notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


So the Republican are going to pass a law this week sanctioning the torture of people accused of being "enemy combatants," which means pretty much anybody they want to torture. The Democrats, meanwhile, are "being careful to say that they ha[ve] made no decision to block" the bill. With the exceptions of Senators Leahy and Feingold, I have yet to see any Democratic Senators speaking out forcefully against this abomination. This is incredibly demoralizing to me. I don't think I can say it any better than this guy already has:
Spineless Democrats Deserve to Lose

I am puzzled by and ashamed of the Democrats' moral cowardice on this bill. The latest version of the bill blesses detainee abuse and looks the other way on forms of detainee torture; it immunizes terrible acts; it abridges the writ of habeas corpus-- in the last, most egregious draft, it strips the writ for alleged enemy combatants whether proved to be so or not, whether citizens or not, and whether found in the U.S. or overseas.

This bill is simply outrageous. I doubt whether many Democratic Senators or staffs have read the bill or understand what is in it. Instead, they seem to be scrambling over themselves to vote for it out of a fear that the American public will think them weak and soft on terror.

The reason why the Democrats have not been doing very well on these issues, however, is that the public does not believe that they stand for anything other than echoing what the Republicans have been doing with a bit less conviction. If the Republicans are now the Party of Torture, the Democrats are now the Party of "Torture? Yeah, I guess so." Not exactly the moral high ground from which to seek office.

The Democrats may think that if they let this pass, they are guaranteed to pick up more seats in the House and Senate. But they will actually win less seats this way. For they will have proved to the American people that they are spineless and opportunistic-- that, when faced with a genuine choice and a genuine challenge, they can keep neither our country nor our values safe.

The current bill, if passed, will give the Executive far more dictatorial powers to detain, prosecute, judge and punish than it ever enjoyed before. Over the last 48 hours, it has been modified in a hundred different ways to increase executive power at the expense of judicial review, due process, and oversight. And what is more, the bill's most outrageous provisions on torture, definition of enemy combatants, secret procedures, and habeas stripping, are completely unnecessary to keep Americans safe. Rather, they are the work of an Executive branch that has proven itself as untrustworthy as it is greedy: always pushing the legal and constitutional envelope, always seeking more power and less accountability.

If the Democrats do not stand up to the President on this bill, if they refuse to filibuster it or even threaten to filibuster it, they do not deserve to win any additional seats in the House or in the Senate. They will have delivered a grievous blow to our system of checks and balances, stained America's reputation around the world, and allowed an obscenity to disfigure the American system of law and justice. Far worse than a misguided zealot is the moral coward who says nothing and allows that zealotry to do real harm.

I'm sorry to steal the guy's whole post, but I agree with every word of it and think everyone ought to read it. If the Democrats, who last I checked still had 44 Senators (plus an Independent), are not willing to go to whatever lengths it takes to stop this legislation, then I honestly don't see the point of electing them. I mean, fuck it, if they're too scared to come out against torture, then they don't deserve to be in charge any more than the Republicans do.

We on the left have been hectored for years about not sharing the country's "values." Well, I have some values, too. And one of them is that my country doesn't torture people. To hell with any politician - Republican or Democrat - who isn't willing to stand up for that value.

Update: Here is a page that will allow you to send e-mails opposing this legislation to both of your Senators and your Representative at the same time. Use it.

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