Saturday, October 16, 2004
Following yesterday's expert ID of the presidential cheatpiece, today Salon has an interview with a countersurveillance specialist (who worked for several presidential cabinets, reportedly including the elder Bush's) who says, "I have personally sat outside the White House with lab-grade testing equipment -- and have cataloged, monitored and confirmed that wireless monitors are being used." Vanessa Kerry seems to take a hard post-debate look at the president's still-bulgy back. Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman responds to persistent questions about the box-bulge with degrading whimsy: "The president is an alien. That's your quote of the day. He has been getting information from Mars."
A Washington Post writer worries that the White House's failure to explain the bulge "risks perpetuating an image of Bush as a puppet." Isn't the presidential image something for the White House to worry about? Reporters should worry about whether the president really is a puppet.
Salon also notes Drudge's mysteriously total silence on the topic. ...
In a chilling attack on free speech, U.S. authorities on October 7 seized two internet servers in London belonging to the independent media network Indymedia. More than 20 Indymedia sites around the world were taken down as a result of the raid. The servers were returned on October 14, but no formal charges have been announced and no explanation has been given for the raid.
FBI spokesperson Joe Parris told Agence France Presse that the raid was "not an FBI operation" but that the FBI issued the subpoena on behalf of Italy and Switzerland (10/8/04). U.S. authorities have refused to comment further.
Rackspace, the U.S.-based company that hosts the Indymedia servers at its London offices, revealed in a press release that the subpoena was issued "pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which establishes procedures for countries to assist each other in investigations such as international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering." Rackspace told Indymedia that they could not reveal any information about the subpoena—apparently the result of a gag order (Indymedia, 10/7/04).
Swiss authorities said they have opened an investigation into Indymedia coverage of the 2003 G8 Summit in Evian and that they had asked the FBI to help remove photos of Swiss undercover police from a French Indymedia site (AFP, 10/9/04). The FBI visited both a Seattle-based Indymedia lawyer and Rackspace about the photos, and Indymedia believed the issue had been resolved (Indymedia, 10/9/04). The site was among those housed on the seized servers; Swiss authorities, however, have not indicated that they asked the FBI to seize the servers. ...
Media Mayhem, Jan. 24, 2004
The point is Andy Van De Voorde, the invertebrate who handles editorial decisions from the offices of Westword in Denver will attack anything associated with the story, if he feels threatened by whichever way the wind is blowing out of Mike Lacey's ass on any particular day.
The Riverfront Times has a pretty good cover story this week. Staffer Shelley Smithson slams an ExxonMobil coal mine for polluting the groundwater in rural Illinois. But Shelley should be forewarned: the idiot managers at New Times corporate headquarters in Phoenix and Denver won't necessarily appreciate your good work. For one thing, the story is politcally correct because it is critical of Exxon and defends the residents who are being impacted by the pollution. New Times executive editor Mike Lacey abhors anything that smacks of being politically correct. So, Shelley, you didn't get a feather in your cap for all your hard work. No, you got a black eye.
Moreover, the cover doesn't even mention Exxon or anything else that would explain what the story is about. Instead, it features a cartoon illustration with the headline: "Gob Story." The subhead is "What's Black and Sticky and Oozes All Over?"
The story has been intentionally dumbed down despite the honest efforts of the reporter. This was probably done by your editor in hopes that Lacey and company wouldn't realize that he actually sanctioned a cover story that had substance and was newsworthy.
In addition, there's a very real chance that Smithson will be blamed for not getting decent photographs for the story. I had that happen to me when I wrote about Floyd Warmann. Seriously, former RFT editor Safir Ahmed blamed me for not arranging for the photographer to get pictures of Warmann. New Times later fired Ahmed, too.
The point is Andy Van De Voorde, the invertebrate who handles editorial decisions from the offices of Westword in Denver will attack anything associated with the story, if he feels threatened by whichever way the wind is blowing out of Mike Lacey's ass on any particular day.
Your best bet is if the story wins some lame journalism award. That will buy you some time. That's the best you can hope for. The next time you go in the conference room for a staff meeting look at the eight or ten people seated around you and realize that within the next year two or three of you all will either have been fired or quit. You have a temp job. Have a nice day.
The Web servers that were seized late last week from Web hosting provider Rackspace Managed Hosting (rackspace.com) were returned to the company on early Wednesday morning, almost a week after they were handed over to US authorities. The servers were housed in Rackspace's London, UK data center and were hosting Web sites for Indymedia (indymedia.org), an independent media organization dedicated to non-corporate news coverage.
Indymedia, formally known as Independent Media Corporation, "once again had access to their servers," Annalie Drusch, spokesperson for Rackspace, told the Web Host Industry Review. However, the media organization has not resumed using them, Drusch said. Rackspace would not comment further on the matter. ...
US authorities have seized the UK-based servers of the British branch of Indymedia.org, an alternative newswire and global network of independent news websites.
On Thursday morning of last week, a US federal court order was delivered to Rackspace, an American webhosting service provider with a UK unit in Uxbridge, Middlesex, demanding they hand over Indymedia web servers.
Rackspace, which provides hosting services for some 20 European Independent Media Centres, or Indymedia websites, at its London facility, complied and turned over the requested servers, in effect removing those sites from the internet. ...
[read more, more, more]
Interestingly, the reservists who refused to commit sucicide to bolster Bush's reelection chances all hale from the Sunny Southland, the GOP's Motherland. First reports of this "insurrection" among U.S. troops was apparently reported by the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss.
Associated Press, Oct. 16:
The Army is investigating reports
that several members of a reservist supply unit in
Iraq refused to go on a convoy mission, the military
said Friday. Relatives of the soldiers said the
troops considered the mission too dangerous.
The reservists are from the 343rd Quartermaster
Company, which is based in Rock Hill, South
Carolina. The unit delivers food and water in combat
According to The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in
Jackson, Mississippi, a platoon of 17 soldiers
refused to go on a fuel supply mission Wednesday
because their vehicles were in poor shape and they
did not have a capable armed escort.
The paper cited interviews with family members of
some of the soldiers, who said the soldiers had been
confined after their refusals. The mission was
carried out by other soldiers from the 343rd, which
has at least 120 soldiers, the military said.
Convoys in Iraq are frequently subject to ambushes
and roadside bombings.
A whole unit refusing to go on a mission in a war
zone would be a significant breach of military
discipline. A statement from the military's press
center in Baghdad called the incident "isolated."
"The investigating team is currently in Tallil
taking statements and interviewing those involved.
This is an isolated incident and it is far too early
in the investigation to speculate as to what
happened, why it happened or any action that might
be taken," the coalition press information center
said in the statement, sent to The Associated Press
In the statement, U.S. military officials said the
commanding general of the 13th Corps Support Command
had appointed his deputy commander to investigate
The statement did not confirm several aspects of the
relatives' stories, including the number of soldiers
involved and the reason they refused the mission.
The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to
Taji, Iraq -- north of Baghdad -- because their
vehicles were considered extremely unsafe, Patricia
McCook of Jackson, Mississippi, told The
Her husband, Sgt. Larry O. McCook, was among those
detained, she said, saying her husband had
telephoned her from Iraq.
The platoon being held has troops from Alabama,
Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and South
Carolina, said Teresa Hill of Dothan, Alabama, who
told the newspaper her daughter Amber McClenny is
among those being detained.
Patricia McCook said her husband told her he did not
feel comfortable taking his soldiers on another
"He told me that three of the vehicles they were to
use were 'deadlines' ... not safe to go in a hotbed
like that," she said, according to the newspaper.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
I knew when Smithson wrote an environmental story back in January that her days were numbered. Writing an environmental story for "Boss Man" Mike Lacey and New Times is the kiss of death. I know. I used to be an environmental reporter for the RFT. before I was fired.
Smithson's other fault is that she appeared to give a damn. Lacey doesn't want anybody who gives a damn because that may be perceived as "politically correct," and New Times prides itself on not being "pc." In her January story Smithson took on Exxon, which had polluted an Illinois community for years. Lacey doesn't like to bash corporations, however. Instead, the executive editor of New Times Inc., the owner of the Riverfront Times, prefers to choose soft targets. Religion, for instance, is a favorite whipping boy of Lacey's. Knowing this, the editor of the RFT put a bogus nun on the cover as an illustration for a bogus story just last week. This week there's a "piece" sign comprised of naked women. Get the pun? Creating a controversy over nudity is also acceptable way for New Times to avoid doing any real reporting.
The RFT used to cover City Hall, County government and the state legislature. On election night, which always fall on a Tuesday, we stopped the presses to cover the results. But not anymore. The RFT is now a newless piece of shit. And everybody who can read knows it.
Hours after Bill O'Reilly accused her of a multimillion dollar shakedown attempt, a female Fox News producer fired back at the TV star today, filing a lawsuit claiming that he subjected her to repeated instances of sexual harassment and spoke often, and explicitly, to her about phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, the loss of his virginity, and sexual fantasies. Below you'll find a copy of Andrea Mackris's complaint, an incredible page-turner that quotes O'Reilly, 55, on all sorts of lewd matters. Based on the extensive quotations cited in the complaint, it appears a safe bet that Mackris, 33, recorded some of O'Reilly's more steamy soliloquies. For example, we direct you to his Caribbean shower fantasies. While we suggest reading the entire document, TSG will point you to interesting sections on a Thailand sex show, Al Franken, and the climax of one August 2004 phone conversation.
Read the entire complaint.
A Salon update quotes a technical expert whose company makes audio transceivers for the U.S. military and private companies. Looking at photos of the bulge, expert Alex Darbut says, "There's no question about it. It's a pretty obvious one -- larger than most because it probably has descrambling capability."
Bush-Cheney officials continue to deny there was anything at all under Bush's jacket, and say it was just a wrinkle.
(The Salon story also reproduces a photo of Bush driving at his ranch that some think shows a similar "bulge." To me -- and more to the point, to this doctor posting on democraticunderground.com -- it just looks like his right shoulder blade.)...
by David Linderoff
Speculation continues to run wild about President Bush's mystery bulge. Since Friday, when Salon first raised questions about the rectangular bulge that was visible under Bush's suit coat during the presidential debates, many observers in the press and on the Internet have wondered aloud whether the verbally and factually challenged president might be receiving coaching via a hidden electronic device.
Now a technical expert who designs and makes such devices for the U.S. military tells Salon that he believes the bulge is indeed a transceiver designed to receive electronic signals and transmit them to a hidden earpiece lodged in Bush's ear canal. ...
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Founder and Honorary Chair
Democracy for America
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to sacrifice 98% of
wilderness-quality land in some of the most beautiful high deserts in central
Utah for oil and gas drilling and development. The U.S. Geological Survey
estimates that oil and gas deposits under America's Redrock Wilderness
would amount to a mere 4 days worth of oil and less than 4 weeks worth
of natural gas.
It's time to draw a line in the sand in the Redrock Wilderness. Please
take a moment to let the White House know that you want to see
America's Redrock wilderness protected. Then, forward this email to your
friends and family members so they can help as well.
The Price Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages
some of the most beautiful high deserts in central Utah. These include
icons of the American West like the San Rafael Desert and the Book
Cliffs. This delicate, desert landscape is home to two extremely rare
plant species, the Dolores River skeleton plant and the Schultz stickleaf.
Bighorn sheep, peregrine falcon and mule deer also survive in the
The BLM is currently revising its land use plan for this area. Instead
of striking a balance between protecting wilderness and providing
energy development, the agency is planning to sacrifice 98% of
wilderness-quality land to oil and gas drilling and development. The BLM insists on
tearing up the desert, even though the U.S. Geological Survey estimates
that oil and gas deposits under America's Redrock Wilderness would
amount to a mere 4 days worth of oil and less than 4 weeks worth of natural
There is an alternative! The Castle Country Heritage Plan in a
balanced alternative that protects lands including America's Redrock
Wilderness from oil and gas development. It also includes reasonable
opportunities for development to go forward in more appropriate places.
Please take a moment to let the White House know that you want to see
America's Redrock wilderness protected. Then, forward this email onto
your friends and family members so they can help as well.
by Tom Friedman
I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the
president and vice president slamming John Kerry for saying
that he hopes America can eventually get back to a place
where "terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but
they're a nuisance." The idea that President Bush and Mr.
Cheney would declare such a statement to be proof that Mr.
Kerry is unfit to lead actually says more about them than
Mr. Kerry. Excuse me, I don't know about you, but I dream
of going back to the days when terrorism was just a
nuisance in our lives.
If I have a choice, I prefer not to live the rest of my
life with the difference between a good day and bad day
being whether Homeland Security tells me it is "code red"
or "code orange" outside. To get inside the Washington
office of the International Monetary Fund the other day, I
had to show my ID, wait for an escort and fill out a
one-page form about myself and my visit. I told my host:
"Look, I don't want a loan. I just want an interview."
Somewhere along the way we've gone over the top and lost
That's why Mr. Kerry was actually touching something many
Americans are worried about - that this war on terrorism is
transforming us and our society, when it was supposed to be
about uprooting the terrorists and transforming their
The Bush team's responses to Mr. Kerry's musings are
revealing because they go to the very heart of how much
this administration has become addicted to 9/11. The
president has exploited the terrorism issue for political
ends - trying to make it into another wedge issue like
abortion, guns or gay rights - to rally the Republican base
and push his own political agenda. But it is precisely this
exploitation of 9/11 that has gotten him and the country
off-track, because it has not only created a wedge between
Republicans and Democrats, it's also created a wedge
between America and the rest of the world, between America
and its own historical identity, and between the president
and common sense.
By exploiting the emotions around 9/11, Mr. Bush took a
far-right agenda on taxes, the environment and social
issues - for which he had no electoral mandate - and drove
it into a 9/12 world. In doing so, Mr. Bush made himself
the most divisive and polarizing president in modern
By using 9/11 to justify launching a war in Iraq without
U.N. support, Mr. Bush also created a huge wedge between
America and the rest of the world. I sympathize with the
president when he says he would never have gotten a U.N.
consensus for a strategy of trying to get at the roots of
terrorism by reshaping the Arab-Muslim regimes that foster
it - starting with Iraq.
But in politicizing 9/11, Mr. Bush drove a wedge between
himself and common sense when it came to implementing his
Iraq strategy. After failing to find any W.M.D. in Iraq, he
became so dependent on justifying the Iraq war as the
response to 9/11 - a campaign to bring freedom and
democracy to the Arab-Muslim world - that he refused to see
reality in Iraq. The president seemed to be saying to
himself, "Something so good and right as getting rid of
Saddam can't possibly be going so wrong." Long after it was
obvious to anyone who visited Iraq that we never had enough
troops there to establish order, Mr. Bush simply ignored
reality. When pressed on Iraq, he sought cover behind 9/11
and how it required "tough decisions" - as if the tough
decision to go to war in Iraq, in the name of 9/11, should
make him immune to criticism over how he conducted the war.
Lastly, politicizing 9/11 put a wedge between us and our
history. The Bush team has turned this country into "The
United States of Fighting Terrorism." "Bush only seems able
to express our anger, not our hopes," said the Mideast
expert Stephen P. Cohen. "His whole focus is on an America
whose role in the world is to negate the negation of the
terrorists. But America has always been about the
affirmation of something positive. That is missing today.
Beyond Afghanistan, they've been much better at destruction
I wish Mr. Kerry were better able to articulate how America
is going to get its groove back. But the point he was
raising about wanting to put terrorism back into
perspective is correct. I want a president who can one day
restore Sept. 11th to its rightful place on the calendar:
as the day after Sept. 10th and before Sept. 12th. I do not
want it to become a day that defines us. Because ultimately
Sept. 11th is about them - the bad guys - not about us.
We're about the Fourth of July.
by Bob Whitby
So pick a reason, any reason, and don't vote for Bush Nov. 2.
1. Former President Bill Clinton briefing President-elect Bush on security issues in December 2000: "I think you will find that by far your biggest threat is Bin Ladin and the al Qaeda. One of the great regrets of my presidency is that I didn't get him [Bin Ladin] for you, because I tried to." Source: Testimony by Clinton, published in the 9/11 Commission Report
2. Upon taking office, Bush proposed cutting more than $500 million in counterterrorism funding from the Justice Department. Source: "Condi gets a reality check," Center for American Progress, April 8, 2004
3. On Sept. 10, 2001, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft rejected an appeal from the FBI for more money to fight terrorism in the 2002 budget. Source: Toronto Star, April 13, 2004
4. On Sept. 11, 2001, national security advisor Condoleezza Rice planned to deliver a speech about national security that made no mention of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda or Islamic fundamentalists. Source: CNN.com, April 1, 2004
5. National security advisor Condoleezza Rice: "The title of the [Aug. 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing] was, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." Source: Testimony before the 9/11 Commission, April 8, 2004
6. George W. Bush, April 11, 2004: "The P.D.B. was no indication of a terrorist threat." Source: The New York Times, April 12, 2004
7. On July 24, 2001, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial jets and started traveling only on chartered government planes. When asked about the change, Ashcroft cited a "threat assessment" by the FBI. Source: The Village Voice, April 13, 2004
8. In the week after Sept. 11, 2001, at least eight planes carried 140 passengers out of the country. Many of the passengers were Saudi Arabian royalty, while about 24 of them were members of the bin Laden family. One of the flights, on Sept. 13, took off from Tampa to Lexington, Ky. The White House denied that the flight ever took place, but records produced in June under a Freedom of Information Act request prove that it did. Sources: The Boston Globe, April 11, 2004; St. Petersburg Times, June 9, 2004
9. An agency of the Treasury Department assigned to blocking the financial resources of terrorists has five times as many agents investigating Cuban embargo violations than it does tracking Osama bin Laden. Source: Associated Press, April 29, 2004
10. In April, the State Department announced that terrorism incidents worldwide had dropped from 198 in 2002 to 190 in 2003. In June the State Department announced that it had made a mistake, and that terrorism incidents had actually risen, from 205 in 2002 to 208 in 2003. Source: The New York Times, June 23, 2004
11. The 9/11 Commission reported in June that there is "no credible evidence" linking Al Qaeda to Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Vice President Dick Cheney continues to assert that the two are connected. Source: The New York Times, June 16, 2004
12. The Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), a group of Iranian Marxist rebels, is officially considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. But members of the same group under American guard in an Iraqi camp are classified as "protected persons" under the Geneva Convention. The MKO, which assassinated several Americans in the 1970s, is dedicated to overthrowing the Iranian government. Source: The Christian Science Monitor, July 29, 2004 ...
Evidentially, Shelley Smithson, a competent reporter, has departed, leaving the frat house rag staffed with a bunch of fucking numbskulls. I predicted somebody was due to leave the RFT more than a month ago.
More on this issue later.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Courtesy of Lee Brotherton, Oct. 12:
Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest owner of tv stations across the company including KDNL here in St. Louis is intending to broadcast a virulent smear of John Kerry on all its stations just days before the November election, but we are not without effective recourse to stop their plan.
The "documentary" is nothing but a complete Swift Boat Veterans style smear of Kerry. The "journalist" behind the production has a history of extremist and irresonsible work. His las "documentary" was a defense of Rev. Sun Myung Moon who, as you may know, considers himself the second coming of Christ and owns the right wing Washington Times.
The exectuives who run Sinclair Broadcasting are right wing extremists themselves who you may remember forced their stations not to air Nightline's list of the war dead from Iraq last spring because they believed that was an "anti-war" act. This latest stunt is incredible in its audacity and is one of the lowest blows I've ever heard of not to mention an extraordinary abuse of their publicly held license to broadcast in our, and other communities.
Anyway, you can fight their decision and get them to back down by hitting them where it hurts: their pocketbooks.
You can contact their advertisers and demand they withdraw their ads from KDNL unless and until Sinclair reverses its decision to attempt to influence the outcome of the Presidential election by smearing John Kerry just before the election allowing no effective means of response. Most of Sinclair's corporate revenue comes from local advertising dollars so we here in St. Louis can have a serious impact if we take a bit of time. I think you agree with me that this election is important enough to merit taking that time.
There's a website that list all the local and national broadcasters with Sinclair and how to contact them. Go to the url below and you'll be at the site. There's a drop down window that lets you select St. Louis to see who KDNL's local advertisers are. There are both phone numbers and e-mail addresses on the site that you can use to let these companies know that you will not support them or buy their products as long as they support Sinclair's attempt to influence the election of our President with dirty tricks such as the one they intend in the last week of October.
Please go there asap and register your complaints to these advertisers. Several major blogs are reporting that some advertisers are already responding to this by withdrawing their ads from local Sinclair stations proving that this is an effective action. Sylvan Learning Centers is one that has pulled its dollars, for example.
It's important we do this and quash this scurrilous dirty politics before it damages Kerry. The organization backing the production of this propaganda film has now "merged" with the Swift Boat Veterans group so you know this is all a Karl Rove production.
Please do this, as I have done, asap and tell all your likeminded friends asap to do the same and we can beat back this outrageous right wing stunt.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Bush-Cheney '04, Oct. 11:
Mr. John Sweeney
815 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
October 11, 2004
Dear Mr. Sweeney:
Over the past several weeks, acts of violence and vandalism have occurred at Republican and Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters across the country. In addition to the injuries, property damage and disruption associated with these acts, these events have created a threatening and intimidating atmosphere abhorrent to our democratic process.
On October 5th, according to news reports, witnesses, police reports and admissions of your members, the AFL-CIO, as part of a national strategy, protested at more than a dozen of our campaign and party headquarters across the country. In many locations, the protestors attempted to enter, or entered, campaign or party facilities. As one protestor said, "Actually, we're storming into an office." In Orlando, Florida, injuries and damage were sustained. Protestors forced their way into the facility, fracturing the arm of one staffer, and vandalized the office. In Michigan, protestors entered a headquarters and engaged in activities apparently intended to disrupt volunteers trying to make phone calls. ....
Okay, which is worse: A president whose nerve synapses are so fried that he forgets what he's talking about in mid-sentence or a president who is so fucking stupid that he has to rely on somebody else to tell him what to say during a debate. Take your pick.
What the Chicago columnist failed to do obviously was to take a closer look at the second televised debate in St. Louis. The bulge was still there, asshole.
Chicago Sun-Times, Oct. 12:
by Richard Roeper
'Knowing that debate 2 would be a town hall forum, the transmitter had to be hidden. I believe in debate 2 it was hidden at his waist under the first button of his suit. . . . I think he is also wearing an unusually long tie." -- Internet speculator "explaining" how President Bush hid a transmitter under his jacket in last Friday's debate.
It's come to this. The Bush-bashers are getting just as crazy with the conspiracy theories as the Bill and Hillary haters.
For a certain percentage of Bush-bashers, it's just not intellectually or emotionally satisfying to believe the president is incompetent, arrogant, small-minded. Darker forces must be at work! ...
Not long ago, Karl Rove told Sean Hannity "We've got a couple of surprises that we intend to spring." Perhaps we can glimpse the outlines of one of those surprises.
Across the country, Bush campaign headquarters have been shot at, attacked, and burgled. None of these attacks have prospered the Kerry campaign in any way. Each incident has admirably served Karl Rove's propaganda purposes. In a previous election, he once staged a "bugging" of his own candidate.
One of the most recent office assaults took place in Knoxville, Tennessee, where a drive-by shooter put two rounds into a Bush/Cheney headquarters. As we have noted in one of yesterday's post, this same office played a key role in an apparent hoax connected to the "mystery bulge" controversy. The purpose of the hoax remains unclear. I suspect that the intention was to sidetrack any investigators looking into the issue, just as legitimate concerns over Bush's National Guard service were sidetracked by the CBS debacle.
Another senseless attack took place at the Charlestown, South Carolina G.O.P. office. News reporters covering that story dealt with the mysterious Phil Parlock, previously linked to a number of obviously-faked "attacks" by alleged Democrats. In one of these attacks, Parlock's son played the role of a violently enraged unionist. ...
by Clint O'Connor
The explosion of political documentaries this year has been amazing, not to mention unprecedented. I’m dying to see some post-election surveys on whether the rash of films – “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “The Hunting of the President,” “Going Upriver” among them – had any effect on voters.
Another offering is “Bush’s Brain.”
It chronicles the rise and continued rise of Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s chief political adviser, alternately described as a “co-president,” a “junkyard dog,” and a “threat to our republic.”
Rove, 53, has directed Bush’s political campaigns since his first run for governor of Texas in 1994. His ties to the Bush family go back more than 30 years to when Rove, as a college student, served on the Republican National Committee under George Bush I.
The film, based on the book “Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove made George W. Bush Presidential,” by Texas journalists James C. Moore and Wayne Slater, documents Rove’s career as a political consultant. A high school nerd and champion debater who joined the College Republicans in 1970, Rove actually had a strategy for making George W. Bush president as early as 1990.
Described as intelligent and gracious, but with a “dark part,” Rove declined to be interviewed for the film. But his objections are offered in the form of a 15-page fax he sent to the book’s authors in 2003, denying that he was some sort of Svengali telling Bush what to say and do.
Through interviews with journalists, scholars and political veterans, the film alleges that Rove has left a long trail of dirty tricks across Texas and the country, and that he orchestrated the vicious anti-John McCain campaign in the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000. Attacks on McCain’s military service and third-party commercials parallel this year’s presidential campaign.
One of the most damning charges against Rove comes from former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife was exposed as a CIA operative in a column last year by Robert Novak. Novak cited two senior White House officials as sources. Wilson does not name the journalist who called him the night before the story ran to say, “I just got off the phone with Karl Rove; he says your wife is fair game.”
The film then goes black and injects a bit of history in words on the screen: “In 1980, Karl Rove was fired by the Reagan-Bush campaign for a leak – to Robert Novak.” There is nothing cinematically dynamic about “Bush’s Brain.” But the issues raised are worth injecting into the public debate. People always want to know more about the man behind the curtain.
Boston Herald, Oct. 9:
Get out those tinfoil hats, boys and girls!
A conspiracy theory percolating on the Internet contends President Bush was secretly wired during the first presidential debate so he could be fed instructions on what to say.
Audiogate (or Promptergate) got rolling when left-leaning bloggers posted comments about a mysterious bulge on the president's back, filmed by cameras stationed behind him during the first debate.
Bloggers who studied the video as if it were a document from Dan Rather posted speculation that the bulge was a radio receiver under Bush's jacket that broadcast to a hidden earphone. As in: From Karl Rove's lips to Bush's ear.
Oliver Stone wannabes claimed Bush's interjection of ``Let me finish'' - 30 seconds remained for his response - was made to the voice in the earphone.
Quicker than you can say, ``JFK assassination,'' www.isbushwired.com appeared. By yesterday, the online magazine Salon had posted a story on ``Bush's Mysterious Bulge.''
``Was the president wired? No!'' Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman shouted to reporters in St. Louis yesterday. `It's laughable.''
Asked where the story may have come from, Mehlman said, ``People have too much time on their hands.''
A disgusted Ron Kaufman, a longtime GOP strategist, called Audiogate ``totally ridiculous'' and ``the dumbest thing I ever heard of.''
A mysterious bulge in US President George Bush's jacket during his first debate with Democratic rival Senator John Kerry has prompted speculation - laughed off by the White House - that the President was wearing a radio device so he could be prompted by a political aide.
The notion that Mr Bush was getting his answers through a microscopic earpiece circulated feverishly on the internet before it was taken up by the New York Times and Washington Post on Saturday.
The Bush campaign dismissed the mystery bulge as just a wrinkle.
Pictures from the September 30th debate show a small rectangular protrusion between the President's shoulders.
Some website "bloggers" said the right side of his suit was hanging strangely and that he reached into his jacket there once or twice as if to adjust something. A dedicated website, www.isbushwired.com, has been created to act as a clearinghouse for discussion by bloggers. It says Mr Bush's speech rhythms suggest that he was being prompted, "as do some of his word choices and interjections, and his constantly shifting eye movements while speaking".
But Bush campaign spokesman Mr Scott Stanzel said: "Some people have been spending too many hours looking at left-wing conspiracy websites.
"Did you hear the one about Elvis moderating the third debate?"
WASHINGTON: A mysterious bulge under George W. Bush's suit jacket during the first presidential debate drew the attention of two leading US newspapers at the weekend after days of feverish speculation on political websites.
The Bush campaign dismissed the "mystery bulge" as nothing more than a wrinkle in the presidential jacket and derided speculation that Mr Bush was wired to an adviser as the "ridiculous" speculation of online conspiracy theorists.
Even so, the bulge drew the attention of respected dailies The New York Times and The Washington Post. "The mystery of the bulge in the jacket" was the headline on a brief Times item.
Political bloggers have been buzzing about the bulge since the first debate in Miami on September 30. The rectangular protrusion in the middle of Mr Bush's back is visible in news photos and television footage.
A number of anti-Bush bloggers speculated that the President was wearing a hidden earpiece and that the bulge was a radio receiver linked to a political aide, possibly his chief adviser Karl Rove, prompting him from offstage.
But Bush campaign spokesman Nicolle Devenish said: "There was nothing under his suit jacket. It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric."
The mainstream media jumped all over the chance to expose Bill Clinton's sex life, but when it comes to reporting on Bush's inability to speak full sentences without being told what to say -- mum's the word.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 12:
Washington University police on Monday were looking for a student suspected of assaulting two security guards in a melee around midnight Saturday on the university's fraternity row.
Campus police chief Don Strom said his officers had the suspect's name. If it is correct, he said, "we'll find him, there's no doubt." In the attacks, one guard got a bloody nose and the other struck his head on a concrete floor or wall. Both were treated at the scene, Strom said.
The two were injured trying to break up a fight between two students outside a fraternity house. Responding to a call about the fight, seven or eight campus officers arrived to find "a large number of people in the area consuming alcohol" in violation of university policies against underage drinking and drinking outside the houses.
So police proceeded to break up several parties, not all of them registered in advance as the university requires, and disperse "in the area of 400-plus" students, Strom said.
After "some members of the crowd became very combative and abusive," police took two students into custody, one for refusing to leave the area, the other for rushing a guard at an entrance to a fraternity house. Both have been referred to the university's judicial system while police decide "if criminal charges will be sought," Strom said. ...
Jamie Auffenberg, who operates 12 Metro East car dealerships, was able to save nearly $2.1 million in federal income taxes four years ago by claiming St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands, as his primary residence, court documents show.
Auffenberg acknowledged in a telephone interview last week that he participates in a tax-incentive program that Congress created in 1960 to promote economic activity in the Virgin Islands. Federal authorities say that the program, which taxes certain qualified residents at an annual rate of just 3.5 percent, has become a target for abuse by wealthy Americans. ...
... Bush's conduct was reminiscent of that of Captain Queeg, the mentally ill captain portrayed by Humphrey Bogart in "The Caine Mutiny" who could conceal his disorder unless rattled enough.
In the film, Queeg orders his officers to steer the ship on a course that will cause the ship to flounder in a typhoon, in the South Pacific during World War II. He abruptly freezes in fear and his executive officer seizes control of the ship and saves everyone's butts.
The exec and a second officer involved in the mutiny go on trial and their attorney, portrayed by Jose Ferrer, challenges Queeg on his accusations of officer disloyalty until Queeg erupts into a paranoid rant witnessed by the court-martial judges.
Bush stopped short of a paranoid rant, but he sure bordered on it. ...