Monday, October 31, 2005

Sam Alito Visits the late Rosa Parks

I've just read an AP report that our brand new Supreme Court nominee is being taken to the Capitol for a photo-of at the casket of Rosa Parks. This is SICK! Wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen the story confirmed by several sources.

Here's what we know about the man who will replace Harriet Miers as nominee for the Supreme Court. Sam Alito would allow race-based discrimination (Brady V Marriott Hotels, 1997). Alito would allow disability-based discrimination. Alito supports unauthorized strip-searches. He's also hostile towards immigrants.

You get the picture. Bush is really appealing to the hard right. Now I'm wondering why the Democrats didn't try to protect Harriet. The woman in the blue suit is now looking good.

"I can honestly say that without Mrs. Parks, I probably would not be standing here today as secretary of state."

- CONDOLEEZZA RICE, at a memorial service for Rosa Parks.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rosa Parks to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda

Today (Sunday) and tomorrow the late Rosa Parks will will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. The first woman ever to be given this honor.

May she rest forever in peace.


This photo was taken after Rosa Parks was arrested for her bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956. The photo was discovered in 2004 by someone who was cleaning up the Montgomery County files.

Rosa Parks 1903 - 2005


The pastor of the Paulist Center in downtown Boston this morning said that Rosa Parks should serve as an inspiration for all who are interested in promoting justice in our society. That says it all.

In honoring her we also pay tribute to all the courageous men and women who were part of the civil rights struggle. Many of these brave souls put their own lives at risk for a noble cause. I was privledged in the late Sixties and early Seventies to work with a few of them.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Celebrating Immigrants in Boston

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Annual Solas Awards Dinner in Boston. This event, sponsored by the Irish Immigration Center, honors a number of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to American society.

"Solas" is a Gaelic word meaning "light"

This year three individuals received Solas Awards. Teresa Heinz, Chairman of the Heinz Family Philanthropies, received an award for her philanthropic work. Janice Loux, President of UNITE HERE Local 26, received the community leadership award. John McGrail, founder of the Mayo Group, received the corporate leadership award.

The whole affair was very inspiring. It was a celebration of the remarkable contribution that immigrants make to our American society. So different than the zenophobic messages we often hear on talk radio and cable television.

My congratulations to the Board and staff of the Irish Immigration Center for a wonderful evening!


While surfing Left Blogostan this morning I came accross this post by Arianna in the Huffington Post. Check it out.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Breaking News - Miers has withdrawn...

CNN is reporting that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination for the Supreme Court. No surprise. I have been predicting that she wouldn't make it to the Senate hearings.

This morning Bush announced that he would set up a Special Committee to help him come up with a new nominee. The Committee will be co-chaired by James Dobson and Pat Robertson. Of course I'm just joking. A little humor to brighten up another historic day!

The question is will Bush give the rightwingers some 'red-meat' or will he tell them to take a hike. Stay tuned!

The Democrats are off-base on Iraq...

Last Sunday morning on Meet the Press Tim Russert asked Chuck Schumer if he regretted his vote supporting the invasion of Iraq. Without hesitation Schumer replied "no."

Schumer's response left me wondering what's wrong with the Democrats. We know the war was based on what one British M.P. described as "a pack of lies." The American people were subjected to a propaganda campaign that included forged documents. Why are leading Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, unwilling to say that this war was a mistake?

Democratic leaders need to start listening to the American people - not to their consultants in Washington. That is essentially the message that Arianna Huffington delivers in her insightful post this morning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Are Pro-War Americans More Patriotic?

This morning on the way to the office I heard a news story on my car radio about the 2000-dead-in-Iraq story. It was reported that Senator John McCain had condemned those who use this story to question our involvement in Iraq. According to McCain, we are unpatriotic and are only giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

I heard this same argument back in the early 1970's when those of us who questioned our involvement in Vietnam were also vilified as unpatriotic.

In my view, the real traitors are those who lied to the American people in order to get us involved in this godforsaken war.

Those who promoted and sold the Iraq War, including John McCain, are no more partiotic than the rest of us. I would go so far as to say that some of these individuals put the special interests of the neo-cons ahead of the best interests of the American people.


Click here for a highly informative article on Plamegate in today's Guardian.

Update #2:

Want to imagine what 2000 flag-draped coffins would look like? Billmon has posted this graphic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks, 92, Symbol of the Civil Rights Movement, Dies

Rosa Park's refusal to relinquish her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus grew into a mythic event that helped set off the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's.

She passed away last night. May she rest in peace.

In remembering Rosa it is proper that we pay tribute to the extraordinary courage this quiet woman demonstrated in challenging a deeply entrenched segregation in 1955.

In the late 1960's I got involved in the civil rights movement in the Deep South when I signed on to work with the War on Poverty. In my first week at work my colleagues and I integrated a restaurant that had refused service to one of our African American co-workers. It was a very scary experience and it gave me a great appreciation for Rosa Parks and other pioneers of the civil rights movement.

America is a better country because of the heroism of Rosa Parks.

Her memory should inspire us to fight for freedom and justice for all Americans.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Goodbye, Harriet! We hardly knew ye...

A few days ago I bet a friend $25 that Harriet Miers would not make it to the Supreme Court. Couldn't resist the opportunity to pick up a little spare cash! The only question now is when the Harriet Affair will come to an end.

She was done-in by her own "loving" born-again Christian brothers and sisters. Only problem is that those folks have zero tolerance for people who don't completely share their reactionary conservative philosophy.

Harriet, tell them all to screw off! Better yet, tell them you are going to join the Unitarian Church.

Hurricane Fitz Predicted to Strike D.C. Later this Week...

Latest reports have Hurricane Fitz striking Washington, DC, later this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

This past weekend top White House leaders met at Camp David to plan a strategy to minimize damage. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who appeared on one of the network morning shows, outlined the key strategy to be employed.

Hutchinson predicts that some top people may be victims of Hurricane Fitz but should not suffer as a result of "minor legal technicalities." The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal this morning is expressing the same view.

The Katrina Memo is inviting your predictions for Hurricane Fitz. Will it be a Category 5 that causes massive damage for the Republicans or will all the predictions prove to be nothing more than left-wing media hype?

Post your comments.

Update: "Comments" are down...

This seems to be a systemwide problem with HaloScan. I notice that "comments" are also down at Eschaton and AMERICAblog. Hopefully, the folks at HaloScan are working on fixing the problem.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Media Whores Should Not be Trusted...

Just saw one of those right-wing media whores on C-Span attempting to smear Joe Wilson and discredit the Fitzgerald investigation. His argument: any kind of indictments for leaking classified information would be a bad day for American democracy since it would negatively impact on the ability of the media to operate freely.


What an argument to make at a time when we know that major news organizations acted as the propaganda arm of the Administration during the months leading up to the Iraq War.

As a result of the Judith Miller Affair we now know with certainty that more than a few prominent journalists can't be trusted. Many of them acted as spokespersons of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG). They prostituted themselves to sell the Iraq War to the American people.

I expect that the pundit I saw on C-Span this morning was working from "talking points" provided by the Republican National Committee. It's somewhat ironic that some of the same pundits who allowed themselves to be used as Administration propagandists are now concerned about a free press and the preservation of American democracy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Where are the Democrats?

Another brisk autumn morning here in New England. Beautiful foliage everywhere you look. On an early morning walk I was thinking about how this blog has evolved over the past two months.

I decided to publish The Katrina Memo in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Having worked with the anti-poverty program in Louisiana in the late Sixties and early Seventies I was very affected by what I saw on television. This blog is dedicated to keeping alive the social issues that surfaced after the hurricane.

I recognize that I'm still just a very small player in the Progressive Blogosphere. Nevertheless, it has been exciting to be part of the action.

Over the past two months we have seen profound changes on the national political scene. Corruption in the upper levels of the Republican Party has been exposed. There is clearly increased awareness of the issues of race and poverty. Americans are becoming more aware of how they were conned into supporting the Iraq War.

Progressive bloggers have greatly contributed to the changing political dialogue now under way. They deserve our continued support.

What has been noticeably missing is progressive leadership from the Democrats. These politicians need to read the polls and understand that this country is changing. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and Joe Biden should have the balls to call for an end to our involvement in Iraq.

We need to restore respect for America around the world. We need to put a new priority on taking care of the disadvantaged here at home. We need to make peace - not war. We badly need leaders who are willing to publicly promote these noble goals.

Must Read!

Maureen Dowd has a most interesting op ed piece in today's NYT. Unfortunately it's only avialable online to TimesSelect subscribers. Go here for Steve Gilliard's anaylsis.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Mental Illness is Not a Crime

The young woman who tossed her three young children into the cold waters of San Francisco Bay has been charged with various crimes. This is not a surprise.

Andrea Yates is in jail because she was convicted of crimes. Last night her former husband was on one of the cable channels trying to explain that a person in a psychotic state is not capable of viewing the world in the same way as a normal person. What he was trying to say is that mentally ill people need treatment - not punishment.

For some reason the legal profession in this country seem hostile to the idea of treating the mentally ill as sick people. I guess they believe that everyone should be punished, even if certain individuals are not culpable for their behavior.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Very Sad Story...

I've just been watching a news conference on the young woman who threw her three young children off a pier into San Francisco Bay last evening. We're told she was reacting to voices she was hearing.

I must say the coverage of this story has been more sympathetic than the treatment of Andrea Yates a few years ago. Nobody demanding the death penalty. Of course, we haven't heard from the lawyers/prosecutors yet.

This kind of terrible tragedy should inspire a discussion of how we can more effectively help those who are mentally ill in our society. In the old days the answer was to put people away. There has to be a better solution.

Cheney 'cabal' hijacked US foreign policy...

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday. This according to a story in this morning's Financial Times.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: "What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

"Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences."

This article provides more confirmation that the neo-cons have been dictating American foreign policy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Scooter Libby is in deep doo-doo...

Some of the more insighful commentary on PlameGate has been provided by Murray Waas. Check out what he has to say here on Scooter Libby's perilious situation.

While most of the arrows point towards Libby at this time I predict he will not be the only one getting a "Fritzmas Gift."


Fritzmas is coming soon! Here are some tips to follow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Best of Times for Progressive Bloggers

What has come to be known as Left Blogostan is bubbling with excitement these days! Great stories breaking almost every hour. I'm honored to be a small part of this community.

I'll mention just a few of the blogs that have been pumping out information on Harriet, Judy and the RoveGate Investigation. One of my favorites is Atrios. He provides lots of opportunities for visitors to make comments. AMERICAblog is another place that has been cranking out great stuff lately. They also encourage visitors to leave comments.

Of course, one of the most visited of the progressive blogs is Daily Kos. The focus is primarily on politics. Once you register one time you can leave comments when you visit.

The Huffington Post has constantly improved since it was launched a few months ago. Arianna has found her voice. This blog has played a major role in keeping the Judith Miller story before the public. You can register to leave comments.

One of my favorite bloggers is Billmon. Very insightful commentary. The only blog I visit that doesn't accept comments.

One other blog that has been doing a great job these days is Crooks and Liars. This is a place to find video clips of some of the most interesting stories. Finally, I'll just mention Steve Gilliard's News Blog. Steve has a way of getting his hands on some the most provocative stories.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. There are lots more blogs I visit on a regular basis. I'll list some of them in a later post.

Cheney's Office Is a Focus in Leak Case

Washington Post

"As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame."

Sounds like Fitz may have something on Cheney. Stay tuned!


My friend Ron sent me this article from today's Daily News:


A special prosecutor's intensifying focus into who outed a CIA spy has raised questions whether Vice President Cheney himself is involved, knowledgeable sources confirmed yesterday.

At least one source and one reporter who have testified in the probe said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is pursuing Cheney's role in the Valerie Plame affair. In addition, at least six current and former Cheney staffers - most members of the White House Iraq Group - have testified before the grand jury, including the vice president's top honcho, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, and two top Cheney national security lieutenants. Cheney's name has come up amid indications
Fitzgerald may be edging closer to a blockbuster conspiracy charge - with help from a secret snitch."They have got a senior cooperating witness - someone who is giving them all of that," a source who has been questioned in the leak probe told the Daily News yesterday.

Cheney was questioned last year by prosecutors and has hired a private attorney, former colleague Terrence O'Donnell, who declined to comment when contacted by The News. Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride only offered the standard canned response that her boss is cooperating.

Libby and President Bush's political mastermind Karl Rove remain the focus of the probe into whether Plame's cover was blown in a scheme to embarrass her husband, ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who debunked claims that Iraq tried to buy nuclear materials in Niger. Libby is often described as "Cheney's Cheney," a loyal and discreet lieutenant who shares his boss's hard-line philosophy and bareknuckle attitude toward political enemies of the Bush administration.

Cheney and Libby spend hours together in the course of a day, which causes sources who know both men very well to assert that any attempts to discredit Wilson would almost certainly have been known to the vice president."Scooter wouldn't be freelancing on this without Cheney's knowledge," a source told the Daily News. "It was probably some off-the-cuff thing: 'This guy [Wilson] could be a problem.'"The News reported in July that Libby was "totally obsessed with Wilson."Whether that obsession amounts to criminal misconduct will be decided by Fitzgerald - but if Libby is indicted or implicated in wrongdoing, Cheney's reputation will suffer as well.

Anyone want to make a bet on who will be indicted?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Here's What Frank Rich Had to Say...

Earlier today I suggested the whole effort to slime and slander Joe Wilson was all about a conspiracy to lie to the American people about going to war. Frank Rich made the case very eloquently in the NYT yesterday. Since it's hidden behind the TimesSelect curtain I am reproducing the text below:

It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby By Frank Rich The New York Times
Sunday 16 October 2005

There hasn't been anything like it since Martha Stewart fended off questions about her stock-trading scandal by manically chopping cabbage on "The Early Show" on CBS. Last week the setting was "Today" on NBC, where the image of President Bush manically hammering nails at a Habitat for Humanity construction site on the Gulf Coast was juggled with the sight of him trying to duck Matt Lauer's questions about Karl Rove.

As with Ms. Stewart, Mr. Bush's paroxysm of panic was must-see TV. "The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts," Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post. Asked repeatedly about Mr. Rove's serial appearances before a Washington grand jury, the jittery Mr. Bush, for once bereft of a script, improvised a passable impersonation of Norman Bates being quizzed by the detective in "Psycho." Like Norman and Ms. Stewart, he stonewalled.

That stonewall may start to crumble in a Washington courtroom this week or next. In a sense it already has. Now, as always, what matters most in this case is not whether Mr. Rove and Lewis Libby engaged in a petty conspiracy to seek revenge on a whistle-blower, Joseph Wilson, by unmasking his wife, Valerie, a covert C.I.A. officer. What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney.

Mr. Wilson and his wife were trashed to protect that larger plot. Because the personnel in both stories overlap, the bits and pieces we've learned about the leak inquiry over the past two years have gradually helped fill in the über-narrative about the war. Last week was no exception. Deep in a Wall Street Journal account of Judy Miller's grand jury appearance was this crucial sentence: "Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group."

Very little has been written about the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG. Its inception in August 2002, seven months before the invasion of Iraq, was never announced. Only much later would a newspaper article or two mention it in passing, reporting that it had been set up by Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff. Its eight members included Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby, Condoleezza Rice and the spinmeisters Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. Its mission: to market a war in Iraq.

Of course, the official Bush history would have us believe that in August 2002 no decision had yet been made on that war. Dates bracketing the formation of WHIG tell us otherwise. On July 23, 2002 - a week or two before WHIG first convened in earnest - a British official told his peers, as recorded in the now famous Downing Street memo, that the Bush administration was ensuring that "the intelligence and facts" about Iraq's W.M.D.'s "were being fixed around the policy" of going to war. And on Sept. 6, 2002 - just a few weeks after WHIG first convened - Mr. Card alluded to his group's existence by telling Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times that there was a plan afoot to sell a war against Saddam Hussein: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

The official introduction of that product began just two days later. On the Sunday talk shows of Sept. 8, Ms. Rice warned that "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," and Mr. Cheney, who had already started the nuclear doomsday drumbeat in three August speeches, described Saddam as "actively and aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons." The vice president cited as evidence a front-page article, later debunked, about supposedly nefarious aluminum tubes co-written by Judy Miller in that morning's Times. The national security journalist James Bamford, in "A Pretext for War," writes that the article was all too perfectly timed to facilitate "exactly the sort of propaganda coup that the White House Iraq Group had been set up to stage-manage."

The administration's doomsday imagery was ratcheted up from that day on. As Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post would determine in the first account of WHIG a full year later, the administration's "escalation of nuclear rhetoric" could be traced to the group's formation. Along with mushroom clouds, uranium was another favored image, the Post report noted, "because anyone could see its connection to an atomic bomb." It appeared in a Bush radio address the weekend after the Rice-Cheney Sunday show blitz and would reach its apotheosis with the infamously fictional 16 words about "uranium from Africa" in Mr. Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address on the eve of war.

Throughout those crucial seven months between the creation of WHIG and the start of the American invasion of Iraq, there were indications that evidence of a Saddam nuclear program was fraudulent or nonexistent. Joseph Wilson's C.I.A. mission to Niger, in which he failed to find any evidence to back up uranium claims, took place nearly a year before the president's 16 words. But the truth never mattered. The Bush-Cheney product rolled out by Card, Rove, Libby & Company had been bought by Congress, the press and the public. The intelligence and facts had been successfully fixed to sell the war, and any memory of Mr. Bush's errant 16 words melted away in Shock and Awe. When, months later, a national security official, Stephen Hadley, took "responsibility" for allowing the president to address the nation about mythical uranium, no one knew that Mr. Hadley, too, had been a member of WHIG.

It was not until the war was supposedly over - with "Mission Accomplished," in May 2003 - that Mr. Wilson started to add his voice to those who were disputing the administration's uranium hype. Members of WHIG had a compelling motive to shut him down. In contrast to other skeptics, like Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner), Mr. Wilson was an American diplomat; he had reported his findings in Niger to our own government. He was a dagger aimed at the heart of WHIG and its disinformation campaign. Exactly who tried to silence him and how is what Mr. Fitzgerald presumably will tell us.

It's long been my hunch that the WHIG-ites were at their most brazen (and, in legal terms, reckless) during the many months that preceded the appointment of Mr. Fitzgerald as special counsel. When Mr. Rove was asked on camera by ABC News in September 2003 if he had any knowledge of the Valerie Wilson leak and said no, it was only hours before the Justice Department would open its first leak investigation. When Scott McClellan later declared that he had been personally assured by Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby that they were "not involved" with the leak, the case was still in the safe hands of the attorney general then, John Ashcroft, himself a three-time Rove client in past political campaigns. Though Mr. Rove may be known as "Bush's brain," he wasn't smart enough to anticipate that Justice Department career employees would eventually pressure Mr. Ashcroft to recuse himself because of this conflict of interest, clearing the way for an outside prosecutor as independent as Mr. Fitzgerald.

"Bush's Brain" is the title of James Moore and Wayne Slater's definitive account of Mr. Rove's political career. But Mr. Rove is less his boss's brain than another alliterative organ (or organs), that which provides testosterone. As we learn in "Bush's Brain," bad things (usually character assassination) often happen to Bush foes, whether Ann Richards or John McCain. On such occasions, Mr. Bush stays compassionately above the fray while the ruthless Mr. Rove operates below the radar, always separated by "a layer of operatives" from any ill behavior that might implicate him. "There is no crime, just a victim," Mr. Moore and Mr. Slater write of this repeated pattern.

THIS modus operandi was foolproof, shielding the president as well as Mr. Rove from culpability, as long as it was about winning an election. The attack on Mr. Wilson, by contrast, has left them and the Cheney-Libby tag team vulnerable because it's about something far bigger: protecting the lies that took the country into what the Reagan administration National Security Agency director, Lt. Gen. William Odom, recently called "the greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

Whether or not Mr. Fitzgerald uncovers an indictable crime, there is once again a victim, but that victim is not Mr. or Mrs. Wilson; it's the nation. It is surely a joke of history that even as the White House sells this weekend's constitutional referendum as yet another "victory" for democracy in Iraq, we still don't know the whole story of how our own democracy was hijacked on the way to war.

Post your coments!

It's All about TREASON, stupid!

Back when the Watergate story was breaking I used to think I was becoming a WATERGATE ADDICT! I anxiously looked forward to each new breaking detail.

Lately, I've been thinking that I'm becoming a JUDY MILLER/PLAMEGATE ADDICT. For the past 24 hours I've been scouring the blogosphere and other news sources for each new breaking detail. I've concluded that it all boils down to one word: TREASON.

This view was reinforced when I read this post by John Aravosis at AMERICAblog.

Don't get me wrong. The smearing of the Wilson's was bad business. And there are many questions about Judy Miller's role in the effort to slime Joe Wilson.

But the real issue here is the effort on the part of the Administration to sell a war to the American people based on lies. Plamegate was just part of the larger effort to mislead the citizens of this great country.This betrayal, in my view, was tantamount to treason. It's that simple.

Would the American people have supported a war to remove Saddam Hussein if they had been told the truth? I don't really know the answer to that question. The fact is we were all the victims of a campaign of disinformation.

Meet the "new" Harriet Miers...

The White House will be re-introducing Harriet Miers to the American people this week. CNN labels this relaunch as a "mulligan"... a reference to that free shot we golf duffers give ourselves when we screw-up. Obviously, the first impressions of the Supreme Court nominee have left something to be desired.

An article in this mornings New York Times provides the broad outlines of the "new" Harriet Miers that we'll be meeting over the next few days. There will be more emphasis on her legal brilliance and less talk about her affectionate notes written over the years to George W. Bush. Expect to see less reference to her religious beliefs.

I'm still inclined to believe that her nomination is already permanently damaged. As Chuck Hagel has indicated, Americans want more than a "nice lady" on the Supreme Court. Maybe Harriet will confound all her critics when she gets to the Senate hearings.

And Ms. Miers deserves the opportunity to make the case for her own nomination before the United States Senate.


After reading this piece from the WSJ Opinion Journal I'm convinced that Harriet Miers is toast.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The NYT is still defending Judy...

The New York Times has a detailed story this morning on the Judy Miller Affair. Here is the link.

As you would expect, the newspaper is still basically defending the response of Times management. The article makes it clear that a lot of people at the newspaper are not too fond of Judy.

Get yourself a cup of coffee and check out the article for yourself.


Read this analysis of the NYT article by Greg Mitchell in Editor & Publisher. He wants her to get the boot.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Intercepted al-Qaeda letter may not be all it seems

This past week we heard a lot of talk on Fox and CNN about a long letter purportedly written by Osama bin Ladin's deputy and sent to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarquawi. As Billmon points out, it's a letter "which the corporate media have been gobbling up like a dog in a meatball factory."

Turns out the letter may be fake. Read what Billmon has to say and form your own opinion. Who would be responsible for this kind of hoax? Maybe the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) are still in business.

Million More Movement is About Empowerment...

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakan says that he hopes today's gathering in DC will help remind America about the racial and economic disparities highlighted by Hurricane Katrina. This historic event, commerating the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March, will be carried live by C-Span.

When I worked with the anti-poverty program more than three decades ago we used to say that the most important thing we could do was help poor people to help themselves. That was our mantra. I still believe that empowering disadvantaged people to help themselves is a most important goal.

And this may be Farrakan's most important contribution to the black community.

The Million Man March was a great success in that it helped many black men accept responsibility for their own social and economic welfare. Hopefully, the gathering in DC today will produce similar results.


I just read this opinion piece on the Steve Gilliard's blog. The article titled, That Was a Short War on Poverty, war written by E.J. Dionne Jr. and published on the Washington Post yesterday. Read the article and you'll know why I consider some of the Republicans in the House to be mean fuckers.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Bush Job Approval at 2% in Black Community...

According to the most recent NBC/WSJ poll, Bush's job approval rating among African Americans had dropped to 2%. Some pundits have expressed surprise at this low number.

In my opinion, it is not difficult to explain African American opinions as reflected in the poll. Republican strategy is based on an appeal to the fears of white voters. Nixon's "southern strategy," developed in the Seventies, was based on a racist appeal.

The Administration response to homeless blacks after Hurricane Katrina reinforced negative attitudes. This is not something that can be covered up by a Presidential photo-op with a couple of attractive young black girls.

Harriet will not survive conservative onslaught...

There is one thing you can say with certainty about the conservative wingnuts: when they go after someone they can be mean-spirited. Look what they've done to Harriet Miers over the past few days.

Yesterday on the Op Ed page of the New York Times David Brooks implied that this woman couldn't write coherent English. Warmonger-in-Chief Bill Kristol wants her dumped immediately. (This is the same guy who publicly demanded that Bush show loyalty to his pal John Bolton.) Kristol implies that dumping Miers would give the President the opportunity to select an intelligent person. Blatant sexism on the part of Kristol, Brooks and the rest of them.

The right-wing nuts have portrayed Miers as nothing more than a two-bit secrectary with an obsession for detail. One even went so far as to describe her as a "comical selection."

Now I'm no friend of the Bush Administration. But I hate to see a decent woman trashed the way this woman has been trashed.

My prediction is that Harriet Miers will not survive the onslaught from the wingnuts. Today's NYT has this complimentary piece. But this will not be enough. She's already seriously damaged.


For insightful comments on the "civil war" within the conservative movement read this post by Billmon.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bush Approval Dips Below 40 Percent

According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, only 39 % approve of Bush's job performance - lowest ever. Only 30% believe the country is heading in the right direction and only 29% think Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, I just heard on NPR that Ted Kennedy has said he will support John Kerry if he runs in '08. Someone tell me we're not going down that road again! We need a Presidential candidate with a new fresh vision for America.

Something to Cheer About

Here in New England we woke up this morning to predictions of more rain and flooding. It seems as if the news has been pretty depressing lately. That's why I went looking for something positive... and I found this story on the pages of the New York Times.

According to the story, happy days are here again for Notre Dame football. And it mostly has to do with a quarterback named Brian Quinn and a coach named Charlie Weis. It sets the stage for the Notre Dame/USC game on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Harriet Miers Blog

I'm generally not in favor of doing parodies of public figures - conservative or liberal. It can be misunderstood. Having said this you may want to check out this Harriet Miers blog. It will certainly bring a smile to your face...if you have a sense of humor!

NY Threat Most Likely a Hoax

Several news organizations are reporting that the alleged threat that led to heightened security on NYC subways last week may have been a hoax on the part of an Iraqi informant attempting to get money in exchange. It's likely that this "hoax" provided a boost to Blomberg's reelection campaign. It also helped bolster Bush's argument that it's "better to fight them over there than here in NYC."

Judith Miller back before grand jury today

Judith Miller had a chat with Patrick Fitzgerald yesterday. Something about a meeting she had with Lewis Libby, a top aide to VP Cheney. Anyway, Fitzgerald has invited her to visit with the grand jury today.

Karl Rove will have the opportunity to clarify his story before the grand jury later this week.

In the meantime, Left Blogostan is giddy with excitement over what Fitzgerald may have in the works. Conjures up memories of Watergate. Same questions. Who knew what? When did they know it? Looks like a "conspiracy" case to me. Remember, some of these guys spent their formative years in the Nixon White House.


You'll find great stuff here on the Judith Miller Affair. You may want to bookmark.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Earthquake Relief: List of Organizations

Here is a list of relief organizations who are or will be responding to the earthquake in Pakistan. The list was posted on Daily Kos.

The Declining Influence of NYT Columnists

Daily Kos has an interesting graph showing the declining influence of New York Times columnists. Now that these guys are published behind a curtain most bloggers do not reference their columns. One visitor to this blog admonished me for mentioning a column by Bob Herbert that was only available to TimesSelect subscribers. Got the message!

Arianna is on the War Path!

Arianna Huffington has been relentless in her criticism of the New York Times for their unquestioning support of Judy Miller. Her latest criticisms in today's Huffington Post are directed at editor Bill Keller.

My theory is that the management of the Times have no choice but to support Miller. After all they published her highly questionable articles on WMD in Iraq on the front page above the fold. When I originally read those articles I suspected they were nothing more than neo-con propaganda. Is is possible that Bill Keller or Arthur Sulzberger didn't see what I saw? Not likely.

On a less serious note...

I just heard a couple of guys on a local Boston radio station rejoicing over the Yankee defeat last night. Misery loves company!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Update on Iraq

Some of the most informed commentary on Iraq is published by Juan Cole. Click here for his latest update.

Bill Kristol: "One or more Indictments in the Next Three Weeks"

Click here for Kristol's comments on Fox News Sunday. He's getting the base ready for the bad news. And he's concerned about "the criminalization of politics." The Rove defense is already taking shape.

Can't they possibly dig up some dirt on Fitzgerald? What's happened to the old Smear Machine!

Winter is Coming!

My sister traveled from Boston to Denver yesterday to attend the wedding of a cousin. Called last night to say she might not be able to attend. Reason: A major snowstorm.

Judy Miller's Pro-War Propaganda Is the Real Issue

Lots of commentary in the Progressive Blogosphere on the role of Judy Miller in the outing of a CIA agent. Some of the more interesting insights have been provided by Billmon.

Predictions were that this would be the Big Week...that we would finally hear from Fitzgerald. Seems unlikely since both Rove and Miller will be elaborating on their stories tomorrow.

While many are interested in the role Miller may have played in the outing of Valerie Wilson I am much more interested in the role she played as a scribe for the neo-cons during the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq. It is now widely acknowledged that she was one of the leading pro-war propagandists.

I agree with David Corn and others who claim that Judy Miller has done more damage to the reputation of the New York Times than the more publicized case of Jason Blair. Miller not merely betrayed her profession. She betrayed her country.

What we really need is an independent investigation of the role played by the New York Times and other major news organizations in promoting the Iraqi War. This is not likely to happen.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

South Asia Quake: Death Toll Soars Past 18,000

A powerful earthquake flattened entire villages, as it devastated parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Pakistani Kashmir seems to be the area most affected with over 41,000 reported injured. The death toll stands at over 18,000...but that figure is expected to rise.

I've been watching CNN coverage for the past couple of hours. Heart-breaking scenes of devastation.

The international community is responding. Condi Rice assured the governments of India and Pakistan that the U.S. government was ready to respond. Maybe our military helicopters in Afghanistan could be used to get emergency aid to some of those isolated villages in the mountains.

Anyway, I've been thinking that this is a good opportunity to show that our compassion extends to the Muslim world.


I've just heard the comments by President Bush from the Oval Office on the South Asia quake. Was pleased to learn that the U.S. Government will be sending the heavy-lift helicopters requested by the Pakistan Government. This is the kind of response that helps restore that good opinion of the USA.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Introducing "The Week In Review"

Beginning this week, "The Week in Review" will be a regular feature each Saturday on this blog. The idea will be to highlight the one or two stories that have the greatest implications for American citizens.

At this time, as publisher of The Katrina Memo, I'll be responsible for this weekly post. My hope is to recruit someone else who would take responsibility for "The Week in Review."

If you would like to be the contributor for this weekly post send me an email at

This week I want to highlight the layoff of 3,000 city employees in New Orleans. My question is this: how can we pay millions of dollars to contractors in Iraq but can't pay the salaries of our brothers and sisters in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast? Why do politicians put the interests of Chalabi and his gang of Iraqi crooks before the interests of suffering Americans? It's clear that poor Americans don't count for much in Washington.

The employees of the City of New Orleans have already suffered greatly. Many have lost their homes. At a time when they are needed to help rebuild this historic city they are given pink slips. What a disgrace!

Post your comment.

More Bad News From Iraq

The mainstream media has been so busy for the past couple of days whipping up anti-terrorist hysteria that you may have missed some REAL NEWS from Iraq. Seven American soldiers were killed in Iraq yesterday. According to Sharon Jumper at Daily Kos, nineteen American soldiers have been killed in the past week.

We don't see the flag-draped coffins coming home. We don't see the grieving families.

We did hear about the fifty "terrorists" we killed in Iraq this past week. Does that mean that we're winning? Somehow I don't feel safer as a result of hearing this news.

Bush Administration Tried to Give the Boot to ElBaradel

John Bolton, the man who was not confirmed by the U.S. Senate as UN Ambassador, tried to prevent Mohamed ElBaradel from getting selected for a third term as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Payback for not going along with our WMD accusations against Iraq. Click here for the details.

Quotation of the Day

"The prize recognizes the role of multilateralism in resolving all of the challenges we are facing today."

Mohamed ElBaradel
winner of Nobel Peace Prize

Friday, October 07, 2005

Is Bill O'Reilly a Pathological Liar?

Just for the record...I don't watch Fox News. And I never watch Bill O'Reilly. I decided long ago that this guy was a boorish obnoxious bully.

Fortunately some people in the progressive blogosphere are keeping an eye on O'Reilly ... and calling him out for his most notorious lies. Just a few days ago we learned how O'Reilly had insinuated that American soldiers were guity of a terrible crime of abuse during World War Two. Turns out this "historical incident" was a product of his imagination.

Now comes word of another story where O'Reilly invents history to suit his racist views.

On the October 4 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show O'Reilly equated trans-Atlantic Irish immigration in the 19th century to the historical enslavement of African-Americans and their forced removal from Africa. The Irish coming to the United States "had to leave the country, just as Africans had to leave - - African-Americans had to leave Africa and come over on a boat and try to make it in the New World with nothing." No mention of slavery.

This guy is a moron!! And a pathological liar!!

If you're interested you can listen to audio of his comments here.

Post your comments.

Breaking News! Mohamed ElBaradei and IAEA Share Nobel Peace Prize

Just learned that Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog agency he heads, will share this years Nobel Peace Prize. A most fitting award.

You will remember that before the war ElBaradei did everything in his power to convince Bush and the world that his agency could address concerns about WMD in Iraq. Of course Bush wanted no part of IAEA involvement. It turns out that WMD was a bogus issue. The real agenda of Bush and his neo-con supporters was regime change.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bush Talks About the Evil Doers

Just heard (on NPR) the highlights of Bush's speech on terrorism. Same old fear-mongering. I'm not sure if this kind of speech is capable of whipping up "patriotism" anymore. In the meantime Blair delivered a stern warning to the Iranians earlier today.

I have this feeling that if Rove or Libby is indicted by Fitzgerald we may see some action against against Iran or Syria. If it happens you will have read about it here first.


This morning Bush said that Iraq had become the battleground in the war against terrorism. Now, this evening we have word that some of these bad guys in Iraq are planning to come to New York next week to blow up the subway system. The Mayor of NYC and the Police Commissioner have been on TV telling people to be on the watch out. (It should be pointed out that the FBI have said that the information coming from Baghdad regarding this threat is "unreliable.")

Am I the only American that thinks this is another con job by the Administration?

Time to Consider our NEXT President

One night last week I saw on Irish television a re-run of an old documentary on the life of Robert F.Kennedy. I was reminded of why he's the politician that I’ve most admired since coming to the United States in the early Sixties. His passion for social justice stands in stark contrast to what today passes for political leadership.

Watching the Kennedy documentary made me think that what we now need is a President who is not afraid to advocate on behalf of the 37 million of our fellow citizens who live below the poverty level. We need a President in the White House who can restore respect for America around the world. Most of all, we need a President who appeals to the hopes and aspirations of all Americans – not their fears.

Do you see anyone on the horizon who might fulfill this role? Here's a short list of people I would like to see in the 2008 Democratic primaries:

Al Gore
Russ Finegold
Howard Dean
Nancy Pelosi
Gary Hart
Wesley Clark

Al Gore is my choice for President. He has the moral courage that was personified by RFK. You'll notice I haven't included any of those high profile Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war. Just a personal preference.

Post your comments - and let us know your choice for the next President.

Postscript: A MUST READ. In my opinion, this BuzzFlash News Alert tells us what we need to know about Al Gore.


Bob Herbert has a piece on Bill Bennett's stupid comments in today's New York Times. Only available to TimesSelect subscribers.

Nine U.S. Senators Voted for Torture

In case you missed it, nine U.S. Senators voted for the right of our military to engage in TORTURE. All Republicans. Billmon has the list.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Is Bill Bennett a Racist?

I was out of the country last week when the Bill Bennett controversity erupted. Since returning on Monday evening I've been trying to get a handle on what he actually said. What I found confusing is the fact that some liberal pundits were claiming Bennett's comments had been taken out of context.

Yesterday evening I came across this post that clarified everything. What Bennett said was even worse than I could have imagined. His understanding of the roots of crime in the black community can most charitably be described as ignorant and uninformed.

Thirty years ago I gained some understanding of crime in black communities when I worked with the anti-poverty program in the poorest neighborhoods of Baton Rouge. Once I was mugged and left bleeding in the street. A black co-worker from the anti-poverty agency came to my apartment the next morning to commiserate. My response: "We need to do something about the CONDITIONS that cause young people to commit these crimes."

I find Bennett's suggestion that fewer black babies would reduce crime to be totally offensive. He was clearly guilty of naive stereotyping.

Of course Bill Bennett is not the only media pundit making stupid statements about poverty in the black community. A few weeks ago, George Will, speaking on a Sunday morning talk show, suggested that the solution to poverty involved black girls not marrying until they were twenty.

Thirty years ago I learned that middle-class white people living outside poor black neighborhoods mostly didn't have a clue about the conditions that caused poverty in these communities. Unfortunately, as Bill Bennett's statement reveals, this has not changed.

Is Bill Bennett a bigot? I'm inclined to believe he's quilty of unconscious racism.


Etan Thomas, power forward for the Washington Wizards, wants to take the conservative wing nuts on a yellow school bus trip to poverty. Here is the link for details of his proposal. Bill Bennett would be an obvious candidate for this consciousness-raising experience.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Making a Difference

Steve Gilliard has this post titled "Why we Blog." I identify with the sentiments expressed by Steve. It's highly rewarding to be blogging right now...with the wing nuts on the defensive there is the possibility of real political change in the future.


More news on Scumbag-in-Chief Bill O'Reilly. has this post on O'Reilly's slandering of World War Two soldiers on his program last night. I'm thinking of initiating a "Boycott Fox" campaign at this blog later this year. May not accomplish much...but it sure will provide major satisfaction.

Richard Cohen is out to Lunch!

Some of the liberal pundits who promoted the Iraqi war must be feeling alienated from the Democratic Party these days. That's my explanation for this piece of nonsense by Richard Cohen in today's Washington Post.

Maybe Cohen could sign-on as a special contributor to Fox Cable News. Better yet, he could follow the advise of Atrios and simply retire. There is only so much of value that any pundit can contribute.

Steve Gilliard On Support for the Left Blogosphere

One of my favorite bloggers is Steve Gilliard. Click here to read what Steve has to say about supporting what has come to be known as the Left Blogosphere. Of course I'm a little biased... but I believe these bloggers are making a valuable contribution because of their courage in taking on the Administration.

You can expect the Left Blogosphere to continue to grow in influence. Each morning I read my favorite "progressive" blogs before reading the NYT or the Washington Post.


A word of thanks to all who are supporting The Katrina Memo.

The New York Times In Full Damage Control Mode

The publishers of the New York Times are sticking to their position that Judy Miller went to jail for a noble cause. Check this story in today's edition of the newspaper.

Of course, what they don't address is Judy's relationship with the neo-cons. As Arianna Huffington has pointed out, there are many unanswered questions about her articles published during the months leading up to the Iraq war.

When I read Miller's pro-war articles, almost always based on "senior administraton sources," I assumed they were nothing more than neo-con propaganda. I haven't changed my view.

The New York Times has promised to do a detailed story on the Miller affair. I bet they won't cover what is argueably the most important part of the story.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Judy Miller is no hero..

Judy Miller is no martyr for the rights of journalists.

During the months leading up to the war in Iraq Judy Miller’s articles, based on “senior Administration” sources, appeared regularly on the front pages of the New York Times. Pure pro-war propaganda. Now she claims to have gone to jail to protect the right of journalists to confidential sources. What a farce. She’s trying to cover-up her own role as a scribe for the neo-cons.

What's your opinion?


Just got back to the United States and heard about Judy's $1.2 million book deal. What a disgrace! Atrios has a good suggestion for a title.

To day is a travel day. Making my way from Ireland to Boston. Post your comments on Bill Bennett or Judy Miller or whatever is on your mind.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bill Bennet Is Not the Only Right-wing Racist

Still blogging from the Irish countryside...

A lot of so-called media pundits have made good money in recent years peddling their right-wing racist views. Racist hate-mongers like Bill Bennett, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity have been give a free ride by the mainstream media in recent years. These people are part of the “toxic sludge” dumped on the American people each night by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Cable News.

We shouldn’t tolerate having this garbage coming into our living rooms.

There was a time when the media led the fight in condemning the KKK and other groups promoting bigotry in our society. What’s happened? Why the timidity? Are they afraid they will be accused of left-wing bias?

The good news is that progressive bloggers are leading the fight for a society based on decency and justice. These include Daily Kos, Atrios, Steve Gilliard, The Huffington Post and Americablog. Of course BuzzFlash has been engaged in this fight for several years.

Time for the mainstream media to show some moral courage!