But never fear. It's still possible to divide people today into two broad political categories, for those who find this generalization helpful, and the descriptives I choose are "free person" and "authoritarian." I've known far too many people who held themselves out as politically liberal, but the minute they arrived on the job or at home, they magically transformed into a fire-breathing authoritarian. Likewise, there are people who are devoted to the political right whose hopes regarding public policy are decidedly humane and responsible. I don't think of either sort of person as liberal or conservative, but politically they could be called authoritarian or free person.
It goes without saying George Bush and Dick Cheney aren't "conservative" by any known definition of the word, but they certainly are "authoritarian," and to a breathtaking extreme. So proud to be Official Lockstep Jackboots©, their rampant stupidity would puzzle all the totalitarian murderers after which they oh-so-meticulously fashioned their dictatorship. Their actions demonstrate an incomprehensible internal policy: they hate everyone, and want their hate to produce real destruction and death. Their slash-and-burn picture of the world is concerned only with the actual slashing and burning, causing as much and many destructive acts as possible, and leaving behinid a swath of annihilation as long and wide as possible. Authoritarian, and certainly not conservative. Think I'm kidding? Check it out:
• Bush wants "democracy" for Cuba and frames his noble vision as "unveiling new initiatives," a story released last Friday to escape debate:
Bush is scheduled to speak on Cuba policy at the State Department on Wednesday where he will announce "new initiatives to help the people of Cuba," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Friday. [...]Sharks Bush and Cheney smell every drop of blood. I take this to mean here's another new war they plan to start, in that they're the only guys in history with the
"The President intends to emphasize the importance of democracy for the Cuban people and the role the international community can play in Cuba's transition, by insisting on free speech, free assembly, free and competitive elections, and the release of all political prisoners," Fratto said.
The White House and State Department did not elaborate on the "new initiatives."
Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman, said, "The United States wants to be able to be in a position to assist the Cuban people as they move through that transition" from nearly a five-decade rule by Castro.
• How much are your fourth amendment rights worth? According to AT&T and Verizon, exactly $42,850:
Mr. Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, emerged last week as the most important supporter of immunity in devising a compromise plan with Senate Republicans and the Bush administration. [...]Isn't that special? About 50 AT&T and Verizon executives and lawyers threw a fundraiser in hopes of keeping lawsuits from bankrupting their companies—not that they'd be out any money personally—but heck, the company might have a slow fiscal quarter or two. All it cost is $42,850—oh yeah, and your fourth amendment rights until the end of time.
"Any suggestion that Senator Rockefeller would make policy decisions based on campaign contributions is patently false," Wendy Morigi, a spokeswoman for him, said. "He made his decision to support limited immunity based on the Intelligence Committee's careful review of the situation and our national security interests." [...]
Mr. Rockefeller received little in the way of contributions from AT&T or Verizon executives before this year, reporting $4,050 from 2002 through 2006. From last March to June, he collected a total of $42,850 from executives at the two companies. The increase was first reported by the online journal Wired, using data compiled by the Web site OpenSecrets.org.
• Legal scholars say telcom immunity sets a bad precedent—and if telephone companies drowning in money would have hired better lawyers than the hacks working for the White House and NSA in the first place, they wouldn't have to say it:
When previous Republican administrations were accused of illegality in the FBI and CIA spying abuses of the 1970s or the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, Democrats in Congress launched investigations or pushed for legislative reforms.No one living beyond the evolutionary scale of pond scums and sea sponges can possibly believe the Bush administration and telephone companies didn't know they were breaking the law. But, they just had to do it! Secret mischief is so delightfully irresistible—it's practically a public nuisance.
But last week, faced with admissions by several telecommunication companies that they assisted the Bush administration in warrantless spying on Americans, leaders of the Senate intelligence committee took a much different tack -- proposing legislation that would grant those companies retroactive immunity from prosecution or lawsuits.
The proposal marks the second time in recent years that Congress has moved toward providing legal immunity for past actions that may have been illegal. The Military Commissions Act, passed by a GOP-led Congress in September 2006, provided retroactive immunity for CIA interrogators who could have been accused of war crimes for mistreating detainees.
Legal experts say the granting of such retroactive immunity by Congress is unusual, particularly in a case involving private companies. Congress on only a few occasions has given some forms of immunity to law enforcement officers, intelligence officials and others within the government, or to some of its contractors, experts said. In 2005, Congress also approved a law granting firearms manufacturers immunity from lawsuits by victims of gun violence. [...]
Jeffrey H. Smith, a CIA general counsel during the Clinton administration who now represents private companies in the national security area, said the risk of litigation poses an unfair threat to government officials or others who have good reason to believe they are acting legally. He noted that many intelligence officers now feel obliged to carry liability insurance.
"It seems to me that it's manifestly unfair for the officers that conducted that program and the telecoms to now face prosecution or civil liability for carrying out what was on its face a totally lawful request from the government," Smith said. "It's not the same as Abu Ghraib or a CIA officer who beats somebody during an interrogation."
But civil liberties groups and many academics argue that Congress is allowing the government to cover up possible wrongdoing and is inappropriately interfering in disputes that the courts should decide.
The American Civil Liberties Union has campaigned against the proposed Senate legislation, saying in a news release Friday that "the administration is trying to cover its tracks." [...]
Retired Rear Adm. John Hutson, dean and president of the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, N.H., said he is concerned about the precedent that a new immunity provision might set.
"The unfortunate reality is that once you've done it, once you immunize interrogators or phone companies, then it's easy to do it again in another context," Hutson said. "It seems to me that as a general rule, retroactive immunity is not a good thing.... It's essentially letting Congress handle something that should be handled by the judiciary."
I can't find the story just now, but there was also the rationale offered that failure to grant the fone companies retroactive immunity might impair their willingness to participate in future surveillance! The mental midget who synapsed this banner headline can meet me outside for a lesson in manners. What we have are the interests of people in government who despise compliance with the law trying to stay out of prison, phone companies with unlicensed lawyers who help them break the law and don't give it a second thought until the world is pounding their doors down and worries by career spies whose job security means more to them than the Constitution. Their interests are juxtaposed to the right to privacy and security by the entire population of the United States—for which I care absolutely. For the others, let 'em rot, let 'em burn.
Don't count on the democrats in Congress to act as free persons. They're hinting they'll go authoritarian all the way. Jim Hightower says it like this: "...a Lowdowner sent an email to me saying he hopes Bush gets caught smoking pot, because then the Democrats will immediately legalize it..."