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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Torturous Election

Dilbert creator Scott Adams took the words right out of my mouth when he said: "I predict Obama will win the Democratic nomination. In the general election he will lead in the polls but lose to John McCain because the Republicans will do a better job of rigging the election."

I made almost the same prediction 3 months ago. Of course, it's not exactly what I said; when I made my prediction I thought Hillary would win the primary. My reasoning went that the Clinton Democratic Party Machine would ensure that she won the primary, but nobody was going to actually vote for Hillary for president because – I don't care what you say – nobody likes Hillary Clinton.

But now it looks like Barack Obama is gaining traction, and it's a good thing. As far as I'm concerned, Clinton is a member of the Democrat wing of the Corporate Party, the same party nearly every other major candidate ultimately works for. That's the party we need to keep out of office in November, my friends. I don't know enough about Barack Obama to know if he's a member of the Corporate Party, but he was able to raise a lot of money, so that makes me very suspicious. Look at what happened to John Edwards, the man who would not take money from corporate lobbyists, who was unabashedly pro-union and ran a campaign focused on real domestic issues. He was crushed. Obama may just be that rare individual who can successfully operate in the cutthroat world of politics and remain untainted. I certainly hope he is.

If the 2000 and 2004 elections taught us anything it's that the elections are not fair. I'm with Scott Adams on this one: the Republicans play this game much better than the Democrats. They're going to win this election if they want it. I'm actually more frightened by the idea that they don't want to be in office when the reverberations of Bush's policies start disrupting America's economy.

One thing has made me very happy at the turn of events away from Hillary/Giuliani (man, that makes me shudder) and towards Obama/McCain. Both vehemently oppose the pro-torture policies of the Bush administration. As a matter of fact, Senator Obama's statement on the Military Commissions Act of 2006 should be read by everyone:

In the five years that the President's system of military tribunals has existed, not one terrorist has been tried. Not one has been convicted. And in the end, the Supreme Court of the United found the whole thing unconstitutional, which is why we're here today.

We could have fixed all of this in a way that allows us to detain and interrogate and try suspected terrorists while still protecting the accidentally accused from spending their lives locked away in Guantanamo Bay. Easily. This was not an either-or question.

Instead of allowing this President - or any President - to decide what does and does not constitute torture, we could have left the definition up to our own laws and to the Geneva Conventions, as we would have if we passed the bill that the Armed Services committee originally offered.

Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.

And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus - the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention, we could have given the accused one chance - one single chance - to ask the government why they are being held and what they are being charged with.

But politics won today. Politics won. The Administration got its vote, and now it will have its victory lap, and now they will be able to go out on the campaign trail and tell the American people that they were the ones who were tough on the terrorists.

And yet, we have a bill that gives the terrorist mastermind of 9/11 his day in court, but not the innocent people we may have accidentally rounded up and mistaken for terrorists - people who may stay in prison for the rest of their lives.

And yet, we have a report authored by sixteen of our own government's intelligence agencies, a previous draft of which described, and I quote, "...actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay..."

And yet, we have Al Qaeda and the Taliban regrouping in Afghanistan while we look the other way. We have a war in Iraq that our own government's intelligence says is serving as Al Qaeda's best recruitment tool. And we have recommendations from the bipartisan 9/11 commission that we still refuse to implement five years after the fact.

Sen. Barack Obama Reacts to US Bill Approving Torture
As everyone who has read my blog in the past several years knows, I think this is the most egregious of all the crimes of this administration. And it looks like we will finally have a chance of fixing it.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.