Monthly Archives: March 2007

The Taunts of a Coward

“Never trust a draft dodger.”
Rush Limbaugh, 1993

The Taunts of a Coward
by: Joe Leonardi

I am listening to the once conservative, talk show host, turned Presidential spokesperson Rush Limbaugh (Wednesday 3/28/07). In the first hour of today’s show he is dutifully attacking Senator Charles Hagel. He didn’t spend a lot of time on him, but in the few minutes he did — he gave away his duplicity. His tirade against Senator Hagel, centered around claims that the Senator must have forgotten September 11th. And therein, my friends, lies the rub. Rush is bringing out the tried and true, implying and insinuating a connection between Iraq and the terror attacks on our country. He invoked 9/11 at least ten times. During this tirade he kept reiterating that we are at war against “Muslims”, I guess someone on his staff finally penetrated his purported drugged induced deafness; because after about the third time he corrected it to “Militant Muslims.”

It has been said before, however, obviously it bears repeating. Saddam didn’t have anything to do with September 11th. There was no connection, 9/11 was not used in our testimony to the U.N., there was no Saddam-Al Qaeda collaboration. Our attack was a predetermined design by Neo-Cons from the think tank, The Project for a New American Century. Out of power after Bush 41, this group attempted to convince President Clinton to attack Saddam. After President George W. Bush assumed the Presidency many from this think tank moved into his administration. Most notable, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. Paul O’Neil, former Treasury Secretary, outlines many of the behind the scenes goings on in his book; The Price of Loyalty:…. O’Neil’s book wasn’t what convinced me that this misguided war was a predetermined, done deal looking for justification. The convincing factor was the Nightline episode interviewing members of the PNAC think tank. The information about the plan to oust Saddam came straight from the horses’ mouths. See my column, “Warning Conservative Republicans.”

Mr. Limbaugh went on to claim that anyone against the war is linguini spined. I get such a kick out of El Rushbo when he goes on this particular condemnation. There is nothing better than a coward calling people out. Rush avoided the war of his generation, Vietnam, due to an inactive pilonidal cyst. I remember when someone first told me this, I fell on the floor laughing. You see, I too have an inactive pilonidal cyst. I learned about it during my admission physical into the United States Navy. I was concerned it was going to disqualify me and I asked the doctor about it. His words, which stuck in my head, are what made me laugh so hard when I heard about Rush. The Doc said, ‘no, it’s nothing, but if your family had pull, this would have gotten you out of the draft during ‘nam.’   Rush you linguine spined, miserable, wussy coward. You continue to deride true heroes that served in the war your influential Daddy kept you out of. Please, just shut up!

Few true conservatives have inwardly been supportive of this administration. All the gains made in the forty years it took us to finally get a conservative in office have been destroyed in the last six years. We finally have a reasonable, conservative voice in Chuck Hagel. And if you listen to the Senator, the bulk of his criticism has been on the mishandling of the war. The kicker is he has been correct — while those in the administration have been wrong. In June of 2005 Vice President Cheney said “that the insurgency is in it’s last throes” and predicted that the fighting will end before the Bush administration leaves office. However, Senator Hagel said in August of 2005 that “the United States is getting more bogged down in Iraq.”  Well a year and half later who’s right?

Mr. Hagel went against his party in this vote. I believe he took such bold action to send a message to not only the administration, but to the American people, that we must start being realistic about getting out of Iraq. Senator Hagel will be mercilessly torn apart by White House hatchetmen Limbaugh and Hannity, but it doesn’t matter, because the time for rhetoric is over. It is urgent now that austere people take action and start looking for serious solutions.

If President Hagel ever wants to get in Rush’s good graces — all he will have to do is invite him to the White House and put him up in the Lincoln Bedroom. It worked for the Bush’s.

Joe Leonardi

14 Comments

Filed under Chuck Hagel, Conservative, hagel, Iraq, NeoCon, President Bush, Republican, Rush Limbaugh, War

True American Heroes

“In our blessed and mostly peaceful society we’re not as familiar with courage as we once were. We ascribe the virtue to all manner of endeavors that only really require skill, fortitude and a little daring, the qualities Pat Tillman showed on the football field. Pat’s best service to his country was to remind us all what courage really looks like, and that the purpose of all good courage is love.”
– Senator John McCain, at Pat Tillman’s memorial service, May 3, 2004

True American Heroes
by: Joe Leonardi

I just finished listening to Corporal Pat Tillman’s mom on ESPN radio’s the Dan Patrick show (Tuesday 3/27/07). The urge to write a profanity laced column is intensely overwhelming. It is difficult to suppress my anger in the face of yet another betrayal from the Bush administration. Once again an insult to all who have worn the uniform from the gang that never served in the Armed Forces. Or in the case of the President, served at his convenience.

The following facts are indisputable: Pat Tillman was a young man who didn’t join the military for any other purpose but to serve his country after September 11th. He walked away from millions of dollars and the celebrity life of an NFL player. He did it because it was the right thing to do. He did it for the United States. He is, and will always be, a true American hero.

His loss was tragic, and while all death in a war is tragic, non is more horrific then fratricide. To be killed by friendly fire is awful for the person killed and the person who’s weapon did the killing. Presently it seems that this was accidental. However, according to Mrs. Tillman the young soldier that killed her son did nothing to ensure that the target was hostile. That, according to her, ‘he was just looking to get in a fire fight’ is all the more alarming. But for now we will take as fact that he was not intentionally targeted — that this is just one of the many casualties of war.

What angers me to my core is how was he was treated in return by his commander in chief. The President continues to remind us, ad nauseum, that he is the C-n-C. So make no mistake, this is the President’s responsibility. While he may have not known the facts originally — once he learned the facts he needed to lead. Again, as in the Walter Reed fiasco, no word from our President. The President is being kept apprised and wants to learn more. I’m sure those in the administration will carefully formulate his message and manufacture his outrage.

It is frankly disturbing how the Pentagon attempted to turn this into something it wasn’t. That, even though it was immediately known, they kept quiet about the fact that it was a friendly fire incident. His death was initially reported as the result of a hostile engagement. Then the saga became friendly fire, aggravated by the intensity of a fire fight. Then we find out there was no hostile forces involved.

I would like to believe that this just became one big snafu caused by the Army’s CYA mentality in overdrive. But I think in time it will come out that this may be something more ominous, more calculated. What makes me think this? Answer — Jessica Lynch.

A brief refresher. Private Lynch’s unit was ambushed in Iraq. According to Army reports, she went down firing. According to Jessica, her weapon jammed, she went down on her knees and prayed. Does this make her any less of a hero? Of course not! She was one of our proud military, she was injured and captured in the line of duty. She served her country with honor. Also, lest not forget the fact that her rescue was miraculously captured on film. Talk about ramping up the propaganda.

The U.S. Government’s desire for an Iraq/Afghanistan Sergeant York or Audie Murphy has led to these insulting exaggerations. If those in this White House had any genuine military experience they would know overstatment is unnecessary. Mr. President we are well aware that you, the Vice President and many in your administration would not know tangible heroism if it was escorted to your door. But these men and women in uniform are all heroes, the events of their lives, deaths, or rescues do not have to be unnecessarily glorified for political gain.

Why do I get the unsettling feeling Karl Rove is behind this?

Joe Leonardi

7 Comments

Filed under Conservative, Iraq, Pat Tillman, President Bush, rove, Veterans, Walter Reed, War

Scranton City Council, The Plot Thickens

“It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.”
– Joseph Goebbels

Scranton City Council, The Plot Thickens
by: Joe Leonardi

This is going to be short and sweet. I was going to wait before posting, but after listening to WILK all morning I felt the need to comment.

It has been reported that Mayor Doherty wants to take control of public access television.  Well, right now, he wants to have other organizations bid on it.  But since he has approval authority — one has to wonder.

This reminds me very much of when I was living in York, PA.  I was a member of York Community Access Television (YCAT).  I hosted a television show on  YCAT and I was the moderator for some political debates that aired on the station. There were constant battles over control of YCAT.  I always found it quite interesting, because though I knew some folks watched — I just  didn’t think the influence was that great.  After I  left; YCAT became White Rose Community Television, which is now controlled by the York City Government.  The York City  council president used to be on YCAT’s board.  He recently ran  for Congress with success equal to mine.  Recently there were some personal negatives being said about him at a televised Council meeting.  He ordered the meeting adjourned and thus the cameras were turned off.  They still cover the meetings,  though I don’t know the extent of what is going on. The impression I get, from the occasional newspaper reports I read on line, is it seems to be getting messy.

We must question what exactly is going on.  The fact that York City took over an independent community television station, in my opinion, is a horrible conflict of interest.  Is Scranton going to attempt the same travesty?  Are politicians seeking higher office attempting, via co-opting public access television, to control the media to control the message and supervise the  formation of public opinion? I’m not making allegations, but the parallels are interesting.  Questions need to be more than just asked, they require answers.

I’m happy Steve Corbett is back in the area, living in Scranton and showing an interest in his community. It appears a little time in laid back, sunny California has done nothing to lessen Mr.  Corbett’s tenacity.  Scranton City Government picked the wrong time to do this, the watchdog is in the house!

Joe Leonardi

3 Comments

Filed under City Council, Judy Gatelli, Scranton, Steve Corbett

Get Well Tony Snow

My prayers go out to Tony Snow and his family. Tony’s cancer has spread and he is currently in the hospital. We all hope that it was diagnosed early and he will have a full recovery.

Fight the good fight Tony.

Any one wishing to email Tony can do directly through the White House’s Web Site:
http://www.whitehouse.gov.

Joe

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Filed under Cancer, Conservative, Press secretary, White House

Eminent Domain — Who’s Next

    “The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project’s success is not guaranteed.” The quote is from Washington Post Staff Writer, Charles Lane, dated Friday, June 24, 2005.

        Eminent Domain — Who’s Next
Joe Leonardi

I remember when this ruling was announced, talk radio, editorials, letters to the editors and other forms of public media were full of anger, outrage and flat out disbelief that this could happen in our United States. However, with the passage of time, the outrage died down, other news items captured our attention and the discussion, if not the discord, faded away. Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit home.

While campaigning in downtown Scranton, I visited Buona Pizza and spoke with Giovanni Piccolino. He explained to me the city intends to use “eminent domain” to take his family’s business and turn it over to a developer. The explanation, as I understand, is that improvement of the downtown hinges upon taking the Buona Pizza building from its current owner.

Growing up, I was taught “eminent domain” was to be used for public works that would benefit, will benefit, the entire public. Thanks to last year’s Supreme Court ruling it is apparent that now — the public good includes the right for a City or State government to seize your property then, in the hopes of increasing tax revenue, turn it over to a private developer.

Aside from being wholeheartedly opposed to the Supreme Court decision, I wonder what is going on with Scranton’s leadership. There is no question that the revitalization of downtown districts should be encouraged. Instead of strong-arming business owners, finances should be either lent or granted to those willing to take the risk to develop our commercial centers. Additionally, what kind of leadership opts to oust a successful member of the downtown community? One who set up shop forty years ago and stuck it out through the good times, bad times and sometimes downright horrible times. Not only has this business persevered all these years, Buona Pizza managed to thrive and succeed in a downtown where others failed.

It is my opinion that a true visionary, a genuine leader should reward loyalty and, in any grand downtown revitalization, in a positive manner exploit a landmark, legacy business. I think it is safe to say that the Piccolino family has earned this status.

What will happen to the downtown if this new venture, by replacing a successful business, fails? Who will be held responsible? Who will replace the tax money Buona Pizza was generating? There are many questions. It is especially reasonable to question the wisdom of trying to remove an established, successful business for what may turn out to be a grandiose flight of fancy. Whatever the answers may be, we must protect this family’s right to maintain ownership of their property.

Justice O’ Connor wrote in her dissenting opinion, “The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.” Her words now ring true to Buona Pizza, the Piccolino Family, the citizens of Scranton and all residents of Northeast Pennsylvania.

Today we must make a stand, because if the City takes this one family’s property there will only be one question left — who is next?

Joe Leonardi

4 Comments

Filed under City Council, Eminent Domain, Judy Gatelli, Scranton

Scranton City Council, The Saga Continues…..

“Democracy was regarded as entering into a crisis in the 1960s. The crisis was that large segments of the population were becoming organized and active and trying to participate in the political arena.”
Noam Chomsky; Media Control

Scranton City Council, The Saga Continues…..

Joe Leonardi

I usually don’t post 2 days in a row, but as I was talking about the Scranton City Council Saga to a friend from my campaign and something hit me. It seems that this little turf battle comes down to two teams. Those who support Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and those who don’t. I find it interesting that those, in a move reminiscent of Soviet Russia, who have opted to pull the plug on democracy are generally considered pro Mayor Doherty.

I started wondering; who will really benefit if City Council proceedings go off the air? Who has the most to gain? The answer is Mayor Doherty. And if it is true, as implied on the radio, that it was ultimately his decision to pull the plug on Channel 61 — the picture really starts to come into focus.

I ran for Congress in the Pennsylvania 11th district, which encompasses the city of Scranton. I became very familiar with Scranton and the concerns of the citizens. It had been made known to me that the Mayor is being groomed to replace Congressman Paul Kanjorski, on the democratic side, when Paul decides to retire. So on the chance that I would have won, I took the time to learn about who may have been challenging me in 2008.

I met the Mayor on only one occasion. He seemed like a nice enough fellow. However, most of those I met in Scranton viewed him as “a snob.” He is perceived as someone who comes from money and looks down on the middle and lower classes. While, I didn’t get that impression personally from him, some of his initiatives do reek of elitism. One in particular has to do with an eminent domain case between Scranton and Buona Pizza. (I will publish a column I wrote during the campaign later this week) Also if you read Monday’s 3/26/07 Corbett’s Corner you may get a sense of arrogance from the column. Everything from the phone message that doesn’t identify the Mayor’s office to this quote from the Mayor himself, “Still, Doherty said that all the people of Scranton have the right to be heard, even if they’re “felons” or “mentally challenged.” I was curious by the qualifiers, why not just say all the people of Scranton? I highly suggest you go to the WILK web site and read the column.

All of the negatives brought up at City Council meetings appear to reflect poorly on the Mayor and his supporters. If the City Council can operate under the radar, or television screen, the discontent with the Mayor will not get the air time it is presently receiving. If the Mayor can ram through his vision for the upper class of Scranton, without the middle and lower classes witnessing the battles on Channel 61 — he can use his favorable majority to finalize his agenda. And of course, the meeting minutes are a good month behind on the web site. So by the time the citizens of Scranton have a chance to react — legislation is pushed through.

If the Mayor and his team on City Council looked good on a weekly basis this would enhance the Mayor’s image and I guarantee those cameras would never have left the chambers. Incumbents have an inherent advantage in maintaining their office or running for higher office, so to observe politicians giving up free television time is, to say the least, odd. However, since the constant Mayor and Council bashing would perhaps hurt the Mayor when he decides to make the leap to Congress: could this possibly influence his decision to approve the removal of the cameras?

Just a thought?

Joe Leonardi

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Filed under City Council, Congress, Democratic, Judy Gatelli, Pennsylvania, Scranton

It’s time for Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove to go

“President Bartlet’s a good man, he’s got a good heart, he doesn’t hold a grudge. That’s what he pays me for.” Josh Lyman, The West Wing; threatening a fellow Democrat.

It’s time for Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove to go
Joe Leonardi

Eight U.S. attorneys, who serve at the pleasure of the President, were shown the door. So what? The President no longer desired their service — end of story. However, in the Bush White House simple is never simple. For some reason the White House, through A.G. Gonzales and it appears with direction from Karl Rove, came up with performance issues to justify the firings. Now the axed attorneys are speaking out, scandal is the watchword and hearings won’t be far behind.

All this because the Bushies can’t figure out the most important rule of politics. The cover up is worse than the crime. All that needed to be said was that these particular attorney’s services were no longer desired and the President asked them to leave. But nope, not for the media (un-savvy) executive branch. They started claiming that the recently unemployed were let go for performance issues. One problem; the paper trail doesn’t support that allegation and now the U.S. Congress wants to know why.

So what’s next? Some brainchild decides that the President’s people will go to Congress, not under oath, behind closed doors and there will be no record. Even if you have nothing to hide, boy when you act like President Nixon releasing edited transcripts, how can people not presume you are hiding something.

Unless it can be demonstrated that these firings were done to directly interfere with an ongoing investigation, and let’s be serious any firing would probably if not interfere, cause a disruption of an ongoing investigation, there is no wrong doing.

Next, we have the claim that these firings were politically motivated. I have heard three of the fired attorneys speak and not one of them seem to have a problem with politics being the reason. They are upset with their performance being unfairly maligned. Do you know why they aren’t concerned about the politics of being replaced. Because they were hired due to politics. That’s why they are called political appointments.

Unfortunately for the last six years we have been witnessing the Rovification of the Executive Branch. Everything is politics. You can’t govern when you consistently place politics first. Karl Rove is the real life version of Josh Lyman. If you don’t remember who Josh Lyman is, he is the Deputy Chief of Staff, in the idealized liberal fantasy show “The West Wing.” Josh Lyman is the character to whom everything is politics. So much so that when PsudeoClinton, “Bartlet”, steps down in the wake of his daughter’s kidnapping, Josh accuses the republicans in charge of trying to obtain political gain. Karl Rove is this person in the Bush White House. Mr. Rove is an incredible political strategist, a person like him is necessary in every administration. Unfortunately unlike his fictional counterpart, Rove doesn’t have a script to reel him in.

Each day it becomes more obvious that President Bush was uniquely unqualified for the position he was elected to, but what is even worse is that he has surrounded himself by purely politically motivated yes people. The end result is everything is a political battle and the job of governing isn’t being accomplished.

The President should use this opportunity to get rid of both Gonzales and Rove. The people have lost confidence in their Attorney General and that is unacceptable. The President’s support isn’t helping, because the President doesn’t enjoy the support of the American People. Rove needs to go because he appears to be connected to everything that is going wrong.

Perhaps if he can get some genuine advisors who put loyalty to the United States first and politics second, he could be more than a lame duck for the next two years.

Mr. President, while people may serve at your pleasure — they should not serve only to please you.

Joe Leonardi

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Filed under Attorney, Attorney General, Congress, Gonzales, Josh Lyman, President, President Bush, rove, The West Wing, U.S. Attorney