Archive for the ‘Civil Liberties’ Category

Oh, Yeah

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Crooks and Liars points out that not only was the detention of Al-Marri violating the Consitution, it specifically violated the Patriot Act.

In sum, Congress has carefully prescribed the process by which it wishes to permit detention of “terrorist aliens” within the United States, and has expressly prohibited the indefinite detention the President seeks here. The Government’s argument that the President may indefinitely detain al-Marri is thus contrary to Congress’s expressed will.

But who cares about the law?! They’re terrorists!

Quote of the Day

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Right now, I’m reading, somewhat belatedly, Team of Rivals. A lot of Bush’s supporters — his few remaining supporters — like to make the comparison of Bush to Lincoln. But apart from both being Republicans, both facing a difficult conflict and both having opposition from peace-seeking Democrats, there is no comparison.

In the face of the greatest crisis in our nation’s history, Lincoln held together a new Republican coalition, got rid of an incompetent Secretary of War and numerous blundering generals and was masterful on foreign relations. Facing a handful of extremists who can’t seem to figure out which end of the bomb to point at the enemy, Bush has fractured the Republican party, stuck with incompetent twerps beyond all reason and alienated the entire world.

But moreover, Lincoln’s use of military tribunals and suspension of certain liberties has been used to justify Bush’s. But again, Lincoln was facing open rebellion, for which exemptions are specifically granted in the Consititution. Bush is not, unless you’re going to go the Algore route and proclaim any opposition to be a fifth column.

And Lincoln himself said and, I’m finding out, lived, the following:

I fear you do not fully comprehend the danger of abridging the liberties of the people. Nothing but the very sternest necessity can ever justify it. A government had better go to the very extreme of toleration, than to do aught that could be construed into an interference with, or to jeopardize in any degree, the common rights of its citizens.

“Aught that could be construed” — i.e, we shouldn’t be finding little legal loopholes to justify violating liberties. We should not even give the apperance of violating the spirit of the law while obeying its letter. In contrast, this Administation has lawyers figuring out rationaliziations for wiretaps, opened mail, torture and indefinite detention.

“A government had better go to the very extreme of toleration” – in other words, this is the last desparate step. In contrast, the Right’s first inclination is to suspend civil liberties, break the law and violate our treaty obligations.

Night and day, people. Night and day.

Friday Linkorama

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Taxes destroy an old amusement park. I hope the city thinks its worth their art subsidies and other waste.

The internet weights about the same as a grain of sand.

Cato on why we should be leery of Rudy:

Here’s why: Throughout his career, Giuliani has displayed an authoritarian streak that would be all the more problematic in a man who would assume executive powers vastly expanded by President Bush.

His support of water-borading is another reason. If Kerry were president right now, I’d support Rudy. But we need someone to repair our government’s adherence to constitutional principles.

Finally, Congress is pushing back against the CIA gul-, er, prisons. Four of seven Republicans. Let’s hope this is just the beginning.

The border agent decided the TB man didn’t seem sick so he just let him in.

Yeah, we’re going to stop terrorism by closing the borders.

NYT Hypocrisy

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Raise your hand if you’re surprised by the hypocrisy Neal Boortz has demonstrated in the NYT:

It’s no surprise really. The New York Times came out in support of “a new 4 percent tax on income above $200,000 a year for married couples and above $100,000 for single taxpayers.” But liberal hypocrisy rears its ugly head when you consider the tens of millions of dollars the Times received in tax breaks, just so they could build their fancy headquarters in Manhattan. Oh and not to mention that they seized the city property by abusing a little power called eminent domain—and then viciously criticized the Supreme Court decision expanding eminent domain powers as “a set back to the ‘property rights’ movement.” For a paper that is so renown, I guess it lives by the saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” Too bad I can’t tell the IRS that when they come knocking on my door.

The NYT actually runs some very good articles on science and the economy. But their editorial board basically gets faxes from the DNC and republishes them.

OK, maybe they don’t. But could you honestly tell the difference?

More Good News

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

The United States Constitution is one of the crown jewels of our civilization. Two hundred years have passed and we’ve barely needed to ammend it. It was radical for its time and is still radical today in its vision of basic human liberty. I think Reagan put it best when he said that most countries’ constitutions give the people rights and priveleges from their benign government. Ours, on the other hand, says that we the people will allow the government to do the following things.

I supported the GOP for a long time because of their devotion to Constitutional law. They were the only ones out there who stood for states’ rights and the second ammendment, property rights and the takings clause. But the seeds of destruction were there. They had already countenanced the erosion of civil liberties in our insane War on Drugs. And now it has come to full flower in the War on Terror.

How pathetic is it that the Democrats are now the defenders of liberty. They are trying to restore habeas corpus and that moonbat Pelosi is threatening to sue Bush over signing statements. I would love to see SCOTUS put the rule of law down on the signing statements, although I suspect the present court will unfortunately defer to the executive and enshrine this upending of the balance of powers in precedent.

Still, how sad has the GOP gotten when the Democrats are more protective of our liberty.

Lee at Right-Thinking said it best: Bush had made true everything Democrats have ever said about Republicans.



Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I’m not sure what to make of today’s Supreme Court decision on partial birth abortion. While I oppose the procedure I get nervous when the government starts deciding what methods may be used. In this case, these feti will just be aborted by a different and, as I understand it, more dangerous procedure. Government doesn’t know medicine. If they want to ban late-term abortions, that’s one thing. I might even support that on the state level. But having a bunch of lawyers decide approprate medical methodology is asking for trouble.

I also think this puts the lie to the standard Republican talking point of “We just want to the decision on abortion to go back to the states!” This is a very anti-federalist law and tells me that, if they had the votes, they would ban abortion on the Congressional level and screw federalism. After all, that’s what they did on medical marijuana.

I do think having these things debated politically is better than having the Supreme Court impose a unilateral ruling on the nation. We’ll get better debate on the subject. And as I said in this space, if Roe vs. Wade were ever struck down, it would be he best thing that ever happened to the Democrats.

Expect Planned Parenthood and NARAL to shit bricks. But the court is still at least 5-4 pro-Roe, as Kennedy is usually an abortion supporter. And we’ll see how Alito and Roberts rule on more restrictive laws. I suspect that, as with everything, the GOP will make sure that they can get abortions when they need them. It’s the rest of us that are in danger of hellfire.

A Step Toward Sensibility

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Wow. I’ve been beaten to the punch. This will teach me to hold back my comments in the wake of a tragedy. But we now have voices from as far left as Atrios in a brilliant post, to Klein to Virginia Governir Tim Kaine to Sullivan’s interns cautioning against using the VT tragedy to advance ideas about security.

The consensus, at least it some circles, is that you can’t really do much to stop a madman. There’s not much you can learn from an extreme random event. These events are, thankfully, stochastic in our society. So locking down campi, grabbing guns, distributing guns or putting anti-depressants in the water isn’t going to do much good. And there are greater ills to heal with the effort being spent.

Of course, if Barrack Obama just said what Ben Smith says he said (hat tip, Lee), it’s his first major gaffe. Using the VT tragedy to segue into hurtful language and outsourcing is . . . words fail me. Somewhere, Hillary is grinning.

Boortz on VT

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Boortz comes out full bore on the Virginia Tech tragedy.

I’m refraining from comment until we know more. We’re hearing a lot of speculation and stories. We can wait a while until we have all the facts. It turned out that most of what people were saying about Columbine in the immediate aftermath was garbage. Let’s take some time to separate the fantasy from the reality.

There is one thing I’d like to say. I hope people will spare just tiny amount of prayer for the family of . . . the shooter.


Listen. Somewhere in America, some family is about to find out that their brother or son did this horrible horrible thing. If there’s anything worse than finding out your child has been killed, it’s finding out he was a monster. And they will unquestionably get a lot of the blame — perhaps some deserved. Since the shooter is dead, the blame game will be played out in full — VT Administration, cops, student cliques, the family, whatever you want. Some will deserve that blame. All will get it.

Banana Republic

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

A great demonstration of the difference between what Republicans used to be and what they are now.

(Hat tip to Right-Thinking.)

Why Attorneys Matter

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

It’s hard to break the meme-lock of the Right on the attorneys scandal. They don’t or can’t admit that firing eight of your own appointees in your second term because they aren’t prosecuting your political opponents is different than the normal changeover of USA’s that starts any Presidential term. But maybe they can’t get worked up over what one of the new appointeesis doing.

What was done to Ed Rosenthal is a travesty — one, by the way, that started under the Clinton Administration.

Balko has been on fire lately. The Agitator is quickly becoming one of the best blogs on the internets.

Why the Attention?

Monday, April 9th, 2007

I’m sure the media will start gnashing their teeeth about a rash of shootings and the need for gun control. But there are about, what, 50 people shot to death per day in our country of 300 million. Why do these focus on these particular shootings? Because they are “sprees”? Because they involve rich white people?

Sully on Habeas

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Like all mediocre writers, I prefer to quote good ones rather than ham it up on my own:

America is now failing that test. And the Republican party has lost not only its own soul; it is busy mortgaging the soul of America and the West as a whole. On this, there can be no compromise. Until a leading Republican commits to the full restoration of habeas corpus for American citizens, whether the executive considers them an “enemy combatant” or not, no one who loves freedom can support the GOP. In fact, any lover of freedom should consider it a duty to defeat them.


Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Via the Agitator, i find facism is alive and well in Florida.

Seriously, seizing someone’s house over a parking ticket?! Thanks, Justice Scalia! These are the fruits of destroying Americans’ property rights!

Die Hippies!

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

The US government would rather you die screaming in pain than smoke pot. Interesting note:

What becomes abundantly clear from Baum’s reporting: Everything, everything about the prohibition of marijuana is and has always been political. It basically boils down to Richard Nixon needing a wedge issue and a hammer with which to beat the dirty hippie anti-war protesters over the head. With just a bit of research, even hardened drug warriors in Nixon’s own administration in the late 1960s and early 1970s quickly realized marijuana was basically harmless.

From that, we have descended to a point where the government has determined it’s better that sick, crippled, suffering people (a) die, and (b) die in pain, than to give those dirty hippies the smallest of victories, even 35 years later.

I have another take on this. I think we are seeing the witch-trial mentality.

Huh? Bear with me.

The people who tortured, burnt, drowned and hanged witches in the last millenium always justified it by saying they were saving the witch’s soul. Yeah, they were going to die in pain and terror. But that was a small price to pay for the eternal salvation of having the demons driven from them.

(Whether they actually thought this, or just used it justify/rationalize a process that, not coincidentally, gave them the condemended witch’s property, is another issue.)

I see this in the drug warriors and the teetotalers — especially when it comes to denying Angel Reich marijuana or Richard Paey percocet. Yes, they will die in pain. But their souls will be saved because their minds won’t be cloud by those filthy drugs. Well, that and the pathological need to enforce the letter of the law beyond any boundaries of common sense.

I can’t find the link here, but when the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was dying, he asked for a drink. He was denied. That is, a man who was quite understandably scared of what was happening to him was denied even a modicum of comfort. Because it would save his soul.

Hogwash. One of the most scared duties of a human being is to comfort the dying. It is something we will all need at some point. And if that comfort involves a drink, a pill or a joint, so be it.

Especially if that drink, pill or joint might keep them around for just a little bit longer.