Monday, January 15, 2007

"The worst thing about abortion: discussion of it."

* scott (when a comment thread became about abortion):
"The worst thing about abortion: discussion of it."

* cannon:
"Those who sneer at the notion of conspiracy should explain how dozens of right-wing hacks can spout the same meme at the same time, often in the exact same words, cued by an unseen conductor. That chorus of calumny testifies to the existence of an arrangement -- of a conspiracy."

* dahlia lithwick:
"But Guantanamo Bay stays open for the same reason that Padilla stays on trial. Having claimed the right to label enemy combatants and detain them indefinitely without charges, the Bush administration cannot retreat from that position without ceding ground. The president is as much a prisoner of Guantanamo Bay as the detainees are. Having gone nose to nose with Congress over his authority to craft stripped-down courts, guaranteed to produce guilty verdicts, Bush cannot call off the trials. The endgame in the war against terrorism isn't holding the line against terrorists. It's holding the line on hard-fought claims to limitless presidential authority."

* glenn:
"It really is striking that whenever one is convinced that Bush's unpopularity ratings have reached their nadir, the one thing that can always drive them even further downward is Bush's appearance on national television to explain himself to the country (or, to use Jules Crittenden's classic formulation: for the President to "address us . . . and show us the way forward"). Even after six years, the more Americans see and hear from George Bush, the more they dislike him.
If George Bush continues to appear in public and makes speeches, he's going to soon be within the margin of error of Nixon's resignation-compelling unpopularity. While a weakened Bush presidency may appear intuitively to be a cause for celebration, it poses a serious danger.

In a characteristically perceptive Op-Ed in this morning's Washington Post, Dahlia Lithwick makes the point that Bush's extremist actions -- such as Jose Padilla's detention, the Guantanamo abuses, and omnipotence-declaring signing statements -- have no real objective except one: "The object is a larger one: expanding executive power, for its own sake."

When I began writing about the Bush administration's violations of FISA, what confounded me at first was the sheer pointlessness of the lawbreaking. It was not merely that the FISA court has always allowed the President -- all presidents -- to do whatever eavesdropping they wanted, and that bypassing it was therefore unnecessary.
The most dangerous George Bush is one who feels weak, powerless and under attack. Those perceptions are intolerable for him and I doubt there are many limits, if there are any, on what he would be willing to do in order to restore a feeling of power and to rid himself of the sensations of his own weakness and defeat."

1 comment:

steven andresen said...

Lithwik ended her piece this way,

"...The destruction of Dossari, Padilla, Zacarias Moussaoui, Yasser Esam Hamdi and some of our most basic civil liberties was never a purpose or a goal -- it was a byproduct. The true purpose is more abstract and more tragic: to establish a clunky post-Watergate dream of an imperial presidency, whatever the human cost may be."

We may be puzzled by just what the President and Vice President Cheney are doing to obtain this Imperial Presidency. Is it about being able to arrest, detain, and execute American citizens as "enemy combatants?" Does it include the business about signing statements, and the control of local District Attorneys, and the disemination of information, and what else. This is a good question: What is going on?

I wonder why this is so important to them?

There may be some speculation around about this already. Is it related to the President's drinking history? Does it have to do with "defending Israel?" Is it about ripping off the country so that it cannot resist control by the economic elites?

I have my own idea. It has to do with the supposed compromise existing between the secular and the religious that, presumably, was the basis for the country.

There had to be some kind of cooperation between those who believed that all morality and and hence all political actions had to be based on directions given by the Christian deity. The specific instructions were debatable, but on the part of the religious, there was no doubt that the secular who based their choices on an examination of the world were completely innappropriate guardians of society. It turned out, however, that the country could not get going or function if there was conflict between the religious and the large numbers of citizens in the ciountry who couldn't care less about Christian religious directives.

Therefore, a social compromise was made between the religious and the secular to cooperate in order for certain tasks to be accomplished.

The problem for us, I believe, is that there may be no reason for the religious to maintain this historic contract any more. There's a large movement dedicated to the belief that Jesus will return to the planet in our lifetime. There are things that need to be done in the world in preparation. We gotta have Israel sitting pretty in it's ancestral lands. There has to be an arrangement where the evil in the world stand against the good. (I've wondered why there has been no effort to make peace in the world. I think there's no effort because the conflict is needed to prepare the way for the last battles between Jesus and the forces of evil.)

The President and Mr. Cheney need to have unchallenged power in this country in order to promote a righteous Christian government which will lead the armies of God. They have to be ready with the legal wherewithall to arrest any secular critic who might want to point out how unadvised such policy is from democratic principles. The problem is that the President, et al, probably don't think Jesus supports democracy.

Do I have any evidence for this theory? I might point out that noone in this administration explains that this is how they think of things. But, I wouldn't expect them to tell their secular enemies beforehand that they were planning to correct the evil compromises of the past.

People have pointed out connections between the President, et al, and various Christian movements involved in political work. Look at the Christian Zionists, for example. Maybe the "Left Behind" people.

I'd like to think that the republicans are only using these people for electoral purposes but don't take them seriously. I am not sure, however, that the religious are always just outsiders to our government. I'd like to think that the Christians who plan for the second coming would never get into a position of power. But, shouldn't we wonder and look at who these people are and what motivates such strange behavior.

So, they want an Imperial Presidency to mirror the Kingly rule of God in heaven.