Archive for the ‘Torture and Civil Liberties and What-Not’ Category

Another Thing I Don’t Get

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Maybe I should add this to the list. President Bush…I’m just finishing up six years of being told, and I mean non-stop, one of the many complaints against him is that not only does he make bad decisions, but he lacks the humility to acknowledge that he made a bad decision.

Hey, I’ve had bosses like that. I can see it.

And now the talking point is switched around, because he has changed course. Any flattering comments in this story? Anything about oh, joy, we’ve had this glaring problem in the Oval Office and now things are starting to improve? Anything about how we should count our blessings because, hey, he’s repentant, but learning?

Ha ha, ho ho. You should live so long.

The Bush administration said yesterday that it has agreed to disband a controversial warrantless surveillance program run by the National Security Agency, replacing it with a new effort that will be overseen by the secret court that governs clandestine spying in the United States.

The change — revealed by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee — marks an abrupt reversal by the administration, which for more than a year has aggressively defended the legality of the NSA surveillance program and disputed court authority to oversee it. [emphasis mine]

He sucks as a President, because he never changes his mind. He sucks as a President, because he abruptly reverses things.

Which is it? On what planet could it possibly be both?

The Jaywalking Professor

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Neal Boortz is being tough on this guy, a visitor to our shores with a tale of police brutality he’d like to tell. I don’t exactly agree with Neal’s reasoning. I simply don’t know enough about it to sign on to what he’s going. Boortz is a radio guy, and evidently he went on air and made some comments in the professor’s favor, to later retract them and apologize after reading the professor’s take on things (link requires registration when it gets in some funky mood that the web page programmer himself probably doesn’t understand). What was the infraction committed within the professor’s remarks?

He’s blaming the questionable behavior of the Atlanta Police on…aw, well who the hell do ya think?

I found that in Atlanta the civilization of the jail and the courts contrasted with the savagery of the police and the streets. This is a typical American contrast. The executive arm of government tends to be dumb, insensitive, violent and dangerous. The judiciary is the citizen’s vital guarantee of peace and liberty. I became a sort of exemplar in miniature of a classic American dilemma: the “balance of the Constitution,” as Americans call it, between executive power and judicial oversight.

I have long known, as any reasonable person must, that the courts are the citizen’s only protection against a rogue executive and rationally uncontrolled security forces. Though my own misadventure was trivial – and in perspective laughable – it resembles what is happening to the world in the era of George W. Bush. The planet is policed by a violent, arbitary, stupid and dangerous force. Within the USA, the courts struggle to maintain individual rights under the bludgeons of the “war on terror,” defending Guantanamo victims and striving to curb the excesses of the system. We need global institutions of justice, and judges of Judge Jackson’s level of humanity and wisdom, to help protect the world.

I dunno, man. It’s clear from reading the comments in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there’s some vast untapped repository of information about this, that is outside of my reach. But a lot of the people in the Professor’s camp on this one, have a disturbing tendency to confuse “having a degree” with “being right.” Um, excuse me. At issue is whether or not America is retaining its original ideals, and chief among these ideals is the idea that you get your fair day in court here — even if the dispute in which you are engaged, concerns another party with a much higher social status. We don’t think you’re in the wrong here, just because you’re a pauper and your plaintiff is a Lord. We don’t fine you a sixpence if you’re the son of an Earl, and a half-crown or a jail sentence, for doing the same thing if you’re not so well connected.

Things just don’t fly that way here. That is what America is all about.

And here these chuckleheads are, deciding the professor must be in the right, simply because he is one.

And as Boortz points out, quite correctly, not a very good one at that. He thinks rough police handling in Atlanta has something to do with our President. I don’t know why he thinks this because he feels very little need to establish why this connection exists. But it’s gotta be messed up, whatever it is.

I’m just not willing to decide the handling against him was within-bounds, just because he’s got some screwy ideas.

But having said that, this makes more sense:

I think that we all know that a simple “I’m sorry, officer, I’ll be more careful the next time” would have been more than sufficient. Clearly it escalated beyond that. Is it possible that the good professor used some of his “George Bush is Stupid, America is violent, dangerous and arbitrary” nonsense on the cop?

Why, that would reqiure a heck of an attitude problem. Looks to me like the prof has exactly that.

Feds Deny Padilla’s Claims of Abuse

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Oh my, oh my, it must be more evidence of our vanishing civil liberties or some such, right?

Federal prosecutors today denied claims by alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla that he was tortured during his 3 ½ years in military custody as a “enemy combatant.”

Sympathy MeterIn papers filed in Miami federal court, prosecutors said, Padilla provided no evidence to back up his claims and urged that the case against him not be dismissed based on his allegations. They insisted that Padilla was treated humanely while in a Navy brig in South Carolina.

”Padilla’s conditions of confinement were humane and designed to ensure his safety and security,” assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Killinger and other prosecutors said in their 17-page filing. “His basic needs were met in a conscientious manner.”

That included halal food, some outdoor exercise and medical attention when necessary. Prosecutors said Padilla never made any abuse claims while in military custody.

Tough luck, Jose.