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Location: Takoma Park, Maryland, United States

I'm now a 52-year-old American male raised as an Episcopalian, veteran of submarines, Peace Corps, and State Department. I like teaching people about what they can do with computers and have gotten by as an independent Microsoft trainer teaching networking, but I really hope to someday find a way to make a living traveling on my motorcycle, camping, and writing about places and people I meet along the way.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Good news. Mukasey is GOOD news...

...for America. Why do I think this?

Here's the answer:

This from the New York Times, this morning:


Is Said to Be Pick At Justice
Democrats Likely To Accept Him as
Attorney General
By Michael
Abramowitz and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers

Monday, September 17,
2007; Page A01
President Bush has selected retired federal judge Michael B. Mukasey as his new attorney general, sources said yesterday, moving to install a law-and-order conservative at the Justice Department while hoping to avoid a confirmation fight with Senate Democrats.

This was the judge that so pinned the ears back on the prosecutors for wanting to forcibly medicate Susan. Known as a tough guy. A stickler for the law. He was able to protect an individual who politicians were ready to throw away or dispose of as was done with Martha
Mitchell during Watergate.

I wrote about the experience of being in his courtroom. I was quite thrilled with our nation to see such a judge on the bench and felt that way even before I knew how he was going to decide anything regarding Susan.

I knew she was getting one of the best for a judge. My pointing that out to her might have been one of the things that helped to calm her down a bit. She had to admit that in many other countries a judge's permission would not have been necessary.

In contrast, it is the unfortunate case in Pakistan that the ruler has been able to render their court powerless. That is a problem that even given fears of terrorism in a courtroom in New York City a few blocks from the cavity of the former World Trade Center Judge Mukasey did not permit. And that the culture of our nation did not permit... at least, not yet.

Nice to see one of the good guys win, once in a while.


Blogger Thomas Nephew said...

I suspected you'd be pleased; Mukasey also took a much more independent stance than other judges in standing up to Bush administration in the Hamdan case.

I guess I'd ask whether you think Mukasey passed up chances to object to the whole process Susan was subjected to -- chiefly, the pretty much forced institutionalization at Carswell. I think her treatment in this regard was humiliating and fairly chilling, and while that's mainly to the discredit of the Bush administration, I wonder if the judge could have done more to prevent it.

8:08 AM  
Blogger JB said...

The provision that allowed Susan to be incarcerated, as I understand it, is something of a pressure valve... a tool judges can use to side-step mandatory sentencing guidelines. It is also a power they can employ for their own protection if a defendant is so stupid as to threaten the judge.

I do not mind agencies of my government having powerful tools so long as I can trust the character of those who employ them. It is fair to say that anyone may wonder whether the character and integrity of America is what it once was. With the invasion of Iraq, Bush seems to have ceded the moral high ground. More than that, as there is no nation so highly regarded as we once were, there is none who are able to reclaim it. Thus the world stands at the edge of losing the notion of governments led by individuals with a strong sense of moral responsibility.

This is unfortunate as "being the good guys" has been able to win us friends in many quarters. It made winning wars like the cold war easier because people believed we were a real chance for civilization to exist apart from the rule of tyrants and bullies. Now, I think the cold war is coming back and I thank the Bush family, for that--the same family that got itself ensnarled in the Silvarado Savings & Loan scandal.

The problem does not start or stop with this one President, however. I might have been considered so had we not re-elected him. No one person has done so much to tarnish so many good things: Democracy can't be such a great deal if it elects such asses. Christianity cannot be relied upon for morality if its fundamental purpose is to affirm elitist agendas. The Republican Party, even, can no longer be seen as a hand of competence and fiscal restraint. The list does not stop there.

Judge Mukasey personifies a particular shortcoming in the current President's mentality, I think. He personifies the ability of power to restrain itself, the ability of a great institution to still have principles other than the mere accumulation of more power and more money. He may be one of a very few people in our time who has been able to find enough of both and who has not allowed such an estate to deter himself from the more important requirements of happiness and integrity.

A President who was once addicted to alcohol, now addicted to power, may have been placed in a position where he will have to accept the lessons of at least one other who is empowered and fully qualified to be the teacher of moderation.

What I particularly find interesting, in this, is that it may allow some realignment of the Republican party around principles of decency. Democrats do not have a monopoly on virtue, and in Susan's case as in the case of the Iraq war itself, they seem to me more derelict than those whom we expected to support a member of their own party. I've long been of the opinion that America will not move forward out of this predicament until the Republican party figures out how to move forward. If they keep their head buried in the rhetoric of petty demagogues and power mongers espousing lousy theology for followers of blind faith then none of us are going anywhere good anytime soon.

2:11 PM  

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