Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 on DVD - Preview

Earlier this week I scored a preview copy of the upcoming Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD (yeah baby!!!) I've been watching it for the last few days.

It's a very good film to mpg transfer (it actually looks better on video than it did on film. This is because most of the footage in the movie was originally from TV broadcasts.

Michael Moore has added more scenes, including expanded footage of Iraq days before the invasion, the deposition of Condoleeza Rice to the 9/11 Commission, footage of Abu Grahib testimony, and a mindbogglingly dumb and unedited scene of Bush talking to the press right after his deposition to the 9/11.

What I found great is the video clip Moore used to loop for the DVD menu: Bush reading the pet goat book, and making the dumb face when they tell him America is under attack.

In my opinion, the best two scenes added to the DVD (in the extra features section) are following:

- a series of random interviews to regular folks in the streets of Baghdad before the bombing and invasion of March 2003. Gut wrenching.

- A mini-documentary shot outside of Abu Ghraib, where thousands of people await everyday the release of their relatives. It's unbelievable. The reporters interview family members and tell the stories of how and why their relatives were arrested. Every now and then they release 100 prisoners, and the awaiting relatives run to greet them, but the soldiers push them back to guarantee a safe operation. This is standard procedure, and in their shoes, I would certainly do teh very same thing if I were on the ground in Iraq, but still it looks like they are moving cattle. It's a nightmare.

Families calling out loud for their missing relatives, chaos. Some relatives are reunited in emotional moments. Some of the newly released prisoners tell their horror stories to the camera, sometimes illustrating their stories by pointing at their scars and bruises. It's a truly haunting scene.

Also, watching Condi Rice's deposition will infuriate you. No matter how many times you see that, you shake your head in disbelief at the lies, deflections, and stonewalling. Her behavior alone in that interview is suspect and incriminating.

Overall, a great DVD release that does justice and improves upon the original movie release.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Bobo Unhinged

NY Times' neo-conservative columnist David Brooks said on CNN last night that there two types of Iraqis, our Iraqis and the Iraqis we need to kill. He also explained how to go by it: "So, what you do is you win over the people you can, town by town and then you kill the people you can't."

Unbelievable. I wonder when is Bobo volunteering to go to Iraq and help the troops sort the "friendly Iraqis" from the "disposable ones."

Rising Hegemon has a brilliant parody of your average David Books' column. It's a must-read.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bush Caught Lying... Again!

Oliver Willis has an extraordinary video of Peter Jennings catching Bush in a nasty lie about John Kerry.

You can view the view here (Quicktime mp4 file)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


From today's NY Post:
The hot rumor in New York political circles has Roger Stone, the longtime GOP activist, as the source for Dan Rather's dubious Texas Air National Guard "memos."

The irony would be delicious, since Rather became famous confronting President Nixon, in whose service a very young Stone became associated with political "dirty tricks."

Reached at his Florida home, Stone had no comment.

CBS questions validity of memos

Dan Rather and CBS admitted last night that there are serious questions with the National Guard memos released in “60 Minutes” two weeks ago. First of all, and to get it out of the way, I’ll admit I was wrong on this one. I relied in the integrity of CBS news and trusted in their otherwise professional standards. Soon after the scandal broke, I reviewed some of the graphics posted online by right-wing websites and noticed some discrepancies in their claims. With that very graphic I created an animation pointing to those discrepancies. Soon after I posted that graphic the story moved on further. Apparently the “Times New Roman” document at the bottom of the graphic was the screen version, not the printed version. Fine, no problem, but I was not the one who posted that graphic and made the comparison. I only pointed to the differences between those two types exactly as they posted them. Sure, it wasn’t the print version, but that’s not what they were saying two weeks ago; I only used the first argument they posted.

Again, the investigation and the allegation on both sides of the issue progressed much further than I was able (and willing) to follow. I started to see that both sides were making valid points, but needed further confirmation. I tend to be a reasonable man. Still I wasn’t willing to take the word of the same websites that gave us the Vince Foster tales, the “Clinton body-count” and every loony anti-Clinton conspiracy. As I stated then, I would rather wait until someone of authority, whether a certified forensic expert or an independent typographic expert under oath examined the documents.

I started to have serious reservations about these documents earlier last week, when some reports started to seep to the media about the possible origins of these documents. They reported that retired Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett might have been the source that provided the documents to CBS. That raised a huge red flag for me. Burkett is an incredibly unreliable source, an individual that has been confirmed making up stuff in the past. This fact alone raised my concern about the legitimacy of the documents

Yesterday CBS confirmed they have serious questions about the origins of the documents. At this point, I have to agree. To me, this episode raises serious questions about the professional judgment of Dan Rather and the sloppy research by the CBS team producers. How could they trust anything coming from Bill Burkett? A simple Google search would have given them enough information to take his word with a grain of salt! This is a very disappointing development, and a low for the professional standards of CBS News.

Now, should Dan Rather resign as some of his critics are requesting? Well, that’s an interesting question. I think Dan Rather should resign the very same day that the entire editorial staffs of the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the NY Times resign for the “White Water” fiasco. I mean, these people published false information fed to them by obscenely unreliable sources for years. They slandered and attacked detractors on the flimsiest of reasons, as long as it fit the script. In the end, the courts proved that the so-called White-Water scandal was a sham. Jeff Gerth never resigned for his malicious lies over Whitewater or “troopergate.” Again, Jeff Gerth and James Risen never resigned for their malicious reporting on the “Wen Ho Lee scandal.” Howard Kurtz is yet to resign for his disgusting pimping of the “White House vandalism” pseudo-scandal, which two independent investigations declared a sham: There was no vandalism in the White House by Clinton staffers; it was another lie that the media ate and propagated. Judy Woodruff and Lou Dobbs never resigned from taking false stories straight from Drudge and using them in their broadcasts without verification. And as far as I know, Bob Novak still writes for the Chicago Tribune and shows his mug on CNN despite outing a CIA agent, which is treason. Bob Novak is yet to resign for his treason.

So when those people resign for their sloppy (and sometimes malicious) “journalism”, then Dan Rather should resign. There should be only one standard, instead of the two rules we seem to be experiencing, applied differently when the subject of the reporting is conservative or liberal.

Nevertheless, there are still a few questions pending that I think need to answered. How come a notorious Republican activist and legal elf from the Ken Starr scandals, McDougald, was releasing tons of technical information on the web about these false memos within hours of their release by CBS? Furthermore, why was he doing this under an alias in right-wing sites? Where did Burkett get those “memos”? Did he fake them himself or did someone else handed them to him? Why CBS trusted anything from Burkett? How come this whole episode is so reminiscent of the Jim Hatfield scandal in which Karl Rove played a central role? I think those are legitimate questions that call for further investigation.

In essence, Dan Rather was duped and left aside his wisdom and journalistic standards in pursue of a saucy story. He didn’t even check the validity of his sources. Too bad that many, including myself, trusted his professional judgment. I will certainly be more prudent next time.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Excellent ad by the New Democratic Network.

Extraordinario, y con sabor tropical!

Ten cuidado del nombre Bush (Beware of Bush's Name)

Link via Atrios)

Friday, September 17, 2004

GOP Operative Behind Memo's Forgery Claims

How nice! After the L.A. Times basically endorsed the FreeRepublic/LGF arguments to condemn the CBS documents as fraudulent, and reproduced their claims verbatim for days, now they do a flip-flopping of their own. The L.A. Times just "discovered" these claims were pushed by (gasp) notorious Republican operatives, including the infamous Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta Republican lawyer who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. So one of Rove's legal elves was behind the dissemination of very specific info about the CBS memos within hours of their relase.

It never ends. Whether the memos were real or forged, I think it's becoming increasingly clear this scandal may have been a huge game of chess by Rove:
Blogger Who Faulted CBS Documents Is Conservative Activist

WASHINGTON — It was the first public allegation that CBS News used forged memos in its report questioning President Bush's National Guard service — a highly technical explanation posted within hours of airtime citing proportional spacing and font styles.

But it did not come from an expert in typography or typewriter history as some first thought. Instead, it was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Times has found.

The identity of "Buckhead," a blogger known previously only by his screen name on the site freerepublic.com and lifted to folk hero status in the conservative blogosphere since last week's posting, is likely to fuel speculation among Democrats that the efforts to discredit the CBS memos were engineered by Republicans eager to undermine reports that Bush received preferential treatment in the National Guard more than 30 years ago.

Republican officials have denied any involvement among those debunking the CBS story.

Reached by telephone today, MacDougald, 46, confirmed that he is Buckhead, but declined to answer questions about his political background or how he knew so much about the CBS documents so fast.

"You can ask the questions but I'm not going to answer them," he told The Times. "I'm just going to stick to doing no interviews."

Until The Times identified him by piecing together information from his postings over the past two years, MacDougald had taken pains to remain in the shadows — saying the credit for challenging CBS should remain with the blogosphere as a whole and not one individual. (...)
I'm growing more and more suspicious that we've all been pawn by Karl Rove. This story seems to fit the pattern of his methods and ruthless Machiavellian techniques. The saddest part is that a reputable network, CBS, has played the role that James Hatfield did four years ago. Same trick, played for a second time, with a larger and more reputable sucker to fall for it.

This whole episode gives me flashbacks of another scandal: remember how the Bush admin. started their tenure? By FALSELY accusing Clinton staffers of TRASHING THE WHITE HOUSE. The press, the web, the blogosphere ran with it with no certifiable evidence. It was soon considered "fact."

Further investigation revealed they were lying, and that the Clinton staffers did not "trash" the WH before leaving. So allow me to remain skeptical and hold on to my disbelief until someone with authority and/or under oath (official investigator, court-certified forensic analyst, etc) determines the validity of these documents for good.

Kings of Convenience - "Riot On An Empty Street"

I had a chance to listen to the preview of this album earlier this summer, before it was released, and I have to say it's one of the best records I've heard this year. It's more melancholic and pensive than their earlier works, but deeper at an emotional level. Kings of Convenience continue their Lo-Fi recording style, going a step further by adopting a style very reminiscent of early Simon and Garfunkel. I highly recommend this album. You can purchase it by clicking the cover on the right.

Also, you can take a listen to the album at their website: Riot on an Empty Street

Recommended tracks:

01 - Homesick
11 - Gold in the Air of Summer (this is one superb song)
12 - The Build Up (featuring the voice of Leslie Feist, who reminds me a lot of Bjork)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

New National Guard Memo Surfaces

...and it's like, totally, totally not forged:

Memo from George W. Bush's Commanding Officer


Monday, September 13, 2004

Mindless Accusations

Since I posted the graphic debunking some of the examples provided by some of the so-called "experts" I have received lots of emails and posts, some of them congratulating me, some simple attacking and insulting me, and some others accusing me of "manipulating" the text to get that result. Once again, since some people do not seem to get it: I only took one of the examples they posted online as "evidence" of forgery and pointed at the many differences that seem evident. Since, they have changed their theories once again. And as we speak, new self-described experts keep popping up in right-wing websites to add new conspiracies.

Beyond being able to see bullshit from a mile away, and able to expose some of the crackpot theories of self-appointed "experts," I can not go any further and "test" these documents. I'm not a certified expert, and I'm nowhere near a 1970s IBM Executive typewriter. I'm just someone with a set of eyes and many years of experience using font types. I too would like to see the documents checked by a team of independent, court-certified experts, as well as experts from IBM. That should end this controversy quickly.

Now, for the people insulting and attacking me personally, and those making even larger conspiracies out of the whole thing and my contribution to the controversy, please notice one little detail. The new documents in dispute add little to what seemed evident since they first started looking into the National Guard records of George W. Bush: there are some things missing there. He got in the NG ahead of many missed a year, can't prove he fulfilled his duty in Alabama. These documents do not change a thing.

On Edit (9/14/2004)

For the record, and for the FOURTH time: i did not even blow up those samples. Several conservative websites had already posted those blowups as "evidence." I only used their own evidence against their claims. Of course, since last Thursday their claims have been shifting as their old ones were being refuted.

I don't disagree some of the claims of the wingers who breathlessly scream "forgery" may have some merit, if only for their doggedly determination. In the end I find most of what they have posted so far easily refutable with proper research.
There's one claim that I concede: the superscript in Times New Roman is different on screen and printed. That is correct, but again, I was not the one that slapped the screen version on those graphics. I assume the blow ups came before the realized and changed their evidence. So I do concede that point, even though I didn't make the image enlargement.

On the other hand, there are other items that are indisputable. In the CBS documents there are certain characters constantly print under or over the baseline. That's no faxing/Xerox distortion, as it would affect other characters as well. This repetition of baseline misalignments is consistent with a document originated on a typewriter.

Again, I am not going to pretend (like many wingers with a lot of free time in their hands) that I am a forensic expert because I am not... but neither are they. I would really like to leave the last word to the experts as I have stated before. I personally believe that only careful examination by forensic and court-certified experts will determine the validity of these documents, and I believe the documents will be cleared. But I could be wrong too, I'm certainly aware of that. You see, I am not a forensic expert!!!!

My point is, although I know a lot about type, fonts and documents ( and I have several industry awards to back that up), I don't pretend I know "everything" there is about the subject.

I do find funny the way many regular right-wing Joe's have become "font experts" overnight, using terms like "kerning" and "proportional type" as if they were casting stones, the same way the use terms like "librul." Most times they only demonstrate their lack of knowledge and familiarity with these terms and what they really mean.

Nevertheless, it's hilarious to see of these rabid right-wing partisans playing Nancy Drew on the net. It has a surreal tone to it.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

In Memoriam

I saw Laurie Anderson a few days after the tragedy. Her words were wise and prophetic, as she took a moment to remember the victims:
"We want to dedicate our music tonight to the great opportunity that we all have to begin to truly understand the events of the past few days and to act upon with courage and with compassion as we make our plans to live in a completely new world"
I will never forget those words.

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Latest Mendacity of the Right

As you may know by now, the right wing is foaming at the mouth regarding the newly released memos by CBS that put Bush's National Guard service int question. A group of self-appointed "experts" from an infamous website have brought up the allegation that the documents are forgeries and that those documents could be identically created with a modern word processor.

I read the excellent debunking of each of these claims at Daily Kos, but I still had to see this by myself. I know a thing or two about design, fonts, and typesets (ahem!)

My conclusion? The whole controversy is a joke. Even when you compare a blurry PDF of a scanned document, it doesn't pass the smell test. This is ridiculous. I decided to create an animation comparing the two examples the so-called "experts" provided as "evidence" of "forgery" with MS Word.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

New Outrage at Diebold "Voting Machines"

Just when you think you've heard anything about the highly suspicious voting machines by manufacturer Diebold, you read this:
The state of California has decided to sue Diebold, the nation's largest manufacturer of electronic (touch screen) voting machines because the company lied about the machines' security. The machines have a special feature that creates fake vote totals when a secret 2-digit code is typed in. The LA Times article about the lawsuit does not specify whether there are separate codes to fake a Bush victory and fake a Kerry victory or whether one candidate's victory has been programmed in advance or whether election officials can enter any result they want. However, Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, has said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president." (...)

News from the Votemaster
What is it going to take to ban all these "fraud-o-maton" machines? What is it going to take for the media to seriously look into this situation? What is is going to take for a criminal investigation of Diebold and their board? I mean, one thing is "sloppy programming," but when you include in your machines a "secret 2-digit code" that allows the user to PURPOSEFULLY AND ILLEGALLY ENTER FAKE VOTE TOTALS in advance, we are talking FRAUD.

This is very disturbing.

Bush's Nat. Guard Record Revealed

Last night CBS "60 Minutes" broadcast an interview by Dan Rather with former Texas House Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes. In the interview, Barnes confessed that he helped George W. Bush get into the Texas National Guard ahead of many other qualified candidates. This was done by request of his father George Bush, then a powerful congressman from Texas.

Furthermore, CBS revealed some never before documents from G.W. Bush National Guard supervisor Col. Jerry Killian, that reveal he was prevented from flying, he was grounded for refusing to take a physical, that Dubya was reprimanded for not conforming to standard procedure, and also that Col. Killian was pressured to give Bush a positive evaluation of his service despite his many shortcomings.

Use this link to read a transcript of the show or to see the video.

60 Minutes : New Questions On Bush Guard Duty

Karl Rove wanted to bring Vietnam as an issue in the 2004 campaign, and probably even believed nobody was going to bring up Dubya's own record. Right...

So, according to the documents revealed:Suddenly, the lies about Kerry's medals by the Swifty Boat Liars seem to be the more desperate. Bring it on! Let's compare Kerry's record to Dubya's own.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Amazing coincidences...

Here's another curious correlation, courtesy of Josh Marshall:Funny how these things work.... This ties with our Timeline of terror alerts and chart.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


No comments necessary.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Bush Speech: More of the Same

I wanted to quickly comment on the speech that Bush gave when he accepted the nomination of his party at the GOP Convention. It truly amazed me that over half of it was simply a rehash of the speeches he gave four years ago, promising the very same things (that he has not accomplished) and using the very same misleading language that has been already discredited. It truly was a work of surrealism. With an unprecedented amount of chutzpah, he promised once again to "leave no child behind," to cut health-care costs, make tax cuts permanent, and he rest of the "Bush/Cheney 2000" Greatest Hits, including the classic "compassionate conservatism." It was as if someone else had been the president for the last four years. Truly surreal.

Karl Rove, of course, made sure that the speech didn't dwell much on the pressing domestic issues that Bush has simply neglected (unemployment, lagging economy, record deficits, etc). They even made sure to put a little reference to Iraq. The rest of the speech was devoted to the central topic of the 2004 Republican Convention: the shameless appropriation of the pain and suffering of thousand of New Yorkers for partisan political gain. This cap to the Republican shindig did nothing but confirm that their real intentions when selecting New York as their location. No matter how brazen you think this modern type of Republican may be, they'll always surprise you. Just remember the Rovians initially requested to have their convention the week of 9/11, and even close it with a ceremony involving the foundation of the new buildings in the site of the WTC. That's how shamelessly brazen they wanted to be, so nobody should be surprised about them exploiting 9/11 to sell the "fear vote" to the American people.

Recommended reviews of the speech by Bush:

William Saletan: Back to the Future: What Bush would do if he were president

Mary Jacoby: Swaggering toward Election Day

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Must Read: Dubya's Missing Year

Salon.com magazine has an extraordinary article about the year Bush missed in the National Guard. It tells you a lot about his character.

Truly mandatory reading for everyone:

George W. Bush's missing year

If you are not a Salon.com subscriber, click on the "Day Pass" button and it will give you access to the full article.

Batshit Crazy

Zell Miller, after bringing hate and contempt for his own party (yeah, the neocon, ultra conservative Georgia senator is registered Democrat) in his speech to the GOP convention, had an interesting exchange with Chris Matthews.

The guy came accross as the hate-filled, unhinged person that he really is.

Watch as he loses it in his interview with Matthews (Click on graphic to display video):

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

October Surprise?

William Pfaff, of the International Herald Tribune, wrote an intriguing article last month pointing at the possibility of a major "October Surprise" with sinister consequences:
William Pfaff: 'An 'October Surprise'? Neocons have Iran in their sights'

Well, today's news seem to confirm the trend that Pfaff suggested:
Iran Uranium Conversion Plans Provoke U.S. Fury

VIENNA, Austria (Reuters) - The United States accused Iran Wednesday of threatening global peace with its plans to process 37 tons of raw "yellowcake" uranium, which one Western nuclear expert said would be enough to build five atomic bombs.

The comments from a hawkish U.S. official was a response to a report by U.N. inspectors on Tehran's nuclear activities that listed unresolved issues, but contained nothing to confirm U.S. allegations that Tehran is building a bomb.

In the confidential report, obtained in full by Reuters, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran planned a large-scale test of a uranium conversion facility this month.

"Iran's announcements are further strong evidence of the compelling need to take Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council," U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton said in a statement to Reuters. The U.N. Security Council can impose economic sanctions. (...)
According to Pfaff, the "October surprise" will be a sudden raid over Iran, either by Israel alone or by a combination of Israeli/US forces. Just like when Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear power plant in the 1980s. It will probably produce a rally-round Dubya effect, but it may likely get World War III started. I'm sure that's a chance Rove is willing to take.

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