Friday, May 20, 2005
That U.K. Sun Magazine Cover of Saddam
Drudge has it on his site - no permalink yet. "The Tyrant's In His Pants," with Saddam standing dressed only in hit tightie whities.The culture ministers will tell us that this is a humilitation. Great; I'm sure The Sun intended that. Sorry if riots result in decimation of some folks in the Great Crescent, but on a utlitarian level, these pictures are awesome psyops against the islamo-fascists. The pictures defang Saddam. They will empower the average, downtrodden prole, who still fears the vestiges of the Evil Guy.The Islamo-Fascist insurgents will be left to scream, "Pay No Attention to the Naked Man in his tightie whities...."Rise up, Iraqis.***What would Lyndon Johnson or Ronald Reagan have said, at a press briefing, in this situation?
"Well, I only know what I've seen in the paper, but for all his crimes, Saddam appears to have a giant ___." Damn, wouldn't that be funny. Johnson or Reagan could have gotten away with that quip. Could Bush?
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:38 AM 4 comments
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Selling Out The Proles
Imagine you're an electrician for a large company. Imagine every day your boss pulls into the parking lot, there are several hundred people along the driveway with signs begging the boss to fire you and hire one of them, for half your salary. And no health or retirement benefits. And 30% longer hours.And not a single person in that line has his electrical contractor's license. They are all illegal workersIf you were subjected to that scenario, everyday, you would soon go postal. Or threaten your government to do something. Or, you might also just get fired.Welcome to the average work day of blue collar workers in Southern California. And elsewhere.But, you've paid union dues; so did your father. Your union is fighting for you, right? Your union is grappling with this issue, the best it can, right? Well, let's see what the AFL-CIO says about all these illegal aliens who want your job. First of all, they've got a name for all these illegal aliens: "Immigrant workers."Second, the AFL-CIO's position is that your boss should try to pay benefits to your replacement, when you are fired.Read the AFL-CIO website and it Workers Without Borders stance. The AFL-CIO supports the illegals who are begging for your job every day. That's your union's position regarding the 10 to 18 million illegal immigrants that are here, with another 150,000 per month coming over the border.The UFCW Food Workers Union website doesn't refer to the fact that illegal immigration depresses their members' wages, but rather that,
"we must demand standards that protect workers regardless of what country they came from or how they got here. Because the issue is the same: the exploitation of labor.""The exploitation of labor?" WHAT? That's it? That's the union's position on illegal immigration? Have I been transported back 25 years, to a state college Intro to Politics class, complete with the hippy T.A. who liked those clove cigarettes?The LIUNA (Laborer's International Union of North America) website gives you the comfort that, "We endorse the call for legalization of all undocumented workers and... also oppose the employer sanctions" for hiring illegals.The United Auto Workers website gives you the good news that it supports amnesty and welfare for illegal aliens, and wants employer sanctions dropped.At least the Teamsters' website keeps its beliefs silent as to the influx of illegal workers.***You're making $10 per hour, and you really need $14 per hour to get by. The dozens of illegal immigrants waving the placards at your boss each morning - drawn from an army of millions - will take $5, without benefits. So what do you think are your chances over the next few years of working yourself up to $14 per hour, instead of $10? Or, avoiding health benefit cutbacks? Your chances are Zero."We'll strike," you are assured. "And united in striking, we shall prevail."Strike? With 15 million scabs ready to take your place?Ask the thousands of Southern California grocery clerks how that "strike thing" worked out for them a few years ago:
"Grocery Strike Ends in Defeat; UFCW officials’ failed strategy led workers into a dead end." What are your chances of having your job in 4 years? Pretty good, if $5 an hour works for you. If you learn Spanish and can act as a crew chief, maybe you can pull $8 an hour.***What on Earth has happened to the labor unions? Why are the unions in favor of destroying the livelihoods of their members, the protection of which is their reason for existence? Why are the unions in favor of flooding the lower end of the labor market, and inevitably destroying the ability of their members to get $15 an hour instead of $10? Is it some sort of secret long-term plan to re-populate the union rolls ... to re-establish an environment where 1960's-style union corruption will again be possible?Do the members have any clue what is going on? What is going on? What am I missing?
posted by BummerDietz @ 12:10 PM 1 comments
Observed:1. There is no actual "filibuster" involved. The parties have done away with the requirement that someone actually show up and talk. Instead, they just say, "Filibuster."2. There are 3 official branches of government. "Checks and balances" are between and among the branches, not within the branches.3. Congress can make or change its own rules, including the rules as to how it conducts itself. it can adopt, or discard, the so-called "filibuster:" "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings... ." (Constitution, Article I, Sec. 5)4. There are ample checks and balances in the Constitution as to the Judiciary. The existence of those C&B's does not mean that they are ever used, however. (Congress rarely exercises its power to strip jurisdiction away from misbehaving courts. )5. Note the Constitutional checks on the Judiciary:Congressional Checks on Judicial Power:"[Congress shall have the power]....To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court." (I/8)"[T]he Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments." (II/2) [a really curious and overlooked provision - ed]"The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. "(III/1)"In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make. " (III/2)"...by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, [the President] shall appoint ... other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court..." (II/2)Presidential Checks on Judicial Power:"The President shall... shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons [from court criminal verdicts - ed.] for offenses against the United States... ." (II/2)"The President... shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States..." (II/2)"The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session. " (II/2)
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:57 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
60 Minutes II - RIP
Killed by Memogate. Good riddance.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:12 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The Fake Newsweek Story
I've been too burnt-out to write about the Newsweek affair, well-covered elsewhere. I test-drove a few sound bites with a dozen Hollywood liberals at lunch, and their reaction was predictable and in several broad categories: (a) Not heard about it; (b) no big deal, so much other bad stuff is happening, all caused by Bush's wars, (c) "fake but accurate" - the abuse of prisoners has already been "proven," this is just Karl Rove orchestrating a counter-punch in light of the terrible drop in the polls for Bush due to the Iraq debacle.I know how the press works on a daily level - I've written about it here, before. It's first hand experience. The MSM does not, repeat NOT, act like a trier of fact, like the judge in some courtroom TV show you watch. Instead, the MSM acts like one of the attorneys for a litigant. The MSM has a point - often an ideological political point - to make. And any facts, or "truth," that exist that would weaken the particular reporter's thrust, are viewed by the reporter as being like the opposing attorney in a lawsuit - such facts are mere competition to be beaten.But unlike a courtroom, with the modern advocative MSM there is no working system for rebuttal or balance. Overworked editors, and sometimes a legal department, are supposed to oversee individual reporters with seasonsed editorial judgment, factchecking, etc.. This oversight is supposed to be a primary directive, to enable truth to come out.But for much of the MSM, these are no longer the primary directives. Instead, those oversight offices often act merely as "libel-proofers." The primary directive is avoidance of a libel lawsuit, while acting in furtherance of the political motives of the MSM. That's it. That's how the departments often work, now, albeit the reporters are the main driver of this.Compare the facts of the Newsweek affair, with my playbook:
Let BummerDietz tell you a little bit about what the Corporate Legal Department does at a media company, since that is BummerDietz’ business….
"...When a publication has a Legal Department that has no check-and-balance function but instead exists only to insert minor text edits that maintain the thrust of the story but sidestep libel law, you have a yellow rag."
The attorneys The National Enquirer have perfected a strategy that is being copied by other media, such as CBS Legal. We call it “Head In the Sand.” The publication goes to great lengths to prevent rebuttal facts from coming into its possession, prior to deadline. To a journalist, the possession of rebuttal facts is like holding contraband - possession is punishable by a finding of Actual Malice. So journalists have changed the way they operate, in order to avoid being caught with the hot potato of rebuttal facts.Why? Because the Legal Department might step in and delay or kill the story, if there are any rebuttal facts lying around. This manifests itself in several media bahaviors:1. Late Ambush. A “factchecker” will call a target for comment, hours before the print deadline. To a jury, this is supposed to show the media is fair. Since the journalist has spent days, weeks or more building their story, it is impossible for the target to know what the journalist’s story says. Hence, the target typically has no comment [and the paper can report that "X refused to comment"] or the target simply has no time to respond in any substantive manner, other than to "deny the story." This late ambush allows the reporter the appearance that s/he has been fair and balanced, which is exactly the opposite of what was intended, and of what transpired.2. Prevent Incoming Faxes. The journalist (and sometimes, the legal office) goes to great lengths to prevent any contact information – email or fax information – to be made public. They simply do not want any lawyer's letter or other rebuttal material coming into their possession, prior to publication. (Try to find a media “Legal Department” fax or email number on the internet.) This is why an “ombudsman” or “reader’s representative” is such a divisive issue with media. It seriously impinges upon the media’s ability to prevent contrary information to come into their possession, pre-publication. The reporter, or fact checker, would much rather get a short oral statement, and then modify the oral statement to fit the story. The target rarely, if ever, has a tape recorder running to record the exact statement... .3. Fake Fact Checking. The journalist does not directly fact check with the target, but instead substitutes with a call to a friendly source who gives some lukewarm support to minor aspects of the story, and such source is quoted anonymously in the story. (“Yes, Mr. X has come to the restaurant on occasion,” as somehow being evidence that Mr. X was there on April 1st and assaulted a waitress in the bathroom).4. Mischaracterize the Rebuttal. The journalist will mention the rebuttal evidence in the story, but will diminish or mischaracterize the rebuttal evidence. [Note the reporter's great preference for oral factchecking; a reporter's mischaracterization of written documents can be reviewed and second-guessed by a jury.] Hence, the libelous story seems to have even more import, because it appears that the journalist has actually spoken to and considered all sources.5. Claim A Deadline To Avoid Background Work. The most nefarious technique (to this lawyer) is for the journalist to use the self-made, artificial excuse of a “deadline’ (as if the story cannot wait until tomorrow) as a way of combining all of the above items, and to say, “OK, we got this package of 50 pages from you, there is no way I can review this before deadline, so just give me your top 3 points.” Can the reporter, who has spent hours, days or weeks researching the story, simply ignore the package and instead report that the target (or target’s attorney) “refused to comment?” Or can the reporter simply ignore the package, and report in a single sentence a watered-down version of the verbal “3 points?” (Good lawyers never take this reporter's bait for the "top 3 points before deadline." Instead, you either refuse to speak with the reporter, or merely say, "The documents speak for themselves.")
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:52 AM 4 comments
Monday, May 16, 2005
David Deals a Blow to Goliath's Immunity
The "Commerce Clause" of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8) generally gives the Fed the exclusive power to regulate commerce "among the states." The repeal of Prohibition, via the 21st Amendment, contained this political compromise:
"The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited."This provision of the 21st Amendment has been read to mean that the states, and not the Fed, have the power to set rules for importing hootch into the state.The dominance of local breweries and distilleries was the reality of the 1930's-era repeal - 99% of all hootch was made locally. But the twain events of the post-WWII rise of the national brands (and the consequent demise of those regional hootch factories), as well as the vast expansion of Fed power via the Commerce Clause, as a tool for the civil rights wars, has brought the 75-year old compromise in the 21st Amendment to be in stark conflict with the post-WWII jurisprudence of the Commerce Clause.Businessmen learned that, along with massive national brands with nationwide or international distribution networks, you could set up a hootch distribution company in a single state, and by paying some scratch to the local legislators (not particularly expensive, on a state level), you had - voila!! - a booze distribution monopoly that was not subject to the rules that almost every other business was subject to. The Feds, via antitrust or any other law, couldn't touch you.But the distributors got greedy. It's one thing to protect your high-margin Cutty Sark or Bud franchise; but to have the state solons pass a law, making it a felony for a dentist to order a $85 bottle of wine from his wife's favorite winery in Napa Valley.....?Immunity, by its very nature, breeds market stupidity. God forbid you let it fester for 75 years. Stupidity and cockiness pretty much describes what the big hootch distributors did over the past 20 years. They got their state legislators to bar the direct shipments from Napa (i.e., sidestepping the distributors and cutting off their vig), but the state laws exempted shipments from within their own state (so as not to hurt their local wine businesses.)A non-brainer Commerce Clause violation, but the 21st Amendment granted immunity to these folks...so they thought. But these particular laws were so egregious and widespread, and the people it hurt (small wineries) were so incensed, that David took on Goliath.* It all changed today. The Supreme Court just struck down these insane, immunity-bred laws which forbid interstate shipments of wine.The products fostered by immunity -- like deformed chickens in a breeding farm -- or the "booze profiteering immunity provision" of the 21st Amendment - can never survive in an open environment. Good Riddance.-BummerDietz aka The Winemaker_____* - The hootch distributors claimed, inter alia, that these laws were necessary to keep juvenile delinquents from snatching Dad's credit card, going on-line, ordering a $250 case of Duckhorn Merlot from Napa on Dad's card, skipping school the next week to stay home and intercept the UPS deliveryman, and successfully faking an adult signature (required by any shipper). Those little rascals? Whatever happened to Friday night pandering in a supermarket parking lot, to get some schmuck to buy and extra 6-pack? Gosh, you think maybe, just maybe, the distributors' motives were...transparent...here.
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:07 AM 0 comments
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Mexi-Quip (n): A politically embarrassing utterance by a Mexican official which nonetheless reveals the true nature of things south of the Line. (nb: generally embargoed by the MSM en El Norte, for political reasons.)
May 13, 11:29 PM (ET)MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - In comments likely to raise the temperature of the immigration debate, [Mexican Presidente] Fox defended the role of undocumented Mexican workers in the United States to a group of Texas business people meeting in Mexico.
"There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work are doing jobs that not even blacks want to do there in the United States," he said in a speech broadcast in part on local radio and reported on newspaper web sites.
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:03 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Fenwicking the Filibuster Fuss
This Filibuster thing isn't difficult. It is made difficult, only because the various wings either loathe, or desire, the expected outcome.Read Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution:
"The President] ... shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint...judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States."It's simple. Only a majority [50.1%] of the Senate must approve Supreme Court and "other officers" (i.e., other judges).***Apart from that obvious constitutional mathematical outcome, BummerDietz' position is simple. It is the Millicent Fenwick position. She was a feisty Congresswoman, and one of my heroines. In the early 80's, I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with her. She believed that Congress, with its hidden rules, ability to bottle up legislation in "committee," and most notoriously, the "committee system" itself, were pretty much the root of all governmental evil in the United States (I am, of course, grossly paraphrasing her eloquent theories).Her solution to a broken government was simple: In some way, shape or form, every single bill introduced in Congress, MUST be voted on that session. Up or down. Period. At least, that's what she told me, back in '81.That's sorta the simple wisdom my Grandpa would have provided.So, I keep it simple. Vote on every bill - and that includes every nomination. The deadline is the end of the session.Any other answer is anti-Fenwickian.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:27 AM 0 comments
Monday, May 09, 2005
Quick, We Need 5400 Virgins
75 dead islamofascists, in 24 hours. Courtesy of the U.S. Military.That's another 5,400 virgins needed* in heaven, for these martyred jihad warriors. 72 per martyr is the pension.***"Hell hath no fury like the jihadist who learns that there are no waiting virgins."-BummerDietz, 2005____* I estimate a 75-to-1 kill ratio in Iraq. That means about 112,500 martyrs, so far. That means they have earned 8.5 million virgins.
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:49 AM 0 comments
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Even Banco Mexico Counts $20 Billion Escaping the IRS...
The Bank of Mexico puts the 2005 money transfer by [illegal] Mexican aliens, from the U.S. to Mexico, at about $20 billion. 1st quarter 2005 numbers are running 20% ahead of 2004; and the 2004 total was $16 billion. Ergo, 2005 is on a $20 billion pace.Here's some bone to chew on: Not all money transfers into Mexico are cleared by the Bank of Mexico. In fact, only a fraction of dollar transfers into Mexico are processed through the Bank of Mexico.What is the real annual number? Wachovia Bank spots the number at $36+ billion per year. If the Bank of Mexico increase - 20% this year - holds across all institutions, that $36B number would be $43 billion in 2005. Over $50 billion in 2006.Why won't Mexico close the border? To do so would destroy their second biggest source of money -- cash wired from the U.S. Only the state oil company Pemex nets more cash.How much is this costing the federal and state governments?Well...12.5% Social Security withholding on $36B amounts to about $4 billion per year that leaks out of the SSN system.5% state income tax avoidance, equals about $2 billion lost to state treasuries.14% federal income tax avoidance equals about $4 1/2 billion lost by the feds.Various estimates of the annual local schooling and emergency room costs, to care for illegals, are in the $10 billion range.So, adding those up, that's about $10 billion of costs, and around $10 billion of annual tax revenues, simply transferred from U.S. taxpayers, to Mexicans. A $20 billion price tag.Don't even start on the incalculable damages that illegal immigration inflicts upon U.S. laborers.What is going on?
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:50 AM 0 comments
Friday, May 06, 2005
If The Campus Leftie Had Penned the Document
Yet another Ann Coulter affair, whereby one or more leftists engage in political theater by disrupting her campus forum with infantile heckling, has made the news.Ann (who I used to dislike as a bombtosser, but I have warmed considerably) makes the most of it for her conservative causes, by pretending that it is not part of a centuries-old tradition of political theater (granted, juvenile and idiotarian...), but rather that the leftist political theater is indicative of the intellectual status of the left.To Ann's credit, when she stopped pandering on Hannity&Colmes a couple of nights ago, she gave what has become a trademark rifle shot of clear thinking after 10 minutes of punking the Left. Ann's point about the campus left is that, as a generation, they have lost the ability to engage in logical or coherent thought or analysis, in part due to coddling by Leftist professors and Leftist media.She makes a very good point. Sort of like the "social promotion" that crept into schools, instead of flunking poor students. Ann claims that the irrational Left students are coddled with the equivalent of "social promotion."I can't help it, I have to illustrate the point:In the Words of the Classicist:"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. ...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...."In the Words of the Modern Campus Leftie:"F*ck the Brits. F*ck this sh*t."***Ann has a point... .***Partial transcript of Ann's comments:
COULTER: ...But I think there really is a problem on college campuses and if you want liberalism to continue in this country — I don't — but just to give you a little tip: Liberal students are being let down by their professors, by the world. I mean, they're buffeted along by a liberal media. They have liberal public school teachers. They go to college. They have liberal professors. They don't know how to argue. They can't put together a logical thought, whereas you could put a college Republican on TV right now and he can debate you and do a credible job. But liberals, they throw food, they curse.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:24 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
A Whole Lotta Commies and a Whole Lotta Illegal Aliens
Any person or politician who voices concern over the 10 to 20 million illegal (mostly Mexican and Central American) aliens here in the U.S., gets denounced as a racist. Face it, you are a racist bastard. The only reason you want to stop the tens of millions of "guests" from coming here, is because you are white and they are colored.There's an equally fun game that has been played for 5 decades by Leftie professors and Hollywooders. When the extent of Communist infiltration was exposed, after WWII, those doing the exposing were attacked as being extremist tyrants and despots. But the Venona Project files - the deciphered Soviet cables from that era - establish that, in fact, Joseph McCarthy was correct. The "Hollywood Blacklist" was a good thing, because in fact they were subversive agents of a foreign power hell-bent on destroying the U.S. (Note, that precisely none of the dozens/hundreds of historians and tenured professors whose mimeographed denuciations of the anti-red movement [as being "factually wrong"], have come forward to admit they were wrong. Don't hold your breath. ...)***Communism was by its internal logic a world movement, as its leaders understood that the modest economic output possible under a controlled economy could not compete in the long run with either the military ordnance or consumer goods capacity of Western free market economies. Accordingly, a collectivist economic structure must either be uniformily adopted/enforced globally, or it would fall prey to capitalism's bribery of the masses, achieved via the vast array of goodies offered by capitalism (albeit inequitably distributed, so goes the Red theory).The "Communist International" - Comintern for short - and later, the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) - were the "trade organizations" of the commies, like the DNC is to the Clinton and Kennedy clans, or the RNC to the Bush clan. These Red organizations, along with the spy agencies of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc satellites, worked the trenches of the Cold War, to defeat the West, border by border. Since the commies could not out-produce the West, either in military or consumer goods, the Cold War was fought in other ways, including the key strategic device of changing Western public opinion towards the Reds.That's why the Reds' infiltration of both Hollywood (with its dominance over worldwide popular culture and media) and the US State Department (again, with dominant fact-finding tendrils worldwide) was key to its Cold War strategy. Those two behemoths had (and still have) a gigantic effect over domestic and world opinion. Control those, and you have a significant amount of input and control over world opinion.***Alas, the commie/collectivists did not go away with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Collectivists still believe that capitalism is wrong, and that one of capitalism's defining elements is that of 'national borders' - mere devices of the capitalist structure to violently protect its entrenched capital from being accessed by the proletariat. Borders prevent the proletariat from obtaining control of the means of production - raw material, land, and the like.So, all those collectivists have not changed their minds; rather, they have migrated to niche causes. The unifying theme of those causes is the erosion of United States military and economic hegemony. Because without that erosion, the worldwide collectivist movement simply cannot thrive, other than via short-lived, localized uprisings doomed for failure, more or less akin to a co-ordinated "bread riot" movement that abates when the next inevitable local strong man steps in to impose order over the mess left by the riots.And to break that hegemony, you have to do away with the border. That's the thinking.***When the efforts of the Comintern and Cominform were exposed in the US, the commie puppetmasters made sure that those who worked to expose the movement were vilified. Intimidation was their best weapon. Compare that strategy, with those who are advocates of a "U.S. without borders." Anyone who voices concern over the millions coming across the border, illegally, is a racist. It's the same intimidation and vilification strategy, brought to you from the same collectivist playbook.***C'mon. Of course, Soviet agents should not be ensconced in the upper echelon of the U.S. State Department.Of course the U.S. borders should be under control of the U.S. We get to determine who gets in.Of course, illegal aliens should be expelled. And, of course the U.S. should, and will, invite millions of immigrants back under some structured guest worker program. Maybe 2 million, maybe 10 million. Let's do the math and figure it out.But with all the noise, how can you be sure that establishing border control is the correct policy? Because the collectivists call you racist for even considering it, that's why.It's that easy to spot. There are no sound arguments in favor of an open border. So, instead, you get called a racist.
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:09 PM 4 comments
Saturday, April 30, 2005
The Hidden Key to the Illegal Immigration Door
I have scolded my Leftie friends who blame the "fatcat Republicans wanting cheap labor" for illegal immigration. Yet, the immigration inertia in Republican-controlled D.C. is painfully obvious. Maybe the Lefties are correct on this. I dived in.I am not happy with what I unearthed.The US government estimates that there are 10 million illegal immigrants in the US. (Here in Southern California, that is no secret). A recent investment bank report puts the figure closer to 18-20 million.Wages in the U.S. are subject to income tax. Your employer effects "payroll deductions." If your employer fails to do so, the company (and even the owner) is personally liable for failure to withhold. This is the key to compliance with our income tax system.A corollary law (26 USC 1441) plugs a loophole. It requires that certain "withholding agents" (like an employer, or a bank, or other entity that moves money) withhold 30%, or some smaller percentage (14%) from payments the agent makes, where the money is likely US-based income.So if 10 Frenchmen (that is, non-U.S. taxpayers) come to the US and are paid $1 million each by Pepsico for their fine soccer match performances, Pepsico will withhold from each payment a 30% "backup withholding" amount. Each Frenchman may thereafter file a U.S. tax return, showing that under the French-US tax treaty, a different outcome is warranted. Perhaps the 10 Frenchman each get a refund of some or all of that 30% that was withheld. But if they do not bother to file, the U.S. keeps the money. (Just like the payroll withholding that your employer does, every 2 weeks.)Great. So what?We have 10 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the US. In theory, they earn money in the cash underground economy. The persons who pay them should withhold payroll taxes, but they don't.In theory, those illegals travel back to Mexico and give the money to their Mexican families or the like. These folks shuttle back and forth across the border.But a problem has arisen. In that past few years, clever financial services companies have decided that they can earn big fees from facilitating the "wiring" of monies by illegal aliens to Mexico or the like. In other words, the illegal alien no longer has to travel back to Mexico; instead, he can "Western Union" the money back to Mexico.How much? $36 billion a year wired to Mexico, and climbing...Now, there is no need to travel back to Mexico. Just wire the money, instead. Is it any wonder why the number of illegal aliens has swollen, to 10 million (or 20 million, depending upon whose numbers you believe)?OK. But Western Union is a "withholding agent" under 26 USC 1441.* (See Footnote) As a withholding agent, Western Union is withholding taxes from all those wire transfers.....right?Nope. (It took me hours to find out why.)Bureaucrats in the Treasury Department issued regulations which are vague, but give Western Union and companies like it the plausible excuse to facilitate billion-dollar tax avoidance:
"Code of Federal Regulations Sec. 1.1441-4 -- Exemptions from withholding for certain effectively connected income and other amounts....(b) Withholding is not required under Sec. 1.1441-1 from salaries, wages, remuneration, or any other compensation for personal services of a nonresident alien individual if such compensation is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States and-- ....(iii) Such compensation is for services performed by a nonresident alien individual who is a resident of Canada or Mexico and who enters and leaves the United States at frequent intervals."
There it is, folks. There's the key. CFR 1.1441-4(b)(iii). No chicken-sh*t politician ever put that up for a vote. And I certainly don't remember voting on the issue of granting income tax immunity to illegal aliens from Mexico and Canada. I don't remember voting on creating a de facto $36 billion+ dollar annual subsidy -- a giant sucking sound? -- of cash moving out of the southern U.S. to Mexico. I don't remember any vote here in California, determining that 10 million workers would be exempt from both California and federal income tax, despite our annual $10 billion budget deficit caused largely by the skyrocketing schooling and medical costs for illegal aliens.I visited a Western Union branch last week, at a Circle K convenience store. Alas, there was no procedure in place to ascertain whether the money sender was a Mexican who "enters and leaves the United States at frequent intervals." So how would the part-time Circle K clerk - aka, the Western Union agent - know that a backup withholding exemption applied?This is it, folks. This little loophole is the reason for the immigration "inertia" in Washington. Billions are being made (i.e., via marketcap) off of these transfers. For example:--Western Union (subsidiary of First Data Corp) - $30 billion market value.--Total System Services Inc. - $5 billion market cap.--Wachovia Corp. - with a - $80 billion market cap (happy quote: "We're the first major bank" to allow customers to "send money to friends and family throughout Latin American and Caribbean countries as well as Mexico.")___* -- Is Western Union a "Withholding Agent"? Absolutely. According the IRS Publication 515:Withholding Agent. You are a withholding agent if you are a U.S. or foreign person that has control, receipt, custody, disposal, or payment of any item of income of a foreign person that is subject to withholding. ...You may be a withholding agent even if there is no requirement to withhold from a payment or even if another person has withheld the required amount from the payment.Although several persons may be withholding agents for a single payment, the full tax is required to be withheld only once. Generally, the U.S. person who pays an amount subject to [Non-Resident Alien](NRA) withholding is the person responsible for withholding. However, other persons may be required to withhold. For example, a payment made by a flow-through entity or nonqualified intermediary that knows, or has reason to know, that the full amount of NRA withholding was not done by the person from which it receives a payment is required to do the appropriate withholding since it also falls within the definition of a withholding agent. ...Liability for tax. As a withholding agent, you are personally liable for any tax required to be withheld. This liability is independent of the tax liability of the foreign person to whom the payment is made. If you fail to withhold and the foreign payee fails to satisfy its U.S. tax liability, then both you and the foreign person are liable for tax, as well as interest and any applicable penalties....
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:15 AM 11 comments
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
It's Unanimous: Effete Thugs' Bullsh*t Exposed
The effete thugs of the elite MSM have again suffered a unanimous defeat in the appeals court.The New York Times, whose reporter is a target in the case, cannot bring itself to disclose that the Appeals Court ruled against its frivolous claim, unanimously. Instead, this tortured language -- anything to avoid using the "U" word:
Seven judges participated in yesterday's decision, which noted only that a majority of the court's active judges had not voted in favor of a rehearing. Two active judges did not participate, for unexplained reasons. One judge, David S. Tattle, published an explanatory concurrence. None of the judges noted a dissent.***Bummer likes a free press. Bummer likes a press that can be a conduit for whistleblowers, in government and industry. Bummer understands that a free press and whistleblowing will be seriously impacted if the powerful forces that are attacked are able to punish the reporters via criminal indictment. Bummer also understands the argument that a reporter's sources may be less willing to provide information, if there is a credible threat that the reporter might be compelled to reveal the source, someday.But the "chilling of my sources" argument is a fake, emotional non-issue here, and the effete thugs of the MSM, who have enjoyed a perception of complete immunity, know it (like some punk UN sub-diplomat who double parks his car with diplomatic license plates for 2 hours in a rush hour traffic lane, so that he can have a smoke and a cocktail before heading home to his Stateside mistress). What is at issue is whether there exists ANY third party (like a judge) with the power to supervise abuses of the strong 1st Amendment rights of the press.Of course there is. Our whole system relies on checks and balances....Lawyers have privilege with clients, but courts and the bar can pierce the privilege when fraud is involved. Doctors have privilege, but courts and the state medical board can pierce the privilege when fraud is involved. Ministers have privilege, but courts can pierce the privilege when fraud is involved. Reporters have privilege, but ___ can pierce the privilege when _____ is involved.This one ain't hard. Really.What is technically at issue here is whether a judge, with prima facie evidence of a felony, can issue a subpoena to a reporter. That's this case. This detail is the heart of why the MSM's "absolute immunity" demands are not credible. In theory and reality, it will be months, and likely years, before a reporter would ever be compelled to appear in response to a judge-issued subpoena. By then, the "story" - the whistleblowing - has occurred. The claim that a whistleblowing expose will be halted by sinister political or business forces is false -- unless such forces have paid off the judge. But bribing of judges is a fake issue. The related claim that the threat of future exposure of the source will cause the source to clam up is also false. A source that breaks a legitimate story will be a hero, not a villain. A reporter who breaks a legitimate expose will win a Pulitzer, not an indictment.But a source that knowingly floats forged or libelous material? Or a reporter who knowingly traffics in such? Of course they will be forced to think twice, before they do it. I'm in favor of that. (Remember Mary Mapes and Bill Burkett?)What will happen (we can only hope) is that fraudulent "sources" - spin meisters - will be chilled, because they will know that their false statements in support of a false story might come back to haunt them. What will further happen (we can only hope) is that reporters who are gaming the system by seeking and/or failing to vet fraudulent sources ( Mapes and Burkett) will be chilled from doing so. That is exactly the 'balance of chill' needed. Legitimate sources and legitimate reporters - by which I mean ones not engaged in fraud - will be unaffected by it all.And if a reporter, and/or the source, is forced to stop for 3 minutes and think, "Hmm..Am I committing fraud? Am I stepping over the Sullivan case's 'actual malice' line?," then good, that is exactly the required analysis, and the burden, that other Privilege Holders in our society must engage in. Weclome to adulthood.Reporters and the Press, who enjoy the benefits of a strong (yet limited) immunity, must accept the tiny burden that goes with it - "Don't Use the Privilege To Further a Fraud."This one ain't difficult. Don't believe the arrogant, effete thugs demanding absolute immunity. Absolute immunity corrupts - absolutely.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:44 AM 3 comments
Monday, April 18, 2005
Johnny, Turn Off That Radio... I Don't Care Who These "Beatles" Are.
Brian Anderson explains today in the L.A. Times why Liberal Talk Radio will not be successful in the near future. His thesis is that the audience for Liberal Radio is very small. Why? Because:- Left political correctness prevents Liberal hosts from being entertaining. Basically, Left Radio is dry and not funny.- Many of the Left's core audience are ethnic, and are already served by niche radio. Volvo-driving C-list celebrities' endless talk show drivel simply cannot compete with their would-be listeners' more culturally relevant urban radio.- Right Radio gets a daily supply of fodder in revealing that day's left bias of the MSM; Left Radio (currently) has no such daily flow of material, other than to rail against Bush, which gets unfresh, quickly.Anderson then notes that some on the Left want to silence, or neutralize, the Right Radio phenomena, via government-mandated "equal time" under a "Fairness Doctrine."Personally, I'd be fine with that. Not in a political sense (of course), but for the pure entertainment. Because by extension, I would howl with laughter if the front page of the NYTimes, and every AP Wire story, had to carry a real-time rebuttal in the adjacent column. The Left MSM elites would implode. Of course, it will never happen.Basically, I agree with Anderson. He has deconstructed what I believe to be a truism, which is that in the current political environment, the Left's message (as it relates to radio) consists mostly of ad hominem demonizing the Right. (Break that down: They cannot parody themselves, due to PC; their speakers and audience is white liberal, hence they can't use the "N" word; and they've been the excuse makers for the debacles of the MSM the past year.)And that's why it just isn't very entertaining, and why in a consumer-driven market, it won't get much notice.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:35 AM 1 comments
Saturday, April 16, 2005
A Penny for VDH's Thoughts
When I was a kid, I collected coins. Buried on the penny were the initials, "VDB," an enigmatic reminder that a Victor D. Brenner was the designer of the Lincoln bust.Decades later, the initials "VDH" have begun to assume almost VDB-like stature. Victor D. Hanson continues to exhibit a post-9/11 insight that you'd think would require decades of hindsight. His latest is a must read, but chew this piece of mad VDH Science:
"Have we forgotten that ... the present loudest critics [of the pre-emptive, Iraq-based anti-terror war] had plenty of chances to leave something better than the mess that confronted the United States on September 12? Or that at a time of war, it is not very ethical to be sorta for, sorta against, kinda supportive, kinda critical of the mission — all depending on the latest sound bite from Iraq?"VDH then walks through past Mideast policies, classified as Realism, Punitivism, Bribery, Laissez Faire and the New Americanism.On Realism: "These people are either crazy or backward, and usually both. We are interested in them only to the extent they pump oil and deter Communists."On Punitivism: "We bomb, send a message, and then leave — swatting the hornet’s nest and then staying clear when the stingers buzz out from the hive. ...Nothing is as dangerous in war as striking but not defeating an enemy, showing contempt without the real ability to humble and humiliate him."On Bribery: "We have given somewhere around $57 billion in aggregate aid to Egypt.... That Mohamed Atta and Dr. Zawahiri came out of Cairo is logical rather than exceptional, as [are] ...rumors of illicit weapons programs."On Leaving Them Alone: "September 11 was the wage of decades of American appeasement and neglect — a pathological Middle East left alone to blame others for its own self-induced mess...like a spoiled child allowed to act up because it was incapable of serious mature behavior and because the ensuing tantrums were not worth the messy efforts at remediation."On the New Americanism: "We’ve seen some very strange things since this war started on September 11. But nothing is quite as odd as the past architects of failure weighing in ...as the Bush administration finally sets right three decades these people’s flawed policies."Pax Americana, mon vieux.
posted by BummerDietz @ 3:13 PM 0 comments
Thursday, April 14, 2005
I Told You. And You Didn't Do It, Did You?
I told you to short the Dow.You didn't do it, did you?Well you missed the window. Listen up, next time.
posted by BummerDietz @ 3:18 PM 1 comments
The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday nullified nearly 3,000 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by Multnomah County a year ago, saying a single county couldn't take such action on its own. The court said ...the county had no authority to issue licenses to gay couples. So I guess the U.S. won't be pulling out of Iraq, as a result of the Marin County Board of Supervisors passing that resolution demanding a withdrawal?And Maxine Waters can't tell Condi Rice what diplomatic ventures to pursue?
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:19 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
A Lucid Leftie
BummerDietz is a moderate. He infuriates Lefties, and Rightwingers, equally.Loony Lefties are more fun to pick on, though, because they tend to carry pretensions of intellect more so than Cultist Righties. Hence, they are more satisfying to take down.Since I have skewered Loony Lefties so robustly for the past 6 months, let me give some kudos to a Leftie. NY Times Op/Ed Columnist Nicholas Kristof, who almost inevitably toes a quaint dogmatic socialist/liberal line, today breaks out of his fenced pasture and pens a poignant, spot-on analysis of the public's attitude towards the "Press." It is difficult enough to formulate and communicate insights into our world; it is even more difficult to analyze oneself, yet Kristof absolutely nails it.Kudos to Kristof for his piece, "A Slap in the Face." Frankly, I'm too lazy this morning to properly edit it with the appropriate "...'s" -- so just note, I have significantly cropped the full article.Read the whole thing, it's good:
A Slap in the Face by Nicholas Kritof"...[T]he climate for freedom of the press in the U.S. feels more ominous than it has for decades. It's crucial for us to reflect on why this is happening now - and a major reason, I think, is that we in the news media are widely perceived as arrogant, out of touch and untrustworthy. Public support for the news media has all but evaporated. A recent report from the Pew Research Center, "Trends 2005," is painful to read. The report says that 45 percent of Americans believe little or nothing in their daily newspapers, up from 16 percent two decades ago."The safety net for American journalism throughout history has been...it's been public approval of the role of the free press. Public approval is our life-support system, and it is now at risk."It's not just right-wingers who distrust the media these days. ...Indeed, it's a rare news organization that is trusted by more than one-third of the people in either party: the one thing Democrats and Republicans agree on is that the news media are not trustworthy."If one word can capture the public attitude toward American journalists, I'm afraid it's "arrogant.""Unless we can recover the public trust, our protests about reporters' going to jail will come across as self-serving whining. And we'll wake up one day to find ourselves on the wrong side of history. "
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:34 AM 3 comments
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Mommy, I'm Frustrated, Irritated and Exhausted By My Chores
English has inadequate words.For example, English does not have a specific word that means, “ ---: The sense of social embarrassment and discomfort shared by members of a group, directed towards someone they observe who is engaged in anti-social behavior, where the actor not only fails to recognize how poorly his words or actions are perceived, but also mistakenly believes the group approves of his behavior, which delusion serves to further exacerbate the discomfort and angst felt among the group members.”Now that would be a cool and useful word. Let's create it: "Booraise."Not quite sure what my new word "booraise" means? Read the following NY Times Op/Ed. The essay is so not-funny, that I had the horrible realization that the writer might, in fact, be serious, and as such, readers are provided a look into a the mindset of a spoiled, borish socialist brat, pining for a return to the days when proletarian maid would clean up his domiciliary mess.I was overcome with -- "booraise" -- upon finishing the piece:
Volunteer Workers of the World, UniteBy NICOLS FOX
Bass Harbor, Me. — IT began in the 1970's. Or at least that's when I became conscious of it. People began cleaning up after themselves in fast-food restaurants. I had been living abroad and didn't know about such things.... Cleverly, the restaurants made this choice not only easy but gratifying. Customers were given the sense of being good citizens or helping out the teenage minimum-wage workers who wiped off the tables.
I was never fooled. I knew what was going on. We were doing the restaurant's work and if we didn't we felt guilty. ... In fact, it was a manifestation of the Great Labor Transfer. Companies... were looking for other ways to cut costs and saw an entirely new pool of workers who didn't have to be paid.
...[C]uriously in a country so adamantly anti-Socialist, people began to take pride in doing it, and to look down upon those who still wanted to be served.
....A good part of the increase in productivity during the past two decades can be credited to the Great Labor Transfer. We've taken on more than anyone thought possible. But it can't last.
Someday, consumers will become passive refuseniks or revolt. Or they will simply collapse with exhaustion, unable to take on one more task. I don't know when that point will come, but when it does, expect a fierce downturn in the economy. Happily, it should be followed by an upsurge when companies have to hire people to do what we've been doing and everyone once again has money to spend.
For my part I'm frustrated, irritated and exhausted. And I don't think I'm alone.
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:45 AM 0 comments
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Chips Fall on the Lying Jackies
I believe the Senator Mel Martinez is a liar. I believe he had full knowledge and intent regarding the "Talking Points Memo." I believe he, and his staff, were intentionally lying about being the source of the memo.I hope that his opponent in the next election uses this transgression against him, and that the voters throw him out of office for it.Mike Allen of WAPO is also lying. Like Eason Jordan and various CBS producers (like Mapes), he knowingly pulled a fast one, using a suspect document in a manner to attack Republicans, and then compounded the problem by lying about it. Lucky for him, the Martinez sourcing will likely deflect criticism, and Allen won't be fired.
posted by BummerDietz @ 2:35 PM 0 comments
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
We Don't Feel The Need To Read Them Books
I envy and admire the observations and writings of David Brooks, columnist for the NYTimes. I don't necessarily agree with all his opinions, but when I have an inkling about writing something, he always seems to have written it the next morning, and, of course, he actually knows how to think and write, and I'm just learning.On a daily basis, I am amazed at the increasingly muddled, contradictory and "sufficient because they are my emotions" status of the policy and philosophy arguments of my friends on the Left. (Jeez....they were so damned good at it, 20 years ago...weren't they?) Nowadays, those conversations are infused not so much with logical arguments and linkage to The Meaning of Life, but rather with the concept of how my Left friends "feel" about something. Maybe it's just Hollywood. I float a Big Idea discussion about, for example, some issue of the day and its relationship to the good of the Collective, over time, versus the good of a certain individual, or small group. Y'know, classic stuff, the mainstay of political thought. And the response, within a minute, goes silly. "I just don't feel that Bush is...blah blah blah." or "In a world where oil companies start wars for profit, I just think.... blah blah blah." Perhaps it's the same frustration that people have when they discuss something with hard core Born-Agains -- the discussion just hits a brick wall, in 30 seconds. Because one side won't participate in a meaningful manner.
That's an odd development, in my daily little corner of the world: Highly educated professionals, who once were the most open-minded thinkers and discussers I could imagine, now pretty much reside in the "quality of discussion" category as the central-casting version of the stereotypical closed-minded, hard-core religious converts.Brooks nails it today in his column, diplomatically asking why so many on the Left...well, are so unschooled in the "Classics", and not in the habit of debating the Big Thoughts. Excerpts (but read it all!):
...Conservatives have thrived because they are split into feuding factions that squabble incessantly. As these factions have multiplied, more people have come to call themselves conservatives because they've found one faction to agree with....In the early days of National Review, many of the senior editors didn't even speak to one another....It's been like that ever since - neocons arguing with theocons, the old right with the new right, internationalists versus isolationists, supply siders versus fiscal conservatives. The major conservative magazines - The Weekly Standard, National Review, Reason, The American Conservative, The National Interest, Commentary - agree on almost nothing.... When modern conservatism became aware of itself, conservatives were so far out of power it wasn't even worth thinking about policy prescriptions. They argued about the order of the universe, and how the social order should reflect the moral order. Different factions looked back to different philosophers - Burke, Aquinas, Hayek, Hamilton, Jefferson - to define what a just society should look like.Conservatives fell into the habit of being acutely conscious of their intellectual forebears and had big debates about public philosophy. That turned out to be important: nobody joins a movement because of admiration for its entitlement reform plan. People join up because they think that movement's views about human nature and society are true.Liberals have not had a comparable public philosophy debate. A year ago I called the head of a prominent liberal think tank to ask him who his favorite philosopher was.... [O]n this subject he stumbled and said he'd call me back. He never did.Didn't call back?
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:51 AM 1 comments
Monday, April 04, 2005
Please Make It Illegal for the Other Guy To Speak
San Francisco, to try to regulate blogging?Gosh, do you think that maybe, just maybe, the Leftwing city workers might "enforce" a little harder against centrist and right-of-center blogs? If my unregulated blog were to be an advocate against, say, a mayor' s issuance of gay marriage licenses in violation of state law, do you think that maybe - just maybe - the City would try to shut me down (and charge me with a "hate crime")?Ahh, the Left, the Left, what is to be done with the Left......the irony-free zone of the Leftist brain:Historical irony: The seminal U.S. Supreme Court case of Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886).In the 1880's, about 30,000 Chinese had moved to and lived in the San Francisco Bay area. Many Caucasian and Hispanic Californians did not like this influx of Asians, and as a result both the state as well as many localities began passing laws that specifically discriminated against them.A San Francisco ordinance prohibited operating a laundry located in a wooden building without the consent of the Board of Supervisors; laundries in brick or stone buildings needed no comparable approval. By itself the law seemed a reasonable exercise of the state's police power, since the wooden buildings were vulnerable to the many fires that plagued San Francisco and other nineteenth-century cities. At the time, over 95 percent of the 320 laundries in the city were located in wooden buildings, and of these, two-thirds had Chinese owners.The Board of Supervisors granted permission to operate laundries in wooden buildings to all but one of the non-Chinese owners, but none to the 200 Chinese applicants. A Chinese alien (who for over 100 years has been mistakenly identified as Mr. "Yick Wo"; in fact, his name is not known; "Yick Wo" is Mandarin for "Chinese Laundry"...- BummerNote) had operated a laundry in the city for many years, was refused a permit. When he continued to run the business, he was arrested and convicted under the ordinance.The Supreme Court reversed the conviction, because the law was administered in a grossly discriminatory fashion. Yick Wo v. Hopkins is the first instance of the Court inferring the existence of discrimination from data about a law's application, a technique that would be used again in the 1960s to strike down statutes discriminating against Blacks.
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:34 AM 1 comments
Friday, April 01, 2005
BergerQuiddick - Guilt and Spin
Bummer has previously railed against Sandy Berger’s attempt to prevent the 9/11 Commission from seeing some Clinton administration notes that would blunt the accusations being made by John Kerry against Bush.“No, it was all an innocent mistake,” was the spin, and the MSM went with it. No MSM mention of the obvious - that Kerry campaign advisor Berger was falsifying documents to try to affect the presidential campaign.Today, Berger is pleading guilty. Yet the spin continues – the NY Times still pushes the following "inadvertent" spin drivel:
"Mr. Berger admits to compounding the mistake after removing the second set of documents on Oct. 2, 2003, the associate said. In comparing the versions at his office later that day, he realized that several were essentially the same, and he cut three copies into small pieces, the associate said. He also admitted to improperly removing handwritten notes he had taken at the Archives, the associate said."Notice how the NY Times omits the critical fact – that Berger destroyed the documents by cutting them into little pieces with a pair of scissors. The NY Times cut out the scissors reference, in order to maintain the façade that this was “inadvertent.”Let's see if I have this correct:
"Although Mr. Berger removed a memo, and then went back and fetched additional copies of the memo drafts, and then went to his office and sliced three of those copies into tiny bits - with a big pair of scissors from Office Depot, because his home shredder had a wiring short - it is clear that is was all just a misunderstanding." OK, great, I've got it. And those Watergate burglars were just some drunks who just happened to stumble into the wrong apartment complex... .***Cheers to the WAPO - it reports the entire story and does not pretend that this was "inadvertent."
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:42 AM 3 comments
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Another Fake Memo Used Unquestioningly by the MSM?
[UPDATE:The ABC News Political Director is Mark Halperin. Remember the "we must hurt Bush" memo ? I'm told that he must have OK'ed the questionable "GOP-Schiavo talking points memo." ]***For those new to the breaking story of the supposedly “secret Republican Terry Schiavo strategy memo” affair, Powerline is all over the story.The memo - now questionned as a forgery - was provided to MSM outlet(s), initially via ABC News and then picked up by WaPo, the NYTimes (here, too) and so forth, in stories as backup for the claim of Republican political chicanery over the Schiavo mess [ed: as if evidence was needed…].Why would the MSM run with an unauthenticated memo that is so damaging to Republican Senators? Hmmm. Wonder why the MSM is fighting so hard for the right to have "absolute privilege" for their "sources?"Evidence - to date - that the memo is not authentic:1. MSM will not reveal the source, other than to say it is “credible.”2. The memo has the Congressional bill number wrong.3. The memo uses verbatim quotes from a "right-wing" website.4. The memo contains strategic ideas that cast Republicans in a bad light; Hill professionals tend not to record such things in circulated memos.5. The version that was “leaked” to the MSM (with typos) differs from the copy that was later posted on websites (typos cleaned up); the best explanation for the differing versions? The “leaker” and “drafter” are the same persons.6. By now the blogosphere has likely come up with another few items......
posted by BummerDietz @ 4:18 PM 1 comments
Say It Often Enough
During my first week of law school, a professor showed a tape of a trial, where the accused was caught red-handed on a video robbing a store. The defense lawyer's sole tactic in defending the case was to say to the jury, repeatedly:
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this video is proof of my client's innocence. As you can see with your own eyes, clearly the man in this video is not my client."The defendant was absolutely, factually guilty, and the video image was clear and convincing. But the defense lawyer hung three juries with his argument. Meaning, all you need is one person....****In the past 45 days, it has been vogue among a certain set to claim that, "Social Security isn't broken." In case you had any doubt, anyone who made that claim was, and is, lying to you:
In the 2005 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
-The projected point at which tax revenues will fall below program costs comes in 2017 – one year earlier than the projection in last year’s report.
-The projected point at which the Trust Funds will be exhausted comes in 2041 – also one year earlier than the projection in last year’s report. Trustees also said that Medicare faces insolvency in 2020.***"Clearly, the man in that video is not my client."***BummerDietz has been employing a Social Security tactic of late. Anyone who claims to me that "Social Security isn't in trouble," I simply promise the person that I will give them $1000 if they will go research the issue, come back and convincingly explain to me why, as an actuarial reality, Social Security is in trouble; provided, that (a) I must be convinced of their argument, (b) I get to record their explanation, and (c) they sign a release of the tape.The nonsense ends right there, mercifully. (No takers, yet. Shocking...)
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:20 PM 2 comments
No comment required:BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. and Iraqi forces raided a suspected guerrilla training camp and killed 85 fighters, the single biggest one-day death toll for militants in months and the latest in a series of blows to the insurgency, Iraqi officials said Wednesday....[It was] the largest number killed in a single battle since the U.S. Marine-led November attack on the former militant stronghold of Fallujah left more than 1,000 dead.On Sunday, U.S. forces killed 26 attackers after an ambush south of Baghdad.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:02 AM 2 comments
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Saddam's 1981 Nukes, and Those Wacky Zionists
Footnotes from a great book regarding Israel's 1981 bombing of Iraq's Osirak reactor, which disabled Saddam's atomic bomb program just weeks before the French-built nuclear reactor was fired up:"Well, boys will be boys." -- President Reagan, upon being informed of the Israeli raid that used US-supplied F-16 jets.Richard Perle, assistant secretary of defense under Caspar Weinberger, disagreed with the US government's official "censure" of Israel over the raid. At the time (1981), Perle declared the bombing to be a great act of non-proliferation, the exact thing the US should be doing more of."[Saddam would have] no hesitation in dropping 3 or 4 or 5 of those [atomic] bombs on Israel....Israel has nothing to apologize for." -- Israeli PM Menachem Begin, responding to worldwide condemnation of the raid."Golda's Balcony" -- Nickname for Israel's own super-secret atomic bomb factory control center.Jacques Chirac -- French PM and close Saddam ally and parade companion, sold Saddam the reactor and weapons-grade uranium, and provided over 100 French technicians to run the facility. (Some "inconvenient" pictures that the French government would like to un-publish, are here. )___Source: Raid on the Sun, by Rodger Claire. Inside account of the Osirak raid. Highly recommended. Buy it here.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:23 AM 1 comments
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Kerry: We Must Stop This Free Speech Thing
Irony-free John Kerry, commenting on the Left’s ardent desire to silence bloggers, A.M. radio DJ’s and lightly-viewed cable news channels:
"There has been a profound and negative change in the relationship of America's media with the American people. . . . something has happened in the way in which we are talking to each other and who is arbitrating the truth in American politics. . . . when ... there is no arbitrator, we have a problem."***John Kerry, on being grateful to the MSM for “discerning” that any inquiry into his non-honorable discharge from the Navy would “hurt” the election prospects of Citizen Soldier:
"The mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning."
Um, yeah.... 2004 was certainly a banner year for the MSM's ability to "discern" what was true and what was bogus....
John Kerry, blaming blogs for all those false assurances he got that the MSM’s and DNC’s Memogate trick would successfully counter the Swifties:
"But there's a subculture and a sub-media that…. undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"___Hat tip (and acknowledgement that I will never be worthy) to pants-down-'publican PJ O'Rourke.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:52 AM 2 comments
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Some "News" re Swift Boat Vets
I was truly up-in-the-air about who to vote for in the Summer of 04 - mostly because I had not focused. I had a mild pro-Kerry attitude after the Dem convention, perhaps due to peer pressure.I bought the Swift Boat Vets book and read it. I found it to be a decent piece of work, albeit I was viewing it as a lawyer (i.e., first person accounts are best; hearsay is of less value; contradictory statements by witnesses are a key tool to discern truth; factual statements made at the time have more value than factual recollections decades later; later statements will have interpretation blended in, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad; etc.)The book was poorly written (in a literary or style sense), but that did not mean that it was poorly researched. It had the marks of having been assembled quickly and not professionally edited, although the book attempted to be transparent with its sources, to avoid such shortcomings.I'm a rare duck. I don't think there are many lawyers who switched their vote due to the SBV book, but I did. I did not switch directly because of the book, per se; rather, the SBV "For Truth" book ignited a long-dormant political side, honed by 20 years of legal skill. A month after reading the book, I was voting Bush. A few weeks before Memogate broke. (This blog resulted.)In short, the SBV For Truth book, despite many shortcomings, proved a seminal document for me. It alerted me to the degree that Leftist/Collectivist bias has simply taken-over the critical core elements of the Main Stream Media - those Media elements which then syndicated their views throughout the U.S., through all media (but for a small audience of am radio).The more I focused on the underlying facts - the facts - the more difficult it was to locate any discussion whatsoever of those facts in the MSM. The "facts" - whatever they were - were irrelevant to the MSM. Yet, the Swift Boat Vets had come forward with a previous generation's version of a videotape of the facts. Now, the MSM typically cannot resist a videotape, or a living witness. But with the underlying facts of Kerry and Vietnam, the MSM simply refused to acknowledge that this "videotape" existed. Instead, Stephen Spielberg's rendition - played with great fanfare at the Democratic Convention - was all that MSM would allow. The MSM's avoidance of any coverage of the "living witnesses" here - a virtual videotape - was difficult to square with the ordinary behavior of the MSM, which is to swarm all over any "videotape" or living witness.That's the disconnect that awakened me - the realization that the MSM was not only NOT swarming on this "best evidence" amid the huge election story, but that the few MSM stories that began to appear were personal attacks upon the SBVets themselves. Illogical, and ad hominem. That was the disconnect for me. What explains it?....If you are reading this blog, the foregoing is likely not news to you. The SBV leader - John O'Neill - was vilified. When he appeared, for example, on the O'Reilly Factor, and portrayed a credible and "backed-up" story, O'Reilly later declared him to be "not credible" or some such. (Why? O'Reilly's holy grail was to interview both Bush and Kerry, and O'Reilly thought that if he gave any credence to the SBVets, then Kerry would not do an interview with him. Last laugh - Kerry completely shined O'Reilly, leaving him on the wrong side - historically - of the SBVets affair. And O'Reilly pissed me off, for hanging the SBVets to dry in order to pander to the Kerry campaign, for a fricking interview....)Bottom line: John O'Neill and his colleagues did decent, yeoman's work in an overwhelmingly hostile environment.John O'Neill is interviewed here, in the American Enterprise weekly. I find his insights to be clear, concise and compelling. Frankly, this interview is the best overview of the SBV Affair I have read.BummerDietz' verdict: Anyone who attempts to portray the "documentarian" or "historian" aspects of John O'Neill as somehow being "not credible" or "flawed," is a partisan hack. O'Neill may cavort with farm animals and the like - I have no idea - but that is irrelevant. As a historian and documentarian, he is credible - albeit he certainly lacks style, and within 10 minutes can coax a foaming jackal infused with Espresso into a deep slumber.___Today's post ignores Mario Vasquez, Bernard Ebbers, Scott Peterson, Alaska oil drilling and gay marriage.
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:13 AM 2 comments
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Beneath Plame: Faking Classified Reports, and MSM Coordinating Anti-Bush Stories with DNC
I've posted a few times on the thuggery of the MSM in seeking to avoid a federal judge's subpeona of claimed leaks in the "Plame Affair." Powerline sniffs at it, today.Basics: CIA Agent (desk job) recommends her Hubby for investigation into rumored "Niger uranium cake" sales to Iraq. CIA agent and Hubby are NOT Bush supporters. Hubby gets the gig, writes a classified report.In the 04 campaign, Democrats claim that "Bush lied" about Iraq seeking uranium, in order to scare Americans into backing the Iraq war. The MSM continues this "Bush Lied" theme, which becomes the key Democratic primary campaign theme. A non-Left reporter discloses the name of CIA Agent and her Hubby. Outrage ensues, claiming that the Bush adminstration illegally leaked the name to reporters (a crime, if true) as "punishment" or some other vague reason. Feds start a criminal investigation - on its face, against the Bush administration - to find the leak.Feds issue subpoenas to a couple of reporters who did NOT publish CIA Agent's name, but who were supposedly contacted by leaker. (Note: Those particular reporters have no "5th Amendment" right to silence, as they are not in criminal jeopardy and thus there is no danger of self-incrimination.) MSM - the NYTimes - vigourously refuses to have its reporters give the leaker's name to the Feds, claiming that a reporter has an unlimited, unqualified "privileged" relationship with his/her sources, and cannot be compelled to disclose the content or identity of any source - to wit, 100% immunity for reporters. Federal judges have so far disagreed with the MSM's position in this case.What Is Really Going On? A very curious affair but an obscure footnote, to most people. So, why have I written about it, so often? One, two.Is it so remote to speculate that the MSM is hiding a closet of nasty Plame sins, and is using the angelic claim of "privilege" as cover? (Read the header to this page - it's S&C's raison d'etre...) .Until Memogate, this generation of the MSM has never been challenged on its cozy arrangements with the Left. Has the MSM gotten so sloppy that its leaders long ago crossed certain legal and ethical bright lines, are not even aware of it, and have left a written record of their journey?(Emails and phone records have felled many titans in the past few years....)Remember Mapes' CBS co-producer Michael Smith's email to Mapes, proposing to arrange a bribe disguised as a 'book advance' for Burkett, all justified because it would change the course of the election?Remember National Security Advisor Sandy Berger spiking classified memos in order to manipulate the data that the 9/11 Commission would see, during an election year?In light of Memogate and Bergerquiddick, is the following speculation now a presumption? 1. The Hubby has been lying about what he found in Niger. In fact, there were uranium sales documents. (If Hubby's report was intentionally misleading, in order to hurt Bush, it might land him in jail and seriously damage Dem operatives. Headlined: "Career State Department Democrat falsifies classified uranium report in order to assist Democrats' election chances against Bush... ")2. The Hubby has been lying about his wife getting him the job. (So what? CIA Agents are not supposed to be engaged in nepotism...hurts the claim that the CIA agent was an innocent victim, here. In fact, the leaker might be protected by federal whistleblower statutes for exposing unlawful nepotism, and it's even more suspect if there was a spousal partisan intent to spike intelligence data gathering....God forbid that the leaker might have nailed nefarious nepotism with a nexus to Niger nuke nuggets... .)3. Bush was correct about Iraq seeking uranium. (A multitude of proponents of the "Bush Lied" story lose [even more] legitimacy. )4. MSM reporters were actively coordinating their "Bush Lied" editorial campaign with like-minded Democrats. The MSM was acting like the press office of the DNC. (Compare with the MSM swarm that simultaneously coordinated the Memogate story, and its obvious fake documents, with the Democrats' "Favorite Son" media campaign. )5. The MSM reporters being subpeoned don't really care about the call they might have gotten from a "leaker" in the Bush administration. The MSM reporters being subpeoned CARE A GREAT DEAL about the potential discovery of their coordination of reporting with the Democrats' campaigns, via the turn-over of their telephone and email records.Watch this one. There might be a reason for all this jostling.....Powerline has a superb re-rundown, today, on Hubby's bald-faced lies beginning to unravel.
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:18 AM 4 comments
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Thornburgh Interview re CBS Report
from The American LawyerWhen former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, 72, took a call in his Washington, D.C., office from CBS News president Andrew Heyward last September, he did not suspect he would soon be dropping everything for three months to work on a thankless, high-visibility corporate investigation.Along with former Associated Press president Louis Boccardi, Thornburgh, of counsel at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, was asked to determine whether Dan Rather and the staff of "60 Minutes Wednesday" violated journalistic and company standards in rushing to broadcast a report questioning aspects of President George Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard more than three decades earlier....ALM correspondent Tony Mauro sat down with Thornburgh to discuss the CBS probe and his still-active practice and life. ...Q: When the CBS call came, did you hesitate? Did you think, "Oh, boy, from the frying pan to the fire"?A: No, it seemed like a worthwhile challenge, so long as there were no restrictions on our inquiry, and we were free to go where the evidence led, so to speak. [He points to his 2003 autobiography, titled "Where the Evidence Leads."] As it turned out, that was accurate.Q: How is that guaranteed?A: It was an understanding, and fortunately, it never became an issue. They were totally forthcoming and cooperative. And they were kind enough to adopt our recommendations.Q: How did you "staff up" for a fast-track project like that?A: First Lou and I engaged the firm as counsel, and it was headed up by Michael Missal and Lawrence Lanpher the same as the WorldCom investigation. ... We had a group of eight to 10 lawyers responsible for the pick-and-shovel work. Lou and I together sat in on about 85 percent of the interviews.Q: I know from personal experience that journalists are among the most difficult people to interview. How was that part of it?A: Well, it was sensitive at the outset, because we stated we wanted everything, and journalists are understandably very reluctant to surrender things for fear of compromising sources. But we got that type of cooperation, hopefully because we earned the trust of the people we were interviewing.Q: Did you have a budget?A: We just billed it at our standard rate, with a discount for the public service aspect of it.Q: How much did CBS pay?A: I'm embarrassed to say I don't know. At this point I think they're still counting it up.Q: How much time did it take?A: A little over three months-flat out. We dropped everything else, as much as we could....Q: Before we finish, I can't resist asking you about your interview with HBO comic Ali G. I couldn't watch. It looked painful.A: It was actually fun, and it's interesting. All my friends over 35 say, "How did he get you to do that?" All my friends under 35 say, "Boy, you were great."Q: How did he get you to do it?A: I didn't have a clue that it was happening. The BBC called and said they were doing a program on politics and the law, and I walk in, and here's this guy in a yellow jumpsuit. I thought he was some technician or something. He is a funny man.Q: Did you fire somebody for not investigating it enough to keep you from doing the interview?A: Who am I going to fire? It was me.
posted by BummerDietz @ 3:08 PM 3 comments
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Rather Retires; Talking Sense Into Your Hippy Sister-in-Law
This prior post (pre-Thornburgh Report) is a personal favorite.Dan Rather's "retirement" will result in table talk...including with your sister-in-law who attends Oberlin and is in her 8th year of undergraduate studies, now majoring in Comparative Feminist Marxist Literature.Here are talking points, for your impending argument with her about MSM bias:The thrust of John Kerry's campaign, launched at the Democratic Convention, was Citizen Soldier. MSM TV networks ran a film of Kerry in Vietnam. Steven Spielberg helped produce the film. MSM TV carried mini-shows about "Spielberg and the making of Citizen Soldier."Meanwhile, the MSM continued to pursue claims that Bush did not properly fulfill some part of his military reserve obligations. Although the military records were all released and were reasonably convincing that Bush had earned all his hours and not dodged any service, there was some ambiguity, and the MSM deemed that fair game, and a campaign issue.It then came to light in small circles, and the internet, that Kerry had likely received a less-than-honorable, or even dishonorable, discharge from the military, and that it had later been upgraded to an honorable discharge under Carter's Vietnam amnesty pronouncement. The most logical reading of the public records supported that conclusion (E.g., Kerry's discharge occurred years too late, and noted special appeal procedures that had been utilized.) The missing part of Kerry's record - according to the National Archives, over 100 unreleased pages - would presumably have confirmed, or rebutted, the allegation. Kerry not only refused to release his records, he told the media that "all records have been released," which was demonstrable false.The MSM did not run a single item on this whopper of a story -- to wit, that Citizen Soldier centered on a guy who got tossed out of the Navy, dishonorably.The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth then released a book, challenging details of Kerry's war record, claim by claim. The challenges were by dozens, among hundred of supporting veterans, who served in the flotilla of several boats along with Kerry's boat. The Swift Boat vets signed a petition: "Kerry, Release Your Military Records."The MSM tried to ignore, and then write off, the Swift Boat vets, and then branded them as Republican dirty trick operatives. Not once did the MSM ever address the petition of the Swift Boat vets: "Kerry, release your records."Not the New York Times. Not the Washington Post. Not Newsweek. Not CBS. Not ABC. Not NBC. [Not even FOX.] Not the Wall Street Journal. Not Time Magazine. Not the Chicago Tribune. Not the Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, Boston or Minneapolis papers.Not a single MSM outlet investigated bothered to assign any reporter to investigate why the "Citizen Soldier" presidential candidate was refusing to release 100 pages of his military records.The story potential was huge -- a Big Lie story -- the kind that Pulitzers are made of, and the average Joe can and will understand it, without complication.The story was never told, other than months after the Swift Boat book came out, via Thomas Lipscomb in the small newspaper The New York Sun.The MSM simply would not address a story that would end badly for Kerry. That is the bias.The hidden records establish that Kerry got a less-than-honorable or dishonorable discharge. In light of Citizen Soldier campaign, that fact might fuel a generation of cynicism against the operatives behind Citizen Soldier. Why would these people try to pass off this guy - kicked out of the US Navy on a dishonorable basis - as a "war hero?" The current Democratic power structure would take a huge hit if that were to come to light. So the MSM would not touch the story.Meanwhile, CBS and 60 Minutes used memos forged by left wing CBS producers to continue an assault upon Bush for his Guard service, the gist of which story was that Bush got into the Texas Air Guard through favors arranged by his dad (read: de facto draft dodger), and then was too cocky to bother to show up for his duties (read: asshole). Although the existing records, and testimony from those involved, do not support this interpretation, the lack of clear documents was used as a reason for the MSM to investigate the story.Pre-broadcast, the impending CBS story was leaked to the Kerry campaign, and the campaign and DNC created a further "Fortunate Son" campaign to focus attention on the false Bush-was AWOL story.The MSM credo: %20to%20investigate%20and%20attack%20Bush%20on%20fake%20documents;%20but%20absolutely%20forbidden%20to%20investigate%20and%20attack%20Kerry%20on%20suppressed%20military%20records.%20Forge%20the%20Bush%20memos,%20and%20ignore%20the%20memos%20that%20Kerry%20refuses%20to%20authorize%20for%20release.Left%20bias.%20Pure%20and%20simple.Now%20watch%20your%20hippy%20sister-in-law%20go%20into%20melt-down.%20
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Really Good Breasts
I gotta give it to the smart yet semi-nerdy Powerline guys. I check in every day to see what's up.Hindrocket is dead on, yet completely clueless. No wonder the brothas laugh at geeky white guys from Minnesota. Yes, John, Beyonce Knowles is stunning. But John, I am stunned that you posted her picture and didn't comment on the real story - the boob job scar in her left armpit is alarmingly exposed.John ... it's Hollywood. It's all make believe.
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:19 PM 9 comments
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Italian TV Signals In Albania
[see nota bene update]There are a few phenomena particular to Hollywood - discussed elsewhere in detail - that came to a head over the Iraq invasion. I sat at many tables populated by lots of people with juris doctorate degrees, as well as others who were either educated or news-aware, 75%+ of whom were strongly, very strongly or vehemently strongly, against U.S. military action in Iraq. In both the pre-invasion and post-invasion phase, I had the pleasure/burden of explaining what the "Wolfowitz Plan" actually was (rather than some Haliburton-laced version).Reactions to my Wolfowitz tutorials were all over the map, but there was one common theme: They were hearing it laid out, for the first time, from me. I was continually struck by how educated people, who had each spent hours, and maybe scores of hours, listening to news and analysis of the war, had never been told what the actual Wolfowitz Plan was. Phenomenon #1: These otherwise bright people are so proselytized by their news sources, that the Playbook 101 of the Guys Currently Running the World are unknown them. (I have espoused that cognitive dissonance is an equally plausible explanation - to wit, they had indeed heard the basic Wolfowitz Plan spelled out, but their brains re-configured it before copying it to the brain's hard drive, so as to not upset some feisty cranial neighbors).nb: The original, Clinton-era Wolfowitz Plan is reported here. Have you ever seen it reproduced, in its entirety, after September 2002 (i.e., the month that Bush gave The Speech to the UN) ? For those who have followed it, Wolfowitz' 1998 idea was to establish (by force) an in-country Iraqi US military base as a safe zone for an anti-Saddam, pro-democracy movement in Iraq. After 9/11, this idea inflated in Big-Bang-like style. The post-9/11 need to prevent regional WMD proliferation dovetailed nicely with a grander Wolfowitz Plan -- the US could try to achieve regional reformation in a single generation, instead of 3, by turning the entire country of Iraq into a democracy safe zone, rather than just a small Free Zone out in the Iraqi desert.I use the following explanation with Leftie Hollywooders, to some effect: During the Cold War, the Soviet Politburo and Party Congress came to the conclusion that world communism could not survive in the face of the economic engine of capitalism. The capitalist system simply created too many goods (consumer and military) for the communist system to combat, in the long run. Accordingly, in addition to the Soviet's plan to gradually communize the third world, as a necessary strategic step towards eliminating the capitalist engine, the Soviet also closed its borders - the Iron Curtain descended - in order that knowledge of the prosperity of the West be minimized, to the extent possible, to the hundreds of millions living behind the Curtain. [Good time to get your listener to acknowledge that the foregoing is basically accepted as true, to prevent slippery avoidance later.] The Soviets then commenced a decades-long propaganda program, telling its wards that the West was a bad, dangerous place.But in pockets behind the curtain,Western radio and TV signals could be received. And for decades, an alternative version of reality was provided to those behind the Curtain. Put simply: How can you expect two generations of semi-starving Albanians to accept the Soviet's Big Lie, when every night they view Italian TV commercials? To wit: The Big Lie gets exposed, continually and continuously, for a generation. At some point, the Big Lie no longer has much effect; the Albanians knew that they were being systematically lied to. And that is a critical pre-condition for an oppressed people to rise up and revolt against a dictatorship of thugs. It doesn't happen overnight, but the long fuse gets lit.In other words: Rising Expectations of the proletarian.[I gotta interrupt and tell you: I hope you have experienced the pleasure/burden of seeing the faces of Lefties, when you lay this out to them.]To the extent that one believes that micro- and macro-history is closely linked with Rising Expectations, the Wolfowitz Plan is simple. It is the US using military might to inject, and support, a democratic area into a despotic region. Over a long period - a generation or two - the Rising Expectations created will change the region, somewhat organically. The resulting political structures will not be carbon copies of the US, but the hegemony of despots will have been broken. And that stranglehold of despots, financed by petro dollars and continued with the use of their own Big Lie - the scapegoating of Israel as the nefarious cause of all of the regional woes of the Arab and Muslim proles - will go away. (What about that American flag? Well, that's simple. The Jews secretly control Amerika....Amerika is a puppet of its Israeli masters.....)The regional despots will not all go away quietly. So, make sure there are no WMD's lying around.***In any event, the Wolfowitz Plan will take time. And that realization is why Bush seems to so many on the left to be a fanatic, a God Squad zombie. The Left - who generally have no idea what the Wolfowitz Plan is - see religious fervor.I see something else. I see a guy who realizes that it will be 10, 20 or 40 years from now before the results of his actions will become apparent. I see a guy who realizes that the short-term opposition and political squabbling is absolutely part of his undertaking a paradigmatic shift. (If it wasn't such a brilliant strategic paradigm shift, there would be no opposition! How ironic that the opposition, in Bush's mind, is a sign that he will be proven correct.) The Kennedy's (the dead ones, that is) would have seen it the same way; it isn't a Dem vs. Publican issue.***Telling people with gnat-like attention spans that the Wolfowitz Plan will play out well, in a generation, is like telling your zit-faced teenager that he'll laugh about it in 20 years. The teenager simply has no frame of reference. Thus, your words are insane babble.***David Brooks uses different terminology today in his excellent NY Times column, but otherwise blends Rising Expectation theory with - gasp! - "regional democracy" happy-talk in the Mideast. (I like Brooks' careful, considered and correct use of the work "powerful." Power in the physical sense means, "transformative." Perfect, perfect words and thoughts.)
This is the most powerful question in the world today: Why not here? People in Eastern Europe looked at people in Western Europe and asked, Why not here? People in Ukraine looked at people in Georgia and asked, Why not here? People around the Arab world look at voters in Iraq and ask, Why not here?... Wherever it is asked, people seem to feel that the rules have changed. New possibilities have opened up.The question is being asked now in Lebanon.... 'It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.'
So now we have mass demonstrations on the streets of Beirut. ....The head of the Syrian Press Syndicate told The Times on Thursday: "There's a new world out there and a new reality. You can no longer have business as usual."...It's amazing in retrospect to think of how much psychological resistance there is to asking this breakthrough question: Why not here? ....But if there is one soft-power gift America does possess, it is this tendency to imagine new worlds.... Things don't come out wonderfully just because some fine person asks, Why not here? But this is clearly the question the United States is destined to provoke. ***Wolfowitz, Perle, Rice and Bush, Brooks is applauding you this morning, as am I.Maybe my Hollywood dinner conversations will now result in a slower erosion of my base of Hollywood friendships. Or, at least I won't get called a f***ing Nazi so often...***Nota bene update: One repeated, crucial claim of the anti-war advocates was that US military action in Iraq would infuriate the "Arab Street," presumably by giving radicals a recruiting tool, and/or causing worse hatred of the U.S. among otherwise passive Arabs and Muslims. I spent many a dinner in exposition that such attitude was a non-thinking position, a sort of lazy remnant of a Leftist/collectivist education. My claim was that the speaker had been bombarded for decades with teachings that "the proletarian masses will one day rise up," etc., and had come to accept a proletarian revolution as a given. Because a Leftist is more-or-less programmed to think in such class-struggle terms - consciously or not - Leftists were and continue to be far more concerned about the "Arab Street," causally connected to their belief in, and/or hope for, the "rising up of the proletariat masses."Some of this professed concern over the Arab Street was genuine; other concern, when properly deconstructed (with a bit of pepper and snark tossed in), really was a nagging worry that, "If a U.S. invasion doesn't result in massive uprising among the Arab proles, then perhaps this entire class-struggle paradigm is...not ever gonna happen."In case no Leftist has noticed, as the sun sets on February 2005, there are some early and compelling signs that what the "Arab Street" really wants is....democracy. Gasp !!!Curse you, evil George Bush! Damned be your house, Paul Wolfowitz!
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:43 AM 11 comments
Friday, February 25, 2005
Ginger or Mary Ann?
Ginger or Mary Ann? A little dated. (They're both drawing Social Security now.)An updated quandary: Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham? So when Bummer is having dinner with Ann next week, the perfect timely quip designed to render her silent - if only for a moment: "Ann, I might be gay, and you are one smoking hot piece of pie."***I think that line will work. She'll have a momentary period of pure enjoyment of a blank mind, and I'm in. Sorta Zen-like, Sun-zu war tactic.Hat tip to Spock (or was it Kirk?), for the idea, i.e. decommissioning some Star Trek andoid's programming with, "Everything I say is a lie. I am lying."
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:11 AM 8 comments
Thursday, February 24, 2005
O'Reilly Jumps the Shark
Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller are the only 2 TV shows I record on Tivo. I watch O'Reilly every night, albeit in 30 minutes because I get to FF through commercials and crapicola.I was a bit dismayed when irrational leftie NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman bested O'Reilly a few months ago in a taped segment. Krugman is almost incapable of constructing a rational syllogism, and even a moderately skilled college debater could take him down 19 times out of 20. O'Reilly, however, clearly agitated, performed poorly against Krugman (who [whom?] I have no respect for, whatsoever). So badly, in fact, that they both flunked in substance, and O'Reilly was by far the worse of the two, in form. Winner: Krugman (believe me, it pains me to admit this....)We all have bad nights. But O'Reilly's dogged defense of Dan Rather, done (in my eyes) without much of an understanding of the operative facts involved, caused a bit of further dismay.There's a Hollywood phrase that's gotten a bit worn out in certain segments,. Maybe people in Omaha haven't heard it yet. It's called "jumping the shark." It's the defining moment when a good TV show turns to the darkside and begins to head downhill. The idiom comes from a Happy Days episode that featured the Fonz waterskiing (and jumping a fake shark in the water).In the entertainment business, lots of watercooler talk revolves around "jumping the shark" analysis. Like witnessing a great, or pathetic, sports event, there is a similar group experience in simultaneously and/or independently witnessing, and identifying, an exact moment when some program or actor or the like takes a permanent turn for the worse.Tonight - February 24, 2005 - I watched Bill O'Reilly jump the shark. O'Reilly had as a guest the former ex-KKK personality David Duke, in a segment where Duke gave a "1st Amendment" defense of wayward hippy Ward Churchill. My guess is that O'Reilly - who has increasingly moved rightward over the past 12 to 15 months - wanted some "fair and balanced" ballast to his right-of-center show, and decided to pick a fight with perceived right-winger racist David Duke, over 1st Amendment issues involving America-hater Ward Churchill. Then O'Reilly could claim he goes after both the Left and the Right.But O'Reilly - as he did in his "Krugman debate" - performed like a clown amped up on speed (espresso, of course.....) David Duke, by a calm demeanor, came away as the more reasonable man. Mind you - Duke is a clown -- yet he "won," in the same manner as Krugman "won" - due to O'Reilly's horrible, over-the-top, parody-like performance.Based upon his inability to out-do David Duke, on his own show and with his own producers - O'Reilly has jumped the shark. When clowns like Krugman and Duke come across as more tempered and reasonable than O'Reilly, on his own turf, with his own producers, he has arrived at the critical point in time. Like the Fonz jumping a fake shark for laughs - sad that he had to resort to that....and sad that O'Reilly has to book clowns on his show, but then comes up with the short straw.Roger, for chrissakes send O'Reilly on a 90-day sabbatical. Or, your lead network asset will begin the meltdown, in front of your eyes.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:19 PM 5 comments
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Ward Speaks with Beavered Tongue
The whole Ward Churchill thing, while interesting, evinces a bit of a generation gap, methinks.Ward has now admitted that his application under the affirmative action program was a fraud; he is not a native American. (Goodbye, job...)Although my undergrad poli sci department 25 years ago consisted of all liberals or socialist professors, the anti-American rabid nature wasn't there. But in law school (a good one, at or near the top of those stupid lists), there were a couple hard core groups - "critical legal scholars" (i.e., marxist/socialist), hard core feminist, and a few malcontent mouthfoamers. But even that was 20 years ago. Indeed, often times the radicalism took the form of either a) equating the Soviet Bloc with the US/Europe, and/or b) denying various aspects of the Cold War and/or the arms race.People 40+ years old or so (like me) likely missed the inflection point in the trend towards radicalized campuses.Once the Soviet menace was gone (15 years ago, can you believe it?), what were these giant factories of left/very left/socialist thinkers to do?Really. What topics would they turn their attention to? The history departments were already filled up.Enter the Ward Churchill types. For those of us over 40, we just weren't there during the inflection point.nb: I have not checked the status of my undergrad department. I should. Maybe it moderated. Then again, maybe it didn't. I do know of certain political battles at the law school, which continue, but large alumni donations tied to more corporate/business chairs turned the trend a bit.
posted by BummerDietz @ 2:35 PM 5 comments
Memogate: Do You Think Rigler Read Any Blogs?
see updateIn addition to hiring Dick Thornburgh, last September CBS hired Erik T. Rigler, a former F.B.I. agent and Navy aviator, to track down the source of the forged memos. Joe Hagan breaks this story at the New York Observer.
"But Mr. Rigler’s search for the origins of the documents dead-ended with the man who had given them to CBS, former National Guard employee Bill Burkett. His work did yield one result, which he passed on to the independent panel: a two-page memorandum about Ms. Mapes herself. Mr. Hibey and another outside source said that Ms. Mapes was dismayed to learn that the ostensible investigation of the documents had turned into an inquiry into the producer.
"He didn’t get any more information beyond Burkett," said [Thornburgh co-counsel Michael] Missal. "There was nothing to give us."Rigler and Missal, here are 3 fairly obvious rocks to look under: xxx & xxx & xxx. UPDATE:
I have nothing but respect for military veterans. Investigators who are also attorneys with an FBI background would seem to be qualified to assist CBS in searching for the forger(s).
But…Erik T. Rigler’s specialty is … airplane crashes. With all the private dicks available to CBS, why would they put this critical Who-Done-It investigation in the hands of an airplane crash investigator?
I’m not bashing Rigler, he seems like an able guy. But the skills sets needed here are more journalism, forensic document review, web and librarian experience, and (frankly) internet/blog savvy.
Given the skill set needed here, I just don’t see why Rigler was CBS's go-to guy in this situation.
Perhaps his FBI background and Texas connections? That is plausible. And perhaps I'm just using 20/20 hindsight -- Rigler failed, after all, to find the culprit(s) -- at least, we assume that he failed.....
Curiouser and Curiouser.......
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:19 AM 3 comments
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
OK, it ain't McDonald's 100 billion or anything, but S&C passed 100,000 hits today, at the tender age of ... 4+ months.To celebrate, try this.
posted by BummerDietz @ 12:37 PM 7 comments
Burkett. A Victim, and Boring To Boot
2600 words, yet Burkett cannot manage a single unique statement.
In a 2,600-word letter, obtained by Salon, Burkett charged that the report, through inaccuracies and "selective recall" among the key players, "exacerbated the defamation of character that CBS obviously committed when they laid the blame for the collapse of this story at my feet."Burkett clearly hints at future legal action against the network. "We are actively reviewing each finding of the report and detailing its inaccuracies in anticipation of future events," Burkett wrote on behalf of himself and his wife, Jessie.
Contacted by Salon about his letter, Burkett issued this statement: "....There were mistakes made by professional journalists that placed an undue hardship on me and my family and served as fodder for the destruction of my reputation .... I was miserably squashed throughout this horrible nightmare. CBS wanted everything that I had and then made every effort to discredit and later blame me for their own errors and failings."Burkett's central complaint with the panel's report is its failure to note that in giving the Killian memos to Mapes and Texas-based freelance reporter Mike Smith, who helped her track down the story, Burkett was making, in his words, a "contingent" agreement with them, one that put the onus on them to authenticate the memos before using them.The memos' chain of possession, and how Burkett obtained them, remain key. The panel's report indicates that reporter Smith and producer Mapes recall slightly different versions of how Burkett said he got the documents. Smith told the panel that Burkett said he had received them anonymously in the mail. Mapes said "that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett stated that he received the documents after he was interviewed on a national television show in February 2004 concerning President Bush's TexANG service, but did not say how he received them or from whom."According to Burkett, as soon as he handed over the memos, Mapes began needling him for information about his source, focusing on George Conn, a former Texas Air National Guard colleague of Burkett's. She "began playing an old media trick of baiting questions to get me to deny their origin. ... Mapes told the panel that Burkett did say the documents had come from Conn. USA Today, which also received copies of the Killian memos from Burkett last September, reported on Sept. 21 that Burkett initially told its reporters that the documents had come from Conn.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:20 AM 4 comments
Monday, February 21, 2005
Mo Hinchey, Meet Tommy Flanagan
S&C readers know that pointing out instances of cognitive dissonance of folks on the Left (and Right) fringes is a favorite BummerPastime.Cognitive dissonance ("CD") is a discomfort or anguish which arises when a discrepancy exists between existing beliefs and new information. Our minds want to restore balance, and to accomplish that, either the existing belief has to be modified or discarded, or the new information has to be ignored or rationalized.But when beliefs are strongly held, as is true for activists on the fringes, the level of daily CD is particularly strong (4 out of 5 voices in my head go, "Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!"). Against such strong beliefs, the mind instead recasts new incoming data in increasingly fanciful ways, in order to protect the non-reality-based core beliefs from causing anguish or dissonance. (It's easier to distort facts, than overhaul an entire belief system.)Enter our public figures -- particularly politicians -- whose currency requires that they exude a semblance of authority. The combination of strongly-held fringe viewpoints, frequent public appearances and the need to process new facts on-the-fly, creates the perfect Petri dish for classic source material of comedy and tragedy.More than a parlor game, Bummer's belief is that cognitive dissonance is one of the sharpest tools for exposing delusional figureheads, and a healthy democracy requires such exposure and forced retirement of those who have moved to the fringes.Oh, what a glorious few months it has been for CD...Reigning champ Charles at LGF has scored again with his source documentation of the Cognitive Dissonance rantings of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). Refusing to reconsider his core beliefs in the face of overwhelming incoming factual data, Hinchey provides a moment both comedic and tragic as he reinvents the facts, real time, as good or better than Jon Lovitz' Thomas Flanagan character ever did on SNL:
"...They've had a very very direct, aggressive attack on the, on the media... the most flagrant example of that is the way they set up Dan Rather... It originated with Karl Rove...They set that up with those false papers. Why did they do it? They knew that Bush was a draft dodger... And so what they did was... they accentuated it....They produced papers that made it look even worse...and they distributed those out to elements of the media. And they finally bought into it, and they aired it. And when they did, they had 'em... Based upon the false papers that they produced. "
nb: Nowhere does Hinchey say, "Yeah, that's the ticket!"***
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:06 AM 23 comments
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Hackers, the Secret Service and Rogue Programmers
Charles at LGF (more) and others (more) have noted that, compared to lefty sites, ROC (Right of Center) blogs get no love when it comes to indexing by Google.* Blogspot, the host of Scylla&Charybdis, is owned by Google. I sorta ignored this seemingly technie-issue until today.Coming to light only because blow-up-doll Paris Hilton apparently got hacked, note this: A single hacker easily broke into the T-Mobile system, using the stolen ID of the Secret Service agent who is investigating the hacker.....My, my, my....What havoc could result from one rogue programmer at Google, re: ROC blogs s/he disliked?Would this be of concern to the high-flying (a 134x P/E ratio !) Google stock and its holders? Google identifies the following material risks to its business: "Risk Factors:"--Our business may be adversely affected by malicious third-party applications that interfere with our receipt of information from, and provision of information to, our users...--There is an ongoing and increasing effort by “index spammers” to develop ways to manipulate our web search results.--We rely on bandwidth providers, data centers or other third parties for key aspects of the process of providing products and services to our users.______* -- Most would label Scylla as being a Right-of-Center blog. (I disagree that being anti-Left Wing is the same thing as Right-of-Center, but fine, whatever.) I note that my profile on this page lists my last post as being pre-Halloween. A 4-month backlog???
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:39 PM 5 comments
NYTimes' Bush Tapes: Felony Wiretapping?
The NY Times today runs the story of the "Bush Tapes."I presume the tapes were recorded in Texas, and that Bush and the wiretapper (ex-friend Doug Wead) were both Texas residents. If so, then Wead could legally record the conversation, without Bush's knowledge. Texas Penal Code 16.02 requires only one party's consent to the wiretap, not the consent of all parties. Remember the outrage over Linda Tripp recording her conversations with Monica?Wiretapping and eavesdropping laws vary by state. The states listed below require that all parties to a conversation consent to any recording or eavesdropping. A violation is typically a felony. If Wead or Bush was a resident of, or otherwise located in, any of the following states, then ... then Wead has a felony wiretapping problem:CaliforniaConnecticutDelawareFloridaMassachusettsMarylandMichiganMontanaNew HampshirePennsylvaniaWashington
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:50 AM 1 comments
Saturday, February 19, 2005
The Summers Affair. It Is Critical. I Mean It.
Harvard President Lawrence Summers is to be criticized for withholding a transcript of his remarks for a month, allowing a tempest became a storm. (Summers, you deserve some heat for refusing to release the data. You should know better. Heat that's appropriate for stonewalling journalists at CBS and CNN, is also appropriate for an Ivy League President.)Yet, Summers seems to have sandbagged his critics. His critics - assuming the worst, since the transcript was being withheld - now have no clothing (other than to criticize his delayed release of the transcript.) They loudly pronounced vehement, anti-Summers positions based upon inaccurate hearsay claims of what Summers was supposed to have said, as interpreted by persons who have invested their careers in not having their orthodox domain challenged.Summers then released the transcript. Bravo, albeit serious deductions for tardiness. Three things are happening, although the MSM will not likely dwell on these:First, the transcript shows that Summers did not say what his harshest critics claim he said.Second, Summers appears to be correct, as far as current research goes in a murky area.Third, the harshest critics of Summers are now digging in (and now must argue against a hypothetical fact that never happened).Query, when will the first critic, perhaps embarrassed by the transcript, accuse Summers of having falsified the exculpatory transcript?For those not wanting to read the entire dense transcript, congrats on having a real life. Below is my digest of the controversial words from Summers' speech. Note: If you have not been to college in the past 25 years, you have missed out on rise of impenetrable non-English that is the currency of the realm among social science professors. Almost no one can really understand what they are saying; hence, they are critique-proof. Techno-babble substitutes for substance. To combat this, my digest does NOT use traditional "..." to signify deletions. It's my personal battle against Professor-Obfuscation.Short subjective version: Summers does not say that men generally have a greater innate science ability that women. Rather, he makes a narrow observation about the statistical data, corrected for differences in a family's economic means and ethnicity, at the VERY HIGH END - e.g., 4 standard deviations above the norm, at the edge of the bell curve where high-end specialists reside. Summers states that at such extremes, in certain sciences, the sex of the persons receiving those aptitude scores skews 4-1 male, and maybe 5-1 male. That is, 4 or 5 men for every woman. Summers notes that small, perhaps insignificant differences between the sexes in the middle of the bell curve (remember taking 8th grade algebra class?), nonetheless become highly pronounced when you run data in the far extremes of the bell curve.Every stat person knows this.Summers suggests that if science institutions continue to use "highest scores" as the key aptitude qualifier for these science jobs (which might not be a good idea, certainly a fair argument and apparenlty one of the conference themes), then society has locked itself into the decision that this statistical difference in aptitude between the sexes, in the outlier 4x standard deviation area, will render the upper level science corps as lopsidedly male.Have any of those critics calling for Summers' head properly stated Summers' position? As in, actually read the transcript. Apparently not.***My digested version of the key parts of the long transcript (full transcript is here):Conference on Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce" There are many aspects of the problems you're discussing and it seems to me they're all very important from a national point of view. I'm going to confine myself to addressing the issue of women's representation in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions." I am going to adopt an entirely positive [meaning, scientific] rather than normative [meaning, lecturing about how things "should" be] approach, and just try to think about and offer some hypotheses as to why we observe what we observe, without the kind of judgmental tendency that inevitably is connected with all our common goals of equality."There are three broad hypotheses about the very substantial disparities documented with respect to the presence of women in high-end scientific professions. The first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is different availability of aptitude at the high end. The third is different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search."Why is the representation [of women] even lower and more problematic in science and engineering than it is in other fields? On many, many different human attributes (height, weight, propensity for criminality, overall IQ, mathematical ability, scientific ability) , there is relatively clear evidence that [regardless of a family's income] there is a difference in the standard deviation, and variability of a male and a female population. And that is true with respect to attributes that are and are not plausibly, culturally determined."If one is talking about physicists at a top twenty-five research university, one is not talking about people who are two standard deviations above the mean. It's talking about people who are 3 ½ or 4 standard deviations above the mean. Even small differences in the standard deviation will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out [?in this far area of the bell curve?]."I looked at evidence on the sex ratios in the top 5% of twelfth graders. They're all over the map, whether it's math, or science, and so. But one woman for every two men would be a high-end estimate from [various researcher's] estimates. From that, you can work out the difference out several standard deviations. If you do that calculation-and I have no reason to think that it couldn't be refined in a hundred ways-you get five to one, at the high end. "Now, it's pointed out by one of the papers at this conference that these tests are not a very good measure and are not highly predictive with respect to people's ability to do that. And that's absolutely right. But I don't think that resolves the issue at all."So my sense is that the unfortunate truth-I would far prefer to believe something else -is that the combination of the high-powered job hypothesis and the differing variances probably explains a fair amount of this problem. "
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:48 AM 4 comments
Friday, February 18, 2005
Laughing At Drudge at Oscar Time
Having a group laugh at you (not with you) is a childhood terror. Great comics are able to channel that terror into getting an audience to rotate from laughing at the comic, to laughing with him.Whatever you think of the DrudgeReport, he gets laughed at (in the DoublePlusUngood way) each year when he attempts to influence the Oscars. I am not silly enough to accuse him of taking bag money for his efforts, but I will state that he simply gets laughed at.The Hat Trick of Drudge's Failed Oscar Campaigns:1. Trying to prevent Chris Rock from being MC of the Oscar telecast. Since it is not acceptable to oppose Rock because he is an African American, Drudge's Oscar campaign claimed that Rock was anti-gay. [Hint: There are a lot of gay people in Hollywood.]2. Trying to prevent "A Beautiful Mind" from winning Best Picture. Miramax Films, which has perfected the art of running successful Oscar campaigns for mediocre films (including by courting writers with untold devices), wanted its obscure film "In the Bedroom" to win Best Picture. Unfortunately, "A Beautiful Mind" was the front runner. Since it was not effective for Drudge to merely state that Miramax really wanted its obscure film to win, Drudge's Oscar campaign claimed that the real life person portrayed in "A Beautiful Mind" was an anti-Semite. [Hint: There are a lot of Jewish executives in Hollywood.]3. Pumping one of the worst films of the decade as a "Masterpiece of the Age." Drudge ran a pre-release "exclusive" on Spielberg's 2001 mega-flop "Artificial Intelligence: AI". Since it was not acceptable for Drudge to report that the film was terrible and that Spielberg had a mega-flop on his hands, Drudge began this early Oscar campaign by reporting that the tears at the screening were not over financial failure, but because, "Steven has created a masterpiece for The Age, perfectly realized." The reality: The film was skewered by critics, and $200 million film (negative cost and marketing) garned a paltry $78M at the US box office (which dug a $150M hole for the studio to try to crawl out of in other markets.) [Hint: Pre-release "masterpiece buzz" is important in Hollywood, as it was for the naked emperor.]
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:42 AM 4 comments
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Why Do Women (Tend To) Suck at Super Math?
There has been much ado about Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers' remarks at a January Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce.Most of the ado has been raised by women's and feminist organizations, more or less along the lines that Summers' comments evinced a sexist attitude unbecoming of Harvard.****In my grandfather's time, in some places it was against the law to teach about evolution and species diversity. It was a crime. The attack on orthodox religious thinking was - well, blasphemy.Laws criminalizing scientific thought are no longer with us (for the most part), but the attack on any science that challenges orthodoxy is now more focused. The scientists are branded as Nazis or racists or communists or xxx-ists. Something bad. The underlying science is ignored; instead, the scientist is attacked for having bad motives. This is particularly nefarious at colleges, where the ad hominem has become a high art, in a manner that alums from the 50's or 60's would be shocked to witness.I submit that any person of higher learning, personally attacking President Summers for his remarks, is the moral equivalent of the prosecutor at the Scopes Monkey Trial.I would relish the debate with any professor who personally attacks Summers for his remarks. Simply, I would show them to be a fool. But, then again, the actual transcript does the same thing.***Here is the transcript. I hope you do the same.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:27 PM 3 comments
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
On the Topic of Really Bad "Official" Reports
[see Update, below]Think the Thornburgh Report is lame?It's too bad that the blogoshere didn't exist in the aftermath of the crash of TWA Flight 800. An entirely different outcome would have resulted, I think.Want a break from all this MSM crap? Spend 10 minutes here. And here.I'm a lawyer and a pilot. Although I have much better things to do with my time (so protested the proto-blogger!), I've read several books on TWA 800, and am convinced that the reality of TWA 800 is one of these three things:1. The plane was shot down accidentally by US littoral military exercises underway that evening in the area, and an active cover-up was engaged in by the FBI and later, the CIA (at the expense of the NTSB).2. Significantly less likely is that the plane was shot down in an act of terrorism3. Not dissimilar to the chaos and non-cooperation that existed among the FBI, CIA, FAA, NSA, etc., that is partly to blame for the 9/11 plot not being stopped, the lack of cooperation (and active interference) by different agencies in the investigation has rendered the real story incapable of being known.I am reasonably convinced that the "official" excuse - spark in the fuel tank - is rubbish. The theory is so preposterous - and against all evidence - that the FBI called in the CIA (yes, I am not kidding) to create a short PR film, trying to justify it.If you're bored with Eason, Gannon, Rather, and all else, check out those links, above. There are some tireless heroes to be found there, who have been pursuing the truth against enormous odds.***[Update]: Good comments, keep 'em coming. I do a disservice to the entire affair, trying to summarize it in a paragraph. Suffice it to say, if you spend a dozen hours deep in the material (much of it authored by ex-NTSB staffers, ex-military guys, etc.) the analysis is chilling. I also do NOT take lightly the idea of blaming the US military for something bad. (I'm the type who tends to wreck physical violence on foilhats who do so.)As to the astute comments that such a huge affair could never be kept secret, because it would involve 300+ conspirators, that's a very good point. However, when you drill into the material, the claim is not that a ship-launched surface-to-air missile was to blame. Rather, more like a hand-held RPL that missed a drone and locked onto the 800, a couple miles above. (That is, a shoulder-fired RPL in a small military littoral duckboat, with a crew of 6 of less.) Accordingly, the assumption that several hundred military personnel would have been accomplices is not necessarily true; the number of military eyewitnesses could and would well be counted on a single hand. I agree that any theory that assumes several hundred - or even several dozen- "conspirators" being involved in the actual firing of the missile, is presumptively not acceptable, for the exact reason that the story would have leaked by now. (On the other hand...leaking the story could about one's own involvement in killing several hundred people might well guarantee a court martial for the leaker, and he and all his mates go to the brig, a powerful silencer...)Having said that, generally, most alternative theories/conspiracy theories are incapable of testing (not the case here), and at some point rely upon a violation of Occam's Razor. What struck me about these TWA 800 counter investigations - the books, web stuff, and even a C-SPAN briefing I watched years ago that sparked my interest - was that the guys doing the expose investigations seem at all points to be ruthless disciples of Occam, and to this non-professional, yet skeptical, eye, their arguments are not only compelling, they put to shame the official version.Then the lawyer in me kicks in. The government is actively working against this inquiry. Plus, there are a few pieces of forensic evidence that are dispositive. (Like the Jordan Eason tape....just show it, dammit.) Guess what? The government (the FBI, not the NTSB) has "misplaced" those exact pieces. The exact part of the fuselage where the missile had to have entered and then exited. (Gosh, the whole plane is rebuilt in a hangar...except those fuselage panels?)Rose Mary Woods must have been on the job.The early tip-offs were by insider NTSB investigators who were furious about never-before-experienced FBI actions. One man's involvement is another's tampering. Truly fascinating. My point: Had the blogosphere existed back then, I think a whole different outcome would have emerged.My previous post, which is remarkably relevant: CBS Will Happily Burn a Whistleblower.I encourage my 23 readers to spend a little time on this one. Sorta like Encyclopedia Brown, for grown-ups.
posted by BummerDietz @ 2:58 PM 8 comments
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
CBS' "Requested Resignation" Strategy Backfires
How great if the senior insiders at CBS News begin lawsuits (and discovery) against CBS alleging that the Thornburgh Report was a gamed whitewash? What sweet angel deigned us worthy of this gift? All those manipulations under the attorney client privilege will get tested.nb: The reason that interviews were memorialized with only handwritten notes (and not recordings)? Simple. A lawyer's handwritten notes are almost impossible to subpoena. The notes are protected by 2 privileges - the "work product privilege" (for which the client and the attorney's permission are typically required for disclosure) and the "attorney client privilege" (for which only the client's permission to disclose is required.)The theory is that an attorney's subjective interpretations in deciding what notes to write, what to emphasis, etc., are so intertwined with any factual data included in the notes, that the protected "work product" of the attorney in making the notes cannot be unscrambled from any raw data that might otherwise be subject to subpoena/disclosure. In other words, the notes are deemed to be a strategic playbook, not a factual transcript, and the "other side" isn't entitled to view the strategic playbook of the attorney.This typically renders the handwritten notes as "undiscoverable," as being inherently "attorney work product," and thus privileged from discovery and disclosure. (A nuance is that, even if CBS waives thework product privilege, Thornburgh's law firm may be able to refuse to turn over the notes, as some states have found that the attorney is a "co-holder of the privilege" and thus the attorney must consent to any turn-over. Compare this to reporter's who refuse to divulge a source, as being "bad for the reporter's reputation.")Further, because the attorney's notes become integral to giving advice to the client, the "attorney-client privilege" typically applies to such notes.Thus, contrast the attorney notes with a tape recording, which is much closer to pure evidence and thus easier to obtain via subpoena over "privilege" objections.None of this is coincidence. Remember, Thornburgh's law firm is "expert" in preventing the raw data of their investigation from being released to third parties. As I've previously written:
Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh is an attorney with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart ("K&L"). K&L has a practice specialty involving "internal investigations."
K&L's primary objective in the investigation is "to prevent criminal charges from being filed" against CBS..... K&L's second objective is to ensure that CBS and its executives are "acquitted of any charges."
To prevent indictment and assure an acquittal of CBS, K&L's expertise is to conduct the investigation "to maximize the ability to assert attorney-client and work product privileges over the materials compiled in any subsequent criminal or civil proceeding."
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:36 PM 2 comments
Another Victory over Thuggery
Two good decisions in 24 hours. The Corpolitical mafia loses another power grab under the camouflage of immunity and privilege:
WASHINGTON (AP) A federal appeals court today upheld a ruling against two reporters who could go to jail for refusing to divulge their sources to investigators probing the leak of a CIA officer's name to the media.The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with prosecutors in their attempt to compel Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and The New York Times' Judith Miller to testify before a federal grand jury about their confidential sources.
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:48 AM 1 comments
Thug or Warrior? You MUST Return My Call ....
[See Update below]The Baltimore Sun (sister of the Los Angeles Times) is said to have not taken well to the new Republican Governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich. The Sun ran a story (later corrected) misrepresentnig the size of a state land swap with a developer. Another Sun coumnist ran an article describing an unflattering facial expression of the Governor's aide at a hearing; alas, since the columnist was not at the hearing, how could he describe the facial expression? Bias was charged, and Ehrlich banned state employees from returning phone calls or speaking with the 2 offending journalists, citing them as "not objectively covering the administration." The Sun sued.The Sun just lost round 1.The Sun claims that its reporters are being denied the access to government that an ordinary citizen enjoys - hence, a First Amendment violation. The Governor claims that the Sun demanded "special access" above and beyond that of a private citizen, due to the Press Badge each carries, and that no reporter has the 1st Amendment Right to demand that his calls be returned.I have not reviewed the opinion yet, and all of the online reports are written by either Sun or L.A. Times reporters, or advocacy groups for greater First Amendment rights. Thus, the actual facts are unclear, and I cannot tell (yet) whose version is closer to the truth.Judge Quarles is reported to have decided that the Governor has the right to favor certain journalists, and so long as the statutory access rights of citizens were not violated, the Governor has no duty to grant "most favored nations" status to every demanding journalist. In other words, he can refuse to return a reporter's call. Quarles' opinion stated:
"The Sun seeks a privileged status beyond that of the private citizen....The Sun seeks more access than that accorded a private citizen."***The 23 loyal readers of Scylla&Charybdis know that I have zero tolerance for the effete nonsense of corpolitical media thugs hiding behind spurious claims of immunity and privilege. Hard to tell at this early juncture if that is the case here, or if the Governor is just being a jackass.UPDATE: Opinion is available here.Sounds like a case of the Sun reporters wanting special privileges, not just ordinary privileges. Judge finds these facts establishing that the journalists were not being denied legal access to government information:
"It appears that the memorandum has not cut off all the Sun’s access to public information. .. [T]he Governor informed Mr. Nitkin that Public Information Act requests from him and Mr. Olesker were exempt from the memorandum and would continue to be answered. ... Mr. Nitkin has attended at least three press conferences. Press conferences are open to all members of the press and the public and are held in the Governor’s Reception Room which holds 80. Press briefings are held with a limited number of the press in the Governor’s conference room--which holds 10-12 persons – or some similar, small room; usually no more than five reporters are invited to press briefings. ..It appears that Mr. Nitkin has been excluded from a press briefing."
More from Judge Quarles' opinion:
"The Fourth Circuit has similarly declined to recognize a journalist’s right ... to be treated the same as other journalists.... [S]uch a right “would presumably preclude the . . . widespread practice of public officials declining to speak to reporters whom they view as untrustworthy because the reporters have previously violated a promise of confidentiality or otherwise distorted their comments."[The reporters'] complaints ... –e.g., refusal of officials to comment on statements of legislators, refusals to comment on contracts between private firms and the state, refusals to provide information or views for columns, refusals to provide background discussions to identify issues or topics of interest to readers, and refusals to provide personal reasons or justifications for declining comment – are far beyond any citizen’s reasonable expectations of access to his or her government .... the Sun seeks a privileged status beyond that of the private citizen; that desire is not a cognizable basis for injunctive relief." Bravo, Judge Quarles.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:20 AM 4 comments
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Nothing About John Kerry and Jordan Eason
Take it for granted that my marbles are misplaced, at least two days per week. Accordingly, there is no need to accuse me of having lost them, on the Shakespearean notion that "Nothing will come of noting...".I note:The MSM ignored, and then (individually and as a collective) became an active agent against investigation or disclosure concerning the "less than honorable" military discharge of candidate John Kerry and his refusal to release his military records pertaining thereto (now somewhat mis-identified as the "Swift Boat" affair). For the MSM to have done so would have dealt a negative blow to the candidate overwhelmingly preferred by MSM reporters. The MSM became so active, and then blinded by partisan zeal, that the otherwise rookie "Memogate" forgery and coverup resulted, more or less crashing an entire network news division. Alternative web logs were both the "but for" as well as "proximate" causes of the crash.Similarly, with the brief EasonQuiddick Affair, the MSM (collectively) ignored the story, and at least in the individual case of CNN, actively worked against any investigation or disclosure concerning the affair, most particularly in acting to suppress the release of the videotape at issue. (Had more time passed, one can speculate that the individual and collective response of the MSM may have paralleled that of the Swift Boat matter.) Had the MSM paid attention to the EasonQuiddick Affair, it would have dealt a negative blow to much of the "negative-Iraq" reporting that aligned with the overwhelming political "anti-Bush" consensus of MSM reporters, and would have called into question the bias of the MSM in its war reporting. Even at the early stage of EasonQuiddick, CNN (and/or an Eason faction within) became so active working against the story that CNN committed the otherwise rookie mistake of a proto-coverup, and the firing (crashing?) of a senior executive of the news division resulted. Alternative web logs were both the "but for" as well as "proximate" causes of the crash.Call me crazy. Same same.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:04 AM 3 comments
Friday, February 11, 2005
I Guess the Eason Jordan Tape Was Worse...
Eason Jordan resigned today over his comments about the US military targetting journalists.Curiously, the tape of his comments has not been made public.Unsaid elsewhere, there is the nefarious version of events, and the less nefarious.Nafarious Explanation: Query whether Eason acted intentionally, and tried to deep-six the tape, and got fired for the attempted cover-up.Least Nefarious Explanation: The least nefarious explanation is simple cognitive dissonance, which Eason has previously demonstrated. Eason has a core belief that international journalism (and its agents, journalists) is an absolute good thing, tantamount to any other value. Faced with facts which might contradict this ethical ordering that the Cynosure=Journalism, Eason’s mind lapses into cognitive dissonance mode, in order to realign facts and beliefs so that they do not contradict each other (and to stop the “whomp whomp whomp” noise in his head). Values are hard to change, so Eason's brain instead re-interprets facts to comport with the truism that the Journalist is always good.Eason did this when CNN adopted a policy of spiking anti-Saddam stories, so that CNN journalists wouldn’t get kicked out of Iraq by Saddam. Eason’s mind reinterpreted the facts. Instead, in Eason's mind, CNN journalists were being threatened with death, and thus the spiking was justified to protect the absolute good from death at Saddam's hands. (Yes, I am suggesting that no death threats really existed... .) Similarly, with this recent Easonquiddick Affair, Eason’s brain took in the fact that journalists had been killed by gunfire in war zones. Eason's value ordering (Cynosure=Journalism) cannot accept that the journalists (representing pure, absolute good) could die under neutral or random or ambiguous circumstances (or, their own negligence); rather, Evil must be responsible when Good falls. Ergo, Evil killed the journalists. So Eason’s brain kicks into further cognitive dissonance mode, and invents a personified Evil. Voila, the good journalists were – fragged - by the military! As in, intentionally targeted. Eason’s brain is one again back in balance, with journalists once again on the altar of the almighty Good. Except...the balance is achieved by the use of invented facts.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:05 PM 2 comments
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Immunity Disguised as A Privilege
My 23 readers know that BummerDietz has a jones on for the excesses of the Corpolitical mafia hiding behind the false claim of "immunity" of the press. There is a balance to be struck; the balance is currently off.It's not just the press. A similar privilege - the attorney client privilege - exists for attorney/client communications. Under statute, that privilege is (usually) well-formulated, with exceptions for fraud and the like. Yet, particularly among criminal attorneys, this "privilege" often serves as an immunity to coach defendants to commit perjury. Or, worse.....Lynn Stewart, soon to be a former lawyer, is a a seditious* vermin with Nazi-like anti-Semitic personality defects (and also, IMHO, one of the ugliest females on the planet, which may explain what drove her off the track). Stewart was convicted of terrorism.She defended her terrorism by arguing that her sedition was "privileged" as an "attorney-client communication." Her flawed understading of her privilege perhaps is the reason she was dumb enough to ferry terrorist messages in furtherance of a conspiracy with jailed islamofascists. As if, no one will notice?I'm surprised she lasted this long; maybe Darwin's laws are wrong.To the extent that the Maker showed mercy on Hitler and the Rosenbergs, perhaps too will Stewart be spared from Hell. I'll gladly pull the lever on the electric chair, if a volunteer is needed.___* - I love calling it like it is, when seditious fascists are convicted of being...seditious fascists.
posted by BummerDietz @ 3:04 PM 4 comments
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Why Eason Jordan Matters...Dumbed Way Down
[Update: Well, it's been a week since I posted this, and the videotape of Eason's statements has been withheld, while CNN does damage control and bloggers amass more contextual data regarding Eason. For those who focus on MSM bias, consider this a positive development, because regardless of the competing spins to this matter, any average joe understands why the tape isn't being released. The MSM bias war is a battle for the attention of the average joe, and the average joe can't really be spun on this one...]Captain's Quarters and TKS are correct to accent the repeated Eason Jordan claims that "journalists are targeted" and killed and tortured by the US Military.Why is it so bad?1. First off, if it is true, we have a problem.2. It's not likely true, though. So why is a veteran journalist continually making such false, incendiary claims?3. The false claims serve as fodder for islamofascist propaganda (via al jezeera) that hurts the national interest of the United States.4. The false claims provide support for racist islamofascist propaganda to the effect that, despite appearances, the U.S. and Israel are secretly planning harmful actions against Islamic peoples. That is, the U.S. is shooting journalists to keep the real story from being disclosed.5. The false claims help islmaofascist recruitment by creating plausible war crimes, against which homicide bombers may be recruited and stoked.6. The false claims by the manager of CNN's Iraqi operations call into question the journalistic competence of Eason.7. The false claims establish an anti-military, anti-U.S. bias on the part of the executives at CNN who control the flow of news out of Iraq.Now there is an "Easongate" blog acting as a clearinghouse.Before I convict the guy, I want to read the transcript of the Davos conference. It is possible that Eason did not make the claim that journalists are being targeted by the U.S. military, but rather he instead complained that the military doesn't "do enough" to avoid killing journalists. That is a critical distinction. Even a dog knows the diference between being tripped over, and kicked.But, if Eason kicked here, well.....let's see what the tape establishes.nb: If the tape is claimed to have "disappeared" or to be "spoiled," remember Rose Mary Woods.
posted by BummerDietz @ 5:07 PM 1 comments
Why Is This So Rare? The Reasonable Lefty
Quick: Visualize yourself in a discussion/debate about Iraq with a Manhattan or West Los Angeles middle-aged liberal activist. Most of my cohorts fit into this category, except those who are "left wing" instead of "liberal."Your mental image, no doubt, includes the many irrational and emotional postions that are taken, marred by suppressions and which run afoul of many basic rules of Logic 101, not to mention the ad hominem attacks against Bush, the gist of which are that:(1) he has acted with malicious intent (i.e., he and Cheney are hell-bent to destroy this country, while printing loot for a shifting coalition of global petro-industrial conglomerates),(2) he at best is mentally deficient (i.e., an I.Q of 85),(3) he is blinded by Christian fundamentalism, the tenets of which goaded him to start a new Crusade against the Islamic hordes; and/or(4) he cares only about remedying the "blunder" of his father, who failed to "kill Saddam" during the prior Gulf War.Like Bummer, you probably spent college, law school or other time engaged in lengthy, substantive discussion and debate with urban liberals, and although you disagreed with them, you respected them because you could usually reduce the issue down to a fundamental value point, such as "collectivism vs. capitalism" or some such thing. The adage that, "Reasonable people can differ," allowed you to then drink 14 martinis with your reasonable debate mate, and try to pick up girls, which almost always was a futile undertaking.This paradigm of the "rational person" is NOT the image your brain brought up when you started reading this post. What happened? When did the Left suddenly adopt Kool-Aid as their breakfast juice?Why is the following Iraq War sentiment - from a liberal middle-aged activist - so rare today? How great would it be if even 25% of the the Left were to have the reasonable, logical position of Thomas Friedman of the NY Times:
As someone who believed, hoped, worried, prayed, worried, hoped and prayed some more that Iraqis could one day pull off the election they did, I am unreservedly happy about the outcome - and you should be, too.Why? Because what threatens America most from the Middle East are the pathologies of a region where there is too little freedom and too many young people who aren't able to achieve their full potential. The only way to cure these pathologies is with a war of ideas within the Arab-Muslim world so those with bad ideas can be defeated by those with progressive ones.
We can't fight that war. Only the Arab progressives can .... But we can collaborate with them ... and that is what American and British soldiers have been doing in Iraq.President Bush's basic gut instinct about the need to do this is exactly right. His thinking that this could be done on the cheap, though, with little postwar planning, was exactly wrong....
[T]his [Iraqi] election has made it crystal clear that the Iraq war is not between fascist insurgents and America, but between the fascist insurgents and the Iraqi people.... [W]hatever you thought about this war, it's not about Mr. Bush anymore.I've left out the lines where Friedman criticizes Bush, to make my point, that logic and reason underpin Mr. Friedman's argument. (Friedman haters, don't flame my comment board, please).Something tells me that a couple of decades ago, Mr. Friedman and Bummer would have spent a lot of money together, in a lot of watering holes ...
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:57 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
IslamoFascists Love Their Dolls
Who knows what is effective in an illiterate, tribal- and sectarian-based place like Iraq?You've gotta think that the combination of (1) the election turnout, (2) the failure of the insurgents to prevent the vote and (3) the news that the insurgents are now using posed dolls to scare people, will bolster to some degree the will of the Iraqi people to build a stable society.Remember the image of Bert from Sesame Street, emblazoned on those bin laden posters?
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:48 AM 2 comments
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
The Other George
Having licked his wounds after Bush's victory, George Soros is back with his therapeutic lecturing.Had he thought of it, Victor Hanson might have worked Soros into these observations:
"This attitude is part of the therapeutic view of the present struggle that continually suggests that something we did ...brought on our present bother..... We, not fascists and Islamist psychopaths, are blamed for the mess in Iraq, the mess in Afghanistan, the mess on the West Bank, and the mess here at home..."To all you of the therapeutic mindset, listen up. We can no more reason with the Islamic fascists than we could sympathize with the Nazis' demands over supposedly exploited Germans in Czechoslovakia or the problem of Tojo's Japan's not getting its timely scrap-metal shipments from Roosevelt's America...."The artists, musicians, [billionaire capitalist parasites] and entertainers have also railed against the war. ...But in the tragic view, they can be little more than puppets of inspiration."***George, maybe you need confront the tragic view that you are a puppet of inspiration. This will get you started.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:57 AM 0 comments
Monday, January 31, 2005
Rage at Black Rock
The dishy details are here, courtesy of the New York magazine website.
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:14 AM 3 comments
Baghdad Bob Returns?
This illustration of irrational cognitive dissonance by a member of the numerically-inferior Sunni group, needs no further editorial by Bummer:
In the heavily Sunni town of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, 48-year-old history teacher Qais Youssif said no member of his family had voted.
"The so-called elections were held in the way that America and the occupation forces wanted," Youssif said. "They want to marginalize the role of the Sunnis. They and the media talk about the Sunnis as a minority. I do not think they are a minority."
The Iraqi Islamic Party, a leading Sunni faction, feels the vote was not inclusive "because an important segment of the Sunni Muslim community didn't take part," said party official Naser Ayef al-Ani. Large, heavily Sunni sections of the country were unable to cast ballots, and in some places lack of security forced polling places to open late or not at all, officials said.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:23 AM 0 comments
Sunday, January 30, 2005
L.A. Times' Headline: So Slanted, They Scrubbed It, 2 Hours After Delivery
It's only 8:45 a.m., and the LA Times has already scrubbed its front-page, convince-them-it's-all-bad Iraq election-bashing story from their website:
Iraqis Cast Ballots Amid Explosions and Anxiety
Suicide bombers and mortar rounds kill at least 17 people. Hours earlier, a rocket hit the U.S. Embassy, killing two Americans
BAGHDAD — As Iraqis began heading to the polls this morning in the nation’s first free election in decades, insurgents launched mortar rounds and sent suicide bombers to attack voting places across the country, killing at least 17 people.
Early turnout varied widely, with strong participation in Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq and the Shiite Muslim south. Steady streams of voters were seen in parts of Baghdad, but hundreds of polling places, mainly in Sunni cities north and west of the capital, did not open on time because of security concerns.
In western Baghdad, four suicide bombers — three wearing explosive vests and one in a car — struck polling places, killing a total of 14 people and wounding at least 23. Three people died and seven were injured when mortar fire hit a house near a polling centern in the capital’s Sadr City district.... Despite the Times' effort to get away with its 1984-esque re-writing of history, here is a pdf of the deep-sixed article, buried here.But subscribers who received a print copy of the Sunday L.A. Times were already conditioned to assume that the Iraqi elections were flawed.[nb: Even NPR, in its 6:00 a.m. Weekend Edition, was reporting a voter turnout of over 70%.]
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:33 AM 1 comments
Saturday, January 29, 2005
72 Hours Of Propaganda
When you wake up Sunday, the Iraqi voting will be completed.Effete thugs with immunity -- the MSM -- will post headlines using these, and other, phrases:"Illegitimacy""Irregularities""Spotty turnout""Inconclusive""No mandate" etc.,. etc. The MSM headlines are already written; the facts won't matter.Focus on Overall Turnout.In US Presidential Elections, only about 50% of eligible voters actually vote. (About 2/3 of eligible US citizens register, and about 2/3 of registered citizens actually vote). In midterm congressional elections, only about 40% vote. (In Tennessee, 25% vote; in Arizona, 33%. Are Tennessee and Arizona Senators Bill Frist, Lamar Alexander, John McCain and Jon Kyl all "illegitimate?" Or somehow "without a mandate?")What percentage of Iraqis will vote?* To the MSM, it simply doesn't matter. The MSM will ignore actual voter turnout, and will try to damn the entire election, and the Bush policies underlying the election, on account of likely lower turnout in some Sunni areas.nb: In the 2000 Presidential election, with a 55% overall voter turnout country-wide, 70% of Minnesotans and Alaskans voted (a shocking 30% over-representation for these ballot-box-stuffing white northerners). Only 45% voted in Nevada and Arkansas (a shocking 20% undervote of these disenfranchised folks).Was the 2000 US Presidential election illegitimate and spotty, on account of the wide disparity in voter turnout among regions of the country? As the MSM blasts the differential in voter turnout among Shi'a, Kurd and Sunni areas of Iraq, will any MSM dare compare such Iraqi differentials to like-kind data in the US?Of course they won't.....but you knew that already._____* - Americans can get rides to the polls, and often milk and cookies from nice grandmas and grandpas at the polling station. In contrast, some would-be Iraqi voters will be shot by Sunni thugs, for their civic efforts.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:55 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Gotta shoot over to Park City for a few days, handle some BummerBusiness at the film festival. Check back this weekend. 3 quickie points about films:1. Sideways really is all that. This morning it got Oscar nods for best pic, supporting actor, supporting actress, and director.2. I previously raved about Collateral. Michael Mann should have been nominated; at least Jamie Foxx got an actor nod, plus one for film editing.3. Flawed, fat and forgotten: Fahrenheit 911 is shut out. Zero nominations. Zero. None. Zip.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:28 AM 1 comments
Monday, January 24, 2005
Lessons from the Life of Rose Mary Woods
Rose Mary Woods, loyal secretary to President Richard Nixon, has died.A generation ago, she was at the center of a storm with as much fury as CBS's Memogate, which eventually caused Nixon to resign.Nixon and his associates blamed Ms. Woods as the cause of a critical 18-minute gap in key White House tapes subpoenaed by the Senate during the Watergate scandal. Later forensic analysis of the tapes showed that the blame placed on Ms. Woods was not tenable, and that the "gap" was intentionally caused by as many as 9 overdubs.The question of, "Who erased the tapes?" died down after Nixon resigned, albeit the question (along with the enigma of the identity of the Washington Post "Deep throat" source inside the White House) has provided ample fodder for many wrtiers over the years.Whatever was said in those 18 minutes of taped conversations, the White House wanted them erased from history. With Woods' death, Nixon got his wish.***A generation later, irony oozes from Memogate's reversal of the scandal. In Watergate, an Administration committed burglary and then engaged in a cover-up far worse than the original crime, as part of a re-election campaign. The players were busted by a new breed of journalists.In Memogate, journalists and/or their sources committed felony forgery in an attempt to impact a presidential re-election campaign, complete with a damning cover-up by their bosses that more-or-less brought down the news division of a network. The culprits were busted by a new breed of amateur journalists operating as a loose network of weblog writers and readers, acting in concert.***I think it is appropriate that Ms. Woods survived to see the Thornburgh Report's release.I wish someone could have interviewed her in the past few months about her thoughts. "The Fog of Her Chores." I wonder what Eleven Lessons she might have offered?Instead, an enigma until the end.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:13 AM 2 comments
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Random Notes on Kiddie Porn
BummerDietz and BummerBud spend Saturday at Photo LA 2005. Great event. 100 or so photo dealers in a big flea market setting. I highly recommend it.There was the typical subgroup of vendors who catered to gay men - e.g., WWII photos of "G.I.'s bathing at Guadalacanal" or some such. In L.A., that genre is likely a critical economic segment of the art collecting market. To each his own; that's why it's "art."I noticed, though, half a dozen booths which had collections of explicit photos of naked kids. I am not referring to the Life Magazine-type "hippy commune" pictures of the 60's or 70's, but instead, portraiture of naked kids (7 to 12 years old, I guess), full frontal, in erotic or quasi-erotic poses (plus others that were just naked kids, posed full frontal as if for an Easter picture, sans the typical Sunday best get-up). One set included life-sized naked portraits of Brooke Shields, pre-Pretty Baby. She was probably 8 or maybe 10 years old, posing bordello style, naked in a bathtub. I am sure that art critics can recite the gamut of political and social statements can be said to be represented by those photos.Although mostly an adult affair, one mother of a 12-ish looking boy was heard by Dietz to say, "These are pictures for adults...let's go." Apropos of nothing, that coincided with my mention to BummerBud that I thought it was a little odd that a handful of dealers were "still" displaying naked kiddie pictures. (Again, I am referring to full frontal stuff in provocative or erotic poses.) BummerBud agreed, and we both said something wicked and inappropriate about some naked picture, but there it was. Two hetero guys (almost openly trolling for art chicks) at a large photo exhibit, and we both felt a bit quesy about the kiddie porn stuff. (We were a bit miffed when we admitted that, "the photographers were skilled and had achieved their objective of an erotic photo," but we weren't really down with our eroticism buttons getting punched by naked pictures of 9-year olds....)Cut to this morning's New York Times Sunday Magazine. The cover is the body of a man lurking in the hallway outside a bedroom door, slightly ajar. The magazine cover:
"The Mind of a Cybermolester. He loaded his computer with softwar that allowed him to monitor his 12-year old stepdaughter's online conversations. Her romantic explorations confided to a friend, became his pornography. Then, in an instant message, he wrote that if she wanted to see what he wished to do with her...." What happened in the past 72 hours that OK'ed the detailed erotic depiction of naked girls in large public art shows, and detailed descriptions in the Sunday paper of the carnal thoughts of a child molester? Are they supposed to fly under the radar, so long as they are disguised as "art" or "therapy journalism?" What in the hell is going on? I am leagues away from being a "prude" (you would likely consider BummerDietz to be an irresponsible whoring punk -- details not appropriate here). So if I am a bit put off by this kiddie-porn-zeitgeist, the trip wire "in the red states" will have been tripped, long ago. I am no prude, yet I really hate to think that Bill O'Reilly is correct on this type of "public morality" issue. So someone -- please -- tell me what I am missing?
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:29 AM 1 comments
Saturday, January 22, 2005
More on Tasty Brisket Boy a/k/a/ Michael Smith
BummerDietz has concluded that in asking the question, "Who forged the Killian memos,?" CBS Associate Producer* Michael Smith is a "person of interest."Is the "Michael Smith" who sells war stories to the online rag London Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk) the same "tasty brisket" boy named "Michael Smith" who worked with Mapes?Is it just me, or do I note an anti-military slant to all of these recent Michael Smith (stringer to the Telegraph) stories?:
How Ali Baba failed to stop the thieves and landed three soldiers in courtAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 22 Jan 2005
Officers feared abuse of Iraqi civilians by British soldiers 'was widespread'Author Michael SmithDATE: 20 Jan 2005
British troops 'abused Iraqi captives'Author Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent,DATE: 19 Jan 2005
Pentagon planned love bombAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 15 Jan 2005
Soldier who killed Sally was jailed for imprisoning a teenagerAuthor David Sapsted and Michael SmithDATE: 11 Jan 2005
£1.9 bn portable radio system gets a poor reception from ArmyAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 04 Jan 2005
Bang, bang you're deadAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 31 Dec 2004
Scotland furious over loss of all six famous regimentsAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 17 Dec 2004
I apologise but we must move on, says generalAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 17 Dec 2004
Human rights QC to head review of Deepcut deathsAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 16 Dec 2004
Officers make new allegations against frigate captainAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 15 Dec 2004
TA faces big cuts to save a regimentAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 13 Dec 2004
Deepcut deaths horrify me, says HainAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 09 Dec 2004
Political intervention in shake-up of Army leaves senior officers seethingAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 06 Dec 2004
One of us could be next, said scared Deepcut recruitAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 02 Dec 2004
Gulf syndrome is beyond doubt, inquiry findsAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 18 Nov 2004
Black Watch CO voiced fearsAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 06 Nov 2004
Three Black Watch killedAuthor Toby Harnden, Michael Smith and George JonesDATE: 05 Nov 2004Black Watch senior officers question No 10 Iraq strategyAuthor Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 29 Oct 2004
Civil servant urged to resign over helicopter 'fiasco'Author Michael Smith, Defence CorrespondentDATE: 26 Oct 2004
Ministers accused of misleading Parliament on IraqAuthor Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent and George Jones, Political EditorDATE: 20 Oct 2004It appears to me that this Michael Smith has an axe to grind with things military, and does so by writing several weekly negative "tasty brisket" stories about the military, and then selling the stories to willing publishers.__* - This CBS Associate Producer title basically is given out short-term to low level helpers, along with their paycheck. Michael Smith was identified by the Thornbugh Report as an independent stringer - i.e., publications pay him story-by-story. I assume that "defence correspondent" means the same thing for the online rag telegraph.co.uk.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:28 AM 2 comments
Friday, January 21, 2005
Foil Hats for Moonbats
First reading of Scylla's motion that "Foil Hats" enter the lexicon as a synonym of the beloved "Moonbats"....Foil-Hat (alt: Foil Hatter) (n)(v) (foil-haat)1. A participant who associates himself with certain political or social brands or movements by donning a cone-shaped jester's cap constructed from a common domestic kitchen staple known as "aluminum foil" (p/k/a "tin foil").2. A subgroup of radical or extreme leftist adhering to a political philosophy stressing a reliance on emotion and rejection of logic. ~"The foil hats objected to the balanced budget bill."3. A political activist of any philosophy who accepts without factual support the assumption that any person who disagrees with any of the activist's political positions is necessarily part of a pervasive, nefarious yet hidden conspiracy hell-bent on destroying society. ~The brochure handed out by the foil hat stated that, "The faked moon landings were part of Haliburton's conspiracy to build up the military-industrial complex at taxpayer expense, so as to thwart the growing people's democracy movement."4. A political consumer typically (but not always) of a lower socio-economic class, who forms a strong brand loyalty to a constantly-changing smorgasbord of political images and movements, seemingly assembled around a core belief that the current societal paradigm is designed primarily as a form of spectator sport called "3rd world infanticide." ~"The parade featured foil hats with placards denouncing the "baby formula conspiracy.' "5. (verb) The act of protesting a perceived nefarious political, economic or social structure by assembling in a group and acting out court-jester-like skits and comic absurdities, regardless of any nexus to the subject structure: ~"We're going to foil-hat the Veteran's Day Parade next week."syn: Jabobin (arch); Moonbat; Deaniac; Jonestowner; Sharptonite; Kool-Aid Drinker; et al.slang (alt): Foiler; Foil Baller; X-FilerHumble props to INDCJOURNAL and LGF, of course....
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:04 AM 1 comments
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Forged Killian Memos: 45 Second Briefing
TANG reports on Bush:1971 OER on Bush, signed by Killian and Harris: "Bush is an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot."....[a dozen sentences of positive detail]... This endnote is added by Hodges: "Lieutenant Bush is an outstanding young pilot and officer and is a credit to this unit." Thus, three commanders signed this OER report.1973 OER on Bush, signed by Killian and Harris: "Lt. Bush ..[has moved] to [187th Group at Dannelly ANG base in] Montgomery, Alabama...[since May 1972] has been performing equivalent training in a non-flying capacity."On August 13, 2004, Bill Burkett posted an online article (long since removed) which stated:
"I have found no documentation from LTC Killian's hand or staff that indicate that this unit was involved in any complicit way to either cover for the failures of 1LT Bush, or to provide him pay or certification for training not completed."FORGER'S DILEMMA: The claim (perhaps true? who knows...) that Bush was a sad sack in Alabama 1972-1973 was not catching the public's attention. How, then, to change a unanimous record that "Bush is an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot" to "Bush was AWOL?"FORGER'S SOLUTION: Create fake memos that state that the glowing reports were not true; they were written as political favors to strong Bush interests. Since such new memos can (and will) be disavowed by living witnesses (Hodges, Harris), make the forgeries come from the dead guy's (Killian) "personal files."FORGER'S OBSTACLE: Burkett was an 'expert' on Bush TANG documents. Burkett's August 13th article states that there are no damning Killian documents. How does Burkett go from that state of mind on August 13th, to his infamous August 25th post that, "I know from your files that we have now reassembled"? And when did his August 13th document get scrubbed off of the internet?FORGER'S IDENTITY: What small group of people were cognizant of all of these details, to enable them to create forgeries that would prima facie avoid immediate disavowel by Hodges, etc.?****WAS A CBS PRODUCER INVOLVED IN THE FORGERY? Reporters are often cagey - even dishonest - with interviewees who might otherwise ruin the story or the reporter's angle, if the interviewee were to be apprised of the angle of a segment. OK, that is a very strong possibility/probability as to CBS News' treatment of Major General Bobby Hodges. (CBS did not contact Hodges until 48 hours before the September 8th segment was broadcast, and the misrepresentation and misuse of Hodges as corroborating the story was faulted by the Thornburgh Report.)But read this fairly obscure account - without the CBS News spin or the Thornburgh filter - of what Hodges said and did not say to CBS. In light of the information revealed in the Report, might the conduct of CBS News producer(s) regarding Hodges evince the mindset of someone at CBS who already knew the memos were forgeries?
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:33 AM 8 comments
Monday, January 17, 2005
A Lynch Pin to CBS News Bias
No political bias at CBS News? An entire news staff of left wing activists, yet, no bias?From the Thornburgh Report:
...Dotty Lynch, CBS News’ Senior Political Editor....recalled having discussions with Mapes over Labor Day weekend, about the September 8 Segment. Who is Dotty Lynch? She is CBS News' "Senior Political Editor" and a self-described "very ardent feminist" and longtime partisan liberal political operative (her mullet and turtleneck fooled me...). Before joining CBS, Lynch directed polling for George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Walter Mondale and the DNC.What is Lynch's potential political bias when she was inducted onto the Memogate team a couple of days before the broadcast?Lynch participated in a December 2004 CSPAN panel. She agreed that the Swift Boat attacks had no basis in fact. To the suggestion that the MSM should have actually investigated what the "facts" were, before pronouncing them to be false, Lynch stated that since the public can only focus on a few sentences of a story, the MSM was justified in not investigating this "complex" Kerry story, because it would only confuse the public. That is, no investigation other than to solicit a denial from the Kerry campaign....[Update: Sherlock Holmes moment: Kerry campaign aide and Thornburgh Report villian Chad Clanton (friend of Mapes' husband, he put CBS and Burkett in touch with Joe Lockhart), sat on the same CSPAN panel with Lynch... .]In Lynch's her own words: "From 1972 until 1985 I worked in politics as a pollster for Democratic candidates and liberal causes. Most of the candidates, most notably Presidential contenders George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy and Gary Hart, were simpatico with my liberal values and I felt somewhat fulfilled in working through them to build a better society. I had become a very ardent feminist...."Lynch once described her being "stunned" when she saw the final poll indicating Anita Hill's rating among women was 19 percent favorable and 40 percent unfavorable. How could these stupid people not believe Anita?
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:02 AM 10 comments
Memogate - What Now?
It seems to me that Memogate will now fade, unless new facts are developed. Those facts exist in two repositories: (1) The files of CBS and the Thornburgh Report law firm - withheld under attorney-client privilege; and (2) with the forger(s).There are three ways for the outside world to pierce into these 2 fact repositories, as set forth below. The goal is to access additional raw information, to establish for the record that which the Thornburgh Report was not allowed to do, so that the abuses of the MSM exposed in Memogate will result in lasting systemic reform.Top discovery "wish list":1. Thornbugh interview transcripts of CBS Texas-based producers Mapes, Michael Smith, Roger Charles, Lucy Scott.2. All emails among Mapes and her producing team, particularly Michael Smith.3. Subpoena the testimony of Mapes.4. Subpoena the testimony of Mapes' husband, journalist Mark Wrolstad.5. Subpoena the testimony of Michael Smith.6. Subpoena the testimony of Burkett.7. Subpoena the testimony of Glenn Reynolds, Paul Lukasiak, Linda Starr and Ben Conover.8. Subpoena the records and testimony of CBS News "Senior Political Editor" Dotty Lynch. Criminal Proceeding: This blog and others have outlined the Texas crimes committed in Memogate. Criminal investigations commence when a state attorney decides to start a prosecution. In most instances, that is due to a referral from a cop of some sort. Texas has several "cops" who can begin an investigation, as well as several attorney groups who can bring charges. The Texas list:1. Texas Attorney General 2. Taylor County (Abilene) District Attorney, James Eidson.James Eidson, Esq.District Attorney, Taylor County300 Oak StreetAbilene, TX 79602Phone: (325) 674-1261Fax: (325) 674-13063. Texas Department of Public Safety (the "Texas Rangers"):Texas Dept. of Public Safety2405 S. Loop 250 WestMidland, TX 79703Phone: 915-498-2120INDCJournal did some good posting on the Texas enforcement angle (with a little help from yours truly, aka Winemaker). Read it here and here .There is also a federal list, and as I have stated early and often, the federal anti-payola statutes are fertile ground here, because any investigation would micro-focus on the nefarious doings of Mapes, Michael Smith and the other anti-Bush Texans who are at the heart of the forgery ring.Civil Proceeding: Citizens can avail themselves of "discovery" rights (i.e., the court will use its subpoena power to allow witnesses and records to be accessed by the plaintiff). There are several Texas laws which confer a "private right of action" upon a citizen. The citizen can sue directly, without the involvement of any governmental attorney, and has discovery rigthts, and a right to an attorney's fee award. (And, Texas isn't the only relevant jurisdiction here - other states may have a requisite "nexus," and thus jurisdiction, over the Memogate chain of events).Regulatory Proceeding: One such possible regulatory proceeding, involving CBS and the FEC, has been commenced. This is a good development. Similar actions may be brought in front of the FCC when CBS renews its broadcast licenses.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:17 AM 0 comments
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Sniff....Sniff....Funny Smelling Bratwurst....
Jed and Owen, who have the bad sense to attempt to out-trailerpark Prince Harry by posting pictures of themselves in insanely gay Goebbels get-ups, nonetheless lay down the math about vote fraud in Milwaukee, all corps-of-engineers style, and BummerDietz is a sucker for mathmatical arguments:
In Milwaukee, about 75,000 people went through the process of registering at the polls in the November election. Got that? 75,000 people in a city of 600,000 were not registered to vote on the day of the election, so they registered at the the polls....
Of those 75,000 registrations, a full 13% of them, or about 10,000 registrations, are illegible. Presumably the identity of the registrant was checked on election day, but since the registration can’t be read, there is no way to verify the registration. Off of the bat, we have 10,000 votes that were cast in Milwaukee for voters whose existence can’t be verified.Of the remaining 65,000 registrations for which confirmation cards have finally been sent, the Elections Commission says to expect that... 22,000 will be returned undeliverable. This means that the address was incorrectly written or outright fictitious....Of the remaining 43,000 registrants... we could conservatively estimate that 10% of the remaining registrants - at the minimum - will be invalid. That’s an additional 4,300 people.
All told, it looks like there were a minimum of 36,000 votes cast in the City of Milwaukee for which no voter can be produced.
The election in Wisconsin was decided by 11,384 votes.
In the City of Milwaukee, there were 198, 907 votes cast for Kerry/Edwards and 75,746 votes cast for Bush/Cheney....
[Editor: That's an 8-3 margin of victory for Kerry - 72% to 28%.]Is that weird downtown spy bar with the secret entrance still in business in Milwaukee? Did it have trains or something near the ceiling? I think MDMA was legal then. I had to climb over Senator Kasten in black tie so I could go take a 62 second pee - a record which still stands, albeit a long time ago - because I drank so much at that damn place, before some black tie thing....um...never mind.....
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:35 PM 1 comments
L.A. Times Front-Pages the "No Political Bias" Spin
I’m not the first to note that the Thornburgh Report “had some obfuscating to attend to.” (Well, actually, I was first. )*A valid criticism of the Thornburgh Report is that it - almost by design - gives unwarranted support to leftwing MSM and idiotarians who need to press the fiction that the only Memogate problem was “the competitive rush of it all, ” and that the Report “proved there was no bias.” (And since we just can't decide for sure if the memos are fake, it's an understandable error. Further, since the underlying facts are probably correct, what's the big deal, right?)Predictably, the Los Angeles Times jumps on board this spin train. Today’s Sunday edition carries the front-page story, “How CBS’ Big Story Fell Apart.” You need not bother reading past the lead paragraphs to get its flavor:
"Dan Rather was on the run, chasing big stories…. from New York to Florida to Texas and back to CBS headquarters in Manhattan…"Exhausted and stretched to the limit, the veteran anchorman didn't find time that week to learn much about a news source named Lt. Col. Bill Burkett…."Rather…heard...that Burkett was a "straight-talking West Texan" with a reputation as a "truth teller" … Rather relied on the research... [they] both put their trust in Burkett. That fateful convergence helped produce a terribly flawed report….Extra ! For those luck enough to receive the print edition, the L.A. Times added these 2 captions to accompanying pictures:Whopper Caption 1: “Emails show that CBS’ Mary Mapes and her colleagues had fretted over the progress others were making on stories about Bush’s military service.” [ No mention of the email between Mapes and another CBS producer that discusses arranging a bribe for Burkett, in order that CBS might launch this story “that could possibly change the momentum of the election.” ]Whopper Caption 2: “A busy Dan Rather had come to rely on Mary Mapes’ ability to get the big stories right. She and others did the heavy lifting when it came to researching the report.”Yes, we get the point: On the run... chasing... exhausted... fretting... stretched to the limit... busy... so many big stories for the star team... chasing... no time... so busy.... NY/London/Paris/Munich... exhausted... so much to do... must-have-water... so busy... Rosebud......The Report’s tiptoeing on the eggshell-skull of its client is directly responsible for this MSM spin.***My first gut reaction to the report was correct. I'm proud that I posted 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 four times the morning it was released, criticizing it.___* - Far more eloquent treatment is at LGF, INDC, Powerline and elsewhere.
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:51 PM 3 comments
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Black Rock: Fake Diamond?
I posit that an ordinary newsman, in Andrew Heyward's seat, would have run the following basepath in response to Mapes' and Rather's submission of their "report":First Base: Vet the story well, pre-broadcast, given the implications.Second Base: Strong evidence emerges post-broadcast that the memos are fake? Ask- no, demand - which anti-Bush (or pro-Kerry) group perpetrated this fraud on CBS, the country and the Bush campaign?Third Base: Then, explore (internally and/or externally) CBS News' role in assessing how this fraud was allowed to happen.Home Base: Consider and take action as to whatever truth(s) the above reveal.THAT is a non-biased course of logic and professionalism. Who knows, home base may even prove to be a "dirty trick" by Karl Rove. Highly unlikely, but anything is possible.But the Report reveals a different progression of logic. A key Heyward email shows that he wasn't running the logic or professionalism basepath. Instead, he was running things like a war room of a political campaign; he went straight for his own home plate.The Report concludes that Heyward got to First Base. as it dutifully notes that the day before the broadcast, Heyward "cautioned West and Howard... not to be 'stampede[d]' and that 'we’re going to have to defend every syllable of this one . . .' " OK, so far.*But when strong (overwhelming?) evidence that the memos were fake rolled in, Heyward recorded his response in an email.He did not touch Second Base.He did not touch Third Base.He went straight for a partisan Home Plate. No focus on tranparency; no focus on the patently obvious anti-Bush dirty trick involved; no concern about CBS's potential relationship to this anti-Bush treachery. Instead, Heyward's political brain software takes him to - Karl Rove dirty trick!From the Report (pp 160-161):
"[A]t 7:49 a.m. on Friday, September 10, Heyward sent an e-mail to West:'Don’t we have to come up with OR SHARE more evidence rather than just “stand by” our statement?.. This is a direct attack on our credibility...The critical analysts have no problem going public. .....[the memos] seem plausible.... but is it possible that it’s a clever dirty trick by Rather-haters – a SETUP aimed at CBS?...' "__* - A good alternative interpretation is that this was not "fact vetting" by Heyward - he had no intention of stopping the story, but rather was interested only in establishing a plausible semblance of fairness, in case it blew up on him. The Thornburgh Report curiously adopts this view in arguing that "pre-broadcast editing" rebuts the claim of bias. Whatever.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:50 AM 1 comments
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Encyclopedia Brown Figures It Out
Scylla&Charybdis readers know that your humble BummerDietz has long stated that the "personal files" tagline in the CBS Report was the DNA evidence of the crime scene.Find out where that came from, and you have found the forger.[Update: The Thornbugh Report states that CBS producer Michael Smith pointed Mary Mapes to the source of the fake Killian memos. Smith had previously worked with Mapes since 2000 (and possibly Mapes’ reporter husband?). My “forensic legal” opinion is that the “personal files” tagline was either invented by an attorney, or someone very cognizant of the existing Bush TANG files. Logically, a Texas political operative would be instrumental in exploiting the TANG story for political gain. And….what if you find a link among all three? Certainly they'd be "persons of interest" to an investigator... .][UPDATE: Glenn Smith of Texans-for-Truth and DriveDemocracy is a suspended Texas attorney. Is he related to or connected with CBS Memogate producer (and procurer of the Killian memos) Michael Smith? Are they connected to Paul Lukasiak, whose anti-Bush website accidentally invented the "OETR" acronym used in the forgeries? How (Google searches show that a Michael Smith and Paul Lukasiak lived, live or schooled in Pennsylvania....). It would seem to be a perfect storm - CBS producer, librarian of anti-Bush TANG memos, and an anti-Bush political operator... ]Attorney/Forger Theory. BummerDietz has long surmised that an attorney was the forger, reasoning that the inclusion of the "personal files" claim was a lawyer's attempt to avoid a strict liability felony under Texas law for forgeries purported to be government records. Clumsy attempt, but to a lawyer an important one.Web Librarian of TANG Memos Theory. The equally strong explanation for the "personal files" fiction does not involve an attorney trying to avoid Texas Penal Code 32.21, but rather someone who knew that Burkett had, on August 13, 2004, written that he had "found no documentation from LTC Killian's hand or staff that indicate that this unit was involved in any complicit way to either cover for the failures of 1LT Bush, or to provide him pay or certification for training not completed... ." (The August 13th Burkett article has now been taken down from the web; it is partially archived here, here, here, and here. Query..who removed the August 13th Burkett article from the Democrats.com website, and why?....see below.)In order to avoid a contradiction of such August 13th "finding" by Burkett, the forger of the Killian memos would have to avoid such August 13th data. Accordingly, the forger would be someone with an understanding of those specific matters referred to by Burkett in his August 13th article, and the invention of the "personal files" fiction would be an explanation to avoid directly contradicting the August 13th article. If Burkett was the forger, he was being too cute by half, to avoid contradicting his obscure August 13th report. Burkett is a prime suspect, then, due to the "personal files" tag. On August 25, 2004, Burkett again wrote that "we have now reassembled your [TexANG] files...." This creates an 11-day window, August 13th-24th, as the critical forgery period. (Someone else has pointed this out, first and better here, although I just stumbled across that.)But equally suspect as the forger(s) would be that person(s) who, for example, runs a detailed, anti-Bush TANG document library website like this one: http://www.glcq.com/. Such librarian would have the requisite knowledge to know about the August 13th Burkett report, during the critical 11-day window. Such forger(s), in providing the Killian fakes to Burkett, would have reasoned that the "personal files" tag was necessary to avoid an obvious contradiction of Burkett's week-old "conclusion" about the contents of the official Killian reocrds. Under this theory, Burkett is a patsy and/or a co-forger, and another person is involved. In any event, under this web librarian theory it would be helpful if the August 13th Burkett article would disappear. (It did disappear.)Attorney and Web Librarian Combination. Now, if only we could find an attorney or paralegal who is deeply involved with Bush-AWOL groups (such as "Texans for Truth") and/or a partisan TANG document web librarian who ran such a website, we might have reduced the forger suspect list to a manageable size..... They would be "persons of interest," for sure.So, to the forger(s), whoever you are, make sure you have your bail bondsman's number close by. Because forgery is a strict liability felony under Texas law. And lots of other crimes are involved. (And by all means, please panic and commence a clumsy cover-up; such efforts always make matters worse. Ask Martha.)So when Burkett wrote on August 25, 2004 that "we have now reassembled" Bush's TANG files, who was "we?" Encyclopedia Brown thinks that's been narrowed to a pretty small group.....[Update: Don't forget those CBS "Associate Producer" Michael Smith and uncredited reporter Mark Wrolstad; it's all here. ][Update: Sharp reader JFH notes that the forgeries have a necessary link with Paul Lukasiak's http://www.glcq.com/ website. This is because the acronym "OETR" does not exist in the military records of the day. Two acronyms were historically used: an "OER" (Officer Effectiveness Report) and an "OTR" (Officer Training Report). The reader read Lukasiak's website and found that Lukasiak had mistakenly used the description "Officer Training Effectiveness Training Report" to describe this page, but the report is actually called a "Company Grade Officer Effectiveness Report." (There is no "Training" in the title.) Lukasiak gets it correct on another page, here, correctly labelling it as an "OER." Footnote 12 on this page also refers to "Bush’s 1970-1971 Officer Effectiveness Training Report," (a non-existent title). [Thus, the forger's use of "OETR" in at least one fake Killian memo is highly likely the result of the forger reviewing Lukasiak's webpage and using the abbreviation "OETR" based upon Lukasiak's incorrectly captionned document. It is also possible that Lukasiak himself carried over his error into a forged document; however, any proof of that speculation cannot be established from his website.[But then at this page, Lukasiak uses the acronym "OETR, " with a hyperlink to a page called "The OETR Scam." When you hit that link, it connects to a placeholder page which has the conflicting url of: " http://www.glcq.com/oer_scam.html". In other words, the button uses "OETR," but the page identifier uses "OER."[So the incorrect use of "OETR" enters the cyberworld via such page. ]
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:07 AM 12 comments
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Mapes' Husband: Go-To Man for the Kerry Campaign
What was Mary Mapes' husband, Mark Wrolstad, doing during August 2004? Writing articles about the nefarious connections between the Bush campaign and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And who pops up in his August 2004 article: Why, Chad Clanton - the go-between between CBS and the DNC.....Swift boat vet says he's not a smoking gunGroup is independent, argues Dallas man dropped from Bush committee10:57 AM MST on Wednesday, August 25, 2004By MARK WROLSTAD / The Dallas Morning NewsA Dallas veteran dropped from a presidential re-election committee for appearing in a new TV ad attacking John Kerry's military record said he's no smoking gun to prove Bush campaign improprieties.Ken Cordier, a retired Air Force colonel and former Vietnam prisoner of war, once hoped to be named the Bush administration's ambassador to that country.Now he finds himself near the center of a storm over whether a scathing campaign against the Democratic presidential nominee by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been illegally coordinated by Republicans close to the president."The attack dogs for the Kerry campaign are out there claiming I'm the puppet of the Bush campaign," Mr. Cordier said Tuesday from his Oak Cliff home, where he has been flooded by phone calls and e-mails. "Nothing could be further from the truth."Mr. Cordier's occasional speeches about his POW experience included one in June for the Veterans for Bush steering committee.He said he was contacted late that month by organizers of the swift boat group through longtime friend and former POW Paul Galanti, who also appears in the group's second ad.That crossover, which Mr. Cordier said was inadvertent and quickly corrected when he stepped down as a volunteer on the steering committee, has been questioned because third-party groups, which have no limits on fund raising, must be separate from the candidates' campaigns."This group has been totally independent," he said, referring to the veterans group, whose initial accusations were that Mr. Kerry lied about his actions as a swift boat commander in Vietnam to win war decorations.Many of the allegations have been undercut by military records and veterans who served directly with the young Mr. Kerry.Statements criticizedSince the group's first TV commercial, those criticisms have refocused on his anti-war activism after he returned to the United States. His statements to a Senate committee 33 years ago that some American soldiers committed atrocities form the storyline for the second and latest ad, which first aired over the weekend with three veterans accusing Mr. Kerry of betraying his country.But questions about the group's independence, its financing and the accuracy of its accusations have fueled a firestorm of charges and countercharges as more has become known about the group's connections to prominent members of the GOP.The primary financial backing – $200,000 – has come from Houston businessman and Bush backer Bob Perry, a longtime associate of Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser.Mr. Kerry has accused President Bush, who did not go to Vietnam and has faced questions about his missing National Guard records, of using the veterans as a front group "to do his dirty work."Without condemning the swift boat campaign, the president has said that all political ads by independent groups should stop.'Direct ties' alleged On Tuesday, Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton called the episode involving Mr. Cordier "another brick in the wall of evidence that this group has direct ties to the Bush campaign. "The longer the president waits to specifically condemn this smear, the more it becomes clear what's going on here," Mr. Clanton said. "He's trying to gain from a political smear."Mr. Cordier (pronounced core-dee-AY) uses a different word: "truth."He said that he can't speak to Mr. Kerry's combat performance but that his later anti-war statements "gave aid and comfort to the enemy." His run for president has revived some of the bitterness from the divisive war."It's more out of outrage that we're doing this," Mr. Cordier said. "The American people should know about this and make their own decision."Mr. Cordier, 67, who has lived in Dallas with his second wife since 1993, went from fighter pilot to POW when his F-4 Phantom was shot down in December 1966.He endured torture and deplorable living conditions at several prison camps until his release in March of 1973 – after 2,283 days, as he readily recounts. He took only four months to return to active duty and served 12 more years in the Air Force.Those days in captivity hardened the conservatism he took to war but also gave him a new appreciation for life, he said.He keeps his humor dry; in a bathroom at his home stands a mannequin dressed in his old POW pajamas and rubber tire sandals.Mr. Cordier has made several trips back to Vietnam and in 2001 briefly lobbied to become ambassador to Vietnam.In January, he signed on with Veterans for Bush – essentially a list of supporters, he said, and he has been a small Bush donor. Representing the campaign, he made a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Colorado in June, he said.He was soon contacted, he said, by the swift boats group, including John O'Neill, a prominent Houston attorney and Republican and an opponent of Mr. Kerry's Vietnam views since 1971. Mr. Cordier said he also met Merrie Spaeth, a Dallas public relations consultant and Bush supporter who helped produce the TV ads.The swiftvets.com home page features a frame from the latest ad: Mr. Cordier speaking in front of a black-and-white photo of Mr. Kerry testifying to the Senate in 1971. The ad quickly intercuts Mr. Kerry's description of destruction and mutilations with the veterans' voices. Their central point is that POWs were tortured to admit war crimes while the young Mr. Kerry acknowledged such acts."He betrayed us in the past," Mr. Cordier says in the ad. "How could we be loyal to him now?"Last Friday, Mr. Cordier said he notified Veterans for Bush of his TV work and the group said it would have to take him off its list.Phone calls to that group weren't returned Tuesday.Mr. Cordier said he acted in good faith."Maybe I should have let them know sooner, but it didn't seem relevant to me because I wasn't doing anything wrong," he said.
posted by BummerDietz @ 5:47 PM 1 comments
Texas Smoke and ……
Re: Thornburgh ReportI smell smoke. Where there is smoke……The Report has some glaring omissions, regarding the Texas folk. There are 3, maybe 4, Texans on the CBS News payroll running around Texas, doing the story. They do not operate in a vacuum. Why doesn’t the Report give even cursory attention to these critical players?Some of the smoke signals:Michael Smith’s Smoking Gun Email(s):1. Bribe Offer to Burkett. Lots of commentators are addressing the “no political bias” finding of the Report. As detailed elsewhere, only by ignoring the context of the election and Swift Boat vets, and by claiming that political bias is outside its scope of review (despite then concluding “no bias”), can the Report do so with a straight face. But there are a couple of details included in the Report, that have avoided scrutiny so far. The first is the “smoking gun” email from associate producer Michael Smith to Mapes. It details his efforts to find some bribe money for Burkett, for a “book deal.” OK, payoffs disguised as book advances are a common problem the past few years. But, this is bribery; call it what it is.2. Stated Intent to Affect Election. But the Smith email to Mapes is worse. In trying to procure bribe money for Burkett, Smith reveals to us his exact state of mind: “What if there was a person who might have some information that could possibly change the momentum of an election….?” This CBS News Associate Producer’s intentions are clear: He wants the documents to “change the momentum of the election.”3. Missing and Redacted Emails. Here’s the rub: This seems to be a critical email. And if Michael Smith is so careless as to document his state of mind in this email as to committing felony bribery, payola, election-law violations, etc., what might be found in his other emails? And, why does the Report only include small “redacted” pieces of this email? What else does that email say? Might I suggest, the unredacted version (and other emails) contain….Fire.4. No Focus on Smith the Cohort. Smith sent other emails, not reproduced in the Report, but which “speculated..about how Lieutenant Colonel Burkett obtained the ‘holy grail’ and that “Burkett was protecting the true source.” More smoke. Any prosecutor can smell that Michael Smith is way too close; a prosecutor like Thornburgh would, as a matter of course, consider that Smith had become part of the forgery team.5. Avoidance of the Obvious Fall Guy. Why would the Report NOT point all of this out? Blaming Memogate on a “rogue stringer” hired by Mapes would be in the best interests of CBS….unless Michael Smith is the key to a much worse situation for CBS.6. Sleeping Dog? Report Lets Lie. Worst case for CBS, is Michael Smith the direct connection with the DNC, the Kerry campaign, and/or the Democratic group (s) called “Veterans for Truth” and/or “Texans for Truth?”7. Conclusive, Irrebutable Evidence Ignored. Why would the Report exclude this critical data? It bears directly on “political bias” and “connections with political campaigns.”"Personal Files" – The DNA Marker of the Forger8. No Focus on the DNA Evidence. I’ve previously detailed the legal importance of the “personal files” fiction. The memos were invented – any fiction could have been chosen. The “personal files” tag was thus invented as: (a) an excuse for why the Killian forgeries were not in official files; (b) to excuse slight differences between exemplars and the forgeries, or my pet theory, (c) an invention of someone who accessed, read and understood Texas law (gosh, an attorney?) who wanted to sidestep the Texas forgery law regarding government documents.I discount option (a), because the big journalism story had (for years) been that Bush files were “scrubbed.” This means, “official files were destroyed or hidden.” If you are forging documents to support the big story, why would you choose to NOT forge the official files? You lose the thrust of the allegation, it seems.I also discount (b), because the forger could format the fakes any way s/he wanted – so why not do it correctly and convincingly? [If originals were produced, (b) might carry weight (lack of official stationery, etc.,); but with mere copies? No. ]If that is correct, then the forger - or co-forger - is an attorney. Find him/her, and you find the genesis of the scandal. The Report is silent on this....and Thornburgh is an ex-prosecutor.[Update: An argument is advanced here that Burkett had written an August 13, 2004 report for Paul Lukasiak. Burkett wrote that, "I have found no documentation from LTC Killian's hand or staff that indicate that this unit was involved in any complicit way to either cover for the failures of 1LT Bush, or to provide him pay or certification for training not completed. On the contrary, LTC Killians' remarks are rare, indeed...."[On August 25, 2004, Burkett again wrote that "we have now reassembled your [TexANG] files...." This creates an 11-day window, August 13th-24th, as the critical period. Burkett either forges the documents during this window, or the forged documents are provided to him. Burkett, aware of his recorded statements of August 13th that there were no Killian documents, might thus be related to the genesis of the "personal files" claim, as an attempt to avoid contradicting his statement of August 13th. Either that, or the forger who provides the forgeries to Burkett is aware of Burkett's August 13th report, and thus creates the forgeries so as to not contradict Burkett's August 13th opinion. This, if true (again, subscribing rationality to Burkett is a questionable process), would be a stong argument as a contrary explanation to my "must be a lawyer involved" thesis.[Cf. this purported Lukasiak webite with mounds of "Bush was AWOL" pseudo-data. (nb: "GLCQ.com" is registered at Whois as an amusing acronym...) Restating the obvious, there exists a hard-core group of anti-Bush librarians, centered around such website. The forgerers cannot be far from this reactor core....]10. No Inquiry into Chain of Custody. Per the Report, who first claimed these forgeries were from “personal files?” Per the Report, “Mapes told the Panel that she was told this by Lieutenant Colonel Burkett…” But Mapes is a liar – we know that – so can her representation be trusted? (Many of her other claims to the Panel are discounted in the Report as lies.) So...we really don't know for sure where the claim first arose; Burkett is obviously a leading candidate.11. One Hub of a Husband. Mapes' husband, Mark Wrolstad, is a Texas reporter. He is mentioned in the Report as introducing Smith to Mapes, and also giving Mapes contact with the Kerry campaign. In the 1980's, Wrolstad (as the reporter) and Mapes were the KIRO team who created a discredited Seattle broadcast that used a fake witness to falsely accuse cops of wrongdoing, even murder, in a drug den bust.Mapes' husband is clearly an active hub of this wheel – why no further mention in the Report? What did he and Mapes discuss every night over dinner? Might I suggest that any connections among Wrolstad, Lukasiak, Michael Smith, Glenn Smith and his "Texans for Truth" and/or "Veterans for Truth," (any connection between these Smiths? College rugby buddies?)* and/or Chad Clanton, are being avoided by the Report, as they directly and irrebutably establish the very things that CBS doesn't want established? C'mon, Thornburgh, you aren't this sloppy... .Mapes Gets Wind of Burkett – By Whom?12. Cloud the Critical Tip-Off. In August, Mapes “learned” that Burkett had “documents.” The Report doesn’t state how that happened. The Report uses confusing language to say that “Paul Lukasiak told Mapes” that a Linda Starr had seen the documents. This seems intentionally cloudy. Specifically, did Mapes learn solely via Lukasiak? Who contacted whom? As a prosecutor, Thornburgh knows that this is the critical contact. Why does the Report obfuscate it? Why the smoke?[Update: See my update under Item 8, above.]The Other “Associate Producers” on the Story:13. Lucy. Who is Associate Producer Lucy Scott? She is a Texan, hand-picked by Mapes.14. Roger. Who is Associate Producer Roger Charles? He was hand-picked by Mapes.15. Wrolstad. Was Mapes' husband also working with the CBS team? Or, some other team?We aren't getting the whole story. This seems intended - Thornburgh et al are too skilled to miss this stuff....___* Here's a Glenn Smith, aka "Fluffy." Here's another, an attorney, aka "g.q." (in the same club with a Michael Smith, aka "pee wee".
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:22 PM 3 comments
American MSM Party Disbands
Howard Fineman’s fine analysis:
The 'Media Party' is over - CBS' downfall is just the tip of the icebergWASHINGTON - A political party is dying before our eyes — and I don't mean the Democrats. I'm talking about the "mainstream media"… At the height of its power, the AMMP (the American Mainstream Media Party) helped validate the civil rights movement, end a war and oust a power-mad president. But all that is ancient history. Now the AMMP is reeling, and not just from the humiliation of CBS News….
The AMMP, meanwhile, is regarded with ever growing suspicion by American voters, viewers and readers, who increasingly turn for information and analysis only to non-AMMP outlets that tend to reinforce the sectarian views of discrete slices of the electorate...The crusades of Vietnam and Watergate seemed like a good idea at the time, even a noble one, not only to the press but perhaps to a majority of Americans. The problem was that, once the AMMP declared its existence by taking sides, there was no going back. A party was born. It was not accident that the birth coincided with an identity crisis in the Democratic Party…
…Bush doesn't hate the AMMP (indeed, he likes his share of reporters on a personal basis). He just refuses to care about what it's up to....
…In this situation, the last thing the AMMP needed was to aim wildly at the president — and not only miss, but be seen as having a political motivation in attacking in the first place. …
The moment [the 60 Minutes piece] made air it began to fall apart, and eventually was shredded by factions within the AMMP itself, conservative national outlets and by the new opposition party that is emerging: The Blogger Nation….
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:34 AM 1 comments
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Pay No Attention To Those Political Motivations Behind the Curtain
Compare the Report sections, below.
" The Panel is aware that some have ascribed political motivations to 60 Minutes Wednesday’s decision to air the September 8 Segment just two months before the presidential election, while others further found political bias in the program itself.... the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing the Segment or its content." [p.28]
"[CBS Associate Producer Michael] Smith e-mailed a detailed proposal to Mapes on Tuesday, August 31, regarding [inducements for] Lieutenant Colonel Burkett:
" 'Today I am going to send the following hypothetical scenario to a reliable, trustable editor friend of mine . . . What if there was a person who might have some information that could possibly change the momentum of an election but we needed to get an ASAP book deal to help get us the information? What kinds of turnaround payment schedules are possible...?'
"Mapes responded in an e-mail to Smith’s proposal, stating 'that looks good, hypothetically speaking of course.' " [pp 61-62]Maybe this will help S&C readers focus:Report Conclusion: "The Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing the Segment or its content"Emails between 2 CBS Producers: " ...could possibly change the momentum of an election but we needed to get an ASAP book deal.... What kinds of...payment schedules are possible...?'***Yes, the foregoing violates the federal anti-Payola statutes. See 47 USC 508.
posted by BummerDietz @ 3:25 PM 4 comments
A Time To Shill
Imagine* an alternative Memogate: A 60 Minutes reporter submits a story in August 2004 about the strong likelihood that "Citizen Soldier" John Kerry received a less-than-honorable discharge from the Naval Reserve. The story is based in part upon purported copies of military files that Kerry refused to release (or, some other such documents). Now, visualize the process that CBS News would go through in addressing the story and vetting those documents. Now, compare that scenario with the facts of Rathergate. That's the political bias. You know it when you see it.**__* - Yes, you're correct, this was the technique from the closing argument in "A Time To Kill."** - Correct again; the jurisprudence of Justice Potter Stewart. Cf., the Report's lame attempt to invent 3 factors supporting a conclusion of "no political bias." They don't pass the straight-face test. And why bother to invent such lame factors, if the following quote from the Report is true?: "The Panel recognizes that some will see this widespread media attention not as evidence that 60 Minutes Wednesday was not motivated by bias but instead proof that all of mainstream media has a liberal bias. That is a perception beyond the Panel's assignment."
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:03 AM 3 comments
Monday, January 10, 2005
Maybe Dick Thought We'd Stop Reading at Page 100...
Here's the whitewash, end of the Report. Too bad the printed page cannot connote the sincere tone of voice. Note that under the list of 3 factors supporting a conclusion of "no political bias," all 3 of those factors are big stretches. In short, there are no such bona fide factors.
X. WHETHER THERE WAS A POLITICAL AGENDA DRIVING THESEPTEMBER 8 SEGMENT (p. 211 et seq)There has been widespread speculation in the media that the September 8 Segment was motivated, in whole or in part, by an anti-Bush political agenda. Thus, after the Segment was aired, the following types of comments appeared in print media:Rather has long been criticized by some conservatives as being emblematic of the liberal news media.Rathers involvement in the politically charged story has led some Bush allies to challenge the networks general credibility. ...The question of whether a political agenda played any role in the airing of the Segment is one of the most subjective, and most difficult, that the Panel has sought to answer. The political agenda question was posed by the Panel directly to Dan Rather and his producer, Mary Mapes, who appear to have drawn the greatest attention in terms of possible political agendas. Both strongly denied that they brought any political bias to the Segment. The Panel recognizes that those who sawbias at work in the Segment are likely to sweep such denials aside. However, the Panel will not level allegations for which it cannot offer adequate proof.The Panel does not find a basis to accuse those who investigated, produced, vetted or aired the Segment of having a political bias. [????] The Panel does note, however, that on such a politically charged story, coming in the midst of a presidential campaign in which military service records had become an issue, there was a need for meticulous care to avoid any suggestion of an agenda at work. The Panel does not believe that the appropriate level of care to avoid the appearance of political motivation was used in connection with this story....The Panel recognizes that some will see this widespread media attention not as evidence that 60 Minutes Wednesday was not motivated by bias but instead proof that all of mainstream media has a liberal bias. That is a perception beyond the Panel's assignment.A. Information that Might Suggest a PoliticalAgenda1. Rather and Mapes Long Pursuit of the TexANG Story....2. The Anti-Bush Sources....3. Proposed Use of Colonel Hackworth....4. Kerry Campaign Connections....[Editor's adds: Obvious Fakery; Timing of Disclosure; Part of a Swift Boat Vet campaign; No similar inquiry into Kerry's questionable discharge and refusal to release records.....]B. Factors that Support a Conclusion that a Political Agenda Did Not Motivate the September 8 Segment1. The Previous Work of Rather and Mapes [????]2. The Editing Process Added Balance [ ????]3. Assuming the Killian Documents Were Authentic [????], They Added New Data to the Bush Texans RecordOver the years, I have been asked (and I sometimes ask associates) to "come up with a rationale for [position X]. We know our position doesn't hold water, but we need something to offer up before we close the deal."The foregoing "3 Factors" are just that - they are pure baloney. Just made up. There is probably a memo from a legal associate at Thornburgh's lawfirm entitled "Possible Arguments Against Political Bias." Somewhere in that memo is the associate's disclaimer, "Of course, these arguments are subject to substantive and persuasive rebuttal, but you asked me to craft the best arguments nonetheless." (I've had to write those over; they are professionally embarrassing, particularly when a boss would then pretend it was my fault that the argument was so lame.... .)Such baloney is typically offered up with the endgame in sight, with the expectation that the baloney is going to be abandoned shortly. That's the tactical reason for using the baloney.The problem with such baloney in the Report, is that there is no such endgame - the Report is the endgame. So.....why the inclusion of the baloney "3 Factors"?Lame. Really lame.
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:06 PM 7 comments
CBS Legal: Memogate vs. DishonorGate
"Imagine an alternative Memogate: A reporter submits a story in August 2004 about the strong likelihood that "Citizen Soldier" John Kerry received a less-than-honorable discharge from the Naval Reserve. The story is based in part upon purported copies of military files that Kerry had refused to release (or, some other such documents). Now, visualize the process that CBS News would go through in addressing the story and vetting those documents. Now, compare that scenario with the facts of Rathergate. There's the bias - you know it when you see it."They don't even know they're biased.From the Report (p. 120) - the role of CBS Legal:
"CBS lawyers, Jonathan Sternberg and Richard Altabef, were first informed about Mapes' TexANG story on the morning of Wednesday, September 8, when they attended the screening for another story which was scheduled to air that night if the TexANG story did not air. In contrast to the September 8 Segment, the lawyers had been extensively involved in reviewing the other piece.
"...[A]t or around 11 a.m., the vetting session with the lawyers regarding the Segment was held. A final decision had not yet been made to air the story that night. Present at this meeting were at least Mapes, Sternberg, Altabef, Howard, Kartiganer, Murphy and West, although West apparently was in and out of the meeting. At this meeting, Sternberg and Altabef were shown the documents and a rough script for the first time....
"The Panel finds that Mapes' failure to disclose to the vetters and the lawyers all of the information that tended to undermine the Segment was a serious problem in the production of the Segment. The Panel faults not only Mapes, however. The Panel also finds that those present at the meeting, including 60 Minutes Wednesday management, West and the lawyers, should have probed more deeply.
"Specifically, as a group, they should have asked more specific questions of Mapes in order to: determine the chain of custody and what had been done to find Chief Warrant Officer Conn; learn about the authentication process, the extent to which the documents had, in fact, been authenticated and what exactly the examiners had said; and understand what the basis was for the statements made by Lieutenant Strong that were included in the script.
"The Panel does not feel that it is unfair hindsight to have expected the vetters to have probed far more deeply at the meeting on September 8. This was an extraordinarily sensitive and significant story that was being crashed, which should have caused great care and thoroughness in the vetting process. This clearly was not achieved.
"...While the Panel continues to believe that the vetting for the September 8 Segment was not adequate, .... nothing in this Report should be construed to suggest that the vetting group believed that the Segment had any unresolved issues or was otherwise not ready to air by 8 p.m. EST on September 8. ""Gosh, seemed OK to us." They don't even know they're biased.Whitewash.
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:22 AM 2 comments
Mapes: "I think all these people are nuts"
Noteworthy:Mapes email, regarding document experts warning her of fakery:"I think all these people are nuts.” (p. 111)
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:07 AM 0 comments
Louis, I Need A Synonym for Tampering
The CBS Report addresses the decision to let Mapes and company engage in a cover-up. A real Timmy moment:
"If the validity of information presented in a 60 Minutes Wednesday segment comes under a significant challenge...reporting on the challenge should not be left largely or entirely in the hands of those who created the segment at issue..."The Panel notes that once the attacks began on the September 8 Segment, essentially the same people who developed the challenged segment had control of the news reports defending it. This resulted in opportunities for other news organizations to the reporting that exposed serious problems in the Segment."The red-highlighted portion above is quite a piece of work, including the intentionally jumbled syntax to avoid using the dreaded "tampering" or "cover-up" words. The Report justifies the need for an independent follow-up team with the idea that without an independent person, some competitor will expose the problem first!Ethics: It's wrong, because you might get caught? "The reason why someone else needs to check disputed work is to avoid a competitor exposing the problem first."Let me restate it for my legal bretheren: "Arson suspects should not be in charge of the on-site fire investigation."
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:39 AM 0 comments
CBS Report Is Released
[Update: Imagine if a CBS News staffer had written a story about Citizen Soldier's John Kerry's less-than-honorable discharge from the Naval Reserve. Visualize the amount of scrutiny that CBS would give to the supporting documents and experts in such matter (i.e. purported copies of the 100+ pages of military records Kerry refused to release). Compare that scenario, with Memogate. It's obvious when you tee it up like that. That's political bias, folks. And they don't even know they're biased....]My quick reaction after 30 minutes with the Report: It has substance, and some veteran CBS people are being fired. There is a mea culpa for the utter breakdown of journalism rules.But the Report directly denies that "political bias" of the CBS department was behind the story, and deftly skirts other 30,000-feet issues: Legal wrongdoing; the smoking gun of the "personal files" claim; and the critical facts as to the pre-broadcast scheming to coordinate a 60-Minutes segment as the cornerpiece of an anti-Swift Boat political attack.It's like a murderer confessing to drunk driving, speeding, carrying a concealed weapon and assault and battery. OK, per se ....but there's a dead body to account for.....At this early juncture, it's more than I expected, but it only addresses the obvious. Political interests are protected by not being included in the Report. The critical "personal files" angle - the smoking gun - is blamed on Burkett, without analysis.Quick highlights:"...The Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content.' " Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha "While the panel said it was not prepared to brand the Killian documents as an outright forgery, it raised serious questions about their authenticity and the way CBS News handled them." Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha A bit better is Les Moonves: "The Panel also found that Mapes presented half-truths as facts to those with whom she worked....In this case, as described by the Panel, her basic reporting was faulty and her responses when questioned led others who trusted her down the wrong road. Her confidential source was not reliable and her authenticators were unable to authenticate the documents, and yet she maintained the opposite. In addition, the Panel cites a number of instances where Mapes’ accounts radically differ from those of her colleagues and sources. This is truly disquieting. For these reasons and many others outlined in the Panel’s work, Mary Mapes is terminated, effective immediately."
In other words, Mapes is a liar.
There is this really good, adult response (albeit it still skirts the big issues): "We will immediately create a position of Senior Vice President of Standards and Special Projects, reporting to the President of CBS News. This executive will be assigned expanded new duties as part of upholding and enforcing CBS News Standards."
***CBS Press Release here.224-page Report here.Official CBS Response to Report by Les Moonves here. (This is a good read.....)
"Personal Files" claim. The Report whitewashes this critical legal point, and does not settle who concocted the "personal files" claim. The Report implicitly blames Burkett, without analysis:
"The most serious defects in the reporting and production of the September 8 Segment were:... The failure to establish a basis for the statement in the Segment that the documents 'were taken from Colonel Killian’s personal files':"
"Mapes told the Panel that Lieutenant Colonel Burkett informed her that the documents came from Lieutenant Colonel Killian's personal file ...."
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:17 AM 11 comments
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Ouch. Truth Hurts. We Are Better.
Victor Davis Hanson again awes me with his insight. Read the whole thing:
"…Imagine a world in which there was no United States during the last 15 years. Iraq, Iran, and Libya would now have nukes. Afghanistan would remain a seventh-century Islamic terrorist haven sending out the minions of Zarqawi and Bin Laden worldwide. The lieutenants of Noriega, Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Saddam, and Moammar Khaddafi would no doubt be adjudicating human rights at the United Nations. The Ortega Brothers and Fidel Castro, not democracy, would be the exemplars of Latin America. Bosnia and Kosovo would be national graveyards like Pol Pot's Cambodia…. Europeans would be in two-day mourning that their arms sales to Arab monstrocracies ensured a second holocaust. North Korea would be shooting missiles over Tokyo from its new bases around Seoul and Pusan. For their own survival, Germany, Taiwan, and Japan would all now be nuclear. Americans know all that — and yet they grasp that their own vigilance and military sacrifices have earned them spite rather than gratitude. And they are ever so slowly learning not much to care anymore."In fact, an American consensus is growing that envy and hatred of the United States, coupled with utopian and pacifistic rhetoric, disguise an even more depressing fact: Outside our shores there is a growing barbarism with no other sheriff in sight. Any cinema student of the American Western can fathom why the frightened townspeople — huddled in their churches and shuttered schools — almost hated the lone marshal as much as they did the six-shooting outlaw gang rampaging in their streets. After all, the holed-up 'good' citizens were always angry that the lawman had shamed them, worried that he might make dangerous demands on their insular lives, confused about whether they would have to accommodate themselves either to savagery or civilization in their town's future, and, above all, assured that they could libel and slur the tin star in a way that would earn a bullet from the lawbreaker. It was precisely that paradox between impotent high-sounding rhetoric and blunt-speaking, roughshod courage that lay at the heart of the classic Western…."China, flush with billions in trade surplus, first offers a few million to its immediate Asian neighbors before increasing its contributions in the wake of massive gifts from Japan and the United States. Peking's gesture was what the usually harsh New York Times magnanimously called "slightly belated." In this weird sort of global high-stakes charity poker, no one asks why tiny Taiwan out-gives one billion mainlanders or why Japan proves about the most generous of all — worried the answer might suggest that postwar democratic republics, resurrected and nourished by the United States and now deeply entrenched in the Western liberal tradition of democracy, capitalism, and humanitarianism, are more civil societies than the Islamic theocracies, socialist republics, and authoritarian autocracies of the once-romanticized third world…."All this hypocrisy has desensitized Americans, left and right, liberal and conservative. We will finish the job in Iraq, nursemaid democratic Afghanistan through its birthpangs, and continue to ensure that bandits and criminal states stay off the world's streets. But what is new is that the disenchanted American is becoming savvy and developing a long memory — and so we all fear the day is coming when he casts aside the badge, rides the buckboard out of town, and leaves such sanctimonious folk to themselves."
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:58 AM 2 comments
Friday, January 07, 2005
Citizen's Private Right of Action under Texas Deceptive Trades Practices Act
You worry that the Thornburgh Report will be released, in an abridged form. Nothing of true substance will be included. Unless a Texas law enforcement officer starts a criminal investigation, the matter dies. The linkage between CBS and the DNC gets deep-sixed. The details are covered up as to how a political campaign disguised itself as a news program. Viacom and CBS successfully terminate "Memogate." CBS effectively scrubs the Memogate files.It doesn't have to end that way.You've read at this blog about the peculiar Texas forgery law concerning fake "government records," and how it has confounded CBS. There's another set of statutes, too. And they are a key reason why the Thornburgh Report will be so abridged, under worry that disclosure of details will waive the attorney-client privilege. It's the set of consumer fraud statutes at Texas Business & Commerce Code Sec. 17.01 et seq - DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES - CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT.The Texas laws basically prohibit false advertising and holding out false goods and services. The "Killian Memos" are fake, and as such are "tangible personal property" covered by the Act. it might also be possible that the 60 Minutes II broadcast constitutes a "service" under the Act. the Act is broadly defined, applying to the spectrum from door-to-door salesmen to "broadcast stations."Most importantly, they provide that citizens can sue - a "private right of action." There is some limited protection for media entities, for unknowingly broadcasting misleading commericials, but not for broadcast content itself.So here are your tools. BummerDietz has no strong Texas contacts, albeit I have tried for a couple of months to interest a few distant contacts in Texas with this, to no avail. So I urge any Texas readers to find a like-minded attorney and run with this. Tell the attorney that § 17.50(d) states that "Each consumer who prevails shall be awarded court costs and reasonable and necessary attorneys' fees."Some highlights:§ 17.46. DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES UNLAWFUL.(a) False, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful and are subject to action by the consumer protection division under Sections 17.47, 17.58, 17.60, and 17.61 of this code.(b) Except as provided in Subsection (d) of this section, the term "false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices" includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:(1) passing off goods or services as those of another;(2) causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services;(3) causing confusion or misunderstanding as to affiliation, connection, or association with, or certification by, another;...(5) representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities which they do not have...;...(7) representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are of another;(8) disparaging the goods, services, or business of another by false or misleading representation of facts;...(22) representing that work or services have been performed on, or parts replaced in, goods when the work or services were not performed ...;(24) failing to disclose information concerning goods or services which was known at the time of the transaction if such failure to disclose such information was intended to induce the consumer into a transaction into which the consumer would not have entered had the information been disclosed;§ 17.12. DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING. (a) No person may disseminate a statement he knows materially misrepresents the ... character of tangible personal property... service, or anything he may offer for the purpose of (1) selling, contracting to sell, otherwise disposing of, or contracting to dispose of the tangible personal property, ... service, or anything he may offer; or (2) inducing a person to contract with regard to the tangible personal property, ... service, or anything he may offer.Edited version under 17.12: No person may disseminate a statement he knows materially misrepresents the character of tangible personal property or a service for the purpose of inducing a person to contract with regard to the tangible personal property, service, or anything he may offer.A little lawyering to apply 17.12 to the 60 Minutes II Broadcast: No network may badly misrepresent felonious, forged memos as being authentic, in order to induce viewers to watch the show, thereby either a) increasing (or maintaining) the show's ratings allowing the network to charge higher ad rates, or b) inducing viewers to buy products and services by selling commercial time to advertisers during the misrepresentative segment.Any Texas citizen who viewed the 60 Minutes II segment, and/or was induced by any commercial(s) broadcast during the segment, can sue CBS.§ 17.50. RELIEF FOR CONSUMERS. (a) A consumer may maintain an action where any of the following constitute a producing cause of economic damages or damages for mental anguish:(1) the use or employment by any person of a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice that is specifically enumerated in [17.46(b)], and relied on by a consumer to the consumer's detriment; [or]...(3) any unconscionable action or course of action by any person;The foregoing 17.50 is the "private right of action" that plaintiff attorneys covet. No official action in required; any aggrieved person with standing may sue.The loopholes for media are not big enough to save CBS here:§ 17.49. EXEMPTIONS. (a) Nothing in this subchapter shall apply to the owner or employees of a regularly published newspaper, magazine, or telephone directory, or broadcast station,or billboard, wherein any advertisement in violation of this subchapter is published or disseminated, unless it is established that the owner or employees of the advertising medium have knowledge of the false, deceptive, or misleading acts or practices declared to be unlawful by this subchapter, or had a direct or substantial financial interest in the sale or distribution of the unlawfully advertised good or service. Financial interest as used in this section relates to an expectation which would be the direct result of such advertisement.(b) Nothing in this subchapter shall apply to acts or practices authorized under specific rules or regulations promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission under Section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act [15 U.S.C.A. 45(a)(1) ]. The provisions of this subchapter do apply to any act or practice prohibited or not specifically authorized by a rule or regulation of the Federal Trade Commission. An act or practice is not specifically authorized if no rule or regulation has been issued on the act or practice.Run with it.-Bummer
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:34 AM 11 comments
Thursday, January 06, 2005
CBS Report Legal Checklist
CBS Report Legal Checklist for Scylla&Charybdis readers:1. Withholding under "Privilege." If some or all of the full report is withheld due to "privilege," it means that CBS doesn't want the full report to be subject to subpoena in a lawsuit. This implies some lawsuit is possible, and facts want to be kept confidential. What facts, and what type of lawsuit?2. CBS Legal Liability. Potential lawsuits against CBS include regulatory, civil and criminal. Will the Report omit all relevant details, under claim of "privilege," because of this exposure?3. "Personal Files." This phrase was inserted somewhere between forgery and broadcast, likely by a lawyer who realized that under the Texas forgery statute, passing or publishing 2 or more fake 'government records' is a felony. Solution? Pretend these fake government records are from "personal files." No government files, no felony. Find where that got inserted, and you've fingered a criminal intent. (Did CBS lawyers insert the phrase?) Thornburgh is aware of the issue (so too are various Texas prosecutors...). Will the report whitewash it?4. The Viacom Rulebook. Viacom employee rules prohibit pretty much everything that is alleged to have happened in Memogate (assisting a political campaign; compliance with law; conflicts of interest). Will these be addressed, or do "journalists" get a free pass?
Update from an old post:From the Viacom Employee Rules:"POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND PAYMENTS. Federal law and Viacom policy prohibit the contribution of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to or on behalf of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee (“PAC”)…"Unpacking that rule: "Contributed" means "to give or supply in common with others" or "submit for publication" or "to help bring about a result" or to "act as a factor."So, stating Viacom policy in alternate words from the dictionary, Viacom policy prohibits:1. Contribution of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to or on behalf of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.2. Giving or supplying of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to or on behalf of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.3. Submitting Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities forpublication by or for the benefit of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.4. Use of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to help bring about a result for, or on behalf of or the benefit of, a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.5. Providing Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to used as a factor involving any federal political party, candidate or political action committee. 5. Tampering. Will the Report address tampering issues involved CBS having allowed Mapes to continue to produce cover-up segments, particularly the old lady Knox segment? Or any detailed analysis of the genesis of the numerous false statements, etc., by all levels of CBS employees, during the 11 days of cover-up by CBS?more to come....Update:6. CBS Legal Oversight During Coverup. For 11 days, 60 Minutes, CBS News, and the CBS Press Office defended the story by attacking critics, making misleading and false statements about the vetting process, etc. Will the report address the role of the CBS attorneys in such actions during the 11-day process?7. Re-Organization of CBS Legal. In addition to the journalism lapses (or worse), the legal lapses by the CBS Legal Department were malpractice(or worse) in any other realm. It is also possible that warnings by CBS Legal were overruled by political desires to run the anti-Bush story. Will the role of CBS Legal be reorganized re: the news division?
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:54 PM 6 comments
Drudge Gets Timmy-ied
Drudge is kind enough to time-stamp his report about the release of the Thornburgh Report:
THU JAN 06 2005 10:46:50 ET // SOURCES: CBS REPORT ON '60 MINUTES' AIRING OF FAKE BUSH DOCS SET FOR RELEASE... Timmy !
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:49 AM 0 comments
Dead U.S. Soldiers Don't Get Telethons
Allahpundit, per usual, sums it up with a photo and a caption.See it here.Army Emergency Relief - give here.Navy/Marine Corps Relief - give here.Air Force Aid Society - give here.
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:50 AM 0 comments
Blog Gets Sued
Should the blog involved - ThinkSecret - get to invoke the so-called "reporter's shield" law? I haven't seen the lawsuit or the website, so I have no opinion...
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Computer has sued a popular Macintosh rumor Web site for allegedly distributing trade secrets, the latest in a string of lawsuits the company has filed to stop Internet leaks of details of upcoming products. Apple, in the complaint filed on Tuesday, sued Web site Think Secret and other unnamed individuals, claiming that Think Secret had induced these individuals to breach confidentiality agreements that they had signed with Apple.Apple claimed that the information posted on Think Secret in November and December of this year, and earlier, could only have been obtained by someone who had signed a confidentiality agreement with Apple.Apple is suing Nick dePlume, who owns and runs Think Secret, and 20 other unnamed individuals, some of whom Apple believes gave the unreleased product information to the Web site. The company also said that it believes dePlume is an assumed name, and that it will amend its complaint with dePlume's real name and the names of the other defendants, once they were determined.
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:10 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Hindrocket, Big Trunk, Deacon
I like your blog and respect you guys.But stop whining. You're attorneys - sue the Coleman bastard. When you whine, you're just like the pussies in the MSM.Shut up and sue the bastard. Make a spectacle out of it.
posted by BummerDietz @ 5:15 PM 2 comments
Signal: Thornburgh Report Release Date
The MSM has already geared up to condition the news cycle for abu garaib-type headlines over the Alberto R. Gonzales nomination hearings. See, e.g., today's LA Times and NY Times. The hearings begin Thursday. Gosh, this guy must be awfully evil.Not a stretch to smell this coming: CBS will "release" the Thornburgh report this Friday, right into the cacophony of MSM "news" about the nefarious Alberto Gonzales. The MSM's various Gonzales stories will take up all MSM bandwidth on Friday, relegating to the back pages any attention to the "release" of CBS's Thornburgh Report.Note: As previously explained at this blog, the "release" will not include a release to the public of any "report," per se. Rather, the release will constitute nothing more than a press release stating that CBS management has taken "internal measures deemed appropriate to ensure.... blah blah blah," with perhaps one example or digest being made public.Update: I will be gleeful if CBS releases the entire Report. I'll gladly take "incorrect and gleeful" over "correct and miffed."Update: Jim Geraghty/KerrySpot says his little bird at CBS has fingered Friday as the release date.Update: A quick soundbite tutorial from an old post&comment as to thereason why the Report itself will not be released, and why any public statement about it by CBS will be devoid of any details:The so-called "privilege" of CBS (the attorney-client privilege, which is the right of CBS to refuse to disclose the contents of communications and advice between CBS and its attorneys) to withhold the report from being disclosed (e.g., via subpoena in any criminal or civil litigation) would be forfeited or "waived" by CBS/Viacom, if CBS/Viacom were to make any voluntary public disclosure of "any significant part" of the Report. This is because the statutes which establish the "attorney client privilege" also contain provisions about how the privilege can be forfeited and waived.All states have similar privilege laws. In Texas, for example, see the Texas Rules of Evidence Rule 511:
Rule 511. WAIVER OF PRIVILEGE BY VOLUNTARY DISCLOSUREA person upon whom these rules confer a privilege against disclosure waives the privilege if...the person ...voluntarily discloses or consents to disclosure of anysignificant part of the privileged matter unless such disclosure itself is privileged...']Whether Viacom (owner of CBS) or CBS itself or CBS engaged Thronburgh, doesn't really matter under various "joint defense privilege" and "work product privilege" practices. The CBS Report will be structured so that the entire report is privileged and may not be subpoenaed by civil litigants or criminal investigators.The risk to CBS as to what it says publicly is the issue of waiver. Privilege law provides that the secrecy of the report can be forfeited by act of the holder of the privilege - here, CBS Board and/or the Viacom board.For example, imagine if the CBS or Viacom board were to hold a news conference and state, "We have read the 1000 page report from Dick Thornburgh, and the report says that there was no criminal wrongdoing nor any violation of Viacom rules." A month later, in a lawsuit, a shareholder plaintiff subpoenas a copy of the whole report. Viacom objects, stating that it is "privileged." The plaintiff then claims the privilege was waived, by Viacom's voluntary disclosure of the essence of the attorney-client communication, via the news conference. The judge decides. This is an example of what (in the appellate cases) is sometimes called the "Sword-Shield" privilege analysis, to wit: A protected party cannot use the privilege as a "sword" - i.e., to use privileged material to "attack" another position, but then when the material is challenged, to claim it is privileged. The privilege is intended only as a "shield," not a sword.Hence, it always comes down to, "Say nothing about the privileged matter, or risk waiver."Thornburgh's website touts the firm's acumen in avoiding privilege waiver when conducting "internal investigations":
"To prevent indictment and assure an acquittal of CBS, K&L's expertise is to conduct the investigation 'to maximize the ability to assert attorney-client and work product privileges over the materials compiled in any subsequent criminal or civil proceeding.' "
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:27 AM 2 comments
Monday, January 03, 2005
Good Hands with Dan
In his 1994 book, "The Camera Never Blinks Twice," (114 copies available at Amazon, starting at 29 cents), Dan Rather dictaphoned:
"A serious journalist can't run with a story without confirmation. Two sources at the absolute minimum. ... This is how your narrator made it through Watergate. If I'd gone off half-cocked, if I'd gotten my facts scrambled, if I'd run with unconfirmed leads, I'd be selling insurance right now."Courage and Good Hands, Dan.***From Dan's interview with the Allstate office in Abilene, TX:Mr. Smith (Allstate HR VP): Well, Mr. Rather, I don't often get applications like yours. Do you think you would be satisfied writing rurual homeowner coverage policies with aluminum siding coverage riders? After all, you've interviewed Presidents and worn flight suits, just like W.Rather: C'mon, I know this ain't no high porch picnic. I've got more underwriting cajones than a Texas armadillo doing an asphalt 2-step in August. Put me in, coach. I'm an expert at claims adjustment - sniffing out fakes, that is. It's in my blood. I'm a Texan. Texan for Truth, that's it.Mr. Smith: Yes, I see........
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:43 PM 2 comments
Memogate Report Imminent?
Broadcasting and Cable has this:
Mr. Heyward Goes to WashingtonLet the fence-mending begin. According to a Broadcasting & Cable source in Washington, D.C., CBS News president Andrew Heyward, along with Washington bureau chief Janet Leissner, recently met with White House communications director Dan Bartlett, in part to repair chilly relations with the Bush administration.CBS News’ popularity at the White House—never high to begin with—plunged further in the wake of Dan Rather’s discredited 60 Minutes story on George Bush’s National Guard service.
An incentive for making nice is the impending report from the two-member panel investigating CBS's use of now-infamous documents for the 60 Minutes piece. Heyward was “working overtime to convince Bartlett that neither CBS News nor Rather had a vendetta against the White House,” our source says, “and from here on out would do everything it could to be fair and balanced.” CBS declined to comment.Here's the purloined transcript of that meeting:9:54 amBARTLETT: "Andrew, Janet, c'mon in."HEYWARD: "Thanks, Dan. [They are seated] We wanted to come see you and re-establish a good working relationship with you after this whole guard memo thing."BARTLETT: "I appreciate that, Andrew. Dealing with false documents is always touchy, for the press and the government, too."HEYWARD: "Actually, Dan, no one has absolutely conclusively proven the memos to be fake, and since we know the underlying facts are accurate, I think the ' false document' label isn't the type of healing-sort of phrase that we'd prefer be used."[3 minutes of silence. Man in white valet uniform enters room]10:00 amBARTLETT: "Listen, thanks, really. The shoe guy is here so I gotta run. But thanks, and I'll absolutely relay your thoughts to the President."[Heyward and Leissner exit]
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:41 AM 7 comments
Saturday, January 01, 2005
2005: Year of the Synthesis
2004 was a strange bird. Lots of negatives in the air, all year long. 2004, watch that door swinging....Good things can, and did, result from negatives. The searing election campaign has resulted in a calmness, I think. Memogate and the continuing tear-down of the Old Guard Lefties behind it, is a good process. Why?Because the dice were loaded way, way too much in favor of the Mainstream Media ("MSM"). MSM had the hegemony of 1) a funded organization of like-minded political activists; 2) earliest access to factual developments; 3) the ability to blend ideology into breaking news, without any contrarian input [read: propaganda machine]; 4) an echo-chamber of support from various elements of the MSM, specifically the news wires and photo wires relied upon by hundreds of secondary media outlets, and 5) critically, a news cycle in which 90%+ of all "news" falls off the public radar within 24-48 hours (i.e., the cycle of AP news wires through secondary media, such as local papers or local news programs).The result of these loaded dice was that the MSM used its dominance to tell its version to an audience of tens of millions, most of whom filed away the information and moved on to tomorrow. Any rebuttal to the MSM story would appear weeks or months later, in a magazine with a readership of ten thousand or maybe more. Too late.Give me control of those loaded dice for a couple of decades, and watch how much I can affect public opinion....2004 was the year that four of these five hegemony elements disintegrated, in chorus. The internet and IM have dropped the funding hurdle for organizing "like-minded political activists" by 99.995% (OK, that's approximate). The MSM dominance over early and exclusive access to factual developments is reduced to being seconds or minutes, not hours and days (thanks to the internet.) The absence of any contrarian input to MSM story-spin has been surrendered to faster media, particularly the internet, radio and the blogs which connect them. Although the echo chamber of cross-media support still exists for the MSM, the old media news cycle (morning paper delivery and nightly newscast) has quickly been matched, to the point where it is a liability.In any group of 4 or 6 or 12 people - at work, for example - they received their information on current events updates from multiple sources that day - newspaper, morning TV, drive-time radio and the internet (including blogs). The MSM used to dominate this; now it doesn't. The critical factor is now that the loaded dice of the MSM - its filtering and control of information - is countered, real-time, when those 4 or 6 or 12 people talk about events. A couple of them will have received information - real time- including hard facts and talking points, that is contrary to the left-leaning version disseminated by the MSM. Thus, the "water cooler talk" is no longer an MSM echo chamber. (In fact, the combination of blogs and talk radio has created an alternative echo chamber of the right-of-center, and its cycle is minutes and hours, not days. In many respects, it is winning the race to the water cooler.)This development - the water cooler phenomena - is why the MSM is reacting with such spite. They owned the water cooler talk for almost 40 years. It was theirs, and theirs alone. And now they have to share it.But the institutions of the MSM have been built around hegemony, not sharing. Memogate is the classic example of the architecture of an MSM institution being unable to recognize, respond and adapt to a new media order. How can you spot an MSM old-guard leftie who is not adapting? Watch for those who claim that the "right wing media dominates the country". It's a sure sign of someone who is deluded with their notion that the MSM hasn't been playing with loaded dice for several generations. As Goldberg and so many others have pointed out, they don't even realize they are left-biased.****But we're all a bit weary from the battles of 2004, despite the periodic adrenaline surges, right?So here's to a 2005 with more positives. I'd rather live with a balanced, fair and rational discussion of stuff, even if I disagree with the outcomes, than continue wading through the irrational vitriol, race-baiting and nefarious scheming that public affairs has become.Borrowing the Hegelian language of the dialectic, perhaps the MSM and the blogs were the thesis and antithesis - 2004 was the year of the clash, and Memogate the reactor core of it all. What lies ahead is the Synthesis.I'm down with that. 2005 as the Year of the Synthesis.Here's to your own synthesis of things in 2005. All positive, rational, warm and fuzzy.-Bummer____* - "You're a hooker!? Jesus, I forgot. I just thought I was doing great with you....."
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:11 AM 6 commentsFriday, December 31, 2004
Voila Allah !
Allah Pundit is back (albeit without warp drive) at this site: AllahPundit.
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:08 PM 0 comments
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Bush Clan Brilliance
Jeb Bush, currently the world's expert CEO with respect to directing massive disaster aid efficiently (re: those back-to-back Florida hurricanes), is dispatched by brother George to oversee the US tsunami aid efforts in the Indian Ocean disaster areas.One of the worst 3 natural disasters of the century. 150,000, or maybe 400,000, dead - who knows? Yet for sure, the eyes, ears and leaders of the entire world will be focused on it for weeks. And there will stand the world's expert - Jeb Bush - front and center with a national and international audience. And a hotline to the American Prez.Criticism-proof.These Bush folks are the best politicians our generation has ever known. I mean, really really good. Equal to or better than the Kennedy clan.Or, unbelievably lucky?Methinks more of the "good" and less of the "lucky." Rudy could have hightailed it over there, but he didn't. He has equal disaster management credibility and experience, himself. His trip would have been legit. He had the same luck cut his way, and he did nothing.So too, Hillary or... pretty much anyone.Really. Think about it.nb: Sorry, Rudy. You too, UN.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:34 PM 3 comments
Think Globally, Act Locally
Jim Geraghty thoughtfully writes:
“… 'Okay, bringing democracy to Iraq hasn’t worked as well as we hoped or expected. What do we learn from this?'
"… 'Pragmacons' … will share the ideals of the 'neocons' - spreading democracy, pluralism, free markets, free speech and religious freedom throughout the world, and relentlessly crushing Islamist terror networks and the rogue states that snuggle with them. But the Pragmatic Cons will also conclude that American options and resources in this effort are limited...."True, I guess, if you define our stated Iraq objectives as bringing democracy to all areas of Iraq, as one family. But don’t forget the basic and critical “Wolfowitz Plan” element underlying it all. U.S. objectives are far grander - which might require a more modest Iraqi democracy. The key Wolfowitz objective is establishing and supporting an Islamic democratic zone in the region. In short, such democratic zone will, over a generation, break the vicious cycle of despotism and radicalism, in the same manner that the daily exhibition of freedom and wealth under post WW-II Western European democracies taught the common man behind the Iron Curtain which social ordering was better, despite all efforts by the Soviet Bloc to the contrary. The Bloc collapsed.Establishing an Islamic democracy zone(s) is the strategy. Doing so in Iraq is a tactic. Doing so in Iraq while preserving a "unified Iraq" - that is, with pre-invasion borders - is neither a strategy nor a tactic. It's a minor goal, which can and should be jettisoned if and as needed. As one or more democratic zones are established in Iraq, the pre-invasion borders may or may not stay the same. If they do, and one big democracy zone results, then great! If not, so what? The Iraqi borders were just some straight lines drawn on a map by some white European colonialists early in the century.The Bush administration included the maintenance of pre-invasion Iraqi borders as a goal, but not an absolute. A unified Iraq nation (i.e., with pre-invasion borders) is not essential to long term Mideast peace and American security that necessarily follows therefrom; but a democratic Islamic zone is essential -- be it the Kurdish region, the Shi’ite region, or both of them.75% of the population forming two democracies covering 90% of the landmass formerly known as Iraq satisfies the strategic objective. (Remember, the initial tactic under the strategy [per Wolfowitz and Richard Perle] kept Saddam in place and instead would have established a democratic zone in the western Iraqi desert at the US airbase at H3, protected by the No-Fly zone.) If some or all of the Sunni Triangle cannot be pacified at acceptable cost, then we shoulnd't waste our assets on a non-strategic, non-tactical goal. It isn't worth it.So if we’re going to get all practical, let’s be practical. A unified Iraq is a four-run homer, accelerating the Mideast peace process by years. But a one-run homer is all we need, and perhaps all we can afford. To wit: A balkanized Iraq with two working democratic zones, territories or countries (Kurdistan; Shia’stan) satisfies the basic strategic objectives of the Plan.So in assessing "What went wrong, and what can we learn?"," don't give short shrift to the notion that our tactical move in toppling Saddam and establishing one or more democracies - be they zones, territories or a single nation - achieved our strategic objective.Mystified by the French attitude towards America? They're pissed off that the U.S. - all by itself - is about to conclude a successful global strategic move previously reserved to a few Europeans.
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:06 PM 11 comments
Movie Tip #2 from BummerDietz
Man On Fire.Director Tony Scott (Crimson Tide; Top Gun; etc.) directs Denzel Washington in a great follow-up to their teamwork on Crimson Tide (a slamdunk Top-5-of-Alltime in the submarine genre).Although it starts slowly, by the 45-minute mark, Man on Fire lights up. The gist is that a former soldier assassin gets put to pasture in Mexico, as a bodyguard amidst rampant kidnapping. He has nothing to live for until his charge, a child played by wunderkind Dakota Fanning, gets kidnapped. The ronin's rebirth parallels his actions in reacting to, and then becoming the fate of, the kidnapping and all involved.Sound like fairly routine Hollywood action fare? Yes, but for this: The film is steeped in a thoughtful, anti-Politically Correct view. Remember the virulent criticism that the Charles Bronson Death Wish films had to bear, as PC began to ramp up? Man on Fire is every bit as anti-PC as was Death Wish, to a different generation.Here, kidnappers are not victims of a collapsing third world economy. They are thugs, they are dangerous fire. And fire is fought with fire. In pursuing the kidnapping ring, thugs have no Miranda rights. E.g., they are tortured (by the good guys) until they give up needed information, they are sent to their maker, without apology.* As each scene plays out, you expect the well-worn Hollywood device where the good guy turns the bad guy over to some policing agent. Not here.A band of filmmakers here in L.A. refers to this genre of film as "Balls to the Wall" - it's an all-out effort, nothing held back. No cheeky preening by celebrities. No comic sidekick to broaden the appeal to multiple quadrants. No inserted-at-the-last-minute love story to appeal to the ladies. No....well, you get it.It is pure, 100%, no-excuses filmmaking. For a generation, this genre has existed in the backwater B-movie rack, cheaply made primarily for the foreign market, with little known or faded actors just looking for a paycheck.Man on Fire revives the Balls to the Walls genre with an A+ cast and director, an Oscar nod for the kid, a great script and a rare treat. You leave the theater saying, "What in the hell just happened?"Maybe you give it a B+ upon exiting, and two days later, when you cannot get the film out of your mind, you realize it's a Hard A. A classic. See it.This post is one of a series of 2004 film recommendations from BummerDietz.__*cf. Charles Bronson upon capturing a crucifix-adorned thug in Death Wish: "Do you you believe in Jesus?" "Yes, I do." "Good, 'cause you're gonna meet him." [followed with a bullet to the head, and then two more for anti-PC good measure.]
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:32 AM 1 comments
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
WaPo: 10 Errors about Memogate in One Paragraph
Update: Now it's 18 and counting....Tom Shales of the Washington Post makes 10 errors in writing about CBS's Memogate......all in a single paragraph:
"...Tireless press critics during war or peacetime, the conservatives were handed (14) a valuable new weapon (15) when CBS News fumbled(1) a report (13) detailing(2) the president's(3) shoddy record(4) as a member of the National Guard back in Texas (16) . The report was attacked (5) virtually the moment it aired(6) (11) on "60 Minutes" (12) ; documents used (17) to bolster(7) the allegations (18) were condemned by conservative(8) critics as phony and forged(9), though no forging has yet been proved(10)."Errors:1. Fallacy of the 3rd person. "Fumbled" as a verb implies the report was created by a 3rd party, and CBS was negligent in handling the precious gem. Wrong - CBS itself created the report.2. Begs the question. It is the "detailing" itself that was a forgery. Again this implies that there is a valid story and Platonic truth involved, apart from the forged memos.3. Use a capital "P." Basic word processing function. Others have had similar problems, it's not the 1st time.4. Begs the question. Prior to the falsified CBS report, what - exactly - qualified Bush's military record as "shoddy?" (Compared to, say, Kerry's refusal to release his military records due to a "not honorable discharge" problem?)5. Fallacy of the charged word (verb? adjective?); a form of begging the question. A third grade math teacher does not "attack" someone's homework; she corrects it.6. CBS's experts declared the memos false 48 hours prior to the airing.7. The documents didn't "bolster" the allegations. The documents were the allegations.8. "Conservative critics" such as CBS's own experts, and ABC,a nd the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Those right wing nuts.9. Why the distinction between phony and forged? As in, "Fake, but Accurate?" Compare with 1, 2 and 7, above. And 13, below.10. The biggest error of all - the fallacy of the false burden. In a court of law, the memos would be inadmissible because they lack "foundation" - that is, a witness to vouch for their creation. Under the laws and culture of the United States, this shortcoming is a close proxy to something being "forged." The law's assumption is that the unvouched document is false. The burden to prove otherwise - to prove that it is valid, via its provenance or "foundation" - lies with the person (CBS) who wants the item admitted to evidence. With no foundation for the memos, other than foundation strongly establishing they were forged, the burden lies with CBS to come forward with evidence to prove the memos are not the forgeries.Updates: 11. Factually incorrect. Blogs began questionning the provenance several hours after the program. The false claim that it was "virtually the moment it aired" is often repeated to support the "Karl Rove tricked us" BS, to wit: Rove OK’ed the documents with CBS, then waited to attack.12. The program was 60 Minutes II, a Wednesday program, not "60 Minutes", a Sunday program.13. Fallacy of objectification. The error is in referring to "a report" instead of "CBS's report."The use of "a report" implies that the report was something that had independent existence, like the "9/11 Commission Report" as being "a report that people were talking about." There was no objective "report" here without CBS; CBS created the report.14. Fallacy of the charged word. Neither CBS nor any whistleblower nor any other leftist group volunteered any information or ratted out CBS. It was high-IQ tenacity - not unlike the breaking of the Japanese military codes just prior to the Battle of Midway - that broke Memogate, not anyone "handing" anything to Bush.15. It was ammunition, not a weapon. Same gun, different day.16. It's TANG, dammit. Texas Air National Guard. Not the different group called the "National Guard."17. Technically, they are purported photocopies of documents (which turned out to be fake), not the original documents themselves. And don't get me started on the fraudulent "personal files" angle...18. There were no "allegations." 60 Minutes II presented the story as fact, and the faked memos were the basis of the purported facts. "Allegations" implies a forum where CBS would debate the evidence, instead of a bully pulpit used for 11 days to attack the debunkers.
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:00 PM 90 comments
Movie Tip #1 from BummerDietz
Yeah, I know, Variety and Hollywood Reporter are filled with ads soliciting Academy members to give nominations to this-or-that person. It's mostly noise. Whatever.BummerDietz, however, will do you a solid. If you are in the 30's-to-50's age band, there are certain films that operate within a zeitgeist that you - but not others - can see.Over the next few days, I'll post about these films, in no particular order. See them. Of course there are others, but I had a busy year.Collateral. A masterpiece. The "Tom Cruise" of it all overshadowed the brilliance of director Michael Mann.* Mann is a rarefied master at the top of his game, speaking the zeitgeist with minimal but powerful words, with jazz-like visuals and seamless music. Add to that Cruise-as-assassin, at times offering up his nihilist, existentialist, Hessian and even Nietzschean thoughts, buddied at gunpoint with Jamie Foxx.Like Top-10-of-Alltime Blade Runner (wherein Harrison Ford does just fine, but face it, he ain't the reason the movie is great), so too in this film Tom Cruise does just fine, but he ain't the movie. This tricked most celebrity-obsessed critics, who gave the film only tepid applause as they instead focused intently from their West Hollywood theater seats at Cruise's greyed-for-the-role hair. Not within Michael Mann's world, they were left to write about "Cruise looks older" and "the Los Angeles cab scenes" prompted by instances where the film's cab driver discusses Los Angeles transversal theory. These critics completely missed the - obvious - intellectual and philosophical through-lines of the film. Further, while critics foamed all over themselves trying to name all the homage/borrowings in Kill Bill (a fine film), they missed the plethora of equally artistic, and less obscure, hat tips to modern films embedded into Collateral.**Great, the critics didn't catch on. The film belongs to my generation, not a bunch of cackling Broadway-loving morons.And the hidden masterwork of it all? The script by Stuart Beattie.This film is a masterpiece, and a good ride (even if the studio had to "Hollywoodize" the third act/ending a bit to bring in the crowds).My highest recommendation.___* - Mann was the creator of the 80's TV show Miami Vice. Yeah, ha ha, we now laugh at 80's TV, but as an art form within a medium, Miami Vice was not only best-of-breed, but also set a new table for others, as Citizen Kane did for filmmakers a few decades before.** - For example, the final Collateral scene involves a ride on a commuter train. Its hat tip to Ridley Scott 's art in the death of Roy Batty is overwhelming; you even wonder maybe that's why Cruise's hair was made grey. On another level, the circumstances of a very young Tom Cruise's end-of-film train ride 20 years earlier in Risky Business (to Tangerine Dream's haunting "Love on a Real Train") compared to his (grey-haired) end-of-film train ride in Collateral will leave you speechless.
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:51 AM 2 comments
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Janus Faced Awards 2004
Scylla & Charybdis 2004 Janus-Faced Awards For Outstanding Examples of Shameless Media Hypocrisy2004 Winner:CBS News, for not assigning a single reporter to investigate John Kerry's "less than honorable" discharge from the Navy (documented in over 100 pages of military records that Kerry refused to release), even as Kerry's campaign identity was debuted at the Democratic convention as a Spielbergian "Citizen Soldier." Refusing to investigate the disparity of Kerry running as a hero, although he had been dismissed without honor from the military, CBS News soon thereafter crafted and defended its infamous anti-Bush Memogate story based upon faked memos about Bush's Air Guard service.CBS News frosted its own cake by offering the following diaphanous defense of its Janus-faced treatment of the candidates:
"Supporters of now-President Bush have been critical of opponent John Kerry's Vietnam record. Now it's the president's turn to answer tough questions about his own service."2004 Runner Up:CBS News, for its intense August 2004 stories searching for any connection between the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 527 Group and the Bush campaign, via common attorney Benjamin Ginsberg; yet all the while, CBS News was itself violating Viacom rules and federal payola statutes by cutting a deal with the Memogate forger to introduce the forger to Joe Lockhart of the Kerry Campaign, thereby facilitating the coordination of a parallel DNC media campaign with the CBS News Memogate story. This Runner-Up might be upgraded to Co-Winner, if the suspected widespread coordination of the story among CBS, NYTimes, the DNC, MoveOn, the Democrats' 527 called "Texans for Truth" and the Kerry campaign is ever established.2004 Honorable Mention:William Safire, for displaying the good sense to be a MSM pioneer in publicizing what the bloggers had been blogging for days/weeks - that felonies had been committed , and calling for a criminal investigation into Memogate. Yet just days later, Safire began his repeated attacks upon courts having the power to investigate reporters. "That's some catch, that Catch-22." "Thanks, it's the best there is."
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:53 PM 2 comments
Friday, December 24, 2004
Some source material by or concerning Bill Burkett.The Dallas Morning NewsRetired Guard officer says he saw some files discarded in trashBy WAYNE SLATER and MICHELLE MITTELSTADTThe White House released records Tuesday to buttress the president's assertion that he fulfilled his military duty during the Vietnam War, but it faced new questions about whether George W. Bush's file was altered before his 2000 presidential race.Retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett said Tuesday that in 1997, then-Gov. Bush's chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh, told the National Guard chief to get the Bush file and make certain "there's not anything there that will embarrass the governor."Mr. Burkett said that a few days later at Camp Mabry in Austin, he saw Mr. Bush's file and documents from it discarded in a trash can. He said he recognized the documents as retirement point summaries and pay forms.Bush aides denied any destruction of records or any order directing that any information in Mr. Bush's personnel file be destroyed. "The charges are just flat-out not true," said Dan Bartlett, White House communications director.He said the president has been forthright in producing all documents relevant to his stint in the Texas Air National Guard between 1968 and 1973. He dismissed Mr. Burkett as a disgruntled former officer of the Texas Guard.Mr. Allbaugh, now a Washington lobbyist, called Mr. Burkett's assertions "hogwash."A spokesman for the Texas Air National Guard, Lt. Col. John Stanford, dismissed Mr. Burkett's account of the conversation as "far-fetched." Of the accusation that the files were altered, he said, "I have no knowledge that such an event ever occurred."The release Tuesday of Mr. Bush's retirement point summaries and pay records as a member of the Guard underscored an effort by the White House to resolve a growing political debate over whether the president fulfilled his military obligations.Mr. Bush's military record emerged as an issue in the 2000 campaign after a review of his military file found no evidence that he showed up for Guard duty for more than a year after transferring in May 1972 from his base in Houston to Alabama, where he worked on a Senate campaign.Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe recently called Mr. Bush "AWOL" – absent without leave – during the time he was in Alabama. He noted that Mr. Bush's commanding officers said that they could not recall him taking part in some training.Mr. Bush, who appears increasingly likely to face decorated Vietnam War veteran John Kerry in November, has long said he fulfilled his Texas Air National Guard duties, both in Texas and Alabama.The records that the White House released Tuesday reflect pay and service for dates in 1972 and 1973 – a further refutation of the "outrageous, baseless accusations" made by Democrats, said White House press secretary Scott McClellan.The records show that Mr. Bush was paid for 82 days of service during 1972 and 1973 – nearly half of which occurred during a three-month period, from May through July 1973. The records do not indicate what duty Mr. Bush performed or where. The White House said it has not been able to produce fellow Guardsmen who could testify that Mr. Bush attended Guard meetings and drills."The president recalls serving both when he was in Texas and when he was in Alabama," Mr. McClellan said. "We have provided you these documents that show clearly that the president of the United States fulfilled his duties, and that is the reason that he was honorably discharged." 'That means he served'The White House also issued an assessment solicited from a retired Texas Air National Guard personnel director who scoured the Bush military files during the 2000 campaign and reviewed the latest documents.The new records "clearly" show that Mr. Bush "completed his military obligation in a satisfactory manner," retired Lt. Col. Albert Lloyd Jr. wrote.Mr. McAuliffe said he still has questions."The fact remains that there is still no evidence that George W. Bush showed up for duty as ordered while in Alabama," he said. "We also still do not know why the president's superiors filed a report saying they were unable to evaluate his performance for that year because he had not been present to be evaluated."Mr. McClellan said the records came to the staff's attention only Monday, after a check with the Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver the day after Mr. Bush said on NBC's Meet the Press that he "absolutely" was willing to release his military records.The 11 pages are pay records and summaries reflecting how many points Mr. Bush accumulated toward fulfillment of his Guard obligation. The records don't document any service dates between April 16, 1972, and Oct. 28, 1972 – periods during which Mr. Bush was in Alabama.Although the records do reflect some pay dates in 1972, Mr. McClellan stopped short of saying the documents offered definitive proof that Mr. Bush had shown up for duty in Alabama. "When you serve, you are paid for that service, and these documents outlined the days on which he was paid," he said. "That means he served."Mr. McClellan said Mr. Bush, a fighter pilot who didn't fly after April 1972 and later lost his flight status because he didn't complete his annual physical exam, performed "equivalent duty" in Alabama. He declined to specify what duties Mr. Bush performed or discuss why the president didn't undergo his physical that year. 'The fair picture'Mr. Bartlett called the Burkett allegations "outlandishly false" and accused him of being part of a group of disgruntled former Guardsmen critical of Maj. Gen. Daniel James III, head of the Texas National Guard before Mr. Bush promoted him to head the National Guard in Washington.Gen. James' office referred all calls to Col. Stanford.Mr. Burkett and other Guardsmen were critical of discipline standards and other issues under Gen. James.Mr. Burkett said from his home near Abilene that he remains loyal to the Guard.But Mr. Burkett, whose voting record shows that he has voted in both GOP and Democratic primaries, said he was disturbed over how the Bush file allegedly was handled. He initially made his assertions on a Web site two years ago.His accusations are reported in detail in a forthcoming book, Bush's War for Re-Election, by James Moore."I would like it that everybody sees the honest and fair picture here," he said.According to Mr. Burkett, he was at headquarters in the summer 1997 when he heard the conversation between Gen. James and Mr. Allbaugh. He said the Guard commander had the conversation about eliminating "embarrassments" on the speaker phone.About 10 days later, he said, he saw Texas Gen. John Scribner going through the Bush file."I looked down and saw files on the table and of that sort of stuff, and in the wastecan there is a retirement points document that has the name Bush, George W. lLt on it," he said. "There were both originals and Xerox copies in the stack."Gen. Scribner, now retired, denied the episode. "I sure don't know anything about what he's talking about," he said.Staff writers Pete Slover and Ed Timms contributed to this reportBurkett backtracks; was only trying to get Bush to release the pertinent documents in his military recordsBy Ben ConoverNovember 5, 2000—Texas National Guard Lt. Colonel (retired) Bill Burkett, in providing clarifications to published reports, says he was not pointing fingers but raising the question of whether Gov. George W. Bush, his aides, and other Guard officers were merely incompetent in their handling of Bush’s military records and trying to get Bush to order the release of the pertinent records: his payroll and retirement records, which would settle the question of whether he fulfilled his military obligation.“Within the morning press reports in the London Sunday Times and other publications, I am stated to have alleged that the staff of George W. Bush ‘doctored’—the key term—the military files of George W. Bush in whatever attempt to cover his military record,” said Burkett.What follows is a series of questions and answers.Question: Was this politically motivated and coordinated with the Gore campaign?Burkett: No. Not whatsoever. In no way did any member of the Gore campaign or any election official, Republican or Democrat know my comments. My observations were responses to questions of how the file was developed; disseminated under the Freedom of information Act (FOIA) and what was missing within the files which would resolve the question of satisfactory participation. These were my personal responses to the asked questions that were not sanctioned by anyone, nor shared with anyone. They were made on the basis of my 28-year career, my working experience within the senior staff at the Texas National Guard headquarters and my knowledge of the operational procedures of the US military including the subject of personnel files of retired or discharged soldiers and airmen.Question: Why, do you believe, you were contacted?Burkett: [I] will background how this occurred, which should be self-explanatory. The context of the DUI story indicated the mishandling or failure to fully disclose a past criminal record of Governor Bush. I believe that the military record and the irregularities that point to a possible extended period of nonperformance and early release may have also indicated a pattern of lack of full disclosure by the Governor and his campaign. This issue of military records had been highly visible on at least two previous occasions within the campaign, however, Senator Kerrey, as an honored and decorated [Navy] SEAL, most recently focused on this issue within the last 10 days. I would guess that within the eleventh hour and following the revelation of the DUI story, the media and voters were waiting for the next shoe to drop. This issue may have been viewed as the “next shoe.”In June of 1998 and with the full and personal knowledge of Dan Bartlett and the Governor, I reported problems of force structure, readiness operational efficiency personnel and procedures within the Texas National Guard. At that time, and periodically thereafter, I have been in contact with various [audio, video and print] news writers and publishers. In 1998, I provided sufficient detailed information including documentation of severe irregularities within the Governor’s own chain of command in an effort to correct those deficiencies which I believe undermined the Texas National Guard and in some cases broke the law.Question: How did your reference in this story develop?Burkette: I contacted a website that outlined the Governor’s personal military career irregularities and suggested that there were two official documents that would resolve the issue of satisfactory and honorable service. Suddenly on Friday afternoon, my telephone became barraged with media calls and messages, including those who had known of my previous whistle blowing but had failed to report it. I explained my background and personal observations to each of them in minute detail, often repeating the entire process for clarity. I was extremely careful not to point an accusing finger, but rather shape a question which could resolve this allegation of integrity that had clouded the Bush campaign since June of 1999—the issue of his personal military service.Question: Did you allege that the governor’s staff “doctored” the records?Burkette: No, instead I stated that the way this had been handled by the Bush staff, including knowledgeable military officials at the Texas National Guard, that it left the implication that the Bush staff had first incompetently provided an incomplete military file for the Governor which was consistent with his autobiography. I further observed that they probably did not anticipate that the file would be scrutinized to the level that it was. Whenever someone determined holes in service “big enough to drive a Mack truck through,” additional information—all of which was unofficial and some in pencil notations—were then submitted to the press to answer questions. I further observed the this “trust me, I’m the Governor” approach had worked throughout Texas for George W. Bush within his tenure and the media had given the Governor a free pass, without the same scrutiny as the vice president [was given], until the eleventh hour revelation of the DUI. But this still left the basic question: Why didn’t Governor Bush simply release his military pay files and retirement points accounting records, which are the only official records that will show that he satisfactorily and honorably completed his service commitment?Question: Were there other issues that you discussed?Burkett: Yes. In each call, I, in essence scolded media representatives for not doing their homework and reviewing this information before the eleventh hour. When asked if I would go on record, I said, “yes, I have nothing to hide,” even though I knew that the mention of my name with the Bush campaign would immediately strike a personal response because of my whistle blowing in 1998.Question: Again, was this a “Democratic ploy” as stated by Karen Hughes of the Bush staff?Burkett: No. Absolutely not.Karen Hughes has again skirted the real issue and question. Dan Bartlett and the Governor have also refused to answer the basic question and furnish the official files that will resolve this issue. I am in no way linked to the Democratic Party. I am simply an energized citizen and retired soldier who would like to have the issues of each possible commander-in-chief resolved prior to the election, in order that we can escape holding another American presidency hostage to actions and allegations by the opposing party in Congress. We have suffered from this partisanship for the past eight years. George W. Bush says that he is the only candidate who can bridge this impasse. This is his opportunity to start that process. This is what I believe other Americans share with me—a sincere belief that they have the right and capacity to make educated decisions; but that candidates have the responsibility for full and complete disclosure.A Week Before Memogate: Burkett Claims Bush lies about his service, smears Kerry's and seeks exoneration for the Abu Ghraib brassBy Bill BurkettOnline Journal ContributingAugust 25, 2004—While we all watched the news about the impending attack on Najaf, we also heard the breaking news that an internal investigation by the US Army and Department of Defense would clear all senior commanders from wrong doing in the Abu Ghraib prison case.The logic behind this somewhat dubious finding is that commanders must be left with honor and integrity; for if we find that the leaders actually violated the rules, all hell will break loose concerning discipline within the ranks. This logic implies that the followers are more than dumb—they know no evil, hear no evil and see no evil.Now think about this paradox. This past February, I was again questioned nationally concerning what I had seen and heard in May and June of 1997 regarding the cleansing of the personal military records of one 1st Lt. George W. Bush. These were specific events that I reported immediately and in a later letter to several state legislators in Texas, including state Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, in June 1998, in which I submitted my firsthand eyewitness account. I was then questioned under oath by five or six Department of Defense lawyers during the first week of January 2002 and I also submitted a sworn affidavit, again repeating the same facts in my civil case of whistleblower retaliation and retribution against me by Col. William Goodwin, Col. Jackie Taliaferro and Col. Archie Meador. Also last February, I did swear, when asked by Chris Mathews on MSNBCs Hardball, the response of the White House and Bush has always been that the 'system' of commanders, clerks and record keepers were remiss.Yes, Bush's claim was that he was in Alabama as ordered to attend drill and complete his contracted training. Not a single credible witness has answered the calls that included rewards of cash to corroborate his story. During the Friday evening before the Democratic National Convention, the final payroll records from the Denver archives were released; records which erased the last doubt about Bush's non-attendance for training—proof from the massive system of clerks, airmen and commanders all simply said that he was not in Alabama doing what he was ordered to do. Was there a massive conspiracy throughout America against George W. Bush during 1972 in Alabama? Was there a conspiracy that included his unit administrative officer, commander in Alabama, his unit administrator, and his commander at the 111th in Houston?And did I join that conspiracy in June 1997 to smear his good name when I reported what I had overheard and later again told Bush that his own senior staff was breaking regulations? Also, when I appeared before a state oversight committee where I was subjected—and again in February 2004—to a conjured cover-up and alibi by the chairman of that committee, Republican State Representative Bob Hunter?The two-part alibi from George W. Bush was that the system was incompetent, including all his commanders, the administrators and even the records processors, and over a longer term, the records custodians and even the microfiche machines. The second part was that a single officer—a mere mortal among the politically powerful, would make up such a story and then tell it consistently on numerous occasions under oath.And we notice that ever since the last day of the Democratic National Convention, the same logic has been applied. Once again, the logic is that all of the commanders, processors, and boards of officers who dealt with John Kerry's military files were especially incompetent and favored Kerry where they had faulted Bush. That Kerry's files would have been doctored favorably, while Bush's would have been laxly handled and several items, including attendance and pay records, were just forgotten and overlooked.So the logic is that the systems that we call command and administration within the US government were incompetent and unfair to opposite extremes, rather than fair and reasonable. Those claims absolutely assert that all servicemen; soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are suspect, including the 27 soldiers, who independently and of their own free will and accord, took America's stance on the Geneva conventions into their own hands at Abu Ghraib.George W. Bush, you may be the president [sic]. But I know that you lied.I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you". I know that you not only lied to the American people in 1994, but have lied consistently since then. Mr. Bush, not every serviceman except you is incompetent. When you failed to show up as ordered for duty, they simply recorded the truth. And the truth was, they didn't think you were especially important enough to jeopardize their own careers to cover for your absence by fraudulently counting you as present in any piece of documentation when you clearly were not present.Now Mr. Bush, we have finally confirmed the truth concerning your failure to complete your minimum satisfactory drill participation in 1972 and 1973. Yes, you did receive an honorable discharge, and, for whatever reason, someone in Texas did cover your "six" on that one. And someone in June of 1997 also tried to cover your "six" by making sure that the counseling statements and other files, which explained the reason you were grounded, did not survive a records scrub.This is all bad enough, but to continuously lie to the American people for years is outrageous. One can easily see how this "slick Willie" act of falsity could potentially carry over into policy, such as weapons of mass destruction, an attack on Iraq, the price of a prescription drug program, your close insider working relationship with Ken Lay at Enron, or Vice President [sic] Cheney's personal relationships and dealings with Halliburton. Mr. Bush, you've forgotten what the truth is. You have attended so many of your own "closed town hall" meetings, that you've begun to believe the briefing cards of those hand-selected people in attendance.And you feel able to call all of us lowly soldiers; lowlife National Guardsmen and reservists—some 3,000 of whom left today from Texas for 18 months in Iraq; some 185,000 soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors who have already served in Iraq or Afghanistan—incompetent.You have labeled an entire generation of veterans who actually did your laundry while you flew, for the time that you actually did your duty; people who cooked your meals; pumped your flight fuel and did your maintenance; people who did your payroll or kept your retirement points files, incompetent. And then you, by actions of your henchmen, would dare to call all of those who supported Kerry's service, people who also pumped the gas, did the laundry, sat on awards boards, the commanders at all levels, whom you say favored John Kerry, while others disfavored you, incompetent.I clearly understand Mr.Bush. For when you issued your report, clearing your senior leaders of all fault, while casting the aspersions and blame on 27, you sent specific statements as well.Of those 27, it isn't hard to figure out that the active duty folks are given non-judicial punishment and quietly taken care of. But the "reservists'—the part-timers cast into duty with the least amount of training, are referred for judicial proceedings with far greater latitudes for punishment.Mr. Bush, once again, your policies reflect your attitude about service. As I learned throughout my 28-year career, in senior military courses including the Command and General Staff College, a commander establishes his own operational profile by actions, not words.And your command profile, Mr. Bush, is that the grunts are like beetles and snails to you. You talk a good line, but they are always at fault for your problems. It was that way when you flew at the 111th. They caused you to quit coming to drill and obeying orders because they just couldn't get it right on your pay and attendance records. You learned how incompetent they were in March of 2000 when you discovered and released accusations that John McCain had lost his mind while "serving" as a prisoner of war. And then, once John Kerry was nominated as your opponent, you discovered and turned over to your financiers (just like the Wyly brothers from 2000), Bob J. Perry and others, the information that John Kerry was favored and awarded medals for service that you never even saw.Your command profile, sir, is that you are a liar.While in uniform I saluted every president since Lyndon Baines Johnson, whether I agreed with him or not. And while you were my governor, I saluted you as well. I saluted the position of authority and followed all lawful orders by those appointed over me.Mr. Bush, in 28 years as an enlisted man, an officer, a commander and a member of the staff team, I never missed a drill that I didn't make up. But then again, I was never given that opportunity. It was an order.I never missed a training period, and never got out of anything early, even though I, too, was in school. I missed Father's Day for 17 straight years while on National Guard duty. I missed the birthdays of my children and my wife. I missed our anniversary. I missed making payrolls as a boss. The water heater or the washer would always go out while I was at annual training, or the kids would have a major accident. But I was never excused to even attend to my family.But, Mr. Bush, I wasn't special, and neither were any of the men or women who served under me or with me.Sir, I have a much higher opinion of their work; their value and their service than you. I know they made a few mistakes, but they didn't go out on their own and violate the Geneva Conventions at Abu Ghraib. They didn't go out on their own and fabricate awards for John Kerry. And they didn't go out on their own and destroy your military service.I will close, Mr. Bush, with this true story, but leave the name out for his protection. I was a platoon leader at the time when a young man came before my desk for not showing up for drill. We were at war, Mr. Bush. You know, the one in Vietnam.He was a nice young man; very connected within our community. In fact, his dad was head of the draft board. He was also a student friend of mine. But he was a specialist four and I was his platoon leader at that time. He reported properly, but had this smile in the corner of his eye. Once I had told him "parade rest," I asked him why he found it difficult to show up for drill the morning before.He said, "Sir, I overslept."I replied, "Specialist, do you not own an alarm clock?"He replied, "Yes sir, but we got in kinda' late last night. You know?""Specialist, did you sleep alone?""No sir. I mean, sir, no I didn't and that's part of the reason I was late.""Are you saying that she couldn't wake you up? It was a 'She' wasn't it specialist?""Sir, okay (and the smile disappeared from the corner of his eye and replacing it was a touch of anger that a 'friend' would corner him like this) I get it. I was late.""Specialist, what time did you get here?""I don't know sir, about 2, I think.""Wrong specialist, you didn't get here until this morning. Do you think I don't know what the hell goes on around here? Are you saying I'm not responsible for being a good leader and being responsible for the truth? You arrived on time this morning and just thought no one would know, and if they did, they'd look the other way."Specialist, you may be my friend outside of uniform, but that doesn't buy you any extra credit when in uniform. So you'll understand that I'm referring you for charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, non-judicial punishment. You will meet right now with the platoon sergeant and he will apprise you of your rights for trial by court-martial under judicial punishment. I order you to report before me at 15:30 this afternoon to apprise me of your decision. Do you understand me, Specialist _________?""Yes, sir.""Dismissed", I said. The young man who had been called to attention before I told him of my impending actions, saluted, did an about face and left the area.This failure cost him to forfeit two days pay, make up the day that he had missed and a reduction in rank to private first class.That specialist was a rich boy and a local favorite son. He had money, influence and drove a GTO. And he never missed another guard drill. He fulfilled every day of his six-year hitch and became a state Senator and CEO of a major corporation. And he's a Republican, just like you.And when I saw him at our 25th college reunion, he told me that he remained mad at me for nearly three years after that. But looking back, he was mad because I had embarrassed him by making him face his own responsibility. He didn't thank me in front of anyone else. But one-on-one, he thanked me.Mr. Bush, the National Guard, the reserves, the army, navy, air force and marines are made up of the same people you see on the streets every day, and they're not all Republicans. Most of them were born at night. It just wasn't last night.[Lt. Col. BIll Burkett is a decorated Vietnam era veteran who served 28 years in senior command and staff positions within the US Army and Army National Guard. While serving on the National Guard staff for then Governor George W. Bush, Burkett broke ranks and exposed an ongoing scam of reporting over 1,700 soldiers as present (Ghost Soldiers- USA Today, 2001) and fraudulent readiness reporting (USA Today) as well as the shredding of George W. Bush's own military service files. Burkett was one of five subjects in James Moore's book, "Bush's War for ReElection," and one of the sources for information in the Michael Moore's film "Farenheit 911." He is decorated soldier and recognized military process expert.]A top rate, pre-publication timeline from American Thinker - please visit the site and read many other solid pieces of analysis:Who knew?September 23rd, 2004Clarice FeldmanAn examination of the timeline of publicly-reported events leading up to the Rathergate scandal raises some interesting questions about possible as-yet unrevealed collusion among Bill Burkett, members of the national press corps, and the Kerry campaign. Someone other than CBS and Burkett appears to have known about the phony documents, and spread the word quietly, in preparation for a massive coordinated campaign to discredit President Bush.On April 27, Kerry campaign literature suddenly claimed that there were "verbal orders" from Killian to suspend Bush for failing to take his medical exam. Shortly afterward (in "May" according to Burkett's ex-lawyer, Van Os) Burkett began getting calls from "national newspapers and TV." How did these reporters suddenly and mysteriously find their way to Baird, Texas within days of the Kerry campaign piece?Unless you believe that a number of journalists saw a lodestar leading them, like Magi, to the doorstep of Bill Burkett in search of memos (which seem to have been created shortly before), the more reasonable conclusion is that someone pointed them in that direction.CBS indicates Mary Mapes, the segment producer, had been in communication with Burkett for 18 months prior to the Sixty Minutes show, which puts her in this pack of reporters. But who else was in on the scam? We are told that Mapes and the CBS team were obsessed with their “scoop,” so they certainly didn’t tip-off the competition.Members of the national press corps know something critical about the story – who was peddling the documents. Yet none have yet revealed themselves. In the midst of biggest journalistic scandal in decades, they are holding their tongues. Who directed them to Burkett? And when?The public wants to know. And, given the fact that this scandal bears directly on the forthcoming presidential election, we have a right to know. The press corps, the schools of journalism, and all those nonprofit organizations which never tire of giving awards to journalists for “outstanding public service,” are almost completely silent on the obligation of the “profession” of journalism to purge itself of what looks like corrupt collusion to spread forgeries. From the press reports the timeline is fairly clear, though, unlike CBS, I am not vouching for anybody's credibility. We don't know when all of these memos were created. But based on technical evidence, one appears to have been created on February 6, 2004. On February 12, less than a week later, USA Today reported that there had been efforts to cleanse Bush's record. The source for this story was Burkett. The next day the Boston Globe contacted George O. Conn, former Chief Warrant Officer in TANG ,who flatly denied Burkett's claim, saying he never saw anyone combing through the Bush records or discarding any of them. Shortly afterward according to Van Os (Burkett's ex-lawyer) Burkett received a call from a man (Burkett says a woman, Lucy Ramirez) telling him he had documents confirming Burkett's story that Bush was ordered to take his medical exam and refused to do so. Burkett says he was busy but agreed to pick them up at Houston on March 3, and says did so. So how did these reporters, so close in time to the Kerry communication on this same point, suddenly get the idea, in late April/early May, that Burkett had documents on Bush's TANG service? And why would they seek documents which probably could not have existed, if they gave credence to Conn, who said the story was false?Was someone spreading the word? How would the person who gave the cue to the press know there was something there, unless he were involved in creating the documents and passing them to Burkett? And, if that's so, reporters other than Mapes who contacted Burkett are in the best position to crack this mystery. There must have been others also in the know. How else to explain that on August 11 the Chairman of the Tennessee State Vets for Kerry hinted on a radio interview that there was new evidence regarding Bush's failure to take his medical exam and loss of flight status? This is particularly curious because on August 13 Burkett posted an internet article indicating that he had not yet seen documentary evidence of the claim.But it is approximately this time (mid-August is the best date CBS has given) when Burkett gave CBS the first 2 of the 6 memos. On August 21, Burkett posted on the web that he had spoken to Max Cleland, who said he did want to mount a "counterattack" to the Swift Boats campaign.Four days later, Burkett posted on the web that "we have reassembled" the Bush files. No explanation is given for whom the “we” refers to. Nor is the meaning of “reassamebled” clear. And a time frame is notably absent. But according to Burkett and Van Os (if you choose the believe them), the phony memos had been in his hands since March 3. The only new development is that by August 21 he had turned 2 of them over to CBS. By September, it is clear that someone either within CBS or Kerry's camp (or both) was leaking the details of the story. On September 1, liberal blogger Josh Marshall reported that Sixty Minutes was working on a story about Bush's service, and on September 2 , Salon reported that there were "unanswered questions" respecting the President's service in TANG.Two days later, Lockhart called Burkett. Lockhart says he's 99.9% sure he didn't discuss the memos. This is not terribly believable, because by this time Texans for Truth was about to launch its ad campaign, Operation Fortunate Son, in which these documents would be certain to play a big supporting role. The scent of collusion is obvious to me. But then I was the first kid in my class to figure out there was no Santa Claus.The next day, September 5, Burkett gave the remaining 4 memos to CBS. And the very next day, Terry McAuliffe issued a release raising questions about Bush's service. The DNC followed this up with yet another presser on the same topic on September 7. On September 8 the CBS story runs. The DNC must have worked very hard that evening because it gave three more pressers on the topic on September 9.The next day the Boston Globe got a TANG document dump; Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times wrote a TANG piece; Texans for Truth began running its Operation Fortunate Son ads; and McAuliffe held a press conference alleging the President was AWOL.+++++++++++++++++To maximize a campaign story, one must plant seeds in the public mind about it beforehand and get the troops in line to capitalize on it after it breaks. It is hard for me to look at this timeline and (assuming the parties have told the truth) not see judicious leaks ahead of time, and a well-planned campaign to maximize its impact once the story broke.And it is even harder to imagine all this without believing that whoever gave the documents to Burkett also told the press that Burkett had them. That person may also have been the one contacting the Tennesee State Vets for Kerry, Texans for Truth and the DNC. Just who do you suppose would do all of that?UPDATE: Reader William Henslee writes the following interesting comments:1. The Nicolas Kristoff column in the NYT was datelined and online on Sept 8th, not Sept 9th. That was the same date of the CBS program and had to be done prior to the CBS broadcast. Its also interesting to note that the Times online edition of this column already had a place for readers to enroll for continuing “breaking news” bulletins on the Air National Guard story. Someone would have had to write the code for that on Sept 8th after the Times staff anticipated that there were going to be a lot of additional breaking news on the story.2. The NYT article on the TANG documents also carried a Sept.8th dateline, although in was published on Sept. 9th. The story also credited a NYT staffer in Dallas, Texas with contributions to the story, so the Times would have to have had prior knowledge of the date to break the information in order to get an outlying staffer to work on it.3. The Boston Globe also ran a story on the TANG matter on Sept 8th. Although the paper claimed its ‘Spotlight Team” had done the investigative work. ( Boston Globe Archives, 2004-09-10 ) THE GLOBE SPOTLIGHT TEAM HAS SCORED ANOTHER BULL'S-EYE WITH ITS REPORT ON GEORGE W. BUSH'S VIOLATION OF HIS CONTRACT WITH THE GOVERNMENT FOR SERVICE IN THE AIR NATIONAL GUARD, AND HIS STAFF'S SUBSEQUENT EGREGIOUS DENIAL AND MISREPRESENTATION OF THE FACTS (PAGE A1, SEPT. 8).4. Both the NYT column by Nicolas Kristoff of Sept. 8th and the Boston Globe article on Sept. 8th use an analysis of Bush service records from the same retired Lt. Col Lechliter, vouching for him as an expert who has conclusively proved that Bush failed to fulfill his Guard duties. It seems unusual that two media giants separated by hundreds of miles would seek out the same ‘expert’ on the same day to validate their stories. Who is Lechliter? Is he an aparatchnik of the Kerry Campaign?I believe this is sufficient evidence of collusion between these media outlets on the timing of the stories to infer that they were being fed information by someone in the Kerry campaign.Our own Steve Gilbert, whose articles on this site contend that Burkett composed the docuemnts himself in August, naturally politely dissents:The claim is made that one of the memos was created in February, which is based on a a LGF story which says that Fox's .pdfs show a Feb creation date.Since the pdf is of a fax that is itself dated Sep 10, this is easily explained that the computer used to make the pdf had an inaccurate time stamp. (The computer's clock and date was off-which is not at all uncommon, especially in work computers.)The author asks why the media would get in touch with Burkett months ago? Well, Burkett was a one man band in February, trotting out (once again) his story about having seen Bush's records destroyed. This all was in the context of Terry McAuliff and Michael Moore raising it again--and Farenheit 9/11 coming out... Remember, Burkett claims to be (and surely is) one of the sources for Michael Moore's docu-fantasy.Lastly, the Aug 11 foreshadowing by the Chairman of the Tennessee State Vets for Kerry did not mention documents. Indeed, the remarks are clearly about a different subject, the introduction of drug testing, which was a canard being raised by the ultra left around that time. It is discussed here.UPDATE 2: A reader adds the following comments:Texans for Truth is a 527 technically separate from the DNC. Texans for Truth, according to the IRS was formed on 8/31/04, and created its commercial blasting Bush’s National Guard service on 9/7/04 the day before the CBS Story.Terry McAuliffe held a press conference on 9/6/04 devoted to questioning Bush’s National Guard Service, minutes after the CBS Story on 9/8/04 McAuliffe issued a statement about Bush’s National Guard service quoting the CBS Story, and Operation Fortunate Son was launched as a DNC operation on 9/9/04 referencing the CBS Story as proof, with Sen. Tom Harkin running around holding press conferences and town hall meetings questioning Bush’s National Guard service again referencing the CBS Story.So we are to believe that it is coincidental that within a span of four days:9/6/04 McAuliffe holds press conference questioning Bush’s NG Service9/7/04 Texans for Truth airs a commercial questioning Bush’s NG Service9/8/04 CBS, The Boston Globe, and the NY Times do stories questioning Bush’s NG Service9/9/04 DNC Launches Operation Fortunate Son questioning Bush’s NG ServiceAnother angle I don’t see anyone exploring is the role of Texans for Truth. This is a 527, if they were coordinated into this attack that is a violation of McCain-Feingold.******************The purpose of this posting of complete copyrighted materials on this non-commerical blog is that the source material may be fairly used and reviewed in their entirety by researchers, reporters, commentators and others.
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:25 AM 1 comments
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The 68-Page Mapes Legal Memo
Why did Mapes submit a 68-page defense memo to CBS? Because Mapes' employment agreement likely has a termination provision (see the Viacom termination clause template at the end of this post).With that clause, the only way that Mapes can be fired by CBS/Viacom without them paying her any severance is under the "felony misconduct" provision of her contract. I've previously written about the felonies involved in forging, transferring or publishing the memos under Texas Penal Code 32.21.Why is this severance payment an issue? Mapes likely has millions of dollars of stock in the form of in-the-money Viacom stock options. As Lee Iacocca found out (when Chrysler cancelled his ability to exercise his vested stock options after he left the company), corporations under public scrutiny will sometimes try to cancel a departing and disgraced employee's exercise of options, under the theory of set-off. That is, the company claims that it could sue the employee for millions for wrongdoing by the employee; hence, the position of "let's just call it a draw," whereby the company doesn't sue, and the employee losses their options.Mapes is fighting that battle.Likely, CBS/Viacom has some convincing evidence that she is the forger, or a conspirator with Burkett or Texans For Truth in the forgery. Under her contract (see below), Viacom likely has to give her prior written notice of its belief that she has misbehaved, triggering a 10-day cure period. Mapes is likely exercising her right to "cure" a claimed default by rebutting the CBS claim and evidence that she has committed a fraudulent act. Her 68-page defense memo is just such an attempt.All in all, Mapes is on the hotseat, and Viacom wants to fire her, without violating her contract.*****Typical Viacom Executive Employment Agreement Termination Provision:
8. Termination.(a) Termination for Cause. Blockbuster may, at its option, terminate your employment under this Agreement forthwith for Cause and thereafter shall have no further obligations under this Agreement, including, without limitation, any obligation to pay Salary or Bonus or provide benefits. Cause shall mean: (i) embezzlement, fraud or other similar conduct involving Blockbuster which would constitute a felony; (ii) conviction of a felony; (iii) unauthorized disclosure of Confidential Information; (iv) your failure to obey a material lawful directive that isappropriate to your position from an executive(s) in your reporting line; (v) your material breach of this Agreement; or (i) your failure (except in the event of your disability) or refusal to substantially perform your material obligations under this Agreement. Blockbuster will give you written notice prior to terminating your employment pursuant to (iv), (v) or (vi) of this paragraph 8(a), setting forth the nature of any alleged failure, breach or refusal in reasonable detail and the conduct required to cure. Except for a failure, breach or refusal which, by its nature, cannot reasonably be expected to be cured, you shall have ten (10) business days from the giving of such notice within which to cure any failure, breach or refusal under (iv), (v) or (vi) of this paragraph 8(a); provided, however, that, if Blockbuster reasonably expects irreparable injury from a delay of ten (10) business days, Blockbuster may give you notice of such shorter period within which to cure as is reasonable under the circumstances.
posted by BummerDietz @ 10:35 PM 1 comments
Pay No Attention To the Man Behind the Curtain.....
Jim Geraghty reports that:
A little birdie familiar with discussions at CBS News tells me that the network suits will announce Dan Rather's replacement the day they release the report into the fake memos.... I guess the aim is to distract from the bad news by creating two headlines instead of just the bad one.
Half right, I think. The "New Anchor" announcement is to provide cover for the lack of any substance in the announcement regarding the results of the Thornburgh Report.
"Well, Larry, I know that question gets a lot of attention with the "conspiracy" crowd in the - what do you call it, pajama blaggoshere? -- your question about the Thornburgh Report. And I appreciate that. But I think what the American people really are asking is, 'Who is this new anchorperson who is expected to follow in the footsteps of Murrow, Cronkite and Rather?' That's the question that the American people want answered. And that's why I'd like to answer that question, and talk about CBS's new anchorperson, ____. "
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:50 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
The Benefit of Clergy was a medieval technicality run amok. It started out as the perfectly sane political arrangement whereby a clergyman could be tried only in church court, and not in the King's court.Clergy proved their status to the King's clerk by reading a verse from the Bible, thus winning their release (i.e., only clergy could read.) Later, this immunity applied to anyone who could read. Thereafter, anyone who could recite a 3-word Bible verse was deemed to be "reading," and thus deemed "clergy," and thus was protected by "benefit of clergy," and thus had legal immunity in the courts.Memorize a Bible verse and earn immunity from the courts?Literate folks love their immunity.Compare with California Civil Code 3510: "When the reason of a rule ceases, so should the rule itself."
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:07 AM 0 comments
Monday, December 20, 2004
I would not be able to face my colleagues if I ever had a quote this inane attributed to me, particularly as a so-called expert commentator, in the natonal press:
"There was another half to that story that had to do with verifiable events of what Bush may have been up to."Verifiable . . . speculations?***"Look, dear, you've had a hard day. Why don't you head over to the grocery store, they have some lovely fresh greens that just arrived. You can get some nice greens, and we'll make a nice salad. Yes, that's right, dear. Don't trouble yourself with this logic stuff anymore. That's right. OK. Bye."
Stupid Girl You pretend you're high Pretend you're bored Pretend you're anything Just to be adored And what you need Is what you get Don't believe in fear Don't believe in faith Don't believe in anything That you can't break You stupid girl You stupid girl All you had you wasted All you had you wasted What drives you on (What drives you on) Can drive you mad (Can drive you mad) A million lies to sell yourself Is all you ever had Don't believe in love Don't believe in hate Don't believe in anything That you can't waste You stupid girl You stupid girl Can't believe you fake it Can't believe you fake it Don't believe in fear Don't believe in pain Don't believe in anyone That you can't tame You stupid girl You stupid girl All you had you wasted All you had you wasted You stupid girl You stupid girl Can't believe you fake it Can't believe you fake it You stupid girl You stupid girl Can't believe you fake it Can't believe you fake it You stupid girl
posted by BummerDietz @ 3:49 PM 1 comments
A Letter to Dick Thornburgh
Someone had to say it....***************************************************************************December 19, 2004Richard Thornburg, Esq.Kirkpartick & Lockhart1800 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.Washington, DC 20036-1221RE: 60 Minutes II InvestigationMr. Thornburgh:The original 60 Minutes II broadcast on September 8, 2004 stated: "60 MINUTES has now obtained a number of documents we are told were taken from Colonel Killian's personal file."Texas Penal Code Section 32.21 provides that anyone involved with transferring, passing or publishing two or more "government records" is guilty of a felony. The mere fact that two or more "government records" are involved establishes the requisite criminal intent. Texas law does not allow for an innocent trafficker, if two or more forged government records are involved.Prior to the September 8, 2004 broadcast by CBS, someone (e.g., an attorney) researched Texas law and realized that Section 32.21 rendered the memos to be felony contraband, in that almost any action taken involving them would constitute a felony. To avoid such felony jeopardy, a cover story was created, that the memos were from "personal files," not government records. The creation of such cover story - to avoid the Texas felony forgery law - is a strong marker of nefarious intent.The determination of when, and by whom, such "personal files" claim was first made, will indicate the person(s) with mens rea, and pinpoint the forger(s).Note that such claim of "personal files" may well have been invented by the attorneys at CBS News. Note the likelihood that (contrary to the claim in the original broadcast), no one "told CBS" that the forged memos were from "personal files;" that the claim was a defensive action created by the attorneys at CBS, pre-broadcast.Your investigation should focus on that likelihood, and the public version of your report should disclose the results of this aspect of your investigation.Very truly yours,[ ]
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:25 AM 2 comments
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Thornburgh to Withhold CBS Report To Prevent Criminal Prosecution of CBS Execs
[See Update at bottom...]Many assume that the television networks, operating under FCC license, are "public" institutions, directly answerable to the public interest. That is a false assumption.The FCC has virtually no power over the networks, and certainly doesn't control them. The FCC has no power to intrude into network content decisions, nor any management matters. The FCC does not approve hiring or firing. Or anything, really, other than cross- ownership and the vestige of what was once called FinSyn (financial and syndication rules).The networks are for-profit companies, owned by behemoth conglomerates. On paper, network executives answer only to private boards of directors, which (on paper) are obliged to protect the interests of the owner/stockholders. (This has generally been determined by courts to mean, "protect the financial value of the company.") Not to shock any Scylla reader, but "the public," and "viewers" don't have a seat anywhere in the network corporate organizational chart.So when CBS announced the vaunted "independent review" of Memogate, many just expected that a 1000-page footnoted Mea Culpa Term Paper, written by Richard Thornburgh, would be posted on CBS's web site, for all the world. CBS carefully managed that impression, announcing that, "The findings also will be made public."But, CBS did not say, "The Report will be released." Instead, just "the findings." Perhaps we can expect findings such as: "CBS's previous statement was correct; there is no 'definitive proof' that the memos are either authentic or forged."So much for background. Let BummerDietz give you a peak at the quarterback's playbook:Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh is an attorney with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart ("K&L"). K&L has a practice specialty involving "internal investigations." K&L has been hired by Viacom to investigate CBS News and Memogate.K&L's primary objective in the investigation is "to prevent criminal charges from being filed" against CBS.If criminal charges are unavoidable, K&L's second objective is to ensure that CBS and its executives are "acquitted of any charges."To prevent indictment and assure an acquittal of CBS, K&L's expertise is to conduct the investigation "to maximize the ability to assert attorney-client and work product privileges over the materials compiled in any subsequent criminal or civil proceeding."Nowhere on K&L's list is, "Coming clean with facts for our viewers."What criminal liability is at issue? Plenty.In other words: Dick Thornburgh's investigation is intended to shield CBS from criminal liability, and the results will not be made public.*As stated in K&L's own words:
"We have also conducted complex internal investigations... We have ... a former United States Attorney General. The touchstone of our effort is ... to prevent criminal charges from being filed or, failing that, to ensure that our personal and institutional clients are acquitted of any charges thatmay be brought against them.
"Our attorneys have conducted and/or orchestrated numerous internal investigations ... [which are] set up and conducted to maximize the ability to assert attorney-client and work product privileges over the materials compiled in any subsequent criminal or civil proceeding... .
[UPDATE: The soundbite reason why the Report itself will not be released, and why any public statement about it by CBS will be devoid of any details, is because the "privilege" (the right to withhold the report from being disclosed via subpoena in any criminal or civil litigation) would be forfeited or "waived" by CBS/Viacom, if CBS/Viacom were to make any voluntary public disclosure of "any significant part" of the Report.All states have similar privilege laws. In Texas, for example, see the Texas Rules of Evidence Rule 511:
Rule 511. WAIVER OF PRIVILEGE BY VOLUNTARY DISCLOSUREA person upon whom these rules confer a privilege against disclosure waives the privilege if...the person ...voluntarily discloses or consents to disclosure of any significant part of the privileged matter unless such disclosure itself is privileged...']____* -I've previously warned that this was likely.
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:41 AM 23 comments
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
2004: The Year of the Document Scandals
I cannot help but note that 2004 featured four high-level document forgeries and document scrubbings. A record year:Michael Moore's Fahrenheit Fakery Scandal. (Even my left-wing Hollywood friends now concede that this once-heralded "documentary" was in reality a fictional work.)Sandy Berger Archive Scrubbing Scandal. *CBS News and the Memogate Scandal.Kerry's Scrubbing of His Military Records (and the MSM not mentioning it, directly resulting in the phenomena of the Swift Boat Vets.)__________* - Despite this blog having 14 minutes of exposure regarding Memogate, I have to nominate Bergergate as a personal, freakish favorite dark horse of 2004. An otherwise extraordinary story, it was simply overshadowed by breaking events.Here are the reported facts, and timeline, that I have pieced together (online) re Bergergate:July - September 2003On July 18, September 2 and October 2, Berger goes to Archives, and is allowed into top secret room, to prepare for 9/11 commission testimony; and/or respond to 9/11 commission subpoena to Clinton administration.After Berger's visit, Archives officials believed documents were missing. An Archives employee called former White House deputy counsel Bruce Lindsey, who is former president Bill Clinton's liaison to the National Archives. The Archives employee said documents were missing and would have to be returned. The documents were returned the following day from Berger's office to the Archives. This returned batch did not include any 'after action reports.' It is unclear whether the Archives staff knows, or suspects, that after-action reports were taken in this first visit.October 2003After being busted in September, informally, by the Archives staff, Berger goes back to the Archives. Archives officials were wary, and this time, they specially coded the papers to more easily tell whether some went missing. They devised a coding system and marked the documents they knew Berger was interested in canvassing, and watched him carefully. They knew he was interested in all the versions of the millennium review, some of which bore handwritten notes from Clinton-era officials who had reviewed them. At one point an Archives employee even handed Berger a coded draft and asked whether he was sure he had seen it.Berger repeatedly persuaded monitors assigned to watch him review top-secret documents to break the rules and leave him alone. Berger asked them to leave the room so he could make sensitive phone calls. The Archives monitors told the FBI Berger was observed stuffing his socks with handwritten notes about files he reviewed that were going to the Sept. 11 panel.After this second round, Archives staff contacted the FBI.Berger hired a lawyer and volunteered that he had also taken 40 to 50 pages of notes during his visits. However, Berger still does not return at least some of the 4 or 5 copies of a 15-page "after action memos." They were "inadvertently discarded" according to Berger's attorney.January 2004The FBI raided Berger's house for missing documents, and he became the target of a probe.The missing documents are a number of copies of a January 2000 "after-action report" (4 or 5 copies, with handwritten comments) criticizing the government's response to terrorism plots at the turn of the millennium. The document was written by Richard A. Clarke, at Berger's direction. This report is said to be highly critical of Clinton terrorism strategy and response, and the various drafts have Clinton officials' comments on them. Perhaps two dozen specific recommendations - spin for "failure analysis" - were included in the report. (And the comments? They provide a real-time, irrebuttable snapshot of what the Clintons did, and did not do. Pretty much zero wiggle room. And during a post-9/11 election, something that takes away one's wiggle room is a bad thing. Bad things need to be scrubbed.)Clarke testifies to the 9/11 Commission in March, 2004, concurrently with the release of his book "Against All Enemies." Clarke, a Democrat, was the poster child for the political position claiming that Clinton was on top of the game against al qaeda, whereas Bush was negligent. The thrust of Clarke's book and testimony, coordinated with the 9/11 Commission hearings, echoed during the Democratic primaries, and his story was a significant factor in shaping the tone and substance of the Democratic candidates' (anti-war) positions and attacks on Bush.If it were to be shown that Clarke's book, and his 9/11 testimony, were misleading about Clinton, such would significantly lessen, if not destroy, the political message that Clarke came to symbolize, and constituted a blow to the Democrats' "Blame Bush" campaign message.The "After Action Report" is the smoking gun that supposedly does just that.So, Berger's motive? Not hard to spot.....nb: The after-action report has not been made public, and it appears that Berger was successful in destroying the only drafts that included the Clinton administration comments. In other words - Berger successfully scrubbed the files.
posted by BummerDietz @ 11:40 AM 6 comments
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Safire is Wide of the Mark, Again, On Immunity
"A lawyer who represents himself has an ass for a client."Similarly, a journalist who exercises journalism upon himself leaves a messy puddle on the floor.William Safire, for the second time in as many months, writes a column in which he whines about judges who refuse to grant journalists absolute immunity and an uber-function above our three-branch government. Bill's first salvo back in September, in a misguided support of reporter's immunity from judges, also missed the mark.Bill leaves a messy puddle on the floor.Safire likens his demanded "reporter's shield" immunity to the familiar attorney-client, or doctor-patient, privilege. Note that, with those privileges, statutory exceptions exist for fraud, waiver, etc. And a judge can - and does - call protected persons into chamber, and reviews the claim. When the claim is bogus, or an exception applies, the judge then disallows the claim of privilege, and the "public" aspect of the tribunal continues.But Safire - and others in the media - object to exactly that oversight. They object to the very idea that ANYONE has oversight over them. They want absolute privilege - immunity - and NO ONE TO REFEREE IT.So Safire's appeal to be treated in the same manner as other privileges is cynical. That is exactly what he doesn't want. Safire whines:
"Here's the rub: no privilege is absolute.... We [the media] are expected to use common sense in balancing our right to remain silent with our obligation to bear witness.""We [the media] self-police ourselves?" Bill, enough. You want absolute immunity, pure and simple.A qualified privilege is a good idea. Let a judge sort it out, in camera.And for those sticklers for exactitude, as Safire typically is (when not in a puddle): The 1st Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom ... of the press." Safire's so-called Constitutional complaint is not about Congress, but rather about judges. As in, the Judicial branch, not the Legislative branch. So stop with the pious pronouncements as to "Founders Intent." If the Founders intended the press to be exempt from the Judicial Branch, the 1st Amendment would provide as much.>>>Warning: Proceed Further Only If You Are Savvy in History and Law:Pursuant to Article III of the Constitution, all "judicial power" resides in the Supreme Court and such lesser courts as may be established by Congress. "Judicial power" means "all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made...."Safire's claim - that "judicial power" does not, as a Constitutional matter, include a court having any power over persons who call themselves "the Press," is not a valid argument according to the text of the Constitution. The Supreme Court was given all judicial power, and Congress (via the Amendments) was prevented from passing laws abridging press freedom. Despite the Press' best writing, the Constitution does NOT provide that "Judicial power means all cases, in law and equity, except no power over members of the Press."What is a valid argument is that Congress, in establishing inferior courts underneath the Supreme Court, cannot pass a law to establish such courts so as to "abridge the freedom of the press."Query: Can Congress pass a law (e.g., a reporter's immunity, or shield, law) that strips the inferior courts of any jurisdiction over the Press? A correct read of Article III is, "No." Judicial power lies with the Supreme Court. Congress cannot strip the Supreme Court, or its inferior courts, of such power.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:40 AM 0 comments
Monday, December 13, 2004
Viacom Employees: Here's How To Narc on the Rats
Now, BummerDietz is no rabble-rouser. Just because I broke the story that the mere publication of the memos, per se, violated a Texas felony forgery law, doesn’t make me a Wobblie. Nor did my sending of letters, and posting of templates, to Texas law enforcement constitute anything that a good citizen wouldn’t otherwise do.And in that vein, BummerDietz certainly wants thousands of Viacom and CBS employees to exercise their silenced voices, as encouraged by their corporate parent.You see, Viacom is the parent of CBS and CBS News. The Thornbugh Report is now said to be delayed until January. Perhaps legitimate (that is my own feeling), but perhaps it is a cynical stalling tactic (many others believe this). In any event, great, more time to collect relevant information.....So, if you are a Viacom employee and sense stalling - PARTICULARLY IF YOU HAVE A SMOKING GUN THAT HAS BEEN IGNORED - what can you do?Lodge a complaint, of course. And see the secret back-door email I include, below. Readers, please Do NOT SPAM these addresses. That is counterproductive.Apart from the many legal – in fact felony- violations outlined at this blog, a reader notes that the Viacom “Rules of Business Conduct” book spell out areas of interest, and the procedure for Viacom employees to lodge complaints:Call. Call OpenLine (the compliance telephone line) at (212) 846-9060.Email. Send an e-mail from any location to: OpenLine@viacom.com or to email@example.com or to nonmanagementdirectors@viacom .Write: Non-Management Board of Directors, Viacom Inc., 1515 Broadway, 52nd Floor, New York, NY 10036-5794And if you have something that needs to bypass Viacom, take it directly to Richard Thornburgh.Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgFax: Fax 202.778.9100Mail: c/o K&L,1800 Massachusetts Avenue,N.W.Washington, DC 20036-1221Some Rules that a Viacom employee may believe have been violated:POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS AND PAYMENTSFederal law and Viacom policy prohibit the contribution of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to or on behalf of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee (“PAC”)…HINT: MAPES AND THE DNC….. [UPDATE: Can it get any better than Richard Thornburgh rummaging through CBS News, charged with the task of discovering instances of violation of Viacom policy - to wit, were CBS News or Viacom assets, services or facilities "contributed" to a political party or candidate? ....Shines a whole new light on the connection of Mapes to the DNC, and Mapes to the PAC of Texas Dems called, without irony, Texans-for-Truth. I guess it all depends upon whether "contributed" means "to give or supply in common with others" or "submit for publication" or "to help bring about a result" or to "act as a factor."Let's state the Viacom policy in alternate words from the dictionary. Viacom policy prohibits:1. Contribution of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to or on behalf of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.2. Giving or supplying of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to or on behalf of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.3. Submitting Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities for publication by or for the benefit of a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.4. Use of Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to help bring about a result for, or on behalf of or the benefit of, a federal political party, candidate or political action committee.5. Providing Viacom funds, assets, services or facilities to used as a factor involving any federal political party, candidate or political action committee.Mapes and CNB have a problem. No wonder there is turmoil over Thornburgh within CBS News.....]COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONSObeying both the letter and spirit of the law is one of the foundations of Viacom’s ethical standards. It is Viacom’s policy to comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. You must always conduct your business affairs with honesty, integrity and good judgment. You must respect and obey the laws of the cities, states and countries in which we operate. While you are not expected to know the details of all the laws that govern our business in every jurisdiction, you are expected to understand the laws and regulations applicable to your duties at your Company and to understand the regulatory environment within which Viacom operates well enough to know when to seek advice from supervisors, managers or other appropriate personnel.HINT: TEXAS FELONY FORGERY LAWS, ETC.CONFLICTS OF INTERESTYou have a primary business responsibility to your Company and to Viacom and you are expected at all times to work in the best interests of your Company and Viacom. You must avoid all conflicts between the best interests of your Company and Viacom and your own personal relationships or interests. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest can undermine our integrity in the minds of your co-workers, our customers, our suppliers or the public.HINT: MAPES’ 5-YEAR ANTI-BUSH CRUSADE; FIRING EXPERTS WHO DID NOT AGREEDISCLOSING AND ADDRESSING POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTERESTViacom requires that you disclose, in writing, any personal business or other relationship that could potentially affect your business judgment on behalf of your Company and Viacom. The existence of a potential conflict of interest, such as one or more of the situations discussed below, does not necessarily constitute a violation of Viacom’s conflict of interest policy. Our policy is one of disclosure and review of potential conflicts and prohibition of actual conflicts of interest. In some cases, disclosure may be all that is required. In others, the situation may require additional action to avoid a conflict of interest or to remedy one. But remember, in all cases, you must disclose all potential conflicts of interest.HINT: THE “DEALS” INVOLVING THE MEMOSPROHIBITION OF ACTUAL CONFLICTS OF INTERESTViacom has established procedures to review all disclosures of potential conflicts of interest to determine whether there is a significant risk that the situation presented is likely to affect your business judgment. If it is determined that an actual conflict of interest may exist, Viacom will determine what additional actions are required to be taken by you, your Company and/or Viacom with respect to the situation. Viacom’s determination that a particular situation does not give rise to an actual conflict of interest will not be considered a waiver of its conflict of interest rules.HINT: FIRING AND SILENCING THE EXPERTS WHO WARNED THE MEMOS WERE FALSE, PRE-BROADCAST; LETTING MAPES AND RATHER RUN THE “COVER-UP”; ETC.Hat tip to reader MachiasPrivateer.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:19 AM 3 comments
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Memogate Legal Analysis - Greatest Hits
Sure, Russell Johnson may have felt limited by his signature role. But hey, of all possible outcomes for a wannabe actor, being The Professor from Gilligan's Island isn't a bad card to be dealt. "Thanks for the Shakespeare, but can you do that Professor skit where Gilligan gets the banana cream pie all over Ginger...."Like Russell, I accept my blogging fate. I focused this site on the inside legal problems facing CBS, in particular:----CBS knew it was committing a felony under an unusual Texas forgery statute, merely by its publication of the forged memos.----The ham-handed efforts(on various levels) by CBS, pre- and post-broadcast, to try to sidestep the Texas felony statute and then cover up an increasingly worse mess.----Legal miscellany, from federal payola statutes to the predicted delay in the release of the report for various legal privilege and other issues.Here is a user-friendly index to the legal Memogate articles, with particular focus on the prima facie felonies established by the facts set forth in major media reports.The Index:CBS Tampering Checklist and Timeline. A fairly comprehensive point-by-point overview of CBS Legal's cover-up, under that old saying, "The coverup is worse than the crime." This entry was a favorite with LGF readers.Tampering Statutes. An overview of the tampering statutes triggered by CBS' actions from the original broadcast through the shutdown on September 20.Tampering and Fake ID's. An earlier overview of how CBS Legal Department changed a key word in the original broadcast, spelling out how the change was likely to blow up in CBS' face. My personal favorite.List of statutes violated in Memogate. A list of the laws violated. Focuses on Texas and Federal law.Payola. CBS's deal for the forged memos was illegal under Federal payola statutes.Cliffnotes to Tampering. The "widow Knox" interview ("fake, but accurate") as a classic case of felony witness tampering, with a legal analysis. Cf., Texas AG letter, below. (I have a sneaky suspicion that the Knox tampering will loom large in the CBS Report, when the dust settles....)Bummer's Letter to Texas AG Re: Tampering. A letter that alerted Texas law enforcement to the tampering, and their jurisdiction.Templated letter to local Texas DA's. If Mapes goes to jail, she can thank the Scylla&Charybdis readers who peppered local Texas DA's with this templated letter.An example of the CBS Press office engaged in a coverup directed by CBS Legal.All four CBS "experts" recanted. CBS went "expert shopping" with 4 experts. None of the 4 authenticated the documents. The CBS investigation has a "lose-lose" battle on these.Hypothetical internal CBS Legal Memos. BummerDietz rubs CBS Legal's nose in their mess.Generic description of internal legal department tactics which separate legitimate journalism from ideological hit squads. This posting generated thousands of hits. I guess it's my Russ Johnson "Professor" role.Finally, the first open accusation that fingers Mapes, is the "Mapes Did It" post.Let me know if I omitted any postings that deserve indexing....****Please cite BummerDietz with a link to Scylla&Charybdis. My personal thanks to the 3 blogs who posted my various "Winemaker" legal analyses on their blogs early on, and caused me to start this blog in the early Memogate days - INDC, LGF and Allahpundit (RIP).Also thanks to O'Reilly for his early mention of my work on The Factor. And to periodic mentions from Rathergate as well as the hat-tip-challenged folks at National Review and Kerryspot.(BummerDietz is a pseudonym, of course. Bummer likes his privacy.)
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:23 AM 5 comments
Friday, December 10, 2004
Embittered Bill Moyers-Goebbels Attacks
Famed leftie-in-moderate's clothing Bill Moyers is retiring. He is bitter that leftist political initiatives have failed - on his watch. So he lashes out.To Bill Moyers, the biggest story of our time is not:1. The triumphe of Western democracy over autocratic regimes;2. The skyrocketing standard of living, worldwide;3. The rise of islamofascism in those areas deprived of #1 and #2;4. Globalization;5. The dawn of possible Mideast peace, due to Arafat's death. 6. Etc.No, none of those things. (They are so yesterday's news....)You see, Mr. Moyers-Goebbels needs to remain an A-list guest at leftist dinnertables featuring tony vegan chefs cooking for SoHo and upper West Side socialists. So... Expose the right wing media conspiracy!:
"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee," says Moyers. "We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people." Let's reduce Moyers to a math equation:"vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people" = "an ideological press that's interested in the election of Democrats."But wait, there is more bitter leftist spittle from Moyers:
"We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country, or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia." More math translation of Moyers' code:Constitutional balance of powers = BADLeftist journalists halting the wretched capitalist running dogs = GOOD
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:10 AM 2 comments
Thursday, December 09, 2004
CBS: Irony-Free Zone
I will refrain from fisking this CBS story, which questions whether media (actually, blogs) should be censured or controlled generally, or specifically under campaign finance rules.Irony-free journalism warning of the evils of unchecked media with an agenda, from the folks at CBS who brought you Memogate and . . .opps, I promised no fisking.So, res ipsa locquitor. All sentences guaranteed genuine CBS:
CBS NewsNEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2004 - David Paul Kuhn, CBSNews.com chief political writer"...Internet blogs are providing a new and unregulated medium for politically motivated attacks. With the same First Amendment protections as newspapers, blogs are increasingly gaining influence....[A]re some Internet blogs also being used as proxies for campaigns?"...Case precedent on political speech as it pertains to blogs does not exist. But where journalists' careers may be broken on ethics violations, bloggers are writing in the Wild West of cyberspace. There remains no code of ethics, or even an employer, to enforce any standard. "'Ultimately, I think, the decision will have to come down to whether the public will be allowed to decide whether bloggers are credible or whether some regulation needs to occur.” said [some dude.] " 'The problem is when a blog pretends to hold neutrality but is actually partisan."
posted by BummerDietz @ 2:41 PM 17 comments
Fresh Air Inside the Beltway
Readers know that Bummerdietz thinks that the MSM's demand for “Reporter’s Immunity” is in many cases just covering fire for a cynical group of corporate-political interests.Enter the Plame case – a minor CIA bureaucrat and her truth-challenged, grandstanding husband. Basically, investigators and a judge are looking into whether someone in the government illegally leaked the name of a CIA officer. There is very strong evidence that the leak was made directly to a number of journalists. The grand jury has subpoenaed certain reporters, not for anything they wrote, but to ascertain if a leaker was peddling "hot" government information to them.The MSM - The New York Times, I mean - thinks it should have an absolute medieval “benefit of clergy” – now called “immunity” – shielding it from the judicial branch having any power over reporters. Blanket Immunity. The MSM musters the argument that it cannot be a true watchdog over the three branches of government, if that very government has any powers over the press.It is nonsense.Yesterday, some fresh air from the Federal appellate bench, where 3 judges were having none of this nonsense. Part of a 3-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge David B. Sentelle had this to say to Corpolitical media apologist Floyd Abrams’s insistence that a Reporter’s Immunity is, or should be, law:
"You're asking us to create not only a new common law privilege but also a privilege greater than any other privilege known to the law," he said. "You just shut down leak investigations if we give you this privilege."Breathe it in. Fresh air.
posted by BummerDietz @ 6:57 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
The Mapes Seat - Getting Hotter?
Longtime (OK, 3 months and counting) readers know that BummerDietz has put longshot money on CBS Legal and Mary Mapes as being the bad guys here. (Burkett seems to me a patsy; but he certainly could be the forger.)Drudge previously spotted December 10 as the report release date, with the draft report having been viewed internally at CBS. Rather was retired shortly thereafter.Various hearsay reports have leaked indicating that the report will be delayed past December 10, because Mapes is fighting CBS. A FOX commentator opined that Mapes had prepared a 68-page defense of her actions.Any delay, to me, will be caused by the multiple sets of attorneys who will have to review and approve the "public" report. When a report focuses on an employee, like Mapes, things get dicey. Readers of this page have reviewed the Texas felony forgery law, and other laws, that may well put Mapes (or others) in felony jeopardy, based upon the report. OF COURSE Mapes is fighting the report. If it goes against her, there are a lot of district attorneys in Texas who would like to be Governor, and then President...just like Bush. And indicting (in a Texas court) an ultra-liberal New York radical feminist leftist who tried to throw the election against Bush by forging documents involving Texas servicemen, is the shortest path to the Governor's Mansion for a district attorney.OF COURSE Mapes is fighting the report. The forums will be a lot less friendly, in the future, than at Black Rock.
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:55 PM 1 comments
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
CBS Staffers: "Impending Doom"
BummerDietz normally won't cheese the entire chewy nugat of an article, but USA Today flew too closely with CBS in the initial days of Memogate; accordingly, USA Today had its "no cheesing" privileges suspended for 90 days:
USA Today December 6, 2004Media Mix - Peter Johnson'Impending doom' is the mood at CBS
"Never in his 24 years at CBS News, says 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, has there been so little information at a time of such high anxiety and drama.It's a company full of reporters, of nosy busybodies, but this is one case in which I don't think anybody has a handle on what's going to happen," he says. "What's been going n is very closely held. There's a lot of uncertainty." Says Kroft's boss, Jeff Fager: "People are looking forward to it being finished. It hovers over the organization."
They are referring, of course, to the mood around CBS News as an independent Panel prepares to release its findings on the circumstances surrounding Dan Rather's controversial "Memogate" piece on the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes this fall that questioned President Bush's National Guard service. The findings, which are due in days, could result in some longtime CBS News veterans such as Rather, his producers and CBS News higher ups being sanctioned or even fired. CBS chief Leslie Moonves said last week that although he has not yet seen the report, he expects Rather to continue reporting for 60 Minutes. But the fate of many others is less certain, and it weighs heavily at CBS News.
...There are fears within CBS News (and at ABC and NBC) that at some point, networks will go the entertainment route and cede news to cable. There is no sign of that happening anytime soon, but there is plenty of talk around CBS News that the network will be making a big statement by whom it chooses to lead its flagship broadcast: famous or unknown journalist, someone from local or national news, cable or network.
Says veteran 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney: "There's this ominous sense of change for the worse, of impending doom." At a news conference last week, Moonves did little to calm fears. He said the departures of Rather and NBC's Tom Brokaw give "us a chance to assess what we're doing right (and) what we're doing wrong, and look toward the future of what is news for a network in the 21st century. It's a chance to look at the roots of our news organization and proceed in the future in a somewhat different way, making sure we don't throw out the baby with the bath water."
Moonves said he couldn't envision CBS without the Evening News, but he ruled nothing out, including a two-anchor newscast — an experiment in the '90s with Rather and Connie Chung that famously bombed. "We're going to turn lemons into lemonade," he said, a reference to CBS' perennial third-place finish behind NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News Tonight. CBS would not make either Moonves or CBS News president Andrew Heyward available for comment for this article.
Rather could not be reached.
Rooney acknowledges that cable news has become more popular but notes that "markedly" fewer viewers (a small fraction, in fact) tune into cable than broadcast news each night. As such, he says, this is no time to further downgrade the importance of CBS' flagship broadcast, which once had full-time correspondents and bureaus around the globe. "CBS Evening News ...[blah blah],"Rooney says."And this story from ShowBizData.com:
"A report by the independent panel set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding Dan Rather's discredited feature about George W. Bush's National Guard Service is expected to be released "within days," USA Today said today(Monday), noting that the news organization remains in a state of anxiety over it. 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft told the newspaper: "It's a company full of reporters, of nosy busybodies, but ... I don't think anybody has a handle on what's going to happen." Added commentator Andy Rooney: "There's this ominous sense of change for the worse, of impending doom." Their worries were apparently heightened last week when CBS chief Les Moonves commented that he was going to "look at the roots of our news organization and proceed in the future in a somewhat different way, making sure we don't throw out the baby with the bath water." Call me crazy, but......"There's this ominous sense of change for the worse..."? Worse? As in...oh, never mind.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:08 AM 4 comments
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Frank Rich Comes Out of A Closet
I'm not sure what got into Broadway-loving, gay rights advocate, "Mel Gibson = Fascist," increasingly irrelevant snarky mouth-foamer Frank Rich, but his recent Times column evinces a telling love of the men who maintain a hegemony of liberal bias in Network news broadcasts:
New York TimesDecember 5, 2004FRANK RICHThe Nascar Nightly News: Anchorman Get Your Gun"PERHAPS it's inevitable that Democrats will try to persuade voters in red America that they are kissing cousins to political moderates. Fine. Democrats have perfected pandering, after all, and since the Reagan years this trend has been especially important for politicians as desperate as the Democrats. But I put my foot down - right here, right now! - when TV news organizations try to end the special relationship they have with the progressive audience which for decades has carried the torch for the Democratic Party's initiatives. You see, now it's become a problem for every one of us who have invested our souls - our whole beings - into these organizations.Yes, I know, there's a war on, for gosh sakes. But we progressives have earned the right to some respect. It's ours, and if you want to try to take it away, you're going to have to pry it from our dead clammy fingers, or whatever that NRA nutjob bumpersticker says.
TV remains by far the most prevalent source of news for Americans. We need a message, embedded in the information broadcast to millions of people willing to believe that Tide is better than a generic product with the same chemical formula, to maintain our electoral base. I'm heartened that Jeff Zucker, the NBC president, summed up the attributes of Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw's successor: "Brian understands the importance of the progressive message that we deliver through the nightly news."... I don't want red to become de rigueur; I want my blue ABC to maintain the message to our fellow travelers - the 25% enlightened audience that doesn't need explanation as to why the gay marriage ban is an evil, evil thing. The last surviving evening news anchor, the heretofore aggressively urbane and downright sexy Peter Jennings, needs to stay on message to the core progressive audience. Progressives to Zucker: "Don't let the pilot light flicker out!!!"If the media, including the nightly news, didn't have to sell its soul for the merchandising world, it could be a source of real information. Imagine how much good would result, if the Network News was not subject to those despicable People Meter boxes that the fifth column inside the Neilson fascist empire have forced upon hapless folks in a few thousand homes. Oh the joy!
These days, I drag myself to work at the remaining hulk of this once-great Grey Lady, only by first engaging in a guilty little pleasure, imagining a time when a select jury of 12 of us Progressives - with rotating forepersonship roles, of course - could script the lead stories for all three Network anchors....and that FOX would just stick to pro wrestling and NASCAR! We would artfully craft our messages with the news of the day, at fabulous lunches at little restaurants on 47th, and send off our communiques via our able runner boys, and not miss the 4:00 curtain. (Wednesdays, with the early show, we'd have to alter things a bit, of course...maybe the news could be pushed back a couple of hours....)But the insidious leak of red into my juried newscasts has already begun. Last Sunday morning both NBC's "Meet the Press" and ABC's "This Week" had roundtable discussions about - what else? - the "moral values" fallout of the election. Each show assembled a bevy of religious and quasi-religious leaders and each included a liberal or two. But though much of the "values" debate centered gay marriage, neither panel contained an openly gay cleric. Can you even BELIEVE THAT? Not a single openly gay clergyperson. Allowing such ostentatiously blue interlopers into the "values" club might frighten the horses - or at least the hunting dogs."...
Read the whole thing, here. Frank Rich truly is a special, special lady.
posted by BummerDietz @ 9:42 AM 2 comments
Friday, December 03, 2004
Initial CBS Report Gets an NC-17 Rating; Frantic Recuts Being Made to Meet Holiday Release Deadline
Peggy Noonan's WJS opinion piece on Rather brought a Eureka moment, akin to the 12 submissions that the Team America filmmakers undertook with the MPAA to avoid a dreaded NC-17 rating:
"In public life the entire body of your work--an entire career of almost 50 years--can now essentially be summed up and dismissed by the last headline on your career, which in this case is "Rather Retires Under Cloud After Forged Documents Story." If Dan had retired of his own volition a year ago, that would not be the headline. "Long Career Reflected Stunning Rise of U.S. Media" would be more like it."Eureka! The forthcoming CBS Report must have uncovered a chamber of horrors, in order for Rather to be shown the door, instead of CBS firing one or more "expendable" people like Mapes and a few CBS attorneys who were supposed to be the adult supervision of the story. Yes, Rather will always have to take the "Buck Stops Here" faulting, but the fact that he got put to pasture pre-report, signals to me that the report uncovered really bad stuff, and that Dan was not merely an innocent victim.In other words, Viacom thought they had ordered a PG-13 report, but the first cut earned an NC-17 rating.So Viacom and CBS are doing frantic cuts, and reshoots, in order to prepare a PG-13 version for release to the public next Friday.The Director's Cut -- the unauthorized NC-17 version -- will be released much, much later, and likely though a leak.Note to any CBS News readers: Slip 'ole BummerDietz a copy of the NC-17 version. I've got journalistic immunity.
posted by BummerDietz @ 8:57 AM 8 comments
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Thugs Behind the Immunity Curtain
As the curious subtitle of this page connotes, BummerDietz believes that the "reporter's immunity" claim has run amuck and is a root cause of the Corpolitical takeover of the mainstream media. It is barely needed given various 1st Amendment developments of the past generation.The mental image of the threatened whistleblower is compelling. But it exists only in Hollywood. In the real world, cynical thugs hide behind the immunity curtain. In modern times, the immunity more and more merely shields corporate-political thugs, not minimum wage mothers with sick children.The New York Times has been trumpeting two pet Hollywood fictionalized versions of aggrieved whistleblower reporters - the fake "Victoria Plame" non-event, and the "plunder dome" case in Providence Rhode Island - to bolster citizen support for absolute immunity for the press.Both pet projects have turned out to be far less honorable, and far more Sopranos, than the Times wanted: Victoria Plame's husband lied. And the Plunder Dome "source" is a mob lawyer.So the Times buries this story, today, not only by relegating it to the back pages, but also by not spelling out the obvious facts, since the facts expose the thuggery:
"BOSTON, Dec. 1 - A lawyer in Providence, R.I., has come forward to say he was the source of an F.B.I. videotape that led to the criminal conviction of a television reporter who had refused to identify the person who gave it to him, according to court documents filed on Wednesday."What real story is the NY Times trying to hide?A lawyer, one Joseph Bevilacqua Jr. (who resigned from the state Supreme Ct. for alleged mob ties...unless it was a different "Joseph Bevilacqua") represented a city hall official in a massive corruption probe. Half of City Hall went to jail. During that lawyering gig, this disgraced lawyer received, for the client, a confidential sting tape, presumably from the FBI (such is required to be provided by prosecutors to criminal defendants). This alleged mob family lawyer then, illegally and in violation of the judge's gag order, slipped a copy of the confidential evidence tape to a local reporter, and signed a curious piece of paper stating that his identity as the source was NOT confidential.The reporter ran with it.The lawyer, later subpoenaed, committed perjury and said he was not the source. The reporter was found in contempt and sentenced to the slammer for refusing to reveal his source that he claimed was "confidential" (despite the agreement stating Bevilacqua was not confidential). (Was the reporter, as claimed, a true believer in reporter's immunity...or the victim of a mob threat?)The judge continued to probe for the leak, and again the mob lawyer was subpoenaed. Knowing that he was about to be forced to commit a third felony in front of the judge (the first was the leak; the second was the perjury under oath), the lawyer 'fessed up.And that "agreement" between the reporter and the lawyer looks more like the smoking gun evidence of a conspiracy...or extortion. You decide. Either way, it's not Hollywood's version of whistleblowers and reporters like Julia Roberts or Sally Field.Thugs...using the claim of "reporter's immunity."And THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. Thugs from Central Casting.***Coincidentally (I promise), Eugene Volokh nails it with his NY Times Op/Ed on the abuse of the reporter's immuity claim, backing up what BummerDietz has been screaming about.Volokh hasn't viewed MemoGate with the same felony-tinged glasses as BummerDietz, but his blog is always compelling. I agree with Eugene on this - the reporter's immunity claim (aka reporter's shield law) should have a fraud exception. If fraud is credibly alleged as being intertwined with the leak (in a private hearing with a judge), there is no shield, and the reporter gets a trip up river if he won't name his source to the judge.What's good enough for lawyers and priests is good enough for reporters.
posted by BummerDietz @ 7:04 AM 1 comments
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Cliff Notes to CBS Memogate Tampering Issue
There is some political pressure being applied to Texas law enforcement re possible criminal wrongdoing in the CBS file matter. Dozens of Congressmen have demanded that Texas investigate whether criminal tampering has occurred.Why am I so fascinated with the criminal tampering aspect? Because the upcoming CBS Investigation will (so I believe) report that Mapes herself is the forger, or part of the forgery team. (The Report version that is made public will not state this, however.)In that light, the key CBS coverup event of conducting and broadcasting the so-called interview with 86-year old Marion Knox becomes criminal, when you consider that CBS let Mapes produce, AND EDIT, the interview with old lady Knox.The highly edited snippets of that interview that were broadcast by CBS constituted textbook witness tampering.From the Washington Post:
"CBS decided that Rather should interview Knox for another segment on "60 Minutes." Mapes would be the producer. She flew from Dallas to the New York headquarters, arriving at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 15. The interview itself took about 45 minutes, finishing around 5. That left just three hours to do the work required to incorporate it into that night's segment, airing at 8. It was Mapes's job to make that happen. "Everyone was getting little nervous and hysterical," says Howard, the executive producer. "She sat there with a highlighter, going through the transcripts." It was yet another example of what Howard describes as Mapes's ability to be "remarkably unflappable under pressure."Succinctly, Mapes editing of CBS's interview with the Marion Knox violates the Texas tampering statutes. The Texas tampering statutes are reproduced, below.Highlights:1. The Texas forgery statute includes "publication" as an act of forgery, and the tampering statute provides that "using" a false government document is a crime.2. The Texas forgery and tampering statutes both presume criminal intent, and bump to a felony, where 2 or more government records are at issue.3. Add 1 and 2, and CBS has both felony forgery and tampering problems on its hands.4. Under the Texas forgery and government document tampering statutes, CBS has four plausible defenses. Defense # II, below, is the best defense. But if 2 government records are at issue, criminal intent is presumed - its a strict liability crime, like statutory rape or underage drinking. (Odd, perhaps, but that's what the statutes provide.). Defenses # III and # IV are legalistic, not really changeable by tampering. The potential defenses are:I. The act wasn't "forgery" as:a. Act was authorized; andb. Documents were not backdated; andc. Item is a true copy of an original.II. CBS had no criminal intent. (No intent need be proven by the government if 2 or more government documents are involved. But, by showing the documents to be private, rather than government records, the burden of proof shifts to the government to prove criminal intent, which is more or less impossible in a case like this. This is key to understand this provision matter.)III. Texas law doesn't apply - Federal law preemption, or lack of contacts with Texas.IV. Constitutional defenses - 1st amendment.5. If you review the transcript of the Knox interview, you'll see that the entire segment is an establishment of defenses Ia, Ib, Ic and II, above. Why?6. It may all be coincidence. But that does not seem right, particularly when that interview seemed so weird when it was broadcast. (What journalist would trumpet a "Fake but Accurate" story?)7. Posit whether CBS's design in the Knox interview and segment was purely to establish admissible evidence as to the above defenses.8. But.... CBS triggered additional tampering statutes in doing so. It tempered with a witness, and physical evidence.Specifically, take a look at 37.09(d) below. The "physical evidence tampering" would mean the editing of the raw footage of the Knox interview. CBS would have to know that an offense had been committed. (I believe that CBS knew, both because of the experts' pre-broadcast warning, and by CBS's insertion of the "personal files" claim into the original broadcast, without any backup, solely as a C-Y-A dictated by CBS attorneys. It blew up on them, because in a court of law it establishes that they were already worried about the Texas statute at the time of the original broadcast.) A stretch, perhaps, but not under the statute.The witness tampering part hinges on whether Knox was a "potential witness." Take a look at 36.05(d) below.As a legal matter, all of Knox's statments are likely admissible under various foundation and hearsay rules. And if the 86 year old were to pass away before trial, that CBS tape is the only evidence. No cross examination, either, obviously.In any event, this is pursuant to a legal eye. Perhaps to a layperson's eye, it just isn't there.*****************************************************************************http://www.bakers-legal-pages.com/pc/3710.htmTexas Penal Code § 37.09. TAMPERING WITH OR FABRICATING PHYSICALEVIDENCE. (a) A person commits an offense if, knowing that aninvestigation or official proceeding is pending or in progress, he:(1) alters, destroys, or conceals any record,document, or thing with intent to impair its verity, legibility, oravailability as evidence in the investigation or officialproceeding; or(2) makes, presents, or uses any record, document, orthing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect thecourse or outcome of the investigation or official proceeding....(d) A person commits an offense if the person:(1) knowing that an offense has been committed,alters, destroys, or conceals any record, document, or thing withintent to impair its verity, legibility, or availability asevidence in any subsequent investigation of or official proceedingrelated to the offense... .http://www.bakers-legal-pages.com/pc/3605.htmTexas Penal Code § 36.05. TAMPERING WITH WITNESS. (a) A person commitsan offense if, with intent to influence the witness, he offers,confers, or agrees to confer any benefit on a witness or prospectivewitness in an official proceeding or coerces a witness orprospective witness in an official proceeding:(1) to testify falsely;(2) to withhold any testimony, information, document,or thing;(3) to elude legal process summoning him to testify orsupply evidence;(4) to absent himself from an official proceeding towhich he has been legally summoned; or(5) to abstain from, discontinue, or delay theprosecution of another.(b) A witness or prospective witness in an officialproceeding commits an offense if he knowingly solicits, accepts, oragrees to accept any benefit on the representation or understandingthat he will do any of the things specified in Subsection (a).(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(5)that the benefit received was:(1) reasonable restitution for damages suffered by thecomplaining witness as a result of the offense; and(2) a result of an agreement negotiated with theassistance or acquiescence of an attorney for the state whorepresented the state in the case.An offense under this section is a state jail felonyhttp://www.bakers-legal-pages.com/pc/3221.htmTexas Penal Code § 32.21. FORGERY.(a)For purposes of this section:(1) "Forge" means:(A) to alter, make, complete, execute, or authenticate any writing so that it purports:(i) to be the act of another who did not authorize that act;(ii) to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case; or(iii) to be a copy of an original when no such original existed;(B) to issue, transfer, register the transfer of, pass, publish, or otherwise utter a writing that is forged within the meaning of Paragraph (A); or(C) to possess a writing that is forged within the meaning of Paragraph (A) with intent to utter it in a manner specified in Paragraph (B).(2)"Writing" includes:(A) printing or any other method of recording information;(B) money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, and trademarks; and(C) symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification.(b) A person commits an offense if he forges a writing with intent to defraud or harm another.(c) Except as provided in Subsections (d) and (e) an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the writing is or purportsto be a will, codicil, deed, deed of trust, mortgage, security instrument,security agreement, credit card, check, authorization to debit an account at afinancial institution, or similar sight order for payment of money, contract,release, or other commercial instrument.(e) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if the writing is or purports to be: (1) part of an issue of money, securities, postage or revenue stamps; (2) a government record listed in Section 37.01(2)(C); or (3) other instruments issued by a state or national government or by a subdivision of either, or part of an issue of stock, bonds, or other instruments representing interests in or claims against another person.(f) A person is presumed to intend to defraud or harm another if the person acts with respect to two or more writings of the same type and if each writing is a government record listed in Section 37.01(2)(C).http://www.bakers-legal-pages.com/pc/3710.htmSec. 37.10. TAMPERING WITH GOVERNMENTAL RECORD. (a) A person commits an offense if he: ~ ~ (1) knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record; ~ ~ (2) makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record; ~ ~ (3) intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a governmental record; ~ ~ (4) possesses, sells, or offers to sell a governmental record or a blank governmental record form with intent that it be used unlawfully; ~ ~ (5) makes, presents, or uses a governmental record with knowledge of its falsity; or ~ ~ (6) possesses, sells, or offers to sell a governmental record or a blank governmental record form with knowledge that it was obtained unlawfully. ~ (b) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (a)(3) that the governmental record is destroyed pursuant to legal authorization. With regard to the destruction of a local government record, legal authorization includes compliance with the provisions of Subtitle C, Title 6, Local Government Code. ~ (c) Except as provided in Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the actor's intent is to defraud or harm another, in which event the offense is a state jail felony. ~ (d) [amended 5/21/97 & 9/1/97] An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the governmental record was a license, certificate, permit, seal, title, letter of patent, or similar document issued by government, by another state, or by the United States, unless the actor's intent is to defraud or harm another, in which event the offense is a felony of the second degree. ~ (e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession under Subsection (a)(6) that the possession occurred in the actual discharge of official duties as a public servant. ~ (f) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(5) that the false entry or false information could have no effect on the government's purpose for requiring the governmental record. ~ (g) A person is presumed to intend to defraud or harm another if the person acts with respect to two or more of the same type of governmental records or blank governmental record forms and if each governmental record or blank governmental record form is a license, certificate, permit, seal, title, or similar document issued by government. ~ (h) [added 5/21/97] If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under Section 32.48 or 37.13, the actor may be prosecuted under any of those sections.***************************************************************************Knox interviewSource: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/09/15/60II/printable643768.shtmlFor The Record: Bush Documents Sept. 20, 2004EDITOR'S NOTE: CBS News has issued a statement about the authenticity of documents mentioned in the Sept. 8, 2004 broadcast of 60 Minutes about President Bush's service in the National Guard. CBS News says it can no longer vouch for the authenticity of the documents, and that the documents should not have been used in the broadcast. CBS News pledged "an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken." Click here for the latest news on the document issue.Last week, on 60 Minutes, we heard for the first time the full story from former Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes , who says he helped President George Bush get a highly coveted place in the National Guard. 60 Minutes also presented documents for the first time which indicated that once Mr. Bush was accepted into the Guard, he failed to live up to the requirements of his service, including following an order. And we also reported that the documents were written by then-Lt. Bush's National Guard squad commander, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who passed away in 1984. In the past week, those documents have been subjected to extraordinary scrutiny and criticism . Now, another voice - a credible voice - has entered the debate. Killian's secretary, Marian Carr Knox, describes herself as Killian's "right hand" during much of the 1970s. She flew to New York Wednesday afternoon to tell 60 Minutes that she believes the documents we obtained are not authentic. But there's yet another confusing twist to this story. She told Correspondent Dan Rather that she believes what the documents actually say is exactly as we reported.Knox is 86 years old, and completely comfortable in the eye of a storm. She spent more than two decades keeping pilots and officers in line at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston. Now, she wants to set the record straight about the memos that CBS News obtained. Knox says she didnt type these memos, but she says she did type ones that contained the same information. "I know that I didnt type them," says Knox. "However, the information in those is correct." Knox says the information in the four memos that CBS obtained is very familiar, but she doesn't believe the memos are authentic. She does, however, remember Killian being upset over Mr. Bush's failure to take a physical. "Did or did not Lt. Bush take a physical as ordered by Col. Killian," Rather asks Knox. "The last time, no he didnt," says Knox. "It was a big no-no to not follow orders. And I cant remember anyone refusing to. Now for instance, with the physical, every officer knew that before his birthday he was supposed to have that flying physical. Once in a while they might be late, but there would be a good excuse for it and let the commander know and try to set up a date for a make-up. If they did not take that physical, they were off flying status until they did." Did Knox ever hear Killian talk about this, or did he write memos about Bush not taking the physical? "He was upset about it. That was one of the reasons why he wrote a memo directing him to go take the physical," says Knox. "Im going to say this, but it seems to me that Bush felt that he was above reproach."Knox remembers Lt. Bush well, and saw him often as he showed up for weekend training in 1971 and 1972. "He was always very gentlemanly. He called me by the name of his fathers secretary. He was always apologizing about that," recalls Knox. "He couldnt remember my name. I felt that his parents must have been wonderful to have produced somebody as nice as that." But did Lt. Bush get into the National Guard on the basis of preferential treatment? "I'm going to say that he did," says Knox. "I feel that he did, because there were a lot other boys in there in the same way." So what kind of officer was Lt. Bush? "Bush seemed to be having a good time. He didn't seem to be having any problem with the other pilots," says Knox. "But, his time there, it seemed that the other fellows were, Im going to say this, sort of resentful of him because of his attitude that he really didnt have to go by the rules." Knox says that Killian started what she calls a "cover-your-back" file -- a personal file where he stored the memos about the problems with Mr. Bush's performance, his failure to take a physical, and the pressure Killian felt from upstairs. She addressed one memo, and a reference to retired Gen. Staudt pushing for a positive officer training report on Lt. Bush. "Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it. Does that sound like Col. Killian? Is that the way it felt," Rather asked Knox. "That's absolutely the way he felt about that," says Knox. She also talked about another memo which she doesnt believe is authentic -- but she says the facts behind it are very real. "It's just like a personal journal," says Knox. "You write things. It was more or less that." "These memos were not memos that you typed, and you dont think they came directly out of his files," Rather asked Knox. "The information, yes," says Knox. "It seems that somebody did see those memos, and then tried to reproduce and maybe changed them enough so that he wouldnt get in trouble over it."Knox says the fact that then-Lt. Bush was repeatedly missing drills was not lost on his fellow pilots. "They missed him. It was sort of gossip around there, and they'd [the other officers would] snicker and so forth about what he was getting away with," says Knox. "I guess there was even a resentment." She told 60 Minutes again and again that she believed Lt. Bush refused a direct order to take a physical. "Col. Killians son says that this isnt true," says Rather. "He has no way of knowing whether that is true or not," says Knox. Knox says that working in a senate campaign in 1972 became more important to Mr. Bush than flying for the Guard. "I think it is plain and simple. Bush didn't think that he had to go by the rules that others did," says Knox. "He had this campaign to take care of, and that's what he was going to do -- and that's what he did do."60 Minutes will continue to aggressively investigate the story of President Bush's service in the National Guard -- and the story of the documents and memos in Col. Killian's file. Are those documents authentic, as experts consulted by CBS News continue to maintain? Or were they forgeries or re-creations, as Knox and many others believe? We will keep an open mind and we will continue to report credible evidence and responsible points of view as we try to answer the questions raised about the authenticity of the documents. Having said that, 60 Minutes feels that it's important to underscore this point: Those who have criticized aspects of our story have never criticized the major thrust of our report -- that George Bush received preferential treatment to get into the National Guard, and once accepted, failed to satisfy the requirements of his service. If we uncover any information to the contrary, that information will also be reported.© MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
posted by BummerDietz @ 1:04 PM 3 comments