Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome to your aspiring fascist state

I hadn't realized that Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, Nicole Salazar, and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, along with many other journalists, were arrested at the Republican National Convention, despite being credentialed reporters (reporting a nominally "unlawful assembly" -- aka the RNC protests).

This is similar to what happened four years ago at the conventions, with many being baselessly arrested only to have their arrests overturned, and in some cases paying damages to arrested protesters and journalists for the overzealous and repressive police actions.

This also happened at the Miami anti-WTO protest that took place years ago -- 2002 I think -- that faced a near-media blackout, despite a number of people being beaten and arrested by the police, and a number of protesters outside the meetings, and actually there might still be extant lawsuits from the case, as several protesters were quite severely beaten.


In other (old) news: J-Reason #76 Why Proportional Election of Legislators is a Good Idea: Listening to the December 20, 2007 podcast of Democracy Now!, John Conyers argues Ray McGovern on why impeachment is impractical. I agree with Conyers that it is (politically) utterly impractical -- but I also agree with McGovern that the Constitution is declarative in the pertinent section. That is, the Constitution states: "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." That is, it's a command, not a request. It's at least a reasonable common-sense interpretation to say that impeachment is not meant to be done when convenient, but rather that it is a responsibility the same as any other for Congress. This indicates why multiple parties might be better in that the electoral politics changes: one party's loss is not immediately the gain of one other opponent, and thus the coalitions formed between left/center left/moderates/whatever are usually more fluid. That is, while it makes no political sense for the Dems to even whisper impeachment these days, with multiple parties, the risk would be spread and the possibility of a coalition to do it possibly greater (though also, perhaps, more complicated and not in any way a fait accompli).

One might wonder why I still give a shit -- they're almost out of office and it certainly would be bad politics to push for impeachment. But, I feel that leaving those who I think (and many others think) have committed grave crimes in office for expediency's sake is itself a crime against the Constitution, and sets (or rather, continues) a very, very bad precedent for all other presidents.

Basically, it's going to be (for I have no doubt impeachment will not be broached, and, as I said, I sympathize and can agree with this to a large extent) the Constitutional equivalent of screaming "Put it anywhere you want". this past decade will scream to future Americans, especially future presidents, that there are no holds barred in fucking the Constitution, because if you can do what these guys did and get away with it after a senseless show-impeachment like Clinton had (for perjury committed by lying about his sex life in the process of an investigation of something that didn't even turn out to be criminal), there's not much left to do but turn the Constitution into Monica's dress in a direct and literal way.

1 comment:

Daktari said...

At last. A common sense reason why a multi-party system is a good idea. Plus, extra bonus, you got to use that bat-shit crazy ideas tag.

And just as a FYI, I have been giving some thought as to my political placement. I mean, this may be a case of falling into lazy thinking that everyone is as smart as you (a fallacy common to academics surrounded by nothing but smart people). I get to thinking I'm a moderate because I don't go out protesting for the abolition of the WTO, and cringe at the actual thought of late-term abortions, but am not quite a Constitution voter either because I can see the use in banning hand-held rocket launchers while allowing Bubba and Poontang to keep their great-grandpappy's Winchester just as long as they don't sell it on eBay.

I used to be a whole lot more out there than I am now and the labels don't seem to fit so well anymore.