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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2004 9:39pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2004 9:00pm PT  

Two different items on tonight's O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel would suggest that Bill O'Reilly himself has never actually heard of...the Fox News Channel!

In his "Talking Points Memo" at the top of the show he lambasted CBS for showing the photos of the disgracefully mistreated Iraqi Prisoners saying that such photos "give aid to the enemy". Therefore, he would not be showing those photos to viewers and that CBS should be ashamed.

I first saw the photos this morning on Fox News' Studio B program and again later in the day on Fox's Hannity & Colmes. The photos I ran on the Brad Blog were, in fact, taken from...the Fox News Website!

He then went on to blast Ted Koppel for not coming onto his show to explain tonight's Nightline tribute to the servicemen killed in Iraq (as discussed in this earlier Brad Blog item). Yet Koppel, we are told by O'Reilly, did find time to speak to a "far left Radio Network this afternoon". (Presumably, he's referring to Koppel's interview on Air America).

Of course, O'Reilly then failed to mention that Koppel was interviewed by Fox's own Sean Hannity on his radio show just this afternoon! Portions of which were re-broadcast on Fox's Hannity & Colmes!

This shit is just getting too easy. Keep not spinning, Bill! We're looking out for you!

ReddIt this story!



Or, I wonder where things could have gone so wrong?
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2004 2:54pm PT  

As today's mini-flap rages on concerning the tribute to "The Fallen in Iraq" on tonight's Nightline where Ted Koppel will read the names and show the pictures of those killed in combat, it seems our own Deputy Defense Secretary , Paul Wolfowitz, a major architect for the brilliant plan to go to war in Iraq, should perhaps tune in. With a calculator!

According to AP, when asked yesterday how many troops have died in Iraq at a House Sub-committee hearing , Wolfowitz' estimate was some 200 American servicemen short:

"It's approximately 500, of which I can get the exact numbers approximately 350 are combat deaths," he responded.

The actual number, as of Thursday, was 724 total dead with 522 of them killed in combat according to documentation on the Defense Department's own website. As of this morning, twenty-four hours later, the numbers are 732 and 530 respectively according to their website documentation.

In the meantime, despite a highly critical letter to them from War Supporter, Veteran, Prisoner of War and Republican Senator John McCain, the Sinclair Broadcast Group is refusing to carry tonight's Nightline show on their 8 owned ABC affiliate stations across the country.

UPDATED INFO SINCE POSTING THE ABOVE: Despite Sinclair CEO David Smith's claims that they would not run the broadcast because Nightline is "doing nothing more than making a political statement," it's worth noting that Sinclair has so far donated well over $100,000 in hard and soft money to Republican Candidates and $0 to Democrats since 2000.

As well, the Conservative website Newsmax.com reports the following in a January article titled "Sinclair, The Next Fox, 'Fair and Balanced'" about Sinclair's National News program distributed to the stations they own:

As [Sinclair Vice-President Mark] Hyman puts it, "The left's real beef is who controls the microphone. We're not liberal. We're not providing a slanted view. And that's what really angers them."

Sinclair CEO David Smith echoed that sentiment, telling the Washington Post that his aim is to offer a "fair and balanced" news program, something missing on the major network news programs.

"Our objective is to tell the story in the most truthful and honest way possible," he said, adding, "There will be no spin."

As mentioned, tonight's Nightline will do nothing more than read the names and show the pictures of those American's killed in action in Iraq. Perhaps it's the lack of spin that bothers Sinclair.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2004 1:57pm PT  

One of the oddest comments to the press from Dubya after his joint meeting with Dick Cheney before the 9/11 Commission in the Oval Office, was not: "I answered every question they asked."

Nor was it: "I enjoyed it."

Nor, after finally bowing to political pressure to meet with them at all, this statement: "...if we had something to hide, we wouldn't have met with them in the first place."

No, the oddest moment as it struck me was this response to a question posed on the value of meeting jointly with Dick Cheney, despite critic's charges that it was done so they could keep their stories straight and the Commission's request to to interview him alone like every other President who's ever testified before such a committee: "I think it was important for them to see our body language...how we work together."

Not certain how that's "important" to the Commission, but then I'm not on it. It did, however, hit me as strange. Really, get a room, boys.

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As published on the Fox News Website...
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2004 1:05pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2004 12:15pm PT  

Uh, oh. Looks like the BRAD BLOG is now an officially sanctioned member of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

The Democratic Underground, a very popular Leftie Website, has published this Brad Blog article on the "Liberal Media" dropping the ball in looking into Woodward's report on Bush having possibly misappropriated $700 Million of tax payer money to prepare for War in Iraq on their front page!

I shall now move to an undisclosed location for a while...better to avoid the nice folks at the NRA from there until things blow over. Welcome to the BRAD BLOG Comrades!

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Apparently.
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2004 2:17pm PT  

Yes, polls are polls. But the numbers displayed in the graphic at left are startlingly one-sided, so perhaps worth taking note of.

(Please note, the exact same poll also shows Bush and Kerry tied up (within the margin of error) in the direct face-off question. So the usual "CBS and NY Times run a biased poll!" nonsense won't do much good in regards to this rather stunning and rare point of virtual unanimous agreement amongst Americans.)

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Abusive Spouse Syndrome can be very politically effective!
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2004 1:44pm PT  

According to the AP report just just out since the Bush/Cheney joint meeting this morning with the 9/11 Commission, it seems that the pattern continues...

In a rebuke to his own Justice Department, Bush told the commission he was disappointed about the release of documents about former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, a Democratic member of the commission. Republicans have contended that the documents, posted on the Justice Department Web site, showed that she was deeply involved in developing 1995 guidance that strengthened the legal "wall" making it difficult for FBI counterintelligence agents to share information with prosecutors and criminal investigators.

"The president does not believe we ought to be pointing fingers in this time period," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. [emphasis added]

Do bad stuff, let the genie out of the bottle, apologize for it later. (By the way, Joe Wilson's wife is named Valerie Plame and she is a covert CIA agent!...Whoops, that was wrong of me to mention that. I apologize and will investigate!)

* * * The "disappointing" and "finger pointing" Gorelick memo that was declassified in time for Ashcroft's meeting with the 9/11 Commission, can still be found right here on the Justice Department Website! But we're very sorry for that. * * *

Once again, Mission Accomplished.

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(But don't quote us on that!)
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2004 2:56pm PT  

Tomorrow, Dubya and his friend Dick Cheney will answer the tough questions from the 9/11 Commission. Together. At the same time. The joint "visit", as Bush refers to it, is unprecedented before such a committee, but such were the demands of the Whitehouse if they wanted the President to answer any questions at all essentially. So, the two boys will be able to get their story straight and stick to it.

Since the "visit" must also be in private, off the record, unrecorded, not under oath, and will not be transcribed, all as demanded by the Whitehouse, all that we --- the American Public who have entrusted these guys to protect us --- can do is speculate on what may go down.

Oh, well then. Here is one such amusing speculation of the transcript that won't be taken courtesy of DemocraticUnderground.com.

ReddIt this story!



Or, the Dunderhead versus the Dangerous Dunderhead.
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2004 2:08pm PT  

As Brad Blog readers will know, I've never been much of a Kerry supporter. I am, however, ardently against another disastrous four years under this dangerous and incompetent administration and to that extent will be considering, at least, a nose-holding-vote for Kerry this November. I've argued for some months that it's Bush's election to lose (which he seems to be working hard on), rather than Kerry's to win (which he doesn't seem to be working as hard on).

But now the mostly Far Left-ish Village Voice has out and out called for Kerry to go, a position I'm not necessarily against, though the efficacy of such a move in regaining the Whitehouse is certainly questionable at this late date.

The most notable and agreeable graf in the short editorial, the final one:

If things proceed as they are, the dim-bulb Dem leaders are going to be very sorry they screwed Howard Dean.

Uh...yup.

ReddIt this story!



Slashing and Burning his way to another Term?
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2004 12:45pm PT  

Following up last night's item displaying just the tip of Cheney's Hypocratic Iceberg, here's a bit more detail on the programs Cheney is now (misleadingly) accusing Kerry of being against, even while Cheney himself was attempting to gut these programs himself back when he was Secretary of Defense.

Will these guys say anything just to get elected? Apparently so...

As a comment made on the previous items attempts to continue the misleadingly errant echoes of the Right concerning Kerry, it seems details are in order.

This item, well sourced, courtesy of our friends at the O'Franken Factor. As O'Franken doesn't yet include direct links to their blog items, I'm forced to re-post the whole thing here in it's entirety. Sorry about that.

BUSH/CHENEY: FAILING THE TROOPS

Vice President Richard Cheney gave a brutal hatchet job of a speech yesterday. And it would have been a convincing attack on Kerry, had it not been so stomach-churningly inaccurate and malicious.

Among other things, Cheney said:

[Kerry] proposed reductions in funding for the Tomahawk cruise missile and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. And at numerous times, Senator Kerry has voted against funding weapons systems vital to fighting and winning the war on terror, such as the Blackhawk helicopter and the Predator drone.

If you check Kerry's record...

Kerry supported at least $6 billion in defense authorizations for the Tomahawk.

Kerry backed at least $8.5 billion in defense authorizations for Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Kerry has supported at least $13 billion in defense authorizations on versions of the Blackhawk.

As for Dick Cheney...

Cheney's defense budget was so pared-down that it didn't include any funds for more Tomahawk missiles in 1991, despite stocks rapidly diminished by the military action in the Persian Gulf.
- Washington Post, 2/5/91; Aerospace Daily, 1/23/91; AP, 6/20/90

"Major weapons killed include the Army's M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Navy's Trident submarine and F-14 aircraft, and the Air Force's F-16 airplane. Cheney decided the military already has enough of these weapons."
- Boston Globe, 2/5/91

"The Pentagon's internal budget deliberations recommended termination of the Black Hawk program under Secretary Cheney."
-Aerospace Daily, 5/15/90

The Washington Post also did a nice job of debunking Cheney's attack on Kerry on intelligence funding. Give it a read if you're interested in hearing how much bigger the proposed Republican cut was, and how Cheney distorted Kerry's actual record.

Cheney, Bush and their cronies are going to extravagant lengths to paint Kerry as soft on defense. It's pure spin. Put side by side, he's consistently stronger than Cheney.

But here's the bigger picture. Not only does Kerry come out better on specific defense-related votes, he beats Bush on national security because he wouldn't undercut our troops.

He wouldn't send them into unnecessary wars without help from allies, or  repeatedly cut
combat pay
, or slash veteran's health care, or withhold needed equipment.

Bush is trying to distract us from the fact that he himself hasn't supported the troops. Kerry has, does, and will.

J.R. Norton [research director]

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By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2004 11:20pm PT  

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(Thanks to alert Brad Blog reader, Jaime, for sending in these two quotes!)
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2004 9:50pm PT  

"Senator Kerry has voted against funding weapons systems vital to fighting and winning the war on terror."
- Vice-President, Dick Cheney 4/27/2004

"Over the course of the last year, since I've been secretary, I've recommended terminating, canceling, shutting down 20 separate weapons programs. In most cases, most cases, Congress has resisted those cuts."
- Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney 1990

(P.S. Who's the flip-flopper again? Don't even get me started on the many flips and even more flops of Dubya!)

(P.P.S. Wondering about the many faces of Richard B. Cheney? Take a look at the official Whitehouse photo on the right. Cover the left half of his face and take a look at the nice old man. Now, cover the right half of his face and meet his evil twin!)

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Or, the "Liberal Media" fails to strike again!
Or, remember when "Conservatives" cared about "The Rule of Law"?
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2004 3:39pm PT  

There's an elephant in the living room. It's the $700 Million that Woodward reports Bush as having spent to prepare for War in Iraq back in July of 2002 - long before General Tommy Franks claims that his Commander-in-Chief had instructed him to prepare for War in Iraq.

The appropriation of the money, Woodward suggests, may have come from the money appropriated by Congress to wage War in Afghanastan.

The White House isn't talking. Perhaps, because few in the "Liberal Media" seem to be bothering to ask. So I will.

Having perused the US Constitution just now again, it still seems clear that only Congress may authorize the spending of US Tax Dollars.

Given the lack of explanation for this questionable, and possibly unlawful, expenditure by the President it's no wonder Team Bush is being silly enough to try and attack John Kerry on his war record! Even though such attacks inevitably lead back to questions of Bush's own military records (or lack thereof). I suppose the gambit to exhaust folks with Scandal Fatigue over a 30 year old issue, ridiculous in the case of Kerry's record, but on-the-mark in regards to Bush who's released records are still conspicuously absent of many key documents, is a goose chase the Administration would rather see followed by the sycophants in the Media rather than a potentially lethal question of High Crimes and Misdemeanors by Bush while in office just a year or two ago.

Of the scant reporting on the topic so far, Cass R. Sunstein in Salon offers a rather to-the-point examination of the possible authority from Congress that Bush may have felt had allowed him to use such funds in this clandestine expenditure.

It seems there are two different Congressional Acts from which Bush may have drawn his authority::

The most likely candidate is the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed on Sept. 14, 2001, a direct response to the 9/11 attacks that appropriated $40 billion for five enumerated purposes:

1) providing federal, state and local preparedness for mitigating and responding to the 9/11 attacks.
2) providing support to counter, investigate or prosecute domestic and international terrorism.
3) providing increased transportation security.
4) repairing public facilities and transportation systems damaged by the attacks.
5) supporting national security.

Of these, 1, 3 and 4 could not possibly include preparations for war in Iraq --- and 2 and 5 even seem a bit of a stretch.

...

But let's suppose that these words are read very broadly. Even so, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act clearly states that the "President shall consult with the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Committees on Appropriations prior to the transfer of these funds." [emphasis added]

Did President Bush consult with those leaders before committing millions of dollars to preparations for the war in Iraq? If so, there might be no problem. But at this stage it is far from clear that such consultation occurred.

He raises a very good question. But is anybody other than Sunstein (and me and a handful of others in the blogosphere) actually asking it? If they aren't, why aren't they? How lazy is this supposed "Liberal Media" anyway?

But back to the point and the other legislated possibility:

According to Woodward, the war preparations were partly funded "from the supplemental appropriation bill being worked out in Congress for the Afghanistan war and the general war on terrorism." This is apparently a reference to the appropriations act of Aug. 2, 2002 (which runs to well over 100 pages of dense text). But nothing in the Aug. 2 act unambiguously authorizes the $700 million expenditure. To be sure, one provision allows the secretary of defense to use up to $275 million "to meet other essential operational or readiness requirements of the military services." But even if fully available, this provision accounted for well under half of the $700 million reported by Woodward; and to use the money for that purpose, the law requires the secretary to notify the congressional defense committees. Did he? [emphasis added]

Don't know. But John Kerry might have thrown ribbons instead of medals over the fence in 1971! And Michael Jackson has fired his attorneys!

But I digress...

These contentions, vague and conclusory as they seem, might ultimately be proved valid. But the underlying issues are extremely serious ones, and they deserve careful investigation. Perhaps the White House has a detailed explanation, on the facts and the law, that shows why any use of taxpayer funds was consistent with congressional enactments. But in the face of legitimate questions, such an explanation really needs to be offered. Its absence raises genuine problems both for democratic government and for the rule of law.

...Ah, there ya go. The "rule of law". We know it applies to Presidential Blowjobs, worthy of a Constitutional Crisis when lied about. But the secret, perhaps illegal, expenditure of $700 million of tax payer money to prepare for a war against a sovereign nation which --- even by the vaguest terms (and the terms were vague indeed when finally authorized by Congress several months later) - hadn't yet been approved by the branch of governement constitutionally mandated to do so is, apparently, just another one of those things not worth worrying about for the "Liberal Media".

After all, Kobe Bryant is still facing rape charges! And Rush Limbaugh's medical records may be used as evidence in a criminal prosecution against him!

The beat goes on. The fatigue sets in. And that's precisely what Karl Rove and Friends are counting on.

In the meantime, I'd love to remind the made-up and hair-sprayed crowd in the "Liberal Media" set that Woodward actually earned his reputation as an investigative reporter by actually investigating and reporting. I realize that remaining on Scott McClellan's "must call" list is important to keep your face regularly on the Nightly News, but so is doing the dirty work of following up on the tough issues that the American Public needs to know about. Even if the man who might have committed such illegal appropriations of American Funds wasn't running for re-election. The fact that he is, makes it even more important. Please get to work!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2004 12:39pm PT  

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