Torture and Terror, Un-American Activities

I was sitting at the kitchen table going through my morning emails, reading the blogs I keep up with and generally doing what I do during the quiet of a Saturday morn when after checking out Fragments I started running Fred’s link list. Basically, I was looking for some new voices on what was happening in the world.

The voice that resonated this morning is from Chris Clarke of Creek Running North. His essay from yesterday about the latest fiasco our “elected” representatives have gotten into was entitled “I am an enemy combatant”. Chris is just one of the multitude of voices beginning to rise up out here in the real world, and he has a very eloquent way of putting the common outrage being felt by at least half of this country’s citizens.

For all its manifold faults, for all its history steeped in racism and genocide, for all its wars of empire and Know-Nothing heritage, this country was manifestly founded on the notion that a just government bases its authority in the consent of the governed. Now the Bush administration has declared that the interests of this country are coincident with, and limited to, the short-term interests of the administration and its corporate backers, and the most basic, most essential Constitutional rights of the citizenry be damned, not by the odious exceptionalism of privilege that marred this country’s history, but across the board. All of us are three-fifths of a person now, granted the privilege of full protection only if we do nothing that requires protection, unless we are unlucky enough to be falsely accused. And I withdraw my consent.

It is a slippery slope that this administration and this congress have started us down. At some point the slide is going to get out of control. Who will have their hand on the button when this slide careens into the chasm at the bottom? We all know what the button controls, the biggest stockpile of wmd’s this old world has ever seen. And a petulant, spoiled child seems to have the button…Does that thought make you feel safe and comforted?

One of the commenters on Chris’s site, Alice, had this to say about his post…

The past few days, I’ve been pondering the quotation “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just”, even as I worry whether a God that I don’t believe in will care if I don’t observe Yom Kippur. Your post impelled me to google the quotation, which tells me (a) that it’s from Thomas Jefferson’s denunciation of slavery in 1785; and (b) that a lot of other folks are also pondering this, in the context of this latest assault on the principles underlying the founding of our country.

Of all of the fool things George W has done since he moved into the real world of international bull-in-the-china-shop, “I am the Decider” self indulgence, setting himself up to lead this country into a dictatorship has got to be the ultimate. And all because he needed that gold-plated “Get out of Jail Free” card. Can’t depend on the Republican congress coming back to keep all of the investigations shut down. Can’t take a chance the Democrats may take over the House and actually, you know, start doing the oversite that the Constitution mandates Congress do. Hell, if the democracy should actually spring up in America, you never know what might happen, George W and Dick may find themselves extradited to the Netherlands to face a jury of their peers…right?

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…Torture is Torture, America does not make it a policy to torture. As Chris said, we do not have a perfect record, but as a rule we try. Now the rule will be that you can, and we have all seen were that can get you. Does anyone in Washington remember Abu Ghraib? When you make it a policy to allow torture, torture happens. When you give the President the right to imprison people, does anyone want to bet it won’t happen?

As this debate played out in the halls of Congress, I had faith that somehow this Congress would find it’s (pardon the loss of a better word) balls to stand up to the Dick and George Show and remember what it was they swore an oath to protect. Sure, I’ve heard all of the arguments about this only applies to non-citizens, but so what. I am already being lumped in with the terrorists because I don’t feel that George W and crew have kept me safe without destroying the very things that make us American.

How long will it be before my rights of citizenship depend upon my kowtowing to the ruling party?

Crossposted at North Carolina Mountain Dreams

On Moral Cowardice – John Scalzi

John Scalzi started a hell of a conversation. Join in…

I’m proud to be an American, but I’m tired of being ashamed of my government. I’m tired of having to count the seconds until this bilious waste of a president is shoved out the door in January of 2009. I’m tired of hoping that some members of the president’s political party might actually put principle over political expedience, particularly when it concerns the Constitution. And I’m tired of waiting for the opposing party to actually grow a goddamned spine and become an opposing party. I’m tired of wondering why the people we elect to lead us don’t seem to actually understand what it means to be American, and to be moral, and to do what it right for us. And I’m tired of having to look so hard for genuine leadership as opposed to the sham idiot version we have now. I feel like Diogenes, and I’m coming up short.

I’m tired of being led by moral cowards. I want better for myself, and for my country.

My Comments to John:

John, I started to comment immediately after reading your post but decided to read the comments first instead.
First, thanks for writing what you did. I agree with your sentiments. I can’t understand where this country got off track but somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten who we are. I grew up proud to be American; proud that we didn’t do the easy thing…instead we did the right thing. Somewhere along the way we started doing the easy thing, now we can’t seem to retrace our steps back up that steep slope to the moral high ground. I think the first steps down that slope started when we decided it was easier to back corrupt dictators in our “fight” against communism…we are still following those same tracks in our new “war”. How can you explain to the people of the world that Sadam was OK in the ‘80’s but not the ‘90’s? The cat didn’t change his spots, we just changed our sunglasses. Hell over and over we back the opposition to the legally elected leaders around the world. Folks, democracy doesn’t mean America gets a veto…democracy means we get to learn to live with the governments that their populous elects.
In my humble opinion, we started sliding down this slippery slope in the days of the Nixon administration. Isn’t it kind of funny how all of the current administration seemed to have begun their political careers there?
As for Bush, I have the enviable position of sharing the Dixie Chicks’ concerns about my ex-Governor. The man I have had the privilege of voting against 4 times now. I have wondered to this day how his record as Governor was rewritten prior to 2000 and no one in the “Mainstream Media” could tell the rest of the country about it. Come on folks I’ve lived in Texas my whole life. We rank in the last 10% on every metric you wish to use for quality of life, environmental concerns, wages…oh, hell everything. And you thought a Texas Governor was going to make America better? Stronger? Get real…
I am also not very trusting of this administration. My feeling is that this “War on Terrorism” is going to come in real handy when it comes to postponing the festivities of November 2008. So forgive me if I don’t hold out much optimism for getting’ quit of these people any time soon. But I’ll be doing my part this November to try to pack the houses of government with as many friendly eyes as I can being in Texas. And I’ll be spreading the word far and wide…

Gas Prices – Update

I really did not think the oil companies would be this desperate to keep the Republicans in charge but I guess you keep the ones that are letting you get away with it all. I originally predicted gas at $1.98 by the week before the election…I was about a month off. I guess the CEO’s are more worried than I would have thought. I paid the magic price today when I filled up at the Citgo here in town. I would suppose that all things considered, it really cheap insurance…Give up a few millions now to rape more later (oops, I meant reap…I hate it when the fingers know more than the brain). You have to figure that should the Democrats regain control of anything something will have to give. The roll backs in environmental regulations instituted by our oil-man-in-chief and his gang of roughnecks have had a major impact on the profits that are going into the coffers of these companies.
Then there will be some oversight, even if very little. That little bit of oversight is more than we have seen for the last four years.

I have to wonder though…How low will they go before Nov 7? And how quickly will they bounce back after that?

My suggestion is if you have any big gas cans, fill them up on Nov 7 after you vote…

Colin Powell in Houston

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Colin Powell is not backing down from his stand on the issue of American Principles…Nor the decision to invade Iraq.

American principles are vital to terror fight, Powell says: “Former Secretary of State Colin Powell defended Wednesday the decision to invade Iraq and topple leader Saddam Hussein, at the same time acknowledging the Bush administration has misjudged and mismanaged the aftermath of the war.”

His comments were at a speech yesterday at the meeting of the World Affairs Council of Houston.

“This is a conflict that cannot be solved by the American army. We have 140,000 (troops) there. If we had 200,000 it isn’t going to be the answer because the answer has to be with the Iraqi people. The answer has to be an Iraqi government that starts to meet its responsibility.”
“What terrorists cannot do is change the nature of our society — a society that rests solidly on the rule of law and constitutional principles, a society that respects openness and difference of opinion. Only we can change that … I’m determined to defeat the terrorists by remaining an open, welcoming place that the world respects,”

It’s too bad that President Bush doesn’t have the same respect for America that seems to be ingrained in those of our leaders who actually served this country in the armed forces. I am not saying that military service is mandatory to instill this respect, but if your only examples were this administration, it sure would be hard to prove otherwise.
The words that keep running through my head are “common good”. Of all of the guiding principles that have set this country apart, the providing for the “common good” has to be the most important. That is where our road systems, our school systems, our police and military, even our park system come from , providing for the “common good” of the American people. And it is all of these systems and more that this administration is out to demolish, if not by fiat then by pure greed and incompetence.
If nothing else I feel this election cycle is about providing once more for the “common good”. It is time that the President’s base (and I am not talking about conservatives or the religious right but the silver spoon base he comes from) to rejoin America and work with the rest of us in providing for the “common good” of all Americans, today, tomorrow, next year and next century. If not there won’t be an America to worry about.

the ramblings of my brain over that first cup… and other meanders