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The National Defense Authorization Act

Pro and Con

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1readafew
Dec 9, 2011, 3:02pm Top

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/12/05/the-national-defense-authorizati...

So has this already been hashed over here or did I miss the thread? Last I heard it was still going through. I was a little worried when we were holding people in Gitmo without any kind of status. Now 93 of our Senators feel it is necessary to hold American citizens indefinitely as well. No charges, no lawyer, no trial.

2Jesse_wiedinmyer
Dec 9, 2011, 3:04pm Top

Nope. It's been pretty much a non-starter everywhere.

3readafew
Dec 9, 2011, 3:08pm Top

That is what almost scares me as much as the law itself.

Don't people realize that anyone can be labeled a 'terrorist' not just actual terrorists and if it is you, you WON'T have you day in court to clear your name? I'm terrified.

4Jesse_wiedinmyer
Dec 9, 2011, 3:09pm Top

Enter it into google, and see what sort of results you get.

5readafew
Dec 9, 2011, 3:30pm Top

They are hiding the clause in a bill that is approved every year for military spending. They keep saying it's no big deal because the military isn't required to detain US citizens, only that it may. How is giving the government an end run around Due Process and the constitution not a problem?

“To be perfectly honest, I just couldn’t get myself worked up over a bill that, with some exceptions, does little more than formally recognize and codify what our Government is already doing.”

Yes, so? Does that make it right? Just because the government does something doesn't mean we should make it legal. They really are going to slow boil this frog. First we needed to classify enemies combatants as terrorists so we could hold them indefinitely without trial or returning them home. Next we included US citizens caught in other countries. Now we're including US citizens caught at home. No one is making a big stink because up til now most of the people being screwed are quite likely guilty of the acts they are accused of (of course we are at least led to believe this, we have no proof, no court verdict).

First they came for the terrorists... I didn't care because they deserved it...
Next they came for the Occupiers... I didn't care because I had my money and a job...
Then they came for the Tea Partiers... I didn't care because they were loud nutjobs...

6nathanielcampbell
Dec 9, 2011, 3:46pm Top

I'm going to point out that one my senators, Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), was among the 7 who voted against it. I'm not often proud of Sen. Paul, but I am right now.

7BruceCoulson
Dec 9, 2011, 4:31pm Top

Aaron Burr predicted that "if the Constitution be destined ever to perish by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue or the usurper, which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed on this floor."

Farewell Address to the Senate, 1805. 206 years; not too bad, I guess.

8Carnophile
Dec 9, 2011, 6:48pm Top

Very scary.

9lriley
Dec 9, 2011, 7:12pm Top

According to Carl Levin the democratic senator from Michigan the Obama administration wanted that provision in the bill and if that is the case don't expect it to get vetoed.

You might expect this from an administration like the one that brought us the patriot act and pre-emptive wars but the current resident of the white house is supposed to be a progressive. I don't know--things change I suppose. It was one of Cheney's main things to increase the power of the presidency above congress and the courts--Obama apparently thinks the same.

Perhaps he'll bother to explain his reasoning to us.

10krolik
Dec 10, 2011, 4:56am Top

It's fueled by the "people it will actually affect probably having it coming anyway" sort of logic. Which has already caused much trouble, and looks poised to cause more.

11margd
Dec 10, 2011, 10:50am Top

I'm afraid naturalized, as opposed to born-Americans, are probably the targets. Loyalty of naturalized citizens has never been a given: recall that they can't run for President. I bet people such as the California kid ("American Taliban") will receive trials, but not necessarily naturalized citizens or those born in US who spent virtually their entire lives outside the country.

grr

12Jesse_wiedinmyer
Dec 10, 2011, 1:24pm Top


Tell that to Obama.

13Jesse_wiedinmyer
Dec 10, 2011, 1:25pm Top

Oh, sorry.

14K.J.
Dec 11, 2011, 10:29am Top

Welcome to the Fourth Reich...

15jjwilson61
Edited: Dec 11, 2011, 11:12am Top

1> Now 93 of our Senators feel it is necessary to hold American citizens indefinitely as well.

This isn't completely accurate. My 2 Senators at least voted for Senate Amendment 1107 which would have stripped the offending part of the bill but still voted for the final package. It *can* be reasonable to vote for something that has something you dislike in it if there are other things in the bill that you think are necessary.

I think they should have voted against the final bill. I'm just objecting to your characterization that that means that they must favor that part of the bill.

ETA: The amendment failed 37 to 61. http://www.opencongress.org/vote/2011/s/210

16theoria
Dec 11, 2011, 12:42pm Top

Here come the black helicopters (whisper mode).

17Carnophile
Dec 11, 2011, 2:47pm Top

Are you suggesting that you think anyone concerned about this is paranoid?

18lriley
Dec 11, 2011, 3:47pm Top

It has huge ramifications for the future. Some might look at Obama as a more than less level headed guy who would not use it in any ways sinister but even so he is not going to be POTUS forever--the next guy who knows--and having a had a good look in the last couple months of our militarized city police departments (Bloomberg's own little army (the NYPD) as he calls it) we're getting a picture of a would (could) be police state. Legislation such as this is more evidence that that is the direction this country is heading into and it should concern both those on the left and the right and everyone in between.

19Arctic-Stranger
Dec 11, 2011, 7:18pm Top

Both of my senators abstained in the amendment. Sigh.

What really depresses me is the lack off response this thread is generating. But I am preaching to choir.

20readafew
Edited: Dec 11, 2011, 8:00pm Top

It *can* be reasonable to vote for something that has something you dislike in it if there are other things in the bill that you think are necessary.

Yes, but sometimes it's not worth the compromise.

19> It depresses me how little response this is getting across the entire country!

21Amtep
Dec 12, 2011, 3:26am Top

I think there's just little to say. Especially if no-one is arguing *for* the act.

22margd
Dec 12, 2011, 3:55am Top

In passing such a law, Congress must think it would survive a Court challenge? Wouldn't family-hired lawyers and ACLU be all over it if ever an American was so treated?

23lriley
Dec 12, 2011, 4:28am Top

Bradley Manning--the first test case.

24theoria
Dec 12, 2011, 8:19am Top

Why would Manning be the first test case?

25lriley
Dec 12, 2011, 2:16pm Top

#24--might be rotting away without a trial.

26SimonW11
Dec 12, 2011, 5:18pm Top

24> because extreme cases make bad law.

27theoria
Edited: Dec 12, 2011, 6:20pm Top

Unless he's designated a 'terrorist', the NDAA doesn't apply to him. He's subject to military procedures already.

28Lunar
Edited: Dec 13, 2011, 12:59am Top

#22: In passing such a law, Congress must think it would survive a Court challenge?

The authors of the bill claim they are in accordance with the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld case. However, in an interview last week Scott Horton (just before the 5 minute mark) points out that Justice O'Connor's plurality opinion in that case (there was no majority opinion) took pains to clarify that the case dealt with someone who was captured overseas.

29jjwilson61
Dec 16, 2011, 12:12am Top

http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2011/12/15/difi-floats-bill-to-bar-citizens-inde...

U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein today introduced a bipartisan Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011, which states that American citizens apprehended inside the United States can’t be indefinitely detained by the military.

30Carnophile
Dec 16, 2011, 9:09am Top

Good on her. Let's hope it passes. What a horrible point we've reached that such a thing is even necessary.

31lawecon
Edited: Dec 16, 2011, 3:04pm Top

As I understand what has happened: the Feinstein amendment failed, Obama got his way re no oversight at all for this tyrannical process, and the bill passed. Anyone have contrary information?

32lriley
Dec 16, 2011, 12:13pm Top

A lot of silence from the President about this as well. Apparently he wants it--and doesn't think it needs some explaining. Maybe there is no good explanation but he still wants it anyway.

I can understand the fear of those who see themselves as democrats or in various other forms on the left of another republican administration especially when considering the clowns (with the exception of maybe Ron Paul) currently vying for next POTUS but I don't know how anybody can justify voting Obama back in when he hardly even seems to have addressed the major problems we're currently facing and when he asks for shit like this. Are we someday going to have our very own Tianemen (sp?) Square event?

33jjwilson61
Dec 16, 2011, 12:20pm Top

31> This is a new bill, not the amendment to the defense bill.

34lawecon
Dec 16, 2011, 3:06pm Top

Are we someday going to have our very own Tianemen (sp?) Square event?

=================================================​

Not before the present generations die out, if then. Give it a hundred years or so, and then we'll see.

35lawecon
Dec 16, 2011, 3:07pm Top

This is a new bill, not the amendment to the defense bill.

==================================

So, in terms of what matters, are you saying that it is still alive and may one day be passed?

36jjwilson61
Dec 16, 2011, 5:10pm Top

36> Didn't you look at the article I posted? The bill was just introduced and I don't know when or if it will be voted on. Here's a blog posting on it, http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/12/the-ndaa-and-the-due-process-guarantee-act-of...

37lawecon
Edited: Dec 18, 2011, 7:51am Top

Thank you, that is very interesting, but here is the problem: The bill you are referring to, according to the page you just linked to, states:

"An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention."

Now as I understand it, and I am certain open to correction, the enacted 2011 National Defense Authorization Act DOES "expressly authorize such detention." That is what everyone is so upset about. So it would appear that this new bill by Feinstein may be great PR for Feinstein, but it, in fact, does nothing.

38margd
Dec 17, 2011, 10:24am Top

39lawecon
Edited: Dec 18, 2011, 7:52am Top

And what do you suggest we put in that email: "Hail Caesar, we are so happy that Congress has declared your superiority to the most fundamental law of Western civilization." Would that make everything better? (Actually, sounds kinda terroristic to me. But only the recipient's opinion would matter on that topic.)

40margd
Dec 18, 2011, 9:37am Top

To persuade, one establishes one's own credibility, builds a case, appeals to a value the recipient holds dear.

I even write my idiot of a TP rep all the time--respectfully, logically, assuming and appealing to his good side. I'm pretty sure he doesn't change his course, but he can never say he didn't hear from his constituents on a matter. And he's more likely to change course with a mittful of respectful, logical, sincere messages than the other kind.

41lawecon
Edited: Dec 18, 2011, 3:28pm Top

Very nice. Do you also write the President of Microsoft and ask that he try to moderate his company's profits for next year and refuse half of his annual bonus?

42margd
Dec 18, 2011, 3:40pm Top

No. Do you write Santa and ask that he put reindeer poop in all the little children's stockings?

43theoria
Dec 18, 2011, 3:42pm Top

All your message are belong to us. - DHS

44lawecon
Dec 18, 2011, 8:39pm Top

~42

Now, somehow, I've apparently offended you. Let's see. Congress proposes to repeal habeas corpus. Obama threatens a veto unless he has absolute discretion in incarcerating anyone indefinitely without charges or a trial. Congress says "sure," and appropriately amends the bill. You suggest I should address my concerns to Obama respectfully. I do the equivalent of laugh by giving you a similarly absurd suggestion. Now you are offended.

Say what?

45Lunar
Dec 18, 2011, 9:38pm Top

#40: To persuade, one establishes one's own credibility, builds a case, appeals to a value the recipient holds dear.

I think we're talking about the president, not some kindly neighbor down the street. This all reminds me of the multiple times when Change.gov submitted questions from the public only for Obama to dodge the most popular questions which concerned marijuana.

But seriously, a president who really needs to be told by the public that indefinite detention is a bad thing isn't liable to change their position just because you're able to bypass his spam filter.

46SimonW11
Dec 19, 2011, 1:39am Top

"To persuade, one establishes one's own credibility, builds a case, appeals to a value the recipient holds dear." And one engages onlookers, It seems unlikely that either President Obama or the current congress will remain in power indefinately, thus you engage with their successors, and one of the best ways of doing that is by debating with the present incumbents.

47lriley
Edited: Dec 19, 2011, 4:14am Top

It's clear at this point--at least to me--that Obama like all his predecessors that I can remember is more than capable of ignoring that which he wants to ignore. He hasn't spoken out very much on this--he's let others do it for him but his fingerprints are all over it. Considering that the Senate actually votes on it--you'd be much better off e-mailing them. Not that I expect that will do a lot of good either.

Considering that Gingrich recently stated that if he were to become next POTUS he would jail any judge that tried to curtail the powers of the presidency I think we can see more of where we're going with this. Whether with the progressive or the conservative both have in mind a police state. Reminds me of a poem by Nicanor Parra--after the Pinochet coup. Though Gingrich's would probably be more pro-active.

48margd
Dec 19, 2011, 5:26am Top

> 44 Apologies if I misunderstood. I thought I was being cast as irredeemably naive. But in my job (now retired) and as a private citizen, I know that my missives have influenced regulations, legislation (in Canada and US), and even a UN Convention (on an environmental matter). Heck, I wrote the first (rough) draft of one bit of US legislation. It's a numbers game, of course--one doesn't always (or often) see the result one wants. Can't complain, though, if you don't make your wishes known.

I have seen others likewise make a difference, e.g., the US Fish and Wildlife Service reversed itself on some apparently inevitable reg, when citizens sent in some 800 postcards distributed at a sportsmen's show, not usually perceived as a high-investment comment. A USFWS employee confided, "We'd never seen 800 comments on ANY issue before!"

When commenting, it helps, too, if you explicitly state the action that you desire, especially on technical or complicated matters. For example, in commenting on Federal Register item, echo exactly the question(s) being asked. In your intro and summary, tell addressee the number of recommendations. Number the recommendations, and lead with them, with supporting text subservient to the recommendation.

Keep emotion to "I" messages about how YOU feel. And assume, at least in the letter, that the addressee wants to do the correct thing. Sometimes, letters from citizens free the addressee from political pressure or bureaucratic inertia to follow their better angels.

In my experience, anyway.

49lawecon
Dec 19, 2011, 7:06am Top

~42

You and i apparently have far different conceptions of what it means for someone to be President and how one gets to be President. In my world you have to have a nearly boundless thirst for power over other people to want to be President. The ability to command other people, to make them do what you want them to do, is the main characteristic of the Presidency. You aren't dealing with Santa, you are dealing with someone who is much more like, but infinitely more dangerous than, Al Capone. Naive idealists don't get to be President. Never have, never will.

Similarly, this isn't someone who reacts positively to polite notes - unless of course they suggest to him a PR tactic he hasn't thought of before. You have to show him what is in it for him. There are two ways to do that: you can offer him more supporters of his gang (more power) or more money with which to buy more support for his gang. If there was ever any doubt about those points, this episode, where Obama has finalized the informal abolition of habeas corpus by Bush, should put an end to those doubts. (Albeit, it should be said that there have been many previous indications - such as Holder's support for extraordinary rendition.)

The curious thing is that you clearly understand the absurdity of your proposed approach when applied to a major business executive, but not when applied to the President of the U.S. Some prejudice there, perhaps?

50lawecon
Dec 19, 2011, 7:18am Top

I have seen others likewise make a difference, e.g., the US Fish and Wildlife Service reversed itself on some apparently inevitable reg, when citizens sent in some 800 postcards distributed at a sportsmen's show, not usually perceived as a high-investment comment. A USFWS employee confided, "We'd never seen 800 comments on ANY issue before!"

-------------------------------------------------​

Obviously you also have a problem with credulity concerning the public proclamations of public figures (be those public figures "private" or "public") Of course, one always "bows to popular demands," and then, a week or month or so later, when the attention has died down, you go back and do what you were intending on doing to start with - albeit, usually under a different label. In the interim, you can informally do whatever it was you wanted to do by simply "putting the word out" among your confederates.

Take the recent flap over the FBI's (the Justice Department's) attempt to formally adopt a policy that they stated they had engaged in informally for two decades - when an inconvenient Freedom of Information request was received for release of documents, they simply denied the existence of any such documents. There was a public uproar. The result was that the Justice Department agreed to continue doing what they had been doing before while there were further public hearings on this proposed policy. Giggle. (Yes, it is funny that so many people can be consistently so self-blind.)

51margd
Dec 19, 2011, 9:24am Top

Lawecon, I feared I was a pessimist, but you have convinced me otherwise. Thank you.

52Carnophile
Dec 19, 2011, 9:34am Top

>48 margd:
That's helpful and encouraging, margd; thank you.

53lawecon
Dec 19, 2011, 11:21pm Top

~51

I am sorry that you think that those who rule you are angels, but I guess we all believe in some mythology. Would you like to hear about the natural benevolence of cats?

54lriley
Dec 20, 2011, 4:16am Top

No doubt that Obama ran a presidential campaign that fooled a few of us into thinking he might be different. At least for me with the fallout from the economic problems coming at the end of Bush 2 and when the same old same old choices of an economic team were announced--basically the liberal version of neo-liberal theorists--well I started to think that maybe I'd made a mistake.

So the wars went on unsuccessfully. Gitmo goes on. No jobs programs. No infrastructure being rebuilt. Lots of compromising on a leaky looking health care plan. Some of this is congress and gridlock for sure but when a POTUS really wants something twist arms--they find ways. And something apparently he wanted pretty badly is this National Defense Authorization Act.

55lawecon
Dec 20, 2011, 9:02am Top

As a former economist, I probably have a somewhat different perspective on economic policy issues than you do. I certainly did not vote for and support Obama because of anything he had to say about such policies - albeit if that had been a consideration there would have been little choice between a Senator who had just supported an 800 billion dollar give away to large banks and Obama. But I did vote for and loudly supported Obama.

I was myself fooled by what Obama had to say about meaningless wars and fundamental civil liberties. I had this silly idea that there might be one person in national politics who was opposed in principle to torture as a national policy (aka extraordinary rendition), to the abolition of habeas corpus, to endless wars over meaningless slogans, and such. I should have known better. Government and politics are about power. Those who spend their lives climbing the ladder of elective office or of a bureau are centered upon gathering more and more resources and more and more power into their own hands. There are no restraints for them. To believe otherwise was naive and childish. I apologize.

56margd
Dec 21, 2011, 10:01am Top

Did Congress Just Endorse Rendition for Americans?
Lost in the noise over the National Defense Authorization Act's detention provisions were some equally disturbing rules regarding the transfer of terrorist suspects to foreign countries.
—By Nick Baumann, Wed Dec. 21, 2011 3:00 AM PST

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/did-congress-just-endorse-rendition-amer...

57lriley
Dec 21, 2011, 5:35pm Top

#55--actually practically everything you said in your second paragraph I agree with. I think that the pre-emptive wars of Bush 2 not only killed and maimed a lot of our troops--and might as well mention the staggering Iraqi and Afghani civilian casualties--but helped to tank our economy towards the end of 2008. To me that was strung out but it was also inevitable. The surviving banks then turned around and gamed the country with a lot of phony but dire predictions but back then it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn't. What was needed was distance to get some perspective and with an election right around the corner we didn't have either.

And Americans has never been about torturing people--no matter how bad--nor about detaining them without trial. Well it was going on all along but generally people didn't know it--and now they were asking for approval--in about the same generic sense you'd ask people if they believed in the death penalty for a criminal without really knowing any specifics. Just go out and shop. We'll take care of the rest.

I thought Obama would have turned the page back on all of that. It hasn't happened and I'm not holding out a lot of hope that it's going to.

58lawecon
Edited: Dec 22, 2011, 12:08am Top

And Americans has never been about torturing people--no matter how bad--nor about detaining them without trial. Well it was going on all along but generally people didn't know it--and now they were asking for approval--in about the same generic sense you'd ask people if they believed in the death penalty for a criminal without really knowing any specifics. Just go out and shop. We'll take care of the rest.

I thought Obama would have turned the page back on all of that. It hasn't happened and I'm not holding out a lot of hope that it's going to.

========================================

I think that you're still missing the true seriousness of this matter. Bush II did what he did largely without any authority from the other two branches of the federal government. In fact, although it took forever, the judiciary kept slapping his hand and telling him that he had gone too far.

Now, however, Congress has offered the crown of laurel leaves to Obama and he returned it with the demand for a gold crown - which he then received. I really would prefer that it was otherwise, and don't want to be melodramatic, but this is the end of the American Republic.

"Hail Caesar! We who remain at liberty solely because of your benevolent will salute you!" Learn to chant that, it will come in handy.

59Lunar
Dec 22, 2011, 12:37am Top

#58: I doubt that one can pinpoint this or anything else as our Rubicon moment. With Rome it was the domestic deployment of troops. Today, the police have been gradually militarized too the point that even if we had a domestic deployment of troops, the change would be a mere formality.

60lriley
Dec 22, 2011, 4:27am Top

#58--well whether I'm getting all the implications or not I do think it is truly serious.

61lawecon
Dec 22, 2011, 7:57am Top

#59

Yes, there are many other serious deteriorations. The one you mention is very serious, as is the effective abolition of the Fourth Amendment by the "Drug War." "The authorities" can break into your home without a warrant and then seize your property for eventual forfeiture without bringing any charges. Pretty damn serious.

But this, I think, is the end. When an American can be legally disappeared without charges forever by "his own" government, the most central liberty of the Republic has been abolished.

62margd
Dec 22, 2011, 9:35am Top

> 52 That's helpful and encouraging, margd; thank you.

You are welcome. (Funny, those three words are frontmost in my consciousness. Over the years I'd picked up (Michigan? US?) habit of acknowledging thanks with "MmHmm", which drives one Canadian colleague nuts. He was absolutely appalled to hear me reply so. Years ago, an American colleague drummed "eh" out of me, and now the Canadian is disciplining me on "MmHmm"! {:>)

63margd
Jan 12, 2012, 12:45pm Top

"...the new legislation changes nothing: the only military detention authority that the Obama administration has, or claims to have, is that conferred under the law of war by the 2001 AUMF and that authority simply doesn't exist for persons picked up inside the United States. "

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-martin/defense-authorization-act_b_1201668.ht...

64lawecon
Edited: Jan 14, 2012, 12:13am Top

Really, and what, exactly, do you think that means? Could it refer to, for instance, the powers that Bush merely claimed to have, but which were never explicitly before affirmed by Congress?

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-1540

Subtitle D—Detainee Matters

SEC. 1031. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.

(b) COVERED PERSONS.—A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

(c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111–84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.

(d) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(e) REQUIREMENT FOR BRIEFINGS OF CONGRESS.—
The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘‘covered persons’’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

And why did you omit reference to this article from the same source? Which states in part:

"The National Defense Authorization Act states how the military is to be funded, but also includes a number of controversial provisions on arresting and holding suspected terrorists, which at first drove Obama to threaten a veto.

He retreated from that threat after Congress added provisions that took the ultimate authority to detain suspects from the military's hands and gave it to the president."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/31/obama-defense-bill_n_1177836.html

65K.J.
Jan 14, 2012, 10:22am Top

I am not one to always agree with Lawecon, nor do I participate much in forums, anymore. I have found that no matter how often one states the facts, if no one wants to listen, it is a useless pastime. However, it is a new year, so I will unload my thoughts on this latest US travesty and they can be ignored, commented upon, or trashed as you wish. After all is said and done comments on LT don't really matter one way or the other in the greater scheme of things, do they?

The fact that Americans on the whole did not stand up and loudly protest the Supreme Court's ruling on torture clearly demonstrates that the citizenry do not possess the courage necessary to create the changes they purport to value. The 'powers that be' in the USA number in the thousands. The citizenry number in the millions. Politicians only have the power that is given to them by the citizens. My ancestors fought to remove unjust power over there, a couple of centuries ago and I have a sense that they would be seriously irritated by the current circumstances of the US.

The rights of US citizens have been eroding for years, and even Gore Vidal wrote about it long before the Shrub was shoehorned into office. A couple of years ago, when I posted information regarding issues about loss of freedom of travel, the loss of habeas corpus and the loss of other freedoms assumed by those in the US to be cast in concrete, no one wanted to hear it and even when faced with links to the facts supporting my statements, I was told I was just 'anti-American.' If I didn't care, I would sit back with a glass of Champagne in one hand and a cigar in the other and watch the chatter with bemused detachment.

The real issue in the USA is that no one wants to admit that 'The Great SuperPower' is really a war machine, and it's citizens now live in a police state second only in the Western world to the UK, which is the third most-surveilled country on the globe, following China (1st) and Russia (2nd). No amount of pretending is going to change that reality.

RE: bombs and explosives - Ask the FBI what they use to secure their buildings around the world. Ask the Russian security personnel what they use to secure their airports. Ask the US military what they use to secure their locations. The answer is: dogs. They can sniff out more than 14,000 chemical combinations, which Chertoff's machines cannot. No other country to which I have traveled allows for the inappropriate touching of children, nor the use of massive x-ray patterns that scatter and are a health concern - to rational people and a team of physicists that have requested the pre-deployment testing information (unredacted) that HS has refused to share.

The humorous part of this is that 99 percent of Americans do not know that they would have more personal liberty, and their rights more protected, as foreign residents in Germany than they do in their own country (under current German laws). I tend to believe that this reality would blow the minds of more than a few WWII veterans. I have to admit it did cause my eyebrows to peak when I learned of this from an immigration lawyer.

So, when the hell do the citizens wake up and actually do something about it? Maybe we should ask Hannibal Lecter. After all, the current situation in the USA appears to be nothing more than the Silence of the Lambs.

66lawecon
Edited: Jan 14, 2012, 9:47pm Top

As I recall, about 40+ years ago Barry Goldwater opined that there were those alive who would see liberty in the U.S. approximate that then existing in China and those in China would have, by that time, evolved a society where their liberties were about the same as those in America in the mid-20th Century. I figure we have another 5-10 years to go before those respective evolutions are complete, but I often wonder if "The Book of Goldwater" isn't a good candidate for the prophets section of future Bibles.

67lawecon
Jan 14, 2012, 9:54pm Top

~65

"After all is said and done comments on LT don't really matter one way or the other in the greater scheme of things, do they?"

G-d, I hope not. The world is enough of a mess now without the Librarything things having any influence.

68Lunar
Jan 14, 2012, 11:23pm Top

#65: So, when the hell do the citizens wake up and actually do something about it?

I was going to say "gold-plated hummer limos," but that would just get people to march on Wall Street again. It's like how a child is more likely to raise their hackles when their mother gives their sibling more than their fair share rather than when their sibling gets smacked in the head.

69krolik
Jan 15, 2012, 1:37pm Top

This is getting weird. Broadly speaking, and never mind, for the moment, various niggling qualifications, I find myself agreeing with K.J., lawecon, Lunar--at the same time.

Talk about a motley crew.

71lriley
Jan 15, 2012, 3:01pm Top

#65--seems to me I've brought this up before (though it's been a while)--mentioning anyway our own self-perceptions of who we are as a society of people is very skewed. That it might be nice one day if this idea of American exceptionalism bit the dust and we could just be another country of the world like say a Sweden or a Canada and not be an elite superpower policeman because AFAIC it's really not doing one positive thing for your ordinary citizen of this country. An interesting thing though this last year we find that a militarized police force can easily be deployed against people assembling a lot more than less peaceably at the whim of whoever has the power. Mayor Bloomberg, in fact, quoted saying that the NYPD was his own private army.

Beyond all that--other countries instead of deploying armed forces all over the world--invest in their own infrastructure, health care, education, etc. Some other nations of the so called free world are more interested in keeping their own people gainfully employed rather than making their wealthiest citizens even more wealthy.

And, yeah, we have become a war machine--a belligerent meddler in far off regional affairs. We are separated by wide oceans from the other would be military powers--so IMO we really don't need to be.

72lawecon
Edited: Jan 15, 2012, 3:19pm Top

~69

"Talk about a motley crew."

Yes, we're also a rock group on the weekends. I play Mendelsohn while they are playing Uriah Heep. (Or is it the other way around, I can never keep these things straight.)

73lawecon
Jan 15, 2012, 3:19pm Top

~70

Pearls

74nathanielcampbell
Jan 15, 2012, 8:41pm Top

>72 lawecon:: Either way, more cowbell.

75K.J.
Edited: Jan 18, 2012, 9:02am Top

>72 lawecon:: Puccini, here.

76K.J.
Jan 18, 2012, 8:50am Top

"This is getting weird. Broadly speaking, and never mind, for the moment, various niggling qualifications, I find myself agreeing with K.J., lawecon, Lunar--at the same time.

Talk about a motley crew."


Strange truths do bring together strange bedfellows more often than one would think. Life is funny like that.

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