Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, September 22, 2006

McCain Sells Out (again)

Hi Everyone,

Well, trust a Republican to give cover for the crimes of a fellow Republican. In a bold move to cover Bush and Rumsfeld from war crimes prosecution, supposedly "thoughtful" Republican, John McCain, has agreed to a deal with Bush that allows the President to authorize "lesser violations" of the Geneva Convention based on executive orders which may or may not be made public.

Bush hailed the deal (a bad sign) and said it would "preserve the most potent tool in the war on terrorism."

I've said before that we can't let ourselves think that Bush is the only problem. The problem is the Republican majority. So long as a majority of Congress covers for his torturing, spying and other outrages on our constitution we are in danger of losing our democracy - no exaggeration.

Even supposedly "liberal" Republicans are part of the problem because they enable their more overtly right wing leadership to determine what gets voted on in which committee and so on.

There is only one way to stop these people. Get active and do everything we can to ensure a Democratic victory in November!


Dr. Strangelove said...

The American Constitution and our system of laws, which have brought us 200 years of liberty, are more than adequate to handle a few hundred suspected terrorists. If Bush and the Republican Party are incapable of doing the job right, they should step aside--or be thrust aside--in favor of someone who can.

It is incumbent on all those who love freedom to resist the imposition of torture, secret prisons, indefinite detentions, and military tribunals. The war against tyranny was more than a military conflict. It was the decisive ideological struggle of the 20th century. Alas, with the risen specters of Bush and the Republicans, it seems it has become the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century as well.

US West said...

Well, the Democrats may not save us. Bill Clinton all but told NPR yesterday he supports tougher questioning and methods. When asked, as someone who has actually sat on the other side of the desk, if torture should be allowed in extreme cases, he basically agreed in his round about way. His idea, however, is that if you are 100% sure someone has information about an impending attack, that you torture (inject truth serum, etc) now and seek approval from the intelligence court later.

It's the same type of thing that happened with the listening taps. There was all sorts of noise, and then quiet agreement.

Is this how war time is? Do we just do what is expedient and toss the principles out the window? Or is this just how Bush wartime is? I am not really certain any more.

When your moral compass has lost its calibration and your lode star is obscured by smog, what else to you expect?

Anonymous said...

US West, I think, is raising a point that troubles me too -- what's the future of America if it throws away it's American-ness?

By that I mean that unlike most (all?) countries before it, America's foundation was big ideas, not force of arms or accidents of heredity. Ideas like natural rights of the people, and that government should be barred from infringing those rights. That's what offends me (and, I suspect, you) about the Bush administration: the _power_ of America is being used precisely counter to what I see as the _principles_ of America.

I feel that we need to find a way to foster patriotism. Not the flag-waving "God Bless America" love of country that every country has, but the idealistic "Home of the Free" upwelling of emotion that the Preamble of Constitution and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech engender.

We don't need more rhetoric pushing the "America is great" idea. We need the "We can make America better" idea. And in particular, we need that idea to inspire and impel Americans from all walks of life, not just academics and intellectuals. I think that's the road to making torture and warrantless eavesdropping and falsely justified war unacceptable again.

How do we get the Oklahoma schoolteacher, the Ohio garbage collector, the Kentucky farmer and the Oregon police officer to think that, as they're saluting the flag, they're saluting free speech? How do we convince them to consider, when they're in the voting booth, which of these candidates is going to strive to protect the liberties of me and my fellow citizens? How do we get them upset at the news, not because Al Qaeda still hates us, but because America is better than this?

I think that if we can't figure out how to do that, then the twilight of the US has begun. 

// posted by Bob

Anonymous said...

Sadly, it's as tough to do what Bob suggests as to convince fundamentalist Christians that, when they pray, they are praying to a God of Radical Love, not hatred, bitterness, sexual tyranny, and social conformity.

But the response of good people has to be the same... You keep trying and don't give up the message. Our Liberty has endured and dramatically strengthened not because of majoritarianism, but in spite of it. Because a solid bedrock of citizens has, at most times and places, had the courage to stand up and articulate the moral challenge posed by those who have concluded that democracy is a failed system, too weak to handle "modern times."

Modern fascism begins with the suspicion, and later the assumption, that Democracy is too weak to provide security. That it is too ineffective to establish justice, promote the common defense, and provide for the general welfare. Our Democratic politicians have done a poor job of articulating the truth that Republicans are abandoning democracy.

Bush isn't trying to spread democracy in the Middle East. He's spreading torture, hate, and a distrust of democratic institutions and the rule of law. Bush must be impeached. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I heard Clinton's interview in the car today as I drove along the Missouri River. I didn't think it was on NPR so I could've been hearing another interview, but it was certainly covering the same subject.

What I understood Clinton to say was far less scary that US West suggests. He said that IF you had a situation where you KNEW that someone had information about an imminent attack, it would then be justified to "beat it out of them" and then accept the consequences - which he said should include an ex-post review by something like the FISA court. BUT, he pointed out that such situations were exceedingly rare and already provided for in the Military code of justice. He also made a big point of arguing that the kind of sweeping ex ante executive authority to coerce information from prisoners was completely uncalled for. That a long way from "quiet agreement" with Bush. That's a reasoned argument in favor of preserving the rules that were in place in 2000.

I agree with Bob (and Colin Powell by the way) that we in the United States are losing our moral authority because of the way our leaders are prosecuting the "war on terror."

Clinton had something to say about that thismorning in a FOX News interview with Mike Wallace's wingnut son. Clinton pushed back at the Faux News accusations that he had "let Bin Laden get away." Clinton went through a long list of things he had done to get Bin Laden and then pointed out that "We have an administration that thinks that Afghanistan is one seventh as important in the war on terror as Iraq." He then suggested that people compare current priorities vis a vis Al Qaeda with those of his administration!


// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton is doing what other Democrats need to be doing, pushing back. He was right to get pissed at Fax today and I am glad he did.

Bob, Al Gore has given some great speeches about the very issue you are raising. He has gone step by step through everything this Administration has done and he has explained how it is counter to our principles as a democracy. If you can find some of his speehes at the Commonwealth Club and the like, you can listen. I have a couple recorded somwhere.

So the voices are out there. I don't know, however, if we can get the cab driver, cable guy, and desperate housewife to understand and vote right. That should be what democrats work on. I think the dmeocrats need to focus on getting the whole country to vote right rather than just 3 swing states.

The problem with allowing torture in some circumstances is that you have to know where to draw the line. That is part of the problem we have now. We aren't sure where to draw the line and Clinton was careful not to draw a line.  

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

BTW: I cought "In God's Name", a CNN  disucssion on the current global situation. It was hosted by Amanpour and apparently sponsored by Clinton. It was interesting. If they finally choose to air it on-line, you may be able to see it at the link. 

// posted by USwest

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reporting that. The idea that, like on the TV show 24, you can find a terrorist and beat info out of him in time to stop an attack, is pure Hollywood. Torture doesn't work that way. People can stand a beating. Torture takes days. Neither does policework work that way. The WHAT is almost always easier to figure out than the WHO.

Which explains why torturers usually ask for names... 

// posted by LTG