Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Cost of War, Vol. 357

International aid workers also living with the aftermath: Link.

With pillows propped against the wall, a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling and comfort food--usually a local trail mix--in the middle, each of them shared stories of what they had seen and heard that day while delivering medical services to people in need. Then they had to decide if it was worth the risk to go out again the following day.

"Things were changing in Afghanistan, and we had to make decisions day to day. . . . There is a price for going out, but there is a bigger price for not going because so many patients are depending on you," said Reilley, an epidemiologist who spent October and November in Afghanistan and works as a program officer for Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres in New York.

While the military has made some strides in dealing with stress-related issues, public health officials, including doctors at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, are just beginning to address the mental health problems of aid workers. After recent attacks on workers in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is a need for support services in the field and at home, health officials said.

"In the last five to 10 years, our work has . . . become much more dangerous," said Dr. Barbara Lopes Cardozo, a psychiatrist and epidemiologist with the CDC. "In the last few years, situations like Iraq and Afghanistan have become very volatile.

Obviously, unlike the soldiers, these people chose to go to Iraq and Afghanistan. But they went out of a desire to help improve the situations of people in those countries, and our screwups in both these wars have affected them, too.

Open thread

Feel free to discuss your favorite Marlon Brando performances in tribute, if you like. But it's your thread...and I'm sure you know what to do.

Keep doing it just like this, Karl

Over at Body and Soul, I found out that the Bush campaign's plan to turn churches into campaign headquarters is not sitting well with the Southern Baptists.

"I'm appalled that the Bush-Cheney campaign would intrude on a local congregation in this way," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Dick Cheney, Protector of American Values

Firing back in the debate over American values, Vice President Dick Cheney (news-web sites) used his first campaign bus tour Saturday to label Democrat John Kerry (news-web sites) "on the left, out of the mainstream and out of touch with the conservative values of the heartland." link.

Damn - the irony is so thick that I can't even think of anything else to say about this; Mr. "Go Cheney yourself" is on the loose in the Heartland, lecturing people on values...

"Give us Back our Damn Flag: the leftist case for patriotism"

this is an op-ed piece that I think is a nice little July 4th read. I've been struggling with this issue myself this year, and I don't think I am alone. It's been a year in which it has sometimes been difficult to feel much pride in our country's actions, especially for those of us who were against the war. Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks examine some of the the most common outward signs of patriotism, like the Pledge of Allegiance, and discuss the fact that many were born from progressive ideals, though they have been usurped by conservatives, and make a case for leftist patriotism.

Open Thread

Enjoy. I'm outta here...

Travel Time

Hey, I'm going to be doing a bit of travelling for the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure how much time/access I'm going to have while I do. Some, I assume, but not the 24/7 we're used to. While I'm away Tena, Athenae, Holden, and Pie have kindly agreed to fill the gap.

During that time, if you want to send general blog-related emails you can send them to to Personal ones to me should go to the usual place...


Everyone knew this was a totally staged event. God I hate our media for playing along. Bastards.

The Army's internal study of the war in Iraq criticizes some efforts by its own psychological operations units, but one spur-of-the-moment effort last year produced the most memorable image of the invasion.

As the Iraqi regime was collapsing on April 9, 2003, Marines converged on Firdos Square in central Baghdad, site of an enormous statue of Saddam Hussein. It was a Marine colonel — not joyous Iraqi civilians, as was widely assumed from the TV images — who decided to topple the statue, the Army report said. And it was a quick-thinking Army psychological operations team that made it appear to be a spontaneous Iraqi undertaking.

After the colonel — who was not named in the report — selected the statue as a "target of opportunity," the psychological team used loudspeakers to encourage Iraqi civilians to assist, according to an account by a unit member.

But Marines had draped an American flag over the statue's face.

"God bless them, but we were thinking … that this was just bad news," the member of the psychological unit said. "We didn't want to look like an occupation force, and some of the Iraqis were saying, 'No, we want an Iraqi flag!' "

Someone produced an Iraqi flag, and a sergeant in the psychological operations unit quickly replaced the American flag.

What makes me mad is that this stuff wasn't designed for Iraqi consumption - I'm all for a bit of harmless propaganda if it improves things over there. This stuff was done for the Bush'04 campaign. Iraqis knew what was going on.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Bust a Gut

God, I don't think I've heard anything as funny as the clip of Bill O'Reilly reading from his novel that was played on AAR tonight.


I'm always amazed about the degree to which ideological foes in DC can, once the cameras are off, talk nicely to each other. But, something tells me that after this exchange Begala and Novak aren't going to be having many civil conversations...

Good Radio

Roger Guenveur Smith is on the Majority Report. He did a great mostly one-man show (along with Chocolate Genius's Marc Anthony Thompson) here in Philadelphia reccently.

Rumsfeld Lying Again

Either that or he's just incompetent. Maybe both.

Illegal Activities

From a Republican? Schocking. From the campaign of Morris Meyer:

Voters in counties included in the new Texas 6th Congressional District were surprised to receive a newsletter and questionnaire this week from Congressman Joe Barton. Their surprise comes from the fact that Barton does not represent them at this time. He is running against Democrat Morris Meyer for the congressional seat in the new district. The winner will not be determined until the Nov. 2 election.

Barton’s present district includes parts of Tarrant, Ellis, Hill, and Johnson counties. However, his newsletter was also sent to voters in the new district who now are represented by Martin Frost, Jim Turner, and Chet Edwards.

The mailing was sent through Barton’s franking privilege available to him as a member of Congress. There is no stamp on the mailpiece, just his signature. Federal law specifically states that “members of Congress may not make any mass mailings outside of the district from which they are elected.” Not only did Barton use taxpayers’ money to pay for this mailing, he sent it to voters outside of his district.

“This is a continuing pattern of illegal and unethical behavior on the part of Joe Barton, whether it concerns campaign contributions or the proper conduct of a public official,” said Meyer.

“As a 20-year Congressman, Barton knows the rules pertaining to franking privileges,” Meyer continued. “He has used this to send campaign literature in the guise of an official government newsletter at the taxpayer’s expense to potential voters in areas that he does not presently represent.”

This new abuse comes on the heels of Meyer's request for an official investigation by Attorney General John Ashcroft into Barton's involvement in the Westar scandal.

No to Joe

I agree with Digby - please no Joe Biden. I understand why people get sucked into thinking he's all that - when he's on, he's on. He'll get going on a good rant, throw in a few smart things, and suddenly you're wondering why Biden isn't in charge of everything. But, then, somehow there's never any follow-up. In fact, a few days later you'll see him chastizing his fellow colleagues for, say, being mean to that nice ol' Ashcroft.

Remember that time Biden courageously took the lead on an issue?

Me neither.

He seems to appeal to those Democrats who worry that we're all just a bunch of wimps and like it when someone starts talking about blowing shit up and killing people.

Sneak Peak at New Bush Ad

The Poor Man managed to get ahold of the storyboards.

Veep Announcement

It'll be pretty cool if, as ABC is reporting, John Kerry announces his choice by email to his supporters first, and if he manages to do it without it leaking to the press first.

Pretty Pictures

Jobwatch takes a look at the latest job numbers and finds them rather lacking. They also point out that the "underemployment" rate has increased.


I've been reading over some old Clinton-era transcripts of shows like Hardball. Oh My God. It's absolutely incredible. It was a non-stop parade of people put on the air to literally make any unsubtantiated charge against the Clintons, usually without anyone on to provide any kind of balance or rebuttal. My god our news media were fucked up then. Absolutely insane.

And the pick on Michael Moore? My god.

...and, no, it wasn't just chattering head shows like Hardball, it was also the case on the more "respectable" news outlets.


It's nice to hear that Kerry has come out against the latest ridiculous Cuba travel restrictions. I really don't know what the administration was smoking when they implemented them. They basically impact Cuban-Americans who have had pretty much free access for years, and now no longer do. All the Cuban-Americans I know think this is batshit stupid and are really livid about the fact that they can no longer go visit their favorite Aunt, or give her some money.

Florida Felon List

People for the American Way has posted the list.

Crappy Jobs Report

+112,000 jobs in June. That's less than the 140,000 or so which need to be created in order to keep up with the increase in the working age population.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Krugman 9/11

I think Krugman has the best take I've yet seen on Moore's movie.

Natural Boobies

(thanks to woot)

Hoagland vs. Hoagland

No one this dishonest should be allowed to keep their job. Really. How do the editors of the Post not just die of embarrassment? I'm embarrassed that I've ever even spent some pocket change to buy the thing.


Big Media Matt has a post worth reading. I'm rather tired of "small government conservatives" who seem to be unable to get a handle on just what spending cuts they desire - particularly, the social security privatization fetishists who conveniently ignore the wee $1 trillion price tag on that particular government-shrinking program.


So, it should go without saying that the fact that people have donated almost a quarter million through this site to John Kerry has gone beyond my highest expectations. My rather modest goal when I started JK Thursday was to raise a thousand per week until the convention. IIRC that would've been less than $25,000 total. We're at ten times that.

But, I'm thinking that once we hit 250K it's time to shut it down -- I don't mean pulling down all the links or anything, but rather to focus my begging for Senate and House races, more along the lines of what Kos is doing. Obviously I'm focusing on Hoeffel, and I'm thinking of choosing 3 House races to add to that...

Well, anyway, I'm open to thoughts from people. It isn't my money (mostly), it's yours, and it's about maximizing the expression of the community here.

Evil Hollywood Liberals for Kerry

This sounds fun, and the price, while high, isn't in the stratosphere.

Death on the 4th of July

Let me take a moment to recommend that everyone read David Neiwert's new book, which he talks about here. It's an excellent book on hate crimes. The book is well-designed, with chapters telling the story of a specific hate crime event and the murder trial that resulted alternating with chapters discussing hate crimes and hate crimes laws/enforcement more generally. It addresses a lot of misconceptions that exist about the issue, and substantial discussion about the importance of dealing with these issues.

An excellent read. Go order a copy.

More Moon

Gorenfeld writes about Moon for the Philadelphia Citypaper.

More on Religion

From Lean Left.

CNN Gets Florida Felon List

That's good. Press reports during the hearings made it sound as if the judge would likely rule against them.

Focus on the Brownshirts

Focus on the Family sent out Michael Moore's home address to their email list.

Grand Old Police Blotter


CONCORD, N.H. - The former head a Republican consulting group pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic telephone lines in several New Hampshire cities during the 2002 general election.

Allen Raymond, former president of the Alexandria, Va.-based GOP Marketplace LLC, waived indictment and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Concord on Wednesday. Judge Joseph A. DiClerico Jr. released Raymond on his own recognizance pending sentencing in November.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department, which prosecuted the case, said an investigation into the telephone jamming continues.

According to court papers, Raymond plotted with unidentified co-conspirators to jam Democratic Party telephone lines established so voters could call for rides to the polls in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont. Manchester firefighters' union phone lines also were affected.

Fox Porn

You can find the video of Fox's uncensored porn segment here. Decency regulations don't (yet) cover cable, but you could complain to their advertisers or your local cable company.


Wow. Bush has lost one of strongest media-manufactured characteristics - his reputation as a "straight shooter."

New surveys by The New York Times and the Washington Post reveal a perilous plunge in the commander-in-chief's credibility. The Times found that 79 percent of the public thinks Bush either is hiding something about Iraq, or worse, is "mostly lying" about it. The Post asked whether Bush or Kerry is "honest and trustworthy," and the president was judged to be honest by 39 percent. Kerry came in at 52 percent.

Thursday is New Jobless Day

Congratulations to the 351K new jobless! Lucky duckies every one.

More Religion

From Digby and Upper Left.

JK Day Great Success!

New total: $245,148. $16,364 for the day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

What the Hell?

Do the folks at Campaign Desk really think that this is the first time the Washington Times has crossed whatever arbitrary line they've drawn?
God, sometimes I think I'm the only person who lived through the 90s.

Sorry, Al

Sorry buddy. You got screwed in a bunch of ways, but a lot of it was our fault. Can it possibly be true that only about 150K people donated to your campaign 4 years ago?

Shame on us.

John Ashcroft Hates America

No, you dickhead, the SC maybe recognized that under our constitution THE ACCUSED HAVE RIGHTS. The accused who, not being charged with any crimes, are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

Why does John Ashcroft hate America?

"The Supreme Court accorded to terrorists, in a variety of cases this week, a number of additional rights," he said. "We're digesting those opinions in terms of making sure that we adjust or modify what we do, so that we accommodate the requirements as expressed by the Supreme Court."

If all the people in Gitmo are terrorists, why have you let hundreds of them go?

Big Scratch for Big John

Almost $12k raised today, another couple hours left...

Kerry and Religion

Kerry's a regular mass-attending Catholic despite all the crap the media heaps on him for it because some asshole Bishop somewhere hinted that maybe he shouldn't be allowed to eat the wafer. But, hey, that's not good enough for some reason. Kerry might be secretly "secular." Holy crap! Secular! And, you know what "secular" means? Secular is ABNORMAL! That's right, folks.
From Slate:
If Kerry's really secular, he's abnormal.

And what's all this crap about Bush talking about his faith? Bush talks about faith the way he talks about freedom and the way he talks about terrorism. You know, "faith faith faith. faith's important to me. faith faith faith." "terror terror terror. terrorists bad. terror terror." "freedom freedom freedom. freedom good. freedom freedom freedom."

Let's see how these sound:

If Kerry's really Muslim, he's abnormal.

If Kerry's really Jewish, he's abnormal.

Yah, those sound great, and they're just the same.

Fucking hell.

Kerry's Worse Than Hitler

Fafblog explains why.


Watch the trailer.

All Our Jobs Are Belong to Bush - June Edition

Jobs report comes out Friday. Current buzz is that they'll be a decent 250K, which is good but not nearly as good as the spin and, as I keep having to remind people, subsantially lower than the average monthly figures used to justify the last tax cut.


I've been avoiding this mostly, but it's fast becoming a real issue. Who should it be? Who will it be? And, ignore drudgey rumors unless you think they could be true.

Nattering Nabobs

When the GAO tells us that things suck in Iraq, they neglect to tell us about all of the schools!

At it Again

Yes, human scum Kristof is at it again. Poor Man dispatches with ease.

...alicublog has a complementary post filled with warm fuzzies from those polite Republicans.

Day of the Revealing of the Kingdom of God

This should be a great National Press Club event. writes in to remind us that Sheila Cherry, the president of the NPC, used to work for Moon's magazine, Insight.

JK Day Continues

Don't forget...


Paul Lukasiak takes a long hard look at Bush's military records.

Shorter Fun

From busybusybusy.


Everyone should go read his latest column.

Convention Coverage

It'll be interesting to see if the networks have a double standard for their convention coverage - finding some excuse to broadcast more of the RNC one. It wouldn't surprise me if after giving short shrift to the Dems, the RNC manages to find some creative justifications for why more of their convention is "news."

Purveyor of Fear

I've never really understood why anyone takes Eugene Volokh seriously -- just another oxymoronic libertarian authoritarian. Jim Henley nicely explains it.

I hope Volokh enjoys his federal judgeship. I hope we don't mind it so much.


Common Good

It's your fucking war we're paying for, Sullivan.

Dum diddi dum diddi diddi dum dum

Here we go:

WASHINGTON -- The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.

Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.

Soaries was appointed to the federal Election Assistance Commission last year by President Bush. Soaries said he wrote to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge in April to raise the concerns

Sleazy Reed

Oh My God! Another Republican hypocrite exposed.

What will we tell the children?

Mars, Bitches!

Final day of the quarter, so we'll have John Kerry Wednesday! As of this moment, you've all donated $228,784 to the Kerry campaign. Let's pump that number up! Remember, after the convention, which is in less than a month (wow!), no more donating to Big John.

mebbe we can get to $250K today...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Cheney Booed at Yankees Game

Story here and here.

...never mind the 2nd link. Minitru on the Hudson removed that bit of history.

...Minitru put the info into this story instead. (it was originally in the one I had linked to.)

The Hawk Sneer

The only way to be right is to have been wrong.



Iyad Akmush Kanum, 23, learnt the limits of sovereignty on Monday when US prosecutors refused to uphold an Iraqi judges' order acquitting him of attempted murder of coalition troops.

US prosecutors said that he was being returned to the controversial Abu Ghraib prison because under the Geneva Conventions they were not bound by Iraqi law.

Bashing Snitchens

Because it's just so fun.


This Dionne column is quite good, and not just because it raises the possibility of big Dem takeover. There are a lot of good nuggets in there, but I wanted to highlight this one:

But there is one last bit of evidence suggesting that Inslee and Baird are on to something. In late August 2002, at the beginning of the buildup to the Iraq war, a Pew Research Center poll found that only 37 percent of Americans felt Bush had laid out a case for military action; 52 percent felt he had not.

In other words, millions of middle-of-the-road Americans had doubts about the war before it started. Many of those doubters eventually went along with the president but now question the war and the way the administration handled it. If Inslee is right about his tidal wave, the doubters will give it its power.

One of the reasons that the media behavior in the run-up to the war was so atrocious was that its coverage really did go against overall public opinion in the country. Polls tended to show a slim majority in support for the war, and when people were given an 'option B' (increase UN involvement, let inspections take longer, whatever...) then a pretty solid majority went for it. It was clear that a pretty big chunk of war support was given very reluctantly, and right before the bombs dropped a clear majority were indeed against "this war."

As Big Media Matt has pointed out a couple of times, post 9/11 the Bushies could have gotten 98% of what they wanted (including the war) and headed into this election being unbeatable if only they'd played a more subtle game. Instead, they went the brute force route, which wouldn't have even worked without a compliant media.

But, anyway, the reason Michael Moore's movie is so popular is mostly because he's presenting a certain point of view which is almost entirely missing from mainstream media. Basically, it's 3 things - 1) Bush isn't such a great leader, 2) It's fair to question Bush's motives, and 3) The Iraq war was a really bad idea. Now, whatever the rightness or wrongness of those perspectives, they aren't being articulated in the mainstream.

End of Quarter

Don't forget to donate to your favorite candidates before tomorrow night.

I'll suggest Joe Hoeffel, but feel free to send the scratch anywhere you want...

The Recent Jurispudence of Clarence Thomas

From Jack Balkin.

Losing Jesse


"I would not have voted for [President Bush's] tax cut, based on what I know. . . . There is no doubt that the people at the top who need a tax break the least will get the most benefit. . . . Too often presidents do things that don't end up helping the people they should be helping, and their staffs won't tell them their actions stink on ice."

-- Former senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), in a recent interview with Business North Carolina magazine.

And, I have to say I'm really a bit puzzled by this Bruce Bartlett article in NRO. Bartlett may or may not be right that an economic meltdown is in the cards, but he is correct that a tax increase of some sort, and a fairly large one, is inevitable. He concludes the article with:

The package will have to reduce the deficit by at least two percentage points of GDP annually to meaningfully affect financial markets and restore confidence, and it is unrealistic to think that this can all be done on the spending side. Therefore, taxes will be on the table. Voters need to ask themselves which party they prefer to manage this process when the time comes.

Now, Bartlett is a conservative so one imagines he has to mean that we'd better have the Republicans in charge when the time comes. Or, maybe not. Bartlett's not a complete idiot, and he has to be aware of the fact that it's the Republicans who have gotten us into this mess. They could have had a nice big tax cut and not brought us to what he thinks is the brink of a financial disaster. And, he has to be smart enough to realize that the vast majority of voters are going to be screwed by any Republican plan for "revenue enhancement."

(via ragout)

Green Party "Strange"

Says Nader.

A day after not getting the Green Party's endorsement for president, Ralph Nader brushed off the rejection as an inconvenience, described the party as "strange," called the party's national nominating convention "a cabal" and predicted who the big loser in its decision not to endorse him would be.

I have nothing against 3rd parties organizing and running candidates in places they could conceivably win. I have nothing against them finding ways to use national elections in productive ways to garner attention, either, as long as they're sensible about it. I was even sympathetic to the election '00 goal of getting enough votes to qualify for federal funds, which probably could have been achieved fairly easily had Nader campaigned sensibly. My problem with Nader and gang was that they helped further the press-pushed idea that it didn't really matter if we elected Bush or Al "Earth in the Balance" Gore, because, well, they weren't all that different really, along with the fact that Nader wasn't campaigning in a way which would end up furthering the goals of the Green party.

But, now that the Greens and Nader have gotten a divorce, what will the self-righteous greenshirts who post obsessively in the comments tell us to do? So confusing...

Iraqi Flag on Mars

A few of you emailed me about this. Remember the new Iraqi flag unveiled with such fanfare awhile back? It appears that it's been forgotten...


It's probably the case that North Korea is near the top of the list of Worst Places on the Planet. And, I'm all for regime change there. However, there's a wee little problem. The first is that North Korea is indeed a threat to its neighbors, with conventional and we believe nuclear weapons. The second is that our conventional military is pretty tied up at the moment. The third is that even if we did go all nuclear on NK (and don't think there aren't people in the administration who think we must nuke the village in order to save it) that probably wouldn't make Japan, China, or South Korea particularly happy or healthy. The fourth is that Dear Leader is nuts and in a game of chicken he isn't going to blink.

But, all that isn't going to stop all the nutcases in power from pushing us to war...



Let's say the obvious. By making Iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor.

Monday, June 28, 2004



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army is planning an involuntary mobilization of thousands of reserve troops to maintain adequate force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials said on Monday.

The move -- involving the seldom-tapped Individual Ready Reserve -- represents the latest evidence of the strain being placed on the U.S. military, particularly the Army, by operations in those two countries.

Roughly 5,600 soldiers from the ready reserve will be notified of possible deployment this year, including some soldiers who will be notified within a month, said an Army official speaking on condition of anonymity.


Fashion! turn to the left
Fashion! turn to the right
We are the goon squad and we’re coming to town

Contributing to the Deliquency of a Minor?

Serving an underaged kid alcohol? Sounds like the police should be paying a visit to La Nooners...

Lovable Bill Buckley

What a sweet sweet profile of the retiring Buckley. For another view, we have the lovable folks at American Renaissance (warning, serious cooties) to remind us of the glory days of the National Review. From "Why the South Must Prevail," August 24, 1957.

"The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists."
"National Review believes that the South's premises are correct. . . . It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority."

"The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class. . . . Let the South never permit itself to do this. So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function."

From June 2, 1964:

"But whatever the exact net result in the restricted field of school desegregation, what a price we are paying for Brown! It would be ridiculous to hold the Supreme Court solely to blame for the ludicrously named 'civil rights movement' – that is, the Negro revolt . . . . But the Court carries its share of the blame. Its decrees, beginning with Brown, have on the one hand encouraged the least responsible of the Negro leaders in the course of extra-legal and illegal struggle that we now witness around us. . . .
"Brown, as National Review declared many years ago, was bad law and bad sociology. We are now tasting its bitter fruits. Race relations in the country are ten times worse than in 1954."

Canadian Elections

Meaningless to me, but live results here. Chat away.


Limbo sez:

RUSH: Yeah, I did play up -- not the fact that Foster was murdered -- I played up what was being said by others and what was going around and I played up the climate because it all fit in. This was '93. This was Clinton's first year. Vince Foster died in July. As I say, I won't forget it because I was in Israel at the time when we got the news. So, couldn't let that stand from last week, with all this attention to the Clinton book.

Limbo then:

February 3, 1994, Thursday 11:15 AM

LENGTH: 3803 words


ANCHORS: Rush Limbaugh

HOST: Rush Limbaugh


(Footage of mock President Clinton writing on a chalkboard)

President BILL CLINTON': I will ask Hillary first.' Darn, I hate it when she makes me do something like this.


Pres. CLINTON': Come on, Hillary. Can I stop now?

Ms. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON': Fifty more to go, Bill.


(Graphic shown)

America Held Hostage

380-Middle Class 399-Rich and Dead 1,080-Days Remaining I Will Ask Hillary First

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Rush Limbaugh.


RUSH LIMBAUGH: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you ever so much. Thank you. Thank you. I'm--thank you, thank you very much for coming, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to another exciting installment of RUSH LIMBAUGH, the television show.

Here we are called the epitome of positive. I am full of love for America. It is a tough love. We tell the hard truth here, and sometimes you're going to have to have the courage to face and believe the truth, especially tonight. The--or today, whenever you see the program. As we tape, it's dark, which is why I say--not in here, of course, because you can see me. But it's dark outside and so...


LIMBAUGH: ...we're going to--we're going to get into the death of Vince Foster tonight. And note that I did not say the suicide of Vince Foster.

LIMBAUGH: I never did believe that Vince Foster's suicide was as clean, as simple as it was reported last July. Just as I never believed that Ross Perot spontaneously decided one night in February to run for president without telling anybody or even thinking of it himself first. Christopher Ruddy of the New York Post, a courageous investigative reporter, has single-handedly been looking into the death of Vince Foster and has uncovered some of the most amazing information that's being ignored by everybody else in the mainstream media.

But we're going to talk to him after this break, and find out exactly what he's discovered. And when you hear this, you're going to be as curious as anybody else should be about Vince Foster and his death and what really may be behind it.

So don't go away because Chris Ruddy coming up on the phone right after this.

(Theme music and applause)


(Theme music and applause)

LIMBAUGH: There we go. Welcome back. OK, let's--let's just get straight into this, ladies and gentlemen. Vince Foster was a reputed--not reputed, was thought to have committed suicide on the 20th of July last year. What we were told at the moment and in the days that immediately followed the--the death; the president said, This is a mystery. Nobody knows what possibly could have been wrong here. He was the--full of vitality, full of life.' Then a couple days later, people said, No, he wasn't. He was all screwed up. He was seeing a psychiatrist, he was going out and getting medication.'

We may never know more than what we do now. The president said he didn't talk to him. He didn't have any idea what was going on. Then it was learned that the president did talk to him. Somebody remembered that, yeah, the president talked to him. They remem--you will remember next that the--the blame began to go around, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page was what most people blamed for Foster's suicide. They were so mean there at that paper. How dare they criticize this great man from Little Rock.

And then the press in Washington said, You know, maybe we are getting too mean. Maybe we are being a little bit too hard-hitting on these people. Maybe we should back off a little bit.' We were also told that there was no note. We were told that the park police were given access to his office. No mention that documents referring to the Whitewater Development Corporation were removed and we were not told the role of Bernard Nussbaum in all of this.

As time went on, we later learned that Nussbarm--Nussbaum did go into Foster's office, and within two hours after the discovery of his body, had cleared out some files that nobody knew existed until five months later. During the period of time from July to December, basically it was assumed that Foster committed suicide and nobody could figure out why and, oh, wasn't it a terrible thing?

Last week Christopher Ruddy, on the 27th of January, began what has become a series of reports on the Vince Foster suicide.

(Visual; New York Post headline reads, "Doubts Raised Over Foster's Suicide'")

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) There you see that first story. Doubts raised over Foster's suicide.'

And a number of discoveries were unearthed by Mr. Ruddy that nobody had reported previous to his story. For example, the--the position of his body. It was--it was as though he was laid out perfectly in a coffin with his hands at his side. The gun--and this is an exact replica of the gun--was found in his hand just like this at this side, laying down just like this. This after he shot himself in the mouth.

(Visual; New York Post sketch describes position of Foster's body)

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) And there was barely a trickle of blood coming from his mouth. There were no forensics tests done on the gun, the bullet wasn't found. None of this.

All of it unearthed by Chris Ruddy who we have on the phone. Chris, welcome to the program. What got you started with all this? How--how did it come to be that you decided to investigate this?

(Photo of Christopher Ruddy)

Mr. CHRISTOPHER RUDDY (Investigative Reporter, The New York Post): Well, about a month ago a friend of mine down in Washington said, You know, you should take a look at the--at the Vince Foster case, because he--this person in Washington was concerned that he was still holding the gun.' And there were some small press reports that mentioned he still had the gun in hand--in his hand which is unusual. It's rare that a suicide victim would have the gun.

LIMBAUGH: Unusual. Isn't it impossible? I mean, I've got the gun--I mean, I--I don't want to actually act out what happened here but if I were to take this gun and put it in my mouth and pull the trigger, I doubt that it would stay in my hand and that I would still be conscious enough to lay down perfectly and put the gun at my side and then lay down and die so that I could be discovered having committed suicide. That's--that seems impossible.

Mr. RUDDY: Well, no, there is rare instances where it would occur. But it's highly unusual and would lead one to believe that foul play did take place. The--the way the park police described it happening, it would be--it would have been impossible. So you're correct in--in stating that, if you were to put it in that way--that--the way the park police said the suicide took place.

(Footage of the road leading to Fort Marcy; site of Foster death)

Mr. RUDDY: (Voiceover) And the way they claim is that Vince Foster was standing on a hillside--a steep incline. So he's standing on it and he took a revolver and he put it in his mouth--a .38-caliber revolver--and he put his thumb in the trigger, they claimed, and he fired the gun; that he fell back in a perfectly repose. The gun then came out of his mouth, with no blood on it, by the way. Usually the barrel of the gun is loaded with blood and you would have seen evidence of it across the shirt. Everyone noted--noticed how clean his shirt was.

That he then was able to turn the gun around in his hands so that it fit correctly so that his fingers went around the hand grip because remember they claim that he shot himself with his thumb and that he then put it at his side in a natural repose as one would be ready to fire a gun. And that could not be--could not happen. Pathologist I spoke to--the leading pathologist in the country...

(Limbaugh mimics events as described by Ruddy)


Mr. RUDDY: ...said it is impossible to have taken place.

LIMBAUGH: Now what about the investigation, Chris. The park police-- everybody--a lot of people have been making fun of them and a lot of people have been suggesting that the park police are basically just a bunch of rangers and--and--and guides that--that are really not equipped to conduct a--or trained to conduct a murder investigation. Is that true?

Mr. RUDDY: Oh, absolutely. They're known as being the lowest of--or how they say, the lowest on the food chain in Washington in terms of law enforcement.


Mr. RUDDY: And they were put in, I believe, for political reasons because they could be controlled. Today I had a report on how they fumbled and bungled the whole investigation.

(Visual; New York Post headline reads, "Cops: Foster Gun Was Never Tested")

Mr. RUDDY: (Voiceover) You know, when you approach a suicide, police practice is you treat it as a homicide because you're not going to know until autopsy and forensic reports, which could take weeks to come through, will prove either way; so you have to collect as much evidence as possible, gather all the witnesses.

(Visual; New York Post headline reads, "More Questions About Foster's Suicide'")

Mr. RUDDY: (Voiceover) And let's face it, this is not the first time somebody's stuck a gun in someone's hand and said it was a suicide when in fact the person had been murdered.

LIMBAUGH: What about the gun? There--there are conflicting reports. The White House says that the gun was tested. You had--had a story, which we just put on the screen during your last comments, the gun was not. Was the gun ever tested and checked for ballistics? Did they ever find the bullet?

Mr. RUDDY: Since Foster's death, the park police, have claimed that the gun underwent ballistics tests by the DC metropolitan police, who usually handle ballistics. So I called up the ballistics unit at the DC police and the head of it said, I know the gun you're talking about. We never conducted a test on it. We never conducted ballistics.' So I called back park police. They admitted that they lied and they said, We don't--we--we probably didn't conduct ballistics.'

LIMBAUGH: Why--now, are you--tough question. Are they lying to protect their incompetence or are they lying because they're afraid of something?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, I think they're afraid. I think they're afraid, at the very least, that they totally bungled this case and it's going to be evident when the reports come out that the ballistics test is just one of many things. I mean, any cop would have told you that when you have a scene like this, and you can't find the pullets--the bullet, which they claim they couldn't find, it should have been within feet of Foster.

Because they claimed it went out of the back of his head; and the bullet usually slows and falls. They should have used metal detectors. Didn't bother doing that. They should have fingerprinted Foster's car. That's part of the crime scene. They didn't bother doing that. They didn't secure Foster's office. He left in the middle of the work day. There may have been important evidence there. They didn't secure it until 10:00 AM the next morning. We know that at least three White House aides were in there before the park police showed up. And they never found his appointment book for that day.

LIMBAUGH: What about suicide note?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, they claim that a note found a couple of days afterwards torn into 27 pieces was a suicide note. But it makes no mention of suicide.

LIMBAUGH: Was it--was it--was it--in his--ye--no mention--it was in his own handwriting?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, this is what they claim. But they haven't released it publicly.

LIMBAUGH: There's 28 pages--pieces, right? They've only found 27?

Mr. RUDDY: Yes, and they claim...

LIMBAUGH: And the 28th page--or the 28th piece is his signature. Is that right?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, there--they were trying to claim it was his signature but I think it's obvious--you know, his wife had told him to write down things that were bothering him about 10 days before the suicide--or the alleged suicide.

LIMBAUGH: Yeah. Chris, hold your thought right there. We have to take a quick break. When we come back, the latest is that the former FBI director, William Sessions, has sent Chris a written statement which explains some of the trouble the FBI had in gaining access to the investigation.

We'll have that and more when we come back. Don't go away.



(Theme music and applause)

LIMBAUGH: And we're back. Thank you all very much. Chris Ruddy of the New York Post, the only investigative journalist in America to look into the death of Vince Foster, is on the phone with us.

The park police inept, unqualified. Why wasn't the FBI brought in to investigate this?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, everybody agrees that--top law enforcement officials agree that they should have been, they have the best forensics unit. They have experience in homicide; the park police does not. I asked the former director of the FBI, William Sessions, and he responded with a two-page handwritten statement to me.

(Photo of William Sessions)

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) Yeah. Let's keep in mind, he was fired the day before Foster was killed.

Mr. RUDDY: Well, that's very significant you say that, Rush, because he makes great significance of that in his two-page memo. He even reminds me of that in the question, that he was fired the day before.

(Visual; letter from William Sessions to Chris Ruddy)

Mr. RUDDY: (Voiceover) And on the day that Foster committed suicide, there was no real director. There was an acting director who had been Sessions' deputy, and who had worked with the White House and the Justice Department to undermine Sessions and to fire him.

(Visual; New York Post headline reads, "Ex-Chief: Politics Kept FBI Off Foster Case")

Mr. RUDDY: (Voiceover) And so Sessions concludes by saying, quote, "The decision about the investigative role of the FBI in the Foster death was, therefore, compromised from the beginning."

LIMBAUGH: Mmm. All right. We have to take another quick break. I wish we had more time to explore that, but I think it speaks for itself. I have some questions that are going to call for your opinion, Chris, when we come back.

Don't go away, folks. There's one more segment of this. We'll be right back.



LIMBAUGH: Welcome back. Christopher Ruddy, New York Post, do you think this was suicide?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, when I started this, I didn't believe that it was murder...

(Visual; New York Post headline reads, "Doubts Raised Over Foster's Suicide'")

Mr. RUDDY: (Voiceover) ...I was leaning toward suicide. After investigating it, speaking to so many experts, there's so many inconsistencies with this suicide, it would lead one to believe it was not suicide; but indeed foul play was involved and a homicide likely took place.

That's my opinion.


Mr. RUDDY: But we should know when the reports come out--the autopsy reports.

LIMBAUGH: Will we be treated to that information?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, the Justice Department came out today and said they're going to try to expedite this now that it has raised interest in the public arena.

LIMBAUGH: That's it. How come you're the only guy--where is the mainstream, inside-the-beltway, Washington press corps on this story?

Mr. RUDDY: At--asleep at the switch, probably.

(Visual; New York Post headline reads, "More Questions About Foster's Suicide'")

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) Why are they asleep at the switch? Do they just--I mean, if this were a Republican president and this had happened, can you imagine, Chris, the re--feeding frenzy that would be going on here?

Mr. RUDDY: I couldn't believe that no one had asked very simple questions. What did the crime scene look like? Ask the people that arrived first on the scene. No one had ever done that until I came along seven months--seven months after the death of Vince Foster. I think that's the shocking story. I think you have criticized the establishment media and I think this may be an example of them at work on...

LIMBAUGH: What about--it seems to me, as I read your stuff, that this is unraveling real fast. Am I correct in assuming that?

Mr. RUDDY: Well, I think that they know they're going to have to come up with the documents...

(Visual; New York Post headline reads, "Cops: Foster Gun Was Never Tested")

Mr. RUDDY: (Voiceover) ...the police report and the autopsy. And that's going to either feed more interest, because it will show that what they claimed was not true or didn't happen...

documents out. So if they want this to stop, they have to get it out as soon as possible. There's every indication that they're going to move to--to fulfill that promise.

LIMBAUGH: Christopher Ruddy of the New York Post, thank you very much for taking time to join us. I've always said, folks, that if you want to get to the bottom of whatever went on in Fornigate, Whitewatergate, you've got to find out what happened to Vince Foster. And thanks to Christopher Ruddy, we're a lot closer to knowing than we would have been otherwise.

We'll see you on our next show. Hope you've enjoyed this one. Adios.

Awful Ifill

With her inane babbling about Moore's movie (see today's howler), I missed Ifill's fascinating comments on the fake handover, which Juan Cole noticed.

MS. GWEN IFILL: Of course it's a dominant issue. But I'm struck, even with the anonymous book and with all the other conversations which we just had here today, how much we're talking about the past, how much we're still having this debate about whether we should have gone, what we should have done, instead of this turning point. What the Bush administration obviously wants to do--I talked to Condoleezza Rice this week, and one of the things--you can hear their line where they're talking about what's happening in the future. They're spinning everything forward, past this turning point on Wednesday with the hand-over, when at the very least they're hoping people won't be asking them the


This exchange on Ho Howie's show is incredible:

CLINTON: Some of the right-wing Republicans -- Rush Limbaugh, a lot of the other talk show people -- immediately said he was murdered. It was -- it was a mad time where you could say anything you wanted about the president or anybody that had the misfortune to know me.


KURTZ: True?

INGRAHAM: I never heard Rush Limbaugh say anything of the like. And I'm certain he didn't say that.

There are extremes on both sides of the political aisle. Right now we have a movie maker...

KURTZ: There are people...

INGRAHAM: Michael Moore, who's alleging that George Bush knows where bin Laden is and isn't getting him because of his connections to the House of Saud. We have that being said, and no one in the media is calling Michael Moore on his nonsense.

There are people on the right who were saying those things. Those things were reprehensible. I don't know anyone responsible who was saying that.

WOLCOTT: It was the "Wall Street Journal." It wasn't just the fringes. The "Wall Street Journal" beat on the Vince Foster case day after day. Day after day.

INGRAHAM: Well, because a lot of the questions -- answers coming out of the White House at the time weren't all that clear, James. That's why they were leaning on it.

WOLCOTT: Look, there were a lot of people who wanted to believe Vince Foster was murdered. And they kept up with that no matter...

INGRAHAM: It wasn't Rush Limbaugh.

WOLCOTT: Well, Limbaugh did play it up on his radio show.

INGRAHAM: No, he didn't say anyone -- that the Clintons murdered anyone.

WOLCOTT: He said...

KURTZ: Well...

WOLCOTT: He played it up. They first (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Vince Foster, he played it up.

KURTZ: We'll have to revisit that another time.

What's incredible isn't Ingraham's denial about Limbaugh, even though she's full of it, it's the fact that Howie can just sit there and pretend that the 'Vince Foster was murdered' notion was just some fringe thing. It was pumped up on the WSJ editorial page. It was pumped up by Rush Limbaugh on his radio AND his television show. It was pushed by the New York Post. It was the subject of congressional, OIC, and other investigations. Howie's own goddamn network, CNN, along with Time, had Gallup run a fucking poll asking people if they thought Vince Foster was murdered.

I'm almost used to the fact that the press pretends that they weren't responsible for all the Clinton hooey - that it was fringe right wing media outlets. But, now they're going a step further and pretending that nice fair and balanced Limbaugh wasn't pushing it.

God I hate these people.

From Rush's TV show:

By the way, do you know--do you know what the theme of the president's State of the Union address is? The age of possibilities or era of possibility or something like that, like, (imitating Clinton's voice) Well, I guess it's possible Vince Foster was murdered,' or--actually, what you're going to do--y--you know, you can imagine other sorts of possibilities, but he's going to try to sound like Reagan. I just want you to be on guard for this. He's going to--he's going to try to sound like he's full of optimism and that there are all sorts of growth opportunities and they've--they've admitted this.


Now here's some evidence. I always try to bring evidence if I can. CNN and Time magazine did a poll. They had the Gallup organization go out and do a poll about people's attitudes on the whole thing with Vince Foster. Now look at this: Nearly 50 percent say that the Clinton administration is covering something up in Vince Foster's death; 20 percent say that Vince Foster was murdered; and 45 percent say they're not sure if Foster's death was a suicide or a homicide.

You add the 20 and 45 you get 65 percent of the first line we gave you. Half of the people say the administration's trying to cover something up. And yet he says that no serious person ever contemplates this as anything other than a suicide.

Mr. President, half the country's not serious? Is that what you mean? Still a lot of unopened questions--or open questions and unanswered questions, and the reason why is because this administration is doing its best to act like there's something they desperately don't want us to discover. And until they stop that, open up and come forward with whatever it is, this scrutiny, this inquiry is going to continue.

FAIR has more.

"Let Freedom Reign"

Now we know what Bush means when he says "freedom":

ISTANBUL, June 28 — President Bush said today that coalition forces in Iraq would support a possible decision by the new Iraqi leadership to declare martial law to deal with escalating violence and terror attacks.

"Iraqis know what we know, that the best way to defend yourself is to go on the offensive," he said, speaking at a news conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.

More on Decisions

Scotusblog seems to have the definitive take.

Contrary to the press spin, it's a pretty solid defeat for the Bushies. Not a complete one, but still a good smack in the face.

Pretty Big Loss

It looks like Miranda is "no longer operative."

Can Isikoff Be Believed

Unger tells us "no." How can reporters continue to get away with this crap? An excerpt from Unger's unedited letter to Newsweek:

It would be one thing if Isikoff had simply made an honest error; but clearly that is not the case. When Isikoff called me for his article, I specifically told him that the evacuation process involved brief interviews of the bin Ladens which fell far short of the kind of intense criminal investigation that should have gotten underway after the murder of nearly 3,000 people. The worst crime in American history had just taken place two days earlier, and the FBI did not even bother to check the terror watch lists! Isikoff omitted all that. Instead, he attributes claims to me that are simply not in the movie.

Isikoff also wrongly asserts that the Saudi "flights didn't begin until September 14--after airspace reopened." In fact, as I report in House of Bush, House of Saud, the first flight took place on September 13, when restrictions on private planes were still in place. I even gave Isikoff the names of two men who were on that flight-- Dan Grossi and Manuel Perez-- and told him how to get in touch with them. According to the St. Petersburg Times(see below), the September 13 flight from Tampa, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky, has finally been corroborated by authorities at Tampa International Airport--even though the White House, the FBI and the FBI repeatedly denied that any such flights took place. Commercial planes began flying again that day, but private aviation was still prohibited-- and three planes that violated it were forced down by American military aircraft. I explained this to Isikoff, and wrote about it in my book. But Newsweek's response below ignores the fact that these restrictions were still operative. If the evacuation of the Saudis was entirely legitimate, as Newsweek contends, why would the Saudis bother to seek special authorization for it from a crisis-stricken White House-- an undisputed fact that has been corroborated by the Saudis and Richard Clarke? The central undeniable fact is that in the aftermath of this great crime, material witnesses were authorized by the White House to leave the country. But Isikoff left that out--and much more. In dismissing the Bush-Saudi ties, he even omits the fact that more than $1.4 billion in investments and contracts went from the House of Saud to companies in which the Bushes and Cheney have been key figures-- all of which is itemized in my book.

Pretty Big Victory

Court mostly rules against the Bush administration. While Bush can declare people "enemy combatants," and lock them away without charges, at least they can go to court over it, including everyone at Gitmo. Rehnquist joined with the 4 "liberals" and O'Connor.

...and, yes, as attaturk says in comments it's likely that Rehnquist signed on so that he could choose who wrote the opinion. Which means in this, as with many things, we're one Supreme Court justice away from...
(I swear this fit with the initial reporting I read earlier, but it doesn't appear to be true...)

...yes, these are two different decisions. Stevens wrote one of the opinions.



Billions of dollars belonging to Iraq is not accounted for by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was given responsibility by the United Nations for the country's finances, British lawmakers and aid activists said Monday.

There are glaring gaps in the handling of $20 billion generated by Iraq's oil and other sources since the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein ended last year, according to reports from the Liberal Democrats, Britain's third-largest political party, and Christian Aid.

The Christian Aid report also said the majority of Iraq's reconstruction projects have been awarded to U.S. companies, which charge up to 10 times more than Iraqi firms.

There was no immediate reaction from coalition officials to the reports.

...and, Bremer skipped out early.


Josh Marshall has some things to say.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Heads Explode in Freeperville

Dale Earnhardt., Jr. tells his pit crew to go see Michael Moore's movie. From the freepi:

Verbatim from Chris Myers (Fox Sports announcer) on today's race at Pomona pre-race program..

"You think you know Dale Earnhardt Jr.? He advised his crew to go see the Michael Moore movie Farenheit 911. He said hey, it'll be a good bonding experience no matter what your political belief. It's a good thing as an American to go see... and it just shows you that Dale Earnhardt Jr. can reach far beyond the steering wheel."

(thanks to chris/tx in comments)

Protect the Beer

If the preznit can't even protect our beer on a holiday weekend, then what good is he?


(thanks to snabby)

Gee, You Think?

What fun.

July 5 issue - A captured Qaeda commander who was a principal source for Bush administration claims that Osama bin Laden collaborated with Saddam Hussein's regime has changed his story, setting back White House efforts to shore up the credibility of its original case for the invasion of Iraq. The apparent recantation of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a onetime member of bin Laden's inner circle, has never been publicly acknowledged. But U.S. intelligence officials tell NEWSWEEK that al-Libi was a crucial source for one of the more dramatic assertions made by President George W. Bush and his top aides: that Iraq had provided training in "poisons and deadly gases" for Al Qaeda. Al-Libi, who once ran one of bin Laden's biggest training camps, was captured in Pakistan in November 2001 and soon began talking to CIA interrogators. Although he never mentioned his name, Secretary of State Colin Powell prominently referred to al-Libi's claims in his February 2003 speech to the United Nations; he recounted how a "senior terrorist operative" said Qaeda leaders were frustrated by their inability to make chemical or biological agents in Afghanistan and turned for help to Iraq. Continuing to rely on al-Libi's version, Powell then told how a bin Laden operative seeking help in acquiring poisons and gases had forged a "successful" relationship with Iraqi officials in the late 1990s and that, as recently as December 2000, Iraq had offered "chemical or biological weapons training for two Al Qaeda associates."

But more recently, sources said, U.S. interrogators went back to al-Libi with new evidence from other detainees that cast doubt on his claims. Al-Libi "subsequently recounted a different story," said one U.S. official. "It's not clear which version is correct. We are still sorting this out." Some officials now suspect that al-Libi, facing aggressive interrogation techniques, had previously said what U.S. officials wanted to hear.[my emphasis]

Fair and Balanced

One of the criticisms of Moore's movie is that it lacks balance. The more amusing version of this is that it isn't really a documentary because documentaries are "objective," presumably in the way the press imagines that it is objective. See Myers, Lisa for this one. But, ignoring that rather hilarious ignorance of the history of documentary cinema, let's take on the basic idea that Moore should be more balanced like the media is. How balanced are they? From FAIR:

Seventy-six percent of all sources were current or former officials, leaving little room for independent and grassroots views. Similarly, 75 percent of U.S. sources (199/267) were current or former officials.

At a time when 61 percent of U.S. respondents were telling pollsters that more time was needed for diplomacy and inspections (2/6/03), only 6 percent of U.S. sources on the four networks were skeptics regarding the need for war.

Sources affiliated with anti-war activism were nearly non-existent. On the four networks combined, just three of 393 sources were identified as being affiliated with anti-war activism-- less than 1 percent. Just one of 267 U.S. sources was affiliated with anti-war activism-- less than half a percent.


Overall, 68 sources, or 17 percent of the total on-camera sources, represented skeptical or critical positions on the U.S.'s war policy-- ranging from Baghdad officials to people who had concerns about the timing of the Bush administration's war plans. The percentage of skeptical sources ranged from 21 percent at PBS (22 of 106) to 14 percent at NBC (18 of 125). ABC (16 of 92) and CBS (12 of 70) each had 17 percent skeptics.

Shorter Gwen Ifill


It is not factual to present facts.


Truly excellent Moon column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

(via Gorenfeld)

Bush on 9/11

It's sad that it's taken this long for people to start pointing out what many of us have known for a long time:

Leaders show what they are made of in a crisis. Bush hid in plain sight with those kids. Later, hiding twice over, he used them as an excuse, saying he did not want to frighten them by ending the reading before finishing the book. Later still, and repeatedly, he said he saw the first plane strike the tower that morning (in fact, no one saw that live; the film was not available until the evening) and that he remarked, "That's some bad pilot"—pure strut. As the Wall Street Journal reported, he also magnified his role in managing the crisis, claiming he gave orders others gave. Conflicting accounts of Bush's communications documented by the 9/11 Commission now raise doubts whether, as he and Cheney told the commissioners, he ordered Cheney to shoot down any hijacked planes still in the air, or whether Cheney, in the White House bunker, acted on his own. Maybe Cheney persuaded Bush to stay away from Washington that day less for Bush's safety than for the country's.

...Sullywatch reminds us of what must have been the most shameful actions by a politician related to that day -- Cheney's nonsensical lie that they had information that AF1 may have been a target as a justification for Bush's behavior.

Arrest them All

Froomkin has the latest on the torture issue. It really isn't just about torture, of course, it's about the executive branch declaring themsevles above the law, constitution, and treaties. Well, at least it isn't a 30 year old failed land deal, now that would get the press excited!