March 15, 2008
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just turned five years old. It seems like it was born just yesterday.
The department’s growing pains have made it a slow learner and a downright ugly child.
Two seemingly disconnected events have created a suddenly dangerous turn regarding the future of U.S. wars in the Middle East.
One was the abrupt resignation of the person who has been the biggest obstacle to a U.S. military strike against Iran, Admiral William Fallon, the chief of Central Command which oversees U.S. military operations in the volatile region.
The cross-the-political-spectrum attacks on Elliot Spitzer and the intensity of the demands that he resign his office show just how far the right-wing sexual moralizing has been able to trump any other kind of ethical reasoning in American society.
Going to a prostitute is legal in some states and some countries around the world, and is often the very arrangement that saves families from splitting up whose sexual energies have diminished but whose love is intact.
You would not know it for the news blackout, but New Yorkers of Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s district held a Town Hall/Impeachment Forum on Sunday to encourage Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, to begin impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney.
Panelists included former congresswoman Liz Holtzman, former Reagan Justice Department attorney Bruce Fein, human rights attorney and Harpers commentator Scott Horton, and John Nirenberg, the activist who at the turn of the year walked from Boston to Washington, D.C., in a futile attempt to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on impeachment.
Throughout history, it’s been common for politicians to shade the truth when caught in a tight spot. But sometimes politicians push the limits, crossing the line into an Orwellian world where up is down, where bullies are victims, where people objecting to the lies are shouted down.
If that world seems familiar to Americans, it should. It is the world in which we’ve lived for the past seven or eight years under George W. Bush, as his clever operatives routinely turn truth inside out. Now, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is applying many of these same head-spinning tactics to win the Democratic presidential race.
George W. Bush’s strategy of countering Venezuela’s leftist president Hugo Chávez by strengthening ties to Colombia’s rightist government has been undercut by fresh evidence of high-level drug corruption and human rights violations implicating President Alvaro Uribe’s inner circle.
These new allegations about Colombia’s narco-politics have tarnished Uribe’s reputation just as Bush has been showcasing the Harvard- and Oxford-educated politician as a paragon of democratic values and an alternative to the firebrand Chávez, who has used Venezuela’s oil wealth to finance social programs for the poor across the region.