August 23, 2005
The 9/11 Commission Farce
It's apparent that a U.S. military intelligence operation -- codenamed Able Danger -- identified several of the 9/11 hijackers a year before the attacks and, stunningly, were barred by the Clinton Justice Department from sharing that information with law enforcement.
This fact is most fundamental to the 9/11 Commission's mission to uncover the events which led to the attacks; and yet the commission chose to ignore it.
This is especially astonishing considering the arrogance many of the commissioners displayed during the hearings. In May of 2004, commissioners disgraced themselves by criticizing New York City's emergency response to the World Trade Center attack. The commissioners sniffed that New York first-responders "were forced to make rapid-fire, life-and-death decisions based on incomplete communications."
As I wrote at the time:
That's a laugh coming from an agency of the same federal government that repeatedly failed to prevent the attack in the first place. And just how is it possible to not have "incomplete communications" with a surprise attack of that magnitude?
The fact is, the only level of government which did not fail the people of New York on September 11, 2001 was their local government. Considering the size and nature of the attack and the tens of thousands of people evacuated that day from the twin towers and the surrounding area, it's a miracle thousands more didn't die.
What took place that day in the plaza after the attack was the greatest rescue in history--no thanks to the civilian agencies of the federal government.
So while the 9/11 Commission was nitpicking the heroic efforts of those who responded to the attack, it was ignoring the very fact which led to the attack.
The question now is, Why? Why didn't Able Danger figure into the 9/11 Commission's conclusions and recommendations? Was it a cover-up or gross incompetence?
Perhaps when it came to Able Danger, the Commission chose to look the other way so as not to embarrass one of its members, Jamie Gorelick. Gorelick was a deputy attorney general in the Clinton Justice Department and the legal architect of "the wall" which prevented the Able Danger intelligence from being shared with federal law enforcement. If the commission had concluded that the 9/11 attacks had been made possible in large part by a policy wrought by one of its own members, then the commission would be seen for what it was all along: a farce.
Or perhaps there was something more insidious at work. What was it about these commission hearings and its mission that compelled Clinton national security advisor Sandy Berger to commit a crime and risk destroying his professional reputation by stealing classified terrorist-related documents from the National Archives?
Congressional hearings will probably convene to investigate the commission and Able Danger -- and rightly so. But don't expect anything from it; this Congress is controlled by jellyfish-spined Republicans who are more concerned with being admired by the press and within Washington social circles than advancing the agenda that got them elected.
In other words, don't look for George Voinovich to take to the Senate floor and shed tears over the commission covering-up the fact that the September 11 attacks were totally preventable.
August 18, 2005
"Jew, Party Of Two! Your Table's Ready!"
Drudge links to an AP report with a dateline of Allenhurst, NJ. Here's the gist:
After eating at a Jersey shore restaurant, Elliott Stein and his girlfriend were handed a bill that said "Jew Couple" near the bottom, as a table identifier used by the waitstaff. The slur also turned up on Stein's credit card statement weeks later.
Mr. Stein, understandably, was irked.
The waitress responsible for that moniker designation is identified only as "Karina" and, not surprisingly, no longer works at the restaurant. (There's no indication if Karina told the couple that the day's special was the Gaza Strip with a baked potato.)
Even more appalling than the fact that people as stupid as Karina walk among us is this tidbit:
The New Jersey Attorney General's Office said Wednesday it is investigating the July incident at Parkhill's Waterfront Grill through its Division on Civil Rights.
Um -- what law was broken here? The couple wasn't refused service. Nor were they threatened with harm. What happened is that a simpleton server wrote two words on their bill which -- with good reason -- offended the customers. How can that possibly be in the same league with lynchings, firebombings, violent threats, workplace discrimination and other civil rights violations?
It would be one thing if someone spraypainted "JEW COUPLE" or any other words on Mr. Stein's house. Property damage, obviously, is against the law. In this case, however, the words were written on a bill to identify the table at which the customers were seated. Sure, the server's decision to write those words was moronic and offensive; but it wasn't illegal.
The restaurant management apparently fired the server responsible and that should be the end of it. But butt-in-ski bureaucrats in the New Jersey Attorney General's office see it otherwise. To them, merely being offensive is a crime.
August 17, 2005
Dim-Bulb Governor Charged With Crimes
Ohio Governor Bob Taft has finally made history for something other than signing into law the largest tax increases ever. As of today, Taft becomes the first Ohio governor charged with a crime.
Prosecutors in Columbus announced that Taft will be criminally charged with four ethics violations. Taft has admitted that he failed to report dozens (oops!) of golf outings as gifts. Just who paid for these golf outings is currently something of a mystery.
Taft has repeatedly implied that these omissions were just honest mistakes. That's believeable if we're talking about a few golf outings.
But dozens? Please.
It's obvious that he was hiding something more sensitive than just a golf outing. And a report from a NBC local affiliate touches on it:
Earlier that year , Taft golfed with Tom Noe, a prominent GOP contributor and former chairman of the Ohio Board of Regents and member of the Ohio Turnpike Commission. It was Noe's handling of a $50 million investment of state money in rare coins that sparked the state's ongoing investment and ethics scandal.
Fifteen state and federal investigative teams and three grand juries are examining a variety of alleged wrongdoing, including investment losses at the state insurance fund for injured workers topping $300 million. Noe has said $13 million is missing from the state investment, and Attorney General Jim Petro has accused him of stealing at least $4 million. Brian Hicks, Taft's former chief of staff, was convicted last month of failing to report vacation stays at Noe's home in 2002 and 2003...
Taft's failure to report the golf outings contradicts his own experience and statements as governor.
It's obvious that Workers Comp scandal, perhaps the most massive fraud in Ohio history, and the golf outing ethics brouhaha are one and the same scandal.
I've been told that the governor refuses to resign because he fears it would smear his family's good name. That's especially funny considering that Bob Taft is the Fredo Corleone of the Taft Family.
Little did Taft's golfing pals know that when he yelled "FORE!" on the golf course, he was really announcing his I.Q.
August 16, 2005
You've Read The Blog. Now Read The Book.
Kudos to Jason Hartley, the blogmaster at Just Another Soldier.
On October 1, HarperCollins will release Jason's first book, Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq. About half the book is new material and the rest is the best of Jason's excellent blog. If the new material is half as funny and poignant as the blog, then it's bound to be a helluva read.
If you enjoy reading the insights of witty smartasses as much as I do, then you'll want to buy Jason's book. Amazon is taking pre-orders.
Tan, Rested and Ready
My blogging hiatus is over.
I spent the summer frolicking at the YMCA campground where I swam, fished and led my fellow campers in sing-alongs.
That's all bullshit, of course.
My summer consisted mostly of chainsmoking cigars, bitching about Democrats and wondering why Ohioans elected a Downs Syndrome governor. If there's anything more relaxing, I don't know of it.
I hope your summer was as enjoyable. And now, on with the blog ...
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