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US Attorney General Questions Habeas Corpus 1151

Posted by kdawson
from the exact-words dept.
spiedrazer writes "In yet another attempt to create legitimacy for the Bush Administration's many questionable legal practices, US attorney General Alberto Gonzales actually had the audacity to argue before a Congressional committee that the US Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights on US citizens. In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted. The Attorney General was being questioned by Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18. THe MSM are not covering this story but Colbert is (click on the fourth video down, 'Exact Words')." From the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel commentary: "While Gonzales's statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear (such as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to assemble peacefully) also don't exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative. It boggles the mind the lengths this administration will go to to systematically erode the rights and privileges we have all counted on and held up as the granite pillars of our society since our nation was founded."
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US Attorney General Questions Habeas Corpus

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cervantes (612861) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:35PM (#17731682) Journal
    "Nothing to see here, please move along."

    First time I've ever seen that. Couldn't be more descriptive of what the administration would like everyone to do... for everything.

    And, btw, this load of crap from the same party who ridiculed "That depends what 'is' is."

  • Contradiction? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:36PM (#17731684)
    How can you suspend something that doesn't exist then?
  • old (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:36PM (#17731686)
    This story is about a week old, but still very disturbing. Do these people not respect our freedoms at all? Is our next war going to be "The War on Politicians?"
  • Re:old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:37PM (#17731706)
    The Second Amendment is starting to look better and better all the time.
  • Re:old (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cervantes (612861) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:37PM (#17731708) Journal
    This story is about a week old, but still very disturbing. Do these people not respect our freedoms at all? Is our next war going to be "The War on Politicians?"

    Yes, hopefully.
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:38PM (#17731712)

    Or more appropriately, executed for treason?

  • Lynch him.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:38PM (#17731714) Homepage Journal
    seriously, how can you tolerate a US Attorney General who questions such a fundamental right?

    This whole "how much damage can he possibly cause in 4 years?" attitude is appalling.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:39PM (#17731732)
    I've been thinking for years, that this country is turning into a police state. When 9/11 happened, many people, including myself, saw a clear case of Reichstag burning. Whenener I posted this opinion on this here forum, I was modded as a troll.

    This country is slowly turning into Nazi America. History repeats itself... Still think I'm trolling?
  • by dfenstrate (202098) * <dfenstrate@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:39PM (#17731734)
    Is a favorite pastime of both parties. The feds have been ignoring the constitution since at least FDR's new deal, and some would say the civil war.

    If you shout and cheer for the limitless power given by g readings of the interstate commerce clause and the 'general welfare' clause (quip), you're part of the problem. If you think that the constitution wasn't designed to cuff the federal government into a very limited role it's now outgrown, you're part of the problem.

    If you have no clue what the 9th and 10th amendments are, and you think the 2nd amendment is outdated or a 'states right' (*snicker), YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    The constitution isn't a salad bar. You don't get to pick and choose. You either respect it, or you don't. If you don't you'll get some programs you like (SS, medicare, HUD, etc) and you'll get some you hate, losing your freedoms all the way.

    The government pisses all over the constitution every day because we let it and we elect people who make and deliver on promises that are not within the assigned powers of the federal government.

    The constitution isn't a living document. It means what it says, with the meaning that the orginal writers intended. If it's a living document then it can mean anything, and so it basically means nothing. The original intent of the founding fathers is not an arcane secret difficult to divine- they were quite prolific writers and record keepers- go find what else they wrote and their intent will be clear.

    You can blame Gonzalez, you can blame Bush, but you really should blame FDR, blame Lincoln, and most of all blame yourself.

    If you really want to get picky on the constitution, then the following goes away:

    Every state and local gun ban

    The department of education, the Department of the Interior, HUD, Social Security, Medicare, and a whole lot of others I don't remember.

    You can argue that some of those functions are proper for the federal government to have and in some cases I might agree with you. The fact remains that all of them exist only because 'interstate commerce' now means anything that can conceivably happen in more than one state, and 'general welfare' now means 'welfare for the individual.' We can change the constitution if we think the feds should have more power. We just don't bother.

    You bought and paid for this administration's abuses with a million other trespasses you let slide because they made you feel good.
  • by plopez (54068) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:40PM (#17731738) Journal
    Do you need it spelled out to you even more plainly than that?

    They are the most vile, unamerican, undemocratic power grabbing swine in the nation. More than happy to subvert the constitution for themselves and thier corporate friends. Some of them were even saying how Mossolini wasn't such a bad guy after all. They are more than happy to expend a few trillion dollars and thousands of deaths to prove thier grand geopolitical theorys.

    Oh, and I'll be the first to say it: Godwin's Law!
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:40PM (#17731746) Homepage Journal
    Where's all these constitution loving guns nuts I'm always hearing about? How come no-one puts a bullet in people like this? Is it just the shoot terms in the US that cause such apathy in the redneck population? Or is it just that gun nuts are too poor these days to afford bus fare?

  • by Foozy (552529) <jbrown@thrupoint.LIONnet minus cat> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:43PM (#17731772) Homepage
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
    Justice Louis D. Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice 1928 Source:dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 US 479 (1928)

    "Men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the executive be under the law."
    Justice Robert H. Jackson Source:Sam Ervin, The Whole Truth

    "The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism, but the theory of necessity on which it is based is false; for the government, within the Constitution, has all the powers granted to it, which are necessary to preserve its existence; as has been happily proved by the result of the great effort to throw off its just authority."
    Justice David Davis (1815-1886) U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1862-1877 Source: Ex parte Milligan 71 U.S. 2 (1866) DAVIS, J., Opinion of the Court http://liberty-tree.ca/qb/David.Davis.Quote.5879 [liberty-tree.ca] [liberty-tree.ca]

  • Well duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mobby_6kl (668092) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:45PM (#17731792)
    In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted.

    Of course they're not granted, the government doesn't grant any rights. It can protect or violate them, but not decide that they were not granted to someone.
  • Moo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chacham (981) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:47PM (#17731814) Homepage Journal
    Wow, his statement is troubling.

    Interestingly enough, it was a Republican, Sen Specter, that challenged him on this. As the article comntinues "Gonzales's remark left Specter, the committee's ranking Republican, stammering."

    So, if both parties don't want this, let's hope this guy gets canned, quickly.
  • In Other News... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mageofchrisz (836089) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:47PM (#17731816)
    We're fucked.
  • Re:And IX too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Incongruity (70416) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:48PM (#17731824)
    Seriously? Was that just some sort of test to see if the committee was listening? Or if the people of America are listening? The Attorney General ought to be removed from his position for such a clearly unconstitutional view... I mean, really, amendments IX and X are pretty damned clear on this matter.

    When will we (as a people) care that our rights are very very quickly being crushed under the thumb of our government?
  • by zymurgy_cat (627260) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:49PM (#17731840) Homepage
    ...the Constitution? They claim to do that. And if you strictly do that, you realize that the government only has the powers specifically given to it in the Constitution. All other rights and powers go to the people and/or the states. Thus, unless the government is specifically given the power to suspend habeas corpus (which it *is* in limited circumstances), it cannot infringe upon on that right. That right, as specifically protected in the 9th amendment, is not disparaged merely by not being listed.

    Now, if one wants to "liberally" interpret the Constitution (e.g., not use a "strict" interpretation), then you could make the argument that Gonzales is making. Of course, no neocon would do that for political gain, nosiree. Yep, they'd strictly interpret the Constitution in all cases.....
  • by Twilight1 (17879) <pda@procyon.com> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:51PM (#17731858)
    And why Bush has not fired him for that comment.

    Because Bush hired him *because* of such attitudes toward the country and its people. After all, to Bush, the Constitution is "just a god damned piece of paper".

    These uncivilized people see public policy and people's rights merely as a speed-bump on their road to greed and power.

    -Twi
  • So what (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RichPowers (998637) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:51PM (#17731862)
    The Attorney General argues a position that advances the interests of the executive. I by no means support his dumbassed argument, but that's his prerogative. The issue here is what will Congress - that other branch of government we all forget about - do about it? Cut funding to certain programs, refuse to confirm any executive nominees, etc. until the executive renounces its position? Our system breaks down not when one branch takes an outlandish position, but when the other branch fails to call them on it. Presidents and cabinet members will be making dumb decisions for decades to come. What troubles me is that future Congresses will continue the inaction established by the past few Congresses. I'm merely pointing out that our government is failing us in other ways. Please don't misconstrue this as support of the idiotic administration. Hell, the Democrats still won't end the Iraq War because they're afraid a "spin machine" will make them look anti-soldier. Instead they're debating worthless non-binding proclamations - proclamations directed at a president who doesn't care about public or congressional opinion.
  • by Incongruity (70416) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:53PM (#17731880)
    While I believe the views expressed by the above poster are extreme (that's not a comment on their correctness, simply a comment on how they compare to the popular mode of thinking), in no way do I think that the "troll" moderation is fair -- it's a valid opinion, even if you don't agree with it. If I had the mod points...
  • Rights? Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @09:57PM (#17731916)
    You know, who ever declared that Alberto Gonzales has the right to live? Anyone?
     
    Quite the contrary. The penalty for treason is hanging. Don't they swear them in with an oath to protect the Constitution?
  • Colbert nailed it with his Brady Bunch allusion:

    "But you only said I was grounded from driving your car. You didn't say anything else about someone else's car!"

    People are really strange. My conservative parents will complain for hours about the mere possibility of the government wasting money on universal health care, but throwing billions of dollars down the drain in Iraq and this kind of nonsense and they will only grudgingly admit "mistakes were made". My theory is that people just like killin' the bad guys so much that they don't see how easy it is for us mistake who the "bad guys" are.
  • by COMICAGOGO (1055066) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:00PM (#17731938)
    He said: "Any society that gives up a little freedom for a little security will lose both and deserve neither." Just thought that might have something to do with what the writers of the constitition had in mind.
  • Re:Contradiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:00PM (#17731940)
    How can you suspend something that doesn't exist then?

    This was more or less Hamilton's argument against a Bill of Rights. He predicted arguments such as this, based on interpretation of the specific "grant" of right.

    But as he pointed out, under the Constitution rights are not granted by the Constitution. Rights, in a government of, by and for the people are held by them in the first place, not doled out by a government that is merely their social tool.

    The Constitution is not a grant of rights to the people, but The People imposing limits on the powers of government to infringe and usurp their innate rights. If the government is not allowed the power to infringe rights, no code is necessary to enforce them, and no code exists to be warped into its Newspeak antithesis.

    The government only has the power attributed to it by The People. Power is to the people. The Constitution is a limit on the government's power, not your rights. Have we got that?

    But The People have come to think of government as the source of power and the doler of rights. Essentially Monarchial. That's why even the term "Liberal" now means a grant from the government, rather than the freedom of the people, and why even "Liberal" in the modern socialist sense is a legitimately bad word in terms of American political philosophy. It implys you are a ward/serf of the state. Someone to importune for a handout, when in point of fact the power, money and services are yours, by ownership and by right.

    That these people are being allowed to pervert the system in the name of "Conservatism" to install an Orwellian fascist state is a crime against The People. Literally. The People ought to send them to jail. They belong there.

    I fear, however, that instead I, and those like me, shall be sent to exile at best; and the wall at worst.

    Been nice knowing you; have a happy; and remember, you do not watch the TV Grandpa, the TV watches you. When you least expect it, you're elected, it's your lucky day. Smile! You're on candid camera. We come in peace. Shoot to kill.

    KFG
  • by QCompson (675963) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:00PM (#17731944)
    Gonzo is a smirking fool. His only concern is protecting the administration and its policies. Constitutional rights and justice mean nothing to him. America will be much better off after he is gone.
  • That's closer. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:01PM (#17731950)
    "Nazi" is a particular group with particular views. Bush doesn't hate Jews. He is not a Nazi.

    Bush hates the rule of law. He hates having to share power with the other two branches of government.

    Bush is a proto-Fascist. He does not care about the Rights of the People if they get in his way of performing his "job" the way he sees fit. To him, the Presidency is above the Law. Fascism is seductive. It promises "safety" and "order". And all it asks is that some people you probably didn't like anyway lose their Rights.

    In a Democracy, the President is constrained by the Law. He must choose the courses which achieve the objects WITHOUT violating the Rights of the People. Any of the People. Any of their Rights.

    Fascism begins when the efficiency of the Government is more important than the Rights of the People.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:01PM (#17731954)

    It's unfortunate that most gun nuts are all backwater hick libertarians willing to vote against their own interests, and sit on their firearms against their own interests, instead of more rational people capable of fomenting revolution and bringing about a post-state, post-capitalist society.

    Hmm. You must mean the kind of society where whoever has the most guns, makes the rules.

    Oh, wait, we already have that.

    Any more brilliant ideas?
  • by scoot80 (1017822) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:02PM (#17731960) Journal
    In America.. doesn't sex get censored on TV, while you can buy guns anywhere? .. that could be a problem.

    In Aus.. guns aren't easy to get to, while our TV is innundated by tits and asses... we have less gun problems, and noone wants to get involved in a fabricated war...
  • by lordvalrole (886029) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:03PM (#17731972)
    Because Americans are full of ignorant people who don't really care. The majority of Americans really just don't care and it is sad. America just be called The new Rome. Supply the people with entertainment and people could care less about what is happening at the top.
  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:05PM (#17731990) Homepage Journal
    Isn't _EVERY_ _SINGE_ member of the armed services individually sworn to "protect and defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic"? Or is it just the president?

    Shouldn't _someone_ be arresting these people by now...? Who does the arresting when the person who is _supposed_ to be doing the arresting is the one that should be arrested?

    Yea, I know, slippery slope and all that, but damn, this is sounding a _lot_ like treason (by "pun" or by "confabulation" or some such perversion of the language and with some deliberate mendacity apparent, since nobody can be _THAT_ stupid can they?) executed by or on the behalf of our "elected" leaders.
  • Gonzales is Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhml (95488) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:07PM (#17732010)
    The Constitution grants no rights. Our rights are granted by our Creator, or, if you prefer, by the fact of our humanity.

    That isn't wild theorizing. It is solid constitutional law.

    For instance, the Constitution provides no right of procreation. Most of us would concede it a right of people. So did the Court when the question arose.

    The Consitution does prohibit government from infringing on some of our rights, and it gives Congress some powers to protect others, but it grants no rights by itself.

    Habeas corpus additionally is not a "right". It is a procedure to enforce a fundamental right --not to be unjustly imprisoned.

    As a procedure it is not self effectuating,. It requires statutory implementation. Over the years Congress has both limited and expanded the procedures governing granting a writ of habeas corpus. So have the courts.

    Gonzales could have phrased his answer in a form more pleasing to the public. But he is not just "technically right". He is fundamentally right, and the principle underlying his answer is a greater defense of our liberty than a position that the Constitution is the fount of our rights.

       
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:12PM (#17732056)
    After all, to Bush, the Constitution is "just a god damned piece of paper".
    It IS just a god damned piece of paper, unless you the people, citizens of the USA, uphold it and force everyone to uphold it, including and especially your president.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid (845423) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:14PM (#17732068) Homepage
    i really wish i had some mod points right now. best comment i've read on this issue on digg OR slashdot all day.
  • by sjs132 (631745) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:15PM (#17732072) Homepage Journal
    The guns are for protection and to take shots at idiot know-it-alls that like to talk down to us based on where we may live and the fact that we may want to have a firearm in our possesion at all times......

    Son, your not gonna win any supporters with your attitude. Also even us "backwater hick libertarians" can read and have access to 'Puters and the Net.
  • except ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plasmacutter (901737) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:15PM (#17732080)
    the people who are "autotrolled" consider the people in office.. who are actually center-right.. to be "liberals"..

    the truth is if you held republicans like ike or even nixon up to scrutiny today, so called "right wingers" would be screaming bloody pinko liberal murder.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid (845423) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:21PM (#17732156) Homepage

    hypocrisy? that's like saying a judge who might have stepped on a few ants then convicting a serial killer for murder is a hypocrite. one guy is weaseling out of a situation regarding his personal life, the other is trying to undermine our consitutional right to habeas corpus.

    seriously, you're a fucking moron for even trying to equate the two. i'm usually not this harsh on people, but this news should be a serious concern for american citizens.

  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:23PM (#17732174)
    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    Nobody seemed to care about Americans who have a middle eastern background, since those dark boys are the "bad guys" these days. Nope, not the Jews, or blacks, or gays... this time it's those dirty muslims! Nobody raises much of a fuss when they're harassed by the government and police, suspected as terrorists because in this post-9/11 world you gotta... I mean they wear turbans. Or something.

    Then people start to get a bit nervous about how the government is wiretapping everything. Or how ISPs are served warrants (secret warrants) for handing over private data, which can not be publicly disclosed. But hey they're probably just after those scary brown islamic people right, I am safe ... right? I'm a white christian, I'm probably safe.

    Oops what's this, the military/government is saying detained prisoners can not question the court process or raise objections. No habeas corpus for them? Well that's ok, we should detain them forever without trial! In this post 9/11 world you gotta...

    But wait a second. The US Attorney General tells the nation that US citizens do not have the right to question the legal process or authority of courts. That's citizens, as in YOU, not the brown muslim in gitmo. YOU don't have such a right. Now this doesn't sound cool... it's one of the foundations of western law. Could have sworn that US citizens were guaranteed that right. It seemed obvious.

    We should have started worrying when those brown boys began losing their rights. Now they are coming after YOU. Wow just like in the historical warning.

  • Re:And IX too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by udderly (890305) * on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:25PM (#17732194)

    No, I don't think that America is listening or watching. That or they just don't care as long as they get all of the NFL football, Grey's Anatomy, or XBox 360 that they desire. I'm afraid that between the Patriot Act, the Fairness Doctrine, the recent Bill S1, and now this crap with the AG, it won't be very long that our rights will be so eroded that our Democracy will go out with a whimper.

    The thing is that so many seem to support certain rights more than others and this could be our downfall. Gun owners want gun rights and don't care about free speech. Free speech advocates care about their thing and ignore freedom of religion. Etc., etc. It also seems that Republicans seem more offended at a Democratically-proposed freedom infringements, and vice versa.

    If you read some of the other posts on this story, you will see people suggesting executing [slashdot.org], lynching [slashdot.org] or murdering [slashdot.org] the AG (interestingly enough modded "Insightful"); but check their post history and see if they were so exercised when the Senate tried to control certain types of paid political speech by bloggers [slashdot.org]. The AG should most certainly be fired immediately, but one wonders whether party affiliation might have something to do with this selectivity.

    The fact is that if you are an American and you haven't taken the opportunity to call and write your Congressmen/Congresswomen and pitch a huge fit, you are shirking *your* responsibility. After that, it may become necessary to protest in street, even if it's not a right that benefits us personally or reflects our party's position.

  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv,vadiv&neverbox,com> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:27PM (#17732216) Homepage

    I've been thinking for years, that this country is turning into a police state.

    A little late, aren't you? The second Bush asserted the right to lock up anyone, citizen or otherwise, 'enemy combatant' or otherwise, this country became, ipso facto, a police state.

    A 'police state' doesn't require 'fascism' or whatever, a police state is simply a country in which the police or military do not have to answer to a court as to why they are holding someone prisoner. Aka, Habeas Corpus.

    Bush's administration managed to pretend that POWs don't get trials, just various Geneva rights, and that their prisoners are not entitled to those rights, and the fucks in the media went along with the lie, and we suddenly because a police state. Everyone, being held by the government, legally gets a trial, even POWs, no exceptions whatsoever. (It's just POWs don't want trials, because then they'd stop being protected POWs and start being imprisoned felons.)

    Everyone has the right to a trial, or you are in a police state by definition, it's not even arguable. That's what a police state is, a state where the executive arm of the government can imprison people without trials. Everything else is just dressing. It's called a police state because no other part of the government has any power, the judicial because there are no trials, and the legislature because the actual written laws have ceased to be important without actual trials, the 'law' is whatever the executive branch feels like doing.

    In this country, only the legislature can disable Habeas Corpus, and then only during times of armed insurrection or actual invasion. Which, incidentally, they have not done.

  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WhiteWolf (95535) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:30PM (#17732242)

    You know perjury isn't treason. As a crime treason is very specifically defined. People toss "traitor", "treason", "treasonous", etc. around without even the slightest hint that an act of treason has actually been committed. They should rip the tongues out of anyone who makes baseless accusations.
    Pot. Kettle. Black [wikipedia.org].

    Specifically:

    Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]."
    I can think of fewer things more injurious to the United States than the Fascist dribble coming out of the mouth of our nation's attorney General. You know, governed of, by and for the people?

    P.S. - Perjury would require statements on the part of Gonzalez that are demonstrably false - in this case he expressed an opinion that the Constitution doesn't offer the right of Habeus Corpus - thank what ever you hold sacred that he isn't a judge in a position to rule on matters of law to that effect.
  • Re:Contradiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:31PM (#17732256) Journal
    The sad thing is I don't think Hillary or Obama will change the rules.

    Good point, When is the last time a politician voted themselves less power?
  • Not to mention V (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:36PM (#17732294) Homepage Journal
    ...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linguae (763922) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:37PM (#17732298)
    Don't they swear them in with an oath to protect the Constitution?

    The problem is that the Constitution is interpreted by whomever sits in the Supreme Court, not necessarily based on the exact law of the Constitution. Certain administrations have twisted the meanings of certain parts of the Constitution (complete lack of respect of the Tenth Amendment, abuse of the "general welfare" and commerce clauses, etc.). It's not necessarily what's in the Constitution. It's who is interpreting it. It's sad, but this is how the US government has been running since 1933.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid (845423) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:38PM (#17732312) Homepage
    just goes to show that soundbites are more powerful than facts when swaying public opinion. if you don't own the media, you can't get away with even a blowjob. but if you DO own the media, then you can commit perjury and mass murder and still get away with it.
  • by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheart@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:38PM (#17732318)
    Several years ago I wrote a state agency in Ohio telling them that they did not have the authority to collect certain data that they were collecting. (We're calling it data type X.) Ohio law specifically says that any state agency must be granted the ability by the state legislature in order to collect data.)

    What Ohio law does have, for this particular example, was a law like "Data type X shall not be a public record." The agency I was dealing with responded that the legislature must have indirectly given the agency the ability to collect data type X because they went out of their way to recognize it in another part of the code.

    Both this and Gonzale's testimony are creative ways of redefining law.

  • Re:Contradiction? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:38PM (#17732324)
    They don't send people into exile anymore.

    Well no. Not sent. That was a poor choice of words. "Flee" before the gates slam shut is more like it. At the turn and middle of the last century many of my relatives got their timing wrong.

    It not only can happen here, it is happening here. Complete with masses chanting it isn't happening; just like before. Tee Tum! Tee Tum! Tee Tum!

    My papers are in order (by current standards, but for all I know I'm No Fly already), but London ain't exactly what it used to be and Paris has proven unreliable. Even places to go are dwindling and ironically it might turn out to be either Granada or Prague.

    At least until the Moors and Turks invade.

    Forgive me, I know I'm being cynical, but I'm being this cynical because I honestly feel there is legitimate reason to be this cynical.

    KFG
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:39PM (#17732328) Journal
    ...but this news should be a serious concern for american citizens.

    Well, it's not. And move out of the way, I'm trying to see the TV.
  • Re:Contradiction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:47PM (#17732418) Journal
    paper(constitution)
    scissors(government)
    rock(people-you,me,all)

    too simple
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @10:50PM (#17732446)
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    I've always considered this to be the one statement that summed up what our country should be all about. I realize it has no legal standing, but it is the most basic ideal behind the founding of our nation. A tradition that we should uphold.

    For that reason, i always felt that since it says all men, that these rights should be extended no non-citizens. Not just Americans. Including terrorists (if they're really terrorists, the court will convict them). Sort of an affirmation in our faith in our system.

    But i guess that would never happen since this statement means nothing to the people who are charged with protecting this ideal.
  • by fumblebruschi (831320) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:05PM (#17732620)
    I am not an evangelical Christian, but here's what I think:

    Remember that the Declaration holds kind of an odd place in US history. It is a statement of principle, and the same people who endorsed the Declaration wrote the Constitution, so naturally they held the same principles. However, the Declaration is not a legal document and has no force in law. Essentially, as I understand it, the Declaration is the statement of the guiding principles of the American identity, while the Constitution (which *is* a legal document, and from which all authority in the United States derives) is the implementation of that identity.

    When the Declaration says that "all men are created equal", it means that every man stands in exactly the same relation to God as every other man; that there is no one man, nor any group of men, who are exalted above other men by God, and therefore deserve greater honor and freedom than other men. It is specifically a refutation of the divine right of kings, but it is also generally a statement that in order to be conformable to the natural order of the world (which was ordained by God), human law must deal with men in the same way that God deals with men: treating them all the same, and judging them by their actions rather than by their wealth or position or family.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:07PM (#17732638)
    "Seriously, politics should never be discussed on Slashdot as anyone who does not cling to a hard-left viewpoint on EVERY issue is labeled a troll automatically."

    If the Ninth Amendment is "hard-left," call me a freakin' Bolshevik.
  • National Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Henneshoe (987210) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:13PM (#17732722)
    Its sad that in the United States today you have to be an extremist to be successful. It seems that no one is looking out for Joe Public anymore. I suppose that is because Joe Public isn't a fan of voting and even those who do put less research into it then they do the new *insert new gadget here* they plan on buying.

    Everyone should get together and start voting for the smaller parties. Maybe if we get the Republicans and Democrats out of power we could be relatively corruption free for a while. Another fun idea would be to implement a lottery system in which any citizen has an equal chance for election like the ancient Greeks had.
  • Re:Not Quite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredrated (639554) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:14PM (#17732728) Journal
    When Alberto attempts to do an end-run around the Constitution, he becomes the enemy, like a fifth column, and is certainly "giving them Aid and Comfort"
  • Actually, in some circumstances, what you are talking about is called 'the exception that proves the rule'.

    Aka, if a sign says 'Parking between 11 AM and 6 PM', you can conclude that, before 11 and after 6, you are not allowed to park by some other, unmentioned, rule. This is actually such an ingrained concept that people will argue the sign specifically states it, despite there being no words at all on the sign about when you aren't allowed to park.

    Likewise, if a sign says 'No right turn on red', you can conclude that not only that there must be other times, like yellow and green, you may turn right, but also that this must be some sort of unique rule and people would normally expect be able to turn right on red. (Because they wouldn't mention it if it was normal.)

    Or you can conclude that 'right' is the exception, and that people can normally turn any direction on red, but this intersection is just allowing left turns on red, which shows 'the exception that proves the rule' logic does not actually work all the time. ;)

    However, all that is rendered moot by a sign that says 'No parking except where and when explicitly allowed', as Ohio appears to have in the law about data collecting.

  • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@[ ]tles ... s ['cas' in gap]> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:17PM (#17732764) Homepage Journal
    If anything, Gonzales has erred on the side of saying that the Constitution calls it a 'right', which it plainly does not.

    Habeas Corpus is one of the enshrined rights that the government was specifically prohibited infringing upon. Whether it's a "right" granted by God or a "priviledge" granted by the law is irrelevant -- Constitutionally speaking, it's something the feds can not suspend without extreme cause.

    On a broader sense, if we have to abridge basic rights to wage this war, then our foes are right to oppose us. We cannot do justice to those who were murdered on 9/11/01 if we sink to our worst level.
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:17PM (#17732766) Homepage
    Yes, because military coups always work out so well....


    The Turkish military has staged several coups to restore democracy and remove religious and sectarian zealotry from national politics. Of course, they have Ataturk as a national role model, who was basically Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin, FDR and Patton rolled into one.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:18PM (#17732784)
    All I'm seeing here right now are the same old, tired, rehashed posts over and over again. Other than the (dare I say it) on-topic references to the Ninth Amendment, there's the thousand and one posters dragging out the same old tired quote from Franklin (repeating it ad nauseam only weakens its impact, if it actually has any left any more), the anarcho-capitalists who find yet another tenuous reason to drag out gun rights (clue: guns or no guns, they have nukes, gas and germs), and the Democrats who think that a Congress, 95% of whom were around for Gonzales' (and Ashcroft's) confirmation to begin with, will actually take action.

    It's going on six years since the USA PATRIOT Act. Can't somebody, somewhere, think of something new and original to post for once?

    And is there any reason to believe anything short of the state legislatures forming a new constitutional convention would fix this?
  • by Sunburnt (890890) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:20PM (#17732802)
    "A privilege is granted or bestowed upon someone by benevolent authority, and may therefore be revoked by that same authority."

    Doesn't apply to the privilege of habeas corpus, as the relevant constitutional text makes apparent. The conditions for its suspension are defined as rebellion or invasion. Neither situation is presently relevant. Hell, the Constitution doesn't even specify a "right" to a free speech. It just says that the freedom of speech will not be abridged.

    Of course, most people would sensibly interpret anything the government is explicitly prevented from curtailing as a right. Unless they were inclined to Clintonesque word games in defense of the current administration's Constitutional abuses.
  • by robmered (178318) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:21PM (#17732816)

    I am neither a lawyer or a US resident or citizen. However, I am able to use my brain and know a little about the history of jurisprudence. I'm willing to concede that the Writ may not be a natural right, as such (there are other kinds of rights, but for the sake of argument, I'll concede your point), but it is a necessary instrument that ensures that the natural rights of justice and equality before the law are not infringed upon. The Attorney General is correct insofar as the US constitution does not grant the right of habeus corpus.

    However, what he fails to acknowledge is that the Writ of habeus corpus is a part of the common law, and so exists, as part of the law of the land in the US (as it does in other countries that inherited British common law). Legislators and the executive branch of government may not overturn that common law, except in the two situations mentioned in the Constitution. For the A-G to imply, as he seems to be doing, that habeus corpus can be ignored by the Executive is to ignore the fact that the Writ of Habeus corpus is legally binding, and the Constitution ensures that this will always be the case through prohibiting legislation to change the common law. The A-G is being disingenuous, pedantic, and a bit of a dick.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:22PM (#17732830)
    It applies, thank the founders. Unfortunately the religious right in the US would like to re-write much of the Constitution including the parts about separation of church and state, freedom of religion, etc.

    It is during times like these one really needs to dig in and protest in any way possible. Erosion of Habeus Corpus in not acceptable.

    You need to think about what the goals of terrorism are - and why statements like this mean the terrorists are winning.

  • by Cyryathorn (6591) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:36PM (#17732968) Homepage
    I do believe you've all misunderstood what AG Gonzales was saying. I will describe for you my understanding of the AG's position on the Writ of Habeas Corpus:

    There is not a Constitutional grant of the Writ of Habeas Corpus for every person in the country. [Here's an analogy to aid your understanding: the right to trial by jury is not secured by the Constitution for non-citizens in the country illegally.]

    There is a statutory grant of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

    The Constitution explicitly guarantees that any such statutory grant cannot be suspended except in cases of insurrection or rebellion. This is the only thing that the Consitution has to say explictly about the Writ of Habeas Corpus. [Please note, on this point the AG is not actually implying what everyone is inferring. He is making a very limited point, and y'all are reading stuff into it.]

    Ultimately, what he is saying is this: it is up to the legislative process to determine whether or not the Writ of Habeas Corpus ought to extend to non-citizens held as enemy combatants who fail to qualify for POW status. He is certainly not saying (or implying) that the Bush adminstration can ignore the Writ of Habeas Corpus for random citizens snatched of the street.
  • Re:So what (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demachina (71715) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:38PM (#17732980)
    "Our system breaks down not when one branch takes an outlandish position, but when the other branch fails to call them on it."

    Well for most of the last six years the Congress has been controlled by the same extremist party that controls the Executive. Why would you think they were going to call a President from their own party on anything. The price you pay of putting one party in complete power is that party can perpetrate massive excesses unchecked by anything but the courts. If that party packs the courts over time.....

    The failure here mostly lies with the American people for electing this particular group of people in 2000, 20002, and 2004, though a somewhat broken election system helped in 2000 and 9/11 gave the party in power a massive tool to manipulate the electorate until the shock wore off some 5 years later. You mostly have to blame all this on the gullability of the American people, most of whom don't have a clue when it comes to civics and politics. A little blame falls on the two party system, and the fact the Democrats have routinely sucked so bad the some how managed to make Fascist look desirable by comparison.

    I would expect the Democrat's control of the Congress will rein in some of the excesses we've seen in the last six yeas but never underestimate the Democrats for their stupidity and their own fondness for Federal power.

    "...the Democrats still won't end the Iraq War because they're afraid a "spin machine" will make them look anti-soldier."

    That is an extreme oversimplification. The Democrats CAN'T "end" the Iraq War. All they could do would be to cut funding and force the U.S. to withdraw as was done in Vietnam. That wouldn't "end" the Iraq War. It would probably just move it in to a new phase where the Sunni and Shia could start a full fledged civil war unchecked by the presence of the U.S. military. There is a high probability the Iranians would openly back the Shia, the Saudis, Jordanians and Egyptians would back the Sunni. The Kurds would probably seek an independent Kurdistan which would probably trigger a Turkish military response since the Turks wont tolerate a Kurdistan with designs on the Kurdish parts of Turkey. There is a fair chance the entire Middle East would explode in to a war that would massively disrupt the global economy. If the oil in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq all goes off the market due to a full scale war the consequences will be dire. If Iran and the Shia acquire nukes then chances are the Saudis will get their own to protect Sunni interests.

    If you ever watched the old Matthew Broderick flick "War Games", the punch line is basically the same. The only way to "win" was to not play the game. Saddam sucked, but Iraq has been a power keg since it was cobbled together by the British. The wiser George H.W. Bush knew this in the first gulf war which is why he left Saddam in power. His foolish son, clueless to history, world politics and cultures other than Texan didn't grasp this. He lit a fuse on a power keg and its almost certainly going to explode now. Vietnam had no vital importance to the U.S. so there was little price for abandoning it. Abandoning Iraq now that we've kicked the ant pile is unfortunately not going to solve anything. The one saving grace may be that the Middle East is so vital to the entire global economy that if the U.S. does withdraw, the rest of the world's actors may have to step in to try to keep it from exploding.

    In most respected Iraq is a no win scenario so you can't really blame the Democrats for not having a "fix". No win scenario is what you get when you elect a clueless, spoiled preppy, who had no clue how the world work, as President of the world's biggest military power and give him a blank check to do something stupid.
  • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:43PM (#17733038) Homepage
    Well, yeah. But that's how the Rebel army defeated the British on U.S. soil in the 18th century. We didn't really defeat the British in the sense that they surrendered themselves to the Americans. They just got tired of fighting and so they left.

    In the end, it's quibbling over words.

    A honeybee can't defeat a man. But then why is it that when a bee buzzes around a man's head that the man runs away? Doesn't make any sense. Nonetheless, a bee can "defeat" a man by making him run away.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:52PM (#17733102)
    It can only choose to disregard them. Rights are natural, and a government that doesn't recognize them is not a legitimate government.
  • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mcostas (973159) on Tuesday January 23, 2007 @11:57PM (#17733156)
    The Founders intended for rich land owning whiteboys to own slaves while women did the dishes.
  • by jvkjvk (102057) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:01AM (#17733174)
    First of all, i believe you are talking out your ass. Sorry to be harsh, but I am not feeling generous today.

    Here's a direct quote from Gonzales (as reported in TFA):

    "The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended"

    So, your claim that Gonzales meant that habeas corpus ehm "requires statutory implementation" and therefore is not a right is a red herring. Gonzales is clearly talking about the fundamental right behind habeas, which he clearly thinks is not all that, ah, fundamental. Habeas is the procedure whereby the fundamental right is expressed, and Gonzales said that citizens are not assured of that procedure even when not falling in the set of the exception cases (rebellion or invasion).

    This is directly contradictory to your claims that Gonzales is "fundamentally" right. He's not, although if "is" is is if the shit hits the fan he can claim to be 'technically right'. His position is the greatest threat to liberty from a sitting Attorney General in recent memory.

    Now, if you could back up your claims with some pointers to Constitutional opinion pieces Gonzales has written that support your view of his statements, I will have to re-evaluate things.

    But as it stands, my interpretation (along with quite a few others) fits the pattern of erosion of ah, yes, the "procedures" that guarantee our fundamental rights (do I have that spin right?). This is just another instance of something he is fundamentally wrong on, all apologies to his Apologists.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:08AM (#17733248)
    Since when does the NSA need to get a warrant to tap foreign communications?

    Even Gonzales admitted that FISA makes tapping communications between US and a foreign country is illegal without a warrant. It is nonsense to believe somehow that just because one end of the call is someplace outside the US FISA, the First Amemdment and the Fourth Amendment are all of a sudden not applicable.

    But the president does have the power to do it.

    Under the Constitution he has the power ONLY if there is a rebellion or invasion. In only ONE case in all of US History has it been suspended, and that was during the Civil war due to rebellion. Neither of these conditions apply now, and if he tried to do it he should be immediately impeached. Even during the Civil War the courts held that it was not permissible for military tribunals to try civilian citizens.

    It seems to me that foreign enemies on US soil do not have any right to habeas corpus. Why should they?

    Who the hell decides what a foreign enemy is? Once you are declared as such you have no recourse whatsoever. They can just find a dark hole and throw away the key. Where the hell in Constitution is anyone granted such power? How about the concept of innocent until proven guilty for crying out loud. You are stripping away people's rights before there is even any finding that they are guilty of anything. And the Bush administration doesn't limit this to non-citizens. For example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamdi_v._Rumsfeld [wikipedia.org].

    Since the 1300's Habeus Corpus has been recognized as a basic human right. Unless there is a pretty damn good reason like an invasion it needs to be defended vigorously. The US should not be run like some military junta was in charge. It is absurd to believe that extending basic legal rights to a few hundred prisoners materially impacts the security of this nation.

    Fundamentally by acting in this manner, failing to live up to the basic precepts that this country was founded on, flouting international law and understanding of human rights you are sinking to the level of the terrorists. If you do that, they have succeded in their goal of making us live in fear and darkness.

  • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by demachina (71715) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:18AM (#17733344)
    "...the Tenth Amendment will continue to be spat at, and government will be allowed to grow bigger and bigger until we have no freedoms and no economy."

    Actually we fought a war on this subject, more Americans died than in any other war in American history. The side backing the Tenth Amendment lost so we've had expansion of Federal power ever since. Interestingly the Republican party was also in power then and the one advocating massive expansion of Federal power in defiance of the Constitution. The Republicans also first suspended habeas corpus during this war, and they instituted the first Federal income tax, though it was repealed when the war ended.

    The unfortunate part of all this was the inflammatory issue which was used as the test of Federal versus State power and the tenth amendment was slavery which permanently damaged the states rights cause, and along with it the individual liberties cause. We've had expansion of Federal power ever since. The real villain here was a Republican president who was elevated to near god status though he, more than anyone began the dismantling of our Constitution.

    A key point here is the dismantling of state and individual rights has been going on since soon after the Bill of Rights was made part of our Constitution. This latest assault is neither new or unique. The Civil War, World War I and World War II all resulted in massive encroachment on our liberties. The Bush administration has routinely used the excesses perpetrated during these periods as precedent to justify the things they do now. In World War II we put U.S. citizens of Japanese descent in concentration camps and seized all their property using Pearl Harbor as an excuse. Its not surprising 9/11 has led to similar excesses. Chances are we will claw back some of our rights, but the erosion will continue. Computers and networks are accelerating both the trend towards totalitarianism and resistance to it. It is unfortunate, but governments and politicians always seek to expand their power, and it requires active resistance to stop the trend. Americans are mostly too weak willed to oppose the trend though.

    A footnote, much of the expansion of Executive power you've seen in the past 6 years is almost entirely due to Dick Cheney. He worked in the Ford administration, and teethed on politics during a time when executive powers were savaged, mostly by the Democrats in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam. Cheney has had it as a goal to restore and expand Executive power ever since, and many of the excesses you've seen in the past 6 years are directly attributable to him. Gonzo is just a foot solider in Cheney's war to make an all powerful executive.
  • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:21AM (#17733370) Homepage Journal

    To be brief, I don't consider the fact that something illegal was done in the past, to be a precedent that says that said act is now legal. In other words, I don't see that there has been any mud at all. The ability of the congress to suspend habeas corpus in time of war is written in. That's fine, as far as it goes, however we are not at war, and that's not what this law does. Aside from that, the constitution can be changed by several methods; none of those have been pursued. Therefore, VI stands as a restatement, with no changes.

    Either the government's authority comes legitimately from the constitution, or it comes from somewhere else, illegitimately, because there is no other legitimate path. In this case, it is (as per usual, I might add) the threat of overwhelming force.

    And good grief man, get a spelling checker, failing other solutions. That was downright painful to read through.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:33AM (#17733504) Homepage Journal

    The problem for US citizens is that habeas corpus has been suspended for them by recent unconstitutional legislation, and in such a way that no challenge is possible because no one knows where they are being kept, why they were taken, or who they were taken by. Might have been a kidnapping by a ragtag group of manic Islamists as much as a taking by some nebulous "federal authority." And of course the prisoner is of no help; he has no representation, no ability to contact anyone, no prospect of a trial, or even of a speedy determination if he or she is actually an enemy combatant.

    Habeas corpus is gone, and with it, every part of the 6th amendment. For US citizens, much less for those who are not. And for those who say "not when the supreme court gets after it", unfortunately, that won't stop the government from its takings and subsequent malfeasance in the meantime, will it?

  • Re:Contradiction? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by elakazal (79531) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:58AM (#17733762)
    The U.S. Congress, under Republican leadership but with an unfortunate amount of cooperation from Democrats, has in recent years routinely voted to basically cede away it's own constitutionally granted powers to the executive.

    Does that count?
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Korin43 (881732) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:03AM (#17733812) Homepage
    Good thing the Constitution isn't extremely obvious in how it's written..
  • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Atzanteol (99067) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:03AM (#17733816) Homepage

    The side backing the Tenth Amendment lost so we've had expansion of Federal power ever since.

    It would help the 'losing sides' case a lot more if they hadn't fought for states rights partially/primarily so that they could maintain slavery. Oh, and the next 50 years or so of cruelty to blacks in the south didn't help much either. They pretty much *demanded* the federal government move in...

  • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:09AM (#17733888) Homepage
    by rob its people you mean nationalizing the oil industry from the power elite and actually using their national resources to help the majority of venezuelans who are below the poverty line, such as buying unused land from the rich to create farm co-ops for the poor, then i guess so.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jartan (219704) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:21AM (#17733978)
    [quote]Anybody who speaks against the constitution, and votes as such, should be found guilty of treason.[/quote]
    Whoa hold up. I think you should rethink what you are saying there. The constitution isn't [b]perfect[/b]. Should I be found guilty of treason for saying it isn't perfect? I'm technically speaking "against" it by saying such a thing.

    I highly agree that what he's done here is probably as bad as treason but if we went to the extremes you are talking about the Bill of Rights would of never been written in the first place because it was technically "speaking against" the original constitution that lacked the very amendment we are talking about!
  • by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:29AM (#17734506) Homepage Journal
    Please remember, it's not just vague scare quotes and alarm phrases that make him a bad president and his administration incompetent. Everyone has ignored domestic and fiscal policies which have greatly harmed North American unity, which in turn turns into an attack on the economic prosperity of the whole geographical area. Also, cutting taxes while increasing spending is something that will increase federal debt, which will decrease the amount of available money in the budget in the next fiscal year due to increased debt maintenance costs.

    Why attack the man and the administration for simply being corrupt, when you can attack them for being incompetent and corrupt?
  • by Dr. Donuts (232269) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:42AM (#17734596)
    Here's some logic maybe even Gonzales can understand.

    "Mr Gonzales, how many fingers do you have on your right hand?"

    Gonzales:"5"

    "Now, the constition says the Government may not chop off your fingers, correct?"

    Gonzales:"Correct"

    "But the Constitution didn't give you those five fingers, did it?"

    Gonzales:"No"

    "So Mr. Gonzales, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that since the Constitution didn't give you those five fingers, and the Constitution says the Government can't take them away, that you probably had them to begin with?"

    Gonzales:"..."

    The depth of irony here is almost beyond pale. The AG of the United States arguing that the Constitution doesn't explicitely grant a right, which is exactly why the authors of the Constitution framed it the way they did to prevent exactly such arguments. The Constitution *grants no rights*, because you inherently have *all* rights. Same as you were born with fingers and toes, you were born with all rights.

    These rights are not just if your an American, they are *inalienable* human rights as understood by the founding fathers.

    Truly, this administration doesn't understand what "becoming the enemy" means.

  • Re: Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fourchannel (946359) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:44AM (#17734608) Homepage

    Remember grandpa Bush helped support the Nazis during WWII. Grandpa was even convicted on it!

    So how can one claim to be fighting for freedom and "The American Way", while at the same time taking away that very freedom and desecrating all those men that gave up their lives war after war for freedom and keep from giving a maniacal laugh at the same time?

    This administration has to be either the most dishonest or mentally challenged administration in history!
    George W. Bush is responsible for his own actions. Do not assert that the actions of his grandfather are his responsibility aswell. These are two different people -- you can easily disapprove of either man -- but don't merge them into one person for you to drive your rage at.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:48AM (#17734630) Journal
    not when the USDO{in}J has decided to skip the whole court thing and ship people off to gitmo or syria to be tortured.
  • by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:52AM (#17734658) Homepage Journal
    Depending on the source, the Iraqi war has resulted in between 30,000 and 100,000 deaths of non-combatant civilians. The low number was presented by George W. Bush himself a few months ago at one of his staged 'town hall meetings'.

    Given this, and given that Saddam Hussein's regime has been admitted by George W. Bush himself to be unrelated to the actions of 11/9/01, how can the United States claim moral or ethical right to claim justice?

    I mean, in pursuit of reckless vengeance, between 11 and 30 times the number of innocent civilians have been killed. Where is the line where the actions of the Muslim terrorists become infinitesimal compared to the blood on our own hands?
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by utopianfiat (774016) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:53AM (#17734666) Journal
    yeah, it's funny, you know:

    The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

    privilege of writ of habeas corpus implies that habeas corpus is a privilege. I think random house says it best:

    privilege - n. the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.

    so basically The right of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended; not only do people have the right but it's unsuspendable.

    Also, Alberto Gonzales should rot in the ninth circle of hell with the rest of those who betray their country.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yah ... om minus painter> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @03:17AM (#17734810) Homepage
    Indeed, taking away your right to trial or imprisonment without trial is merely a bypass of the very court you need to challenge your detention. If we, the US, leader of the free world cannot even follow our own constitution then we're no better than the human rights violators in China and Brazil.

    Your right to a trial is the single most important right you have, ahead of all other rights. Without this right, you could be imprisoned for no reason at the whim of any military or DOJ official with high enough clearance. This is the very definition of a dictatorship; a leader without law.

    I think we should follow Gonzalez instruction, suspend his habeus corpus rights and just toss him in a hole for all eternity where he can starve to death. Maybe after a few months, or decades he will have a change of heart regarding the importance of this right.
  • Re:Video (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misanthrope101 (253915) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @03:26AM (#17734844)
    The Neoconservatives aren't conservative; they are totalitarian in the Leo Strauss "the enlightened ones must lead because they know best" sense of the word. Hence the "big lies" of Iraq, liberals are evil, etc. The inherent problem with all "the enlightened must rule because they know best" systems is that th enlightened aren't really that enlightened, they are susceptible (like everyone) to self interest and so just enrich themselves and their buddies, and they always turn to totalitarianism eventually. Even Rumsfeld, probably the most well-liked and least evil-seeming of the Neocons, said "the current system of government makes competence next to impossible [washingtonpost.com]." Is that an all-out cry for Stalinesque death camps? No, but the idea that "the reason my policies have failed utterly is that the system needs to be altogether changed" basically means "give me more power." The idea of a secretive cabal of really smart rulers ruling benevolently for the masses inevitably leads to totalitarianism as the rulers try to force reality to make their ideas work. And there is always support for this from their party, because the politically charged atmosphere means you can't embolden the other party by breaking ranks.

    Since it's patently obvious that the Neocons have been diastrous for the Republican Party, I hope they're jettisoned ASAP. We can't wait for them to admit they're wrong, because that does not happen, ever. Conservatives can, eventually, but Neoconservatives have that weird "vision" thing that is never, ever wrong in and of itself. The core Neocons like Cheney will always believe, just as the core still believe that Saddam was linked to 9/11, etc. We just have to hope that the Repubs sideline them and get back to being conservative.

    It may be an academic exercise anyway, because neither Romney nor McCain could beat either Hillary or Obama in the election. The question of "would they be good Presidents?" pales next to whether or not the religious right will vote for them, which they won't. Dobson has already rejected McCain, and Romney is a Mormon. Without Dobson et al, they can't get in office. This isn't to say that I particularly want a Hillary/Obama administration, but if the election were held this week, that's what we would get.

  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @03:35AM (#17734878)
    Don't forget that many on the Religious Right consider Bush to be appointed by God to lead the country. This is part of the Christian Dominionist mindset, where Christians are supposed to take dominion over the nation. Dominion doesn't mean living in a hut, taking a vow of poverty, and serving mankind. It means dominion, as in "you will obey now, because God appointed me." These people are much more dangerous than a few crooked politicians lining their pockets. In the long run, we might be thankful for the current situation. If Iraq has sufficiently discredited the Neoconservatives, and if Gonzales et al have overplayed their hand too quickly and made people realize how contemptuous they are for due process, then we might have delayed their ascendancy for a few decades at least. They won't go away entirely (they never do), and eventualy there will be an effort to actually take over the government permanently, but if enough people know what they're really like, maybe we can marginalize them for a while.
  • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:00AM (#17735008) Homepage
    do you know what the GDP is? what good is a high GDP if the income gap continues to increase in a country where over 60% of the people living there are below the poverty line? the number of people living below the poverty line has from 60% to 43% from '97 to '05. yes, he truly is robbing his people and not thinking of the good of the nation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:07AM (#17735044)
    You crossed that line in 2003 when you killed the first Iraqi (doesn't even matter if it was a civilian or not). Iraq had nothing
    to do with 9-11; in fact, if I remember correctly the original causus belli was the supposed Iraqi WMD programs that the
    U.S. government claimed to know all about (I distinctly remember Mr. Powell telling the U.N. that the U.S. government knew
    exactly where the WMD labs where located). The facts of the matter are that the U.S. wrongfully violated the sovereignity of
    a foreign government and started a war of aggression - the very same crime a number of people where put on trial for in
    Nürnberg at the insistance of the then U.S. government and executed. What is good for the goose is good for the gander -
    the Bush administration should be put on trial, together with all its enablers in the U.S. congress, senate, military and
    industry - just like all the enablers of the Nazi regime where put on trial after 1945. With their continual refusal to do so,
    the American people loose any credibility whatsoever when talking about justice.
  • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RodgerDodger (575834) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:14AM (#17735078)
    In a democracy, the voters get the government they deserve.

    Nobody likes to pay tax. They like the services they get, but they don't like paying tax. So state politicians vote both to decrease taxes and increase spending programs. They fund this through federal taxes. People don't bitch about federal taxes as much, because the people the next state over pay the same. Federal politicians in turn promise to spend federal tax dollars in their electorate. Or, as Tom Clancy put it: "Vote for me, because I'll really stick it to those folks in North Dakota."

    The result is the federal government gets power over the states, because the _voters_ in the states want it that way.

    If you want to change it, then campaign to have _your_ state reduce the money they accept from the federal government. Vote _against_ federal politicians who send federal money into your electorates. Have it hit you in your wallet, and the wallets of your neighbours. Get other people around the country to do it. Anything else is just bitching.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:24AM (#17735120) Homepage
    This always scares me. I have never meet this guy myself, only people who claim to speak on his behalf. And disagreeing with God never seems to be an option with those people.

    As far as *I* can see, all the right we have, we have solely because other people choose to respect those rights. This seems to indicate that the rights are given by people, not by any god. The set of rights formulated (or was the formulation also godly inspired?) by the US founding fathers seems to me to be one of the best such bill of rights out there. I think the Americans should be proud of them, and fight for these rights to be respected.

    Of course I could be wrong, and the rights are really are God given. In that case, fighting for them should be unnecessary. Just lean back and wait for the lightening bolts to hit those people who violate them.

  • Re:And IX too (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:32AM (#17735162)
    As a European, I enjoy America-bashing as much the next guy, but you are unfortunately absolutely correct - the current trend
    towards facism is a universal phenomenon not restricted to the U.S. The rich and powerfull are out for blood, and after the fall
    of communism they have lost all restraint.
  • Re:Not Quite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:44AM (#17735236)

    When Alberto attempts to do an end-run around the Constitution, he becomes the enemy, like a fifth column, and is certainly "giving them Aid and Comfort"

    And by trying to broaden the definition of treason with semantic tricks like this, you are doing the exact same thing: reinterpreting your Constitution to mean whatever you want it to mean.

  • Re:Contradiction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lahi (316099) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @05:01AM (#17735328)
    If you think the right to have a gun under your pillow somehow can help protect you from an opressive government, you are, I'm sorry to say, stupid.

    If the need should arise to oust a corrupt tyrant (a description that fits Bush very well) who is in control of the armed forces, you need well-organized and equipped forces yourself. This means forces like the National Guards, and parts of the national armed forces that will be led by "good" commanders who will have realized that they should not protect a despot. If the despot remains in control of parts of the military, then you may have a very bloody civil war on your hands. This is a foolish way to conduct a revolution, as history has proven again and again.

    If there are no such commanders, your only hope is to convince their soldiers not to fight their fellow people. You can't do that by shooting at them with your peashooter, can you? Depending on the degree of success, you may have a revolution with very little blodshed. I think that's preferable.

    Really, this is Revolution 101. Weapons are not very significant. A revolver in the hand of the most determined man, still can't hope to win a fight against a tank. A flower in the hands of a pretty little girl just might.

    And yes, I realize I am discussing how to conduct a revolution in the USA. I suppose that makes me a terrorist and an enemy combatant. Fine. I can be found - easily - in the Danish telephone directories. Come and get me!

    -Lasse Hillerøe Petersen
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @06:29AM (#17735692)
    No, the constitution is more than just a piece of paper, it is an idea. Millions of Americans haven't died over the years to protect a piece of paper, they've died to protect the ideals that the constitution embodies...
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Asic Eng (193332) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @07:19AM (#17735980)
    There is really nothing in e.g. the bible which gives rights to anyone. The European convention on human rights (as a random example) has given rights to people who didn't have them before, various constitutions have done the same. "The Creator"? Stop giving credit to your imaginary friend for things which other people accomplished.
  • Simple ending (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KlausBreuer (105581) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @07:25AM (#17736018) Homepage
    Well, I'm a bit unhappy that it's happening in my lifetime, but at least I'm not living in the USA anymore.

    Read some history, ladies and gentlemen. Over the years there were quite a few world powers you'd never think of today: Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and so on. These were countries of POWER. They ruled the world.
    And after a collapse, they're now very friendly tourist destinations with lovely countrysides and nice people - who don't get on the nerves of their neighbors.

    The state collapse always followed the same pattern. And you can see the exact same thing happening in the USA now. Read it up, you nonbelievers ;)

    Personally, I like the USA citizens - at least the ones I met while I lived there for a while. It's the state which is running itself into the ground, and which will collapse relatively soon.
    I'm sure the country will turn into a beautiful destination for tourist travels; it'll just take a few years.
  • by dfenstrate (202098) * <dfenstrate@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @07:45AM (#17736104)
    Yes, because pinochet implemented free market reforms and then gave up power more or less voluntarily. This makes Chile quite rare in the history of coup d' etats.

    Given the overall 'success' rate I'll still pass on the option.
  • by dfenstrate (202098) * <dfenstrate@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @07:58AM (#17736176)
    Face it, it's the goal of every administration to gather up more power; in fact I can't think of any that have given up any significant powers it had. Lincoln and FDR at least had the excuse of a major war and depression to gather their powers.

    You're quite right, and not just the goal of every administration, but pretty much every beaurocrat as well. Witness the TSA's huge resistance to arming pilots and all the roadblocks they put in the way. (Some of those roadblocks may have since been lifted) If you don't have armed pilots, you need more air marshals. Armed pilots aren't in the TSA, but more air marshals would mean a bigger TSA and more power for Mineta and his cronies. Thankfully Mineta's gone and IIRC, things have gotten better.

    My entire point was that everyone treats the Constitution as relevent only when it's convienent for their goals, and act suprised & outraged when someone else's constitutional convienence doesn't align with theirs.

    Personally I'm not terribly worried about what the current administration is doing to fight the war on terror. It's ground we've covered before and come back from- Alien & Sedition acts, Habeus Corpus in the civil war, WW2 Japanese internment, etc. We've shown as a country we can wether and recover from this.

    What does concern me is an ever expanding federal government, consuming more and more of our livelyhood supposedly for our own good and grabbing more power over our daily lives. Once grown beaucracies never dissappear.

    As Reagan said, a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @08:48AM (#17736392)
    If USA is at war then why don't I see military law in USA? Why there's no curfew, internment of enemy's civilians?

    You can argue that Gitmo prisoners are prisoners of war, then they should be given RIGHTS of war prisoners. I don't see it happening.
  • Re:Not Quite (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @09:27AM (#17736620) Homepage Journal

    There are certain things this country stands for that from time to time people, like our friend Alberto, fight against. Unless this country stands for them, it is not the same country we consider America.

    I don't think he's using semantic tricks. I think you're not understanding what the GP is talking about. I certainly don't blame him for considering it treason.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @09:56AM (#17736894) Homepage Journal
    This always scares me.

    What? The ability to claim that your rights are somehow "inherent", and not granted by some government body or other person?

    I'm scared of too many people thinking they need to look to someone else to figure out what their rights are, because at that point they stop fighting for their rights.

    This is the basis of the Constitution - that government authority flows *from* the people, not the other way around. You don't have to believe in "God" to get this idea - your "creator" can be an entity, the aether, fate, or the lucky happenstance of the right quantum sequence at the moment of the Big Bang. The basis of the Constitution is the same: that your rights are not granted, but are inherent in your very existence as a sentient being.

    The idea that your rights come from somewhere else is the fundamental flaw in Gonzales' reasoning. If all your rights need to be spelled out, you might as well forget it. But that's *not* the basis of the Constitution. Instead, all your rights are intact, except a few that are *explicitly* granted to the government within the Constitution.

    That's why many of the founders did not like they idea of adding the Bill of Rights. They felt that spelling out those rights would lead to a "backward" interpretation of the Constitutions. Which is exactly what we have here.

  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smchris (464899) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @10:07AM (#17737002)
    I've been anti-death penalty for all the "Old Europe" reasons where history has demonstrated it is unwise to let government settle comfortably into the business of killing people. And most first and second world countries have eliminated the death penalty for most crimes. But if you look at the laws, probably more than half of those countries retain the option for treason. I had always thought, "Sure, that's how even liberal countries eliminate the ultimate dissent of revolution."

    But this administration has made me rethink that position. What is the penalty for an administration that establishes policies that ignore articles of the Constitution? Impeachment? Reprimand? A footnote in history saying, "Naughty! Naughty!" These are _crimes_ against our society. High crimes against the very foundation of our society. If there are no tangible penalties for the perpetrators of policies against the very articles of our nation, what precedent does that set for the next adminstration? And the next and the next?

    I really think the word "treason" is appropriate and should be used often and spoken widely. The problem is that Congress shares the culpability of rubber-stamping the Executive branch actions of the last six years and the current Executive branch has much of the Supreme Court in its pocket. Who is left to defend the Constitution?
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darkfire5252 (760516) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @10:13AM (#17737054)
    My letter to my representative follows. I encourage EVERYONE to write one, copy this one, TELL OTHERS TOO! We need to do something or nothing different will happen!

    Dear Sir,
        I am writing to you because I am scared. I am scared of our government, and I am terrified because I've never been in this position before. I'm twenty one, barely even a voter, and I've grown up believing we are the best nation in the world. However, the recent turn that American politics has taken is terrifying. Post 9 11, security measures were passed, and that's understandable. We live in a dangerous world, and we need to be kept safe by our government. But, in recent times, it seems that the people have come to think of Washington, D.C. as 'the' government, not 'our' government.
        As a Republican, I'm given to understand that you believe in small government with limited power over the freedoms of the people. Recently, the US Attorney General, MY Attorney General, has made the claim that the rights not granted to us by the constitution are not assumed to be ours. This flies in the face of the tenth amendment, common law, and common sense. Our country is becoming more authoritarian by the second, and I am frightened by it. Our country now has very visible and disturbing parallels to pre WWII Germany. 9 11 was our Reichstag fire, and now we are running scared in a direction I do not like.
        As my representative in my government, what are you doing to protect the rights of the people of this great nation? What can WE do to put executive power in check? I want to help. I want to make the citizens realize what's happening and stop it. Tell me what you are doing in regards to this, and tell me how to help.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:01AM (#17737574)
    --"I'm referring to questions like: does the Constitution protect against wiretapping?"

    The obvious answer is, yes, it does. The Constitution is a grant of power to the federal government, after all, not a listing of what rights it's protecting (see the 9th and 10th amendments). If the Constitution doesn't explicitly grant the power, they don't have it. Which means tech changes are irrelevant, unless something important enough comes along that a super majority agree the feds should have power over and amend things properly.

    At least, that's how it would be if anyone cared about it any more.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OS24Ever (245667) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:11AM (#17737676) Homepage Journal
    I'll risk karma to agree. Digg is about 50 IQ points lower than Slashdot discussions. There is no point in going to that site anymore. 3000+ diggs on some idiot taking a picture of a CD-R with a number written on it claiming it's a vista key hosted on imageshack. Nice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:13AM (#17737690)
    This is the kind of logic (from Gonzales) that comes from positivism, which believes that all laws (including human rights) are established by legislatures composed of humans or other groups of humans (or even individuals) and can, therefore, be taken away by humans.

    That is in contrast to Natural Law, which holds that human beings are born with "certain unalienable rights," as stated in the Declaration of Independence and implied numerous times in the US Constitution, and those rights are granted by a Higher Power than any human legislature. Under this theory, the Constitution serves to protect rights that already exist; it does not create them and certainly shouldn't be allowed to contradict them, although it has in the past, but I digress. According to Natural Law, any legislation (signed into law or not) that contradicts a Natural Right is illegal and unenforceable, and it is perfectly natural for such laws to be broken. No human law can contradict a Law granted by a Higher Power.

    For a purely secular view of Natural Law, the "Higher Power" could be a reference to the Universe itself, and not necessarily a deity.

  • Gonzales Al Qaeda (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:26AM (#17737840)
    The sad fact is that our own government is, always has been, and always will be, more of a threat to our freedoms than foreign enemies.
  • Re:So what (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordActon (930340) <jklowden@NOspAM.schemamania.org> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:36AM (#17738006)

    The Attorney General argues a position that advances the interests of the executive.

    I'm sorry, but that's not his job and that's exactly what's wrong with this administration.

    These guys are sworn to uphold the constitution, not to advance their branch's role in it. The AG was hired by the President who was hired by us -- if you can find anyone anymore who voted for him -- to further our interests, not his. His job is to enforce the laws we have, not the laws an autocrat wished to have.

    From Terri Schiavo to Ronnie Brown to the tenth amendment, this administration has run everything for political gain. That got the Republicans booted out last November, but no never mind. The modus operandi, and its corrosive corrupting effect, remains. And we commit 20,000 more men -- the same men, actually, just staying longer -- to the President's own Bonfire of the Vanities.

  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bishiraver (707931) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:39AM (#17738052) Homepage
    Because we're not being invaded, we're extending imperial control over a foreign sovereign nation and installing a puppet government in order to keep the region destabilized; if the region stabilized, OPEC would be much more powerful and the effect of their quasi-monopoly would be much more obvious. Once a scalable oil alternative is found, the region will descend into anarchy: they'll either kill themselves off or form a union of sorts and figure out some other export than crude. After 50-100 years of bloody battle. The only reason the region is so unstable (and has been for centuries) is because of the west (europe and america)'s constant meddling to keep it in a state of fracture.

    It's the same technique prison guards use to keep prisoners under control (covertly promoting rival gang factions within the prison); the same technique slave-owners in the not-so-distant US past used; the same technique deBeers uses in Africa.

    It's all for one focus: This (presumably not as advanced) group of people in this region have sole control over a high-demand resource. Another group of people sees it and gets dollar signs in their eyes. Instead of invading and subjugating, they sow dissent and encourage factional disputes. The factions sell them the raw material at low cost (compared to world market) in return for weapons to fight their artificial enemies. The US and Soviet Union took turns doing this in the middle east. DeBeers does this in Africa. This war has nothing to do with terrorism, and everything to do with keeping the region destabilized.
  • Re: Scary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:52AM (#17738226) Journal
    Well at the very least, maybe Daddy would stop bursting into tears over how the media is treating his son if he'd just realize the son was bringing this all on himself.
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:04PM (#17738388) Journal
    > the US Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas
    > corpus rights on US citizens.

    Uhhh, the attorney general should realize the Consitution doesn't bestow any rights whatsoever. The people (perhaps via their states) retail all the rights. They are inalienable and congenital. The Constitution creates the government, and grants it powers, powers over those rights, with the permission of the governed.

    That's what makes this nation philosophically superior to most others, even other democracies, which either have no constitution and a parliament with unlimited powers, or some kind of constitution that presumes government, then goes about "granting" rights to "the people." Nobody ever bothers to ask how some people, calling themselves "government" gained the power to grant "rights" to other people. Like little kids playing a game of traffic cop, the bossy ones take charge and make themselves the cop while the other kids drive the tricycles around crying.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fastcoke11 (805687) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:16PM (#17738590)
    So basically we can have one party, republican or democrat I don't care, with a majority in congress and the executive branch "declaring" war on any group of people anywhere without a formal declaration of war, and that will ensure that they can oppress the people as much as they want?

    Legal jargon and technicalities aside, the point is that this is a breach of the fundamental rights of American citizens. No American citizen should be okay with this. Sure, we're "at war" with a group of people who want to destroy our country. But short of a rebellion or invasion by enemy forces which could actually accomplish that, I do not think infringing American citizens' rights is appropriate. We were in a Cold War with the Soviet Union for the better part of a century and we had/have a War on Drugs, but apparently grappling with another superpower that is consistently exerting its influence over a large portion of the world with the capability to destroy us at any moment is not as dangerous as organizations of people who have been around for many years who are centered around eliminating Israel and destroying us in the process.

    We definitely should do all we can to defeat them. I'll stay away from the obvious argument about this nonsensical war in Iraq. Any non-citizen can and should be treated without the protections of our Constitution. But start trodding upon the rights of the citizens when we're not in total war, and you're starting to lean towards a country that no true American would support.

    In regards to the statement that everyone will be okay if they're not guilty, you should know the obvious repercussions of such a statement. Without even citing specific examples, I can tell you and you should know that there have been countless people in history who have been falsely accused of a crime, and only their constitutional rights have protected them from being wrongly punished. This is the same as the suspicion of connections to terrorists, and there are plenty of people who have been detained and released (and some who have not been released) who are not actually guilty. Some of them have been detained for the simple mistake of having the same name as someone else. I'm sure it doesn't concern you, since your name most likely isn't close to resembling a Middle Eastern name, but maybe you can do the right thing and imagine if it was.
  • Re:Not Quite (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:57PM (#17739224) Journal

    And by trying to broaden the definition of treason with semantic tricks like this, you are doing the exact same thing: reinterpreting your Constitution to mean whatever you want it to mean.

    When in Rome....

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:11PM (#17739424) Journal
    The problem with stating that rights come from a creator, or are inherent in nature is simply pragmatic. You must look at the reason that people made a statement like that to begin with. The only place rights come from is other people's willingness to defend those rights. You can squawk all you like about God, Nature, or Ronald fricken' McDonald giving you rights, but if other people won't uphold those rights, all your squawking means nothing. So people claim those rights come from some higher authority in order to convince others that upholding those rights is important.

    The problem here is that this is a very base level of moral reasoning, amounting to the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. The problem is that others may not believe in your proposed source of authority. That is why it is important to cut out the bullshit and go stright to the heart of the matter. You must convince people to uphold rights not out of respect or fear of authority, but out of pragmatic self interest.

    Consider the case where you are utterly alone in the world. You would no more conceive of the concept of rights than a fish would conceive of water. Rights are not inherent within the individual, because without society, the very concept would be meaningless. Try telling a wolf about your right to a fair trial. Try explaining to a tiger that you have the right to life liberty and the persuit of happiness. Without society, these phrases are meaningless.

    I repeat: the only reason anyone ever brought Nature or a Creator into the picture is in order to convince others to uphold particular rights by appeal to authority. That is the only point, the only goal: getting others to go along with your ideas about rights. Remember, my claim that my right to Life and Liberty is not going to stop a bullet or a knife, no matter how loudly I shout about it. A bunch of armed friends ready to retaliate may. That is the ugly, cynical truth of the matter.

    The constitution is a malleable document. We can change it. We, the people, can rewrite it to add or remove any rights we like. Any rights we add become self-evident, granted by the creator, according to the language. Any rights we take away, such as, oh I don't know, the right to burn a flag or the right to marry a same sex partner, are gone, and it doesn't matter one bit that at one time they were considered inalienable or Creator-granetd, now does it? I'm sure there were some black people, prior to the civil war, who would have had some very interesting things to say about rights, inalieanable, Creator-given or otherwise.

    Do not be trapped by appeals to authority. Recognize where rights really come from, outside of the comforting fairy tale. They come from your willingness and ability to uphold them in other people. They come from your ability to convince other people to uphold them in you. That is all, but that is enough.
  • Re:Not Quite (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:13PM (#17739464)

    There are certain things this country stands for that from time to time people, like our friend Alberto, fight against. Unless this country stands for them, it is not the same country we consider America.

    Be that as it may, it still doesn't change the fact that GP tried to broaden the definition of crime "treason", or to use his own words, attempted to do an end-run around US Constitution. Getting around requirements of accusing someone of treason by declaring him the "enemy" is really no different than Bush declaring someone "enemy combatant" or "suspected terrorist"; in both cases the rule of law has been suspended for a twisted mockery of it.

    In other words, the GP fits his own definition of being enemy.

    I don't think he's using semantic tricks. I think you're not understanding what the GP is talking about. I certainly don't blame him for considering it treason.

    GP is free to consider it treason; I agree, in fact - perverting the law you've sworn to uphold is certainly treasonous. However, we are talking about the crime of treason, something you can be judged in a court for. Treason is defined in US Constitution as follows: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort". The GP tried to get around that definition by declaring Alberto enemy; it was a purposeful effort to get the treason clause to apply to someone it doesn't, in other words, pervert the US Constitution. Which is what he accused Alberto of doing.

    It is hypocritical to judge people for yielding to temptation you can't resist yourself. The GP did so. That was my point.

  • Re:Not Quite (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:23PM (#17739664)

    And by trying to broaden the definition of treason with semantic tricks like this, you are doing the exact same thing

    And with this comment, you have admitted the argument and lost all credibility in your argument.

    Pray tell, what is this argument I've supposedly lost, and why have I lost it ? All I have done is point out that the GP is doing an "end-run around the Constitution", which is what he accused Alberto of doing. Perhaps you could show me my alleged mistake, so I might learn from it; I'm afraid simply bolding some text of my original message doesn't quite show me the mistake you claim I've made ?

    Oh, and please learn to use the <blockquote> tag. While putting quotation marks around quoted text may seem cute, it isn't the right way of doing things.

  • by Paladin144 (676391) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:33PM (#17739830) Homepage

    It's going on six years since the USA PATRIOT Act. Can't somebody, somewhere, think of something new and original to post for once?

    You're kidding, right? It's the slashdot echo chamber that prevents alternate views from being heard. There are plenty of people who have made very astute arguments concerning revolution, Reichstag Fires and secret cabals ruling us from behind the scenes but these posts are almost always modded into oblivion (as this post most likely will be).

    Face it, dude. People just don't want to hear the truth. They would much rather close their eyes and go "Lalalalalalaaaa" instead of facing the awful truth. They would much rather argue back and forth about what Clinton did or how dumb Bush is. Blah blah blah.

    The truth is that we're in the midst of a slow-motion fascist takeover by a shadowy elite whose ancestors planned the downfall of America from its inception. They were called "Royalists" back in the day, and they've had many names since, but the intent has always been the same: Subjugation. A free and powerful nation has always been a threat to them. Not because they love the crown, or because they love fascism. I admit, I call them "fascists" because it's a useful shorthand, but the truth is they have no motivation other than power itself. Fascism is merely means to an end.

    How did this come to be? Well, there has always -- ALWAYS -- been a ruling elite on planet Earth. Whether it was kings, emperors, nobles, merchants, bankers, or warriors there has always been a ruling class. We have one now. They rule because they are rich. But two hundred years ago, America represented a threat to them simply because we were not under their control. Well, now we are. They tricked us into adopting the Federal Reserve, they bought their way into our politics and they infiltrated our business community and our military at every level (but especially the top). America has become just another one of their assets, a corporation with a board of directors (Congress) and a CEO (President) and the Global Elite are the shareholders. They've worked together behind the scenes to remake the system in their image. Outwardly, things look relatively the same, but within our... "their" government, the Elite have their people holding every important lever of power and they've endeavored to rewire our government so that it works for them, rather than for us.

    I suppose I sound half-mad to many of you. But I wonder how many of you who are planning on shouting me down realize that you're acting on impulses planted in your mind by our dear, corporate-controlled media to make you think a certain way. It's so easy to silence your opposition when all you have to do is mutter the magic words and people stop thinking. In fact, I'll do it for you. "Conspiracy Theorist." There. Now you can safely ignore whatever I've said and go back to watching TV and surfing the internet for the latest trinkets that you've been brainwashed into thinking you need to buy. Enjoy.

    The smartest thing the elite ever did was decide to rule from the shadows. They use visible servants as puppets (Bush) so that if the ax ever falls, it falls on the puppet's neck. Meanwhile, the puppet-master remains not only alive, but completely unseen. In fact, I don't even know who they are. I wish I could point those of you who believe that revolution is the answer in the right direction, but the insanely frustrating truth is that we don't even know who truly rules us. Obviously, it's not Bush. He's too stupid to do anything other than photo ops and speechifying. But there are hints out there. Money seems to be the key. It's the ideal method of control and it gives unlimited power to those can coin it and regulate its usage. As such, my recommendation is to look to the bankers and the blue-blooded families who control the largest banks. You've heard the names: Rockefeller, Rothschild, Warburg, but I bet you know very little about them.

    I have some ideas for revealing our secre

  • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by demachina (71715) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:50PM (#17740064)
    I think you just restated the caveat I already had in my post. The fact that the fundamental states right issue was tested on slavery was an act of genius on the part of Lincoln and friends if you were trying to dismantle the 10th amendment. Slavery was such an inflammatory issue and so hard to defend, that coupling it to state's rights permanently associated State's rights with racism, rebellion and brutality, Our republic and Constitution was designed to have powerful states to check Federal power but the term State's rights became derogatory thanks to the Civil War and became and enabler for the expansion of Federal power.

    Using 20/20 hindsight I almost wish the South had unilaterally freed the slaves, shipped them back to Africa....and still gone to war with the North over their power grab.

    The forgetten aspect of abolition was it had almost no economic impact on the North. The North was rapidly industrializing and had little or no dependence on slave labor. Unfortunately the South was economically completely dependent on plantation agriculture. Freeing the slaves overnight was effectively a form of economic warfare by the North on the South that would inevitably lead to economic devastation in the South as cotton and tobacco production cratered. Southerners were upset for a reason, the mandate from Washington was going to wipe out the whole region economically, and they were facing financial ruin.

    Again, with 20/20 hindsight a more rational approach to the slavery issue would have been a massive expenditure of resources by the industrial North and agricultural South to mechanize the labor intensive aspects of plantations. The machinery to do this was in early development, and if all the resources squandered on the Civil War had been invested in farm machinery instead of weapons, the slaves could have been freed without devastating the South economically. But, a bunch of religious extremists coupled with the Republican party, pushed abolition so far and fast conflict was inevitable. One wonders if Lincoln's ulterior motive was to use abolition as a tool to devastate the South to the North's benefit, to precipitate an excuse for a massive expansion of Federal power, and to strip the South of its power. When the U.S. was founded there was a lot of wrangling over the structure of the government to insure the South wasn't steamrolled by the North, the 10th amendment was a key part of that, but ultimately the South was steamrolled and is just now recovering.

    "Oh, and the next 50 years or so of cruelty to blacks in the south didn't help much either. "

    You might want to read up on "carpetbaggers" [wikipedia.org]. There was a lot of cruelty and economic retaliation by Northerners directed at Southern whites during the same period. When you wipe out a whole region economically and militarily, push millions of people in to poverty and powerlessness, there is going to be a lot of barbarity by both sides for a long, long time. There are a lot of parallels between the situation Sunnis are in, in Iraq today, and where Southerners were after the Civil War.
  • Today's "neocons" love the idea of a big government, so long as it is big in the right areas. They are downright offended by social programs, but they'd have no qualms about spending a few trillion dollars on the military. The idea is to kill social spending. And it'll be the first thing to go because anyone who wants to cut military spending is against the troops and is a traitorous coward.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:41PM (#17740874) Journal
    If it weren't treated like such a holy scripture and instead updated/modernized then there wouldn't be so much need for interpretation. As it is now, it's more like rabbis studying the Torah than practical law.

    Yeah, because no one ever disputes the meanings of phrases in the Bible thanks to the NIV translation. Anyway, we also have about 800 years of Common Law that's a good deal less pithy than the Constitution, and in fact the 7th amendment makes it the official law of the land. Habeas Corpus itself is another one of those 800 year old things.

    Gonzales knows all that of course, but he'll stand there and say that the sun is the moon and that black is white to defend his boss. It's really kind of amusing to watch -- certainly he's not getting any policy implemented that way.
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by radtea (464814) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:02PM (#17742256)
    And one hardly needs any more formalism than the plain English of the 9th Ammendment:

    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    Besides that, the language of Article 1 is clear: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."

    There is no ambiguity here. The United States is neither being invaded nor is it in a state of rebellion. Ergo, the constitution does not give any basis whatsoever for the suspension of habeas corpus at the current time, and because the government of the United States has only the powers granted to it by the constitution and no other, it has no legal power at this time to suspend habeas corpus for anyone.

    This is transparently and unambigously clear to anyone who isn't grasping for as much power as they can get as fast as they can get it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @05:09PM (#17743244)
    That's the whole problem.

    If you're not following their views, you get labeled some socially charged word. This time its "terrorist". It used to be "communist" and "liberal judiciaries" among others. The problem is that it's been darned effective at overriding the checks and balances set out as part of the entire political system of the USA. "Patriot" "american", "democracy","freedom (fries)", they're all becoming buzzwords and are losing their true meaning and value, and while they're still only words, their meaning is important, and is a real loss of values. Politics has degenerated into sophisticated name-calling and emotional blackmail. No wonder US voter participation rates are so low, and why the Iraqis aren't welcoming *democracy*. This demonization through labeling is nothing more than an ad-hominem attack. Attack the person, not the idea and kill the idea. Democratic discourse solved.

    Think about it, the courts, the legislative, and executive branches are all supposedly in balanced opposition power-wise, but they are still political animals, and by wrapping themselves in the flag, and constitution, they can stampede the other branches into aiding them, defeating the balance. The culture of fear in the US is a tool to drive agendas, but fighting fear isn't the agenda itself.

    The thing that gets me is that everything is labeled "terrorist" or "enemy combatant" when especially "terrorist" isn't exactly applicable. For example, "state-sponsored terrorism" isn't terrorism at all, but is state espionage. Technically its an act of war, and could be actionable, but its used as a means of polarizing people to side X, without preventing X from being able to use the same tactics in return.

    When the term "terrorist" loses its meaning, what will it be replaced by?

    Call me your names, demonize me, get it over with, and move on. Not like this opinion'll have any impact.
  • by SimCash (107073) on Thursday January 25, 2007 @01:45AM (#17748196) Homepage
    Well, I am not suggesting we all turn into Waco's, but it does make me glad that I have been supporting the NRA's defense of the 2nd amendment and the ACLU's support of free speech. Guess that makes me a strange bedfellow ...
  • Re:Rights? Wrong. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Thursday January 25, 2007 @08:19AM (#17749930) Homepage
    How about an economic class minority?

    Nope, would not count. But do get back to me, when you hear rumors of plans to burn all representatives of an economic class in gas-chambers.

    Oh yeah, and then there are Sunni Iraqis — our support of a terrorist Shi'a government

    US is not targeting neither Sunnis nor Shia for systematic extermination.

    In other words — bugger off, Commie.

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