NDN Blog

Proud of the NDN team

I am proud of our small but talented NDN team.  At a critical time for our nation, a nation so desperate to find a new and better path, it is clear that they are stepping up and taking a big swing part.  In the last few weeks we've offered a powerful and wide-ranging body of work. that has gotten a great deal of attention, and is clearly helping shape the national debate.

I offer a quick review, without links, as all can be found on www.ndn.org:  

- Our globalization initiative has released a series of compelling studies, from fashioning a new consensus on trade liberalization to a series of peices on wages to a review of the Bush economic record, and our Senior Policy Analyst James Crabtree keeps banging it out each day on our blog;

- On the Hispanic front, the NDN political fund's Mas Que un Partido campaign launched a new national radio ad; along with our friends at PowerPac we released a new poll of Spanish-prefered Latino voters in CA; our daily Spanish-language talking points email to Spanish-media continues; along with Sergio Bendixen we released an influential new study about the changing attitudes of Cubans in Miami in the early days of the Post-Castro era, and was picked up in the Washington Post, Newsweek, many Florida papers, and Business week; and on Monday we launch a 2nd media campaign, this one with the CPC, that will put Spanish-language ads on the air in AZ and CO in support of the minimum wage ballot initiatives in those states;

- NPI has had an incredible couple of weeks, releasing two new pieces of our Tools campaign, papers on Buy Cable and Engage the Blogs; but of course the big news is the launching of a new web 2.0 site for NPI, www.newpolitics.net, that allows us our own tools to practice what we preach about the new media;

- This week we also gave our blog a new and much more media rich look, one that will better help us bring our agenda, ideas and values to you each day; readership of the blog has increased dramatically as we've offered a much better product in recent months;

- Our daily commentary got wide pick-up outside our blog, particularly a seies of piece we wrote on the Condi Rice's serial lying about the run-up to 9/11;

- and we continued to appear regularly in publications from the New York Times to Wired to the Nation. 

As I sit here on rainy Saturday morning here in DC wondering what to do with my kids today, I reflect with pride on what our whole NDN team has done these last couple of weeks, and thank them for stepping up at what is a critical time for our nation. 

Friends, we need your help today

I sent a national email out yesterday asking our friends and family for help, one more time.  As you are well aware, we have important things still left to do this year.  Here it is, and if you have a little left in your political wallet for NDN and our affiliate, the NDN political fund, we will put it to good use:

"This is a critical time for our country. With conservatives stumbling, progressives have a real chance to reassert our values and our agenda. We at NDN are hard at work making this happen.

But for us to keep our agenda moving forward, I need your help. If you are going to support NDN and our path breaking work this year, the time is now.

Will you support NDN, today, with a contribution of $50, $100, $500 or more?

Your support for NDN will allow us to help break the conservative ideological hold on our politics in three concrete ways:

  1. Put more ads on the air in more places – NDN and its affiliate, the NDN political fund, are running two media campaigns designed to speak to and engage Hispanic communities across the country. Your support will help us put more ads on in more places, expanding these powerful campaigns.
  2. Beat the conservatives in the economic debate – Your support will help us continue to challenge the conservatives in the national debate over the economy, and offer more progressives the facts and arguments needed to beat them.  This is no idle act - in recent polls, the economy is the number one issue facing the American people.
  3. Help progressives deploy the latest and best New Tools – A fast-changing media environment is creating a set of new tools that can help progressives reach more people more effectively at this critical time. Your support will help The New Politics Institute continue their “New Tools” campaign to help progressives fight for our agenda more effectively.

The NDN team is proven and accomplished. Our advisors include some of the most remarkable people in progressive politics. Our work is cutting edge. If you choose to support us in these final days I promise your money will make a real difference at this pivotal moment.

Thanks for everything,"

The magic of October

I became a Mets fan in 1969.   It was their magical year, and I was just old enough to start following the game in earnest.  I have been a loyal and passionate fan ever since. 

When I went into politics full time I had not thought through all the consequences of my career choice.  You see October is a busy time in my day job, making it a whole lot harder to follow my boys when they make their October run.  I missed big chunks of the 2000 playoffs, when they went all the way to the World Series.  And yesterday I missed Delgado's home run and David Wright's two doubles on their way to a first game win.  But this year I have three surrogates, rooting at home, wearing their Mets clothes - Jed, Will and Kate, my three kids.  They all wore their Mets gear yesterday, bought by grandpa, another die-hard Mets fan. My oldest son Jed, the same age now I was in 1969, regaled me with stories of the game when I got home last night.  He has caught the baseball virus, no doubt about it. 

A few years ago when I would go to New York I would joke that I was both a Mets fan and a Democrat, suffering at the superiority of the Yankees and Republicans.  What is so sweet this October is that it sure appears that we Mets fans and Democrats are not a suffering lot anymore. 

Why Hastert should resign

Denny Hastert should resign out of embarrassment for what he has presided over as Speaker.  His team has been without question one of the most corrupt, irresponsible bunch that have ever run Washington.  For respect for our government, and for the American people, he should take responsibility for the anything goes culture he has fostered and resign.  Lets review what's happened with senior members of his team in just the past year:

Majority Leader Tom DeLay - indicted, resigned.  General corruption, fixing elections. 

Duke Cunningham - indicted, resigned, now serving the longest jail term in Congressional history.  Bribery, corruption, prostitutes, gambling.

Rules Committee Chairman Bob Ney - indicted, resigned.  Intervened against an Abramoff business rival - in Florida of course - who was then murdered by a mafia hit man. 

Committee on Missing and Exploited Children Chairman Mark Foley -  resigned, rehab, etc. 

NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds - Hires Foley's chief of staff, participates in the Foley cover up. 

Add to that the extraordinary corruption of the Iraqi occupation contracting process, the Katrina contracting process, the selling off of "earmarks", the arrest and jailing of a series of top Congressional staffers turned "lobbyists," the creation of a K street secret police reporting in, shaking down and terrifying American business interests, the systemic buying off of journalists, the degradation of the Committee and budgeting process, the now apparent corruption of the 9/11 Commission, the acceptance of warrentless spying on American citizens, and it all ends being a terrible, shameful period in our history. 

Speaker Hastert should take responsibility for all this - with Mark Foley being simply a mild manifestation of the underlying anything goes culture - and resign. 

The Intelligence Committees need to convene this week

Buried in the Rice affair is the very real possibility that the 9/11 Commission process was corrupted by Republicans looking to cover their mistakes.  As I wrote this morning, the Commission's Executive Director Phillip Zelikow was present in 2004 when CIA Director George Tenet testified to the Commission.  In that interview, which the Post reported earlier today, Tenet told the Commission of the now fateful July 10th meeting with then National Security Advisor Rice where he warned the White House of an imminent attack by Bin Laden.  Somehow, even though this meeting was very important to establishing the official record of what happened prior to 9/11, this meeting never made it into the final 9/11 Commission Report. 

One person will know what happened - Phillip Zelikow, who of course is now working for Secretary Rice.  Did he purposefully keep this meeting from the 9/11 Commission to protect Rice and the White House?

There is one way to find out.  The Senate and House Intelligence Committees should call him to testify this week.  Right now.  The entire credibility of the 9/11 Commission is at stake.  For if something of this magnitude was manipulated, what else may have been altered by Zelikow or other staff?

Given the appearance of tampering with a grave and serious national security matter, Speaker Hastert and Senate Leader Frist should demand an immediate investigation into what happened.  This cannot wait until after the election.  They should task the two Intelligence Committees with a limited and brief task of bringing Zelikow, Rice, Tenet and Cofer Black to the Congress this week and see what can be learned. 

The nation needs to know immediately if the 9/11 Commission process was corrupted.  If the Republicans do not create such a process right away they are admiting their complicity into a terrible cover up of one of the most tragic events in American history. 

The mystery of the July 10th 2001 meeting

This morning's Post has a story that deepens the mystery of how everyone in Washington forgot that the CIA director warned the National Security Advisor on July 10th, 2001 that an attack by Bin Laden was imminent. 

You see this meeting, a critical and important one, was somehow left out of the 9/11 Commission Report and had never been mentioned prior to the publication of the new Woodward book.  Condi Rice first said the meeting never happened; she then reversed herself and said it did, but that she forgot about it.  We all then wondered how it was possible that the record of this meeting never made it into the 9/11 Commission Report.  This new story makes it clear that Tenet did brief the 9/11 Commission on the meeting, that in fact he provided them slides and other papers from the briefing he gave to Condi on that July day. 

Questions then:

1) How did the fact of this meeting fall out of the 9/11 Commission Report? Did the Commission's Executive Director, Phillip Zelikow, now a Rice staffer, fight to keep it out?

2) Rice has consistently said she was never told that summer that Bin Laden my strike inside the US. Did this briefing have such information? According to this story it did. And why does she keep saying this when the Aug 6th memo to the President clearly indicates that Bin Laden was attempting to strike in the US?

3) Did Rumsfeld and Ashcroft get the same briefing, as Sec. Rice says?

4) What specific actions did the President and National Security Advisor take upon receiving this urgent briefing on July 10th, a full two months before 9/11?

5) Isn't it now clear that Bush and his team were amply warned about the impending attacks throughout the summer and did nothing? And that the Secretary of State is simply lying about a grave and serious security matter to cover her ass?

My own belief is that the Sec. Rice's response to these matters is so insulting, full of lies and ass-covering that she must resign.  Her credibility is now completely shot, as it is clear that she has been leading a cover up of information critical to our understanding of how this nation suffered a major attack, and the role she and the President played in ignoring important warnings that it was coming.  She can no longer be trusted to do what is right, only what is expedient for her and the President.  And in a time as challenging as these times, that is not acceptable. 

Josh Marshall grabs a new nugget on the July 10th mtg

From talking points memo tonight:  

"Whammo!

Just out from McClatchy ...

The independent Sept. 11, 2001, commission was given the same “scary” briefing about an imminent al Qaida attack on a U.S. target that was presented to the White House two months before the attacks, but failed to disclose the warning in its 428-page report.

Former CIA Director George Tenet presented the briefing to commission member Richard Ben Veniste and executive director Philip Zelikow in secret testimony at CIA headquarters on Jan. 28, 2004, said three former senior agency officials.

Tenet raised the matter himself, displayed slides from a Power Point presentation that he and other officials had given to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on July 10, 2001, and offered to testify on the matter in public if the commission asked him to, they said.

.....Very hard to say what would be behind the decision to leave it out considering that Ben Veniste was one of the Dems on the Commission. "

And of course, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, now works for Condi.  Was he the one who dropped this little nugget from the report?

Condi Rice: Oh on that terrorism thing, I forgot

A sheepish spokeman for Sec. of State Condi Rice let reporters know today that the Secretary in fact did get a briefing on July 10th, 2001 from the CIA that warned her in very strong terms that a terrorist attack on American interests was imminent.   

You see last night she denied the meeting took place.  Today they admit that it did take place, but that she just forget about it. 

Let's consider this argument.  The CIA director has a private meeting with the National Security Advisory and says a terrorist attack is imminent.  A month later the CIA advises the President and his team a terrorist attack in the US is imminent.  A month later an attack takes place.  And you forgot you warned by the CIA that this was coming, and that you did nothing about it? Are we really supposed to believe this argument from the Secretary of State?  And why didn't the 9/11 Commission know about it?

This is going to get ugly for the Administration.  What is the old line, it is never the act itself but the coverup that gets you?

Anyone think Rice will survive this? And does she go before the election?

Condi's response just doesn't cut it

Condi "mushroom cloud" Rice responded in the Post to the Woodwork book relevations by - suprise! - denying all.  You can judge for yourself if her story sounds at all credible.  I don't think it does.  But we have to recall that in Bushworld lying is a tactic, to be used as needed.   

Did Condi break the law?

In a very provocative post about the new Woodward book, Thinkprogress raises a critical question - did our Secretary of State lie to the 9/11 Commission? And is this a crime?

At the very least it is now clear that the Administration, in covering up a high-level meeting in July of 2001 where the CIA warned about an impending attack by Bin Laden, has once again repeatedly lied to the American people about an issue of great significance, and one critical to maintaining our security. 

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