Why Do Bush Supporters and Bush Detractors Both Hate America?

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My favorite response to my recent Harriet Miers article:

"One thing all decent people seem to agree on is that Harriet Miers is woefully unqualified for a seat on the United States Supreme Court."

This is a lie. There are NO decent people that are in leadership positions in the democrat party. And we are finding that there are many who call themselves conservatives, who, when faced with a REAL PERSON WHO WILL GO BY THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND (THE CONSTITUTION) seem to find their hidden left-wing anti-American values, as they come out of the closet.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a leader in the most anti-American organization of all time the ACLU. It was founded with the sole purpose of the destruction of the American way of life. Anyone who is, or has been in a leadership position with the ACLU is anti-American and will do everything possible to destroy the Constitution and the American way of life. But she was confirmed by people in the US Senate who wanted to see their names in the NYT and Washington Post as part of the hate America clique.

Down through history many people who were nonjudges have proven to be outstanding Supreme Court justices and Chief Justices.

If one is anti-American they are not decent.

Charles Nelson

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  1. It’s fun to imagine that read in the voice of Charles Nelson Reilly.

  2. We are petitioning a court to protect Mr. Nelson’s privacy rights. People who write ignorant screeds should not have their screeds shown to the entire world with their names attached. We will go to court to defend his right to be an ignorant buffoon in the privacy of his own home.

  3. Look at all those fallacies! It looks like a question from a Logic 101 exam: “Identify as many fallacies as possible in Chuck’s comment above.”

    This is, presumably, persuasive to some people. If you’re one of those people, please, help me understand why Chuck’s response was persuasive.

    Is it just me or is the rhetoric from frantic Republicans getting weirder? With the President’s approval ratings drooping so, I suppose we should expect them to flail, especially ahead of the congressional elections. I hope the Democrats do well in the next congressional election.

    …I hope, I hope, I hope. If Chuck had said the Democrats didn’t have any decent–as in competent–strategic leadership, I might have agreed. …It isn’t all about money.

    The Democrats should put together a Contract with America sort of thing. …but make it short–maybe just three things! …and make one of ’em a balanced budget.

  4. Is it just me or is the rhetoric from frantic Republicans getting weirder? With the President’s approval ratings drooping so, I suppose we should expect them to flail, especially ahead of the congressional elections.

    I think they thought they were building a thousand year Reich.

    …I think the oh-no-we’re-out-of-touch thing hit ’em all of a sudden.

  5. Damn you Todd!

    You beat me to the point that this post was an obvious parody written in the semi-hysterical closeted-gay tones of the late, and great, Charles Nelson Reilly.

    The ‘closet’ line, the hysteria, the over the top cliched writing (“Down through history”).

    It’s the chuckster, man!

  6. Let me see if I got this straight: everyone is either one of Us or one of Them. If you’re on the other side, you’re not just wrong – you’re the enemy.

    Thank God these people have conservative talk radio to listen to; else they might be out on the streets doing real harm, to themselves or others…

  7. Is it just me or is the rhetoric from frantic Republicans getting weirder?

    As the ideological gap between Republicans and Democrats continues to narrow, expect to see the screeds from adherents to either party become more vitriolic and red-faced.

    Hell, every single reason for sticking with the Republicans has proven to be a wash. They promised that if they had the house, they would balance the budget, cut taxes and increase freedom. They got it. Then they said they needed the Senate. They got that too. Then it was said they needed an executive who would be able to appoint a couple of conservative judges to the supreme court. So they got that. Now with the Republicans in full control of both the legislative and executive branches, spending is spiralling out of control, taxes haven’t been reduced in any meaningful way, and Bush appoints two people to the supreme court who are so milquetoast that not even Miss Cleo could tell us where they stand on any particular issue.

    Among the gun-rights crowd, it’s become something of a mantra over the last few years that the House and Senate are not going to do anything to affirm the 2nd Amendment in any real fashion, resulting in much hope being hung on the concept of The Supreme Court ruling in liberty’s favor on a pure 2nd Amendment case. Quite frankly, I simply don’t see that happening. Nor do I see them ruling favorably on pretty much any other topic.

    And God help us all if they have to rule on anything even approaching a scientific or technological topic.

    I voted for Badnarik in the last election, and have yet to even feel a twinge of regret.

  8. mediageek;

    “I voted for Badnarik in the last election, and have yet to even feel a twinge of regret.”

    Me too, I would love to have seen Badnarik debate Bush and Kerry, but no Libertarian will be able to get on the stage with Dems and Repubs as long as the status quo is maintained. I don’t even watch the “official” presidential debates anymore, haven’t in the last 3 elections after they refused Harry Brown and let the little Napoleon from Texas participate.

  9. Repeal the 17th Amendment already.

  10. I know people who would take that rant seriously. I know its a parody, but it still scares me a little.

  11. the President’s approval ratings drooping so

    Bush’s approval ratings have been climbing since their post-Katrina low, at least the last I heard. Not that it matters, since he can’t run for reelection anyway; he could have an approval rating of 1% what difference would it make?

  12. “Not that it matters, since he can’t run for reelection anyway; he could have an approval rating of 1% what difference would it make?”

    Comment by: DB at October 8, 2005 06:15 AM

    Exactly. I have a sinking suspicion that we’re in for either a more socially conservative set of politicians or more liberal politicians disguised as conservatives. Anymore it just looks like a pack of dogs fighting over the same piece of meat. I get confused trying to sort out what “Mainstream America” believes since almost every editorial and political analyst says something different. That’s why I tend to just listen to the people around me. Those people tend to be social conservatives and philisophical liberals. That’s why I fear for the future. Until the “Liberals” in this country get their collective shit together I think we are in for more conservative politics since it seems we have no other choice. I would love to see a strong Libertarian presence in American politics, but it realistically isn’t going to happen any time soon. So, I can only hope for a balance of the powers that be. I would rather have a bunch of milequetoast moderates running the show than a group of idealogical extremists bent on using the power of the government to make things right as they see fit.

  13. I am an anarchist, but ACLU still looks suspicious to me.

    I specifically looked for ACLU reaction on their website at the time of Kello vs New London uproar.

    There was literally nothing! Not even a slightest comment! Institute for Justice was all over Kello vs New London. ACLU apparently doesn’t think that right to have your property seized unfairly is a part of your civil liberties.

    Then ACLU when accused of real and unfair ideological slant takes a pose of prima donna hiding behind them defending SOME rights – handpicked. I guess ACLU would defend us to have a right to privacy in the commie work camp, but not being out of commie work camp.

    So what this guy writes makes sense from my POV:

    http://www.civilrightsunion.org/acluwatch/default.htm

    “Bad logic in one case breeds bad logic in countless more decisions, until recognized and corrected. And the main error, often made by the Court and encouraged by the non-critical press coverage of the Court?s decisions, is this: There is a tendency to treat the Constitution like a smorgasbord of rights, from which you can take as much as you want of what you like, while rejecting or wasting all the rest. The popular idea is that a “good” decision in the Court is one where the side you favored, won the particular case, regardless of the long-term consequences for the health of the Constitution.

    This is a fatally flawed approach to constitutional law. As George Washington said in his “Farewell Address to the American People,”

    “The Constitution is sacredly obligatory upon all, until and unless it is changed by the authentic act of the whole people.”

    This is precisely why the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has lost its way. It defends only some constitutional rights, and then only as it interprets them. It ignores, or even seeks to read into oblivion, other rights contained in the Constitution.”

  14. “I know people who would take that rant seriously. I know its a parody, but it still scares me a little.”

    There is SOME sense in such raving, Matt. They distort it, but ACLU aren’t saints. IJ looks great to me, though. ACLU does seem to have a lot of ideology, and to me that rest doesn’t look very much freedom-oriented. They do SOME good work, like defending prof. Herman Hoppe recently, and they hide behind this work AS IF it were a justification for the rest of their ideology. Well it isn’t.

  15. I am an anarchist, but ACLU still looks suspicious to me.

    If you click on the link on the name “ACLU” at the beginning of this thread, you get an Onion article.

  16. Me too, I would love to have seen Badnarik debate Bush and Kerry, but no Libertarian will be able to get on the stage with Dems and Repubs as long as the status quo is maintained.

    I’d have lodged a protest vote for Bednarik if he wasn’t so obviously cracked. I can’t take anyone seriously who advocates a return to the gold standard and dismantling the Fed so the Treasury can target the money supply directly. It’s like he hasn’t even heard of the last 50 years of macroeconomics.

    Also, the “income tax is optional” bit put me off pretty badly.

  17. ” It ignores, or even seeks to read into oblivion, other rights contained in the Constitution.”

    I hate to tell you thisa nd burst your bubble, but eminent domain is a part of the Constitution and explicitly in many state constitutions. The SC was right in its decision: this is a state, not a federal matter. The court didn’t affirm that seizures were good ideas, they affirmed that they are constitutional from the perspective of federal law, and thus if they are bad that states need to pass self-resitricting legislation. Some people can’t seem to tell the difference.

  18. The thing about the ACLU is that it’s considerably better than nothing. Who else is going to be out there “loud and proud” objecting to things like holding people indefinitely without a trial in gitmo? Ok, Amnesty International too (another organization those wonderful righties love to hate … makes you almost want to question their motives, eh?).

    Many, many others might object (lefties, a handful of Dems, some libertarians, assorted people kind of fond of the idea of civil liberties) but they have no power. The ACLU does.

  19. “The Democrats should put together a Contract with America sort of thing. …but make it short–maybe just three things! …and make one of ’em a balanced budget”

    Ooh, dibs on the 3 things. Make the second of em “out of iraq” and the third just about anything except national healthcare and I’m salivating. Ok, back to reality, daydream time is over.

  20. Sad Red Sox Fan gets the “Regrettable Use of Parentheses” award for the day, and it’s only 10:00 AM.

  21. You beat me to the point that this post was an obvious parody written in the semi-hysterical closeted-gay tones of the late, and great, Charles Nelson Reilly.

    I’m happy to correct one thing here: Charles Nelson Reilly, who is indeed great, is very much alive. Though he hasn’t had a screen credit in 2005, he is reported to be working as an acting coach at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Jupiter, Fla., and as recently as 2002 was doing the boards in Save It For the Stage: The Life of Reilly. He also won a 1997 Tony for directing The Gin Game and is a sprightly 74, so don’t count Reilly out!

  22. They also complain about the Castro goverment. But the contortions you’d have to go through to find this out – like, say, reading Amnesty’s press releases when they come out, or doing a Google search on “Amnesty International Castro” – are so unreasonably difficult, I can understand why the right wing talking point “Amnesty International only criticizes American” has such widespread credence.

    I would have loved to have seen a Libertarian, a Green, and a Reform Party candidate at one of the debates last time. They would have brought up issues and positions that the Two Party Duopoly candidates would not have been prepped for by their handlers. Of course, I’m being a little selfish here, since my guy would have been able to think on feet and give a respectable answer, and the other would have drooled on himself and said “It’s hard.”

  23. Joe

    Your guy would have taken three positions on each issue in language no one could understand.

  24. Actually, he managed to do pretty well for himself, so I don’t see why you’d assume that.

  25. Frank: you’re not nuts. Just nostalgic.

  26. My responses to “Timothy” and “plunge”:

    Timothy: I wish I could have voted for an uncommitted slate of Libertarian electors, but I voted for Badnarik and his phony-diploma-weilding running mate because that was the only way to vote for the Libertarian brandname. The fact that Badnarik appeared “obviously cracked”, as you put it, meant that there was a very low ceiling on how much good he could do the movement: If he had showed any progress in the polls, it would have only invited attention to his flaws, harming the LP and libertarianism in general.

    Not the least of his flaws was his belief that the income tax is voluntary, in the sense that a person with income can refuse to pay, with lawful impunity. Not only is this complete nonsense (a “tax” is by definition mandatory), but also contrary to LP philosophy: If it was voluntary, we’d be for it.

    plunge: The real problem with the Kelo case is that what made this use of eminent domain different was simply that, after the government seized the land, it had no plan to hold on to it. It was going to put it back in the private sector, albeit in the hands of a new owner. The argument on behalf of Kelo, et al, necessarily implied that a government seizure for the purpose of a government owned and operated housing project, hotel, industrial park etc. would have been OK.

    In other words, the Kelo appellants did not challenge these notions of what a “public purpose” or “public use” is; they only objected to how it would be accomplished after the seizure.

    The reality is that every day, the fruits of my labor, my property, is seized by the government, in the form of taxes. Those daily seizures are for the very same so-called “public purposes” which do not benefit me. Furthermore, I get taxed more if I don’t respond to “tax incentives” for those same kinds of so-called “public purposes”. I never get “just compensation” for any of them.

  27. On the ACLU and Cuba:

    I’ve never heard them say anything nice about Cuba. If they spend more time criticizing our government rather than the Cuban government, it’s probably because their main purpose is to protect civil liberties in the US.

    I very much doubt that Cuban dissident groups spend much time discussing American politics, except maybe the embargo.

  28. I’m inclined to agree with Thoreau here. After all, they’re called the AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union, not the Northern Hemisphere Civil Liberties Union, or something of that nature.

  29. The founders of the ACLU included Communists and one founder Roger Baldwin stated that “Civil liberties, like democracy, are useful only as tools for social change.”

  30. ACLU founders were also big fans of that paradise of civil liberties the USSR.

  31. “since my guy would have been able to think on feet and give a respectable answer, and the other would have drooled on himself and said ‘It’s hard.'” – joe

    That’s a pretty rank caricature, indicative of how much you have to demonize the other side just to make yourself feel good. It’s sad.

    One other thought, for the record, is that your guy still didn’t win.

    Of course, I’m the guy who thought Bush had lost the election because Kerry beat him in the debates at least as soundly as Bush beat Gore in 2000.

    Apparently most Americans weren’t fooled by the polishing Kerry’s handlers heaped on him, and voted for the guy most likely to defend the U.S. without undue regard for “sensitivity.”

    It’s got to suck to be a handler good enough to polish a turd like Kerry into looking as good as he did, yet still not be able to beat Bush – bumbling as he was in the debates – because the issues Kerry stood for were obviously antithetical to a nation electing a president with the ruthlessness necessary to win wars.

  32. smart torontonion,

    The founders of the United States includes slaveonwers. Much of the strong protection for property rights in the Declaration and Constitution arose from their desire to preserve the ownership of slaves. So what?

    rob,

    That is the first time I have ever seen anyone suggest that Kerry’s handlers had actually made him more attractive to the public. You would have to be pretty far removed from reality to believe that the DC lifers that ran his campaign actually helped. They’re usually credited with losing the election for him, with such brilliant strategery as answering “Yes” to the question “Would you have still voted for the war if you knew what you know today?” and counting on biography, rather than criticism, to counter Bush’s tactics of pounding on the War on Terror.

  33. I compare the ACLU with the NRA. Both groups’ agendas are about protecting rights. The NRA focuses on the Second Amendment, the ACLU on the First, Fourth, and portions of the Fifth.

    Of course ACLU rhetoric claims they protect the “Bill of Rights” when they don’t, really. The NRA honestly limits itself to the right to keep and bear arms.

    Still, even though the ACLU is MIA on many issues, conspicuously including private property, they are worth supporting on the issues they do take seriously.

    IMO the folks, like Mr. Nelson, who feel the ACLU is destroying their “Christian” version of “the Constitution and the American way of life” aren’t upset because of what the civil rights organization fails to do as much as for what it does well: Using the First Amendment to protect pornography and atheists the same way it does Bibles and Christians.

  34. Which war have we won with Bush the Great leading the charge?

    Dan

  35. Is it just me or is the rhetoric from frantic Republicans getting weirder?

    Everything seems to be getting weirder. Like in a creepy, self-parodying sort of way. Suddenly, playground insults and distortions don’t shame adults into limiting their use. I’m starting to wonder when I fell into “America: as performed by ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic.”

  36. This is precisely why the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has lost its way. It defends only some constitutional rights, and then only as it interprets them. It ignores, or even seeks to read into oblivion, other rights contained in the Constitution.”
    Comment by: b at October 8, 2005 07:18 AM

    The ACLU has admitted as much. How many Reasonoids remember this:

    I don’t want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty.

    Nadine Strossen
    President of the American Civil Liberties Union
    Life, Liberty, and the ACLU
    Reason, October 1994

    Letters (and Ms. Strossen’s reply to them) appeared in the January 1995 issue.

    For those that missed the obvious, reader Norman Smith pointed out what was wrong with the ACLU’s position:

    Second, she attempted to evade the issue of the ACLU’s lack of support for the Second Amendment by asserting, “civil liberties are [not] necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights.” She goes on to egregiously assert, “The fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty.” While I agree with her former assertion, the latter is just wrong. Looking at it in terms of set theory, constitutional rights are subsumed by the larger set of civil liberties, but to assert that any of the constitutional rights is outside the set of civil liberties is pernicious.

  37. Why Do Bush Supporters and Bush Detractors Both Hate America?

    Bush supporters hate America because pornographers can make movies. Bush detractors hate America because pornographers can make a profit.

  38. ACLU founders were also big fans of that paradise of civil liberties the USSR.

    I recently went to an exhibit called “The Enemy Within” on the history of terrorism, sabotage, and espionage in America. In the part about McCarthy, the Rosenbergs, and other matters relevant to Communism in America, I learned that the ACLU did do very much to defend accused Communists. They figured that Stalinism was a massive threat to human freedom.

    Of course, that’s just one exhibit, and I haven’t had a chance to look into other accounts of the matter. They may be more willing to defend Communists today, on the grounds that Communism is discredited and no longer a serious threat to the US, so the civil liberty concerns about slippery slopes and unpopular opinions outweigh the concern about Communism. But my understanding is that back in the day, when Communism was more of a threat to the US, the organization didn’t do much to defend Commies in the US.

    If you have some references that offer a contrary analysis I’ll consider it.

  39. Bush supporters hate America because pornographers can make movies. Bush detractors hate America because pornographers can make a profit.

    Hah!

  40. I learned that the ACLU did do very much…

    The context of your comment leads me to suspect that you meant:

    “I learned that the ACLU didn’t do very much…”

    Am I mistaken?

    And I second your “Hah!” on Larry A’s comment and add another. Good and true.

  41. …I learned that the ACLU did do very much to defend accused Communists.

    It was my understanding that the ACLU sometimes defended neo-Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan. …that doesn’t make the ACLU big fans of the neo-Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan. …and if this is what’s meant by suggesting that the ACLU’s founders were big fans of the USSR, well, then I gotta disagree.

    …So, like thoreau, I’d like to see some references.

    I’ve always thought of the ACLU as carrying a “liberal” bias, but if that’s the worst anyone can come up with, then they’re definitely a net positive. …I’ve always seen them as something of a canary in coal mine. …even if I didn’t like ’em, I like knowing they’re there.

    For instance, take the time when the Bush Administration, via court order forced them to strip their website of references to a suit they’d filed against the Patriot Act. …If the ACLU didn’t already exist, I think libertarians would have to invent them.

  42. “That is the first time I have ever seen anyone suggest that Kerry’s handlers had actually made him more attractive to the public. You would have to be pretty far removed from reality to believe that the DC lifers that ran his campaign actually helped. They’re usually credited with losing the election for him, with such brilliant strategery as answering “Yes” to the question ‘Would you have still voted for the war if you knew what you know today?’ and counting on biography, rather than criticism, to counter Bush’s tactics of pounding on the War on Terror.” – joe

    I saw the guy plenty of times before the debates and then I saw him in the debates. The only thing that could account for him being that much better in the debates was the tireless prep by his handlers in the weeks before the debates. Give credit where it’s due – his handlers (for the debates at least!) nearly got him into the Oval Office. Besides, blaiming the guy’s handlers for not winning him the elections based on the positions Kerry took on the issues sounds like sour grapes to me.

    Daniel – Like it or not, we took two entire countries, one of which is oft-referred to as “Russia’s Vietnam” with less casualties than many of the single days of combat during WW2, Korea and Vietnam. Winning the peace is costing us more casualties than actually beating the enemy forces of those governments, true, but that doesn’t make those victories any less a victory.

  43. “I didn’t get a harrumph out of that guy!/Give the governor a harrumph!/Harrumph!/That’s more like it, you watch your ass!” – Blazing Saddles

    In the spirit of that fine film, I will also put in a “Hah!”

  44. Isaac-

    Thanks for catching my error.

    Tom-

    My understanding is that with the Commies, the ACLU didn’t always see it as just a matter of defending an unpopular position. There’s no need to rehash the old debates over the extent to which the CPUSA was actively working on behalf of the Soviet Union. But my understanding is that the ACLU had some of those concerns at one point, and hence felt that this was more complicated than defending unpopular opinions.

    Agree or disagree with their analysis of the situation back then, but my understanding is that they were hardly pro-Communist. Of course, if somebody can give me references I’ll reconsider. (And, before somebody finds me an anecdote of some individual ACLU member being pro-Soviet, let me spare you the trouble of posting it by saying that for the purposes of evaluating the stance of the ACLU I’m not interested in what some individual member thought back then. I’m interested in what sort of actions the organization actually took or refrained from.)

  45. …If the ACLU didn’t already exist, I think libertarians would have to invent them.

    I guess that’s what we did with the Institute for Justice.

    http://www.ij.org

  46. Call me nuts, but I’d like to think that the US is above torture and violating international laws, as opposed to simply “better than Cuba”.

    Under international law, enemy combatants caught fighting out of uniform can be tried before a military tribunal and, if it is determined that the were indeed fighting in violation of the law of warfare, executed. We’re treating the prisoners at Gitmo better than they are entitled to be treated under the law — what they are *entitled* to is a bullet in the head.

  47. joe,

    If “your guy” was soooooo smart, how come he didn’t bring up those topics that would have confounded Dubya in the debates? And how come he chose, and listened to, incompetent handlers? Whatever went wrong, or didn’t go right, in the Kerry campaign can ultimately be laid at the feet of one person.

  48. “We’re treating the prisoners at Gitmo better than they are entitled to be treated under the law — what they are *entitled* to is a bullet in the head.”

    Maybe, but after a trial, and without torturing them beforehand.

  49. Thoreau: this has come up on Volokh lately, and he collected a lot of useful material. The ACLU became very anti-communist, banning communists from all leadership positions, but as I understand it this decision was largely made to make up for a communist past. The ACLU’s founding director was a communist who supported civil liberties primarily as a means to the end of the proletarian revolution (you should probably read the other two posts in that set, too).

  50. Indeed, DB, I hope you mean the prisoners that are actually guilty of fighting the U.S.? Because there were (are?) some prisoners there who turned out to be innocent.

  51. If “your guy” was soooooo smart, how come he didn’t bring up those topics that would have confounded Dubya in the debates?

    Because both sides were very careful to limit what could and could not be done prior to agreeing to any debate. These were not like the debates run by the League of Women Voters, where the candidates had no advance knowledge of what would happen. The topics were chosen beforehand and both sides were forbidden from ever personally addressing any statements of the opposition. Agreeing to such terms was moronic on the part of Kerry’s advisors, and although they might not have lost him the election single-handedly, their ineptitude isn’t diminshed by their lack of complete culpability.

  52. Roger Baldwin, the founder of the ACLU, was a leftist and some say a Marxist. If you google the name you will find plenty of biographical data.

    What’s your point? Is he the dictator of the ACLU? Did he select every case they pursued single-handedly? If not then his individual politics don’t mean anything. As someone else remarked, the US was founded by slave owners, does that make all of us pro-slavery because we’re citizens?

  53. “Not that it matters, since he can’t run for reelection anyway; he could have an approval rating of 1% what difference would it make?”

    It makes it easier for people in congress to oppose his agenda if they feel so inclined, or if they feel it’s politically advantageous. Look at how Bill Frist fell away on stem cell research.

  54. Joe writes:

    That is the first time I have ever seen anyone suggest that Kerry’s handlers had actually made him more attractive to the public.

    When I lived in Mass. and Kerry was my Senator, it seemed to me he was a rich careerist buffoon who was content to let Teddy do all the heavy ideological and legislative lifting, while Kerry concentrated on getting on TV and moving fire hydrants around Louisburg Square. Only when he ran for president did I “discover” that he was such a noble veteran. It seems without his “handlers” he would simply be a Chris Gabrieli who was lucky enough to get elected to something.

  55. Under international law, enemy combatants caught fighting out of uniform can be tried before a military tribunal and, if it is determined that the were indeed fighting in violation of the law of warfare, executed. We’re treating the prisoners at Gitmo better than they are entitled to be treated under the law — what they are *entitled* to is a bullet in the head.

    Once again, I’m mystified by the suggestion that the legality of a policy is somehow the ultimate test.

    It’s perfectly legal to hit myself in the head with a hammer. It’s perfectly legal to squander my life-savings in Vegas. …but those are stupid things to do.

    Consider the results of our policy–reluctantly freeing suspected terrorists and our monumental disgrace at Abu Gharib–and it’s hard to ignore the profound stupidity of the strategy we chose.

    …legal or not.

  56. “It’s perfectly legal to hit myself in the head with a hammer.” – TC

    That would explain a few things. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    If we are doing what is legally, ethically, and morally right in regards to captured enemy combatants – with the exception of those idiots who choose to disobey the UCMJ and are duly prosecuted for such heinously stupid and illegal behavior – then once again, Tom Crick has no case.

    His claims about the “policy we chose” is in no way responsible for the stupidity of those individual soldiers who have violated the Code of Conduct. I’m damn near exhausted by the ability of some people to cling to the idea that Abu Ghraib was somehow ordered from on high and is systemic. It’s not, and no amount of shifting goalposts – and claiming that what isn’t true actually is – can change that.

  57. I’m sorry Shem, I only meant that as a statement of fact and a direction to biographical data for those who were interested, not as a condemnation.

    Many leftists in the early 20th century thought of their ideology as 20th century Americanism. And considering the excesses of politicians like Wilson and the white southern Democrats together with what they percieved to be flaws in capitalism (which gave them no reason to be enamored of either party) it is not exactly hard to see why. The excesse of Stalin produced a serious schism in the ranks of left-liberals and Baldwin appears to have certainly been one who saw Stalin for what he was.

    I’m sorry I gave the wrong impression, especially since I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

  58. I like this thread because it gives me some insight on how libertarian-thinking people feel about the ACLU.
    I love that they oppose every attempt by the Bush administration to curtail civil liberties under the guise of the “war on terror”. Sometimes I think the ACLU is wrong but I’m glad some group is out there making them defend everything.
    Having said that, the ACLU wouldn’t know a natural right if it bit them on the ass.

  59. Dogzilla should get the ACLU Award for “Most Accurate Description of the ACLU.”

    What he said is so dead-on the ACLU might as well make it their mission statement.

    I’m still glad they’re there, tho. To the point that I still contribute $$ to them.

  60. Alright, damnit, I tried posting this earlier but it didn’t go through. Let’s try again (apologies if the first one shows up at some point):

    Thoreau: the subject of the ACLU and communist has come up on Volokh lately, and he collected a lot of useful material. The ACLU became very anti-communist, banning> communists from all leadership positions, but as I understand it this decision was largely made to make up for a communist past. The ACLU’s founding director was a communist who supported civil liberties primarily as a means to the end of the proletarian revolution (you should probably read the other three posts in that set, too). He supported the USSR throughout the thirties; he toured one of their political prisons and praised it for imprisoning those who opposed the dictatorship of the proletariat. He didn’t split with Stalin until the alliance with Hitler, which was a straw too much.

  61. rob,

    “I saw the guy plenty of times before the debates and then I saw him in the debates. The only thing that could account for him being that much better in the debates was the tireless prep by his handlers in the weeks before the debates.”

    The first time I saw John Kerry in a political debate was the early 80s, when he was running for Lt. Governor. I also saw him debate Bill Weld, the first in the current line of Massachusetts Republican governors, when he ran for Senate. While he’s pretty bad at stump speeches, Kerry has always been excellent at the political debate.

    You’re just barking up thet wrong tree here.

  62. Cedarburg,

    I guess the Iran-Contra investigations, the BCCI investigations, the POW investigations, and normalization of relations with Vietnam didn’t appear on your radar, but there actually those of us who consider them to add up to a pretty impressive record.

    Yeah, he left the old ideological standbys like minimum wage hikes to Teddy, but I’d hardly count that as a strike against Kerry.

  63. joe,

    No one changes their entire appearance and speech pattern between stump speeches and debates without a lot of help. Just like Gore morphed into a weird version of himself that looked like Ronald Reagan, Kerry morphed into a guy who actually looked “presidential.”

    There’s a lot of Democrats with a serious case of sour grapes looking for some palatable reason that their guy – who they think is so much better than Bush – failed to win. The real reason is simple, as I’ve said he lost “based on the positions Kerry took on the issues.”

    Or as crimethink put it, “Whatever went wrong, or didn’t go right, in the Kerry campaign can ultimately be laid at the feet of one person.”

    The guy’s a terrible candidate, and the Democrats put him up for slaughter – the only reason he didn’t get slaughtered was the fact that Bush and his team bumbled a LOT as well. (Tho like many here, I didn’t care for EITHER candidate…)

  64. joe,
    That should read more like this:

    “but there actually those of us who consider them to add up to a pretty impressive record” are usually apologists for a candidate who chose the wrong positions and the wrong issues and lost because of it, yet I and the other apologists will continue to pretend that it’s because the American people are too stupid to pick the candidate we elites know to be the superior choice.

    Nah… That’d never be heard – it’d be too much like straight shooting for that side of the aisle.

  65. rob,

    That might explain why his appearance and speech patterns didn’t change.

    Why is it so painful for you to admit that he does well in a debate format?

    ‘The real reason is simple, as I’ve said he lost “based on the positions Kerry took on the issues.”‘ The issue polling proves on wrong on this, too. Kerry won on everything from foreign policy to health care to Iraq to the economy to taxes. It’s a lazy mind that simply assumes “the people” hold all the same positions as yourself.

    I’d be interested in hearing a theory from you that comported with observable facts. Still waiting.

  66. BTW, “apologist” is defined as “one who apologizes.”

    Based on the last eleven months, it’s not Kerry voters who are apologizing.

  67. I like this thread because it gives me some insight on how libertarian-thinking people feel about the ACLU….
    Having said that, the ACLU wouldn’t know a natural right if it bit them on the ass.
    Comment by: Dogzilla at October 9, 2005 12:03 PM

    Perhaps the ACLU should be asking “Why do they hate us?”

    How many Reasonoids remember this gem from the October 1994 issue of Reason?

    I don’t want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty.

    Nadine Strossen
    President of the American Civil Liberties Union
    Life, Liberty, and the ACLU

    Readers’ letters, and Ms. Strossen’s reply to them, can be found in the January 1995 issue.

  68. “I’m damn near exhausted by the ability of some people to cling to the idea that Abu Ghraib was somehow ordered from on high and is systemic. It’s not, and no amount of shifting goalposts – and claiming that what isn’t true actually is – can change that.”

    Speaking of boring stupidity…

    …I don’t recall ever claiming that the abuse at Abu Gharib was ordered from on high…but I do recall you claiming that’s what I did in just about every thread in which it came up. I also remember correcting you on that point specifically in every case.

    …and posting comments claiming that I said something I didn’t say will never change that.

    …and if you don’t recognize the difference between what’s legal and what’s smart, you’re an idiot.

  69. …and if you don’t recognize the difference between what’s legal and what’s smart, you’re an idiot.

    I’d give two to one odds that, subsequent to this thread, rob claims I said it’s smart to break the law.

  70. The issue polling proves on wrong on this, too. Kerry won on everything from foreign policy to health care to Iraq to the economy to taxes.

    Linkee?

  71. The argument over Kerry’s debating skills is moot, given that the talking point regurgitation opportunities televised nationally were in no way “debates.”

  72. “Why is it so painful for you to admit that he does well in a debate format?” -joe

    I’ve had no problem pointing that out, much less admitting it. I’m the one who raised the subject.

    “Kerry won on everything from foreign policy to health care to Iraq to the economy to taxes. It’s a lazy mind that simply assumes “the people” hold all the same positions as yourself.”

    1) I don’t assume everyone holds the same positions as I do. 2) If Kerry won on all those positions he’d be President Kerry. He’s not, and I have yet to see a link that would show that this was the case.

    “Based on the last eleven months, it’s not Kerry voters who are apologizing.” – joe

    No, they just can’t believe that their guy was worse than Bush, and that the country voted accordingly. Therefore, they look for reasons other than who Kerry is and what he did during the election to make themselves feel better. Hence, they are – like you are – Kerry apologists.

    “I’d give two to one odds that, subsequent to this thread, rob claims I said it’s smart to break the law.” – Tom Crick

    Nah, I’ll wait until you actually say it. Remind us all again why you used to get all offended every time someone referred to tin-foil hat wearing conpiracy theorists, Tommy Boy.

  73. RC, you could try prowling around the Zogby and Rasmussen sites for their archives. By the end of the race, the only issue Bush was winning on was terror.

    rob, “If Kerry won on all those positions he’d be President Kerry.” You’d think so. Unfortunately, most people do not vote for president based on issues. They vote based on personality. Kerry looked French, whereas Bush looked like someone you’d like to have a beer with. To the slightly more sophistacated, Bush could be trusted to keep our nation safe slightly more than Kerry.

    “I have yet to see a link that would show that this was the case.” I guess you never actually looked any any issue polling last fall, then. But I already knew that from your assertion that Bush won because of the issues.

  74. joe,

    So, Kerry lost because he looked French and Joe Six-pack wouldn’t vote for him because they don’t want to drink beer awith a snotty-looking French guy?

    Dude, you are one seriously elitist bone-head. You honestly believe that everyone who doesn’t agree with you and vote the way you do does so because they are dumber than you are.

    Next time, when you’re making a point about how your side of an argument is more sophisticated, you shouldn’t spell it “sophistacated.”

    BTW, just because I might outscore you in a spelling bee, I don’t think that makes me better qualified to make your political decisions.

    Not surprisingly, most folks who think only experts should make most decisions would be happier with a panel of experts telling everyone how to live rather than this whole messy business of each person having the freedom to choose their own path. Does that also sum up your point of view?

    PS – If you’re making a point and won’t provide something that backs it up, when other people call you on it either just admit that you can’t find the data to support your claim or admit you’re too lazy to look.

  75. OK, I’m too lazy to look.

    And, however you might care to rephrase it, most people vote based on personality. Second is party. Actual analysis of the issues is a distant third.

  76. “however you might care to rephrase it, most people vote based on personality. Second is party. Actual analysis of the issues is a distant third.” – joe

    Ah, more unsubstantiated opinion from joe. Good thing he linked to something that at least lends credence to what he believes are the criteria other people use when choosing one candidate over another… Oh, that’s right, he didn’t. Big surprise that there’s nothing backing up joe’s opinion beyond his belief that the very fact that it is HIS opinion makes it gold-standard Truth with a capital “T.”

  77. Nah, I’ll wait until you actually say it.

    Why change now?

    I never said that abuse from “Abu Gharib was “ordered from on high”, and yet you keep posting comments suggesting that I did.

    I’ve pointed out this stupidity before.

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/06/the_senator_wou.shtml

    …I’ve pointed out this is a lie, and I’ve pointed out that it’s stupid. …because it’s so easy to call out.

    …You can’t link to any comment in which I ever said that the abuse at Abu Gharib was ordered from “on high.” …because I never said that.

    His claims about the “policy we chose” is in no way responsible for the stupidity of those individual soldiers who have violated the Code of Conduct. I’m damn near exhausted by the ability of some people to cling to the idea that Abu Ghraib was somehow ordered from on high and is systemic.

    Once again, rob closes his eyes, puts his finger in his ears and hums. …The Schlesinger Report:

    “…the abuses were not just the failure of some individuals to follow known standards, and they are more than the failure of a few leaders to enforce proper discipline. There is both institutional and personal responsibility at higher levels.”

    —-Schlesinger Report .pdf page 7 of 126.

    “…[Donald Rumsfeld] directed the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel to establish a working group to study interrogation techniques. The Working Group…included wide membership from across the military legal and intelligence communities. The Working Group also relied heavily on the OLC. The Working Group reviewed 35 techniques and after a very extensive debate ultimately recommended 24 to the Secretary of Defense. The study led to Secretary of Defense’s promulgation on April 16, 2003 a list of approved techniques…”

    —-Schlesinger Report, page 10 of 126

    “The existence of confusing and inconsistent interrogation technique policies contributed to the belief that additional interrogation techniques were condoned.”

    —-Schlesinger Report .pdf page 12 of 126

    “We cannot be sure how much the number and severity of abuses would have been curtailed had there been early and consistent guidance from higher levels. Nonetheless, such guidance was needed and likely would have had a limiting effect.”

    —-Schlesinger Report .pdf pp. 15 & 16 of 126.

    “…As already noted, the changes in DoD interrogation policies between December 2, 2002 and April 16, 2003 were an element contributing to uncertainties in the field as to which techniques were authorized.”

    —-Schlesinger Report .pdf page 16 of 126

    From this I conclude that the policy changes made by Donald Rumsfeld–under the advice of the Gonzales Torture Memo–significantly contributed to the confusion regarding approved interrogation techniques. …My stance hasn’t changed from the beginning–since the Schlesinger Report came out in ’04, not since this bimbo showed up. I have never argued that Donald Rumsfeld or Gonzales ordered the horror at Abu Gharib, only that this incompetent policy–and its incompetent implementation–were responsible. I’ve also spelled this out to rob in terms a child could understand.

    Remind us all again why you used to get all offended every time someone referred to tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists, Tommy Boy.

    …I remember when you suggested that those who think that the responsibility for the disgrace at Abu Gharib went all the way to the top were merely conspiracy theorists. …specifically:

    The position I agree with you on has been beaten by the people who constantly repeat the same bleating BS over and over.

    There are simply way too many people of the “everytime someone screws up in the military it goes all the way to the top” conspiracy theory school.

    You can’t defeat that kind of one-issue insanity any more than you can convince someone who is an agoraphobe that wide open spaces have no inherent power to harm them.

    It’s just another manifestation of the tin foil hat crowd that thinks the NSA satellites are reading their minds. (Makes for fascinating reading, I’m sure…)

    —-Comment by: rob at May 28, 2005 01:00 PM

    Given the facts in the Schlesinger Report, that’s an incredibly stupid thing to say.

    http://news.findlaw.com/wp/docs/dod/abughraibrpt.pdf

    P.S. While it’s true that I’ve pointed out that there seem to be similarities between the “interrogation methods” approved by Donald Rumsfeld and the infamous Abu Gharib photographs, the suggestion that I argued that the people “on high” ordered the abuse at Abu Gharib remains as stupid as ever.

  78. “…I remember when you suggested that those who think that the responsibility for the disgrace at Abu Gharib went all the way to the top were merely conspiracy theorists.” – TC

    Here’s where you devolve into into complete and utter nonsensibility: your claim is awfully difficult to separate from claims that there’s a conspiracy to torture. How the two are separate is apparently something so subtle that only you can splice it that way.

    Once more, as concisely as I can make it…

    For there to be responsibility at the top – as you claim – there must have been orders from the top. There weren’t. There ARE orders specifically forbidding torture, and criminal prosecution penalties in the UCMJ against it.

    You can’t hold the people at the top accountable for ordering the people at the bottom to torture captives. In fact, you can’t even claim that policy confusion at the top made it more likely that people would torture captives. Because the policy never was to torture, and there are standing orders are in place NOT to torture. (This is blindingly obvious to anyone with minimal critical thinking ability and reading comprehension skills.)

    Here’s a simple analogy that would clear it up for you if you were actually open to reasonable discourse:

    If I work for a bank, and I rob the bank, I can’t claim that a policy about how to credit and debit accounts at corporate headquarters encouraged me to believe it was a good idea to rob the bank when my employee handbook specifically tells me that I am never, under any circumstances, allowed to rob the bank. Especially if the CEO puts out a memo that says “robbing the bank is unacceptable and not in keeping with the traditions of commerce our customers expect from their financial institutions.” (For an example of such a memo, see the one put out by President Bush regarding treatment of captives that I’ve linked to about a dozen times.)

    You haven’t a leg to stand on, and haven’t had a leg to stand on since the beginning. Playing shell games with your positions and pulling a laundry list of Schlesinger quotes doesn’t change that. (But I’ll be damned if I’m going to re-post every Schlesinger quote needed to rebut you every time you hit the Schlesinger macro.)

    “…I remember when you suggested that those who think that the responsibility for the disgrace at Abu Gharib went all the way to the top were merely conspiracy theorists.” – TC

    I sure did. And boy did you get mad and jump to the defense of said tin-foil hatters. Just because the conspiracy goes to the top in “A Few Good Men” doesn’t mean that it’s reality. Now take your Thorazine and calm down or we’ll have to take away your TV privileges. (And you know the next step after that is torture, so behave.)

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