Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reasonable Al Gore Redux . . . .

And further to Al Gore's The Assault on Reason :

In this excerpt he compares the feelings the US citizens had after the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

What did you feel? I don't know the words to describe my own feelings. But I would like all Americans to draw a line connecting the feelings they had when they saw the visual images of our soldiers, acting in our name, with our authority, torturing helpless people - and it was a matter of policy, even though the White House pointed fingers at the privates and corporals and said it was all their responsibility - with the emotions they felt during Hurricane Katrina when they saw those corpses in the water, people without food, water, medicine - our fellow citizens left helpless.
And of course in both cases the story is complex and many factors are involved, but I want people to draw a line connecting the feelings they had in both situations. And then I want them to draw another line connecting those responsible for both unbelievable tragedies that embarrassed our nation in the eyes of the world. Connect those who ignored the warnings about Katrina and then bungled the aftermath with those who ignored the warnings not to invade Iraq and then bungled the aftermath, and the line makes a small circle.
In the middle of that circle is President George W. Bush.

Regarding george's abuse of presidential signing statements, using the process more than all of his predecessors combined:

For example, after the administration dishonored and embarrassed the country by torturing large numbers of helpless prisoners, an overwhelming bipartisan majority passed legislation sponsored by three Republican senators - John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham - outlawing torture. Bush could have vetoed the law, but Congress almost certainly would have overridden his veto. Instead, he signed the law but announced that he did not, and would not, have to abide by it. This helps to explain why Bush has vetoed only one bill during his entire term in office. Why bother, if he can simply decide on his own whim which provisions of a law apply to him and which ones he will simply ignore?

Should we amend all of the textbooks in America to explain to schoolchildren that what has been taught for more than two centuries about checks and balances is no longer valid? Should we teach them instead that the United States Congress and the courts are merely advisory groups that make suggestions to the president on what the law should be, but that the president is all-powerful and now has the final say on everything? Should we teach them that we are a government of men, not laws? Should we teach them that we used to be a democracy but now we only pretend to be?

Good stuff.

Read it . . . .

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