TIME politics

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer Tweets Gripping 9/11 Account

He was in Florida with President George W. Bush

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was in a motorcade on the way to an elementary school visit in Florida with President George W. Bush when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North World Trade Tower at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. Thirteen years later, Fleischer chose to live tweet his personal account of how events unfolded that day. A selection of what Fleischer recalled:

The moment he realized what had happened was an act of terrorism:

Decisions made in real-time that were later criticized:

Photographs of President Bush watching the news:

Times of frustration and technology issues:

Moments of fear:

And resolve:

Fleischer shares the copious notes he took throughout the day:

Click here to read Fleischer’s real-time account of Sept. 11, 2001.

TIME Foreign Policy

Watch John McCain and Jay Carney Face Off Over Obama’s ISIS Plan

The Former White House Press Secretary and the Senator spoke about Obama's announcement on ISIS

Former White House Press Secretary and newly minted CNN Contributor Jay Carney had a rough welcome to the cable network Wednesday after President Barack Obama’s address to the nation about his strategy for confronting ISIS.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who ran unsuccessfully for president against Obama in 2008, appeared on CNN to respond to the President’s speech and laid into Carney’s comments in support of his former boss.

Watch the exchange in the video above.

TIME

Join Joe Klein’s 2014 Road Trip

TIME's political columnist plans Southern swing ahead of midterm elections

I’m heading south this year, starting on September 19th–in search of fun, insight and American stuff. As always, if you’d like to meet with me and talk politics, let me know… Also, I’d love to hear about any debates, barbecues, picnics, festivals or rituals coming up in your states. We start 9/19 in North Carolina…9/22 in Georgia, 9/24 in Alabama, 9/26-28 in Tennessee, 9/29-30 Mississippi, 10/1-3 Louisiana, 10/4-5 in Arkansas, 10/6-7 in Kentucky.

The schedule is subject to change, depending on political events…and you. If you’d like to get together, please contact me at Joe_Klein@timemagazine.com…or trip wrangler Tessa.Berenson@Timeinc.com.

I’m looking forward to several weeks of politics from the ground up, good music and great food.

 

TIME politics

Speaker Boehner: Our Economic Recovery Is Stuck in the Senate

It is time for the White House and Senate Democrats to put politics aside and start putting people first

This week, as summer comes to a close, members of the House and Senate will return to Washington. But perhaps only one legislative body can accurately claim to be returning to work. While Democrats in the Senate have been dragging their feet this Congress, the House of Representatives has been busy proposing and passing solutions to America’s most pressing problems.

In the last year and a half, the House has passed more than 40 bills aimed at creating jobs, supporting wage earners, and easing the financial pains that working families all over America are suffering with in President Obama’s economy. Where are these bills now? They are stuck in the Senate. Why they are stuck, is a question for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

These bills are not thousands of pages long, nor are they partisan attempts to slam massive, new, and unwanted federal government programs down the throats of the American people. We all remember the disaster that became Obamacare. Passing something before we know what’s in it may be the Pelosi Doctrine, but it’s certainly not a transparent way to govern.

Instead these common-sense jobs bills, many of them bipartisan, are aimed at strengthening small businesses, allowing working moms and dads to keep more of their wages, and helping our seniors and our veterans. But instead of working with Republicans on the American people’s priorities in September, Senator Reid will instead focus on his obsession with the Koch brothers. This obsession is costing our economy jobs and has turned the United States Senate into a legislative graveyard.

The president likes to remind Americans he may use his fancy pen and phone, threatening undesired executive action. But if he really wants to use his pen to make progress on any number of these issues, then he should pick up the phone and start dialing Harry Reid’s number and tell him to allow a vote on these jobs bills. We have plenty for him to sign.

Even though the president and his party in the Senate have not been willing to deal with us, Republicans will continue to work and pass meaningful legislation this month.

Our American Solutions package will include several bills focused on creating jobs and kick-starting our economy. Americans are looking for answers to the problems they face, and our solutions will help them find work, lower the cost of living, and restore opportunities.

This common sense legislation deserves to become law, but the House cannot do it alone. We need willing partners in the President and the leadership in the Senate. We also cannot afford any more delays. The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that our economy would grow by just 1.5 percent this year, much slower than the Obama administration predicted. On top of that, 7.5 million workers remain in part time jobs while wanting a full time job, and a large majority of Americans believe we are headed in the wrong direction.

We do not have to wait until after Election Day to work together. If the administration and Senate Democrats change course, we can begin to make a real difference for American families right now.

This September the House will focus on providing solutions to address the American people’s priorities, and that means jobs. It is time for the White House and Senate Democrats to put politics aside and start putting people first. They can start by following the House’s lead.

John Boehner is the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

TIME politics

Watch History’s Most Infamous Political Ads

Daisy Ad
The Daisy ad, described in the Sept. 25, 1964, issue of TIME From the Sept. 25, 1964, issue of TIME

President Johnson's "Daisy" TV spot in history aired 50 years ago

The advertisement described by TIME in the paragraph above aired only once, 50 years ago, on Sept. 7, 1964.

It’s a minute long and appeared during Monday Night at the Movies on NBC. This is what happens next, as TIME described it: The countdown ends, and the screen erupts in atomic explosion, followed by the voice of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who says somberly: “These are the stakes: to make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or go into the dark. We must either love each other or we must die.”

The commercial, an election-season spot for incumbent president LBJ, was never meant to run repeatedly, but it was followed later in the month by a similar commercial featuring another little girl, this time with an ice cream cone, accompanied by an ominous voiceover about radioactive chemicals introduced to the environment by nuclear tests. Still, the spots provoked immediate controversy — and contributed to TIME’s decision to dub the Sept. 25, 1964, issue “The Nuclear Issue.” (The daisy girl appears on the cover.) Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, TIME said then, was dogged by an “itchy-finger image.” After speaking in favor of making it easier for the nation’s armed forces to use nuclear weapons if needed, Goldwater became synonymous with the threat of full-on nuclear destruction. As one registered Republican from Vermont told a reporter, “I don’t think too much of President Johnson, but I guess I’m really afraid of Senator Goldwater.”

Nuclear weapons became the central issue of that year’s campaigns, but — as TIME reported — neither side had 100% of the facts straight. On the one hand, Johnson’s strenuous insistence that he would never delegate the authority to launch nuclear weapons ran contrary to the procedures already established by the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. NATO’s supreme commander in Europe already had the right in certain situations to cross the line from convention to nuclear weaponry. (Today, as TIME explained as part of the Answers Issue that arrived on news stands earlier this month, a minimum of two people are needed to launch a nuclear weapon in the U.S.) On the other hand, Goldwater’s claim that soldiers on the ground could operate small hand-held nuclear weapons ignored the fact that no such weapons existed. As explained by the diagram below, the smallest nuclear weapon the U.S. had, the Davy Crockett, weighed over 100 pounds and had a range of up to 2.5 miles, with enough power to destroy a bridge or up to 50 tanks. And after that the weapons quickly get much more powerful.

Sept. 25 1964 nuclear weapons chart
From the Sept. 25, 1964, issue of TIME

Johnson’s misstatements, however, didn’t matter in the long run. He won the 1964 presidential election in a landslide victory — and the fear-provoking TV ads that ran only once went down in history as some of the most infamous, and most effective, political spots ever.

Watch both of them below:

Read TIME’s full 1964 report on Johnson’s advertisements here, in TIME’s archives: The Fear & The Facts

TIME politics

This British Family Hiked to Stonehenge to Take a Selfie With Obama

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama meets a family in a field as he visits Stonehenge after leaving the NATO summit in Newport, Wales, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Charles Dharapak—AP

How one mother and activist got the ultimate selfie with the President

After spending a couple days at a NATO summit in Wales tending to international issues like the challenge of Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria and the West’s role in the Ukraine crisis, President Barack Obama finally got down business Friday with a surprise visit to Stonehenge.

“How cool is this,” he said. “It’s spectacular, it’s spectacular. It’s a special place. Obama said he’d “knocked it off the bucket list.”

As rumors of his visit spread through the area, though, one family who lives near the iconic site rushed to catch a glimpse of America’s commander-in-chief.

https://twitter.com/BeesRun/status/507945860605702145

Janice Raffle, who lives close to Stonehenge with her husband and three sons, is an activist who runs 10k races wearing a bee costume to raise awareness about the decline in the bee population.

https://twitter.com/BeesRun/status/507947273448615936

Raffle and family walked over to Stonehenge during the President’s visit and spotted Obama amid his entourage by finding his blue shirt amid all the dark suits.

https://twitter.com/BeesRun/status/507950109498544129

The President waved to the family before eventually walking over to say hello, shake hands and give them one of the coolest selfies the Raffle clan is ever likely to take.

https://twitter.com/BeesRun/status/507950872782192640

And in case you’re not familiar with what all we’re talking about with this “Stonehenge” stuff, here’s a really important tutorial from This is Spinal Tap.

TIME Business

Uber Unites Politicians in Hypocrisy

The Hamptons Lure Uber Top Drivers Amid NYC Slow Summer Weekends
Bloomberg—Getty Images

Republicans and Democrats alike want to help the company avoid regulations

Uber has pulled off what few others can these days: The beloved car service has united politicians of all persuasions. Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians are all vying to outdo each other in portraying the popular company, and its political struggles to avoid regulatory strangulation, as a poignant validation of their worldview.

Uber last month hired David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager and White House advisor, to direct its “campaign” against “Big Taxi” and local transportation regulators across the country. At the same time, conservative Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist championed Uber even though it is the darling of harried urbanites in Democratic enclaves like San Francisco and New York City.

Republicans understandably salivate at the sight of liberals, for once, railing against government overreach – excessive licensing requirements, taxes, and safety regulations – threatening a service they love. Is it too much of a stretch to hope that these ride-share fans might rise up to oppose similar government-imposed obstacles facing plenty of other American businesses – power utilities, financial companies, industrial manufacturers?

Good luck with that. The big regulatory clashes of the Internet era – the various iterations of net neutrality, the Microsoft antitrust case, the disputes over taxing online commerce, the Napster music download battles, the recent Aero TV Supreme Court case, and the current fight over how to regulate Uber, Airbnb, and other “sharing economy” firms – haven’t produced conceptual breakthroughs for how regulate other areas of the economy.

Instead, these “new economy” fights have deepened the dysfunction of our very old political system. Because they have typically involved definitional squabbles— Is Uber merely another limo company? Was Aero TV more akin to your old VCR or a rogue cable company? — and because it is so difficult to update old regulatory approaches, these Internet-era fights stand out for their brazen hypocrisy, cynicism, and intellectual inconsistency.

Take Uber. It’s hard to imagine Republicans cheering the company on if, instead of stealing market share from local union-controlled monopolies, it was stealing market share from a handful of large, publicly traded national taxi companies that had invested heavily in their infrastructure while satisfying regulations the new entrant was trying to avoid.

That alternative scenario is pretty much how things stand in the telecom sector, where Republicans have generally defended the prerogatives of incumbent players against regulators and new competitors preaching “net neutrality” (the principle that owners of the Internet’s pipes or airwaves cannot make separate deals with content providers on price or speed but must treat everyone equally).

But conservatives aren’t alone in their hypocrisy, or semantic creativity, when it comes to Uber. Liberal Uber lovers, instead of addressing cities’ burdensome transport regulations head-on, are more comfortable arguing that the company doesn’t belong in the same category as those old yellow taxis and limo companies. Uber, you see, is a technology company!

This sort of semantic nonsense has been a staple of all Internet regulatory fights. For a long time Internet enthusiasts felt it was OK to “share” copyrighted music and films online widely, since it was somehow different than old school piracy. And if you think Tesla shouldn’t be forced to sell their cars through third-party dealers, arguing that it’s a tech company that shouldn’t be subject to the old rules is far easier than seeking to take on the anachronistic and anti-consumer laws hurting all car companies. Better to create a loophole or carve-out for the new players than to bother modernizing the entire system.

The “sharing economy” moniker, as applied to the likes of Uber and Airbnb, is itself a brilliant but disingenuous fiction. What exactly am I “sharing” in an Uber transaction? As far as I can tell, the company owners are “sharing” with me a driver it has hired so long as I pay a certain amount of money to get from Point A to Point B. The service is good and prompt, but I am not sure what is being “shared” that my community’s yellow cab service doesn’t also “share” with me.

So let’s get real. The transformation of numerous industries by nimble players leveraging formidable information technologies on behalf of consumers is to be celebrated, but not to the point of pretending that things that are aren’t, or that aren’t are. There’s plenty of that already taking place in our traditional politics.

Andrés Martinez is editorial director of Zocalo Public Square, for which he writes the Trade Winds column.

TIME People

Here’s Bill Murray on the Cover of TIME

TIME 19320229
William Henry "Alfalfa Bill" Murray on the Feb. 29, 1932, cover of TIME TIME

No, that Bill Murray! In honor of Bill Murray Day, remember the lesser-known Bill Murray too

The Toronto Film Festival made news this week with the announcement that they were declaring Friday, Sept. 5, Bill Murray Day. At the film festival, that day would be marked with screenings of the legendary actor’s past films, a costume contest and the premiere of his latest movie, St. Vincent.

But “Bill Murray Day” is not the same as “Bill Murray, the Modern Actor, Day.” So here’s history’s other famous Bill Murray: William Henry “Alfalfa Bill” Murray.

As TIME described it in the Nov. 28, 1949, issue:

As a landholder and lawyer 42 years ago, ferocious, bull-voiced “Alfalfa Bill” Murray presided at the birth of the State of Oklahoma.

It was a hard birth. At the constitutional convention there were fights over county boundaries, dire threats against Alfalfa Bill. Afraid that the Republican governor of the Oklahoma territory would tamper with the new state’s constitution, Bill walked off with the original document in his pocket. To guard Murray and his papers friends formed a brigade of 5,000 citizens, dubbed themselves the Squirrel Rifles. Everyone said the brigade was a joke, but it was a joke with a point. No one fooled with Alfalfa Bill. The state was born pretty much along the lines which Bill had planned for it.

That constitutional convention, the magazine continued, cost Alfalfa Bill $4,000 out of his own pocket, secured via a mortgage on his alfalfa ranch. He never got paid back at the time, but he did serve two Congressional terms and run for governor, winning in 1930 using the slogan “The common people will never be still / till Alfalfa Murray is Governor Bill.”

On the occasion of his election in 1930, TIME noted that he “boasts of drinking his coffee from the saucer, rarely bathes, and [said] he would rent the executive mansion and live in the garage.” His nickname came from his strident advocacy of alfalfa as a hay plant suitable to Oklahoma soil, he was a member of the Chickasaw tribe by marriage and, though his personal library contained 5,000 books, he spent a whole of $500 on his successful gubernatorial campaign, during which he lived mostly on cheese and crackers. To amuse crowds while stumping, he would stand on his head. And, in 1932, when he (unsuccessfully) tried to get the Democratic nomination for President, he made the cover of TIME, with a lengthy profile inside (from which the facts above are drawn). His campaign song was called “Hoover Made a Soup Houn’ Outa Me” and his campaign slogan was “Bread, Butter, Bacon, Beans.”

Following his loss, he remained out of the public eye for years, writing books — including a 1,683-page memoir — and encouraging others to follow his early strain of doomsday-prepper mentality. In 1948, he showed up at the Dixiecrat convention — the convention of segregationist Southern states-rights Democrats —where he showed himself to be more sinister than charming, boasting that he was “the man who introduced Jim Crow in Oklahoma.”

He died in “prideful poverty” in 1956, at 86. By then it was becoming clear that no amount of headstands could bring him back to the right side of history — but, in any case, he soon ceded the Bill Murray title. That Bill Murray first showed up in the pages of TIME in a 1978 story about the Harvard Lampoon, destined to forevermore eclipse his forebear in the wacky-story department.

Read Richard Corliss’ 1993 profile of Bill Murray — the actor, not the politician — here, in TIME’s archives: Bill Murray in the Driver’s Seat

TIME Environment

California Set to Enact First Statewide Ban of Plastic Bags

Jerry Brown, Neel Kashkari
California Governor Jerry Brown, left, listens as Republican challenger Neel Kashkari speaks during a gubernatorial debate in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 4, 2014 Rich Pedroncelli—AP

After state lawmakers passed a bill

California is poised to become the first U.S. state to ban single-use plastic bags after Governor Jerry Brown said Thursday that he expected to sign a bill nixing their use.

The legislation — which would oust single-use plastic bags from grocery stores and pharmacies in 2015, as well as from convenience and liquor stores a year later — is similar to laws on the books in more than 100 California municipalities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as in individual towns and cities across the U.S.

Like those municipal laws, the California bill also authorizes stores to levy a $.10 charge on paper or reusable bags. In addition, it extends some $2 million in loans to plastic-bag manufacturers in an effort to soften those factories’ shift toward producing reusable bags.

American environmentalists and lawmakers have seized on banning non-biodegradable bags as a way to cut down on waste and clean up the country’s waters. But bag manufacturers have lobbied fiercely against such measures, warning that as bags disappear, so do the jobs in their factories.

Brown has until the end of September to sign the bill, passed by state lawmakers in a 22-to-15 vote last week.

“I probably will sign it, yes,” said the Democrat on Thursday evening, during a televised debate with his Republican rival Neel Kashkari, who is challenging Brown in the Nov. 4 gubernatorial election, the Los Angeles Times reports. “This is a compromise. It’s taking into account the needs of the environment, and the needs of the economy and the needs of the grocers.”

Republicans in California’s legislature had opposed the bill, calling it unwarranted government involvement in local business, as well as a burden to job-creating manufacturers.

Kashkari — who trails the incumbent Brown by 50% to 34% in recent polling — said in the Thursday debate that there was “no chance” he would sign the bill.

TIME politics

Rand Paul: ‘I Am Not an Isolationist’

Rand Paul, Rod Blum
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. listens he is introduced to speak by Iowa Republican congressional candidate Rod Blum, left, during a meeting with local Republicans, Aug. 5, 2014, in Hiawatha, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall—AP

If I had been in President Obama's shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS

Some pundits are surprised that I support destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militarily. They shouldn’t be. I’ve said since I began public life that I am not an isolationist, nor am I an interventionist. I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally.

I still see war as the last resort. But I agree with Reagan’s idea that no country should mistake U.S. reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.

As Commander-in-Chief, I would not allow our enemies to kill our citizens or our ambassadors. “Peace through Strength” only works if you have and show strength.

Our recent foreign policy has allowed radical jihadists to proliferate. Today, there are more terrorists groups than there were before 9/11, most notably ISIS. After all the sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq, why do we find ourselves in a more dangerous world?

And why, after six years, does President Obama lack a strategy to deal with threats like ISIS?

This administration’s dereliction of duty has both sins of action and inaction, which is what happens when you are flailing around wildly, without careful strategic thinking.

And while my predisposition is to less intervention, I do support intervention when our vital interests are threatened.

If I had been in President Obama’s shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS. I would have called Congress back into session—even during recess.

This is what President Obama should have done. He should have been prepared with a strategic vision, a plan for victory and extricating ourselves. He should have asked for authorization for military action and would have, no doubt, received it.

Once we have decided that we have an enemy that requires destruction, we must have a comprehensive strategy—a realistic policy applying military power and skillful diplomacy to protect our national interests.

The immediate challenge is to define the national interest to determine the form of intervention we might pursue. I was repeatedly asked if I supported airstrikes. I do—if it makes sense as part of a larger strategy.

There’s no point in taking military action just for the sake of it, something Washington leaders can’t seem to understand. America has an interest in protecting more than 5,000 personnel serving at the largest American embassy in the world in northern Iraq. I am also persuaded by the plight of massacred Christians and Muslim minorities.

The long-term challenge is debilitating and ultimately eradicating a strong and growing ISIS, whose growth poses a significant terrorist threat to U.S. allies and enemies in the region, Europe, and our homeland.

The military means to achieve these goals include airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Such airstrikes are the best way to suppress ISIS’s operational strength and allow allies such as the Kurds to regain a military advantage.

We should arm and aid capable and allied Kurdish fighters whose territory includes areas now under siege by the ISIS.

Since Syrian jihadists are also a threat to Israel, we should help reinforce Israel’s Iron Dome protection against missiles.

We must also secure our own borders and immigration policy from ISIS infiltration. Our border is porous, and the administration, rather than acting to protect it, instead ponders unconstitutional executive action, legalizing millions of illegal immigrants.

Our immigration system, especially the administration of student visas, requires a full-scale examination. Recently, it was estimated that as many as 6,000 possibly dangerous foreign students are unaccounted for. This is inexcusable over a decade after we were attacked on 9/11 by hijackers including one Saudi student who overstayed his student visa.

We should revoke passports from any Americans or dual citizens who are fighting with ISIS.

Important to the long-term stability in the region is the reengagement diplomatically with allies in the region and in Europe to recognize the shared nature of the threat of Radical Islam and the growing influence of jihadists. That is what will make this a comprehensive strategy.

ISIS is a global threat; we should treat it accordingly and build a coalition of nations who are also threatened by the rise of the Islamic State. Important partners such as Turkey, a NATO ally, Israel, and Jordan face an immediate threat, and unchecked growth endangers Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries such as Qatar, and even Europe. Several potential partners—notably, the Turks, Qataris, and Saudis—have been reckless in their financial support of ISIS, which must cease immediately.

This is one set of principles. Any strategy, though, should be presented to the American people through Congress. If war is necessary, we should act as a nation. We should do so properly and constitutionally and with a real strategy and a plan for both victory and exit.

To develop a realistic strategy, we need to understand why the threat of ISIS exists. Jihadist Islam is festering in the region. But in order for it to grow, prosper, and conquer, it needs chaos.

Three years after President Obama waged war in Libya without Congressional approval, Libya is a sanctuary and safe haven for training and arms for terrorists from Northern Africa to Syria. Our deserted Embassy in Tripoli is controlled by militants. Jihadists today swim in our embassy pool.

Syria, likewise, has become a jihadist wonderland. In Syria, Obama’s plan just one year ago—and apparently Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s desire—was to aid rebels against Assad, despite the fact that many of these groups are al-Qaeda- and ISIS-affiliated. Until we acknowledge that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria allowed ISIS a safe haven, no amount of military might will extricate us from a flawed foreign policy.

Unfortunately, Obama’s decisions—from disengaging diplomatically in Iraq and the region and fomenting chaos in Libya and Syria—leave few good options. A more realistic and effective foreign policy would protect the vital interests of the nation without the unrealistic notion of nation-building.

Paul is the junior U.S. Senator for Kentucky.

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