need to go kill Muslims we identify as radical; and they reeled off tired liberal-bashing clichés in a folksy but oddly patronizing way, drawing wild cheers from the crowd with each set piece. So what else is new? Scripted interaction between speaker and crowd, staged to sway a larger electronic audience, is the basic model for any political rally. I guess in this case it was the combination of obvious, heavy-handed, nasty, moronic lying (and the implied invocation of God Almighty) by the speakers, and lock-step acceptance by the crowd, that disturbed me. If the crowd had been under threat of imprisonment for not screaming, like the classic throng bused in to a dictator's rally, the effect would have been different. But these people were there, I assume, because they buy in to what Sean, Ollie, and their ilk are selling. It takes a critical mass of ignorant, frightened people to plant and nurture fascism, doesn't it?

"I'm starting to worry."
07.13.03