41 Senators…

need to lose their jobs for attempting to reduce their subjects constituents to absolute and total naked defenselessness before an almighty and irresistible Leviathan who can jail them forever, without charge, and keep them there even when civil courts declare them not guilty.

I think Chris Sparks, while on the right track, is too lenient. Actually, 93 Senators need to lose their jobs (for passing SB 1867). So do the whole lot in the House who voted for it. And so does the President who promised to veto it but then changed his mind when it gave him the draconian power he wanted. You no longer live in a free country because Caesar can, on his omnipotent will alone, strip you of habeas corpus and lock you up forever while declaring you a terrorist and depriving you of the right to prove your innocence. The traitors to our Constitution who did this should also be tried for treason.

Instead, they will all live to a ripe old age–full of money and corruption, shielded by their riches and power from the ruin they have visited on their country, deaf to the cries of their subjects constituents, blind to the folly of their tyranny–and die in their beds like the Richard Riches they all are.

But God sees.

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  • antigon

    Mr. Shea: Merry second day to you, the Cuteness, & Sheas sundry as well.

    Allow me to undermine those wishes at least slightly, with the edited following by an eloquent old commie that alas knows whereof; but which you & your readers may nonetheless find a worthwhile look, at what was once the Western legal tradition.

    Thud of the Jackboot by Alexander Cockburn

    Too bad Kim Jong-il kicked the bucket last weekend. If the divine hand that laid low the North Korean leader had held off for a week or so, Kim would have been sustained by the news that President Obama is signing into law a bill that puts the United States not immeasurably far from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in contempt of constitutional protections for its citizens, or constitutional restraints upon criminal behavior sanctioned by the state.

    At least the DPRK doesn’t trumpet its status as the last best sanctuary of liberty. American politicians, starting with the president, do little else.

    A couple of months ago came a mile marker in America’s steady slide downhill towards the status of a Banana Republic, with Obama’s assertion that he has the right as president to order secretly the assassination, without trial, of a US citizen he deems to be working with terrorists.

    Now, after months of declaring that he would veto such legislation, Obama has now crumbled and will soon sign a monstrosity called the Levin/McCain detention bill, named for its two senatorial sponsors, Carl Levin and John McCain. It’s snugged into the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

    The detention bill mandates – don’t glide too easily past that word – that all accused terrorists be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than in the civilian court system; this includes US citizens within the borders of the United States. Obama supporters have made strenuous efforts to suggest that US citizens are excluded from the bill’s provisions.

    Not so. “It is not unfair to make an American citizen account for the fact that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming next,” says Senator Lindsay Graham, a big backer of the bill. “And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’” The bill’s co-sponsor, Democratic senatorand cosponsor of the bill, Carl Levin, says it was the White House itself that demanded that the infamous Section 1031 apply to American citizens.

    Anyone familiar with this sort of “emergency” legislation knows that those drafting the statutes like to cast as wide a net as possible. In this instance the detention bill authorizes use of military force against anyone who “substantially supports” al-Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces”.

    Of course “associated forces” can mean anything. The bill’s language mentions “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or who has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”
This is exactly the sort of language that can be bent at will by any prosecutor.

    Protest too vigorously the assassination of a US citizen by military forces and one day it’s not too fanciful to expect the thud of military jackboot on your own front step, or on that of anyone anti-war, if especially an organizer, or any journalist whom some zealous military intelligence officer deems to be giving objective support to enemies of the Empire.

    Since 1878 here in the US, the Posse Comitatus Act has limited the powers of local governments and law enforcement agencies from using federal military personnel to enforce the laws of the land. The detention bill renders the Posse Comitatus Act a dead letter.

    Governments, particularly those engaged in a Great War on Terror, like to make long lists of troublesome people to be sent to internment camps or dungeons in case of national emergency. Back in Reagan’s time, in the 1980s, Lt Col Oliver North, working out of the White House, was caught preparing just such a list. Reagan speedily distanced himself from North. Obama, the former lecturer on the US constitution, is brazenly signing this authorization for military internment camps.

    There’s been quite a commotion over the detention bill. Civil liberties groups have raised a stink. The NY Times denounced it editorially as “a complete political cave-in”. Mindful that the votes of liberals can be useful, even vital in presidential elections, pro-Obama supporters of the bill claim that it doesn’t codify “indefinite detention.” But indeed it does. The bill explicitly authorizes “detention under the law of war until the end of hostilities.”

    Will the bill hurt Obama? Probably not too much, if at all. Liberals are never very energetic in protecting constitutional rights. That’s more the province of libertarians and other wackos like Ron Paul actually prepared to draw lines in the sand in matters of principle.

    Simultaneous to the looming shadow of indefinite internment by the military for naysayers, we have what appears to be immunity from prosecution for private military contractors retained by the US government, another extremely sinister development. The US military has been outsourcing war at a staggering rate. Even as the US military quits Iraq, thousands of private military contractors remain. Suppose they are accused of torture and other abuses including murder?

    The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is currently representing Iraqi civilians tortured in Abu Ghraib and other detention centers in Iraq, seeking to hold accountable two private contractors for their violations of international, federal and state law.

    Quoting CCR’s Laura Raymond, “By the military’s own internal investigations, private military contractors from the US-based corporations L-3 Services and CACI International were involved in the war crimes and acts of torture that took place, which included rape, being forced to watch family members and others be raped, severe beatings, being hung in stress positions, being pulled across the floor by genitals, mock executions, and other incidents, many of which were documented by photographs. The cases – Al Shimari v. CACI and Al-Quraishi v. Nakhla and L-3 – aim to secure a day in court for the plaintiffs, none of whom were ever charged with any crimes.”

    But the corporations involved are now arguing in court that they should be exempt from any investigation into the allegations against them because, among other reasons, the US government’s interests in executing wars would be at stake if corporate contractors can be sued. And Raymond reports that “they are also invoking a new, sweeping defense. The new rule is termed ‘battlefield preemption’ and aims to eliminate any civil lawsuits against contractors that take place on any ‘battlefield’.”

    As with the elastic “associated forces” concept discussed above, in the Great War on Terror the entire world is a “battlefield”. So unless the CCR’s suit prevails, a ruling of a Fourth Circuit federal court panel will stand and private military contractors could be immune from any type of civil liability, including rape and other war crimes, as long as it takes place on a “battlefield”.

    Suppose now we take the new powers of the military in domestic law enforcement, as defined in the detention act, and anticipate the inevitable, that the military delegates these powers to private military contractors. CACI International or a company owned by, say Goldman Sachs, could enjoy delegated powers to arrest any US citizen here within the borders of the USA, “who has committed a belligerent act or who has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces,” torture them to death and then claim “battlefield preemption”.

    Don’t laugh.

  • keddaw

    A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Dump the US and take the crown back. It turns out the UK is the free-est country going. Well, England is. I choked a little while typing that.

    • Timothy of Seattle

      The UK is rapidly becoming a police state as well — it’s only lately that the US has leapt ahead of them in the race to the bottom.

    • Oregon Catholic

      Not for long. Given the birth rates and unrestricted immigration, the UK and Europe will be under Sharia within a few generations.

  • Greta

    I am glad you note that despite your lead on the 41 Senators, that in fact 93 were involved in passing this legislation into law. Early votes are often known to lack the votes to pass, but are used to set the bargaining position for what will finally be passed. So we really only need to look at what the 93 passed which means that 42 Senators who objected to the bill got what they wanted to pass this with overwhelmining support of both parties. I do not see that final bill as being that much of a problem for 99.9% of Americans and the ones who will be caught up in this bill will be those who have shown a strong intent to support harm to the people of this country. I think those opposed are kind of like the environmental wacko’s who would move us back to the stone ages if they got their way. I cheer on the senators who work to keep us safe in this time of Islamic attacks on the West and our freedoms.

    • The point of the 41 being singled out was this:

      “When it comes to what might have been…well, the Senate has officially lost it. Evidence:

      “Offered to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2012 (S.1867), amendment No. 1274 would have allowed the U.S. government to detain an American citizen indefinitely, even after they had been tried and found not guilty, until Congress declares an end to the war on terror.”

      Sponsored by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Voted for by 41 members of the US Senate, including two Democrats, one Independent, and the rest Republicans.”

      The amendment was not passed–but only, it would appear, because Senator Rand Paul forced a roll call vote on it, meaning senators would be on the record if they supported it. Even with that, almost half the Senate voted for this egregious piece of constitution shredding legislation. 41 senators need to lose their next election.

      Thanks, Mark, for reposting.

      • Greta

        Caspar, they count votes very well. They knew it would not pass, but wanted to have it as a starting point. The bill passed with 92 votes folks. That seems to show it is not too bad or controversial.

        • Which I count as the most terrifying part of the whole affair. Indeed, it’s what prompted me to post this in the first place.

          The Sessions amendment is plainly in violation of at least the fourth and fifth amendments, as well as basic principles of justice (you find someone innocent of a crime in a court of law, you let them go. You do not hold them perpetually for future crimes they might commit. We ought not live in the world of Minority Report.)

          Had this passed, we would have known that our Congressmen and women are dangerous, delinquent in their responsibilities and deficient in their care for tending to their constitutional responsibilities. The 41 cannot be trusted to uphold the Constitution as it is.

          This makes mincemeat of Republican claims to be strict constructionists of the Constitution. I ask you: what sort of construction of the Constitution does this vote represent?

          Fire the 41. Let that be the slogan for the coming years till all of them have shown themselves to be tireless defenders of the Bill of Rights and the American citizenry, or until all of them are voted out of office.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Its a shame we don’t know who Greta is, because I’ve always wanted to meet the snivelling cowards who support this junk. There’s not much else to say besides insulting the intelligence of anyone who calls this ‘protecting ‘ freedom.

    • Greta

      Hezekiah, 92 Senators voted for this. It can’t be that bad to have both parties agree on anything with that type of majority. I see this as a bunch of whiners who think we can operate as if there were not ongoing campaign by a huge number of people who want to see innocent americans killed. Yes, it is protection and I am willing to help those charged with protecting Americans by seeing them have the tools needed to do their job.

      • [Frodo wanders in the woods. Boromir comes up behind him, gathering wood]

        Boromir: None of us should wander alone, you least of all. Frodo? I know you suffer, I see it day by day. Are you sure you do not suffer needlessly? There are other ways, Frodo, other paths we might take.

        Frodo: I know what you would say, and it would seem like wisdom, but for the warning in my heart.

        Boromir: Warning? Against what? We are all afraid,

        Frodo. But to let that fear drive us to destroy what hope we have… don’t you see? That is madness!

        Frodo: There is no other way.

        Boromir: I ask only for the strength to defend my people!
        [approaches Frodo]

        Boromir: If you would but lend me the Ring…

        Frodo: [backs away] No!

        Boromir: Why do you recoil? I am no thief.

        Frodo: You are not yourself.

        Boromir: What chance do you think you have? They will find you. They will take the Ring. And you will beg for death before the end!