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Current Topic: Politics and Law

Senate sets standards on detainees / Lawmakers defy Bush to overwhelmingly OK McCain bill in response to Abu Ghraib
Topic: Politics and Law 10:46 am EDT, Oct  6, 2005

The Republican-controlled Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure Wednesday that would set standards for the military's treatment of detainees, a response to the Abu Ghraib scandal and other allegations that U.S. soldiers have abused prisoners.
"Our enemies didn't adhere to the Geneva Conventions," he said, referring to the international agreement on the treatment of prisoners of war. "Many of my comrades were subjected to very cruel, very inhumane and degrading treatment, a few of them even unto death.
"But every one of us -- every single one of us -- knew and took great
strength from the belief that we were different from our enemies, that we were
better than them, that we, if the roles were reversed, would not disgrace
ourselves by committing or countenancing such mistreatment of them."

'Bout god damn time. You cannot chunk the Geneva Convention claiming its quaint without replacing it with a better standard and expect people to "just trust you" while huge abuse scandals are going down.

Senate sets standards on detainees / Lawmakers defy Bush to overwhelmingly OK McCain bill in response to Abu Ghraib

In Pennsylvania, It Was Religion vs. Science, Pastor vs. Ph.D., Evolution vs. the Half-Fish
Topic: Politics and Law 10:03 am EDT, Oct  4, 2005

"There are two worldviews that are in conflict," Mr. Thompson said. "I do feel that even though Christians are 86 percent of the population, they have become second-class citizens."

[ Ah, hmm. If "christians" have become second-class citizens, it's because they've stopped following actual Christian ideals. When I look at the main voices of "christianity" in this country, I don't see a lot that represents Jesus Christ. The bible? Yes, very much so. But you can't just thump the bible, read it in whatever way you want, and claim to be Christian. Sorry. -k]

In Pennsylvania, It Was Religion vs. Science, Pastor vs. Ph.D., Evolution vs. the Half-Fish

The Perils of Secrecy in an Information Age
Topic: Politics and Law 3:20 pm EDT, Jun 16, 2005

Although extensive official secrecy was empowering when governments had more information than non-governmental actors, it now often amplifies intelligence shortfalls and prevents governments from partnering with and fully engaging non-state actors in open knowledge networks. In a networked information environment, we can learn more by developing close and cooperative links with the thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating throughout Africa, for example, than by relying on a small number of political and intelligence officers reporting from African capitals.

[ Reading this article, I couldn't help being reminded of Snow Crash, in which the US governement is pretty much completely marginalized and exists with a culture of extreme secrecy and strict monitoring, but accomplishes nothing. Meanwhile, the CIC hackers are essentially just guys who are good at getting and finding information, and they hold a fairly decent bit of power for precisely that reason.

Anyway, there's something to be said for what they're proposing, though I haven't really got the initiative to fully reason out the implications. -k]

The Perils of Secrecy in an Information Age - Politics - DeLay Calls Justice Kennedy 'Outrageous'
Topic: Politics and Law 2:32 pm EDT, Apr 20, 2005

] "We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon
] international law, not the Constitution of the United
] States. That's just outrageous, and not only that, he
] said in session that he does his own research on the
] Internet. That is just incredibly outrageous,"
DeLay said
] in the interview.

Tom Delay death spiral watch. This is Fox news. Fox news closed with a quote from a Democrat saying that they need to get Delay out of the public sphere for a little while and let him cool off. Fox news.

How dare judges attempt to research questions that are presented to them! Delay's position is that judges shouldn't be interested in the truth, per say. They shouldn't seek out objective perspectives on matters they need to consider. Rather they should be beholden to the power and money that drives the "democratic" government.

Delay wants to use the "good behavior" text in Article III Section I to bring all federal judges under fine grained political control.

He seems to be operating under the perception that the American people don't realize that the legislature is corrupt, or that politicians are bought and sold, or that people think that judges ought to live in a bubble. He is wrong on all counts, and he is starting to sound like a fool.

[ Starting? -k] - Politics - DeLay Calls Justice Kennedy 'Outrageous'

RE: One man, one problem.
Topic: Politics and Law 10:58 am EDT, Apr 11, 2005

Rattle wrote:
] Unbelievable! In very unmistakable terms, this guy advocated
] the assassination of federal judges. There is a certain
] disconnection from ethics and reality here that is truly
] terrifying.

While calls to impeach judges by radical nutjobs is newsworthy, these nutjobs seem to have missed the fact that they are unlikely to get support from 2/3rds of the Senate, and even if they could, they'd need a constitutional amendment to include "having opinions we disagree with" as an impeachable offense.

Did Edwin Vieira advocate killing judges, or is he just spinning a phrase? Who cares!? Who the fuck is Edwin Vieira? Apparently he is also opposed to the federal reserve bank. He is too nuts to be important.

Whats newsworthy in all of this is John Cornyn. Recent murders in Atlanta and Chicago have about as much to do with right wing politics as mustard has to do with bicycles. Was his comment a warning or a threat? I do care about the answer to that question, as he is a United States Senator and he was speaking in an official capacity at the time. I imagine it was an attempt to reach for a boogyman. And he is foolish for being confused about why he got nailed on it. It was a stupid comment. He should acknowledge it as such and move on.

I said this before the election. I'll say it again. The focal point of the American people before the election was Al'Q, but I do not seriously beleive that a choice between Republicans and Democrats was a winning or loosing choice vs. Al'Q. There were strategic differences on the plate, but not of that scope. What was also on the plate was the independence of the federal judiciary. Something is going to happen, and this is a long term survival problem for the republic.

All of this positioning is prologue. It will continue for some time. The right will wait until the 3rd year of the presidential cycle to proceed, as that is when actions have their greatest political value. They think they can continue to control these radicals. I think they're jugggling fire, and they've already dropped the baton several times.

RE: One man, one problem.

Bush vs Bush or Spy vs Spy
Topic: Politics and Law 3:43 pm EST, Mar 24, 2005

] President George W. Bush, in fact, signed a law as
] Governor George W. Bush, the Texas Futile Care Act, which
] contradicts the one he rushed back to Washington from
] vacation to sign. That law allows a hospital to decide
] when to pull the plug. Just last week, against the wishes
] of his mother, a 5-month-old baby with a fatal genetic
] disorder was disconnected from life support and died in
] Houston.

I can understand the Schiavo case. There are two sides, both intimately involved, both family and they are at odds. The courts chose to side with the husband and let her die. The Texas Futile Care Act however really does amount to not just state sponsored euthanasia, it is state MANDATED euthanasia. This I don't understand at all. Hospitals are allowed to terminate patients over the objections of ALL the related parties??? Want to see something god is really going to be pissed about? And why aren't all these nutjobs down protesting every one of these cases in Texas?

Bush vs Bush or Spy vs Spy

Congress Condemns Schiavo to Undeath!
Topic: Politics and Law 11:44 am EST, Mar 21, 2005

] Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.,
] rejected the notion that elected lawmakers could
] accurately diagnose her condition.
] "The caption tonight ought to be: We're not doctors, we
] just play them on C-SPAN," he said.

If I have any family member who does to me what this persons family is doing to her (refusing to let her finally go) I hope someone shoots them so they can pull the damn plug.

[ Couldn't you just make a living will or health care proxy and remove the debate? ]

This is abhorrent. With any luck the person at district court who has to hear the pile of crap will send it back because it serves no state interest whatsoever.

[ I agree that the politics here is some of the most despicable, cynical chest-thumping I've seen. There are one or two other things going on in this country, not to mention the world at large, that should really be getting some attention. -k]

Congress Condemns Schiavo to Undeath!

Senator wants cable, satellite decency standards - Mar. 1, 2005
Topic: Politics and Law 3:45 pm EST, Mar  2, 2005

10 years later, the CDA might be back!

] Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said
] Tuesday he would push to apply broadcast decency
] standards to subscription television and radio services
] like cable and satellite.
] "There has to be some standard of decency," he said.

No, actually, there doesn't. The whole point of services like Satellite is that the customer has a wide array of choices, and as such there is no need for regulation. You don't have to listen to programming you don't like. You can "protect children" at the receiver side. You don't have to do it at the network end.

] "I think we have the same power to deal with
] cable as over-the-air" broadcasters.

No, you don't. Congress shall make NO law.... The courts cut out a specific exemption to the first amendment for over the air broadcasters that was related to the scarcity of media. That exemption does not apply to cable. Why do we elect people who don't understand or respect the Constitution?

] Stevens said he disagreed "violently" with assertions by
] the cable industry that Congress does not have the
] authority to impose limits on what they air.
] "If that's the issue they want to take on, we'll take it
] on and let the Supreme Court decide," he said.

Translation: We'll make you spent a whole lot of money!! We really will! So you better really care about those Constitutional rights because if you're not down for a fight to defend them you're gunna loose 'em whether its really legal or not!

Rep. Joe Barton, from Texas is apparently also on board for this.

Senator wants cable, satellite decency standards - Mar. 1, 2005

The Cabinet of Incuriosities
Topic: Politics and Law 10:14 am EST, Dec 28, 2004

] The unspoken concern at the center of this episode: maybe
] loyalty is not enough. Maybe the president needs to vest
] his authority in someone who can actually help sail the
] ship of state on these two initiatives, someone with
] autonomous and irrefutable credibility in areas where the
] president - electoral mandates notwithstanding - could
] use a boost.
] The president, affirming Mr. Snow, has decided otherwise.
] Power, as Mr. Bush sees it, justifies itself. No boost
] required. It is undercut, in fact, by even a reasonable
] expression of need.

The Cabinet of Incuriosities

The red and the blue, by Joseph Nye
Topic: Politics and Law 5:08 pm EST, Dec  2, 2004

] Political elites, such as party activists and members of
] Congress, tend to be more extreme than the public.
] At first, this seems puzzling, because they should have
] an incentive to move to the vote-rich middle. But many
] members of Congress represent districts that are safe for
] their parties, and the threat to their re-election comes
] in party primaries that are dominated by the more
] activist and extreme wings of the parties.
] This tendency is reinforced by the rise of cable
] television, which attracts viewers by means of
] contentious "infotainment" programmes, and
] Internet bloggers, who engage in fierce polemics
] with no editorial filter.

A very interesting analysis. I've said that whether you are red or blue has to do with whether you are more afraid of the communists or the fundamentalists. Americans intuitively understand that the structure of their political system is the reason that it doesn't seem to reflect their interests. This comment takes that a little deeper.

I agree with his comment about the blogosphere. Its not a conversation. Its not a dialog. Its a million soap boxes. The popular ones tend to be the most polar because they are the most emotionally charged. The blogosphere, as it currently exists, is part of the problem. Its a check on the mass media, but it will be nothing more unless it can provide discourse.

The red and the blue, by Joseph Nye

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