Aww, who needs those pesky principles of justice anyway?

Have you heard about the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act?

Meanwhile, the bill recently introduced by Joe Lieberman and John McCain -- the so-called "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act" -- now has 9 co-sponsors, including the newly elected Scott Brown.  It's probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades, far beyond the horrific, habeas-abolishing Military Commissions Act.  It literally empowers the President to imprison anyone he wants in his sole discretion by simply decreeing them a Terrorist suspect -- including American citizens arrested on U.S. soil.  The bill requires that all such individuals be placed in military custody, and explicitly says that they "may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners," which everyone expects to last decades, at least.  It's basically a bill designed to formally authorize what the Bush administration did to American citizen Jose Padilla -- arrest him on U.S. soil and imprison him for years in military custody with no charges. 

If this bill passes, may I suggest that, since it does undermine the rule of law and does great damage to the republic, that the first persons charged under its provisions be the despicable McCain and Lieberman? Won't they be surprised!

Of course, since we do respect the rule of law, I suggest that everyone write to their congresspeople and tell them that you oppose this bill. Save McCain and Lieberman from the fate of Danton and Robespierre!

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wow a bill, that completly nullifies the basic human rights, just because the leader says so. for people exporting their democracy so eager, it seems they want a good old dictatorship bad.

Not a US citizen, even, but... I can has ticket for another planet, plz?

><

By irenedelse (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Why should those rabble rousing despots-in-waiting McCain and Lieb - Lieber - sorry can't even write the name - be saved from them selves? The damage that they have caused the Country and civil discourse requires restitution.

By applescrapple (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Wow! Now this is something you could call Nazi policy. Not universal health care.

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Unfortunately you are too late. The American Emperor (currently a 'Democrat' but the next Republican certainly isn't going to drop this power) has claimed the right to kill anyone anywhere on the planet without due process.

See Chris Floyd for example.

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

I find myself doing a double-take every time something like this comes up in the US. At what point, exactly, did Americans decide that to establish guilt it is necessary only to accuse, and that evidence and due process is no longer required?

What puzzles me is what is driving this; is it just the usual trick played by politicians, frightening and stampeding the populace to their support, and the demise of habeus corpus in the face of terrorism just the unfortunate result? Probably; which only goes to highlight the revolting cynicism of McCain. But it's worth noting that if you stretch detention without trial far enough people like environmental or anti-war activists could be deemed 'terrorists' and fall into the net.

Providing universal healthcare: Nazi.
Imprisoning people without charges: Land of the Free, Love it or leave it.
Freedom: Slavery.

It makes perfect sense.

By Arancaytar (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

@dahduh (#6) Exactly. The problem with 'terrorist' is that it has become a catch-all phrase that keeps getting broader definitions. It's hard to stop as well. For a cynical politician, excuse the pleonasm, it's bad pr to disagree with a law stopping 'terrorists' because everybody knows that 'terrorists'= BAD GUYS. Laws like this are, I think, symptoms of a broader trend: people seem to have stopped thinking about law and politics in general. Even though I'm not from the US, stuff like this happens all the time in the EU, and it is very worrying.

By Prophet Zarquon (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Just get a Democrat to tack on a rider that funds evolution education or establishes a national day of homosexual kissing and frottage. That should kill it stone dead.

By ambulocetacean (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Have the tea partiers already sounded off on this? Now here's something that would actually constitute an assumption of tyrannical powers on the part of the executive, but I'd bet they're all for it. After all, such measures would only be used against arbitrarily designated terrorists, not Real Americans.

By Roestigraben (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

for the duration of hostilities against the United States

I.e. forever, because they hate us for our freedoms.

@ambulocetacean: Or perhaps add a single-payer healthcare amendment.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Ok, seriously, what the fucking fuck? I mean just, holy goddamn shit. What?

I mean, can this possibly be real? Are we sure that this isn't some kind of horrible practical joke or something? I mean, this is ridiculous. Is congress subject to Poe's Law?

I remember when the Senate was the relatively sane, deliberative chamber of Congress, the one that put a damper on some of the craziness coming out of the House. Then the 1990s arrived. Did my perspective change, or did the Senate?

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

(I mean, I mean, I mean)

I guess my mind is even more blown than I thought it was. >.>

What an appalling piece of legislation. I agree with PZ, that if it passes, all the co-sponsors should be the first to be charged, then the President can go after Palin, O'Reilly, Beck, any teabagger and any militia advocating the overthrow of the government. McCain and Lieberman should think about the unintended consequences. Oh wait, that would require thinking..... Their heads might explode from the effort.

"...land of the free and home of the brave"
- my arse!

When did Americans become so damned fearful? It seems US citizens are willing to sell every hard-fought civil liberty down the river for "safety."

The rethuglicans are using fear for political advantage and the supine, spineless democrats are so afraid of being beaten by the "soft on terror" stick that they roll over for the minority.

Obama and the democrats need to take a hammer to Lieberman and Connecticut voters need to stop being asshats and re-electing him.

"Maverick" McCain hasn't found a bad cause he isn't willing to pander to: pro immigration reform to anti immigration hawk and Palin as VP for fuck sake!

Never mind the bill is blatantly unconstitutional. Note to self, send money to the ACLU.

So let me get this straight: Obama and the Democrats are evil socialists Nazis who want to kill everyone because they support expanding civil liberties and providing health care for everyone?

And the Republicans are saints because they're bigoted assholes who want to infringe on some of the most obvious of people's civil liberties (same-sex marriage, abortion, torture, habeas corpus, etc.).

Something seems wrong about that.

By alex.asolis.net (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

So let me get this straight: Obama and the Democrats are evil socialists Nazis who want to kill everyone because they support expanding civil liberties and providing health care for everyone? - alex.solis

And Republican McCain and pseudo-Democrat Lieberman want to give him the power of arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention!

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Naked Bunny with a Whip, it’s not you, and it’s not just the Senate.

It’s the whole goddamned country.

Obama, that “leftist” who’s practically a socialist, is to the right of Nixon.

We’ve long since abandoned any pretense of having left- and right-wing political parties. Instead, we have an ultra-conservative hard-right party on the one side and the Nazi party (minus, for the moment, the genocidal urges) on the other.

Cheers,

b&

--
EAC Memographer
BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
``All but God can prove this sentence true.''

By Ben Goren (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Sadly, my Senators are Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn (hey...don't blame me, I didn't vote for them). That means that both of my Senators are probably very much for this bill and it won't matter how many letters they receive complaining about it.

I will still have to try, though.

Justice? Human Rights? Who we trying to kid?

MSM media doesn't seem to like free speech much either.

I just posted the following comment in response to this yahoo news article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100516/ap_on_re_eu/eu_vatican_pope#mwpphu-…

Thousands flock to Vatican to back pope over abuse...

This was my comment:

Tim Minchin Pope song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN002ejgC6I

It hasn't shown up. I wonder why?

By Fred The Hun (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

@Prophet Zarquon

I've seen some strange laws passed in Europe but none comes to mind that would be comparable to the bill mentioned above.

The only thing which comes to mind is the anti muslim sentiment in certain EU countries with larger than usual muslim populations.. which has led to proposed laws governing what one can, and cannot wear but, I can think of nothing which grants sweeping powers to government bodies to imprison someone indefinitely without charge or trial.

Maybe I'm just ignorant of such laws. would anyone care to give examples?

SB

By sbtech001 (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Mobius, it could be worse. McCain is one of “my” senators.

I’ve never voted for him, of course…not that that would make any difference. For all intents and purposes, the job is his for as long as he wants it.

It’s the same county that keeps sending Joe Arpaio back to the Sheriff’s office.

<sigh>

b&

--
EAC Memographer
BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
``All but God can prove this sentence true.''

By Ben Goren (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

@Mobius #20,

here's a list of the cosponsors (they're counting 8, including Lieberman, while one has apparently withdrawn his support):

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-3081

all of them Republicans, except for Lieberman, so this measure probably won't get anywhere. Still scary, though.

By Roestigraben (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Can someone explain to me if these are the same people who oppose the US health care restructuring by stating that such acts/bills impede individual rights? Or perhaps the American right-wing movement is fragmented to such a degree that individuals or small groups operate independently for their sole gain?

Also, doesn't this violate at least two, if not three amendments of the Bill of Rights (#4,5,6)? Does this mean that if the person detained is a US citizen and a civilian, the bill seems to automatically label them as a "combatant" because the US is at war with terrorism, and thus militarizes them and excludes them from civilian law proceedings? The last time I checked the US was not a military dictatorship where all citizens are members of the armed forces and automatically subject to the codes of service and discipline...

There is a sci-fi book out there that talks of the US as an isolated country. When I read it a long time ago, it seemed absurd fiction. Is "Fortress America" a fact now?

I have a way for the government to easily identify terrorist supporters. All you have to do is have them wear some easily identifiable symbol like a pink triangle or a yellow six pointed star...

http://laughinginpurgatory.blogspot.com/

By Andrew Hall (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

@ Andrew Hall

A bit of a Godwin but, very, very true.

By sbtech001 (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Time for a new anthem?

O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

By uuaschbaer (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

@Max- Well, I don't know. Isn't militarising the citizenry actually the point of the second amendment?

It does boggle the mind though, that the folks who scream (literally) about freedom come up with this stuff.

By redrabbitslife (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

[engage humour mode]There may be a silver lining to this: what if someone were to declare Rush Limbaugh a terrorist? We could strip Rush (damn, but that phrase makes me throw up in the back of my mouth a little bit when used in conjunction with the name, no matter the actual context) of his citizenship and, what? who would want him?[/engage humour mode]

What galls me is that Rush and Palin, the Teahaddists, Beck and Coulter, McCain and Lieberman, and all the other vapid right wingers keep screaming that Obama is trampling the Constitution into the ground (in some ways he is, but that is normal for a US President in the post-WWII era, and a whole 'nuther subject/rant) and then turn around and come up with shit like this which really does trample the rule of law.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, at least it is Friday.

MaxMD, you can add the Eighth to that list, and quite reasonably the First as well.

Indeed, the only Amendment in the Bill of Rights that seems to be safe these days is the Third.

You know what’s really scary? When I was growing up, we used to laugh at the Soviets for this sort of shit (at the same time we were secretly suspecting them of having done in the Challenger). They had internal passports, the Gulags (even if they had long since been officially shut down), secret arrests, strict no-photography policies, hopelessly corrupt politicians, police who would brutally shut down any kind of dissident protest (think “free speech zones” and IMF meetings)…and, believe it or not, a quite noble constitution that wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Cheers,

b&

By Ben Goren (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

From an update on the Salon piece:

"...it's been reported that the Obama White House (a) is actively negotiating with Lindsey Graham on a bill to provide for indefinite detention power and (b) has already designated numerous detainees to be held indefinitely with no charges of any kind. It remains to be seen what their (and, then, their supporters') position on this bill will be."

So Obama now want a law to legalize what he is already doing...indefinite detention by exec order...this will compliment Obama's executive, extra-judicial, execution orders.
********

"It remains to be seen what their (and, then, their supporters') position on this bill will be."

This is obviously a rhetorical by Glenn, it will be the same response as always: "Obama is the bestest eva!!! He is a genius and this is another move in his 11th dimensional chess...He will be a liberal in his second term..blah..blah.."

I think that PZ has distilled Barack Obama down to his fundamental essence:...

"pandering, unprincipled hack"...

A bit of a Godwin but, very, very true.

It's one of the known problems with the extended form* of Godwin's Law: when you actually do have dangerous, autocratic loons in power whose actions utterly undermine democratic practice, you can't actually discuss this on the internet.

*The original form did not say the person drawing the analogy has automatically lost any argument, just that the probability that someone would draw said analogy would rise to one as the discussion progressed.

(/See also, natch, XKCD.)

By AJ Milne OM (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

First, some of us "asshats" in CT have been trying to get rid of LIEberman for years. Second, this measure will NEVER pass. Finally, the reason Repubs support such apparently contradictory ideas is that authoritarianism never seems threatening to the privileged class... and Rs all think they're either in the privileged class or WOULD be if "those people" weren't keeping them down!

By Bill Dauphin, OM (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

I have written the following letter to one of my senators, the Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT):

Dear Senator Lieberman,

It is with great amazement and disgust that I read of your sponsorship of the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act (S.3081). When did you decide the 5th Amendment to the Constitution:

No person shall 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

and the 6th Amendment:

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.

did not apply to criminal offenses?

I realize you have an irrational fear of terrorists. I can understand irrational fears since I have an irrational fear of insects. However your irrational fear should not cause you to ignore the Constitution. This bill you are cosponsoring does exactly that.

Please give the matter further thought, Senator. Perhaps you can realize the Constitution, the primary law of the country, is more important than your fear of terrorists.

Sincerely,
Real Name

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

According to the rightwingers, Obama is a fanged monster, who is worse than Hitler and Stalin together. Now a Repub wants to give HIM power to squash anybody he wants? Lovely. So long Linbaugh, Beck, Coulter etc.

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Seriously? Once again I'm glad to be Canadian.

It's been 795 years since the Magna Carta. It's been a good run for the notion that no one was above the law. Here's to the return of the divine rights of kings! The cry will have to be changed a bit though: "The King has conceded, long live the King!"

By FossilFishy (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Wow, scary. If this bill comes close to passing, I am going to tell my boss that I'm going to find a way out of this country with his help or without it, but I hope he can get me a transfer. At least one person in every generation of my family, as far back as my mother and father know of, has had a sixth sense for getting out of town when the political shit begins to approach the political fan blades, from the Turkish occupation of Hungary all the way up to the Bolsheviks and pogroms. My spider sense is tingling, folks, and it looks like I'm the one this generation.

I have a serious question. Can anyone answer? Quite simply, which countries are safe to live in? Which have laws promoting a general welfare without provisions for disappearing citizens at whim? Which have a decent standard of living without too many laws forbidding you to live more or less in peace? Ideas?

By badgersdaughter (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

We don't need to suspend the rule of law just because of a war.

We've faced a lot bigger challenges in the past without such draconian legislation.

The Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, the cold war with the commies, among others. Even during the War of 1812, the British invaded Washington DC and burnt down the White House.

The only legislation that was even a little similar was the incarceration of Japanese-American citizens in concentration camps during WWII on the mainland but not in Hawaii. During which we stole a lot of their land, houses, and stuff because we could. This is usually looked on today as pointless, a mistake, and a disgrace.

If the bill only allows detention until the war on terror is over, then it's OK. After all, a bill like this would clearly demonstrate that terrorists have indeed managed to destroy the American way of life.

If the bill passes, the war is over. The terrorists will have won.

raven, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. The people who wrote it put those things in there because the British had all those laws — which is why they revolted in the first place. And the justifications and excuses (and uses) of those laws were no different then than today.

If you really want a wake-up call, re-read the charges listed in the Declaration of Independence, and consider how many are directly relevant to current and recent events.

Cheers,

b&

--
EAC Memographer
BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
``All but God can prove this sentence true.''

By Ben Goren (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

@Ken: Heh, yeah.

America, neither the land of the free, nor the home of the brave.

By Naked Bunny wi… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Even all of the particularly fundie and ultraconservative people I know personally are up in arms over this bill. It's nice to have agreement across the political spectrum for once.

By Noir The Sable (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

First, some of us "asshats" in CT have been trying to get rid of LIEberman for years.
*******
I live 1500 miles from CT but I sent max $$$ to the lamont campaign for both the primary and the general election. The Dem. Party leadership and Obama made sure that my money was wasted.

That experience, among others, made me realize that something was really rotten in my Democratic Party. A replay of that scenario is the massive support by Dem leadership and Obama for Arlen Specter's re-election. Gag-Me.

badgersdaughter #38:

...which countries are safe to live in? Which have laws promoting a general welfare without provisions for disappearing citizens at whim? Which have a decent standard of living without too many laws forbidding you to live more or less in peace?

That's a tough one. I've been thinking about that question myself ever since my dad suggested we need to move somewhere that still believes in freedom. I'm kind of interested in the answer to that question as well.

My problem with most countries around the world is that they don't believe in free speech like in the US. Oh sure, they CLAIM free speech, but only if you manage to not offend the sensibilities of the majority.

When growing up in Chicago in the 1970's I remember the fuss about the Nazi party here marching in the nearby suburb of Skokie, which had a large Jewish population. I despised the people in that march. I defended their right to be total jerks and assholes.

Any country I move to needs to freely allow something just as despicable since there is no other way to assure my own rights to freedom of speech. The "marketplace of ideas" seems to be a uniquely American concept.

Meanwhile, the bill recently introduced by Joe Lieberman and John McCain -- the so-called "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act" -- now has 9 co-sponsors, including the newly elected Scott Brown.

Those 9 senators don't speak for me or represent my views. I doubt if they reflect all that many other Americans either.

But they are making it harder and harder to think that living in the USA is all that desirable or even a good idea.

Handing arbitrary dictatorial powers to a government is equivalent to finding a large snake, opening its mouth, and crawling in. Not smart.

@Roestigraben #24

here's a list of the cosponsors (they're counting 8, including Lieberman, while one has apparently withdrawn his support): ... all of them Republicans, except for Lieberman, so this measure probably won't get anywhere. Still scary, though.

The House version is also available, and it has one Republican sponsor (Rep. Howard McKeon [R-CA25]) and zero co-sponsors.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-4892

This bill isn't likely to go anywhere, but if it did it would be so facially unconstitutional that I couldn't see it standing up to its first challenge, even with our right-leaning supreme court.

By the way, does anybody know what happened to that proposal (I believe it was by Lieberman) to allow for the stripping of citizenship rights from US citizens who become suspects for any terrorism-related offense?

Mystyk,

The fact that this bill is (probably, hopefully) DOA is largely irrelevant. That the runner-up for the Presidency in the election a couple years ago sponsored it, and that the winner of said election appears to think it’s a good idea…well, it’s like the joke about Hell. The only question is how much longer until our coffee break is over.

Cheers,

b&

--
EAC Memographer
BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
``All but God can prove this sentence true.''

By Ben Goren (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

*blink blink*

*looks around*

My bad, I thought I lived in the US, not some dictator run banana-republic.

By OurDeadSelves (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

It isn't like Obama is not pining for blatantly unconstitutional provisions or anything. Anthony Romero of the ACLU recently spoke out against Obama's proposal to pass legislation that arbitrarily revokes Miranda rights:

"It’s highly troubling that the Obama administration might propose to lengthen the time in which a potential defendant would come before a judge," Mr. Romero said. "Both proposals would severely undercut the Obama administration’s assertion that they believe in the rule of law." -New York Times

There is no way I am voting for a Republican masquerading as a Democrat in 2012.

By aratina cage (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

@OurDeadSelves, #51.

You always have lived in a dictatorship. America is the laughing-stock of the world.

The conservatives what to give "he is just like Hitler" Obama Hitler's powers? WTF???

Save McCain and Lieberman from the fate of Danton and Robespierre!

No. I say let them have their way.

For some reason, this country is hellbent on rocketing over the Right-wing cliff at mach 3 like motherfucking Wile E. Coyote. Trying to fight back hasn't worked, it's only delayed the inevitable.

You always have lived in a dictatorship. America is the laughing-stock of the world.

While I may joke about the erosion of our civil liberties, I don't actually think that the US government is a "dictatorship*." Incredibly fucked up? Yes. But until I see a president-for-life, I'm going to hang onto that little glimmer of optimism that everything changes, given time and momentum.

* Dictatorship:
1. a country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator.

Dictator:
1. a person exercising absolute power, esp. a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession.

By OurDeadSelves (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

It's probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades, far beyond the horrific, habeas-abolishing Military Commissions Act.

Nah... that would be the "Constitution Restoration Act of 2004." The House version is H.R. 3799, and the Senate version is S. 2082. It was reintroduced in 2005 as House bill HR 1070, and Senate bill S. 520. The sponsors-list is a Who's-Who of Christ-cult creotards and 'dominionist' legislators. (see below)

"The following proposed law will be added to Sec. 1260 of Title 28, Chapter 81 of the U.S. Code (in part): 'Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element’s or officer’s acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government'.”

Implications: Because the judiciary is 'an element' of the federal, state and local governments, this wording (if it were to become law) would allow any judge to institute biblical punishments without being subject to review by the Supreme Court or the federal court system.

Presumably, this law would also give legal cover to a county judge or city magistrate who imposed the death penalty on somebody for working on the sabbath… or even shield off-duty cops who might take it upon themselves to organize and deputize a mob for purposes of the stoning-to-death of a wayward wife (Leviticus 20:10), or somebody's disobedient son, or a promiscuous daughter (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

House Sponsor: Rep Aderholt, Robert B.

Cosponsors...
Rep Bachus, Spencer
Rep Barrett, J. Gresham
Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G.
Rep Bishop, Rob
Rep Brown, Henry E., Jr.
Rep Cannon, Chris
Rep Collins, Mac
Rep Cramer, Robert E. (Bud), Jr.
Rep Davis, Jo Ann
Rep Deal, Nathan
Rep DeMint, Jim
Rep Everett, Terry
Rep Goode, Virgil H., Jr.
Rep Hall, Ralph M.
Rep Hayworth, J. D.
Rep Herger, Wally
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr.
Rep King, Steve
Rep Kingston, Jack
Rep Lewis, Ron
Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G.
Rep McIntyre, Mike
Rep Miller, Jeff
Rep Norwood, Charlie
Rep Pearce, Stevan
Rep Pence, Mike
Rep Peterson, Collin C.
Rep Pitts, Joseph R.
Rep Rogers, Mike D.
Rep Ryun, Jim
Rep Souder, Mark E.
Rep Stearns, Cliff
Rep Sullivan, John
Rep Terry, Lee
Rep Vitter, David
Rep Wamp, Zach
Rep Wilson, Joe

Senate Sponsor: Sen Shelby, Richard C.

Cosponsors...
Sen Allard, A. Wayne
Sen Brownback, Sam
Sen Graham, Lindsey O.
Sen Inhofe, Jim
Sen Miller, Zell

@Ben Goren #50,

I never said that I didn't think it was a problem simply because it was likely to die in committee. On the contrary, the very fact that it is being proposed is a concern, regardless if it has zero co-sponsors or 99. Likewise, it doesn't matter whether the sponsor was a one-off nut or someone who only a short time ago was respectable even in disagreement.

It's very existence is troubling, but it is at least some consolation that the chances of it turning into an existential threat to our democratic republic are infinitesimally slim at best.

Now, what the existence of bills like this do to the Overton Window of modern right-left politics is a different issue. The increased lunacy of the far-right is providing cover for clearly bad ideas of the mainstream right to get consideration in the public debate that they do not deserve.

Your Supreme Court will throw this in the trash, right? I mean, that's where it belongs, and everyone knows it.

By Citizen of the… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

In case anybody’s wondering about the coffee break reference, here’s my version of it.

So, you’ve probably heard this one before. Stop me if you have.

This guy dies and finds himself before St. Peter, who sends him down to Hell — but not before the usual displays of incredulousness, righteous indignation, pleading, and the works. All to no avail, of course. You know the story.

Once down in Hell, Satan personally greets him (“Hey, with an infinite amount of time at my disposal, it’s no bother to give my ‘clients’ the ’personal touch!’”) and informs him of some new Heavenly-mandated changes in operations. “You see,” His Horniness informs the poor schlub, ”we’re now required to offer you a choice of torture plans. Plus, you’ll be able to change plans as many times as you like. The catch, of course, is you can only do so once every ten million yars.”

“You mean like open enrollment?” the damned soul querrolously inquires.

“Precisely. Where do you think the insurance companies got the idea? Enough chit-chat! Let’s get started. On our right is the traditional wing.”

Inside the enormous cavern is a scene, as it were, straight out of Hell. People are suspended from the ceiling from chains, with rusty barbed hooks through their ankles. Their heads are immersed in sulphurous flames, and the damned souls writhe in agony to keep out of the worst of it. Acid dribbles down the chains, and a horde of especially well-endowed demons wander through the place and regularly have their way with anybody who isn’t miserable enough.

“Not many new clients pick this any more since the reforms were instituted,” the Devil admits.

“I can see why,” is the soft commiseration offered by the stunned soul.

By way of explanation, the Lord of Flies continues, “We’re contractually required to continue offering this service as long as —”

“Hey!” the lost soul interrupts. “Isn’t that an Ardipithicus?”

“Why, yes, it is. She’s on the extended plan. Something-or-other about poor dietary habits, I believe. Shall we move on?”

Timidly, “Yes, please.”

Baal’zebub takes his charge by the hand and leads him into another chamber, one that is strikingly different. The space resembles a vast warehouse, brightly lit and clinically sterile, with people standing on their heads. Each person is watched over by a demon with a cat-o-nine-tails who mercilessly whips the victims if they ever should sway the slightest bit from vertical.

“Watch your step. The floor is electrified,” cautions the truthful deceiver. “This, obviously, is one of the new plans we’re offering as part of the reform package.”

“You sure do have something about turning people upside-down, don’t you?”

“We like to keep them off their feet,” comes the reply. “If you’ll step this way, I’ll show you to your last option. Then, it’ll be time for you to make your choice.”

“Okay,” eeks out the gulped confirmation.

So, finally, the patient is led into a huge sewer pipe, filled knee-deep with the foulest effluent you can imagine. Remarkably, though, the people here are just milling around smoking cigarettes. The light-bearer offers an almost-compassionate explanation: “It helps them cope, and the lung disease is just an added bonus.” Curiously enough — though, in retrospect, rather obviously — Lucifer is unaffected by the slop, being above it all as he walks on top of it.

And, of course, it doesn’t take long for the recently departed to make his choice. He’s never been a smoker, and standing around in raw sewage certainly isn’t anybody’s idea of a good time, but it sure beats the alternatives.

“I’ll take this one, if you don’t mind.”

“Excellent choice. Here’s your smoke — here, let me get that for you,” he offers as he holds out a flaming sword with which to light the butt.

With that, he turns and strides purposefully towards the exit, leaving the wayward sheep to his doom. But, just before abandoning the miserable masses, Jesus glances down at his watch, turns, and shouts over His shoulder, “Okay, boys. Break’s over. Back on your heads!”

Cheers,

b&

--
EAC Memographer
BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
``All but God can prove this sentence true.''

By Ben Goren (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

the Teahaddists - iambilly

Nice - that could catch on!

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

"that the first persons charged under its provisions be the despicable McCain and Lieberman? Won't they be surprised!"

I agree to. Sadly, this blog like all will be forgotten. A million or so people who read this will agree. Like myself they might be upset, sad or angry for a week. But, everyone will forget and no action will ever be commanded or taken.

By Anti_Theist-317 (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Knockgoats:

Not mine. I read it somewhere else (I think another Pharyngula thread) and am trying to help it catch on.

Mystyk:

Yeah, it is sad that the right has become so unhinged that trickle-down economics (or, more correctly, piss on the peons economics) seems almost reasonable in comparison.

@57. Fair enough, that is true. However, the way American power is transferred is anything but democratic.

If I were so unlucky as to be soldier in John McCain's platoon, this Arizona horny toad would quickly realize that there is no truth whatsoever to the statement "There are no atheists in foxholes."

Oh yes, there would be at least one atheist in McCain's personal foxhole -- ME, delivering an extremely belligerent interrogation to this dottering, Palin-pimping fool.

By SaintStephen (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Providing universal healthcare: Nazi.
Imprisoning people without charges: Land of the Free, Love it or leave it.
Freedom: Slavery.

It makes perfect sense.

Yep:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublespeak

By Feynmaniac, Ch… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

SaintStephen:

McCain was Navy. Though I can see him trying to dig a whole in the ocean. One bucket at a time. He's very good at carrying water for the extreme right.

My uncle was a Navy pilot. He said that the key to a successful pilot is that landings should equal takeoffs. McCain was a few landings short.

A good rule of thumb is this: Never pass any law that you wouldn't want in the hands of your political opponents someday.

I ask conservatives whether they would like a future President Hillary Clinton (or Chief Supreme Court Justice Hillary) to declare anti-abortion protesters as terrorists and treat them accordingly under this law. (I omit Obama because he's a spineless jellyfish who wouldn't fire a gun even if you put it in his hand.)

For Democrats, I ask now whether they regret the Iraq Liberation Act which President Bill Clinton signed into law, which committed the U.S. to regime change in Iraq.

@ #68 iambilly:

Indeed you are correct. Thanks for the correction.

Damn. Well, then if McCain was drowning in the ocean, I'd save him with a cross-chest carry and inverted scissor-kick, making sure to "waterboard" him at least a dozen times before letting the medics have him.

;)

By SaintStephen (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Lieberman also proposed allowing the government to revoke US citizenship of people suspected of allying with terrorists.

Hillary Clinton supported it:

Several major Democratic officials spoke positively about the proposal, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Noting that the State Department already had the authority to rescind the citizenship of people who declare allegiance to a foreign state, she said the administration would take “a hard look” at extending those powers to cover terrorism suspects.

“United States citizenship is a privilege,” she said. “It is not a right. People who are serving foreign powers — or in this case, foreign terrorists — are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens.”

This is just frightening.

By Feynmaniac, Ch… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Fair enough, that is true. However, the way American power is transferred is anything but democratic.

Oh no doubt, especially with the recent Supreme Court ruling that eased restrictions on corporate campaign donations.

Also, apparently the teabaggers want to take away our direct elections of US Senators: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/05/tea-party-call-to-repeal-the…

We still have a long way to go to democracy, sadly.

By OurDeadSelves (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Scott Brown sounds like a one term senator.
1) He was elected because the democratic party picked an awful candidate and didn't get the base out to vote.
2) He is up for reelection in 2012 when voter turn out will be higher and obama will be campaigning for himself and the dem candidate in Mass.
3) Hes already been too conservative for Mass, i really thought he would have been one of the more moderate republican senators if not the most moderate. Hes in dangerous territory if he keeps acting like this.

By tas121790 (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

the more repressive our government becomes , the more out of touch with the "Will Of The People" the worse it will get and the sooner that the Revolution will come.
here is an "old Rap" that some details may have changed but the expression still rings true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

are we in a time that is not unlike that of a frog in a pot of water that is slowly heating up and will be dead when we finally realize that it is too hot?

uncle frogy

where you going to run to when the bullets start flying?

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Prophet Zarquon @8: " The problem with 'terrorist' is that it has become a catch-all phrase that keeps getting broader definitions"

Except, curiously, it never seems to include white Christians.

By Screechy_Monkey (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

I wrote about this, too, a few days ago. Turns out these so-called limited government, law-loving "conservatives" don't actually stand for a damn thing.

By Sid Schwab (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Dr Schwaaaaaaaaaab!

By Sili, The Unkn… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Posted by: MaxMD | May 16, 2010 9:35 AM

Can someone explain to me if these are the same people who oppose the US health care restructuring by stating that such acts/bills impede individual rights?

To these people, "individual rights" means the right to acquire as much money as possible and hold onto all of it. It does not include the right to free speech, peacable assembly, or petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

By truthspeaker (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

I left the country and I'm never coming back. Best of luck to all of you. I'd have stayed and fought the good fight, but I lost my right to vote years ago for growing pot. Best of luck to you all. You're definitely going to need it.

Enjoy.

By The Tim Channel (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Posted by: aratina cage | May 16, 2010 11:11 AM

It isn't like Obama is not pining for blatantly unconstitutional provisions or anything.

Don't forget that Obama is also pro-torture.

By truthspeaker (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Has anyone else noticed how the Right in America (and in the UK to a lesser degree) always seem to go on about how the rule of law and the democratic process proves how superior the West is to other cultures, and yet in literally the next breath will go on to propound just such a grotesquely unjust and unconstitutional law? Usually with a (un)healthy dollup of the politics of fear added for flavour?

The idea that the head of state should have an absolute discretionary power to imprison anyone without trial for an indefinite period is straight out of Tyrany 101.

It seems they think that the shield of law extends to all Americans, just so long as they are rich, male, white and (publically, at least) straight.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

That suspension of habeas corpus is within the explicitly enumerated Article I powers of Congress makes it more difficult to claim the bill undermines the rule of law; the power is expressly granted under the highest law in the land.

However, invocation of the power is only allowed "when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." This appears to neither qualify as rebellion nor invasion. On the other hand, terrorism might be argued a "penumbral" case. Still, it would be odd for conservatives of the "strict constructionist" variety to be arguing on that basis. It would be interesting to ask after any historical habeas precedents from the many conflicts between the US and assorted Native American groups. (The US has a surprising amount of history dealing with terrorism and guerrilla warfare over its rather young lifetime, if you bother to go looking closely.)

If, somehow, this isn't considered unconstitutional (see comment 35), someone please enact comments <Giuliani>9 and 11</Giuliani>.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

...explicitly says that they "may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners," which everyone expects to last decades, at least.

because, of course, we've always been at war with Eastasia...

holy fuck, I've been saying it tongue and cheek for years, but now?

It really DOES look like the US has taken 1984 as an instruction manual instead of a warning!

It really DOES look like the US has taken 1984 as an instruction manual instead of a warning!

Deep breaths, have some grog, poke something with a stick.... ;)

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

fred the hun -

right on, daddy-o...great song.

one of my friends flipped off the pope in person.

keep up the good work.

By fred c dobbs (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

are we in a time that is not unlike that of a frog in a pot of water that is slowly heating up and will be dead when we finally realize that it is too hot?

yup. Very much circa 1930's Europe, seems to me.

where you going to run to when the bullets start flying?

why wait?

Criminy, back when I first read Darkness at Noon I was under the impression that Koestler was writing about some other country.

The correspondence isn't exact, even though this bill would turn the power to imprison into a matter of administrative fiat rather than something reserved to a nonpolitical judiciary.

For one thing, Comrade Gletkin, Rubashov's final interrogator, had the moral courage to acknowledge explicitly what he was doing and how neither truth nor justice were of any concern to him.

Smirking little oil slicks like Lieberman, on the other hand...

By ktesibios (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Dear Senator Shaheen,

I worked for your campaign in 2008, and have supported you enthusiastically so far. I am writing now to urge you and your colleagues to oppose S. 3081, the Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010. This bill will give the president a power no person of any party or level of authority should have: the power to imprison people without criminal charges, or even evidence. Although Senators McCain and Lieberman may have good intentions, this bill simply invites abuse and is too dangerous to be enacted as law.

S. 3081 will seriously undermine many of the legal protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, most notably the right to trial, the right to access to a lawyer, the right to remain silent, and the right to due process for search and seizure of property. Coupled with the existing erosions of these rights (as well as those of habeas corpus and protection from cruel and unusual punishment) that have already been made by the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, we are blindly pushing ourselves closer to oppression and dictatorship because we allow the rhetoric of fear to run the debate. The Senate must take this opportunity to clearly state that we will not accept this creeping loss of rights anymore. It doesn't protect us from terrorism, and it doesn't protect us from ourselves.

Please be the courageous and principled person I campaigned for in 2008. Do not give in to the Republicans' rhetoric on terrorism. Call them out on its violation of our constitutional principles, to make it clear that this is exactly the wrong way to address the problem of terrorism. If we allow this bill to pass, we will harm only ourselves.

Thank you for your time,
[real name]

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Oops, sorry, I hit "submit" too soon. I was going to introduce that (post #91) by saying "I just sent this off to one of my senators. What do you guys think?"

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Yet another reason for me to never go back to the US. I'll stay up here in Canada where it is safer. For now.

By Not Guilty (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

What do you guys think?

I like it.

but I don't matter, frankly.

I can only hope your senator has enough sense to grasp what you are asking of them.

Based on my experience lobbying Congress, you have about a 20% chance that your senator has sufficient sense to actually understand what you are asking and why its important.

most of them simply pay no attention to the details of stunts like this latest bill; they assume it's just politics as usual, and get their aides to advise them on what their public reaction should be in order to best bolster their reelection chances.

<= lives in CT... why CT reelected Lieberman is beyond comprehension. McCain is just old and crazy, and Lieberman is just plain crazy...

By Zoot Capri (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

To these people, "individual rights" means the right to acquire as much money as possible and hold onto all of it. It does not include the right to free speech, peacable assembly, or petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.

indeed. recently saw this article, which makes that pretty clear. Americans are actually against personal liberties; when they talk about individualism, they mean the liberty of not having to pay taxes and the liberty to discriminate against minorities.

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

If this bill is actually passed, and the other bill that Joe Lieberman has introduced passes, we can pretty much kiss any pretense that we are a democracy good-bye.

The second bill I am referring to is "The Terrorist Expatriation Act. It basically allows the State Department to determine whether or not a person has renounced their citizenship through affiliation/support with a "foreign terrorist organization".

More information can be found:

http://lieberman.senate.gov/index.cfm/news-events/news/2010/5/lieberman…

For what earthly reason would we want to save Lieberman from the fate of Danton and Robespierre?

The Rethuglicans who pushed through the PATRIOT ACT, extended it, and enacted the Military Commissions Act are proposing yet more Orwellian anti-American legislation and you people are surprised?

This is their MO. Let's just hope it dies in committee.

By ian.k.alexander (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Down the memory hole

@#6

But it's worth noting that if you stretch detention without trial far enough people like environmental or anti-war activists could be deemed 'terrorists' and fall into the net.

This is not a stretch. During the 80s and 90s the FBI pursued a smear campaign against anti-war groups by means of retired agents appearing on radio or other talk shows stating that the F.B.I. had anti-war groups such as Swords to Ploughshares or Mothers against Nuclear War under investigation as having links to terrorist groups. When called for comment, the FBI always gave its "we never comment on an ongoing investigation" policy.

I lost count of how many times I heard a former FBI agent make these allegations, followed by the talking heads stating the FBI's refusal to comment but acknowledging that it had an ongoing investigation. By the 90s they had to stop after the National Security Archive obtained documents from the FBI that proved they kept the surveillance going for years for the purpose of maintaining this charade. Well, if McCain and Lieberman's bill passes, the FBI will no longer have to resort to petty smear campaigns.

By Steven Dunlap (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Which have laws promoting a general welfare without provisions for disappearing citizens at whim?

I'd like to say Australia - but we have (for example) laws empowering ASIO to detain people on certain grounds for (IIRC) a number of weeks at a minimum - and it is a criminal offence for ANYONE to reveal that ASIO has or had detained that person - even to the detainee's immediate family, even after detention ends. (Can you imagine trying to explain to your partner that you were legally prohibited from telling them where you had been?)

We're also quite tight with the US, so if American agents decided they wanted to rendition someone, it's not entirely likely that the Australian government would privately tell them to f..k off, although they'd put on a good show of protest for the public if the news got out. (See for example the weak and unconvincing official protests about David Hicks' detention in Guantanamo.)

We also have secret surveillance laws that are getting stronger and stronger with less in the way of checks and balances, and to my knowledge we have no legal right to free speech.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

I have not visited the Excited States since before 9/11. As a Canadian, this has been a deliberate choice that has cost me professionally, but I have used every one of those professional occasions to express from afar my concern for the violations of the best statement of human rights ever written, the American Constitution (and subsequent amendments).

Don't get me wrong, if I weren't a Canadian citizen currently living in Canada, I wouldn't visit here either. In many respects, my government (especially recently) has been even worse or at least complicit with what happened under the G.W. Bush administration. Problem is, I don't see the promised reversal under Obama, either.

Transparency, people: that is what democracy means. We have the right to know what is really going on, and we are not getting that; instead, we get layers and layers of security and need to know, as if, we, the people, really have no need to know. All of this is being done on our behalf it is claimed without us having any say in it, or, more important, any access to the information. That is NOT democracy, by any definition.

One can be deluded by the conglomerate-controlled press into thinking that democracy is mere voting, but it isn't: voting, yes, but voting with full information, surely.

hey Lotharrson, i'm a fucking fed-up Young Labor woman, who hates the internet filter so much she organised what would have been a sucessful plan for Young Labor to do, if it weren't illegal in our constitution to oppose publicly our political masters. some of my acquaintyances there even like factions!! What laws are they, could you name them if you had the time, i wanna raise a motion at the next meeting. I will die before Australia becomes America or flee to Sweden.

The bill requires that all such individuals be placed in military custody, and explicitly says that they "may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition

I can't really blame any US citizens who want to leave their country, given this sort of undemocratic BS.
Don't expect me over to spend my tourist dollars anytime soon either.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 16 May 2010 #permalink

Instead, we have an ultra-conservative hard-right party on the one side and the Nazi party (minus, for the moment, the genocidal urges) on the other.

Sadly, I had to think about that for a while before I was able to identify which party was which.

By MetzO'Magic (not verified) on 17 May 2010 #permalink

You know, if the tea party had any kind of coherent intellectual consistency they would oppose this sort of thing as vehemently as the ACLU will. If the Tea Party really cared about freedom and the Constitution and would fight the actual attacks on the constitution that go on in the name of fighting terror, then I would seriously consider setting aside my differences and get on board with them, that's how mad this stuff makes me. I don't care what else they believe and do, if their candidate is the one opposed to this law and the Democrat supports it, I'd vote Tea Party. Basic constitutional civil liberties trump all. At least the ones that aren't made up in some tea baggers head. But then, I don't have to worry about that since the Tea Party is bound to back this sort of shit. And who is McCain facing in his next election that he has abandoned all the principles he used to pretend to stand for, abandoned what he fought for in Vietnam, abandoned courage, honesty, and being a "maverick" to move to the right so far that he's willing to shred the constitution. What a sick opportunistic political hack.

By Gus Snarp (not verified) on 17 May 2010 #permalink

I can't help but notice this isn't getting a lot of news press...which raises two questions

1) When did Satellite 15 take over the airways?
2) That being said, what Chanel on Dishnetwork is Badwolf?

"And who is McCain facing in his next election that he has abandoned all the principles he used to pretend to stand for, abandoned what he fought for in Vietnam, abandoned courage, honesty, and being a "maverick" to move to the right so far that he's willing to shred the constitution. What a sick opportunistic political hack."

McCain sold out years ago at very latest during the S&L debacle. The climate's just changed and he doesn't have to fake sincerity anymore.

Wow, Bin Laden _did_ destroy America on 9/11.

By Robert Thille (not verified) on 17 May 2010 #permalink

9/11 = 1984

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 17 May 2010 #permalink

Unfortunately, this is just one chapter in a long history of ignoring the Constitution when convenient. See, for example, the Alien and Sedition Acts (1790s), Sedition Act of 1918, the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, and so forth.

This is not the first time the anti-democratic among us have used the spector of fear to attempt to make and end run around the constitution, and it sure as shit won't be the last.