Nov 2, 2007

Tipping Point

Yesterday Senator Kennedy came out against the nomination of Judge Mukasy to be the next Attorney general. Today, Senator Leahy came out against the nomination. President Bush's argument that Mukasy has "not been read into the program" is bogus. According to Bruce Fein, the Constitutional lawyer, nominees and contractors are "read into the program" all the time in order to be informed of what the demands of the position or contract are. If Mukasy has not been briefed, we can pretty accurate surmise that it is to give him cover and to keep him from condemning torture and doing something about it.

Because the Democrat's margin is so thin, all the Democrats must vote against the nomination. You can blame Chuck Schumer for proposing Mukasy to begin with and setting himself up. Schumer talks a good line and acts like a wuss when pushed into a corner. Write him, if you live in New York, to vote against the nomination. I don't trust Diane Feinstein to vote against Mukasy and so have written her to help add to the courage she needs to vote against the nomination.

Dear Senator Feinstein:

I am writing to you with regard to your deliberations on the appointment of Judge Mukasy to be the next attorney general. I refer you to the position of Bruce Fein, who was associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan. The president's position is that Mukasy has not been briefed on the matter of whether or not water boarding is used in our current arsenal of torture techniques. The president's argument is bogus, as Fein points out, since contractors and candidates are "read into the program" on many occasions.

I suspect that Judge Mukasy already knows what the position of the administration is. His waffling and obfuscation on the matter, and his creation of "a loophole big enough to drive a truck through" (as Senator Leahy commented during the Judge's testimony) regarding the President's ability to bring someone "within the law" are danger signs for all of us. Given his testimony, not to mention his previous judicial rulings in regard to legal rights, I fear that he will be worse than Gonzalez as an attorney general, because he is a skillful jurist, and more intelligent. To stay in the shadows and operate in the dark side, as the Vice President has called it, does nothing to advance our standing in the world or to defeat terrorism. The Vice President is misguided, and Judge Mukasy, instead of correcting this misguidance, will only perpetuate and institutionalize it.

We are at a tipping point in our struggle to keep the Constitution's integrity, and you, Senator Feinstein, are one of the very few citizens of the country who can keep us from tipping into an American version of totalitarian rule. Plant yourself in front of this juggernaut and stop it courageously. I urge you to vote against the approval of Judge Mukasy and to bring your influence to bear to convince your colleagues, especially Senators Schumer, Kohl, Feingold, and Cardin to do the same. The President will always bully people into submission. It is the moment to tell him that you will fight for the rights of your constituents under our Constitution.

Sincerely yours--

Write to Schumer, put the pressure on him. Mukasy's judicial rulings have gone against habeas corpus, and because he is more intelligent and more of a manager than Gonzalez ever could be, he will be even worse.

By the way, pick up a copy of Naomi Wolf's The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. It's a pretty chilling and historically informative rationale for pushing back against what is happening. People who read it find it incredible, but I figure just reading her summary article in The Guardian can't hurt to heighten consciousness. Bruce Fein's recent article in The Washington Monthly, "Restrain this White House"
on the danger of Presidential signing statements is a good companion read. When very conservative Reagan partisans become alarmed, you need to pay attention, no matter which direction you come from. Go for it.

P.S. 2:47 PM Pacific time, I just heard on the news that both Feinstein and Schumer will vote for Mukasy. Maybe they can be turned around. Bring the pressure to bear!

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