7.18.2005

From the Mailbag

Received and email yesterday that I think deserves publication on the main page:
Michael Moore used my face in his movie (I'm only in it about 10 seconds with a voice over, I'm one of the girls sitting outside talking to the off screen camera man, the brunette, at the end) but I am very Pro-Bush and I agree with what he is doing there. I just want everyone to know that I did not want my face in that movie and that I hope that he is Ashamed of want he did to the soldiers who he showed being dragged through the streets. I'm not sorry for serving my country or the President. I just want to make sure that any one who comes on to your website knows that Spc. Sorensen of the Nebraska National Guard did not want to be portrayed as a traitor. Spc. Sorensen Omaha, NE

1.24.2005

"The Real Sicko"

Michael Moore is releasing a new film: "Sicko". We're all over it.

11.12.2004

ADMIN: Site Template

We've changed our blogger template due to complaints about illegibility caused by our previous colour scheme.

10.14.2004

Fahrenheit Ally: Farenhype 9/11

Former Clinton advisor Dick Morris has helped to create an excellent cinematic rebuttle to Fahrenheit 9/11. Farenhype 9/11 was released in early October, and is an excellent resource for a factual look at Moore's film. We would encourage all of our regular readers to support this film exposing Moore's lies, distortions, and misrepresentations.

10.08.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 38: Study suggests the military is overwhelmingly pro-Bush

(Thanks to Wizbang blog for the tip): In "Fahrenheit 9/11", Michael Moore does his best to portray our troops as helpless victims of the evils of the Bush regime, pointing out many who dislike the President and his advisers. From the film:
REPORTER: The Pentagon might keep up to twenty-four thousand troops in combat beyond their tour. AMERICAN SOLDIER #13: I know our numbers in the military have gone down. They talk about retention. AMERICAN SOLDIER #14: You never really expect to be deployed this long. I don't think anybody did. AMERICAN SOLDIER #15: I don't have any clue as to why we're still in Iraq. AMERICAN SOLDIER #16: If Donald Rumsfeld was here, I'd ask him for his resignation. NARRATOR: With the war not going as planned, and the military in need of many more troops, where would they find the new recruits? REPORTER: Military experts say three times the 120,000 US troops now deployed would be needed to pacify and rebuild the country. NARRATOR: They would find them all across America in the places that had been destroyed by the economy. Places where one of the only jobs available was to join the Army. Places like my hometown of Flint, Michigan.
But what do most of these troops think about the President? Polling data would suggest that they do not agree with Mr. Moore's politics. Congressman Joe Wilson notes:
“Mr. Speaker, as a 31-year veteran of the Army National Guard and the parent of three children serving in the military, including a son in Iraq, I am glad to report our troops are clearly supporting the re-election of President Bush,” said Congressman Wilson. “According to the independent Army Times, America’s troops are voting today for President Bush by a margin of over four to one. Our troops know firsthand President Bush is courageously leading the successful fight against the terrorists in the Global War on Terrorism. He is the commander in chief to trust with their lives.
(emphasis mine) In case you doubt the Congressman's claims, here's a graphical representation of the study's findings: This study, which admittedly only surved one (random) segment of the population suggests that the military is overwhelmingly pro-Bush, and that the discontented and cynical minority that Moore highlights is just that- a minority. -a_sdf

10.04.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 37: Saddam has targeted the United States and Americans

From the film:
NARRATOR: On March 19, 2003, George W. Bush and the United States military invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq. A nation that had never attacked the United States. A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen.
Now, we've already noted that Mr. Moore appreciates hyper-legal interpretations of his words, so lets exmine the phrase "never threatened to attack the United States", especially in light of this article from CNS news:
Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by CNSNews.com, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans...The first of the 42 pages of Iraqi documents is dated Jan. 18, 1993, approximately two years after American troops defeated Saddam's army in the first Persian Gulf War. The memo includes Saddam's directive that "the party should move to hunt the Americans who are on Arabian land, especially in Somalia, by using Arabian elements ..."
(emphasis mine) I guess its up to you what you think about them "never threaten[ing]" to attack the United States. -a_sdf

7.24.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 36: Moore's misleading Oregon assertions

In Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore tries to convince his audience that the threat advisory system is nothing more than a tool used to control the American populace through fear. In order to "prove" that the Dept. of Homeland Security isn't really serious about keeping America safe, he travels to a large stretch of Oregon coastline that he alleges is only being patrolled by two Oregon state troopers: Andy Kenyon and Josh Brooks. After conducting a few interviews with the two troopers, Moore believes his case to be self-evident and moves on with the film. But how accurate was his information, and was he being honest when he used this segment as a piece of primary evidence against the Bush Administration?

In order to verify some of Michael's assertions, I called Lieutenant Glenn Chastain of the Oregon State Police Department on July 26 and asked him a few questions about the assertions made in F-9/11 (for the full transcript of this interview, go to The Recovering Cynic). The results were interesting:

Grant: Currently, how many [troopers] do you have guarding the west coast against terrorist attack or any other kind of incursion?

Chastain: Well, in Oregon…I can’t speak for the entire west coast, because I have no idea what Washington and California has…

Grant: Uh huh…

Chastain: But Oregon, we have got currently…24 patrol troopers whose primary responsibility is highway and transportation safety, and we have 20 fish and wildlife troopers whose primary responsibility is fish and wildlife and natural resource preservation…

Grant: Hmm. Now, have you had the opportunity to see Michael Moore’s new movie?

Chastain: I have not.

Grant: Ok. Well, in it he makes the assertion that there are only two troops who are guarding a probably 40 or 50 mile stretch of coastline in Oregon[I was at work at the time, and didn't have access to the movie transcript]

Chastain: Um, there are times when there’s none. (laughs)

Grant: There are times when there’s none? Ahh…

Chastain: We don’t have 24 hour coverage, we’ve [had] budget cuts for the last 30 years, and we used to have 665 patrol troopers, today we’ve got 329.

Grant: Hmm…

Chastain: Like I said, the entire Oregon coast is 300 + miles [and] only has 24 people, and we split that between couple of shifts, throw in some training, some other mandatory things, time off for vacation or sick leave, [and that leaves] 24 people for that much highway. There could have only been two people on the coast at that time.

It turns out that Moore is likely correct when he says that Kenyon and Brooks are the only two troopers guarding the Florence coastline. Later on in the interview, Chastain remembered the example he believes Michael used:

Chastain: [... There are] only two patrol troopers out of that Florence patrol office. So, I’m not sure what context it was actually in, [whether Moore ] was talking about […] the entire Oregon coast, or specifically about the Florence office [… but] in fact, there were only two troopers assigned out of that office. [edited for clarity]

However, despite the accuracy of Moore's assertions about police staffing, he makes a gross logical error when he faults the Department of Homeland Security for Oregon's policing deficiencies. The problem is not that Oregon doesn’t want to hire more officers, but that they are financially incapable of doing so. And that's no fault of Tom Ridge:

Grant: [...] Now, is it the responsibility of the federal government or the state of Oregon to make sure that the funds are allocated correctly?

Chastain: Our budget is funded through the state…

Grant: The state…

Chastain: We do get some federal grant funds, but federal grant funds usually have some strings attached to them. Usually we can use that for equipment and training and not for funding of people. So our money comes directly from the state government, it is recommended by the governor, and then it is passed out of the legislature by the Oregon legislature. We’re funded predominately through general funds, so we’re in direct competition with schools and with nursing homes and other human services and all the other services that the state provides through general fund dollars…

Grant: Why do you think the PD’s [have] been taking quite a hit?

Chastain: The “PD’s”?

Grant: The PD. Police department.

Chastain: I have no idea about [other] police departments. Our agency used to be funded through the Oregon highway fund, which is gasoline taxes predominately, and about 25 years ago we were removed out of that and we were placed in the general fund, so we became [direct competitors] for the same dollars for education and other human services. So, our funding has just, over the last 25 years, been stripped and stripped and stripped, and predominately our funding funds positions. We don’t have a lot of pass-through dollars and those things that other agencies can cut. We have to cut people.

Furthermore, the Oregon State Police’s annual performance report mentions the need to attain “Adequate Staffing Levels” several times, and like Chastain it attributes the shortage of state troopers to budget cuts.

Another segment of our conversation further absolved Homeland Security of direct responsibility for Oregon's security problems. Read on:

Grant: [...] Now, how much control would you say that the Homeland Security Department has over the police department? I mean, do they have the ability to make any significant decisions about what you guys do or do they recommend things?

Chastain: They make recommendations. And we do have some people who are in place who work in our office of homeland security in Oregon, which are in direct contact with the federal government’s homeland security office.

There’s another rather important detail Moore neglects to mention in his critique of Oregon's coastal security: besides the vigilant service of Kenyon and Brooks, Oregon’s coastline is also protected by the tireless efforts of the U.S. Coastguard, whose Oregon branches just happen to be some of the most decorated in the service. Of the 43 Coast Guard medals awarded for heroism between 1965 to the present-day, 18 of them have been given to men in Oregon-based units. For the statistically-minded (like myself) that’s a little over 40%.

Furthermore, Lt. Chastain made it clear that the primary duty of the Oregon PD is not to guard against terrorist threats:

Chastain: [...] Like I said, our patrol division’s primary responsibility would be for transportation safety, and safety along highway 101, which runs all the way up the Oregon coast. So, their primary responsibility is transportation safety on that highway, and we also have our fish and wildlife troopers, which are also state troopers, and they’re the ones who primarily do natural resource protection, but they are on the beaches, they are checking people who are angling, fishing, clamming, crabbing, so they’re out there on boats […], they usually have four-wheel drive vehicles, so there are a lot of people who are out there doing other things, but there are also police officers…

So, to recap: Moore took one example of inadequate state policing (a situation that Homeland Security had little jurisdiction over) and used it as his primary evidence to justify two enormous assertions: First, that George Bush's administration isn't serious about Homeland Security and Second, that the terror alert system is a tool of mass propaganda. And he did all of this while omitting that it is the duty of the U.S. Coast Guard, not the Oregon State PD, to guard our coastlines against foreign attack. (All emphasis mine)

-TRC

[To obtain a copy of the written transcript of this interview, please follow this link. Audio segments of this conversation will be provided if valid (i.e. research) requests are submitted to fahrenheitfact@yahoo.com]

7.23.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 35: Moore misrepresents newspaper headlines, dates

(via Moorewatch): From Bill Flick at the Pantagraph:
Moore's flick: bowling for movie edits In my e-mail today is a note that joyfully begins, "YOU ARE A HORSE'S (REAR FLANK)!!!" Another fan announces I want to "only dirtbag" and "find trivial error" with Michael Moore for the "public service ... he has otherwise done." Yet another says I "obviously ... don't fully research (my) newspaper columns" and that the writer plans to type out a letter to the editor to really let me have it. What set off this latest love-fest was a small blurb that appeared in this space a week ago on a curious scene in Michael Moore's otherwise entertaining movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11." In a flash-second early on, the movie shows various newspaper headlines on coverage of the presidential election of 2000, and one of them is from the alleged Dec. 19, 2001 edition of the Bloomington, IL Pantagraph. Golly, we thought. What an honor. Just for fun, we went back to the Dec. 19, 2001 editions, to ogle the headline and paper shown in the movie. But somehow there was no such news story in that day's paper. We found that curious. How could a news headline that never appeared in the Dec. 19 paper appear in a copy of the Dec. 19 paper shown in the movie? Now we learn how. The Pantagraph headline shown in the movie -- "LATEST FLORIDA RECOUNT SHOWS GORE WON ELECTION" -- actually appeared in our Dec. 5 edition. Illogically, if not inexplicably, a page apparently was "pasted together" to look like an actual Pantagraph page for the movie shot. And here also is why we could never find the news story. It never was one. Instead it was the headline atop a letter to the editor, significantly blown up to make it look like a news story. Since the original column blurb appeared on this page, it found its way on the Internet. It was posted on something called moorewatch.com. It appeared on Yahoo. It became a link on the national library site, LISNews.com. It became part of a reaction link of the Moore movie on CBS.com. Someone then took the time to slow down the film, frame-by-frame, and take an actual picture of the alleged Pantagraph page. (It is reprinted here, as it appears at moorewatch.com. The red line has been added by someone at the Internet site to show the page's date is wrong in the movie.) (Due to a desire not to suck up the Pantagraph's bandwidth, the image can be viewed here.) With all that, suddenly it became a flash point in something on the Internet known as weblogs -- they are chat rooms of sorts -- and, to make a short story long, that is how my e-mail in-box is overflowing with folk apparently short with me because they think I have bashed Moore for factual inaccuracy, if not manipulation. Which, uh, I have. Of special humor -- to local observers, at least -- is the world's reaction to a "Pantagraph." In the weblogs, people wonder why "a magazine" would make the movie. They wonder what was our point and, in one writer's case, "what was (my) underlying goal." (To get home by about 6 is always my goal, by the way.) Our own personal favorite is a writer who, tongue-in-cheek, declares at moorewatch.com: "Duh! Come on! You all know that the Bush and bin Laden families OWN the Bloomington Pantagraph! They simply had all of their distribution recalled and reprinted with Dec. 5 instead of 19 to totally discredit Moore!" Golly. How conniving. Despite our requests, we should add that Michael Moore remains silent to our repeated pleas for a comment. We promise not to even edit them. Moore or less, of course.
Incidentally, the original Panatagraph article can be viewed here. Why is Moore mis-representing headlines? -a_sdf (all emphasis in quoted text mine)

7.14.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 34: the 8/06/01 PDB

In "Fahrenheit 9/11", Moore implies that George W. Bush never read the August 6th PDB:
..."Or perhaps he just should have read the security briefing that was given to him on August 6, 2001 that said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes..."
Dave Kopel writes:
Castigating the allegedly lazy President, Moore says, "Or perhaps he just should have read the security briefing that was given to him on August 6, 2001 that said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes." Moore supplies no evidence for his assertion that President Bush did not read the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief. Moore's assertion appears to be a complete fabrication. Moore smirks that perhaps President Bush did not read the Briefing because its title was so vague. Moore then cuts to Condoleezza Rice announcing the title of the Briefing: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Here, Moore seems to be playing off Condoleezza Rice's testimony of the September 11 Commission that the contents of the memo were vague. However, no-one (except Moore) has ever claimed that Bush did not read the Briefing, or that he did not read it because the title was vague. Rather, Condoleezza Rice had told the press conference that the information in the Briefing was "very vague."
From the film:
"Or perhaps he just should have read the security briefing that was given to him on August 6, 2001 that said that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America by hijacking airplanes. (shot of Bush at a meeting, date-stamped August 6, 2001) Or maybe he wasn't worried about the terrorist threat because the title of the report was too vague."
It turns out that the Bush administration claims that the contents of the memo- not the title- were vague:
"Now, on August 6th, the President received a presidential daily briefing which was not a warning briefing, but an analytic report. This analytic report, which did not have warning information in it of the kind that said, they are talking about an attack against so forth or so on, it was an analytic report that talked about UBL's methods of operation, talked about what he had done historically, in 1997, in 1998. It mentioned hijacking, but hijacking in the traditional sense, and in a sense, said that the most important and most likely thing was that they would take over an airliner, holding passengers and demand the release of one of their operatives. And the blind sheikh was mentioned by name as -- even though he's not an operative of al Qaeda, but as somebody who might be bargained in this way. I want to reiterate, it was not a warning. There was no specific time, place or method mentioned. What you have seen in the run-up that I've talked about is that the FAA was reacting to the same kind of generalized information about a potential hijacking as a method that al Qaeda might employ, but no specific information saying that they were planning such an attack at a particular time.
Moore is correct when he notes that the Aug. 6th memo talks about an impending attack on the United States. At the time, however most evidence suggested an overseas attack, not one in America:
There is one other FAA IC in this period, issued on August 16th, where the FAA issued an IC on disguised weapons. They were concerned about some reports that the terrorists had made breakthroughs in cell phones, key chains and pens as weapons. There are a number of other ICs that were also issued; we don't think they were germane to this, but I'm sure you can get the full record of all of the ICs that were released from Transportation. I want to reiterate that during this time, the overwhelming bulk of the evidence was that this was an attack that was likely to take place overseas. The State Department, the Defense Department were on very high states of alert. The embassies were -- have very clear protocols on how to button up; so does the military. That was done. But at home, while there was much less reporting or chatter at home, people were thinking about the U.S. and the FBI was involved in a number of investigations of potential al Qaeda personnel operating in the United States."
The text of the Aug. 6 memo can be found here. -a_sdf (all emphasis in quoted text mine)

7.12.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 33: The Iraq-Al Qaeda connection

From the film:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists. Including members of al Qaeda. VP CHENEY: There was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. PRESIDENT BUSH: Saddam / al Qaeda / Saddam / al Qaeda / Saddam / al Qaeda / Saddam / Saddam / Saddam / al Qaeda SECRETARY RUMSFELD: It is only a matter of time before terrorists states armed with weapons of mass destruction develop the capability to deliver those weapons to US cities. SECRETARY POWELL: What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. PRESIDENT BUSH: This is a man who hates America. / This is a man who cannot stand what we stand for. / His willingness to terrorize himself. / He hates the fact, like al Qaeda does, that we love freedom. / After all, this is a guy that tried to kill my dad at one time. REP. JIM MCDERMOTT: They simply got people to believe that there was a real threat out there, when in fact there wasn't one. SECRETARY RUMSFELD: You get told things every day that don't happen. It doesn't seem to bother people. NARRATOR: Of course, the Democrats were there to put a stop to all these falsehoods.
Moore groups the Iraq/Al Qaeda connection under the word "falsehoods". But there is a well-documented Iraq/Al Qaeda connection. Dave Kopel writes:
...consider the facts presented in Stephen F. Hayes's book, The Connection : How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America (N.Y.: HarperCollins, 2004). The first paragraph of the last chapter (pp. 177-78) sums up some of the evidence: Iraqi intelligence documents from 1992 list Osama bin Laden as an Iraqi intelligence asset. Numerous sources have reported a 1993 nonaggression pact between Iraq and al Qaeda. The former deputy director of Iraqi intelligence now in U.S. custody says that bin Laden asked the Iraqi regime for arms and training in a face-to-face meeting in 1994. Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Hajer al Iraqi met with Iraqi intelligence officials in 1995. The National Security Agency intercepted telephone conversations between al Qaeda-supported Sudanese military officials and the head of Iraq's chemical weapons program in 1996. Al Qaeda sent Abu Abdallah al Iraqi to Iraq for help with weapons of mass destruction in 1997. An indictment from the Clinton-era Justice Department cited Iraqi assistance on al Qaeda "weapons development" in 1998. A senior Clinton administration counterterrorism official told the Washington Post that the U.S. government was "sure" Iraq had supported al Qaeda chemical weapons programs in 1999. An Iraqi working closely with the Iraqi embassy in Kuala Lumpur was photographed with September 11 hijacker Khalid al Mihdhar en route to a planning meeting for the bombing of the USS Cole and the September 11 attacks in 2000. Satellite photographs showed al Qaeda members in 2001 traveling en masse to a compound in northern Iraq financed, in part, by the Iraqi regime. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, senior al Qaeda associate, operated openly in Baghdad and received medical attention at a regime-supported hospital in 2002. Documents discovered in postwar Iraq in 2003 reveal that Saddam's regime harbored and supported Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi who mixed the chemicals for the 1993 World Trade Center attack...
The Iraq Al-Qaeda connection is well-documented, and hardly a "falsehood" as Moore claims. -a_sdf (all emphasis in quoted articles and transcripts mine)

7.06.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 32: 20 Counties ignored voter removal list

One of the segments in "Fahrenheit 9/11" concerns the fiasco surrounding the removal of convicted felons from the voter rolls in Florida. From the film:
NARRATOR: Second, make sure the chairman of your campaign is also the vote count woman. And that her state has hired a company that's gonna knock voters off the roles who aren't likely to vote for you. You can usually tell 'em by the color of their skin.
Dave Kopel writes:
"According to Fahrenheit, Bush cronies hired Data Base Technologies to purge Florida voters who might vote for Gore, and these potential voters were purged from the voting rolls on the basis of race. ("Second, make sure the chairman of your campaign is also the vote count woman. And that her state has hired a company that's gonna knock voters off the rolls who aren't likely to vote for you. You can usually tell 'em by the color of their skin.") As explained by the Palm Beach Post, Moore's suggestion is extremely incomplete, and on at least one fact, plainly false. The 1998 mayoral election in Miami was a fiasco which was declared void by Florida courts, because--in violation of Florida law--convicted felons had been allowed to vote. The Florida legislature ordered the executive branch to purge felons from the voting rolls before the next election. Following instructions from Florida officials, Data Base Technologies (DBT) aggressively attempted to identify all convicted felons who were illegally registered to vote in Florida. There were two major problems with the purge. First, several states allow felons to vote once they have completed their sentences. Some of these ex-felons moved to Florida and were, according to a court decision, eligible to vote. Florida improperly purged these immigrant felons. Second, the comprehensive effort to identify all convicted felons led to large number of false positives, in which persons with, for example, the same name as a convicted felon, were improperly purged. Purged voters were, in most cases, notified months before the election and given an opportunity to appeal, but the necessity to file an appeal was in itself a barrier which probably discouraged some legitimate, non-felon citizens from voting. According to the Palm Beach Post, at least 1,100 people were improperly purged."
The voter roll removals seem to have been more aggressively pursued than was necessary, resulting in a large number of people who were not allowed to vote, despite not being convicted felons. But the key things to keep in mind is that the problem was well-known months before the election, and many (if not most) of those people improperly purged were able to appeal the decision. Also 20 counties completely ignored the felon list entirely. The American Sociological Review notes that felons vote approximately 69% democratic. Thus, allowing them to vote in these 20 counties most likely increased Gore's overall vote count. But how many felons voted? The dissenting opinion of the US Civil Rights Commission (pdf) states that "Approximately 5,600 felons voted illegally in Florida on November 7.". Assuming that the 69% figure holds true, then somewhere around 3,864 democratic votes were garnered for Gore by allowing felons to vote. This number, however, is pure conjecture, and is completely based on the 69% figure given by the American Sociological Review. The point is that in a race decided by somewhere around 500 votes, allowing 5,600 felons to vote undoubtadly swayed the election. As for the comment about "you can know them by the color of their skin", Dave Kopel shows us that race did not play into the infamous voter removal list:
Regardless, Moore's suggestion that the purge was conducted on the basis of race was indisputably false. As the Palm Beach Post details, all the evidence shows that Data Base Technologies did not use race as a basis for the purge. Indeed, DBT's refusal to take note of a registered voter's race was one of the reasons for the many cases of mistaken identity. DBT's computers had matched these people with felons, though in dozens of cases they did not share the same name, birthdate, gender or race...[A] review of state records, internal e-mails of DBT employees and testimony before the civil rights commission and an elections task force showed no evidence that minorities were specifically targeted. Records show that DBT told the state it would not use race as a criterion to identify felons. The list itself bears that out: More than 1,000 voters were matched with felons though they were of different races. The appeals record supports the Palm Beach Post's findings. Based on the numbers of successful appeals, blacks were less likely to have been improperly placed on the purge list: of the blacks who were purged, 5.1 percent successfully appealed. Of Hispanics purged, 8.7 percent successfully appealed. Of whites purged, 9.9 percent successfully appealed. John R. Lott, Jr., "Nonvoted Ballots and Discrimination in Florida," Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 32 (Jan. 2003), p. 209. Of course it is theoretically possible that the appeals officials discriminated against blacks, or that improperly purged blacks were not as likely to appeal as were people of other races. But no one has offered any evidence to support such possibilities.
In regards to various recount scenarios, Dave Kopel writes:
As USA Today summarized, on May 11, 2001: Who would have won if Al Gore had gotten manual counts he requested in four counties? Answer: George W. Bush." "Who would have won if the U.S. Supreme Court had not stopped the hand recount of undervotes, which are ballots that registered no machine-readable vote for president? Answer: Bush, under three of four standards." "Who would have won if all disputed ballots � including those rejected by machines because they had more than one vote for president � had been recounted by hand? Answer: Bush, under the two most widely used standards; Gore, under the two least used."
The New York Post has an opinion column that addresses what black voters experienced. Among their analysis, we find this:
"The error rate was 9.9 percent for whites, 8.7 percent for Hispanics, and only a 5.1 percent for African-Americans."
Also, Moore fails to note that of the 25 counties with high "vote spoilage" (votes not counted for lack of clarity), 24 had democratic election officers in charge. RealClearPolitics reports:
Lott found that among the 25 Florida counties with the greatest rate of vote spoilage, 24 had Democratic election officers in charge of counting the votes. He concluded that "having Democratic officials in charge [of county elections] increases ballot spoilage rates significantly, but the effect is stronger when that official is an African-American." Commissioner Abigail Thernstrom argued that "it is very difficult to see any political motive that would lead Democratic local officials to try to keep the most faithful members of their party from the polls and to somehow spoil the ballots of those who did make it into the voting booth."
(All emphasis in quoted articles mine) -a_sdf

7.04.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 31: Large number of Congresspeople are veterans

Moore does his best in Fahrenheit 9/11 to present U.S. Congresspeople as wealthy, ignorant aristocrats who send poor soldiers to die in a war zone to which they will not commit their own children. However, a bit of research shows us that our representatives and senators may not be as aloof as Moore implies: According to a tally compiled by Richard Aragon and John Rossie, 101 of the men and women sitting in the House of Representatives formerly served in the military. Of these, 17 saw active duty in combat zones. When we consider that there are 435 seats in the House, we see that close to a fourth of them gave a portion of their lives to the U.S. military. The Senate numbers are even more surprising. Of the 100 U.S. Senators, 36 of them are former military servicemen (9 of whom saw combat duty). That means a little over a third of America's senators once served in the very vocation Moore implies they know nothing about. -TRC (Thanks to David Kopel's article for the lead)

7.03.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 30: Moore's military double-think

One of the biggest themes in Fahrenheit 9/11 is the humanity of war and the brave and noble sacrifices made by our troops to appease Bush's war lust. One particularly moving segment of the film traces Lila Lipscomb and her emotional reaction to her son, Michael Peterson's, death. Moore is right there with her, the very picture of consolation and regret. New evidence, however, reveals that Mike's reverent attitude towards our soldiers may be a very recent development. In a May 17th article for The Guardian, Moore stated,
"When you see the movie you will see things you have never seen before, you will learn things you have never known before. Half the movie is about Iraq - we were able to get film crews embedded with American troops without them knowing that it was Michael Moore. They are totally f***ed."
A fluke? Not quite. On the 14th of April, 2004, Moore authored the following post on his website:
"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win."
Later on, when addressing the possibility of U.N. help in the Iraqi conflict, Moore says the following:
"There is a lot of talk amongst Bush's opponents that we should turn this war over to the United Nations. Why should the other countries of this world, countries who tried to talk us out of this folly, now have to clean up our mess? I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle. I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end. "
-TRC (Emphasis mine)

7.02.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 29: Watch this drive, Yassir!

Here's another one of Moore's myriad misrepresentations, this time involving one of the most quoted scenes in F-9/11. The Media Research Center had this to say:
The TV ads for Michael Moore’s “documentary” Fahrenheit 9/11 feature a mocking clip of President Bush on a golf course. Bush declares, “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorists killers,” and then Moore jumps to Bush adding, as he prepares to swing at a golf ball, “now watch this drive.” Tuesday night on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, Brian Wilson noted how “the viewer is left with the misleading impression Mr. Bush is talking about al-Qaeda terrorists.” But Wilson disclosed that “a check of the raw tape reveals the President is talking about an attack against Israel, carried out by a Palestinian suicide bomber.”
-TRC (Special thanks to Michael Anderson for the tip!)

Fahrenheit Fact no. 28: Bush policies regarding military pay misrepresented

The David Kopel piece soon to be published in NRO continues to be a major resource. One of Fahrenheit 9/11's biggest claims is the reduction in funds for members of the military. But Kopel points out that Moore can't even get those facts straight:
Bush “supported closing veterans hospitals” says Moore. The Bush Department of Veteran’s Affairs did propose closing seven hospitals in areas with declining populations where the hospitals were underutilized, and whose veterans could be served by other hospitals. Moore does not say that the Department also proposed building new hospitals in areas where needs were growing, and also building blind rehabilitation centers and spinal cord injury centers. (For more, see the Final Report of the independent commission on veterans hospitals, which agrees with some of the Bush proposals, and with some of the objections raised by critics.) According to Moore, Bush “tried to double the prescription drug costs for veterans.” What Bush proposed was raising the prescription co-pay from $7 to $15, for veterans with incomes of over $24,000 a year. Prescription costs would have remained very heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Bush, announces Moore, “proposed cutting combat soldiers’ pay by 33%.” Not exactly. In addition to regular military salaries, soldiers in certain areas (not just combat zones) receive an “imminent danger” bonus of $150 a month. In April 2003, Congress retroactively enacted a special increase of $75, for the fiscal year of Oct. 1, 2002 through Sept. 30, 2003. At first, the Bush administration did not support renewing the special bonus, but then changed its position. Likewise, Congress had passed a special one-year increase in the family separation allowance (for service personnel stationed in places where their families cannot join them) from $100 to $250. Bush’s initial opposition to extending the special increase was presented by Moore as “cutting assistance to their families by 60%.” (Edward Epstein, “Pentagon reverses course, won’t cut troops’ pay,” San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 15, 2003.) Even if one characterizes not renewing a special bonus as a “cut,” Fahrenheit misleads the viewer into thinking that the cuts applied to total compensation, rather than only to pay supplements which constitute only a small percentage of a soldier’s income. An enlisted man with four months of experience receives an annual salary more than $27,000. (Rod Powers, “What the Recruiter Never Told You: Military Pay.”) In 2003, Congress enacted a Bush administration proposal to raise all military salaries by 3.7%, with extra “targeted” pay increases for non-commissioned officer. NCOs are lower-ranking officers who typically join the military with lower levels of education than commissioned officers. (Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, “Defense Department Targets Military Pay Increases for 2004,” American Forces Press Service.)
(All emphasis mine) -a_sdf

Fahrenheit Fact no. 27: Saddam has murdered Americans

Many thanks to Dave Kopel, who's forthcoming article on Fahrenheit 9/11 provides many, many factual problems with the film, as well as providing us with a lot of facts. Here he addresses the assertion that Saddam never "murdered" an American:
Fahrenheit asserts that Saddam’s Iraq was a nation that “had never attacked the United States. A nation that had never threatened to attack the United States. A nation that had never murdered a single American citizen.” Jake Tapper (ABC News): You declare in the film that Hussein’s regime had never killed an American … Moore: That isn’t what I said. Quote the movie directly. Tapper: What is the quote exactly? Moore: “Murdered.” The government of Iraq did not commit a premeditated murder on an American citizen. I’d like you to point out one. Tapper: If the government of Iraq permitted a terrorist named Abu Nidal who is certainly responsible for killing Americans to have Iraq as a safe haven; if Saddam Hussein funded suicide bombers in Israel who did kill Americans; if the Iraqi police—now this is not a murder but it’s a plan to murder—to assassinate President Bush which at the time merited air strikes from President Clinton once that plot was discovered; does that not belie your claim that the Iraqi government never murdered an American or never had a hand in murdering an American? Moore: No, because nothing you just said is proof that the Iraqi government ever murdered an American citizen. And I am still waiting for you to present that proof. You’re talking about, they provide safe haven for Abu Nidal after the committed these murders, uh, Iraq helps or supports suicide bombers in Israel. I mean the support, you remember the telethon that the Saudis were having? It’s our allies, the Saudis, that have been providing help and aid to the suicide bombers in Israel. That’s the story you should be covering. Why don’t you cover that story? Why don’t you cover it? Note Moore’s extremely careful phrasing of the lines which appear to exonerate Saddam, and Moore’s hyper-legal response to Tapper. In fact, Saddam provided refuge to notorious terrorists who had murdered Americans. Saddam provided a safe haven for Abu Abbas (leader of the hijacking of the ship Achille Lauro and the murder of the elderly American passenger Leon Klinghoffer), for Abu Nidal, and for the 1993 World Trade Center bomb maker, Abdul Rahman Yasin. By law, Saddam therefore was an accessory to the murders. Saddam order his police to murder former American President George Bush when he visited Kuwait City in 1993; they attempted to do so, but failed. In 1991, he ordered his agents to murder the American Ambassador to the Philippines and, separately, to murder the employees of the U.S. Information Service in Manila; they tried, but failed. Yet none of these aggressions against the United States “count” for Moore, because he has carefully framed his verbs and verb tenses to exclude them. According to Laurie Mylroie, a former Harvard professor who served as Bill Clinton's Iraq advisor during the 1992 campaign (during which Vice-Presidential candidate Gore repeatedly castigated incumbent President George H.W. Bush for inaction against Saddam), the ringleader of the World Trade Center bombings, Ramzi Yousef, was working for the Iraqi intelligence service. Laurie Mylroie, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks: A Study of Revenge (N.Y.: HarperCollins, 2d rev. ed. 2001.) But even with Moore’s clever phrasing designed to elide Saddam’s culpability in the murders and attempted murders of Americans, Tapper still catches him with an irrefutable point: Saddam did perpetrate the premeditated murder of Americans. Every victim of every Palestinian terrorist bomber who was funded by Saddam Hussein was the victim of premeditated murder—including the American victims.
(Emphasis mine) Believe it or not, we've only used a small amount of Kopel's facts. We'll link to the article once its published in NRO.

Fahrenheit Fact no. 26: Rep. Porter Goss does have a toll-free number

One of the things Moore slams Rep. Porter Gross for is supposedly not having an "800 number". From Dave Kopel:
Defending the Patriot Act, Representative Porter Goss says that he has an “800 number” for people to call to report problems with the Act. Fahrenheit shoots back than Goss does not have such a number; the ordinary telephone number for Goss’s office is flashed on the screen. You’d never know by watching Fahrenheit, but Rep. Goss does have a toll-free number to which Patriot Act complaints can be reported. The number belongs to the Committee which Goss chairs, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The number is (877) 858-9040. Although the Committee’s number is toll-free, the prefix is not “800,” and Moore exploits this trivial fact to create the false impression that Goss lied about having a toll-free number.
(Emphasis mine)

Fahrenheit Fact no. 25: Moore claims Saudis have $100 billion more invested in America than is believed they have invested in the entire world

From Dave Kopel:
Moore asks Craig Unger: “How much money do the Saudis have invested in America, roughly?” Unger replies “Uh, I've heard figures as high as $860 billion dollars.” Instead of relying on unsourced figures that someone says he “heard,” let’s look at the available data. According to the Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy (a pro-Saudi think tank which tries to emphasize the importance of Saudi money to the United States), in February 2003 total worldwide Saudi investment was at least $700 billion. Sixty percent of the Saudi investments were in the United States, so the Saudis had about 420 billion invested in the U.S.—a large amount, but less than half of the amount that Moore’s source claims he “heard.” (Tanya C. Hsu , “The United States Must Not Neglect Saudi Arabian Investment” Sept. 23, 2003.)
From the Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy:
In February 2003, total worldwide Saudi investment, including investment in the United States and Europe, was conservatively estimated at U.S. $700 billion. The United States received approximately 60% of the global Saudi investment allocation. (See exhibit #2)
) Note that this is their worldwide investment, not their US investment. (Emphasis mine) -a_sdf

Fahrenheit Fact no. 24: Fox called Florida for Gore first; CBS was the first network to retract the Gore result

In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore makes the assertion that the Fox News Channel was the reason that other networks began to call Florida for Bush instead of Gore:
NARRATOR: Did the last four years not really happen? Look, there's Ben Affleck. He's often in my dreams. And the taxi driver guy. He was there too. And little Stevie Wonder, he seemed so happy, like a miracle had taken place. Was it a dream? Or was it real? It was election night 2000 and everything seemed to be going as planned. Series of news clips: In New York, Al Gore is our projected winner. / The Garden State is green for Gore. / We project that Mr. Gore is the winner in Delaware. This state has voted with the winner in... / (Tom Brokaw interrupts) Mike, you know I wouldn't do this if it weren't big: Florida goes for Al Gore. / CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column. NARRATOR: Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy. BRIT HUME: Sorry to interrupt you; Fox News now projects George W. Bush the winner in Florida and thus it appears the winner of the Presidency of the United States. NARRATOR: All of a sudden the other networks said, "Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true."
Here's a timeline of the network projections, from an article soon to be published in National Review by David Kopel:
In fact, the networks which called Florida for Gore did so early in the evening—before polls had even closed in the Florida panhandle, which is part of the Central Time Zone. NBC called Florida for Gore at 7:49:40 p.m., Eastern Time. This was 10 minutes before polls closed in the Florida panhandle. Thirty seconds later, CBS called Florida for Gore. And at 7:52 p.m., Fox called Florida for Gore. Moore never lets the audience know that Fox was among the networks which made the error of calling Florida for Gore prematurely. Then at 8:02 p.m., ABC called Florida for Gore. Only ABC had waited until the Florida polls were closed. The premature calls probably cost Bush thousands of votes from the conservative panhandle, as discouraged last-minute voters heard that their state had already been decided, and many voters who were waiting in line left the polling place. In Florida, as elsewhere, voters who have arrived at the polling place before closing time often end up voting after closing time, because of long lines. The conventional wisdom of politics is that supporters of the losing candidate are most likely to give up on voting when they hear that their side has already lost. (Thus, on election night 1980, when incumbent President Jimmy Carter gave a concession speech while polls were still open on the West coast, the early concession was widely blamed for costing the Democrats several Congressional seats in the West. The fact that all the networks had declared Reagan a landslide winner while West coast voting was still in progress was also blamed for Democratic losses in the West.) Even if the premature television calls affected all potential voters equally, the effect was to reduce Republican votes significantly, because the Florida panhandle is a Republican stronghold; depress overall turnout in the panhandle, and you will necessarily depress more Republican than Democratic votes. At 10:00 p.m., which network took the lead in retracting the premature Florida result? The first retracting network was CBS, not Fox. Over four hours later, at 2:16 a.m., Fox projected Bush as the Florida winner, as did all the other networks by 2:20 a.m.
(Emphasis mine)

7.01.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 23: Privacy laws force White House to black out Bath's name

Moore makes a big deal out of the "blacked out" name in Bush's military records, in fact, he even suggests the removal of the name is part of the larger Bush conspiracy:
I already had a copy of his military records - uncensored - obtained in the year 2000. And there is one glaring difference between the records released in 2000 and those he released in 2004. (image of “records,” black marks) A name had been blacked out. In 1972, two airmen were suspended for failing to take their medical examination. One was George W. Bush. And the other was James R. Bath.
But privacy laws say that the White House cannot release Bath's personal information:
No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains, unless disclosure of the record would be-- (1) to those officers and employees of the agency which maintains the record who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties; (2) required under section 552 of this title; (3) for a routine use as defined in subsection (a)(7) of this section and described under subsection (e)(4)(D) of this section; (4) to the Bureau of the Census for purposes of planning or carrying out a census or survey or related activity pursuant to the provisions of Title 13; (5) to a recipient who has provided the agency with advance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable; (6) to the National Archives and Records Administration as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government, or for evaluation by the Archivist of the United States or the designee of the Archivist to determine whether the record has such value; (7) to another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the agency which maintains the record specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought; (8) to a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon such disclosure notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual; (9) to either House of Congress, or, to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, any committee or subcommittee thereof, any joint committee of Congress or subcommittee of any such joint committee; (10) to the Comptroller General, or any of his authorized representatives, in the course of the performance of the duties of the General Accounting Office; (11) pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or (12) to a consumer reporting agency in accordance with section 3711(e) of Title 31
. ...
(4) the term "record" means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, his education, financial transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history and that contains his name, or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voice print or a photograph...
(All emphasis mine) Also, please note that the way the law is implemented, the White House would not have had to black the name out in 2000, but would have in 2004. -a_sdf

Fahrenheit Fact no. 22: Gore didn't win "every recount scenario"

In Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore asserts that Gore won the election, even after vote recounts. From the film:
NARRATOR: And hope that the other side will just sit by and wait for the phone to ring. And even if numerous independent investigations prove that Gore got the most votes... JEFFREY TOBIN: If there was a statewide recount, under every scenario, Gore won the election.
Now, it is true that many post-election investigations claimed Gore had won. But under every scenario? Turns out, no. From the LA Times:
WASHINGTON — If the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed Florida's courts to finish their abortive recount of last year's deadlocked presidential election, President Bush probably still would have won by several hundred votes, a comprehensive study of the uncounted ballots has found. But if the recount had been held under new vote-counting rules that Florida and other states now are adopting--rules aimed at recording the intentions of as many voters as possible--Democratic candidate Al Gore probably would have won, although by an even thinner margin, the study found. The study provides evidence that more Florida voters attempted to vote for Gore than for Bush--but so many Gore voters marked their ballots improperly that Bush received more valid votes. As a result, under rules devised by the Florida Supreme Court and accepted by the Gore campaign at the time, Bush probably would have won a recount, the study found. Since the study was launched, the nation's debate over the Florida recount has cooled and Bush, whose legitimacy as president already was accepted by a large majority in January, has won massive public approval for his leadership of the war against terrorism. The study, a painstaking inspection of 175,010 Florida ballots that were not included in the state's certified tally, found as many as 23,799 additional, potentially valid votes for Gore or Bush. The significance of these ballots depends on what standards are used to weigh their validity. Under some recount rules, Bush wins. Under others, Gore wins.
So yes, Gore did win some recount scenarios. But so did Bush- clearly at odds with the "every scenario" Bush loss claim that "Fahrenheit 9/11" makes. -a_sdf

Fahrenheit Fact no. 21: Bush was raising money for charity during "have mores" quote

From an old(er) CNN.com article:
They [Bush and Gore] traded barbs Thursday night during the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner which, while known for its irreverence and political wit, also raised $900,000 for health care programs in the Archdiocese of New York.
What else?:
Bush looked out over the well-dressed audience and declared it an impressive gathering of the "have and have-mores." "Some people call you the elite, I call you my base," he said.
(emphasis mine) (Thanks to The Valiant Elephant for the tip to the CNN article) -a_sdf

Fahrenheit Fact no. 20: Condi doesn't think Iraq was involved in 9/11

Remember this quote from Condi Rice about Iraq in Fahrenheit 9/11?:
“Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11."
How about the whole quote:
"It’s not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11, but, if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that lead people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York.”
(Emphasis mine) -a_sdf

6.30.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 19: Unger questions Bush/bin Laden relationship

A constant theme of "Fahrenheit 9/11" is Moore's attempt to link Bush with bin Laden. From the film:
NARRATOR: So where did George W. Bush get his money? One person who did invest in him was James R. Bath. (cut to "Trust Agreement") Bush's good friend James Bath was hired by the bin Laden family to manage their money in Texas and invest in businesses. (zoom in on 'Salem bin Laden' signature) And James Bath himself in turn invested in George W. Bush.
Moore uses Unger as a main source for many of the Bush/Saudi connections in the movie. But Unger himself doubts the Bush/bin Ladin connection. Newsweek writes:
Leaving aside the fact that the bin Laden family, which runs one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction firms, has never been linked to terrorism, the movie—which relied heavily on Unger’s book—fails to note the author’s conclusion about what to make of the supposed Bin Laden-Bath-Bush nexus: that it may not mean anything. The “Bush-Bin Laden ‘relationships’ were indirect—two degrees of separation, perhaps—and at times have been overstated,” Unger writes in his book. While critics have charged that bin Laden money found its way into Arbusto through Bath, Unger notes that “no hard evidence has ever been found to back up that charge” and Bath himself has adamantly denied it. “One hundred percent of those funds (in Arbusto) were mine,” says Bath in a footnote on page 101 of Unger’s book. “It was a purely personal investment.”
(Emphasis mine)

Fahrenheit Fact no. 18: Bush isn't the only one in Carlyle

Many thanks to Newsweek for their Moore article. Here's another gem from the article: Did you know that the Democratic Party is just as involved in the Carlyle group?:
Its founding and still managing partner is David Rubenstein, a former top domestic policy advisor to Jimmy Carter. Among the firm’s senior advisors is Thomas “Mack” McLarty, Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, and Arthur Levitt, Clinton’s former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. One of its other managing partners is William Kennard, Clinton’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Spokesman Ullman was the Clinton-era spokesman for the SEC
Also, George Sorros, much-beloved mogul of the far-left, is also in Carlyle.

Fahrenheit Fact no. 17: 75-80% of "$1.4 billion" Saudi connection false

Newsweek writes:
June 30 - In his new movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” film-maker Michael Moore makes the eye-popping claim that Saudi Arabian interests “have given” $1.4 billion to firms connected to the family and friends of President George W. Bush. This, Moore suggests, helps explain one of the principal themes of the film: that the Bush White House has shown remarkable solicitude to the Saudi royals, even to the point of compromising the war on terror. When you and your associates get money like that, Moore says at one point in the movie, “who you gonna like? Who’s your Daddy?”
More even uses the number $1.4 billion:
Is it rude to suggest that when the Bush family wakes up in the morning they might be thinking about what's best for the Saudis instead of what's best for you? Or me? 'Cuz $1.4 billion doesn't just buy a lot of flights out of the country, it buys a lot of love.
But Newsweek kindly informs us:
Moore derives the $1.4 billion figure from journalist Craig Unger’s book, “House of Bush, House of Saud.” Nearly 90 percent of that amount, $1.18 billion, comes from just one source: contracts in the early to mid-1990’s that the Saudi Arabian government awarded to a U.S. defense contractor, BDM, for training the country’s military and National Guard. What’s the significance of BDM? The firm at the time was owned by the Carlyle Group, the powerhouse private-equity firm whose Asian-affiliate advisory board has included the president’s father, George H.W. Bush...Leave aside the tenuous six-degrees-of-separation nature of this “connection.” The main problem with this figure, according to Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman, is that former president Bush didn’t join the Carlyle advisory board until April, 1998—five months after Carlyle had already sold BDM to another defense firm...“The figure is inaccurate and misleading,” said Ullman. “The movie clearly implies that the Saudis gave $1.4 billion to the Bushes and their friends. But most of it went to a Carlyle Group company before Bush even joined the firm. Bush had nothing to do with BDM.”
(all emphasis mine) So Moore ends up being $1.18 billion off- %75-80 of his Bush/Saudi connection is verifiably untrue. -a_sdf

6.29.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 16: All embassies have Secret Service protection

NARRATOR: Even though we were nowhere near the White House, for some reason the Secret Service had shown up to ask us what we were doing standing across the street from the Saudi embassy. MICHAEL MOORE: We're not here to cause any trouble or anything. Uh, ya know, is that... OFFICER: That's fine. Just wanted to get some information on what was going on. MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah yeah yeah, I didn't realize the Secret Service guards foreign embassies. OFFICER: Uh, not usually, no sir.
(Emphasis mine) But the agent was wrong- Moore does not mention this. He allows us to believe that only the Saudi Embassy has secret service protection, which is untrue. For example, the Secret Service has this to say:
After several name revisions, the force officially adopted its current name, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division in 1977. While protection of the White House Complex remains its primary mission, the Uniformed Division's responsibilities have expanded greatly over the years. They now protect the following: * the White House Complex, the Main Treasury Building and Annex, and other Presidential offices; * the President and members of the immediate family; * the temporary official residence of the Vice President in the District of Columbia; * the Vice President and members of the immediate family; and * foreign diplomatic missions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and throughout the United States, and its territories and possessions, as prescribed by statute.
Emphasis mine.

6.28.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 15: Happy and healthy in Iraq?

Here's what an Iraqi (resident of Baghdad since 1980) thought of the portrayl in "Fahrenheit 9/11":
Moore shows scenes of Baghdad before the invasion and in his weltanschauung, it's a place filled with nothing but happy, smiling, giggly, overjoyed Baghdadis. No pain and suffering there. No rape, murder, gassing, imprisoning, silencing of the citizens in these scenes. Excuse me is this my Baghdad you talk about ,that Baghdad I live in for more than 20 year[s] ,with all what we lived through[?] How could we be happy and smiling...how can we can be Happy ,and I['ve had] friends executed..I got b[r]others in jail ,how? We can be happy, and we got nothing to eat, how? we can be happy ,and we got nothing to live for...Iraq was ruled by a regime that had forced a sixth of its population into fearful exile, maybe you have the answers?
Jonathan Foreman of The New York Post posted an opinion piece on Fahrenheit 9/11. In it, he states the following:
The most offensive sequence in "Fahrenheit 9/11"'s long two hours lasts only a few minutes. It's Moore's file-footage depiction of happy Iraq before the Americans began their supposedly pointless invasion. You see men sitting in cafes, kids flying kites, women shopping. Cut to bombs exploding at night. What Moore presumably doesn't know, or simply doesn't care about, is that the building you see being blown up is the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in Baghdad. Not many children flew kites there. It was in a part of the city that ordinary Iraqis weren't allowed to visit - on pain of death.
He goes on:
[... Moore should have known] that prewar Iraq was ruled by a regime that had forced a sixth of its population into fearful exile, that hanged dissidents (real dissidents, not people like Susan Sontag and Tim Robbins) from meathooks and tortured them with blowtorches, and filled thousands of mass graves with the bodies of its massacred citizens. Yes, children played, women shopped and men sat in cafes while that stuff went on — just as people did all those normal things in Somoza's Nicaragua, Duvalier's Haiti and for that matter Nazi Germany, and as they do just about everywhere, including in Iraq today.
He's absolutely right. Anyone wondering about the state of Iraq before our liberation should go to www.massgraves.info. A compelling (but EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) depiction of Saddam's torture can found here and here (links provided by pulse15217). However, BE WARNED - these movie clips are not for children or the faint of heart. We here at Fahrenheit Fact take no responsibility for any and all trauma suffered while watching them. However, they do serve to provide a fitting contrast to the pre-war images of happy, smiling Iraqis that Moore presents in F-9/11. -TRC

6.25.2004

Fahrenheit Fact no. 14: Legislative sons in active service

In one particularly tasteless portion of the film, Moore attempts to flag down a few congressmen and "convince" them to sign their children up for military service, thus implying that our legislators represent an "elite" who will not send their sons and daughters to die in unpopular foreign wars (a'la Vietnam). Despite the fact that no national draft has been instituted and that military service is voluntary, Moore has presented us with a half-baked half-truth. For instance, Brooks Johnson, the son of Senator Tim Johnson (a democratic senator from South Dakota), is currently serving with distinction in the 101st Airborne. Also, regardless of what you think of Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), it's undeniable that he helped to pin the bars on his son, Beau Biden, who is a member of the Delaware Army National Guard (there's a picture of him being sworn in here). Although Beau isn't in the line of fire (he is currently practicing as a judge advocate), he is a military serviceman nonetheless. Another interesting fact: Attorney General John Ashcroft, defender of the much-maligned Patriot Act and punching bag of the liberal left, has a son who is currently on active duty in the Middle East. His name is Andrew Ashcroft, and he serves in the Persian Gulf aboard a naval destroyer called the USS McFaul (you can find the reference a few paragraphs down here). Furthermore, new evidence reveals that Representative Kennedy (R-MN), one of the lawmakers accosted in Fahrenheit 9/11, was censored by Michael Moore. According to the Star Tribune, Kennedy, when asked if he would be willing to send his son to Iraq, responded by stating that he had a nephew who was en-route to Afghanistan. He went on to inform Moore that his son was thinking about a career in the navy and that two of his nephews had already served in the armed forces,
Kennedy's side of the conversation, however, was cut from the film, leaving him looking bewildered and defensive.
What was Michael's excuse for trimming the key segment? Kennedy's remarks didn't help his thesis:
"He mentioned that he had a nephew that was going over to Afghanistan," Moore recounted. "So then I said 'No, no, that's not our job here today. We want you to send your child to Iraq. Not a nephew.' "
Kennedy lambasted Moore as a "master of the misleading" after viewing the interview in question. But that's not all. Another ambushed legislator, Representative John Tanner, was accosted by Moore while he was rushing to get to the floor of Congress. The Hill reports that Tanner
"[...] didn't even know who Michael Moore was [...] He asked me if I voted for the war and if I'd send my children to the war. I told him I did and that my children were full grown."

Fahrenheit Fact no. 13: Bush's Air National Guard service misrepresented

The International Herald Tribune's review points out that Moore is continuing to make issue of Bush's Air National Guard service:
As the camera pans across copies of Bush’s records from the Texas Air National Guard, and Moore reads that the future president was suspended for missing a medical examination, we hear a familiar electric guitar riff; it takes you a moment to remember that it comes from a song called ‘‘Cocaine.’
But in reality, it is far from questionable. From National Review(1):
The controversy over Bush's service centers on what his critics call "the period in question," that is, the time from May 1972 until May 1973. What is not mentioned as often is that that period was in fact Bush's fifth year in the Guard, one that followed four years of often intense service. Bush joined in May 1968. He went through six weeks of basic training--a full-time job--at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. Then he underwent 53 weeks of flight training--again, full time--at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga. Then he underwent 21 weeks of fighter interceptor training--full time--at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston. Counting other, shorter, postings in between, by the end of his training period Bush had served two years on active duty. Certified to fly the F-102 fighter plane, Bush then began a period of frequent--usually weekly--flying. The F-102 was designed to shoot down other fighter planes, and the missions Bush flew were training flights, mostly over the Gulf of Mexico and often at night, in which pilots took turns being the predator and the prey."If you're going to practice how to shoot down another airplane, then you have to have another airplane up there to work on," recalls retired Col. William Campenni, who flew with Bush in 1970 and 1971. "He'd be the target for the first half of the mission, and then we'd switch." During that period Bush's superiors gave him consistently high ratings as a pilot. "Lt. Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer," wrote one in a 1972 evaluation. Another evaluation, in 1971, called Bush "an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot" who "continually flies intercept missions with the unit to increase his proficiency even further." And a third rating, in 1970, said Bush "clearly stands out as a top notch fighter interceptor pilot" and was also "a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership." All that flying involved quite a bit of work. "Being a pilot is more than just a monthly appearance," says Bob Harmon, a former Guard pilot who was a member of Bush's group in 1971 and 1972. "You cannot maintain your currency by doing just one drill a month. He was flying once or twice a week during that time, from May of 1971 until May of 1972." While the work was certainly not as dangerous as fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, it wasn't exactly safe, either. Harmon remembers a half-dozen Texas Air National Guard fliers who died in accidents over the years, including one during the time Bush was flying. "This was not an endeavor without risk," Harmon notes. THE MOVE TO ALABAMA: The records show that Bush kept up his rigorous schedule of flying through the spring of 1972: He was credited for duty on ten days in March of that year, and seven days in April. Then, as Bush began his fifth year of service in the Guard, he appears to have stepped back dramatically. The records indicate that he received no credit in May, June, July, August, and September 1972. In October, he was credited with two days, and in November he was credited with four. There were no days in December, and then six in January 1973. Then there were no days in February and March. The change was the result of Bush's decision to go to Alabama to work on the Senate campaign of Republican Winton Blount. With an obligation to the Guard, Bush asked to perform equivalent service in Alabama. That was not an unusual request, given that members of the Guard, like everyone else, often moved around the country. "It was a common thing," recalls Brigadier General Turnipseed. "If we had had a guy in Houston, he could have made equivalent training with Bush's unit. It was so common that the guy who wrote the letter telling Bush to come didn't even tell me about it." The president's critics have charged that he did not show up for service--was "AWOL"--in Alabama. Bush says he did serve, and his case is supported by records showing that he was paid and given retirement credit for days of service while he was known to be in Alabama. The records also show that Bush received a dental examination on January 6, 1973, at Dannelly Air National Guard base, home of the 187th (January 6 was one of the days that pay records show Bush receiving credit for service). And while a number of Guard members at the base say they do not remember seeing Bush among the roughly 900 men who served there during that time, another member, a retired lieutenant named John Calhoun, says he remembers seeing Bush at the base several times. What seems most likely is that Bush was indeed at Dannelly, but there was not very much for a non-flying pilot to do. Flying fighter jets involves constant practice and training; Bush had to know when he left Texas that he would no longer be able to engage in either one very often, which meant that he would essentially leave flying, at least for some substantial period of time. In addition, the 187th could not accommodate another pilot, at least regularly. "He was not going to fly," says Turnipseed. "We didn't have enough airplanes or sorties to handle our own pilots, so we wouldn't have done it for some guy passing through." On the other hand, showing up for drills was still meeting one's responsibility to the Guard. And, as 1973 went along, the evidence suggests that Bush stepped up his work to make up for the time he had missed earlier. In April of that year, he received credit for two days; in May, he received credit for 14 days; in June, five days; and in July, 19 days. That was the last service Bush performed in the Guard. Later that year, he asked for and received permission to leave the Guard early so he could attend Harvard Business School. He was given an honorable discharge after serving five years, four months, and five days of his original six-year commitment. The records indicate that, despite his move to Alabama, Bush met his obligation to the Guard in the 1972-73 year. At that time, Guardsmen were awarded points based on the days they reported for duty each year. They were given 15 points just for being in the Guard, and were then required to accumulate a total of 50 points to satisfy the annual requirement. In his first four years of service, Bush piled up lots of points; he earned 253 points in his first year, 340 in his second, 137 in his third, and 112 in his fourth. For the year from May 1972 to May 1973, records show Bush earned 56 points, a much smaller total, but more than the minimum requirement (his service was measured on a May-to-May basis because he first joined the Guard in that month in 1968). Bush then racked up another 56 points in June and July of 1973, which met the minimum requirement for the 1973-74 year, which was Bush's last year of service. Together, the record "clearly shows that First Lieutenant George W. Bush has satisfactory years for both '72-'73 and '73-'74, which proves that he completed his military obligation in a satisfactory manner," says retired Lt. Col. Albert Lloyd, a Guard personnel officer who reviewed the records at the request of the White House. All in all, the documents show that Bush served intensively for four years and then let up in his fifth and sixth years, although he still did enough to meet Guard requirements. The records also suggest that Bush's superiors were not only happy with his performance from 1968 to 1972, but also happy with his decision to go to Alabama. Indeed, Bush's evaluating officer wrote in May 1972 that "Lt. Bush is very active in civic affairs in the community and manifests a deep interest in the operation of our government. He has recently accepted the position as campaign manager for a candidate for United States Senate. He is a good representative of the military and Air National Guard in the business world." Beyond their apparent hope that Bush would be a good ambassador for the Guard, Bush's superiors might have been happy with his decision to go into politics for another reason: They simply had more people than they needed. "In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots," says Campenni. "The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In '72 or '73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem."
(1)Copyright 2004 National Review National Review February 18, 2004, Wednesday SECTION: National Review Online LENGTH: 2291 words HEADLINE: Bush and the National Guard: Case Closed BODY: EDITOR'S NOTE: This article appears in the March 8, 2004, issue of National Review.

Fahrenheit Fact no. 12: Moore's congressmen have ties to terrorists and the U.N. "oil for food" scandal

As Debbie Schlussel points out in her "Fahrenheit 9/11" review, Jim McDermott, a Congressman Moore interviews during the film, has participated in a trip to Iraq funded by an organization called Life for Relief and Development. They seem like great organization. From the AP:
In the past three weeks, his group [Life for Relief and Development] distributed 30,000 medical books to hospitals and medical schools, he said. The group also has opened free medical clinics in Baghdad and other cities and has provided donations of food and medical supplies to needy Iraqis.
But there's a dark side to LRD- it's partially funded by Shakir Al-Khafaji. The Weekly Standard has this to say about him:
According to Knight-Ridder, the mysterious Iraqi was "employed with the aid of an Iraqi intelligence officer" and later "accompanied two Sept. 11 hijackers from the airport to a hotel where the pair met with Ramzi Binalshibh, a key planner of the attacks, and Tawfiz al Atash, who masterminded al Qaida's strike on the USS Cole in October 2000."
Al-Khafaji also is part of the Oil for Food Scandal. From Knight Ridder(1):
In January, Al-Khafaji's name was printed in the Iraqi newspaper Al Mada, on a list of 270 individuals who received oil allocations from Hussein's regime. Al-Khafaji was one of two U.S. citizens on the list.
Schlussel also points out deep ties between McDermott and Al-Khafaji:
Mr. Alkhafaji, one of two Americans named in Iraqi newspapers as a participant in Saddam's "Oil for Food" scam, gave Congressman McDermott $5,000
What's more, there are accusations against LRD that are extremely serious. Schlussel writes:
... Life for Relief and Development (LRD), a "charity" which laundered money to terrorist group Hamas' Jordanian operation...LRD's Iraqi offices were raided by US troops last week, and the Detroit-area "charity" is suspected of funding uprisings, such as the one in Fallujah. Its officials bragged of doing so at a recent private US fundraiser.
And that's just the first interview. Moore's second interview is with John Conyers, whom Schlussel points out has been linked with other militant terrorist groups:
Take the June 13 Muslim American Society fundraising dinner for Islamic Relief, a charity with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Conyers and his wife were the guests of honor. They watched and clapped as the Sanabel Al-Quds "dancing" troop from Milwaukee—featuring boys as young as seven—sang in Arabic of martyrdom and jihad for Allah and Palestine. They didn't need to understand Arabic, as the young boys used a rifle to simulate killing and pistol-whipping, simulated throat-slittings and beheadings, and dishonored the American flag.
More on the American Muslim Society:
Two past conference speakers face terror-related indictments and a third is identified in FBI reports as a Hamas terror leader. In March 2002, American Muslim magazine _ described as "the voice of the Muslim American Society" _ interviewed assassinated Hamas leader Abu Bakr's wife, who said she was "willing to give my life and the lives of my children" and advocated "standing beside the families of the martyrs." Another article explained that "martyr operations are not suicide."
(2) So the two Congressmen that Moore interviews have known links with organizations both under investigation by the FBI and with strong terrorist ties, as well as having dealt with key players of the UN Oil for Food Scandal. --- (1)Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Detroit Free Press April 24, 2004, Saturday SECTION: DOMESTIC NEWS KR-ACC-NO: K3883 LENGTH: 1445 words HEADLINE: Role of Detroit area man questioned in U.N. scandal BYLINE: By Dawson Bell and Tamara Audi (2)Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Daily News (NY) January 30, 2004, Friday SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE KR-ACC-NO: K6485 LENGTH: 279 words HEADLINE: Clark sought support from group under FBI investigation BYLINE: By James Gordon Meek

Fahrenheit Fact no. 11: "House of Bush, House of Saud" not publishable in the UK for legal reasons

The book "House of Bush, House of Saud", which Moore relies on as a source for his film, is in legal trouble in the UK - to the point of not being published. From Salon.com:
"We've had to withdraw it for legal reasons," says an editor at Secker & Warburg, a U.K. division of Random House. "We expected we would be able to publish it with a degree of risk. But regrettably in the final analysis we decided we could not."
Despite being published internationally, the much stricter libel laws in the UK (which "switch the burden of proof") have made the publisher too nervous to allow for its publication in the UK. As the publisher said:
"Essentially it's been quashed,"