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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2004 1:05pm PT  

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Dubya goes primetime, for the third time since taking office.
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2004 9:05pm PT  

From Bush's third primetime press conference. He took 15 questions. This is one of them:

QUESTION: Mr. President, why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9/11 commission?

BUSH: Because the 9/11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.

BUSH: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them.

Well, that clarifies that. Next question!

And this, on how difficult it all is...

One of my hardest parts of my job is to console the family members, who've lost their life. It's a chance to hug and weep and to console, and to remind the loved ones that the sacrifice of their loved one was done in the name of security for America and freedom for the world.

Dubya-ism aside --- how difficult, much less creepy it would be to actually "console family members who've lost their life" --- the question is again begged as to why Bush has not attended a single funeral or memorial service for a US Serviceman killed in Iraq. Seems it would be a fine chance to actually hug and weep and console and remind. Clinton, Bush H.W., and Reagan all did so, but not Dubya. As of today he would have had 681 chances.

He did, however, as I pointed out yesterday remind us twice tonight that he visited injured troops finally on Sunday. Perhaps I'm too tough on the man, but that's "one of my hardest parts of my job".

And finally, as Bush/Cheney prepares to jointly "visit" with the 9/11 Commission, we leave you with one last quote from this evening...

BUSH: A country that hides something is a country that is afraid of getting caught.

There ya have it. The right man, at the right time.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2004 4:34pm PT  

The disastrous pre-9/11 work of the Bush Administraton continues to come to light via the work of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.

A number of understandable blunders came to light today as Attorneys General John Ashcroft and Janet Reno testified as well as several FBI Directors from both Clinton and Bush Administrations.

In addition to what's being covered today, there are a couple of notes from a Reuters report that seem to be flying a bit beneath the media radar:

· [A] commission staff statement focused on a Justice Department document that set out priorities for 2001 issued May 10 of that year. The top priorities were reducing gun violence and combating drug trafficking. It made no mention of counterterrorism.

· Then-acting FBI Director Thomas Pickard said he appealed to Ashcroft for more money for counterterrorism but on Sept 10, 2001, one day before the attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people, Ashcroft rejected the appeal.

As I've stressed previously, both of the above issues, and others like them - by both Bush and Clinton administrations - are understandable in a pre-9/11 world.

The inexplicable fact remains, however, that the Bush Administration's adament allergy towards taking any accountability or even admit any shortcomings in that world is what's making the entire matter the media focus it's become. As usual, these guys are doing themselves in.

We'll see if Bush's rare Press Conference, in about an hour, will signal a new approach and include any humility or a whiff of accountability. I'd be surprised if it did, but it would go an incredibly long way towards restoring this collapsing Administration in the eyes of the American electorate who seem to be abandoning them in droves.

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...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.

ReddIt this story!



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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