Pontificator: News and Commentary

Friday, January 10, 2003 :::
Just finished reading the 4th Circuit enemy combatant decision. It is written, as law professors say, in "judgy-wudgy" language. In other words, cautious, reasonable, respectful of the arguments presented, and, most of all, straining to appear limited in its scope and effect.

As a "judgy-wudgy" piece, it is a remarkably good one, and even a true-believer like myself finds points of agreement while reading along.

However, upon a second read, I have identified the one truly radical, groundbreaking sentence through which the evisceration of the bill of rights could flow:

"[N]either the absence of set-piece battles nor intervals of calm between terrorist assaults suffice to nullify the warmaking authority entrusted to the executive and legislative branch."

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 2003 WL 60109, *4 (4th Cir.)

In other words, it doesn't matter if war is actually happening or not, as long as the President says it is. With this sentence, the bright line between times of war (like 1942-1945), and times of peace (like 1946-2001) is blurred, and all times becomes war times, on the government's say-so and nothing more.

Thus, the deference afforded by the judiciary during war is transmuted to deference PERIOD, whether we are objectively at war or not. In other words, as long as the President says we're at war, the Constitution is flushed down the toilet.

With this sentence, we may be at "war" for the rest of the life of this Republic, and enemy combatants may be with us (or, may BE us), for all times.

Unless, of course, the decision is reversed.

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:23 PM

Tom Delay has disembowled Christopher Shays. Why? -- because he had the temerity to support campaign fianance reform (and oppose fat cat corruption in the Republican leadership). In light of this outrage, I think it's time for a MASS resignation by northeastern republicans (+ John McCain). The Democrats are much more hospitable to independent thinkers -- look how well Zell Miller and Russ Feingold are treated! If the Repubmunnists are going to humiliate heretics, it's time for the heretics to smarten up and go somewhere where they are welcome. Namely, the Democratic party.

The above was a message to, among others:

Christopher Shays
Peter King
Jim Leach
John McCain
Lincoln Chafee
Olympia Snowe
Susan Collins

::: posted by Pontificator at 5:12 PM

Thursday, January 09, 2003 :::
Defining (via Paul Krugman) the Bush Administration in a single phrase: big brother crony capitalism.

Democrats should start using this phrase on the Sunday talk shows.

::: posted by Pontificator at 4:10 PM

Filibuster time!

::: posted by Pontificator at 3:43 AM

Wednesday, January 08, 2003 :::

Quotes are in order.

First from Justice Brennan:

"The concept of military necessity is seductively broad, and has a dangerous plasticity. Because they invariably have the visage of overriding importance, there is always a temptation to invoke security "necessities" to justify an encroachment upon civil liberties. For that reason, the military-security argument must be approached with a healthy skepticism."

Second, from John Adams:

"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people."

Third, from Benjamin Franklin:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

And finally, chilling words from J. Edgar Hoover:

"Justice is incedental to law and order."

::: posted by Pontificator at 8:07 PM

Tuesday, January 07, 2003 :::
Do Americans care about foreign casualties? No, no, and no.

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:53 PM

Well, duh!

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:35 AM

How close did these five TOTALLY INNOCENT PEOPLE get to being classified as "enemy combatants"?

Too close. It's yet another revealing debacle for Ashcroft's minions.

Is Jose Padilla likewise a victim of a lying informant? Who knows? No one can talk to him, and no one in the government will say anything about him!

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:26 AM

Monday, January 06, 2003 :::
Contact John McCain, and let him know you disapprove of this.

If you're still not sure why this is a problem, read this, and this, which concludes:

"Rewarding an arch-cover up artist like John Lehman with a seat on the Sept. 11 investigation commission is a disservice to the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks who are seeking answers to why it happened and closure to their horrific tragedies."

How could McCain go along with this farce?!

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:10 AM

Sunday, January 05, 2003 :::
After reading Atrios's summary execution of John Lehman, I must sadly retract my earlier optimistic post on the 9/11 Commission, which relied on John McCain's endorsement of the devil Lehman.

Would someone tell me why the **** McCain supports this pathetic excuse for a public official? I thought McCain was one of the good guys!

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:59 PM

Edward Jay Epstein has a new "question and answer" up on his website.

This one will certainly drive the conspiracy theorists into grassy knoll and cloned alien-land.

Back on earth, however, Epstein's latest (if true) should provide yet another interesting lead for the 9/11 Commission.

The spooky Mr. Epstein has also identified several other questions for the Commission to take on.

::: posted by Pontificator at 7:52 PM


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