Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Torture is now a "foreseeable consequence"

And the Guantanamo detainees are not "persons."

Via digby:

Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to review a lower court’s dismissal of a case brought by four British former detainees against Donald Rumsfeld and senior military officers for ordering torture and religious abuse at Guantánamo.
By refusing to hear the case, the Court let stand an earlier opinion by the D.C. Circuit Court which found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all “persons” did not apply to detainees at Guantanamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law. The lower court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants.”

Good god.

In WWII, we were shocked and dismayed at reports that Japanese soldiers would fight to the death, resorting to banzai charges when all hope of further resistance was lost. Part of the reasons the relatively few prisoners we did capture gave for this behavior was the loss of face and humiliation of surrender; but another part of it was fear of their treatment at our hands after capture. Some of that fear was certainly due to their knowledge of how our own prisoners were treated in Japanese prisoner of war camps. The Bataan Death March was only one of many violations of the Geneva Conventions visited on our troops who fell into enemy hands. But Japanese prisoners, though hated for their barbaric actions, were given the treatment required by the treaties to which we were signatory. Torture was unthinkable; that was what the barbaric, medieval Japanese did, what the Gestapo did. That was what we were fighting against.

That was then; this is now. Now, if you're going to fight against the United States, you'd better be wearing a uniform. Because if you're not, and we capture you, we can do anything we want to you. You have no rights whatsoever. You're not even a person; you're some indescribable thing like a piece of gum we might find on the bottom of our shoe. We can take you out of your home country and ship you off to anywhere in the world; we can waterboard you, zap your genitals with electricity, make you stand up for 36 hours straight, deprive you of sleep for days on end, cut you off from all outside contact with other human beings, strip you naked and chill your cell to 36 degrees, anything at all, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's all a "foreseeable consequence" of your being detained as a "suspected enemy combatant." You don't even have to be an actual enemy combatant; you just have to be suspected, maybe even denounced for money by your neighbor who never liked you anyway.

This is what the D.C. Circuit ruled was legal behavior (besides, "even if torture and religious abuse were illegal, defendants were immune under the Constitution because they could not have reasonably known that detainees at Guantanamo had any Constitutional rights;" never mind human rights). The Supreme Court declined to review the case, effectively agreeing with that ruling. This is America.

I need some stronger happy pills.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Here is what dictionary.com has for "existential:"

1. pertaining to existence.
2. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of existentialism: an existential hero.

So when you hear some Neocon bobblehead yawping about how so-and-so is "an existential threat," keep this in mind. He's saying one of two things:

1) a group of criminals who like to blow up things threatens the very existence of the United States on this planet; or

2) a group of criminals who like to blow up things are stressing the individual's unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices.

It is left as an exercise for the reader to determine whether either proposition makes any kind of rational sense whatsoever.

Time marches on

Gee, guess I should post.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gates-gate and "Democratic values"

I've gotten involved in a back-and-forth with Bob Somerby about the Gates incident. According to the police report by arresting officer Crowley, Gates was continually verbally abusive to the officer and all his carrying on about how unfairly he was being treated is what got him arrested for disturbing the peace.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote a column wherein he stated that more was involved here than just racial bias:
If race were the only issue, there would be much less hyperventilation about Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s unpleasant run-in with the criminal justice system. After all, it would hardly be the first time a black man had unjustly been hauled to jail by a white police officer. The debate -- really more of a shouting match -- is also about power and entitlement.

Somerby found something odd about Robinson's theory:

Apparently, there was something Crowley couldn't abide, Robinson comically says. (Gee! What could it possibly have been, we’re apparently supposed to wonder.) But then too, we see Robinson tossing in the word “uppity,” thus slipping in the slick/slippery point he wasn’t man enough to stand up and state in plain language. In this passage, Robinson lets us know that Crowley has a racial problem (“apparently”). And he suggests that only this could possibly explain the “overheated commentary” he has heard from all those “conservatives.” As he ends, he still hasn’t managed to voice a complaint about the repellent conduct and attitudes of his imagined professor.

Sorry. Other people will be offended by the hypothetical conduct Robinson describes. They may not think it should lead to arrest. But they will be offended and appalled by such conduct, the kind of conduct which has long been directed at blacks by arrogant, officious, offensive white people—white people with “serious power.” Long ago, In the Heat of the Night presented a thrilling divergence from form because it showed an officious white person with serious power expecting to get away with such condescension—and then being challenged by Poitier/Stieger. Trust us: In 1967, that was a thrilling moment. Today, a chuckling pundit describes similar conduct with barely the bat of an eye.

That’s the way Harvard professors roll, the chuckling pundit seems to say. To his inner ear, those who find this hypothetical conduct offensive have engaged in “overheated commentary”—in “hyperventilation.”

In this way, upper-end liberals do just what they’ve always done—they throw away votes, in droves. Working-class voters see them speak and reject their values, their puzzling moral instincts.

Puzzling moral instincts? It's "morally puzzling" to point out that the police should not be arresting people for yelling at them? I responded thusly:

Once again, Gates' conduct is profoundly irrelevant. The issue is not whether Gates' conduct was offensive; the issue is whether Crowley's arrest of Gates showed racial bias. Personally I think it's pretty clear that it did.

That got me an email from Somerby (always nice to get a response!) accusing me of not being concerned with whether policemen should be accorded respect. Today's Daily Howler expanded on that theme:

But the only thing the mailer finds relevant is the way the policeman behaved. He doesn’t care about how the (imagined) professor behaved; indeed, he thinks it’s “profoundly irrelevant,” even if the cop got totally sassed and trashed. It doesn’t occur to him that he might care about how each of these people behaved. He cares about how the citizen was treated—not about the cop.

Two things can be true at one time: 1) The arrest may have been unwise, and 2) The cop may have been treated like an ass.

Why couldn’t both things be “relevant?”

A guess: Most American voters will have a different reaction to this event. They will care about how the cop was treated. As we said: For decades, liberals have signaled to American voters that we don’t care very much about cops—or about a range of other working-class people (examples below). When voters see that attitude on the part of liberals, they may vote the other way.

So here's what I have to say to that:

Here's why I say Gates' conduct was irrelevant: there was no chance that Gates would arrest Crowley and put him in jail, while Crowley is explicitly given the authority to arrest people and put them in jail. That power imbalance is why we hold the police to a much higher standard when it comes to dealing with mere citizens.
I understand where Somerby is coming from. He thinks that by accusing the police of racial and/or class bias in this case, liberals (and therefore Democrats) are driving away the votes of people who do care about how the cop was treated. To which I say, good riddance! Those people don't understand that what we're dealing with here isn't a question of respect and propriety; when the police are involved, it's a question of the application of state power against individuals; and in that situation, the ONLY power the police are given is to uphold the law. The law doesn't say, you can arrest people who mouth off to you. That's why, as Robinson said, the Gates matter is about more than just race; it's also about power. Crowley had the power, Gates didn't. Gates mouthed off, and Crowley sent him to jail. Crowley's action was not only stupid, it was unjustified, and Gates was quickly released.

Robinson was correct, and Somerby is engaging in what is known as "concern-trolling" when he says it will cost liberals votes. Standing up for individual rights is part of the liberal platform; if you think the police should be empowered to enforce codes of conduct towards the state, to demand submission and deference on threat of being jailed, you're not a liberal.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

So good I decided to post it here

I decided to apply myself to write for Examiner.com, after my wingnut friend joined up and introduced me to it. As part of their application process they ask you to submit a "writing sample," 200-300 words about some topic with a local angle. So I chose to write about the Sotomayor nomination and the Supreme Court ruling reversing the Ricci decision:

Here comes another round of Sotomayor-bashing. The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling overturning the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals' decision on the New Haven firefighters' case has already resulted in a statement from our own Senator John Cornyn's office; despite the 5-4 ruling, Cornyn asserted that "all nine justices" were critical of the Court of Appeals ruling, and thus by implication of Sotomayor herself. You can be sure that this will only be the first of many such statements by Sotomayor opponents.

What these people continually leave out are inconvenient facts such as: the 2nd Circuit does not have the luxury of ruling as the Supreme Court does, setting aside black-letter law for their own interpretation- the Appeals court had to rule based on the law as written and the evidence before it; that rulings Sotomayor is associated with don't even come before the Supreme Court unless the Supremes feel that there is an actual question they need to rule on, which means that a 60% reversal rate on such cases (even if that statistic is accurate) should not really be surprising, and leaves out the many more cases they DON'T elect to review; and that Sotomayor's supposed "racism," er, "racialism" is based on taking a quote out of context.

The fact remains that Sotomayor is an outstanding jurist with extensive credentials that qualify her to be named to the Supreme Court. All of this sniping is merely an attempt to muddy the waters and confuse people, trying to somehow paint her as some kind of radical racist. Don't be misled.

Monday, June 29, 2009

American spending priorities

Deep thoughts from The Editors:

A few trillion (more actually) to kill a bunch of foreigners in a couple of wars that have yielded almost nothing but instability and suffering? It would be unpatriotic to bring up the price tag.

A couple of trillion in tax cuts for the insanely wealth heir and heiress set? Opposing them would be class warfare.

$1.8 trillion to cover American citizens who (frequently) must choose between food and medicine, their kids welfare and medical treatment, life and death…?

Well, that is a lot of money. Government needs to be more fiscally responsible. Let’s not get carried away. Looks like socialism to me. Just think of the deficits. Does David Broder think the bill is bi-partisany enough?

Bang on.

And today I see this:

Lawmakers defy veto threat on F-22 fighter

Congress on Thursday moved forward with plans to build more Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter jets, disregarding a veto threat from the Obama administration.
Billions for "defense," but not one cent for poor people.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Fafblog, an irregular blog (in every sense of that word):

"How long you think we got before the end of the world?" says me.
"Forever!" says Giblets. "We'll outlast the universe with nothing but gumption and can-do and thousands of tiny robots!"
"It's true!" says me. "A year before the end of the world we will solve the everything shortage through the invention of a miraculous device that can make anything out of simple air and dirt!"
"Now all we need is a way to replenish our rapidly dwindling supply of air and dirt," says Giblets.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

We Send Letters

Mr. President:

In your letter yesterday to Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Baucus on health care reform, you mentioned "making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage." I want to make clear my opposition to any sort of mandate forcing American citizens to pay for health insurance. It is not only unfair to force the poorest Americans to pay for health insurance or face federal penalties (and possibly criminal charges), it may also be impractical. We should not force Americans to choose between compliance with a mandate and starvation or homelessness. We also should not force citizens who are self-employed to make similar choices between compliance and career (for those who would be unable to afford insurance while self-employed). Mandatory health insurance is not a solution to the health care crisis.

I am fortunate to be covered by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. If I were to become unemployed, one of my first decisions would be to forgo health insurance coverage even if it were mandated by this kind of provision. It simply makes no sense to exhaust resources I need for bare survival in order to comply with a federal mandate that is not of direct and immediate benefit to me in such circumstances. I hope you will come to understand that mandating purchase of health insurance by citizens will only result in a massive enforcement headache, requiring expenditure of resources that would offset some or all of the savings you might think the nation would realize under your proposal.

Please do not pursue this misguided "reform." The only true reform that will solve the health care crisis is to join the rest of the industrialized world in implementing a single-payer health care system. Large majorities of American citizens support such a plan.

Thank you for your time,

Rob Woodard
Richardson, TX

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Who Examines the Examiners?

A wingnut Strat baseball friend recently signed up with Examiner.com to be Their (Conservative) Man in Tampa. Head on over and give him some love. (I think he gets paid per pageview or something like that, I dunno.) He's a good guy, just misguided. Well, and maybe a bit hypersensitive about reverse racism. And immigration. And Democrats. OK, he listens to too much Rush Limbaugh. Anyway, he's always up for a fight and he's fun to practice arguing against.

So anyway apparently Examiner.com read my browser cookies or something and figured out I live in the Dallas area, and set up links from his blog to all the Dallas Examiner.com blogs. Let's check out some of what's cooking, shall we?

The "Dallas Libertarian Examiner" Garry Reed warns of the giant sucking sound in healthcare should the government-run healthcare plan that President Obama hasn't proposed be implemented. Yes, single-payer healthcare means all the competent doctors will "go Galt" and expatriate themselves to sunny Mexico. "And Thailand and Singapore. And South Korea and Taiwan and Malaysia." Places that will continue to finance their extravagant lifestyles through "free market" (i.e. high) healthcare costs, because as you know Mexico doesn't have a problem with massive and widespread poverty, and those other countries are so easy to emigrate to. Also, your pancreas will crash and your kidneys will curdle and your rectum will rot off (eww) while you are on the government critical healthcare waiting list that doesn't exist in any single-payer system in the world. (And what about all those stories about kidney transplant waiting lists with the system we have now?) Apparently Libertarians are all about scaring you with the ugly things that will happen because of imaginary policies that no one has ever suggested implementing. At least in Dallas.

The "Dallas Republican Examiner" Victor Medina is all riled up about some African immigrant hospital office manager ordering an employee to take down an American flag she had put up in observance of Memorial Day. He didn't even order it burned, just that it be taken down because the display offended him in some unspecified way. Of course this gross act of UnAmericanism was quickly rectified (after the wingnut hissy fits started rolling in), but it just goes to show that those immigrant UnAmericans are everywhere.

More Examinations to come...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"Holier Than Thou" Effect

Bob Somerby
linked to an article in the NYTimes today that was interesting:

In this morning’s “Science Times,” Carey tattle-tales on the whole human race—specifically, on our tendency to attribute moral greatness to ourselves, as opposed to The Others. Naughtily, Carey starts with an oblique reference to the current debate about uses of torture. But let’s focus on the facts—the facts that Carey has discovered in some ongoing research.

“Stumbling Blocks on the Path of Righteousness,” Carey’s headline says. And yes: We thought of the growing progressive world as we scanned his tattle-tale work. Here’s the way he started:

CAREY (5/5/09): Most people are adamant: They would never do it. Ever. Never deliberately inflict pain on another person, just to obtain information. Ever artificially inflate the value of some financial product, just to take advantage of others’ ignorance. Certainly never, ever become a deadbeat and accept a government bailout.

They speak only for themselves, of course. As for others, well, turn on the news: shady bankers, savage interrogators and deadbeats are everywhere.

Indeed. I sent Somerby an email and pointed out an additional aspect:

[T]he article refers to another aspect of this phenomenon, mentioned by
Dr. Epley in the paragraph before the one you quoted:

“The gap between how I think I’ll behave and how I actually behave is a function
of how well I simulate the situation, and our simulations are guided by our
intentions,” said Nicholas Epley[.]

(end quote)

I think this is very true. When you think about something in the abstract, how
you would like to think you would respond to the situation can be quite
different to how you respond when actually confronted with it. We all like to
say that we don't condone torture, it's abhorrent, etc. But when actually
confronted with the situation where torture might reveal important information
not obtainable by other means (let's not get into whether that is actually
true), we might find ourselves willing to compromise our ideals in what we see
at the time as the service of the greater good.

That's why having codified laws and established procedures is so critical. If
you have ironclad laws against torture written in times of calm, careful
thought, you will be able to refer to them when the "heat of the moment" might
lead you astray. Of course you can still elect to compromise your principles,
but I'd like to think it's harder to do so if it's right there in black and
white. That's why what Bybee and Yoo did is so reprehensible. They looked for
ways around the black-letter laws that restricted what could be done, and being
good lawyers they found those ways. That enabled the Bush Administration to
violate our laws and the principles behind them that we supposedly fought to

We have laws for a reason. We punish violators for a reason. And when we elect not to pursue lawbreakers because it would be embarrassing or politically inconvenient, we compromise our ideals.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wait, Stop

In what I'm now forced to call "The original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Gene Wilder one" because of the remake, when one of the rotten kids decided to hare off and do something stupid despite warnings to the contrary, Willy Wonka would try one last time to save them from whatever doom eventually befell with a very deadpan "wait, stop" or "no, don't."

I feel like I have to give the same kind of warning about this retroactive taxation legislation currently flying through the Congress. The AIG bonuses have so thoroughly incensed the American people and the politicians that (allegedly) represent them that they aren't thinking clearly, or are thinking even less clearly than usual. Everyone is so caught up in "getting our money back from the Wall Street assholes and Banksters who stole it from us" that they've thrown the Constitution right out the window. It's right there in black and white, no ex post facto laws, no bills of attainder. You can't go back after the fact and change the rules and then punish people for breaking them. You can't write laws directed at a particular class or group of people. That clause is in there for a reason, people. We don't want the law being used that way, because then you have no way to know if a particular action that is legal the day you do it is going to get you thrown in jail the next, and we don't want the law being used to persecute specific people. At least, that's what the idea was.

It's thoroughly depressing for me to go through my usual lefty blogs and find each and every one crowing about the new tax bill as if it's justice that was so long denied. Finally, the Banksters and Wall Street Wizards who screwed up the economy aren't going to get away with something! That's progress!

No, what it is is revenge. We got played, big time, but it wasn't against the law. Those bonuses were legally given out, and it's unfair to go back afterwards and say sorry, we've decided you have to give them back. Write laws to prevent those bonuses going out in the future, investigate AIG with a Nixonian proctoscope to see if any wrongdoing occurred under the laws as they existed at the time, vilify and shame the Banksters and Wall Street Wizards (lord knows they deserve it); but let's not throw away our core principles about justice and fairness out of anger.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Apropos of Nothing

When I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull as a young lad, I thought it was a really cool science fiction/fantasy story about intelligent seagulls. It never occurred to me that there was any sort of underlying, subliminal Christian evangelist messaging going on. I never even thought about it that way until I read something that mentioned it on the Net somewhere.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Believe I Can Fly

Tonight I learned that there's no need to worry, and no need for government to lift a finger to help me, because I can solve all my problems myself. Bobby Jindal told me so:

Americans can do anything!

I don't need to worry about half of my meager retirement savings going poof; I wasn't going to be able to retire anyway, right? And I don't need to worry about being fired and losing my health insurance; I'll be fine, because I can do anything.

Yes, Americans can do anything. Look at Katrina, a totally incompetent group of Republican government disaster response managers behaved totally incompetently; that proves that government doesn't ever work, and it's much better to have individuals take care of their own problems, because Americans can do anything (although unfortunately that includes being incompetent disaster response managers).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Have A Nice Day

From the manifesto of raving lunatic Jim Adkisson, who shot up a church in Tennessee last July:

“Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them....

“This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book. I’d like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn’t get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It’s the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence.”

“I thought I’d do something good for this Country Kill Democrats til the cops kill me....Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I’d like to encourage other like minded people to do what I’ve done. If life aint worth living anymore don’t just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.

I know I feel better, knowing that there are people who think like this in this country. Of course, Adkisson's ravings have nothing whatsoever to do with what Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and dozens more of their kind are saying on their radio shows and TV programs night after night, 24/7/365 (just as Sara at Orcinus says). Nothing at all.

When law enforcement officials searched Adkisson’s home, they found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

Here's a golden oldie for you:

"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too."

  • Ann Coulter, address before the Conservative Political Action Conference, Jan. 2002
Yep, we can indeed. Old Jim did Annie one better. He actually killed some.

And just to contrast, when prominent conservatives/Republicans get shot?
  • Ronald Reagan got shot because lunatic John Hinckley wanted to get laid by Jodie Foster.
  • Squeaky Fromme tried to shoot Gerald Ford presumably because he wouldn't pardon Charles Manson. (Did you know Squeaky is supposed to get out this year? August 16th, according to Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

One Heartbeat Away

VP ex-candidate Sarah Palin, from an AP story:

Palin said she named Bristol in part for Bristol, Conn. _ home of the sports network ESPN.

"When I was in high school, my desire was to be a sportscaster," she said. "Until I learned that you'd have to move to Bristol, Connecticut. It was far away. So instead, I had a daughter and named her Bristol."

Thanks, Mom!


In an online exchange with his paper's readers this week, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller pointed out that "there is a diminishing supply of quality journalism, and a growing demand. By quality journalism, I mean the kind that involves experienced reporters going places, bearing witness, digging into records, developing sources, checking and double-checking, backed by editors who try to enforce high standards. I mean journalism that, however imperfect, labors hard to be trustworthy, to supply you with the information you need to be an engaged citizen. The supply of this kind of journalism is declining because it is hard, expensive, sometimes dangerous work."
No, Mr. Keller, it's not because it's hard, expensive, sometimes dangerous work. It's because you and your corporate masters don't want that kind of work done, you don't want it in your newspapers. The wrong people might get witness borne on them, their records exposed. Can't have that.

You don't practice "quality journalism" because you don't want to. If you did, you would.

(h/t Eschaton and cab drollery)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marginalized Conservative Talker Rush Limbaugh

Back when I was still trying to discuss politics with my baseball friends, they used to always get on me for citing talk radio commentators like Rush Limbaugh; "he's really marginalized, nobody really takes him seriously" they'd say.

Then this happens:

Yesterday, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, complained to Politico about how Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talkers are able to “stand back and throw bricks” instead of offering “real leadership” in the middle of high-profile public policy battles. Gingrey’s brave remarks got him in hot water.

This morning — because of what he called “high volume of phone calls and correspondence” in response to his comments — Gingrey issued a retraction, declaring his loyalty to hate radio. “I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh,” he said, later adding that he, Sean Hannity, and Newt Gingrich were “the voices of the conservative movement’s conscience.”

Nothing says "marginalized" like having an elected official say bad things about you and then being able to force that official to do a complete 180 like that. Yep, totally marginalized.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This is not America

It is the official position of the United States Senate that Israel's invasion of Gaza and "collateral damage" slaughtering of civilians is justified and good. The House will take up (and is expected to pass) a similar resolution.


WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Congress is set to offer staunch and unwavering support for Israel as the Gaza conflict rages, recognizing its "inalienable right" to defend itself from attacks by Hamas.

Democratic and Republican leaders united to introduce a resolution backing Israel in the US Senate and a similar measure will soon be pending in the House of Representatives with both expected to pass by large majorities.

"When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel by reaffirming Israel's inalienable right to defend against attacks from Gaza, as well as our support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process," said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.

So apparently Israel is the 51st State of the Union. This pretty much closes the discussion on that.

It's OK to torture Arabs who we think might be terrorists.
It's OK to indefinitely imprison people, even American citizens, just on the suspicion (justified or not) that they might be terrorists or support terrorists or are even just sympathetic to terrorists.
It's OK to spy on our own citizens without any oversight, monitoring all their conversations and activities, because they might be terrorists or support terrorists or even just be sympathetic to terrorists.
It's OK to supply high-tech weaponry to nominal allies, when that weaponry is clearly going to be used in such a way that "collateral damage" is unavoidable, because the people on the receiving end are just a bunch of Arabs (who probably are terrorists anyway).

And now we support Israel, unconditionally, in whatever actions they take to "defend themselves" against the mighty Gaza Palestinians. After all, they elected a terrorist group to be their leaders, right? Maybe if we help kill a few thousand, they'll think twice next time.

I hardly know what country I live in anymore.