But … But … What about Oversight?

"Scottish Haggis" Specter, letting his better judgment get the better of him, has decided he has better things to do with his time.

Sen. Arlen Specter said he won’t call for congressional hearings on the NFL’s investigation of the Spygate scandal after previously threatening to do so.

Specter’s office confirmed Tuesday his comments a day earlier to the Philadelphia Daily News editorial board, in which he said "I’ve gone as far as I can" with his office’s investigation of the matter. Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, had written in a Senate floor statement earlier this month that "I believe the NFL should step forward and embrace an independent inquiry."


"I haven’t pulled back. There’s not much more I can do at this point," the senator said Monday, according to his office. "We’ve exposed a lot. … But the public attention span is so limited. I’m not going to call for hearings because the mood is not right and we’ve got too many other bigger problems to deal with."

No mention of whether those "bigger problems" have to do with the government’s spying on Americans, rather than Bill Belichick’s spying on the Eagles or not.

146 replies
  1. marksb says:

    Think maybe he’s been catching some noise for wasting time?

    Speaking of watching/spying/collecting data,
    Today I had the “pleasure” of sending a wire transfer to Germany. Cousin loaned money to my daughter so she could extend her trip another three weeks, so we thought “oh we’ll just wire him some money”.
    A few years back you just gave your bank your account number, showed your ID, gave them the destination bank, bank number, and account number. End of story.
    Not now. You have a long form to fill out that covers everything about you except your DNA. And the name and address of the receiving party on the other end. And the address of the receiving bank.
    The little snot-nosed kid acting like he’s some sort of authority figure in my local bank branch has the nerve to tell me “we have to do it this way because of 9/11″ in a rent-a-cop, know-it-all tone.
    I went off at that point, poor kid, telling him that’s bullshit, it may be that the feds require the form to track my money to someone else in order to attempt to counter potential ter’ists, but probably it’s the Republican congress and certain other public figures working to track who I send money to and why, so they can have this information in their database in order to profile my behavior, you know, “just in case”. It could be the IRS and other federal law enforcement groups that want to track fund transfers and check against the information in their database.
    And further, if it’s the bank’s policy, or the fed’s policy and/or law, he should say so, not give me this BS explaining it “because of 9/11″. Bank wire transfers, near as I can tell, had nothing to do with some Saudi guys with box cutters.
    Then I took a breath, apologized, and filled out the fucking form.

    • freepatriot says:

      I had to splain the concept of a “sight draft” to a bank teller last month

      I don’t apologize to them

      they apologize to me

      somehow, I don’t believe them when they tell me “It’s been a pleasure to serve you”

      did they change the meaning of the word service or somethin ???

      • hackworth says:

        Like loyal brownshirts, bank managers always claim 9 eleven when they need an excuse to shake down customers for additional information. It seems they feel that the customer will be empathetic when they claim 9 eleven. (Cuz really, aren’t they shaking us down and denying us service for our own safety?) /s

  2. marksb says:

    BTW EW, great job today with the hearing. I was glued to the computer in between customers and phone calls and appointments and bank wire transfers. Thank you! You are amazing.

  3. Hugh says:

    Today’s hearings in brief:

    Levin: Good Morning, Mr. Haynes
    Haynes: Who?
    Levin: You, you are Mr. Haynes.
    Haynes: I don’t recall.
    Levin: You were the General Counsel at the Pentagon.
    Haynes: Can’t say. I never saw a memo on that.
    Levin: Well, tell me what you do remember.
    Haynes: There was a lot going on.
    Levin: Like what?
    Haynes: Err . . .
    Levin (prompting): Mr. Haynes.
    Haynes: Who?

    • skdadl says:

      Haynes reminded me of so many people at different times during his testimony, but one in particular who would fit that profile too, Hugh.

      During the Arar inquiry, our former ambassador to Syria, Franco Pillarella, the guy on the spot at the time and who actually visited Arar in prison, gave testimony that just left people gaping, jaws hitting the floor. Human rights abuses in Syria? Never heard of them. No reason to think Mr Arar was being mistreated. Throughout Pillarella was blithe, self-confident, privileged, entitled, bored and faintly annoyed that he should have to bother with such issues.

      It was so bad that another former ambassador published an op-ed in the G&M the next day saying that he felt Pillarella’s testimony had tainted the reputation of the entire diplomatic service.

      Haynes made me think of him.

    • freepatriot says:

      I just watched “Rosecrans and Guilderstern are Dead”, so I can understand how that could happen

      “What is the first thing you remember after all of the things you’ve forgotten”

      • emptywheel says:

        That’s such a great play/film

        I once had won the part of Guildenstern, I think, in our high school’s production. Or maybe it was Rosencrantz. And then the school board canceled the production for being too risque.

        • Neil says:

          The Town of Amherst Regional High School principal and school board disallowed the student production of West Side Story, and approved the production of the Vagina Monologues. Apparently, it was a hit. Students were allowed to attend with a parent’s written approval.

          We can now add thespian to the list of Emptywheel accomplishments which include blogger of the year candidate, live-blog pioneer, preeminent CIA leak expert, political activist extraordinaire, world traveler, rugger, Phd, and business consultant.

          So Specter was blowing hot air on the front page of the New York Times about the NE Patriots illegal spying, eh? Must be an election year. Maybe the release of Phase II and Scotty McC’s tell-all is what stole his thunder.

          Um, sports fans, the Celtics are up 30 points with 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter in Game 6. Say hello to the new world champions, their 17th world championship (on this the 17th of June.)

      • LabDancer says:

        Ooo- R&G is a veritable cornucopia of relevant lines to the unravelling of the BCA- right from the opening, with the two passing the journey flipping coins & debating odds & coincidence: brings to mind what it must have been like to eavesdrop on a blue-sky talk between Cheney & Addington.

        Having listened while reading ew’s live blog the latter gained something in translation. Sen McCaskill exceeded expectations & clearly is up to it- Im becoming a fan- but it would take a month prep time to go thru today’s document dump & a week with Haynes for even a hope of anything more substantial than Hugh’s takeaway. A grand jury room would provide the best setting for encouraging recovery. In the meantime- I wonder if the state licensing body with issues his legal practice certificate will learn of his unfortunate memory loss- whatever caused it was clearly a remarkable one: to cause amnesia that extensive yet so precise so as to leave his ability to fence with questioners so unimpaired. I thought of spending some time googling how that sort of thing might happen- but Ockhams Razor suggests most likely it traces back to some procedure in Fielding on The Art of Executive Obstruction- like that chapter entitled: “Least of Evils: Oversight versus a Partial Lobotomy” [I think its falls somewhere between “Executive Privilege: Plumbing the Limitless Depths” & the updated version of “Say Hello to your new best friends Mr Clock & Mrs Calendar”].

        No one may be in a better position to understand the mindset & capacities of a Fielding than Dean. Perhaps AG Edwards thinks to invite him in to help out in the grand jury investigation.

  4. bmaz says:

    It is also interesting that, for all of his preening, posturing and blustering about spygate in football, the Haggis Spectre didn’t utter a syllable about the issue of possible game fixing in the NBA by league referees. Now I don’t know how much I believe this really went on, but there is at least one long time referee that has admitted to it in court and made additional allegations on the record to the court. And there are some real questionable games, at least two of which were in the playoffs and were among those claimed by said referee. There is way more solid and institutional allegations than were ever present in Spygate; but not a peep out of the Haggis. Shocking eh?

  5. MadDog says:

    Just caught up on all EW’s outstanding liveblogging.

    Who knew that hiring requirements in this Administration mandated total memory loss?

    I suppose whomever decided that probably doesn’t remember.

  6. perris says:

    marcy, I don’t know if you caught this or if it was mentioned here, I just read it over at think progress and it is ECELLANT;

    • perris says:

      oops, forgot the quote;

      Mora: Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are ‘first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq.’

      Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on detainee interrogation. Testifying before the committee, former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora, who battled within the Pentagon to shut down the use of torture, blasted the Bush administration’s abusive detention practices as leading to the recruitment of new radicals and the deaths of more American soldiers:

      [T]here are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq — as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat — are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.


  7. JohnLopresti says:

    Well, football is serious in PA. Pittsburgh has had a few bored gentlemen become famous in that sport. So Specter knows when to ignore the trivia, wisdom shows. And on the OT comments re hearing, check out the short thread at Lederman’s latest re hearing today, though maybe that is old news. I am busy at different stuff.

  8. PJEvans says:

    I wonder if memory excision is a required part of exit interviews for BushCheney appointees ….

    Or maybe they just have you look at a flashlight.

  9. PetePierce says:

    Belechick spied on everyone and everything and we know it and he implanted a bionic arm in Tom Brady. That’s why in a McCain administration there will be a cabinet level position Secretary of NLF Espionage.

  10. MadDog says:

    Totally OT – I assume folks have perused this from over at Pat’s place, no?


    Israeli Ministers Mull Plans for Military Strike against Iran

    The Israeli government no longer believes that sanctions can prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. A broad consensus in favor of a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear facilities — without the Americans, if necessary — is beginning to take shape.

    Dani Yatom, a member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, was invited to attend a NATO conference in Brussels last year. While reviewing the agenda, Yatom, a retired major general, was surprised to see that the meeting was titled “The Iranian Challenge” and not “The Iranian Threat…

    …Yatom, 63, has spent most of his life in the military. He was a military adviser to former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and, in the mid-1990s, was named head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. Nevertheless, Yatom, a member of the Labor Party, is not some reckless hawk. Unlike most Knesset members, he flatly rejects, for example, a major Israeli offensive against the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

    But Yatom’s willingness to strike a compromise ends when he is asked what he considers to be the best response to the Iranian nuclear program. “We no longer believe in the effectiveness of sanctions,” says Yatom. “A military operation is needed if the world wants to stop Iran…”

    …In truth, however, there is now a consensus within the Israeli government that an air strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities has become unavoidable. “Most members of the Israeli cabinet no longer believe that sanctions will convince President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to change course,” says Minister of Immigrant Absorption Yaakov Edri…

    …The hawks, on the other hand, believe time is running out. They stress that there is now a “favorable window of opportunity” that will close with the US presidential election in November, and that Israel can only depend on American support for as long as current US President George W. Bush is still in charge in Washington…

    …And no one knows better than the Israeli leadership just how much power lies in the mere belief that a country has nuclear weapons. After all, Israel itself has used this belief as a deterrent for the past 40 years. It is believed that an estimated 100 to 200 nuclear warheads have been produced at the Dimona reactor in the Negev Desert. Israeli historian Benny Morris, who is not normally considered a hardliner, recently suggested using the weapons: “If the issue is whether Israel or Iran should perish, then Iran should perish…”

    …Iran could be next. In a recent letter to Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak wrote that Tehran is not far from the “point of no return” at which the Israelis believe it could no longer be prevented from developing a bomb. Israeli intelligence officials believe that Iranian weapons engineers could have enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear warhead by 2009.

    In reaching this conclusion, the Israelis are expressly contradicting the assertion, put forward in a report by US intelligence issued last December, that Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003. “The Iranians resumed the program at full speed in 2005,” says Yossi Kuperwasser, the director for intelligence analysis with Israeli military intelligence at the time…

    …Nevertheless, in Israel it is no longer a matter of whether there will be a military strike, but when…

    • freepatriot says:

      so do the Israelis hace a final solution to the Iranian threat

      and YES, I meant to refer to the final solution to the jewish question, as debated at the Wansea Conference in Berlin, in 1942

      who would be Israel’s Himmler ???

      do they have an Eichmann in mind ???

      how far down this path has Israel traveled ???

      • PetePierce says:

        You have to be kidding. Ball is in Iran’s court. If they attack or begin to attack it’s over.

      • PetePierce says:

        What the hell and where the hell is the Wansea Conference of 1942–never heard of it.

        • freepatriot says:

          well Gee Willikers, if they decided to stop shooting each other, we can all go home …

          what is this, cease fire number 4912 ???

          I don’t have any answers. But most of the people who say they have an answer, just wanna repeat past mistakes

          and we’re stuck in the same cycle where any nut job with 8 bucks worth of explosives can destroy any attempts at peace

        • PetePierce says:

          With every bit of respect due a comparison of Israel to the Nazis is obscene. You need to thoroughly review the history of Germany and the history of Israel.

          I’d like to see the justification of suicide bombers and lobbying deadly missles into cities.

          How many suicide bombers or missles have hit your neighborhood lately giving you some empathy for Isreael who always responds defensively and with considerable restraint.

          Where the hell is all this Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran Mullah (Ahma Dinnerjacket is all mouth; he controls nothing) love coming from?

        • freepatriot says:

          Dude, I need to review the history ???

          you’re the one who didn’t know what the wannsea conference was

          maybe YOU should do some reviewing

          compare this:

          “If the issue is whether Israel or Iran should perish, then Iran should perish…”

          to this:

          “Today I will once more be a prophet: If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!”

          I’ve been thru the histories, dude. I got an encyclopedia of germany’s war criminals in my head

          I haven’t found ANYTHING to convince me that the Jews were a threat to germany

          and I haven’t found any evidence that Iran is a threat to Israel

          now, would you like to discus the history of Israel (if so, the Balfour resolution might be a place to start)

          or would you prefer to discuss the history of Iran (formerly Persia, so we’re talking about most of recorded history there)

          I’m prepared to do either, or both, without crib notes

          are you down ???

          btw, the Isreali-Palastinian conflict isn’t the fault of Iran, so don’t try to involve that in the discussion about an attack on Iran

          Isreali officials are talking about annihilating Iranians, and hitler was talking about annihilating the Jews

          where is the difference in that ???

          if Israel actually DOES annihilate Iran, based upon unproven intentions, where is the difference ???

        • bmaz says:

          All I know is that you are a A’s fan (You’re gonna like Carlos Gonzales for a long time by the way, may have gotten the best of the deal) and there are parts of Oakland that might be analogous to the discussion points.

        • PetePierce says:

          Dude I would concentrate on the shitpile administration of your own country that is making the world unstable. Since 1948 Israel has forged a country that makes Iran primitive and in a number of areas in computer science cleans the USA’s clock. Dude.

          Iran and every Arab country has the majority of their people living in pure shitdue to greed, mismanagement, dictatorships often called kingdoms and right now Dude Hamas controls Gaza, and Iran controls Syria.

          I’m not concerned that I don’t have a fingertip knowledge of every Nazi conference. The Nazis were finally defeated, mostly although I can see they still rear their heads on blogs.

          Your country has fucked up every opportunity to improve this situation. Dude.

          Israelis haven’t talked about anhilating Iranians, and have no intention of doing so. Actually although Americans are stupid enough via their MSM idiots like Tweetie to believe that the Iranian President has any significant influence, it’s been the Iranians who have talked about anihilating Israel as well as Hamas and Hezbelloah.

          What planet have you been on?

          You can rant and rave but if Iran is in trouble with a very Westernized university population, blame the asshole Mullahs.

          Is this the way things work in your town?

          Hamas Seizes Broad Control in Gaza Strip and Imposes Nazi Laws

          The more that Hamas imposes this kind of Nazi rule, the more Israel will isolate Gaza and the more I’ll support them for doing it.

          Hamas Invokes Nazi Iron Fist in Gaza

          The average citizen in Gaza hates Hamas for it’s Nazi ways, increasint their poverty, misery and isolation, Dude.

          GAZA — Cursing God in public here — a fairly common event in this benighted and besieged strip of Palestinian land — can now lead to prison. So can kissing in public. A judge ruled last week that a bank could not collect its contracted interest on a 10-year-old loan because Islam forbids charging interest.

          One year ago, gunmen from Hamas, an Islamist anti-Israel group, took over Gaza, shooting some of their more secular Fatah rivals in the knees and tossing one off a building. Israel and the West imposed a blockade, hoping to squeeze the new rulers from power. Yet today Hamas has spread its authority across all aspects of life, including the judiciary. It is fully in charge. Gazans have not, as Israel and the United States hoped, risen up against it.

          “The Palestinian criminal code says there should be no improper behavior in the streets,” the new chief justice, Abed al-Raouf Halabi, explained in an interview, pulling the code book from his breast pocket.

          “It is up to judges to interpret what that means,” he said. “For us that means no cursing, no drinking and no kissing in public. In the past these things were ignored.”

          Gaza has always been poor and pious, distinct from the more secular and better off West Bank. But a year of Hamas rule has made it more so. The notion of Gaza as an enduringly separate entity is solidifying, making it less likely that Palestinians might agree even among themselves on peace with Israel.

          Compared with a year ago here in Gaza, more women are covered, more men are bearded, Internet sites are filtered and non-Hamas public gatherings are largely banned. With the Israeli closure greatly reducing the supply of fuel, spare parts and other vital goods, less sewage is treated and more fish are contaminated. Gazans feel trapped and helpless.

        • bmaz says:

          I thought we finished this issue a couple of days ago. Why waste bandwidth with the same stuff?


        • PetePierce says:

          I should have added that in a number of medical subspecialties as well as computer science Israel makes the US look primitive.

          Israel has had the way for years to foil IEDs and KBR lobbyists in the US have blocked its being purchased.

          KBR has been basically telling the Defense Department to swallow their vast over billing or else and the Defense Department of the US is all too willing to take orders from KBR.

        • PetePierce says:

          I’d get your retina examined for microanuerysms and a new refraction–you’re reversing your polarity. No Israeli “leader” has said what Iranian Puppet/Joke has said here:

          Iran’s New President Says Israel ‘Must Be Wiped Off the Map’

          TEHRAN, Oct. 26 – Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told a group of students at an anti-Israel event on Wednesday that Israel “must be wiped off the map” and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA news agency reported.

          He was speaking to about 4,000 students at a program called “The World Without Zionism,” in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration held on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

          His tone was reminiscent of that of the early days of Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979. Iran and Israel have been bitter enemies since then, and anti-Israel slogans have been common at rallies.

        • PetePierce says:

          You are not stuck in any cycle. You aren’t in any place where suicide bombers are knocking off buses, where missles are landing in your neighborhood, and where 59 people get blown up. And all that’s not even defiling your newspaper and most of the time your favorite blogs.

  11. bmaz says:

    Hey! Abrams has Kinky Friedman on as one of his panelists tonight. Kinky would be a perfect replacement for Russert!

  12. bmaz says:

    Just so that you all are apprised of what your brave Democratic leaders are doing in your name, from The Hill:

    Senate Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they would not stand in the way of a compromise overhaul of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), despite their concerns with the impacts of the sprawling measure.

    When asked if he would whip his conference to vote against it, Durbin said: “I doubt if it’s going to be a caucus position.”

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) predicted Tuesday that there is enough support within the Democratic Conference to approve a contentious overhaul of the FISA legislation.

    “If the bill comes out as I think it will, it will pass,” Rockefeller said before heading to a conference lunch.

    Reid said that he would not ask his members to vote against the bill and that he still had not reviewed the language…

  13. Mary says:

    23 – that’s something I wish I hadn’t read without some alcohol nearby. Thanks, though.

    skdadl – shhh on the Pillarella stuff. If US corps that don’t have their own torture boys find out that they can poach from over the boarder, our one true success in Bushonomics land will take a hit.

    • bmaz says:

      Speaking of bad evidence for war, Curveball Speaks! Still with forked tongue…..

      Mary @36 – Jeepers, almost sounds like you are channeling me!

      WO @38 – Why would Bush veto it? This is what his team has specifically negotiated, and even though masked by bullshit, it is a direct grant of immunity from the pending consolidated suits in NDCA, which is all he really cares about. He will sign this bill in a heartbeat.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        I just think Bush wants to keep this alive a little longer and might just come up with some absurd reason to back out of the deal.

        • PetePierce says:

          Bush will sign this bill with great fanfare in a Brooklyn Bridge heartbeat. It closes the door to a good slice of his criminality. Glenn and EFF have written excellent recent articles. Everyone should take a lookee.

  14. Mary says:

    Senate Dems won’t bother blocking an out of control, poorly considered, amnesty vehicle, FISA “compromise”

    And they wonder why the money isn’t there for their damn convention. Who wants to volunteer to the furtherance of that kind of crap. IMO, Levin’s hearings were just some Kabuki and distraction to keep everyone from making the concerted effort on FISA again.

    Absolutely contemptible.

    And I hope, in the end, a big freakin backfire as some court has to get briefed in to read the “pieces of paper” that are all the legislation requires, and someone tacks on a big nasty Bivens claim that the legislation can’t undo.

    A Bivens claim wouldn’t do much for damages in the end, but it would at least be a way to keep trying to get justice over the combined efforts of the Democratic Congress and Bush Admin to take it away.

    The slimes can’t wait until the regime change?

    Oh, that’s right, Dems in control isn’t a regime change. It’s just a continuation with a lot less spine and a lot more slither.

    • PetePierce says:

      Nobody says the Dems are spineless better than you Mary. Of course they are. Folding on immunity would be enough to keep me from ever contributing again, and as much as I’m for Obama I don’t care if they hold the convention in a sewer if they can’t stand up to coverup for Cheney, Addington, and Bush and their homies.

      I can count the successful Bivens claims on one hand, and even before the little federalist bushies on the bench became cowed and compliant sheep worshiping at the alter of State Secrets, warantless wiretapping and no cert votes for terrorist abduction rendering tortures although they did grant cert. to Ashcroft v. Iqbal, No. 07-1015 in a rebuke of sorts to Judge Newman’s 2nd Circuit cowed and compliant “I’m skeered opinion invoking 911 as the answer for screwing people out of the Constitution.

  15. WilliamOckham says:

    I think our best hope now is that Bush decides to veto the FISA compromise. Either that or we hope the House back-benchers revolt.

      • freepatriot says:

        havin a life sucks …

        it doesn’t really work with this innertubes thingy

        but i got critters thatdepend on me so …

        two minutes

  16. PetePierce says:

    With every bit of respect due a comparison of Israel to the Natzis is obscene. You need to thoroughly review the history of Germany and the history of Israel.

    I’d like to see the justification of suicide bombers and lobbying deadly missles into cities.

    How many suicide bombers or missles have hit your neighborhood lately giving you some empathy for Isreael who always responds defensively and with considerable restraint.

    Where the hell is all this Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran Mullah (Ahma Dinnerjacket is all mouth; he controls nothing) love coming from?

  17. freepatriot says:


    and the crowd goes wild

    scuse me, I’m gonna be Irish for a while …

    • Neil says:

      Way to go Boston Celtics. It’s been a long drought…1986. What could possibly go together better than a Celtics championship and a Beamish? Nothing.

      I think I know what Doc Rivers told Kobe Bryant on the floor of the Boston Garden, on the Red Auerbach hardwood, right after the game ended: Come play for us and you’ll win a lot of titles.

  18. freepatriot says:

    on other off topic stuff, anybody wach a tv show called “corner gas” on WGN

    it’s Canadian TV

    good stuff if you need practice being a hoser

    hey, mcsame just might pull this outta his ass, and you need a good backup plan …

  19. freepatriot says:

    and about that “oversight” question (you know the TOPIC of this thread) …

    has anybody ever checked to see if “magic bullet” specter understands that “oversight” and “overlook” are two different concepts ???

    it always pays to make sure

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT, but fitting, Jeffrey Klein posted a long article in yesterday’s HuffPo about St. John the Divine’s winged career in the Navy. He persuasively refutes the front-page NYT story in May that St. John was offered but turned down his admiral’s star to go into politics. Klein suggestss that’s hooey.

    It doesn’t fit St. John’s career-long subpar performance, his five career crashes, and the normal process or length of time it takes to make admiral after being promoted to captain, even for above average and top-level performers. It doesn’t jive with St. John’s earlier biographical musings or those of his political peers, or two of his Navy peers who did make admiral in 1981, the year in question.

    Klein also points out that the story comes from John Lehman, then Sec’y of the Navy, but who had only been appointed by Reagan two months before St. John resigned his commission, which was within a week of the death of St. John’s four-star admiral father at the end of March 1981. Among other failings in the Times front-page story is that it failed to mention that Lehman is currently serving as St. John’s national security adviser.

    All in, Klein suggests that Times’s cover story was a pleasant fiction it failed to vet. Klein reminds St. John that he can easily settle this controversy the honorable, forthright, mavericky way. He can release his full Navy record. But as he’s done with his medical records, he’s only released short summaries of it, under controlled conditions.

    Something tells me that the hot head who crashed one of his planes on a boondoggle, flying a trainer to Philadelphia for the Army-Navy game, has a long record of misjudgments and errors he doesn’t really want his adoring media fans to know. But it’s the American voter who deserves to know.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I saw that too. Hope this story doesn’t get lost. I’d love to read all of the particulars from both sides.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Are we discussing issues with gusto or throwing personal diatribes?

    BTW, it was the ”Wannsee” Conference, in a leafy suburb of Berlin, where Deputy Fuehrer Reinhard Heydrich and other top Nazis, along with their logistically brilliant bureaucrats and lawyers, like Adolf Eichmann, who dreamt up die Endloesung, the Final Solution.

  22. Ishmael says:

    Woohoo!!! The Celtics win, and Boston was only a “helmet catch” away from holding the football, baseball and basketball championships concurrently! But man, did LA look bad tonight, it looked like the LA Generals, not the Lakers!

    • bmaz says:

      Okay, now I already congratulated you Bay State fans. Jeez, good thing EW isn’t a hoops fan or it might get insufferable around here. And I got nuthin. Even the D’backs, which showed early promise this season, are crapping out. Well, at least I have the mighty Cardinals to look forward to. Or not. Very not.

      • Ishmael says:

        When are you Phoenix hockey “fans” going to send the Coyotes and the Great One back to Canada whence they came?

      • emptywheel says:

        I USED to be a hoops fan.

        I was like a walking party trick when I was 16 and could name every single 76er (which might indicate how I feel about the Celtics). And I used to have to play hoops in gym class with Jud Buechler (who has several rings for being the Michael Jordan’s eighth man) and 4 other 6′5″ plus varsity basketball players.

        But then I decided I spent too much time watching sports and cut back to one.

        • PetePierce says:

          That being the case you ought to be able to be a real hoops hustler for serious extra money. Short in height, but a killer who can beat just about anyone in Ann Arbor at Horse, Around the World, and a lot of people at one on one. EPU’d but if you’re playing in Jordan’s league what can I say.

          Kobe vs. Jordan–I don’t think he’s there yet but time will tell.

        • PetePierce says:

          People say you were a rugger which I think is another term for rugby. So you have probably been a pretty good athlete. I think if you found a little time to practice your outside shot would always be with you.

  23. Ishmael says:

    On the FISA sellout, Senators Reid and Durbin indicate that they might oppose the House compromise, but of course with Lieberman and Rockefeller supporting the bill, the sellouts don’t need their votes to get it past the Senate if it clears the House. Durbin will carry the ball for Obama on this, it seems, and Obama will vote against it in the Senate, but the game will be won or lost in the House – I am very disappointed in his apparaent lack of leadership on this issue when he could stop it if he wanted to. It does not bode well for accountablity after January 2009, but perhaps he will prove me wrong.

    • Petrocelli says:

      I simply cannot believe what a mess Reid and Jello Jay have made of this.

      bmaz, I’ve been encouraging people to call Obama’s office and ask him to speak to this before it comes to a vote … is it too late ?

      • bmaz says:

        No, not too late. But time is getting short, I honestly would not be surprised if they tried to slam it through this week; if not, then next week. Is going to take some massive heat on Obama to get him to wake up. If Durbin is blase, you bet the farm that means Obama is; and the Hill article paints Durbin as fairly blase. For anybody wanting to get active and call, it might be a real good idea to hammer Durbin in addition to Obama, he is very close to Obama.

    • bmaz says:

      Pelosi and Hoyer will take the same hands off attitude in the House, which will allow the Blue Dogs cover to vote for the thing. That plus the GOP votes, and Hoyer of course because this is his baby (Reyes too I bet), will be enough for passage in the House. Unless Obama takes a real stand, this is a done deal it appears.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Democratic “leadership” on FISA is getting exactly what it wants. Their leadership, with that goal in mind, has been longterm and effective. That’s the problem. It’s not what we or the Constitution need. Or the rest of the world, for the matter, which doesn’t need its once lead democracy setting the lawlessness and surveillance bar so low for the world’s authoritarian regimes.

      The Democratic leaders have chosen to describe FISA the way Frist or DeLay would misdescribe it, as a creaking statute from the 1970’s that needs an “overhaul”. It’s not. It’s been frequently updated and needs only minor tweaking. They and the President are bent on gutting FISA while pretending to upgrade it. But they don’t want to be responsible for dropping court oversight over executive eavesdropping, or for gutting the Fourth Amendment.

      Hoyer, Reid and partners must think that giving Cheney, Bush and their telco supporters immunity will make life easier for them now and when they take over the White House in January. Fools. Bloody Fools, enjoying the ride on the back of that tiger, never thinking of how they’ll dismount without ending up inside.

      • Ishmael says:

        Do you include Obama in the Democratic “leadership” that is complicit in this arguably unconstitutional immunity legislation? Because it certainly appears that his opposition will be rhetorical only.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I don’t know. I’d love to know what is campaign is saying to Reid, et al. One would think he could disrail the move with an aggressive anti-Bush speech and by making the rule of law a significant part of his campaign. I don’t see how he could credibly do the latter if he doesn’t oppose this FISA sell out. It will be far worse than Hillary’s vote for the AUMF.

          I cannot fathom why giving Bush an enormous legislative victory ahead of the most important election in decades – with the Supreme Court in the balance – all while tearing a hole in the Constitution, they think is a good thing.

          Perhaps they’ve been informed all along and agreed to it for years and now need to hide it via immunity. Maybe they’re neocons themselves. Or maybe Cheney and Karl have used their surveillance powers to get a lot more dirt on the top Dems beyond where Eliot Spitzer gets his rocks off. And the Dems want to use the same powers against the Goopers. It makes no sense. But they’ve spent a lot of political capital to do it. So it’s very important to them.

      • bmaz says:

        And the really, really crappy part is that, when we all go out and elect as many Democrats as possible this fall, because we have to, they will take it as an affirmation of their “strategy”. It is enough to make you cry. Or vomit. Or something.

        • PetePierce says:

          You just summed up a lot of recent Congressional history there. We vote for them because we hope they do the right thing, and know the other guys are repulsive and what to do when they do what Hoyers and certainly Reyes, Rockerfeller, Feinstein, and a host of Blue Dogs and and I hate the name at this point, Leiberman do is the question.

    • PetePierce says:

      I am very disappointed in his apparaent lack of leadership on this issue when he could stop it if he wanted to. It does not bode well for accountablity after January 2009, but perhaps he will prove me wrong.

      Are you referring to the Junior Senator from Illionis Barack Obama who could “stop it if he wanted to?” You might brushing me up on Senate procedure and how you theorized this?

      You must be kidding. How the hell could Obama “stop it if he wanted too?” I’d read Glenn’s account again or for the first time. Durbin is the high ranking long serving member of the Senate,and Assistant Majority Leader not Obama who has been there four years.

      By the way when is pantsuit Clinton going to sashay back to the Senate and earn her large salary?

    • Ishmael says:

      It has great value in the long run, and I greatly admire Greenwald’s efforts. But only Obama has the clout to stop this, and I don’t think he will feel any heat from this commendable effort.

    • bmaz says:

      I think that $80,000 or so of that was already on hand from the anti-Chris Carney campaign that was already underway; which is not to diminish at all the excellent intake just from today. And no, I have not given up hope on this. I think last minute pressure is the only thing that stopped the House from caving the last time. But they have to know that this latest “compromise” is nothing but cheap lipstick on the pig, so I think they know there is blowback coming this time and are prepared to weather it and slam this junk through anyway. I honestly think our fate may well lay with Obama; if he doesn’t step up and lay down the law, it may be over.

      • PetePierce says:

        How does Obama do this? And why isn’t Clinton back at work providing her Norma Rae leadership in the Senate?

        • bmaz says:

          It would be blindingly easy for Obama. He comes out and says that isn’t what Democrats stand for, and as leader of the Democratic party, and he is, thats not how it’s going to be. And he tells the wimpy fucks that if they want him to campaign with them they get a clue. That’s how. Clinton should do the same. But it is really time for you to quit the blatant Clinton hatred and chippy useless comments. If you have a valid point to make fine, but just throwing out chippy stuff because it makes you feel good is bullshit. Same on the Palestinian/Israeli issue. Belligerence does not become your intellect.

    • JThomason says:

      I went over and read the comments to the Greenwald opinion and inspired me to post a comment on Obama’s site threatening my vote if he didn’t take a stand against the FISA compromise and the selling out of the rule of law in favor of power politics.

      It felt pretty good. I think if push came to shove I would sulk down to the voting both if the compromise is made and vote for Obama just on speculations about the appointments of new Supreme Court Justices. But then I get to thinking. A guy who can crash a training plane on a boondoggle to a football game isn’t necessarily a lock when it comes to predictability.

  24. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I was heartened that Dodd and Feingold came out so strongly against this sell out again. I hope they filibuster, though Kennedy and Byrd’s likely absences won’t help, not to mention Reid’s giving Dodd the senatorial finger by ignoring his hold and undermining his earlier filibuster threat.

    One of the most nauseous aspects of this is that the Dems are hiding what they doing to FISA as if they were Cheney looking for a rock under which to hide from a flashlight. They aren’t saying why they want to overturn FISA or the Fourth Amendment. They aren’t admitting to granting immunity to telcos and to Bush Cheney. They’re pretending it will be the doing of the federal courts, itself a staple way to appeal to Bush’s Base, not the Democratic one.

    The Dems aren’t debating what oversight regime ought to replace the FISA framework, developed in response to Nixon’s relatively more restrained abuses. Bush’s are more far reaching in every way, suggesting the need for significantly greater, more nuanced oversight. Stupefyingly, the Dems are giving up on it altogether, foreshadowing the death of Congress as anything but an auto-pen to sign the President’s credit card slips.

  25. JThomason says:

    There were some grumblings about ex post facto laws and the usurpation of the judicial power by attempting to legislate standards in pending suits over at Salon.

    But you know one can’t just bank on the Supreme Court holding the dike without some participation by others who may have sworn to uphold the Ole Constitution. Something needs to happen to awaken the Congressional Dem leadership from the trance that has befallen them like maybe a groundswell of intense grass roots resistance. Who knows maybe the cybernetics of message control has been factored? I think its a good opportunity to see just how far the tubes reach.

    • bmaz says:

      Ex Post Facto doesn’t even apply to this situation, as I am sure you are aware. So those folks discussing that over at Salon are either uninformed as to what the Constitutional prohibition of ex post facto laws and bills of attainder really means, or they are plain silly. The usurption bit is also pretty much a non-starter. Now, I do think there are some decent arguments based upon the legislation being trumped by the Fourth Amendment and, to a lesser extent, an argument that the retroactive forced dismissal of the active suits violates the takings clause (this is probably weak); but I sure wouldn’t want to depend on this SCOTUS to do the right thing in that regard.

      • JThomason says:

        They were just grumblings, no one trying to assert much, more wondering, but what struck me is mindset of dependence on SCOTUS as a safety net and the corresponding neglect of Constitutional responsibility inherent in the compromise.

        So not only is this a good time for Obama to assert his leadership, the appeal to the rule of law and a reliance on the Constitution is a perfect issue to distinguish himself from those in the Congressional leadership who have already shown they are capable of stopping FISA overreaching but who have become so confused by their own manipulations that they have lost touch with issues of fundamental importance to people who believe in the American experiment. This after the fact authorizing and/or immunizing legislation has become something of a bad habit. Someone needs to step up and demonstrate that oath to support the Constitution and the rule of law applies more broadly than to a thin SCOTUS majority.

        • PetePierce says:

          Very well put. A variation on what Bmaz just said, but I couldn’t agree more. He should and when ( and I’m not saying they are) but when a candidate and his advisors like Axlerod are parsing positions so much that they can’t exert leadership on an issue of central importance in all the ways it’s been showcased on these blogs, then the leadership capability deteriorates.

          I’m leaning more and more after last night that Obama should be front and center on no immunity and other aspects of FISA in the way EW has parsed, Christy Smith has parsed, and Glenn Greenwald has blogged and he should be able to explain those FISA issues so that the majority of people “get it.”

          I think most of us could if asked.

        • JThomason says:

          You know its teh mandate thingy. If Hoyer & Co. are going to attempt an alternative parallel agenda lets find out now when Obama’s speculative capital is high rather than court disappointment once he is sworn in. Primary season maybe over but, you know, are we really talking about “change” or is this going to be more politics as usual.

        • bmaz says:

          That has always been pretty much my only real reservation on Obama. He is so good, so talented, and so fresh, that I have always had a nagging fear that we all were so desperate that we were imprinting a lot more on him than he really might be. Doesn’t matter at this point, he is our, and my, guy. But we should make sure he remembers why we have made him the guy. LOUDLY. And, I don’t have much doubt that he agrees with us, it is only a question of him having the cojones to step up and forcefully make the stand.

          As Pete says, change is not “parsing positions so much that they can’t exert leadership”; that is what we should be changing away from.

        • Leen says:

          I have always feared this. Especially after watching Obama at Senate hearings the last three years always playing it safe always running for the Presidency. After he bailed out on the Kyl Lieberman amendment this confirmed my worst fears. The Obama team coining “change and Hope” was masterful…everyone that I encourntered in South Carolina before the primary there were repeating it like drones. Few able to articulate just why they were supporting him aside from “hope and change” but that is the way it is. They have captured it and an incredible job they did…tapping into the deep dissatisfaction without having to define just where it came from or where it was going

          What you can see coming is the Rove factor playing out with McCain claiming Carters energy policies etc. Rove will help McCain grab onto issues in the center and squeeze. I put money on about a month before the election Rove and the secret team will start playing the “race card” and the “muslim card” in south eastern Ohio and elsewhere in the south. This is what they did in southeastern Ohio just a few weeks before the 2004 election….the “god, guns and gay card” it was thick and not enough time to catch them and just enough time to tip the election along with the too few machines in voting districts where they knew the turnout would be high.

          I would not put it past Rove to grab onto the follow the law…impeach issue. This would be all out absurd but would not put it past them. Trump Pelosi and Reid on this issue.

        • bmaz says:

          I have said for years that the Republicans were idiots not to lead the impeachment effort. Bush and Cheney are no good for them and haven’t been worth much for a long time. If the GOP en masse turned on them and took the “principled high ground”, and led accountability, as crass as it would be, they would clean up. Thankfully, they are too stubborn and stupid to do that.

        • PetePierce says:

          I have had a night of wrestling with my ISP down for hours when I’m on deadline for a journal article and some sleep,and I full agree with all of you that Obama should exert leadership on FISA hitting on all cylinders loud and clear. Your comments have been dead on as have Bmaz’s and very well expressed. There is no defense for someone who wants to be the next President not coming out at this critical time and going after these cowards who are playing games with immunity and other aspects of FISA behind closed doors.

  26. freepatriot says:

    in other news, the FRIEDMAN unit thinks we should start planning what we do next in Iraq

    cuz, you know, the major candidates don’t really talk about it any more

    no shit, that’s what the blurb says:

    What we do next in Iraq — how and why — is barely getting discussed in the presidential campaign. It might be useful to start talking about it.

    what fucking planet is THIS guy on

    it MIGHT BE USEFUL ???

    especially to the guys who die between now and when you decide that it’s REALLY USEFUL

    note to planet FRIEDMAN:

    it woulda been useful to have that discussion prior to March of 2003

  27. JThomason says:

    I am thinking Obama should just take to the stump with a message like “let’s move past the politics of fear, keep our 4th Amendment rights and give the Ole Constitution a helping hand.”

    • PetePierce says:

      You mean Obama should hit the Bully pulpit on FISA? I fully agree he sure as hell should have already. None of the candidates except Dodd really laid into FISA and what Dodd did was fantastic. But I’m not sure how Obama can control the vote. No doubt though he has the spotlight and could beat up any lies that came from McCain that extended his already nebulous cookie cutter Bush fear statements that were inaccurate.

      • JThomason says:

        What better time for a leadership showdown with Congressional Dems? As you know, as I followed your link over to Salon, there are some cracks in the story that the compromise is a done deal and the ActBlue groundswell has apparently awakened sentries at some Beltway listening posts.

  28. freepatriot says:

    so what do we do now campers ???

    basketball season is over, and we can’t really start celebrating the cubbies’ 100 years on perfect attendance until October

    I know, lets talk bout football

    seems like we never do that anymore

    (What, this thread is kinda supposed to be about football, in a round-about way ???)

    never mind …

    • LabDancer says:

      “so what do we do now campers ???”

      Ms E Wheel aka Fearless Leader:

      Fearless Freep [inadvertently?] poses a GREAT question.

      Rubberdiskette & Roundball are done- it won’t seem like time for Oblongball at least until all the trees are filling in & the hot time’s hydrants in the cities mysteriously burst, & the baseball season lacks any compelling narrative whatsoever – but I just noticed 2008 is an election year.

      Over at Open Left they’ve been running this weekly “great ideas” context thingee, and it came to mind when I read this weeks big THE LONG RUN piece in The Times on Obama developing an executive style while out on the road. That piece includes reference to a “daily briefing” he gets, as I gather he’s been a little pressed for time to keep up with his blogging [Who knows: he could be among the recent bumper crop of lurkers. Hey: gotta dream].

      It seems to me that with Senator Clinton have parked her Airstream the one divisive feature between the general world view of here & say: Left Coaster where eriposte poaches with the suave soto & tolerant turkana- or old allies Jeralyn & her sidekick Big Tent Democrat at Talk Left, it might be worthwhile to consider say a week or two’s worth of progressive blogs joining forces to provide a key person on the Obama Campaign with an entertaining summary of what we want him to say & do on issues of particular importance to our shared overfocus. The sort of thing that Fearless Froomkin does 3 or 4 times a week at WaPo online is not a bad model to go with [I expect he wouldn’t mind, tho it would be nice to ask], but [with due respect for Dan] less dependent on quoting corporate media pundits – quite a bit less – & more if not all based on the DFHipposphere. Each participating blog – say Ms E Wheel’s lemonade stand for example – would commit to one day per week up to one day per fortnight depending on how many blogs jump in.

      The obvious benefit to Senator Obama would be to provide him with a few really sharply pointed sticks to consider importing into his stand up act du jour.

      Moreover, considering the phenomenon of Sen Clinton’s mindmeld with the American female & the current campaign milding of Michelle Obama – it may help sell our positions that the minimum daily dose of progressive pills be fronted by a bevy of those of the female persuasion: Ms E Wheels loverly self of course but also Jane, sidekick Christy, the aforementioned Jerayln, the ladies at Left Coaster, & maybe even the leftblogosphere’s own Zsa Zsa at HuffPo.

      Might this be worthy of discussion under a separate blog?

  29. bmaz says:

    In a brief return to today’s main topic, the inbred torture regime ensconced in our Federal government, the group Physicians For Human Rights has a report confirming the torture and calling out the military doctors:

    For the most extensive medical study of former U.S. detainees published so far, Physicians for Human Rights had doctors and mental health professionals examine 11 former prisoners. The group alleges that it found evidence of U.S. torture and war crimes and accuses U.S. military health professionals of allowing the abuse of detainees, denying them medical care and providing confidential medical information to interrogators that they then exploited.

    • Leen says:

      Great Timeline over at Salon

      Early November 2002 — Push-back: In a series of scathing memos, alarmed military officials from all four services raised questions about the legality and effectiveness of the techniques under consideration. The Air Force cited “serious concerns regarding the legality” of the techniques. The chief of the Army’s international law division said some of the techniques, like stress positions and sensory deprivation, “cross the line of ‘humane’ treatment.’” He added that the techniques “may violate the torture statute.” The Navy called for further legal review. The Marine Corps wrote that the techniques “arguably violate federal law.”

      ### It was stunning when Haynes actually said that he had not seen these memos form Military officials. Just “so many papers” or some sort of hogwash. He should be slammed even more for this.

      So when will the Levin ask Chertoff to testify about his tour with Addingont and Haynes? I did not hear Chertoff’s name even mentioned (although I did not see the whole hearing)

  30. prostratedragon says:

    Everywhere you look, sos.

    There exists a cohort of women of an earlier generation who are either the source of the problem, or its most outrageous and poignant victims. From naked capitalism, an example of naked extortion (imo), courtesy one of the same insurers, MBIA, that a certain governor was pursuing with his state commissioner when he tripped over … something.


    The whole purpose of the fundraising [a stock sale by MBIA] was for the parent to then downstream the proceeds to the insurance subsidiaries. That’s where the insurance is written, that’s where the capital shortfall is.

    So why is MBIA hoarding cash at the parent level? Well, executives (along with other corporate charges) are paid out of the parent company’s books. The subsidiaries can dividend cash up only if the are profitable OR get permission from their regulator…..

    Naturally, commissioner Dinallo would like to put a stop to this. Update, Y.Smith quoting from NYTimes:

    MBIA has written $137 billion in swaps, which are privately traded insurance contracts that let people bet on companies’ financial health. Most of these contracts stipulate that if MBIA’s bond insurance unit becomes insolvent or is taken over by state regulators, buyers can demand payment immediately.

    But if that were to happen, MBIA would have far less money to pay policyholders and owners of municipal bonds backed by the company.

    Oh yeah, baby. As rife as this kind of attitude is, and as entrenched its enablers are, well, we might make it —all the things coming to a head in these columns today suggest a slippage of control— but it won’t be pretty.

  31. BayStateLibrul says:

    As Russert put it to me shortly before his death, “Keith and I have each carved out our roles in this vast information spectrum.” He continued, “What cable emphasizes, more and more, is opinion, or even advocacy. Whether it’s Bill O’Reilly or Keith Olbermann or Lou Dobbs, that’s what that particular platform or venue does. It’s not what I do. What I do is different. I try very, very hard not to come up and say to people, ‘This is what I believe,’ or ‘This is good,’ or ‘This is bad.’ But, rather, ‘This is what I’m learning in my reporting,’ or ‘This is what my analysis shows based on my reporting.’ And as long as I can do that I’m very, very comfortable. And nobody has asked me to do anything but that.”

    From an article on KO

    I’m trying to figure out in my mind why Russert bothered me.
    I used to like him, but when he remained silent when Cheney “used him”
    and then said nothing on Plame, I was pissed.
    I feel a tad bit the same with Fitzy.
    It seems such a huge injustice and I want Fitzy to say “Fuck, I’ve heard
    enough, this is what really happened.”….
    This administration has “gamed” the system, and shows that democracy is/was teetering on the brink…

    I’m a fucking dreamer

    • PetePierce says:

      I feel much the same way. I couldn’t be sorrier about Tim Russert, and anytime sudden cardiac events or CVAs happen, but as a newsman he missed a lot of beats and he was either silent or intentionally didn’t ask the key questions you are going to see routinely asked by EW or commenters here or on the Lake blogs. And you’ve captured my thoughts about Fitz exactly. Fitz aside from what he should or should not have done, could make more of an effort now to be more fothcoming about what the hell happened. He does know the ways and does have the means in spite of the obstructive little bastard Mukasey.

  32. Leen says:

    EW and all there is a Bush Government Torture timeline up at Salon. By Mark Benjaman. (can not link from this computer)

  33. Leen says:

    check this out
    Matthew Connetti’s take on “The Gitmo Nightmare” over at Weekly Standard.
    “Kennedy’s sanctimony points to the ultimate tragedy of the Boumediene mess. In their visceral, myopic hatred of President Bush, liberals will see the ruling as a blow to the president and not the broad, foolish, and dangerous judicial power grab it is. The New York Times’s editorialists wrote that “compliant Republicans and frightened Democrats” allowed Bush to deny foreign enemy combatants during wartime “the protections of justice, democracy and plain human decency.

    Give us a break. One day soon Bush will be gone. But thanks to the Court, we’ll still all be living the Gitmo nightmare.”

    As my grandfather used to say “oy vey”

  34. skdadl says:

    Committee chairman Carl Levin, the senior Democrat from Michigan, discussed this timeline at length in his opening statement.

    From the way that is put, I can’t quite tell how Benjamin put this timeline together. Is it a distillation of Levin’s opening statement yesterday, or is it more, or what?

    It is a great source, in any event.

  35. BayStateLibrul says:

    Supreme Court ideological bull shit

    Moreover, Justice Scalia’s dissent—joined in full by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito—is poisonously provocative. In just the opening paragraphs, Justice Scalia: (1) says the majority opinion “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed”; (2) adopts the Bush Administration’s highly misleading characterization of the Iraq war as part of the same struggle against radical Islamists as the military response to 9/11; and (3) cites an Office of Legal Counsel memorandum co-authored by John Yoo as authority for the proposition that the Bush Administration was entitled to assume that aliens held at Guantanamo Bay would be beyond the reach of U.S. courts.”

    Michael Dorf

    Can someone explain how a OLC Memo can hold that much weight?

    • JThomason says:

      This was the thing that struck me most about Haynes’ testimony yesterday–the ease with which he offered opinions to Rumsfeld that were premised on the inapplicability of the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. As a lawyer he would have surely taken an oath to protect the Constitution. I believe this would be a prerequisite to admission to the Federal Bar. And I fail to see how an OLC opinion could alter that fundamental duty. The entire context of his professional duties in the executive branch were constitutionally premised. Who did these people eschewing the Constitution think they were?

      On the one hand he characterized himself as a decision maker with respect to his recommendations, then he fell back on the characterization as counselor. It seemed like his criteria were largely social and not of an independent or well studied nature. The dressing down by Mora certainly seemed to have disturbed him.

      This culture of social management was well illustrated yesterday by Mary’s citation of the New Yorker article describing Rumsfeld’s mockery of Tugabe. Still it is not an organizational risk necessarily simply overcome.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        So, from 2001-2008, America was/is a failed state.

        No Separation of Powers
        No Checks and Balances

        We call other countries “failed states”
        Look within…

        With sadness and outrage, we must IMPEACH

      • LabDancer says:

        Haynes excreted two common slime trails of the medium to high levels of scum buoying up the bosses in the Bush Syndicate:

        [a] as I think you are saying [& if so I agree] affecting the conceit that ‘your MBA executive type’ can’t be expected even have the time to consider what’s on paper or what he or she knows or consequences or talk it through with devil’s advocates [They just get in the way] or gather up reference material in a file & work through it all to get a handle on things like… implications & consequences. No no no their work rate model is the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland & the means by which they would keep the paper flowing & the bodies moving & the trains on time is St Ronald de Reagan’s handy dandy index cards with two boxes to check – yea or nay

        though with this variation adapted to the peculiarities of the Bush Syndicate: The options are [1] Ya Mein Fuhrer [2] I must to see more of my [children/spouse/parents/close companion/broker].

        & [b] unless you were elected to co-chief the executive branch or happen to be married to one of them, then you are a piece of toilet paper somewhere in the cycle of disposal.

  36. kspena says:

    today on CSPAN3 at 2ET:
    Setting Interrogation Rules

    During today’s House Judiciary Subcmte. hearing on interrogation rules, Fmr. DoD Under Sec. Douglas Feith testifies about withholding Geneva Convention protections for detainees. Also, Washington Journal guest Col. Stuart Herrington discusses his experience as a military interrogator.

  37. WilliamOckham says:

    It’s not just Obama, though. The national Dems don’t understand how to work the issue. Edwards ought to be out there hitting the populist angle. Don’t let the big telecoms off the hook when they break the law. He could weave in “Two Americas” and stories of the companies he sued. Doesn’t matter if the gov’t wasn’t spying on you, the law is supposed to protect the little guy. Just like [insert heart-rending story of corporate malfeasance] wasn’t about your kid, the next time it could be.

    Clinton ought to be hitting McCain hard over this, preferably in conjunction with some honest Republican (maybe Lincoln Chafee). She needs to be questioning McCain’s leadership over this.

    Howard Dean needs to be hitting the Sunday morning shows. Al Gore could be speaking out too.

    I’d like to see Obama saying the same thing he did earlier this week (I can protect America within the constraints of the constitution) and putting some muscle behind by making campaign appearances with strong FISA opponents. Behind the scenes is where he could make a real difference.

    • bmaz says:

      All exactly right. And John Kerry too. And as much as i have painted it about stepping up, it doesn’t have to all be public. Several calls around to some of these Dems saying hey, if you want me to come help you, you better get your head out of your butt on this, would go a real long way. And he has control of the power and organization now. Even Dean is still there by Obama’s choice. He HAS the power and tools to do this in several ways; just need to use them.

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