From Pine View Farm

Values 2

The Local Rag got it right today. From the Editorial Board:

There’s no question, as President Bush told the nation a few days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, that “we’re fighting for our way of life and our ability to live in freedom.” Not all of the threats, though, are from al-Qaeda.

Another is represented by antiterror proposals which, if they became law, would imperil American freedoms and values.


These proposals are bad policy, counterproductive to the fight against terrorism, and constitutionally dubious.

Equally troubling are the blatantly political timing and the reckless rhetoric of Bush and many Republican congressional leaders:.

Not willing to go along with whatever we want? Then you’re for the terrorists….

Those terrorists are superhuman, so we need extralegal powers to fight them. Don’t ask questions. Just be afraid, be very afraid.

For example, House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R., Ohio) mused to reporters about whether Democrats in Congress were “more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people.”

Since when did dissent on fundamental issues of how America upholds core values of liberty and democracy become unpatriotic?

It’s particularly cynical to toy with such life-and-death issues for political purposes. If you want to mess with the Constitution to get votes in a midterm, folks, stick to flag-burning.

This kind of toxic, Karl Rove nonsense has worked before. This time, though, more true patriots in the Republican Party are refusing to go along.


Remember: When politically hyped fear leads this nation to do harm to its democratic traditions, its guarantee of justice for all, and its moral authority, that just helps al-Qaeda achieve its propaganda aims. Why aid the enemy?

And from the op-ed page, a retired Federal Judge argues for American values:

We are told this legislation is required by the demands of national security, and that permitting the courts to play their traditional role will somehow undermine the military in fighting terrorism. This expressed concern is a myth. The guards of Guantánamo are not, as far as we know, furnishing the detainees with cell phones. For decades, federal courts have managed civil and criminal cases involving classified and top-secret information without compromising the rule of law. Federal judges have ample tools for controlling and safeguarding the flow of information in court, and Guantánamo cases can be handled without difficulty.

Furthermore, depriving the courts of habeas jurisdiction will jeopardize the judiciary’s ability to ensure that detentions are not grounded on torture. No person in a civilized country should be convicted based on evidence wrung from him by brute force. But what good is this for the prisoner who is never tried? Best estimates are that, among the hundreds of prisoners at Guantánamo, only two or three dozen will ever be brought to trial. The rest will simply be held, perhaps for the rest of their lives. Stripping district courts of habeas jurisdiction would allow the president to hold prisoners based on the same coerced evidence that could not be used against them at trial. In fact, it creates an incentive to hold prisoners without trial.

Finally, eliminating habeas jurisdiction would raise serious concerns under the Suspension Clause of the Constitution, which governs when habeas corpus may be suspended. It has been suspended only four times in our nation’s history, and never under circumstances like the present. Congress cannot suspend the writ at will, even during wartime, but only in “Cases of Rebellion or Invasion [where] the public Safety may require it.” Congress would thus be skating on thin constitutional ice if it deprived the federal courts of their power to hear the cases of Guantánamo detainees. At a minimum, it would guarantee that these cases would be mired in litigation for years to come. If the goal is to bring these cases to a speedy conclusion, eliminating habeas would be counterproductive.

And Tony Auth draws a picture for those who cannot understand from words how poisonous the current Federal Administration is to the values and polity of the United States of America:

The First Dose Is Free



  1. Phillybits

    September 18, 2006 at 8:54 am

    I’m so taking that cartoon and citing the post you put up last week that you emailed me about.

  2. Frank

    September 18, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    It’s a public forum. The more hits the merrier.