Friday, June 06, 2008

Democrats Realizing They Must Unite As National Crisis Deepens

Let's see. The stock market on Friday went down almost 400 points. At one point, the price of oil jumped 11 dollars a barrel before settling down at a little over 138 dollars a barrel. An incompetent president with a flawed ideology will continue to run the country into the ditch for a few more months. Jobs are still being outsourced overseas. Joblessness and debt are growing. City, county and state budgets are suffering a serious shortfall this year thus endangering education, safe roads and public services. The credit markets are in a mess despite some successful attempts to mitigate some of the damage (the corrections in Washington were slow in coming, however, which only deepened the crisis last summer). We are still at war in Iraq and the evidence only grows stronger that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice lied to the country about the need for war in Iraq.

Scott McClellan whose new book confirms that indeed Bush, Rove and Cheney have been lying to the American people, particularly about the outing of Valerie Plame, is being villified by a Republican leadership that has lost its moral compass. And the media is still playing games. For example, CNN carries a first person article by a former Bush official who wastes no time calling McClellan a liar. I'm not even bothering to post an excerpt. You can check the link yourself. There was a time when journalism automatically carried both sides of the story. They would check the background of people participating in a smear job. They would check all sides of the story and if there were truth to either side of the story they weren't shy about making sure the truth didn't wind up rolling under the bed somewhere. CNN has stacked the cards. McClellan, who was there, is telling his side. And CNN matches several administration figures against him along with Bob Dole who like several others is in no position to understand what happened. The people at CNN are not stupid. They know there is a concerted, organized effort to undermine McClellan's credibility.

I wish some blogger with more time and resources than I have at the moment would hunt up video footage of some of McClellan's vintage press briefings and compare those briefings with how the man is now talking. The difference is striking and telling. Of all the spokespeople for the Bush Administration, McClellan always squirmed the most. He never looked comfortable though he clearly deceived the American people at times. But his deceptions were largely misdirections, changing the subject and playing rope-a-dope. Go back and watch the footage. It was rare that he told an outright lie and the ones he told he claims were what was said to him.

Look at him today. My wife noticed it first: McClellan is at peace with himself. Sometimes he's tentative as if he's making sure he's got it right but he's consistent, relaxed and frankly telling us what millions of Americans figured out a long time ago. That's why CNN's reporting has been so shabby at times. We know the president and his top advisers lied about Iraq. We know the president and his top advisers lied about Valerie Plame.

The lies, incompetence and failures continue. Now John McCain is coming out and saying it's okay for the president to break the law and spy on Americans without getting a warrant. Too many Americans have forgotten what that means. The Germans haven't forgotten. Laura Rozen of War and Piece notes this story in Reuters:
A spate of chilling snooping scandals involving some of their country's biggest corporations has unsettled Germans who have not forgotten the dark days of the Cold War.

Revelations by Deutsche Telekom, Europe's biggest telecommunications firm, that it illegally monitored phone records in 2005 have reawakened memories of communist East Germany's Stasi secret police and even Hitler's Gestapo.


"The German fear, the deep-seated mistrust of people towards those in power and institutions is all too understandable given the scale of Telekomgate," wrote Der Spiegel weekly, which broke the story last week and splashed "Big Brother" on its cover.

The Germans remember and people like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have forgotten, or don't care. Dick and George don't care about a lot of things. It's hard to keep track of all the things they don't care about. But the supporters of Hillary Clinton care deeply about the issues and what is happening in the country. The supporters of Barack Obama also care deeply about the issues and what is happening in the country. When passions are strong, and mistakes are made, there are going to be hard feelings but Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama care about things that Dick and George never understood. The party is already beginning the healing. There may be missteps but the Democratic party will heal. Barack Obama now has the majority of the delegates and he now leads the Democratic party. Hillary Clinton has a role to play this fall whether she is selected as vice president or not. I hope Bill Clinton is out there as well. He also has a role to play.

We can't be certain who will win in the fall. And we can't count on help from network talking heads who are more interested in games and silliness and their seven and sometimes eight figure salaries. But we can be certain of this: the American crisis is deepening and will deepen seriously if John McCain fulfills a de facto third term for President Bush. McCain is no longer a maverick, assuming he ever was. In the spring of 2004, McCain made his devil's pact with Bush and Rove. That has not changed. The only thing that has changed rather frequently is the packaging. George W. Bush sold us a bill of goods in 2000. He lied about who he was. We knew who he was in 2004 and he still sold us a bill of goods by running on fear.

I fully support Barack Obama. I have seen him grow and become a better candidate. He has a terrific team. If he wins, the streets will not be paved with gold. No one should have any illusions. There is still hope for our country but it's going to take work. As many Democrats, independents and even a few Republicans have been saying, it's time to take our country back.

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Good to see another post after too long a hiatus, Craig. (And thanks for commenting at Oh!pinion awhile back.)

"The people at CNN are not stupid. They know there is a concerted, organized effort to undermine McClellan's credibility."

On the first point, what makes you so sure? Spend a few minutes enduring Glenn Beck and get back to me.

On the second point, CNN is part of the concerted effort, working in coordination with the RNC. I'm convinced it's both Time Warner corporate policy and CNN policy. It's CNN policy both for reasons of the political preferences of top network executives, but even more because CNN wants to attract regular Fox News viewers.

"The Germans remember and people like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have forgotten, or don't care."

No, I'm sure Bush and Cheney don't see themselves as being the neofascists they are. But that doesn't change the reality. In a better America they would've been relieved of duty well before now, and be home sweating the real possibility of prison time.

"As many Democrats, independents and even a few Republicans have been saying, it's time to take our country back."


10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Choon Yoo
Professor of Law
BerkeleyLaw - Boalt Hall
University of California
Berkeley, California

Dear Professor Yoo:

You write in the Wall Street Journal for 17 June,

''...a wartime statute, agreed upon by the president
and large majorities of Congress, while hostilities are ongoing...''


''Until Boumediene, the Supreme Court had never allowed
an alien who was captured fighting against the U.S. to use
our courts to challenge his detention.''

and specifically that

''In World War II, no civilian court reviewed the thousands
of German prisoners housed in the U.S. Federal judges
never heard cases from the Confederate prisoners of war
held during the Civil War.''

Now I take it from these statements of yours that you and I agree that when enemy soldiers were captured on the battlefields of WWII and the Civil War it was a priori clear, from those circumstances, that these were 'enemy combatants' and that exigencies of battle and the best judgment of field commanders precluded judicial review. These were after all people fortunate not to have been killed outright, in the heat of battle. Captured, instead, and, one presumes, humanely, more or less.

You continue in your editorial

''In the months after the 9/11 attacks, we in the Justice
Department relied on the Supreme Court's word when
we evaluated Guantanamo Bay as a place to hold
al Qaeda terrorists.''

But, although you comfort yourself in that concurrence with the Supreme Court, you make an about-face in your editorial by attacking it for Boumediene. I'm sorry, but you lose me here. Not Boumediene, nor Sami al-Haj, nor Maher Arar, nor many others were 'captured' on battlefields, as you well know. And I'm sure you know how they have been found innocent of actions that would validate their imprisonment, or worse, have been shown to be victims of mistaken identity, and of torture.

Have you forgotten the balance of powers implied by the Constitution?

EVERY person snatched off the street, and NOT run down in the heat of combat, MUST benefit from the full protection of our Constitution. Simply labelling these people 'enemy combatants' is a shameful, Orwellian dodge. It shows the world we are as if the worst of the worst, and hypocrites, for our claimed moral and institutional superiority.

Are you afraid that, given Habeas Corpus and access to the judicial system, these 'devious' enemies will hire good lawyers (such as yourself?) and game the system, 'unfairly' evading what they have coming to them? Then I ask you, sir, to look in the mirror. Have we ever seen so clever a ruse as yours, in your service with the present Administration? Does not winning one's case usually reflect good preparation and skillful representation? Isn't THAT what we all should be looking for, in this matter above all? And above all, in open court where we can hear the arguments and appeal the outcome if need be?

Returning to the 'battlefield' of terrorism, here is what little I can offer, although it depends on a set of mighty 'IF's'. IF our intelligence cadres, our institutional machinery, our individual experts, can be so good, so skillful, and, in the moral dimension, so virtuous, that they successfully identify persons who commit terrorism then I say, Katie bar the door. Let them do what they do and do it where light does not shine. Precedent? Other than a false link to WWII and Civil War, only the realization that in real life some things will always unfold beyond the farthest region of 'the known', even in such terms as our Constitution and our institutional expressions of it.

Let them get it right, those who labor behind closed prison doors. Or hold off.

But of course I'm certain you, the good lawyer, see the fly in this ointment. How can we be sure? Only if, meanwhile, we uphold the Constitution. And Habeas Corpus, the Courts, and the broad light of day, Professor Yoo.

Good day sir and sincerely,
Bob Tyson

3:06 AM  

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