Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May 13th, 2012

Rachel Unbound and some reality about the American Republic

Posted by Charles II on May 13, 2012

Rachel Maddow had a pretty interesting talk at Mt. Holyoke College, which one can see on Sunday at 10PM Eastern on C-Span’s BookTV, and eventually on their website, probably here. As usual, Rachel is witty and worth listening to.

Another worthwhile talk was by Kevin Gutzman on James Madison and religious liberty. He provides the historical background to why Virginians such as Madison and Jefferson were so intent on separating church and state, on the historical setting within England which shaped the ideas of the Founders, and what “establishment” really means.

Gutzman is, in many ways, a nut (see, for example,this gem which encroaches into intergalactic space previously occupied only by Michelle Bachmann). Because he’s so ideologically driven, one has to be skeptical whether he’s even being honest about basic facts. Still, the talk provides a useful framework to consider what religious freedom is and is not. One of the more intriguing questions has to do with whether, even though Congress may make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, the states retain that power. If so, perhaps we can look forward to the Theocracy of Texas or the Church of Alabama replacing those state governments.

I do think he’s right on what drove Madison and Jefferson to be so skeptical of letting churches get even a toehold into the political arena.

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Bush Convicted Of War Crimes. Unfortunately, Only By Malaysia.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 13, 2012

Here are the details:

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is also asking that the names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee, Addington and Haynes be entered and included in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals for public record.

Of course, it will be pointed out that the trial was done at the urging of Malaysia’s retired Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who staunchly opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. That doesn’t make it any less just.

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