30 July 2007

O'Hanlon and Pollack not credible cheerleaders

Read Greenwald's critique of O'Hanlon and Pollack's non-credibility as cheerleaders for the New Way Forward. My comment, as posted:

I think the point Glenn makes at the end of Update (II) is important. As I read the main piece, I was thinking that some would criticize the analysis because almost everything quoted from O'Hanlon was from 2003, when many people were taken in by the War fever and believed that the whole mess would end well. But it's well worth noting that O'Hanlon and many other early-on war boosters only started criticizing the war policies when it was inescapably obvious that things were going badly, i.e. after the Spring of 2004.

I think Glenn's thesis is fundamentally sound: that people who demonstrated extremely poor judgment, understanding, and foresight n the first year of this war, when many others saw reality far more accurately, have no credibility to lecture us now on how we should be giving the policies of this administration yet one more chance to defy reason and the obviously untenable situation there, and snatch victory from failure.

26 July 2007

Very Scary: Blumenthal's Unauthorized Visit to the Christians United for Israel Convention

This is really, really scary. Notice how the so very moderate and serious Sen. Lieberman embraces this lunatic Hagee and has nothing but nicey nice words for extremist former Sen. Rick Santorum (forntunately dumped in the 2006 election). (Includes video).

Medical Care for Wounded War Veterans

I listened to the piece on NPR this morning on care for returning war veterans with unbridled horror. I suppose I was somewhat negligently ignorant, but I did not know that reservists and National Guard troops only received two years of medical care, regardless of injury.

This is a terrible, really horrible, national shame. Congress must correct this travesty immediately. Anyone who serves in combat and suffers injury is owed medical care for life, among other benefits. At minimum. I just can't conceive of anyone seriously maintaining otherwise.


I favor impeachment of V.P. Cheney and President Bush, immediately. Obviously, it must be both, as the supposed model of a "unitary" executive, ironically, is actually a dual presidency unprecedented in U.S. History.

I cite Reagan administration Asst. A.G. Bruce Fein's explanation, now given in numerous sources for those interested, as the most cogent statement of the case I've seen. See this, for perhaps the best source (in discussion with The Nation editor John Nichols).

I note that Josh Marshall, of TPM, has now drifted close to endorsing the idea. I want to point out that one of Marshall's arguments contra, i.e., that there are just not going to be 17 Republican senators* to convict no matter what, is completely unpersuasive to me. (*18 really, because Old Joe will never join the Dems).

I agree with Bruce Fein that impeachment is a necessary function envisioned by the founders to be used in precisely the kinds of 'abuse of power' scenarios as we are currently living through. The reason the unlikelihood of conviction should not deter Democrats is that it is largely the very challenge of impeachment, never mind conviction and actual removal from office, that will have a nullifying effect on the extremely dangerous precedent being set. Marhsall says it clearly enough himself:

"I think we are now moving into a situation where the White House , on various fronts, is openly ignoring the constitution, acting as though not just the law but the constitution itself, which is the fundamental law from which all the statutes gain their force and legitimacy, doesn't apply to them.

"If that is allowed to continue, the defiance will congeal into

This, of course, is also why just waiting out the end of the Bush term is not sufficient. Even if a Democrat replaces this administration, the precedent of this devastating and breathtaking abuse of power will have a serious, possibly irreparable, damaging effect on the 'living constitution.' With many Federal courts, and now the Supreme Court, dominated by 'unitary executive' extremist ideologues, the effect will be amplified and our country could be changed for the worse forever. I also disagree with the often-expressed view that the Democrats will alienate newly won independent and moderate Republican voters by focusing on impeachment rather than "the business of government."

First, Democratic leaders must lead. They must demand that the media give them the opportunity to say why they are doing it, purchasing time on television with campaign funds if necessary. The must make the case to the people. Second, I believe that even many so-called moderates now have a profound sense of unease at the rampant abuses of power in this administration. This unease can be influenced by leadership and advocacy to become support for impeachment, and for a "new way forward" in our country (never mind Iraq). Third, and perhaps most tritely, what business of government? Virtually nothing is being done, with the obstructionism of the Republicans in the Senate, other than maintaining the status quo. (For example, the antiquated and damaging policies bundled in the Farm Bill up for renewal currently).

Many so-called conservatives, of course, like this just fine, as the status quo, an unprincipled set of policies favoring wealthy special interests that keep them in office, is exactly what they want to maintain.

It seems to me that impeachment, although surely risky, would galvanize the issues and very possibly shake loose some of the Republican support for the president, when it becomes clear, as I believe it would, that a largish majority of Americans is thoroughly fed up with this administration, and worried about its long term consequences for our nation. Of course, there is risk. But there is also opportunity. Accepting the status quo, in my view, and "waiting it out," will virtually guarantee that the damage already done will continue to reverberate with negative consequences for a long, long time.

24 July 2007

Congress should enforce subpenas against Bolten and Miers now

Please see this piece in today's Post by Rutgers Law School constitutional scholar Fred Askin, on why the Congressional committees seeking to enforce subpenas against Bolten and Miers should forget about seeking the assistance of the Justice Department, since the administration has already made known it will follow the erroneous reasoning of the Reagan area attorney general opinion that says they don't have to comply with that request. This article explains not only why that isn't the only option, but exactly how the Congress can proceed to enforce its subpenas itself, through direct use of contempt citations, and imprisonment of the defiant witnesses until they cooperate.

OK, Congressional Democrats, quit yapping and take action to enforce the proper powers of the Congress, now.

13 July 2007

Hey, Whaa? NEW war authorization?!

This is from the NYT today, an article about Lugar and Warner seeking a "new war authorization:"
The Senate was already scheduled to consider a variety of proposals next week, including one by Senators Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, seeking to de-authorize the original war authorization. That proposal, though, is not favored by the Democratic leadership because several senators who voted against the 2002 authorization are reluctant to endorse a new one.

EXCUSE ME? Hey, Dems! What part of the overwhelming message of the 2006 election, that the American people want this war to END, as soon as is feasible, DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND???

Get this: we expect you to take action, whatever it takes, however it may be possible, and keep at it until you succeed, in fulfilling this mandate. No new war authorization has any role to play in accomplishing this. And if you are even considering authorizing any further military adventurism by this proven-unreliable bunch in the White House, you not only aren't doing your jobs, you should have your heads examined. Byrd and Clinton have it right, de-authorize. But then, no new authorization. Make this war unquestionably illegal, then we'll see what the Decider thinks he has the power to do.