Friday, September 29, 2006

Death Throes of Democracy: Of Thee I Weep

I couldn't possibly express my own sentiments and thoughts any better than this so thanks to William Pitts for this insightful, accurate presentation and interpretation of where all of us engaged in protecting our democracy stand.

Never, in a million years, would I have thought I would live to see this day. The reality is that I have. So have you and so have those who don't know it yet. The only words I have in my mind upon reading this at the moment are from Dylan Thomas: "Do not go gentle into that good night....rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Though I fully comprehend Pitt's premise, I feel compelled to add my own summation. I shall NEVER, EVER stand fearful before those who wish to take from me that which was given to me by virtue of my birth. There's no need to further expound on my own philosophies or theories because one has gone before us who spoke what for me is a non-sequitor: "Give me Liberty or give me Death." - Patrick Henry - March 23, 1775 -

Thanks and all credits given to William Pitt -

In Case I Disappear
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Friday 29 September 2006

I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.

I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.

Matters are different now.

It seems, perhaps, that the people who warned me were not so paranoid. It seems, perhaps, that I was not paranoid enough. Legislation passed by the Republican House and Senate, legislation now marching up to the Republican White House for signature, has shattered a number of bedrock legal protections for suspects, prisoners, and pretty much anyone else George W. Bush deems to be an enemy.

So much of this legislation is wretched on the surface. Habeas corpus has been suspended for detainees suspected of terrorism or of aiding terrorism, so the Magna Carta-era rule that a person can face his accusers is now gone. Once a suspect has been thrown into prison, he does not have the right to a trial by his peers. Suspects cannot even stand in representation of themselves, another ancient protection, but must accept a military lawyer as their defender.

Illegally-obtained evidence can be used against suspects, whether that illegal evidence was gathered abroad or right here at home. To my way of thinking, this pretty much eradicates our security in persons, houses, papers, and effects, as stated in the Fourth Amendment, against illegal searches and seizures.

Speaking of collecting evidence, the torture of suspects and detainees has been broadly protected by this new legislation. While it tries to delineate what is and is not acceptable treatment of detainees, in the end, it gives George W. Bush the final word on what constitutes torture. US officials who use cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment to extract information from detainees are now shielded from prosecution.

It was two Supreme Court decisions, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that compelled the creation of this legislation. The Hamdi decision held that a prisoner has the right of habeas corpus, and can challenge his detention before an impartial judge. The Hamdan decision held that the military commissions set up to try detainees violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.

In short, the Supreme Court wiped out virtually every legal argument the Bush administration put forth to defend its extraordinary and dangerous behavior. The passage of this legislation came after a scramble by Republicans to paper over the torture and murder of a number of detainees. As columnist Molly Ivins wrote on Wednesday, "Of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place."

It seems almost certain that, at some point, the Supreme Court will hear a case to challenge the legality of this legislation, but even this is questionable. If a detainee is not allowed access to a fair trial or to the evidence against him, how can he bring a legal challenge to a court? The legislation, in anticipation of court challenges like Hamdi and Hamdan, even includes severe restrictions on judicial review over the legislation itself.

The Republicans in Congress have managed, at the behest of Mr. Bush, to draft a bill that all but erases the judicial branch of the government. Time will tell whether this aspect, along with all the others, will withstand legal challenges. If such a challenge comes, it will take time, and meanwhile there is this bill. All of the above is deplorable on its face, indefensible in a nation that prides itself on Constitutional rights, protections and the rule of law.

Underneath all this, however, is where the paranoia sets in.

Underneath all this is the definition of "enemy combatant" that has been established by this legislation. An "enemy combatant" is now no longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict" against our forces. Thanks to this legislation, George W. Bush is now able to designate as an "enemy combatant" anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."

Consider that language a moment. "Purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" is in the eye of the beholder, and this administration has proven itself to be astonishingly impatient with criticism of any kind. The broad powers given to Bush by this legislation allow him to capture, indefinitely detain, and refuse a hearing to any American citizen who speaks out against Iraq or any other part of the so-called "War on Terror."

If you write a letter to the editor attacking Bush, you could be deemed as purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States. If you organize or join a public demonstration against Iraq, or against the administration, the same designation could befall you. One dark-comedy aspect of the legislation is that senators or House members who publicly disagree with Bush, criticize him, or organize investigations into his dealings could be placed under the same designation. In effect, Congress just gave Bush the power to lock them up.

By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.

In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place.

That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.


William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence. His newest book, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation, will be available this winter from PoliPointPress.

*The commentary above reflects the opinions and thoughts of this writer alone.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Vast Right Wing Consiracy" gets kicked in the butt!

And Keith Olbermann sums it up nicely - more than nicely - brilliantly in fact. Finally, someone stood up to the liars and media whores at Fox News - at the hands no less of a particularly loathsome entertainer, Chris Wallace who is such a paragon of virture that he publicly renounced his own father, the legendary Mike Wallace, indicting him for his age and his difference in politics and professionalism. Shame on him for general purposes and shame on him for his despicable behavior when interviewing President Clinton after Fox invited him onto their network under false pretenses. And where are our Democrats to voice their support of the President who can be factually shown as having done all he could in trying to capture BBogeyman Bin??? Once again, Keith Olbermann carries those truths out to the viewers, one of whom I hope you are as he nightly calls this criminal administration to account. And if you aren't, you ought to be. If there's ONE thing you do, I hope it's watching his broadcast at 8p EST and then repeated at 12 midnight, EST. It's the very least you can do for your country. Arm yourselves with truth and take that truth to your voting booth.

Keith Olbermann

MSNBC Special Commentary

September 25, 2006

The headlines about them are, of course, entirely wrong.

It is not essential that a past president, bullied and sandbagged by a monkey posing as a newscaster, finally lashed back.

It is not important that the current President's portable public chorus has described his predecessor's tone as "crazed."

Our tone should be crazed. The nation's freedoms are under assault by an administration whose policies can do us as much damage as al Qaida; the nation's marketplace of ideas is being poisoned by a propaganda company so blatant that Tokyo Rose would've quit.

Nonetheless. The headline is this:

Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years.

He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration.

"At least I tried," he said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. "That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try; they did not try. I tried."

Thus in his supposed emeritus years has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by any one, in these last five long years.

The Bush Administration did not try to get Osama bin Laden before 9/11.

The Bush Administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors.

The Bush Administration did not understand the Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."

The Bush Administration did not try.

Moreover, for the last five years one month and two weeks, the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest "pass" for incompetence and malfeasance in American history!

President Roosevelt was rightly blamed for ignoring the warning signs - some of them, 17 years old - before Pearl Harbor.

President Hoover was correctly blamed for - if not the Great Depression itself - then the disastrous economic steps he took in the immediate aftermath of the Stock Market Crash.

Even President Lincoln assumed some measure of responsibility for the Civil War - though talk of Southern secession had begun as early as 1832.

But not this president.

To hear him bleat and whine and bully at nearly every opportunity, one would think someone else had been president on September 11th, 2001 -- or the nearly eight months that preceded it.

That hardly reflects the honesty nor manliness we expect of the executive.

But if his own fitness to serve is of no true concern to him, perhaps we should simply sigh and keep our fingers crossed, until a grown-up takes the job three Januarys from now.

Except for this.

After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts - that he was president on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton's.

Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly.

As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy.

Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News Friday afternoon.

Consider the timing: the very weekend the National Intelligence Estimate would be released and show the Iraq war to be the fraudulent failure it is - not a check on terror, but fertilizer for it.

The kind of proof of incompetence, for which the administration and its hyenas at Fox need to find a diversion, in a scapegoat.

It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired - but a propagandist, promoted:

Promise to talk of charity and generosity; but instead launch into the lies and distortions with which the Authoritarians among us attack the virtuous and reward the useless.

And don't even be professional enough to assume the responsibility for the slanders yourself; blame your audience for "e-mailing" you the question.

Mr. Clinton responded as you have seen.

He told the great truth untold about this administration's negligence, perhaps criminal negligence, about bin Laden.

He was brave.

Then again, Chris Wallace might be braver still. Had I in one moment surrendered all my credibility as a journalist, and been irredeemably humiliated, as was he, I would have gone home and started a new career selling seeds by mail.

The smearing by proxy, of course, did not begin Friday afternoon.

Disney was first to sell-out its corporate reputation, with "The Path to 9/11." Of that company's crimes against truth one needs to say little. Simply put: someone there enabled an Authoritarian zealot to belch out Mr. Bush's new and improved history.

The basic plot-line was this: because he was distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton failed to prevent 9/11.

The most curious and in some ways the most infuriating aspect of this slapdash theory, is that the Right Wingers who have advocated it - who try to sneak it into our collective consciousness through entertainment, or who sandbag Mr. Clinton with it at news interviews - have simply skipped past its most glaring flaw.

Had it been true that Clinton had been distracted from the hunt for bin Laden in 1998 because of the Monica Lewinsky nonsense, why did these same people not applaud him for having bombed bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan and Sudan on Aug. 20, of that year? For mentioning bin Laden by name as he did so?

That day, Republican Senator Grams of Minnesota invoked the movie "Wag The Dog."

Republican Senator Coats of Indiana questioned Mr. Clinton's judgment.

Republican Senator Ashcroft of Missouri - the future attorney general - echoed Coats.

Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter questioned the timing.

And of course, were it true Clinton had been "distracted" by the Lewinsky witch-hunt, who on earth conducted the Lewinsky witch-hunt?

Who turned the political discourse of this nation on its head for two years?

Who corrupted the political media?

Who made it impossible for us to even bring back on the air, the counter-terrorism analysts like Dr. Richard Haass, and James Dunegan, who had warned, at this very hour, on this very network, in early 1998, of cells from the Middle East who sought to attack us, here?

Who preempted them in order to strangle us with the trivia that was, "All Monica All The Time"?

Who distracted whom?

This is, of course, where - as is inevitable - Mr. Bush and his henchmen prove not quite as smart as they think they are.

The full responsibility for 9/11 is obviously shared by three administrations, possibly four.

But, Mr. Bush, if you are now trying to convince us by proxy that it's all about the distractions of 1998 and 1999, then you will have to face a startling fact that your minions may have hidden from you.

The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton, but by the same people who got you elected President.

Thus, instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it, we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently read the Orwell playbook too quickly.

Thus, instead of some explanation for the inertia of your first eight months in office, we are told that you have kept us "safe" ever since - a statement that might range anywhere from zero, to 100 percent, true.

We have nothing but your word, and your word has long since ceased to mean anything.

And, of course, the one time you have ever given us specifics about what you have kept us safe from, Mr. Bush, you got the name of the supposedly targeted Tower in Los Angeles wrong.

Thus was it left for the previous president to say what so many of us have felt; what so many of us have given you a pass for in the months and even the years after the attack:

You did not try.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your predecessor.

You ignored the evidence gathered by your own people.

Then, you blamed your predecessor.

That would be a textbook definition, Mr. Bush, of cowardice.

To enforce the lies of the present, it is necessary to erase the truths of the past.

That was one of the great mechanical realities Eric Blair - writing as George Orwell - gave us in the book "1984."

The great philosophical reality he gave us, Mr. Bush, may sound as familiar to you, as it has lately begun to sound familiar to me.

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power...

"Power is not a means; it is an end.

"One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

"The object of persecution, is persecution. The object of torture, is torture. The object of power… is power."

Earlier last Friday afternoon, before the Fox ambush, speaking in the far different context of the closing session of his remarkable Global Initiative, Mr. Clinton quoted Abraham Lincoln's State of the Union address from 1862.

"We must disenthrall ourselves."

Mr. Clinton did not quote the rest of Mr. Lincoln's sentence.

He might well have.

"We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country."

And so has Mr. Clinton helped us to disenthrall ourselves, and perhaps enabled us, even at this late and bleak date, to save our country.

The "free pass" has been withdrawn, Mr. Bush.

You did not act to prevent 9/11.

We do not know what you have done to prevent another 9/11.

You have failed us - then leveraged that failure, to justify a purposeless war in Iraq which will have, all too soon, claimed more American lives than did 9/11.

You have failed us anew in Afghanistan.

And you have now tried to hide your failures, by blaming your predecessor.

And now you exploit your failure, to rationalize brazen torture which doesn't work anyway; which only condemns our soldiers to water-boarding; which only humiliates our country further in the world; and which no true American would ever condone, let alone advocate.

And there it is, Mr. Bush:

Are yours the actions of a true American?

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Amendment IV to the Lost Constitution of the former United States of America

MIKE MALLOY - 1/20/05

Click here: Ned Lamont for Senate

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Well, well, well, looky who's resurfaced again...I was wondering what this old goon was doing these days and lo and behold, where is he found but wurkin' hard for yup, you guessed it, our favorite absentee bi-se..oops, bi-partisan Senator No Show Lieberman and what is he doing? Why, raising $$ for him but of course! For anyone needing memory refreshment, the link below is pretty comprehensive but if not to your taste, simply do a google search on Mr. Former Ambassador Pumpgate Embassy Named For Him Mel Sembler himself!

What good taste you have, Senator Holy. Who's next on your Friends, VIPS and Crooks for Hire list? Let's see...have you thought about contacting Reverend Moon yet? Or, how about the Gambino Family? Maybe you can even get Tony Soprano to do a little campaigning for you, wouldn't that be oh, so progressive and culturally diverse?

You know what, Joe? I've come to the conclusion that you have totally lost your mind - but, in all fairness to you, I haven't ruled out dementia either since you still seem to have some trouble finding your way back to Capitol Hill - a little voting would be nice on your part - DEMOCRATIC voting, remember the Democrats? You've really outdone yourself with this one, sir. Have you NO morals left at all?

I encourage anyone of sound mind and body to explore the world of Mel Sembler and then picture him and Joe sharing a glass of wine or two discussing the merits of inflatable "ahem" airbags vs. handheld pumps. Should be pretty interesting.

"And you shall be known by the company you keep."

Go, Ned Lamont! Restore values and morality to Congress!

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Amendment IV to the Lost Constitution of the former United States of America

*The thoughts and opinions expressed in the above reflect the author's alone.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

How much lower, Joe, are you going to go?

He'll "get by with a little help from 'his' friends," huh, Joe....uh, WHAT party is it you say you would caucus with should you win your INDEPENDENT campaign? Dems you say? Hmmm, seems to me you have an a w f u l lot of payback on your table, eh? And we haven't even GOTTEN to Mayor Bloomberg yet! look like an ass and I don't mean that of a donkey...just a plain weak, pathetic, begging, morally bankrupt ass as you pander to your true Republican buddies. You are an embarrassment to members of either party when you really think about it...but the joke's ultimately going to be on you because have no doubt - your friend Karl is going to drop you like a hot potato once you are done doing his bidding..That's ok though...I guess you can still learn things at 64, right?

With credit and thanks to the Journal Inquirer, good people of CT, behold the following:

Florida Republican, friend to Bushes and defender of Lewis Libby, raises money for Lieberman
By Don Michak, Journal Inquirer

U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman on Wednesday attended a fundraiser in Florida organized by a former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, a top aide to the senator confirmed.

Lieberman's communications director, Dan Gerstein, said the reception held at Mel Sembler's St. Petersburg offices - where guests were asked to contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the three-term incumbent's battle against Greenwich Democrat Ned Lamont - went like "gangbusters."

About 100 people attended the event, according to Reuters news service, which reported that it was closed to reporters.

Sembler headed the RNC's finance committee from 1994 to 2000. President Bush named him as ambassador to Italy in 2001, a post he held until last year.

Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, had named Sembler as ambassador to Australia.

Sembler is chairman of the board of the Sembler Co., a developer of shopping centers in Florida and nearby states.
He serves on the boards of directors of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and the Republican Jewish Coalition and is chairman of the Libby Legal Defense Trust.

The defense trust is a Washington, D.C.-based organization established to help Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, defray legal expenses following his federal indictment last year on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements.

The charges were levied in connection with a special prosecutor's probe of the leaking of the name of a former CIA agent, Valerie Plame, to reporters.

Ned Lamont's campaign spokeswoman, Liz Dupont-Diehl, said today the Sembler fundraiser "sounds like more Washington special interests trying to help Joe cling to his job."

"This is a kind of incumbency protection racket that makes Ned's candidacy so appealing to so many people," she said, adding that Lamont had refused to accept contributions from political action committees and other special interests.

Minutes after losing the Democratic primary to Lamont last month, Lieberman vowed to continue his bid for re-election as an independent and appealed to out-of-state voters of all political stripes for campaign contributions.

Gerstein said today that he did not immediately know of other prominent Republicans who have offered to help Lieberman raise campaign cash, with the exception of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg has agreed to host a fundraiser for Lieberman at the mayor's upper East Side townhouse Nov. 1, as well as to headline another fundraising event slated for Oct. 25 in Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Lieberman and Lamont camps were continuing discussions today in a bid to schedule a debate between the candidates within the next few weeks.

Both sides already have committed to a debate in New London on Oct. 23. That event is slated to be moderated by ABC News correspondent and former President Bill Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos.

©Journal Inquirer 2006

*The opinions expressed are that of the author alone.
**But they're mine and I'm stickin' to 'em.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Well, well, Senator Joe, that's not very good vetting now, is it? Can any old "joe schmoe" hook up with you without even a background check? Now this is something that might make me mistrust ALL the polls your campaign releases because it seems to me you'd think even your Mr. President Hi-Tech Spy On Citizens NSA guy would have caught this dude's unsuitability. Well, then again...

Or, *wink *wink *nudge *nudge was there something both you fellas knew about him?

Thanks and all credit to WTNH for some good sleuthing!

Polling company employee pleads guilty to fraud

(New Haven-AP, Sept. 19, 2006 5:05 PM) An employee of a company that conducted campaign polls for President Bush, Senator Joe Lieberman and other candidates for office pleaded guilty today to making up poll results.

Darryl Hylton of Hamden pleaded guilty in federal court in Bridgeport to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The Guilford-based company, Data-U-S-A, is now known as Viewpoint U-S-A.

Hylton admitted that he conspired to falsify survey and polling results to meet deadlines or other requirements that Data-U-S-A otherwise could not meet. He also admitted that he directed other Data-U-S-A employees to falsify results in a variety of ways, including changing demographic information, such as gender, to satisfy client requirements.

Hylton faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 250 thousand dollars when he is sentenced on December Eleventh.

***The commentary reflects solely the opinion of this writer.

*****The rest is a FACTUAL report from WTNH.

Keith Olbermann: Our Edward R. Murrow

Bush owes us an apology.

The President of the United States owes this country an apology. /

Sept. 18, 2006 8:24 p.m. ET

It will not be offered, of course.He does not realize its necessity.There are now none around him who would tell him or could.The last of them, it appears, was the very man whose letter provoked the President into the conduct, for which the apology is essential. An apology is this President's only hope of regaining the slightest measure of confidence, of what has been, for nearly two years, a clear majority of his people.Not "confidence" in his policies nor in his designs nor even in something as narrowly focused as which vision of torture shall prevail -- his, or that of the man who has sent him into apoplexy, Colin Powell.

In a larger sense, the President needs to regain our confidence, that he has some basic understanding of what this country represents -- of what it must maintain if we are to defeat not only terrorists, but if we are also to defeat what is ever more increasingly apparent, as an attempt to re-define the way we live here, and what we mean, when we say the word "freedom."Because it is evident now that, if not its architect, this President intends to be the contractor, for this narrowing of the definition of freedom.

The President revealed this last Friday, as he fairly spat through his teeth, words of unrestrained fury directed at the man who was once the very symbol of his administration, who was once an ambassador from this administration to its critics, as he had once been an ambassador from the military to its critics.The former Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, had written, simply and candidly and without anger, that "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."This President's response included not merely what is apparently the Presidential equivalent of threatening to hold one's breath, but within it contained one particularly chilling phrase.

REPORTER: Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don't you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you're following a flawed strategy?

MR. BUSH: “If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic,” Bush said. “It's just -- I simply can't accept that. It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.

Of course it's acceptable to think that there's "any kind of comparison."And in this particular debate, it is not only acceptable, it is obviously necessary.Even if Mr. Powell never made the comparison in his letter.

Some will think that our actions at Abu Ghraib, or in Guantanamo, or in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, are all too comparable to the actions of the extremists.Some will think that there is no similarity, or, if there is one, it is to the slightest and most unavoidable of degrees.What all of us will agree on, is that we have the right -- we have the duty -- to think about the comparison.And, most importantly, that the other guy, whose opinion about this we cannot fathom, has exactly the same right as we do: to think -- and say -- what his mind and his heart and his conscience tell him, is right.All of us agree about that.

Except, it seems, this President.With increasing rage, he and his administration have begun to tell us, we are not permitted to disagree with them, that we cannot be right. That Colin Powell cannot be right.

And then there was that one, most awful phrase.In four simple words last Friday, the President brought into sharp focus what has been only vaguely clear these past five-and-a-half years - the way the terrain at night is perceptible only during an angry flash of lightning, and then, a second later, all again is dark.“It's unacceptable to think," he said.

It is never unacceptable to think.And when a President says thinking is unacceptable, even on one topic, even in the heat of the moment, even in the turning of a phrase extracted from its context, he takes us toward a new and fearful path -- one heretofore the realm of science fiction authors and apocalyptic visionaries.That flash of lightning freezes at the distant horizon, and we can just make out a world in which authority can actually suggest it has become unacceptable to think.

Thus the lightning flash reveals not merely a President we have already seen, the one who believes he has a monopoly on current truth. It now shows us a President who has decided that of all our commanders-in-chief, ever, he alone has had the knowledge necessary to alter and re-shape our inalienable rights.This is a frightening, and a dangerous, delusion, Mr. President.If Mr. Powell's letter -- cautionary, concerned, predominantly supportive -- can induce from you such wrath and such intolerance, what would you say were this statement to be shouted to you by a reporter, or written to you by a colleague?

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.”Those incendiary thoughts came, of course, from a prior holder of your job, Mr. Bush.They were the words of Thomas Jefferson.He put them in the Declaration of Independence.Mr. Bush, what would you say to something that anti-thetical to the status quo just now?Would you call it "unacceptable" for Jefferson to think such things, or to write them?Between your confidence in your infallibility, sir, and your demonizing of dissent, and now these rages better suited to a thwarted three-year old, you have left the unnerving sense of a White House coming unglued - a chilling suspicion that perhaps we have not seen the peak of the anger; that we can no longer forecast what next will be said to, or about, anyone who disagrees.Or what will next be done to them.

On this newscast last Friday night, Constitiutional law Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, suggested that at some point in the near future some of the "detainees" transferred from secret CIA cells to Guantanamo, will finally get to tell the Red Cross that they have indeed been tortured.Thus the debate over the Geneva Conventions, is in fact not about further interrogations of detainees, but about those already conducted, and the possible liability of the administration, for them.That, certainly, could explain Mr. Bush's fury.That, at this point, is speculative.But at least it provides an alternative possibility as to why the President's words were at such variance from the entire history of this country.

For, there needs to be some other explanation, Mr. Bush, than that you truly believe we should live in a United States of America in which a thought is unacceptable.There needs to be a delegation of responsible leaders -- Republicans or otherwise -- who can sit you down as Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott once sat Richard Nixon down - and explain the reality of the situation you have created.There needs to be an apology from the President of the United States.And more than one.

But, Mr. Bush, the others -- for warnings unheeded five years ago, for war unjustified four years ago, for battle unprepared three years ago -- they are not weighted with the urgency and necessity of this one.We must know that, to you, thought with which you disagree -- and even voice with which you disagree and even action with which you disagree -- are still sacrosanct to you.The philosopher Voltaire once insisted to another author, "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." Since the nation's birth, Mr. Bush, we have misquoted and even embellished that statement, but we have served ourselves well, by subscribing to its essence.Oddly, there are other words of Voltaire's that are more pertinent still, just now."Think for yourselves," he wrote, "and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too."

Apologize, sir, for even hinting at an America where a few have that privilege to think and the rest of us get yelled at by the President.

Anything else, Mr. Bush, is truly unacceptable.=======================

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rare, medium or well-done?

No, NOT your steak...YOU!

Official Touts Non-lethal Weapons for Use: New York Times

Associated Press : Published: September 12, 2006

Filed at 7:42 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Non-lethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before they are used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions in the international community over any possible safety concerns, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

''If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation,'' said Wynne. ''(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press.''

The Air Force has funded research into nonlethal weapons, but he said the service isn't likely to spend more money on development until injury issues are reviewed by medical experts and resolved.

Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam. Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also can be effective in disabling some electronic devices.

On another subject, Wynne said he expects to pick a new contractor for the next generation of aerial refueling tankers by next summer. He said a draft request for bids will be put out next month, and there are two qualified bidders: The Boeing Co. and a team of Northrop Grumman Corp. and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., the majority owner of European jet maker Airbus SAS.

The contract is expected to be worth at least $20 billion.

Chicago-based Boeing lost the tanker deal in 2004 amid revelations that it had hired a top Air Force acquisitions official who had given the company preferential treatment.
Wynne also said the Air Force, which is already chopping 40,000 active duty, civilian and reserves jobs, is now struggling to find new ways to slash about $1.8 billion from its budget to cover costs from the latest round of base closings.
He said he can't cut more people, and it would not be wise to take funding from military programs that are needed to protect the country. But, he said he also encounters resistance when he tries to save money on operations and maintenance by retiring aging aircraft.

''We're finding out that those are, unfortunately, prized possessions of some congressional districts,'' said Wynne, adding that the Air Force will have to ''take some appetite suppressant pills.'' He said he has asked employees to look for efficiencies in their offices.

The base closings initially were expected to create savings by reducing Air Force infrastructure by 24 percent.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Keith Olbermann: Our Ed Murrow and Hero

While the mainstream media has been on sabbatical since September 11, 2001, one true newscaster has stood alone in truth, courage and commitment to bringing the truth to those he serves, the American people. Tonight, during a commemorative show at Ground Zero, hallowed ground that has been usurped by the unforgivable politicization by the Governor of the United States, Keith Olbermann broadcast the follow words. If these words resonate with you as they did for me, bringing me to tears, I ask you to write to and thank this true patriot for finally, finally, laying it out for the American people to see. And a note to his superiors at would greatly be appreciated to offset the screaming rightwingers who will undoubtedly flood MSNBC with irate calls. We must protect this nobleman because in this climate, it is not unrealistic to think he could be removed from his job. This cannot happen. We NEED him. Our lives are dependent on the truth he is courageous enough to report. Thank you all. His words follow below:


Keith's words:

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.

Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you.

Sept. 11, 2006 3:19 p.m. ET

MIKE MALLOY - 1/20/05

Click here: Ned Lamont for Senate

NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.

There Are No Words

by Kitty Donohoe:

As many of you know, the original version of “There Are No Words” was written on 9-11-2001 as my own, personal response to the horror of that day. Upon singing it publicly a few nights later I was urged by the audience to record it - which I did, as a single CD, since my album “This Road Tonight” was already mastered at that point.

It subsequently was sent by others around the US and to some European countries where it seemed to hit a nerve with many who heard it. The song also recieved a Michigan Emmy in 2002 when the Detroit NBC affilitate (WDIV) used it in a piece they put together on the attacks. My own aim with this song has been pretty modest - it came out the way it came out and I never had an agenda with it other than to present it.

As we now face the 5th anniversary of that awful day I find myself hearing from folks about the song and am putting a (slightly) new version of it here. Songs have a way of evolving over time and there are two changes that I’ve made in the lyrics since the original.

When Paul Stookey was performing it he sang “there is no earthly balm” in the chorus (instead of “there is no balm”) because he found solace in his religion at that time, as did others I heard from. So my change is to “is there a balm”, leaving a space for personal interpretation. And in the second verse I changed “all the brothers, all the lovers” to “all the brothers, sisters and lovers” to acknowledge both genders of victims and to make it seem less male-oriented.

This new “There Are No Words” was produced again by my friend David Mosher and we think it sounds pretty good. Please feel free to download it, record it, and send it around...

Download “There Are No Words” from here or from the opening link:

There Are No Words - new full length version (2006)

There Are No Words - new short version (2006)

There Are No Words - original version (2001)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Five Years Beyond the New Pearl Harbor

Somewhere over the last few days, I ran across the words: "celebrate 9/11." My first reaction was "hmmm." Something hit me about it and not sure what, I began to toss about the word "celebrate" in my mind.

Celebrate. My association to that word is party. Taking it farther, I thought of other meanings attached to that word. I thought of the Catholic term, "celebrate Mass." Ok, I thought - that seems closer. Adds the thought of solemnity. Ritual. Intention. I didn't want to go much deeper than that so I thought I'd get right to the point in my mind and went to the dictionary. Here's what I found according to Webster:

Main Entry: cel·e·brate
Function: verb
Pronunciation: 'se-l&-"brAt
Inflected Form(s): -brat·ed ; -brat·ing
Etymology: Latin celebratus, past participle of celebrare to frequent, celebrate, from celebr-, celeber much frequented, famous; perhaps akin to Latin celer
transitive senses
1 : to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites
2 a : to honor (as a holiday) by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business b : to mark (as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine
3 : to hold up or play up for public notice
intransitive senses
1 : to observe a holiday, perform a religious ceremony, or take part in a festival
2 : to observe a notable occasion with festivities
synonym see KEEP
- cel·e·bra·tion/"se-l&-'brA-sh&n/ noun
- cel·e·bra·tor/'se-l&-"brA-t&r/ noun
- cel·e·bra·to·ry/-br&-"tOr-e, -"to r-; "se-l&-'brA-t&-re/ adjective
I don't think anyone could really argue that the above does not accurately describes what will occur on September 11, 2006.

Where were you that day? I mean the question for you is to really stop a moment and revisit in your mind where you were that day when you heard.

From then till now, where are you in terms of understanding the truth of it all?

I'd really love for you to share your story in the comments section. It's a good thing for all of us as Americans to talk about it. Healthy for healing, which we still haven't done.

That day united us. There are those who've done nothing but polarize us. Leaders lead. Deciders decide and dictators divide.

As then and now, my heart and soul bleeds for all those in pain still suffering from 9/11. The day of year is no harder to contemplate now than it was September 11th. My fellow Americans, we must unite again and grieve as one.

Once again, we must go through it. Together. But this time will be different. This time, the politicization of it will be clear. We are no longer in shock. We're certainly out of denial and definitely no longer bargaining.

We are stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Together as a people we are stuck at the acceptance stage of the grieving process. Here's why. We're stuck there, unable to accept what happened to us that terrible, shock and awe day because we do not know the truth. We do not know the truth because we have been lied to...all along the way. By most of our elected (and un-elected) leaders.

Until we know the truth as a people, which we can hear and process now because we are no longer in shock, we will not be able to accept the truth of September 11th and come to terms with all we must do now for us to survive.

"Truth and Justice - the American way."

Let that be so. Let it be true. Let none of us ever again accept blindly as truth anything that comes from the mouths of current career politicians invested in their personal power. Look to Lieberman as an example as that.

After five years of following daily that which is associated with seeking the truth of 9/11, I have come to only this. The truth has not been told. Not Republican truth. Not Democratic Truth. The Truth. "The whole truth and nothing but the truth."

I do not claim to know the real Truth of September 11th but I do know some of the lies. And they're whoppers. Most of you know that, too, those of you who arrive at this blog. And ya, that includes you Lieberlurkers. You know it too.

Let us celebrate five years since We, the American People, had one of the worst perpetrations of a crime committed against us. Let us commit to one another that beginning the very anniversary of that day, we will seek the truth and not stop until we find it. Then, we will hold those accountable in a way that Justice is served, so fragile right now since the Supreme Court was hijacked with people like Joe Lieberman's encouragement and backing. All those involved must be revealed, "Sir" Patrick Fitzgerald. Don't let us down. Truth and Justice, right? The American way, right, sir?

I have no answers. I do have ideas. So do you. Among us, with civil discourse, we can find the answers. I have Faith in us. We, the People.

"Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted."

The thoughts and opinions of the above express the author's point of view only.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm scared, Senator Lieberman, really scared!

Dear Joe -

I know I already asked you a question for which I received your wonderful reply showcased in my previous blog entry and truly, I hate to bother you with such mundane matters given how busy you are bi-locating between D.C. and your beloved CT constituents, but I happened to stumble across this article from's VERY well-respected and credible journalists, one of my favorites, Joe Conason, and it raised some troubling questions for me that evidently, neither campaign has been dying to discuss. But, hey, I'm a nurse and I'm a little worried about the upcoming flu-season not to mention that other terrible plague, BIRD FLU, that keeps popping in and out of the fear landscape, so this one caught my eye. And I can barely sleep worrying about the availability of a vaccine for both of them!

But suddenly, here I am, already frozen in fear since the Governor of the United States told me I SHOULD be in 3 very scary speeches this week and lo and behold, Big Pharma catches my eye and now I have to be plagued again with more worry and fear. And along comes Joe Conason to ask those annoying questions that seem to bother Republicans (yes, Joe, that's you) and all of a sudden, I find myself wondering as a first responder, whether I could run over to your house since we're neighbors and all, only a town away, and whether you or your wife might happen to have a stockpile of vaccine? And if so, that you wouldn't mind administering an IM injection to me in case of emergency so I could go on to help at any of the local hospitals I could just walk to as you pointed out women ought to be able to do? The thing is, I'd need the protection first before I cared for others so in trying to plan ahead, I wonder if you might comment or elaborate on Mr. Conason's observations?

What's the story here, Senator? I am REALLY interested in the Pfizer part...feel free to write me in the "Comments" section.

My terror quota has already been reached this week what with all this talk about our president authorizing secret prisons abroad and confirming what we conspiracy theorists already knew. I simply want to know if I can cross the Bird Flu off my list of fears, ok? Thanks so much as always -

Your friend,


In bed with Big Pharma

Hadassah Lieberman worked for a powerhouse lobbying firm. Were her clients' special interests being served by her husband?

By Joe Conason

Sep. 01, 2006 In a year when "lobbyist" may replace "liberal" as the dreaded L-word, the wise politician draws no attention to any connections with the corporate shills who infest Congress like a biblical plague. Any elected official whose spouse is paid to represent or advise an unpopular special interest should observe that simple caution even more carefully. Naive voters may not understand that this is simply how business is done in their corrupt capital these days -- so it is best to say nothing and hope that nobody asks too many questions.

That was how Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign handled the potential problem of his wife, Hadassah, and her employment by Hill & Knowlton, the public relations and lobbying firm that has flacked for a gamut of gamy clients, from the tobacco lobby and the Kuwaiti government to Enron, at least until last weekend. When I wrote a column on the subject of her job in July, the Lieberman campaign didn't respond, and Sen. Lieberman's opponent, Ned Lamont, did not make an issue of it.

But on Aug. 27, Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein released an angry memo in reaction to an offhand remark by Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan -- who mentioned on a local TV show that his candidate's wife, Annie, "is not a lobbyist" -- and to subsequent postings on the topic by pro-Lamont bloggers. According to the Journal Inquirer, a Connecticut daily newspaper, Gerstein's memo was headlined "Lamonster Whopper of the Week" and railed against Lamont's "reality-challenged blog supporters" for repeating "the lie that Hadassah Lieberman is a lobbyist."

Gerstein went on to note that Mrs. Lieberman "has never been a registered lobbyist" according to records kept by the Senate clerk.

In my original column on Mrs. Lieberman's work for Hill & Knowlton, I carefully refrained from labeling her a lobbyist, since I knew that she had not registered as one. Whether she should have registered is difficult to determine, however, because neither Gerstein nor anyone else associated with either the Lieberman campaign or Hill & Knowlton will discuss what services she performed for the company, one of the biggest lobby shops in Washington, which hired her in March 2005.

Her vague title was "senior counselor" in the firm's "health care and pharmaceuticals practice." In the press release announcing her return to consulting after a decade in retirement, she said, "I have had a life-long commitment to helping people gain better health care. I am excited about the opportunity to work with the talented team at Hill & Knowlton to counsel a terrific stable of clients toward that same goal."

It was a very nice and uplifting statement that revealed very, very little about exactly what Mrs. Lieberman would be doing for all those terrific clients. The description provided by the Harry Walker Agency, which books speaking engagements for Mrs. Lieberman, was no more informative: "Today, Mrs. Lieberman is Senior Counsel for Hill & Knowlton's health care and pharmaceuticals practice, where she addresses the constantly changing dynamics of today's global health care market."

Actually, Mrs. Lieberman abruptly quit the Hill & Knowlton job sometime earlier this year, perhaps sensitive to the problems her position might create for her husband in a contested Democratic primary, during a year when lobbying and corruption are potent issues. The Liebermans' 2005 federal tax return, released by his campaign in July, showed that Hill & Knowlton had paid her almost $77,000. In the past she has worked for a lobbying company, APCO Associates, that had many pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations among its clients, as well as for major drug companies such as Pfizer.

Connecticut voters may never know what Mrs. Lieberman did or didn't do for Pfizer, APCO, Hill & Knowlton or any of the other companies to which she has lent her skills and connections over the years. The Lieberman campaign repeatedly refused to disclose the names of her Hill & Knowlton clients to Kevin Rennie of the Hartford Courant. Voters should know what Joe Lieberman has done for the drug industry, however, and why his wife's simultaneous financial and professional involvement in that industry is troubling.

The real question here is not whether Mrs. Lieberman was technically required to register as a lobbyist, but whether she was being paid by corporate clients whose special interests were being served by her husband.

Among Hill & Knowlton's clients when Mrs. Lieberman signed on with the firm last year was GlaxoSmithKline, the huge British-based drug company that makes vaccines along with many other drugs. As I noted in July, Sen. Lieberman introduced a bill in April 2005 (the month after his wife joined Hill & Knowlton) that would award billions of dollars in new "incentives" to companies like GlaxoSmithKline to persuade them to make more new vaccines. Under the legislation, known as Bioshield II, the cost to consumers and governments would be astronomical, but for Lieberman and his Republican cosponsors, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., the results would be worth every penny. Using the war on terror as their ideological backdrop, the pharma-friendly senators sought to win patent extensions on products that have nothing to do with preparations against terrorist attack or natural disaster.

As the New Haven Register, Lieberman's hometown newspaper, noted in an editorial headlined "Lieberman Crafts Drug Company Perk," that bill is even more generous to the pharmaceutical industry than a similar proposal by the Senate Republican leadership. "The government can offer incentives and guarantees for needed public health measures," it said. "But it should not write a blank check, as these bills do, to the pharmaceutical industry that has such a large cost to the public with what may be an uncertain or dubious return."

What the editorial didn't mention was that the Lieberman bill had also been written by Chuck Ludlam, a former pharmaceutical industry lobbyist who then worked on the Connecticut senator's staff. From his office to his bedroom, Lieberman was totally surrounded by current and former employees of Big Pharma. Ludlam has since retired, and Mrs. Lieberman has quit her job too -- but Lieberman still looks like a politician wholly owned by one of the nation's most troublesome special interests. And while his campaign may not believe that the moralizing senator should he held accountable for those dubious relationships, the press and the public may think otherwise.

-- By Joe Conason

*The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the author alone.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lieberman the Listener - Can you hear me now?

Dear Joe -

Please express my heartfelt appreciation for your profound, in-depth response to the concerns I wrote you about in my last note to you. I am astonished not only by your "rapid response" but the thoughtful, personal and straight to the point answers simply staggered my mind. I now know unequivocally that YOU are the man of the moment.

Let me not be negligent in noting that your letter below is part of a long history of your sending me such knowledge-packed, detailed and informative replies - even IF those replies are totally unrelated to the issues I've questioned. I particularly love how the timeliness of your replies reminds me how often I've forgotten what I originally wrote you about - I adore mysteries and each and every time you pop up in my mailbox, I am so awed at your level of interest in what it is your constituents have to say that I can't help but take notice of your dedication and expertise in IT. I must thank you for helping me to see the brilliance of your internets' technical team - I can now appreciate the state of the art websites they've created. However, as capable as they surely must be, it is very clear that you, sir, are the driving force possessed with the vision necessary to instinctively know exactly what it is that will give your constituents that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you can say "aha, MY senator is really in touch!" Thanks, Senator, you helped provide me with the answers I was seeking; so much so that I'd like to share it with all my friends:

September 6, 2006

Dear Friend:

Thank you for visiting my Contact Center and sharing with me your comments
on the important issues I am addressing in Congress. Your message has
been received; you will be receiving a response to your concerns as soon
as our review and research have been completed.

I value having the benefit of your thoughtful views and hope you will
keep me apprised of any other matters of interest or concern to you in the
future. Please continue to visit my web site at for current information about what is
happening in Congress and updated news about my work on behalf of
Connecticut. I am pleased to let you know that I have launched an email
news update service through my web site. You can sign up for that service
by visiting my web site and clicking on the "Subscribe Email News Updates"
button at the bottom of the home page. I hope these are informative and


Joseph I. Lieberman

Oh, P.S. Senator - The following comes from "The Moderate Voice" - I wonder if you could enlighten me about your relationship with that other paragon of virtue, Ken Mehlman? Thanks -

The White House funneled millions of dollars through major Republican Party contributors to Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s primary campaign in a failed effort to ensure the support of the former Democrat for the Bush administration.

A senior GOP source said the money was part of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove's strategy to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate in November. The source said Mr. Rove, together with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, directed leading pro-Bush contributors to donate millions of dollars to Mr. Lieberman's campaign for re-election in Connecticut in an attempt that he would be a "Republican-leaning" senator.

"Joe [Lieberman] took the money but said he would not play ball," the source said. "That doesn't mean that this was a wasted investment."
*The above writings reflect the thoughts and opinions of the author alone.

MIKE MALLOY - 1/20/05

Click here: Ned Lamont for Senate

NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.

james fetzer, ph.d

Not God nor Faith nor Lack Thereof, but "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people." - Karl Marx

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Please sign Mike Malloy petition...

Please click on the link below to add your voice to the despicable attempt to silence a Voice of Truth for all time. Those wishing to check in to see for yourself, please go to and click on the archived shows Ben Burch so generously gives to all of us. Mike will rise again because truth always does but in the meantime, while we wait, please take this action on behalf of all Truthseekers and as Mike would say at the end of each show, "watch your back." Thank you all SO much for your support.

We endorse the Reinstate Mike Malloy on Air America Radio Petition to Air America Radio.

Read the Reinstate Mike Malloy on Air America Radio Petition

And one more way we can express ourselves against the growing movement trying to control what we hear or don't hear on the airwaves is to write to the people below:

Many people are fighting this in their own ways and I respect their view(s). Examining carefully as many issues I can considering there is no official report of facts yet, my position is that AAR needs to get a message. And that message from me is "if you are going to make business decisions that result in keeping the voice of truth from us, then I cannot, will not support you in any way." I want the truth in my life. Air America Radio? That is no longer represented by you. Our country is where it is right now for many, many reasons but among them is that we, as Americans, have become complacent regarding truth and perhaps more importantly, understanding the VALUE of truth.

I am one American who is not willing to sacrifice the truth ever again. That is why I was among a group of CT citizens yesterday to ask the New Haven Registrar of Voters to reconsider her rejection of the petition to remove Joe Lieberman from the ballot because he is falsely representing himself. I'm sick and tired of duplicity, deception and deviousness within our elected leaders that we know results in the corruption of government and friends, if you feel as I do, it is time to hold their feet to the fire. In fact, it's past time. The next question is:

Tea, anyone?


*All writings on this blog reflect the opinions of this writer only.