(NOTE: ALL members of the Republican Party in the US Congress sign Grover Norquist’s Pledge)
“Anti-Tax Crusader Grover Norquist Excuses Reagan’s 11 Tax Increases Because ‘He Hadn’t Signed The Pledge'”
By Travis Waldron, Mar 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm
Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist — who said last month that he would not approve of tax increases even in the case of war, natural disaster or “beard flu” — has come under fire over the last year from Republican lawmakers who signed his pledge requiring them to oppose all new taxes. Lawmakers have slammed the Norquist pledge as “disingenuous and irresponsible,” saying it “restrains your ability to think creatively” and takes away the “flexibility to do the right thing for the American people.”
On The Daily Show last night, host Jon Stewart asked Norquist if former President Ronald Reagan should be admonished for his tax-increasing ways. Reagan, after all, was a serial tax-raiser both as governor of California and later as president. But Norquist refused to criticize Reagan, laughably excusing the tax increases because Reagan “hadn’t signed the pledge”:
STEWART: I mean, Reagan raised taxes, I don’t know, seven times, eight times?
NORQUIST: And George Washington lost the Battle of New York. It wasn’t on purpose. Reagan didn’t want to raise taxes.
STEWART: Wait, Reagan didn’t want to raise taxes, but he did it eight times?
NORQUIST: He had a Congress with whom he raised taxes a number of times. […] The ’82 tax increase, which was the large one, he said was the biggest mistake of his presidency because of course remember he was promised, ‘Oh, if you raise taxes we’ll give you three dollars of spending cuts.’
STEWART: But then he kept raising them. ’82, ’83, ’85, I have a whole list here. So, would you have run somebody against him?
STEWART: Why not?
NORQUIST: One, he hadn’t signed the pledge.
Watch it (at 3:10):
Video and Full Story:
Katherine Stewart, Journalist / Author “The Good News Club” joins Thom Hartmann. The radical right is on a mission. But are they REALLY trying to use the public schools to turn your children into religious warriors?
Taliban vow revenge for Afghans killed by American (NOTE: Just like they did on 911….will the US gov and Americans ever learn there is consequences to their behaviors?)
What they won’t say about Kony 2012
Bill Crane examines the politics behind the “Kony 2012” media campaign–and argues that further U.S. intervention in Uganda won’t help the country’s people.
March 12, 2012
“KONY 2012,” a social media campaign by the charity group Invisible Children that caught fire last week, has brought the wars of central Africa into the media spotlight.
A video produced by Invisible Children that got some 71 million views in less than a week focuses on Joseph Kony, leader of the Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The 30-minute video claims that Kony is “the most dangerous man in the world.”
Invisible Children says it hopes the video will “raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.” The campaign, which jumped from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the front page of newspapers across the U.S., asks supporters to make Kony “famous” by posting flyers with his image. This, the video suggests, will convince the U.S. government to step up support for the Ugandan military in its quest to “stop Kony”–to kill him or to bring him to trial at the International Criminal Court.
It’s certainly understandable that a campaign against child soldiers and sex trafficking would gain widespread attention. But the Kony 2012 campaign is leaving out a lot of facts that every opponent of violence and injustice needs to know.
Not only does the video dangerously oversimplify the history of Kony and the LRA in Uganda, but it bolsters the position of U.S. imperialism on this question–particularly in its support for the repressive Ugandan government. And this comes at a time when the U.S. military is intervening more aggressively in Africa, including basing troops on the continent.
In October, the Obama administration announced it was sending 100 soldiers to Uganda to act as military “advisers” to Ugandan and African Union forces fighting the LRA. “I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress.
But the administration isn’t motivated to extend military help to the Ugandan government out of altruism. U.S. involvement comes in the context of what SocialistWorker.org contributor Lee Wengraf called “a new African land grab”–with Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, India and South Korea, as well as agribusiness and private equity firms from Europe and the U.S., buying up large tracts in a competition for farmland and biofuel sources.
Hows everyone’s history about Free Speech in America? Here is a refresher, Free Speech gets you tossed in jail legally in the USA in 1798:
“The Alien and Sedition Acts were four bills passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the 5th United States Congress in the aftermath of the French Revolution’s reign of terror and during an undeclared naval war with Britain and France, later known as the Quasi-War. They were signed into law by President John Adams.” ,…, “Republican editors, Matthew Lyon, a member of Congress, and private individuals were targets of prosecution under the Sedition Act. Twenty-five people were arrested. Of them, eleven were tried, one died awaiting trial, and ten were convicted of sedition, often in trials before openly partisan Federalist judges.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_and_Sedition_Acts)
To all GW Bush supporters. In FIVE states, his administration was succesful in making a certain t-shirt illegal to wear.
Only CONSERVATIVES will jail you for free speech. because dissent is no respected when one wants everyone to be the same and not change, as conservative ideology teaches. Think Hitler. He got what he wanted with conservative ideology, more accurate, Conservative Christian ideology. Odd isnt it, how President Adams also mentioned God in his speaches like Hitler did, and gladly tossed people in jail for dissent.
NOTE: The saddest part is, I do not think there has ever been a time in the history of the United States of America, that someone like Sarah Palin has been honored with the opportunity to become the Vice President. Not only that but, I also believe there has never been anyone as inappropriate as Sarah Palin, who would think, or others would think, would do anything good for the USA, the American People or the World. Unless of course you include GW Bush, who didn’t even want to do the job of President for no other reason than to try to out-man his father, like all predictable stories written about the relationship between father and son, throughout mankind’s history. There are so many people that still believe Sarah Palin is not the cruel, lying, megalomaniac political character that she is. The shame is, it is people like Sarah Palin and Hitler that will be remembered more than someone who actually did good for the world.
by Peter Knegt, March 13, 2012
“I was eagerly awaiting someone to take this to viral video task, and now here indeed is an extensive scene by scene comparison of Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in “Game Change,” and Palin herself. It makes clear how masterful Moore’s depiction was — which I thought fell far from simply impersonation (even if the film that surrounded the performance was somewhat less admirable). Take a look, though perhaps wait until after you’ve seen “Game Change” if you’d like it all in one context — even if you’ve seen it all before anyway…”
Two Years Before 9/11, Candidate Bush was Already Talking Privately About Attacking Iraq, According to His Former Ghost Writer
Published on Thursday, October 28, 2004 by GNN.tv, (1)
by Russ Baker. Russ Baker is an award-winning independent journalist who has been published in The New York Times ,The Nation ,Washington Post ,The Telegraph (UK), Sydney Morning-Herald , and Der Spiegel , among many others.
Research support for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute.
HOUSTON — Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.
“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz, (2). “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “Suddenly, he’s at 91 percent in the polls, and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.”
That President Bush and his advisers had Iraq on their minds long before weapons inspectors had finished their work – and long before alleged Iraqi ties with terrorists became a central rationale for war – has been raised elsewhere, including in a book based on recollections of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. However, Herskowitz was in a unique position to hear Bush’s unguarded and unfiltered views on Iraq, war and other matters – well before he became president.
In 1999, Herskowitz struck a deal with the campaign of George W. Bush about a ghost-written autobiography, which was ultimately titled A Charge to Keep : My Journey to the White House, and he and Bush signed a contract in which the two would split the proceeds. The publisher was William Morrow. Herskowitz was given unimpeded access to Bush, and the two met approximately 20 times so Bush could share his thoughts. Herskowitz began working on the book in May, 1999, and says that within two months he had completed and submitted some 10 chapters, with a remaining 4-6 chapters still on his computer. Herskowitz was replaced as Bush’s ghostwriter after Bush’s handlers concluded that the candidate’s views and life experiences were not being cast in a sufficiently positive light.
According to Herskowitz, who has authored more than 30 books, many of them jointly written autobiographies of famous Americans in politics, sports and media (including that of Reagan adviser Michael Deaver), Bush and his advisers were sold on the idea that it was difficult for a president to accomplish an electoral agenda without the record-high approval numbers that accompany successful if modest wars.
The revelations on Bush’s attitude toward Iraq emerged recently during two taped interviews of Herskowitz, which included a discussion of a variety of matters, including his continued closeness with the Bush family, indicated by his subsequent selection to pen an authorized biography of Bush’s grandfather, written and published last year with the assistance and blessing of the Bush family.
Herskowitz also revealed the following:
- In 2003, Bush’s father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son’s invasion of Iraq.
- Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been “excused.”
- Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot’s garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.
- Bush described his own business ventures as “floundering” before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.
Throughout the interviews for this article and in subsequent conversations, Herskowitz indicated he was conflicted over revealing information provided by a family with which he has longtime connections, and by how his candor could comport with the undefined operating principles of the as-told-to genre. Well after the interviews-in which he expressed consternation that Bush’s true views, experience and basic essence had eluded the American people -Herskowitz communicated growing concern about the consequences for himself of the publication of his remarks, and said that he had been under the impression he would not be quoted by name. However, when conversations began, it was made clear to him that the material was intended for publication and attribution. A tape recorder was present and visible at all times.
Several people who know Herskowitz well addressed his character and the veracity of his recollections. “I don’t know anybody that’s ever said a bad word about Mickey,” said Barry Silverman, a well-known Houston executive and civic figure who worked with him on another book project. An informal survey of Texas journalists turned up uniform confidence that Herskowitz’s account as contained in this article could be considered accurate.
One noted Texas journalist who spoke with Herskowitz about the book in 1999 recalls how the author mentioned to him at the time that Bush had revealed things the campaign found embarrassing and did not want in print. He requested anonymity because of the political climate in the state. “I can’t go near this,” he said.
According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”
Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: “They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches.”
Republicans, Herskowitz said, felt that Jimmy Carter’s political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war. He noted that President Reagan and President Bush’s father himself had (besides the narrowly-focused Gulf War I) successfully waged limited wars against tiny opponents – Grenada and Panama – and gained politically. But there were successful small wars, and then there were quagmires, and apparently George H.W. Bush and his son did not see eye to eye.
“I know [Bush senior] would not admit this now, but he was opposed to it. I asked him if he had talked to W about invading Iraq. “He said, ‘No I haven’t, and I won’t, but Brent [Scowcroft] has.’ Brent would not have talked to him without the old man’s okaying it.” Scowcroft, national security adviser in the elder Bush’s administration, penned a highly publicized warning to George W. Bush about the perils of an invasion.
Herskowitz’s revelations are not the sole indicator of Bush’s pre-election thinking on Iraq. In December 1999, some six months after his talks with Herskowitz, Bush surprised veteran political chroniclers, including the Boston Globe ‘s David Nyhan, with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event that got little notice: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” wrote Nyhan. ‘I’d take ’em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction “I’m surprised he’s still there,” said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.’s father. It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush’s first big clinker. ”
The notion that President Bush held unrealistic or naive views about the consequences of war was further advanced recently by a Bush supporter, the evangelist Pat Robertson, who revealed that Bush had told him the Iraq invasion would yield no casualties. In addition, in recent days, high-ranking US military officials have complained that the White House did not provide them with adequate resources for the task at hand.
Herskowitz considers himself a friend of the Bush family, and has been a guest at the family vacation home in Kennebunkport. In the late 1960s, Herskowitz, a longtime Houston Chronicle sports columnist designated President Bush’s father, then-Congressman George HW Bush, to replace him as a guest columnist, and the two have remained close since then. (Herskowitz was suspended briefly in April without pay for reusing material from one of his own columns, about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.)
In 1999, when Herskowitz turned in his chapters for Charge to Keep, Bush’s staff expressed displeasure -often over Herskowitz’s use of language provided by Bush himself. In a chapter on the oil business, Herskowitz included Bush’s own words to describe the Texan’s unprofitable business ventures, writing: “the companies were floundering”. “I got a call from one of the campaign lawyers, he was kind of angry, and he said, ‘You’ve got some wrong information.’ I didn’t bother to say, ‘Well you know where it came from.’ [The lawyer] said, ‘We do not consider that the governor struggled or floundered in the oil business. We consider him a successful oilman who started up at least two new businesses.’ ”
In the end, campaign officials decided not to go with Herskowitz’s account, and, moreover, demanded everything back. “The lawyer called me and said, ‘Delete it. Shred it. Just do it.’ ”
“They took it and [communications director] Karen [Hughes] rewrote it,” he said. A campaign official arrived at his home at seven a.m. on a Monday morning and took his notes and computer files. However, Herskowitz, who is known for his memory of anecdotes from his long history in journalism and book publishing, says he is confident about his recollections.
According to Herskowitz, Bush was reluctant to discuss his time in the Texas Air National Guard – and inconsistent when he did so. Bush, he said, provided conflicting explanations of how he came to bypass a waiting list and obtain a coveted Guard slot as a domestic alternative to being sent to Vietnam. Herskowitz also said that Bush told him that after transferring from his Texas Guard unit two-thirds through his six-year military obligation to work on an Alabama political campaign, he did not attend any Alabama National Guard drills at all, because he was “excused.” This directly contradicts his public statements that he participated in obligatory training with the Alabama National Guard. Bush’s claim to have fulfilled his military duty has been subject to intense scrutiny; he has insisted in the past that he did show up for monthly drills in Alabama – though commanding officers say they never saw him, and no Guardsmen have come forward to accept substantial “rewards” for anyone who can claim to have seen Bush on base.
Herskowitz said he asked Bush if he ever flew a plane again after leaving the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 – which was two years prior to his contractual obligation to fly jets was due to expire. He said Bush told him he never flew any plane – military or civilian – again. That would contradict published accounts in which Bush talks about his days in 1973 working with inner-city children, when he claimed to have taken some of the children up in a plane.
In 2002, three years after he had been pulled off the George W. Bush biography, Herskowitz was asked by Bush’s father to write a book about the current president’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, after getting a message that the senior Bush wanted to see him. “Former President Bush just handed it to me. We were sitting there one day, and I was visiting him there in his office, He said, ‘I wish somebody would do a book about my dad.’ ”
“He said to me, ‘I know this has been a disappointing time for you, but it’s amazing how many times something good will come out of it.’ I passed it on to my agent, he jumped all over it. I asked [Bush senior], ‘Would you support it and would you give me access to the rest of family?’ He said yes.”
That book, Duty, Honor, Country: The Life and Legacy of Prescott Bush, was published in 2003 by Routledge. If anything, the book has been criticized for its over-reliance on the Bush family’s perspective and rosy interpretation of events. Herskowitz himself is considered the ultimate “as-told-to” author, lending credibility to his account of what George W. Bush told him. Herskowitz’s other books run the gamut of public figures, and include the memoirs of Reagan aide Deaver, former Texas Governor and Nixon Treasury Secretary John Connally, newsman Dan Rather, astronaut Walter Cunningham, and baseball greats Mickey Mantle and Nolan Ryan.
After Herskowitz was pulled from the Bush book project, the biographer learned that a scenario was being prepared to explain his departure. “I got a phone call from someone in the Bush campaign, confidentially, saying ‘Watch your back.’ ”
Reporters covering Bush say that when they inquired as to why Herskowitz was no longer on the project, Hughes intimated that Herskowitz had personal habits that interfered with his writing – a claim Herskowitz said is unfounded. Later, the campaign put out the word that Herskowitz had been removed for missing a deadline. Hughes subsequently finished the book herself – it received largely critical reviews for its self-serving qualities and lack of spontaneity or introspection.
So, said Herskowitz, the best material was left on the cutting room floor, including Bush’s true feelings.
“He told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake,” Herskowitz said. “That was one of the keys to being a leader.”
1. Guerrilla News Network, Inc. (GNN) was a privately owned news web site and television production company that declared as its mission to “expose people to important global issues through cross-platform guerrilla programming.” This was accomplished through the production of original articles, reporting and multimedia, as well as republishing of commentary and news articles from a number of sources including other progressive commentary sites, mainstream news agencies, and blogs. GNN also hosted blogs for registered users and a discussion forum, and featured collaborative user-driven investigations and user-submitted photo- and videojournalism. The company also produced feature documentaries, books and music videos.
2. Mickey Herskowitz
Mickey Herskowitz is the coauthor of several autobiographies, including ones by Dan Rather, Bob Uecker, Howard Cosell, and Nolan Ryan. He lives in Houston, Texas.
Former president George H. W. Bush and his close colleague, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, publish a book entitled A World Transformed. Recalling the 1991 Gulf War (see January 16, 1991 and After), ,…, – Bush’s son, Texas Governor George W. Bush, preparing for his own presidential run (see April-May 1999), explicitly disagrees with the book’s assessments of US actions during and after the 1991 Gulf War. According to Mickey Herskowitz, the writer working on Bush’s campaign biography, “He thought of himself as a superior, more modern politican than his father and [the elder Bush’s close adviser and friend] Jim Baker. He told me, ‘[My father] could have done anything [during the Gulf War]. He could have invaded Switzerland. If I had that political capital, I would have taken Iraq.” [Unger, 2007, pp. 169]
Ghost-writter of autobiographies of Dan Rather, Mickey Mantle, Howard Cosell, Bette Davis, Shirley Jones and Marty Ingels, and Gene Tierney. Other book subjects have included Gene Autry, Nolan Ryan, Tom Kite, John Connally, and Prescott Bush, father of George Bush and grandfather of George W. Bush.