Thursday, September 23, 2004

Local reading

Some good material in today's P-I:
Kerry has strong lead in Washington state

OLYMPIA -- Washington state, once considered a fiercely competitive presidential battleground, is firmly in Democrat John Kerry's column heading into the final weeks of a volatile campaign, according to new polls.

Kerry, who considers the three West Coast states a key part of his electoral math to defeat President Bush, led the Republican president 51 percent to 42 percent among Washington respondents, according to a poll commissioned by The Columbian newspaper of Vancouver, Wash.

In the latest Elway Poll, Kerry leads 52 percent to 38 percent.

... A Republican presidential candidate hasn't carried Washington since Ronald Reagan's re-election bid of 1984. The Bush-Cheney ticket lost the state by 5.6 percentage points in 2000.

The new polls suggests the trend will continue.

"This is one of Kerry's better states in the country" and Washington no longer seems to be a battleground state, said Columbian pollster Thom Riehle, president of Ipsos-Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.

I think the Democratic worrywarts need to settle down and get real. In the meantime, of course, we should become accustomed to the media script that "Bush has opened a substantial lead", and take it with about a quarry of salt.

Anyway, there was also this great Horsey cartoon:

Orcinus in SoCal

Man! The rain hit early in Seattle this summer. My house-painting project remains on hold until I can get a few consecutive days of sun.

Which is why I'm especially glad to be heading to San Diego this weekend.

Aside from taking in the sun and the kind of tourism things 3-year-olds love (zoo, Sea World, etc.), I'll be on business a bit too.

Friday evening at 7 p.m. I'll be giving a talk to Peace Works! in Temecula Valley, addressing the subject of hate groups and hate crimes and the recent problems in the area, especially the growth of white-supremacist activity among young people in the area.

The meeting will be held at the Temecula United Methodist Church, and is a free event which is open to the public. The address is 42690 Margarita Road, Temecula, in meeting room #1.

It's worth noting that a recent gathering of Peace Works! observing the United Nations International Day of Peace attracted a group of right-wing "Protest Warriors".

Kynn Bartlett, my host for the talk (and the author of the estimable Inland Anti-Empire blog, whose work I've mentioned previously) was one of the people who got to deal with them:
Kynn Bartlett has been working with PeaceWorks since its inception nearly two years ago. He said that Tuesday's event had been organized to promote "peace, not just as the absence of war, but peace as a way of reconciliation, of living together with people in our community."

Turning to the group of protestors, Bartlett said that sometimes coping with people in his community is a challenge.

"When they walked up, the fellow with the anti-U.N. flag said, 'This is a special treat just for Kynn,'" Bartlett said. "They follow my Web site and are aware of the fact that I'm moving away.

"It's a lot like being stalked, really. For some reason, the same group of people shows up every time we have a public gathering in the park. I don't know why they're protesting against peace."

Protestor Freeman Sawyer was one of those picketing Tuesday. He said, in his view, the protest had mostly to do with the event's affiliation with the U.N.

"It's difficult for me to understand how any American citizen who every day benefits from the patriots and soldiers who helped establish our way of life could have anything to do with the United Nations," Sawyer said. "In my opinion, it's one of the worst organizations that has ever been developed."

The organizer of Tuesday's protest, Rick Reiss, cited his distaste for the U.N. as his reason for showing up.

"We believe the U.N. is basically a corrupt organization," Reiss said. "They're out here celebrating a United Nations day of peace, so we want to come out to serve a little balance."

These folks sound like John Trochmann's kind of people.

Anyway, in addition to the Friday evening talk, I'll be making media appearances promoting my new book, Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America:

-- Sunday at noon on Los Angeles' Pacifica station, KPFK-FM, I'll be on for an hour-long interview with Ian Masters. Click here for the live feed.

-- Monday morning at 7 a.m. (or thereabouts) I'll be doing a brief appearance on the San Diego Fox TV affiliate, XETV-6, for the Fox News in the Morning program.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Another mysterious document

Hey, all you heroic, right-wing blog sleuths! Here's a fresh opportunity for you to put all those celebrated document-verification skills to work again! Yes, another chance for fame and glory!

Seems there's another questionable document that's been produced regarding George W. Bush's National Guard records. And we need some help tracking it down.

The problem was pointed out by that far-left rag, Air Force Times:
Another White House-released document shows a total of 56 points Bush apparently earned during this 12-month period, but it's awarded in one lump sum rather than credited for each training period. But this document also contains an error, listing Bush’s status as “PLT On-Fly” — meaning he was on flight status — when he had not been for a year. This, said retired Army Lt. Col. Gerald A. Lechliter, who has done an in-depth analysis of Bush’s pay records (, makes the form’s authenticity suspect.

Here's what Lechliter had to say about the document:
The WH also released an undated memorandum from a Lieutenant Colonel Albert C. Lloyd (Retired) (Lloyd) who reviewed two Bush F526SPEs to verify Bush met his annual retention/retirement requirement from 27 May 72--26 May 73 by earning 56 points and 27 May 73-–26 May 74 by earning 56 points. Lloyd referred to these simply as AF Form 526 in his memorandum; they will be referenced herein as F526SPE. It evidently replaced the AF Form 712, "Air Reserve Forces Retirement Credit Summary." The WH also provided a summary pay document (SPD),60 together with finance forms, to back up its version of Bush's service after May 1972.

A major problem with the F190 from May 1973, certifying Bush's ANACDUTRA and INACDUTRA for the previous anniversary year, is its obsolescence: the form had become obsolete at the end of September 1972, some eight months earlier than it was signed. Why was his TXANG using an obsolete form? It should be noted, however, that there were no detailed F190, F40, F40a, or unit schedules, for any INACDUTRA after May 1972. There is no "Special Order" for the ANACDUTRA on May 1-3, 7-9, 1973, for which he received credit, although there was a "Special Order," dated "1 May 1973" for ANACDUTRA on May 22-24, 29-31, 1973, as well as for June 5-7, 1973. There was no "Special Order" for Bush's 13 days of ANACDUTRA in July 1973. No detailed forms, certifying the training was authorized and performed, have been made public to back up the WH-released forms showing all Bush's ANACDUTRA and INACDUTRA in October and November 1972, as well as in January, April, May, June, and July 1973. There was also a glaring error on the obsolete F190 from May 26, 1973: It showed Bush's "Aero[nautical] Rating" as "Plt On-fly," although he had been grounded since August 1, 1972. This error, together with the obsolescence of the form since October 1, 1972, makes the authenticity of this particular F190 suspect.

Get on it, guys! I'm sure you'll crack this case in record time!

Hey, and while you super-sleuths are at it, be sure to check out Paul Lukasiak's examination of possible tampering of Bush's files. (Longtime readers will recall that I've previously discussed this possibility at length.) I'm sure there's a wealth of material for you guys to dive into, seekers of truth that you are.


There's a reason I usually shy away from making predictions in print: I'm crappy at it. OK, I did predict to my friends this year that the Mariners would suck. But it seems anytime I venture out on a limb and predict the outcome of news events, I'm proven wrong.

That was especially the case with the CBS documents. Especially the line about the network being fully vindicated. Hoo boy. What an embarrassment. Not as bad as CBS's, but still ... Next time I venture out with a prediction attempt, someone slap me upside the head, OK?

Ever since the word came down Sunday night that CBS was backing off the story, I've been contemplating my mistake. Some of it was an excess of rigor: Being an old curmudgeonly editor, it was apparent to me that the vast majority of the "forgery" charges were themselves bogus. As someone who's dealt a great deal in conspiracy theories and debunking them, it was abundantly clear that nearly all of the right-wing bloggers' claims were utter nonsense. They had, moreover, leapt to the conclusion that these were forgeries without anything approaching actual proof. My chief tenet -- and a point that still holds, frankly -- is that it's impossible to declare something a forgery without dealing with original documents, and without establishing proper provenance.

My mistake was to not pay enough attention to what CBS was doing as well. I assumed that they not only had secured some level of authenticity for the documents, they had a firm chain of their provenance. These are, after all, the kinds of practices that are taught in Journalism 101 (OK, maybe 301) in college.

Wrong! Not only did they do a poor job of authenticating the docs, their chain of ownership was absurd. I mean, I could have told them that Bill Burkett was not an unimpeachable source. Did they even bother contacting the person he originally claimed was his source? Evidently not. And that's just pathetic.

There were also plenty of warnings. What really raised red flags for me was that CBS only got around to interviewing Killian's secretary after they ran the story. At that point, I remained skeptical of the forgery claims, but I began having real doubts about CBS's thoroughness.

What was I thinking? After all, it's been apparent to me for some time that major news organizations -- and especially TV news organizations -- no longer adhere to the standards of journalism to which I became accustomed during my career in newsrooms. CBS, in this case, didn't even meet the kind of basic standards that we employed at the Missoulian or Lewiston Morning Tribune.

I understand their thinking: The memos mostly substantiated things we already knew about Bush's record. Contemporaries said the memos certainly sounded like things that Jerry Killian was concerned about, and were consistent with Bush's actual performance (or lack thereof). But it's a basic rule: You don't run with a story -- and especially not a major story -- without nailing everything down. And CBS didn't come close.

In the process, they probably destroyed any chance that there will be a serious discussion of Bush's military record. By bungling the story, they have made it radioactive. That's too bad, though in the end I don't know how much difference it actually will make.

There's an added element here, though, that needs discussing: The whole scenario -- particularly the way the Bush AWOL story has been effectively nullified -- that stinks of a classic Rovian Ratfucking.

This is especially the case if Burkett is telling the truth about how he came into possession of the documents: From a "mystery woman" named "Lucy Ramirez" who gave them to him at a rodeo.

Given that Burkett's credibility cannot be any lower than it is now, it's extremely unlikely that he received any such phone call or talked to any such person.

But on the off chance that he is telling the truth, it raises a question:

Any chance that "Lucy Ramirez" has a more than a passing resemblance to Yvette Lozano?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The train of bad logic runs on time

Sure. Michelle Malkin's just defending internment then -- she's not defending it now.

There are many reasons that historians and other critics of Malkin are dubious about Malkin's eye-rolling protestations that, honestly, she isn't green-lighting the internment of Arab Americans when she argues that the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II was legitimate.

For one, there's the logic of it: Why argue for relatively minor and measured responses such as simple racial profiling -- a reasoned debate over which is certainly possible -- by justifying a massive and outrageously oversized response such as rounding up and incarcerating 80,000 American citizens?

I mean, what's next? Can we expect another right-winger to write a defense of fascism as a way of praising the virtues of trains running on time?

But as Eric Muller has pointed out, Malkin has given herself the luxury of playing coy on this count. She doesn't have to argue for the internment of Arab Americans; she can let others do that for her.

Others, like John Leo in U.S. News and World Report, who reiterates uncritically all of Malkin's revisionist history and then concludes:
It's also reasonable and important to open an honest discussion of internment, past and present.

After all, it's just a short step of illogic from Malkin's thesis to Leo's, and thence to Michael Savage's (which is that we ought to be interning Arab Americans).

It'll be interesting to see if Malkin even bothers to discuss, let alone denounce, this use of her "scholarship."

[Speaking of which ... Malkin still hasn't responded to my e-mails after promising in person to submit to an interview with me. I'll be contacting her further and keeping you all updated.]

UPDATE: Malkin has graciously e-mailed me back. We're working out arrangements for an interview now.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Pseudo-fascism at work

[Lexi Thompson, state director for the Democratic National Party, shows where “Louisiana for Kerry” signs were burned at the doorstep of the local office. A large sign was also stolen and pro-Bush words were painted on the windows. P.C. Piazza/The Lafayette Daily Advertiser]

This story pretty much speaks for itself:
Vandals target local Democrats' office for second time

LAFAYETTE -- Vandals set fire to signs and wrote pro-President Bush messages on the front of Lafayette's Democratic Party Headquarters, the second time the office was hit by vandals.

The remnants of a small fire fueled with John Kerry/John Edwards campaign signs remained on the front steps of the headquarters at 310 Buchanan St. in downtown Lafayette on Thursday morning.

A mixture of ash from the fire and what appeared to be motor oil was used to smear "4+ GWB" across the front windows and "W" on the headquarters' door.

The office was closed Thursday because of Hurricane Ivan. The building's owner found the damage Thursday morning when he checked on the building, said Lexi Thompson, state director of the National Coordinated Campaign.

"Obviously, this vandalism is an attempt to intimidate volunteers and the Democratic effort," said Mike Skinner of Lafayette, chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. "This is not Iraq. This is Louisiana. Issues will decide this election, not intimidation."

The situation could have been even more dangerous because the fire was set at the front door of the headquarters, Thompson said.

"Thank God we didn't have anybody here this morning," she said. "They were trying to harm us."

But, you know, the way some people talk, you'd think all the violence in this campaign is supposed to be coming from the left.

[A hat tip to Rob Salkowitz.]

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Rise of Pseudo Fascism

[Beginning a six-part series.]

Part 1: The Morphing of the Conservative Movement

When trying to make sense of the seemingly inextricable political morass into which we've descended, one of the real keys to understanding our situation is realizing that conservatism and the "conservative movement" are in fact two entirely different things.

Conservatism, like liberalism, is not a dogmatic philosophy, but rather a style of thought, an approach to politics or life in general. It stresses the status quo and traditional values, and is typified by a resistance to change. Likewise, liberalism is not relegated to a discrete "movement" but rather describes a general politics that comprises many disparate concerns.

The "conservative movement," however, is a decidedly dogmatic political movement that demands obeisance to its main tenets (and exiles those who dissent) and a distinctly defined agenda. Movement followers proudly announce their membership. (In contrast, there is no "liberal movement" worth speaking of -- just a hodgepodge of loosely associated interests.) Importantly enough, their raison d'etre has transformed from the extenuation of their "conservative" impulses into the Machiavellian acquisition of power, usually through any means necessary.

The presence of this discrete movement, in fact, is something that nearly everyone who follows the contours of the political landscape is well aware of. Recall, for instance, the recent New York Times piece outlining the work of a fellow named Rob Stein, who has carefully examined the structure of the movement and its effectiveness:
The presentation itself, a collection of about 40 slides titled "The Conservative Message Machine's Money Matrix," essentially makes the case that a handful of families -- Scaife, Bradley, Olin, Coors and others -- laid the foundation for a $300 million network of policy centers, advocacy groups and media outlets that now wield great influence over the national agenda. The network, as Stein diagrams it, includes scores of powerful organizations -- most of them with bland names like the State Policy Network and the Leadership Institute -- that he says train young leaders and lawmakers and promote policy ideas on the national and local level. These groups are, in turn, linked to a massive message apparatus, into which Stein lumps everything from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to Pat Robertson's "700 Club." And all of this, he contends, is underwritten by some 200 "anchor donors." "This is perhaps the most potent, independent institutionalized apparatus ever assembled in a democracy to promote one belief system," he said.

When movements like this take shape and gain real power -- and especially when they consolidate complete control of the reins power, as the conservative movement has done in the past four years -- they often take on a real life of their own, mutating into entirely separate entities that often bear little resemblance to their root values. In the process, they almost always become travesties of their original impulses.

Certainly, one only needs review the current state of affairs to recognize that the "conservative movement" -- especially as embodied by the Bush administration -- has wandered far astray from its original values. Just how "conservative" is it, after all, to run up record budget deficits? To make the nation bleed jobs? To invade another nation under false pretenses? To run roughshod over states' rights? To impose a radical unilateralist approach to foreign policy? To undermine privacy rights and the constitutional balance of power? To quanitifably worsen the environment, while ignoring the realities of global warming? To grotesquely mishandle the defense of our national borders?

Mind you, it is not merely liberals who have observed this transformation. It includes a number of longtime conservatives who remain true to their principles as well.

The "conservative movement," in the course of this mutation, has become something entirely new, a fresh political entity quite unlike we've ever seen before in our history, but one that at the same time seems somehow familiar, as though we have seen something like it.

What's become clear as this election year has progressed -- and especially in the wake of the Republican National Convention -- is the actual shape of this fresh beast.

Call it Pseudo Fascism. Or, if you like, Fascism Lite. Happy-Face Fascism. Postmodern Fascism. But there is little doubt anymore why the shape of the "conservative movement" in the 21st century is so familiar and disturbing: Its architecture, its entire structure, has morphed into a not-so-faint hologram of 20th-century fascism.

It is not genuine fascism, even though it bears many of the basic traits of that movement. It lacks certain key elements that would make it genuinely so:

-- Its agenda, under the guise of representing mainstream conservatism, is not openly revolutionary.

-- It is not yet a dictatorship.

-- It does not yet rely on physical violence and campaigns of gross intimidation to obtain power and suppress opposition.

-- American democracy has not yet reached the genuine stage of crisis required for full-blown fascism to take root.

Without these facets, the current phenomenon cannot properly be labeled "fascism." But what is so deeply disturbing about the current state of the conservative movement is that it has otherwise plainly adopted not only many of the cosmetic traits of fascism, its larger architecture -- derived from its core impulses -- now almost exactly replicates that by which fascists came to power in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and '30s.

It is in this sense that I call it Pseudo Fascism. Unlike the genuine article, it presents itself under a normative, rather than a revolutionary, guise; and rather than openly exulting in violence, it pays lip service to law and order. Moreover, even in the areas where it resembles real fascism, the similarities are often more familial than exact. It is, in essence, less virulent and less violent, and thus more likely to gain broad acceptance within a longtime stable democratic system like that of the United States.

And even in the key areas of difference, it is not difficult to discern that those dissimilarities are gradually shrinking, and in danger of disappearing.

That this is happening should not be a great surprise. After all, as I've already explored in great detail, the mainstream conservative movement has increasingly had contact with the genuine American proto-fascists of the extremist right over the past decade or more, particularly in the trafficking of ideas, agendas and the memes that propel them.

As I warned then, the danger was one of a kind of political gravitational pull: The more extremist ideology crept into the mainstream, the more it would transform the nature of the mainstream. The model of this effect is the Southern Strategy; initially deployed by Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972, its long-term effect was to transform the GOP from the Party of Lincoln to the Party of Strom Thurmond, from a bastion of progressivity on race to the home of neo-Confederates who argue for modern secession and a return to white supremacism.

The final morph into Pseudo Fascism occurred under the dynamic under which the "conservative movement" operated after taking control of all three estates of American government in 2000. By seizing the presidency through means perceived by nearly half the nation at the time as illegitimate, conservative-movement ideologues were forced to govern without anything approaching a popular mandate. But rather than responding by moderating their approach to governance, the Bush administration instead acted as though it had won in a landslide, and proceeded to follow an openly radical course:

-- Instituting a massive transfer of the tax burden from the upper class to the middle, an approach that deepened the nation's economic malaise.

-- Appointing radical right-wingers to key positions in the nation's court system; shifting the emphasis in national security from terrorism to missile defense, a policy that left us vulnerable to the Sept. 11 attacks.

-- Instituting, in the wake of those attacks, the radical "Bush Doctrine" of unilateralist pre-emption.

-- Further using the attacks to undermine civil liberties under the Patriot Act and creating a policy of incarcerating citizens indefinitely as "enemy combatants".

-- Invading another nation by raising the false specter of the "imminent threat" of weapons of mass destruction.

-- Allowing intelligence officials to run amok, violating the Geneva Convention in interrogations at Bagram, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

-- Fighting, for clearly political reasons, every effort to have a thorough examination of the causes of the 9/11 security failures.

-- Moreover, at every step of nearly every policy it has pursued, the administration has erected obstacles to transparency, making clear it intends to operate in utter secrecy whenever possible.

The radical course followed by the Bush administration was, in fact, guaranteed to further divide the nation rather than unify it in a time of need. Moreover, the administration clearly proved itself wrong on so many major counts -- the economy, the pre-Sept. 11 handling of the terrorist threat, the rationale for war, the postwar occupation of Iraq -- that under normal circumstances, their competence above all should have come into serious question.

Maintaining power and instituting their agenda in this kind of milieu meant, for the conservative movement, a forced reliance on sheer bluff: projecting "strength and resolve" while simulatenously attacking their political opponents as weak and vacillating. To pull this bluff off, it required the assistance of a compliant press eager to appear "patriotic," and it received it in spades.

Mostly, it has succeeded in doing this by a constant barrage of emotion-driven appeals to the nation's fears in the post-9/11 environment:

-- Calling 9/11 "the day that changed everything," the Bush regime and its conservative-movement supporters have consistently projected a sense of overwhelming national crisis that requires reaching beyond traditional solutions and instituting a number of clearly radical steps.

-- Conservatives have continually stressed the primacy of Americanness, a group identity to which we are obligated, as "patriots," to subordinate all kinds of civil rights and free speech.

-- They have consistently emphasized the nation's victimhood in the 9/11 attacks -- and attacked any suggestion of a more nuanced view as "unpatriotic" -- and have further argued consistently that the 9/11 attacks justify nearly any action, regardless of legal or moral limits (see, e.g., Abu Ghraib), against America's enemies.

-- A favorite conservative theme is a dread of national decline under the corrosive effects of liberalism, often identifying it with equally dreaded alien influences. (See, e.g, Sean Hannity's bestselling screed, Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism.)

-- They have consistently argued for a closer integration of a purer American community under the aegeis of "national unity." However, this unity is not a natural one reached by compromise; rather, it can only be achieved by a complete subsumation of American politics by the conservative movement, creating essentially a one-party state. Citizens can join by consent if they like, or they can face exclusion as a consequence.

-- While denouncing their opponents -- especially Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry -- as "weak on terror," conservatives have consistently portrayed George W. Bush as the only person capable of making the nation not only secure from terrorists, but the dominant political and cultural force in the world, a role often portrayed in terms of a national destiny as the "beacon of democracy."

-- Most of all, they have stressed Bush's superiority as a president because of his reliance on his instincts and "resolve" and his marked refusal to engage in abstract reasoning.

-- At times, conservatives have even trod into arguing in favor of a war ethos (see, for instance the popular bumper sticker: "War Has Never Solved Anything, Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism"); at other times -- as in all the talk about "shock and awe" in the Iraq invasion -- they have even suggested there is a kind of beauty to violence, especially in the service of the imposition of American will.

-- Finally, in defending the administration's actions -- particularly in invading Iraq under the pretense of a nonexistent "imminent threat," and for encouraging conditions that led to international-law violations at Abu Ghraib -- many conservatives have simply dismissed the critics by invoking 9/11 and the larger right, by sheer virtue of our national military power, to dominate other nations and individuals with no restraint. (The conservative movement's chief mouthpiece, Rush Limbaugh, was especially noteworthy in this regard, dismissing the Abu Ghraib as similar to fraternity hazing, and responding to a report that Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi had summarily executed six insurgents: "Good. Hubba-hubba.")

All of these appeals have come wrapped in the twin themes that are central to the appeal of the conservative movement:

-- An insistence that the movement represents the only "real Americans."

-- Pervasive expressions of contempt for the weak.

These latter traits, in particular, expose the underpinnings of the "conservative movement" for their genuinely corrosive and divisive nature.

But does all this add up to fascism?

Not in its fullest sense. But it does replicate, in nearly every regard, the architecture of fascism in its second stage of growth -- the stage at which, in the past, it has obtained power.

All that is needed for a full manifestation of American fascism, at this point, is for a genuine crisis of democracy to erupt. And if that occurs, it is almost inevitable that the differences between fascism and pseudo-fascism will vanish.

Next: The Architecture of Fascism

[Cross-posted at The American Street.]


It's pretty funny, really, how right-wing bloggers are serially breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for having exposed "Forgerygate." Actually, all they've really managed to prove is P.T. Barnum's famous adage, perhaps recast as "There's a blogger born every minute."

Have any bloggers actually yet proven definitively that the CBS documents are fake?

Well, no. All they've been able to produce so far is a great deal of speculation, much of it later proven to be entirely without substance.

Times New Roman didn't exist in 1972? It existed in 1931.

You can create a nearly identical copy with MS Word? Perhaps that's because MS Word was designed to replicate an IBM typewriter.

The signatures look fake? Actually, the signatures are the only thing that experts have been able to say conclusively are genuine.

And on and on and on.

Perhaps the most amusing of the "forgery" theories is the recent suggestion that the documents released by Bush in 2000 (and re-released by the White House this year) are also forgeries.

At least, that seems to be the conclusion reached by those mental wizards at WizBang, who have developed a theory that Marty Heldt (whose work I've featured here several times) has also been peddling forgeries. This by way of arguing that Heldt is the source of the CBS documents.

The only problem with that? Heldt's sole source for the documents was a FOIA request, a fact that's easily substantiated by others, mostly journalists at the Boston Globe and elsewhere, who received the identical documents. It's further substantiated by the fact that the White House re-released the exact same documents earlier this year.

The source for the accusations against Heldt?

"Brooks Gregory", a supposed Democratic "political consultant" who claimed on an Internet forum:
I bought the document package from Marty Heldt and we subjected them to the most thorough investigation one could imagine. Why? Because if there was anything there, we damn sure wanted to use it. But guess what? Only two of those documents proved to be authentic and they were not even related to the charge being levelled.

The problem?

"Brooks Gregory" appears to be a fictitious person. Certainly, there was no person by that name attached to the Janet Reno campaign, as the hoaxter claims. And Marty Heldt has confirmed to me that he "peddled" no documents to anyone in any campaign, gubernatorial or otherwise, and the only documents he dealt with at all were those he obtained through FOIA.

Now, exactly who is falling for a hoax here?

This has, of course, been the typical MO for right-wing bloggers dealing with the CBS flap: Wrack your brains looking for seeming logical flaws, find a tidbit that -- with the help of your own faulty logic -- seems to fit, and then pronounce "AHA! I'VE GOT IT!!!" Which then guarantees it'll be picked up by mainstream media morons who've proven incapable of discerning shit from shinola in this matter.