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saturday, august 28, 2004

Here's the Plan
 
Tomorrow morning I plan to head into Manhattan with my nifty wireless notebook PC and blog the protest. So provided I find a hotspot and/or don't get arrested, I should have some good stuff to post tomorrow. Tune in.
 
Monday morning, if I'm not in jail, I'll be on the radio again -- Tom Turnipseed, "The Seed Show," 7:35 A.M. EST, WCEO, 840 AM, Columbia, SC. See also the "Air Maha" sidebar in the left-hand column.
 
Atrios has an update on the FBI probe of security leaks in Douglas Feith's office. And Quiddity at uggabugga diagrams the links between AIPAC and the geniuses in the Bush Administration who got us into Iraq.
 

8:27 pm | link

The United States of Likud
 
"America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people ." -- George W. Bush, 2004 State of the Union
 
Whenever anyone dares bring up the overwhelming consensus of international opinion against the invasion of Iraq -- or, heaven forbid, the United Nations in any context -- wingnuts just love to bring up that "permission slip" line.
 
We're Amurricah, dammit. We invented independence. We don't need no permission from cheese-eating surrender monkeys to start whatever wars we damn well feel like starting. All those furriners can just get out the way, huh?
 
For years, moonbats of the Right have barked that even belonging to the United Nations is a surrender of our holy Gawd-given American sovereignty.
 
But now it appears that our fearless leader with his permission-slipless policies is just a puppet of Likud.
 
Today Juan Cole comments on the revelation that the FBI suspects an analyst in Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans is spying for Israel. The alleged spy passed sensitive U.S. documents to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), which then forwarded them to Israel.
 
Juan Cole writes that AIPAC "is a lobbying group that used to support whatever government was in power in Israel...My perception is that during the past decade AIPAC has increasingly tilted to the Likud in Israel, and to the political Right in the United States."
 
Through AIPAC and related organizations such as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writes Juan Cole,
Pro-Likud intellectuals established networks linking Defense and the national security advisers of Vice President Dick Cheney, gaining enormous influence over policy by cherry-picking and distorting intelligence so as to make a case for war on Saddam Hussein. And their ulterior motive was to remove the most powerful Arab military from the scene, not because it was an active threat to Israel (it wasn't) but because it was a possible deterrent to Likud plans for aggressive expansion (at the least, they want half of the West Bank, permanently).
 
You must read the entire Juan Cole article for the details. It's devastating.  And it's safe to say this is a perspective you won't find on Little Green Footballs.
 
For another perspective, see H.D.S. Greenway's Boston Globe column on "American Jews and Dual Loyalty." Greenway correctly points out that complex loyalties have always been common in America, which is, after all, a nation of immigrants. Throughout our history the loyalties and perspectives of hyphenated Americans have played a vital role in informing and shaping our policies. And today, dual citizenship is on the rise around the globe. This is a good thing, say I, because it's a tonic against our uglier jingoistic tendencies.
 
"Americans who identify with a foreign country are not, and should not, be held suspect," writes Greenway. "There is nothing un-American about wanting to link this country's foreign policy to that of Israel. Nor is it anti-Semitic to disagree."
 
This is exactly right. And most Americans support the nation of Israel. However, policy-makers in Washington should not be putting the desires of political factions in other countries ahead of the interests and security of the United States.
 
This is, IMO, an essential story that needs to be kept alive until it is thoroughly investigated. Bloggers, to work.
 
Update: Speaking of great blogging, be sure to read this post by Digby. One of his all-time greats.
 

8:50 am | link

friday, august 27, 2004

Babes in Fantasyland II
 
Here's the problem: Ideological extremists can lie with impunity to the American public and get away with it. Further, they can spread their lies at will through wholesale ownership of some parts of mass media and a combination of incompetence and intimidation of most of the other parts.
 
And here's my question: How can we solve this problem in a way that will not compromise the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment?
 
People have a right to say any damnfool thing they want, short of inciting riots or shouting fire in a crowded theater. Candidates for office have a right to make any case they wish to make to the voters. And news media have a right to present any news they see fit to present.
 
But what happens when wealthy and powerful factions take advantage of the First Amendment to sway elections through lies and deceit?
 
Wronged individuals can seek remedy in court by bringing suit for libel or slander. This gets trickier if the individual is a public figure, however, because conventional wisdom says that taking the liars to court just keeps the lie alive longer. Plus, the NY Times v. Sullivan decision (1964) established that public officials cannot sue the press for libel unless the lied-about public figure can prove "actual malice."
 
So even if, say, a cable news show host tells a lie about a political candidate, there's no libel if the host was mistaken instead of malicious. And this makes sense, because journalists and editors will make honest mistakes. If news outlets had to go to court and/or pay a fine for every honest mistake, journalism would be severely burdened.
 
Also, if the lie is tucked inside an "opinion" piece it's nearly impossible for a lawsuit to touch it. People can't be sued for an opinion.
 
But what happens when any faction, whether a party or a 527, lies in paid advertisement? Isn't there a remedy for that? Advertisements for toothpaste are held to higher standards than advertisement for presidential candidates. That can't be right.
 
On the other hand, it's the Food and Drug Administration that goes after toothpaste manufacturers who make false claims about their products. We really do not want a government agency to censor political ads, do we?
 
And then there's the phrase "reckless disregard for the truth." This state department document says "reckless disregard" occurs when a journalist knowingly prints false information while making little, if any, attempt to distinguish truth from lies. Might it also apply to a journalist or advertiser who presents a falsehood that could easily have been checked out?
 
I don't have any answers, and I need to quit blogging and get some sleep now. Please let me know if you have any ideas.
 

10:52 pm | link

Babes in Fantasyland
 
No matter how much I'd like to get past the swift boat flap, it keeps drawing me back. It seems to me that this episode highlights everything that's wrong with our current political landscape and the media that pretends to cover it.
 
So what's wrong? First, there's a huge politcal-media faction -- let's call them "wingnuts -- who don't understand the meaning of words like truth and factual.
 
For these people, a lie is as good as the truth, and hearsay is just as respectable as documentation and firsthand experience. The only thing that matters to them is winning -- an argument, an election, ratings, whatever.
 
Worse, wingnuts believe they are entitled to lie and cheat to win. Why? Because their opposition -- let's call them "normal people" -- disagree with them and play tricks like bringing up facts and telling the truth.
 
Exhibit A -- this Cal Thomas column.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe started the current round of sniper fire when he said the president had gone "AWOL" during the Vietnam War. Now that some of Kerry's Swift boat colleagues and others have fired back with TV ads, they are said to be contributing to the loss of civility -- and Democrats and some commentators keep saying they wish the candidates would get back to the issues.

(Short version: "Stinky McAuliffe started it! It's all his fault!")
 
Let's review: Shrubbie gets elected on a promise to restore honor and dignity to the White House, then pretends to be a "war president" by wearing quasi-military costumes and prancing around for the troops, and the cameras.
 
Terry McAuliffe finally did his job (for a change) and reminded the electorate of Bush's less-than-inspiring military record. At the very least, Bush's military records confirm that (1) he got preferential treatment to get into the Guard and avoid going to Vietnam; (2) he performed only sporadic, if any, duty from May 1972 to May 1973, although he was still enlisted; and (3) he was suspended from flight status in August 1972 after he failed to take a required annual flight physical.
 
These are not stories Democrats pulled out of their butts. This is what the official U.S. military records reveal. But to Cal Thomas and other wingnuts, bringing up these unpleasant facts about the background and character of President of the United States is not fair.
 
Thus, wingnuts believe they are entitled to fight back any way they can. And since they don't have facts to fight back with, they make stuff up. But that's OK, because they are only getting back at the normal people for what they did.
 
See how it works?
 
There was a time when telling lies to smear the record of a decorated war veteran would be considered dishonorable and cowardly. But wingnuts think truth and honor give normal people an unfair advantage. So, it's not fair to expect wingnuts to actually prove the smears they throw out.
 
But the question remains -- what do we, the normal people, do about the wingnuts? Up until now, normal people have treated wingnuts the way most adults treat other peoples' obnoxious, spoiled children -- appease them to make them shut up and behave (e.g., OK, I'll buy you three pounds of chocolate if you will quit screaming).
 
But of course, this is only a temporary fix. Next time you'll have to give them four pounds of chocolate to keep them from shaving the cat.
 
The only solution is to take the children in hand and make them behave. Trouble is -- they've taken over the White House, Congress, and most of the news media.
 
Is there any hope for the adults?
 

1:35 pm | link

thursday, august 26, 2004

Swift Boats Sinking

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign is taking on water. Hole after hole has been blown in the group's credibility. We hope the damage is sufficient to finally sink 30-year-old anguish over the Vietnam War as a campaign issue. ...

One man who can -- and should -- blow this nasty campaign out of the water is President Bush. His recent call to ban all campaign advertising by all such outside groups -- known as 527 committees -- is not only insufficiently critical of the swift boat campaign but also restraint of free speech.

The answer, Mr. President, is not to restrict the use of political free speech, but to condemn its abuse. [Seattle Post-Intellligencer]

More about ads in the news ---

The US Olympic Committee has asked US President George Bush's re-election campaign to pull a television ad that mentions the Olympics.

The USOC is awaiting a response from the re-election campaign, committee spokesperson Darryl Seibel said Thursday.

The ad shows a swimmer and the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan. An announcer says: "In 1972, there were 40 democracies in the world. Today, 120.

"Freedom is spreading throughout the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations. And two fewer terrorist regimes," it adds.

Some of the players on the Iraqi Olympic soccer team have complained about the ad appearing as part of a political campaign.

The Bush campaign said it had no intention of stopping the ads. They will continue to air through Sunday as originally scheduled, said Bush-Cheney spokesperson Scott Stanzel.

"We are on firm legal ground to mention the Olympics to make a factual point in a political advertisement," Stanzel said. [Independent Online]

And, anyway, think the Bushies, who cares what the Iraqi soccer team thinks?

This article is frightening:

The importance of barroom politics gets overlooked by pundits, but after Nov. 2, historians may go back to the Outpost to find out how rumors, gossip and character assassination can make a potent brew. Separating truth from fiction is never easy, especially when no one is even worrying about the difference.

The best TV ad I ever saw is that one that has Kerry flip-flopping and showing he is just trying to buy votes," said Bob Almeida, a 65-year-old contractor from Andover. "To say that about him on TV, well, they must have the proof of it, or else they wouldn't air it." [Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

Kind of takes your breath away, huh?

 

10:31 pm | link

Swift Boat Vet for Truth ... Tells Truth
 
Larry Clayton Lee of Franklin County, Kentucky, is a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He says he doesn't like Kerry because of Kerry's antiwar activities in the 1970s. However, Lee corroborates Kerry's account of the day he won a Silver Star.
 
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal:

Coming under fire

On Feb. 28, 1969, Lee was serving as the forward gunner on Patrol Craft Fast 23, a swift boat that Lee estimates was 60 to 90 feet away from Kerry's boat during the battle.

Kerry was then a lieutenant junior grade in tactical command of three boats in an operation — Sea Lords — to insert South Vietnamese troops along the Dong Cung River.

Lee said that the night before the operation, Kerry recommended to two other swift boat commanders that if they were ambushed the next day, they should turn their boats toward the attack and beach them.

Lee said the normal course of action was to speed past an attack, firing toward the shore and then beaching the boat to allow soldiers and sailors to double back and fight the attackers.

Often, Lee said, the Viet Cong were gone by the time troops reached their position along the riverbanks. ...

Lee said it was probably around noon the next day when the boats came under fire.

Lee was mentioned in a story last weekend in the Chicago Tribune in which William Rood, a Tribune editor and the officer in charge of Lee's swift boat, supported Kerry's version of events during the battle.

Rood wrote that Kerry gave the order to turn into the fire and charge the Viet Cong, who were dug in along the river.

That was the first time it had been done that I know of, and I don't think it was ever done after that," Lee said of the tactic. "I think it was great."

The Silver Star

Kerry, Rood and the third boat's commander, Lt. Donald Droz, beached their boats and dropped off South Vietnamese soldiers to conduct a sweep for the Viet Cong, Lee said. Kerry and Rood then proceeded up the river about 1,000 yards and were ambushed once more.

Again, Lee said, the boats turned toward the Viet Cong.

Lee was on the bow of his boat firing an M-60 machine gun, which he said delivered about 100 rounds in 45 seconds.

They (the Viet Cong) popped up out of the bush, and we just mowed them down." ...

According to Kerry's Silver Star citation, which was endorsed by Rood in his Tribune story: "Without hesitation Lt. (junior grade) Kerry leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch (sic) and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber."

Lee said he didn't see Kerry chase a soldier behind a hooch — a thatched hut — and kill him, but he said he doesn't question the account. "I was too busy firing my gun," Lee said. "I didn't have time to check and see what he was doing."

Lee's only quibble is that he wasn't sure Kerry deserved a Silver Star; maybe just a Bronze star.

However, he says, after talking to the other swifites, he now wonders if Kerry deserved his other medals -- the three Purple Hearts and one Bronze Star.

Lee was not present for the incidents in which Kerry earned the other medals. 

 

5:33 pm | link

Convention Protest Update
 
According to CNN, the NYPD and United for Peace and Justice have agreed on a rally in Union Square Park on Sunday. Although there's no way 250,000 people will fit into Union Square Park (hint: come early if you want a spot) I hope this will prevent an ugly confrontation between marchers determined to go to Central Park and NYPD determined to stop them.
 
This just posted on UPJ's web site:
The plans for our march assembly remain what they have been: We will gather beginning at 10:00AM in the area from 15th Street to 22nd Street, stretching from Fifth Avenue to Ninth Avenue. We will march up Seventh Avenue past Madison Square Garden, the site of the Republican National Convention. From there, we will turn east on 34th Street, march to Fifth Avenue, then march down Fifth Avenue to 23rd Street and then march down Broadway. The final destination for our march will be Union Square, where we will conclude our historic march.

Union Square, of course, is the place where so many New Yorkers gathered spontaneously after September 11, to express our grief at the terrible attack on our city and our conviction that this attack not be used to justify more killing and war. ...

We are committed to having a safe, legal protest march, that anyone and everyone can attend – kids, seniors, immigrants, people with disabilities. We therefore are NOT leading our march to Central Park, and we ask everyone who plans to participate in our march to respect our desire for a safe and legal event, and not to organize breakaway marches from it to the Park.

This is excellent news, and I hope the enormous majority of marchers comply with UPJ's wishes.

My bro' blogger Steve of No More Mister Nice Blog makes a good argument that protest marches are ineffective at best and counterproductive at worst. However, I think the best way to counteract the reckless and stupid acts of punks is to have an overwhelming number of serious, mature people peacefully protesting the Bush Regime.

So, if you are serious and mature and in the neighborhood ... c'mon down!

 

4:50 pm | link

Air Maha Alert
 
This just in -- today at 1:06 PM eastern time I'm to make a brief vocal appearance on the nationally syndicated radio show "News You Can Use," Radio America Network. The host is Jane Silk.
 
The topic will be he constant media spin on the Swift Boats, etc., and where people can go for actual news -- blogs, for example.
 
Update: Jeez, did anybody catch that? The people who are arranging these radio gigs for me didn't tell me that Silk was a flaming wingnut and IMO the embodiment of everything that's gone wrong with America. I don't listen to a lot of radio.
 
The other two radio interviews I did (one was live Monday, the other was taped, and I hope to let you know when it will be made public) were nice, thoughful, intelligent people. Silk ... is not. She's a liar. I hate liars.
 
And I didn't get a chance to plug my book. Grrrr.
 

11:42 am | link

Feel the Love 9:14 am | link

wednesday, august 25, 2004

The Price of Free Speech
 
If there's one thing both Left and Right agree on -- according to their rhetoric, anyway -- it's that we Americans have a right to free speech, dammit. No matter what it costs.
 
But do we really? Robert Samuelson writes in "So Much for Free Speech,"
The government may screen what voters see and hear. The Kerry campaign has asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to ban the Swift Boat ads; the Bush campaign similarly wants the FEC to suppress the pro-Democrat 527 groups. We've arrived at this juncture because it's logically impossible both to honor the First Amendment and to regulate campaign finance effectively. We can do one or the other -- but not both.
Logically impossible? Let's review.
 
The fathers of our country enshrined a protection of Free Speech in the First Amendment --

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In the Media Age, however, "free" speech became expensive. Those who can pay get a lot more free speech than those who cannot.

Both major parties have been corrupted by the enormous amount of money required to run for office. Various attempts at campaign reform have limited campaign spending and contributions. But the reforms don't change the fact that those with money get a bigger voice

Special interests get a big voice. Corporations and Big Money interests get a big voice. The political parties get a big voice. Ordinary citizens get drowned out.   

Where do 527s fit in? Samuelson argues that there's nothing wrong with a 527 coordinating its efforts with a political campaign --

"coordination" is really "speech" and "political association." It's talking and planning among people who want to elect or defeat the same candidates.

Samuelson's position is that preventing 527s from coordinating with political campaigns is a violation of the First Amendment's protection of free speech and assembly. But Samuelson has a genius for fluffing details and missing the big picture. For example, Bush proposed banning all 527s, not just Democratic ones, and he did this confident that no one would take him up on it. 

Kerry, on the other hand, primarily wants the world to know that the Bush campaign is the real source of the smear on his military record. He took his objections to the FEC not to censor the swift boat snipers but to discredit them. The electorate needs to know that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is really just a mouthpiece for the Bush campaign, not the independent citizens they pretend to be.

In other words, if the Bushies are determined to smear Kerry, they should be upfront about it. People need to know whose big voice is speaking.

527s can be a way for individual citizens to pool their money to buy some free speech. And I hope "my" 527s, like Moveon, remain indendent from parties and other powerful interests.

But how does it serve the public good to allow powerful factions to set up supposedly independent "citizen" groups to influence public opinion? That's not speech; that's subterfuge.

There doesn't need to be censorship. There just needs to be full disclosure about who is speaking. Then, let the chips fall.

In other free speech news, today another judge ruled against United for Peace and Justice regarding use of Central Park for a rally on Sunday. I understand UPJ's lawyers argued that the city's refusal to permit a rally in Central Park this Sunday is an infringement of First Amendment rights. This was, IMO, a weak argument. The city is offering use of another part of the city for a rally.

The real issue, as I already blogged about here, is that the city's plan makes absolutely no sense from a public safety/security perspective. The city's plan seems designed to create discomfort and hardship for the protesters, at least, and possibly incite violence near Ground Zero at worst. Which is probably the plan ...

 

9:02 pm | link

tuesday, august 24, 2004

Hello? FEC?
A lawyer for President Bush's re-election campaign disclosed Tuesday that he has been providing legal advice for a veterans group that is challenging Democratic Sen. John Kerry's account of his Vietnam War service.

Benjamin Ginsberg's acknowledgment marks the second time in days that an individual associated with the Bush-Cheney campaign has been connected to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which Kerry accuses of being a front for the Republican incumbent's re-election effort.

The Bush campaign and the veterans' group say there is no coordination. [Sharon Theimer, Associated Press]

The very personification of bare-ass liars, don't you think? And can you imagine the outrage if the wingnuts found a lawyer for the Kerry campaign advising Moveon? And why is it wingnuts don't think the rules apply to them?
 
Juan Cole Is Da Man. Somehow I missed this outstanding post. Thanks to quiddity at uggabugga for linking it.
 

8:43 pm | link

Outing Truth
OREGON CITY, Ore. - Clackamas County veterans are calling for the resignation of an assistant district attorney who appeared in television ads attacking Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military record.

In the ad, and a sworn affidavit, Al French says he served with Kerry and that the Purple Heart medals Kerry received were obtained under false pretenses.

However, French admitted later that he did not witness the events mentioned in the affidavit and was relying on what his friends told him. [KATU, Portland OR]

Let's all email the swifties and tell them to issue a statement apologizing for featuring this liar in their ad campaign.

But don't hold your breath until they do.

Talk about chutzpah -- this creep is very sure James Rassman is mistaken about John Kerry saving his life. Grant K. Holcomb was not even in Vietnam, much less an eyewitness, but he discounts Rassman's testimony and the military records of the March 13, 1969, incident because, well, because he just knows Rassman is wrong. He's a marine and all, so he's an expert.

Notice that he calls himself the "intellectual conservative." Snort.

Meanwhile, another actual eyewitness has come forward to say that James Rassman's story is true.

Retired Navy lieutenant Jim Russell, 60, backed up Kerry's version of an incident more than 35 years ago. He said he watched from a distance as Kerry, who commanded a swift boat, rescued a soldier who had fallen into the Bay Hap River.

I found him (to be) aggressive, tough and a by-the-book type of guy when he was in Vietnam, and he was definitely fit to serve," said Russell, who ended a six-year Navy career in 1971 and now runs the Alta Lake Observatory Lodge and a small catering business with his wife, Salli.

Still, Russell is only navy, not a marine, so what does he know? Even if he was there? Russell must be mistaken.

Meanwhile, back in Sanity Land, the Los Angeles Times reveals how right-wing media is keeping the story alive through outrageously biased and dishonest reporting. Paul Krugman addresses the swiftie lies in today's New York Times. And I want to give a standing ovation to E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post:

We see here a fascinating and ugly development in the politics of annihilation. A supposedly outside group raises money from close Bush supporters, staffs itself with political operatives close to Bush and the Republicans, and then puts up several hundred thousand dollars worth of television ads. This is, as one operative with years of experience in Republican campaigns put it, "a professional hit." Suddenly, questions about Kerry's service that were asked and answered months ago become big news again. ...

The media have to do more than "he said/he said" reporting. If the charges don't hold up, they don't hold up. And, yes, now that John Kerry's life during his twenties has been put at the heart of this campaign just over two months from Election Day, the media owe the country a comparable review of what Bush was doing at the same time and the same age.

Remarkably, today's USA Today is running a story about the gaps in Bush's military record. I'm stunned. A little more of that, please.

Bush's call for an end of 527s is a good bluff, since he knows no one will take him up on it. I just hope some real journalists (are there any left?) are investigating direct links between the swift boat snipers and the Bush campaign. (Don't forget; this is how Woodward and Bernstein became rich and famous and in the movies.) 

7:11 am | link

monday, august 23, 2004

Air Maha
 
Short Notice, but I just got the confirmation -- I'm supposed to be interviewed tonight on All-America Talk Radio (Icicle Networks) by Peter B. Collins. This is to happen 8:30 eastern time, 4:30 Pacific.  This is supposed to be live and I'm supposed to talk about "The Impact of Blogs and Alternative Media Sources."
 
Sounds complicated. I just hope I don't drool. I guess you can't see drooling on the radio, huh?
 
This page seems to have an internet radio link.
 
PS -- If somebody could record the interview, I'd be grateful. I'm too flustered.
 

6:58 pm | link

The Bird
 
How can you tell you've just hit a wingnut web site? Just look for the cheesey bald eagle graphic.
 
I'm not even going to comment on the site linked above. Fafnir already said it all; see also Michael Tomasky at TAP.  I just want to know what it is about righties and bad graphics, and what bald eagles think about being used to sell partisan agendas. (?)
 
Speaking of wingnuts -- what's wrong with this story? Beside being sick and twisted? And the answer is, it identifies Cokie Roberts as a liberal.
 
Proof that wingnuts have no clue.
 
The story also identifies Dan Rather as a liberal, which is also a stretch; but Cokie Roberts is to liberal what Benedict Arnold is to patriot.
 
I was surfing around to see if there were new developments in the Vietnam War. (Who cares about continued fighting in Najaf when we can fight about Vietnam again? And then we can argue about General Longstreet and the second day at Gettysburg.) But no, we are still where we were yesterday -- John O'Neill and the swift boat snipers still have no proof and no credibility, and of course wingnuts believe everything they say. Yawn.
 
Meanwhile, back at the ranch -- Bush is holed up in Crawford, Texas, working on his convention speech. Word leaked out that Bush will present a bold, forward-looking agenda.
 
Last month Bush made some fundraising speeches that were promoted as his vision for a second term. In these, he boldly came out in favor of flex time. I can't wait to see what else he thinks up. A chicken in every pot?
 

11:55 am | link

sunday, august 22, 2004

 If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death. ... If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death. -- Code of Hammurabi
 
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. -- Exodus 20:16
In ancient times, bearing false witness was a serious offense. Now it's just "politics as usual."
 
I'm just about "swift-boated" out and had scream.jpgpromised myself a swiftie-free Sunday. But I caught a little bit of the exchange between John O'Neill and John Podesta before rising up in wroth, remote in hand, and zapping them all into blackness and oblivion. 
 
Prior to his demise, Mr. O'Neill was saying that an article in today's Washington Post corroborated his version of the swift boat story. So I looked at all the swift boat stories on the WaPo web site, and I have concluded that Mr. O'Neill must have a new version of the story that I haven't heard.
 
This graphic, for example, illustrates the incident in which Kerry rescued James Rassman. The swifties have claimed the boats were not under enemy fire.

There was no enemy fire at his boat or John Kerry's or the three other boats that sunny afternoon, March 13, 1969, Larry Thurlow says. There was a single mine — not two — in that canal on the Bay Hap River, he says. Essentially, goes Thurlow's remembering of the day, Kerry fled in panic and came back to his comrades only when danger dissolved, so he doesn't deserve his Bronze Star.

But the WaPo graphic shows two explosions (one may or may not have been a mine) and enemy fire.
 
It seems to me the graphic also agrees with David Hackworth's suggestion that "John O’Neill and his Swiftboat snipers ... didn’t sail on his [Kerry's] boat but served anywhere from 100 meters to 300 miles away."
 
The other article, "Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete: Critics Fail to Disprove Kerry's Version of Vietnam War Episode" doesn't help O'Neill much, either, although if you read it you will notice that the author, Michael Dobbs, works hard at being "balanced" by casting doubts on some Kerry testimony, also. 
 
If you were following this story only in establishment newspapers (minus the Moonie Times, of course) you'd think the swifties were nothing but liars or fools, or both. But on television they are treated respectfully and allowed to repeat their lies with only a token effort at "balance." People following the story only on television must get the impression that the swiftie allegations are credible.
 
As Atrios wrote this morning, "The media are not passive participants in these things, and they need to accept and come to terms with that."

8:52 am | link


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Air Maha

Radio Archive

Ben Merens, "Conversations with Ben Merens,"
September 9, 2004, WHAD Milwaukee, 90.7 FM

Guy Rathbun, KCBX San Luis Obispo,
September 15, 2004, 90.1 FM.

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The Loyalties of George W. Bush

Terror Alert Level

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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

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The War Prayer

I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause & think.

"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken....

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into those pregnant words.

"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset, & seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor & glory now & ever, Amen."

(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! -- the messenger of the Most High waits."

·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·

It was believed, afterward, that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

[Mark Twain, 1905]

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My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Numchuku of Reasoned Discussion.

Get yours.

Copyright 2003, 2004 by Barbara O'Brien

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