- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Bush: 'Bring on' attackers of U.S. troops
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Wednesday that American troops
under fire in Iraq aren't about to pull out, and he challenged those
tempted to attack U.S. forces, "Bring them on."
"We'll stay the course in Iraq," Bush said. "We're not leaving until
we accomplish the task, and the task is going to be a free country
run by the Iraqi people." He and his aides offered no timetable for
the withdrawal of American forces. (Related: Text of Bush's Wednesday
More than 65 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since Bush declared on May
1 that major combat had ended. Twenty-six were killed in combat, the
rest in accidents.
Bush pledged to find and punish "anybody who wants to harm American
troops," and said the attacks would not weaken his resolve to restore
peace and order in Iraq.
"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they
can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," Bush said. "We've
got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush's combative tone was
not meant to invite attacks on Americans. "I think what the president
was expressing there is his confidence in the men and women of the
military to handle the military mission they still remain in the
middle of," Fleischer said.
But Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., called the president's
language "irresponsible and inciteful."
"I am shaking my head in disbelief," Lautenberg said. "When I served
in the Army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military
commander - let alone the commander in chief - invite enemies to
attack U.S. troops."
Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., said, "I have a message for the president:
enough of the phony, macho rhetoric."
"We should be focused on a long-term security plan that reduces the
danger to our military personnel," said Gephardt, who is running for
president. "We need a serious attempt to develop a postwar plan for
Iraq, and not more shoot-from-the-hip one-liners."
On Tuesday, assailants traveling in a vehicle in central Baghdad
fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. military vehicle, wounding
three soldiers. Another grenade slammed into a U.S. truck on a road
south of Baghdad, injuring three soldiers, one of whom died at a
field hospital overnight.
The president also gave a forceful defense of the Iraqi war. He
rejected a question about whether there was a gap between the Iraqi
weapons program reported by intelligence and administration officials
before the war and the scant evidence found since.
"Saddam Hussein had a weapons program," Bush said. "Remember, he used
them - he used chemical weapons on his own people."
Bush made no mention of the failure of U.S. teams to find evidence of
weapons of mass destruction, but said, "We're bringing some order to
the country and we're beginning to learn the truth." Bush did not
explicitly promise that weapons or evidence of a weapons program will
be found, but he said, "It's just a matter of time, a matter of time."
Twenty-three% of Americans believe the United States has found
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, down from 34% in May, according
to the poll released Tuesday by the Program on International Policy
Attitudes at the University of Maryland.
Fleischer put a new twist on the weapons issue. "I think the burden
falls on those who think he didn't have them to explain when he
destroyed them and why, after he destroyed them, he didn't tell
anybody or show anybody," Fleischer said.
Bush also expressed impatience with the criticism leveled at his
administration in recent weeks.
"See, we've been there for, what - I mean, how many days?" Bush
said. "Frankly, it wasn't all that long ago that we started military
operations. And we got rid of him, much faster than a lot of people
Bush fielded several questions on a wide array of topics in the
Roosevelt Room, where he announced Randall Tobias as his choice to
head a new program to battle AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.
The president said he had spoken Wednesday morning to Russian
President Vladimir Putin to thank him for help with confronting
weapons programs in North Korea and Iran. Bush also talked by phone
with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah II and
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon about progress toward peace in
the Middle East.
"The best way to describe it is, we're really happy with what we've
seen so far," Bush said. "But we're realists in this administration.
We understand that there's been years of hatred and distrust, and
we'll continue to keep the process moving forward."
Bush also spoke by phone with Italian Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi, who took over the presidency of the European Union on
Bush spoke about human suffering and unrest in Liberia, but he
stopped short of saying whether his administration should send
peacekeepers to the West African nation - an idea opposed by a U.S.
military already committed to other world trouble spots.
'D.C. 9/11' Spins Tale of President on Tragic Day
Showtime Docudrama Depicts a Defiant, Decisive Bush
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 19, 2003; Page C01
LOS ANGELES, June 18 -- In the hours after the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11, a bold, forceful President Bush orders Air Force One to
return to Washington over the objections of his Secret Service
detail, telling them: "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him
to come and get me! I'll be at home, waiting for the bastard!"
Well, the president didn't actually speak those words. But it's close
enough for the Hollywood version of events. In a forthcoming
docudrama for the Showtime cable network, an actor playing the
president spits out those lines to his fretful underlings in a key
The made-for-TV film, "D.C. 9/11," is the first to attempt to re-
create the events that swirled around the White House in the hours
and days immediately after the strikes on the Pentagon and the World
The quintessentially American story was shot primarily in Toronto,
where drafts of the movie's dialogue were leaked to the Globe and
Sources here confirmed the generally heroic portrayal of the
president and his aides, including the dramatic scene in which Bush
is hopscotching the country in Air Force One as a security
precaution. When a Secret Service agent questions the order to fly
back to Washington by saying, "But Mr. President -- , " Bush replies
firmly, "Try 'Commander in Chief.' Whose present command is: Take the
The two-hour film, to air around the second anniversary of Sept. 11,
2001, stars Timothy Bottoms as Bush, reprising a role Bottoms played
for laughs on the short-lived Comedy Central series "That's My
Bush!," which went off the air a week before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Many of the movie's secondary roles, such as Vice President Cheney
and Secretary of State Colin Powell, are played by obscure New York
and Canadian actors. Among the familiar faces in the cast are Penny
Johnson Jerald (she plays the president's ex-wife on the Fox
series "24"), who appears as national security adviser Condoleezza
Rice, and George Takei (Sulu on the original "Star Trek" series), who
plays Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. The movie's veteran
director, Daniel Petrie, made such films as "Eleanor and
Franklin," "Sybil" and "A Raisin in the Sun."
The writer-producer of "D.C. 9/11," Lionel Chetwynd, declined to
discuss specific scenes or dialogue in the film. But he defended its
general accuracy, saying: "Everything in the movie is [based on] two
or three sources. I'm not reinventing the wheel here. . . . I don't
think it's possible to do a revision of this particular bit of
history. Every scholar who has looked at this has come to the same
place that this film does. There's nothing here that Bob Woodward
would disagree with." Woodward, a Washington Post assistant managing
editor, is the author of "Bush at War," a best-selling account of the
aftermath of Sept. 11.
Chetwynd said his approach to the post-Sept. 11 story was similar to
that of a 1974 TV movie, "The Missiles of October," a dramatization
of the showdown between President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita
Khrushchev over Soviet missile emplacements in Cuba in 1962. "This is
about how George Bush and his team came to terms with the reality
around them and led the country in a new direction," he said.
He noted that the take-me-home scene is based on actual events. "Did
[the president] assert his right to go home? Did the president decide
to overrule the Secret Service? Yes, he did."
But the movie, which includes some documentary news footage, has
already drawn scattered criticism. Writing in the Toronto Sun,
columnist Linda McQuaig compared it to Hollywood's mythologizing of
figures like Wyatt Earp and added that it "is sure to help the White
House further its two-pronged reelection strategy: Keep Americans
terrified of terrorism and make Bush look like the guy best able to
defend them." And Texas radio commentator and self-styled populist
Jim Hightower has derided "D.C. 9/11." On his syndicated radio
program this week, Hightower said the movie will present Bush as "a
combination of Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger. . . . Instead
of the doe-eyed, uncertain, worried figure that he was that day, Bush-
on-film is transformed into an infallible, John Wayne-ish, Patton-
type leader, barking orders to the Secret Service and demanding that
the pilots return him immediately to the White House."
Neither McQuaig nor Hightower has actually seen "D.C. 9/11," notes
Chetwynd, a Canadian emigrant whose earlier films ("Hanoi
Hilton," "The Siege at Ruby Ridge," "Kissinger and Nixon") have often
touched on national politics and policy.
However, Chetwynd acknowledges that he began the project as a "great
admirer" of the president. Chetwynd is among the few outspokenly
conservative producers in Hollywood, and one of the few with close
ties to the White House. His 2000 Showtime film "Varian's War" (about
an American who rescued French Jews from the Nazis) was screened at
the executive mansion for the president and Mrs. Bush. In late 2001,
President Bush appointed him to the President's Committee on the Arts
and the Humanities.
In researching "D.C. 9/11," Chetwynd had access to top White House
officials, including Bush. What's more, Chetwynd ran the script past
a group of conservative Washington pundits, including Fred Barnes,
Charles Krauthammer and Morton Kondracke.
But he insists that only he and Showtime had control over the film's
content and tone. "This isn't propaganda," he says. "It's a
straightforward docudrama. I would hope what's presented is a fully
colored and nuanced picture of a human being in a difficult
The Garfield Conspiracy
Mutilated Cats Draw World Attention
Crecente, Rocky Mountain News
The spiraling number of cats found eviscerated in and around Denver
is attracting media attention from around the world.
"I've had inquires from the L.A. Times, The Star (tabloid), MSNBC,
CNN, the Fox News Channel and I had a call from Moscow today," said
Aurora police spokeswoman Kathleen Walsh. "There have been hundreds
Media outlets in the United Kingdom, Pakistan and South Africa have
reported on the discovery of mutilated cats in the metro area with
headlines such as: "Serial cat killer in Denver?"
The Aurora police department plans to discuss the investigation into
the 39 cat deaths today in a news conference.
Meanwhile, another dead cat was discovered in Salt Lake City on
Monday, bringing their total to 11.
In the cases in both Colorado and Utah, the cats were mutilated with
what appeared to be surgical precision. In many cases, the cats were
missing their organs and appeared to have been drained of blood.
Most of the Utah mutilations have turned up in the Salt Lake Avenues
neighborhood. Utah investigators say all of their cases are similar,
with the cats being taken from the neighborhood and killed elsewhere,
then brought back.
Investigators have not yet determined if the Colorado and Utah cases
Can You Please Do Better Than a Rose Bush?
By Michael Moore
June 30, 2003
Dear Lt. George W. Bush,
I hope you don't mind me referring to you by the only true military
rank you ever achieved, that being the one from your on-again, off-
again "days" in the, um, Texas Air National Guard. Ever since I saw
you in that flyboy outfit, landing on that ship, I assumed you now
wanted to be addressed by your military title, as opposed to the
civilian rank imposed on you by your dad's friends.
So, Lieutenant, I was wondering, would you do me a favor?
Could you please do better than a rose bush?
I saw the guy on TV yesterday that your boys found, the Iraqi who
said he had "planted" some nuclear plans in his "back yard" in
Baghdad - 12 years ago - "under a rose bush."
Woo boy. That's a good one. Do you really think we are as dumb as we
look? I know our fascination with "American Idol" and Scott Peterson
may make us Americans look a little light in the head, but when it
comes to lying to us to lead us into war, we really do demand a bit
more of an effort and a follow-through.
You see, George, it's not the lying and the doctoring of intelligence
that has me all upset. It's that you've had control of Iraq for over
two months now - and you couldn't even find the time to plant just a
few nukes or vats of nerve gas and at least make it look like you
weren't lying to us.
You see, by not faking some evidence of weapons of mass destruction,
it shows that you thought no one would mind if it turned out you made
everything up. A different kind of president, who believes that the
American public would be outraged if they ever found out the truth,
would go to great lengths to cover up his subterfuge.
Johnson did it with the Gulf of Tonkin. He said our ships
were "attacked" by the North Vietnamese. They weren't, but he knew he
had to at least make it look like it happened. Nixon said he
wasn't "a crook," but he knew that wasn't enough, so he paid hush
money to the burglars and somehow had 18 1/2 minutes erased from a
tape in the Oval Office. Why did he do this? Because he knew the
American people would be pissed if they found out the truth.
Your blatant refusal to back up your verbal deception with the kind
of fake evidence we have become used to is a slap in our collective
American face. It's as if you are saying, "These Americans are so
damn apathetic and lazy, we won't have to produce any weapons to back
up our claims!" If you had just dug a few silo holes in the last
month outside Tikrit, or spread some anthrax around those Winnebagos
near Basra, or "discovered" some plutonium with that stash of home
movies of Uday Hussein feeding his tigers, then it would have said to
us that you thought we might revolt if you were caught in a lie. It
would have shown us some respect. We honestly wouldn't have cared if
it later came out that you planted all the WMD - sure, we'd be
properly peeved, but at least we would have been proud to know that
you knew you had to back up your phony claims with the real deal!
I guess you finally figured that out this week. It started to appear
that millions of us were calling you on your bluff -
those "fictitious reasons for the fictitious war." So you quickly
produced this man and his rose bush and some 12-year-old piece of
paper and some metal parts. CNN broke in at 5:15pm and screamed they
had the exclusive! "IRAQI NUCLEAR PLANS FOUND!" But a few good
reporters started asking some hard questions - and, barely three
hours later, your own administration was forced to admit the plans
were "not the smoking gun" proving that Iraq had weapons of mass
Never a good idea to rely on a bush, Lieutenant.
PS. Sorry, I still can't get that padded flyboy suit out of my head.
I know, I need help. But when you landed on that carrier, and that
banner read, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED," just what mission was that that
was accomplished? 'Cause by my count, more than 50 of our young
soldiers have died since you said the mission was accomplished.
Anarchy still reigns in Iraq, the Brits are losing kids too, and
wacko fundamentalists now seem to ready to rule the land. Women are
already being told to cover their faces and shut their mouths, store
owners who sell liquor have been executed and movie theaters
showing "immoral" Hollywood movies have been forced to shut down. And
hey, this isn't even west Texas! Maybe you could get back into that
jumpsuit, fly over to Baghdad and land at the former Saddam
International Airport, jump out and give one of those big happy waves
= under a sign that reads, "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE."
Coulter Unfairly Maligned
Ann "Thrax" Coulter, fortysomething, is making the rounds promoting
her latest book, "Treason."
And many have begun to comment that Thrax seems even less "hinged"
than ever before. Now, the consensus from liberals, moderates, and
other normal people after witnessing a television appearance by the
poisonous polemicist is, "Is there something wrong with her? No,
But it seems assuming Coulter is deranged could be an unfair and
premature conclusion. It's entirely possible that Ann's problem
could simply be that she is hungry.
The likelihood that hunger explains Ann Coulter's bizarre behavior
becomes stronger when one scrutinizes her physical characteristics -
Anne's own chosen criteria for evaluating authors of political books.
Consider, for example, that an extremely conspicuous Adam's apple in
a person is usually benign, but occasionally, in some individuals, it
will function to siphon off entire meals, feeding itself while
allowing little or no nutrients for the rest of the body, which
leaves the host irritable or confused - indeed, sometimes even
delusional. There is no calculating the havoc that an errant Adams
apple the size of Ann's could wreak, especially on a body the height
In the interest of changing the tone, critics should allow for this
theory before questioning the fundamental soundness of Ann's mental
Still, no one can help observing: For whatever reason, Thrax has
lost her mojo.
In an appearance on Crossfire Monday, each rhetorical dirty bomb
launched by the macho McCarthyite failed to detonate. There were
countless uncomfortable moments in which Thrax attempted to shock and
awe, but all that could be heard in reaction was the sound of
fidgeting members of a bored audience opening sticks of gum and
Another obvious factor in Thrax's inability to shock or otherwise
entertain is that the novelty of right-wing liberal bashing has faded
significantly since "Slander." If there is anything Americans can
be counted on to do consistently it is to become bored with any fad.
If there is anything the right can be counted on to do consistently,
it is to overreach. As a result of this combination, angry, venomous
right-wing propaganda has been depleted of much of its potency since
the advent of Faux News.
In fact, open criticism of the Unelected Fraud and the right is the
only shock media left in America. And liberals are just getting
Jobless rate hits 6.4 pct., 9-year high
By LEIGH STROPE
July 3, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's unemployment rate
shot up to 6.4 percent in June, the highest level in more than nine
years, in an economic slump that has added nearly a million people to
jobless rolls in the past three months.
Businesses slashed 30,000 jobs in June for the fifth straight month,
with cuts heavily concentrated in the nation's factories, the Labor
Department reported Thursday.
The 0.3 percentage point increase from May's 6.1 percent rate was the
largest month-to-month rise since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
That surprised analysts who predicted a smaller rise, to 6.2 percent.
The last time the overall rate was higher was in March 1994.
The poor economy and swelling unemployment could pose problems for
President Bush next year in his re-election bid. But tax cuts
recently passed by the Republican-controlled Congress are starting to
take effect and will bolster job prospects, the administration has
"Its effects will be felt by America's working families, seniors and
small business owners later this month, as they begin receiving tax
rebates and larger paychecks," said Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. "As
this stimulus builds momentum, we expect to see more new jobs created
and more out of work Americans receiving a paycheck again."
While recent economic indicators point to an economy struggling
toward recovery, the latest report demonstrated that America's job
market was still very much in a state of recession last month.
"It's pretty bad, there's no denying that," said Ken Mayland,
president of ClearView Economics.
Since March, unemployment has increased by 913,000. Two million
people were unemployed for 27 weeks or more last month, an increase
of 410,000 since the start of the year.
Another factor behind the increase in the overall civilian
unemployment rate was the increase in the number of people seeking
work in June. Optimism about an economy rebound led over 600,000
people to resume their search for work.
Because the government calculates the overall unemployment rate based
on a survey of American households, and because the lackluster
economy wasn't producing enough jobs to accommodate an increasing
number of jobseekers, that rate increased significantly.
"That suggests a combination of better prospects, getting the war
behind us, a better stock market -- just more enthusiasm about
economic prospects -- is causing people to re-enter the labor force,"
Mayland said, adding that the jobless rate should start to stabilize.
"It would be my bet that we're at the high-water mark," he said.
Manufacturing led in payroll cuts last month, with 56,000 jobs lost.
Since July 2000, the nation's factories have cut 2.6 million jobs.
That sector has been the weakest link in the economy's ability to get
back to full speed. Slack demand at home and abroad and competition
from a flood of imports have throttled back production.
Construction jobs helped offset manufacturing losses somewhat last
month, with the fourth straight gain in hiring. Construction has
added 101,000 jobs since February, reflecting strength in residential
The mortgage boom, stoked by record low rates, has been the bright
spot in the dismal economy. People are buying new homes and
refinancing their old mortgages. The extra cash from refinancing
combined with solid home-value appreciation have kept consumer
Other hiring gains last month were in health care, leisure and
hospitality and temporary employment services.
In a separate report, new claims for jobless benefits rose last week
to 430,000, an increase of a seasonally adjusted 21,000 from the
previous week's revised 409,000 claims.
The more stable, four-week moving average of claims, which smooths
out weekly fluctuations, dropped to 425,000. That was the lowest
level since April 5.