The economy has been of interest to me right along. Alas, I wasn't even on the net until Nov of 2007 or so, so if you can't remember my Democratic little voice in the wilderness pointing to how the deficit was piling up and how the economy was living off its credit card and refinancing houses and a real estate bubble, it's: 1) not because I wasn't saying it; 2) not because it wasn't true; and, 3) not because the environment and the economy weren't being mismanaged because all those derivatives that are killing us now were being sold then, and the government was signing us up for big no bid deals with Drug companies and the banks were being deregulated. I mention a few of the wonderful things the those years brought us. Because the tax cuts were being taken on the wrong side of the Leifer curve — Check out my past references to that one from The Economist, I think I quoted from them sometime during Katerina — we were actually losing money with each tax cut rather than making it for the economy and the Treasury.
So yes, I spoke against the economy in the first seven years. If I'd been here I would have taken you up on your challenge. I've given you the outlines of at least a part of the case above.I'd have to go back and look at the unemployment figures. I'd suggest you look at the figures for wages and income for the same period and stack it against the 1968 figures, for example, and see how things come out in terms of real income adjusted for inflation as opposed to real income adjusted for inflation for the top five percent, then the top two percent.
I think you'll notice that the jobs that you congratulate yourself on being created by Republicans are jobs that have taken a huge chunk of Americans out of the functional middle class. A lot of that has been done, I believe, over the past eight years. I would have made that argument as well.
Please don't treat me as though this discussion was one sided and a fait accompli, and please don't pretend the Democrats don't have an excellent case here. "People like you" in this context means exactly what? Enquiring minds would like to know?
Does it mean people who don't want to be lumped together with other people in a general halo effect of people who are in some fashion bad, unreasonable or less than? Because when you use language like that, this is the message you give, and this is not a message that belongs in a reasonable discussion.
Pardon me, the choice is not waterboarding or a country-club.
The choice is between waterboarding and other methods of treatment that are torture, and which keep the testimony of people questioned under it from being used in a court of law without distorting the meaning of "court of law" and "legal system" out of recognition for citizen of a free country. We already have situations where we have gotten information that is untrustworthy through torture. In another thread I mentioned the 2005 New Yorker article on torture (perhaps this thread) where some of the misinformation given the Security Council by Colin Powell was information obtained by torture.
That is, we got the information we were looking for, not the information that was true.
Once information is gotten in this way, it is almost always inadmissible in a court of law. We must either keep the prisoner indefinitely without knowing or being able to determine the truth of their innocence or guilt, as we would be able to do with a proper judicial procedure, or we must let them go or go with highly unpalatable options that distort the societal fabric of a democracy.
Having chosen to release one of the Gitmo detainees to Germany, we were placed in the position of having to refuse to send people to testify about what he had said to them. Cross examination in front of a German court might have proven extremely embarrassing had questions been asked about the conditions under which the accused's "confessions" had been obtained.
The function of the law cuts in several directions. It is to determine guilt, but is is also to protect society. It protects society by meting out punishment but also by limiting it. The punishment is supposed to be just. This means that it will probably be more that the criminal will want, but also that it will probably be less than the victim or his or her family would desire. This is one of the ways that Justice seeks to differentiate itself from revenge.
When the choice is defined in terms of country club versus torture, Mike, I would put it to you that we are not talking about Justice here; that we are talking about revenge. We are not even talking about satisfying revenge, because there, in satisfying revenge, you know exactly who you are punishing, and exactly what you are supposed to do, and here we simply don't. The whole notion of "Terrorist" is simply too broad, and we lack the political will to avenge ourselves on all of them in the world. The Chinese feel that some of their Tibetans are terrorists because they want to see Tibet free. We feel that they have a right to do that, so we don't want to go fight the Tibetans, do we? Are we for or against the Chechens? The Somali Pirates may think they're trying to defend their coastal fishing waters. I don't know how seriously I take this, but some of them may take it very seriously indeed. Should we go to war with them? How about wiping out the KKK?
We don't want to go to war against all terrorists, we don't even agree as to who they are. Yet the ones that our leaders de jour point out to us we're willing to subject to torture without knowing if they're actually terrorists or not, simply because somebody thinks they may be, and they never get a chance to defend themselves against the charge. Then we base our actions on whatever they're willing to say to stop the pain or fear. Sometimes it might have some bearing on reality, but exactly what that might be is impossible to test out, and we have as much chance of damaging our cause as we do of helping it.
When we damage our cause, we create actual enemies who really do want to hurt us. The more of this we do, the bigger the problem we create for ourselves. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I have never thought of torture as a red herring. I have always thought of torture as torture, and as deserving condemnation in its own right. I am disturbed that you believe that you don't feel this is true. You didn't feel this was true when you thought the economy was going great either.
You needn't love or hate how well the economy is going to hate torture and to demand that those who do it need to stop. After all, the last administration didn't feel that it was too busy to manage the economy it's way and to make sure that what it felt was a justification for torture was in place, and to micromanage it at times when even the CIA was reluctant to continue. If they can do that with George Bush's hectic vacation schedule, why is it so hard to pay attention to both the economy and the elimination of torture by Americans. Do you think America isn't up to it? Of course we are.