all in the family
the new unauthorized biography the family: the real story of the bush dynasty
is out and if the excerpts online
are any indication, it's juicier than wrigley's gum.
the mainstream media has gone into attack mode against the book instead of bothering to actually research any of its claims like you'd think journalists would want to do (logic would dictate that if many of the allegations in the book are false, at least some of them would be fairly easy to prove wrong). matt lauer on the today show
turned out to be an aggressive interviewer for once, though he himself ended up caught in a lie (or at least a bit of prevarication):
Kelley: “Matt, you play golf with the former President Bush?”
Lauer: “I have never played golf with him.”
Kelley: “You know that he's is a gregarious man. He's gracious. That's a very, very nice thing. That's in the book. The reason this looks so negative to people is that for years and years and years, we've had a very crafted public image. It looks like ‘The Donna Reed Show.’ Now we've got a little bit of ‘The Sopranos.’ Every family has got negatives and positives.”
(uber-right site newsmax
actually tries to count this as a blow against kelley, but if they had done 15 seconds of research on google they would have turned up not just a story, but pictures and video
of lauer and poppy bush in a "putting contest"... perhaps not a full-on 18 holes, but surely "playing golf" by some definitions [akin to saying "we never played basketball; we played HORSE"]... not that i really expect anyone on a site like newsmax [or even much of the mainstream media] to actually do 15 seconds of real research about this book, lest they turn up something true
so far the most explosive allegation (or the only one many are bothering to repeat) is that georgie and one of his bros (neil?) snorted some rails of coke at camp david
, during poppy's presidency.
One of Kelley's sources -- and the only one on the record -- was Sharon Bush, the deeply aggrieved ex-wife of W's younger brother Neil. She is now in strong denial mode, even though her own publicist, who was present at a lunch where she told Kelley the story, confirms the accuracy of Kelley's account. Nonetheless, Lauer produced the Bush divorcee after his interview with Kelley to repeat her denials.
(i believe the publicist's actual quote was "i can't deny this account", but he's her f'n publicist
so if there were any way he could deny it, he would. the fact that he won't proves, if not that bush was damaging his nasal passages as late as 88-92, that sharon bush did at least say so to kelley.)
but that's not even the only damaging drug-related claim in the except online at msnbc.com! that excerpt also claims that laura bush used to sell
pot (not that i'd hold that against her), and... well, just read the excerpt, at least.
this isn't just some rambling screed or the unibomber manifesto. kelley's book is thoroughly researched, annotated, and was vetted by four different lawyers at doubleday. the us media is neglecting its duty by attacking her without at least poking their noses around into some of her allegations. like kelley said to salon:
It's interesting, from talking with the media today, the European media is much less intimidated than the American press. The Americans are all saying, "Well, why should we listen to you. Look at the books you've written." Well, excuse me, those books have stood up, I stand behind everything in those books, they've stood the test of time. And this book will too. So I see how this media spin is working, and I'm not surprised. You'd think the media would look at my book and follow up on it -- all right, she says here they instituted drug testing in the National Guard at such and such time, let's call up and find out if that's true. But don't beat me up just because I've come to you with almost a thousand sources. You know, I've gone through four sets of lawyers, because I'm dealing with a sitting president.
like kelley said to lauer about sharon bush now denying the coke david story, "Matt, I have three independent witnesses to what was said between me and Sharon Bush. That's good enough for a court of law. It should be good enough for you and me."
this book is no joke, and the us media is doing you and me a disservice--and perhaps worse, doing the story
a disservice--by not treating it more seriously and following up. of course, some of the allegations might turn out to be false. but no rational person could really believe that all
of it is false. if even half of it turned out to be true, it would be quite damning. which is probably exactly why they aren't following up too much.
i'm pretty tempted to run out and buy this book... the "director's cut" of thx-1138
just came out on dvd so i've considered running off to borders to buy them both. but i wouldn't get to start reading it tonight anyway (it's comic day
after all), and i still haven't come even close to finishing cryptonomicon
or the other books in my "to-read" pile, so maybe i'll exercise some restraint over my capitalistic urges for once. or more likely i won't.
i could post dozens of links about the "memo" non-scandal, just page after page of people (many of whom have no clue what they're talking about, but some who know quite a lot) arguing about kerning and curly quotes... these were fascinating to me in a sense, as someone who has to deal with such issues in my job (but by no means a document expert or knowledgeable about 70s typewriters). but this salon link
is the last one i will post:
Upset by renewed attention to President Bush's disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard, White House communications director Dan Bartlett insists the new revelations about how strings were pulled to get Bush into the Guard, as well as to get him out, are part of "a coordinated attack by John Kerry and his surrogates on the president." There is no evidence to support that claim. But there is clear evidence confirming that the same conservative operatives who have been busily promoting the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smears of Kerry are now engaged in pushing the story that CBS's "60 Minutes Weeknight Edition" aired forged documents in its Wednesday night report on Bush and the National Guard.
Creative Response Concepts, the Arlington, Va., Republican public relations firm run by former Pat Buchanan communications director Greg Mueller, with help from former Pat Robertson communications director Mike Russell, sent out a media advisory Thursday to hawk a right-wing news dispatch: "60 Minutes' Documents on Bush Might Be Fake." Creative Response Concepts has played a crucial role in hyping the inaccurate, secondhand Swift Boat allegations, with Russell serving as the group's official spokesman. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Throughout the Swift Boat smear campaign, the veterans involved asserted they had no political agenda and were unaffiliated with any political party. But Creative Response Concepts, which was obviously paid some undisclosed amount for its Swift Boat work, has many links to the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Among its clients are the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee. Its client list also includes the Christian Coalition, National Taxpayers Union, Media Research Council and Regnery Publishing. Regnery is the firm that published "Unfit for Command," the SBVT screed against Kerry's military record.
more evidence that something shady is going on with the "fake memos" allegations.
but by even discussing this as i have, i have also fallen for their frame of this story. it's not about whether those four documents are "real". the story is whether the content
of the cbs story is true. did bush somehow use his connections to land a cushy spot in the reserves instead of active duty? multiple sources have come forward saying he did. did he fulfill all his obligations to the reserves? it looks like he didn't.
us news & world report
did an analysis of bush's public military record and it didn't turn out good:
A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.
Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.
similarly, but seemingly less noticed, salon points out
how a bush document leaked to the drudge report
to back up republican spin actually demonstrates that he didn't live up to all his commitments. look at point h:
Satisfactory participation during my membership in the Air National Guard of the United States will be attendance and satisfactory performance of assigned duties at 48 scheduled inactive duty training periods and 15 days' field training (active duty for training) annually, unless excused therefrom by proper authority. It also includes successful completion of on-the-job upgrade training.
as already demonstrated above by us news, couldn't even live up to the standard of 44 days, let alone 48.
what liberal media?
i haven't done much political or news blogging recently... there's just so much to keep up with. but this is a story about blogs, so...
a month or so ago, the "swift boat veterans for truth" came out with a campaign ad accusing john kerry of lying about his service in 'nam. "i know, because i served with him," they say in the ad. of course, this was all fairly easily debunked by bloggers, more "legitimate" news outlets, and even the daily show (which pointed out that when the veterans say "i served with kerry" they simply mean "i was in the military at the same time). but despite this, the story "had legs" as they say & we had to hear about the swift boat buddies day after day for at least a month, with only the occasional story acknowledging that the swift boaters had yet to make a single allegation stick against kerry. the allegations were fed into the "great right-wing echo chamber" because, true or not, they were damaging to kerry, & that's all that really matters to them.
last week, 60 minutes aired a story
featuring former texas politico ben barnes, who confesses that he personally pulled strings to get bush into the natl guard (this in itself is not a new allegation, but not one that's been covered much because barnes had been reluctant to talk to the media). the story also referenced four memos cbs says it acquired from an impeccable source:
The first memo is a direct order to take "an annual physical examination" – a requirement for all pilots.
Another memo refers to a phone call from the lieutenant in which he and his commander "discussed options of how Bush can get out of coming to drill from now through November." And that due to other commitments "he may not have time."
On August 1, 1972, Col. Killian grounded Lt. Bush for failure to perform to U.S. Air Force/Texas Air National Guard standards and for failure to take his annual physical as ordered.
A year after Lt. Bush's suspension from flying, Killian was asked to write another assessment.
Killian's memo, titled 'CYA' reads he is being pressured by higher-ups to give the young pilot a favorable yearly evaluation; to, in effect, sugarcoat his review. He refuses, saying, "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job."
damaging stuff, to be sure. but this time around, the right-wing echo chamber, from freepers and bloggers at the bottom straight up to limbaugh, drudge and the like at the top, were not trying to hear that. so within hours, the allegations start popping up that these memos are fake. their argument: the memos could not have been written on typewriters of the time, and were most likely composed in MS word and then repeatedly photocopied to give the appearance of age.
according to IBM, the idea that the memos couldn't have been made with typewriters of the era is "just totally false"
... but that didn't stop many, many people from running with it, and within hours the focus in the media had shifted from the content
of the story to whether those four memos had been forged (despite the fact that everyone pretty much knows the story is true, regardless of the memos' authenticity).
bob novak, who so proudly stands by his "journalistic integrity" by refusing to say who leaked cia operative valerie plame's identity to him (setting off a major scandal and govt investigations), was quite happy to insist that cbs should name its confidential sources
because... well... it's damaging to kerry, and that's all that really matters. he was not alone in this, but he was the only one to be quite
so hypocritical about it.
quickly, other stories in the media focused on the power of bloggers in affecting the news so quickly
"The mainstream press is having to follow them," said Jeffrey Seglin, a professor at Emerson College in Boston. "The fear I have is: How do you know who's doing the Web logs?
"And what happens when this stuff gets into the mainstream, and it eventually turns out that the '60 Minutes' documents were perfectly legitimate, but because there's been so much reporting about what's being reported, it has already taken on a life of its own?"
even blogger.com has a prominent link to a story
that uncritically compiles all the stories alleging that the memos are fake... because, hey, this is good PR for blogging services, right?
to be fair, though, blogger also links to the daily kos
, which has been diligently debunking the so-called debunkers. hunter at the kos points out most of the stuff people claim was impossible was extremely possible using IBM typewriters of the time, as well as points out the virtual impossibility of proving anything definitively using such cheap copies of the memos (you will note that most experts cited will claim that they can't really authenticate using such copies, but that doesn't seem to stop the other "experts" who say they "know" the memos are fake).
is it possible that the memos are fake? sure. is it also possible that they're legitimate? yes, of course. some are saying this story proves the power of blogs... but it seems to me that it only proves the power of right-wing
blogs, because the blogging community had also thoroughly (arguably more
thoroughly) debunked the swift boat veterans, but that story was still played out ad nauseam for weeks, but nobody seemed to notice...
boom boom booze booze
so the day before the terrorfakt show, i saw a post advertising an evening of HOUSE and TECHNO (emphasis not mine) at club fusion on 9/11. having just had two other shows cancelled or postponed recently, my immediate reaction was that the club had double-booked & that our show was going to get fucked over. i was a bit upset about that idea (three cancellations in two weeks?) but then i heard back from the promoters that our show was to be in the second room, the techno was to be in the main room, & all was fine.
turns out i had no reason to be concerned, because the techno night was a total flop: the main room was virtually empty all night, while the much smaller second room had a decent crowd the whole time. take that, techno! we should've been in the main room, but oh well...
i somehow got lost on the way to the venue, despite having been there at least twice before. but no matter: when i arrived there was still no dj equipment hooked up. i hung out, chatting with n8 & unszene as well as some other people in attendance. eventually the dj coffin was up & i started spinning. i was already fairly drunk by now and didn't really keep track of what i spun, but i spun a bunch of good power noise and breakcore: celluloid mata, shizuo, donna summer (jason forrest), drop the lime, venetian snares, scorn, to name a few. it was great to be able to hear the stuff over a loud PA.
then terrorfakt vs manufactura played. apparently the two headliners consolidated their set into one, for whatever reason. they rocked it hard, & had an interesting video display with lots of 9/11 & similar related content, although the screen was in a strange position so not everyone could see it.
at this point my memory begins to fail me. i had been drinking rum & cokes (dangerous for me, especially on an empty stomach, but fusion does not have cider so if i wanted to drink, it had to be mixed drinks). i remember terrorfakt vs manufactura playing, but i do not remember them actually finishing
their set. nor do i remember vomiting at the club, though i'm told it happened. even worse, sealed in silence then performed and i don't remember that either. maybe i was in the toilet up-chucking during their whole set. or maybe i was standing right there watching them. either way, i was too drunk to remember their performance. don't be like me, kids: know your limits.
dr butcher m.d. mercifully insisted on giving me a ride home. i remember that. but i don't remember getting a glass of juice and vomiting into it, nor getting some of that vomit onto my computer keyboard.
i spent most of yesterday hung over: nothing too terrible, but the familiar sensation of poison coursing through my veins, periodic headaches, and that awful mixture of nausea and hunger. i'm pretty much over it now.
but other than that, it was a good show! plus we kicked techno's ass, which is always good. i even ended up with a new dvd that i don't remember acquiring. i assume someone gave it to me. i'll probably watch it tonight: looks like political industrial videos.