Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Yet Another Expose!

It doesn’t look like they will ever end. The Bush Administration has given us too much material.

So, Larry Johnson has reviewed On the Brink. Here it is:

On the Brink

Larry C Johnson

Tyler Drumheller, the recently retired CIA Chief for the European Division during the build up for the war in Iraq is out with a great new book, On the Brink. Tyler's account takes you inside the CIA during the month before 9-11 and through the start of the war in Iraq. He was in charge of all U.S. clandestine operations in Europe, including Turkey. But beyond a look back at what went wrong with Iraq from an intelligence perspective, Tyler offers a devastating critique of how the Bush Administration has engaged in an unprecedented politicization of the CIA. In corrupting the intelligence community the Bush Administration has put the nation at greater risk and hobbled an important government resource.

Tyler's book is unique because it offers the first insider's account about the events surrounding the build up to the war in Iraq, including the backstory on Curveball (the Iraqi fabricator) and the interactions with our British and Turkish allies. (Although CIA censors prevented Tyler from naming specific countries, a careful reader can easily pick out who is who.) On the Brink is a perfect companion to the other books published this year recounting the fabrication and failure that is Iraq--Fiasco (by Tom Ricks), Hubris (by David Corn and Michael Isikoss), Cobra II (by Bernard Trainor and Michael Gordon), Imperial Life in the Emerald City (by Rajiv Chandrasekaran), The One Percent Doctrine (by Ron Suskind), and State of Denial (by Bob "late to the party" Woodward). Taken as a whole, these volumes tell a disturbing and horrifying story of how our nation's security has been hijacked and squandered by the very people sworn to protect it. Tyler fleshes out the intelligence portion of the story.

Tyler fought an uphill battle in trying to get this book out. CIA editors did their best to quash the story and keep it off the shelves before the November elections. Notwithstanding the bureaucratic and procedural obstacles erected to thwart the book, Tyler still manages to tell a compelling story.

On the Brink is not another bash Bush book. Drumheller makes it very clear that George W. Bush alone is not the cause of the fiasco unfolding along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. Within the CIA, Tyler points an unwavering finger at George Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin. They were warned by Tyler that Curveball, the source claiming firsthand knowledge of mobile biological weapons labs in Iraq, was a fraud. And they did nothing. When the full story of the debacle surrounding Iraq is finally told, Tenet and McLaughlin will deserve the scorn of their countrymen rather than medals of freedom. They failed to stand strong when it counted and enabled a flawed President to take our country to war in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This was not an easy book for Tyler to write. He genuinely liked Tenet and was not about to tell tales out of school. He also was old-school; committed to protecting sources and methods. He writes with a measure of humility that is a virtue not commonly found in Washington, DC. But he has performed a public service. He traces the dismantling of the intelligence community by political operatives and sounds an important alarm, reminding all who will listen that we need a professional intelligence service staffed by talented men and women if we are to safely navigate the troubled waters of the 21st Century.

I hope that you check in regularly with Mr. Johnson at No Quarter and I also hope that you check in regularly with Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis. These guys are experts and they pull no punches. Lord knows that is what the public discourse needs.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

On the Other Hand!

Billmon at the Whiskey Bar lays it out:

October 28, 2006

Tell Me Lies

Sweet little lies:

President Bush declared this week that the administration was putting the Baghdad government on notice that it had to make progress in stemming sectarian violence and rebuilding the country. Otherwise, Washington would consider changes to its Iraq policy. And it worked -- at the margins. Almost half of all Americans still believe taking military action in Iraq was a mistake, but the gap between those who say it was and those who say it was the right decision has narrowed: from 54 to 39 last week to 49 to 43 this week -- from a 15-point margin to just six points.

If it was as easy to win wars as it is to hoodwink the voters, our troubles in Iraq would have been over long ago.

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."

H.L. Mencken


Are the Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

Could it be? Kay Ryan has the poem for our times. I hope she is right.

Message to the Right-Wing:

The chickens are circling and
blotting out the day.

The sun is bright, but the
chickens are in the way.

Yes, the sky is dark with chickens,
dense with them.

They turn and then they turn

These are the chickens you let loose one at a time
and small ––various breeds.

Now they have come home to roost all the same kind

at the same speed.

Ms. Ryan is a fine poet and I hope a fine prognosticator. We shall soon find out. November 7th is just a little over a week away.

What kind of Country will we decide to be on this November 7th, 2006?

Hopefully Ms. Ryan is right!

Have You Had Enough?

From Behind the Wall!

Frank Rich has a few things to say about the President’s latest rhetoric on Mess-O-Potamia. Naturally, the change in rhetoric is merely to try and pull another rabbit from his hat in an election cycle. Mr. Rich posits whether the President has his “ear to the ground” or continues to have his “head in the sand.” I think that it is a combination of both. The GOP is in trouble and he knows it, but as they say denial “isn’t just a river in Egypt.”

So, as this is too important not to share, here are all his words:

October 29, 2006

Op-Ed Columnist

Dying to Save the G.O.P. Congress


IF you happened to be up around dawn on Tuesday, you could witness the death rattle of our adventure in Iraq live on CNN. Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the American commander, were making new promises from the bunker of the Green Zone, inspiring about as much confidence as Jackie Gleason and Art Carney hatching a get-rich-quick scheme to sell a kitchen gadget on “The Honeymooners.”

“Success in Iraq is possible and can be achieved on a realistic timetable,” said Mr. Khalilzad. Iraq can be “in a very good place in 12 months,” said General Casey. Even a child could see how much was wrong with this picture.

If there really is light at the end of the tunnel, why after three and a half years can’t we yet guarantee light in Baghdad? Symbolically enough, television transmission of the Khalilzad-Casey press conference was interrupted by another of the city’s daily power failures. If Iraq’s leaders had signed on to the 12-month plan of “benchmarks” the Americans advertised, why were those leaders nowhere in sight? We found out one day later, when the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, mocked the very idea of an America-imposed timetable. “I am positive that this is not the official policy of the American government, but rather a result of the ongoing election campaign,” he said, adding dismissively, “And that does not concern us much.”

Give the Iraqi leader credit for a Borat-like candor that almost every American in this sorry tale lacks. Of course all the White House’s latest jabberwocky about “benchmarks” and “milestones” and “timetables” (never to be confused with those Defeatocrats’ “timelines”) is nothing more than an election-year P.R. strategy, as is the laughable banishment of “stay the course.” There is no new American plan to counter the apocalypse now playing out in Iraq, only new packaging to pacify American voters between now and Nov. 7. And recycled packaging at that: President Bush had last announced that he and Mr. Maliki were developing “benchmarks” to “measure progress” in Iraq back in June.

As Richard Holbrooke, the broker of the Bosnia peace accords, has observed, the only real choice left for the president now is either “escalation or disengagement.” But there are no troops, let alone money or national will, for escalation. Disengagement within a year, however, is favored by 54 percent of Americans and, more important, 71 percent of Iraqis. After Election Day, adults in Washington will step in, bow to the obvious and pull the plug. The current administration strategy — praying for a miracle — is not an option. The current panacea favored by anxious Republican Congressional candidates — firing Donald Rumsfeld — is too little, too late.

The adults in charge of disengagement will include the Bush family consigliere, James Baker, whose bipartisan Iraq Study Group will present its findings after the election, and John Warner, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, who has promised a re-evaluation of Iraq policy within roughly the same time frame. Democrats will have a role in direct proportion to the clout they gain in the midterms.

One way or another the various long-shot exit scenarios being debated in the capital will be sorted out: federalism and partition; reaching out somehow for help from Iran and Syria; replacing Mr. Maliki with a Saddam-lite strongman. There will be some kind of timeline, or whatever you want to call it, with enforced benchmarks, or whatever you want to call them, for phased withdrawal. (Read “Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now” by George McGovern and William R. Polk for a particularly persuasive blueprint.) In any event, the timeline will end no later than Inauguration Day 2009.

In keeping with the political cynicism that gave birth to this war and has recklessly prolonged it, the only ones being kept in the dark about this inevitable denouement are our fighting men and women. They remain trapped, dying in accelerating numbers in a civil war that is now killing so many Iraqi civilians that Mr. Maliki this month ordered his health ministry to stop releasing any figures.

Our troops are held hostage by the White House’s political imperatives as much as they are by the violence. Desperate to maintain the election-year P.R. ruse that an undefined “victory” is still within reach, Mr. Bush went so far at Wednesday’s press conference as to say that “absolutely, we’re winning” in Iraq. He explained his rationale to George Stephanopoulos last weekend, when he asserted that the number of casualties was the enemy’s definition of success or failure, not his. “I define success or failure as to whether or not the Iraqis will be able to defend themselves,” the president said, and “as to whether the unity government” is making the “difficult decisions necessary to unite the country.”

Unfortunately, the war is a calamity by both of those definitions as well. The American command’s call for a mere 3,000 more Iraqi troops to help defend Baghdad has gone unanswered. As we’ve learned from Operation Together Forward, when Iraqis do stand up, violence goes up. And when American and British troops stand down, murderous sectarian militias, some of them allied with that “unity” government, fill the vacuum, taking over entire cities like Amara and Balad in broad daylight. As for those “difficult decisions” Mr. Bush regards as so essential, the Iraqi government’s policy is cut and run. Mr. Maliki is not cracking down on rampaging militias but running interference for their kingpin, Moktada al-Sadr. Mr. Maliki treats this radical anti-American Shiite cleric, his political ally, with far more deference than he shows the American president.

The ultimate chutzpah is that Mr. Bush, the man who sold us Saddam’s imminent mushroom clouds and “Mission Accomplished,” is trivializing the chaos in Iraq as propaganda. The enemy’s “sophisticated” strategy, he said in last weekend’s radio address, is to distribute “images of violence” to television networks, Web sites and journalists to “demoralize our country.”

This is a morally repugnant argument. The “images of violence” from Iraq are not fake — like, say, the fiction our government manufactured about the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman or the upbeat news stories the Pentagon spends millions of dollars planting in Iraqi newspapers today. These images of violence are real. Americans really are dying at the fastest pace in at least a year, and Iraqis in the greatest numbers to date. To imply that this carnage is magnified by the news media, whether the American press or Al Jazeera, is to belittle the gravity of the escalated bloodshed and to duck accountability for the mismanagement of the war. Mr. Bush’s logic is reminiscent of Jeffrey Skilling’s obtuse view of his innocence in the Enron scandal, though at least Mr. Skilling has been held accountable for the wreckage of lives on his watch.

It is also wrong to liken what’s going on now, as Mr. Bush has, to the Tet offensive. That sloppy Vietnam analogy was first made by Mr. Rumsfeld in June 2004 to try to explain away the explosive rise in the war’s violence at that time. It made a little more sense then, since both the administration and the American public were still being startled by the persistence of the Iraq insurgency, much as the Johnson administration and Walter Cronkite were by the Viet Cong’s tenacity in 1968. Before Tet, as Stanley Karnow’s history, “Vietnam,” reminds us, public approval of L.B.J.’s conduct of the war still stood at 40 percent, yet to hit rock bottom.

Where we are in Iraq today is not 1968 but 1971, after the bottom had fallen out, Johnson had abdicated and America had completely turned on Vietnam. At that point, approval of Richard Nixon’s handling of the war was at 34 percent, comparable to Mr. Bush’s current 30. The percentage of Americans who thought the Vietnam War was “morally wrong” stood at 51, comparable to the 58 percent who now think the Iraq war was a mistake. Many other Vietnam developments in 1971 have their counterparts in 2006: the leaking of classified Pentagon reports revealing inept and duplicitous war policy, White House demonization of the press, the joining of moderate Republican senators with Democrats to press for a specific date for American withdrawal.

That’s why it seemed particularly absurd when, in his interview with Mr. Stephanopoulos last weekend, Mr. Bush said that “the fundamental question” Americans must answer is “should we stay?” They’ve been answering that question loud and clear for more than a year now.

What we should be thinking about instead are our obligations to those who are doing the staying. Kevin Tillman, who served with his brother in Iraq and Afghanistan, observed in an angry online essay this month: “Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a 5-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet.”

If we really support the troops, we’ll move past Mr. Bush’s “fundamental question” to one from 1971 posed by a 27-year-old Vietnam veteran, John Kerry, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Thank you Frank Rich!

Have You Had Enough?

What to Do and What Kind of Country are We?

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 presents United States Citizens with a choice: torture and imprison people indefinitely or stand up in revolt. I have to wonder how the States’ citizens will react.

Anecdotally I have to tell you that most people I speak to are totally uninformed. And even more frightening they seem to feel that the government will not step over the line in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Over at Truthout Phillis D. Engelbert and Lily Jarman-Reisch are not so sanguine. They write:

The MCA is so radical and sweeping that it could change the way high school civics texts are written. Gone are guarantees that individuals accused of crimes can know the charges against them, challenge their detention and conditions of detention, receive a speedy trial, see the evidence against them, be represented by a lawyer of their choosing, be treated humanely, not have evidence introduced against them obtained through coercion, and be judged by an impartial person or persons.

Gone are the checks and balances that keep one branch of government (the executive) from gaining too much power at the expense of another (the judiciary). The US has long been looked upon as the standard-bearer of human rights and due process around the world. If other countries now follow our lead, American citizens in foreign lands can expect be subjected to indefinite detention, in cruel conditions, without recourse or access to any sort of counsel or protection by international law.

The aspect of the MCA most troubling to legal scholars is its denial of habeas corpus - the right of a prisoner to challenge his or her detention as unlawful - to non-citizens designated "enemy combatants." Habeas corpus is a cornerstone of our Constitution (its suspension is allowed only in cases of invasion or insurrection - of which we have neither) and is an important recourse for those who have been wrongly imprisoned. Habeas allows, for instance, the wrongly imprisoned immigrant to argue that he is not the person the authorities are seeking, but that he happens to have a similar or same name as that person.

A related concern is the legislation's vague definition of "enemy combatant." An "unlawful enemy combatant" (as opposed to a "lawful" one - a member of a foreign army fighting the US) is defined as "a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." The law gives the president discretion to determine who fits this description. There is nothing to stop him, for instance, from applying the label "enemy combatant" to a Muslim resident alien who donates money to a charity being investigated by the FBI - then imprisoning that person and keeping him in a legal limbo that may last a lifetime. There is also nothing in the law that explicitly exempts US citizens - for example, those who protest the president's war policy - from being called "enemy combatants."

In fact if we look back at the intentions of this administration, their actions not their words, we can see the future as it pertains to the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

In December of 2001 Attorney General Ashcroft testified in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the President’s Executive Order covering his then Military Commission formulation.

Here is some of the testimony of Ashcroft and the questioning of the members:

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): (Chuckles.) Well thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm
honored to be with you today. And as you know, I was pleased to co-author with
you the letter we sent to our good friend and former colleague, the attorney
general of the United States, asking him to come before this committee to
describe for us, and for the American people, some of the recent initiatives
undertaken by the administration to protect Americans from terrorist attacks.
And I am gratified that Attorney General Ashcroft readily accepted our
invitation and has taken time from his critical duties to be here with us today.


SEN. FEINSTEIN: Does the order -- and this is getting at the intent -- does the order only
apply to the leaders of al Qaeda and those directly involved in the September
11th attacks and other international terrorist attacks, or will it also apply to
those only peripherally involved in criminal activity?

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: I think it's, first of all, important to note that it
does not apply to American citizens, nor does it apply to people who violate the
criminal law of this country generally.

SEN. FEINSTEIN: Is that legal aliens.

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: This is -- legal aliens are obviously subject to this
order. But the point is that the commissions were called into existence by
issuing a military order by the president that would try war crimes. So
individuals who have committed war crimes in the context of this time of
conflict are subject to this order unless they are United States citizens. And
technically, in that respect, the universe of individuals eligible for coverage
is a large number.

But similarly, every criminal law that we pass in the United States has a
potential coverage of 280 million people. That's the population of individuals.
And we see those laws as protecting the 280 million people, not putting them in

Similarly, I believe the president's purpose in this war crimes commission
which he has issued -- and obviously it calls for the right to counsel and
things in the commission order -- is to protect people, not to place them in
jeopardy; and obviously the 20 million people in the United States that it would
protect, even though the fact they would be eligible for prosecution here, are
people who also fear the kind of terrorism that destroyed a number of
individuals, not citizens of the United States, in the World Trade Center
bombing and in the other incidents that related to September 11th.

It is important that the president's directive that we have a full and fair
hearing be reflected in what the Department of Defense eventually details as the
procedures. And I would -- I think it'd be appropriate for discussion and
contribution to be substantial in that regard to the department.

SEN. FEINSTEIN: I know my time has expired. Let me just clear this up. You're
saying, then, that the military tribunal will only be used for those who would
be prosecuted for war crimes.

ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: War crimes. And the order limits the jurisdiction of the
commission to the commission of war crimes.

SEN. FEINSTEIN: Thank you.

Non-citizens and War crimes only indeed! Well, as we all know now the Military Commissions as envisioned by the Bush Administration didn’t quite get off the ground as they were grounded by the U.S. Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

What we do know is that this Administration has taken a rather expansive reading of the Patriot Act and has in fact detained U.S. Citizens, deemed “Enemy Combatants” based on the President’s say so, for indeterminate detention.

In the Jose Padilla case, the U.S. born citizen, who was detained in Chicago for ostensibly being part of a plan to set off a “dirty bomb” in the U. S., he was held in indefinite detention until the courts intervened.

In November 2005:

The Bush administration dumped the case it once trumpeted rather than face Padilla's diligent attorneys before the Supreme Court on a basic question, which they framed with commendable precision: "Does the president have the power to seize American citizens in civilian settings on American soil and subject them to indefinite military detention without criminal charge or trial?"

The administration was facing a Monday deadline for making its own legal case to the court for the extreme proposition that any American could be held merely on its say-so that the person was "an enemy combatant" in an undeclared war.

Likewise in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld the courts intervened as well and the Supremes said:

The appeals court held that, assuming that express congressional authorization of the detention was required by 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a)–which provides that “[n]o citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress”– the AUMF’s “necessary and appropriate force” language provided the authorization for Hamdi’s detention. It also concluded that Hamdi is entitled only to a limited judicial inquiry into his detention’s legality under the war powers of the political branches, and not to a searching review of the factual determinations underlying his seizure.

Held: The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded.

Justice O’Connor, joined by The Chief Justice, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Breyer, concluded that although Congress authorized the detention of combatants in the narrow circumstances alleged in this case, due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker. Pp. 14—15.

Justice Souter, joined by Justice Ginsburg, concluded that Hamdi’s detention is unauthorized, but joined with the plurality to conclude that on remand Hamdi should have a meaningful opportunity to offer evidence that he is not an enemy combatant.

So, what we have here is an administration that holds U.S. Citizens without charges, due process, and in full violation of the rule of law.

Now one of the laws that empowers this administration is the Patriot Act. Which according to the Cato Institute, not exactly anything other than a right-wing think tank, is seriously flawed and more than likely unconstitutional.

Accordingly they report:

Government is legitimately charged with defending life, liberty, and property against both domestic and foreign predators. First among those obligations is to protect life. With America under attack, and lives at risk, civil liberties cannot remain inviolable. But that does not mean civil liberties can be arbitrarily flouted without establishing, first, that national security interests are compelling and, second, that those interests can be indicated only by encroaching on individual rights. Some parts of the PATRIOT Act do not pass that test.

And in fact the U.S. under the Patriot Act is using the law to avoid the law under the U.S. Constitution protections for criminal investigations.

According to the ACLU:

The Patriot Act increases the government’s surveillance powers in four areas:

  1. Records searches. It expands the government's ability to look at records on an individual's activity being held by a third parties. (Section 215)
  2. Secret searches. It expands the government's ability to search private property without notice to the owner. (Section 213)
  3. Intelligence searches. It expands a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment that had been created for the collection of foreign intelligence information (Section 218).
  4. "Trap and trace" searches. It expands another Fourth Amendment exception for spying that collects "addressing" information about the origin and destination of communications, as opposed to the content (Section 214).

These uses of the Patriot Act are not about going after terrorists they are about circumventing the U.S. Constitution, and the law of the land.

This is succinctly put over at Findlaw:

Among Patriot II's most worrying provisions are those affecting citizenship. Section 501 of the bill, deceptively titled "Expatriation of Terrorists," would provide for the presumptive denationalization of American citizens who support the activities of any organization that the executive branch has deemed "terrorist." While it is already illegal to provide material support to such groups, even for their lawful activities, such support is considered grounds only for criminal prosecution, not for the loss of citizenship.

By permitting denationalization based on a person's illegal activities, the Patriot II bill attempts to push the legal rules back toward a time in which Ashcroft and his ilk would feel at home: the McCarthy era.

So, when the U.S. Public is sanguine about this Administration’s stepping over the boundaries and lines of the law of the land, I am not, as it seems clear to me that this Administration has already done it and under the MCA the U.S. Congress has now given them the keys to the Monarchy and Kingdom.

It is time to take back the keys and this Country.

James Madison, in Federalist No. 47, put it succinctly: "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Have You Had Enough?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

United States Constitution

Sunday, October 15, 2006

An Iraq Solution!

Quite frequently when I speak to Republicans about the Debacle that is Iraq I am asked what you “Liberals” would do to solve the situation. I am told by the Repubs that it isn’t as if "Liberals” have any good ideas or solutions (to a problem that Repubs created). In response I have often invoked the Pottery Barn Rule, which doesn’t exist actually, and I have said that the Repubs created this mess and they should be the ones to clean it up.

Well, that is really not getting to the nub of the issue is it? Iraq, and what we have done to it, is a National and World problem that the United States of America has created and the whole of the U.S.A. needs to solve it.

Now I posted this comment to Driftglass and I thought that I would share it with my two readers as I really do believe that it is the best all round solution that I have heard to date:

Yes, we did have the solution to this problem in Iraq at the beginning as was stated by Anonymous: Don’t go! And now the folks who decided to ignore all the warnings and warning signs want those of us who did the warning to come up with a plan to clean up their Mess-Opotamia. Well, I have been thinking about this for sometime and I think that I have come up with a plan that might well serve quite a few ends.

I say we send Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle and everyone else responsible for this horror to the Emerald City in Iraq. They must stay there until they have solved the problem they have created for the Iraqi people, the U.S.A., and the World. They cannot leave until the “Mission is Accomplished.”

Think about it. It isn’t as if these people are engaged in governing here. Other than the Photo-Ops, and self-serving quotes in the MSM, who would even notice they weren’t here? The upside to this is they would no long be able to raise millions of dollars for the Republican Machine. Also, if we do this quickly enough Bush won’t get to sign the Torture and Indefinite Detention Act with his Unitary Executive Signing Statement making it even more evil than it already is.

I say this is a win, win, strategy!


I admit that this is a bit quixotic, but have you got a better idea?

When the Right Defects?

Paul Craig Roberts is not exactly a left-wing nut! He was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration and an Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. Now for sometime I have been following his commentary on this Bush Administration and folks it hasn’t been a pretty picture. His commentary is often posted at Anti-War and Counterpunch.

Here is his latest and he uses the Nazi and Hitler words. If this guy thinks that we have gone over the edge, we are so over the edge that we are in very serious trouble and territory folks.

Here are some of his words:

What kind of government would destroy the lives through death or disability of over one million people for no valid reason?

The same kind of government that fires its own lawyers for doing their constitutional duty. Navy lawyer Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift was assigned the task of bringing Salim Hamdan to a guilty plea before the unconstitutional military tribunal that President Bush created for Guantanamo detainees. Instead, Cmdr. Swift did his duty and defended his client, winning in the US Supreme Court. The Bush administration retaliated by blocking Cmdr. Swift's promotion, which killed his military career and sent the chilling message to all US military and government attorneys that constitutional scruples are career-enders in the Bush regime. Anyone who stands for the US Constitution is against Bush and his neocon regime.

The Bush regime is proceeding exactly as the Nazi regime proceeded. First, eliminate every person of conscience and integrity from the government. Second, redefine duty as service to the leader: "You are with us or against us"--a formulation that leaves no place for duty to the US Constitution. Patriotism is redefined from loyalty to country and Constitution to loyalty to the government's leader.

Americans are too inattentive and distracted to be aware of the grave danger that the neoconservative Bush regime presents to American liberty and to world stability. The neoconservative drive to achieve hegemony over the American people and the entire world is similar to Hitler's drive for hegemony. Hitler used racial superiority to justify Germany's right to ride roughshod over other peoples and the right of the Nazi elite to rule over the German people.

Neoconservatives use "American exceptionalism" and "the war on terror." There is no practical difference. Hitler cared no more about the peoples he mowed down in his drive for supremacy than the neoconservatives care about 655,000 dead Iraqis, 100,000 disabled American soldiers and 2,747 dead ones.

When Bush, the Decider, claims unconstitutional powers and uses "signing statements" to negate US law whenever he feels the rule of law is in the way of his leadership, he is remarkably similar to Hitler, the Fuhrer, who told the Reichstag on February 20, 1938: "A man who feels it his duty at such an hour to assume the leadership of his people is not responsible to the laws of parliamentary usage or to a particular democratic conception, but solely to the mission placed upon him. And anyone who interferes with this mission is an enemy of the people."

"You are with us or against us."

Now, it seems to me that if folks on the Right think that this Administration is out of control, we are in deep shit folks. Roberts has been warning us for sometime that Bush Co. is deranged and he has now come out and conflated it with the Nazis and Hitler.

If he thinks this we should all be very afraid because we are not talking “The Nation” here we are talking Republicans.

We could be hopeful that the GOP is cracking and that some of those on the Right actually do care about the U.S. Constitution and are distancing themselves from the Radical-Right and their policies, as the Nation is at peril. However, it seems to me that too many folks have tasted the Kool-Aid and like the drink.

I know that sounds so half-glass empty. I am however, based on Roberts columns of late, feeling half-glass full.

The question is will the American Public wake-up from their stupor and demand a change?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Well, They Won’t Have Him to Kick Around Anymore!

Gerry Studds has been the Right-Wing and GOP’s Talking-points answer to the Predatorgate Scandal. Their mantra has been they, the Dems, did it too.

Sadly for the Repubs Gerry has left the room:

Gerry Studds is dead at age 69

by PageOneQ

Rep. Gerry Studds, a former member of the House of Representatives and an openly gay man, died today in Boston, Massachusetts, PageOneQ has learned.

Christian Kiriakos, a spokesperson for the Boston Medical Center, told the Associated Press that Studds died early this morning. According to a report by CNN, his death was related to complications from a blood clot in his lung.

Studds' name has surfaced recently in the news in connection with the Mark Foley scandal. In 1983, it was learned that he had a sexual relationship, ten years earlier, with a 17-year old male page. Studds was censured by the House and went on to win reelection five more times.

Studds graduated from Yale University with bachelor's and master's degrees in History, taught school and was first elected to the Congress in 1972. He defeated a Republican incumbent in what had been thought a safe GOP district.

Studds and his husband Dean Hara were married in Massachusetts last year. PageOneQ recently contacted Hara in an effort to interview Studds on the current congressional scandal. At the time, Hara explained that Studds was no longer taking calls from the press.

Speaking at the 1993 March On Washington for gay rights, Studds turned to the crowd of almost one million people, pointed back at the Capitol behind him, and urged every gay person inside to come out and be open and honest about who they are. If they stood up and walked out, he told the crowd, the work of the government would stop.

Funeral details have not yet been released.

That said, I guess the axiom that “Two Wrongs Don’t Make it Right” is some how lost on the Repubs. But then the facts belie the fact that the actions of Studds and the Democrats and Foley and the Republicans are even equivalent.

Take a brief walk through the comparison, not that the GOP wants you to:

The Real Difference Between "Foley and Studds" in 9 Statements (Plus 3 About "Ethics" And 2 About Clinton)

by RJ Eskow | Oct 8 2006 - 9:11am | permalink
article tools: email | print | read more RJ Eskow

Robert Schlesinger's a fine writer, but his piece here on Foley and Studds didn't clearly state the difference between the two cases. It left the impression - at least to me - they were somehow equivalent. (As most people know by now, the GOP has been desperately trying to restore its image by bringing up the Studds case -- see Schlesinger's piece for more background.)

The real difference can be expressed in 9 simple statements, based on what we've been told so far about both cases:

1. As far as we know Studds was not forcing his unwelcome attentions on a series of pages, one after the other.

2. No page went to the Democratic leadership asking for protection from Studds, only to be rebuffed and ignored.

3. The Democratic Party did not run on a platform of "righteousness" and anti-homosexuality, while behaving hypocritically in private.

4. The Democratic Speaker of the House did not make statements about the incident that were immediately revealed to be outright lies ... by fellow Democrats.

5. The Democrats did not then begin an orchestrated media campaign to blame the entire problem on ... the Republicans (or the young man, for that matter).

6. Democrats did not take to the airwaves with talking points that were transparent lies.

7. Pro-Democratic writers (there weren't any bloggers then, remember?) didn't violate the privacy of the young man involved and give his name out to the press. They didn't call the young man a "beast" or blame him for Studds' behavior, either. (Have you heard any Republican leaders criticize the bloggers who gave out the young victims' names?)

8. How many times does this need to be said? It's the cover-up, stupid.

9. The Democratic leadership did not protect a predator, conceal his wrongdoing, and allow him to continue his activities in secret.. The Republicans did.

Let me repeat that last point, because it's getting overlooked:

The Democratic leadership did not protect a predator, conceal his wrongdoing, or allow him to continue his activities in secret. The Republicans did.

Should any of these statements prove false, I'll be as ready as anyone to reprimand the Democratic leadership at the time of the Studds incident. Even that, as Schlesinger points out, wouldn't exculpate Hastert or the others - but it would indict the Democrats of that long-gone time. It's moot at this point, however, since no evidence I've seen suggests any of the above statements are wrong.

As for the idea that Studds showed "contempt" by turning his back on the House when the vote took place, the reality was mostly overlooked at the time, although one or two commentators mentioned it. It is tradition and protocol in Congress to turn one's back when being censured. Studds was actually behaving appropriately.

(Once, conservatives understood and respected tradition. Today's so-called "conservatives" are too lazy and ill-informed to bother.)

For those of you who believe I'm "convicting" Foley without a trial, get this: I've read the emails. He acknowledged writing them, and then he resigned. Is he guilty of a crime? That's for a court to say. But is he guilty of vile behavior? Yes. If you don't think so, let that be noted in the court of public opinion.

Some progressives have suggested there's hypocrisy here, too. Another reminder: this isn't about gay sex. It's about unwanted advances. The kids complained, nothing was done, secrets were kept - and Foley kept on harrassing these kids.

Did you catch that word - "harrass"? It's not just child predation: it's sexual harrassment.

And for those of you who believe that we should wait for the "Ethics Committee" to review Hastert's involvement, consider this:

1. The so-called "Ethics Committee" has been jury-rigged by corrupt Republican cronies to excuse virtually any GOP behavior.

2. The Republican Congress already stated explicitly in the Tom DeLay case that they're willing to allow somebody indicted for a felony to continue serving in Congress ... and to serve in a leadership role in the House. Is that who you would look to for justice?

3. Hastert has already lied publicly and been contradicted by fellow Republicans. Those lies alone should constitute grounds for resignation.

Lastly, a word or two about Bill Clinton:

1. The Democratic leadership expressed its outrage over his behavior. They did not knowingly protect him while he was doing it. Their sense of betrayal should have been a model for the Republicans to follow in this case. Their absence of outrage tells us all we need to know about their party's moral depravity.

2. Monica Lewinsky was an adult - and, by all accounts, sought out the attention she received. Mark Foley forced himself on the young people entrusted to the care of the House of Representatives.

Torture, violation of the Constitution, lies to start a war, widespread financial corruption ... but it took these actions, protecting a predator, to capture the zeitgeist. It encapsulates today's GOP in the blinding light of a single moment, like a lightning flash that reveals the stalker who's been standing outside your door.

So, now that Gerry Studds isn’t here any longer to kick around, because as you all know that kicking around Dead Folks is soooo unseemly, who are the GOP Predator Enablers going to equate their most recent scandal with? Why, Bill and Monicagate of course! Because as we all know it is always Clinton’s fault.

So, who exactly has been in charge these last six years anyway and slavishly following Bill's lead?

I think not.

Gerry Studds
1937 - 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gay Republicans Scapegoated!

Folks this has nothing to do with being Gay, it has to do with being a predator and covering up that specific behavior. That Gay Republicans are under attack is understandable in this political climate. However, it is still deplorable. The New York Times reports it here. This scandal has nothing to do with being Gay, it has to do with being a predator and having your actions covered up by the Party in Power and they are the Party of Gay Bashing.

N ow I personally can not understand why anyone who is gay or lesbian would be down with the Republicans. I can not understand why any parent who has a gay or lesbian child could support the Republicans. But, I do know that happens and I know it in a very personal way. People are for the most part confused and complicated folks and they often have conflicting emotions. It isn’t like most of our electorate and citizenry has any kind of philosophical grip on their lives. For the most part from what I can discern most folks just live their lives in a fog of consumerism and disinformation. It freaks me out everyday, but then that is life in the U.S.A.

So, when a story breaks that is replete with the very essence of this Republican Rule and is finally exposed in a way that most Americans can understand and pay attention to, i.e., a sex scandal, I am so upset that all that has come before isn’t exposed coherently. You know the Iraq War lies, the Katrina Lies, the Wiretapping Lies, the Social Security Lies, the Medicare Lies, the Iraq and Katrina for Sale Lies, the Torture and Rendition Lies, the Patriotic Act Lies, well it is endless isn’t it.

So, what catches the American Imagination is: Sex.

How sad.

But that is where we are at folks.

And according to the Ruling Party of Republicans it is all the Democrat’s fault even if the Repulicans have known about it for years.

Makes you proud doesn’t it.

Apparently we have learned nothing from Watergate: It is the Cover-Up Stupid!

Tom Burka Puts it All Together for Us!

The irony of Predatorgate goes to the heart of this Rubber-stamp GOP Congress and Administration. And Dr. Tom has put it all together in a pithy and concise narrative that even the most intellectually challenged should be able to follow and understand.

Here is his faux reporting as opposed to the other Fox Faux Reporting:

October 04, 2006

Tenet Briefed Hastert on Page Scandal in 2001

Condoleeeza Rice Has No Recollection of Meeting

Highly placed sources say that CIA Director George Tenet called an emergency meeting with Dennis Hastert in 2001 to warn him of concerns he had regarding Congressman Mark Foley's interactions with pages. Tenet allegedly told Hastert of inappropriate emails and internet messaging in an effort to convince Hastert that there was a "possibly serious campaign problem."

Hastert denies such a meeting ever took place. "Nobody ever thought that a Congressman could use a computer to target pages," said Hastert.

Majority Leader John Boehner went further. "I didn't know we had pages," he said.

Some Republicans blamed the parents. "Who would put attractive underage boys and girls within reach of Washington's congressmen?" said Majority Whip Roy Blunt, calling the actions of parents of pages "negligent and irresponsible."

Sources say that Tenet later prepared a Majority Party Briefing (MPB) for Hastert entitled "Foley Determined To Type in U.S.," after which Hastert responded, "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

Americans did not know what to make of the latest news in the Foley scandal. "It's shocking," said Oklahoman Amelia Pissle. "But now that we know about it, I'm sure that it could never happen again."

And it isn’t just Fox Faux reporting that the Republicans Foley and Hastert are Democrats, the AP is doing it as well. And it is perfectly timed with Speaker Hastert’s blaming the whole Predatorgate Scandals on the Democrats and George Soros. Of course he has no evidence, but hey it’s not like the Republicans actually believe in evidence.

This would be why I am more of a Reuters and Agence France Presse fan.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Moral Superiority, Indeed!

Now it must be said that I don’t often agree with Paul Begala. I often find him to be too wishy-washy. Which brings me to what supposed GOP-Conservatives say about Liberals: too wishy-washy. You know the claim that Liberals are too caught up in grey and relative thinking and not thinking enough in “Moral” terms that are not relative, but black and white. The argument goes that thinking in terms that are “Moral” and thus not relative is the superior form of thought process that leads to a superior judgment.

So, we then come to the Republican handling of the Foley/Republican Leadership Scandal de jour which goes way beyond grey and relative thinking and judgment. It appears that attacks on “Liberal Moral Relativism” are, well, relative.

Here is what Mr. Begala has to say:

THE MYTH OF MORAL SUPERIORITY IS SHATTERED: First, congratulations to Washington Monthly for their timely and useful new blog. Paul Glastris has been kind enough to offer me some occasional real estate, and I intend to make the most of it until he comes to his senses.

Let’s begin with the biggest story of the week. But what is it? Is it that Jack Abramoff showered Bush aides with gifts, perhaps illegally, and that they in turn gave Abramoff insider info? Is it that the Bushies were (once again) caught lying about how close Abramoff was to Team W?

In the sweep of history, no doubt, the biggest story is Iraq. And Bob Woodward’s latest blockbuster: that Pres. Bush and his fellow chickenhawks have been lying to us about the level of violence in Iraq, is surely a development that historians will be talking about a hundred years hence. (I love the Bushies’ response: “This is nothing new.” They’re right of course. It’s nothing new that the Bush White House lies. All the time. But for them to be so brazen and blasé about their mendacity is pretty amazing.)

But in my world – campaigns and cable television – nothing matches the Mark Foley story.

I’ve long believed each party has its wrongheaded conceit. Many Democrats have a need to feel intellectually superior, while many Republicans have a need to feel morally superior. Both aggravate the hell out of me (a not-so-bright sinner); neither is remotely true.

But let us now say that as of the Third Day of the Tenth Month in the Year of Our Lord 2006, the Conservative Myth of Moral Superiority has been crushed.

ABC News reports that as long as five years ago, key Republican staffers knew that Foley was a potential danger to children, so they warned pages to stay away from him. And as we’ve all learned in the past few days, House GOP leaders from Dennis Hastert (R-Fat Hypocrite) on down knew something about Foley’s inappropriate behavior and did nothing.

GOP Congressional Campaign Chair Tom Reynolds (R-Soon-to-be-Minority) learned that Foley had been sending inappropriate emails to an underage boy who had been a page in the spring of this year. He did not call the cops. Did not call the FBI. Did not even call the toothless hounds at the House Ethics Committee. But he did take $100,000 from Foley for the NRCC, a contribution the New York Daily News called “unusually large.” Think about that. Reynolds knew Foley was having some sort of inappropriate contact with a child, but he took $100,000 from him. And his spokesliar says he’d be willing to take the rest of Foley’s remaining $2.7 million war chest. Reynolds’ flak didn’t say the money ought to go for counseling and compensation for the children and families this animal harmed. He said Reynolds would like to get his greedy, slimy political mitts on it.

Why? Power, baby. As Henry Kissinger (R-War Criminal) once said, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Like his colleagues in the GOP elite, Reynolds is so enamored with power, so seduced by the money that buys power, so enthralled with the Republicans’ one-party rule that he turned a blind eye to a red flag every dad in America would have noticed.

Tony Snow (R-Hair Spray) similarly has lost his moral bearings. The former Fox host (as if) told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien yesterday, “I hate to tell you, but it’s not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill. And there have been other scandals, as you know, that have been more than simply naughty e-mails.”

Naughty emails, Tony? Naughty emails? Is there anything more callous, more cavalier, more corrupt than laughing off a sexual predator as “naughty”?

The Capitol needs a change. Hell, it needs to be fumigated. And as the stench and filth of GOP sleaze slowly oozes away, let us never forget that these slimeballs, these dirtbags, these moral midgets think they’re better than you and me.

Mr. Begala (not being wishy-washy or relative), is right!

So, have you had enough?

Is there a God?

I have been thinking about this Foley revelation for quite sometime. It seems to me like the Perfect Storm, but I couldn’t quite get a handle on its significance. So, it took me sometime to get it. Or actually, to form a take on it.

I am for the most part an atheist, of sorts. I struggle with the idea of being a deist. I struggle because I believe that there is some type of higher energy form than us often pathetic lower life forms known as human beings. I say lower life forms because, I mean obviously look around folks, we are pathetic when it comes to evolving and using whatever intelligence we have been given.

So, my epiphany is that timing is everything. I think that our higher being is really pissed off as She has noticed that the drip, drip, drip She has been showing us (as to the recent incarnation of the GOP) the GOP’s degradation of our nation and its effect on not only our country but the world has not made any noticeable difference to Americans. All of the scandals (SCOTUS decision, Iraq, Abramoff, Ohio, Florida, K Street Project, DeLay, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Paris Hilton Unearned Income Tax Relief, Privatizing Social Security, Katrina, War Profiteering of Politically Connected Corporations, etc.) have failed in their drip, drip effect to effect the American Psyche and change our course.

I think that the moment came when the Senate decided on September 28, 2006 to make this nation, the U.S.A., a Torturing Dictatorship was more than She could stand. And so She did what She had to do which was drop the SEX BOMB. And She had to do that because all of the facts of corruption and malfeasance weren’t getting the American Public’s attention. But, a good sex scandal would. And She dropped the first drip of the Bomb on the evening of the Senate’s decision to codify Torture and Dictatorial Executive Powers.

How apropos! And get their attention it did!

So, now that a safe GOP seat has been taken down by the “being caught in bed with a live boy,” charge against a member of the “Family Values Crowd,” and has ostensibly been covered up by the GOP leadership for many years (using the Catholic Church Hierarchy Methodology) I have to think that timing is indeed the key here. I have a gut feeling that for whatever reason the first drip of this scandal fell on the American Public on the eve of the Senate Vote was not an accident.

The U.S.A. has clearly overstepped its bounds and that Higher Being has somehow stepped in to rein it in. Of course the question is whether or not the American Public really cares.

And that my friends is the question. If this SEX SCANDAL where a Congressman, who is in charge of and has authored Cyber-sex Legislation actually engages in Cyber-sex with children under his authority, and those who enabled and covered up for him in the GOP Leadership, aren’t held accountable we will know the actual character of this country.

Torture, okay; Dictatorial Executive Power, okay; Child Predators, okay!

What have we become? Not a pretty picture.


UPDATE: I have used limited links because if you don’t know what is going on here, what is the point to providing the links. But say you were interested you would definitely go here and here.

Update: And say you really did care, well maybe you have “Had Enough!” Check it out!