This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 29, 2006 10:55 AM. The previous post in this blog was Rosa Parks Way. The next post in this blog is Weekend project. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

How you feelin' today?

Ashamed? Me too.

Comments (47)

Yesterday will go down in history as a dark day for America. I can only hope this gets before the Supremes - but without habeas corpus, how will anyone get legal standing to challenge it? Call it Catch-23, because it even beats Catch-22...

How many lines in the sand have we had? How many times do we have to reassure ourselves "It can't get any worse"?

How can we not be affected and saddened that our country has been turned on it's head in the span of 6 years. Up is down, left is right. The GOP says the sky is purple, and the next day the media prints it.

When this desperate and criminal legislation gets struck down by the Supreme Court, the media better damn well hold all the 'aye's' feet to the fire. Gordon Smith, are you sure you're on the right side of history and law?

Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity, Savage... these Goebbel-ite propagandists deserve nearly as much responsibility. They've managed to convince many Americans that compromising our freedom, liberties, legal system, world opinion, and moral high ground is in our best interests. That racism and theocracy are OK. That the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility and national security. Their opinions would be hillarious if the effect weren't so grave. I hope they sleep well at night, in their estates their selfish lies have built. Well, I know Rush will sleep well, thanks to Oxycontin...

Stop it Jack, please, you're TORTURING us!

But seriously. Had enough?

Vote Demo.

"Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity, Savage.."

These guys are a problem all right. But what is most sinister about them, imo, is that they are taking advantage of Americans' legitimate gripes with newsmedia coverage to make it appear they are "The Answer".

Seems to me the 'habeas corpus' argument against the bill is much ado about nothing. It only applies to "aliens", not American Citizens. In past conflicts, did we give foreign prisoners of war access to our Federal courts?

Yesterday was the day I was dreading - the day when war crimes became legal. The day that Justice left town. We now exist at the pleasure of the executive branch. Our best hope is that this group of power-mad buffoons will choose to restrain themselves. This law certainly doesn't restrain them.
As for the right-wing extremists who somehow think it's macho to give up your rights to fight terrorism, you will go down in history as some of the worst cowards ever. People in actual frightening scenarios like Omaha Beach died to keep these freedoms, and you - while not really facing anything scary yourselves in an immediate sense - have sold those heros out.
You are liberty sluts. You gave it up way too easy.

Wooooo Bill!

"The Habeas Corpus secures every man here, alien or citizen, against everything which is not law, whatever shape it may assume." — Thomas Jefferson to A. H. Rowan, 1798.

Habeas has been interpreted to apply regardless of citizenship up until now.

It does seem that this bill leaves habeas intact for American citizens - at least until Congress gives the Decider the power to arbitrarily revoke citizenship. Better keep your papers on you at all times, volks.

The word Ashamed isn't strong enough to describe the sickening feeling I have. The truly sad part is that there are so many Americans out there who believe our reaction to this event is hysterical and unpatriotic. And I would wager that at least 50% of the country is unaware that anything has happened--this is probably a very low estimate.

Hey, it's not so bad--the only people who can be tortured are enemy combatants.

Problem: the President now has authority to declare anyone (including American citizens) an enemy combatant, and can also declare retroactively that what was done to them was not torture.

Hey Butch. The Writ of Habeus Corpus is the last refuge of the downtrodden and desperate against the tremendous weight of the power of the largest government known to humanity. The existence of an individual's chance to be heard by the judiciary is a fundamental check against abuse by the executive branch. You use the terms "alien" and "prisoner of war". The way the law is written, you or I could be snatched off the street, labeled an "alien prisoner of war", and never have an opportunity to challenge that fact in a court of law. Nobody wants terrorists to take advantage of our sense of decency, especially when they show no respect for life, liberty and justice in return. However, supporting the spiral downward into a "the ends justifies the means" mentality makes us apologists for the fascist thugs who have no respect for the balance of power. Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but if we turn away from the light we run the risk of entering into a darkness from which there may be no return.

I believe the bill defines "alien" as a non-US citizen. And as I asked above, In past conflicts, did we give foreign or non-US citizen prisoners of war access to our Federal courts? If not, what has changed?

Yet another sad step as the President steers his Republican lapdogs along the path toward the concept of a "unitary executive". The acquiescence of the legislative body in deferring to the executive in interpretations of the Constitution and laws is despicable.

Do you think the right wing would still feel the same way if a future president would change the interpretation of the Second Amendment to a more literal meaning and prohibit private ownership of firearms?

"as I asked above, In past conflicts, did we give foreign or non-US citizen prisoners of war access to our Federal courts? If not, what has changed?"

One of the things that has changed, Butch, is the nature of the conflict. It is not nearly as clear now as it was in WW II, for instance, whether the supposed "enemy combatants" whom the US military and law enforcement agencies are incarcerating are actually our enemies. For one thing, they're usually not wearing enemy uniforms; for another, they can be found any place in the world. In many cases, those who are imprisoned as we carry out our potentially endless and boundless "war on terror" are imprisoned by mistake. The horrifying story of Canadian citizen Maher Arar--arrested at JFK, “renditioned” to Syria, tortured for 10 months, later determined to be innocent of any wrongdoing--is a case in point. How many other such mistakes are being made? How many more will be made in the future now that the executive branch is officially being given free reign? Without the writ of habeas corpus, what mechanism is there for preventing mistakes in capture from turning into the torture and endless imprisonment of innocent people?

Your fundamental error in how you're looking at this situation is your assumption that only the guilty, only the real combatants, are being arrested. There would be no need for any kind of post-arrest justice system, military or domestic, if those whom we empower to provide security had a foolproof ability to capture only the guilty. Once captured, the prisoner's sentence would simply commence. But, obviously, our cops and soldiers don't have that kind of God-like ability. Therefore, one of our most basic obligations as a decent society is to protect innocent people from the most awful consequences of human error.

I believe any President can and could - in times of emergency - declare Martial Law and confiscate firearms.

So....were they 'Democrat lapdogs' that stood by and watched as Clinton authorized warrantless ransaking of a US Citizen's private home? Or when he began the practice of rendition - sending prisoners to foreign countries that practiced REAL torture? Or when his Justice Department burned down a religeous commune? Or when he authorized the largestest government data mining and monitoring program history?

The selective outrage is getting mighty deep around here. Time to put on my hip waders.

Damn right, I'm ashamed.

Can someone please explain Gordon Smith's logic to me?

But seriously. Had enough?
Vote Demo.

And what about these turkeys, Daphne?

I consider myself a Democrat, but these guys make me wonder how meaningful that is these days.

Carper (D-DE), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Lieberman (D-CT), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea

It is possible that innocent foreigners may be imprisoned erroneously for an undetermined period of time. I'm willing to believe these "false terrorists" may even represent 5% of the total.

I can live with that, knowing that the remaining 95% represent such a grave and irrational threat to the United States that we can't risk giving them a fair trial.

It is in the best interests of the United States to release the innocent ASAP: they are occupying valuable real estate that should be reserved for a legitimate terrorist. The challenge is encouraging the military/intelligence community to admit/audit their own mistakes.

The American principle of justice was founded on the notion that it's better to let 99 guilty men go free rather than convict one innocent man. I believe that 99:1 ratio is untenable. I am willing to "convict" (detain indefinitely) 5 innocent men, in order to enhance the probability the 95 "high probability" guilty ones never see the inside of an American Courthouse.

"It is possible that innocent foreigners may be imprisoned erroneously for an undetermined period of time. I'm willing to believe these "false terrorists" may even represent 5% of the total.

I can live with that. . ."

How did you come up with the figure of 5 percent false arrests, Mr. T? It seems that you've decided that this is the figure you can "live with," so that's what you choose to believe. Interesting approach. Can you "live with" 50 percent false arrests? How about 95 percent? How about if the person falsely arrested were you, or your child or your wife? How about if you were arrested and you had to "live with" the arrest while you were being tortured?

Are these ridiculous questions? I don't think so. In conceiving of a justice system, we have to try to imagine that we--you and I--are the possible victims of government mistakes and lack of accountability.

I am willing to "convict" (detain indefinitely) 5 innocent men, in order to enhance the probability the 95 "high probability" guilty ones never see the inside of an American Courthouse.

Wow. How sad for you that you'be become so scared of your own shadow that you've lost all notions of fairness and justice.

Lock up the innocent as a strategy for making America stronger? The worst thing of all...you don't even get how that's a recipe for disaster and only serves the terrorists.

Frank Dufay: "Lock up the innocent as a strategy for making America stronger?"

Well Frank, it has worked for the criminal justice system in this country, don't you agree? Its not perfect, but everyone knows a percentage of convicts in our prisons today are indeed innocent. No system is 100% perfect.

But by your and Richard's logic, we should abolish our criminal justice system because it sometimes allows the innocent to be imprisoned. Lets turn 'em all loose tomorrow!

Any analogy between our farookin' prison camp in Cuba and a "criminal justice system" is faulty.

How is the analogy faulty?

One of the few history lessons I remember vividly is when my class read a passage about the King of England traveling to London. The teacher asked for the one little detail that spoke volumes about the state of the monarchy. See, along the route the King had gone through a village and settled a dispute by executing a man on the spot. The whole point was that he still had absolute power. I would suggest being able to declare anyone an enemy combatant - including American citizens - and then having the legal right to torture them in some secret hellhole forever, is about the same thing. Especially since you are legally protected should the torture you do go too far and cause death - and someone outside the gulag happened to find out about it. By the way, torturing people to death is something we have already done in Iraq prisons. Think about that. Our country has already tortured people to death. Saddam must be impressed.

So while the hopeless Bush suck-ups nod their heads in reverential agreement, this sadistic brat W. has taken us back to a type of monarchy before the rise of Parliament. Coincidentally torture was a big part of the legal system back then, too.

Remember that feeling heading into the new millennium? Who knew it would lead back to the Dark Ages?

How is the analogy faulty?

Uh, let's see. There's the word "criminal," when no charges are filed anywhere. And there's "justice," which when you mention it in the same breath as The Chimp in Chief is truly laughable.

Oh...I see. So where do the words "terrorist" and "war" fit in? No 'criminal' charges are filed in our courts because in many instances the charges involve classified information that if revealed would jeopardise National Security....information that could be leaked to the enemy by accused terrorists' defense attorneys (as has already happened since 9/11).

Jack, how many confirmed civil liberties violations has this administration committed according to the ACLU? Zippo.

BTW - rhetoric about "justice" and "the chimp" does little to advance your position.


What if you could have detained the 19 Al Qaeda hijackers on September 10th, together with a single innocent citizen of Saudi Arabia or Yemen.

You imprisoned 20 people as non-national enemy combatants, sans writ of habeas corpus, and used aggressive interrogation tactics to learn the nature of their foiled plot, their financiers, and the names/places of all known associates.

Granted, you wrongly imprisoned one innocent man together with the 19 aspiring hijackers. And you pissed off the ACLU, Amnesty International, and most liberals.
But 3,000 lives were spared on September 11th. Let's assume (for the sake of argument) that their confessions were all obtained under duress, or were not admissable in court.

You successfully prevented the attacks of September 11th, but now you have 20 foreign nationals rotting in GITMO, and no proof their outrageous plot would have succeeded.

Would you want to subject these 20 men to a court of law that may cut them loose? Would you feel responsible if they came back a few years later (having been exonerated), and attacked the U.S. with backpack bombs?

Butch - the analogy you suggested is crazy. Nobody is advocating getting rid of our justice system because of its imperfections... we're advocating APPLYING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM BECAUSE HUMANS ARE FLAWED!!!

Mr Tee - Winning/Surviving is not more important than principle. Some people would rather die, or let millions die, than legalize torture (or "aggressive interrogation practices"). 99:1 isn't worth it. Stopping 9/11 wouldn't have been worth it. Winning the "war" on terror will never be worth it. Nothing is worth it. Terroists cannot destroy our country. They can only kill us. We, however, can destroy our country if we quit acting like Americans.

By the way, when did Congress declare war? This is not a war. Terrorists are criminals, like those guys in Colorado and Florida, not "enemy combatants."

What if you could have detained the 19 Al Qaeda hijackers on September 10th, together with a single innocent citizen of Saudi Arabia or Yemen.

"What if..." What a load of crapola.

As though everything President Bush touches didn't turn to horse manure. He can't find his ass --let alone bin Laden--in the dark.

I'll play "what if" with you. What if...we held politicians responsible for their actions? And when they fail to protect us, when they get our citizens killed, send our troops to early, pointless deaths...what if we put them on trial for lying to the American people and Congress which, in my book, isn't just an impeachable offense, it's a form of treason. (And how much DO the Bush's still have invested in Saudi Arabia...the financiers of the jihadists when the CIA runs out of cash?)

What if...we had a president who didn't say "I don't think about bin Laden" but instead made putting bin Laden's sorry ass behind bars his NUMBER ONE priority?

Get a grip. What the Senate did with this nonsense is not just damage our country's standing in the world, but it gives the terrorist demagogues more fodder for their pr war against the neo-cons imperial ambitions. Sadly, that leaves the American people stuck in the middle, between two sets of crazies...

Winning/surviving is the only thing that matters. It is a national/biological imperative.

Sacrifices of life, liberty, and treasure are the only way to defeat Islamo-Fascism.

Those who would prefer to let millions die can vote for the Democrats in November. Beware the Michael Dukakis/Bernie Shaw debate trap: intellectual consistency can sound a bit hollow when you're debating the violent death of a loved one.

I believe the majority of Americans would have taken extreme measures if 9/11 could have been avoided. I believe this "fear factor" was the wedge issue which allowed Bush to defeat Kerry. We know where George Bush stands; Kerry was all over the map.

The American principle of justice was founded on the notion that it's better to let 99 guilty men go free rather than convict one innocent man. I believe that 99:1 ratio is untenable. I am willing to "convict" (detain indefinitely) 5 innocent men, in order to enhance the probability the 95 "high probability" guilty ones never see the inside of an American Courthouse.

Wow. We know for a fact that this is not what WWP's father [unlike his son, deeply conservative, Texan, and Republican] shed blood for in World War II. Of course, 99 guilty men shall go free rather than convict one innocent man. When did this fail to be a basic tenet of American belief? James Madison must be spinning in his grave.

If we've descended this far, we deserve a fate in hell. God help us.

Butch and Mr. T,

Neither of you have any idea of what you talk about. I doubt you would hold so stead fast to your beliefs if you witnessed first hand the policies you advocate.

Sounds like someone who has really fought for this country in Iraq or Afghanistan as opposed to people who sound tough in the Rose Garden. Right on, Travis.

If we've descended this far, we deserve a fate in hell. God help us.


How is it that people are comparing detainees to convicts? The whole problem with this bill, this President, this country is that we are not allowing due process. Convicts have/had it. They can appeal. They get their day in court. They actually are convicted. They have/had a chance. Why do some people think that denying due process and torturing people is somehow protecting this country?!?

God help us. Seriously.

Funny thing: I am taking the LSAT tomorrow. I always thought I'd study constitutional and/or criminal law. Now it seems that constitutional law is growing obsolete. Perhaps international and criminal law is the way to go. I've got two words for you, George W. Bush: war crimes.

I learned from the School of the Americas that sometimes you never really know who the enemy is until they disappear.

Yup, you liberals are correct, this bill is horrible. Instead, we should have passed something akin to what the old testament said, "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth." Instead we should be doing to the ones that we capture what they do to us, "off with their head".

So seriously, since the terrorists AREN'T a government and don't represent a country and (for the most part) aren't American citizens, then why give them the privledges that our CITIZENS get? Do you want them to vote next?

Do you want them to vote next?

No way! They'd all be voting Republican...

Ellie: "we deserve a fate in Hell, God help us." I don't think Al Zawahiri could have said it any better himself. You forgot the "Death to Zionists" part. Were you educated in Saudi Arabia by any chance?

Google returned the following citation of a schoolbook for Saudi fifth graders:

The religions which people follow on this earth are many, but the only true religion is the religion of Islam. As for the other religions, they are false as mentioned in the Koran (the Sura of Aal Umran Verse 85):"And whoever follows a religion that is not Islam, it will not be accepted from him and in the Hereafter he will be of the losers." The religion of Islam we know from the Koran and the Hadiths about the Prophet. The whole world should convert to Islam and leave its false religions lest their fate will be hell. As mentioned in the Koran (the Sura of Al-Nihal Verse 125):"[I swear] by Him who holds Muhammad's soul in his hand that not one Jew or Christian who had heard me and did not believe in the message that I was sent with shall die without being one of those whose fate is hell."

I am inclined to agree with Mmmarvel: holding them indefinitely at GITMO seems far more humane than killing them on the battlefield or beheading them on videotape.

That said, I am in favor of moral relativism becoming more of a two way street: if Islamic Law allows for their punishment to include chopping off their hands or stoning them to death, I am willing to do so in support of enhancing our cultural awareness.

It appears that the crazy, fanatic, criminals who carried out 9/11 5 yrs ago. fulfilled their mission.

"I am willing to do so in support of enhancing our cultural awareness."

Have you been transfered to Gitmo now, Mr. T? So you're actually going to be be-heading dark skinned people who have not been charged with any crime? Wow, that's so cool! You are one tough hombre. Thanks for all your hard work.

"Sacrifices of life, liberty, and treasure are the only way to defeat Islamo-Fascism."

And we greatly appreciate your sacrifices for us on the front line, Mr. T. Benjamin Franklin would be so proud of you and your dismissive attitute toward liberty. Thank you!

I'm pleased and reassured that so many, WWP and Jack included, are upset about this country's continued slide into facism. Too bad we'll all end up in Guantanamo. This was a country to be admired, once.

Oh Sam, don't ever question the sacrifice from the 101st Fighting Keyboardists Brigade. They support the troops, damnit. They're sacrificing precious bandwidth and credibility back here at home, so the troops can fight a pointless war over there!

Why do those libruls have to remind people that Iraq is now in a civil war? Insurgent attacks averaging over 100 a day now... why can't they report on happy news like the widespread reconstruction contract fraud, er... i mean, the NEW BOWLING ALLEY in Baghdad's green zone! Wooo!

(disclaimer: I made up the bowling alley thing. The widespread reconstruction f-ups by this administration, however, are very real...and costly, and illegal, and fraudulent, and well documented).

If you think this Administration could actually get a bowling alley built, you're an incurable optimist.


for those who doubt what's at stake.

All they are say-ing, is give bombs a chance...

I have no doubt what is at stake--that is our great country being so frightened by some religious freaks with bombs that we give up our constitutional freedoms won and defended in many horrible wars over the last 200 plus years.

Y'all ought to read the legislation before you take to the bunkers or start filling your Molotovs.

It is very limited in scope. It doesn't apply to U.S. Citizens.

Assuming "we" doesn't include terror suspects and jihadists caught on the field of battle, then "we" haven't given up one iota of constitutional freedoms.

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