Posts Tagged ‘Terrorism’

The Guantanamo Bay detention facility will remain open because Congress says so in the latest Defense spending bill (ht JM Ashby at BobCesca.com).   Our The stupid twats and despicable lawmakers  are saying that the Administration is not allowed to transfer the detainees to American soil for criminal prosecution.  The far left will be blaming the President for not closing it in spite of the fact that he legally can’t do so–actually, they’ve been doing this for years so it will only continue, just in greater volume.  And the right will be crowing about how he has broken yet another campaign promise.

First of all, Congress is afraid that these “baddest of the bad, and worst of the worst” will break out of Federal Max security prisons.  This so dumb it beggars belief.  I’m very familiar with those facilities and their security procedures.  This is not and never will be a concern.  We’ve kept MUCH more dangerous people in those facilities with nary a problem.

Second, the idea that this country accepts the denial of habeas corpus rights to detainees (technically we don’t call them prisoners, which is exactly what they are, war prisoners) so long as they aren’t on our soil is a distinction without a  difference.   Out of sight means out of mind I guess.  In WWII the prisoners were kept in camps right in our cities.  As a child my father used to go talk to Italian war prisoners through a prison camp fence in Charleston, SC.  It makes it much harder to deny these people justice when we don’t have to see their suffering.

Third, the fact that these people are even considered detainees or even war prisoners was and is a colossal mistake.  We should have treated them as criminals, arrested them as such and prosecuted them as such.

Unfortunately, since so many of the detainees rights have been violated and FSM knows how much of the evidence against them has been obtained (i.e., via coercion plus unreliable or secret sources who are unavailable or unable to be present at trial for testimony) the odds of actually getting a conviction in an honest criminal court might be impossible. So all that poisonous fruit will come back to haunt the prosecutors. I blame effing Bush and Co. If they’d handled this properly in the criminal courts to begin with, we wouldn’t be worried about all this kind of crap. I consider myself an expert on our Criminal Justice system (I’m also Queen of the world in my own tiny mind but I digress) and the choice to use military force against Al Qaeda, essentially a criminal enterprise, will go down as one of the worst mistakes in U.S. history. And how often do you see anyone on the teevees or press making this larger and crucial point. We used to be a gold standard in liberty and due process (at least compared with the majority of nations) but not anymore and it’s all because of the idiotic, never ending “war on terror” and the bullshite of renditions and Guantanamo. We STILL haven’t learned the big lesson here and we never will at this rate.

Okay, rant over.

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From a Zen Diesel over at The Daily Banter via another forum….

GOP: “Can I burn your house down?”

Dems: “No”

GOP: “How about just the second floor?”

Dems: “No.”

GOP: “Just your garage?”

Dems: “No.”

GOP: “Let’s discuss how much of the house we can burn down?”

Dems: “No.”

GOP: “I can’t believe you won’t negotiate with me!’

Tom Levenson over at Balloon-Juice.com has something interesting to say about Vice President Joe Biden’s speech given yesterday at the memorial service for the slain MIT police officer, Sean Collier*.  Bolded statements are my doing.

But Biden did limn a present realit [sic] as well, in that we still live in a country where a ruling like Hamdan v. Rumsfeld can be both heard and decided against the government. I live in a town where police officers tackled a cop-killer in the midst of a gun battle, in the hopes of keeping him alive long enough to face a court. Here in Boston, Dzokhar Tsarnaev was charged as a common criminal, read his rights (not fast enough for some, but still) and will in fact face civilian charges. This country are [sic] so far from perfect it sometimes feels like we’re [sic] can only approach perfection the long way round — but that’s in the nature of cities on hills. I’m pretty sure Joe had something like this in mind when he spoke yesterday.

And I have next to no doubt at all that he was scolding that claque of Republican leaders who seem to have lost all courage, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and all the rest. They’ve been up on their hind legs since Friday, bellowing the urgency of making sure Tsarnaev face a jury-rigged military tribunal system, and damned be the American constitutional system and any faith in the power of a jury of Americans to do and be seen to have done justice.

That rebuke is what this speech was about, beyond the pure duty of comfort that Biden handled so well in the first, longer section of his remarks. He was telling a failed Republican party that America is something other than [sic] hollow republic the Bush-Cheney regime sought to build. He was as well talking to the broader audience through the TV set, making the case (again!) that there is an alternative to a government based on authority granted out of fear. He was reminding everyone in earshot that the way the Republicans ran the republic — and would do again, if they get the chance — is not just an error; it’s un-American. This was powerful stuff, and inside the political ring, it was [sic] had the power to hurt, a nut-cutting blow.

See, McCain and Company want Tsarnaev, who is a citizen, to be sent to Guantonomo and to be stripped of all his rights.  Why is it the Republicans are so interested in their own rights (see Rand Paul’s statement about drones and hot tubs**) but not all that interested in the rights of “those other” American citizens.  Hmmmmm, it couldn’t be because they ARE considered “other”, could it?

Besides the fear motive, all of this trumpeting originates from the conservative idea that our government is broken and that the only way to fix it is to step outside the rules.  Conservatives often propose letting some supposedly benevolent strong man or men (ala, G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but not Pres. Obama, ad oculos) take control of things and take away our rights.  Hell, they’re the main reason, and I mean Cheney specifically*** and his buddies, for the expansion of Executive power in the U.S.  Were it not for them, no current President (who is in office is irrelevant here) would have the ability to start a war and tell Congress afterward or allow the killing of an American citizen without benefit of Due Process or use military tribunals and indefinite detention for civilians.  This was never and never will be a liberal idea.****

Nevertheless for all of the Republican and, quite frankly, Democratic enabled transgressions of our values, we’re still shining on that hill just not as bright as we were before our ill-advised jaunt into Iraq and our fear-fueled foray into torture.  And we are certainly not as bright as we could be and never will be if we don’t remain true to our values.

Notes:

*  Look at his young face, it’s hard not to be angry.  It was hard looking at the photos and video of the bomb victims.  I still can’t look at the picture of that sweet little boy who was killed. I understand their anger.  I don’t understand their throwing our values out the window because of it.  That’s not what grown ups are supposed to do and it sure as hell isn’t what the leaders of the free world are supposed to do.

**Rand does not want to be viewed in his hot tub by a government drone but is A-Okay with drones shooting people in commission of a crime, which goes waaaaayyyy beyond what the police would do.  In fact, Levenson above gives an excellent example of how the police met deadly force with restraint in order to serve the larger goal of justice.  Drones can’t do that and Rand Paul should know better and he probably does.  See he only wants drones to “provide justice” to everyone else but he and his clique.  Stupid man must not have studied history or he was too busy smoking dope to remember that such power never, ever remains targeted at just the people you want it to.  First they came for the Jews, then they came for gypsies, then they came for…..etc, etc, etc.

***Cheney openly admits in interviews and in writing that way back when he was in the Nixon Administration that he supported and pushed for the expansion of Executive Power in a variety of ways.  And when in office he claimed Executive Privilege over the tapes/minutes of his meeting with Oil Executives back in 2003-2004.

****Although not a liberal idea, conservatives will claim that liberal Presidents have not minded using that expanded Executive Privilege.   First, I don’t think we’ve ever had a truly liberal President, maybe Carter? President Obama is not a liberal.  He is a centrist Democrat.  He not only claims this but anyone on the left can categorically tell you, he is not a liberal Democrat and never has been.  Second, every President, regardless of Party, has taken advantage of the expansion of power given to the office because it makes their job easier.  As President Obama said during his interview with Jon Stewart, it’s Congress’ and the Supreme Court’s job to take those powers away and they SHOULD do that.  The branches must balance one another out.  But Congress and SCOTUS, filled with Republicans, will continue to give the Executive Branch more and more power because at some point one of their party will be in office and they REALLY like taking advantage of such things (e.g., waterboarding with impunity) because democracy inconveniently gets in the way of their profiteering….um, I mean governing.

Today, I just can’t resist putting Glenn Beck on my list of people who deserve to be beaten about the head and shoulders with a tube sock full of butter. He said this yesterday:

No American citizen blows up random people. That’s a Middle Eastern scene, that’s not an American scene — when our crazies go off, they target the government, not streets that are crowded with people.

EXCEPT for these little incidents here, right Glenn?

  • 2010 Byron Williams – murdered a police officer on the way to massacre the local ACLU office in CA saying he wanted to start a revolution (and not surprisingly he was/is a BIG Beck fan)
  • 2008 Jim David Adkisson – murdered 2 and injured 7 at a UU Church in TN because he hated liberals
  • 1996 Eric Rudolph – bombed innocents in Olympic Park in Atlanta during 1996 Olympics
  • 1995 Timothy McVeigh – bombed a government building in Oklahoma City killing dozens including 19 children all under the age of 6
  • 1978 to 1995 Ted Kaczynski — many bombings over a 17 year period of time
  • 1966 Charles Whitman –infamous Univ of Texas tower shooter who killed 17 people and wounded 32 AFTER having killed his mother and wife at home.
  • 1963 4 KKK members – Robert Chambliss, Thomas E. Blanton Jr, Herman Cash, and Bobby Frank Cherry bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church and took the life of four girls in Birmingham, AL

Need I go on? Notice anything in common about this list? All of them red blooded and white skinned Americans.  There aren’t enough “butter socks” in the world for the Glenn Beck’s of the world.

Do you know who Patton Oswald is?  An American comedian. But he’s more than just a funny guy.  He’s pretty wise too.  Below is what he had to say about the bombings in Boston yesterday.  From The Atlantic…..

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

Well said, Mr. Oswalt.