Saturday, December 17, 2005

Nightmare, Hallucination, or Memory? 

It's the fall of 1998. I turn on C-Span to find Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) speaking to a classroom of young, ethnically-diverse schoolchildren. Rep. Shays is helping the children deal with the trauma of presidential impeachment by explaining to the children, in soothing, patient tones, why President Clinton broke the law, and why he is being impeached.

In response to a question--it must have been from one of the children--a question referring to President Clinton's high approval rating among blacks, despite the impeachment--Rep. Shays explains that "Many African-Americans feel a strong personal connection with President Clinton."

So, I put it to you: Nightmare, Hallucination, or Memory?

Monday, December 12, 2005

spreading the good news 

Theocracies are not as solemn and humorless as we have been led to believe. The mullahs are apparently not above wry irony:

Iran opened the door for U.S. help in building a nuclear power plant...

"America can take part in international bidding for the construction of Iran's nuclear power plant if they observe the basic standards and quality," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

Bonus: This Holiday season why waste your beautiful mind pondering race riots in Australia when you can read Happy News instead?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Let's recap 

Kevin Drum has a question about the case of John Gilmore. Apparently Gilmore is in court contesting his conviction for violating a "secret law":

The Bush administration...claims that the ID requirement is necessary for security but has refused to identify any actual regulation requiring it.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seemed skeptical of the Bush administration's defense of secret laws and regulations but stopped short of suggesting that such a rule would be necessarily unconstitutional.

"How do we know there's an order?" Judge Thomas Nelson asked. "Because you said there was?"

....The Justice Department has said it could identify the secret law under seal, which would be available to the 9th Circuit but not necessarily Gilmore's lawyers. But any public description would not be permitted, the department said.

Kevin wants to know if there really are such things as secret laws and, more broadly, what the fuck is going on here?

So I thought I'd put it to any of you in hopes that you could help him out.

Personally, I've got a question of my own. Assuming for the moment that there are "secret laws", we can also add to the pile: the legalization of torture, the secret prison network, the gutting of habeas corpus, a permanent state of war and "war powers" for the Executive (didn't they used to call this martial law?), the Patriot Act renewed, peace movement organizations making the Fed's terrorist watch list, violations of almost every International law known to man including waging a war of aggression, &c....

What else am I forgetting?

So at what point exactly do we say that we're living in an illegitimate police state? When can we consider ourselves no longer citizens, but subjects of a fascist regime? What do they have to do in order for us to withdraw consent? How far do they have to go? Start shooting people in the street? Muzzle the press? Putting people in camps? Honestly, I'd like to know where the line is for any of you.

And if we do decide to withdraw consent, what then?

Update -

One more for the list: The Pentagon is gathering intelligence domestically.

Update II -

The NSA is eavesdropping on American citizens without court approval.


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