In 2006 Congress Passed a Tyrannical Law

I’ve had a really busy week at work, and now I find that since I took a blogging break the government has gone berserk.
Rafe Colburn: Prisoner of conscience

While some Republicans made a halfhearted show of conscience and Democrats hid in the most craven fashion imaginable, the Bush Administration managed to pass a bill that will enable the government to imprison people for as long as it likes without giving them a day in court, and to torture those prisoners as much as it likes. This law diminishes this country, sullies the values upon which it was founded, and rolls back many centuries of progress in how governments relate to the governed.

NY Times: Rushing Off a Cliff

We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration. They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Brad DeLong: Neighbor, How Stands the Union?

This is bad. Very bad. I can’t underscore how bad this is. This is our Fugitive Slave Act, our Sedition Act, our Korematsu. This is a danger to our domestic liberties and a terrifying threat to our national security–for its impact on our international standing and on our alliances may be terrible indeed.

digby: Rouge President

The truth is that there is a rogue presidency and there has been, since January, 2001 (earlier, if you count the stolen election). Certainly, everyone in Washington knows it, but no one dares to admit it. The bill legalizing torture merely enables Congress to pretend they still have some influence over an executive that from day one was governing, not as if they had a mandate, but as if Bush were a dictator. If, for some miracle, the bill didn’t pass, every congress-critter knows Bush would keep on torturing.

Better to vote to pass and preserve the appearance of a working American government, the thinking goes. For the very thought that the US government is seriously broken – that the Executive is beyond the control of anyone and everyone in the world – is such a truly awesome and terrifying thought that it can never be publicly acknowledged. If ever it is, if the American crisis gets outed and Congress and the Supremes openly assert that the Executive has run completely amok and is beyond control, the world consequences are staggering. It is the stuff of doomsday novels.

Jon Husband posted a Canadian comment from the digby post:

I am remembering that the aged supporters of Gen. Franco still live in Madrid, still refusing to be civil to their erstwhile opponents on the Left. I think you are looking at decades of incivility or worse, of conflict on class lines, and maybe race and ethnic lines too. You are deep deep shit neighbours. I will wish you the best of luck with all this. We have our own neo-con dinosaurs to be rendered harmless up here. It will occupy my attention for, say, a decade or two. In the meantime, keep the embers glowing. Something will cause all this ugliness to burst into flame. Its just too grotesque to keep hidden forever.

Shame without limits, embarassment without restraint, regrets without number, apologies to the millions killed in your name, and a century of guilt to be worn and worked off. Get on with it.