W AWOL from the TANG, but the military loves him. Hmmmm.

Expect plenty of disagreement. Just keep it civil.
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Rspaight
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Postby Rspaight » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:44 am

On one front: Taking a page from the swifties, a group called Texans for Truth is airing a spot questioning Bush's National Guard service. But in a conference call, the former Alabama guardsman who appears in the ad, Bob Mintz, was less than convincing about how he could be sure that W. had not shown up over the course of a year. Mintz said he reported for duty only 60 to 80 days a year and did not have the exact dates. The buy is tiny -- $110,000 in five states -- but then the original swift boat ad cost less than half a million to air in three states.

Nick Kristof nevertheless gives Mintz a nice ride in his NYT column, concluding that the prez's spotty guard service "should disqualify the Bush campaign from sliming the military service of a rival who still carries shrapnel from Vietnam in his thigh."

The Dems are thrilled. "We know that John Kerry was in Vietnam," party chairman Terry McAuliffe told reporters. "My question, Mr. President, is where were you, sir?"


That Texans for Truth group is strictly amateur hour. I wish they hadn't done anything -- that ad is embarrassing.

Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol says Kerry has now taken an antiwar stance:

"It does seem that Kerry has finally come down, this week, on one side of a debate that really does have only two sides. He has decided he's against the war in Iraq. It was 'the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.'

"Fine. Now we have a clear choice in the presidential election. Bush went to war to remove Saddam. Kerry, it now appears, would not have. This means the choice is between the world we have now, and a world with Saddam still in power. For the meaning of saying we fought the wrong war at the wrong time, is that we would have been better off leaving Saddam in power. If John Kerry were president, Saddam would still be in power.

"So Kerry has to answer this question: Would we be safer with Saddam still in power? Would the world? What would such a world look like? Surely we couldn't have left 150,000 troops in the nations bordering Iraq for two years. Surely, then, the inspectors would once again have been expelled. And the sanctions regime was collapsing. Does Kerry then believe Saddam would not have moved to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction? Would that have been acceptable?

"Does Kerry believe pro-American, anti-terror forces in the Middle East, to say nothing of the forces of reform in that region, would be stronger or weaker if Saddam were still in power? What would have been the global effect on American credibility if we had authorized the president to use force, as Kerry voted to do, and then backed off? And what would a Kerry administration do now? How could a President Kerry ask any young American to be the last one to die for a mistake?"


I love how saying that Bush bungled Iraq is equated to saying that we should have done nothing about Saddam. So our only choices were all-out war or letting him do whatever he wanted?

I agree that the onus is on Kerry to explain how the situation could (and should) have been better handled, but Kristol is setting up a false choice.

"I actually did vote for his $87 billion, before I voted against it." - Senator John Kerry


That's right. He supported a version of the bill that funded the $87 billion from the Bush tax cuts, and opposed a version that funded it from, well, nowhere. Why is this such a hard thing for the right to understand?

Ryan
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Postby Dob » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:48 am

Rspaight wrote:He supported a version of the bill that funded the $87 billion from the Bush tax cuts, and opposed a version that funded it from, well, nowhere. Why is this such a hard thing for the right to understand?

Because they don't want to understand. But you already knew that...

Unless Kerry can figure out a way to clarify his statement with a hard-hitting, catchy, 5 second sound bite, he must ignore it. The worst thing he can do is try to patiently, reasonably explain the circumstances behind it. That conveys a "reactive", "defensive" posture, which in turn conveys weakness.
Americans have little tolerance for explanations and we don't want a diplomatic President that appeals to reason. We're at war, dammit! No more compromises, no more negotiations, no more Mr. Nice Guy. (as if) We want a decisive man of action who's not bashful about kicking ass! This isn't f***ing France!

That attitude reminds me of a man that wants to sue his neighbor and hires a lawyer. The lawyer later reports back to the man that he has talked to the neighbor and has hammered out an agreement that would avoid going to court and "is fair to both sides."

"Fair to both sides????" the man roars. "If I wanted that, I wouldn't have hired you!"
Dob
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Postby Dob » Thu Sep 09, 2004 7:02 pm

"So Kerry has to answer this question: Would we be safer with Saddam still in power? Would the world?"
lukpac wrote:Yes.

Well, if you're arguing (and I think you are) that American imperialism and American meddling in the Middle East are far more destabilizing influences on world peace than Saddam ever was, I wholeheartedly agree.

But has any president, in the last 50 years, made any progress in getting us out of the Middle East? On the contrary, we keep sinking in deeper and deeper. If Kerry were elected President, would things really be any different? Is he really any less of an imperialist than Bush? Don't all politicans (and the vast majority of voters) think that America's greatest export is the American way of life and American democracy? And don't they all fervently believe that if only we could get democracy/the American way to take root in countries like Iraq, what a wonderful world this would be?

It was easy to pick on Saddam and blame him for all the problems in Iraq (heh, not anymore). He's depicted as this monster, this total nutcase...yet we treated him as an ally during the Iraq/Iran war. Same situation with Bin Laden, who practically worked as a CIA operative during the Russian/Afghan war. They must've been at least somewhat coherent and cooperative with the US then -- what happened? Did they just suddenly go bonkers?

When I ponder questions like this I realize how much I don't know. But I do get the feeling that a lot of what I don't know (or that is hidden from me) is mighty unflattering to the United States.
Dob

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Postby Matt » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:42 am

Some Question Authenticity of Papers on Bush
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9967-2004Sep9.html

By Michael Dobbs and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 10, 2004; Page A01

Documents unearthed by CBS News that raise doubts about whether President Bush fulfilled his obligations to the Texas Air National Guard include several features suggesting that they were generated by a computer or word processor rather than a Vietnam War-era typewriter, experts said yesterday.

Experts consulted by a range of news organizations pointed out typographical and formatting questions about four documents as they considered the possibility that they were forged. The widow of the National Guard officer whose signature is on the bottom of the documents also disputed their authenticity.

The documents, which were shown Wednesday night on "60 Minutes II," bear dates from 1972 and 1973 and include an order for Bush to report for his annual physical exam and a discussion of how he could get out of "coming to drill."

The dispute over the documents' authenticity came as Democrats stepped up their criticism of Bush's service with the National Guard between 1968 and 1973. The Democratic National Committee sought to fuel the controversy yesterday by holding a news conference at which Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa) pointed to the documents as a fresh indictment of Bush's credibility.

CBS News released a statement yesterday standing by its reporting, saying that each of the documents "was thoroughly vetted by independent experts and we are convinced of their authenticity." The statement added that CBS reporters had verified the documents by talking to unidentified people who saw them "at the time they were written."

CBS spokeswoman Kelli Edwards declined to respond to questions raised by experts who examined copies of the papers at the request of The Washington Post, or to provide the names of the experts CBS consulted. Experts interviewed by The Post pointed to a series of telltale signs suggesting that the documents were generated by a computer or word processor rather than the typewriters in widespread use by Bush's National Guard unit.

A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network's sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone and Hodges replied that "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time."

"These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people," the CBS News official said. "Journalistically, we've gone several extra miles."

The official said the network regarded Hodges's comments as "the trump card" on the question of authenticity, as he is a Republican who acknowledged that he did not want to hurt Bush. Hodges, who declined to grant an on-camera interview to CBS, did not respond to messages left on his home answering machine in Texas.

In a telephone interview from her Texas home, Killian's widow, Marjorie Connell, described the records as "a farce," saying she was with her husband until the day he died in 1984 and he did not "keep files." She said her husband considered Bush "an excellent pilot."

"I don't think there were any documents. He was not a paper person," she said, adding that she was "livid" at CBS. A CBS reporter contacted her briefly before Wednesday night's broadcasts, she said, but did not ask her to authenticate the records.

If demonstrated to be authentic, the documents would contradict several long-standing claims by the White House about an episode in Bush's National Guard service in 1972, when he abruptly gave up flying and moved from Texas to Alabama to take part in a political campaign. The CBS documents purport to show that Killian, who was Bush's squadron commander, was unhappy with Bush for his performance toward meeting his National Guard commitments and resisted pressure from his superiors to "sugarcoat" the record.

After their initial airing on the "CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes II" programs Wednesday night, the documents were picked up by other news organizations, including The Post. A front-page story in The Post yesterday noted that CBS declined to provide details about the source of the documents, the authenticity of which could not be independently confirmed.

On Wednesday evening, the White House e-mailed reporters copies of the documents, as supplied by CBS, as well as the transcript of a CBS interview with White House communications director Dan Bartlett rebutting allegations that Bush had shirked his military duties. While Bartlett described the emergence of the documents as "dirty politics," he did not dispute their authenticity.

After doubts about the documents began circulating on the Internet yesterday morning, The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor. An examination of the documents by The Post shows that they are formatted differently from other Texas Air National Guard documents whose authenticity is not questioned.

William Flynn, a forensic document specialist with 35 years of experience in police crime labs and private practice, said the CBS documents raise suspicions because of their use of proportional spacing techniques. Documents generated by the kind of typewriters that were widely used in 1972 space letters evenly across the page, so that an "i" uses as much space as an "m." In the CBS documents, by contrast, each letter uses a different amount of space.

While IBM had introduced an electric typewriter that used proportional spacing by the early 1970s, it was not widely used in government. In addition, Flynn said, the CBS documents appear to use proportional spacing both across and down the page, a relatively recent innovation. Other anomalies in the documents include the use of the superscripted letters "th" in phrases such as 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Bush's unit.

"It would be nearly impossible for all this technology to have existed at that time," said Flynn, who runs a document-authentication company in Phoenix.

Other experts largely concurred. Phil Bouffard, a forensic document examiner from Cleveland, said the font used in the CBS documents appeared to be Times Roman, which is widely used by word-processing programs but was not common on typewriters.

CBS officials insisted that the network had done due diligence in checking out the authenticity of the documents with independent experts over six weeks. The senior CBS official said the network had talked to four typewriting and handwriting experts "who put our concerns to rest" and confirmed the authenticity of Killian's signature.

The doubts about the documents left the White House and the Bush campaign in a state of suspended animation, with Bush aides encouraging doubts about the documents but conceding that the possibility that they were forged seemed too good to be true. White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said that officials there had not attempted to authenticate the documents but simply released copies "provided to us by CBS in the interests of openness."

The Bush administration's strategy yesterday was to let news organizations raise doubts and conduct forensic examinations, without taking an official position on whether the documents were genuine.

"It's clear in reviewing the documents that they do nothing to change the fact that the president served honorably, and was proud of his service in the Air National Guard," Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said.

Staff writer Howard Kurtz and researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.
-Matt

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Postby Rspaight » Fri Sep 10, 2004 12:04 pm

Yeah, this is a weird one. There *were* typewriters at the time (IBM Selectrics, for one) that could do proportional spacing and superscripted "th"s, but it does look a bit odd.

I'm not sure. On the one hand, things about the documents look typewriter-ish (the way the spacing wavers down the page, the un-indented number lists), and others look modern (the proportional font, the superscripted "th", the "curly" apostrophes). CBS sez that they vetted the stuff with forensic document experts, and I'd hope that they considered these issues.

There's nothing there that makes it *impossible* that they date from 1972. Without the originals to look at (to check for character impressions, ink dispersion, etc.) it's probably impossible to say. And the only people who have seen the originals (not the PDFs or faxes) are CBS and the people who examined them for CBS.

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Postby Gee Oh Are Tea » Fri Sep 10, 2004 1:58 pm

The Middle East situation is infinitely worse now than it was four years ago. First of all, Bush has given Sharon carte blanche on doing what he wants. He has allowed Sharon to piggyback onto the so-called "War On Terror", which is probably what Putin will now do with the Chechens (hell, the LAPD will probably invade Compton and call it part of the "War On Terror"). I've never understood why killing 3,000 non-combatants at the WTC or blowing up an Israeli bus is (rightfully) called terrorism but killing 13,000 non-combatants in Iraq or killing 20 non-fighting Palestinians is not acknowledged at all. Nick Berg's dad said it best of all: killing is killing. He says that beheading his son was no different than an errant US missile strike. The interviewer was beside himself ("Surely, you're not saying that they're equivalent??").

Unfortunately Kerry's policy on Israel is no different, though he'd probably be more sensitive to European criticism if he went too easy on Sharon. He also wouldn't be listening to the Bible Thumpers saying that Judgement Day won't come until the Holy Land is completely Israel. Personally, I think the US should force Israel back to the pre-1967 border (i.e remove ALL settlements), help them build their barrier on those lines and give them the protection (arms, military equipment) that they need for defence. That to me is the most equitable solution. But it ain't never gonna happen.

It's funny but I think most Americans are oblivious to how they are regarded outside of their borders (or don't care or think the rest of the world is jealous of their "freedom" and "democracy").

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Postby Dob » Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:22 pm

Gee Oh Are Tea wrote:The Middle East situation is infinitely worse now than it was four years ago.

You ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Gee Oh Are Tea wrote:Nick Berg's dad said it best of all: killing is killing. He says that beheading his son was no different than an errant US missile strike.

I get the point, but...if asked for my preference, I'd much rather be killed by an errant missile strike than kidnapped and beheaded.

Gee Oh Are Tea wrote:He also wouldn't be listening to the Bible Thumpers saying that Judgement Day won't come until the Holy Land is completely Israel.

I don't know what Bush believes or how the "Bible Thumpers" are influencing his foreign policy, but perhaps the most obvious sign of the approach of Judgement Day will be the rebuilding of the Temple. And John, in his vision of the end time (Rev 11:1-2), was told to measure the rebuilt Temple, but not the Outer Court, "for it is given unto the heathens" (Gentiles). This "Outer Court" could be interpreted as the Dome Of The Rock (located on the Temple Mount), which is the second most sacred Islam site. If Bush is being told that he can get the Arabs "out" of Jerusalem, that is not only contrary to the Bible, but to common sense.

Gee Oh Are Tea wrote:Personally, I think the US should force Israel back to the pre-1967 border (i.e remove ALL settlements), help them build their barrier on those lines and give them the protection (arms, military equipment) that they need for defence. That to me is the most equitable solution. But it ain't never gonna happen.

IMO all this hysteria over the proper Israeli border is a smokescreen. What is truly desired (by probably a majority of the Arab world) is the complete and total wipeout of Israel...but a return to the pre '67 border would be certainly accepted (and thought of as a reasonable "first step"). If the Israelis truly believed that they would be left in peace if they did that, they would probably go for it. But they know better.
Dob

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Postby Gee Oh Are Tea » Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:54 pm

Dob wrote:
IMO all this hysteria over the proper Israeli border is a smokescreen. What is truly desired (by probably a majority of the Arab world) is the complete and total wipeout of Israel...but a return to the pre '67 border would be certainly accepted (and thought of as a reasonable "first step"). If the Israelis truly believed that they would be left in peace if they did that, they would probably go for it. But they know better.


This may be true, and that's why I agree with the use of a barrier and providing the Israelis with suitable defence. However, the Israeli government (especially after 8 years of Likud - Netenyahu and Sharon) will never uproot their prized settlements. Look at all of the fuss about removing all the settlers from Gaza and a few shitholes in the West Bank (it may almost cost Sharon his job). And you think they'd be willing to evacuate about 250,000 people from prime real estate in the West Bank. Never. And why should they, when they have the US on the Security Council vetoing EVERY UN resolution against them, and then Bush (to the dismay of Powell and Rice) dismissing the road map plan and saying that Sharon should keep everything he's occupying.

Probably most Israeli citizens would agree with your "left in peace" scenario. But the Orthodox Jews in Israel, the Jewish lobby in the US, Canada and UK, and all of the Diasora Zionists (in New York, Russia and elsewhere), who will ultimately move into the new settlements that Sharon is building now (what Road Map to Peace???) will not allow for your scenario.

Cliff

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Postby Patrick M » Fri Sep 10, 2004 8:20 pm

Dob wrote:I don't know what Bush believes or how the "Bible Thumpers" are influencing his foreign policy, but perhaps the most obvious sign of the approach of Judgement Day will be the rebuilding of the Temple. And John, in his vision of the end time (Rev 11:1-2), was told to measure the rebuilt Temple, but not the Outer Court, "for it is given unto the heathens" (Gentiles). This "Outer Court" could be interpreted as the Dome Of The Rock (located on the Temple Mount), which is the second most sacred Islam site. If Bush is being told that he can get the Arabs "out" of Jerusalem, that is not only contrary to the Bible, but to common sense.

Apparently W's foreign policy is based on the "Left Behind" series. And I think you shouldn't separate W from the "Bible thumpers."
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Postby Gee Oh Are Tea » Fri Sep 10, 2004 8:59 pm

Patrick M wrote:Apparently W's foreign policy is based on the "Left Behind" series. And I think you shouldn't separate W from the "Bible thumpers."


Yes, now I remember. They had a story on 60 Minutes about the role of fundamentalist Christians in US Foreign Policy vis-a-vis Israel.

Also, there are a lot of references these days to "Islamists". So why aren't these bible thumping nutjobs, including Dubya and Ass-croft, called Christists?? Aren't fundamentalists of all religions crazy (with perhaps the exception of Buddhism)??

Cliff

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Postby Dob » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:41 pm

Patrick M wrote:Apparently W's foreign policy is based on the "Left Behind" series. And I think you shouldn't separate W from the "Bible thumpers."

I have to plead ignorance on that...but he certainly doesn't strike me as a "deeply religious" man. Or does "Bible thumper" imply something a bit more sinister?
Dob

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Postby Patrick M » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:59 pm

Dob wrote:I have to plead ignorance on that...but he certainly doesn't strike me as a "deeply religious" man.

WRONG!

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Postby Dob » Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:05 pm

Gee Oh Are Tea wrote:...bible thumping nutjobs, including Dubya and Ass-croft...Aren't fundamentalists of all religions crazy (with perhaps the exception of Buddhism)??

Do you think that "Dubya and Ass-croft" are really fundamentalist Christians? Or do they just pretend that they are?

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves...Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:15-20)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)
Dob

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Postby Patrick M » Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:10 pm

Dob wrote:Do you think that "Dubya and Ass-croft" are really fundamentalist Christians?

Yep.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)

Courtesy of Ryan:

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Postby Dob » Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:31 pm

"Do you think that "Dubya and Ass-croft" are really fundamentalist Christians?"

Patrick M wrote:Yep.

"Do you think that Patrick is being really sarcastic?"

Yep.

That parody ad is the best satire of the Bush campaign (or just about any campaign) that I've ever seen. Bravo.
Dob

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"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance" -- HL Mencken