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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

...Sorta
AN UPDATE
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2004 2:22pm PT  

In a unique moment for a Conservative, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia actually apologized on behalf of the U.S. Marshall who erased the tape recordings of two print journalists who were covering a speech of his to students in Mississippi last week.

As covered here a few days ago, Scalia seems to feel that he is above Media scrutiny --- despite being a Public Figure as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice for life --- and that he may ban all recordings of his public speeches.

Apparently he's now changed his policy, and will allow members of the Print media to record his speeches, but is still banning Radio or TV reporters from doing so.

Ironically, part of his speech to students reportedly included the line: "I am here to persuade you that our Constitution is something... to revere."

And just to push the irony meter to ridiculous proportions, I've come to learn that Scalia also banned TV Coverage last year in Cleveland when he was presented with a "Free Speech Award" for supporting the First Amendment.

In related news, Scalia is still refusing to recuse himself from the pending Supreme Court case in which Duck Hunting Buddy, Dick Cheney is a defendant.

As he said in his 21-page memorandum in response to those that have reasonably questioned his impartiality in the matter: "Since I do not believe my impartiality can reasonably be questioned, I do not think it would be proper for me to recuse."

Case closed. All Hail Scalia!

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Here's proof...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2004 3:27pm PT  

This photograph, taken and released by the Whitehouse on Easter, shows how much Bush cares about those injured and killed in our "War on Terror". It ran dutifully on Drudge all day yesterday.

Non-Whitehouse photographers were not present.

Bush has yet to attend a funeral or memorial service of any of the 677 servicemen killed in Iraq.

The Whitehouse policy banning media or grieving families from greeting the remains of their loved ones at Dover Air Force base is still in effect.

Last week, 67 American Servicemen were killed in Iraq. Bush spent the week on his ranch in Crawford, TX.

The NY Times reported on Bush's first public appearance since last Tuesday.

The White House communications director, Dan Bartlett, insisted last week that "most Americans will understand" that the president wanted to spend the Easter holiday with his family.

Also on Thursday, American forces in Iraq pushed south to retake control of several Shiite towns held by insurgents, and three Japanese civilians taken as hostages appeared in a video broadcast blindfolded, while their captors threatened them with guns, knives and swords.

Mr. Bush spent that afternoon leading representatives of 22 hunting, fishing and wildlife organizations on a tour of his 1,600-acre ranch. Among his guests were leaders of the National Rifle Association, the Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation. He also gave an interview to Ladies' Home Journal.

On Friday, as Americans worked to put a cease-fire in place in Iraq, Mr. Bush fished in the bass pond on his ranch with Roland Martin, host of the Outdoor Life Network cable show "Fishing with Roland Martin."

Mr. Bush "took the biggest one of the day" — a four-pound bass, Mr. Martin told The Associated Press.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2004 1:13pm PT  

Tomorrow's GOP run-off for the state House seat in Johnson County, Texas - a staunchly conservative district - should be interesting.

The BRAD BLOG is officially endorsing Republican Sam Walls in the race. He is pictured at left with his smiling wife. He is the one in the wig and dress on the right.

Despite the embarrasing photos of Sam in drag that were recently found when his trailer home was repo'd, this man is "a giant" in the Republican community of Johnson County according to a report from the Dallas/Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"When you're a giant, people try to cut you down," said Cleburne Mayor Thomas Hazlewood, who has known Walls for more than 20 years. "They're not going to kill the giant Sam has made of himself."

Walls, whose family made a fortune selling mens' work clothing, is the kind of guy who "makes things happen" in Johnson County, Hazlewood said.

The smears of this poor crossdressing self-described "fervent Baptist" are outrageous! Even possibly unfounded!:

Walls campaign consultant Craig Murphy said he could not confirm nor deny that Sam Walls is the "Samantha Walls" who was described as treasurer --- from Texas --- of the Alpha Omega Society in a June 2000 newsletter.

The Alpha Omega Society's Internet site says the group is "committed to the cause of the heterosexual crossdresser, family and friends."

But Sam is not giving in easily, as reported by Reuters:

"Through intermediaries, my opponent told me to drop out of the campaign or the private information would be released," Walls told the paper. "Now my opponent is using the information in an attempt to intimate that I am a homosexual, which I am not."

Walls, 64, who describes himself as a fervent Baptist, told the paper his family had "dealt with" the issue of his cross-dressing and that he asked for forgiveness.

We forgive you, Sam. Good luck tomorrow!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2004 12:37pm PT  

Polls are polls. They change. Particularly when manipulated by the actions of a President from his bully pulpit.

None the less, trends are trends. And Newsweek's just released numbers from Apr. 8 - 9, would show an alarming one for the "President". These numbers and trends are also echoed by virtually every other recently released poll.

If polls are good enough to make Rush cream in his pants, they are good enough for me too.

Bush's handling of Iraq
APPROVE: %44 DISAPPROVE: %51
(One year ago)
APPROVE: %69 DISAPPROVE %26

Bush's handling of terrorism and homeland security
APPROVE %59 (down from %70 earlier this year)

Bush Admin underestimated threat of terror attacks on U.S. soil
AGREE: %60

Has Bush Admin INCREASED or DECREASED risk of large number of people being killed or injured in future terrorist attacks in the United States
INCREASED: %42 DECREASED: %29
(End of last year)
INCREASED: %28 DECREASED: %30

Concerned that Iraq will become another Vietnam
VERY/SOMEWHAT CONCERNED: %64
NOT TOO/NOT AT ALL: %34

Satisfied or Dissatisfied with the way things are going in this country
SATISFIED: %36 DISSATISFIED: %59

Bush's handling of the economy
APPROVE: %41 DISAPPROVE: %55

Bush vs Kerry
KERRY: %50 BUSH: %43

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By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2004 12:01pm PT  

Only the best TV show ever.

UPDATE SINCE LAST NIGHT: From Drudge...'NICK AND JESSICA' CONQUER PRIMETIME! DUO'S ABC VARIETY SPECIAL WINS TIMESLOT, NIGHT WITH 7.8 RATING/12 SHARE, ACCORDING TO NIELSEN... NETWORK TO ORDER ADDITIONAL SPECIALS, PLOTS REGULAR SERIES

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By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2004 4:31pm PT  

The Presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." was declassified and released by the Whitehouse about 9 minutes ago.

The PDB was described this week by Condi Rice as nothing more than an "historical document" presented to the President during a summer when "chatter" had reached an all time high. ("Unbelievable news coming in weeks," "Big event ... there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar," "There will be attacks in the near future.")

The final two paragraphs of the just released "historical" PDB include the following:

FBI information...indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

CIA and the FBI are investigating a call...in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives. [emphasis added]

The next day after receiving this briefing the President left for a 30 day vacation in Crawford, TX.

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Well Blogged
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2004 3:18pm PT  

Smartly blogged by atrios:

For those who are a little fuzzy on their recent history, the timeline goes something like this:

August 6, 2001: Bush gets briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside US."

August 7, 2001: Bush begins month long vacation in Crawford, TX.

You probably remember the rest.

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Rice vs. Facts
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2004 2:48pm PT  

Still trying to decide who's giving you the straight story, Clarke or Rice? The LA Times offers a side-by-side comparison on their differing answers to a few items, for example:


Q: Was Clarke prevented from briefing Bush directly on terrorism?

CLARKE: "I asked for a series of briefings on the issues in my portfolio, including counterterrorism...I was told I could brief the president on terrorism after this policy development process was complete."

RICE: "All that he needed to do was to say, I need time to brief the president on something...Dick Clarke never asked me to brief the president on counterterrorism."

So who's telling the truth? See this article from Center for American Progress comparing Condi's opening statement this week with on-the-record facts. You decide.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2004 2:21pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2004 2:15pm PT  

"Good news!" reports Fox News in a FOX NEWS ALERT just minutes ago. "Rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is reportedly in negotiations with the Iraqi Governing Council".

I ask you, would Fox News report negotiations with terrorists as being "good news" if this was a Democrat war?

Speaking of which, one would think the NeoCons have had their last hurrah. They were given a chance with this Administration and have completely blown all credibility, shooting their wad in one disastrous Iraqi swoop.

Yet they're still in there kicking as described in an article this morning entitled "Still Dreaming of Tehran: Iran now on neocon/Likudnik cross-hairs":

It's no secret that the neocons' star has fallen since the war with Iraq. The intelligence scandal plaguing the White House and the ongoing crisis in Iraq itself can both be laid at their doorstep, and it's widely believed that President Bush's re-election team would dearly like to extricate the President from the Iraqi tar baby.

But the neocons aren't giving up, and they are trying to pull the White House in even deeper. Not only are they undeterred by the chaos in Iraq, but they are pressing ahead to advance their regional strategy, one that calls for regime change in Iran, then Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Amazing. Will Fox and the American Public buy this one too? Watch for increasing anti-Iranian polemic coming outta these camps as Iraq turns uglier.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2004 10:16pm PT  

What to make of this item?


During Scalia's speech Wednesday in Hattiesburg about the Constitution, a woman who identified herself as Deputy Marshal Melanie Rube demanded that a reporter for The Associated Press erase a digital recording of the justice's comments.

The reporter, Denise Grones, initially resisted, but later showed the deputy how to erase the recording after the officer took the device from her. Rube also made a Hattiesburg American reporter erase her tape.

...

At a reception following Scalia's speech at William Carey College, the justice told WDAM-TV reporters to leave. A member of his entourage also told newspaper photographers they could not take pictures, but a college official reversed the order after non-media guests started snapping photos.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2004 8:21pm PT  

"Democrats are positively obsessed with hearings...Ever since Watergate, Democrats have tried and tried to accomplish with Congressional hearings what they couldn't legitimately accomplish at the ballot box." - Rush Limbaugh, 4/9/04, 3rd Broadcast Hour.

One other public service for our DittoHead readers. Rush told you today that "the president's numbers are up!". You can read it yourself on his site, on the page called: "Truth Detector: Despite Media Frenzy, Bush Numbers Up".

The specific CNN/Time "numbers" that Rush is talking about can be found on CNN's site, on the page called: "Poll: Rice testimony yields mixed results for White House - Majority: Administration had no al Qaeda strategy before 9/11".

And then there's the part of that same poll that Rush didn't tell you about at all. It's on the CNN page called "Poll finds divided opinion of Bush's performance: Support for president's Iraq policy falls sharply".

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...it's the cover-up.
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2004 7:38pm PT  

You'd think these guys would have learned by now. The cover-up did in Nixon, almost did in Clinton and here we are all these years later, and they seem to be doing it again.

Condi did just fine yesterday. Handled herself very smartly. Passed a curious number of bucks, but held it together. In the process however, she exposed some FACTS that - unless the Bushies come clean and quickly - could well end up doing these guys in as well. And all perhaps for no good reason.

FACTS we learned from Condi (straight from the transcripts):

Let me read you some of the actual chatter that we picked up that spring and summer: "Unbelievable news coming in weeks," "Big event ... there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar," "There will be attacks in the near future."

Dick Clarke had told me...that there were al Qaeda cells in the United States.

...the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States... But I don't remember the al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we needed to do something about.

The title [of the Aug. 6 Presidential Daily Briefing] was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

The president was told [the PDB was] historical information...there was nothing actionable in this...there was no new threat information in this document to pursue.

I hope she's right. It looks like the August 6 PDB may be declassified tomorrow - on the Saturday before Easter, of course.

Given that the Whitehouse was initially against the creation of the Homeland Security Dept, fought against the impanelling of the 9/11 Commission entirely, has withheld documents and testimony from them, much of it released only by threat of subpeona and/or public and political humiliation, has yet to declassify Condi's Public Speech on National Security Sept. 11th, has fought to keep that Aug 6 PDB from being declassified and will only agree to a "visit" by Bush and Cheney in front of the Commission if they are allowed to do so together, it certainly gives the appearance that they are hiding something. Don't it? And that's all their doing.

On a personal note, I'll add that I'd prefer the Report from the 9/11 Commission didn't come out at all until after the Elections. The information from the Report is far too important to be torn apart by the partisanship that it will undoubtedly be met with (and in the process, disregarded because of) in the wake of such a hotly contested Presidential Election.

On the other hand, given this Administration's obstructive behavior, dubious public posturing, penchant for misleading information and out and out despicable character assassination, perhaps a Report which offers information into how the folks running for re-election have handled things would be helpful to the American Public in making a more informed decision. One way or the other.

Of course, had the Bush Whitehouse not taken so long in getting the Commission set up and then spent months stonewalling them, perhaps this all would have been done by now. They have only themselves to blame, but it's the Country that may pay the price.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2004 7:23pm PT  

"PDB"

"Shaking the trees"

"Running around with hair on fire"

"Actionable intelligence"

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2004 7:20pm PT  

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