September 21, 2004 Tuesday
Yes, Mr. President, there are questions to be answered
…But what's good for Rather, who is not running for president, ought to be good for George Bush, who is. "There are a lot of questions and they need to be answered." Surely that presidential sentiment applies as much to Bush's guard service as to Rather's journalistic methods…
President Bush might have been able to say it was simply a slip of the tongue when he confused two terrorists in a campaign speech Monday in New Hampshire. Trouble is, he's made the same misstatement at least 10 times before.
Americans abroad, whose votes could be crucial if the Nov. 2 presidential election proves close, are being denied access to a U.S. Department of Defense Web site...
As usual, most of the press are following the wrong story on the gaps in Bush's military service in Alabama. Dan Rather isn't the story.
It's great to be back alive and online. Thank you for all your emails and phone calls. I have over 3000 e-mails in my inbox; please be patient.
"What's the difference between Hurricane Ivan and President Bush? We know for
certain that Ivan was in Alabama."
-- Jay Leno
"Dick Cheney says the economic numbers don't take into account all the people making money on eBay. Yeah, if you lose your job, you've got to sell your car, your clothes, your house." -- Jay Leno
All Hat No Cattle Survives Ivan
AHNC Large Editor prevents publisher Lisa Casey from surfing as Hurricane Ivan approaches.
AHNC Large Editor
All Hat No Cattle resumes online publication today in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
Although the storm compromised AHNC facilities -– shingles torn from roof, backyard fence flattened, loss of all utilities -– the staff considered themselves lucky because of the widespread devastation all around.
In other words, Casa Casey is built like a brick outhouse. It has survived Erin, Opal, Ivan and lesser storms.
Much of the rest of the Redneck Riviera from Mobile, Ala., to Panama City, Fla., now resembles the domestic economic accomplishments and foreign policy of the Bush administration. But things will get better; the President keeps saying so.
Dubya came through the area Sunday, and some of the local right-wing faithful described it like the Second Coming.
Many other area residents, however, would have preferred to see another Salvation Army food and comfort station established or an additional load of generators arriving. Actually, a few would have preferred a dose of food poisoning to the glad-handing and “God bless yous” offered by the Commander in Chief.
The economy of northwest Florida is shattered.
Pensacola Naval Air Station, where the Navy trains all of its pilots and thousands of other personnel, sustained damage estimated at hundred of millions of dollars.
All major bridges were damaged, with portions of the Interstate 10 span over Escambia Bay dropped by a wall of water approximately 40 feet high. Local ground transportation and long-distance trucking will be disrupted for at least a month.
Tourism, a mainstay of the regional economy, will not exist for at least a year. Who wants to visit a beach resort that looks like Baghdad?
Agriculture and timber –- major contributors inland from the Gulf of Mexico -– took massive hits that are still being calculated.
But let’s look at the bright side, as the Bush administration so often urges Americans to do when considering the Iraq war, job losses and a leader who cannot string together three coherent sentences.
The construction industry will continue booming on the Redneck Riviera. People will rush like lemmings to rebuild homes and businesses on the barrier islands, just like they did after previous hurricanes.
On the mainland, roofs will be replaced and the construction of new subdivisions will continue unabated, even though road infrastructure already lacked to support the population growth of the past decade.
The poverty rate and the quality of public education in places like Pensacola and Mobile will continue to be ranked among the worst in their respective states, let alone the nation.
And local politics will continue to be dominated by born-again Republicans who espouse God, guns and lower taxes while their communities decline.
Was that all of the bright side? Oh yeah -– it’s been sunny and dry since Ivan, so people can get up on their roofs to put plastic sheets over the leaks.
Here's the latest example of how the media
continues to give Dubya a free pass. I've seen and heard about John
Kerry's football faux pas about half a dozen times in the past few
days (Calling the stadium in Green Bay "Lambert Field" instead of
"Lambeau"). CNN's "Crossfire" went so far as to show both Bush and Cheney
making fun of Kerry over the mistake. Tonight, I just read that Bush
has repeatedly gotten the two terrorists Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas mixed
up and has been doing so for some time now. Now of the two brain
farts, which one really matters? The name of a football stadium or
the names of terrorists? Duh!
Glad you made it through the storm.
Thanks Doug. Being incommunicado over
the past week I missed that Kerry mistake. No wonder Kerry got the coverage -- he
doesn't make as many mistakes as Bush does.
The Large Editor and myself are injury free other than my lip I bit during Ivan's visit.
Battle kills two U.S. soldiers; Afghan toll reaches 99 Seattle Times, WA
American Reported Beheaded in Iraq NPR (audio), United States
Grief pours out for beheaded Hillsdale native Detroit Free Press
Afghan Vice President Survives Attack Washington Post, DC
Iran Vows Nuclear Program Will Go Ahead Radio Free Europe
"A Bush administration official told Congress that the war in Iraq could cost almost $60 billion. President Bush said he plans to pay for it with a video series called 'Prison Guards Gone Wild.' " -- Conan O'Brien
Late Show with David Letterman:
"Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals" as read by Sen. John Kerry:
10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.
9. W-2 Form is now Dubya-2 Form.
8. Under the simplified tax code, your refund check goes directly to Halliburton.
7. The reduced earned income tax credit is so unfair, it just makes me want to tear out my lustrous, finely groomed hair.
6. Attorney General Ashcroft gets to write off the entire U.S. Constitution.
5. Texas Rangers can take a business loss for trading Sammy Sosa.
4. Eliminate all income taxes. Just ask Teresa (Heinz Kerry) to cover the whole damn thing.
3. Cheney can claim Bush as a dependent.
2. $100 penalty if you pronounce it "nuclear" instead of "nucular."1. George W. Bush gets a deduction for mortgaging our entire future.
Bush, Annan trade barbs over Iraq at UN AFP
"President Bush spoke to a meeting of the National Guard in Las Vegas. Boy, a lot of those guys were excited to see him. Well, sure, a lot of them have been waiting since the early '70s." -- Jay Leno
TBN's Promise: Send Money and See Riches Los Angeles Times
So glad to see you made it.
I'm sure I was not the only one on pins and needles out here, waiting to hear how you were.
Thanks Jack. I'm still on pins and needles knowing there is a possible hurricane out there with the name Lisa.
"CBS News issued a stunning retraction, admitting these documents, which questioned President Bush's National Guard service, are forgeries. The president's advisers knew the documents were fake because they imply Bush actually showed up for duty." -- Craig Kilborn
In a 2002 interview with USA TODAY, Dean Roome, a former fighter pilot who lived with Bush in the early 1970s, said that during the first part of Bush's pilot service, he was a model officer. But he described Bush's Air Guard career as erratic — the first three years solid, the last two troubled.
"You wonder if you know who George Bush is," Roome said. "I think he digressed after a while. In the first half, he was gung-ho. Where George failed was to fulfill his obligation as a pilot. It was an irrational time in his life."
Pressed for details during the 2002 interview, Roome declined to elaborate. In February this year, replying to an e-mail from USA TODAY, Roome wrote that he admires Bush and does not want to be seen as attacking him. "Only George W. Bush knows why he was unable to continue flying in the Guard," Roome wrote.
Mars gases reveal enticing clues for life ABC Science Online
THE LYNCHING OF DAN RATHER
On British TV, Dan feared the price of "asking questions"
Sept. 20, 2004
By Greg Palast
"It's that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions," the aging American journalist told the British television audience.
In June 2002, Dan Rather looked old, defeated, making a confession he dare not speak on American TV about the deadly censorship -- and self-censorship -- which had seized US newsrooms. After September 11, news on the US tube was bound and gagged. Any reporter who stepped out of line, he said, would be professionally lynched as un-American.
"It's an obscene comparison," he said, "but there was a time in South Africa when people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. In some ways, the fear is that you will be necklaced here. You will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck." No US reporter who values his neck or career will "bore in on the tough questions."
Dan said all these things to a British audience. However, back in the USA, he smothered his conscience and told his TV audience: "George Bush is the President. He makes the decisions. He wants me to line up, just tell me where."
During the war in Vietnam, Dan's predecessor at CBS, Walter Cronkite, asked some pretty hard questions about Nixon's handling of the war in Vietnam. Today, our sons and daughters are dying in Bush wars. But, unlike Cronkite, Dan could not, would not, question George Bush, Top Gun Fighter Pilot, Our Maximum Beloved Leader in the war on terror.
On the British broadcast, without his network minders snooping, you could see Dan seething and deeply unhappy with himself for playing the game.
"What is going on," he said, "I’m sorry to say, is a belief that the public doesn’t need to know -- limiting access, limiting information to cover the backsides of those who are in charge of the war. It’s extremely dangerous and cannot and should not be accepted, and I’m sorry to say that up to and including this moment of this interview, that overwhelmingly it has been accepted by the American people. And the current Administration revels in that, they relish and take refuge in that."
Dan's words had a poignant personal ring for me. He was speaking on Newsnight, BBC's nightly current affairs program, which broadcasts my own reports. I do not report for BBC, despite its stature, by choice. The truth is, if I want to put a hard, investigative report about the USA on the nightly news, I have to broadcast it in exile, from London. For Americans my broadcasts are stopped at an electronic Berlin wall.
Indeed, Dan is in hot water for a report my own investigative team put in Britain's Guardian papers and on BBC TV years ago. Way back in 1999, I wrote that former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes had put in the fix for little George Bush to get out of 'Nam and into the Air Guard.
What is hot news this month in the USA is a five-year-old story to the rest of the world. And you still wouldn't see it in the USA except that Dan Rather, with a 60 Minutes producer, finally got fed up and ready to step out of line. And, as Dan predicted, he stuck out his neck and got it chopped off.
Is Rather's report accurate? Is George W. Bush a war hero or a privileged little Shirker-in-Chief? Today I saw a goofy two page spread in the Washington Post about a typewriter used to write a memo with no significance to the draft-dodge story. What I haven't read about in my own country's media is about two crucial documents supporting the BBC/CBS story. The first is Barnes' signed and sworn affidavit to a Texas Court, from 1999, in which he testifies to the Air Guard fix -- which Texas Governor George W. Bush, given the opportunity, declined to challenge.
And there is a second document, from the files of US Justice Department, again confirming the story of the fix to keep George's white bottom out of Vietnam. That document, shown last year in the BBC television documentary, "Bush Family Fortunes," correctly identifies Barnes as the bag man even before his 1999 confession.
At BBC, we also obtained a statement from the man who made the call to the Air Guard general on behalf of Bush at Barnes' request. Want to see the document? I've posted it at: http://www.gregpalast.com/ulf/documents/draftdodgeblanked.jpg
This is not a story about Dan Rather. The white millionaire celebrity can defend himself without my help. This is really a story about fear, the fear that stops other reporters in the US from following the evidence about this Administration to where it leads. American news guys and news gals, practicing their smiles, adjusting their hairspray levels, bleaching their teeth and performing all the other activities that are at the heart of US TV journalism, will look to the treatment of Dan Rather and say, "Not me, babe." No questions will be asked, as Dan predicted, lest they risk necklacing and their careers as news actors burnt to death.
"Bush Family Fortunes," the one-hour documentary taken from Greg Palast's BBC investigative reports, including the story of George Bush and Texas Air Guard, can be viewed, in part, at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm
To receive more of Palast's investigative reports,
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"Over in Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin is using terrorism to increase his power and erode his people's civil liberties. It's nice to see the American way of life catching up around the world." -- Jay Leno
After Abu Ghraib Guardian
Only Two Women Prisoners -- Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax Scotland on Sunday, UK
I'm so glad you came back online. I've been saying my liberal prayers for you.Cheryl
Thank you so much Cheryl. I wouldn't want compassionate conservative prayers!
I need to put food on my family and a roof over our heads.
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"If South Dakota were a country, we'd be the seventh largest coalition partner today." -- Sen. Tom Daschle
Go-F*** -Yourself News
Graphic By Pat Gerber, San Francisco
"What do you
want in a female companion? What is the first thing that attracts you. Her
ability to cook and keep house or is it the way she looks? It's not politically
correct; GM hates it when I draw that analogy. But it's absolutely correct."
-- General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz likening women to an automobile's exterior design
Shipping Bush/Cheney Back Home
The GOP Convention featured a rather unsubtle, if not unseemly, display of military music. So I decided to reciprocate with "Shipping Bush/Cheney Back Home," which you can sing to "The Caissons Go Rolling Along."
On the Hill, on the dale,
Kerry/Edwards will not fail.
We'll be shipping Bush/Cheney back home.
In and out, hear us shout,
Count'ring lies by right wing louts.
We'll be shipping Bush/Cheney back home.
Then it's hi! hi! hee!
Broadcast our message loud and strong.
For where 'er you go,
You will always know
That we're shipping Bush/Cheney back home.
Needless wars, jobless blight,
Action left beats action right,
So we're shipping Bush/Cheney back home.
On the hunt, pushing fear,
Bush will soon be shedding tears...
The rest is here:
Several Indicted in Texas PAC Probe AP
"A law banning the sale of assault weapons has expired, which means it's now legal to buy Uzis and AK 47s. The NRA said that now its owners can protect their families from up to 200 burglars at once." -- Conan O'Brien
The Interstate10 bridge connecting Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida was damaged by hurricane Ivan. A trailer from a semi is seen in the lower left hand corner. The truck cab and the body of the driver were found in the bay.