Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tenet warned Rice pre-911 we were about to be hit, Rice ignored him !!!!!!!!!

9/11 Commission not told of key meeting between Tenet and Rice pre-9/11, Tenet warned Rice we were about to be hit, Rice ignored him

I noticed this buried in the Washington Post story last night about Woodward's book, and Editor & Publisher picked up on it too. Here is Editor & Publisher's excerpt of it. This is a big deal. It's the most important piece of evidence, other than the PDB, showing that the Bush White House ignored the signs that 9/11 was coming. How the hell did the 9/11 Commission miss this? This is long, read it:

Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser. "For months," Woodward writes, "Tenet had been pressing Rice to set a clear counterterrorism policy... that would give the CIA stronger authority to conduct covert action against bin Laden.... Tenet and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action.

"Tenet had been losing sleep over the recent intelligence. There was no conclusive, smoking-gun intelligence, but there was such a huge volume of data that an intelligence officer's instinct strongly suggested that something was coming....

"But Tenet had been having difficulty getting traction on an immediate bin Laden action plan, in part because Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had questioned all the intelligence, asking: Could it all be a grand deception? "

Woodward describes the meeting, and the two officials' plea that the U.S. "needed to take action that moment -- covert, military, whatever -- to thwart bin Laden."

The result? "Tenet and Black felt they were not getting though to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn't want to swat at flies."

"Tenet left the meeting feeling frustrated. Though Rice had given them a fair hearing, no immediate action meant great risk. Black felt the decision to just keep planning was a sustained policy failure. Rice and the Bush team had been in hibernation too long....

"Afterward, Tenet looked back on the meeting with Rice as a lost opportunity to prevent or disrupt the attacks. Rice could have gotten through to Bush on the threat, Tenet thought, but she just didn't get it in time. He felt that he had done his job and been very direct about the threat, but that Rice had not moved quickly. He felt she was not organized and did not push people, as he tried to do at the CIA.

"Black later said, 'The only thing we didn't do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.'

At the close of this excerpt, a Post editor's note states:

"How much effort the Bush administration made in going after Osama bin Laden before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, became an issue last week after former president Bill Clinton accused President Bush's 'eocons' and other Republicans of ignoring bin Laden until the attacks. Rice responded in an interview that 'what we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years.'"Then we learn the following:
"The July 10 meeting of Rice, Tenet and Black went unmentioned in various investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, and Woodward wrote that Black 'felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn't want to know about.'"Jamie S. Gorelick, a member of the Sept. 11 commission, said she checked with commission staff members who told her investigators were never told about a July 10 meeting. 'We didn't know about the meeting itself,' she said. 'I can assure you it would have been in our report if we had known to ask about it.'

"White House and State Department officials yesterday confirmed that the July 10 meeting took place, although they took issue with Woodward's portrayal of its results."Nice.

Well, as I recall, DoD and FAA also apparently lied to the 9/11 Commission and that's a crime. So who at the White House "forgot" to mention this key meeting to the commission, and was that a crime as well?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Olbermann is on a roll....

Keith pulled no punches and launched another smack down on Bush and FOX News…

See original footage and comments at:

And finally tonight, a Special Comment about President Clinton’s interview. The headlines about them are, of course, entirely wrong. It is not essential that a past President, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster, finally lashed back.

It is not important that the current President’s "portable public chorus" has described his predecessor’s tone as "crazed."

Our tone should be crazed. The nation’s freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as Al-Qaeda; the nation’s "marketplace of ideas" is being poisoned, by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would’ve quit. Nonetheless.

The headline is this: Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done, in five years. He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration.

"At least I tried," he said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. "That’s the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try; they did not try. I tried."

Thus in his supposed emeritus years, has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by anyone, in these last five long years.

The Bush Administration did not try to get Osama Bin Laden before 9/11.

The Bush Administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors.

The Bush Administration did not understand the Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."

The Bush Administration… did… not… try.—

Moreover, for the last five years one month and two weeks, the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest "pass" for incompetence and malfeasance, in American history!

President Roosevelt was rightly blamed for ignoring the warning signs — some of them, 17 years old — before Pearl Harbor.

President Hoover was correctly blamed for — if not the Great Depression itself — then the disastrous economic steps he took in the immediate aftermath of the Stock Market Crash.

Even President Lincoln assumed some measure of responsibility for the Civil War — though talk of Southern secession had begun as early as 1832.

But not this President.

To hear him bleat and whine and bully at nearly every opportunity, one would think someone else had been President on September 11th, 2001 — or the nearly eight months that preceded it.

That hardly reflects the honesty nor manliness we expect of the Executive.


But if his own fitness to serve is of no true concern to him, perhaps we should simply sigh and keep our fingers crossed, until a grown-up takes the job three Januarys from now.

Except… for this:

After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts — that he was President on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton’s.

Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly.

As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy.

Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News, Friday afternoon.

Consider the timing: The very same weekend the National Intelligence Estimate would be released and show the Iraq war to be the fraudulent failure it is — not a check on terror, but fertilizer for it!

The kind of proof of incompetence, for which the administration and its hyenas at Fox need to find a diversion, in a scapegoat.

It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired — but a propagandist, promoted:

Promise to talk of charity and generosity; but instead launch into the lies and distortions with which the Authoritarians among us attack the virtuous and reward the useless.

And don’t even be professional enough to assume the responsibility for the slanders yourself; blame your audience for "e-mailing" you the question.

Mr. Clinton responded as you have seen.

He told the great truth un-told… about this administration’s negligence, perhaps criminal negligence, about Bin Laden.

He was brave.

Then again, Chris Wallace might be braver still. Had I — in one moment surrendered all my credibility as a journalist — and been irredeemably humiliated, as was he, I would have gone home and started a new career selling seeds by mail.

The smearing by proxy, of course, did not begin Friday afternoon.

Disney was first to sell-out its corporate reputation, with "The Path to 9/11."

Of that company’s crimes against truth one needs to say little. Simply put: someone there enabled an Authoritarian zealot to belch out Mr. Bush’s new and improved history.

The basic plot-line was this: because he was distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton failed to prevent 9/11.

The most curious and in some ways the most infuriating aspect of this slapdash theory, is that the Right Wingers who have advocated it — who try to sneak it into our collective consciousness through entertainment, or who sandbag Mr. Clinton with it at news interviews — have simply skipped past its most glaring flaw.

Had it been true that Clinton had been distracted from the hunt for Bin Laden in 1998 because of the Lewinsky nonsense — why did these same people not applaud him for having bombed Bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan and Sudan on August 20th of that year? For mentioning Bin Laden by name as he did so?

That day, Republican Senator Grams of Minnesota invoked the movie "Wag The Dog."

Republican Senator Coats of Indiana questioned Mr. Clinton’s judgment.

Republican Senator Ashcroft of Missouri — the future Attorney General — echoed Coats.

Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter questioned the timing.

And of course, were it true Clinton had been "distracted" by the Lewinsky witch-hunt — who on earth conducted the Lewinsky witch-hunt? Who turned the political discourse of this nation on its head for two years?

Who corrupted the political media?

Who made it impossible for us to even bring back on the air, the counter-terrorism analysts like Dr. Richard Haass, and James Dunegan, who had warned, at this very hour, on this very network, in early 1998, of cells from the Middle East who sought to attack us, here?

Who preempted them… in order to strangle us with the trivia that was… "All Monica All The Time"?

Who… distracted whom?

This is, of course, where — as is inevitable — Mr. Bush and his henchmen prove not quite as smart as they think they are.

The full responsibility for 9/11 is obviously shared by three administrations, possibly four.

But, Mr. Bush, if you are now trying to convince us by proxy that it’s all about the distractions of 1998 and 1999, then you will have to face a startling fact that your minions may have hidden from you.

The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton… but by the same people who got you… elected President.

Thus instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it… we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently redd the Orwell playbook too quickly.

Thus instead of some explanation for the inertia of your first eight months in office, we are told that you have kept us "safe" ever since — a statement that might range anywhere from Zero, to One Hundred Percent, true.

We have nothing but your word, and your word has long since ceased to mean anything.

And, of course, the one time you have ever given us specifics about what you have kept us safe from, Mr. Bush — you got the name of the supposedly targeted Tower in Los Angeles… wrong.

Thus was it left for the previous President to say what so many of us have felt; what so many of us have given you a pass for in the months and even the years after the attack:

You did not try.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your predecessor.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people.

Then, you blamed your predecessor.

That would be the textbook definition… Sir, of cowardice.

To enforce the lies of the present, it is necessary to erase the truths of the past.

That was one of the great mechanical realities Eric Blair — writing as George Orwell — gave us in the novel "1984."

The great philosophical reality he gave us, Mr. Bush, may sound as familiar to you, as it has lately begun to sound familiar to me.

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power…

"Power is not a means; it is an end.

"One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

"The object of persecution, is persecution. The object of torture, is torture. The object of power… is power."

Earlier last Friday afternoon, before the Fox ambush, speaking in the far different context of the closing session of his remarkable Global Initiative, Mr. Clinton quoted Abraham Lincoln’s State of the Union address from 1862.

"We must disenthrall ourselves."

Mr. Clinton did not quote the rest of Mr. Lincoln’s sentence. He might well have.

"We must disenthrall ourselves — and then… we shall save our country."

And so has Mr. Clinton helped us to disenthrall ourselves, and perhaps enabled us, even at this late and bleak date… to save… our… country.

The "free pass" has been withdrawn, Mr. Bush…

You did not act to prevent 9/11.

We do not know what you have done, to prevent another 9/11.

You have failed us — then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11.

You have failed us anew in Afghanistan.

And you have now tried to hide your failures, by blaming your predecessor.

And now you exploit your failure, to rationalize brazen torture — which doesn’t work anyway; which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding; which only humiliates our country further in the world; and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate.And there it is, sir:

Are yours the actions of a true American?

I’m K.O., good night, and good luck.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Olbermann does it again....

Finally tonight, a Special Comment about the Rose Garden news conference last Friday.

The President of the United States owes this country an apology. It will not be offered, of course. He does not realize its necessity.

There are now none around him who would tell him - or could. The last of them, it appears, was the very man whose letter provoked the President into the conduct, for which the apology is essential. An apology is this President’s only hope of regaining the slightest measure of confidence, of what has been, for nearly two years, a clear majority of his people.

Not "confidence" in his policies nor in his designs nor even in something as narrowly focused as which vision of torture shall prevail — his, or that of the man who has sent him into apoplexy, Colin Powell. In a larger sense, the President needs to regain our confidence, that he has some basic understanding of what this country represents — of what it must maintain if we are to defeat not only terrorists, but if we are also to defeat what is ever more increasingly apparent, as an attempt to re-define the way we live here, and what we mean, when we say the word "freedom."

Because it is evident now that, if not its architect, this President intends to be the contractor, for this narrowing of the definition of freedom. The President revealed this last Friday, as he fairly spat through his teeth, words of unrestrained fury…

…directed at the man who was once the very symbol of his administration, who was once an ambassador from this administration to its critics, as he had once been an ambassador from the military to its critics. The former Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, had written, simply and candidly and without anger, that "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."This President’s response included not merely what is apparently the Presidential equivalent of threatening to hold one’s breath, but — within — it contained one particularly chilling phrase. Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don’t you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you’re following a flawed strategy? BUSH: If there’s any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it’s flawed logic. It’s just — I simply can’t accept that. It’s unacceptable to think that there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.

Of course** it’s acceptable to think that there’s "any kind of comparison." And in this particular debate, it is not only acceptable, it is obviously necessary. Some will think that our actions at Abu Ghraib, or in Guantanamo, or in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, are all too comparable to the actions of the extremists. Some will think that there is no similarity, or, if there is one, it is to the slightest and most unavoidable of degrees.

What all of us will agree on, is that we have the right — we have the duty — to think about the comparison. And, most importantly, that the other guy, whose opinion about this we cannot fathom, has exactly the same right as we do: to think — and say — what his mind and his heart and his conscience tell him, is right.

All of us agree about that.

Except, it seems, this President.

With increasing rage, he and his administration have begun to tell us, we are not permitted to disagree with them, that we cannot be right. That Colin Powell cannot be right.And then there was that one, most awful phrase.

In four simple words last Friday, the President brought into sharp focus what has been only vaguely clear these past five-and-a-half years - the way the terrain at night is perceptible only during an angry flash of lightning, and then, a second later, all again is dark.

"It’s unacceptable to think…" he said. It is never unacceptable… to think.

And when a President says thinking is unacceptable, even on one topic, even in the heat of the moment, even in the turning of a phrase extracted from its context… he takes us toward a new and fearful path — one heretofore the realm of science fiction authors and apocalyptic visionaries.

That flash of lightning freezes at the distant horizon, and we can just make out a world in which authority can actually suggest it has become unacceptable to think. hus the lightning flash reveals not merely a President we have already seen, the one who believes he has a monopoly on current truth.

It now shows us a President who has decided that of all our commanders-in-chief, ever… he, alone, has had the knowledge necessary to alter and re-shape our inalienable rights. This is a frightening, and a dangerous, delusion, Mr. President.

If Mr. Powell’s letter - cautionary, concerned, predominantly supportive — can induce from you such wrath and such intolerance — what would you say were this statement to be shouted to you by a reporter, or written to you by a colleague?

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…"

Those incendiary thoughts came, of course, from a prior holder of your job, Mr. Bush. They were the words of Thomas Jefferson.

He put them in the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Bush, what would you say to something that annti-thetical to the status quo just now? Would you call it "unacceptable" for Jefferson to think such things, or to write them?

Between your confidence in your infallibility, sir, and your demonizing of dissent, and now these rages better suited to a thwarted three-year old, you have left the unnerving sense of a White House coming unglued - a chilling suspicion that perhaps we have not seen the peak of the anger; that we can no longer forecast what next will be said to, or about, anyone… who disagrees.

Or what will next be done to them. On this newscast last Friday night, Constitiutional law Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, suggested that at some point in the near future…some of the "detainees" transferred from secret CIA cells to Guantanamo, will finally get to tell the Red Cross that they have indeed been tortured.

Thus the debate over the Geneva Conventions, might not be about further interrogations of detainees, but about those already conducted, and the possible liability of the administration, for them. That, certainly, could explain Mr. Bush’s fury.

That, at this point, is speculative. But at least it provides an alternative possibility as to why the President’s words were at such variance from the entire history of this country. For, there needs to be some other explanation, Mr. Bush, than that you truly believe we should live in a United States of America in which a thought is unacceptable.

There needs to be a delegation of responsible leaders — Republicans or otherwise — who can sit you down as Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott once sat Richard Nixon down - and explain the **reality** of the situation you have created.

There needs to be… an apology from the President of the United States.

And more than one.

But, Mr. Bush, the others — for warnings unheeded five years ago, for war unjustified four years ago, for battle unprepared three years ago — they are not weighted with the urgency and necessity of this one. We must know that, to you…thought with which you disagree — and even voice with which you disagree - and even action with which you disagree — are still sacrosanct to you.

The philosopher Voltaire once insisted to another author, "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." Since the nation’s birth, Mr. Bush, we have misquoted and even embellished that statement, but we have served ourselves well, by subscribing to its essence.

Oddly, there are other words of Voltaire’s that are more pertinent still, just now. "Think for yourselves," he wrote, "and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too." Apologize, sir, for even hinting at an America where a few have that privilege to think — and the rest of us get yelled at by the President.

Anything else, Mr. Bush, is truly… unacceptable.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards - Authentic, Rare and Gone too Soon...

The Honorable – and Irrepressible – Ann Richards
by Katharine Hikel

When Ann Richards was voted in as Texas State Treasurer, she was the first woman in fifty years to be elected to state office in the Lone Star State. She served as Governor from 1990-1994. Born in Waco, she graduated from Baylor University and the University of Texas. Though she started out as a junior high school teacher, she has been immersed in politics for most of her life, even as a mother of four and grandmother of six. Richards served four years as Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Richards is the author of Straight from the Heart: My Life in Politics and Other Places, as well as I’m Not Slowing Down – Winning My Battle with Osteoporosis.

In 1988 Richards delivered the acclaimed keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, which she opened by saying “I am delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like.”
On Sunday, May 22 Vermonters can come hear for themselves what a real Texas dynamo’s accent sounds like as the Vermont Woman Speakers Bureau presents the sharp wit of “Ann Richards Being Ann Richards” (Sheraton Conference Center, So. Burlington - click here for ticket information). For a sneak preview, here’s an excerpt from our recent chat with Governor Richards:

Ann Richards
What do y’all do? Tell me about this newspaper … give me an idea of some of the things you write about.

Vermont Woman
We have articles about health care, the political scene, environment, education. We are very political, but we also have humor in the paper. We also carry your friend Molly Ivins' syndicated column.

Ann Richards
Well that’s fabulous. I have been a devotee of the “Today” show for years. I have watched it so many years that I can listen to it, and time myself getting dressed. I know how much time I have left before I have to be out of there. And of late, the stories have been not quite the equivalent of dogs that can walk on their hind legs – but stories like parents helping their children with their homework. As far as any substantial, substantive news, it’s just not there.

Of course I noticed that the producer of the show just lost his job and they’re putting someone else in there, and they’re losing market shares…. I think their assumption is that all we’re interested in is these little, silly human interest stories.

Vermont Woman
Our rule is no recipes and no diets.

Ann Richards
(Laughs) Well that’s a deal!

Vermont Woman
How many times have you been to Vermont?

Ann Richards
I came once, if not twice, to speak for Howard Dean.

Vermont Woman
Have you seen Howard Dean lately? Because we never see him.

Ann Richards
No, I haven’t talked to Howard … and I know he’s going to have one of those opportunities one of these days real soon. And he’s going to hear a lot from me.

Vermont Woman
What will you have to say to him, Governor?

Ann Richards
Well, I am going to talk to him about the general tone and tenor of the Democratic Party. I am going to tell him that when he is looking to build the base of the party, the base that he can depend on, that is really very consistent – it’s the women voters. And when he loses female support, when the Democrats lose female support, they lose elections. So we have to build our base. I don’t think the party would go to black voters and say, “You know, I think we’re going to have to equivocate a little bit on the idea of civil rights, change just a little bit so that we sound better." Or we may tell environmentalists, “Now I don’t want you all to think that we’re not for clean air, but we may have to support legislation that says that air can be just a tiny bit dirty.”

Vermont Woman
Whenever it’s a question of women, there’s always that "We have to temper it" – unlike with any other constituency.

Ann Richards
Right, and that’s exactly what I intend to say. And if Dean wants to keep the base of support of the Democratic Party, they might try to be more artful in the way they express themselves on a lot of issues for women. But they darn sure aren’t going to improve their chances of support by equivocating on women’s right to choose.

Vermont Woman
We were talking to Linda Kaplan Thaler, a media mogul in New York recently, who was considering taking on Hillary’s campaign. She was bemoaning the 40 million women, known as “swingles” (single, self-supporting, low to moderate income women, with kids) who would vote Democratic if they voted – but they don’t vote.

Ann Richards
Yes, so what are we going to do? I don’t like to blame everything on the media, but most people do not gain their passion or their interests because of what is said to them on television. You develop a connection with a person running for office only if you have some link to that person that is personal to you. In the old days, the whole notion was of going door to door and all that. Then the Republicans suddenly picked up and said “We win these races just by buying TV,” and it works pretty well for them. But when it comes to Democrats – they feel like they have some investment in you, and you have some care and attention about them. And we’re a long way away from that.

We’re still trying to win elections running ads. And we might as well be a box of soap, particularly when it comes to young women. What was said to them in the last campaign that would make one bit of difference to them for either one of the candidates? I would suggest to you nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! So if we can’t learn how to talk to these young women, we’re going to continue to lose elections.

Vermont Woman
Do you think there’s a unifying politic or set of issues that the Democrats can actually address on that account? You know, schools, health care, etc. I think that’s what these women care about.

Ann Richards
I don’t know whether it is or not. You know, this isn’t rocket science. Somehow the Republicans are able to figure out that if we talk about X as an issue, we’re going to capture the imagination of the public if we continue to say it enough. Democrats haven’t done that. Now predictably what we do is we put a list together, and we say “which issues do you care about the most?” And the list is always the same. It’s education, it’s the economy, it’s crime, and the only thing that happens from election to election is that the same issues get shifted in their ranking. So it really doesn’t tell us a whole lot. You can capture the people’s imagination by finding a very specific issue that they show is something that matters to them. Now, if you can’t find that issue, then — boy do I understand that. On the last election that I ran, I could never find it. But I think we have the ability to do that, and we simply haven’t done it.

Then, the other thing is, the Democrats are different than the Republicans We don’t just suit up and march to the drum when somebody tells us this is the candidate. We expect the candidate to then prove themselves to us. We’ll go to a meeting and we’ll say “You know, she didn’t talk about maple trees, she talked about cedar trees. And cedar aren’t a problem for us, it’s the maple trees that are a problem. So I’ll just show her. I won’t vote.” We’re a suspicious bunch.

Vermont Woman
Let's talk about women and politics, and how to get more women into the pipeline. Our big problem is, why is there still not even 50% of women in Congress?

Ann Richards
Well it’s real simple. It's that women have other options. It used to be that a lot of people ran for office just because it was the only way in the community for them to get a really good job and be recognized, and be in a role of leadership. Well now, that’s not true. You know, you can be a doctor, a lawyer, a CPA, any number of things.

Vermont Woman
Is it because the culture of politics is more repulsive to women than the culture of medicine or law?

Ann Richards
No. It’s just that they have other options. It doesn’t mean that the passion isn’t there for politics. You know when I was a young woman and growing up, you had either the option of being a teacher or a nurse. It didn’t mean you had to have passion for one or the other; it just meant that that’s what you could do. Well now you go to college, you can even go to graduate school. We couldn’t go to graduate school when I was a young woman. Now, the opportunities and the options are wide open. So there’s no reason for you to feel a passion about getting involved in politics.

Vermont Woman
Is there a financial issue? Are women not getting the support that they need to run?

Ann Richards
I think it’s harder for women to raise the amount of money. But if you’ve got the credibility and you’ve got ability, you’ll find a way or you wouldn’t have women in Congress now.

I try to talk to women about what their history has been. How dramatically things have changed, instead of this moaning and groaning, wringing your hands over why aren’t there more. You know, I’ve got a pretty good perspective on what a miracle it is there are as many as there are. I think women need to have that perspective. I think they need to understand what sociologically they have been taught to do, is to be caretakers. I think it’s amazing that you find a woman anywhere that can say out loud, “One of things I really need to do with my life is make money.”

You know, they’re just like you all. They’re going to tell me how devoted to the cause they are, so therefore they don’t make any money. They’re going to end up being gray-haired, and their husband’s going to run off with the blonde next door. And they can’t figure out how in god’s name they’re going to support themselves. So I talk about money and how important that is in your life and what you can do. And then I talk about your health. And taking care of yourself, instead of worrying about how to take care of your momma, you should be worried about taking care of you.

Vermont Woman
We're already gray-haired, so it's a good thing we aren't married; at least our husbands won't be running off. We wanted to ask you, are we going to get a woman president? Is it going to be Hillary or Condi?

Ann Richards
Well, I always thought I’d see a woman president in my lifetime. So that means, in the next say 15-20 years. Who’s it going to be? I don’t know. You don’t either. None of us know. The way politics is now, we have a short attention span. We’re always going to go with the person we know the least, because once we get to know people personally, we decide they’re not the reincarnation of the savior.

Vermont Woman
That’s funny, given how long people stay in the Senate.

Ann Richards
Well, you can re-elect them but you can’t elect them President. It’s very hard going from the Senate to being President.

Vermont Woman
So we need more fresh faces to chose from?

Ann Richards
Well, I always think that new means change. And things are going to change, whether they change the way you want them to or not. And the present administration is a perfect example of that. Things change by your not being a participant, as much as they do by your taking on issues, and fighting for them.

Vermont Woman
That brings us to the whole idea of campaign issues. The Republicans so easily capture "family values," which is basically slang for a lot personal stuff. We read something that said basically those personal values are selfish, and contrary to the spirit of community, and democracy. The whole idea of civil liberty – allowing people, with governance, to practice their own beliefs – is falling by the wayside. Maybe the Democrats could capture that?

Ann Richards
All we have to do is ask some people, and they’ll tell us. But you have to ask them in the right way. You have to ask them a question they can actually respond to, to give you the information you need to know. People are perfectly willing to repeat things that sound good, even if it doesn’t make sense. The fact that George Bush was a “compassionate conservative” could be repeated by almost every voter in this country. One, is because he never got off message, and he said it every time he stood up. And secondly, it sounded like maybe he was a nice person.

So it’s not that complicated. You have to go ask people what really makes a difference to them, and we’ve got a lot of sophisticated ways of doing that. But the Democrats simply are unwilling to get a message and stick to it, because we’re trying so hard to have all of these participants under the big tent, and we’re so busy giving every one of them a message that will keep them under the tent, that we confuse the public. And if you want to look at a perfect example here, everybody says “Oh my goodness, look at how Bush has his head handed to him over Social Security.”

Well I want to suggest to you that he’s done a masterful job of distracting the public from the two main issues they care about more than anything else, and that’s health care and the economy. And nobody’s talking about it, because they have controlled the dialogue and made the argument over social security. So it’s not necessarily what is your cause, but also the way you control the message for your purposes. And we know how do to that! We just don’t do it.

Vermont Woman
We can get abortion rights without talking about abortion?

Ann Richards
We can get abortion rights if we can talk about it in terms that people can accept and understand – and times change! When we were working hard on the Equal Rights Amendment, we talked about abortion rights in an entirely different way. Now you have to talk about it today. That doesn’t mean you give up on it. Or give up on a woman’s right to chose, and a woman being the master of her own destiny and future. It means that your language is such that it is acceptable to the public.

Vermont Woman
So what do you think of the Bush dynasty?

Ann Richards
Not much.

Vermont Woman
You’ve been living with them a long time!

Ann Richards
I certainly have. That’s why the graduation rates from the state of Texas are the worst in the union. Kids can’t graduate from high school, because we’ve had Bush’s education program longer than the rest of the country.

I think the foreign policy and the actions of the administration have been dreadful. And I’m scared to death of the economy. And some of the really smart people I know in New York, who are supposed to know about these things, are scared to death too. To me, it’s far more significant to ask who has been the group of people who have suffered the most under this administration. How much money have they lost? How many programs have they lost if they are female or poor? What has been the impact on education?

Vermont Woman
What about that "W is for women" motto?

Ann Richards
Nobody says that here in Texas. He’s been the worst president for our health care, for our opportunities in economic advancement, for our education, for the quality of education, for our children, and I certainly can’t say that as a mother, he has been a good president in sending our young men and women to be killed. But I’ve learned that the public will accept things that are not true simply because they are said over and over again.

Women have very little opportunity to get good solid news because we know that now the Bush administration is putting out the television stories that the networks and the cable stations pick up, that most of the stuff we hear has to do with whether or not diaper rash can be affected by corn starch, or do you really need powder.

The fact that you have a print medium that is going to give them information, statistical information about what this administration is doing to the country, in particular with women, is really important. So I think it’s great if your paper is reaching a lot of women.

“Poor George – he can’t help it.
He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

Ann Richards,
1988 Democratic National Convention keynote address

Fear sells ....

Sep 12, 2006

via taken from

Fear itself
We have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot, so yesterday's fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was regarded as a bigger deal than last year's fourth or next year's sixth.

The occasion was marked by ceremonies in towns and cities across America, and by a media blitz from newspapers, TV networks and, of course, from al-Qaida itself, which despicably marked the occasion with yet another video release.

This last was predictable because our remembering 9/11 -- and staying scared -- is one of al-Qaida's major goals. This is what terrorists do: they terror-ize. Here, again, is the legal definition of "terrorism":

The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were intended to kill a lot of innocent people, and they did, but all that hideous death was meant to serve a larger intention -- "to influence an audience." Specifically, they were meant to scare us and to keep us scared.

This was a gamble on al-Qaida's part. They were gambling that the America of the early 21st century, George W. Bush's America, was populated by a much weaker breed than was the America of the 20th century, FDR's America. Bin Laden surely remembered that Imperial Japan had tried this same gambit -- the devastating sneak attack meant to demoralize -- back in 1941, and that it hadn't worked out very well. But he was gambling that Americans nowadays were made of flimsier stuff.

And for the past five years, our so-called leaders have been tripping over themselves to prove bin Laden was right. From color-coded "terror alerts," to duct-tape panics, to the fetishizing of "security," to the idea that the Constitution, due process, legal warrants and the Geneva Conventions are "quaint" relics unsuited to these insecure times, our leaders have been working hand in hand with al-Qaida to make us scared and keep us scared.

John Rogers summed this up nicely:

I cast my eyes back on the last century ...
FDR: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?

CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.
US. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike ... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!
... and I'm just a little tired of being on the wrong side of that historical arc.

One place where FDR's spirit -- "nothing to fear but fear itself" -- seems to live on is in New York City, home to ground zero itself. New Yorkers -- those actually, personally, physically affected by the Sept. 11 attacks -- haven't confused vigilance with fear, they've simply gotten back to the business of being New Yorkers. ("There are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade ...") They've had to endure the president's reluctance to fulfill his promise of financial aid. They've had to endure the lies from their government about the safety of the poisoned air they breathe. And they've had to endure five years of lectures from red-staters thousands of miles removed from ground zero about how their refusal to vote for George W. Bush demonstrates that they don't "get" the "meaning" of 9/11 as deeply as do the terrified masses in middle America.

Al-Qaida hit New York City with its very best shot and New York is still standing. For those keeping score at home that's NY, 1; AQ, 0. Game over.

But the score reads differently in the rest of the country, in places far from the destruction of ground zero al-Qaida scored big and continues to score. Credit the Bush administration with the assist.

Both intend to influence an audience. Both want to keep us so scared we can't think straight. But neither has the power to take that which we refuse to willingly surrender. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Joe Scarborough says "what" ?

The Washington Monthly, October 2006

And we thought Clinton had
no self-control

By Joe Scarborough


When The Washington Monthly reached me at my office recently, a voice on the other side of the line meekly asked if I would ever consider writing an article supporting the radical proposition that Republicans should get their brains beaten in this fall.

“Count me in!” was my chipper response. I also seem to remember muttering something about preferring an assortment of Bourbon Street hookers running the Southern Baptist Convention to having this lot of Republicans controlling America’s checkbook for the next two years.

Maybe that’s because right-wing, knuckle-dragging Republicans like myself took over Congress in 1994 promising to balance the budget and limit Washington’s power. We were a nasty breed and had no problem blaming Bill and Hillary Clinton for everything from the exploding federal deficit to male pattern baldness. I suspected then, as I do now, that Hillary Clinton herself had something to do with “Love, American Style” and “Joanie Loves Chachi.” And why not blame her? Back then, Newt Gingrich felt comfortable blaming the drowning of two little children on Democratic values. Hell. It was 1994. It just seemed like the thing to do.

The terminally rumpled Dick Armey (R-Whiskey Gulch) even went so far as to suggest that the Clintons might be Marxists, drawing an angry personal rebuke from Bubba himself. But 12 years later, it is Armey’s fellow Republicans who should be sobered by the short and ugly history of Republican Supremacy.

Under Bill Clinton’s presidency, discretionary spending grew at a modest rate of 3.4 percent. Not too bad for a Marxist, even considering that his worst instincts were tempered by a Republican Congress. (Well, his worst fiscal instincts.)

But compare Clinton’s 3.4 percent growth rate to the spending orgy that has dominated Washington since Bush moved into town. With Republicans in charge of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, spending growth has averaged 10.4 percent per year. And the GOP’s reckless record goes well beyond runaway defense costs. The federal education bureaucracy has exploded by 101 percent since Republicans started running Congress. Spending in the Justice Department over the same period has shot up 131 percent, the Commerce Department 82 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services 81 percent, the State Department 80 percent, the Department of Transportation 65 percent, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development 59 percent. Incredibly, the four bureaucracies once targeted for elimination by the GOP Congress—Commerce, Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development—have enjoyed spending increases of an average of 85 percent.

It’s enough to make economic conservatives long for the day when Marxists were running the White House.

This must all be shocking to my Republican friends who still believe our country would be a better place if our party controlled every branch of government as well as every news network, movie studio, and mid-American pulpit. But evidence suggests that divided government may be what Washington needs the most.

During the 1990s, conservative Republicans and the Clinton White House somehow managed to balance the budget while winning two wars, reforming welfare, and conducting an awesome impeachment trial focused on oral sex and a stained Gap dress.

The fact that both parties hated each another was healthy for our republic’s bottom line. A Democratic president who hates a Republican appropriations chairman is less likely to sign off on funding for the Midland Maggot Festival being held in the chairman’s home district. Soon, budget negotiations become nasty, brutish, and short and devolve into the legislative equivalent of Detroit, where only the strong survive.

But in Bush’s Washington, the capital is a much clubbier place where everyone in the White House knows someone on the Hill who worked with the Old Man, summered in Maine, or pledged DKE at Yale. The result? Chummy relationships, no vetoes, and record-breaking debts.

As a political junkie who wept bitter tears the night Jimmy Carter got elected and shouted with uncontrolled joy when Ronald Reagan whipped his sorry ass four years later, I find myself ambivalent for the first time over a national election. After six years of Republican recklessness at home and abroad, I seriously doubt Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or the aforementioned Bourbon Street hookers could spend this country any deeper into debt than my Republican Party. With any luck, Democrats will launch destructive investigations, a new era of bad feelings will break out, and George W. Bush will stop using his veto pen to fill in Rangers’ box scores and instead start using it like a conservative president should.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Government and Mainstream Media is doing Al Qaeda's work for them....

Repetition-Convulsion Syndrome
Posted by James Wolcott from

Roger Ailes--the Roger Ailes who walks in truth and light, not the one savoring the fine aroma of a cigar until he feels something stirring Down There--heaves a Krazy Kat brickbat at Alessandra Stanley for her birdbrained review of The Path to 9/11. It's difficult to imagine a more flippantly considered defense of Bush's inaction after the infamous presidential briefing paper (with the catchy headline "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.") than this fatuous analogy: "It's like focusing blame for a school shooting at the beginning of the school year on the student's new home room teacher; the adults who watched the boy torment classmates and poison small animals knew better." There's nothing the TV critics of the Times can't trivialize. Their true interest is in the minutiae of reality TV or MTV bare-navel bitchery like Laguna Beach; anything that allows them to do their perennial Maureen Dowd clever-chick shtick, and flatter the hip vacuities of the younger audience the Times has been futilely courting in its cultural coverage. That explains the extra dash of cruelty meted out to Dick Cavett in a recent review, whose vulgar crime seems to be that he got old.

Even if The Path to 9/11 were politically pure, its raison d'etre would be suspect. How many times and how many ways must the adrenaline be pumped, the tragedy replayed, and the suffering exploited? The fall of the towers has become a ritual fetish, an annual haunting, that doesn't exorcise fear, but replenishes it.

"What has changed, grotesquely, is the aftershock," Simon Jenkins writes in The Guardian, delivering a splash of cold reality. "Terrorism is 10% bang and 90% an echo effect composed of media hysteria, political overkill and kneejerk executive action, usually retribution against some wider group treated as collectively responsible. This response has become 24-hour, seven-day-a-week amplification by the new politico-media complex, especially shrill where the dead are white people. It is this that puts global terror into the bang. While we take ever more extravagant steps to ward off the bangs, we do the opposite with the terrorist aftershock. We turn up its volume. We seem to wallow in fear.

"Were I to take my life in my hands this weekend and visit Osama bin Laden's hideout in Wherever-istan, the interview would go something like this. I would ask how things have been for him since 9/11. His reply would be that he had worried at first that America would capitalise on the global revulsion, even among Muslims, and isolate him as a lone fanatic...

"In the event Bin Laden need not have worried. He would agree, as did the CIA's al-Qaida analyst in Peter Taylor's recent documentary, that the Americans have done his job for him. They panicked. They drove the Taliban back into the mountains, restoring the latter's credibility in the Arab street and turning al-Qaida into heroes. They persecuted Muslims across America. They occupied Iraq and declared Iran a sworn enemy. They backed an Israeli war against Lebanon's Shias. Soon every tinpot Muslim malcontent was citing al-Qaida as his inspiration. Bin Laden's tiny organisation, which might have been starved of funds and friends in 2001, had become a worldwide jihadist phenomenon.

"I would ask Bin Laden whether he had something special up his sleeve for the fifth anniversary. Why waste money, he would reply. The western media were obligingly re-enacting the destruction and the screaming, turning the base metal of violence into the gold of terror. They would replay the tapes and rerun the footage ad nauseam, and thus remind the world of his awesome power. Americans are more afraid of jihadists this year than last. In a Transatlantic Trends survey, the number of them describing international terrorism as an 'extremely important threat' went up from 72% to 79%...

"Bin Laden might boast that he had achieved terrorism's equivalent of an atomic chain reaction: a self-regenerating cycle of outrage and foreign-policy overkill, aided by anniversary journalism and fuelled by the grim scenarios of security lobbyists. He now had only to drop an occasional CD into the offices of al-Jazeera, and Washington and London quaked with fear. The authorities could be reduced to million-dollar hysterics by a phial of nail varnish, a copy of the Qur'an, or a dark-skinned person displaying a watch and a mobile phone."

I'll be in Cape May this 9/11, as I was on the 9/11 of 2001, and the ones before and since. I don't intend to watch any of the memorial coverage, listen to the radio, or pore over the newspaper supplements. It'll be a day for going to the beach and listening to the underlying bass of the sloshing tide, for birding in the meadow or at the hawk watch, a day for tuning out the too-talkative world. The vapor trails of jets flying overhead will be all the reminder one needs of that September morning.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Islamic Fascism" ???? LOL Where does Rove come up with this stuff ????

Friday, September 01, 2006

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There are at least three pieces of falsely based rhetoric that are beginning to emerge in the fall political campaign that need to be put into context now, early in the game.

All three are being put forward by senior U.S. government officials or Republican candidates, notably Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Pennsylvania's own nonresident peddler of nontruths, Sen. Rick Santorum.

The first of these is that any American who does not believe that the United States should stay in Iraq, to pursue President Bush's vanity war to the end and continue to lose young fighting Americans as well as burn up formidable amounts of cash, is somehow not only wrongheaded but also a traitor who does not really love freedom.

This is a scurrilous lie, insulting and a disgusting slur on good Americans -- Democrats, Republicans or independents -- who believe that it is time the nation found a way to bring an end to a war that is now more than 3 years old.

A second, very misleading, line that, notably, Republican Senate candidate Santorum is using, most recently at a talk in Harrisburg on Monday, is that America's current war is against "Islamic fascism." This concept is inaccurate and unhelpful to the United States in both of its words. Anyone with half a brain can see that Islam is by no means unified or unanimous in its support of al-Qaida, terrorism or even Hezbollah and Hamas. Think of the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Or think of Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malaysia, majority Islamic countries that have offered troops to the United Nations to stand between Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces in defending the integrity of southern Lebanon.

In addition, what is going on in the Middle East does not meet the definition of fascism. Fascism is a political philosophy, albeit a scrofulous one, and is generally a national phenomenon, not cross-national and religious in its scope.

Mr. Santorum has given no previous indication of any knowledge of foreign affairs, but waving around the words "Islamic fascism" may take the cake.

The third falsely based line that some Republicans are throwing around is an effort to draw a link between the situation in Europe in the 1930s -- Hitler, British Prime Minister A. Neville Chamberlain's 1938 Munich deal, the Holocaust carried out by Germany and other nations against the Jews of Europe -- and some Americans' advocacy of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The two situations have nothing whatsoever in common -- even the fact that Mr. Chamberlain saw himself as trying to preserve peace in Europe, whereas the Bush administration is trying to find a way to say it's been successful in Iraq despite the fact that none of its stated invasion objectives (apart from the overthrow of Saddam Hussein) have been achieved.

What would be most useful for America at this point is that its 2006 electoral campaign be waged on the basis of truths -- about its economic situation, of primary importance, as well as the current position of the United States in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Feeding lies into the system -- with claims that advocacy of withdrawal is disloyalty, "Islamic fascism" is the problem or the situation in the Middle East is like that in 1930s Europe -- is stupid and counterproductive to useful debate among competing candidates. It needs to stop now before it goes any further.