Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The bad apples keep multiplying...

An internal Army investigation made public today confirmed that American military intelligence officers were directly involved in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib facility outside Baghdad.

The report, which implicates 35 military intelligence personnel and civilian contractors in at least 44 instances of abuse, shows a far greater participation by military intelligence than had ever been made public before.

The report concluded that no single cause underlay the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and attributed the problems to individual misconduct, a lack of discipline and leadership failure.

Emphasis mine, of course.

Ole Bob Dole was wondering if there was any blood? There is. The Bush campaign is starting to hemorrhage, and the press' dormant sharky instincts are shaking off the sleep of decades.

Ginsberg has already been thrown overboard... who's next? Scooter? Rummy? Dick himself?

It doesn't matter who gets sacrificed. If that feeding frenzy starts, it isn't going to stop until the first week of November.
I am shocked -- shocked! -- to discover that John O'Neill is a lying sack of shit.

I mean, who would have thought someone Nixon dug up 30 years ago for the express purpose of running interference against John Kerry would prove to be dishonest?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Paging Mr. French, Mr. Alfred French... your chickens have come home to roost.

"As a senior assistant district attorney, you know as well as we do that that kind of ridiculous statement would never pass muster in a court of law," veteran Terry Kirsch said of French's account.

"We question your fitness to serve as an enforcer of the law after swearing to facts in a legal affidavit that you do not know to be true," he said.

On the one hand, this sounds like a practical joke. Bush's acceptance speech being about the great job he's done? G'wan.

On the other hand... what else does he have to talk about? He can't whine about 527s for a full hour.

This speech could end up being the unintentional comedy highlight of the year.

That is, if the punchline wasn't "people are still dying in Iraq".
I have a vague, dawning sense of hope that the sheer ludicrousness of the Swift Bunnies' charges might finally be the last straw for Big Media.

Atrios has the lead on this one, linking to editorials here and here, pointing to an obvious 'new' line of discussion in USA Today here. That's a fine start.

It's also a good sign that the Swift Bunnies second ad -- the one about Kerry's Winter Soldier testimony -- has been somewhat plowed under by the general controversy.

But they are just tokens. Even if, en masse, the entire staff of CNN rises up and shouts, "The Swift Boat Veterans are lying!", it won't be enough.

The real litmus test will come when the Pubs launch their next smear campaign. Will the media fall back into line? Or will they sneer, "Fool me once, shame on you" in Karl Rove's direction?

His shit don't work if the media don't throw it for him.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Live from Crawford, it's the Scottie Mac Show!

MR. McCLELLAN: How many times are you going to ask the same question, Deb?

Q You didn't answer.

Three guesses what the question was, first two don't count.

And yes, that was basically the entire gaggle. Reporters asking Scottie if the president condemned the content of the Swift Bunnies' ad, and Scottie Mac repeating the silly "We ask Senator Kerry to join us in condemning free speech from these shadowy groups" spin.

Methinks the Pubs have lost their grip on this particular issue.
Oh me oh my.

I haven't done any digging on my own yet (because, y'know, I'm the expert on everything) but if what this story on DKos (linked from Democratic Underground) is true, Bush not only did not receive an award from the TANG that everyone gets just for showing up, there's a photo of him wearing a ribbon he was never awarded.

Handy rule of thumb: every Rovian mudslinging campaign is rooted in the terrible knowledge that it better applies to his own candidate, than to their opponent.

Hmmm. What does that say about the 'McCain is crazy' insinuations from 2000?
Oh Good Lord, Mickey, just give it up already...

Kaus is desperately trying to parse the new pro-Kerry witnesses against the Swift Bunnies to find... well, I don't know what. I doubt Kaus does either:

Fudging Breaks Out: Alert reader A.F. notes close reading reveals that the pro-Kerry eyewitness account of Pat Runyon--like the pro-Kerry eyewitness account of William Rood--contains some seemingly clever wording. In Runyon's case, it fudges the issue of whether Kerry was actually under fire in the incident for which he won his first Purple Heart:

Runyon said Kerry was wounded after one vessel tried to avoid an inspection.

"Lt. Kerry said, 'I'm going to pop a flare, and when I do, I want that engine started,' " Runyon said. But the outboard would not crank. Meanwhile, the sampan's crew steered it to the riverbank, and people started running on the shore. Runyon said shooting broke out.

Somehow, Kerry's weapon stopped firing. Runyon thinks he ran out of ammunition. He said Kerry bent down to pick up another gun and got hit in the arm.

"It wasn't a serious wound," Runyon said, and Kerry was able to start shooting again. When the firefight was over, Runyon said Kerry told him all he felt was a "burning sensation." [Emph. added]

"Shooting broke out"? Shooting by the people on the riverbank, or shooting only by Kerry and his crew? The story leaves the impression there was a two-sided firefight, but it doesn't quite say that, does it? ... Again, the ambiguity may be inadvertent. Or not!

The emphasis, as it says, is all Mickey's. Yup, 'shooting broke out' is a horribly ambiguous phrase. You can parse that puppy until you're blue in the face.

Unfortunately for you, dumbass, "When the firefight was over" is not. Or can you have a fight with only one side involved?

fire·fight n.
An exchange of gunfire, as between infantry units.

Nope, I guess not.

The best part is that Kaus himself uses the word firefight in his sad little summation, but doesn't bother to think through the implications of the word. Or, indeed, even notice that yes, Runyon does quite say that.

Mickey's pretty much begging to be the first one against the wall when the revolution comes, isn't he? I almost have a bit of sympathy for him... the poor guy will starve once his sinecure is ripped out from under him.
Here's an amusing thought, following up on all of Josh Marshall's 'bitch-slap' talk:

If you strip away all the issues and scandals and blah blah blah... just about every presidential election of the television era has been won by the more dominant-seeming alpha male.

I know it's not a terribly original thought -- or insightful one, for that matter -- but nonetheless, if you pose the mental question, "Who's dick is bigger?" for each of the following:

Kennedy vs. Nixon
Johnson vs. Goldwater
Humphrey vs. Nixon
McGovern vs. Nixon
Carter vs. Ford
Carter vs. Reagan
Mondale vs. Reagan
Dukakis vs. Papa Bush
Clinton vs. Bush
Clinton vs. Dole
Gore vs. Li'l Bushie

...the answer will almost guaranteed be the person who then became president.

Sure, you can argue Kennedy/Nixon, but I think the Marilyn factor settles that debate. Similarly Carter/Ford is basically a coin toss, since they are both pretty Alda-riffic. With hindsight Gore/Bush maybe seems to violate the pattern, but one awkward onstage kiss doesn't counteract a decade of bloodless bureaucracy -- sorry Al.

Which brings us to Kerry/Bush, and all the flightsuit/motorcycle silliness which is designed to appeal directly to our monkey brains. (Otherwise, what's the point of it all?) Cut through the theatrics and just ask yourself this question:

Quien es mas macho? Senor Kerry, o Senor Bushecito?

There's your winner in November.
I've been making this point on message boards and trying to push it into the memesphere, but I'll state it explicitly (as JMM just did) -- the Swift Bunnies furor is not of Kerry's making.

McCain in 2000. Cleland in 2002. The Rove playbook is exactly the same -- regardless of the particulars of your service, no matter how honorable, it will be targeted, the truth be damned.

Blaming Kerry for bringing it up is absurd. If he hadn't, the Pubs would have unleashed the "What is he trying to hide?" angle of attack (just as they have with Kerry's Senate record.)

In fact this is still the weakest link in the whole charade -- its utter predictability and transparency. The McCain 'Old Tricks' ad is a good start, but the Dems need to keep hammering away at it. It wouldn't matter who Bush was facing; if they served, their service would be dragged through the mud, and if they didn't their lack of service would be derided. Bush could be facing Eisenhower, and the script would be exactly the same.

And for the record: The Swift Bunnies furor is another fairly simple test that Big Media, by and large, is failing.

The SBVFT has zero credibility left. Nada. Every impartial witness who steps forward contradicts them; every piece of documentary evidence produced impeaches their tales.

Any talking head who still pretends this is a 'he said she said' situation is professionally incompetent, and should be fired.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

OK, I've woken up in Bizarro World.

I'm watching Van Odell of the Swift Bunnies on Fox News Sunday getting absolutely destroyed about their lack of documentation to support their positions. Just annihilated. On Fox.


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