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By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2004 4:13pm PT  

"If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us."
-George W. Bush, Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000


(Graphic courtesy of The Mahablog)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2004 3:41pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2004 2:56pm PT  

Some of you Bush Dead-Enders may remember that phrase, "The Rule of Law", as little more than a cloying reminder of days gone by. Some of you, perhaps, have even convinced yourself you never cared about it at all. I can certainly understand why --- at this point --- you might like to do that.

Here's an unfortunate reminder for you in neat summary form. And here's just one piece of it for those of you too frightened to look:

The War Crimes Act of 1996 (18 U.S.C. § 2441) makes it a criminal offense for U.S. military personnel and U.S. nationals to commit war crimes as specified in the 1949 Geneva Conventions. War crimes under the act include grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. It also includes violations of common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; …outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.
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By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2004 2:13pm PT  

Fahrenheit 9/11 has earned more after one day in national release than Moore's first doc, Roger & Me earned in it's lifetime.

As of today, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, F9/11 has brought in, $8,358,000 versus a lifetime total of $6,706,368 for Roger & Me.

It was the #1 movie in America on Friday, out-grossing it's nearest competitor (White Chicks) despite being available on less than one-third the number of screens.

Be very afraid, Bushies.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2004 12:14pm PT  

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Be very afraid.
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2004 2:09am PT  

Unlike the bulk of the panicked knee-jerk Rightwing critics, I actually saw it.

And...wow...It's a remarkable film. Fox News was right! (in general).

And that from a guy who thought I knew everything that I would see. I was wrong.

As are the yutz' nattering on (and on) and blowing wind about the Saudi Flights and the Afghanistan Pipelines and anything else they are trying to come up with to try and discredit what they are so - justifiably - terrified of. For good reason. They are entirely missing the point. They might find that out if they bothered to see the film first.

More details tomorrow (later today, I guess)...

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Though Joe Scarborough and others seem to be letting them fly!
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 8:13pm PT  

Disclaimer: I haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet, but we did find a theater about 45 minutes from here with tickets available tonight. It wasn't easy. So we're going shortly. Thus, I have no idea if there are any "lies" in Michael Moore's film yet, unlike the many who haven't seen it and have announced it full of lies. Without actually giving us any.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, however, apparently has seen the film. And tonight, he's heading into the second half-hour on his show featuring a topic he calls "Moore Lies?".

Perhaps he's holding the lead for the end of the show, because in the thirty minutes I've watched so far, he's not given a single "lie" from Moore's film.

His "Moore Lies?" topic began with a 7 minute package from Lisa Myers which promised to outline all those "lies". And 7 minutes later, I was still waiting for a single one. She gave us precisely 0 lies. She did, however, show an interview with a "Republican Strategist" who disagreed with Moore's analysis of several undisputed facts that are, apparently, shown in the film.

After the package ended, Scarborough picked up with his own lies by talking about the "countless lies" in the movie. Pointing over and over again to the Myers report as if it exposed any.

Scarborough, obviously, is not the only one apparently so disturbed and frightened by this movie that he's happy to call it "full of lies" without actually detailing any.

You'll find such as-yet-wholly-unqualified claims anywhere that a Fake Conservative is opining and blustering. For instance, this shameful internet blog, (which calls itself "The Blog of Truth" without apparently not much more than a whiff of intended irony) has been calling the film "Debunked Before Release" for the past two weeks. Never mind that the Blogmaster there hasn't seen the film, and never mind that he's not given a single piece of evidence to "debunk" it. Yet, like so many Bush Dead-Enders, he'll say and do anything to discredit it. Evidence be damned.

The most puzzling of the non-debunking, non-lies that the Rightwingnutz keep going back to is the matter of the flights containing members of the Bin Laden family and other Saudi Royals (140 in all) that, Moore reportedly claims, were arranged for, and allowed by the Bush Administration in the days following 9/11.

Apparently, Richard Clarke, the former Bush Terrorism Czar turned Bush Administration critic has recently taken credit for having authorized these flights and stands behind the decision to do so. Okay. Fair enough.

Whether he was talking about the same flights Moore was talking about is yet to be determined. Whether they are the same ones recently acknowledged to have occurred by the Tampa Bay International Airport is also unclear.

But what's so puzzling is that somehow, in the seemingly deluded and addled brains of these Bush Apologists, the alleged fact that Clarke was the one who signed off on these flights somehow either pardons George W. Bush for it, or succeeds in showing Moore to be a "liar".

Am I missing something here?

Didn't Richard Clarke work for the Bush Administration? Does it matter if he is the one that approved these flights for the Bush Administration? Doesn't the buck stop with the "President"? Does it somehow make it less true that these flights, which the Administration has denied for months, actually occurred? Is this all these guys have got on Michael Moore?

Surely they can do better. Or maybe not. Only time will tell. But so far the only proven liars seem to be the Bush Administration and those who would shamelessly defend them by calling Moore a liar without actually giving a shred of proof to back that up.

As Joe Scarborough well knows, and as one of his "Democratic Strategists" said before her mic was turned off by Scarborough, "Editing is the highest form of commentary". I have no doubt that Moore, as he even acknowledged last night on The Daily Show, has presented the facts in a way that best proves the case he is trying to make. He admits to "not being fair". Scarborough knows that, as does Rush and Sean, and the NY Times, everyone working at MSNBC and yes - even the Bush Whitehouse from Karl Rove on down to the President of the United States.

Well, Joe...here's the Real Deal: When you ask a guest how they "can say this film is not full of lies" and tell them that "Lisa Myers says there's all these lies in the movie" you must realize that some of us watching don't fall for the old Limbaugh Trick which you guys have so well mastered. The real question is how can you keep suggesting Moore is a liar without actually giving a single lie? It sounds to me like you're pissed that Michael Moore is using that trick --- though unlike Limbaugh, he actually uses facts and reporting --- and it's now turning against you.

That sucks, doesn't it? No wonder when your other guest, "Republican Strategist" Jack Berkman started calling for a boycott on your show, you couldn't shut him up quickly enough.

You've learned the power of the media, even if it wasn't until you were hoisted on your own petard. And now you may even finally be understanding how your attempts to shut folks like Moore up, do nothing but give him a louder voice. Perhaps Fox News has already learned that. They, shocking the world, gave the film a glowing review! Go figure.

I'll let you know what I think of the film...after I actually see it.

ReddIt this story!



(Finally some Fair & Balance!)
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 3:48pm PT  

A little something I missed last week on Fahrenheit 9/11 from Fox News'(!) Roger Friedman (no relation):

It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.

As much as some might try to marginalize this film as a screed against President George Bush, "F9/11" — as we saw last night — is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty — and at the same time an indictment of stupidity and avarice.

Readers of this column may recall that I had a lot of problems with Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," particularly where I thought he took gratuitous shots at helpless targets such as Charlton Heston. "Columbine" too easily succeeded by shooting fish in a barrel, as they used to say.

Not so with "F9/11," which instead relies on lots of film footage and actual interviews to make its case against the war in Iraq and tell the story of the intertwining histories of the Bush and bin Laden families.
...
Before anyone's even seen it, there have been partisan debates over which way Moore may have spun this or that to get a desired effect.

But, really, in the end, not seeing "F9/11" would be like allowing your First Amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.

Nope. I haven't seen it yet. Today's effort to do so was cut short as every showing at every theater within driving distance is completely SOLD OUT.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 3:37pm PT  

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The bottom keeps dropping for Bush.
Supporters continue to turn on him.
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 2:39pm PT  

A majority of Americans (54%, up from 41% just two weeks ago) now believe the Iraq War was a mistake. 55% of them also now understand what Howard Dean was telling them months ago, that this War made the U.S. "less safe", according to a new Gallup poll released today.

Meanwhile, along with the majority of Americans, Bush's old friends continue to desert him in droves.

Lee Iacocca, who appeared in campaign commercials with Bush four years ago, is now endorsing John Kerry instead, due to Bush's failed record on jobs for Americans during his term.

"All of my best friends are Republicans, and they ask me, "Are you crazy or something? Why are you doing this?" Well, it's simple. I tell them the world is changing. Our country is changing. And we need a leader who understands that change that's taking place. And most important, we need a leader who will level with us about how we can adapt to that change and make things change for the better. I've met privately with John Kerry, I've talked with him, I read all his position papers, and I would suggest you do likewise. I like him. And I'm endorsing him to be our next president because I like what he says about getting every American a fair shot at a secure, well-paying job so they can provide for their families."

And over in the jolly old U.K., Bush's only real partner in the mirage-like "Coalition of the Willing" also has a thing or two to say about the Bush Administration's "unacceptable" plans for military trials for detainees in Gitmo.

"While we must be flexible and be prepared to countenance some limitation of fundamental rights if properly justified and proportionate, there are certain principles on which there can be no compromise," [British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith] said.

"Fair trial is one of those, which is the reason we in the UK have been unable to accept that the US military tribunals...offer sufficient guarantees of a fair trial in accordance with international standards."
...
Five Britons were released from Guantanamo in March and several alleged mistreatment by US interrogators.

The Pentagon has yet to hold any trials under the proposed rules.

It says trials would be fair, but that the entire process would be controlled by the Defence Department and there is no right to appeal to a civilian court.

Sounds "fair" to me.

How's old Dubya standing up under the mounting pressure? He's currently in Ireland, heading towards a NATO summit as he continues to move closer and closer to the same positions on Iraq that Kerry has been advocating for months.

According to this AFP article, he "snapped" today at one of the Irish reporters: "I wouldn't have made the decisions I did if I didn't think the world would be better."

And, though it'll likely surprise the Fake Conservative shadow boxing dead enders out there who believe that folks like me "hate George W. Bush" and think he's the devil --- an argument that they likely project on us based on their own true emotional disdain for the previous Whitehouse occupant, and it's the only argument left for them to try --- I actually believe Bush when he makes such statements as the above.

I believe he did think this action in Iraq would "make the world better". The real problem, however, is that he was so horribly wrong. He listened to nobody who was trying to tell him otherwise thousands of dead bodies ago, and to this day he can't seem to admit the undisputable fact: He and the NeoCons that brought us here, (along with the support of plenty of Democrats and the supposedly "liberal" Media who rolled over for him during a completely Republican controlled Congress) simply and plainly...blew it.

And now it's finally time that the piper is being paid. End of story.

ReddIt this story!



...But nobody's home. As usual.
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 12:37pm PT  

Speaking of how out of touch with reality this Administration is, it looks like Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is still in a world of his own.

In April of this year, while testifying to congress, Wolfowitz estimated the casuality count at the time to be "approximately 500". At that time, of course, the second highest ranking Pentagon official, was only off by "approximately" 200 US dead bodies.

On Tuesday, he was at it again, telling Congress that one of the reasons things seem so bad in Iraq is, of course, the fault of the media.

"Part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors. And rumors are plentiful."

He said that on Tuesday. And rumor has it that the next day, some 100 were killed in Iraq, and more than 400 wounded in 5 seperate coordinated bombings throughout the country. Damn that lazy media!

Rumor also has it that, as of Wolfowitz' testimony to congress on Tuesday, a total of 34 TV and print journalists from all over the world have been killed in Iraq since the war began. Add news employees to that (drivers, interpreters etc.) and there have been 46 killed, along with several kidnappings tossed in for good measure. Perhaps if they weren't so "afraid to travel very much" everything would be better.

Can someone please explain to me why this guy, second only at the Pentagon to the great strategist Donald Rumsfeld, still has a job???

And while you're at it, please let me know what Rummy is still doing there as well!

Both appointed, and currently retained by George W. Bush. It's the judgement, Stupid.

ReddIt this story!



A Bush Administration Fantasy/Flashback
It's the JUDGEMENT, Stupid.
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2004 12:10pm PT  

Just before the war began, the Bush Administration hoped to ease the concerns of Americans by openly sharing their assessments of the costs of occupying and reconstructing Iraq after our "victory".

The Vice President, Dick "Fucking" Cheney said in March 2003, "I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators."

Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld predicted in February 2003 that the war "could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

And Deputy Defense Secretary testified to congress that Iraq "can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."

What's to worry about?

On April 23, 2003, on the eve of war, Andrew Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development re-assured Americans on Nightline. This reminder comes courtesy of our friends at The O'Franken Factor:

TED KOPPEL: Well, it's a, I think you'll agree, this is a much bigger project than any that's been talked about. Indeed, I understand that more money is expected to be spent on this than was spent on the entire Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.

ANDREW NATSIOS: No, no. This doesn't even compare remotely with the size of the Marshall Plan.

TED KOPPEL: The Marshall Plan was $97 billion.

ANDREW NATSIOS: This is 1.7 billion.

TED KOPPEL: All right, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?

ANDREW NATSIOS: Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this. [emphasis added]

Well, I think we all now believe the part about "no plans". Other than that, it's the judgement, Stupid.

And somehow, there are still Bush Dead-Enders out there who believe that the judgement of this Administration has merited a second term. I'll have a bit of whatever they're smoking please.

If you happen to be one of those Dead-Enders, who think the judgement --- or the extraordinary display of lack thereof --- of this Administration has gotten any better with experience, that they've learned their lesson, and are now offering America a more honest assessement of real world events, think again.

ReddIt this story!



*** EXCLUSIVE! BRAD BLOG BREAKING NEWS! ***
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2004 5:08pm PT  

A great catch by frequent BRAD BLOGGER Jaime! Seems that Moviefone (323-777-FILM out here in L.A.) claims that Fahrenheit 9/11 is rated NC-17! As of 5:13pm PDT, I can confirm that indeed that's the case!

That's a far cry, of course, from the R rating that Moore and company were trying to have changed recently (and unsuccessfully) to PG-13!

Moviefone is a partnership out here with ABC-7 TV, and online (where Moviefone.com has the film correctly listed with an R rating) they are partners with AOL/Time-Warner.

Does Moore take shots at ABC and/or AOL/Time-Warner in the film? Or is it just an outrageously unfortunate oversight for Moviefone?

UPDATE - 5:46pm PDT: A few minutes after sending this info to both Drudge and Michael Moore, the rating has now been changed at 777-FILM to the correct R rating in Los Angeles! Our scoopster Jaime tells the BRAD BLOG that the NC-17 had been in place, to the best of his recollection, all week long.

UPDATE - 6/25/04 5:18pm PDT: Duh. Not sure what I was thinking above when asked about Moore taking shots at ABC! ABC-7, which co-sponsors Moviefone, is of course owned by Disney! You may recall all the nice things that Moore had to say about Disney when they refused to meet their contractual obligation to distribute F9/11. And, as I pointed out, the website version of Moviefone (a partnership with AOL) had the correct rating for F9/11 --- it was only the phone version, co-sponsored by ABC, that had been giving the NC-17 rating to F9/11 all week. We report, you decide.

ReddIt this story!



Potty-Mouthed Endangered Veep Falls Apart on Senate Floor!
By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2004 4:05pm PT  

I guess it's not just the "Liberals" who enjoy using profanity, as some Rightwing Dead Ender BRAD BLOG commenters delude themselves by posting here.

Looks like the Vice-President, he of the "Major League Asshole...'Big time!'" sound-bite caught on tape during the 2000 Campaign is starting to fall apart just like his "Boss".

Though the Senate was not technically "in session" when Dick Cheney reportedly said "Fuck you" or "Fuck off" or "Go fuck yourself" (according to various accounts) to Sen. Patrick Leahy during a "class photo" taken earlier today, I'm certain that the Veep would never skirt the "rule of law" by using such profanity during an actual session!

Here's the early reports on the incident: One from Reuters and another from AP.

(Thanks to JohnHP for the earlier heads-up!)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2004 3:03pm PT  

...Just buried with a few things. Hope to be back on the usual Blog Job shortly...Until then: OPEN THREAD! What's on your mind? Hit the COMMENTS button and discuss, beat the crap outta each other, speculate on who will be the next Vice President, recommend a movie, tell us what's on your mind, or any other such mischief that you like!

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