Today, things are different. Today, we awoke a nation perhaps forever changed, thanks to a president who considers destroying everything that once made this nation great a good thing. And thanks, also, to the apathy or, worse, the willing consent of millions of Americans. Today, therefore, things are different, because yesterday, in the midst of National Character Counts Week, the president tarnished our national character by signing into law one of the most immoral pieces of legislation in our nation's history. To the president, the Military Commissions Act represents, in his words, "one of the most important pieces of legislation in the war on terror", exemplifying a nation that "is patient and decent and fair". History, I'm afraid, won't be as kind a judge. Nor, with your help, will a motivated electorate, whose decision to check a reckless White House this November is the only thing standing between democracy and tyranny. When you cast a ballot this fall, vote as if your life depends on it. Because it does.
Criticism of the Act pointed to its reprehensible disregard for America's legal and ethical traditions. "With his signature, President Bush enacts a law that is both unconstitutional and un-American," said American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero. "The president can now - with the approval of Congress - indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions. Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act." Added Sen. Russ Feingold, "The legislation signed by the President today violates basic principles and values of our constitutional system of government. It allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court. And the new law would permit an individual to be convicted on the basis of coerced testimony and even allow someone convicted under these rules to be put to death." Regarding his colleagues' role in the bill's passing, he said, "I am deeply disappointed that Congress enacted this law. We will look back on this day as a stain on our nation's history."
The true extent, sadly, of the Military Commissions Act hasn't yet sunk into the American consciousness. And I'm afraid it won't, so long as the loudest voices in the debate remain the dumbest. I'd love to say the blame for our descent into the darkness rests squarely with the president and his administration, but that would be a lie. No, it also lies with those whose ignorance, fearfulness or spite allowed all of this to happen. Those who cast a vote for the president because he seemed like their kind of guy, the kind of guy with whom they'd love to grab a beer. Those who voted Republican because they thought they were moral people, despite the fact that the party is mired in a scandal involving covering for a pedophile (to say nothing of the fact that Republicans are rationalizing torture). Those who voted Republican because they thought it would keep America safe, something that also allowed them to sit idly by as, using that baseless claim, the party in power systematically reduced America from democracy to dictatorship. Thanks to this corrupt bargain, all of our lives hang in the balance.
And why do all of our lives hang in the balance? Because legislation like this doesn't just affect how our government treats its adversaries in the so-called war on terror, it affects how our government treats each and every one of us. Besides, words like "adversaries", "enemies" and "terrorists", when in the hands of this administration, are rather vague terms, as this sweeping bill proves. Consider those - peace groups, gay rights advocates, environmental activists, journalists, everyday Muslims - this administration has spied upon. Consider, also, this portion of the declassified key judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate, sentiments echoed Monday by Michael Chertoff: "Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint." And consider, finally, the expansiveness with which this White House defines those itterms opposed to our nation's interests and the lengths this to which this administration will go to destroy its opposition, including those who once considered themselves its top supporters. Taking these things into account, how can thinking Americans not treat the signing of the Military Commissions Act as a grave threat to our freedom?
The Military Commissions Act is a shameful piece of legislation, one worthy of our outrages. But this isn't a partisan issue. It's an American issue. It should cause everyone to ask themselves what kind of nation would we like to be. Would we like to be a nation that respects its legal and ethical traditions and doesn't sink to the level of its adversaries? Or would we like to be a tin-pot dictatorship in the hands of a sociopathic despot? Today, it appears those in power have chosen the latter, something that should scare every one of us. It should even scare those Bush apologists who looked the other way while their president signed away our rights and our national dignity. Why? Well, my right-wing friends, the law the president signed doesn't only apply to Republican administrations. Just like the powers this executive has amassed aren't relegated only to Republican presidents. Imagine these sweeping powers in the hands of, say, President Hillary Clinton? Do you want her, my Republican friends, to be able to decide who is and isn't an unlawful enemy combatant? Do you want her deciding what is and isn't torture? Of course you don't. I don't, either - nor do I think a Democratic administration would stand for such immoral behavior - but I don't want any president to have these powers, nor should you.
If history has proven anything, it's that there's no self-imposed "off" switch on a power grab. Without proper oversight, as I've written, the pursuit of unchecked president power proceeds, well, unchecked. Today's political dissenters may very well be tomorrow's unlawful enemy combatants. Judging by this administration's propensity to expand whom it considers its enemies, is that really that strange an idea? Imagine a world in which those arrested at Tuesday's White House protests aren't immediately released but are instead held indefinitely, without charge. A world in which those arrested - American citizens - are not only held without charge and without the ability to challenge their detention, but also tortured, subsequently put on trial with the very likely possibility that ill-gotten evidence is the only thing standing between them and the death penalty. This nightmare scenario isn't years away. It's here now, thanks both to an administration willing to sacrifice its citizens' rights and a citizenry largely willing to allow its rights to be sacrificed. A citizenry, also, that can no longer afford to excuse away these shameful actions. It wasn't a nameless, faceless terrorists who lost their rights Tuesday. It was all of us. And the only way to restore some sanity to our government is to cast a Democratic vote this November. As a nation, we can no longer ignore those warning us to vote because, in their words, our lives depend on it. They do.
2. I don't think we'll ever live down the shame of what occurred
yesterday. Never. Because what we (us, our dem reps, the military, all of us) let him do is the antithesis of everything our country stood for. Of every principal of our Founding Fathers. Of every desire they had for this country. Of every ideal of everyone who wants to lay claim to the description 'decent human being'.
I wish I could make a coworker read it. I was trying tconvince a coworker yesterday of the implications of this bill and he would just keep coming back to "this won't affect people like us". He is well-educated (on the track to get a PhD in Physics),liberal, kinda follows the news-not a fundie or anything of the sort-overall a pretty nice guy too.
But he just won't agree that this bill is particularly scary or has implications for all of us.
I kept asking him if its ok if it affects innocent people who "aren't like us" (whatever being "like us" means) and he would just say -"I don't wanna go there".
With the exception of the fine Keith Olbermann, no one in the mainstream media seems to even have noticed that such a historic shame has occurred.
It is 2006, but this might as well be Germany in the 1930s. I'm having a hard time assimilating this and I pay attention. The average person doesn't even realize what has happened. An incredible shame.
13. all the more reason why to vote, because we care about our
country, and I will never walk in denial or be ignorant as so many people are doing (excluding present company)
People say "never again", or "it will never happen here", well, those slogans seem to be happening right in our own country and right in front of our eyes. It is truly sad, I have never been so ashamed that this once great nation is gathering a lot of storm clouds overhead.
I'm sorry, knee-jerk defensiveness here, but I feel like I've been screaming in a vacuum and beating my head against a wall for the last 5 years, trying to get through to ANYONE who thinks Bush and his rotten little rat pack are okay, not so bad, bad but not that bad, just great, whatever. When you say, "we," please don't include me.
I totally suck at making an impact and I'm pretty feeble when it comes to public involvement or advocacy, BUT I NEVER VOTED FOR THE LITTLE SHIT and have been gnawing on the ears of my senators and useless U.S. representative continuously on this issue. Good old traitor "Democrat" Debbie Stabenow apparently doesn't give a shit what her constituents want - does that mean "we" allowed this to happen? Our system is completely dysfunctional - is trying to act within what crappy system we have the equivalent of allowing this to happen?
Read between the lines and it's obvious who's feeling guilty about not doing more, eh?
17. BushCo, INC is one step removed from Hitler, Stalin or Mao. Everything
that we have preserved through tradition, legislation and jurisprudence is now becoming a perversion of our ancient liberties espoused in Magna Carta, the common law, Parliamentary supremacy and our own rebellion to found the Republic.
BushCo, INC represents all that is base and vile: no pursuit of happiness save for those who are "connected," that is to say, a new nobility of puppet legislators, global magnates and executive branch autocrats. Rather than merely prevent potential terrorists from entering the United States, we instead focus on an imaginary enemy in Iraq and ignore the real threat to Aghans from radical Islamic fundamentalism in the form of the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The stock market may be "booming," but what does that mean to the working class? Je m'ajuste, the "middle class." People who fight in the wars that our Congress declares or else doesn't as the mood of the executive strikes them, that is. What does the stock market mean to an underemployed, underpaid service worker who once had a union factory job before it was "outsourced"? Nothing. I am more interested in how the St. Louis - New York game goes tonight than a gambling enterprise. My bookie is your stockbroker.
It was a great experiment in self governance...rooted in the Enlightenment and not medieval/early modern notions of "divine rights", universal liberty and a single tier of justice and rights, where the government was to be for the advancement of the people and not the people for its agenda... Too bad that an unholy alliance of power mad inverted Trotskyites, Ayn Rand fetishists and TV "preachers" have now been used and thrown away to the true agenda, that of gambling and manipulation of oil prices.
The country began to go downhill the day that NAFTA was signed. The BushCo, INC regime greased the slope... The republic has died and without a whimper or bang, not even a death rattle....
we the people still have the right to turn off the tv,radio,read only the sports page of the newspaper.Contact the sponsers of Limbaugh,O'Reilly,and all the right wing nuts,tell them we are no longer to buy their goods as long as they sponser those liers.
You seem to think that we don't want torture & wiretapping because we love the terrorists. You think we want habeas to stay for the same reason. Do you want to know the real reason why I am so disgusted with what Bush is doing? Because he could take away the rights of people in my party, *just because he hates us so much*. Think about what it would be like if the situation were reversed. What if a liberal President had the power that Bush now has & decided that he should use those powers to get the Republicans out of the way *just because he hated them so much*? We should never give anyone the power Bush now has. It's too tempting for people who want to get rid of their enemies in the other party.
23. Yeah, that "because liberals love the terrorists" argument is absolute BS
I'm sick of hearing it. Oh yeah, I'm a liberal/progressive/anti-Bush terrorist-lovin defender of the Constitution? Haven't we been told over and over again by * and his ilk that the terrorists hate America because of our freedom? So I'd like the re-thugs to kindly explain to me why outlawing the very freedoms held by the American Constitution and Bill of Rights is somehow making us safer and AMERICAN? Sure seems to me that if we have something others supposedly hate us for, then giving up those things would mean the terrorists win..and those who advocate and accomplish the complete dismissal of our American rights should be TRAITORS to this country.
And still I meet people are eating this shit up??:shrug: :mad: :banghead:
24. "Do you want (Hillary) deciding what is and isn't torture?"
I don't want her deciding a goddamn thing. Nor does any sensible progressive.
In any case, your appeal to Republicans to worry about Hillary is fruitless, as Hillary's already flip-flopped on torture. Despite her gas-bagging and grandstanding the other week, she's now done the usual triangulating and found she can put up with torture after all. She calls it--wait for it--"severity":
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