September 13, 2006

Secret weapon

I think it's time that we in the Liberal blogosphere begin to applaud the selfless bravery and strategic brilliance of White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who was at it again yesterday with his insistence that Saddam "had a relationship" with al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al Zarqawi - the Senate Intelligence Committee's findings notwithstanding.

Because surely, a person who so consistently and openly reveals the insidious, incompetent, deceitful soul of the Bush Administration, must be a Liberal operative in disguise. A progressive "mole." A patriot who's penetrated deep inside the Rovian cartel, and lays it all on the line every time he manifests the head-in-the-sand insanity of America's ruling party.

Snow is a gift to Blue America that just keeps on giving, delivering tired talking points and spinning obvious lies in the face of widely acknowledged facts - to the point that even Conservatives are beginning to mumble, "Huh?" every time he opens his mouth. And by doing so, he's causing far more obvious damage to the "credibility" of this Administration each day than we on the Left have been able to generate in years of erudite critiques and essays.

I thought at first that Snow's inadvertent candor was simply a byproduct of being the new kid in town. Soon enough, I trusted, he'd revert to the tight-lipped manners of his predecessor, the oh-so cherubic and perspirationally-challenged Scott McClellan. Sure, Scotty was frustrating, and we knew most of the time he was lying by omission, but somehow he was always careful to hide the malfeasance of his bosses behind official sounding language and "plausible deniability."

I mean, would McClellan ever have used the phrase "tar baby" in one of his gaggles?

But Snow has continued, unabashed and unbridled, with example after glorious example of the Bush White House's dishonesty, delusion, arrogance, and ineptness. And it should by now be apparent to all of us that his repeated and reliable exposure of the rot at the heart of this Administration and Congress can only be attributed to Snow's hidden identity as a Democratic double-agent.

How else to explain his public adamance that,
"There was no direct operational relationship, but there was a relationship. They were in the country. And I think you understand that the Iraqis knew they were there. That's the relationship."
This is the reasoning of a village idiot - especially coming on the heels of an official report stating exactly the opposite. And to do so as White House Press Secretary is an incredibly bold, telling, and subversive act of stupidity that helps confirm our criticisms of the GOP better than we could have done ourselves.

Even in Topeka.

So let's hear it for Tony Snow, whose magnificent daily performances make it abundantly clear to political skeptics and fence-sitters alike just how reprehensible the Bush Administration really is. I was concerned that our collective praise for Tony's masterful secret-agent role might risk blowing his cover. But then I remembered that we're dealing with the same bunch that must have thought Stephen Colbert was a true Conservative supporter when they invited him to the Correspondent's Dinner.

Uh, morons, your bus is leaving...

Three cheers, Tony! You're a better secret weapon than we ever could have hoped for - and your stealth and courage are sure to be rewarded this November.

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September 12, 2006

Vital message

Here's a real keeper from former Senatorial aide and political analyst Brent Budowsky, which I've reprinted in its entirety. Hat tip to James Raven at The Psychotic Patriot for highlighting this vital message:
Never in the history of our Republic has an event been ordained by our Maker to unite our Nation and our people in the rightness of the American cause, the goodness of the American idea, and the decency and courage of the American people.

With fires burning from lower Manhattan to Northern Virginia, with the blood of heroes lifting the honor of our Nation, the American people stood united as one, friends of freedom everywhere stood with us.

Who was not moved by the courage of our police and fire fighters rushing into burning buildings to save our fellow Americans? Who wasn't inspired by the courage and valor of Pentagon workers who rushed out of the building when the attack first struck and then, realizing their colleagues and friends were in grave danger, turned around and rushed right back in, to save them?

The infamy of the crime was met with the united will and the united spirit of a United America, backed by the decent opinion of men and women in every corner of the world.

Never before in our history have our people been more hurt by a single act that struck on our shores.

Never before in our history have our people reacted to such infamy, to such hurt, with a greater and more powerful proof of our courage and nobility.

Never before in our history has the patriotism and honor of our people inspired such respect and admiration throughout the free world.

And never before in our history has any leader of our Nation exploited such an event with such smallness, such partisanship, such disunity, such contempt and such vindictiveness.

Never before in our history, has any leader of this country exploited a crisis by deliberately creating anger and hatred of some Americans against other Americans.

Never before in our history, has any leader of our country surrendered in the challenge of inspiring our people to bravery and valor, and tried to make our people act like a timid and fearful nation.

Never before in our history, never, has any President of the United States so aggressively surrendered his moral authority as leader of free world to create such worldwide anger, antipathy and fear directed not towards our enemy, but towards our President.

These words are not partisan.

The national leaders and national security establishment of the Democratic Party failed to serve our nation in October of 2002. They marched in lockstep with ideologues, extremists and the partisans of the Republican Party to support a war that should never have been fought, at great cost to our country.

The national leaders of our media failed our Nation by treating propaganda as news, by treating falsehood as truth, by abandoning the traditions of a free press to act like cronies and courtiers, in search of corporate profits, political convenience, book deals and cable contracts in their new creed of government-media collusion.

The Congress turned its constitutional role of oversight and war powers into a legislative farce that shed great blood of heroes for the safety and convenience of politicians.

The American people are disillusioned and angry at all of them, and for good reason.

But in our system of government there is one President and Commander in Chief with unique responsibilities and duties. And historians will judge that the greatest lie ever told by any man who ever held that post was this:

The man who campaigned as the Great Uniter, and declared himself the Great Decider, will burn in history as the Great Divider with all of the catastrophic consequences that are escalating every hour, of every day.

How pathetic that as the sun begins to set on his failed Presidency, he blames the people of our Nation, saying we have some psychological trauma rather than learning the lessons of his enormous mistakes. He will never understand that a grateful nation would rise with relief, if he only had the wisdom to learn and change, and a grateful world will rise with relief, when his days in office are done.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for using 9/11 to create fear throughout the land, rather than bravery, courage and valor.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for using 9/11 to launch partisan and dishonest attacks on genuine American war heroes because they happen to be members of the other political party.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for using 9/11 as a reason to become the only President in our history to become a world-wide advocate for torture and detention practices that every leader, of every democratic nation, everywhere in the world, has publicly or privately pleaded with him to abandon.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for showing contempt for the advice of our military commanders by allowing the man he compares to Hitler, to escape from Tora Bora, to pursue an obsessive war in Iraq, that many of those same commanders warned him about, while he publicly claimed he always follows their advice.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for treating the Chief of Staff of the Army with ridicule and contempt, when General Shinseki so honorably tried to warn him.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history, for putting his hand on the Bible and pledging to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution while using 9-11 to claim the unilateral power to break it.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history by accepting the sacred duty to faithfully execute the laws of the land, while using 9/11 to create fears to claim the unilateral powers to violate them.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for dishonoring a spirit that had Democrats and Republicans singing God Bless America at the doors of our Capitol, to personally promote a politics so venomous, vile and vindictive that he fills the air with talk of treason and enemies lists compiled by hate-filled supporters.

Even when one of his media partisans slanders the Army that landed at Normandy and the Marines who took Iwo Jima with preposterous falsehoods that they committed war crimes, the self-styled war president lacks the moral integrity to speak out, for fear of offending what he proudly regards as his base.

Even when the trash of American politics slanders and demeans some widows of 9/11, this partisan who promised to bring honor and integrity to Washington lacks the moral stature to speak out, even against that.

George W. Bush will be morally impeached by the court of history for trying to frighten our people into war with Iraq, with tall tales of Saddam Hussein working with Osama Bin Laden to create mushroom clouds of nuclear extermination that would kill the people of New York.

George W. Bush will be impeached by the court of history for using 9/11 to fan the flames of fear so violently, that at one point, the Capital City of the land of the free and the home of the brave was turned into a panicked hutch of rabbits running to the stores for duct tape, gas masks, bottled water, and bullet proof vests while the Vice-President of the United States fled to hiding spots at undisclosed locations.

How ironic, how pathetic, and how fitting that as America prepares to honor the heroes of 9/11 the Senate Intelligence Committee issues a report detailing fraudulent exploitation of false intelligence, one of America's national networks exploits 9/11 with a docu-fraud of falsehoods, while our "wartime" President exploits 9/11 one more time, with one more taxpayer financed tour of fear, desperately trying to win one more national election.

Five years ago some of the finest Americans who God ever put on this earth gave their lives for their brothers and sisters, for their neighbors and families, for the country that they and we love so much, so deeply and so passionately.

No one ever took a poll to determine whether these American heroes were Democrats or Republicans, because it does not matter.

Who they were, what they did, and the legacy they left us, is transcendent and timeless. God Bless each and every one of them, and God give us the wisdom and strength to honor the torch they handed to us.

From the day of those dark hours, those they loved, their husbands, wives, daughters, sons, neighbors and lovers have scattered from the ashes to the far corners, sharing a common love, faith and desire to get the strength from that tragedy to make our country a better place, each in their own individual way.

God Bless each and every one of you, no matter what path you have chosen. As you love those you lost, we love you. Our hopes and our prayers are with you, always.

To our President, who has so dangerously lost his way, and in so many ways led our country so far astray, we can only hope and pray that he will rejoin the legacy of those leaders who came before him, from whom he can learn so much, before more damage is done.

As we honor the great heroes who left us, on that dastardly day, five years ago, we might all rededicate ourselves to what they stood for so valiantly.

At our best, America can be a nation of heroes, inspired by those who came before us, lifted by the example of those who were with us, dedicated to a nation in which we are truly in this together.

We are brave, not fearful.

Fellow patriots, not domestic enemies.

Offering respect, not contempt, for each other, whatever our differences.

Valuing truth, not propaganda.

Honoring valor in defense of freedom, not fear to take freedom away.

Acting in a manner befitting the leader of the free world, the legatees of Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln, not King George III, Richard Milhous Nixon or Joe McCarthy.

Hopefully with our President, but if necessary without him: some things have gone terribly wrong and we are in this together, to set them right.

America is a good and great and glorious land we love.

We take this moment to honor those who have a timeless place in the American heart, who gave their lives for the greatest nation and the truest idea that has ever graced the earth.

Together, we put our hands on our hearts and salute their bravery, their heroism, their Americanism and their example.

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Turning point?

Whew. Our narcissistic annual orgy of self-pity, self-importance, and self-righteousness has come to an end once again. Oh sure, I know that's harsh, but let's face it, kids. The time has come to shake ourselves out of this fearful, hypnotic state and look at the fact that "the day that changed everything" changed nothing for the average American citizen.

Except, it seems, our ability to think for ourselves.

The ruling party in this nation has so exploited, so corrupted, so distorted the memory of September 11th that I dread its arrival more each year. I hope that we as a people will seize yesterday's 5th-year mark as a turning point, and resolve from this moment onward to reject the manipulative, neo-con fearmongering to which we've succumbed like mindless children.

I hope that we as Americans will awaken to the sacred importance of our liberties and civil rights, and refuse from this point forward to relinquish those fundamental tenets out of irrational fright or ignorant obedience.

I hope that we as a nation will acknowledge the overwhelming proof that our "leaders" are deceitful, incompetent, and Hell-bent on sticking to a "course" that's simply not working, and pledge from this day onward to demand accountability - and change - with a loud and united voice this November.

That's the way to honor the lessons of 9/11 - and to do all we can to prevent the next 9/11 from happening.

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Read these...

Bob Cesca at HuffPo.

Robert Scheer at truthdig.

Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post.

GreyHair at Bending the Third Rail.

Aziz Huq at TomPaine.

and Ari Berman at The Nation, highlighting a magnificent commentary by news anchor Keith Olberman.

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Inexplicable stupidity

I'm proud to say that I somehow managed to avoid anything and everything ABC for the last several days. We tried hard to enforce that same ban toward Disney, but my still-apolitical (thank God) 10-year-old is absolutely addicted to That's So Raven. Hey, c'mon - it's just one show!

I wasn't going to write another word about Path to 9/11 (so as not to grant it any further legitimacy whatsoever), but I couldn't help but marvel at yet another revelation of this "crock"-umentary's inexplicable stupidity and inaccuracy. As reported by Editor & Publisher:
The film in both its first part and second part appears to suggest that chief hijacker Atta was flagged as a security risk at Boston's Logan Airport by American Airlines personnel. According to the 9/11 Commission Report that incident occurred earlier that morning, in Maine, and the airline was US Airways.

Late Monday, American Airlines released the following statement: "The Disney/ABC television program, 'The Path to 9/11,' which began airing last night, is inaccurate and irresponsible in its portrayal of the airport check-in events that occurred on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001...

"This misrepresentation of facts dishonors the memory of innocent American Airlines employees and all those who lost their lives as a result of the tragic events of 9/11."
Please - ABC changed the airline? Did the writers of this farce think nobody was around who might notice?! I mean, this wasn't a dramatization of the sinking of the Maine in Havana harbor, for Chrissakes, where a lack of living eyewitnesses might explain some unintentional narrative errors.

And if this propaganda piece was inaccurate on that level, you really have to wonder, "Why f#%king bother to put it on in the first place?!"

The last word I'll leave you with on this diversionary topic comes from a brilliantly succinct letter to Disney head Robert Iger, written by Clinton Foundation CEO Bruce Lindsey and Counselor Douglas Band:
"That the film directly contradicts the findings of the 9/11 Commission is troubling. That it defames dedicated public officials is tragic. But the fact that it misleads millions of people about the most tragic and consequential event in recent history is disgraceful."
That about sums it up for me.

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September 11, 2006

A moment of silence

Five years.

It seems so far away now that the images of that morning feel like a dream. And yet it seems so nearby that I can still taste the acrid burn of the electrical fires, still feel the bits of ash in the back of my throat, still see the miles and miles of photocopied faces pasted to every building in Manhattan by friends and loved ones desperate for a miracle, still smell the odor of decay that lingered in the air for months afterward.

Is there any truly fitting way to remember that day, that traumatic event, that blow to the collective American gut? They say it was the day that changed America. If only it had been for the better.

Instead, these intervening five years have seen the leaders of our nation shame this great land in the eyes of the world. The would-be despots in Washington have brazenly exploited the memory of that terrible morning to make us cower in terror of our own shadows, and willingly abandon rights and principles that once made the U.S. a role model for the peoples of the globe. Our leaders debase the memory of those innocents murdered that fateful Tuesday with their words, their actions, their very presence.

September 11th has by now been painted, coiffed, packaged, homogenized, given a splashy graphic and stirring theme music, until it has lost all real meaning or dignity. It survives in our cultural consciousness only as a slick and facile catch-phrase, one that's used far too carelessly to evoke irrational fears, excuse governmental recklessness, and manipulate the electorate at the whim of the ruling party. Why, a town near my home held a commemorative weekend gathering that ended with fireworks, for God's sake. Fireworks!

The unintended ironies of our shallow culture never cease to amaze me.

And so, on this fifth anniversary of that terrible wake-up call, I can think of only one fitting and proper tribute. One statement that reflects the depth of our genuine respect for those who perished, and the lessons they'd surely hope we've learned from their sacrifice. One sentiment that acknowledges our complicity in the detrimental, illegal, and shameful things our leaders have done in their names...


Think about what we've become as a nation over the last five years, America. And resolve that tomorrow, you'll join the fight to do something about it.

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September 10, 2006

Something to think about

Need a reminder of why we must make a change in Washington this coming November? Blogger N.J. at Snips of Reality highlights a thrilling speech by Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson that'll get your blood pumping.

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