Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interesting, Breaking Stories

By now you may have heard that the 6 medics have been freed from Libya due to an "arrangement" made between Libay and the EU, which includes rebuilding a hospital for Libya. The medics now say that they were forced to confess due to torture, which had been suspected all along. The EU is sending the message that they WILL negotiate with terrorists.

The Bush administration is instructing Harriet Meiers to defy Congress and refuse to testify in upcoming hearings. Congress is threatening to take that to court, but the Bush administration remains unfazed, announcing that they will instruct the Attorney General to disregard Congress on this matter.

Some people are incensed about this, but others (including the Clintons' former legal counsel) reluctantly admit that Bush is completely in the right. For an excellent story on this, go to Salon's article on the pros and cons of this brouhaha. For the record, it makes me very uneasy to see this continued interpretation of the Presidency which places the President above all the other branches of government.

New York State has an interesting and terrible scandal at this moment. Democratic Gov. Spitzer's aides conspired with the state police to gather evidence in an attempt to destroy a Republican politician. Spitzer is now doing damage control.

But, does any of this really surprise us? No matter what party these politicians are from, the majority of them appear to be either corrupt or corruptible. As for police, the same statement may apply. That isn't to say that all police or politicians fall under that category, but temptations abound when you are in absolute power and have the capacity to wield it. It takes a strong and stellar individual to rise above such behavior, and there aren't many of those.


mal said...

"executive privilege" is a tough one. Congress has the ultimate power of impeachment but should they have daily oversight? I am not sure I would want that. Can you imagine what the Government would have been like if the President had been forced to answer to the likes of Joe McCarthy, Strom Thurmond and others?

Is it subject to abuse? yup. Let the court call this one

Scott said...

Politicians are so corrupt and it seems like that is the only way to ever become a high level one. It is so sad that they have to talk out of both sides of their mouths and then they do these ridiculous things to hold onto power. It is a very sick sick system.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Executive privilege is not in the Constitution anywhere. It was invented as the result of a Supreme Court decision. But the scope of how far it goes is really up in the air. Most of the time, if it gets before the courts again they rule that it is not that powerful.

If Bush can just tell the AG to ignore whatever he wants ignored - what is the point in Congress? Why not just rule by Executive decree? And then why not do away with term limits and voting and just have a royal family?

What is going to end up happening is that from here on out there will be no or limited oversight. Everyone will just be able to claim something and just shut down Congress.

Take a black marker to everyplace in the Constitution that mentions impeachment powers.

daveawayfromhome said...

So the legal council for a woman who may well be the next president of the United States thinks that there may be something to this "executive priviledge" thing after all, huh?

Hmmmmm, isnt that convienient?

Fuzz said...

It would be hard to be an "honest politician", if there is such a thing. Those who have scruples tend to get marginalized.

The Lazy Iguana said...


1776 - 2000

It was fun while it lasted.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Oh yea - Libya tortured the medics - and the USA "questions suspects" using methods such as water boarding and whatnot.

I am so glad we are better than Libya and would never stoop to their depths!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, re: torturing - Torture is certainly not acceptable under any circumstances - that's a given. And, as my grandmother always said, two wrongs don't make a right. However, the US tortures were on the shallow end of the pool. Muslim fanatic/terrorist tortures dive much deeper and include things like rape, battery, electric torture, Creative Things to Do to Fingernails 101, etc. To compare them is tempting, but not realistic.

As for the RIP - you are sadly correct. We are sadly in danger of becoming what we ran away from - a monarch-based society. Now, we may have far to go, or we may NOT. It is interesting to watch Bush challenge the Constitution repeatedly, while Congress sits around with a thumb up their, you get the picture. The Patriot Act was merely the opening salvo.

Fuzz, so very true. Some of the best politicians I personally know and respect were quickly marginalized.

Daveawayfromhome, yes! It IS, isn't it? ;o)

Scott, it certainly has become so. You see, it all boils down to the fact that human nature is essentially evil and self-serving. The US is a living example of the maxim that people will always attempt to chip away at laws and a well-meant Constitution until they've completely destroyed it. It's human nature to return to lawlessness - we're simply doing it in a more sophisticated manner than they're doing it in the middle east.

Mal, excellent observations.

Kathleen said...

Mal, has it right.

BTW, Lazy. If I were given the choice of being "interrogated" by the US or Muslim "fanatic/terrorist" factions, I would absolutely choose US. I think if you are honest, you would too. To suggest that there is a close resemblance is not even close to reality. I get tired of that argument being used in an effort to fortify ones point of view and avoid some harsh truths.

Crow is crow no matter which side of the isle it is eaten.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I am not trying to fortify my views or avoid harsh truths. We are either taking the moral high road - or we are not. It really is that simple.

If we are not going to take the moral high road, that is fine. But I suggest we go ahead and just admit it. Be upfront. Release videos. Show the acts to those who we may or may not capture next.

But this "well we observe human rights and will openly criticize other nations for doing X and Y but we reserve the right to do Z" is horse shit.

Nobody ever said that playing by the rules is easier than cheating. That is a given. But seeing as how this Nation had a great deal to do with writing those rules in the first place, we should make a better effort at sticking to them.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Talking with terrorists is the only way to get things done.

The moral highground is slippy with blood.

Kathleen said...

DHG, are you aware of any talks with the terrorists that have stopped or reduced their level of violence and bloodshed? I am not sure of a common ground we could find that would help to break their fervent belief that all infidel men, women and children should be dead. Not to mention the violence and bloodshed they inflict on other Muslims. I guess it depends on who does the talking. I am open to learning. Please, let us know.