Monday, October 10, 2005
Thanks to Senator Clinton, and a majority of our Congress, government efforts to monitor information (http://vdare.com/francis/anti_semitism.htm) such as this have begun. Plans are in the works to make free speech such as this restricted or illegal (http://www.politechbot.com/2005/09/27/replies-to-adls/, http://www.truthtellers.org/alerts/newbill.html).
Eschaton: amazingly, according to Wilgoren, she expends no effort in contemplating the credibility of those views
(text of link follows)
1) Conservatives (many of which might be called fake) are on-record as preferring a nominee in the mold of Scalia.
2) As shown below, Scalia presents this (which sounds anything but conservative):
"Scalia said he will miss the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor, whom Miers wants to replace.
"If there was anybody that has been sort of the social glue of the court, it's been Sandra and I will miss her," Scalia said."
(I wonder if Scalia has read articles about "social glue" like this: http://www.humiliationstudies.org/documents/KleinCreatingSocialGlueCommunities.pdf. If so, I would welcome more discussion from him and his insights on the topic.)
So an important attribute, according to Scalia, is a O'Connor's capability to provide "social glue"? The senate evidently needs to add another area to their confirmation questions.
Is social glue what gave us Bush v. Gore? Is social glue what gives us Bush Cronyism? Is social glue Rove's secret sauce? If so, I'm sure I'm against it.
Here's what I found in a quick internet search about Scalia from http://www.n-philes.com/forums/printthread.php?t=12152&pp=40:
He blamed Chief Justice Earl Warren, who presided from 1953-69 over a court that assaulted racial segregation and expanded individual rights against arbitrary government searches, for the increased political role of the Supreme Court, citing Warren's political background. Warren was governor of California and the Republican vice presidential nominee in 1948. "You have a chief justice who was a governor, a policy-maker, who approached the law with that frame of mind. Once you have a leader with that mentality, it's hard not to follow," Scalia said, in response to a question from the audience.
Isn't a political background where one hones skills to apply "social glue"?
Scalia Says Confirmation Too Politicized
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, often extolled by conservative Republicans as their ideal model of a judge, said Monday the confirmation process was too politicized and that he wouldn't want to experience it again.
When asked whether he thought he could be confirmed again by the Senate, Scalia said: "I don't know. I wouldn't want to go through it today, I'll tell you that much."
Scalia, who was confirmed by the Senate on 98-0 vote in 1986, was interviewed by NBC's "Today" show. He was thought at one point to be a candidate for chief justice when William H. Rehnquist died. President Bush nominated John Roberts, who was confirmed by the Senate on a 78-22 vote last month.
Bush has said he would nominate Supreme Court justices in the mold of Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Several conservatives have complained that current Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is not enough like Scalia and Thomas, and are opposing her nomination.
Scalia said he will miss the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor, whom Miers wants to replace.
"If there was anybody that has been sort of the social glue of the court, it's been Sandra and I will miss her," Scalia said.
On another issue, Scalia said he is adamantly opposed to televising Supreme Court sessions.
"We don't want to become entertainment," he said. "I think there's something sick about making entertainment out of real people's legal problems. I don't like it in the lower courts, and I don't particularly like it in the Supreme Court."
Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has introduced legislation in the Senate that would allow sessions of the high court to be televised. The court has allowed the audio recordings of sessions to be released, but it has refused to allow cameras into its hearing chamber.
October 10, 2005
In New Book, Ex-Director of the F.B.I. Fights Back
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 - Settling a score, Louis J. Freeh, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under President Bill Clinton and in the first six months of the Bush presidency, asserts in a new book that Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism chief, was "basically a second-tier player" who had little access to power and was in no position to issue credible warnings in advance of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"If he was rushing around the executive branch trying to make a case that we were in imminent danger of a terrorist attack on our shores, he wasn't trying to make that case with me," Mr. Freeh writes of Mr. Clarke in a memoir to be published this week called "My F.B.I.: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton and Fighting the War on Terror." The publisher is St. Martin's Press.
In his own book, "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror," published last year, Mr. Clarke describes himself as a herald of the dangers of terrorism and paints a scathing picture of Mr. Freeh and the F.B.I., criticizing the former director and his agency as ignoring the possibility of terrorism in this country.
Mr. Freeh says that incidents involving the two of them that Mr. Clarke describes in his book never occurred and that the Clarke book can be fairly described as "bad facts and no access."
Mr. Clarke was traveling over the weekend and did not respond to messages left on his office phone and his cellphone.
Mr. Freeh's accounts in his own book of the events leading up to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the bureau's antiterrorism activities add little to his public testimony before investigating panels and articles he wrote about the topic.
Far from ignoring terrorist threats, Mr. Freeh writes, the F.B.I. under his directorship was "all but obsessed with terrorism and its proponents."
But the bureau was hamstrung, Mr. Freeh says, because Congress never provided sufficient money for a good computer system, a strong counterterrorism staff or Arabic translators. In terms of technology, "we were in the Dark Ages," he says.
While "you can always do the job better in hindsight," Mr. Freeh writes, "I'm proud of the way I ran the F.B.I."
Mr. Freeh also uses his book to fan the flames of his incendiary relationship with Mr. Clinton.
"With Bill Clinton," Mr. Freeh writes in a chapter called "Bill and Me," "the scandals and rumored scandals, the incubating ones and the dying ones, never ended. Whatever moral compass the president was consulting, it was leading him in the wrong direction, and he lacked the discipline to pull back once he found himself stepping into trouble. Worse, he had been behaving that way so long that the closets were full of skeletons just waiting to burst out."
Mr. Freeh describes how he argued unsuccessfully for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate Mr. Clinton's fund-raising practices during the 1996 campaign and says he could never communicate with the president because "with him, it always seemed to be personal."
It was the campaign finance issue and conspicuous leaks of Mr. Freeh's private memorandums on the subject that led to the complete deterioration of the director's relationship with the president.
Mr. Freeh writes that from the outset of his tenure, he insisted on an arm's-length relationship with Mr. Clinton, going so far as to return the pass he had been given that would have allowed him to come and go from the White House without signing in and out.
"It might have come as a surprise to the man who hired me, but I didn't take the job of F.B.I. director so I could roll over and play dead whenever it became convenient for the White House," he writes.
Describing Mr. Clinton's actions that led to his impeachment, Mr. Freeh writes, "Just when I thought things couldn't get any more outlandish, along came Monica Lewinsky and turned the White House into a theater of the absurd."
"But perhaps the most egregious example occurred on Nov. 1, 2001..."
October 10, 2005
Bush's Veil Over History
SECRECY has been perhaps the most consistent trait of the George W. Bush presidency. Whether it involves refusing to provide the names of oil executives who advised Vice President Dick Cheney on energy policy, prohibiting photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, or forbidding the release of files pertaining to Chief Justice John Roberts's tenure in the Justice Department, President Bush seems determined to control what the public is permitted to know. And he has been spectacularly effective, making Richard Nixon look almost transparent.
But perhaps the most egregious example occurred on Nov. 1, 2001, when President Bush signed Executive Order 13233, under which a former president's private papers can be released only with the approval of both that former president (or his heirs) and the current one.
Before that executive order, the National Archives had controlled the release of documents under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which stipulated that all papers, except those pertaining to national security, had to be made available 12 years after a president left office.
Now, however, Mr. Bush can prevent the public from knowing not only what he did in office, but what Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did in the name of democracy. (Although Mr. Reagan's term ended more than 12 years before the executive order, the Bush administration had filed paperwork in early 2001 to stop the clock, and thus his papers fall under it.)
Bill Clinton publicly objected to the executive order, saying he wanted all his papers open. Yet the Bush administration has nonetheless denied access to documents surrounding the 177 pardons President Clinton granted in the last days of his presidency. Coming without explanation, this action raised questions and fueled conspiracy theories: Is there something to hide? Is there more to know about the controversial pardon of the fugitive financier Marc Rich? Is there a quid pro quo between Bill Clinton and the Bushes? Is the current president laying a secrecy precedent for pardons he intends to grant?
The administration's effort to grandfather the Reagan papers under the act also raised a red flag. President Bush's signature stopped the National Archives from a planned release of documents from the Reagan era, some of which might have shed light on the Iran-contra scandal and illuminated the role played by the vice president at the time, George H. W. Bush.
What can be done to bring this information to light? Because executive orders are not acts of Congress, they can be overturned by future commanders in chief. But this is a lot to ask of presidents given the free pass handed them by Mr. Bush. (And it could put a President Hillary Clinton in a bind when it came to her own husband's papers.)
Other efforts to rectify the situation are equally problematic. Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, has repeatedly introduced legislation to overturn Mr. Bush's executive order, but the chances of a Republican Congress defying a Republican president are slim.
There is also a lawsuit by the American Historical Association and other academic and archival groups before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. A successful verdict could force the National Archives to ignore the executive order and begin making public records from the Reagan and elder Bush administrations.
Unless one of these efforts succeeds, George W. Bush and his father can see to it that their administrations pass into history without examination. Their rationales for waging wars in the Middle East will go unchallenged. There will be no chance to weigh the arguments that led the administration to condone torture by our armed forces. The problems of federal agencies entrusted with public welfare during times of national disaster - 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina - will be unaddressed. Details on no-bid contracts awarded to politically connected corporations like Halliburton will escape scrutiny, as will the president's role in Environmental Protection Agency's policies on water and air polluters.
This is about much more than the desires of historians and biographers - the best interests of the nation are at stake. As the American Political Science Association, one plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, put it: "The only way we can improve the operation of government, enhance the accountability of decision-makers and ultimately help maintain public trust in government is for people to understand how it worked in the past."
Kitty Kelley is the author of "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty."
Blogger Thought: Just look at some of the replies and celebrate.