Thursday, October 18, 2007

More on Authoritarianism in America...

Quick list of articles and random notes for this week's 'toon, as I'm racing a dying battery thanks to yet another power outage. Seems the Pacific Northwest is now getting these "10 year storms" at least once a year now... and it's not even friggin' winter yet.
  • On authoritarianism, check out an excellent article on movement conservatism by Paul Krugman, and a 3-part series on conservative authoritarianism by John Dean (not his best-written work ever, but he makes some interesting points).

    Also, DNI Mike McConnell has been in the news a bit lately... here he asserts the White House position that any "debate" on the administration's shadowy surveillance programs "will kill Americans."

  • Speaking of surveillance, I was all set to link to this article about the Democrats holding firm on NOT giving retroactive immunity to telecom companies that dutifully handed over private information on their customers to the government. That was yesterday, this is today:
    At the start of the day, Democrats were confident that the measure would gain approval in the House despite a veto threat from President Bush. But after an afternoon of partisan sniping, Democratic leaders put off that vote because of a competing measure from Republicans that on its face asked lawmakers to declare where they stood on stopping Osama bin Laden from attacking the United States again.

    ...Democrats denounced the Republicans’ poison pill on Mr. bin Laden as a cynical political ploy and “a cheap shot.” But Democratic leaders realized that they were at risk of losing the votes of a contingent of more moderate Democrats who did not want to be left vulnerable for voting against a resolution to stop Al Qaeda, officials said.

    Holy shit. Add this to the failure to override Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill, and the Democrats are having themselves one hell of a week! (Note to idiot Democrats: I'm being sarcastic, you worthless jerk-offs.)

    In case you've missed it, the domestic surveillance issue came to the forefront again earlier this week, thanks to new reports that revealed more details about telecoms' involvement in the programs, including yet another report that these programs were initiated at least 6 months before 9-11.

  • On our inegalitarian society, Juan Cole says the Bush/Cheney model can more accurately be described as "Bonapartism," which he says means "the state rules in an authoritarian way and disregards the people, representing itself as the true representative of the business classes. In fact, it serves only a small spectrum of corporate cronies of the ruling elite, disadvantaging almost everyone else."

  • On torture and the "moral high ground," a NYT editorial asks a very simple question: Is this really who we are?

  • On detainees, the attorney who represented Jose Padilla wonders what would've happened if no one had bothered to fight on his behalf. This leads her to wonder:
    After all, if the government does indeed have the authority to hold citizens indefinitely, without formal charges or legal counsel, what good are our Constitutional rights to due process?

    Garrett Epps has the story of Brandon Mayfield, the Oregon lawyer who was thrown into a Portland lockup for two weeks and smeared in the press by the FBI, all seemingly based on the simple fact that he is a Muslim convert. Thankfully for the rest of us, he hasn't been wallowing in self-pity since then... he's been fighting the Patriot Act. And he's having some success.

    An interesting side-note from Glenn Greenwald on Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, who apparently has shown a little bit of resistance to the administration on the issue of indefinite detention. Others maintain that Mukasey is not such a great guy.

  • On the emergence of new details on the megalomania of Cheney and Addington, brilliant writer Charlie Savage has a new book out on their 30-year quest to turn the presidency into a new American dictatorship.

    The new episode of Frontline, which I haven't watched yet, also has some new details on the power-madness of Cheney.

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