Archive for January, 2004

Fundraiser Set for Jim Tolbert, Candidate for OKC Mayor

Saturday, January 31st, 2004

Several citizens in the community are putting together a fundraiser for Jim Tolbert for Mayor of Oklahoma City. The fundraiser will be held Friday night,
February 13th. We are seeking sponsors for this event so that those interested in good city government can show their support for this extraordinary candidate
and good Democrat. This Mayoral election is so critically important to the continued progress of Oklahoma City and central Oklahoma.

Sponsorships are:

Underwriter: $500.00
Host: $250.00
Sponsor: $100.00
If you would like to be a sponsor let us know at what level you would like to contribute and how your name or names should appear on the invitation.

Invitations are going out this Saturday so please let us know by Thursday night. You may email your reply to tgatewood@cox.net or call Terry Gatewood at 405-842-1824.

Next Time A Wingnut Says Clinton Was Soft On Terrorism…

Friday, January 30th, 2004

CNN.com - Clinton says bin Laden linked to alleged millennium bomb plot - May 17, 2000

Clinton says bin Laden linked to alleged millennium bomb plot

May 18, 2000
Web posted at: 8:35 a.m. EDT (1235 GMT)

NEW LONDON, Connecticut (CNN) — In his most extensive public comments on the subject, President Clinton on Wednesday said an alleged New Year’s Eve bomb plot was linked to accused terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Clinton said that, without the assistance of other countries, including Jordan and Canada, “we’d have had bombs going off here as we celebrated the millennium.”

While this was the first time Clinton has spoken about bin Laden’s ties to the alleged plot, members of his administration have accused bin Laden’s group of participating in a terror plot that unraveled at the end of last year, and those accusations have been widely reported.

Clinton used the alleged conspiracy to call for a $300 million increase in funding for counterterrorism programs.

The president spoke before the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s 119th commencement ceremonies. “Last December, working with Jordan, we shut down a plot to place large bombs at locations where Americans might gather New Year’s Eve,” Clinton said. “We learned this plot was linked to terrorist camps in Afghanistan, and the organization created by Osama bin Laden.”

The counterterrorism plan would expand on activities already under way drawn from lessons learned in the millennium efforts. The president’s fiscal year 2001 budget already allocates $9 billion for counterterrorism, 40 percent more than three years ago.

The $300 million proposed to Congress on Wednesday would be in addition to that. It would include $89 million for the Justice Department and $87 million for the Treasury Department to supplement their staffs with new personnel, increase joint operations, and invest in new equipment and infrastructure.

The initiative also calls for improved monitoring along the Canadian border, using secure communications equipment and high-resolution day- and night-monitoring cameras.

Born of Frustration, An Honorable Man Answers the Call

Friday, January 30th, 2004

“I can’t stand where the country’s being taken. That’s why I’m doing this.”–Wesley Clark

Who Is Wesley Clark?
A Lifelong Soldier Takes a Detour to Run for Office

ABCNEWS.com
Jan. 7— Wesley Clark was born in Chicago to a family with very little money. He was not yet 4 when his father died.

His mother moved to Little Rock, Ark., to live with her family. Clark remembers being competitive from a very young age.

“I discovered when I went down to Arkansas as a kid that when you don’t have a father, you sort of got to make your own way in life. It’s really up to you,” Clark said.

“There’s really nobody there. You’ve got to do it. I didn’t have a big brother or anybody to sort of take care of me,” he said. “I took care of myself.”

When he was almost 10, his mother remarried. Clark says of his stepfather: “The problem was that he’d gone through a very difficult divorce, he’d had too much to drink during the process, he had lost his reputation in the banking community.

“It was stressful on all of us. My mother loved him. My mother loved me. He tried to take care of us. She was the breadwinner, he was struggling. It was painful.”

Today Clark has a son of his own and over Christmas, he became a grandfather.

First Thoughts

Clark says his life as a schoolboy was like the movie October Sky “where, with the rocket society and stuff, well, a lot of kids my age were very motivated, and very worried about the Soviet ICBM threat, and what it might mean to America.”

“We thought, well, we’re going to study real hard in science and mathematics, and we’re going to fix this.”

Clark remembers when, as a child, he first thought about the Army. “Somehow I had a nickel. And I don’t know how I got it — it was my first money. So, I walked a mile to a variety store.

“And the only thing I bought with the nickel was a toy soldier. And he was a — like, a plastic, rubber soldier like they had in 1950. He was a machine gunner,” he said. “And I walked home with that in my fist,” he said. “That’s the first time I ever thought about the Army.”

From West Point to Oxford

Clark decided he wanted to go to West Point when he met a West Point cadet as part of American Legion Boys State, a leadership program for male high school juniors.

What surprised Clark was that the cadet was wearing glasses.

“I went up to him afterward, and I said, ‘You mean you can go to West Point if you wear glasses?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ … And right there I said, ‘I’m going to go to West Point.’ ”

At West Point, where Clark graduated first in his class, he was encouraged to apply for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England.

“You want to be more than a soldier. You want to be someone who’s more broadly based,” he said. “You want to have a perspective on the world, because this will help you later on in your career.”

Clark went to Oxford — and at the end of the first year he married Gertrude, whom he met at a dance in New York when he was a cadet. Thirty-six years later he still describes her as the one who keeps his two feet on the ground.

After Oxford he rejoined his West Point classmates in Vietnam. He was wounded and won a Silver Star.

The Making of a General

Clark was in the Army for 34 years. He ultimately became a four-star general. In his military career, Clark has generally been described as either the most brilliant, or arrogant.

“Everybody in the military has a reputation,” Clark said. “People don’t even know you and they talk about you.”

Clark says he faced challenging assumptions wherever he arrived.

Some people would think, “‘I bet he doesn’t know a damn thing about what’s going on with this unit,’ ” he said. “There was always that atmosphere and you have to go in and just be yourself and work with people. And break down the barriers.”

By 1999, Clark was the supreme allied commander of NATO. He led the campaign to successfully drive the former Yugoslav army out of Kosovo. And then he was then abruptly relieved of command.

To Make a Difference

Clark says his early retirement from the military was “painful.”

“I love the armed forces,” he said. “And I worked very hard to — for that fight.

“But on the other hand,” he said, “I could feel what was going on in Washington. The problem was that the Pentagon was caught between a rock and a hard place. They didn’t like the policy of being in the Balkans. So they couldn’t tell me not to do it. But they wanted me not to do it.”

Clark left the military and went into business. He also wrote two books.

He remembers his wife’s reaction about his decision to run for president. They were on vacation in California.

“We stayed in a hotel that didn’t have television, and it’s beautiful,” he said. “And she said, ‘Do you realize,’ she said, ‘if you actually run and you’re successful, we’ll never ever, again be able to do this in our whole lives? You really want to do this?’ ”

Clark said he replied: “I can’t stand where the country’s being taken. That’s why I’m doing this.”

Clark Makes Missteps–Proves He’s Human, Not Evil

Friday, January 30th, 2004

ABCNEWS.com : Clark Back-Tracks on Lobbyist Money

Clark is our best chance against Bush.–Alex

WMD: Now It is Bush’s Turn to Face Uncomfortable Truths

Friday, January 30th, 2004

WMD: Now It is Bush’s Turn to Face Uncomfortable Truths

by Andrew Buncombe in Washington

The Bush administration was in full retreat yesterday over its claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as the man with the task of uncovering that arsenal sought to shift the blame away from the White House and on to the intelligence community.

David Kay, who until last week headed the US-appointed Iraq Survey Group looking for WMD, repeated his belief that no such weapons existed. Giving evidence before a senate committee, Mr Kay said: “We were almost all wrong - and I certainly include myself here.” He added: “We have not discovered any evidence of stockpiles [of weapons].”

Mr Kay said that while the group’s 1,400-strong team was still searching for weapons, he believed that efforts so far had been “sufficiently intense” to conclude that no WMD would be found.

But just as the Hutton report did not find fault with the Government, Mr Kay refused to criticize the Bush administration, claiming that while the intelligence cited by the President and his senior staff was flawed there was no political pressure on intelligence analysts to “skew” their findings.

“[I spoke to many intelligence analysts] and not in a single case was the explanation that ‘I was pressured to this’. I deeply think that is a wrong explanation,” he said.

“We had a number of surprises. It’s quite clear we need capabilities that we do not have with regard to intelligence.”

George Bush is rapidly backing away from his claims that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, saying instead that the war was justified because the Iraqi leader posed a “grave and gathering threat to America and to the world”. In his recent State of the Union address, he referred to “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities”.

Challenged by reporters on Tuesday to stand by his claim that Saddam possessed WMD, Mr Bush said: “I think it is important we let the Iraq Survey Group do its work so we can find out the facts and compare the facts to what we thought.”

There is a sense that the WMD issue could present a problem for Mr Bush as he campaigns for re-election. The comments he made about the threat posed by Saddam will be held up to scrutiny. Senior officials have admitted that the question of flawed intelligence is something the White House will be forced to confront sooner or later.

Of all the senior officials who made claims about WMD, Vice-President Dick Cheney remains the only one who continues to make the case that Iraq was armed. There are rumors that Mr Bush may be considering dropping Mr Cheney as his running mate in the election.

Critics of the Bush administration claimed that intelligence was “cherry picked” and skewed to make the case for war and that caveats about the lack of solid intelligence about Saddam’s capabilities were ignored for political reasons. They said putting the blame on the intelligence community amounted to a “whitewash”.

Scott Ritter, a former chief UN weapons and an outspoken critic of the invasion of Iraq, said last night: “I am at a loss to explain what happened in the UK and in the US. I think we were overwhelmed by the theocracy of evil in that we assumed he intended to obtain WMD and then everything that happened was interpreted with that assumption. It’s insane.”

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

Commentary: Always Low Wages

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Always Low Wages, Sojourners Magazine/February 2004

Where would Jesus shop? Not Wal-Mart.
by Brian Bolton

Wal-Mart proudly touts that it saves consumers money by forcing suppliers to cut the fluff and get competitive. For most clock-punching employees of Wal-Mart’s stores, warehouses, and suppliers, however, lower prices equal lower wages.

The recent raid of Wal-Mart stores by federal agents yielded 300 illegal employees of the cleaning companies under contract with Wal-Mart. Racketeering charges have been filed on the immigrants’ behalf against the cleaning vendors and Wal-Mart. The suit claims Wal-Mart managers were aware of workers’ illegal alien status and cooperated with cleaning contractors to demand extra hours without extra pay.

Wal-Mart benefits from its lower-cost vendors, who manufacture many Wal-Mart products in Mexico, China, and Bangladesh. Laborers in these factories frequently work more than 80 hours per week for a few dollars a day. These factories are the reason apparel-maker Levi Strauss is closing its last U.S. manufacturing facilities this year.
(more…)

Why does Dick Cheney think he deserves his tax cut?

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

SojoMail

by David Batstone

George Bush is lying to us about the federal budget deficit. Our national debt is growing at a staggering pace, and his administration has no intention of changing course.

The current national deficit weighs in at $7 trillion, and it is expected to rise an additional $2.4 trillion over the coming decade, the Congressional Budget Office announced early this week. That’s almost $1 trillion more than the agency estimated only six months ago. And if Congress accepts President Bush’s proposal to make the tax cuts of the past three years permanent, the total deficit could jump more than $5 trillion. Don’t let that fact slip by without your jaw hitting the turf - consider all the trailing zero digits needed to make up a trillion.

Deficits are not simply a party-vs.-party issue. Even conservative Republicans are beginning to voice concerns about the vulnerability of the U.S. economy under the weight of these deficits. Borrowing the color code of Homeland Security, the economy is ON RED ALERT.
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The Campaign Bullshit Detector

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Check this out every day–it puts spin in perspective on the campaign trail.–Alex

A Warhawk Flies the Coop

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

Read JDM

I start on a personal note. I would like for the record to show that, today, I formally disavow the Republican Party as well as my past support for the Second Gulf War.

Now, let me be frank: This is something I didn’t see coming a year ago. I only saw things through a prism of GOP allegiance back then. I’m a year older now — a year wiser, I suppose. It shouldn’t be easy for an op-ed writer to admit when he’s wrong. But I was. And it is. And in light of George Bush’s latest State of the Union, saying goodbye to the Republican Party is the easiest thing I’ve done in quite some time.

This doesn’t mean I’ve gone Democrat, though. Quite the contrary. But let me explain.

There was a time not long ago when the president could do no wrong in my eyes, a time when I was willing to write, as I did in September ‘02, “I have faith in President Bush.” That time ended last summer, however, when I finally got fed up with his fiscally ridiculous ways. Indeed, John Kerry calls the Bush White House “reckless,” and when it comes to our wallets I tend to agree. And while I never thought I’d say this, the way Bush spends — and spends, and spends — I’m beginning to miss Bill Clinton.

Must we go to the moon, I mean? And must it cost billions in taxpayer dollars? Can’t we just build a really tall ladder instead?

Anyway, with fiscal disgruntlement in mind, I began looking over my earlier work a few months ago, hoping to justify just what it was that made me vote Republican. I soon found the truth: I was as much a partisan cheerleader as the Hollywood Lefties I claimed to despise. And at first, I confess, I thought to address this in an Orwellian way — that is, I thought to erase the past by removing older articles from my Web site’s archives. Not wanting to repeat my personal history, however, I’ve decided to take myself on instead. Thus, this here mea culpa.

My thoughts on my partisan past? In retrospect, it bugs me. It means I ignored the fact that Big Gov’t is Big Gov’t no matter the name it goes by — GOP, DNC, or what have you. For a time there, especially when I was first getting started three years ago, I had nary a thought of my own. I was accused a time or two of receiving Republican talking points. I didn’t need them. All I had to do was turn on Sean Hannity and I’d end up repeating everything he said. The closest I came to independent thinking was repeating the words of people who claimed to be independent thinkers.

Case in point: In my first ever political diatribe, dated May 7, 2001, I referred to myself as “a non-partisan moderate,” then went on to scold anyone critical of George Bush. I compare this now to North Korean girls crying tears of joy at the sight of Kim Jong Il.

More importantly, though, half the things I wrote back then were devoid of actual substance. I didn’t have ideas. I had suggestions. I had templates. I applied them to whatever topic was hot, and voila! I had an article. Which is a fine way to make a deadline, sure, but it’s really not so fulfilling. Take, for example, this gem from my February 25, 2003, article, “Time, Like France, Is Not On Our Side”: “You know, it’s not that I’ve ever taken things for granted, but my deep appreciation for American life only really settled in on September 11th. The feeling has yet to let me go.”

Well, that’s great and all, but what the hell was I saying? It didn’t mean anything. Watch me change the words: “You know, it’s not that I’ve ever taken the Canadian porn industry for granted, but my deep appreciation for it only really settled in when I witnessed Taliban porn firsthand. The feeling has yet to let me go.” And you see, much like Mad Libs, a few changed words didn’t change the substance one lick.

And I’ll tell you the thing that gets me now is I really, truly believed at the time that that was one of my finest articles ever. At the time, it probably was. But I wrote a lot of stuff like that during the build-up to the Second Gulf War. I was still in a woe-is-me, post-9/11 rut back then, and I went along with the war without thinking critically or questioning a damn thing. This bothers me now because, regardless of whether I support my having supported it, I would’ve done well to have followed less blindly — as a writer, as an American, as a man.

In that very same article on February 25, I wrote: “I don’t want this war… anymore than the next guy.” That sounded nice when I wrote it, but it wasn’t exactly true. I mean, of course I wanted the war more than the next guy. I was rooting for it with thousand-word diatribes each and every Tuesday. The least I could’ve done is not lied about it. But, indeed, I was the one I was lying to. It was one of those you’re-only-fooling-yourself moments, and I fell for it.

Well, unlike The Who, I can’t promise I won’t get fooled again, but I can promise you I don’t want to.
(more…)

AWOL, Deserter–All the Same to Me

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

TOMPAINE.com - FINALLY, THE TRUTH ABOUT BUSH’S MILITARY SERVICE RECORD

M’Lord Hutton Blesses Blair’s Attack on BBC’s Investigation of Iraq War Claims

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

By Greg Palast

He did not say, “hello,” or even his name, just left a one-word message: “Whitewash.”

It came from an embattled journalist whispering from inside the bowels of a television and radio station under siege, on a small island off the coast of Ireland: from BBC London.

And another call, from a colleague at the Guardian: “The future of British journalism is very bleak.”

However, the future for fake and farcical war propaganda is quite bright indeed. Today, Lord Hutton issued his report that followed an inquiry revealing the Blair government’s manipulation of intelligence to claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass murder threatening immanent attack on London.

Based on the Blair government’s claim, headlines pumped the war hysteria: SADDAM COULD HAVE NUCLEAR BOMB IN YEAR, screeched the London Times. BRITS 45 MINS FROM DOOM, shrieked the Sun newspaper.

Given these facts only a sissy pacifist, a lunatic or a Saddam fellow traveler would fail to see that Prime Minister “Winston” Blair had no choice but to re-conquer it’s former Mesopotamian colony.

But these headline were, in fact, false, and deadly so. Unlike America’s press puppies, BBC reporters thought it their duty to check out these life or death claims. Reporters Andrew Gilligan and Susan Watts contacted a crucial source, Britain’s and the United Nation’s top weapons inspector. He told reporter Watts that the Weapons of Mass Destruction claims by Blair and our own President Bush were, “all spin.” Gilligan went further, reporting that this spin, this “sexed up” version of intelligence, was the result of interventions by Blair’s PR henchman, Alistair Campbell.

Whatever reading of the source’s statements, it was clear that intelligence experts had deep misgivings about the strength of the evidence for war.

The source? Dr. David Kelly. To save itself after the reports by Gilligan and Watts, the government, including the Prime Minister himself, went on an internal crusade to out the name of its own intelligence operative so it could then discredit the news items.
(more…)

Iraq War Was A Mistake?

Thursday, January 29th, 2004

TheStar.com - `We were almost all wrong’ on chemical arms

`We were almost all wrong’ on chemical arms
U.S. expert testifies at Senate hearing

Denies pressure to make case for war

WASHINGTON–Former chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay said yesterday he and everyone else, who had believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, had been wrong and his search found no evidence of biological or chemical arms.
“Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here,” Kay told a Senate armed services committee hearing in his first appearance on Capitol Hill since stepping down last week.
He said European countries, including those that did not support the war like France and Germany, had also believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “It turns out that we were all wrong probably … and that is most disturbing.”