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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Audiogate: What we know so far

The "Bush earpiece" controversy has generated an astonishing number of visitors to this site -- and, I presume, to others. Mainstream media has become interested. The Los Angeles Times even made brief (and rather dismissive) reference to the "molar phone" suggestion, first aired on this site.

For some odd reason, though, Matt Drudge has yet to take note. I wonder why?

I have reason to believe that a "respectable" publication will soon do some in-depth work on this story. When that happens, the official Republican harrumphers will enter stage right and do their act. Expect to hear many oh-so-clever references to black helicopters, tinfoil hats and Oliver Stone. Those jokes never get old, do they? Alas, they won't make the evidence go away.

If you're new to the controversy, a good way to start is to scroll down to the post below: "What's the Frequency, Karl?" If you want a handy list of links to all the latest info, I offer the following:

For a web site devoted to this issue, see here. The comments are worth reading.

For a recording of the mid-debate slip that blew this tale open, click here.

For video of the earlier occasion when news mics accidentally picked up a "phantom voice" feeding Bush his lines, click here. (Some have argued that this "pre-echo" was nothing more than a technical foul-up. Listen closely: Bush and his prompter sometimes use slightly different wording.)

For the largest, clearest version I've yet seen of the Bush profile shot displaying the earpiece in situ, go here. (I hope the image is still up!) The clearest images of Bush's "hump" may be seen on the afore-cited "Is Bush wired?" site.

For stories on the molar phone (which I suggest as the likeliest vehicle), try this article, as well as the wonderful quote about the potential political uses of this invention. Other sites of interest: this one from Science World, or this piece, or this report from the BBC, and this lengthy piece is Wired. I can't help relaying this quote from the last-mentioned article:

Sounds are transferred from the tooth into the inner ear by bone resonance (digital signals being converted into audio). And for those who might be worried about a buzzing mouth, sound reception is assured to be totally discreet. "The vibrations are on a molecular level, so the user only experiences pure sound streaming into their consciousness," Loizeau says.

The implant is designed to work in tandem with either a dedicated device or a modified mobile telephone, which can pick up the long distance signals and transmit a local signal to the tooth receiver. Capable of being fully customized to suit user requirements, reception can be switched on and off at will with the aid of the dedicated device.

"We realize that having unwanted sound information arriving directly into the user's brain would resemble technological schizophrenia, therefore maximum control is essential." Auger says.


For the video of Bush unfolding a crib sheet during the debate, go here.

This report indicates that Bush does not actually look at the teleprompter when giving a speech. Either the man possesses a far better memory than we have presumed, or he is receiving help aurally.

Here are some other writers looking into this matter:

"Bush The Articulate - Hearing Voices" by Jay Weidner.

An interesting thread on TalkLeft.

The Bellaciao site has garnered a lot of germane commentary, some of it quite useful, some of it silly.

David Lindorff has been doing great work on his site (scroll down). Also see here.

I'd like to offer a few rebuttals to some points raised by would-be debunkers:

1. At the time Bush said "Let me finish," he still had thirty seconds. Plenty of time. No one has offered any evidence that Lehrer or Kerry had made even a slight attempt to break in.

2. The "back bulge" was not caused by body armor. Bulletproof vests latch on the side, not in back. The "Is Bush Wired?" site displays a profile shot of Bush walking away after the debate -- and you can clearly see that his suit conceals a hidden wire.

3. Some have suggested the Bush used a device called the Neurophone, invented by Patrick Flanagan, a one-time whiz-kid who was profiled in Life magazine many a moon ago. Since this device allegedly can make the deaf hear, and since I was once romantically involved with a deaf lady, I wrote to Flanagan's representatives many times, asking to speak to a deaf person who could testify to the invention's effectiveness. The only response I received was a piece of double-talk worthy of Professor Harold Hill. I suspect that Flanagan (who was also the man behind the "pyramid power" craze of the 1970s) may be a con artist.

4. Many have made snide remarks about Bush's poor debate performance. If he had help, why did he fail? I would argue that his "help" may have been more of a hindrance. Speaking while listening is no snap -- in fact, it's a rare talent. In the field of translation, only the top professionals can offer simultaneous interpretation (a skill made famous during the Nuremberg trials), which involves use of both mouth and ear at the same time. Similarly, newsmen have to learn how to speak while receiving instructions from their directors. This task is not easy, and I am not surprised that Bush became flustered.

5. I've offered "Audiogate" as a name for this controversy, but I'm open to other suggestions. "Gepetto-gate"? "Radiogate"? "Rovergate"?
Comments:
> 5. I've offered "Audiogate" as a name for this
> controversy, but I'm open to other
> suggestions. "Gepetto-gate"? "Radiogate"? "Rovergate"?

Cyrano-gate!!!
 
I saw the link from Salon to your site. Very interesting.. and very plausible.

I'd like to follow Slate's lead in trying to banish "-gate" from the political scandal vocabulary, which they tried to do during l'affaire Lewinsky, for creativity's sake. They held a contest, and the winning name they chose was... FlyTrap. This was of course done after the scandal was known to about every citizen of the world. But, the intent was to transcend the -gateness

So, in that spirit, I'd propose:

LinePiece, MouthPiece, HumBug.
 
No "-gate?". That's crazytalk. Debategate. Senor Wences es el presidente. Liarwirepantsonfiregate. Hey, I just remembered a line Joan Didion wrote about Bush published in early 2003 in "Fixed Ideas":

"The final allowable word on those who attacked us was to be that they were "evildoers," or "wrongdoers," peculiar constructions which served to suggest that those who used them were transmitting messages from some ultimate authority."

Man, she wasn't kidding...literally transmitted.
 
Beware the Rovian trap.

I will readily believe that Bush has been wired for his earlier public appearances, and even that he was being fed his answers during the first debate. What I cannot believe is that Rove and his people are stupid enough to use this high risk strategy without armor-plating it beforehand. They have to have planned for this and will certainly be ready to blow the story out of the water as soon as it surfaces in main-stream media. We would be foolish to think otherwise.

The bulge is just too obvious. If they want to put voices in Bush’s head I’m sure they can do it without any tell-tale lump. But it IS a great decoy for when people start getting suspicious. When the story final breaks on cable news it will not flow out as intelligent analysis. They will just go straight for the pictures. At that point I’m sure the Bush people will quickly trot out some bullet-proof explanation., complete with “candid” staffer photos from before the debate proving some innocent explanation for the bulge. Then the story will be dead and the pro-Kerry bloggers will be as thoroughly discredited as Dan Rather.

This part of the story smells too much like an ambush. Let’s not step into it.

(Also cross-posted on www.isbushwired.com)
 
"(Some have argued that this "pre-echo" was nothing more than a technical foul-up. Listen closely: Bush and his prompter sometimes use slightly different wording.)"

Give me an example as to where exactly I should be listening, because I just don't hear it. They sound too similar and their timing is too close for me to buy this. And I would really like to.
 
I really want to beleive this story on Bush. However, as far as the 'let me finish' comment goes it did seem as if Bush had finished his answer and that the moderator (didn't the moderator make some gesture or utterance in preparation to asking the next question?) was prepared to move on. I assumed at the time Bush had an afterthought and wanted to add it. Thus, the 'let me finish' is a perfectly rational thing for him to say. I too noticed the delays and blank looks. I assumed Bush was thinking hard about what he had to say for this reason: His team had carefully parsed every questionalbe tihng Kerry and Edwards have said, twisting their words to their own ends. I assume Bush didn't want to commit a gaff and didn't want to give the Dems any ammuniton to return fire. I'm ready to beleive differently but I don't think the argument is persuasive yet.
 
As much as I want to believe this, that bulge on his back looks way to big to be any kind of receiver. It looks to be just about the right size for those ceramic trauma plates that are used in some types of body armor, which our big, brave president is known to wear everywhere he goes.
 
I wonder if there is a clip of John Kerry's back, just to see if there is a similar bulge. It could just be clothing bunching up. That does happen.

And to explain Bush's "let me finish" line, he says stuff like that all of the time. Maybe because he is dim and doesn't realize that no one is trying to cut him off.
 
I'm sorry, but was Salon the "respectable" news organization you were referring to? That's funny. Almost as funny as a medical professional giving a diagnosis for someone who he's only ever seen on TV.
 
Perhaps this relates to the debate rules:

(9.a.vi) The camera located at the rear of the stage
shall be used only to take shots of the
moderator.

Isn't there also a rule about removing clothing?
 
Thank you! I thought I was the only person in America that witnessed the D-Day fiasco. You could clearly hear the other man say a line, and like a parrot, Bush would kind of say it. He even screwed that up. When they started letting the press ask questions, he pointed to the wrong person. She ask, "Since you have killed thousands of people in Iraq, why are you better than Suddam?". She also had a quote from Kennedy. Bush just stood there. The "voice" wasn't saying anything. Finally, you could hear the man say, "What paper is that?" quite irritated. Bush is still just standing there. Finally Bush came up with some kind of crazy answer about there "being the rest of the world and then there's Texas" Huh? I was shocked that that is what people saw in France. A parrot president that couldn't even repeat what the man said correctly.

They just turned and left the stage.
 
There is a better clip from the Paris press conference at

http://philbrittin.com/news/news.php#
 
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