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Saturday, May 17, 2003

Resource:

The website for Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. (Professor of English, DePauw University) has a Critical Information Site with links to many mainstream media accounts critical of the Bush administration. Categorized by date and topic.


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Friday, May 16, 2003

Tipping point:

The recent disclosure - all in one day - of three fraudulent stories* involving Iraq have caused us to conclude the U.S. and British governments are completely untrustworthy in matters of foreign policy. They have been peddling outright falsehoods, often supported by documents that just "happen to show up". This has the look and feel of a Special Operation conducted by intelligence agencies. We consider this to be a very serious development.

* - bogus accusations against France; Labor MP George Galloway framed; the "rescue" of Jessica Lynch that wasn't.

Here is a table of the more notable instances. UPDATE: The status of a few of these is provisional. In particular, the Galloway case is fluid at the moment and a final resolution is pending. Even so, we feel the weight of the evidence favors a judgement that the administration cannot be trusted at all in matters of war and peace.

         
Outright frauds
when where source story reference
Sep 2002 New York Times   France and Germany had supplied Iraq with high-precision switches used in detonating nuclear weapons. WashPost
5 Nov 2002 Washington Post "American intelligence source" France possessed prohibited strains of the human smallpox virus. WashPost
17 Dec 2002 U.S. State Department paper

British Intelligence

"Nigerian state documents" Contact between Nigeria and Iraq with the aim of exporting uranium. BBC
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. British dossier,
"
the fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday"
"Describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities." Newsday
Spring 2003   U.S. officials Hans Blix withheld information about an Iraqi drone aircraft from the Security Council. MSNBC
7 Mar 2003 Washington Times
Bill Gertz
"U.S. intelligence source" Two French companies had sold Iraq spare parts for airplanes and helicopters. WashPost
13 Mar 2003 New York Times
William Safire
  France had permitted the delivery of sensitive equipment to Iraq. A French intermediary had facilitated Iraq's acquisition, through Syria, of chemical components for long-range surface-to-surface missiles. Safire "had been told" that the Société Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs had signed a contract in April 2002 to provide Iraq with 5 tons of dimethyl hydrazine, a chemical that can be used for missile propulsion. CNN
2 Apr 2002   Pentagon Jessica Lynch had stab and bullet wounds, and she had been slapped about on her hospital bed and interrogated. Army Rangers and Navy Seals stormed the Nassiriya hospital. They were said to have come under fire, but they made it to Lynch and whisked her away by helicopter. Guardian
2 Apr 2003 MSNBC
Joe Scarborough
  France was selling Iraq "planes, missiles, armored vehicles, radar equipment and spare parts for Iraqi fighter planes," and offering to sell nuclear reactors. CNN
21 Apr 2003 Newsweek   "possible" discovery of French Roland 2 missiles by coalition forces in Iraq and implied that they had been manufactured in 2002. A charred Roland 3 missile launcher was also allegedly found. CNN
6 May 2003 Washington Times "American intelligence source" France had helped Iraqi leaders by providing them with French passports. WashPost
May 2003 Washington Times "intelligence sources" France and Russia seeking to sign oil contracts with Iraq just before the start of the war. CNN
Apr 2003 Daily Telegraph
David Blair
"found documents" "Papers" showed that Labour MP George Galloway took millions of pounds for supporting the Iraqi dictator. Daily Mirror
         
Peddling dubious information
when where source story reference
Sep 2002 Il Sole 24 Ore Richard Perle The U.S. has proof that Mohammad Atta met with--not just Iraqi agents--but Saddam Hussein himself TMWorld
Oct/Nov 2002 11 times on campaign trail George Bush Saddam has got connections with al Qaeda White House
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. an Iraqi chemical engineer,
an Iraqi civil engineer,
[someone] in a position to know,
an Iraqi major who defected
"[We claim] the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents" speech
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. not cited,
gave example of what UAV would look like
drones / Unmanned Aerial Vehicles:
"Iraq has been working on a variety of UAVs for more than a decade."
"... we detected one of Iraq's newest UAVs in a test flight that went 500 kilometers nonstop on autopilot ..."
"should be of concern to everybody"
CSMonitor,
Daily Telegraph (Au)
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N.   Aluminum tubes: "Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium." speech
5 Feb 2003 Sec. Colin Powell @ U.N. satellite photo "[There is a] biological weapons related facility." where a truck caravan appeared. speech
22 Apr 2003 New York Times
Judith Miller
U.S. Mobile Exploitation Team (MET) Alpha,
"an Iraqi scientist",
later revealed to be Chalabi/INC
"... those stockpiles [of chemical and biological agents] that we've heard about ... have either been destroyed by Saddam Hussein ... or they have been shipped to Syria for safekeeping.." News Hour
WashPost
         
A matter of emphasis
when where source story reference
Oct/Nov 2002 14 times on campaign trail George Bush Saddam has weapons of mass destruction White House
25 Apr 2003 ABC News Officials inside government and advisers outside. The administration emphasized the danger of Saddam's WMD's to gain the legal justification for war. ABC
         
Suspect stories
when where source story reference
27 Apr 2003 Sunday Telegraph
Inigo Gilmore
found documents after being allowed into the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad by US troops guarding the site. A link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. BBC
28 Apr 2003 Daily Telegraph files from the looted Iraqi foreign ministry France colluded with the Iraqi secret service to undermine a Paris conference held by the human rights group Indict. Daily Telegraph
         
Table updated and expanded 17 May 2003.
Revised 26 May 2003 (Judith Miller/NYT)


UPDATE: Refference has penned some thoughts about the Bush administration's veracity - or lack thereof. Excerpts: (link via Yglesias)
... the one place these sort of under-the-carpet revelations seem to have a degree of success is foreign policy (it's less open to scrutiny for one thing, and less accessible to democratic oversight). And it seems there has been a lot of misinformation regarding our foreign policy lately disseminated by those in power.

... the preponderance of forgeries (especially relating to WMD), the willing disregard for the actualities of the post-war situation in Iraq, the inattention to the material record - stems not from this administration's misapplication of emphasis in the face of legitimate belief in a mistaken reading of the world (as in Bush's faith in his absurd economics), but from some other less ingenuous place.

... I'm confused as to why this administration doesn't seem content to stand on the available evidence ...

... I don't want to ascribe malevolent motives to Bush and his advisors - I don't really believe in cabals. But I am getting frightened at the level of misinformation from the White House ...


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Thursday, May 15, 2003

President of the red states. President of the non self-reliant states?

Via Atrios, we took a look at a table of federal taxation vs. expenditures for the states in the year 2001. We thought we'd map that, and compare it with how each state voted in the Electoral College in 2000. It's not a perfect correlation, but generally speaking Bush's support comes from "smaller Federal government" states that, ironically, get more from Uncle Sam than they give.





PERSONAL NOTE: We have argued the merits of the Electoral College with the proprietors at Busy, Busy, Busy and now admit that, indeed, low-population states do wield disproportionate influence over budgetary policy. (Previously, we thought it wasn't a significant problem.)


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A bit of fun:

This Slate Fray posting is partly political, partly not. Poses and answers the question: Why did the chicken cross the road?


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Texas legislature fiasco round-up:

Here are some factoids and links of interest:
  • Molly Ivin's column about the legislature.
  • In that story, she quotes Republican Debbie Riddle as saying, "Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell."
  • Key person responsible for the impasse is House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland - and let's not forget where George Bush hails from: Midland.
  • In a story about California Democrats hailing the Texas Democrats, we read that: This year Republicans gained control of the [Texas] state House in November for the first time since Reconstruction.
  • Austin American Statesman update & over 15 links to other stories.
  • [In AAS above]: Rural Democrats, nicknamed WD40s, got an encouraging word from one of their own: Willie Nelson sent them red bandanas and a card that said, "Way to go — stand your ground." WD40 stands for white Democrats above the age of 40.
  • Young Conservatives of Texas are mentioned in various stories. We read that their "agenda includes ... abolishing the Texas Department of Housing, more frequent verification of Medicaid eligibility, and discontinuing non-emergency health care for illegal immigrants."


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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Get Your Historic Killer D's T-shirts:

Now being sold by the Texas Democratic Party. (At time of posting only at the AFL-CIO building, wherever that is, and not online)




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Bushism's analysis update:

It's been over 6 months since our last examination of Bushisms. All along, we've been trying to see if some sort of pattern would emerge. Was it subject-object confusion? Improper tenses? Sloppy use of singular and plural? Mixing up words that sound-alike?

Well, here is the table for over 250 Bushisms (almost all from Slate's collection, but we found a few on our own). While there are a large number of instances where Bush uses a word that sounds like the one he intended to speak (e.g. "consumption" vs. "conservation"), we no longer think that there is a narrow category of errors that explains why Bush talks the way he does.

Put simply, the errors appear throughout the thinking process. He makes mistakes in concept handling, sentence construction, word retrieval, and pronunciation. As much as we were hoping to find a pattern (or patterns), we now conclude that the reason for all the Bushisms is that the man is not intelligent. His dimness is not a creation of late-night comedians. It's a serious problem.

NOTE: We are aware that all people make mistakes from time to time and that looking for Bushisms brings to light errors that would normally be forgotten, but he's spoken peculiarly over 250 times in four years* - or about once every 5 days. That's and unusually high rate - especially for a guy who (in times of war!) should be careful with his speech.

* - the record goes back to Spring 1999.


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Operation Strangelove:

Today (Wednesday, 14 May 2002) is the day.

Yes, this is the day people are encouraged to ...
... put on a screening of "Dr. Strangelove" – in your living room, at the local theater, on campus, on your laptop, anywhere you can - and say no to unilateral invasions, to endangering our troops for the sake of oil, to flouting international law and the world community in the name of empire. Follow the film with discussions, forums, debates. Keep talking. Keep acting. Let's give new meaning to the old Strategic Air Command motto, "Peace Is Our Profession."
This, according to operationstrangelove.org, which is organizing the following:
Operation Strangelove: a National Movement of Solidarity and Satire May 14, 2003

On Wednesday, May 14, activists in New York and around the country will unleash screenings of Stanley Kubrick's biting 1964 Cold War satire, "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" to protest cowboy diplomacy, unilateral preemptive strikes and wars fought for precious fluids. Er, oil.

Janeane Garafolo (recent target of blacklist threats), Art Spiegelman ("Maus", The New Yorker), David Rees ("Get Your War On"), Jeremy Pikser ("Bullworth", "Reds"), and a representative from the Guerrilla Girls (who make their anonymous appearances in gorilla masks) will discuss "The Art of Dissent: Satire and Protest" on a panel moderated by critic John Leonard (CBS Sunday Morning, New York Magazine, Harper's, The Nation) immediately following the main New York screening of "Dr. Strangelove."

The event takes place in New York on Wednesday, May 14, 7:00 PM at United Artists Battery Park overlooking Ground Zero.


For most of us, it will mean getting out the videotape and enjoying the movie at home in our personal War Room.   (In our opinion, the best scene in the film is when Capt. Lionel Mandrake and Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper discuss precious bodily fluids - especially Mandrake's initial "Huh?" when told about Ripper's discovery about the weakness that follows the act of love.)

NOTE: A comprehensive review of the film can be found here.


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No suicide bombers in Saudi Arabia!- according to Fox News:
Terrorists simultaneously shot their way into three housing compounds in the Saudi capital and then set off homicide car bombs.
Or according to the New York Post:
Attackers shot their way into three gated compounds housing Westerners and Saudis, and were followed by homicide bombers in cars who set off the monstrous blasts, officials said.
Checking Google News:
"homicide bombers" - 33 results (including news outlets that quoted White House National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack who used the expression).

"suicide bombers" - 2,180 results.
Fox is nothing more than an extension of the White House press office.



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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Devastating:

Check out the Danziger cartoon for 13 May 2003. New York Times page. ComicsPage.com site (not available as of 13 May 2003, should become available later).


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Texas Democratic legislators on the run:

You've probably read all about the 53 Democratic Texas legislators who bugged out of the state making a quorum impossible. The main reason was the re-redistricting plan which would have created a 10-seat reversal (from 17D - 15R to 20R - 12D) in the United States House of Representatives. While the story is interesting in itself (and what it says about Tom DeLay), we found this tiny item in a Los Angeles Times story about the fiasco:
Texas, though it spends less per capita than almost any other state, is in dire financial trouble, facing a $10-billion budget shortfall over the next two years. Many Texans, however, expect little more from their government than properly operating traffic lights, and raising taxes is tantamount to political suicide for Republicans.

The alternative to raising taxes, though, is a series of dramatic cuts in social services that have shocked even many moderates here.

The Republican leaders say they are trying to be good fiscal wards in difficult economic times. But they have proposed, among other things, reclassifying 56,000 elderly and disabled people so they are no longer "frail" -- making them ineligible for Medicaid.

An estimated 250,000 children from low-income families would be removed from the rolls of the Children's Health Insurance Program. Money set aside to replace antiquated textbooks in public schools has been cut, and teachers' health insurance benefits are expected to drop considerably.

[...]

Democrats also disagree with a host of other Republican legislation that is expected to pass, including one bill that limits damages in medical malpractice cases, restricts class-action lawsuits and shields some corporations from defective product claims.
This sort of thing should be red meat for the Democrats. Reclassifying disabled people so they can't get Medicaid? That ain't compassion.

What's amazing is that the Texas Republican party has been extremely conservative (by national standards), and yet Bush never got associated with them. Perhaps it's because the press wasn't paying attention.


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Sending a message?

The U.S. Treasury has announced yet another change in the look of paper currency. The first bill redesigned is the $20. Most of the changes have to do with the background and use of subtle colors. For example, the reverse is virtually identical to the current one - except that an oval framing the White House is gone. The front also drops the oval which framed Jackson. And that's about it - except for a small addition. There is a small dark eagle sitting on a crest which looks like a strange amalgam of the 1930's National Recovery Act eagle, and the Department of Homeland Security shield. Did Tom Ridge have input on the design?




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Monday, May 12, 2003

Codpiece-in-chief:

Bush gives GOP women a thrill ...

Photo enhanced.

Some pertinent observations by Digby and Buzzflash.


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Sunday, May 11, 2003

Who was Maceo Snipes?

Last week there a minor tempest over a segregated prom in Butler, Georgia. ABC's Nightline even had a program about it. Mentioned on-air in the Nightline report (but not in their website story-summary) was this:
[Footage of black and white kids playing baseball.]

"This is definitely their grandfather's Georgia. In fact, three generations ago, just after World War Two, the first black man to vote here in Taylor County was murdered. His name was Maceo Snipes. He was a combat veteran just back from Europe, and he came here to the courthouse in Butler to register [to vote]. He was murdered - well, he was murdered because he was the first black person to vote here in Taylor County."
REFERENCE: The Southern States Action Bulletin:
... Maceo Snipes, an African American WWII veteran who was lynched after courageously being the first African American to vote in Georgia in post- Reconstruction times.


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The New York Times tells the truth:

This line in a story about Bush's push for another round of tax cuts caught our eye:
[Bush's] philosophy is that lowering taxes is the best policy whether the economy is strong or weak, whether the budget is showing a surplus or a deficit.
Which is another way of saying that reality doesn't matter.


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