Mukasey. Democrats are insisting that Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey be “independent” of the White House and prepared to tell the President when he thinks something is unconstitutional. While the independence will be a, dubious, change, there’s no reason to think Alberto Gonzalez ever failed to tell the President when he thought something was unconstitutional. Quite to the contrary, the evidence is that he was the one giving the President the misguided advice that many of the measures justifiable in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks were perfectly Constitutional long-term tools with or without the consent of Congress. And that’s perhaps where the big improvement comes with Mukasey. While Gonzalez was openly hostile to civil liberties, Mukasey understands the fundamental point that:
Protecting civil liberties, and people’s confidence that those liberties are protected, is a part of protecting national security, just as is the gathering of intelligence to defend us from those who believe it is their duty to make war on us. We have to succeed at both.
Attorney general nominee pledges independence
Palestine. Condoleezza Rice was in Palestine today and met with the “Palestinian business elite.” Stop. These horribly oppressed people have a business elite? In a cluster of refugee camps in a war zone? Oh, apparently not all of Palestine consists of refugee camps. Some (Most?) Palestinians just want to live normal day-to-day lives and the existence of a “business elite” proves that some of them are succeeding. Indeed, Palestinian living standards are probably much higher under Israeli occupation than they would have been under Jordanian
occupation rule. Of course, a gilded cage is still a cage and ultimately Palestinians deserve independence, but these Palestinian business leaders and the Bush administration have the right idea – economic revitalization and job growth are key to securing peace and liberty.
Rice Hears From Palestinian Business Elite
Gridlock. President Bush is trying to get Congress to act on some fairly important issues – the federal budget, for example. He’s also trying to get action on some things where gridlock may not be so bad – SCHIP and eavesdropping authorization, are the immediate examples. For kids without insurance due to poverty, the real question is not “Why can’t we renew and expand SCHIP to cover them?” but “Why aren’t they covered by Medicaid?” An expansion of an additional health care bureaucracy is hardly good for the system. Reform Medicaid and consider additional aid to community clinics, as a cost effective alternative to emergency room’s as primary providers. The eavesdropping bill? Reference the Mukasey quote above. Protecting civil liberties is arguably the most important aspect of national security. For us as well as the Palestinians, a gilded cage is still a cage. It’s past time that any authorization for extra-constitutional search and seizure for counterterrorism purposes have checks with serious teeth appropriate to the current technology. It can’t be September 12, 2001 forever or al Qaida will have won. If Pervez Musharraf can turn in his uniform and assure a democratic future for Pakistan, surely George Bush can turn in his “wartime President” hat and assure liberty for the United States of America.
Bush Urges Congress to Pass Key Pieces of Legislation