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July 03, 2006

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Holy Shit!

Excellent analysis after reading Josh's article. VERY INTERESTING.

I think part of their game is to pretend that they are following the rules, as we go through legal and legislative processes and public debate and they continue merrily doing whatever they please. Americans are going through a psychological process of breaking through denial and realizing step by step that our government lies to us, that freedoms are eroding, that we may not be the good guys around the world, that Congress doesn't care about the welfare of the country, etc. The Bushies love it that we are so slow to get it.

That's absolutely part of the plan. Go back to the "reality-based community" comment, and tell me that doesn't appear to be exactly what they're doing.

While we're judiciously studying what they did -- if we ever even do that much -- they'll be perpetrating the next great crime.

Using the appropriations process to counter violations of the Constitution is a wonderful device for sapping the energy of Congress since, as the Boland amendments history reminds us, you have to keep renewing the prohibition in each new budget cycle. This gives the rovians an opportunity to keep hammering at Congresspeople, etc. It is an inappropriate way to think of Constitutional remedies except as a stopgap, since the whole point in having a Constitution is to keep a set of major issues settled for long periods.

Good point, pd. I don't know that anybody arguing for the use of the power of the purse meant that it be anything but a stopgap solution, but even as such, you're right in saying that its use would itself demonstrate the need for a more permanent one.

To me it's the same dynamic as what happens in domestic violence. A person walks into your life...they sell themselves to you (they do not introduce themselves as the person who is going to be beating you into submission later), they tell you things that make them too good to be real (compassionate conservative). Then one day when you least expect it, they beat the crap out of you. You loved them, you thought they were wonderful, you thought they would always protect you, you were afraid and you needed their protection. The perpetrator of the violence will minimize, deny and blame.

It's not a big a deal, only 2500 dead...you know how many were killed in WWII??? We didn't do it. We didn't do anything illegal, bad or harmful, no torture. Not happening. Blame...those damn terrorists make us have to do this. We have no choice. We must take away your freedoms for your own good. Your desire to know is causing the problem...if you folks would just do what we say, we wouldn't have to tap your calls!!

So now we have a nation waking up with a black eye, murmuring "yah, but he was just trying to protect us." "Once we have the terrorist caught we'll go back to our freedoms. "It's really not that big a deal."

We start to minimize deny and blame. It's the terrorist's fault, only the bad guys are losing their freedoms. Power and control has worked in the past so it's okay now.

It's a strange phenomenon. No one wants to admit that life could be changing in such a significant way, because most of us feel powerless to stop it. By the time we get geared up about this...it will be too late.

I think we all got a little complacent about our democracy and didn't realize how cunning and baffling power and control really is. Women who are beaten don't like it, they aren't stupid. There is something about the dynamic that invokes denial.

Katie

Great points. There was another bill I recall as well that based funding on briefings being provided to the appropriate Congressional committee and it got a signing statement too.

Btw - the Detainee Treatment Act that the Supreme Court reviewed Hamdan - had a signing statement that indicated the President's powers would be exercised consistent with the consitutional limits on the judiciary. How's that one? The court seemed less than impressed (crickets chirping?) but it goes a ways to explaining his petulant "I will abide by the court's ruling" that caused Lou Dobbs to ask, "why would he even need to say such a thing?"

Super analysis & Murtha get the bag of chips.

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