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September 18, 2006


I've been thinking for a while now that I would support a presidential candidate who said "I'm going to undo absolutely everything that's been enacted in the past eight years. The few things that were actually worth doing, we'll do over again and get them right."

It's not a platform, but it's a good start.

Poor Chris Shays. Stuff like this gives him fits.


The House put off floor action to next week on Bush' bill "only because the Judiciary Committee requested an opportunity to review the criminal code provisions and habeas corpus provisions," said Kevin Madden, spokesman for House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.

But other Republican House aides acknowledged the delay improved chances that the White House could reach a compromise and avoid a potentially ugly fight on the Senate floor in which a group of eight or 10 Republicans joined by Democrats could defeat Bush's bill.

"We continue to look for a way to resolve differences between the two approaches," Ulyott said.

Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said he expected the issue will be on the Senate floor next week as Congress struggles to complete pending business before breaking at the end of the month to campaign in elections that will determine control of Congress.

makes them look like betrayers of the Constitution, the Rule of Law and American ideals.

You can run and win on a platform promising to betray the Constitution, the rule of law, and American ideals in maybe 155-170 House districts, and maybe 20 states -- run and win.

Such is the state of the nation.

Ron Suskind in his book "The One Percent Doctrine" discusses the torture of, among others, Abu Zubaydah. He gave more useful information under FBI techniques than he did under torture. His attempts to stop the pain were the source of the warnings a couple of years ago about shopping malls, apartment houses, banks, supermarkets, nuclear facilities and water treatment plants. It really doesn't work.

Why do Bush and Cheney and the others insist on having the right to torture? It gives them power, for one thing. it also gets people used to the idea of doing the "unthinkable," useful for those who want to enlarge their power.

Suskind says Bush liked to push people "to do things they didn't think they were capable of," in Bush's own words. Of course this makes them complicit in the unconstitutional Bush regime, right along there with Congress.

And one thing people don't talk much about. We are going to have the actual torturers in our midst for decades after this sorry war is mercifully brought to an end. And the ones that are contractors aren't going to have VA mental health facilities to help them, or, indeed, any government medical care.

You wonder why this was brought up right before the election. It would be far better to say someting like (Well, we are going to find the right way to do interrogations, blah, blah, blah, ..., and we are working hard on it right now, blah, blah, blah.)

Probably the same reason that the after the war situation in Iraq has gone sour.

Sometimes I just don't know. Power seems to corrode brains.

Just wanted to mention that both Glenn Greenwald and Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings are pointing out that even the "compromises" brewing in the Senate will deprive however many people the US decides to imprison outside the country of any right of habeus corpus. No judge, no jury -- just lock 'em because some US authority created by the President says so.

Jodi , it's a "change the subject" tactic. From Gallup:

Among those registered voters who say Iraq is most important to them when they think about their vote for Congress, 68% say they are voting for the Democratic candidate in their district this fall, compared with 28% who are voting for the Republican. Among registered voters who say terrorism is most important to them, 71% are going to vote for the Republican candidate in their district, compared with 19% who intend to vote for the Democrat.

This correlation between issue importance and vote choice provides supportive evidence for the potential efficacy of a strategy that attempts to change voters' minds about what's important in the election. Convincing more voters to focus on terrorism as the pivotal issue in the fall campaign -- as the Bush administration is attempting to do -- could benefit the Republicans, just as convincing voters to focus on Iraq -- as the Democrats are doing -- could benefit them.

Last night on Anderson Cooper the lastest method of killing Shites was discussed. He said that some faction (I missed part of the report-a-quida??some faction that used to be led by Al Zarqawi??) were killing people by drilling them from the bottom through the torso to the neck and brain. It was horrific, but to me it says something about the state of affairs in Iraq. It says to me that violence and rage and sanity are at a minimum and sinking. It says to me that the result of torturing others is increased torture. Is there a parallel between this sectarian rageful violence and our stance on torture. I think there is. I also think the split in this country over this issue is one that needs discussion. (as we do here) Then I wonder if this is a fear tactic of Bush or if this is a secret Bush didn't want the American people to know (as Anderson presented it??)

It's like the parent who beats a child for hitting. There are people in the U.S who truly feel this is the best way to deliver a message and these folks do not connect role modeling as the most effective form of teaching. They really do believe that power and control and fear are the best teachers...punishment and fear. Bush has chosen to fight terrorism by using terrorism, same hammer as the terrorists and Bush can't figure out why it is spiraling out of control. I am fearful that we have walked down a path and into the woods in such a way that we may have a long hard walk back to serenity and peace. (if in fact there are enough of us to find our way out)

I think this speaks to a fundamental difference between democrats/liberals and conservative/ republicans. People just don't understand that the best teachers are integrity, consistency and effectiveness. That's the true locus of power. Fear is just a false god. The parent who is afraid that their child will get out of control often has a history of "mistakes" themself and will try to control the child to prevent the child making the same mistakes they did. Fear feeds this form of parenting. The parent who role models success, spirituality, and effectiveness does not fear that their child will be screwed up. They know that children will do what they do. These parents don't punish or hit out of fear. They give consequences and reinforce positive behaviors based on the reality of what works and what doesn't.

The republicans have made fun of this type of thinking. They have created a message about weakness. They are the parents who say "I wouldn't let my kid get away with that, my kid would be punished severly for that kind of behavior..." They have been effective in undermining the message of role modeling vs control for years. We have to confront this message. The mistake being made by dems is that we keep trying to use their paradigm because they have labeled our paradigm wrong or weak. We still haven't developed an effective way to demonstrate our paradigm. No we can't "love" the terrorists to put down their arms. But we could have collected the most violent, put them on trial and then treated them with the dignity we treat all Americans and that would have been a powerful message. It would have been a message not about fear, but about effectiveness and consistency. Here in America we don't tolerate that behavior.

How much more helpful would it have been had we rounded these folks up, and treated them with the utmost respect. We might have changed minds. It would have taken years, but the consequences would have been less damaging than what we have now. Worst case scenario, we would not have caught them all, they might not have changed, but the current scenario is increased violence and rage, and that our way of life has been compromised. Our credibility has been compromised. We are actually saying "Violence is our greatest weapon and we plan to use it." I thought our greatest weapon was prosperity and our way of life. We need a powerful message to conteract the "pansy attack" of the right wing.

No Congressperson with any integrity should be voting for either bill. Period. They never should have voted for the old McCain bill, for that matter, because hidden under the "anti-torture" were attempts to provide cover for past abuses and to strip jurisdiction from the courts and the creation of a black hole carve out from our habeas statute for Guantanamo.

Both bills are nonsense and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as it has existed and as it has incorporated the Geneva Conventions for years is perfectly capable of addressing military violations - the criminal code as it has existed and been twisted almost out of recognition (but not completely yet) by the Patriot Act, is perfectly capable of addressing criminal violations.

What neither allows for is amnesty for crimes based on being a friend of Bush - although both pretty much reflect the reality that since the military operates under Bush as Commander in Chief and the Dept of Justice operates under Bush and Gonzales - the de facto situation is no criminal prosecution while he is in power. Still, that's why some statutes of limitation are much longer than others. ;)

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