The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Hitler didn’t not rise to power by show of force; he was elected. The rights of the German people were not first taken away at the point of a gun, but were eroded by the power of the pen.
With back-room deals and plenty of intimidation, laws contrary to the public good and in violation of the German Constitution were passed by lawmakers whipped to a frenzy by an atmosphere of fear-mongering and hysteria. The Reichstag — the elected representatives of the German people — voted to destroy their Constitution and disband themselves in order that the country be “protected” from “terrorists.”
To my sibling,
I received an email from you today, which I’ve excerpted:
This pilot hit the nail on the head in his open letter. He needs to be awarded a Medal for saying all this in a very profound way!
The newspaper stated today that some Muslim doctor is saying we are profiling him because he has been checked three times while getting on an airplane.
The following is a letter from a pilot. This well spoken man, who is a pilot with American Airlines, says what is in his heart, beautifully…. Read, absorb and pass this on.
“YOU WORRY ME!” By American Airlines Pilot – Captain John Maniscalco
I’ve been trying to say this since 9-11, but you worry me. I wish you didn’t. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country.
How do I differentiate between the true Arab / Muslim-Americans and the Arab Muslim terrorists in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter these same good neighbors and children?
The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of its religions, with ALL of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me.
We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world.
I want to know where every Arab Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family. I am pleading with you to let me know.
I thought I would send you this in reply, but the truth is: I chickened out before clicking send. [I know, dear readers. I know! But the last thing I want is to be the reason behind a family feud. Another reply was sent, something a little less threatening, but which expressed my distaste for the thoughts expressed.]
Here’s my first reaction to this piece of racism disguised as email:
Jose Padilla is incompetent to stand trial, according to doctors testifying on his behalf, because of his years in isolation and his treatment at the hands of authorities.
From the AP, via The Chicago Tribune:
Accused Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla suffers from intense stress and anxiety stemming from his isolated years in military custody and cannot adequately help his lawyers prepare for trial, two defense mental experts testified Thursday.
“He is immobilized by his anxiety,” said Patricia Zapf, a forensic psychologist from New York who did tests in October. “He believes he will go back to the brig and he will die there.”
Dr. Angela Hegarty, a New York forensic psychiatrist, said she concluded that Padilla is mentally incompetent for trial because he has post-traumatic stress disorder. Zapf reached the same diagnosis.
The symptoms are most acute when Padilla is asked to talk about his 31/2 years in the brig, including interrogation techniques, or to review evidence in his criminal case, including transcripts from telephone surveillance, Hegarty said.
“He doesn’t want to because it hurts so much, and because it hurts so much he shuts down,” Hegarty said.
What is important to note about this trial is that Padilla is an American citizen. Americans are supposed to enjoy specific rights when charged with a crime.
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; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
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.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
At least, those used to be our rights, before El Pollo Loco became King and changed the rules with his signing statements and use of the phrase “enemy combatants” which means “anyone we don’t like.”
The problem with life in America these days is that it seems like a movie, and we’re all waiting for the good guy to come along and tell the Administration and its torturers and liars and syncophants and toadies and bed-wetting enablers that they are violating the Constitution.
The very same Constitution that President BrainDamage, Vice-President DeathStar, Attorney General Abu, and all the rest of the mindless minions, have gutted with a few strokes of a pen.
What we needed in the beginning of this national nightmare was a Denzel Washington character, someone willing to stand up and tell Bush and the rest that committing torture or allowing it, starting a war based on lies, fear-mongering, preventing those accused of terrorist acts from knowing the charges against them, being able to confront their accusers, having access to counsel, etc, is wrong.
Morally, spiritually, ethically wrong. It is deeply, deeply wrong on every possible level.
And so, in a moment of movie prophecy, Denzel’s character in The Seige was proven right. They’ve already won.
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: Are you people insane? What are you talkin’ about?
General William Devereaux: The time has come for one man to suffer in order to save hundreds of lives.
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: One Man? What about two, huh? What about six? How about public executions?
General William Devereaux: Feel free to leave whenever you like, Agent Hubbard.
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: Come on General, you’ve lost men, I’ve lost men, but you – you, you *can’t* do this! What, what if they don’t even want the sheik, have you considered that? What if what they really want is for us to herd our children into stadiums like we’re doing? And put soldiers on the street and have Americans looking over their shoulders? Bend the law, shred the Constitution just a little bit? Because if we torture him, General, we do that and everything we have fought, and bled, and died for is over. And they’ve won. They’ve already won!
What we need now is someone willing to stand up to the President and the Veep, and everyone else who condoned the use of torture, and say, “No more!” In fact, here’s a little more dialogue from The Seige for use as a template:
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: William Devereaux, you are under arrest for the torture and murder of Tariq Husseini, an American citizen.
General William Devereaux: Is this some kind of a joke?
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: You see me laughing, general?
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: [to General Devereaux] You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to a fair trial. You have the right not to be tortured, not to be murdered, rights that you took away from Tariq Husseini. You have those rights because of the men who came before you who wore that uniform. Because of the men and women who are standing here right now waiting for you to give them the order to fire. Give them the order, General.
General William Deveroux: Do you think that I would hesitate to kill you, or every Federal Agent in this room, if I thought it was in the best interest of my country?
Anthony ‘Hub’ Hubbard: No, no, no, you wouldn’t hesitate, I know that. But they might.
[motions to soldiers in room]
Thou shalt not kill.
Everyone recognizes that, right? The fifth of the Ten Commandments that the extreme-right wing would like to post in every courthouse, every schoolhouse, every public, private, and government building.
I’ve known the 10 Commandments since childhood, and have read them in a variety of formats (KJV, NIV, etc.) but I’ve yet to see find the asterisk. It must be there, somewhere.
What asterisk, you ask? The one that points all those right-wingers to the ‘exceptions’:
Thou shalt not kill….unless
The United States is one of the few remaining countries with a death penalty, and it’s not keeping very good company.
From Amnesty International:
Afghanistan * Antigua and Barbuda * Bahamas * Bahrain * Bangladesh * Barbados * Belarus * Belize * Botswana * Burundi * Cameroon * Chad * China * Comoros * Congo (Democratic Republic) * Cuba * Dominica * Egypt * Equatorial Guinea * Eritrea * Ethiopia * Gabon * Ghana * Guatemala * Guinea * Guyana * India * Indonesia * Iran * Iraq * Jamaica * Japan * Jordan * Kazakhstan * North Korea * South Korea * Kuwait * Kyrgyzstan * Laos * Lebanon * Lesotho * Libya * Malawi * Malaysia * Mongolia * Nigeria * Oman * Pakistan * Palestinian Authority * Qatar * Rwanda * St. Kitts and Nevis * St. Lucia * St. Vincent and the Grenadines * Saudi Arabia * Sierra Leone * Singapore * Somalia * Sudan * Swaziland * Syria * Taiwan * Tajikistan * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad and Tobago * Uganda * United Arab Emirates * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe
One bright area: In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States outlawed the execution of offenders who were under age 18 at the commission of the crime for which they’ve been convicted.
If you believe in the Christian god, the one who told Moses to write down, “Thou shalt not kill” then you must – absolutely must – believe that all killing is wrong, whether it is done by an individual or by the state.
If you believe in Allah, or Buddha, or Vishnu, or any other god who says killing is wrong, then you are required to believe that it is always wrong. You cannot claim to follow any religion and then violate its most basic precepts.
My personal belief is this: no death is avenged by more death.
We’re seeing the simple truth of that in Iraq. Has any Sunni been avenged by the hundreds of Shi’a killed? Has any Shi’a been avenged by the hundreds of Sunnis killed? Has any Sunni or Shi’a been avenged by the deaths of 3000 Americans?
What have these deaths brought to anyone, except a never-ending spiral of death and more death?
Where does it end?
No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.
– John Donne
The Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, said the
Chimperor…. El Commandante….the President does not have the power to order military tribunals for detainees held in Guantanamo.
With Chief Justice Roberts abstaining, and Justice Kennedy siding with the majority, Bush was given a firm butt-whoopin’ and told that his power to decide – because he is The Decider – isn’t what he thought it was.
From The New York Times: [emphasis mine]
The Supreme Court on Thursday repudiated the Bush administration’s plan to put Guantánamo detainees on trial before military commissions, ruling broadly that the commissions were unauthorized by federal statute and violated international law.
“The executive is bound to comply with the rule of law that prevails in this jurisdiction,” Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the 5-to-3 majority, said at the end of a 73-page opinion that in sober tones shredded each of the administration’s arguments, including the assertion that Congress had stripped the court of jurisdiction to decide the case.
A principal flaw the court found in the commissions was that the president had established them without Congressional authorization.
The decision was such a sweeping and categorical defeat for the administration that it left human rights lawyers who have pressed this and other cases on behalf of Guantánamo detainees almost speechless with surprise and delight, using words like “fantastic,” “amazing” and “remarkable.”
That’s the good news. Here’s the bad:
President Bush said he planned to work with Congress to “find a way forward,” and there were signs of bipartisan interest on Capitol Hill in devising legislation that would authorize revamped commissions intended to withstand judicial scrutiny.
Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill immediately and said his committee would hold a hearing on July 11, as soon as Congress returned from the July 4 recess. Mr. Specter said the administration had resisted his effort to propose similar legislation as early as 2002.
Two Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona, said in a joint statement that they were “disappointed” but that “we believe the problems cited by the court can and should be fixed.”
“Working together, Congress and the administration can draft a fair, suitable and constitutionally permissible tribunal statute,” they added.
Uh-oh…I see where that’s going. Bushie’s going to head over to his buddies at the Rubber-Stamp Republican Congress and get them to write him a law that lets him to do what he’s already been doing. Kind of similar to what Arlen’s trying to do with the whole “spying on Americans” thingiemabobber.
They’ll just retroactively make it legal to ignore the Constitution and to break laws.
Then, they’ll make even more laws that say it’s okay to do things that aren’t legal as long as the The Decider decides it’s necessary.
Then, they’ll make a law that says they don’t need to make laws because The Decider doesn’t need laws written down. (not like he could read them anyway.)
Pretty soon, they’ll be all set to sign a bill that dissolves Congress and gives Chimpy McFlightSuit all the power of the land to do whatever he wants, whenever he want, to whomever he wants… in order to – naturally – protect Americans from the “terra-rists.”
Again, I suggest some in Congress do some reading up on the fate of the Reichstag in 1930s Germany….
I would suggest that Michael Chertoff avoid going to New York City any time in the future without a very large and very well-armed Secret Service detail.
I'm sure someone at the Department of Homeland inSecurity is up for a promotion and a Medal of Freedom after writing a report that claims New York City has zero national monuments or icons, which caused the anti-terrorism budget to be slashed by 40%.
From ABC News' The Blotter: [emphasis mine]
New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent–from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006. "All I can tell you is if you look at their worksheets, and it says that New York City doesn't have any high visibility national icons … I mean, I don't have to list the Brooklyn Bridge, the United Nations, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and the Stock Exchange," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in response to ABC News' questions.
The form ignored that New York City is the capital of the world financial markets and merely stated the city had four significant bank assets.
Not that New York is a target or anything….
Zero national monuments or icons?! Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ!!
From the New York Daily News: [emphasis mine]
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff determined, however, that cities that have never been targeted by Al Qaeda — like Louisville, Atlanta and Omaha — deserve whopping increases. "This is a knife in the back," fumed a furious Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "As far as I'm concerned, the Department of Homeland Security has declared war on New York." Mayor Bloomberg ridiculed Homeland Security's reasoning. "When you stop a terrorist, they have a map of New York City in their pocket. They don't have a map of any of the other 46 places or 45 places [that get funding]," he fumed.
The fire chief of Charlotte, N.C., admits his city doesn't have any national monuments in danger of being bombed. And a spokesman for Omaha is "not aware" of a single credible threat against his municipality since 9/11.
Yet these cities are among 15 that received an increase in homeland security funding this year, while New York City's allotment was slashed. Most of the lucky localities are using their windfall to buy equipment, beef up training or create emergency response plans. In Louisville, Ky., for instance, the money will go toward creating a new communication system for first responders to a disaster. A spokeswoman drew on the failure of FDNY radios in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11 — even though the tallest building in Louisville tops out at 35 stories.
From Yahoo News:
Others, including Rep. Vito Fossella, … R-Staten Island, say Washington-New York relations were deteriorating steadily well before the funding cut, particularly after the disagreement about the seriousness of the stroller bomb warning.
"Chertoff has done a lot of damage when you think about the fact that his job exists because of Sept. 11 and a giant hole in Manhattan," said Fossella. "They need to immediately transform their responsibilities or pack up and go home."
Once again, the incompetence of the Bush mis-administration is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, but wait, there's more!
Washington, DC – our nation's capitol and scene of a terrorist attack on 9/11; home to the United States Government; 'hub of democracy' (though not lately…) – is also seeing it's anti-terrorism budget cut.
From the Washington Post: [emphasis mine]
The Department of Homeland Security yesterday slashed anti-terrorism money for Washington and New York, part of an immediately controversial decision to reduce grant funds for major urban areas in the Northeast while providing more to mid-size cities from Jacksonville to Sacramento.
The announcement that the two cities targeted on Sept. 11, 2001, would suffer 40 percent reductions in urban security funds prompted outrage from lawmakers and local officials in both areas, who questioned the wisdom of cutting funds so deeply for cities widely recognized as prime terrorist targets. The decision came less than five months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff unveiled changes in the grants plan intended to focus funding on areas facing the gravest risk of attack.
Heckova job Chertie!
RawStory is carrying the story now, and the US military is saying these deaths fall "within the rules of military engagement," according to ABC News, despite the fact that – at the time – the military reported FOUR people killed when troops destroyed a house while going after a "high value target they succeeded in apprehending."
Photos from A Citizen of Mosul – who posted them on his blog on March 16th.
Caution! The Raw Story link and other posts on Truth teller's site contain the same extremely graphic and disturbing photos, including close-ups of bullet wound(s) inflicted on an infant.
by Jackson Browne
When you look into a child's face
And you're seeing the human race|
And the endless possibilities there
Where so much can come true
And you think of the beautiful things
A child can do
How long — would the child survive
How long — if it was up to you
When you think about the money spent
On defense by a government
And the weapons of destruction we've built
We're so sure that we need
And you think of the millions and millions
That money could feed
How long — can you hear someone crying
How long — can you hear someone dying
Before you ask yourself why?
And how long will we hear people speaking
About missiles for peace
And just let it go by
How long will they tell us these weapons
Are keeping us free
That's a lie
If you saw it from a satellite
With its green and its blue and white
The beauty of the curve of the earth
And its oceans below
You might think it was paradise
If you didn't know
You might think that it's turning
But it's turning so slow
How long — can you hear someone crying
How long — can you hear someone dying
Before you ask yourself why?
And how long will it be 'till we've turned
To the tasks and the skills
That we'll have to have learned
If we're going to find our place in the future
And have something to offer
Where this planet's concerned
Arthur has a great post that should be a must-read for everyone in the United States – especially lefty bloggers. He points out the fallacy of making comments like ‘getting the intelligence right’ on Iran, when the intelligence for Iraq was fixed to fit the goals of the Bush administration.
From Once Upon A Time:
I continue to see many references on political blogs to the “importance of getting the intelligence right.” At the moment, such comments obviously come up most often in discussions about “what to do about Iran.” It’s no surprise that this perspective shows up on conservative and rightwing blogs — but I continue to be astounded that so many liberal and progressive bloggers still fall for this line.
People don’t seem to grasp the necessary meaning of this approach. If you contend that it is crucial for the intelligence to be correct and given how the argument is almost always presented, you are assuming that major policy decisions are made on the basis of that intelligence, at least to a significant degree. This is buying into Bush’s defense entirely: “But everyone thought Iraq had WMD and was a serious and growing threat!” Never mind the lie about “everyone” having thought this, which everyone most certainly did not. The crucial point is that Bush is saying that he only launched the war on Iraq because of what the intelligence indicated. And even liberals still repeat this propaganda.
In fact, I have thought for a few years that the decision to attack to Iran was made some time ago. I am more convinced of that now than I ever was before. The constant stream of scare stories about Iran is designed only to terrify the American public sufficiently, so that when Bush holds a press conference to announce air strikes against Iran that have already begun, enough people will believe that the strikes were necessary — since Iran was about to launch nuclear weapons against us momentarily.
As with Iraq, all the major points will be lies. All of it will be war propaganda. And given our cowardly, inept, and fatally incompetent media and the lack of any significant political opposition — which opposition, if it existed, ought to be making itself known now and not after the press conference — and provided enough people are scared to the required degree, it will work. Again.
As summer approaches, the administration’s war-drumming will escalate. They’ve already declared a nuclear Iraq a threat to America – never mind the fact that the threat doesn’t exist as yet – and will not exist for ten years.
The incompetence of Bush’s foreign policy is obvious to everyone, and as Arthur says, if the left allows them to get away with it this time, we’re all culpable.
But let no one be heard to say that they were taken by surprise, or that they didn’t see it coming, or that they didn’t believe “they really meant it.” We all see it coming and we all know they do mean it, and almost no one is doing a damned thing to stop it. No one is off the hook this time.
Attention! From now on, there will be no singing along with the radio, MP3 player, or CD! You could be mistaken for a terrorist if the lyrics contain certain words.
Think I'm kidding? A man was detained by police in London after a taxi driver reported him for singing The Clash's 'London Calling'.
Detectives halted the London-bound flight at Durham Tees Valley Airport in northern England and Harraj Mann, 24, was taken off.
The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash's 1979 anthem "London Calling," which features the lyrics "Now war is declared — and battle come down" while other lines warn of a "meltdown expected".
Mann told British newspapers the taxi had been fitted with a music system which allowed him to plug in his MP3 player and he had been playing The Clash, Procol Harum, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles to the driver.
"He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash but I don't think there was any need to tell the police," Mann told the Daily Mirror.
A Durham police spokeswoman said Mann had been released after questioning — but had missed his flight.
"The report was made with the best of intentions and we wouldn't want to discourage people from contacting us with genuine concerns," she said.
I could be wrong, but do you really think a would-be jihadist is going to be singing along to The Clash?!