Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Torture bill signed; Cole on Robin on Johnson and Baker (et. al.)

Preznit Bunchy McWaterpants scribbled his "Who's your Daddy" on the Torture Bill - a.k.a. the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a.k.a. the Military Gets to Commit Torture and Get Out of Jail Free Act.

A piece of crap article appeared today from the AP - before the bill was signed. It never used the word 'torture' (aggressive interrogation techniques), didn't mention the retroactive pass that people who were too 'aggressive' will get, claimed it was a major victory for Bush, etc. Never trust the AP.

Juan Cole used this to springboard into a discussion of why Republicans love making other people second-class citizens; because then there's justification for the ultra rich to be that way. Love this graf and a half:

So why? Why should a Right that claims a genealogy in egalitarian Enlightenment thinkers have these smelly entanglements with racial, sexual, religious and other hierarchies?

I think it is because of a central contradiction in capitalist democracy. As capitalism actually operates in real societies, advantages accrue to the wealthy.

Whoa! Juan!! Dissing on capitalism?

I think all this explains why Dick Cheney wants to create an underclass of non-citizen residents with lesser rights than citizens, and why he voted against having a Martin Luther King Day when he was in Congress. He is about there being unequal levels in society. Because they in turn justify the inequality in treatment of wealthy people like himself. And the issue of "security" is only a McGuffin that drives the plot. External threats are invoked to justify weakening civil liberties, which in turn allow the reinforcement of hierarchies of rights. The relationship of the concern for "security" and the actual legislation creating inequalities is usually tenuous to say the least.

Do not be mistaken: the PATRIOT ACT, this Military Commission of Sins Act, all those signing statements and executive orders have shit-all to do with protecting Americans from terror, and they're all about having the police state tools in place when the gap between the rich and the poor gets so big that people rise up.

Robin and Johnson and Baker? From this Corey Robin London Review of Books article. Cole cited it in his post. It looks like a good article. I'll be reading it tomorrow.

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