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One Damn Thing After Another
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White House communications director Dan Bartlett had agreed to talk to "60 Minutes," but only on condition that the CBS program provide copies of what were being billed as newly unearthed memos indicating that President Bush had received preferential treatment in the National Guard. The papers were hand-delivered at 7:45 a.m. CBS correspondent John Roberts, filling in for Rather, sat down with Bartlett at 11:15.You can almost hear the CBS folks yelling, "Bingo"/
Half an hour later, Roberts called "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes with word that Bartlett was not challenging the authenticity of the documents. Mapes told her bosses, who were so relieved that they cut from Rather's story an interview with a handwriting expert who had examined the memos.
At that point, said "60 Minutes" executive Josh Howard, "we completely abandoned the process of authenticating the documents. Obviously, looking back on it, that was a mistake. We stopped questioning ourselves. I suppose you could say we let our guard down."
As the network put it last week, ''In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which '60 Minutes' Wednesday received the documents.'' But, once they admit the documents are fake, they can no longer claim ''journalistic ethics'' as an excuse to protect their source. There's no legal or First Amendment protection afforded to a man who peddles a fraud. You'd think CBS would be mad as hell to find whoever it was who stitched them up and made them look idiots.Likely not Karl Rove.
So why aren't they? The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents. Why else would Heyward and Rather allow the CBS news division to commit slow, public suicide?
In one Reuters story, the original copy reads: “… the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.”I climbed into my pyjamas and did what any self respecting blogger would do - I Googled "al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades". Here is a quick summary of highlights from their most recent operations.
In the National Post version, printed Tuesday, it became: “… the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel.”
Thank God that's cleared up...How could the Post be so bigoted?
* A pair of January 2003 suicide bombings in downtown Tel Aviv that killed 23 people and injured about 100 more, in one of the bloodiest attacks of the current Palestinian uprising;
* A November 2002 shooting spree at a kibbutz in northern Israel that killed five Israelis, including two children, and wounded seven more;
* A March 2002 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed three Israelis, prompting Israel to call off ceasefire talks with Arafat’s Palestinian Authority;
* Another March 2002 suicide bombing in a Jerusalem café that killed 11 Israelis and wounded more than 50;
* A March 2002 sniper attack on an Israeli army checkpoint in the West Bank in which the gunman methodically killed 10 Israelis, including seven Israeli soldiers, before escaping;
* A January 2002 suicide attack in Jerusalem by a female terrorist that killed an elderly man and wounded about 40 oother people.
council on foreign relations
"the problem is not when legitimate terrorists are labelled as terrorists, the problem is when people who are not terrorists are labelled terrorists. The problem is when the Arab community as a whole is painted with the terrorist label. "
I would be a great deal more impressed with the bleating of Canada's Arab and Islamic community if I had seen them collectively and passionately condemn Arab and Islamic terrorism as and when it happens. Until I hear that and given that virtually all terrorist acts in the world today are being commited by Islamists, my assumption is the average Arab or Islamic person I meet is more likely than, say, the average Chinese person I meet, to support terrorism or potentially be a terrorist.
When the Muslim clerics condemn terrorism from the pulpits of their mosques, when the Islamic community shun terrorists and their followers, then I will be more inclined to lend a sympathetic ear to Arab or Muslim complaints they are being discriminated against.
Right now, even in the wake of the attrocity in Russia, the Islamic silence on terrorism is deafening.
outside Democratic strategists, and they all say it makes zero sense for Kerry allies to piggyback on the Rather attacks against Bush's National Guard service now that the anchor's credibility is melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.The whole, boring and startlingly irrelevant attack on Bush's 30 year old National Guard record has never made much sense to me. The only explaination I can come up with is that Kerry has so little to say that his campaign realized they had to come up with something.
Worried Dems say it shows lack of discipline, lack of strategy, lack of message and freelancing — just what a slipping campaign can't afford. "It's stupid, it's stupid, it's stupid. Get off the National Guard and all that bull. Every day we talk about the National Guard and Vietnam is another day that George Bush wins. No one cares about 30 years ago," a top Dem says.
Another tells of a focus group of swing voters this week where no one even mentioned Rather's Guard flap but an unnerving number "parroted back" attacks on Kerry as a flip-flopper who lied about his Vietnam service. "The Kerry people think they didn't attack Bush hard enough. They're dead wrong. More attacks on Bush aren't a reason to vote for Kerry," this strategist says.
new york post
HOUSTON — The former secretary for the Texas Air National Guard colonel who supposedly authored memos critical of President Bush’s Guard service said Tuesday that the documents are fake, but that they reflect real documents that once existed.
Marian Carr Knox, who worked from 1956 to 1979 at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, said she prided herself on meticulous typing, and the memos first disclosed by CBS News last week were not her work.
“These are not real,” she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. “They’re not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him.”
Mrs. Knox, 86, who spoke with precise recollection about dates, people and events, said she is not a supporter of Mr. Bush, who she deemed “unfit for office” and “selected, not elected.”
“I remember very vividly when Bush was there and all the yak-yak that was going on about it,” she said.
But, she said, telltale signs of forgery abounded in the four memos, which contained the supposed writings of her ex-boss, Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984.
She said the typeface on the documents did not match either of the two typewriters that she used during her time at the Guard. She identified those machines as a mechanical Olympia, which was replaced by an IBM Selectric in the early 1970s.
She spoke fondly of the Olympia machine, which she said had a key with the “th” superscript character that was the focus of much debate in the CBS memos. Experts have said that the Selectric, and mechanical typewriters such as the Olympia, could not produce proportional spacing, found in the disputed documents.
The real story is quite simple. Bush seems to believe what he says and Kerry doesn't quite...Of course, as Andrew points out, Kerry cannot appear to be good at war because this would alienate the Moore Democrats and the rest of the left who hunger for defeat.
A much stronger argument was available, given the recent events in Iraq: Bush has chosen not to fight in the Sunni triangle, and the war cannot be won until he does. "You can't allow the enemy to have sanctuaries and expect to win," John McCain told me. "You have to go in and dig them out."
Kerry could have challenged Bush: "Fight the war, Mr. President, or bring the troops home." It would have been blunt, strong, simple—indeed, simplistic, just as Bush often is—but it might also have put the President on the defensive for a change. Kerry wouldn't even have to say what he would do: he could legitimately argue that would depend on the situation on the ground in January. It would also, I suspect, reflect Kerry's true feelings: that Bush has waged an incompetent war in Iraq, which he is in serious danger of losing.
time via andrew sullivan
"We're having a hard time tracking how we got the documents," says the CBS News producer. "There are at least two people in this building who have insisted we got copies of these memos from the Kerry campaign by way of an additional source. We do not have the originals, and our sources have indicated to us that we will not be getting the originals. How that is possible I don't know."Interesting, very interesting.
CBS then ran with a story that was based on newly discovered military memos indicating that one National Guard officer was irritated that political pressure had been brought to bear on him to excuse George W. Bush's erratic attendance record. The supporting evidence was far stronger than that behind the Swift Boat Veterans' campaign - and so the new media struck back. A blog called Powerline immediately claimed that the documents were hoaxes; within hours, Drudge had picked up the story. CBS defended its story, but as of the end of last week, no proof of a hoax had been provided. We'll see. But whatever happens to this new twist in campaign news, it's impossible to understand the dynamic without absorbing the new and varied media landscape American politics now operates in.Now this article which appears in the London Sunday Times is right about the politicians and major parties having lost control of the process. But , and allowing this was written late last week, he completely spins the issue of why the new media pounced.
The upshot is that the politicians and the major parties have seriously lost control of the process.
You cannot assemble a set of assertions about what MIGHT have been possible using a variety of unrelated technologies that existed in 1972, and somehow magically combine them into a single technology that could have existed in the offices of the Texas Air National Guard, used for casual memos, and produced the memos in question that are VIRTUALLY PIXEL-LEVEL IDENTICAL TO THOSE PRODUCED BY MICROSOFT WORD.
There are numerous other clues to indicate an amateur at work. In many cases, there is a space preceding the st or th, in an attempt to prevent Word from automatically superscripting these. Of course, any experienced Word user knows that this automatic superscripting can be instantly undone just by typing Control-Z as soon as it happens, but an amateur would not know this. Many have commented on the anomalies of the curly quotes, another piece of Word automation which would not have been found in documents of the era. I know that our fonts did not have left and right quote marks because of limitations of the character sets, which could only have 95 or 96 printable characters. Most of our contemporaneous printers used 7-bit ASCII fonts, which had no option for specifying curly quotes, nor did our software automatically generate them, as Word does. Not only are these documents forgeries, they are incompetently done forgeries. They make the forger of a da Vinci-with-acrylics look positively sophisticated by comparison.
It does not take a sophisticated expert in forensics or document authentication to spot these obvious forgeries. The forgery is obvious to anyone who knows the history and technology of digital typesetting, not to mention to any intelligent 12-year-old who has access to Microsoft Word.