So on the one hand we have the GOP virtually imploding, while all their major policies lie in tatters. Doesn't look good with elections looming, does it? But on the other hand, we have an electorate numbed by propaganda, a complicit media, voting machines, and an executive branch seizing power and passing draconian laws, with barely a murmer of dissent from the public. I think we are heading for a showdown.
Randolph T Holhut explains things in pretty simple terms:
Last week, the Republican-controlled Congress, aided by a handful of faithless, fearful Democrats, decided it was more important to win an election than to preserve and protect the Constitution, human rights and the rule of law.In fact, it is even worse than that. Winter Patriot sent me an email last night highlighting the case of a woman who has been a US resident for 30 years!
And most Americans don't have any idea what happened.
Congress decided to scrap nearly eight centuries of legal precedent in voting for a bill that gives President Bush unimaginably broad powers regarding the detention, interrogation, prosecution and trials of terrorism suspects.
But life in America goes on. The power of self-delusion has kept the realities of the past five years at bay. Most people don't know what's in the Bill of Rights, let alone know that it has been turned into toilet paper by President Bush and his rubber stamp Congress.
While America slept, Congress decided that terrorism suspects will not have the right to challenge their detention in a court of law. This, known as the writ of habeas corpus, was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 and has been the bedrock of the rule of law ever since.
A suspect will also not be able to challenge their treatment while in detention in a court of law. The right to a speedy trial has been eliminated, as has the right of the accused to see the evidence and testimony against him. Coerced evidence is now permissible for use in a trial, if a judge considers that evidence reliable.
This bill not only immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners, it also allows the president to set the rules for interrogation and determine what constitutes cruel and inhumane treatment and what interrogation tactics it considers permissible. And there is no requirement for the American people to know any this information — it may stay secret indefinitely.
If you think all this only applies to foreign terrorists sitting in cells in Guantanamo Bay, you're wrong. The language in this bill gives the president the power to seize anyone, U.S. citizen or foreign national, who has "purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States." It codifies the Bush administration's definition of "unlawful enemy combatant," a definition that previously did not exist in any law book.
I'm trying to stir up a bit of activism on behalf of Larisa Alexandrovna, who as you probably know is the Managing Editor of RAW STORY...WP has written two posts on the matter: you can read them here and here.
Her cousin Bella, a legal resident in the USA for 30 years, has been arrested, apparently for trying to renew her green card, and she's being held -- guess what? -- without charge or evidence or any indication of a bail hearing or anything ... Her situation is far from unique -- apparently the immigration guys are arresting every non-citizen (legal resident or not) who walks in the door.
What did Bella do to deserve this? Is she a terrorist? Is she being tortured? Is this arrest related to her cousin's fine work at Raw Story? In BushWorld, you have no right to know. And, quite astonishingly, neither does Bella.
Back to Randolph T:
So if you write a letter to the editor of your local paper criticizing President Bush, if you go to a vigil to protest the war in Iraq, if you send a contribution to a charity or political group that is deemed to be "aiding terrorism," you too could be deemed an "unlawful enemy combatant" and whisked away and jailed without legal recourse...UPDATE: The centre where Bella is being held is a notorious Miama hell-hole called Krome. Mind you, Osama Bin Laden might enjoy it:
If you still believe that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, there's probably a spot in Bush's gulags for you. And depending on where you live, most of your neighbors won't even notice nor care if you disappear.
This is how police states begin...
The American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit or happiness, of equal protection under the law, of having the freedom to say, write, think and worship as we please, of being secure in our homes and being free from illegal searches and seizures — all these are now under attack.
Those of us left who still care need to start waking up the rest of our countrymen, while there's still some time left.
FEMALES: THE FOLLOWING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED: HOT PANTS, SHORT SHORTS, FRAYED AND/OR WORN JEANS OR SHORTS, SWIMSUITS, SPANDEX, TANK TOPS, SEE-THROUGH BLOUSES, LOW-CUT NECKLINES, SHIRTS/BLOUSES WITHOUT SLEEVES, BRALESSNESS, SWEAT OUTFITS, MINI-SKIRTS OR DRESSES MORE THAN 1 1/2 INCHES ABOVE THE KNEE, BAREFEET, OPEN TOED SHOES, OR ANY ATTIRE WHICH MAY BE EMOTIONALLY ENTICING TO THE INMATE POPULATION OR IS DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE IN THE RECEPTIONIST OR OFFICER'S JUDGEMENT.Raw Story has more on Bella's case here. Apparently her arrest relates to an old offence for which she was not deported, and a new immigration program called “Operation Return to Sender.”
According to Michael Chertoff in a June 2006 press release, “Operation Return to Sender is another example of a new and tough interior enforcement strategy that seeks to catch and deport criminal aliens, increase worksite enforcement, and crack down hard on the criminal infrastructure that perpetuates illegal immigration.”
“The fugitives captured in this operation,” claimed Chertoff, “threatened public safety in hundreds of neighborhoods and communities around the country. This department has no tolerance for their criminal behavior.”