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Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, October 2, 2006


Just a Bunch O' Freekin' Liars

"What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible,"
-Former National Security Advisor and current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, responding to charges made against her and the Bush administration in the new Bob Woodward book "State of Denial"

It appears that former CIA head George Tenant warned Rice about an impending al-Qaeda attack months before the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Condi says it never happened, although her denial is a little less than emphatic. The meeting took place on July 10, 2001 between Rice, Tenant and top CIA counter-terrorism official, Cofer Black.

"I don't know that this meeting took place, but what I really don't know, what I'm quite certain of, is that it was not a meeting in which I was told there was an impending attack and I refused to respond,"


In other words, Rice claims that this meeting never took place. But if it did take place, she doesn't remember it. And if she did remember it, they didn't talk about any upcoming al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. And if we did talk about an upcoming al-Qaeda terrorist attack... You get the point.

According to Rice, she met with the then CIA director daily and she couldn't possibly remember all of those meetings. But this was a different meeting. because Tenant brought his top counter-terrorism officer. So, either this officer was always at the side of Tenant or Rice is lying. I believe the latter.

"It kind of doesn't ring true that you have to shock me into something I was very involved in,"

But the truth is that the Bush administration wasn't "involved" in actively searching for Osama bin-Laden or al-Qaeda. We know this is true for many reasons. First, also occurring in July of 2001, the President's Daily Briefing (PDB) entitled "Bin-Laden determined to Strike in US", was ignored by Rice and the Bush administration, with Rice calling it "an historical document". Next, the demotion and minimalization of the NSA's top anti-terrorism official Richard Clarke, who was the constant voice warning of an impending terrorist attack on US soil. And, finally, the well-known fact of which there can be no doubt that Job-One for the Bushies was the invasion and occupation of Iraq. By the Bush administration's own admission, we know that all of the above are true.

The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) called for a "new Pearl Harbor" which, they predicted, would then give the new (Bush) administration the clout to achieve their "goals". Remember that many of the PNAC signors were inducted into the Bush Hall of Sham, along with Jeb Bush, "Ws "brother, governor of Florida and eventual GOP presidential candidate.

Ignoring the cumulative signs of an al-Qaeda attack was either ignorance by the Bushies or their strategy all along. It makes my blood boil just thinking that all of these signs and warnings were ignored by the Bushies, thus making the victims of 9/11 mere sacrifices for a Bush-led GOP cause.

It was like "holding a gun to her head",
-Bob Woodward from NBC's "Today Show", referring to the emphasis that Tenant and Black placed on their warning to Rice

"Black reportedly laid out secret intercepts and other data "showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. Tenet was so worried that he called Rice from his car and asked to see her right away,"
-An Associated Press article by Anne Gearan titled "Rice: No memory of CIA warning of attack"

"Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off."

"the supposed meeting"
"I remember that George was very worried and he expressed that. We were all very worried because the threat reporting was quite intense. The problem was that it was also quite nebulous."

So does that mean the meeting actually did take place, or is this also just something "historic"? Calling the meeting "nebulous", or vague, just goes along with the Bush administration "strategy" of minimalizing everything as a form of denial. They have perfected it almost like a science.

Too bad that trigger lock was engaged. Wouldn't you all have loved to have been a fly on the wall both during the Rice-Tenant-Black meeting, and then afterwards, when Tenant and Black were riding alone in a separate car? The latter must have sounded something like this:
BLACK: What do we do now, Chief?
TENANT: Nothing. They must have their reasons for being so dense.
BLACK: What could those reasons possibly be, Chief?
TENANT: I don't know, but maybe they'll give me the Medal of Freedom, or something, if I keep my mouth shut. Maybe I'll even write a book and go on a lecture tour!

Nothing appears ever to be the Bush administration's fault. No warning is ever stern enough, unless there is a vote to be had or a dollar to be stolen. The fact is that 9/11 happened under the blind eye of the Bushies. It's my opinion the reason that a terrorist attack such as this hadn't happened under the Clinton administration was due to their vigilance. There can be no doubt that the eight month period which started the day the Bushies took control to September 11, 2001 gave the terrorists the opportunity and confidence to pull off their horrific attacks. And not killing or capturing Osama bin-Laden when they had the chance after-the-fact, along with the failed planning of a post-war Iraq, has emboldened the terrorists even more.

There is no oversight in a GOP-led congress controlled by the Bushies. We have no way of changing the Bushies' failed course while they lead the nation. There is no way to make them pay attention to what is really important to the American people and the world as a whole while they have no opposition in congress. This is a bad administration with the interests of no one but themselves, and their Bush "base" of "haves and have mores" at heart.

The Bushies are constantly taking "credit" for the lack of another terror attack on US soil by informing us that there has been no such attack since 9/11. This diminishes the loss of life on 9/11 and the sacrifices our troops are making in Afghanistan and Iraq today. At the same time, the Bushies are constantly preparing us for the next big terror attack, and avoiding taking responsibility for it, by telling us that we can be right one thousand times, but the terrorists only have to be right once. Since 9/11, in Spain, London and India, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan, the terrorists have been "right" many more times than once. But, as long as no one blows up the Sears Tower or the Space Needle, the Bushies feel that everything is fine. It isn't.

As then-Secretary of State Colin Powell predicted prior to the war in Iraq, when we breake it, we'll have bought it. What he didn't anticipate was how much more we broke and bought.

-Noah Greenberg

by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006 Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.

If the TV ads are any indicator, after a lackluster few months, the campaigns for Senator and Governor in Pennsylvania are finally heating up--with a vengeance.

There’s little to be said about the race for governor in Pennsylvania. Incumbent Ed Rendell has an unsurprising lead against Republican challenger, Lynn Swann. For a state with a majority Republican leadership and voter rolls, it’s astonishing that the Republican National Committee has been so unable to find viable candidates for governor in the state. Although Swann is more personable than Mike Fisher, Rendell’s opposition four years ago, he’s also far less qualified than Fisher was and less able to project how his gubernatorial strategy differs from Rendell’s. Swann’s speeches are vague, his ads vaguer. Thus far it seems his only platform is property tax reform, which Rendell was finally able to push through despite being hog-tied by the Republican legislature as he has been repeatedly throughout his stint in Harrisburg.

It’s odd that Swann isn’t running on *that* platform: “Vote for me and I’ll rubber-stamp everything the Republican legislature does, from voting itself a pay raise to refusing an increase in the minimum wage for the 35 percent of Pennsylvanians living at or below the poverty level. Vote for me and I’ll make sure every Pennsylvanian can have as many guns as they want, even if children are dying from gunfire every day in Philadelphia. Vote for me and I’ll be sure to maintain the status quo for the rich in Pennsylvania, at the expense of the poor, working poor and middle class. Vote for me and Philadelphia will return to the pariah status it had before Rendell tried to shake things up in Harrisburg.”

And therein lies the key for Pennsylvania voters in November: Do you want that kind status quo in the state and in the country, or do you want change?

Polls say voters overwhelmingly want change, which means keep Rendell and vote Rick Santorum out.

Voters know where Rendell stands on issues. He’s been a player in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania (and national) politics for decades. He was one of best mayors in Philadelphia history, revitalizing the city on many fronts and he is one of the only Philadelphians to break the no-Philadelphians rule in Harrisburg.

As a consequence, Rendell’s term as governor has been fraught with conflicts with the Republican legislature which has had a stranglehold on the state–and kept significant and necessary changes from being achieved–for as long as Rendell has been in politics. The fact that Rendell has been able to effect change in the state despite the Republican legislature is in itself impressive and reason enough to vote him in for a second term. So is balance, which won’t exist at all with a Republican governor and Republican-majority legislature.

The man who does not deserve another term is Rick Santorum. As chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, Santorum is the third most powerful Republican in the Senate. Yet the Senator has rarely used his power to help Pennsylvanians. In fact, his record on issues vital to Pennsylvania voters is obscenely bad. He’s a bag man for the Bush Administration and his aspirations are not to make Pennsylvania a better place, but to fuel his own career in Washington. But then Santorum doesn’t actually live in Pennsylvania. By his own admission, he only spends about one month out of the year in his pied a terre in Pittsburgh. The remainder of the year he spends living in his large home in suburban Virginia. (His six children were enrolled in a cyber-school in Allegheny County to try and bolster his residency status, for which the state was billed $73,000. Yet the children all live in Virginia.)

As of September 26th, polls put Santorum a full 12 points behind Democratic opponent Bob Casey, Jr. in the race for the Senate seat Santorum holds. It’s difficult to imagine how he’s even garnered a 39 percent share of the voters, given his record, but then Pennsylvania is known as “Pennsyltucky” for a reason: it’s a red state with a blue edge--Philadelphia. Which is another reason Philadelphia voters need to do everything possible to vote Santorum out in November.

Some progressives have complained that Casey and Santorum share the same views and are virtually interchangeable. The same people said that about George Bush and Al Gore in 2000. We know how that turned out. Al Gore is campaigning around the country to save the planet and Bush is waging war with one country after another and denying global warming exists. The Santorum/Casey battle is a similar fight between extremism and moderation. Santorum is an extremist, Casey is a moderate. When it comes to government, moderation is always preferable to extremism.

One of the most significant differences between Bush and Gore is that Bush is a known liar. That’s a significant difference between Santorum and Casey as well, although far from the only difference. Santorum is a liar, and continues to lie publicly about many issues vital not merely to Pennsylvania voters, but to American voters as a whole, when one considers the power of individual senators.

I’ve been counting up Santorum’s lies for years, but this column space is limited: let’s focus on his lies of the past few weeks. Santorum has been running TV ads for over a month; Casey, with far less campaign money (it *is* a red state), just began running his.

Casey’s ads focus on what he’s done for Pennsylvanians in the past. Santorum’s ads attack Casey. Most insinuate that Casey has shady dealings with criminals, that Casey’s contributors are under indictment for racketeering-style crimes. One ad shows individuals playing cards and smoking cigars in a jail cell and asserts that each is under indictment (actors portray the alleged contributors, but the small print indicating that is small indeed. Sample surveys of viewers show that most believe these are actual contributors who are indeed under indictment.) These “facts” of Santorum’s have been refuted.

An editorial in the Scranton Times-Tribune (Casey hails from Scranton) notes the following: “all but one of the contributions [were] made to Casey campaigns when he was running for other offices, at which time none of the contributors were known to be under investigation for anything. In fact, two of the persons cited in the Santorum campaign ad have actually given contributions to Santorum's 2006 Senate campaign. Another died in 2004.” The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News have complained about Santorum’s “sleazy’ ads.

So much for facts.

When Santorum and Casey debated on NBC’s Meet the Press on September 3rd, Santorum repeated the Bush Administration’s now well-refuted lie that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Santorum is, however, known for his close ties to the Bush Administration and appears with Bush often. Bush has been to Pennsylvania several times to stump for Santorum, but since Bush has fallen out of favor with a majority of Pennsylvania voters–Democrats and Republicans–Santorum’s allegiance to Bush is hurting his campaign, not helping.

But it’s Santorum’s own record that hurts him most with voters. Santorum is an extremist, the farthest right-wing member of the Senate. He supports the war in Iraq, he supports the torture of prisoners. He supports the building of a border fence between Mexico and the U.S. and supports the immediate deportation of undocumented workers.

In 2001, Santorum created an amendment to attach to the failed No Child Left Behind Act, to force the teaching of creationism, also known as intelligent design theory, which has repeatedly been banned by courts throughout the U.S. over the past 86 years. Santorum said intelligent design “is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes.” (ID is not a scientific theory, but a religious concept.) Earlier this year Santorum wrote the foreword for a book on intelligent design.

A proponent of Social Security privatization, a pet project of George Bush’s which has been roundly criticized by economists, Santorum continues to tour on behalf of the failed proposal for the President. Pennsylvania has the second-largest number of voters over 60, after Florida, and thus would be greatly impacted by SS privatization.

Santorum’s controversial statements on social issues are indicative of how far right he is. Last year, Santorum asserted that the biggest terrorist threat in the U.S. was same-sex marriage (most of us think it’s dirty bombs and hijacked planes). He was also the only member of Congress to personally interfere in the Terri Schiavo case, a case a majority of Americans stated should have been kept private, but which Santorum believed required a special amendment.

But then, Santorum has stated repeatedly that the Constitution does not protect the right to privacy (as numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions have ruled it does). In addition to being avidly anti-abortion, Santorum has also indicated that he believes the 1962 Griswold v. Connecticut should be overturned. (The case that legalized birth control in the U.S.) He is also against the Plan B morning-after pill.

Casey has his detractors among progressive voters, almost wholly based on his stance on abortion. However, while Casey is indeed actively opposed to abortion, his is not an extremist voice, as Santorum’s is. (It should be noted that Sen. Harry Reid [D-NV], who enlisted Casey to run against Santorum, is also opposed to abortion, but has still effectively led the Democrats as Minority Leader of the Senate.) Casey supports Plan B, for example, as a means of limiting the number of abortions performed each year; he has been criticized by conservatives for promoting Plan B. Casey also supports health insurers paying for contraception, which Santorum opposes and Casey’s own father, two-term governor of Pennsylvania also opposed. Casey also supports state and federal funding for contraception, which conservatives have termed a “radical, liberal proposal.”

A staunch supporter of public education (he taught in the Philadelphia school system), Casey is opposed to school vouchers, which he believes take both students and funding away from public schools.

Casey supports domestic partnership for same-sex couples and also supports adoption rights for same-sex couples.

Other areas in which the two candidates differ radically are the death penalty, which Casey (like his father, who refused to sign a single death warrant in his two terms as governor) opposes, as true pro-life candidates do. An environmentalist who thinks polluters should pay for their own clean-up procedures as a means of curtailing pollution abuses, Casey has also voiced vigorous opposition to drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and urged research into alternative fuel sources and use of currently available hybrid technologies. Conversely, Santorum still thinks global warming is a liberal myth.

Although the differences between Rendell and Swann might appear to be more significant, the differences between Santorum and Casey are huge and have impact not just on the state, but on the nation. Recent polls find that a majority of Pennsylvania voters consider Santorum an extremist and have concerns about a third term for Santorum when his views have become more and more fringe over the past six years. Voters seem less concerned with Santorum’s failure to act for Pennsylvania, but that may be because Santorum’s other views have obscured his lack of leadership when it comes to the state he’s supposed to represent.

Unlike Santorum, Casey has made Pennsylvania his home, has a long familial legacy of advocacy in Pennsylvania, has been engaged in state politics for two decades and is keenly aware of the concerns of Pennsylvanians in all areas of the state.

While Casey’s views on abortion are a concern for progressives, and he has not been in a position to vote on issues regarding the war on Iraq, overall Casey remains a far more moderate candidate and with regard to the environment, education and other rights for women and minorities, a thoroughly progressive candidate. Casey, for example, has promoted minimum wage increases while Santorum has repeatedly voted against them (while also voting *for* tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and voting for a pay increase for himself). Most importantly, Casey is not, as Santorum is, a flunky for the Bush Administration and proponent of its extremist ideology. This past week the Administration acknowledged that the war in Iraq is fueling Islamic radicalism and terrorism around the world. All sixteen agencies in the U.S. intelligence community agree on this critical point, and Santorum is one of the people continuing to promote the lies of the Bush Administration about Iraq and about how that war has *stopped* terrorism.

Conversely, Casey has said based on what is now known, he would never have voted for the incursion into Iraq. Santorum says he would vote again to invade Iraq.

The possibility of Democrats taking back the Senate in November pivots on tight races like Santorum/Casey. Taking back some measure of control over the government, which is now held by Republicans in all three branches of government, is essential to mitigating George Bush’s dangerous policies. While many Pennsylvanians would prefer a more liberal candidate than Casey, Casey offers Pennsylvanians something Santorum can’t–change. And what Pennsylvanians and Americans need most in November is just that.

Bush Fired Powell

“On Wednesday, November 10, 2004, eight days after the president he served was elected to a second term, Secretary of State Colin Powell received a telephone call from the White House at his State Department office. The caller was not President Bush but Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and he got right to the point. ‘The president would like to make a change,’ Card said, using a time-honored formulation that avoided the words ‘resign’ or ‘fire.’ … Bush wanted Powell’s resignation letter dated two days hence, on Friday, November 12, Card said, although the White House expected him to stay at the State Department until his successor was confirmed by the Senate.”
-From the Washington Post's "Falling on His Sword" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/27/AR2006092700106.html)

Maintain outrage--it's the only way we'll get through the next two years.

-Forwarded and commented by Victoria Brownworth

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-Noah Greenberg