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September 28, 2006


Thanks, hilzoy!

"Until Congress passes this legislation, terrorists ... cannot be tried for war crimes in the United States and the United States risks fighting a blind war without adequate intelligence," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. "That's simply unacceptable."

The dying urgency? Blind war without adequate intelligence? Say it ain't so! SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE!?

No, no, no. The headline, "Rushing off a cliff," is completely unfair. Congress isn't driving the bus over a cliff--that's what the administration asked for, but thanks to the bold rebellion of Senators McCain, Warner and Graham, they refused.

Instead they simply removed the guard rail, fired the traffic cops, gave the keys to a drunk driver, and closed their eyes.

(excuse me, do I sound bitter? good morning everyone!)

no skin off my back... i wasn't using all these fancy "rights" anyway

Won't the Supreme Court just strike down this law as unconstitutional? I am surprised we haven't read more discussion of that possibility. Given the prior decision about tribunals, I would think such a ruling very likely -- but maybe I'm missing something.

Ralph: Won't the Supreme Court just strike down this law as unconstitutional?

Doesn't the Bush administration already have a majority on the Supreme Court? As I understand it, they have to agree to hear the case: if Bush's supporters on the court don't agree to hear it...

Well, the court already struck down Bush's military tribunals. This attack on the Constitution is arguably worse.

Ralph, I think that there is a substantial likelihood that the stripping of habeas will be found unconstitutional. And Jes, I strongly doubt that the Court would decline to hear such a case. The questions are (a) how does it come to them and (b) when.

If the bill passes and is signed today -- as many expect -- I would suppose that the government will move to dismiss all the pending cases. The district judges will have to decide whether to grant the motions -- whether, if they think that the new statute is not an unconstitutional Suspension, they should dismiss the cases, or transfer them to the D.C. Circuit for DTA review. Dismissal would be immediately appealable to the D.C. Circuit, while transfer might well not be. I have to think about that.

(If the district judges -- or a few of them -- decide that it is an unconstitutional Suspension, I'd expect the government to petition for certification for immediate appeal to the Circuit, and get certification).

There are a few cases in the Circuit already: Al Odah/Boumedienne has been pending since January/February 2005, there is (or was) a Paracha case, and I think there's a case called Kiyemba. It's likely that the government would move to dismiss these cases too, but it might instead seek to convert them to DTA review. An order granting conversion might not be appealable, if it takes the form of a request for supplemental briefing: 'the parties are request to submit supplemental briefs to address the merits of this case as if section blah, blah of the DTA applies to this case.' This might/should touch off a dispute about entitlement to the record before the CSRTs -- I'm not sure what has been provided in Boumedienne, for example -- but the notion that you can have an appeal without having the full record from the trial level is pretty problematic.

I think you're getting the picture.

Add in that no Supreme Court decision is likely to come within 6 months of a Circuit decision, and that no Supreme Court decision will come between the 4th of July and Columbus Day, and you end up saying that it's likely to be 2008 before the Administration's lawlessness gets smacked down again. (At least we liberals don't have to be lectured by conservatives about being soft on crime any more.)

Of course, every day that a prisoner is held without legal justification is a new injury. All the while, the current Landis stay may well continue for the bulk of the cases -- although it has become, in my view, an abuse of Landis by now.

And the Europeans to whom the President said in the spring of this year that he wanted to close Guantanamo, but was just waiting for the Supreme Court to rule will have learned another lesson about the wisdom of believing what the man says about his own plans.

And aren't there plenty of horrendous provisions in the bill that aren't likely to be found unconstitutional? After all, not everything that's a bad idea or un-American is unconstitutional.

Undoing any of those isn't going to be possible even if the Democrats retake both chambers, since we'll be far from a veto-proof majority (and Senate Republicans would likely filibuster anyway).

I think the fact that at least parts of the bill may be found to be unconstitutional is a feature, not a bug, for some of those who vote aye. It's the fall back position. "Well, I wanted to support the president, I wnated to tough on terror, and I figured that the courts would be a check upon any dicey parts." Votes really don't count for much on their own, not when the outcome is all but foreordained, and not when the stakes are really about the election and not about good law or even ethical policy.


Freedom is on THE MARCH!

(Are those Keneth Cole Jack-Boots? So cool.)

CharleyCarp, thanks for the response.

And the Europeans to whom the President said in the spring of this year that he wanted to close Guantanamo, but was just waiting for the Supreme Court to rule will have learned another lesson about the wisdom of believing what the man says about his own plans.

Which Europeans believed the President wanted to close Guantanamo?

They may be many strategies in play here, including a possible opening on SCOTUS in the next two years, and the way this bill/issue could be used to fire up the base and intimidate Democratic Senators.

Leave that nightmare for another day.

CharleyCarp, thanks so much for your exhaustive (well, let's say extensive) answer. That does indeed clarify the situation.

Could an appellant ask for some sort of expedited hearing of the case, ala Bush v Gore, on the grounds that it's a critical moment for the Constitution (substitute proper jargon)?

i wasn't using all these fancy "rights" anyway

And that's ok cleek because if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to fear. After all, President Infallible has made the right call time after time (how could he not with that name?).

I'm sooo looking forward to my next business trip to the states this november. Oh, what wonderful feeling that is to know that if due to some mixup in names I could be whisked off never to be seen again and without any recourse whatever.

I am close to telling my boss "f*** it, I won't fly to that banana republic".

Otmar, two years ago I was telling friends "I'm never going to the US again, the way they're heading" (and I meant, Mahar Arar, harassment of Muslim flight crew, the new fingerprinting rule on arrival, etc). One friend told me "It's all very well for you - you don't have to go. But it's part of my job." Earlier this year I overheard the same friend telling his friends "After what I went through going to the US last time, I'm telling [his employer] that I'm never going back. No matter what."

I just spoke with Reid's office and was told that no final decision on a filibuster has been made.

Please call.

202 224 3542

Me: Can we just get a general agreement that anyone who votes for this bill should be forever shunned and kept from participating in the public discourse?

Most of America: What bill?

Exactly Ugh.

I also feel absolutely unable to affect change. Living in OK, my voice is unheard even though I consistently vote. I feel like maybe I should reregister Republican just so I can call and say "I am a registered Republican and I won't support you if you abandon conservative principles like, for instance, rule of law."

Most of America: What bill?


and i'm convinced Jake-bnto's theory, above, is probably what a lot of Congresspeople are doing. they're playing chicken with the Constitution - taking the benefit of looking tough to people who aren't paying close attention (and to those who say things like "the Constitution isn't a suicide pact"), and betting that the USSC will step in and do away with this law before it has a chance to really mess things up.

that's the Grown-Up thing to do, anyway

Atrios has a great speech from Feingold.

maybe those Dems have some spirit left in em after all.

Habeas amendment fails 48-51.

I hope Reid's office's official line isn't like Bush's insistence, right up through February 2003, that he hadn't made a decision on going to war.

So I'll call. Maybe the NYT editorial wasn't weeks too late to do any good. Thanks, Bernard.

I fought the law, and the law won.

Well, if Scotus rules that any part of this bill is unconstitutional, then the RNC strategy for 2008 becomes operational.

Something along the lines of activist judges (probably 5, don't ya think) are subverting America's efforts against terrorism.

Once again, the enemies outside are going to kill us. The enemies inside are helping them kill us. Both enemies must be eliminated. Then, we can cut taxes some more, or something.

What is the point of this strategy? Because if it is merely cynical political opportunism, I'm going to be deeply disappointed in the Republican Party.

They would be real pikers if they didn't have something much more grand in mind.

Nell, don't you mean you hope it is like Bush's insistence, which would mean that Reid is actually determined to filibuster, despite his claim to be uncommitted?

"Habeas amendment fails 48-51."

Who's going to tell Ben Franklin that we couldn't keep the republic he helped found?

Which Europeans believed the President wanted to close Guantanamo?


Many of the speeches were good, yesterday and today. Smith of Oregon quoting Justice Jackson, for example.

I'd be surprised if there's a filibuster, but I've been surprised before.

Cleek, every day is a new injury. That said, I doubt they're going to be doing much abuse of prisoners in the near term, other than ending hunger strikes and the like. It's not like there's any point in getting confessions from people who aren't going to be tried, and all the ticking time bombs have exploded by now.

All Democrats except Ben Nelson, plus Chafee, Smith, Specter, and Sununu, voted for keeping habeas corpus. Snowe didn't vote. The 50 other Republicans plus Nelson voted against it.

"Aaaiii! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Krugman R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn! Aaaiii! AAAAAAIIIIIIIII!!!!"

Be careful you don't summon Habeas the Unspeakable, hilzoy.

Lyle Denniston has described last Friday a return of the Hamdan case itself to the same judge who ruled against the first version of the military commissions years ago. Denniston seems to be saying this judge, Robertson in the DC Circuit, might be reviewing disposition soon whether Hamdan still has a habeas argument in the light of DTA-II, if SB3930 should pass today. It appears what Denniston is depicting is a different route from the packets of other cases which CharlieC discusses above.
I think the Supreme Court left itself room to visit some issues; if DTA-II passes, maybe Hamdan-II would be a suitable vehicle to look at those minutiae. Certainly Scotus was reluctant to open the issue of habeas very far in the opinion in Hamdan-I.

I would gauge the administration would like to keep the legitimacy of the entire DTA-II construct away from checks and balances by Scotus; congress has passed unconstitutional laws before; and, Denniston, remarks, Roberts likely would continue recusal in a Hamdan-II. That could complicate cert., depending on the final form of DTA-II if passed; as, in my view, both Roberts and Alito expressed concern about some of the habeas implications of a few administration policies broadly without discussing specifics in their respective hearings for their nomination. Additionally, though both jurists have reputations for siding with the executive, DTA-II has revised so many longstanding conventions in the legal atmosphere that both justices likely ineluctably would be drawn to seeking an opportune case in which they could participate fully. The issues go to the foundation of our system of governance, precisely the sort of problems which attract a Supreme Court Justice.

Nell (and others),

Please do call. One of the things the staffer I spoke to said was that the filibuster decision depended on the outcome of the vote on amendments. Now that the Habeas amendment has failed, Reid has no excuse.

Again: 202 224 3542

John, that's an interesting thought. I don't see, though, why if he decides to make the same claims all other prisoners are making -- instead of making the unique claims that got him to the head of the queue -- Salim Hamdan's case gets considered by Judge Robertson (he's a district court judge, not circuit court) either faster or differently from the dozen or more cases already before Robertson.

He still has those 'unique' claims -- he and 7 or 8 of his fellow indictees -- and I would expect both Judge Robertson and the Circuit, in his case, to do what they did before: concentrate on Commission issues, rather than on uncharged alleged combatant issues.

I thought I had seen everything by now, but this latest move beggars belief. Nixon seems like a cream puff by comparison.

If the Dems are unwilling to nail their colors to the mast, they deserve what they get, though they probably don't have enough votes to stop the Republican hordes. But still: principal must stand for something. What's the point of winning the mid-term elections if the current Administration has already nullified the Constitution?

This, I'm sure, is largely Cheney's doing. George doesn't have the brains to manage it. And where is Rummy, I wonder...fitting out a nuclear sub to escape in?

Time for senators of both parties to come together to save the Republic. Partisanship and fears of reprisal must be put aside in the face of a brazen attempt to subvert the laws of the nation and the Constitution by a political hack and his abetters.

Let's see who the REAL patriots are in this time of crisis!

Aux Armes, Cityoens!

I got the same message from Senator Salazar's office; he's waiting for all amendment votes before he decides whether or not to support a filibuster. I pointed out that the habeas bill had already failed and urged him (well, his representative) to filibuster the bill.

Andrew, thanks for calling, but you'll need to enlist some more pressure. Salazar voted against the Levin substitution yesterday (the bill originally passed by the Armed Services committee, before the "compromise").

Are there any actual grassroots Republicans (bloggers, etc.) who are organizing opposition to the bill? I saw John Cole quoted at The Poor Man in "shrill" mode, but what's happening at Balloon Juice and similar places?


Any suggestions? I don't think there's much point in calling Senator Allard's office, and I'm not sure what other pressure I can bring to bear. I'm new to this, so advice is appreciated.

Ah, CNN, keeping the citizenry duly informed of important events.

Front page story on right now:

School shooting in Colorado.

On the side bar from top to bottom:

1. Story on manhunt for police shooting suspect.
2. Terrell Owens suicide (or not) attempt.
3. Dow flirts with record highs (six years later, hmmm).
4. al Qaeda urges Muslims to kidnap Christians.
5. HP scandal.
6. Mars rover.
7. "Squirrel jumps boy in park; rabies suspected"
8. "Bullets never stop in frontline view of gunfight"
9. "Girl left comatose after dental visit dies"
10. "Porn star candidate campaigns on campus"
11. "Charlie Sheen to become highest paid sitcom star"
12. "Jon Stewart's I-report makes him a hottie"

"Only on CNN":

Ashton Kutcher tells secret to Ryan Seacrest

"Most popular videos:"
1. Porn actress for governor?
2. Seacrest nearly Punk'd
3. When good squirrels go bad
4. Jon Stewart 'I-report for CNN'

"Best Video":

1. Clerk beats back robber
2. Jon Stewart 'I-report for CNN'
3. The Anna Nicole Sideshow
4. Mars rover

Well Bush has long said that the terrorists hate us for our freedom. I guess the easiest solution in his mind is to get rid of our freedom.


Great line. I hope you won't mind me recycling it.

I don't think there's much point in calling Senator Allard's office, and I'm not sure what other pressure I can bring to bear.

Call Reid and urge a filibuster. Call Schumer and do the same. He is head of the DSCC and trying to raise money for Democratic candidates.

Well shoot, there's no stopping this thing, might as well get my bona fides in:

The democrats are loser-defeatists moonbats who suffer from Bush derangement want Saddam back in charge of Iraq and are objectively pro-terrorist!!!!

Please arrest my neighbor, registered democrat.

Schumer: 202 224 6542

Staffer didn't seem too interested, but worth the call.

>Ah, CNN, keeping the citizenry duly informed of important events.

Atris hears you

Atris hears you

Not exactly who I was shooting for, but I'll take it. He did have this good line today:

There is no plan for victory because to Bush the mere act of staying is victory.

Sounded about right to me.

seems like i could link to Artios all day... he's got a so/so statement from Obama up on top now with this little nugget:

    I may have only been in this body for a short while, but I am not naive to the political considerations that go along with many of the decisions we make here. I realize that soon, we will adjourn for the fall, and the campaigning will begin in earnest. And there will be 30-second attack ads and negative mail pieces, and we will be called everything from cut-and-run quitters to Defeatocrats to people who care more about the rights of terrorists than the protection of Americans. And I know that the vote before us was specifically designed and timed to add more fuel to that fire.

of course Obama just wants to put a sunset on the bill, not kill it outright. as he says "At bare minimum, I hope we can at least pass this provision so that cooler heads can prevail after the silly season is over." ie. let's punt and hope for a quick turnover.

and what are the odds that 1 in 10 Americans know anything at all about this bill ? pretty fncking slim.

we really don't deserve a democracy.

we really don't deserve a democracy.

Don't worry cleek, I'm sure President Giuliani will be much better, he would never abuse executive power.

Sigh. All of a sudden, I just don't really care about the Democratic Party any more.

Living in a red state, I can make a difference only by giving money to out-of-state Democrats. Which I've done before. But won't be doing again.

If they can't filibuster this bill, they don't deserve anyone's support. "Oh, but if they took the Senate, everything would be different!" I find that harder and harder to believe.

I want an opposition party, not Republicans Lite.

Torture is going to be the Abortion of the Democratic party. They don't have to DO anything about it, but the base is unwilling to go to 'the other guys'. Mark my words.

They don't have to DO anything about it, but the base is unwilling to go to 'the other guys'.

OTOH, the base may catch a movie on Election Day instead of going to vote. To say nothing of how the base spends its money.

I'm revolted that such a wicked bill didn't get the Dems to fight in the last ditch.

I'm revolted that such a wicked bill didn't get the Dems to fight in the last ditch.
Obama has pretty much lost my support if something doesn't happen at the last minute. He's a media darling, he's seen as a centrist, he has the attention of the base and the party and so on. But like Lieberman and McCain, he seems more interested in that carefully covered image than any actual principles.

I hope I'm wrong.

But right now, I'm a bit... angry. At everybody.

Don't worry cleek, I'm sure President Giuliani will be much better, he would never abuse executive power.

OMG. last week, while we were watch the Daily Show (or something) my dear sweet wife said "i'd vote for a McCain / Giuliani ticket in a heartbeat. wouldn't you ?" i could barely respond. i tried to come up with a quick capsule explanation as to why i wouldn't. but i could only stammer something about Giuliani not being a likely GOP candidate because he's a twice-divored adulterer.

there was a time when i thought McCain was an honorable guy. and Giuliani did make himself look good (from a distance) after 9/11. but after watching the two of them for the past 5 years, i've changed my thinking.

my wife isn't dumb, but she just doesn't pay close attention to this stuff. and that's what the Dem candidate is up against.


So I just got back -- is it too late to call and ask for a filibuster? (Hard to tell from CSAPN2)

CSPAN -- though CSNAP or CSAPN would be fore fun.

Commenters on DailyKos are saying that Sen. Reid's office says there aren't the votes for a filibuster. When I called, Reid's office still hadn't decided.

I figure calling can't hurt -- I'm pretty sure the vote hasn't happened yet -- but I think the fix is in.

That is, when I called an hour or two ago. The Daily Kos comments are later.

I called Obama's office and explained that he was the first Democrat I'd ever voted for in my life. And that even if there weren't votes to sustain a fillibuster, that this sort of issue is more than just a political set piece: it's a moral responsibility. It's precisely the reason that I voted for him, and that we cannot stand by at moments like this, even if we fail.

In 1940, a time of true existential danger to the republic, contrary to the Philip Roth fantasy history, we had the sense and decency to re-elect Roosevelt. In 2004, we not only elected Lindberg, but apparently dozens of him. Good luck to us.

At least Reid has very nice music for people on hold...

"Who's going to tell Ben Franklin that we couldn't keep the republic he helped found?"

The ghost of Alexander Hamilton?


"I fought the law, and the law won."

"If you're asked to fight a war that's over nothing, it's best to join the side that's gonna win."
-Bright Eyes

At least Reid has very nice music for people on hold

"Run Like Hell" ?
"Bad Moon On The Rise" ?
"The End" ?

So: I just talked to a staffer at Reid's office, who says that they can't filibuster now, as it would take unanimous consent; and that they did this because they didn't have the votes for the filibuster, so tried instead to change some of the more awful parts of the bill. I asked who were the six Senators who would have voted for cloture; the staffer declined to tell me, but added: not Senator Reid, I can tell you that. He added that some Senators were in very close elections.

I said: look, I'm out here trying as hard as I can to make sure that people who stick up for the Constitution are supported by their constituents in turn. I'm sure a lot of other people are as well. We're doing it because we think it's the right thing to do, even though in most cases it doesn't particularly benefit us. And all we ask in return is that our Senators try to do the right thing as well, especially when it's this important.

He said he would pass that message along. He seemed nice, if somewhat dispirited.

Sympathy for the Devil?

OOC, why are no major cable news programs covering this? Like, at all? Why has this not been hammered forth from every newspaper editorial? WTF is going on here? Can they really pawn off our democracy that cheaply?

Can they really pawn off our democracy that cheaply?

Hey man, you try selling democracy at the Pawn Shop after Iraq, you can't even pay people to take it.

He added that some Senators were in very close elections.

someone should ask Max Cleland how caving to Republican pre-election demagoguery works.

OOC, why are no major cable news programs covering this? Like, at all? Why has this not been hammered forth from every newspaper editorial? WTF is going on here? Can they really pawn off our democracy that cheaply?

Because winning is more important than anything else. It's the new national religion, and our leaders are nothing if not faithful.

On a slight tangent, check Cornyn's comments regarding making evidence available to the "accused" during the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing re the nomination of Wallace to the 5th CCofA. It was on C-Span last night and the clip is on their website under "Defending His Record."

More theme music: Michael Caine singing "It's Over" at the end of "Little Voice" . . . ?

I spoke with staffers in both Senator Reid's and Senator Schumer's office. Both took note of my request, but didn't mention anything about whether or not the Senators would be supporting a filibuster. I guess now I know the answer

(Quoting myself from Balkin's comments:)

If the 6 Dems who wouldn't filibuster are stripped of their committee chairs and invited to run on the Republican ticket next time around, that would change my mind about the Democratic Party.

Ain't holding my breath, though.

(I've had it with 'em. A party without party discipline isn't a party.)

A party without party discipline isn't a party.

It's a funeral.

Does this bill retroactively immunize everyone too? Or is that the NSA bill? Or is it both?

Ugh, I believe it's both. That's a large part of the point. Don't want the Democrats to actually be able to hold anyone responsible if they do manage to get control of anything.

Anarch -- why are no major cable news programs covering this?

You know this already, but check the graph. The media, just like those few Democratic cowards who would rather be elected than uphold the constitution, are engaged in close races for market share. We already know where Disney and Murdoch stand on this one. The others gotta hang on to their viewers in case, you know, something important happens that needs to be reported.

And I thought the Republican were tough on crime.

Does this bill retroactively immunize everyone too?

I was wondering about that. If the statute were to be repealed in 2009, what happens to the immunity? Are you once immune, always immune? Or if the immunity is a creature of statute, does it die with the statute?

From Bizarro World I see this fascinating editorial from Sen. Mitch McConnell, where I learn:

"Five years after Sept. 11, 2001, we have yet to be attacked again on American soil."

Which is true, if "attacked again" means "attacked again except for an attack with biological weapons."

"In the days and weeks immediately following 9/11, almost no one believed this would be the case."

And almost no one was correct.

"Our procedures for interrogating these would-be killers are safe, lawful, respectful of the Constitution, and consistent with our obligations to international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions."

Okay, then why do we need the bill?

"But due to a recent Supreme Court decision, the legality of our interrogation efforts has been thrown into doubt."

Oh, well what does the Supreme Court know about law anyway?

"Unless Congress acts, the rules for interrogating and prosecuting terrorists will be unclear[.]"

Wait, I thought this was about flexibility, don't we need them to be unclear?

"and a terrorist could sue a U.S. citizen in an American court simply for doing his or her job."

The Horror! Next thing you know they'll be asking to see the evidence that shows them to be terrorists before they're executed.

"It also ensures ... that terrorists won't have access to classified information that must be kept secret for security reasons when they go to trial."

I see you're one step ahead of me Mitch.

"A recent Washington Post article even reported that CIA counterterrorist agents have been reduced to buying insurance to cover legal costs in case they are sued. That's outrageous."

I certainly wouldn't have thought stripping detainees naked, dousing them with cold water and keeping them in 50 degree rooms was NOT humane treatment; and here I am without my own insurance.

"The Senate is considering legislation that ensures there are clear guidelines so we can interrogate these plotters of destruction, as aggressively as necessary, to save lives while respecting our laws and treaty obligations."

Dammit Mitch! The headline reads "Preserve interrogation flexibility", make up your mind.

"It can't be disputed that for the last five years, the interrogation of captured terrorists, within the law, has yielded vital information to stop the followers of a twisted strain of radical Islam from killing again."

Which is true, if "within the law" means "within the law if you ignore the Supreme Court"

"Imagine the loss of life and damage to our economy that would ensue if the terrorists hit us again as they did on 9/11 -- but this time, with a weapon of mass destruction."

An-, anthr-, anthra-, oh, I give up.

"Those who oppose America's efforts to get as much life-saving information out of captured terrorists as we can ought to explain why they would rid the government of this effective tool."

Then why aren't you out stumping for electric shocks, thumbscrews, pliers and blow-torches, electric drills and other "effective tools" instead of the wimpy "fraternity pranks" that we're now employing? Come on Mitch, be a man.

I better never meet this waste in person.

It would be pretty funny for al-Qaeda to kidnap Mitch McConnell, waterboard him, make him stand for 40 hours, keep him awake for a week, etc., until they get video of his "confessing" that he sodomized his mother regularly. Then they could let him go, release the video, and ask what his position on torture is.

Of course, lacking any sense of humor, Qaeda would just behead him, so better if they don't catch him. Where are the Merry Muslim Pranksters when you need them?

Shorter Frist as just heard on C-Span (paraphrase):

Torturing detainees provides the only source of intel we have for fighting the GWoT. Without this we fight blind.

I'm watching the vote on C-SPAN right now and tears are starting to stream down my face. I feel like I'm watching a loved one die.

PS: Can we call them fascists yet?

Also, I can't believe how many Democrats voted for this thing. Landrieu, Nelson, Salazar, Lautenberg... and of course, fucking Lieberman.


Yeah, like 2/3 "yea."

And having a bill on the border "security" fence right afterward?!

Most telling moment: Warner using his time before the vote on the detainee bill to thank those who made it possible. Done deal.

Or this waste:

"Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on the American homeland in our history, Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing," Bush said at a Republican fundraiser.

"The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run," Bush told a convention-center audience of over 2,000 people. The event put $2.5 million in the campaign accounts of Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and the state GOP.

I don't know why, but this reminds me of a scene in the schlocky movie "They Live," where Rowdy Roddy Piper has found his way into some sort of facility and sees a speech by one of the aliens to the "human elite" or some such, who have seen the light and been accepted into the aliens tent. Bush is giving a speech to those "in the know," spewing all sorts of nonsense and playing to the crowd. The audience is nodding "yes yes" and Bush and the administration are thinking "what a bunch of useful idiots."

A live, presumably thinking, member of the United States Senate:

"Some want to tie the hands of our terror fighters," said Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., alluding to opponents of the bill. "They want to take away the tools we use to fight terror, to handcuff us, to hamper us in our fight to protect our families."

The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run,

that's funny... cause there was this troll over at Drum's place today telling us how this bill was no big deal because FDR was much worse.

and oh, yeah: fnck Bush. may his name live in infamy.

Rogue Presidency

Oh, that Tristero over at Digby's thinks he is shrill, all fed up and not gonna take it anymore!! Goldarnit!

"The truth is that there is a rogue presidency and there has been, since January, 2001 (earlier, if you count the stolen election). Certainly, everyone in Washington knows it, but no one dares to admit it. The bill legalizing torture merely enables Congress to pretend they still have some influence over an executive that from day one was governing, not as if they had a mandate, but as if Bush were a dictator. If, for some miracle, the bill didn't pass, every congress-critter knows Bush would keep on torturing.

Better to vote to pass and preserve the appearance of a working American government, the thinking goes. For the very thought that the US government is seriously broken - that the Executive is beyond the control of anyone and everyone in the world - is such a truly awesome and terrifying thought that it can never be publicly acknowledged. If ever it is, if the American crisis gets outed and Congress and the Supremes openly assert that the Executive has run completely amok and is beyond control, the world consequences are staggering. It is the stuff of doomsday novels."

"Since the day after the 2000 election, Bush and his goons have been playing chicken with the very structure of the United States Government, double-daring anyone to try and stop them. If Congress does try - and I'm not talking little things like wrecking Social Security, that'll happen and a dictator can afford to let things like that wait a while, I'm talking atomic bang bang and thumbscrews - he will force the private Constitutional crisis into the open. And there is no guarantee that Bush will lose.

And that is the truth. The Congress has been given an awful choice: Vote to approve torture and the suspension of habeas or show the world that yes, you really do have no genuine power to check Bush." ...Tristero


So we have an active dictatorship holding power with the covert threat of violence, tossing innocents into black holes of torture and throwing away the keys, and what is the shrillest dude in the blogophere gonna do?

"There's no question about it. Any person in Congress who votes for this will never get my vote again. " ...tristero

Oh, the very fundament shakes at the Wrath of the Righteous.

Landrieu: I can't vote to keep New Orleans dry, but I can sure vote for torture!

If 5-10-20 people, including the important and ones, on this blog were to commit the felony of speech; if we were all to get arrested and indicted, that trial would be all over the papers and Talk TV. The wingnuts would play it hard, saying see:"That's what liberals are like."

Those ten would soon have a couple of more blogs, then 10 more blogs, then a hundred blogs. When 2000 successful Americans were on trial for Saying the Bad Thing, we would have the start of a Movement.
You don't like this idea? Come up with another one. 5-10 more Democrats in Congress will do nothing.

We Brought It Back Home

I think Henley has been linked before, but hey. Is it all over forever?

Yes, it apparently is.

Bob, you're assuming there will be trials. Even if only show trials.

Those come later.

For now, people will simply vanish. And anyone who wants to make a stink about it will also vanish.

Soon, people will realize their only hope is to keep their heads down and their mouths shut.

That will make them angry. But there won't be anything they can do with their anger.

At that point, there will be show trials. Televised. And maybe executions held in sports stadiums. And people will be... encouraged... to attend them. There, they can scream and stomp their feet and let off some of that anger.

People can also be encouraged to join, oh, Block Watches. To keep an eye on their neighbors, their coworkers, their schools. So they can report on whoever looks suspicious. That, too, will let people blow off some steam.

That's how it's done. That's how it's always been done. That's how it will be done here.

Sullivan links to this Onion article from December 2002. If only it were still just a joke.

bob mcmanus,

Did you happen to catch Jill Bains' comment over at Digby's site on "Mad Hatter" (about 15 comments down)?

One last theme song: Leonard Cohen's "The Future."

One last theme song: Leonard Cohen's "The Future."

At this point? It's "Waiting For The Miracle".

"For now, people will simply vanish. And anyone who wants to make a stink about it will also vanish."

We are not quite there yet. They can vanish me. They could not yet disappear hilzoy or MY or Drum. Or Markos, with his millions of readers.

Osama Wins ...Meteorblade's stepson escapes to Great Britain

"When I talked with Ibrahim today, I wished I could have told him that the situation in America has changed since he wrote that essay 18 months ago. I wished I could have told him our leaders have wised up after Iraq. I wished I could have said that diplomacy has taken the front seat to military force. I wish I could have told him that Mister Bush will not attack Iran, or that if he does, the Democrats will make him wish he hadn’t. I wish I could have said that everything will be different if only the Republicans lose their House and Senate majorities in November. I wished I could have said that everything will be different if you just be patient.

But I couldn’t, could I?

So Ibrahim, who I have come to love as if he were my own child, will be heading off to England with his wife to finish his education. Not a bad thing, of itself, but done because America, land of the free, beacon of liberty, turned out not to be." ...MB

Could you tell MB's son to trust in America?

They could not yet disappear hilzoy or MY or Drum. Or Markos, with his millions of readers.

How would we know? How many weeks without a blog post before someone grows suspicious enough to look into it?

Where is Riverbend, anyway?

"Where is Riverbend, anyway?"

I really don't want to think about this.

"How many weeks without a blog post"

W/O going into details, let me say that besides the obvious public lives, the community of bloggers has more personal contact than shows on the pages. Umm, I am not part of that community, simply observant with a decent memory.
Okay, disclaimer time I suppose.

1)These are not intended as personal attacks on anyone's fervour or dedication. It is just an idea. I would actually prefer for politicians or journalists to go to jail, but they lack the integrity and courage of bloggers. I name names simply because some kind of "blogger x" formulation looks so, well, timid.
2)I am not asking, let alone demanding, that someone give up their lives for their country. I have not the right. It is just an idea.
3) It is valid to consider this a stupid or even immoral idea. In honesty, given the opportunity, I would not do IT. I would lie, and say I would. Perhaps people could not lie, or perhaps the idea remains so offensive they could not in conscience say it. Perhaps this "puppet politics" of spectacle is pointless and ineffective.

Perhaps some still retain hope in electoral politics. I give that six months. Which doesn't anybody will be listening to me then, because maybe at that point my betters will be talking alternatives and options.

I hope.

I'll repeat here something I just wrote in a comment on Unfogged: after today, why should I vote for the Democrats as a party in the fall? If my Senator were, say, Lautenberg -- which, thank God, he's not -- why should I reward his cowardice, his craven abdication of his responsibilities and his gutless pandering to the latent fascists among us, with my vote? An enabler of torturer is better than a torturer himself, I guess, but is that really better enough to warrant support? Especially if -- as is my fear -- we simply validate the Democratic strategy of spineless submission to whatever atrocity the Republican hard-liners vomit forth next?

As I mentioned in another thread [on Unfogged], my Senators voted "No" so this isn't particularly an issue. But I damn well called both of them and told them that if they voted "Yes" they had lost my vote in perpetuity, Bush and the Republicans be damned -- which, after this, they will be.

Bob, I don't think you're wrong about that starting a movement. I just read a book about 1968--that's exactly how it worked, as did the civil rights movement. People see awful things happening to their friends and neighbors, and things change quickly. Martin Luther King needed Bull Connors, not Laurie Pritchett. They deliberately recruited white kids during Freedom Summer, because they knew people would notice then.

But surely the administration knows that there's a higher price for doing these things to prominent American politicians and journalists and bloggers than to invisible brown people from foreign countries. I mean, people here are upset about the Arar case and the examples I've posted of likely innocents at GTMO. If they did something like that to hilzoy or Ed Markey or Dana Priest, we would be much worse than upset and do much more than write indignant blog comments and the odd law review article. There would be an enormous political risk. Maybe Powerline would be all for it, but most Americans would not be.

Why would they do something so stupid and risky?

I realize it's possible to get yourself arrested, of course. You could violate all sorts of ordinances. But IMO, civil disobedience only works if the specific law that you're arrested for violating is unjust, or being applied unjustly. You can get yourself arrested for illegally blocking traffic, if you like, but not for denouncing this bill.

CaseyL are some people, in some countries, who do risk their lives by even speaking about these things. Not us, not here, not now, and there's no inevitability about it happening here. We risk very little. We just lose sleep, and lose votes in Congress. Let's not pretend otherwise, all right? "The truth is bad enough," as my journalism prof used to repeat to us.

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