Archive for the ‘Meet the Press’ Category

McCain Captures the Immagination in New Hampshire

January 7, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 7, 2008

Senator John McCain is relaxed, confident and “on top of his game” in New Hampshire.

With the opening of the polls in New Hampshire just hours away, the veteran U.S. Senator, presidential campaigner, war hero and former prisoner of war, McCain’s hopes and dreams never seemed brighter.

McCain beat George W. Bush in New Hampshire by 18 points in 2000, but this is a different year with different issues. In fact, the issues today favor McCain and his experience even more than in 2000.

“It’s mostly the same old team on board, but it’s a different set of circumstances,” he said.

“We’re in two wars. And we face the threat of radical Islamic extremism. We are in a little bit of a different environment.”

McCain has little in the way of personal wealth and other financial resources. But he is not afraid of going after Mr. Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts who has little foreign policy experience and has spent well over $10 million in his own personal wealth on his quest for the presidency.

When pressed by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” Sunday to comment upon Mr. Romney, his opponent, Senator McCain said:

“I think he’s a, a good man, a good family man….”

“He [Romney] has changed his positions on almost every major issue. That is a fact. I could chronicle it for you. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good person. I—look, we’re in a political campaign here, and, and we have—I want to debate this, this campaign on the issues, not on personalities. And that’s the important thing. And I think when I say that to the people at town hall meetings, they say, ‘Good, let’s hear the issues. Let’s not hear whether there’s any personal animosity or not between the candidates.’ They don’t care about that. That’s not what determines their futures.”

On terrorism and finding Osama bin Laden, Senator McCain said:

“I’ll get Osama bin Laden. I’ll get him even if I have to follow him to the gates of hell.”

“I’ll get him.”

“But understand, if we go in, we could very well destabilize Pakistan, perhaps bring about the overthrow of President Musharraf.”

Senator McCain, it would seem, is on a roll. But we won’t know for sure until the voters of new Hampshire decide.

And that is why politics captures our interest.

Related:
Hillary and Mitt: Sliding Down the Polls (and the pole)

Today’s New York Times on McCain:
Retracing Steps, McCain Is Feeling Rejuvenated

Mr. Russert’s “Meet the Press” interview with Senator McCain:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22487036

Retracing Steps, McCain Is Feeling Rejuvenated

January 7, 2008

By Adam Nagourney and Marc Santora
The New York Times
January 7, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign wheeled out a confetti gun on Saturday in Peterborough to boom a festive end to his 100th town-hall-style meeting. It was the same place he began his New Hampshire primary campaign of 2000.

Matt Campbell/European Pressphoto Agency

John McCain at a meeting Sunday in Salem, N.H. His campaign in the state this year has crucial differences from 2000.

Mr. McCain, a Republican, is methodically returning in these last days before the New Hampshire primary to the same venues he visited in that campaign, in which he defeated George W. Bush by 18 percentage points. He is surrounded by many of the same New Hampshire aides, telling many of the same jokes, appealing to the same voters and promising what seems like unlimited access to the state’s residents and reporters.

“It’s superstition,” Mr. McCain said Sunday. “And a bit of nostalgia.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/07/us/politics/07mccain.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Read the “Meet the Press” transcript of Senator McCain interviewed by Tim Russert of NBC on January 6, 2008:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22487036

Related:
Mitt and Hillary: Running Into a Head Wind

Musharraf: He’s The Best Hope That Was Available At the Moment

November 6, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 6, 2007

Let’s face it: if anyone in the government of the United States of America ever though President General Pervez Musharraf was dedicated to a future democratic Pakistan, he was naïve, stupid or smoking some illegal substance.

Just try to name one other U.S. ally ever who wanted to be called “President General.”
Photo

Musharraf is and always has been a military man.  He came to power in a coup. And he is a strong man holding together a rats nest of Islamic extremists, militants and terrorists. In Pakistan, the question isn’t “Are these guys bad guys?” The more appropriate question almost always is, “Who’s side are these bad guys on?”

I have been into and out of Pakistan a few times assisting people battling the Taliban and other terrorists. It is not a pretty place to “vacation,” as my friend Mike dubbed my sojourns today.

And I have always questioned the full-throttled support for Musharraf that the U.S. has proclaimed.  And the support is not just words: it amounts to about $130 million (USD) every month.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 10, 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney expressed such strong U.S. Government support for President general Musharraf of Pakistan – that I thought at the time the words were clearly over the top. Mr. Cheney expressed U.S. support for Musharraf as follows:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan. There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

Have you ever heard any President or Vice President of the United States express such unbridled support for anyone at any time?

I think not.

So why did Musharraf get the full trust and confidence of the United States – and billions of dollars? Because he was in power on 9-11 and we were in no position to invade Iraq, Afghanistan AND Pakistan. Pakistan at least had a ruler that didn’t drop gas on his own people, the way Saddam used gas on the Kurds.

So, Musharraf was a guy we were stuck with: not the guy we chose to take to the dance.

It rankles me some that Mr. Cheney felt he had to so obviously oversell this lemon. I wish he had just said: “Musharraf will never give us democracy in Pakistan. But he might keep the various factions from creating total chaos.”

Today Musharraf said he would still hold democratic elections in January. That, my friends, is happy talk nobody in Pakistan believes. Musharraf is holding on for dear life. And it is uncertain if he’ll still be above ground in January. If he is it will be because many of his enemies disappear without a trace.

Now we may be on the brink of total chaos in Pakistan and the U.S. can do little but stand on the sidelines like a deer in the headlights.

But it looks like we already decided to stay with the gal we’re dancing with. As long as she can do it.

National Tragedy: Some Still Miss-Out on American Dream

October 24, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 24, 2007

Comedian, actor and “entertainer” Bill Cosby has again transformed himself. Now he is announcing a clarion call, a wake-up call, to his community to return to family values and seek better lives through teamwork, jobs, economic prosperity and social reform.

Cosby has been at this for more than a few years and he has been castigated by other “leaders” in the community.

On July 1, 2004, Cosby hurled himself into a maelstrom of criticism from his community by yet again openly criticizing the black community while alongside Jesse Jackson at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition annual conference. In response to the charge that he is airing African American’s dirty laundry out in the open, Cosby answered critics by saying, “Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it’s cursing and calling each other n**** as they’re walking up and down the street. They can’t read, they can’t write. They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going no where.”

This encounter underscored an outraged Cosby’s earlier criticisms. On May 17, 2004, at a NAACP celebration that marked the 50th anniversary of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in schools, 66-year-old Bill Cosby made pointed comments about the way black youth dress, citing their oversized clothes as “ridiculous.” He also attacked lower class blacks for not speaking proper English, not raising their kids properly — by instilling corrupt and materialist-based values — and naming them silly names.

Mr. Cosby has kept his criticism and his call for reforms alive. Along with Harvard Medical School professor and psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint, Bill Cosby has written a new book titled “Come On, People, on the Path from Victims to Victors.”

The two recently appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert and they eloquently spelled out their concerns during a riveting interview.

If people think that all is well in America’s Black community they should read “Come On People” and listen to the thoughts and facts presented by Mr. Cosby and Dr. Poussaint.

But don’t just listen to these two gentlemen. Read some facts of the statistics and facts from other sources.

Today, hidden in the Metro section of the Washington Post, a careful reader can find an article on the latest report from the Washington D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. The report’s intriguing title is: “D.C.’s Two Economies.” We’ll just list here some of the findings of fact and opinions found in the study and you decide if all is well in the Nation’s Capital City.

–The District’s poverty rate is the highest in nearly a decade, and the employment rate for African American adults is at a 20-year low.

–Although the District’s robust economy has spurred job growth, higher salaries, a construction boom and neighborhood revitalization, the city’s poorest and least-educated residents have been left behind — living “on the other side” of the city’s “gleaming economy.”

–The wage gap between high-wage and low-wage workers in Washington is at an all-time high. Salaries for the least-paid workers (adjusted for inflation) are virtually unchanged in three decades, while income for higher paid workers has soared overall. Only Atlanta and Tampa have a higher rate of income inequality.

According to the Washington Post, “The study’s author, Ed Lazere, called the findings not only ‘striking and depressing,’ but also a clarion call for the administration of Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) to find ways to reach out to city residents ‘who are not succeeding . . . and who are not connecting to the economy.’

We applaud and support people like Mr. Cosby, Dr. Poussaint, and Mr. Lazere who get to the truth, point it out and advocate for reform.  And we hope that other Black leaders can admit and address the problems of their community and stop yelling “Racism” or “Uncle Tom” every time someone confronts them with the facts.

Related:

As Economy Booms, Poverty Rate Grows
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/23/
AR2007102302230.html

Culture: Bill Cosby calls for men to be fathers

Cosby, Morehouse chief: Parenting is the answer

The Unspeakable Truth: Katrina, New Orleans and Culture

Culture: Bill Cosby calls for men to be fathers

October 15, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Entertainer Bill Cosby Sunday said many ills in U.S. black families can be traced to children raised without fathers, many of whom are incarcerated.Cosby appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor Alvin Poussaint — with whom he co-authored the new book “Come On, People, on the Path from Victims to Victors.” The Emmy-winning comedian said children in single-parent homes often don’t get the guidance they need.“If you have this as generational, fatherless situation — unwed father or whatever — but the male is not there, then it registers on another person — on the child — as abandonment,” Cosby said.

Bill Cosby

Read the rest:
http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_
News/2007/10/14/bill_cosby_
calls_for_men_to_be_fathers/3688/

Watch the interview with Tim Russert of “Meet the Press.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032608/

President Bush Lost Credibility, Confidence

September 6, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 6, 2007

It seems obvious to just about all American voters: Bush lost all credibility somewhere after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. He couldn’t or didn’t regain it thus becoming one of the presidents’ with the lowest public support polling numbers in history.

I like President Bush. But when the American people believe you have lost just about all credibility their confidence goes down the drain quickly.

Just yesterday, when a reporter asked Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin about the impending report from General David H. Petraeus on the “surge” in Iraq, he answered, “The Bush report?”

“We know what is going to be in it. It’s clear. I think the president’s trip over to Iraq makes it very obvious,” the Illinois Democrat said. “I expect the Bush report to say, ‘The surge is working. Let’s have more of the same.'”

For right or wrong, President Bush has become the “more of the same” president. As a result, Hillary Clinton and others are running for the White House under a one word banner: “CHANGE.”

I asked a friend who is a registered Republican what he thought about Vice President Cheney and he said (I am paraphrasing a little here) “Cheney represents the worst aspect of American politics. Cronyism. Special interests influencing the White House. Halliburton. Waste fraud and abuse. Lying to the American public. You cannot trust this guy and he has tremendous influence over President Bush.”

Cheney, to many, is the Emperor of the Evil Empire. Karl Rove was just the executioner.

Vice President Cheny was my “boss” in a way at one time while he served as Secretary of Defense (during the first war in Iraq) and I served as a Naval Officer. But Mr. Cheney lost me when he made a long-winded “over the top” defense of President general Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, September 10, 2006. You have to read for yourself the transcripts (see references at the end).

Mr. Cheney is also close to President Karzai of Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai has made no secret of the fact that he believes the Taliban, al-Qaeda and perhaps Osama Bin Laden himself are hiding out in the tribal areas of Pakistan: the land governed by President General Pervez Musharraf. The tribal areas are along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. They form, as the name implies, a semi-autonomous region. Pakistan’s Army does not venture into the tribal areas without severe trepidation.

For more than a year, we at Peace and Freedom have had an almost daily dialogue with journalist Muhammad Khurshid from Khar, Bajaur Agency, Tribal Areas Pakistan. Muhammad has given us at Peace and Freedom, and we hope, many readers, an appreciation for Pakistan, President General Musharraf and especially the tribal areas.

Muhammad I trust. Mr. Cheney: no.

Mr. Cheney was also involved in “the great research project” which prompted the administration to practically guarantee that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and intended to use them. CIA Director Tenet told a room full of Oval Office luminaries this fact was a “slam dunk.” Mr. Tenet lost his job, not too long after that, and was smeared, some say, by the White House as a man without credibility or merit.

Cheney also engineered Secretary of State Colin Powell’s dissertation before the United Nations on Iraq, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction and the CIA’s “proof.”

Mr. Powell also lost his job and may have been the victim of a smear campaign engineered by the White House. Powell was “thrown under the bus.”

But it is President Bush himself who has disappointed most. Remember, “Brownie, you are doing a heck of a job” after Hurricane Katrina? He lost his job soon thereafter also.

Remember, “I looked into Putin’s soul and saw a man I could do business with”?

Just yesterday, President Bush said of China’s Hu Jintao, the architect or banker, perhaps, of the genocide in Darfur, “He’s an easy man to talk to. I’m very comfortable in my discussions with President Hu.”

President Hu regularly stabs America in the back at the United Nations and elsewhere. The fact that he smiles and is an affable lad is not relevant.

Mr. Putin and President Hu Jintao just cooperated in the largest combined Chinese-Russian military maneuvers ever. They also hosted an international conference that gave the podium to the likes of President Ahmadinejad of Iran. He naturally attacked the U.S. in his speech.

But President Hu is really best known as the villain in the worst Human Rights abuses and the worst violations of ecology on today’s planet earth. Never mind what President Bush sees in his soul. Ask Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations, Greenpeace and other international human rights or ecology groups. God will mediate this one.

On China, President Bush has enemies on the left and the right.  The right wing of the Republican Party says Bush is soft on China.  The Democrat left says he does too little for Human Rights.

Remember Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, the architects of the war against terror in the Pentagon? Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, “wildly off the mark.” Pentagon officials put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.

Neither Rumsfeld nor Wolfie attended General Shinseki’s retirement. But the General, in hindsight, appears to have been right. Rumsfeld retired and Wolfie went to the World Bank where he crashed and burned.

But generally, commentators say, President Bush stands by his people.

President Bush stood by his pal from Texas Alberto Gonzales long past the time most president’s would have summoned, even driven the bus. The president will maybe go down for his loyalty to his guys: but not for his acute judgment.

And who in the United States is responsible for out “Hearts and Minds” effort in the war against terror?

To remind those that don’t even recall: Karen Hughes, another President Bush buddy from Texas.

In 2005 CBS News reported on Hughes’ role this way: “President Bush’s adviser Karen Hughes was named to a State Department post designed to change Islamic perceptions about America.”

And how are we doing on the “Hearts and Minds effort”? Miserable. A total failure (see references at the end about “misunderspinning”).  Ms. Hughes still works at the U.S. Department of State.

President Bush and his vice president are serving out their terms. The next presidential election is a huge one.

But you knew all this. I was the one that only caught on slowly.

Related:
Cheney’s Stand on Musharraf May Yet Be Reversed

Pakistan: Bush Team Ignored Experts

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

Cold War Redux?

Permanent President Putin?

Misunderspinning: Hezbollah Honored For Sharp Media Acuity; Where’s Ours?

Where is America’s War of Hearts and Minds?

Bush Again Proves Soft on China

Bush, South Korean President Roh Run Amok

Cheney’s Stand on Musharraf May Yet Be Reversed

August 6, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
August 6, 2007

Almost any way you slice it, Vice President Cheney has lost influence and prestige since September 11, 2001.

The Vice President shot a guy in the face. The Vice President stood up for his boss and the policies of the Bush Administration even when almost everyone disagreed with the administration. And Mr. Cheney was out front in talking to people like NBCs Tim Russert of “Meet the Press.”

Today, President Bush met with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai has made no secret of the fact that he believes the Taliban, al-Qaeda and perhaps Osama Bin Laden himself are hiding out in the tribal areas of Pakistan: the land governed by President General Pervez Musharraf. The tribal areas are along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. They form, as the name implies, a semi-autonomous region. Pakistan’s Army does not venture into the tribal areas without severe trepidation.

For more than a year, we at Peace and Freedom have had an almost daily dialogue with journalist Muhammad Khurshid from Khar, Bajaur Agency, Tribal Areas Pakistan. Muhammad has given us at Peace and Freedom, and we hope, many readers, an appreciation for Pakistan, President General Musharraf and especially the tribal areas.

For the past few weeks, Musharraf has been under fire to some degree by those in the United States that believe he has allowed the Taliban and al-Qaeda free rein in the tribal areas.

As President Bush met with President Karzai, the government of Pakistan used the opportunity to again go on the attack in denial that Pakistan’s tribal areas are a “safe haven” for terrorists.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said at a weekly briefing Monday: “There is no al-Qaida or Taliban safe haven in Pakistan.”

But pressure on Pakistan persists, from congress, from presidential hopefuls, from newspaper commentators (like myself).

The silent player in all of this is Vice President Cheney.

It is our belief now, after talking to many sources, that President Cheney’s total support and high regard for President General Musharraf may now be totally discredited.

One has to return to the “Meet the Press” of Sunday, September 10, 2006, to fully appreciate Cheney’s support for Musharraf at that time.

On that “Meet the Press” of Sunday, September 10, 2006, Vice President Cheney expressed strong U.S. Government support for President Musharraf of Pakistan as follows:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan. There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

As this quote indicates, this is not a cautious politician saying, “Musharraf is doing his best.”

Vice President Cheney’s strong and long statement of support for Mr. Musharraf is almost unprecedented in foreign diplomacy. We say “almost unprecedented” because there could be a stronger supportive statement of one ally for another in the history of man. But if we read a stronger one we cannot recall it today.

And if Mr. Cheney is “out” on Musharraf; then who is “in”?

We believe the answer to that question is Ms. Frances Fragos Townsend, President Bush’s Homeland Security Advisor.

If Mr. Cheney still believes his words from Sunday, September 10, 2006; then where is he now?

Related:
Bush sees Pakistan as ally on al Qaeda

US offering Pakistan intelligence, military assistance: report

Taliban: Bush Meeting Had ‘No Result’

Pakistan: No al-Qaida safe havens