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Showing posts with label Tea Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tea Party. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Sen. Rand Paul added to Washington's snowquester misery Wednesday by launching a talkathon against the nomination of John Brennan, which the Senate Intelligence Committee tepidly approved by a 12-3 vote yesterday, to be CIA director.

You can watch it live on CSPAN.

Paul's soft-toned wrath was directed at the Obama administration's assertion, in a letter to him from Attorney General Eric Holder, that the U.S. government theoretically had the power to order drone strikes against noncombatant Americans on U.S. soil.

"In a democracy you could elect someone who is very evil," Paul warned. "That's why we don't give this power to the government." Americans can't accept their government launching such attacks on "a whim," Paul said, noting that drone strikes in the AfPak region were sometimes fueled by rumors and directed "at caravans," not known terrorists.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Cruz to Bear

It's hard to imagine a clearer demonstration of how whacked out the Republicans have gotten under tea party tutelage than the performances of Ted Cruz and James Inhofe during hearings to confirm Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

What planet are they from? Not since the last days of the booze-besotted, red-baiting Joe McCarthy has the Senate witnessed performances so wild, careening and conspiracy-minded that they wouldn't even make the final cut of The Manchurian Candidate.

As Foreign Policy aptly put it today: "Has freshman Ted Cruz jumped the shark already?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's in Grover Norquist’s Private Files?

Thanks to Helen Gandy, the world never learned of the true reach of J. Edgar Hoover’s choke-hold on American politicians. According to a congressional inquiry and other sources, the notorious FBI director amassed secret files on the sexual and other peccadillos of politicians, entertainers, writers and officials, giving him immense blackmailing powers over his real and imagined enemies on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

We'll never really know the whole story, because Miss Gandy, his longtime secretary, destroyed the files upon Hoover's death in May 1972.

It may turn out that tax maniac Grover Norquist also has his own Miss Gandy, primed to destroy the contents of his locked safe when the grim reaper comes. Until then, he's got the Republicans' cajones in his hands.

Norquist himself suggested his true grasp on power Monday night when he "took a pot shot at Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) marriage,"  according to Raw Story's Arturo Garcia, after the Long Islander suggested he might abandon his no-taxes pledge after nearly two decades.

"I hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years or something,” Norquist fumed.

What other than the possession of embarrassing details on the private lives and messy business deals of Republican legislators can explain the right-wing lobbyist’s hammerlock on tax policy over the past quarter century?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Charles W. Bailey, R.I.P.

Charles W. Bailey II, who with Fletcher Knebel coauthored one of the most frightening books in modern American literature, died the other day.  It’s worth looking back at what he wrought.

Seven Days in May,” about a military coup to take over Washington, arrived in bookstores around the time of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the rise of  Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential candidate who proudly proclaimed that “extremism in the defense of  liberty is no vice.”

The film version, starring Burt Lancaster as a Pentagon general outraged by the president’s impending missile treaty with Moscow, packed theaters and became a topic of conversation in schools, churches and over dinner tables. 

James Grady, author of “Six Days of the Condor,” the next generation's iconic thriller, called “Seven Days in May” one of the "must-reads" of the thriller genre,  “a page-turning, feels-real novel that scared the Hell out of Americans and showed them the fragility of democracy.”

Only a year after the Cuban missile crisis was defused without war, and with Goldwater calling for a rollback of the Soviet Union,  the scent of nuclear war was in the air.

For most of  years since World War Two, liberals had been demonized as Moscow's fifth column. President Truman, a Cold War liberal Democrat,  had had to think twice before taking on Gen. Douglas MacArthur, removing him from command in Korea before he crossed the Yalu River and ignited an all-out war with China.

Meanwhile, chunks of information about mysterious ties between the CIA, anti-Castro Cuban exiles, Mafia gangsters, Lee Harvey Oswald and rightwing extremist groups like the John Birch Society had begun to surface.

The public was primed, in other words, to find “Seven Days in May” unsettlingly credible.

Would that happen today?