Washington â€“ Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who is defending President Bush's anti-terrorism tactics in multiple court battles, said Friday that federal judges should not substitute their personal views for the president's judgments in wartime. â€“ Washington Post, Sept. 29, 2006.History repeats itself. Welcome to Berlin, 1933.
Alberto Gonzales is a lot like Franz Gurtner, another conservative nationalist lawyer and judge â€“ who was appointed by Hitler to head the Reich Ministry of Justice, and who got along very well with the Nazis despite not being a Nazi himself. How did the German Legal system change as a result of Nazi 'leadership'?
Fear-mongering was the main tool used to change the law, and to undermine civil liberties. So where the constitution was changed, the code of criminal procedure was also changed, extraordinary powers were vested in the Executive, including extensive police powers; and the powers of an independent judiciary were destroyed.
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About 2 weeks ago, 10 Soviet-era tanks clanked-along the main thoroughfare in downtown Bangkok and stopped in front of the Presidential Palace. Once the palace had been completely surrounded it was stormed by a contingent of fully-armed Thai regulars who secured the grounds while the Thai generals looked on impassively. General Sonthi Tinsulanond took control of the country, with the tacit approval of the King, and quickly repealed the constitution, dismissed the parliament, and forbid any public demonstrations of support for the former regime. In less than an hour, the government of Prime Minister Thanskin Shinawatra was toppled in a perfectly executed, bloodless coup.
Are we there yet?
Would it really be that dreadful if a similar drama unfolded in Washington DC?
Behold and bear witness to what has become of America, in this era of uncertainty and bewilderment, in this time of fear and intimidation, that since towers were brought down and demolished has methodically fallen into the viper pit of neocon decadence, becoming, as it stands today, an authoritarianâ€™s heaven and a corporatistâ€™s promised land, its people ignorant, as always, to the barrage of waves systemically eroding centuries of rights, freedoms and liberties. From sea to shining sea, despotism is what today those who pay attention see.
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Branch Warfare and the Evolution of Aggression
The pages of history, those monuments to humankindâ€™s brief rule
over the planet, are replete with violence, death and
destruction. Indeed, it can be argued successfully that war,
genocide, ethnic cleansing and human violence against each other
have defined humanityâ€™s tumultuous existence on Earth. We are
inseparable from death and destruction, suffering and violence.
Turning the pages of the little we know of our own past, one
thing becomes quite apparent: Throughout time, in all corners of
the world, mankind has lived side by side with war, destruction
and death. We have defined our existence through the
self-inflicted violence we unleash upon ourselves. What is it
about the human condition that espouses in us a propensity to
grossly annihilate ourselves, inflicting horrendous misery onto
Violence and humanity were born conjoined twins out of the thick canopy of our ancestral home in the Eastern African jungles. Even in the ape-like appearance and behavior of our primate selves could our violent genes be seen. Competition forced upon us the will to survive through the defeat of competitor groups. Wars waged high in the canopy became the first symptoms of our disease. Group versus group, competitor versus competitor, the violence ingrained in us manifested itself in the primitive battles and hollowed screams of our long-gone ancestors.
Branch to branch, foot by foot, with nail and teeth the prelude to modern warfare was born.
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If this were a dictatorship,
it would be a heck of a lot easier... just so long as I'm the dictator.â€
George Walker Bush, 2000
Was this a really a joke? Back in 2000 many thought so. But was George in jest? Maybe there was more to that remark than bad taste. Maybe it was a private prank on the American people.
That was then, but this is now: Itâ€™s not a joke anymore. Itâ€™s reality.
With the help of three posturing Senators and a spineless, corrupt Congress,
the Military Commissions
Act of 2006 has
been imposed upon the Republic. For those still in the dark, under this
law George W. Bush has the full power not only to decide who is a threat
but also to order his Praetorian Guard to haul the suspect away to whatever
end. Neither courts nor Congress nor citizenry have legal recourse or
protection from the wrath of Emperor George.
Bob Woodward has long been the voice of the American Establishment â€“ or of certain quadrants of it, at any rate. When Richard Nixon's criminal depredations and mental instability had gone too far and it was decided to rein him in, former military intelligence officer Woodward was there as a safe pair of hands to receive the damning revelations of "Deep Throat" and help bring down the Nixon presidency. When the Establishment decided it was best to throw in with the Bush Faction's aggressive militarism after 9/11 â€“ lots of big money to be made out of war and fear, and those tax cuts were just too sweet to pass up -- Woodward was there again, with a series of stories and books which, as Michiko Kakutani notes in the New York Times, "depicted the president â€” in terms that the White House press office itself has purveyed â€” as a judicious, resolute leader, blessed with the 'vision thing' his father was accused of lacking and firmly in control of the ship of state."Add a comment
Poor old Dante Alighieri, were he around today, I am sure he would find it difficult to find the words to describe the evils visited by so-called civilised nations on the defenceless of the planet, assuming that is, he was fully informed of what is going on.
I know I shouldnâ€™t be surprised but nevertheless I am. Surprised firstly that I live in a barbaric culture that has been able to masquerade as civilised and secondly, that it has been able to persuade the world that it possesses civilised credentials in the first place. And thirdly, that it has been able to carry off this illusion for well on five hundred years.
Most of us associate the idea of being civilised with learning and with respect for culture, though the root of the word is that of the city dweller.
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Thereâ€™s nothing more disturbing than knowing that an alcohol-addled megalomaniac has his sweaty fingers on the Big Red Switch and that with one little tug he could ignite the world like a Roman candle.
Itâ€™s not a comforting thought, but itâ€™s the truth.
As the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate and the feckless congress concedes more power to the president; Bushâ€™s grasp of reality seems to grow increasing threadbare. How much more pressure his fragile psyche can take?
Regrettably, there are signs that Bush is losing ground to an invasive form of delirium praecox; the steady erosion of his already circumscribed mental faculties.
This canâ€™t be good for the country...or the planet.
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Although not as widely remarked as the elimination of habeas rights and the consecration of torture, the recently passed Senate torture legislation includes provisions that would immunize the Bush administration and other US personnel from prosecution under the War Crimes Act of 1973, not just looking forward but retroactively as well, going back to 1996.
Why 1996? Because the War Crimes Act of 1996, signed into law by Bill Clinton on August 21 of that year, makes violations of several Geneva Convention protocols by any US national or member of the US military, here or abroad, a crime.
Bush is a US national, and he has acknowledged violating Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, including but not limited to:
Most of us know David Brooks as the balding goofball on â€œThe Jim Lehrer News Hourâ€ who shrugs his shoulders and giggles gleefully whenever heâ€™s asked a question. Heâ€™s actually a political pundit whose far-right analysis of culture and politics appears regularly on the op-ed page of the New York Times. Like fellow-traveler Tom Friedman, Brooks loves to offer his sage advice to Muslims about how they can improve themselves in the eyes of westerners and, thus, limit the relentless bombing and massacres brought on by a belligerent American foreign policy.Add a comment
Eager, as always, to make both first call at the bar and an early
getaway, the bicameral two ring circus of embezzlers, extortionists,
buffoons, car dealers, and lawyers known as the US Congress stirred
itself last week to raise its right arm and wield its mighty rubber
With Sunday football, Halloween, and elections dangling in front of its nose/trunk like a carrot in front of the proverbial elephant's ass, the 109th convention of bozo millionaires passed the Bush administration's military tribunal proposal-- finally bringing bourgeois theory finally into line with bourgeois practice by abrogating the "principle" of habeas corpus.
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