“Leadership” is a word tossed around a lot today, especially by those who evidence none of it. But today, in the United States Senate, Christopher Dodd (D-CT) stood up for the rule of law and demonstrated the sort of leadership that once made this nation great. Faced with Harry Reid’s inexplicable kowtowing to the forces of secrecy and intimidation, Dodd first placed a hold on the awful Senate Intelligence Committee bill to “fix” FISA (by, for example, exempting telecom companies from liability). When Reid ignored that (despite centuries of tradition), Dodd fought an underhanded rule change and then signaled his intent to filibuster the bad bill with all his strength.
How strongly did he feel? He abandoned the Iowa campaign route not three weeks before the caucuses. Let’s repeat that: He gave up his campaign, temporarily, so that he could return to Washington and do his job securing the rights and liberties of American citizens. There are three other Democratic Senators running for office; none of them did the same. I’m looking at you, Clinton, Obama, Biden. People will remember who acted and who only talked about acting.
I’m not in Dodd’s camp, but I just went online to make a contribution to his campaign. Let’s keep him in the race — let’s help him keep the others honest.
… than the following quote?
If at the top, the message that’s sent is, “We’re going to bend the rules to our advantage,” the message is clearly understood and creates a culture of attempting to avoid the rules.
– Steven L. Schooner, a procurement law expert at George Washington University Law School
Mr. Schooner (quoted in this New York Times article) was speaking with regard to the suicide of Chuck Riechers, the Air Force’s top procurement officer after becoming embroiled in a scandal. In this case, the rules-bending involved having a private contractor pay Mr. Riecher’s salary while he awaited formal confirmation for his new job.
But really, doesn’t it just capture the spirit of this benighted administration in toto?
Calling Orwell…. Calling George Orwell… Or maybe Kafka is a better target. US military prosecutors have asked for — and now have been granted — a blanket order preventing the defense counsel of a Gitmo detainee from discussing the identity of any prosecution witness with anyone, the defendant included. The defense argues (correctly!) that this contrary to typical process in American courts, not to mention an affront to the values embodied in the Constitution. The prosecution argues that there is absolutely no attempt to hide the operation of the trial from public scrutiny.
This would be more convincing if the prosecution hadn’t made that argument via a series of emails explicitly meant, themselves, to be secret.
Secret trials. Secret witnesses. Collusion between judge and prosecutor to achieve a result result politically useful for the present party. Prisoners whisked off to a legal limbo far removed from the usual apparatus of justice. I would have sworn that the Unites States had beaten the USSR in the Cold War. Now it turns out we just stole their methods. Yay, democracy!