What I've been reading…

These are very strange times. I’m not ignoring them. How could I?

Most important is to take care of yourself and your family.

What a shock, my friends say; friends who have worked all their lives; conscientiously paid their bills on time, and taught their kids to do the same. There is so much to say about that but you know exactly what I mean: the special potion that makes this country work, the magic stuff that made us the “envy” of the world.

Isn’t it mostly the Freedoms that we have enjoyed?

We will certainly know more of the “truth” soon. My visions range from something grim right out of Charles Dickens’ 19th century London, to, to, to, well, my imagination just brakes on Dickens.

(Sometimes I fear not even Harry Potter and his powerful cadre of mad magicians can put us back together again.]

The past couple of months, I’ve read several new “political” books, all published in 2008, before I heard Pres Bush make a very brief announcement on a recent Monday morning, stating that a piece of paper [the original “bailout”] had to be signed immediately, or else, he said, a lot of people were going to lose their jobs.

First I read Scott McClellan’s “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House.”

The author, the former White House Press Secretary, has written a political “tell-all” book but the real value lies in the biography. Most intriguing to me was learning that Mr. McClellan’s political mom is, or was, the Texas comptroller. His sister,  Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, may become part of President-Elect Obama’s cabinet (Homeland Security.]

Next I picked up “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,” by investigative journalist  Jane Mayer. She writes for the “New Yorker,” so it’s a good read.

Basically, her argument is that “terrorists” should be interrogated by the FBI instead of the CIA. Why? It has to do with the “old school” techniques practiced by the FBI, which, in the opinion of Mayer’s sources, produce cooperation without resorting to illegal physical and mental torture.

The Cuban-based American prison, Guantanamo Bay, an offspring off the CIA mentality, is not governed by traditional US criminal justice.

I am still reading “Angler,” by Barton Gellman. “Angler” is White House security’s code name for Vice President Dick Cheney. This book is riveting because Gellman, a Pulitizer Prize winner, offers up many details on how the VP operated at the White House. His Modus operendi. Cheney’s enemies tell us as much as they can.

The vice president was not a newcomer to the world of politics or the White House. He did not drop down from the sky. He served as chief of staff in the Ford administration and as Sec of Defense in the Bush, Sr. White House.

In a bureaucracy as vast, deep and wide as our government is, to have real power, you must be able to move your agenda at lightening speed. Cut out the middle-men and middle-women. Every top notch executive secretary knows the value of a cooperative contact in every sphere of work life. That was one of Cheney’s skills, the ability to cut through all the rules and regulations.

Finally, before becoming president of the United States, George W. Bush was the governor of Texas. I believe it was Scott McCllellan who said the  office of the Texas governor could be described as that of a figurehead, with the real power residing in the lieutenant governor.

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P.S. I don’t know if MSNBC’s Chris Matthews knows it but he looks like he is “trying very hard” to get a job in the new adminstration.. Don’t be surprised, if in a year or two, he becomes Obama’s press secretary. Keep hammering on Palin, Chris.

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About June Morrall

1947 - 2010
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