Saturday, August 21, 2004


Remember, give! The DNC's reporting system isn't working, and I'm not sure if all donations are emailed to me or not, but people have donated at least $2200 to the DNC over the last two days.

I don't get automatic updates for Hoeffel donations.
And, at least a thousand to Keever and Matsunaka.

And, of course, hopefully people are picking and choosing their own recipients.

Strib Weighs In


Sen. John McCain said it all, and said it straight: The TV ad smearing Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam War service was "dishonest and dishonorable." Just as important was what else McCain said: "It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me."

Indeed it was. McCain was referring to vicious lies told about him during the 2000 Republican primaries; they were both false and effective. Now, as then, it is absolutely critical to the workings of this democracy that honorable men and women of all political persuasions step up to expose and discredit these shadowy character assassins.

It's beginning to happen. After weeks of simmering as a "he said, she said" series of attacks and defenses, the sleazy story of a new group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is being laid bare for all to see. It's an ugly sight, full of old grudges, changed stories, unfounded insinuations and outright falsehoods.

Nearly all of Kerry's Vietnam crewmates, no matter their politics, have stepped up to defend him as a courageous leader. And now several newspapers have examined two sets of information: Vietnam War documents, and data showing funding and other ties between the newly formed veterans' group and GOP operatives close to President Bush and his political adviser, Karl Rove.

The records plainly point to McCain's conclusion: The accusations are dishonest, dishonorable -- and entirely reminiscent of the lies spread about McCain in 2000.

Kerry took them on full bore last Thursday, declaring, "I'm not going to let anyone question my commitment to defending America -- then, now or ever." It's critical to the American political process that he did -- and not just for the sake of his presidential campaign. Vicious falsity cannot be allowed to stand.

The anti-Kerry effort seems to have begun last winter, when Roy F. Hoffmann, a Swift boat commander in Vietnam, became upset at his negative portrayal in the book "Tour of Duty." Fellow veteran Adrian Lonsdale says it was Hoffmann who got him and others involved, and whose phone calls led them to help from GOP donors and political operatives in Texas -- including Merrie Spaeth, the spokeswoman for a group that ran $2 million worth of attack ads against McCain in 2000.

To give you a flavor of the group's inconsistencies: In 1996, Lonsdale spoke of the bravado and courage of Swift boat officers: "Senator Kerry was no exception. He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers." Yet in this year's TV ad, Lonsdale said Kerry "lacks the capacity to lead." Veteran George Elliott says in the ad that Kerry "has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam." Yet Elliott wrote the Silver Star nomination for Kerry in 1969. In an official report he wrote: "In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action Lt. j.g. Kerry was unsurpassed. ..."

Drudge Says


Iraqi soccer team says:

Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Sadir told through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes."

"The ad simply talks about President Bush's optimism and how democracy has triumphed over terror," said Scott Stanzel, a spokesperson for Bush's campaign. "Twenty-five million people in Iraq are free as a result of the actions of the coalition."

To a man, members of the Iraqi Olympic delegation say they are glad that former Olympic committee head Uday Hussein, who was responsible for the serial torture of Iraqi athletes and was killed four months after the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003, is no longer in power.

But they also find it offensive that Bush is using Iraq for his own gain when they do not support his administration's actions. "My problems are not with the American people," says Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad. "They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"



It makes sense for W. to use surrogates to do his fighting, just as he did when he slid out of Vietnam and just as he did when he sent our troops to fight his administration's misbegotten vanity war in Iraq.

Hour of the Wolfhound

I just finished reading Wolcott's Attack Poodles. It's good fun all the way through, and the pleasure of reading a skilled wordsmith skewer your favorite targets is enough to make it a good buy.

But, the final chapter provides a nice call to arms of sorts. A slightly overly optimistic one, perhaps. Wolcott begins it by writing, "The attack poodles no longer swish their tails as high and jauntily as they once did." I'm not sure I agree with that assessment - to me, they're like Weebles; they wobble but they don't fall down. Still, good to keep them wobbling.

But, in any case, he recommends unleashing the hounds. And, about that I heartily agree. I don't think we can knock them down, but we can keep the wobbling...

Big Media Matt Gets Angry

Good. Was worried he had already been rendered incapable of getting that excited.

And, he's right. One of the few ways to get revenge is to give money. If you don't like the choices listed above, find some other places to throw your spare change.

If 10% of the people who read this site gave $50 or so to the general cause over the next couple of days that'd add up to some real money. I don't give a crap if you do it through the above links - having the community take "credit" for the donations provides for a bit of fun, but it doesn't matter. Choose your own candidate, your own party organization, your own 527, or hell your favorite blogger (no, not me, I don't need it right now) if you think that'll be the most effective use of your money.

Election is on Nov. 2. For money to be really useful, it should be donated by Oct. 10 at the latest. That's less than 8 more weeks of me nagging you to give and you feeling guilty if you don't.

Look, this is it folks. The final stretch. You know what you can and can't give. If you can't give, don't. If you can only give $10, only give $10. But, all the crap of the last 4 years is coming together for one final bloody contest. Rove's got more in his pocket than just the ridiculous swift boat liars, and we clearly can't count on the media to correct the record in a timely fashion (yes, some in the media are great, but The Media as collective, sucks).

So, give give give...

Evening Thread


"You Should be Ashamed"

Kerry ad.

George Bush, 1990

I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.

John Kerry, April 1971

Thank you very much, Senator Fulbright, Senator Javits, Senator Symington and Senator Pell.

I would like to say for the record, and also for the men sitting behind me who are also wearing the uniforms and their medals, that my sitting here is really symbolic. I am not here as John Kerry. I am here as one member of a group of 1,000, which is a small representation of a very much larger group of veterans in this country, and were it possible for all of them to sit at this table, they would be here and have the same kind of testimony. I would simply like to speak in general terms. I apologize if my statement is general because I received notification [only] yesterday that you would hear me, and, I am afraid, because of the injunction I was up most of the night and haven't had a great deal of chance to prepare.

I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago, in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis, with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit--the emotions in the room, and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told stories that, at times, they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam,in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

We call this investigation the Winter Soldier Investigation. The term "winter soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine's in 1776, when he spoke of the "sunshine patriots," and "summertime soldiers" who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel, because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.

As a veteran and one who felt this anger, I would like to talk about it. We are angry because we feel we have been used it the worst fashion by the administration of this country.

In 1970, at West Point, Vice President Agnew said, "some glamorize the criminal misfits of society while our best men die in Asian rice paddies to preserve the freedom which most of those misfits abuse," and this was used as a rallying point for our effort in Vietnam.

But for us, as boys in Asia whom the country was supposed to support, his statement is a terrible distortion from which we can only draw a very deep sense of revulsion. Hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today. It is a distortion because we in no way consider ourselves the best men of this country, because those he calls misfits were standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to, because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam, because so many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans' Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol. And we cannot consider ourselves America's best men when we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia.

In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but, also, we found that the Vietnamese, whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image, were hard-put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Viet Cong, North Vietnamese or American.

We found also that, all too often, American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by the flag, and blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search-and-destroy missions as well as by Viet Cong terrorism, - and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai, and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

We learned the meaning of free-fire zones--shooting anything that moves--and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.

We watched the United States falsification of body counts, in fact the glorification of body counts. We listened while, month after month, we were told the back of the enemy was about to break. We fought using weapons against "oriental human beings" with quotation marks around that. We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using, were we fighting in the European theater. We watched while men charged up hills because a general said that hill has to be taken, and, after losing one platoon, or two platoons, they marched away to leave the hill for reoccupation by the North Vietnamese. We watched pride allow the most unimportant battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn't lose, and we couldn't retreat, and because it didn't matter how many American bodies were lost to prove that point, and so there were Hamburger Hills and Khe Sanhs and Hill 81s and Fire Base 6s, and so many others.

Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of "Vietnamizing" the Vietnamese.

Each day, to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam, someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."

We are asking Americans to think about that, because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying, as human beings, to communicate to people in this country--the question of racism, which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions, such as the use of weapons: the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war, when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free-fire zones; harassment-interdiction fire, search-and-destroy missions; the bombings; the torture of prisoners; all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam. That is what we are trying to say. It is part and parcel of everything.

An American Indian friend of mine who lives in the Indian Nation of Alcatraz put it to me very succinctly: He told me how, as a boy on an Indian reservation, he had watched television, and he used to cheer the cowboys when they came in and shot the Indians, and then suddenly one day he stopped in Vietnam and he said, "my God, I am doing to these people the very same thing that was done to my people," and he stopped. And that is what we are trying to say, that we think this thing has to end.

We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We're here to ask where are McNamara, Rostow, Bundy, Gilpatrick, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The Marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude. They've left the real stuff of their reputations bleaching behind them in the sun in this country....

We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us. But all that they have done, and all that they can do by this denial, is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission: To search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war; to pacify our own hearts; to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more. And more. And so, when, thirty years from now, our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say "Vietnam" and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead where America finally turned, and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.

Swift Boat Skipper: Kerry Critics Wrong


The commander of a Navy swift boat who served alongside Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the Vietnam War stepped forward Saturday to dispute attacks challenging Kerry's integrity and war record.

William Rood, an editor on the Chicago Tribune's metropolitan desk, said he broke 35 years of silence about the Feb. 28, 1969, mission that resulted in Kerry's receiving a Silver Star because recent portrayals of Kerry's actions published in the best-selling book "Unfit for Command" are wrong and smear the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

Rood, who commanded one of three swift boats during that 1969 mission, said Kerry came under rocket and automatic weapons fire from Viet Cong forces and that Kerry devised an aggressive attack strategy that was praised by their superiors. He called allegations that Kerry's accomplishments were "overblown" untrue.

"The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there," Rood said in a 1,700-word first-person account published in Sunday's Tribune.

Rood's recollection of what happened on that day at the southern tip of South Vietnam was backed by key military documents, including his citation for a Bronze Star he earned in the battle and a glowing after-action report written by the Navy captain who commanded his and Kerry's task force, who is now a critic of the Democratic candidate.

From Rood:

There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago—three officers and 15 crew members. Only two of those officers remain to talk about what happened on February 28, 1969.

One is John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate who won a Silver Star for what happened on that date. I am the other.

For years, no one asked about those events. But now they are the focus of skirmishing in a presidential election with a group of swift boat veterans and others contending that Kerry didn't deserve the Silver Star for what he did on that day, or the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts he was awarded for other actions.

Many of us wanted to put it all behind us—the rivers, the ambushes, the killing. Ever since that time, I have refused all requests for interviews about Kerry's service—even those from reporters at the Chicago Tribune, where I work.

But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there.

Even though Kerry's own crew members have backed him, the attacks have continued, and in recent days Kerry has called me and others who were with him in those days, asking that we go public with our accounts.

I can't pretend those calls had no effect on me, but that is not why I am writing this. What matters most to me is that this is hurting crewmen who are not public figures and who deserved to be honored for what they did. My intent is to tell the story here and to never again talk publicly about it.


John O'Neill, author of a highly critical account of Kerry's Vietnam service, describes the man Kerry chased as a "teenager" in a "loincloth." I have no idea how old the gunner Kerry chased that day was, but both Leeds and I recall that he was a grown man, dressed in the kind of garb the VC usually wore.

The man Kerry chased was not the "lone" attacker at that site, as O'Neill suggests. There were others who fled. There was also firing from the tree line well behind the spider holes and at one point, from the opposite riverbank as well. It was not the work of just one attacker.

Shame on the media for giving these people a platform. Shame on the media for allowing dishonest men to dishonor honest men who served honorably. Shame on you for pretending this was a "he said/he said" situation, ignoring official Navy records and the testimony of everyone who was actually in a position to know. Most of all, shame on all the chickenbloggers who, 30 years from now, will do the same thing to some Iraq war veteran who went home and wondered out loud who will be the last American soldier to die for a lie.

arrggggggh... I'm so angry. Click here for the Barbaric Yawp and then go give some money to the DNC and give some money to Joe Hoeffel and give some to Patsy Keever and Stan Matsunaka and then go give some money to anyone else you can think of then go sign up with ACT or Swing the State or whoever and go volunteer or go register voters or do anything you can. Only a couple of months to go.

Eugene Lambert

Still waiting for the rest of the media to pick up on the fact that David Corn has demonstrated, yet again, that Thurlow's claims are wholly without merit.

Patsy Keever Day!

Make the Swift Boat Liars cry. Give some love to Patsy Keever!

Morning Thread

Easy Rider edition.

More Swift Boat Liars

Knight Ridder humiliates them.

And, Digby discovers one Swift Boat Liar was a member of the Bush campain as late as August 19th. Thursday.

Later Night Thread

Natural Boobies Edition

Swift Boat Liars Again

The records of Eugene Lambert dispute their nonsense.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Friday Open Thread



Kerry press release (Excerpt):
Bush Campaign Busted Passing Out “Swift Boat Veterans for Bush” Flyer
Washington, DC - Despite constant denials, the Bush-Cheney campaign today was busted coordinating with the “Swift Boat Veterans for Bush” in their smear campaign against John Kerry. The following press release was issued this afternoon by the Florida Democratic Party. The evidence is attached.

“Bush Campaign Caught Promoting "Swift Boat Vets for Truth"

While National Campaign Denies Coordination, Campaign in Florida Promotes Rally

Tallahassee -- On the same day that the Bush-Cheney campaign repeatedly denied coordinating attacks with the anti-Kerry group "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," the Bush-Cheney campaign in Florida was caught promoting a rally in Gainesville for the group.

A flyer being distributed at the Alachua County Republican party headquarters, which doubles as the Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters for the county, promotes a weekend rally sponsored by "Swift Boat Vets for Truth, Veterans for Bush, Alachua Bush/Cheney Committee," and others.

Smearing the Vets

Bush 2000:

"A smear campaign of the ugliest sort is now coursing through the contest for the presidency in 2000. Using the code word 'temper,' a group of Senate Republicans, and at least some outriders of the George W. Bush campaign, are spreading the word that John McCain is unstable." [Washington Post, Elizabeth Drew, "Those Whispers About McCain," 11/19/99]

Bush 2004:

Scott McCellan: "I do think that Senator Kerry losing his cool should not be an excuse for him to lash out at the President" [White House Press Briefing, Crawford Middle School, Crawford, Texas8/20/04]

Marc Racicot: "I think they have comepletely unhinged. Senator Kerry, Tad, although I've certainly had time to get to know him, he looks to me to be wild-eyed." [CNN, Inside Politics, 8/20/04]

...from Kerry communications director Cutter:

Mr. McClellan needs to understand that John Kerry is not the type of leader who will sit and read `My Pet Goat' to a group of second graders while America is under attack.

Sharp Contrast

Fortunate Son vs. Swift Boat Liars.

Bush Admin. Admits It Can Control Swift Boat Ads

From McClellan:

McClellan offered Kerry's campaign some terms for an end to the negative ads both sides are running.

"We could put an end to it all if Sen. Kerry would come out and join the president and say 'let's stop this,'" McClellan said.'s the gaggle where the quote is from, courtesy of holden.

CNN Vote

Tell them what you think.

Friday Cat Blogging

Prevailing Consensus

Tim Noah:

What this man was saying was that it was better to have been wrong about Iraq than to have been right. That's the prevailing (though not always conscious) consensus in Washington, and it's completely insane.

And, basically, this is because a bunch of liberal-to-moderate hawks considered support for the Iraq war to be a testosterone test - whether or not you had the cojones to kill a few people and send someone else's kids off to war for the good old USA.

Pierce in Altercation


We discussed this in the context of Tucker Carlson a few weeks back but, the more I think about it, the more I become convinced that the Amish have the right idea with this "shunning" business. It's nonviolent, even sort of civil in its own stern way, but it certainly does bring the point across. Your actions are so far beyond civilized norms that we, the decent people of the clan, will have nothing more to do with you. (And the next time you see Tomasky, ask him if I don't mean it.) I think the concept could be quite useful here in the media biz. I refer, of course, to our gal Annie's lunatic interview with the British newspaper, but most directly to the performance last night on HARDBALL of Michelle Malkin, a rising young harpy with the face of a stewardess and the analytical skills of a tack hammer, although possessed of considerably less charm. She was just inches from a clean getaway when she opined that she'd read somewhere that John Kerry's war wounds were self-inflicted. This, of course, sent Matthews into the ionosphere while Michelle popped her eyeballs. He cuffed her around pretty well and then my main dude, Olbermann, took a proper whack on his show.

Now, I think this should have been the moment. You get up there on a national television show and you say without a shred of proof that a decorated war veteran inflicted his own wounds. (By now, I'm sure she's crawfishing, saying she meant he did it to himself accidentally. Yeah, whatever. Go out and buy a new armband or something.) This doesn't make you "controversial" or "colorful." This makes you nuts. This makes you the kind of person that newspapers leave sitting in the foyer in a tinfoil hat, waiting to see an editor who's been ducking your calls for a decade, and listening to the messages from Neptune through the fillings in your teeth. This makes you the kind of person who staples manifestos to the telephone poles in Central Square. It ought to disqualify you forever from the company of serious people, and from the society of the decent ones. And even with that, hell, you can still get a job with Fox.

Indeed. Malkin has no right appear on every network and news show in the country to air her views defending the imprisonment of thousands of American citizens without charges, or to without evidence suggest that a decorated veteran deliberate wounded himself. She's free to rant and rave anywhere she wants, but editors are under no obligation to publish her and TV news producers are under no obligation to book her. Eric Muller didn't get on every goddamn show in the country when he wrote his book about internment, and I guarantee that David Neiwert won't either when his is published. And, their books aren't anti-American screeds praising the mass imprisonment of their fellow citizens.

What Is the President's Position

Can we please get a reporter on this job? Volokh picks it up, as does Ted.

Bush says:

And what I think we ought to do is not have them on the air. I think there ought to be full disclosure.

What does this mean? Does Bush believe there should be no independent expenditure-based political activity? Does that include this weblog? What exactly does he mean?

Look, I'm a tepid supporter various campaign finance laws, but I'd like to know what the president's position is.

Go Vote

MSNBC wants your opinion.

$8.8 Billion Gone


WASHINGTON - At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft U.S. audit set for release soon.

The audit by the Coalition Provisional Authority’s own inspector general blasts the CPA for “not providing adequate stewardship” of at least $8.8 billion from the Development Fund for Iraq that was given to Iraqi ministries.

The audit was first reported on a Web site earlier this month by David Hackworth, a journalist and retired colonel. A U.S. official confirmed that the contents of the leaked audit cited by Hackworth were accurate.


In one example, the audit said the CPA paid for 74,000 guards even though the actual number could not be validated. In another, 8,206 guards were listed on a payroll but only 603 people doing the work could be counted.


One of the main benefactors of the Iraq funds was the Texas-based firm Halliburton, which was paid more than $1 billion out of those funds to bring in fuel for Iraqi civilians.

The monitoring board said despite repeated requests it had not been given access to U.S. audits of contracts held by Halliburton, which was once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, and other firms that used the development funds.

More Malkin Funnies

From Hardball:

MATTHEWS: This is not a show for this kind of talk. Are you accusing him of shooting himself on purpose to avoid combat or to get credit?

MALKIN: I‘m saying that‘s what some of these...

MATTHEWS: Give me a name.

MALKIN: Patrick Runyan (ph) and William Zeldonaz (ph).

MATTHEWS: They said—Patrick Runyan...

MALKIN: These people have...

MATTHEWS: And they said he shot himself on purpose to avoid combat or take credit for a wound?

MALKIN: These people have cast a lot of doubt on whether or not...

MATTHEWS: That‘s cast a lot of doubt. That‘s complete nonsense.

From the Boston Globe:

"Myself, Pat Runyon, and John Kerry," says Zaladonis, the engineman on Kerry's first swift boat, "we were the only ones in the skimmer."

"There definitely was not a fourth," says Runyon. Though the two assume they took hostile fire, both men acknowledge they aren't completely certain. But they also firmly reject the claim that Kerry somehow wounded himself by using an M-79 grenade launcher.

"I am reasonably sure we didn't have an M-79," Zaladonis said. "I didn't see one. I don't remember it."

Runyon says the only weapons the trio had were an M-60 machine gun, two M-16 combat rifles, and, possibly, a .45 caliber pistol. Is he 100 percent sure there wasn't an M-79 grenade launcher in the boat?

"I wouldn't say 100 percent, but I know 100 percent certain that we didn't shoot them," replies Runyon. He does remember Kerry having trouble with his M-16. "His gun jammed or he ran out of ammunition -- I don't know which -- but he bent down to pick up the other M-16," he says.

Zaladonis, who was manning the machine gun, recalls Kerry telling him to redirect his fire to another area. "If we got return fire, I am not sure," he said. But he adds that there's one thing he does know: "I know that John got hurt." And not by shrapnel from a grenade launcher.

So, she came up with the names of the guys who stand by Kerry's account, to the best of their memory, and who also disagree with the claim from the swift boat liars that there was a 4th man on the boat that day - which is, actually, an entirely different day than the day Malkin was talking about.

When Wingnuts Collide

At World O'Crap.

Wingnuts Can Do No Wrong

Once again, over at TAPPED, which is on a roll today, we get some more about Bush's recently resigned Catholic outreach person, and the bizarro self-defense which the National Review allowed him to publish.

At issue isn't just the severity of Hudson's transgression - it's also that it's exactly the kind of thing he would have used to demolish his own opponents. Live by the sword...

..and, while we're beating up on the National Review, we have Rich Lowry saying that the "troopergate" stories were "basically right."


Yglesias is right - the Times' report on the swift boat liars isn't the devastating investigation some have painted it as. Good, but not good enough, as he says. I'm not sure it's a net negative for Kerry, but I wouldn't call it a net positive either.

And, Dubner is also right. There's very little original reporting in the article.

The Big Picture

I forget who was the first person to point this out, but one thing F9/11 did was potentially point the way to a completely unclosable loophole in campaign finance laws. While Conason is right to ask whether this Bossie-Chetwynd production is already in violation of campaign finance rules, my guess the point of this movie isn't the movie, but the ad campaign.

Unlimited funds could be spent advertising for an anti-Kerry movie, even if no one goes to see it...

Conason does raise the issue here, pointing out the hypocrisy:

Ironically, Bossie and Citizens United could find themselves facing the same legal questions they raised about "Fahrenheit 9/11," when they tried to stop TV advertising for the Moore opus. Their complaint to the FEC alleged that such ads constituted prohibited "electioneering communications" against Bush and violated federal restrictions on "soft money." Last month the FEC ruled in favor of the film's distributors because those ads appeared more than four months before the election, during a window when they were permissible.

But the Bossie film will be released within the 120-day pre-election period when such "independent" electioneering communications are prohibited, unless they fall under an exception carved out for commercial media endeavors. Unless "The Big Picture" is billed as a commercial movie intended to earn a profit, it could fall within the category of prohibited electioneering activity. And advertising for the pro-Bush documentary could pose the same questions raised by Citizens United about the promotion of Moore's film.

But, generally, this is one loophole I can't think of any way to close without being an inappropriate restriction on speech.

For the Record

From Hardball:

MALKIN: Well, yes. Why don‘t people ask him more specific questions about the shrapnel in his leg. They are legitimate questions about whether or not it was a self-inflicted wound.


MATTHEWS: What do you mean by self-inflicted? Are you saying he shot himself on purpose? Is that what you‘re saying?

MALKIN: Did you read the book...

MATTHEWS: I‘m asking a simple question. Are you saying that he shot himself on purpose.

MALKIN: I‘m saying some of these soldiers...

MATTHEWS: And I‘m asking question.

MALKIN: And I‘m answering it.

MATTHEWS: Did he shoot himself on purpose.

MALKIN: Some of the soldiers have made allegations that these were self-inflicted wounds.

MATTHEWS: No one has ever accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN: That these were self-inflicted wounds.

MATTHEWS: Your saying there are—he shot himself on purpose, that‘s a criminal act?

MALKIN: I‘m saying that I‘ve read the book and some of the...


MATTHEWS: I want an answer yes or no, Michelle.

MALKIN: Some of the veterans say...

MATTHEWS: No. No one has every accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN: Yes. Some of them say that.

MATTHEWS: Tell me where that...

MALKIN: Self-inflicted wounds—in February, 1969.


MALKIN: Have you tried to ask—have you tried ask John Kerry these questions?

MATTHEWS: If he shot himself on purpose. No. I have not asked him that.

MALKIN: Don‘t you wonder?

MATTHEWS: No, I don‘t. It‘s never occurred to me.

Look, this is why Malkin will always be a B-List wingnut. She didn't quite understand that what she was supposed to do was imply that he did it on purpose, while using words which could be construed as technically saying the truth - which was that the accusation from the swift boat liars is that the shrapnel came from his own weapons. This, of course, is absolutely irrelevant anyway (even if true) because even if it was his own shrapnel, he still deserves the purple heart. If you're hit with shrapnel during battle - yours, friendly fire, or from the enemy, you get a purple heart.

...Jesse has more.

Little LuLu's Unhappy

Poor thing.

All 527 Ads Off the Air

Elizbaeth Dole just told us once again that this is Bush's position. Can some reporter please get to the bottom of this? Does Bush want them to be illegal? Has he embraced a new campaign finance law position?

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Wow, it was just...could it have been just two days ago? that Candy Crowley had this to say:
CROWLEY: Now, you all know that in election years, nothing goes unanswered. Nothing. But sometimes responses take a little while. We want to begin this story about a year ago, when John Kerry went to Philadelphia and a famous cheese steak place called Pat's. There he ordered, of course, a cheese steak, but he ordered it with Swiss cheese. That's kind of a food faux pas in Philadelphia. You're supposed to order it with Cheez Whiz, maybe American, but Swiss cheese, definitely a faux pas. Now who notices these kinds of things? As it turned out, the Bush campaign did. Did we mention that the president was near Philadelphia today? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH: You know, this is my 32nd visit to your state since I've been president. A lot of people wonder why I'm coming so much. It ought to be obvious to you; I like my cheese steak Wiz with. (END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: There were also complaints at the time that John Kerry took dainty bites of his Philadelphia cheese steak. Unfortunately, the president did not get into that.
Ha ha! Unfortunately. Unfortunately for Candy, Bush was lying. From Campaign Desk:
In contrast to the bigfoots of the national press, Kathleen E. Carey of The [Delaware County, Pa.] Daily Times went beyond mere stenography and did a little leg work on the issue, as well she should. For, while it's certainly not in the top 100 critical campaign issues this election year, it's safe to say that the proper construction of a Philadelphia cheesesteak matters more to Daily Times readers than it does to a national audience. And the intrepid Carey came up with her own expose. She reported that Bush actually "prefers his steak absent of the usual Cheez Whiz and provolone, accompanied only by cheese of the American variety," information that she obtained from her own Deep Throat, one Caeser Barnabei, the owner of the well-known cheesesteak shop, Jim's Place. Barnabei, who has fed the Bush camp on previous swings through Pennsylvania and provided "70 to 80 hoagies" for the Bush campaign yesterday, confided to Carey that "the Jim's Special is altered to whet the 'W' appetite." In Philadelphia, the classic cheesesteak recipe is hot beef strips and fried onions dripping with grease, slathered with Cheez Whiz straight from the squeeze bottle, all atop white bread. Solemnly, Carey reported her devastating conclusion: "The commander-in-chief fooled thousands Tuesday to believe he eats like the epicureans here."


O.W. has the quicktime video.

Notable Quotable

The irony today is that we have a cadre of ass-kissers who don't even have access to the asses they kiss in print.

From Attack Poodles...


What can you say about someone like Michelle "Little LuLu" Malkin suggesting that the shrapnel in Kerry's leg might come from a self-inflicted wound. While it is true that some Swift Boat Liars have suggested that the shrapnel could have come from Kerry's own weapon, it's a bit bizarre that Malkin would suggest that it was deliberately inflicted. The shrapnel is from a grenade. While it is true that people have wounded themselves in an attempt to get out of combat, it's hard to comprehend that very many of them have chosen to wound themselves with grenades.

The loathing these people have for everything America stands for is astounding.

Double Standards

Digby reminds us what happened when another factually challenged book came out in the middle of a camapign season. Why is there a double standard for the right wing media?

The issue isn't whether the editor of St. Martin's should have resigned during the Hatfield/Fortunate Son controversy - it's that he resigned under almost universal pressure to do so.

Where's the pressure now?

All Hail Grokster

I don't do digital copyright/IP issues on here much, because other people do it better, but this is good news.

But, in a somewhat related note, this is an issue where the Democrats should think long and hard about whether a few bucks from the industry is worth sacrificing a big chunk of the youth/geek vote which is there's for the taking.

Why Does Bush Hate Free Speech?

I really don't understand why there hasn't been more attention paid to this, from little Scott McClellan:

We've called on Senator Kerry to join us and call for an end to all of this unregulated soft money activity.

What exactly does this mean? Should all expenditures be "regulated?" Regulated how? Should my friends and I not be able to throw some dollars together and buy ads?

I mean, I'm a tepid supporter of various Campaign Finance Reform endeavors, but I didn't realize that president had such extreme views. Or does he? Can someone pin him down?

Spoiler Alert

There's something rather sad about MSNBC running a "SPOILER ALERT" running over discussion of the olympic events of the day because they refuse to run the events live...

Kerry's Senate Record

I have to say that one of the things I've been curious about was the Bush campaign/RNC attack on Kerry's Senate record, accusing him of ignoring it during the convention speech as if it were something to run from. Of course, Kerry's Senate record is something to run from -- something for the Bushies to run from. One of Kerry's biggest contributions during his time there was his investigation into BCCI.

David Sirota has a new piece in the Washington Monthly which tells us all about it.

All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.

By the end, Kerry had helped dismantle a massive criminal enterprise and exposed the infrastructure of BCCI and its affiliated institutions, a web that law enforcement officials today acknowledge would become a model for international terrorist financing. As Kerry's investigation revealed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, BCCI was interested in more than just enriching its clients--it had a fundamentally anti-Western mission. Among the stated goals of its Pakistani founder were to "fight the evil influence of the West," and finance Muslim terrorist organizations. In retrospect, Kerry's investigation had uncovered an institution at the fulcrum of America's first great post-Cold War security challenge.


Kerry pounced, demanding (and winning) authorization from the Foreign Relations Committee to open a broad investigation into the bank in May 1991. Almost immediately, the senator faced a new round of pressure to relent. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Democratic doyenne Pamela Harriman personally called Kerry to object, as did his fellow senators. "What are you doing to my friend Clark Clifford?," staffers recalled them asking, according to The Washington Post. BCCI itself hired an army of lawyers, PR specialists, and lobbyists, including former members of Congress, to thwart the investigation.

But Kerry refused to back off, and his hearings began to expose the ways in which international terrorism was financed. As Kerry's subcommittee discovered, BCCI catered to many of the most notorious tyrants and thugs of the late 20th century, including Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the heads of the Medellin cocaine cartel, and Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist. According to the CIA, it also did business with those who went on to lead al Qaeda.

And BCCI went beyond merely offering financial assistance to dictators and terrorists: According to Time, the operation itself was an elaborate fraud, replete with a "global intelligence operation and a Mafia-like enforcement squad."

By July 1991, Kerry's work paid off. That month, British and U.S. regulators finally responded to the evidence provided by Kerry, Morgenthau, and a concurrent investigation by the Federal Reserve. BCCI was shut down in seven countries, restricted in dozens more, and served indictments for grand larceny, bribery, and money laundering. The actions effectively put it out of business what Morgenthau called, "one of the biggest criminal enterprises in world history."

Schwarzkopf Won't Endorse Bush

A sharp contrast from 4 years ago.

Cheney Yourself!

Paul Waldman has some fun with Brent Bozell after an appearance on O'Reilly.

DSCC Upgrades Hoeffel

Sadly, Senator Corzine leaves out the crucial support of the Eschaton community which undoubtedly has been a major factor in the race.

As always, you can donate here...

Lawn Signs

This is a great story. I mean, aside from the ethics and legality, what kind of Congressman spends personal time on this stuff? I mean, sure, maybe someone running for school board or something, but this guy's a member of Congress.

"Gay Circuit Parties"

MSNBC Political Analyst Craig Crawford:
CRAWFORD: Yeah, because the longer he stays in power, in that office, the bigger the gay side of this story is, and it‘s just a tabloid story on that side. I mean, the more—the larger accusations of what was almost a criminal enterprise in his administration is really more important and the abuse of office, but the gay stuff is going stay in the focus because it‘s just exciting for people to talk about and—you know, I think democrats just wish he would just get—go away, the gay circuit parties or something and just disappear. And that‘s what a lot of them are starting to want him to do, is step down now.

Yes. These are the options available to McGreevey - remain governor, or devote his life to "gay circuit parties."

(thanks to seraphiel)

More Swift Boat Lies

O'Neill lies about his campaign contributions.

Kerry Speech

Kerry Speech to IAFF:

Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn’t interested in the truth – and they’re not telling the truth. They didn’t even exist until I won the nomination for president.

But here’s what you really need to know about them. They’re funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They’re a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won’t denounce what they’re up to tells you everything you need to know—he wants them to do his dirty work.

Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam.

As firefighters you risk your lives everyday. You know what it’s like to see the truth in the moment. You’re proud of what you’ve done—and so am I.

Of course, the President keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: “Bring it on.”

I’m not going to let anyone question my commitment to defending America—then, now, or ever. And I’m not going to let anyone attack the sacrifice and courage of the men who saw battle with me.

And let me make this commitment today: their lies about my record will not stop me from fighting for jobs, health care, and our security – the issues that really matter to the American people.

The situation in Iraq is a mess. That is the President’s responsibility and he owes the American people an answer.

America is on track to lose more jobs than it’s gained under George Bush and he supports a tax code that rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas. He owes the American people an answer.

Health care costs have exploded out of control. The President has done nothing and he owes the American people an answer.

The middle class is paying a bigger share of America’s tax burden. The President needs to answer to the American people why that is fair.

Unfortunately, those in the White House are coming from a different place than you and I. They see things a little differently than you and I. They tell us that today, when it comes to the issues that matter most, we’re getting the job done.


Downie went up against Massing on the Newshour last night. I was struck by Downie's claim that the WaPo had "truth-squaded" Powell's speech after he gave it. I can't quite find the part he's talking about in Nexis, though that doesn't mean it isn't there, but let's go through the Washington Post headlines from Feb. 6, 2003, from every story which contained the words "Powell" and "speech" and which seemed at all relevant:

Powell Lays Out Case Against Iraq; Evidence Shows Hussein Foiled Inspections, Secretary Tells U.N (A01)

At Council, Political Theater (A01)

Satellite Images, Communications Intercepts and Defectors' Briefing (A01)

Data on Efforts to Hide Arms Called 'Strong Suit' of Speech (A28)

Despite Defectors' Accounts, Evidence Remains Anecdotal (A28)

Case Aided by Satellite Images And Intercepted Conversations (A28)

Doubts Remain About Purpose Of Specialized Aluminum Tubes (A29)

Work on New Drones, Missiles Called Example of 'Persistence' (A29)

Agency Coordination Helps Yield Details on Al Qaeda 'Associate' (A29)

Army Readies Copters For Gulf; Rumsfeld Reveals New Budget Crisis (A31)

Telling Secrets: Not Just What, but How; Speech Is Revealing on Gathering Intelligence (A23)

'A Policy of Evasion and Deception' (A24)

The Smoking Gun; Khidhir Hamza Tried to Help Iraq Make a Nuclear Bomb. (C01)

Speech Fails to Budge Europeans From Their Divergent Positions (A30)

Congress's Overall Opinion Is Positive; But Some Members Say It's Still Too Soon for War (A30)

From the editorial page:

EDITORIAL; Pg. A36, 599 words, Irrefutable

EDITORIAL; Pg. A37, 837 words, An Old Trooper's Smoking Gun, Jim Hoagland

EDITORIAL; Pg. A37, 799 words, I'm Persuaded, Mary McGrory

EDITORIAL; Pg. A37, 824 words, Disregarding the Deniers, George F. Will

EDITORIAL; Pg. A37, 764 words, A Winning Hand for Powell, Richard Cohen

No Longer News





Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Swift Boat Liar Update

It's reasonable for Vietnam Vets to be angry about Kerry's anti-war activities. That's their right. But it's truly puzzling that some would be so angry as to be willing to try to dishonor their own service and medals to attack him:

Newly obtained military records of one of Sen. John F. Kerry's most vocal critics, who has accused the Democratic presidential candidate of lying about his wartime record to win medals, contradict his own version of events.

In newspaper interviews and a best-selling book, Larry Thurlow, who commanded a Navy Swift boat alongside Kerry in Vietnam, has strongly disputed Kerry's claim that the Massachusetts Democrat's boat came under fire during a mission in Viet Cong-controlled territory on March 13, 1969. Kerry won a Bronze Star for his actions that day.

But Thurlow's military records, portions of which were released yesterday to The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at "all units" of the five-boat flotilla. Thurlow won his own Bronze Star that day, and the citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."


I never heard a shot," Thurlow said in his affidavit, which was released by Swift Boats Veterans for Truth. The group claims the backing of more than 250 Vietnam veterans, including a majority of Kerry's fellow boat commanders.

A document recommending Thurlow for the Bronze Star noted that all his actions "took place under constant enemy small arms fire which LTJG THURLOW completely ignored in providing immediate assistance" to the disabled boat and its crew. The citation states that all other units in the flotilla also came under fire.


Thurlow and other anti-Kerry veterans have repeatedly alleged that Kerry was the author of an after-action report that described how his boat came under enemy fire. Kerry campaign researchers dispute that assertion, and there is no convincing documentary evidence to settle the argument. As the senior skipper in the flotilla, Thurlow might have been expected to write the after-action report for March 13, but he said that Kerry routinely "duked the system" to present his version of events.

For much of the episode, Kerry was not in a position to know firsthand what was happening on Thurlow's boat, as Kerry's boat had sped down the river after the mine exploded under another boat. He later returned to provide assistance to the stricken boat.

...for the record, the basic info, though not the primary source documents, was here and elsewhere over 10 days ago...

Recommended Reading

If anyone's in the mood for a truly inspired and delightfully nasty book, let me recommend occasional Eschaton commenter James Wolcott's new book: Attack Poodles and Other Media Mutants.
I've just started reading it, but so far it's great. Here's a taste -- on Robert Novak:

Were he to fall into a ditch, the ditch would spit him out again, in disgust.

Campaign Gossip

So, while I was on the road with the Hoeffel campaign some of the interns/volunteers were a bit nervous to talk to me at first, concerned that I might broadcast any dirt that they might dish. Well, by the end of the day I'd convinced those suckers that everything was "off the record." Ha ha! Don't they know us internet muckrackers have no scruples. Here's what I learned:

*Joe Hoeffel's wife, Francesca, gave the bird to his former Chief of Staff when he resigned.

*Joe Hoeffel's daughter was busted for underage drinking at a popular Mexican restaurant.

*A campaign worker was found dead in Hoeffel's office under mysterious circumstances. Hoeffel falsely claimed to the press that she had a history of health problems, and the medical examiner involved with the case eventually had his license revoked in Pennsylvania.

*During divorce proceedings, it was revealed that Hoeffel's brother had gotten a veneral disease from a prostitute while he was travelling in Asia.

*Hoeffel once claimed that he wanted to got to Vietnam, but couldn't because minorities had taken all the spots.

*Hoeffel once switched his vote on important legislation after being offered $100,000 for his son's congressional race.***

*Hoeffel handed divorce papers to his first wife when she was in the hospital being treated for cancer.

*Hoeffel lost millions of dollars on slot machines.

*After it was revealed he'd had an affair just one year before, he referred to it as a "youthful indiscretion."

It's amazing what those interns will tell you...

(First person to correctly identify the real people involved in these stories will get an "I am Atrios!" mug...)... JIM E WINS!

***Minor correction. This didn't actually happen -- Nick Smith was supposedly offered this money, but did not actually change his vote.


Wow, Scott McClellan now manages to speak with asterisks and footnotes. Impressive.

Up 9 in Ohio

50-41, latest Gallup.

Note that Ohio is one of the states where the swift boat liars have been running ads.


Oy. Sometimes I wonder about economists. Anyway, there are bunch of potential arguments for why certain types of minimum quality housing regulations are, roughly, a "good thing," but I'll focus on just a few. Here we have Tabarrok arguing that it's ridiculous to mandate that landlords provide their tenants with, say, hot water.

The first reasons we can talk about are the costs of obtaining information and writing contracts. When I go and look for an apartment, I don't have to spend the time to determine whether every apartment I visit has a working toilet, has hot water, has a working and safe electrical and heating system, and a whole set of characteristics which are roughly what we consider to be the basic necessities for modern life. In addition, there are the costs of writing and understanding a contract which spells out in great detail what the landlord will and won't guarantee. Having some bare minimum set of characteristics for an apartment takes all that off the table.
Another reason is the cost of settling disputes. Libertarians love contracts, but tend to ignore the actual time and cost of, you know, going to court and proving that there's a contract violation and obtaining some remedy. Having some regulatory agency with some teeth which is responsible for determining not whether the landlord is in violation of some idiosyncratic contract, but in violation of the well-understood city housing codes, can greatly reduce the time and costs involved with such things.

Does that mean all regulations are good? No, of course not. But, requiring a working hot water heater doesn't seem to be all that ridiculous.

More broadly - such regulations can indeed benefit both tenant and landlord, reducing information, bargaining, transaction, and enforcement costs.

(via BMM)

Wen Ho Lee

Almost as interesting as the Plame case is the Wen Ho Lee civil case which is ongoing. Or, at least, potentially interesting. We know that freeper Notra Trulock was one of the sources, but it'll be interesting to see how many VRWC members are implicated...

...5 held in contempt.


This is a pretty courageous move. Retiring Congressman Bereuter, in a parting shot, has come out harshly against the Iraq war. Given that the post-Congress world for these people involves, if they want it, getting placed onto an assortment of Republican-friendly corporate boards and whatnot, he probably did just bite the hand the feeds him.

...more here.


Very nice job, media, for pretending that Bush's re-deployment plans involve "bringing the troops home." And, nice job, General Clark, for pointing out that no, it actually involves moving them from cushy jobs to hellholes.

God, Blitzer is unbelievable.

(yes, I am watching CNN).

...Oh, Lordy, it's getting worse.

Underestanding the Threats

Kerry vs. Bush:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a fact sheet from Kerry-Edwards 2004:

"Despite this administration's near obsession with missile defense, the greatest threat facing our homeland comes from terrorists who would do us harm. In the months preceding 9/11 George W. Bush and his closest advisors were preoccupied with missile defense and their misunderstanding about the threats we face continues to this day. John Kerry believes an effective missile defense is crucial to our national security strategy. But John Kerry also understands the importance of facing our most pressing national security threats while continuing to develop and deploy a national missile defense which we know will work," said Kerry National Security Adviser Rand Beers.


May 2001 -- Bush Said "Most Urgent Threat" Was Ballistic Missiles.

Bush: "Most troubling of all, the list of these countries includes some of the World's least responsible states. Unlike the Cold War, today's most urgent threat stems not from thousands of ballistic missiles in the Soviet hands, but from a small number of missiles in the hands of these states, states for whom terror and blackmail are a way of life. They seek weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors, and to keep the United States and other responsible nations from helping allies and friends in strategic parts of the world." (Bush, Address at the National Defense University, 5/1/01)

May 2001 - Kerry Said "Immediate Threat" was From Terrorists and "Non-State Actors."

Kerry: "But let me underscore that missile defense will do nothing to address what the Pentagon itself considers a much more likely and immediate threat to the American homeland from terrorists and from nonstate actors, who can quietly slip explosives into a building, unleash chemical weapons into a crowded subway, or send a crude nuclear weapon into a busy harbor." (Kerry, Speech on Senate Floor, 5/2/01)

Before 9-11, Bush Administration Didn't Focus on Terrorist Threat, Highlighted Missile Defense

Bush's Pre-9/11 Focus on Missile Defense Over Terrorism is Widely Recognized. A Washington Post editorial noted that "By now it's common knowledge that before Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration's attention was focused not on terrorism but on other national security priorities -- most notably missile defense." (Washington Post, 4/26/04)

Rumsfeld Threatened Veto Of Plan To Divert Money From Missile Defense to Terroirsm. On September 9, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld threatened to urge a presidential veto of a Senate plan to divert $600 million from missile defense systems to counterterrorism. Instead of anti-terror planning, "the whole Bush national- security team was obsessed with setting up a national system of missile defense." (Time, 8/12/02)

More like this, please.

Taibbi on Kurtz and the War


The problem with these newsprint confessions is not that they are craven, insufficient and self-serving, which of course they are. The problem is that, on the whole, they do not correct the pre-war mistakes, but actually further them. The Post would have you believe that its "failure" before the war was its inability/reluctance to punch holes in Bush's WMD claims.

Right. I marched in Washington against the war in February 2003 with about 400,000 people, and I can pretty much guarantee that not more than a handful of those people gave a shit about whether or not Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That's because we knew what the Post and all of these other papers still refuse to admit—this whole thing was never about weapons of mass destruction. Even a five- year-old, much less the literate executive editor of the Washington Post, could have seen, from watching Bush and his cronies make his war case, that they were going in anyway.

For God's sake, Bush was up there in the fall of 2002, warning us that unmanned Iraqi drones were going to spray poison gas on the continental United States. The whole thing—the "threat" of Iraqi attack, the link to terrorism, the dire warnings about Saddam's intentions—it was all bullshit on its face, as stupid, irrelevant and transparent as a cheating husband's excuse. And I don't know a single educated person who didn't think so at the time.

The story shouldn't have been, "Are there WMDs?" The story should have been, "Why are they pulling this stunt? And why now?" That was the real mystery. It still is.

We didn't need a named source in the Pentagon to tell us that. And neither did the Washington Post.

That's about right. By the time March 2003 came around, it was pretty clear that no serious person in the Bush administration really believed in the existence of WMDs. Sure, they believed they would find something which would be enough to get a supine media to pretend that their claims had been validated, but not actual Weapons that were capable of Mass Destruction.

And, yes, 17 or so months later the basic question is rarely asked, let alone answered. Only silly people believe the CIA duped those poor saps in the Bush administration, and even Wolfowitz has admitted that the WMD claim was what they decided to use for "bureaucratic reasons."

So, rather than focusing on WMD or not WMD, it's time to focus on the question that Taibbi asks:

Why are they pulling this stunt? And why now?

I don't think there's one simple answer, but it was the question then and it's still the question now.

Exit Polls

There was something I wanted to bring attention to from Krugman's column yesterday. He writes:

Finally, some voting activists have urged a last-minute push for independent exit polling, parallel to but independent of polling by media groups (whose combined operation suffered a meltdown during the upset Republican electoral triumph in 2002). This sounds like a very good idea.

The 2002 exit poll situation always confused me. First, I just don't comprehend how the system could have failed so stupdendously on election day. But, okay, I'll allow for that possibility. But, more importantly, even if the system wasn't able to deliver timely exit poll results to the networks, why did the results just, for a time, disappear down a hole? And, why was nobody in the media particualrly curious about the raw data?

Some of the data was eventually released - a year later. But, only the data collected for purposes of obtaining an accurate national sample was released. They never released the state level data to anyone.

This data set is properly sampled and weighted to reflect the views of all voters nationwide in 2002, but it should not be used to analyze voting behavior in individual states. As in previous years, VNS in 2002 developed a national sample and, in a separate process, created statewide samples with different questionnaires and weighting procedures in each state. Nearly all of those state-level interviews are not included in this data set and no valid analysis of individual states can be made without them. Do not select respondents in a specific state and analyze their responses separately; any attempt to do so could easily result in invalid and misleading results.



If Bush had a rock band, he could dub his campaign the "No Class" tour and sell T-shirts. Which, come to think of it, illuminates his dilemma. The purpose of Bush’s restricted-access events is to generate feel-good images on local TV. But ask anybody who’s seen the Rolling Stones live if it was more stimulating than an HBO concert. There’s a visceral excitement at live campaign rallies that can’t be matched by TV.

Kerry Haters

For all the talk about "Bush Haters" for Kerry, I think journalists should take note of how the two campaigns are crafting their appeals.

Daily Dose of Wingnuttery

From World O'Crap.

Morning Thread

Have some coffee.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

To Hell With Her

Sometimes I get outraged by these things, but then the General sets me straight.

Harvard Elite

Um, Nick, you do know that Ben Shapiro will be attending Harvard Law in the Fall don't you?

Perhaps on Alumni day he can have a beer with Jerry Corsi.

Anyway, perhaps I'm crazy, but somehow it seems that it's the, uh, military that's in the wrong here... and, uh, getting a few more officers from "elite" schools isn't exactly going to solve the problem.

Arlen's Gonna Cry

That nasty Joe Hoeffel has stolen yet another endorsement from Specter. NARAL, which endorsed Specter in the last election, is endorsing Hoeffel this time.

In other Hoeffel-related news, you can attend this exciting concert.

And, they're kicking off a $1 million online fundraising campaign, which lets the donors decide how the money will be spent. always, click here to donate.

New York, New York...

Thinking of going. No credentials, but amazingly one can still find discount (by New York standards) hotel rates. I guess Republicans are like kryptonite to, well, everyone else.


'Tis the season, apparently. It's back, and once again editors are getting snowed. My beef with astroturf isn't that some of it gets past editors, it's that the letters are usually so obviously astroturf.


Go read. Somerby gives the simplest version yet, one which might even make Lord Saletan happy, of Kerry's position on Iraq:

KERRY’S POSITION: I voted to give President Bush the authority. Then President Bush f*cked it up.

Tweety Unleashed

You can watch Chris Matthews go nuclear on Matthew Dowd after clicking through this link.

...transcript here (fairly near the end).


It regularly comes to my attention that while most of you loathe the politics and rhetorical stylings of one Ms. Malkin, some of you admit to having a certain infatuation for her nonetheless. For you, here is the cure.

(via Sadly, No)

Boxed In

It really isn't clear what's left. Bush is distancing himself from the Falwellian branch of his base, even refusing to pray in public and offering up the heretical notion that even people who don't go to church deserve religious freedom. The much discussed Republican takeover of the Jewish vote (which I always scoffed at), isn't happening. Bush has lost the Hispanic-American vote, and is likely to be losing an important subset of that, the Cuban-American vote. Obviously Bush has lost the Arab-American vote. His campaign rallies contain screened crowds -- there are no real "public" events.

What's left?


While I obviously don't have the personal experience that DeLong does, Bowles always seemed like a class act to me. It's incredible to see that he has a damn good chance of winning NC.

Director for Life

I didn't notice anyone else take note of this little trial balloon floated by Senator Roberts on Meet the Press this past Sunday:

SEN. ROBERTS: Well, I just don't think that bucket holds any water. He's going to be nominated and he will be confirmed as the director of central intelligence. Now, the reason that we're doing that--I have every confidence in John McLaughlin. He's the acting director. He's a good man. He's very skilled. He has expertise. He does not want the job to be the permanent director. We have a threat warning right now that's very high. We have a situation where we're worried about an attack prior to the election, vis-a-vis the Madrid attack. We have a situation in Iraq that is very, very serious. We have a situation in Pakistan. We need a full-time director of central intelligence.

I think probably what you're going to get into is a situation where Porter would serve past whatever administration would come in, whether it be George Bush or John Kerry. And the key about Porter, again, is that he has this experience. You can't find anybody that's been a military intelligence officer, also a Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officer, and the chairman, understanding the politics of this, of the House Intelligence Committee. He is a good man. I understand that, you know, people have differences. I have differences all the time. But it doesn't mean that that person couldn't serve in a very fine capacity, regardless of what the president tried to simply appoint them to. So we will have the hearings. They'll start on Tuesday. Jane is exactly right. There'll be tough questions. He'll answer them. He'll be prepared. And he'll be confirmed.

They're not just going to trying to confirm Goss, they're going to try to legislate him into a position so that the next administration has its hands tied.

Morning Thread


Monday, August 16, 2004


Leaving your power supply in the hotel.

Longtime Eschaton readers may remember the emergency backup laptop, the one with the missing '5' key, lacking a working spacebar (the ALT key provides a substitute), and numerous other issues..

Nancy Rocks!

Pelosi put Turncoast Alexander's courageous former staff on her payroll.

Campaign Tour

Just wanted to thank all the staff of the Hoeffel campaign, and Joe Hoeffel himself, for letting me ride along with them for the day and making me feel very welcome. I'll have more to say about the tour and a few pictures later. But, we can definitely win this one. Especially if the money is there.

And, if you're a Pennsylvanian, you should make sure to catch Hoeffel in an appearance near you, soon.


Catching up with email, but if you sent me something particularly important you should probably send it again..

While you're waiting...

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

go visit Margaret Cho's site. As always, she rocks.

(Atrios is trying to make his way back from somewhere PA, where he was travelling with the Hoeffel tour for the day. He is carless and I don't think there is a lot of transportation available around that area...).

You can also use this as an open thread.

Liberals are Eeeeevil...

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Courtesy of Waldman, from The Gadflyer, be more informed about what or who you call "liberal."

Sunday Mornings and that Liberal NYT

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

After some discussion, I convinced Atrios that we should get a subscription of the Sunday NYT. You know, lazy and tranquil Sunday mornings reading a liberal newspaper while doing a nice brunch, etc. etc. So we get our first paper delivered and with my freshly brewed cup of coffee in hand, I am ready to spend my quiet and relaxing Sunday morning...

I start with Week in Review. Page 2, this lovely article jumps at me first. Ok, so what's new with Wilgoren. What a tool. Move on. Turn to page 3. What have we here. Oh yeah, hypocritical democrats. So yes, Democrats use private jets. And of course, jets are much worse than the Hummers that those hypocritical democrats criticize so much. What are they thinking? Hello, Arianna? Because you know, she should freakin' walk in Birkenstocks to wherever she needs to go. No wait. Maybe she should just walk barefoot. Can't believe just wasted 5 minutes reading that crap. Move on. Pages 4 and 5, articles raising questions about the newly nominated CIA director, the torture memos, and Kobe. And pictures of Najaf. So it seems that our soldiers are met with bullets rather than flower petals. And Iraqui kids seem to have better information than Chalabi. Fool me once, how did that saying go again? Hey, maybe this is not so bad after all. Page 7. Hmmm... an article about the use of term "populism." Interesting -- pictures of Edwards, Moore, and of course, Muktada al-Sadr. Ok, one small Fox News logo. Anyway, so the usage of the term has changed, blah, blah, oh... here are two lovely quotes, juxtaposed because you know, they pretty much reflect the same attitude towards both presidential candidates:
Today, though, populism can be as much a matter of style as substance. In Boston Magazine, Jon Keller speaks of John Kerry's difficulty in "convincing southern Nascar dads and Wal-Mart moms of the populist empathy of a windsurfing New England multimillionaire." National Review's Jay Nordlinger writes that "President Bush is engaged in a little populist campaigning himself today - he's going to Indiana and Michigan, for a bus tour."

Ok, elitist windsurfing multimillonaire vs. guy that visits Michigan and Indiana. Later on:
The sarcasm usually reflects skepticism about the candidates' authenticity, rather than about their policies. ("He is not a man of the people, this French-speaking windsurfer," says Richard Reeves of Senator Kerry - transportation again.) Populism used to be a matter of speaking for the people; now it's a matter of speaking like them - dropping your g's, strategically mispronouncing "nuclear" and throwing in references to motor sports.

Here we go again, windsurfer French-looking elitist vs. guy who either speaks or pretends to speak like the common Joe. Hey, I have nothing against the author of this article, but why must we enforce the other party's oneliners? Self-hating liberals... Ok, carry on... Hmmm... page 10, Editorial page. I don't do editorials on Sunday. Didn't I say it was supposed to be a relaxing Sunday morning reading? Page 12. Finally. Go Dahlia! Hey, it wasn't so bad, right? Moving on then, Book Review, here we go. Nice review by Margaret Atwood. I think I am going to get that book by Pamuk this week. Let's see... what else... Oh no... Hitchens reviewing books about Kerry. Why??? Couldn't even finish the first page... argh. That wasn't so good. I think I am going back to more frivolous reading. Yeah, here's the magazine. One funny question for the ethicist. Oh, what do we have here. A bit of game theory. How cute. But really, can or should explaning voting behaviour be so objective and innocent in the name of social science? Hey, I am no economist but I think I have one at home. Hold on. Nope, he's too busy blogging. Maybe later I will get an answer, but I still didn't like the headline.

I think that was how my morning went. It was quiet. But why was my pressure and my annoyance up? And I don't think it was just the caffeine. Maybe Atrios was right... which leaves me with a question: do you have a suggestion for a better Sunday morning routine?

It's the Brain, Stupid!

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Go read what smart Big Media Matt says about the not-smart president du jour...

Mondays Suck

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

More depressing news. Or infuriating ones. Take your pick.

Late Monday Morning Open Thread

(posted by Mrs. Atrios)

Atrios is on the road. Blogspot broken.
Oy. Mondays are not my favorite day of the week.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Another Open Thread

On the road. Play nice.

Need some help, Mr. President?


SIOUX CITY, United States (AFP) - President George W. Bush famously dislikes press conferences but has embraced "Ask President Bush" sessions packed with supporters at least as eager to pay tribute to him as get an answer.

"Mr President, I don't have a question. I've got three 'thank-yous'," one man told him at such an event in Ohio.

Billed as informal question-and-answer opportunities for curious voters to quiz the most powerful man in the world, the carefully choreographed campaign events usually recycle the central points from his stump speech.

"We're going to call on some of your citizens to help me make some points," he said at the Ohio event.

Bush's well-honed address includes a vow to appoint conservative judges, a defense of his tax cuts as promoting growth, and an emotional argument that going to war with Iraq was the right decision.


While he has yet to face a hostile questioner, angry attacks on Democratic White House hopeful John Kerry abound.


But would-be Bush hecklers face daunting obstacles: Loyalists handle giving out tickets to the event; home-made signs and banners are often forbidden; and in some cases access hinges on signing a loyalty oath.

This is America, and thankfully, John Kerry hasn't forgotten what it means to be an American.

Thanks, Casper

Open Thread

Have at it.


Can anyone comprehend the inanity of an editor who would run a story which is critical of a candidate who dares to actually come up with new jokes for every campaign stop?
The local crowds generally eat it up, their laughter and applause drowning out the collective groan from the traveling press corps.

That's what it's all about. Story should be "Local Crowds Love Kerry Humor," but instead it's "Jody Wilgoren: Bored now."


I notice some complaints about Andrea Mitchell's performance this morning. I didn't see her, but I am reminded of this recent incident:

MS. MITCHELL: Well, let's take a look also at the American support for this. When we looked at our NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, again, as to whether or not all this was worth it, a majority, 51 percent, feel that removing Saddam Hussein was not worth the casualties and the billions that we spent.

So, Joe Lieberman, have we lost the American people?

Bush Radio Address

So, I was a bit confused by this statement from yesterday:

Today, because the world acted with courage and moral clarity, those nations are free, and their athletes are competing in the Olympic Games.

But Iraq had been competing in the olympics. This is really a silly point, but Bush is the one trying to claim that his little invasion is what led to Iraq having an olympic team.

Clearing Brush with the Pet Goat

I do hope the Kerry campaign has cooked up a few "nuclear" ads. Not necessarily to run, but to have in their back pocket just in case. I also hope the press sits up and takes note of something (not likely) -- if Kerry ran an ad like Bush's latest one, he would be tut-tutted by the axis of broder-carlson for daring to run "attack ads" and "politicizing September 11."

A fair response to Bush's ads - note, not necessarily the correct response strategically, but a prefectly fair response would go something like this.

[ominous music swells]
Rice (from 9/11 Commission testimony): I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack'

Flash on screen: August 6, 2001, accompanied by Law and Order type thunk-thunk sound.

Followed by footage of Bush clearing Brush, Bush playing golf, talking about his vacation, each accompanied by the date and a good thunk-thunk sound. And, then yes, Bush reading about a pet goat. September 11. thunk-thunk.

Final narration: Bush wasn't there when America needed him most.


Now, as I said, I don't think Kerry should run such an ad, but the door to an ad of that particular type has been opened by the Bush campaign. They're the ones firing the shots.


George Will - liar or moron?

Why do these idiots have a platform...

Cheney - Coward

Says Tom Harkin:

"When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil," Harkin said. "Those of us who served and those of us who went in the military don't like it when someone like a Dick Cheney comes out and he wants to be tough. Yeah, he'll be tough. He'll be tough with somebody else's blood, somebody else's kids. But not when it was his turn to go."

Open Thread

Sunday bobblehead edition.