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September 27, 2006

Comments

Ed Friedemann

I have an idea which most American might concur: Lets vote to abide by the US Constitution on its face value and intent.

Perhaps members of congress would be less confused when voting on bills.

Ed Friedemann

Your search - how many soldiers died today sept 27, 2006 - did not match any documents.

John Evans

This legislation is secretly setting up a Dictatorship. I am horrified that our Representitives in congress have committed this crime of treason. Under this legislation any americans citizen can be detained without being charged indefinately with no way to challenge his detention. This gives the sole power to the Administration. I just read this article and thought it pertinent to this discussion.

Authoritarianism and Theocracy -- Bloggers Are Sounding A Warning

The things the Republicans are saying and doing are so extreme that regular people refuse to believe it when you try to warn them about what is happening.

... Bloggers are trying to warn the public that what is going on in America is DIFFERENT from politics-as-usual. The bloggers have been trying to get the Democratic leadership and the media to understand this. We are seeing something new to America forming, something dangerous to democracy. The "pendulum" is not swinging back.

... When will the Democratic leadership begin to realize that the extreme things the Republicans are saying might be what they mean to do?

The signs are all around us -- take it seriously.

Watch your backs.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/authoritarianism-and-theo_b_30204.html

Ed Friedemann

John Evans is in fact correct in everything he just said.

John Evans

Thank you Ed. I Am Very Worried. It is now time to Arm or Leave. S.O.S.

KSkid85

you guys ... Move to Canada!

John Evans

KsKid
Have you read the bill.

The bill gives the president license to undermine enforcement of the most basic human rights protections in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Moreover, it would strip the courts of their historical and constitutional role as a check on the executive branch. As a result, the president would have new authority to decide much of the scope of authorized conduct and the severity of any punishment, giving him unparalleled power to unilaterally determine whether the federal government can carry out cruelty and abuse.

Also, the bill undermines America’s commitment to due process by allowing convictions on the basis of evidence that was literally beaten out of a witness or obtained through other abuse by either the federal government or other countries. Government officials who authorized or ordered illegal acts of torture and abuse would receive retroactive immunity for many of these acts, providing a "get out of jail free" card that is backdated nine years. Further, the bill fails to commit the government to consider violations of the McCain anti-torture amendment criminal acts under the War Crimes Act.

A recent addition to the bill expands who can be designated a so-called "enemy combatant." Anyone the president designates an enemy combatant could be arrested and detained without charge indefinitely and without access to the courts.

"At a time when the White House refuses to say whether vicious acts such as waterboarding would violate the bill, Congress is seeking to give a blank check to the president," said Christopher Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Congress should not place any trust in an administration that triggered the torture scandal by trying to suspend the Geneva Conventions for detainees and then twisted the law to authorize illegal torture and abuse."

The ACLU’s letter on S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, is up at: http://www.aclu.org/natsec/gen/26861leg20060925.html

Ed Friedemann

John, That's the enemy. He knows what the bill is all about.

John Evans

Yeah I know Ed. He is pressing his brownshirt and polishing his boots. Getting ready to fall in line.
More Republicans filth oozing out;

You’d think George Bush would get down on his knees and kiss Hugo Chavez’s behind. Not only has Chavez delivered cheap oil to the Bronx and other poor communities in the United States. And not only did he offer to bring aid to the victims of Katrina. In my interview with the president of Venezuela on March 28, he made Bush the following astonishing offer: Chavez would drop the price of oil to $50 a barrel, “not too high, a fair price,” he said — a third less than the $75 a barrel for oil recently posted on the spot market. That would bring down the price at the pump by about a buck, from $3 to $2 a gallon.

But our President has basically told Chavez to take his cheaper oil and stick it up his pipeline. Before I explain why Bush has done so, let me explain why Chavez has the power to pull it off — and the method in the seeming madness of his “take-my-oil-please!” deal.

More from Greg Palast
http://gregpalast.com/

BeProudAmerica

I am pretty sure now that Ed and John are the same person. They tend to show up at the same time and spill pretty much the same message.

Hope everyone is having a good evening. :-)

UncleJoe

The New York Times editorial board (today -- inserted below)
and Madeleine Albright (in Lawrence last night) are crystal clear. Between Iraq and our reactions to terror, we have surrendered our moral leadership in the world. The costs are beyond estimate.

Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.

Republicans say Congress must act right now to create procedures for charging and trying terrorists — because the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks are available for trial. That’s pure propaganda. Those men could have been tried and convicted long ago, but President Bush chose not to. He held them in illegal detention, had them questioned in ways that will make real trials very hard, and invented a transparently illegal system of kangaroo courts to convict them.

It was only after the Supreme Court issued the inevitable ruling striking down Mr. Bush’s shadow penal system that he adopted his tone of urgency. It serves a cynical goal: Republican strategists think they can win this fall, not by passing a good law but by forcing Democrats to vote against a bad one so they could be made to look soft on terrorism.

Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.

These are some of the bill’s biggest flaws:

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.

•There is not enough time to fix these bills, especially since the few Republicans who call themselves moderates have been whipped into line, and the Democratic leadership in the Senate seems to have misplaced its spine. If there was ever a moment for a filibuster, this was it.

We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.

They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

shrugging

This is not a constutional issue. Neither is it a Geneva Convention issue because the detainees are neither soldiers or representatives of any government in a formal war.

I am missing how we are sacrificing the moral high ground. These are the kind men that blew up two contractors in Iraq, dragged their burned bodies through the street and hung them from a bridge. The examples are endless and predate Bush some don't take me there. We are restricting ourselves from anything close to the techniques they would regular use on anyone they did not kill first.

I refuse to sacrifice my right to have my government protect me, my proprty and my family to someone's shock and dismay at the need to be a little tough with ruthless killers and the shrill splippery slope crowd. There are many checks and balances to prevent anything close to the violation of your rights fantasies from happening. The rhetoric is just a sign of the desperate left taking its last shot. If they don't win significantly this fall the Democrat Party will finally render them meaningless.

JOCO GOP

Here we have it. Dennis' one throwaway vote for the election cycle. I suppose that this one vote will make him a "moderate." That's withholding the hundred other votes that he goes straight party line. What a Washington politician.

CRD

"These are the kind men that blew up two contractors in Iraq, dragged their burned bodies through the street and hung them from a bridge."

Some of them may be. Others may be innocent. Let them have access to justice and let them have the right to appeal their detentions.

Detaining people indefinitely without letting them have recourse to challenge their detentions is no more American than torturing detainees.

I refuse to sacrifice American ideals and let Osama win. This is wrong, and we should stand up for the rule of law as distinct from the lawless acts of the terrorists.

When we start acting like the terrorists, they have won.

shrugging

We are not acting like terrorsts. If we were, we would have killed them after we found out what they knew or would say and send out a nice video tape of their head falling off.

I thought part of the vote was to establish a process for their hearings.

CRD

What sort of hearing is it where you have no right to hear the evidence against you?

Sounds like something out of Kafka, or Stalinist Russia. Not America.

And I don't buy into the validity of the argument that "we're better than the terrorists because we waterboard rather than kill." That's no excuse to abandon our ideals. America is about the rule of law.

Detention without recourse to a valid tribunal and coercing suspect information through torture are not what America's about, and will not make us any safer.

That's the kicker. For all of this political grandstanding and fearmongering, shoving this questionable bill through isn't going to make us any safer, just like allowing the detainees their day in court and eschewing torture won't make us any less safe.

All we're doing is giving our detractors ammo, while simultaneously undermining our own ideals.

shrugging

And you propose to make us safer how? Were we safer when they were just blowing up the basement of the WTC, Embassies overseas and our sailors.

These are dangerous times and not of our making. I am tired of saying it is all our fault. The world is a complicated place and the old answers of appeasement will not work. This foe will not be appeased.

CRD

"And you propose to make us safer how?"

That's your response? You'd rather give up our values and take a path that's not making us any safer, than retain our values and keep fighting for our safety?

Have you given up on America so easily? I haven't. I'm ready to fight for what makes us great -- and torturing people and holding them indefinitely without recourse to a fair trial, well, that's Stalinist Russia, that's Nazi Germany, that's the extremist enemy we're fighting, not the values we espouse.

Let's fight this battle on America's terms, not the extremist enemy's. Don't let Osama win.

Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution:

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

************

Will Bush issue a signing statement that extends this heinous bill to the civilian population of the U.S.?

Impeach Bush

Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution:

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

Pretty sure them attacking us on US soil satisfies the invasion part.

Ed Friedemann

We all understand how freedom works and how the Bill of Rights protect us from government. All of us except the president..Mr. Bush, who doesn't want to understand it.

Bush is still playing with his toy soldiers, but our slodiers are not toys, they're real and when they die, they stay dead.

The no-win Vietnam happened and now the no-win Iraq.

Bush wants to hide the bodies and the experts analyst's reports and void the constitution. He doesn't know when to stop.

There came a time in Vietnam when we stopped and left. Do we need 58,000 dead?

JMart

Shrugging: Benjamin Franklin said it best:
"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

We defeated both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, simultaneously, without having to resort to torture or suspension of our precious Constitution. We defeated Soviet Communism in the Cold War, again without having to debase the ideals that make America unique in the world.

Now comes George W. Bush, insisting that we have to use torture and suspend the rule of law because of the threat posed by a handful of religious fanatics who live in caves and arm themselves with boxcutters? Are you kidding me?

Open your eyes and stop being stupid. The most fundamental rights and standards that set this nation apart, that have endured for centuries after being created by the genius of men such as Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the other founders, are being dissolved by this administration and a compliant congress. This is a travesty.

shrugging

I guess I am done, being blind and stupid. Thank you for putting me in me place. Although I am fairly certain I am not the only one here with sometime clouding my sight.

Ed Friedemann

The People haven't been paying attention. The Constitution can not exist in a vacuum. So the vacuum created by inattentiveness is being filled by some unsavory characters.

Hence, the manipulators arrive to rearrange a few things.

Colin Powell put it best: "America is losing its moral authority."

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