I am sure of only one thing in the memo controversy: this is the first time a major political scandal has focused on what features of IBM typewriters were available in 1972. The usually extremist Daily Kos actually has a good synopsis of the facts, albeit from a more than slightly anti-Bush standpoint. It’s not really something that can be quoted not in the entirety, and the entirety is pretty darn long. Anyway, if true, it seems to prove the legitimacy of the documents. However, there are often no links to prove its statements. This worries me. I don’t want to be sticking with a decision based on false information. But whether or not the post is truthful, this argument seems pretty silly to me. After all, I think it’s a much bigger story that Bush got special help in dodging the draft than that his superior suspended him from flight duty. The former says a lot about his character; the latter, in my opinion, doesn’t. I just don’t understand the fixation on something so meaningless.
Needless to say, this is a departure from what Bush proposed last month on the subject.
I’m still not convinced it’s the right thing to do — Phil Carter is on vacation, so I can’t ask him. What’s more interesting is why Bush changed his mind — was this just blowing with the political winds or does he believe this is the right thing to do?
The title to this post suggests my thoughts on the answer.
What’s his title?
Bush flip-flops on intelligence reform
I’m a little more sympathetic. As far as I can tell, Bush is following the best recommendations of the 9/11 report, such as budget authority and the post itself, while snubbing the worst, such as housing the NID in the White House. See my earlier post for further thoughts. Anyway, Bush has chosen the best way to implement the position. Credit where credit is due.
My Beltway spies tell me that a Bush II team (even sans Colin) will have a more pragmatic, realist tilt. Wolfy/Feith are not in the ascendancy anymore. Put differently, regime change is not coming to Iran in February of ’05 in any Bush II (Bush just hinted at this strongly saying diplomacy had been given 12 years in Iraq; just one so far in Iran…)
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s not going to be any Poppy restoration with Brent Scowcroft and Jim Baker rushing about hither dither. But a Bush II team is likely going to feature foreign policy practitioners more tethered to reality than some in Bush I. If nothing else, people are going to have learned from their mistakes. Wars (particularly securing the peace) takes soldiers. Lots of them. Intel needs to be judiciously and cautiously examined without histrionics and hyperbole. People, once liberated, turn on liberators quickly (ingrates abound in this world, let’s never forget!). Exiles, particularly of the Knightsbridge variety, twist and turn with the winds with breathtaking gall.
Compare a more sober and realist Bush II team to Kerry’s prospective line-up. Holbrooke might do a great job–but who will occupy the vast sub-Holbrooke ranks at State (key 6th floor appointees and such)? Who will man the Pentagon?
The bench is light, I fear. More on that soon.
If that were true, I would be much less worried about a second Bush term than I am now. I’d like to think that the Bush foreign policy team knows that they screwed Iraq up royal. But something tells me that they are still in denial. Not one Bush advisor has owned up to the fact that things are worse than they predicted. Not one Bush advisor has denounced Ahmed Chalabi. Not one has acknowledged that there were no WMD.
More importantly, we can’t trust the people who botched the first part of the war to complete it. I don’t know if Iraq will stabilize; I don’t know if that’s even possible at this point. What I do know is that it’s much more likely to happen in a Kerry administration. We don’t know how good Susan Rice and Rand Beers would be at making foreign policy. But we do know how bad Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith are at it. And I’ll take a mystery box over a box of snakes any day.
“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN’s aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”—Sept. 6, 2004, Poplar Bluff, Mo.
I’m sure that somewhere in his office there’s a notepad saying, “Second Term Goals: 1) Get out of Iraq 2) Cut more taxes and 3) Let OB/GYN’s sleep with their patients”.
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Monday called the invasion of Iraq “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time” and said his goal was to withdraw U.S. troops in a first White House term.
Under pressure from some Democrats to change the subject from national security — regarded by many as President Bush’s strength — Kerry tried to focus on the economy and other domestic issues at a neighborhood meeting in Canonsburg, but members of the audience raised Iraq.
In Racine, West Virginia, Kerry assailed Bush’s record, repeatedly telling a Labor Day rally the “W” in Bush’s name stood for “wrong — wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country” on everything from jobs to Iraq.
“I said this from the beginning of the debate to the walk up to the war,” Kerry told supporters. “I said, Mr. President don’t rush to war, take the time to build a legitimate coalition and have a plan to win the peace.”
He said Bush had failed on all three counts. He called the president’s talk about a coalition fighting alongside about 125,000 U.S. troops “the phoniest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“You’ve about 500 troops here, 500 troops there and it’s American troops that are 90 percent of the combat casualties and it’s American taxpayers that are paying 90 percent of the cost of the war,” he said. “It’s the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kerry kills when he closes. And it makes Bush look pathetic. After all, his response was basically “My war isn’t about me, it’s about you!”
“After voting for the war but against funding it, after saying he would have voted for the war even knowing everything we know today, my opponent woke up this morning with new campaign advisers and yet another new position. Suddenly he’s against it again,” Bush said in remarks prepared for delivery at a campaign rally in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
Um, yeah. I’m sure that’s going to go over well. Anyway, it’s been clear for a while that “It’s Iraq, stupid!” for this year. And Kerry is going for the jugular. It worked in ’96, and it’ll work this year.
Someone at TIME should be fired for this. Their mainpage includes a link to a story about Clinton’s surgery. While the story itself is fairly innocent, this is their caption at the mainpage: “Bill Clinton: He banished Big Macs, but too late”. Because that’s tasteful.
Hold onto your hats, here it comes: The Kerry attack dogs are about to launch ads reminiscent of the Republican’s Willie Horton attack on Michael Dukakis. The name of the group responsible for the ads is MoveonforAmerica.org.
What do the ads say? You can watch them here.
The first ad will feature John Kerry’s role as a private attorney in 1982, when he secured freedom and parole for his client George Reissfelder who pled guilty to attempted murder of a police officer, bur never served his 15-year sentence because Kerry successfully secured his parole. The parole was in Florida because Mr. Kerry’s client had escaped during a furlough, just like Willie Horton. Once a free man, thanks to John Kerry, Kerry’s would-be cop killer client brazenly continued his life of crime as part of a Mafia-controlled drug ring.
The second ad, which will be aired at a later date, will feature the political alliance John Kerry has forged with Al Sharpton, focusing on Mr. Sharpton’s history, which was rarely mentioned during his 2004 run for president. Instead of the charismatic and witty Sharpton seen during his presidential bid, Americans will be educated about the real Al Sharpton, who recently blamed America for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Sharpton who called Adolph Hitler “a great man”; the Sharpton who urged college students to kill police officers; and the Sharpton leading the picketing of a white-owned store in Harlem [calling the Jewish owner a “white interloper”, resulting in the store being burned down by one of Sharpton’s followers, killing seven people. The ad will include footage of Sharpton in his own words, and Mr. Kerry’s hinting of Shartpon becoming part of a Kerry administration.
Okay, then. If they can criticize Kerry for representing a paying client, and for accepting Sharpton’s endorsement, we can bring up plenty of stuff that’s worse. How about the illegal abortion that Bush got his mistress?
In the winter of 1971 George W. Bush was dating a woman named Robin Lowman (now Robin Garner). Miss Lowman became pregnant by Smirk and he arranged for her to have an abortion – which in the great state of Texas in 1971 was very illegal! Not to mention that George W. is running as a pro-life candidate for the presidency.
The unnamed source of this story, was a friend of Robin Lowman’s and the girlfriend of the man who arranged the abortion. His name is Robert Carl Chandler. Chandler is a Bush friend and supporter from way back and he made the arrangements for Miss Lowman’s abortion at the Twelve Oaks Hospital in Houston, TX (now the Bayou City Medical Center). The source overheard the call by Mr. Chandler to arrange the abortion and the source visited Robin Lowman at the Twelve Oaks Hospital after the procedure.
The source meanwhile, is afraid of coming forward, saying that she was threatened by Chandler and another Bush friend and supporter named Jim Bath. Bath has longstanding intelligence connections, and played a role in the BCCI scandal. Robin Lowman (now Garner) is married to Jerry Lee Garner who is an FBI agent.
Or should we bring up Bush’s cocaine use?
[Author J.H.] Hatfield quotes “a high-ranking advisor to Bush” who confirmed that Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in Houston in 1972, and had the record expunged by a judge who was “a fellow Republican and elected official” who helped Bush get off “with a little community service at a minority youth center instead of having to pick cotton on a Texas prison farm.”
Hatfield quotes a former Yale classmate who told him: “George W. was arrested for possession of cocaine in 1972, but due to his father’s connections, the entire record was expunged by a state judge whom the older Bush helped get elected. It was one of those ‘behind closed doors in the judges’ chambers’ kind of thing between the old man and one of his Texas cronies who owed him a favor … There’s only a handful of us that know the truth.”
Hatfield also says that when he asked Scott McClellan to comment on the allegation of a former Yale classmate of Bush’s that the presidential hopeful was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972 and had his record expunged in exchange for community service at Project P.U.L.L., the Bush campaign spokesman said, sotto voce, “Oh, shit,” followed by, “No comment.”
And to top it all off, why don’t we bring up Laura’s little car shindig?
Details in a 1963 accident report say that Laura Bush, then 17, ran a stop sign in the Texas crash that killed a friend in another car. The report, adding information to previous reports of the crash, was released to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
According to the two-page accident report, Laura Welch was driving her Chevrolet sedan on a clear night shortly after 8 p.m. on Nov. 6, 1963, when she drove into an intersection and struck a Corvair sedan driven by 17-year-old Michael Douglas.
All juicy stuff. Sure, some of it is questionable, but that didn’t stop the Swifties. Why should it stop us?
P.S. It looks as though Kitty Kelly might help us out a bit:
GEORGE W Bush snorted cocaine at Camp David, a new book claims.
His wife Laura also allegedly tried cannabis in her youth.
Author Kitty Kelley says in her biography The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, that the US President first used coke at university in the mid-1960s.
She quotes his former sister-in-law Sharon Bush who claims: “Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was President, and not just once either.”
Other acquaintances allege that as a 26-year-old National Guard, Bush “liked to sneak out back for a joint or into the bathroom for a line of cocaine”.
Bush claims he quit drinking and was “saved” in 1986; his dad was President from 1989 to 1993. And his former sister-in-law says he used cocaine then. If this is really in the book, which I hope it is, Will Saletan will be right, four years later. Bush will be toast.
As much as I despise strict constructionism, I find quite a few things to hate about liberal constitutional interpretation as well. For example, read this line from Cass Sunstein’s otherwise great Washington Monthly piece:
[A Bush-appointed court] might well elevate commercial speech to the same status as political speech–thus forbidding controls on commercials by tobacco companies, among others.
WELL, YEAH! We’ve already done that, first of all, and secondly, why shouldn’t we? It’s a form of expression, and, if that’s not enough (which it should be), it formulates an opinion: namely, that the product being advertised is useful/effective/smooth and mentholly. I’ve never much liked Sunstein. He’s spoken out against First Amendment rights before, and has denied that the DOMA violates the Full Faith and Credit clause. He’s the kind of person who gives centrism a bad name.
I shall now laugh at anyone who actually thinks that this administration is making anyone any safer:
The FBI Investigation: You will want to read this Time magazine report which makes clear three things:
1.) Larry Franklin was flipped by the FBI months ago, and had been a tool for investigators to gather evidence on his colleagues and associates.
2.) The evidence the FBI has against Franklin passing the draft NSPD to an official with AIPAC is the tool the FBI had to flip Franklin. It is hardly the crown jewels. A piece today from the LA Times adds to the evidence that Franklin may have hardly been aware that what he was doing could be construed as espionage. A colleague of Franklin tells me that around Feith’s policy shop, they described Franklin’s trademark mix of zeal and cluelessness as “Planet Franklin.”
3.) One avenue of investigation with which Franklin was assisting FBI investigators was, who leaked the information on the US breaking Iranian communications codes to Ahmad Chalabi. That line of inquiry is very much part of the FBI counter intelligence investigation into who allegedly leaked US Iran intel to Aipac.
This administration has passed critical information about what is possibly the greatest threat to our national security to lobbying groups. And, as Laura Rozen above makes clear, this wasn’t just one “rotten apple”; this was a system of spies working within the Pentagon. This isn’t as bad as Iran-Contra; it’s a dozen times worse. And again, I say, if a Democrat had done this…
A State Department official today said the U.S. is close to capturing Osama bin Laden.
The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday. "If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.
As many, including us, have said a few times, it will be no surprise when Bush pulls Osama out of a hat before the election. And foreign newspapers have claimed a few times we’ve already captured him. See here and here.
I personally don’t care if it happens near the election. A capture is a capture, and grabbing bin Laden will deal a key blow to al Qaeda’s infrastructure. If a Kerry loss ensues, so be it. And as for capturing him ahead of time, I just don’t think the Bush administration’s competent enough to do that. However, if they are, it will be exposed quickly by Laura Rozen, Josh Marshall and co., and then picked up by the press, which was gradually grown more and more critical of the administration. This, of course, will lead to the biggest landslide since ’84. So I’m not worried at all.