Craig Crawford's blog begins and he's talking about Gitmo too
During Craig Crawford's stint guest hosting (for Ron) on Connected, he asked for our help in naming his blog. Viewers wrote in, but eventually, the name "Crawfordslist" won the day. Wouldn't you know it? The name turned out to be a suggestion from Connected producer Pete Breen.
"It is simple, direct, and, after all, what is a blog if not a list, right?" says Craig. Click here to check it out.
In today's blog, he talks about Gitmo (as did the 5 p.m. ET 'Connected' show).
"Ah, we hear the ground shifting on the Bush Admin's hardline position against criticism of Gitmo prison. Rumsfeld now says let's turn the prisoners over to foreign countries. And just the other day Bush said "We're exploring all alternatives" when asked about about closing the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's a good move for Bush team to take steps to move this sideshow into the shadows. Blaming it all on Newsweek could only get them so far." Click here for more of Craig's post.
Here are two of your e-mails on the show, which Monica and Ron agreed with respectively:
"I think all these people who think that Gitmo should be closed should go and fight the war on terror and then tell us about human rights that these terrorists deserve."
--KC, Carlsbad, Calif.
"We need to follow our own moral foundation... It should not be shut down, but the proper policies must be enforced to assure the integrity of our system that we are trying to promote all over the world."
-– Bobby, Bloomington, Ind.
Click here to Connected@MSNBC.com
Are we still unsafe after 9/11?
Could have FBI really have blown five chances at nabbing some of the 9/11 hijackers all because of government red tape?
A newly-released Justice Department report that says the Bureau missed at least five opportunities to find hijackers as they prepared for the 9/11 attacks. The report details how a lack of information-sharing within the FBI was a significant failure that hurt the agency's chances to prevent the attacks.
The release of the report comes as President Bush toured the Counter Terrorism Center this morning. That center, which is located at an undisclosed location in Virginia, was created as part of the wide-ranging overhaul of U.S. spy agencies sparked by intelligence lapses prior to 9/11. The tour is part of the president's two-day pitch for renewing expiring sections of the PATRIOT Act, and those provisions are due to expire at the end of this year.
Ron: Well, the new report is not such a surprise. We have heard these sorts of things before. But it's still depressing to hear this sort of thing. When you think that it is bureaucratic muddle that prevents an attack --, it’s just kind of depressing. You wonder where the grownups are. I mean, come on, let's start talking to one another. This is important stuff.
Monica: And you are exactly right, Ron. I mean, this is one of the difficult things pointed out by the September 11th Commission and a number of other intelligence commissions that were charged with looking at intelligence failures and also what went wrong prior to 9/11.
Turns out, a lot of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies simply weren't sharing information. They were not coordinated. Some of the recommendations coming out of the 9/11 Commission did suggest that they should get the act together, quit, as you say, the bureaucratic inertia, quit the battles over resources and personnel and stop it with the battles over fiefdoms. Get their acts together and start sharing information.
What do you think? E-mail us at Connected@MSNBC.com
Is Howard Dean too outspoken for the Democratic Party?
Chairman Dean met with party leaders on Capital Hill today. Dean has recently come under fire for his trademark “Red Meat” rhetoric . While some Democrats have continued the criticism of Dean, Senate Minority leader, Harry Reid, refused to join in.
Reid used today’s meeting to say the focus should be on problems facing the American people and not the comments of the party chairman.
Monica: However, all Democrats are certainly not united behind Dean’s recent comments. Today, Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.) told reporters that he even disagrees with some of the rhetoric of the party’s chairman. Biden told them, “I don’t think they are helpful, especially since everyone agrees that the targets for the Democratic Party are not to solidify the base, which is pretty solid, but to reach out to Independents.”
Ron: Whether or not it’s the right strategy, Dean’s plan to fire up the base is certainly having an impact, especially when you look at what some of the liberal bloggers are saying.The blogger at bluebus.org says “Give ‘em hell Howard!” She writes that Dean is doing the right thing, and that it’s about time that control of the Democratic Party is returned.
In fact, it’s pretty hard to find a liberal blogger out there with anything negative to say about Howard Dean. The blog coldheartedtruth.com says, “There’s still plenty of support for what Dean is saying.” According to that blog, “This is exactly the sort of backbone loyal Democrats want from their party leaders.”
What do you think?
I think Howard Dean needs to realize that whatever caustic rhetoric he uses to try to "jazz up" the Democratic base also serves to "jazz up" the Republican base against him. -- Brian Rock, Yorktown, Va.
Howard Dean is saying what is on the mind of every Democrat and most who do not support the Republican agenda. His rhetoric does go "off message" but I am not worried that he will not be successful as the leader of the DNC. The mainstream media are the ones who are most offended by Dean's remarks, but just as Dean was one of the first to come out against the Iraqi war, people will begin to understand that his criticisms are valid.
-- Michael Kahn
Dean has done wonders energizing the base; unfortunately it is the Republican base. With each outrageous, arrogant, mean-spirited remark he makes, the more engaged the Republicans, who would normally be dormant at this time in political cycle, become in the political debate.
-- Alan Z.
I'm a registered Democrat and a college student. As a former Deaniac, I'm not only sick of him but I'm sick of the Democratic Party. Instead of calling the other party names, we should be the party of the people and stop resorting to tactics that have dogged politics so far. Let's focus on the issues and keep this mudslinging out of it.
-- Tim, Edison, N.J.
I think the Republicans took Howard Deans remarks out of context and are using his words to divert attention from this current administrations failed, miserable policies.
-- JJ Binkley, San Bernardino, Calif.
Flying used to be a source of wonder. Now, you find yourself wondering why you ever consented to such torture. People actually used to dress up to fly. These days, you’re surrounded by folks who seem to travel the world in their pajamas.
And then there’s the food. My wife and I were briefly encouraged on this front; when we called to make our reservation, the ticket agent asked if we’d like to order special meals. My wife’s a vegetarian, so that’s what she asked for.
Once on the plane however, it was a different story. We passengers were informed that the airline no longer ordered what they call free food.
Free food? Could they be referring to those little packets of rancid nuts? The stale, frozen rolls? The various other insults to gastronomy hurled at us by flight attendants, justifiably upset at being forced to pimp for intestinal distress? Perhaps. But free?
Last time I checked, these culinary atrocities were included in the often hefty price of an uncomfortable seat. There’s nothing free about it. Then, we were offered a chance to purchase food.
When my wife inquired about her veggie meal, she was told she could buy a ham sandwich for five dollars that was the only option. Think about that: a ham sandwich. Not only are vegetarians out of luck, the same goes for observant Jews and Muslims.
And we wonder why airlines are going bankrupt. They can’t even do lunch right. A word of advice, next time you fly, pack your own!
• June 9, 2005 |
12: 43 p.m. ET
President Bush on Thursday credited the Patriot Act with helping to convict more than 200 terrorists and dismissed accusations that the law has violated civil liberties.
Bush described scary scenarios that he said were thwarted by law enforcement and intelligence officers working together with powers granted by the law he signed six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Click here to read more on the story .
Your e-mails on the Patriot Act:
I don’t understand why people are so concerned with this Act. If you are not a terrorist, or not a criminal, you have nothing to worry about. Everyone says they are violating our rights by looking into our personal records but they don’t just go around looking at random records. Quit complaining about civil liberties and start thanking our Law Enforcement agencies for keeping us safe. Remember, since 9/11 there hasn’t been any more attacks and there is a reason why.
-- John, Baton Rouge, La.
The more we discuss the problems with the Patriot Act; I realize that it has a lot of loopholes in it. If our country does in-fact use this Act as evidence for prosecuting an individual, lets hope the loop holes aren't big enough for somebody to slip through.
--Barbara Babington, Morristown N.J.
The left is fond of speaking about the theoretical. We constantly hear about how the Patriot Act abrogates rights, and is George W. Bush being an ideology. The bottom line - - they are all what ifs. Now there is reciprocal proof, data. It has protected us, while at the same time digression has, without fault, implemented these provisions only when unequivocally prudent.
-- Joshua Casper, Merrick, N.Y.
Let's not be so blatant in claiming that the Patriot Act has given the FBI the means by which to avoid terrorism. Name one time when the patriot act has protected us. Name one time that the FBI has done anything fruitful in regard to stopping terrorism.
-- Bob Schmitz, Belleview, Fla.
Many politicians think that the Patriot Act provisions and Homeland Security are the major reasons that the U.S. has not been attacked since 911. Bin Laden has stated many times that he was attacking the U.S. because of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. Do you think that the major reason we have not been attacked again in the U.S. is because President Bush complied with Bin Laden's demands and removed all of our troops from Saudi Arabia?
-- Denny, Lake Worth, Fla.
Time is finally catching up with Gerald Ford, now he gets around with the help of a cane. He didn’t speak at the event in California, but just taking the stage with his wife spoke volumes. With all the debate last week over Mark Felt’s place in history, it’s a good reminder that the man, who helped to heal us from Watergate, with his pardon of President Nixon, is still with us.
Ironically, Gerald Ford and Mark Felt are the same age at 91 but the similarities end there. Ford chose to face the fire for his country, with this “then” controversial pardon. He paid a heavy price for it, losing any change of being elected president in 1976.
Mark Felt chose to hid in the shadow for all of those years, only to come forward after being prodded by his family. So while Felt’s place in history will be debated for years, Gerald Ford’s is already cemented as a true hero and role model who emerged from Watergate.
But Kerry always refused to release his college transcripts to back any of this up. Now we know it was probably for good reason: On Kerry’s transcript he had a 61 in Geology, a 63 and 68 in two History classes, as well as a 69 in Political Science and a 77 in French. Bush’s transcript includes three 88s in Anthropology, History and Philosophy and a 69 in Astronomy.
Why do grades from four decades ago matter? Because ever since he first entered politics, Bush’s critics have tried to paint him as dumb— the class clown who wasn’t qualified. But somehow, he always seem to outsmart them, getting the last laugh and winning elections.
So, the next time you wonder if the right man won the 2004 presidential race, just remember these two grades- Kerry’s 77 in French and Bush’s 88 in philosophy. I think those numbers speak from themselves.
• June 8, 2005 | 1:10 p.m. ET
The lactivist debate (Tony Maciulis, Senior Producer, Connected)
There is an episode of "Sex and the City" in which the character Samantha is eating lunch in a crowded restaurant seated beside a mom and a screaming child. When Samantha's cell phone rings, a waiter comes over and tells her that phones are not permitted in the dining area.
She glances at the rambunctious child and says, "I'll get off the phone, but what are you going to do about that?"
I was reminded of that scene this morning when I read about a protest in front of ABC studios. It seems that a few days ago on her program "The View" Barbara Walters said that public breast-feeding makes her uncomfortable. This has set off a storm of "lactivism," women standing outside for giant "feed-ins." There point is that breast-feeding is perfectly normal and natural and that it was wrong for Walters to voice discomfort.This is by no means the most important story of the day, but boy is this is a good water cooler conversation. We've been talking about it here in the office and the views coming out are fascinating. Single people admitting that they are annoyed when there are small children misbehaving in restaurants, and parents who feel that we are not tolerant enough of children. The discussion is going well beyond breast-feeding to the heart of the matter: There is, and has always been, a kind of cold war between the single and childless and the married with children. The jockeying for holidays off and the covering for co-workers with sick kids--it happens in every office across America.
There have been enough books written about it to fill a small warehouse. I remember one called "Baby Boon" which promoted a theory that the childless are discriminated against at work. Of course if I tried I could probably name five other books that say the opposite that the single and available people always finish first in the competitive job market. I find it all fascinating.
I have raised 2 children, I breast-feed two children, women do not need to bear it all to feed. A woman can take a blanket and drape it over the shoulder and baby. I have never had a situation where others felt uncomfortable; in fact I have had some say, "thank you for covering up.” Women need to feed their babies, but please use some manners.
-- D, Conn.
First let us define the actual question. This is NOT about breast-feeding; it is about breast exposure. Women's clothing is specifically designed to expose as much breast as is acceptable. So, let's make up our mind, is it ok to show one or two. If it's ok to do it with a baby sucking on it, then it's ok to show it without the baby ala Janet Jackson, but even she had the good taste to cover her nipple. But Janet Jackson got in deep trouble over it, so should you breast feeders.
Bob Schmitz Belleview, Fla.
Breast-feeding in a car can be too hot or too cold and restrooms are disgusting. We are human, this is not a private issue this is a natural function. If a breast "woman's" is offensive to you then there is a disconnect with your reasoning regarding confusing sexual activity and "food consumption.
-- Maureen, Moreshead, Canterbury, Conn.
One guest mentioned how other first-world women consider breasts to be sexual and cover up. Has she been to France, or other European nation where going topless to the beach is the norm? Breasts are seen in TV advertisements frequently, as the human body is nothing to be embarrassed of in those countries. It is America's Puritanical heritage that makes breasts and the body taboo.
--Ross, Hartford, Conn.
I breast-fed both of my sons (both for nearly 9 months each) and I was very careful where I breast-fed. I tried to work my schedule around their feedings so I would not be in the middle of Target with a screaming baby. But on the rare occasion that I was in a public place I would either find a dressing room, hide in the back of a cafeteria, etc. But I have seen women standing on line to pay at Target with their baby nursing in front of everyone. I think we should be allowed to nurse in public but people have to use common sense.
--Ruth. Old Bridge, N.J.
Your guest is woefully uninformed about women in third world countries and their breast-feeding habits. I have spent time in both east and West Africa and I can assure you that women in the countries I visited did not care at all about shrouding themselves while feeding their children. It was a little bit shocking the first couple of times I saw it up close, but then I got used to looking away and giving them their privacy. I was just happy for the children, that they were receiving this loving gift from their mothers.
Yes, Breast-feeding is a natural function, so is going to the toilet and passing gas but manners keep us discreet. Don't tell me that 90 percent of the men aren't gawking to see the size of those mammary glands! It is very easy to cover up with a small blanket and everyone is happy.
-- Melanie Hill
A couple of years ago, while attending Mass, the woman in the seat in front of me began nursing during the Homily after her baby began to fuss. No one looked, paid attention or commented after (and this at a very conservative military parish!). The woman didn't call attention to herself, she casually threw her shaw over herself and the baby (though not screaming), stopped fussing. I know that it seems weird to say, but there didn't seem to be anything odd about it. There's a way to nurse that's not offensive. Most people are mature enough to handle the sight of a nursing mom. One shouldn't feel like they must run and hide to breastfeed.
Over the last 40 years I have seen dozens of women breastfeed in the most descrete manner, in public places. It is totally unneccessay, and seldom desired by the mother, to actually expose the breast at the beginning, middle or end of breast feeding. Descretion can be accomplished via receiving blankets, jackets and/or loose clothing. Such an descrete and natural activity is not "inflicting" anything upon the public. So, to make this an issue between public exposure of the breast versus private breastfeeding is riduculous. Save your outrage for Janet Jackson.
--Cathleen Wheeler, Boston, Mass.
In response to the breastfeeding topic. I'm sorry Ron, but I have to agree with Monica on this point. I breast fed my son, if I was in public I draped a blanket over my shoulder so I didn't offend anyone, besides, no one needs to watch me feed my son. Breastfeeding is a sacred moment between mother & child. I was very discreet about it, I just didn't whip out my breast for everyone to see. If you have to feed your child in public use a blanket and be discreet, why would you want to show your breast off to the entire world?
--Kathleen, Los Angeles
Breast-feeding in public is not always welcomed but to force these women into restrooms is just wrong. Most people are already discouraged from using public restrooms so why is it okay to have a baby eating there? In response to Barbara Walters, an airline bathroom is a tight squeeze for me at 150lbs and to have a feeding mother to go in there is just wrong. Look the other way when someone is breastfeeding or come up with the money to build designated areas.
-- Christopher Hollander, Sarasota, Fla.
I don't understand why people are so uncomfortable around a woman breast-feeding her child, but they'll look at all the magazines with famous women on the red carpet with their breasts hanging out and have no problem with that. I've seen women breast-feed and they place the baby and their shirts so you can't see anything but a little skin. I've seen much more of Lil Kim and Jennifer Lopez and they weren't feeding their baby's.
-- Janice, Conn.
Breast-feeding is a private thing. We had to sit in church while a mother breast-fed her baby!! Don't tell me to leave the church service. The mother should leave the sanctuary, and breast-feed in private.
--Jerri Martin, Minneapolis, Minn.
Howard Dean: The party's over (him)
He came out swinging but fizzled in 2004 for a presidential run. Now that Howard Dean is back, serving as head of the Democratic Party, it seems that not much has changed. He still doesn’t particularly likes Republicans, he’s still loud, and he still likes to point fingers. It’s an attitude that’s earning Dean new criticism from his own party.
Senior Democrat Joseph Biden has also been openly critical saying, “He doesn’t speak for me with that kind of rhetoric, and I don’t think he speaks for the majority of the Democrats.” It’s a kind of leadership that may also be alienating donors.
What do you think? Is Howard Dean really the best choice for DNC chair? Or are the other Democratic leaders letting him hang himself?
Viewers e-mailed their thoughts to Dean's attitude:
Howard Dean has it right and the Democrats that are in office now must start fighting back and quit caving. There needs to be a light shined on this groups intentions and invasion of our personal lives and rights. Democrats pay attention; this is what needs to happen!
-- Barb, Crystal, Minn.
I am so glad that Howard Dean is speaking out on the issue of class disparity in our country. The über wealthy in our country, aided and abetted by the Republican Party, do NOT know what a hard day’s work is. Our country’s middle class is disappearing, and the middle class is the backbone of a democracy. The United States is in a crisis, and all the talking heads want to do is, well, to put it politely, sit around all day, talk nonsense, make money, and fail to report any real news. I wish more American journalists would spend more of their days working hard at reporting on real issues.
-- Annette M. Sanseau
Howard Dean is doing a great job. How can one tell? Look at all the feathers he’s ruffling in the corporate media. If you didn’t think he was such a threat to the establishment, you would not be using airtime to take him down.
-- Patrick Hanudel, Houston, Texas
Howard Dean is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party. The democrats could have done a better job at finding a chairman. They need someone to lead them forward rather than backwards, which is where they are headed with Dean in charge.
The Downing Street Memo
Viewer e-mails raised the Downing Street Memo and the lack of mainstream media coverage over it.
'Connected Coast to Coast with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley' tackled this in their 5 p.m. ET hour:Video: Downing Street Memo
Don't discount the Downing St. memo by referring to it alone. Remember Paul O'Neill, the former Secretary of the Treasury, who in his book stated that after 9/11 the administration felt it now had a reason to go into Iraq. Remember Richard Clark, who testified before the Senate that after 9/11 the President wanted evidence that Iraq was involved. Look at all the evidence and don't pick and choose.
-- Bill Benjamin, Denver, Colo.
Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world...period. You can debate to eternity on we handled him & Iraq, but that solves nothing. The President made his decision, and we may disagree, but shouldn’t we support his decision and the troops?
-- Jerry, Seattle, Wash.
The far right Republicans don't see it but this is the beginning of the end for the horribly corrupt and murderous regime, oops, Administration. Real Republicans are changing their minds about Bush and are joining in calls for real investigations.
--Peggy, Gainesville, Fla.
Please keep up the discussion of the Downing Street Memo- it's very important so that citizens will be more wary about spending our blood and treasure.
--Pat Collazo, La Grange Park, Ill.
My spouse and I were both in the first Gulf War and shared disappointment that Saddam wasn't officially removed from power at the time. For 10 years we waited for the government to plan either removal, war, or execution of Saddam. On September 12, 2001, my spouse and I had a conversation about what would likely happen next in the world. We agreed that the United States would likely begin action in Afghanistan, then immediately warn Saddam to comply, then probably go to war out of no other choice, then focus on Korea. Most folks in the military shared the same opinion. Who cares if the government planned for a possible war in advance? Clinton was too busy with his personal life to "take care of business" in Iraq. Most Americans were tired of hearing about Saddam's noncompliance. Only a foolish President would pursue Afghanistan without resolving the problem with Iraq at the same time. The media continues to appear ignorant about this issue. Possible war with Iraq has been a government topic since 1992.
--Phyllis Craig, Olympia Wash.
If the American people are so sold on the administrations Iraq policies and it's call for "liberation" of Arab states, Why can't the Army find enough people willing trade purple hearts for purple fingers? Why don't we see lines at the recruiting stations? Why doesn't the right wing urge people to sign up to fight. Why don't we see the sons and daughters of the administration marching off to war? Because they don't really believe it is that important. In WWII, Korea, or Viet Nam it was common for military aged sons of politicians to go off to war.
--Peter l. Schindler, Yerington N.V.
Here are some of the blogs that are talking about this memo:
On the 9/11 commission: Has anything changed since the report?
The only thing I can see happening with regard to the 9/11 findings is inconveniencing lawful citizens. Criminals don't bother with the law.
-- JB, Clovis
I doubt this administration will ever fully deal with September 11. It is obvious to them, that the attacks on that day were nothing more then a nuisance, which kept them from and eventually helped them justify an agenda in Iraq. When the 9/11 Commission recommendations are taken seriously, our calendars will read January 2009.
-- Tim, Indianapolis, Ind.
Any security we feel is false security as long as our borders are open. The borders will remain open as long as profit hungry corporations see a source of cheap labor and know the administration will not stop them. Until Bush find the backbone to tell their corporate owners no we are all at the mercy of their greed. In 21st century America securing cheap labor is a higher priority than securing American safety.
-- Toni Boutwell, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The problem with interagency cooperation is that for many agencies, bureaucracy is a technology. And lets not forget that agencies like the FBI and CIA want to be the hero of the hour, so cooperation will be still slow in coming. Finally, the borders will remain porous as long as our civil-self servants are afraid of not getting reelected, afraid of hurting someone's feelings, and are still infected by political correctness. Priorities and common sense is the formula for success.
--Sal Flushing, N.Y.
There are new reading recommendations from the weekly magazine, “Human Events.” It’s a list crafted by 15 conservative scholars and public policy scholars. A collection of what they say are the 10 the most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries. And, as you might imagine not everyone is happy with the final list.
Topping the list is the “Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels. This book serves as instructions for the creation of a proletarian utopia and was followed closely by future leaders of the Soviet Union.
Second is “Mein Kampf,” which is a book that outlined Adolph Hitler’s plan for exterminating the Jews of Germany and beyond.
Third, “Quotations from Chairman Mao,” or “The Little Red Book.” This was used as a propaganda tool to push China further into the grasp of Communism.
Next on the list is Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 controversial sex “Report,” a study that suggested relations between adults and children could actually be beneficial.
“Democracy and Education” by John Dewey rounds out the top five on the list. The review panel says this “nurtured the Clinton generation” by rejecting traditional educational values.
“Das Kapital,” “The Feminine Mystique,” “The Course of Positive Philosophy,” “Beyond Good and Evil,” and “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” complete the list.
Offering any list of '10 Most Harmful Books' requires an incredibly shallow conception of cause and effect. Books inevitably reflect the historical conditions, in which they were written, and the same historical conditions that inspire "harmful ideas" also provide the foundation for any horrors that follow. The idea that books are uniquely "harmful" presupposes that people are incapable of thinking and forming judgments about what they read and encounter.
-- Jeff, Cheshire, Conn.
While I hate the idea of banning books, I also think some books should not be made so readily available, especially to children. It is not as black and white as people might think. But I do know one thing: If I had children, I would want to be the one to determine whether they should read something; I do NOT want the government deciding that for me or my children.
-- Rosemary E. Lloyd, Elberon, N.J.
We need to learn from history. Books that support negative ideas had appeal in the past and will have appeal again in the future. Let's read them and talk about them- understand their historical context, the effect they had on society.
-- Margaret, Wayne, Pa.
Books should never be banned, but we should limit the available to younger readers. I agree with one of your speakers that adults should read and understand them to prevent future happenings, i.e. another Hitler and Holocaust.
I am appalled that anyone would label a book harmful to read. It sounds like the religious right is at it again. It appears like some kind of tactic to ban books. Personally, I think the Bible and the Koran or far more harmful. After all, How many people have died or been killed because of religion. The bible influenced Hitler to go after the Jews and the Koran inspires suicide bombers.
-- Tom De La Cruz, Hollis, Okla.
Kim Jong Il picking on VP Cheney (Monica Crowley)
Meanwhile, the North Korean people who are surviving this tyrannical nightmare must exist as if they live in the stone age, because North Korea has neither food nor electricity. In fact, NASA has said that satellite imagery of Asia at night shows a brightly lit region, except for one small pocket of total darkness: North Korea.
Despite that, the North Korean regime somehow finds the time to pick on us! This week, Vice President Dick Cheney called Kim Jong Il “One of the world’s most irresponsible leaders” who runs “a police state” and “doesn’t take care of his people at all.”
All true. And yet, Kim’s delicate sensibilities were offended by that. He shot back that Cheney was a “cruel monster and bloodthirsty beast.”
Cheney, of course, should wear that as a badge of honor. It’s amusing when communist killers call us names. Kim kills people for a living— and he’s calling Cheney bloodthristy? Seems to me that the Bush administration should have a hearty chuckle at the irony, and then figure out a way to get a North Korea without a bloodthirsty beast in power.
The two "Deep Throats" (Jake Whitman, Connected producer)
Now that the question of "who" has been answered in the “Deep Throat” mystery, the larger one of "why" will be debated for years. Why would a sworn law enforcement officer, the number two man at the FBI, leak damaging information about the president? As we started to connect the dots, we found the answer may begin with the man Richard Nixon owed much of his political start to—another top FBI official who "also" leaked agency secrets, these to Nixon himself.
The year was 1948. Then Congressman Richard Nixon was a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was leading the charge in the investigation of accused soviet spy Alger Hiss. Some of Nixon's ammunition came from a secret source inside the FBI. Nixon's “Deep Throat” was none other than J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI. The Hiss case would help Nixon win a senate seat and launch him to the national stage. It was also the start of a long relationship between Hoover and the future president.
Fast forward to 1968, when Nixon stages his dramatic comeback. Hoover warns the incoming president of Lyndon Johnson's secret taping system in the oval office. Nixon orders it removed, only to change his mind two years later, as way to crack down on administration leaks. By now, relations between the Nixon White House and the FBI were strained. The president wanted Hoover to do more to control the leaks and anti-war demonstrations that were threatening his presidency. There was even talk of forcing Hoover to resign.
But Hoover lasted in office until his death in May of 1972. The obvious choice to replace him would have been Mark Felt, Hoover's number two and close admirer. But Nixon went outside the agency, appointing assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray. A disappointed Felt becomes “Deep Throat,” and 25 years after the leaks provided by his hero helped launch Congressman Nixon, the secrets Felt revealed to Woodward and Bernstein help to destroy President Nixon.
Click here to e-mail Jake.
Another big mystery... yet unsolved (Monica Crowley)
Simon says she will never reveal about whom she wrote the song. In fact, only three people know the true identity of pop culture’s deep throat: Simon, the ex-lover, and NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol.
Ebersol is in that small crowd because he paid $50,000 at a charity auction to get the answer. Don’t try to squeeze it out of him though, he was sworn to secrecy.
And so the mystery remains. Over the years, Simon has dropped a few hints: the man’s name, she has said, contains the letters a, e, and r.
Which means it could be Warren Beatty. He probably holds the number one ranking when folks speculate as to whom the song is really about.
But there are other candidates: Could it be Mick Jagger? He fulfills the alphabetical requirement. Or maybe it’s Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, or Simon’s ex-husband, James Taylor.
When Simon was asked about it yesterday, in light of the true identity of “Deep Throat,” she joked that the song was about Mark Felt! I’m sure that the famous ego of whomever the song is really about was bruised when he heard that!
So, if Simon isn’t talking, and neither is Mr. Vanity, then I suppose we will never know who it really was who walked into the party, like he was walking on to a yacht, his hat strategically dipped below one eye, his scarf, it was apricot...
We will just have to content ourselves with the knowledge that he knows it’s about him— or, that he’s so vain, he believes it anyway.
Up in smoke in Kentucky
Smokers have one last chance to stock up on cheaper cigarettes before the state's cigarette tax goes up . Kentucky currently has the nation's lowest cigarette tax at three cents per pack. The tax goes up by 27 cents starting yesterday.
Is the tax to discourage smoking, or to pad the state's coffers?
I am outraged about the constant increase in taxes on cigarettes. Why don't they increase the taxes on alcohol proportionately? I am a smoker and know all the risks. That is my choice. But, I am not going to get in my car and hit someone and kill them. My brain still works. There are also many personal health risks with alcohol. It is definitely discrimination.
In Michigan, the tax on cigarettes was raised again this year. It was not to educate young people on the perils of smoking. It was to ease the state's deficit. Lansing was quite open about that. The tax on cigarettes is not $20 per carton. Also then there is a sales tax of 6% added on to that...taxing the tax. If we need to target underage smoking, this does not do it. They get cigarettes other ways. There is rarely a week that goes by without an article buried in the papers about robberies where cigarettes are the only thing taken. This tax punishes adults of legal age who are buying a legal product. Also, each time the state has taxed cigarettes (4 times now) the cigarette companies also raise the cost. Shame on the politicians who use this as a cash cow. If they are so bad for people...prohibit tobacco. It can't get any worse.
Kentucky is a state in which authorities are virtually powerless to fight the production of marijuana and other illegal drugs. How then do you propose that an increased tax on tobacco will have any effect whatsoever? The only true application of increased taxes on tobacco products is essentially a form of class warfare. The only people effected by these taxes are the poor. Punitive taxation is merely the method of the rich to preserve the status quo.
--Steve Lusher, Huntington, W.V.
How much do the states spend on healthcare for those individuals that are sick from smoking cigarettes? Quite frankly, I think if you're going to choose to smoke, you better be prepared to pay the price for the cost of your own healthcare. I don't want to pay for smoker’s stupidity.
--Viewer, Brentwood, Tenn.
A tax on cigarettes represents governmental hypocrisy at its worst. To the extent that such a tax is meant to be a crucial component of funding various services, the message that the government is sending is not only that current smokers continue smoking but also even that non-smokers who are concerned about these services take up smoking as a habit. After all, if such a tax is enacted, and if all smokers broke their habit, these funds would disappear.
--Bob Zaslavsky, Fort Worth, Texas
Let’s hear it for monogamy! (Craig Crawford, guest hosting in place of Ron Reagan)
While our society argues about who should be married and who shouldn’t, it’s a great time to celebrate these two as role models for all couples, no matter what form it takes. Percy and Florence didn’t win a Pulitzer or Nobel, but thankfully we have the Guiness World Record keepers to honor their phenomenal achievement .
Everybody knows that with divorce rates soaring and moral values on the decline, the notion that two human beings can stay together this long is almost quaint, a relic from a simpler time.
I’ll never forget my own Kentucky great-grandparents, who were married 76 years before they died. As a child I was lucky enough to know those two wonderful people we called Mammy and Pappy. But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really understood and appreciated what it means for two people in love to stay together that long. The pressures of the modern world make it less likely that we will find another Percy and Florence, or my own Mammy and Pappy, in future world records. Lifelong monogamy might be just an ideal these days, but it’s an ideal worth keeping— for any committed couple— even if we don’t always perfectly stick to it.
Happy Anniversary, Percy and Florence.
Is Felt a hero or a traitor?
Some say "Deep Throat" is a hero, a man who went against his own president—in an apparent quest for political justice.
Many others are labeling Mark Felt a traitor, choosing to divulge information to a reporter in a dark parking garage, whispering clues instead of following proper and legal investigative procedures.
So what was his motive— was it money? Was it honor? Or, as the Washington Post reported this morning… was this just an act of revenge?
Mark Felt is a hero. Nixon tried to create a government secret police using the CIA, NSA and all the Federal law enforcement agencies of the nation. J. Edgar Hoover and Mark Felt were the only ones to stand up to Nixon and say no. When Hoover died, L. Patrick Gray was hand picked by the Nixon White House to control the Bureau and report back to them. Mark Felt didn’t work for the Nixon Administration; he worked for the American people.
-- Steve Downey
Calling Mr. Felt a "traitor" shows a real disrespect for ordinary people. The Administration under Nixon was extremely corrupt. If Mr. Felt had not given Woodward and Bernstein the guidance he did, we could have been saddled with this corruption. When even the Justice Dept. was corrupt where else could Mr. Felt go? I find no one in government with the guts to do this today. As far as journalism goes, we could use some real investigative journalists.
-- Dottie Buchholz, Overland Park, Kan.
He's a "punk." He didn't get the job that he wanted in heading up the FBI. So he went out of his way to break the law by revealing info. That's why he kept secret so long. Someone who would have done this during the Clinton administration would have been tarred and feathered. Nixon just got caught with his hands in the cookie jar. What broke the case was the Nixon people spilling the beans.
--John, Dallas, Tex.
Its amazing to me how for the past two days, supporters of disgraced ex-president Nixon defend him and slur Mark Felt with the taint of a traitor. I think the oath Mr. Nixon swore to uphold as our president, far surpasses Mr. Felts sworn oath to the FBI.
--Bill Meyers, Los Angeles, Calif.
This is a perfect time for Mr. Mark Felt to have come forward because America needs a hero; someone like Mr. felt to remind us (congress) that our allegiance is to our country and it's people, not it's political leader. Our duty, like Congress and the President and his men is to protect and defend the Constitution of the USA and our System of Checks and Balances, not to diminish destroy or disrespect them.
-- Maria, Middlesex, N.J.
What does it matter that Woodward and Bernstein were "just metro reporters?”
They did their job, which was to report the news -- dig up facts and report the news. Digging up facts often involves using sources willing to talk anonymously. Old-time reporters were simply sitting on their duffs when that story broke. Bob and Carl worked. The Post did not bring Nixon down. Nixon brought Nixon down.
-- Benjamin Keck, Van Buren, Ark.
I think Felt is a hero. The Nixon guys now proclaiming him a traitor continue to be a deceit unlawful bunch of thugs. Since John Mitchell was also guilty of unlawful activities, Felt did the best thing he could to help save the country from unlawful thugs.
-- Sam, Boise, Idaho
There's no way any one could or should defend what President Nixon did regarding the Watergate break-in. But, I am quite taken aback when Mr. Felt leaked information to Woodward and Bernstein but conveniently forgot to mention that he himself was convicted in November of 1980 of authorizing warrant less break-ins. His defense was that he was just following standard procedures for government investigations (cf. L.A. Times and Vanity Fair). Can anyone spell hypocrisy?
-- Thomas Manion
Mr. Felt put the United States first, a sign of a true patriot. He took an oath to "protect, defend, and support the United States and its Constitution" which President Nixon took and failed to uphold. How can you go through the chain of command when the chain of command is corrupt?
-- Donna Reuter
Mr. Felt had no choice but to act undercover, the entire Nixon administration was riddled with corruption; there was no avenue he could take legally that would not have put his life, and that of his family. I'm only glad Mr. Felt came out now, so that he can receive the thanks of a grateful nation.
-- Mark Kjergaard, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Is it me or has everyone forgotten that what this man did was not only a violation of his job but illegal? I guess we've reached a place in society where the ends justifies the means no matter what. If Felt had concerns about what was going in regarding Watergate there were legal channels to pursue instead of leaking information to news reporters. It would be good if someone did an investigative research into Felt's real reasons and what political connections he had during that time. I believe we would find out it had less to do with right and wrong and with politics. He's a man who broke the law and violated the oath of his job. Therefore, he's just a wrong as the man he took down. He's no hero in my book.
--Richard Grund, Orlando, Fla.
Our nation finally has a name and face to a true American hero and patriot. Notice, how those who were guilty then, are the ones most outraged now.
--Carolin Edwards, Wright, Wyo.
Thank you Mr. Felt. I appreciate your love of country and the ability to recognize corruption and evil at the highest levels of government. Knowing all of this and realizing that to "follow the chain of command" would have lead to more lies and cover-ups and your demise. You did what had to be done, sadly, but America is stronger for it.
-- Chuck, Seattle, Wash.
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward just confirmed the report that ex-FBI official Mark Felt was "Deep Throat." Click here for more details .
We can only hope that Deep Throat receives the honor and respect he deserves for the service he did for our country. The man deserves the thanks of every American who believes in honesty. Our country needs people with his kind of courage today more than ever, we can only hope his kind of forthright belief in integrity is still alive in government.
--Donna Boutwell, S.C.
Felt may have had other reasons which motivated him to provide the WP with the data that they needed to break the story. However, I have always been convinced that his dedication to the FBI was such that he would risk his career by leaking the information that subsequently brought out the truth about Watergate.
I think that History will be kind to Felt.
-- Donald Egelston
I think what most are missing about why the years of silence have been so
many. Could it be other than the shame Mr. Felt had, the possibility that he
could have been reprimanded, lose his pension or even charged with a crime
for leaking the info by the FBI or Justice Dept? But now at 91 years of age,
it would make no difference to him if indeed he is in the last part of his
I always wondered who Deep Throat was, and if indeed Mark Felt is one of the most infamous rats in American History, then so be it- it will make great fodder for the Sunday news shows this weekend. Additionally, though he did rat out President Nixon, I believe he did the correct thing. Nixon was wrong, and paid the ultimate price by resigning his Presidency.
--Don Geneva, Ohio
Wow, what a let down! Deep Throat...Mark Felt. Why keep that a secret for so long? A generally unrecognizable name wouldn't have been so controversial if revealed earlier. I so wanted DT to be Ford or Bush41. Oh well.
--Christine Tsotsos, Dunedin, Fla.
Conversations with Nixon on "Deep Throat" (Monica Crowley)
As someone who worked for President Nixon during the last four years of his life, I talked to Former President Nixon extensively about the Watergate scandal. The “Deep Throat” name did come up during our conversations and Nixon threw out a couple of names— but even he didn’t know for sure who “Deep Throat” was.
Nixon had a couple of theories himself. But Mark Felt’s name did come up repeatedly while we were talking, but never in a serious context in terms of Felt being “The Source.”
Nixon never referred to “Deep Throat” as that… he always referred to him as “The Source.”
Mark Felt was number two in the FBI then, and he would have a lot of access to the FBI documents that were Watergate-related. So him actually being “Deep Throat” might not come as a total surprise. But for a lot of people who taken a look at “Deep Throat,” and for those who have, over the years, turned “Who is Deep Throat?” into a parlor game, this might be a little bit of a disappointment— it’s not a bigger name we’re seeing.
Nixon combed through a lot of documentation and went back in his own mind on who this could be. He dismissed the composite theory [that “Deep Throat” was a combination of different sources] and always thought it was one person.
There was the possibility that Woodward and Bernstein had used “Deep Throat” as a literary device to advance the story, but Woodward and Bernstein had always denied that.
Nixon always had a hard time understanding “The Source’s” motivation— why someone would be this disloyal to the president and leak the story to the Washington Post reporters.
Nixon knew Felt only vaguely. L. Patrick Gray was the head of the FBI during the Watergate scandal, and his name was also bandied about as possibly being “Deep Throat,” but Mark Felt had access to the same sort of information.
This was a transcript from the 12 noon ET show.
Connected host Monica Crowley authored two best-selling books, “Nixon off the Record: His Candid Commentary on People and Politics” and “Nixon in Winter.” Crowley worked as a Foreign Policy Assistant to former President Richard Nixon from 1990 until his death in 1994.
Vanity Fair is revealing the identity of “Deep Throat,” the secret informant who helped break the Watergate story for Woodward and Bernstein. They say W. Mark Felt, former number two at the FBI during the early seventies has revealed himself to the magazine as the source who leaked secrets about Nixon’s Watergate cover-up. He was quoted as saying “I’m the guy they used to call Deep Throat.”
Your thoughts so far:
Mark Felt doesn't fit the "Deep Throat" image. Woodward & Bernstein have said the reason for secrecy will be obvious once the identity is revealed.
--Chery, Eureka, Calif.
It seems that one of Jack Burkman's [Connected guest] main reasons for not believing that Deep Throat was a real person is because they never capitalized
on the media opportunities until now. It was reported that Felt was encouraged to come forward by his children and he is in ill health. I think that his children may have encouraged him to reveal himself before he died so they could benefit from any media opportunities before Woodward and Bernstein could. If they waited until his death before his identity was revealed, the children would not benefit from
the revelation of there father's identity.
--Jeff, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
I am 60 years old and have been a journalism junkie all my life. To hear Jack Burkman say there is no Deep Throat is as irritating as it was in 1955 when I heard my daddy say, "Son, there ain't no Santy Claus." Of course there is.
--Benjamin Keck, Van Buren, Ark.
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