Progressive Minds

Blogging live, from somewhere in the reality-based community. Speaking truth to power. You've entered the real "no spin zone." Republicans beware!


None of the 9/11 Commission Staffers Believe Cheney

@ 06:52 PM (109 months, 29 days ago)

Newsweek magazine reports that none of the 9/11 Commission staffers believe Dick Cheney's version of events.  (And what a shocker this is.  He's always been so forthcoming!!!)  eusa_silenced

"Others close to Cheney had suggested that he was profoundly affected by 9/11. It is hard for anyone who was not in Cheney's shoes that day, and in the weeks and months that followed, to appreciate the stress and uncertainty of that time.

Around 9:35 on the morning of 9/11, Cheney was lifted off his feet by the Secret Service and hustled into the White House bunker. Cheney testified to the 9/11 Commission that he spoke with President Bush before giving an order to shoot down a hijacked civilian airliner that appeared headed toward Washington. (The plane was United Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field after a brave revolt by the passengers.) But a source close to the commission, who declined to be identified revealing sensitive information, says that none of the staffers who worked on this aspect of the investigation believed Cheney's version of events.

A draft of the report conveyed their skepticism. But when top White House officials, including chief of staff Andy Card and the then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, reviewed the draft, they became extremely agitated. After a prolonged battle, the report was toned down. The factual narrative, closely read, offers no evidence that Cheney sought initial authorization from the president. The point is not a small one. Legally, Cheney was required to get permission from his commander in chief, who was traveling (but reachable) at the time. If the public ever found out that Cheney gave the order on his own, it would have strongly fed the view that he was the real power behind the throne."

The Shot Heard Round the World

A Special Message For Our Republican Friends

@ 06:24 PM (109 months, 29 days ago)

Dr. Martin Luther King asked me to pass a message on to you.  Especially those of you who believe we have no obligation to the least among us.  For those of you who believe it's all about "me, me, me" instead of "us" and "we."

The Rev. King wanted me to remind you:

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail


In The "Land of the Plenty"....Plenty Who Have Not

@ 04:47 PM (109 months, 29 days ago)

How sad is it, that it takes a foreign newspaper to put into perspective the great moral challenge that America faces today.

The Observer (UK) has done a great job of focusing the spotlight on the 37 million Americans now living in poverty.  To put it all in perspective, that's 12.7% of our population, and sadly, the highest percentage in the developed world.

America has earned a reputation as being the "land of the plenty," but there are plenty of people who have not.

More than one in ten of our fellow citizens here in America are living in poverty.  And to no fault of their own, many of them cannot meet their bills, despite working 2 or 3 jobs.  (Note to our conservative friends: that's what you call the 'working poor.')

Under the Bush Administration, an additional 5.4 million Americans have slipped into poverty.  And as The Observer points out, many times families with two working parents fall below the cracks, due to medical emergencies or their place of employment (i.e. a factory) shuts down.

I believe this continues to be one of the great moral tests of our time: how do we treat the least among us?  It is an issue which Senator Hubert Humphrey also addressed: "It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life -- the sick, the needy and the handicapped."

If Sen. Humphrey were alive today, I think that, with a heavy heart, he would say we have failed that test.

He would look at the comments today from our 'friends' at Conservative Central, and their view that the victims of Hurricane Katrina are riding the "gravy train," and he would grade us with an F minus.

What would Rev. Martin Luther King have to say to us, for such a time as this?

He too, would say we have failed the least among us.

When people think about Rev. Martin Luther King's "Been To the Mountaintop" speech (which he gave on the day before he was assassinated), many of them remember in particular the very last few lines, when he talks about not having feared any man, and having been to the mountaintop and seen the promised land.

But there is another part of that speech that is particularly poignant for me.

During his "Been To The Mountaintop" speech, Dr. King said:

"It's all right to talk about "long white robes over yonder," in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It's all right to talk about "streets flowing with milk and honey," but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can't eat three square meals a day. It's all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God's preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do."

During his sermon at Foundry United Methodist Church shortly before leaving office, President Bill Clinton reminded us of our obligation when he said: "Christ admonished us that our lives will be judged by how we do unto the least of our neighbors."

America: this is our moral challenge.  Are we up to the task?  For the sake of 37 million of our brothers and sisters, I hope we are.

37 million poor hidden in the land of plenty