Monday, June 25, 2007

Abuse of process

On KnoxViews:

Darth Cheney's bullshit rationale for exempting himself from the law is just as transparent nonsense as the $67 million dry cleaner pants lawsuit. In the abusive pants lawsuit, the presiding judge awarded some costs to the defendants. I hope he will award their legal fees, too.
Cheney is simply trying to escape oversight. Clearly, Duhbya is not up to supervising his boss and never has been - what a poser!

Not only does Cheney preside over our country, he also presides over a coup d'etat against the Constitution, executed in slow motion by the banana Republicans.

Cheney believes that all he has to do to escape the consequences of his illegal actions is to get his papers into escrow in Duhbya's presidential library. (Would he dare build a vice presidential library in recognition of his regency?) Look for even more restrictive Executive Orders on the confidentiality of presidential and vice presidential papers in Jan. 2008.

What Cheney forgets (and Duhbya is too oblivious to know) is that he is a war criminal. He (and Alberto Gonzales via David Addington) may define torture as anything short of major organ failure, but U.S. law does not, and Cheney is criminally liable for at least these crimes (along with Rummy and Duhbya).

I hope to see these SOBs in orange, and I don't mean I want them to visit Neyland Stadium. (Yeah, either one is a long shot.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Don't be an idiot

Oh, too late, you're a Cheney supporter.

The Vice President is part of the Executive Branch. You and the Cheneyites might try reading about the office in the Constitution instead of repeating obviously moronic spin that pretends they can change the meaning of words to fit their anti-democratic desires.

The Vice President's occasional role as president of the Senate doesn't make him a legislator. He only has a vote in case of ties, he doesn't sit on committees, he can't submit a bill on his own, and his very office is described in Article II, the vesting of the Executive power. He works in the [expletive deleted] White House, at least when he's not at an undisclosed location (Transylvania?).

Furthermore, Executive Orders come in many forms. A huge number of them direct the Executive Branch in implementation of statutes, as is true in this case.

The Vice President is subject to law, to Executive Orders, and to the Constitution. If we didn't live in [expletive deleted] Animal Farm, that would be obvious even to watchers of Fox "News". Cheney should be called to account for his assault on the legal basis of American liberty and government.

But Dick Cheney wants to run a shadow government from beyond the reach of any light, just like the cockroach he is. So he makes these patently ridiculous claims, and his sycophant supporters nod at the absurdity as if they've always known the VP is the fourth branch of government and defend him like the fearful lemmings they are.

Originally posted on KnoxViews.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I have to say, I have decreasing respect for those who only populate the comments sections of blogs and never put themselves out there by writing something in a form that more than three people read. Take a stand. Show some guts. Stop hiding behind anonymous screen names. Show us who you are. And stop pretending to be know-it-alls.

Waaah! If you can't beat our arguments, an ad hominem will have to do, well-spiced with aggrieved elitism at our poaching on your pundit's unearned preserve.

Screen names? C'mon, graduate from AOL.

We're pretending to be know-it-alls? Sheesh.

Now for substance in response to your lack of it: I suppose you have decreasing respect for Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Paine, etc. They didn't sign their given names either. Probably wanted to avoid the useless ad hominems of defensive frauds like you.

(Originally posted here.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Thought experiment

Suppose there were a Republican who is a paragon of personal virtue who thinks well and moderately about foreign and domestic policy. Suppose that nonetheless this man (we are talking about Republicans, after all) could win the Republican nomination for President. Frankly, I think he'd have to stuff the ballot box at the RNC to get anything approaching reason past the fundies, the anti-tax fanatics, and the PNAC imperialists (not to mention the industrial and tribal pro-war interests).

So, with those ridiculous counterfactuals in a suspension of disbelief that J.K. Rowling would laugh at, what government would you get? You'd get the permanent policy apparatus of the Republican Party. This is what gave us Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams, the vast and vapid neocon network, among others. You'd also retain the permanent political apparatus of the GOP, and you'd better believe that Karl Rove is just the tip of the iceberg.

This is no sale. There is no Republican for nationally significant office who deserves a vote. Not a single one.

Originally a comment on Philosoraptor.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tax free

It's really bad public policy when theme parks are tax exempt just because they call themselves religious. It's the kind of nonsense that leads to L. Ron Hubbard.

Originally a comment on KnoxViews.

Against type on this

I have no problem with stripping prison libraries of Islamist, Christian Identity, or Kahanist literature. And there's certainly no reason we should pay for it out of our small enough budgets. Cons don't gain the right to whatever book they want simply by conviction of a felony.

I don't think anyone is going to be rehabbed by the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or the The Turner Diaries, much less by radical Islam, Christianity, or even Judaism posing as religion when it's really revolutionary politics. They want that crap; let 'em wait until they're out.

Originally a comment on KnoxViews.

The NRA vision

Hey, c'mon, an armed society (Iraq) is a polite society. Yep, them Hatfields and McCoys always a-treated each t'other with the utmost respect.

Originally a comment on KnoxViews.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

We have become what we forswore

Time magazine, not lately a paragon of hard-hitting journalism, published this yesterday.

The lead is:

Many of the controversial interrogation tactics used against terror suspects in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo were modeled on techniques the U.S. feared that the Communists themselves might use against captured American troops during the Cold War
This happened in 2002. Anyone who has disbelieved my assertions that torture has been the Bushists' policy can now step up to the crow buffet. Personally, though, I'm too sick to my stomach to eat.

(Originally a comment on Philosoraptor.)

Friday, June 1, 2007

Gonzo and Duhbya in a rowboat

Torture and the death penalty are in the same boat. And Alberto Gonzales is rowing Duhbya around in both of them. (What an ugly twist on The Life of Pi!)

Certainly, there are convicts who deserve death, for whom even death may be too good. There are also easily imagined scenarios where torture is obviously and overwhelmingly utilitarian and thus has a claim to morality and even obligation.

Alan Dershowitz has argued that we need torture warrants and a legal review process to approve them sparingly and justly. I look at our attempts to administer the death penalty justly and fairly (and I'm just not relying on the banality of evil seen in Gonzo and Duhbya), and I don't have great confidence in the usefulness of a legalism that permits torture.

In fact, the central problem of torture under the Bushists is that they made it the policy of their regime. They didn't just wink at it or tolerate a few excesses; they wrote memos justifying it legalistically (note: not legally) even while, for public consumption, they claimed that 'torture' meant only 'maiming or killing', which allowed them to make the Orwellian claim that they were not, oh no, torturing. And they promoted successful practitioners from Gitmo to Iraq.

In extremis, torture may be permissible, but it's not permissible to legalize it. Those who are closest to the need must take the risk if they think it is worth it, and we must have the right to second guess them and even punish them if we disagree. That's the harsh reality. (24, by the way, even agrees, or it did in Day 4 anyway; I found Day 6 unwatchable.)

A good analogy is how we handle cannibalism. We don't legalize it and define the circumstances when it is appropriate (Alive!, say). We recognize that it is illegal or at least immoral but accept a necessity defense. So it should be with torture.

Not every act-utilitarian moral act is subject to rendering into rule-utilitarian law.

The precedent punishment for torture in pursuit of war, particularly war of choice, is the death penalty. Reason forces me to acknowledge that both Gonzo and Duhbya are eligible for prosecution, along with Rummy and Darth Cheney, among many others.

It was for reasons such as this that the Republicans during the Clinton years refused to join the International Criminal Court at The Hague. When out of office, the Bushists also might want to consider not travelling to Belgium, for example, to avoid its almost American sense of its own jurisdiction. No ex post facto problem there!

If these alleged war criminals are ever duly convicted convicted, I'd be satisfied with them receiving the same punishment as Rudolf Hess. Hell, I'd be ecstatic.

(Originally a comment on Philosoraptor.)