More Disgruntled Conservatives Speak Out

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

Normally, if a conservative says something anti-Bush, I would pass it on and say that another conservative has left the ranch. But this happens with such frequency, that I am beginning to think that is Bush who has left the conservative ranch.

Anyway, today’s discontented conservatives are two heavyweight staples of the right, Jesse Helms (R-N.C) and William F. Buckley:

"I would not have voted for [President Bush’s] tax cut, based on what I know…There is no doubt that the people at the top who need a tax break the least will get the most benefit…Too often presidents do things that don’t end up helping the people they should be helping, and their staffs won’t tell them their actions stink on ice."

– Jesse Helms to Business North Carolina magazine, as reported here

The Terrorism Opinions

Ken AshfordSupreme Court, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

The Supreme Court has ruled on three cases involving terrorism detainees. I’ve only browsed the opinions, but one thing is clear: if Bush thinks he can do whatever he wants regarding prisoners by virtue of being a "war president", THAT myth is shattered.

That’s not to suggest that Bush got his ENTIRE ass handed to him today. The SCOTUS opinions are going to take a while to digest. But here’s my first blush view.

PADILLA – The issue in this case was whether an American arrested and held in America could be labelled an "enemy combatent". Regretably, SCOTUS punted on this. Like Newdow, they didn’t reach the case on the merits but rejected it on jurisdictional grounds. Padilla has to make his claims in South Carolina, not New York.

HAMDI – Here, the prisoner was an American too, but unlike Padilla, he was arrested in Afghanistan fighting against the U.S. The issues were (1) could Hamdi be labelled an "enemy combatent" and (2) could Hamdi challenge that designation in federal courts. The opinions are all over the place, but the answer appears to be "Yes" and "Yes".

This is by far the most interesting of the three cases, because the opinions provide a lot of meat. For example, the plurality writes that a war prisoner’s detention must be "to prevent a combatant’s return to the battlefield." What does this mean in terms of Hamdi? It means, says the Supremes, that he can be held only until the end of the "active combat operations in Afghanistan" — NOT (as some have said) until the whole "war on terror" is over. The kapow sentence, however, is this: "Certainly, we agree that indefinite detention for the purpose of interrogation is not authorized."

RASUL – The issue in this case was whether U.S. courts had jurisdiction to hear the claims of foreign prisoners being held at Gitmo. This was clearly a defeat for Bush, as SCOTUS ruled (distinguishing Eisentrager) that the war prisoners had the right to the writ of habeus corpus. All in all, the opinions slap Bush’s hand pretty good.

UPDATE: I missed this, but it looks like even Scalia agrees with me. Check on this strong language from Scalia in his Hamdi dissent:

Many think it not only inevitable but entirely proper that liberty give way to security in times of national crisis-—that, at the extremes of military exigency, inter arma silent leges. Whatever the general merits of the view that war silences law or modulates its voice, that view has no place in the interpretation and application of a Constitution designed precisely to confront war and, in a manner that accords with democratic principles, to accommodate it.

Bam! Well-said, Antonin.

FURTHER UPDATE: And it looks like the Court is getting a little snarky, too. Check out this quote:

"History and common sense teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means of oppression and abuse of others who do not present . . . an immediate threat."

And here is how SCOTUSBlog summarized today’s opinions:

By a vote of 5-4, the Court found the 2001 congressional declaration did give the President power to detain citizens and foreign nationals, if they are found on a foreign battlefield. By a vote of 8-1, citizens detained as "enemy combatants" have the right to a fair process under which they can challenge that designation and their continued detention. By a vote of 6-3, the Court ruled that the foreign nationals detained at the Cuba base have a right to file lawsuits in civilian courts to contest their detention and conditions at the base.

By the way, in the 8-1 ruling mentioned above — the dissenter was Thomas.

Ruminations of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ – Part I of II

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Election 2004, Popular CultureLeave a Comment

Warning: “Fahrenheit 9/11” is a rich film jam-packed with facts, factoids, opinions, interviews, and messages. Unless one recounts every little moment, it is impossible for a review to “spoil” the entire film in a Rosebud-is-his-sled-type manner. Nevertheless, my essay below does reveal certain parts of the film — so if you plan on seeing it and don’t want anything revealed before then, then skip over this article

Let’s be clear about one thing: Michael Moore is a cheap shot artist in every sense of the phrase. By that I mean — he employs the strategy of taking cheap shots . . . and raised it to an art form. Ultimately, that is why “Fahrenheit 9/11” succeeds and fails at the same time.

For me, 98% of F9/11 was old news. If you already know about James Bath, The Carlyle Group, Unocal, and the like, then chances are good that you can probably enjoy the film for his presentational value, rather than its educational value.

In fact, I only learned one new thing from the movie, and even though it is a relatively small matter, I will use it as a launching point to discuss what is both good and bad about F9/11. Okay?

Here’s the “new thing”: In the summer before 9/11, the Bush government welcomed members of the Taliban to the United States in an effort to soften their image and make the more palatable. The Taliban representatives made dog-and-pony shows to the State Department and were paraded before the press.

Moore makes the argument that the Taliban visit had something to do with Bush’s financial interest (through Unocal) in building a pipeline through Afghanistan. In other words, the Bush family financial interest was connected to Unocal’s ability to construct this Afghan pipeline, which depended on the West becoming a little more happy with the Taliban.

Now, when I say that “Moore makes the argument”, I mean to say that Moore doesn’t make the argument — he merely implies it.

You see, throughout the film, Moore often employs an effective, but somewhat annoying, technique — something he also did in “Bowling for Columbine”: Asking the rhetorical question for which the answer has been predisposed.

Here’s a typical example laid out more fully (and it’s a paraphrase since I obviously haven’t committed the movie to memory).

Moore explains the Bush interest in Unocal. Moore explains Unocal’s interest in the Afghanistan pipeline. Moore explains the Taliban visit to the U.S. before 9/11. Moore explains that after 9/11, the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan was small enough only to overthrow the Taliban (but not annihilate it), and virtually ineffective in getting bin Laden. Moore explains that the new President selected to head Afghanistan is Hamid Karzai, who was — wink, wink — a consultant to Unocal on the pipeline. Moore explains that one of Karzai’s first acts was to sign approval of the Unocal pipeline.

Then comes Moore’s voiceover rhetorical question (which, again, I have paraphrased): “Could it be that George Bush, having installed Unocal consultant Armed Kharzi as Afghanistan President and gotten the pipeline deal, was now simply uninterested in capturing bin Laden, the man behind the attacks on America that killed 3000 of our people?”

See what Moore did? He asked a rhetorical question where the answer (based on everything that preceded it) points in one direction — Yes! From all that Moore has laid out, it really looks like George Bush wasn’t all that interested in getting bin Laden, the guy who murdered 3000 Americans!

But sitting there, I asked myself: Do I REALLY believe that? Do I REALLY believe that Bush wasn’t interested in nailing bin Laden?

And that’s what I mean by Moore being a cheap shot artist. Moore builds facts in a certain way in order for the nondiscerning viewer to accept his implied messages — in this example, the message that Bush doesn’t care about getting bin Laden. And for that, we can be highly critical of Moore.

On the other hand, Bush & Co. make it so easy for him to do that. Because just after Moore asks his rhetorical question about Bush not caring about getting bin Laden, he cuts to Bush, saying (of bin Laden): “I don’t know where he is. I have no idea and I really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

And suddenly, Moore’s wacky rhetorical implications don’t look all that wacky. (Personally, I still don’t think that Bush sent troops into Afghanistan for financial/pipeline interests, but Moore’s broader point — that Bush has paid minor attention to capture of the murderer of 3000 Americans — is pretty irrefutable). A good portion of the movie is simply Bush & Co. (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice, and Powell) eating their words.

And that’s where F9/11 excels — when it is at its snarkiest. Sometimes, that snarkiness is remarkably subtle.

For example, Moore barely mentions the Bush/Vietnam/National Guard issue. It’s only referred to once, in a small detour to get to James Bath (Bush’s buddy who ALSO missed his National Guard obligations, who later became the bin Laden family representative for investments in Bush’s oil businesses).

But when Moore DOES mention Bush’s failure to show up for a required National Guard medical exam, you hear the opening riff (no words, just the riff) of Clapton’s “Cocaine”. Heh. Cheap shot, but . . . heh.

Even subtler was the music Moore put behind the footage of Bush landing on the aircraft carrier. It was the theme to “The Greatest American Hero” — a short-lived 1970’s(?) T.V. show. If I am not mistaken, Moore was making a reference to Gore through a verse of that song:

“Look at what’s happened to me
I can’t believe it myself
Suddenly I’m on top of the world
Should have been somebody else . . .”

I may have been the only one in the theater who got the Gore reference . . . . .

The first third of the film is devoted largely to the financial ties between Bush and the Saudis and the bin Ladens, and this is probably the weakest part. Moore does a good job in explaining the ties — and to his credit, he doesn’t resort to flow charts with arrows and boxes. But in the end, it’s just not entertaining OR that informative. Yes, Bush had ties to the bin Laden family and Saudis. And yes, the bin Laden family was able to fly out of the country after 9/11 without being so much as questioned. And yes, that is embarrassing for our government, and possibly Bush. But beyond that, it doesn’t really SAY much.

However, once the film drifts away from that, and focuses on Iraq, it starts to fly. Moore’s camera becomes a knife. He takes it all on — not just the Iraq war and the pre-emption doctrine itself, but the complacent media, the complacent congressional Democrats, the fear-mongering by Bush, the posturing of homeland security without actually funding it, the abuses of the Patriot Act, etc.

Moore’s images from the front lines in Iraq remind you what war is like. I mean, we instinctively KNOW that innocent people and solders get killed, but they are not mere statistics with Moore. He puts human faces on them, except where their faces have already been blown off.

In one exceptional segment, he touches upon the most under-reported aspect of the Iraq War — the thousands of Americans who have been permanently injured and disabled. When we are all done debating the wisdom of the Iraq War, and the historians will be working on their first drafts of what it was all about, these men and women will be living every day with it (no limbs, nerve damage, etc.). To these fine people, the Iraq War is not an academic debate, or even a political cost-benefit analysis. It’s physical and permanent.

In another exceptional segment, a grieving conservative mother, whose son was killed in Iraq, walks on the mall in front of the White House consumed with her loss. She engages in a discussion with a “peacenik” only to be confronted by a Bush/war supporter. The mother (a one-time war supporter herself) explains that her son died in Iraq and walks away from the confrontation. The Bush supporter (after about ten seconds of thought) calls out to the mother “Blame al Qaeda”. The comment literally causes the grieving mother to double over. Blame al Qaeda for her son’s death in Iraq?!? “The ignorance . . .” the mother moans.

It is clear that Moore loves — literally loves — the American soldier. His commentary towards the end of the film is filled with awe and respect for them. Quietly and somberly, Moore reverently notes how those Americans who typically benefit least from our society (the poor, etc.) are usually the first to join up and put their lives on the line for America’s defense. “All they ask in return,” Moore says, “is that we don’t send them into an unnecessary war.” The viewer is left to ruminate on that for a moment, and then Michael asks the final rhetorical question: “Will they ever trust us again?”

The answer, sadly, is “yes”. But just like Vietnam, it will take another 30 years or so.

The Image To Remember Bush By

Ken AshfordBush & Co., War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

bushknew33.jpg

This is Andrew Card telling GWB, on 9/11, about the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. What is remarkable is that Bush had this look for a FULL SEVEN MINUTES before he did anything. Instead, he continued to read to schoolchildren.

Many of us have seen the footage of Bush just sitting there, and it is pretty condemning. Hopefully, many more will see it when they see "Fahrenheit 9/11". But for now, look at the picture above. That’s your President — a man-deer eternally lost in the headlights.

Drum Explains It All

Ken AshfordBush & Co., IraqLeave a Comment

What is a "lie"? What is a "deception"? What is it that the left accuses the Bush White House of doing?

Kevin Drum explains the difference here. Now basically, Bush & Co. — technically speaking — don’t lie . . . usually. I’ll let Kevin explain:

Let’s take this statement from Dick Cheney on "Meet the Press" last year:

"If we’re successful in Iraq…we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

To see how this is technically defensible, let’s break it down:

* Who attacked us on 9/11? Al-Qaeda.

* Where do they operate from? Various places in the Middle East and Central Asia.

* What’s the geographic base of that region? Arguably, Iraq is dead center.

Each phrase, then, is technically accurate. Taken as a whole, though, it’s obvious that his intent was to imply that Iraq was a primary base for al-Qaeda’s activities, which is clearly untrue. [Emphasis added – CKB]

The whole exercise is sophomoric, of course, sort of like listening to a first grader who doesn’t quite realize that adults can easily see through statements that he thinks are rather sophisticated. The difference is that in this case the first grader is surrounded by thousands of people who will dutifully pretend that of course he wasn’t implying that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 and then shake their heads in sorrow that anyone could be so consumed by Bush hatred as to misunderstand the vice president’s plain intent. [Emphasis in original – CKB]

Bam! You said it, KD.

Oh, Yes You DID!

Ken AshfordBush & Co., IraqLeave a Comment

Cheney gets busted in another lie.

Transcript, CNBC’s “Capital Report,” June 17, 2004:

Gloria Borger: “Well, let’s get to Mohammed Atta for a minute, because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was quote, “pretty well confirmed.”

Vice President Cheney: No, I never said that.

BORGER: OK.

Vice Pres. CHENEY: Never said that.

BORGER: I think that is…

Vice Pres. CHENEY: Absolutely not.

Transcript, NBC’s “Meet the Press,” December 9, 2001.

Vice-President Cheney: “It’s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April.”

Source.

Orwellian Memo Discovered

Ken AshfordIraq, RepublicansLeave a Comment

The Washington Post reports about an interesting memo from Republican pollster Frank Luntz. Knowing that how you frame the issues is more important than the issues themselves, Luntz offers Republicans some talking points on phraseology.

With voter anxieties about Iraq shadowing this year’s campaign, pollster Frank Luntz has some advice for fellow Republicans: Mind your language. Luntz, according to a strategy paper that fell into the hands of Democrats, says minor changes in language used by politicians can lead to major differences in voter perceptions — turning a potential liability into an asset.

Among his suggested talking points, in the nine-page section on Iraq and terrorism:

• It’s not the war in Iraq — it’s the war on terror. "You will not find any instance in which we suggest that you use the actual word ‘preemption’ or the phrase ‘the War in Iraq’ to communicate your policies to the American public. To do so is to undermine your message from the start," it said. "Your efforts are about ‘the principles of prevention and protection’ in the greater ‘War on Terror.’"

• Remember: better there than here. "’Prevention at home can require aggressive action abroad’ is the best way to link a principle the public supports with the policies of the Administration," it said. " ‘It is better to fight the War on Terror on the streets of Baghdad than on the streets of New York or Washington.’"

• Don’t forget the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "’9/11 changed everything’ is the context by which everything follows. No speech about homeland security or Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11."

• Don’t forget Saddam Hussein. "’The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein.’ Enough said."

• And don’t forget the troops. "Nothing matters more than Americans in the line of fire," it said. "Never, ever, EVER give a speech or issue a press release that makes no mention of our troops."

In an e-mailed response, phrasemaker Luntz declined to comment on his paper.

Read the bullet points. Learn them. And recognize it when you see it.

Cheney Makes Me Sick

Ken AshfordBush & Co., IraqLeave a Comment

Why do many people think that Iraq may have had something to do with 9/11? Cheney provided the answer today. It’s the media’s fault! That’s right. According to Cheney, the anti-Bush liberal media has been making an argument for war against Iraq that the White House never made.

THEN, in the same press conference, Cheney goes on to suggest that, despite the 9/11 Commission assertion to the contrary, he is still of the opinion that Iraq might have had something to do with 9/11.

Yet, according to Cheney, it’s the MEDIA’S fault for planting that connection in the peoples’ minds.

Go figure. Here’s the story.

Oh, and here’s a few Cheney quotes where he tries to dispel the Iraq-9/11 connection that the media has so stupidly foisted on the American people:

"If we’re successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it’s not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it’s not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11." Source: Meet the Press, NBC (9/14/2003).

"QUESTION: When I was in Iraq, some of the soldiers said they believed they were fighting because of the Sept. 11 attacks and because they thought Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaida. You’ve repeatedly cited such links. . . . I wanted to ask you what you’d say to those soldiers, and were those soldiers misled at all? VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: . . . . With respect to . . . the general relationship. . . . One place you ought to go look is an article that Stephen Hayes did in the Weekly Standard . . . That goes through and lays out in some detail, based on an assessment that was done by the Department of Defense and forwarded to the Senate Intelligence Committee some weeks ago. That’s your best source of information. I can give you a few quick for instances, one the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Source: Transcript of interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, Rocky Mountain News (1/9/2004).

"We did have reporting that was public, that came out shortly after the 9/11 attack, provided by the Czech government, suggesting there had been a meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker, and a man named al-Ani (Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani), who was an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague, at the embassy there, in April of ’01, prior to the 9/11 attacks. It has never been — we’ve never been able to collect any more information on that. That was the one that possibly tied the two together to 9/11." Source: Transcript of Interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, Rocky Mountain News (1/9/2004).

"VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, I want to be very careful about how I say this. I’m not here today to make a specific allegation that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11. I can’t say that. On the other hand, . . . new information has come to light. And we spent time looking at that relationship between Iraq, on the one hand, and the al-Qaeda organization on the other. And there has been reporting that suggests that there have been a number of contacts over the years. . . . There is — again, I want to separate out 9/11, from the other relationships between Iraq and the al-Qaeda organization. But there is a pattern of relationships going back many years. And in terms of exchanges and in terms of people, we’ve had recently since the operations in Afghanistan — we’ve seen al-Qaeda members operating physically in Iraq and off the territory of Iraq. . . ." QUESTION: But no direct link? VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: I can’t — I’ll leave it right where it’s at. I don’t want to go beyond that. I’ve tried to be cautious and restrained in my comments." Source: Meet the Press, NBC (9/8/2002).

There are also dozens of examples where Cheney, quite intentionally it seems, speaks about Saddam/Iraq and 9/11 in the same sentence. In fact, it is quite common that a question about Saddam invokes a response which references 9/11 (and vice versa).

And it’s the MEDIA’S fault for blurring that distinction?

And speaking of distinctions:

"You can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror". – George Bush, September 2002

Gingko Trees?

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/Idiocy, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online shows what a total imbecile he is in this article.

The nut says, in a nutshell, that the Geneva Convention is like a contract. And since al Qaeda didn’t sign the contract, the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to them. Which means, he says, we should be able to torture AQ. Goldberg’s words:

If you sign a contract with your neighbor agreeing that neither of you will plant stinky ginkgo trees on your property, that contract is binding on you and your neighbor. It’s not binding for the guy who lives across the street.

Therefore, Goldberg concludes, we can plant our stinky ginkgo trees and the guy who lives across the street can’t complain (although the neighbor who signed the contract can).

The argument is simply wrong. The Geneva Conventions compel the signers to treat ALL prisoners of war humanely. It does not limit it to the prisoners of co-signers.

The argument is also stupid. Under that logic, the U.S. could sign a nuclear test ban treaty with Russia, and then conduct nuclear tests in violation of the treaty, arguing that Madacasgar was not a signer of the treaty.

Put another way, if I contract with my neighbor to NOT plant ginkgo trees on my property, I cannot plant gingko trees on my property. If I DID violate ginkgo trees on my property, I have violated the contract.

But of course, the Geneva Conventions are more than just a "contract". They, like all international treaties, have the force and effect of United States law. Goldberg, I suspect, knows better than to suggest otherwise.

Well, maybe not.

Bush’s Cheat Sheet

Ken AshfordBush & Co.Leave a Comment

An alert reader of Atrios saw this picture of Bush

b3.jpg

from yesterday’s cabinet meeting.

He captured and blew up Bush’s notes from the meeting (heh heh). Here they are:

BUSH1.jpg

As best as I can tell, the left hand page says:

"Saddam was a threat . . . sworn enemy of U.S. . . . destabilizing force in volatile part of the world . . . (?????) . . . has WMD – used them . . . ties to terrorist orgs . . . contacts with al Qaeda over last decade"

The right hand page is a list of reporters, including Deb Reichmann (AP), David Morgan, John Roberts, Ann Compton . . .

At the cabinet meeting press conference, Bush took two questions from two reporters. They just happened (coincidentally) to be "Deb" and "Morgan", the top two names on his right-hand-page list. Here’s the partial transcript:

BUSH (continuing): Yet our military on the ground has done an excellent job of making sure the conditions are such that an Iraqi government can emerge and lead their nation to the better days.

I’ll be glad to answer a couple of questions. Deb, why don’t you lead it off?

Q Mr. President, why does the administration continue to insist that Saddam had a relationship with al Qaeda, when even you have denied any connection between Saddam and September 11th. And now the September 11th Commission says that there was no collaborative relationship at all.

THE PRESIDENT: The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. For example, Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, in the Sudan. There’s numerous contacts between the two.

I always said that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He was a threat because he had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He was a threat because he was a sworn enemy to the United States of America, just like al Qaeda. He was a threat because he had terrorist connections — not only al Qaeda connections, but other connections to terrorist organizations; Abu Nidal was one. He was a threat because he provided safe-haven for a terrorist like Zarqawi, who is still killing innocent inside of Iraq.

No, he was a threat, and the world is better off and America is more secure without Saddam Hussein in power.

Let’s see — Morgan.

Q Mr. President, given your administration’s assertions that it works closely with the International Red Cross, are you disappointed that Secretary Rumsfeld instructed military officials in Iraq to hold a member of Ansar al-Islam without telling Red Cross officials?

THE PRESIDENT: The Secretary and I discussed that for the first time this morning. And he’s going to hold a press conference today to discuss that with you. I’m never disappointed in my Secretary of Defense. He’s doing a fabulous job, and America is lucky to have him in the position he’s in. But the Secretary will hold a press conference today, and you might want to ask him that question at his press conference.

Thank you.

The other right hand page, I can’t make out, but I can see at the bottom "Contacts with Al Q . . . (?????) to share (information?)"

Now, what does all this mean?

It means that the President still needs to take notes on his standard line, one which even I could recite by heart. In other words, he’s an idiot or he has some memory problems.

It also means that much of the WH press pool are merely stenographers. Well, think about it. If you are a reporter and ask, you know, PROBING questions, you don’t get invited to the cabinet room. So you curry favor with the White House by pitching softball questions — questions to which the President has already prepared an answer. The top right hand page is a list of reporters that was obviously handed to the President before the press conference (the writing is different, the paper siae is smaller). Who wrote the list (Scotty McClellan, I’m guessing), and why are THOSE names on the list?

Clinton Haters v Bush Haters

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

Chicago Sun-Times reviewer (and Roger Ebert compadre) Richard Roeper loved "Fahrenheit 9/11" (as did some folks at Fox News, by the way). The response was hundreds of vitriolic e-mails. Richard Roeper responds here, making several astute observations about anti-Bush people vs. anti-Clinton people.

The money quote:

Folks, do you not see the hypocrisy at work here?

This makes about as much sense as a bully taking a kid’s lunch money for eight years — only to complain when the kid finally lands a counterpunch during freshman year in high school. "Ow! You’re mean!"

(Hat tip to Lizard Queen)

Fox News Loves “Fahrenheit 9/11”

Ken AshfordRight Wing and Inept MediaLeave a Comment

Yup. It did. Some excerpts:

It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.

As much as some might try to marginalize this film as a screed against President George Bush, "F9/11" — as we saw last night — is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty — and at the same time a indictment of stupidity and avarice.

***

But, really, in the end, not seeing "F9/11" would be like allowing your First Amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat.

***

More than even "The Passion of the Christ," "F9/11" is going to be a "see it for yourself" movie when it hits theaters on June 25. It simply cannot be missed, and I predict it will be a huge moneymaker.

Not bad for Fox News. But then again, this website is reporting that Bill O’Reilly, who went to the NY premiere, walked out one-quarter of the way through. Pussy.

Today’s WH Press Gaggle

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Iraq, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Q Can I ask about Vice President Cheney, because yesterday he repeated what is a very controversial claim. He said that Saddam Hussein had long-established ties with al Qaeda. Does the President believe that Saddam Hussein had long-established ties with al Qaeda?

MR. McCLELLAN: We certainly talked about the ties with terrorism between the — between the regime that was removed from power, and we talked about those ties prior to the decision to remove that regime from power. So that was well-documented. Secretary Powell went before the United Nations and talked about some of those ties to terrorism, as well. And Zarqawi is certainly a senior al Qaeda associate who was in Iraq prior to the decision to go in and remove the regime from power.

Q There’s also al Qaeda in the United States. That does not mean the United States is cooperating with those members of al Qaeda. Just by the presence of someone does not mean there’s a cooperation.

Zing! Hello, logic.

But check out McClellan’s non-answer answer:

MR. McCLELLAN: But, remember, we’re talking about an oppressive regime that was in power in Iraq that exercised control over that country.

Well . . . yes . . . Scott . . . when we talk about Saddam’s Iraq, we are talking about an oppressive regime. But even Saddam’s Iraq didn’t exercise control over the entire country, because it couldn’t. No system of government, no matter how hard it tries, can possibly have command and control over every single corner of its region.

So the reporter’s point still stands: "Just by the presence of someone does not mean there’s a cooperation".