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November 11, 2004

Comments

That sound I'm hearing in the distance? Somehow, somewhere, Katherine is having an infarction.

I don't know what the point of your post is.

Gee, President Bush, who appointed someone with no respect whatsoever for the Constitution in his first term, now appoints someone with no respect whatsoever for the Constitution in his second term.

The people have spoken, now haven't they?

I'm not trying to be snarky...but really, what's your point? If the principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States are dear to you, you should probably be looking for a country other than the United States in which to live. Or do you have a better plan?

If the principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States are dear to you, you should probably be looking for a country other than the United States in which to live.

The weather's rather nice here in England today. A little on the cold side, but clear skies.

I just say that in passing. I'd recommend staying put and standing up for what you believe in, though.

It's really a shame this appointed administration has essentially turned the AG post into a political operation primarily concerned with protecting the Executive Branch.

Oh well. Looks like we'll have to work harder toward the goal of becoming a democracy again.

Show of hands here...everyone who thought that the President would choose an AG nominee based on experience, ethics, and respect for the rule of law instead of perceived personal loyalty.

No takers...good. I knew this was a smart crowd.

Cheer up, folks. The photos from Abu Ghraib leaked out, despite the Bush League's penchant for gulag-like secrecy. They'll let hubris and ideology override good sense and practicality again, and they'll fall flat on their faces. Again. Gonzales's prior job before Bush was elected was chief counsel at Enron. Look how well that turned out.

ya gotta assume BushAndRove knows all this stuff. so, what are they thinking is going to happen when the Democrats bring it up?

Excellent summary hilzoy.

There's also this:

Alberto Gonzales enjoys a reputation for covering George W. Bush's back.

In 1996, for example, Gonzales, as Bush's general counsel, managed to get the then-Texas governor excused from jury duty, thus saving Bush from having to disclose a 1976 arrest for drunk driving.

There's much more in that article, some of it tying Gonzales to an Enron cover-up, but it ends with the writer suggesting some see Gonzales as a possible US Supreme Court Justice nominee.

ya gotta assume BushAndRove knows all this stuff. so, what are they thinking is going to happen when the Democrats bring it up?

I imagine they're thinking, "We have 55 senators, they have 45, and every time they object we'll call them racists." Watch during his confirmation hearings. See if I'm wrong.

"That sound I'm hearing in the distance? Somehow, somewhere, Katherine is having an infarction."

Not really. Not because hilzoy's wrong about anyhting, but these guys are losing their ability to surprise me. Bad as he'll be, he won't necessarily be any worse than Ashcroft. There's some hope he'll be less mean-spirited towards immigrants who are not from the Middle East or accused of terrorism at all--though a lot of that is out of the DOJ's hands anyway now.

If I were the Democrats I would filibuster, but not indefinitely. I'd say I would be happy to hold a vote when they released the Abu Ghraib documents they've been stonewalling all this time, or when their Senate colleagues agree to issue subpoenas.

I predict that this will not occur to the Democrats, and if it did they'd be too scared to try it.

Not because hilzoy's wrong about anyhting, but these guys are losing their ability to surprise me.

That's close to the worst thing I've heard all day. I'm sorry.

Balkin is good.

"It is time for those who think the Bush Administration has gone too far to stand up to the President, to make the legal case against his Administration's policies and appointments. For years conservatives railed against judicial activism. It is time for liberals to start railing against government officials-- including judges-- who show disrespect for basic Rule of Law values, who flout basic protections of American constitutional law and international human rights law, and who seek to concentate ever greater power in an unaccountable executive.

Even if (and especially if) Gonzales is confirmed, it is vitally important to make these points loudly and often. Liberals must stand for something other than the correctness of Roe v. Wade. There are important constitutional, legal and democratic values at stake in the next four years. They have been repeatedly sacrificed by this Administation, in its fetish for secrecy and unaccountability and its endless thirst for unreviewable power. And the President seems to have taken from his victory at the polls the belief that he is entitled to seize even more power and cut even more corners. It is important to begin making the case before the American people that our Constitution, our democracy, and the Rule of Law itself have been placed in jeopardy-- not by the decisions of activist judges in Massachusetts, but by overweening and ambitious members of the Bush Administration-- and that the legal and constitutional values we hold dear must be preserved and defended vigorously or they will slowly but surely be dissipated. Daring to ask why a former judge who has defended the President's right to torture and mistreat prisoners in violation of international law should be made the nation's chief law enforcement officer is a good place to start."

I wonder if it is because he may not be anti-Roe that Leahy and especially Schumer are talking about what an improvement over Ashcroft he is, and how non-controversial he is.

The Democratic party seems to have decided that opposing torture is a losing issue for them. Kerry didn't mention it either.

I can't begin to understand this decision. As is so often true of the Democratic party, it's bad politics as well as bad policy.

Man, I didn't think that a potential AG nomination could make me nostalgic for Crisco-kid Ashcroft. For all his flaws, Ashcroft at least didn't think conventions against torture of prisoners were "quaint".

The Democratic party seems to have decided that opposing torture is a losing issue for them. Kerry didn't mention it either.


I can't begin to understand this decision. As is so often true of the Democratic party, it's bad politics as well as bad policy.

Katherine,

I am sad to say that I think you are mistaken and the party is correct. Denunciation of torture would just have led to more of the idiotic "they are terrorists so who cares" rhetoric. Further, I don't think it would have changed a single vote even among those who took it seriously. For example, both Sebastian and, IIRC, Bird Dog at Tacitus wrote strong posts on this subject, and were plainly outraged, but I'm betting they voted for Bush anyway.

Maybe. We won't know until we try, will we?

Bush won in large part because people believed he was a good man, sincere about the desire to spread freedom in the world. You don't think tying his administration to torture might have been even a little bit harmful?

Sebastian and Bird Dog are nice guys but they are very hawkish and very partisan. Much, much more so than the people we would have needed to convince to win the election.

I don't know, Katherine. You might be right, but I don't see it. There was a fair amount of coverage of Abu Ghraib, and I didn't get the sense that the reaction came close to what it should have been. It might have gotten Kerry a few votes had he raised it, but it might also have reinforced those who thought he was too weak on terror. It's not hard to imagine the reaction,

"Well, that's too bad, but here we are at war with terrorists and Kerry's main concern is not mistreating them," or worse.

I don't like it, but I'm cynical enough to think it might have happened.

Frankly, Tacitus is no different than LGF.

Look--you either condemn the use of torture or you're--at the very least--tacitly condoning it. This is one of those rare issues where there's precious little nuance or gray area.

IMO, Abu Ghraib and the other incidents should have been enough for reasonable people to reject Bush. But the fact Rumsfeld didn't lose his job (as well as several other flag officers) is simply unconscionable.

Now, this appointed administration is nominating someone who thinks the Geneva Conventions don't apply anymore and the use of torture is ok?

On the lighter side:

Does Anyone Know What Alberto Gonzales' Middle Name Is?

Jadegold, as long as the "R" doesn't stand for "rilkefan" I don't care.

There was a fair amount of coverage of Abu Ghraib

I suspect, though I can't really confirm it because I'm in the same bubble you're in, that that's overly charitable. What there was was a lot of coverage of the "few bad apples" and lot of coverage of the existence, provenance and destiny of the photographs and videos.

There was very little coverage of what actually happened or who actually ordered it; there was no significant legal action, no ultimate culpability, no changes in policy, no promises that it would never happen again, and no media follow-up whatsoever once the "election season" got started.

E.g. radish - I don't recall an Abu Ghraib question at the debates.

If it matters to anyone, it was Katherine's posts here that largely affected my decision in this election. So there was at least one person who was persuadable on this point.

But Jadegold, the comment about Tac and LGF confirms nothing other than your relative position on the political spectrum. From over here, both Spain and Russia look to be East. Someone in Germany might have a different perspective however. Just because Tac voted for Bush (I assume), does not prove he condones torture when he also paid money for bandwidth to broadcast his disapproval of torture.

Just because Tac voted for Bush (I assume), does not prove he condones torture when he also paid money for bandwidth to broadcast his disapproval of torture.

I think we can agree the use of torture is unacceptable. Where we disagree (kinda-sorta) is what level of disapproval we attach to it.

Essentially, we have irrefutable evidence US forces engaged in torture at several locations in Iraq. We have a WH counsel putting out white papers strongly suggesting torture might be just fine.

To my mind, blogging your disapproval of torture while advocating for an administration that has repeatedly failed to demand accountability for incidents like Abu Ghraib or failed to disavow odious views on torture is rather disingenuous.

ladan: ...when he also paid money for bandwidth to broadcast his disapproval of torture.

Denouncing torture is all well and good but let's not confuse sunk costs with incremental expenses.

Jadegold: ...rather disingenuous...

I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Don't be so harsh -- denouncing torture while advocating for particular torturers is simply a concession that ends justify means. The dilemma of representative democracy is that you have to accept your preferred candidate warts and all... Heck, my preferred candidate came home from a just war and betrayed his comrades in arms solely to further his political career. You didn't see me abandoning him.

Though at least this way if I do strike it rich I won't be so heavily taxed. Maybe I'll splurge on an SUV (hybrid of course) so I'll finally be able to see past the other SUVs when I'm trying to pull out of the grocery store parking lot.

Aaargh. Even being satirical about this stuff makes me feel dirty.

I'm sorry, I'm having too much fun watching white people just hating what they did to others for so long. The mask of America, that hid genocide, slavery, resource rape, land-grabbing, you name it, is fallen and in little grey pieces. We're naked in all our nasty glory for the world to see - and with us, all the societies based on centuries of Viking Economics. The Christian Right just hates the term "Jesusland." Let's introduce a few more -- Hideyville. Cowardburg. Hypocrite Junction. Ostrich Hole. Indentured City. Apron Strings Crossing. Oh, this could be so much fun...

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