Week after week Bush and his people have been getting pounded by newly
emboldened Democrats and liberal pundits for having exaggerated the
threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his still-elusive w
Watch for William Greider's forthcoming book The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy, due in bookstores in early September. Click here for info on the book and original reflections and riffs from Greider.
"The upcoming impeachment hearing," SIECUS president Debra Haffner advised, "provides parents with a special opportunity to talk to their children about sexuality issues...The question parents need to ask is 'Who do I want to tell my children about this sad situation?' Another child on the playground? An acquaintance on the school bus? They are unlikely to tell your children the facts in a clear way. And only YOU can give YOUR children YOUR values."
It's now 2003 and if the events of these last weeks don't provide parents with that special opportunity to talk to their children about the president and values like truth, lies and consequences, then I don't know what does.
Remember diplomat John Brady Kiesling's powerful resignation statement last February?
Kiesling, who was serving as political counselor at the US Embassy in Athens, played a noteworthy role in strengthening opposition to war against Iraq. His resignation letter to his boss Colin Powell, a searing indictment of Bush Administration policies, was published by the New York Times, and pasted into e-mails that flew around the US foreign policy establishment, the US press and the world.
A twenty-year veteran of the US Foreign Service, Kiesling is a charter member of the Coalition of the Rational, an embryonic idea to bring a broad, transpartisan group of concerned citizens together to mobilize Americans in informed opposition to the Bush Administration's undermining of US security in our name. (Click here for more on the Coalition.)
Calling them "dangerously irresponsible," US District Judge Robert Blackburn last week sentenced three nuns to prison for up to three years for swinging a hammer at a Minuteman III nuclear missile silo and smearing their blood on it in the form of a cross. Prosecutors said the nuns, all close colleagues of the late peace activist Philip Berrigan, showed a blatant disregard for the law. The nuns argued that the Minuteman is a first-strike weapon prohibited by international law. Peace activists believe the felony convictions are unduly harsh and intended to have a chilling effect on other protestors.
Meanwhile, a few days before the nuns--members of the Sacred Earth Network, a national nuclear disarmament group--were sentenced, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham defended the Bush Administration's growing nuclear weapons programs in the Washington Post. Abraham cloaked the White House's decision to build new nuclear weapons in a haze of euphemism, alternately referring to these unprecedented new killing machines as "new challenges," "low-yield weapons," "advanced concepts" and "weapons concepts."
Nevertheless, even through the haze, it is clear that by reviving the nuclear arms race at home, the Administration's policy shift will dangerously undermine efforts to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.
Sunday's front page Washington Post story about National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is such a powerful indictment of her role in the runup to the Iraq war that for the sake of her country's credibility Rice should immediately resign.
"If the national security adviser didn't understand the repeated State Department and CIA warnings about the uranium allegation, that's a frightening level of incompetence....It's even more serious if she knew and ignored the intelligence warnings and has deliberately misled our nation...In any case, it's hard to see why the President or the public will have confidence in her office."
The Bush Administration has quietly nominated another hard-liner with a questionable past to a high level position in Washington: veteran Justice Department official Karen Tandy, the likely new chief of the Drug Enforcement Agency, who recently made headlines by conducting an aggressive series of federal raids against medical marijuana users in states where the practice has been legalized.
A recent investigation by The Nation's Jason Vest found Tandy's career to be rife with examples of prosecutorial zealotry. She began her career in the 1980s as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, in an office described at the time by US District Court Judge Robert R. Merhige, Jr., as "absolutely the worst" he had seen. Tandy was the cause of much of the dissatisfaction directed at the office.
In a 1984 case against alleged marijuana traffickers, she read sealed documents protected by attorney-client privilege; in 1994 she ordered the seizure of the property of North Carolina businessman John Wheeler to force him to testify against others despite a lack of any evidence against him. In both cases, she was strongly rebuked by a federal judge for her conduct.
You know this is a tipping point moment when veteran Washington Post columnist David Broder, a barometer of conventional wisdom, writes that "the shadow of defeat" is crossing President Bush's "political horizon."
In a recent column Broder--the dean of American political punditry--offered a bleak picture of Bush's reelection chances. Why does this matter? Well, as Eric Alterman points out in his smart and timely book, "What Liberal Media," Broder is "revered by elite journalists for his alleged ability...to speak to what is understood to be the common sense 'middle ground' of American politics."
So, Beltway insiders take notice when Broder pontificates--in this case, he lays out the grim ramifications of AWOL WMDs, mounting casualties in a guerrilla war, and a rotten economy on Bush's reelection chances.