President George W. Bush's carefully-crafted facade of Republican unity is coming apart at the seams as more and more of his former party faithful bail because of his disaster in Iraq.
A longtime friend, a career soldier and flag officer, returned home from Iraq recently and said that, sadly, he is thinking of retiring, something he can easily do at this point in his career.
After a record of service that extends from Vietnam to Panama to Desert Storm and, finally, to the invasion of Iraq, he says the will to serve his country is gone.
"This country used to stand for things that meant something," he said. "Not now. Honor, justice, loyalty, pride: None of these words have any meaning now."
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter to President George W. Bush back in May saying the Administration probably violated the law by not informing Congress of his secret intelligence activities against Americans.
The right-wing's biggest blowhard, radio talk show demagogue Rush Limbaugh, got a walk this week on charges of carrying Viagra without a prescription. His doctor might face charges for mislabeling the bottle of pills found on Limbaugh when he returned from a vacation trip.
The mouth that roared may be off the hook this time around for abusing prescription meds but at least the whole world now knows that the mouthpiece of the rabid right wing needs drugs to get it up.
Abu Musab al-Zargawi's widow says her late husband's al-Qaida organization sold him out to the United States in exchange for an American promise to ease off on its worldwide hunt for Osama bin Laden.
On the surface, this sounds like normal terrorist propaganda in a misinformation war that the other side wages successfully.
Or is it?
The American flag does not fly outside our home today. It usually does on July 4 but not this Fourth of July because I just can't bring myself to celebrate an independence that isn't or recognize a country that no longer stands for freedom.
In fact, I may start a bonfire on our front yard and burn every American flag we own, an act I feel is far more patriotic than any faux patriot who adorns his car, pickup truck or motorcycle with flags and salutes a nation that today is nothing more than an international bully that wages war on innocents without provocation.
As a journalist, I am offended by the latest Republican assault on The New York Times and freedom of the press.
As an American, I am afraid for the future of my country when politicians so casually discard our founders' belief that a free press is a necessary Constitutional guarantee.
The last time an American president went after the press with such a vengeance was during Richard Nixon's second term. We all know how that one ended.
President George W. Bush and his strategists felt recent events would drive up the administration's sagging poll numbers and help Republican prospects in the November mid-term elections.
Random thoughts on current news:
President George W. Bush, through his use of "signing statements," has declared himself, on more than 750 separate occasions, above the laws of Congress, the laws of the land and even the Constitution of the United States.
With each stroke of his pen, Bush wipes away more of the freedoms once guaranteed by the Constitution, undermines the system of checks and balances that is supposed to protect our government from despots and brings this nation closer and closer to the precipice.
His actions come, ironically, as the nation prepares to celebrate the birthday of its independence, an independence threatened as never before not by Islam-spouting madmen but by an opportunistic politician with a fountain pen.