Saturday, August 07, 2004

Making it up as they go along

Now George Elliott (of Swift Boat Veterans Against Truth) is claiming he was misquoted. The Boston Globe stands by its story: The editor says everything was on the record, and Elliott was NOT misquoted. My money's on the Globe; they're not known for giving Kerry the benefit of the doubt. (And God only knows this Swift boat bunch has been caught in beaucoup lies already.)

The latest from CNN:

Veterans supporting Kerry called the ad a "smear campaign" and two whose lives were saved by Kerry hit back.

"What these people have said is not true and a lot of it is grossly inaccurate," said James Rassmann, who has appeared at many campaign appearances with the candidate.

"These gentlemen appear to be making this up as they go along and they are not keeping their stories straight," he said.

Fred Short, who also served with Kerry, said the ad shows "The Bush campaign has nothing to talk about, so they resort to these dirty tricks."

Meanwhile Republican Sen. John McCain, another Vietnam veteran, called the attack dishonorable and dishonest.

While I appreciate Sen. McCain's statement, it would be even more effective if he took a definitive stand on this and resigned as Arizona chairman of the Bush campaign. There's an old saying that applies here: If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas. (My apologies to canines everywhere for comparing them to the Bushies.)

Conason is on the case

Joe Conason is on the case. He's documented not only "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"'s extensive ties to the Republican party and wealthy right-wing extremists, but also to the wingnut Freepers.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Key figure in anti-Kerry campaign retracts statements

This just in: One of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" admits he lied:

....yesterday, a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry's former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a ''terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star -- one of the main allegations in the book [a smear job cranked out by Regnery Publishing, a right-wing outfit notorious for books alleging that Bill and Hillary Clinton were murderers and drug dealers. That gives you an idea of Regnery's specialty. If the company's victims weren't public figures, they could sue for libel.--lw]

Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.

''I still don't think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. ''It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."

Elliott said he was no under personal or political pressure to sign the statement, but he did feel ''time pressure" from those involved in the book. ''That's no excuse," Elliott said. ''I knew it was wrong . . . In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake."

The affidavit also contradicted earlier statements by Elliott, who came to Boston during Kerry's 1996 Senate campaign to defend Kerry on similar charges, saying that Kerry acted properly and deserved the Silver Star.

Update: Kevin Drum raises some good questions. Meanwhile, I keep thinking about Al Franken's oh-so-pertinent line: Lies and the lying liars who tell them. In this case, it appears Elliott had an attack of conscience. Too bad it didn't kick in earlier.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Lying like rugs (again)

Turns out that the swing-state ad buy made by "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" (a misnomer if ever there was one; more on that later) was financed by a wealthy Republican donor in Texas. The article describes how the Bushies employed the same sleazy tactics on John McCain during the primaries in 2000. (Incidentally, Sen. McCain has denounced the SBVT ad.)

Just so you know, "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" is a Republican put-up job. Not ONE of the so-called members ever served on a Swift boat with John Kerry. As you know if you watched the convention last week, the men who actually served with Kerry enthusiastically support his candidacy, as do several retired military officers, including several former Joint Chiefs of Staff -- among them Adm. William Crowe, Gen. John Shalikashvili, and Gen. Merrill McPeak. For retired military brass to endorse a presidential candidate so publicly and in such numbers is unheard-of -- it clearly reflects not only their concerns about George W. Bush but also their confidence in John Kerry.

The front man for "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" is John O'Neill, who was recruited by the Nixon administration to attack John Kerry during his days as an antiwar activist. Although O'Neill tries to pass himself off as "apolitical," the facts indicate otherwise: he parlayed his Nixon connection into a lucrative career with a Houston law firm that has close ties to the Republican party. Another person involved in "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" is retired Adm. Roy Hoffman, who commanded the young Lt. Kerry and gave him glowing reviews back then -- but has since changed his story. As documented by historian Douglas Brinkley in Tour of Duty, Hoffman was notorious for not caring how many Americans died in the pursuit of a military objective. Kerry, on the other hand, was determined to bring his men back alive, and did so. (Just ask Jim Rassmann -- the Green Beret fished out of the Bay Hap River by a wounded John Kerry under Viet Cong fire.)

More on the subject from Pandagon.

I think this calls for a Googlebomb. All you bloggers out there, let's link "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" to Joe Conason's expose of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," at (which is what I've done throughout this post.)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Googlebombing redux

Scoobie Davis is out to debunk the RNC's "most liberal senator" b.s. The more often we hyperlink the words "most liberal senator" to the URL the sooner we'll knock down this nonsense about Kerry being the most liberal senator in Washington.

(Even if Kerry were the most liberal senator, the would be more than OK with me -- I don't think "most liberal senator" is a title to run away from -- but JFK 2.0 rejects labels like most liberal senator, and I think he has every right to do as he sees fit on that score.)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Figures don't lie, but liars figure

Heard Paul Krugman and Lawrence Kudlow on the Diane Rehm Show this morning. Krugman was serving as a one-man truth squad, as usual -- talking about the dubious state of the economy as well as the relative merits of John Kerry's health care proposal (which will translate into coverage for thousands of people who now have none) and Bush's version (which is primarily another tax shelter for the wealthiest Americans and will ultimately result in lower- and middle-income folks LOSING coverage).

Kudlow was spouting the standard RNC talking points about trickle-down economics, how well we're all doing in the stock market, CEOs deserve all that money they make, capitalism will take care of everything if we just get outta the way, yadda yadda yadda.

But Kudlow -- who kept yammering about this terrific economy -- just got hammered by caller after caller. The folks out in the real world were saying: My income's stagnating, while my expenses just keep going up.

Finally Kudlow accused the callers of "extrapolating from their own experience." How very Republican of him: Who are you gonna believe -- my numbers or your lying eyes?

Or as my friend Halley used to say: Figures don't lie, but liars figure.

Things are looking up

According to Josh Marshall:

If you’re three months out from a presidential election and Candidate A is working the base and Candidate B is courting independents, it’s a good bet that Candidate B is going to be the next president.

That said, we can't get complacent. Every vote counts -- and every vote has to be counted.

'Taxes are for chumps like you'

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. Ron Reagan's got a wake-up call for you in Esquire (with some emphasis added by your blogger):

....chances are your America and George W. Bush's America are not the same place. If you are dead center on the earning scale in real-world twenty-first-century America, you make a bit less than $32,000 a year, and $32,000 is not a sum that Mr. Bush has ever associated with getting by in his world. Bush, who has always managed to fail upwards in his various careers, has never had a job the way you have a job—where not showing up one morning gets you fired, costing you your health benefits. He may find it difficult to relate personally to any of the nearly two million citizens who've lost their jobs under his administration, the first administration since Herbert Hoover's to post a net loss of jobs. Mr. Bush has never had to worry that he couldn't afford the best available health care for his children. For him, forty-three million people without health insurance may be no more than a politically inconvenient abstraction. When Mr. Bush talks about the economy, he is not talking about your economy. His economy is filled with pals called Kenny-boy who fly around in their own airplanes. In Bush's economy, his world, friends relocate offshore to avoid paying taxes. Taxes are for chumps like you. You are not a friend. You're the help. When the party Mr. Bush is hosting in his world ends, you'll be left picking shrimp toast out of the carpet.

Kerry and Edwards, on the case

Charles Pierce, Altercating:

...the D's have nominated two terrific LAWYERS to make their case -- one a gifted prosecutor and the other a genius defense attorney.  I wouldn't want to be either a criminal defendant against Kerry, or a negligent corporate slug caught in Edwards's crosshairs.  It's like lining up against Jack McCoy and Atticus Finch simultaneously.  This is not a bad thing.  Americans love lawyers who WIN, no matter what side of the bar they're on.

Jack McCoy and Atticus Finch....yeah, that just about sums it up. I can't wait for the debates. The Kerry-Edwards campaign has already agreed to the commission's proposed schedule of two debates for the presidential candidates, one for the VP nominees; not surprisingly, the Bushies are stalling. I'm sure Rove's looking for some way to weasel out of the debates -- but even our sorry excuse for a press corps would pick up the scent of desperation if that happened.