Daily Archives: August 20, 2004

The 527 Meme

Just for the record.

Every time Bush has been asked to denounce the vicious and slanderous attacks on Kerry’s Viet Nam record by the so-called ‘Swift Boat Veterans’, whose allegations have been thoroughly debunked and whose lack of credibility is second only to Junior’s, he has responded by denouncing not the SBV but all 527 groups. All of his spokesmen, including Scott McClellan do the same; all the B/C’04 spokesmen do likewise. The corporate media Echo Chamber, needless to say, copies both.

This seems to be taken as an attempt to sidestep the B/C campaign’s ultimate responsibility for both the group and its ad, which we now know were each bought and paid for by Bush Buddy and multi-millionaire (that’s redundant, isn’t it) Bob Perry. It isn’t, at least not primarily. If it were, the many voices of the Mighty Wurlitzer would be in full attack mode against SBV critics, and they aren’t. No, the Admin is responding as it is because that’s a sizable chunk of the point for them. It’s part of the plan.

It isn’t hard to figure that Rove is behind this–it’s a fairly standard tactic he’s used with great success the last few years: libel the opposition with outrageous, attention-getting, corporate media-loving lies and then turn all that attention toward the real target. In this case, the real target is the 527 groups who have neutralized the Rich Man’s Party’s fund-raising advantages and closed a lot of glaring loopholes in the Democrats’ spending strategy. Remember, these are people who went before the Supreme Court and argued that ‘money=free speech’. SG Olson said at one point that people were entitled to as much free speech as they could afford to buy. Now that stance has come back to bite them in the form of 527 groups like MoveOn.org who have been extremely successful doing just that. The last thing Karl needs is for the left and center to exercise that right, a right that conservatives accept as Gospel, and remove the RMP’s only real weapon–the staggering sums the rich (and those they control) can and do donate to Republican campaigns.

Rove is perfectly aware that that the RMP has nothing and does nothing that the mass of American voters wants from them, that in fact most of the RMP agenda is anathema to them. That’s why so much energy goes into governing in secret, that’s why they tell so many lies, that’s why they distort, deny, and spin the facts at every turn. If people knew and understood what they were doing, their hold on power wouldn’t last five minutes, and preventing that means controlling the debate. Controlling the debate means spending huge sums of money your opponents can’t hope to match. In other words, they can’t win elections so they buy them.

Liberal and progressive 527’s endanger that control by going a long way to level the monetary playing field, so Rove is using the SBV to build a wall of opinion against all 527’s. It’s the ancient lawyer’s trick of attacking the credibility of the witness when you can’t attack his testimony on its merits. While we’re arguing about the SBV’s credibility, Rove is using them to convince the country that 527’s are anti-democratic, laying the groundwork for outlawing them later.

Misdirection: Palm the coin while everybody’s watching the fluttering bird.

Don’t fall for it.

Politicizing Intelligence: Why Wait for the Czar?

In a blatant attempt to subvert the whole point of the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group’s final report on Saddam’s weapons capability, acting Company Director and Cheney sock-puppet John McLaughlin has ordered the group to concentrate on speculations of what ‘might have been’.

WASHINGTON — Having failed to find banned weapons in Iraq, the CIA is preparing a final report on its search that will speculate on what the deposed regime’s capabilities might have looked like years from now if left unchecked, according to congressional and intelligence officials.The CIA plans for the report, due next month, to project as far as 2008 what Iraq might have achieved in its illegal weapons programs if the United States had not invaded the country last year, the officials said.

The new direction of the inquiry is seen by some officials as an attempt to obscure the fact that no banned weapons — or even evidence of active programs — have been found, and instead emphasize theories that Iraq may have been planning to revive its programs.

The change in focus has angered some intelligence officials and at least one key Democrat in Congress and has brought charges of political motivation.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) protested the decision in a sharply worded letter to acting CIA Director John E. McLaughlin last week. Trying to forecast Iraq’s weapons capabilities four years into the future would be, “by definition, highly speculative” and “inconsistent with the original mission of the Iraq Survey Group,” Harman wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Times.

Such an effort would be a significant departure for a survey group whose primary mission when it was established last year was to locate and destroy stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons that the CIA and other agencies believed were hidden across Iraq.

‘Significant departure’? It’s a complete reversal. McLaughlin’s going to give B/C’04 some cover if he has to reach into FantasyLand with both hands to do it. ‘If this/then that’ speculations can be helpful in intelligence analysis but only as guides for where and when to look for what. As after-the-fact ‘projections’, they’re pointless, nothing more than an exercise in re-writing history. No legitimate intelligence analysis would include such poppycock, and no legitimate intelligence official would ask for it. Two seconds’ worth of thought will tell you why:

Scenario 1: What if Saddam had secret plans to develop nuclear weapons in giant underground labs operated by Pakistani physicists and kidnapped Japanese engineers? Why, by 2008, if he sold every drop of oil in his reserves, he could have enough to RULE THE WORLD!

Scenario 2: What if Saddam had discovered a way to harness the energy of the sun by using thousands of trained Brazilian timors with magnifying glasses focusing on the window of the Oval Office? Why, by 2006 they could be burning a hole right through Bush’s skull!

Scenario 3: What if Saddam was capable of developing a race of mutant lizards who could shoot laser-beams from their eyeballs?

The problems are obvious. The real problem is that the report was supposed to focus on what was found, not what might have been found at some indefinable point in the future by some unknown or undreamt of means.

[S]ome officials familiar with the CIA’s plans for the final report said they thought it was politically motivated and designed to focus the public’s attention on hypothetical future threats.”The case made by the Bush White House was that [Iraq] was an imminent threat that must be dealt with today,” said a senior congressional official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Coming out later and saying [Hussein] would have had the weapons in 2006 or 2008 … is basically a way to justify preemption.”

Bingo. A bullseye first shot out of the box.

It’s yet another Bush/Cheney scam, but that won’t stop the corporate media from wasting endless space and TV time pretending to take it seriously. What the hell–it’s NEWS!

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Yah gotta love the headline:

Bush Opening Social Security Debate Without Saying Much

So at least one major US paper has finally caught onto the act and isn’t afraid to say so. Dig:

Bush is promising to protect existing benefits for current retirees and others who will soon retire, while holding the line on the paycheck deductions that finance Social Security. But he is reiterating his desire to let younger workers begin using for private investment some of the money they pay to the government for the program.Purposefully left unanswered are the most divisive questions — such as what fraction of a worker’s payroll taxes could go into a private investment account instead of the Social Security trust fund, how the government would pay the estimated $1 trillion in transition costs, and how the government would protect retirees whose investments did not turn out well.

Many experts, including some conservatives, also think any meaningful privatization plan would eventually involve some combination of reduced benefits and higher worker contributions. Bush is expected to continue to skirt that issue as well.

Confronting such matters, Republican strategists fear, could make Bush and other GOP candidates vulnerable to attacks in key states such as Florida, where senior voters have a history of punishing candidates who talk of changing Social Security.

“What they’re afraid of is that they’d embrace a particular idea and the other side will demagogue the hell out of it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has introduced legislation to create private accounts based largely on the recommendations of a commission appointed in 2001 by Bush. Graham is working closely with the White House on the issue. (emphasis added)

Bullshit, Lindsey. What they’re afraid of–what they know–is that if the people ever figure out what they’re really planning to do, the people will have a goddam fit and throw them out faster than Bill O’Reilly can say ‘loony liberal traitors’. The flat fact is, they don’t dare. The seniors would raise hell, the soccer moms would KarPool for Kerry on election day, and 2/3 of the country would react with stunned disbelief followed by outrage. The only reason they’ve survived this long is because they’ve been governing by secret fiat and a lazy corporate press let them get away with it.

What happens if the lazy corporate press wakes up? Curtains, baby, curtains. It’s all over but the wailing and gnashing of conservative teeth.

All Hail the Los Angeles Times!

(Now if only the NYT, WaPo, and the major networks would get a clue….)