Two things that Barnes was right about were the influence of two media sources for fanning the flames regarding the Swift Vets' phony claims: right-wing talk radio and the right-wing blogosphere. To no big surprise, Rush is leading the charge from hate radio. Quick links that put this in perspective: Click here for the conversation Limbaugh had with someone who had no patience for fools; Click here for a transcript of Limbaugh smearing another Vietnam War veteran).
The work by members of the right-wing blogosphere is more troubling. The blogosphere was set up to monitor the media and do the mainstream media's job when the mainstream media doesn't do its job. Two good examples of this were when blogs took on the false statements and inaccuracies in Ann Coulter's book Slander (click here and here) when much of the mainstream media was not scrutinizing it (e.g., Slander received positive reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times). Also, the blogosphere got the mainstream media to do its job about Trent Lott's racist and neo-Confederate statements and ties.
The blogosphere is not there for people to spread disinformation. What a pity.
The Immortal Words of the Man Who Kept George W. Bush out of Vietnam The words of Ben Barnes, the former Speaker of the House in Texas:
Let’s talk a minute about John Kerry and George Bush and I know them both. And I’m not name dropping to say I know ‘em both. I got a young man named George W. Bush in the National Guard when I was Lt. Gov. of Texas and I’m not necessarily proud of that. But I did it. And I got a lot of other people into the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do, when you're in office you helped a lot of rich people. And I walked through the Vietnam Memorial the other day and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been because it was the worst thing that I did was that I helped a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard and I’m very sorry about that and I’m very ashamed and I apologize to you as voters of Texas.
Googlebomb Project--Hyperlink the phrase Ben Barnes to the follwing URL: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/08/27/barnes/
An Evening with Paul Greenwald Last night at Vidiots Video in Santa Monica, Robert Greenwald appeared to discuss his groundbreaking film Outfoxed and do a Q & A. I bought the Unprecedented DVD after the talk.
Just a few of the many things Greenwald discussed that were worthy of comment:
1. Greenwald emphasized that Fox News is not so much a conservative operation as it is a partisan pro-Bush/pro-Republican operation. Greenwald noted that since Bush raised deficits and engaged in wasteful spending, fiscal conservatives have been given short shrift on Fox News.
2. Greenwald mentioned that since Outfoxed was released, the Fox News daily memos are more nuanced and less obviously pro-Bush-administration.
3. Greenwald toldthe audience that one of the most important aspects of the film was not just the way it addressed Fox News' obvious biases but also the way in which CNN and MSNBC were aping Fox News.
5. Greenwald told the audience member to check out the alternative media such as Air America Radio.
6. Greenwald recommended an Harper's article by Naomi Klein. I couldn't find it on their web site.
UPDATE: The article is "Baghdad Year Zero: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia" in the September 2004 issue.
UPDATE: I had the following in my notes, but I forgot to mention it: Greenwald spoke about how Fox News endured a big hit with advertisers. That's great news.
10/11/04 UPDATE: Since the controversy over the Republican-dominated Sinclair Broadcast Group decided to force its cable affiliates to broadcast an anti-Kerry propaganda film Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, directed by former Moonie-run Washington Times "reporter" (click here for why I put "reporter" in quotes)and Bush administration official Carlton Sherwood (Sherwood also had worked for Tom Ridge).
This forced airing of discredited and vile propaganda (it accuses Kerry of perjury and treason--libelous charges) illustrates Sinclair's free-speech-for-me-but-not-for-thee attitude. When ABC's Nightline ran its show listing pictures and names of Americans who died in Iraq, Sinclair Broadcasting ordered its seven ABC stations not to air it "appeared to be motivated by a political agenda."
A shill for a moral leper like Sun Myung Moon should not be helping to decide who will be the next president of the United States. The Gorenfeld article I asked bloggers to link to speaks volumes about Sherwood's objectivity. Here's a quick summary: Sherwood wrote Inquisition: The Persecution and Prosecution of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon a book that portrayed Moon's conviction for income tax evasion was the result of religious bigotry and racism (talk about using the race card!). Unbeknownst to the read of Inquisition, Sherwood's manuscript was reviewed by an aide for Moon, James Gavin; Sherwood revised the manuscript based on Gavin's suggestions.
I don't know what you call that ("fellatio" is a good term) but don't call it journalism. What Sherwood did was in clear violation of several of the most important provisions of the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists:
1. Journalists should "[d]istinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
2. Journalists should "[a]void conflicts of interest, real or perceived."
3. Journalists should "[r]emain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility."
4. Journalists should "[d]isclose unavoidable conflicts."
I find it also troubling that Sinclair would try to classify this smear film as news programming. I also find it troubling that Sinclair is trying bypass fairness regulations by having a panel discussion, which Kerry will be asked to join, after the airing of this propaganda. This is ridiculous and insulting. It reminds me of back in the 1990's Jerry Falwell was fleecing his congregation by selling them expensive videos claiming that Bill Clinton was involved in murder and drug running (Falwell used a phony infomercial to drive points home to his gullible flock). Falwell offered President Clinton free media time to respond. What a sham.
10/12 UPDATEThe blogosphere is doing a phat job of stepping up and taking on Sinclair Broadcast Group's attempt to pass off discredited propaganda as journalism (Sinclair's attempt to pass off Stolen Honor as news is completely bogus). One quick way to do your part is to click on Sinclair Watch's one-stop action center.
Ted Koppel (:00): John O'Neill served in the US Navy, from 1967 to 1971. He took over command of John Kerry's Swift boat in 1969 when Kerry left Vietnam. He is a leader of the group, Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, and the author of, Unfit for Command; a book that calls John Kerry's record in Vietnam into question.
As I mentioned to you, before the broadcast . . uh . . Mr. O'Neill, we're just going to have time to focus on the one issue that we have . . uh . . looked at, tonight, that is the Silver Star issue. And if . . if I can just . .
John O'Neill: That's . . that's . .
Koppel: Yeah, go ahead.
O'Neill (:37): May I-may I say Ted, that's-that's a read shame. It's a shame that you focused only on the one minor accomplishment of John Kerry and refuse to ever cover the sampan incident, where the small family was killed, the two times he fled that are described in the book, and the like . .
Koppel: Mr. . . Mr. O'Neill
O'Neill: . . or the time where he visited the North Vietnamese.
Koppel (:55): Mr. O'Neill . . uh . . maybe we're going to be able to do something more. This was the place that we were brought to.
O'Neill: I-I invite you to, sir.
Koppel: This is the place we found. Let me go, just for this evening, and ask you . .
O'Neill: It's the third time you've covered it.
Koppel (1:08): Let me ask you to focus on the issue at hand. And . . and the first question I have is this sort of intriguing question about who that Swift boat veteran was, who talked to that one Vietnamese . . uh . . former Viet Cong that we heard from, this evening . . uh . . who said he raised some questions about John Kerry . . said this guy was running for President . . uh . . said he had . . he had won awards that he did not deserve. Do you know who that was?
O'Neill (1:33): It was no one from our group, Ted. And if anybody implies that is was, it isn't the truth. [holds up Unfit for Command, open to plate] Ted, John Kerry is in the North Vietnamese war museum as a hero. He's honored by them as one of the heroes who caused them to win the war in Vietnam.
Koppel: Mr. O'Neill, I understand . .
O'Neill: You can find it right inside . .
Koppel (1:50): Forgive me for interrupting you. I understand . .
O'Neill: Sir, excuse me, I don't believe . .
Koppel: If you'll be good enough just to . . If we can just address . .
O'Neill: I did answer your question.
Koppel: . . the questions first. You say you don't know is it.
O'Neill (2:00): Your report is unreliable.
Koppel: Well! it . . a . .
O'Neill: You went to a country where all the elections are 100% elections. And you relied on . . uh . . people that were enemies of the United States, in a closed society, instead of getting the information that was easily available from us and from the record. And as a result, you've produced a report that is truly pathetic.
Koppel: Mr. O'Neill!
O'Neill: That's the truth, Ted, and not worthy of you.
Koppel (2:19): Mr. O'Neill . . uh . . I don't think you can complain about not having received enough coverage, over these past few months. You've received a ton of it.
O'Neill: Not on Nightline, Ted.
Koppel: My . . my . . my question has to do with what eyewitnesses to the event . . I mean, you can-you can impugn them anyway you want to. And I have-I have no way of vouching for their motives or their interest in either supporting John Kerry or doing damage to . . uh . . a group that, like your own, that I'm sure they've never heard of.
O'Neill (2:47): That's the problem, Ted.
Koppel: Uh . . but why . . why . . is it that you are so reluctant to at least address the substance of what they say? In other words, you make it clear in your . .
O'Neill: I'm thrilled to address the substance, Ted.
Koppel: Then . . then . .
O'Neill: Let's go right to the substance.
Koppel: Let's get to it.
O'Niell (3:01): This is the book, Ted, [holds up cover of Kranish, et al, book] published by the Boston Globe. This is their autobiography of John Kerry, with his assistance. [opens to page and shows it to camera] Ted, in their autobiography, they describe on page 101 a single teenager in a loincloth, Ted. They weren't trying to make it up. This is-this is . . uh . . [briefly shows cover] John Kerry's own approved biography, Tour of Duty. On page 290 . . uh . . six of that book [holds page open to camera] John Kerry says, boy, he's glad there was only a single person there and not more.
What you've done is go into a closed society instead of interviewing, direct witnesses . .
Koppel (3:38): Mr. O'Neill!
O'Neill: . . and produced a story that isn't even the story in his biography . .
Koppel: Mr. O'Neill.
O'Neill: . . or that of the Boston Globe.
Koppel: We-we have other pieces of evidence, including the after-action report and, of course, the citation for the Silver Star, itself, which talks precisely! about a superior enemy force. You're the one who raised questions about the superior enemy force. It appears, from the recollections of the Vietnamese, who were on-hand at the time, they recall a [O'Neill holds open same page from Kranish, et al] superior enemy [sic] force. Twelve soldiers from . . eh . . forgive me, if you'll put the book down . .
O'Neill: Ted, they'll recover [?] . .
Koppel: We can't read it, anyway! So . .
O'Neill (4:11): Ted, this is the Boston Globe . .
Koppel: All you're doing is reflecting white light back . . [spoken over O'Neill]
O'Neill: . . biography.
Koppel: Yes. So?
O'Neill: Ted, this is the biography by the hometown newspaper of John Kerry. It says there was a single Viet Cong teenager in a loincloth.
Koppel: I . . I heard you . .
O'Neill: I asked the author of it, Michael Kranish.
Koppel: I heard you the first . . I heard . . I heard you the first time. [spoken over O'Neill]
O'Neill: I said, how did you get that information?
O'Neill (4:28): And he said, I got it because that's what everyone told me. It's the same information I got. [holding up Tour of Duty] In John Kerry's autobiography, the same information appears . .
Koppel: Mr. O'Neill.
O'Neill: . . except that they don't give the age.
Koppel: You're being-you're being . .
O'Neill: Now, really.
Koppel: . . repetitive. I am referring to what you wrote . .
O'Neill: Oh, c'mon.
Koppel: . . in your book and asking you . .
Koppel: . . to respond to what you have just heard from a bunch of [O'Neill holds up Unfit for Command] people who do not seem to have . . yo, no. We got the title - Unfit for Command. Uh . . you know, just do me a favor. Stop picking up books and let's see if you and I can, more or less, look at one another and just get a few questions and answers back and forth. You wrote . .
Koppel (5:04): You wrote . .
O'Neill: Ted . .
Koppel: . . that there was only . .
Koppel: . . one man. And, in fact, you didn't describe him as a man. You described him as a kid. You described him as a . .
O'Neill: I described him as . .
Koppel: . . kid in a loincloth.
O'Neill: That's not true, Ted.
Koppel: It turns out he was 26 or 27 years old, was sent by provincial headquarters, was a leader of a twelve man Viet Cong unit that was sent to that place, and I am simply giving to you what the folks on the scene described, in order to ambush American Swift boats. Why do you have trouble accepting it?
O'Neill (5:34): Ted . . I have a lot of trouble, Ted. Because you went to a country that is a closed society. You ignored every single report. [holds up Kranish book] You've ignored the written biography of John Kerry by the Boston Globe that concludes exactly what we did; Michael Kranish, who interviewed American after American, including Kerry's crewmen. You ignored [briefly holds up Tour of Duty] Kerry's own autobiography, Tour of Duty, in which he says there was-there was . . he was glad there was only single . . uh . . gunman. Ker . . uh . . let me suggest that when we have a choice between Kerry's creman and our crewmen, all saying there was a single person - the people you never interviewed; our guys, of course - but his people and ours saying there was a single guy popping up, and a group of Vietnamese who were opponents in the war, living in a closed society, you've made a very change . . strange choice to go all the way there and pick them. You've particularly made a strange choice because it's the same as . .
Koppel (6:23): Do me a favor. Just . . just explain to me [spoken over O'Neill] . .
Just explain-just explain to me, if you can, why do you think it is that a bunch of peasants in a truly remote part of southern Vietnam would have an interest in making up stories that would somehow benefit John Kerry and raise questions about your version of that particular incident. What motive could they possibly have?
O'Neill (6:50): The first . . uh . . thing I can tell you for sure, Ted, is that their story is totally different than Kerry's story. It's totally different than [unintelligible] story. It's even totally different . .
Koppel: Yes, you've mentioned that. But I mean, try and answer . . try and answer, my [spoken over O'Neill]
Try and answer my question.
O'Neill (7:02): Now, this marvelous new . .
Koppel: I've heard you say that three times, now. [speaking over O'Neill, and smiling]
O'Niell . . discovery . . The marvelous new discovery in Vietnam occurs in a closed society in a country that has honored John Kerry himself as a hero in their war museum who helped them win the war. You could see the government personnel directly with him. I guess, if I have a choice, Ted, between relying as a I did on the Boston Globe autobiography, on Kerry's own autobiography, on his crewman, on your prior show that you had in July which said essentially the same thing, and on the recollection of the guys that we had that were there, or a group of people coming up with a totally new story in a closed society, I choose to rely on Kerry's books, Kerry's crewmen, our crewmen, and the other sources. I don't think it was worthy of you all to go and . . and . . go and interview these people and try and impeach me without bothering to look at the Boston Globe autobiography, [or] at Kerry's own book.
The-the story is ridiculous, first of all. Kerry didn't go in-in the first assault. Everyone says that the initial two boats went in. Kerry milled around. And then a rocket was fired at Kerry. Kerry's boats turned in towards the shore. And we have said that Kerry's action involves some courage, and that he deserves some medal. But the fact of the matter is when he turned in, Ted, only a single Viet Cong popped out of that hole. He was wounded in the legs by machine gun. That's what Kerry says. And Kerry chased him.
Koppel (8:25): Mr. O'Neil. I've been . . I've been . . I've been. [speaking over O'Neill at "machine gun"]
I've been very patient listening to you give the same rendition of the same story three or four times, now. The one thing you have not . .
O'Neill: It's in everybody's book, Ted.
Koppel: I understand which books it's in [agitated tone]. It's also in his citation for bravery for which he won the Silver Star. It is also . .
O'Neill: Actually, it was his . .
Koppel: It is also in the after-action report, Mr. O'Neill.
O'Neill (8:51): It only his third citation.
Koppel: So it's not as though . . it's not [speaking over O'Neill]
The only thing that I find really fascinating about this is that you seem so reluctant to admit that it is possible for a bunch of peasants in-in South Vietnam, who've never heard of this man before, to independently, in somewhat varying forms, to confirm the essence of what John Kerry claimed about the incidents that led to his Silver Star.
O'Neill (9:15): That's not true, John . . uh . . Ted. We accepted John Kerry's version of the Silver Star. We just pointed out that his version, which is a single guy popping up out of a hole being shot in the legs, is not a numerically superior force. It cannot be. And that's what happened.
Koppel: Nor is that what-nor is that what [speaking over O'Neill, after "force"] we suggested, tonight. We're saying that the single guy popping up out of the hole who was wounded, who may or may not have been killed by John Kerry, was not the end of that battle; that there were twenty other Viet Cong on the scene, according to the eyewitnesses . . who kept up . . who kept up . .
O'Neill: Well, what John Kerry says is, Ted . . [speaking over Koppel, after "eyewitnesses"]
Koppel: . . heavy fire. You've-you've already mentioned the books.
O'Neill (9:50): Ted, John Kerry says, "I could not help wondering what would have happened if, instead of one Viet Cong with the B-40, what if there had been three, or five, or ten? He knew the answer, of course." So John Kerry's story is that there was one, Ted. And that was the same story that the Boston Globe reporters had. You've been had, Ted. You've been had in a Communist country.
Koppel: Mr. O'Neill. [speaking after, "had, Ted."]
O'Neill: You should have stuck, honestly, to the Kerry people, to our people, and the like. That's all there was. It was one guy!
Koppel: We're starting to . . uh . . we're starting to meet ourselves [speaking over O'Neill, after "the like"] coming around again, Mr. O'Neill. So I thank you for your patience.
O'Neill: I'm sorry, Ted. All-all I can do is read the documents.
Koppel: I thank you for your courtesy in [speaking over O'Neill] coming here, this evening. Thank you, sir.
O'Neill: Uh . . I thank you, Ted, for your courtesy. And I hope you'll cover the sampan and the other incidents and let our guys go on the show.
Koppel: Very good, sir. I'll be back with a closing thought.
Koppel: One of our own producers, this morning, raised a question that I suspect a number of you may have on your mind. Why, just when the Presidential candidates are starting to focus on real, substantive issues devote yet another program to what John Kerry did or didn't do in Vietnam?
Here's why. Questions have been raised about John Kerry's character and honesty. We were offered the chance to set the record straight on one, discreet chapter in Mr. Kerry's war record. We didn't know what we were going to find when our crew went into Vietnam. You have the right to expect that we would have reported it, either way. And we would. Because not reporting something you know can be just as much of a political statement as reporting it. Imagine how outraged supporters of Mr. Kerry would have been if we had concealed what we found!
Our interviews don't prove that John Kerry deserved his Silver Star. But they are consistent with the after-action report and his citation for bravery. Finally, once we've checked things as thoroughly as we can, we're in the business of reporting what we learned, not concealing it.
That's our report for tonight. I'm Ted Koppel, in Washington. For all of us here at ABC News . . . good night.
1) Crash Novak's system. Here's how: 1. Click here. 2. Put in an email address in the E-mail Address Required area(any email address will do, it doesn't have to be real). 3. In the Comments/Questions area, put in the words "Jerome Corsi." 4. Hit the "Mail" button. 5. When it tells you "Thanks. Your request has been forwarded to the appropriate individual", hit the back button and repeat. I've done it dozens of times. It will just take a a few minutes.
2) Do the same to the Catholic Leagues' system: 1. Click here 2. Put the words "Jerome Corsi" in the comments section. 3. Hit the "Submit Feedback" button. 4. When it says "thank you", hit the back button and repeat as many times as possible until their system crashes.
3) Morton Kondracke is another Smear Boat apologist. Do the following: 1. Click here 2. Put an email address in the "from" line (any one will do) 2. Put "Swift Boats" in the subject line. 3. Copy and paste http://mediamatters.org/items/200408240006 in the message area. 4. Hit "submit" 5. hit the back button and repeat many times.
Update: I was able to send 28 messages on the League feedback area in one minute.
Columbus Trip Last week, I went back to Columbus, Ohio--my adopted hometown. Stuff I did that was great: Bob Evans (their banana cream pie is to die for), Flying Pizza on campus,the Monkey's Retreat comix store, Siam Restaurant on Bethel Road (unfortunately, the Indonesian restaurant on north campus was closed), the Coffee Table in the Short North, Victorian Village.
Did Anyone Listen to Rush on Monday? I turned on Rush right after he had a liberal caller on. The caller obviously hit home because Limbaugh referred to him as "a seminar caller" which is a code term used whenever a caller tears off Limbaugh's face (e.g, me and Greg from Orlando. What did this caller say? Email me if you know.
I was in the Belly of the Beast On my return trip from Columbus Monday(I'll write more about it later), there was a layover in Houston. This was the first time I was in Texas; I don't plan to go to Texas ever again. Sorry if you're from Texas.
In Columbus, Ohio I'm in Columbus. Some things have changed drastically since I was here last such as the south Ohio State campus area on High Street (where there used to be gritty bars like Papa Joes)was razed and they're building a fancy shopping/activity center. They closed down the Indonesian restaurant in the north campus area, but Flying Pizza is still around.
Swiftboat Stuff 1. On Tuesday night, John O'Neil was on Hannity & Colmes (Where was Jerome Corsi?). Colmes asked O'Neil about Corsi's bigoted statements against the Pope, Catholicism and Islam. Colmes did okay that night. On Scarborough Country, Ted Sampley was on and Laurence O’Donnell confronted Sampley on his claim that John McCain was brainwashed as a POW and was a Manchurian Candidate. It was da bomb.
2. The great thing about googlebombing is that it usually isn't a zero-sum situation. If you get more than one site in the top ten, your work is done. One great (and very thorough) site to link to is from Eriposte. Here's what you need to do: hyperlink the words Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to the following URL: http://www.eriposte.com/media/liars_inc/swiftboat.htm
4. Last but not least, the Catholic League has still not responded to Jerome Corsi's bigoted statements about Catholicism (and I know many people responded to my call). So let's send a message to another member of the Catholic League's Board of Advisors, Michael Novak. Click here (it's the First Things site) and tell Michael Novak that the Catholic League needs to address Jerome Corsi's anti-Catholic bigotry. It will just take a few seconds and it's important.
What Do You Think? I'm still getting a lot of hits from today's links from Atrios and APJ. If you're new to this site, check it out--especially the left sidebar that has my prank calls to right-wing blowhards. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you think. Gracias.
Will The Catholic League Denounce Anti-Catholic Bigotry? Let's Find Out If the unsuspecting web-surfer were to take a cursory look at the web site for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, he/she would probably surmise that the group serves the purpose of defending Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church from bigoted attacks and discrimination in much the same way that the ADL monitors and calls attention to anti-semitism.
Certainly, the Catholic League catalogues and speaks out against anti-Catholic bigotry and slanders. However, that isn't the whole story. When I was doing some non-blog related research on the American right, I found that some people and groups opposed to the sectarian right listed the Catholic League as a religious right organization that ostensibly deals with anti-Catholicism but which has a hard right agenda.
If you dig just a little deeper on the League's web site, you'll find some evidence to support this argument. The League's president William Donohue is a longtime right-wing activist (I once saw him promote his anti-ACLU book on The Morton Downey Jr. Show). The League's Board of Advisors (click here and scroll to the bottom) looks like the list of contributors to National Review.
Two recent episodes raise questions about whether the League is, in fact, a right-wing front group posing as a civil rights group. One involves an action by the League--the other involves a nonresponse by the League.
The Action first. Donohue recently sent some blistering press releases denouncing the Reverend Brenda Peterson who had headed the Clergy Leadership Network (CLN). Her crimes according to Donahue: she wanted to revert the Pledge of Allegence to its pre-"Under God" status; CLN's site had a link to what Donahue called "an anti-Catholic site" ; CLN opposes homophobia; and CLN links to MoveOn.org--which Donahue refers to as "a smear site." Nothing except the alleged anti-Catholic site (as if) even hints of anti-Catholic bigotry. In fact, I checked out the alleged anti-Catholic site and found it to be anything but an anti-catholic site (actually it's a blog; click here for the blogger's response to the false charge of anti-Catholicism).
Next is the Nonresponse. In the past few days, it was revealed that Jerry Corsi, the co-author of a bestselling book (right now, it is number one on Amazon.com and it hasn't even been released) made virulent anti-Catholic slurs that parellel the anti-Catholicism of the Know Nothings and Jack Chick (Quick aside: Check out The Unofficial Guide to the Art of Jack T. Chick: Chick Tracts, Crusader Comics, and Battle Cry Newspapers by Kurt Kuersteiner--it slams). This author said things like, "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press" and "So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the laywers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it." Nothing from Donohue and the League: Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Squat. Sweet Fanny Adams. Goose egg. Zip.
Why the numerous actions against Peterson and the silence regarding Corsi? It might be that Peterson was the Democratic National Committee's Senior Religion Advisor (until she had to resign due to Donahue's hectoring) and that Corsi is the co-author of an anti-Kerry smear book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. As the Church Lady might say: "How convenient."
Now I'm willing to cut Donahue and the League some slack because it's been only a few days since Corsi was exposed as an anti-Catholic hatemonger. Therefore, let's make sure that Donohue and the League knows about Corsi's anti-Catholic statements:
1) Tell William Donohue and the Catholic League about Corsi's anti-Catholic statements. Click here and write away. 2) Write Catholic League advisor Kate O’Beirne at email@example.com
Disclosure: I am not Catholic (my religious beliefs can best be summed up by those great sages, Bill and Ted who said, "Be excellent to each other" and "party on!"). I believe in karma, reincarnation, satchidananda, and in the benefits of yoga and surfing. I have many Catholic relatives and friends. In my youth, I hung out with a lot of kids from the parochial school because they partied hard (I learned early that Bill Joel was wrong when he said that Catholic girls start much too late). I do enjoy Jack Chick's comics but not for the reasons intended--and I don't believe Alberto for one minute).
This is Great: Another Scaife-paid Whore Bites the Dust! Remember the "troopergate" nonscandal? If you don't, here's a refresher: In the 1990's, a paranoid nut job named Richard Mellon Scaife believed (and probably still beleives) the right-wing urban legend the Clinton Body Count, which is the belief that Bill Clinton and his Arkansas cronies were secretly doing away with anyone who got in their way; the crown jewel of the Clinton Body Count is the belief that Vince Foster died as a result of Bill and Hillary (Scaife called Foster's death "the Rosetta Stone of the Clinton administration"). Scaife happens to be the heir of a billion dollar fortune which he uses to fund various con men (such as Christopher Ruddy) to support his whacko conspiracy theories.
One of the things Scaife funded was Troopergate. Because Scaife had plenty of money, he was able to pay off all the main characters in this manufactured scandal. He paid Arkansas troopers who had been Bill Clinton's bodyguards to concoct wild stories about procuring women for Clinton (in fact, these troopers were using their positions as Clinton's bodyguards to get women for themselves). Scaife also paid the American Spectator to "report" these charges. Talk about being thorough.
When the Spectator story by David Brock was published, the American right had an orgasm. Rush was on vacation when the story broke, but then congressman Robert K. Dornan was the substitute host and applauded these liars (and smeared the one trooper who didn't lie). The AP and some other real journalists did some basic research and found that many of the actions the troopers alleged could not have possibly happened. Later, most of the troopers were forced to admit the payments and that they made up accusations when they were deposed in the Paula Jones case.
One trooper who didn't recant was Larry Patterson. He continued to milk the manufactured scandal for all it was worth. Ads for his lurid tapes with tales of Clinton misdeeds appeared in Jerry Falwell's National Liberty Journal throughout the 1990's (Quick note: defund the right by getting a free three-month subscription to Falwell's rag). You might also remember Patterson's name being brought up after Trent Lott got in hot water over his comments about Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat presidential run (Aside: the latest I head about Strom were that his current Hell duties involve shining Idi Amin's shoes). Lott ass-kisser Sean Hannity (click here for an example) and other wing-nuts accused Bill Clinton of being a closet racist based on some of Patterson's tall tales.
Well, I am happy to report that Patterson's chickens have come home to roost. The cosmic foot of karma is firmly entrenched in Patterson's poopchute. Patterson admitted to lying to an FBI agent, a crime for which he can receive up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Patterson helped to put this country through a huge ordeal. Let's hope he gets the maximum sentence.
It seems as if some people on the Free Republic web site actually believe this is the case. For instance, someone with the posting ID "Phantom Lord" wrote "Hired Goons. They are very good at 'fixing' things." The Freeper known as "Steplock" wrote: "Paid off? I doubt it - Super Heavy THREATS against his family? Most likely. The only other explanation --- He was PLANTED by the dnc to be the loud voice who then "confesses" his lies to the people." Alluding to the debunked Alex Polier story, Freeper "claudiustg" wrote, "The timing is very suspicious, no? I wonder if Elliott is going to disappear to Africa somewhere." Read the entire thread here. It's medication time.
Help The Google Bomb Project The Republicans and hard right have been trying to tar John Kerry and John Edwards as extreme liberals based on some deceptive (and incomplete) data put out by the National Journal.
If you have a blog, here's what you need to do: hyperlink the words "most liberal senator" to the following URL: http://mostliberalsenator.blogspot.com/
As the movie "Outfoxed" makes clear, Fox News is for all practical purposes a G.O.P. propaganda agency...Commentators worked hard to spin scenes [from last week's Democratic convention] that didn't fit the script. Some simply saw what they wanted to see. On Fox, Michael Barone asserted that conventioneers cheered when Mr. Kerry criticized President Bush but were silent when he called for military strength. Check out the video clips at Media Matters; there was tumultuous cheering when Mr. Kerry talked about a strong America.
Saturday night I went to a screening of Stacy Peralta's Riding Giants at Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex. I can't do justice describing this film that chronicles the evolution of big wave surfing (it focuses on three big wave riders from different periods: Greg Noll, Jeff Clark, and Laird Hamilton. When I bought my ticket, the ticket vender was nice enough to give me a soundtrack CD that has some great tunes (the score for the film was excellent).
What was best was that I went to this screening because it had a Q & A with director Stacy Peralta afterwards. The audience loved the film and Peralta answered questions about surfing and the craft of filmmaking. After the Q & A, I told him the film was tight and he signed my CD insert (fortunately I brought my Scripto). This film is about surfing but it transcends surfing. Peralta mentioned how they loved the film in landlocked places like Dallas. If you have an extra nine bucks, then see the film--and if you're in Blockbuster, rent Peralta's Dogtown and Z-Boyseven if you're not a thrasher (Disclosure: I was a quasi-thrasher before I got into football and track and field).
I met a very interesting person today but I can't tell you who she is.
I'm the farthest thing from a big wave rider (it would be like comparing the late Dale Earnhardt to a guy who likes to go for an afternoon drive in a sweet ride). These guy are intense when it comes to surfing.
Short Memories Those who we hear prattling about "Bush-haters" in the Democratic Party have either a short or a convenient memory. We were reminded about this in June when Bill Clinton spoke with Larry King (I saw it for the first time over the weekend; click here for the transcript). One particiular thing he said got me to thinking: the things the right can't get away with thing they got away with during the 1990's. The blogosphere is one big reason. Here's what former President Clinton said:
I'd known him [Vince Foster] all my life and I really loved him. I mean, he was a remarkable human being. We now know one afflicted with depression, which we now know is a condition that has to be treated and can be with some people and can't be with others. His severe depression was triggered by some critical editorials he'd gotten.
But I think that, you know, people who say that I act paranoid when I talk about the far right and how they treated us and how we were treated by a double standard have only to look at Vince Foster. Everybody knew that he'd taken a family heirloom revolver and gone out and blown his brains out at Fort Marcy Park in the grip of the depression and instead of all of us being able to nurture his family and grieve, you know, some of the right-wing Republicans, Rush Limbaugh, a lot of the other talk show people immediately said he was murdered, he was murdered in an apartment that belonged to the Clintons...
KING: Where would that idea even come from?
CLINTON: They made it up, Larry. Absolutely because they knew there was no consequence, there was no consequence to any horrible attack they leveled against...
KING: Now, here we go back to Bill Clinton. Didn't you want to go on and lambast back?
CLINTON: Sure I did. But whenever I was asked about it, I said, look, there's nothing to this. But I mean, look at -- it was a mad time where you could say anything you wanted about the president or anybody that had the misfortune to know me, and they were fair game. I mean, it was stunning to me. And so Robert Fiske, the Whitewater special counsel, who was a career professional Republican prosecutor, looked at all the evidence and, because the Congress was demanding that he investigate Vince Foster's suicide. It's like how in the world could a man be guilty of depression and have it triggered by critical newspaper articles? They demanded that he looked at it. So he looked at it and he said Vince Foster killed himself, which everybody in the wide world knew.
As soon as he did, they turned on him like a dog in the night. They called him every name but a blue goose. And that's when Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth went to see Judge Centel and said, "you got to get rid of this Fiske guy. He's too fast and too fair. We need somebody political guy in there." Surely he could see that we could drag out Vince Foster and make his family miserable and do all this stuff. It was hideous. I couldn't believe it but it shows you that -- it's like how unfeeling they were. It's like none of us were people to them because since I won the presidency, they thought I had interrupted the natural order of things and we weren't human beings and didn't deserve to be treated like human beings.