Juan Cole wonders:
If Bush and Cheney are ever tempted into extreme measures in the United States, Musharraf has provided a template for how it would unfold. Maintain you are moving against terrorists and extremists, but actually move against the rule of law. Rubin has accepted the suggested term of “lawfare” to describe this kind of warfare by executive order.
Realistically, how many conservatives would actually be upset if, say, Bush were to keep power and go around arresting liberals…
I have closely observed the goings on of my government (as best as I can seeing how secretive they want to be) these past five years, ever since Bush decided to go to war with Iraq back in the summer of 2002. (Read Bill Schneider’s “Marketing Iraq: Why Now?” where you can read Andrew Card’s comment: “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” They decided over the summer to attack Iraq. The rest was all a matter of marketing, selling it to the American public). They got the war rammed down Americans’ throats, with an extremely complicit media rooting the Administration on, damned be anyone that stood in their way.
The corrupting influence of raw power began immediately after 9/11. I’m sure in the very first seconds of realizing the potential power the Executive could yield, the Administration probably had good intents, but those were just a few seconds. They realized just how much power they really had: raw power. And they realized they must keep it a secret, for if it really got out, they would be forced to follow the rule of law, and not the rule of raw power. They took advantage of all the support (90% approval ratings and support from many nations around the world) and ran with it as far as they thought they could go. Karl Rove told Republicans in January of 2002 to run with the war in the November elections and they would win seats. They did and they won seats. They got the war they wanted, on the cheap, small force, shock and awe military might that defeated a ragtag worn down Iraqi military in three weeks. No surprise there. No wonder so many neo-conservatives and their allies chortled after the war, and drank in their wine of success.
Reports and studies, however, were there from the beginning that all was not well, and that continuing down this path would lead to serious problems for America. The most serious is the raw power employed by the Bush administration. Unchecked, the Bush administration began, right from the start, right from 2001 and early 2002, to employ power beyond what is written in the Constitution. Why? Because they saw what raw power there was in the Executive Branch and they took it. Even so, they knew they were doing wrong, or they wouldn’t be so secretive about it. Only those with something to hide, hide something. So right from the start, the United States of America began torturing people, employing techniques learned from the Soviets and the Nazis. They kept this as much of a secret as they could. For they knew if this were to get out, they would be in trouble. The American public still had more raw power over the administration, at least until after the 2004 presidential election. Once that election passed and Bush won, their raw power achieved the ultimate. For the next four years, no one could stop them. So some of their secrets could get out. In fact, by slowly getting out, the secrets became acceptable. Like any watcher of pornography, you can justify the soft porn at first, but you cannot justify the hardcore. Once you get enough of the soft porn, the hardcore becomes acceptable and even desirable. It soon becomes a part of who you are.
In 2006 something wonderful happened. America broke out of the spell of this administration and its evils. A lot of Democrats and liberals (and many independents) were hopeful to see a change.
Unfortunately that is not going to happen. You see, the Bush administration has tasted of raw power and they will not let go. In fact, even if the Democrats get a veto proof majority in these next 18 months, there is nothing to hold back the Bush administration from simply defying the veto overrides of Congress. Note with what impunity the administration is telling private citizens not to show up for Congressional subpoenas! They even claim executive privilege over documents related to Pat Tillman’s debacle. Why? Because they can. There is no raw power above them, so why should they listen to anyone or do anything for anyone? They answer to none but themselves.
We must realize that there is only one thing that can actually end this raw power by this administration over these next 18 months and that is a full on revolution where the American people rise up and kicks this administration out of power. Congress has no raw power to impeach this president. He will simply defy their will. Why should he bother with Congress? He has no incentive. He has nothing to lose.
America has not been in as dangerous and precarious position as it is today. We must go back to the rule of law. For the rule of law to have any real effect, those who broke the rule of law must be punished and held accountable. Otherwise, what is the purpose of law? Without any punishment, there is no law. Unfortunately this will not happen, and we will have to deal with the administration as currently constituted for the next 18 months. We will have to deal with a possible military strike on Iran. We will have to deal with attempts by this administration to fix the next election so that they ensure a Republican president and a security and secrecy over what they have done these past six years. What Republican candidate today is going to actually hold anyone in the Bush administration accountable for their crimes? What Republican candidate today will punish anyone in this administration?
For that matter, what Democrat will truly do what needs to be done? I bet that even they will come up with some rationale about healing the wounds of Bush’s divisiveness and let them get away with it. Again, if there is no punishment, can there really be a law? If there is no law, what do we have?
Jack Balkin writes about why this is so important:
At this point in Bush’s Presidency three things matter above all others. They motivate this final round of constitutional hardball: The first is keeping secret what the President and his advisers have done. The second is running out the clock to prevent any significant dismantling of his policies until his term ends. The third is doing whatever he can proactively to ensure that later governments do not hold him or his associates accountable for any acts of constitutional hardball or other illegalities practiced during his term in office.
If the NSA program and the Torture Memos were examples of the second round of constitutional hardball, the Libby commutation and Harriet Meiers’ refusal to testify before Congress are examples of the third round. Although his Presidency now seems to be a failure, Bush’s third round of constitutional hardball may be every bit as important as the first two. That is because if Bush is never held accountable for what he did in office, future presidents will be greatly tempted to adopt features of his practices. If they temper his innovations and his excesses only slightly, they will still seem quite admirable and restrained in comparison to Bush. As a result, if Congress and the public do not decisively reject Bush’s policies and practices, some particularly unsavory features of his Presidency will survive in future Administrations. If that happens, Bush’s previous acts of constitutional hardball will have paid off after all. He may not have created a new and lasting constitutional regime, but he will have introduced long-lasting weaknesses and elements of decay into our constitutional system.
This administration is by far the worst that America has ever seen. But it is far more dangerous than that. Their policies and their use of raw power has done serious and potentially permanent damage and harm to the rule of law and the Constitution. Note for example the audacity of Sara Taylor claiming her oath to the president rather than to the Constitution. When corrected, now how smugly she replied:
Leahy: And then you said, I took an oath to the President, and I take that oath very seriously. Did you mean, perhaps, you took an oath to the Constitution?
Taylor: Uh, I, uh, yes, you’re correct, I took an oath to the Constitution. Uh, but, what–
Leahy: Did you take a second oath to the President?
Taylor: I did not. I–
Leahy: So the answer was incorrect.
Taylor: The answer was incorrect. What I should have said is that, I took an oath, I took that oath seriously. And I believe that taking that oath means that I need to respect, and do respect, my service to the President.
Leahy: No, the oath says that you take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. That is your paramount duty. I know that the President refers to the government being his government — it’s not. It’s the government of the people of America. Your oath is not to uphold the President, nor is mine to uphold the Senate. My oath, like your oath, is to uphold the Constitution.
This was an unscripted moment showing the reality of the raw power employed by the Bush administration. Loyalty is NOT to the Constitution, but to the president. Because the real raw power is not in the Constitution, but in Bush and Cheney. Note also Cheney’s ludicrous claim that is was not part of the executive branch, and thus cannot be held in check by any rules or regulations. These are but a few examples of the raw power employed by the Bush administration. (Heck, let’s not even bring up Scooter Libby!).
What can be done? At this point we must continue to reveal the secrets, show Americans just how much the Bush administration is not for the Constitution they took an oath to uphold. Continue forcing them to explain themselves. History will be the judge. If the administration attempts to start a fight with Iran, we must take to the streets and say NO! It won’t do much to actually stop them, but that’s all we can do, unless we’re riping for a real revolution.
The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic–they “don’t want to do what’s right for America.” His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, “We’re gonna tell the bigots to shut up.” On Fox last weekend he vowed to “push back.” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want “mass deportation.” Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are “anti-immigrant” and suggested they suffer from “rage” and “national chauvinism.”
Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens?
Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speech writer, and until recently Bush pom pom cheerleader, as quoted at Firedoglake.
I’ve said before, Republicans don’t like a taste of their own medicine. It’s truly enlightening to see how they react when their Dear Leader attacks them, even though they are, as she claims “concerned citizens.” Indeed, as she says, “why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens?”
Should we even attempt to highlight the thousands upon thousands of times that the White House and indeed even Ms. Noonan spoke insultingly and with hostility towards concerned citizens who happened to oppose the President’s plans? Note for example Ms. Noonan’s crowing over Bush’s 2004 re-election win. Savor, indeed, Ms. Noonan.
The Huffington Post has on its front page today the following picture:
Is anyone surprised that the Republican field has ten white middle-aged men as their candidates for president?
Look at the Democratic field: a woman, a black man, a hispanic, and four white men.
What do you all think about this difference?
( Updated )
Many things in the news today that are noteworthy. The first is the foolish childish John McCain joking about bombing Iran. Continue Reading What Would the Founding Fathers Do? and Other Matters…
Take a look at the numbers. Look where most Fortune 500 companies reside. Here are the numbers, and see for yourself. Most Fortune 500 companies are in liberal states. The only conservative state to really break the trend is Texas, but that’s mostly thanks to energy. Otherwise it is all New York and California. Seems liberal philosophy ain’t so bad to business as many conservatives like to falsely portray. 😉
One year ago, I wrote my first post on my blog. Back then it was called RHMD’s Thoughts on Politics. This was my first post: Continue Reading Celebrating One Year of Political Blogging…
who are the safest drivers in America? Why liberals, of course! 😉
Quick. Where are the safest drivers in the country?
A new magazine ranking says Des Moines, Iowa.
But the cities that follow on the list from Men’s Health Magazine may be somewhat puzzling. After Des Moines are Jersey City, New Jersey; New York City; Yonkers, New York, and San Francisco.
And who are the worst drivers in the country? Why, conservatives of course!
And where are the worst drivers?
Columbia, South Carolina,leads the list, followed by St. Louis; Greensboro, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The survey used data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Allstate Insurance and the Governors Highway Safety Association to rank 100 cities.
So there, liberals are better. 😉
Joe Klein writes in Time Magazine the following when describing the Republican candidates for the 2008 election:
Then again, the Republicans are fielding a motley crew right now: if you count Newt Gingrich, who’ll probably join the fray in the fall, the four leading candidates have had nine marriages among them: Giuliani three, Gingrich three, McCain two and Romney one. The Republican faithful are left with a devil of a choice: moderate candidates who live like liberals, or religious conservatives who talk like liberals.
Now, as a liberal who is in a loving marriage, I find that somewhat offensive. Is Joe Klein saying because I’m liberal I will have a higher risk of divorce? Well, let’s compare these candidates to the Democratic field. Greg Seargant of Horse’s Mouth has done just that. What do we find?
How many divorces have their been among the men — and women — in the Democratic field? Let’s run through them real quick, just for the fun of it. None of the following liberal Dem candidates has gotten divorced:
(1) Hillary: You know the story. No need to repeat it
(2) Obama: Married to Michelle, whom he met when she was just out of law school, for 15 years.
(3) Edwards: Married to Elizabeth since 1977; they’ve had four children, one of whom was killed in a car crash. As Andrew Sullivan recently observed: “Most couples never survive the death of a child. The Edwards family did — and went on to have two more.”
(4) Richardson: Married to his high-school sweetheart for 33 years.
(5) Biden: First wife killed in car accident in 1972; married to his current wife for almost 30 years.
Yeah, you have to really scrape your way to the bottom of the Democratic field to find divorces. The only Dem Presidential candidate with any kind of credible shot who has gotten divorced is…Chris Dodd, who divorced in 1982.
In fact, if you think about it, the entire field of Dems deemed credible boasts fewer divorces than Rudy Giuliani alone!
Huh, how about that. So just what point is Mr. Klein making? It seems that liberals are faring better in family values than their conservative counterparts. I’ve argued this point before, especially when you compare liberal states with conservative states, say Texas and Massachusetts. Texas has a greater proportion of divorces than Massachusetts, while Massachusetts also has a larger percentage of well educated people. Better education, stabler families, seems liberal values are quite strongly pro-family. So why the smear, Mr. Klein?
BECK: You know Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has confessed to 9-11 and trying to kill President Carter. Why would you try to kill President Carter? He’s on your side, for the love of Pete.
Those are Glenn Beck’s thoughts about KSM and his boast that he was going too assassinate Carter. You can just smell the disappointment in Beck’s words that KSM didn’t manage to go through this plot. When this bit of news came out, conservative bloggers were also disappointed that KSM didn’t go through with this plot.
Instead of realizing that these terrorists don’t really care which Americans they kill, and as such, are not aligned with any Americans, especially not a former president, people like Glenn Beck continue pressing the vitriolic and of course incorrect point that terrorists and liberals are fighting on the same side. How childish. As Glenn Greenwald states:
Revelations that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned assassination plots against former Presidents Carter and Clinton — especially Carter — are causing great confusion among right-wing Civilization Warriors. After all, as John Hinderaker previously pointed out: “Jimmy Carter isn’t just misguided or ill-informed. He’s on the other side.”
Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air expressed this confusion: “[Mohammed] confessed to 29 plots in all, including the Richard Reid shoebomb plot and planned assassinations of the pope and . . . Jimmy Carter?” These extremists come to believe their twisted rhetoric that Democrats are on the side of Al Qaeda and so they literally can’t understand why Mohammed would want to assassinate his own allies like President Carter.
I know I’m taking a “break” (though I’ve never been good at them), I had to share this…too apt. So maybe not a break, but certainly a slow-down…..er….uh….
That’s because 53% of Americans back the Democratic plan to withdraw troops from Iraq. Yeah, this is your “radical left.”