Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Some Republicans Are Figuring Out That Attacking Pelosi Can Lead Them Into A Mine Field Of Explosive Exposure.

Some Republicans Are Figuring Out That Attacking Pelosi Can Lead Them Into A Mine Field Of Explosive Exposure.


“In The Jungle It’s The Female Of The Species That Is The Killer!”

It's NOT About Nancy Pelosi! It's About Bush & Cheney!

“Full Disclosure” WoW! There’s An Idea!

Boehner Refuses To Go Along With Fox’s Call To Unseat Pelosi: ‘Let’s Not Get Too Far Down The Road Here’

Last week, former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich launched a campaign to investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over what she knew about the Bush administration’s torture program. “I think she has lied to the House, and I think that the House has an absolute obligation to open an inquiry, and I hope there will be a resolution to investigate her,” Gingrich told ABC News. Other Republicans have heeded Gingrich’s call and agreed that Pelosi should be investigated and possibly stripped of her Speakership:

“It is outrageous, and the American people need to speak to their Democrat members of Congress and ask them to come up with a new speaker.” [Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 5/15/09]

“And if indeed Nancy Pelosi has lied, which it seems to me that she has, then — then she either needs to resign or at the very least have a public and open apology to the CIA.” [Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), 5/18/09, Fox and Friends]

CHETRY: Yes. But if it comes — she either, you know, is forced to step down or she isn’t. What’s your opinion?

HOEKSTRA: Well, I think she’s been the one that has been saying people within the Justice Department need to be held accountable, people in the CIA need to be held accountable. If she wants to apply that same standard, it has to be applied to her as well.” [Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), 5/18/09, CNN]

Fox News has also been aggressively pushing for Pelosi’s resignation. This morning, Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade tried to get House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) to agree. Boehner, however, shied away:

BOEHNER: I think the ball is in the speaker’s court. I think she needs to come forward, either present evidence or do an apology, and let’s get this behind us. [...]

KILMEADE: If she has none, she should remain Speaker?

BOEHNER: Let’s not — let’s not get too far down the road here. I’m not going to take anything off the table, but I do believe that — that the ball is in her court. And she has to either put up or have an apology and move on.

Over the weekend on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) similarly rejected Gingrich’s call for a full-blown investigation, saying, “I am less interested in investigating whether her memory or correct or she lied about it than I am in the policies that flow from the debate that we’re having. I am not one who thinks we ought to have truth commissions and all of the rest of it and keep looking backward.”

As Pelosi has made clear, questions about her level of knowledge make a truth commission more — not less — necessary. “Until a truth commission comes into being, I encourage the appropriate committees of the House to conduct vigorous oversight of these issues,”

Pelosi said. If conservatives were genuine in their outrage, they would be embracing Pelosi’s calls for a full investigation instead of trying to distract from the real issue of the Bush administration’s torture program.

Conservatives Express Hope That Their Attacks On Pelosi Will Quiet Calls For Truth Commission

For weeks, conservatives have been launching hypocritical and disingenuous attackson House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) regarding her level of knowledge of the Bush administration’s torture program.

Fox News conservatives are revealing one of the underlying motives for these attacks — to diminish calls for a truth commission on torture. While interviewing Newt Gingrich, and later, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Fox host Neil Cavuto wondered whether “both parties will cease and desist” from investigations:

Is it a potential Mexican standoff? And by that, I mean, Senator, that Democrats feel they have the goods on the prior administration to drag out hearings on what they knew about Iraq and when. Now Republicans have the goods, presumably, on Nancy Pelosi about what she knew about interrogation and when. 


[Insert Ed… Three Monkeys In The Wings: Torture Howling, Cheney Chortles, Pelosi Pickings And The Game Is Working Towards A “PYA “Stalemate!

 Of Course, There Is A Small Problem; Any Investigations And Subsequent “Show Trials “will require moving far beyond lawyers and functionaries. It will have to include ex-President Bush and ex-Vice President Cheney unless we are to believe that they had no idea of what was going on.

It will have to also include Democratic as well as Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee who were briefed and who approved waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, despite her faulty memory, will also need to be included. It all gotten  a bit tricky and after all the “sound bite” howling “The Three Monkey Syndrome” will set in “The Great Protect Our Asses move…or in Chess parlance: “Stalemate/end-of-game!

There will be screaming for a Pelosi censure, and even if censured; she’ll feel no need to step aside because when it’s all said and done, because we will know the truth…they are all guilty as hell, lying with every movement of their lips and no one will be held to account due a myriad of verbal lint deflecting self-serving excuses varying from national security to troop endangerment, but we’ll know the truth, or enough of it to reinforce our conviction that our government is corrupt from top to bottom, above the law and expects our votes the next time around because that’s all we have. 

Do you feel like a pissed-on puppet and peon? “]

Last night on Fox, Dick Cheney’s official biographer Stephen Hayes said, “Democrats who have been so enthusiastic about truth commissions have to be stopping and saying, OK, wait a second.” Mort Kondracke chimed in with some advice for the President: “I think Obama really has to get this stuff stopped.” Watch a compilation:

Pelosi has been clear that recent questions about her level of knowledge about Bush’s torture program only add more — not less — need for an investigation to take place. “Until a truth commission comes into being, I encourage the appropriate committees of the House to conduct vigorous oversight of these issues,” Pelosi said.

If conservatives were being honest about their criticisms, they’d be taking up Pelosi’s desire for a full investigation, an inquiry that would not only examine what members of Congress knew but also the prominent role Cheney played in authorizing illegal acts.


Sensing blood, Republican officials have turned the friction between Nancy Pelosi and the Central Intelligence Agency into significant political hay. This weekend alone, several prominent GOPers took to the airwaves to insist that the Speaker had, in the words of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, "stepped in it big time" by insisting that she had not been briefed on the use of waterboarding in the fall of 2002.

The key message is standard Republican fare: while Pelosi is attacking the CIA, the GOP is defending those who work to keep our nation safe.

"I think it's a tragedy that we are seeing this massive attack on our intelligence community," Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri said in an interview on NBC's Today show.

"Lying to the Congress of the United States is a crime," said House Minority Leader John Boehner on CNN's State of the Union. "And if the speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress, then she should come forward with evidence and turn that over to the Justice Department so they can be prosecuted. And if that's not the case, I think she ought to apologize to our intelligence professionals around the world."

One would be forgiven for assuming that the CIA, in the eyes of Republicans, was sacrosanct. The truth is: it hasn't always been this way.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts told the Washington Post in October 2003 that "the executive was ill-served by the intelligence community," adding: "I worry about the credibility of the intelligence community." In another interview, Roberts accused the CIA of "egregious intelligence failure[s]," saying that the agency would have to earn back the trust of the political community. "Not having your actions second-guessed is something that is earned," he said.

Roberts was not alone. As pointed out by the site FireDogLake, some of the voices ribbing Pelosi now were publicly airing their doubts of the intelligence community's credibility just a few years ago. That includes Boehner, who, on December 9, 2007, told CNN that he did not have confidence that the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which described the threat over the country's nuclear ambitions to be overblown.

"Either I don't have confidence in what they told me several months ago or I don't have confidence in what they're telling me today," he replied. And as picked up by Glen Thrush at Politico, the Ohio Republican also was critical of the CIA for the intelligence gaffes it suffered before the invasion of Iraq.

Nine month earlier, on NBC's Meet the Press Boehner said: "It's clear to all of us, Democrats and Republicans, that we have flawed intelligence. The CIA have bad intelligence, the Pentagon had bad intelligence and, for that matter, all of our allies around the world had the same bad intelligence."

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel shot back, saying, "There is a world of difference between asking questions about analysis of complex - and often contradictory - information, and flat-out accusing our nation's intelligence professionals of deliberately deceiving Congress. Don't equate reasoned debate with accusations of lying."

All of which is not to diminish the divide that presented itself between Pelosi and the CIA last week. But it is worthwhile noting that the agency has been a whipping post for Republicans in the past. Praise and support of it are not, after all, a litmus test of one's patriotism.

Sessions: Obama's Court Nominees No Longer Get "Powerful Deference"
By The Huffington Post News Team 
On Sunday, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions, suggested that the country had moved to a place "in which there is not as much deference" -- "this automatic powerful deference" -- given to the President's Supreme Court ... It is not even a law, it's a procedural rule that can be eliminated by 51 Senators. Eliminate the filibuster and we will get an entirely different nominee!! Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 04:31 PM on 05/18/2009 ...
Huffpolitics on The Huffington Post - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/@huffpolitics


NO MORE MR. NICE GUY :The Supreme Court’s stealth hard-liner.

by Jeffrey Toobin


When John G. Roberts, Jr., emerges from behind the red curtains and takes his place in the middle of the Supreme Court bench, he usually wears a pair of reading glasses, which he peers over to see the lawyers arguing before him. It’s an old-fashioned look for the Chief Justice of the United States, who is fifty-four, but, even with the glasses, there’s no mistaking that Roberts is the youngest person on the Court. (John Paul Stevens, the senior Associate Justice, who sits to Roberts’s right, is thirty-five years older.) Roberts’s face is unlined, his shoulders are broad and athletic, and only a few wisps of gray hair mark him as changed in any way from the judge who charmed the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing, in 2005.

On April 29th, the last day of arguments for the Court’s current term, the Justices heard Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, a critical case about the future of the Voting Rights Act. Congress originally passed the law in 1965, and three years ago overwhelmingly passed its latest reauthorization, rejecting arguments that improvements in race relations had rendered the act unnecessary. Specifically, the bill, signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, kept in place Section 5 of the law, which says that certain jurisdictions, largely in the Old South, have to obtain the approval of the Justice Department before making any changes to their electoral rules, from the location of polling places to the boundaries of congressional districts. A small utility district in Texas challenged that part of the law, making the same argument that members of Congress had just discounted—that this process, known as preclearance, amounted to a form of discrimination against the citizens of the New South.

Roberts said little to the lawyer for the plaintiff, but when Neal K. Katyal, the Deputy Solicitor General, took to the lectern to defend the Voting Rights Act, the Chief Justice pounced. “As I understand it, one-twentieth of one per cent of the submissions are not precleared,” Roberts said. “That, to me, suggests that they are sweeping far more broadly than they need to to address the intentional discrimination under the Fifteenth Amendment”—which guarantees the right to vote regardless of race.

“I disagree with that, Mr. Chief Justice,” Katyal said. “I think what it represents is that Section 5 is actually working very well—that it provides a deterrent.” According to Katyal, the fact that the Justice Department cleared almost all electoral changes proved, in effect, that the South had been trained, if not totally reformed.

Roberts removed his glasses and stared down at Katyal. “That’s like the old elephant whistle,” he said. “You know, ‘I have this whistle to keep away the elephants.’ You know, well, that’s silly. ‘Well, there are no elephants, so it must work.’ ”

Roberts was relentless in challenging Katyal: “So your answer is that Congress can impose this disparate treatment forever because of the history in the South?”

“Absolutely not,” Katyal said.

“When can they—when do they have to stop?”

“Congress here said that twenty-five years was the appropriate reauthorization period.”

“Well, they said five years originally, and then another twenty years,” Roberts said, referring to previous reauthorizations of the act. “I mean, at some point it begins to look like the idea is that this is going to go on forever.”

And this, ultimately, was the source of Roberts’s frustration—and not just in this case. In a series of decisions in the past four years, the Chief Justice has expressed the view that the time has now passed when the Court should allow systemic remedies for racial discrimination. The previous week, the Court heard a challenge by a group of white firefighters in New Haven who were denied promotions even though they had scored better than black applicants on a test. Roberts was, if anything, even more belligerent in questioning the lawyer defending the city. “Now, why is this not intentional discrimination?” he asked. “You are going to have to explain that to me again, because there are particular individuals here,” he said. “And they say they didn’t get their jobs because of intentional racial action by the city.” He added, “You maybe don’t care whether it’s Jones or Smith who is not getting the promotion,” he said. “All you care about is who is getting the promotion. All you care about is his race.”

When Antonin Scalia joined the Court, in 1986, he brought a new gladiatorial spirit to oral arguments, and in subsequent years the Justices have often used their questions as much for campaign speeches as for requests for information. Roberts, though, has taken this practice to an extreme, and now, even more than the effervescent Scalia, it is the Chief Justice, with his slight Midwestern twang, who dominates the Court’s public sessions.

Roberts’s hard-edged performance at oral argument offers more than just a rhetorical contrast to the rendering of himself that he presented at his confirmation hearing. “Judges are like umpires,” Roberts said at the time. “Umpires don’t make the rules. They apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.” His jurisprudence as Chief Justice, Roberts said, would be characterized by “modesty and humility.” After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.

CQ Shows Us the Rumsfeld We Fully Expected

by The Station Agent

CQ's expose of the insane cover pages Donald Rumsfeld allowed to adorn intelligence briefings cements Rumsfeld's place as one of America's all time theocrats, despite the fact that many observers attest that Rummy was not a zealot. 

Not only did he fuck up the war, but he completely ignored the spirit of religious freedom in America in what looks like a naked attempt to manipulate an idiotic president. I really didn't think there was any chance this dude could be a bigger fuck-up than I thought he was. Life is full of surprises.

Of course we always knew Rummy was a titanic asshole. The feature Robert Draper wrote that accompanies the briefing covers in CQ is a must read that shows just how deeply disliked this guy was by people who were supposed to be on his side.

A little over three years ago, Rumsfeld was confronted by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. Here is Countdown's coverage of that priceless moment:

Nicole Sandler, host of the Radio or Not podcast and frequent substitute Air America guest host, recently spoke to McGovern at length. The podcast can be downloaded here.

Inside the CIA

I had a blast guest hosting on Air America radio for the past month or so. Now that I'm back at Radio or Not full-time, in addition to talking about what's happening, I'll be sharing some of the best interviews I conducted there.

We'll start today with Ray McGovern. I spoke with Ray for a few moments the day after the "torture memos" were released, but with all the revelations about what our government did over the past eight years (under the guise of "keeping us safe"), I knew I had to have him back on for a more in-depth discussions.

Ray McGovern was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

I first learned of him after seeing him confront Donald Rumsfeld about why we were lied into war in Iraq.

Although VIPS doesn't have a website, Ray McGovern has written extensively on the wrongs of the Bush administration, and has offered some advice to our new president as well. Here are links to some of his pieces:

Memo to President Obama on Torture-- April 29, 2009 (Updated May 1, 2009)

Torture? Rudman to the Rescue -- May 6, 2009 

Rumsfeld Redux: 'Ugly' Questions for Gen. Myers -- May 14, 2009

And you can hear my interview with Ray McGovern (Friday, May 15, 2009) by clicking here -- runtime 25:37



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