Kool-Aiders on the Right Blogosphere are touting this site, claiming it reveals 59 deceits in "Fahrenheit 9/11." In actuality, it reveals a pathological degree of psychotic denial.
Right now I'm packing to leave on a short trip tomorrow and don't have a lot of time
for research, so I don't mean for this post to be a rebuttal of the 59 deceits, just a quickie off-the-cuff outline. I'm not
going to have time to provide links or arguments for the facts, nor do I believe the film is completely flawless. But if readers
will suggest some links and arguments while I'm away I'd be most grateful. Most of you probably know this stuff
as well as I do.
Denial #1: The Kool-Aiders still deny that the Bushies stole Florida in the 2000
election. (Deceits 1-4)
Denial #2: The Kool-Aiders don't remember that Shrub was floundering as president
before 9/11. (Deceit 5)
Denial #3: The Kool-Aiders refuse to acknowledge how much time Bush spent on "vacation"
in 2001.(Deceit 6-7)
Denial #4: This one is just plain weird. The Kool-Aiders have twisted the way Moore
represented the September 11 attacks as a "deceit" because he chose not to show the planes hitting the World Trade Center.
As I said, weird. (Deceit 8)
Denial #5: The Kool-Aiders refuse to acknowledge there was something, well, substandard
about the famous seven minutes of reading "My Pet Goat" while the towers burned. (Deceit 9)
Denial #6: The Kool-Aiders refuse to acknowledge that before 9/11 the
Bushies ignored warnings about an impending terrorist strike. (Deceits 10-12)
Denial #7: The Kool-Aiders are scranbling the facts about what Moore
actually said and what actually happened regarding the flight of the Saudis after 9/11. (Deceits 13-16)
Denial #8: The Kool-Aiders really, really, really do not want to look real
close at James Bath and why his relationship with Bush is significant. They get hung up on the fact that his name was blacked
out of Bush's military records and why that was not unusual. They also accept at face value Bath's claim that
he did not use bin Laden money to fund Bush's first business. (Deceit 17)
Denial #9: The Kool-Aiders really, really, really do not want to look real
close at the Bush's relationship with Prince Bandar. "Deceit 18" ought to be renamed "Rationalization 18."
Denial #10: What the Kool-Aiders are saying about Bush's sale of Harken
stock in 1990 is just plain wrong. I wrote about this quite a bit
in the early days of The Mahablog, ca. summer 2002, so there ought to be stuff about it on
the original site. (Deceit 19-20)
Denial #11: The Carlyle Group. 'Nuff said. (Deceits 21-23)
Denial #12: This is regarding Saudi investment in the U.S., and this
is one area I don't know that much about, so I don't know if the numbers presented in the film are accurate. But the
Kool-Aiders are more interested in defending the amount of Saudi investment, saying it is important to the U.S. (Deceit 24)
Denial #13: The Kool-Aiders deny there is special protection of the Saudi Embassy.
So what was the Secret Service doing guarding the Saudi Embassy? (Deceit #25)
Denial #14: The Bush-Saudi conspiracy. I don't know what they're up to, but if there
weren't something the Bushies didn't want us to know, why were the pages on the Saudis taken out of the congressional report
on 9/11? (Deceit 26)
Denial #15: The Unocal pipeline in Afghanistan. I think this was one of the weaker
parts of the film. Surely there is an appearance of fishiness in Unocal's history with the Taliban, and Moore's film wasn't
the first time I'd heard that Hamid Karzai used to work for Unocal, but if this had been my film
I probably would not have included this. (Deceit 27-31)
Denial #16: The Bush relationship with the Taliban. See
Denial #15. (Deceit 32)
Denial #17: Here the Kool-Aiders wander off the reservation
and blast Moore for opinions he may actually have but which were not expressed in the film. Somehow, in the Kool-Aid mind,
because Moore expressed opposition to the invasion of Afghanistan in September 2001, he is not allowed to criticize the U.S.
for screwing up in Afghanistan and letting Osama bin Laden get away. Well, I approved of the invasion of Afghanistan, and
I agree with Moore that the Bushies screwed up in Afghanistan and let Osama bin Laden get away. (Deceit 33-34)
(Part of the problem with these "deceits" is that the Kool-Aiders
are tone-deaf to Moore's sarcasm. Real 'em and you'll see what I mean.)
Denial #18: The Kool-Aiders refuse to acknowledge that Afghanistan
is an unstable place which still has not held elections, in which the opium trade is booming, and in which the Taliban and
al Qaeda are re-asserting themselves. (You'll notice they refly a lot on Snitch Hitchens as a source.) (Deceit 35)
Denial #19: They object to Moore's saying the
voters of Missouri elected a corpse to the Senate rather than John Ashcroft. Hell, that's what happened. Deal with it, people.
Denial #20: This deals with an alleged 800 number to report
problems with the Patriot Act. This I know nothing about. (Deceit 37)
Denial #21: I don't remember exactly what Moore said about
the murder of Americans by the government of Iraq, but I do remember that when I heard it I knew it would be challenged. However,
the Kool-Aiders are using Laurie Mylroie as a source for their rebuttal, which pretty much shoots down their rebuttal.
Denial #22: The Kool-Aiders are in MAJOR denial about the
degree of threat posed by Saddam Hussein to the U.S. in recent years. They're still quoting discredited sources about Saddam's
WMD's for pity's sake. (Deceit 40)
Denial #23: The Iraq-al Qaeda connection. THERE WASN'T ONE!
I've written about this recently, somewhere. (Deceit 41-42)
Denial #24: Iraq before liberation. The Kool-Aiders object
to Moore showing life in Iraq as reasonably pleasant before the invasion. I'm sure it was difficult, but women were actually
safer from rape and kidnap, and children were not being blown up by U.S. bombs. (Deceit 43)
Denial #25: I'm not entirely sure what they're complaining
about in Deceits 44-45. I think they're upset because Moore shows the damage done by our invasion and does not discuss the
damage done by the Baathist government. In other words, they missed Moore's point.
Denial #26: Here's another situation in which the Kool-Aiders
don't appreciate sarcasm. I got a good giggle out of Moore's depiction of the "coalition of the willing." The Kool-Aiders
cling to the fiction that there was a real international coalition. (Deceit 46)
Denial #27: This is rich. The Kool-Aiders pretend that U.S.
news media didn't play along with Buish propaganda regarding the war. (Deceit 47)
Denial #28: Bush's lack of support for veterans. This is
really pathetic. The Kool-Aiders quibble about numbers and totally ignore the larger point. (Deceit 48-50)
Denial #29: Congressional children in war. the Kool-Aiders
absolutely do not acknowledge Moore's larger point, which is that poor families are more likely to send children into
war than rich ones. Somehow they've decided family members of congresspersons are more likely to serve in the
military than people from other families. This is nonsense, of course. (Deceit 51-54)
Denial #30: The Kool-Aiders are pissed at Lila Libscomb
because she lives and speaks. They want her to go away. (Deceit 55)
Denial #31: The Kool-Aiders smear Jim McDermott as "pro-Saddam."
Denial #32: The Kool-Aiders are pissed about Britney Spears.
Once again, they don't get the joke. (Deceit 57)
Denial #33: They claim Michael Moore supports terrorists
and that terrorists are distributing the film. This is just stupid. (Deceit 58-59)
Well, enough. As I said, I'm leaving tomorrow on a short
visit to kinfolk and will be out of Internet range. I'll be back Monday. See ya then!
As always, the Fafblog provided the most cutting edge pre-announcement commentary:
Well there are tons a rumors flyin an it seems like John Kerry's gonna announce
his Vice President pick tomorrow. Wow! Who can Kerry find to spice up his already excitin ticket? Will it be
political rockstar Dick Gephardt? Beloved bathroom chronicler Bob Graham? Some guy named Vilsack? ...
There are some who say it is either gonna be Dick Gephardt or John Edwards. Yknow I can see this would be a pretty tricky decision. John Edwards gives
you that youthful dynamic energy while Dick Gephardt gives you that youthful dynamic energy in the form of an old beaten rundown
party machine crushed under the weight of its own obsolescence. So you gotta weigh the pros and cons for a while.
Fafblog beats any
TV pundit you can name, every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Matt Stoller at BOP News provided another interesting pre-announcement comment:
The despair among progressives at the potential choice of Gephardt is interesting,
mostly because of what it suggests about progressives. Why is Kerry the only candidate that matters? Why does any agenda have
to be pushed by the President? We live in a federalized system, but the massively imperial Presidency this attitude implies is relatively
new. With all the talk about technology, it's important to remember that the internet
is distributing power, not just information (go read Trippi's book, by the way). This means that Congress will reawaken to its power, and the focus
on the VP is speculation living in another age, an age where the Presidency is all that mattered.
I agree that the role of the president
is much more "imperial" and presidential powers much expanded from the powers given by the Constitution.
I also agree that we liberals need to step back from our focus on the White House and put more energy into electing progressives
On the other hand, vice presidential choices have been made for reasons
of political strategy nearly since the 12th Amendment (1804) required the electoral college to vote separately for president
and vice president, instead of just giving the vice presidency to the guy who came in second. For exzample, in 1836 the Democrats
nominated Richard Mentor Johnson to run with Martin van Buren (who had been Andrew Jackson's veep)
to "sex up" the ticket -- Johnson was believed to have killed the Indian warrior Tecumseh.
In 1864 the Republicans retired Lincoln's first vice president and instead
nominated a Tennessee Democrat, Andrew Johnson, to make the Republican ticket more palatable to pro-Union Democrats.
A more recent change in veep selection is that the veep candidate is chosen
entirely by the presidential candidate instead of by the party convention. The last time a convention chose the veep nominee
was 1956, when Eses Kefauver beat John Kennedy to be Adlai Stevenson's running mate in a tough convention fight.
Four years later Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, whom he disliked, purely to
broaden the appeal of his ticket. Thus it has been since.
I anticipate that the Talking Heads will say Edwards is weak on national security
and doesn't add enough "gravitas" to the ticket, not to mention that he's one of those evil trial lawyers. Well, bleep that.
Edwards will bring a touch of firebrand populism to the ticket, which it sorely lacks. I look forward to slapping a Kerry-Edwards
bumper sticker on my car as soon as I get my hands on one.
Fun Fact: The New York Post jumped the gun a bit a proclaimed Dick Gephardt the Veep choice. Heh.
Jurisprudence in the news:
They've been out of sight and mostly out of mind, but now the detainees
at Guantanamo have the right to an attorney and a day in court. This might lead to more embarrassing revelations for the Bushies,
assuming the detainees find out about their rights.
Australian David Hicks was probably the first detainee to learn of the victory
that he and the 594 other captives at Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba won last week when the Supreme Court ruled they had
the right to petition U.S. courts for their freedom. His father phoned him the news. But being in solitary confinement, Hicks
could not tell his fellow inmates, held for their suspected ties to al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Few if any of the other captives
have Hicks' privilege of a rare phone call from home, and U.S. officials have not decided whether, when or how to
tell them about the court's decision. [Viveca Novak, Time, July 12, 2004] Still, lawyers representing the remaining Brits in detention will be
filing habeas corpus lawsuits this week, according to the Guardian. Also, says the Guardian,
...the International Bar Association, based in Washington, issued an opinion
by two leading international lawyers. It says the administration's repudiation of the Geneva conventions was a breach of the
conventions themselves, while its attempts to justify torture and degrading treatment during interrogations, set out in a
series of formerly classified memos, amount to a grotesque misreading of the law.
Some of their contents, said Oxford University professor Vaughan Lowe, were
of the standard that he might expect from 'a below-average student'.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed
an amendment to a Pentagon budget bill that requires the President to abide by the Geneva Conventions. Five Republicans resisted White
House pressure and voted with the Dems. Now the bill goes on to the House; 'twill be interesting to see what happens to it.
Thomas Oliphant writes about the legitimacy of Saddam Hussein's trial:
will be tried in a forum that is technically Iraqi but with gigantic American footprints all over it. He will be tried under
rules that have yet to be clearly formulated under American "guidance" on the basis of testimony and documents that have yet
to be located, much less digested, and under laws whose applicability to his crimes is open to technical question. The transfer
of "legal" custody of Saddam from the former occupation authority as a prisoner of war to the appointed, interim government
of Iraq as a future criminal defendant was about as meaningful as the transfer of "sovereignty" earlier in the week.
Oliphant compares Saddam's impending trial with that of Slobodan Milosevic:
The judgment that awaits him [Milosevic] will not only be accepted internationally
as just, it will be part of the never-ending struggle to establish parameters for acceptable conduct with some hope for legal
retribution if they are exceeded.
That outcome will be 100 times more difficult to achieve in Iraq. The decision
to invade in a 90 percent American operation stopped a UN inspections operation that could have evolved into a kind of occupation
without war. It is now clear that Saddam needed the impression that he might still possess unconventional weapons to help
maintain his domestic position on top of a failed state. There were many ways he could have been toppled without the loss
of nearly 1,000 American lives, five times as many injuries, and the expenditure of more than $150 billion.
Instead, an American-dominated investigation and an American-arranged trial
will give him a forum from which to shout venom at an America-hating Arab world. It did not have to be this way.
One suspects the Bushies would have preferred to keep Saddam Hussein
under wraps until after the November elections. They painted themselves into a corner with the late June "transfer"
of "sovereignty." Still, we can be certain that the Bushies hope to keep the "sovereign" government of Iraq on a short leash
-- for the next four months, at least.
Da Judge. Here's a fascinating story from yesterday's New York Times on Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist:
It is too soon to say for sure, but it is possible that the 2003-2004 term
may go down in history as the term when Chief Justice Rehnquist lost his court.... the Guantánamo case found him silently
joining Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion as Justice John Paul Stevens explained for the 6-to-3 majority why the
federal courts have jurisdiction to review the status of the hundreds of foreigners detained there. In the case of Yaser Esam
Hamdi, the American-born Saudi taken from the battlefield in Afghanistan and held since 2002 in a military prison, Chief Justice
Rehnquist was among the eight justices who found the open-ended detention improper for either constitutional or statutory
reasons. But his was not among the several voices with which the court spoke. He was a silent member perhaps even a late-arriving
one of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s plurality opinion.
The implication is not that Chief Justice Rehnquist, who turns 80 on Oct.
1, has lost a step. ... Rather, it appears that while he has stood still, the court’s center of gravity has moved away from
So, be of good cheer. The infamous Rehnquist-Scalia-Thomas axis
may be rendered even more ineffectual if President Kerry is able to appoint new justices in the next few years.