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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

They All Said "No." Great

And Also: Elections mean more than executive orders ... Justice Ginsburg in effect wins the war in the Ledbetter case. "As in 1991, the Legislature may act to correct this Court’s parsimonious reading of Title VII." Yes.

When the leadership of one party is of this caliber, why should I take them seriously? I'm not a big fan at times of the Democratic leadership (couldn't wait a few weeks for this to happen, huh?), but the other side has just too many creeps for my taste. They all said no on the stimulus in the House; can we have a better bill now?

Or, must we compromise now with Republican senators of the like of weenie boy Arlen? Rhetorical question. Meanwhile, Nicholas D. Kristoff thinks the way to deal with Gitmo, other than transfer it back to Cuba (or use it as a research center):
is to appoint a high-level commission — perhaps a McCain-Scowcroft Commission? — to investigate torture, secret detention and wiretapping during the Bush years, as well as to look ahead and offer recommendations for balancing national security and individual rights in the future ... with its conclusions written by Philip Zelikow,* a former aide to Condoleezza Rice who wrote the best-selling report of the 9/11 commission.

Yes, some Democrats "might begrudge" so many Republicans in top positions, but it would be more likely to be accepted with "nonpartisan" membership. This is underlined by leadership by the recent Republican candidate for President, a member of the administration being investigated, and an old guard friend of Bush41. The net result will that torture will be damned (but the Bush Administration didn't commit torture, according to them, so why is that necessary?) and some better judge of how to "balance" individual rights and national security will be reached.

The latter issue appears to be the concern of "former generals, top intelligence officials and outside experts" who will be involved in the commission. Thus, the Republican (aka nonpartisan) led commission will not really just be for the "investigation into torture and other abuses during the Bush years," but a much broader matter. And, as with the "nonpartisan" leadership, this suggests a certain conservative flavor of who will weigh such things.

The conclusions seem obvious -- we made mistakes, maybe understandable given the times, some watering down is necessary not just as much as supplied, and do not expect actual punishment being on the table. This is the way to "heal the divisions with the rest of the world and help renew America’s reputation." Yes, avoiding the depths of the problem, and entrusting it with those who we should have no expectation will truly deeply investigate the matter to the full extent of the matter (as compared to what will "heal the divisions" ala the apparent need in the eyes of some for bipartisanship in the stimulus plan) at hand.

I guess if we take his assumption that Obama is trying to avoid the issue anyway, his path might give us something. OTOH, the "balancing" might use the legitimacy of the commission to further limit constitutional rights. And, in the process, provide some whitewash and/or limited value in calling the administration et. al. to account. Stacked decks with low expectations tends to do that. So, I don't really see the net value of the whole suggestion.

Except, perhaps to advance "nonpartisan" ends. When this is applied to the person who ran for President under the Republican line with Sarah Palin etc., it really starts to enter the realm of the ridiculous.


* Involved in the 9/11 Commission, which the opinion piece suggests has been given a certain degree of respect. But there, the commission was also balanced with Democrats and Republicans, not just one side allegedly "neutral" on the matter. The neutrality of McCain is unclear given his enabling of Bush, and rejection of Army Field Manual legislation to put real teeth in anti-torture law.