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Thursday, September 28, 2006
So they're really going to do it. Our 'elected' officials have agreed among themselves to revoke the Constitution.
If you doubt me, don't kid yourself: every constitutional protection can now be nullified with the application of a single magic word: terrorism. Since they don't have to actually provide evidence, the rules of evidence don't apply. Freedom of speech? Doesn't matter. Right to privacy? Doesn't apply. Right to an attorney? Does it matter? Bearing arms? It's obvious you were just going to use them for terror.
I can't believe the Democrats agreed not to filibuster in return for having their watery Habeas amendment considered. With a mere three days before the end of term that, with elections coming up, had no possibility of being extended, the Republicans would have had to let the bill drop. They had the power to derail the whole goddamn thing, and they completely pussed out.
Every time I think about the fact that the United States of America will soon be legally allowed to indefinitely imprison people without evidence, and with no recourse for the accused, I taste bile.
All of a sudden, idle talk about people leaving the country because of what the Republican leadership is doing has a real edge to it.
Update: the goddamn thing passed 65-34. I weep for my country.
Update 2: Avedon Carol has an illustration of the detainee bill's effects.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Why McCain Won't Back Down
Updated - please see below
Last Sunday, Digby made a prediction about the three Republican senators standing in the way of Bush's drive to legalize torture:
My prediction: McCain, Graham and Warner sputter a little bit and then do the big el- foldo. The institutionalization of the American police state will proceed apace until Republicans are removed from power --- and probably beyond. This is the kind of genie that fights going back in the bottle every step of the way.
Now, I don't know whether Graham and Warner have the cojones to stand up to a White House in full roar with a crucial election coming up. In their case, Digby's probably right; they'd be happy with having seeded the notion that they're not Bush's puppets. At the end of the day they could say they had to fall into line for the good of the party. Maybe they even think they're doing their bit to show the public that all Republicans aren't gleeful sadists.
But there are two things that make me think McCain isn't going to budge (much). First, this guy has actually, himself, been tortured. Second, he's the Republican presidential front-runner for 2008, running on a long-cultivated image of integrity.
To a great extent, he owes his political career to his military background, especially the heroic suffering he endured in the course of serving his country. He has said many times that poor treatment of our captives could cause our soldiers to receive poor treatment in turn.
For the first time in five years, he has taken a public stand against the administration on a big issue, and I'll bet he put a lot of thought into doing so. Standing up against torture fits exactly into his political narrative, and is getting huge press. My guess is that McCain means to frame torture as a symbol of everything the administration has done wrong (and Congress signed off on) in the GWOT, and repudiate it all at one go.
If McCain were to cave at this point, any Democratic opponent would beat him senseless with his own spinelessness. By his own logic, he would be at best indifferent to torture of American servicemen in the future. Worst of all, he would be abandoning his most deeply held principle in favor of an evil he has looked in the eye and in the service of crass, political ass-covering. There's no way he would willingly go into 2008 with that kind of albatross around his neck.
Basically, it boils down to this: if he has any integrity, he won't knuckle under. If he is a rank opportunist, he can't knuckle under.
Of course Digby was right. Actually, it's worse than that--McCain didn't just fold, he helped push this thing through.
I waited to admit how utterly wrong I was in the vain hope that McCain would do something, anything, to make this better. When he voted against the Specter-Leahy amendment today, his capitulation was complete.
Words cannot convey the contempt I have for John McCain. He knew better, and he voted to destroy the country anyway. I wish I believed in hell.