Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crazy RightWing Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists

It's good to know that "leftwingers" (like me, I suppose) are not the only ones going crazy these days. As Jane Mayer explains, even Bush's top-level DoJ lawyers started talking to each other in code because they were in fear for their lives.

The comments on that post at Digby's are interesting. There seems to be a widespread feeling that we are all "moving on" now that the election is only 100 days away. Will all these Bush/Cheney crimes and misdemeanors be forgotten? That question was a recurrent theme in this recent interview with Glenn Greenwald:
You know, I think this mentality that we're hearing is really one of the principal reasons why our government has become so lawless and so distorted over the past thirty years. You know, if you go into any courtroom where there is a criminal on trial for any kind of a crime, they'll have lawyers there who stand up and offer all sorts of legal and factual justifications or defenses for what they did. You know, going back all the way to the pardon of Nixon, you know, you have members of the political elite and law professors standing up and saying, "Oh, there's good faith reasons not to impeach or to criminally prosecute." And then you go to the Iran-Contra scandal, where the members of the Beltway class stood up and said the same things Professor Sunstein is saying: we need to look to the future, it's important that we not criminalize policy debates. You know, you look at Lewis Libby being spared from prison.

And now you have an administration that -- we have a law in this country that says it is a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, to spy on Americans without the warrants required by law. We have a president who got caught doing that, who admits that he did that. And yet, you have people saying, "Well, there may be legal excuses as to why he did that." Or you have a president who admits ordering, in the White House, planning with his top aides, interrogation policies that the International Red Cross says are categorically torture, which are also felony offenses in the United States. And you have people saying, "Well, we can't criminalize policy disputes."

And what this has really done is it's created a two-tiered system of government, where government leaders know that they are free to break our laws, and they'll have members of the pundit class and the political class and law professors standing up and saying, "Well, these are important intellectual issues that we need to grapple with, and it's really not fair to put them inside of a courtroom or talk about prison." And so, we've incentivized lawlessness in this country.
I think that is the key issue right there: if you do not hold Bush and Cheney accountable, if you let rich bastards like Frank Lowy thumb their nose at the law, then what incentive is there for ordinary citizens to obey the law?

Legal scholar Cass Sunstein, who is described as "an informal adviser" to Barack Obama, argues in that interview that Greenwald and those who talk about impeachment are getting "emotional". He says Amerika cannot afford such partisan "divisiveness".

You know, if I had a big cancerous growth in my rectum, I guess it would be pretty painful to cut it out. I guess I would be pretty emotional about the whole thing. And it would certainly be divisive! But if I didn't cut it out, it would kill me.