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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

...but should have.
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 10:43pm PT  

As I mentioned, more on this whole "White House Website Scrub" story hopefully tomorrow, but in the meantime, here's a White House website video of a Martin Luther King portrait unveiling from January 21, 2002. They haven't removed it (yet) but lord knows they probably should have! Watch the first few incredible seconds of the video to see why.

But in case they take it down after we publish this item, here's the first few words from the transcript to listen out for:

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much for coming. Mrs. King, thanks for this beautiful portrait. I can't wait to hang it. (Laughter.)

Youch. Yes, he said that.

(Thanks to reader KB for this horrific find!)

ReddIt this story!



'White House Website Scrub' Story Hits the Wires!
'Some Guy With a Website' Strikes Again!
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 8:26pm PT  

Geez, AFP, I always give you guys credit when I report on your stories! ;-)

Anyway, glad they finally picked up on it and tossed it onto the AFP/Yahoo wires. Their report is filed here: "Iraq coalition vanishes from White House website"

(NOTE: That's two credits I've now given AFP in the same story! Oops, make that three!)

Oh, well, we're not looking for credit here, but we are glad that some of our work on the White House Website Scrub is finally breaking out of the Blogosphere (where the stories have been linked far and wide of late --- according to Technorati.com last night, one of our items had made it to #10 in all of Political Blogistan, and #6 with a bullet amongst the Liberal/Pinko Sector at the time someone had alerted me to it...But linked, so far, to none of the major Old School "News" Sites that I know of.)

Hey, CNN and MSNBC (won't even bother with Fox) it's your turn to start reporting now!

The specific information from the AFP (Oops...four) report filed today, on the disappearing "Coalition List" was originally reported here on 10/6/04 and then followed up on 10/17/04.

More to report on this whole story by the way. I've been doing a lot of research, and following up as many leads from you guys that I can. So, stay tuned. Thanks to all who have sent in stuff. Apologies for slow email replies, but I'm trying to get to them all.

More thanks though for spreading the information far and wide! We'll get those bastards, yet.

(Special props to reader "pamindurham" for catching the AFP story on the wire and letting us know! Oops...that's five!)

UPDATE 10/29/04: BRAD BLOG SUCCESS! WH restores Audio/Video! Though much still missing...

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 6:55pm PT  

Just typed "poll" into Yahoo News. These are the first results I got back, both from headlines today:

"Reuters Poll: Bush Holds Two-Point Lead Over Kerry"
"President Bush holds a slim two-point lead on Democratic rival John Kerry in the stretch run of a tight race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Friday."
Results reported in the story: Bush 47% - Kerry 45%

"AP Poll: Bush, Kerry in Tie Before Election"
"Many voters are dissatisfied with President Bush's job performance but uneasy about Democrat John Kerry's ability to protect the nation, according to an Associated Press poll that found the two presidential candidates locked in a tie."
Results reported in the story: Bush 46% - Kerry 49%

Yes. You read that correctly. There's your "Liberal" Media.

And as it turns out, a non-partisan study today shows us that Bush Supporters are so wildly disinformed even about their own candidate(!) that of course they'd believe there is a "Liberal" Media. You gotta click through this link to see what I mean!

ReddIt this story!



(But plenty of 'infections'?)
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 2:54pm PT  

And this is from the Washington Times of all places...

The Army is negotiating with civilian leaders about eliminating a women-in-combat ban so it can place mixed-sex support companies within warfighting units, starting with a division going to Iraq in January.
...
[T]he Army is now in discussions with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's staff to see whether the 10-year-old ban in this one area should be lifted.

No word on whether the Army has cleared this policy with Newt Gingrinch yet.

(P.S. Please click the ad on the left for of our new sponsor, EnjoyTheDraft.com, for more drafty fun!)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 2:24pm PT  

Again, we attempt to appeal here to the intellectually honest conservatives out there (yes, there are a few left) who's company we enjoy on the BRAD BLOG from time to time.

In an article titled "Kerry's the One", American Conservative magazine's Scott McConnell endorses Kerry! Here's why:

Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation's children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliche about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy. Add to this his nation-breaking immigration proposal --- Bush has laid out a mad scheme to import immigrants to fill any job where the wage is so low that an American can't be found to do it --- and you have a presidency that combines imperialist Right and open-borders Left in a uniquely noxious cocktail.
...
George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism. His international policies have been based on the hopelessly naive belief that foreign peoples are eager to be liberated by American armies --- a notion more grounded in Leon Trotsky's concept of global revolution than any sort of conservative statecraft...This election is all about George W. Bush, and those issues are enough to render him unworthy of any conservative support.

Of course, I don't personally find endorsements to mean all that much, otherwise I'd link to Iran's endorsement of Bush or Jesse Ventura's endorsement of Kerry. Oh, wait...I just did! Hey, this saying one thing and doing another thing is kinda fun! I got your values right here, Mission Accomplished Boy!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 10:55am PT  

Via Slate:

October 21, 2000 (for polls taken October 16-October 21, 2000)

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics (10/18-19): Bush 45 - Gore 42
Gallup/CNN/USAToday (10/19/21): Bush 50 - Gore 41
ABC News (10/19-21): Bush 48 - Gore 45
Newsweek (10/18-20): Bush 48 - Gore 41
CBS News/New York Times (10/18-21): Bush 46 - Gore 44
Tarrance Group/Lake Snell Perry (10/16-19): Bush 44 - Gore 39
CSM/IBD/TIPP (10/19-22): Bush 44 - Gore 42
Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby (10/19-21): Bush 45 - Gore 41

ReddIt this story!



Ann Coulter Fights Pie Terrorism
...By ducking and running.
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 10:39am PT  

ReddIt this story!



Campaign more important than National Security?
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 9:52am PT  

Haven't we been told by the Bush Administration for months now how al Qaeda would love to disrupt our elections with "a Madrid style attack"? Therefore, shouldn't our National Security Advisor be back at the White House War Room right about now manning her post with ever increasing vigilance the closer we get to the election? Josh Marshall asks just that...

If this whole 'al Qaida disrupting the democratic process' is on the level then we're entering the red zone right about now. We're ten days out from the election.

So why is the National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, out hitting the campaign trail?

Think about that for a second. Is there any possible good answer? Either all the effort to hype an election day al Qaida threat is just another effort to use the White House's control over the intelligence community as a campaign asset or Rice is shirking her duties at a moment of acute national peril.

Tough call. The White House has a long track record to support both of those possibilities. But then...anything to win!

ReddIt this story!



There is no prize for getting it right.
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2004 9:18am PT  

Judy Woodruff on CNN was at it again yesterday, only reporting selective polls that were favorable to Bush instead of the several other available polls from the same dates which show Kerry leading, tied, or show a much smaller margin for Bush. That has been CNN's pattern all week.

The possibility that such one-sided reports might serve to dispirit Democrats and keep them away from the polls is potentially true. But brings up an issue I've often wondered about.

Why is it that Americans seem to regard voting in a Presidential Election as if they are placing a bet on a sporting event or something? It's as if there is some urge to vote on who they think will be the winner. This isn't a contest! You don't win a prize for picking the right guy! It's an election! Give your opinion about who you think should win the office!

We've heard so much in previous elections about "wasting your vote" if you voted for a third party candidate like Nader or Perot. True, a vote for Nader this year is certainly a vote for Bush, but in general, it's not a "waste" to vote for anybody you damn well please! There is no prize here for "getting it right"!

So it's troubling to see bad reporting from CNN and others about who's winning the horse-race, but perhaps even more troubling that such reporting should have any effect on that horse-race at all! Sadly, though, it does. So until we can help Americans to understand what the hell voting actually means the media would be far better serving this country if they figured out how to get their shit straight.

But --- since it seems to make a difference to you sports fans voters out there --- my money's still on Kerry! Now get out there a week from Tuesday and go win a million bucks!

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 8:04pm PT  

As currently seen (at least until it too gets scrubbed) on this White House website page. Will the irony never end?

(Hat tip to reader "qxy" for the find!)

ReddIt this story!



Finally, a Triumph in Spin Alley!
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 7:19pm PT  

Our friend Krup has Triumph the Insult Comic Dog after Debate #3 in "Spin Alley" (or, "Deception Lane" as Jon Stewart --- our new Patron Saint of Democracy according to Oliver Willis as I recall --- referred to it on Crossfire).

Triumph's questions are at least as good as Wolf Blitzer's! And almost twice as funny! Check it out.

ReddIt this story!



...And you thought they hated Hilary?
You ain't seen nothing yet.
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 3:45pm PT  

Is it too early or presumptuous of me to start turning on Kerry yet? As you can tell, I'm chomping at the bit to see him safely in office so we can then start tearing him to pieces.

But why wait? No, seriously...why wait?

Gay.com reports in their interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry:

If her husband is elected president, she pledges to make gay tolerance a centerpiece of her First Lady duties.

Oh, brother. That's gonna go over well. You think the Clinton years were rough? Just watch how they'll be chewing up the Kerrys.

Oh. And get used to hearing her referred to as "Mama T." Already I hate it.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

ReddIt this story!



Loads of Audio & Video Now Found to Have Been Removed from the Site!
** A BRAD BLOG EXCLUSIVE! **
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2004 3:05pm PT  

Paging the "Liberal" Media! Paging the "Liberal" Media! Hello? Anybody out there?

As reported previously here, here and here, it looks like the scrubbing of various historical documents and other elements of the White House Website is continuing! And may be wider and more systematic than previously known. The BRAD BLOG has discovered a boat-load of audio and video that has been removed from the website!

It's more than just Bush's "I'm not that concerned about Bin Laden" Audio and Video (reported here previously) that's been taken down. And more than the White House's "List of Coalition Members" as reported here.

After reviewing scores of pages of White House transcribed Press Conferences by George Bush, it seems that the removal of certain audio and video clips has perhaps been strategically or systematically orchestrated. Here's a few examples of some of the pages that have had their linked Audio and/or Video clips removed, along with some of the notable Bush quotes --- that "notability" is mere conjecture on my part --- from their transcripts that perhaps the White House would prefer not be easily available to folks anymore (NOTE: The Audio and Video links are still on the following pages, but the content for them, when those links are clicked upon, is no longer available.)


March 29, 2001: "Press Conference by the President"
Notable Quotes:
"Mis-underestimate" and more.
UPDATE 10/25/04: WH seems to have restored this one since we originally published. The others below, as of 7:29pm PT are still missing their Audio/Video.

July 22, 2001: "Press Conference by President Bush and President Putin"
Notable Quotes:
"And I assured them that from a fiscal perspective, one, we're going to hold the line on spending."
"I said my administration has had a full-scale review of the climate issue; that we're in the process of developing a strategy as quickly as we possibly can and one that we look forward to sharing with our friends and allies. A strategy that begins with the notion that we want to reduce greenhouse gasses in America."
"And they're going to find out that when I say we're interested in reducing greenhouse gasses that we mean it."

July 23, 2001: "Press Conference by President Bush and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi"
Notable Quotes:
"it is an issue [stem cell research] that, on the one hand, deals with so much hope, hope that perhaps through research and development we'll be able to save lives. It's also an issue that has got serious moral implications. And our nation must think carefully before we proceed. And, therefore, my process has been, frankly, unusually deliberative for my administration. I'm taking my time."

March 22, 2002: "Press Conference by President Bush and President Fox"
Notable Quotes:
"He is a dangerous man who possesses the world's most dangerous weapons."
"I hope that, of course, he allows inspectors to go into his country, like he promised he would do. Not for he sake of letting inspectors in, but to showing the world that he has no weapons of mass destruction."

April 6, 2002: "President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Hold Press Conference"
Notable Quotes:
"We both recognize the danger of a man who's willing to kill his own people harboring and developing weapons of mass destruction. "
"Maybe I should be a little less direct and be a little more nuanced, and say we support regime change. "
Discussion about "direct linkage" between Al Qaeda and Saddam.

Those are just a few of the examples I've been able to find and just some of the quotes that jumped out at me as items the White House may not like their opposition to be able to use against them during this campaign. I'm sure you may find other now-uncomfortable Bush quotes in some of those transcripts.

I don't pretend to know for certain precisely what they are hoping to accomplish by doing this, other than an attempt to make it less convenient for folks opposed to Bush to use his own words against him in various ways (via homegrown audio and video ads, etc.). Much of the Audio and Video they've removed, no doubt, is publically available via C-SPAN.org and the Broadcast/Cable News operations certainly have their own versions. None the less, it's a lot harder for a guy like me to get a copy of say, Bush's March 22, 2002 Press Conference with Vicente Fox from the internal video tape libraries at CNN than it would be to merely grab it off the White House site where it had previously been available for all Americans.

The idea that the White House may be using their governmental website (which is owned by the People, not by George Bush or the Republicans) for potential partisan advantage is troubling at best and strictly illegal at worst. There is a strict legal line drawn that disallows the use of such public facilities (White House phone lines, etc) for blatant partisan/campaign activities.

It seems clear that the use of the White House website for this purpose would fall under that strict statute and monkeying with it --- and the historical documents it had previously provided --- for political/partisan/campaign gains, I'd think, would be strictly off-limits. I welcome the input from any political legal eagles on this.

I'll note the cautious words of Josh Marshall when he picked up on our earlier coverage of this story last week, "I can't say myself whether there's not some more innocent or more technical-snafu type explanation. But it does strike me as suspicious."

A "technical-snafu" might explain why some of this audio and video is no longer there when it once was, but that benefit-of-the-doubt was removed in at least this one instance when a graphical link to a "Who are the Coalition Members?" document on their special report called "RENEWAL IN IRAQ: The Coalition" was changed to no longer even exist in that report. The document linked from that clickable graphic first disappeared after Cheney accused Edwards of not counting Iraqis amongst the coalition casualties during the V.P. Debate, and after we had informed the webmaster of the problem, the graphic element that linked to that document was removed completely. That could only have been done purposefully by the White House webmaster as opposed to an incorrectly specified link.

Isn't it time someone from the national media asked the Bush White House about this? This has been reported here for about three weeks, and the various broken links reported so far are either still broken or removed entirely.

I'm sure you remember the hue and cry from the Right over Al Gore, back in 2000, making some potential phone-calls to donors that may have occurred on White House phone lines. Isn't the possible systematic removal of archival White House documents from their website for political purposes at least as notable?

Not to mention the continuing question of what else has been removed from the historical record there that is not quite as easy to notice?! Isn't it time the White House was asked about this? If there's an innocent explanation, I'm sure they can give it, and restore those links immediately. Otherwise...what's this all about?

UPDATE 10/22/04: Hooray! Mainstream media finally picks up on this story!

UPDATE 10/24/04: BRAD BLOG reports on more Scrubbing and evidence of violations of the "Presidential Records Act of 1978"! Right Here!

UPDATE 10/25/04: The Washington Post finally picks up the story today! Twice!

UPDATE 10/29/04: BRAD BLOG SUCCESS! WH restores Audio/Video! Though much still missing...

ReddIt this story!



I'm almost ready for my close-up.
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 11:14pm PT  

As I sit here...in the heart of Hollywood...I've been pondering the last few days about my privileged and out-of-touch elitist mind-bending control over the course of events in America. It's curious how upper-classmen such as myself and my pedigreed pals here in the high Hollywood hills, are so able to single-handedly, as O'Reilly points out, (from memory here) "turn America off of and away from the Democrat party."

I hope to have more to say about that idea in the next day or two if I can find time between bottles of Perrier and plates of brie to wrap my brain around all the various implications of the astounding power I wield over all of you mind-numbed zombies. But for now, here's a short video from one of "us" who is supporting George W. Bush this year.

(Thanks Corey for the email and link via Sound of the Crowd)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2004 5:47pm PT  

This video ad, via Atrios, from the National Republican Campaign Committee is just the tip of the iceberg of sleeze they're running on the ground and under the radar. Who knew MoveOn.org was in favor of terrorism and against the safety of our troops in Iraq?

Please consider giving a dollar or two to the DCCC to help counter the slime. They are uniquely able to fly into difficult races and shore up candidates in trouble. This is crunch time for the House and Senate Democrats (and I'll repeat my earlier prediction that the Dems will take the Senate...none the less, they can still use your help!)

Republicans '04: Anything to Win.

ReddIt this story!



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