Politics: August 2003 Archives

The Republicans. They really are stupid, but maybe there's a shiny lining for us in that empty cloud.

Am I hopeful? Look at all the headlines these days. Bush and his handlers are dead. Traditional Republicans used to be able to survive their incompetence, because they never really did anything. I suppose that was part of what made them conservatives.

Today's Republicans are radical activists in every aspect of domestic and foreign policy, and they are making a very big mess, as many of us expected they would. They are totally incompetent, and they will not be able to extricate themselves or the nation from the disasters they have created. The world, including even the simplest Americans, now suspects that truth.

They've clearly already lost the 2004 election, but it takes two sides to win office. My fear, and it's a reasonable one, considering what we have seen so far, is that the Democrats will not do their part, and some 14 months from now the incumbent regime will be able to snatch victory from certain defeat.

If that happens, the republic is gone forever.

Ten Commandments Cultists pray in Montgomery, Alabama.

Atrios says it:

300 bigots and lunatics protesting around a carved rock, worthy of nonstop coverage. 100,000 people protesting a war, worthy of brief snide commentary.
In fact, there were 3 to 10 times that number in New York City alone on one day. One comment on his post is deliciously, wickedly on:
It's fundie flypaper. Anyone who wants to chain himself to a rock in Birmingham [sic] deserves our buying him free manacles.

[AFP-Getty Images/File/Gary Tramontina, via Yahoo News Photos]

Rude rube

They can’t win office or policy by democratic or constitutional means, so they’re doing it by any means they can.

The most dramatic examples are the Clinton impeachment attempt, the 2000 election outcome, the California governor recall, the Texas redistricting outrage, perpetual war for perpetual radical-conservative majorities and strong-arming or bribing both the UN and NATO. But it’s happening on every level across the country and around the world. It’s all part of the new Republicanism.

The republicrats have adopted and turned inside out Malcom X’s warning phrase, later the Black Panthers’ call for action, “by any means necessary.” The words were originally used to confront racism and were later directed toward capitalism as well, but of course Karl Rove and his friends have very different ideas. Their confrontation is with democracy itself and with the common good. And the non-violence thing? Just look around. Only the state is permitted to use violence, and in fact it is more and more strongly encouraged to do so.

The New York Police Department has been slapped for its "operational ignorance" and its threat to constitutional rights.

Charging he had lost confidence in the NYPD's methods of investigating political activity, a federal judge yesterday restored limits on the department that he had lifted only five months ago.

[In February the judge had agreed to ease the rules restraining police surveillance and interrogation excesses out of concern about heightened threats to security. The original rules have come to be known as the Handschu agreement. Handschu was the first listed plaintiff in a 1971 lawsuit which succesfully charged that the Police Department's so-called Red Squad harassed political advocacy groups.]

Blasting the department at its highest levels, Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Haight reversed his March ruling in which he had accepted the Police Department's assertion that terrorism concerns justified an easing of the restrictions.

Haight said he changed his mind after the disclosure that on Feb. 15 the police had arrested 274 people protesting the war in Iraq and questioned them about their political beliefs, entering their responses on what the department called a "demonstration debriefing" form.

Remarkably, the NYPD seems to believe nothing has really changed in the guidelines they must observe.
At a news conference yesterday, [Police Commissioner Ray] Kelly said that Haight's ruling would "not change any modification made by the judge ... For me, the important thing is the modification ... continues to stand."

Chris Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union said of Kelly's statement, "I don't know what the commissioner means since the judge clearly ordered that new restrictions will be added to the court order governing the department's surveillance."

The judge's ruling did not specify what restrictions would be imposed in initiating a probe.

Neither the Newsday story nor the NYTimes account leave us with any clear understanding of the impact of the judge's ruling yesterday.
Yesterday, Judge Haight did not impose new restrictions on the police in the wake of the interrogations, which first came to light after the New York Civil Liberties Union received complaints from protesters. Nor did the judge decide the issue of whether the interrogations violated the protesters' constitutional rights.

But he said he would formally incorporate the recently eased rules into a judicial decree, to make clear that lawyers could return to court and seek to hold the city in contempt if they believed that a violation of the rules also violated an individual's constitutional rights. [from the Times]

Israeli yesterday passed legislation which was designed to clarify the requirements of citizenship, to assure the purity of Israeli blood and to clarify the position of Palestinians in the Jewish state. Ok, I deliberately described the law in language closely patterned on that which is used to describe the notorious 1935 Nazi Nuremberg racial laws, but the reference and the impact of this act is extraordinarily important for the people affected by its abomination, and in fact for the entire world.

JERUSALEM, July 31 — The Israeli Parliament voted today to block Palestinians who marry Israelis from becoming Israeli citizens or residents, erecting a new legal barrier as Israel finished the first section of a new physical barrier against West Bank Palestinians.

. . . .

Opponents called [the marriage law] a racist measure that threatened to divide thousands of families or force them out of Israel. Roughly 1.2 million of Israel's 6.7 million citizens are Arabs, and they are far more likely than Israeli Jews to marry Palestinians.

"It cannot be that because of the actions of one, or 10, or 20, that a population of one million will be punished," said Ahmad Tibi, an Israeli-Arab member of Parliament. He called the law "blacker than black."

Also today, Israel solicited construction bids to build 22 new homes in a settlement in the Gaza Strip. A new peace plan, the road map, calls on Israel to freeze settlement construction, but Israel says it must keep building to accommodate "natural growth."

Building walls around enclaves of inferior peoples, keeping them out of Jewish society and ultimately out of Jewish territory, and finding Lebensraum in what was formerly a Palestinian ghetto. Today's Israelis have had good teachers, but this horror was no more inevitable than that of Nazi Germany.

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from August 2003.

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