Archive for March 11th, 2004
Our old friend Seattle points us to yet another gem, Jimmy Breslin’s column published today. Get a load of this:
For days now, the job at Eisenhower Park in Nassau County has been to follow the order from the White House through the Secret Service and down to the park workers:“The president’s feet are not to touch the dirt.”
So all yesterday, large crews drawn from all county parks worked to ensure that, as always in his life, George Bush’s feet do not touch the ground when he appears in the big park today.
Bush arrives for a fund-raiser at a restaurant in the park. That is indoors and he doesn’t have to worry about his feet there. But he has to go over ground to an administration building where he is to meet with families of 9/11 victims. After that, he has to go over more ground to get to the site of a memorial to the victims.
He doesn’t want his feet on the ground and he will be at a groundbreaking ceremony. (emphasis added)
His Holy of Holiesness has found a new way to boost employment and at the expense of somebody else’s budget–have some workers build walkways so his feet never have to touch the ground.
Is this a symbol of how far Junior is out of touch or is it not? Glorioski, Sandy, heaven forfend the tootsies of Our Glorious Leader should ever be forced to make contact with the actual Earth he’s so determined to see exploited. His True Place is in the Clouds far from the
rabble madding crowd below, not ruining his new shine with the common dirt in which us low-life vermin live.
They put up a concrete sidewalk from the parking lot to a ramp leading into a side entrance to the building.The rain and sleet made it impossible for the concrete to dry. So they changed from concrete to the asphalt used on streets. They hoped the president wouldn’t mind this. After all, it would protect his feet from touching the earth. Gravel and hot steaming asphalt.
When they finally had it done, a full-fledged asphalt path, a Secret Service agent put his foot through the steam and left a large footprint in the walk that was to keep the president’s feet off the ground.
The Secret Service man walked on blithely. He gave no indication that he knew where he was. The workmen muttered and had to go back and fix the walk.
It was the least they could do. The mind reels….,
A week or so ago I wrote about an interview with outspoken BA critic Karen Kwiatkowski. Today, reader Seattle informs us of a long article Kwiatkowski wrote for Salon and even supplies a link to a reprint in Common Dreams so you don’t have to go through the ad to read it. In the piece, Karen pulls together a lot of the inside history and observations of her time with NESA and the OSP.
From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.
I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.
I hate to say it twice in a row, but it’s true: this is another Must-Read, an incredibly important document in the history of the Iraq war. Seattle calls it “The New Pentagon Pepers”, and I’m not sure but what he’s right. Don’t let this get by you.
American Soldiers Refused Thanksgiving Dinner If They Didn’t First Sign a Statement in Support of BushPhaedrus links to an interview in Intervention Magazine with an American soldier serving in Iraq who has some startling things to say. Here’s a taste:
What did you think about President Bush’s Thanksgiving visit to Iraq?I was there when President Bush came to the [Baghdad] airport. The day before, you had to fill out a questionnaire and answer questions, that would determine whether they would allow you in the room with the President.
What was on the questionnaire?
“Do you support the president?”
Members of the military were asked whether they support the president politically?
Yes. And if the answer was not a gung-ho, A-1, 100 percent yes, then you were not allowed into the cafeteria. You were not allowed to eat the Thanksgiving meal that day. You had an MRE.
What’s an MRE?
Meals ready to eat. We also call them “meals refused by Ethiopians.”
About this questionnaire, it raises a serious question about whether military personnel, or civil servants for that matter, should ever be asked questions by their supervisors about their political beliefs. It also raises the whole question of freedom of speech. In particular, the circumstances under which members of the military have freedom of speech.
There is none.
Is a soldier free, for example, to speak to the media if it is in support of the president and his policies, but not free to do so if in opposition or if raising uncomfortable questions?
If you are spouting good things about the president, you are allowed to speak. If you are saying anything negative, you are not allowed to speak.
There’s a lot more and it’s must-reading. You don’t want to miss this. Scroll down to the post titled “Support The Troops! Or Give ‘em Lip Service, Anyway” and read it for Phaedrus’ comments, then go read the whole interview. It’s a mind-boggler.
A couple of days after the RNC took the extraordinarily ominous step of replacing the FCC and the Justice Dept by advising 250 tv stations that advertising critical of Bush was “illegal”, the Editorial Board of the NYT is backing them up.
We are now engaged in the first federal election contest under the new campaign finance law prohibiting open-ended donations from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals in federal elections. Already, political insiders are carving a giant loophole that the Federal Election Commission must swiftly close. Otherwise, the system will be flooded again with the large and politically destructive contributions the new law was meant to stop.At issue are a handful of new committees set up by Democratic operatives and dedicated to turning President Bush out of office.
Once again we have the specter of the “liberal media” going all stiff-jawed and righteous with indignation because the Democrats dare to do something the Pubs have been doing for years and are still doing. No mention of the anti-Kerry ads from groups like the Committee for the American Family, just the pro-Kerry ones. Those are illegal.
That the Times picked this up from a scurrilous RNC dirty trick obviously intended to intimidate tv stations into refusing to air anti-Bush ads is bad enough; that the RNC letter was sent out in an unethical attempt specifically to torpedo MoveOn.org’s campaign and the editorial doesn’t even mention that is even worse. But worst of all is this spineless toadying that swallows the RNC’s self-serving position whole and uses it to attack Democratic organization only.
“Liberal media” my ass.