'Walk the Walk'

A few years back I joined the online grassroots activist group MoveOn.org – then 2.5 million strong. This non-partisan group became so strong and so effective, the right-wing had to demonize it, and demonize it they did. I know you’ve heard about “the MoveOn.org crowd.”

But, this post is not about MoveOn.org: it’s about ONE of the large circle of special friends I made on MoveOn.org’s “Great Goals” forum.

This special friend Jeff Noland – I simply call him “Poet” - is a writer of verse, a pool shark, a “Mr. Mom,” an intellectual and a dispenser of megalong snail-mail challenges to my grey cells.

He is philosophical, cute, kind and faithful to his friends. One of my favorite Poet stories is when he formed a water-balloon army of neighborhood kids and sent photos of the “battle.”

The Poet took a big step this morning.

Here’s what the official press release says:

“On May 31, 2007, Jeff Noland, a poet and activist from Chicago, will begin walking from his home to New Orleans to benefit Habitat for Humanity, New Orleans Area.

“Walk the Walk 2007 is a way to honor the difference between talking and doing. Fellow artists and activists from around the United States are joining Jeff along the way. Walk the Walk will initially head west towards the Great Muddy. After they hit the Iowa border, the walkers will head south, paralleling the Mississippi River to its mouth in Louisiana.

“Walk the Walk 2007’s goal is to encourage awareness and increase donations to the New Orleans area. All proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity, NOLA.”

The Poet sent me a cell-phone number to check in with him along the way, and I will post updates on the group’s progress.

He asked me to encourage all I know to support NOLA’s Habitat for Humanity through donations and volunteering.

I encouraged him to buy several pairs of the best walking shoes on the planet.

Have fun, Poet. My esteem for you continues.




Mail checks to this address and indicate “Walk the Walk” on the momo line:

New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH)
Attn: Development
POB 15052
New Orleans, LA 70175


'Morning Joe'

Kudos to Joe Scarborough, who opened "Morning Joe" this morning on MSNBC praising Don Imus and pointing out the good things the former host of the time slot has done for this country and its people.


'till it's over, over there'

Today, if young Americans stateside know anything about the wages of war their perceptions are formed from Civil War epics, old WWII movies or Vietnam era classics, such as “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now.”

There are no devil-may-care chroniclers like John Malkovich’s photographer in “The Killing Fields,” jumping around in a bomb’s aftermath, clicking away at the carnage.

There are no Joe Galloways, hopping off helicopters onto “hot” landing zones, having M-16s thrust into their hands, promising to record both bloodbath and sacrifice and doing so in books and movies.

There is a common complaint among those who thought this war was a great idea: the press doesn’t show the “good news out of Iraq.”

How in the hell can the press show the good news when reporters and photographers can’t even show the real news?

David Carr of The New York Times has written an excellent – and fair – analysis, rife with quotes, of what these recorders of war now face in Iraq.

Inherent dangers of guerilla warfare, ever-tightening government restrictions, soldiers’ privacy rights and the failure to show a true picture of war are remarkably condensed by Carr into an article both informative and thought-provoking.

Carr concludes:

“If the government chooses to overmanage the wages of war in Iraq, there is a real danger that this new generation of veterans, whose ranks grow every day, could come home to a place where their fellow Americans have little idea what they have gone through.”

If you care that young Americans are caught in a hell half a world away, let David Carr’s words speak to you: LINK


Ugliness mars beauty celebration

Confession: I love beauty pageants. I’ve never found anything wrong with celebrating beauty.

And, I do not shy away from pointing out ugliness when it arises.

Last night when Miss Japan, Riyo Mori – my pick - was crowned Miss Universe in Mexico City, something so incredulous happened that I called my sister and emailed two friends to see if I really had heard what I thought I heard.

None of the three had watched the pageant, and it was not until the Associated Press story moved around 12:30 a.m. that I discovered that, indeed, what I had heard was the huge pageant crowd booing Miss USA.

I’ve watched pageants since I was a teenager, and this was a first.

Miss USA, Rachel Smith, had slipped and fallen to the floor during the evening gown competition, but this was not what the audience booed. She was booed after being named to the top five and during the final Q&A of the pageant.

It was not enough that the gorgeous Miss Smith had fallen on her beautifully bedecked backside, the poor young woman was “booed” for things beyond her control.

I find that very painful.

Here was an audience made up of persons from all over the world, gathered for a competion owned by NBC and American Donald Trump, and they were jeering our representative en masse.

I pray Miss Smith does not take it personally. I have.

This was a reaction, plain and simple, to our unilateral and pre-emptive foreign policy – the big bully protocol of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives who have peopled their inner circle. Of this, I am certain.

Adding to the tarnishing of America’s image around the world:

* A foreign press which is not afraid – like our own – to report facts about this administration and its policies - in a timely manner.
* A growing disdain in this country for venerable and respected institutions and persons who have criticized Bush’s policies. Fox News is at the forefront of disparaging such institutions as the United Nations, the Nobel prizes and noted publications, and such individuals as the pope and former U.S. presidents, vice presidents and other public servants.
* Amnesty International has just released its 2007 report focusing on human rights concerns around the world, and now the right-wing pundits are slamming this humanitarian organization.

The Associate Press coverage of this report, which I hope you will read for Amnesty International’s criticisms of nations, its reasons for doing so and its hope for a better world, began:

“The United States is treating the globe like a giant battlefield in its war on terrorism, eroding rights worldwide, a leading human rights group said Wednesday (23 May 2007).

“Amnesty International’s secretary-general, Irene Khan, said the United States’ and its allies’ behavior was setting a destructive example for other nations, and that other countries were using the war on terrorism as an excuse to violate human rights and stifle dissent.”

AP quotes Ms. Khan:

“One of the biggest blows to human rights has been the attempt of Western democratic states to roll back some fundamental principles of human rights — like the prohibition of torture,”

AI’s report, AP continues, “condemned the United States’ response to international terrorism, saying it had done little to reduce the threat, while deepening mistrust between Muslims and non-Muslims and undermining the rule of law. The Bush administration’s policy of extraordinary rendition — the alleged practice of secretly flying terror suspects to countries where they could be tortured — came in for particularly scathing condemnation.”

“The U.S. administration’s doublespeak has been breathtakingly shameless,” the report said. “It is unrepentant about the global web of abuse it has spun in the name of counterterrorism.”

Now, dear reader, I don’t know how that makes you feel, but for me it’s devastating.

My fervent prayer is that this country will elect leaders who are dedicated to restoring our image in the world and can bring us back to Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.”

And, thank you, Miss Smith, for representing our country.


Associated Press report on the Miss Universe Pageant: LINK

Associated Press article summarizing the Amnesty International Report – a must-read: LINK

Amnesty International’s 2007 Report (PDF format): LINK


The silence is deafening

Recent polls show:

* 80 percent of Americans surveyed believe illegal immigrants should have a path to earned citizenship.
* 39 pecent of Americans believe George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be impeached. (This poll showed 41 percent of Independents believe this.)
* 67 percent of Americans want our troops brought home from Iraq.
* Bush’s job approval rating has reached a low of 28 percent in recent polling.

Why then does the U.S. media treat anyone who believes thusly or criticizes Bush’s incompetence as “the lunatic fringe” – when, in three of the four issues cited above, such persons are clearly in the majority?

Because the persons who hold a minority opinion on these same issues are the loudest and most visible.

In a 23 May 2007 New York Times piece, “A New Silent Majority,” blogger Mark Buchanan states, “Something seems a little out of whack between the mainstream media and the American people.”

Buchanan analyzes the differences between what Americans believe, how they perceive themselves and how the media reports their beliefs.

He writes:

“In pluralistic ignorance (a term coined by psychologists in the 1930s), as described by researchers Hubert O’Gorman and Stephen Garry in a 1976 paper published in Public Opinion Quarterly, ‘moral principles with relatively little popular support may exert considerable influence because they are mistakenly thought to represent the views of the majority, while normative imperatives actually favored by the majority may carry less weight because they are erroneously attributed to a minority.’

“What is especially disturbing about the process is that it lends itself to control by the noisiest and most visible.

“Psychologists have noted that students who are the heaviest drinkers, for example, tend to speak out most strongly against proposed measures to curb drinking, and act as ‘subculture custodians’ in support of their own minority views. Their strong vocalization can produce ‘false consensus’ against such measures, as others, who think they’re part of the minority, keep quiet. As a consequence, the extremists gain influence out of all proportion to their numbers, while the views of the silent majority end up being suppressed.”

So, when America’s cable news viewing audience hears such loud and visible pundits as Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs ranting against “amnesty for illegal immigrants” – as they characterize the new Senate “path to citizenship” – and believes themselves to be in the minority, when, in fact, they are “the new silent majority.”

When more than one-third of Americans consider impeachment, the media treat the idea as though it’s unthinkable.

The media do a little name-calling, too. Persons – that 67 percent of Americans – who want our troops brought home from Iraq are labeled “the far-left fringe,” “anti-war activists” or “the MoveOn.org crowd.”

For years now, the media have called any honest and Constitutionally protected criticism of George W. Bush’s policies – foreign and domestic – “Bush bashing.”

And, like Joel Chandler Harris’ ‘the tar baby,’ the new American silent majority “just sits and waits” - a mistake made at other critical times in history.

Isn’t it time to become proactive?


“A New Silent Majority,” New York Times blog, 23 May 2007: LINK


'Enquiring minds want to know'


Here are the answers to yesterday’s pop quiz:

Q: In a recent CNN poll what percentage of Americans approve of granting illegal immigrants earned citizenship?
A: 80 percent.

Q: What are “lily pads”?
A: NPR reports one scenario the Pentagon is considering would maintain a strong U.S. military presence in Iraq for several decades. This so-called "lily pad" strategy entails keeping a "series of military installations around Iraq," manned by tens of thousands of U.S. troops.

Q: Why is the head of the National Hurricane Center ticked off at superiors at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)?
A: With FEMA blaming a “lack of sufficient funds” for dragging its feet on hurricane preparedness, Bill Proenza, director of the National Hurricane Center on Tuesday "lashed out at his superiors in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration," complaining that they plan to spend $4 million on a 200-year anniversary celebration while shortchanging hurricane research by about $700,000.”

Q: What is the current minimum food stamp benefit?
A: $10 a month.

Q: The average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.22 a gallon. That ties the record established in what year?
A: 1981

Q: How many Americans are being held hostage in Iraq?
A: 27 U.S military, business personnel and contractors are being held worldwide, a figure which includes 19 in Iraq.

Q: How did Rudy Giuliani fail “Ground Zero” workers?
A. The New York Times: "As more and more workers who inhaled the dust at Ground Zero fall ill, it has become increasingly clear that much of the problem can be traced to the Giuliani administration's failure to insist that all emergency personnel and construction workers at the site wear respirators."

Q: In which state did a state senator propose deporting all illegal immigrants?
A: Georgia, Mr. Frodo!

Q: What current Bush administration official, in 1996, wrote in the American Enterprise, magazine of the conservative think tank, “"I'll never hire another woman, because they just get pregnant and leave"?
A: Bush's chief domestic policy adviser Karl Zinmeister.

Q. For extra credit: what media mogul’s daughter claims her father is motivated by "what media can do in terms of empowering individuals"?
A: News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, owner of newspapers, satellite TV, Fox TV, Fox affiliate stations, National Geographic and TV Guide channels, “American Idol” and Fox News, among a multitude of other media outlets reaching billions of people around the world.

Answers appeared in the 22 May 2007 issue of THE PROGRESS REPORT, Center for American Progress.

Click here to subscribe to this excellent daily newsletter via email: LINK


Remember pop tests?

Can you answer these 10 questions?

* In a recent CNN poll what percentage of Americans approve of granting illegal immigrants earned citizenship?
* What are “lily pads”?
* Why is the head of the National Hurricane Center ticked off at superiors at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)?
* What is the current minimum food stamp benefit?
* The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in $3.22 a gallon. That breaks the record for what year?
* How many Americans are being held hostage in Iraq?
* How did Rudy Giuliani fail “Ground Zero” workers?
* In which state did a state senator propose deporting all illegal immigrants?
* What current Bush administration official, in 1996, wrote in the American Enterprise, magazine of the conservative think tank, “"I'll never hire another woman, because they just get pregnant and leave"?
* For extra credit: what media mogul’s daughter claims her father is motivated by "what media can do in terms of empowering individuals"?

The answer to all of these questions can be found in a single issue (22 May 2007) of my favorite online newsletter. For answers: LINK

In my humble opinion, the most informative and well-documented daily newsletter on the Web is THE PROGRESS REPORT from the Center for American Progress.

The newsletter has a new “printer-friendly” format and contains links within the text to reliable sources of its information.

To stay informed on a variety of issues each day, sign up for THE PROGRESS REPORT via email: LINK


Give yourself 10 points for each answer you got without looking at the newsletter. How’d you do?


Poets' Corner

Since blog visitors rarely click on links or comments, I pulled these two comments from yesterday’s post, “How the gingrich stole the election.” Enjoy!


Out of Pennsylvania to the land so sultry;
Came our hero to practice his adultery.
At the same time consuming ice cream and beer,
He published his Contract and kissed his own rear.

From the back of the plane he shut us all down,
Then shot us the bird when he left our town.
To the zoo he left his lizards and snakes,
From our pockets it was money to Washington he takes.

As a character it's known he's really a beaut,
Is the adulterous glutton who's known as Newt.
'Tis from Satan he's actually been sent,
From this spot best it is that he went.

So, now he wanders freely,
Seeking companions for his Sealy.
Getting his followers all hot and bothered;
It is political discord that he's fathered.


Newt's adultery corroded his family.
It paralleled Clinton's infamy,
Which Newt cried, "Impeach!"
This Commander in Chief.
He's sullied our dance
Of Republican morality stance.

He lost his last bid as House Speaker,
Tucked tail, left with his power much weaker.
His immorality brought forth by truth seeker,
Who deflated his inflated ego balloon,
Exposing the world to this cheeky buffoon.

His ambitions returned like a godsend.
He made a beeline to James Dobson
To plead for adultery absolution,
"Tell the world to forgive me my sin,
And sanction me the Oval Office to win."

"You admitted your error," said Dobson.
"Three marriages should be not a problem."
"We all stick together, through all kinds of weather,"
Said Newt, "and you'll see that my message will be,
Our morals are 'Focus On The Family'."


Care to leave a little rhyme?
Any subject, take your time.
If we can’t have fun on this spinning sphere,
Then what the heck are we doing here?


'Looking down on creation'

A teenager has a “Blogspot” blog like mine. Here is her most recent post:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


We made it to the top! Now all we have to do is get back down ...

Posted by Samantha Larson at 10:25 PM

With these words, transmitted via satellite telephone from atop Mount Everest, Samantha Larson, 18, marked a number of firsts:

* She is the youngest foreigner to scale the world’s tallest mountain.
* She is the youngest person to have climbed the highest points on all the continents.
* She and her father, a Long Beach, Calif., anesthesiologist, are believed to be the only father-and-daughter team to climb all seven summits.

Samantha, who has excelled in academics, in athletics, in dance and in music – in 2001 she played her oboe atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania - has chronicled her Everest conquest on her blog: LINK

Read The Los Angeles Times article about this remarkable young woman: LINK

And, I feel like I’ve accomplished something if I wash two loads of clothes in a given day!


A bit of nonsense follows.

How the gingrich stole the election

There once was a Gingrich named Newt,
Who bided his time in pursuit
Of his party’s nod,
And, then, by God,
He would beat the Dems to boot.

He teased a Russert named Tim,
And this was just on a whim,
He’d be back in the fall
If he’d made the call
To sell the nation on him.

By then “the base” would be sick
Of the slate from which they’d pick
The one for the ticket,
And Newtie would trick it
Into thinking his platform would click.

Taxes for all he would cut.
He’d protect their collective butt,
Rally the right,
Give Dems a fight,
And restore morals (tut-tut).

Fox News would call it the truth.
Voters would race to the booth.
If Seuss were alive,
He’d not buy this jive,
And change my title, forsooth.

Bush’s days are six hundred and ten,
So work really hard, my friend,
To stop the insanity
In behalf of humanity.
May the best man or woman win!

© B.J. Trotter 2007


Our Don Imus DTs

Apparently a lot of people are wanting their morning I-man fix.

Of the almost 1,000 visits to my small blog, 400 persons from all over the country have come looking for any word they can get on Don Imus.

A visitor from High Point, N.C., put my blog link on an insidecable.com comment page, and that link alone drew 200 visitors to my post “Game of gossip or good news?” (LINK), speculation that Imus will return to broadcasting in the fall.

A check of insidecable.com yielded a new comment page with the questions:

“For those who watched it this morning, what were your impressions of David Gregory doing the “Imus slot” this morning, which was simulcast on WFAN? And, what did you think of seeing holdovers from the Imus show popping up on the air?”

To read comments of fellow I-fans: LINK
To view my posts on the I-man, see the “defending don imus links” in the left-hand column of my blog (under the photo and counters).

Come on, Capus, I like Gregory, but my morning biscuits, eggs and bacon aren’t the same without the I-man’s grit!



WFAN/New York City PD Mark Chernoff
34-12 36th Street
Astoria, NY 11106
Tel. 718 706 7690
Fax 718-361-1076
Email: pd@wfan.com

Steve Capus, Pres. NBC News
Tel. 212-664-3228
Email: steve.capus@nbc.com

Rick Kaplan, Pres. MSNBC
Tel. 201-583-5050
Fax 201-583-5179
Email: rick.kaplan@msnbc.com

Bill Wolff, VP Program.
Tel. 201-583-5008
Email: bill.wolff@msnbc.com

Jeremy Gaines, VP Comm.
Tel. 201-583-5000
Fax 201-583-5977
Email: jeremy.gaines@msnbc.com

John Boxley
Programming Producer
Tel. 818-840-4763

Fax 818-840-4275
Email: John.Boxley@nbcuni.com


A brief post follows.

'They shoot horses, don't they?'

If you didn't watch MSNBC's "Scarborough Country" last night, you missed poor Juan Hernandez up against, as they say in the military, "a numerically superior force."

Regardless of your stance on the immigration issue, you had to feel sorry for Juan, who, attempting to defend the Senate's "Z visa" plan, found himself broadsided by the frothing and howling anti-"amnesty" discourse of Joe Scarborough, Michael Reagan and Pat Buchanan.

Now, that's "fair and balanced."

After Pat's seemingly interminable rant, Juan attempted to get a word in edgewise, "Pat, Pat, Pat." "Shut up for just a second, Juan," Pat harshly interjected before going on and on about how this "amnesty" is going to spread crime and disease and destroy the America we have known - in "two decades."

If the 12 million illegal immigrants are already IN the country, how is granting them a path to citizenship suddenly going to spread crime and disease?

And, the America I've known hasn't been the same since Dubya took office.

For a few minutes, I found myself thinking somebody ought to put Pat out of his misery. They shoot horses, don't they?

I tell you, dear readers, beginning with Joe's opening volley, I heard more SPIN in the first 15 minutes of this show than I've heard on Fox News in an hour.

To Pat's credit, he did apologize for telling Juan to "shut up," and Juan graciously accepted.

This is, indeed, a hot topic, but one in which serious study and cool heads should prevail.

I could not bring myself to watch CNN's Lou Dobbs implode.


WH muzzles watchdog board

Can grounds for impeachment be “a sum of parts?” If so, they’re adding up. This is a story you won’t want to ignore.

Deputy Attorny General Paul McNulty wasn’t the only person in the Bush administration to announce his resignation this week. Ever heard of Lanny Davis?

Who is Lanny Davis, what was his job and why is his resignation important?

Davis appeared on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” MSNBC, 15 May 2007, to tell his story. Transcript: LINK

Olbermann introduced him thusly, “Only this White House could have a watchdog group dedicated to making sure civil liberties are not muzzled as part of the counterterrorist effort, and then try to muzzle that watchdog group. Lanny Davis … has just resigned from the group in protest.”

Why Davis resigned

Davis resigned Monday from the president’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, “claiming the White House tried to influence the board‘s legally required annual report to Congress on its own efforts to make sure that counterterrorism efforts do not trample on privacy and individual rights.”

Davis was special counsel to President Bill Clinton and the only Democrat on the five-member board,

This watchdog group, appointed to look out for privacy and civil liberties in the war against terrorism, issued an annual report to Congress on the deterioration of those liberties, and the White House tried to “muzzle” its findings, making more than 200 revisions to the 49-page document.

Davis told The Washington Post “he no longer believed the five-member board was sufficiently independent to provide robust oversight of controversial government surveillance programs.”

Who is ultimately responsible for fixing the problem?

“I have to start by saying that this is a genuine difference of opinion,” Davis told Olbermann. “The White House counsel Fred Fielding, who was on the 9/11 Commission, disagreed with the process of editing and deleting aspects of our report to Congress. But, there are people in the White House and in the administration who saw this legislation putting us in the Office of the President as creating a board that was part of the White House staff - no different than anybody else. And, that was their opinion.

“My opinion was that the Congress intended us to provide real oversight, but in-house criticism and review of some of these programs that might have infringed on civil liberties, such as the national security letters, which the inspector general of the Justice Department did say constituted serious abuses. Now, that difference of opinion, with the White House counsel actually agreeing with my view, means that the real problem is Congress in creating what is a square peg in a round hole, putting what should be an oversight independent entity in the Office of the President.

“So I don‘t impugn any motives or bad faith to people who edited this report. I am looking to Congress to fix this problem. I originally thought, genuinely thought we could be independent within the Office of the President. As it turns out, it just does not work that way. Congress now needs to fix that problem.”


The Bush White House has been described as the most secretive in history. Why the attempt to cover up infringements upon the privacy and civil liberties of Americans? And, more important, why this penchant for secrecy and spying on civilians?

The development of this important story

The 9/11 Commission, which recommended establishment of the Board, openly criticized its annual report, saying the Board “did not do its job.” The Washington Post, 10 May 2007: LINK

The Bush White House made more than 200 revisons to the Board's first report to Congress, The Washington Post, 15 May 2007: LINK

Lanny Davis quits, The Washington Post, 15 May 2007: LINK


On a lighter NOTE, see next post.

'DC Idol'

“Countdown with Keith Olbermann” is running its own version of the popular “American Idol.” Click on this link and vote for your favorite “DC Idol” music star: LINK (Scroll down and click on "Countdown's DC Idol.")


Scandal redux

Out of the mind of political genius Karl Rove comes this unique idea:

“Hey, George, all those scandals from your first administration have had a very positive effect. And, by God, it’s still working! There have been so many the media jump on the latest, thus burying the last. An electorate with the attention span of a garden slug can’t keep up with them all. That’s a good thing.”

"You're the man, Turd Blossom."

Salon.com’s archives contain a remarkable piece of journalism: summaries of the 34 scandals of the first four years of Bush’s presidency, along with their outcomes. LINK

Lewis “Scooter” Libby. CIA operative outed. Journalists paid for pro-Bush propaganda pieces. Jeff Gannon/James Guckert (remember him?). Jack Abramoff. Rep. Mark Foley and the page sex scandal. Tom DeLay. Alberto Gonzales and “Attorneygate.”

Truly hard to keep up.

And, there’s still the matter of those “16 words” – remember, the ones which allowed George and Dick and Condi to conjure images of smoking guns in the form of mushroom clouds and spawned the unilateral, pre-emptive invasion of Iraq?

Here’s a follow-up from the 15 May 2007 issue of The Progress Report (LINK), Center for American Progress:

“Former CIA Director George Tenet has agreed to cooperate with a House investigation into the White House's fraudulent pre-war claim that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapon.

“That assertion - the infamous ‘16 words’ in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address - was a critical part of the administration's case for war.

“In a new statement, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced that Tenet will provide a deposition on the issue and testify before the committee on June 19: ‘Mr. Tenet has agreed to cooperate with the Committee's inquiry into whether the White House overstated Iraq's efforts to obtain uranium from Africa and its nuclear threat in making the case for war. Mr. Tenet has agreed to provide a deposition to the Committee prior to the hearing.’

“Under Tenet, the CIA had debunked the claims about uranium and Niger months before the 2003 State of the Union. The CIA ‘even demanded it be taken out of two previous presidential speeches.’ Tenet now says the 16 words made it into the State of the Union because he delegated the review of that speech to his deputies.

“Tenet has been far more willing to discuss the Niger claims than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Waxman has been forced to subpoena Rice to appear at the hearing along with Tenet, and thus far Rice maintains she will not comply, claiming she has already answered Waxman's questions ‘in full.’

“Also last month, the State Department refused to allow intelligence analyst Simon Dodge to be interviewed by House investigators; weeks before the 2003 State of the Union, Dodge examined the documents supposedly from Niger and determined they were ‘probably a hoax’ and ‘clearly a forgery.’"


A few words about last night’s GOP debate follow in the next post.

George who?

Around 6 last night I got back to Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby,” listening to tapes until I fell asleep around 10.

When my cat Oliver woke me at 1 a.m., I realized I had forgotten the GOP debate, which took place a two-hour drive away at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Watched the re-airing of Hannity’s and Colmes’ post-debate coverage, then at 3 a.m., the debate itself, with Fox News’ Brit Hume moderating.

Just a few observations:

Much talk about another 9/11-type attack, torture, border security/border fence – all with a common denominator of fearmongering.

The most exciting moments came when Congressman Ron Paul of Texas dared to suggest we were attacked on 9/11 not because Islamic terroists “hate our way of life,” but because of festering hatrid of our Middle East policies over the last half century. Rudy Giuliani went ballistic - without moderator intervention. Entertaining stuff.

Viewers, asked to vote via text messaging, selected Ron Paul as the debate winner, and Sean Hannity kept muttering, “Ron Paul did not win this debate,” then went into a diatribe about the inaccuracies of text messaging.

In a post-debate interview, Hannity employed his technique of hammering Paul with repetitious questions, drowning out the congressman’s explanation of his remarks.

The name George W. Bush was never spoken.


Angst and awakening

This post is extremely personal in nature. Those who engage in political dialogue with me know I occasionally am overwhelmed with angst for my country and its future.

I know and hold dear a large number of persons who solely depend on Fox News and folks like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity for news and political analysis.

To my chagrin, these people, having been indoctrinated for years to distrust alternative sources, absolutely refuse to read or listen to facts.

Hence, the one person in the world I would expect to read my blog and take pride in my efforts has made it clear there is no intention of doing so.

This is a blow to a journalist who fully documents every link-laden post.

I struggle every day to get at truth – to “peel away layers of obfuscation” as a magazine commercial puts it. I pursue truth, not to prove a point or validate my views, but because such pursuit is my obligation and my privilege as a citizen of a free society.

People closest to me have turned hostile and left me incommunicado - for no other reason than the difference in our protected political beliefs.

How can a nation be healed when a large cadre of right-wing broadcasters are telling adherents that, for love of country, they must distrust and despise their fellow Americans?

Fox News hammers this distrust home to its “fans.” Any evidence to the contrary, facts are rejected as fabrication – no matter how credible and venerable the source.

I had the good fortune recently to watch Bill Moyers’ return to PBS – a 90-minute special about media shortcomings in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. What Moyers presented came directly from the mouths of media representatives themselves, freely admitting failures.

Bill O’Reilly immediately attacked, calling Moyers a member of “the far-left fringe,” words which forment fear in his “Factor” fans. This man’s documented lies are legend, yet he tells viewers who they should or should not believe.

Nothing in my journalism education, training or work prepared me for persons who reject facts.

I wrestle with all this constantly – this malaise of the heart – and turn for comfort to the words of an old poem.

The poet is Rabindranath Tagore of India, Nobel Laureate in Literature for 1913.

Here is Tagore’s poem in its English translation:

Where the Mind is without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by Thee
Into ever-widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, Let my country awake!


Press in a Catch-22

Bill Press should have seen it coming on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” (CNN).

The former liberal half of MSNBC’s “Buchanan and Press” and now host of his own show on Sirius Satellite Radio, was broadsided by a couple of conservatives

The subject was, well, to be honest, “is the press unfair to George W. Bush and Republicans?” - particularly when it comes to reporting that little skirmish in the Middle East known as Iraq.

To put this post in context, one would have to read the entire segment transcript, and here it is if you’re interested: LINK. I’ll try to recap:

Host Howard Kurtz aired quite a few video clips of TV anchors and reporters, his setup for the “unfair coverage” question.

This quote from Kurtz set the tone of the segment: “Bush clearly under pressure on the war. But, are the media portraying him as being in a somewhat desperate situation?”


Did the press blow all out of proportion the story NBC’s Tim Russert broke about 11 Republican congressmen telling the president of the United States and his top aides “there is no longer any credibility” in what they have to say about Iraq?

Syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham (“The Laura Ingraham Show”) opined that the press love it when Republicans eat their own, just can’t get enough of such stories.

Right here is where The Congressional Quarterly’s Craig Crawford would step in waving a copy of his book, “Shoot the Messenger.”

Lordy, lordy, the lady Ingraham declared, from the tone of Russert’s report I thought they had captured bin Laden!

So, telling the president his word on Iraq isn’t worth a Crawford cow chip is NOT newsworthy, Ms. Ingraham?

Bill Press correctly labeled Russert’s report a news story.

Then, Kurtz showed another slew of video clips - journalists commenting on Bush’s sudden acceptance of possible “benchmarks” for Iraq. Kurtz said the media portrayed Bush as, golly gee, “backpedaling.”

As for a possible ethnic cleansing or bloodbath if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, Kurtz wondered, “Do you think it's not been confronted because the press has largely turned against this war?”

“Well, duh!” sums up Ms. Ingraham’s answer.

Now, here comes the part that got this retired journalist’s hackles up:

PRESS: I beg to differ. Look, the media, in large part, gave us this war, because they went along and repeated everything that George Bush said without asking tough questions. And, I'm even talking about The New York Times.

KURTZ: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

INGRAHAM: Oh, come on. That's ridiculous.

KURTZ: Now, it is certainly true that everybody at every news organization I've talked to said that the media were not aggressive enough during the run-up to war. But, you're saying they “gave us this war?” That we ...

PRESS: Wait. I'll repeat what I said.

KURTZ: We would not have gone to war had it not been for the press?

PRESS: In part, they are responsible for this war, because they didn't do their job. And, yes, I do believe that they - if they had asked the questions and more - and American people knew what the truth was, as opposed to the propaganda we're getting from the White House, I think there would not have been the support for the war.

INGRAHAM: Now, the press is supposed to be an intelligence agency, too?

PRESS: No, just tell the truth.

INGRAHAM: I mean, every intelligence agency in the world thought there were WMD.

(BJ: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. I was reading everything I could online, and it’s simply SPIN that all intelligence pointed to WMD. “U.N. weapons inspectors arrived in Baghdad for the first time in four years on Nov. 27, 2002, and resumed inspections two days later. During four months of inspections, arms experts traveled the length of the country hunting for banned weapons of mass destruction.” LINK On 18 March 2003, 56 UN weapons inspectors along with UN support personnel, totaling 150 persons, flew out of Saddam International Airport at 10:25 a.m. Baghdad time. The U.S. invasion of Iraq began on 19 March 2003 at 9:25 p.m. ET. No WMD were found in the four months UN inspectors were “on the ground” in Iraq - or since.)

PRESS: Tell the truth. Ask questions. Don't just take it and swallow it.

INGRAHAM: Well, their answers would have been: they have WMD.

KURTZ: Why don't we have you both back here to debate this?

INGRAHAM: Oh, no. We love each other. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.

KURTZ: Thanks so much for joining us.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr. Press is a man of great restraint. To Ms. Ingraham’s cheery greeting, I would have retorted, “Well, all those mothers who aren’t grieving over children lost or still fighting in Iraq.”


The duplicity of Rupert Murdoch

A few years back I read a magazine article about Rupert Murdoch in which one of his close friends was quoted as saying the media mogul is a “liberal.”

When I bring that up, people scoff.

I tell them Rupert Murdoch is not about politics or ideology; he’s about power and money.

Much like the millionaires of The Gilded Age, he attained money and power because he saw a need and met it. Rush Limbaugh was knocking ‘em dead on the radio, and Murdoch used his resources to kick off Fox News.

In the fall, his FoxBiz, a 24-hour cable business channel, will rival CNBC and give conservative viewers more of what they’ve come to expect from Fox News.

Murdoch is news himself. Over the last few days, there have been stories about his $6 billion bid to buy out Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, both of which would be nice supplements to FoxBiz. The Bancroft family, leading Dow Jones shareholders, are saying “No dice.” LINK

On Wednesday, Murdoch announced that News Corp has launched a major initiative aimed at bringing its carbon emissions count, or “carbon footprint,” down from 641,150 tons to zero by 2010.

In taking the initiative, Murdoch said climate change could have devastating effects. Read how he plans to achieve his goal: LINK

Murdoch is one of the “Featured Members” of former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative, or CGI. Members pledge to do something over a period of 10 years that will improve the world. (For a list of all the featured members: LINK)

From the CGI Web site (LINK):

“The Clinton Global Initiative is a non-partisan catalyst for action, bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

It’s not clear if Murdoch’s effort to eliminate global warming is part of his CGI pledge. While members are profiled on the CGI Web site, I could find no information there about individual pledges. (It’s possible I couldn’t see the link.)

I don’t get Rupert Murdoch.

It’s apparent he set Fox News into motion, then put Roger Ailes at the helm to handle its programming.

Fox News’ entire cadre of anchors and talk-show hosts want its viewers to believe globabl warming is a joke.

Brit Hume yuck-yucks the issue every chance he gets. Sean Hannity loves to make fun of Al Gore’s climate change efforts. None would admit to seeing "An Inconvenient Truth."

How does Rupert Murdoch justify his commendable efforts to reduce carbon emissions with his flagship Fox News’ propaganda that human beings have nothing to do with global warming?

And, how does he sleep at night?


'... no longer any credibility'

NBC and MSNBC called it a “bulletin.”

“Bulletin” is the strongest term used in measuring the importance of breaking news.

News important enough to be reported by NBC’s Washington Bureua Chief and host of “Meet the Press” Tim Russert.

Here’s what Russert said. But, even more important is the tenor of his voice as he reported.

If you missed the report, please view the the video, via the link at the end of this post, for its full impact.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC Nightly News: Tonight we’re also able to report new and exclusive details on the politics of the war in Iraq, specifically involving President Bush and members of his own party. For that we are joined by our Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert. What do we know?

TIM RUSSERT: Brian, all eyes on the Republican Party. How long will they support the president’s position on the Iraq war? Yesterday may have been a defining pivotal moment. At 2:30 in the afternoon in the private quarters of the White House, the Salarium room, 11 Republican congressmen had a private meeting with the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the chief political adviser Karl Rove and the White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and others. It was headed by Mark Kirk of Illinois and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. It was, in the words of one of the parties, “the most unvarnished conversation they’ve ever had with the president.” Another member said he has met with three presidents and never has been so candid. They told the president, and one said, “My district is prepared for defeat. We need candor, we need honesty, Mr. President.” The president responded, “I don’t want to pass this off to another president. I don’t want to pass this off, particularly, to a Democratic president,” underscoring he understood how serious the situation was.

Brian, the Republican congressman then went on to say, “The word about the war and its progress cannot come from the White House or even you, Mr. President. There is no longer any credibility. It has to come from Gen. Petraeus.”

The meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and was, in the words of one, “remarkable for the bluntness and no-holds-barred honesty in the message delivered by all these Republican congressmen.”

WILLIAMS: And Tim, in the seconds remaining, how did the president react, and how then did this affect the instructions for Vice President Cheney heading off to Iraq.

RUSSERT: One congressman said, “How can our sons and daughters spill their blood while the Iraqi government goes on vacation?” The president responded, “The vice president is over there to tell them, do not go on vacation.”

WILLIAMS: Tim, as always, thanks. Transcript: LINK

Now, listen to TV veteran Russert as he gives the report. Its news value is apparent. Video: LINK

At 8:30 a.m., White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough this report is "much ado about nothing." We'll see.


A second, brief post follows.

Game of gossip or good news?

The Congressional Quarterly’s Craig Crawford told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough this morning that Don Imus had talked with frequent MSNBC contributor and sub host Mike Barnacle of Boston and had told Barnacle he had “a deal to come back in the fall,” presumable to MSNBC.

That’s hearing it through the grapevine, and Barnacle’s veracity has been challenged in the past, but I hope the report is true.

Maybe all it took to convince NBC President Steve Capus and the other suits of what they had in the I-man is the string of guest hosts MSNBC has tried out in the morning time slot since he was fired.

UPDATE, 5/11/2007:

In the last 24 hours, I've had about 100 visitors to this post via a single link. If you support Don Imus and hope he returns to broadcasting, please scroll down the left hand column of my blog, below my photo and counters and check out the links to all my I-man posts under "defending Don Imus." Thanks! B.J.



There’s a spot on my bookcases waiting for its occupant to arrive, to take its place alongside six which came before.

By way of a google.com search, looking for a copy of Andrei Codrescu’s “Introduction” to John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces,” I stumbled across a Web site that wouldn’t let me go.

This book lover’s site had open threads for reader comments – categories such as favorite books, the book I always intended to read, books I could not bring myself to finish.

On the site was a formula of sorts: multiply the number of books you read in a week by 52, then multiply the result by the number of years since you first began to read.

By that calculation, I must have read 9,360 books, give or take a few.

By the same formula, I might be able to get in a few thousand more in my lifetime.

I cannot shake the feeling, though, to paraphrase David Letterman’s remark about movies, that “There’s just too damn many books.”

So, which book or, in this case, author would I recommend for sheer reading pleasure, for escape into the world of a magical and masterful imagination?

The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling.

I read her first three books, then listened to the next three on Talking Books for the Blind. Although I could no longer see to read them, I kept adding to my bookcase.

Rowling’s seventh and final book in the series will be released on 21 July, and I’ve already preordered it online.

Seems a little silly I suppose, but I just keep buying books!

Amazon.com announced yesterday that 1 million copies of Rowling’s seventh book have been preordered. Barnes and Noble reported in April prerelease sales of 500,000, the most in its history for a single book. LINK

There have been other stories of the small and seemingly insignificant overcoming the forces of evil.

David slew Goliath. The hobbit Frodo freed Middle Earth from the destructive minions of Mordor. Childhood losers Bill, Mike, Ben, Eddie, Ritchie and Beverly came together as adults, after the death of their pal Stan, to kill “IT!” in my favorite Stephen King book.

None so capture the imagination as do the friends and foes, the gadgets and games, the potions and portals, the creatures and witchcraft that fill the school days of the kid with the funny glasses and the lightning-bolt scar on his forehead.

Is there any place on the planet or under the heavens where I can avoid hearing all about the final days at Hogwarts in the monhths BEFORE the book comes out on tapes for the blind?


Book I: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book II: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book III: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book IV: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book V: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Book VI: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Book VII: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Numbers crunching

Fox News’ crystal ball

On Sunday at 2 p.m., Fox News “Breaking News” reported just SECONDS after polls closed in the French presidential election that the conservative candidate would be the winner and “that will lead to better relations with the United States.”

Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy won the election with 53 percent of the vote, defeating Socialist Segolene Royal.

A victorious Sarkozy said he wanted to tell his "American friends that they can rely on our friendship ... France will always be next to them when they need us." He added, "Friends can think differently."

CNN reports Sarkozy called on the U.S. "not to impede" in the fight against global warming. "On the contrary, they must lead this fight because humanity's fate is at stake here." LINK

Thought police

Did the right-wing watch the Republican candidates debate on MSNBC on Thursday night, 3 May 2007? Why would they when they could tune in to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and let him do their thinking for them? According to the Nielsen Ratings, during the first hour of the 90-minute debate, O’Reilly pulled 2,314,000 viewers while MSNBC, which aired the debate, had 1,762,000 viewers. During the last 30 minutes of the debate, Fox News’ “Hannity and Colmes” had 1,548,000 viewers. LINK

Dubya out of Time

Time magazine (LINK) has bumped George W. Bush from its 4th annual list of “100 Most Influential People.” Bush had made the previous three annual lists. Only two persons have made the list all four times: Condoleezza Rice and Oprah Winfrey.

The right-wing is crying foul. One moxie pundit said Time is the “new Mad magazine.”

Time, whose criteria for selection is “the men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming our world," apparently is making a statement.

Newsweek poll grim for GOP

The 27 questions of the Newsweek poll of registered voters, released 5 May 2007, show the three leading Democratic presidential hopefuls ahead in every matchup with the top GOP candidates.

George W. Bush’s job approval rating is at 28 percent with only 25 percent of Americans “satisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time.”

I highly recommend you take a few minutes to examine the 27 questions of this poll. Scroll down the page for results: LINK


GOP: 'Win one for The Gipper'

A few observations on the GOP debate last night:

The debate kicked off with all candidates, save Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, sounding a lot like neocons ready to rumble with iran.

Overall, while I did not agree with most of their answers, I thought all 10 candidates were well prepared. There were, in my opinion, no clear winners or losers.

Mitt Romney flubbed his answer to the question, “What do you dislike most about America?” I thought he was writing a new national anthem extolling America's greatness. He missed an opportunity to say how he would right her wrongs and might have mentioned how divided her people are.

All supported the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Giuliani said repeal would be “OK.” When pressed, he said the decision should be left to “the Court.” When asked to clarify his answers, he said, “Ultimately, it’s the woman’s choice.”

Sam Brownback said the day the landmark Supreme Court ruling is overturned would be a "glorious day of human liberty and freedom."

The slate saw a question about whether Bill Clinton should move back into the White House as an opening to attack the candidate they apparently consider most formidable - Hillary.

The majority said they believed in evolution, although moderator Chris Matthews said three – Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo - tried to demur, but were unable to because of time limits. (Apparently, these three raised their hands when Matthews asked who did NOT believe in evolution. I could not see the show of hands.)

John McCain qualified his belief in evolution with a comment about feeling God’s presence in the Grand Canyon. I’ve had the same feelings in the Appalachian and Smoky mountains just north of me - the oldest in the world, having begun to form billions of years ago.

Number of times (I counted them) the candidates evoked the name Ronald Reagan: 26.

Comparisons of America to Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.” 2.

Number of times the candidates specifically used the name George W. Bush: once, in responding to whether Lewis “Scooter” Libby should be pardoned. (All but Paul endorsed a pardon.)

The least relevant issue of the night, a question submitted by visitors to politico.com, involved mothers in prison,

For me, the most bizarre moment came with John McCain’s Captain Ahab vow to chase Osama bin Laden “to the gates of hell,” followed by his Cheshire cat grin.


Hope you will stick around and read my next post – somewhat briefer and a lot weirder!

'Let's play oddball'

You learn something new every day - in this case, a little insight into two of the GOP candidates:

Mitt Romney, in a 29 April interview on Fox News (LINK), said his favorite novel is L. Ron Hubbard’s “Battlefield Earth.” Rather odd that a Mormon would so enjoy a book by the founder of scientology. I haven’t read the book, but the movie ranked right up there with “Ishtar” and “Hudson Hawk” as a waste of film and studio vehicles.

Yesterday MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson played an audio of Rudy Giuliani’s “Ferret Freakout.” With Giuliani declaring everyone from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad to a New York City ferret owner insane, you’d better take a listen to this short audio. You decide. (LINK) Go down the page on the left and click on “MP3 of Rudy Giuliani’s Ferret Rant”


Gather ye soundbites while ye may

Tune in tp MSNBC tonight at 8 EDT (5 PDT) to hear 10 GOP presidential hopefuls take their best shot at a good soundbite.

On stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., will be the Messrs. Brownback, Gilmore, Giuliani, Huckabee, Hunter, McCain, Paul, Romney, Tancredo and Thompson.

10 candidates. 90 minutes. And, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews as moderator.

With Matthews’ penchant for talking over everyone else and cutting folks off mid-sentence, he will have to exercise great personal restraint if the candidates are to get in the proverbial word edgewise.

Matthews tends to get so caught up in “historical events,” delivering verbal orgasms, he forgets to throw the hardballs he’s famous for.

The top issues tonight? Well, according to neoconsevative Steve Forbes’ magazine (LINK), they are: “Iraq, immigration, taxes, abortion, gay marriage and terrorism.”

One war, three hot-button issues, that old standard “taxes” and the ever-present fearmongering. Where are the issues which affect Americans every day?

Keep an eye on the elephants not in the room tonight: Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson.


“The Politico” (politico.com) will stream the debate live, and viewers will be able to question the candidates via the Internet. (LINK)

For in-depth profiles of the candidates, including links to archived articles, visit MSNBC’s debate page: (LINK)

In a discussion of Ronald Reagan's impact on tonight's debate, politico.com's Mike Allen told Chip Reid on MSBNC: "Of course, at the time, Ronald Reagan was no Ronald Reagan. He's been very much idealized."


'his hour upon the stage'

Four years after that absurd photo op beneath the “Mission Accomplished” banner have Americans learned nothing about the “Wag the Dog,” orchestrated antics of the Buffoon in Chief?

Early risers yesterday heard the breaking news that the top al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, had been killed, according to Iraq’s Interior Ministry.

That sent a message across America that Bush’s war escalation is working.

As my post for April 30 - and its Monday update - pointed out, al Qaeda, Osama bin Ladne and references to 9/11 have filled the news of late.

Almost enough to make you blur the distinction between Saddam’s prewar Iraq and bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks.

At the end of that early morning news report, there followed, almost as an afterthought, a brief mention that the death of al-Masri, who succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, “has not been confirmed by U.S. and Iraqi officials.” (LINK)

Perfect story, though, to kick off Showdown Day.

Bush put on his Commander in Chief mantle to speak to the CENTCOM Coalition Conference before returning to the White House late in the afternoon to veto Congress’ Iraq War Supplement.

He then asked for – and got – TV time to defend his veto. (LINK)

Bush said the legislation “would be setting a date for failure.” Mr. Bush, that date has long since passed.

The bill, he told the viewing audience, “would impose impossible conditions on our commanders in combat. After forcing most of our troops to withdraw, the bill would dictate the terms on which the remaining commanders and troops could engage the enemy. That means American commanders in the middle of a combat zone would have to take fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. This is a prescription for chaos and confusion, and we must not impose it on our troops.”

Why the sudden interest, Mr. Bush, in imposing such Washington-based “chaos and confusion” on our troops? Under your command, this has been SOP for years.

Two significant words of the speech were “progress,” which Bush continues to insist is being made in Iraq, and “urgency,” the false implication that our troops are out of funds.

And, here it comes: “Al Qaeda - al Qaeda's role makes the conflict in Iraq far more complex than a simple fight between Iraqis. It's true that not everyone taking innocent life in Iraq wants to attack America here at home. But, many do. Many also belong to the same terrorist network that attacked us on September 11th, 2001 - and wants to attack us here at home again. We saw the death and destruction al Qaeda inflicted on our people when they were permitted a safe haven in Afghanistan. For the security of the American people, we must not allow al Qaeda to establish a new safe haven in Iraq.

Sir, if you had only listened to all those who were warning of this before your pre-emptive and unilateral invasion of Iraq.

Please stop using 9/11 to justify what you’ve done to innocent Iraqis, to our troops, our country and the world.

Last night I visited the White House Web site (LINK) to be sure I got your words right, and there, juxtaposed with your veto story and prominently displayed, were statements titled “Emergency War Spending” and “Global War on Terror.”

Please stop linking Iraq and 9/11 – a link which never existed before you got the brilliant notion that war in Iraq would bring peace to the Middle East.

You owe the victims of that fateful day, their loved ones and all of us who grieved for them that much.


A teen's touching letter

From The New York Times, 29 April 2007 (LINK):

Young Voters and Bush

To the Editor:

Re. “Those Young People, They’re So Unpredictable” (Week in Review,
April 22):

I am 18 years old, and I find some of the results of your poll of
young Americans troubling. Nevertheless, I can think of a possible
reason why many young people approve of the president and the Iraq war.

No young American wants to believe that his or her leader and role
model would fabricate an entire war for political gain and then
invoke it to further policies that not only fail to address reality
but also repress people who are different, or who just disagree with

How can this be true?

The answer is that we are in denial. It is very difficult to face the
fact that the people responsible for our nation’s welfare have made
wrong decisions on our behalf. Our generation has yet to confront the
fact that George W. Bush has been a terrible father to our nation.

Now we need to become real men and women and stand up to him.

Ben Smail
Madison, Wisconsin

April 22, 2007