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BS: US Welcomes back legal torture

Barry Finn 28 Sep 06 - 09:47 PM
GUEST 28 Sep 06 - 10:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Sep 06 - 10:07 PM
Rapparee 28 Sep 06 - 10:22 PM
Old Guy 28 Sep 06 - 10:49 PM
Barry Finn 29 Sep 06 - 01:45 AM
Barry Finn 29 Sep 06 - 02:15 AM
GUEST,redhorse at work 29 Sep 06 - 03:03 AM
Paul Burke 29 Sep 06 - 03:20 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Sep 06 - 04:07 AM
alanabit 29 Sep 06 - 04:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Sep 06 - 04:59 AM
katlaughing 29 Sep 06 - 08:13 AM
kendall 29 Sep 06 - 08:42 AM
katlaughing 29 Sep 06 - 10:27 AM
mack/misophist 29 Sep 06 - 11:11 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 11:34 AM
Donuel 29 Sep 06 - 12:29 PM
Desdemona 29 Sep 06 - 12:30 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 12:35 PM
Donuel 29 Sep 06 - 12:56 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Sep 06 - 09:28 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 09:38 PM
Bill D 29 Sep 06 - 09:57 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 10:13 PM
Don Firth 29 Sep 06 - 10:33 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 10:37 PM
Don Firth 29 Sep 06 - 11:05 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 11:49 PM
3refs 30 Sep 06 - 12:45 AM
3refs 30 Sep 06 - 12:48 AM
3refs 30 Sep 06 - 12:51 AM
Don Firth 30 Sep 06 - 02:04 AM
Greg F. 30 Sep 06 - 09:43 AM
Bill D 30 Sep 06 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,TIA 30 Sep 06 - 01:38 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 06 - 02:41 PM
katlaughing 30 Sep 06 - 03:23 PM
Don Firth 30 Sep 06 - 05:34 PM
Barry Finn 30 Sep 06 - 06:14 PM
Don Firth 30 Sep 06 - 08:12 PM
katlaughing 30 Sep 06 - 11:36 PM
dick greenhaus 01 Oct 06 - 11:56 AM
GUEST 01 Oct 06 - 12:36 PM
GUEST 01 Oct 06 - 01:04 PM
Don Firth 01 Oct 06 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Crybaby Liberal 01 Oct 06 - 06:01 PM
GUEST 01 Oct 06 - 06:12 PM
Greg F. 01 Oct 06 - 06:34 PM
Don Firth 01 Oct 06 - 06:40 PM

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Subject: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Barry Finn
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 09:47 PM

The Senate just passed the president's torture bill 65 to 35. Has the Senate just gone loco, repeating history is a bad enough way to learn a lesson but this just crazy. We were found to be in violation of the Geneva Conentions by the Supreme Court. So now we pass a bill that says it OK to be in violation of the GC as long as we do it our way. The president gets to define what's torture, the GC already does this & our guy can't even define the Bill of Rights, hope the next guy can. He also gets to define what an "emeny combatant" is, again the GC already does this but our guy has a problem with this!
The CIA isn't subject to this new law/bill, so now they're above the law? So now we'll break international again spend mucho time & dollars & again ride this bill to the Supreme Court again only to be told we're STILL in violation of the GC. What then, another repeat? This was a strict party line vote, except for Joe Liberation from Conn. The 90 billion that they're about to spend on a fence around Mexico, we ought to put the fence around DC & only allow those with an average intellegence or better in. In this case stupidity should be a criminal offence. Sometimes I just think "where's that guy with the gun when you really need him"!

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 10:03 PM

Hey Barry,

Don't talk that way about a "man with the gun". With all of the spying that is now legal in the U.S. you may very well disappear one of these days. Am I paranoid? I don't think so. They can check what books you read, who you call, what you have accessed through Google on your computer. Who knows what these people consider as a threat against the president. My guess is that they don't have much of a sense of humor.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 10:07 PM

It might be legal in the USA, but the torturers had better be careful where they go when they're out in the big world, because a law passed in the USA pretending torture is legal doesn't carry any weight whatsoever anywhere else.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 10:22 PM

Yup, McGrath. Sure don't. And I betcha that there'll be a change or two in a bit. Just a guess, like about the time US service people start being the recepients of what gets dished out. Someone said, "Do unto others" or something, didn't they?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Old Guy
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 10:49 PM

Just exactly what does the law say?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 01:45 AM

Here it is in yesterday's form, it passed today. I don't know if anything has been changed between now & then.

Barry

Details of the Senate's Detainee Bill
by Ari Shapiro and Melissa Block

All Things Considered, September 28, 2006 · The bill laying out how to handle terrorism detainees has undergone several changes since it was first introduced last week. Now that the legislation appears to be in its final form, Melissa Block talks with NPR's Ari Shapiro about what the bill says and what its implications would be.

Politics
Inside the Detainee Bill
by Ari Shapiro

The Senate approved legislation that establishes military commissions to try terrorism suspects, and clarifies U.S. policy with regard to the Geneva Conventions -- a treaty which defines international standards for the treatment of war prisoners.

The bill sets standards for CIA interrogators, but human-rights groups say the rules are complex and leave room for such harsh techniques as prolonged sleep deprivation. The legislation also denies detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment in court.

A version of the bill won House approval Wednesday, on a 253-168 vote. The legislation has undergone several days of modifications and additions from members of Congress and the White House. Here's the latest on what the bill says:

ON DETAINEE LEGAL RIGHTS

The Definition of 'Unlawful Enemy Combatant'

The bill expands the definition of unlawful enemy combatants to include people who have "purposefully and materially supported hostilities" and people who have been declared enemy combatants under Combat Status Review Tribunals, "or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense." Under this new language, people in the United States who are not American citizens could be declared unlawful enemy combatants and held indefinitely without trial.

Habeas Corpus

The bill prohibits detainees held by the United States from filing lawsuits challenging their detention, known as habeas corpus pleadings. This wipes out both pending and future lawsuits, and it would apply to people picked up anywhere in the world, including the United States.

The provision is significant. Habeas corpus is an ancient protection that stems from English common law, and its use dates back to as early as the 12th century. In 1969, the Supreme Court called it "the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action." Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced an amendment to remove this part of the legislation. He argued that the ability to challenge one's detention is one of the most fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. The proposed amendment failed.

ON THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS

Coercive Interrogation Tactics

The bill prohibits "grave breaches" of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. That includes "cruel or inhuman treatment." But many legal analysts and government officials believe the definition of cruel or inhuman treatment as written in the bill does not encompass some of the severe interrogation tactics that the CIA has reportedly used against terrorism suspects. The bill also prohibits enemy combatants from filing lawsuits claiming a violation of their rights under the Geneva Conventions. That could make it difficult to hold accountable those who do engage in torture.

Presidential Power

The bill gives the president the power to "interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions." Critics fear this means that the president can unilaterally authorize interrogation techniques that many people would consider torture.

War Crimes Act

The legislation would narrow the range of offenses prohibited under the War Crimes Act. This would protect civilians (such as CIA interrogators and White House officials) from being prosecuted for committing acts that would have been considered war crimes under the old definition. The change is retroactive to 1997, which means any crimes committed since 1997 would be prosecuted under the new standard, not the old one.

ON MILITARY COMMISSIONS

Evidence Obtained Through Coercion

If an enemy combatant made a statement under coercion before Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act in 2005, the evidence is admissible at a military tribunal in most cases. If the statements were made after Congress passed the 2005 ban on coercive interrogation tactics, the evidence is admissible only if a military judge finds that "the interrogation methods used to obtain the statement do not violate the cruel, unusual, or inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution."

Secret Evidence

The first draft of this legislation said that defendants could "examine and respond" to all of the evidence against them at a military tribunal. Now it says only that defendants can "respond" to all evidence. The full implications of this phrase aren't entirely clear. Defense lawyers will likely argue that defendants can't respond to evidence they haven't been able to examine.

Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay evidence is generally acceptable at military tribunals. A judge has to rule that the evidence is reliable and relevant to the trial.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 02:15 AM

"Just exactly what does the law say?"

There you go. In a nut shell, it says that anyone at any time can be an "unlawful emeny combatant" any where & that there is now no recourse whatsoever.

Habeas Corpus, 900 years as the cornerstone of western civilization's
legal building blocks washed away with no more than a whimper. Disgusting & criminal.

War Crimes are as good as legal, no checks & balances here not even a hearing (Lt. Cally would've been overjoyed if this had happened 30 yrs ago & just 60 years ago the world would've screamed at this type of injustice) unless the guilty party sets foot on foreign soil. Legal to apply to prisoners & the outcome is legal to use in a court of law.


I'm sick to my stomack & I'm sick to be an American!!!

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST,redhorse at work
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:03 AM

"Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free ......"
Er,no.
nick


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:20 AM

Where's Old Guy when you need him?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:07 AM

Of course, the UK will continue to allow the US to tranship people unlawfully kidnapped to places where torture is legal and/or convenient.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: alanabit
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:29 AM

Does that mean we can indict the UK government for complicity in kidnapping and torture?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:59 AM

of course we bloody can. wake up al! you know enough Irish people to know - we probably wrote the book on it.

in a way - anybody in a combat situation is going to do this. war isn't a cricket match, if you think you can protect your guys on the ground by obtaining information, obviously you will go for it. no matter what nonsense is on the statute books.

bit of common sense called for here, one thinks.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:13 AM

The bill gives the president the power to "interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions." Critics fear this means that the president can unilaterally authorize interrogation techniques that many people would consider torture. He is not intelligent to do so.

The mind reels in disbelief, esp. at the loss of Habeas Corpus.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: kendall
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:42 AM

Is this supposed to scare all those enemies so bad that they won't dare reciprocate?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 10:27 AM

From Bob Woodward's new book:

Bush is obsessed with "score cards" and body counts, even though veteran generals know the number of enemy dead says little about who's winning. "They killed three of ours, how many did we kill of theirs?" is the type of question Bush often asks the military.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: mack/misophist
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 11:11 AM

The Supreme Court (back in the days when they had some respect for the Constitution) was known to overturn legislation from time to time. It's never too late to hope.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 11:34 AM

Way to go, America. You must be proud.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:29 PM

Not only is it Unconstitutional, parts of it even go against the laws in the Magna Carta.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Desdemona
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:30 PM

I'll add my voice to the growing chorus of Americans who feel absolutely nauseated at what continues to be done in our name. I didn't vote for the current administration, nor do I approve or condone their actions, and yet as an American citizen I am identified with them; our "leaders" are steadily dragging this country backwards into barbarism, and exposing us in the eyes of the world as the imperialist savages we are always accused of being.

A nation which numbered the separation of Church and State among its founding principles looks increasingly like a theocracy, and a repressive one at that. Our government can legally infringe upon our basic "rights" to privacy and free speech. GUEST's post above in re: the relative "safety" of expressing opinions that might not to the party line is highly apposite; I'm afraid to think what atrocities will be committed next, before being retroactively marketed to us in the guise of "protecting our freedom". Dark days are indeed upon us.

~D


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:35 PM

A few years ago I mentioned that many prison camps in the USA were being renovated. I was ridiculed for it. Fu#k! I should have been. Seems I was very foolish to think that when what was really happening was that the whole damned country was being turned into a prison camp. Anyone want to bet there is a coup if it looks like the 2006 elections will go the wrong way? Your country is being stolen from you. Wake up!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:56 PM

After the designated executions have taken place the Supreme Court may indeed rule that the new US military version of the Geneva Conventions are unconstitutional.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:28 PM

That's the snag, of course, with the death penalty. Difficult to reverse if erroneous.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:38 PM

The penalty is really really difficult to reverse after it's been carried out.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:57 PM

I too am sick at this new tendency to define the 'enemy' any way the govt. chooses....and besides flouting hundreds of years of stare decisis, it is logically circular.

"We reserve the right to 'detain' anyone we suspect of BEING the enemy, or giving aid to the enemy, and we reserve the right to HOLD anyone detained or accused for as long as we deem necessary"

In other words, if they 'might' be the enemy, we act as if they ARE the enemy, and naturally, the enemy in wartime has few rights...only the ones we grant them.

Wait for the day when simple political opponents are suddenly deemed 'enemy'.

Sound familar?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 10:13 PM

The Bush litany has been sounding familiar for years. Why is it taking the American public so damned long to wake up?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 10:33 PM

GUEST, some Americans are fully awake, and have been all along.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 10:37 PM

I don't doubt that. But not a majority. And the people who have been awake seem to have accomplished nothing, because that piece of shit y'all have in Washington just keeps on ramming this kind of crap through. When will you folks overthrow this bastard?


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 11:05 PM

What means do you suggest, GUEST? Armed revolution?

There is a congressional election coming up in a few weeks. I'm doing my part. How about you?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 11:49 PM

I am not American. However, I worry about your country because it's about to be taken over by coup, and let me ask this: what would be wrong with armed revolution? You did it once before.


"The United States has the largest number of guns in private hands of any country in the world with 60 million people owning a combined arsenal of over 200 million firearms.

The US constitution, which was written in 1787, enshrines the people's right to keep and bear arms in its Second Amendment.

It reads: 'A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.'"


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: 3refs
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 12:45 AM

I don't remember the quote exactly but in a nut shell it say's the most patriotic duty one can do is to defend his country from it's government
And ya, I'm against torture! Unless it's my kids there trying to find!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: 3refs
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 12:48 AM

Oh ya! And from my cold dead fingers!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: 3refs
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 12:51 AM

And I'm not from the U.S.A.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 02:04 AM

GUEST, let's wait and see how the congressional election works out. If the Repubs lose sufficient seats, the Bush League will be without much of its support--and leading up to the elections, many Republican candidates are trying to distance themselves from the Bush administration. Most hopefully, contrary to your gloomy outlook, many Americans really don't like the way things have been going lately, in the war, the torture issue, foreign policy in general, and quite a number of other things, both foreign and domestic. "Fed up with screw-ups" I believe is the expression. So it could be interesting.

Time for other measures later. Coup? Possible, I suppose, but not bloody likely.

As we used to say out here in the Old West, "Don't go off half-cocked."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 09:43 AM

Thought there was something in that pesky ol' Constitution

Bill of Attainder

Definition: A legislative act that singles out an individual or group for punishment without a trial.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:12 PM

well, I often WISH we had provisions for 'recall' or 'vote of no confidence' like some other countries do....but we have only the 4 year vote ....or IMPEACHMENT...and in this case, if we toss out Bush, we get Cheney.

'nuff said.

Let's just vote a new Congress, and make it harder for Bush to screw things up until we can vote out the whole gang.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:38 PM

Don is right, let's see how the elections go. but my faith in them is shot. The evidence that they have been stolen for the last 8 to 10 years is now overwhelming, but our news people too are in a state of denial about that. It is too unthinkable to even report. But the evidence is there. GUEST's idea of armed revolution is abhorrent, but revolution may be the only thing left soon. I'll be advocating a peaceful revolution. Sitting in front of trains, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 02:41 PM

I would only advocate violent revolution when all else has failed.
However, I do think that if the 2006 vote doesn't go the way the White House wants, you'll have armed troops in your streets--no doubt to coincide with the Homeland Security exercises slotted for that time. I think the preparation has already been done to take your government by force--by your government.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 03:23 PM

There is no need for them to have armed troops in our streets; Bush et alia have already done their dirty work without such in this country. IF it was as dire as you project, the people of America would rise up in revolution. I don't believe Bush and his cronies want anything to do with bloodletting in their own backyard. It would cause problems with their bottom line, that is their world oil profits etc. They are better off, and they know it, trying to keep the masses uninformed and semi-content; however, I do not think they will be able to do so and I believe there are enough BIG NAMES involved in the opposition, not just politicians, that they will not prevail.

BUILD DEMOCRACY - VOTE!


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 05:34 PM

Kat has the right of it.

Vast numbers of this country's population are so busy going about their own business that, unfortunately, they often don't pay enough attention to politics (which, to many people, is much like examining the contents of a septic tank). They wander through life, careless, dumb, and happy. But--you can get their attention.

Notice how cranky people got when gasoline prices went over three dollars a gallon. They grumbled and started asking questions. There are enough families with sons, daughters, husbands, or wives overseas having their assignments repeatedly re-upped long after Bush announced "Mission accomplished;" this along with the seemingly endless drumbeat of continuing casualties, and Bush's only exit strategy being "Stay the course." They are also asking a lot of questions. And they and they also want to know what all this bellicose talk about Iran is all about. We've already spent half a trillion dollars on this Iraqi fiasco (increasing the national debt to unheard of heights and mortgaging our future generations) and it's only increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

Some of the more sophisticated and aware are asking questions like, "Why do I have to pay $500 a month for health insurance when every other civilized, industrialized country in the world has free health care?" [Including--and this may surprise you--Iraq under Saddam Hussein. And the Iraqis also have free health care under the American occupation, but we do not!]   People are starting to ask lots of questions.

And people are informing themselves. When I hear of new books just out, such as the new one by Bob Woodward, or books such as Michelle Goldberg's on the melding of the Republican Party with the religious Right, or Rajiv Chandrasekaran's astounding book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City : Inside Iraq's Green Zone, in which he describes the pathetic cluelessness and monumental screw-ups of the American administration forces in Iraq, I go to the Seattle Public Library's web site to place the books on hold (so my wife who works at the library can pick them up for me), and I find that there are already fifty, seventy, a hundred or more holds on the book (on Michelle Goldberg's book, over 160!–when this sort of thing happens, the SPL buys another couple dozen copies). People are reading these books. That indicates to me that there are a lot of people out there who are not as uninformed as one might think.

So I haven't given up on the democratic process yet.

But you recall the civil rights marches in the Sixites? And the angry riots over the Vietnam war in the late Sixties? If Bush or anyone else tried anything like a coup, what would follow would be an uproar that would make what happened in the Sixties look like a minor hiccup. The American people would most definitely rise up. And I think those who might be thinking along the lines of a take-over (and I'm sure there are some) are fully aware of this.

Choose a candidate, Campaign. Work your butt off for them. Vote. And pay a lot of attention to the electoral process. Question your local board of elections and don't let them blow you off!

Get involved!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 06:14 PM

Sorry Don. Who would rise up off of what to follow whom? I don't have that much faith in the American people take to an armed revolution, maybe a violent protest.

I don't think that the American people could get themselves together enough to cause & form nation wide strikes or boycotts at this point.

We're far less courageous than most of the citizens of the Third World Nations that pull this off all the time. Had the past 2 elections happened in a 3rd world country the reaction would've taken to the streets in a matter of hrs, not days or weeks. Don't fool yourself about into thinking that anyone fears "waking the sleeping giant". That gaint died in it's sleep after the 60's went away.

I was there in the 60's, I remember! I paid a high price, I've always fought hard(in my youth). We're in no way even close to a visual of that today. I think we may be in some ways in a worst place with the government now but with the people we don't have the massive awareness nor do we have the balls.   

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 08:12 PM

Well, Barry, maybe living out here in what some folks used to call "the Soviet of Washington" gives me a somewhat skewed vision of the country as a whole, but I don't spend all my time here on Mudcat. I do have correspondence, e-mail and otherwise, with people all over the country, and I get newsletters from a variety of organizations. I think there are a fair number of people who are not that apathetic, and although it would take a swift kick in the butt to get the rest of them moving, I can't really see this country being taken over by the likes of Bush and Company. Even some of our more conservative brethren might actually regain consciousness, especially if Bush or someone like him were to do something to awaken their true conservative sensibilities.

I hear lots of grumbling (including some from Republicans who are gradually becoming aware that Bush can't really walk on water), and I know a lot of people, particularly of the more liberal persuasion, are watching the nuts and bolts of this mid-term election very closely.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: US Wecolmes back legal torture
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 11:36 PM

I may be wrong, Don:

In Case I Disappear
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 29 September 2006

I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have
spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and
failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful,"
people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay
off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running
joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up
for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee
because of something I wrote or said.

I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff.
Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought.
This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into
history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't
yet been red-lined, I thought.

Matters are different now.

It seems, perhaps, that the people who warned me were not so
paranoid. It seems, perhaps, that I was not paranoid enough.
Legislation passed by the Republican House and Senate, legislation
now marching up to the Republican White House for signature, has
shattered a number of bedrock legal protections for suspects,
prisoners, and pretty much anyone else George W. Bush deems to be an
enemy.

So much of this legislation is wretched on the surface. Habeas
corpus has been suspended for detainees suspected of terrorism or of
aiding terrorism, so the Magna Carta-era rule that a person can face
his accusers is now gone. Once a suspect has been thrown into
prison, he does not have the right to a trial by his peers Suspects
cannot even stand in representation of themselves, another ancient
protection, but must accept a military lawyer as their defender.

Illegally-obtained evidence can be used against suspects, whether
that illegal evidence was gathered abroad or right here at home. To
my way of thinking, this pretty much eradicates our security in
persons, houses, papers, and effects, as stated in the Fourth
Amendment, against illegal searches and seizures.

Speaking of collecting evidence, the torture of suspects and
detainees has been broadly protected by this new legislation. While
it tries to delineate what is and is not acceptable treatment of
detainees, in the end, it gives George W. Bush the final word on
what constitutes torture. US officials who use cruel, inhumane or
degrading treatment to extract information from detainees are now
shielded from prosecution.

It was two Supreme Court decisions, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v.
Rumsfeld, that compelled the creation of this legislation. The Hamdi
decision held that a prisoner has the right of habeas corpus, and
can challenge his detention before an impartial judge. The Hamdan
decision held that the military commissions set up to try detainees
violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva
Conventions

In short, the Supreme Court wiped out virtually every legal argument
the Bush administration put forth to defend its extraordinary and
dangerous behavior. The passage of this legislation came after a
scramble by Republicans to paper over the torture and murder of a
number of detainees. As columnist Molly Ivins wrote on
Wednesday, "Of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have
ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this
bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken
place."

It seems almost certain that, at some point, the Supreme Court will
hear a case to challenge the legality of this legislation, but even
this is questionable. If a detainee is not allowed access to a fair
trial or to the evidence against him, how can he bring a legal
challenge to a court? The legislation, in anticipation of court
challenges like Hamdi and Hamdan, even includes severe restrictions
on judicial review over the legislation itself.

The Republicans in Congress have managed, at the behest of Mr. Bush,
to draft a bill that all but erases the judicial branch of the
government. Time will tell whether this aspect, along with all the
others, will withstand legal challenges. If such a challenge comes,
it will take time, and meanwhile there is this bill. All of the
above is deplorable on its face, indefensible in a nation that
prides itself on Constitutional rights, protections and the rule of
law.

Underneath all this, however, is where the paranoia sets in.

Underneath all this is the definition of "enemy combatant" that has
been established by this legislation. An "enemy combatant" is now no
longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict" against our
forces. Thanks to this legislation, George W. Bush is now able to
designate as an "enemy combatant" anyone who has "purposefully and
materially supported hostilities against the United States."

Consider that language a moment. "Purposefully and materially
supported hostilities against the United States" is in the eye of
the beholder, and this administration has proven itself to be
astonishingly impatient with criticism of any kind. The broad powers
given to Bush by this legislation allow him to capture, indefinitely
detain, and refuse a hearing to any American citizen who speaks out
against Iraq or any other part of the so-called "War on Terror."

If you write a letter to the editor attacking Bush, you could be
deemed as purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against
the United States. If you organize or join a public demonstration
against Iraq, or against the administration, the same designation
could befall you. One dark-comedy aspect of the legislation is that
senators or House members who publicly disagree with Bush, criticize
him, or organize investigations into his dealings could be placed
under the same designation. In effect, Congress just gave Bush the
power to lock them up.

By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's
that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed
when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.

In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and
that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce
and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation
on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing
principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as
we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are
protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a
nation in the first place.

That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but
once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The
dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 11:56 AM

It's all a clever strategy to defuse Muslim hatred of the US. Since they hate us because of our freedom, if we remove that freedom, they won't hate us. See? Simple.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 12:36 PM

"I can't really see this country being taken over by the likes of Bush and Company."

Bush and company have already taken over the country!

They keep introducing new restrictions to freedom so that you don't focus on what they have already done.

The revolution has happened and it was bloodless.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 01:04 PM

I disagree with you, Guest. I think it is not yet a fait accompli. The scenario I envision is something along the lines of

1) Under the guise of effecting Homeland Sceurity exercises (which have been set to happen in October/November in many many States), if the election does not pan out as the Neocons want, then the police and military will be given other tasks

2) This type of action would be justified by a few possible scenarios that would allow the American public to think that martial law was being invoked for their safety and security.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for posting that, Kat. Pretty spooky!

My loyalties are to a set of ethical ideas, not to any particular plot of land. The "America" that my grade school teachers spoke of and that my high school history and civics teachers talked about consisted, not so much of a piece of real estate, but a set of principles. If that set of principles no longer exists in the country in which I live, perhaps it's time for me to move on to some country where those principles do exist.

At my age it would be something of a jolt, but I must admit to giving it a bit of serious thought.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: GUEST,Crybaby Liberal
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 06:01 PM

Cut and Paste, boo hoo, sniff sniff.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 06:12 PM

Keep that sense of humor for the concentration camp. It'll come in handy, I'm sure.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: Greg F.
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 06:34 PM

Boy, now he's Crybaby Liberal Fat Old Woody.

Its getting teejus dealing with his MPD- never mind all the typing.


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Subject: RE: BS: US Welcomes back legal torture
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Oct 06 - 06:40 PM

I've always thought that those with Multiple Personality Disorder should share them with people who don't have any personality at all.

(But then, ideas like that get me accused of being a socialist.)

Don Firth


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