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Tilting at Windmills

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January 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE LEGAL MAINSTREAM....Yesterday's cover story in Newsweek described how Jack Goldsmith, after he was appointed head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in 2003, stood up to hardliners in the Bush administration and insisted that the president was not above the law. Dan Drezner says he has nothing to add to the Newsweek story and then immediately adds this:

I've known Jack Goldsmith for many years from his time at the University of Chicago. If you think that Goldsmith is either a RINO or a squishy "must kowtow to all forms of international law" kind of guy, well, then you don't know Jack.

The fact that Addington, Cheney, and by extension Bush managed to force out people like Goldsmith and Comey means that the legal consensus within the administration is way, way outside the legal mainstream.

Yep. And what does that say about Samuel Alito, who apparently thinks that the Addington/Cheney/Bush president-as-king theory of wartime governance is just peachy? Outside the legal mainstream, no?

Kevin Drum 4:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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Wildly outside the maintstream. But it's too bad "centrist" Democrats like Joementum Lieberman don't see that as any reason to oppose Alito.

I guess the "centrist" Democrats will finally figure there's something worth fighting for after Bush declares himself president for life and disbands Congress (with the Supreme Court's blessing).

Posted by: Derelict on January 30, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why do so many "conservatives" support or approve of Alito, then, (even if not part of party loyalty) if he really does not represent true conservative principles? What is the etiology and true agenda of a "conservative" in the present circumstances?

Posted by: Neil' on January 30, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Well - we've been set back by about 30-40 years in just the past couple days. Between the election of Hamas in Palestine and the confirmation of Samuel Alito here in the U.S., people will get more than their fair share of what life was like in the bad old days.

But maybe this is what people need - we need to confront catastrophe on a massive scale before we move on to greater heights than we had visited previously. Teleological theories of history are of course unfounded..but maybe they correctly describe what happens anyhow

Posted by: reader on January 30, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

And what does that say about Samuel Alito, who apparently thinks that the Addington/Cheney/Bush president-as-king theory of wartime governance is just peachy? Outside the legal mainstream, no?

Actually they are NOT outside the legal mainstream. Even Professor Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School understands they are not.

Link

"The Bush Administration has made strong claims about the "inherent" power of the President. These claims are not unprecedented, and they are rarely if ever preposterous; but they are nonetheless bold."

They are conservative views while those who oppose such views are liberals.

Posted by: Al on January 30, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

**Why do so many "conservatives" support or approve of Alito...**

It's not conservatives, it's Republicans. And they have little in common these days.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on January 30, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with Alito - with any Supreme Court nomination, really - is that it immediately becomes an abortion story. The extremists on both sides of the abortion debate clamor so loudly that many other issues are drowned out. You'll occasionally hear a blurb about how Senator X questioned Alito about wiretaps, but the long analysis pieces are almost always about Roe.

Which is too bad, because it was clear since the Miers nomination that Bush simply wanted justices who would support an expnaded executive branch.

Posted by: mmy on January 30, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting. But can you trust Dresner as far as you can throw him?

Posted by: Jeff II on January 30, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why do so many "conservatives" support or approve of Alito, then, (even if not part of party loyalty) if he really does not represent true conservative principles? What is the etiology and true agenda of a "conservative" in the present circumstances?

Loyalty to the king. Party above principle. The true conservative "principle" always has been and always will be the slavish worship of power.

Posted by: Stefan on January 30, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Is a single Republican not going to run under the "Democracts are Obstructionists" banner, regardless of where the Democrats actually vote on Alito?

If the Democrats just roll over again, it's going to be hard not to conclude that they are all just a bunch of spineless twerps.

Posted by: enozinho on January 30, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Al above is correct.

Also let me add that this story is about as believable as the Newsweek story that someone flushed a Koran down the toilet.

Newsweek has no credibility.

Posted by: Al on January 30, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

it's going to be hard not to conclude that they are all just a bunch of spineless twerps.

Too late. I think it's time we gave up on those guys, and just went for the pitchforks and torches. It would look better on TV, too.

Posted by: craigie on January 30, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Whether the Dems roll over or not, the stereotype of Democratic leaders as weak, ineffective and 'spineless twerps' has been embedded in the political culture thanks to leaders like Lieberman and Kerry. The current crop of Dem leaders can hardly do anything to prove this stereotype to be misguided.

Posted by: lib on January 30, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's time we gave up on those guys, and just went for the pitchforks and torches.

I'm in Craigie, but I'm kind of torn over who to go after first.

Posted by: enozinho on January 30, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

And what does that say about Samuel Alito, who apparently thinks that the Addington/Cheney/Bush president-as-king theory of wartime governance is just peachy? Outside the legal mainstream, no?

Too little... way too late.

Posted by: koreyel on January 30, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Al: Loyalty to the people in power over principle, policy, common sense or loyalty to the Constitution. We are good Germans.

Speaking of principles, I can't resist this OT synopsis of the job situation:

the triumph of Republican-conservatarian economic policy consists of an expansion of government jobs financed by loans from the Communist Peoples Republic of China

from http://maxspeak.org/mt/archives/001939.html

Posted by: alex on January 30, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

When you put as much time into dredging the waterway and constructing the necessary canals,aqueducts and dams to shift the stream to where Judge Alito is just one of many like him,(would the hue and cry be greater if the nominee were Luttig,Rogers-Brown or Clement?)then,no,he is not outside the mainstream. Perhaps he would have been 30 years ago,but not today.

Posted by: TJM on January 30, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

On the subject of Political Animal's trolling problem...

I've been hearing about these fulltime paid trolls who are paid by Republican front organizations/think tanks to establish a semi-credible foothold for right-wing ideas on liberal blogs. Which explains why they jump into threads so quickly.

Since this is one of the highest readership unmoderated blogs around (Atrios aside, but his comments section is fairly exceptional) it would make sense for them to focus their efforts here.

So until the Als of the world explicitly prove that they're employed in some way that actually benefits society, I'm going to assume that they're low-grade interns in the right wing machine. Or possibly outsourced Indian laborers in Bangalore. Treat their "arguments" accordingly.

Posted by: theo on January 30, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

the first Al cites one of Cass Sunstein's most foolish set of remarks - i mean, if you read his writeup, you discover that "bold" really means "preposterous" - and the second Al is just plain foolish.

as for alito, i have no idea where the "mainstream" is anymore (thanks TJM!), but i do know that Alito doesn't actually believe that his real views would withstand scrutiny, which is why he (like Roberts) was so careful to hide them....

Posted by: howard on January 30, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I really despise that phrase "outside the mainstream."

Let's be clear: the "unitary executive" theory is loony. It's intellectually indefensible and dangerous. As a result, it just so happens that 99.9% of anybody who knows what the hell they're talking about, don't buy it. Thus, it's "outside the mainstream." The fact that it lies outside the views of most people, however, has absolutely nothing to do with establishing the merits of the argument (or shouldn't).

Posted by: Brautigan on January 30, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a bit familiar with Goldsmith from friends who know him from Chicago, and from others who are now with him at Harvard. He's a conservative's conservative, so the idea that the Bush regime went too far for him --- wow. What the fuck is going on over there? It seems like they're one step away from anointing Bush king and wrapping him in the purple.

Posted by: Stefan on January 30, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's time we gave up on those guys, and just went for the pitchforks and torches. It would look better on TV, too.

Right on. Just let me finish this letter I'm working on, send a few e-mails, return a couple of calls and then I'm in Full Angry Townsfolk Mode.

Posted by: shortstop on January 30, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

It seems like they're one step away from anointing Bush king and wrapping him in the purple.

The only reason this doesn't happen is tactical - because then those folks who think that the biggest crisis this country faces is Brad and Angelina moving to Europe, might actually look up and wonder what's being done in their names.

But for all intents and purposes, it's already happened.

Posted by: craigie on January 30, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

And by the time Bradwatch and Angelinadrool figures it out...too late.

Posted by: shortstop on January 30, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

I've been saying there paid hacks for years now..Tbroz didn't even know who Gary Hudson is.

Posted by: pssst on January 30, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, rejecting the entire concept of legality is outside of the legal mainstream. In kind of the way that young Earth creationism is "outside of the scientific mainstream", and Pluto is "outside of the core of the Earth".

Posted by: cmdicely on January 30, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: rejecting the entire concept of legality is outside of the legal mainstream

Why do you support the terrorists?

Posted by: alex on January 30, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

"... Alito, ... apparently thinks that the Addington/Cheney/Bush president-as-king theory of wartime governance is just peachy?"

Yep, Kevin - that's what I heard from Alito. He certainly does apparently think Bush as a king is just peachy. (sarcasm) Only a blogger could take hours and hours of testimony about this topic and reduce it to a highly misleading single sentence. And I am supposed to read this "reasoned analysis" to inform my own opinions?

Sheesh. This is from one of the brighter writers on the liberal side of the blogosphere? What has been posted to this blog lately is awfully close to the readers' comments and diaries at DKos.

Posted by: jerry on January 30, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

jerry, you're welcome to adduce "hours and hours" of testimony on this topic (a tad exaggerated, but what care i) and explain how kevin's one-sentence isn't accurate. (your version of kevin's one sentence doesn't fill me with confidence that you can do this, but that's ok - i'd be happy to be wrong.)

me? i think that it's a perfectly apt way to chracterize alito's thinking, but go ahead, prove me (or, more important, kevin) wrong.

Posted by: howard on January 30, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

And what does that say about Samuel Alito, who apparently thinks that the Addington/Cheney/Bush president-as-king theory of wartime governance is just peachy?

Alito has never said or written anything that even remotely implies that the President can or should be "king." That is a lie. (No wonder the lefty blogospher has so little influence: Even one of the sharpest and most honest bloggers around, like Kevin Drum, has nothing against Alito but this kind of baseless demagoguery.)

Posted by: Niels Jackson on January 30, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Alito has never said or written anything that even remotely implies that the President can or should be "king."

How about "tyrant"?

Posted by: Gregory on January 30, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Feeling a bit down? Yeah I know the feeling.

So the other team got a quick easy score (the officials helped!)

The game is long from over.

Theres a lot of time left on the clock and a lot of corruption to cover.

November is coming.

Posted by: Sideline on January 30, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

BUT THATS NOT all - did you read the part about the torture evidence that Bush and Cheney were activitily involved in Gonzales and Addington.

Bush said "we don't torture" and Rice went to the UN and said "we don't torture" so isn't this new article from Newsweek and the investigative reporters now show real EVIDENCE that Bush and Cheney did in fact order torturing of Mideast people?

The article makes these statements that in fact BOTH Bush and Cheney order new rules of torture short of maiming or killing a prisoner - and some prisoner died anyway like Andy Sullivan wrote about yesterday.


So lets see here:

How many foot soldiers got prosecuted for torturing at Abu Ghraib and Guantnamo AND now these same military men and women, whom were all insisting that they were just following orders now doing some prison time for it?

THEY were following orders they were following George Bush and Dick Cheneys orders. And yet Bush skates he is above the law he can torture if he wants to and any military individual that gets caught following the Commander and Chief's orders is breaking the law and than prosecuted for it and doing jail time.

I would asked for a re-trial in light of this evidence from this article in Newsweek.

Gonzale's memo is not simply hearsay but a real document that Bush really ordered up right along with great comtempt for US law. Bush took an oath to protect our US Constitution and he has broken that law not simply with wiretapping.

I can see why columnist Safire is so upset with Bush - whatever happen to the real Christian conservative voter - they don't exsist anymore. Repugs don't care that Bush was behind all those soldiers that went to prison for following Bush's orders.

Ambuhl says she and other MPs used aggressive techniques against detainees because that is what military intelligence soldiers and civilian interrogators told her to do.

She described a "roster board" that included which military intelligence "treatment" to give to certain detainees and said trainers from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, taught the MPs how to put detainees in "stress positions." She said military intelligence officials told them to keep detainees naked, embarrass them or make them exercise until they reached exhaustion.

"We were told to handcuff people in uncomfortable positions, to put people on [Meals Ready to Eat] boxes, to pour cold water on them, to make them do physical training," said Ambuhl, who worked the night shift on Tier 1B. "We did what we were told to do."

That defense has not worked well for several of the MPs charged with abuse, most notably Graner, who worked the night shift on Tier 1A, alongside Ambuhl. Graner is serving a 10-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 30, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Very interested theme, with attention I will read following registration fees.

Posted by: Aparaty cyfrowe on January 30, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

My coworker bought a pitch fork last weekend. I didnt ask.

He says when lying political talking heads start wakening up dead the Earth will turn.

Did the Earth just move?

Posted by: Sideline on January 30, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Why does Jack Goldsmith hate America?

Posted by: Pat on January 30, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

neils, i'll effectively say the same thing i said to jerry: the theory the bush administration has proffered to us is that, as commander-in-chief, bush has extensive (indeed, as far as one has been able to tell so far, limitless) powers during wartime, regardless of whether "war" itself has actually been declared (the AUMF being regarded as good enough for this state of being, which has now lasted longer than world war ii).

Alito, who already suffers from the rather amazing delusion that since the president signs a bill into law, his opinion of what he is signing is every bit as important as what the law that congress - ya know, the constitutionally charged lawmaking body - wrote actually says, didn't say a thing in the hearings that would demonstrate he sees any fundamental problems in this approach.

could you please show us differently?

the FISA issue makes this crystal clear: Bush has, by General Haydon's account, "softened" FISA, leading to an opening of the faucet further. For all i know, congress would be fine with this, but Bush hasn't even asked: he's simply violated FISA and is justifying it through the AUMF triggers commander-in-chiefhood which itself triggers a right to redefine FISA.

What did you hear from Alito that would show you that he even considers this a problem?

Posted by: howard on January 30, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

"I've been hearing about these fulltime paid trolls"

I've called our trolls out as Scaife footsoldiers many times.

In the basement of the AEI, at home in slippers and housecoat, who knows? They won't say. But guys like;

Al ( the real one, not our various fake Als )
Red State Mike
tbroz ( fer sure )
PATTON

and many more who work the "reasonable tone" side of the project, who usually have less memorable names, they all help in ...

Moving the project forward!

Can't prove it, especially since there are so many unsung volunteers and fellow travelers and besides, who doesn't enjoy throwing sand in your enemies gears?


Liberals, I guess.

Posted by: Joey G on January 30, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "And what does that say about Samuel Alito, who apparently thinks that the Addington/Cheney/Bush president-as-king theory of wartime governance is just peachy? Outside the legal mainstream, no?"

Well, yes, of course! But at this point, what good does that big of insight do? The man is as good as confirmed to a seat on the US Supreme Court and Americans are going to have to live with the man's decisions for probably the next 30 years. Can we blame the flaccid Democrats who sit in the Senate? Well, yes, of course! But what good does that do if their constituents keep electing them back in Congress?

Posted by: Taobhan on January 30, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

If PATTON is a troll, I am willing to bet he is only being paid minimum wage. And, he is overpaid at that.

Posted by: MLuther on January 31, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, if you believed this:

Yep. And what does that say about Samuel Alito, who apparently thinks that the Addington/Cheney/Bush president-as-king theory of wartime governance is just peachy? Outside the legal mainstream, no?

then you should have worked much harder to see that Alito was defeated.

Posted by: JustSayin on January 31, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is larger than democrats VS republicans. There are no heroes in this catfight because Clinton set some precedents, in this regard, and so did Reagan.

Each time one party holds the reins of goverment, they abuse the 'privilege' - then howl when the worm turns.

Democratic regulars just 'can't understand why Dems are standing down' on so many issues... when Bush is clearly a criminal president.

They can't? -- just look at the Clinton presidency... Dems have no standing because they never occupy the high moral ground when they have the power.

The problem is institutional. Our system is broken, and without the emergence of a strong third party - there is no constitution - we have no protection from either party. They are both beyond repair.

It is a travesty to watch partisan bloggers blame this on evil bush... sure he's an evil bastard... but Clinton ignored congress and bombed the Serbs - against the EXPRESS wishes of the congress -- who is the body that decides such things.

What kind of standing does congress have to reign in the mad boy king?

The worm has turned... and every democrat should be looking to sack the dems as well...

incumbants are the enemy here... not partisans.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

stefan... it is NOT loyalty to the king. Republicans are terrified of Democrats.. not the leadership ... the voters.

The culture... I am on this board as a recovering conservative..[libertarian, but conservative on social issues]. Bush has lost his fiscal conservatives and the more rabid, Israeli first neocons. THAT is why Safire is down on him...

the knives are out for Bush because he isn't keeping to his assigned task.. he's wobbling on Iran and Syria...

THe rabid neocons are grooming preparation H to fulfill that role.

We are fucked either way. When the dems come up with a VIABLE anti war candidate - I'll vote DEM... in the mean time we are GIVEN choices between tweedles dum and dee...

The dems are not going to SAVE us from the evil boy king.

We need an honest discussion of just exactly what Dems would do in the presidency before wobbly Gopers will bolt.

Gopers won't bolt if they are fearful of the radical social values of the left... they would vote Adolph Hitler first...

Until and unless the dems embrace the more conservative values of the nation - the swing vote will be those who hate bush but hate brokeback politics more.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Howard:

Thank you for replying to my comment wherein I wrote that Kevin had reduced hours of testimony by Alito to a single, inaccurate sentence where he said that apparently Alito thinks that Bush as king is peachy. I took exception to the characterization and wondered why Kevin thought that this was a reasoned analysis, or why he would think that his snark would convince anyone who disagreed with him.

Howard invites me to adduce something or other, but yet again he uses a small, difficult word that I don't understand.

However, I can point to sections of Alito's testimony that make it clear he does not feel that Bush is a King or that unlimited executive power is just peachy. Ceertainly Kevin is aware of such comments and chooses to ignore them while blithely mischarcterizing Alito and his views. That, Howard, is my issue:

"... And a judge certainly doesn't have a client. The judge's only obligation -- and it's a solemn obligation -- is to the rule of law. And what that means is that in every single case, the judge has to do what the law requires."

Judge Samuel Alito responded directly to one of the chief criticisms of his nomination to the Supreme Court by saying Monday "there is nothing that is more important for our republic than the rule of law. No person in this country, no matter how high or powerful, is above the law, and no person in this country is beneath the law."

Specter asked ... whether Alito agreed with retiring Justice Sandra Day OConnors claim in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld that war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of citizens. Specter also asked Alito if he agreed with former Justice Robert Jackson that when the president takes action incompatible with the expressed or implicit will of Congress his power is at its lowest ebb. Alito said that he agreed absolutely that the war on terrorism did not constitute a presidential blank check and endorsed Jacksons view of presidential activities in defiance of congressional will as a very useful framework.

Alito agrees with O'Connor's statement: "A state of war is not a blank check when it comes to our nation's citizens."

Alito: "Our Constitution applies in the times of peace and the times of war and it protects Americans under all circumstances. The Bill of Rights applies at all times. It's particularly important that we adhere to the bill of rights in times of war and times of national crisis because there's the greatest temptation to depart from them."

Alito also voiced a cautionary view of presidential power and said individual liberties must be protected in "times of peace and times of war."

But he stopped short of answering specific questions about President Bush's decision to secretly wiretap U.S. residents without warrants, saying a case challenging the program could end up before him as a judge.

In pointed exchanges, Alito said he'd have no problem holding the president's power to the bounds set by the Constitution and the law.
"Are there instances where a president could be above the law or could put others beyond the law?" Leahy asked. Alito said: "The president has to follow the Constitution. No one is above the law."

He sidestepped the debate over the Bush administration's power to eavesdrop on Americans without court approval but said there are instances in which assertions of executive power raise questions. "You have to know the specifics" before passing judgment, he said. But "the president has to comply with the Constitution and with statutes that are passed."

Specter asked Alito about a 1952 Supreme Court ruling that prevented President Truman from seizing steel factories during the Korean War.
"It doesn't answer every question that comes up in this area," Alito said. "But it provides a useful way of looking at them."

I think that these excerpts support my view that Kevin's single sentence characterization of Alito and his testimony is wholly innaccurate.

Posted by: jerry on January 31, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

jerry, i'm trying to figure out what small word i used that you didn't understand!

ok, those are your examples, but i don't think you (or perhaps whomever you copied this from: i can't tell, from the phrasing, whether this is all your writing or whether some of it is copied from some other source) are looking carefully enough at how alito danced around saying anything. don't forget, this is a man whose explanation for his CAP background in his '80s job application is that he was applying to work in the Reagan administration - in short, that in the best case scenario, he acknowledged that he would lie to get a job. so bear that in mind.

the war on terrorism isn't a "blank check?" well, that could mean anything: it could mean that he thinks there are limitations that normal people would recognize, or it could mean that he acknowledges that george bush cannot personally torture people. it's a pretty empty statement.

Jackson's view is a "useful framework?" that's the best he can say about an oft-cited basic principle? hell, there are loads of "useful frameworks" that i nonetheless don't believe in (small government, for instance, is a "useful framework," it's just not one i support).

individual liberties must be protected? well la-di-da-da. i certainly didn't expect alito to come up to capitol hill and say individual liberties must not be protected, but that doesn't really say that he accepts bounds on presidential power.

the president must comply with the constitution and the statutes that are passed? well, the heart of the FISA dispute is the astonishing Bush administration position that it can unilaterally set aside FISA because of AUMF and the commander-in-chief powers. In short, the argument is that they are adhering to the constitution and the statutes that are passed. Did you see any basis in Alito's remarks to think that he disagrees with that? Remember, this is a guy who claims that the president is co-equal when it comes to statues, because he signs them into law....

This is all very much like his answers on roe v. wade. As every anti-abortion activist in the country knows, Alito is going to chip away at - and indeed, if the opportunity arises, vote to overturn - roe v. wade. it's not an open question where he stands on it. and yet, he tapdaned around it in the hearings, talking the same way about frameworks and suchlike.

so, for the reasons i outlined in greater detail at 10:05, i'm afraid (not that you expected to) you haven't changed my mind in the least. alito - a man

Posted by: howard on January 31, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

The real enemy is Jews. Every minute you spend criticizing Christians like George Bush is a wasted moment.

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Howard:

'adduce' is the small and difficult word. And almost all of my post is made from cuts and pastes from news articles.

I understand your point. In your opinion, Alito danced and didn't answer. That's your view, there is support for it, I have my view, there's support for it. An honest disagreement where both persons attempt to accurately portray the arguments of the other side. That's great, that's what this forum should be about.

Unfortunately, Kevin does not seem to be displaying (as of late) the same intellectual honesty/integrity as some of his leftward-leaning readers. I think most would agree that Kevin's characterization is simple-minded and, at the least, incomplete. There's no arguing that point. He does not fairly present the views of the side he disagrees with and that is too bad. (That's not his job, I suppose, so it is left to his readers to fairly present the other side. It's a pity when someone is attacked for trying to honestly present the other side; not by Howard but some of the others here.) At least Howard engages me on the facts.

That was the point of my original post - Kevin was incomplete, inaccurate, unfair. His simple-minded critique could not convince anyone who holds a different view.

You know, Howard, I can't predict how Alito will rule - in fact, in 15 years on the bench he has yet to rule on a single case substantively involving the war on terror. Given that fact, I don't see how any of us can say with any certainty at all that Alito feels the executive should be king in times of war.

Posted by: jerry on January 31, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ashley:

I dunno, dear ... I doubt very seriously you're going to get any progressives keen on the idea of aligning with the Pat Buchanan wing of the GOP.

Lefties are anti-imperialists; we aren't Robert Taft isolationists. We supported Clinton's belated intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo.

And that, I think, gives your game away. Elsewhere you've gone on about America's "Islamophobia" preventing us from having a correct picture of Israel. Well ... we intervened in the Balkans to protect Bosnian Muslims. Why does your heart bleed for Greater Serbia?

Could it be, ummm ... ethnicity? Could your "anti-Islamophobia" be more properly described as ... anti-semitism?

It's entirely possible to critique Israel's string of right-wing governments without falling into this trap. Most lefties do, in fact.

We see what's underneath your "conservative social issues" and we don't like it very much *at all* ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Howard-- the war on terror is a blank check because the Democrats were asleep at the wheel when Clinton set the precedent.

If both parties try to use the power of the executive to advance their party's cause - neither side will prevail - and we all lose.

I'm sick of the double and triple standards by partisans. Bush has a blank check because his base is terrified.

Israeli first neocons are terrified that he wont invade Syria and Iran.

Social conservatives are terrified that homosexuals will prey on their sons ala Brokeback Mountain.

Fiscal conservatives are terrified that if Dems control any branch of government, they will be WORSE than the bushbots. The only difference is that 8 trillion will be spent to rehabilitate transexuals who aren't coping, or to catch and release prairie dogs in Denver suburbs, as a condition of new building permits.

And of course Libertarians are terrified of both parties. Because none of you cares a whit for the constitution until the OTHER SIDE is abusing it.

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm ... Ashley and TJ here pretty much at the same time ... damn but Kevin should do an IP scan :)

"Israeli-first neocons" = nasty, world-controlling Jews.

Go away.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

TJ:

"Eight trillion spent to rehability transsexuals who aren't coping."

ROTFL ... where do you *get* this stuff?

Why do you think a liberal blog would be remotely interested in this garbage, btw -- except, of course, to laugh in your face?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

rehability = rehabilitate

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

jerry, just to bring us to closure, i'm all for spiritied honest debate and disagrement, which means, among other things, we're going to have to disagree that kevin is being unfair in his characterization. even if he were, that's his right as proprietor: this isn't an academic forum abstractly searching for higher truth. it's a political forum, where strong statements are part and parcel of the game.

tj, what in the world does this sentence mean? "Howard-- the war on terror is a blank check because the Democrats were asleep at the wheel when Clinton set the precedent."

Posted by: howard on January 31, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

ps. jerry, i did mean to say that i have no idea what the "alito - a man" at the end of my posting means! i must have been starting a sentence, thought better of it, and then neglected to delete.

Posted by: howard on January 31, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

pps. jerry, as for "adduce," from merriamwebster.com:

Main Entry: adduce
Pronunciation: &-'ds also -'dys
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): adduced; adducing
Etymology: Latin adducere, literally, to lead to, from ad- + ducere to lead -- more at TOW
: to offer as example, reason, or proof in discussion or analysis
- adducer noun

Posted by: howard on January 31, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

I am ME. Do your IP scan. I am ONLY me.

And I make the point to make you understand why you are losing elections.

I am not here as a troll. I am here because I keep looking for an alternative. But both parties are owned by their crazies.

I am not a wild eyed hater. I am part of that 40% that neither side can win over.

If you pooh pooh the idea that gazillions for transexual 'therapy' is hyperbolic, you will lose in NOvember - again.

That is a real fear, from REAL people.

And good honest people can object to the disproportionate influence of American Jews with dual loyalties.

Why do you think we didnt have a viable, anti war candidate? Follow the money, honey. Just follow the money.

HIllary is being groomed as the next hawk for Israel. You people really don't get it.

Democrats are hostage to the same hawks, they just wear more colorful suits.

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

well, Tj, i no longer care what your sentence means. you're obviously a complete ass, and an anti-semitic one to boot.

Posted by: howard on January 31, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

TJ:

You're not "looking for an alternative."

You're a troll.

And a confirmed hater.

Once again, go away.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I am an anti semitic ass because?

You Actually think Kerry was chosen for his, um, gravitas? likeability?

poll numbers?

NO -- he was the stealth loser candidate because the neocons hadn't given up on Bush and his appointed tasks.

Bush is flinching on Iran... so the Dems need their own HAWK for Israel.

Somebody cut and save my words.

Bush and the gopers are toast unless they carpet bomb Iran and Syria.

That was the deal when Boca was 'delivered' to Bush.

What? -- Boca is Tel Aviv west. None of the rest of us had any input in that election. It was all about who would do what to whom for the consittuency that finances both parties.

Bush is in trouble with the people to 'selected' him. He's in trouble with fiscal conservatives. He's pandering to social conservatives and that's a loser.

So his poll numbers will stay in the low to mid thirties, no matter what he does. He's gettin it from all sides.

I don't think he can muster the troops or the money to invade Iran. AND THAT is what will seal his fate, and that of his party.

He didn't finish his 'chores'. None of the rest of this shit matters.

And when we are STILL at war, STILL under surveillance, and STILL spending trillions to "solve" the Middle Eastern crisis under Clitnon, well - remember this post.

I tried to tell ya'll - party politics doesn't matter. We don't matter.

Israel is all that matters to the men and women who finance BOTH parties.

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

TJ:

Ahhh yes ... the Protocols of the Elders of Kennebunkport :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 31, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Bob - don't make me cut and paste all the 'hate' on this board.

Same hate - different haters.

It's all quite relative no?

When I read the comments on Red States? Christians? and every other percieved enemy of the left...

What an epiphany -- I've just solved the problem of bushbots vs the left.

Neither side recognizes its own bigotries. There is so much hate on this board, you all would be prosecuted in the Netherlands - [islamophobia excepted]

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

and Tj, just to answer your question, you are an anti-semitic ass because of rants like you 2:33. next?

Posted by: howard on January 31, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

TJ - keep hyperbolating - believing that there are enough trannies presently alive to make it possible to spend a fraction of that kind of change is the hallmark of a particularly deranged idiocy.

If you want to stop hyperbolating, try putting a bag over your head. I hear that helps.

Posted by: kenga on January 31, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

REAL fear from REAL people ...
sheesh.
Can being afraid of something that doesn't exist actually be called either REAL or FEAR?
Delusional, sure, I can see that.

I wonder who it is that convinces those real people to be afraid of such utter tripe.

Once again, please refer to PT Barnum's Hypothesis on the Temporal Distribution of Intelligence.

Posted by: kenga on January 31, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is in the white house because of the likes of you.

REAL people have REAL fears about the degradation of our culture. For some it's multi culturalism. For others its homoesexual politics force fed to them in everything but their breakfast cereal.

For others its socialism or laizzes faire enron style capitalism.

Most people just feel impotent in a fast changing world where everything is decided in far away places by people with the proper connections.

Progressives that dismiss cultural fears as the ravings of loony tunes and trolls better settle in for a long long reactionary reign.

People are scared. Which ever side promises SAMENESS and stability will prevail.

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Whether the Dems roll over or not, the stereotype of Democratic leaders as weak, ineffective and 'spineless twerps' has been embedded in the political culture thanks to leaders like Lieberman and Kerry. The current crop of Dem leaders can hardly do anything to prove this stereotype to be misguided.

Posted by: Steve on January 31, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

People want LEADERS. I don't have to agree with everything that person says or believes. People are drawn to LEADERS.

Bush is not an example. He's a sock puppet. He is the classic trustfunder - over compensating for inadequacies of living off daddy's reputation or money.

So the bush type personality does not count as leadership. AND his supporters are agenda driven, and many of them don't like the man, but the agenda.

I am talking about someone like Howard Dean. I would have voted for him. I would have worked for his campaign. HE STOOD FOR SOMETHING. I even loved the way his wife handled the FIRST LADY grilling.

She had no intention of giving up her practice to show people around the white house... bully for her!

These are leaders! These people have the starch. They have the guts and the self confidence to proffer up opinions EVEN if they are outrageous or rejected.

and they were...

but I would support Dean in a heartbeat. ADn I don't even agree with him on every thing. But he's presidential timber. And his wife is a hoot.

Wouldn't she be a breath of fresh air in the WH?

Posted by: Ashley on January 31, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Tj wrote:
"Bush is in the white house because of the likes of you."

Hardly. BTW, spell it "White House" to show respect.


Tj:
"REAL people have REAL fears about the degradation of our culture."

Does that mean I'm not a REAL person. If I'm not REAL then does that mean you could kill me and not feel guilty? What does it mean when you discount a majority of Americans a not being REAL?

I know there are some people who are concerned about the degradation of our culture. I try to oppose the Republicans, but I'm only one REAL person and I don't have a lot of money.

Tell us what you consider 'degradation of our culture'? Does it have something to do with not letting Blacks vote or not letting gays have equal rights? Remember, it's the Republicans and neanderthals who are using these as wedge issues to win elections and constantly rev up people's fears. Dems have done nothing to cause a degradation!

Oh, do you consider full implementation of the U.S. Constitution to be a threat to our nation?


Tj:
"For some it's multi culturalism. For others its homoesexual politics force fed to them in everything but their breakfast cereal.

For others its socialism or laizzes faire enron style capitalism."

Uh, yeah, you hate Blacks and Gays. Simple. Hey, maybe it's a Black gay man on the box of your favorite breakfast cereal.

If you don't believe in equal rights under the law, then just stand up bravely and say so. Nobody's stopping ya. There is freedom of speech in most parts of America. Be proud, stand with the White Separatists.

BTW, what do socialism and enron have to do with one another?


Tj:
"Most people just feel impotent in a fast changing world where everything is decided in far away places by people with the proper connections."

So, you see it all that as change for the worse rather than for the better? What exactly would you consider improvement, bringing back slavery? Speak freely. Give us your opinions. Remember, it's Democrats who fought to ensure your freedom to speak freely.


Tj:
"Progressives that dismiss cultural fears as the ravings of loony tunes and trolls better settle in for a long long reactionary reign."

We do realize it's going to take a while to get past this ignorant phase of American history. But, we who believe in America and Equal Rights will continue the fight to improve America.


Tj:
"People are scared. Which ever side promises SAMENESS and stability will prevail."

Posted by: Tj on January 31, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK


with YOUR group. To prevail in America one can be a Liberal Democrat. I know that scares you, but trust me it's for the better. America probably wouldn't exist today if it weren't for the Liberal Democrat Franklin Roosevelt whom most Republicans revile.

America isn't as strong when it's divided. America can't compete with China and Europe when we're divided. Multi-culturalism and Equal Rights is important for national security purposes.

See, I got your attention at the end there. Security in all manner of things matters to scared little rabbits who would rather shoot into the darkness (and kill anybody or anything) to assuage their fears than to simply turn on the light and realize everythings really alright.

Wake up from your nightmare, get rid of Bush and everything will be alright.

Posted by: MarkH on February 1, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK
办公用品 办公用品,办公用品网,北京办公用品,办公用品公司,办公用品管理,办公用品批发,办公用品超市,采购,配送,北京 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品 办公用品网 办公用品批发 办公用品配送 北京办公用品 办公用品管理 办公用品管理制度 办公用品管理办法 办公用品批发 办公用品采购 办公用品领用表 Posted by: 办公用品 on February 1, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan at 5:59 PM --

Whaddya mean, one step away from anointing Bush King? Where ya been?

This is the MO and explicit meaning of many of Bush's statements. He asserts it outright through the open statement of his position. Like saying that "I put Sam Alito on the Court" -- prior to his confirmation." Or having Rumsfeld and Powell repeatedly state that "the President has not yet decided to go to war in Iraq" -- under oath, before Congress -- when it's not his decision to make. And when Bush had signed the Exec Order to do just that, weeks earlier. Or when John Bolton says "the Germans should just shut up and 'follow orders.' They say what they mean. Where unchallenged, they already succeed in a de facto coup or restructuring of American governance.


Brautigan on January 30, 2006 at 5:53

"Let's be clear: the "unitary executive" theory is loony. It's intellectually indefensible and dangerous."

Right on! "Unitary" sounds so... monotheistic. It's complete, and discrete, and it doesn't need a trinity, nor any tensions, nor any checks or balances. Has the self-sufficiency of the English King and the infallibility of the Pope.

But it has nothing whatsoever to do with American Constitutional democracy.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 2, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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