Teresa Heinz Kerry Visits Liberal Values For A Discussion of Women’s Health and The Environment

Teresa Heinz Kerry joins Liberal Values today on her blog tour. I wish I could say that the above picture was taken as I personally discussed these issues with Teresa, but actually it was taken when she was campaigning in Michigan shortly before the Iowa caucus. At the time, the conventional wisdom was that John Kerry just might manage to pull into second place, keeping his long-shot chances at the nomination alive. I don’t know if it was just optimism for her husband, or if Teresa really knew something, but she did sound hopeful for a first place victory in Iowa. John Kerry did go on to win the Iowa caucus, to win the nomination, and to beat the odds in coming as close as he did to an incumbent President during war time.

Teresa and John Kerry have used the time since the election to promote some of their long-standing interests, including the environment. This includes their recent book, This Moment on Earth, as well as Teresa’s work on women’s health and the environment. Teresa Heinz Kerry and the Heinz Endowments recently sponsored a conference on Women’s Health and the Environment in Pittsburgh. Starting about a week before the conference, Teresa has been on this blog tour. Participating blogs submitted written questions to Teresa at the onset of the tour. These questions were written during the recent conservative attack on those who discuss climate change after Al Gore won his Oscar. Teresa’s responses to my questions follow : (more…)

Condoleezza Rice’s Memory Problem

Condoleezza Rice has a tough time remembering all those warnings she received about bin Laden before 9/11, and every time they come up she claims this is something new to her. Think Progress reports that  Condoleezza Rice, appearing on Face the Nation today, was asked about George Tenet’s recommendations from two months before the 9/11 attack. Tenet had advised, “We need to consider immediate action inside Afghanistan now. We need to move to the offensive.”

Rice replied, “The idea of launching preemptive strikes into Afghanistan in July of 2001, this is a new fact.” She subsequently said, “I don’t know what we were supposed to preemptively strike in Afghanistan. Perhaps somebody can ask that.”

This isn’t the first time Rice lied about receiving such recommendations. Mahablog provides evidence that Rice had received these warnings from Tenet before, and was caught lying about it. Rice also lied about warnings received from others. In a column in the Washington Post on March 22, 2004, Condoleezza Rice wrote:

The al Qaeda terrorist network posed a threat to the United States for almost a decade before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Throughout that period — during the eight years of the Clinton administration and the first eight months of the Bush administration prior to Sept. 11 — the U.S. government worked hard to counter the al Qaeda threat.

During the transition, President-elect Bush’s national security team was briefed on the Clinton administration’s efforts to deal with al Qaeda. The seriousness of the threat was well understood by the president and his national security principals. In response to my request for a presidential initiative, the counterterrorism team, which we had held over from the Clinton administration, suggested several ideas, some of which had been around since 1998 but had not been adopted. No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.

Documents obtained from the National Security Archive previously showed that these statements from Rice were untrue. The documents include a January 25, 2001, memo from counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke to national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and “Tab A December 2000 Paper: Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects,” These documents, along with the testimony of Richard Clarke, contradict the claims of Condoleezza Rice that “No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.”

Rice was warned about the dangers from al Qaeda by both Tenet and Clark. She admits, “the seriousness of the threat was well understood” but did nothing and pretends that she never received advice to take action.  After ignoring such advice, and failing to continue the policy of the Clinton administration of going after bin Laden, Rice has repeatedly made these false claims that these are new ideas she had never heard of before. Something is seriously wrong with her memory, or her ability to speak the truth.

Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Blog Tour On Its Way to Liberal Values

Later today we will have our interview with Teresa Heinz Kerry as part of her blog tour on women’s health and the environment. While waiting, you can catch up with her previous stops:

4/14 Culture Kitchen
4/15 Light Up The Darkness
4/16 Democracy Cell Project
4/17 A Dem Fine Woman
4/18 Big Green Purse
4/19 John Kerry Is My Hero
4/20 The Democratic Daily
4/21 Post Carbon Institute
4/22 The Unofficial Kerry Blog
4/23 Culture Kitchen
4/24 We Love John Kerry
4/25 Violet Voices
4/26 Cocking A Snook
4/27 VB Dems
4/28 Tough Enough

Karl Rove, Atheist?

Karl Rove has helped George Bush rule by pandering to the religious right for support. Their use of wedge issues, such as placing votes on Constitutional amendments on the ballots in several states in 2004, might have made the difference in getting out enough of the fundamentalist vote to give Bush his victory.

We know that Rove believes in hardball politics and doing whatever it takes to win. Whether Rove, and even Bush, believe in the policies they pursue is a different question. We get one clue as to Rove’s views on religion in this interview with Christopher Hutchins in New York Magazine:

Has anyone in the Bush administration confided in you about being an atheist?
Well, I don’t talk that much to them—maybe people think I do. I know something which is known to few but is not a secret. Karl Rove is not a believer, and he doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, but when asked, he answers quite honestly. I think the way he puts it is, “I’m not fortunate enough to be a person of faith.”

What must Bush make of that?
I think it’s false to say that the president acts as if he believes he has God’s instructions. Compared to Jimmy Carter, he’s nowhere. He’s a Methodist, having joined his wife’s church in the end. He also claims that Jesus got him off the demon drink. He doesn’t believe it. His wife said, “If you don’t stop, I’m leaving and I’m taking the kids.” You can say that you got help from Jesus if you want, but that’s just a polite way of putting it in Texas.

For Karl Rove, power is the ultimate religion.

David Brooks Predicts More Losses For The “Grim Old Party”

David Brooks calls the Republicans the Grim Old Party, and warns, “it will take a few more crushing defeats before Republicans tear down the self-imposed walls that confine them.”

The Republicans suffered one unpleasant event in November 2006, and they are headed toward an even nastier one in 2008. The Democrats have opened up a wide advantage in party identification and are crushing the G.O.P. among voters under 30.

Moreover, there has been a clear shift, in poll after poll, away from Republican positions on social issues and on attitudes toward government. Democratic approaches are favored on almost all domestic, tax and fiscal issues, and even on foreign affairs.

The public, in short, wants change.

And yet the Republicans refuse to offer that. On Capitol Hill, there is a strange passivity in Republican ranks. Republicans are privately disgusted with how President Bush has led their party and the nation, but they don’t publicly offer any alternatives. They just follow sullenly along. They privately believe the country needs new approaches to the war against Islamic extremism, but they don’t offer them. They try to block Democratic initiatives, but they don’t offer the country any new ways to think about the G.O.P.

They are like people quietly marching to their doom.

And at the presidential level, things are even worse. The party is blessed with a series of charismatic candidates who are not orthodox Republicans. But the pressures of the campaign are such that these candidates have had to repress anything that might make them interesting. Instead of offering something new, each of them has been going around pretending to be the second coming of George Allen — a bland, orthodox candidate who will not challenge any of the party’s customs or prejudices.

Mitt Romney created an interesting health care reform, but he’s suppressing that in an effort to pretend to be George Allen. Rudy Giuliani has an unusual profile that won him a majority of votes on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, of all places, but he’s suppressing that to be George Allen. John McCain has a record on taxes and spending that suggests he really could take on entitlements. But at least until last week, he suppressed that in order not to offend the George Allen vote.