For those of you who haven’t been following the story, an Alaskan state legislator, Mike Doogan, revealed in an official newsletter sent to his constituents Friday the identity of an anonymous local blogger who was made famous by her criticisms of Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign season. This action was done in violation of the blogger’s First Amendment right to free speech and her right to speak anonymously without fear of government punishment or reprisal. For a full run-down, read my earlier post Alaska Lawmaker Violates Privacy of Famed Anonymous Blogger.

I spent a good part of my weekend writing letters to Alaska state legislators to highlight Mike Doogan’s shameful actions.

I just received a response from a member of the Alaska legislature’s Select Committee on Legislative Ethics, Rep. Berta Gardner:

Thank you for your letter. I’m not happy with Doogan right now and think his action was unnecessary and destructive. I don’t believe, however, that it is a violation of legislative ethics as described here:

http://www.touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/Statutes/Title24/Chapter60.htm

Surely someone has or will file an ethics complaint and the committee will investigate and make a determination.

Berta

I thank Rep. Gardner for her thoughtful reply. Although I’m not familiar with Alaska ethics law, I wonder how a state legislator violating the First Amendment rights of a state citizen wouldn’t be actionable under the state ethics law. I will do some research and report back.

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For those of you who haven’t been following the story, an Alaskan state legislator, Mike Doogan, revealed in an official newsletter sent to his constituents Friday the identity of an anonymous local blogger who was made famous by her criticisms of Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign season. This action was done in violation of the blogger’s First Amendment right to free speech and her right to speak anonymously without fear of government punishment or reprisal. For a full run-down, read my earlier post Alaska Lawmaker Violates Privacy of Famed Anonymous Blogger.

I spent a good part of my weekend writing letters to Alaska state legislators to highlight Mike Doogan’s shameful actions.

I just received a response from a member of the Alaska legislature’s Select Committee on Legislative Ethics, Rep. Berta Gardner:

Thank you for your letter. I’m not happy with Doogan right now and think his action was unnecessary and destructive. I don’t believe, however, that it is a violation of legislative ethics as described here:

http://www.touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/Statutes/Title24/Chapter60.htm

Surely someone has or will file an ethics complaint and the committee will investigate and make a determination.

Berta

I thank Rep. Gardner for her thoughtful reply. Although I’m not familiar with Alaska ethics law, I wonder how a state legislator violating the First Amendment rights of a state citizen wouldn’t be actionable under the state ethics law. I will do some research and report back.

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A new article in the Washington Post confirms the proven, decades-old consensus on torture (surprise!) — it just doesn’t work:

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other [forms of torture], they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.

Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. . . . None of [their earlier claims] was accurate, the new evidence showed.

I just want to highlight that bit from above, “not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions.”

So, we abandoned our cherished values and tortured al-Qaeda detainees for… what, exactly? Some kind of retributive feel-good whoop-ass?

We now have to suffer the indignity of a criminal war crimes probe by a foreign court because the Bush administration ignored decades of scientific, law enforcement and military research into torture (which have all consistently found that torture doesn’t actually work) so that some government officials could feel satisfied that we were inflicting grievous 24-inspired* harm on all those evil, brown-skinned towel-heads who made Bush interrupt his reading of The Pet Goat in front of all those nice children!?

I doubt whether I’ll be able to stomach the volume of shame and anger I’ll be forced to endure over the next few years as the mounting stacks of evidence of Bush’s rampant war crimes regime are unearthed.

* – Just to highlight the cold, sober, deliberative process our government used to devise its wide-ranging torture program, consider the testimony of one Lt. Col. Diane Beaver. Beaver was charged with writing a document providing legal authority for harsh interrogation at Guantánamo. She describes the process by which they devised new techniques thusly:

“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas.” Beaver also notes that ideas arose from other sources, such as the television show 24. Jack Bauer, the main character, had many friends at Guantánamo, says Beaver: “He gave people lots of ideas.” It was clear to Sands that Beaver believed that Washington was directly involved in the interrogations, and her account confirms what others tell Sands—that Washington’s views were being fed into the process by people physically present at Guantánamo.

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I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading Gherald L.’s blog.

He has a couple of great stories up today on the failure of drug prohibition and the unintended consequences of detergent prohibition (!).

Go read his blog, and read it regularly.

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I just saw that McCain was on Meet the Press this morning. Does it boggle anyone else’s mind that this failed presidential contender (with an understanding of the economy you might be able to fit on the head of a pin) is still such a major presence on news programs? Think back to the last many elections and name one other example of a failed presidential candidate getting this much press time right after the election. Bob Dole? John Kerry? Nope…

I can’t figure out what this illustrates for me. My sense is that its probably the continued obsession of the press with the Republican philosophy they’ve been browbeaten over the last couple of decades into reflexively admiring without critical thought. Who knows — i just want McCain to STFU, especially when it comes to economic matters.

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I just saw that McCain was on Meet the Press this morning. Does it boggle anyone else’s mind that this failed presidential contender (with an understanding of the economy you might be able to fit on the head of a pin) is still such a major presence on news programs? Think back to the last many elections and name one other example of a failed presidential candidate getting this much press time right after the election. Bob Dole? John Kerry? Nope…

I can’t figure out what this illustrates for me. My sense is that its probably the continued obsession of the press with the Republican philosophy they’ve been browbeaten over the last couple of decades into reflexively admiring without critical thought. Who knows — i just want McCain to STFU, especially when it comes to economic matters.

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I just saw that McCain was on Meet the Press this morning. Does it boggle anyone else’s mind that this failed presidential contender (with an understanding of the economy you might be able to fit on the head of a pin) is still such a major presence on news programs? Think back to the last many elections and name one other example of a failed presidential candidate getting this much press time right after the election. Bob Dole? John Kerry? Nope…

I can’t figure out what this illustrates for me. My sense is that its probably the continued obsession of the press with the Republican philosophy they’ve been browbeaten over the last couple of decades into reflexively admiring without critical thought. Who knows — i just want McCain to STFU, especially when it comes to economic matters.

Share
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I just saw that McCain was on Meet the Press this morning. Does it boggle anyone else’s mind that this failed presidential contender (with an understanding of the economy you might be able to fit on the head of a pin) is still such a major presence on news programs? Think back to the last many elections and name one other example of a failed presidential candidate getting this much press time right after the election. Bob Dole? John Kerry? Nope…

I can’t figure out what this illustrates for me. My sense is that its probably the continued obsession of the press with the Republican philosophy they’ve been browbeaten over the last couple of decades into reflexively admiring without critical thought. Who knows — i just want McCain to STFU, especially when it comes to economic matters.

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