Thursday, November 16, 2006

After 9 months of service in this silly and often tragic political recital, Cloak & Swagger will be going into hibernation.
We appreciate those of you who visited the site, and shared your thoughts.
Expect to see continued support from us on other sites/blogs, as well as the Colbert Nation Political Discussion Forum.
Thank you and Godspeed.

P.S. our mailbox will remain open for those of you who still want to send us love letters.

Friday, November 10, 2006

On Veterans Day read the compelling essays of veterans Ron Kovic, Kevin Tillman and Stan Goff, who have all served in the United States military. 

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From this article:
Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Full disclosure: he is indebted to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld for TV notoriety on May 4, when McGovern’s impromptu questioning after a Rumsfeld speech in Atlanta elicited denials later shown to be false after fact-checks by the TV networks. McGovern’s acquaintance with Robert Gates, whom the president has picked to succeed Rumsfeld, goes back 36 years to when Gates was a journeyman analyst in the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy branch led by McGovern.

As the Iraq war goes from bad to worse, President George W. Bush jettisoned “stay the course” in favor of “necessary adjustments.” Yesterday he showed how quickly he can adjust to the mid-term election results, when he jettisoned Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, barely a week after telling reporters Rumsfeld was doing a “fantastic job” and that he wanted him to stay on for the next two years.

It had been clear for weeks that the election would be a referendum on the war in Iraq and that Republican losses would be substantial. And Rumsfeld and Bush had every intention of avoiding the embarrassment likely to come of the grilling of Rumsfeld by congressional committees chaired by Democrats. Besides, who better to try to blame for the “long, hard slog” in Iraq than the fellow who coined the expression, and then implemented it with dubious distinction?

I have the sense that Rumsfeld offered himself as scapegoat for Iraq, not only to avoid another acrimonious tangle with Sen. Hillary Clinton , but also to help Bush project an image of flexibility and decisiveness to cope with the imminent sea change in Congress.

Neoconservatives Eat Their Own

Former allies are among those now denouncing him. The abandonment is enough to pin down even an old wrestler like Rumsfeld, but perhaps the most unkindest cut of all came from longstanding supporter “Cakewalk Ken” Adelman who, like other neoconservatives, have turned mercilessly on their old, now discredited friend. In an interview for David Rose’s “Neo Culpa” in Vanity Fair, Adelman came across as feeling jilted.

We’re losing in Iraq... I’ve worked with [Rumsfeld] three times in my life. I’ve been to each of his houses in Chicago, Taos, Santa Fe, Santo Domingo, and Las Vegas. I’m very, very fond of him, but I’m crushed by his performance. Did he change, or were we wrong in the past? Or is it that he was never really challenged before? I don’t know. He certainly fooled me.

As the saying goes, with friends like that, who needs Hillary? ...Or a pummeling by the Army-Navy-Air Force-Marine Corps Times?

I almost feel sorry for Donald Rumsfeld (and I’m not just saying that because, with the “Military Commissions Act” now signed into law, he can declare me—or anyone—an unlawful enemy combatant and “disappear” me into some black hole for the rest of my days). What betrayal. What disingenuousness. Et tu , Cakewalk Ken? The neoconservatives are attempting to push the blame onto Rumsfeld for the debacle they authored. Parallel attempts by administration officials to scapegoat Rumsfeld will be equally transparent and unconvincing.

The “Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal ” may now be down to one. But there is every sign that Cheney will continue to be the dominant force in the White House, and he recently asserted:

You cannot make national security policy on the basis of [elections]. It may not be popular with the public. It doesn’t matter, in the sense that we have to continue the mission [in Iraq].

Granted, Cheney made those comments before the election. But it is virtually certain that Bush vetted with Cheney the nomination of Robert Gates to succeed Rumsfeld and, if past experience is precedent, it is a virtual certainty that Gates will continue to earn an A+ for “loyalty.” Look for a “Cheney-Gates cabal.”

Gates has been getting unduly positive press treatment since the announcement of his nomination. This is in part due to his participation in the realist-led Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel tasked with devising plans to stabilize Iraq. There’s hope that Gates will help push through the group’s recommendations.

It is always possible that Gates really will bring, in the president’s words, “a fresh perspective and new ideas on how America can achieve our goals in Iraq,” but to those of us who have watched Gates parrot and implement White House policies—not create new ones—this seems a long shot. And as noted yesterday by Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., who will probably chair the House International Affairs Committee:

You can’t unscramble the omelet and the tremendous mistakes that were made after major military operations; I don’t see any magical solutions.

It seems only fair at the outset to give Gates the benefit of the doubt. He can hardly match the disaster Rumsfeld wrought with his fancy language and fanciful ideas, but that is damning with faint praise. Unless Gates’ years outside the Beltway have wrought major behavioral change, Gates will bend to the wishes of Cheney and Bush and avoid taking stands on principle. While it is one thing to give him the benefit of the doubt; it is quite another to be oblivious to the considerable baggage he brings with him from past service.

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On October 17, 2006 Bush signed the Military Commissions Act. The new law, scarcely mentioned in the media, is breathtaking for the breadth of its attack on basic rights. Under the MCA either the president or the secretary of defense may declare you an "enemy combatant"--as usual, without proof. Under that designation you may be jailed, without the right to an attorney, for the rest of your life. You can even be tortured. Your U.S. citizenship can't protect you. And it's all "legal."

Concentration Camps

In January 2006 HomeSec awarded a $385 million contract to Kellogg, Brown and Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton Co., to build "temporary detention and processing capabilities"--internment camps--"in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

The question, asks Progressive magazine editor Ruth Conniff, "is what is the government planning to do with mass roundups of people?" After all, Bush and other Republican leaders have spent five years calling Democrats and others who disagree with them traitors and terrorists. Following so much hateful rhetoric, you can't blame liberals for wondering whether they too are about to be declared "enemy combatants." They're not paranoid; they're just paying attention.

And Now, Martial Law

About a week ago some left-wing bloggers began circulating rumors that Bush had secretly signed something called the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" that "allows the president to declare a 'public emergency' and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to 'suppress public disorder.'" I couldn't find the text of the law at the time, formerly H.R. 5122, or a reliable media account, so I decided not to report on it.

I can now confirm the bloggers' account. Bush signed the JWDAA hours after the MCA, in a furtive closed-door White House ceremony. There is, buried deep down in Title V, Subtitle B, Part II, Section 525(a) of the JWDAA, a coup. The Bush Administration has quietly stolen the National Guard away from the states.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Can you name all the Republicans who have been convicted or are currently under criminal investigation in a single breath?
$100 If You Can List All The Republicans Under Investigation Or Convicted In One Breath

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

October's over.
Are you surprised?
Perhaps it was the anticipation of the surprise that killed it.
Or maybe the surprise was that there wouldn't be a surprise at all.
The obvious attention whore of "October Surprises" was the Mark Foley Sex Scandal
See the previous post for some dramatic insight into that
But it's hard to qualify the Foley scandal as a legitimate October surprise, considering it didn't work in favor of the administration.
Or did it?

Other little surprises for the month of October included:
1. The North Korean Nuclear Test
2. The Bush administration trying to back pedal out of "staying the course" in Iraq
3. The Minute Men expose Bush's NAFTA shadow government - then - one day later Bush agrees to build them their fence.
4. Democrats won't be seeking impeachment of Bush if elected into power. (Sympathy for the devil or bait and switch?)
5. The death of habeas corpus HR 6166 and the implementation of martial law. (addressed in greater detail below)

The biggest surprise, the one that snuck its way under the radar while everyone smothered themselves with the Foley scandal was the death of habeas corpus - HR 6166 and the move towards martial law
Possibly precursors to an even greater surprise in upcoming months.

BTW, you aren't an 'Unlawful Combatant' are you?

And if this last minute move towards martial law wasn't a clear enough indication of how serious this is all getting, then we probably wouldn't have even bothered posting at all.
But the fact of the matter is that America appears to be self-destructing, and nobody seems surprised by this.
Even when you tell them that the people responsible for killing it are the same people who swore to protect it, the President and his criminal cohorts.
More importantly though, the people responsible for letting it happen are the American people themselves.
This shouldn't surprise them either.

The majority of Americans just don't seem to care.
And I don't think that they actively chose not to care, but it's like many don't even know how to care.
Even those that do care and attempt to make a big deal out of it are labeled as over exaggerating leftists, or conspiracy theorists, or whatever.

In response to that, and for the sake of preserving America's dream, I can only hope that the labels are right.
I would gladly welcome being labeled an over exaggerating leftist or conspiracy theorist over being one of those guys you should have listened to.
I don't want to be proven right on any of this.
But if we are proven right, and these concerns we raise about criminal elements within the government deliberately staging the collapse of America and everything it once stood for comes to be, then...I honestly don't know. You got any predictions?
Surprise me.