Obama will vote to filibuster any immunization of corporations who abetted illegal government behavior by violating the privacy of their customers. Excellent news, and credit Dodd for forcing his hand as well. Obviously, if Clinton won’t follow suit no progressive should give even a second thought to supporting her in the primary.
Amanda’s got a solid post up today at RH Reality Check in which she dissects the anti-abortion/forced pregnancy brigade and its rhetoric.
Consequences: Punishment. Aware of the unpopularity of the straightforward argument that sex is wrong and those who indulge deserve punishment, anti-choicers use the euphemism “consequences.” Sex does indeed have consequences, both positive (good moods, closer relationships) and negative (unplanned pregnancy, STDs), but anti-choicers usually only use the word to refer to the negative, and usually only to those consequences that are avoidable, but that anti-choicers wish to make harder to avoid. When an anti-choicer petulantly says, “Sex has consequences,” he usually means, “People are getting away with having sex and we should artificially introduce more risks in order to scare people off of it.”
Amanda’s right to lift the oh-so-sheer sheet of euphemism to reveal the dirty underbelly of their smart talk. But what she doesn’t address — and what I think is important — is why their rhetoric is so powerful and ours is, well, not. They won the war of words. Think about it: most Americans still use “pro-life” to describe the forced pregnancy movement and still label people who support reproductive justice as pro-abortion (as in, we love a procedure that can include invasive surgery! Woo hoo!). While it’s good to decode their language, it only gets us so far. What’s next – -and perhaps even more important — is figuring out how to get away from that language, not only in our happy progressive blog world, but more broadly. So long as we are not understood to be “pro-life” — despite the fact that we are actually the only ones in this debate who actually are supportive of life — we won’t be able to make any gains.
Choosing the best presidential candidate among the 2008 contenders is a tough job. Picking the worst is easy. Rudy Giuliani is the guy you’d get if you put George Bush and Dick Cheney into a wine press and squeezed out their pure combined essence: unbounded arrogance and self-righteousness, a chip on his shoulder the size of a redwood, a studied contempt for anybody’s opinion but his own, a vindictive streak a mile wide, and a devotion to secrecy and executive power unmatched in presidential history. He is a disaster waiting to happen.
And he didn’t even bring up such crucial names as Norman Podhoretz, Bernie Kerik, Alan Placa…the danger of a Giuliani presidency can scarcely be overstated.
President Bush is planning to issue a stern warning Wednesday that the United States will not accept a political transition in Cuba in which power changes from one Castro brother to another, rather than to the Cuban people.
As described by an official in a background briefing to reporters on Tuesday evening, Mr. Bush’s remarks will amount to the most detailed response — mainly an unbending one — to the political changes that began in Cuba more than a year ago, when Fidel Castro fell ill and handed power to his brother Raúl.
Here’s the problem. I want a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba as much as the next guy, but one of the consequences of adopting a 47 year hardline policy on the current regime is that your threats become pretty hollow. Short of invading Cuba or subjecting it to airstrikes, there’s just not much that the US can do to Cuba in terms of the “stick” part of diplomacy. All of the leverage is on the carrot side. This administration isn’t wholly averse to carrots; it eventually made the North Korea deal, and the Libya deal was far more carrot than stick based (even if it was primarily at the behest of Tony Blair), but given the combination of John Bolton’s continuing efforts to scuttle the North Korea deal and the power of the dread Cuba Lobby, we’re unlikely to see any realistic policy initiative. The consequence is that, whether or not Fidel manages to outlast his tenth American President, the political transition in Cuba will happen largely without US influence.
Cross-posted to TAPPED.
I have to say that I’m getting pretty close to endorsing Dodd. The Arbitrary Executive Power and Surrender of Congressional Prerogatives Act is bad enough, but the blanket immunization of corporations who assisted in illegal activity is beyond the pale. It’s not just awful on the merits; for candidates unwilling to argue against it because Republicans will say “Dimmicrats want Islamofascistcommienazis to kill your children! Booga-booga!” although there’s little evidence that it even works anymore indicates that they plan to run on national security from a permanent defensive crouch. Enough. Clinton and Obama need to try to shape the discourse on the issue or we need to look for another standard-bearer.
Via Roy, I see that conservatives are whining about the great day 20 years ago on which arch-reactionary Robert Bork was justly rejected by the Senate. First if all, it’s worth repeating that in this case the Senate functioned as it should, focusing on constitutional philosophy rather than trivial details, and that attempts to turn “Borking” into a pejorative notwithstanding, it’s ridiculous to argue that the President can consider ideology in nominations but the Senate cannot consider in in confirmation.
In addition, for the occasion it’s worth once again excerpting Bruce Ackerman’s devastating review of Bork’s shoddy, transparently outcome-orietnted attempt to defend his “originalism” in The Tempting of America:
Bork has succumbed to his own temptation. Proclaiming his fidelity to history, his constitutional vision is radically ahistorical. Pronouncing an anathema on value relativism, his jurisprudence brings skepticism to new heights. Insisting on the sharpest possible line between law and politics, his bitter concluding section transforms a legal treatise into a Red-baiting n3 political tract. Tempting reveals that Bork’s ordeal has transformed him into a human type that I, at least, had previously encountered only in Dostoyevsky novels. Mutatis mutandis, he is America’s Grand Inquisitor — grimly excommunicating heretics in the name of a Cause he has inwardly betrayed.
The historical vacuum at the core of Bork’s orthodoxy may seem surprising, since the man spent much of his life as a professor at Yale and had the time to engage in the disciplined historical reflection that his orthodoxy demands. The mystery dissolves when one recalls that Bork’s principal academic specialty was antitrust, not constitutional law. He did not win national leadership in this field by dint of historical research, but by championing the Chicago School of Economics’ notably ahistorical and theory-laden approach to antitrust. Few readers of Bork’s major book, The Antitrust Paradox, would guess that its author would next try to make a name for himself by championing the use of historical methods against the seductions of abstract theory. Indeed, one question left unresolved in Tempting is the extent to which Bork himself is aware of the tension between the ostentatiously theoretical methods of Paradox and the putatively historical concerns of Tempting.
Particularly telling is Bork’s remarkable dismissal of the Ninth Amendment, and its obvious implications for his jurisprudence:
Perhaps we should be grateful, then, that Bork tries to decipher the Ninth Amendment without an independent examination of extrinsic sources. Sticking to the text, he reports that it “states simply, if enigmatically, that ‘[t]he enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.’”
The puzzle here is why Bork should find the text “enigmatic.” It seems, almost preternaturally, to be written with him in mind. What Bork is up to is precisely to use “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights” to “disparage” the idea that there are other constitutional rights of fundamental importance. I especially admire the Framers’ choice of the word “disparage.” I can think of no better word to describe Bork’s general tone. Nonetheless, Bork finds the text enigmatic and yearns for greater clarity…
It is, of course, an old lawyer’s trick to create uncertainty by writing hypothetical texts that, in the writer’s mind, do a better job than the Framers’. Bork, however, does not seem to recognize that what the Framers wrote is stronger, not weaker, than the texts he considers as replacements. His hypothetical “clarifications” would narrowly address the courts and explain to them that they should not “disparage” unenumerated rights. In contrast, the Ninth Amendment speaks to all interpreters of the Constitution, presidents no less than courts, citizens no less than legislators, and expressly cautions all of them against committing the interpretive blunder that Bork would impose in the name of the Framers.
Bork’s jurisprudence in fact had a great deal to do with reaching conservative policy outcomes and very little to do with “originalism.” From the right, Glenn Reynolds makes a similar point.
Depending on whom one asks, Nancy Grace broke free from her leathery shell either 47 or 49 years ago today. Sharing CNN’s primetime bandwidth with fellow performance artist Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace is best known as cable news’ foremost advocate for missing white girls, whose assorted misfortunes are reflected back to the world through Grace’s oceanic narcissism.
Official legend tells us that Grace was propelled into the world of criminal justice by the murder of her betrothed, who was cruelly dispatched in 1979 by a vicious stranger, a repeat offender whose attorneys then manipulated the system in all the ways that make legal populists quake with fury. By unnecessarily drawing out his trial, confusing the jury, and then spinning and endless weave of post-conviction appeals, these defense lawyers — members of a professional breed that Grace would one day compare to “guards at Auschwitz” — heartlessly victimized Grace and her dead lover’s family for years to come.
Unfortunately, the actual details of Keith Griffin’s shooting death were insufficiently prosaic for Grace, who somehow forgot that the accused — who was not a random killer but a former co-worker of Griffin’s — actually confessed to the murder that very evening and was convicted by a jury who deliberated less than a day before returning their verdict. The system, far from failing Griffin and his family, actually functioned as intended. None of this, however, has forestalled Grace from devoting her career to reinforcing right wing folklore about the cruel, offender-friendly imbalances of criminal law, which — among other scandalous inconveniences — prevents accused criminals from being nibbled to death by raccoons or tossed from bridges in canvas sacks.
Much more could be said of Grace, a truly vulgar specimen who has quite literally badgered guests into an early grave. But for those who regard Nancy Grace with the contempt she deserves, the following clip may well stand as the greatest moment in television history.
. . . except that it’s apparently a fake. What the hell? I can’t believe someone would post a doctored video on the internet. Does this sort of thing happen often? Sheesh.
Other top Bush administration officials, such as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, have criticized Bush since leaving office. But they have refrained from meeting with large groups of lawmakers to lay out their opposition.
Bolton did just that in an address last week to a joint meeting of Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans and Republican Policy Committee members, as well as in a separate session with the Conservative Opportunity Society, a group of right-leaning Republicans founded by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). In both meetings, Bolton expressed his concerns about the nuclear agreement reached by the U.S., North Korea and four other countries earlier this month.
The North Korea deal is pretty much literally the only competent thing that the Bush administration has done on the foreign policy front, and it came six years too late. In spite of that, you still have the crazies coming out of the woodwork, and by “crazies” I mean “major Bush administration foreign policy appointees”, and “major Republican Congressional figures.” But hey, elect Rudy Giuliani and you’ll get the same thing, only with more crazy!
Do people agree with Becks that there are good reasons not to dispense the Pill to teenagers, even if the motives of wingnuts who complain about the practice are different?
…good discussion with plenty of dissent from Becks’s position, including my colleagues bean and djw. An important point from lt, who argues that “Not to mention, while condoms might have fewer side effects, the pill is controlled by the teenage girl, which is important when negotiating teenage sex.” Elsewhere, Tia agrees with Becks, arguing that the quality of medical care provided is likely to be inadequate.
Q: Mr. President, following up on Vladimir Putin for a moment, he said, recently, that next year, when he has to step down according to the constitution, as the president, he may become prime minister; in effect keeping power and dashing any hopes for a genuine democratic transition there.
BUSH: I’ve been planning that myself.
Har. Excuse me while I roll my eyes in as exaggerated a manner as possible.