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How Would a Patriot Act?
Posted by: Jon Henke on Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Back around the '04 election, I wrote that if Bush was re-elected, it would be the job of those on the Right to "hold his feet to the fire". The administration (any administration, really) would be unlikely to react well to a permanently-peeved, hysterical opposition...and the hysterical opposition makes it hard to respond well to more thoughtful opposition. So, I like Glenn Greenwald, because he's been a rational, thoughtful and articulate critic of some Bush administration policies — qualities far too rare among many of the administration's natural opposition.

What's more, many of Greenwald's criticisms have been very consistent with the kind of libertarian skepticism of big government that I'd like to see more of. My fear, however, is that the newfound Democratic skepticism of big government extends only to Republican-run government, and not to government in general. As Billy Beck wrote some time back, many of the outraged critics are merely "punks, who would feed your ass into a shredder for "society", as soon as they got their hands on the machine that they've just woken up to whining about since January of 2001."

For whatever reason, the Democrats — and, increasingly, the Republicans, as well — have adopted a Great Man Theory of Good Government: all we have to do is get rid of this current President for one of our own and this government, this "dangerous servant and a fearful master" (George Washington), will be just fine.

That's why I'm disappointed to see that Glenn Greenwald's new book is entitled:
How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok

The current administration is not The Problem; it is merely the latest manifestation of the innate structural problems of government. George Washington and other founding fathers understood this well — "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force" — but today's players seem more interested in restraining the power of the opposition than of the "dangerous servant/fearful master" itself.

In his defense, Greenwald does mention that he hopes for solutions to the "crisis of lawlessness which we have in our government generally", and that current problems "ought to alarm all Americans regardless of partisan loyalty or ideology". I believe that's true; what I do not believe is that replacing the old boss with a new boss (or party) will do much to restrain the "crisis of lawlessness".

If the Bush administration teaches the Left anything, I sincerely hope it is that the dangerous servant they desire can quickly become their fearful master.

If Democrats are genuinely worried about "the power to act without any checks or limits at all", they should also be worried about the near-unlimited power Congress has accrued under the modern interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause, which now gives to Congress the power to dictate to states on matters which are neither interstate nor commerce; the potentially unlimited slippery slope damage that the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law does to the 1st Ammendment; the general assaults on the Ammendments 2, 4, 9 and 10, all in the name of the "general welfare".

Our dangerous servant will be far less dangerous when critics focus less on their opposition and more on the dangerous master they've helped to create. The problem is not Democrats or Republicans — the problem is intrinsic to government itself. The solution is a generalized, healthy skepticism of that government.
 
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Too bad jon. If Glenn really believed all that, he wouldnt be a liberal, he’d be at best a libertarian, or possibly a conservative (though conservatives who think like that are sadly becoming fewer and fewer). A small govt liberal? Can there be such a thing?
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
The current administration is not The Problem; it is merely the latest manifestation of the innate structural problems of government. George Washington and other founding fathers understood this well — "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force" — but today’s players seem more interested in restraining the power of the opposition than of the "dangerous servant/fearful master" itself.
Well put, Jon. And an excellent corollary to Billy Beck’s observation.

I can’t count the number times I’ve been hanging out in that oh-so-progressive "city" of Charlottesville and heard the following lament: "If we just had the right people in charge, this country (Hell! This whole world!) would be better off."

This tiresome, pseudo-intellectual epiphane is so pervasive in leftist circles (and increasingly in rightist ones — see, e.g., "compassionate conservatism") that I’ve simply stopped highlighting the obvious point that "the right people" aren’t always going to be in charge. When first raised it puts the lamentor back on his heels, but eventually they either drop the subject altogether or find some way to argue that the "right people" would open everyone’s eyes, so much so that there would no longer be any "wrong people." Since no one ever seems to truly entertain this thought, now I just nod, listen and keep my mouth shut.

My point is simply that this raw idealism I often encounter is energized by its apprehension of the awesome power of the state and all the potential good it is imagined can be done by harnessing that power. Never is that idealism tempered by contemplation of the other edge of the sword. And these aren’t college kids mind you. These are people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I find it hugely ironic that these very same people, who scoff at the idea of restraining state power, would galdly outlaw every last gun in the country if they had a choice.

Until voters fully understand that the state power will be used against them at some point, they’ll continue voting as if the "right people" will make everything just fine and dandy and curse the "wrong people," when they come into power, for all the world’s woes.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Huh? Isn’t this the guy that claimed that defenders of the administration were a bunch of authoritarian cultists? He’s done some admirable work, but I don’t know that I’d describe him as particularly thoughtful...
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
My fear, however, is that the newfound Democratic skepticism of big government extends only to Republican-run government, and not to government in general.
This has been my experience. I’ve talked to Democrats on various occasions, oftentimes including such issues as firearms rights, and invariably one of them spouts off the "why are you so distrustful of the government?" line.

Usually I just say something like "If the past 6 years havent made you skeptical of government power, then what the hell have you been complaining about this whole time?"

That usually shuts them up, at least for a little while.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
Hey sean, are you the guy that runs myelectionanalysis? I’ve read through most of TuckerMax.com (but not much of his message boards) and found out about the suit he’s facing from someone submitting your post to Digg.com. Anyways, great job and I’ll probably be visiting your site more as the elections approach.

As for Glenn Greenwald, that is the guy you’re thinking of. That post was obviously pretty stupid when held up to reality. He was heavily mocked by Jeff Goldstein and Tom Maguire because of it. I haven’t read much of him, but I am interested in thoughts about his most recent post, in which he attacks Glenn Reynolds over the Harvard paper arguing the US Foreign Policy is in control of the Israel Lobby.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
The solution is a generalized, healthy skepticism of that government.
One of my favorite quotes is from Judge Learned Hand, spoken about fifty or sixty years ago:
Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
No president can save it either. A president can only perform his duties within a band of acceptable behavior - acceptable by the electorate. To an extent, he can lead and influence what the public believes is right and acceptable, but only to a degree.

The reason I grow increasingly frustrated with the Bush administration is that it’s clear they are not even interested in being towards the part of that band that is generally sympathetic to freedom. Campaign Finance Reform was clearly towards the populist, anti-freedom part of the band, and we now know that the faux grassroots support for it was engineered by leftists.

The problem, though is that any Democratic alternative would play even further out on the anti-freedom part of the band, and lead the public further in philosopy in that direction ("Free health care is a right!"). That puts libertarians in a real bind. None of our options look very good, so we disagree strongly on what to do.

Some still hold out hope that a party that contains Tom Coburn and Ron Paul might actually lead the people towards a more pro-freedom outlook. Others (including me, unfortunately) believe that this is impossible without significant structural reforms, and we don’t see how to get those reforms even on the table for serious discussion. But we’re not ready to give up, though it gets harder every year to stay above the pessimism. Our hope lies in advent of new technologies that change societal dynamics, such as the Internet and mass mobile communications. Some of us also harbor rather vague hopes that the Democratic Party as we see it today will melt down from it’s sheer incoherence, and the resulting political realignment will have room for those who place a high value on freedom.

Others, such as Beck, have apparently lost hope that such an outcome is even possible, and have retreated into sniping at anyone who still has a shred of hope of turning things around. I hear vague mutterings about civil disobedience, but no coherent explanation of how that’s going to change things in any substantive way, given that the percentage of the population that have the courage to carry out such actions is never going to be very big.

In the meantime, though the Bush adminstration can elicit dissatisfaction and even rage on occasion from me, I save my greatest energy for fighting leftists. I see them as the clear and proximate cause of our worse immediate outcomes. For example, if they ever succeed in nationalizing health care, it’s never going back to private short of a massive civil insurrection of some kind, and it will end up killing many thousands of people a year and likely condemn my grandchildren to worse health care than we have now. Now consider that this is the stated aim of many of the current leaders of the Democratic Party. That’s worth fighting.

I want to see people like these having no signficant influence on American politics, because our media and informed citizens realize that such people are out of touch with reality. Until that happens, I don’t see that we can do anything constructive.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I’m the same, and thanks for the props. I’ll admit I don’t read Glenn Greenwald except when he’s linked off of Kos, which might not be the most representative sampling of his stuff.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
This is the first small complaint from Jon about Mr. Greenwald. Then Jon says:
“...what I do not believe is that replacing the old boss with a new boss (or party) will do much to restrain the "crisis of lawlessness".
Perhaps these are signals that Jon is beginning to recover from that long night of delusion in which Mr. Greenwald was a white knight paragon of Constitutional rectitude fearlessly speaking truth to power about the evils of the Bush Administration George Bush. Mr. Greenwald, to those not under the spell of BDS, is a very talented defense-attorney-type Democratic hack who uses his talents to spin up characterizations of George Bush that leave the reader wondering how the man can stand (cloven hoofs, get it.) Seriously, read several posts on Mr. Greenwald’s site and you wonder how such an evil person as George Bush could still be allowed to walk around freely in our society, much less be elected and serving as President.
On Mr. Greenwald’s site the trial is over. Bush is guilty. Mr. Greenwald is wroth that Congress, instead of impeaching Bush, is considering legislation to confirm that what he is doing is legal. He will tell you, tiredly, that he has proven Bush’s guilt on his site in past posts clearly and beyond any doubt, much less reasonable doubt, if you simply click on arguments A, B, C, etc. He has organized these arguments in one post for easy access.
For those held tight in the grips of BDS, I’m sure it is wonderfully soothing to re-read these “proofs”in order to exult over Bush’s “guilt”. Someone not under the spell of BDS can clearly see the defense attorney at work there, glossing over points made by the other side or omitting them entirely. Also very evident is the partisan bias in favor of Democrats.
So now, like the SwiftVets, he is self-financing (if you believe that the money being paid for publishing the book is Mr. Greenwald’s...) a “book” in order to get the word out to those not on the internet. Save time and money and go his site and read the summary post containing his screed. Or, if you have a friend who suffers from BDS, get him the book. He will no doubt read it over and over again, pausing only briefly from time to leap up and shout: “Yes! Yes!” while gesticulating wildly. On second thought, not a good idea. The book will be pressed upon you as a “re-gift” that will “change your life” and make you “see the true nature of the evils that are afoot in our great nation”.
Anyway, Jon has been writing some really good stuff recently on QandO. So much so that I now read with interest when I see “Posted by Jon Henke” on a post. He scooped the blogosphere on the racist LAT story (see Instapundit ) and seems to be at the top of his game. Welcome back from Recovery, Jon.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Posts such as this one are a double-edged sword. Sure, they attempt to remind us that government is a force to be checked at every opportunity. But at the same time, it attempts to classify the Bush administration’s moves as simply run of the mill government run amok. And in that sense, it minimizes the threat posed by the Bush administration.

There is a difference between government that is heavy handed, yet acts within the bounds of the law, and a government that simply ignores the law. That is the crucial difference, and posts such as this one fail to observe the distinction.

Bush is the first president in the modern era to claim the power to lock up US citizens indefinitely without access to the courts. Bush is the first president in modern history to claim to have the power to engage in warrantless, extra-judicial physical searches and eavesdropping. Reagan never claimed this power. Nor did Bush I, nor did Clinton, nor did Eisenhower.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Bush is the first president in the modern era to claim the power to lock up US citizens indefinitely without access to the courts.
I’m not sure what American citizens you’re talking about. The ones in Gitmo are not American citizens. Moussaoui is in court right now.

And I don’t know what you consider the "modern era", but I don’t think anything Bush has done can hold a patch to FDR locking up tens of thousands of Japenese Americans during WWII. Do you not consider FDR "modern"?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Bush is the first president in modern history to claim to have the power to engage in warrantless, extra-judicial physical searches and eavesdropping.
If this is true, then why has there been a need for several court cases to determine the legality of warrantless federal searches prior to Bush’s presidency? Obviously, previous administrations have tried to make the argument that they could conduct warrantless searches under certain circumstances. Whether or not specific cases supported government actions or not, the argument has been made repeatedly for various situations in recent history.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I’m not sure what American citizens you’re talking about. The ones in Gitmo are not American citizens. Moussaoui is in court right now.
Jose Padilla, for one. And he is one we know about. Now, three years after the fact, Bush has finally conceded and allowed him access to a court. But Bush has yet to disavow the principle that he can lock up American citizens indefinitely on American soil without access to the courts.

Contrary to Jon’s observations, no Democrat has ever claimed to have that power. Ever. So yes Jon, there is a difference.
And I don’t know what you consider the "modern era", but I don’t think anything Bush has done can hold a patch to FDR locking up tens of thousands of Japenese Americans during WWII. Do you not consider FDR "modern"?
Thanks for making my point. Fred Korematsu was allowed access to the federal courts. If you read the opinion, the government did not argue that Korematsu did not have a right, or standing, or whatever, to petition the court and to be heard in a public forum.

That is the distinction. The Bush administration maintains to this day that it has the right to lock up American citizens indefinitely on American soil and deny them access to the courts. That is the fundamental distinction between what Roosevelt did and what Bush is doing. The same thing goes for warrantless wiretaps and searches. Bush claims the power to essentially write the judiciary out of the equation.

I can’t tell, but I think many there are many conservatives out there who literally do not understand the importance of due process. They don’t understand the function of the judiciary. If you don’t have access to the courts, you’re "rights" are effectively meaningless. What good is the right to bear arms if you cannot be heard when you allege that the government has violated those rights? Or any other right, for that matter.

Ironically, many conservatives who claim to cherish their rights against the government are the same kind of people who are waging an assault on the very judiciary whose task it is to enforce those rights against the government. Ginsburg, for instance, reported last week that she has received death threats for citing foreign law. (Of course, conservatives have been up in arms about citations to foreign law.) Senator Cornyn and Representative Delay made implied threats against the judiciary in some rather intemperate remarks last year.

Do I disagree with what Roosevelt did? Of course. But nothing he did impeded Korematsu’s right to be heard. And we were in a declared war. Bush, by contrast, takes the position that the courts have no business reviewing what he has done, even though we are not in a declared war. If you don’t see the signifigance of the distinction, you will never get it. And to suggest that Dems GOP’ers are the same in light of this distinction is ridiculous.

When the government comes in the middle of the night to take you away and shut you off from the courts, you can bet the farm it will be a Republican government.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
If this is true, then why has there been a need for several court cases to determine the legality of warrantless federal searches prior to Bush’s presidency? Obviously, previous administrations have tried to make the argument that they could conduct warrantless searches under certain circumstances. Whether or not specific cases supported government actions or not, the argument has been made repeatedly for various situations in recent history.


I should be clear - no Democratic president has ever claimed to have the power to do this when there has been Congressional legisaltion saying the president can’t do this. No one have ever shown that Carter or Clinton (Or Bush I or Reagan) ever violated the terms of FISA on the ground that he has inherent power under Article II to do so.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Contrary to Jon’s observations, no Democrat has ever claimed to have that power.
Which observation was that?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Thanks for making my point.
I didn’t say FDR didn’t allow them access to courts. I said nothing Bush has done was a patch on what FDR did.

So, according to you, it’s fine to lock up tens of thousands of Americans with no probable cause, as long as some court somewhere says it’s OK? And even though future courts said it wasn’t OK?

So you’ve got one guy, Padilla, and hypothetical others you can’t name. Padilla had probable cause to be arrested as a terrorist. Now, I think he should be in court too, but if you see that as more detrimental to the social fabric of this country than locking up twenty thousand Japanese with no tangible cause, then your opinion is a result of BDS, not rational thought.

Come on, MK. You can do it. Just say FDR was wrong - at least as wrong as Bush. Otherwise you are exposed as a partisan hack.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I think there’s a larger point that is being made here, that goes beyond warrantless wiretapping or alleged detentions of US citizens. Take for example the partial-birth abortion ban (or intact d&e if you will) that will likely be upheld by the Supreme Court this summer. Such a ban would be unthinkable under the pre-1937 view of Congress’s powers that were intended to do "good." Similarly, there wouldn’t be the burgeoning number of abuses of the constitution from the drug war and whatnot if not for the federalization of many traditionally local crimes (there weren’t many rulings regarding the First and Fourth Amendment prior to the 20th Century because there weren’t many laws to test them). Instead, we’re left with increasingly tenuous interpretations of "due process" and "establishment of religion" to protect us from our coming darkness. Of course, even those can be used for purposes for which the Left wouldn’t particularly care, see Bush v. Gore. And mark my words, within my lifetime the Right will begin to realize that the "organic constitution" can be used to achieve its ends, and will get a fetus recognized as a "person" within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, statutory text notwithstanding.

The point is, when you expand Leviathan’s powers, you shouldn’t imagine Bill Clinton or Gandhi or whatever "good" person you want running the show. Instead imagine Pat Buchanan or Pat Robertson or someone like that running the show, that way you’re spared the anguish of lamenting "but it wasn’t supposed to be this way" when things turn out badly. Because, to paraphrase Hayek, the worst tend to get on top. In other words, the statement that "[t]here is a difference between government that is heavy handed, yet acts within the bounds of the law, and a government that simply ignores the law" is nonsense. Such abuses are inevitable from a "heavy handed" government, which is why a powerful centralized government is such a horrific danger. Modern liberals have spent decades building up the notion that government is responsible for our protection from every imaginable harm and injury, and now gnash their teeth when a President takes actions that they don’t like under the guise of "the greater good." And all classic liberals like myself and my intellectual forbearers can do is shake our heads, because we have been warning about this for decades.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
I said nothing Bush has done was a patch on what FDR did.
I don’t know what that means.
So, according to you, it’s fine to lock up tens of thousands of Americans with no probable cause, as long as some court somewhere says it’s OK? And even though future courts said it wasn’t OK?
"Fine" and "OK’ are sort of meaningless terms in this context. Courts do a lot of things that aren’t fine or OK with me. But our system is premised on the existence of an independent judiciary acting in good faith. You are conflating the result of the process (which I don’t agree with) with the process itself (which I do agree with). Again, this is a problem that is endemic on the right.
So you’ve got one guy, Padilla, and hypothetical others you can’t name. Padilla had probable cause to be arrested as a terrorist. Now, I think he should be in court too, but if you see that as more detrimental to the social fabric of this country than locking up twenty thousand Japanese with no tangible cause, then your opinion is a result of BDS, not rational thought.
Whether there was PC to arrest Padilla as a "terrorist" has not been litigated and is sort of beside the point. Again, you are conflating the result and the process (or lack thereof). A symptom of Bush Infatuation Syndrome? Perhaps.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Contrary to Jon’s observations, no Democrat has ever claimed to have that power.

Which observation was that?
This one:
My fear, however, is that the newfound Democratic skepticism of big government extends only to Republican-run government, and not to government in general
And more to the point, this one:
I believe that’s true; what I do not believe is that replacing the old boss with a new boss (or party) will do much to restrain the "crisis of lawlessness".
The clear implication of these assertions is that Dems are opposed to Bush’s power grabs (e.g., indefinite detention of American citizens, violating the terms of FISA) not because they are unconstitutional, but because Bush is the one making them. And I would submit that there is no leading Democrat making the claim that the President has the right to lock up American citizens on American soil indefinitely.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Artful dodging, MK. A couple of hundred words that never addressed anything of substance I said.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I have no idea what you infer from my statements, but neither of those statements implied that Democrats claimed to have the that power. I make no predictions about what future Democrats may claim, except to note that (1) past performance gives me little reason to believe that Democrats will resist further encroachment against liberty (for the general welfare, natch) and (2) there’s no intrinsic difference between Democrats or Republicans when faced with existing public choice incentives.

I have little faith that either party will be ultimately restrained by anything but force. That’s why I want structural reform, not merely replacement. Replacement is just a temporary stop-gap measure.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon - Interesting post and Comments discussion. I agree with most of the views you express in this post regarding the excesses of Government - in particular, I think that the reach of the Federal Government is so far beyond what the Founders ever intended, thanks largely though not exclusively to a complete bastardization of the Interstate Commerce Clause, that the Federal Government basically has become everything which the Founders promised the country it would never be — a huge, sprawling, distant, centralized power which has almost entirely eviscerated the right of states and localties to control their own destiny (although I must not that, other than Howard Dean, who spoke about this problem fleetingly during his presidential campaign, I have not heard very many politicians of any prominence ever speak of any of those matters).

I am an ardent advocate of limited government and think that restoring the limitations on governmental power envisioned by the Founders is one of the most pressing priorities for preserving liberty. Anyone who assumes to the contrary is doing so because they have dichotomized the political spectrum into "Bush supporters" and "liberals/Democrats," such that people will assume you are some sort of liberal if you are a vigorous opponent of the Administration — which just happens to be the theme of the post, ironically enough, which has been the target of some conclusory criticism in this comment thread.

In any event, where I disagree with you — a lot — is in this sentence:
The current administration is not The Problem; it is merely the latest manifestation of the innate structural problems of government.
Unquestionably, there are serious problems which pre-date this Administration and which this Administration has simply extended — including the excessive reach of the Federal Government discussed in the first paragraph. But there is a very profound problem which is unique to this Administration — namely, that it has exploited terrorism fears in order to expressly adopt a theory of power pursuant to which it believes it cannot be restrained by anything, including the law. As long as we have an Administration which is expressly disregarding the rule of law, that is necessarily the most pressing governmental crisis, because none of the other issues in which you seem interested really matter unless and until we restore a respect for the rule of law.

My book isn’t about the overreach of the Federal Government generally, the distortion of the Commerce Clause or the generally improper exploitation of governmental power. If it were about those topics, I’d agree that the focus would not be fairly placed on the Bush Administraiton. But the book is about the radical theories of lawlessness which I believe are genuinely dangerous — and those are clearly unique to this Administration, hence the title.
 
Written By: Glenn Greenwald
URL: http://GlennGreenwald.blogspot.com
Glenn,

Let’s assume agreement on the perniciousness of the current Administration’s legal overreaching. Is it fair to assert that the current curtailment of rule-of-law and personal freedom singularly egregious? Are the administrations actions in the WOT without precedent? My own thinking, FWIW, is "NO!".

Lincoln suspended the writ of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War.

Woodrow Wilson, in the run-up to and during our involvement in WWI, requested and received from Congress numerous provisions curtailing "sedition" and the like; clear 1st Amendment violations no matter how you slice it.

Roosevelt (as already discussed curtly in this thread) rounded up and detained thousands of Japanese-Americans for no reason other than their national origin.

These examples of governance excess (and they were excesses by any objective standard) knew no party affiliation. They were more likely a by-product of the sense of national emergency that emerged in wartime; the nation was felt to be under existential threat. Hence, such measures were more acceptable to the public. In that milieu government, being the rapacious creature it is, seized the opportunity to tighten its grasp.

I submit to you that the current perceived excesses are a feature of the system and not a defect of it or any particular individual(s).
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
It’s going to get worse before it gets better...

Only question is in what manner will it be worse.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
But there is a very profound problem which is unique to this Administration — namely, that it has exploited terrorism fears in order to expressly adopt a theory of power pursuant to which it believes it cannot be restrained by anything, including the law.
Really? Have you ever heard of Franklin Delano Roosevelt? FDR? He was President for a long time. Issued a lot of Executive Orders, created a lot of confiscatory and meddlesome agencies ... No? How about Harry Truman? Steel seizure? Youngstown? Ring any bells?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
I submit to you that the current perceived excesses are a feature of the system and not a defect of it or any particular individual(s).


Well said... It ain’t broke Jon OR Glenn or MK... Presidents ahve done this and more and STILL it’s not a police state. Unless of course you really think a la Marcuse that this IS a Police State. Or unless you consider the actions listed, EXCEPT for the internment, to have been "too high a price to have paid" for the security they brought. Note again, EXCEPT FOR THE INTERNMENT.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
George Bush says that Iraq is doing fine despite Iraqis being subjected to’’savage acts of violence’’. Here’s one such act:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world
/middle_east/4827424.stm
 
Written By: Tony
URL: http://
Have you ever heard of Franklin Delano Roosevelt?
I challenged MK outright to say that what FDR did was as bad or worse than what Bush has done. Naturally, he/she (has anybody ever nailed that one down?) fudged and refused to do so. Instead, there was blathering about "the process", as if something about the way FDR pressured judges to give the verdicts he wanted, irrespective of legalities, makes the outcome OK.

MK dodges the question, which is about abuse of power. It’s clear to any objective observer, even one that supports what FDR did, that he pushed the boundaries on what was legal. He threatened to pack the Supreme Court if they didn’t approve clearly unconstitional measures in the Depression, but MK is fine with that because it got results he/she likes. FDR locked up tens of thousands of people on grounds that were later deemed to be illegal, but because some random judge was intimidated into approving it at the time, MK says "the process" worked, therefore his idol FDR is not really at fault.

MK doesn’t support the outcome, but it’s OK because "the process worked". You want to really catch MK in a contradiction? Point out that Bush was put in office in 2000 because "the process worked", and then ask whether that was or was not an abuse of power in MK’s eyes.

There’s no point in arguing with MK about anything related to Bush. Every single thing Bush has ever done in axiomatically wrong in MK’s eyes, as best as I can tell.

By contrast, I can tell you what I liked and didn’t like about Bill Clinton. I can even tell you a few things I think Jimmy Carter did right, though it’s a running joke how bad I thought he was, and McQ and I agree that he was the worst president of our lifetime. I can tell you things Reagan did wrong, though overall I thought he did pretty well.

But in all the threads I’ve seen, MK has never admitted that Bush has ever done a single thing right. Democratic presidents are paragons, past GOP presidents are sincere-but-flawed, but George W. Bush is presented as a pure villian out of a 1930’s serial, except without the mustache.

It’s Bush Derangement Syndrome, and that’s why it’s pointless to ask MK the questions you ask. He/she will just dodge, obfuscate, and dissemble, and then if you respond long enough seize on some minor point of yours as the end-all-be-all of the argument.

To demonstrate the problem, note that after pointing out MK’s derangement over Bush, I was accused of having "Bush infatuation", despite having written pieces such as this one that are extremely critical of Bush. MK can’t imagine anyone have a nuanced opinion of Bush, because Bush is axiomatically bad, and anybody who doesn’t understand must be a "Bush apologist".
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
But there is a very profound problem which is unique to this Administration — namely, that it has exploited terrorism fears in order to expressly adopt a theory of power pursuant to which it believes it cannot be restrained by anything, including the law.
Do you not accept that this administration is dealing with something no other administration has? Using the examples others have provided on presidential administration excess, could Bush have just rounded up every Muslim in the country, given them ’court access’ and all would be OK?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
MK dodges the question, which is about abuse of power. It’s clear to any objective observer, even one that supports what FDR did, that he pushed the boundaries on what was legal. He threatened to pack the Supreme Court if they didn’t approve clearly unconstitional measures in the Depression, but MK is fine with that because it got results he/she likes.
Actually, as I said above, I disagree with the result in Korematsu. I do think that Roosevelt did not have the authority to do what he did. But the differences in how FDR went about it make the difference. First, FDR was acting pursuant to a grant of Congressional authority. Second, and again, this is the crucial difference, Roosevelt did not deny those persons he interred access to the courts. Again, you just don’t seem to grasp this difference.
FDR locked up tens of thousands of people on grounds that were later deemed to be illegal, but because some random judge was intimidated into approving it at the time, MK says "the process" worked, therefore his idol FDR is not really at fault.
Actually, it was the Supreme Court - 6 to 3 decision. And what I am hearing here is more contempt for the judiciary than anything else. Again, if you don’t like a system whereby a Supreme Court is delegated the task of reviewing the actions taken by a President, and possibly making bad decisions in the process, try to amend the constitution.

Did I think that OJ did it? Yes. Did I think the jury got it wrong? Yes. Should we therefore abandon trial by jury? No.
MK doesn’t support the outcome, but it’s OK because "the process worked". You want to really catch MK in a contradiction? Point out that Bush was put in office in 2000 because "the process worked", and then ask whether that was or was not an abuse of power in MK’s eyes.
Again, I disagreed with the reasoning and the result in Bush v. Gore. But so what? Bush got his day in court. And yet he denies other citizens their day.

Where exactly do you stand, Billy? Either you support indefintie detention of American citizens, or you don’t. So which is it?
There’s no point in arguing with MK about anything related to Bush. Every single thing Bush has ever done in axiomatically wrong in MK’s eyes, as best as I can tell.

By contrast, I can tell you what I liked and didn’t like about Bill Clinton. I can even tell you a few things I think Jimmy Carter did right, though it’s a running joke how bad I thought he was, and McQ and I agree that he was the worst president of our lifetime. I can tell you things Reagan did wrong, though overall I thought he did pretty well.

But in all the threads I’ve seen, MK has never admitted that Bush has ever done a single thing right. Democratic presidents are paragons, past GOP presidents are sincere-but-flawed, but George W. Bush is presented as a pure villian out of a 1930’s serial, except without the mustache.
The issue here is whether Bush is breaking the law in a manner unprecedented in modern history. You have not established that any other president has held American citizens on American soil without access to the courts. You have not established that any other modern American president has wiretapped American citizens on American soil in direct contravention of the USC. For all your blathering, you still have not grappled with the fundamental issue: Bush’s lawlesness. Instead, you have played rhetorical games: Any criticism of Bush is irrational Bush hatred, and therefore I don’t have to confront the merits of the issue.



 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
"Do you not accept that this administration is dealing with something no other administration has?"

Ok, so it wasn’t asked to me, but: No, I do not accept that this administration is dealing with something no other administration has. Not even a little bit.

Terrorism is not new. We didn’t find out about terrorism in 2001. Al-Qaeda didn’t come into existance in 2001. Their first successful attack wasn’t in 2001. The first successful terrorist attack on US soil wasn’t in 2001. There was McVey, the IRA, Israel & Palestine, and so on.

The only difference, is that now the US as a whole is in complete panic mode because it was in our face. 9/11 was tragic and horrible, but not the first. Probably the most effective, but not the first.

Glenn’s claim, and I totally agree, is that the current administration has used the new terrorism panic to make a huge power grab, at the cost of our liberty and security.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
Tito..."Huge Power Grab"? Excuse me... FDR, LBJ, Lincoln, Huge Power Grab... Dubya, no sorry no sale... you are suffering from BDS or Rhetoric Disease.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
you hope that the democrats would learn a new respect for the destructive powers of government. No, wont happen, they are like the Bourbon Kings, they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.
Come on, MK. You can do it. Just say FDR was wrong - at least as wrong as Bush. Otherwise you are exposed as a partisan hack.
was there ever any doubt?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Either you support indefintie detention of American citizens, or you don’t. So which is it?
I already said I don’t, and you’re completely missing the point (as usual).

Bush isn’t perfect, but the idea that he’s doing nasty, odious abuse of his power in a way that no other president has done is just preposterous. You’re the one who refuses to admit that other presidents have abused power.

You’re so fond of the "process", but you completely glossed over the point I mentioned about FDR threatening the Supreme Court. Sure, various cases were "decided" by a threatened court, but just because FDR gamed the process, you think that’s OK (even when disagreeing with the outcome). I say, and others on this thread apparently agree) that it was an egregious abuse of power, as bad or worse than anything Bush has ever done.

You’ve got one guy who, according to you was illegally detained. Yet the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that Bush did indeed have the authority to detain Padilla without charges, just as the courts allowed FDR to detain Japanese without charges. So we went through your vaunted "process". It’s time to stop using that dodge. For the record, I don’t like either case. But I can see the difference between 1 and 30,000. You apparently can’t.

You still claim that this one case, and hypothetical others for which you conveniently cannot supply details, is a worse abuse of power than FDR locking up tens of thousands of people. That’s just silly, MK. And it demonstrates BDS beyond reasonable doubt.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
You’re so fond of the "process", but you completely glossed over the point I mentioned about FDR threatening the Supreme Court. Sure, various cases were "decided" by a threatened court, but just because FDR gamed the process, you think that’s OK (even when disagreeing with the outcome). I say, and others on this thread apparently agree) that it was an egregious abuse of power, as bad or worse than anything Bush has ever done.
Well, unlike Cornyn or Delay, he didn’t imply that some harm could come to them if they didn’t make the right decision. And if you don’t think that Bush hasn’t been on an anti-judicial crusade, well, you haven’t been paying attention. As for the court-packing plan, that really had nothing to do with Korematsu, or WWII. It had everything to do with the New Deal. And it really didn’t substantively differ from the GOP’s threats to curtail the jurisdiction of the judiciary, particularly the lower federal courts. Indeed, Roosevelt didn’t really threaten the reach of the court at all.
You’ve got one guy who, according to you was illegally detained. Yet the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that Bush did indeed have the authority to detain Padilla without charges, just as the courts allowed FDR to detain Japanese without charges. So we went through your vaunted "process". It’s time to stop using that dodge. For the record, I don’t like either case. But I can see the difference between 1 and 30,000. You apparently can’t.
Nice try. The 4th Circuit said Padilla wasn’t entitled to a hearing on whether he was an "enemy combatant." So even if there was Congressional authority to detain an American on American soil if the American was an enemy combatant (a basically untenable position - Padilla was nabbed on American soil, not in Afghanistan) the Bush administration did its best to deny Padilla the chance to see if he came within the purview of that legislation. In contrast, the war declaration in 1941 was clear as glass. Moreover, Congress created legislation that clearly gave Roosevelt the authority to do what he did. If you actually read Korematsu, the challenge was not brought on Article II grounds, i.e., that the president exceeded his authority, but on Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The difference is more than significant, it is dispositive.

And to me, since every single citizen is as important as everyone else, one constitutional violation is as damming as 30,000. Indeed, one violation sets a precedent that allows 30,000 to occur.
You still claim that this one case, and hypothetical others for which you conveniently cannot supply details, is a worse abuse of power than FDR locking up tens of thousands of people.
The government abuses power every day. Every day, police officers violate the rights of citizens. But in every case, there is a remedy, evidence gets suppressed, damages are awarded, and the Korematsus of the world are allowed to argue there is no compelling state interest in holding all Japanese. Mr. Padilla was not given a chance to seek his remedy, however. He was denied that chance. Korematsu got to argue that the way he was being treated was unconstitutional, and that he should be released, given the merits of his case. His lawyers were allowed to meet with him.

Padilla was not allowed to meet with his lawyer. Or do you not care about the 6th amendment?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Or do you not care about the 6th amendment?


For goodness sake! How many times do I have to say I don’t agree with Padilla’s treatment?!?

That’s not the issue, you know it’s not the issue, and your disingenuousness is beginning to be sickening.

Bush abuses power. FDR abused power. Richard Nixon abused power. Bill Clinton abused power.

Maintaining that Bush has done something out of proportion to what others have done is nonsense. And all the red herrings on whether I care about the 6th amendment don’t change that.

Nixon introduced wage and price controls. I don’t see how any reasonable reading of the Bill of Rights gives the government the right to set prices in private transactions. But it happened. Is doing something that affects every American in an arguably unconstitutional way not abuse of power?

Yes, I know FDR’s threatened court packing was over the New Deal. What difference does that make? It’s still abuse of power. And don’t you think that having given in once, the Supreme Court was then intimidated throughout his term? Certainly the left is quick to leap to the conclusion of intimidation for Bush, even on sketchy or ambiguous evidence. For FDR, the evidence is not sketchy or ambiguous. Yet again, you attempt to use a minor irrelevent point to invalidate an argument. Your lawyer training, no doubt.

In short, it’s classic BDS symptoms - everything Bush does is axiomatically wrong and evil, but others, particularly Democrats, get the benefit of the doubt. FDR engaged in abuses that anyone who really cares about civil rights out to be howling to the skies about. How many of those Japanese had any evidence that would indicate that they were a threat? Certainly, there was some evidence in Padilla’s case, the chief disagreement being whether he was just a foot soldier or someone in a position to actually do real harm. But in your BDS-infected mind, this one guy that we’re pretty sure really did intend to harm the US is equivalent to locking up thousands of people for which no such evidence exists. And you fig-leaf by claiming that the "process" worked in that case, but not for Padilla, even though the Bush administration had to defend their actions in court and won.

It’s the same old MK. Hysteria and hyperbole about Bush, and nit-picking over irrelevancies when anyone disagrees.

Personally, I hope you keep it up. You are the poster child for the delusional left, and the readers get to see that every time you go to the keyboard.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"Never is that idealism tempered..."
Perhaps it is not idealism, but desperation. It is difficult to face the reality that the world is a tough, sometimes cruel place, and that there is no cure for life. This is probably very traumatic for those brought up in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, where no anti-social or violent games like dodgeball are allowed, and they are taught that we can all get along if we just listen and care. And, of course, obey.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Glenn, we appear to agree on a great deal. A few comments...
although I must not that, other than Howard Dean, who spoke about this problem fleetingly during his presidential campaign, I have not heard very many politicians of any prominence ever speak of any of those matters
I find that politicians tend to mention State’s Rights only when those rights enhance causes they know stand a better chance at the State level than at the national level. Only, in short, when it is politically advantageous to invoke State’s rights. Virginia Senator George Allen mentions state’s rights fairly often, though it’s an open question how consistently he will pursue that in his forthcoming campaign.
I am an ardent advocate of limited government and think that restoring the limitations on governmental power envisioned by the Founders is one of the most pressing priorities for preserving liberty. Anyone who assumes to the contrary is doing so because they have dichotomized the political spectrum into "Bush supporters" and "liberals/Democrats,"
Amen. Though, I would disagree with your "authoritarian cultist" nomenclature; I consider that far too sweeping an indictment. Partisans are merely playing sides — and that’s occuring on both sides. I’m far from certain that it’s unique or uniquely common on the Right. In fact, I’d wager that much of the Right criticises Bush far more often than Dems are self-critical. Right now, at least. Perhaps that’s due to the disposition of power in our current system, but I’m just not sure that the current defenses of the Bush administration are entirely unusual. (while acknowledging that there are always some who would defend their Team no matter what)
But there is a very profound problem which is unique to this Administration — namely, that it has exploited terrorism fears in order to expressly adopt a theory of power pursuant to which it believes it cannot be restrained by anything, including the law. As long as we have an Administration which is expressly disregarding the rule of law, that is necessarily the most pressing governmental crisis, because none of the other issues in which you seem interested really matter unless and until we restore a respect for the rule of law.
I can see your point — that the administration’s claim to inherent power, a de facto Divine Right of War Time Presidents, is a categorically different kind of abuse.

Perhaps my frustration is merely that I don’t find such abuses so very different in effect from the extra-Constitutional claims that have been made by the Legislative branch — and adopted with relative lack of clamor. And I have even less confidence that — you excluded — many of the current critics will remain critics when they operate the shredder.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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