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September 28, 2006

Russ Feingold blasts president on torture bill

Senator Russ Feingold denounced the torture bill on the Senate floor today. His statement is available in in print and on mp3. This is how real Democrats talk:

One of the most disturbing provisions of this bill eliminates the right of habeas corpus for those detained as enemy combatants. I support an amendment by Senator Specter to strike that provision from the bill. I ask unanimous consent that my separate statement on that amendment be put in the record at the appropriate point.

Habeas corpus is a fundamental recognition that in America, the government does not have the power to detain people indefinitely and arbitrarily. And that in America, the courts must have the power to review the legality of executive detention decisions.

Habeas corpus is a longstanding vital part of our American tradition, and is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

As a group of retired judges wrote to Congress, habeas corpus “safeguards the most hallowed judicial role in our constitutional democracy – ensuring that no man is imprisoned unlawfully.”

Mr. President, this bill would fundamentally alter that historical equation. Faced with an executive branch that has detained hundreds of people without trial for years now, it would eliminate the right of habeas corpus.

You want tough on national security? Russ is tough. He just told the president of the United States that he's on the verge of destroying our constitutional democracy! The weak Democrats are the ones who are too timid to uphold the Constitution.

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Pretty. Too bad Senate Democrats agreed to surrender filibustering in exchange for the chance to give moving speeches like this as all Democratic-supported amendments get voted down, and the bill becomes law.

I like. True, mds, but perhaps with some leadership like this, the Democrats will actually take back the houses of Congress. The gamble tastes better than the filibuster. Both constitute political speech, but one is more honest speech.

Torture IS terrorism.

This is not america, and I should know, I'm not american.

It's pretty incredible that the same government that was dead wrong about the existence of Saddam's WMD's, was dead wrong about the linkage of Iraq and Al Queda, was dead wrong about the existence of the mobile biological weapons labs, and was dead wrong about the supposed uranium from Niger can be so fucking confident about the fact that all the detainees they are holding are guilty of something.

I wonder how this moment in our nation's history will be taught in 5th grade civics class in the year 2500? I can't imagine that history is going to look too kindly on the sorry Congress that passed this abominable legislation.

but perhaps with some leadership like this, the Democrats will actually take back the houses of Congress.

And do what? Continue to capitulate to the Bush administration on anti-American legislation, because they'll be scared of losing power, as in 2002? I want to see some actual evidence that they will fight the administration over the Constitution and the rule of law. Yet somehow, the line doesn't get crossed, not when Congress is stampeded into passing and renewing the Patriot Act, not when we are being blatantly lied into a war with Iraq, not when an anti-Constitutional unitary executive zealot gets a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, not when torture and eternal detention at presidential whim become the law of the land. So when?

Commenters at MyDD say a filibuster is still on the table -- Reid may rescind his "gentleman's agreement" to limit debate. Call Reid's office.

Sigh.

So let me get this straight: The Democrats give up the chance at filibustering one of the worst bills in recent memory because they were afraid that the President would paint them as soft on terrorism. After the bill passes, the President plans to paint them as soft on terrorism.
I just don't get it. How can they get rolled like this every other fall? I saw this coming 10 miles off, just like I did in 2002 and 2004, and I'm just some sub-management cubicle schlub in Bumfuck, WI. Forget principle; what about self-preservation? How fucking stupid are these people?

Commenters at MyDD say a filibuster is still on the table -- Reid may rescind his "gentleman's agreement" to limit debate. Call Reid's office. - DJA

Problem is that if Reid changes his mind, it'll seem like "rabid partisan Dems. forced Reid to allow a filibuster". If Reid would have come out swinging to begin with, even if it would have ment Dems. were in fact being more partisan, they would have seemed less partisan and more principled - this sort of thing is something in general many Dems. need to learn: you cannot publically play "good cop/bad cop", even if it may be a good strategy within legislatures or police interrogations -- all it does is draw attention to the "partisan" "bad cops" in your party. You need to be unified in being "bad cops", and then nobody will notice any people sticking out as partisan.

Being a politician is a bit like catching a football: if you're gonna try and catch it, you need to catch it with your whole body. Just trying to catch it with the tips of your fingers, i.e. certain more ideologically committed members of your party at the so-called extremes, is only gonna get you hurt.

There's something disturbingly pre-adolescent about this "logic," requiring the adult response of, "I don't care what other governments let their officials do; in our government we do it differently."

[how can they be] so fucking confident about the fact that all the detainees they are holding are guilty of something. - global yokel

It's a peculiar mis-interpretation of Christianity. Christianity says "we're all guilty of something". The take-home lesson for a real Christian is that you better be careful about saying "he's guilty, so he deserves whatever happens to him" because we're all guilty of something ("judge not lest ye be judged", "do unto others" and all of that -- and don't forget about "whatever you do unto the least of them you also do to me"). But the lesson for the pseudo-Christians the dominate our political discourse is "even if these people are innocent of the charges against them, everyone's guilty of something, so they deserve whatever is happening to them".

I've felt ill all day. The country I grew up in is gone. I don't even know how to react to this, how I can react to this. Pseudo-fascism just took a massive step towards the real form. If Diebold and Rove's surprise win this election, we're not far from the creation of thought-crime, from re-education camps for the tragically malformed minds of those of us who worry about reality.
Go ahead, call me alarmist. There's a time I would have agreed. Then we lost the right of habeas corpus.

900 years of habeas overturned and you think Feingold's a tough guy. The appropriate response involves jail time. The effective response goes even further.

It's a peculiar mis-interpretation of Christianity. Christianity says "we're all guilty of something". The take-home lesson for a real Christian is that you better be careful about saying "he's guilty, so he deserves whatever happens to him" because we're all guilty of something ("judge not lest ye be judged", "do unto others" and all of that -- and don't forget about "whatever you do unto the least of them you also do to me"). But the lesson for the pseudo-Christians the dominate our political discourse is "even if these people are innocent of the charges against them, everyone's guilty of something, so they deserve whatever is happening to them".

Boris: "Do something to somebody quick!"
Bullwinkle: "It's supposed to be 'do something for somebody quick--(hit by object)--OOP!"

>Torture IS terrorism.

I agree, Joe.

Great article and comments, I found your blog by googling:

"Do something to somebody quick bullwinkle video"

Hoping to find a video of Boris Badenov paraphrasing this poem. Olbermann had a segment tonight where he said that since the Obama camp has promised not to prosecute the duuhbyaist regime's crimes after it leaves office, the only recourse was to resort to annoying pranks, like sending pizza's to their home.

I was just writing on Gristmill in this vein via a discussion on Bernanke's brilliant comments on market corruption and oil prices ...thusly:

The nankster

Duuhbya's own "heckuva-job-brownie" for the economy. Heckuva job bushie. EE ee ooh ooh ahh ahh! (translation in simple chimpleton in chief language)
They don't need no steenkeen market re-regulation, just untouchable "retirement" accounts in Dubai.

A note to bush voters, next time vote for a human. But remember this non-GOPers, the fed chairman, like the supremes, serves long after the simian moves back to crawdad. We are still screwed on those fronts for years to come.

Lists of bush voters ought to be prepared ahead of time so everyone who loses their jobs and homes in recession, and loved ones in oil wars can properly thank as many bush voters as possible in their local area. Credit for this disaster needs to be properly distributed.

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/7/21/15400/4734

I wonder where that poetry corner episode could be found on online video? Maybe I better put it up on youtube.

Ahh yes, there's the poem:

How to be happy
Are you almost disgusted with life, little man?
I'll tell you a wonderful trick
that will bring you contentment, if anything can
Do something for somebody, quick!

Are you awfully tired with play, little girl?
Wearied, discouraged, and sick-
I'll tell you the loveliest game in the world,
Do something for somebody quick!

Though it rains like the rain of the flood, little man
and the clouds are forbidding and thick,
You can make the sun shine in your soul, little man
Do something for somebody, quick!

Though the stars are like brass overhead, little girl,
and the walks like a well-heated brick
and our earthly affairs in a terrible whirl,
Do something for somebody, quick!

And of course Boris substitutes, "Do something to somebody quick."


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