S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Where is the middle ground?

Pre-9/11 vs. post-9/11 -- In this century's most classic understatement, some things were very different in the current administration before the attacks of 9/11/2001, than they were afterward. In some ways, the fear and over- and under-reaction was very understandable at a human level, given the gravity of the perceived threat. But, after all this time, the administration has yet to consistently find any middle ground. Perhaps they should seek the healing of a medicine wheel (see image). I am not holding my breath for this however.

The administration's consistent arrogance, laziness and incompetence has been a baffling outcome. For example, the website And, yes, I DO take it personally* recently carried this little post: "The Bush administration "wasn't aware" of NORAD attack drills involving hijacked airliners prior to 9/11" by profmarcus (5/30/08). To quote:

more maggot-gagging "plausible deniability"... gimme a break... [this is from usa today]
. . . one of these days we'll get the truth and, you can be sure, it won't be pretty...

Overreaction continues to leave out minimal civil liberties protections. To often the American people in general have been incorrectly perceived by the current administration as potential threats to security. The following issue was in a previous S/SW post, and it it continues to pop up. Another good post titled "Internet attacked as tool of terror" was recently written. It is by Matt Renner at truthout* posted for May 30, 2008. To quote:

A controversial plan to study and profile domestic terrorism was scrapped after popular push back, however, the spirit of the legislation lives on in Senator Joe Lieberman's office.

HR 1955, "The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007"

. . . According to civil liberties activists, Chairman Lieberman has been spearheading an effort to censor speech on the Internet. His committee recently released a report titled "Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, And The Home Grown Terrorism Threat," (PDF) a report detailing the use of web sites and Internet tools to spread pro-terrorism propaganda.

. . . Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington, DC, legislative office, said that Lieberman "is trying to decide what he thinks should go on the Internet," which, she said, "reeks of an interest in censoring all sorts of different dialogs."

Qualifies as all three -- The following story, from the aptly named website WarOnYou,* is titled "Homeland Security Agents Reveal Illegal ‘Shotgunning’ Practice" (5/29/08). It is arrogant to use an illegal enforcement technique. It is the lazy way to make arrests using intimidation. And the incompetence of DHS's retaliation against whistle blowers has landed the agency in court. To quote:

. . . published in the Arizona Daily Star. The article discusses two Border Patrol agents who are suing the Department of Homeland Security for retaliating against them. The agents publicly revealed information regarding an often practiced but illegal enforcement technique known as ’shotgunning’ by other DHS agents.

According to the whistleblowers, ’shotgunning’ occurs when agents on Roving Patrol stop vehicles absent reasonable suspicion and make up an excuse for the stop after the fact. This practice is illegal because agents are required to have reasonable suspicion BEFORE initiating a stop, not after.

Of course many of us who live within one hundred miles of the Southern border have been aware of this common intimidation tactic utilized by Homeland Security agents for years.

I was the target of just such an illegal stop on May 14th and blogged about it . . .

Unfortunately the military has not been immune to overreaction. No training manual was ever produced for the military called "intervening in a civil war." The one written by General Petraeus on counterterrorism was not applicable in all situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thus not sufficient. "Killing by the numbers" is a (5/7/08)* story that is summarized:

In 2007 elite U.S. snipers executed an unarmed Iraqi prisoner in cold blood. Have the insidious tactics that led to atrocities in Vietnam reemerged in Iraq?

The situation has changed -- But the current administration is still plagued by fear, over- and under-reaction, arrogance, incompetence and laziness. It has been unable to correctly assess the gravity of various threats. And civil liberties protection has gotten short shrift. After all this time, the administration has yet to consistently find any middle ground.

Hat tip to"betmo" for the *items. She writes life's journey.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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The Future Was Yesterday said...

You expected a middle ground, even tho you've seen the fanatics he surrounds himself with?

I hope you get well soon, Carol!:)

Carol Gee said...

Future, I do have a serious chronic condition called "Terminal Optimism." In addition to that it has serious complications related to being an ambivalent Gemini, a little old lady in tennis shoes, and an existential wierdo. Go figure.
Thanks for your get well wishes :) Your friend, Carol