Archives May 2008

SCOTT MCCLELLAN'S CROSS TO BEAR

 
Some may say that Scott McClellan is a traitor — not exactly a complimentary adjective — but my gut tells me he’s being truthful, traitor or not. McClellan will have to deal with his conscience and his loss of friendship. That’s his business. Sorting the truth, is our business.
McClellan is not the first Bush-insider to unload revelations in a book about White House staff manipulating intelligence data to support an invasion of Iraq. In 2004, “The Price Of Loyalty,” was penned by Ron Suskind as told by Paul O’Neill. In it, the former Secretary of Treasury unveiled a great deal about G.W. Bush’s obsession with Saddam Hussein in the first ten days of taking office, nine months before 9/11. Naturally, O’Neill was accused of being disgruntled since being fired by the prez for voting nay to the tax cuts. Yet, plans were already underway to find justification for the pre-emptive invasion. He says the evidence to support the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was “paltry” at best, as evidence to the contrary was ignored.
Perhaps O’Neill was disgruntled, but that doesn’t make him dishonest. Especially when other insiders have corroborated the same sordid attitudes.
Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism expert was a high level advisor to both presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In his book, Against All Enemies, Clarke writes that Bush and his inner circle were more obsessed with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, than Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda, not only before, but after 9/11. According to Clarke, the day after the terrorist attack that killed 3,000 people, Bush asked him to find evidence that Saddam Hussein was somehow connected. While there was no solid evidence that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, the administration cherry picked intelligence to support those findings and disregarded any information to the contrary.
Thus, McClellan’s expose`in his new book, What Happened — which basically asserts similar claims — is lent credibility. Some ask why he did not speak up earlier, when he was close to the president. In truth, his role was that of press secretary — to serve as the voice of the administration — not an advisor.
In a small way, I can clearly relate. I did not always agree with my command staff about certain decisions when I served as a captain for Miami-Dade P.D., but my role was to obey orders like a good soldier and represent my chief to the public in a good light. Behind the scenes, my disagreement was a matter between myself and by bosses.
In one instance, I was in charge of a case in which twelve uniformed cops were under investigation for the beating death of a black man who had been speeding on a motorcycle. The community was in an uproar. The news media went into a frenzy. Tensions were high. The black community demanded justice. And justice is what we were determined to achieve.
As the investigation unfolded, I determined that about half of that group were involved in the beating, while another two or three were present at the time without trying to intervene. Another two or three arrived after it happened. The Assistant Director (or assistant chief) chaired a meeting to discuss the administrative action to be taken. He said, “Fire them all.” I objected. Not all deserved to be fired. Obviously intent on pacifying media and the community, he reiterated, “Fire them all.” My words bore no weight.
What’s that old saying? “Not for me to question why, but to…”
All the cops were fired, including at least two that didn’t deserve it. When I finally retired years later, I wanted to unload the truth, to write about the inside story, not only about that Assistant Director, but how the department had allowed these volatile cops to fester in a violent group for months and years, knowing they were problem officers. In a sense, the department was equally at fault for that man’s death. A professional writer convinced me to write the story in fiction form. Thus, my novel titled, “Beyond The Call.” Believe me. It’s a great feeling of liberation when that muzzle comes off.
 
Scott McLellan is being censured for not speaking up at the time. He wore that same muzzle and remained loyal to the chief. Critics have not walked in his shoes, nor Rickard Clarke’s, nor Paul O’Neill’s. McLellan may have been a highly visible personality to America, but he was just a lacky to the president with no more voice than… “What do you want me to tell the reporters, sir?”
 
Judging his betrayal to the mouth that fed him…and to the man who made him famous, well…that’s another story. I know another organization that would handle that matter with cement shoes.
In the meanwhile, let’s listen to the message before shooting the messenger.
Imagine, if Colin Powell decided to write a book…Hmmmm

SCOTT MCCLELLAN’S CROSS TO BEAR

 

Some may say that Scott McClellan is a traitor — not exactly a complimentary adjective — but my gut tells me he’s being truthful, traitor or not. McClellan will have to deal with his conscience and his loss of friendship. That’s his business. Sorting the truth, is our business.

McClellan is not the first Bush-insider to unload revelations in a book about White House staff manipulating intelligence data to support an invasion of Iraq. In 2004, “The Price Of Loyalty,” was penned by Ron Suskind as told by Paul O’Neill. In it, the former Secretary of Treasury unveiled a great deal about G.W. Bush’s obsession with Saddam Hussein in the first ten days of taking office, nine months before 9/11. Naturally, O’Neill was accused of being disgruntled since being fired by the prez for voting nay to the tax cuts. Yet, plans were already underway to find justification for the pre-emptive invasion. He says the evidence to support the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was “paltry” at best, as evidence to the contrary was ignored.

Perhaps O’Neill was disgruntled, but that doesn’t make him dishonest. Especially when other insiders have corroborated the same sordid attitudes.

Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism expert was a high level advisor to both presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In his book, Against All Enemies, Clarke writes that Bush and his inner circle were more obsessed with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, than Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda, not only before, but after 9/11. According to Clarke, the day after the terrorist attack that killed 3,000 people, Bush asked him to find evidence that Saddam Hussein was somehow connected. While there was no solid evidence that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, the administration cherry picked intelligence to support those findings and disregarded any information to the contrary.

Thus, McClellan’s expose`in his new book, What Happened — which basically asserts similar claims — is lent credibility. Some ask why he did not speak up earlier, when he was close to the president. In truth, his role was that of press secretary — to serve as the voice of the administration — not an advisor.

In a small way, I can clearly relate. I did not always agree with my command staff about certain decisions when I served as a captain for Miami-Dade P.D., but my role was to obey orders like a good soldier and represent my chief to the public in a good light. Behind the scenes, my disagreement was a matter between myself and by bosses.

In one instance, I was in charge of a case in which twelve uniformed cops were under investigation for the beating death of a black man who had been speeding on a motorcycle. The community was in an uproar. The news media went into a frenzy. Tensions were high. The black community demanded justice. And justice is what we were determined to achieve.

As the investigation unfolded, I determined that about half of that group were involved in the beating, while another two or three were present at the time without trying to intervene. Another two or three arrived after it happened. The Assistant Director (or assistant chief) chaired a meeting to discuss the administrative action to be taken. He said, “Fire them all.” I objected. Not all deserved to be fired. Obviously intent on pacifying media and the community, he reiterated, “Fire them all.” My words bore no weight.

What’s that old saying? “Not for me to question why, but to…”

All the cops were fired, including at least two that didn’t deserve it. When I finally retired years later, I wanted to unload the truth, to write about the inside story, not only about that Assistant Director, but how the department had allowed these volatile cops to fester in a violent group for months and years, knowing they were problem officers. In a sense, the department was equally at fault for that man’s death. A professional writer convinced me to write the story in fiction form. Thus, my novel titled, “Beyond The Call.” Believe me. It’s a great feeling of liberation when that muzzle comes off.

 

Scott McLellan is being censured for not speaking up at the time. He wore that same muzzle and remained loyal to the chief. Critics have not walked in his shoes, nor Rickard Clarke’s, nor Paul O’Neill’s. McLellan may have been a highly visible personality to America, but he was just a lacky to the president with no more voice than… “What do you want me to tell the reporters, sir?”

 

Judging his betrayal to the mouth that fed him…and to the man who made him famous, well…that’s another story. I know another organization that would handle that matter with cement shoes.

In the meanwhile, let’s listen to the message before shooting the messenger.

Imagine, if Colin Powell decided to write a book…Hmmmm

Lift Ban On Gays In Miltary

Remember the name: Major Margaret Witt, United States Air Force. She will undoubtedly be remembered as a trailblazer for women in the gay rights movement.

For 19 years Major Witt served with distinction as a flight nurse, tending to the wounded and the critically ill. She received medals, was featured in a recruitment flyer, and served tours in the mid-east where — among other notable achievements – she helped evacuate wounded troops and earned a special commendation for saving the life of a Defense Department worker.

And for all this, Major Witt was honorably, but involuntarily discharged two years short of the time needed to receive retirement benefits. Her offense: A relationship with a same-sex partner for six years. Commanders had received an anonymous tip in 2004 which led to an investigation and ultimate discharge under the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” ban on gays serving in the military.

Major Witt did the right thing. She sued. This month, the 9th District Court of Appeals overturned that decision and ordered her reinstated, saying the military cannot automatically discharge people because they are gay. While this does not strike down “don’t ask, don’t tell,” it puts the military in a position of reevaluating the policy.

Nearly 12,000 gay men and women have been dismissed from military service since 2001, for no other reason than their sexual preference. In times of war and the looming threat of international terror, when our soldiers are stretched to the brink of exhaustion and recruitment is at critical levels, this makes no sense. Regardless of what some may feel about homosexuals, these people are fellow Americans who have served honorably in many important assignments; medics, radio electronics, air traffic control, combat and much more. At least three hundred possessed special language skills such as Arabic, which is vitally important in the war on terror.

There was a time when homophobia was commonplace in America. Such myths and fears have long been cast aside as gays have openly assimilated as valuable citizens with enormous contributions to our society including sports, entertainment, business, government service, journalism, education and law enforcement. Though long overdue, people have come to realize that homosexuality is not a threat.

I’ve always likened gays to southpaws. As with gays, approximately ten percent of human beings are born left handed. It can’t be explained. It’s just the way it is. There was a time, not so long ago, when ignorant school officials — public and private — forced left-handed students to become right-handed by tying their left arm behind their backs. Being lefty was unacceptable. Fortunately those days are long gone. And so are the days of homosexual censure.

I admit, there was a time during my 1958-1964 military service that I would felt uncomfortable. Our society has come a long way since then, and so have attitudes, like my own.

A recent CNN poll found that 79 percent of Americans feel that homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Only 18 percent said they should not. Virtually every major pollster has found that Americans have increasingly become more accepting of gays, with the majority agreeing that homosexuality is innate and not a choice.

The Clinton administration, “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was introduced in 1993, and may have been best idea for it’s time. That time has past. However, gays in the military are still persona non grata. It’s not only counter-productive to retain a policy that categorically excludes a minority group from serving in our armed forces, it is fundamentally wrong.

The 9th District Appellate Court’s ruling was no surprise. The military must abolish “don’t ask, don’t tell,” lift the ban and welcome homosexuals in the United States armed forces, much the same as we have eliminated draconian laws and policies that once excluded blacks from equal status in mainstream America.  Meanwhile, the trend is fait accompli. Whether today, or next year, abolishing the ban is going to happen. Why put off the inevitable?

Major Witt summed it well. “Wounded people never asked me about my sexual orientation. They were just glad to see me there.”

 

HOOKED ON AMERICAN IDOL

Only in America.

It was bigger than any convention for either party. It was bigger than a Super Bowl. It reached out to more television sets than any program in history. In the end, a scruffy, 25 year-old bartender with facial stubble and messy hair stood weeping in mid-stage as American Idol, 2008, amid screams, confetti, cheers and record contracts falling at his feet. David Cook’s rise to stardom, fete accompli.

Over 95 million viewers participated in the voting process. That doesn’t say much for the poor turnouts we see for political elections.

I’m not a big fan of today’s pop music culture, but I have to give credit where credit is due.

This show does it well.

It all begins with three judges — Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson — scouring the nation for signs of talent, selecting a very few from thousands of auditions from amateur singers who — if they get the thumb’s up — move on to the next phases. Contestants must be between ages 16 and 29. Once the final dozen is assembled, the voting is all left to the fans. Judges critique each performance, but have no more weight in the scoring process.

I don’t take well to all of it. Teeny-bopper girls waving hands and screaming at the foot of the stage during and after each performance is more of a distraction than an asset to the show, and it’s sooo scripted. Some of the finalist kids are voted upward based more on popularity, and less about their musical talent. Such was the case, in my humble opinion, of dreadlock-laden Jason Castro, who had little stage presence to accompany his voice, yet millions of young fans thought he was “cool.”

Nevertheless, the majority of talent that did emerge via the voting process was worthy of stardom. Syesha Mercado, who finished in third place, was my pick for the top spot. This young woman not only sung beautifully, her range and versatility of music far exceeded most of the competitors, and she displayed stage presence equal to anyone on Broadway, past and present.

Brooke White, pianist, guitarist and vocalist also exhibited a vast range of styles. I had thought that Michael Johns, the eldest of the group, would have won it all. His Rock & Roll was dynamic as any. Seventeen year-old David Archuleto, who looks more like he’s thirteen, was the favorite of the judges. I didn’t agree. The boy has a good singing voice, but that’s where it stops. His lack of maturity seeps through. When the songs are over, he reminded me of a little kid opening toys under the Christmas tree.

The final ten weeks are grueling for all the kids who are still in the mix. They must learn an array of new songs and rehearse constantly, plus participate in more choreography with past finalists who are still part of the American Idol summer programs.

What I would change: Much like the premise of “Dancing With The Stars,” reduce the weight of fan voters to fifty-percent with judges (maybe five instead of three) weighing the other half. And dump the screamers.

Nevertheless, I’m hooked. I’ll look forward to the next season as American Idol starts fishing once more for the best hidden singing talent in the nation. Never can tell. It could be someone you know. Maybe even — you.

ISLAMIC JIHAD CURBS FREE SPEECH IN AMERICA

Free speech in America? Not according to the Muslim Students Association (MSA).
Figure this. In October of 2007, while in the U.S. on a diplomatic mission, the president of Iran was invited to speak at Columbia University and present his views. No jeering. No shouting. No gestures of hate. A world leader, Mahmãud Ahmadinej~ad, has openly supported genocide by declaring his intent to annihilate an entire nation, simply because it is a Jewish state. He refers to Israel as “baby eating Zionist pigs…a disgraceful stain that should be wiped off the map.” In 1979, this same hate monger was instrumental in the capture and imprisonment of 53 Americans from the U.S. embassy in Tehran, ridiculing and holding them hostage for 444 days. Despite all this, the Americans who attended his speech in Columbia University treated him with dignity and respect.
Contrast that to an American scholar who is invited to speak at the University of California, Santa Barbara about the status of world terrorism and Islamic jihad. David Horowitz, author and founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, was heckled, shouted down, jeered and cursed throughout his talk by a handful of rebel students. The MSA had written threatening letters to the university leaders threatening disruption if Horowitz came to talk. Degrading cartoons have been published in MSA literature depicting Horowitz much the same as Nazis depicted Jews in the 1930s. Everything possible was done to muzzle this man.
This is not an isolated incident. David Horowitz has been met with the same disruption at the university campus in Irvine, and in Milwaukee, and other college sites around the country. Same old, same old.
Muzzling the freedom of speech by the MSA is pervasive. They do not discriminate. Throughout America, those who come to college campuses to say anything that they construe as negative toward Islam, is met with screams, insults and threats.
The founder of American Congress For Truth, Brigitte Gabriel, is a noted journalist who immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon in the 1980s. The author of “Because They Hate,” is an articulate, in-demand lecturer about the threat of radical Islamic extremism. In December of 2006, when Ms. Gabriel was scheduled to speak at the University of Michigan, the MSA sent out e-mails to all Muslim students urging “all Muslim brothers and sisters to do what they need to do to disrupt this event.” And try they did.
She’s used to it. No matter where she’s invited to talk, Ms. Gabriel is met with jeering, heckling, and threats, causing her to check into hotels under false names and be escorted by armed police on and off the speaker’s platform.
America…the land of the free. For now.
Walid Shoebat is a former Palestinian terrorist, now converted to Christianity. He gives speeches all over the country warning Americans of the impending threat of radical Islam. It comes from the horses mouth. We should be grateful. In February of 2007, he was giving a speech at the University of California-Davis, when a group of students began jeering and interrupting. It’s routine no matter what campus he is invited to.
Congressman Tom Tancredo was attacked and his speech disrupted at Michigan State University Law School. Daniel Pipes, Harvey Kushman, Wafa Sultan and Steve Emerson are other scholars who are met with the same fate — sometimes violent — from the MSA whenever they speak on campuses about terrorism and Islamic fanaticism. It is all part of the larger pattern of trying to silence and discredit through personal attacks anyone who dares speak up too strongly against the jihad and in defense of Western civilization.
The MSA has emerged as the most powerful student organization on university campuses throughout America. They were founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and most notorious extremist organization in the world. This is the same organization who, in 1982, issued the edict “The Project” which spells out their strategy for converting America and establishing an Islamic caliphate throughout the western world by the end of the 21st century, part of which includes its supporters posing as “moderates.”
Founded in Egypt in the late 1920s, the Muslim Brotherhood has long used violence as the primary means to its end — strict compliance to Sharia law. The ultra-radical organization lurks behind the scenes of Muslim Student Associations across the nation and should be of concern to every American!
These authors and scholars are national heros, speaking out and exposing the secret agenda of pro-terrorist supporters across the nation. They also provide information on how the Muslim Brotherhood is godfather to al Quaeda and Hamas, while helping to create the MSA and other Muslim student groups as part of its stealth jihad against American institutions
Fear and intimidation works. In a small way, I also experienced the muzzle. When my book Militant Islam In America was first released, I routinely set up book signings at various retail stores. Days later, I was contacted by management cancelling all signings. No reasons given. My book was not put on the shelf of any bookstore. The average American will not find books about radical Islamic jihad by Kushner, Horowitz, Emerson, John Sperry, and many more, on retail bookstore shelves for fear of reprisal from local Muslim groups. On several occasions I was explicitly warned by library management, “Talk about any of your books, but do not talk about Militant Islam. We don’t want any trouble here.”
My personal story is but a microcosm of how much muzzling is going on throughout America. Who does that affect? The American people, that’s who. The less informed we are, the better it is for our enemies. As the threat grows, inch by inch, day by day, very few in the media and in government have the courage to speak up.
Can anyone think of one time — in the last twelve months — where the spread of radical Islamic extremism within the borders of the U.S. was the subject of any presidential debate?
I’m a great believer in tolerance. But, like anything else, there’s a limit.
Meanwhile, let’s keep offering cordial invitations to our enemies to come and spread their propaganda on our college campuses, free from intimidation and fear of reprisal. America was a captive audience to Mr. Ahmadinej~ad who told us all that no homosexuals exist in his native Iran. Riiight. Thanks you sir, for that enlightenment.
It’s coming. No one is listening.
Inch by inch…without limits.