One war ends, another continues

The war in Iraq officially “ended” today, for those of you who believe in beginnings and endings.

But the war on civil liberties continues. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act contains provisions that the American Civil Liberties Union says could authorize the U.S. military to pick up and imprison, indefinitely and without charge, civilians — including U.S. citizens — anywhere on the planet, including right here in the good old US of A.

Glenn Greenwald views this development with alarm over at Salon, charging President Obama with being more concerned with executive power than civil liberties.

At The Nation, Patricia J. Williams argues that under this law, “if the Defense Department thinks you’re a terrorist, there would be no presumption of innocence; you would be presumed a detainee of the military unless the executive decides otherwise.”

Her colleague Robert Scheer declared that this “assault on the Constitution’s requirement of due process represents a direct threat to the freedom of the American people every bit as menacing as any we face from foreign enemies.”

Andrew Cohen is less alarmist at The Atlantic, saying we’re still “much closer to the beginning than to the end of this dirty business.”

I don’t know whether to be reassured or terrified by that.

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14 Responses to “One war ends, another continues”

  1. barry Says:

    Goddamnit Patrick…I was trying to be happy until you made me realize exactly what went down today. I’ve worried over this the past few days, but didn’t look into it like I could and should have.

    All my local Reps in both houses and from both parties voted for this bag of shit.

    lying cocksuckers

    fucking snakes in the grass

    As if writing letters or emails would have made one iota of difference…they better make sure the proletariat has enough food, drink and tv over the next bunch of years, or there could be trouble. I’m sure they’ll take care of us all just fine.

  2. Khal Spencer Says:

    Patrick, I recall you once posted a blog entry titled “if we wanted Cheney, we would have voted for Cheney”. Obama has been a complete sellout on this latest American example of the Enabling Acts**, and you can be assured that the Supremes would sooner toss you a bone in a dark cell than stand by your civil liberties.

    Its getting darker out there all the time.

    ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enabling_Act_of_1933

  3. Charley Says:

    Terrified works for me.

  4. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Gents, I just fired off a short-form NastyGram® to the White House. No point in sending one to Doug Lamborn. I don’t think the stupid sonofabitch reads anything besides the Bible. And not the King James Version, either. More like “Jesus for Dummies.”

    And yeah, I sure wouldn’t want to be the poor test case hanging upside down in a cell at Leavenworth awaiting a get-out-of-jail-free card from John Roberts and his black-robed pals. That could be a real long wait.

    Fuck me runnin’. The cops are turning into soldiers and the soldiers are turning into cops. Better get used to the taste of pepper spray.

  5. BenS Says:

    Terrified, not reassured.

  6. Larry T. Says:

    There must be something in the air in DeeCee, especially in the White House. A smart guy who makes sense in most areas gets himself installed there and slowly (or maybe not so slowly) ends up being so concerned with “safety and security” that civil liberties go out the window. This baloney about the commander-in-chief’s job being first to “keep us safe” is horse-puckey. If safety is all we wanted we could elect W’s ex-KGB pal “Pootie-Poot”. Obama must figure Newt Romney’s not much of a threat to his reelection to pull this kind of crap less than a year before we vote again. Sadly, unlike last time, it will be a “lesser of two evils” decision when we go to the polling places next year….if we’re not in jail after being labeled terrorist threats! I gotta figure out a way to just stay over here in Italy where (at least for now) actual adults are running things.

  7. High Plains Drifters Says:

    Gotta look at everything as a market opportunity. How about throat lozenges that make pepper spray palatable? Or a lifetime Harry and David fruit basket subscription that will follow you to Gitmo? Skin-colored padded wrist bands so that when they slap the zip-ties on you, they won’t dig into your skin? Custom tailored orange jump suits, since if you’re going to go, you might as well go in style?

    Or better yet, a super-blend of THC and Zoloft that will keep us from worrying about our eroding civil liberties, rights, and infrastructure?

  8. High Plains Drifters Says:

    Speaking of marketing …

    99% of public opinion is based on how the shit is sold to us, and not the shit itself. Life is spin.

    And I’m thinking, if every time someone said “these draconian measures are necessary, because you don’t understand the threat we’re up against,” then I wonder how they would respond if we would reply with:

    “Why do you hate cops? Why do you think they’re such idiots that they can’t do their job? Why do you hate America and have such disregard for our processes that you don’t trust our cops, out law enforcement, our military intelligence, our courts, our judges, and juries of your peers to do the right thing and catch these guys and send them to jail?”

    Yes, 9/11 was horrific. But bad guys have wanted to do us in for two hundred years, and they’ve succeeded once out of a few thousand attempts.

    I’ve never understood why the folks who think they’re the most patriotic seem to have the least trust in this country.

  9. Jeff Cozad Says:

    Something else in the realm of terrifying… A few friends and I have been discussing this piece that Bill Moyers penned (electroned?).

    http://www.alternet.org/story/153349/moyers:_why_'we_the_people'_must_triumph_over_corporate_power/

    • Larry T. Says:

      That’s what I mean about the “lesser of two evils” for next November. Uncle Mitt Romney firmly believes corporations are people too. Makes me hope crazy Newt gets the nod instead…it’s hard to believe Obama could lose to him…then we’re back to trying to get our civil liberties back. Funny, I joined the ACLU after W scammed his way into the White House, who knew we’d have as much trouble with Obama?

  10. John Says:

    Lost is all this “we need to do this for security” and “to prevent another 9/11” bullshit is the fact that various departments of the FBI and others actually HAD all the information they needed to stop 9/11, but were bogged down with so much other data and bureaucracy that they weren’t able to put two and two together (or even 1 + 1).

    So if the “terrorists hate our freedoms” (as a certain moron from Yale via Texas so often reminded us), what do we make of our own government tossing out the Magna Carta? So far there appears to be only entity that hates my freedoms enough to take them away.

    Damn, I’m starting to sound like a libertarian.

  11. Boz Says:

    The “Hope” and “Change we all voted for have significantly different meanings today than when Obama was elected. That new face in DC euphoria has turned to despair for the average American. The vast gulf between richer and poorer keeps getting wider and deeper, with no hope of bridging it, personal freedoms heading for a Nazi Germany style doom, all with the blessings of those that preach the anti-big government doctrine.

    This can be simply boiled down to: Little Johnny jumps the fence and goes into the neighbors yard, where he’s promptly bit by the neighbors viscous dog. Instead of teaching Johnny to stay in his own yard, his siblings are locked in the basement for their own safety, all the while Johnny keeps on with his bad behavior. No lesson learned because none is taught.

    BTW, what is the proper size our government should be? I sent an e-mail to my Teabagger congressman asking that question and haven’t gotten an answer.

  12. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Another interesting story from Mother Jones: Does posting militant material on the Intertubes make you a terrorist?

    This material here strikes me as particularly militant.

    Discuss.

  13. barry Says:

    Going down that path, just about every organized religion has practiced terrorism- not just the Mooselims. I say lock them all up until they learn the error of their ways- at the least.

    And yes, the DoI was vehemently terrorist. Hell, we even fought like terrorists, hiding behind stuff to shoot at the enemy and launching sneak attacks under cover of darkness.

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