Saturday, October 09, 2004
Even the New York Times now is asking whether President Bush was wearing a wire in the first debate. When asked, the Bush campaign first said the photograph in question had been doctored. When shown that it was taken directly from the official debate feed, a spokeswoman, Nicolle Devenish, said it was "most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric." Said the Times: "Ms. Devenish could not say why the 'rumpling' was rectangular."
Cannonfire.com, Oct. 7:
... The news that Bush has refused a check-up inevitably colors our assessment of the following. This quote comes from a letter to the Atlantic Monthly from Dr. Joseph M. Price, responding to an article by James Fallows -- an article which, oddly enough, discussed the debates:
James Fallows's description of John Kerry's debating skills ("When George Meets John," July/August Atlantic) was interesting, but what was most remarkable was Fallows's documentation of President Bush's mostly overlooked changes over the past decade-specifically, "the striking decline in his sentence-by-sentence speaking skills." Fallows points to "speculations that there must be some organic basis for the President's peculiar mode of speech-a learning disability, a reading problem, dyslexia or some other disorder," but correctly concludes, "The main problem with these theories is that through his forties Bush was perfectly articulate."
I, too, felt that something organic was wrong with President Bush, most probably dyslexia. But I was unaware of what Fallows pointed out so clearly: that Bush's problems have been developing slowly, and that just a decade ago he was an articulate debater, "artful indeed in steering questions and challenges to his desired subjects," who "did not pause before forcing out big words, as he so often does now, or invent mangled new ones." Consider, in contrast, the present: "the informal Q&As he has tried to avoid," "Bush's recent faltering performances," "his unfortunate puzzled-chimp expression when trying to answer questions," "his stalling, defensive pose when put on the spot," "speaking more slowly and less gracefully."
Not being a professional medical researcher and clinician, Fallows cannot be faulted for not putting two and two together. But he was 100 percent correct in suggesting that Bush's problem cannot be "a learning disability, a reading problem, [or] dyslexia," because patients with those problems have always had them. Slowly developing cognitive deficits, as demonstrated so clearly by the President, can represent only one diagnosis, and that is "presenile dementia"! Presenile dementia is best described to nonmedical persons as a fairly typical Alzheimer's situation that develops significantly earlier in life, well before what is usually considered old age. It runs about the same course as typical senile dementias, such as classical Alzheimer's -- to incapacitation and, eventually, death, as with President Ronald Reagan, but at a relatively earlier age. President Bush's "mangled" words are a demonstration of what physicians call "confabulation," and are almost specific to the diagnosis of a true dementia. Bush should immediately be given the advantage of a considered professional diagnosis, and started on drugs that offer the possibility of retarding the slow but inexorable course of the disease. ...
Joseph M. Price, M.D.
by Jay Weidner
... As I watched Bush give his recent speech I realized that his eyes wandered from right to left and from left to right. It was obvious that he was not reading from a TelePrompTer. Also I noticed that there were long pauses between his sentences. On queue he would look left and then right before beginning his next sentence. It soon became apparent to me what was going on and why President Bush had suddenly become erudite.
As a Film Director I recognized immediately what was happening. After making many documentaries, in all sorts of conditions, it is sometimes impossible to use a TelePrompTer to assist the narrator. For instance, sometimes the glare of the sun will blank out the words on the TelePrompTer screen, or there may be a number of other technical glitches that get in the way of using it properly. On these rare occasions when the TelePrompTer cannot be used, I, and others, have used, instead, another device to help the narrator remember his dialogue.
Using a small earpiece a FM signal is broadcast into the ear of the narrator. Another voice reads the dialogue and the signal is sent to the earpiece. The narrator hears the words in his ear and uses this as his prompt.
There are several problems with this technique, which is why it is used only rarely in films and documentaries: First, it should be said that the earpiece prompt is usually a last ditch effort to prompt the narrator, or actor, while shooting a film. Technical glitches aside, when a Director resorts to an earpiece prompt it usually means that the narrator, or actor, has trouble reading or remembering their lines. Secondly, long pauses have to be built into the prompt and the script. These pauses take place in between sentences so that the prompt does not get too far ahead of the person speaking. Thirdly the script must be rewritten for the earpiece prompt. The sentences must stay short and concise so that the narrator, or actor, does not get confused.
Is this what Bush is doing? My answer is a definite 'yes'. During this same speech I watched as he immediately corrected a word that he had just mis-spoken. I have encountered this before during film shoots using the earpiece prompt. This is done because the speaker has gone slightly ahead of the earpiece prompt. He makes the mistake and then hears the correct word in his ear. He then corrects himself and goes on like nothing happened.
Watch the next speech. Notice how he pauses between sentences. His eyes veer robotically left and right. He then begins his next sentence. It is clear to me that these pauses are placed into the speeches on purpose so that the earpiece voice prompter does not get too far ahead of the President. Our beloved President has become an articulate spokesman for the ruinous destruction of our country. Isn't showbiz grand? ...
If Bush isn't wearing a wire and being fed answers via a concealed radio transmitter, then all those hesitations he has whenever he speaks in public must be a sign that he's brain dead. So which is worse: having a robot or a zombie as our president?
Cannonfire.com, Oct. 9:
Beyond that, I disagree with anyone who says that this particular theory comes unadorned by fact. We have: 1. The back bulge. 2. The mysterious ruling against photographing Bush from behind during the debate. 3. The earlier profile shot displaying an earpiece in situ. 4. The "let me finish" remark. 5. The still-unexplained audio from the D-Day observances. 6. The fact that on many (though not all) occasions, W's speeches tend to include weird empty spaces, like blank tape spliced into a spoken word cassette. ...
Mediachannel.org, Oct. 8:
... (W)hen Bush appeared on television to address the nation on 9/11, some viewers of television stations in Quincy, Massachusetts and New York City say they heard another voice speaking, slowly and carefully, a few words at a time -- words which were then recited by the president. As one Quincy resident reported, "The voice was nondescript, male, definitely not the president's voice."
"Reporters should have looked into this long ago," the Isbushwired site proclaims. But to date the press has failed to ask whether the president secretly relies on unseen handlers for public events and press conferences.
So I decided to investigate, and went directly to the top -- to Mark McKinnon, Media Director for the George W. Bush re-election campaign. McKinnon is by most accounts one of the top media strategists and image-makers in the business, having helped to elect a slew of Democrats before switching sides and successfully running media operations for Bush's first presidential campaign in 2000. Although now a died-in-the-wool convert, McKinnon is different from many Bush operatives in that he is open, responsive, and often displays a keen sense of humor, as evidenced by his emailed response to my query:
"I love this. Am tempted to say, 'I cannot confirm or deny,' and let the story get some legs. Or, how about, 'Since we put the metal plate in his head, we have had some measure of success with audio transmissions to the President.' Or, 'Yeah, but it clearly broke down during the debate.'"
McKinnon continues: "Unfortunately, the truth is not nearly as interesting. The answer is, 'The President has never been assisted by any audio signal.'"
So the official denial is now on the record. Any readers or viewers who think they can prove otherwise please do so. Any bloggers or chatters who can offer more than conspiracy theories -- see dailykos.com (Sat Jun 5th, 2004 at 18:43:30 GMT) and rense.com as well as postings on Salon.com and the Washington Monthly online -- please do so immediately. And any media professionals - like the "top Washington editor for Reuters" who reportedly told isbushwired last spring that "Sure, Bush uses an earpiece sometimes. State of the Union -- he had an earpiece for that. Everybody knows it." -- please identify yourselves. ...
... The point of the Bush wire wasn't to voice entire answers for him. It was to slip him critical information and phrases and cues and prompts. Bush can talk perfectly well for the limited kinds of things he wants to say. He can be folksy and funny. Dyslexic, yes, but he can talk. What he can't and won't do is apply himself (you know, "hard work") to learning things, or considering issues carefully, formulating arguments, assimilating facts. He's lazy. He hates thinking.
And he's always cheated when he could. He believes in cheating and dirty fighting as much as he believes in anything. Still, I suspect that it's been a slippery slope for Bush and Rove and Karen. First they gave him an audio prompter, so he wouldn't have to read speeches and stumble on words. Nothing wrong with that -- it's like a teleprompter for a dyslexic. They should have 'fessed up to it, though. When he started using a human cue card in his ear for press conferences, that's when it became very wrong. Taking it into the debate was outright fraud, a "fuck you" to truth, justice, and the American people. ...
... Many viewers thus saw a squarish bulge the size of a large battery pack under the back of Bush's suit jacket, with an S-shaped cord appearing to snake up the right side of his back. Several blogs have carried speculation that it was an audio receiver.
A poster to NYCIndymedia says, "Think 'passive transducer' earpiece." He writes, "The bulges under his jacket are likely receiver/repeaters that pick up the transmitter (and encrypted?) signals from his handlers and transmit them, at very low power, to the earpiece."
"Sure, Bush uses an earpiece sometimes," a top Washington editor for Reuters said to me last spring. "State of the Union -- he had an earpiece for that. Everybody knows it," he said, or assumes it. But everybody doesn't know it, I said. Why hadn't Reuters investigated? The editor shrugged and said it wasn't so different from using a teleprompter.
Except that a teleprompter isn't a secret. And Americans have the right to know if the president can't or won't speak in public without covert assistance. ....
Two third-party presidential candidates were arrested at the presidential debate in St. Louis when they tried to serve the debate commission with a show cause order. ...
Millionaire philanthropist George Soros, who has been a harsh critic of U.S. President George Bush, hastily responded to what turned out to be an error made by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, the Moscow-based online news agency Lenta.Ru reported on Wednesday.
After Cheney mistakenly referred to the web-site he named factcheck.com (instead of factcheck.org) for explanations on the sensible Halliburton case, the web-site was rented from an independent cyber-squatting company and materials promoting Soros’s views were placed on it.
Mosnews.com, Oct 6:
In response to a series of attacks from John Edwards on Cheney’s tenure as CEO of Halliburton, the vice president said that Kerry and Edwards “know the charges are false. They know that if you go, for example, to factcheck.com, an independent Web site sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, you can get the specific details with respect to Halliburton.”
However, Cheney misspoke. He meant to say “factcheck.org.,” rather than “.com.” George Soros capitalized on Cheney’s error, snatched up the URL, and now if you type “factcheck.com” into your browser, you get redirected to a page titled, “Why we must not re-elect President Bush: a personal message from George Soros.”
Immediately after Cheney’s erroneous statement, Soros’s spin doctors rented the factcheck.com web-site from the Domain Name Sales Corp. registered on the Cayman Islands and redirected all visitors to the already existing web-site www.georgesoros.com. The price paid for the name was not disclosed. ...
... "President Bush himself would have qualified as a 'small business owner' under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a "small business owner" in 2000 based on $314 of "business income,'but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as 'royalties' on a different tax schedule.)" ...
Salon.com, Oct. 8:
... (S)ure enough, at minute 23 on the video of the (first) debate, you can clearly see the bulge between the president's shoulder blades. ...
So what was it? Jacob McKenna, a spyware expert and the owner of the Spy Store, a high-tech surveillance shop in Spokane, Wash., looked at the Bush image on his computer monitor. "There's certainly something on his back, and it appears to be electronic," he said. McKenna said that, given its shape, the bulge could be the inductor portion of a two-way push-to-talk system. McKenna noted that such a system makes use of a tiny microchip-based earplug radio that is pushed way down into the ear canal, where it is virtually invisible. He also said a weak signal could be scrambled and be undetected by another broadcaster.
Mystery-bulge bloggers argue that the president may have begun using such technology earlier in his term. Because Bush is famously prone to malapropisms and reportedly dyslexic, which could make successful use of a teleprompter problematic, they say the president and his handlers may have turned to a technique often used by television reporters on remote stand-ups. A reporter tapes a story and, while on camera, plays it back into an earpiece, repeating lines just after hearing them, managing to sound spontaneous and error free. ...
New York Times, Oct. 9:
What was that bulge in the back of President Bush's suit jacket at the presidential debate in Miami last week?
According to rumors racing across the Internet this week, the rectangular bulge visible between Bush's shoulder blades was a radio receiver, transmitting answers from an offstage counselor into a hidden presidential earpiece. The prime suspect was Karl Rove, Bush's powerful political adviser.
When the online magazine Salon published an article about the rumors on Friday -- the day of the second presidential debate, in St. Louis -- the speculation reached such a pitch that White House and campaign officials found themselves inundated with calls.
First they said that pictures showing the bulge might have been doctored. But then, when the bulge turned out to be clearly visible in the television footage of the evening, they offered a different explanation.
"There was nothing under his suit jacket," said Nicolle Devenish, the Bush campaign's communications director. "It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric."
Devenish could not explain why the "rumpling" was in a rectangular shape.
Campaign and White House officials said that the bulge was not from a bulletproof vest; they said Bush was not wearing one.
They said the bulge was definitely not a receiver.
CBS News, Oct. 8:
Fierce from the outset, Sen. John Kerry and President Bush pulled few punches in their second debate Friday night in St. Louis. Experts interviewed immediately following the head-to-head contest spoke to the style, the nuance of character and the unspoken gestures that often sway voters.
Though Mr. Bush was more composed than in last week's first presidential debate, all agreed his tone was sometimes antagonistic and he again appeared uncomfortable being challenged. Kerry, on the other hand, was viewed as measured and articulate. However, none of the experts touted a clear winner. ...
Dick Meyer at CBS News had this choice observation, " . . . If a master political scientist had been released tonight from a cryogenic time warp and watched the debate in a current events vacuum, he would have thought John Kerry was the incumbent president." ...
Was President Bush literally channeling Karl Rove in his first debate with John Kerry? That's the latest rumor flooding the Internet, unleashed last week in the wake of an image caught by a television camera during the Miami debate. The image shows a large solid object between Bush's shoulder blades as he leans over the lectern and faces moderator Jim Lehrer.
The president is not known to wear a back brace, and it's safe to say he wasn't packing. So was the bulge under his well-tailored jacket a hidden receiver, picking up transmissions from someone offstage feeding the president answers through a hidden earpiece? Did the device explain why the normally ramrod-straight president seemed hunched over during much of the debate? ...
Speaking in the town hall forum at Washington University in St. Louis, Bush repeatedly hesitated in his responses, and stumbled over his words when he did speak. Trying to act casual with the audience, he instead looked like a second-rate talk show host on drugs.
Hunched shouldered, Bush's head constantly bobbed back and forth like a rooster strutting in the barnyard. While Kerry gave measured and rational responses to questions put to him by the audience, Bush's rants were often convoluted, nonsensical and bordered on hysterical.
A cartoonish painting of President Bush in the nude has been taken down from the wall at the City Museum of Washington. The picture, called "Man of Leisure, King George," adopts the pose of a famous Impressionist painting, Edouard Manet's "Olympia," that scandalized Paris in 1863, and now hangs in the Gare d'Orsay Museum in Paris.
The painting by local artist Kayti Didriksen, shows a caricature of Bush, reclining in the nude on a chaise lounge, his head propped up by pillows.
Instead of the female servant who stands behind Olympia's couch, a man in suit and tie resembling Vice President Dick Cheney stands nearby, holding a cushion with a crown and a miniature oil rig on top of it. ...
Friday, October 08, 2004
For immediate release: October 7, 2004
Contact: Blair Bobier, Media Director 541.929.5755 or 414.364.1596
Marc Sanson, Contact in St. Louis on Friday,
COBB TO BE ARRESTED AT ST. LOUIS DEBATE
Using non-violent civil disobedience to protest his
exclusion from the St. Louis presidential debate, Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb expects to be arrested by St. Louis County police officers when he attempts to walk around the barricades cordoning off the Washington University debate site at 8:15 p.m., Friday, October 8.
At 8 p.m., when the restricted debate is scheduled to
begin, Cobb and protesters assembled at Northmoor Park will proceed from the park north on N. Big Bend to the corner of Forsyth where they will come face to face with police and barricades. The protesters, joined by Mr. Cobb, will reach the N. Big Bend and Forsyth intersection where Cobb will make a brief statement about his exclusion and his campaign's
attempts to have him included in the debate. At 8:15, Cobb will walk around the barricades and be arrested. It is expected that he will be taken to a near-by facility for processing.
Cobb will be flying into St. Louis direct from his
appearance on the PBS program, NOW with Bill Moyers. He has participated in a series of debates with other presidential candidates in Florida, New York and Texas. For more information about the Cobb-LaMarche campaign, see
http://www.votecobb.org. Information about the Green Party can be found at http://www.gp.org.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
After two protesters were arrested during a speech made by a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Tuesday, some student groups are questioning whether their voices are being heard.
But MSU officials said they wish the students would have waited until an open question-and-answer section to speak out.
About a dozen people stood up and shouted questions to former U.S. ambassador to Iraq L. Paul Bremer during his speech at Wharton Center as he addressed terrorism and the war in Iraq.
Two protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct, MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said. The other protesters weren't arrested, she said.
The crowd applauded to drown out the shouts of protesters as they were removed from the building by MSU police. Some student and area resident protesters said they are worried their message isn't being taken seriously.
"One woman told us to shut up and go home," said social relations senior Jordan Furrow, who was formerly quoted in The State News as Nat Furrow. "It's not just like we're pissed-off kids who want to have our voices heard. We're standing up against the worst form of injustice."
The group was hoping to voice its opinions about U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq. ...
Saddam Hussein had posed no threat when the US led the invasion of Iraq last year, according to a final report released yesterday by America's top weapons inspector.
Charles Duelfer's report, handed to Congress, concluded that Saddam had not produced any weapons of mass destruction after the 1991 Gulf War and that his capabilities to do so had weakened since then.
Iraq had no chemical or biological weapons when the war began on March 19, 2003, and its nuclear capabilities were deteriorating.
Mr Duelfer based his report on seized documents and interviews with top Iraqi officials, including the former dictator himself.
He reported that Saddam had told him that he one day hoped to reconstitute his weapons program, but no documented evidence of such ambitions was found. ...
Environmental groups agreed Tuesday to drop their four-year legal battle against a proposed cement plant in Ste. Genevieve County after the company agreed to a $3 million settlement.
The deal clears the way for construction of the nation's largest cement plant on the banks of the Mississippi River. Holcim (US) Inc.'s plant would annually produce about 4 million tons of cement and up to 5,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions.
Under the agreement, Holcim will pay $3 million for local air quality monitoring, energy efficiency and land preservation projects. None of the money will go to the four groups involved in the settlement.
"Clearly, this settlement does not represent an outright victory against this highly polluting facility," Ted Heisel, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, said in a statement. "But in light of agencies that were reluctant to enforce environmental laws, a difficult political environment, and recent setbacks in court, the four organizations unanimously concluded that we had to make the best of a bad situation." ...
What they will learn about is not an open and free society, but a virtual police state that being created in the interest of "national security," according to a story that appears in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Jack-booted local and state cops in riot gear will be out in force by tomorrow, patrolling the campus as if it were the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Despite the Gestapo tactics, which have been months in the planning, I have still managed to maneuver through the miles of electrical cables laid by the media in recent days and made my way to the center of subversive activity -- Olin Library on the Washington University campus. Readers of this blog may be unaware of this, but I do much of my blogging here.
The library is named after the arms manufacturer that has been making bullets for wars since the American Civil War. But the library's militaristic namesake is a bit misleading. Even though Washington University's corporate sponsored managed to purge its radical faculty decades ago, they still allow for the veneer of academic freedom. And in this day and age, freedom is the privilege to bring a covered drink into the library without being pounced upon by a vigilant librarian.
In the post- 9/11 world of John Ashcroft's Patriot Act, I feel the Lord has truly blessed me, at least temporarily, with this bastion of liberty. Not only can I drink coffee freely within the confines of the library, I have unfettered access to the insidious and potentially treasonous "Worldwide Web." I can also pick up hardcopies of the three newspapers for gratis, as part of a program to entice students to read about current events. And there is a bank of phones in the "Whispers" cafe, which is attached to the library, where local phone calls can be made without giving SBC Communications a half-buck.
But I won't be here tomorrow because I know from experience what to expect. While the media focuses its attention on the two-man debate, the cops will be out in force limiting the mobility of all who dare to question government policies. This year, they've provided the dissenters a designated spot on a softball field on the far side of the campus near the dorms. If things go as they have in the past, after the debate has concluded and the cameras have all been packed away, the cops will mace a few young female students just for the hell of it. Then everybody will go home and we can all look forward to four more years of things getting worse.
Earlier this week, the university groundskeepers, all undocumented Mexicans, who busied themselves watering the grass around the stage. The university outsources this work to a subcontractors who pays no benefits or insurance for the illegal workers.
God bless America.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
On October 8, a collection of activists have organized a full day's
events for all of us who are dissatisfied with the Republocratic candidates
and the issues which they either ignore or agree upon. There will be
teach-ins, a march, rally and post-rally rally at the barricades.
The full day's events follow.
O8: Raise Your Voice, Expand Your Choice!
Teach - In Parade for True Democracy Rally
TEACH - IN
In our attempt to educate people on the issues that the corporate
candidates will be leaving out during their debate, we will be hosting a day of
alternative forums and workshops. They begin at 9:00 am and continue
until 3:45 pm. All workshops are held at Grace United Methodist Church at
6199 Waterman. See the attached map for details. It is recommended that
people park in the University City Loop or surrounding areas as well as the
parking lot (one block north of the Church on Skinker).
-School of the Americas (John Slosar)
-Coca-cola Boycott/Killer Coke Campaign (Don Fitz)
-MO Forest Alliance
-Radical Menstruation (Emily Clamer)
-Prison System and the War on Drugs (Fred Raines)
-Reparations (Willie Marshal, Eugene Frison, Alvin Brown)
-Civilian Oversight Board/Police Brutality (John Chasnoff, Jamala
-Radical Cheerleading (Nim)
-Opposing the Draft (Dawn Rubbert)
-Direct Action Wins the Elections (Mattie Weiss)
-Zine Making (Chris McClaren and Smelley Kelly)
-Anti-Opression Workshop (Maggie Ellinger-Locke)
-Fighting Globalization (digger and Alicia)
-9-11: Examing the Evidence (Mike Berger)
-Radical Profiling and Anarchy 101 (Sunfrog)
-From the Mouth of Madness: Deep Inside the Occupations of Iraq and
Palestine (Michael Birmingham, Tom Sager, Hedy Epstein from the Wheels
-Know Your Rights (ACLU)
-Fighting Globalization (cont.)
-Peacekeeper Training (Flowing Johnson)
-Wheels of Justice (cont.)
-Get Out the Vote Training (Julia Day)
-Peacekeeper Training (cont.)
Documentaries shown: Fahrenheit 9-11, A Year in the Streets, Deadly
(on police brutality in St. Louis), and Miami Model.
There will be a Parade for Real Democracy beginning at 4:00 pm. We will
leave Grace United Methodist Church and head north on Skinker to
West on Delmar to Kingsland; reverse directions and march east back on
Delmar to Skinker; south on Skinker to Wydown, and West on Wydown to
Big Bend. Forsyth Ave. will be completely closed to all foot and vehicular
traffic because it goes through campus, which is why we are not using
that option. The march will lead us directly to the site of the rally in
Northmoor Park near Big Bend and Forsyth.
The rally will begin at about 5:00 pm at Northmoor Park (Big Bend and
Forsyth) and will last to about 8:30pm. Speakers and musicians will
address issues or perspectives untouched by the Republocratic candidates. The
number after each musician/speaker’s name represents the order of
presentation at the rally.
usicians: Anna Roland (1), Ryan Harvey (4), David Rovics (7) - radical
folk, and JG of Over the Counter Intelligence feat. DJ Haviken Hayes
(12) - hip-hop.
Speakers: Reverand Al Smith from St. Paul's AME Church (11); Chris
McClarren (10) - St. Louis activist, artist and writer; Michael Peroutka (5) -
Constitution Party; David Cobb (8) - Green Party; Michael Badnarik (6)
Libertarian Party; Julie Fry (9) - Youth for the Million Worker March;
Sunfrog of the 5th Estate (3), and Brian Terrell (2) - Iowa peace
activist and subject of a grand jury investigation.
There will be a post-rally rally at the barricades. The Secret
Service, St. Louis County Police, and other law enforcement agencies will be in full
force on the north side of a metal barricade straddling Big Bend near
Forsyth right outside Northmoor Park. We will have an open mic for
anyone who wishes to give a speech, play a song, perform a poem, etc. You can
wave your banner, shout slogans, distribute literature and petitions, or
participate in this really democratic event to your heart’s desire.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Sunday, October 03, 2004
Hail, Brittania. God Bless the Queen, and all that sort of rubbish.
He is the conservative bastion of the US supreme court, a favourite of President Bush, and a hunting partner of the vice-president. He has argued vociferously against abortion rights, and in favour of anti-sodomy laws.
But it turns out that there is another side to Justice Antonin Scalia: he thinks Americans ought to be having more orgies.
Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."
It seems unlikely that this is what President Bush meant when he promised to appoint more judges like Scalia to the court, should the opportunity arise. Crucially, Justice Scalia is one of the judges in favour of overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark judgment protecting abortion as a constitutional right.
One audience member also asked the judge "whether you have any gay friends, and, if not, whether you'd like to be my friend," the Harvard Crimson newspaper reported.
"I probably do have some gay friends, but I have never pressed the point," Justice Scalia responded. He offered no clue to the logic behind his claim that orgies eliminate social tensions. ...
CNN, Oct. 3:
A majority of Americans believe Sen. John Kerry won the first presidential debate of the 2004 campaign, putting him in a virtual tie with President Bush, according to polls released Saturday by Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times.
Newsweek reported that Thursday's debate in Miami, Florida, had "erased the lead" that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have held over Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards since the Republican National Convention in New York. ...
New York Times, Oct. 3:
by David Barstow
In 2002, at a crucial juncture on the path to war, senior members of the Bush administration gave a series of speeches and interviews in which they asserted that Saddam Hussein was rebuilding his nuclear weapons program.
In a speech to veterans that August, Vice President Dick Cheney said Saddam could have an atomic bomb "fairly soon."
President Bush, addressing the United Nations the next month, said there was "little doubt" about Saddam's appetite for nuclear arms.
The U.S. intelligence community had not yet concluded that Iraq was rebuilding its nuclear weapons program. But as the vice president told a group of Wyoming Republicans that September, the United States had "irrefutable evidence" -- thousands of tubes made of high-strength aluminum, tubes that the Bush administration said were destined for clandestine Iraqi uranium centrifuges, before some were seized at the behest of the United States.
The tubes quickly became a critical exhibit in the administration's brief against Iraq. As the only physical evidence the United States had of Saddam's revived nuclear ambitions, they gave credibility to the apocalyptic imagery invoked by President Bush and his advisers. The tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser, asserted on CNN on Sept. 8, 2002.
But before Rice made those remarks, she was aware that the government's foremost nuclear experts had concluded that the tubes were most likely not for nuclear weapons at all, an examination by The New York Times has found. As early as 2001, her staff had been told that experts at the Energy Department believed the tubes were probably intended for small artillery rockets, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and a senior administration official, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.
"She was aware of the differences of opinion," the senior administration official said in an interview authorized by the White House. "She was also aware that at the highest level of the intelligence community, there was great confidence that these tubes were for centrifuges."
Rice's alarming description on CNN was in keeping with the Bush administration's overall treatment of the tubes. Senior administration officials repeatedly failed to fully disclose the contrary views of America's leading nuclear scientists, The Times found. They sometimes overstated even the most dire intelligence assessments of the tubes, yet minimized or rejected the strong doubts of their own experts. They worried privately that the nuclear case was weak, but expressed sober certitude in public.
The result was a largely one-sided presentation to the public that did not convey the depth of evidence and argument against the administration's most tangible proof of a revived nuclear weapons program in Iraq.
In response to questions last week about the tubes, administration officials emphasized two points: First, they said they relied on the repeated assurances of George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, that the tubes were in fact for centrifuges. Second, they noted that the intelligence community, including the Energy Department, largely agreed that Saddam Hussein had revived his nuclear program.
Tenet declined to be interviewed. But in a statement, he said he "made it clear" to the White House "that the case for a possible nuclear program in Iraq was weaker than that for chemical and biological weapons." Regarding the tubes, Tenet said that "alternative views were shared" with the administration after the intelligence community drafted a new National Intelligence Estimate in late September 2002.
But the estimate as a whole, particularly its sections on the tubes and Iraq's nuclear programs, has been largely discredited by the Senate Intelligence Committee. After a yearlong investigation, the committee unanimously concluded that most of the estimate's findings about the tubes were either unsupported, overstated or incorrect.
Today, 18 months after the invasion of Iraq, investigators there have found no evidence of hidden centrifuges or a revived nuclear weapons program. The absence of unconventional weapons in Iraq is now widely seen as evidence of a profound intelligence failure, of an intelligence community blinded by "group think," false assumptions and unreliable human sources.
Yet the tale of the tubes, pieced together through records and interviews with senior intelligence officers, nuclear experts, administration officials and congressional investigators, reveals a different failure.
Far from "group think," American nuclear and intelligence experts argued bitterly over the tubes. A "holy war" is how one congressional investigator described it. That debate, which started in April 2001, produced two competing theories about the tubes. One, championed by the CIA, suggested a new nuclear menace. The other, advanced by the Energy Department, suggested a regime replenishing its rocket supply.
But in the months after 9/11, as the nation moved to war footing, an overwhelming momentum gathered behind the CIA assessment.
It was a momentum built on a pattern of haste, secrecy, ambiguity, bureaucratic maneuver and a persistent failure in the Bush administration and even among Democrats in Congress to ask hard questions.
"We have a tendency -- I don't know if it's part of the American character -- to say, 'Well, we'll sit down and we'll evaluate the evidence, we'll draw a conclusion,'" Cheney said as he discussed the tubes on the NBC News program "Meet the Press" in September 2002.