Thursday, September 29, 2011
Every day I get emails from a variety of "progressive" groups and the theme is always the same. "Republicans want to destroy this", or " Republicans want to kill that". They want money for their organizations or political campaigns and they want it based on telling you how bad Republicans are. Well, okay, they are bad. But they aren't the problem. And never were. The real problem is that Democrats and these groups not only don't want to face what the real problem is, they are afraid of trying to do anything about it.And that is that Barrack Obama is and always has been a political and policy fraud.
Obviously things arent exactly what everyone who supported Obama believed they would be. No real health care reform, no public option, no reducing the deficit by eliminating the $800 billion in Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 5%. No real financial reform. all of which could have easily been accomplished by someone who knew what they were doing and had the backbone and conviction and integrity to do it. There was also no standing up to Republicans nor pointing out that of the $1.7 trillion budget deficit almost all of it is completely the result of Republican economic policies and putting two unpaid for wars (which accounted for more than $ 1 trillion of the deficit) and an unpaid for drug prescription program on a government credit card to paid for later so that they could enact the Bush tax cuts. All by the way, without a word from the hypocrites in the Tea Party.
So what are organizations like MoveOn and the PCCC really so upset about? That Republicans are acting like Republicans? The Republicans are only doing what the people who vote for them want them to do as repulsive as it may be. Is it the Republicans fault that Obama and congressional Democrats never did what those who elected them wanted them to do? Is it the Republicans fault that none of the Democratic initiatives, things that most people believed were best for the country, never got through? What is it that these groups want Republicans to do? Act like Democrats?
Here is a flash for Move On, the PCCC, Credo and Democratic candidates for congress and their donors and supporters -- that is what elections are all about. And in 2008 the country threw the Republicans out of control of all 3 branches of government after 8 years of disastrous Republican governance, elected a Democratic president and gave him the biggest congressional majority any president had in 60 years. And what did the Democratic president do with the biggest congressional majority any president has had in 60 years? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He said he wanted to work with Republicans and incorporate Republican ideas ignoring the fact that if the country had wanted Republican ideas they wouldn't have thrown them out of office in the first place. Which is why Democratic voters stayed home in 2010 giving the Democrats the worst defeat of any political party in 80 years.
Obama's first three years in office has left the Democrats with the worst of all possible worlds. Its not as if their agenda passed and it didn't work. Obama compromised the agenda away and replaced it with half baked ineffectual policies with nothing behind it. It's his compromises that didn't work. But its Democrats who stand to take the brunt of the country's frustration with Obama just as they did in 2010 if nothing changes.
Here is what Democrats and so called "progressives" need to get through their heads. Accomplishing nothing is exactly what Obama did in his previous 11 years of elected office. And being intellectually and politically dishonest and duplicious is also exactly what Obama had been in his previous 11 years of elected office and what he was during the entire 2008 Democratic primary season. .Its there for anyone to see. It's who and what he is. And isnt. And what he is always going to be.
But to listen to MoveOn and congressional Democrats trying to raise money, it's the Republicans that are the problem.
It's not as if these same people didn't know about Obama. His 11 year record of total non-accomplishment was not only common knowledge, it was for a time a source of amusement. Geraldine Ferraro pointed out that with his record of non-accomplishment, with his 11 years of doing absolutely nothing in elected office, if he had been white he'd be a joke as a presidential candidate She was right though the press and Obama supporters labeled her a racist for saying so. It's now three years later and many Democrats and progressive groups don't seem to get the joke. Maybe because it's on them and they still don't want to admit it.
Here is something else to face: Obama not only accomplished nothing in 11 years in the Illinois and United States senate, he actually voted " present" more than 100 times to avoid having to vote for or against anything. During the 2008 presidential primaries either his supporters ignored all this, denied it, or pretended it didn't matter. Which is why Hillary Clinton supporters referred to Obama supporters as " drinking the Kool-Aid."
So is anyone still drinking? Is it still Happy Hour in the Democratic Party or over at MoveOn? Are they going to keep passing the pretzels and collection plates or are they going to wake up and realize that what's needed is a credible challenger to Obama for the Democratic nomination and a new Democratic president?
In one speech after another, whether it was his gaffe about wanting an "intercontinental railroad" when he meant transcontinental, or his sudden affected parade of "y'all's" when giving a speech to a black audience, this is a man so used to simply blathering nonsense and saying things he has no intention of standing by and getting away with it, that he simply lets his mouth run knowing that the current collection of liberals and progressives both in and out of the press might look at each other with a "did he say that"? look but will say nothing.
These are people who got so caught up in romanticizing the idea of electing a president who had some black ancestry that to them whether or not he was actually qualified for the job in any way or had the character to be president was actually besides the point.
Time is running out for the Democrats. They can't just hope Republicans self destruct because even if they do, another four years of Barrack Obama will be four more years of doing nothing, selling out, talking nonsense, accomplishing nothing worthwhile and in the end could set the Democratic party back for the next 20 years
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
One can say the handwriting is on the wall but in this case its more like a neon sign. The Democrats lost Anthony Weiner's seat to a Republican, a seat the Democrats have held since 1923. Even Ed Koch, the former Democratic mayor of New York endorsed the Republican.
Its justifiable payback for the continued spineless approach to politics practiced by Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and as the new chairperson of the DNC, you can add Debby Wasserman -Schultz to the growing list.
Too add to not only Democratic gutlessness, but to their arrogance, Weiner's constituents had made it clear they didnt want him to resign. Obama, Pelosi,Reid and Wasserman -Schutlz decided what his constituents wanted didnt matter and forced Weiner out. His constituents let them know what they thought of that.
And what was it really all about? Morality? Hardly. It was what passes for Democratic leadership whining that they couldnt get their message across because of all the press attention being paid to Weiner. The Democrats cant get their message across? This is new? This is Weiner's fault? The Democrats do not and have not had a single strategist worth 2 cents nor anyone associated with the Democratic party who knows how to even formulate a message much less get it across. If the Democrats succeed at anything politically its always because Republicans find a way to lose, are incompetent, or overplay their hand, not a result of Democratic strategy or knowing how to get a message across. Which is made even worse because Democrats are usually right on policy but short on the backbone to see it through.
Weiner was more valuable to the Democrats than Pelosi, Reid and Obama combined because he was honest, stood for the right things, was a fighter, and took nothing from the Republicans. Or from Obama and what has been passing for Democratic leadership the last 3 years either for that matter. He stood up where Obama, Reid and Pelosi sat down.
They threw a valuable member of their caucus under the bus over a harmless mistake involving Weiner accidentally making public a racy photo of himself intended only for the eyes of one person he had known for some time and Republican strategists knowing the press would whoop it up and Democrats would cower in a corner. Yes Weiner was married so yes there were issues but those issues should have remained between Weiner and his wife. Instead showing the kind of political cowardice that has marked the 3 years of Obama's administration and the caving in by Pelosi and Reid, they were quick to throw Weiner over the side instead of chastising the media for making an issue of something so trivial.
They could have said the issue is between Weiner and his wife and we wish them well in resolving it but that it doesn't at all relate to Weiner's duties in congress. This wasn't Republican Duke Cunningham taking bribes. It also wasn't the Republican party official in Orange County California who sent out the email showing Obama's face pasted on the body of a baby monkey with two adult monkeys behind him with the words "Now you know why no birth certificate".
That seemingly wasn't offense enough for Obama and Democratic leadership to demand her resignation but Anthony Weiner in his underwear? He had to go.
He had to go because once again Democratic non-leadership couldn't and wouldn't stand up to Republican and journalistic triviality. Once again, Obama, Pelosi and Reid buckled.
And once again they and the Democratic party has paid a big, but justifiable price for the non-leadership of Obama,Pelosi and Reid.
And dont overlook the fact that according to polls at the time, more than 60% of Weiner's constituents wanted him to remain in office. He was forced out by Pelosi, Reid, Wasserman-Schultz and Obama. So there is also the possibility of some angry Democrats in Weiner's district voting for the Republican as payback for forcing Weiner out adding to their anger at Obama.
While Israel and disillusionment with Obama's polices towards Israel played a large role in the Democrats defeat, it has to be clear by now that very few Democrats running for office anywhere in the country will have even Democratic voter support if they are seen as supporters and defenders of Obama and his policies on anything. Not because he went too far but because he didnt go far enough and sold out the entire Democratic agenda even though for his first two years in office he had a 60 vote majority in the senate and the biggesst congressional majority of any president in 60 years. Somehow George W. Bush, as catastrophic as his polices were, still managed to get all his priorities passed with only a 52 vote majority in the senate. It should be noted that it was reported that at Bob Turner headquarters while celebrating his victory,when Obama's name was mentioned, the crowd began to chant "sell out! sell out!". Its unlikely it was rank and file Republicans who felt that Obama had sold out.
Adding Jews to the long list of those disgusted, fed up, dissatisfied and disillusioned by Obama and his handling of the presidency is not a good sign in New York. Democrats cant win the White House without New York and they know it. And they will get drubbed again next November unless the Democrats finally get the kind of real change they need. And that change can be only one thing -- someone other than Obama as the Democratic nominee.
The Democrats must hold an open primary and ignore Pelosi's fears of disunity which is what forced Obama down the throats of more than half the Democratic party who voted against him in the primaries in the first place, and encourage credible Democrats to challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination. If that happens, there is no doubt Democratic voters will choose someone other than Obama as the Democratic nominee. And then the Democrats can not only retain the White House (though with a different inhabitant), they have a chance to reclaim congress as well as long as the new candidate and congressional Democrats repudiate Obama's first term and his failure to deliver what was promised.. If they don't, and Obama is the nominee they can expect more of what they saw in New York all over the country. And probably worse.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Sept 11,2001 is often referred to as the "911 tragedy". But perhaps the biggest tragedy of Sept.11,2001 is that not only could it have been prevented, it should have been.
The incontrovertible evidence presented in front of the 911 Commission, largely ignored and papered over by the kind of fear and cowardice we have come to expect from the press, was that the Bush administration from top to bottom dismissed terrorism as a threat from the day they took office. This mind set led Bush and his administration on a path that allowed a collection of bumbling Al-Qaeda operatives, making mistake after mistake in plain sight, to succeed in the worst attack on American soil by a foreign enemy with the worst lost of life in American history. And it never had to happen.
The most important misstep by Bush and his entire administration was in dismissing Al-Qaeda as a major threat from the very beginning. They decided they knew better than those warning them of the severe threat Al-Qaeda posed, believing that Clinton and his administration exaggerated the threat. They believed the biggest national security threat to the United States was China, and getting out of the ABM treaty with Russia and restarting Star Wars was their number one national security priority, not terrorism. That is the attitude that directly led to all the decisions and non decisions which in turn allowed the September 11,2001 attacks to be carried out.
WHAT BUSH WAS TOLD.
During the presidential transition in January of 2001 Bush was given the national security briefings given to all presidents-elect at Blair House prior to his inauguaration. The briefings were given by George Tenant of CIA, Bob Mueller director of the FBI and their respective staffs. At those briefings, given separately, George W. Bush was told by the CIA and the FBI that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were the single biggest threats to US national security in the world.
Also during the transition, Bush met face to face with Bill Clinton who also told him that Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were the biggest threats to US national security in the world.
And again during the transition, Bush and Rice met with outgoing national security advisor Sandy Berger who told them that Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were the single biggest threats to U.S, national security in the world and to emphasize the point, Berger told Bush that he predicted that the Bush Administration would spend more time dealing with Al-Qaeda than any other issue throughout his entire term as president. Bush, Cheney and Rice ignored all of them, and dismissed terrorism as a real threat to the United States.
Below are the 5 major decisions and non-decisions made by Bush that allowed the 911 attacks to succeed and, had he treated terrorism seriously and took only the most basic and common sense actions in the face of the information he was given, could have and would have prevented the 911 attacks.
1. THE DEMOTION OF RICHARD CLARKE.
The first thing Bush did with regards to terrorism after taking office was demote Richard Clarke, head of anti-terrorism for the 3 previous U.S. presidents, demoting him and his office of anti-terrorism from the cabinet level position Clarke held during the Clinton Administration to a sub-cabinet position, removing his direct access to the president.
2. THE DISSOLUTION OF THE PRINCIPALS MEETING.
Bush dissolved the Principles Meeting on Terrorism. This was a daily meeting that took place during the Clinton Administration and chaired by Richard Clarke, where the cabinet heads of every agency related to counter terrorism, CIA, FBI, theAttorney General, ATF, Immigration and others would sit in a conference room and share all the information related to terrorism collected by their respective agencies in the previous 24 hours and discuss its significance and what if anything to do about it. Terrorism was the top priority at these agencies with a standing directive that all intelligence related to terrorism be sent immediately to headquarters in Washington.That ended under Bush. It resulted in the report by the Phoenix office of the FBI reporting the suspicious activity of two middle eastern men taking lessons on how to fly jumbo jets but not wanting to learn how to take off or land, remaining in the Phoenix office instead of being sent right to FBI headquarters in Washington. One of those men was Mohammed Atta and one can easily surmise what Clarke, Tenant, and Mueller would have done with that information. Atta wouldnt have been able to have a cup of coffee without the FBI knowing about it and it is a certainty the plot would have been discovered.
3. IGNORING INTELLIGENCE WARNINGS.
In July of 2001, George Tenant requested an emergency meeting with Condoleeza Rice at the White House. His concern was the messages contained in the Al-Qaeda chatter that the CIA had intercepted. In the meeting Tenant and the head of his counter terrorism group at the CIA told Rice that the intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter have not only spiked to an all time high, but indicated the intercepts showed that the U.S. was going to be hit by a major Al-Qaeda attack and that the attack was "imminent". The head of CIA counter terrorism said he told Rice, " this country has to go on a war footing right now" with regards to Al-Qaeda. Both Rice and Bush dismissed them and took no action. Rice wa so disinterested she testified at the 911 Commission hearings that she didn't even remember the meeting taking place and even denied they took place but White House logs prove that it did. Rice was either so dismissive of terrorism that she honestly didnt remember the meeting or she was lying. As Richard Clarke himself said in a new Smithsonian documentary on 911, "talking to the Bush Administration about terrorism was like talking to a brick wall".
4. JULY AND AUGUST INTERCEPTS OF AL-QAEDA MESSAGES
Richard Clarke and George Tenant testified that in August of 2001, the spike in intercepted Al-Qaeda traffic was the highest Clarke had seen in 20 years. The CIA translations of one of the intercepts indicated that the major terrorist attack against the U.S. had been put into place ( the exact translation was " the match has been lit") and that in the words of the CIA memo, the attack was going to be "spectacular". Clarke testified that given this information he and George Tenant were "running around the White House like men with their hair on fire" trying to get Rice's and Bush's attention to tell them of the impending attack. They told Rice they needed to see or speak with Bush who was now vacationing in Crawford and they told her why. Bush refused to meet with them and Rice took no action.
5. THE AUGUST 6, 2001 PDB.
The presidential daily briefing of August 6, 2001 was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Within the U.S". In this briefing, a compilation put together by all the intelligence agencies into one brief for the president, giving him what they consider to be the most important recent intelligence information related to national security and giving him intelligence they consider actionable, Bush was told that not only was Bin Laden going to strike inside the U.S. but that the FBI confirmed that more than 30 Al-Qaeda cells were now operating within the U.S. But even more startling, and more damning, on page 2 of the PDB Bush was told that part of the Al-Qaeda plot to strike within the U.S. was going to involve the hijacking of U.S. commercial airliners.( italics mine). Bush was also told that Al-Qaeda members had office buildings in New York city under surveillance. Bush and Rice took no action. Rice's defense? They had no idea would use the hijacked planes as missiles. Which begs the question, does that mean that hijacking U.S. airliners and holding hundreds if not thousands of people hostage was okay with them?
This was Bush's last opportunity to have prevented 911, only a month before the attacks but Bush ignored both the intelligence in the August 6,2001 PDB and the simultaneous intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter occuring in early August 2001 indicating a major attack was imminent.
Had Bush simply out of a sense of erroring on the side of caution if nothing else, ordered the FAA to issue a high alert terrorist warning to all U.S. airlines and airports of a potential threat of a hijacking by middle eastern men 911 would have been stopped in its tracks.
We know this because had U.S. airlines and airports been put on a high alert for a possible threat of hijacking by middle eastern men, the 19 hijackers would have stood out like sore thumbs. They were all middle eastern, they all bought one way transcontinental tickets to California, none of them had luggage and they paid cash without having made reservations, paying the highest ticket prices possible. Had airlines and airports been alerted to the potential hijacking threat it is a virtual certainty they would have been considered 19 middle eastern men all with the same suspicious profile a potential threat and they would have been kept from getting on those planes.
There is more including the arrest of Zacarias Moussoui in Minnesota months before as a result of his also taking lessons at a flying school to learn to fly jumbo jets but not to take off or land. The investigation into Moussoui and the intelligence gathered indicating a terrorist plot was sent to FBI headquarters. After the attacks a scathing letter was written by FBI agent Colleen Rowly who was in charge of the investigation, to Robert Mueller accusing him of covering up for Bush politically when the party line was that was put out by the Bush administration was they he didn't have the information needed to have prevented 911. Mueller never contradicted it and Rowley knew it wasn't true.
From the day after the attack to this day, Bush Rice and Cheney blamed the ability of the 911 attacks on "faulty intelligence" when the only faulty intelligence was at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue. The press typically ignored the evidence presented at the 911 Commission hearing because they were clearly afraid and intimidated, as always, by the prospect of Republican attacks accusing them of being unpatriotic if they leveled criticism and accusations at Bush. For the Democrats, they also as usual, joined the press in the fetal position, afraid of the same thing and, for all their crowing about their love of national security, the goal of Republicans was to cover up what amounted to the worst case of gross negligence by a president in regards to national security in American history.
Condoleeza Rice's explanation shortly after the attacks that they "couldn't connect the dots" was actually the only completely truthful thing she said about the attacks. But in typical Washington press fashion, they mindlessly adopted her expression, still using it today, without giving any thought to what it actually meant.
Rice's admission that they couldn't "connect the dots" was, in her choice of analogy, her subconscious mind inadvertantly exposing the ineptitude, incompetence and negligence of Bush and Rice herself as national security advisor, something that went right over the heads of the press and still does. Because connecting the dots is in reality a child's game where a number of dots are right in front of you, all numbered consecutively and all you have to do is draw a line from one to the other and you get see the whole picture. Rice's analogy was an admission that they couldn't do that.
As long as the press and others allow the myths created by the Bush administration about the attacks to continue, most importantly that they couldn't have been prevented, when it was Bush's gross, even criminal negligence that allowed it to succeed, the truth about the 911 attacks will continue to remain what its been for ten years -- a casualty of war.
Friday, September 2, 2011
As the dedication to the Martin Luther King memorial is upon us, it's worth noting that a few weeks ago Maxine Waters, a Democratic African American member of congress from California was in Detroit giving a speech addressing the severity of unemployment as it has specifically impacted African Americans. The speech was disheartening for anyone who hoped there were politicians, especially African American politicians given all that blacks in this country have gone through, who would put their consciences first and not be led by politics.
Instead we heard Waters admit that black members of congress have been afraid of criticizing Barrack Obama because they have been afraid of a presumed backlash from their black constituents who, according to Waters are "proud" of Obama being a half black president and "love" him.
If that is so, if black members of congress have been afriad to speak their minds about Obama, it not only continues a pattern among Democratic members of congress (black white or Hispanic) of being weak instead of standing up for what they believe and saying so, it assumes all African Americans are a monolithic group who all think the same way based solely on race. It is a mistaken assumption. I have first hand experience with African Americans I know and talk to and I can assure Maxine Waters and others in the Congressional Black Caucus that all African Americans are not exactly proud of Obama or for that matter, love him.
Waters, generally a no nonsense lady who takes nothing from anyone, said she's been wanting to criticize the president on the jobs issue especially when it came to black unemployment but has been afraid to and asked the members of the audience, most of whom were black to "unleash us and let us criticize the president".
That is what was so disheartening -- to hear an African American member of congress asking the black community to "unleash us" -- and "allow us" to criticize Obama as if they want permission.
Maxine Waters told the audience, "we love the president". But what is it exactly that Maxine Waters and others in the Congressional Black Caucus assumes African Americans love? Obama's selling out of the public option to health insurance industry lobbyists when the votes were there to pass it? Watering down financial reform in giving in to Wall Street pressure? Capitulating to the Republicans not once, not twice, but three times in reneging on his pledge to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 5%? Caving in to Republicans on the debt ceiling deal agreeing to cuts in everything including Medicare and social security without a dime's increase in taxes on anyone? Or does she and other black members of congress simply assume African Americans love Obama simply because of the pigmentation of his skin? And even if that were true ( and it's not) isnt it their job to lead and speak their minds and admonish those who think that way?
It's either a gross underestimation of African Americans or a belief that African Americans have abandoned the principles of Martin Luther King in order to celebrate Obama's election based solely on color. If so, one can imagine King looking down on Obama supporters both African American and white the way Moses looked down on the Hebrews dancing around the golden calf telling them " you didnt understand a word I said".
Because the guiding principle of King's life, his mission as he himself stated, and his legacy,was that he dreamed of a day when people would be judged only by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
That day is almost here. It will take another giant step when members of the Black Congressional Caucus and African Americans everywhere begin judging Obama based on the job he's done as president, his duplicity, his lack of principle and conviction, the capitulations that werent necessary, and all the things that could have been accomplished while he had the biggest congressional majority in 60 years but weren't, and not the pigmentation of his skin. Then the Congressional Black Caucus can lead the way for a credible Democrat who has the qualities, convictions and principles Obama lacks, to challenge Obama in the Democratic primaries early next year and let Democratic voters decide who their nominee will be.