When these Republicans get it right, don’t we know we’re in trouble???

Bigotry That Hurts Our Military By Alan K. Simpson – March 14, 2007

As a lifelong Republican who served in the Army in Germany, I believe it is critical that we review — and overturn — the ban on gay service in the military. I voted for “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But much has changed since 1993.

My thinking shifted when I read that the military was firing translators because they are gay. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. This when even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently acknowledged the nation’s “foreign language deficit” and how much our government needs Farsi and Arabic speakers. Is there a “straight” way to translate Arabic? Is there a “gay” Farsi? My God, we’d better start talking sense before it is too late. We need every able-bodied, smart patriot to help us win this war….

The writer was a Republican senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997.complete op-ed

PRESIDENTIAL DISAPPOINTMENT: (excerpt from cap newsletter)

Presidential candidates of both parties have a bully pulpit to influence America’s debate. Yet the response to this recent controversy has been disappointing. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), who are aggressively courting the cultural right, have reaffirmed their support for banning openly gay Americans from military service. In 2000, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, “I think if you want to serve the United States and you want put your life at risk, you should be judged on the merits. … There should not be a specific focus on someone’s sexual orientation“; but yesterday, he also shifted right, saying in a statement, “We’re at war and now isn’t the time to question our military’s admissions policy.” Even Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL), who both oppose “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and have otherwise taken strong stands on gay rights issues, refused at first to say that they disagreed that homosexuality is “immoral.” Asked by ABC News, Clinton said, “Well, I’m going to leave that to others to conclude.” Obama simply refused to answer the question after being asked several times. Thankfully, both senators later told reporters that they disagree with Pace’s claim. But Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, acknowledged that “he was concerned about the initial responses” of both senators. For his part, former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) said, “I don’t share that view,” when asked about Pace’s comments. But perhaps the most powerful statement came from Sen. John Warner (R-VA), a respected leader on military issues and former Armed Services Committee chairman, who said he “respectfully but strongly” disagrees that homosexuality is immoral.

“I don’t believe the United States armed forces should be the last institution in America that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.”Wes Clark on MTP Jan, 2004


>points< from today’s NYT Editorial:

> Harriet Miers, the White House counsel whom Mr. Bush tried to elevate to the Supreme Court, originally wanted to replace all 93 attorneys with Republican appointees.<

[altho it is said that Clinton and others did this? Not so fast…But in an e-mail to Harriet Miers on Jan. 9, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s chief of staff Kyle Sampson (who resigned yesterday) admitted that the Clinton administration never purged its U.S. attorneys in the middle of their terms, explicitly stating, “In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision” ]

>Congress should broaden the investigation to determine whether any other prosecutors were forced out for not caving in to political pressure — or kept on because they did. <

>If that sounds cynical, it is. It is also an accurate summary of the governing philosophy of this administration: What’s the point of having power if you don’t use it to get more power?<

Politics, Pure and Cynical  (snips)

 Time and again, President Bush and his team have assured Americans that they needed new powers to prevent another attack by an implacable enemy. Time and again, Americans have discovered that these powers were not being used to make them safer, but in the service of Vice President Dick Cheney’s vision of a presidency so powerful that Congress and the courts are irrelevant, or Karl Rove’s fantasy of a permanent Republican majority.

 In firing the prosecutors and replacing them without Senate approval, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took advantage of a little-noticed provision that the administration and its Republican enablers in Congress had slipped into the 2006 expansion of the Patriot Act. The ostensible purpose was to allow the swift interim replacement of a United States attorney who was, for instance, killed by terrorism.

 Among the documents is e-mail sent to Ms. Miers by Kyle Sampson, Mr. Gonzales’s chief of staff, ranking United States attorneys on factors like “exhibited loyalty.” Small wonder, then that United States Attorney *Carol Lam of San Diego was fired. She had put one Republican congressman, Duke Cunningham, in jail and had opened an inquiry that put others at risk, along with party donors.

…about this Dept. of Justice? Those in favor of Lam writing a tell-all, say aye.


Democratic Caucus, U.S. House of Reps:

Washington, D.C. – Retired General and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley K. Clark today endorsed the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health, and Iraq Accountability Act and issued the following statement:

“House Democrats have offered a responsible approach that protects our Armed Forces, the troops and their families, and encourages both the Iraqis and the Bush Administration to work more effectively to salvage some success in ending what has been a tragically mistaken and failing mission. This conflict must be resolved politically – military efforts alone are insufficient – and this legislation strongly promotes that political solution. This legislation is the product of the kind of responsible legislative leadership that the American people voted for in 2006, and I wholeheartedly support this bill.”

GOP readies opposition to troop bill    (ap)

WASHINGTON – Democratic-backed legislation to withdraw U.S. combat troops from

Iraq cleared its first Senate hurdle Wednesday, but Republicans confidently predicted they would soon defeat it and President Bush backed them up with a veto threat.

The legislation, calling for combat troops to return home over the next 12 months, “would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America’s strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq,” the White House said in a written statement.

The strong veto message underscored the intensifying struggle between the administration and the new Democratic-controlled Congress and came on a day in which the Pentagon conceded in a report that “some elements of the situation in Iraq are properly descriptive of a civil war.”…

…In the House, Democratic leaders said they were building support behind legislation to require the withdrawal of troops by Sept. 1, 2008, if not sooner. That plan faces its first test vote Thursday in the Appropriations Committee, and Democrats circulated a letter of support from retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who ran for president in 2004.

or The Mark of Zorro…..on a ‘waxing poetic’ Saturday?

While waiting the pending announcement on Monday by Senator Hagel, as to his presidential aspirations, and having re-read the March issue online Esquire Feature this a.m., headlined:

‘Before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment.’

Interview of Senator Chuck Hagel by Charles Pierce opens like this…

“The rapier is more silver than the moon. The horse, red eyed and fierce in the California night, is rearing up, and its rider points his sword toward the sky, and its tip seems to touch the lunar surface, dimpling it further between the craters… “

the interview itself is fairly good actually, altho it surely raised a number of questions in my mind re: a certain lack of conviction on the senator’s part

…and having also re-read this (non-poetical) Hagel-touting piece over at Steve Clemons place :

The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill on the Chuck Hagel Salon:

“I think that there are a number of candidates on the Democratic side that may move in this direction eventually — but I’m not convinced that many have really offered more than incrementalist proposals that remain in the same general grooves of Bush’s direction in the Middle East. Wes Clark and Joe Biden are exceptions — and there are others — but they are not yet setting the political pace of the country…”  

[not yet]  

And lastly, but not leastly, this a.m., I re-read this classic from 2004: ‘Cometh the Hour…’ 

We need, at just this time, a military personage as president, one who is more in the mode of Dwight Eisenhower than of Ulysses Grant. In Wesley Clark, we have a four-star general and former NATO commander who is a diplomatic unifier, an authentic hero, wise and compassionate….

penned (quite beautifully I think) by Harold Bloom.  (Mr. Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale.)

Wesley Clark, we sorely need your voice in ’08!

Please sign the petition…………

so said Wesley Clark in a recent interview.  Question and complete answer here:

Reg: Do you think your economic plans that you had ’04, like your tax plan, your college tuition plan, do you think they’d still be possible now with all the new debt we’ve accrued? Would we have to sacrifice that because of the war?

General Clark Well, I want to be really careful about raising taxes. I really am going to try not to raise taxes, but I do believe we’ve got to take care of people. You have to- I, I’ve been telling people in business, I said, You know, we’ve got a potential legitimacy problem. When a CEO makes 400 times what a worker makes, then you have to ask, Why does he deserve that much?

What is interesting is that the question was answered in the future tense…notable I think, given the recent pile-up on the internets 

Complete interview from CCN’s “Generation Whatever” series blogs:

A Conversation With the General by Reg NYC

Posted today at securingamerica, including a youtube video of the interview wherein Wes Clark and Reg NYC discuss ‘art matters’ (true that it matters in my humble opinion) and other critical issues of our times.

Also notable, who knew that Wesley Clark played around with the violin? From the interview:

“…And it’s one of these things that’s better than golf. I’m going to get my violin handicap down to zero.”

Proving once again that real men can (and/or) do whatever they like. Yes, they can!

It’s a really fun read. Don’t miss it.