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We’ve seen the pattern–with Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill and a dozen others. They come out and reveal some unpleasant truth about the inner workings of the Bush Administration. They have broken the most sacred law of the “Loyal Bushies,” the law of omertà. So out comes the hatchet.
I’d been wondering: who would be picked to start the attacks on James Comey, a man not so dangerous for the truth he speaks as for his own integrity (next to which Alberto Gonzales and his team look like a pack of banditti). And the answer is: Doug Kmiec, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan twilight years. In an op-ed piece in today’s Washington Post, Kmiec accuses Comey of “histrionics.” And then he goes after Senator Specter with similar slashes. The thrust of Kmiec’s piece is purely partisan–let us Republicans not swerve from the Truth Path, under which the President is King.
Indeed, he says that the whole rush to see Ashcroft was really beside the point, because the President had the right to override Ashcroft anyway. In the Gospel according to David Addington, which is emerging as the new sacred text of the team Bush’s ailing and all-but-irrelevant clique of lawyers, Kmiec is surely speaking true. But this raises the question: so why did they go visit Ashcroft in his hospital bed to get that signature? Indeed. If you read Kmiec’s hatchet job, be sure to see Marty Lederman’s brilliant take-down of his whole argument published over at Balkinization. The only thing that survives from Kmiec’s piece is the Washington Post’s unbroken track record as official apologist for the Bush Administration.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”