Tuesday, June 05, 2007

May 10-30, 2007

V.P.'s Identity Ruled Secret

By Will Hack, Washington Bureau Chief, NFR

August 1, 2007 – The White House announced that effective immediately the identity of the Vice President of the United States shall be deemed a state secret. Anyone who divulges the identity of the VP, in any way, will be subject to immediate arrest. The executive order covers all American citizens, including those working in the media.

The new order comes just two months after the Vice President ordered that the Secret Service shred lists of visitors to the Vice President's residence at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

According to sources that asked their identity not be revealed, the order was sparked by a direct request from the Vice President.

“We live in dangerous times,” said White House spokesman Tony Snow. “Terrorists would like nothing better than to be able to kill the second in command of the United States of America. The Vice President understands that and that's what prompted the Vice President to request complete anonymity.”

Asked why the anonymity order did not also cover the President Snow said it was considered, but rejected.

“Someone in the Executive Branch has to give speeches to the American public,” Snow said. “The current Vice President never liked giving speeches, or for that matter even appearing in public. So it was a natural that it should be the Vice President whose identity should be protected. And, to the cynics out there I feel compelled to say that all Americans should be proud that they have a President willing to step up to the plate like that.”

The new executive order code named “Our Secret Santa,” but officially known as “Executive Order MYOB 666+1,” makes it a felony to:
  • Reveal the name of the current Vice President or any former VP who's term of office began on or after January 2001,
  • Reveal the gender of the VP of the United States, including the use of such common gender-specific terms as “him” or “her.”
  • Reveal the physical location of the VP of the United States, including the VP's residence(s), vacation home(s), hunting ground(s) or other VP favored venues including, but not limited to, so-called “virtual” venues and/or “virtual worlds.”
  • Reveal the names, gender or corporate affiliation of the VP's friends, dinner guests, visitors, co-conspirators, confidants, wife, children or “special friends with privileges,” should any materialize.
  • Reveal any accident(s) caused by or involving the VP, including but not limited to accidents involving, planes, trains and automobiles, firearms, paper cuts or wars of unprovoked aggression.
  • Reveal any personal information about the VP's offspring, including but not limited to their political or sexual preferences.
The new executive anonymity order had originally been schedule for announcement on July 4th, but was held up when the current wife of the current VP of the United States objected that she (or maybe he) was not covered by the order. He/she claimed that he/she would also be tasty target for terrorists and should therefore be covered by all provisions of the order.

In particular, the current wife of the current VP said she/he had be the victim of media intrusions into her private life, including, but not limited to such name-calling as “the VP's mean little fireplug of a wife,” and “the VP's Eva Braun.” Also she/he objected to pundit comparisons between her/his notable posterior girth with that of Hillary Clinton's liberally expanding presence.

But, according to White House sources, it was the current Vice President of the United States, (and her/his husband,) who objected having the order also cover the current spouse of the current VP.

“This oder makes our god damned address is a secret. She(he) lives there with me in this secret place. If she(he) is so damned worried about her(his) security she(he) should just stay home like a good little woman/fella where she(he) will be perfectly safe.”

The President was reportedly quick to agreed. “D---, if she(he) doesn't get off my back about every damn little thing, I swear I'll appoint her(his) ass ambassador to Iraq. Then she'll (he'll) really have security issues to bitch about.”

Public interest groups from both the left and right denounced the new executive order. Those on the left warned that the new order is just another step towards authoritarian, unaccountable secret government.

Right-wing think tanks were even more scathing.

“Sure, this administration can be trusted, but what about the next one? What happens when there's a Democrat in the White House,” asked Hermann Von Hess, President of Neocon think tank, the American Christian Caucasian Enterprise Institute, ACCEI.

“We could end up with Ruth Bader Gingsberg as Vice President, and we wouldn't even know it! Hell, she could be serving as VP and a Supreme Court justice at the same time, and we'd be clueless. She could be using the VP's office or residence as the Capitol Hill office annex of Planned Parenthood and performing abortions in the ladies room for all we'd know ”

White House spokesman, Tony Snow, brushed off such concerns. “We all know the current VP is an honorable person we all trust who has the best interests of the nation and our people at heart,” Snow said. “Rather than sparking concern, the fact that no one but the President will know the identity or whereabouts of the Vice President of the United States, should reassure Americans that, in the event of a national emergency the continuity of our constitutional democracy will be preserved.”

Attempts to reach the Vice President for comment were unsuccessful. Reporters were told the VP no longer kept an office at the White House since, “that would so obvious.”

A check of the VP's tradition Washington residence, the Naval Observatory, was no more successful. While not allowed inside the grounds of the Naval Observatory reporters could see workers installing a large antique telescope in upstairs bedroom window. A newly painted sign on the gate read, “Quiet! Naval Observers at Work.” A second sign read, “Special guests use rear gate after sunset.”

One reporter claimed he was certain he heard a woman's voice coming from the basement area of the Naval Observatory. “It was muffled, the reporter said, “but I am sure I made out the words, 'George, 'little twerp' and something involving “his balls.'

Inquiries were made to the VP's office (via email) about the alleged woman's voice and the next day we received the following reply:

From: Vice President, XXXX XXXXXX

In reply to your email of yesterday regarding an alleged woman's voice coming from the basement area of the former residence of the Vice President of the United States:

We cannot confirm that there is any reason we would have any reason to respond to your question

We cannot confirm that there would be any reason for a woman to be in domicile residence of said Naval Observatory.

We cannot confirm or deny that the current Vice President is associated with a woman whom might, or might not, be his “wife.”

We cannot confirm or deny that, should a woman be unhappy with the President or Vice President that said woman would or would not be confined to the basement of aforesaid piece of government-owned property, for her own good.

Nothing in this communication should be viewed or characterized as answering your question, or confirming or denying the existence of any woman in the Vice President's life who might, or might be unhappy about something, or nothing.

Thank you for writing to the Vice President of the United States of America.

Have a nice day.

May 24, 2007

The Big Story
That Never Was

Why wasn't this on every front page earlier this month? I mean it isn't like it was kept secret. It appeared on May 10th on the White House's own web page:

President Signs National Security/Homeland Security Presidential Directive


(1) This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies..... 6) The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator.

-- "Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions; (Full order here)

Breathtaking. Simply breathtaking. It's the kind of sweeping authority that only a banana republic could love. It's the kind of authority Fidel Castro operates under and which Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is working day and night to get for himself. The Mullahs in Iran already have it and, as of May 9th, George W. Bush is just a single “incident” away from having it too.

Is this just more liberal hand-wringing and whining? Well, don't take my word for it. The link to the unadulterated goods is right there above this paragraph. Take your own lying eyes there and read it yourself. And read it all. Then contact your favorite newspaper editor and ask him/her just how far up their ass their had to be to miss this? How did they miss it and fail to see the clear and present danger it poses to everything this country is supposed to stand for?

I have come to understand that we Americans are lazy defenders of our rights. Few will actually read the whole damn thing. So here are just a few of the low-lights. (And the second you doubt me, you are obliged to read the original document. If you don't then go rattle someone else's cage. I don't refuse to engage in a war of wits with the unarmed.)

The Directive Bush signed into law on May 9, 2007: (Any emphasis is mine)

The President of the United States is granted virtual dictatorial powers in the event of a “National Emergency – which the order broadly describes as:

..”any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;”

Regardless of location? Would that include, say, a terrorist attack on Saudi oil fields and refineries? That would certainly “disrupt” the U.S. population and economy.

“or government functions.” Would that include mass public protests such as those during the Civil Rights and Vietnam War eras?

But it get better. We may not even have to wait for a real “national emergency” to hit before the President can assume the mantle of near-dictator. Under the guise of “maintaining government continuity, the President could just sign a “NEF” - a National Emergency Finding:”

“ As a result of the asymmetric threat environment, adequate warning of potential emergencies that could pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be available, and therefore all continuity planning shall be based on the assumption that no such warning will be received.”

Once the President signs “detects” a real or imagined threat, and signs a NEF, here's what he gets for his signature:

The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.

a) Ensuring the continued functioning of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government;

(b) Providing leadership visible to the Nation and the world and maintaining the trust and confidence of the American people;

(c) Defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and preventing or interdicting attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(d) Maintaining and fostering effective relationships with foreign nations;

(e) Protecting against threats to the homeland and bringing to justice perpetrators of crimes or attacks against the United States or its people, property, or interests;

(f) Providing rapid and effective response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident;

(g) Protecting and stabilizing the Nation's economy and ensuring public confidence in its financial systems; and

(h) Providing for critical Federal Government services that address the national health, safety, and welfare needs of the United States.

In other words, to quote the old Christian hymn, “He has the whole world, in his hands, the whole world, in his hands...”

You might have noticed that the act the President signed on May 9th tips its hat several times to the Constitution and the other two branches of government. What's that all about? A close reading uncovers the weasel words that betray the real purpose behind this act – to neuter the Constitutional co-equal authority of the other two branches of government, and to do so with the kind of Orwellian language we've come to expect from this administration:

"Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;

“As a matter of comity?” The relationship and responsibilities of our three branches of government are chiseled in the stone we call the U.S. Constitution. Comity has nothing to do with it. Therefore the term implies that the President will try to be “nice” to Congress and the Courts during a declared emergency, but otherwise they can pound salt. He's going to do whatever he see fit.

“and to provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership..” Ah, hello. We've got that already. Had it for over two centuries. It's in the Constitution too. So, since we already know how to go about ensuring an appropriate transition, and have done so without interruption for 200 years, through wars, depressions and national disasters galore, this clause appears to anticipate something else – something not envisioned, or sanctioned, by the Constitution.

And what if Congress should want to meet during one of these Presidentially declared national emergencies? Well the act covers that too:

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall serve as the President's lead agent for coordinating overall continuity operations and activities of executive departments and agencies, and in such role shall perform the responsibilities set forth for the Secretary.... the Chief of Staff to the President shall ensure that the executive branch --efforts are appropriately coordinated with those of the legislative and judicial branches in order to ensure interoperability and allocate national assets efficiently to maintain a functioning Federal Government.

This clause effectively reduces congress to a “mother-may-I” position in the governing pecking order. The Secretary of Homeland Security and Chief of Staff to the President may just decide that it's “too dangerous” for congress to gather and refuse to “coordinate security for, or even facilities, for sessions of Congress. Courts will be deemed national security assets to be used to assure “terrorists and criminals” are incarcerated for “public safety.”

Then there's the pesky matter of State” Rights. Of course some states, say Texas, won't be a problem. But states like California, Massachusetts, Vermont and New York could be troublesome. They might disagree and refuse to cooperate entirely. Not to worry. That' base was covered too in the law:

“Federal Government -- plans and operations shall be appropriately integrated with the emergency plans and capabilities of State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to promote interoperability and to prevent redundancies and conflicting lines of authority. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate the integration of Federal continuity plans and operations with State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”

That rounds up about every American, even the original ones, American Indians. The only group not mention were the church folk.

Oh that's enough. If you give a flying fig, go read it for yourself. If you don't care, you will, someday.

In all my years of covering the federal government I have never seen, or even heard rumors, of a law like this. I never even worried about it since I figured any President who tried to pull such an outrageous and obvious grab for power would be run out of office, either by Congress, the courts or an outraged American public – once the media fully informed them of it.

But it wasn't in the free press. Did you see it? I didn't. If it was there it was treated as a minor story. Even the perps knew the media would miss the significance of the matter because, rather than make it secret they brazenly posted it on the White House web site.

Well, not all of it. Here's the last two paragraphs:

23) Annex A and the classified Continuity Annexes, attached hereto, are hereby incorporated into and made a part of this directive.

(24) Security. This directive and the information contained herein shall be protected from unauthorized disclosure, provided that, except for Annex A, the Annexes attached to this directive are classified and shall be accorded appropriate handling, consistent with applicable Executive Orders.


Wouldn't we just love to know what's in the classified Annex A! It must be really hot stuff considering how outrageous the stuff they felt okay to make public is.

I don't know. Some days I wonder why I bother. Some days I wonder if Americans even deserve the freedoms that are being taken away from us one by one by this utterly lawless and un-American, administration.

And then there's Congress. They won't end a war that the vast majority of Americans want ended. And now they won't even consider impeaching a President who has broken more laws and violated the U.S. Constitution more times in less than seven years than all 42 Presidents before him – combined.

Why aren't we in the streets? All of us? Why isn't Pennsylvania Ave blocked by protesters every day?

And, remarkably, no member of Congress will be booed off the stage at home-state Memorial Day picnics this weekend. Why not?

They certainly should be booed, this weekend and every time they appear in public. Because they are have just been standing around, doing nothing. Just watching, even aiding and abetting, as it's all just slip-slidin' away.

History: What a Bitch!
Hitler's Enabling Act

An Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz in German) was passed by Germany's parliament (the Reichstag) on March 23, 1933. It was the second major step after the Reichstag Fire Decree through which the Nazis obtained dictatorial powers using largely legal means. The Act enabled Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his cabinet to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag. The formal name of the Enabling Act was Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich ("Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the State"). (Source)

May 23, 2007


Let's see if I have this straight.

Four years ago Democrats in Congress “trusted” that George W. Bush would use their vote authorizing him to use force against Iraq as a negotiating tool, and that he would only actually use force as an absolute last resort.

Instead he took the money and ran with it. Suckers!

Now, four years and a hundred thousand plus deaths later, Democrats in Congress say they are ready to trust the serial liar in the White House again.

Rather than do what they promised us they would do if we voted for them last year – to get our troops out of the Iraq meat grinder – they produced an Iraq-war funding bill that contains NO time line for withdrawal – a monumental, possibly even a historic, betrayal.

But wait, there's more – of more precisely, less.

The bill also contains NO enforceable benchmarks imposed on either this administration or the other dysfunctional government in Baghdad. Instead Democrats settled for fuzzy benchmarks then granted President Bush the authority to waive even those if the Iraqi parliament blows them off, as they have every benchmark to date.

Of course, the President asked them to trust that he would only waive the benchmarks as a last resort.


Then the lying little bastards – (Oh sorry. I need to clarify. I am referring here to the Democrats here) – the lying little bastards then had the shameless chutzpah to climb in front of TV cameras to declare that, “the days of giving this President blank checks is over.”

Holy cognitive dissidence Batman! It makes me feel like someone used my brain as a spitoon just repeating that crap. (BTW, the spit came from Nancy Pelosi and that little worm Rham Emmanuel. Remember that.)

From a friend:
"Yep…Dear Nancy, it appears you intend to be the only woman speaker of the house, that you will be in power – oops, I mean, you will vacuously hold the title – as Cheney stages a coup. They probably won’t even bother to take you and the other Dems out, since you have proven a level of ineffectiveness that manages only to induce scorn and tears."

Over on the Senate side it was the utterly mediocre Democratic Senate Leader, Harry Reid, buttering the turd.

“Sure there's a lot of disagreement over this,” Reid muttered into the microphone, head down, no eye contact, like my dog when he knows I know he just crapped on the livingroom rug. “But I see that as a positive thing. It means that neither side got everything they wanted.”

How wrong is that? Come on Harry, tell us – how gigantically, enormously, provably, obviously wrong it that statement? Because we all know that President Bush got everything he wanted – just like he did four years ago. And that Democrats (or at least those who voted them into office) got NOTHING... NADA.. ZIPPO.. BUPKIS.

And just like four years ago BUSH got what he wanted with an alarming amount of help from Democrats.

So, that vote four years ago -- how did that work for us, Harry? Did Mr. Bush keep his word four years ago? He said he'd respect you in the morning, then had his way with you, and hasn't called since. Now we're all stuck trying to raise his homicidal bastard child. And here we go again this week, as Democrats roll over on their backs, legs in the air, once again.

So what's this war funding bill all about. In trying to suss all this out I can only guess why:
  • Democrats suffer a severe and apparently incurable learning disability.
  • Democrats are compulsive liars.
  • Democrats are moral cowards.
  • Democrats are just Republicans with gay friends.
  • Democrats are....... Crap! I just ran out of guesses.
Of course the Demopublicans have their own explanation for why they they betrayed those who put them in office. They say that, since they did not have a veto-proof margin for a bill containing a time line or enforceable benchmarks, they had to go along in order to get along.


How about instead sending Bush a bill containing a time line and enforceable benchmarks then let the President veto it. Would that have been such a disaster? Would it have been MORE a disaster than what's already gone, on and is going on, in Iraq anyway?

And so what if Republicans in Congress refuse to provide the majority needed to override that veto. So what? Whose problem would that have been really? Best I can tell it would their problem... the Republicans and their President's problem.

“Oh my! No no no,” cowardly Dems snivel, “We couldn't do that, because (voice drops to a whisper) Republicans would have accused of cutting off our troops.”

Oh really! Gag me with a DNC press release. God forbid that Dems should go over the President's head to the public and actually explain that such an allegation is false, in both content and intent. That the only way our troops get “cut off” is if the President continues his petulant refusal to accept a bill that makes him and his unruly surrogates in Baghdad accountable for results – for the first time – ever.

My, my, my. Today over two-thirds of Americans oppose the war in Iraq and what our troops out of that black hole of a country. But even with that enormous -- even historic -- level of public support and backing, Democrats are still too timid – afraid -- to shoulder the responsibilities and burdens of leadership.

Last November we put them back in charge of Congress. Now Democrats want us to put them back in charge of the White House next year as well.

Which now leaves me, and I am certain millions of fellow Americans, with just one nagging question:

Why bother?

May 22, 2007

Why Superpowers Can't Win Wars

It would be nice to believe that the the reason the US can't win in Iraq is because Bush waged the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or that he failed to anticipate the post-invasion insurgency. Or that no country can any longer be occupied and subjugated by distant, foreign powers.

Sure, all those things are playing their part in the slaughterhouse that Iraq has become since the George W. Bush & Co. “liberated” the place. But remember, two decades before that the Russians were driven out of Afghanistan. And the French were chased out of North Africa. Each possessed superpower status, manifested in the potentially most devastating military forces in the history of mankind. Yet that status and all that fire power couldn't give the victories, the control or hegemony, they sought.


Blame it on evolution. Attaining superpower status required more of those societies than simply hammering out guns, tanks, submarines, stealth fighters and nukes. All that military/industrial R&D had to move in lockstep with a host of social developments; education, trade ties, advances in science and medicine, information, and the humanities.

One could argue that the former Soviet Union made less progress in some of those areas than Western countries, and they would be right. Which is largely the reason it's now called “the former Soviet Union.”

Nevertheless, Russians made plenty of progress as well. And some might argue that they were more smarter than we were in some ways. Rather than continuing to waste national treasure in a mindless and unwinnable arms race, they bailed, figuring that being the world's No. 2 superpower was good enough.

And the Russians were right about that. Because both No. 1, the US and No. 2, Russian, lost wars in piss ant countries against near-primitive irregular forces. Russian was chased out of Afghanistan and the US is about to be chased out of Iraq, and maybe Afghanistan too.

There was a time when both the US and Russian kicked ass. Russian didn't just defeat German invaders but devastated them. The US leveled both Germany and Japan.

So why can't superpowers defeat today's insurgencies, such as those fighting US troops in Iraq or terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Taliban, Hamas and Hezbollah?

Because, we can't fight dirty anymore. We used use military tactics designed to make an enemy cry “uncle.” But these days we just can't bring ourselves to stoop to the level required to inflict the kind of pain bring an enemy and and it's allies to their knees.

How did we win World War II? Not with tiny troop “surges” or by turning soldiers into community cops. And we didn't do it by building power plants on enemy territory, quite the opposite, we bombed power plants into dust. We bombed dams so farmers couldn't irrigate crops, thereby starving the enemy.

But the biggest difference between “us” then and “us” now is that back then we didn't give a fig about civilians. We didn't use surgical bombing strikes to take out a handful of German or Japanese soldiers, we flattened everything and everyone in their general vicinity.

Today we blanch when we hear on the news that 50 people were killed in Iraq, or that the US lost 10 soldiers in a day. During WW II such a lackluster day would have been considered a day wasted. Just look at the carnage the last generation shrugged off as “just the cost of war.”

“The total estimated human loss of life caused by World War II, irrespective of political alignment, was roughly 72 million people. The civilian toll was around 47 million, including about 20 million due to war related famine and disease. The military toll was about 25 million, including about 5 million prisoners of war. The Allies lost around 61 million people, and the Axis lost 11 million.



Even as Germany was teetering on the brink of defeated, the Allies sent an armada of bombers to Dresden to blanket the city with firebombs. In a matter of a couple of hours the entire city was turned into a funeral prier for an estimated 30,000 civilians. Thirty thousand, in a single day! Imagine that.

The tactical theory behind such acts of mind boggling brutality was to send a message to the enemy – “Surrender or we'll level your social and industrial infrastructure and slaughter your people. Your move.”

The US sent the same message to Japan, twice, and for the first time with nuclear exclamation mark. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were leveled, killing nearly a quarter million civilians in two days of war.

Both German and Japan surrendered, the war ended and the victors went about the business of getting back to business. Over the next fifty years we changed, for the better. We no longer believe that leveling entire cites filled with civilians is a justifiable tactic of war. Instead we now fight enemies the way like cancer, by targeting the tumors while trying to do as little damage to the victim as possible.

All of which makes us better human beings than we were. But it likely also makes us incapable of winning.

I am not suggesting we go back to the bad old days and ways, I am simply describing our new strategic reality. After all, does anyone doubt that the US and UK could turn all or parts of Iraq into a glass parking lot with a couple nukes? Of course they could. But, thank goodness, they haven't and they won't. Because they can't. They can't because of the developed world would explode in rage and indignation – as would most the American people.

And it's not just the US struggling with this new reality. Look at what's going on in Tripoli Lebanon this week. A handful of al-Qaida fighters – less than 200 – took refuge in the sprawling Palestinian refugee camp and opened fire on Lebanese Army forces.

In the bad old days the military solution would have been to bomb the bajeebers out of the area, send in tanks to knock down what buildings were left standing, followed by ground troops with orders to shoot anything that's still moving. Noncombatant civilians would have to figure out how to survive on their own and, if they didn't, they didn't.

But the “developed” world will no longer would stand for such wholesale slaughters. So the Lebanese army is reduced to lobbing a few targeted shells into buildings they suspect are being used by insurgents, then calling a cease fire so ambulances can evacuate wounded civilians and the UN rushes in to provide food and water to civilians trapped in the crossfire.

How will the Lebanese standoff end? I can't tell, but one thing is for sure, it won't end with anything our fathers or grandfathers would have graced with the term “victory.” Instead the insurgents will disrupt, then disappear to disrupt another day. How long a civil society can survive such tactics – or whether it can – is the question that remains to be answered.

Ironically, this new reality mankind faces may be far more bleak than anything our parent's generation faced. Maybe they were more brutal in waging war, but that brutality resulted in victory, fortunately for the good guys. We face a much less certain outcome and future. We live in a time when nice guys finish last -- simply because we are nice guys.

I can hear those on the far left pounding their palms to the foreheads shouting, “What the hell is this moron talking about? Doesn't he know that Bush's war in Iraq has killed tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of innocent people?”

Yes, this moron knows that. But imagine if MacArthur or Patton were waging the war in Iraq. Civilian casualties would be counted in the millions, and without a hint of shame or apology.

I'm glad my father's generation defeated the Nazis and Imperial Japan. And I am not judging them for the way they went about doing it. It was different time and half-century ago. Their sacrifices gave us the decades of peace during which we were freed to learn, grow and mature as a species.

But now we face the very real possibility that the power to secure victories has passed from us. That maybe today that power is solely in the hands of the world's lowest common-denominators – the under-educated, under-employed, under-socialized and religiously lobotomized.

I don't know how this chapter of mankind's story is going to end. All I know is that this time the bad guys are using our old tactics against us. Civilians are fair game to them. That would you and I this time around. And, when the day comes – and it will – when al-Qaida et al get their hands on nuclear weapons, they will do their best to turn one or more of our cities into another Dresden.

Then what? Do we surrender? Or do we turn our social-evolutionary clock back sixty years and start killing people by the millions again until someone cries “uncle?"

Worse Than Watergate?
You Bet

I know you're enjoying it. Of course I am referring watching Seedy Gonzales get his comeuppance.

But give that a rest for a moment and come with me while I rewind this movie to the beginning. What you learn explains how it all began. And the why and how of this sordid affair strikes at the very heart of who were are – or at least were – as nation.

What we've learned is that, once Gonzales was promoted from White House Counsel to Attorney General his top assignment was to use the heavy hand of Justice to intimidate and suppress Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts around the nation.

Suddenly US Attorney's in key states were being pushed to start aggressively charging and prosecuting Democratic get-out-the-vote groups under the guise of fighting vote fraud. When prosecutions did come quickly enough, or at all because of lack of evidence, heads began to roll. Eight US Attorney's, seven of whom had stellar performance records, were fired and replaced by GOP toadies. The message was, “get with the pogrom or we'll free you up to pursue other interests.”

In all 26 US attorneys were on the White House hit list before the new Democratic-controlled Congress began holding the first real oversight hearing in six years. It wasn't long before those hearings blew the administration's cover story, that those fired were let go because of “poor performance.” What they did not say, and could not say, was precisely what assignment they had performed poorly on – using their power to suppress Democratic votes through intimidation in future elections.

The purpose of this anit-Democratic voter pogrom is obvious. If successful, Karl Rove believed, the scheme could reinvigorate his dream of creating a “permanent Republican majority,” in Congress. It would, he hoped, become a final solution to the GOP's “Democrat problem.”

The recipe for Rove's voter suppression scheme was first discovered in Florida in 2000. It was a simple combination of ingredients that landed George W. Bush in the White House, even though he lost the popular vote. All it took was a dash of ballot "confusion" leveraged by a corrupt and politically ambitious Republican official, Katherine Harris. Stir it up real good, then bake for a week in a politically stacked Supreme Court. Serve hot.

Next came Rove's dry run in Ohio in 2004.

Eureka! Ohio was Rove's proof of concept. Suppressing Democratic votes worked. Time to move Seedy Gonzales over to Justice. After all, his work at the White House was done. Torture, secret prisons, warrantless wiretaps – he'd given President Bush legal cover on each. Now it was time to move this obedient sycophant to his next assignment.

By 2004 the administration had the federal courts stacked with friendly judges, from bottom to top. And they had seeded federal departments with administration-friendly Republicans. But by then the GOP had bigger problems – political problems. Polls showed voters were increasingly turned off by Republican candidates. A growingly unpopular war, an increasingly stressed middle class and early reports of rampant corruption were coming together and turning off , not just Democrats, but independent voters and an alarming number of moderate Republicans.

Suppressing Democratic votes became more important than ever. Rove's deepest fears were realized when Democrats gained narrow victories in 2006, regaining control of the House and Senate. Worse yet the GOP's political prospects for 2008 were clouded when suspicions of Republican corruption became fact. Rove's reputation as the administration's strategic wonder boy were on the line. It was pedal to the metal time for Rove's voter fraud prosecution scheme. Time to let US Attorney know their bosses in the administration meant business – Tony Soprano kinda business.

And so the administration turned the U.S Department of Justice into an arm of the Republican National Committee. (Complete with RNC email addresses for those “special needs” emails.) The maestro of the matter was, of course, Karl Rove. Rove's Consigliarie was the man his boss, George Bush, had conveniently appointed Attorney General -- precisely for this purpose, Alberto Gonzales. It would not be the first time Seedy Gonzales had pulled George's chestnuts out a fire.

The White House's had another important task on Alberto's to-do list -- protect sitting GOP members of Congress threatened by allegations of corruption. And sitting Republicans were in danger real danger of being charge, prosecuted and convicted of just that – and by the DOJ's own US Attorney's no less.

Which explains why former San Diego US Attorney, Carol Lamm was near the top of Rove's hit list. Ms. Lamm had already bagged Republican crook, Rep. Duke Cunningham and was hot on the trail of a senior GOP member of Congress, Rep. Jerry Lewis.

While we are just now learning about the Rove-Gonzales suppress the vote operation, it was apparently no secret among senior Republicans in the House and Senate. Some were even active players in the scheme.

Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) acknowledged that he contacted the U.S. attorney in Albuquerque last year to ask about an ongoing corruption probe of Democrats, but said he "never pressured him nor threatened him in any way."... Domenici also said in a statement that he told the Justice Department it should replace U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias, one of eight federal prosecutors fired in December. But Domenici said the recommendation came before his call to Iglesias about the criminal investigation ... Domenici's remarks came four days after Iglesias alleged that two New Mexico (GOP) lawmakers called him and pressured him about the pace of the investigation. Iglesias said he believes the calls were at the root of his dismissal. (Full)

All of which explains why Alberto “can't remember” nearly anything when he's under oath. If he could, what he remembered would be a crime – a felony to be precise. Some of the 5 million “missing” White House emails could also shed light on what was going on if they were suddenly “found” (you know, Hillary Clinton “found” those missing Whitewater documents on a White House table one day.)

But don't hold your breath. If they did turn up you can bet the administration would throw the blanket of “executive privilege” over them muy pronto. Because some of those emails almost surely contain go-to-jail quality evidence.

Yesterday I recalled when Richard M. Nixon and gang tried to subvert the American democratic process. During their escapades they violated the US Constitution, abused their offices, lied to the American public and broke a host of laws. Most of that gang went to jail (See list below) and their disgraced leader was banished from power.

Now I ask – now that we know what the current administration has been up to, why aren't we getting the same results? How are their crimes and abuses of power by the Department of Justice and the White House any less a crime? How are they any less a threat to the democratic process? How are they any less prosecutable, and less impeachable offenses?

Because if there were ever an assault on American values, traditions and the very heart and soul of democracy , this is it. If Congress and the courts don't respond appropriately to such a list of high crimes and misdemeanors now, where does that set the bar for future administrations?

Think about it.