It's easy to lose sight of events in the larger world when you have ringside seats to The Georgia Democratic Primary, also known as the biggest and bloodiest political donnybrook this party has seen in years. But the war of ideas, insults, and cheap tricks that masqueraded as our primary election pales in comparison with the war of Katyusha rockets and laser guided bombs being waged by Israel and Hezbollah.
It is an abomination unto the ideal of rightness to presume that Israel somehow has the moral high ground in this conflict. Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas, and all their comrades in arms have the stricken blood of innocents on their hands. More pragmatically, what does Israel believe the long-term effects of leveling apartment buildings and shredding the limbs of innocent civilians will be? Every member of Hezbollah they kill will be replaced by a mother or brother or father of an innocent person the Israeli military has seen fit to execute in the ostensible interest of exterminating terrorists.
This is not at all to side with the murderous, vindictive subhumans firing rockets at random into Israel , paid for by Syria and Iran. Hassan Nasrallah apologizing for the children killed by one of Hezbollah's rocket attacks - “some events like that happen”, he said – is like the Serpent apologizing to Eve for tricking her into eating of the tree of life. These animals have as little honor and decency as any Israeli soldier.
The vendetta Israel is pursuing against Hezbollah is a textbook example of how truly awful war can be. It's one thing when war is your guys with guns and tanks and bomber aircraft versus the other guy with Soviet-era rockets, assault rifles, and improvised explosives, and they kill and maim each other. What we're seeing in Lebanon, however, is a lot of sublimated anger against civilians, UN observers, and the infrastructure of a nation that just wants to be left alone. Hezbollah's idea of getting back at the Israeli pilots bombing Lebanon into oblivion is apparently to high-five each other when one of their rockets kills a teenage girl who never did a damn thing to them. Who with a single shred of human nobility in their soul could look on this orgy of destruction and killing and say that either side is right?
Know what's most sickening about all this? Seeing Condoleezza Rice and some Arab leaders smiling and shaking hands over an expensive wooden table, and Ehud Olmert bleating his tired rhetoric from the safety of some Israeli parliament building, and Kofi Annan wringing his hands over whether or not Israel intentionally destroyed a UN observation post (give me a break). All this while two countries, two nations of human beings like you and I, duke it out over who gets to ride in front on the down escalator to Hell. I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing some familiar faces there.
It's been a full week since the Democratic Primary and I'm still shaking my head at some of the election results. After a lot of reflection and some conversations with a few good friends, I've come to realize a few things.
First, the good guys don't always win even when they do everything right. TJ Copeland is a perfect example. He's a good guy who deserved a victory. He stands for everything good about the Democratic Party and politics in general. His loss to Sharon Beasley-Teague still boggles my mind. I've been going over the campaign in my head, asking myself what could have been done differently. My answer: Nothing. He did everything right. He had a great campaign manager in Nikema Williams and solid consultants behind him from Yellow Dog Consulting. Watching him lose to a woman who cares so little about her constituents and their issues was gut wrenching. It broke my heart.
But I'm proud of TJ for running the kind of campaign that should've won. I'm proud of TJ for representing the Young Democrats of Atlanta. Our organization is a training ground for future legislators and he had the heart to go out and take that first step. I'm looking forward to watching him and helping him do whatever comes next.
Second, I've learned not to take a candidate's predicted victory for granted. How on earth did we all misjudge the Secretary of State's race? Where did Gail Buckner come from? Does anyone know anything about her? I've heard from a variety of sources that she's a big fan of the Young Democrats, which might swing my vote her way. Of course, I'm keeping my mind open to Mr. Hicks, another candidate who ran under my radar. I'll have to read up on both candidates. Gail and Darryl! Who would've thought?
Third, I've learned that dirty politics hurts everyone, not just the opponent. Take the Lt. governor's race. I was totally undecided until three or four days before the election when Hect's campaign hit an all-time low. Their robo call and that ad they put out against Jim Martin was dirty and it only hurts turn out. It turns people off to politics. I won't even get into yard sign wars. I won't mention the incumbent who was stupid enough to cover up her opponent's yard signs--not with her own--but with a gubernatorial candidate's instead. But who expected Ms. Teague to run a clean and fair campaign? All I can say is: What goes around comes around--ten fold. I just hope I'm there to see it.
Finally, I've learned that there is no substitute for having a strong ground force. I think I've read a stat that says canvassing is the single most effective way to reach voters, seventy percent more effective than any other method. I believe that. Every door that TJ and his crew knocked on, I believe, was a vote for TJ. So if you want your candidate to win, be prepared to sweat. All of the money in the bank can't beat a large army of foot soldiers willing to bear the heat and knock on doors. It takes a lot of volunteers to run a solid campaign. Unfortunately, no candidate will probably ever get as many foot soldiers as they need or want, but they have to make the most of the people they have, and more importantly, be grateful for them.
I've learned much more than I can put in this blog. It's still hard to believe that the first half of this election season is over. We need to brace ourselves, though, because I expect that we're in for a bumpy ride with this race for the Governor's Mansion gearing up. I'll save my spiel about us all needing to get behind our nominee for next week.
Come on! Get back on that horse! Canvass for Jan Hackney! Tomorrow Take Back the State with 48 begins with our first canvassing outing since last fall.
Saturday, July 22 (that's tomorrow!) 1:00 p.m. Take 400 North to Northridge (Exit 6) don't forget 50 cents for the toll, take a right off the ramp onto Northridge and then a right onto Roswell Road. Take the next right into a shopping plaza with a Kroger. We'll meet there.
Our smart and sexy campaign leadership team will give you everything you need to hit the streets and start identifying Jan's supporters.
Call me at 404 406-8359 if you have any questions.
For some reason, I can’t make it through the national anthem without crying. Okay, I can’t make it through the French national anthem either (it’s that damn scene from Casablanca that gets me!), and come to think of it, I cry during the Olympic anthem too. Hmmm…I’m just kind of weepy all around. But the Star Spangled Banner gets me in the same place every time:
“And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
Now, I know lots of people who are not inspired by this account of the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. It’s too obscure or too bellicose or just too damn hard to sing. They have a point; America the Beautiful is much more peaceful. But for me (and I know this is a little cheesy, but I was raised on Frank Capra, so there’s nothing I can do about it), I always think about that sense of doubt and fear that we can have being American. Is this experiment in Democracy hopeless? Have we sold ourselves to corporate interests? Will the promise of the phrase “All men are created equal” ever be realized? Wouldn’t we be better off moving to Canada, New Zealand, or Costa Rica? Those are our questions in the dark, when the future remains uncertain.
But then we see flashes of light. These are moments of clarity when we realize that the possibility for a better America has not been destroyed. There is hope, there is opportunity, and there is potential. The promise of America is surviving the onslaught.
I know a lot of us came away with mixed feelings after Tuesday’s primary. There was a lot of good news. But many of us finished the night in that dark space of disappointment. Supporters of Cathy, TJ, Shyam and others had had so much hope and faith. They had worked so hard. Others were disappointed more in the actions of the candidates than in the results. I hate that feeling of bewilderment and helplessness. I’ve been there. I’m sure I’ll be there again.
But actually my Election Day memory that I’m holding onto happened early in the day, before all the celebrations and the tears. It was one of those brief flashes of light that will help keep me going until November. When I drove up to my polling place in Reynolds Town at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, there was Jan Hackney, House District 48 Candidate standing on the corner with a sign for Allen Thornell. I swear that woman is everywhere. Her good heart and her commitment are such an inspiration to me. It’s not that she was any different from others who spent Tuesday holding signs, making calls, and driving people to the polls. As she greeted me that morning, Jan was the example of all the people who cared enough about their community to take whatever action was helpful, however small, however thankless. Who wouldn’t want this woman in public office?
As YDAtl gears up to work on her campaign in earnest, I think of another poem – this one not set to music and sung at major sporting events:
Sometimes things don't go, after all, from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail. Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war, elect an honest man, decide they care enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor. Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best intentions do not go amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to. The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.
The poet, Sheenagh Pugh, wrote that many people misinterpreted her words as easy, sunny optimism. She didn’t mean them that way. She meant that “sometimes” doesn’t happen very often. And that when it does, it takes individual effort. Unfortunately, it takes a willingness to accept the many times when the outcome is not what we had hoped for.
In the Star Spangled Banner it’s not easy being out in the night. Those lights are rockets and bombs. It’s scary. But we keep our eyes on where the flag should be and keep looking for a sign that we’ll make it through the night. May it happen for all of us.
I talked to Jim Martin, candidate for Lt. Governor, after his campaign party on Tuesday night. Always a classy guy, he didn't even touch the topic of the dirty tactics used against him. He needs your support in advance of the runoff on August 8th.
In the interest of having at least a little dirt in this episode, a couple of undercover Democrats tell us about Ralph Reed's tragic shindig.
So July 4th actually marked my 2 year anniversary as a resident of Atlanta. And while I’m not quite to the point where I start calling Georgia my home, I have definitely developed some real affection for my neighborhood, my city, and my state. However, I this stops at the “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker. I am just not a fan.
For those of you who have never voted outside the state of Georgia, this is what a standard “I Voted” sticker looks like: See how small it is, its sleek oval shape, its “matter-of-fact” phrasing that gets right to the point, its patriotic touches. It’s the perfect accessory. Find me one outfit it wouldn’t go with.
It’s something that says “Hey chump! Yeah you who hasn’t voted yet…See this? Yeah, that’s right. I’m an adult. I did my civic responsibility. I voted. Now I’m going to go to work with this on my blouse and people are going to see it and they are going to go “Hey – look at that fashionable, yet professional sticker on Nicolette’s blouse…what does it say? Oh yes, I forgot, today is an election day. I must remember to vote”. (really, that little sticker says all of that)
Now here is the Georgia “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker Yes, I will give you its cuteness, because, well, it is. And while not as patriotic as the previous sticker, it does invoke some sense of pride in the state of Georgia and that’s not a bad thing.
HOWEVER, with its large size and a drawing that borders on cartoonish, it also invokes the feeling of “Hey, I just got back from the dentist and I had a choice of the sugar-free candy or a sticker….I took the sticker”. That works when you’re 10 (or really, for me, until I got a real job). But I gotta say, its not doing it for me now.
I like being able to wear my “I Voted” sticker. When I put it on I get to feel proud, superior, and helpful, all that the same time (well, mostly superior). But when I wear my “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker, I just feel like a little kid who just filled out my “Kids Vote” ballot at school right before lunch.
What do you guys think? Am I the only one out there who’s not a fan?
Wow. It wasn't just the free beer at Jim Martin's shindig last night -- the SOS race really was that wacky. "The last shall be first," sayeth The Dude, and 2000 years later the prediction is made good. "Hi, I'm Gail Buckner, and I just showed up five minutes ago and beat you silly." Mostly, anyway. Now we'll have to see what Darryl Hicks has left in the bank for more TV ads. Personally I'd like to see a new branding strategy from the Hicks camp, simply because I've begun to find any image of the candidate just a little bit creepy because I never know if it's going to start talking to me. Interesting ads, but creepy nonetheless.
However Gail and Darryl did it, the real mystery to me is how the guy so many of us considered a front-runner not only lost, but fell in behind Miss Angela. Did that many Georgia voters really love Pootah's "vote! or die!" rap, or is that much of the Georgia Democratic electorate just not ready for a brown Secretary of State? Either way, count me both baffled and disappointed.
And maybe just a wee bit dehydrated. How was your election night? Chime in with the party reports, people.
Holy Cow! Election Day is finally here! I can't believe it! I can't believe that this LONG primary season, all of our work, is coming down to this one day of voting! It's been a tough journey and I've learned a lot. For example: Never cold call people at their homes after 8:30 p.m. For some reason, people don't take kindly to that. Go figure! The same goes for knocking on doors.
I was standing in the shower this morning when it occurred to me how cool it is that we get to pick our leaders. We take it for granted, but think about it for a moment. We have power that many people in many parts of the world would die for! In America, average Melissa Citizens have the muscle to determine their county, state, and national leaders. That's power, and it's too bad that many citizens neglect to exercise it. Why?
I've read predictions that the Democratic Primary will have a low turnout. Why? I shake my head when I hear people say, "Why should I vote today? It's a primary; it's not like my vote means anything." I take a calming breath, and I reply respectfully, "Today is the day that we choose our party's leaders. Your vote means everything. That's why you should vote." That goes for Democrats and Republicans.
So this is my appeal to those of you out in blogger land. Please don't turn your backs on the wonderful gift that our forefathers gave to us over two hundred years ago. Americans died so that each one of us would have a voice at EVERY election. Use it. If you think that there needs to be a change in the party, vote, because your vote and those like it can bring about that change. If you think it essential that something in the party remains the same, vote, because your vote and those like it will protect our values.
This is just my way of saying go vote today. Take a few minutes after work or before work and go exercise your voice. Remember those who have no voice in their government, no control over their way of life. Show your gratitude today. You owe it to those who came before, you owe it to yourself, and you owe it to those to come. You have an amazing power. Do Not Waste That Power Today! Please!
In this week's science & technology minute: a shameless appeal for my life. Well, at least the quality of it and the way in which it might end.
Alzheimer's Disease and Type II Diabetes sometimes pop up in my family. What afflictions plague yours? I know very few people who are unaffected by some congenital disorder that we have the potential to cure within a few generations. Unfortunately, the President has decided to whip out his rather flaccid veto threat (oooh no a veto! Like North Korea, we're shakin' in our boots!) in order to "protect" some frozen cells on their way to the dumpster at the expense of delaying scientific progress for as long as it takes to get his science-hating party out of control of the government. Before you head out to your victory party, please take a minute to sign the following petition. The life you save may be your own.
More than one year ago, the House of Representatives passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810). This bill would override President Bush's 2001 decision to limit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and take the first step toward providing potential cures for many debilitating diseases including Parkinson's and diabetes.
The U.S. Senate is poised to pass this landmark legislation this week and send it to the President's desk for his signature. Unfortunately, despite the support of 72% of Americans and overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, President Bush is threatening to use the first veto of his term on this life saving research.
Please click on the petition below and ask President Bush to reconsider his veto threat.
I’m genuinely sorry to have to attack, again, a fellow Democrat before the primary. But, to echo Greg Palast, someone’s got to.
I am ashamed that State Representative Sharon Beasley-Teague, of the 65th district, is a member of our party; she has amply demonstrated both a contemptuous, supine attitude toward the needs of her district and the ideals of the Democratic Party of Georgia, and a proclivity for the type of vicious, filthy political games we’ve come to expect from Republicans.
It is doubtless well-known by now that Representative Teague has miserably failed the test of leadership. Representative Teague has compiled the third-worst attendance record of any member of the Georgia House, during which she abjectly failed to participate in numerous key meetings and votes. Furthermore, Representative Teague has repeatedly demonstrated a petulant unwillingness to vote in the interest of basic Democratic goals – her vote in favor of the amendment to the Georgia Constitution banning gay marriage being only the most egregious example. Even when speaking to strongly Democratic audiences, including the monthly breakfast gatherings held by the Fulton County Democratic Party, she has refused to offer any remote semblance of vision for her district, nor has she addressed issues including the fact that some of the students in the 65th district attend school in North Springs due to the woeful inadequacy of schools in the district. Few of Representative Teague’s own constituents are aware of her existence, even after fourteen years of “service” in the House; many of those that know her are quick to criticize her.
That said, however, Representative Teague’s disgraceful record as a Democrat and an elected official is dwarfed by the vile, sordid tactics she has resorted to during her “campaign” to retain the seat to which she apparently feels she is entitled (as she has said in nearly so many words on several occasions).
Given the poverty of Representative Teague’s legislative record, it is not surprising that her campaign has been unable to compete with that of her opponent, T.J. Copeland, due to a pathetic lack of resources. Representative Teague has therefore hijacked the campaign of Cathy Cox for her own purposes – she has distributed promotional literature (incidentally, literature printed illegally on official legislative stationery) which also includes both a Cathy Cox handbill and a grotesquely vicious anti-Taylor flyer. Representative Teague has furthermore engaged in the increasingly common practice of stealing her opponent’s yard signs. However, Representative Teague is apparently unable to produce her own yard signs in any significant quantity whatsoever, so she replaces her opponent’s yard signs not with her own, but with Cathy Cox yard signs. This “strategy”, at once mystifying and grievously ridiculous, runs directly counter to the Cox campaign’s own strategy with respect to yard signs in the 65th district; Representative Teague has apparently chosen to express her endorsement of Cox (an endorsement which has not been reciprocated by the Cox campaign, for reasons which are presumably obvious) by deliberately subverting Cox’s own campaign.
Representative Teague’s tactics reached a new low this week, however, when she and her goons pressured the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to retract its endorsement of Mr. Copeland, on grounds which are at best absurdly technical and at worst fraudulent. Mr. Copeland holds a provisional teaching certificate to teach special education students, which he was granted on being hired by the state owing to the critical need for educators in that area; he is currently working toward full certification as a teacher in Georgia. Given that fact, and furthermore that Mr. Copeland is listed as a teacher on Banneker High School’s own list of teachers and has taught special education students for four years at the school, Mr. Copeland quite reasonably indicated verbally and in writing to the AJC and specifically to editor Cynthia Tucker that he was a “teacher”. Representative Teague, however, proved more interested in pedantic semantic details than recognizing Mr. Copeland’s ongoing contributions to his community, and demanded that Tucker find that Mr. Copeland had “misled” Tucker on the grounds that he was provisionally rather than fully certified. It is nothing short of despicable to impugn the good name of an upstanding community member such as Mr. Copeland on the basis of arcane subtleties of terminology, but unfortunately Tucker capitulated to the heinous caprice of Representative Teague and retracted the AJC’s endorsement of Mr. Copeland.
It seems clear that if Representative Teague spent as much time working in good faith for the good of her constituents as she has on embarking on a personal vendetta against a man with the temerity to challenge her queenship of the 65th District, she might have made better progress on real issues her district faces that she has thus far dismissed. Instead, Representative Teague has continued her mission to bring embarrassment and dishonor to Democrats in Georgia and exemplify all that is base about the politicians who, in theory, serve us, the people.
I've ranted before about how Democrats need to make better use of the internet and related technology if we're to compete with the big money media the Republicans have at their disposal. In an effort to put my money (or at least a day that could have otherwise been spent dissertating) where my mouth is, I whipped up this little ditty from Page & Emily's reception for Nan Orrock at Apres Diem on Sunday (click to view):
Right-click and "Save Link As" to download your own copy.
Nan's challenger for Georgia Senate District 36 is trying to misrepresent a woman we know to be a stalwart progressive and a real friend. We've got less than a week to make sure they hear otherwise, so pass it on! The Quicktime version is attached to this post for the podcast audience, but there are public versions that don't cost us bandwidth at Google Video and YouTube, so pick your poison.
First, let me begin with a shameful plug. Please bear with me.
I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach. And then I remembered: The Democratic Primary is one week away! Seven days! Count them: Seven! YIKES! I can't believe we're down to the last seven days! So if you haven't given money to your candidate or candidates, now is the time, especially if they have only a primary. There are candidates (TJ COPELAND) who desperately need it, whether it be $5.00 or $50.00. And don't forget, your time is equally valuable. There's still a lot of canvassing to be done, and these guys (TJ Copeland) could use the help. Okay, that's my shameful plug for our Young Democratic candidate TJ Copeland, who could use an extra pair of hands and an extra couple of bucks if you can spare it.
Now, let's get to this "Culture of Life" business. I was scanning the headlines on MSN.com, as I do every morning, when this idiotic statement caught my eye (and elevated my blood pressure): BUSH WOULD VETO STEM-CELL BILL, ROVE SAYS. Why does that not surprise me? President Bush, of course, is not a fan of stem cell research. He believes that embryonic stem cells are human life and should be given the same rights as actual living human beings. He doesn't want them to be destroyed. That's nice President Bush, but what about the living?
I wonder if he realizes that, if I understand this correctly, the cells in question have no real chance of becoming life. They're slated to be discarded anyway. If this is the case, why aren't we using these cells to save people from terrible diseases like juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's? If I'm not mistaken, these cells have the potential to help people who have suffered horrible spinal cord injuries as well.
President Bush and the others of the right wing have said they want to create a "Culture of Life." If that is the case, why do they show so little concern for saving the lives of those afflicted by these horrible diseases? A "Culture of Life"...not so much. What kind of "Culture of Life" stands in the way of essential medical advancement? The opportunity to cure these diseases and others is at out finger tips, but President Bush and Karl Rove would prefer to let people die. Culture of Life?
Of course, they profess sympathy for those afflicted with these diseases, and that's all well and good, but we need more than that from President Bush, much more. Actually, I'd like to tell him where he can stick his sympathy because it's not his father, mother, wife or child who is stricken with these illnesses. I wonder if he would change his rhetoric if it were. I wonder if he would open his mind to the possiblites that science has to offer all of us. I wonder if he would be so hell bent on closing the door to the future.
We know that stem cell research has great potential for advancing medicine, but right now, we can only see the tip of the iceberg. We have no idea of the true potential of this type of research, and we won't know until we boot President Bush, his party, and his "Culture of Life" out of office. Closing the door on this type of research is criminal, and that crime alone should get him thrown out of Washington. You, Mr. President, are holding medical research hostage--OUR medical research. Give us medical advancement, and keep your sympathy. We don't want or need it.
The “WTF” award goes to endorsing Torry Lewis over two-term Representative Pedro Marin in House 96 (Gwinnett). If Pedro, as the editorial writer claims, “has been an active legislator on issues affecting the district”, why on earth would you want anyone else in the job? What more is the man supposed to do? Maybe everyone gets a chance in the legislature in Wonderland, but in the real world you find yourself a good legislator and you stick with them.
Cynthia Tucker clearly wasn't paying attention to the good work Sheila Jones has done for House 44 – apparently she defines “energy” and “purpose” differently than I do, because I saw plenty of both from Representative Jones in her first term. It seems that the AJC is hoping Steven Lee has more sense as a legislator than as a web site designer; otherwise we'll end up with another Sharon Beasley-Teague.
Speaking of SBT, the one and only “Big Orange Pumpkin”, it was extremely gratifying to see our own Young Democrat T.J. Copeland get called “an easy choice” for the voters of House 65. The endorsement unfortunately didn't mention the bizarre hats Ms. Pumpkin seems to favor, nor the ridiculous comments she's given voice to at FCDP events, but hey, we'll take it.
I'm disappointed Allen Thornell didn't get the endorsement for House 58, but he has strong opponents, so I'm not totally surprised.
The Fulton County Commission has got to be in rough shape if Art Geter, who strikes me as a bit (or more) odd, gets the endorsement over Commissioner Bill Edwards only on the basis of Mr. Edwards' allegedly pathetic job performance. Three cheers for “Dysfunctional!”
Kathy Ashe got one of the strongest endorsements I saw – her opponent wasn't even mentioned, let alone named. Yay!
In other news, I saw my first Matt “50 Cent” Dollar election signs at Powers Ferry and the south 120 loop yesterday. He must be feeling insecure if he needs to care about a primary challenge from Craig “I'm As Loonytunes As Any Democrat” Harfoot...
During this 4th of July holiday week, I’d like to take some time to celebrate a few American heroes. First of all - the Supreme Court (with the obvious exceptions of Justices Thomas, Scalia and Alito. They get boos and hisses and looks of stern disapproval. Except for Justice Thomas. He’s so cuckaloo, it's not worth it…but I digress).
In, what may be the most important Supreme Court case on presidential power EVER (think Marbury vs. Madison, the Nixon case where he was forced to turn over the tapes, Truman and the steel mills,etc. This is big stuff!), the majority ruled that the president has no right to put Guantanamo detainees on trial before military commissions. That’s right. No more locking up everyone who shows up in Afghanistan with a beard and throwing away the key. No stringing them up by their thumbs until they talk or, alternatively manage to hang themselves.
Military commissions have been used during wartime when time and resources were scarce. This wartime need, however, stated the court majority, does not justify failure to guarantee defendants basic rights such as the right to attend their trials nor does it give the prosecution the ability to introduce hearsay evidence, unsworn testimony, and evidence obtained through coercion – all characteristics of the Bush-driven military commissions. I’m no legal scholar, but isn’t that why the Geneva Conventions were written in the first place?
The New York Times’ Linda Greenhouse reported:
“The decision was such a sweeping and categorical defeat for the administration that it left human rights lawyers who have pressed this and other cases on behalf of Guantánamo detainees almost speechless with surprise and delight, using words like ‘fantastic,’ ‘amazing’ and ‘remarkable.’ Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a public interest law firm in New York that represents hundreds of detainees, said, ‘It doesn't get any better.’”
I’ll go ahead and throw Linda Greenhouse in the American hero pile for the following paragraph:
“In the courtroom on Thursday, the chief justice sat silently in his center chair as Justice Stevens, sitting to his immediate right as the senior associate justice, read from the majority opinion. It made for a striking tableau on the final day of the first term of the Roberts court: the young chief justice, observing his work of just a year earlier taken apart point by point by the tenacious 86-year-old Justice Stevens, winner of a Bronze Star for his service as a Navy officer in World War II.”
Ha! Take that Justice Roberts. The whole thing is very satisfying. Perhaps we live in a Republic after all. Perhaps a branch of our government actually is living up to their oath to uphold the constitution!
Last week I caught a bit of David Brooks on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I hate that guy. He is so smug. But he shows up in liberal circles because he’s so mild mannered and uninteresting. He was basically saying that the Bush administration knew they were acting maybe not so much in accordance with the Constitution. But that they were just biding their time until someone held them accountable. You know, no big deal. No harm, no foul, right?
And who would that be – the ones holding this administration accountable? Who has had the courage to hold this administration accountable for anything? Certainly not Congress, not the media, not Bush’s own conscience.
Which leads me to my next group of heroes. This was a surprising one for me, not knowing much about the military or military justice besides multiple viewings of “A Few Good Men.” But if you care to read last week’s New Yorker profile of the dark Sith Lord Addington who serves the evil emperor we know as Dick Cheney, the true heroes in this case turn out to be the military lawyers or JAGS (Judge Advocates General).
“Rear Admiral Donald Guter, who was the Navy’s chief JAG until June, 2002, said that he and the other JAGs, who were experts in the laws of war, tried unsuccessfully to amend parts of the military-commission plan when they learned of it, days before the order was formally signed by the President. ‘But we were marginalized,’ he said. ‘We were warning them that we had this long tradition of military justice, and we didn’t want to tarnish it. The treatment of detainees was a huge issue. They didn’t want to hear it.’
Marine Major Dan Mori, the uniformed lawyer who has been assigned to defend David Hicks, one of the ten terror suspects in Guantánamo who have been charged, said of the commissions, ‘It was a political stunt. The Administration clearly didn’t know anything about military law or the laws of war….The fundamental problem is that the rules were constructed by people with a vested interest in conviction.’…He (Mori) added, ‘I hope that nobody confuses military justice with these ‘military commissions.’ This is a political process, set up by the civilian leadership. It’s inept, incompetent, and improper.’
Under attack from defense lawyers like Mori, the military commissions have been tied up in the courts almost since the order was issued. …President Bush has blamed the legal challenges for the delays in prosecuting Guantánamo detainees. But many lawyers, even some inside the Administration, believe that the challenges were inevitable, considering the dubious constitutionality of the commissions.
Guter, the Navy JAG, said that, before long, he and other military experts began to wonder whether the reason they weren’t getting much useful intelligence from Guantánamo was that, as he puts it, ‘it wasn’t there.’ Guter, who was in the Pentagon on September 11th, said, ‘I don’t have a sympathetic bone in my body for the terrorists. But I just wanted to make sure we were getting the right people—the real terrorists. And I wanted to make sure we were doing it in a way consistent with our values.’”
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060703fa_fact1 Well, thank God we have these Tom Cruise/Demi Moore types who are courageous enough to take on an incompetent, power hungry executive branch. And who actually seem to have an interest in prosecuting genuine terrorists. The victory in the Hamdan case is a direct result of their insistence on justice and fairness.
Of course, the decision may not matter so much if both Congress and the President choose to ignore it. Bush’s latest cunning trick has been to sign legislation and then attach a signing statement that states that he doesn’t have to comply with any of the law he just passed if he doesn’t want to. Congress so far hasn’t seemed too concerned.
So, if Congress and the President are going to just chip away at the Constitution, the next group of heroes needs to be us. The upcoming 2006 elections are vital. We must send representatives who will check this insane power grab. I know many of us, myself included, have fixed our gaze on our own back yard. And there is much good we can do here in Atlanta and throughout the state. But however we can – by sending money, encouraging letters, persistent phone calls, etc. – we are the ones who must demand that our government serve the Republic for which it stands.
You know, considering the flak we get for having a bunch of “New England liberals”in the party, you'd think we could come up with some in Connecticut, instead of these cowardly Zell Miller types. Good luck, Traitor Joe. You're going to need it.
Whoever told me that Steven Lee's website had been improved... wrong. Is it just me or does this guy have terminal smile deficiency disorder? Maybe it's a malady affecting the district, and that's why he's running?
Kids, you can't vote for Bill Bolton. The last thing we need is for this sordid excuse for a gubernatorial race to go into overtime.
Speaking of overtime, the number of races that will probably go to a runoff is pretty disturbing. I want this primary to end, damn it – my alcohol budget can't take this. No more fundraisers!
We need yard signs with booby traps. Either that or *ahem* certain candidates need to keep their grubby hands off certain incumbents' yard signs. Oh, and the ones that Ralph Reed's people steal can be equipped with machine gun nests.
Karla Drenner's primary opponent just happens to be named Cynthia Tucker. Maybe now is the time to change my name to Rich Golick in time for 2008.
I hate to say it, but it looks like the state school superintendent primary is going to be another write-in opportunity. I'm just waiting for Worse Kathy to go Linda Schrenko on us.
World's shortest book: “Reasons to Re-elect Me” by Sharon Beasley-Teague. This woman is a growing (hee hee!) embarrassment to us.
Speaking of embarrassments, apparently Angela Moore has attracted the seamy eye of the 96 Rock Regular Guys. That's just hearsay, by the way, because I can't stand those two morons for more than a nanosecond personally.
What the heck is the deal with Mark Taylor's full-page black-and-white photocopy flyers? Time to loan your campaign more money? *sigh*
I guess the lieutenant governor's race is over. Amazing what happens when two nice, rational human beings oppose each other *cough*
Nan Orrock has things together, praise the Lord. You'd think she was the only one who's done this before, looking at the way some campaigns are going.