Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Head is Spinning

So, here's how my political day has gone. It started out with my morning trek to the gym, podcast in hand. And of course, I flipped through fresh air looking for a nice political broadcast, and I happened upon this. I have heard stories like this before. The first half was with the author of this book. In the NPR link, there's a mind-blowing excerpt from the "Dark Side" outlining what happened to the Bush/Cheney ticket after 9/11. The author talks about how the paranoia that immediately followed the attack led directly to an expansion of the power of the executive branch to the point where civil liberties were violated in the most devastating ways.

The second half of the interview was with Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was detained while in the US, sent to Syria, where he was tortured and kept in tomb like jail cell for almost two years before his wife finally pushed for the Canadian government to look into the case. After investigation, the Canadian government got him released and awarded him $10 million dollars after discovering he was completely innocent of all charges.

The US still considers him a suspect and he is unable to enter the country.

So, after listening to that and thinking seriously that Bush and Cheney are quite literally criminals deserving a long stay in a jail cell of their own, I head to work... Later that day I read the news that John McCain has suspended his campaign and wants to postpone the debates and, conveniently enough, postpone the VP debates until after Congress can work out a bill to salvage our economy...

What? Seriously, postpone the Presidential debates one week, the VP debates until when?

Call me cynical, but we have endured 8 years of a president who with suspect intelligence, driven by paranoia and fear, convinced us to invade Iraq; convinced us to pass legislation to give him unprecedented powers to wiretap US citizens; used his powers to send terrorist suspects without trial or lawyer representation to the worst regimes in the world to be subject to torture so bad that it literally pushes the person close to death. That same president now requests our Congress to fork over $700 billion to his branch so that, without oversight, they can buy into whatever company they want however they want it in the name of rescuing our country from another Great Depression.

And John McCain, who cheered Bush on while he waged a senseless war in Iraq, now wants to postpone a presidential debate and a vice presidential debate so that he can single handedly get such a bill passed through Congress (or so he would have us believe I guess).

I realize I'm cynical, and I'm over-simplifying the whole process... And $700 billion dollars may be exactly what this country needs to prevent another Great Depression. I have no idea. But do you understand why I might be a little skeptical of this president?

Well, something will get passed. I trust Congress will figure something out. John McCain and Barack Obama need to have their fingerprints on some form on a bi-partisan solution that would and should get signed by the president. Nobody wants to get blamed for doing nothing or for doing the wrong thing, but it seems like nobody really knows exactly what the right thing is. This $700 billion dollar bail out smells of desperation to me, from a president with a long record of spending billions on desperation moves. But whatever they do, we all need to pray that it works.

Because my job and your job may be on the line...

But no matter what, the debates have to go on. John McCain chose a wildcard, with no experience, no national exposure, who has submitted herself to absolutely no press conferences, who has given one interview and one info-mercial, for his vice president. We have a little more than a month to choose the next president to succeed one of the worst presidents in our history. Our country is in a mess, and the American people need to have as much of the facts laid out as possible.

Yes, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden need to debate next Thursday. John McCain and Barack Obama need to debate this Friday.

No excuses.


Davey said...

I couldn't agree more Scott. The thing is because he's behind in the polls McCain has nothing to lose by this grandstanding. By calling on Obama to suspend his campaign he puts him in an awkward position because it's a really terrible idea but he doesn't want to come off looking inconsiderate to the needs of the people.

Ed M said...

Minor correction but Mr. Arar was imprisoned for only one year in the cell which he described to be a "grave". Also, almost immediately did Mr. Arar's wife, Monia Mazigh, conduct her public campaign to have her husband released. It was only after a year did the Canadian government secure the release of Mr. Arar. You will be able to read more about Mrs. Mazigh effort in her upcoming book, entitled "Hope & Despair. My Struggle to Free My Husband, Maher Arar".

And only after his release and speaking publicly about his ordeal along with increasing public pressure did the Canadian government conduct its public inquiry. The inquiry concluded that Mr. Arar had no times to terrorism after which the Prime Minister of Canada apologized to Mr. Arar and his family and the Canadian government compensated him $10 million.

I will add that tomorrow Sept 26 marks the six year anniversary of the beginning of his detention, rendition, torture, and imprisonment.

tempe turley said...

Ed, thanks for the clarifications and additional information. I wrote my post based on my memory from the podcast and didn't check the details...

It was a compelling and very tragic story... And definitely not the only one.