Thursday, July 12, 2007

What can congress do? Something crazy!

They won't, but what could they do when a president improperly grants relief to a convicted subordinate? Ian Samuel suggests this solution, admitting of its implausibility in the current system:
The remedy for improperly pardoning one's own convicted subordinates to cover up one's own ongoing criminal conspiracies is already in the Constitution. We do not need a new amendment. The remedy is impeachment and conviction. The House of Representatives should impeach both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their role in this entire conspiracy to obstruct justice. A simple majority in the House of Representatives would be sufficient for that. The Senate poses a somewhat more difficult problem, because it can be expected that the Republicans (either as parties to, or in furtherance of, the same conspiracy to obstruct justice) will not vote to convict. The remedy for this is also in the Constitution; it is Article I, Section 5.
The Senate is perfectly free to determine the "Qualifications of its own Members," and the Democrats could thus refuse to seat the Republicans if they refused to convict. (The Republican Senators could be re-seated after conviction, if they agreed to be bound by its result.) President Pelosi would then presumably direct the Justice Department to initiate ordinary criminal prosecution of both Bush and Cheney, for their roles in the conspiracy. Think it's radical? It is--but not unprecedented. Our Constitution's guarantee of the "equal protection of the laws," the Fourteenth Amendment, was ratified 139 years ago this Monday, in exactly that
fashion. Some things are worth fighting for, and the rule of law is one of them. I doubt very much that Congressional Democrats will do these things, but I don't doubt whether they should.
And to anyone who suggests this is a stretch, even an elaboration of the original intent of I:5, well, is your objection that our leaders shouldn't creatively interpret the law for their own purposes? Is your solution, then, to Presidential and Vice Presidential "creativity" to look the other way, or to find a more legitimate way of holding the executive accountable? My question for you is: If impeachment proceedings should not begin now, what, precisely and exactly please, should happen? If nothing can the admission that there's nothing we can do about it an admission that the system is broken?

4th of July

The reason I didn't post these earlier is that I was trying to block out parts of our Independence Day... We were selling cotton candy and drinks to benefit the childrens' museum, of which Andrea was just elected board president. Scortching hot. Next to us, and I mean literally next to, was the Stage of Extremely Bad Musical Acts who nonetheless should so very *%&# clearly be given the opportunity to shine, their ten to fifteen to fifty seven minutes of fame singing off-key and so very, very, very out of context. More importantly, it seemed, they should be given that opportunity right frigging next to us. In fact, the guy who did the sound came up to us, still fairly early in the day, and said "Oh man, do you folks have to be here all day, next to them? Damn, I feel sorry for you. Hee hee hee..." It was like "Little Miss Sunshine" on acid, not that I'd know, and it was also like a David Lynch movie. Indeed, the sounds of talentlessness (most commonly in the form of off-key "Let Freedom Ring" covers, although yes, someone covered "Proud to be an American"--dammit, that's my song--and passed out flags to wave ONLY during the chorus.) forced us all in and out of consciousness just like Henry in Eraserhead, even though we sold a crapload of cotton candy, enjoyed delicious polish dogs, watched our aspiring artist-children, and nearly lost Andrew twice in the midst of thousands of people...thousands of hot, sweaty, patriotic human bodies...because freedom, after all, isn't free.
Thanks to other members of the WCM board, there was much handling of snakes and spinning of the candy cotton...

Not yet two, Abigail paints and draws for a significant portion of every day. We set up huge canvases for kids (of all ages) to express themselves. Nobody took advantage of the free space for any political slogans, electing instead to paint anti-republican jokes on port-a-potties (see below)...
Although undoubtedly talented and creative, Andrew isn't quite as much of an art junkie as his sister, but he's capable of wearing the proverbial smock...

And they say cowboys have no sense of humor...well, I guess they don't actually say that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More Fidel on the CIA

It's not exactly a beautiful, flowing composition, but as a follow-up to his previous interviews on the CIA "family jewels," here's Fidel Castro's piece written exclusively for Counterpunch.

For a long time now Castro has deployed a skill that he undoubtedly views as necessary to his, and Cuba's political survival: Talk like a socialist to your own people, but talk like a left-liberal to the rest of the world. Notice, for example, early in the piece, his sentimentality when speaking of JFK junior...

Nevertheless, the piece is insightful...Castro finds "the high level at which the decisions for actions against our country were taken" to be an especially surprising revelation in the new information. His skepticism about the project is probably on-point:
It is notable that the administration which has declassified the least information in the history of the United States, and which has even started a process of reclassifying information that was previously declassified, now makes the decision to make these revelations. I believe that such an action could be an attempt to present an image of transparency when the government is at an all time low rate of acceptance and popularity, and to show that those methods belong to another era and are no longer in use. When he announced the decision, General Hayden, current CIA Director, said: "The documents offer a look at very different times and at a very different Agency."
Needless to say that everything described here is still being done, only in a more brutal manner and all around the planet, including a growing number of illegal actions within the very United States.
Although much has already been made of his insistence that Lee Oswald couldn't have acted alone in shooting JFK, this piece of information is even more provocative:
Oswald wanted to come through Cuba on his trip to the USSR. He had already been there before. Someone sent him to ask for a visa in our country's embassy in Mexico but nobody knew him there so he wasn't authorized. They wanted to get us implicated in the conspiracy.

So he's seen better days and it's disappointing that he doesn't use this unique forum to mention the relationship between intelligence agencies and global capitalism, but viva a free press, and the opportunity to hear the rather reasonable memoirs of a U.S. "enemy."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

weird london business...

Some pointed and thought-provoking questions by Andy Ellis, cross-posted from edebate...

why is al queda in iraq "dropping off" car bombs in london? Suicide attacks seem to be their typical MO.

Granted IED's have been an oft used weapon, but these cars are not seemingly the way to introduce ied's to the west when much smaller easier to build devices are more simple and in some senses more terrifying.

Car bombs of this style seem to be the work of secular terrorists like tim mcveigh or the ira at points during the last several decades, But AQ-I car bombs seem their most effective when the driver sticks with the car till the bomb goes off, and this makes sense given the ideology of the org (as represented in the west). Why would AQ-I waste valuble resources like doctors on half assed car bombs, clearly they have people who can build car bombs.

And apparently they have strategic interest in doctors, but it seems like its against the stated strategic interest to have doctors who dont die in car bombings, get arrested.

It seems like before these guys blew up aq-i 's british doctor spot they would have done the things that doctors can uniquely do and would have risked it on something that a variety of people could do better.

Why is the terrorism link to the british medicine system being drawn out in the media right as michael moores critique offers it as an alternative?

I already told Andy that I think he may be discounting one possibility: that Al Qaeda, as lucky as it has been in the past (and really only a few times, kind of like a lucky streak), is an incompetent organization. Their high-casualty attackes (only a few successful ones, and we're not exactly talking mass casualties even in those) are creditable mainly to the even more blatant incompetence of the west. But my answer doesn't make even a few of Andy's questions go away. What's going on doesn't make any sense. Someone's narrative has been disrupted.

His last question--about Michael Moore--is only wacky-sounding in proportion to the likelihood of strange things happening. But how many times have strange things happened--things so outlandish that they seemed utterly inconceivable beforehand? Did Zarqawi even exist? Remember that conversation?

When one considers how closely tied are the original, foundational and most powerful financial and political interests in both the west and "radical islam," it doesn't seem so farfetched: the idea that their strategies and the representations of those strategies bleed in and out of one another.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

just sayin'...

Castro charges CIA more murderous than ever

HAVANA (Reuters) - Convalescing Cuban President Fidel Castro charged on Sunday the release of classified CIA documents detailing past abuses was a smoke screen behind which the Bush administration hoped to hide even worse methods. "I think that this action could be an attempt ... to make people believe that these methods belong to another era and are no longer used," Castro wrote in an editorial published by the communist country's official media. "Everything described in the documents is still being done, only in a more brutal manner around the entire planet, including an increasing number of illegal actions in the very United States." The CIA declassified on Tuesday hundreds of pages of long-secret records that detailed some of the agency's worst illegal abuses during about 25 years of overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying and kidnapping. The documents are known in the CIA as the "Family Jewels" and some describe the agency's efforts to persuade Johnny Roselli, believed to be a mobster, to help plot the assassination of Castro. "Sunday is a good day to read what appears to be science fiction," Castro began his three-page editorial, titled "The Killing Machine." He went on to quote extensively from material covering the attempt on his life, as well as a New York Times analysis of all the documents. Cuba charges that Castro has been the target of hundreds of assassination attempts. The Cuban leader has said numerous times that President George W. Bush has ordered him killed. Castro also reiterated in detail his long-held belief that U.S. President John F. Kennedy, assassinated in 1963, was the victim of a plot involving elements of the CIA and militant anti-Castro Cuban exiles. Castro, a
master sharp-shooter with a telescopic rifle, insists Lee Harvey Oswald could not have been the only shooter in Dallas. "You lose the target after every shot even if it is not moving and have to find it again in fractions of a second," he said. Castro has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July last year, when he handed over power temporarily to his younger brother, Raul. But the 80-year-old revolutionary has returned to public life since March by writing occasional articles, called "Reflections of the Commander in Chief." He has been writing more frequently in recent weeks, fueling speculation that his health is improving.

Listen to your Uncle Fidel, kiddies...