Tag Archive: george bush

Reauthorize the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

9/11 Ground Zero rescue workers

Today, more than 100 first responders are walking the halls of Congress to lobby lawmakers to reauthorize and make permanent the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named for NYPD detective,the first death by respiratory disease attributed to work at Ground Zero. He spent 450 hours there.

Following 9/11, America fairly throbbed with patriotism, nationalism and enough bloodthirsty revenge that allowed George Bush to launch a war on the wrong guy. We’ve recovered our senses since then, but the names of the people lost at the World Trade Center and Pentagon are still recited out loud, as they should be.

But there are other names and we have a chance to do more than remember them; the survivors and those who rushed in, then stayed to do what had to be done.  

Chris Christie’s Double Standard On Bush Cronyism

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As the Christie for President 2016 bus hits heavy traffic some of us longtime Christie observers are finding glory in the evening. All the old critiques – shady travel arrangements, irresponsible public statements, possible pay to play violations – once sequestered in dirty Jersey newsrooms and blogs – have escaped their local confinement into the national consciousness. Chris Christie has grown and matured to become the nation's fake reformer.

So while we can commiserate with our fellow Americans getting a first long look past the image to the real Chris Christie and being reasonably horrified, we also, due to knowing what we know, have the benefit of appreciating the finer points of the insanity of a Christie presidential run.

One tidbit that only a close observer of the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race is likely to appreciate is Team Christie's current push back against Jeb Bush detailed in yesterday's Washington Post. The Post story comes amid a slew of bad news for Governor Downgrade as Republican donors and supporters slowly back away and recognize they need to find a better candidate to have any hope in 2016.


On Syria

Peace Dove pinYesterday at lunch, my friend asked me what I thought of Obama’s decision to order airstrikes in Syria. I had to think about it for a while, because my thinking on it is far from settled.

I wish I had the freedom to decide on the merits whether I think ISIL/ISIS represents a threat to us necessitating air strikes. But the truth is I’m having trouble evaluating current threat clearly because past threat has been sold to us by liars at the highest level. Condoleezza Rice and her mushroom cloud. Shock and awe. Colin Powell and the lie of WMDs. Fox News and the misinformation campaign to convince Americans (including some in my family) that Saddam Hussein ordered 9/11.

Add to that, bonanza profits for war privatizers.  Cost of war in the trillions. Cost of life in the hundreds of thousands. And most of all the failure to spend our treasure on education, American infrastructure, preventative public health, improving the safety net for people struggling here.

The news tells us Americans are war-weary. Is that true of you? Where that shows up for me is concern about missing a real threat because my government has cried wolf for so many years. Is ISIL real threat, or more of the same?  

From Jose Delgado on Urban Hope: “The bill will pass because the people it affects don’t count.”

Republicans have a long history of giving awful legislation prettied-up names that actually do the exact opposite of what they sound like they’re about; Democrats do that too, sometimes. And today, the NJ Senate voted to push the ethically questionable and legally challenged “Urban Hope Act” a step closer to further privatize more schools in Camden. This is a legacy opportunity for George Norcross, whose allies are its chief proponents, and it opens up new horizons for profiteers who want to play with the future of Camden kids.

I got a message today from a Blue Jersey reader that I want to share with you. To be frank, the language is a little more raw and angry than our usual, but it seems to me the parents and community of Camden are being shoved around. And people whose kids are being disrespected have every right to sound like they sound, and express frustration the way it comes out. He’s not alone.

About Jose Delgado: Jose was a member of the Camden Board of Education for about 24 years. And he served years ago on the federal National Advisory Council for Bilingual Education; the state’s Educational Opportunity Fund board; member of the NJ School Boards Association, NJ Bilingual Advisory Board and many other organizations and projects. And he was a Camden parent; his daughter graduated from Woodrow Wilson HS. She’s now an RN.

From Jose Delgado:

Suffice it to say that Sweeney represents the Norcross Republi-Crat wing of the NJ Democratic Party. This is not our parents’ Democratic Party .  The situation is so bad that even a political bosses’ manipulation of the legislative process is openly embraced and advanced by elected officials.  A case in point are the school districts of Camden and other cities which are being destroyed by an right-wing ideological agenda lubricated by corporations interested in cashing in on public education funds.  

People like Sweeney, an otherwise likeable fellow, are ambitious politicians who see these types of issue as tests they must pass in order to move to higher office. I’m sure that Sweeney knows that he needs Boss Norcross’ blessing.  Governor Sweeney, what an intoxicating sounding thing to hear.

President Obama huddles in the Oval, 450 NJ National Guard deploy to the Middle East

A few minutes ago, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell walked into the Oval Office to discuss with the President what to do, if anything, if Iraq falls apart. As Iraq falls apart.

At the same time – right now – 450 members of the New Jersey National Guard are leaving Fort Dix in Burlington County, NJ, on their way to a mobilization center in Fort Bliss, Texas. From there, they ship out to the Middle East. To Qatar, near the action. Their families and friends were there to see them off today. Many of those families have been through this routine, and the uncertainty and concern that goes with it. Not that they can’t handle it. We call on military families to be strong, and they do their best to be strong. But what’s required on our end is coherent foreign policy and intelligent decision-making. If we let President Obama’s fix-it strategy chase George Bush’s adventurism and war-profiteering, will we be doing right by these 450 men and women from New Jersey, or the ones we asked so much of for so long already?

If the situation was bad before, it’s a shitshow now.  

Condoleezza Rice Cancels Rutgers Speech

President George W. Bush never backed down when confronted with massive objection and protest against the signature event of his administration, the Iraq War. There were protests – some of the largest in history, and around the world. But he denied what was really going on there, continued the lies the war was sold to us on, and continued to make money for the war privatizers he so closely allied with.

And so did his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

But now, a group of students who did not want Rice to sully their commencement, and many faculty who supported them, have effectively gotten through to Condoleezza Rice.

Rice just canceled her May 18 appearance at Rutgers University, where she was to give the commencement speech, and receive both an honorary degree and a speaker’s fee of $35,000. Rice:

“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”

Rice still defends her Iraq War record, which surprises no one. And in her statement canceling, added that she “defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas.” Fine. That’s exactly what Rutgers students and faculty were exercising when they objected to Rice’s record as the war criminal she was.

Congratulations, Rutgers students. Congratulations, Rutgers faculty. ProtestWIN.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

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If you want to know why Chris Christie thinks that he’s a good administrator despite all the evidence against it (Sandy aid denial, potential corruption, Bridgegate, tax refund delays, $120 million in trains destroyed, Race to the Top funding lost, etc.), just look to this quote:

“Every Republican took for granted George W. Bush while he was there. The guy won two national elections. How easy has that looked the last eight years?” Christie said. “He was, first, an outstanding political candidate. And I think he was grossly underappreciated by his own country and his own party as a politician.”

The things Christie respects about Bush, the things he thinks are “underappreciated”, are all related to winning elections and being a good politician.

None of it is about governing or helping the American people.

This is a President who started his term with the worst attack on American soil since 1941 and ended it with the worst economic downturn since 1932.  In between he orchestrated two unwinnable wars that cost hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives (not to mention even more crippled and wounded).

Heckuva job, Bushie.  Both of ya.

September 10th


September 10th. The last good night, the last before of 2,996 afters. The 12th anniversary of the last night of not knowing something we wish we didn’t know now, of what we’ve seen – planes into buildings, memorandums floating on the air, mangled fire trucks – that we can’t unsee now.

September 11th was the rallying cry of the worst president in history, arguably, though most of America was only too happy to tie yellow ribbons on everything, fly the stars and stripes (cheerfully made in China) on every auto. I hit the street in protest as that war started; most everybody here did. But America was still chanting about towelheads and willing themselves, in misguided Freedom isn’t Free! patriotism, to believe it was Iraq on 9/11 so George Bush could have his Daddy’s war. Propaganda so effective that fully seven years later the Republican Party actually made a serious try to lob an underbright Alaska governor to the heartbeat-away slot in the White House, who actually thought 9/11 was Saddam. And wasn’t kidding.

1239666_474682075972374_565442930_nThe takeaway for the American people, after years of being fooled, was finally to see the world as progressives saw it plain and almost immediately; that ‘enemies’ aren’t interchangeable, that it’s better to understand the attack in some context, however painful, that our hands are not clean says much of the world, and that we owe our precious soldiers the respect of deploying them only when absolutely necessary.

Clearly, the president had some trouble with that takeaway. And that’s troubling, given why we elected him, and how he took pains to distance himself from his foolhardy predecessor.

But I think what we saw in tonight’s inelegant speech is a president forced by the rest of us – war-weary voters, stoplossed military families, and congress members across all spectra – to do the harder work of finding diplomatic solutions, and engaging the community of nations (where there’s some doubt who perpetrated this). This is not what President Obama wanted, but in the spirit of something other than trumpeting American exceptionalism, it is a saner approach – particularly from the nation with which napalm, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are associated. I know I’ll take a hit from some people on that.

Without the wisdom, the questions, even the anger of the American people, without the brakes Congress applied, and without the takeaways of more than 10 years of war by fools, President Obama might have made a different speech tonight. We have many people to thank for the possibility of a non-military solution now. Obama gets credit for listening.

Every year this night I begin reliving September 11th. I’m not alone. Part of this is the guilt of the dislocated; I was in Detroit, where National Guardsmen sat in Jeeps on Woodward Avenue, rifles on their shoulders. But I wasn’t here where middle school kids learned their fathers were missing when hysterical mothers came to collect them, where ordinary people tried to drive carloads of boots to the city, because they heard on the radio the steelworkers needed them. Most of all I relive it to keep faith with my Ohio fire chief grandfather, who I see in the faces of all lost firefighters. And to acknowledge the unknowable stories of the jumpers, whose quarter-mile fall from the sky are the mysteries of my nightmares.

I support public release of more of the video and info members of Congress have seen; we owe to the dead of Syria to witness it.  But if I thought lives would be saved in Syria if we bombed, I’d back the President right now. I don’t see how we can even consider it until all non-military solutions are exhausted.

And it’s a bad day to remind me of battles begun in the name of a war on terror.