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September 28, 2006

Final passage: Bush/McCain Torture Bill


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The Bush/McCain Torture Bill passes the Senate, 65-34.

Watch your back.

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Does this satisfy the requisites of the Supreme Court as outlined in the Hamden decision?

I wondered the same thing, Fitz. So far, all I know is that Scott Lemieux regretfully concludes that it does.

It's not much consolation for the loss of habeas corpus, but Spitzer leads 64-18, according to the latest Times/CBS poll. Maybe it's time to take up the cause of states' rights.

Lindsay, you're smart and thoughtful...

With this last attack on the Constitution, is there hope?

There seems to be no one of any character left in our government, and I fear it's a rapidly diminishing quality in the population...

I am in despair...

Me too, Mike. But I haven't given up hope. We're on the brink right now, and if we don't win big in the mid-terms, I have no idea what's going to happen next.

I was planning to go work for Menendez in New Jersey. Now that he's voted to torture people, I figure I'll just stay home, work those weekends and send some extra money to House candidates.

Man, it looks like that cat is hissing up a storm. Those narrowed yellow eyes remind me of Cheney.
MikeEss, you're right that we're fucked (and that Lindsay is smart and thoughtful).

Democrats were only two votes short of a filibuster, and I know for a fact that Russ wasn't one of them.

He may eventually end up in jail... That's a sick joke. But who knows? When a society throws away 900 years of common law, there's no telling what might happen. It's like using a tactical nuke. Suddenly, things that we, and our parents, and our grandparents were raised to consider too deviant to mention are now fair game.

Maybe now I know how real conservatives feel.

Linday, thanks for responding...

I live in CA which is blue, you live in NY which is solidly blue - neither of us really has a voice in what's going on.

I think what gets me is I've made my choices but they've been overwhelmed by the sheep... Agh!!!

They got Sherrod Brown of Ohio to vote for torture. He's one of the best members of Congress in the country, and they put him on the wrong side of history. I bet he'll regret this for the rest of his life.

I know I'll never think of him the same way again. I'm really sad about it, too. He's the Democrat that I most want to unseat his Republican senate opponent in the mid-terms. His opponent, Mike DeWine, is the scum of the earth, and Sherrod Brown is a good man.

He's been fighting for working people in this country, and abroad for decades--fair trade, human rights, peace, labor... Now, he's voting to let working people from the US (our troops) torture other working people outside the rule of law.

Somehow they got to him.

The Democrats better win. If this is the price of victory, well, I don't know that I want to pay it, but at least it would conceivably have a point.

If they lose, I fucking give up.

I'm reminded of the old expression, democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.

Ohio's going to be a tight race, so they didn't get to Sherrod Brown, Lindsay: He got to himself. He wants every vote he can possibly get, including the fence-sitting psychopaths'. That's my estimation.

It is depressing, and scary. Shit, I'd give a $100.00 that I don't even have right now to a Feingold for President campaign. I believe he's one of the few leaders out there who if elected to the Presidency would actually go out of his way to have these laws repealed. Maybe if the Democrats win back one or both houses they'll do something about this, but I'm not holding my breath given the cowardice on display today from some of them.

I'm going to fix myself a Crown and Seven. I think I need one after this shit today. If any of you want to cyberdrink with me, I'm game. Lindsay, you're the designated blogger. You can only have girl drinks. You're cut off after 17 of them. Remember, you gotta blog us home.

Can Maker's Mark be an honorary girl drink?

For you, Lindsay, anything. Just keep it to 17.

I've known many girls who loved Maker's Mark. In fact, considering how it makes the guys I know who love it potentially violent, maybe it should be reserved for females.

John, can I have some too? I really feel like getting smashed...

Mike, all are welcome. I also have some BlackBush Irish whiskey which I save for special occasions. I think today is certainly "special" (though not in the way I'd like it), so I'll uncork it too. Belly up to the virtual bar, my friend. Just don't drink so much that you puke on your keyboard. That infraction will cost you big time: Exile to LGF for two weeks. Or Pammy's for two seconds. (After all, I am opposed to torture).

Not that Americans seem to care, but uh, this isn't playing well in the ROTW. For example, here in Canada, nobody I've spoken with expected it to get this far, and even staunch conservatives are in a bit of shock. This is all happening with Maher Arar still on the front pages here -- there is even talk of an official complaint from Canada to the US (although Peter McKay may just use it as an opportunity to ask Condoleezza Rice out for dinner).

And now you don't even care enough to even maintain a facade of respect for human rights. Expect repercussions.

Not that Americans seem to care, but uh, this isn't playing well in the ROTW. For example, here in Canada, nobody I've spoken with expected it to get this far, and even staunch conservatives are in a bit of shock. This is all happening with Maher Arar still on the front pages here -- there is even talk of an official complaint from Canada to the US (although Peter McKay may just use it as an opportunity to ask Condoleezza Rice out for dinner).

And now you don't even care enough to even maintain a facade of respect for human rights. Expect repercussions.

Posted by: T. Bailey | September 28, 2006 at 11:14 PM

T. Bailey, we always have.

My sorrow is deep.

But I think, also, that those of us who have been actively speaking out against this for so long don't really bear this guilt. Hundreds of thousands of us protested against the Gulf War--they did it anyway. Millions protested against the Iraq War--they did it anyway. The entire world protested against American torture, with many even among those conservatives who favored the Iraq War speaking strongly against torture, and certainly with almost all those who _didn't_ favor the Iraq War speaking against torture. They're doing it anyway. I don't see this as any more our fault than Saddam Hussein's torture was, or than the crack house across town is. It's not in our power to stop. The only hope for us was our freedom of speech and our representatives in Congress. We used the first, and both parties voted to torture anyway. If there's any way that I'm responsible for this, or any way I could have acted to stop it but didn't, I'd like to know what that is; otherwise, this is just a horrible thing that some other people are doing. They just happen to _call_ themselves Americans.

Many Americans DO care, TB, though I'll admit that not enough of them did today. Why do you think so many people across the liberal blogosphere are lamenting the sad state of affairs that exist right now after this vote?

I can understand your outrage. I'm outraged too. However, please don't paint us all with one brush stroke. To me that's like saying all the French are cheese-eating surrender monkeys, or even worse, that all Muslims are terrorists. That kind of talk has currency in some circles, but not here.

Amen John Lucid. We spoke out here against that "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" and "all Muslims are terrorists" stuff, ad infinitum and often strongly and vociferously, so I don't think it's right not to accord us the same respect as individuals that we insisted upon for others. There's no more bigotry and chauvinism among progressives; there are no nations either. There are people who stand for human rights and treating one another well, and people who don't.

This is just a really sad day in American history. Even at the height of the McCarthy Hysteria, when newspapers routinely got a chuckle with polls sgowing the public favoring repeal of the Bill of Rights, Congress wasn't repealing habeas corpus, for chrissake. Or endorsing torture.

Some of our freedoms died tonight, not with a bang, but a whimper, a deal brokered by the three clowns -- McCain, Warner and Graham. The">http://letterfromhere.blogspot.com/2006/09/hall-of-shame.html">The Yeas, a Roll Call Hall of Shame: Some of these senators are real fascists. Some are mere political opportunists. Some are cowards, afraid to vote their convictions under intense political pressure to conform or be labeled un-American or worse. You decide who's who. And remember. Nobody gets a pass on this one.

Amen to that too, come November. This is the number one most important issue. Even the Iraq War itself is secondary to me; someone could, in good conscience, have advocated for that war (though it seemed obviously wrong to me). But advocating for torture?

I'm glad to see my state's senators weren't on the roll call of shame, although I can feel millions of red-state brothers and sisters who weren't behind this at all. The same way I don't feel this was my fault, I can't blame them for that either. I know they'll do the right thing and vote.

My apologies for the harshness of my last post. I actually toned it down a bit, if you can believe that. I don't mean to imply, and now explicitly state, that I don't actually hold all people who hold American citizenship collectively responsible for this heinous new law, and neither do most of the thoughtful non-Americans I know.

However, If this were happening in Canada, I would not actually have time to post my outrage on a blog, because I'd be too busy camped out on my MP's fucking lawn, or marching on the legislature. I suppose this is what I really meant by "caring." The world will most likely gauge how much Americans care about this travesty by what Americans DO, not what they say in the papers or on blogs. Since the Bush oligarchy took power, the Americans have become exquisitely verbose, but without a significant corresponding effect. This is because, as GWB famously pointed out, accountability is limited to a single moment. At least it is in a society where democracy, like socialism, also takes too many evenings.

I dream of a Democratic sweep in the upcoming elections, but I have a sick feeling that it will, at best, be a bare swing in power to a slight majority. This would still be enough, if not for the fact that party affiliation doesn't really seem to mean very much down there. It doesn't really mean anything other than "not actually Republican." Apparently now you can add "except when it really matters." Something it seems many of the regulars here seem reluctant to admit is that the Democratic Party is BROKEN.

Thanks T. Bailey. There is no such reluctance on my part. The Democratic Party has not impressed me since Clinton, with, of course, some exceptions (I like Barbara Boxer of California very much, and this Russ Feingold I keep hearing about). I know that politicians are beholden to moneyed interests for a reason, and can't get elected without money; I also know that they don't become craven slaves to opinion polls for no reason either. But most of our Democratic "leaders" are so frightened of their own shadow that they apparently couldn't make a stand even if it were against torturing people.

Of course, I'm just joking, but--oh, hey, how about that! Someone just told me that there actually was a vote on whether to torture people, and they went along with it. Well, don't worry: I'm sure that they'll draw the line when it comes to slaughtering babies and torturing them. _Pretty_ sure, anyway. We'll have to just see the ins and outs of it when it comes to a vote.

I do think that there are many of us who care very much, but feel that there is little that we can do in the face of political "leadership" like this (sorry for the quotation marks, that probably seems petulant, but I simply can't bring myself to put the term otherwise). Two things I would urge everyone reading this to do are: 1) Write your congressperson, senator, and President. Even if your senator voted your way, give them loads of positive reinforcement. Assure the President and Congressperson that you find the practice of torture intrinsically loathsome, and beneath us as Americans, and 2) visit www.amnestyusa.org, and join their campaign against this. Vice President Cheney has declared that he is above the criticism of "the likes of Amnesty International," but he is not, any more than any other government torture advocate or torturer is. Aside from political activism, which I've frankly become a little disillusioned with (but head on, all you who feel inclined), I find Amnesty's campaigns to be one of the most effective ways to stop torture and false imprisonment. These campaigns were, of course, much more effective before the USA became a poster child for these behaviors. But there is hope.

And you know what? If you're not an American voter, I don't know that it would be illegal for you to do all of the above as well. You're on this planet, and you're being affected by these decisions. Especially if you're a citizen of another liberal democracy, which should be able to stand by the USA with a clear conscience in our fight against terrorism, why not let someone know that this effort is being impeded by torture?

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