Democrats & Liberals Archives

Liberty And Responsibility

When Patrick Henry exclaimed, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” he wasn’t just smokin’ crack. That phrase summed up the spirit of America and for more than two hundred years we’ve faithfully kept our freedom from tyranny and unbestowed authority. Then came 9/11.

In an effort to protect Americans from "shadowy terrorist networks", President Bush is systematically circumventing the liberties men like Patrick Henry gained for this country. Bush is fighting hard for the authoritarian power to secretly detain American citizens, to torture people to death on the merest suspicions of terrorist connections, and now to secretly and illegally spy on American citizens.

I can understand President Bush's desire to protect Americans by stripping us of some of our civil liberties -- many Americans argue that they don't mind because they're not breaking the law, and so have nothing to fear. That's fine, but it assumes the people in the Whitehouse are -- and forevermore will be -- wise and benign stewards of our liberties.

Pardon my cynicism, but I'd rather let terrorists run rampant than trust in the good hearts of men with that much power.

Freedom isn't free. Again, that's not just some trite phrase you trot out at cocktail parties to impress the ladies. Freedom comes with duties and responsibilities for all of us -- military AND civilian. If some American's are not interested in living up to those responsibilities, perhaps they're better off under the (cross your fingers) benign authoritarianism of an executive branch with permanent war-time powers. But as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.

The Supreme Court slapped down President Bush's attempts to secretly detain American citizens (though he's still doing a bunch of legal wrangling to reverse the decision), and Senator John McCain forced President Bush to sign a law explicitly banning torture (though he's working every loophole he can find to circumvent it).

My great hope is that enough Americans treasure their liberty more than they fear a bunch of rag-headed terrorist thugs, so that President Bush's unlawful spying will also be curbed and appropriate checks and balances will be amended to the Patriot Act when it's renewed.

You can't blame President Bush too much for seeking dictatorial powers to expediently protect Americans. The responsibility to keep that power in check is ours, and for now that means Americans must speak out for the restoration of checks and balances, and stop electing rubber-stamp Republicans.

Posted by American Pundit at January 5, 2006 11:13 AM
Comments
Comment #110377

(DISCLAIMER: This response is a little off topic, but seen it brings together two different threads on here, I had it here…)

I find this topic/article juxtaposed with the one right before it (on how we must allow the government to control our healthcare through a single-payer system) to perfectly exemplify the irony of politics. I fully agree with the criticism of Bush’s actions toward civil liberties, but I cannot fathom why you all cannot understand that the same pro-liberty principles should apply to the market.

The parallels for a consistent defender of liberty are very simple. Bush says he needs to take my liberty to “keep me safe”, the left says they need to take my liberty to “protect against the cruelties of the free market.” The threat to liberty by appeals to “need” are the same.

As a result, AP- if you really believe in liberty ect. as this post says- come join me in the third party column as a libertarian. Until then, both the hard right and the hard left are all the same to me- wanting to take my liberty for their pet cause (“security” or “economic egalitarianism”)

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at January 5, 2006 11:44 AM
Comment #110382

Thanks for the invite, Misha. But no. Libertarianism is too cut-throat for me. :)

And the liberty I’m referring to in this post is the liberty from tyranny, which is different from the liberty of anarchy.

President Bush is acting outside the authority Americans granted the executive branch through their elected representatives. That’s bad.

BTW, on the subject of healthcare, I rebutted Paul’s article. The Democratic Party does not want a government-controlled healthcare scheme.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #110383

AP,

I agree that the blame is on US, but I am concerned that you are attempting to suggest that liberty has been solid and sturdy in the US until 9/11. For decades the notion of liberty in the US has been erroded to be meaningless as we, the people, have given up right after right to the government. Much of the rights given up to the Patriot Act were just extensions of rights already given to the government for fighting the War on Drugs, mobsters and child molesters with the RICO statues that were so broadly written that nearly anything could be done under those power to US citizens.

I share your great hope that enough Americans treasure their liberty, but I am afraid that history tells us that we are going to be disappointed again and again.

There are, btw, people of a like mind who are trying to consolidate together and create a bastion of freedom from tyranny. You and anyone else interested can check out the The Free State Project if you believe that by joining together we can fight back the tyranny that has become commonplace in the US.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #110385

AP, The Libertarian Party is not out for anarchy, that’s a misnomer that opponents like to throw around, much like calling democrats ‘communists/socialists’ and republicans ‘racists/fascists’. While there are some in the party that do want that end, the focus of the Libertarian Party is to see the government restored to its constitutional bounderies. If the country wishes to see some aspect of the constitution changed to give more rights to the government, they must go through the constitutional process providing for that change, not just bypass it, which is what has gotten us into this trouble in the first place.

I would have thought that one who dislikes being labelled by the ‘fringe’ if their party would avoid doing that to others.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #110386

Rhinehold, I’m not against things like seatbelt laws or restricting the sale of military-grade explosives to civilians. I’m against the President usurping powers that are not granted to him by the people through their representatives.

I’m interested in that Free State idea, though. I wouldn’t want to live there — my fast-draw isn’t as fast as it used to be — but keep us posted on how that’s coming along. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #110388
I would have thought that one who dislikes being labelled by the ‘fringe’ if their party would avoid doing that to others.

Sorry, Rhinehold. You’re right. That’s what the little smiley face was for.

If the country wishes to see some aspect of the constitution changed to give more rights to the government, they must go through the constitutional process providing for that change,

Isn’t that how we got where we are? Other than the obvious illegal spying going on right now, aren’t all the government’s powers given to it by the people through their elected representatives?

not just bypass it.

Maybe you can elaborate.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 12:12 PM
Comment #110394

AP,

I am shocked to actually echo the sentiments of Rhinehold. To add to the litany of freedoms to which we have only been paying lip service for decades: the 4th Amendment has been largely gutted by conservative justices in ways that most people don’t realize.

As a criminal defense attorney, this is particularly relevant to me. I think most people would be shocked at the things that police can do to you on the flimsiest showing of cause, and frequently upon no showing of cause at all. Thing is, it just doesn’t come up for most folks as it does for the poorest among us.

I don’t, however, echo Misha’s concerns. I would argue that economic freedom shouldn’t be for economic interests to do what they please, but for people to have freedom from the deplorable inequities that the market invariably produces.

It is also my view, and I think you were starting to say something akin to this in your response, AP, that the marketplace and politics are incomparable in certain respects.

Posted by: Yossarian at January 5, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #110398

Yossarian, I’m not sure what you mean about the marketplace and politics being incomparable.

I’m signing off, it’s way past my beddy-bye time (I’m GMT+8). Feel free to talk about the erosion of our Constitutional rights, but remember: The article deals only with the President usurping rights that were not given to him by the people so he can fight those “shadowy” terrorists.

Oh, and it would be interesting to know if any of you would back Bush’s torture, detainments, and domestic spying if you weren’t deathly afraid of terrorists.

Manana.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #110400

Why is tyranny, big brother and big government only considered a “bad thing” when its your party that is not in power?

Posted by: kctim at January 5, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #110412

Geech! Yaall Democrat Liberials have been tring to wipeout our rights and freedom for at least the last 50 years. Along comes a Liberial wearing the Republican label tying to do the same thing, and all of a sudden this aint good.
Give me a break.
Yaall afraid that the Republicans are going to beat you to it?

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 5, 2006 1:31 PM
Comment #110420
Geech! Yaall Democrat Liberials have been tring to wipeout our rights and freedom for at least the last 50 years. Along comes a Liberial wearing the Republican label tying to do the same thing, and all of a sudden this aint good. Give me a break. Yaall afraid that the Republicans are going to beat you to it?

Care to provide examples?

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #110422

Well, I can offer one myself.

Smoking ordinance laws related to bars and restaurants seem to be a liberal passion, and I definitely do not agree with them.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #110423

What a NON-ISSUE this is.

All that’s being discussed here is some “lofty” ideal…that in theory might or might not have some consequence 20 or 30 or 100 years from now in some abstract way on a theoretical populace.

The question before us right now is:

Do we mind the government listening in on our phone calls?

If yes, then answer question #2.

Question #2:

Do you mind being blown straight to hell by a terrorist bomb?

In both cases, your “civil liberties” have been abrogated.

And so, the final question is:

Would you rather find out your “civil liberties” have been encroached upon and be pissed off…or would you rather your “civil liberties” be scraped off the sidewalk?

Me? I don’t care if the government listens to me talk dirty on a 1-900 line. I simply don’t care. Let them get their ears full.

I DO care if some fundamentalist jerk with a death wish wants to blow himself and me to pieces outside the Wal-Mart.

Society wide, spying on its citizenry is an extra-ordinary measure in an extra-ordinary war. A war where the front line is as much Boston as it is Baghdad.

Personally…I’m willing to give up some of my freedoms so that people shopping at the local Kroger DON’T have to look at my guts splattered all over the walls.


Posted by: Jim T at January 5, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #110424

Jim,

You deserve neither.

Personally, I would rather be dead than to have to worry about living in tyranny.

All that’s being discussed here is some “lofty” ideal…that in theory might or might not have some consequence 20 or 30 or 100 years from now in some abstract way on a theoretical populace.

no, it’s something that is happening to us now (and for the past several decades).

Prohibition, Seatbelt laws, warrantless searches, the use of emminent domain for private purposes, limits on gun ownership, limits on our right to assemble freely, the ignoring of the 10th amendment, taxation without representation, etc.

I could go on and on…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 2:17 PM
Comment #110425

Oh, and Jim, one perfect example that you can understand.

SEVERAL times more people have died from the use of handguns in the US than from terrorism. In order to ensure YOUR safety, should we outlaw the ownership of handguns? I mean, you’d be safer…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #110426

Jim-

All that’s being discussed here is some “lofty” ideal…that in theory might or might not have some consequence 20 or 30 or 100 years from now in some abstract way on a theoretical populace.

Your post was colorful, but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

We’re talking about prohibitions on government action, demanded by our Constitution. You’re basically removing any meaning from the term “civil liberties,” allowing it to mean anything and everything.

You also seem to be assuming that the government will obviously only “abrogate” the “civil liberties” of the public in order to catch the ‘bad guys,’ an apparently easily-definable group of people that never changes and that everyone can agree upon.

This will NEVER be reality. Congress specifically required that the executive go through the FISA court in order to obtain wiretaps on U.S. citizens. The wiretapping of U.S. citizens without a warrant is unconstitutional under the 4th amendment.

Wiretaps could be put in place on an emergency basis, and the FISA court rarely ever denied a warrant request.

Monitoring thousands of calls, without warrants and involving U.S. citizens who may been only tangentially connected to an alleged “terrorist,” if at all?

I absolutely have a problem with that.


Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #110427

Care to provide examples?

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 02:01 PM

Freedom of religion
Freedom of speech (political correctness)
Right to keep and bare arms (so called gun control)
Choise of Doctors (national health care)
Smoking bans
Seat belt laws
Private property (misuse of emminent domain)
Life (abortion, euthanasa)
Crime victums

These work for you?
All these freedoms Liberials are guilty of trying to eliminate.


Posted by: Ron Brown at January 5, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #110428
Freedom of religion

Got any specific examples?

Freedom of speech (political correctness)

Examples? I’m not convinced that you understand what ‘freedom of speech’ refers to, if you believe ‘political correctness’ plays a hand at destroying it.

Right to keep and bare arms (so called gun control)

That could make sense, depending on one’s definition of the 2nd amendment.

Choise of Doctors (national health care) Smoking bans Seat belt laws

I’m not convinced that those are constitutional issues. Does the constitution state that you have the ‘right’ to operate a vehicle on a public road without wearing a seatbelt?

Private property (misuse of emminent domain)

I actually know many liberals who are opposed to misuse of eminent domain, and the recent Court decision regarding you. Look at the history of the practice, and those who have benefited. This is not a ‘liberal’ cause.

Life (abortion, euthanasa)

Abortion has been determined to be a constitutional right. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but current constitutional jurisprudence isn’t on your side, there. And euthanasia? C’mon, that involves one making their OWN decisions regarding their healthcare in terminal situations! You’d like the government to restrict this?

Crime victums

I have no idea what you mean here, but it probably involves the defense of the rights of the accused … all clearly laid out in that Constitution.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #110431

Seat belt laws
I’m not convinced that those are constitutional issues. Does the constitution state that you have the ‘right’ to operate a vehicle on a public road without wearing a seatbelt?

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 02:45 PM
===============================================
Since when are the rights not listed in the constitution precluded?
(BTW: I think Seat Belt laws are for the “common good”; even though they’ve been pushed by the insurance companies because you’re more likely to die in a car crash without them and they can’t avoid payment if you’re killed while not wearing one.)

Posted by: Dave at January 5, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #110436

Pardon my cynicism, but I’d rather let terrorists run rampant than trust in the good hearts of men with that much power.

What a load of self-rightious rubbish.

The first time a rabid Islamist walks into a crowded mall strapped with explosives you, along with all of your ilk, will be demanding the head of the man in charge.

You will be whining about his lack of protection and wondering how it could happen, never thinking that you yourself were part of the problem.

That’s the problem with myopia, never being able to see the whole picture.

Posted by: Ynot at January 5, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #110439

AP:

I have a compliment and a complaint. My compliment is that your article is outstanding and is just what we need to hear today.

My complaint is this:

“BTW, on the subject of healthcare, I rebutted Paul’s article. The Democratic Party does not want a government-controlled healthcare scheme.”

First of all, I was not speaking for the Democratic Pary. Secondly, who made you spokesman for the Democratic Party? Speak for yourself.


As for all those who talk about economic freedom, what they mean is that everybody, both millionaire and pauper, is on a level playing field. Nonsense!

Posted by: Paul Siegel at January 5, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #110440

Rhinehold,

You deserve neither.

Personally, I would rather be dead than to have to worry about living in tyranny.

Excuse me…but I deserve whatever I ask for, thank you very much.

And I would much rather be breathing and give up a measure of my “so-called” freedoms than to have another 9/11.

mattLaw,

Your post was colorful, but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

We’re talking about prohibitions on government action, demanded by our Constitution.

Colorful…and somehow everyone missed the point.

The point is that “government” is an abstract term. A term used when saying, “Government needs to do THIS…” or, “Government ought not to do THAT…”.

Government. Something that’s supposed to be a body of law and morals…but, in actuality, stands for neither…and never has.

Now, I have to ask…”How does this phone tapping effect my daily life?”

Bottom line:

It doesn’t.

So do I…personally…care if the government taps the phone lines of suspected terrorists?

Take a wild guess.


Posted by: Jim T at January 5, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #110441

Pardon my cynicism, but I’d rather let terrorists run rampant than trust in the good hearts of men with that much power.

“shadowy terrorist networks”

so he can fight those “shadowy” terrorists.

Oh, and it would be interesting to know if any of you would back Bush’s torture, detainments, and domestic spying if you weren’t deathly afraid of terrorists.

——-

And Dems wonder why the nation doesn’t trust them on national security. How could you when they don’t even recognize our enemy or that we are at war. You are acting as though terrorists are some kind of phantom fear that isn’t real. (Anyone who believes in terrorists must be a fool, right) Get your heads out of the sand.

Ynot - you hit it right on the head.

Posted by: THC at January 5, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #110443

Ynot,

Exactly.

Where will all that self-rightious B.S. be when we stop tapping phones and some idiot crashes a 747 into a nuclear power plant?

Will they THEN say, “Gee, I guess that tapping was OK after all”?

No chance.

We’ll just get more “chin music” and will then be expected to live in fairytale land and believe it.

Remember…it’s better to blow up and poison half of the country than to do something that might offend their sensibility.

Posted by: Jim T at January 5, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #110446

…and yet still some of you are acting as if freedoms will only be abrogated in a fight against a common “enemy” that everyone can agree upon … or that such practices will only ever be used against those easily identifiable “bad people.”

Power corrupts. Checks on such power are necessary. I really don’t see how anyone can defend this Administration (and the NSA’s) circumvention of FISA, when it requires only the smallest bit of evidence to obtain a warrant!

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 3:45 PM
Comment #110447
Since when are the rights not listed in the constitution precluded? (BTW: I think Seat Belt laws are for the “common good”; even though they’ve been pushed by the insurance companies because you’re more likely to die in a car crash without them and they can’t avoid payment if you’re killed while not wearing one.)

The People certainly do retain rights not listed in the Constitution, and they are quite capable of enumerating such rights in their own state constitutions.

My point is that I don’t see anything that precludes elected government entities from requiring the use of a seat belt. There are certainly remedies available to adjust such laws.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #110454
Remember…it’s better to blow up and poison half of the country than to do something that might offend their sensibility.

“Offend their sensibility?” What are you talking about?

This issue involves the warrantless monitoring of American citizens, it involves the Executive bypassing laws laid down by Congress, and it involves possible violations of our Constitution.

I have NEVER witnessed anyone argue that we should be concerned about the “sensibilities” of terrorists!

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #110457

I am not concerned that the government is attempting to monitor the communication of those who have contact with terrorist groups or their representatives. I do not want the governments efforts and tactics to foil terrorist plots to be reported on the front page of the newspaper. This is counterproductive and aids those persons who unreasonably want to blow up people trying to harmlessly hang out at coffee shops, malls, and bars. Other people’s rights stop when they want to blow me up. Other people’s rights should be severely curtailed when they are trying to encourage someone else to blow me up. Calls to violence demand government intervention.

Posted by: good king ned at January 5, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #110461
I am not concerned that the government is attempting to monitor the communication of those who have contact with terrorist groups or their representatives.

No one is suggesting that this is inappropriate.

What many find inappropriate is the warrantless monitoring of American persons, without judicial oversight and in circumvention of standing federal law.

It has been suggested that thousands and thousands of calls were monitored in this way, involving Americans and involving those only tangentially connected to suspected terrorist persons (someone talks to a suspect … then that persons calls are monitored, along with those of anyone they talk to, along with those of anyone THAT person talks to, etc.)

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 4:42 PM
Comment #110463

I have a reasonable idea for everyone who is happy to trade a little liberty for security - let’s just stop calling our country the USA.

Lets go with Federal Union of America, American Republic, Imperial State of America, [please add your own]. But let’s stop using the USA, because that’s not we will be.

[climbing on soapbox] The USA is an idea, not a place. When you abandon the idea (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness) or start trading one for another, the dream is over.

The founders feared a strong executive having escaped a benevolent one that stopped being benevolent. Should we fear benevolent despots? Of course we should. As an American, I don’t know any other way.

Power corrupts. You don’t believe me? Ask Clinton (sorry Bill), DeLay, Ashcroft, Oliver North, LBJ, Nixon, Harding, US Grant, Ken Lay, Koslowski, and more names that I can mention.

God help us if the President is above the law.

A question for all supporters out there - what if you were mistaken for an enemy combatant and were locked up in Gitmo by mistake? Do you still support the unlimited power?

Here’s a reasonable scenario. What if software associates everyone posting on this website as an anti-government group and the government hunts us all down? They’ll torture us and some will confess to anything to stop the pain. But we have no rights and people may not even know where we are.

Who supports that kind of power?

Posted by: CPAdams at January 5, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #110464

mattLaw, it’s worse than that. The followup NYT story indicated that switches were being monitored for any suspicious traffic, regardless of source or destination.

Posted by: CPAdams at January 5, 2006 4:50 PM
Comment #110465

It has been suggested that americans would not be able to use the library without government surveillance of their selection of light fiction or gardening books. This has not happened. The accounts that I have seen have indicated that active surveillance was used on a very limited basis. I suspect that, if due to nothing else but the logistical limitations, widescale monitoring as you describe would have to be limited to a computer program searching for selected words (ie bomb, explode etc.). This type of surveillance has been used by many communication venues for a long time and doesn’t seem to have resulted in widescale loss of civil liberties.

Posted by: good king ned at January 5, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #110466
mattLaw, it’s worse than that. The followup NYT story indicated that switches were being monitored for any suspicious traffic, regardless of source or destination.

That only makes sense … as searches based on any evidence at all would have been allowable under FISA.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 4:56 PM
Comment #110467

Good King–

It was my understanding that the NSA was tapping into entire banks of international calls. That, to my knowledge, is not business as usual (and it’s unconstitutional, AFAIK).

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #110472

—-
What is this, the troll thread? This is watchblog.com/democrats. I don’t come here to read the kind of propaganda that’s being posted here. 9/11 was the result of CIA involvement in Afghanistan, the major source of opium on earth. The Russians were trying to eliminate all opium production. The people that we supported in our Cold War efforts turned around and bit us on the ass, when the Saudis wouldn’t rely on them for defense against Iraq in the first Gulf War.

President William Jefferson Clinton was wary of collateral damage in his attempts to eliminate terrorists, and Bush continued exactly the same policy. After decades of airplane hijackings, almost nothing had been done about airline security. Then, when 9/11 occurred, Cheney, Rummy, and Wolfy brought out their agenda, and that’s what we’re stuck with. The Patriot Act and Bush’s other efforts to curtail civil liberties would have done nothing to prevent 9/11. The government’s only concern with the individuals who perpetrated 9/11 was whether or not they were prosperous, or would be possible immigrants.
—-

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #110477

Here’s what happened to James Moore, author of Bush’s Brain, when he tried to board a plane, from:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
“I’m sorry, sir,” she said. “There seems to be a problem. You’ve been placed on the No Fly Watch List.”
“Excuse me?”
“I’m afraid there isn’t much more that I can tell you,” she explained. “It’s just the list that’s maintained by TSA to check for people who might have terrorist connections.”
“You’re serious?”
“I’m afraid so, sir. Here’s an 800 number in Washington. You need to call them before I can clear you for the flight.”
Exasperated, I dialed the number from my cell, determined to clear up what I was sure was a clerical error. The woman who answered offered me no more information than the ticket agent.
“Mam, I’d like to know how I got on the No Fly Watch List.”
“I’m not really authorized to tell you that, sir,” she explained after taking down my social security and Texas driver’s license numbers.
“What can you tell me?”
“All I can tell you is that there is something in your background that in some way is similar to someone they are looking for.”
“Well, let me get this straight then,” I said. “Our government is looking for a guy who may have a mundane Anglo name, who pays tens of thousands of dollars every year in taxes, has never been arrested or even late on a credit card payment, is more uninteresting than a Tupperware party, and cries after the first two notes of the national anthem? We need to find this guy. He sounds dangerous to me.”
“I’m sorry, sir, I’ve already told you everything I can.”
“Oh, wait,” I said. “One last thing: this guy they are looking for? Did he write books critical of the Bush administration, too?”
I have been on the No Fly Watch List for a year. I will never be told the official reason. No one ever is. You cannot sue to get the information. Nothing I have done has moved me any closer to getting off the list. There were 35,000 Americans in that database last year. According to a European government that screens hundreds of thousands of American travelers every year, the list they have been given to work from has since grown to 80,000.
My friends tell me it is just more government incompetence. A tech buddy said there’s no one in government smart enough to write a search algorithm that will find actual terrorists, so they end up with authors of books criticizing the Bush White House.

Thank God, Bush is keeping us safe from terrorists like him.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #110478

The question is, will Bush be impeached when it’s shown that the government has been spying on journalists like Christiane Amanpour from CNN?

Posted by: Burt at January 5, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #110480

Bush was pretty dumb to bring in the old-timers from the Nixon administation, even though his father was one of them. Maybe they thought 9/11 reversed the criteria for impeachment, too.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 6:24 PM
Comment #110481

it sure would be nice for once if a member of this thread who butters their bread on the right side would stop insisting that any check on Exec branch power will automatically lead to a catastrophic terror attack on American soil. You guys have drunk the fear-flavored kool aid hook line and sinker. Good thing it’s Bush/Cheney instead of Stalin or Hitler - most of you would be holed up in a black site now that there has been enough time to expand the label of enemy to include those against or for this or that pet program or pork barrel bullshit. History shows us that unchecked power leads to corrupt and eventually failed governments. That what you’re after, folks? Perhaps you should study up and figure out where you stand on totalitarian regimes and how they germinate before you go harping on about your many fine pieces of flesh stuck to the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Posted by: macsonix at January 5, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #110482

Misha

Liberals have never been interested destroying Free Markets. On the contrary, they are their strongest supporters and protectors by making them fair and equal for everyone.

Regulations on the market function just like the “Checks and Balances” of the Constitutiion and for exactly the same reasons. Reasonable Regulations are necessary to keep the Market Free. Throughout the history of man, and especially since the Industrial Revolution, it has been always true that Greed will always weaken Free Markets and unless checked will always triumph over all. The SEC stooped the abuses in the market and made it equal for everyone; Deregulation caused Enron; Labor laws keep 6 yr. old childen from working; Anti-trust regulations keep businesses from becoming totalitarian tyrants{altho it can be argued that many multi national Corporations are precisely that)and copyrite regulations protect the intellectual property of entrpenures. It is a historical FACT that ideologically it has always been “Conservatism” and not “Liberalism” that has sought to destroy the Free Market and continues such to this day. Total freedom always results in anarcy, the ultimate end of unbridled conservatism, then advances to dictatorialism to create order (Fascism), which produces the desire for freedom( Populism and Liberalism).Such is the fundamental nature of humanity and will almost certainly contine for however long humanity exists.

Posted by: R in Chicago at January 5, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #110483

Misha

Liberals have never been interested in destroying Free Markets. On the contrary, they are their strongest supporters and protectors by making them fair and equal for everyone.

Regulations on the market function just like the “Checks and Balances” of the Constitutiion and for exactly the same reasons. Reasonable Regulations are necessary to keep the Market Free. Throughout the history of man, and especially since the Industrial Revolution, it has been always true that Greed will always weaken Free Markets and unless checked will always triumph over all. The SEC stooped the abuses in the market and made it equal for everyone; Deregulation caused Enron; Labor laws keep 6 yr. old childen from working; Anti-trust regulations keep businesses from becoming totalitarian tyrants{altho it can be argued that many multi national Corporations are precisely that)and copyrite regulations protect the intellectual property of entrpenures. It is a historical FACT that ideologically it has always been “Conservatism” and not “Liberalism” that has sought to destroy the Free Market and continues such to this day. Total freedom always results in anarcy, the ultimate end of unbridled conservatism, then advances to dictatorialism to create order (Fascism), which produces the desire for freedom( Populism and Liberalism).Such is the fundamental nature of humanity and will almost certainly contine for however long humanity exists.

Posted by: Richard at January 5, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #110484

I DO care if some fundamentalist jerk with a death wish wants to blow himself and me to pieces outside the Wal-Mart.

You’re more in danger of that from well-armed right wing armageddonists, than from foreign terrorists thanks to the fact that we ignore the first thirteen words of this amendment. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #110485

It’s very reassuring to me that it has been determined that all greed and evil eminates from one source. Now if we can get those internment camps up and running, the progressive forces can enter a utopia with no government waste or corruption without fear of being dissappeared to a black torture site, probably located in the basement of your neighborhood Wal-Mart.

I’m new to blogging and I assumed that diversity was allowed. I’ll leave and let you agree with each other for a while.

Posted by: good king ned at January 5, 2006 6:52 PM
Comment #110488
t’s very reassuring to me that it has been determined that all greed and evil eminates from one source. Now if we can get those internment camps up and running, the progressive forces can enter a utopia with no government waste or corruption without fear of being dissappeared to a black torture site, probably located in the basement of your neighborhood Wal-Mart.

I’m new to blogging and I assumed that diversity was allowed. I’ll leave and let you agree with each other for a while.

Well, I’m confused.

Who or what are you referring to?

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 7:00 PM
Comment #110489

Misha

Liberals have never been interested in destroying Free Markets. On the contrary, they are their strongest supporters and protectors by making them fair and equal for everyone.

Regulations on the market function just like the “Checks and Balances” of the Constitutiion and for exactly the same reasons. Reasonable Regulations are necessary to keep the Market Free. Throughout the history of man, and especially since the Industrial Revolution, it has been always true that Greed will always weaken Free Markets and unless checked will always triumph over all. The SEC stooped the abuses in the market and made it equal for everyone; Deregulation caused Enron; Labor laws keep 6 yr. old childen from working; Anti-trust regulations keep businesses from becoming totalitarian tyrants{altho it can be argued that many multi national Corporations are precisely that)and copyrite regulations protect the intellectual property of entrpenures. It is a historical FACT that ideologically it has always been “Conservatism” and not “Liberalism” that has sought to destroy the Free Market and continues such to this day. Total freedom always results in anarcy, the ultimate end of unbridled conservatism, then advances to dictatorialism to create order (Fascism), which produces the desire for freedom( Populism and Liberalism).Such is the fundamental nature of humanity and will almost certainly contine for however long humanity exists.

Posted by: Richard at January 5, 2006 7:00 PM
Comment #110492

Deregulation caused Enron, and the recent disaster in West Virginia, at a mine which was cited 273 times for safety violations in the last 2 years.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #110493

World History - as it really happened.

Humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in winter.

The 2 most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into 2 distinct subgroups: Liberals and Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That’s how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as “the Conservative movement.”

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q’s and doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as ‘girliemen.’

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy and group hugs and the concept of democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

. Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.

Another interesting revolutionary side note: most of the liberals women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn’t “fair” to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to “govern” the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than we are. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to North America. They crept in after the Wild West was tame and created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.

Here ends today’s lesson in world history:

It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other “true believers.”

While it may be true that these facts are mildly distorted, I’ll bet you ended up with a smile ~~~ I did….




Posted by: Howard at January 5, 2006 7:25 PM
Comment #110495

Sorry, that post should have been: Deregulation caused Enron, and the recent disaster in West Virginia, at a mine which was cited 273 times for safety violations in the last 2 years. We’re not protecting grownups working here, so why would anyone think that our government cares about children working in foreign countries. Long before Enron collapsed, I couldn’t believe that what they were doing was legal, or that anyone sensible would ever buy stock in an organization like that, but Bush apparently thought they were great.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #110498

I’ll bet you ended up with a smile

I ended up with a scowl. Prosperous conservatives like wine and foreign beer with lime, but I’m glad you credit liberals with creating all civilization beyond getting drunk and fat.

Tomorrow is the 12th day after Christmas, so I guess we’ll get 12 trolls trolling. There were almost that many today.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 7:38 PM
Comment #110499

This is a great discussion. One that should be taking place all over the country. My view is this: Warrantless searches and wiretaps are illegal. There is a system in place to obtain warrants on the slimmest evidence. The President doesn’t want to use them, possibly to avoid leaks. However, he took an oath,twice, that requires him to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”. He hasn’t done that to my satisfaction.

Also, can we really trust our elected officials to work in our best interest? Not when there is as much money available as there is from lobbyists to “persuade” my Congressperson to vote the way they want and not me. Having been an observer for the past 50 years, I can say that there are very few folks in Washington who will vote their conscience if enough money is involved.

Posted by: jback814 at January 5, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #110501

Richard- “liberal” and “conservative” labels are not that useful for the point you are trying to make. modern day democrats do not want to create communism, but neither does Bush want to create totalitarianism. Both are for severe limits on freedom to further other interests (security, social welfare). I see them both as equal threats to my liberty- birds of a feather.

Posted by: Misha Tseytlin at January 5, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #110504

CPAdams,

I have a reasonable idea for everyone who is happy to trade a little liberty for security - let’s just stop calling our country the USA.

Well, you’re a little late. What “liberty” does anyone have under our present form of government?

We stopped being a Republic in 1866 and with the passage of the 14th Amendment we became a Dictatorial Triumvirate with Absolute Powers.

Ray,

You’re quoting Arianna Huffington here?

That’s about like Aldous quoting Ann Coulter.

Pleeeeeeease…

Posted by: Jim T at January 5, 2006 8:05 PM
Comment #110509

What’s wrong with the 14th amendment, now?

You’re all over the place, Jim.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #110511

Howard—

While it may be true that these facts are mildly distorted, I’ll bet you ended up with a smile ~~~ I did….

You honestly found that ‘entertaining?’ It’s completely untrue, idiotic, and only “pokes fun” at one side.

Completely unnecessary in this discussion.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #110512

I quoted James Moore, not Arianna Huffington. People seem very confused about the difference between illegal searches by paranoid lunatics spying on their political enemies, and legal searches conducted by people who actually might want to do something about terrorrism other than make political hay out of it.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 9:05 PM
Comment #110516

Oh, brother.

How did I know, when I looked at Watchblog tonight, that somebody was going to accuse Bush for the deaths of miners in West Virgina?

It must be because this is the first time in history that a coal mine disaster has occured in the United States. Certainly there was never a single death in a mine or any industrial accident, for that matter, before George Bush stole two elections, first from Al Gore and then from John Kerry!

When that mine collapsed, George Bush was probably reading My Pet Goat to Ken Lay in the Lincoln Bedroom!

Before Bush came to office, coal mines were clean, healthy and safe places to work. Everybody knows this.

Also, nobody had ever died, been injured or experienced property loss as the result of a hurricane.

They loved us in Europe. They loved us in the Middle East.

Damn Bush! Damn him!!!

Before he was elected, nobody had pimples! Nobody was overweight! Everybody danced and sang all day long without a care in the world!

Posted by: sanger at January 5, 2006 9:26 PM
Comment #110518

Nobody blames Bush for the existence of coal-mining, but I’m sure that the families of those coal miners are thrilled to have Bush praying for them instead of enforcing safety regulations in the workplace.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #110517

Nobody blames Bush for the existence of coal-mining, but I’m sure that the families of those coal miners are thrilled to have Bush praying for them instead of enforcing safety regulations in the workplace.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 5, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #110519

What’s the matter, Ray? Sanger post your comment before you could get to it? I know the marching orders just came down (I have seen no less than 5 different op-ed pieces already blaming Bush for the deaths of the coal miners) but it must be dissapointing when that happens. :(

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #110520

sanger, nobody accused Bush of causing the mine collapse. But — as always — thanks for the rant. It made me chuckle. :)

Would you rather find out your “civil liberties” have been encroached upon and be pissed off…or would you rather your “civil liberties” be scraped off the sidewalk?

Well, that’s really the question isn’t it, Jim T. How bad have the “shadowy” terrorists put the skeer on ya? Enough to give up your liberty and find out one day that because some terrorist’s brother-in-law dialed your number by mistake that all of a sudden you can’t get a job or fly on a plane or re-register your SUV?

Society wide, spying on its citizenry is an extra-ordinary measure in an extra-ordinary war. A war where the front line is as much Boston as it is Baghdad.

In a war that President Bush calls “multi-generational”, at what point do these powers cease to become extraordinary and become business as usual?

Personally…I’m willing to give up some of my freedoms so that people shopping at the local Kroger DON’T have to look at my guts splattered all over the walls.

Jim T, it’s ironic that hundreds of millions of people in places like China and the Middle East are being tortured and killed by their governments because they want the freedoms you’re so willing to give up.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 9:56 PM
Comment #110523
First of all, I was not speaking for the Democratic Pary.

Sorry, Paul. When you say liberal, I just automatically think about the only significant liberal political party.

Secondly, who made you spokesman for the Democratic Party? Speak for yourself.

Paul, I don’t speak for the Democratic Party, but I do know the issues and positions taken by the Democratic leaders. I’m just passing it along.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #110525
What a load of self-rightious rubbish.

The first time a rabid Islamist walks into a crowded mall strapped with explosives you, along with all of your ilk, will be demanding the head of the man in charge.

Ynot, you can find me in Singapore among 400 million Islamists across the street from the Masjid Abdul Hamid mosque. Drop by anytime you’re up to saying that to my face.

And BTW, I’d be tackling that rabid extremist. It’s part of the responsibility that comes with liberty — something Todd Beamer and his fellow Flight 93 passengers understood well. Reflect on that for a bit.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #110526

mattLaw,

What’s wrong with the 14th amendment, now?

You’re all over the place, Jim.

I guess you’d have to read the post by CPAdams above to put my remarks into context.

What’s wrong with the 14th Amendment?

Other than refusing to allow 3 states’ legislatures to decertify their ratification of it…other than allowing 13 foreign countries to ratify it…other than it being completely contrary to the original Constitution?

Other than that…nothing.

Posted by: Jim T at January 5, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #110528

Jim T, are you just complaining about how the North had to open up a can of whup-ass on the South, or do you really have an objection to the 14th Amendment making all men equal under the law and forbidding traitors to serve in Congress? :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 10:53 PM
Comment #110530

American Pundit, VERY interesting.

By your own words, you can be found at a mosque in Singapore, and you threaten to particpate in physical mob violence along with “400 million” peace-loving Islamicists against anybody who utters a word against anyone “strapped with explosives.”

Like I said, very interesting.

Why do you call yourself “American Pundit” if this is where you reside, not even in America, and if these are your political/religious affiliatons? If you promise so flippantly to attack people who criticise suicide bombers?

I don’t want to jump to conclusions here, so don’t misunderstand me, but I hope you’ll explain.

But you HAVE just admitted to an affiliation and allegiance with “Islmacists,”—again, your own words—which is not the same thing as mainstream followers of peaceful Islam.

I’ll stop there, but I do hope you’ll explain yourself and at least back off or explain that you aren’t really threatening Islamic-motivated violence here.

Posted by: sanger at January 5, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #110533

Sanger,

American Pundit is an American Citizen who resides at the moment in Singapore. While I don’t agree with him on some issues, I have to say that your jumping to conclusions because he lives in a city with a lot of muslims and doesn’t fear them (which is a stupid position, to fear someone because of their religious beliefs alone) is way out of line IMO.

No where does he ‘threaten islamic-motivated violence’ and your xenophobic reaction is not really appropriate.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #110534

Jim T:

What’s wrong with the 14th Amendment?

Other than refusing to allow 3 states’ legislatures to decertify their ratification of it…other than allowing 13 foreign countries to ratify it…other than it being completely contrary to the original Constitution?

Other than that…nothing.

Whether the three states were allowed to decertify is irrelevant … by certification, enough other states had ratified it. Several more did so in the following years.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “allowing foreign countries” to ratify it.

Your opinion that it is contrary to “the original Constitution” is interesting, but I’m not certain why that would even matter based on the fact that it is an amendment to that Constitution.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #110535
American Pundit is an American Citizen who resides at the moment in Singapore. While I don’t agree with him on some issues, I have to say that your jumping to conclusions because he lives in a city with a lot of muslims and doesn’t fear them (which is a stupid position, to fear someone because of their religious beliefs alone) is way out of line IMO.

I agree.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #110537
We stopped being a Republic in 1866 and with the passage of the 14th Amendment we became a Dictatorial Triumvirate with Absolute Powers.

Ok, I’m with the others here, Jim.

Can you possibly explain this ‘statement’ for those of us who have spent decades fighting for the defense of the constitution, because as it is stated it makes absolutely no sense to me.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #110539
Can you possibly explain this ‘statement’ for those of us who have spent decades fighting for the defense of the constitution, because as it is stated it makes absolutely no sense to me.

I think it’s some sort of obscure argument opposing the forced reinstatement of the Union in the south…

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #110540
By your own words, you can be found at a mosque in Singapore, and you threaten to particpate in physical mob violence along with “400 million” peace-loving Islamicists against anybody who utters a word against anyone “strapped with explosives.”

LOL! sanger, do you have problems reading, or just comprehending what you read. :)

BTW, everyone should travel around outside the US. It’s amazing how quickly the xenophobia and fear dissipates. It also puts your perception of America into a broader context. Try it, it’s fun.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #110543

Jim T:

I can quote Ann Coulter. Just turn off my brain and let the hate spew…

Posted by: Aldous at January 5, 2006 11:44 PM
Comment #110547

This is the quote that caused American Pundit to issue a dare for anybody to say it to his face. He block-quoted it, not me. Scroll up and read for yourself.

The first time a rabid Islamist walks into a crowded mall strapped with explosives you, along with all of your ilk, will be demanding the head of the man in charge.

Say that to American Pundit, he says, and he will join up with Ismalicists at a mosque in Singapore and make you pay for your impudence. It’s there and black and white, folks. Don’t blame me for what somebody else has said.

It’s not about whether or not he lives abroad. I live abroad for part of the year, but I’m not telling you which mosque to visit me at and daring to beat you up there—or worse—for speaking your opinion.

There’s no other way to read this.

American Pundit is threatening violence alongside Islamicists. LOL!

Posted by: sanger at January 6, 2006 12:03 AM
Comment #110549

Rabid islamicists? Down with the 14th amendment? Where am I? How about moving the capital to Richmond and flying that flag with the stars and bars?

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 6, 2006 12:04 AM
Comment #110553
This is the quote that caused American Pundit…

No, it’s not sanger. That’s a really bad job of paraphrasing. Judging by your “LOL”, you realize that, too. Let it go…

Posted by: American Pundit at January 6, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #110554

Sanger—

Say that to American Pundit, he says, and he will join up with Ismalicists at a mosque in Singapore and make you pay for your impudence. It’s there and black and white, folks. Don’t blame me for what somebody else has said.

Now you’re just making things up, Sanger. Very intellectually dishonest.

He used the word “Islamist.” That doesn’t imply anything negative (you’re thinking of a different word that combines islamist with fascist). He said he would be “across” from the mosque, not in it … and he certainly didn’t say anything about “joining up” with anybody.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 6, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #110555

Back on the subject:

Personally, I’m willing to give up some of my freedoms so that people shopping at the local Kroger DON’T have to look at my guts splattered all over the walls.
Jim T, it’s ironic that hundreds of millions of people in places like China and the Middle East are being tortured and killed by their governments because they want the freedoms you’re so willing to give up.

Anybody want to follow up on that?

I can hear the faithful chanting their mid-day prayers. Must be time for lunch. I’ll check back later. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 6, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #110556

Well, the blockquoting definitley got out of hand there. But I won’t argue you, AP.

I’m sure we both know what the reaction would be around here if I dared anybody with an implied threat of violence to utter their political views in front of a Christian church, even if that Christian church was in America.

Double standards, I know. I’m used to it. You on the left can threaten to beat people up or worse along with your Islamicist friends from the mosque across the street in a foreign country (your words, not mine) and expect to have fellow travelers here leap to your defense and tell critics that they’re “out of line.”

I’m not complaining so much as hoping that people are observing this and can see where we’re all coming from here.

Posted by: sanger at January 6, 2006 12:27 AM
Comment #110558

Misha: With all due repect “Consevative” and “Liberal” are precisely the general definitons for the Ideologies discussed.

I don’t believe mentioned political parties at in my post as for them to be succesful they are generally cross-sectional. But in general, Democrats have always tended to be liberal, because they are fundamentally populists, and Republicans conservatve, because they are fundamentally elitists which parallel both’s fundamental ideological foundation. The problem with both have at present is they are to polarized and therefore have difficulty accomplishing anything very good and one has almost absolute power over the other.

I would certaily agree that present day Democrats do not promote Communism but I do believe that the Bush neo-cons actions indicate the creation of a quasi totalitarian structure for governance which is getting stronger and more repressive every day. It seems to me that your conception of a free society is a combination of “Social Darwinism” with “Syndico-Anarcism” which is a rather ruthless and canabalistic world I would not wish to live in and would resist strongly.

At any rate I enjoy our discusions.

Posted by: Richard at January 6, 2006 12:45 AM
Comment #110559

People are complaining because you keep misquoting him (all while misusing the phase “your terms, not mine.”)

Perhaps his comment wasn’t entirely appropriate, but look at the insult he was responding to.

Then, look what you accused him of:

But you HAVE just admitted to an affiliation and allegiance with “Islmacists,”—again, your own words—which is not the same thing as mainstream followers of peaceful Islam.

He used the word “Islamist.” It doesn’t imply what you think that it does, and he didn’t “admit to an affiliation and allegiance” to them, other than living in the vicinity of them.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 6, 2006 12:47 AM
Comment #110560

Sanger…

You really need a lesson in readon comprehension. Let’s see if I can help.

Here is what AP said:

Ynot, you can find me in Singapore among 400 million Islamists across the street from the Masjid Abdul Hamid mosque. Drop by anytime you’re up to saying that to my face.

And BTW, I’d be tackling that rabid extremist. It’s part of the responsibility that comes with liberty — something Todd Beamer and his fellow Flight 93 passengers understood well. Reflect on that for a bit.

Here’s what *I* got out of it.

Hi, I live in Singapore and my residence is across from a mosque with people who live there who I find quite peace-loving. I have no trouble living among them even though I am not Muslim and I am an American. Doing so has shown me that most Muslims are not the ‘terrorist’ type, just like most Christians are not the ‘blow up abortion clinics’ type. However, now that I have given you directions to where I live, you are more than welcome to look me up and say what you just said to my face instead of cowardly posting it on a Blog thousands of miles away.

Oh, and in regards to your original question about what I would do if an islamic terrorist attempted to blow himself and everyone around me in a K-Mart, I would risk my own life and tackle the would be terrorist myself.

Well, that’s how I read it. I’m still curious what was going through your mind when you read that to read that he was threating ‘islamic violence’ against you with his fellow muslims! (I’m pretty sure that AP isn’t Muslim).

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 12:53 AM
Comment #110562

observing this and can see where we’re all coming from here

Yeah I can see it clearly. I’ve been looking up definitions of trolls and trolling. Some people are posting here for the purpose of making others lose interest in the discussions in the forum through the posting of inflammatory and nonsensical messages.

Posted by: ray orealy at January 6, 2006 12:59 AM
Comment #110565

Rhinehold,

“I’m still curious what was going through your mind when you read that to read that he was threating ‘islamic violence’ against you with his fellow muslims! (I’m pretty sure that AP isn’t Muslim).”

Last picture I saw of him, he appeared to be a big white guy from San Diego.
I have traveled to Indonesia, and while Jakarta isn’t Singapore by any means, the folks were friendly, if poor, and devout in their beliefs.
Kinda like Appalachia in the tropics.

Oh, and Sanger, you don’t have to be a Christian to be a devout friendly person.

Posted by: Rocky at January 6, 2006 1:09 AM
Comment #110567

Gee Ray, your last comment was not very inclusive. Do you believe that everyone should agree with you?

Posted by: good king ned at January 6, 2006 1:15 AM
Comment #110573

Ray is just commenting on the tendency of the opposite side to pretend to be friendly with the express purpose of sabotaging the opposing view. Most Conservative Blogs ban members for disagreement due to this.

Posted by: Aldous at January 6, 2006 1:51 AM
Comment #110575
Double standards, I know. I’m used to it. You on the left can threaten to beat people up or worse along with your Islamicist friends from the mosque across the street

sanger, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Let me spell it out for you. I’ll use small words where possible:

Ynot implied that I’d feint at the sight of a rabid Islamist. I pointed out that I live among them here in SE Asia — across the street from their HQ, in fact — and then I implied he wouldn’t have the guts to even visit such a place full of “shadowy” terrorists.

I don’t know why you felt the need to get in the middle of the innuendo slinging, sanger, but I hope that clears things up for you.

And to try and get this thread back on topic, it’s quite clear that the fear of a few rag-headed terrorist thugs is scaring the poop out of a broad swath of (mostly Republican) Americans.

Rather than fighting for the authority to secretly detain American citizens, why isn’t President Bush expediting the compilation of a comprehensive terrorist watch-list?

Rather than fighting for the power to torture detainees, why isn’t he making sure more than a mere 17.5% of “high risk” containers are screened before entering American ports?

Rather than illegally spying on American citizens within the borders of the US, why isn’t he frantically working to secure the tens of thousands of poorly-guarded “loose nukes” and the tons of radioactive material suitable for dirty bombs stored in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere around the world?

The 9/11 Commission gave President Bush failing grades on implementing effective national security programs. Why is he fixated on strengthening his executive powers at the expense of securing the country? And why are some (mostly Republican) Americans actually happy about that?

Posted by: American Pundit at January 6, 2006 2:04 AM
Comment #110576

Aldous;

A view that only stands when unquestioned isn’t much of a view.

I will say this though, there is a lot of religion baiting in this thread.

Posted by: good king ned at January 6, 2006 2:06 AM
Comment #110614

I love the “Give me Liberty or Give me Death!” It is so much more representative of America’s values than, “My Country Right or Wrong!” of the past.

The statement is not a demand to trade liberty for physical protection from harm (secuirty). It states very clearly that Liberty is worth dying for… which would also mean that a life without it isn’t worth living.

Liberty is not just freedom from foreign tyranny… it is from all tyranny. That is why our oath of military service specifically states, “enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Here is where I get into difficulties. Each party wants what is best for America. They disagree on the best way to get there. There are extremists on both sides that want to proclaim that they are the only REAL Americans. I do not believe this to the the case.

Insisting on WARRANTS for governmental wire tapping (our Liberty) is not sacraficing our security at the expense of some “theory” or “ideal”.

Some argue that demanding warrants is supporting the terrorists while others demand that not using warrants is supporting the terrorists.

What? Not demanding warrants is supporting terrorists??? That is incredible and naive and leftist and liberal, and… and… and…

I will present my analogy again…

If you stand before a bully who is threatening you with phycical violence, you are faced with two options.

1) Conform to his demands… sacrafice your principles (Liberty) to prevent him from harming you. Or,
2) Stand steadfast to your beliefs and protect what you believe (Liberty)… regardless of the harm that might befall you.

If a person is willing to surrender to the bully, or to fall back and demand protection whatever the cost (of our Liberty), then they have made their choice. However, please do not try to justify a surrender of principle (such as the government needing a warrant to tap an American’s phone) as being principled.

President Bush did not answer the question put to him when he replied, “If an American is receiving a phone call from a terrorist organization we want to know why?”

Of course we do… that wasn’t the question…

The question was, “How are we justifying the tapping of phones without a warrant.” This question is relevant before we know who the person is talking to.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 6, 2006 10:16 AM
Comment #110617

WOW! See what happens when I actually decide to sleep instead of stay up all night reading this stuff.

Firstly, anybody who interpreted anything written on this thread as a threat of physical violence needs to be fully examined by a medical professional. The problem is either with the eyes or brain if you ask me.

Accordingly, no one has blamed the Bush administration for the latest coal mine tragedy. However, there are those who support big business and those who support worker’s rights and safety regulations of business, and you can’t serve two masters as the old saying goes. Cry foul all you want but nobody is saying Bush or anyone else is personally responsible. All that’s being said is you can be part of the problem or part of the solution and it’s easy to see who’s on what side of that line.

My only other point is to again back up American Pundit in his most recent comments. Why are conservatives so quick to support survielance measures that are, at best, arguably unconstitutional but at the same time not demanding legislation that is unquestionably more transparent, viable and pressing, is unquestionably more results-oriented, is unquestionably less subject to human speculation and corruption, having been agreed to and recommended by a consensus of experts and leaders YEARS AGO??? You can’t have it both ways - if you’re truly concerned about homeland security, blindly following the directives of the administration and not requiring full responsivness and accountability is just plain irresponsible.

Posted by: macsonix at January 6, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #110629

MattLaw:

Howard—

While it may be true that these facts are mildly distorted, I’ll bet you ended up with a smile ~~~ I did….

You honestly found that ‘entertaining?’ It’s completely untrue, idiotic, and only “pokes fun” at one side.

Completely unnecessary in this discussion.

Actually, he copied and pasted that part too, judging by the fact that an identical post is on a greek forum by another poster from November:
http://www.phorum.gr/viewtopic.php?p=180660&sid=5e2097fc6f294ee75e0c7b4f9fb698e9#180660

Posted by: Jarandhel at January 6, 2006 11:11 AM
Comment #110666

American Pundit,

Great work!

mattLaw,

For me you said it all right here:
“Monitoring thousands of calls, without warrants and involving U.S. citizens who may been only tangentially connected to an alleged “terrorist,” if at all?”

“if at all” is the problem. I know I’ve said before that it is a matter of trust. Can we trust the current and future administrations not to abuse executive powers. Well that was really answered in the 70’s with the creation of the FISA court.

Personally, and of course I’m biased, I don’t trust the current administration. How many reasons can we think of not to trust them?

Well, I’d begin with Bush & Co. not only discounting but demonizing those who disagreed with their assessment of the “imminent threat” in Iraq.

Tremors are making typing difficult so I won’t even attempt to compile a list of the lies (oops when it comes to Bush I forgot, he simply misspeaks or relies on misinformation).

The Republicans will almost undoubtedly point to Clinton’s lie, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”. Good point. I’m biased against Bush. You’re biased against Clinton. Would you have trusted him with this much executive power?

2008 is a long way off and there is no telling who might next occupy the white house. Who might these executive powers then be transferred to? If the actions of the NSA are appropriate then why circumvent the FISA court in the first place?

These are the really pressing questions just IMO.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at January 6, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #110697

Btw, I wonder what everyone’s opinion on this is:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1478653

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #110699

macsonix:

Since compromise is the fundamental necessity required for a Democratic System to work, the more varied the viewpoints the better it works.

With rare exceptions a many Party system is inherently excluded by a large scale Republican Democracy.
The more restricted (local) rhe electorate the easier for Independents to win.

Until real and honest campaign finance reform is enacted that is enforceable, with real and severe punishments for violators, and limits and exclusively uses Fed. Govt. monies equal to all candidates it cna’t possibily happen.

POSSIBILITY OF REFORM SUCCESS: VIRTUALLY ZERO!

Posted by: Richard at January 6, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #110701

Reinhold:

Just so everyone understands my point of view:

I am an unabashed opponet of the Iraqi War as an unjustifiable, unethical, immoral, and outright war of agression that never had anything to do with fighting terrorism or national security.
Furhermore it is neither militarily or politically winnable and unending until arbitrarily stopped. It’s only result will be the unnecessary thousands of American casualties all of which will be rendered meaningless by the disingenoosu and false excuses of those who started and directed it.

Perhaps it’s most dangerous consequence is the increasingly uncheckable power in the Executive and the politicizing of the Military.

Having said that, I have nothing but the highest honor and respect for the American soldiers who are there they feel the need to serve their Country.

The very fact that American troops are in Iraq is a victory and incentive for all anti-American terroists and will continue to grow and get stronger as a direct result. From the very beginning this has always been a lose/lose situation. Unfortunately, we cannot leave until the Iraqi infrastruacture, which we so efficently destroyed , is rebuilt and functioning.

Posted by: Richard at January 6, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #110717

So what does everyone think about the “tapping” of communications of soldiers. For example, opening and reading their mail? No warrent. Just as policy?

Posted by: have_a_beer at January 6, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #110738

have_a_beer, bad for morale of some soldiers. But, in the military, you sign life away, literally. So I would not be surprised if the military code of justice sees no legal problem with military authorities reading their mail, if they are. Once you put on a uniform, you lose most of your civil liberties enjoyed in civilian life, in principle, if not in fact. They don’t call GI’s Government Issues for nothing. You are literally the property of the military, slave to command, and with few rights save those in the USMCJ.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 6, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #110783

Hi David,
Yes, that is the one thing about the military. We do surrender some of our rights while we serve in the military.

I don’t know about the opening of mail… if it was for security reasons maybe. If it was used to see who was sending disparging remarks to friends then I would have to be concerned.

I know that as a military person I was not to air my political beliefs in a manner that could in any way be inferred as relecting the beliefs of the service.

Rhinehold,
I took a look at the link. Really, some people disagree with me about this, but just because terrorists are insane enough to strap bombs to their bodies or fly planes into buildings… they are not stupid.

Any action or inaction America takes can be used by a terrorist as a victory. That is why, to me, it is so important for us to go on doing what we do… fighting like cats in a bag because the interaction and defense of our positions makes for a better argument and for a better America.

In the mean time… we will disagree, agree on points… maybe even reach a compromise. All without bloodshed. All without bombs.

Persuading the other through the strength of our position… not because we can intimidate one another.

We have seen it here, as you mentioned in questioning one of my arguments about my motive for doubting President Bush…

When I said I knew President was in a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t position” this is the same thing.

No matter what we (or the President) do, a terrorist can use it as a sign of their winning. We just have to keep on doing what is best for our nation.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 6, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #110784

Howard,
That is the best post I have seen in a while. First time on this blog I have actually laughed out loud at something that didn’t come from the left.

“You honestly found that ‘entertaining?’ It’s completely untrue, idiotic, and only “pokes fun” at one side.

Completely unnecessary in this discussion.”

Some people really need to lighten up - a little too close to home, I guess. Am I the only one who saw that it ended with a smile and was meant to be humorous?

Posted by: THC at January 6, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #110785

Attempting to paint smoking bans as a liberal passion is inane. Smoking bans are of varied accord. A smoking ban that protects the unprotected in public places but allows business owners to determine their own policy would be, imho, the most accurate liberal position. The aim of such a ban would be to allow individual choice where availible. An all-inclusive ban would definitely NOT be a liberal position. I have argued for exemptions in smoking bans with multitudes of people of both parties (as an all-inclusive ban ended my employment in a cigar bar) and have found the most accurate division of belief on this issue is smoker/ non-smoker, regardless of political persuasion. Attempting to label this as a “liberal passion” is simple mud slinging.

Posted by: psiniq at January 6, 2006 7:21 PM
Comment #110801

psiniq, I don’t consider smoking bans, seatbelt laws, and things like that as un-American. They’re put in place through the deomcratic process and reflect the will of the people. Where they really are unconstitutional, they get appealed and stricken from the books — all a part of the democratic process.

The real loss of liberty comes from extra-constitutional (illegal) executive powers that are secretly imposed on Americans without their participation either directly or through their elected representatives — which is what President Bush is doing when he spys on American citizens without a warrant.

Rhinehold, that’s an interesting article:

CAIRO, Egypt Jan 6, 2006 — Al-Qaida’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, said in a videotape aired Friday that the United States’ recent decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq represented “the victory of Islam.”

I’ve said all along that we can’t leave Iraq until the insurgency is ended. Unfortunately, President Bush displayed an unwillingness to commit the necessary political, financial, and military resources to win this one from the start.

As far as the veracity of Zawahri’s statement, he’d be more accurate to point to President Bush’s decision to stop reconstruction efforts in Iraq as proof of victory.

President Bush allowed a vote on an Iraqi constitution that virtually guaranteed the Sunni insurgency would continue, and he allowed the insurgents to defeat the reconstruction. What a clusterfuck.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 6, 2006 9:03 PM
Comment #110817

American Pundit:

If we wait to leave Iraq until the insurgency stops we will be there forever. Our presence there is the fulfillment of the never ending prophecy of the insurgents with each fueling the other ad finitum. The notion that there is going to be any kind of a functioning democracy in Iraq is ludicrous and false. For centuries this area has been ruled by Strong-man politics and familar and religous alliances. The concept of Democracy is as alien to them as men form Mars. We have always been considered occupiers rather than lib erators buy them. As soon as we leave every Iraqi is going to look upon us as”The Ugly Americans” with more than a little justification. The only chance we have for any acceptance or respect from the Iraqis is to rebuild a strong infrastructure and get the hell out as soon as possible. Unfortunately we have to continue to be there until it is done—and that inflames the insurgency anew.

The only positive comment that can ever be seen of this obsecene military action (it’s not really a war) is that the Soldiers over there, but not necessarily the higher levels of command, are true heros and should be respected and honored as such.

Posted by: Richard at January 6, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #110824

Zawahri would no doubt claim victory if we sent more troops also. His recourse is to wage a war by propaganda, hoping that such statements continue to fuel insurgency. That we are “democracy-building” in a Nation that approved a constitution with a built-in trump from Islamic law is absolute lunacy, which begs the question, Waht are we accomplishing?
I fear it is only economic-colonialism. “Hostile-franchising?”
As far as the wire-tapping goes, he has the authority under FISA if he demonstrates its necessity within 72 hrs. Using immediacy as an excuse to ignore the protocol within FISA is inexcusable.

Posted by: psiniq at January 6, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #110828

As far as withdrawal goes, if we allow them to dictate terms, we will lose the war even if we win all the battles. I believe in re deploying our troops in more friendly locales, maintained in readiness, to respond if the Iraqi forces cannot maintain order. A system allowing this readiness and some training of Iraqi peacekeeping forces in a more controlled environment could honor the sacrifice of our troops and those Iraqis who wish to defend their country by helping to preserve their lives. This redeployment could also, by crossing borders with the training of Iraqis foster trust and somewhat side-step the victory claim from reduced troop numbers.

Posted by: psiniq at January 6, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #110843

Rocky regarding American Pundit:
“Last picture I saw of him, he appeared to be a big white guy from San Diego.”

Hey, I just went and looked at your photo — You’re rather rakishly handsome, AP! (Hope that doesn’t embarrass you…)

“Freedom isn’t free. Again, that’s not just some trite phrase you trot out at cocktail parties to impress the ladies.”

:^) Damn straight — so make that a double, Barkeep!
Enjoyed your article. That “give me liberty” Patrick Henry speech has always been one of my favorites. In fact, I posted a link to it not very long ago, and for the exact same reason you were quoting it in this piece.
I share every one of your sentiments here — and I’m thoroughly sickened by the all the Pissy-panted Nancyboys who want to give away our Constitutional rights, and who actually welcome the idea of turning America into Neocon Totalitarian Nightmare-World because they’ve bought wholesale into the Fear Spin-cycle. Perhaps I find it so revolting since the Clown in charge of the country has (once again) been all hat and no cattle when it comes to doing the things that would truly protect us from another terrorist attack…

Anyway, I’d didn’t really come here to engage in snappy repartee over cocktails, nor to rag on all the Fearfactor contestants (New Year’s Resolution, I’m trying to break the habit). No, I actually came here to deliver this particular NYTimes link:

Basis for Spying in U.S. Is Doubted

Here’s the first bit of it:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 - President Bush’s rationale for eavesdropping on Americans without warrants rests on questionable legal ground, and Congress does not appear to have given him the authority to order the surveillance, said a Congressional analysis released Friday.

The analysis, by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research arm of Congress, was the first official assessment of a question that has gripped Washington for three weeks: Did Mr. Bush act within the law when he ordered the National Security Agency, the country’s most secretive spy agency, to eavesdrop on some Americans?

The report, requested by several members of Congress, reached no bottom-line conclusions on the legality of the program, in part because it said so many details remained classified. But it raised numerous doubts about the power to bypass Congress in ordering such operations, saying the legal rationale “does not seem to be as well grounded” as the administration’s lawyers have argued.

So what do you think? Doesn’t this mean it’s almost time we got out the long-handled Impeachment Forks so we can have ourselves a Weenie Roast?

Posted by: Adrienne at January 7, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #110847

I don’t know bout the rest of you. But my fork is in hand. :)
The fire is hot, so we better get cook’in.

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 7, 2006 1:10 AM
Comment #110934
Hey, I just went and looked at your photo — You’re rather rakishly handsome, AP! (Hope that doesn’t embarrass you…)

Not as much as if I still thought you were a French guy. Thanks Adrienne. :)

As for impeachment, good luck. With a GOP Congress, they’ll probably just pass a law to make it all retroactively legal. :/

Posted by: American Pundit at January 7, 2006 8:45 AM
Comment #110950

Adrienne,

Dispite the utter satifaction that we may feel at the possibility of impeachment, what, in reality, will we gain?
The impeachment procedings will again bring this country to a standstill.

And (and this is the worst part), should the impeachment succeed, we will be stuck with, drumroll please,

President Dick Cheney.

Frankly I find that thought the greater of two evils.

Posted by: Rocky at January 7, 2006 10:23 AM
Comment #110969

Rocky:
“Dispite the utter satifaction that we may feel at the possibility of impeachment, what, in reality, will we gain?”

We the People get to put the skids on the Neocons thinking they can violate our Constitution whenever they feel like it — a very worthy endeavor, IMO.

“The impeachment procedings will again bring this country to a standstill.”

Kind of a wonderful prospect when you consider all the things they’ve been doing for the past five years, no?

“And (and this is the worst part), should the impeachment succeed, we will be stuck with, drumroll please,
President Dick Cheney.”

I keep hearing speculation that Cheney is about to “retire” because of what Libby might say in order to get himself a lighter sentence. Some are even saying this will occur before the elections in November. And almost all agree that in this event Condi is slotted to take Dick’s position.

AP:
“As for impeachment, good luck. With a GOP Congress, they’ll probably just pass a law to make it all retroactively legal. :/”

Before the Abramoff scandal broke, I’d have totally agreed, but now that the sh*t is hitting the fan for them there, I get the feeling these Republican’s are going to be a lot more interested in saving their image in general, rather than wanting to go out on another questionable limb for the already sh*t-smeared Bushco.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 7, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #110976

Adrienne,

I think that I have made myself pretty clear where I stand about Mr. Bush. I felt that he was the annointed one from the first weekend of fund raising for the 2000 campaign.

Look back for a moment, at the disarray that the Clinton impeachment caused in this country, and realize that
one, this will drag out for years, and
two, in the end, Bush will retire to his ranch sure in his “mind” that what he did was right.

I seriously doubt that Bush will “do the right thing”, ala Nixon, and as a result, nothing will have changed, except that America will be paralized for the duration, and a tremendous amount of the “we the people’s” time and money will have been wasted.

And, America, “we the people”, will take it in the shorts again.

Excuse my graphic notion, but Washington DC needs a high colonic, and impeaching Bush will not stave off the sh*t storm that is brewing.

Posted by: Rocky at January 7, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #110997

If the choice is between a temporary governmental disarray or the strenghening and/or establishment of an Imperial Executive, I will always choose the former. The former can only injure our national feelings for awile while the latter will permanently destroy America. It has already taken a Revolution and another uimaginably bloody War to finally establish the Ameican Nation, but the one that will be needed to restore,if even possible, that Nation, once lost, will make the “Civil War” look like a leisurly walk in the park.

If Congress had carried out it’s responsibility to the Constitution since Nixon, most likely we would not be facing this threat to America,s life now. This attempt by the Executive Branch to nullify the Constitution and end America’s existence as a Rebublican Democracy is eponentually the greatest “National Security” threat that America can ever face including terrorist attacks on our soil.

Posted by: Richard at January 7, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #111027

Richard,

“If the choice is between a temporary governmental disarray or the strenghening and/or establishment of an Imperial Executive, I will always choose the former.”

Given the choice of fixing the ambiguities in the laws, or prosecuting one man for having the arrogance to exploit those ambiguities, which would you choose?

I disagree with Adrienne’s acessment. I think that there are enough Republicans in the Congress, secure enough in their own re-elections to block any impeachment proceedings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment#United_States

“In the United States, impeachment can occur both at the federal and state level. At the federal level, both the executive branch and the judiciary may be impeached, though different standards apply. For the executive branch, only those who have allegedly committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” may be impeached. Although treason and bribery are obvious, the Constitution is silent on what constitutes a “high crime.” Several commentators have suggested that Congress alone may decide for itself what constitutes an impeachable offense.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would bet that Congress would be more amenable to closing the loopholes, than putting the country through the impeachment procedings against Mr. Bush.

Posted by: Rocky at January 7, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #111096

I’m not so sure that there are enough “secure in their re-“election to keepthe power. What happens between now and Nov. could have great import. In our form of Govt. the people exercise their will through elected reps. The only way it will ever be stopped is at the ballot box. Do they have the will and resolve to do it? I do think that there is an excellent chance that Dems. may get the Senate.

Pragmatically Congress fixing the Laws to take-out their own ambiguities and loopholes won’t ever happen. That’s asking the fox to guard the henhouse,In my view, the only prevention for Imperial Executives and their Administrations is to extract real punishment so harsh to to make them profoundly before they act. The first Time an Executive wis sentenced for 10 years in jail would send a clear message, I think. Do I think they will do this—NO.

The level of the uncheckable Presidential Power of the current Executive is exponentually greater that of than Nixon. This growth is a direct result of Congress not stopping it as it occurred in the Adminstations in between. Each time it is not stopped it increases from Executive to Executive until one declares himself Emperor and decides to stay permanently. Since the Executive has the power of absolute classification it may very well be to late to halt that predictable progression already.

The really terrifying fear is the number of people in Govt., and specifically in the Executive Branch, who have willingly prostituted their loyalty to the America and it’s Constitution and laws and people on the altar of the Executive’s desires. They have given their loyalty to a “Nation of Men” instead of a”Nation of Laws”. Nowhere is this more plainly evident than in the Abramoff scandal and the deliberate neutering the Separation of Powers for the Executives ends. The whoe point of our Constitution emocratic Republic is to avoid “ends justifying means”.If the people charged with the responsibility of performing the acts of government, including Military and Intellegence Agencies, are not willing to refuse when they are ordered to committ illegal or unconstitutional acts and report them to the people then “America” is an illusion and no longer exists except as hollow shell. My own opinion is that we are not only on the “slippery slope” and pretty far down that hill and accelerating rapidly.

In the long run I have more faith that the Executive power will be more effectively tempered by the Courts. Given Judge Luttig’s scathing and proper rebuke of the Government’s actions and motives in the “Padilla” case. That showed me that regardless of broad philosopical differences, Judicial integrity is still alive.

Posted by: Richard at January 7, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #111108

Richard,

Responding with outrage at the percieved actions of those in our government is one thing.

Proving the “outrages” will be an entirely different matter.
Right now the Republicans hold a majority in both houses, and if Alito is confirmed, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, the Supreme Court as well.

Hey, stranger things have happened, but I’m not holding my breath.

Posted by: Rocky at January 7, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #111125

Rocky, it doesn’t matter whether the govt. comes to a standstill (that may actually be a good thing) or if Cheney succeeds Bush. The point is to enforce the rule of law. If a couple of the things Bush has done are “high crimes”, which I believe they are, then the law says he must be impeached.

I’m inclined to agree with Adrienne’s assessment of the political climate, but I keep my expectations low so I’m not constantly disappointed. :(

If Republicans police themselves, it’d probably strengthen the GOP enough to make a Democratic comeback impossible — but I don’t think they have the political guts or the ethics to do it.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 8, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #111200

Ap,

You folks may accuse me of having my tin hat on too loosely, but I think that we are just short of anarchy in this country. The vehement retoric from both sides isn’t helping to bring the right and left together.

What is it going to take to push both sides over the precipice?

Posted by: Rocky at January 8, 2006 1:51 PM
Comment #111410

I think that’s a very good question. I too have wondered recently just how far we are away from riots in the streets. Clearly there is no room for this kind of activity in the current administration, what with audiences well-stocked by loyal legions of pre-screened Bushites and dissenters kept far away from any public activities (to say nothing of bogus arrests and such). But to think that the type of unrest we’ve seen recently in Australia and France couldn’t happen here is perhaps a bit too optimistic.

Posted by: macsonix at January 9, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #111887

My little brush with civil unrest in So. Ca. after the Rodney King trials was enough to convince me that we need to provide “pressure” relief in our society. (Getting dropped off in the middle of a Communist Party demonstration in Athens Greece was no picnic either. This was a long time ago, back in the early 1980s).

Relief can be done through mutual respect and the discussion of differences without demagogary. Yes, people make a lot of money by being witty and persuasive with their destruction of the ideas of other people. I somehow doubt they will be the ones losing their home or being beaten on the street.

What is happening in Australia and France is not an overnight lawless reaction. It is a large minority living within a society that has ignored them.

Look at the passion that comes from people of the Democrat and Republican affiliations! They are considered the majority, yet their tempers run hot. Imagine for a moment having your economic, education, cultural and religous views ignored.

As I have mentioned before, multiculrualism is not the problem. Intolerance is.

However, limiting the views of people to the point where they no longer feel as though they are a part of the process leads to serious consequences.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 10, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #111968

yes, and I’d bet there are many (see: low voter turnout) who feel they are completely left out of the democratic process here. Look at the heinous abuses of a technically legal system being uncovered by the Abramoff scandal. Huge donations to supposed charities (many with no or few full-time staff) that wind up being funnelled back into the pockets of politicians, their family members, and those from which they’d like to curry favor.

The working classes in this country have been left uninvited to this party, and while we peer into the window with our noses making oily prints on the glass, believe me, we notice who’s having fun in that ballroom and we should realize they are partying on time they borrowed from us.

Posted by: macsonix at January 10, 2006 4:53 PM
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