Daily Archives: April 9, 2007

Is Don Imus still employed? is John McCain still running? Is Alberto Gonzales still Attorney General?




Filed under entertainment, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Politics

Permanent politicization of the Department of Justice

Kagro X at dKos has a very important piece today on where the DoJ scandal will lead.

The long term effects of this scandal are incalculable. At a time when Republicans are accused of engaging in rampant and systematic public corruption, Rove, Bush and Gonzales have succeeded in making corruption investigations into the same sort of partisan joke that Republicans made impeachment. And as their crimes come to light in the closing days of their “administration” and into the next, they may well have made it impossible for a Democratic successor to actually pursue justice on behalf of the American people, since any such effort will undoubtedly — and with a lack of shame that shocks the conscience — be labeled as “partisan revenge.”

It now seems that the Monica Goodlings of this “administration” have been planting partisan “sleeper cells” among the career civil service ranks — the very positions that are supposed to be non-partisan and are therefore protected in their tenure by law. What this means is that the DoJ and other agencies of the executive branch are filled with people who understand that their role in the next Democratic administration — which will be prohibited by law from rooting them out and firing them for political reasons — is, as Atrios says, to take that administration down from the inside.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics

Constitutional scholar placed on “special screening” list for anti-Bush speech

This story, first posted at Balkanization, then picked up by Josh Marshall, seems to have a good pedigree. It was put up by Mark Graber of the law school at the University of Maryland; it is a letter he received from Professor Walter F. Murphy, emeritus of Princeton University.

“When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the Sunport, I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed to go inside and talk to a clerk….One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: “Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that.” I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. “That’ll do it,” the man said. …

Only by showing his Marine credentials was Murphy able to get on the plane.

“I confess to having been furious that any American citizen would be singled out for governmental harassment because he or she criticized any elected official, Democrat or Republican. That harassment is, in and of itself, a flagrant violation not only of the First Amendment but also of our entire scheme of constitutional government. This effort to punish a critic states my lecture’s argument far more eloquently and forcefully than I ever could.

I can tell you, by way of verification, that in fact, Professor Murphy was scheduled to speak on March 2 at Princeton, as is implied in the letter:

Constitutional Democracy: Creating and Maintaining a Just Political Order,” a new book by Princeton constitutional scholar Walter Murphy, is the focus of a symposium scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, March 2, in the Whig Hall Senate Chamber.

Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus, will join several colleagues and former students in discussing the book, which examines how constitutions are created and maintained over time. Murphy’s book addresses crucial questions about how constitutions emerge from conflicting views of politics and how they can be adapted to a changing political order.

Joining Murphy will be constitutional scholars Stephen Macedo, Kim Scheppele and Keith Whittington of Princeton as well as Sotirios Barber of the University of Notre Dame, Mark Brandon of Vanderbilt University, James Fleming of Fordham University and Jeffrey Tulis of the University of Texas-Austin.

Murphy, considered one of the most distinguished constitutional scholars of the 20th century, joined the Princeton faculty in 1958 and transferred to emeritus status in 1995. His other books include “Wiretapping on Trial,” “Elements of Judicial Strategy” and “Congress and the Court” as well as works of fiction that explore political and religious themes.

The symposium is sponsored by the Program in Law and Public Affairs, the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, and the University Center for Human Values..

It does seem that Professor Murphy has a distinguished military record:

Walter F. Murphy is a 20th century American political scientist and writer. He won a Distinguished Service Cross for his service as a Marine in Korea. He held the chair of McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton. In addition to non-fiction works on political science, he has written three popular novels, Vicar of Christ, The Roman Enigma, and Upon This Rock.

Furthermore, Murphy has been sympathetic to some of the goals of the Bush administration:

…readers of the book will discover that Murphy is hardly a conventional political or legal liberal. While he holds some opinions, most notably on welfare, similar to opinions held on the political left, he is a sharp critic of ROE V. WADE, and supported the Alito nomination. Apparently these credentials and others noted below are no longer sufficient to prevent one from becoming an enemy of the people.

And I can verify that in fact Murphy did give a critical speech at Princeton in September of 2006:

Princeton celebrated Constitution Day with a lecture by Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence emeritus, at Robertson Hall Sept. 19. Murphy, a distinguished constitutional scholar and author, critiqued the current state of affairs, saying, “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis of enormous proportions.” The causes? A bold president and a passive Congress. After noting that he did “not wish to Bush-bash,” Murphy took the president to task for his use of signing statements, in lieu of vetoes, to deprive Congress of its authority to override presidential vetoes; his broad interpretation of the executive branch’s role in foreign policy; and his wiretapping program, which eluded the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a law put into place specifically to prevent warrantless wiretapping. (The latter is of personal interest to Murphy, who authored Wiretapping on Trial: A Case Study in the Judicial Process in 1965.) Murphy said there are “glimmers of hope” in the way that congressional Republicans have distanced themselves from the president and in Bush’s recent call for Congress to establish military tribunals for terror suspects. But he added that the long-term picture remains unclear. National defense, Murphy said, includes defending the democratic values that set the American system of government apart.

Further, it would seem, though I can’t prove it, that Professor Murphy was put on this list AFTER he gave the September speech, since we can assume that he flew uneventfully to Princeton to give that speech. So in order to suggest that Professor Murphy was simply confused with someone else of a similar name, you would have to postulate that this other Walter Murphy did something to attract unwanted attention in the six months between the two Princeton appearances by “the real” Walter Murphy. Unlikely.

This is just intimidation pure and simple, and possible censorship. Had Professor Murphy scheduled himself on the last possible flight, instead of one the night before his speech, he might well have been unable to give his talk.


Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics

The hidden disaster: Somalia

Nobody seems to be paying much attention but Bush has America deeply involved in another illegal regime change operation, complete with bombing innocent civilians, rendition, torture, and the rest of the dirty neocon bag of tricks. Chris Floyd has the story.

So while Bush’s “War on Terror” proxies go about the Master’s business by shooting and forcibly uprooting civilians, the mass exodous of refugees continues, with more than 124,000 people fleeing Mogadishu alone since February, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports. Some 11,000 have been forced from their homes since the beginning of this month. These are refugees not from the invasion itself – which was another quickie “mission accomplished” job – but from the “peace” that Bush and his proxies have visited upon the land, an occupation that is bidding fair to become a smaller-scale version of the four-alarm FUBAR that Bush has wrought in Iraq.

The attack overturned Somalia’s “Islamic Courts” government, which had brought a measure of security and stability to the ravaged nation after 15 years of murderous anarchy. But because the Horn of Africa is considered a linchpin of the Bush gang’s “New American Century” plans for military and economic domination of the region’s oil supplies and distribution, Somalia became a target of “the path of action,” the Mussolinian tag that Bush has given to America’s official national security strategy.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?

The US and Iran: Elliot Abrams’ sandbox (continuation)

Of note yesterday was the mistranslated statement by al Sadr, whom the Americans try to link to Iran. The American media/Abrams would like us to believe that al Sadr has told his Mahdi militia to attack the Americans. This is not true. He said, do not fall in behind the occupiers, because they are clearly an enemy. In other words, don’t side with the Americans.

Besides, al Sadr is an Iraqi nationalist, not an Iranian operative. The US tries to paint him as an Iranian sypathizer because he is a Shiite fundamentalist, and because it would enable the US, as usual, to blame someone from outside Iraq for the troubles within the country.

Of critical importance in the region is the relationship between Iran, a fundamentalist Shiite theocracry, and Saudi Arabia, a Sunni monarchy. These two countries will greatly influence the outcome of the disaster in Iraq; they have in common the desire for a viable Palestinian state, and have managed to remain on good terms, in spite of the US’ continual efforts to scare the Saudis about Iran’s intentions. This story provides a useful glimpse at the Saudi Iranian relationship:

RIYADH (Agencies) — Saudi Minister of Interior Amir Nayef bin Ad al-Aziz Al-Saud said on Saturday that the level of Iran-Saudi political and security relations are quite satisfactory.

The statement was part of an exclusive interview with al-Riyadh daily.

Al-Saud said that the political officials of the two countries are determined to broaden their cooperation to a great extent, IRNA reported.

Turning to the case of the released British marines, he said, “Given that every country has its distinct geographical borders, the consequences of violation of these frontiers are quite natural.

“Concerning the entry of British marines into Iran’s territorial waters, the Islamic Republic of Iran has also acted according to its responsibility,” he added.

The minister also asked Iran to hand over suspected militants plotting against the kingdom’s security, Reuters reported.

“We have information on … wanted people, they are Saudis and they (Iranians) have them and we reiterate to our brothers in Iran to hand them over to us,” the newspaper quoted the minister as saying.

“We have a list and a formal demand, and we always reiterate to our Iranian brothers that they have to hand over any Saudi or anybody who is targeting the kingdom,” he added.

Iran has extradited a number of Saudi suspects to the kingdom since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks. Some of the suspects have been released after being cleared.

Islamic militants loyal to Al-Qaeda launched a violent campaign to topple the U.S.-allied Saudi monarchy in 2003, carrying out suicide bomb attacks on foreigners and government installations, including the oil industry.

The Iranians announced that they have commenced industrial scale nuclear enrichment. But if you read the story:

Iran, which announced a year ago it had successfully produced its first batch of enriched uranium, has said it will install 3,000 centrifuges at Natanz as the first stage towards “industrial scale” fuel production.


Iran has been trying to get its centrifuges to work properly for at least 5 years. It isn’t easy; Scott Ritter thinks they will never get there. Part of the problem is that their supply of uranium gas is contaminated. Why the Iranians keep making announcements like this, I just don’t know. I don’t think it helps their cause. Maybe it’s just vanity. Last week, ABC’s Brian Ross wrote a scare piece on the supposed Iranian nuclear capability. Ross, citing anonymous sources (by which he meant Elliot Abrams), wrote that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by 2009.

Today, in case you’re interested, Glenn Greenwald takes a look at Brian Ross‘s role in the false reporting of the great 2001 anthrax scare, which Ross linked to Iraq. This was one of the first (and most powerful) lies that pursued America to invade Iraq.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Politics