Commentary on the outgoing President

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Postby Forest_Dump on February 6th, 2009, 8:22 am 

Well, let me put it this way. As far as "natural rights" go, I see no reason a priori reason why these are not simply biological in origin and the same for all life including grass. All else is purely a function of humans making it to the top of the food chain, as it were, and creating various forms of social order for ourselves for our own purposes. I see no reason to point to any external origin or authority for these rights or obligations, etc., so it seems kind of moot to me. Conceptions of ideal or "natural" social order was changing then (the quote noted debate as to whether there was a change from medieval thought and whether this signaled more liberal philosophies), is changing now and will continue to change as long as we as a species do. So it seems like a red herring to me.

However, this is merely a distraction. I am waiting to see if anything good can be gleaned from the last eight years other than some funny quotes.
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Postby QuiteDragon on February 7th, 2009, 1:24 am 

kidjan wrote:I'm not following you here.


I was defending my earlier statement:

"A pretty thorough discrediting of the Hobbesian theory of peace through enforced hegemony."

To which you responded:

Wikipedia wrote:To escape this state of war, men in the state of nature accede to a social contract and establish a civil society. According to Hobbes, society is a population beneath a sovereign authority, to whom all individuals in that society (kidjan: emphasis mine) cede their natural rights for the sake of protection. Any abuses of power by this authority are to be accepted as the price of peace. However, he also states that in severe cases of abuse, rebellion is expected. In particular, the doctrine of separation of powers is rejected:[10] the sovereign must control civil, military, judicial and ecclesiastical powers.



You wrote:People outside of the U.S. (i.e. all individuals outside our society, who have not ceded their natural rights to our authority) are not protected, and it's pretty clear that Americans have ceded many "natural rights" for the sake of protection in the last eight years, and most arguments in favor of Bush policies justify extraordinary executive power as the accepted price of peace.


The explanation of my assertion was:

  • What is the manner of a citizen's "ceding" their natural rights to the state? Are they really ceded, or just preempted, then the fait accompli latterly acceded to in tacit fashion.

    What I am trying to make clear here is that it is, indeed, quite pertinent the fashion in which the ceding of rights occurs. To wit:

    The ceding of rights to a sovereign by a citizen can be historically achieved in any number of ways: conquest of lands and peoples by an expanding kingdom is perhaps the most common and while there are most certainly others, let us deal with this. Tribes become kingdoms, kingdoms become nations (to oversimplify) and during the process, the sovereign rarely, if ever attains the natural rights of the citizens by any process of the individual purposefully and rationally giving them over to the one or ones who make the laws. For example, Rome garnered many lands and governed many peoples. Some were citizens of their new ruler, but many more ceded so many more rights that they were not even, technically, citizens. For this, they still had the benefit of some laws (more for citizens, of course).

  • This ceding of natural rights for the protection of sovereign... can be assumed to be equivalent no matter the size of the political group that the individual or group of individuals belong to.

    The obvious conclusion is that it is wholly arbitrary where to draw the line between this set of "sovereign/citizen" and some other set of "ruler/ruled".
  • In view of the above, it can be seen that the Hobbesian theory translates equally well in a global environment, with one superpower asserting peace through hegemony.Though Hobbes may not have specifically intended such a thing, it is arguably applicable.


This is to say, Hobbes' theory of natural rights being ceded to a sovereign can be equally applied to a circumstance where one nation of superior might can use that might in the "protection" of citizens of other nations, keeping peace by force either regionally or globally. They may not be citizens in the technical or legal sense, but the fact remains that they have ceded natural rights to a power that provides a "civilized" set of laws and "peace" in return. The matter of this exchange of rights for protection being inside or outside national boundaries is mere semantics. A "policeman of the world" is no less a Hobbesian "sovereign" for all that it thinks of itself as separate from the governed.

And my point was, the Bush administration has all but put paid to the idea that one nation can be the provider this service to the world. It is neither economically or militarily feasible. And, of course, it flies right in the face of the democratic ideals that we believe are the soul of our nation.
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Postby QuiteDragon on February 7th, 2009, 1:29 am 

Forest_Dump wrote:I am waiting to see if anything good can be gleaned from the last eight years other than some funny quotes.
I am hoping absolute disgust with ourselves will give us the will to try bright new things we didn't imagine our stuck-in-a-rut system would allow us a chance for. Generally, raising the ideal of human dignity above our fears and our desire for profit.
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Postby QuiteDragon on February 7th, 2009, 9:07 am 

kidjan wrote:I think the onus is on us to explain why Bush's tenure constitutes heinous unitary executive power grabbing while Lincoln is credited with saving the Union.

Lincoln:
Regretted suspending Habeus and re-instated it as soon as possible
Could have wished the south well and helped them establish a viable nation, but instead, forcibly compelled them to remain in the Union through one of the bloodiest wars we have known
Did so: a. to preserve the Union; b. to ensure that he was not held responsible for the break-up of the Union

Conclusion: probably acted in good faith, with the interests of U.S. and democracy uppermost. Descision to preserve the Union seems to have worked out and may have been the correct choice, if exceptionally violent.


Bush:
Seemingly intended to oust Hussien before 9/11/01
Tampered with the evidence used to convince the public and congress that invasion of Iraq was necessary
Blamed the bad evidence on others
Outed a covert agent in retaliation for exposing some of the tampered evidence
Suspended habeus with little indication that he ever intended to re-instate it (and every indication that he didn't)
Instituted policies of spying and information gathering that hugely impacted the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike
Instituted a system of extraordinary rendition to a scale that probably dwarfed those of past presidents
Instituted torture as a means prosecuting a war
Spent huge amounts of effort to both defend his abuses of our constitutional democracy (as well as the less definable "human rights" of non-citizens) and to attempt to project them into the future as normalized institutions of our nation.

Conclusion: prosecusion of war with Iraq may or may not have been in good faith as even the worst of motives might conceivably be justifiable (read: rationalized in a way that could be argued to be in the best interests of U.S.), but the evidence suggests that the motives were obscured if not out-right lied about, and in ways in which dishonor can be reasonably charged. While many of the outrages against persons and constitutional liberties may have been policies of previous administrations, Bush et al clearly set the bar much higher regarding what they found morally and constitutionally acceptable.


Some of the disparity between the two in the above comparison may be due to a simple lack of knowledge of the subject matter in the case of Lincoln and an abundance of exposure to Bush on my part, but I would suggest that the sheer volume of information regarding the actions of the latter (only a little portion of it enumerated here) mitigate that possibility. Further, though history may have disapated some of the possible noisome qualities of Lincoln's actions, the comparative moral stench that arises from Bush's only promises to increase with time and further information.

In short, it seems pretty likely that Lincoln's challenge's to the constituted democracy were measured and designed to be as temporary as possible. Bush's, however, seem to have been designed specifically towards moving power away from citizens and investing it into the executive, with no thought of ever surrendering it back to those citizens. In other words, he has been intent on alienating our inalienable rights and no means of doing so seems to low for him to go.
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Postby kidjan on February 13th, 2009, 8:17 pm 

QuiteDragon wrote:
kidjan wrote:I think the onus is on us to explain why Bush's tenure constitutes heinous unitary executive power grabbing while Lincoln is credited with saving the Union.

Lincoln:
Regretted suspending Habeus and re-instated it as soon as possible


First, I'd point out that suspending Habeus is a right specifically bestowed upon Congress, so for the executive branch to suspend it is definitely suspect from a constitutional standpoint. Lincoln did eventually have Congress suspend Habeus.

I also find the use of the word "Regretted" to be strange. How do you know Bush doesn't "regret" instating some of his policies? And would that change the way you viewed his policies if you knew he "regretted" implementing them?


Could have wished the south well and helped them establish a viable nation, but instead, forcibly compelled them to remain in the Union through one of the bloodiest wars we have known


Nitpicker's corner: the south attacked first, so probably not.

Conclusion: probably acted in good faith, with the interests of U.S. and democracy uppermost. Descision to preserve the Union seems to have worked out and may have been the correct choice, if exceptionally violent.


Let's put "exceptionally violent" in concrete terms: the Civil war resulted in more casualties to Americans than all other U.S. conflicts combined, including our recent conflicts in the 20th century. I guess the real question is: was it worth it?

And for all Lincoln did, some of his policies were surprisingly ineffective: many of his appointed generals were completely inept, which lead to the war dragging on much longer than it should have. The passage of the 13, 14 and 15th Amendments freed African Americans from slavery, but did nothing to prevent then next century of segregation and racism. And this says little of rights of other American demographics (i.e. women) who were still marginalized by their government. For someone who is held in such high esteem, it took his policies a century to fully iron themselves out, and huge demographics of Americans were still marginalized under the new government.


Tampered with the evidence used to convince the public and congress that invasion of Iraq was necessary


Such as...?

And if it was tampering with evidence to fulfill what he deemed to be "regrettably" necessary, would that change your opinion of the evidence tampering? (After all, one paragraph ago you were stating that Lincoln's illegal infraction was "regrettable"; why is the same luxury not granted to Bush?)

Outed a covert agent in retaliation for exposing some of the tampered evidence


Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Suspended habeus with little indication that he ever intended to re-instate it (and every indication that he didn't)


Where in this statement:

Abraham Lincoln wrote:Second: That the writ of habeas corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prisons, or other place of confinement, by any military authority, or by the sentence of any court-martial or military commission.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. By the President.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.


...do you see any indication that habeus will be re-instated? (hint: there isn't one)


Instituted policies of spying and information gathering that hugely impacted the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike
Instituted a system of extraordinary rendition to a scale that probably dwarfed those of past presidents
Instituted torture as a means prosecuting a war
Spent huge amounts of effort to both defend his abuses of our constitutional democracy (as well as the less definable "human rights" of non-citizens) and to attempt to project them into the future as normalized institutions of our nation.


War is messy, and there's always going to be debate over where the line between legality and practicality is drawn.

I don't argue this point because I honestly believe it, but the faults you subscribe to Bush are not the ones I would fault him on. I think it is difficult to use this line of offense because it is trivial to argue for the necessity of these actions in the face of war. So I think it becomes crucial to understand the nature of the war, and what its implications are for the country.

Conclusion: prosecusion of war with Iraq may or may not have been in good faith


I have no concrete reasons to believe that the war on terror was executed for any reason beyond good faith. It doesn't make it a good idea, of course, but I personally believe George Bush sincerely felt it necessary. And I also believe they guy can be sincere.

Unfortunately, sincerity is no substitute for good judgment. (more commonly known as: the road to hell is paved with good intentions)


In short, it seems pretty likely that Lincoln's challenge's to the constituted democracy were measured and designed to be as temporary as possible. Bush's, however, seem to have been designed specifically towards moving power away from citizens and investing it into the executive, with no thought of ever surrendering it back to those citizens. In other words, he has been intent on alienating our inalienable rights and no means of doing so seems to low for him to go.


Unless, of course, you're an Iraqi, in which case it is difficult to argue that Bush's actions were specifically designed to move power away from citizens and invest it into the executive.

And I don't see much indication that Lincoln's challenges were "measured," but neither was the Civil War, so I guess that's to be expected.
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Postby kidjan on February 13th, 2009, 8:26 pm 

Forest_Dump wrote:I am waiting to see if anything good can be gleaned from the last eight years other than some funny quotes.


Hopefully there is something good, because if there isn't, then it's a god-awful amount of bad.

I would certainly like to see more stability and democracy in the middle east, but I think it's debatable if Bush's policies will ultimately promote that. There are two more democracies in the middle east than their previously were, but both of them are tenuous and it does little to address the general dislike of America in the region.
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Postby Schmungles on February 13th, 2009, 8:53 pm 

kidjan wrote:War is messy, and there's always going to be debate over where the line between legality and practicality is drawn.


Kidjan,

I think the reason why we tend to forgive Lincoln's constitutional infractions while we condemn Bush's has to do with the perceived consequences of losing the war. Clearly the consequences of losing the Civil War were markedly different from losing the current war on terror. In the Civil War defeat for the North would have meant that the Union no longer existed, or existed in a very truncated fashion. However, what would defeat in the war on terror mean? Indeed, are we even fighting a war?

What I really think informs Lincoln's policy choices vis-a-vis civil rights during the Civil War is Clausewitz's discussion of the "extremes" of war, especially what he identifies as the first and third extremes:

1. "War is an act of force, and there is no logical limit to the application of that force."

3. [paraphrased] To overcome your enemy you must match your total effort against his total power of resistance. His total power of resistance is the combination of the means at his disposal to fight the war and the strength of his will. In a total war (one in which the survival/continued existence of the country is at stake), the enemy will use all available means to fight and will fight to the bitter end. To achieve victory, you must also use all of your available means and must also be willing to fight to the bitter end.

Given that Lincoln was fighting for the continued existence of the Union, whereas it isn't even clear if the war on terror is a war at all, I think we can view Lincoln's constitutional missteps with a bit more leniency.
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1st installment

Postby QuiteDragon on February 14th, 2009, 1:00 am 

kidjan wrote:
QuiteDragon wrote:
kidjan wrote:I think the onus is on us to explain why Bush's tenure constitutes heinous unitary executive power grabbing while Lincoln is credited with saving the Union.

Lincoln:
Regretted suspending Habeus and re-instated it as soon as possible


First, I'd point out that suspending Habeus is a right specifically bestowed upon Congress, so for the executive branch to suspend it is definitely suspect from a constitutional standpoint. Lincoln did eventually have Congress suspend Habeus.


Dare I point out that the president can’t have Congress do any such thing? (Just nit-picking back ; - )

I also find the use of the word "Regretted" to be strange.


Strange that a man who, it would seem, very much loved democracy and a nation founded upon its principles, would regret kicking the cornerstone out from under it, even temporarily? I don’t find it strange at all.

Sandra Day O’Conner wrote:Scholars still debate whether Lincoln had the authority to invoke the Constitutional provision suspending Habeas Corpus during the early days of the war. I will not wade into the muddy waters of that debate. I am more interested in talking about what Lincoln did after March of 1863--for that is when Congress gave Lincoln legislative authority to suspend the writ. From that point forward, Lincoln faced no constitutional obstacles. He could arrest whomever he chose, without courts interfering with Writs of Habeas Corpus. What did Lincoln do at this point? Did he attempt to stifle political debate, by imprisoning his opponents? In short, did he trample on the civil liberties the Writ of Habeas Corpus was meant to protect?

A recent historical study, entitled The Fate of Liberty, says "no." The author, Mark Neely, combed through the musty boxes of arrest records from the Civil War "to find out who was arrested when the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended and why." Neely concludes that, throughout the war, Lincoln was guided by a "steady desire to avoid political abuse under the Habeas-Corpus policy.
[Emphasis added]
O'Conner, Sandra Day. Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Unites State. 11 Nov. 1996. Free Republic. 13 Feb. 2009. .
(I apologize for not going to the original source. Posting here is leisure time for me, and there is not all that much of it.)

How do you know Bush doesn't "regret" instating some of his policies? And would that change the way you viewed his policies if you knew he "regretted" implementing them?


The quick answer is that if he regretted his policies, he wouldn’t have tried so hard and often to abuse civil rights and would not have fought so hard their re-instatement.

"Regret" is not just a word to describe to others how sorry we are to have acted in a fashion. True regret implies implementing the "regretted" policy with as light an hand as possible; shortening the duration of its effect, if it is possible; and making heartfelt amelioration whenever possible. It is not saying, "I did nothing wrong", whenever possible.

It would take a lot more than knowing Bush "regretted" his actions to change my opinion of the man. He was both a tool of puppeteers and a loose canon. His words, his demeanor, and his actions reflect not a whit of concern or compassion. Though I really don't wish to debate the issue (indeed, could I prove it?), it is my firm conviction that the man was a cat's paw for the unholy (and I very nearly mean that in the "religious" sense). Through him, others have sent nations, perhaps the world, into chaos in the belief that they might reap even more wealth and power in being on top the whirlwind they seeded. As best I can tell, Bush, "Christian" that he is, lent himself to this without even flinching.

So, no.
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Postby kidjan on February 14th, 2009, 7:16 pm 

Schmungles wrote:I think the reason why we tend to forgive Lincoln's constitutional infractions while we condemn Bush's has to do with the perceived consequences of losing the war. Clearly the consequences of losing the Civil War were markedly different from losing the current war on terror. In the Civil War defeat for the North would have meant that the Union no longer existed, or existed in a very truncated fashion. However, what would defeat in the war on terror mean? Indeed, are we even fighting a war?


It's a valid question--whether the current "war" on terror is even a war. Clearly the phrase is logically hobbled to begin with, since declaring war on abstract ideas is generally considered a bad idea, but I digress.

What I really think informs Lincoln's policy choices vis-a-vis civil rights during the Civil War is Clausewitz's discussion of the "extremes" of war, especially what he identifies as the first and third extremes:

1. "War is an act of force, and there is no logical limit to the application of that force."

3. [paraphrased] To overcome your enemy you must match your total effort against his total power of resistance. His total power of resistance is the combination of the means at his disposal to fight the war and the strength of his will. In a total war (one in which the survival/continued existence of the country is at stake), the enemy will use all available means to fight and will fight to the bitter end. To achieve victory, you must also use all of your available means and must also be willing to fight to the bitter end.

Given that Lincoln was fighting for the continued existence of the Union, whereas it isn't even clear if the war on terror is a war at all, I think we can view Lincoln's constitutional missteps with a bit more leniency.


I agree on all points. It's indisputable that the Civil War was a more serious crisis by any measure than the current conflict, so perhaps the Lincoln comparison has been addressed, but that doesn't necessarily mean Bush stepped over the line in asserting executive power in the interest of national security.
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Re: 1st installment

Postby kidjan on February 14th, 2009, 7:26 pm 

QuiteDragon wrote:Dare I point out that the president can’t have Congress do any such thing? (Just nit-picking back ; - )


The president can definitely request that Congress suspend habeus. I see no reason the president couldn't.

The quick answer is that if he regretted his policies, he wouldn’t have tried so hard and often to abuse civil rights and would not have fought so hard their re-instatement.


I don't think that follows, and I also think the wording you're using is disingenuous. Definitely nobody in the Bush administration "tried so hard and often to abuse civil rights." I think the more accurate statement is the Bush administration "tried hard and often to institute policies they felt were necessary for national security."

If this seems like nitpicking, consider that the first sentence makes them out to be people who want to abuse civil rights. I see no such indication that they "wanted" to, so much as they felt it necessary.

I think a president can both regret his policies and still push "hard and often" to have them re-instated, and I see no evidence that suggests the Bush Administration's "intent" was to abuse civil rights.



It would take a lot more than knowing Bush "regretted" his actions to change my opinion of the man. He was both a tool of puppeteers and a loose canon. His words, his demeanor, and his actions reflect not a whit of concern or compassion. Though I really don't wish to debate the issue (indeed, could I prove it?), it is my firm conviction that the man was a cat's paw for the unholy (and I very nearly mean that in the "religious" sense). Through him, others have sent nations, perhaps the world, into chaos in the belief that they might reap even more wealth and power in being on top the whirlwind they seeded. As best I can tell, Bush, "Christian" that he is, lent himself to this without even flinching.

So, no.


Admittedly I'm playing devil's advocate, so I'd be lying if I said I held him in high esteem. I don't think his intent was to acquire wealth or power; in fact, everything I've seen of the man indicates he is a sincere person. But like I said before, sincerity is no substitute for good judgment, and I think most of his policies illustrate poor judgment and often times an almost pathological aversion to fact.
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Re: 1st installment

Postby QuiteDragon on February 14th, 2009, 10:09 pm 

kidjan wrote:The president can definitely request that Congress suspend habeus. I see no reason the president couldn't.
The word have implies the ability to compel; request does not, of necessity, imply the power to compel.
kidjan wrote:
QuiteDragon wrote:The quick answer is that if he regretted his policies, he wouldn’t have tried so hard and often to abuse civil rights and would not have fought so hard their re-instatement.

I don't think that follows, and I also think the wording you're using is disingenuous. Definitely nobody in the Bush administration "tried so hard and often to abuse civil rights." I think the more accurate statement is the Bush administration "tried hard and often to institute policies they felt were necessary for national security."

If this seems like nitpicking, consider that the first sentence makes them out to be people who want to abuse civil rights. I see no such indication that they "wanted" to, so much as they felt it necessary.

I think a president can both regret his policies and still push "hard and often" to have them re-instated, and I see no evidence that suggests the Bush Administration's "intent" was to abuse civil rights.
I don't think it disingenuous at all; one can "try hard and often to abuse civil rights" by virtue of total disregard for them. Certainly anyone that felt himself above the law and believing much to be gained (for himself and his cronies) would be indifferent to the rights of others. As far as "necessary for national security", rationalizing can lead one to make one's position appear to be the altruistic one; it is the grease that we use to swallow our own perfidy. I don't see where any of these policies have actually improved national security.

I don't think his intent was to acquire wealth or power; in fact, everything I've seen of the man indicates he is a sincere person. But like I said before, sincerity is no substitute for good judgment, and I think most of his policies illustrate poor judgment and often times an almost pathological aversion to fact.
Oh, I don't think he, personally, craves all that much wealth and power; certainly not like those around him. And, sincere he may be. But a sincere fool with much power and under the influence of the unscrupulous can be a very dangerous man.
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2nd Installment

Postby QuiteDragon on February 19th, 2009, 2:27 am 

kidjan wrote:
QD wrote:Could have wished the south well and helped them establish a viable nation, but instead, forcibly compelled them to remain in the Union through one of the bloodiest wars we have known


Nitpicker's corner: the south attacked first, so probably not.

Now who’s being disingenuous? Those shots were neither the underlying causes of the war nor even the proximate one. The war was the result of diplomatic, political, and economic failures, alterable or otherwise, that occurred over a long period of time that preceded the outright hostilities. The artillery shelling of Ft. Sumter was merely the starter’s pistol… as I am certain you know well and surely better than I. To what end do I go arguing and supporting a position upon which we might stipulate and thereafter move to more fertile and interesting ground? Such as my actual position (which I am sure you either know or can guess, as well):

Wikipedia on the Civil War wrote:The South sent delegations to Washington and offered to pay for the federal properties and enter into a peace treaty with the United States. Lincoln rejected any negotiations with Confederate agents on the grounds that the Confederacy was not a legitimate government, and that making any treaty with it would be tantamount to recognition of it as a sovereign government


kidjan wrote:
QD wrote:Conclusion: probably acted in good faith, with the interests of U.S. and democracy uppermost. Decision to preserve the Union seems to have worked out and may have been the correct choice, if exceptionally violent.


I guess the real question is: was it worth it?


Who knows? We can only play “What If”.

kidjan wrote:And for all Lincoln did, some of his policies were surprisingly ineffective:... the 13, 14 and 15th Amendments freed African Americans from slavery, but did nothing to prevent then next century of segregation and racism. ...it took his policies a century to fully iron themselves out, and huge demographics of Americans were still marginalized under the new government.


Would you really expect such sweeping societal changes to emerge full-blown and immediately upon the enactment of a law?

kidjan wrote:
Tampered with the evidence used to convince the public and congress that invasion of Iraq was necessary


Such as...?


This could be a thread of its own. I would be surprised if there weren’t one already. Short answer is, I suspect a lot, can produce only a small amount of evidence, can prove nothing. Besides, the one instance I mentioned that has some traction, you dismiss as:

kidjan wrote:
QD wrote:Outed a covert agent in retaliation for exposing some of the tampered evidence


Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And if it was tampering with evidence to fulfill what he deemed to be "regrettably" necessary, would that change your opinion of the evidence tampering? (After all, one paragraph ago you were stating that Lincoln's illegal infraction was "regrettable"; why is the same luxury not granted to Bush?)


Believe me, I think pretty much everything Bush did was regrettable. And, I don't think I ever said that Lincoln's suspension of habeas was "regrettably necessary"; I would have to check, but I am pretty sure all I said was that it seemed likely that Lincoln had regrets about it. Further, I am not at all certain that I would place "evidence tampering" in the same category simply because they were "illegal". What is done, how it is done, and the purpose of action are important aspects, not just illegality.

kidjan wrote:
QD wrote:Suspended habeus with little indication that he ever intended to re-instate it (and every indication that he didn't)


Where in this statement:

Abraham Lincoln wrote: Second: That the writ of habeas corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion…


...do you see any indication that habeus will be re-instated? (hint: there isn't one)


(hint: in the words, “during the rebellion”)

Lincoln’s regret about suspending a vital liberty is clear. Though it can certainly be argued that merely regretting doing something in necessity is not reason to believe that one would not rescind that action when no longer necessary, I find it compelling evidence, notwithstanding. Bear in mind that habeas was restored as quickly as possible after the civil war. Bush has had be taken kicking and screaming every inch of the way to restore rights to persons that might never live long enough to the see the end of “The War On Terror”.

Referring to my earlier post:

QD wrote:
Sandra Day O’Conner wrote:.. I am more interested in talking about what Lincoln did after March of 1863--for that is when Congress gave Lincoln legislative authority to suspend the writ. From that point forward, Lincoln faced no constitutional obstacles. He could arrest whomever he chose, without courts interfering with Writs of Habeas Corpus. What did Lincoln do at this point? Did he attempt to stifle political debate, by imprisoning his opponents? In short, did he trample on the civil liberties the Writ of Habeas Corpus was meant to protect?

A recent historical study, entitled The Fate of Liberty, says "no." The author, Mark Neely, combed through the musty boxes of arrest records from the Civil War "to find out who was arrested when the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended and why." Neely concludes that, throughout the war, Lincoln was guided by a "steady desire to avoid political abuse under the Habeas-Corpus policy.
[Emphasis added]
O'Conner, Sandra Day. Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Unites State. 11 Nov. 1996. Free Republic. 13 Feb. 2009. .

The Civil War Source Book wrote:Page 1
October 10, 1862 - Writ of habeas corpus reinstated in Confederate East Tennessee
RICHMOND, October 10, 1862.
Gen. SAMUEL JONES, Knoxville, Tenn.:
Writ of habeas corpus no longer suspended. The act authorizing the President
to declare martial law expired by limitation thirty days after meeting of present
Congress.
S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector Gen.
OR, Ser. I, Vol. 16, pt. II, p. 930.


Regarding Ex Parte Merryman:

Encyclopedia Of The American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History wrote:Lincoln did not relish the powers he had seized. "I am a patient man," he wrote in an 1862 letter, "always willing to forgive on the Christian terms of repentance. Still I must save this government if possible."

Encyclopedia Of The American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History
By David Stephen Heidler, Jeanne T. Heidler, David J. Coles
Contributor David Stephen Heidler, Jeanne T. Heidler
Edition: reissue, illustrated
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 2002
ISBN 039304758X, 9780393047585

page 1908

kidjan wrote:I think it is difficult to use this line of offense because it is trivial to argue for the necessity of these actions in the face of war. So I think it becomes crucial to understand the nature of the war, and what its implications are for the country.


In the face of war? Excuse me, Iraq started a war with us?????? The lies I "fault him for" are the "reasons" he used to convince congress and the public that it was necessary to invade a country that had not attacked us.

kidjan wrote:..the faults you subscribe to Bush are not the ones I would fault him on.

Indeed. What then do you fault him for? (Not that I have in anyway exhausted my list.)

kidjan wrote:
QD wrote:Conclusion: prosecution of war with Iraq may or may not have been in good faith


I have no concrete reasons to believe that the war on terror was executed for any reason beyond good faith.


I believe I would like to avoid conflating the attack on Iraq with any so-called war on terror. While there may be (I say this with only the strongest of reservations) reason to believe military force (rather than political, diplomatic, economic, and police/intelligence agency methods) might have been justified to stem terrorist activities, I have seen not one shred of evidence that would lead me to conclude that Iraq was in any way a (or at least an immediate) threat to the U.S., nor have I seen a single thing (and fair amount to the contrary) that would lead me to believe that Bush, et al believed Iraq was such a threat.

kidjan wrote:
QD wrote:In short, it seems pretty likely that Lincoln's challenge's to the constituted democracy were measured and designed to be as temporary as possible. Bush's, however, seem to have been designed specifically towards moving power away from citizens and investing it into the executive, with no thought of ever surrendering it back to those citizens. In other words, he has been intent on alienating our inalienable rights and no means of doing so seems to low for him to go.


Unless, of course, you're an Iraqi, in which case it is difficult to argue that Bush's actions were specifically designed to move power away from citizens and invest it into the executive.


Um, sorry, don’t see how that is responsive to anything I said. I think we can be pretty sure that what he has for dinner tonight won’t be specifically designed for any other purpose than, perhaps, satisfying hunger.
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Re: 1st installment

Postby kidjan on February 25th, 2009, 7:29 pm 

QuiteDragon wrote:Certainly anyone that felt himself above the law and believing much to be gained (for himself and his cronies) would be indifferent to the rights of others.


I think you need to establish that Bush believed he was "above the law." I think he believed he had a specific interpretation of the law--not that he was above it--and yes, there is a substantial difference between these two notions, IMO. Furthermore, by what rational evidence would you conclude that they are "indifferent" to the rights of others? Again, I think this is conflating his policy with his intent; I don't think the Bush administration would ever want to be indifferent to the rights of citizens. I don't think Lincoln wanted to be indifferent to the rights of citizens. I simply think he felt it a necessary evil.

Based on what statement would you conclude their intent is to be indifferent to the rights of others?

Oh, I don't think he, personally, craves all that much wealth and power; certainly not like those around him. And, sincere he may be. But a sincere fool with much power and under the influence of the unscrupulous can be a very dangerous man.


See, this is where I do genuinely disagree with many people (my significant other, most notably). She, like you, believes that the Bush administration is motivated by greed, power, etc. I think that accusation is misplaced.

I think they are motivated by a very real desire to change the world to reflect their own personal ideological beliefs. I think they are completely sincere in this, and dead serious, and this has always been an aspect of the Bush administration that I find far more terrifying than the notion of them being corrupt nepotists. I think this is self-evident in many of his appointee's personal beliefs:

Project for the New American Century wrote:Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities
today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.


...these are hardly greedy or power-hungry ideals; it's more like a statement of some rather heavy-handed core beliefs that sound better in theory than they function in practice. Much of it is very close to nationalism or patriotism. But I don't agree that the Bush administration was motivated by greed or power; I think they were motivated by a very real desire to extend their notion of "American principles" to the rest of the world (in a very "with us, or against us" manner, I should add), and then went about it in the worst way possible when opportunity knocked.

You can also see how 9/11 would scare the piss out of a group of people who collectively feel their job is to "accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an intentional order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles"; the very event insinuates that we are no longer projecting international order, we are not secure, and people are hostile to our principles (and, to many in the Bush administration, our prosperity). And it should come as little surprise that a group of people who have these ideological beliefs would respond with rather harsh military measures.

For me, this prospect of ideological motivation is far more frightening than mere greed/power grabbing.
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Re: 2nd Installment

Postby kidjan on February 25th, 2009, 7:47 pm 

QuiteDragon wrote:Now who’s being disingenuous? Those shots were neither the underlying causes of the war nor even the proximate one. The war was the result of diplomatic, political, and economic failures, alterable or otherwise, that occurred over a long period of time that preceded the outright hostilities. The artillery shelling of Ft. Sumter was merely the starter’s pistol… as I am certain you know well and surely better than I. To what end do I go arguing and supporting a position upon which we might stipulate and thereafter move to more fertile and interesting ground? Such as my actual position (which I am sure you either know or can guess, as well):


It has nothing to do with the underlying causes of the Civil war; Lincoln's policy on the south was clearly stated in his inaugural address in which he stated that he had no intent of invading the south or ending slavery. So it's hard to argue that Lincoln "forcibly compelled (the South)" to remain in the Union when his openly stated policy was that he wasn't going to invade. He did state that he had no intent of recognizing them as a sovereign nation, but that's hardly what I'd consider "forcible" participation.

Once the south fired first in Fort Sumter, Lincoln engaged, but stating Lincoln forcibly compelled the south to remain in the union is highly debatable.

I believe I would like to avoid conflating the attack on Iraq with any so-called war on terror. While there may be (I say this with only the strongest of reservations) reason to believe military force (rather than political, diplomatic, economic, and police/intelligence agency methods) might have been justified to stem terrorist activities, I have seen not one shred of evidence that would lead me to conclude that Iraq was in any way a (or at least an immediate) threat to the U.S., nor have I seen a single thing (and fair amount to the contrary) that would lead me to believe that Bush, et al believed Iraq was such a threat.


OK, but this is sort of an example of hindsight being 20/20; I don't think the Bush administration had a hunch there were WMDs in Iraq. I think they were damn certain that they were going to find nuclear and chemical weapons labs, mobile WMD producing laboratories, etc. This, of course, doesn't change the fact that they were painfully wrong (and I firmly invite you to beat them silly over being so wrong--I agree, it's incompetent), but I think they did see Iraq as a very real threat to the United States.

After the fact, sure--we all agree it was obvious that they weren't a threat. But it doesn't change the fact that they made a compelling enough argument to convince Congress to authorize action against Iraq.

kidjan wrote:Unless, of course, you're an Iraqi, in which case it is difficult to argue that Bush's actions were specifically designed to move power away from citizens and invest it into the executive.


Um, sorry, don’t see how that is responsive to anything I said. I think we can be pretty sure that what he has for dinner tonight won’t be specifically designed for any other purpose than, perhaps, satisfying hunger.


Iraq is now a democracy; why would someone who believes in moving power away from citizens and investing it into the executive invade a country and then go to (extremely) painful lengths to install a democratic government there? Your argument makes no sense to me; if Bush is so power-hungry, why would he go out of his way to relinquish it?
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Re: 1st installment

Postby QuiteDragon on February 25th, 2009, 11:19 pm 

kidjan wrote:
QuiteDragon wrote:Oh, I don't think he, personally, craves all that much wealth and power; certainly not like those around him. And, sincere he may be. But a sincere fool with much power and under the influence of the unscrupulous can be a very dangerous man.


See, this is where I do genuinely disagree with many people (my significant other, most notably). She, like you, believes that the Bush administration is motivated by greed, power, etc. I think that accusation is misplaced.

I think they are motivated by a very real desire to change the world to reflect their own personal ideological beliefs.
Oh, I agree with your last sentence as well; I just don't think the two ideas are mutually exclusive. I do think that many powerful people believe that they have a right to the use (and misuse) of the power they have because they believe they serve this "higher" purpose. Something that often goes with all ideological stripes.
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Re:

Postby kidjan on August 22nd, 2020, 1:00 am 

kidjan » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:06 pm wrote:
QuiteDragon wrote:I am glad that s.o.b. is out of office without doing more damage.


Although I enjoy playing devil's advocate, in truth I feel the same way. I don't know that I can think of a president who has been more divisive and damaging in recent history.


Well, time for me to eat crow.
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