The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, July 12, 2003


George Tenet's non-apology apology is not likely to end anything. Tenet's explanation still leaves unanswered questions, such as: just who decided to put that ever so carefully worded sentence into the SOTU in the first place? and so on, and so forth

But questions about intelligence are not limited to fictitious African uranium sales. There's also the whole Al Qaeda link thing.

Before the war, Bush and members of his cabinet said Saddam was harboring top al-Qaida operatives and suggested Iraq could slip the terrorist network chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons.

Critics attacked those assertions from the beginning for being counter to the ideologies of Saddam and al-Qaida and short on corroborating evidence. Now, two former Bush administration intelligence officials say the evidence linking Saddam to the group responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was never more than sketchy at best.

''There was no significant pattern of cooperation between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist operation,'' former State Department intelligence official Greg Thielmann said this week.

Intelligence agencies agreed on the ''lack of a meaningful connection to al-Qaida'' and said so to the White House and Congress, said Thielmann, who left State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research last September.

Another former Bush administration intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, agreed there was no clear link between Saddam and al-Qaida.

''The relationships that were plotted were episodic, not continuous,'' the former official said.
I suppose this is also the CIA's fault? Should Dubya turn to Poppy for answers? Between this, the Niger uranium, the aluminum tubing, and the lack of any discoveries at all, nothing is going away.

Anyway, I'm in the middle of a relaxing weekend, hope yours is as well.

Friday, July 11, 2003


From Lambert, of Atrios:
AFRICA NOTEBOOK: Ghosts of Clinton Haunt Bush Africa Tour

ENTEBBE, UGANDA (AP) - President Bush is thousands of miles away from Washington, yet even here, he cannot escape the long shadow of his predecessor.
A room at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel here along the shores of Lake Victoria was renamed the Clinton Imperial Suite after President Clinton stayed in it on a visit to Uganda during his 1998 tour of sub-Saharan Africa.

Reporters who accompanied Bush to the hotel Friday for his private meeting with Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni and tour of an AIDS support center filed their stories and sound bites from the nearby Clinton Pavilion.

And after Bush lands in Nigeria late Friday, the final stop on five-day tour of sub-Saharan Africa, his black limousine and the rest of his motorcade will whiz down Bill Clinton highway en route to the hotel where he is to spend the night. (full story)
I second Lambert's "hee hee!"

Get well soon, Jack White!
Jack White was involved in an automobile accident in his hometown of Detroit on July 9th and suffered a compound fracture of his left index finger. As a result of the crash, the White Stripes will have to pull out of two headlining gigs at the T in the Park Festival in Scotland and the Witness Festival in Ireland. The Flaming Lips will fill in for the Stripes at both events.

Of course, he could pull a James Hetfield and have a roadie take over on guitar, allowing him to continue touring. Then again, Jack's playing style is so distinct that it would be hard to honestly replicate.

Take good care of him, Meg.

Hey, it could happen!

Thursday, July 10, 2003


A 1947 diary of Harry Truman's was recently discovered, and in it he says this:
"The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog. Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes."
Hmm. His general point probably comes off better than his initial one. Of course, Truman is speaking as a former haberdasher who came to power and dropped two atomic bombs. Oh well.


Take it away, Commander:

Speaking to reporters at a morning breakfast, Mr. Nader said his decision would depend, in some measure, on the fortunes of two of the nine current Democratic contenders whose politics would appear to resemble most closely his own — Dennis Kucinich, a House member from Ohio, and Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont.

Mr. Nader said growing support for Mr. Kucinich, one of the most liberal members of Congress, would give him "less reason to go into the election," adding: "Not, no. Just less."

As for Dr. Dean, Mr. Nader says he likes what the former governor says in speeches but fears that he will ultimately move toward the center to broaden his appeal. (italics mine)
Oh, god forbid Howard Dean actually tries to win a general election.

The reality is, primary elections often favor candidates who have strong appeal in the party base, while general elections hinge upon support of "moderate", "undecided" voters. The perogative should be getting Bush out of the office he didn't win. And we need the swing voters to get that.

On that note, Ralph Nader is exactly right: Provided that he is nominated, Gov. Howard Dean will do his darnedest to appeal to the center in the general election! What will he say to those middle-class, middle-American voters? He'll tell them, plainly and truthfully, that George W. Bush and his administration simply aren't looking out for them. He's the one who isn't doing a darn thing to keep 400k+ of you from being forced into unemployment each week. He's the one who is gutting your social security so his donors can walk away with luxury-yacht tax cuts. And he's the one saying "bring 'em on!", inviting militants to kill your sons and daughters. I'm sure, of course, that Dean will phrase all this stuff a lot more eloquently than I have.

Well, Ralph? Would you rather the Democratic Party took a pass on swing voters this time around?

(via seeing the forest)

Repentant Nader Voter . com

Howard Dean wants the truth!

Go and sign.

More silliness from James Taranto, this time via Ricky West (how did i get to reading that guy? beats me)

West (and thus, taranto) quote this article:
A spokesman for Governor Davis said he was prepared to wage a fierce campaign to keep his job.

"His attitude is, bring them on," said Steve Maviglio, the governor's press secretary...
Taranto makes an attempt at snarkiness:
We are shaking our head in disbelief. We've had enough of this phony, macho rhetoric. Maviglio's comment showed tremendous insensitivity to the dangers Davis faces. It was unwise and unworthy of the office.
West attempts the same:
Is there a preferable time frame that says it's allowable to completely make asses of many supporters of your own party? And is it longer than a week?
Ok guys, calm down, breathe through your noses, I'll go slowly:

This doesn't embarass the Democrats who rightly criticized Bush for his "bring 'em on" comment. When Bush says that, he's inviting Iraqi militants to attack hundreds of thousands of men and women who are already in a bad situation (110-degree heat, a hostile occupied population, morale near "rock bottom", and such and such). When Davis says that, he's inviting the California GOP to hit him with their best shot. He's not telling them to walk onto the streets of Berkeley and start plucking off people at random with a rifle*. So Davis uses it in the appropriate, "non-wimpy" manner, quite opposed from Bush, and that's a double standard?

Oh, but as Taranto points out, it was a Davis spokesman who said that. Jeez guys, if that's your problem, then you should go ask Dubya why he's only had about five or six news conferences in his 30 months in office. Whenever Comical Ari says "the preznit believes that...", you give him the benefit of the doubt, right?

Sorry guys, but we can feel free to continue shaking our heads at Bush in disbelief...

* - oops, wrong California governor

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


(sent in by reader Alex)

Perhaps the administration was searching for WMD on the internet.
tbogg, regarding this:
I don't listen to talk radio and I don't know anyone who listens to talk radio. So when I hear that Limbaugh is the 'most recognized name' in radio that strikes me as being on the same level as Preparation H being the most recognized name in hemorrhoidal creams. They're both for assholes.

Tom also links to Kevin Drum finding a juicy morsel of hypocrisy from the administration, regarding the pre-war weapons inspections and the 9-11 commission.
From the Horse, the Quote of the Day, from Chris Matthews:
"Why should the United States have 125, 135,000 troops with flak jackets on, walking around the streets of Baghdad right now? Tell me the mission."
"125, 135,000 troops"? He estimated!!! Get Russert on the case, stat!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003


I, Brendan Getzell, Your Humble TFM Correspondent, And So On, have received, from my confidential-to-da-max sources within the Bush Administration, a top-secret photograph of the so-called "yellow cake" uranium that Saddam Hussein allegedly tried to purchase from Niger.

Remember, this is a TFM exclusive.*

*- thanks to tmq for the line, hehe
Ted Barlow has quite a sense of humor on him.

“There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “My answer is bring them on…”
-George W. Bush, President of the United States

"Some of you may die. But that's a sacrifice I am willing to make."
-Lord Farquaad, cartoon king in Shrek

Countdown to the new A Perfect Circle album ("Thirteenth Step"): two months, eight days.

Most excellent.

Now let's all go grovelling back to Michael Moore, please.
The White House has acknowledged for the first time that President George W. Bush should not have claimed in his State of the Union address that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Africa to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper said the statement was prompted by publication of a British parliamentary commission report that raised serious questions about the reliability of British intelligence that was cited by Bush as part of his effort to convince Congress that the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program was a threat to US security.

Asked about the British report, the administration released a statement that effectively conceded that intelligence underlying the president's statement was wrong, The Post said

"Knowing all that we know now, the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech," the paper quoted a senior Bush administration official as saying.

Bush said in his State of the Union speech on January 28 that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." (full story)
It's this simple: they LIED. Of course, if you've been following the Niger issue closely over the past months, this should have come as no surprise (the lie, though not the admission of the lie)

Walter Pincus of the WaPo, in his recap, hits the important point that renders any Bush explanation outside of either 1) deception or 2) severe incompetence to be utter bullplop (link via kos):
It subsequently emerged that the CIA the previous year had dispatched a respected former senior diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson, to Niger to investigate the allegation and that Wilson had reported back that officials in Niger denied the story. The administration never made Wilson's mission public, and questions have been raised over the past month over how the CIA characterized his conclusion in its classified intelligence reports inside the administration. (italics mine)
Secrecy? From this administration? Nah!

On that note, Cheney may have to turn over those energy files after all. Or maybe not, we'll see...

My visits to the WSJ Editorial Page are few and far between, as befitting the instructions given to me by my gastroenterologist.

Nevertheless, occasionally my curiosity gets the best of me, and I wander over to Bartley-Gigot-OJ Fund land.

And on this day, James Taranto serves up a softball for us, attempting to make a comparison on the firing of the Savage Weiner.

First, here are the comments for which Savage was fired:
One caller began discussing his experiences, and after an unintelligible part of the call, Savage asked him "So are you one of those sodomists?"

When the caller said, "Yes I am," Savage, reclining in a chair with his arms folded and wearing dark sunglasses, responded, "Oh, you're one of the sodomites! You should only get AIDS and die, you pig!" in a clip of the show hosted on the Web site of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Taranto tries to make a comparison to the Dixie Chicks hoopla from a few months ago:
Even so, remember all the hullabaloo awhile back about the Dixie Chicks? After one Chick made an obnoxious comment about President Bush while on an overseas trip, some fans were outraged. Clear Channel Communication ordered the Chicks' tunes off the playlists of its radio stations. A Louisiana radio station held a "Chick Bash," where fans threw their Chick CDs into a pile to be run over by a tractor.

The Guardians of Democracy were apoplectic. It's the crushing of dissent! A corporate conspiracy to destroy America's freedom! Another Kristallnacht!...

Now, this is all nonsense. The Dixie Chicks have a perfect right to say whatever they want, but their detractors also have a right not to play their songs, or to engage in "symbolic speech" by crushing their CDs. Likewise for Michael Savage. He has the right to say whatever he wants, but MSNBC is under no obligation to provide him a forum. But will the sanctimonious hypocrites who wailed about the criticism of the Dixie Chicks utter a peep of protest now that Savage has been Dixie Chicked?
Taranto seems to think there's a double standard here. Let's look at the content of what was actually said. Did Natalie Maines, or either of the other two Chicks (whose names slip my memory, clearly I'm more of a rocker myself) say anything about wishing harm, physical or otherwise, on Bush? To say you're "ashamed" to share a home state with a president whom you strongly (and patriotically) oppose on the issues, that's tantamount to wishing terminal illness and death upon someone? While political views have been part of popular music for decades, wishing death on a caller (and not only that, but packaging it with severely bigoted comments) doesn't have a place anywhere. That's why there will be no outrage here.

For Taranto's analogy to work,
1) His daily radio show will have to be boycotted and cancelled across the country
2) A coordinated, top-down effort by major corporations will need to be conducted to smear Savage, as well as to accomplish part 1, such as with Clear Channel and the Chicks, and
3) Savage will have to pose nude on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. (shudder, hardly seems worth it to me)

UPDATE: I neglected to notice that the Savage quote was incomplete. It also includes the charming "Go eat a sausage and choke on it!"