The Bush (and 527) Ads

Kenji Sugahara

Have you seen the pro-Bush ad? The one with the Olympics? It says "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations -- and two fewer terrorist regimes."

The funny thing is Salih Sadir, an Iraqi soccer player, said "Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign... He can find another way to advertise himself." Ahmed Manajid, a midfielder had a strong response to the ad. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? ... He has committed so many crimes."

Many players also found it offensive that Bush is using Iraq for his own gain when they do not support his administration's actions. Adnan Hamad, the soccer team coach said, "My problems are not with the American people ... They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"

Excerpts from SI.com.

And what is up with the swift boat ads? Alfred French, a Clackamas County Senior Deputy District Attorney (working on the Ward Weaver case) calls Kerry a liar (in the ad) based on hearsay. "I was not a witness to these events but my friends were," said French, who was awarded two Bronze Stars during the war. "I believe these people. These are people I served with." Coming from an attorney, that's pretty unprofessional and shameful. French even goes as far as saying the the ad is motivated in part by some veterans' anger over Kerry's anti-war stance upon returning home. Given his position and the cases that he is working on, Senior Deputy French needs to exercise a little more discretion. I wrote the DA and said that it reflects poorly on the office. You can e-mail District Attorney Foote at [email protected]

Excerpts from AP.

The new swift boat attack ad is even worse. The 527's need to do a hatchet job on those who came up with those ads and expose them for who they are.

Comments

  • raging red (unverified)
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    The NY Times printed a lengthy analysis today of the Swift Boat organization and the specific claims they have made.

    Link

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    The thing is.... how many people are going to read the NY Times? It has to be over the airwaves. Most people watch TV...

  • brett (unverified)
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    "I read this story [si.com] and I felt very upset and then I got many mails asking for my comment on it.

    I really think that the Iraqi Football Federation should give the 2nd player (Ahmed Manajid) at least some advice on to how much he can express his own opinions in public, as he is representing Iraq right now.

    However I have great doubts about the article. Looking at the address of the article and reading through it, it seems to me that the reporter was looking for a particular answer rather than just reporting. What would you expect as an answer for asking athlets about a politician, any politician using their achievements for advertising his campaign. Also we have no idea how this question was presented!

    Another point is that when someone wants to draw a conclusion from several comments he tend to pick the ones that lead to his conclusion in a strong way, yet all the reporter could come up with were comments from 2 players and the coach out of 22 players and several trainers, medical staff...etc So if those were the 'best' comments he could get, I'm interested to know what were the comments of the others since the comment from the 1st player (Sadir) was actually not that bad!

    I believe if he found a worse comment other than that he would've post it, don't you think so? Finally I'd like to put this report about 3 athletes together with this picture that you all had probably seen but some of you seem to have forgot about. Maybe we can get closer to the truth by taking two sides of the story?"

    Omar, 23-year-old Iraqi dentist http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/archives/2004_08_01_iraqthemodel_archive.html#109294843194979384

  • brett (unverified)
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    Given his position and the cases that he is working on, Senior Deputy French needs to exercise a little more discretion. I wrote the DA and said that it reflects poorly on the office.

    Classic suppression of dissent. So let me get this straight -- because French is a DA, he can't express his political opinion? I wonder if you would have the same attitude if he showed up in a moveon.org ad blasting Bush.

    The 527's need to do a hatchet job on those who came up with those ads and expose them for who they are.

    See today's NYT; the media is carrying plenty of water for Kerry. No need to waste Soros' precious money on more ads.

    Your choice of language is telling, too: "hatchet job"; "expose them for who they are." Who they are, not what they are saying. The very definition of ad hominem. The Kerry camp is really starting to sound desperate.

    I watched the new ad.. it revolves around Kerry's own words. The guy who opened his nomination speech with "I'm reporting for duty" said in 1971 that his duty included raping, beheading, indiscriminate killing of civilians, and war crimes worthy of the army of Genghis Khan. Somehow I missed that part of the convention.

    Kerry has adopted the mantle of Cincinnatus for this election. He should have remembered that when you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

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    Today's Oregonian has an article about a Clackamas County prosecutor who's one of the guys in the swift boat ad. Apparently his appearance in the ad is based on the stories of others he served with, not first-hand experience. It further turns out that one of the guys he got the story from is now-defamed Larry Thurlow. I say this apropos of, apparently, nothing:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/front_page/109300303292321.xml

  • brett (unverified)
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    That's the guy Kenji is talking about.

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    Good lord. I appear to have a hole in my head.

  • staypuft (unverified)
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    Given his position and the cases that he is working on, Senior Deputy French needs to exercise a little more discretion. I wrote the DA and said that it reflects poorly on the office.

    Classic suppression of dissent. So let me get this straight -- because French is a DA, he can't express his political opinion? I wonder if you would have the same attitude if he showed up in a moveon.org ad blasting Bush.

    A) A lawyer relying on hearsay? Come on, Brett, you've gotta admit that's rich.

    B) Given that he's got a position in front of and on behalf of the public, he probably DOES have a responsibility to watch what he says, especially in light of item A.

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    Hey Brett- hope all is well- where ya been?

    Nope. Never said that he couldn't express his views. I just said that he, being a Senior Deputy DA, must be careful in what controversies he thrusts himself into. Discretion is the key word. DA Offices by their nature are supposed to be non-partisan. Would I say the same thing if he appeared in a MoveOne.org commercial? Absolutely, if he made allegations that were not based in fact.

    As far as Omar is concerned. What happens if the others' comments were the same? Would it have made a difference? As far as the picture mentioned in his blog, it has nothing to do with support for Bush. It just shows Iraqi athletes posing with US athletes. Omar doesn't represent the country. He's a voice, an important one, but only one out of millions.

    Your choice of language is telling, too: "hatchet job"; "expose them for who they are." *Who* they are, not what they are saying. The very definition of ad hominem. The Kerry camp is really starting to sound desperate.

    Actually not... who they are is one of the issues in controversy. See link provided by raging red. I wouldn't call it desperate. I'd call it pissed off at the crap that comes from that group- they will do anything to win; smear McCain, smear veterans, smear anything or anyone they disagree with.

    I watched the new ad.. it revolves around Kerry's own words.

    Both of us know that words taken out of context can be misleading.

    Selected comments -CNN report

    Not shown on the ad is Kerry's preface to those comments, in which he said he is reporting what others said at a conference of Vietnam veterans in Detroit. Instead, a member of the Swift Boat group refers to the statements as "the accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam."
  • brett (unverified)
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    staypuft, that's not the point. The point made by Kenji is that because of his position as DA, he shouldn't have the right to express his political opinion, regardless of the accuracy of the facts underlying that opinion. It's not "French is wrong"; it's "French shouldn't be saying anything."

    he probably DOES have a responsibility to watch what he says

    I seem to remember great umbrage from the left when Ashcroft made the exact same statement with regard to terrorism. Funny how quickly the tables turn.

    And as for the hearsay thing, since when did political opinions become subject to the rules of evidence? Everyone bases their opinions in actual life to some degree on hearsay. If you want to disprove a factual contention made by French, by all means do so. But just because he's relying on others who witnessed the actual incidents in order to form his opinion doesn't invalidate that opinion.

  • brett (unverified)
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    Hey kenji - busy at work and with other things more fun than sniping at Kerry. (No offense.)

    Re: Omar; the point is that the interpretation of that SI story has been, "See? They hate us." for instance:

    Now I'm going to say this one time and slowly. THIS. IS. HOW. THEY. VIEW US. We are not their liberators, school painters, sewage fixers, or saviors -- we are their occupiers.
    from pandagon.net. This is absolute bullshit -- one soccer player doesn't represent the whole country. Most Americans probably think that Iraqis do hate us, thanks to the widespread reports in the media, and that's just not the case. Omar and his blog-brethren are a counterpoint to the likes of that ingrate soccer player.

    Re: the swiftvets: I'm sorry, but who they are is not subject to any controversy at all. Of course they're funded by Republicans -- just as MoveOn is funded by Democrats. Who are they? They are Vietnam veterans that served with John Kerry. And don't give me "they didn't serve with him because they weren't under his command." Who cares? They were on boats that operated feet away. They were other officers in the unit, uniquely positioned to judge Kerry's performance.

    Until Kerry addresses the substance of the allegations, and stops threatening to sue (update: actually sue) them, he will look desperate. Polls already show that the issue has the potential to affect swing voters.

    His testimony was not out of context. He was quoting those soldiers because that's what he thought our forces in Vietnam were guilty of. That's exactly what has veterans pissed off at him. He's reaping now what he sowed in 1971.

  • brett (unverified)
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    "Out of desperation, the Bush campaign has picked the wrong fight with the wrong veteran," said Jim Jordan, former Kerry campaign manager who now runs an outside group airing ads against Bush. "Today's the start of the mother of all backlashes."

    link

    My emphasis. LOVE the Saddam Hussein reference. Classic.

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    LOL. No offense taken.

    Actually, I think that most Iraqis couldn't give a rat's behind about Americans. All they want is to be safe, have a job, and take care of their kids. I never said that the soccer player represented their country, I said that the soccer players don't like Bush using their Olympic teams for his advantage- specifically the soccer team.

    Bush attached himself to the Iraqi soccer team after its opening-game upset of Portugal. "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it?" Bush said. "It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted."

    Source: Same CNNSi article.

    I disagree with you- "who" is the heart of the matter:

    Members of that group have denied any coordination with the GOP campaign, as have members of the Bush-Cheney team.
    Mr. Kerry called them "a front for the Bush campaign" - a charge the campaign denied. A series of interviews and a review of documents show a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove. Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family - one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library.

    Who cares? A lot of people do.

    So they were on boats that operated feet away?

    So Alfred was really feet away?

    Dr. Letson really treated Kerry? Even if he can't show proof?

    William L. Schachte Jr. was really on the boat with Kerry but two other men who acknowledged that they had been with Mr. Kerry, Bill Zaladonis and Mr. Runyon, say they cannot recall a third crew member?

    They were uniquely positioned to judge his character? Then why did the swift boat veterans say the following?

    Material offered as proof by these veterans is undercut by official Navy records and the men's own statements. Several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry "unfit" had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year. In an unpublished interview in March 2003 with Mr. Kerry's authorized biographer, Douglas Brinkley, provided by Mr. Brinkley to The New York Times, Roy F. Hoffmann, a retired rear admiral and a leader of the group, allowed that he had disagreed with Mr. Kerry's antiwar positions but said, "I am not going to say anything negative about him." He added, "He's a good man." In a profile of the candidate that ran in The Boston Globe in June 2003, Mr. Hoffmann approvingly recalled the actions that led to Mr. Kerry's Silver Star: "It took guts, and I admire that." George Elliott, one of the Vietnam veterans in the group, flew from his home in Delaware to Boston in 1996 to stand up for Mr. Kerry during a tough re-election fight, declaring at a news conference that the action that won Mr. Kerry a Silver Star was "an act of courage." At that same event, Adrian L. Lonsdale, another Vietnam veteran now speaking out against Mr. Kerry, supported him with a statement about the "bravado and courage of the young officers that ran the Swift boats." "Senator Kerry was no exception," Mr. Lonsdale told the reporters and cameras assembled at the Charlestown Navy Yard. "He was among the finest of those Swift boat drivers." Those comments echoed the official record. In an evaluation of Mr. Kerry in 1969, Mr. Elliott, who was one of his commanders, ranked him as "not exceeded" in 11 categories, including moral courage, judgment and decisiveness, and "one of the top few" - the second-highest distinction - in the remaining five. In written comments, he called Mr. Kerry "unsurpassed," "beyond reproach" and "the acknowledged leader in his peer group."

    His testimony was taken out of context. Making accusations is quite different from reporting what others said.

    Bottom line: Kerry is a hero. He saved someone else's life. He came back, testified against the war. These attacks are just like what happened to McCain. If it was McCain on the other side, I bet these swift boaties would say that he was never a POW, but find a way to paint him as a communist sympathizer who wanted to be there.

    Why doesn't Bush condemn the ads? Kerry condemned the ad about Bush's service.

    You might respond just like McClellan-

    McClellan asked "where has the Kerry campaign been for the last year while more than $62 million in funding from these shadowy groups have been used to negatively attack the president?"

    But those ads didn't question Bush's patriotism or attack him personally did they?

  • raging red (unverified)
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    Last night Jim Lehrer had John O'Neill (a Swiftie) and Tom Oliphant (Boston Globe) on debating the Swift Boat ads. (You can watch it or read the transcript here.)

    I won't recap the whole thing (it's really worth watching), but Oliphant stresses the credibility problem that the Swifties have as far as the quality of their evidence (Oliphant even takes a jab at cable news and how they have lower journalistic standards that allow this to be a story when the "facts" are highly questionnable).

    Some of the people in the ads received medals/awards for the same incident as Kerry, but they are flat-out saying that their medals and Kerry's are based on false statements made by Kerry. However, nobody raised this issue at the time.

    What these guys are really upset about (STILL) is the fact that Kerry spoke out against the war back in the 70s. Oliphant also gets into the details of this, which traces back to the Nixon administration.

    Why should Kerry have the burden of proving that the allegations are false? The Swifties should have the burden of supporting their allegations. (And brett, I'm not using the concept of "burden of proof" in its technical, legal sense - I realize that nobody is in a court of law here.)

    Of course, the purpose of all of this is to divert everyone's attention away from the real issues. I suppose that's obvious enough to go unstated, but I'll say it anyway.

  • raging red (unverified)
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    I just watched the newest Swift Boat ad too (are they airing in Oregon?), and I'm sorry, but what exactly is their point? It seems to me that they are simply rehashing a debate over the validity of the Vietnam War. I think we have a more recent war that is more relevant to debate this year. How is it dishonorable for Kerry to have pointed out atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers? Was it dishonorable for those (few) soldiers to report the torture at Abu Ghraib?

    Another point made by Oliphant on Jim Lehrer was that the people making the accusations (such as: they weren't being fired upon) were on other boats, but the soldiers that were on the same boat as Kerry agree with his account. And again, why didn't they raise this issue at the time? They received medals that they are now calling fraudulent, but they didn't mention it at the time? Whatever.

  • brett (unverified)
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    I'm happy to discuss Oliphant. Did you know his daughter works for the Kerry campaign?

    link

    I also enjoyed some of the things he had to say:

    JOHN O'NEILL: Jim, one other thing, they can look at swiftvets.com, which is the web site that has a great deal of information on it. JIM LEHRER: Is there a web site that's comparable to that? I'm sure the Kerry -- TOM OLIPHANT: Yes, it's called the daily press, which is the most difficult thing for these guys [Swiftvets] to deal with.

    My emphasis. That's right, you heard a mainstream journalist admit that the press is helping out their candidate -- Kerry, of course. I remind you that this is the same guy who was talking about journalistic standards.

    Look, I was skeptical about the Vets at first also.. I remember the Clinton hits (the Arkansas troopers, Whitewater, etc) and I thought this was more of the same. But then I read this letter:

    http://swift1.he.net/~swiftvet/article.php?story=20040808144320243

    It lays out in great detail the story, which they are unable to fit into a 30-second ad. All of these people -- Chenoweth, Thurlow, French, Elder, etc -- were officers in charge of other boats in the same unit. There were 15 boats in the unit, and they operated in groups of 2 to 6 boats. What this means is that each of these guys, at times, commanded a boat that was yards away from Kerry's. That means they all had plenty of opportunity to observe him. And now, they are making it clear that they would prefer that he not be their commander in chief.

    Take it for what you will. I'm sure it's not going to change a lot of minds in the Kerry camp, but that's not really the point. I think it's remarkable that over 250 people who served on swift boats are willing to sign these affidavits denouncing Kerry -- including his entire chain of command.

  • brett (unverified)
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    And on the Texas connections -- I know you know the definition of ad hominem. I know you know that the rules of logic dictate that an ad hominem response to a point is not a refutation of that point.

    It doesn't matter if it's little green men from Mars making the accusations -- what matters is if they are true or not.

    527's exist as a inevitable result of the McCain-Feingold legislation. The Swiftvets, one of very few right-wing 527's, have spent approximately $250,000. Moveon.org alone has spent upwards of $50 million. So do you really want to talk about who is funding these advertisements?

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    What this means is that each of these guys, at times, commanded a boat that was yards away from Kerry's.

    "At times" doesn't mean they were there when the events occurred, doesn't mean they served with him when they came under fire, it doesn't mean that they became familiar with him, it doesn't mean that they knew how he operated.

    C'mon Brett. "Did you know his daughter works for the Kerry campaign?"

    Didn't you know that Cheney's daughter is gay or that Ron Reagan isn't conservative?

    The link still doesn't say anything about previous statements made by those same sailors that contradict what they say now. Why did they praise him earlier then denounce him later? Their credibility is shot.

    Although many more of the over 250 signers of the Swiftvets' letter served directly with John Kerry, it would be hard to locate people with more detailed and first-hand knowledge of John Kerry's short Vietnam stay than those in the advertisement.

    254 out of how many in Coastal Division One? You can check out the actual list. In addition, where's the list of 254 members? Where are their exhibits? 16/23 of the officers? Where are they listed?

    I'm sure any evidence that supports Kerry's position will not change a lot of minds in the Bush Camp. I wouldn't be surprised if you could find 250 American Soldiers who would denounce Bush and think George Bush is unfit to command.

    Your choice of language is telling, too: "hatchet job"; "expose them for who they are." *Who* they are, not what they are saying. The very definition of ad hominem. The Kerry camp is really starting to sound desperate.

    I still maintain who is an important issue- Rove's buddy bankrolling them? Second, hatchet job is an appropriate phrase given its meaning is "a malicious attack." syn: defamation, calumny, obloquy, traducement.

    And on the Texas connections -- I know you know the definition of ad hominem. I know you know that the rules of logic dictate that an ad hominem response to a point is not a refutation of that point.

    The point of the rebuttal is that the swiftvets have a vested interest. Some of them are pissed that Kerry came back and turned into a vocal critic of the war. (Hoffmann admits it.) They received money from Rove's good Texas buddy- Perry. These guys show clear evidence of bias. The only unbiased material you will find is in those service records. They had no reason to lie in those reports. Those service guys had no idea that Kerry would eventually run for office. They had no idea that Kerry would come back as an anti-war vet. The commendations- those actions had to be witnessed by others to receive them. Testimony can always change. Written words never do. People can always come up with justifications, try to make things look better for themselves.

    And... why did Jim Rassmann come forward? Does he have a vested interest? Does he have an incentive to lie?

    It doesn't matter if it's little green men from Mars making the accusations -- what matters is if they are true or not.

    I couldn't agree more.

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    The point made by Kenji is that because of his position as DA, he shouldn't have the right to express his political opinion, regardless of the accuracy of the facts underlying that opinion. It's not "French is wrong"; it's "French shouldn't be saying anything."

    I never said that French shouldn't have the right to express his political opinion. As I said before, he needs to use better discretion. District Attorney Foote said "I do not share the opinions expressed by our prosecutor ... And I certainly wish that our office were not subjected to this kind of publicity."

    And as for the hearsay thing, since when did political opinions become subject to the rules of evidence? Everyone bases their opinions in actual life to some degree on hearsay. If you want to disprove a factual contention made by French, by all means do so. But just because he's relying on others who witnessed the actual incidents in order to form his opinion doesn't invalidate that opinion.

    But it sure goes a hell of a long way toward credibility.

  • raging red (unverified)
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    I kinda don't want to get into a complete blow-by-blow on the Swift Vets issue, but I will make a couple more points.

    That's right, you heard a mainstream journalist admit that the press is helping out their candidate -- Kerry, of course. I remind you that this is the same guy who was talking about journalistic standards.

    I didn't interpret his statement that way at all. Every day in print (NY Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, probably more by now that I haven't read) journalists have been investigating these claims and refuting them. (They've actually been engaging in real-life journalism. You know, where you investigate facts and report them to people, rather than simply repeat allegations.) So when Lehrer asked where people could go to read things that counter the Swift Vets' story, Oliphant said "yes, it's called the daily press." (And I took this as another jab at cable news having lower journalistic standards than the print press.)

    Kenji says "I still maintain who is an important issue.." and I agree. I didn't know that Oliphant's daughter works for the Kerry campaign, but that is less troubling to me than the fact that the Swift Vets have many close ties to Bush & co. And it's not just that they are Republicans (duh). Read the NYTimes and even look at their handy flow chart to see all of the personal connections.

    This issue is going to be very important to the complaint Kerry just filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Under campaign finance laws, candidates and 527s can't "coordinate efforts." Kerry and MoveOn have not been coordinating efforts. MoveOn existed long before anyone could even guess who would be the Democratic nominee. I'm not saying conclusively that Bush has violated the law (I don't know enough about campaign finance law or the underlying facts to say that), but the connections between Bush and the Swift Vets have more important implications than the connections between Oliphant and Kerry.

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    Perusing an article from the Washington Post on funding for the Prez race this am on Yahoo http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1802&ncid=1802&e=2&u=/washpost/20040821/ts_washpost/a20167_2004aug20

    Either parity or huge Repub leads in all categories except 527s where the Ds have outraised the Rs 145m to 9m.

    Pretty well explains W's attacks on 527s..........

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    Brett, two things you said are worth arguing--but I also prefer not getting into the blow-by-blow. It will play out irrespective of my views on it.

    Re: the swiftvets: I'm sorry, but who they are is not subject to any controversy at all.

    Actually, that's one of the main subjects of interest. When you align the two sides of this debate, one is riddled with inaccuracies and suspect information (many of the swiftvets, as in the case of the subject of the original post, weren't even there and are smearing based on second-hand accounts), and the other is consistent, independently verified, and to my knowledge, wholly unimpeached by anyone outside the debate. So it naturally leads you to wonder: who the hell are these guys? (Particularly in light of the fact that many of them, as recently as a year ago, were singing Kerry's praises.) That they're funded by the same groups who have for years supported Bush is not therefore irrelevant.

    Whenever you call them (Bush, the swiftvets, or any of the apologists therein) on it, they say, "well, it doesn't matter who they are, because Kerry has MoveOn." Fair enough, let's subject MoveOn to the same scrutiny. They were a group founded by a bunch of kids four years ago in rage over the Florida debacle--never before having had any connection to any political candidate. Until Kerry became the de facto candidate, they were far left of him and supported Dean and Kucinich and the anti-war vote. So is the MoveOn-Kerry relationship substantively different from swiftvets-Bush. Clearly. 527s may generically be a problem (though MoveOn's a simple PAC--another fact you rarely hear), but that doesn't mean there's not a clear and documented connection between Bush and the swiftvet organizers.

    On Oliphant's comment that the "daily press" is the counter to the swiftvets' propaganda website, you write:

    That's right, you heard a mainstream journalist admit that the press is helping out their candidate -- Kerry, of course.

    But that's not Oliphant's point. He's saying that because the swiftboat vets are a well-funded mendacious smear machine, the counter doesn't need to be another smear-back machine. You just need to look at the daily news, where the facts are reported.

    I don't expect you to agree with his point, but don't mistake it, either.

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    Fact correction, Jeff: MoveOn started in September 1998 to protest the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. "Censure and Move On". The founders were Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, a pair of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs (Berkeley Systems). MoveOn Peace was founded independently in 2001 during the run-up to the war, but quickly merged with the mother ship.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)
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    <h1></h1>

    Bush lies, and the mercenary surrogates who say them, and the propaganda arcade which plays them (when you put in your cable TV money), TV and radio and newspapers alike are at the edge of the (moral) bankruptcy abyss, being sucked in behind Catholics and Enron, all tied on the same corporatism climbing rope.

    Boycott cable TV <-- what one head-of-household person can do to smash the system and defeat Republicans in November. Try it at home. (FOXzi cable channels buy ads on rightist talk radio, propping it up.)

    Media just got done apologizing for selling Bush invasion lies, now they are fooled twice selling Bush campaign lies. Shame is on mass media. Morph the faces in the lying Shaft Vets video into gargoyles in the blog-mind's eye -- looking at them turns the living to stone.

    Here's a link and opening from MediaMatters.org with a history showing what makes us sick is not the infection of the lies, it's the programming stovepipes that feed the tumors.

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200408200006

    Flashback: In 1999, media virtually ignored anti-Bush book -- except to report on author's credibility Fortunate Son was pulled by publisher after Bush legal threats

    In light of the relentless media coverage of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth [sic] and their thinly sourced, consistently contradicted-by-official-documents attacks on Senator John Kerry (D-MA) -- most notably in the new book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry -- it's worth revisiting how the media covered another controversial book with a controversial author.

    In 1999, St. Martin's Press published a book by author James H. Hatfield called Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President. The book, which contained allegations that then-candidate George W. Bush had used cocaine in the 1970s, received barely any media coverage -- until Hatfield's own past came into question, at which point Hatfield, not the allegations in his book, became the media's primary discussion topic during the story's short life ...

    <h1></h1>
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    Thanks Kari--I got my outrages confused.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)
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    As events in evidence compile an indictment of the Clackamas Asst. D.A. French as, at best, an unreliable character (mentally deranged in anti-social rage and hate), and at worst, a liar paid for perjury and perjorative affidavit -- and with Liars Larson now publicizing his overnight friendship and support and private contacts with and for French only making French's repute and civil dissociation worse, as bad as many suspect without grounds except judging by his behavior -- whether or not French stays in public office at taxpayer expense really gets down to be a question of job performance: Can he win in court convictions against criminals as he is paid to prosecute?

    French's aberrant behavior gives defendants strong arguments to have their cases thrown out because when French is the prosecutor he and the case he makes is not trustworthy. The prosecutor has partisan intentions and ambition outside of and antagonistic to the practice of legal justice.

    And if he's such a politics sick-mind -- like Liars Larson -- who cannot convince any judge or jury of the people's case, and his charges don't stick, and his personal life is subversive -- Hey, he's outta there. Unfit for duty. Incompetent for the responsibility. It doesn't take winning a court case against him to remove him. His rightwing sympathies are extreme enough in their viciousness to have defendants smear his character in it -- the weapon he used is the weapon used on him, it wouldn't come around to him if he didn't go around taking it to others -- and the public withdraw support of him. And without community support, if he tries to burrow in deeper and tough it out he just infects the distrust wider on his co-workers and the Office of D.A.

    If you and I are sitting on a park bench and one of us, speaking freely, tells the other some slur against a public figure -- that's 'political opinion,' free speech. When French puts an unsubstantiated lie in the TV camera of a nationwide perjorative political commercial, that's public incitement by false pretext, (not at all a case of political opinion free speech), and he's not fit for public responsibility.

    NB: Broadcast liars like Liars Larson are not allowed by constitutional rights of free speech; although they lie and say they are. No, they are allowed by constitutional rights of free press. Free press does not have as much right as free speech, because it's public. That's why there are words Liars cannot say on the air, but that you and I could say to each other non-publicly. Liars Larson don't have free speech, we do. He has free press, and it's limited. That's why he was a defendant in a libel and defamation lawsuit, and paid the plaintif $20,000 to drop the charges against him. (Later, Paul Allen paid $180,000 more to get the charges dropped against the station, the sales staff, etc.) Liars broadcast ratings are going down, his sponsors are backing off because customers stay away from the rabid rightwing merchants, and Liars Larson can not 'get' anybody on the air, for debate and 'conflict entertainment.' He lies and says 'they ain't got the guts' but the truth is his touch spreads leperosy and lepers are pariahs. He's the one in that old Firesign Theatre album scene "... the Black Cross volunteers pausing now and again to touch a child's head ...."

  • brett (unverified)
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    I can understand, and respectfully disagree with, your (Jeff + Kenji -- I'm not even touching that last comment) argument that the Swiftvets are full of it. I don't think that who they are is important -- it's a given that they have a vested interest, obviously; who would put themselves through the political wringer without one -- but reasonable people can disagree.

    I cannot understand the argument that there is some difference between the right-wing 527s and the left-wing ones. They are the same. If anything, the left-wing ones are more pernicious, having two orders of magnitude more money to spend. Who cares when they were founded? What's important is their role today. They both fund ads skewering their guy's opponent. There is no connection between the Bush campaign and those guys -- he specifically denounced the ad yesterday. If you really want to talk about connections, let's talk:

    “Make no mistake, we need to take back the White House in 2004 and that’s why I’m running for President,” -- John Kerry in a letter to moveon.org members, June 17, 2003

    “The East Bay for Kerry/MoveOn House party on December 7th combined the forces of two grass-roots organizations based in San Francisco East Bay Area. We had 200 guests eating, drinking, and watching the MoveOn Documentary ‘Uncovered’ featuring Joseph Wilson and Rand Beers from the Kerry campaign.

    “When Teresa Heinz-Kerry arrived, she handed me a pin that read in the center: ‘Asses of Evil’ with ‘Bush’, ‘Cheney’, ‘Rumsfeld’ and ‘Ashcroft’ surrounding it. She met, greeted and talked to a jam-packed room of Kerry supporters and others who came for the MoveOn documentary. …

    “Thanks to Teresa, we kept the party going on, and she helped us here at East Bay for Kerry, throw the Mother of All House Parties.”

    http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/000871.html

    “Sam Kaplan, one of Kerry's biggest and earliest fundraisers in Minnesota, said he plans to continue raising money working with Americans [sic] Coming Together.” - From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

    --

    From: Eli Pariser, MoveOn PAC To: Jim Shorts Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 2:34 PM Subject: Watch Kerry's big speech together.

    The Kerry-Edwards campaign is holding house parties all over the country to celebrate Kerry's big speech next Thursday. Attend a house party in your area or host one yourself. Dear MoveOn member, A week from today, John Kerry will give the climactic speech at the Democratic National Convention, and the race to win the general election will be officially on. The speech will be one of the biggest political moments we'll have between now and the election, and it'll offer Kerry an opportunity to lay out his vision for the future of our country.

    The Kerry-Edwards campaign wants to kick off this final phase of the campaign with a burst of grassroots energy, so all over the country folks are holding house parties to watch the speech. The parties will be linked together by a nation-wide conference call with John Edwards.

    Hosting or attending a Kerry-Edwards house party is a great way to celebrate this fun and important event. To attend a party, just go to:

    https://volunteer.johnkerry.com/event/search/?MilesFrom=25&Zip=&TimeSpan=WholeCampaign

    To host a party of your own, go to:

    http://www.johnkerry.com/convention

    Hosting is easy � all you need to do is sign up on the Kerry website and offer people a place to watch. We've copied an email from Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's Campaign Manager, with more information about the parties.

    We'll be headed to house parties on Thursday night, and we hope you can make it too.

    Sincerely, --Eli Pariser and the MoveOn PAC Team July 22nd, 2004

    <hr/>

    And so on. These came from:

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/8/23/153719.shtml

    There are many, many more. There are obvious connections between the Kerry campaign and his 527s. I would not be surprised to see this information in a McCain-Feingold lawsuit one day soon. I hope to not see it, though -- the courts don't have a constructive role to play in electoral politics.

    To me, the bottom line on the Swiftvets is this: A large number of veterans who served on swift boats are now vehemently opposed to John Kerry becoming president. Some of those veterans did not serve with Kerry; some did. Some of their opposition is based on his actions in Vietnam; some is based on his antiwar role after Vietnam. Some of the veterans are Democrats, some Republicans; some Bush supporters, some not. What they have in common is their distaste for Kerry. Of course they're partisan; of course they have a vested interest; of course they are doing all they can to either hurt Kerry or help his opponent, which amount to the same thing. The fact that such a group even exists is remarkable, given Kerry's assumption of the war-hero label. It is that fact, and the power of their statements, that is fueling this whole controversy.

  • hilsy (unverified)
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    Just a late thought for this issue: Bush is in a catch-22. He can't really stop the 527 ads because if he did, the Dems could easily, legally attack the Bush 527s as being coordinated with the actual Bush campaign.

    So I wonder if the Kerry camp understand this. I'm sure they do. I bet they are having a great time watching Bush squirm with Bush knowing he really can't do anything about the 527s for fear of being accused of coordinating his campaign with their ads.

  • (Show?)

    Well put Brett, reasonable people can disagree. I'm pretty impressed- 30 comments? I look forward to the next debate!

  • brett (unverified)
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    thanks Kenji, good to see this post didn't (largely) devolve into name-calling.

    Hilsy, you're dead right that Kerry is being disingenuous when he says, "One phone call from the Bush campaign could stop these ads." He knows very well that such a phone call would constitute the coordination between candidate and 527 that is forbidden by McCain-Feingold. But I don't think it's hurting him; he is able to denounce the ads, as he did yesterday, while benefiting from them.

    So far, the left-wing 527s have spent upwards of $50 million to rehash the same old anti-Bush arguments that have been swirling around the internet since 2000, to little effect. SBVT has spent $250,000 on a much more focused, targeted issue, and it's having results that are reflected in polls. Before the election, it was universally assumed that this new emperor-has-no-clothes campaign finance system would benefit the Democrats, who already had moveon.org, ACT and plutocrat backers like George Soros. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine whether that prediction was true.

  • Suzii (unverified)
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    Brett, I'll agree that it isn't right to say there's a distinction between 527s for Bush and 527s for Kerry. They are all organizations of humans, vulnerable to all the attendant foibles.

    Will you agree that there is a distinction between political ads based on verified fact and political ads based on falsehood (or, ok, hearsay)?

  • brett (unverified)
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    In principle, sure, but something tells me I'm going to disagree with the particular examples you have in mind.

    Besides, it's more complex than fact/not fact. The current patron saint of the left, Michael Moore, is a master at using facts to lead a viewer down a path that leads to a distinctly counterfactual conclusion. In other words, true facts can be marshaled in support of a lie.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)
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    <h1></h1>

    My only understanding of such misunderstanding (as is put here about SBV liars) is that it is intentional. Willful mistakes. In some analyses it's called 'denial.' Saying that "a large number of veterans who served on swift boats" don't like Kerry is flat false. I see a few dozen, in all the country, combined on this ad project -- it is not a large number. Saying Bush yesterday denounced the anti-Kerry ad is flat false. MediaMatters.org refutes it short and sweet. Asst. D.A. French's participation has put his job credentials under scrutiny by the state bar association, which is not blithely ignored by blindly (falsely) stating some misunderstanding otherwise. And Liars Larson today ran away from the subject, and his responsibility for the corruption he added to it.

    A person is welcome to live in any false perception of the world they choose to build in their mind, and welcome to describe the scene in their head or what spirit voices say to them. But it doesn't convey to any one the same idea who doesn't also agree in advance to be misunderstanding on purpose.

    <h1></h1>
  • (Show?)

    Brett- that could be said about both sides. e.g. Rush, Lars, Hannity, etc.

    As a general update:

    Lawyer Advising Vets Quits Bush Campaign

    Please note that this links you to the general KGW site. The AP story is on a dynamic link. It's also available on Reuters.

  • brett (unverified)
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    No question.

    On the shared-lawyer issue, I'm waiting for the Kerry lawyer who is in the identical situation to resign as well. From today's NYT:

    "The campaign of Senator John Kerry shares a lawyer, Robert Bauer, with America Coming Together, a liberal group that is organizing a huge multimillion-dollar get-out-the-vote drive that is far more ambitious than the Swift boat group's activities."

    "Asked about his [Kerry's] campaign's use of shared lawyers, Mr. Clanton said, 'If the Bush campaign truly disapproved of this smear, their top lawyer wouldn't be involved.'"

    http://nytimes.com/2004/08/25/politics/campaign/25swift.html?hp=&pagewanted=print&position=

    Way to answer the question! Funny how the headline comes out "Bush Campaign's Top Outside Lawyer Advised Veterans Group," even though both sides share lawyers with 527s. It's almost like the Times has something against Bush.

  • brett (unverified)
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    P.S. I've noticed a lot of inbound links on the right sidebar (cool feature, btw) from Google searches for either French or Rassman. Interesting.

  • (Show?)

    Neato eh? Saw that too. We're famous! hahahahahaha. Do a google search on 527 ads. I think this thing comes up number 14- it was number 6 a few days ago.

    I guess all we can do is wait and see on the other lawyer.

  • (Show?)

    Update on the Swifties- From the AP Wire:

    A swift boat crewman decorated in the 1969 Vietnam incident where John Kerry won a Bronze Star says not only did they come under enemy fire but also that his own boat commander, who has challenged the official account, was too distracted to notice the gunfire. Retired Chief Petty Officer Robert E. Lambert of Eagle Point got a Bronze Star for pulling his boat commander — Lt. Larry Thurlow — out of the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969. Thurlow had jumped onto another swiftboat to aid sailors wounded by a mine explosion but fell off when the out-of-control boat hit a sand bar.

    ...

    "I thought we were under fire, I believed we were under fire," Lambert said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Thurlow was far too distracted with rescue efforts to even realize he was under fire. He was concentrating on trying to save lives."
    ...
    A career military man, Lambert is no fan of Kerry's either. He doesn't like Kerry's post-Vietnam anti-war activity and doesn't plan to vote for him. "I don't like the man himself," Lambert said, "but I think what happened happened, and he was there." Kerry's Bronze Star was awarded for his pulling Special Forces Lt. Jim Rassmann, who had been blown off the boat, out of the river. Rassmann, who is retired and lives in Florence, Ore., has said repeatedly that the boats were under fire, as have other witnesses. Lambert didn't see that rescue because Kerry was farther down the river and "I was busy pulling my own boat officer (Thurlow) out of the water."
    ...
    Lambert retired in 1978 as a chief petty officer with 22 years of service and three tours in Vietnam. He does not remember ever meeting Kerry. He told the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford that he also takes issue with Kerry's anti-war activities when he left the service. "That was absolutely reprehensible, but, then again, I'm career military," he said. He told the paper he doesn't know who wrote the medal citations and doesn't really care. Thurlow says they were written by Kerry.

    Another from update from the AP Wire:

    Albert French has been put on administrative leave based on an unrelated matter. He admitted to lying about an extramarital affair with a secretary.

  • brett (unverified)
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    Interesting to note that the latest polls show pretty clearly that the ads are having an impact, regardless of how many people are paraded in front of cameras to disagree with the Swiftvets.

    <h2>http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/timespoll/la-na-poll26aug26,1,891368.story?coll=la-home-headlines</h2>

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