Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Limbaugh baselessly suggested Downing Street memo "may be a fake".
Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested that the Downing Street memo
"may be a fake" and compared it to the disputed memos used by CBS in
its controversial story about President Bush's National Guard service.
From the June 20 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: I purposely haven't talked about this Downing Street memo
much because, frankly, a) it didn't interest me and, you know, if it
doesn't interest me, I'm not going to talk about it. And the reason it
didn't interest me is because it was just another one of these
ginned up things by the libs, and it looks like it's got some
similarities to Bill Burkett and the forged documents of CBS and
Later in the program, Limbaugh responded to a caller's question
about the Downing Street memo by saying, "What is it? The Downing
Street memo doesn't say anything, and it may be a fake. It may be a
In fact, multiple news organizations have authenticated the document, which London's Sunday Times first
published on May 1. The memo records the minutes of a July 23, 2002,
British Cabinet meeting, including British intelligence chief Richard
Dearlove's statement that in Washington, "the intelligence and facts
were being fixed around the policy." Since the Downing Street memo's
publication, several related British documents have been published,
which multiple news outlets have also authenticated.
Limbaugh's assertion appears to be based on claims circulating on the Internet following a June 18 post on the conservative weblog Little Green Footballs. The claims -- which were repeated on another conservative blog, Captain's Quarters, and subsequently linked to by National Review Online's blog, The Corner, and by the Drudge Report -- arose from a June 18 Associated Press article
reporting that "Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source
he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain
paper and destroying the originals."
But contrary to AP's
assertion, Smith has stated publicly that he destroyed copies of the
documents and returned the originals. In a June 14 interview
with Rawstory.com, Smith described how he first obtained, photocopied,
and returned the originals in September 2004. Then, working off of the
copies, he reproduced the documents with a typewriter and then
destroyed the photocopies (not the originals as the AP reported):
"The copying and re-typing were necessary because markings on the
originals might have identified his source, Smith said. ... "The
situation in Britain is very difficult but with regard to leaked
documents the police Special Branch are obliged to investigate such
leaks and would have come to the newspaper's office and or my home to
confiscate them," he explained. "We did destroy them because the Police
Special Branch were ordered to investigate."
Captain's Quarters concluded that based on this apparently
inaccurate AP account, "One fact certainly stands out -- Michael Smith
cannot authenticate the copies. And absent that authentication, they lose their value as evidence of anything"
(emphasis in original). But the suggestion by conservatives that the
documents were forged is baseless, given the multiple news outlets that
have authenticated the existence of the memo and related documents.
The Associated Press released excerpts
from the memos, including the July 23 memo, on June 18. "The following
are excerpts from material in secret Downing Street memos written in
2002. The information, authenticated by a senior British government
official, was transcribed from the original documents," the AP wrote.
Similarly, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell reported June 14 on NBC's Nightly News that "war critics have come up with seven more memos verified by NBC News." A June 13 article by Mitchell on MSNBC.com, published before her report aired on the Nightly News, also noted that the memos were "verified by NBC News." [Media Matters for America]
Dance For Me Puppet.
Bill Frist, a tough leader who stands by his decisions, has a spine made of steel (emphasis mine):
field after a meeting with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist said he will continue pushing for a floor vote on John R....
British sources contradict Woolsey's claim that "fixed" does not mean "cooking the books" in the Downing Street memo.
Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey repeated the false assertion -- which conservatives in the media have made and which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice embraced during a previous interview with Matthews -- that the word "fixed," as used in the Downing Street memo, means something other than "cooking the books" in British parlance.
memo, first published on May 1, contains the recorded minutes of a July
23, 2002, meeting of senior British cabinet officials and advisers. The
memo reports that British intelligence chief Richard Dearlove stated,
based on meetings with U.S. officials in Washington, that President
Bush was determined even then to remove Saddam Hussein from power in
Iraq "through military action" and that "the intelligence and facts
were being fixed around the policy."
guest host David Gregory asked Woolsey about this line, Woolsey stated:
"I think that's not what 'fixing' means in these circumstances. I think
people are not listening to British usage. I don't think they're
talking about cooking the books." But British sources have said that "British usage" conforms exactly to the interpretation Woolsey tried to reject:
- British Sunday Times reporter Michael Smith, the
reporter who first disclosed the memo on May 1, ridiculed the notion
that "fixed" has a different meaning in Britain in a Washington Post online chat:
"There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is
a real joke. I do not know anyone in the U.K. who took it to mean
anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed
the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want
- A British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) documentary in March quoted the Downing Street memo more than a month before the Sunday Times
published it. BBC reporter John Ware explained: "By 'fixed' the MI6
chief meant that the Americans were trawling for evidence to reinforce
their claim that Saddam was a threat."
- When the Sunday Times first disclosed
the memo on May 1, it noted the Bush administration's attempt "to link
Saddam to the 9/11 attacks" as an example of "fixing" the intelligence
around the policy: "The Americans had been trying to link Saddam to the
9/11 attacks; but the British knew the evidence was flimsy or
non-existent. Dearlove warned the meeting that 'the intelligence and
facts were being fixed around the policy.' "
- David Hughes, political editor of London's Daily Mail,
argued in a May 2 column that the meeting detailed in the Downing
Street memo "led inexorably to the publication of the 'sexed-up' Iraq
weapons dossier two months later," referring to a now-famous 2003
report by BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan alleging that a British dossier
on Iraq had been "sexed up" to hype the Iraqi threat.
From a panel discussion with Gregory, Woolsey and David
Kay, the former top U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, on the June 20
edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
[Media Matters for America]
GREGORY: James Woolsey, is not the issue here, when we talk about
fixing the intelligence to meet the policy, that the case, as the memo
asserts, was thin on Saddam Hussein and whether he possessed chemical,
biological, even nuclear weapons?
WOOLSEY: I think that's
not what fixing means in these circumstances. I think people are not
listening to British usage. I don't think they're talking about cooking
I do think that there seemed a lot of
indications at the time that there were chemical and bacteriological,
at least, agent in Iraq. And, indeed, one of the fascinating things in
David's report was that captured Iraqi generals after the war were each
saying, you know, my unit didn't have chemical weapons, but the unit to
my right and unit to my left I know did.
We call that red-on-red cover and description. Saddam apparently was
deceiving some of his own generals. So, you know, I think people ought
to back off a bit on this notion that we knew exactly what the
situation was and the books were being cooked. I don't think there is
really any basis for that kind of allegation.
Iraq-Afghanistan war spending surpassed Korean War costs when the U.S. House "voted to advance the Pentagon another $45 billion,"
with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi calling the war "a grotesque
mistake" and House Speaker Dennis Hastert admonishing her to "support
our troops instead of spreading inflammatory statements."
Straw Poll, Part II.
Well, the results are in, with over 13,000 votes, and a margin of error
of 90% (since we're not normal Democrats around here), the results of
the first dKos presidential straw:
Daily Kos community poll. 6/20. 13,389 respondents. (No trend lines):
Clark 26 (3,496)While
there's no way we can pretend that the Daily Kos community is
representative of the Democratic Party electorate at large, this poll
is a good indicator of where the Daily Kos community is at. The results
didn't change more than a percentage point here and there from when
there were 1,500 votes.
No Freakin' Clue 17 (2,320)
Clinton 10 (1,461)
Feingold 10 (1,433)
Edwards 8 (1,077)
Other 7 (1,088)
Warner 5 (689)
Richardson 4 (659)
Biden 3 (497)
Kerry 2 (341)
Bayh 2 (328)
Vilsack 0 (88)
So what do we know? The field is clearly
wide open, and there's a sense that we can do better than this lot.
Gore, in particular, seems to have a lot of potential support if he
were to express interest in running (he hasn't).
Clark, who is
dismissed by the early CW, has a clear leg up, but it's not a dominant
position by any stretch of the imagination. He's just the only guy
who's standing out from the crowd.
Here's my bold prediction:
the first candidate (or potential candidate) to come out for a full
withdrawl from Iraq will get a huge groundswell of support. It may be
one of these guys, or it may be someone out from left field.
But it's clear that even among the Daily Kos community, those who voted
for the Bush's Iraq War aren't being penalized. The two candidates
against the war from day one -- Feingold and Clark, are only splitting
39 percent of the vote.
One more thing -- there aren't
organized campaigns yet, so there weren't any official efforts by
campaigns to spam the poll. Future efforts may be more tainted by such
things and will likely require security measures to protect the
integrity of these polls.
For now, I plan on having one of these every month (or so). [Daily Kos]
FL-Sen: Harris trails Nelson badly. Mason-Dixon. 6/14-16. MoE 4%. (No trend lines)
Nelson (D) 53
Harris (R) 36
This race will be a definite oddity -- one in which the
campaign becomes a referendum not on the incumbent, but on the
is one of those rare cases where, going in, the challenger has higher
negative ratings than the incumbent," said Brad Coker, managing
director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., which conducted
the poll for the Orlando Sentinel and WESH 2 News. "At this point, when
you look at these numbers, I don't know how she's going to win this
Harris, who achieved national notoriety for her pivotal role
as secretary of state during Florida's disputed 2000 presidential
recount, announced two weeks ago that she was planning to challenge
But the move drew a lukewarm reception from Republican
leaders, who fear she could lose to Nelson, whom they have targeted for
defeat. The poll underscores this rising unease, which already has led
the White House, Gov. Jeb Bush and other leading Republicans to court
House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, as a potential GOP primary
Which is great, considering that Nelson is our most endangered incumbent.
Is it about privacy? Or is it about choice?.
Salon has an article today by Lynn Harris where she describes the way that people habitually quiz and offer unsolicted
"advice" to women about our sex lives and family lives. She frames it
as a privacy issue and that's a big part of it--people who don't know
when to mind their own business. But that's sort of a hazy area
sometimes, especially with friends. For instance, if you confess to a
friend that you're not meeting anyone you like and that you do want to
get married and have kids someday, is it a gross violation of your
privacy for that person to turn around and offer advice? I wouldn't say
so, even if you didn't explicitly ask for it. So, it's a hazy area.
What is not hazy is our society's long-term lack of respect for the
concept of women having choices. The one common thread in the instances
Harris comes up with isn't an overt inability to understand privacy
boundaries so much--it's the implication that the speaker is passing
judgement on her choices. Like this for instance:
Then yes, freaking finally, I got married. To a rabbi. Are you people satisfied?
Evidently not. "Did you ever think you would marry a rabbi?"
I have a feeling that Harris might have felt differently if the
speaker had asked affirming, curious, polite questions about her
husband, such as how he enjoys the job, has she met interesting new
My take on this is that people are in the habit, especially when it
comes to women, of having an internal ideal and then trying to get
others to conform to it. Again, we feel particularly compelled to do
this with women, especially if sex and family come into play, like here.
An older man I barely know -- but who knows I play
ice hockey -- had this to say when he heard I was taking the season
off: "Hmm, that'll help with conception." When my husband held a
friend's infant at a party, every non-close friend looked at me. "He
looks good with a baby!" they exclaimed, nudge nudge, wink wink.
First example is a classic example of someone pushing a woman to
quit doing "masculine" things and take up baby-making. The second is a
variation of that, a group of people silently urging her to
conform to their model of womanhood. It's the same with the people who
flutter around unmarried women and anxiously ask when they're getting
married and demand that they lower their standards to obtain the
ring--this about women conforming for their comfort, not necessarily a
So I wouldn't say this is part of the culture of celebrity, but tie
it instead to the growing support for legally restricting women's
Mea culpa: In the comments section below on Texas progressives, I
did not mean to insult single mothers. I was more idly thinking about
all the infrastructure problems in the South that create situations
where women feel they have no choice to become single mothers--I
phrased it badly. But I promise, it came from a place of respect for
women's choices. And I love single moms--I had one for awhile myself.
Also: Female comic book nerds--if you want some outrageous sexism to
kickstart a rant, check out the letters to the editor about "Batman Begins" at Salon. [Pandagon]
Ritter says US is at war with Iran
Former UN weapons inspector
Scott Ritter, writing for al-Jazeera, says that recent stories
indicating that Pres. Bush had decided to invade Iraq by summer, 2002,
despite contemporaneous public statements to the contrary, reflect a
pattern that currently being played out in Iran. Ritter accuses the US
government with conducting illegal surveillance flights over Iranian
airspace and supporting... - Professor Kim
[Professor Kim's News Notes]
Race a Factor in Job Offers for Ex-Convicts - New York Times
"White men with prison
records receive far more offers for entry-level jobs in New York City
than black men with identical records, and are offered jobs just as
often - if not more so - than black men who have never been arrested,
according to a new study by two Princeton professors.
The study, the first to assess the effect of race on job searches by
ex-convicts, also found that black men... - Professor Kim
[Professor Kim's News Notes]
It's Our Fault
is. But especially any future terrorist attack on the United States.
That's how powerful we are, the lefties. So Rush Limbaugh said a few days ago:
Let me tell you something, folks, if we are hit again, if we are hit
again, we need to hold these people in our country who are undermining
our efforts responsible. It ain't going to be the FBI's fault next
time. It isn't going to be the CIA's fault next time. It isn't going to
be some bureaucracy's fault next time. It's going to be the fault of
politicians, left-wing groups and the like who have names and
identities and spend their every waking moment trying to obstruct our
ability to secure intelligence information for our own national
You want some names: [Sen. Patrick] Leahy [D-VT],
[Sen. Joseph R.] Biden [D-DE], [Sen. Richard J.] Durbin [D-IL], [Sen.
Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], [Sen. Edward] Kennedy [D-MA], [Senate Majority
Leader Harry] Reid [D-NV], Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, Amnesty
International. If we get hit again, these are the names of the people
and organizations we need to look at when we're trying to find out why
and how it happened.
This makes planning the
future much easier. All the government needs to do is to intern us and
the country will be safe! The real enemy has finally been revealed and
the wingnuts can sleep safe in their little cots.
was it who recently foamed about how liberals hate everybody in this
country? Sounds to me like it's the Limbaugh types who have some
serious issues with misplaced hatred.
Sounds to me also like it might be Limbaugh himself who is stoking the flames of terrorism in the Middle East:
Club G'itmo and our brochure at rushlimbaugh.com now features two
T-shirts, ladies and gentlemen. We put them on sale yesterday, and they
are going like hotcakes. They're a reddish-orange t-shirt and you can
buy one or you can buy both. One of them says, "Club G'itmo" on the
front and then on the back, "Your Tropical Retreat From the Stress of
The other one says, "Club G'itmo" on the front, and on
the back it says, "My Mullah Went to Club Gitmo and All I Got Was This
Lousy T-Shirt." They're both $19.95. They come in sizes small up to
double-X, and we're also still checking on prices to come up with Club
G'itmo bathrobes and soap on a rope or just soap. Club G'itmo,
whichever, and we've also added the fact that kids might want to be
sent down to Club G'itmo, except Americans, because American kids are
not allowed to pray in school or anything else. It's a great place for
young jihadists to go and take a break from their training.
[ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES]
THE ANALYSIS GAP: OIL MARKETS.
Conventional oil market analysis is focused on traditional economic
factors. The only intangible factors left to deal with is the sentiment
of OPEC (to abide by quotas, increase/decrease quotas, etc.) and Saudi
Arabia's maximum production capacity (a closely guarded secret)....
On bloody roads . My thanks to John Cole (of Balloon Juice) for bringing Russell Shorto's What's Their Real Problem With Gay Marriage? (It's the Gay Part) to my attention. (Single-page link)
of course, the Christian activists aren't vague in their opposition.
For them, the issue isn't one of civil rights, because the term implies
something inherent in the individual -- being black, say, or a woman --
and they deny that homosexuality is inherent. It can't be, because that
would mean God had created some people who are damned from birth,
morally blackened. This really is the inescapable root of the whole
issue, the key to understanding those working against gay marriage as
well as the engine driving their vehicle in the larger culture war: the
commitment, on the part of a growing number of people, to a variety of
religious belief that is so thoroughgoing it permeates every facet of
life and thought, that rejects the secular, pluralistic grounding of
society and that answers all questions internally.One
thing John and I can agree on is that the anti-gay campaign is from the
anti-black playbook with which some of us are so familiar. The
arguments are the same, the attitudes are the same, and the willingness
to spread hate is the same.
Something we don't agree on is that,
allusion to Nazi's is offensive, stupid, and counter-productive,
regardless of the point you are trying to make. Let's keep the Nazi
references for, say, Nazi's.Like Kevin Drum and Brad Plumer, I have no problem with any apt comparison - any warning - that reminds us of the landmarks on the path to Nazism. You may remember I referred a few years ago to my reasons for taking such references for granted:
I was a kid, my many Jewish elders had a short-hand phrase they'd use
to explain their objections whenever some suggested legislation
(censorship, for example) or discrimination against blacks or gays left
them gasping in horror: "The Nazis did that." (Or sometimes just: "The
Nazis....") These were people who remembered how it took place,
with not too much disruption of everyday life, at first, and most
people going unmolested and therefore not making much of it. Nothing to
see here, just a few commies and Jews and a couple of queers, not any
of us Normal people.... These were, you understand, people who would
have been crushed if their son turned out to be gay or their daughter
married "a Negro", but by god they knew better than to give an inch on
these things. They didn't have to like pornography to know it
shouldn't be illegal - they knew what censorship was about. They
understood, with crystal clarity, that there are no good excuses for
dismissing people's civil liberties.The idea that there is
something wrong with making Nazi comparisons doesn't come from some
natural revulsion that we - gentiles or Jews - have always felt. Oh,
I'm sure there are some who think that the rise of the Third Reich was
itself something unique, but that's foolish; the fact that they wasted
lives with industrial efficiency is only an artifact. What they did is
something that humans have always done, even if they had to use rocks
to do it.
The horror of Nazi Germany isn't that they killed six
million Jews. It's not the numbers and it's not who the victims were,
except for one thing: that a nation singled-out specified groups of
their own people and declared them bereft of their citizenship and
their rights. It would not matter if they had only killed a couple
thousands Jews and a handful of gays and political objectors. The point
is that these were German citizens who suddenly found themselves
without the protections of German law, the personhood that had
previously been presumed - and thus, it became acceptable to do things
to them that no civilized society subjects people to. And that
the threat of this happening to you, to me, to us, is always there,
because it always has been; no one is safe, immune.
To be "civilized" is a delicate thing. In Nudes, Prudes and Attitudes, I wrote:
each of us, there is a little fascist who fervently wishes to suppress
any expression by others of beliefs we find threatening to our values.It's
not a German thing. It's not an antisemitic thing. It's certainly not a
Christian thing, or a Muslim thing. It's a human thing, and it can get
out of the box on pretty small provocation.
So you have to be on the
lookout for that sort of thing, and that's the point of noticing when
the tactics of the Third Reich are starting to smell up the place. Just
as all those old Jews I knew used to do. That's what "Never Again"
Inapt comparisons, on the other hand, are a
completely different matter. Rush Limbaugh using the term "feminazis"
is certainly over the top, but Rick Santorum's recent equation of
Democrats in Congress with Hitler in Paris wasn't just over the top, it
made no sense. The Democrats, to begin with, did not invade the Senate and impose the filibuster on it.
Robert Byrd out of line when he compared the Republicans' tendency to
behave as if the law was not the law to Hitler's similar mushing up of
German law? No, of course not. While it is not accurate to say that
Hitler never broke the law and that everything his government did was
legal, it is similarly not accurate to say that Bush never breaks the
law and that everything his administration does is legal.
For example, Germany passed a law in 1875 that is still on the books today banning hate speech against any
identifiable group. You'd think that would have protected the Jews,
wouldn't you? But the Nazis merely decided Jews and gays and a few
others were exceptions, and then all bets were off.
parallels, of course, are obvious - and in some respects even more
unsettling. Our founders made clear that they believed the rights they
outlined in both their writings and the Constitution and Bill of Rights
they fashioned were inherent for all humans - inalienable - regardless
of their origins and nationality, and thus the United States is always
obliged to give the protections of the law to everyone we deal with. We
are required to offer alien nationals in our country the same rights to
due process that citizens have. And yes, the glaring exceptions are
obvious, but they have also been a matter of shame for us - and one that we have tried to put right.
now we hear that it's okay to treat non-citizens differently, to
deprive them, under numerous circumstances, of due process. And to do
things to them that we have already sworn we would never do.
we've even seen legislation drawn up and put before Congress that would
deprive Americans of their citizenship! Think about that for a minute.
How good are your rights as a citizen if the government can simply declare you a non-citizen and then subject you to violations of those rights?
none of this is legal under our Constitution, which says treaties we've
signed have the force of law, and thus the Geneva Conventions - which
do not allow torture under any circumstances - apply to all.
know how it feels to think of yourself as a citizen and resident of a
free country. You know that you read about torture and abuse in other
countries, about freedoms that do not exist there, about outrages
against the citizenry, and a little voice in your head says, "I'm glad
I'm not there. I'm safe here. I'm an American." As I've said
before, that is a feeling, a reaction, an instinct, I was privileged to
feel for my entire life. And for my entire life, I was able to read of
such abuses and know that I was absolutely not reading about the United States.
now. And that's what Dick Durbin was saying. And if anyone does not
feel that loss, I wonder what special thing you must think America has
that is worth defending.
Update: Teresa covered this territory before I noticed (and there's a great comment thread). So did Gail and Nathan.
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7/1/2005; 6:37:36 AM.