Friday, June 27, 2014
I Do Not Like This Mr Cruz
Looks like impeachment is the GOP’s meme du jour. Earlier this week we had Speaker Boehner teeing up his Impeachment Lite suit [details TBD] and yesterday Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) dusted off his hurdy-gurdy and took it out for a spin in an encore performance of his widely-ignored Impeach Eric Holder street show.
Hard to tell if it’s professional jealousy or just plain cussedness but Cruz has called for Holder to either resign or be impeached on numerous occasions during his brief but gaudy tenure in the US Senate.
Cruz certainly didn’t disappoint while introducing his most recent Impeach Holder resolution:
When an attorney general refuses to enforce the law, when an attorney general mocks the rule of law, when an attorney general corrupts the Department of Justice by conducting a nakedly partisan investigation to cover up political wrongdoing, that conduct by any reasonable measure constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors.
Sounds a little like an audition for Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show, eh?
However, this was the Senate, which is happy to give credit for showmanship but, nevertheless, still requires unanimous consent to move forward with such a resolution.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, refused, calling Cruz’s call for impeachment a “waste of taxpayers’ money” citing that:
. . . besides the three other probes being conducted by congressional committees, he and the top Republican on the finance committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UH), were nearly done with their own bipartisan investigation into the matter.
Wyden also questioned the need for a special prosecutor when, after multiple investigations over 13 months, there is no evidence that any crime was committed.
Many of us can remember special prosecutors abusing their power, spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money and going on for years and years without concluding their investigations. Too often, special prosecutors have turned into a lawyer’s full employment program. They ought to be reserved for where there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing inside the government.
Something tells me that Ted Cruz won’t be particularly moved by that argument since he had no qualms about shutting down the government to the tune of $24 billion.
So. Let’s see where we stand here—no criminal evidence and no victims, as Mr Todd recently pointed out, for the rest of us who have been shrieking this for a year, thank you very much:
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/27/14 at 09:27 AM
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Impeachment Lite: More Drama, Less Binding
What to do, what to do? Four more months until the mid-term rapture . . . we already said we won’t be legislating, Benghaz-IRS-Gate is getting old . . . ??? Must be time for IMPEACHMENT!! Yep, that’s the ticket!
Apparently the untimely ouster of Rep. Cantor (R-VA) has breathed new life into the Speaker’s career and put a spring in his shuffle. Suddenly there’s still time for carpe diem-ish legacy-making gambits of historical proportions, moves that will etch the name “Boehner” into American History books. At least the ones in Texas . . .
And so it is that Speaker Boehner, with George Will whispering sweet nothings about becoming the “legislature’s vindicator” in his ear, is preparing to go down as “the empty suit who files an empty suit” in the ever perspicacious words of Mr. Pierce.
Michael Steel spox-splains it to us:
The President has a clear record of ignoring the American people’s elected representatives and exceeding his constitutional authority, which has dangerous implications for both our system of government and our economy, The House has passed legislation to address this, but it has gone nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate, so we are examining other options.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/26/14 at 10:37 AM
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
It’s All Over But The Cryin’ in Mississippi
Is there anything quite as pathetic as the bleating of a dirty trickster who falls prey to a dirty trick? It’s all over but the cryin’ in Mississippi but it may be some time before the cryin’ ends.
Despite the fact that TEA Party Chris McDaniel failed to win his party’s primary, outright, and was forced into a run-off election, he was very certain that he had incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MISS) beat. His defeat last night in the runoff caught McDaniel flat-footed and, in the grand old tradition of sore losers everywhere, he refused to concede the race.
McDaniel is now telling Breitbart.com that he will challenge the results. The charge? Un-Republicanism!:
McDaniel said Cochran’s decision to seek Democrats to vote for him in the Republican primary runoff was “un-Republican” which, to the best of my knowledge is not a legal term. Yet.
Nevertheless, in his best talk-radio voice, McDaniel said:
In the most conservative state in the republic this happened and if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere—and that’s why we will never stop fighting.
As you know today, folks, there were literally dozens of irregularities reported all across this state. You know why. You read the stories. You’re familiar with the problems that we have. Now it’s our job to make sure that the sanctity of the vote is upheld. Before this race ends, we have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters. We will stand with courage, we will stand with judgment, we will stand with integrity. This is our fight conservatives. This is necessary. We are not prone to surrender, we Mississippians. A strong and sturdy people we are, a brave people we are, a people that can still lead the conservative revival in this country. We will lead the resurgence. That begins right here in Mississippi.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/25/14 at 12:18 PM
Monday, June 23, 2014
Happy Chemtrails To You
Sometimes it’s just so hard to decide whether or not science is a friend or foe of mankind. For example, when science tells us that we are damaging our planet because we are greedy capitalists squandering resources like spoiled children? Totally Foe. But if science or pseudoscience can be tortured into supporting our weakness for magical-thinking and political chicanery, well then! better living through chemistry, yo!
So it is that when certain denizens of Arizona tired of puzzling over the mysteries of the Sedona Vortex, or searching the Superstition Mountains for the treasure of the Lost Dutchman Mine, they cast their eyes to the skies to scan for UFOs . . . and Chemtrails!
We are all used to seeing the condensation trails or “contrails” exhausted from jet airplane engines. Then, one fine day, someone with a lot of imagination and not enough to do made the startling discovery that contrails don’t disappear as fast as they used to back in the day. I suspect that, somewhere on theplanet, some specimen of Homo sapiens has dedicated him/herself to timing the vanishing point of contrails because . . . intellectual curiosity?
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/23/14 at 01:42 PM
Sunday, June 22, 2014
No Country For Grumpy Old Men
One of my favorite people, George Carlin, once said:
Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.
Which, I believe, aptly describes one of my least favorite people, George Will.
George Will and I are of the same generation so I have been around for every captivating moment of Will’s philosopher-newsman journalistic career and I’m afraid that I am in total agreement with Frank Moraes of Frankly Curious on the merits of George Will:
I have a visceral hatred for George Will, because he is so much just William Buckley: the Next Generation. Although just like with Star Trek, the next generation has none of the spark of the original.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/22/14 at 11:35 AM
Saturday, June 21, 2014
“Lyin’ Ryan” Accuses IRS Commissioner of . . . Lying.
Well, it’s been a rather surreal week what with every neocon zombie rising from the crypt to dance on the graves of the hundreds of thousands whose lives they destroyed playing their chickenhawk war games. And the media rushing to capture their every demented word on the matter as if it had anything to do with reality. Or truth. Or integrity.
The whole business seemed to blindside a fair number of Americans who registered a collective STFU you squirrelly nutjobs—we got rid of you for a reason.
I think the most galling thing about this hallucinatory political theater is that most sane, average Americans expect that when people in high places are exposed as liars, traitors, cheats and troublemakers they will somehow have the good grace to shuffle away from the limelight and lead lives of quiet desperation, grateful that their fellow citizens have not punished them as severely as they deserve.
But, as we learned this week, some people are simply not “wired” like the rest of us. They don’t play by the same rules and they are obviously not burdened by conscience. Mental health experts might diagnose such people as victims of antisocial personality disorders.
A few of the characteristics of antisocial personality disorder are:
Superficial charm and good intelligence
Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
Untruthfulness and insincerity
Lack of remorse and shame
Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
Pathological egocentricity and incapacity for love
We all know a few—these people blend. They are not disturbed enough to commit but they are certainly disturbed enough to wreak havoc in the lives of those they touch.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/21/14 at 12:35 PM
Friday, June 20, 2014
There’s a lady lawyer in Minnesota whose long-game is to serve on the US Supreme Court but, for the time-being and God-willing, she will hone her judicial skills on the Minnesota State Supreme Court. The state Republican Delegation took a good 30 minutes to endorse Michelle McDonald after she gave a rousing, Bible-waving speech in which she promised to base her judicial opinions on Biblical principles. [First Amendment be damned!]
And, in a nod to the Founding Fathers, Ms McDonald wound up with the theocrats’ favorite spurious quotation of George Washington:
“. . . it is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
One of the ways that Ms. McDonald hopes to impress future SCOTUS-scouts is her “radical belief that the family courts should be abolished” the result of an epiphany she experienced after serving 25 years in family court.
As Mike Mosedale on politicsinminnesota.com reports:
Citing inspiration from her clients, grandson, the film “Jerry Maguire” and Pope John Paul II, McDonald then composed a “Miracle Mission Statement” toward making that belief a reality.
Asked to elaborate on those views during the interview, MacDonald was soon overcome by emotion. “These [issues] are of great interest to me,” she said, pausing to wipe her tears, “because families are being ripped apart by our court process. I’ve seen it over the last 27 years.”
After composing herself, MacDonald confidently asserted that her latest legal salvo — part of a long and bitter custody fight between a client and her ex-husband — will be “the case that eliminates courts for families all together. It will happen in [this] case.”
Or, maybe not, if one takes into account some of the legal hijinks and courtroom histrionics that have taken place during that trial to include:
. . . a judge ha[ving] her removed from the courtroom and placed in a cell.
According to the documents, MacDonald was handcuffed, placed in a wheelchair, and then returned to the courtroom, where she continued to argue on her client’s behalf. She was, however, jailed for multiple days, though never charged.
Meanwhile, there were a series of adverse rulings in McDonald’s case, one of which was an unsuccessful bid for the case to be heard by SCOTUS. Failing that, McDonald brought a federal suit against the presiding judge seeking more than $330 million dollars in damages for her client and her client’s five children.
Not to mention:
She further claimed in the suit that John and Mary Does 1-20 — unnamed government employees who work for police agencies and the courts — “have a secret agenda intent on family annihilation, societal breakdown, intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, using children, economic abuse, coercion and threats.” The suit does not specify the damages sought from those parties.
That suit was dismissed by a US District Judge while McDonald was auditioning for the Republican endorsement.
So, far Ms. McDonald looks like a perfect fit for the Minnesota [cough, Bachmann] GOP. More of an Orly Taitz than a Clarence Darrow . . . so, it comes as no surprise that we have an alert state Republican, Doug Seaton, of the Judicial Election Committee, telling McDonald that he was concerned:
“that we’re going to have a situation where the party’s endorsement process is going to be held up to ridicule, and you’re going to be held up to ridicule, and attacked in a campaign as not having judicial [comportment] and not being neutral and being a little bit of a wild woman.”
“How on Earth can a person who is a zealous advocate, maybe pushing the line, be suitable for a judicial position? And how is that going to reflect on the party’s endorsement process, the other statewide candidates…is that going to be a problem? How are you going to respond to it?”
McDonald demurred from answering Seaton’s questions but agreed that his concerns were valid.
And, all of that, of course is incidental to McDonald’s recent DWI arrest, trial still pending. As briefly as possible, McDonald was pulled over for speeding by police, refused alcohol testing, told the officer that she was a “reserve cop, a lawyer and would walk home” but vigorously protests her innocence.
Personally, I don’t find it astonishing that a lawyer, or a supreme court justice for that matter, might have a DWI in his/her closet.
The point here is what Michael Brodkorb says:
MacDonald’s candidacy should have raised numerous red flags. But in a rush to endorse a judicial candidate, the warning signs were missed and now people are pointing fingers.
Keith Downey, chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota told the Star Tribune last week, “none of us, including the convention delegates, were aware of this information about the candidate.”
Contrary to the statements made by Downey, MacDonald’s arrest was known by numerous Republicans, including the person appointed by Downey to oversee the committee to determine if the convention should endorse a judicial candidate – Doug Seaton.
As the former Deputy Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, I will state without hesitation that MacDonald’s endorsement proves the current party process of endorsing candidates is fundamentally flawed and in desperate need of reform.
The fact that Downey, the top elected official of the Republican Party of Minnesota, claims he was unaware that a candidate with a pending criminal trial was endorsed for the Minnesota Supreme Court, is the best evidence I can point to that Republicans need a new process to select candidates for office.
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/20/14 at 12:16 PM
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Pity token congressional morlock (just look at the weirdly-shaped head on the guy!) Trey Gowdy has to be in a bit of a tizzy with the capture of BENGHAZI!!!! suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala. The Benghazi “scandal” is nothing more than a quibble over the semantics used to describe the attack on the consular office- now the Republicans look like a bunch of fools arguing over bullshit while the president was actually working quietly to capture one of the ringleaders. Soon, the president will probably have a mug made out of Khattala’s cranium to match the bong he made out of Bin Laden’s skull.
In his statement regarding the capture, former car thief Darryl Issa tellingly omitted giving credit for the capture to the administration and demanded that the president share information gained from the suspect:
“The arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah is long overdue and our military deserves credit for conducting a successful operation. There is evidence that he is one of dozens, if not hundreds of individuals, involved in the murder of four Americans in Benghazi. The Obama Administration has an obligation to share whatever information he offers with Chairman Gowdy and the Select Committee about events before and during the Benghazi attacks.”
Lindsey Graham’s response was a whine about the need for the suspect to be tried at Gitmo:
Really, Lindsey, your party has no expertise whatsoever in fighting terrorism, and the guy in the White House has had more success in pursuing terrorists as if they were criminals than his predecessor had by treating terrorists as enemy combatants.
With the suspected ringleader of the attack in custody, the right-wing obsession with the consular attacks should go the way of the dodo, but the wingnuts have invested too much effort in creating and maintaining the scandal, so they are now spinning conspiracy theories about the circumstances of the capture. They failed to ride the scandal to electoral victory in 2012, but they are calling for a Benghazi mulligan in the runup to the 2014 midterm elections. It remains to be see whether or not Trey Gowdy continues with his farcical Benghazi inquisition, but in the immediate future, I imagine he’ll be très pouty.
As a postscript, blogroll member Oregon Beer Snob did a perfect job of expressing Gowdy’s inner qualities- I have seen no better representation of this particular congresscreep.
Cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 06/19/14 at 01:50 AM
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
What Do You Not Understand About STFU, Dick?
Let’s see . . . what’s the perfect cure for a hump-day-slump? How about a ringside seat at the Folie à deux de Cheney?
It’s been a while since La Lizzy’s political ADD took her out of the running for her home-away-from-home’s senate seat, but, apparently she’s back on her meds. Papa Dick’s unfailing political instincts have evidently indicated that it’s time to reassert the Cheney brand and remind folks that La Lizzy is still a pure-bred neocon who once was an assistant deputy something or other in the State Department, ergo her head is full of foreign policy awesomeness.
So, with Papa Dick’s geopolitical genius and prose-styling help, Cheney et fille dropped a throbbing load of spittle-flecked Obama-bashing which landed with a satisfying plop on the Op-Ed pages of The Wall Street Journal.
In case any of you Roasters are too unwilling or unworthy to slither under WSJ’s paywall, here’s your one-way ticket to Advanced Dementia. You can read through the cheneyarglebargle, for yourself, if you care to. Or, Bob Cesca, at Daily Banter has done a great job of picking at the carrion. But, really, there are few surprises here for veteran Cheney-watchers.
We already know that Dick Cheney is a self-deluded, degenerate, lying sack of shit that should be sitting in a cell somewhere rather than be allowed to roam the streets babbling his demented advice from any available bullhorn. That’s not news, and this current Op-Ed is simply the latest installment of The Dick That Wouldn’t Go Away.
But wait!! there’s more! That was just Act 1. They HAVE a solution! Your money . . . their pockets.
The Cheneys’ press release announces:
“. . . the formation and launch of The Alliance for a Strong America, a 501(c)4 grassroots organization that will advocate for a restoration of American strength and power. The group will be led by former Vice President Cheney, who will serve as Chairman and Liz Cheney, who will be the group’s President. The committee is supported by citizens who are dedicated to the hard but necessary task of preserving freedom and restoring American strength and power in the wake of the Obama administration’s national security failures.”
The Alliance for a Strong America, a grassroots organization built to assail President Obama’s foreign policy, will educate about and advocate for the policies needed to restore American power and pre-eminence. We will provide information to citizens about national security and defense policy, and ensure that these issues are a critical part of America’s national debate and discussion over the next two years and beyond.
And so it is that Daddy’s Little Deferment now has her very own war chest to keep his little carbetbagger solvent and his political influence alive.
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/18/14 at 10:24 AM
Categories: Politics • Nutters •
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
So! Is Traditional The New White?
Wise politicians take words very seriously and are quite fond of speaking in “code.” The problem with speaking in coded language is code-breakers; the upside, of course, is deniability.
For example, when Paul Ryan spoke, a few months back about young “inner city” men who are “not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work because they rely on government assistance,” . . . just about every man, woman and child in America was uncomfortably aware of whom Ryan was speaking.
Nevertheless, Paul Ryan was able to put on his shocked face, exclaim:
This has nothing to do whatsoever with race. It never even occurred to me. This has nothing to do with race whatsoever.
and walk away unscathed. What? me racist?
Republicans are fond of extrapolating that, since Lincoln—a Republican—freed the slaves there is NO WAY that a Republican can be a racist. Many white Americans are proud to point out that they no longer buy and sell human beings and have successfully curbed their primal urge to take the law into their own hands and string up people who don’t show enough respect for their whiteness.
Thom Tillis is a Republican who figures he’s ready for prime time. He is currently Speaker of the North Carolina State House of Representatives but just won the Republican primary aimed at unseating US Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC). Speaker Tillis has served some seven years in the state house accruing lots of political acumen and some pretty awesome code-speaking skills of his own, along the way.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/17/14 at 01:22 PM
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Cooter Just Might Have Done Us a Solid
One of the things that I love the most about blogging [writing and reading] is the freedom that bloggers have to think outside of the box and fully engage with The Weird.
And, so it is that, while professional journalists and pundits, who are paid in real cash and expected to produce relatively rational analysis, wrestle with the odd conundrum of Eric Cantor’s primary defeat, last night, they are bound to overlook one of the more likely causes because it doesn’t fit their paradigm.
Let’s just take a look at the facts going in to this race:
Eric Cantor was the second most powerful Republican in the US House of Representatives. He has won re-election every time, since 2001, mostly by hefty margins—last time around it was 80%-20%.
Eric Cantor raised $5 million for his campaign as compared to his opponent’s $122,000 “war chest.” No surprises there.
Going into primary election day all polls - the good, the bad and the ugly—had Cantor well ahead of his opponent.
Congressional primary elections do not swamp the polls. No long lines. However, this time around, for a “gimme” of an election, some 30% more voters showed up over the last mid-term primary in VA07. [app. 65K this time to 44K last time.]
Cantor’s virtually unknown TEA Party opponent inexplicably won by carrying bluer precincts.
Trying to make sense of this very odd—so odd it’s historic—election result has every political reporter and pundit in the land twisting themselves into a pretzel trying to explain it all:
Was Cantor too RINO? was he too much of an insider/conniver? Did immigration sink him? Was his campaign’s late flurry of negative TV ads that created name recognition and sympathy for his opponent a fatal tactical error? Was he a secret Obamabot?
Was he too Jewish?
Or was it much simpler than that? Was it? could it be? Just Cooter?
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/11/14 at 10:08 AM
Monday, June 09, 2014
George Will Declares Rape Culture A Figment of Progressive Imagination
Check it! all you loose coed sluts dreaming of attaining the “coveted status” of rape victim and all of its “attendant privileges,” all of you scantily clad temptresses just begging for “micro-aggressions” to spin into harrassment cases and you inebriated “hook-up culture” campus tarts—Old Grampa Georgie Will has your number, you little hussies.
That is not to say that he blames you entirely for your depraved ways. Gramps knows that President Obama and the 21st century curse of progressivism are largely to blame for despoiling your happy childhoods and consigning you to “today’s prolonged adolescence of especially privileged young adults.”
And it’s not just Obama, it’s your own colleges, as well:
It is salutary that academia, with its adversarial stance toward limited government and cultural common sense, is making itself ludicrous. Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations — brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state that progressivism celebrates.
What government is inflicting on colleges and universities, and what they are inflicting on themselves, diminishes their autonomy, resources, prestige and comity. Which serves them right. They have asked for this by asking for progressivism.
Things were verrrrry different, back in the day, before subversive progressives made every one “hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations.” Back then, rape was rape, by gum—leaving stab wounds, bruises and ligature marks.
You want to scream rape every time someone grabs your precious boobies and gives ‘em an appreciative squeeze? That’s progressive. You won’t find Grandpa Will making a big to-do if someone grabs his junk—who could fight that urge?
Grampa Will understands “girls just want to have fun” but these days they want extra attention for it. And the reason the number of rapes on campus appears to be booming is because victims of rape get so much loving attention.
What coed wouldn’t want to go before a faculty review board, for hours, describing every sickening moment of the worst event of her young life, after which she will never be the same, to a panel of her professors? What fun! Bet those old dons won’t forget her name, again.
And there’s also all of the official police attention—the rape kit that renacts the invasion and then is put on a shelf in a back room in case some do-gooder decides to actually send it to a crime lab because we all know “boys will be boys” and campus rapes aren’t really “rape,” they’re “date rape.”
But most “coveted status” of all is the attention rape victims get from their peers—the accusations of lying or being a slut, a tease, a ‘ho; the shaming signs on the dorm walls, the hate posts on FaceBook, the threats of violence—to the victim.
Now I’m sort of understanding why any coed wouldn’t want to get herself a piece of that action.
As in most cases of conservative denial, George Will believes the rest of us are making way too much of this and that we’re far too gullible when it comes to CDC statistics and anecdotal evidence. We’re including way too many types of sexual aggression and making it just way too complicated for college men to figure out what they can and cannot do to young women.
And why would the world conspire to make up this whole rape culture business? Well, to make George Will, the Christian Right and conservatives uncomfortable, of course. It’s all Liberals think about, actually—ways to stick it to smug, uptight paranoiacs and force them to make asses of themselves denying reality.
Like George Will did.
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/09/14 at 12:12 PM
Sunday, June 08, 2014
Majority of Americans Support Reparative Therapy for Texans
While most of us were trying to absorb the eery links between “Benghazi” and “Bergdahl,” last week, Texas rounded up its Republican delegates and sent them to Fort Worth to convene and redraft the state party platform. Few will be surprised to learn that Texas has one of the weirdest state Republican platforms in the country.
It is forty —count ‘em, FORTY— pages of Right wing free association that feels like the product of a bad night of MadLibs and way too much Lone Star Lite. I’d say that the Texas platform smacks of teenage manifesto but that can’t be quite right because the Texas Young Republicans have declared it totally suckumental.
Way to court that youth vote, GOP!
Anyone with the stomach is welcome to jump right in for themselves, but here are a few highlights from my perspective . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/08/14 at 01:53 PM
Friday, June 06, 2014
The Spy Who Smeared Me
Is there anything more pathetic than an 80 year old ex-CIA agent running his own home-based spy shop in San Diego? Maybe . . . maybe a professional journalist who takes the private spy seriously enough to write long pointless Exclusives! for Fox News based on the private spy’s “secret intel” alone.
The ex-spook, in this instance, is one Duane “Dewey” Clarridge who served in the CIA during the 1980s as a senior operations officer. Clarridge was indicted for lying to Congress during Iran-Contra hearings, but was pardoned by Poppy Bush during his trial.
Clarridge was forced to resign from the CIA but wasn’t quite ready to quit spying and contracted his expertise out. His story, needless to say, is interesting, in its own right, and anyone who wants to do a deep dive can find long form articles in The New York Times, here and here.
In my opinion, it is enough to say that Mark Mazzetti, of The Times, got it in one when he described Clarridge’s operation as “something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy.”
Clarridge communicates with his “field operatives” in Afghanistan and Pakistan—complete with code names like Willi and Waco—via email, then, poolside in San Diego, he compiles the info received into intelligence summaries that he peddles around to a network that includes such intelligence mavens as Oliver North, spy thriller novelist and frequent guest of Glenn Beck, Brad Thor, and, most recently, James Rosen of Fox News.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/06/14 at 03:40 PM
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Bergdahl Homecoming Includes Complimentary Reservations On A Swiftboat To Hell
(h/t Illustration by the very talented Mario Piperini)
In that noblest of American judicial traditions “guilty until proven innocent,” a handful of politicians and their fan clubs, with the aid of a few Republican strategists, have determined that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is guilty of desertion, treason, and not being an American superhero. Should he have the temerity to return to his hometown, everyone there has decided to not smile, wave or say “Hey!” because some of the rush-to-judgment mob have said mean things to them on Facebook and the Twitter.
I don’t know anything about Bowe Bergdahl aside from the fact that he voluntarily put on an American uniform when his country needed him. Which means I know as much as 99.9% of the people who are calling for his head on a stick. And, if, in the end, it turns out that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl did anything demonstrably dishonorable, we have laws to deal with that. Just as we had laws to get him home.
On the other hand, Sen Lindsay Graham has put Bergdahl’s Commander-in-Chief on notice that if he lets one more Gitmo prisoner loose without Congress’ blessing, a Congressional hissy fit to beat all Congressional hissy fits will ensue. Happily, no more men are left behind so that should save us at least one histrionic impeachment pitch.
Congress, not usually aficionados of international law on a good day, don’t seem to have realized yet that ending hostilities in Afghanistan will require future transfers of prisoners on a timeline not necessarily of their own making. And, judging by recent statements, they are also probably a little fuzzy on the legal niceties of imprisonment in Guantanamo.
See Guantanamo houses two separate types of prisoners: there are prisoners of war and alleged terrorist criminals. And, despite the Bush administration’s rather cavalier attitude toward international law and their one-size-fits-all approach to imprisonment and due process, there are actually differences in the legal dispositions of each type of prisoner.
The five Taliban who were traded for the release of Sgt. Bergdahl were prisoners of war. They may, indeed, have done terrible things as soldiers but, soldiers do terrible things—that’s War. Nevertheless, prisoners of war were, indeed, the apropriate choices for a prisoner swap.
And, if this administration, or any other, cares to observe international law regarding prisoners of war more such people will be leaving Guantanamo in the very near future, at the official cessation of hostilities. Should Congress decide that they don’t like that and try to obstruct that traditional process a very dangerous new precedent would be set that would imperil any American soldier captured in combat in the future. If the US doesn’t play by the rules, why should anyone else release our prisoners-of-war?
For all of those reasons and, I’m sure, a few more, President Obama attached a signing statement to last year’s defense bill that contained Congress’ most recent obstruction to closing Guantanamo - the 30 day notice amendment—that makes no sense and interferes with constitutional executive powers of the President and Commander-in-Chief. And the President said so.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/05/14 at 11:47 AM