Monday, March 11, 2013

The New American Imperial President Model

This is long, but it is enlightening. I've been pro Obama since the beginning and anti Bush since his beginning. But if you are pro Obama, you really need to read this. We have some very questionable (bad) things going on now. I still like Obama. But we have some directions in this country that have got to be changed back. ASAP. Sooner. Before it's too late, if it's not already.

John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution

I've always liked John Cusak going back to his first films back in the 1980s. I like his choices in films, I like his acting. I think he's talented and intelligent. His sister on Showtime's "Shameless" is as funny as she has always been. So obviously it runs in the family. "Gross Pointe Blank" is one of my all time favorite films on several levels and I as well liked his latest film, "The Numbers Station".

The American Administrations these past ten years have been doing what many of us have been doing, what I've been doing in my own mind. Thinking that the end of our efforts in using the Constitution is what is important. Where in reality it is the end in the meaning of the Constitution that is most important.

I think we've had the right intentions, but have become deluded through fear and intimidation, and that has got to stop. Not the fear and intimidation so much as our reaction to it. At some point you simply have to stand your ground and face the bad guys down and just say, No. If you get killed doing it, well that is Courage and if enough of us say No, it will change things. But if we are all afraid to stand and live (or die) for our belief in our country's foundations, in our Constitution, then how we will win out in the end?

We are too into never making a mistake, never losing ground, never having to wait or sacrifice for our ethics; and so in some ways we are losing. Losing our identity as a nation and as perceived by the world, and losing our credibility. We are losing our freedoms and our protections by and from, our own government. If, you really look around, there are some very scary things happening to our nation. But it's easier and less scary, to simply ignore... all of it. Just wonder for a moment, in twenty years time what will this country look like if we stay on this track?

Here is something to consider along this track, on what is or is not, torture:

Watch Christopher Hitchens Get Waterboarded (VANITY FAIR)

For anyone who thinks that "enhanced interrogation", that "waterboarding" is not torture, please drop by and I'll change your mind.

I'm going to post an interview shortly (below) that was put our by John Cusak that he posted back in September 2012. But first I want to set the tone for what the Bush and Obama Administrations have done to remove our criminality in changing the topic from "torture" to pretty much anything else, like "waterboarding", like "enhanced interrogation".

We have gone from "gutting" Nuremburg now ("you can't charge them as war criminals, they were just following orders"), to actually killing American citizens. It's mission creep and as the butler at Highclaire Castle said in a recent documentary on that famous house used in Downton Abbey, "Once standards go away, they don't come back."

This is rather ironic:

"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson.

We seem to agree with just about anything lately.

Yes these "enhanced interrogations" work to break down resistance, but at some point we have to ask ourselves, who are we? Cowards afraid of anything? Or people of principle who the world looks up to, even when it hurts?

What is water boarding like? See this 3 minute and twenty-second video with a volunteer.

Getting Waterboarded: Vanguard

From now on whenever you hear "enhanced interrogation" or "waterboarding", think in your mind, "Torture" with a capital "T". Because those are keywords hiding reality. The users of these words are doing the same thing people have done in saying they haven't had sex with someone because it wasn't intercourse, or they didn't love the person. So why should their spouse be upset? Or someone who says calories don't count because they ate some off of someone else's plate. It's simply ludicrous, it's twisting reality and that is something we cannot have in our leaders when it comes to abusing and killing people, especially American citizens; but that cannot be the only gauge of who we kill. In killing foreign enemies, terrorists, in killing them using indirect means such as drones, we are creating "collateral damage" in neutral foreign citizens, in innocents, even in children. We are also fostering new angers, new enemies.

Yes, I think drones are a useful tool, but perhaps we use them too much. And what will be the new awareness in this technology with other nations who are starting to use them? There are currently fifty other nations getting into the drone technology for Reconnaissance (defense) and attack (offense). In our abuses, others will us us as their model to get away with the same, or worse. Or use them against us. We need to sponsor new international laws on these devices, just like we did with other easily abused actions and technologies since the First Geneva Convention governing sick and wounded members of armed forces, signed in 1864.

Here are a few snippets from this rather long but fascinating interview. These are several pieces put together from different sections of the interview:

CUSACK: I hate to speak too much to motivation, but why do you think MSNBC and other so-called centrist or left outlets won't bring up any of these things? These issues were broadcast and reported on nightly when John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez and Bush were in office.

TURLEY: Well, there is no question that some at MSNBC have backed away from these issues, although occasionally you'll see people talk about –

CUSACK: I think that's being kind, don't you? More like "abandoned."

TURLEY: Yeah. The civil liberties perspective is rarely given more than a passing reference while national security concerns are explored in depth. Fox is viewed as protective of Bush while MSNBC is viewed as protective of Obama. But both presidents are guilty of the same violations. There are relatively few journalists willing to pursue these questions aggressively and objectively, particularly on television. And so the result is that the public is hearing a script written by the government that downplays these principles. They don't hear the word "torture."

They hear "enhanced interrogation." They don't hear much about the treaties. They don't hear about the international condemnation of the United States. Most Americans are unaware of how far we have moved away from Nuremberg and core principles of international law.

TURLEY: We appear to be in a sort of a free-fall. We have what used to be called an "imperial presidency."

CUSACK: Obama is far more of an imperial president than Bush in many ways, wouldn't you say?

TURLEY: Oh, President Obama has created an imperial presidency that would have made Richard Nixon blush. It is unbelievable.
CUSACK: And to say these things, most of the liberal community or the progressive community would say, "Turley and Cusack have lost their minds. What do they want? They want Mitt Romney to come in?"

TURLEY: The question is, "What has all of your relativistic voting and support done for you?"
CUSACK: But, see, that's a very tough principle to take, because everybody feels so rightfully loathsome about Bin Laden, right? But principles are not meant to be convenient, right? The Constitution is not meant to be convenient. If they can catch Adolf Eichmann and put him on trial, why not bin Laden? The principles are what separate us from the beasts.

I think the best answer I ever heard about this, besides sitting around a kitchen table with you and your father and my father, was I heard somebody, they asked Mario Cuomo, "You don't support the death penalty...? Would you for someone who raped your wife?" And Cuomo blinked, and he looked at him, and he said, "What would I do? Well, I'd take a baseball bat and I'd bash his skull in... But I don't matter. The law is better than me. The law is supposed to be better than me. That's the whole point."


Again, you can read the entire interview and I suggest you do, because I only scratche the surface here of the what all they address: John Cusack Interviews Law Professor Jonathan Turley About Obama Administration’s War On the Constitution

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