September 18, 2004


Late to the party on all this Memogate business? Well, put on your pyjamas and let Roger Franklin, Jonathan Last, and Ernest Miller bring you up to speed.

Meanwhile, the New York Times publishes some fascinating comments from memo suspect Bill Burkett:

"I spent some time on the phone with the Kerry campaign seniors yesterday," Mr. Burkett wrote on Aug. 21 in an e-mail letter circulated to a list of about 600 Texas Democrats.

"I talked with Max Cleland," Mr. Burkett continued, referring to the former senator from Georgia who has been supporting Senator John Kerry's Democratic presidential bid.

Alluding to advertisements by a veterans group that deprecates Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service, Mr. Burkett continued, "I asked if they wanted to counterattack or ride this to ground and outlast it, not spending any money. He said counterattack."

"So I gave them the information to do it with."

Hmmm. And in a stunning breakthrough, Peter Wallsten of the LA Times has discovered that the person who first drew attention to the memo bogusness is -- wait for it -- a conservative:

It was the work of Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to conservative Republican causes who helped draft the petition urging the Arkansas Supreme Court to disbar President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Times has found.

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

Imagine; a Republican posting on a conservative website! An awed Wallsten writes that Buckhead/MacDougald’s “highly technical” suspicions appeared “less than four hours after the CBS report was aired”. Presumably Wallsten needs a week or so to work out whether a Microsoft Word document is, in fact, a Microsoft Word document.

Highlights from the rest of Wallsten’s report:

Until The Times identified him by piecing together information from his postings over the past two years, MacDougald had taken pains to remain in the shadows.

MacDougald is a lawyer in the Atlanta office of the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and is affiliated with two prominent conservative legal groups.

MacDougald is also a Republican appointee to the Fulton County Board of Registration and Election.

Operating as "Buckhead," which is also the name of an upscale Atlanta neighborhood ...

Some Democrats and even some conservative bloggers have marveled at Buckhead's detailed knowledge of the memos ...

MacDougald is an outspoken conservative and a Republican active in local politics.

UPDATE. The Imam has some stern advice for Dan Rather.

UPDATE II. Ken Layne:

Why must the L.A. Times refer to the Buckhead as a "blogger," when he in fact is a participant on a bulletin board system? (Maybe he has a blog, too. If so, it's not part of this little story, is it?) It is easy to tell a blog from a bulletin board system ... Get it together, or I'll start calling the L.A. Times "a cable-access show."

UPDATE III. Even Google thinks memo-defender Daily Kos is a joke.

UPDATE IV. "See, Dan Rather?" writes Barcepundit. "It's better when you apologize!" John Sanchez has more on the same subject.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 18, 2004 09:10 PM

Tim, why don't you drop the whole fucking US election?
Nobody's really interested, you're wasting precious cyber space.

Posted by: Oh No at September 18, 2004 at 09:20 PM

What did you think of that forgery Dubya used in his State of the Union address that stated Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger? That get a run in this blog?

Posted by: Steve at September 18, 2004 at 09:42 PM

Steve, Please don't perpetuate stupid lies. Go & read a copy of the SoU. It was NOT relating to"Niger".

Posted by: Bryce at September 18, 2004 at 09:49 PM

Sorry for the double post but this article at Fact Check may help

Posted by: Bryce at September 18, 2004 at 10:03 PM

Aahh! try this. I think it's time to go back to the football!

Posted by: Bryce at September 18, 2004 at 10:06 PM

Ah ... he referred to "Africa".

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

too bad it was bullshit. Not that Dubya was going to let that get in the way of a good scary bedtime story.

Shoot the messenger at will:

Posted by: Steve at September 18, 2004 at 10:27 PM

Hey look everyone! It's Steve, the happy troll who's always months behind on his always false talking points!

How's the pants situation, Steve? Still confounding? Still holding a candle for that "truth teller", Joseph Wilson? Still deeply frightened by yet another media scandal that reflects poorly on the Kerry campaign?

Quick! Come up with something unreleated in an attempt to distract everyone!

Posted by: Sortelli at September 18, 2004 at 10:56 PM

This is wildly off topic but has anyone else seen this from today's SMH counterspin thingo?

"Voters across the country will be faced on election day with a new party on the ballet paper - Family First. Launched in South Australia two years ago, they already have an upper house member in that state."

The ballet paper? The BALLET paper? I've never filled in one of those before. Do we get to vote for Mark as the dying swan, or Howard as the sugar-plum fairy? I can't wait.

Posted by: Rob at September 18, 2004 at 11:11 PM

Below is an authentic reproduction of what Wallsten really wrote since all the elements are essentially true.

The individuals who provided and reported the fake memos want to “remain in the shadows.” Many liberals pushing the Bush was AWOL are “members of prominent liberal advocacy groups.” Dan rather lives in an “upscale Manhattan neighborhood.” Dan Rather’s daughter is a “Texas Democrat.” Bill Burkett, the likely source of the memos is an “outspoken liberal” and “Democrat active in local politics.”

Posted by: pajama_jihad at September 18, 2004 at 11:13 PM

The "highly technical" knowledge that Buckhead displayed was the probable font type and the knowledge that proportionally spaced font wasn't common in 1970s typewriters. I wouldn't exactly rate that as McGyver-like techno-geekery which required Karl Rove pulling the strings, as that LA Times article darkly hints.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 18, 2004 at 11:47 PM

Sorry Tim, I know you and KL are buds but after his brain-fart post RNC, I wouldn't beleive him if he described Autralia as large and hot.

The man would be a menace if he wan't such as waste.

None of which removes the fact that if we are lucky, we'll get to see CBS's cheese twist in the wind for another week before the affiliates get tired and retire him.

Posted by: rod at September 19, 2004 at 12:02 AM

The democratic underground idiots are peaking over 'Buckhead' being 'unmasked'. This is a major 'victory' for them, though it's hard to see what the hell they think it proves. Apparently not every DU guy is a complete moron because some of them don't get it either:

Some surfer see a doc and claims it's forged and suddenly he is a big name? What is the big deal? Any one of us could have made this claim. Big whooping deal. What are we supposed to do with his real identity? If these documents turn out to be fake then do we thank this guy or condemn him for exposing the truth?

The DUers don't know, because that sub-thread dies shortly after this question is asked. I don't suppose it's worth referring to DU any more than it's worth referring to it's hysterical mirror image, Free Republic, but they're a good indicator of what the loony Left is thinking.The stupid bullshit you see today on DU will be appearing on placards at the demonstrations tomorrow. Watching them go through the contortionist phases of assimilating the memogate scandal into their tinfoil hat world-view has been illuminating, and now the outlines of a grand conspiracy is emerging.

HOLYSHIT! And the dissenter's post has been deleted! This happened literally right now, I was just reading it!! Christ, these people are unbelievably Stalinist!

Posted by: Amos at September 19, 2004 at 12:34 AM

"So I gave them the information to do it with."

Yep. With Kinko Burkett as the fall guy.

And Georgia gives up Zell, Cleland, MacDougald, and McKinney. Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.

Posted by: georgian at September 19, 2004 at 12:37 AM

Haha! Check this out:

The documents contain the TRUTH whether they are "re-creations" or not. What is AMAZING and HORRIFYING is that the TRUTHS darin, corraborated MANY TIMES OVER have NOT YET SURFACED in the public consciousness.STOP arguing about the "authenticity." This obsession in an sane world would cause every version of the Bible to spontaneously erupt in FLAMES. Is it a FACT that the *dauphin blew off MILITARY ORDERS??? Yes. it is.Did he complete his service? NO. He did NOT.

I think SOMEONE is going to wake up GRUMPY on November 3RD because his lying horsefaced socialist dumbass CANDIDATE was not ELECTED.

I wouldn't want to be his caps lock key on that day!

Posted by: Amos at September 19, 2004 at 12:49 AM

Has anyone at all addressed how CBS could call Bill Burkett an "Unimpeachable" source???

If in fact it is Burkett, how the hell can you say he is unimpeachable, the guy has a long history of hating Bush and his story stinks to high heaven.

Posted by: Dash at September 19, 2004 at 01:06 AM

My god, a Republican familiar with Microsoft Word! The barbarians are truly at the gates.

Posted by: ushie at September 19, 2004 at 01:07 AM

The documents contain the TRUTH whether they are "re-creations" or not.

Didn't George Orwell have a thing or two to say about this type of "TRUTH"?

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 19, 2004 at 01:08 AM

All that aside, I think the real issue is how the hell Kos is available via Google News.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 19, 2004 at 01:54 AM

tims doing an excellent job on the USA election coverage here

- enjoy it immensely

and its been a VERY entertaining election.


all good stuff

Posted by: dawn at September 19, 2004 at 02:04 AM

Oh wait, they're... oh man! That's good. Sorry, still waking up.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 19, 2004 at 02:35 AM

Jeez, a Republican posting on a conservative web site is considered a breakthrough discovery? That's pathetic. And sad, as this is but more hands reaching for the straw.

The only "discovery" I can see is how lame this is getting. I am glad to see CBS getting the negative coverage it deserves; MSNBC had an interesting talk show segment last night on Memogate, and it was neither kind nor gentle.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 19, 2004 at 03:04 AM

Buckhead is a Republican?

Well that proves it. The memos are real after all.

Posted by: Dan Rather at September 19, 2004 at 03:09 AM

From "Oh no (I crapped my pants)":

"Tim, why don't you drop the whole fucking US election?
Nobody's really interested, you're wasting precious cyber space."

1. If nobody was interested, nobody would be leaving comments.

2. It's Tim's money buying the bandwidth, so he can waste as much of it as he pleases.

3. Buckhead's a "conservative activist", huh? That's like saying a Greenpeace member is a "liberal activist"...what a revelation.

Posted by: cheshirecat at September 19, 2004 at 03:22 AM

Tim, why don't you drop the whole fucking US election?
Nobody's really interested, you're wasting precious cyber space.

So why the record traffic? And the increased number of comment posts is a coincidence?

Is bandwith so limited now that our conversation is denying others their fair share? Oh, the humanity!!!

Posted by: nofixedabode at September 19, 2004 at 03:46 AM

I seem in a number of my comments to have gone in some detail about proportional spacing & about the font Times New Roman & a PC version of Times Roman (screen name: Times). I suppose some might imagine I were an experienced typographer but I was merely the Word & PowerPoint “guru” for a few years in a large corporate department where I worked & first learned to use those programs.

Also I’ve stared at the memo pdfs in high magnification but have never meant to suggest that examining the memo pdfs in high magnification takes equally high skill.

But it gets much curiouser. I just checked my bookmarks & I noticed that many of them are for conservative Websites. I seem to have donated some small amounts to a few Websites which, on inspection, seem to be conservative/libertarian & where I’ve posted, it turns out, extensively. What leanings I have!—& never knew it. I sit astounded.

For I for one had no idea that the bloggers & commenters who criticized claims of the memos’ authenticity had, many of them, partisan right-slanted views. I sit now fucking astounded. Has anybody else realized this? Or are we all awaking from the same dream?

Posted by: ForNow at September 19, 2004 at 04:55 AM

I used to live in Buckhead, but not the upscale part. I lived in South Central Buckhead. Coincidence?

And is it also a coincidence that Cleland, a former Georgia senator and MacDougal are both involved in the Atlanta power structure? I think not. I'm also sure that Cynthia McKinney is involved in this somehow.

How deep does the rabbit hole go? Or maybe I shouldn't be drinking so early in the day.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at September 19, 2004 at 05:19 AM

"Detailed knowledge?" He just had to look at the PDF like the rest of us. It was a matter of when, not if. He just got there first. The shher laziness of these forgeries is astounding. I would hate give up my word processor for a typewriter but if I was intent on the scam of a lifetime I think i could stand to do it for the hour or so it would require.

Posted by: Eric Pobirs at September 19, 2004 at 06:46 AM


HOLYSHIT! And the dissenter's post has been deleted! This happened literally right now, I was just reading it!! Christ, these people are unbelievably Stalinist!

Don't you see? No dissent is permitted in the land of the truly free.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at September 19, 2004 at 09:05 AM

That's 'cos when you're Truly Free™ you don't need to dissent! If you dissent from the Correct View, you are obviously mentally disturbed, and should be sent to a hospital so Concerned 'N" Carin' psychiatrists can wrap you in a straight-jacket, chain you to the wall of a basement cell, drug you to the eyeballs with brain-melting potions, until you agree that you love Big Brother gently lead you back to the True Path.

Hmm... that sounds like something I've heard used to happen somewhere...

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 19, 2004 at 10:24 AM

Have they figured out if Buckhead was using one o' them fancy computin' machines? That's yer smoking gun right there.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at September 19, 2004 at 10:53 AM

So, Dan's unimpeachable sources at this point are a former mental patient with a longstanding grudge against Bush, and an 87-year-old Grannycrat.

And the LA Times informs us that the poster on a conservative weblog who first smelled something fishy turns out to be, shockingly, a conservative.

These are the folks we're supposed to trust rather than pajama-clad bloggers and their commenters.

You can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Dave S. at September 19, 2004 at 11:24 AM

I am so saving "Grannycrat."

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 19, 2004 at 12:17 PM

Regarding this distraction of whether Buckhead's a Roveian agent:

We've got some astute fellows in Atlanta, and one would hope there is nothing surprising about a high-powered lawyer spotting forged papers. Isn't it good to know that some attorneys are competent and actually earn their lucre? But, let's just say for argument's sake that some GOP operative planted the fakes so that Ethically Challenged Dems would pass them on to Partisan CBS. Is there any excuse for CBS to air a Bush-slander "exclusive" based on obviously bad evidence? NO. The memos being a Republican or prankster's dirty trick would not lessen CBS' culpability in any way. Of course, many of us don't believe that Rather and producer were at all fooled by these docs, when most of their own "experts" told them they looked highly suspicious.

The origin of the papers is interesting insofar as it may lie with the DNC or with Kerry people. Rather and the CBS network are getting hammered for protecting their "unimpeachable" source of terrible forgeries. Even had Kinko Burkett passed the memos on to CBS and other news outlets, there certainly could have been someone else who vouched for them or who strongly suggested to the network that they air the story. CBS had pursued the privileged-Bush National Guard angle for several years, and we are to believe the Holy Grail missing memos suddenly turn up just as the Kerry campaign is ready to launch their "Fortunate Son" slam against Bush, starring Rather in their TV spot?

Now, why the memos were so badly executed is another story altogether. Some of us think that they were intended to have a very short shelf-life before imploding the Kerry campaign. But, alot of blogdom is content to feel superior to the silly moronic zealot who did them and to arrogant Dan who featured them. I, for one, am not feeling so superior--- There may be a devious genius lurking out there!

Posted by: Atlantan 'participant on a bulletin board' at September 19, 2004 at 01:45 PM

What happened to the typewriter expert? Was superseded by the grannycrat?

Posted by: gubbaboy at September 19, 2004 at 03:05 PM