Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ned Williams: poster boy apologist - denialist of the Bush Administration's Constitutional violations

And he's a lawyer! If you've ever wondered how GW Bush can get away with so many Constitutional violations in this day and age, I present to you a case study: Ned Williams.

You would think a lawyer would have some reverence or respect for leading law experts and those that specialize in areas of Constitutional and International law. But no, the authoritarian streak runs too deep. This is compounded and strengthened by a seriously dogmatic fundamentalist Christian mindset.

What you have a psychological profile that combines:
  1. Complete submission to authority
  2. Abject denial
  3. Suspension of professional logic and ethics where the world is filtered through a political/religious perception where the reality is: "either you're for us or you're against us."
  4. A high degree of self righteousness
  5. Rationalization and absolution from any and all failings of himself or his leaders gained in part through religious conviction (and his association with Bush to Christianity)
There are no shades of gray with such religious authoritarians and you might as well forget about ethics too. Ned could make a case for why Jesus would torture, spy, kill, or violate justice. Yet he's the first one to place his vote based on a Christian agenda of "protecting the zygote" but support his Christian hero president's war that has resulted in destabilizing a region resulting in mass suffering and mass murder. Stay the course because it is paramount to save face at any cost.

Can you imagine anyone in any profession denying, summarily refuting, and tossing off opinions of leading experts in their own field as invalid because they're a "bunch of Liberal(s)" ... with "a serious case of BDS."?

Case study:

I mentioned the irregularities of Bush signing statements that have reserved the right to subvert over 1100 federal laws. (In the previous 20 years before Bush there were only 327 such statements issued).

You would think Ned would have some respect for the American Bar Association - the world's largest association of legal professionals, the body that accredits the very law school that granted him his law degree.

By a unanimous vote of the American Bar Association Board of Governors, a Blue Ribbon Task Force was formed with a cast of legal all-stars from BOTH political parties to investigate the Bush abuse of powers. This ABA task force described the Bush use of signing statements to modify the meaning of duly enacted laws as:
"contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers".
When confronted with these findings that Bush had used signing statements to subvert laws such as the ban on torturing detainees, oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, "whistle-blower" protections for federal employees, and safeguards against political interference in taxpayer-funded research (... to name just a few), and when put in perspective that Bush has attempted to subvert more laws than all previous presidents combined, how does a true-blue right wing religious authoritarian lawyer Ned Williams respond:
"What is the mental disorder that sees an impeachable offense behind every tree?"

and

"...you ought to realize that lining up a bunch of Liberal attorneys on a given legal position doesn't prove much of anything--except perhaps a serious case of BDS. "

Further, I cited the HARVARD INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL on Bush's use of torture and detention:

"There are too many crimes and blunders to choose among. I will focus here on one central disaster, the use made of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, and one egregious constitutional violation, the abrogation of habeas corpus."

-- Gerald L. Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School.
This is just one of many impeachable offenses of the Bush Administration, but none of these expert legal opinions are valid to a true Bushie authoritarian - even to a guy like Ned, smart enough to know.

So, if you ask, how is Bush able to get away with so many violations to law and the Constitution? Now you know the mindset that has m
ade it possible - the type of mindset that remains oblivious to the potential consequences of the erosion of American democratic sovereignty.

Not alot of wisdom or deep thinking among authoritarians. They will either: deny, refuse to admit, blame someone else, or say 'they did it too'. That's about as deep as it goes. But, as we all know, the gig is up.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Willam:

I was beginning to wonder if perpaps Ned Williams was just so obtuse he didn't understand the questions I asked over at MCB. It's obvious from the comment thread you were on over at his homepage that he simply filters out anything that doesn't agree with his narrow KKKristian viewpoint.


I engaged him on three different posts and thought maybe we were not speaking the same language.

On a happier note, the NY Senate's 48th district race went to a democrat, Darrell Aubertine, last night ( I don't know that there won't be a challenge if the absentee vote is close). No one in Oswego remembers the last time a democrat sat in that seat down in Albany--but it's been a hundred years or so. This was a special election to fill an unexpired term (the former office holder retired unexpectedly. There will be a redux for the November election and it's probably gonna be a lulu.

democommie

Anonymous said...

William:

So, now I'm beginning to see a real pattern with people like Glen Dean and Ned Williams.

1.) Make a statement of opinion that is unsupported, but pretend it's a fact.

2.) When someone calls you on it, set up a strawman or change the subject.

3.) If the going gets tough, get gone.

democommie

Anonymous said...

William:

You know I never like doing the homework, like you do. But just this once:

I just posted this for Ned's reading pleasure (on the $3T Iraq War cost thread).

NW:

I get it, I get it. You’re doing self parody, right?

“Re. “ad hominem” . . . asserting that someone’s a chickenhawk in a debate about Iraq fits the bill. Or asserting that Reagan lied about flying in a bomber in a discussion about welfare policy”

I never asserted that Reagan lied about flying in a bomber in a discussion about welfare policy.

However, in fairness, I have to admit to admit that despite my best efforts I have not, as yet, been able to find the specific citation supporting my comment about him. So, until I find that citation I’ll retract the comment and apologize to the memory of the patron satan of conservatism, may his bloated corpse rot.

This comment of yours:

“You’re thinking too hard on my question . . . it wasn’t a trick question. You seemed to be asserting medicare and medicaid spending somehow skewed the comparison of GDP during WWII to now. In order for that to be valid (it may very well be) such spending (a) needs to be considered part of GDP and (b) needs to have been spending that increased (as opposed to merely being shuffled or moved to a different accounting column) for your point to be valid, right?”

does not respond to my original comment:

“So far as % of GDP is concerned: One of the major differences between the federal budgets of today and that of both the Vietnam and Korean Conflict eras is the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. Take those amounts out and re-jigger the numbers.”

Your statistics are based on GDP’s and Federal Budgets from two different periods. The period prior to enactment of legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid and post establishment of those programs. You, either through a lack of understanding or by willfully ignoring the distinction, say that there is no difference in those eras re: budgetary and GDP numbers. Simply untrue.

Now, then, I did pick up a few things about your precious Mr. Reagan in my readings.

Enjoy:

From Ronald Reagan’s obituary in the NYT , June 6, 2004.
He made 50 movies, a number of them about World War II. “The Hasty Heart,” in 1950, took him overseas for the first and only time until he went into politics. In the war, poor eyesight had kept him from the front, and he spent his years in the Army making training films. But in his autobiography he wrote of wanting nothing more after the war than a good rest and time with his wife, the actress Jane Wyman; in fact, they had both been in Hollywood throughout the war.

His flights of imagination remained equally vivid when he went to the White House. In 1983 he told Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel that as part of his war duties he had been assigned to film the Nazi death camps. One of his favorite stories, one that he told over and over again to different audiences, concerned a pilot in World War II who told his crew to bail out of their crippled B-17 bomber. When the tail gunner said he could not move because he was badly wounded, the pilot replied, “Never mind son, we’ll ride it down together.” When he told the story to a meeting of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society he added that the pilot was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. In fact, no medal was ever awarded for such an incident and the story came, almost word for word, from the script of a movie starring Dana Andrews called “Wing and a Prayer.”

“For Ronald Reagan, the world of legend and myth is a real world,” said Patrick J. Buchanan, a longtime political ally who was Mr. Reagan’s director of White House communications. “He visits it regularly, and he’s a happy man there.”

GREAT THOUGHTS OF RONALD REAGAN

“A tree’s a tree. How many more do you need to look at?” — Ronald Reagan (Governor of California), quoted in the Sacramento Bee, opposing expansion of Redwood National Park, March 3, 1966

“All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.” –Ronald Reagan (Republican candidate for president), quoted in the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, February 15, 1980

“It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.” –Ronald Reagan (candidate for Governor of California), interviewed in the Fresno Bee, October 10, 1965

“…the moral equal of our Founding Fathers.” –President Reagan, describing the Nicaraguan contras, March 1, 1985

“Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.” –Ronald Reagan, quoted in Time, May 17, 1976

“…a faceless mass, waiting for handouts.” –Ronald Reagan, 1965. (Description of Medicaid recipients.)

“Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.” –California Governor Ronald Reagan, in the Sacramento Bee, April 28, 1966

“We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry every night. Well, that was probably true. They were all on a diet.” –Ronald Reagan, TV speech, October 27, 1964

As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Ronald Reagan informed on fellow actors to the FBI.

The Reagan admininstration was one of the most corrupt in American history, including by one estimate 31 Reagan era convictions, including 14 because of Iran-Contra and 16 in the Department of Housing & Urban Development scandal. By comparison 40 government officials were indicted or convicted in the wake of Watergate. 47 individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine were convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration itself. There were in addition 61 indictments or misdemeanor charges. 14 persons were imprisoned.
Using a looser standard that included resignations, David R. Simon and D. Stanley Eitzen in Elite Deviance, say that 138 appointees of the Reagan administration either resigned under an ethical cloud or were criminally indicted. Curiously Haynes Johnson uses the same figure but with a different standard in “Sleep-Walking Through History: America in the Reagan Years: “By the end of his term, 138 administration officials had been convicted, had been indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations.”
Four members of the Reagan cabinet came under criminal investiation, as compared with five in the Clinton cabinet. Three top officials of the Harding administration were in indicted in the Teapot Dome scandal.

The Reagan administration had secret plans for an unconstitutional takeover of the federal government under an ill-defined national emergency. Members of the government created by the coup had been selected and included Richard Cheney.

Reagan’s decision to send troops to Lebanon cost 241 lives. As the NY Times noted recently, “Mr. Reagan’s decision to send marines to Lebanon was disastrous and his invasion of Grenada pure melodrama.”

During the Reagan administration the number of families living below the poverty line increased by one-third.

Reagan’s policies led to the greatest financial scandal in American history: the Savings & Loan debacle which cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Julian Bond, president of the NAACP:

“He was a polarizing figure in black America. He was hostile to the generally accepted remedies for discrimination. His appointments were of people as equally hostile. I can’t think of any Reagan policy that African Americans would embrace.”

Oh, btw, I didn’t assert anyone was a chickenhawk. I did ask YOU a question:

“Are you too old to enlist? They could use a few good men over there in the mid-east.”

If you take that as an ad hominem attack, tough. I’m still waiting for an answer, though.

democommie

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