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Wasted potential

I often get ideas for postings that I don't get around to writing for a while -- if ever. And sometimes, someone else will come up with the same notion and run with it while I'm procrastinating.

That happened again today, when Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe's token conservative (I understand the Glob has taken extensive measures to keep him from contaminating the more-enlightened staff members, to the point of hermetically sealing his office) discussed the recent Hamdan decision by the Supreme Court, and President Bush's reaction.

It's a great piece, and hits a few points I'd been toying with, but it's not quite the same. My idea was to cite some of these alleged "abuses" of the Bush administration, and to challenge Bush's critics to elaborate.

It seems to me that every single move by the Bush administration to fight the war on terror has been described the same way: an "unprecedented expansion of executive power," a "power grab," a "move rife with potential for abuse."

I've never had much use for the "potential" argument. I recall the salad days of the feminist movement, when Andrea Dworkin pronounced that "politically correct sex is impossible with an erect penis" and many of the more strident feminists described every single man as "a potential rapist."

My response to that, crude as it may be, was to ask if every woman was a potential prostitute -- they were just as well equipped for that role as any generic man was to be a rapist. Hell, these days even men can be prostitutes, so the analogy holds true there, too.

Can anyone cite any specific action by the Bush administration that comes anywhere near the hysteria the Left whips up on a regular basis? I know of one American citizen who has been detained and treated as a terrorist, and Mr. Padilla is hardly the most sympathetic of figures. If even half of what the government has alleged is true, he ought to be locked up and the key thrown away -- if we can't just execute him.

The ruthless oppression of dissent and the free press? Please. The New York Times has, if anything, benefited from its antagonism with the Bush Administration. Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, and the swine from Code Pink are still on the loose, free to continue their incredibly asshatted ways. Air America is still on the air, in flagrant violation of the basic laws of economics. There have been no massive roundups, no shutting down of the media, not a single overt act that comes close to fulfilling the Left's predictions of doom and gloom.

If anyone can cite an actual concrete example, please do so. If not, then I got $20 and an inclination to party, toots...


Comments (47)

Actually, the NYT has suffe... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Actually, the NYT has suffered because of their antagonism for the Bush administration. Unfortunately for them, it's not censorship and oppression. It's Market Forces at work. In other words, Capitalism. OK, I guess to a Clymer type that is oppression, but not even Karl Rove controls the typical Times (ex) subscriber.

Well I think you forgot Joh... (Below threshold)

Well I think you forgot Johnny Squarepants Lindh as an american detained as a terrorist.

He kinda makes your point though - no one seriously doubts his guilt or that the administration was right to prosecute him.

www.msnbc.msn.com... (Below threshold)
Lee:
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13431077/from/RS.4/

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that aggressive U.S. action is responsible for preventing new terror attacks since the Sept. 11 strikes.

"Nobody can promise that we won't be hit," Cheney said. But he credited a determined offense against terrorists abroad, improved intelligence-gathering and preventive steps at home for thwarting or discouraging terror attacks on U.S. soil.

Answering questions at a National Press Club luncheon, Cheney also said that, when President Bush and he took office in January 2001, the balance of power in government was tilted in favor of Congress.

The unpopular Vietnam War and the Watergate scandals allowed Congress to take more authority at the expense of the executive branch, Cheney said. He and the president believed it was important to "have the balance righted, if you will. And I think we've done that successfully," he said.

Democratic critics of the president and even some Republicans have questioned the administration's assertion of expanded executive power in the name of combating terrorism. These include warrantees eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, detention of suspected terrorists without charges, expanded powers under the Patriot Act and alleged secret CIA prisons overseas.

Bush has systematically shifted power away from the Congress and into the White House. When Hillary Clinton takes office, you'll find out why that was a bad idea.

Another "uh-huh" from the B... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Another "uh-huh" from the BDS posters lurking here (see just above).

(I understand the ... (Below threshold)
(I understand the Glob has taken extensive measures to keep him from contaminating the more-enlightened staff members, to the point of hermetically sealing his office)

Wonder if they allow him oxygen occasionally.

Lee, nature abhors a vacuum... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Lee, nature abhors a vacuum. So does politics. Bush hasn't so much taken power as picked it up where Congress has abandoned it.

And I'm not saying it was a Democratic or Republican Congress that did the abandoning -- it's been growing for decades.

J.

Jay,How can you sa... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Jay,

How can you say Bush hasn't "taken" power? Cheney as much declared that to be a fact.

He and the president believed it was important to "have the balance righted, if you will. And I think we've done that successfully," he said.

Was Congress, or the nation, consulted beforehand?

Lee continues his non-sensi... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Lee continues his non-sensical ranting.

Lee, let's see the full transcript for the context and the editing involved. I wouldn't be surprised if this was another Dowd job.

It's surprising how you will take Cheney's words as fact when they support your version of the truth, but otherwise he is lying out the side of his face when they don't support your POV.

So which is it Lee?

Is Cheney a lying sack of garbage?

Is he a lying sack of garbage when he says things you disagree with, but the font of information when he says something you support?

Better yet, is he just a truthful guy and when he says something you don't like, you just get deranged?

These are easy questions again Lee, don't tax yourself to much and try to answer clearly and concisely.

Another question while I'm at it, does your teacher know you are using the computer in the school library for things other then homework?

Be a good student now and run back to class and stop eating the books.

DavidB/LoveAmerica Idiot/so... (Below threshold)
Lee:

DavidB/LoveAmerica Idiot/sockpuppet troll du juor said: "Lee, let's see the full transcript for the context and the editing involved. I wouldn't be surprised if this was another Dowd job."

I assume you're referring to the Cheny quote above. The link appears above the quote.

Lee is a joke and a proven ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Lee is a joke and a proven propagandist. Bush spent 2 years going through the corrupt UN before the Iraq war. Congress had 2 resolutions regarding the IRaq war itself.

Lee has no respect for the facts. He is only interested in propaganda against Bush and the US military.

Lee is a perfect example of... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Lee is a perfect example of the left 's projection. The left is interested in grabbing power and stifling dissent. So they are projecting their own tendency onto others. IF the left is truly interested in dissent, they would be happy that people are strongly dissenting against the left 's ideology.

So Jay - can you check to s... (Below threshold)
Lee:

So Jay - can you check to see if DavidB and LoveAmerica Idiot are the same person, please?

Lee, No need to che... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Lee,
No need to check. I am not DavidB. You are a prime example of the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the left. You have no args, simply personal insults and smear.

Lee, you need to SHUT THE F... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Lee, you need to SHUT THE FUCK UP about sock puppets.

Over a month ago, you said you had some regular commenters here you thought were socks. I said I'd investigate if you offered names and times. You NEVER got back to me, despite saying you would.

Now you're accusing LoveAmerica and DavidB of being one and the same. I don't know WHY I give anything you say the SLIGHTEST credence, but I just looked up the IPs from their latest comments. As far back as the records go, EVERY COMMENT from LoveAmerica's IP is attached to his name, and EVERY COMMENT from DavidB's IP has his name attached.

Further, the IPs trace back to completely different regions of the country.

Is there ANY TOPIC you can speak about without talking out of your ass?

J.

lol - I see.... (Below threshold)
Lee:

lol - I see.

The link is for an article ... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

The link is for an article and does not provide the full transcript for the luncheon on the 19th of last month. No transcript available at the NPC web site that I could find.

You know Lee, they sit down, eat a little, ask a few questions, get a few answers. But unless you can provide a transcript with the full text of the questions and answers, it is possible that the comments could have been taken out of context.

But you neglected a couple of the other questions Lee, is Cheney now one of your sources of facts? Will you believe everything he says? Come on, what's it going to be?

Oh, and I already told you troll, I'm my own person. I don't need to post with two different identities, can you comprehend what you read?

Lee,Take your meds... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Lee,

Take your meds, your paranoia to getting the better of you.

If there ever was any.

I see.</blockquote... (Below threshold)
ubu:
I see.

That would be a change.

This will teach me to stay ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

This will teach me to stay away from bridges.

Jay, you aren't the only on... (Below threshold)
fizzix:

Jay, you aren't the only one guilty of procrastinating. What about all the moonbats who promised they'd move to Canada if Bushie was re-elected? Alec Baldwin is still here, too.

I was thinking that an exam... (Below threshold)
JamesT:

I was thinking that an example *might* be Brandon Mayfield. Although, he was detained, let go once it was proven that he was not connected to the Madrid bombings, given an apology by the FBI and is now working his way through the legal system pursuing some Constitutional arguements about his detention and evidence seizure. After thinking that one through, I guess it really shows how the extent of the power of the Administration is limited and proves Jays point.

Although as a KU law grad, when he was arrested and heard he was a Washburn law grad, I was almost sure he was guilty. ;-)

On the other hand, just loo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

On the other hand, just look at how the Palm Beach Dems in power trying to frame and harass Rush Limbaugh, their political opponents. The left is quite willing to use the fascist tactics when they are in power. Another case of projection.

Can anyone cite any spec... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Can anyone cite any specific action by the Bush administration that comes anywhere near the hysteria the Left whips up on a regular basis?

This is actually pretty easy: the documented support for using torture. Gonzalez calling the Geneva Conventions "quaint", the Bybee memo, some Army commander being told to "Gitmoize" prisons in Iraq, Rumsfeld being corrected by Pace at a press briefing that soldiers should actively stop torture and not just report it later, Cheney resisting the McCain anti-torture amendment, the Presidential signing statement essentially refuting said amendment after it was passed, Abu Ghraib and the deaths of inmates in US custody, torturing mentally ill Abu Zubaydah so the President wouldn't "lose face" (from The One Percent Doctrine), etc.

Are these enough specific actions, or just whipped-up hysteria?

PS: Do I get the $20?

sean,The latter - wh... (Below threshold)
tblubrd:

sean,
The latter - whipped up hysteria. That one's easy.

I vote for whipped up hyste... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

I vote for whipped up hysteria, twisted and distorted by the left and taken out of context so that they no longer resemble what they actually were and are.

Looks like you nailed it Se... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Looks like you nailed it Sean.

Hahaha, Air America totally... (Below threshold)
Nigga please...:

Hahaha, Air America totally is economically unfeasible! That's funny! Sorta like the National Review, whose editors ADMIT to working for a loss leader.

Economic retardation spans the political spectrum.

Gonzalez calling the Gen... (Below threshold)

Gonzalez calling the Geneva Conventions "quaint"

A favorite out-of-context quote. He was referring to allowing the prisoners access to various things, including "scientific equipment," while in POW camp. In the old days when a couple beakers were enough to run a groudbreaking experiment, that made some sense. Now, it doesn't ("So, General, where do you want us to put Ahmed's nuclear accelerator?")

It also points up the difference between Geneva prisoners (those of another nation at war with you when both nations have signed the conventions) and non-Geneva prisoners. Geneva prisoners were supposed to be able to continue with their education while in prison (my Canadian relative, captured at Dieppe in 1942, studied law while in prison camp in Stuttgart). That makes complete sense, since the only point of holding Geneva prisoners is to prevent them from returning to the war; once the war was resolved, the prisoners can go home and continue their lives.

Al-Qaeda is NOT a party to the conventions, and these guys' entire lives is dedicated to murder. Continuing their education would be giving them new books on mixing chemical weapons or something. The idea that they should get all the privileges German prisoners in America got in WWII (to pick an example) is idiotic.

Well at a 4th celebration, ... (Below threshold)
serfer62:

Well at a 4th celebration, actually on the 2nd so as not offend libzoids, A wacko stated that she feared Southern Christans more then terrorist.

Was that you lee?...

No, not me serfer. I'm not ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

No, not me serfer. I'm not afraid of anyone, but I understand why someone would say that.

sean: Define torture in all... (Below threshold)
Inquiring:

sean: Define torture in all those cases you mentioned please.

As has been evidenced many times before the media often likes to call things such as, for example, lunch being served cold as torture. (Hyperbole, yes, but I seem to recall a report, where you could hear the reporter's gasps of horror, about a woman who read aloud Harry Potter with prisoners in the room; sure, that can be described as torture, but then so must just about everything else in life then.)

JohnAnnArbor already covered the Geneva Convetions bit.

Did you ever notice that yo... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Did you ever notice that you can tell old pucker puss's (lee lee) post without having to see the sig. at bottom?

Did you ever notice that jh... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Did you ever notice that jhow66 never comments on anything except -- other comments, expecially mine?

I must have severely slapped you around for you to follow me like this jhow66. Were you brain-damaged in the process?

Well, Lee, it seems that yo... (Below threshold)
tblubrd:

Well, Lee, it seems that you don't understand "comments" anymore than you understand "posts". Your comment to jhow66 was, well, a comment. Same as all your "comments" above. The only meat and potatoes you mentioned regarding this entire post was shot down and taken apart by 6 or 7 other commenters. I don't see you adding to the discussion as much as your getting in the way of it.
Bottom line is that no one has answered JT's question with any factual info. Mostly because there isn't any.

Good post, JT. As usual.

Lee, sooner or later you'll... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Lee, sooner or later you'll learn to stop asking certain questions -- because I'll occasionally give you the precise answers, and you won't like it.

A review of jhow66's comments shows a decided tendency to be a bit of a self-designated "Troll Hammer," going after those who engage in cheap shots and absurd, silly, wrong-headed disagreements (as opposed to those who disagree honestly), but hardly a focus on you. I see him taking on mak44, jp2, frameone, and a few others.

I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but he's hardly your personal Troll-Hammer. He's rather more catholic in his practices.

J.

We remain a nation of l... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

We remain a nation of laws, not of men It hasn't been for the want of trying by some in the White House. I don't begrudge the left getting
hysterical sometimes, or for someone like Colin Powell to "hit the roof" as ocurred when Gonsalez sent off one of his 'freedom to torture' memos." Desperately seeking to change Bush's mind, Powell fired off his own blistering response the next day, Jan. 26, and sought an immediate meeting with the president. The proposed anti-Geneva Convention declaration, he warned, "will reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice" and have "a high cost in terms of negative international reaction" This above or cicumventing the law thinking that the State Department was only partly able to curb provided the environment that led to what Bush described recently as "the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq(which) is Abu Ghraib". Perhaps if others in the Administration formulating government policy of fighting terrorism vis a vis the rules of international law, had also 'hit the roof' Bush 's words yesterday " (America 's role) a light to the nations, spreading the good news of human freedom to the darkest corners of earth" would be taken much more seriously and not by so many around the globe, particularly in the Arab world as humbug.

Jay, I can't give you that ... (Below threshold)

Jay, I can't give you that one blatant and manifest example you are loooking for. But frat boy's continuous efforts to weaken congress and strengthen the executive branch is kind of like that old Chinese water torture. Drip, drip, drip. For instance, bypassing federal judges created by Congress to oversee surveillance. [Drip] The NSA surveillance of domestic calls, because frat boy says he can ignore an almost thirty year old law making it illegal to eavesdrop through wire taps on U.S. citizens without a warrant. [Drip] Adding a "signing statement" on the measures passed by Congress requiring the FBI to report to Congress by certain dates when the Patriot Act is used to search homes, and secretly seized papers. That signing statement said that frat-boy can can order Justice Dept. officials to hold back information if he, frat boy, deems it dangerous to national security. [Drip] Another signing statement over the objections of Congress saying that frat boy, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban as written by Congress and as it relates to U.S. interrogators. [Drip]

Overall, frat boy has had more than 500 constitutional challenges to laws passed by Congress.[Drip] Basically, frat boy has made an absolute mess of the Seperation of Powers Doctrine, he has done this by constantly attempting to weaken the powers of Congress and enhancing the powers of the executive branch [Drip].

Now I know a stronger executive branch for the Bush lovers is fine, but an earlier poster made a good point; what if Hillary was in power? If she was, I bet I would be able to hear the screams from you righties all across the plains of those red states. No folks, I like the way the constitution was set up just the way it is; proper checks and balances of all three branches of government. So as much as he would ike, frat boy doesn't get a pass on this one. There are two other branches of government that must stay relevant in order for this democracy to remain "the greatest nation on God's green earth" ~~~

Hey sean nyc, I will split that $20 with you :)

sorry, field negro, I ain't... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

sorry, field negro, I ain't buyin' what you're sellin'.

I've said repeatedly that if Algore had won in 2000 and had taken EXACTLY the same stp in th war as has Bush, I would have campaigned for his re-election, despite my opposition of much of his social/domestic platforms.

So I'll say the same thing about Hillary Clinton. I would not "scream" about the things that you "dripped" about above bcause I see nothing wrong with them at all, regardless if she were president.

Next?

sorry, meant to write "same... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

sorry, meant to write "same steps in the war"

OK Big Mo, I hear you, but ... (Below threshold)

OK Big Mo, I hear you, but I wonder how many of your friends could make that same statement?

I would support Lieberman o... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I would support Lieberman over someone like Chaffee for example. You should be appalled at the treatment of Lieberman by the dems.

Field-negro, If you... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Field-negro,
If you are worried about unaccountable amassing of power, you should look at the liberal justices on the SC. They are examples of disrespect for the constitution of the US and grabbing powers belonging to the other two branches of gov.

Theo Huxtable is a lawyer, ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Theo Huxtable is a lawyer, LA-I.
And a Philadelphia lawyer at that.
I don't think liberal justices reaching for the duties of the legislature of the executive branch threaten him in they way they do you. ;)

Let's see, fn, I gotta fini... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Let's see, fn, I gotta finish packing for a trip, but I think I can save a call to the plumber on a couple of those leaks:

1) The NSA didn't do any EAVESDROPPING on those calls. They data-mined the statistics on the calls. Absolutely NO CONTENT was revealed -- just time, date, duration of call, and numbers at both ends were analyzed. The parallel would be to the police counting the number of visitors to a reputed crackhouse, as well as looking for known drug offenders. No search warrant needed there, either -- this is the "gathering-evidence" phase.

2) Bush did not invent "signing statements," although it is my understanding he has used them a bit more than his predecessors. He is stating for posterity his reservations about the acts and how they might infringe on Executive power, and in essence "leaving notes" on how he thinks they ought to be challenged in court should those concerns come to pass.

That's just two. I don't have time to dig into the "torture" bit, only to point out that there is no hard-and-fast definition of where the line is drawn. Bush prefers to stick to traditional definitions, while his detractors consider pretty much anything that might violate the Miranda principle "torture." Only problem: the military ain't cops, and they aren't planning on doing things that need to hold up in criminal civilian courts. They have considerably more leeway, and they should.

J.

The NSA didn't do any EA... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The NSA didn't do any EAVESDROPPING on those calls. They data-mined the statistics on the calls. Absolutely NO CONTENT was revealed -- just time, date, duration of call, and numbers at both ends were analyzed.

If this surveillance was on American citizens, this matters how?

Bush did not invent "signing statements," although it is my understanding he has used them a bit more than his predecessors.

Quite an understatement. Bush has used signing statements which supposedly nullify over 750 legal restrictions on the executive branch.

He is stating for posterity his reservations about the acts and how they might infringe on Executive power, and in essence "leaving notes" on how he thinks they ought to be challenged in court should those concerns come to pass.

Ha. He is stating that the Congress has no power over the Presidency, and no future law can usurp such power, in direct contradiction to the Constitution.

That's just two. I don't have time to dig into the "torture" bit, only to point out that there is no hard-and-fast definition of where the line is drawn.

In other words, I condemn nothing my government does, not on moral grounds, but because no one has presented me with a convincing enough argument (though I ignore all arguments which negatively reflect the military).

Bush prefers to stick to traditional definitions, while his detractors consider pretty much anything that might violate the Miranda principle "torture."

I choose not to read the court records, which detail the torture methods employed by our armed forces, because such realities would be wholly uncomfortable to my current outlook.

Only problem: the military ain't cops, and they aren't planning on doing things that need to hold up in criminal civilian courts. They have considerably more leeway, and they should.

Which is to say that military tribunals should retain no semblance to our own criminal courts. I believe that prisoners should have no opportunity to present their own defense, and that terrorists are terrorists, and we have no responsibility to prove them so in a court of law. Our word, such as it is, should be enough. Because we're right about everything, right?

Inquiring asked what I cons... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Inquiring asked what I consider torture (I'll only list what it has been said the US is doing because clearly chopping off fingers or limbs, being dunked in boiling water, etc. is torture):

Water-boarding, stress positions, physical beatings, rape, and that's about it off the top of my mind.

Urinating and smearing menstrual blood on someone are not exactly torture, but do not seem necessary under any circumstances.

Playing loud music or being in a cold room are borderline, depends on how loud and how cold for how long. But resorting to these measures makes it seem like we're really desperate.

I was meaning to come back ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I was meaning to come back and give some examples, but by the time I did the thread was dead. Anyway, today this article describes a good one:

Recently, after the harsh criticism from Mr. Hoekstra, intelligence officials have appeared at two closed committee briefings to answer questions from the chairman and other members. The briefings appear to have eased but not erased the concerns of Mr. Hoekstra and other lawmakers about whether the administration is sharing information on all of its intelligence operations.

A copy of the four-page letter dated May 18, which has not been previously disclosed, was obtained by The New York Times.

"I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed," Mr. Hoesktra wrote. "If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies."

He added: "The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play Twenty Questions to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution."

You see, the problem is that so many details about what their doing are unknown to us, and it turns out they are unknown to anyone outside the administration, including the House Intelligence Committee. I'd say the letter from the Republican Chair of that committee is pretty strong evidence of this administration's expansion of executive power.




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