And the Post now has out an article that, at least to some extent, does just that.
Wow! If that's the case, then it appears that a lot of these documents (not all) from 1963 must be forgeries!
They already had the story they wanted Americans to believe: Nearly 3,000 people had died, we were assured, because the terrorists turned our liberties against us, had brazenly exploited our open society. According to this official view, the atrocities were inevitable, the plot so diabolical and its execution so precise that only a superhero could have prevented it.
It sounded right. For the American people, the terror seemed to have fallen out of that near-perfect September sky, out of the clear blue.
We now know otherwise. The report of the 9/11 Commission lays the story bare in exhaustive, forensic detail.
The Commissioners avoided blaming any government officials, past or present, for the failure to prevent the attacks. They maintain that their job was not to assign individual blame, but provide the most complete and frank account of the decisive events surrounding the attack. To that end, they succeeded.
Judges and social workers talk of the "circle of accountability." The 9/11 Commission was indeed an historic undertaking. Yet in spreading the blame as broadly as it possibly could, the Commissioners, rather than enlarging that circle, have all but closed it. Americans deserve better than to allow accountability to be passed off as a mere abstraction; they should know where the buck stops. The nearly 3,000 men and women who died on 9/11 deserve better, too. It will not bring them back to hold accountable the particular officials in high office who could have acted and did not. But it will assure that they did not die in vain. more....
Cheney Knows Ebay
Thursday Dick Cheney claimed that unemployment numbers and consumer spending figures weren't an accurate reflection on how well the economy was doing because they didn't account for... eBay?!?
"That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago: 400,000 people make some money trading on eBay," said the Vice President in Cincinnati.
We think "eBay" is an apt analogy for this Administration. The Bush/Cheney White House has auctioned off policy left and right to the highest bidding special interest contributors.
That's why The Public Action Fund set up this site to show just a few examples of what the Bush/Cheney Administration has auctioned off, at the expense of taxpayers, the public's health, and workers.
While you're there, make a bid yourself to help us take the White House off the auction block. Through advertising in battleground states, we're holding Bush and Cheney accountable. We're already airing ads in two battleground states on the Bush/Cheney no-bid contract for Halliburton, Cheney's former company.
ELSEWHERE IN CHENEYVILLE...The Vice President also found time Thursday to lie a bit about national security, saying that Saddam Hussein "provided safe harbor and sanctuary as well for Al Qaeda" which is not only untrue, but so patently untrue that you won't even find it claimed in The Connection. The most Stephen Hayes could come up with is that George Tenet once told the Senate that there was "credible" information that indicated that Saddam had discussed giving safe haven to al-Qaeda.
The LA Times, in typical press misbehavior, prints Cheney's charge in the first paragraph, while the contrary evidence doesn't appear until the fourteenth; and, of course, the paper can't bring itself to simply say that Cheney was lying. Instead, they have him "ignoring the findings of the bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks" (and the findings of the CIA, and the findings of the Senate Select Commitee on Intelligence Report, etc., etc., etc.).
Criminals from Matt Yglesias via TAPPED
NOTHING TO SEE HERE. It doesn't have the sort of thrilling drama as the pressing questions of typewriter history, but the news that the true number of "ghost prisoners" being held off-the-books in Iraq is "far more than had been previously reported" is troubling.
The thing about this ghost prisoner business is that while it hasn't (as far as I know) generated any graphic and horrifying photographs, it is a clear-cut violation of the Geneva Conventions, which are still in effect, and still the law of the United States of America. The coverage says that "the CIA" asked the Army to hide the prisoners from the Red Cross; since whoever did this at the CIA is a criminal, we sort of need to know who that person is. Colonels Thomas Pappas and Steven Bolz of Army Military Intelligence who cooperated with the CIA's illegal request also need to go. Last but by no means least, where's the outrage been about the fact that Donald Rumsfeld has admitted to ordering at least one illegal "ghost prisoner" episode? And how credible is it that he ordered this once, but had nothing whatsoever to do with all the other times it happened? That'd be some coincidence.
A Philly Outrage...from the Philadelphia Daily News Campaign Extra
"It's becoming increasingly clear that a major, ugly battle in Bush and Co.'s ongoing war against the U.S. Constitution was waged right here in the Philly area yesterday. As the usually on-target Dana Milbank of the Washington Post recounts, Secret Service agents at the president's rally in suburban Colmar were used for the purpose of blocking reporters' access to anti-Bush protestors -- a clear and blatant violation of the First Amendment.
There clearly were no security issues. Reporters who didn't try to interview the AIDS protestors from Philly's chapter of ACT UP were allowed to come and go as they pleased. And, as the article notes: "Officially, the Secret Service does not concern itself with unarmed, peaceful demonstrators who pose no danger to the commander in chief. But that policy was inoperative here."
Here's the most important passage from the Milbank's account:
"One uniformed Secret Service agent complained to a colleague that 'the press is having a field day' with the disruption -- and the agents quickly clamped down. Journalists were told that if they sought to approach the demonstrators, they would not be allowed to return to the event site -- even though their colleagues were free to come and go."
"An agent, who did not give his name, told one journalist who was blocked from returning to the speech that this was punishment for approaching the demonstrators and that there was a 'different set of rules' for reporters who did not seek out the activists."
In keeping with the fair and dangerously unbalanced tone of Campaign Extra!, we're outraged. Is anyone else? America is supposed to have just one set of rules -- in this case, free speech.
And digby remembers his brush with the SS at the Democratic convention...
This isn't the first example of the Secret Service behaving badly toward the press. In fact, I would venture that this was even more outrageous:
Inside the Fleet Center, the working press sits at tables that flank the convention stage. Except during major speeches, the reporters -- like the delegates themselves -- seldom pay much attention to what's happening on the stage. They talk among themselves, burn through their cell phone batteries and write pieces on their laptops.
That's what we were doing Thursday afternoon when a Secret Service agent had another idea. "Excuse me sir," his voice boomed from behind us. "It's the presentation of the colors, and I think it's important enough for you to stand up."
The agent had noticed -- we had not -- that the American flag was being presented in the still half-empty convention hall. We acknowledged his right to his opinion, then we returned to our work. At that point, the agent ordered us to stand -- ostensibly so he could confirm that our press credentials were valid. We complied with the order, then turned on our tape recorder and asked if he was actually ordering us to stand for the flag.
"No sir, I'm not. I'm looking at your deal," he said. "I'm ordering you because I want to see your credentials, and you're going to stand here until the flag is over with."
What's your name? "I'm Chad Reagan, and I'm checking your credentials, out of the New York field office. I'm checking your credentials."
Because we're working during the presentation of the flag?
"No sir, because I'm wondering who you are."
We told him that we worked for Salon.
"Great," he said, "I'm checking your credentials."
Nearby officials from the Congressional Periodical Press Gallery instantly confirmed the validity of our credentials. We asked the agent if he always orders people to stand for the flag, and whether Secret Service policy either authorized or required him to do so.
"I served for six months in the United States Marine Corps overseas, sir, so I like it when people stand. The reason I came over here was to credential you. You can think what you want, but the reason I came over here was to credential you. And I'll stick to that. I'm allowed to credential anyone I want. That is Secret Service policy."
But you told us to stand for the flag, right?
"No sir, I didn't tell you. I said that I think it's important enough to stand, and then I said, 'Let me see your credentials.' There's a difference."
If they are now behaving in a blatantly partisan manner and keeping the press from interviewing protestors, I can only assume that they will not be happy guarding a Democrat. If I were President Kerry, I would not feel particularly secure with people who think like this guarding me.
Look, A Journalist!
Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk praises AP's Scott Lindlaw for this:
CNN.com - Bush talks of economic progress, warns of Kerry taxes - Sep 9, 2004: COLMAR, Pennsylvania (AP) -- President Bush on Thursday blamed the Clinton administration for the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs and warned against backing the Democratic ticket in November because of a "hidden Kerry tax plan."
"In the last six months of the prior administration, more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. We're turning that around," said Bush, who cited the addition of 107,000 manufacturing jobs this year.
According to the Labor Department, the number of payroll jobs has grown by 1.7 million in the past 12 months, but the economy still has lost 913,000 positions since Bush took office in January 2001.
Democratic Sen. John Kerry has criticized Bush's economic record, including the job losses, a projected budget deficit of $422 billion for the year, increasing health care costs and poverty rates. Bush responded that Kerry will try to increase taxes.
"Raising taxes will be bad for our economy," the president told supporters near Philadelphia.
In fact, Kerry has proposed raising taxes on only the top 2 percent of wage earners while leaving cuts for the middle-class in place.
Bush campaigned in a state he lost in 2000 but is determined to win four years later. The battleground state offers 21 electoral votes out of the 270 needed to win the presidency, and Bush has visited 36 times since taking office, more trips than to any other state.
The Republican incumbent argued that Kerry would dramatically increase government spending, but Bush did not mention that on his own watch, federal spending has mushroomed at the fastest pace in a decade, fueled by war and a surge in non-defense spending....
The New York Times &38;gt; Opinion &38;gt; Op-Ed Columnist: The Dishonesty Thing: By PAUL KRUGMAN...September 10, 2004:
It's the dishonesty, stupid... [the] pattern of lies: his assertions that he fulfilled his obligations when he obviously didn't, the White House's repeated claims that it had released all of the relevant documents.... It's the same pattern of dishonesty, this time involving personal matters that the public can easily understand, that some of us have long seen on policy issues, from global warming to the war in Iraq. On budget matters, which is where I came in, serious analysts now take administration dishonesty for granted.
It wasn't always that way. Three years ago, those of us who accused the administration of cooking the budget books were ourselves accused, by moderates as well as by Bush loyalists, of being "shrill." These days the coalition of the shrill has widened to include almost every independent budget expert.
For example, back in February the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities accused the Bush administration of, in effect, playing three-card monte with budget forecasts. It pointed out that the administration's deficit forecast was far above those of independent analysts, and suggested that this exaggeration was deliberate.
"Overstating the 2004 deficit," the center wrote, "could allow the president to announce significant 'progress' on the deficit in late October - shortly before Election Day - when the Treasury Department announces the final figures."
Was this a wild accusation from a liberal think tank? No, it's conventional wisdom among experts. Two months ago Stanley Collender, a respected nonpartisan analyst, warned: "At some point over the next few weeks, the Office of Management and Budget will release the administration's midsession budget review and try to convince everyone the federal deficit is falling. Don't believe them."
He went on to echo the center's analysis. The administration's standard procedure, he said, is to initially issue an unrealistically high deficit forecast, which is "politically motivated or just plain bad." Then, when the actual number comes in below the forecast, officials declare that the deficit is falling, even though it's higher than the previous year's deficit.
Goldman Sachs says the same. Last month one of its analysts wrote that "the Office of Management and Budget has perfected the art of underpromising and overperforming in terms of its near-term budget deficit forecasts. This creates the impression that the deficit is narrowing when, in fact, it will be up sharply."
In other words, many reputable analysts think that the Bush administration routinely fakes even its short-term budget forecasts for the purposes of political spin. And the fakery in its long-term forecasts is much worse.
The administration claims to have a plan to cut the deficit in half over the next five years. But even Bruce Bartlett, a longtime tax-cut advocate, points out that "projections showing deficits falling assume that Bush's tax cuts expire on schedule." But Mr. Bush wants those tax cuts made permanent. That is, the administration has a "plan" to reduce the deficit that depends on Congress's not passing its own legislation.
Sounding definitely shrill, Mr. Bartlett says that "anyone who thinks we can overcome our fiscal mess without higher taxes is in denial." Far from backing down on his tax cuts, however, Mr. Bush is proposing to push the budget much deeper into the red with privatization programs that purport to offer something for nothing.
As Newsweek's Allan Sloan writes, "The president didn't exactly burden us with details about paying for all this. It's great marketing: show your audience the goodies but not the price tag. It's like going to the supermarket, picking out your stuff and taking it home without stopping at the checkout line to pay. The bill? That will come later."
Longtime readers will remember that that's exactly what I said, shrilly, about Mr. Bush's proposals during the 2000 campaign. Once again, he's running on the claim that 2 - 1 = 4.
So what's the real plan? Some not usually shrill people think that Mr. Bush will simply refuse to face reality until it comes crashing in: Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, says there's a 75 percent chance of a financial crisis in the next five years.
Nobody knows what Mr. Bush would really do about taxes and spending in a second term. What we do know is that on this, as on many matters, he won't tell the truth.
IRAQ Update...from The Washington Monthly
We're apparently making a big push to regain control of rebel strongholds in Iraq, but so far the story is more depressing than anything else:
"This is a significant step forward where the good people of Samarra are taking control of their destiny," said Maj. Gen. John Batiste, commander of the Army's 1st Infantry Division. His troops entered the city for less than 24 hours, oversaw the selection of new civic leaders, and declared the military's intention to return to help staff checkpoints in coming days.
...."We will never give up our right to maneuver in any of our areas," said Maj. Neal O'Brien of the 1st Infantry Division, which patrols four provinces north of Baghdad.
....U.S. troops pulled out at the end of the day for lack of a secure base at which to spend the night.
Even to a military non-expert like me this seems ridiculous. We're not going to win a guerrilla war by bombing cities and then hopping in for a few hours to put on a show of electing new civic leaders. If this is the plan, we're in big trouble.
Put this together with the recent CSIS report, which appears to be pretty authoritative, and the situation in Iraq just looks grimmer and grimmer. It's not so much that things are bad in iraq, it's that things are getting worse. In all five areas they studied security, governance, econommic opportunity, services, and social well-being the trend was negaative in both directions. That is, the reality is getting worse and public perception is getting worse.
So why is President Bush still ahead in the polls? Two reasons: first, most people don't yet understand how bad things are in Iraq. Second, because John Kerry hasn't said anything to make people believe he can handle the situation any better. I really wish he'd get a handle on this.