Friday, May 30, 2008

Some not so "puzzled"!

Dana Perino, White House Press Secretary is puzzled.

Ari Fleischer, former White House Press flack is puzzled.

Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President is puzzled.

Karl Rove is puzzled.

They are all “puzzled” over former White House Press puppet, Scott McClellan’s epiphany that the Bush Administration is, at its core, a bunch of insular, conniving serial liars who took us to war under false pretenses—and are incompetent to boot.

Well, let me introduce you to some who are not “puzzled”:

Richard Clark, President Bush’s former terrorism czar, who also served Presidents Reagan, George H. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Clark warned us in 2004 that the Bush-neo-con agenda was to invade Iraq. “So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ...and occupy an oil-rich Arab country which was doing nothing to threaten us. In other words, we stepped right into bin Laden’s propaganda. And the result of that is that al Qaeda and organizations like it, offshoots of it, second-generation al Qadea have greatly strengthened.”

Paul O’Neal, President Bush’s Treasury Secretary said the Iraq war was planned 8 months prior to 9/11—that the Bush neo-cons came into the White House with that agenda in their baggage.

Congressman John Murtha, who served in Vietnam (S-2 Intelligence Section)–who was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts as well as the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Murtha has said that he did not see any achievable goal or national security interest in the (Iraq) operation and the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is “uniting the enemy against us.”

General Eric Shinseki, former Army Chief of Staff, who was forced out of command and into retirement because of his criticism of the Bush gang’s war planning.

Admiral William Fallon, Chief of U.S. Central Command (General Petraeus’s boss)–who “retired” after publicly ruling out a strike against Iran. He added, “What’s the best and most effective way to combat al Qaeda? We tend to make too much or too little a deal about it. I want a more even keel. I come from the school of walk softly and carry a big stick.”

General Ricardo Sanchez, who was coalition commander in Iraq for two years: The Iraq war is “a nightmare with no end in sight!”

Major General John Batiste, former commander of the First Infantry Division in Iraq and critic of the Bush gang incompetence who spoke out “on behalf of soldiers and their families.”“I had a moral obligation and duty to do so.”

John Dilulio, former head of Bush’s Office of Faith Based Initiatives, in an interview in Esquire magazine, "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one; a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you’ve got is everything—and I mean everything, being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

While “puzzlement”, “disgruntlement” and the suggestion that McClellan is having an out-of-body experience is just the robotic spin we have come to know and expect from the White House and Fox News—the most hypocritical response is from the mainstream media types who accusingly ask why McClellan didn’t speak out when it would have meant something?

That is a legitimate question—--unless you are among the legion of mainstream media types who never asked that question of Colin Powell. The same Colin Powell who went before the United Nations in February of 2003 to close the deal on invading Iraq. The same Colin Powell who was well aware that the information he was purveying was at worst, flat wrong—and at best, highly questionable. Saddam Hussein has “500 tons” of chemical weapons, was just one of his examples of “solid proof.”

During the run up to the war, the mainstream media did indeed go belly-up in the face of mass patriotic flames being fanned by Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld--and that is a “puzzlement” to me.

Bill Sanders

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Kennedy's legacy and fate

The tragic news of Senator Ted Kennedy’s diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor has resulted in an outpouring of reminiscences about the Kennedy legacy which strike a personal chord in my past experience.

After 18 months as a mortar platoon leader in Korea, and two years as a general assignment (civilian) reporter for Pacific Stars and Stripes in Japan, I returned to the U.S. to work as the political cartoonist for Greensboro Daily News in North Carolina at the beginning of the "Kennedy era".

In addition to drawing opinions about John Kennedy’s nomination and election, I confess to being personally swept along by the exciting sense of something special happening in American politics—a new national awareness that we could shed the albatross of segregation, that we could in fact put a man on the moon, that truly the torch had been passed.

My cartoons were being regularly reprinted in the Washington Post and one day I received a letter from Evelyn Lincoln, President Kennedy’s personal secretary, writing at the behest of the President, informing me that Kennedy would like very much to have the original of a particular cartoon. It was the first of what was to become regular correspondence between Mrs. Lincoln and myself.

In January of 1963, during a trip to Washington, I was invited by Pierre Salinger to come to a White House press briefing. Afterward, he took me down the hall to meet with President Kennedy. As we went through Evelyn Lincoln’s office, I could not stifle a Cheshire cat grin upon seeing one of my cartoons hanging by the doorway into the Oval Office.

The President introduced me to Ted Sorensen, his speech writer and Secretary of State Dean Rust. They left and we were alone for about twenty minutes of conversation ranging from the politics of segregation to what kind of brush I used for drawing with India ink. He joked about finally finding gainful employment for his two brothers through the tried and true route of nepotism.

Upon my return to Greensboro, I received another letter from Evelyn Lincoln, saying that the President wanted to thank me again for the cartoons. She concluded, "It was a pleasure to have you here. Hope you come again sometime."

Months later Lee Harvey Oswald and a bullet aborted the John Kennedy legacy. It is sad that the final chapter of Ted Kennedy’s legacy will be written by a malignant brain tumor.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Caution: Dimwit at work!

If there is “intelligent design” at work in our existence, it is certainly not demonstrated in the person of George W. Bush. His ignorance of history is exceeded only by his hubris.

He has compared the “war on terrorism (Iraq)” to World War II (Hitler)–he has recently resurrected his old slur that if democrats win the White House they will facilitate and ease the way for another terrorist attack on the United States.

His coup de McCathyism was to stand before the Israeli Congress and accuse democrats of appeasement ala Neville Chamberlain to Adolf Hitler, when it comes to terrorists and Iran. Now, let’s see—Neville Chamberlain conceded half of Czechoslovakia to Hitler. What, exactly has Barrack Obama indicated he would concede to Iran or terrorists?

There is apparently no level that is beyond his stooping skill.

Bush has said (with a straight face) his sacrifice to the Iraq war was to give up golf because it just didn’t seem appropriate in the face of young men (over 4,000) dying over there. That must be a huge comfort to grieving mothers, widows and children. Of course, being a serial liar, the President was video recorded playing golf a month later .

Add to that Bush’s statements that it must by “exciting”—even “romantic” to be a young soldier fighting for “freedom” in Iraq. This from the draft-dodger during the Vietnam fight for “Freedom”.

Add to this the damage he has done our constitutional rights, and our economy–not to mention the laws he has violated

What is it that 71% of the American people know about this man--- that 100% of Congressional Democrats apparently don’t know—when it comes to holding Bush accountable?

Can anyone spell impeachment?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Reverend Wright and talking heads

The seemingly endless flap and outrage over the preaching of Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a display of monumental hypocrisy and an example of boundless religious ignorance.

Religious ignorance because, for the most part, we are a nation that is illiterate about the belief to which we pay lip service and which we imply is at the very core of our values. If you lined up ten of Reverend Wright’s critics who expressed outrage over his "blasphemous" use of the Bible to "damn" America, I doubt that you would find two who could pass an eighth grade level test of Biblical Theology. (Who was Hulda—and what was that person’s contribution to what we now claim as "the word of God?")

When the above mentioned ignorance is cupeled with equal denseness about African American religious culture and style—it is recipe for repeated regurgitation by television’s talking heads of Barack Obama’s terrible guilt by association.

Political hypocrisy corrupts nightly television every time the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Lou Dobbs, Chris Mathews, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity. Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan and assorted talking heads, ad nauseam, open their mouths. They are shocked—shocked, they tell us—at the hatefulness of this black minister!

Piety and faux-patriotism is most particularly annoying when its purveyors are millionaire TV "stars" posing as journalists—and when they elevate religious nonsense to a serious status of influence on our political future.

Talking heads are equally shocked at the idea that the our government’s past behavior might have been a contributing factor to the rising tide of the radical Islamic extremists.

The silence of these talking heads was defining back when the Reverend Pat Robinson and the Reverend Jerry Falwell blamed the U.S. Supreme Court, abortionists, homosexuals and the ACLU for the attack of 9-11. "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us what we deserve," said Falwell. (Speaking of being hateful of America!)

Does anyone remember the outrage of the talking heads when straight shooter John McCain (after calling Falwell an agent of intolerance) accepted a speaking invitation to Liberty University–or that McCain sought and is proud of Reverend John Higee’s endorsement after Higee declared Katrina to be God’s punishment for a homosexual parade in New Orleans.

Perhaps if Reverend Wright had delivered his hellfire and damnation brew of black history, liberation and scripture in the soft spoken style of Pat Robinson— words flowing gently through the immobile lips of a pasted on smile—Barack Obama would not be required to march to the nightly drumbeat from on high in television tinsel land.

As for Reverend Wright, he was way off base in his defense of Louis Farrakhan and for not disavowing the internet baloney of Aids created by the government to kill black people. As for his coming across as smug and arrogant, there is no argument there! He almost, but not quite, rivals television’s talking heads when it comes to self serving hubris!