Tuli Can't Stop Talking

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

My Photo
Location: New York City

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

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bonnie and Alison!

How good does it get?

Sometimes you just need to hear the music.

And as you all know “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

Who would have thunk it? I bet that her audience didn’t think it!

Kevin is Right on About the Dems and Addington!

Over at Washington Monthly Mr. Drum’s point is well made:

LETTING ADDINGTON OFF THE HOOK....Here is Dana Milbank's take on David Addington's congressional testimony yesterday:

There he sat, hunched and scowling, at the witness table in front of the House Judiciary Committee: the bearded, burly form of the chief of staff and alter ego to the vice president — Cheney's Cheney, if you will — and the man most responsible for building President Bush's notion of an imperial presidency.

David Addington was there under subpoena. And he wasn't happy about it.

Could the president ever be justified in breaking the law? "I'm not going to answer a legal opinion on every imaginable set of facts any human being could think of," Addington growled. Did he consult Congress when interpreting torture laws? "That's irrelevant," he barked. Would it be legal to torture a detainee's child? "I'm not here to render legal advice to your committee," he snarled. "You do have attorneys of your own."

OK, so Addington is not only an arrogant prick, he's the kind of person who revels in being an arrogant prick. We've seen the type before and we'll see it again: smart, well-briefed, and completely convinced of his own self-righteousness.

But there's another aspect to this that never gets the attention it deserves: the Judiciary Committee members knew the kind of person Addington was. They knew he was smart and well-briefed and arrogant — and therefore difficult to question. But they all insisted on their ten minutes of glory anyway. Obviously the Republican members wouldn't have given up their time in order to put Addington under more pressure, but why weren't the Democrats willing to give up their collective time and turn it over to a staff member who was Addington's equal and could have grilled him for a consecutive hour or two? That's the only way it was even remotely plausible that they'd get anything useful out of him.

Instead we had a bunch of amateurs tossing easily evaded questions at him for a few minutes apiece. It was tailor-made to allow Addington to get away with saying nothing, and that's exactly what he did. Next time the politicians ought to pack away their egos and let someone else take the stage.

Andros Gets it Right

Over at Liberal Citizen Andros points out that the purpose of the “New and Improved”
FISA bill now pending is to cover up for this Administration’s Illegal behavior. So why has Obama voiced his support for it. Is it just a craven tack to the Right for the General Election or could he actually believe in Immunity for Illegal Behavior by the Administration and the Telecoms? We know that McSame does!

And yes the last time I looked the 4th Amendment hadn’t been repealed. But I have been keeping my eye on it!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Father is Older than McCain!

Now, my Dad brought me into the computer world. So what is it with McCain? There is Old and then there is Old. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out how it was possible that McSame would say something one day and then say he didn’t say it a day later. Had he not heard of “Roll the Video Tape?” Did he not know about Youtube? Well it appears that it is worse than that. As I have previously pointed out he doesn’t even know how to use a computer, period! Which brings me to “there is Old, and then there is Older.” And apparently age has nothing do with it.

Charles M. Blow raises McCain’s age and how McCain is dealing with it in an Op-Ed in the NYT’s today. It is an amusing and not so amusing piece.

June 28, 2008

Op-Ed Columnist

I’m So Old, (Insert Punch Line)


John McCain, when I was born, you were nearly six years older than my mother. Now, seven years into her retirement, you want a new job: the hardest job in the world. Wow!

Obviously, my mother isn’t running for president, but her age gives me a context for considering yours. And within that context, your age gives me pause.

Apparently, I’m not alone. In a Quinnipiac University poll of swing states (Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania) published last week, nearly a quarter of respondents said that your age made it less likely that they would vote for you. It wasn’t just the young who had an issue with it either. More than 20 percent of those 55 and older agreed. And, while one would expect a partisan divide, independents leaned more toward the Democratic point of view. That should give you pause.

Fair or not, this is a serious hurdle for you. So, why is it that you can’t seem to stop making light of it? That is a bad idea. (Imagine Barack Obama making a string of self-depreciating black jokes. See, bad idea.) Let’s review.

It was disconcerting when you joked on “Saturday Night Live” that we should be looking for someone “very, very, very, old” to be the next president.

I cringed when you flubbed a joke on MTV about being “older than dirt” with “more scars than Frankenstein.”

It was alarming, not quaint, when you sheepishly confessed your computer illiteracy — in the age of Google, YouTube and MySpace, when jihadists maintain their own Web sites and when you yourself are staring down the cannon of Obama’s Borg-like Internet juggernaut.

It is confusing when you sardonically call Obama a “young man.” That makes me ponder your age even more. After all, how old do you have to be to call a 46-year-old a young man? (Old enough to have to issue more than 1,100 pages of medical records to prove that you’re “fit,” I guess. The “young man” issued a one-page statement.)

Add to this joshing grandpa shtick the vast and immutable visual disparity between you and the cover boy, and you get two negatives that do not equal a positive. The camera loves him. You, not so much. It sucks the life out of you, and amplifies your awkward aesthetic — the wispy comb-over, the stilted grins, the blank expressions.

If I were your image consultant, I would start with two words: Stop it! There is no political Botox in your self-flagellating humor. Stay stoic. Act your age, and stop talking about it. And if you must discuss it, laud its merits — wisdom, not wit.

By the way, Senator McCain, my mother has learned to use a computer. It’s easy. No joke.

Now, my Father is a Warrior on the Internet and more than just proficient with his knowledge and use of a computer. McCain has no excuse. It is truly frightening to me, as a well known Luddite, that this man who wants to be the President of the United States in the Age of Computing not only doesn’t use a computer but apparently has no desire to know about using a computer and depends on his wife for computing. This may make Cindy more qualified than John for the highest office in the country in this telecomputing age.

This lack of interest on McSame’s part is one of the most troubling parts of his candidacy. Now he is like Bush in that he has an entitled Frat-boy Attitude and is Flip-Flopping and Pandering to the Bush Base as well as wanting to start Armageddon by bombing Iran. I personally think that we have had enough of that.

But at least GW knows how turn on a computer and can use email.

McCain: Worse than Bush!

The Wretched of the Earth

As I have said on many occasions, I am constantly dumbfounded by how many virulent Anti-Communists from back in the day have found their Inner-Stalin. Currently there are Republicans who have accused me of being a “Communist” because I am opposed to Torture, Rendition and the Unitary Executive. Okay, so it is obvious that there is a true disconnect with History in this attempted “smear” (full disclosure: I have never been a Communist though I have been and remain a Dirty Fucking Hippy.) But I know and have much anecdotal evidence that many Americans here in the States are relatively free of Historical and Civic knowledge.

To wit: I can’t tell you how crazy it makes me when “Folks” accuse me of not honoring our/my “Commander-in-Chief.” Well, the Muppet News Flash is that GW isn’t my “Commander-in-Chief.” I am not a member of the Armed Forces of which he is the “Commander-in-Chief.” I am a citizen of the U.S.A. GW works for me and he should be honoring me, not the other way around. Now, how simple and ignorant is it that “citizens” who actually vote think that GWB is the “Commander-in-Chief” of the United States of America? Have these folks never read the U.S. Constitution, etc.?

This brings me to the substance of the “smear” which is that I oppose domestic and international law breaking. That said, here is another Bob Herbert column which brings into question “What is America and what does it stand for?”

June 28, 2008

Op-Ed Columnist

All Too Human


Thursday was the 21st anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

It was also the same day that two Bush administration lawyers appeared before a House subcommittee to answer questions about their roles in providing the legal framework for harsh interrogation techniques that inevitably rose to the level of torture and shamed the U.S. before the rest of the world.

The lawyers, both former Justice Department officials, were David Addington, who is now Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, and John Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. There is no danger of either being enshrined as heroes in the history books of the future.

For most Americans, torture is something remote, abstract, reprehensible, but in the eyes of some, perhaps necessary — when the bomb is ticking, for example, or when interrogators are trying to get information from terrorists willing to kill Americans in huge numbers.

Reality offers something much different. We saw the hideous photos from Abu Ghraib. And now the Nobel Prize-winning organization Physicians for Human Rights has released a report, called “Broken Laws, Broken Lives,” that puts an appropriately horrifying face on a practice that is so fundamentally evil that it cannot co-exist with the idea of a just and humane society.

The report profiles 11 detainees who were tortured while in U.S. custody and then released — their lives ruined — without ever having been charged with a crime or told why they were detained. All of the prisoners were men, and all were badly beaten. One was sodomized with a broomstick, the report said, and forced by his interrogators to howl like a dog while a soldier urinated on him.

He fainted, the report said, “after a soldier stepped on his genitals.”

Officials at Physicians for Human Rights said extensive medical and psychological examinations were conducted — and in two cases prior medical records were consulted — to help corroborate the testimony of the detainees. The organization has a long and credible history of documenting such abuses.

Leonard Rubenstein, president of Physicians for Human Rights, said: “In doing the evaluations, we used international standards, medical assessments of torture and ill treatment, and meticulously assessed physical and psychological evidence of torture and ill treatment, and the long-term physical and mental health consequences.”

The most effective element of the report is the way in which it takes torture out of the realm of the abstract to show not just the horror and cruelty of the torture itself, but the way in which it absolutely devastates the body, soul and psyche of its victims.

The detainees profiled in the report were abused at facilities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Three said they had been subjected to electric shocks. One said he was stabbed in the cheek with a screwdriver and hit in the head and in the jaw with a rifle.

In an example of how medical evidence was used to back up a detainee’s account, the report said scarring on one of the prisoner's thumbs “was highly consistent with the scarring caused by electric shock.”

In addition to the physical mistreatment, the detainees reported that various gruesome forms of humiliation, including sexual humiliation, were pervasive. They said men were paraded nude in front of female soldiers, forced to watch pornography, and forced to disrobe before female interrogators.

The sheer number of different ways in which detainees were reported to have been abused was mind-boggling. They were deprived of sleep, forced to endure extremes of heat and cold, chained in crouching positions for 18 to 20 hours at a time, told that their female relatives would be raped, that they themselves would be killed, and on and on. All to no good end.

The ostensible purpose of mistreating prisoners is to inflict pain and induce disorientation and despair, creating so much agony that the prisoners give up valuable intelligence in order to end the suffering. But torture is not an interrogation technique; it’s a criminal attack on a human being.

What the report makes clear is that once the green light is given to torture, the guaranteed result is an ever-widening landscape of broken bodies, ruined lives and profound shame to all involved.

Nearly all of the detainees profiled in the report have experienced excruciating psychological difficulties since being released. Several said that they had contemplated suicide. As one put it: “No sorrow can be compared to my torture experience in jail. That is the reason for my sadness.”

Congress and the public do not know nearly enough about the nation’s post-Sept. 11 interrogation practices. When something as foul as torture is on the table, there is a tendency to avert one’s eyes from the most painful truths.

It’s a tendency we should resist.

As Fanon and Lifton have pointed out ad nauseam the torturers become the Wretched of the Earth as well as the Tortured.

The Soul of the United States is no longer hanging in the balance. Our Collective Soul has been flushed down the drain of lost humanity. We have become the Wretched of the Earth.

Averting our eyes will not change that fact.

Grover Norquist: Pig

Well it is not surprising to anyone who knows me that I want Grover taken down. If I ever had a nemesis he is it. So, am I shocked that not only is he a corporatist and class warrior for the privileged but also a racist pig? Hell no! As I have said before the only thing the Repubs have going for them in this election season is red-baiting and race-baiting. But, I have to say that I am always amused by the way the MSM anoints and gives voice to the Right-Wing Wurlitzer. So, here we have an article from the LAT’s on Grover, “Drown Government in the Bathtub,” Norquist and his wisdom on the coming General Election.

Grover Norquist has a label for Barack Obama

John McCain has been trying hard of late to link Barack Obama with Jimmy Carter in the public consciousness, hoping that the "ineffectual" label that many voters affix to the former president will prove transferable.

But Grover Norquist -- the conservative activist who specializes in promoting an anti-tax agenda and, more generally, revels in the role of agent provocateur -- is offering a different comparison.

Norquist dropped by The Times' Washington bureau today and, as part of his negative critique of Obama's liberal stances on economic issues and other matters, he termed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee "John Kerry with a tan."

Since Norquist isn't running for anything, he can get away with such remarks; we doubt McCain will be incorporating the line into his speeches anytime soon.

Norquist's clout on the right is such, however, that McCain and his aides will pay attention to his thoughts on who would fit well in the second spot on the GOP's presidential ticket. And in his chat with Times' reporters and editors, he was especially high on Bobby Jindal, the recently elected governor of Louisiana.

Norquist touted Jindal's success in pushing through tax-cut and ethics reform legislation during his short tenure as Louisiana's chief executive (no mention was made of the flap surrounding the governor for failing, so far, to live up to a promise to block a pay raise for state legislators).

Nominating Jindal for vice president also would generate a mother lode of contributions for Republicans from Americans of East Indian descent, Norquist predicted.

Another recipient of kind words as a veep prospect was Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota; Norquist praised his record on taxes save for one "mistake" -- approving a hike in state cigarette taxes in years past.

Norquist's most recent book is entitled "Leave Us Alone," which makes the case that Republicans can put together a post-Ronald Reagan governing coalition by appealing to voters who want government to stay out of their affairs.

Along those lines, he predicted that one reason conservative radio talk show hosts will rally behind McCain -- who many of them have been cool toward -- is that some Democratic leaders are advocating a return of the "fairness doctrine." That's the abandoned federal rule that required broadcasters to give equal time to opposing political viewpoints.

I know that the “Fairness Doctrine” is a terrifying thing and a real uniting issue for Right-Wing Republicans. God forbid “Fairness” had anything to do with Democracy!

But, why does the MSM give a voice to anti-democratic types like Grover Norquist in the first place? Does the MSM hate Democracy and America?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I have added two videos to my original George Carlin post. They are two of my favorites. Though his thoughts on oxymorons and “Raw Sewerage (Do people actually cook that stuff?)” are way up there.

From back in the day and I remember it well:

Thank you Al Sleet and folks you introduced me to GC’s comedic genius.

Here is more at Youtube.com. Because you know you can never get enough.

And remember “Inside every Silver Cloud there is a Dark Lining.” So, don’t sweat the “Thunder Storms.”

So as George Carlin would say, he didn’t “Pass Away,” he died.

Senator Dodd: On the Rule of Law!

He is doing it again and trying to protect the U.S. Constitution as he has sworn to do.

Thank you Senator. You make me proud. And you are making our Founding Fathers proud by standing up for the Rule of Law which was so important to them. Let us not forget the Rule of Law is what this Country was founded on.

UPDATE: What we all talk about and wonder at the “Public Defenders Office” where I work is could it be possible that the next legislation passed by Congress will be Immunity for all of our clients, who are indigent, who have been convicted for a $10 bag of dope in the past or for any purchase in the future? And if not, why not? It isn’t as though they could afford the hoards of legal specialists on staff to tell them that what they were doing was Un-Constitutional. Though it seems that Qwest knew that!

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin


1937 – 2008

Here is Farhi’s appreciation:

A Comedian With Two Faces
For Carlin, There Was Angry George and Gentle George. Both Were Memorable.

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 23, 2008; 3:54 PM

Two personae always seemed to be in uneasy coexistence during George Carlin's preposterously long and fertile comic career. Both George Carlins could amuse and both could be trenchant, but they came at their targets from wildly different angles.

Angry George was the bearded iconoclast of the 1970s who shot to heroic counterculture status by picking up Lenny Bruce's mantle as a scathing social critic. During the Vietnam War, Angry George left no hypocrisy unturned. He sprayed comic acid on whatever moved across the front page: religion, politics, feminism, sex, manners, environmentalism, drugs, death.

Gentle George trafficked in small things. He was the absurdist, the semanticist, the wordplay artist. Gentle George's most memorable works are tributes to Carlin's keen powers of observation and Swiftian ear for the English language . This side of Carlin produced "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV," "Baseball and Football" (his ingenious dissection of the differences between our national pastimes), and the more recent "Modern Man," Carlin's verbally acrobatic piece of spoken-word art.

"Seven Words," which remains accurate to this day (if you don't count cable), is one of the most famous "blue" comedy routines ever performed. Shocking though its subject matter is -- or at least was, when he debuted it in 1972 -- Carlin's treatment of the material is so relentlessly cheerful that it now seems almost impossible to be offended. Compare Carlin's riffs on profanity (especially the passage in which he compares one of the words to a snack food) with any blunt-force "shock jock" or less-talented stand-up of the past few decades.

Carlin, who died last night in Los Angeles at 71, was at his least funny when he let his anger and natural anti-authority streak lapse into nihilism. Once, on a tour that came through Washington in the early 1990s, Carlin proposed that "anything could be funny," even rape. He then launched into a cringe-inducing monologue about female victimization. It could essentially be read as an attack on political correctness -- a common theme for Carlin -- but whatever it was, it wasn't funny in the least.

Then there was his genuine anger at other pastimes. Golf courses, he once suggested, should be turned over to homeless people (Carlin had a lifelong hatred of golf, having been fired once in Las Vegas after an audience of golfers complained about his cursing).

His subject matter ran the gamut of the sometimes socially verboten. In one of his HBO specials, Carlin's topics included yeast infections, autoerotic asphyxia, an all-suicide TV channel and revolting involuntary bodily functions.

It was fascinating to watch the nearly-70ish Carlin -- wizened and weakened by years of heart trouble and a cocaine habit -- pushing miles beyond the interplanetary boundaries of good taste. But so much of the material invited not laughter but a thunderstruck "wow" at the aggressiveness with which he pushed into darkness.

It was easier to love the Carlin who delighted in pointing out the absurdity of the trivial, and the simply absurd -- the kind of humor that clearly inspired the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Steven Wright.

There were Carlin's ever-growing list of oxymorons -- "plastic glass," "holy war," "military intelligence" -- and redundancies, such as "raw sewage" ("Do some people cook the stuff?").

As much as Orwell, Carlin saw in language the power not just to obscure, but also to twist and pervert. "I can remember when I was young that poor people lived in slums," he once riffed. "Not anymore. These days, the economically disadvantaged occupy substandard housing in the inner cities. It's so much nicer for them."

And he once asserted: "If honesty were introduced into American life, everything would collapse."

Days ago, it was announced that Carlin -- whose breakthrough album, "FM & AM," was recorded at the Cellar Door in Washington in 1971 -- would receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The Kennedy Center announced this morning that it will go ahead with the award on Nov. 10, when it hosts an evening of tributes for Carlin.

As an UCLA student in the late-'70s, I interviewed Carlin for the school paper. He arrived in an exquisite dark-blue Bentley, which shocked me. Wasn't Carlin supposed to be a proto-hippie, the man who railed against America's consumer culture?

The man who emerged from that magnificent vehicle, though, did look the part. With his stringy long hair, tangled beard and T-shirt and jeans, Carlin could have been the much elder brother of the kids striding around campus. We spoke for perhaps two hours, sitting on the grass under a tree. Carlin was by then a comic superstar -- only the original "Saturday Night Live" cast members and such rising absurdists as Steve Martin and Richard Pryor, were as big -- but he was so modest, quiet and understated that his presence barely registered on campus.

I like to think that I caught Carlin right at a critical fork in his career: the phase between anger and light. He said then that he was in transition, moving from commenting about "things that divide us" (war, religion, sex, foul language) to "things we have in common" (such as the fact that there always seem to be two pennies in the tray in the long middle desk drawer). By that, he meant the comic epigrams, absurdisms and language bits that would find their way into his best-selling books ("Braindroppings") and onto a thousand Web sites. Stuff like, "If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten."

But instead of becoming one kind of comedian, Carlin did something more interesting: He became two. Gentle George was then in gestation; Angry George survived and matured until Carlin's ailing heart gave out Sunday night.

"You live 80 years and at best you get about six minutes of pure magic," he once said.

Carlin's time was shorter, but he produced many more minutes of magic for everyone else.

Update: Bullshit:

And as a gift to the Bullshit Supremes:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tent Cities in the U.S.A.

Grapes of Wrath Folks!

I am not thinking that this situation is going to be getting better. But I could be wrong. I think that the problem will get worse because the meltdown of the “Big Shit Pile” has only really started.

1962’s Real Nightmare.

October 1962 stands out in my life as the scariest of times. I went to bed every evening unsure if the world would exist the next day. They were ten of the worst days of my young life. Now I am saying this as someone whose child almost died and who has survived, to date, terminal and inoperable cancer. The “Cuban Missile Crisis” actually had to do with “Real Weapons of Mass Destruction.” And the outcome was totally different from how our current administration dealt with the faux WMD. Thank God!

Michael Dobbs is a fine journalist who reports for the Washington Post. He has a new book out that is getting great reviews from those who are in the “Know.”

Here is the review by Richard Holbrooke in the Sunday NYT’s Book Review:

June 22, 2008

Real W.M.D.’s


Skip to next paragraph


Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War.

By Michael Dobbs.

Illustrated. 426 pp. Alfred. A. Knopf. $28.95.

Any new entry in the crowded field of books on the 1962 Cuban missile crisis must pass an immediate test: Is it just another recapitulation, or does it increase our net understanding of this seminal cold war event? By focusing on the activities of the American, Soviet and Cuban militaries during those tense October days, Michael Dobbs’s “One Minute to Midnight” passes this test with flying colors. The result is a book with sobering new information about the world’s only superpower nuclear confrontation — as well as contemporary relevance.

Dobbs, a reporter for The Washington Post, states his central thesis concisely in a description of the state of play on Oct. 25, the 10th day of the crisis: “The initial reactions of both leaders had been bellicose. Kennedy had favored an air strike; Khrushchev thought seriously about giving his commanders in Cuba authority to use nuclear weapons. After much agonizing, both were now determined to find a way out that would not involve armed conflict. The problem was that it was practically impossible for them to communicate frankly with one another. Each knew very little about the intentions and motivations of the other side, and tended to assume the worst. Messages took half a day to deliver. ... The question was no longer whether the leaders of the two superpowers wanted war — but whether they had the power to prevent it.”

Ten days earlier, a U-2 spy plane had produced photographic evidence that the Soviets were sneaking nuclear missiles into Cuba. In “High Noon in the Cold War,” published four years ago, Max Frankel described this reckless action as “worthy of the horse at Troy.” Within hours of the discovery, Kennedy made a decision: the United States would not tolerate the missiles remaining in Cuba. During the next week, a small group of officials who would go down in history as the Executive Committee, or ExComm, deliberated in total secrecy. Most narratives focus on the dramatic debates in the Cabinet Room, during which America’s leaders changed their positions frequently as they searched desperately for the proper mix of diplomatic and military pressure.

Dobbs gives relatively short shrift to that first week, covering it in only 54 pages. His focus — extending over almost half the book — is Oct. 27, “Black Saturday,” the darkest day of the cold war. On that day a Soviet missile team in Cuba shot down a U-2, killing its pilot; the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended immediate military retaliation; Castro sent Khrushchev a wildly emotional letter saying that he was facing an imminent American invasion, and Khrushchev sent a second letter to Kennedy, far tougher than an earlier one. That night men in Washington went to sleep not knowing (as Dean Rusk told me later) if they would awake in the morning, and wives debated whether to stay in Washington with their husbands or go to safer rural hideaways. (Almost all stayed, including Jackie Kennedy.)

By Black Saturday, the two leaders seem to have been transformed by the magnitude of this crisis. But as they searched for a peaceful, face-saving way out, their military machines kept preparing for war. Dobbs is at his best in reconstructing the near misses, misunderstandings and unauthorized activities that could have led to an accidental war. He follows secret C.I.A. infiltration teams deep into the swamps of Cuba as they try to carry out a previously authorized plan to sabotage a copper mine. He traces the flight of a U-2 pilot, Chuck Maultsby, who, confused by the Northern Lights, wanders hundreds of miles into Soviet airspace and somehow escapes without triggering a Soviet reaction. (“There’s always some sonofabitch who doesn’t get the word,” Kennedy notes with characteristic irony.) Dobbs also finds Soviet missile unit commanders in Cuba who, uninstructed by Moscow, prepare to fire missiles at the United States on their own authority if they feel threatened. And all the while, some military leaders in each country agitate for military action.

In Washington, the Joint Chiefs, whose members include several World War II giants, push for action. Gen. Curtis LeMay, the brutal, cigar-chomping Air Force chief of staff, with 3,000 nuclear weapons under his command, barks at Kennedy that his blockade of Cuba is “almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich.” In a dramatic confrontation in a Pentagon war room, the chief of naval operations tells Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara that the Navy will handle any engagement with the Soviets in accordance with long-standing Navy procedures and tradition, and needs no supervision from civilians. Furious, McNamara puts new procedures into place that give him and the president greater direct operational control — or so they think.

More than 40 years later, there is no longer any dispute about the most critical meeting of the crisis. It started at 8:05 p.m. on Black Saturday, when, at Kennedy’s instruction, his brother Bobby summoned the Soviet ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin, to his cavernous office in the Justice Department, and told him that the crisis had reached its moment of truth. “We’re going to have to make certain decisions within the next 12, or possibly 24 hours,” he declared. With the downing of the American U-2 that day, Bobby Kennedy said the American military, and not only the generals, were demanding that the president “respond to fire with fire.” This meeting, coupled with a letter to Khrushchev skillfully drafted by Bobby Kennedy, Ted Sorensen and others, led to the Soviet announcement the next day that the missiles would be removed from Cuba.

But threats were only part of Kennedy’s brilliantly calibrated approach. He also offered Khrushchev a public pledge that the United States would not invade Cuba again, a virtually meaningless offer from Washington but politically valuable for Khrushchev with Castro. And there was one more thing — a secret both sides obscured for years — the story of the Jupiter missiles in Turkey. The Soviets had suggested they would remove their missiles from Cuba if the United States withdrew its 15 medium-range Jupiter missiles from Turkey. By the time these missiles had been deployed in early 1962, they were already obsolete; Kennedy had asked that they be removed before the missile crisis, but no action had been taken.

Kennedy was more than willing to dismantle them, but he was determined not to leave a public impression that he had made any sort of deal or “trade” with Moscow. Asked by Dobrynin about the Jupiters, Bobby Kennedy said they were not an “insurmountable obstacle” but that they could not be linked — ever — to the withdrawal of the Soviet missiles. Bobby Kennedy also said that there would have to be a time lag of several months before their removal. It was this “non-deal deal” that opened the door for a resolution. In “Thirteen Days,” his posthumously published chronicle of the crisis, Bobby Kennedy carefully edited his account of the Dobrynin meeting to remove any hint of a deal on Turkey. But almost from the beginning, many people suspected the truth, and looking back on it today, it may seem surprising to see how hard the Kennedys sought to conceal it. But in 1962, with the midterm elections days away, Kennedy did not want to appear weak.

Dobbs’s research uncovers some juicy nuggets for history buffs. My favorite is the debunking of the once-famous “back-channel” between the ABC reporter John Scali and Aleksandr Feklisov, a K.G.B. station chief. The Kennedy administration attached great importance to this connection, and spent much time drafting a message for Scali to give to Feklisov. But on the basis of extensive analysis and interviews, Dobbs believes that the so-called back channel was a self-generated effort by an ambitious spy to send some information to his bosses in Moscow, as well as self-promotion by an ambitious journalist, who parlayed his meetings with the K.G.B. agent into a public legend that eventually led to his becoming the American ambassador to the United Nations. Dobbs, one of the most thorough journalists in Washington, concludes that “there is no evidence” the K.G.B. cable containing Scali’s message “played any role in Kremlin decision-making on the crisis, or was even read by Khrushchev.” He calls it “a classic example of miscommunication.” Nonetheless, Dobbs adds wryly, “the Scali-Feklisov meeting would become part of the mythology of the Cuban missile crisis.”

“One Minute to Midnight” is filled with similar insights that will change the views of experts and help inform a new generation of readers. For those not versed in the full story, I would recommend reading this book in conjunction with Frankel’s short and elegant overview. For those already familiar with the crisis, Dobbs’s account more than stands on its own.

It is hard to read this book without thinking about what would have happened if the current administration had faced such a situation — real weapons of mass destruction only 90 miles from Florida; the Pentagon urging “surgical” air attacks followed by an invasion; threatening letters from the leader of a real superpower and senators calling the president “weak” just weeks before a midterm Congressional election.

Life does not offer us a chance to play out alternative history, but it is not unreasonable to assume that the team that invaded Iraq would have attacked Cuba. And if Dobbs is right, Cuba and the Soviet Union would have fought back, perhaps launching some of the missiles already in place. One can only conclude that our nation was extremely fortunate to have had John F. Kennedy as president in October 1962. Like all presidents, he made his share of mistakes, but when the stakes were the highest imaginable, he rose to the occasion like no other president in the last 60 years — defining his goal clearly and then, against the demands of hawks within his administration, searching skillfully for a peaceful way to achieve it.

Mr. Holbrooke connects the dots to this administration’s attitude and foreign policy actions. I have been thinking about this for years as October 1962 has haunted me for years. Thank you: Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev for considering the “Big” picture.

I look forward to reading this book in its entirety. Though I admit that I am afraid of reliving this experience.

SCOTUS: One Vote from Tyranny!

If there is anything that is crucial about this upcoming election, besides everything that is, it is the Federal Judiciary and the U.S. Supreme Court in particular. Now I have to admit that I worked for the Federal Judiciary and found it to be a great experience though frustrating at times. Presidential appointees to the Judiciary are most important. That is why it is so important who the President is and who controls the Senate.

Now it is truly scary that four of the SCOTUS’s Justices have so little trust in the U. S. Constitution and the Federal Judiciary, but there you have it. It is also disheartening that so few Americans and many Politicos have little or no understanding as to what their obligation is to the Constitution. The Politicos have sworn to uphold and protect the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law and yet they seem totally dumbfounded by the notion. I took the same Oath that they took and it is not about “Protecting Americans.” The Oath is about “Protecting the Rule of Law.” And the Constitution is the “Rule of Law.”

So here is Linda Greenhouse on the Supremes’s latest rebuff, thank God for J. Kennedy, of the Bush Administration’s tortured, pun intended, legal argument for making Habeas Corpus disappear and irrelevant in its GLWOT. The Long and the Short of their argument is “Long Live the King.”

June 13, 2008

Justices Rule Terror Suspects Can Appeal in Civilian Courts


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered its third consecutive rebuff to the Bush administration’s handling of the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, ruling 5 to 4 that the prisoners there have a constitutional right to go to federal court to challenge their continued detention.

The court declared unconstitutional a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that, at the administration’s behest, stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions from the detainees seeking to challenge their designation as enemy combatants.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the truncated review procedure provided by a previous law, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, “falls short of being a constitutionally adequate substitute” because it failed to offer “the fundamental procedural protections of habeas corpus.”

Justice Kennedy declared: “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”

The decision, left some important questions unanswered. These include “the extent of the showing required of the government” at a habeas corpus hearing in order to justify a prisoner’s continued detention, as Justice Kennedy put it, as well as the handling of classified evidence and the degree of due process to which the detainees are entitled.

Months or years of continued litigation may lie ahead, unless the Bush administration, or the administration that follows it, reverses course and closes the prison at Guantánamo Bay, which now holds 270 detainees. Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the Federal District Court here said the court’s judges would meet in the next few days with lawyers for both sides to decide “how we can approach our task most effectively and efficiently.”

There are some 200 habeas corpus petitions awaiting action in the District Court, including those filed by the 37 detainees whose appeals were before the Supreme Court in the case decided on Thursday, Boumediene v. Bush, No. 06-1195.

Despite the open questions, the decision, which was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen G. Breyer, was categorical in its rejection of the administration’s basic arguments. Indeed, the court repudiated the fundamental legal basis for the administration’s strategy, adopted in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, of housing prisoners captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere at the United States naval base in Cuba, where Justice Department lawyers advised the White House that domestic law would never reach.

In a concurring opinion on Thursday, Justice Souter said the ruling was “no bolt out of the blue,” but rather should have been anticipated by anyone who read the court’s decision in Rasul v. Bush in 2004. That decision, part of the initial round of Supreme Court review of the administration’s Guantánamo policies, held that because the long-term lease with Cuba gave the United States unilateral control over the property, the base came within the statutory jurisdiction of the federal courts to hear habeas corpus petitions.

Congress responded the next year, in the Detainee Treatment Act, by amending the statute to remove jurisdiction, and it did so again in the Military Commissions Act to make clear that it wanted the removal to apply to cases already in the pipeline. The decision on Thursday went beyond the statutory issue to decide, for the first time, the underlying constitutional question.

President Bush, appearing with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy at a news conference in Rome, said he was unhappy with the decision. “We’ll abide by the court’s decision — that doesn’t mean I have to agree with it,” the president said, adding that “it was a deeply divided court, and I strongly agree with those who dissented.”

The dissenting opinions, one by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the other by Justice Scalia, were vigorous. Each signed the other’s, and the other two dissenters, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., signed both.

Of the two dissenting opinions, Justice Antonin Scalia’s was the more apocalyptic, predicting “devastating” and “disastrous consequences” from the decision. “It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed,” he said. “The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.” He said the decision was based not on principle, “but rather an inflated notion of judicial supremacy.”

Chief Justice Roberts, in somewhat milder tones, said the decision represented “overreaching” that was “particularly egregious” and left the court open to “charges of judicial activism.” The decision, he said, “is not really about the detainees at all, but about control of federal policy regarding enemy combatants.” The public will “lose a bit more control over the conduct of this nation’s foreign policy to unelected, politically unaccountable judges,” he added.

The focus of the chief justice’s ire was the choice the majority made to go beyond simply ruling that the detainees were entitled to file habeas corpus petitions. Under two unrelated Supreme Court precedents, formal habeas corpus procedures are not necessarily required, as long as Congress provides an “adequate substitute.”

Congress in this instance did provide an alternative procedure that might be viewed as a substitute. The Detainee Treatment Act gave detainees access to the federal appeals court here to challenge their designation as enemy combatants, made by a military panel called a Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

The detainees’ lawyers argued that because this process fell far short of the review provided by traditional habeas corpus, it could not be considered an adequate substitute. The appeals court itself never decided that question, because it ruled in February 2007 that the detainees had no right to habeas corpus in the first place, and that all their petitions must be dismissed. It was this ruling that the Supreme Court reviewed on Thursday.

Justice Kennedy said the Supreme Court, having decided that there was a right to habeas corpus, would “in the ordinary course” send the case back to the appeals court for it to consider “in the first instance” whether the alternative procedure was an adequate substitute.

But he said “the gravity of the separation-of-powers issues raised by these cases and the fact that these detainees have been denied meaningful access to a judicial forum for a period of years render these cases exceptional” and required the justices to decide the issue for themselves rather than incur further delay.

The majority’s conclusion was that the alternative procedure had major flaws, mostly because it did not permit a detainee to present evidence that might clear him of blame but was either withheld from the record of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal or was learned of subsequently. The tribunals’ own fact-finding ability was so limited as to present “considerable risk of error,” thus requiring full-fledged scrutiny on appeal, Justice Kennedy said.

Eric M. Freedman, a habeas corpus expert at Hofstra University Law School, said the court was “on the right side of history” to reject what he called “habeas lite.” Calling the decision “a structural reaffirmation of what the rule of law means,” Professor Freedman, who was a consultant to the detainees’ lawyers, said it was as important a ruling on the separation of powers as the Supreme Court has ever issued.

Mr. Bush, in his statement in Rome, said the administration would decide whether to ask Congress to weigh in once more. Success at such an effort would appear unlikely, given that the Supreme Court decision was praised not only by the Democratic leadership, but also by the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Senator Specter had voted for the jurisdiction-stripping measure, but then filed a brief at the court arguing that the law was unconstitutional.

In addition to removing habeas corpus jurisdiction, the Military Commissions Act also provided authority for the military commissions that the court’s 2006 decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld said was lacking. The case the court decided on Thursday did not directly concern military commissions, which are due to conduct trials of the several dozen detainees who have been charged with war crimes. The Justice Department said on Thursday that the decision would not delay those trials.

Divided as the Supreme Court was in this case, the justices were unanimous, surprisingly so, in a second habeas corpus ruling on Thursday. Again rejecting the Bush administration’s position, the court held in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts that two civilian United States citizens being held in American military custody in Iraq were entitled to file habeas corpus petitions.

Proceeding to the merits of the petitions, the court then ruled against the two men, Mohammad Munaf and Shawqi Ahmad Omar, who are facing criminal charges under Iraqi law. Their release through habeas corpus “would interfere with the sovereign authority of Iraq to punish offenses against its laws committed within its borders,” Chief Justice Roberts said.

The administration had argued in the case, Munaf v. Geren, No. 06-1666, that because the men were technically held by the 26-nation multinational force in Iraq, federal courts did not have jurisdiction to hear their habeas corpus petitions. Chief Justice Roberts said that, to the contrary, what mattered was that the men were held by “American soldiers subject to a United States chain of command.”

The reactions of the McSame and Obama camps are naturally diametrically opposed. Could it have to do with Senator Obama being a lawyer and actually having some familiarity with the U.S. Constitution? I’m not saying, I am just saying! Not to mention that Senator McSame may not actually remember the Oath he took upon ascending to Senatorship? Again, I am not saying, I am just saying!

So here is an article in the Times “reporting” on the difference:

June 13, 2008

McCain and Obama Split on Justices’ Guantánamo Ruling


BOSTON — The presidential candidates took differing positions Thursday on the Supreme Court decision granting foreign terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay a right to challenge their detention in civilian courts. Senator John McCain expressed concern about the ruling, while Senator Barack Obama lauded it.

Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama have both long advocated closing the Guantánamo detention center but have disagreed on the rights of prisoners there.

Mr. McCain said here Thursday morning that he had not had time to read the decision but that “it obviously concerns me,” adding, “These are unlawful combatants; they’re not American citizens.”

Mr. McCain said he thought “we should pay attention” to the dissent by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., which argued that the steps established by the administration and Congress in creating review tribunals run by the military were more than sufficiently generous as a way for detainees to challenge their status.

Still, the senator said, “it is a decision the Supreme Court has made, and now we need to move forward.”

Mr. Obama issued a statement calling the decision “a rejection of the Bush administration’s attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantánamo” that he said was “yet another failed policy supported by John McCain.”

“This is an important step,” he said of the ruling, “toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy.”

Mr. McCain, who was held for more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was one of the chief Senate architects of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which denied detainees a right to challenge their status in civilian courts.

During the drafting of that law, he pressed the administration to ensure legal protections against torture. But he also argued that the status review tribunals gave detainees adequate rights to challenge their detention, an argument the justices rejected Thursday.

Mr. Obama, who opposed the legislation, said Thursday, “I voted against the Military Commissions Act because its sloppiness would inevitably lead to the court, once again, rejecting the administration’s extreme legal position.”

Now it would seem to me that someone, that would be you Senator McSame, who supports “Victory” in Iraq and spreading Democracy all over the World would also be for the Bill of Rights and the 4th Amendment and Democracy. And say this Senator was also someone who had been tortured, one would think that he would also really support International Law and Domestic Law upholding basic Human Civil Rights and Liberties and be opposed to the Unitary Executive with Dictatorial Powers like they had in North Vietnam. But then I could be wrong.

So, it seems that this election cycle really comes down to who supports the Rule of Law and who wants to continue the shredding of the Rule of Law and thereby supporting Tyranny.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Barack on Father’s Day.

Parenting is the hardest job there is to be done. It isn’t just Black Fathers who are absent. Many White and Black Fathers are absent even when they are present. We need to redefine what a father is. It isn’t just planting a seed but it requires nurturing the sprout into a full person. And fathering isn’t defined that way to date. There do appear to be, anecdotally, some men actually engaged in parenting. But not enough are actually engaged in the hard work of parenting. Too often they are considered as helping out. Well helping out suggests a lack of responsibility and a need for direction. As long as any man considers it “babysitting” when taking care of their own children the world of parenting hasn’t progressed very far.

No mother considers it “babysitting” when taking care of her children. Why would a father?

Now I must say that I am not all that up for the Christian Talk and Dog Whistles but the overall message is redemptive.

Obama Speaks to Us All!

I saw this and was so impressed. As you all know I was an Edwards fan and I still am. But seeing Barack Obama speak at his Chicago Headquarters to his staff and supporters I started to cry. He is right, now that he has won he has an obligation to win. And like him, I too am inspired!

I’m now Fired Up and Ready to Go!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The “Liberal” Blogosphere?

I am not sure what that means any more.

I think that Kevin has a point in this post. It became very difficult for me, as just a dem and not a supporter of either Hillary of Barack, to read many of my favorite blogs for all the partisan screaming.

So, I am glad the primary season is over and we can now UNITE!

Here is what he has to say:

June 13, 2008

LOOKING BACK....Paul Krugman:

You can make a very good case that Barack Obama was the right person for the Democrats to nominate, and Hillary Clinton the wrong choice. But the way we got there was terrible. The raw sexism, in all too many cases coming from alleged progressives — see above [an odious Oliphant cartoon –ed] — was part of it. So, too, was the inability of many alleged progressives to see that the news media created the narrative of Hillary Clinton as race-baiter in much the same way that, 8 years ago, they created the narrative of Al Gore as congenital liar — by assembling a montage of quotes taken out of context and willfully misinterpreted.

There's no question that Hillary made her share of mistakes and gave Obama supporters plenty of legitimate reasons to dislike her. And I'd cavil a bit about the race-baiting: yes, the narrative careened out of control at some points, but some of the incidents were real, not merely willfull misinterpretations from the press.

That said, plenty of liberals really ought to take a long look in the mirror now that the race is over. It was an unhappy experience for me watching people I know and respect turn into minor league versions of Richard Mellon Scaife over the past few months. Living through that once was quite enough, thankyouverymuch. Twice was excruciating.

Now, can we all get on the “Take Down McSame Train?”

Timothy John Russert, Jr.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Voter Suppression Working to Eliminate Non-Voter Fraud.

That is right, our governments, state and federal, are working to supposedly eliminate Voter Fraud. But what they are eliminating is suffrage.

At a fair-election coalition press conference at the League of Women Voters' headquarters in Jefferson City, a few nuns came forward to express their concerns that the Catholic sisters in their convents lack the required ID. In fact, before the news conference, Sister Sandy Schwartz of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary in St. Louis reported the results of an informal survey of nuns in her order."Fifteen [of 35 voters] did not have state-issued photo IDs," she observed. "This may sound like a good idea at first, but once you stop to think about who would really be affected, this is going to keep a lot of our loved ones from being able to vote."

The strict documentary requirements can be hard for Missouri nuns and other senior citizens, even married women of all ages, in obtaining their birth certificates. A survey by NYU's Brennan Center for Justice found that 52 percent of married woman don't have a birth certificate in their current name, and 17 percent of citizens age 65 and over don't have access to any citizenship documents.

At the press conference, Lillie Lewis, an elderly African-American woman, told how she struggled to get a birth certificate in order to secure a state-issued photo ID under the state's rigid "Show Me Proof" law passed in 2005. "I have tried everything to get a copy of my birth certificate," Lewis said, "but Mississippi says they have no record of my birth." So she likely won't be able to obtain a new driver's license, and, as a result, she declared, "My right to vote will be denied."

She was joined at the press conference by the Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who strongly opposed the previous photo ID law. "As Missouri's chief elections official, it's my job to ensure fair elections, and elections cannot be fair if eligible voters are not allowed to vote," said Carnahan. "What we heard today is that getting copies [of the documents needed to obtain a government ID] can be costly, time consuming and sometimes impossible."

The harsh reality of disenfranchisement has already been felt in Arizona, with its sweeping proof-of-citizenship registration requirement passed as part of the anti-immigrant Proposition 200 referendum in 2004. According to Arizona ACORN's Monica Sanschafer, who is heading up an effort to help 20,000 Arizonans register to vote, they have seen the effectiveness of their voter registration efforts cut in half because between 10 percent and 30 percent of low-income and minority citizens don't have the documents needed to register. The law, which has led to more than 38,000 voter registration applications being rejected, is now being challenged in court.

On top of all that, confusing ID requirements and poorly trained poll workers lead to countless voters being turned away: "It's a crapshoot which polling place workers will allow you to vote," notes Linda Brown of the Arizona Advocacy Network.

"All the discourse here is about immigration," Sandschafer observes. "But we're really talking about Arizonans who are Americans and whose legal right to vote is being denied. And while Latino citizens are hit hard, we're finding that all Arizonans are at risk of being disenfranchised by this requirement."

Perhaps no one knows that as well as 97-year-old Shirley Freeda Preiss. She was born at home in Clinton, Kentucky in 1910, before women had the right to vote, and never had a birth certificate. Shirley has voted in every presidential election since FDR first ran in 1932, and proudly describes herself as a "died-in-the-wool Democrat." After living in Arizona for two years, she was eagerly looking forward to casting her ballot in the February primary for the first major woman candidate for President, Hillary Clinton. But lacking a birth certificate or even elementary school records to prove she's a native-born American citizen, the state of Arizona's bureaucrats determined that this former school-teacher who taught generations of Americans shouldn't be allowed to vote.

"I have a constitutional right to vote, don't I?" she asks with her soft Southern drawl. "I didn't get to vote because of a birth certificate. What am I going to do now?"

Her strong-willed 78-year-old son, Nathan "Joey" Nemnich, a World War II veteran, is infuriated. "I'm pissed. She's an American citizen who worked her whole life and I want her to vote," he says. He went down to the local Motor Vehicle Division to get her an Arizona ID and register her to vote, armed with copies of his mother's three drivers' licenses from her previous home in Texas, along with copies of her Social Security and Medicare cards. All that wasn't good enough for the state of Arizona. "The sons of bitches are taking away our Constitution," Nemnich says.

In Arizona and now as seems likely in Missouri, Kafkaesque rules blend with right-wing ideology to block American citizens like Shirley Preiss from voting, collateral damage in the Republican-led war on democracy. "I was very disappointed," she says of the state's roadblocks to voting. "It's not acceptable. I've always voted."

Watch and wonder:

Now I would be willing to bet, and I usually don’t bet, that if the Repubs thought that undocumented immigrants voted for Repubs, we wouldn’t be seeing much of this faux “Voter Fraud” legislation.

So, do you think if Shirley ever gets her right to vote back she will be voting Republican?

I am not saying, I am just saying!

By the way I am not that old and I never had a birth certificate. The Church in which I was baptized burned down a couple of years after I was born with all of the records it contained.

Luckily I had the means and forethought to get a passport before this latest attack on suffrage took hold.

JHK Gets Some Love from Colbert!

I had been meaning to post this May 1st interview on the Colbert Report for some time and failed to do so. My bad! It was so clear when I saw this interview that Colbert really loved Jim and what he had to say.

You all know that I am a real JHK fan, so I was really interested in how Colbert would handle the interview. He could have gone all Billo and done the “Liberal Bashing” thing and yet he didn’t. It was almost as if he was out of character, but not quite.

Jim also mentioned that Colbert and the staff were “very nice and the studio mood was festive.”

So as Jim says, “It’s all good.”

UPDATE: So, now I remember the problem. The embed didn’t work out. So here is the link which should work.

McCain Really is Clueless!

In the age of Youtube.com you have to wonder how McBush thinks that he can get away with saying something and then adamantly stating that he didn’t say it. Apparently he has never heard “roll the videotape.” I was just asking someone the other day after the flap over what he said about Hillary and the press, “Hasn’t he heard of Youtube?”

Well, it is worse than that.

This explains why he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t even know about it or care enough to find out and figure it out.

And I agree with Atrios:

Actually Kind of Important

I think in 2008 computer use and understanding of the internet should be part of the basic skill set we expect from people in positions of prominent public leadership. It's pretty much impossible to have any kind of understanding of how people in the modern world go about their lives and work without that. The internet is not a fad or the playground for 17 year olds.

I don't mean it's important for someone running for president to spend his/her days on Facebook or becoming immersed in all of the various internet subcultures. But how can you have any genuine sense of contemporary life unless you at least have some clue?

-Atrios 12:15

Now this isn’t an age thing. My father is older than McBush and he is a cowboy on the web. In fact he makes me look like a piker, as they say!

So, what is with McBush and why can’t he learn, or want to learn, about the intertubes?

We cannot have another 4 years of an intellectually incurious frat boy administration and that is where a St. John administration would lead us. At least Bush used email prior to his inauguration. McBush is worse than Bush!

UPDATE: Upon reflection I have to say that I cannot believe that St. John doesn’t know how to use a computer. If that is true, and not just some more bullshit that he slings and shit he has made up, I am horrified. How could he not know how to use a computer? I do know one person in their eighties which doesn’t use a computer because she is a snob and above it. But even her husband is fairly computer literate. And as I said my father is tres computer literate. So it is terrifying that someone of McBush’s position, U.S. Senator and presumed Presidential Nominee, doesn’t use a computer and needs his wife’s help to use one. This can’t be true it must be just another of his lies. What a Maverick!

Bush: Clueless on America’s Future!

Or is it part of the plan? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the GOP Elite is so out of touch with how their policies affect actual folks. Why would they care? It isn’t as if it affects them negatively.

February 28 of this year.

To quote many in this Administration: “No one could have seen that coming?” Except, of course, it was predicted.

This “spike” in gas prices has riled O’Reilly:

BillO is off the Repub Talking Points here. So my question is: Bill O’Reilly: Populist or Marxist? I am not saying, I am just saying!

Here is Michael Moore, BillO’s nemesis, on the subject with Larry King:

Also, see JHK’s predictions at Clusterfuck Nation. $4.00 a gallon is the least of our problems.

Michelle: Target!

Now I don’t often want to link to Dem hater MoDo, but this column has some value and I think that she has the picture of what is to come.

It’s good news for Obama that Hillary’s out of the race. But it’s also bad news. Now Republicans can turn their full attention to demonizing Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama is the new, unwilling contestant in Round Two of the sulfurous national game of “Kill the witch.”

There are some who think it will be harder for America to accept a black first lady — the national hostess who serenely presides over the White House Christmas festivities and the Easter egg roll — than a black president.

There are creepy Web sites, like TheObamaFile.com, dedicated to painting Michelle as a female version of Jeremiah Wright, an angry black woman, the disgruntled, lecturing “Mrs. Grievance” depicted on the cover of National Review.

On that site and others around the Internet, the seamy rumors still slither that there’s a tape of Michelle denouncing “whitey,” a rumor that Barack Obama disdained last week as “scurrilous.”

E.D. Hill, the Fox anchor who said that the celebrated fist pump between Michelle and her husband the night he snagged the nomination could be called a “terrorist fist jab,” apologized Tuesday.

In their narrative of how Hillary lost in The Times on Sunday, Jim Rutenberg and Peter Baker said that Mark Penn argued that Hillary should subtly stress Obama’s “lack of American roots.”

That’s a good preview of how Republicans will attack Michelle, suggesting that she does not share American values, mining a subtext of race.

She’s a devoted daughter, wife and mother who has lived the American dream, from the humble South Side of Chicago to Harvard Law School. Hey, isn’t it totally unAmerican to complain that being a black woman in the ’80s at a class-conscious, white-bread college, Princeton, was somewhat uncomfortable?

Just as Bill and Hillary did the “Pssst! He’s black!” thing on Barry, now the Republicans will use the same tactic on the strong and opinionated Michelle.

Unlike her husband, who wrote in his memoir that he had learned at a young age to smile and charm and disarm whites of the notion that he might be a bristly black militant, Michelle has not always hidden her jangly opinions so well. She has spent more time dwelling on the ways in which society can pull down the less privileged and refers a lot to a callous but unnamed “They.”

“Michelle,” as one political observer puts it, “is a target-rich environment.”

Team Obama is hoping for the best. When she’s on her game, after all, Michelle is a knockout. And as one Obama booster enthuses: “Michelle’s story is a lot more mainstream American than Cindy McCain inheriting a brewery.”

When MoDo gets it, she gets it. So, my question is will the MSM scrutinize Cindy McCain who is truly a target-rich environment if there ever was one. I’m thinking that McBush and the Hensleys certainly have juice!

St. John and Cindy certainly embody the American Dream and American Values, unlike the Obamas that is!

As the kids say, "Not!"

Monday, June 09, 2008

No Shit Shakespeare!

Knight-Ridder was clear about the intelligence prior to the invasion of Iraq. So, without further ado here from McClatchy, formerly Knight-Ridder, who got it right from the get go:

Did Iranian agents dupe Pentagon officials?

John Walcott | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: June 06, 2008 06:02:38 PM

WASHINGTON — Defense Department counterintelligence investigators suspected that Iranian exiles who provided dubious intelligence on Iraq and Iran to a small group of Pentagon officials might have "been used as agents of a foreign intelligence service ... to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. government," a Senate Intelligence Committee report said Thursday.

A top aide to then-secretary of defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, however, shut down the 2003 investigation into the Pentagon officials' activities after only a month, and the Defense Department's top brass never followed up on the investigators' recommendation for a more thorough investigation, the Senate report said.

The revelation raises questions about whether Iran may have used a small cabal of officials in the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's office to feed bogus intelligence on Iraq and Iran to senior policymakers in the Bush administration who were eager to oust the Iraqi dictator.

Iran, which was a mortal enemy of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and fought a bloody eight-year war with Iraq during his reign, has been the primary beneficiary of U.S. policy in Iraq, where Iranian-backed groups now run much of the government and the security forces.

The aborted counterintelligence investigation probed some Pentagon officials' contacts with Iranian exile Manucher Ghorbanifar, whom the CIA had labeled a "fabricator" in 1984. Those contacts were brokered by an American civilian, Michael Ledeen, a former Pentagon and National Security Council consultant and a leading advocate of invading Iraq and overthrowing Iran's Islamic regime.

According to the Senate report, the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity unit concluded in 2003 that Ledeen "was likely unwitting of any counterintelligence issues related to his relationship with Mr. Ghorbanifar."

The counterintelligence unit said, however, that Ledeen's association with Ghorbanifar "was widely known, and therefore it should be presumed other foreign intelligence services, including those of Iran, would know."

Stephen Cambone, then the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, shut down the counterintelligence investigation after only a month, the Senate report said.

The Senate report said that Pentagon officials never followed up on the investigators' recommendation for a comprehensive analysis of whether Ghorbanifar or his associates tried "to directly or indirectly influence or access U.S. government officials."

The counterintelligence investigators recommended that U.S. officials attempt "to map Ghorbanifar's relationship within Iranian elite social networks and, if possible, his contacts with other governments and/or intelligence organizations," but that effort was never undertaken.

The Senate committee also found that Pentagon officials concealed the contacts with Ghorbanifar from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department. Pentagon officials also provided Senate investigators with an inaccurate account of events and, with support from two unnamed officials in Cheney's office, continued meeting with Ghorbanifar after contact with him was officially ordered to stop.

The first meetings with Ghorbanifar, which were disclosed in August 2003 by the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper Newsday, took place in Rome in December 2001. They were attended by two Pentagon Iran experts, Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin; by an Italian military intelligence official, and by Ledeen.

On the Iranian side were Ghorbanifar, an unidentified Iranian exile from Morocco and an alleged Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps defector.

Among other things, the Iranians told the Americans about:

  • Iranian "hit teams" they said were targeting U.S. personnel and facilities in Afghanistan.
  • What they claimed was Shiite Muslim Iran's longstanding relationship with the secular Palestine Liberation Organization.
  • "Tunnel complexes in Iran for weapons storage or exfiltration of regime leaders," and about the alleged growth of anti-regime sentiment in Iran.

Franklin, who, in an unrelated matter, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison in 2006 for providing classified information on Iran policy to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, passed the information about the alleged Iranian hit squads to a U.S. Special Forces commander in Afghanistan. Although a DIA analyst told the Senate committee that he couldn't speculate on whether the information had been "truly useful," Ledeen and Pentagon officials claimed it saved American lives, the committee said.

During the Rome meetings, Ghorbanifar also laid out a scheme to overthrow the Iranian regime on a napkin during a late night meeting in a bar. "The plan," said the Senate committee, "involved the simultaneous disruption of traffic at key intersections leading to Tehran that would create anxiety, work stoppages and other disruptive measures" in a capital city famous for its traffic congestion.

Ghorbanifar asked for $5 million in seed money, Franklin told the committee, and indicated that if the traffic jam plan succeeded, he'd need additional money.

"The proposed funding for, and foreign involvement in, Mr. Ghorbanifar's plan for regime change were never fully understood," the Senate committee said.

Nevertheless, Ghorbanifar's proposals grew more ambitious — and expensive. A February 2002 memo from Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman referred to an unnamed foreign government's support for a Ghorbanifar plan that would cost millions of dollars. A later summary referred to contracts "that would assure oil and gas sales in the event of regime change". The U.S. ambassador to Italy said that DOD officials "were talking about 25 million for some kind of Iran program."

After Franklin and Rhode returned from the Rome meetings, the Senate report said, two series of events began to unfold in Washington that were typical of the gamesmanship that plagued the Bush administration's national security team.

"First," the report said, "State Department and CIA officials attempted to determine what Mr. Ledeen and the DOD representatives had done in Rome, and second, DOD officials debated the next course of action."

When the CIA and the State Department discovered that Ledeen and Ghorbanifar were involved, they opposed any further contact with the two. Ledeen's contacts, the Defense Human Intelligence Service concluded, were "nefarious and unreliable," the Senate committee reported.

According to the report, Ledeen, however, persisted, presenting then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith with a new 100-day plan to provide, among other things, evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that supposedly had been moved to Iran — Saddam Hussein's archenemy. This time, the report said, Ledeen solicited support from former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and from three then-GOP senators, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Rhode and Ghorbanifar met again in Paris in June 2003 with at least the tacit approval of an official in Cheney's office, the Senate report said.

He reported back to officials in the Pentagon and the vice president's office, but "there is no indication that the information collected during the Paris meeting was shared with the Intelligence Community for a determination of potential intelligence value," the report said.

And we all know that Ledeen was behind the Niger forgeries and we all knew that Chalabi was an Iranian agent. Is that why Cambone called off the investigation?

I am thinking that treason trumps a blow job. But what do I know? I am just another DFH!