Friday, December 3, 2010

Graf speaks out

Virginia Lynch Graf, the unsuccessful Democratic challenger to our Congressional representative, Shelly Moore Capito, has an op-ed in today's Charleston Gazette that seems to be a refinement of the letter she sent around to supporters soon after the election. Here's how it opens:

"Voters of West Virginia's Second Congressional District rewarded Rep. Shelley Moore Capito with two more years in office. As her opponent, I wonder why.

Was it her continual votes for war funding? It's now over $3 trillion. Perhaps that makes West Virginians feel secure. Was it her ties to special interests to perpetuate her campaigns? I guess that takes the burden off of ordinary contributors to elect a Congress member. Could it be the fact that corporations get tax breaks, loopholes and other financial incentives from her votes that enable them to trickle their wealth down to the rest of us? Maybe it's the fact that she opposes unions and stimulus money to keep Americans working. After all, if we got rid of unions, we could return to unbridled labor laws, which would make all those lazy people work longer and harder for their salaries.

And we all know stimulus money was bad, so Ms. Capito opposed it. Clearly, she knew better than most economists who encourage an even bigger stimulus to avoid another Great Depression. Ms. Capito knew wasteful spending when she saw it: A tax break for the middle class and small business owners and funding to keep policeman, firemen and teachers at their jobs was just too expensive. Nonetheless, she did get her picture taken each time stimulus money was awarded."

What makes the op-ed timely is Capito's vote yesterday against tax cuts for the middle class. Like the rest of the GOP, she wants to make sure that her party's chief constituency--the "haves and have-mores," as George W. Bush once described them--get theirs, regardless of how few jobs those tax cuts have actually created since they were enacted (their excuse for supporting them) and the deficit be damned.

The Republican commenters accuse Graf of sour grapes, but I think her analysis of why she wasn't supported is just as realistic and accurate as her assessment of Capito's record.


Progressive blog Firedoglake has a good synopsis of the case that Nigeria has in its reportedly pending indictment against Dick Cheney, and why it looks like the Obama administration is trying to arrange for Nigeria to drop the case--as the Wikileaks cables show it did in Spain, to get that government to drop torture cases against a half-dozen Bush administration officials. Change you can believe in. Really.


Finally, one of the most important writers on the subject of America's Deep State, former Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott, gave a speech to the prestigious Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last month, outlining why the Continuity of Government (COG) executive order issued by Bush after the 9/11 attacks, and still in effect today, seems to have replaced the US constitutional order. Here's his conclusion:

"With a few notable exceptions, there has thus far been scant interest in the media and the public in the extraordinary facts that Cheney and Rumsfeld were able to

1) help plan successfully for constitutional modifications, when not in government [Ed. note: Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld developed the COG plans when they worked together in the Ford and Reagan administrations, and continued this work as corporate CEOs during the Clinton administration], and

2) implement these same changes themselves when back in power.The first of these facts gives us a glimpse of an on-going power realm independent of the publicly acknowledged state. In the words of James Mann, “Cheney and Rumsfeld were, in a sense, a part of the permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, inhabitants of a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting.” A CNN Special Assignment assessment of the COG planners was even more dramatic: “In the United States of America there is a hidden government about which you know nothing.”

What is the first step out of this current state of affairs, in which the constitution appears to have been superseded by a higher, if less legitimate authority? I submit that it is to get Congress to do what the law requires, and determine whether our present proclamation of emergency “shall be terminated” (50 U.S.C. 1622, 2002).

As part of this procedure, Congress should find whether secret COG powers, never submitted to Congress or seen by it, are among “the powers and authorities” which Bush in 2007 included in his prolongation of the 2001 emergency and which are maintained today under Obama.

This is not a technical or procedural detail. It is a test of whether the United States is presently governed by its laws and constitution, or whether, as has been alleged, the laws and constitution have now in places been superseded by COG.

Congress should go further to look into the activities of Cheney’s ninety days of COG shadow government in 2001, and their relationship to the genesis of the Patriot Act, the ten-year program for detention camps, and the permanent militarization of US domestic law enforcement."

--Michael Hasty

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