Speaking of dictatorships…

Speaking of dictatorships… December 19, 2011

there are three myths about the detention bill that Congress just passed and that the President is about to sign (thus transforming the US into the Executive Dictatorship of America and you into a subject of a Police State and not a free citizen)

Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention
Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF
Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill

All these lies are designed to cover up one fact: a bipartisan coalition of our Ruling Class, in an act of war against the American people, have declared that if the President wishes to declare you or any other citizen an enemy of the state, strip you of habeas corpus and lock you away forever without hope of trial or appeal, he may now do so and you are absolutely powerless to stop him. Every person who voted for this bill and the President who signs it should be impeached, tried for treason, and jailed. They have fundamentally betrayed the Constitution. If we snooze through this and let it happen, we shall deserve our chains.

Ron Paul, naturellement, is just about the only person on the national stage sounding the alarm. Meanwhile, the members of the Ruling class on the right side of the aisle aim to destroy him while blabbing about Peace and Safety. They do this because the dynamic in our country is no longer left/right/conservative/liberal. It is our Ruling Class vs. the Populace. The law spells the end of the US as a free country. From now on, we are permitted “rights” only on the sufferance of our Ruling Class, who can strip us of both liberty and life on the unilateral fiat of the Executive without arrest, evidence, trial, judge, jury or verdict.

Our response so far? Look! Fake baby bumps are all the rage!

PS. And in case you are thinking “The Judiciary will save us!”, Newt Gingrich, one of our more fascistic candidates, is way ahead of you: he’s already talking about giving the Executive power to arrest judges whom he deems to be troublesome to the Ruling Class on some pretense or other.

We are a Paris Hilton people in an apocalyptic world.

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  • Scott

    Newt is an historian. He has read what the founders have written concerning giving to much power to the judiciary. Look around you, do you not think that something has gone awry with our judiciary? They have set themselves up as quasi legislatures actually making laws instead of interpreting them. That is the real danger we face. We have got to put a stop to these out of control judges who will stop at nothing to redefine and impose the law that fits their ideology.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I don’t think you’re going to get much argument against the fact that judges have overstepped their authority (so has Congress and the Executive, for that matter), but threatening judges with arrest is pretty much the definition of a violation of the separation of powers.

      Congress has the power to sign laws that overturn court decisions. Why didn’t Newt fight harder with his actual power as a Congressman instead of behaving like a dictator now?

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        He said in the WaPo opinion piece that before you impeach someone you really ought to find out why they did what they did, which means compelling their testimony before Congress. That means issuing a Congressional subpoena.

        So Schieffer asks him what if the judge does not respond to the subpoena? And Gingrich says, well you send the US Marshall to bring them in, just like anyone else who ignores a subpoena.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          My 5th grade civics is a bit rusty (seriously). Does Congress have the right to call a judge to explain himself at all?

          • Mark

            Congress has the power of the purse and can defund a court eliminating say the ninth. And I would say that if subpoena is issued and ignored, it would seem to be within the rights of the other branches to have something to say about that. These are lifetime appointed judges who have shown no restraint on coming up with justifications to legislate from the bench by creating words not there and misuse of other amendments for their own imagination.

            I will be interested to hear what Mark Shea has to say as a solution to this problem and by what links does he indicated that the other branches do not have the power as outlined.

    • str

      Not commenting on the other statements about Gingrich either way but

      “Newt is an historian. He has read what the founders have written concerning giving to much power to the judiciary. ”

      Actually most of the “to [sic] much power” was not given to judges by the founders or the constitution but was assumed by the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court.

      Now we can either be fundamentalist about the Constitution as it was penned in 1787 and demand a return (but ackowledging amendments) or we can acknowledge that some things not explicitely written down have de facto became constitutional law.

  • Confederate Papist

    How is anyone surprised by this?

    More and more our liberties have been stripped away…our culture is being redefined and re-written, and all the plebes worry about is whether we have 3G or 4G iPhones, McNuggets (or we’ll call 911!!) or other free “candy”..whatever it is.

    And we think an election of “Not Obama” will fix this…not so much. Maybe it’ll slow it down, but Lord Sidious is around the corner, and after he exclaims “Unlimited Power!!!”, he will execute order 66. Funny how George Lucas ends up being an American political prophet.

    I could go on and on about how we’ve gotten here, but this is Mr. Shea’s blog, so in deference to him, I shall end my screed here.

    • Confederate Papist

      BTW…this is NOT an endorsement of Obama, or anyone in particular. I do advocate getting rid of the “Pretender” in Chief, but I am not excited with the current crop of wannabees either.

      • Timothy of Seattle

        It’s a sad commentary on the state of conservative political discourse that it’s necessary even for you to clarify that you aren’t supporting Obama, just because you happen to be making a serious criticism of the current state of the field. 🙁

    • Mark

      The election of “not obama” will be a massive improvement in getting the courts back in line. If Obama gets in, you will probably see the court filled with Kagan types rather than Alito, Roberts, Scalia, etc.

      If he gets in by some foolish ideas that not voting or throwing a vote away on someone who cannot possibly win under some third party, we are doomed and we will get what we deserve.

  • It’s important to understand that the bill is limited to people who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed or injured north of six thousand people (hence the limited sympathy for the bill’s primary objects), and members of “al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States” and those who give them material aid. These textual limits do no, of course, foreclose the possibility of abuse, but they do make clear that what people really fear isn’t application of the bill but abuse. That distinction is important because we must realize that a government that is venal enough to order detention of people beyond the textual perimeter of the bill would also be venal enough to do it even without the bill. Passing the bill gives government potentially needful authority while rejecting it does nothing to restrain the feared abuse of military detention.

    This fit of the vapors is inordinately silly, but I suppose that’s what happens when one relies on Greenwald for guidance. Greenwald was an obsessive Bush opponent who was canny enough to realize that his critique would be devalued if it evaporated on contact with the Obama administration; his doubling down is vivid demonstration of the observation that foolish consistency is the hobgoblin on small minds.

    • Forrest Cavalier

      Covered persons is defined as you state, but the executive branch gets to apply the definition to the facts, without exposing the facts and without judicial review. You become a Covered person by mere allegation, jailed because of the allegation, and you will not appeal the allegation.

      • But, but, Forrest…

        Surely you wouldn’t face an allegation unjustly! Only terrorists get accused of these things! We know that no one but terrorists get unjustly detained because, well, you’ve never heard of one of these detainees being proven innocent in their (non-existent) trials, have you? Don’t you trust your benevolent government?

        • str

          And of course terrorists and their helpers do not have basic rights. Everyone knows that because they’re “eavill”.

          Well, if they don’t, nobody has except on the grant of the government and only as long as government decides to infringe on them.

          It’s not merely the abuse, it’s the use that’s the problem!

      • Right—well, right to the extent that Hamdi isn’t to the contrary—but as I already said, a government that was corrupt enough to abuse military detention would be corrupt enough to do so without this bill. What peculiar and disjointed scruples the critics of this bill imagine their feared government to have!

        • Forrest Cavalier

          You ought to read more than the headlines, Simon. Every day there are stories to demonstrate that government is an imperfect human institution that corrects corruption and mistakes through public information, checks, balances, and judicial review. This extra burden on the executive branch is not optional if true justice is your object.

          Of course this happens now. A lot. It doesn’t take an entire corrupt governement. Well-meaning individuals make mistakes and there are those who are corrupt. Today, it gets corrected. Tell me how you will correct a mistake or corruption under NDAA.

          • Simon

            Read Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. It anticipates that question, and perhaps one reason why people are getting hysterical about this bill is because they simply don’t know the legal backdrop against which it’s enacted. This bill doesn’t need a provision for challenging a determination of combatant status because there is already a process for that.

    • Kirt Higdon

      Keep in mind that the Supremes in their Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project have already ruled that advising a terrorist organization to pursue its objectives by peaceful and legal means constitutes material support of terrorism. Combine this with the just passed bill and you have the pretext for indefinite detention of US citizens by the military for the terrible crime of advocating peaceful and legal conduct. Greenwald was right about Bush, is right about Obama and is right about the current Republican field. (He always points out that Ron Paul is the exception; he’s right about that too.)

    • Mark Shea

      Gotta love the “Greenwald is doing this out of hatred for Bush” theory. So insane that it might actually persuade a devotee of the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism. Greenwald is fiercely attacking Obama because he’s *really* fiercely attacking Bush. Yeah! That’s it! That’s the ticket!

      • Well, since the alternative—that he actually believes the nonsense he spews about first Bush and now Obama—is implausible, it seems the most likely explanation still standing. We have to pick between smart but duplicitous or honestly stupid. Which is a more charitable explanation?

        • Mark Shea

          The premise you have really failed to demonstrate in the face of the documentation Greenwald provides is that what he is saying is nonsense. You will make a fine lawyer for the regime, Mr. Rich. Enjoy the governship of Wales.

          • What he’s saying on this particular point is nonsense (or red herring) for the reasons given above. If what I’ve already said won’t convince you, nothing I can say will, and you’ll just have to submit to the lessons of experience: Since this is going to be law, how many years without the kind of abuses imagined by the critics will suffice to prove to you that the objections were ill-conceived? If the black helicopters haven’t picked you up by then, shall we have this conversation again in a year? Five years? Ten? How long will it take?

            • Mark Shea

              Five years after Roe, we did not have euthanasia. But we got there. You are an apologist for tyranny. You will make an excellent tool for the police state.

              • Okay, so your answer is that no number of years of experience will convince you that your ex ante speculation has been shown to be ill-founded? Karl Popper, call your office.

                Calling me an “apologist for tyranny” is absurd and suggests that you have absolutely no idea what real tyranny looks like—and on the day after real tyrant died, no less! Greenwald has been insisting that Bush’s measures created a police state for years; they didn’t, and this won’t change the pattern.

                • str

                  No, Bush measures did not create a police state. Bush had certain things done that were outside the law. Well, extralegal acts do not make a police state.

                  Obama and “his Congress” now makes them into the law, thus igniting a police state.

          • Spastic Hedgehog

            Be fair, Mark.

            It was the Attorney General’s position, not the governorship. 😉

            • Mark Shea

              My apologies. Simon will make a great AG. He won’t even have to go to the trouble of gathering evidence or making a case. Simply select people to be designated as enemies of the state. I wonder how many others out there are thinking about how to advance themselves in the New Order?

          • John

            Why does Wales have to be the dumping ground for the regime goons?

  • Anna

    Sure, but what is one to do? We can complain about it, write about it, alert others, but what is there actually to be done about the situation to prevent our own Dear Leaders from using their power?

    • Mark Shea

      Vote them out.

      • Mark Windsor

        Easier said than done when they keep giving us junk-candidates to chose from.

        • Mark Shea

          Then we find better candidates. They haven’t (yet) declared it a crime to vote them out.

      • You can’t vote people out, you can only vote other people in. And since that requires consensus from millions of fellow citizens who don’t necessarily share your views and premises, that requires a degree of compromise. Result? Compromise candidates, whom you’re likely to view as compromised candidates. I don’t like having to vote for candidates who support the death penalty in order to vote for candidates who oppose abortion, but that’s the reality of the situation. One must simply hold one’s nose and get over it.

  • “Fear is an evil worse than evil itself” – Padre Pio.

    I’m voting for Ron Paul. He’s the only candidate on either side who isn’t making foreign policy and “terrorism” decisions based on fear.

    • Will

      But if Ron Paul (as most people keep assuming) does not get the nomination (and the “news” media keep blanking him out, as they did four years ago), and he refuses to accept the Libertarian nomination, then….?

      • Then I probably vote for the least sucky one, which will be the GOP candidate. At least that way, the judges appointed will be mediocre rather than horrific.

        However, a lot of Ron Paul voters won’t vote if that happens. With the way our economy is already lurching, and the way our freedoms are being eroded, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Ron Paul or bust, as far as the future of our country, though.

  • Joannie

    I am reminding Catholic Voters that when it comes for voting for political candidates for President or any kind of governmental office is this: the five life and family issues have to come first before anything else including the economy or foreign policy. The five are 1.Abortion 2. Euthanasia. 3.Embryonic stem cell research 4. Contraception and 5.Same Sex-Marriage or relationships. That means that if a candidate is good on any other issue but fails to be against Any of the above issues, Catholics cannot vote for them. This means Ron Paul because he supports Same-Sex Relationships. Only if he were up against Obama could he be voted for as possibly the lesser of two evils. Please keep this in mind.

    • Mark Shea

      Paul does not support same sex relationships. He thinks its not the business of the state to meddle in marriage. I think he’s wrong since the state is supposed to protect the common good and the family is at the heart of that. But it’s false to say he supports same sex marriage. He supports a minimalist approach to the states involvement in marriage.

      • str

        Paul does not support marriage at all, he is an anarchist on this (and many other issues).

        But given that Paul’s election is unlikely to lead to a disestablishment of marriage and that under the given system he doesn’t object to “same-sex marriage”, he essentially support the latter.

        Elsewhere you argued that Paul’s election would not lead to his extreme views being made into law and that voting for Paul is hence only a vote against imperalist wars and the police state.

        I see a inconstistency in both positions: what is that counts? The candidate’s intentions or the consequences of him being elected?

        • Kirt Higdon

          Clearly Ron Paul supports marriage; look at his own. He believes it should be under the jurisdiction of the church and not the state and I suppose that is what you mean by him being an anarchist on the subject. I guess an anarchist is not just someone who wishes to abolish the state but anyone who thinks that any aspect of human life should not be subject to state control. Given what the state has done and continues to do with marriage and this is far from confined to the same sex abomination, I’d much rather see the church(es) in charge. A good start would be for Christian clergymen to refuse to perform civil marriages in order to make it clear that these are not real marriages.

          • Will

            Er, what do you mean by “refusing to perform civil marriages”? Clergy who happen to be town registrars or JPs on the side refusing to officiate in those capacities? Refusing to officiate for people who do not belong to their churches? Or refusing to have anything to do with “civil unions”? I thought that “civil ceremonies” were by definition without benefit of clergy.

            • Kirt Higdon

              In most European and Latin American countries, there is a sharp distinction between a church marriage and a civil marriage. There are two separate ceremonies and one may have one without the other. Often the ceremonies may be separated by months or even years. In the US, this is not the case. A religious minister is also the representative of the state and if you have a religious ceremony, there is no need to go through a separate civil ceremony to be considered legally married. Of course, you can opt for just a civil ceremony. The problem is that people tend to regard civil law as normative for any marriage. As long as priests and other ministers continue to act as agents of the state, this unfortunate confusion will continue to the detriment of true Christian marriage.

    • B.E. Ward

      Would you prefer a candidate to tell you they’re against all these things, then do absolutely nothing about it when they’re elected?

    • I am reminding Catholic Voters that when it comes for voting for political candidates for President or any kind of governmental office is this: the five life and family issues have to come first before anything else including the economy or foreign policy.

      Citation needed.

      • str

        Yes, and a noun is need too:

        “I am reminding ‘A’ that when it comes for [sic]! ‘B’ is this”

        Is what?

    • str

      I certainly do not approve of any support for Paul but by what authority* are you pontificating that only these five are non-negotiable?

      The five are not even on the same level: #1-3 affect basic human rights (and hence are not a “family” issue at all) , #5 “only” the continuance of a time-honoured institution).

      One item (#4) doesn’t belong in there at all – since when did opposition to contraception (which excatly means what?) is a must in a candidate receiving a Catholic vote?

      OTOH, instituting a dicatorship doesn’t seem to be that neglible either!

      *The is a church guideline for voting which teaches that in voting one mustn’t materially cooperate in evil. It even allows for voting for a candidate that supports one evil for proportionate reasons, providing that one doesn’t support him/her because of that evil.

  • He does not support same-sex relationships. He just supports following the Constitution. He says it is up to the states. That is true. It doesn’t mean that he supports it.

    • William

      If I run into one more Catholic who hasn’t bothered to do the research on Ron Paul and find out that his positions are the closest out there to being compatible with Catholic teaching I’m gonna scream! Don’t believe me? Spend $10 on his book “Liberty Defined” and see for yourself (well, assuming you’re well enough catechized to know). Do I agree with every single position of his? No, but he infinitely closer to the mark than any other candidate out there now or that I’ve ever run across.

      • He’s definitely following the Catholic principle of subsidiarity a lot more than any other candidate, though (IMO) he does go slightly overboard with it at times. Still, I’d rather a government that doesn’t do enough than one that tries to do too much. The private sector can (and naturally will) always pick up the slack for the former condition.

    • str

      It’s up to the states to introduce same-sex marriage doesn’t sound like a valid reading of the constitution any more than it’s up to the states to declare the moon made of green cheese.

  • Jack

    I think a quote from a Man from all Seasons is neccesary here regarding terrorists and their rights

    “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake! “

  • Joannie

    I was only speaking about a voter’s guide put out by Catholic Answers called the “Voters Guide For Serious Catholic” and in it it says Catholics cannot vote for any political candidate who supports one or all of the following-Abortion, Euthanasia, Fetal Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning, and Same-Sex Marriage. I heard Johnette Benkovic say on her radio program a few months ago that the life and family issues have to come before any other issue. I assume the voters guide came from recent Vatican guidelines that said LIFE comes before Liberty and Happiness. I was mistaken about contraception. Obama was elected by 54% of Catholics who said they were not “single-issue” voters and look what happened. The USCCB document “Faithful Citizenship” does not stress this enough as it should and this confuses the faithful who pick other the other issues.

    • No arguments from me that the things you mention are critical issues, but they are not the only “non-negotiables.” Any candidate that asks me to support something intrinsically evil (something the Dems do not have the market cornered on, by the way) doesn’t deserve the Catholic vote. Conspicuously missing from your list are torture and unjust war, both intrinsic evils.