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Two more points - Input Junkie
March 18th, 2010
10:06 pm

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Two more points
The reason I'm shocked by that bill is that I don't want such stuff to be publicly acceptable as a policy proposal.

Hypocrisy has the advantage of offering a little chance of leverage, and if the plainest tyranny is presented as acceptable, it's necessary to build up a moral system from scratch. I guess it is, anyway.

The Overton Window is a concept from political theory-- policy isn't decided from among all possibilities, it's decided from what people consider to be worth imagining. A lot of work going into shifting the window-- this can be seen recently in regards to gay marriage. To my mind, S3801 is giving the window a hard yank in a bad direction.

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The other point: this doesn't fit with the usual narrative of partisan politics. If George Bush tried to expand the power of the presidency, that's ordinary status-seeking.

However, as you may have heard, Obama is a Democrat with Republicans in congress as a bunch of very pointy stones in his shoes, but the supporters of that bill are 9 Republicans and 1 Independent.

Here's an interesting theory:
I've heard someone posit that McCain and Lieberman intend to put this bill as a rider on the health insurance reform reconciliation bill or some other bill they know Obama won't dare veto. I haven't found any confirmation for this, and I don't know why they'd bother. Obama has already announced his plans to hold between twenty and sixty of the current Guantanamo Bay prisoners forever without trial, so that part of the bill obviously wouldn't bother him at all. And as for banning trials of any such prisoners in the future... well, all signs currently point to Obama backing down on Holder's attempt to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in civilian courts.

At present, I can honestly see Obama signing this bill and praising it as a regrettable but necessary tool in the ongoing (and eternal) war on terrorism.

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From:madfilkentist
Date:March 19th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
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I find it galling that the newest senator, Scott Brown, is one of the sponsors. I was pleased in a reserved way that he was elected, because it significantly decreased the chance of the Democrats' pushing anything they like through the Senate. But if he's going to contribute so strongly to the suppression of civil liberties, an area where Republicans stand a good chance of attracting enough Democrats to push stuff through and of getting Obama's signature, I'm seriously wondering whether I can even consider it a tactical win.

Which is pretty much the same series of reactions I had, with the parties reversed and the issues somewhat different, to Obama's election.
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From:heron61
Date:March 19th, 2010 07:13 am (UTC)
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For at least the last 9 years, supporting civil liberties has only be helped by voting against Republicans - I don't see this fact changing anytime soon. In fact given the general attitudes of the teabagger set, the Republican party is either going to fragment into total uselessness (my sincere hope) or swing even further to the right in a direction that embraces both a libertarian loathing of any and all government spending for social programs and a neoconservative love of oppression and the restriction of civil liberties, especially for anyone who isn't a middle class or wealthier white male.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:March 19th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
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If civil liberties could be helped by voting for Democrats, that would at least be something; but Obama has done very little, except in rhetoric, to change the Bush policies.

I can't see any libertarian-neoconservative coalition lasting for any length of time. Neoconservatives, if the Bush administration is a typical example, love increases in government spending, as long as they're financed by increasing the national debt rather than by tax increases. The current Congress and administration are imitating the neos on this point too.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 19th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
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I'm not convinced that voting for Democrats protects civil liberties, but at least it slows down the Republicans, who seem to currently be actively opposed to civil liberties.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 19th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
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I see a difference between the parties currently. The R's actively destroy civil liberties while the D's fail to undo the R damage.
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From:heron61
Date:March 19th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
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I've heard someone posit that McCain and Lieberman intend to put this bill as a rider on the health insurance reform reconciliation bill or some other bill they know Obama won't dare veto.

That would only work if the bill first passed the House and the Senate. It won't - it has zero chance of passage. Anything regarding the healthcare bill is also irrelevant to that bill, since 0 Republicans are voting for the healthcare bill. I can think of at least a dozen examples of similar sorts of political grandstanding over the last 15 or so years, this is merely another example of that phenomena.
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From:osewalrus
Date:March 19th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC)
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Agreed. All the efforts are to create a dynamic where there is no opportunity to amend.

The usual target for such amendments are appropriation bills. I can say that the preliminary games for inclusion in approps has begun here in DC. Various bills are going through the "hotwire" v. "approps" sort.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 19th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
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How seriously do you take the fact that such a bad bill has been proposed and has at least a little support?
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From:osewalrus
Date:March 19th, 2010 11:03 am (UTC)
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Not very. At least not at this point.
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From:interactiveleaf
Date:March 20th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
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Yes, that's why I didn't post about the proposed law when I first saw mention of it (Nancy, you asked why no one had talked about it before); I just don't think it has a chance of passage, and therefore isn't worth worrying about.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 20th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
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Fair enough. I consider it a matter of concern that such a law is even considered proposable, but that's a point about which reasonable people can disagree.
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From:richardthinks
Date:March 19th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
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This bill (proposed bill?) is profoundly alarming in and of itself. I want to know what I can do to remove those who proposed it from office.

The idea that such a bill might be proposed without being intended seriously I find equally outrageous and alarming for different reasons. Am I to understand that, called to order for proposing a decline into open tyranny, the purported defense is; "we were just joking around and/or we thought we'd embarrass the president or try to derail other legislation by getting him to dress up in a Stalin moustache"? Again, I'd like to remove anyone who plays such games from office.

And it's just "grandstanding"? Nothing to see here, part of how the system works? There should be a price for this kind of thing.

So. What can we do to remove them from office? I've watched this country's laws being shredded for 10 years as an outsider, now I'm a citizen, in theory I'm supposed to have some sort of voice. Now I know what I should use it for.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 19th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
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There are people who know a lot more about the specifics of politics than I do, but the generalities would be get the word out about this bill. And about why this is serious. Don't assume people know why it's very bad. And do that some more. People generally don't get things on the first bounce.

When those senators campaign, keep reminding people why they should vote for someone else. This is includes keeping up the propaganda during the primary.

I've been told that the primaries are more important (more fluid?) than the elections.

Anyway, I bet you can guess the next step-- if one of these people win the primary, keep propagandizing up to the election.

The to the bill is at OpenCongress.org, and very spiffy interface it is, allowing people to not just say whether they're in favor of the bill, but what they think of specific provisions.

I might feeling a little better if I'd noticed earlier that only 3% support the bill. On the other hand, it's up from 2% overnight.

In any case, I don't know whether anyone with influence is affected by the site.
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From:richardthinks
Date:March 19th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
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If only they could all be coaxed into sex scandals: for reasons I can't quite fathom that seems to end political careers instantly and permanently.
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From:nancylebov
Date:March 19th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
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I don't think they generally need to be coaxed into sex scandals-- surveillance is enough.
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