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saturday, february 28, 2004

Hot Links 7:46 am | link

friday, february 27, 2004

Hot Links 6:16 am | link

thursday, february 26, 2004

I Must Be Special!
 
I got an invitation from Bush Cheney '04, Inc., to become a Charter Member of their New York Team!
 
If this is an indication of the quality of the GOP's mailing list, John Kerry is a shoo-in.
 
Let's see -- I got a cheap matt photograph with a computer generated "special, personal inscription" just for me! It thanks me by name for being a Charter Member of their New York Team!
 
Help me out, here -- what should I write on this photograph when I send it back to Bush-Cheney '04, Inc., in the postage-paid envelope?  I should write something special to cheer them up, because they are very upset that the Democrats have "relentlessly attacked the President, while liberal special interest groups are raising hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat President Bush."
 
Clearly, these people need encouragement. Suggestions?

9:01 pm | link

Hot Links
 
Bob Novak says that Charles A. Krohn, the U.S. Army's top civilian public affairs officer, is about to go public with the inside story of how the Pentagon is spending the taxpayers' money in Iraq. And it ain't pretty. In a story unsurprisingly parallel to that of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, Krohn found that his attempts to apply normal (and transparent) business practices were rebuffed by Rumsfeld's people in the Pentagon. As a result, the reconstruction of Iraq is turning into one of the great boondoggles of all time.

Charles Krohn has been replaced in Baghdad and now encounters startled stares in Pentagon corridors. ''Adm. Nash and I share the view that we are paid by the taxpayers and spending the taxpayers' money and everything we do should be transparent,'' Krohn writes. Regrettably, those words are unwelcome in Don Rumsfeld's Pentagon. [Novak, "Iraq Reconstruction Held Up by DC Infighting," The Chicago Sun-Times, February 26, 2004]

That it's Novak revealing dirt on the Bush Administration is just as interesting as the story itself. Stay tuned.
 
Whose Wedge Issue? The White House no doubt believes that gay marriage is an issue that will splinter Democrats, but I'm seeing signs that just the opposite is happening. It's conservatives who are splitting up.
 
Very basically, there are two kinds of conservatives on today's American Right: social  conservatives and political conservatives. And although they have been fellow travelers and Bush supporters for some time, they really are two very different groups with very different philosophies.
 
Social conservatives want to use government to enforce their vision of morality and "normalcy." They want government to ban gay marriage, abortions, most divorce, and the teaching of evolution. They want government to indoctrinate conservative Christianity through prayers in public school classrooms and various "faith-based" programs.
 
But political conservatives lean toward libertarianism and don't like Big Gubmint, period. They've been Bush supporters because they like his tax cut plans -- they tend to be "starve the beast" proponents -- and they support the war in Iraq. They are mixed on whether they approve of gay marriage -- some do, possibly most do not. But they do not like people messing with the Constitution and are opposed to a gay marriage amendment. And they don't want America turned into a theocracy.
 
The political conservatives are increasingly disenchanted with the Bush Administration over what they see as out-of-control spending, and many are furious over his immigration "reform" proposal, even though that misbegotten idea has a snowball's chance in hell of every coming to pass. The proposed amendment is a wedge, all right, but it's one that splits Bush's base, not the Dems.
 
And one more thing: Are the homophobes sure they want to have their national convention in New York City?
 
Ammunition. Yesterday Alan Greenspan told Congress that Social Security benefits would have to be cut to reduce the federal deficit. Within nanoseconds, no doubt, the Democratic presidential candidates had revised the stump speeches accordingly.
 
The Further Adventures of the 9/11 Commission. The Bushies are still stalling, and Dennis Hastert is determined to end the investigation as early as possible. Let's face it -- we won't get an honest investigation of 9/11 as long as Bush is in the White House.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Marie Cocco: Like His Father, Bush Doesn't Get It

6:00 am | link

wednesday, february 25, 2004

Hot Links
 
The President's announcement of support for a Gay Marriage Ban Amendment caused a firestorm on the web, but most of the heat is on the Right.
 
Andrew Sullivan, of course, is against it -- read his passionate protest here. But I was surprised yesterday at the extent to which the Right Blogosphere is not lining up behind Bush on this issue.
 
The big-traffic blogs on the Right tend to be more libertarian than socially conservative. They may not like gay marriage, but they like cluttering up the Constitution with wedge issues even less. Further, the Amendment would take a power that seems to be reserved to the states and bring it into the federal sphere -- not good.
 
The White House must think they can use gay marriage to Bush's advantage in the fall. But Bush can't stay in the White House on Religious Right votes alone, and the non-religious Right is getting more and more disenchanted.
 
See Josh Marshall's take on why Republicans in Congress are unhappy, also.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

6:15 am | link

tuesday, february 24, 2004

The Spot Is Taken, Mr. Nader
 
This Alternet article makes the point that Ralph Nader's presidential bid is, in effect, an attempt to take over territory already covered by Dennis Kucinich. And the author has, I think, a good idea:

Democrats should offer Kucinich and his supporters one big collective hug and thank them for their efforts to strengthen the party. By embracing Kucinich as an important voice within the party, Democrats will ensure that his supporters don't choose kamikaze support for Nader. Give Kucinich a leadership role in developing long-term policy for the party. Make him the ambassador to disaffected Democratic voters and give him the power to bring them back into the fold. Give him a slot for a major speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Not that I think Ralph will be much of a factor, but this could neutralize him fairly effectively.

7:29 am | link

Hot Links 6:23 am | link

monday, february 23, 2004

Oopsie!

WASHINGTON (AP) - Education Secretary Rod Paige called the nation's largest teachers union a ``terrorist organization'' during a private White House meeting with governors on Monday.

Democratic and Republican governors confirmed Paige's remarks about the National Education Association.

``These were the words, 'The NEA is a terrorist organization,''' said Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. [Link]

8:26 pm | link

Unanswered Questions
 
Please check out these questions for Bush put together by the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission:
 
The Family Steering Committee believes that President Bush should provide sworn public testimony to the full ten-member panel of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States . Collectively, the Commissioners are responsible for fulfilling the Congressional mandate. Therefore, each Commissioner must have full access to the testimony of all individuals and the critical information that will enable informed decisions and recommendations.

Before an audience of the American people, the Commission must ask President Bush in sworn testimony, the following questions:

1. As Commander-in-Chief on the morning of 9/11, why didn’t you return immediately to Washington, D.C. or the National Military Command Center once you became aware that America was under attack? At specifically what time did you become aware that America was under attack? Who informed you of this fact?

2. On the morning of 9/11, who was in charge of our country while you were away from the National Military Command Center? Were you informed or consulted about all decisions made in your absence?

3. What defensive action did you personally order to protect our nation during the crisis on September 11th? What time were these orders given, and to whom? What orders were carried out? What was the result of such orders? Were any such orders not carried out?

4. In your opinion, why was our nation so utterly unprepared for an attack on our own soil?

5. U.S. Navy Captain Deborah Loewer, the Director of the White House Situation Room, informed you of the first airliner hitting Tower One of the World Trade Center before you entered the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Please explain the reason why you decided to continue with the scheduled classroom visit, fifteen minutes after learning the first hijacked airliner had hit the World Trade Center.

6. Is it normal procedure for the Director of the White House Situation Room to travel with you? If so, please cite any prior examples of when this occurred. If not normal procedure, please explain the circumstances that led to the Director of the White House Situation Room being asked to accompany you to Florida during the week of September 11th.

7. What plan of action caused you to remain seated after Andrew Card informed you that a second airliner had hit the second tower of the World Trade Center and America was clearly under attack? Approximately how long did you remain in the classroom after Card’s message?

8. At what time were you made aware that other planes were hijacked in addition to Flight 11 and Flight 175? Who notified you? What was your course of action as Commander-in-Chief of the United States?

9. Beginning with the transition period between the Clinton administration and your own, and ending on 9/11/01, specifically what information (either verbal or written) about terrorists, possible attacks and targets, did you receive from any source?

This would include briefings or communications from

• Out-going Clinton officials

• CIA, FBI, NSA, DoD and other intelligence agencies

• Foreign intelligence, governments, dignitaries or envoys

• National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice

• Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar

10. Specifically, what did you learn from the August 6, 2001, PDB about the terrorist threat that was facing our nation? Did you request any follow-up action to take place? Did you request any further report be developed and/or prepared?

11. As Commander-in-Chief, from May 1, 2001 until September 11, 2001, did you receive any information from any intelligence agency official or agent that UBL was planning to attack this nation on its own soil using airplanes as weapons, targeting New York City landmarks during the week of September 11, 2001 or on the actual day of September 11, 2001?

12. What defensive measures did you take in response to pre-9/11 warnings from eleven nations about a terrorist attack, many of which cited an attack in the continental United States? Did you prepare any directives in response to these actions? If so, with what results?

13. As Commander-in-Chief from May 1, 2001 until September 11, 2001, did you or any agent of the United States government carry out any negotiations or talks with UBL, an agent of UBL, or al-Qaeda? During that same period, did you or any agent of the United States government carry out any negotiations or talks with any foreign government, its agents, or officials regarding UBL? If so, what resulted?

14. Your schedule for September 11, 2001 was in the public domain since September 7, 2001. The Emma E. Booker School is only five miles from the Bradenton Airport, so you, and therefore the children in the classroom, might have been a target for the terrorists on 9/11. What was the intention of the Secret Service in allowing you to remain in the Emma E. Booker Elementary School, even though they were aware America was under attack?

15. Please explain why you remained at the Sarasota, Florida, Elementary School for a press conference after you had finished listening to the children read, when as a terrorist target, your presence potentially jeopardized the lives of the children?

16. What was the purpose of the several stops of Air Force One on September 11th? Was Air Force One at any time during the day of September 11th a target of the terrorists? Was Air Force One’s code ever breached on September 11th?

17. Was there a reason for Air Force One lifting off without a military escort, even after ample time had elapsed to allow military jets to arrive?

18. What prompted your refusal to release the information regarding foreign sponsorship of the terrorists, as illustrated in the inaccessible 28 redacted pages in the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry Report? What actions have you personally taken since 9/11 to thwart foreign sponsorship of terrorism?

19. Who approved the flight of the bin Laden family out of the United States when all commercial flights were grounded, when there was time for only minimal questioning by the FBI, and especially, when two of those same individuals had links to WAMY, a charity suspected of funding terrorism? Why were bin Laden family members granted that special privilege—a privilege not available to American families whose loved ones were killed on 9/11?

20. Please explain why no one in any level of our government has yet been held accountable for the countless failures leading up to and on 9/11?

21. Please comment on the fact that UBL’s profile on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives poster does not include the 9/11 attacks. To your knowledge, when was the last time any agent of our government had contact with UBL? If prior to 9/11, specifically what was the date of that contact and what was the context of said meeting.

22. Do you continue to maintain that Saddam Hussein was linked to al Qaeda? What proof do you have of any connection between al-Qaeda and the Hussein regime?

23. Which individuals, governments, agencies, institutions, or groups may have benefited from the attacks of 9/11? Please state specifically how you think they have benefited.

Excellent questions, don't you think?

12:49 pm | link

Busy Busy
 
I apologize again for not posting much recently. I'm working my tootsie off meeting a publishing deadline. (Note to Tom the Editor: Almost there!)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7:27 am | link

sunday, february 22, 2004

Hot Links 8:08 am | link


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Ben Merens, "Conversations with Ben Merens,"
September 9, 2004, WHAD Milwaukee, 90.7 FM

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The Loyalties of George W. Bush

Terror Alert Level

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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

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The War Prayer

I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause & think.

"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken....

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into those pregnant words.

"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset, & seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor & glory now & ever, Amen."

(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! -- the messenger of the Most High waits."

·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·

It was believed, afterward, that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

[Mark Twain, 1905]

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Copyright 2003, 2004 by Barbara O'Brien

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