June 15, 2004

Michael Froomkin Is a Large Mammal

Michael Froomkin is a large mammal. But I always knew that. He writes:

Discourse.net: The Kindness (and Notice) of Strangers: I am very deeply grateful for all the kind comments and email that people have been sending me in response to my recent blog posts. And the traffic spike — about four times the old volume — is most welcome. Plus it’s also fun to have so many new links that, however temporarily, discourse.net has been promoted to a Large Mammal in the Truth Laid Bear EcoSystem (#343 on links, #66 (!!) on traffic).

One thing that I especially appreciate is being linked to by Ken MacLeod, who is just an amazingly wonderful science fiction writer. (Pity it has to be part of MacLeod’s elegy for a better nation.) I think MacLeod’s The Cassini Division is one of the best science fiction books of its decade (at least), and the whole series of which it forms a part is wonderful…even if I never did quite fit all the parts together…even if he says in one of his prefaces that we weren’t supposed to be able to…

Let me second the praise of Ken MacLeod. And let me state that I, at least, think that Ken is being much too pessimistic when he writes:

The Early Days of a Better Nation:The American Revolution is over. When the President claims for himself powers outlawed in every country issuing from the English Revolution, and last exercised when James the II & VII personally supervised the splitting of Presbyterian shins, I guess we have to admit that in the long run the English Revolution failed. Oh well. Freedom can always choose another people.

Ken may be right: the total fecklessness and cowardice of the grownup Republicans in bowing down before George W. Bush has certainly shaken me to the core. But there is an election coming up. If George W. Bush loses it, things may still be OK.

Posted by DeLong at June 15, 2004 06:48 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

"When the President claims for himself powers ..."

Does it not matter one little whit that this allegation is false? Just run with it anyway, what the heck?

Posted by: am on June 15, 2004 06:54 PM

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Brad, does this mean you're going back on your call to "impeach these clowns now!" and you're willing to settle for just seeing them voted out of office?

Posted by: s9 on June 15, 2004 07:03 PM

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Er, AM. Every legal commentator I've read so far says that this allegation is NOT false, and they have in fact been thunderstruck by that little memo issued by what Newsweek describes as the official controlling legal authority in the White House. (At least when Nixon said, "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal", he didn't have any White House lawyers willing to agree with him.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on June 15, 2004 07:40 PM

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"But there is an election coming up. If George W. Bush loses it, things may still be OK."

And if he wins it, we can have another revolution.

Posted by: Tom Parmenter on June 15, 2004 09:02 PM

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I hope Brad has a passport, cash, ans a place to run to if GW does win. He is certainly high on their enemies list.

Posted by: CalDem on June 15, 2004 09:15 PM

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CalDem, I think it was Dan Schoor who said he hadn't known he was on Nixon's enemies list, but when he learned of it he was proud of the company he was keeping.

Posted by: Linkmeister on June 15, 2004 10:57 PM

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Even IF Bush loses the election, the fact is that the "The American Revolution is over." After all, Bush will lose on narrow technical grounds --- not because of repeated lies to the nation or torture or absolute disregard for the constitution, but because his team was so absolutely incompetent in execution. Next time round, in eight or twelve years, his ideological successor will succeed because he won't be a complete idiot.
The problem is not the details of this administration; it is is a population no longer interested in what the constitution stood for, and a corporate media that allows politicians to use Newspeak and the technique of the big lie day after day after day without ever once calling them on it --- I mean, my god, two days ago on TV Cheney was STILL claiming that Hussein was in league with Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 16, 2004 03:16 AM

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While I second anything nasty said above about Bush, I'd like to know when this wonderful historical period was in which the American people all truly cared about outrages committed by their government. It obviously wasn't when black people had few or no rights; it obviously wasn't when the Indians were exterminated in enormous numbers; it wasn't when you could end up in jail for criticizing the British because they were our buddies against the Hun; it wasn't when Nixon overwhelmingly won reelection despite being a gigantic thug; etc.

As I've said elsewhere, I see the lip service paid to freedom and human rights in the US as a useful hypocrisy. The people rarely put it fully into practice, but once or twice a century there is a time when there is an upwelling of demand that it really mean something, and it usually is a little more meaningful after the ensuing crisis.

Posted by: Matt McIrvin on June 16, 2004 05:57 AM

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A lot of the powers Bush claims or exercises seem to be exactly the things that the founding fathers most worried about: start chamber proceedings, denial of habeus corpus, cruel and unusual punishment, bills of attainder (?), Ex post facto laws (?) All the checks and balances we read about seem to be ignored.

Scalia endorses all of this, but he seems to come from an alien Catholic conservative tradition (specifically Spanish fascism). Not only his Opus Dei membership, but apparently also his family's WWII sympathies apparently point that way.

Posted by: Zizka on June 16, 2004 06:54 AM

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Actually, am is being very droll. Bush never "claimed" anything; he merely acted as though he had "claimed" such things, which for the rest of us is plenty sufficient and which for am constitutes grounds to self-righteously support one of the worst presidents in american history.

As for the aftermath of bush's losing (if he does), i strongly believe that there remain some honest conservatives in the republican party, and i believe there will be a helluva fight between them and the right-wing thugs who control the party these days after a bush defeat....

Posted by: howard on June 16, 2004 07:33 AM

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I mentioned elsewhere that i haven't seen any part of the Constitution that allowed the president to supersede laws in times of threat to the national security. I haven't seen any part of the Constitution that allows the Consitution to be suspended in its entirety or in part in times of war (I think the only exception given for war is housing soldiers in civilian homes, and that is it). I see nowhere any exemption given for martial law, as Tommy Franks is so fond of mentioning.

In other words, the president is operating outside the law, and i impeachable for high crimes and misdemeanors.

We could always take Thomas Jefferson's words to heart and overthrow the government.

Posted by: i ain't telling on June 16, 2004 07:35 AM

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Bush"s behavior as president stands as strong validation of our Founding Fathers' concerns. Given that nearly half the nation seems still to approve of his behavior, despite his riding rough-shod over the constitution, both making up and falling for fabulous tales to in arguing for war with a country that constituted no threat to the US and had been made harmless to its neighbors, running government in secret and lying about everything from environmental data to tax policy, it is our institutions and the outrage of those on the just side of the debate on which we must rely to preserve our nation.

Matt McIrvin has a point, but in some of those cases, we finally came to our senses. We need to do so again. It will take something more that sour stomachs and disaffection to end this travesty. Go vote. The tell your Senator that you are not at all troubled by his/her exercising the advice and consent duty with respect to federal judges, particularly Supreme Court nominees. Renquist's record on voting rights matters prior to his appointment was deplorable, but the Senate was too cowed, or busy, to take notice. Scalia seemed qualified, but surely arrogance, and its corrosive effect on thought, could have been highlighted in his hearings. Thomas was rated unqualified by his peers, but only his penchant for porn and sexual harrassment seemed of interest to the Senate. Then they elected Bush. Gotta clean out the court.

Posted by: kharris on June 16, 2004 08:12 AM

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George W. Bush lost the last election. What makes you think he will leave office if he loses the second?

Posted by: Holden Lewis on June 16, 2004 08:48 AM

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I'm wondering, specifically which power Ashcroft holds, will a new attorney general voluntarily abdicate, under Nader's (or the war-criminal's) administration?

Posted by: Pouncer on June 16, 2004 01:22 PM

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Do we have to depend on Ashcroft to prosecute these criminals? If so, we're doomed.

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