Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
NYT: Bush wants dictatorial powers

By Eloquence in Media
Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 01:33:02 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

The executive order by George W. Bush to allow military tribunals against terrorists (as discussed in the earlier story "Military Trials for Terrorists") has provoked an interesting response by the New York Times. Under the title "Seizing Dictatorial Power", columnist William Safire has openly accused George W. Bush of turning the US into a dictatorship. This is a drastic change in tone. Is there also a drastic political change going on?


Some choice quotes from the article:

"Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Intimidated by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts."

(...)

"His kangaroo court can conceal evidence by citing national security, make up its own rules, find a defendant guilty even if a third of the officers disagree, and execute the alien with no review by any civilian court."

(...)

"At a time when even liberals are debating the ethics of torture of suspects -- weighing the distaste for barbarism against the need to save innocent lives -- it's time for conservative iconoclasts and card-carrying hard-liners to stand up for American values."

This editorial has gained TV and radio coverage outside the United States. Der Spiegel reports ("Tausche Freiheit gegen Sicherheit", "Exchanging Freedom for Security") that currently 1200 people are arrested in relation with the Sep. 11 attacks. If these people are not US citizens, could the executive order be applied against them? Safire seems to fear that. Similarly, 5000 people who entered the US with a student or business visa after Jan 1 2000 are now being investigated by the FBI, according to Der Spiegel. The magazine also cites the imprisonment of 110,000 Japanese after WW II. Other changes in law like the Patriot Act are also widely criticized.

Are these media overreacting (as other media will certainly assure us), or are people closing their eyes? Surely the use of terms like "dictatorship" is not yet justified, but if there is a shift in that direction, will it be noticed? Or will American society act like the boiling frog, not noticing each little step to slavery?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o "Military Trials for Terrorists"
o "Seizing Dictatorial Power"
o "Tausche Freiheit gegen Sicherheit"
o Also by Eloquence


Display: Sort:
NYT: Bush wants dictatorial powers | 139 comments (134 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Why so late ? (3.28 / 7) (#2)
by mami on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:04:17 PM EST

We had an article argueing about the same subject here .

I don't mind the subject discussing some more at all, but just wonder why you come with it now after this thing has been commented on in all major papers in the U.S. and in the TV media. I don't know if you are based in the U.S. or overseas and what access you have to U.S. based TV, but it's all over right now.

I actually was disappointed how long it took "Der Spiegel" to write something somewhat reasonable about the subject. And in general I am disappointed that the foreign media don't pick up on this subject. Especially as the Allied send over troops to Afghanistan themselves and the issue will become important for the Allies as well. Just look at the discussions about expanding the war against Iraq, I mean, one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to foresee major problems at all.



Yet Another Paranoid Article (YAPA) (2.23 / 17) (#4)
by 2400n81 on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:20:51 PM EST

Our government is run by people like you and me; I don't think George W. Bush is the only one guilty of overparanoia. We called for someone with sack to do something. As soon as Osama is dead and people get a little more level-headed about it, those people will be released and future historians will obsess over it and whine and moan about how stupid and primitive we are ... just like we do about previous generations... and they did about the generations before them... and so on, etc.

Ideas captured during the founding of the U.S., the so-called "Age of Reason", were designed in the time of muskets and the King of England disemboweling people in public squares. It's a little bit different now that a small group of people can subvert all government and wipe out hundreds of people en masse with an airplane, biospores, or a suitcase nuke.

I say we should send troops into Israel, create the new Palestinian state (e.g., the West Bank), and make the damn Israelis and the Palestinians behave since, no matter what sort of "spin" the government puts on it, we wouldn't be in half as much trouble with the Arabs if we didn't blindly back Israel when they committed their share of atrocities... it's a two-way street, here.

Paranoia? (4.40 / 5) (#25)
by kebernet on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:05:34 PM EST

I wouldnt classify this article as paranoid. Yes, our government is full of humans too, but just because 70% of Americans think tapping atourney client communication is OK right now, doesn't make it right. We should expect more from our leaders.

Ashcroft was a zealot when he was selected for AG. I'm scared even more now. Hell, there have been press conferences where I could almost hear him whisper "towel-head" under his breath. He is a religious zealot, and I don't trust him anymore than I trust Hamas or the Jewish Defense League.

There is no difference now, or 100 years ago. And just because we are threatened, doesn't mean we should wholesale abandon our freedoms. Remember, freedoms we have lost in wartime we seldom get back.

[ Parent ]
Not a good solution (3.25 / 4) (#44)
by andkaha on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 08:22:10 PM EST

I say we should send troops into Israel, create the new Palestinian state (e.g., the West Bank), and make the damn Israelis and the Palestinians behave [...]

I don't think you need to be that drastic. The only thing that USA needs to do is to stop providing Israel with money and military equipment (helicopters etc.)

Sending US troops into Israel would not only be stupid, it would be inconsistent as well. Other nations would start (or continue) to regard USA as a country that supports you until you're not interesting anymore, and then turns on you.

Also, sending US troops into countries is not the miracle cure for every conflict.

--
Remember RFC 1436?
[ Parent ]

People like me aren't crazy enough to take the job (4.00 / 2) (#93)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 10:57:43 PM EST

Anyone with severe enough personality problems to accept the office - much less go through the loss of dignity and integrity it takes to get nominated - scares the hell out of me.

Scared the hell out of some other people, too, which is why we have that pesky document.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
You should also mention... (4.41 / 17) (#6)
by demi on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 09:35:02 PM EST

that Safire is more or less a cheerleader for the Republicans here in America (for our friends from around the globe). He's the only staunchly conservative columnist at the NYT. He used to be a speechwriter for Richard Nixon, in fact. His history as a political writer isn't really that distinguished IMO, but his lonely position on those pages has made him highly visible. He has not been very critical of Bush, so when I saw this article (a few days ago) it surprised me too.



not really (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by gregholmes on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:42:02 PM EST

He's conservative enough generally to have the "conservative" label, but occasionally he'll get off on an odd tangent like this.

Then he wins the "strange new respect" award.



[ Parent ]
actually, really. (none / 0) (#116)
by Cropherb on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:39:18 PM EST

I was all set to give dear old Wm. another 'strange new respect' award, when I took a closer look at the piece in question, and noticed that Mr. Safire's proposed remedy for the military tribunal problem: simple incineration without trial for bin Laden, et al.
"The solution is not to corrupt our judicial tradition by making bin Laden the star of a new Star Chamber. The solution is to turn his cave into his crypt. When fleeing Taliban reveal his whereabouts, our bombers should promptly bid him farewell with 15,000-pound daisy-cutters and 5,000-pound rock-penetrators."
Lovely.

[ Parent ]
you make my point (none / 0) (#127)
by gregholmes on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:12:46 PM EST

Exactly. Yes, it is conservative to retaliate against those who attack us, and defeat them by killing them in the field. So there he is "conservative".

What is odd is that he doesn't recognize it that it would be equally acceptable and conservative to have a trial-like proceeding to decide what to do with a foreign agent who attacks our land. It extends a kindness and a civility that bin Laden does not deserve, and perhaps serves other purposes, without establishing a phoney precedent for "trials" for enemy soldiers and agents.

So Safire's outburst about the proposed tribunals is not conservative.



[ Parent ]
Terrible Things (1.86 / 23) (#7)
by daveq on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:36:48 PM EST

The United States is discriminating against people! Oh, wait. Those people are the enemy. The United States killed a few people! Oh, wait. We're at war. It's mind boggling how quickly people have forgotten the horror of September 11th. It's 'old news' now. The worst act of terrorism in American history is old news! What is becoming of us?

We're Gaining Perspective (4.40 / 10) (#8)
by SPrintF on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:51:06 PM EST

Dave, I understand that you're willing to sell your freedoms in exchange for the illusion of increased security. However, most of us cherish principles like due process and equal protection under the law. "What is becoming of us" is that we're recovering our sense of balance and realizing that Bush, Ashcroft, et al are exploiting a tragedy to increase their personal power.

I understand you'd like to live in a police state. But, Dave, most of us don't.

[ Parent ]

How much freedom can we allow? (1.77 / 9) (#32)
by daveq on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:50:48 PM EST

There must be limits on everything, including freedom. That's why we have government in the first place! Government insures certain freedoms while limiting others. It allows us the freedom to live, while denying the freedom to kill others. They allow us freedom of speech, but they grant patents on ideas and copywrites of books.

I don't want I police state, but there are certain things I do want. I, and I believe everyone else, want the security of waking up in the morning and not having to worry that I could be murdered. I want to know that I walk down the street without being afraid that my money will be stolen. I believe in the freedom to feel safe in my country. This is more important to me than my freedom to not be asked personal questions by the federal authorities. Maybe you have different priorities.

[ Parent ]
Have you lived with terrorism everyday? (4.42 / 7) (#36)
by ckm on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 05:30:47 PM EST

Well, I have.

You see, my father was an American diplomat in Europe in the 1980's. He was almost assasinated five times.

Reducing peoples freedoms is just about the worst thing you can do to eliminate terrorism. It makes it easier for people to hide (since the population is less aware of what is happening), it scares the society, and it doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything if they are determined.

Besides, in most cases, terrorism is a reaction to percieved injustices, including the restriction of freedoms. Most terrorist groups love to see these kinds of restrictions because it makes it MUCH easier to recruit people.

The best way to prevent terrorism is through tolerance, understanding and an increase in freedom through the removal of things like bias and discrimination. And practical measure help too, like removing trash cans. Do you still have trash cans in the streets of your city? Probably, because local authorities (the ones on the front line of any fight against terrorism) are clueless about what to do.

Chris.

[ Parent ]

re: How much freedom can we allow? (4.00 / 6) (#37)
by Perpetual Newbie on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 05:46:33 PM EST

I would not feel safe in my own country if the government could read my mail without a warrant or my consent, listen in to conversations between myself and my lawyer, hide evidence for any crimes which I might be accused of, or make me disappear for however long they wanted. Six months ago that last statement would have been laughed off as an exaggerated "slippery slope" argument, but it is exactly what is happening under Ashcroft. Once the general police start implementing the same procedures, they will be a greater threat to my freedom and safety than any gang of criminals around right now.

[ Parent ]
No more faith in government (4.00 / 3) (#40)
by vmarks on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:31:31 PM EST

Dave,

You want the government to protect you so that you can wake up feeling safe that you won't get murdered- I find it a little funny that you think the government can achieve that kind of security when they failed so spectacularly not long ago. It's a lot like having renewed faith in the tooth fairy, there's no good basis for it.

It seems that you want to give the government more control, when they deserve less. Well, sell out your own rights if you like, but don't surrender mine for me. My forefathers fought for them, so they must be more valuable to me.


[ Parent ]
Everything old is new again, and a crisis at that! (none / 0) (#139)
by A Trickster Imp on Sun Dec 30, 2001 at 09:57:29 AM EST

> "What is becoming of us" is that we're recovering our sense of balance and
> realizing that Bush, Ashcroft, et al are exploiting a tragedy to increase their
> personal power.

Much like the Clintons used the trumped up national emergency of a health care "crisis" to attempt to increase their personal power.

There's nothing new under the sun...






[ Parent ]
How would you like it if it was you? (4.50 / 6) (#10)
by delmoi on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:21:15 PM EST

Who were locked up, without access to a phone, in a hole for weeks without even being told why. And treated like shit by your jailers.

Couldn't happen to you because you're not a terrorist? Well, a lot of people locked up wern't either. One guy was held for 3 weeks and then released after a half hour of questioning. Suspected only beacuse of where he came from and what online service he used to book his flight.

Some of those people are not "the enemey". And they were on the soil of the united states. Which intitled them to protection under the constitution.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Oh dear, 3 weeks! (1.00 / 6) (#30)
by daveq on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:39:54 PM EST

As I said in response to another response to my response, I would be proud to spend 3 weeks in jail to help my country eliminate a name from the list of possible terrorists. The problem today is that people are so caught up in their own lives that they are unwilling to sacrifice inconvinience for safty. Thats why there are so many car accidents from people speeding to places because they don't want to be 2 minutes late. That's why the terrorists were able to hijack the planes in the first place. You can't expect that policman will arrest the guilty party every time.

[ Parent ]
3 Weeks (3.33 / 6) (#46)
by Amesha Spentas on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 08:31:34 PM EST

Dave, Have you ever been in Jail? If you had I doubt you would so easily be willing to spend three weeks there. You say you would be proud to spend 3 weeks in jail to help your country eliminate a name from a list of possible threats. But would you be willing to spend three weeks in another countries jail so that they can possibly eliminate their possible threat? Many of these people have no citizenship and this is not their country. They have come here on their assurance that they are willing to work or learn or just visit out country. They have not come to this country to be arrested, detained for weeks, just because their country happens to be Islamic and/or they booked a flight on AOL.

"You can't expect that policman will arrest the guilty party every time." No but the law did require that those arrested be released after a reasonable amount of time.
Now why do you think that our founding fathers found that so important that they had to explicitly state it?

Finally Dave, The biggest problem with these measures is that they do not prevent terrorists. The best we can hope for is to make it more difficult for them to perform acts of terror. But there is not a 1 to 1 ratio. If you have or create a government so willing to sacrifice individual freedoms for police protection, you do eventually end up with a police state. Police states tend to incite rebellion against oppressive regimes. Those rebellions then tend to use terrorist tactics or tactics that are labeled as terrorist to further their agenda. As a bit of a mental exercise try reading 1984 and adapting it to current developments and project what type of government you have in say forty years. You could write a book. You could even name it 2041.

Amesha Spentas

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

More than 3 weeks, your life. (3.66 / 3) (#61)
by theboz on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:57:32 AM EST

Your assumption of three weeks is based off of one incident, but there have been people imprisoned longer than that. Also, there is no guarantee that you would ever be released, since current law allows foreign detainees to be held indefinitely. That could technically mean a life sentence without ever going to trial. Of course, if you did go to trial, you might never know what you are accused of, and never see evidence to link you to it, as the current law allows against non-citizens. After the secret trial where you have no hope of defending your innocence, then you may have a secret execution and just become a statistic that may or may not ever be made public. Right now, non-citizens are faced with the possibility of this, despite the fact that the U.S. constitution claims that the rights therein apply to all people. If government officials can pass unconstitutional laws that can easily cause the execution of innocent non-citizens, then it could easily be used against citizens as well. In that case, when innocent civilians are suffering through unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, secret trials, and executions, then that would make the government acting in terrorism as much as al-qaeda or any of the other groups that do not respect human rights. The Patriot Act was passed very quickly in Congress, without even being read by the majority of politicians. They could just as easily pass something else that takes a further step against freedom.

Most people that are complaining about these steps are not in favor of terrorist organizations, but instead worried about innocents being harmed. You have to do what is necessary to potentially keep the least amount of innocent people from being harmed. When government officials cross over the line and start potentially harming a group of innocent people to go after an extremely small subset of criminals, then that is going too far.

Sorry if this post seems disjointed, I started writing it two hours ago and got a phone call that I just got off of and forgot some of what I wanted to say. In any case I hope you see that there is the potential for a lot bigger problem than just 3 weeks of solitary confinement and interrogation.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Am I not patriotic becuase I disagree with you? (none / 0) (#111)
by On Lawn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:25:43 PM EST

Who were locked up, without access to a phone, in a hole for weeks without even being told why.

Since they have access to their attourneys, and formal charges pressed I think they know why. Others were material witnesses, and have a rigourous criteria to meet to be held as such. These were argued before a judge before anyone was detained. And they still had access to their lawyers.

And they were on the soil of the united states.

Yes and no. You would think that the inalienable rights are inalienable for everyone. However, the constitution is to protect citizens, not people who invade our country.

I would expect a post rated so high to have facts. Instead all I find are hypothetical propositions based on mis-truths.

[ Parent ]

Discrimation, enemies. (4.00 / 4) (#21)
by valeko on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:59:35 PM EST

Unfortunately, the perpetrators and their assistants who carried out September 11th attacks are a relatively narrow group, assuming even that the people the Bush administration and the western world has proclaimed responsible have anything to do with it.

We're at war. The Bush administration is at war. According to the Constitution, only Congress has the power to formally declare war. WHO is at war, eh?

Discriminating against people of Middle Eastern and central Asian descent, who have absolutely no association with the narrow target group of "terrorists", does not constitute acceptable practise whether in times of "war" or else. The United States is discriminating against people - Arabs and others. Are these people all collectively the enemy? Where the hell does such a preposterous and criminal proposition come from?

Nobody has forgotten the horror of September 11th, but it's nice to see that there is somewhat of a backlash among the mainstream intelligentsia so-to-speak. Even relatively right-wing minded people like Mr. Safire have begun to question the rhetoric of the Bush administration, given that things have cooled down a little. Nothing is old news, and what is news is not really the issue.

"The United States killed a few people" is both a nauseating, simplified (but unfortunately typical) proposition and an understatement.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Rules For Survival (1.00 / 8) (#27)
by daveq on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:32:56 PM EST

The are a few approches to the world. You can say "Everybody is good and deserves the benifit of the doubt" as you suggest and hope they if someone shoots at you they miss. The problem is that if they have any sense, they don't miss (as we saw on 9/11).

If the government wanted to put me in jail for a few weeks to determine if I was a terrorist, I would gladly comply -- I would rather have terrorist-free streets than an anarchist society.

People keep using the excuse that Congress hasn't declared war as if it mattered. Who would they declare war on? What they want is bin Ladin, but he doesn't run a country. The taliban were a side issue -- they brought themselves into the war.

But the most important thing here is that you don't appear to have read the article. It isn't about discrimination against Arabs in the US, it's about Military Tribunals!

[ Parent ]
absolutely, dave (4.60 / 10) (#38)
by zocky on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 05:51:41 PM EST

Well dave, there are a few approaches to the world, or shall we call them world views? And this various world views tend to be held by various types of personalities. Your type of personality is called authoritarian personality and I'm sad to say, your world view is called (or is at least leaning towards) fascism.

Unlike many people, I do realise that this view is just as logical and valid as any other, but, like many people, I would not want to live in a country ruled by people of your sort.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Oh, okay. (3.60 / 5) (#53)
by valeko on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 10:25:53 PM EST

The are a few approches to the world. You can say "Everybody is good and deserves the benifit of the doubt" as you suggest and hope they if someone shoots at you they miss. The problem is that if they have any sense, they don't miss (as we saw on 9/11).

Yeah, all this stuff about right to equitable and humane treatment is garbage. Guilty until proven innocent. Or innocent until proven Arab, looking at recent events in which they've been isolated in their mistreatment.

If the government wanted to put me in jail for a few weeks to determine if I was a terrorist, I would gladly comply -- I would rather have terrorist-free streets than an anarchist society.

I don't think you have the most remote clue of what you're talking about. This is the stuff of totalitarian regimes and fascism. Putting people in jail to "determine if they're a terrorist" without even the faintest speck of evidence (if there is, how do we know?) is the road to an Orwellian world. Perhaps you would not object to this, but the overwhelming majority of people would not. Especially those who come to America to seek refuge from this exact sort of persecution in less politically fortunate areas of the world. They know what they're talking about, whereas you just spout naive Bushisms.

Who would they declare war on?

I would expect you to say that they've declared war on Afghanistan, since everyone there is a terrorist, including every single Taliban partisan and Afghan citizen.

But no, they haven't declared war on an actual government. Which brings about the question - what HAVE they declared war on? "Terrorism"? Ha. Seems like they have put themselves in a perfect position to justify war on almost anything under this broad criteria of "war on terrorism." Just look at the sudden revival of Iraq drumbeating. "War on terrorism"? My arse. "War on obstructions to American interests"? Sure.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Yeah, we're at war. (none / 0) (#135)
by ariux on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:15:19 AM EST

And that's changed the balance; but it hasn't eliminated the entire idea of having a balance. This is probably going to go on for decades. Do you want to live without institutions or political debate for that long? Do you want your kids to grow up in an environment where those things don't exist?

[ Parent ]

bill saphier == big conservative (3.58 / 12) (#9)
by delmoi on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 11:12:48 PM EST

This is big news isn't the content, but rather who's saying it. Saphier is a big conservative. One often quoted on the Rush Limbaugh show (I used to listen often when I was a kid, ok?)


--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
chuckle (1.60 / 5) (#13)
by tyronefine on Sat Dec 15, 2001 at 11:49:44 PM EST

Saphier is a big conservative.

William Safire is to the left of FDR. If he is known as a "conservative", well, that is merely a sign of the decadence of today's society. And, Safire's philosophy (if one can call it such) is incoherent and self-contradictory. That is the type of "conservative" who gets published in major newspapers.

[ Parent ]

hmm, no? (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by crayz on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:58:45 AM EST

From what I've read of Safire he doesn't seem like much of a liberal. Encyclopedia.com doesn't think so either.

[ Parent ]
eh, no (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by gregholmes on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:33:22 PM EST

Bill Safire is a Fred Barnes, a "conservative" that a liberal news organization keeps on hand to:

  • show how "balanced" they are
  • point to and say, "see, even you conservatives agree with us!"


[ Parent ]
A couple of observations and a question (3.62 / 16) (#14)
by mjs on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:02:43 AM EST

First the observations:

1. The Constitution says that only Congress has the authority to declare war. For whatever reason, they have seen fit not to do so. Therefore, whatever condition we may be in, legally it isn't war.

2. Someone who questions the wisdom or legality of decisions made by the President or Attorney General of the United States is not necessarily either a traitor or a fool. I seem to recall that disagreement is a prerequisite for reasoned debate.

Now the question:

Under what criteria did President Bush appoint Mr. Ashcroft Attorney General? Frankly, the man seems to me to be an illiterate thug with little knowledge of the law and even less respect for it. Cripes, he couldn't even win an election running against a corpse!

Sorry -- just venting. Ben Franklin, and all that. *sigh*

mjs

Re: A couple of observations and a question (3.60 / 5) (#20)
by RHSwan on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:46:57 PM EST

Well first, Congress gave the president the authority to do what is necessary to stop terrorism. Second, from what I understand if you take the entire part of the statement, not just a selective quote the statement wasn't that bad. I'm not saying it was great, just not as bad as what a lot of people made it as bad seem to be. As far Ashcroft's qualifications, he supposedly was a successful attorney general in Missouri. None of what has been done has been declared unconstitutional or illegal by the Supreme Court and these issues have been brought up before. As far as losing his Senate seat, he lost precisely because he ran against a dead man. His opponent was ten points behind when he lost and Mr. Ashcroft stopped campaigning when he died. His opponent was extremely popular and the sympathy vote was high. Add in the polls being illegally kept open after legal voting hours in heavily democratic areas (I won't go into the question of whether this effected the presidential race) and it is easy to see why he was not elected. Add in the question of whether a dead man can be elected Senator and Mr. Ashroft had plenty of grounds to contest the election but he decided not to. Personally, I question whether some of the steps taken are necessary or wise, but they are legal as of right now and these steps would have been strongly considered if not taken by any administration in office.

[ Parent ]
Use of the <p> tag helps (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by dachshund on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:58:19 PM EST

Add in the polls being illegally kept open after legal voting hours in heavily democratic areas (I won't go into the question of whether this effected the presidential race)

Don't even try to understand the electoral system in Missouri. Compare the funds that go into registration efforts and voting infrastructure between the City and the County and it's shocking. The reason the polls were held open late in the first place was because there were lines of people stretching around the block because the polling places weren't equipped to handle them.

In any case, the polls mishap was a disaster that probably affected both sides. I know of many St. Louisites who heard that the polls were being kept open late, postponed their voting to run errands, and were then informed that the polls were closing NOW. Not there? Tough.

His opponent was ten points behind when he lost and Mr. Ashcroft stopped campaigning when he died.

The sad thing is that we'll never know who would've won. But it certainly wasn't Ashcroft by a landslide. The only mention I saw was from the PBS newshour coverage of the election, dated Oct. 13th (Carnihan died on 10/16):

As far as the voters are concerned, this race seems to be giving off a lot of heat and very little light. Polls have shown the two candidates neck and neck since January. The two are now in a statistical dead heat, with about 40 percent each.


[ Parent ]
Well (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by gbd on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:05:25 AM EST

Add in the question of whether a dead man can be elected Senator and Mr. Ashroft had plenty of grounds to contest the election but he decided not to.

Why contest the election when you've been promised a prominent position in the Bush cabinet in the event of your loss? A seat in the Senate would have been a step down.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Illegal war == Executive Murder (3.00 / 6) (#23)
by badturtle on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 03:11:18 PM EST

Congress may have given the president the power to do as he sees fit to end the threat of terrorisim, but that doesn't make it legal. Congress doesn't have the power to delegate its powers to other bodies outside the legislative branch. In granting power to the president, they are breaking the most basic law of the land. Since the president has the power to execute war, but not to make it, any death involved in any U.S. military action that does not take place on U.S. soil should be considered murder. (The distinction being that there is no question of defense if it is in the U.S.) Murder is a felony, which is specifically mentioned in the Constitution as a condition for impeachment. Unfortunatly, there is a tradition of letting our leaders get away with murder. If there weren't, every president since Truman would have to have been impeached for it. Countless Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Somalis, Iraqis, Afghans, and many others have lost their lives because of executive murder, but there has never been a conviction or even a trial. The least that could be done is the repeal of the War Powers Act, but in a time of national crisis, (I refuse to call it a national emergency as we have never had a time in my lifetime when there was no declaration of national emergency) that is not likely. The best we can do is fight against Bush in the courts and legislatures until the next election when we can remove him from office and elect a person who believes in Liberty.

[ Parent ]
Legal War (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by wiredog on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 08:53:39 PM EST

If a State had carried out the attacks on the US, then war would have been declared. But since a State didn't carry out the attack, war could not be declared. Who would we declare war against? The precedent is the fight against the Barbary Pirates, and piracy in general. International law has a long set of precedents allowing this sort of "war".

In the case of an attack against the United States, there is no requirement that the President wait for Congressional authorization to begin shooting back. If the Canadian Hordes invaded Vermont during a Congressional recess, the President would not have to wait for all the Congressmen to get back to Washington and vote for a Declaration of War to defend the country.

One thing that is studiously ignored these days is that, in 1979, Iran committed a clear Act of War against the United States.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland
[ Parent ]

But if Iran were at war with us, that would mean (none / 0) (#92)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 10:50:25 PM EST

that Ollie North is a traitor.

And we all know that he's A Real American Hero.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Hee Hee (none / 0) (#104)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 08:15:19 AM EST

Yeah. But, seriously, Iran did commit an act of war against the US in November 79. It relates to the principle of extraterritoriality.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Why we haven't declared war (3.16 / 6) (#51)
by digsean on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 09:58:25 PM EST

Under wartime USA, the government is allowed to immediately strip all civil liberties away. Our government has not declared war because when the war is over, then the civil liberties come back. With what our government is doing, if we kill OBL tomorow, we have 4 years of hell (at least) in front of us.
Another reason for them not to declare war is because people would be on edge during war. Theres no way around saying that our country is at full out war. However we can dismiss what we are doing, which is arguable worse than any form of war, and keep people calm. This is what the government wants. They put a passifier in our mouths as they shove something pointy up our bottoms.

--Sean (sean@synclog.net) http://synclog.net aim:digsean

[ Parent ]
No (2.50 / 2) (#65)
by baseball on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:04:22 AM EST

"Under wartime USA, the government is allowed to immediately strip all civil liberties away."

No, that's not true. What's really happening now is what happens every time there is a war or similar crisis. In the Civil War, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus (a legal proceeding that let people in the Government's custody ask the Courts to free them). During World War I, Germans in America were discriminated against, and various laws restricting freedom of speech and expanding prohibitions on supposedly disloyal speech were passed. During World War II, much the same happened except Japanese were the subject of the discrimination. In each case, after the time of crisis passed, the limits on liberty were lifted, and the system righted itself. We're not on some slippery slope to dictatorship; our government is just overreacting as it always has. Unfortunately some people will suffer in the short term, but the system works and will be fixed in the long run.
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
Misplaced Concern (2.00 / 12) (#15)
by tyronefine on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:07:27 AM EST

Military trials for foreign terrorists do not make a dictatorship.

I'm much more concerned with all the "patriotic" double-speak that went on in the wake of 9/11. The chairman of the FAA talking about preserving America's famous, fundemental "right to fly" by ending curbside checkins, instituting random searches, and calling in the National Guard.

By the way, if you want to see what a real dictatorial president is, read up on Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Bill Clinton put up an honest effort; but I don't think he quite lived up to the standard set by the first two. (Of course, if WTC had happened under Billy's watch, we'd be under martial law right now--there can be no doubt.)

Concerning Misplace (2.42 / 7) (#18)
by plug on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:08:34 PM EST

Military trials for foreign terrorists do not make a dictatorship.

Do you realise how this bizzarre sentance undermines anything else you attempt to say?


"If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."Mikhail Bakunin
[ Parent ]

Instead of a witty dismissal... (1.66 / 3) (#19)
by John Miles on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:43:56 PM EST

... why don't you explain exactly how military trials for foreign terrorist suspects do make a dictatorship?

I honestly don't understand. It seems a lot of K5'ers don't really know what a dictatorship is. I guess that's a good thing.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

How about this (4.40 / 5) (#35)
by fenix down on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 05:22:57 PM EST

A dictatorship is when one guy (or a single, like-minded group, some would argue) has the authourity to carry out all aspects of government.

Normally, we have a couple hundred guys in three, theoretically seperate branches that share power.

The president is beyond the check of anyone else in the executive branch, and so that group is essentially a dictatorship. The executive branch is held in check by the other branches, which prevents the entire country from becoming a dictatorship. It needs the judicial to punish those who offend laws, and it needs the legislative to create new laws to punish people under.

In this case, the president signed an executive order, which means he made a law without the approval of the legislative branch. His order created a military tribunal, which allows him to exact punishment without the judicial branch.

This means that the executive branch, which is a dictatorship, can carry out all functions of government.

I know, the order only applies to foreigners, so the president is only a dictator to those who are not full citizens of the United States.

The other argument I see is that the president can still be impeached or voted out, but that doesn't mean he isn't a dictator. There can be democratic dictatorships, and dictators are not nesicarially bad. All being a dictator means is that you have control over all parts of government, which George W. Bush has, to a limited extent.

[ Parent ]

How do you know they are terrorists? (5.00 / 3) (#43)
by itsbruce on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 07:54:32 PM EST

That's what a trial is for, after all, to establish guilt or innocent. Until that point it's just "Military Trials of Foreigners We Don't Like the Look of"

You don't start removing people's rights on the assumption that they will be found guilty.


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.


[ Parent ]
"Rights" (1.50 / 4) (#64)
by John Miles on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:01:00 AM EST

You don't start removing people's rights on the assumption that they will be found guilty.

True enough, in the case of US citizens. But were you under the impression that foreign nationals have any Constitutional rights to begin with?

That's the part I don't get.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Now, I'm no Constitutional scholar... (5.00 / 5) (#68)
by brion on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:56:25 AM EST

But a quick skim through a copy of our nation's constitution doesn't seem to turn up anything that explicitly limits rights to citizens outside the realms of voting and holding federal office.

Indeed, the 14th amendment appears to specifically protect the rights of non-citizens:

... No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ...

(Emphasis added.) So what do you know that I don't?



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Why yes, as a matter of a fact ... (3.50 / 2) (#91)
by valeko on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 09:23:19 PM EST

... all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States are, supposedly, entitled to fair, humane treatment in accordance with the protection of human rights.

You are dangerously misinformed if you think otherwise, and the Bush/Ashcroft regime is relying on this general ignorance among the public in order to further its agenda. From where does the fearsome notion that non-citizens suddenly aren't entitled to anything come? There are tens of millions of people in the United States who are legal and legitimate permanent residents, students, temporary workers, refugees, and other kinds of non-citizens. Right now, they have a lot to be concerned about. That people like yourself would say such a thing only serves to prove my point.

On the other hand, being citizens didn't seem to help the Japanese-Americans during World War II, as well as many other groups that have suffered injustices throughout American history -- surprise, for the most part during wars.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Plank (2.50 / 2) (#72)
by plug on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 06:34:44 AM EST

A witty dismissal? Sorry but this sentance reads like newspeak tabloid jingoism to me. How can you have a trial for someone who's already been labeled? There is no such. Tyronefine obviously echoes the ignorant majority expecting anyone 'foreign' who has been taken for a 'trial' to be a terrorist before the military junta has completed it's kangeroo court. I don't really think such an obviously ignorant monkey post really deserves any effort applied in deconstructing his brainwashed psyche.


"If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."Mikhail Bakunin
[ Parent ]

This is really two questions. (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by valeko on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 03:05:29 PM EST

Military trials for foreign terrorists do not make a dictatorship.

Maybe. The concerns associated with this military tribunal plan are dual, and although you're headed in the right direction, you're confining yourself to only one, unfortunately.

1) Circumvention of judicial due process, public scrutiny, appeals, and other things outlined in various human rights conventions.

2) That under the pretext of 'terrorism', political opponents of the government which happen to be foreigners (there are tens of millions of foreigners who reside in the US and are not American citizens by any measure) can be put away using this mechanism.

After all, since the judge, jury, prosecution, and defense are secret, the evidence is secret, and the trial is secret - who is going to speak up about it?

The latter is the unspoken concern of most who speak out vehemently against this military tribunal idea, I believe. It's sort of implied, if you've ever read anything about totalitarian regimes or kangaroo courts at all - even a little.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Circular logic (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by dachshund on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:36:19 PM EST

Military trials for foreign terrorists do not make a dictatorship.

There's nothing wrong with tribunals for people who've already been convicted of terrorism.

Bill Clinton put up an honest effort; but I don't think he quite lived up to the standard set by the first two. (Of course, if WTC had happened under Billy's watch, we'd be under martial law right now--there can be no doubt.)

Remember when all the Clinton foes kept babbling about the "rule of law"?

[ Parent ]

Still relevant (3.71 / 7) (#17)
by John Thompson on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 12:00:16 PM EST

Although this article predates the Big Downtime, I feel it is still relevant. With coalition forces apparently closing in on the remainder of al-Qieda forces and presumably bin Laden as well, what implications does this policy hold? Already the EU is saying they will not extradite al-Qieda members or even bin Laden himself to the USA because of both the military tribunal policy and the death penalty.

extradiction treaty (4.00 / 3) (#41)
by svampa on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:42:45 PM EST

It is not a last month decision. Extradiction treaty between Spain and USA covers this, no prisioneer extradicted from Spain can be punished with death, and must be judged according with the rights of democratic countries. Some times Spain has allowed extradictions of people that are accused of crimes punished with death in USA, and USA has agreed not to kill them.

This is one of those cases, the difference is that in this case USA doesn't want to renounce death penalty and wants a military court, so demands Spain government to forget the treaty. Till now Spain gov is standing againsts USA pressure.

How long? will see in the next chapter



[ Parent ]
U.S. government contributes to terrorism. (3.76 / 13) (#24)
by Futurepower on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 03:44:39 PM EST


There is a pattern here. The U.S. government causes problems, then pretends to solve the problems by creating more problems.

I've collected links about this and posted them, with explanation, at What should be the Response to Violence?


Jeez, what was Safire's first clue? (3.50 / 10) (#26)
by Publius on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 04:26:54 PM EST

Secret tribunals? Domestic surveillance without judicial consent? Government infiltration of religious organizations? That high-pitched whine you hear in the distance is the sound of the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves. By the time Bush and Ashcroft (who, collectively, have the constitutional IQ of a sand flea) are through, you won't be able to tell this country from any other two-bit, tin-horn police state. I predict Bush's War on Terrorism won't end any sooner than November 4th, 2004.

---

This place is to writers what cock-fighting is to roosters: if you get out alive, you've had a good day.

But... I thought recycling was *good*... (3.50 / 2) (#54)
by Samrobb on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 10:43:46 PM EST

It must be, since my first Google search on "clinton administration secret trial" turned up this goody:

Clinton Terrorism Legislation Threatens Constitutional Rights

On February 10, 1995, a counterterrorism bill drafted by the Clinton Administration was introduced in the Senate as S. 390 and in the House of Representatives as H.R. 896... The legislation would:

  1. authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations;
  2. repeal the ancient provision barring the U.S. military from civilian law enforcement;
  3. expand a pre-trial detention scheme that puts the burden of proof on the accused;
  4. loosen the carefully-crafted rules governing federal wiretaps, in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
  5. establish special courts that would use secret evidence to order the deportation of persons convicted of no crimes, in violation of basic principles of due process;
  6. permit permanent detention by the Attorney General of aliens convicted of no crimes, with no judicial review;
  7. give the President unreviewable power to criminalize fund-raising for lawful activities associated with unpopular causes;
  8. renege on the Administration's approval in the last Congress of a provision to insure that the FBI would not investigate based on First Amendment activities; and
  9. resurrect the discredited ideological visa denial provisions of the McCarran Walter Act to bar foreign speakers.

The United States survived Bill Clinton, despite his best efforts. Compared to his attempts to extend governmental power, Bush and Ashcroft are frickin' Boy Scouts.


"Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment." Job 32:9
[ Parent ]
What's Really Scary (none / 0) (#75)
by Matrix on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 11:29:19 AM EST

Have you seen the interviews with "our brave men (and women) at the front" on CNN? Those are really terrifying. These people are absolutely convinced that they're doing the right thing, that there can be no questioning of the validity of their government's actions. And that they're willing to do anything to follow those orders.

And the interviews with officers are almost as scary. They actually say, when asked when the war in terrorism will be over, that they don't see a conclusion any time soon. One highly-placed officer, when asked if they'd be going after Saddam Hussein next, laughed and then made a comment along the lines of "Don't ask about that." It all just seemed wrong somehow...

I know its just CNN trying to make our troops look all brave and righteous, but there are unpleasant overtones.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Terrifying? (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by wiredog on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:43:32 PM EST

Remember that the soldiers are on camera, and don't want to be seen by their superiors being anything less than completely supportive. Also remember that soldiers, on duty and in uniform, don't have the same free speech rights as you and I. A few years ago a General (Air Force, IIRC) was forced to retire after he said some unfortunate things about President Clinton.

Does anyone claim that the war on terrorism will be over soon? Would you rather the officers lied and said "We'll be home for Christmas"? I suspect that this is going to be a replay of the cold war. Periods of relative peace, interspersed with occasional violence, going on for decades.

The Saddam Hussein thing is looking more and more like a psy-op. To convince him that attacking the US, its allies, or interests, would be a Very Bad Idea. The public support, in the US and abroad, isn't there to go into Iraq absent a clear causus belli. As long as he's contained the US, overall, is satisfied.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Selective reporting, more like (none / 0) (#106)
by sacrelicious on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:46:23 AM EST

What if there were, say, 100 US soldiers interviewed, and 90 of them said that they were tooth-and-nail against this military action, but the news agency (CNN, in this case) chose only the 5 who directly supported this action?

What would this look like to the unaware reader?...probably that all the US soldiers supported the war.

CNN has more reason to pander the the current police-state government than any US soldier.


[ Parent ]
A bit of "humor". (3.75 / 4) (#34)
by Lethyos on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 05:17:38 PM EST

Sorry, but I feel I aughta post it again. This time, it's enhanced to include the face of our Fuhrer!

http://www.mathcs.duq.edu/~silicon/hitcroft.j pg

earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath; fire, my spirit
Great minds think alike I guess... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by theboz on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:41:47 PM EST

I was mad one day and made this and this. However, since then I've changed my mind about Bush, I don't think he's really that bad of a guy...but Ashcroft definitely is one of the "evil ones" Bush talks about.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

hahaha.. Nice.. (none / 0) (#63)
by Lethyos on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 01:44:57 AM EST

I definitely like the first one. But I do agree. I don't think that Bush himself is the worst, just his cabinet and strong influence to act stupidly from advisors. That's why in my version, I only put his face on Himmler's body and left John "Adolf" Ashcroft to Hitler himself (with an oversized head to represet his excessive ambition. :) Kudos! Nice work. :)

earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath; fire, my spirit
[ Parent ]
Oh My God! (3.44 / 9) (#39)
by sakusha on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:09:42 PM EST

El Presidente Jorge Bush must really have screwed this world up bigtime, to get ME to agree with a Nixon-apologist like Safire!

Bush and Ashcroft (4.68 / 25) (#42)
by gbd on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:52:32 PM EST

Personally, I found myself (reluctantly) agreeing with Bush and Ashcroft on issues like the INS detentions and the military tribunals. Sure, there are some sources of concern to be found when you start opening up cans of worms like this, but this is wartime, after all, and we shouldn't be complacent when we can be assertive, particularly if being assertive can potentially save thousands of lives. Right?

Well, this is what I thought until Ashcroft made his much-vaunted appearance before the United States Senate and made a comment that was so frightening, so odious that it nearly knocked me off my feet. Paraphrasing: "Those who intend to frighten the country with phantoms of lost liberties are only undermining our unity, and they are giving ammunition to the terrorists."

What?

Excuse me, Mr. Ashcroft? Ex-fucking-cuse me?

Apparently, rational dissent and discourse is something that Mr. Ashcroft can no longer allow. There are lots of people in this country that have legitimate concerns about the actions of the government, and they come from all political persuasions. People from Ted Kennedy (out in left field) to Bob Barr (out in right field) have expressed displeasure with the way that the government is prosecuting the war on terrorism on the home front. And it's they're right to do so. Speaking out against certain government policies does not make a person "anti-American", and it sure as hell doesn't make them a "terrorist." They are exercising their rights (and some would say their duties) as Americans.

Somebody ought to remind old Mr. Ashcroft that if the original American colonists would have taken his current advice of "shut up and eat what your rulers are feeding you", there would be no America today. It is the duty of responsible citizens in a free republic to remain forever vigilant, and if people see policies that they disagree with, then by God it is their right to voice their concern. Ashcroft and Bush may not like this, but there is little they can do to change it. By and large, I support nearly everything that the current administration is doing to fight this war, but I think some of the statements that have come out recently have been indefensible. Let's not grab defeat from the jaws of victory by becoming the Taliban government that we've just decimated, okay?

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.

The war against free speech is well underway (4.20 / 10) (#45)
by theboz on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 08:28:06 PM EST

Apparently, rational dissent and discourse is something that Mr. Ashcroft can no longer allow.

And to think that this sort of thing has already been happening. The Secret Service seems to be investigating anyone who even mentions Bush or other high ranking politicians in a non-positive light, or has anything in their residence that might be making fun of Bush, like a poster. Even though most of the people being harassed by the Secret Service, FBI, etc are not being charged with any crimes, they are being generally harassed by these government organizations.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Get the quote right first (2.40 / 5) (#59)
by On Lawn on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:16:42 AM EST

"To those who pit Americans against immigrants and citizens against noncitizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve," Ashcroft testified. "They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of goodwill to remain silent in the face of evil."

The article this was taken from can be found at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11124-2001Dec7.html

In its origional form I think he's right. Its important to note that what we consider listless banter and words on a political forum like K5 can have dangerous side effects. So often we are like "Pizza Man" in "Death by Pizza" where what we think is harmless banter can give cause for desperate people to do awful things.

It is important to be careful and very accurate about discussing these matters. I'm not saying we should not discuss them, but I'm saying that we should take good caution in our facts before yelling "Fire" in a crowded building.

[ Parent ]
I said I was paraphrasing .. (4.75 / 12) (#62)
by gbd on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 01:19:43 AM EST

.. but in all honesty, I don't see the difference between the actual quote and the paraphrased quote. In fact, the actual quote is probably even more damning. Phrase by phrase:

"To those who pit Americans against immigrants and citizens against noncitizens .."

This makes no sense whatsoever. Ashcroft's critics are defending the immigrants and noncitizens that have been locked away by the Justice Department. How Ashcroft can claim that his critics are trying to cause conflict between citizens and noncitizens completely escapes me. If there's anybody that's trying to further this conflict, it's the DOJ. And, in passing, I should mention that the phrase "Americans against immigrants" is bizarre. Lots of immigrants are Americans (by which I mean citizens.) If this logic is to be applied universally, we arrive at the conclusion that the only "real" Americans are the Native Americans.

".. to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: .."

Phantoms of lost liberty? Ask any one of the people who have been wrongfully detained if their loss of liberty is real or imagined. Perhaps Ashcroft's definition of liberty only applies to non-swarthy full-fledged citizens. If this is the case, then so be it .. but Ashcroft should know that lots of people disagree with him. It's true that the people who have been detained are all (by and large) in violation of one statute or another, but the larger question is if a minor immigration matter can justify months of detention with no charges levied and no end in sight.

"Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve .. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of goodwill to remain silent in the face of evil."

Herein lies my major beef with Ashcroft. Apparently, the exercise of free speech is now a "tactic", and expressing concern about government policies is now the political equivalent of yelling "fire!" in a crowded movie theater. Doesn't it bother you that Ashcroft is openly accusing people like columnist Robert Novak and Representative Bob Barr (people who would under normal circumstances be 100% behind him) of "aiding terrorists?"

We've seen lots of things being bandied about lately, but this is probably the most disturbing. The general sentiment from the administration is that by golly, America is not capable of doing any wrong, and if you suggest otherwise, you're a terrorist. This is a dangerous sentiment indeed; once you've convinced yourself that you can do no wrong, it becomes very easy to justify things that you would have rejected out-of-hand under saner circumstances. Ashcroft and Bush need to realize that their actions are not outside the scope of scrutiny, and that they are open to criticism .. whether they like it or not.

America, in particular, has a long and treasured history of rational discourse and dissent. The freedom to openly question the actions of the government is one of the things that sets up apart from the rest of the world. I want to be clear on one point: I do agree with most of the actions that the administration has taken in recent months, including (with reservations) the establishment of military tribunals and the detention of INS-violating immigrants. But the administration's attitude (and, in particular, Ashcroft's) is way out of line. Trying to redefine our nation's time-honored tradition of constant and frank introspection as "terrorism" is something that freedom-loving Americans need to reject .. and reject loudly.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Little bo Peep, he is not a sheep (1.75 / 4) (#76)
by On Lawn on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 11:32:31 AM EST

The general sentiment from the administration is that by golly, America is not capable of doing any wrong, and if you suggest otherwise, you're a terrorist.

The general sentiment from the political wonderboys is that by golly America is not capable of doing any thing but take away liberties, and if you suggest otherwise you get rated down, huh.

Ask any one of the people who have been wrongfully detained if their loss of liberty is real or imagined.

Oh I see where your coming from. Where you claimed to be "agreeing with Bush and Ashcroft on issues like the INS detentions and the military tribunals" you were really just lying, or putting on sheeps clothing.

Instead your just a two bit pundit who doesn't know the difference between being wrongfully detained and an immigration violation.

The freedom to openly question the actions of the government is one of the things that sets up apart from the rest of the world.

Well, the Taliban at least. Many other nations encourage free speach also. But I've found that free speach full of hate-mongering lies is unproductive. I find taking Ahscrofts warning as censorship as just such a rhetorical fabrication.

Life has too many real problems to start building windmills for jousting practice.

[ Parent ]

Nope (4.50 / 4) (#82)
by gbd on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:24:24 PM EST

Oh I see where your coming from. Where you claimed to be "agreeing with Bush and Ashcroft on issues like the INS detentions and the military tribunals" you were really just lying, or putting on sheeps clothing.

No. As I've explained twice now, I agree (quite reluctantly) with these steps, though I have severe reservations about them. Where I disagree with Bush and Ashcroft is on the notion that Americans should keep their mouths shut and not engage in any scrutiny, debate, or introspection with regards to these matters.

Instead your [sic] just a two bit pundit who doesn't know the difference between being wrongfully detained and an immigration violation.

No, I'm a two-bit pundit who thinks that there are very real issues that result from holding a person indefinitely for apparent minor immigration violations, without pressing any kind of charges whatsoever. In the current climate and with the current threat of terrorism, are these actions justifiable? Probably, though we don't have to like it. What is not justifiable is the notion that anybody who dares to discuss these issues is a terrorist-by-proxy. Honestly, what does Ashcroft think? That Osama bin Laden is sitting somewhere in an Afghani pile of rubble, cackling wildly to himself? "Haha! The Americans are engaged in a policy debate! The Great Satan has fallen!"

But I've found that free speach [sic] full of hate-mongering lies is unproductive.

Oh, jeez. Hatemongery now? Let's take a look at the list of labels that have been applied to those who dare to disagree with the current administration:

  • underminers of national unity
  • aiders and armers of terrorists
  • hatemongers
Anything else you'd like to add? Might I suggest "Communists?" If you can point to anything that I've said that qualifies as "hate-mongering", I would sure appreciate it.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]
Censoring Opponents with misunderstanding (none / 0) (#85)
by On Lawn on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 07:08:31 PM EST

If you can point to anything that I've said that qualifies as "hate-mongering", I would sure appreciate it.

Happy to ablige...

...Apparently, rational dissent and discourse is something that Mr. Ashcroft can no longer allow.
...Where I disagree with Bush and Ashcroft is on the notion that Americans should keep their mouths shut and not engage in any scrutiny, debate, or introspection with regards to these matters.
...Perhaps Ashcroft's definition of liberty only applies to non-swarthy full-fledged citizens.
...What is not justifiable is the notion that anybody who dares to discuss these issues is a terrorist-by-proxy.

No where does Ascroft illegalize anything, no where does he even say that he "does not allow it." In your words that is not only a wrong statement but it is propagandist. To elaborate, it is distorted in such a way as to constitutionaly yell "Fire".

I'm all for calling for a constitutional emergency, but you have to get your facts straight before that. You are simpy taking Aschrofts blanket rebuttal of his detractors, and stretching it into a constitutional crisis.

As Ascroft mearly points out that some peoples political grandstanding is aiding terrorists. That is something that I think I'll let time decide personaly, never the less it is not censorship.

Perhaps you've also read that Mossad agents are among those who were detained. Remember that Al Copone was not sent away on murder but simple Tax Evasion.

[ Parent ]

Okay (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by gbd on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 11:43:19 PM EST

Happy to ablige [sic] ...

You should take your Hatemonger Meter into the shop and get it adjusted, because you've got an awfully low threshold for hatemongery. In an article where you've got people accusing Bush of being a Nazi and people posting links to pictures of Ashcroft's head grafted onto Hitler's body (both of which are examples of juvenile and unproductive behavior), it seems pretty ridiculous to classify a bit of harmless sarcasm as "hatemongery."

I'm all for calling for a constitutional emergency

Who is talking about a constitutional emergency? Certainly not I. All that I am saying is that some of the things that Bush and Ashcroft have done in the post 9/11 era most certainly skirt the boundaries of constitutionality, and they are worthy of discussion. There's no constitutional crisis here, and there never will be as long as we keep these people under constant scrutiny. There's not going to be a constitutional crisis because the people will not allow Bush and Ashcroft to create one. The mechanism by which this will be accomplished is the free and frank discussion and exchange of ideas that Ashcroft would like us to stop participating in. I regret to inform the Attorney General that this will not be happening anytime soon.

You are simpy taking Aschrofts [sic] blanket rebuttal of his detractors, and stretching it into a constitutional crisis.

As I said, there is no "constitutional crisis" that I can see. And with all due respect, I don't see how "stop criticizing me, you're undermining the country" can serve in any way as a "rebuttal."

As Ascroft [sic] mearly [sic] points out that some peoples political grandstanding is aiding terrorists.

All right, I'll bite. When somebody like (for example) Bob Barr (R-GA) expresses concern about how President Bush may be taking the powers of the Executive Branch too far without the consent of the Congress, how does this "aid terrorists?" Be specific. I'm not looking for some nebulous, namby-pamby non-answer like "it erodes national unity." How, precisely, does an expression of concern such as this one aid the efforts of, say, an al-Queda sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany? How does it, say, help Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan? I'm looking for concrete ways in which this policy debate can aid terrorists. Inquiring minds want to know.

Perhaps you've also read that Mossad agents are among those who were detained.

What does this have to do with anything? :-)

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

You've put your suit back on. I like the style. (3.00 / 2) (#101)
by On Lawn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:40:17 AM EST

Now that we've lost the "Ashcroft is censoring us" nonsence we have a lot to agree on.

All that I am saying is that some of the things that Bush and Ashcroft have done in the post 9/11 era most certainly skirt the boundaries of constitutionality, and they are worthy of discussion.

As long as you mean that they should have their facts straight I am 100% in agreement.

There's no constitutional crisis here, and there never will be as long as we keep these people under constant scrutiny.

I never rule out that there couldn't be, but within reason from what I've read I agree with you entirely. I completely agree that we need to keep watching also and check out allogations when they arise. I hope you have found this discussion as meeting these requirements.

The mechanism by which this will be accomplished is the free and frank discussion and exchange of ideas that Ashcroft would like us to stop participating in.

Actually, I think as long as they have their facts straight that he would not mind at all.

I don't see how "stop criticizing me, you're undermining the country" can serve in any way as a "rebuttal."

I see that is where we might differ. I didn't read the words "Stop critisizing me" in anything he said. He gave a warning that I will discuss a bit further where it is appropriate, but he never said "quit", "stop", "cease" or "desist" or anything like it.

All right, I'll bite. When somebody like (for example) Bob Barr (R-GA) expresses concern about how President Bush may be taking the powers of the Executive Branch too far without the consent of the Congress, how does this "aid terrorists?"

Of course you really don't expect me to fall for this do you? Its an obvious setup. You can't even prove that this occurance *is* what Ashcroft was talking about. If you show me the relevance then maybe you'll answer your own question. Until then I do think that the essence of the question deserves a response.

I have nothing against the discussion asked for by the senator from Georgia. I do not see it as weakening the resolve of this country. I see him as someone who is responsible in how he goes about disagreeing. I see him as someone who understands what his words could do, and is very responsible with them.

If I were a terrorist, and my cell partner was arrested under immigration violations, I would welcome greately many of the exagerations and outright lies that have been lambasted at the white-house.

"Ashcroft has illegaly detained them." Well no he hasn't. It was all rather legal. But lying about it would not only knock down the government support. It may goad them into freeing my terrorist brother so we can finish our plan. Granted it is not everyones case, and in no case is illegaly detaining someone warranted on profiled suspicion. But that is simply not happening here. Ashcroft is flirting with a line, and maybe snuck across a few times. But to my satisfaction he has not passed it.

"Ashcroft is censoring me for saying he is illegaly detaining people." Well that is a lie propped up by another one. I would welcome greatly the peoples stewing emotions against their government created by such lies. I would welcome how it brings my brother one step closer to gettin g out, not becuase he is innocent, but becuase popular pressure built on lies brought him out.

I do take notice of your efforts to quelch a reasonable and valid response with a marked ad-hominem. As I recall your quote is "I'm not looking for some nebulous, namby-pamby non-answer like 'it erodes national unity.'" Unity is a major concern in war time. It gives rise for sabateurs and traitors which are arguable the most damaging thing that can happen in an army. The Senator from Georgia knows this already. I wish more people on k5 did. For a crash course in such doctine I suggest they watch "Death by Pizza."

Now let me be very specific and clear about this. I am for voicing dissent, and to some measure even in war time. I do not tolerate insidious propaganda lies and half-truths generated by people within our nation that weaken our fabric in a time of need. There is no use for them. There is no reason to protect the efforts of those exposing their discredit by claiming censorship.

[ Parent ]

But the essence... (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by valeko on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:37:07 AM EST

No where does Ascroft illegalize anything, no where does he even say that he "does not allow it."

Indeed, that would be rather untactful. I think Ashcroft has enough of a head on his shoulders to understand that if he were to personally illegalise or disallow anything, that would be quite the "constitutional crisis". It is unnecessary.

How do we know Ashcroft hasn't illegalised anything de facto? If you can send people to secret military trials with secret evidence, and secret proceedings, how do we know that they're suspects of "terrorism"? What IS terrorism? If trials by military committee are allowed for non-citizens suspected of terrorism, by executive order, does it matter what Ashcroft has illegalised or disallowed? Obviously the issue here is actions, not words.

You are simpy taking Aschrofts blanket rebuttal of his detractors, and stretching it into a constitutional crisis.

Ashcroft has the liberty to say what he pleases.

The actual institution of military trials for "suspected terrorists" is most certainly a constitutional crisis, however. It is a violation of the Sixth Ammendment.

As Ascroft mearly points out that some peoples political grandstanding is aiding terrorists. That is something that I think I'll let time decide personaly, never the less it is not censorship.

Touche. Perhaps opposition to the Bush administration will be terrorism now. How do you know? You don't. You can just infer from what Mr. Ashcroft has said, which is a very delicate matter.

I fail to see how academic discourse on the subject "aids terrorists", but apparently Ashcroft isn't as myopic as I am.

Perhaps you've also read that Mossad agents are among those who were detained.

Well gee, that just validates and justifies liberty-limiting measures, doesn't it ...


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Lets get one thing straight (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by On Lawn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:05:03 AM EST


Military Tribunals have nothing to do with Ashcroft. It is a military issue, not a department of justice issue.

[ Parent ]
You've got to be kidding... (none / 0) (#120)
by valeko on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:59:05 PM EST

Military tribunals might not have anything to do with Ashcroft. But when they're substituted for civilised justice in order to circumvent the same, are you telling me the Justice Department has no role in this?


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#121)
by On Lawn on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:33:57 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Despite... (4.50 / 2) (#107)
by CaptainZapp on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:54:03 AM EST

...the fact, that I disagree with most of the measures implemented by the administration (kangoroo courts, detention of foreigners), I think you're dead on!

There's that one remark that I find rather disturbing though, and which I'd like to point out. You might perceive it as a technicality really, but it's somewhat insulting to every non-USAian living in a civilized country.

The freedom to openly question the actions of the government is one of the things that sets up apart from the rest of the world.
Again one of those statements indicating, that America is better, more advanced, has more material goods and more freedom then the rest of the world.

You are implying that outside of (north-)America there is no such thing like a right to criticise the government. I don't know where you get that information, but you're dead wrong.

Questening the governments actions and speaking your mind is not a US only exclusive. What probably is, is the right to distribute materials on how to build bombs, how to cook methamphetamine (this might have changed by now) or hate speech in general. This is illegal in most European countries. Granted, it's not easy to draw a line, but I don't really consider it significantly advancing for a free society, when schoolkids can look up how to cook meth.

Au contraire I see a lot of the cherished "free speech" disolving rapidly in the US. Killed by political correctness, sacrificed to business interests (which are generally valued higher then individual freedom in the US), or attacked by fundamental politicians who believe that the KKK is OK, but that kiddies must be protected from images of naked bodies.

I agree however that the rhethoric (who's against us is a terrorist) is frightening. Not only for Americans.

[ Parent ]

So Bush is pro-terrorism? (4.33 / 3) (#74)
by JonesBoy on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 10:48:31 AM EST

You repeated Ashcrofts quote from 12/1
"To those who pit Americans against immigrants and citizens against noncitizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve," Ashcroft testified. "They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of goodwill to remain silent in the face of evil."

Well, Bush's first speech about the 9/11 situation included this:
"Our nation faces a threat to our freedoms, and the stakes could not be higher. We are the target of enemies who boast they want to kill -- kill all Americans"

Let me also remind you about Bush's definition of a terrorist,
"the term 'terrorism' MEANS AN ACTIVITY THAT (i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and (ii) APPEARS TO BE INTENDED (A) TO INTIMIDATE OR COERCE A CIVILIAN POPULATION; (B) TO INFLUENCE THE POLICY OF A GOVERNMENT BY INTIMIDATION OR COERCION; OR (C) TO AFFECT THE CONDUCT OF A GOVERNMENT BY mass destruction, assassination, KIDNAPPING, OR HOSTAGE-TAKING"

My emphasis of course. Taking all of the scare tactics, non-congressional declaration of war, 1,200 imprisoned people in this nation, and the rest of the political events, I believe Bush has deterministically categorized himself as a terrorist. I severly doubt he will get a Kangaroo court date any time soon, though.

Gotta admit, this is a LOT more entertaining than the Clinton era.


Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
K5 Political Banter game (3.00 / 1) (#77)
by On Lawn on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 11:45:55 AM EST

I'm glad you ug up the definition of terrorism but I'm affraid it is misapplied.

1) The number is less than half who have been detained by the Justice Department.

2) Military tribunals are not part of Ashcrofts department.

3) The definition of terrorism and war are probably pretty close. And if so, if someone declares war on us, starts using guns and killing, responing in like manner is warranted.

Gotta admit, this is a LOT more entertaining than the Clinton era.

Also, what Clinton did was horrendous not entertaining. I also find civil rights violations to be horrible. Its just those kind of word games that I was speaking against in the first post.

Some of us on this forum want actually fix problems and work for a better tomorrow. Sometimes that means questioning people who question the government. Sometimes that means being fair and pointing out errors. But honestly I'd rather be discussing how to solve problems than check out the story pf every two bit pundit crying wolf.

[ Parent ]

What?? (4.66 / 3) (#95)
by JonesBoy on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 12:26:25 AM EST

It is not misapplied! That was Bush's definition of terrorism from a recent executive order. My point is that Bush and the gang are creating a frenzy, warning of impending doom, and then calling their detractors extremists! Right now, Bush is using his media influence to coerce the people into relinquishing civil rights, and changing established government policy. This is terrorism according to his own definition.

Who declared war on us? Last I checked, nobody took responsibility for the 9/11 events, much less declared war on us. I do however remember congress passing a near uninanomous vote to let the president do anything he wanted to resolve the situation. Like us declaring war (sort of) on Afganistan. Only one woman voted nay, because she feared knee jerk legislation.

I hate to break it to you, but this is just a news website blog, populated by people with some common interests. It is not a roundtable discussion at a political parties' steering committee. I don't see how your post here is "working for a better tomorrow" or "fixing a problem". I don't even see how your points #2 and #3 apply to anything I said.

My comment about Clinton being entertaining was to lighten things up a bit. I did not want people such as yourself believing my declaration of Bush as a terrorist to be real. It seems this escaped you. Then again, compare Clinton to Bush. Clinton weakened the standards we hold our presidents to. Bush is weakening the role of the judicial branch in the role of overseeing the actions of the executive and legislative branches (patriot act). We are talking about a reduction in our protection form tyranny versus a blow job. Come to think of it, watching Clinton being evasive on stand IS entertaining in comparison. Whats going on now is scary. And how are most people responding, by good ol flag waving jingoism. Thats why I like it when people start questioning the government. In doing so, they develop an interest in it (government), and start to develop a better knowledge and awareness of it. It is places like this where people learn about their government (and other governments), not refine strategies like you imply. (generally)

Just so you know, I do not agree with the article that this thread is linked to. My motivation was the Ashcroft quote. It was a good line, but it did not belong coming out of that mouth. It infuriated me when I heard HIM say it.

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
yick (2.33 / 3) (#98)
by On Lawn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:51:23 AM EST

Last I checked, nobody took responsibility for the 9/11 events, much less declared war on us.

So what are you saying. No one is responsible for September 11th? We shouldn't be trying to find out? Osama bin Laden did not declare war on the US?

I hate to break it to you, but this is just a news website blog, populated by people with some common interests.

Politics seems to be one of those interests. For some it seems to be political fear-mongering and mud slinging. For others it is a discussion and information forum to help bounce political ideas and agendas around.

I don't see how your post here is "working for a better tomorrow" or "fixing a problem".

My point is that it wasn't either. I'm actually dissapointed that I have to sift around through chicken-little this and wolf that as much as I do in a information forum. But it is a good forum for jewels, and tidbits of wisdom and news. I like this place, even if some people don't know the difference between war and terrorism.

[ Parent ]

You have a strange interpretation of things (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by JonesBoy on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 11:58:01 AM EST

>So what are you saying. No one is responsible for September 11th? We shouldn't be trying to find out? Osama bin Laden did not declare war on the US?

Read. I said nobody took responsibility. Except, of course, the people on the planes. Osama's name was mentioned by the media within an hour of the crash. Thats assumption, not investigation. I'm all for investigation. I am against witch hunts and red scares. Even the news admits that OBL is currently being sought over a previous terroist incident which we have evidence of his involvement. There is no released evidense that shows OBL had beans to do with this one. Prior knowledge, yes. Planning and financing, not yet and perhaps never.

>I like this place, even if some people don't know the difference between war and terrorism.

Keep reading. Someday you will be able to make this distinction.

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
yick2 (none / 0) (#117)
by On Lawn on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 02:32:26 PM EST

Read. I said nobody took responsibility.

You also said

...much less declared war on us.

Which is obviously incorrect. Lets not let that pass by so quickly. After all that is what warranted my response.

The following I agree with...

Osama's name was mentioned by the media within an hour of the crash. Thats assumption, not investigation. I'm all for investigation. I am against witch hunts and red scares.

However you base your own *assumptions* on this one point that is incorrect at best, bold faced lying at worst.

There is no released evidense that shows OBL had beans to do with this one.

Perhaps you mean there is no publicaly released evidence, if you argue that ObL mentioning that during the planning he was more optomistic than all of them to be mearly "prior knowledge" and not a part of the planning and financing. I'll accept such an arguement on the grounds of fairness to ObL in case he is sent to a trial. I believe the benefit of the doubt should be extended.

However you did not say publically released, you simply said there "...is no released evidence." That is not true, evidence has been released by the US to the satisfaction of all who have seen it. Evidence has even been independantly dug up and corroberated by Russia, and released.

But, in the end we were discussing the difference between terrorism and war. I note that your comment "Keep reading. Someday you will be able to make this distinction" is a simple misconstruction of reality along the same lines of "I know you are but what am I" as said by pre-schoolers.

I mark that you have attempted to justify calling Bush a terrorist becuase of three different mistruths all of which come from your posts. Three Mistruths

1) No one declared war on the US. I see where if this holds you would have justification for saying there is no difference here between war and terrorism, becuase there is no war.

You may even want to support it with the fact that congress has not declared war on anyone. That is insufficient since congress is needed to declare war on states, and in as much as the president has needed congressional approval for military actions he has gotten it. It is a war on terrorism, isn't it. Has the media ever said otherwise? Has congress ever said otherwise? Has the President ever said otherwise?

2) No evidence has been released that points to ObL. This is discredited above, so I won't repeat it here. It however must hold that ObL is innocent of these attacks and others if we are to believe that the US is commiting terrorism and not a retaliatory attempt to bring them to justice.

3) Bush is using his media influence to coerce the people into relinquishing civil rights Ashcroft has the right to rebutt the comments made, and there is no room for mistruths in free speach. Ashcroft is not dissallowing any speach or even impeding it with calling people who disagree with him as extremists.. Ashcroft is pointing out that in a situation like this, the misconceptions used to fuel these arguements have much more deadly concequences.

[ Parent ]

I am still missing something (none / 0) (#124)
by JonesBoy on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 11:14:44 AM EST

>Which is obviously incorrect. Lets not let that pass by so quickly. After all that is what warranted my response.

Just tell me what country declared war on us, and when.

>ObL mentioning that during the planning he was more optomistic

You inserted the "during the planning". He just said in the infamous ObL tape that he 1) found out the date of the event two weeks prior and 2) calculated high fatalities. This isn't hard to calculate, at least for the crash. He never said he was involved in the planning either.

>Evidence has even been independantly dug up and corroberated by Russia, and released.

Thats news to me, and I would love to see it. Do you have a link?

Your point #1: Presidential military action is not necessarily war. Yes, the prez can have limited time military engagements, but he does not declare war. Are you telling me that "war on terrorism" is a formal declaration of war? Hmmm. Is the war-on-drugs a real war? War has several definitions. One is a formal declaration of agression against a nation or state. Another is a state of hostility, struggle between opposing forces. That thing that happened ~40 yrs ago with Germany and Japan. Thats the first one. War on drugs, thats the second. The war on terrorism is also the second. Its figurative. Who exactly did we declare war on? Terrorists is kinda vague. Many would argue that the US is a terrorist country (think S. America). When will we start carpet bombing D.C.? Bush also said we were going to 'eliminate evil'. Rumsfield had to mop that one up the next day by telling reporters that eliminating evil was "not completely feasable" Bush seems to like figurative speech.

2) I discredit your discredit above. Heres a link for reference to the transcript http://cryptome.org/ubl-tape.htm

3) Why is it whenever I specifically mention Bush, you counter with Ashcroft? Ashcroft did not specifically state that people had to cease and desist all non-federally approved thoughts; he is not a moron. Add all the 'watch what you say' and 'for us or for terrorism' crap up, and it does sort of imply this. You can call what people are doing yelling fire in a movie theater, but there are some children playing with matches in the back row. My main gripe is the Patriot act, how it was passed, the lack of debate, and media coverage. It supresses many rights, has been promoted as the solution to our problems, and is supported by a public that has no idea what it covers. People seem to blindly accept whatever congress throws out them, without looking at what they are getting. Pretty sad.

I think our disagreement here stems from the definition of war, and how it is declared. I do not believe an act of hostility is the declaration of war, especially a terrorist one. Take a look at other countries that deal with terrorism. They do not accept terrorism to be a formal declaration of war.

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
yick3 (none / 0) (#129)
by On Lawn on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:51:43 PM EST

Just tell me what country declared war on us, and when.
War has several definitions. One is a formal declaration of agression against a nation or state. Another is a state of hostility, struggle between opposing forces....Bush seems to like figurative speech. --you
I do however remember congress passing a near uninanomous vote to let the president do anything he wanted to resolve the situation. Like us declaring war (sort of) on Afganistan. --you
You inserted the "during the planning". He just said in the infamous ObL tape that he 1) found out the date of the event two weeks prior and 2) calculated high fatalities. This isn't hard to calculate, at least for the crash. He never said he was involved in the planning either.
I'll accept such an arguement on the grounds of fairness to ObL in case he is sent to a trial. I believe the benefit of the doubt should be extended. --me
However you did not say publically released, you simply said there "...is no released evidence." That is not true, evidence has been released by the US to the satisfaction of all who have seen it. Evidence has even been independantly dug up and corroberated by Russia, and released. --me

Take a look at other countries that deal with terrorism. They do not accept terrorism to be a formal declaration of war.

Britain, Israel, Russia all send troups against organizations outside of their lands that commit terrorist acts on their soil. Anyone in particular you were thinking of?

I discredit your discredit above.

You think highly of your arguments I'll grant you that. But you only discussed a point I had already conseded on the tape evidence, and asked for a link to the Russian corroboration which I added when I had to requote the same line.

My main gripe is the Patriot act, how it was passed, the lack of debate, and media coverage. It supresses many rights, has been promoted as the solution to our problems, and is supported by a public that has no idea what it covers.

What is the Patriot act, and how does it take away our civil rights? This is new to the debate, and I want to see where this is going.

[ Parent ]

Anti-American (2.00 / 7) (#69)
by yearofthedragon on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 03:46:22 AM EST

'Speaking out against certain government policies does not make a person "anti-American"'
If Bush thinks that America is the government, he is right:
Speaking out against government is anti-American.
But then USA is not a democracy, it's a dictatorship as many other countries of the world.

-= If you fight Dragons long enough, you will become a Dragon =-

[ Parent ]
Dictatorship (3.33 / 3) (#73)
by wiredog on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 08:26:58 AM EST

That explains why Rusty is in jail for allowing unamerican views to be expressed on his website and Streetlawyer has been arrested and shot! Right?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland
[ Parent ]
Bush == Hitler (2.57 / 19) (#48)
by Desert Fox on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 08:57:37 PM EST

Bush's ability to get away with this without a large public disapproval seems remarkably similar to Hitler's rise to power...

  • Taking advantage of a bad situation (Hitler: Depression; Bush: 9-11-01).
  • Originally thought to be a moron.
  • Gives "good" reasons for doing things (Hitler: Sudatenland; Bush: Freezing of certain charity funds).

Maybe not all that similar, but there are some rather disturbing similarities. Not helped by the fact that we have a slightly bigoted Attorney General.



-----
"How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?" -- Charles De Gaulle
i don't think so (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by Delirium on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 09:18:18 PM EST

Of course it's unlikely Bush will advocate the killing of Arabs or their expulsion from the US. In fact he's come out saying that discrimination against Arabs is misplaced - Hitler certainly never said anything similar about Jews, homosexuals, or gypsies.

I don't like Bush in the least, but I hardly think he's the next Hitler.

[ Parent ]

Watch what they do, not what they say. (3.60 / 5) (#55)
by mlc on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:21:14 PM EST

In fact he's come out saying that discrimination against Arabs is misplaced - Hitler certainly never said anything similar about Jews, homosexuals, or gypsies.
All that would prove is that Bush & friends have a superior PR team. He may be *saying* that discrimination against Arabs is bad, bad, bad. However, look at the FBI interviewing all young Arab men in certain areas. What is that if not discrimination?

I'm not saying Bush is Hitler in a literal sense - but watch out.

First they came for the Communists,
  and I didn?t speak up,
    because I wasn?t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
  and I didn?t speak up,
    because I wasn?t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
  and I didn?t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
  and by that time there was no one
    left to speak up for me.
-- by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star
[ Parent ]

100-meter rush to judgement (4.33 / 3) (#71)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 05:33:15 AM EST

look at the FBI interviewing all young Arab men in certain areas. What is that if not discrimination?
Umm... standard investigation technique? If the FBI has reason to believe that a young Arab male in a certain area is a suspect, it is proper and prudent that they should interview as many people as possible who fit the description. If it were a purely racist act, then there would be no filtering by age group or gender.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
You're kidding, right? (3.50 / 2) (#105)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 10:35:06 AM EST

What drugs are you using? Can I get some?

First, Bush went further than any government official in history in stating that they were after individuals, not an ethnic or religious group. He made it explicitly clear that there was a profound difference between Islam and terrorists who (ab)use Islam as a political tool.

Second, if you happen to know that every individual you are seeking is of arabic descent, wtf would you go around interrogating whites, blacks, or hispanics? To claim that this kind of basic logic is "discriminatory" is to claim that the color of the sky is discriminatory because it unfairly excludes other hues.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
repeat previous subject (none / 0) (#119)
by mlc on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 05:46:29 PM EST

Bush went further than any government official in history in stating that they were after individuals, not an ethnic or religious group.
Yes, my point is that Bush is busy saying wonderful things like this, while the FBI is doing precisely what you and Bush claim they're not.

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star
[ Parent ]

Sorry, no (3.40 / 5) (#52)
by itsbruce on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 10:20:23 PM EST

That just trivialises the mass slaughter committed by the Nazis. The current administration are reactionary conservatives but there's a big leap from there to murderous fascism.


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.


[ Parent ]
Maybe Bush is just one step in that direction. (3.80 / 5) (#56)
by theboz on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:35:27 PM EST

I agree with you about Bush, he doesn't seem like the type to advocate mass murder according to a religion, ethnic group, etc. However, the person that comes after him might. For example, John Ashcroft is well known to be a bigot on many levels. He is currently the one advocating the questioning of people based on their ethnic, religious, and (sometimes former) nationalities. I have no doubt that Bush has this guy chained up, but if Ashcroft were president, I think it's very likely that we would see executions of all sorts of groups. After all, he's the one that equates complaining about the government to being a terrorist.

On the Democrats side, we have people like Joseph Lieberman, who seem to be extremely anti-Islam and racist as well. I heard him on TV and he sounded like he wanted Israel and the U.S. to team up on some anti-Islamic crusade. If I remember correctly he advocated attacking Syria, Iran, Iraq, and at least one other country that slips my mind. This guy is completely insane and it looks like he is asking for the U.S. to be attacked by terrorists.

Also, I see new political changes underway in the U.S. right now that may be a good thing. Democrat and Republican are having less meaning every day, because there are things coming to light now that were never really focused on in the pre-Sep 11th time. For example, you see Bush, who is working really hard at increasing the scope of the federal government, something that is traditionally attributed to Democrats.

With all the political, social, and economic changes going on, I think that someone could move in and easily work in a manner that Hitler did, and the public would allow it. If people are constantly worrying about terrorist threats to their lives, they won't think as much about the bad things being done just as long as they are safe. Hitler moved into power during a delicate time in Germany's history. Don't you think that most Americans would support a leader who could claim to guarantee an end to terrorism and a poor economy? He could easily threaten or kill dissenters much like the Nazis did as well. So I agree that Bush is not the one to be like Hitler, but I think the U.S. is very open to an evil person like that coming into power.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Okay (4.66 / 3) (#60)
by fluffy grue on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:52:06 AM EST

Where's Godwin Man when we need him?

Come save us, Godwin Man!
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Oh, please (none / 0) (#134)
by ariux on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:06:49 AM EST

Bush == Hitler

And Mickey Mouse == Attilla the Hun too, I'm sure. If you're going to argue this, at least do it intelligently and with a sense of proportion. And I'm against the broad use of tribunals.

[ Parent ]

Americans... (4.50 / 16) (#49)
by daani on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 09:13:58 PM EST

Americans are very good at worrying about their "civil rights". This is a good thing, it's probably why a percentage of the American population enjoys such a free lifestyle.

But Americans should worry about what "our president" is doing to foriegners a bit more often too. I'll explain why - because otherwise some foriegners get pissed off and kill a bunch of Americans with airplanes. It is very easy for Mr Fundamentalist to convince a bunch of idiot islamic teenagers that the US is a tyrant if the US it keeps on fucking well acting the part.

Whether they get OBL or not, this is not the last time continental US will be attacked, if the US gov. doesn't start considering how it's actions appear in the eyes of others.

Personally, I don't care whether the president grants himself power to arrest and execute whoever he wanted to. If he wanted to arrest and execute somebody he'd just go ahead and do it anyway, law be damned. But I'd rather he didn't incite more terrorism just to make himself domestically more popular.


Let's all blame the pseudo-conservative (2.57 / 14) (#58)
by AntiBasic on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 11:48:02 PM EST

First, our freedoms are not under wholesale assault by the administration, so there is no need for a liberal deliverance. Perhaps they figure if they repeat this canard enough, it will stick - along with the other whoppers they've advanced in the past decade. Their primary grievance concerns President Bush's planned use of military tribunals to try foreign terrorists.

If I read one more e-mailer or hear one more leftist pundit arguing that Bush is shredding the Constitution with these tribunals, I'm going to scream. I want to state this one more time in a desperate effort to get through to some of the critics. The Constitution does not require the United States to afford civilian jury trials to foreign terrorists attacking or waging war against the United States. The Constitution never has afforded them these rights. So please quit blindly repeating the politically correct mantra that President Bush is trashing certain constitutional rights when those rights to which you are referring simply do not exist to protect the people whose causes you are mistakenly promoting.


The downside of being better than everyone else is that people tend to assume that you're pretentious.

What, precisely, is a Terrorist? (5.00 / 7) (#67)
by Dyolf Knip on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:11:11 AM EST

Because I think it'd be a good idea to nail down that answer first before saying "They don't have rights". They're already thinking about declaring 'hackers' (ie, anyone who does something on a computer that The Powers That Be haven't approved in writing) to be terrorists, in which case Dmitri, for instance, would have vanished off the face of the earth.

How long till Dubya's crusade gets applied to US criminals on a regualar basis? "No problem", most people would think, "It's only those dirty computer hackers getting the axe." I don't want to think about how quickly it would go downhill from there.

And yes, he is shredding the Constitution. 6th ammendment guarrantees a public trial, and it doesn't say "only for citizens". The only exception to this is not requiring a Grand Jury indictment in cases relating to the military. The trial has to be public and Bush's trying to change that is not just improper but also totally illegal.

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

Constitutional protection (3.75 / 4) (#70)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 05:28:40 AM EST

I agree with the overall statement, but feel the need to clarify a bit.

You are right, the Constitution (by which, of course, I mean the Constitution of the United States including its ammendments) does not and has not ever guaranteed rights to war criminals -- or even to non-citizens.

Using a military tribunal to prosecute suspected war criminals is not only Constitutional, but backed by stacks of precedent, both domestic and international. There are opponents of this policy, and many have solid arguments. However, to make this into a shredding of Constitutional protections is insane.

The only Constitutional debate that should be at hand is wether some or all of the Constitutional protections afforded citizens should be extended to all non-citizens.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Rights should apply to non-citizens (4.20 / 5) (#83)
by jolly st nick on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 05:16:37 PM EST

The only Constitutional debate that should be at hand is wether some or all of the Constitutional protections afforded citizens should be extended to all non-citizens.

I agree with you that this should be the debate. I personally believe that most rights given in the constitution (as opposed to civic functions like voting) should apply to non-citizens. I have three main reasons for this.

First is that rights, such as the right of trial by jury, were enshrined because in their absence government simply doesn't function reasonably. Secret trials do not get to the truth better than open ones. Unlimited adminstrative detention does not make police more effective, just more fearsome. Trial by jury should be granted to all because it is the best way we know of for coming to the truth. It isn't perfect (e.g. OJ), but it sure beats the star chamber. People cite the FDR era tribunals as precedent, without stopping to ask whether they gave any kind of credible results. They did not.

Secondly, rights often come in pairs, or related groups. The right to free speech comes with a right to hear speech (e.g. 1980s US government attempted to censor foreign films on the theory that that US citizens right to speech was not infringed). The right to a fair trial is the mirror image of the right of the people to have justice. Secret trials simply have no credibility, which is why we don't allow our government to subject ourselves to them. If the results of secret trials simply aren't credible, then using them, even where technically they are permissible, deprives the people of a result they can have confidence in.

Finally, the basic law of all civilization is the golden rule. We didn't like the China, or the Taliban trying US citizens in kangaroo courts. If we do the same, if we reduce this to a kind of constitutional nitpicking, we essentially are saying we, the people of the US have no intrinsic human rights that entitle us to decent treatment once we leave the adminsitrative jurisdiction of the United States.



[ Parent ]

Rights of non-citizens should be conditional (3.50 / 4) (#88)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 08:26:08 PM EST

I personally believe that most rights given in the constitution (as opposed to civic functions like voting) should apply to non-citizens.
I agree that Constitutional rights and protections (which really are two different things, IMO) should be extended to non-citizens. I'm also glad that the actions of the current administration are, to some degree, sparking a debate on that issue. However, I think that there needs to be some conditional limitation on the rights afforded to non-citizens.

I think the differentiation needs to sit on the boundaries of human rights. IMHO, the right to a fair public trial (and the due process that gets you there) is a basic human right. So is the freedom of expression guaranteed by our 1st Ammendment.

However, I think that there are certain circumstances (such as under a formal declaration of War) when Constitutional protection for non-citizens might be limited. For instance, non-citizens that are believed to be associated with the Taliban (with reasonable evidence supporting), might have surveillence placed on them without the issuance of a formal public warrant.

However, since we have made no declaration of war, I believe that the Constitution should be fully followed when dealing with non-citizens. Which makes the executive order in question grossly unethical.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Slippery slope (3.33 / 3) (#89)
by valeko on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 08:59:59 PM EST

However, I think that there are certain circumstances (such as under a formal declaration of War) when Constitutional protection for non-citizens might be limited. For instance, non-citizens that are believed to be associated with the Taliban (with reasonable evidence supporting), might have surveillence placed on them without the issuance of a formal public warrant.

I can certainly understand where you're coming from, but unfortunately this leads to a very slippery slope.

Once you establish the precident that foreigners, as a matter of principle, are subject to a different set of judicial procedure and criteria than US citizens, you can take that in any direction you want. Exploiting mass-sentiment in regard to things like September 11th -- people trying to kill us - we don't know or care why, of course - they're just evil -- as Ashcroft has craftily done, is a step in the Orwellian direction.

You never want to establish such a principle. The thesis of the Constitution is that all human beings are entitled to fair, equitable treatment based on certain universal natural laws - things that aren't culturally subjective. This may not make a profound statement to you, but it does to the people who come here precisely to avoid such injustices.

Also, saying that certain things can be done in times of formal war is the same logic FDR used with the Nissei. This is a criminal mistake that should never be repeated, which casts an unfortunate shadow on the piety of America in holding true to the ideaology of its founders. The same is true of institutions like slavery, which was abolished precisely because people, here and abroad, were growing increasingly conscious that it could not be reconciled with America's ideals.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Erosion guards (4.00 / 2) (#103)
by RadiantMatrix on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 07:32:42 AM EST

Once you establish the precident that foreigners, as a matter of principle, are subject to a different set of judicial procedure and criteria than US citizens, you can take that in any direction you want. Exploiting mass-sentiment in regard to things like September 11th -- people trying to kill us - we don't know or care why, of course - they're just evil -- as Ashcroft has craftily done, is a step in the Orwellian direction.
I do see your point -- in fact, I saw it before you made it, though you did so eloquently.

Note that my suggestion of a suspension under special circumstances uses a formal state of war as an example. I still think that we need some structured and due process to decide whom can be exempted from Constitutional protection, when they can be exempted, etc. Also, a formal system of checks and balances would need to be created to make sure such a thing never gets out of hand.

I would agree that, ideally, everyone that is under US jurisdiction should be given every right a citizen has. Realistically, though, the needs of the many sometimes do outweigh the needs of the few. The important thing is that structure is in place to make sure that sacrifices are made only in direst need.

--
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]

Rights do--or did--apply to non-citizens (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by Macrobat on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:09:47 AM EST

The Supreme Court has long held that most rights guaranteed in the constitution apply to anybody, not just U.S. citizens. The fifth amendment, for example, states that "no personshall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The courts have repeatedly held that "no person" does not just mean "no U.S. citizen." On the other hand, the 5th amendment specifically creates an exemption for military cases. That probably covers the proposed military tribunals in Afghanistan, but probably doesn't cover detaining non-citizens stateside. The right-leaning Supreme Court of late, however, does have a track record of making unwritten amendments to the contstitution: in Zadvydas v. Davis, for instance, they declared that "preventive detention" could be an option in terrorist cases and that--and this is the frightening quote--the courts should give "heightened deference to the judgments of the political branches" in matters of national security. Think about that: decisions about individual rights are now left to "political branches" of the government, if the government deems it necessary.

(Caveat: I'm no lawyer, I'm just a guy hooked up to Google.)

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

War? What war? (4.20 / 5) (#81)
by Publius on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 04:03:21 PM EST

When Dubya has the cahones to ask Congress to declare war on some known and identifiable political entity in some known and identifiable geographic location, we can all talk about Life During Wartime. Until Congress declares war, Bush is merely operating under the broad powers given to the Chief Executive to carry out the foreign policy of the United States. If Bush really wants to be a wartime president, with the panoply of powers, both foreign and domestic, that provides, let him trot his sorry little ass up to Congress and ask for them. Like I said in an earlier post, Bush's War on Terrorism should conclude some time around November 4th, 2004.

---

This place is to writers what cock-fighting is to roosters: if you get out alive, you've had a good day.

[ Parent ]

Wartime (3.33 / 3) (#90)
by valeko on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 09:08:51 PM EST

I absolutely agree.

"We're at war" is a rather fuzzy pretext for suspending any kind of humane judicial process and instituting police tactics. I don't find it to be an adequate justification, considering the nature of most of these wars in American history.

Unfortunately, the line sounds rather well with the sheeple. It's a real conversation stopper.

"Why are we suspending civil liberties and legislative guarantees of freedom and justice for all?"

"Cause we're at war, doofus. Different rules."

"Oh, hm, well, yeah - I guess that makes sense."

What are we at war with? Terrorism?

Hah. Nuff said.

More seriously - your suggestion that Bush might ask Congress for a formal declaration of war is a legitimate concern. Declaring war on the nation of Afghanistan would be unwise and inappropriate, and any of the various in-betweens aren't a very comfortable option. So it's just a kind of presidential pseudo-war. However, if the US opts to expand the "war on terrorism" to entities that have more political definition to them, i.e. "terrorist" states such as Iraq or Somalia, then a formal declaration of war might be an option. Bush could then utilise the precidents set by America's other presidents in wartime conditions and things could get even worse.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

And one more thing... (3.80 / 5) (#84)
by Publius on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 07:00:27 PM EST

"...to protect the people whose causes you are mistakenly promoting."

Indeed.

That reminds me of Reichschancellor Ashcroft's recent testimony before Congress, wherein he accused dissenters to his interpretation of the Constitution of scaring "peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty", eroding "our national unity", and giving "ammunition to America's enemies".

To paraphrase Molly Ivins, who was commenting on a speech given by Pat Buchanan, all of this talk sounded better in its original German.

---

This place is to writers what cock-fighting is to roosters: if you get out alive, you've had a good day.

[ Parent ]

Safire as a Liberal? (3.66 / 3) (#86)
by error 404 on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 07:50:31 PM EST

Safire is a very well known hard Conservative comentator.

The problem is, he has a brain, so people often mistake him for a Liberal at first glance. But he is very, very much the Conservative.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Scream (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by Rand Race on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 04:40:59 PM EST

The sixth amendment of the US constitution: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Is 'all' that fucking hard to understand? Is it!?


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Or, er... (none / 0) (#133)
by ariux on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:01:11 AM EST

...people accused of being foreign terrorists? Possibly by the guy next door eyeing their lot to expand his business?

If it's Osama himself, sure, let him swing. But something as broad as this, as long as society is functioning and its normal courts are open, there are at least questions about it.

[ Parent ]

military tribunals are not new (3.00 / 6) (#78)
by cyberbuffalo on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 12:20:49 PM EST

FDR used military tribunals against Nazi saboteurs. If this is evidence of Bush seizing dictatorial control then we must call a whole slew of past presidents, dictators.

Slew? (4.50 / 2) (#79)
by Rand Race on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 02:02:44 PM EST

A slew? Two is a slew? FDR and Lincoln, both of whom were most certainly considered dictatorial by many Americans, are the only presidents who have ever excersised this power.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

More than two (4.00 / 2) (#102)
by Dyolf Knip on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 04:15:08 AM EST

Hoover comes to mind. WW1 vets, the Bonus Army, came to the capital to demand their bonuses which they didn't get and he sicced the army on 'em. They were obviously 'giving ammo to terrorists' and 'hurting national unity'.

Andrew Jackson ignored a decision by the Supreme Court to let the Cherokee stay on their land in Georgia and instead forced them to their new home in Oklahoma, a trip which killed 25% of them. But hey, they weren't citizens, so they didn't deserve any constitutional protection, right?

I'm sure there's plenty of other examples, probably at least one from every president. The ones that really worry me though is when one branch uses whatever Constitutional powers it has over the White House and gets in response, "Go suck on it". If Dubya wants his secret trials (for foreigners today, our own citizens tomorrow), he may very well choose to ignore objections from Congress, the courts, and the people.

Almost certainly something like this has been going on for the past 225 years; someone high up has a problem they'd like taken care of silently and so the casebook gets shuffled and not looked at by anyone, but it was never legitimate, and it's probably expensive and difficult to do. If word got out, the people involved were screwed. With legal secret trials, they can do whatever they want and even if it makes the papers, they just point to the Nondisclosed Tribunal Act (or whatever) and say "You didn't need to know; it was for reasons of national security; it would've hurt national unity for it to be made public." How long till even unauthorized knowledge of the trials or saying that they might not be a Good Thing becomes a crime?

The only control we lowly citizens have over our government is public accountability. Take that away and what does our government become?

---
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

Dyolf Knip
[ Parent ]

Overextending the question (3.50 / 2) (#108)
by Rand Race on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 01:02:07 PM EST

I won't argue against the fact that many a president has illegaly extended executive power; only two have used secret millitary tribunals against civilians was my point though.

Other than that I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis and your fears.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Ah, yes, the Nazi saboteurs... (4.00 / 1) (#128)
by Hizonner on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:15:42 PM EST

... including the guy who, two days after he made it into the country, went personally to J. Edgar Hoover and ratted out the whole plot. Seems to me that that's pretty damned good evidence that he never had any intention of carrying it out in the first place.

J. Edgar got a medal. The guy who suckered the Germans into putting their resources into this thing, then turned around and handed it over to the Americans on a silver platter, got 30 years for his trouble.

As I recall, it wasn't even clear that the rest of the "saboteurs" even had any intention of following through on it.

Really makes me approve of the system.

[ Parent ]

Of course this is what John Q. Public wants (4.20 / 5) (#87)
by skim123 on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 08:08:19 PM EST

Did you hear that the Sacramento Bee publisher was booed during her commencement speach at California State University in Sacramento because she warned of the US government imposing threats to our civil liberties ala racial profiling, military tribunals, etc. Read more about this. Really scary, when you have an educated group of people shutting their ears to different views, views that they likely viewed unpatriotic.

Read the speech.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


I remember college (none / 0) (#132)
by ariux on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 03:57:53 AM EST

It wasn't that long ago. Replace "educated" with "inculcated with orthodoxies; pressured to stifle critical thinking and reasoned debate."

At the time, the orthodoxies were radical (and quite extreme), not reactionary - but such chanters of slogans can quickly be made to serve any master, usually without noticing the change.

[ Parent ]

But then, the basic problem is not the patriot act (4.33 / 3) (#100)
by Highlander on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:32:15 AM EST

All of the disputable provisions are in the U.S. Patriot Act. The first improvement would be for politicians to read the laws they pass. But the basic underlying problem is that the U.S. congress has a long tradition of bundling together laws that do not belong together, and should be voted on separately.

Meanwhile, politicians in Germany have been acting similarly and weirdly in a different way.

Politicians in Germany almost never do anything that could be called "Bipartisan", because although the German constitution asks politicians "to place their votes where their conscience is", all parties except the "Green Party" have a system of "party discipline", which practically forbids party members to what different from the majority of the party.

Actually, there was a big majority for sending a few troops to assist the war against terror in the SPD (a party, let's say, similar to the Democrats) and the CDU (a party a little like the Republicans). However, with the german Green Party not 100% agreeing to participation in a war, the CDU decided to play games, and, as usually decided to vote against the plans of the govermening coalition(which is SPD+Green Party), which is the default behavior of the opposition in Germany.

FYI, the story was ended with a vote for using military to support the war, but it was not SPD+CDU which voted for military support, but SPD+Green Party - and this means that a few Green Party members which actually where supposed "to place their vote where their conscience is" did vote the other way, while the entire CDU party also voted the other way [Actually this may be incorrect. Maybe they just threatened to vote against].

Summing up, the entire process increased the number of politicians who do not think when voting, at least not think with their own brains. And again, this is the basic problem.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

Cut from the same cloth (4.50 / 6) (#109)
by surfcow on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 02:53:05 PM EST

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." ---Herman Goering, Nazi Air Force (Luftwaffe) commander, the Nuremberg Trials


"Terrorist operatives infiltrate our communities, plotting, planning and waiting to kill again,'' he said. "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics only aid terrorists." --- John Ashcroft

The president can not declare war, only congress can. The president can not suspend habaes corpus, only congress can, and then only in case of rebellion or invasion. It frightens me that the attorney general is not familiar with the constitution.

Please write your congressmen. The ACLU has an excellent site that allows you to send them faxes over the internet. http://www.aclu.org/

=brian

Good quotes. (3.50 / 2) (#110)
by On Lawn on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 03:08:39 PM EST


It raises in me the need for watching the government with vigilence to defend my freedom.

However the contexts of those quotes have a large vista to cross --the differing notions of being attacked.

Nazi Germany's attackers were phantoms of lost-liberties to a conspirous government run by Jewish overseers. The supposed casualties were their freedoms, their honor, livelihood and economy.

Ashcrofts country was attacked by two planes that did billions of damage and killed thousands of people.

[ Parent ]
Thank you sir, would you like another? (4.50 / 2) (#112)
by webwench on Tue Dec 18, 2001 at 06:52:25 PM EST

"A man who gives up some of his liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety."

- Benjamin Franklin

Whether or not legislation is truly moral is often a question of who has the power to define morality."

Jerome Skolnick

[ Parent ]
Ah, my favorite useless quote. (none / 0) (#123)
by evro on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 08:10:18 AM EST

I see this quote all the time. First off, the fact that we live under any government at all shows that we are willing to give up some liberties. That's what laws do, restrict some liberties that the government feels are "bad." People decide that they don't like lawlessness so they get together and create laws and government to restrict actions they don't like. Otherwise, I would be free to stab you in the face or steal all your stuff. Complete liberty is anarchy. Since Franklin was one of the founders of this government, I don't even think he believed those words, so the only reason I can see for them have to lasted this long (I see them any time a discussion of rights pops up) is because they just sound so darn good. However, the fact that Franklin spoke them doesn't make them any more or less valid, because they really don't make any sense.

Believe me, I'm not anti-government, but neither was Franklin, so that quote is, as I said, merely a nice sound bite.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
[ Parent ]

That's why he really said... (5.00 / 1) (#131)
by Macrobat on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 07:15:52 PM EST

..."essential liberty..."

An essential liberty is a right, such as those enumerated in the constitution (though not limited to that). We can argue about what should or shouldn't be on the list, but Franklin was a careful writer if anything, and so the quote is not as meaningless as you say. Yes, it would have been sloppy and pointless writing without the word "essential" (for the reasons you point out), but with it, it means everything.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

I must be missing something here (none / 0) (#113)
by end0parasite on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 08:48:19 AM EST

Why does the quote from Ashcroft suggest that he doesn't know only Congress can suspend habaes corpus? In fact, by asking the public support, he supports that he does know this. If he didn't, he would be saying that to the president.

[ Parent ]
The constitution (1.33 / 3) (#114)
by Lenny on Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 11:50:36 AM EST

Rights of U.S. citizens afforded by the constitution do not extend to non-citizens. Your use of quotes is clever; Any one can take quotes from any source and combine(twist) them to appear to mean just about anything.

"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
To whom are you replying? (2.00 / 1) (#122)
by evro on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 08:03:14 AM EST

First of all, while I agree with the sentiment to a degree, the idea that aliens have no rights whatsoever under the constitution is naive.

Second, your post has absolutely nothing to do with the one to which you replied. He was comparing Ashcroft's words to Goering's. While it's true that 'a witty quote proves nothing', it's also true that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The "it can't happen here" mentality is possibly the worst one can have in times like these, so I hope you don't really believe it.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
[ Parent ]
Are you blind?! (2.50 / 2) (#125)
by Lenny on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 11:24:31 AM EST

My post had everything to do with the one I was replying to. He complained of people losing rights; I mentioned that those rights are only for U.S. citizens. He regurgitated out of context quotes; I wrote that anyone can do that.
You used two quotes in your reply...without sourcing them...
Lately, it seems, cliche has replaced content. -Erik Ivarson
I long for the return of originality. -Erik Ivarson
Stop quoting others and think for yourself! -Erik Ivarson
What the hell is this, junior high debate?! -Erik Ivarson

"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#138)
by evro on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 04:19:24 AM EST

Maybe you're new to English so I guess I can't be too hard on you, but it is not necessary to follow ever phrase contained withing quotation marks with a citation. Quotation marks have many different meanings in English syntax.

While my statement that your post had "nothing to do"1 with the one to which you replied was incorrect, so was your (apparent) assumption that only the rights of aliens are at risk. Our rights are being suspended, and Mr. Ashcroft has given no hint as to when or if we will ever get them back.

Again, I feel that your message displays a great amount of ignorance as to the patterns of history, which the original author was demonstrating in his post.

1Myself. See what I mean? Not everything in quotes needs a citation.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"
[ Parent ]

... and where, pray, does the Constitution say... (2.00 / 1) (#126)
by Hizonner on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 01:08:11 PM EST

... that habeas corpus, or the right to counsel, or the right to a speedy jury trial, or the right to confront one's accusers, or the requirement of probable cause and sworn evidence for warrants, or any other due process rights, apply only to citizens?

The Constitution explicitly reserves some things to citizens. Fundamental rights like proper trials aren't among them... which is not surprising, since most of the people who influenced the writing of the Constitution believed that such rights were an automatic part of being human.

The Constitution was never intended to grant rights. The list in the Constitution was intended to guarantee rights that people already had, just in case the government decided to get too big for its britches and try to take them away.

This weird idea that rights come from the Constitution seems to be almost universal among Americans these days, but it's wrong. At least in the Enlightenment philosophical tradition on which the whole US system is founded, those rights are prior to laws and governments, not granted by them. The people who wrote the Constitution would tell you that, if anybody grants those rights, it's God. The Constitution isn't so presumptious as to set itself alongside God.

It may (or may not) make sense to apply fast-and-loose military justice in an active combat situation where your resources are taxed. We're not in that situation.

[ Parent ]

To quote myself... (none / 0) (#130)
by Macrobat on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 07:04:18 PM EST

Look here.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Not taking it quietly (3.00 / 1) (#136)
by ariux on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 05:06:46 AM EST

Thank goodness.

Certain pundits are trying to depict it as a whiny overreaction, but I think middle America has a clear picture of the dangers (as well as the advantages) of doing this.

Not that such a wide order is unthinkable under any circumstances, but we'd have to be a lot more desperate than we are.

thank god. (3.00 / 2) (#137)
by mickj on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 11:32:42 AM EST

looks like i'm not the only one who wants 'King George' impeached. Feels good to not be alone.

NYT: Bush wants dictatorial powers | 139 comments (134 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!