Self-Conscious Witch (1999)
One of the common tests was to tie the hands and feet of the person (and sometimes enclose the person in a bag) and throw him or her into a river or pool. It was held that if the person managed to float, this was due to the Devil's help. Such a person was thus found guilty of witchcraft. If the person could not float then he or she was considered innocent, but this acquittal came too late because the accused had by then drowned.
Such a false choice seems cruelly absurd. Surely, as enlightened, 21st Century Americans we've evolved (or is it been intelligent designed?) past the hysterical mindset and gotcha kangaroo courts of the Salem witch trials...
If the policies toward the detainees is legal, why does the Bush administration keep circumventing court challenges that will test the legality of those policies?
--[A comment by john horse on TalkLeft]
[Cartoon by Jimmy Marguilies]
Hold on there, Torquemada. Not in the United States of
Torture Bush. The only difference is that Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez, Addington and Company aren't the least bit self-conscious. They're pumped with ducking stools and patriotic Puritanism. They feel much more entitled than Dimsdale.
From The NewYorker -- "The Hidden Power" by Jane Mayer:
Bruce Fein, a Republican legal activist, who voted for Bush in both Presidential elections, and who served as associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department, said that Addington and other Presidential legal advisers had “staked out powers that are a universe beyond any other Administration. This President has made claims that are really quite alarming. He’s said that there are no restraints on his ability, as he sees it, to collect intelligence, to open mail, to commit torture, and to use electronic surveillance. If you used the President’s reasoning, you could shut down Congress for leaking too much. His war powers allow him to declare anyone an illegal combatant. All the world’s a battlefield -- according to this view, he could kill someone in Lafayette Park if he wants! It’s got the sense of Louis XIV: ‘I am the State.’ ” Richard A. Epstein, a prominent libertarian law professor at the University of Chicago, said, “The President doesn’t have the power of a king, or even that of state governors. He’s subject to the laws of Congress! The Administration’s lawyers are nuts on this issue.” He warned of an impending “constitutional crisis,” because “their talk of the inherent power of the Presidency seems to be saying that the courts can’t stop them, and neither can Congress.”
In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it.
--Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
[Image seen on The Internet Weekly Report]