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August 17, 2008

Comments

Jes,

I viewed Bush's re-election, sadly, as validation that a wide swath of Americans just didn't care that he lied about the reasons for taking us to war.

That, and they just don't pay attention.

Let's remember that much of the right-wing noise machine was in the Hanoi cell with McCain.

It was very crowded, as they will attest.

The right wing bloggers and radio hate talkers were sitting there in the jungle mugginess at keyboards and in front of microphones in their bathrobes and bomber jackets serving their country.

Much of the Republican Congressional caucus were there too, taking classes at univerity via mail order while getting girls drunk at the frat parties, letting their hair grow, and nursing those disqualifying hemmoroids for the Draft Board.

It was Apocalypse Not Yet Because It's Inconvenient Right Now But We Can't Wait for the lot of them.

They took turns picking the nits out of McCain's patchey hair for future political hygeine, like a Greek chorus of patriotic chimpanzees.

These people know exactly what war means; it means you have to put down your 64-ounce Big Gulp before manufacturing whoppers in spoken and written form.

I don't think engaging McCain on Vietnam is going to work at all. That's his sweet spot.

Go after him on his Iraq bellicosity and his plans for domestic policy. Run ads with his Georgia lobbyist's face all over the place asking why mushroom clouds might be in our future.

He will gut Social Security and Medicare. He will reroute most of the West's water to Arizona. He will drill for oil in wealthy Westerner's backyards. He will destroy what's let of the Federal budget with tax cuts.

Trying to question the myth of what happened 40 years ago is going to be like arguing over the Book of Genesis. Fifty-one percent of the American electorate believes myth is literal truth and another 5% suspect it's bullshit but think it's impolite to call it so.

America sings itself to sleep every night telling itself stories about Vietnam. Don't wake the thumbsuckers.

The Republican Party is boxing the Democrats and Obama into the same old crap.

Obama needs to get angry.

Sort of OT, but there is a study showing religious faith follows the path of disease through the world.

My experience was the opposite. Every time my mother wanted me to get out of bed to go to church, I came down with the flu.

I have a question it has been quite a while since I read Solzhenitsyn and I don't remember that story directly from him, but rather one attributed to him. Does anyone have page cites directly from Solzhenitsyn?

Also, like several people have mentioned the double standard when compared to Kerry is amazing. We can learn from the right though. It is the way it is. We need to hammer these people and continue to work the refs (MSM) as hard as possible in hopes that we might change the way it is. To make it a little more the way it ought to be.

Ben Alpers is right.

I guess I'm a Jimmy Breslin liberal.

Here's what fair: In a political streetfight with known earbiting bullies, you sucker punch the throat first and kick them in the short-ribs while they are trying to get their breath back.

Here's what's unfair: Getting kicked in the gonads while wishing Republican politicians good luck in the coming fray.

The people he was talking to would certainly agree that God outranks the president.

Even a godless librul like me would agree that some questions are above the president's pay grade. Whether to go to war, for instance.

Therein lies a fundamental rift in modern American politics: some of us cling to the quaint notion that the president is a hired temp, some of us don't. To the latter, the president is daddy, chieftain and totem all at once. They need somebody to play that role in their mental universe. God will do, in a pinch.

-- TP

"Well, you know that the media are heavily biased towards the Republicans - as well as what Krugman calls an 'inside the beltway' thinking."

I agree entirely about the inside-the-beltway mindset of the Washington press corps.

And while it might not go over too well here, I just don't buy the Republican bias in the media, just as I never understood it when the right cried about the so-called liberal media.

I think most media outlets try to be objective, the less talented getting too caught up in a given narrative of a story.

Of course, FOX has a strong Republican bias -- but if it's not hidden too well, I can deal with that. And now you have MSNBC becoming the anti-FOX.

I don't think Newsweek is biased toward Obama, yet they've run numerous covers of the senator. They're simply following a big story, a hot candidate.

And so it goes.

John Thullen,

I would love it if hilzoy and the headliners asked you to do a guest post every now and then.

Your writing reminds me of my favorite sports writer, former Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin.

When he was the Phillies beat writer, his opinionated game stories would take these marvelous detours that would put you in a different era, place or subject and you kept wanting more. Never mind that you forgot by the end if the Phillies had won or lost.

Huh.

A few weeks ago there was a whole lot of talk about how dreary and buzz-killing and played out the political frameworks of the boomer generation are, how nice it will be when we die off, and especially how wrong it is for us to utter the word "Viet Nam" --even though we're bogged down in multiple wars of choice begun and sustained by lies that are sapping the country's economy and reputation.

But today, declining to make an issue of an unfalsifiable dog-whistle parable of McCain's, connected to an aspect of the Viet Nam war that has no relevance to or equivalent in our current military quagmires is somehow a sign of Democratic weakness.

bedtimeforbonzo: And while it might not go over too well here, I just don't buy the Republican bias in the media

Probably because you're fed the brown stuff for long enough, you begin to think that's what chocolate tastes like.

Look, before 2004, Bush had: Been "elected" to the White House by his brother's cohorts determinedly resisting any attempt to count all the votes cast in Florida (which count, which eventually carried out, discovered that Gore had won): Presided over the largest foreign terrorist attack on US soil in history: Stalled the setup of an investigation into how that terrorist attack could have taken place: Refused to testify under oath to the commission which was eventually set up: Lied the US into war with Iraq: Carried out an invasion/occupation with a force too small to be successful, against expert advice: Taken part in the cover-up that followed the betrayal of a covert CIA agent: Set up an extrajudicial prison camp on US-controlled territory with the explicit intention of contravening the Geneva Conventions.

So why weren't all of the above a constant part of the media narrative as Bush/Cheney tried to get back to the White House? Could there be any other reason besides a consistent Republican bias?

I think most media outlets try to be objective

I think most of the journalists on the spot try to be objective. I don't think the media outlets themselves are one whit objective.

BTFB:

Thanks much.

But if you wanna see creativity dry up, ask me to guest-post.

I'm a wise-guy sitting in the second row.

Hilzoy and headliners: please ignore BTFB this one time ;)

But today, declining to make an issue of an unfalsifiable dog-whistle parable of McCain's, connected to an aspect of the Viet Nam war that has no relevance to or equivalent in our current military quagmires is somehow a sign of Democratic weakness.

seems to me this goes straight to the heart of McCain's character, which is essentially what he's running on.

oh, and he was a POW.

noun, verb, POW.

but what if he's not the straight-shooting, honest maverick of the myth ? what if he just makes things up (or steals them from world-renowned authors) to please evangelical voters?

I just called Saddleback Church (949-609-8000; info [at] saddleback [dot] net) to ask if they were going to have any analysis of the forum. Their response was "We held the forum; it's over; that's it -- goodbye." No care if McCain abused their forum, no care if he was less than forth-coming, much less dishonest, nothing.

Why hold the forum in a church if there's no moral focus to the forum?

As Gary has pointed out well in a different thread, there are so many McCain lies and flip-flops and Bush-rubberstampings that matter to voters' lives and futures, that I can't imagine choosing to make this weak, obscure picky reed the tool with which to crack the facade of straight-shooting maverick.

this weak, obscure picky reed

i guess we just see different potential in this.

"Look, before 2004, Bush had: Been "elected" to the White House by his brother's cohorts determinedly resisting any attempt to count all the votes cast in Florida (which count, which eventually carried out, discovered that Gore had won)"

Jes, I must say the recent HBO docudrama on the 2000 Florida recount -- it very well may have been called "Recount" -- painted a picture that Gore took too much of a passive approach during the recount. If so, shame on him.

And if that docudrama was anywhere near the truth, I think Bush will never be able to pay off his debt to James Baker, beautifully played by Tom Wilkinson.

Meanwhile, there's no denying these last eight years do make it seem like Bush has gotten a free ride. I'd be ashamed if I were a member of the White House press corps, which used to be the pinnacle of the journalistic profession.

So much BS in the comments I don't know where to begin. Just from a casual reading:

1) McCain in fact denounced the Swift Boat Vets, not that he should have, because despite moonbat claims they were never discredited on any of the major details. Besides, the circumstances were entirely different. It's a lot different having 90% of the people who were with you at the time coming out saying you're full of it, and purporting that because your brilliant intellects can't come up with a reason he didn't mention it right after his release, it must be a lie.

2) A rather OBVIOUS reason he wouldn't have mentioned it in 1973 is that, if he had, it's exceedingly likely the Vietnamese would've been easily able to identify the guard who helped him and shot him. 1999, not as big a concern.

3) The claim that later recounts showed that Gore won the 2000 election is the most outrageous piece of bullshit I've ever read in my life. Two entirely different consortiums of media outlets determined the -exact opposite- a year after the election. Wow, you guys are shameless.

Qwinn

Qwinn,

I'd love to see McCain win the popular vote and Obama win the Electoral College, and the presidency.

Let's see who's shameless then.

Bedtime, it might be poetic justice, but it would almost guarantee political violence. The right wouldn't take that lying down.

"I'd love to see McCain win the popular vote and Obama win the Electoral College, and the presidency."

I wouldn't. I'd love for Obama to win a convincing win in the popular vote and the Electoral College so we can have a little less whining from all sides and more getting down to business.

bedtime: Jes, I must say the recent HBO docudrama on the 2000 Florida recount -- it very well may have been called "Recount" -- painted a picture that Gore took too much of a passive approach during the recount. If so, shame on him.

Michael Moore used live footage from the Senate to show many black Representatives from Congress lining up to protest the acceptance of the Florida "election", while the massed ranks of white Senators looked on in silence, and Al Gore gavelled down each protest.

I agree Gore should have fought harder against the media bias that declared Bush the winner before the election was over, and the Republican dirty tricks that got Bush into the White House without ever counting the vote. But I think Gore was genuinely and fairly concerned that if he did, he would be perceived as a "sore loser" for the next four years - after all, he'd witnessed the Republican/media hate campaign against the Clintons at first hand - and, also to be fair, could not have had a realistic idea of how bad Bush's administration was going to be - Molly Ivins made some very prescient comments, but no one knew, after all, that the Bush administration would ignore or scrap all the Clinton administration's efforts against terrorism: nor that at the beginning of August 2001, Bush would be formally warned that al-Qaeda intended to attack the US ...and would then go on vacation.

Sebastian: I'd love for Obama to win a convincing win in the popular vote and the Electoral College

My God, we agree on something at last. *sets off fireworks* *makes tea* *offers cake*

KCinDC and Sebastian,

Agree with you both.

Didn't really mean what I said, other than to hopefully have Qwinn understand how the losing side might be so outraged by such an outcome.

KC said it best: "poetic justice."

Sebastian is so right: Will the whining ever stop?

A rather OBVIOUS reason he wouldn't have mentioned it in 1973 is that, if he had, it's exceedingly likely the Vietnamese would've been easily able to identify the guard who helped him and shot him.

*snicker*

"But I think Gore was genuinely and fairly concerned that if he did, he would be perceived as a "sore loser" for the next four years - after all, he'd witnessed the Republican/media hate campaign against the Clintons at first hand."

I agree, Jes.

In the end, that's why I respect Gore so much: He was principled -- too much so for his own good, I guess.

His concession speech made me heartsick but proud to be a Dem.

You guys are delusional. Gore blatantly attempted to steal an election that it was repeatedly proved he lost under all but the most absurd possible conditions (like ONLY recounting the counties Gore wanted to, and denying counties Republicans wanted to). He didn't have a leg to stand on, but the liberal Florida court pretended the law didn't matter (just as NJ courts pretended the law didn't matter when enabling Lautenberg to replace Toricelli on the ballot well after it was legal to). The Supreme Court rightfully told the partisan Florida courts to pound sand, and that Gore doesn't get to recount -just- the areas he wants, it's recount everything or nothing.

None of this even mentions the Gore campaign attempting to disenfranchise military votes, or the fact that several media outlets called Florida for Gore -before the polls even closed-, thus sending a hell of a lot of people in the heavily Republican pandhandle home, or Democrat attempts to allow prisoners to vote that were legally barred from doing so.

Democrats are the masters of voter fraud, and their obsession with the 2000 election is simply a testament to their unbelievable capacity for projection.

Qwinn

"I'm not sure if any question is above the president's pay grade."

Really? The president should rule on: child custody cases? What is the nature of good and evil? What happens if an immovable object meets an irresistible force? How many blog commenters can dance on the head of a pin? Locked box mysteries? What is the nature of dark energy? Will humanity ever be able to travel beyond the speed of light? How do we cure cancer? Why is there evil? What's the exact position and momentum of a subatomic particle? Was the Civil War an irrepressible conflict? What happened before the Big Bang? Why is there an arrow of time? What's the correct theory of neutrinos? What is the meaning of life?

"Jes, I must say the recent HBO docudrama partisan fiction"

Fixed.

Qwinn: None of this even mentions the Gore campaign attempting to disenfranchise military votes

Or, put another way:

Still, more than 1,500 overseas ballots were rejected by canvassing boards for not including pertinent information, such as an overseas postmark, a date, a witness signature or confirmation in county files that the voter had requested an overseas ballot. Under Florida law, which recently tightened standards to prevent fraud, those types of ballots are invalid. Salon.com, December 11, 2000
Unfortunately, Gore decided that he couldn't afford to contest those invalid ballots in court, because he was saying "every vote should count".

Bizarrely, as Qwinn proves, the mere fact that Gore did not contest those invalid military ballots didn't stop loyal Republicans from claiming that the Gore campaign had done so.

And yet, Qwinn calls us "delusional"...

Nell: this weak, obscure picky reed

cleek: i guess we just see different potential in this.

Yep. Compare the strength of this literary lie to hitting McCain on his reckless, wrong eagerness to attack Iraq (which most voters now agree was a bad idea). He was pushing it before Sept. 2001, immediately thereafter, and eagerly during the very period when the U.S. should have been intensely bearing down on meeting objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Footage of McCain's warmongering could be intercut with his inane recent "21st century" line to infinitely greater effect than dragging us back to some picky little fraud that inevitably focuses on the very thing McCain wants you to focus on -- his POW days.

Footage of McCain's warmongering could be intercut with his inane recent "21st century" line to infinitely greater effect than dragging us back to some picky little fraud that inevitably focuses on the very thing McCain wants you to focus on -- his POW days.

maybe. sure. but as Ben Alpers said, way up yonder:

    Dithering over which statements to go after is defeatist. Go after them all.

the Dems leave too many opportunities for point-scoring un-explored, IMO.

Qwinn: "You guys are delusional."

I think "delusional" would be well down the list -- if at all -- of adjectives describing bloggers here.

If you know a group that is more grounded in reality, I'd like to meet them.

Go after them all.

We've seen innumerable times that if the right wing can find something to complain about -- a minor inaccuracy, or a supposedly offensive statement -- in a single facet of a story, then they can get the whole collection of facts dismissed because of the "tainted" bit, and turn the media conversation toward the distraction. It happened with the Koran desecration. It happened with Dick Durbin's statement about torture. It happened with the Amnesty International report. It happened with the story about Bush's (lack of) National Guard service.

Why put a boobytrapped weapon into our arsenal when we don't have to?

Gary,

I'm not so sure about "Recount" being a work of partisan fiction.

Its makers, including lead actor Kevin Spacey, were liberals who took pains in being as factual as possible while making it entertaining.

Even at that, they made Baker and Katherine Harris -- what a piece of work, she -- two pretty memorable villains.

It happened with the Koran desecration. It happened with Dick Durbin's statement about torture., etc...

yep. but that comes with playing offense: sometimes your shots get blocked. but you don't score if you don't take the shot. and sometimes, taking a shot means leaving your own zone unguarded for a bit and using everything you have to break the opponents' defense.

the Dems are stuck in a defense mindset. they need to quit worrying about losing and start thinking about winning.

that said, i won't defend this metaphor. :)

No. "Going after them all" means losing message discipline and focus and getting sucked into just the subject the opposition would like (the tarbaby syndrome).

And if ever there was a tarbaby topic, this one is it -- POW-hood and Christian religiosity combined.

Be combative on the issues where voters can see and feel that the candidate and the party are doing something on their behalf, and where the contrast between the candidates works in our favor.

McCain = McSame, Bush's third term, same failed old policies, reckless, out of touch.

(applied to the problems Bush and McCain and the rest of the Republican rubber stamps have let pile up: Iraq and the wars, the houseing and finance near-collapse, health care crisis, etc. etc. etc.)

"the Dems are stuck in a defense mindset. they need to quit worrying about losing and start thinking about winning."

Indeed, and more than anyone, Barack Obama needs to get this message.

While we are obsessing on the veracity of McCain's Christmas story while he was a POW, he was back on the trail today attacking Obama on national security.

McCain seems revitalized, a much more confident and focused candidate than he was two months ago.

I'd like to see Obama make a few headlines and not wait until next week's convention to take center stage.

"We've seen innumerable times that if the right wing can find something to complain about -- a minor inaccuracy, or a supposedly offensive statement -- in a single facet of a story, then they can get the whole collection of facts dismissed because of the "tainted" bit, and turn the media conversation toward the distraction."

So find the minor inaccuracy and go after it. The problem is that you are complaining about an allegedly unfair distinction between Kerry and McCain without actually having an inaccuracy to go after. You have a suspicion. Either prove it or go after one of the hundreds of obviously legitimate problems one could have with McCain.

These complaints strike me as a weird inability to deal with the reality that McCain will score *SOME* points some of the time. So long as Obama does better overall, we'll be fine. Don't focus on the one time in the past month that McCain has done something right by fruitlessly trying to tear it down.

Instead, focus on the hundreds of things he has done wrong. When you look like you are grasping at straws (which is exactly how you will look if you try to push this issue) you look like you don't have anything worth talking about.

The Kerry attacks had a legitimate hook, it turns out that he definitely wasn't there when he said he was, and very probably not at all. The purple heart thing was similar--he made a big show of throwing someone's purple hearts away, and let people believe they were his own. You can take issue about how those (perhaps mildly) bad factual hooks were used, but until you get a similar factual hook on McCain's story, just forget about it.

Sebastian, I think you're misunderstanding me. I'm agreeing with you. I was arguing that including criticism of the cross anecdote among the attacks on McCain would open Democrats up to the possibility that Republicans would use that technique again to dismiss all other criticisms of McCain as connected with a supposedly anti-Christian, anti-military, outrageous attack on him. The parallel would be more with the response to Durbin or to Amnesty, where the distraction was about offensive speech rather than inaccuracy.

"Its makers, including lead actor Kevin Spacey"

He's an actor. He neither produced nor wrote the film. He had no input into the slant. Neither do I recall ever vetting Kevin Spacey as a political reporter and expert on the events, even if he had anything to do with the writing of the film, which he didn't.

"who took pains in being as factual as possible"

And yet endless numbers of participants in the events strenuously disagree. Pardon me if I take their word over your firsthand knowledge.

Warren Christopher:

[...] ...has not seen the film, but he read transcripts of scenes featuring his character, who is portrayed as a high-minded but naive statesman. In one scene, Christopher, played by John Hurt, suggests to former Secretary of State James Baker - who was spearheading Bush's Florida legal team - that they try to resolve the recount through 'diplomacy and compromise.' 'That's absurd,' Christopher says. 'Both Baker and I knew this would be a fight to the end that only one side could win.' (Baker agreed that the film exaggerated his rival's stance: 'He's not that much of a wuss.')
—Matea Gold, San Jose Mercury News[11]

[...]

In contrast, Bush legal advisers James Baker and Benjamin Ginsberg have largely given the film good reviews; Baker even hosted his own screening of it [....]

Did you actually read the link I previously gave?
“I think a lot of the strategizing in the script that I saw was somebody’s hindsight rather than what we had to deal with in the immediate aftermath of the election,” Mr. Daley said. He added: “The perception that Warren Christopher was some wuss who got hoodwinked by Jim Baker is absolute fantasy in the mind of somebody who is trying to make themselves out to be bigger than they were.”

Neither Mr. Christopher nor Mr. Daley has seen the completed film, which has been sent to television reporters and critics for review. Mr. Daley said he requested and was given a draft of the script last year by HBO after filming had begun. Mr. Baker, who has seen the film, said he reviewed a draft of the script before production began and requested changes that were incorporated into the film.

Mr. Christopher said he learned of the film from his tailor, who was asked by the filmmakers to reproduce one of Mr. Christopher’s suits. He said he offered to review the script but never received one. The New York Times gave him a transcript of the scenes in which his character appears.

“I was stunned by the excerpt,” he said in an interview. “Much of what the author has written about me is pure fiction. It contained events that never occurred, words I never spoke and decisions attributed to me that I never made.”

The film portrays Mr. Christopher as blocking attempts by other Gore advisers to rally protesters and to take the fight over disputed ballots to court. He is depicted as backing away from confrontation during a meeting with Mr. Baker, seeking compromise and negotiation as the Republicans prepare for war.

The portrait stands in stark contrast to Mr. Baker’s. This is largely because the film is edited to jump directly from scenes in which Mr. Baker prepares the Bush team for “a street fight,” giving directions about where to stage protests, to scenes where Mr. Christopher counsels caution and calls for an “orderly process” without protesters.

[...] Mr. Klain said the film “gets the big things right,” but faults its portrait of Mr. Christopher. “He was as intense and vigorous an advocate for Vice President Gore as anyone there,” Mr. Klain said.

Mr. Christopher and Mr. Daley were interviewed by the film’s creators only after filming began. Mr. Christopher said he was told that scenes involving his character had already been filmed; Mr. Strong denied that, saying the scenes were to be filmed that day.

Mr. Strong confirmed that Mr. Christopher offered to review the script but, he said, he decided not to send one.

Terribly fair. I'll take this account, and their views, over your assurances.

In any case, while I haven't seen the film, getting your history from works of fiction isn't a technique I recommend. As it happens, we actually have, like, books. Of nonfiction. I recommend them.

Sebastian: The Kerry attacks had a legitimate hook, it turns out that he definitely wasn't there when he said he was

Or at least, that if it was said often enough that he wasn't, the lie would become more convincing than the reality...

and very probably not at all. The purple heart thing was similar--he made a big show of throwing someone's purple hearts away, and let people believe they were his own.

...and this applies to the Republican claims that he never deserved his Purple Hearts how? The Republican attack on Kerry was that he got his decorations by lying - that Vietnam veterans could get Purple Hearts for bandaid injuries.

Gary,

"Recount" is a docudrama, not a documentary, so I wouldn't take it as a gospel.

Just as Katharine Harris didn't like the way she was portrayed, I would cast a skeptical eye on her account -- just as I would Warren Christopher's.

These people have egos and I'm not surprised if they don't like it if they don't come off looking good.

Your initial comment called the piece "partisan."

I'd say if you have Harris upset on the one hand and Christopher upset on the other, that should erase that perception.

I heard the makers of the film on one of those "Making Of" shorts on HBO and choose to take their word on what lense they decided to look through when making this story.

Spacey was interviewed heavily in this short and it's fair to say an actor of his stature brings a great deal of influence to such a project -- one that might not get made if it didn't have a marquee name such as his in the lead role.

Did you see the movie?

I don't think it pulled any punches on either side.

"Or at least, that if it was said often enough that he wasn't, the lie would become more convincing than the reality..."

He bloody ADMITTED it.

But for you, accusing Republicans of "lying" over absolutely every last single possible detail, no matter how ironclad it is, not even when it's been admitted to, just comes as natural as breathing. No Republican has ever said a true word, ever. And then you wonder why you're so easily discredited.

"The Republican attack on Kerry was that he got his decorations by lying - that Vietnam veterans could get Purple Hearts for bandaid injuries."

That was a -part- of the attack. There were many aspects to it, all legitimate. The main issue was his BS "Genghis Khan" testimony in front of the Senate. But since you've decided to misrepresent the entire thing as being about nothing but the "tiniest detail" that isn't directly provable so you can dismiss the entire thing (once again doing EXACTLY what you were just projecting onto your enemies), do share with us, since there's no record that Kerry spent even a single day in the hospital for any of his injuries, and with reports from attending medics that at least one -was- in fact a band aid injury, what is your evidence that they were anything but?

Qwinn

Sorry, Gary, I didn't read the end of your comment, so I see you didn't see the movie.

I identified this film as docudrama from the start -- not as a complete historical accounting -- which you also seem to have overlooked.

Spacey was interviewed heavily in this short and it's fair to say an actor of his stature brings a great deal of influence to such a project -- one that might not get made if it didn't have a marquee name such as his in the lead role.

Um...actors get paid for looking pretty and saying lines. They are not, generally, trained in the methods of professional historians or investigators. That means that even actors of very great stature don't have the skills or experience needed to examine a script and determine if it is a good representation of what actually happened. That sort of work is very challenging: I've been amazed watching very smart observant people in my workplace disagree about the recent historical origins of a product design.

I'll put it to you this way: let's say Kevin Spacey officially endorsed an investment company that employed complex and extremely risky financial instruments. Do you think Spacey is qualified to assess complex financial modeling? If you don't, what makes you think he's qualified to ferret out the truth from conflicting narratives about a complex crisis?

I don't think it pulled any punches on either side.

But how can you know unless you're familiar with lots of other material about these events?

"Your initial comment called the piece "partisan."

I'd say if you have Harris upset on the one hand and Christopher upset on the other, that should erase that perception."

Harris was made to look banal and evil, in order to further the narrative that all Republicans are banal and evil.

Christopher was made to look weak and ineffectual in defending against brutal, dishonest Republican attacks, in order to further the narrative that all Republicans are banal and evil.

Yep, can't see any hint of partisanship there.

Qwinn

Turb,

Spacey's job wasn't "to ferret out the truth" but if he decides to put a spin on how his character comes across he is going to do it -- especially since he's playing a role in a "docudrama."

I'd leave it in Spacey's hands to add "drama" to a story anytime.

"Recount" didn't pull any punches on either side in that both Democrats and Republicans didn't come across all that great, albeit in different ways.

Qwinn: civility. It's the rule. Anyone else who has been uncivil: this means you too.

Christopher was made to look weak and ineffectual [...] in order to further the narrative that all Republicans Democrats are banal and evil weak and ineffectual.

Fixed.

By the way, I thought it was a really good movie.

Three stars.

The main issue was his BS "Genghis Khan" testimony in front of the Senate.

Yes, because in 2004 it was a very real issue for the Bush/Cheney administration that the next President should not be a man who, even 33 years earlier, had the principle and integrity to stand up and speak out against US military atrocities. For the fairly obvious reason that they themselves had in 2002/2003 repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of torture techniques to be used against prisoners of the US.

The transcript of BS "Genghis Khan" testimony that got Bush and Cheney so chickeny scared...

Spacey's job wasn't "to ferret out the truth" but if he decides to put a spin on how his character comes across he is going to do it -- especially since he's playing a role in a "docudrama."

OK, it wasn't his role to ferret out truth...I'll buy that. But if that's true, why talk about his stature and influence at all (without him, the movie might not even have been made)? You can't rely on Spacey's stature and influence to endorse the even-handedness of the movie in one comment and then say that figuring out what happened wasn't his job...

Wait, so all the Vietnam-related smears of Kerry were okay, because he supposedly admitted they were true (?!), but Kerry's testimony 1971 congressional testimony is an outrage, even though the soldiers he's talking about had admitted their actions? Is there any logic operating here other than IOKIYAR?

"but Kerry's testimony 1971 congressional testimony is an outrage, even though the soldiers he's talking about had admitted their actions?"

It would behoove you to actually know what the Swiftboat vets -said- before dismissing them as liars.

You are apparently unaware that dozens of the "Winter Soldier" testimonies were patently false, being as the "admissions" were made by anti-war activists that -never went to Vietnam-.

Educate yourself at least slightly. Google Al Hubbard, Kerry's co-leader in his little protest group. He was one of the frauds who claimed he saw atrocities and was never in Vietnam. He wasn't the only one. Dozens of them never went there but claimed to witness atrocities. It was an orchestrated fraud. Their testimonies have been debunked countless times.

The Swiftboat Vets didn't do that debunking of those testimonies, by the way. They merely repeated it. The debunking began immediately after his testimony in front of the Fulbright committee, and a dozen books have been written about it, but of course the media wasn't really interested, and so the vets bore the stain of his slander for 35 years before finally being in a position to be heard. Is it any wonder they spoke out? But naturally, since it puts a Dem in a bad light, you claim the Swiftboat Vets are the liars.

Qwinn

"Really? The president should rule on: child custody cases? What is the nature of good and evil? What happens if an immovable object meets an irresistible force? How many blog commenters can dance on the head of a pin? Locked box mysteries? What is the nature of dark energy? Will humanity ever be able to travel beyond the speed of light? How do we cure cancer? Why is there evil? What's the exact position and momentum of a subatomic particle? Was the Civil War an irrepressible conflict? What happened before the Big Bang? Why is there an arrow of time? What's the correct theory of neutrinos? What is the meaning of life?"

Gary, you forgot the most important question of all:

Boxers or briefs?

Qwinn: You are apparently unaware that dozens of the "Winter Soldier" testimonies were patently false, being as the "admissions" were made by anti-war activists that -never went to Vietnam-.

According to Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement, by Gerald Nicosia, every veteran who participated in Winter Soldier was required to bring their DD-214's and IDs to the investigation - and, according to the same source, though every participant was rigorously investigated over the next several years by Nixon's Special Investigations Unit and by the media (Detroit News is named on the Wikipedia article), not one fraudulent veteran was ever found. You are apparently unaware of this...?

The military divisions who were represented at Winter Soldier are listed.

It was an orchestrated fraud. Their testimonies have been debunked countless times.

Well, if you call soldiers standing up to speak truth about their wartime experiences an "orchestrated fraud", and if you describe people calling Vietnam veterans liars a "debunking".

It is odd that the same people who repetitively claim that anti-war protesters "spat on veterans" should usually be the first to call Vietnam veterans liars and traitors.

and so the vets bore the stain of his slander for 35 years before finally being in a position to be heard

You don't consider that calling Vietnam veterans liars and claiming that they were "anti-war activists that never went to Vietnam" is "slanderous"? I do. The least you could do to respect their service, it seems to me, is not to assume they are liars.

Congratulations on mastering Wikipedia. It is, of course, totally false. Quite the opposite - only one of their claims has ever actually been substantiated, and during the investigations you mentioned, dozens of them recanted their WSI claims.

This is but one of many sources, but it delivers the information in a good concise form.

http://www.wintersoldier.com/staticpages/index.php?page=Swett_CID

Qwinn

By the way, for the sake of accuracy, I will admit that I erred in my statement that the men who testified at the Winter Soldier hearings weren't in Vietnam, I was confusing those who actually testified with the leaders of the organization that coerced false testimony from them that those who were willing to cooperate with the investigation later redacted.

Let's see if you're capable of admitting when you are wrong, as well.

Qwinn

We don't really need to rely on the Winter Soldier investigation for knowledge of US war crimes in Vietnam--

Link">http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-vietnam6aug06,0,6350517.story?coll=la-home-headlines">Link

Another Link

And if you're interested in any facet of the Vietnam War, Edwin Moise has a pretty thorough bibliography. This is where I found the previous two links.


Link

Yes, Qwinn, I think you're quite confused.

Quite the opposite - only one of their claims has ever actually been substantiated

So which one do you agree has been substantiated? Then we'll know which Vietnam veterans you are accusing of being liars, now you know you can't get away with claiming none of them were Vietnam veterans at all...

and during the investigations you mentioned, dozens of them recanted their WSI claims.

Hostile government investigations have a strange habit of doing that to people.

I was confusing those who actually testified with the leaders of the organization that coerced false testimony from them that those who were willing to cooperate with the investigation later redacted.

Very odd confusion. Almost as if you had never in your life actually read the Winter Soldier Investigation, but only the "debunking" of it.

"I'd say if you have Harris upset on the one hand and Christopher upset on the other, that should erase that perception."

This notion, or any notion that because there are objections on two sides of a question that therefore the Truth Lies Somewhere Approximately In The Middle is a classic logical fallacy, you know.

"since there's no record that Kerry spent even a single day in the hospital for any of his injuries"

There's a requirement that one spend a day in the hospital to qualify for a Purple Heart? I'm unaware of that: what's your cite, please?

"'Recount' didn't pull any punches on either side in that both Democrats and Republicans didn't come across all that great, albeit in different ways."

What that has to do with determining the best approximate historical truth of an event, or what a piece of fiction has to do with determining the truth of a real event, I have no idea. You liked the movie; that's nice, and that's fine. What relevance it has to the actual events, I don't know. If you'd like to discuss the events, please try a cite to a reputable historian. If you'd just like to say that you enjoyed a nice piece of fiction, fine.

Qwinn: "You are apparently unaware that dozens of the "Winter Soldier" testimonies were patently false, being as the "admissions" were made by anti-war activists that -never went to Vietnam-."

Is it your claim that most all or all of the Winter Soldier testimonies were false? If so, can you give a cite demonstrating that? If not, are you asserting that true accounts are contaminated by being given in proximity to false or doubtful ones? If not, what are you asserting?

"The debunking began immediately after his testimony in front of the Fulbright committee, and a dozen books have been written about it, but of course the media wasn't really interested"

This is not a credible cite.

"The debunking began immediately after his testimony in front of the Fulbright committee, and a dozen books have been written about it, but of course the media wasn't really interested, and so the vets bore the stain of his slander for 35 years before finally being in a position to be heard. "

This, btw, is why I posted the links above. What I assume you mean is that Kerry slandered all Vietnam vets by claiming that there were many war crimes committed by US soldiers in Vietnam. But what exactly is the stain and who is supposed to carry it? There were, I think, over 2 million Americans who served in Vietnam and nobody claims that more than a small minority actually committed atrocities. But that Americans often behaved brutally is undeniable even by apologists for the war like Guenter Lewy. In the first link I provided a US vet is cited as saying that there were massive numbers of civilians being killed by the Ninth Army division in the Mekong Delta. If you're familiar with Vietnam atrocity allegations, that will sound familiar--several Vietnam books, including Lewy's, mention how Operation Speedy Express, carried out by that division in the Mekong Delta gave a reported bodycount of nearly 11,000, while supposedly capturing less than 800 weapons. That struck Newsweek reporter Kevin Buckley as quite peculiar, and it's been seen that way by a number of people. Link

Verbum sat. As to credible cites, assuming that this is the same Qwinn, s/he feels that Ann Coulter's book Liberal Treason is credible. Ironically, support of Liberal Treason is the inverse of the complaint against Kerry, in that Coulter is simply not listing names but describing a pattern. Some goose/gander issues here.

Hmmm...the same Ann Coulter who's taken scientific advice on biology from people who've done no work in biology and refuse to do any research to support their thesis?

I don't think engaging McCain on Vietnam is going to work at all. That's his sweet spot.

Bingo.

Look, in many parts of the country, nothing sells like religious kitsch. Score one well-played point for McCain and move on. There's no value to be had in hammering on this.

I guess I'm a Jimmy Breslin liberal.

Now you're talking.

Harris was made to look banal and evil

Sorry, but no. Harris was not "made" to look anything. Harris, with no help from anyone else, presented herself as the political reincarnation of Hot Lips Houlihan, and received all of the respectful attention that her performance deserved.

And I hate to burst your bubble, Qwinn, but it's neither 2000 nor 2004. You're living in the past, dude.

Thanks -

"Harris, with no help from anyone else, presented herself as the political reincarnation of Hot Lips Houlihan"

With some vintage Margaret Hamilton in the mix.

Which was only appropriate, given all the flying monkeys called in.

Russell, it's not every day that you get to read a Hot Lips Houlihan reference or, for that matter, Gary, the wonderful Margaret Hamilton and her flying monkeys. (My mom went into labor with me during the very first showing of the "Wizard of Oz" on TV, so I'm partial to anything Oz.)

Gary, having viewed it as a docudrama, I understand some of your points about "Recount," knowing they took dramatic license with the story.

That said, I don't think you are giving the film enough credit.

In fact, if I were a high school civics teacher, it might be a good idea to show it to my students.

Returning to the original topic, apparently the reason McCain never mentioned the "cross in the dirt" story before 1999, is that it wasn't part of conservative Christian consciousness until (via) a sermon which used the story in 1997.

The story itself is not from Solzhenitsyn - it's an American conservative fabrication invented by Billy Graham and re-used regularly by Jesse Helms.

Or, of course, uh, Billy Graham heard the story from John McCain and retold it as from Solzhenitsyn and John McCain never until now reclaimed it...

Mainstream conservative consciousness, I should say: Billy Graham and Jesse Helms had presumably spread it far and white among the peculiar brand of right-wing racist Christianity...

This is gold, thanks Jesurgislac.

I hadn't heard it before, Jesurgislac, but then again I don't give much credit to what Billy Graham has had to say. Or Jesse Helms, for that matter.

If I'd heard it, though, I'd have passed it off as glurge. Glurge is part of what TV evangelists do, after all. And politicians, as well; I think there's some mapping, there.

If I'd heard it, though, I'd have passed it off as glurge.

Well, so it is, whether told by Billy Graham and Jesse Helms of Solzhenitsyn, or John McCain of himself.

Well, it's also very probably what we non-conservative non-Christians call "a lie", when John McCain claims it as his own personal experience.

Possibly. Unprovably, though.

I'd say "probably" rather than "possibly" but, as you say, unprovably.

It's possible this much-repeated piece of conservative Christian glurge that became part of McCain's self-story at just the time McCain needed to start wooing the conservative Christians, is "based on a true story" that actually happened to McCain himself. McCain is known to have "redecorated" his PoW anecdotes with whatever he feels will sound best to his audience at the time. So there's no real reason not to believe he is doing just that with this piece of glurge.

Only, as I said, to non-conservative non-Christians, this is what you call "a lie".

Memories of actions which shouldn't have happened are common among combat veterans of the later years of the war in Viet Nma. It isvery weird how people who calim to be more pagtriotic and more supportive of soldiers are also prone to labelling veterans as liars if the veterans dont' report what the so-called supporters want them to report.

The same phenomenon is in affect now concerning Iraq vets. Rightwings act as if they own vets. The rightwing belief is that vets are supposed to support them, the rightwing. So if a vet says something the right doesn't like, then t he vet gets attacked as a liar etic. All of the attacks on returning vets from Iraq have come from the political right,

Rightwingers don't form their opinons based on the real world. They believe what their emotions compell them to believe. The root of their worldview is fear and they erect and internal edifice designed both to keep themselves fearful but also to create a self image of heroism by association. So there has to be an evil enemy to fear and the rightwinger has to be associated with the pure and noble good that fights the evil. The fantasy world IS the real world and the rightwinger is impervious to information, capable of rationalizing but not of reasoning.

So we had to fight the ZCommies in Viet NAm and the soldeirs had to be pure and good and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

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