Thursday, February 15, 2007

Radical Links

It is true. I am being far to critical of Progressive. I am not giving the progressive groups their say. So, I will have a two part post with a progressive and a conservative link.

Here is the progressive link: The Progressive says that progressive groups that hate George Bush should start holding grassroot impeachment hearings. It is very easy to do. You get your group together. You find someone who wears little square classes and speaks with righteous indignation, like Keith Olbermann. That person will sit in judgment. Everyone in the room would say something that they hate about Bush.

You then find Bush guilty.

Chances are, if your local paper is progressive, you will get on the front page. If not public radio will give you some coverage.

Don't ask me to join your jury because, even though I dislike Bush, I would probably vote against the impeachment because he really hasn't broken US laws. He has simply violated my sensiblities. Even worse, I would probably end up questioning the legitimacy of the fantasy court.

I think Rocky Anderson would be a good jurist on a fantasy court.

I am a little bit more sympathetic to my conservative link: The Other Iraq is a site put together by a Kurdish economic council who wants to attract business and tourism to the Kurdish area of Iraq. These people love their independence, and the prosperity that it is beginning to bring.

They have a history of being abandonned by the West, and are scared shitless that it will happen again as the Democrats take control of the US for the decades to come. Several hundred thousand Kurds were genocided during the Clinton years, but one really cares about that.

I guess I must be conservative because I would not join a progressive impeachment party, but, if I had the means, I would be trying to find ways to invest in Kurdish area of Iraq. That area looks extremely beautiful.

The progressives are smooth, and the kurds lumpy, but I think I like the kurds better. Jason A. Atkinson has an interesting story on the Kurdish Forgotton Democracy.


Charles D said...

Interesting analysis, but it carefully avoids facts. It has the same sort of analytical bent as the preacher who picked 2 verses for his sermon: "Cain slew his brother Abel" and "Jesus said, go and do likewise".

I heard about Howard Zinn's article in the Progressive but I haven't read it. I'm afraid he's living in the past. You may not know that there was a huge anti-war demonstration in Washington at the end of January with at least a quarter million people marching against the Iraq war. You might have missed it because there was almost no coverage and what there was emphasized the kooky purple-haired freaks along for the ride instead of the ordinary citizens who are sick of Bush and his policies.

I doubt whether people promoting tourism in Kurdish northern Iraq can be considered "conservative" in any term that makes sense in the United States. When they start talking about a greater Kurdistan again and begin trying to gain control of the Kurdish areas in Turkey, you'll probably see US policy turn against them - or at least turn a blind eye as it has in the past. Our strategic air bases in Turkey are more important than a few thousand dead Kurds to our government.

Since you have the Progressive apparently, read the article on Bruce Fein, "A Conservative for Impeachment", that details how an associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration has come to believe that our Constitution is in danger. That's a good conservative.

y-intercept said...

DL, I thought you would like the idea of an impeachment party. Are you going to throw one?

I disagree with the progressive assessment that violating our sensiblities is a just reason for impeaching a president. Impeachment comes into play when laws are broken. The conservative link you present is about the law. Bush has foolishly strung himself out on a very tenuous thread on FISA. Even here, though, I fear things are mucky. As mentioned in an earlier post, FISA is a broken law that requires that the US applies the same rules for criminal law to foreign intelligence in time of war. Even worse it is based on antiquated communications technology.

Rather than trying to find a way to fix the law, Bush's lawyers are convinced that they can defend their actions on Constitutional grounds.

This type of legal wrangling between branches of government usually is seen as an impeachable offense.

It could be that Bush is following bad legal advice. However, following bad legal advice is borderline on in the world of impeachment.

As for the big march. Yes, the big Anti-Bush march was reported all of the place here. I saw one report with this whining conservative wank who blabbered that the antiabortion march that took place a week before didn't get any coverage.

I did hear about the anti-Bush rally before, during and after it occurred. I only heard one thing about the anti-abortion rally; and that was in the context of the anti-Bush rally. I looked it up on the net and reports said that attendance at the two rallies was about the same.

I didn't post on the march because I didn't have anything to say about it.

There was shooting at Trolley Square, near where I live. I didn't post on that either. I even have a gallery of Trolly Square photos online, but I didn't have anything to say.

BTW, that stuff you repeated about the Kurds being fanatics bent on the single minded goal of establishing a totalitarian greater Kurdistan has been popular left wing propaganda for well over a century. It has been used to justify a large number of atrocities and opporession. Personally, I think the Kurds are a good ally.

As I understand, the Kurds in Turkey have been strong supporters of Turkey's inclusion in the EU. The parties in Northern Iraq seem to span the spectrum from separatists to Iraqi loyalist along with communists and islamic radicals.

Because the Kurds have an interesting mix of languages and religious traditions, I think they one of the few mideastern groups that really is conducive to western ideals.

(Of course, a large number of hippies have gone Sufi in recent years; So I could be the subject of pro-Kurdish propaganda. The Kurds tend to be better to the Sufi than other groups.)

Charles D said...

You really need to listen to other people's arguments and ideas instead of superimposing your own over them.

Let's take the impeachment issue. The Constitution does not spell out exactly what specific offenses are impeachable, however lying to Congress, violating treaties ratified by the US, asserting powers far beyond those granted your office by the Constitution, all these are far more worthy of being labeled 'high crimes and misdemeanors' than lying about a blowjob.

As for the demonstration, I looked at the Washington Post the next day and only saw a brief article with a picture of a purple-haired goth girl. Other media had small articles mostly written from the AP wire - in other words, they did not send their own reporters out to cover it. It is not news when millions of Americans oppose government policy. Anyone in Congress who opposes the war is labeled by the media as outside the mainstream, even though their own polls show otherwise.

I also did not label the Kurds as totalitarian. They like many groups in the region want their own sovereign state - a perfectly normal aspiration. The Turkish government, however, does not want such a state because Eastern Turkey has a majority Kurdish population and would want to join any Kurdish nationalist movement. Turkey has regularly repressed its Kurdish minority with not a peep of protest from their American friends.

As for the original discussion, the Bruce Fein article represents traditional conservatism - he reveres the Constitution and the rule of law, including the separation of powers doctrine. He (and millions of other people) sees that Bush is in violation of the Constitution using his self-generated, never-ending, non-winnable 'war on terror' as an excuse. As he points out, it is the responsibility of the Congress under the Constitution to impeach now.

y-intercept said...

My post was obviously not clear. The progressive piece had the opinion that if the president violates the public will, we should have impeachment parties. I think impeachment should be about law breaking activity.

The conservative post shows the correct tact. This guy is making a case that Bush broke laws. This lawbreaking can be the foundations for impeachment.

Here you have some ugly hairsplitting. The Constitution does give the broad authority that Bush wants to the executive in times of war. FISA is a suicide pill that is all but guaranteed to make the US lose any war in which it gets involved. FISA essentially says that it is illegal to search inbound communications from Middle East for encrypted messages. It makes it illegal to tap VOiP calls and other absurdities.

There is a very strong Constitutional argument for Bush's actions. To impeach Bush in this route, you would have to first have the supreme court dismiss Bush's Constitutional arguments then they can start an impeachment hearing.

I do not like what Bush has done with FISA. Bush is being an obstructionist. The problem is that obstructionism is always a murky legal territory.

I guess another way to put this. Would a Republican Congress impeach a Democratic President for obstructing FISA during a time of war? The answer is a clear no. Would a Democratic Congress impeach a Republican for perjury during a sex scandal trial? The answer here is a clear yes.

The FISA court is an absurdity based on analog technology that tries to apply the rules of peace time jurisprudence to foreign surveillance in times of war. I wish we had a president who had the intellectual capacity and political mandate to fix the problem. Impeaching a president because an absurd law is itself an absurdity.

For some odd reason FISA has me thinking of the legislature that tried passing a law to set pi equal to three. If we had such a law on the books, then we could impeach the president for drawing a circle, or for sitting in a car with wheels. The conservative article shows the correct spirit of impeachment; however impeaching a president on an absurd law sinks our nation into absurdity.

Charles D said...

1. You really don't understand FISA, which has something like a 99% approval rate for subpoenas and which permits the government to act in anticipation of that authority. It does not block legitimate efforts to protect the United States.

2. There is no requirement or need for the Supreme Court to rule on the Constitutionality of some action of the Executive Branch in order to pave the way for impeachment. Impeachment is purely a responsibility of the legislative branch and they can exercise it own their own authority - in fact that's the only reason it has ever been used.

Impeaching a president because he lied about an affair sank our nation into absurdity. Impeaching a president because he has usurped his authority, lied the nation into a war, and failed to uphold his oath to protect and defend the Constitution - that's perfectly justified and long overdue.

y-intercept said...

DL, what you are saying is pure, unadulterated propaganda.

The FISA Court was set up to be a trap for Republican presidents specifically in response to the abuse of power by Nixon.

The statement that FISA approves 99% of requests is bogus as well. A good intelligent agency is not going to make requests that get denied. The way court rulings work in administrations is that the one in 100 cases that the court denies sets the precedence. Regardless of whether or not the FISA court was working correctly, you would see a 99% approval rate of requests. If you knew anything about statistics (other than how to lie with them) you would know this.

Since progressives believe in manipulating statistics to support their cause, you might see cases where progressives specifically swamp a statical system to bend it to their ends. You rarely see conservatives do that.

Different minds work differently. Conservatives believe in playing by the rules even if the rules are silly. Progressives believe in swamping systems they dislike.

The FISA Court is non-function because it is based on methodologies used for criminal investigations in an analog world. Democrats tend to be dense, but suspect that even a few Democrats have realized that the communication technology in 2007 is dramatically different than in 1978.

My experience is that the first implementation of almost every system is bug ridden and needs to be changed. It takes a great deal of work to make a system work.

I think that there is great merit in having court oversight of foreign intelligence. I hate that Bush is behaving like a Democrat by trying to have realty swamp the system. I would rather he fix it.

Who knows, he is not the only obstructionist in the world. FISA was specifically set up as a tool that Democrats would use to attack Republicans. You would never see a Republican Congress trying to thwart a Democratic president's effort to track communications from Al Qaeda into the United States. It is a one way trap.

Charles D said...

"A good intelligent agency is not going to make requests that get denied." Correct. A bad, politically captive intelligence agency (such as we have now) is going to want to fish around and will not be able to make even a flimsy case to justify it. The solution is not to throw away our rights, but to get a more professional, less politically driven intelligence apparatus.

You give Republicans and Conservatives a lot of credit they are not due. They certainly didn't support Clinton much when he was trying to get Bin Laden. They were too busy subverting the impeachment clause of the Constitution to oust him from office.