Tales from the Twilight Zone
by Becky Burgwin
For those of us who feel like we 're living in the Twilight Zone, this column will be disclosing, exposing and uncovering amazing facts about the three-plus years that America 's worst president and his band of lying men have subjected us to. There will be several categories in these articles each week and I hope to have a little fun with it.
High Level High-Jinx:
In May of 2001, vice-president Cheney was supposedly asked, (cause at this point, you just never know) to get together a group of people to look at the issue of "Domestic Preparedness. " He said, "You bet, boss. I 'm on it. " He never convened a single meeting. However, he was able to put together 10 meetings of his super secret Energy Task Force.
President Bush announced, and has since been reiterating, his pledge to spend 15 billion dollars on the fight against AIDS in Africa. He 's getting lots of kudos for that. However, in reality, the president's budget requested less than $2 billion, only $450 million more than what was spent in 2002 and 70% less than the $3 billion a year implied in his State of the Union address.
President Bush on Wednesday, April 14th, praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plans to withdraw Israeli forces and settlements from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. However, what he said and how he said it was seen as embracing Israel by backing the plan to only withdraw from part of the West Bank. It exhibited a blatant disregard for Palestinians, U.S. allies and, indeed, the entire Arab world and has pissed everybody off AGAIN!
After stonewalling them for months the 9/11 panel has given in to the demand to let Bush and Cheney give their testimony at the same time, privately and not under oath. Now to me, that smacks of them trying to make sure they get their stories straight because they 're making it up as they go along or maybe it 's like Robin Williams said, "Have you noticed that Bush never speaks when Cheney 's drinking water? "
Condoleezza Rice testified before the 9/11 commission and when she was asked by Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste what the title of the Aug. 6th PDB was, she uttered the words, "Oh ...um ... I think it might have been 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US. ' " She thinks it might have been?? Who the hell does this woman think she 's dealing with? Her boss?
So David Gergen had this to say on CNN after her testimony, "She is a brilliant woman. There was nothing in her testimony that hurt the president by any stretch of the imagination. " Now, I don 't know what channel he was watching, maybe it was Saturday Night Live, but I guess my imagination didn 't stretch as far as his, because, in my opinion, this PDB makes our National Security Advisor look like an idiot. And when she says things like, "We had no indication that Al Qaeda had any plans to attack the US, " it sounds like ...oh ...um ...perjury. More from this now infamous smoking gun,
Al Qaeda members -- including some who are U.S. citizens -- have resided in or traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.
Two al-Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were U.S. citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a ---- service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.
No, nothing threatening here.
After the Bush Press conference I wrote this little song; (sung to the tune of Shaft ...) Who is that guy in the psychedelic tie? ....Bush. Who is that man that we really need to can? ...Bush. The only problem is I can 't stop singing it in my head now.
Ok. After the Press Conference, and I use that term very loosely, I heard statements from the press like, "The President really stayed on point. " "His message was clear. " Wait a minute. He responded to every question with the same answer. "Well, you know, we 're just really focused and we 're up to the job, and we 're going to stay in for the long haul. And freedom is so important and we 're determined to fight evil and ...blah ...blah ...blah. " Did no one notice that that was the same answer he used in all of the debates against Gore, too.
Stayed on point? The president also said it was "hard to tell" whether Americans should expect to see more of the kind of deadly weeks that the military just sustained, April being the most deadly month since Bush declared "Mission Accomplished, " and it 's only half over. But, he said, "We're plenty tough." Who 's plenty tough? Him? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Rove? Perle? Not a single one of these people has ever even come close to engaging in combat for the safety of his country and not a single one of their sons or daughters is in Iraq right now. 18 year old kids who are trying to live the American dream, signed up for the National Guard because someone came to their school and said, "One weekend a month ...go to college free, " are being called up ...given a month of cursory training, at best, and sent into a war zone ...not a freedom zone, Mr. Bush ...a war zone.
Bush also said in last night 's press conference, "How were we to know that they would use hijacked airplanes as missiles. " Well, you know, that whole ruse has been exposed in the last few weeks. He is just not paying attention. Obviously Mr. Bush didn 't know that Commissioner Ben Veniste has already explained that Dr. Rice was at a conference in Genoa, where a "no fly zone " was implemented for just such an attack. Also, according to Commissioner Ben-Veniste, "There was a specific 1999 National Intelligence Council report that proposed the possibility of jihadist, al Qaeda, suicide squad members crashing explosives-laden planes into the Pentagon, the CIA and the White House," Mr. Bush needs to learn to share information with others.
He stayed on point! The Wall Street Journal had an article in yesterday 's paper criticizing the 9/11 widows who stayed on point for 2 ½ years to get the 9/11 commission approved over the protestations of our president, vice-president, national security advisor and defense secretary. It criticized them for appearing to blame these very same people who protested for 2 and ½ years against the formation of this commission to begin with. Imagine that.
If you want to find members of the press who are asking the touch questions, watch Chris Matthews on MSNBC or Lou Dobbs on CNN or go to websites such as: truthout.org, buzzflash.com, counterpunch.com, opednews.com, commondreams.org, alternet.org and demsonline.net just to name a few.
The Elephant in the Living Room:
What I 'm seeing lately reminds me of the old adage of there being a large elephant in the living room that everyone 's tiptoeing around and no one wants to talk about. Here are the questions I want to ask.
1. Did John Ashcroft order the evacuation by air of hundreds of Saudis, many of whom were in the Bin Laden family, during the days when people who were waiting for organs transplants were dying because they wouldn 't allow any planes in the air?
2. Why did Bush lie about seeing the first plane hit the WTC and thinking, "I used to fly planes myself, and I thought, 'Now there 's one bad pilot? ' "
3. Why doesn 't anyone point out to him that the first plane wasn 't televised until the next day?
4. Why doesn 't anyone say, "Isn 't it scary that the President of the United States ' only reaction to the sight of a huge civilian airliner flying into one if the tallest buildings in America in broad daylight is 'there 's one bad pilot? ' "
5. Even if he didn 't know it might have been a terrorist attack, why would he laughingly waltz into that classroom and stay there laughing and reading to the kids even for the 20 minutes after he 'd been told about the second plane?
6. Why were the fighter jets not scrambled for 36 minutes after the first plane took off?
7. When they were scrambled, and there were three planes still in the air heading towards New York and DC, why couldn 't a US Air Force fighter jet catch up to a jumbo passenger jet?
8. Why isn 't anyone mentioning the fact that during the Atlanta games there was so much security that Al Qaeda called off an attack?
9. Why isn 't anybody talking about what the Clinton administration did that ultimately foiled the millennium plot?
10. Why doesn 't anyone remember that when Clinton decided to drop bombs on Al Qaeda after the Cole attack, republicans accused him of "wagging the dog? "
Connecting the Dots:
President Bush said that the August 6th PDB contained no "actionable intelligence" that would have helped him to try to prevent the 9/11 attacks. I have an idea. Let 's just keep these guys hooked up to lie detectors when they 're speaking. Think what a great reality show that would be. " Welcome to To Tell the Truth starring George Bush, Dick Cheney and our panel of high powered Washington insiders. Today Mr. Bush will give a press conference. Stick around for the fun. "
These two statements from the PDB, in my opinion, refute that statement.
A clandestine source said in 1998 that a bin Laden cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York. "
Would alerting the fire departments and police departments all over the country, especially in New York, as well as Security in the White House, the Pentagon etc, have been a decent response to these words in the PDB, therefore rendering them "actionable? " You see, because I 'm thinking that when that first plane hit, all of the emergency preparedness people might have thought, "Oh gosh, this might be a terrorist attack. Let 's evacuate all the WTC buildings and federal buildings in DC. " Maybe I 'm wrong but I think this might have gone a long way towards making it so we ended up with fewer dead people.
And, in regards to his statement, "There was not a time and place of an attack. It said Osama bin Laden had designs on America. Well, I knew that. What I wanted to know was is there anything specifically going to take place in America that we needed to react to," he may know more than I do but I 'm thinking Bin Laden 's a little smarter than to put out the word that there was going to be an attack on 9/11/01 and details of how and where he was going to strike.
Here 's another interesting tidbit. NPR was broadcasting live on the morning of 9/11. One of their reporters, who happened to be in the Capitol when it was being evacuated had this to say when he finally reached their field reporter, "[As I was leaving the building] I spoke with Congressman Ike Skelton, a Democrat from Missouri, and a member of the Armed Services Committee, who said that just recently the Director of the CIA warned that there could be an attack-an imminent attack-on the United States of this nature. So this is not entirely unexpected. "
I could go on and on about insider trading deals that are always being monitored as an indicator of suspicious activities to come and very panicked warnings that came to us from 4 different countries saying that they are picking up signals that the US is about to be attacked in some horrible way.
Yea, we can connect the dots and guess what they spell. BUSH KNEW!
Donald Trump is getting as much attention as the war in Iraq. So, if they 're going to show him on every TV news show, I 'd like a disclosure on what happened to his hair.
You can now get Donald Trump 's voice saying, "You 've got mail, " on your AOL account.
Either Ben or Jerry of Ben & Jerry 's created an ad showing The Donald hiring Bush to be the president of the United States and then shows him saying, "You 're fired. " Tremendous!
Why on earth would everybody put themselves through this insane tax ritual when filling out tax forms is so easy, unless they 're not and then you get an accountant? (Hint: put all your receipts in a file and use Quicken. Send the year-end itemized category spending and earnings report to your accountant. Viola. Your refund, just in time for Spring Break. Or if you owe then you can wait till April 15th to pay them. Sheesh.)
In some neighborhoods belly dancers will be greeting folks who are going to the Post-Office tonight to mail in their taxes.
Picture if you will, a large affluent country, respected the world over, allows the highest court in the land to appoint their new president and all hell breaks loose. Is it real or is it ...The Twilight Zone. Do-do-do-do. Do-do-do-do.
Ms. Burgwin 's writings have appeared in Time, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Counterpunch, Alternet and OpEdNews as well as several other online Op Ed sites. She is on the Board of Aid Afghanistan and one of the founders of The Assisi Center for the Practice of Peace.