Observations on the world today.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Psst, You Forgot To Say, "Again" 

Bush: 'I am not going to come in second'

I hope he's right. I hope he doesn't come in second. I hope he comes in dead freakin' last. I want Nader to trounce him too. Hell, I hope Badnarik kicks his ass.

So Bush can think he's not going to come in second again. That's fine. Just so long as he doesn't come in first.



Sincerely, XXX 

I just put the following letter in the mail:
(My Personal Info)
August 27, 2004

1000 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1000

Fee waiver requested
Expedited review requested

Dear FOI Officer:

Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. ยง 552, I request access to and copies of The DD258 AF discharge form for Lt. George W. Bush (SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx, Selective Service Number: xx-xx-xx-xxxx, Service Number: AF xxxxxxxx) and/or the form DD256 AF discharge form for Lt. George W. Bush (SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx, Selective Service Number: xx-xx-xx-xxxx, Service Number: AF xxxxxxxx) as well as the Undeleted Separation Document dated November 21, 1974 for Lt. George W. Bush (SSN: xxx-xx-xxxx, Selective Service Number: xx-xx-xx-xxxx, Service Number: AF xxxxxxxx).

I would like to receive the information in electronic format.

Please waive any applicable fees. Release of the information is in the public interest because it will contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and activities.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. I, of course, reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to deny a waiver of fees.

As I am making this request as a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your communicating with me by telephone, rather than by mail, if you have questions regarding this request.

Please provide expedited review of this request which concerns a matter of urgency. As a blogger and editorial writer, I am primarily engaged in disseminating information. The public has an urgent need for information about the President's military record because he is running for reelection to the post of Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, and has in effect created questions concerning his qualifications for this position. I certify that my statements concerning the need for expedited review are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

I look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Thank you for your assistance.

I wrote the letter with input from the Democratic Underground community, and would like to thank all who contributed. For background on the issue of speculation over Bush's DD 258 AF, see this post.

I'll keep this site updated on my progress.



Thursday, August 26, 2004

Watery Border 

"I was on the same river, George. I was there two months after him. Our patrol area ran to Sedek, it was 50 miles from Cambodia. There isn't any watery border." -- John O'Neill



Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego was John O'Neill? 

"Oh, I guess I made a mistake. We were patrolling the Cambodian border, and I was as close as 100 yards to Cambodia myself, so I guess it is plausible that Kerry was actually inside Cambodia. I can't really say otherwise since I wasn't there when Kerry was."
John O'Neill has NOT said this. Instead, he has said this:
"I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water." 1971

In an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week" O'Neill said: "Our boats didn't go north of, only slightly north of Sedek," which he said was about 50 miles from the Cambodian border. 8/22/04

"I think I made it very clear that I was on the border, which is exactly where I was for three months. I was about 100 yards from Cambodia." 8/25/04
To recap, last Sunday, he said that he was 50 miles from the Cambodian border, then a tape is released where he says he was IN Cambodia. So then he says that he was very clear that he was 100 yards from Cambodia. Of course even this comes after he said, "I was on the same river, George. I was there two months after him. Our patrol area ran to Sedek, it was 50 miles from Cambodia. There isn't any watery border." How could he be on a watery border 100 yards from Cambodia if Cambodia doesn't have a watery border?

John O'Neill, Swift Boat Liar for Bush.

Quotes via Jesse @ Pandagon



Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Bringing Him The Max 

Cleland Tries to Deliver Letter to Bush
Former Democratic Sen. Max Cleland tried to deliver a letter protesting ads challenging John Kerry's Vietnam service to President Bush at his Texas ranch Wednesday, but neither a Secret Service official nor a state trooper would take it.

The former Georgia senator, a triple amputee who fought in Vietnam, was carrying a letter from nine Senate Democrats who wrote Bush that "you owe a special duty" to condemn attacks on Kerry's military service.

"The question is where is George Bush's honor, the question is where is his shame to attack a fellow veteran who has distinguished himself in combat?" Cleland asked. "Regardless of the political combat involved, it's disgraceful."
This is why I wanted Cleland for Veep.
A Texas state official and Vietnam veteran, Jerry Patterson, said someone from the Bush campaign contacted him Wednesday morning and asked him if he would travel to the ranch, welcome Cleland to Texas and accept the former senator's letter to Bush.

"I tried to accept that letter and he would not give it to me," said Patterson. "He would not face me. He kept rolling away from me. He's quite mobile."
And Patterson is quite patronizing. Why should Cleland give the letter to him? On what authority does he think he speaks for Bush?
Patterson, who spoke with the president on the phone, said the campaign asked him to give Cleland a letter for Kerry written by the Bush campaign and signed by Patterson and seven other veterans.

"You can't have it both ways," the letter said. "You can't build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up."
And, Mr. Bush, you also can't have it both ways. You can't say that McCain/Feingold would limit people's access to the process, then denounce groups for getting involved in the process, and then say that they have the right to be heard no matter what their message.

Oh, wait - that's three ways. How many ways does Bush want it again?



No More 725s - Er - Flip That 

Yahoo%21 News - Bush Condemns Ads by Outside Groups
"I can't be more plain about it. And I wish โ€” I hope my opponent joins me in saying โ€” condemning these activities of the 527s. It's โ€” I think they're bad for the system. That's why I signed the bill, McCain-Feingold."
Oh really?
I believe individual freedom to participate in elections should be expanded, not diminished; and when individual freedoms are restricted, questions arise under the First Amendment.

I also have reservations about the constitutionality of the broad ban on issue advertising, which restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues of public import in the months closest to an election. I expect that the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions as appropriate under the law.
Link via Atrios.

So what have we here?



Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Blogs for Bush: Web of Connections

Some right-winger has created this flow chart supposedly demonstrating the links and connection between the Kerry campaign and the anti-Bush 527s.

It's their answer to this graph which appeared in the NYT. I expect it will be making it's way around soon.

I'm sorry, but this is unbelievably lame. Jim Jordan used to work for Kerry. Now he works somewhere else. Whooptidoo. Same with Zack Exley. As for Fred Baron, all they have shown is that he worked on Edwards campaign and now works for the DNC. The Donnie Shacks link just kind of hangs out there on it's own and has no significance whatsoever.

And this Soros connection is a non-connection. Rev. Moon is much more closely allied to the RNC than Soros is to the DNC. And what is the gray line for Bing to Kerry? Does that mean they are supposing a connection where they have established none?

Finally, about the Hitler ad: nobody at MoveOn had anything to do with its creation. It was a submission in a contestwhere it got very very poor ratings from the voters. Until the RNC put it on their web page, it was on its way to oblivion.

The closest thing to a connection they have is the point about Ickes sitting on the DNC executive board. But then only if it's true. He's not listed here, and I can't find anything about it anywhere else.



Monday, August 23, 2004

Baaaad President 

Amazon.com%3A Books%3A Reading Mastery - Level 2 Storybook 1

This is a link to the Amazon page for Reading Mastery - Level 2 Storybook 1, the book which contains the story My Pet Goat, the story Bush was reading when the second plane hit the second tower on 9/11.

There used to be a reader review which said in part that the story, "captured my imagination so much that it took me about seven minutes to recover my bearings." Amazon has removed that review, probably because it violates their terms of service. They even removed it from the reviewers page of reviews. But you can still see it on this Google cache.

Franken mentioned it on his show the other day, and within an hour over a thousand people (me being one) had visited Amazon to say that we had found the review helpful.

Anyway, when I visited, I seem to remember that there was a picture of the book. It too has been removed. The note says that no image is available. I would like to remedy that. Amazon, here's a picture of the book. Feel free to use it.



Sunday, August 22, 2004

In Yahoo Veritas 

Yahoo%21 News - Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete

This is the most complete and fair account of the Swift Boat Vet argument I have ever seen. Some notable points:
An investigation by The Washington Post into what happened that day suggests that both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place.
But what has Kerry withheld and why?
In "Tour of Duty," these thoughts are attributed to a "diary" kept by Kerry. But the endnotes to Brinkley's book say that Kerry "did not keep diaries in these weeks in February and March 1969 when the fighting was most intense." In the acknowledgments to his book, Brinkley suggests that he took at least some of the passages from an unfinished book proposal Kerry prepared sometime after November 1971, more than two years after he had returned home from Vietnam.

In his book, Brinkley writes that a skipper who remains friendly to Kerry, Skip Barker, took part in the March 13 raid. But there is no documentary evidence of Barker's participation. Barker could not be reached for comment.

Brinkley, who is director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, did not reply to messages left with his office, publisher and cell phone. The Kerry campaign has refused to make available Kerry's journals and other writings to The Post, saying the senator remains bound by an exclusivity agreement with Brinkley. (Emphasis mine; Mister)
And what about O'Neil's contention that Kerry wrote the after action reports that got him and Thurlow their Bronze Stars?
Much of the debate over who is telling the truth boils down to whether the two-page after-action report and other Navy records are accurate or whether they have been embellished by Kerry or someone else. In "Unfit for Command," O'Neill describes the after-action report as "Kerry's report." He contends that language in Thurlow's Bronze Star citation referring to "enemy bullets flying about him" must also have come from "Kerry's after-action report."

O'Neill has said that the initials "KJW" on the bottom of the report "identified" it as having been written by Kerry. It is unclear why this should be so, as Kerry's initials are JFK. A review of other Swift boat after-action reports at the Naval Historical Center here reveals several that include the initials "KJW" but describe incidents at which Kerry was not present.
And what about the contention that all those present except for those on Kerry's boat say there was no fire?
Until now, eyewitness evidence supporting Kerry's version had come only from his own crewmen. But yesterday, The Post independently contacted a participant who has not spoken out so far in favor of either camp who remembers coming under enemy fire. "There was a lot of firing going on, and it came from both sides of the river," said Wayne D. Langhofer, who manned a machine gun aboard PCF-43, the boat that was directly behind Kerry's.

Langhofer said he distinctly remembered the "clack, clack, clack" of enemy AK-47s, as well as muzzle flashes from the riverbanks. Langhofer, who now works at a Kansas gunpowder plant, said he was approached several months ago by leaders of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth but declined their requests to speak out against Kerry.
And what about the SBVFT contention that none of the boats had any bullet holes?
A report on "battle damage" to Thurlow's boat mentions "three 30 cal bullet holes about super structure." According to Thurlow, at least one of the bullet holes was the result of action the previous day, when he ran into another Vietcong ambush.
Right. Whatever. So one hole now accounts for all three.

This story should be emailed to every American voter. And the one's who don't get email should have it mailed to them on a post card.



Civil War Schmival War, We Want Gold 

Sadr's Men Hold Iraq Shrine in Defiance of Govt
Fighters loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were firmly in control of Najaf's Imam Ali mosque on Saturday, defying efforts by Iraq's U.S.-backed government to end a radical Shi'ite rebellion.
Now, I could be wrong here, but doesn't this basically mean that Iraq is now engaged in a civil war? You have the sovereign Iraqi government demanding that rebels surrender a city which they tenaciously continue to hold onto; yep, that's a civil war alright.

Before the American invasion of Iraq, those of us who opposed it gave as one of our arguments that the only possible outcome was a civil war. We also argued that it would actually increase international terrorism, that we would not be universally greeted as liberators, and that if no WMD were found it would damage our credibility and reputaion in the world.

We were right on all counts. But we failed to note the most significant drawback of all. The one which might have actually gotten a majority of Americans to rethink their support of the invasion, thus staving off the whole thing. We forgot to note that it might potentially cost us Olympic gold.
The war that was supposed to let America swagger and strut in the world is impeding its swagger and strut in the world.

As Selena Roberts wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday, American athletes in Athens are trying so hard to curb their usual chesty, preening, flag-waving behavior, in accordance with the U.S. Olympic Committee's fears about security in an anti-American climate, that it may be dulling the American team's edge.

"It does not reflect well on American culture, but some United States athletes need to pound their chests to get their hearts racing," Roberts writes. "Some need to scowl, stare and pump music into their heads to accompany their defiant strut before the start gun. Somehow, intimidating others is motivating to them."
Now had we warned of this, that would have made America stand up and take notice.



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