Over the past six years EVERY outrage, atrocity, and illegal action by the Bush administration has been, in the end, met with a "BUSINESS AS USUAL" attitude by the Democratic Congress.
- Illegal, felonious, massive purge of LEGAL Florida voters in the 20000 Florida presidential election? YAWNS from the Democrats of the House and Senate.
- KARL ROVE, Ari Fliescher, and the incoming Bush-Cheney press staff create a "Clinton-Gore staffers TRASHED White House property!" 'scandal' OUT OF THIN AIR - without a SINGLE PHOTOGRAPH OF EVIDENCE? - The Cowardly Democrats of the Senate BEND OVER BACKWARDS to CONFIRM, without pocket-veto or filibuster, ALL of Bush's partisan nominees.
- After warnings from Business Week magazine, ENRON melts down contemporaneously with the 9-11 attacks (that is, within 9 months of the Bush administration's inaugueration) - Senate Majority Leader TOM DASCHLE bends over backwrds to KEEP A SENATE ENRON INVESTIGATION -OUT- of national news (by allowing Senate Gov't. Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman to smoother an actual, aggressive investigation).
- Deputy Secretary of War PAUL WOLFOWITZ personally visits Iraq, and specifically ABU GHRAIB prison - where Iraqi prisoners are being "softened up" by their American prison guards, in premeditated preparation for "intensive interrogation" practices by military intel, CIA, and even private mercenaries in Uncle Sam's pay - and when the sadism and 'abuse' photos of Abu Ghraib become world news a month or two later, the cowardly Democrats sit on the sidelines as the Donald Rumsfeld Department of Defense runs KANGAROO COURTS that convict female, volunteer privates (and their low-level NCO superiors) of 'ABUSE' - WHILE the Bush-Cheney administration ASSERT THE 'RIGHT' TO TORTURE PRISONERS, TO DEATH if need be!
- John Kerry runs for president in 2004, pledging (as VP candidate Joe Lieberman had 4 years earlier) to "FIGHT" for Democratic voters and constituents. Kerry immediately makes the Democratic nominating convention ABOUT HIMSELF, starting a long campaign season where he basically REFUSES TO CONFRONT the awful, deceptive, bullying record of President Bush. KERRY STANDS THERE like a STUFFED-SHIRT PUNCHING BAG as Bush accuses the Dem candidate of being "a FLIP FLOPPER," Kerry too stupid, too cowed, or too compromised to point out that it was President Bush who FLIP-FLOPPED on his "get Osama bin Laden dead-or-alive" pledge. (Just a few months later, as the president was getting excited about his Iraq invasion, Mr. Bush said of Osama bin Laden "he no longer concerns me that much any more.")
- Running a pathetic and apathetic campaign was only the prelude to Kerry THROWING IN THE TOWEL his post-election battle - selling MILLIONS of Democratic voters DOWN THE RIVER.
- Democrats were heading for resounding, dismal defeat in the 2006 election, when, out of nowhere, the Mark Foley scandal broke across papers nationwide - reminding the public of ALL THE OTHER Republican scandals, from Bob Ney to Jack Abramoff to Randy "Duke" Cunningham to the illegal "outing" of an undercover CIA agent BY THE WHITE HOUSE, to the lies-to-war runup to the Iraq invasion.
UNTIL THE FOLEY SCANDAL crashed across American newspapers and TV newscasts, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP had NO PLANS, determination, or resolve to highlight the above long series of Bush-Republican CRIMINAL SCANDALS.
In sum, for DOING NOTHING to publicize the above Bush administration/Republican CRIMINAL CONDUCT, the Democratic 'leadership' - Senator Reid, Senator Kerry, Senator Clinton, Senator Dodd, Senator Biden, the House Democratic leadership - are enablers, ARE COMPLICIT with those crimes.
FOR SHAME! America's government, ruling party, and even opposition party are all now determined by STRETCHING THE LIMITS of ILLEGAL "shocking lawlessness" conduct.
- Ginsburg gasps -
by Ruth Marcus
Thursday, May 24, 2007
RUTH MARCUS says it's time to fret when even this justice is shocked by executive hubris
Patrick Philbin is an unlikely victim of the war on terror. In fact, he's one of its chief legal architects.
Mr. Philbin's conservative bona fides are unimpeachable. Law clerk for federal appeals judge Laurence Silberman, the ideological godfather of scores of conservative lawyers, then for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
As a Justice Department official, he wrote a memo in November 2001 concluding that the president had the "inherent authority" to establish military commissions to try detainees. Wrong, the Supreme Court eventually said.
Mr. Philbin co-authored a memo the next month finding that federal courts had no power to hear habeas corpus petitions by Guantánamo Bay detainees. Wrong again, said the Supreme Court.
This wasn't merely a lawyer zealously representing a client. Mr. Philbin, now in private practice, urged Congress in March not to close Guantánamo and transfer detainees here. Prisoners then "arguably will have constitutional rights" that they'll seek to assert, he warned.
Mr. Philbin seemed like a shoo-in to become deputy solicitor general. But even he was not a true enough believer for the administration's executive-power zealots, chiefly David Addington, now chief of staff to Vice President Cheney.
His fault? Manning the legal barricades against the administration's efforts to coerce Attorney General John Ashcroft to approve its extralegal warrantless wiretapping. Mr. Philbin was in Mr. Ashcroft's hospital room in 2004 when Al Gonzales and Andrew Card arrived for the Wednesday Night Ambush.
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey referred to Mr. Addington's revenge in his Senate testimony last week by mentioning "one particular senior staffer of mine ... had been blocked from promotion, I believed, as a result of this particular matter. ... That was Mr. Philbin."
Mr. Philbin's out of government now. So, too, aside from FBI Director Robert Mueller, are the rest of those who stood up to the administration. Mr. Addington and Mr. Gonzales remain. That should chill anyone who believes in the rule of law, not rule by presidential fiat.
As Mr. Comey was testifying, another episode in the administration's assault on the rule of law was unfolding down the street, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The issue in that case boiled down to just how limited will be the limited role that remains for Guantánamo detainees' lawyers and the courts, now that Congress has acceded to the administration's effort to strip the courts of habeas corpus jurisdiction.
When appearing before the Combatant Status Review Tribunal that decides whether they are enemy combatants, Guantánamo detainees don't have the right to a lawyer – just a "personal representative" who isn't obliged to maintain client confidentiality. Detainees hear only a summary of the evidence against them, and rulings can be made on the basis of hearsay or evidence obtained through coercion. Detainees have the burden of proving they are not enemy combatants – but have little practical ability to obtain helpful evidence. If, somehow, the tribunal finds in favor of the detainee, military authorities can call for a second or even a third "do-over."
The appeals court represents detainees' one, brief shot at a real legal process – though just how real remains to be determined. Last week, the wrangling was partly over what material lawyers could examine in representing their clients. The detainees' lawyers are seeking access to all the information the government has collected about the detainees – not just material selected for presentation to the tribunal.
The government contends that lawyers need only the material shown to the tribunal. No need to look further, the government says, because if there were any "exculpatory" material helpful to the detainees, the rules would have already required that it be turned over.
This is so maddeningly circular, so Catch-22 meets George Orwell, that it provoked an outburst from Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg, a conservative Reagan appointee. "How can they assert that something is missing if they don't know what's present?" he asked the government's lawyer, Douglas Letter.
"What you're describing is a complete, a wholesale complete departure from any kind of adversarial system."
"Yes," Mr. Letter replied.
It is a terrifying legal worldview that drives a Patrick Philbin out of government and that leaves a Douglas Ginsburg sputtering in amazement at executive overreaching.
Ruth Marcus is a member of The Washington Post editorial page staff. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.