The legal phrasing of the Military Commissions Act is so vague, so lacking in definitions and specifics and safeguards, that it applies to literally everyone -- everywhere. No person, and no class of persons, is ruled out. Anyone, including every single American citizen, may be deemed a supporter of terrorists or terrorist sympathizers on the word of another person -- and be arrested, imprisoned and tortured on that basis alone, with absolutely no recourse to law, to the courts, or to the norms of the Geneva Convention.
This law applies directly to you. You can be denounced, and disappear. Without the guarantee of habeas corpus, you go away without any remedy, without any rights.
All American and Western jurisprudence rests on habeas corpus. It is the very definition of a free person, upon which all laws regarding free persons then stand. Without it, all our laws ring hollow.
The difference that losing habeas corpus makes to our Republic is the same as the difference between a man before he is shot, and after he is shot. The man is still there, afterwards. But he is no longer there. The vitality and life is absent; only the shape remains.
Our elected Congress easily and cheerfully threw habeas corpus right out the window this week, which also means they made their own powers and procedures completely irrelevant hereafter. It means that recovering and reforming from this obscenity upon our legal rights and traditions will not come from within this legislative body. They think they are incumbent royalty, free to rule and to hand pick their successors -- they have made themselves mere court jesters now, and nothing more.
They are fools who literally know not what they have done. They may as well have voted out the law of gravity, and yet called themselves wise. They have destroyed all credibility in their powers to perceive or administer justice especially, and they can never regain their standing.
If this Congress were to come to its senses, and vote habeas corpus back into full effect tomorrow morning, it would have no more meaning than if they also elected habeas corpus Prom Queen, awarded it the Medal of Honor, took it to out to a power lunch, sent its children to college, hung it from a steeple, or put it on parade. These fools have already demonstrated on national television that they have no grasp of what it is, what it means to our Republic, or what they have done to our Republic by chucking it. These idiots who did this ridiculous, ridiculous thing clearly haven't the souls or intellects to repair matters, or to know what they've repaired if they should chance to repair it, or be forced to repair it. These people are beyond irrelevant now -- they are dangerous morons.
There are only two ways to climb out of the latrine Congress has dropped America into:
1) Reform Congress -- change out the persons in this legislative body via elections, or change their behavior via overwhelming public pressure. We'll call this approach Working Within the System.
2) Remove Congress -- by impeachment, by arrest, by revolution. By means other than the occasional rigged election. We'll call this Working Within the Larger System, that system being the inalienable rights of man, the system upon which our original Revolution was founded. That tradition dates as far back as the Magna Carta, back many more centuries than our brief experiment in government sans a King does.
For example, can the Governor of New Jersey have that State's two senators arrested on their return home for the campaign season? Can they be impeached and then tried in the State legislature for violating the Constitution and their sworn oaths of office? Can the State legislature strip them of their office, and appoint new representatives who know the American Constitution from a campaign contribution?
If this hasn't been done before, well, it is high time to begin a fine American tradition. Americans don't live under Kings.
Can your State do the same for their Senators and wayward Congresscritters? Why in the world not? There is no question that whichever morons voted this thing through committed treason to their office, to the nation, and to the Constitution. Those are simple and stark legal facts. These morons have placed themselves subject to arrest for their crimes overseas and domestically, from now on. Condoning torture is an international war crime, and crime against humanity, and there is no statute of limitations upon it.
This Republican regime is behaving in ways that clearly reveal that they do not see themselves being the minority party at any future point. This does not mean they are purblind idiots - no, it is much worse than that -- it means that they do not intend to permit the Democratic Party to win at elections, ever again.
That simply can't happen. Not after the crimes that have been committed and swept under the veil of secrecy. That can never happen. Even if it happens, it cannot be permitted.
You may rest assured that this November's election will be another case of widespread electoral theft, just like the previous three. The Democratic Party will go along with it after some obligatory grumbling, just like after the previous three. Do you know why? It is because the Democratic Party is ten times more committed to being seen as playing by the rules, as persons working within the system, than they are to doing what is right, moral, principled, American or even effective. They are devoted to keeping up appearances and roles and positions, not to democracy.
This was the very cause of death to the Weimar Republic of Germany, whose liberals and democrats held good order, and gave exemplary speeches from their shrinking island of propriety and perspective as gangs of lawless criminals foisted a fascist regime upon them. They did no more than rhetoric and writing, and that is never enough. To merely speak, to merely write, is to concede to propaganda, to political theater, to bullying and to bluster. Those are all potent political weapons - speaking and writing of sound reason and grand hope are meandering surrenders compared to them.
Do not look to the Supreme Court to heal this mess. It will take years to get a challenging case heard at that high level, and even when it is heard and this bill is promptly deemed utterly unconstitutional, the GOP will simply push another version of this bill through, and start the court cycle all over again. Or, stack the court anew in their favor.
Whatever it takes, because the GOP will be in power for many years to come -- if they are not stopped. Until they are stopped. Until they are stopped, they will not cede control of the nation they now rule, not for anything, not for anyone. Certainly not for the sake of the law. They are operating well beyond the law already. They are the law, until they are stopped, and disabused of that notion.
This torture bill is a raw power grab. This bill is a coup. This bill is treason. This bill is a revolution because it has overthrown the very cornerstone of all our laws, of our entire Constitution, and of all our international treaties and conventions. No laws mean anything after their founding principle has been removed. Congress and the President swore an oath to protect and preserve our Constitution in exchange for our trusting them to handle the day-to-day affairs of our nation.
Yet this coup went out over the airwaves; it was beamed into our living rooms. It went down with all eyes upon it. The revolution WAS televised, Mr. Trippi.
It follows that this raw power grab, this legislative coup, is only going to be countered by a raw power grab on the part of the public or by our military refusing to continue violating their own oaths to the Constitution by the following of orders from a treasonous regime.
We are operating beyond the system from here on out, like it or not. There is no further result or recovery to be obtained by working within the confines of the present corrupted system. It needs to be stopped, and started again, with new personnel. In 39 days another national election will be stolen, leaving the GOP in full control, at which point even the most naïve rubes among us will be hard pressed to believe the system still works. The dimmest bulbs among us will perceive that the spark has gone out of our lives.
For America is not merely a place, or a melting pot, or some ethnic strains, or some culture or language or other discernible feature of this geography or its people. Those are details, not the soul. The soul of America is an idea. The bright idea that all human beings are free, equal and subject to whatever laws they choose for themselves. Take that idea away, and you take away America.
We did not think up this idea. We got it direct from our European fathers, who had just been through five centuries of unremitting religious wars and still not managed to extricate themselves from bloody-minded theocracy and monarchy. If America stands for anything, it is the direct and outright rejection of Kings and Priests ruling over the common man. In passing this torture bill, Congress has stepped way beyond anything we ever authorized them to do. They had no right, and have no right, to edit our Constitution at their whimsy, or the whimsy of King George.
Harder choices have faced ordinary Americans than we ordinary Americans face today. We are not lesser people than our ancestors - they, too, had to be roused to righteous anger by the ongoing crimes of despots. So it will be for us.
The monarchists and theocrats who staged this coup have crossed a bright line in the sand for the vast majority of Americans. Now we will see whether the Republicans or the free range Americans will win this struggle.
Because it's definitely on, brother. One species or the other is about to become extinct.
Some things in life we choose. Sometimes there simply is no choice, no second option provided. A car wreck, a house burned down, a terminal illness, a King at play with our lives and fortunes -- those kinds of choices, when you find yourself in brand new territory in a heartbeat. When you say, "No more, by God! No more!" When you are suddenly thrust into those "times that try men's souls."
Valley Forge. It was a real place, and a real low point. Do you know why all those miserable, starving, would be Americans, those shoeless soldiers stayed all winter in their soggy tents and log shelters, back in the first days of our nation? Do you know why they stayed, suffered, and then re-enlisted almost to a man in the pale light of early spring?
Rather than go home to their wives and children and their own affairs?
Why on earth would they do such a thing? Why stick? Why ask for more?
It was because every man there faced a personal choice of going home to live out his days under British tyranny -- under the whims of King George -- or of cleaning that long rifle and going after the Hessians and Redcoats. Those first citizens of our newly declared Republic could not bear returning home to live under tyranny, and bow down before King George. They could not go home to their wives and children because they knew their wives and children were not free, but subject to that King and his royal appetites.
When you cannot bear one way of living, you will put up with anything -- including death -- to get something else. Anything else. When you cannot bear to see your children living under King George, you stay at Valley Forge, and you sign up for a losing fight even with no pay, and no shoes on your feet. That's still better than tyranny.
That's exactly where this country came from.
Not from the Bible, and not from quitters. It came from the hearts of brave, grown up people who would not bow before any King, anywhere, even at pain of death. The men of Valley Forge considered and made that choice while huddled around their paltry fires and stewpots during that long and bitter winter. Freedom from a King meant more to them than anything else.
That is the same personal choice facing every American in this ripened Republic of ours, this Republic that is rotting from the top, this Republic that we will not be able to keep, if our GOP despot has his way. Either we refuse to live under the current and growing tyranny of King George, this treasonous Congress, and this stacked court - or we make ourselves comfortable, teach our kids how to bow before their human lords, and get them ready for endless war, constant surveillance, and Christian theocracy.
If they ask about freedom, shut them up. Tell them it's a fairy tale.
On September 28th, the majority of the members of our Congress broke their individual oaths of office in a wholesale manner, violated our Constitution, transgressed dozens of American and international laws and norms and treaties -- and yet they assume you will get over it, that you'll keep working within the system through election after faked election, that you'll keep hoping to come to some arrangement with King George.
If you do, you are not the stuff this nation was made of.