Tuesday, August 31, 2004
When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector. Growing up, we were told, "Don't look the soldiers in the eye. Look straight ahead." It was a common belief that Soviet soldiers could take a man out of his own car and ship him off to the Soviet Union as slave labor.
My family didn't have a car — but one day we were in my uncle's car. It was near dark as we came to a Soviet checkpoint. I was a little boy, I wasn't an action hero back then, and I remember how scared I was that the soldiers would pull my father or my uncle out of the car and I'd never see him again. My family and so many others lived in fear of the Soviet boot. Today, the world no longer fears the Soviet Union and it is because of the United States of America!
As a kid I saw the socialist country that Austria became after the Soviets left. I love Austria and I love the Austrian people — but I always knew America was the place for me. In school, when the teacher would talk about America, I would daydream about coming here. I would sit for hours watching American movies transfixed by my heroes like John Wayne. Everything about America seemed so big to me so open, so possible.
I finally arrived here in 1968. I had empty pockets, but I was full of dreams. The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon and Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend who spoke German and English, translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which is what I had just left. But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting government off your back, lowering taxes and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.
I said to my friend, "What party is he?" My friend said, "He's a Republican." I said, "Then I am a Republican!" And I've been a Republican ever since! And trust me, in my wife's family, that's no small achievement! I'm proud to belong to the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan (news - web sites) and the party of George W. Bush.
Schwarzenegger's dad was a volunteer member of Hitler's SA-storm troopers in Austria. I bet he knows a little bit about seeing fear in someone's eye.
Wow, and to become a Republican because of the corrupt Nixon....
UPDATE: There were no Nixon-Humphrey debates. Just another lie being told at the Conventiion.
UPDATE II: After much debate on Kos's comments section, there is a question of whether Ahnold said "debate" or "race", in reference to Nixon-Humphrey in 68.
The only moment of physical bravery any of last night's speakers could find in Bush's life was his secret trip to Iraq. "As I think about his leadership," Kerik recalled, "I think of the courage it took for our commander in chief to land on an airstrip in the dark of night, a world away, to be with our troops on Thanksgiving."
Thanksgiving? You mean, six months after we captured the airport and Bush declared victory?
And isn't "the dark of night" normally a term we use to describe the preferred arrival and departure time of people who aren't exactly overflowing with courage?
Or is Kerik pointing out the difficulty of landing a plane in the dark? Is he unaware, perhaps, that Bush wasn't flying the plane? That once again, as in Vietnam, somebody else was doing the hard part and Bush was along for the ride? That Air Force One has more security systems than any other vehicle on Earth? That Bush went to Baghdad to "be with" the troops in the same way he went to New York to "be with" the firefighters? That waiting for a safe time and place to "be with" people who have braved unsafe places at unsafe times is the difference between heroism and a photo op?
Giuliani compared Bush to Winston Churchill. I don't think Churchill would have flown from base-to-base on Sept. 11 "getting out of harm's way". Churchill would have demanded to be flown back to Washington to face the enemy head on.
Update: Matthew Yglesias says Rudy should not be lecturing us about National Security:
He's never served in the military (or held a civilian job that entailed working with the military). He's never held a job dealing with foreign affairs. He's never held a job dealing with intelligence. Indeed, the closest he gets is time spent as a federal prosecutor working against the Mafia, precisely the law-enforcement model of counterterrorism that the nation has abandoned and that the Bush administration likes to accuse Democrats of being in thrall to. Nor does he have any experience with the problem of post-conflict stabilization, the area in which George W. Bush's policies have most clearly fallen short. The Coalition Provisional Authority even brought Bernard Kerik, Giuliani's favorite police commissioner, to Baghdad to try to help out with security. It didn't work very well. Kerik, like Giuliani, was given a speaking role on Monday evening.
After the 1993 bombing attack on the World Trade Center, Giuliani decided that the city needed an emergency-management-command center and so he had one built -- in the World Trade Center. Critics suggested that locating the facility in a building that was likely to come under attack wasn't a very good idea.
Act 5: October 2003. Musharraf sent his troops into South Waziristan, much to the applause of the Americans. To smoke out bin Laden and other dregs of al-Qaeda. For the first time since Pakistan's creation in 1947, its army had ventured into this God forsaken area, we were told. Pakistan television reported the exploits of the army day after day, hour after hour. Al-Qaeda's camps destroyed. Dozens killed and arrested. So we were told. The only confirmed killing so far is that of Hassan Mahsun, an Uighur terrorist. What happened to those arrested? Innocent Pakistani tribals or Arabs? Al-Qaeda or something else? When you are watching a striptease show, you should not ask questions. Just watch
Good question there. We hear of arrests, but that's about it. Where are these terrorists now? Are they in Gitmo, or are they recycled for future arrests? I think Pakistan likes to dance all night with their hand on our butt, but won't move in for the kill.
Editors Note: I enjoy reading The Asia Times. Like this report, you can often find things that aren't found in most "Western" Newspapers. However, i think their graphics are horrendous. Just check out the bunny doing the striptease and we'll submit that as Exhibit A.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Update: It's confirmed, Rep. Ed Schrock has resigned, "effective Immediately", which means he was forced out. The GOP couldn't even let him stay on through the election. Schrock, who is Pat Robertson's Representative, probably was not welcome to Madison Square Garden.
Friday, August 27, 2004
Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned—and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor...
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous
Oh, what a difference a generation or two makes.
A captured al-Qaeda operative has told Canadian intelligence investigators that a Montreal man who trained in Afghanistan alongside the 9/11 hijackers was responsible for the crash of an American Airlines flight in New York three years ago.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents were told during five days of interviews with the source that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen also known as Farouk the Tunisian, had downed the plane with explosives on Nov. 12, 2001.
The source claimed Jdey had used his Canadian passport to board Flight 587 and "conducted a suicide mission" with a small bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid, a "Top Secret" Canadian government report says.
But officials said it was unlikely Jdey was actually involved in the crash, which killed 265 people and is considered accidental. The fact that al-Qaeda attributed the crash to Jdey, however, suggests they were expecting him to attack a plane.
I've always been suspicious of that "crash". Coming a mere two months and a day after 9/11, our Government had every reason to cover up a terror attack. America wasn't ready to hear that we were attacked again. When wannabe shoe bombmer Richard Reid was arrested, the Government said he was "testing" the shoe bomb, but evidence seems to show that his wasn't the test, the shoe bomb had already been a success, and Reid was just a continuation of Al-Qaeda's war on US aviation.
The tail section of a plane and two engines don't just fall off by accident. NTSB investigators have examined the engines and found no evidence of mechanical failure. Although we were told catastrophic engine failure was the probable cause.
More than a dozen eyewitnesses, including a police lieutenant and a firefighter, said they saw an explosion before the vertical stabilizer and both engines separated from the plane. Aviation expert Vernon Grose said that he's increasingly skeptical
that the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 was accidental.
"I am backing away from the idea that this is simply an accident"
He questions the sequence in which the plane broke up before slamming into
a residential area in Rockaway, Queens. "Photographs indicate the vertical
stabilizer of the aircraft with the American Airlines insignia right on it
fell into Jamaica Bay long before the engine falls off in Queens".
And don't get me started about TWA Flight 800.
John O'Neill, the author of anti-Kerry tome "Unfit for Command," is a Houston lawyer with close ties to the Bush family. George H. W. Bush nominated O'Neill for a federal judgeship, but the Senate rejected his nomination after a determination was made that he did not have the "requisite judicial temperament." O'Neill also was retained as counsel by First Interstate Bank of Houston on whose board George H. W. Bush once served.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
The only people who want President George W. Bush out of the White House as much as America's enemies in the Arab world are America's friends.
This is in, part, because Bush is seen as the most blatantly pro-Israel American leader in modern history. It also reflects the widespread belief throughout the Arab world that all real power in the Bush administration is welded by fiercely pro-Israel and anti-Arab neo-conservatives led by the likes of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. But the real reasons for this suspicion and distrust in fact go far deeper than that
Now, I don't really care if we piss off some of the Middle East leaders, especially the two-faced Saudis, but we could use some of their help in Iraq, and I don't trust what Iran has been doing lately. This report just goes along with how most Arabs ands Muslims see the U.S. now-being too one sided in our support of Israel. I don't think we should abandon our support of Israel, but we shouldn't kowtow to everything Sharon wants. If we really want to win Arab/Muslim hearts and minds, we at least have to pretend to be fair.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Sounds like an update to "The Coincidence Theorist Guide to 9/11" is needed.
Update: Could these crashes have really been an assasination attempt on Putin, who was vacationing on the Black Sea, that would signal a 9/11 style mega attack?
The leading serious conservative journal, the Weekly Standard, posted a new issue online Friday with a cover story titled "The Kerry Wars." The story cited the Washington Post article and admitted that "the documentary evidence available so far backs Kerry's story," but its paragraph dealing with the accusations that Kerry lied to get his medals concludes that "such claims boil down to Kerry's word versus his opponents'." That ignores the witnesses who back Kerry's story. It also ignores the pesky documentary evidence that supports Kerry's version of events...
Next came Fox's "Special Report With Brit Hume," which opened with the teaser: "And despite Navy records, the dispute goes on about whether Kerry earned one of his medals under fire or not." Addressing the claims in the Washington Post article, there was a pre-taped interview with O'Neill, who asserted that Thurlow's "Bronze Star citation is based on the report that John Kerry wrote." The fact that there is no evidence that Kerry wrote that report was not mentioned. Military analyst Bill Cowan appeared to answer questions like, "If you yourself wrote an after-action report … would that be taken into consideration?" This discussion of Kerry's alleged report left no time for comment on the controversy over whether Thurlow deserved his Bronze Star and why he waited so long to examine the citation's language
I'm glad to see a media outlet finally expose this smear for what it is- a Vast Right-Wing conspiracy. Too bad CNN is looking for the next Kerry "controversy", instead of debunking this one.
Monday, August 23, 2004
Sunday, August 22, 2004
The Pentagon has urged Congress to authorize 500 million dollars for building a network of friendly militias around the world to purge terrorists from "ungoverned areas" -- and warned Muslim clerics against providing "ideological sanctuary" to radicals.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, a key architect of the Iraq war, told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday the money would be used "for training and equipping local security forces -- not just armies -- to counter terrorism and insurgencies."
If approved as part of a larger defense bill, the package will "provide greater internal security in areas that are or could become sanctuaries for terrorists," he said
I like the fact that the Pentagon is thinking of new ways to combat terrorism and controling dangerous areas, such as the territory along the Afghan-Pakistan border, but isn't this how we got involved with Bin Laden in the first place? We financed and helped train the "Aghan Arabs" who fought the Soviets, only to have them turn their guns on us. And in Najaf, many of the insurgents are Iraqis who were trained by the US to be cops, only to swtich sides. This plan might just get us in more trouble.
Friday, August 20, 2004
The following alert was released by Westchester County Department of Emergency Services based on information fron New Jersey authorities and should be practiced by all agencies.
Within the past week, the Office of Counter-Terrorism received three reports of suspicious activity concerning ambulances .
The most recent incident involved an individual who attended an open-house at an ambulance squad in Middlesex County . The man, who claimed he was from Pakistan and a physician,asked a series of questions to the squad members that related exclusively to the operation of the emergency vehicles, including the speed at which the vehicles responded to calls and the use of the lights and sirens. The individual appeared very nervous, did not ask about patient care, and left the premises when asked to complete a membership application.
The second incident occurred at a hospital in Essex County and involved an inquiry made by a male of Middle-Eastern appearance who was first observed standing near an ambulance at the emergency room doors while writing notes in a small notepad. When confronted by the vehicle's operator, a firefighter/EMT, the man asserted that he was employed as an ambulance mechanic. He then asked where a nearby fire department serviced its vehicles. The man provided an illegible New York driver's license when asked to produce identification before leaving the premises.
Lastly, OCT received information concerning an unusual attempt by three men of Middle-Eastern appearance to join a volunteer ambulance squad. The men expressed to squad members an "abnormal interest" in operating the emergency vehicles, and further insisted that the process by which they obtain the appropriate credentials and certifications to join the squad be expedited at their personal expense.
Due to the recent threat elevation to ORANGE (HIGH) for the financial sector and intelligence relating to the threat of Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs), any suspicious activity relating to emergency vehicles is of particular concern and should be reported to law enforcement immediately. As demonstrated by recent attacks in Iraq , Saudi Arabia , Turkey , and elsewhere, terrorist operatives worldwide continue to rely on VBIEDs as a method of attack. This tactic has been used here in the past, notably in the 1993 World Trade Center and 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.
On Wednesday, six days after Mr. McGreevey said he would resign because of an extramarital affair with another man, Channel 2 reported that an unnamed administration official was warning United States Representative Robert Menendez to stop criticizing Mr. McGreevey because Mr. Menendez himself had engaged in an affair. The official cited in the Channel 2 report accused Mr. Menendez of setting the woman up in business and referring clients to her.
State Democratic leaders said the report sent a chill through party officials, who had been bracing for new revelations about Mr. McGreevey but feared that the political standoff would descend into broader personal attacks and public embarrassments.
McGreevey only has to stay in office about 2 more weeks in order to avoid a special election. It looks like that'll happpen.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn’t interested in the truth – and they’re not telling the truth. They didn’t even exist until I won the nomination for president.
But here’s what you really need to know about them. They’re funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They’re a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won’t denounce what they’re up to tells you everything you need to know—he wants them to do his dirty work.
Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam.
As firefighters you risk your lives everyday. You know what it’s like to see the truth in the moment. You’re proud of what you’ve done—and so am I.
Of course, the President keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: “Bring it on.”
I’m not going to let anyone question my commitment to defending America—then, now, or ever. And I’m not going to let anyone attack the sacrifice and courage of the men who saw battle with me.
And let me make this commitment today: their lies about my record will not stop me from fighting for jobs, health care, and our security – the issues that really matter to the American people.
The situation in Iraq is a mess. That is the President’s responsibility and he owes the American people an answer.
America is on track to lose more jobs than it’s gained under George Bush and he supports a tax code that rewards companies for shipping jobs overseas. He owes the American people an answer.
Health care costs have exploded out of control. The President has done nothing and he owes the American people an answer.
The middle class is paying a bigger share of America’s tax burden. The President needs to answer to the American people why that is fair.
Unfortunately, those in the White House are coming from a different place than you and I. They see things a little differently than you and I. They tell us that today, when it comes to the issues that matter most, we’re getting the job done.
Oops, you caught me!
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
In June Italian police released a surveillance tape of one of alleged planners of the train bombing, an Egyptian housepainter named Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed who said that the operation 'took me more than two and half years.' Ahmed had served as an explosives expert in the Egyptian army. It appears that some kind of attack would have happened even if Spain had not even joined the coalition --- or if the invasion of Iraq had never occurred.
Victor Gavin added that Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, "Muhammad the Egyptian" as he is known, who calls himself the mastermind of March 11 train bombings in Madrid and was arrested in Milan by Italian police on June 7 was recorded in a phone conversation recorded by the police before his arrest, he said
"The Madrid attack was my project, and those who died as martyrs were my dearest friends...
I was ready to blow myself up, but they stopped me, and we obey God's will. I had wanted a heavy burden, but I didn't find the means. This plan cost me a lot of study and patience. It took me two and a half years."
Thus the preparations started at around September 2001
Read more in the New Yorker here.
I think it's time for a whole new set of journalists. The ones we are stuck with now have been corrupted.
In the week of July 26, the week of the Democratic National Convention, the Bush administration made a decision to announce a heightened security alert for those buildings in Washington, DC and New York City. Tom Ridge made the announcement on Sunday, Aug. 1, and there was then a background briefing for reporters.
The Ridge announcement raised the question of where the information on the surveillance of the buildings had come from. Late Sunday afternoon, August 1, the entire national press corps worked the phones furiously, checking with government officials about where Ridge had gotten his tip. The Boston Globe managed to get through to a CIA analyst, who knew the story of Khan's arrest but refused to give out the specific name.
Earlier on, Reuters had reported, and I had repeated, that the name of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan was given on background to the press by a Bush administration official. The assertion was confirmed by National Security Adviser Condaleeza Rice in an August 8 interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, in which she said that US officials gave the name out on background. Both Reuters and Rice appear to have been wrong in this allegation, and I regret having repeated it. The transcript of the briefing, when released, did not contain Khan's name. However, I am not very embarrassed about being wrong, since Rice misled me. Her office later issued a correction, saying that she had just repeated back to Blitzer his own statement, and had misspoken. This performance by her seems to me bizarre and alarming, but there you have it.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
President Bush's full-term effort to court Jewish Americans has failed, according to a new poll that shows him trailing Sen. John Kerry among those voters in the race for president by 53 percentage points. "The work that the Bush administration has done over the last three years to reach out to Jewish voters has been largely unsuccessful," said pollster Anna Greenberg, who conducted the poll for the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC).
Mr. Kerry, the Democratic nominee, leads Mr. Bush 75 percent to 22 percent. That share is four percentage points less than the 79 percent that exit polls said was won by the 2000 Democratic ticket of Al Gore and Sen. Joe Lieberman — the first Jewish candidate ever on a major-party presidential ticket. This comes despite Mr. Bush being what one Republican called "the best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House"
Update (3:50 PM):From Politics NJ:
An aide to Gov. James E. McGreevey says that there will be "no announcement" today. While McGreevey has reportedly told staffers earlier that he does not intend to leave any earlier than November 15, there is still considerable speculation that the Governor could change his mind. McGreevey will meet with his successor, Senate President Richard Codey, today. Codey met with Sen. Jon Corzine early this morning.
In what is likely just a coincidence, former Sen. Bob Torricelli and South Jersey AFL-CIO President/Camden County Democratic Co-Chairman Donald Norcross were having lunch at the Trenton Marriott at the same time Gov. James E. McGreevey was there.
That's quite a coincidence.
That gasp you heard was Karl Rove shrieking like a little girl.
(Hat tip to Daily Kos.)
Monday, August 16, 2004
Like the early Russian anarchists who wrote some of the most persuasive tracts on the uses of terror, al-Qaeda understood that its attacks would not lead to a quick collapse of the great powers. Rather, its aim was to tempt the powers to strike back in a way that would create sympathy for the terrorists. Al-Qaeda has so far gained little from the ground war in Afghanistan; the conflict in Iraq, closer to the center of the Arab world, is potentially more fruitful. As Arab resentment against the United States spreads, al-Qaeda may look less like a tightly knit terror group and more like a mass movement. And as the group develops synergy in working with other groups branded by the United States as enemies (in Iraq, the Israeli-occupied territories, Kashmir, the Mindanao Peninsula, and Chechnya, to name a few places), one wonders if the United States is indeed playing the role written for it on the computer...
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Burnell, 28, is one of the founders of ChristianExodus.org, a group that hopes to gather conservative Christians for a series of mass moves to South Carolina. The goal is to bring enough voters to the state to establish a government based on the Ten Commandments and conservative Christian values.
And if the federal government doesn't like it, Burnell said he and the other members of the board have not ruled out the possibility of the state seceding from the United States.
They are hoping to have people move to the state in groups of 12,000. Though the group currently has just about 600 members, Burnell said it has been only been in existence for a few months, and he is hoping to have 50,000 to 70,000 supporters in South Carolina by 2016...
What put them over the top, Burnell said, was seeing what the Republicans have done since they gained control of the White House and both houses of Congress, even with a supportive majority on the Supreme Court.
He pointed out that abortion is still legal, No Child Left Behind has resulted in spending on public schools "exploding," a Ten Commandments monument was ordered removed from an Alabama courthouse and there has been no progress on getting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
A voter in Louisiana is filing a legal challenge to defective Congressman Rodney Alexander's ballot qualification, and seeks an injunction preventing the Secretary of State from issuing ballots printed with his name. The petition, filed by a voter and based on both Louisiana statute and prior precedent, rightly argues that Alexander's SECOND filing 20 minutes before the deadline is in effect a withdrawal of his candidacy under Louisiana law since candidates are prohibited from amending their ballot qualification in any way once it has been made. Others in Louisiana have been tossed for just this kind of behavior in the past. Look for a news releases from multiple parties soon...
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Live Forever explores the politics behind the era (mid 90's) (interesting in itself) and to a lesser extent, the youth culture. A big problem I have with this film is I was expecting much more. It really only explores Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Sleeper and Massive Attack (who is a great artist nonetheless, but hardly fitting in the category-"britpop"). Other than playing a few seconds of a song by each, they didn't even explore Portishead, The Verve and Radiohead, among others.
I did enjoy the candid interviews of Liam Gallagher (who really doesn't care about anything), Noel Gallagher (who was more than happy to take credit for everything-much of it deserving), and Damon Albarn (who came across as smart, but uncomfortable and angry). It reminded me of why I like Tony Blair, and how his rise and optimism help fuel Cool Britannia of the mid-late 90's. While not perfect, Live Forever does have something that every britpop fan can enjoy.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
"The New York Times published a story on Monday saying U.S. officials had disclosed that a man arrested secretly in Pakistan was the source of the bulk of information leading to the security alerts. The newspaper named him as Khan, although it did not say how it had learned his name. U.S. officials subsequently confirmed the name to other news organizations on Monday morning. None of the reports mentioned that Khan was working under cover at the time, helping to catch al Qaeda suspects.
The Bush administration blew the cover Monday of double agent Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan. On Sunday August 1, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced a new alert against an al-Qaeda plot concerning fincial institutions in New York and Washington, DC.
Pressed for details by the New York Times, some Bush administration official revealed that the information came from a recently arrested man in Pakistan named "Khan." The New York Times published his name on Monday.
This is from the same group who outed a CIA agent. They will use anything they can for political game.
Friday, August 06, 2004
A July 24 posting read, "Just got back from a lunch with Colin and Adil Moussa (one of Prince Saud al-Faisal's guys). Colin wants the Saudis to send some troops to Najaf—so some of the soldiers are Arab, I guess. This Moussa guy sure wears a lot of jewelry. A golden chain, a golden ring with his initials or something, and some other sparkling stuff—kinda effeminate. Anyway, best of luck in Iraq, Iyad."
This convention was my first and hopefully, not my last Democratic Convention. It was 4 days of fun, and let's just say my liver and arteries saw a lot of action. However, there were a few things going on besides eating and drinking.
I arrived in Boston around 10 AM and immediately headed over to the Museum of Fine Arts for a reception honoring the "Democratic Women of Congress". Speakers at the reception included former Commerce Secretary William M. Daley, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi , Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY) and Rep. Darlene Hooley (Ore.). Many of the female House candidates were introduced. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Christine Jennings, who is running against Katherine Harris in Florida's 13th District. Jennings, of course optimistic of her chances, claims that Harris really isn't as popular as many think, and that 40% of Jennings' money raised comes from 13th District Republicans. Even if that's the case, I assume the money Harris gets from national GOPers, who still feel they owe her from the 2000 race, offsets any local money loss. (If Harris keeps making statements like these, maybe she is in trouble)
Following this event, I headed over to the Omni Parker Hotel, to meet up with the New Jersey Delegation. I thought it'd be a good "home base" (NJ is my home State, and the hotel was in a good Central location). While at the hotel, there was a cocktail reception welcoming the NJ Delegation. There, I spotted Former Governors Brendan Byrne (thought he was dead), Jim Florio, Congressman Donald Payne and Bill Pascrell and many NJ Assembly Members. After a few beers and more than enough hors d'hoerves, it was time to relax a bit, before I headed to the Bell in Hand Tavern for yet another reception honoring the NJ Delegation.
The Bell in Hand Tavern, located in the Beacon Hill section of Boston, is said to be the oldest bar in America, but didn't look it. I assume they have refurbished the place many times. That being said, the reception was fun: open bar for 4 hours and more appetizers, but few sightings of anyone of importance. I did catch President Clinton's speech on the way to the Tavern. Boy, I wish he was still President (my taxi driver agreed).
It was a bit of a rough morning on Tuesday, following the 4 hour open bar. I assume I wasn't the only one in Boston to wake up with a hangover. After the struggle to get out of bed, then a relaxing lunch at a local pub, Tuesday's official Convention events didn't get started until 5 o'clock, with a reception in honor of California Congressman Bob Matsui, held at the Museum of Fine Arts. Matsui has been receiving high praise for his work as Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Once again, Nancy Pelosi spoke, as well as up and coming Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek. Matsui closed the reception with an update on some of the ongoing campaigns and the DCCC's strategy. Obviously it was a bit of a cheerleading session, but there is much optimism on the Democrats chances of taking back the House. Everyone admits it's a major struggle, but one that could happen. (I can see a Dem gain, but taking it over, I won't go that far). It was a lot of fun to be able to mingle with big Democratic donors, and elected officials, in such an awesome setting. The reception was held in the actual rooms, where paintings and statues are featured, as opposed to a stuffy reception room. Prime Rib and other delicious foods were offered, as well as plenty of beer and wine.
From there, I headed over to the Omni Parker Hotel, to attend a "watch party", with NJ people. It was pretty quiet, I guess most people were actually in Boston to go to the Fleet Center for the speeches, but alas, I was stuck with more prime rib and open bar. I got to hear Ted Kennedy and Ron Reagan's touching speech, but unfortunately missed future Senator Barack Obama's much talked about speech, due to being stuck in a cab. Bad timing.
Wednesday was a fun day. Spent the 1st half in Cambridge. I really love the area, very European (ok, I like to say that, but I've only been to England). At 1 o'clock, there was a screening of Brothers in Arms, a film about Kerry's Swift Boat experience, featuring the surviving members, followed by a Q & A with the film's director, Paul Alexander. Alexander has written for Rolling Stone, the Nation, among others. Thought the film was fascinating, not 100% a propaganda piece for Kerry, but close enough. I think it's definintly something to see if you're for Kerry or on the fence. It would shut these idiots up at least. Alexander has been a Kerry supporter for a while now and spoke out against much of the media coverage of him, especially with the accusation that Kerry's "aloof".
From there, I headed back into Boston, for an event at the Four Season Hotel, once again honoring Rep. Bob Matsui. Once again, Nancy Pelosi spoke (she had to be the hardest working person in Boston)and the bar was open and prime rib was served. There were a lot of Members of Congress in attendance, as well as newsman Howard Fineman and his big hair, who was spotted at the bar. From there, dinner in the Faneuil Hall area where I also caught some of the show Hardball being taped. Yes, during commercial breaks, Chris Matthews does shut up.
Didn't have much on the schedule for Thursday, but hoped to get into the Fleet Center for Kerry's speech. However, for most of the day it didn't look good. Following the speech, I had a ticket to go to Avalon, a club, to attend a party hosted by Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Ted's son.
So, as the day progressed, I was having no luck tracking down a credential for Kerry's speech. A friend, close to FPN, had tried contacting everyone she knew who could possibly get us into the speech, but nothing worked out....Until about 5pm, when we got some good news-a family friend who's an Assemblyman in NJ, had extra credentials! Up to that point, I wanted to get into the Fleet Center, but I was afraid it would be boring. I've never sat through 4 hours of speeches before. However, after finding my seat, and seeing the crowd of pumped up Dems, I was hooked.
Thursday Evening's lineup included:
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
Rep. Edward Markey-Very inspirational speech, a long Kerry friend from their law school days.
Jack Ford-Mayor of Toledo- Don't remember much.
Senator John Breaux- Great guy.
Rep. Mark Udall-ditto
Representative Jim Davis-Ditto, but also a future Fla. Governor candidate.
Jim Rassman-Delta Force Member, saved by John Kerry-Inspirational speech.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton-"Delegate"
James Socas-Running for Congress in Virginia's 10th District. I haven't heard of him either, and can't remember speech.
Kweisi Mfume, President of the NAACP-I must have been getting dinner when he spoke.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi-Hardest working person in Boston. Gave a rousing speech about taking back the House.
Senator Joe Lieberman-Bored to tears. (us, not him)
General Wesley Clark-Great speech on Dems taking back the flag from the Republicans.
Representative Barney Frank-Speech was well received.
Rep. Corrine Brown-Don't remember her speech
Madeleine Albright-Great speech on working with Kerry and Foreign Affairs
Senator Dianne Feinstein-First name has 2 "N's".
Senator Max Cleland-Very emotional speech. Future Secretary of Veterans' Administration (again)?
Senator John Kerry-
I have to admit, I was a bit nervous as I waited for Kerry's speech. The crowd was quite pumped up, but I was fearing a let down. This speech was obviously very important to his campaign, and I was afraid he'd ramble on too much, or not have enough punchlines to get the crowd going. In the end I was not let down. The speech was awesome. Perhaps, I feel this way because I was there, but I don't think so. If he didn't hit a grand slam with it, I'd say it was a bases clearing triple. It made the night even more worthwhile.
When the speech was over and I was headed down the escalator, I was briefly interviewed by a nationally known reporter. It wasn't Kopple or Jennings, it was Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, made famous by the Conan O'Brien show. I've heard there will be a movie/dogumentary starring Triumph, as a reporter covering the Democratic and Republican conventions. Stay tuned for that. If I make it in the movie, I'm the guy getting off the escalator who says "New Jersey".
Immediately following the convention, I headed to Club Avalon, for a party honoring Patrick Kennedy and the New England Delegation. Al Franken was the guest of honor. Franken did not disappoint. As noted on powerline, Franken was quite wasted (he claims "sick") and was rocking back and forth throughout his brief speech. Franken called Patrick Kennedy, "the eighth most impressive Kennedy I've ever met", which was hilarious. He also quoted Dick Cheney's infamous "go f yourselves", many times. After Franken gave up, the 90's rock band Cracker reformed to honor Kerry. (Kennedy noted that Cracker played in 92, after Clinton's speech). It made for a thrilling night.
All in all the trip was a great time. Boston is a fabulous city and was a great host. It was a bit like the twilight zone though, having so many Democrats together at one time. There were few arguments to be had, and there were very few protestors, I guess the GOP were too afraid to protest. This was my first Democratic Convention, but hopefully, not my last.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
On a similar note, why does it have to be the not serious journalists that expose the lies?
I asked Bruguière if he thought that the Madrid attacks represented an evolution in Al Qaeda’s operational ability, or suggested that the organization had lost control. He said that Al Qaeda was now little more than “a brand, a trademark,” but he admitted that he had been surprised. “It was a good example of the capacity and the will of these groups to adopt a political agenda. The defeat of the late government and the agreement of the new government to withdraw troops—it was a terrorist success, the first time we have had such a result.”
Later, Kepel and I discussed the reason that Europe was under attack. “The future of Islam is in Europe,” he said. “It has a huge Muslim population. Either we train our Muslims to become modern global citizens, who live in a democratic, pluralistic society, or, on the contrary, the Islamists win, and take over those Muslim European constituencies. Then we’re in serious trouble.”