Friday, July 18, 2003

Don't Ever, Ever Complain  

Atrios, from his secret location is outdoing himself. I can't resist posting this one, an email from the wife of the Major General Buford Blount which let's George "Bring 'Em On" Bush off the hook and blames the soldiers who are angry at being assigned to Quag II for the death of the their friends:
Public griping by spouses of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq could hurt the war effort by encouraging Saddam Hussein loyalists to continue their guerrilla war, according to the wife of the division's commander.

"When the Iraqis see media coverage of disgruntled Americans publicly campaigning for the return of our soldiers from Iraq, they are encouraged and believe their strategy is working," wrote Anita Blount in an open letter to spouses in The Frontline. The publication is a community newspaper in Georgia for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, home to the 3rd Infantry.

Anita Blount is the wife of Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, commander of the division, who is in Iraq leading his troops.

She said Iraqis who see complaints by U.S. families could come to believe "that their continued attacks on American soldiers are having the desired effect and are diminishing the resolve of the American people to complete the task in Iraq."

Practice Makes Perfect  

All hail Atrios who found this nearly unbelievable passage at the end of an LA Times article:
Still, he and other Pentagon officials said, they are studying the lessons of Iraq closely — to ensure that the next U.S. takeover of a foreign country goes more smoothly.

"We're going to get better over time," promised Lawrence Di Rita, a special assistant to Rumsfeld. "We've always thought of post-hostilities as a phase" distinct from combat, he said. "The future of war is that these things are going to be much more of a continuum

"This is the future for the world we're in at the moment," he said. "We'll get better as we do it more often."


What with Afghanistan, Iraq, and Liberia plus NoKo likely, with nuts like John Bolton drooling over Syria, with sabres being rattled over Iran, and so on, so on, overstretch is the buzz word of the moment:
Over-stretch matters because it encourages people to leave the armed services.

The modern professional military is susceptible to many of the pressures affecting all other areas of society.

There may be a strong sense of dedication and patriotism. But people still want time with their families and they want predictability about where they will be and when tours of duty will end.

The disappointment of members of the US 3rd Infantry Division on hearing that their stay in Iraq was to be prolonged was palpable.

Many of these problems are equally relevant to reserve forces who can only accept so much disruption to their normal lives.

The answer does not lie in expanding the US military but in getting better value or more deployability from the units it already has.
And there's another reason not mentioned here: new recruits.

Most of the people who signed up pre 9/11 fully expected to have a very slim chance of getting assigned to some dangerous, uncomfortable place like Iraq for a year plus.

Alterman Breathes Fire  

Eric Alterman's got a good one today.
It was an amazing run. They won the presidency by losing an election. They bankrupted the treasury, trashed the environment, turned the nation's system of justice over to religious fanatics and, finally, deceived the nation into an unprovoked war. They probably would have gotten away with that too, except they forgot to make any sensible plans about how to run the place afterward. ("Dude, where's my 'coalition'?") In the ensuing chaos and guerrilla warfare against the vulnerable and undermanned US forces, well, somebody was bound to start asking questions.
Sadly, he makes two small errors.

First, the Smoking Sentence was, indeed, as Rumsfeld said, "technically accurate." Apparently, a British report really did say what the Smoking Sentence said it said. But The Smoking Sentence was deployed in order to lie and the damning evidence is because that the Sentence is technically accurate, but no more than that.

Second, Eric writes, "Like Lyndon Johnson during the Gulf of Tonkin, Bush may not have known he was lying at the time." In fact, Bush knew full well he was lying. Why? Because if The Smoking Sentence had been more than merely technically accurate, he would have used much more aggressive language. And he went over that speech carefully, as The Horse and many others have pointed out. If Bush had genuine evidence that Saddam was trying to buy nuclear material from Africa, Bush would have shouted that info rather than hiding behind such a weasly phrase.

(Again, for the record, I had/have no idea whether Saddam did or did not have weapons of mass destruction. What I do now is that Bush had/has no idea either. The difference is he doesn't care.)

Tomasky On Limbaugh  

First of all, Michael Tomasky's article on ESPN's hiring of Rush Limbaugh is on the whole extremely good. However, he loses his focus in the excerpt below and the result is very embarassing. The section I've italicized should have been cut:
One goal of the right wing in this country is to politicize aspects of life that had not historically been overtly political. It has politicized faith. It has politicized love of country. It has politicized the very geography of the nation by presenting the notion that some parts of America are more "American" than others. It has, through the rhetoric and propaganda of which Limbaugh has been such a vital instrument, sought to attach a political odor to cultural institutions and individual acts -- with the intent of equating liberalism with effeteness and infirmity, and conservatism with manliness and certitude. Drinking wine and going to the symphony are suspicious. Drinking beer and watching football are genuine.

Well, I do drink wine and go to the symphony. But I like beer, too, and I love football. And I know loads of liberal men, and a few women, who do, too. The game belongs to us. And it belongs to conservatives.
One fundamentally healthy thing about sports fandom is that, if I'm sitting in a bar cheering for my Browns and they score a touchdown, I can high-five the guy next to me without a thought of how he voted even crossing my mind. We do not, in this country, make allegiance to a political persuasion a prerequisite for loving or participating in sports, and I think I need only type the words "East German gymnasts" to remind you of what kinds of societies do politicize athletic competition.
Why, you ask, should Tomasky have cut the italics? Well, because he repeats a right wing lie and then tries to defend himself. It is totally unnecessary to do either. It comes perilously close to whining.

There is no reason to defend yourself against idiotic charges. Instead, the focus should have remained with laser-like intensity on Rush Limbaugh and ESPN. Tomasky seriously weakens his argument when he goes after one of the fattest of the right's straw men. He is brilliant, however, when he goes after the real blobs that are politicizing sports:
We do not, in this country, make allegiance to a political persuasion a prerequisite for loving or participating in sports, and I think I need only type the words "East German gymnasts" to remind you of what kinds of societies do politicize athletic competition.
Now that's terrific.

(One of the advantages of having no professional aspirations in journalism is that one needn't worry about offending anyone, including editors of great magazines like The American Prospect if you feel a point should be made.)

Answers To Caspar Weinberger's Questions  

In today's Wall Street Journal (paid online subscription required), Caspar W. Weinberger takes on NigerGate, defends Bush, disses his critics and asks some questions. Along the way, he manages to distort the story beyond all recognition (that's being kind) and make some error of facts.

Here, I'll just answer the questions. The ad hominem attacks on Joseph Wilson, which don't answer his assertions - I'll leave to others to point out that Caspar is in no position to cast aspersions on another's integrity.

But first, let us quote Caspar's final sentence and note that if any Democratic supporter had written a similarly impassioned defense of the president at the height of Whitewater, we probably wouldn't have had an impeachment, and the Republicans would never have had even the remotest of chances in 2000:
If all we hear about is that tale of the yellow-cake from Niger, it will be quite apparent that the administration's opponents have no plan of their own but to search for some kind-any kind-of rumor to use as ammunition to discredit the president.
(It goes without saying that Weinberger's implicit challenge to find other Bush lies in the first clause is micturation in the wind. For example, in today's New York Times, Paul Krugman highlights another lie in the SOTU, namely Bush's promise not to pass problems he creates on to "other presidents and other generations." Krugman convincingly demonstrates how irresponsible Bush's fiscal policy is . He writes, "Unpoliticized projections show a budget deficit of at least $300 billion a year as far as the eye can see." That's called passing your problems to other generations, Mr. Bush.)

And now, Caspar's queries. The first:
Did anyone seriously believe we went to war because we had a British report that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger?
Actually, yes. Of all the claims, it was the continued charges by Bush that Saddam had resurrected Iraq's nuclear program -"6 months away" was one of the lines - that occasioned the most alarm. It was the bogus Niger info plus the wildly inaccurate aluminum rods characterization that raised the allegations about wmds from the level of major concern to that of imminent threat. However, if one actually reads the testimony to the Armed Services Committee in the fall , it was clear that there really was little if any public evidence that Iraq had a currently viable nuclear program.

Question 2:
What would all of the Democratic presidential candidates have done if faced with such reports, and all the others, about Iraq's efforts to acquire biological and chemical as well as nuclear weapons? Would they have ignored the reports?
I can only answer that even the most dovish, would never have ignored the reports and Weinberger knows it.

The obvious thing to do was to evaluate the quality of the intelligence and ask for more detail. If it looked ominous, then the next thing would have been to get UN backing. If Iraq was not entirely forthcoming with inspections, then a UN force would need to be authorized to compel inspections. Under no circumstances would a Democratic -heck, or even a sensible Republican- president have preemptively invaded Iraq with no UN backing and on such flimsy evidence.

Question 3:
So I ask again: What would our opponents have done, and what would they have the administration do now?
There are two questions here. Regarding What would our opponents have done?, just wait a minute here, Caspar. We are not your opponents! You are not in the US government but chairman of Forbes. You seem to be implying that opposition to Bush is opposition to the US and that is an intolerable canard. Regarding what anyone sensible would have done, see above answer to Question 2.

Regarding What would they have the administration do now?, that's easy. First the Bush administration must turn over the occupation and administration of Iraq to a UN multi-national coalition, a real coalition not the US and a bunch of insignificant poodles. Then, the Bush administration must lose in 2004. They have demonstrated spectacular incompetence in whatever they touch, not only in foreign affairs.

Now, Caspar, your questions have been answered. So do us all a favor and disappear.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

CNN Responds To The Bakhtiar/Pariser Interview Protest Letters  

As a member of their Media Corps I received the letter below from MoveOn, in reference to some 3500 people who wrote CNN to protest the the biased treatment Eli Pariser received at the hands of Rudi Bakhtiar.

By the way, now is the time to sign on to MoveOn. Anyway, here's CNN's letter with a transcript of Eli's interview. You decide whether, given how non-confrontational they are to pro Bush guests, whether Bakhtiar acted "appropriately:"

"CNN Headline News has reviewed the interview that Rudi Bakhtiar conducted on July 14 at 9:15 p.m. with Eli Pariser, national campaign director of and concluded that Ms. Bakhtiar conducted the interview appropriately.

Headline News does regret that when promoting the interview at 8:50 p.m., Ms. Bakhtiar incorrectly labeled the president's statement in his State of the Union address as a "slip of the tongue."

During the interview, Ms. Bakhtiar did not offer her own opinion, citing instead the assertions of Bush administration officials. At other times, she questioned and challenged Mr. Pariser's assertions. As a journalist, Ms. Bakhtiar's role is to examine all sides of an issue, not just give guests opportunity to offer their unchallenged opinions. Additionally, Mr. Pariser was given ample opportunity to answer her questions in full, and she was neither antagonistic nor critical in her tone or demeanor.

As a matter of record: The 3-minute and 21-second interview featured 27 seconds of Ms. Bakhtiar on screen alone; 40 seconds of Mr. Pariser on screen alone; 32 seconds of Ms. Bakhtiar and Mr. Pariser on split screen and 1 minute and 39 seconds of archival video clips. Airing archival footage is in keeping with the broadcast journalism practice of providing viewers with relevant video whenever possible.

Please see below for a transcript of the interview.

CNN Headline News Transcript
Monday, July 14

RB: That and some other claims made by President Bush about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction are now coming under fire in a new grassroots ad campaign today. and Win Without War Coalition launched a television spot accusing the president of misleading the nation to build support for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The groups are pressuring congress for an independent commission to investigate the president's claims. Here's a look at the new ad.

Now there's evidence we were misled, and almost every day Americans are dying in Iraq. We need the truth, not a cover up.

RB: And joining me now to talk about the campaign is Eli Pariser, the national campaign director for Thank you so much joining us Eli.

ES: Thanks for having me

RB: Tell me what was the purpose of this ad?

ES: Basically we wanted to talk to the country and the president about this real gap between what the president said to back up the rush to war and the intelligence that we are now seeing which says something very different. And the problem is basically that the president hasn't been straight with us, the White House hasn't been straight with us, and we really need to know what the truth is and so we are calling on Congress to tell us.

RB: Well we just heard from Ari Fleisher who said that the line shouldn't have been in the speech. Dr. Condoleezza Rice says the whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Are you blowing it out of proportion? I mean the facts are still that Saddam Hussein was not a good person. He subjected his own people, the Iranian people to chemical weapons, and in a decade he attacked two different countries, Iran and Kuwait. He also led a very suppressed regime. Are you saying that none of those facts matter?

ES: I don't think this is about whether Saddam Hussein is a good guy or a bad guy. We know he was a bad guy, but the State Department knew that his claim was false, the CIA knew it was false, some of the British knew it was false, and yet he used it anyway. Why did the president mislead the American public in his State of the Union address? That's wrong and we need some real answers about it.

RB: You're talking about one fact, or are you talking about other facts?

ES: I think there is a pattern in practice here of misleading the public. This isn't just about the Niger claim, there are a number of other claims which have since shown to be inaccurate or just wrong, and until there is a real investigation by an independent party we won't know what's wrong. All we know right now is that the president hasn't been forthcoming, he hasn't been honest and we need to find out what happened.

RB: Okay. Obviously what makes America great is the freedom of speech factor, but do you also take into account that there are young U.S. troops who are putting there lives on the line out there who might feel betrayed by you and the statement you are making?

ES: I think on the petition we launched today we have actually heard from a number of people who are in military service they feel like this is a critical question to ask. They're being asked to put their lives on the line, and if they are being asked to do that for a lie, for a misstatement for a president who is misleading the country that's really wrong, and we need to know about it now.

RB: All right well we've run out of time, Eli Pariser,, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

ES: Thanks for having me.


Strange Days  

We know we're living in strange days when:

1. George Bush's comments are taken seriously.
2. Jon Stewart's are taken as a joke.

Exciting Candidates Not "Centrists" Are Needed For '04  

Ruy Teixeira at The Emerging Democratic Majority has several interesting and subtle posts about Dean's electability. While he hedges quite a bit, he seems to believe that Dean is not electable because his antiwar stance and his support for gay rights cannot appeal to centrist voters in the swing states.

I don't think Dean's positions are much of a problem, especially not these two. His antiwar stance was, in retrospect, totally correct. As Dean made a point of saying over and over, (1) There wasn't enough publically available evidence to go to war; and (2) pre-emptive invasion was not the best "solution" to the Saddam problem, both for the US and for the Iraqis. The public now understands this, loud and clear.

As for gay rights... as important as someone like myself believes them to be, there are more immediate things on many centrist Americans' minds right now. We have millions of people out of work and are bogged down in two quagmires while North Korea is close to threatening to blow up the peninsula unless the US talks to them. That's where the focus should be, and will be, in '04. Besides, whatever Dean feels about gay rights, he will hardly be in a position to do much about it.

Is Dean too far left? Everyone knows that whatever the perception the GOP would like us to hold, in reality, that's not the case. Just ask a Vermont liberal: Dean's really a straight-talking moderate.

While of course, centrist voters are important, what is far more important is a candidate (and rhetoric) that excites people. My circle, many of whom are independents like myself who thoroughly detest Bush, are also furious at the tepid Democratic response to Bush's assault on their values. With a dull but right/centrist nominee like Lieberman, Bush will easily win election in '04 and probably increase the extreme rightwing's throttlehold on Congress.

Dean, however, is very exciting. That is exactly what Democrats need in a presidential candidate. So the question is not whether Dean can appeal to the middle, because he can: he's one of them. The real question is: Can the Democratic Party capitalize on the enthusiasm that Dean generates and spread that enthusiasm by making his essentially moderate positions clear? I think they can and with ease, given both his own energy and Bush's mind boggling incompetence.

However, the task of making Dean's centrism clear lies with the Democratic Party, not with Howard Dean. This is a marketing problem, and, given Dean's record, not a terribly difficult one. But it is the party's job to tackle, for Dean has done nearly everything else extremely well so far, and marketing is something the party can coordinate far better than a single candidate.

Should Dean not win the nomination, the central point remains: The party needs someone at least as exciting to the grass roots as he. Otherwise, Democrats won't stand a chance, no matter how "centrist".

That would be doubleplusungood.

The Buck Stops...What Buck?  

Josh Marshall, who has the stomach to wade through White House briefings has a nice farce posted about Nigergate. Here's a taste. McClellan uses the age old "broken record" ploy from Assertiveness Training 101 class:
QUESTION: Regardless of whether or not there was pressure from the White House for that line, I'm wondering where does the buck stop in this White House? Does it stop at the CIA, or does it stop in the Oval Office?

Scott McClellan: Again, this issue has been discussed. You're talking about some of the comments that -- some that are --

QUESTION: I'm not talking about anybody else's comments. I'm asking the question, is responsibility for what was in the President's own State of the Union ultimately with the President, or with somebody else?

Scott McClellan: This has been discussed.

QUESTION: So you won't say that the President is responsible for his own State of the Union speech?

Scott McClellan: It's been addressed.

QUESTION: Well, that's an excellent question. That is an excellent question. (Laughter.) Isn't the President responsible for the words that come out of his own mouth?

Scott McClellan: We've already acknowledged, Terry, that it should not have been included in there. I think that the American people appreciate that recognition.
And so it goes, as a great author once wrote...

Why This Lie? Tim Noah Sez: Because Ari Told The Truth  

So in Why This Bush Lie? Part 2, Tim Noah tries to make a case that the real reason the press pounced all over it was because Ari admitted to a mistake.
The yellowcake lie landed on Page One solely because it occasioned a brief and fatal departure from the Bush White House's press strategy of stonewalling. "Bush Claim on Iraq Had Flawed Origin, White House Says" read a New York Times headline on July 8. Glancing through the story, Chatterbox initially puzzled over its Page One placement. Didn't we know already that Bush's yellowcake line was a lie? Then Chatterbox realized that the novelty component wasn't the lie, but the Bush administration's admission that it had told a lie...

If a press secretary states consistently that up is down, most reporters will present this as a matter of opinion. But if he states repeatedly that up is down, then says that up is up, and then resumes saying that up is down, reporters will seize on the inconsistency and cry foul.
I dunno. That's too cynical even for me. I think that, among other things, widespread dissatisfaction with the way the Iraq war is going, esp. from the Army, occasioned some high level folks to go public or threaten to do so to CYA. In addition, Blair had come in for a lot of guff from his press; I'm sure US reporters were asking, Hey, why no stink over here? That occasioned the Bushies to head everyone off at the pass and admit a mistake. Then Wilson went public and everything hit the fan.

In any event, Noah finishes up with this corker:
Never mind that, in pretending to know that Saddam tried to buy yellowcake from Niger, Bush told a lie. His real sin was not being a pro.
It's a great line, but from my blinkered viewpoint, it looks as if people are for more furious at Bush for lying than they are for being inept at hiding it.

Prague 1983? No, Atlanta, Georgia 2003.  

Thanks to MSS comes this story that should give everyone the creeps:
Two FBI agents became interested in journalist and bookstore employee Marc Schultz after he was seen in an Atlanta coffeeshop reading a print-out of a story titled "Weapons of Mass Stupidity." (It's a piece on Fox News and Rupert Murdoch .) Schultz, who was grilled by the agents, writes: "My co-worker, Craig, says that we should probably be thankful the FBI takes these things seriously; I say it seems like a dark day when an American citizen regards reading as a threat, and downright pitch-black when the federal government agrees."

I'm Hoping This Story Is False  

Numerous folks, including Kevin Drum are linking to this very troubling David Corn post about a recent Bob Novak column. If true, and like Mark Kleiman I hope it is not true, then opposing Bush in 2004 may be a very dangerous proposition. To quote David Corn's succinct, if truly understated, summary of what happened:
[Assuming a recent Bob Novak column is accurate, it] would seem to mean that the Bush administration has screwed one of its own top-secret operatives in order to punish [Joseph Wilson, who blew the Niger/WMD story wide open] or to send a message to others who might challenge it. [emphasis added.]
David Corn explains:
In a recent column on Nigergate, Novak examined the role of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV in the affair...

On June 12, The Washington Post revealed that an unnamed ambassador had traveled to Niger and had reported back that the Niger caper probably never happened. This article revved up the controversy over Bush's claim--which he made in the state of the union speech--that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium in Africa for a nuclear weapons program.

Critics were charging that this allegation had been part of a Bush effort to mislead the country to war, and the administration was maintaining that at the time of the speech the White House had no reason to suspect this particular sentence was based on faulty intelligence...once Wilson went public, he prompted a new round of inconvenient and troubling questions for the White House.

Soon after Wilson disclosed his trip in the media and made the White House look bad. the payback came. Novak's July 14, 2003, column presented the back-story on Wilson's mission and contained the following sentences: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate" the allegation.

Wilson caused problems for the White House, and his wife was outed as an undercover CIA officer.
If Novak is not the victim of some elaborate set up (Wilson will not comment at all on his wife, neither confirming or denying Novak's information), then two senior administration officials blew the cover of a CIA agent working on wmd intelligence, putting her, her two children, and her family in potentially mortal danger. And of course, by blowing her cover, they may have damaged the CIA's ability to provide the US government with accurate information on wmd proliferation.

Joseph Wilson said that if she was a secret agent, "Naming her this way would have compromised every operation, every relationship, every network with which she had been associated in her entire career. This is the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames."

If two Bush administration officials betrayed the identity of an undercover CIA agent, they broke the law, as Corn explains. But regardless as to whether the story is true or false, Wilson's wife, a private energy analyst,has had her reputation severely compromised, if not destroyed.

The two senior administration officials who leaked the information should be located and fired. They should be held personally responsible for any crimes against the US that they committed. If they were acting at the behest of higher ups, as they probably were, they need to name them. Those people should also face possible charges.

Again, Wilson accurately perceives the intent behind the story: to silence others. It was "not intended to intimidate me, since I've already told my story. But it's pretty clear it is intended to intimidate others who might come forward. You need only look at the stories of intelligence analysts who say they have been pressured. They may have kids in college, they may be vulnerable to these types of smears."

Corn makes the point that Wilson's wife may not have even been germane to the Novak story, which detailed how Wilson was asked to go to Niger. In short, it was a gratuitous retaliation on someone who dared to challenge Bush. It is an exceedingly scary taste of what Bush has in store for this country during an election year.

Time Magazine also has an article about this situation, and some interesting details about Wilson, Cheney, and others involved in Nigergate.

Hidden In Plain Sight  

Bob Kuttner gets it. Nearly every single detail that exploded into a major scale about the Smoking Sentence had been available to anyone who was carefully reading the media. No one bothered to make an issue out of it, however.
The back story of the politicization of intelligence has been hidden in plain view for months. Last fall, investigative reporter Robert Dreyfuss, writing in The American Prospect, where I am co-editor, exposed the efforts by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to take control of intelligence summaries from the CIA. In March, The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh exposed the forgery of the report, now belatedly in the headlines, that Saddam was trying to buy uranium from Niger.

John Judis, in The New Republic, a magazine that supported the war, pieced together other efforts to politicize intelligence to justify the Iraq war. The New Yorker has also exposed how George Tenet, a Clinton appointee, has compromised his mission in his fawning efforts to ingratiate himself with Bush and the Pentagon.

So last week when Tenet agreed to take the fall for Bush's use of a long-discredited intelligence report, the maneuver stank to high heaven. But the press initially played the story with a straight face. On Friday, Bush declared that his speech ''was cleared by the intelligence services.'' Tenet, in a minuet that was obviously rehearsed and orchestrated, then issued a statement taking responsibility and expressing regret. Then, on Saturday, the president magnanimously expressed his full confidence in Tenet.

An innocent reader might have been forgiven for concluding that this ''error'' was the CIA's lapse. In fact, the CIA was well aware that the Niger uranium story had been fabricated. The reference to the report in the Bush speech was the work of the war hawks at the Pentagon and the White House, not the CIA. Indeed, intelligence experts were so upset about this reference that the text was the subject of word by word negotiation. In the end, Bush's actual text, disingenuously, attributed the report to British intelligence.
He concludes with a message to the American press corps: It's time to get back to work, folks. The honeymoon is over.
The press has even stopped making a fuss over the fact that this president has all but stopped holding press conferences. In his Africa trip, Bush intervened to limit questions, even as his African presidential hosts were indicating that press questions were welcome.

Investigations of administration deceptions about how many jobs the tax cuts will create or the actual effects on children of high-stakes testing combined with funding cuts or the saga of how the Pentagon tried to take over the CIA - these are not opinions. They are what journalism is all about.

Link from Atrios

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

From the WTF??? Department  

Guess who got the contract for supplying computer tech to Homeland Security? You guessed it! A company with a totally dreadful record on computer security.
The Department of Homeland Security said on Tuesday it has awarded a five-year, $90 million enterprise agreement to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) to become the department's primary technology provider.
Well, at least the Bushites are consistent. They are truly aspiring to be to the country what Ed Wood was to cinema.

Eli Gets The Fox Treatment At CNN  

Eli Pariser sent the following letter to MoveOn.Org members (sign up now: they're the Good Guys). It was outrageous treatment. One bit of advice, Eli: In the future, tape your appearances so you don't have to rely on getting their transcripts:
I don't often get the chance to witness media bias up-close and personal. But I did on Monday night, when CNN Headline News invited me on to talk about our campaign on the weapons of mass destruction and the new Misleader TV ad.

I was scheduled to go on air a little after 9 PM EST, and I arrived at the studio early. After checking in, I was delivered to the studio where I would be speaking from, and I sat and listened to the show.

Rudi Bakhtiar was the anchorwoman, and as the clock ticked toward nine, she gave a preview of what was up ahead. After a short clip from our ad, Ms. Bakhtiar gave a synopsis of the scandal over the President's State of the Union claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger -- a claim now known to be based on fraudulent evidence which even the White House knew was untenable. Ms. Bakhtiar pondered whether there was going to be political fallout from Bush's "slip of the tongue," and then invited viewers to stay tuned.

"Slip of the tongue?" I thought. "They're letting Bush off the hook."

In the commercial break before I went live, I asked the producer of the show about the "slip of the tongue" comment. She explained that it had been written for Rudi beforehand -- Rudi was just reading her script.

As I went on air, Ms. Bakhtiar greeted me and asked me about the ad. I laid out the basic case -- the President isn't being forthcoming about this, and we need to know what happened so that we can avoid it next time. Then things started to get really weird: Bakhtiar responded by spending about 30 seconds on air chiding me about how Saddam Hussein was a murderer, how he defied the UN, and how he attacked other countries.

I explained that everyone agrees that Saddam's a bad guy, the question is whether the President misled us about his capacity to do harm. Bakhtiar wasn't satisfied: "Don't you think you're betraying the troops in service by airing ads like that?" she asked. (Unfortunately, we were unable to get a transcript from CNN to verify the exact question. This is a paraphrase to the best of my recollection.) I responded that the opposite was true: one of the petition signers whose comment I had caught was an active-duty military person who was worried that he was putting his life on the line for a lie. I said we needed to find out what really happened so that these folks know that they're risking their lives for something important.

Then the interview ended. I walked out to greet a friend who had come with me. She was shocked -- for most of the interview, rather than showing me, they had shown footage of Saddam Hussein waving guns.

Now, I'm all for hard questioning -- I think the media needs to do a lot more of it. But I'm not for taking sides, and I believe that's what happened here. Folks who support the President in this just don't get accused of betraying their country or siding with dictators -- although both claims could easily be made. And although I haven't dug through the transcripts, I'm betting that President Clinton's lie about Monica Lewinsky wasn't called a "slip of the tongue" by a major media outlet. I'll also bet that CNN doesn't black out Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay with footage of long food lines when he's on to talk about the economy.

As Noah pointed out in his alert yesterday, the media bear a critical responsibility for ensuring that the truth comes out. When it's discovered that one party isn't telling the truth, it's their job to expose that -- not to be apologists for a war that was based on a lie.
You can kvetch about this -and you should- by writing here. Choose "Rudi and Mike" from the pop-up.

Bridge For Sale In Lower Manhattan  

Kevin over at CalPundit linked to this article in the LA Times:
Now that the governing council has been seated, Bremer told journalists, the next task facing Iraq is the creation of a constitution "written by Iraqis for Iraqis." The council is expected to name a constitutional conference by September, and experts have said it might take a year to write the country's new basic laws. [Imagine that! An Iraqi constitution just before the US election. Coincidence?]

"Once approved, democratic free and fair elections will be held in Iraq for a fully sovereign Iraqi government, and then our job is over," Bremer said.

"We have no desire to stay a day longer than is necessary," he said.

The comments seemed aimed at calming anxieties among some Iraqis that the United States is planning a long-lasting occupation of their country. With American troops facing uncertainty about when they will be allowed to go home, the remarks also seemed intended to alleviate fears that the U.S. commitment to Iraq is open-ended.
Remember the declaration of the "end of hostilities" in May? This just gives them an opportunity to declare that the "occupation" is over.

Of course, US troops could remain indefinitely in Iraq if they were there by "invitation."

And certainly, part of the deal to turn over the gov of Iraq to the governing council will certainly include provision for a US military base (or two, or three) in Iraq.

If I were Bill Bennett, I'd wager that the US military will be in Iraq throughout the lifetime of everyone reading this today.

$90 Billion Investment Plus $4 Billion/Month Military...  

We're starting to talk serious moolah here. It would have been nice if someone had reported this before the war, yes?

From BBC

Torture Wolf  


George Bush: International Man Of Mystery  

In contemplating the Bush strategy to counter claims that he lied in the SOTU about Niger/Nuke documents, I was reminded of a similar moment in that immortal classic, Austin Powers - International Man of Mystery where Austin denies and denies and denies his association with something he'd just as soon forget.

Austin has just been un-frozen and is leaving the freezing center with Liz Hurley. The quartermaster clerk starts to hand over the items that have been kept for him since the 60's. He is delighted to see his old Burt Bacharach LP. And then, the clerk hands him the final item:
Quartermaster Clerk: One Swedish made penis enlarger pump.

Austin: That's not mine!

Clerk: One credit card receipt for Swedish made penis enlarger.....signed by Austin Powers.

Austin: I'm telling you baby, that's not mine!

Clerk: One warranty card for Swedish made penis enlarger pump...filled out by Austin Powers.

Austin: I don't even know what this is! This sort of thing ain't my bag, baby!

Clerk: One book..."Swedish Made Penis Enlarger Pumps and Me: This Sort of Thing Is My Bag, Baby!", by Austin Powers.
Now, all the blogosphere is raving about this timetable of wmd lies which makes the point that as the intelligence was debunked, Bush administration public pronouncements became more confident that it was real:
In recent days, as the Bush administration has defended its assertion in the president's State of the Union address that Iraq had tried to buy African uranium, officials have said it was only one bit of intelligence that indicated former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear weapons program.

But a review of speeches and reports, plus interviews with present and former administration officials and intelligence analysts, suggests that between Oct. 7, when President Bush made a speech laying out the case for military action against Hussein, and Jan. 28, when he gave his State of the Union address, almost all the other evidence had either been undercut or disproved by U.N. inspectors in Iraq.
Well, yes, it's a great article, but how much more proof do we need? Would a picture help?

Iraq: Should The US Get Out Now?  

William Greider, who is one smart cookie, says so:
Let me be the first to resurrect the fabled Aiken "peace plan" enunciated by Senator George Aiken, Vermont Republican, during the terrible years of Vietnam: "Declare victory and get out." Hundreds of thousands of lives would have been spared in Indochina if LBJ or Nixon had had the courage to follow Aiken's advice. My hunch has always been that Bush intended a prompt exit from Iraq along those lines -- say anything, do anything, whatever it takes to extract the bulk of American forces before the next presidential campaign is underway. Change the subject so American voters can think about something else. If that sounds excessively cynical, it seems to have worked with Afghanistan.

I do hope Bush finds the wisdom to embrace the Aiken plan (and that he executes the withdrawal deftly enough to sedate the angry couch warriors). Yes, Iraqis would be left with a broken country and vulnerable to fratricidal civil conflicts, maybe an elected government of Islamic theocracy. But it is their country, not ours. And many lives would be spared, theirs and ours. Democracy means people get to make their own mistakes. Spread the word.

I have been opposed to the Iraq war since it was merely a gleam in Perle's eye back in '91. Heck, I was opposed to Afghanistan, and still am. So I think my antiwar, anti-imperialist creds are fairly well established. But Iraq is different than Vietnam, to wit: Bush proactively and illegitimately invaded and broke the country whereas in Vietnam it was already broken by the time the US got mired in it.

What's going on now is Bush's fault. Like it or not, Bush and his supporters are morally culpable for any chaos or casualties in Iraq now. It would be an outrage if US forces left now.

What to do? As mentioned many times, I have absolutely no idea. This is one of the worst messes the US has ever seen. Nevertheless, I know that the only possible hope for a real solution begins with two steps:

1. The active involvement of the UN in the reconstruction of Iraq.
2. The removal of Bush and Bushism from American political life.

Since he will never be impeached or resign, and since both steps are absolutely necessary, any start to a solution to Quagmire II will depend upon the results of the 2004 election. If Bush and his fellow extremists retain their stranglehold on both houses of Congresses, as well as the presidency, the beginning of a rational approach to Iraq's troubles will be postponed until 2008.

Remember: This country can not begin to address any real problem in the world -including our own - as long as Bush remains president. He cannot be reasoned with, he cannot be compelled to do anything, he won't listen to anyone. To think otherwise is mistaken.

Cartoon of the Year  

Thanks, Seraphiel, for the heads up!

Eight Big Lies, Courtesy Tim Noah  

Tim Noah asks the question that has been puzzling many of us in the blogosphere lately (see, for example, this great rant by Tom Tomorrow): Why is the yellowcake lie getting so much attention when there have been equally egregious lies from Bush since the campaign?

Tim promises to answer the question tomorrow but today he gives several examples of major Bush whoppers. I've decided to list and boldify them for clarity here. Direct quotes from his post are surrounded by single quotes.

1. 'Bush's assertion, in this year's State of the Union address , that Saddam had "recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."'

2. 'Bush's comic insistence in May that "We've found the weapons of mass destruction" .'

3. The cost of the war. 'Larry Lindsey reportedly lost his job as chairman of the National Economic Council for blabbing to the Wall Street Journal that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion. Mitch Daniels, then White House budget director, scoffed at Lindsey's estimate and said the cost would be more like $50 billion or $60 billion. But now the Washington Post is estimating the cost of the war and its aftermath at … $100 billion. '

4. 'Bush lied about this year's tax cut. "My jobs and growth plan would reduce tax rates for everyone who pays income tax," Bush said before Congress passed it. Not so! The Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center found 8.1 million taxpayers who would receive no tax cuts. '

5. Ari Fleischer lied about treatment of POW's at Guantanamo. 'Ari Fleischer said the prisoners of war at Guantanamo were "receiving far far better treatment than they received in the life that they were living previously"? This was difficult to square with the fact that there had, at that time, been 27 suicide attempts. '

6. Fleischer lied when he denied at two separate times that Bush was opposed to civilian nation building during the campaign. 'But Bush had said, "I don't think so" in response to the following question in the Oct. 11 debate:"Is it time to consider a civil force of some kind, that comes in after the military, that builds nations or all of that?" '

7. 'The White House fact sheet [lied when it] insisted the tax cuts hadn't contributed to the deficit ("The budget returned to deficit because of war, recession and emergencies associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11th"), even though, buried inside the White House budget documents, some renegade bureaucrat wrote, "The deterioration in the performance of the economy together with income tax relief … produced a drop in the surplus to $127.1 billion (1.3% of GDP) and a return to deficits"? (Incidentally, the budget deficit is now projected to be $455 billion.) '

8. Bush lied when he said 'his restrictions on stem-cell research left scientists with 64 stem-cell lines to use in their research. "[M]ore than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist," Bush said in his August 2001 stem-cell speech. "They were created from embryos that have already been destroyed, and they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating ongoing opportunities for research." Not true! Until recently, there was only one stem-cell line that researchers could use. Now there are 11.'

Thanks to Atrios for the original link.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Violence Against Muslim Increases  

The rhetoric of the administration denounces it, but their policies of discrimination against Muslims belie the rhetoric.
A report released in the United States shows the incidence of violence and discrimination against American Muslims is continuing to rise.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations says the number of reports of discrimination rose 15 per cent in 2002 and its office received more than 600 cases.

The council blames most of it on the continuing fallout and antagonism following the September 11 terrorism attacks.

Research director Mohamed Nimer says there is still a sense of siege in the American Muslim community.

The Bush administration has tried to prevent a backlash with television advertisements and support groups but the council says US government policies continue to single out Muslims.

Morale For US Soldiers In Iraq  

They don't sound like happy campers anymore:
American soldiers grumbled when told they would have to stay longer in a country where U.S. forces say they are coming under an average of 12 attacks each day.

"I'm tired of going to bed wondering if I'm going to wake up in the morning," said Spc. David Myers Jr. of the 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment in Habaniyah, west of Baghdad.

Let Me Draw You A Picture  

That's record deficits we're looking at. Note how the deficits evaporate under Clinton then turn into surpluses. Along comes another Bush and bingo! Deficits as far as the eye can see!

Thanks to Atrios for the heads up on this graph.

The Real Reason Bush Went To War  

According to George Bush yesterday, "We gave him [Saddam] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

Oh, dear. Time get his meds adjusted. Joe Conason's comments are about as kind as possible under the circs.

"Toothy Flake" Goes Over the Edge  

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson urged his nationwide audience Monday to pray for God to remove three justices from the Supreme Court so they could be replaced by conservatives.
The rest of us pray to God to remove Pat Robertson from television.

Uh Oh. NoKo's Serious  

From the BBC
William Perry, who served as defence secretary under former President Bill Clinton, told the Washington Post newspaper the key issue was that North Korea appeared to have begun reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods, a key step towards building up its nuclear arsenal.

"I have thought for some months that if the North Koreans moved toward processing, then we are on a path toward war," he said.

The Very Good American In Graham Greene's Masterpiece  

Unlike most books I've read, Graham Greene's novels get better the more you mull them over. They often are presented as "entertainments," mere trifles. They are in fact heavily disguised masterpieces that eschew the high flown style of Dostoyevsky or the self-concsious virility of Hemingway for a consciously invisible competence.

In Greene, there's often a hero who is morally neutral, or even cynical who learns that such a stance in untenable among the complexities of the world. Sooner or later, moral decisions must be made. For example, in The Third Man-a screenplay that existed as a novelistic treatment first- the narrator is confronted with evil masquerading as a boon friend, Harry Lyme, a delightful companion. This seems to be a peculiarly English conceit; Hitchcock, too,, more often than not made his villains at least as charming, if not more so, than his heroes.

But in The Quiet American, Greene goes one step further. The villain in the novel is a genuinely good man. [Warning: spoilers ahead. Go read the book if you haven't!]

Alden Pyle, the American of the title, is soft spoken, well-educated, charming, and intelligent. Greene goes so far as to make him a virgin. At first, when he arrives in Vietnam, he seems merely naive, harmlessly so. He doesn't understand who Phuong is, the beautiful Vietnamese lover of the narrator, Thomas Fowler. We learn of Pyle's fascination with the writings and theory of York Harding, a political scientist who writes books with portentous titles like The Role of the West or The Advance of Red China, or The Challenge to Democracy. And, like Fowler, we are charmed by Pyle's modesty when he admits to knowing York, but not really well.

But Pyle, we gradually learn, is the embodiment of evil. He instantly falls in love with Phuong and, before anything is consummated, embroils Fowler who at the time, is his best friend, in his narcissistic soul-searching to act from purely good intentions. He quickly justifies "having" Phuong because Fowler is married and his wife has refused to divorce him. Pyle, however, can offer Phuong a home, family, and a husband while Fowler cannot. Even Fowler must admit as much.

Pyle even puts himself in mortal danger to tell Fowler that he is acting honorably, saving Fowler's life in the process as they travel through northern Vietnam. Fowler is the all-American hero, the very embodiment of "manifest destiny" making the world safe for democracy.

But there is something askew here. Take the incident where Pyle saves Fowler's life. Fowler nevertheless gets seriously injured, two Vietnamese sentries are killed, and Pyle emerges without a scratch and, of course, with the girl. Pyle leaves chaos whenever he acts.

As the novel progresses, the chaos Pyle wreaks upon personal lives will soon be writ large upon the country.

Fowler is a middle-aged British foreign correspondent. He stands apart from the fighting, merely observing whether the French win or whether Ho Chi Minh wins or whether the Americans get involved. He drinks, he's an adulterer, an indifferent reporter, deeply cynical. He likes his opium pipe every night and he loves, beyond words, Phuong. He fruitlessly tries to extend his stay in Vietnam by writing to his editor. He tells his wife he is in love with another woman, but she won't divorce him; her faith won't permit it. His detachment towards the war, his contempt of others, grates. He appears to be self-pitying and apathetic. We don't like the old Fowler half as much as the charming young bumbler Pyle. We agree with Pyle that he deserves Phuong much more than Pyle does.

But Pyle is just a little too perfect, the heroic saving of Fowler is too movie-like. In fact it is a turning point. Rumors fly that Pyle is smuggling "plastics" into the country. Pyle has cut an arms deal with Colonel The, neither a communist nor French. He is the Third Force, Pyle believes, who can "save" Vietnam. As a follower of York Harding, Pyle believes that finding and aiding this Third Force is the only hope for Vietnam, for Phuong's "people." The plastics are in reality plastic explosives and they are used for terrorist attacks in Saigon. The first attack is a bit of a joke but the second, which Fowler inadvertently witnesses, is deadly serious.

In a chilling confrontation immediately after the explosion, Fowler realizes the true danger of Pyle's evil, empty soul. Pyle talks
'...I learned a lot about you, Thomas. I don't agree with you, mind, but for you maybe it's right - not being involved. You kept it up all right, even after your leg was smashed you stayed neutral.'

'There's always a point of change,' I said. 'Some moment of emotion...'

'You haven't reached it yet. I doubt if you ever will. And I'm not likely to change either - except with death,' he added merrily.

'Not even with this morning? [i.e., the attack] Mightn't that change a man's views?'

'They were only war casualties,' he said. 'It was a pity, but can't always hit your target. Anyway they died in the right cause.'

'Would you have said the same if it had been your old nurse with her blueberry pie?'

He ignored my facile point. 'In a way you could say they died for democracy,' he said.

'I wouldn't know how to translate that into Vietnamese.' I was suddenly very tired...
Fowler becomes involved. He makes a decision. He arranges Pyles's assasination and regains Phuong. His wife grants a divorce. Fowler can now marry her.

The irony is not lost on any reader. Fowler, a deeply compromised and mediocre man, an adulterer, an addict, a man who murdered his erstwhile friend in part over a dispute over a woman – this is Greene's great hero. Pyle – naive, pure, innocent, the savior of the world and the savior of both Fowler and Phuong as well – Pyle is the despicable villain. For Pyle will dismiss his murders with the wave of his hand. Fowler is driven to act knowing full well how guilty he is.

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," says Fowler. Indeed. Pyle, with his theories, with his incapacity to love the world as it is, with his indifference to real human suffering, his genuine disinterest in who Phuong is (he can only speak to her in English through a translator) or who the Vietnamese are except as pawns for his global ambitions, Pyle cannot feel beyond his own need to be good.

Yes, Pyle is purely evil, for all his good deeds, because of his good deeds.

Greene, as is well known, was a devout Catholic. If nothing else, Catholicism perfectly suited his gifts as a novelist. Its complex web of beliefs with its impossible ambiguities and numerous conundrums -a God who dies, a virgin giving birth - fed his highly developed sense of irony. In The Quiet American Greene shows us how well he understands the terrible irony of grace.

Paul writes in the letter to the Romans:"...there is a remnant [of humankind], chosen by grace. By grace, you notice, nothing therefore to do with good deeds, or grace would not be grace at all!" Greene's novel gives us the same message. Grace is not good deeds, or Pyle -by "saving" Phuong or Vietnam- would be a man of grace who would understand how profoundly immoral the terrorist attack was. It is Fowler who has grace, who as Paul writes, was one of "the pagans who were not looking for righteousness [but] found it all the same" first through his dispassionate reporting of the war and, when he realizes he has the power to act to stop Pyle, by stopping his murders. Fowler, unlike Pyle, realizes his own acts are always morally ambiguous at best. Even so, good – at least a little – can flow from them. Through his candor, his wife frees him to marry the woman he loves. By setting up Pyle, Colonel The's ruthless attacks are thwarted. And, of course, Phuong returns.

Greene's vision of grace is dark. It is not a vision of morality, but a veiled mystery. His book is far from perfect - the Vietnamese are stereotyped, all the women are mere sticks - but in its moral depth, it achieves greatness. And with its eerie prescience - written in the mid-fifties - it can induce shivers.

Pyle is all too American. Today, we hear a resurrected Pyle when a reporter asks a doctor whether a young child understands that his parents died and that he was horribly injured in a great cause: to free his country. Evil - imputing noble intentions while ignoring suffering - has a way of disguising itself as the highest good. It is not going away any time soon, so Graham Greene's seemingly slight novel is actually an important guide to the space evil fills when real reason - which Paul says is the pathway to grace - is absent. It is must reading right now.

Monday, July 14, 2003

The New Activists Are Not Lefties Or Righties  

They're the folks who simply didn't care much about politics until Bush drove the country into right wing nut land. TAPPED, riffing off a Joe Klein essay, gets it exactly right:
All [these angry new activists] used to be squishy, almost apolitical moderates -- default Democrats, in a sense -- who, during the past three years, have become increasingly angry at the direction in which our politics is headed. All of them really despise Bush. Whatever else happens, Tapped hopes that establishment Dems recognize that the anger out there isn't necessarily left-wing anger. It's much broader than that. And whoever is the nominee needs to figure out a way to best harness it.

The Smoking Sentence  

Well! I go away for a weekend and suddenly everyone in the world is talking about The Smoking Sentence, ie, the SOTU sentence that said that the Brits had learned that Saddam was trying to buy nuke material from Africa. Eschaton has a zillion articles on it. Tenet has fallen on his sword to no avail. Rumsfeld's wacky thought processes were on full display this weekend on the talkshows, and MoDo has once again done well:
Dissembling over peccadillos is pathetic. Dissembling over pre-emptive strikes is pathological, given over 200 Americans dead and 1,000 wounded in Iraq, and untold numbers of dead Iraqis.
She is beginning to understand how trivial her obsession with Clinton's zipper was.

But notice: the Times -or MoDo, or both- uses the word "dissembling" instead of "lying." Even if it means that they have to say that Clinton also merely dissembled.

And notice how the Bushites are claiming simultaneously that the statement is accurate and not entirely accurate. Why? To flood the entire issue and confuse everyone. They are succeeding, so let us go back once more to my original post about The Smoking Sentence on May 6, which gave two broad reasons why we know that Bush knew it was a lie. The rest is just smoke and mirrors:
1. Our intelligence service may be far from perfect, but they are not so dumb as to accept patently false documents as real. Therefore, whomever passed information on the Niger documents up the chain to Bush knew full well his or her words were knowingly based upon false information. Bush is responsible in a corporate sense for encouraging the dissemination of such a lie. He either tacitly, or more likely, verbally approved the use of highly dubious evidence provided it confirmed his pre-conceptions.

2. But there's also direct evidence Bush was himself lying. Take a look at what Bush actually said about the documents.
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Notice the very, very careful hedging going on here: "The British Government has learned [not the US]...recently sought [did he get them?]."

It is precisely because Bush approved such weasly language that we know for a fact he's lying. Why? Because if he knew the documents are real it would have been phrased in Bush's aggressive style something like, "Through our friends the British, we have obtained incontrovertible evidence that Saddam Hussein was negotiating with an African country to obtain significant quantities of uranium." But the Niger documents were fakes, he knew it, but couldn't afford to discard them entirely. He CYA'd his mention of them.
And that is the whole story. If this were the only lie, it would be a disgrace. But this is not the only lie. Everywhere you look, Bush lies, forges scientific reports, omits important information, or refuses to cooperate with investigatory panels.

Will all this lead to his impeachment? Put it this way: If Clinton had tried any of the stunts that Bush tried, not only would he have been impeached but he would have been forced to resign.

But Bush won't be impeached. All the more reason to pound on this lie and collect all the others. And put them on posters and wave them for the cameras when Bush tries to make an issue out of a cermony at Ground Zero.

[UPDATE]: Lisa Rein once again does the world a service by posting Jon Stewart's news broadcast about the issue. It's a 10 meg quicktime file, and it's worth every bit.

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