Right-wing Freedom Watch using the troops to advance agenda

NBC Decides to Run Conservative-Group Ad

NBC initially said that airing the spot would violate the network’s prohibition on controversial issue ads. Wurtzel, in an interview Friday with The Associated Press, said NBC found nothing wrong with the ad’s content, but rather objected to the link to http://www.FreedomsWatch.org, viewing the Web site as too political.
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“I think they had an agenda,” Blakeman said. “They didn’t like our Web site and didn’t like what we stood for.”

The group’s home page is critical of liberals and has a link to a page urging lawmakers not to “cut and run” from the war in Iraq. The home page also links to another Freedom’s Watch page dedicated to ways to assist the troops and provides links to organizations that send care packages to soldiers.

News of NBC’s initial rejection caused an angry reaction on the Internet. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, appearing on the Fox News Channel on Friday, called for a boycott of NBC.

Freedom’s Watch, a group backed by wealthy Republican fundraisers, has emerged as one of the best-financed conservative groups. It seeks to be a vocal advocate of President Bush’s current policy in Iraq. (emphasis mine)

This group is all about being pro Bush policy, not pro military. They’re hiding that agenda behind the troops. What kind of special help is this organization offering that The Army Emergency Relief, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the Air Force Aid Society, the USO and individual families and friends not offering. This is the first full paragraph on their front page,

Welcome to Freedom’s Watch

For too long, conservatives have lacked a permanent political presence to do battle with the radical special interest groups and their left-wing allies in government. Freedom’s Watch was formed to be the conservative voice fighting for mainstream conservative principles – today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. We engage in grassroots lobbying, education and information campaigns, and issue advocacy to further our goals and objectives. We create coalitions and collaborate with like-minded groups and individuals to further our common goals. Freedom’s Watch provides bold conservative solutions to pressing domestic and international issues to keep America strong, safe, and prosperous. Your support is urgently needed. Please join us today in helping to build a better America.

This is a political group using the military to advance an a far Right ideology and NBC has walked into the trap. Note the attempt to portray themselves as poor victims. They ran Congress for ten years, have a president that has made the biggest grab for imperial presidential power in our nation’s history, have a majority of their ideologues on the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit Courts, have their own network (Fox), have a huge presence in publishing including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The New York Post and plenty of apologists at Time magazine and they’re whining about not being heard. On FW’s page to support the troops you’ll find E.D. Hill of Fox who has sit in with Bill O’Reilly. No sir there’s no way they’re politicizing their actions. Anyone that wants to do something for the troops, cut through the political middlemen who are in it for the propaganda value and give to the traditional organizations that are listed above.

FW also thinks that if you’re pro labor, you know the people that build America and make wealth possible, then you’re pro evil left wing agenda –

fw-labor-snip.jpg

Where was FW when a pro Constitution group wanted to run an ad on Fox, O’Reilly: Fox News Turned Down Pro-Constitution Ad Because It Was ‘Anti-American’ 

The Center for Constitutional Rights recently produced an ad called “Rescue the Constitution” that criticizes the Bush administration for “destroying the Constitution” through the use of tactics like renditions and torture. Fox News refused to air the ad, claiming that it needed “documentation” that the Constitution “is indeed being destroyed.”

In the ad, actor Danny Glover states, “Trials. Renditions. Torture. The Bush administration is destroying the Constitution. They can be stopped. Rescue the Constitution.”

Yesterday, while discussing NBC’s recent refusal to run an ad from the White House front group Freedom’s Watch, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly explained why Fox News turns down ads:

Yeah, but I understand why. Fox News turns down blatantly anti-American ads. We just turned one down recently. I understand that.

Using the troops to get publicity for your radical right-wing group is OK, but standing up for the Constitution and American values is not. Conservatives seem to live in an upside down world where they see all the values and principles which make us an enlightened democracy as wrong.

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg

Romney and Huckabee’s religious intoleranceNonbelievers have long been more tolerant of believers in office than the other way around

The most egregious offender against basic American civics today is Huckabee, who told a group of students at Liberty University, the center of higher learning founded by the late Jerry Falwell, that his sudden rise in the Iowa polls is an act of God. He compared the improvement in his political fortunes to the New Testament miracle of the loaves and fishes. He wasn’t joking, as both his demeanor and his words demonstrated.

The Rev. Huckabee has proved willing to risk his oversold reputation as the “nice” evangelical with a primary strategy that draws attention to his qualifications as a “Christian leader,” in contrast to the suspect Mormonism of Romney. Huckabee was honest enough not to deny that he believes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a cult — and in fact, many if not most of his fellow Southern Baptists regard the LDS church as a satanic cult.

ABC’s Nightline had a report a few nights ago that featured some evangelicals that make yearly trips to Utah solely to try and convert Mormons so this isn’t some that has suddenly happened because of the dynamic between Huckabee and Romney. Huskabee in a video that is on-line claims that he has had more scrutiny of his beliefs then Romney. I’m not sure exactly how he came to that conclusion. One problem that the Right has created is making Religion part and parcel of their politics while at the same time complaining that people ask them questions about their beliefs and how it would affect their judgment in governing the country. Conservatives want to have it both ways, especially Huckabee and Romney. They want to be thought of as “values” candidates – values being a code word for Conservatives with a deeply intrusive and draconian social agenda, while at the same time not wanting to be judged on their religion. Conason writes,

So if these two worthy gentlemen seek to exploit or extol their own faith, why should we bar ourselves from exploring the subject more deeply? They have invited a discussion of the sublime and the absurd in their religious doctrines, and of how those doctrines would influence them in office. We have already seen the destruction inflicted on America and the world by a dogmatic chief executive who believes that God urged him to wage war. (And let’s not forget that Rudolph Giuliani, among others, has echoed the notion that President Bush was divinely chosen and inspired.)

Does America really need another president that not just hears little voices, but acts out what those voices tell them to do. It sounds silly or maybe cynical to make the observation that some omnipotent power is whispering into a candidate’s ear, but they’re the ones, especially in Huckabee’s case that keeps bringing it up.

Countdown Special Comment: The NIE Reflects An “Unhinged, Irrational Chicken Little Of A President”

We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War Three about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole — or we have a president too transcendently stupid not to have asked — at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so — whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible.

A pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief. It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction: A critical juncture in our history and, contained in either answer, a president manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency: an unapologetic war-monger who has long been seeing a world visible only to himself.

Nothing to be shocked about. I’m surprised that Olbermann or anyone has any outrage left at this point. Bush’s first and last instinct is to distort. So much so that Dick Cheney is probably the only one that cares what Bush has to say about anything.

While we’re on the subject of beliefs there’s nothing like going full bore on the hyperbole, Bill O’Reilly Show Still Haven For Nuttiness 

On Fox News yesterday, Bill O’Reilly let loose on “far-left websites” like DailyKos, stating, “If you read these far-left websites, you’re a devil worshipper. You are.” O’Reilly’s ombudsman responded, “As a journalist, you know better than that.” O’Reilly shot back: “Satan is running the DailyKos. Yes, he is!”

Falafel O’Reilly thinks that an entity called Satan, a term frequently used to describe pure evil resides at DKos. Another fine example of clever repartee from the rabid Right.

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. – Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

You can fool some people all the time

C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations

The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.

The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss.

Not too complicated in terms of comprehension and analysis. According to former and current officials and the C.I.A itself there were tapes. The CIA admits they destroyed them. They were probably not tapes of agents having a picnic in the park since the CIA claims they were destroyed to protect the identity of those doing the interogations. This is not “SOP”. Congress had sought all documentation having to do with 9-11 during the 9-11 Comission’s investigations. Those tapes were available then and obviously they were withheld from the Commission. Yet in a stunning display of pretentious arrogance one Republican blogger named Macsmind claims, Ny Times – the making of a story, Dec 6 at 8:08pm by Macranger, What tales they weave at the Ny Times.

Note that neither the reporters of the story have seen the DVDs, and quite frankly while I know they were destroyed (as per SOP), so that in-field operatives identities could be protected.

That would be a lie. Pretending to have knowledge of policies and procedures that that Mac does not have. In fact the CIA held onto them for three years by the agency’s own admission. Only then did they decide to destroy the tapes. Mac further asserts,

That’s all the CIA confirmed. Yet in the minds of the left that means they were “evidence that there was torture and so that is why they were destroyed!”

Yet what we have for evidence of that accusation that they showed torture is the word of “anonymous” officials.

“That’s all the CIA confirmed”? Republican blogger skims article sees what he wants to see, tunes out anything that might interfere with the little narrative he’s written inside his head. Reality continues to be a bitter pill for many Republicans. “anonymous” officials – well not quite, Hayden Says CIA Videotapes Destroyed

The CIA videotaped its interrogations of two top terror suspects in 2002 and destroyed the tapes three years later out of fear they would leak to the public and compromise the identities of U.S. questioners, the director of the agency told employees Thursday

Director, that would be Bush appointee Michael Hayden, hardly an anonymous source. Did the tapes contain depictions of torture. Since Republicans like Mac and G.W. Bush have shoved language into the Orwellian Zone it all depends,

CIA Director Michael Hayden said the CIA began taping the interrogations as an internal check on the program after President Bush authorized the use of harsh questioning methods. The methods included waterboarding, which simulates drowning, government officials said.

Malcolm Nance who is not a genuflecting blogger for Bush, but is an adviser on terrorism in the US departments of Homeland Security, Special Operations and Intelligence ,

He revealed that waterboarding is used in training at the US Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School in San Diego, and claimed to have witnessed and supervised “hundreds” of waterboarding exercises. Although these last only a few minutes and take place under medical supervision, he concluded that “waterboarding is a torture technique – period”. 

So Mac can’t seem to glean the pertinent facts, understand them or offer a cogent analysis, but hey he has a blog dedicated to bringing America the truth that the liberal press doesn’t want us to know. At the same link and many others the Bush administration on record as admitting the use of waterboarding. Their claim is that information could not have been gotten any other way. No proof has ever been offered to support that assertion, but as Mac shows we’ll not dealing with people that have much use for rational empirical proof that their immoral actions are of abosolute neccessity. The narrative has been and will continue to be, that despite been caught time after time in fabrications, distortions and manipulations of the truth the Bushites will continue to do so because it is the only way they know to conduct themselves. They can wrap their refuse in the flag all day, but as  Lincoln is reported to have once said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. ”

Marty Lederman’s take from a legal perspective, Where’s Rose Mary Woods When You Need Her?

Well, how about a good, ol’-fashioned case of obstruction of justice?

Truly remarkable. When the Times told the CIA that it was going to run this story, Mike Hayden quickly sent out a letter to the CIA, reprinted below. (Hat tip to John Sifton for the letter.) Hayden’s explanation for the destruction was the need to protect the identity of CIA agents. As though the CIA destroys all its documents that contain identifying information about its agents.

If it is CIA Standard Operating Procedure to destroy anything and everything that might be embarrassing if leaked they probably keep the incinerators going full time. Mac the Republican blogger’s assertion is a ridiculous display of Bush Apologist Syndrome. We know that the CIA keeps records for years, CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry

The CIA will declassify hundreds of pages of long-secret records detailing some of the intelligence agency’s worst illegal abuses — the so-called “family jewels” documenting a quarter-century of overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the 1950s to the 1970s, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

The documents, to be publicly released next week, also include accounts of break-ins and theft, the agency’s opening of private mail to and from China and the Soviet Union, wiretaps and surveillance of journalists, and a series of “unwitting” tests on U.S. civilians, including the use of drugs.

Frozen Christmas Trees wallpaper

Frozen Christmas Trees wallpaper

Not news, more of a confession. Republican blogs are just reprinters of the daily fax from the right-wing noise machine, Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President

Dan Bartlett serves President George W. Bush as Counselor to the President. In this capacity, Bartlett is responsible for all aspects of President Bush’s strategic communications planning and the formulation of policy and implementation of the President’s agenda. He also oversees the White House Press Office and the Offices of Communications, Media Affairs, and Speechwriting.

Dan tells Texas Monthly,

That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.

Dan also straightens out the Right on the constant pissing and moaning about the so called liberal press,

Do you think the press corps is responsible for putting that word out—that the president was lying?

I don’t think they’re purposely doing it. Look, I get asked the question all the time: How do you deal with them when they’re all liberal? I’ve found that most of them are not ideologically driven. Do I think that a lot of them don’t agree with the president? No doubt about it. But impact, above all else, is what matters. All they’re worried about is, can I have the front-page byline? Can I lead the evening newscast? And unfortunately, that requires them to not do in-depth studies about President Bush’s health care plan or No Child Left Behind. It’s who’s up, who’s down: Cheney hates Condi, Condi hates Cheney.

A rare moment of something from a Bushite that consists of more truthiness then we’re accustomed to. Dan is right about the press if he means that in general, though not in all cases, are stenographers who have for the most part reported the Bushies doggerel without much questioning or fact checking.

There’s a reason the Whitehouse has shifted its emphasis from Iran as nuclear threat, to Iran as supposed disestablishing influence in Iraq. It’s called grasp at whatever fruit is hanging the lowest,

In our last key judgment on Iran, we noted that the main driver of possible military action has switched from Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program to Iranian activities in Iraq. This conclusion is hardening. Intelligence Community (IC) sources tell us that a new National Intelligence Estimate about Iran is near completion. This concludes that Iran remains many years – as much as 10 – away from a weapon. Thus, the WMD argument will not gain traction from the IC. Iraq, however, is a different story. Pentagon officials have told us that the stress on the Iranian threat to Iraqi stability in the Petraeus and Crocker testimony is entirely deliberate. These officials say that the Sunni elements with whom the US military has been cutting deals in Anbar province are violently “anti-Persian” and have convinced US commanders to see Iranian meddling as the source of destabilization.

Every time the Whitehouse says Iran is a growing threat remember that Iraq’s government is supported by your tax dollars and is dominated by Shia with close ties to Tehran.

Serial liar and Senator John Kerry stalker John O’Neill has written the forward to a new book that basically rehashes the same old lies about the Senator and Silver Star. It’s called To Set The Record Straight, How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler. Only modern day Konservatives would act without a shred of honor and then congratulate themselves on their treachery. The lies of John O’Neill: An MMFA analysis; Swift Boat Vets’ founder has told repeated untruths about himself, Swift Boat Vets, Unfit for Command

O’Neill lied about being a “Republican from Texas”

During an August 12 appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, O’Neill claimed, “I’m not a Republican from Texas. That’s just not true.”

O’Neill is, in fact, from Texas. And he has given more than $14,000 in federal contributions to Republican candidates and causes since 1990, including $1,000 to George H. W. Bush in 1992. And he hasn’t made any federal contributions to Democratic candidates or causes during that time. And he voted in the 1998 Republican state primary.

O’Neill lied about his political involvement

On the August 12 edition of CNN’s Crossfire, O’Neill claimed he has had “no serious involvement in politics of any kind in over 32 years.”

In fact, O’Neill has made more than $14,000 in federal contributions to Republican candidates and causes since 1990; most people would consider giving $14,000 a “serious” involvement.

O’Neill has been a hitman for the Right since Richard Nixon and always will be. I can’t imagine what it is like or why a man would choose to live his life without character, but O’Neill and crew have chosen to do so. Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry’s War Record

Ad features vets who claim Kerry “lied” to get Vietnam medals. But other witnesses disagree — and so do Navy records.

Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood and nearly as blamable

The short version, White House Obstructing Plame Investigation

The Bush Administration is actively blocking Congress’ investigation into the outing of once-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, according to House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman.

In a letter sent today to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Waxman notes that “White House objections are preventing Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald from disclosing key information to investigating officials.” Among the documents being withheld are interviews taken from White House officers during Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of Plame’s identity.

“Over the summer, Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to provide relevant documents to the Committee, including records of interviews with senior White House officials. Unfortunately, the White House has been blocking Mr. Fitzgerald from providing key documents to the Committee,” Waxman writes to newly appointed Mukasey. “I ask that you personally look into this matter and authorize the production of the documents to the Committee without any further delay.”

As HuffPo reminds us when Attorney General Mukasey was testifying at his confirmation hearings he assured Congress that he was his own man and wouldn’t let the Whitehouse continue its politicalization of the DOJ. Now is certainly his chance to prove it. I said this was the short version. Those that would like to catch up on all the details including Fitzgerald’s and Congress’s option see LooseHeadThoughts: Rule 6(e)

-Rule 6(e)(3)(E)(i) Allows for the unsealing of grand jury material for use “preliminary to or in connection with a judicial proceeding”
In order to do that a motion would be made before Judge Walton and there would have to be a showing that Congress had a “particularized need” for the GJ information and that it would be used preliminary to or in connection with a judicial proceeding.

Cheney: ‘We Will Not Allow’ Iran Nukes -Vice President Threatens ‘Serious’ Consequences
By JOHN HENDREN, WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2007

Vice President Dick Cheney today issued his sternest warning to date on Iran, saying the Persian nation will not be allowed to pursue its nuclear program.

Dismissing Iran’s claims that it is seeking only nuclear energy and not a weapons program, Cheney accused Iranian leaders of pursuing a practice of “delay and deception in an obvious effort to buy time.”

“Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions,” Cheney told the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. “The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences.”

Its Iraq redux. Rather then a smoking gun, the assessment of the professionals is filled with caveats unlike Cheney and the right-wing echo who proclaim for absolute certainty that Iran is a clock tick away from being nuclear armed. There is some subtlety that exists in the assessment of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its aims. We’re not going to get a picture from about Iran from the bomb them into glass now crowd that is painted with shades of gray. We’re going to get the same bellicose rhetoric about Iran that we got about Iraq. If you’re into arms control wonkery you might click over to Arms Control Wonk, IC: Iran Stopped Nuke Program in Fall 2003

The IC says Iran suspended its clandestine weapons program in Fall 2003. (The NIE and the DDNI statement)

I can’t quite believe the IC agrees with something that Paul Kerr and I have been arguing was possible for years — that the bureaucratic consolidation undertaken in late 2003 may have choked off the clandestine program, at least for now. I mean, we were just making educated guesses.

There has been some dissent from the wacky Right’s public saber rattling about Iran for years from arms control experts. How much of that dissent have we heard from the network news programs or CNN. About zero. That darn liberal media.

Unka Karl is off his meds again, Ignoring his flawed 2006 forecast, Wallace allowed Rove to predict GOP “gains in the Congress” in 2008

On Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove stated, “I’m confident the Republican candidates are going to have enough money to make enough damage out of this record to make gains in the Congress.” Host Chris Wallace did not note Rove’s incorrect prediction that Republicans would retain control of Congress in the 2006 elections or Rove’s incorrect predictions about the 2000 presidential election.

Karl needs to keep popping up on these show. The more he does the more America can see that rather then being the great master mind of Konservatism he’s more like an empty suit.

Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood and nearly as blamable. ~ H.Ballou

United We Win

The National Review’s yearning for the truth only applies to others

Let’s revisit the Scott Beauchamp story just briefly. The following wasn’t written by some goof ball right-wing blogger, but by a contributing editor at one of the Right’s flagship publications The National Review (on-line edition), Shattered Diarist, Ask Peter Arnett for advice next time. By James S. Robbins October 25, 2007, 6:00 a.m.

TNR’s first response to the release was typical of the tone-deafness with which they have approached the entire affair — denouncing the selective leak of official documents. It is always suspect when journalists take a principled stand against leaks. It might be more convincing if TNR pledged never to use leaked information in its reporting ever again, maybe then they’d have some credibility. (emphasis mine)

Credibility. Such high aspirations, such high ideals are laudable. On the other hand it would be appropriate for the person and organization that that holds such high standards to actually do two things: live up to those standards and to know what they’re talking about. The military chose to leak exclusively to right-wing sources while limiting and eventually cutting off The New Republic’s access to both Beauchamp and other soldiers in his unit. That a fact. During that time TNR’s actions were pretty transparent every step of the way. Something that cannot be said of The National Review and the sources that spoke to The National Review or one right-wing blogger in particular. The National Review further states,

The Beauchamp affair should be taught in journalism schools as a case study of how not to conduct damage control.

In other words the Right found Scott guilty before all the facts were known, why couldn’t everyone just follow the Review’s lead and stop thinking for themselves. From the TNR article published 12-10-07,

After that, the Army, by its own admission, didn’t permit Beauchamp to speak to tnr for over a month. It was the worst moment to lose contact.

Back to Robbin’s bold assertions based soley on a combination of assumptions and information selectively leaked to the Right by the military,

The Army’s report on the Beauchamp incident is good reading and confirms what was widely believed, namely that Scott either made up or wildly exaggerated the events he described. It is a shame that all we got to see was the report itself and not the supporting documentation, especially the statements of other soldiers in Beauchamp’s unit. Maybe the next leak won’t be as selective

Robbins has obviously never been near the military much less served if he thinks every report they write is some kind of infallible holy writ. He’s either being purposely moronic or doesn’t have a clue and doesn’t mind showing off his complete ignorance to anyone that will spare the time to read his bunk. Again from The New Republic on the Army’s duress of Scott and his comrades,

… [I]t bottomed out to us saying that we’d found “unidentified remains.” [Captain] cheerfully edged us into calling them “animal” remains “so that there’s no implication of them possibly being human.” I changed mine to what he wanted. SCOTT changed his to “remains that people had said were animals.”

Why should anyone believe what The National Review writes. On the Beauchamp story they made up  events out of their own ideologically driven fantasies. Glenn Greenwald provides more then ample evidence that if The New Republic, according to Robbins and The National Review needs lessons in journalism then Pot meet Mr. Kettle, National Review reporter caught fabricating; where is the “liberal media”? 

National Review reporter Thomas Smith has been exposed as a fabulist for plainly fictitious claims he made in two separate NR posts in September regarding Hezbollah’s alleged armed threat to the Lebanese Government. The most comprehensive report detailing Smith’s fabrications is from Thomas Edsall in The Huffington Post, who examines some of the most factually dubious claims (including Smith’s “report” that “between 4,000-5,000 Hezbollah gunmen had ‘deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut in an unsettling ‘show of force'” and his separate claim that “‘some 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen’ occupied a ‘sprawling Hezbollah tent city’ near the Lebanese parliament”) Smith’s war-fueling conclusion: “Hezbollah is rehearsing for something big here.”

Edsall quotes four separate experts on Lebanon, who respectively labelled Smith’s claims “insane,” said his most grandiose stories simply “never happened,” and stated that Smith is a “fabulist.” As Edsall notes, Smith’s melodramatic and highly suspicious claims about armed Hezbollah activities in Lebanon “appear to be designed to bolster support for the ongoing presence of U.S troops in the Mideast.”

Rather than acknowledging any errors in a clear and straightforward way, National Review chose late Friday afternoon to raise this matter — the favored time period of politicians to dump embarrassing stories, when as few people as possible will see it — in the form of a mealy-mouthed, self-justifying “Editor’s Note” from Kathryn Jean Lopez. Lopez apologizes to readers on the ground that “NRO should have provided readers with more context and caveats in some posts from Lebanon this fall,” but never says what those caveats should have been or what the missing context was.

Wow, hard to believe, Mr’ Robin’s home of high journalistic standards where credibility is the operative word in every key stroke is publishing garbage that makes the most far fetched fairy tales seem tame by comparison. Once caught, Mr. Robbin’s and cohorts, one would think, would be the experts on “damage control”, but as Glenn points out in the last update they’re fumbling around like the propagandists they are,

UPDATE II: Apologists for National Review are claiming that its online editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, acted properly by quickly and clearly disclosing the falsehoods. But additional facts prove that this is clearly untrue.

Two highly experienced reporters stationed in Lebanon — Mitchell Prothero and Chris Allbritton (both of whom are cited by Tom Edsall in debunking Smith’s claims) — sent emails to Lopez six weeks ago, which she simply did not answer.  

I’ve never been a fan of The New Republic, for some time now its been a bizarre combination of Lieberman Democrat and Andrew Sullivan conservative. Hardly a recipe for a “liberal” publication. Though individual writers at TNR have done some commendable work, the magazine as a whole has a way to go before it has any great following among liberals. The National Review on the other hand will survive this among many of their other incidents of complete disregard for the truth because that is and will continue to be part of and parcel of their agenda. Their articles and opinion pieces are not fact driven, they’re ideology driven. As such there is little reason other then entertainment value for any moderate person of reasonable intelligence and good judgment to read them.

Scott Beauchamp and the Right’s own credibility problems

The New Republic has printed the latest installment of the Baghdad Diarist – Scott Beauchamp story. I was going to put up a few snips from the right-wing blogs, but Michelle Malkin sums up the general price range of what you’ll find in La-La land, Bombshell…TNR ‘fesses up: The Beauchamp stories are bullcrap, By Michelle Malkin • December 1, 2007 03:48 PM

Read the whole thing here and watch TNR’s defenders (and advertisers) weep. The maxi-mea culpa runs more than 10 pages and thousands and thousands of words (self-pitying, rationalizing, messenger-blaming), but this is the belated bottom line: The Beauchamp stories are bullcrap. Franklin Foer’s conclusion:

When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories. (excerpt from TNR post)

The bottom line for the Right is that what TNR wrote in the last paragraph in a thirteen page story. The truth is that the final story remains murky. Fog of War -The story of our Baghdad Diarist

In prior months, our magazine had been coming under attack from the left for criticizing the war but failing to champion withdrawal (not to mention for initially supporting the war). So it was disorienting to find ourselves criticized from the right, too, for supposedly slandering the troops.

Not Malkin, Daily Pundit, Right Wing Nut House, The Strata-Sphere, Riehl World View, protein wisdom, The Jawa Report, Sweetness & Light, Free Frank Warner, The American Pundit, Right Voices, Winds of Change.NET, Atlas Shrugs, Macsmind or any other Republican blog or pundit has bothered to mention this part of the TNR post as it completely destroys the TNR as liberals with a grudge out to smear the military meme. If you leave off Foer’s closing paragraph and you’re not predisposed to come to conclusions that the Kool-Kids had already come to anyway there is reason to believe that Beauchamp got a couple details wrong which he and TNR had readily admitted to previously, but other then that Scott is at most guilty of some literary embellishments rather then complete fabrications,

Facing the difficulties of verifying the piece, but wanting to ensure its plausibility before publication, we sent the piece to a correspondent for a major newspaper who had spent many tours embedded in Iraq. He had heard accounts of soldiers killing dogs with Bradleys. These accounts stuck with him because they represented a symbolic shift in the war.

So some degree of corroboration that the story isn’t completely impossible. Bauchamp is obviously not the first to tell stories about the dogs and Bradleys.

Soldier A: “I would like to say something about Mandrake’s Bride. … [W]e first saw the lady in Kuwait and it is very true. She had burns on her head and its strange but in a way most people thought it was humorous. It might sound sick but I guess that’s all we really have here is to laugh when we can and day dream of home.”

Soldier B: “The crypt keeper, yes I saw her, the skin of her face had something wrong with it, burn, maybe some sort of surgery and her hair was like a thinning mullet with chunks missing, she was wearing DCUs [Desert Camouflage Uniforms] if I remember correctly but like Beauchamp said I can’t remember seeing a unit patch on her which makes me think she was a civilian.”

Soldier A: “While digging we came across several bones and a guy named [name withheld] said he was part Indian and danced around the bones to show he was peaceful and he did a proper burial procedure.”

That sounds like more verification that the scared woman did exist even if she was in Kuwait rather then Iraq. Contrast these corroborative accounts with the pure speculation of the so-called elite intellectual Conservative publication, The Weekly Standard,

On the Standard website and elsewhere, there was speculation that Scott Thomas might not be an active-duty soldier at all. The Standard described a lengthy “semioticsbased analysis” arguing that he “fits the profile of a creative writing program graduate.” I tried to convince Beauchamp that he could buy credibility and knock down these specious claims with one gesture: revealing his name. A week after the initial call from Goldfarb, Beauchamp finally agreed.

Does the WS’s speculation cancel out the possibility of Beauchamp’s poetic license. Probably not, but it does point up one of many instances over the last six years in which the Right’s speculation has passed for journalism. The Conservative bloggers for the unvarnished truth are also selectively ignoring this part,

[S]lew of events: initially, the whole platoon was called in and we received certificates of having been instructed in some sort of equal opportunity training we never got. Then everyone was dismissed; everyone, of course, except the platoon’s four Bradley drivers. …

What we had to do, then, was write and sign a sworn statement … saying that we’d never seen or committed the act of randomly causing destruction with our Brads, and that we’d found no “mass grave” site at [combat outpost] Ellis.

… [I]t bottomed out to us saying that we’d found “unidentified remains.” [Captain] cheerfully edged us into calling them “animal” remains “so that there’s no implication of them possibly being human.” I changed mine to what he wanted. SCOTT changed his to “remains that people had said were animals.”

Anyone that has been in the military, a military family or part of corporate culture knows that when the sh*t rolls it does so down hill and you start signing things just to make it all go away. The truth about the incident with the bones and whether they were human remains might never be settled, but it certainly will not be resolved until all these guys have left the military. The story is important, but not important enough to be deprived of being able to communicate with family as Beauchamp was at one point or the possibility of even worse punishment.

Beauchamp had described Kiple to me as the figure in his story who stabs his mashed potatoes in disgust at the sight of the disfigured woman and cracks jokes at her expense. When the “Shock Troops” controversy emerged, Kiple was in the process of leaving the military and was being held at a base in Germany.

[ ]… She looked like an American. We saw her about every day or every other day–maybe fourteen times. Usually, mostly during lunch chow–twelve, one p.m. Yes, we called her Mandrake’s Bride, some crazy mythology that Scott and one of our buddies made up for her. I don’t remember some of the shit that they used to talk about her.”

At least one Rightie blogger has taken exception to this,

Two days later, a public affairs officer announced that Beauchamp’s piece had been “refuted by members of his platoon and proven to be false.” The Army didn’t announce this to The New York Times or even The Weekly Standard, let alone in a public report. It first gave the story of Beauchamp’s supposed fraudulence to a former porn actor turned blogger named Matt Sanchez. Apparently, the Army wanted the matter to quietly fade away.

Why did the Army cooperate with a Republican porn actor and not respond to TNR’s inquiries. Again, what did people think Scott’s fellow soldiers would do. Tell the truth and get some kind of punishment or sign off on what their superiors wanted to here and just get on with fighting the war that the chicken-hawk bloggers fight only with their keyboards. In the overall scheme of things Scott’s stories are at most serial exaggerations from one person who yields no influence on national policy and has minuscule if any influence on public opinion about the conduct of the military as a whole or individual soldiers. The same cannot be said of those that got Scott and his fellow soldiers into Iraq. The Right’s concern for the truth is glaringly hypocritical. Where are the stories from the same bloggers listed above about the lies of Condelezza Rice and George Bush,

On September 25, 2002, Rice insisted, “There clearly are contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq. … There clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there’s a relationship there.” On the same day, President Bush warned of the danger that “Al Qaeda becomes an extension of Saddam’s madness.” Rice, like Rumsfeld–who the next day would call evidence of a Saddam-bin Laden link “bulletproof”–said she could not share the administration’s evidence with the public without endangering intelligence sources. But Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, disagreed. On September 27, Paul Anderson, a spokesman for Graham, told USA Today that the senator had seen nothing in the CIA’s classified reports that established a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

On the Right we have the regular assortment of ideologues that hope to hang their credibility on the small cracks in the actual narrative of Iraq to sell the idea that there is a truth, a truth that they and only they know, but which the media like TNR is covering up. In an strange kind of partisan math, if Beauchamp is a complete liar and TNR a promoter of these embellishments, that  equals Bush and Rice’s lies don’t matter or the lies of the Right are for the good of the country, thus justifiable. It is the height of irony that the Rightie blogs have endured so many blisters on their typing fingers to get to the bottom of the Iraq Diarist stories (the first of which they all thought was just great), yet have not lifted a finger to get out the truth about the 237 misleading statements made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell. Just recently Karl Rove, the former Bush adviser has tried to do some rewriting of history himself, Rove against the world

Last week, in one of his more breathtaking lies, Karl Rove told a national television audience that it was Congress, not the Bush White House, that pushed for an Iraq war resolution in advance of the 2002 midterm elections. Rove said the administration was “opposed” to moving “too fast,” and that the president and his aides wanted the debate “outside the confines of the election.”

Since then, there’s been one thing everyone, on both sides of the aisle, can agree on: Rove is lying. Then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Rove either has “a very faulty memory, or he’s not telling the truth,” a sentiment echoed by then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt’s office.

Rove’s former colleagues are just as blunt. Former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card not only said Rove is wrong, but added, “[S]ometimes his mouth gets ahead of his brain.” Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer concluded, “I think Karl in this instance just has his facts wrong.” Former Bush counselor Dan Bartlett added, “This is the first time I’ve ever heard Karl say that.”

Where’s the outrage from the wing-nut bloggers who think an undotted i in a TNR story is evidence of some great liberal conspiracy when their savior Unka Karl goes around telling the most egregious lies. The same kind of lies that the Right has been telling for decades and told not by soldiers, but Republican officials and policy makers that actually do affect policy and public opinion. In the future will we see a Malkin headline that reads Bombshell…Republican Party ‘fesses up: The Bush administraion stories are bullcrap. Probably not because to the Right, as usual the truth doesn’t matter, American values don’t matter, fidelity to Republican ideology is what really matters.

More at Corrente, Winger circlejerk alert

Sluttish, pouty-lipped, autocoprophagic concentration camp advocate and stalker-of-twelve-year-olds Michelle Malkin is going to turn the knobs all the way up to 11, isn’t she? We’re going be hearing the words “liberal New Republic”* until our ears bleed.

religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together

A gentleman with Parkinson’s wrote this for Time in response to recent announcements that some scientists here and in Japan have figured out how to turn ordinary human-skin cells into cells similar to pluripotent stem cells, Why Science Can’t Save the GOP

First, even the scientists who achieved the latest success believe strongly that embryonic-stem-cell research should continue. No one knows for sure whether the new method of producing pluripotent cells will pan out or where the next big developments will come from. We are still many thresholds away from anything that can be of practical value to me and others. Scientifically, it makes no sense to abandon any promising avenue just because another has opened up.

Second, even if this were a true turning point in stem-cell research, people like me are not going to quickly forget those six lost years. I am 56. Last year I had a kind of brain surgery that dramatically reduces the symptoms of Parkinson’s. It received government approval only five years ago. Every year that goes by, science opens new doors, and every year, as you get older and your symptoms perhaps get worse, doors get shut. Six years of delay in a field moving as fast as stem-cell research means a lot of people for whom doors may not open until it is time for them to shut.

Bush and many, though not all Republicans continue to play political games with some straight forward facts about stem cell research. They say they want to save potential life from destruction, but fertility clinics continue to literally flush unused stem cells down the drain. How can someone say they care about life and yet allow potentially life saving cells to be wasted solely based on beliefs, not facts.

Day to day I try to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs, but there is that point where the dogmatists try to shove their particular brand of nonsense down everyone’s throat then have the audacity to scream insult when they and their personal diety are not given their way. Its all much like an adult temper tantrum as demostrated by the anti-federal funding of potentially life saving stem cell research and clowns like this, UK Muslim peers arrive in Sudan, aim to free teacher

Two British Muslim peers arrived in Sudan early on Saturday on a personal mission to secure the early release of an English teacher convicted of insulting religion by letting her class name a teddy bear Mohammad.

Lord Ahmed, from the ruling Labour party, and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, an opposition Conservative, hope to meet Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to discuss the case of Gillian Gibbons, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail and deportation.

The government is actually trying to protect her at this point from the holier then thou clowns marching in the street calling for her death. Bill Richardson managed to get journalist Paul Salopek freed last year after he was falsely accused of spying so there is reason to believe there is a good chance she’ll simply be deported. In the mean time what a tempest in a tea pot over naming a toy bear Mohammad. Another good example of why government and religion make for a volatile mix.

Hostage crisis ends at Clinton office. Pottersville has a running thread of conspiracy theories run wild from right-wing freepers. Proof that just when you think the Right can’t get their tin foil wrapped any tighter they do.

There is no way in the world Rudy Giuliani will ever be president. He seems to be scoring an average of a scandal a week, NYPD Chief Casts Doubt on Giuliani Expense Story

…current New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said today he knew of no problems with the delay of payments before Giuliani was mayor, when Kelly served under Mayor David Dinkins, or since.

“I don’t recall anybody, any statements about delay,” Kelly told reporters.

He said all bills for the police details for Dinkins and now for Mayor Mike Bloomberg are handled directly “through the police department.”

Critics say Giuliani’s practice of sending the bills to other agencies suggested he was trying to hide his extra-marital affair with Judith Nathan, who he later married after divorcing his second wife, Donna Hanover.

This is the guy that has won the hearts and minds of the freepers. Makes perfect sense.

“And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.” ~ James Madison