Friday, June 20, 2008

Vote Republican!

Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back

Oil fields in the Iraqi province of Basra. Iraq produces about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day.
BAGHDAD — Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.

The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.

There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract. The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq's Oil Ministry.

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Collaborationist or Resistance Fighter?

by Bob Patterson

This weekend the sudden death of NBC's Tim Russert will generate a number of ruminations about the meaning of a career in journalism. Ironically this comes immediately after the publication of Scott McClellan's book, which called journalists "complicit enablers" for their (on average) anemic job performance during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq

On Bill Moyers Journal on PBS on June 6, 2008, Jonathan Landay lamented the fact that the press has not expressed regret about their role helping President Bush sell the WMD's rational for a war with Iraq. He said: "What's disappoints me is that here was an opportunity, once again, but a very large opportunity for major news organizations to do the mea culpa they never did, to admit that they indeed failed to do what they're supposed to do, failed to be the watchdogs they're supposed to be.

Dennis Miller interviewed Vincent Bugliosi about his new book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, during the second hour of his radio program on Wednesday. June 11, 2008, and in the course of the banter Miller asked the author if the author thought that the radio host was an accessory to any possible crime by Bush. Miller wanted to know: If Bush was guilty of murder (as the book asserts), then should Miller be considered an accessory to the crime?

Since Albert Camus was a journalism critic, the editor of Combat newspaper, and a resistance fighter in Paris during the German occupation, a column speculating about how Camus would have responded to these three different items, seems like a way to write a column for this weekend that won't be full of "second the motion" sentiments.

If a journalist provides propaganda encouraging a war criminal leader, wouldn't Camus say that such support qualifies the journalist to be labeled as a collaborator?

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Bush thinks outside the box

You Only Thought You Were Republican

I am doing this partly to learn stuff from them myself — these are three smart, smart guys, whose opinions on the state of the world are noteworthy — but mainly because I am hoping to get each of them, and all those in front of us in Aldrich 112, to give me $28,500 for the Democratic National Committee, by whom I have for the last nine years been paid $1 a year to serve as treasurer.

And I am doing that because — as I will argue on this page — we HBS alums are by now almost all Democrats. (Moderate Dems to be sure, but Democrats.) Some of us (very possibly you, dear reader) just don't know it.

Your political views are . . . here . . . about where Mike Bloomberg's are, say, or Nelson Rockefeller's were. No? And they have stayed here (the sensible, enlightened, capitalist center) in a consistent, principled way.

What's happened since my classmates and I left HBS in 1972 is that the political landscape has shifted dramatically to the right.

We Democrats have come to you. You were right all along. From being a left-wing-dominated party, we have become a centrist-dominated party.

OK, maybe we remain one or two clicks to the left of you, but still pretty darn close. (And, yes, a lot of us agree the teachers' unions have too strong a grip.)

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Dairy demonstration

milk protestor

A South Korean protester pours milk over himself at a rally in Seoul against US beef imports.

Farmers claim the cheap imports threaten their livelihood.

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The weekend forecast calls for sunshine and racist outbursts

News Groper: These Blogs Are Not Real

June 19th, 2008

At least Al Sharpton is hoping it does. His plans got canceled and he's got nothing to do. Al Gore finally endorsed Barack Obama this week, but to his defense the primary was over so quickly, when was there time?

Judd Apatow
Doc Rivers


The News Groper Editors

News Groper is a network of fake parody blogs.
Address: News Groper LLC, 18 Bridge St., Suite 2E, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.
Copyright © 2008 News Groper LLC. All rights reserved.

"What now?!!"

see more at

Oops Nation: A Superpower of Lazy Slobs


Tens of thousands of innocent detainees have passed through Guantánamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Diego Garcia and other U.S. torture facilities. Thousands remain "disappeared," possibly murdered. Some may be on one of the Navy vessels recently revealed to have been repurposed as prison ships. Dozens have been beaten to death or killed by willful medical neglect.

For seven years, the Bush Administration, the Democratic Congress and its media allies have denied "unlawful enemy combatants" (or, as Dick Cheney called them, "the worst of the worst" terrorists) the right to habeas corpus, the centuries-old right of persons arrested by the police to face their accusers and the evidence against them in a court of law.

Thanks to a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court, America's latest flirtation with fascism is coming to an end. Parts of the infamous Military Commissions Act of 2006 that eliminated habeas corpus have been declared unconstitutional. Prisoners at Guantánamo and possibly other American gulags, will now be allowed to demand their day in court. Since the government doesn't have evidence against them, legal experts say, most if not all of "the worst of the worst" will ultimately walk free. "Liberty and security can be reconciled," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.

In short: Oops.

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Review of Jack Kirby's OMAC


TJ Dietsch reviews Jack Kirby's OMAC.

I bought the first issue off the newsstand in 1974, and the story, about suicide-bomber sex-robots, blew my mind.

DC recently released an anthology of all 8 issues of the short-lived series.

Which brings us to Buddy Blank, a regular dude who works for Build-A-Friend until he's selected by the faceless Peace Agency to become the One Man Army Corps. When OMAC takes over, Buddy disappears, but does return later on in the series.

Over the next 8 issues, Kirby throws OMAC against everything from a rented city of assassins trying to kill him, a giant spider-like monster, future gangsters, a vast cloning ring, a mad scientist stealing the Earth's water and more. Kirby's wild pencils really bring these out-there concepts to life, punching you in the eyes with incredibly crisp pencils.

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Copyright and the World's Most Popular Song

George Washington University - Law School

"Happy Birthday to You" is the best-known and most frequently sung song in the world. Many - including Justice Breyer in his dissent in Eldred v. Ashcroft - have portrayed it as an unoriginal work that is hardly worthy of copyright protection, but nonetheless remains under copyright. Yet close historical scrutiny reveals both of those assumptions to be false. The song that became "Happy Birthday to You," originally written with different lyrics as "Good Morning to All," was the product of intense creative labor, undertaken with copyright protection in mind. However, it is almost certainly no longer under copyright, due to a lack of evidence about who wrote the words; defective copyright notice; and a failure to file a proper renewal application.

The falsity of the standard story about the song demonstrates the dangers of relying on anecdotes without thorough research and analysis. It also reveals collective action barriers to mounting challenges to copyright validity: the song generates an estimated $2 million per year, and yet no one has ever sought adjudication of the validity of its copyright. Finally, the true story of the song demonstrates that a long, unitary copyright term requires changes in copyright doctrine and administration. With such a term, copyright law needs a doctrine like adverse possession to clear title and protect expectations generated when, as with this song, putative owners do not challenge distribution of unauthorized copies for more than 20 years. And Copyright Office recordkeeping policy, which currently calls for discarding correspondence after 20 years and most registration denials and deposits after five years, must be improved to facilitate resolution of disputes involving older works.
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The tunnel of blind optimism

Unthinkable Futures

While hunting in my archives for something else I dug up this exercise in scenarios. It was a small game Brian Eno and I played to loosen up our expectations of what might happen in the near future. We were both struck at how improbable current events would be to anyone in the past, and how incapable we are at expecting the improbable in the future.

This list of unthinkable futures -- probabilities we tend to dismiss without thinking -- was published 15 years ago in the Summer, 1993  issue of Whole Earth Review. Our intent was less  to correctly predict the future (thus the silliness) and more to predict how unpredictable the actual future would be.

Improbability is still a strong bias to overcome. Much that is happening today would have been dismissed as unbelievably bad science fiction only 15 years ago. The US with secret prisons torturing Muslims? Street sweepers in India with their own cell phones? Obesity a contagious disease? A trusted encyclopedia written by anyone? Yeah, right, give me a break.

Believing in the improbable is quickly becoming a survival skill.

Note: 15 years ago some of these predictions were far more outrageous than today, and some are more outrageous today than back then. We made short lists of ideas and emailed them to provoke each other. This is the aggregate of several rounds. I don't think we are especially better at it than others; anyone can play the game.


Image of improbable stones balancing upon themselves from Bill Dan, a SF local who does the impossible.

Unthinkable Futures
by Kevin Kelly and  Brian Eno


* A new plague seizes the world. As fatal as AIDS, but transmitted on a sneeze, and spread by airplane travelers, the virus touches billions within a year.

* Computer power plateaus. The expected doubling of power and halving of chip size slacks off. More computer power can be had, but it costs.

* Computer screens (both CRT and flat screens) are found to be dangerous to the health. Working at a computer is viewed as a toxic job.

* Alcohol is so severely restricted that people need "licenses" to drink it. Tobacco is, of course, prohibited from being sold. You can grow your own, though, and some do. The underworld moves to North Carolina as cigarets become contraband.

* American education works. Revived by vouchers, a longer school year, private schools and for-profit schools, the majority of Americans (though not the most disadvantaged) get the best education in the world.

* Japan is eclipsed by the Asian tigers. The success of Japan subverts itself: women rebel, the young drop out, the workers play, and the system declines.

* Catalog direct marketing dies. Inherently private electronic money and stricter privacy laws kill the hopes of bar-code dreams and direct marketing in general.

* Nobody wants to be a doctor. It becomes an over-whelming bureaucratic job with low status. Women and minorities become working doctors; men do medical research.

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Medicine or Electricity?

Americans Shouldn't Have to Make the Choice

A woman pays for her groceries at a store in San Leandro, CA. As home energy and gasoline costs rise, more Americans are forced to cut spending on basic necessities such as food, with low-income families the most affected.

The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association released a new energy costs survey last week, and the report found that high energy prices are squeezing nearly all households nationwide, and low-income families and individuals are being hit the hardest.

Low-income households typically spend a greater percentage of their income on utilities than those in higher income brackets, and as prices rise, they are having to make increasingly difficult choices in order to keep the lights shining, the water flowing, and the stove running.

As home energy and gasoline prices increase, low-income households—defined as families of four with a yearly income below $32,604—are having to make serious cutbacks on basic necessities in order to make ends meet:

  • 31 percent of low-income households report maintaining unsafe or unhealthy home temperatures in order to lower energy bills.
  • 29 percent risked loss of home energy service due to skipped or partial payments.
  • 31 percent have reduced spending on medicine.
  • 70 percent have reduced spending on food.
  • 65 percent have lowered their purchases of other basic household necessities.

These cutbacks on necessities are not simple inconveniences. They are detrimental to the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly, disabled, and children.

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Quote of the day

"One thing is for sure: McCain would never run as racist a campaign as the Clintons just did."

- Andrew Sullivan -

haiku zen

watermelon haiku
2004 oscars in haiku
font haiku
yard haiku

(Image: "Koumyouzenji @ Dazaifu ( Fukuoka-ken, Kyushu, Japan )", by Flickr user e-chan.)


Ten Reasons Not to Lift the Offshore Drilling Moratorium

An offshore oil rig conducts well testing by flaring excess gas while discharging crude oil to a barge.
SOURCE: flickr/gcaptain

In 2006, President Bush said that the United States was "addicted to oil." But in a speech yesterday, he echoed an old line when he called for Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, allow access to oil shale, increase refinery capacity, and allow offshore oil drilling in areas that have been off-limits since 1982.

There are many reasons that offshore drilling in sensitive coastal areas is a bad idea. These 10 are only the beginning:

1. We can't drill our way out of the energy crisis.

According to a report by the House Committee on Natural Resources Majority Staff:

"Between 1999 and 2007, the number of drilling permits issued for development of public lands increased by more than 361 percent, yet gasoline prices have also risen dramatically, contradicting the argument that more drilling means lower gasoline prices. There is simply no correlation between the two."

2. We don't have enough oil to meet our demand.

The U.S. oil supply-demand balance is insurmountable. We have less than 2 percent of the world's known reserves, yet use 25 percent of its oil. Even if we drilled off of every beach, and inside every national park, refuge, and forest, we could not produce enough oil to offset our growing demand.

3. Oil companies have not utilized the leases they have now.

Why open up new areas to drilling when oil companies hold over 4,000 undeveloped leases in the western Gulf of Mexico? What's more, the government already leases 44 million acres offshore, of which only 10.5 million—or one quarter—are producing oil or gas.

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Canadian DMCA will criminalize emailing your kids' class photos to their grandparents

Michael Geist continues his ongoing series on activities that will be illegal under Canada's new copyright act, the so-called Canadian DMCA (Bill C-61). Today, backing up DVDs and scanning school photos:
Diane, who is four years old, is a huge fan of the popular TV character Dora the Explorer. For her birthday, she received four Dora DVDs. Given Diane's habit of scratching them, her dad has begun to create backup versions. That day, Diane brings home her kindergarten class photo, which was taken by a local photographer. Josee digitizes the photo and sends a copy to Diane's grandmother.

If Industry Minister Jim Prentice's Bill C-61 becomes law, all of these copying activities arguably violate the law.

Bill C-61 does not allow users to make backup copies of DVDs. The act of backing up the DVD is an infringement. Moreover, in order to make the backup copy, users must typically circumvent the copy-protection on the DVD, also an act of infringement.

For decades, Canadian copyright law has vested copyright in commissioned photographs – like school photographs – in the person who commissions the photo. Bill C-61 reverses that practice so that copyright now belongs to the photographer. (repeal of Section 13.2) Assuming the photograph came with an all rights reserved restriction, the act of distributing the digitized photo to Diane's grandmother now violates the law. (Section 29.21 (1)(e))

I'm pretty sure that every Canadian reading Boing Boing knows about this law and what's wrong with it, and I hope you've all contacted your MPs. But the point of these posts is to help you communicate to your less tech-savvy friends about these issues. Did you email your grandmother a photo of your kids' kindergarten photos? Call her up and tell her that you won't be able to do it again with the grade one pics next year unless she calls up her MP and puts him on notice that he'd better oppose the CDMCA or lose her vote. Did your brother back up his DVDs to his laptop when he went away to university? Call him now and let him know that he'll be a criminal next year unless he calls and writes to his MP and lets her know what he thinks of Bill C-61. Link

US Drug Policies Flawed and Failed, Experts Tell Congressional Committee

The US Congress Joint Economic Committee yesterday held a historic hearing on the economic costs of US drug policy. The hearing, titled Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, Policy Responses, was called at the request of Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who in his opening remarks described the all-too-familiar failure of US drug policy to accomplish the goals it has set for itself. It was the second hearing related to incarceration that Webb has convened under the auspices of this committee.

Jim Webb at 2007 incarceration hearing (photo from"Our insatiable demand for drugs" drives the drug trade, Webb pointed out. "We're spending enormous amounts of money to interdict drug shipments, but supplies remain consistent. Some 86% of high schoolers report easy access to marijuana. Cocaine prices have fallen by about 80% since the 1980s," the freshman senator continued. "Efforts to curb illegal drug use have relied heavily on enforcement. The number of people in custody on drug charges has increased 13-fold in the past 25 years, yet the flow of drugs remains undiminished. Drug convictions and collateral punishments are devastating our minority communities," Webb said.

"Our current policy mix is not working the way we want it to," Webb declared. "The ease with which drugs can be obtained, the price, the number of people using drugs, the violence on the border all show that. We need to rethink our responses to the health effects, the economic impacts, the effect on crime. We need to rethink our approach to the supply and demand of drugs."

Such sentiments coming from a sitting senator in the US in 2008 are bold if not remarkable, and it's not the first time that Webb has uttered such words:

In March of last year, he told George Stephanopoulos on the ABC News program This Week: "One of the issues which never comes up in campaigns but it's an issue that's tearing this country apart is this whole notion of our criminal justice system, how many people are in our criminal justice system more -- I think we have two million people incarcerated in this country right now and that's an issue that's going to take two or three years to try to get to the bottom of and that's where I want to put my energy."

In his recently-released book, A Time to Fight, Webb wrote: "The time has come to stop locking up people for mere possession and use of marijuana," "It makes far more sense to take the money that would be saved by such a policy and use it for enforcement of gang-related activities" and "Either we are home to the most evil population on earth, or we are locking up a lot of people who really don't need to be in jail, for actions that other countries seem to handle in more constructive ways."

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Bush Gives Dems STDs

by Marty Kaplan

The least popular, most lawless president in American history took to the Rose Garden today to thank congressional Democrats for having unprotected political sex with him. For caving -- not compromising, but totally capitulating -- on war funding and and telecom immunity, Nancy Pelosi, Stenny Hoyer and the blue dogs they lie down with have been rewarded with the same herpetic embrace that is turning John McCain into a Republican cootie incubator.

The Democrats' motive, of course, is mixed; one part fear of losing telecom campaign contributions, one part fear of being called terrorist-lovers, appeasers and similar bad names by Republican crooks, liars and smear-merchants in the coming campaign. The irony, of course, is that even though Democrats gave Bush and Cheney the very barebacking they wanted, the Republicans are already calling Democrats, and will continue to call them in the fall, America-haters, while the phone companies, having nowhere else to go to rent a congressional majority, would have continued to fatten Democratic coffers anyway.

The media, of course, are similarly rewarding the Democrats' strategic brilliance at taking cut-and-run and Al-Qaeda off the table by calling this the rout, thumping and complete White House victory that it actually is. Now it's not just John McCain, whose late efforts to distance himself from his own Party's leader on climate change, offshore drilling and other toxic issues have been foiled by Bush's brand; Democrats, too, are learning what it's like to earn the moniker of DeLay's third Congress.

Makes you wonder how far the Democrats are willing to go to win the love of the loathed playground bullies.

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Choose to succeed!!!

Loving John McCain

By Eric Alterman & George Zornick

Like the vast majority of our 300 million or so fellow citizens--but unlike most of the elite political reporters covering the presidential campaign--your authors have never had the pleasure of meeting Arizona Senator and Republican presidential nominee John McCain. We've never sat with him in a semicircle on the red velvet couches of the Straight Talk Express downing Dunkin' Donuts and participating in endless bull sessions that long outlast our store of questions. We've never talked strategy openly with McCain and his advisers over drinks and dinner, or been fed information to use against his opponents. Perhaps even more regrettably, we have not enjoyed the pleasure of joining our media colleagues for a sunny afternoon, chez McCain, "swinging lazily back and forth on a tire swing strung up under a massive sycamore tree in a quiet Arizona canyon, the sound of a gushing stream nearby," as the candidate, according to Newsweek, "carefully monitor[ed] giant slabs of pork ribs on a smoking grill."

We've enjoyed him on The Daily Show, admired his courage in Vietnam and imagine we understand his appeal. Perhaps if we had all spent more time hanging, we would appreciate the senator's company, his hospitality and his eagerness to speak his mind in our presence as so much of the MSM has. It is even possible that we would call him John when speaking with him. And let's be honest, we cannot be certain that, were he still running against George W. Bush, we would not fall into the habit of referring to the McCain campaign as "we"--as in, "I hope we kill Bush"--which apparently happened with some frequency during McCain's unsuccessful 2000 run.

But even though we might be taken with McCain personally, we would like to think that we would resist the urge to offer the sort of spontaneous testimonials to his character that have gushed from the pens of so many MSM journalists.

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Torturegate: Truth, But No Consequences

by Chris Floyd

This has been one of the most extraordinary weeks in modern American history. The many isolated streams of evidence about the Bush Administration's torture system – and the direct responsibility of the Administration's highest officials for this vast crime – have now converged into a mighty flood: undeniable, unignorable, pouring through the halls of Congress and media newsrooms, lashing at the walls of the White House itself. In the course of the past few days, a series of events has laid bare the stinking sepsis at the heart of the Bush Regime for all to see.

It began last Sunday with the launch of a remarkable series by McClatchy Newspapers, detailing the torture, brutality, injustice and murder that has riddled the Bush gulag from top to bottom. Then came fiery Senate hearings, in which long-somnolent legislators finally bestirred themselves to confront and denounce some of the torture system's architects, including Dick Cheney pointman William Haynes III, who was left reeling, shuffling, dissembling – and bracing for perjury charges after his blatantly mendacious testimony.

Companion hearings in the House produced stunning confirmation of mass murder in the Bush gulag – a bare minimum of 27 killings, among the 108 known cases of death among Terror War captives. This evidence came from rock-solid Establishment figure Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell. (Of course, as many captives have been and are being held in "secret prisons," and an untold number of others have been hidden from the Red Cross, there is no way of knowing at this point how many prisoners have actually died or been murdered – or even how many prisoners there are in the gulag.)

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Teen Use Report - Marijuana Use by Young People

The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Laws

Karen O'Keefe, Esq.,
Assistant Director of State Policies, Marijuana Policy Project

Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D.,
Associate Professor of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York

Bruce Mirken,
Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project

Released: September 7, 2005

Updated: June 2008, by Zane Hurst, Legislative Analyst, Marijuana Policy Project

The debate over medical marijuana laws has included extensive discussion of whether such laws "send the wrong message to young people," thus increasing teen marijuana use. This is the first report to analyze all available data to determine the trends in teen marijuana use in states that have passed medical marijuana laws.

More than a decade after the passage of the nation's first state medical marijuana law, California's Prop. 215, a considerable body of data shows that no state with a medical marijuana law has experienced an increase in youth marijuana use since its law's enactment. All states have reported overall decreases — exceeding 50% in some age groups — strongly suggesting that enactment of state medical marijuana laws does not increase teen marijuana use.

Download a PDF of the full report.

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How Gingrich/Giuliani Sabotaged Civic Debate

by Jeffrey Feldman

This past week, America saw two familiar figures impose violent rhetoric into the Presidential debate on behalf of John McCain: Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani. It was a textbook example of the right-wing effort to use violent language not just to distract the public, but to undermine the attempt by citizens to have a pragmatic discussion with an eye towards solving problems.

Trying To Have a Real Debate: A Nation of Laws?
On June 12, 2008, the
Supreme Court restored Habeas Corpus to detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and in so doing, the courts initiated an important conversation about what it means for the United States to be a Democracy based on a system of laws. Within that ruling itself, Justice Scalia invited those who opposed the ruling to use violent rhetoric by stating that the court's decision "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed" (link).

Within days of that ruling, Gingrich and Giuliani followed Scalia's lead, pushed their way into the right-wing broadcast, and began to argue that liberal views on Habeas Corpus would kill Americans.

The basic context pf the Habeas Ruling was this:

  1. America is a nation of laws, the fundamental basis of which is the right to know why and protest one's incarceration by the state.
  2. Habeas has been revoked during past wars when it was feared that enemies to the United States were living among the general population and needed to be removed without delay (Civil War, WWII).
  3. In past cases, the court restored Habeas when the war ended. In this case, Habeas has been restored on the idea the initial perceived 'war' requiring Habeas suspension has since become a metaphorical 'war' used to maintain certain policies.

Now, what Americans heard in this historic court ruling is a key civic question:

How long can a nation of laws endure if the fundamental right on which all democracies are based has been abrogated?

The answer is something to this effect:

So long as that nation of laws is at war.

There was a deliberative purpose to the Supreme Court ruling, in other words, which relates to that crucial question for our democracy about the length, nature, legality, and necessity of f what has been presented to the public by the Bush Administration and the McCain campaign as a 'war' on many fronts without end. And in the wake of the court's ruling, Americans were invited to debate that issue: to what extent we are at war, when it began, how it will end, has it already ended, and so forth.

This is the point at which Gingrich and Giuliani entered onto the scene and used violent rhetoric to undermine the very process of debating this crucial issue.

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