The Washington Post reports that Congress' own advisor body declares that the the Bush Administration (sic) violated the 1947 National Security Act, as amended.
Let me repeat that: the Congress' own research arm has issued an opinion that Bush violated the law.
On the heals of the reverberations from Al Gore's indictment of Bush, and more poll data supporting impeachment in just such a circumstance - this means that there is now, if not a smoking gun, then GSR spattered all over Spygate.
There are enough scandals - from cover ups of Air Torture
to the the staggering cost of the war in Iraq
. But where is the spark? Where is the moment where the public finally says that too much is enough?
Part of it will come when people stop lying to themselves and others, as David Broder lies to himself, and to his readers:
Gore stops well short of that point and contents himself with citing the cases that cause many others concern. The first -- and to my mind weakest -- instance is the claim that Bush took the nation to war on the basis of false intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. But there is no clear evidence as yet that Bush willfully concocted or knowingly distorted the intelligence he received about Saddam Hussein's military programs. Interpretations of that intelligence varied within the government, but the Clinton administration, of which Gore was an important part, came to the same conclusions that Bush did -- and so did other governments in the Western alliance.
It is a reach to attempt to make a crime of a policy misjudgment.
No, the evidence for fabrication is there, or, at least there is probable cause to believe that it is there. To say "it is to make a crime of policy misjudgment" is, simply put, a lie. A lie from someone who cannot face the truth - investigation requires probable cause. The "other Western governments" who reached this conclusion can be limited to two: Blair's UK and Berlusconi's Italy. The first was deceived by evidence concocted by the second, and laundered through Bush's disinformation apparatus.
There is no credible evidence of anything resembling credible evidence that Iraq had WMD in 2001. Instead, the conclusions about Saddam were strictly drawn from his relentless noncooperation, and the fact he was an irritant with a demonstrated propensity to violate international law. But none of this constituted proof in any shape manner or form. To put it bluntly, we invaded Iraq with less information than Broder is requiring to impeach Bush with.
These are facts. Facts Mr. Broder chooses not to recognize. Facts that the country has recognized, and, according to polls, wants accountability for. More over Mr. Broder is suddenly trying to peddle Nixon's Paradox: if the standard for investigating is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, then there never can be an investigation. More over, he is piling on top of it the "Reagan Defense" - that intent is required for a crime, and since Reagan was a nice guy, he could not have intended it.
The problem with this is that there are two alternatives: one is criminal negligence, that is, no intent to violate the law was formed, but there was a neglect of reasonable care that reasonable people would have taken. The second is the functional version of criminal insanity in the realm of the political: that Bush, and the executive branch he heads, and the party he leads, are unable to tell right from wrong. They don't believe they are violating the law, because they are unable to form a picture in their minds of what that means. There was no intent to break the law, because there was no law to break in the mind of the perpetrators.
But in any of these cases one has the constitutional definition of impeachment - high crimes and misdemeanors. Why, suddenly, does Broder want to change the rules for Bush? Why does official Washington not want to face the obvious fact - that they have blundered beyond the point of merely having chosen poorly, but out of naked self interest, and therefore criminally?
The answers are obvious, cowards and traitors seldom think of themselves as such. Broder certainly thinks he is doing us all a great service by trying to tell people that Gore's speech should be read, even if you disagree with it. Nonsense, no one will be persuaded by that speech who doesn't want to believe, and who hasn't had the hard reality of this executive slammed into their faces. The only way to get a dog to stop shitting on the carpet is to rub their nose in the results. Broder, by lying about what the results are, lets the dog go off to piss on some other carpet.
It's easy to get angry at crass cowardice on the part of those collecting comfortable checks. We see it every day, as a media system takes money from advertisers and uses it to generate content which is designed to get us to expose ourselves to the advertisements. It's harder to sit down and write something that would persuade Broder that he has abandoned the country for his checking account, and that lying about the evidence against Bush in the form of the Downing Street Memos simply destroys his credibility.
I clicked on his email address several times. But it became clear that Broder is simply not living in the real world. It isn't his friends that are coming back with their limbs blown off or dead. It isn't his retirement that is being slurped down in corporate corruption of the pension system. It isn't his rights that are being shat upon by a far right wing court - I doubt Broder is ever going to need an abortion. In short, he is completely removed from any moral hazard whatsoever. What is at hazard is his job, and he is doing everything to protect it. Even if it means studiously not reading the newspaper he writes for.
And that is what finally made me lose my edge of anger. Broder is just another little guy. A guy running for cover, trying to convince the bullies that he toadies up to that something needs to be done, a Barney Rubble saying "aw come one Fred" to people who have verbally smacked him silly. No different from the private who is patrolling a street in Fallujha, no different than the guy who knows that housing is a bubble - but he's a carpenter, and it supplies him work. Or me.
He's just a little guy. Maybe a very public little guy, maybe one where I get to see in painful detail how he humiliates himself and abases himself before a criminal executive and its mindless thug supporters. But then, I don't do any different in my current employment.
But when he writes the absolute laugher, like this one:
Gore is certainly right about one thing. When he challenged the members of Congress to "start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you're supposed to be," he was issuing a call of conscience that goes well beyond any partisan criticism.
I can only role my eyes and say that it is time for him to go into retirement. Nome, Alaska, isn't far enough out of the loop to know that this is absurd: that the Republican Congress has systematically levelled the weapons of a minority to force any kind of accountability - including using fisticuffs. It has been a giant bribery machine, sucking in billions in contributions and graft - and spewing out trillions in tax breaks, contracts and sweet heart deals.
He's supposed to be in Washington, not in some far flung hamlet several time zones away. He's supposed to be there, connected to what is going on, not hiding from it. We live in the era of buy-partisanship, not bi-partisanship. A political party isn't your sports team that you root for, it is, as Gore Vidal noted "a conspiracy to take and hold power". The spattering spray of "they all do it" is one of the most powerful weapons that the Gop has in holding on to public credulability and avoiding consequences - and there is Broder, praising Clod and passing the ammunition.
This is a partisan issue, and Broder, if he doesn't know it, is a complete idiot. This column in 2002 would have been laughable, but understandable - but now with guilty pleans, indictments and investigations piling up - DeLay, Abramoff, Ney, Burns, Libby - the idea that there are two equally well meaning parties is again, beyond any credulability.
Without a clear shot of reality America will take that credulability, and line up behind someone like John McCain - who has a new broom and the world's largest carpet. If disasters aren't enough, then catastrophes will be required. It is the fear of catastrophe is what the old liberal order depended on - because it was the natural limit to abuse of power. The old liberal order often did abuse power - one could fill a book with its mistakes, overreaches and errors. However, it almost always reached a point of accountabilty, simply because once upon a time, a younger Broder would have realized that it was his ass on the line, and his head on the block.
One of the reasons why the blogsphere has grown so fast and reached out with such fury is that the traditional media has no integrity. It consists of sheeple bending over and saying "baaaa". It has lost its capacity, not only for outrage, but for any moral sense whatever. Can you imagine how a David Broder of today would have covered the civil rights movement? He'd have said "there's no evidence that George Wallace is a bigot, that he intends for the Klan to run loose in Alabama" - he'd have said that the Civil Rights Voting Act wasn't justified, because it would be criminalizing local political arrangements, which might be bad, but shouldn't be illegal. In short, he'd have delivered all of the mealy mouthed apologies that well meaning cowards of 40 years ago delivered.
Yes Mr. Broder, I'm saying that you would have kissed up to racism "back in the day", because you are kissing up to horse racism now. The two are one and the same thing - namely the willingness to capitulate to criminality, in order to procur conviviality.
I spoke with author Richard Parker the other day, and he noted that the AIDs epidemic was my generation's civil rights movement - in that it required immediate action, public funding and legal changes, and that it was a clear moral imperative - people were, and are, dying - 500,000 in the US alone so far. It is time to admit that the end of the Chimperial Presidency this moment's civil rights movement, this moment's moral imperative. It is killing people, Americans, allies and other foreigners. It will keep on killing people - lost to war and disasters like Katrina.
I am sorry that Broder has lost his moral compass, I am sorry he cannot see the moral imperative that moves the opposition to the Republican hegemony over the American Republic. I am sorry that he has lost whatever moral edge, that he has lost touch with the people who he shovels into the furnace to protect his paycheck. I am sorry that he has lost his sense of humanity.
Moreover, I am sorry that so many others have. This did not begin as a Phillipic against Broder, but every time I reread his column, it becomes clearer that it is filled with failure, and that he is as much the enemy as Tom DeLay, in that he apologizes for the unapologetic grab of power, the nakedly criminal actions of a party without a sense of restraint. One that is simply seeking the next set of fresh faces so that people like Broder can say "well you don't have proof beyond an unreasonable doubt that they are corrupt."
But what I cannot do is forgive, or be silent. When horse racists like Broder slosh defenses for war crimes in their mouth, secure in the belief that no one they know is going to disappear in a New Orleans flood, or come back changed from Iraq - it is no longer a mere disagreement of opinon, but a fundamental human divide. It is impossible to forgive his willingness to trade the blood of others, for his own comfort.
In short, a simple message to the horse racists - there is a clear bright line, and you have to decide which side of it you are on. If you want to fellatiate Republicans, then realize that the stains don't wash out. We don't recognize you as doing the work of liberalism, progressivism, the Democratic Party or the cause of the nation. You are simply giving reactionaries aid and comfort. You are simply one of them. If you can't call a crime a crime, if you can't look at the facts and admit what they spell out - then don't expect us on the left to have any respect for you. Gore came out of the closet as a liberal - the challenge of his speech isn't for Congress to stand up - it is for Americans to stand up. Gore caved in 2000, and it cost him, and this country, untold blood and treasure.
If Broder wants to preach the message of Gore's speech, he'd do best to start with himself.