Republican Cat Fights and Candor

For weeks, the media has been trying to inflame a good fight between the Democratic candidates, and the best they could muster was the Clintons hinting Obama was a roll of the dice (well, isn’t he?), Obama implying Republicans might oppose Edwards and Clinton (uh, yeah, so . . .) and Edwards accusing Clinton of being willing to work within a corrupt political system (and the alternative is?). This is pretty tame stuff. It seems my concerns about an excessively negative campaign were misplaced. I should have been watching the Christianists:

From Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: You’re suggesting that Mitt Romney’s not running an honorable campaign.

GOV. HUCKABEE: I’ve been very clear about it. Mitt Romney is running a very desperate and, frankly, a dishonest campaign. He’s attacked me, and, and yesterday–or Friday, I guess it was, he launched then just a broadside attack against Senator McCain. Now, Senator McCain and I are rivals for the presidency, but I’ve said on many occasions, I’ll say it again here today, Senator McCain is an honorable man, and I believe he’s an honest man. I believe he’s a man of conviction. And I felt like that, when Mitt Romney went after the integrity of John McCain, he stepped across a line. John McCain’s a hero in this country. He’s a hero to me.

And I just felt like that when Mitt Romney gets on your show and says that he had the NRA endorsement when he didn’t; when he comes on and says he’s pro-life and yet he signed a bill that gives a $50 co-pay for an elective abortion in his state’s health care plan; when he claims that he’s really for the Second Amendment, but he–on this show he (more…)

Democracy

As tragic as Benazir Bhutto’s death is, it is hard to really look at her as the savior of democracy. After all, now we know her 19-year old son will be her successor, under the guidance of his father, Bhutto’s husband. It is hardly democratic for a political party to be dominated as the province of one family.

Thank goodness in the "greatest democracy on earth" we could never do things like that. At least that’s what Irving Kristol’s son told me.

Sunday Five Brothers Blogging

Interchangeable heads

Okay, let’s see….

Matt, the San Diego Romney, attended something in San Diego called the "Salute to Elected Officials", and you can only imagine what a hot ticket that must have been. How hot?

I recently spoke along with Senator Wyland on behalf of my dad at a Salute to Elected Officials in San Diego. There were many party loyalists there from all over San Diego, along with several elected officials.

Yes. Only "several elected officials" actually showed up which seems rather unappreciative of them to not show up for a good saluting. And if you’re wondering who Senator Wyland is (and I’m from San Diego and I’ve never ever heard of him) he’s a State Senator from North County so he’s not exactly Chuck Norris endorsement material. But then, in a serious political race, who is?

Next up Josh, the Crazy Eyed Romney, is proud of the fact that Romney boosters are finding alternative uses for Romney t-shirts like converting them to Christmas stockings as opposed to wearing them around town as a sign of support for DadMitt. They also make great Turtle Wax rags for after the dog shits all over the family station wagon.

Josh then tries to outdo Tagg in the Dad (more…)

George is a Genius

After a year with no action by the Democratic majority on Iraq except the writing of more and bigger blank checks, a slate of frontrunners for president who claim they will end the war but actually plan to keep the occupation and talk of "success" in Iraq that only the blindness of our bought-and-paid-for media could buy, I thought we could all use a dose of video fun. And who better than the completely amazing Bremner, Bird and Fortune.

(more…)

Iowa Here We Come

abfab.jpgIn the airport on my way to Des Moines, where Jeralyn Merritt and I will be bringing you the latest dish from the Iowa caucuses.  In what feels like a replay of last January’s Libby trial, David Shuster is on my plane.  (Coincidence?  I think not.)

Although we still maintain our policy of no endorsement, John Edwards is having a contest — the campaign wants you to submit a 30 second ad saying why you support John Edwards. The judges will be Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards for President campaign manager Congressman David Bonior, Elizabeth Edwards’ brother and NYU Tisch Film School professor Jay Anania, actor and activist James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Joe Wineke, and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, and me & Christy. You can submit your entries here.

The deadline for submissions is January 16. And I can’t speak for any of the other judges, but Christy is easily swayed by the sight of really nice shoes.

Anyway, we’ve got press credentials and will be at the Polk Convention Center on the night of January 3rd when real-time numbers will be tallied. If you’d like to contribute to our Iowa trip fund, you can do it here. Your support, as always, is greatly appreciated — we couldn’t do it without you.

Lying to Congress before the Torture Tapes

This morning I suggested that one reason the CIA destroyed the torture tapes was to protect the European countries in which the interrogations took place. I then showed that Mary McCarthy, who was fired from the CIA for allegedly serving as a source for Dana Priest’s black sites article, claims that a high level CIA official (who is likely to have been involved in the torture tape destruction) lied to Congress in the lead-up to the McCain Amendment and, therefore, in the lead-up to the destruction of the terror tapes. Now, I’d like to show how the lies alleged by McCarthy coincide with Jello Jay Rockefeller’s attempts to learn more about the CIA’s torture practices (I’ve updated my torture tapes timeline accordingly).

McCarthy alleges that a senior CIA official lied to Congress on two occasions. Once, to HPSCI (and particularly Jane Harman), in February 2005.

In addition to CIA misrepresentations at the session last summer, McCarthy told the friends, a senior agency official failed to provide a full account of the CIA’s detainee-treatment policy at a closed hearing of the House intelligence committee in February 2005, under questioning by Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the senior Democrat.

And once, to staffers of (presumably) SSCI, in June 2005:

A senior CIA official, meeting with Senate staff in a secure room of the Capitol last June, promised repeatedly that the agency did not violate or seek to violate an international treaty that bars cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of detainees, during interrogations it conducted in the Middle East and elsewhere.

While Harman has only publicly noted her written objection to the terror tape destruction in 2003, Jello Jay has outlined his attempts to exercise oversight over the CIA’s torture.

In May 2005, I wrote the CIA Inspector General requesting over a hundred documents referenced in or pertaining to his May 2004 report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation activities. Included in my letter was a request for the CIA to provide to the Senate Intelligence Committee the CIA’s Office of General Counsel report on the examination of the videotapes and whether they were in compliance with the August 2002 Department of Justice legal opinion concerning interrogation. The CIA refused to provide this and the other detention and interrogation documents to the committee as requested, despite a second written request to CIA Director Goss in September 2005. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Year End Wrap

It’s the last FDL Book Salon of the year and it’s been quite an exciting year. Through mutual friends at Drinking Liberally, Pachacutec asked if I could help with finding and scheduling the FDL Book Salon. I’ve been here in the background since July working with the authors and hosts.

I was born in Berkeley, California, grew up in Marin County, Black Point if you are familiar with the area. I am happily retired, (at an early age), after 32 years with the federal government. So my writing skills are tending towards the bureaucratic. I was a Security Electronics and Telecommunications Program Manager, for the Federal Bureau of Prisons most of the time. In the 1970’s I worked on nuclear weapon system electronics, ICBM’s, for the US Air Force. I ran inmate crews at Terminal Island in the 1980’s, (a federal prison in Los Angeles – what a name), saw a lot of "bad" public figures come and go. Then had the good luck to come to Washington DC to work in the Headquarters of the FBOP from 1990 to 2005. I did everything from electronics to frequency management (yes, I understand the process of procuring frequencies for the use of the government).

Pach says all this makes me a logistics goddess, but I think he’s just scared of me, what with me running inmate crews and all. But putting the Salons together has been fun!

Our FDL Book Salons this last year covered many author and subjects. Upcoming authors can be found by clicking on the Book Salon tab.

Now I’d like to hear from you. What was the best Book Salon? What subjects are most interesting? What would you like to see more of? Ideas? (more…)

Mary McCarthy and the Terror Tapes

In this post, I speculated that the torture tapes were destroyed to protect the European country on whose soil we conducted waterboarding. I say that for several reasons. First, in its description of how Bush was compartmented out of details of the program, it specifies that Bush didn’t know the location of secret prisons.

The tapes documented a program so closely guarded that President Bush himself had agreed with the advice of intelligence officials that he not be told the locations of the secret C.I.A. prisons. [my emphasis]

Second, it suggests that after Dana Priest’s story on the black sites, the detainees were moved to a new location.

Yet in November 2005, Congress already was moving to outlaw “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of prisoners, and The Washington Post reported that some C.I.A. prisoners were being held in Eastern Europe. As the agency scrambled to move the prisoners to new locations, Mr. Rodriguez and his aides decided to use their own authority to destroy the tapes, officials said.

Couple that with the news that the tapes were always stored in the country where the interrogations took place, and it seems highly likely that one source of urgency behind the destruction of the tapes was to hide evidence of torture occurring within Europe.

Until their destruction, the tapes were stored in a safe in the C.I.A. station in the country where the interrogations took place, current and former officials said. According to one former senior intelligence official, the tapes were never sent back to C.I.A. headquarters, despite what the official described as concern about keeping such highly classified material overseas.

This revelation made me think of Mary McCarthy, who was fired for allegedly serving as a source for Priest’s story. At the very least, the way in which McCarthy was investigated and fired challenges some of the stories on the torture tapes. More importantly, it suggests she may have been fired because she’s a witness to the fact that the CIA lied to Congress in the period leading up to the tapes’ destruction. (more…)