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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Off with their heads

or, "Long Live the King"

I'm a bit behind on my reading, so it's only tonight I've gotten around to the three articles linked below, published at various times over the last few weeks.

Read them.

You: "Why am I in prison?"

Them: "Give us a few years; we'll think of something. Sit tight."

Think back to the origin of the United States as a nation. When the frame of law that would become the constitution was hammered out, there was one point on which most everyone agreed: don't give the executive too much power. Most folks weren't in favor of giving the Federal government much power at all, preferring to leave the heavy lifting to the states. But there was even wider agreement that the President should in no way resemble -- and certainly shouldn't be given a basis on which to become -- a king.

We'd just fought a king, and especially rebelled against his unchecked power, and we'd decided that the right of the people to push back on government power trumped the possible advantages of central authority. Everything in the Constitution is aimed at limiting governmental power in favor of the rights of the people in the name of freedom, justice and the flourishing of a new kind of nation that we would call a democracy, which is necessarily based on the enforceable rights of free men (and eventually women). We'd later call that stuff the American Way.

The American Way has gone out of fashion. Since 1305, even the King of England has had to give prisoners a reason for being held. You can't be held without being charged under the law. This is called the writ of habeas corpus. The Bush administration considers it a nuisance. It thinks it should have powers to detain un-charged prisoners whenever it wants to. It is doing so today, and is trying to legislate to make those powers permanent. In other words, it believes it should have power even kings have not had for centuries.

Let us remember that such power was stripped from kings because they couldn't be trusted with it.

I challenge any Republican/conservative/right winger to tell me why suspending habeas corpus is necessary and, more importantly, how it can possibly be defended in a nation that aspires to justice and freedom.

"Patriot" Act, my ass. In a country founded on the principles of freedom and justice, this is a precisely anti-patriotic act. You want to export freedom? Manufacture it at home.

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On the administration's track record of failing to come up with the goods on terrorists it has insisted on detaining without charge or trial:
Public Enemy No. 43,527

On the administration's attempts to give us fewer rights to appeal to the courts, and imprison us on its own terms:
The Formerly Great Writ

On one powerful Republican Senator getting habeas exactly wrong:
Senate Demerit


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