Slip-Sliding Into Tyranny: The New American Way

As found on lewrockwell.com

Slip-Sliding Into Tyranny: The New American Way

by Charles Goyette

Recently by Charles Goyette: 3 Lessons From the European Mess

Pay close attention. This is how it happens…

President Obama found a moment of reduced visibility, in an unwatched hour on New Year’s Eve, to sign the latest assault on the Fifth Amendment. In signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 on New Year’s Eve, Obama knew the nation’s attention would be elsewhere, diverted by revelry, football, New Year’s Day, and a Monday national holiday.

In case you haven’t heard, the National Defense Authorization Act allows the government to detain people indefinitely – yes, it includes American citizens who can be taken even on our native soil and imprisoned – merely on the basis of accusations.

The measure is “so radical,” says Human Rights Watch, “that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration.” And although Obama appended a signing statement as he put his name to the act, solemnly assuring the nation that the power he insisted on having won’t be used recklessly, it is a political gesture that has no more force of a law than attaching a little yellow sticky note to the bill. If the clear language of the Constitution itself cannot bind the governing classes, it is hard to imagine a post-it note having much effect on the current or future presidents now that the indefinite detention of Americans without trial has been legislatively countenanced.

There you have it in a nutshell, the new American way: Guilty until proven innocent.

This is how once-free people slip into state tyranny and slide into martial law.

Political figures are always careful to paper over their power grabs with spurious legalities and midnight measures, granting themselves the rights they are appropriating. No matter how flimsy the pretext, no matter how forbidden the act, everything must be formalized and enabled. Overturned rights and the pretext of legality.

That is how the Fourth Amendment was trashed… marginalized by a document called the Patriot Act.

And now the Fifth Amendment is under attack.

But you shouldn’t be surprised. If the president of the United States can have you, an American citizen, assassinated on his own say so, how much of a shock is it to find that he can have you arrested and held without any of that pesky Fifth Amendment due process business?

Of course, in trying to outdo Bush, Obama has all along claimed the right to detain Americans without interference from the Bill of Rights. In making this extraordinary claim, Obama relied on the 10 year old Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the measure authorizing the pursuit of those responsible for 9/11. But now this broad interpretation of the authority to go after the likes of Osama bin Laden has been extended to nullify whole sections of the Bill of Rights. Obama’s reading of his authority, radical to begin with, has now been handed to him in a statute, codified in a pile of paperwork called the National Defense Authorization Act, and tucked right in with the Pentagon’s budget.

It’s all part of the forever war on terror, after all.

And if the assault on the Fifth Amendment weren’t enough, the Sixth Amendment was put on the table as well. Remember, that’s the one about “a speedy and public trial” and “an impartial jury.” Well, that’s all but flushed. Forget “speedy.” And “public” just left town. You can now be detained without a trial at all. Indefinitely.

America’s Slippery Slope

How many points on the line does it take to recognize our downward slope into state lawlessness? Do we really need more than just the state claiming the right to arrest and hold the people without due process? Does it take more than the state assuming the right to assassinate them?

Warrantless surveillance? Torture? The state secrets privilege? Critics of the National Defense Authorization Act say it makes it easier for the government to render citizens to fascist proxy states where they can be tortured. Is that enough points on the line to see where we are headed?

Can the slide into state militarism be seen in serial wars, all undeclared? In the trillions of war spending that won’t be refused? Or in drones prowling overhead in what used to be called “our country,” but has now been renamed with a term that echoes Nazi Germany:The Homeland?

Perhaps it is a slope that can be discerned in the threat of violence as the first tool of diplomacy. In the paramilitary forces and SWAT teams that are now part of virtually every federal department and agency. In the Freudian envy with which local police departments across the land ape the dress and manner of military operations. In the TSA Viper (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams that have now moved their surveillance of the American people beyond the airports and put them on the open streets of das Heimland.

It happens in every power grab in modern times. Like the National Defense Authorization Act, there is always a legalistic pretext upon which the power grab of the state relies. Lenin consolidated his control under the cover of a blizzard of legalistic decree-laws. Hitler promulgated his emergency decree “For the Protection of the People and the State” on the day of the Reichstag fire. That was followed by the “Enabling Act,” which declared that laws of the Reich could deviate from the constitution.

Paper pretexts all, slow-motion coups in the small hours conferring the appearance of legitimacy as they subvert the people’s freedom.

Of course, most of the national news media, the lapdog press, will miss the latest assaults on the Bill of Rights. But do not assume it’s because they were all hung-over. It’s easier to believe that they just don’t care. If there is any dissent at all about this power grab, it will not be because of the attack on your freedom. The national talk shows will see it as important only to the extent that it allows their favored team, red or blue, to move the ball down the field.

But where are America’s sworn defenders of the Constitution? With raised arms, all federal officeholders mouth the words, “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”

Where are the Democrats who made that vow, those who were worked into a frenzy by the Patriot Act and Bush’s abuses of the Constitution, including warrantless eavesdropping?

Where are they now that Obama’s abuses are out-bushing Bush?

They are in the same silent space occupied by the Republicans who denounced Clinton’s unconstitutional and undeclared warfare until Bush went to war without a declaration.

It is a silent space large enough to accommodate all the Republican and Democrats alike who make empty vows of empty words.

Believing not one thing or the other, they make fitting companions for the cowards Dante described as hateful to both God and his enemies:

“The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them –
even the wicked cannot glory in them.”

So pay close attention. This is how it happens.

January 12, 2012

Charles Goyette [send him mail] is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Dollar Meltdown: Surviving the Impending Currency Crisis with Gold, Oil, and Other Unconventional Investments, now available in paperback. And coming in February 2012,Charles Goyette’s Freedom & Prosperity Letter.

Copyright © 2012 Charles Goyette


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How Congress is Signing Its Own Arrest Warrants in the NDAA Citizen Arrest Bill

Oops…Too late.

Sadly.

Naomi Wolf explains.

How Congress is Signing Its Own Arrest Warrants in the NDAA Citizen Arrest Bill

I never thought I would have to write this: but—incredibly—Congress has now passed the National Defense Appropriations Act, with Amendment 1031, which allows for the military detention of American citizens. The amendment is so loosely worded that any American citizen could be held without due process. The language of this bill can be read to assure Americans that they can challenge their detention — but most people do not realize what this means: at Guantanamo and in other military prisons, one’s lawyer’s calls are monitored, witnesses for one’s defense are not allowed to testify, and one can be forced into nudity and isolation. Incredibly, ninety-three Senators voted to support this bill and now most of Congress: a roster of names that will live in infamy in the history of our nation, and never be expunged from the dark column of the history books.

They may have supported this bill because—although it’s hard to believe—they think the military will only arrest active members of Al Qaida; or maybe, less naively, they believe that ‘at most’, low-level dissenting figures, activists, or troublesome protesters might be subjected to military arrest. But they are forgetting something critical: history shows that those who signed this bill will soon be subject to arrest themselves.

Our leaders appear to be supporting this bill thinking that they will always be what they are now, in the fading light of a once-great democracy — those civilian leaders who safely and securely sit in freedom and DIRECT the military. In inhabiting this bubble, which their own actions are about to destroy, they are cocooned by an arrogance of power, placing their own security in jeopardy by their own hands, and ignoring history and its inevitable laws. The moment this bill becomes law, though Congress is accustomed, in a weak democracy, to being the ones who direct and control the military, the power roles will reverse: Congress will no longer be directing and in charge of the military: rather, the military will be directing and in charge of individual Congressional leaders, as well as in charge of everyone else — as any Parliamentarian in any society who handed this power over to the military can attest.

Perhaps Congress assumes that it will always only be ‘they’ who are targeted for arrest and military detention: but sadly, Parliamentary leaders are the first to face pressure, threats, arrest and even violence when the military obtains to power to make civilian arrests and hold civilians in military facilities without due process. There is no exception to this rule. Just as I traveled the country four years ago warning against the introduction of torture and secret prisons – and confidently offering a hundred thousand dollar reward to anyone who could name a nation that allowed torture of the ‘other’ that did not eventually turn this abuse on its own citizens — (confident because I knew there was no such place) — so today I warn that one cannot name a nation that gave the military the power to make civilian arrests and hold citizens in military detention, that did not almost at once turn that power almost against members of that nation’s own political ruling class. This makes sense — the obverse sense of a democracy, in which power protects you; political power endangers you in a militarized police state: the more powerful a political leader is, the more can be gained in a militarized police state by pressuring, threatening or even arresting him or her.

Mussolini, who created the modern template for fascism, was a duly elected official when he started to direct paramilitary forces against Italian citizens: yes, he sent the Blackshirts to beat up journalists, editors, and union leaders; but where did these militarized groups appear most dramatically and terrifyingly, snapping at last the fragile hold of Italian democracy? In the halls of the Italian Parliament. Whom did they physically attack and intimidate? Mussolini’s former colleagues in Parliament — as they sat, just as our Congress is doing, peacefully deliberating and debating the laws. Whom did Hitler’s Brownshirts arrest in the first wave of mass arrests in 1933? Yes, journalists, union leaders and editors; but they also targeted local and regional political leaders and dragged them off to secret prisons and to torture that the rest of society had turned a blind eye to when it had been directed at the ‘other.’ Who was most at risk from assassination or arrest and torture, after show trials, in Stalin’s Russia? Yes, journalists, editors and dissidents: but also physically endangered, and often arrested by militarized police and tortured or worse, were senior members of the Politburo who had fallen out of favor.

Is this intimidation and arrest by the military a vestige of the past? Hardly. We forget in America that all over the world there are militarized societies in which shells of democracy are propped up — in which Parliament meets regularly and elections are held, but the generals are really in charge, just as the Egyptian military is proposing with upcoming elections and the Constitution itself. That is exactly what will take place if Congress gives the power of arrest and detention to the military: and in those societies if a given political leader does not please the generals, he or she is in physical danger or subjected to military arrest. Whom did John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, say he was directed to intimidate and threaten when he worked as a ‘jackal’, putting pressure on the leadership in authoritarian countries? Latin American parliamentarians who were in the position to decide the laws that affected the well-being of his corporate clients. Who is under house arrest by the military in Myanmar? The political leader of the opposition to the military junta. Malalai Joya is an Afghani parliamentarian who has run afoul of the military and has to sleep in a different venue every night — for her own safety. An on, and on, in police states — that is, countries with military detention of civilians — that America is about to join.

US Congresspeople and Senators may think that their power protects them from the treacherous wording of Amendments 1031 and 1032: but their arrogance is leading them to a blindness that is suicidal. The moment they sign this NDAA into law, history shows that they themselves and their staff are the most physically endangered by it. They will immediately become, not the masters of the great might of the United States military, but its subjects and even, if history is any guide — and every single outcome of ramping up police state powers, unfortunately, that I have warned for years that history points to, has come to pass — sadly but inevitably, its very first targets.

LINKS:
National Defense Appropriations Act

Indefinite military detention for U.S. citizens now in the hands of a secretive conference committee
December 8, 2011 – by Donny Shaw
http://bit.ly/sxolqr

Ron Paul Calls National Defense Authorization Act “Slip Into Tyranny”

From the New American.

I cannot agree more, nor say it any better than this,

“The Bill of Rights has no exceptions for really bad people or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. That is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system. The NDAA attempts to justify abridging the Bill of Rights on the theory that rights are suspended in a time of war, and the entire United States is a battlefield in the war on terror. This is a very dangerous development, indeed. Beware.”

People in the future who are studying American history (if they are allowed to do so honestly) will look back on this campaign and note that the American citizenry, befuddled by their television news, chose to dig their own graves when they voted for the grave diggers instead of for Ron Paul.

 

To view the bill go here http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h1540/show

Ron Paul Calls National Defense Authorization Act “Slip Into Tyranny” | Print |  
Written by Joe Wolverton, II
Friday, 30 December 2011 10:48
“A dictator enjoys unrestrained power over the people. The legislative and judicial branches voluntarily cede this power or it’s taken by force. Most of the time, it’s given up easily, out of fear in time of war and civil disturbances, and with support from the people, although the dictator will also accumulate more power with the use of force.” Those prescient words of Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) are taken from his book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom. The tyrannical assumption of power by the President and the cession of unheralded power to him by the Congress has taken place precisely as Dr. Paul warned.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an unprecedented, unconstitutional, and unchecked grant of dictatorial power to the President in the name of protecting the security of “the homeland.” Ron Paul described the bill (soon to be signed into law by the President) as a “slip into tyranny,” one that will almost certainly accelerate “our descent into totalitarianism.”
What of the NDAA? Are there indeed provisions contained therein that so ferociously tear at the constitutional fabric of our Republic?
In a word — yes.
This liberty-extinguishing legislation converts America into a war zone and turns Americans into potential suspected terrorists, complete with the full roster of rights typically afforded to terrorists — none.
A key component of this reconciled bill mandates a frightening grant of immense and unconstitutional power to the executive branch. Under the provisions of Section 1021, the President is afforded the absolute power to arrest and detain citizens of the United States without their being informed of any criminal charges, without a trial on the merits of those charges, and without a scintilla of the due process safeguards protected by the Constitution of the United States.
Further, in order to execute the provisions of Section 1021 described in the previous paragraph, subsequent clauses (Section 1022, for example) unlawfully give the President the absolute and unquestionable authority to deploy the armed forces of the United States to apprehend and to indefinitely detain those suspected of threatening the security of the “homeland.” In the language of this legislation, these people are called “covered persons.”
The universe of potential “covered persons” includes every citizen of the United States of America. Any American could one day find himself or herself branded a “belligerent” and thus subject to the complete confiscation of his or her constitutional civil liberties and nearly never-ending incarceration in a military prison.
In his assessment of the danger inherent in such acts, Paul is in good company. This suspension of habeas corpus, a right central to Anglo-American freedom from despotism for over 500 years, was described by Alexander Hamilton as one of “the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.”
Congressman Paul eloquently expressed his assessment of such an assault on liberty:
The president’s widely expanded view of his own authority to detain Americans indefinitely even on American soil is for the first time in this legislation codified in law. That should chill all of us to our cores.
As reported by The Hill, in a phone message to supporters, Paul cited the Founders and their intent to bequeath to their descendants a government fettered in such a way as to threaten as little as possible man’s innate freedom:
The founders wanted to set a high bar for the government to overcome in order to deprive an individual of life or liberty. To lower that bar is to endanger everyone. When the bar is low enough to include political enemies, our descent into totalitarianism is virtually assured. The Patriot Act, as bad as its violation against the Fourth Amendment was, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act continues that slip into tyranny, and in fact, accelerates it significantly.
Adding insult to injury, Congress has stuffed the bill full of funding for illegal and unconstitutional foreign wars so that the American people will pay over $670 billion dollars for the privilege of being deprived of their God-given rights and for the building of the American empire.
This appalling story doesn’t end there, however. The NDAA’s rap sheet of crimes against the Constitution is long. As Congressman Paul explained:
The Fifth Amendment is about much more than the right to remain silent in the face of government questioning. It contains very basic and very critical stipulations about the due process of law. The government cannot imprison a person for no reason and with no evidence presented and without access to legal counsel. The danger of the NDAA is its alarmingly vague, undefined criteria for who can be indefinitely detained by the U.S. government without trial.
While all the foregoing is harrowing and enough to make any reasonable man fear for the future of this Republic, there is another aspect of the law that is perhaps more frightening still. That is the vagueness of the terms. Terms so ill-defined are ripe for the wresting and within the penumbras of these provisions could be found lurking the tools of tyranny. Wrenches that could force anyone into a predetermined “terrorist” hole.
Ron Paul sets forth the source of such chilling concern as contained in the NDAA:
It is no longer limited to members of al Qaeda or the Taliban, but anyone accused of substantially supporting such groups or associated forces. How closely associated, and what constitutes substantial support? What if it was discovered that someone who committed a terrorist act was once involved with a charity? Or suppose a political candidate? Are all donors of that candidate or supporters of that candidate now suspects and subject to indefinite detainment? Is that charity now an associated force?
Despite the bipartisan and bicameral support for the defense budget bill, President Obama originally vowed to veto the measure over his disagreement with the delegation of power over the cases of detainees.
He has since withdrawn his objection and has signaled his intent to sign the bill into law.
The crux of the White House’s opposition to the NDAA was President Obama’s desire that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) should have plenary power over the disposition of issues related to the custody and prosecution of all terror suspects detained domestically.
The Obama administration insisted that cutting out the FBI would reduce the overall effectiveness of investigations, as well as hamstring the efforts of intelligence officers from gathering reliable intelligence from those believed to be fighting against the United States in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Specifically, the White House promised to veto the legislation if it “challenges or constrains the President’s critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, [or] protect the nation.”
Such swords disguised as shields are reminiscent of the words of James Madison. The Father of the Constitution warned, “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home.”
Again, Ron Paul finds himself in the company of the Founders. In his closing remarks, Congressman Paul cited very succinctly the indictment that should be handed down by the American people against the NDAA:
“The Bill of Rights has no exceptions for really bad people or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. That is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system. The NDAA attempts to justify abridging the Bill of Rights on the theory that rights are suspended in a time of war, and the entire United States is a battlefield in the war on terror. This is a very dangerous development, indeed. Beware.”

Obama Signs NDAA into Law, Dismantles Bill of Rights H.R. 1540

Jenn Morrill Aptly Toasts the New Year

 I found her article after I posted my rant below.  I thought she did a great job, hence the re-post here.
Article below.
Jenn Morrill's photo

, Salt Lake City Independent Examiner

December 31, 2011 – Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.

Rumors have been floating around the internet for the past week or so that Obama signed NDAA into law before Christmas. Well, he didn’t. But that doesn’t really matter now, because today he did.

According to the ACLU, President Barack Obama just signed one of the most controversial bills into law since the Patriot Act. The sad part is that neither the House nor the Senate nor Obama seemed to think it was all that controversial, as it passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate, and the president just signed it (even though he had at one time threatened to veto).
In case you haven’t heard, H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 or NDAA, is not your typical defense spending bill. It gives authority to the president (or perhaps it’d be more fitting to call him king or ruler at this point) to order the military to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without official charge or trial on the mere suspicion of being a terrorist or linked to a terrorist organization.
Many in government will argue that there is nothing for Americans to worry about — unless you’re a terrorist that is. But as our government slips further and further from the rule of law and the founding principles of our nation that once made us great, tyranny inevitably creeps in to take its place. And when tyranny reigns, the line between who is a terrorist and who isn’t becomes easily blurred. A “terrorist” could simply mean a political enemy of the state.
The citizens of our country that understand what happened when Obama lifted his pen off the dotted line (while in Hawaii) wonder why their elected representatives don’t remotely represent them or stand up for the Constitution as they swear to do. In a previous article I pointed out that the U.S. senators from Utah were divided in their vote on this bill. Senator Orrin Hatch voted for NDAA, while Senator Mike Lee was one of only seven senators in the country that voted against it.
68 percent of the House voted in favor, and only one of three U.S. congressmen from Utah earned his title of “representative” by voting against the bill: Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
Rep. Jim Matheson (of district 2) is going to have a difficult time defending himself next year against his opponent, a Constitutional conservative and Utah State Representative, Carl Wimmer, who says he would have voted against the bill because Section 1031 (of the Senate-passed version) remained intact. Wimmer told Examiner that anyone who took an oath to uphold the Constitution should have voted against the bill. He said,
We’re well down a dangerous path, here — trying to preserve our safety by trading away what makes us American. Being “suspected” of having connections to terrorism is not justification for removing our right to due process. Some people I respect voted for this, but I’m afraid I strongly feel that this is a really bad bill.
Out of all the main contenders for the presidency, there is only one who has voiced opposition for the egregious bill. It should be predictable at this point that the one who stood on the side of the Constitution was Rep. Ron Paul. He said of the bill,
Little by little, in the name of fighting terrorism, our Bill of Rights is being repealed…The Patriot Act, as bad as its violation of the 4th Amendment, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed (NDAA) continues that slip toward tyranny and in fact accelerates it significantly. The main section of concern, Section 1021 of the NDAA Conference Report, does to the 5th Amendment what the PATRIOT Act does to the 4th. The 5th Amendment is about much more than the right to remain silent in the face of government questioning. It contains very basic and very critical stipulations about due process of law. The government cannot imprison a person for no reason and with no evidence presented or access to legal counsel.
He explains that the dangers of the new law are in its deliberate vagueness:
The dangers in the NDAA are its alarmingly vague, undefined criteria for who can be indefinitely detained by the US government without trial. It is now no longer limited to members of al Qaeda or the Taliban, but anyone accused of “substantially supporting” such groups or “associated forces.” How closely associated? And what constitutes “substantial” support? What if it was discovered that someone who committed a terrorist act was once involved with a charity? Or supported a political candidate? Are all donors of that charity or supporters of that candidate now suspect, and subject to indefinite detainment? Is that charity now an associated force?
The Bill of Rights has no exemption for ‘really bad people’ or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. That is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system. The NDAA attempts to justify abridging the bill of rights on the theory that rights are suspended in a time of war, and the entire Unites States is a battlefield in the War on Terror. This is a very dangerous development indeed. Beware.
It should be painfully obvious to Americans by now that if they continue to vote for the status quo, no matter if it’s Republican or Democrat, then the attack on civil liberties and the dismantling of the Constitution will inevitably continue.
So raise your glasses to toast the new year. It’s not even midnight, and your right to due process has already been taken away. What’s next?
(To see how your “representatives” voted, click here.)
——————————————————————
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Have we Crossed The Rubicon?

Eric Peters says yes.
Article below, After reading I recommend visiting the site and reading the comments, which are equally good.

http://epautos.com/2011/12/14/we-have-crossed-the-rubicon/

“We Have Crossed the Rubicon

December 14, 2011

By

Do you suppose cows have any idea what’s coming as they’re marched down the chute? Or do they stare with bovine indifference at the tail and hind quarters in front of them, until they’re suddenly – and very briefly – startled by the man with the nail gun?

Perhaps Americans will – likewise too late – ask themselves What Happened in the very near future. Perhaps just after the midnight knock comes and they are taken away into the night.

It is not an exaggeration.

America is now on the cusp of becoming a state that does exactly such things; things exactly like the things done by 20th century horror shows such as NS Germany or Stalin’s USSR. Literally. Not “this is where it might lead” or “the tendency is similar.” Exactly, literally, the same thing. The only difference is that it awaits being done on a mass scale. But the power to do it openly – brazenly – has been asserted.

And is about to be sanctified by law.

The National Defense Authorization Act will make it official. It will confer upon the executive branch and the military (increasingly, the same things) the permanent authority to snatch and grab any person, U.S. citizens included, whom it decrees to be a “terrorist” – as defined or not by the executive or the military –  and imprison them, indefinitely, without formal charge, presentation of evidence or judicial proceeding of any kind. These “detainees” will have neither civilian rights in the civil court system, nor – crucially – even the minimal rights to due process and decent treatment conferred upon prisoners of war. (And we are allegedly “at war,” are we not?)

The language of the bill specifically includes American citizens “caught” within the borders of the United States – aka, the “battlefield.” It is claimed by sponsors that only those awful them – you know, the enemies of freedom The Chimp and his successors like to reference as they systematically gut our freedoms – need worry. But read the actual document, and be afraid. The wording is such that any shyster lawyer for the government will be able to draw up a memorandum at some point in the near future equating, say, criticism of the federal government’s policies in the Middle East with “substantially supporting” the enemies of the United States. As defined by the United States.

That is, as defined by the government.

At its whim. At the personal discretion of whomever happens to be the Maximum Leader, or even one of the ML’s duly appointed minions.

As the always excellent Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone recently observed, what happens when some nutjob who attended a few Tea Party meetings tries to bomb a federal building? Will the Tea Party itself – and anyone who “substantially supports” it be thus transformed into an “enemy combatant”? How about the OWS protestors? How about this web site – and this author – which have on several occasions called bullshit on the federal government’s usurpations and follies? How hard will it be, really, to describe such actions – such thoughts expressed in an article or an interview – as “substantially supporting” whatever the government decides amounts to “terrorism” or the threat thereof against itself?

Surely, the door is now wide open for such an interpretation by some John Woo or Dick Cheney waiting in the wings. Prospective jefe Newtie is practically turgid at the prospect of getting his hands on such power. And there is no longer (or soon won’t be) any legal means available to contest a one-way trip to Treblinka in Topeka – or wherever it is they will send you.

Taibbi writes:

“The really galling thing is that this act specifically envisions American citizens falling under the authority of the bill. One of its supporters, the dependably-unlikeable Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, bragged that the law ‘basically says … for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield’ and that people can be jailed without trial, be they ‘American citizen or not.’ New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte reiterated that ‘America is part of the battlefield.’ ”

Graham further stated:

“It is not unfair to make an American citizen account for the fact that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming next. And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’ ”

The key thing being, it is entirely up to the government to decide what constitutes “helping” al Qaeda. It can be nothing more than a vague assertion. Indeed, no evidence of any kind whatsoever is necessary to “hold them as long as it takes” in order to “find intelligence” (not defined, either) by any means it wishes to employ.

As Taibbi notes:

“If these laws are passed, we would be forced to rely upon the discretion of a demonstrably corrupt and consistently idiotic government to not use these awful powers to strike back at legitimate domestic unrest.”

The Fuhrer (oops, President Obama) is about to sign this latter-day Enabling act and when he does, it will mark the moment that America’s coffin is nailed shut. The corpse has been on view since 9/11. But there was always some hope that, perhaps, it might be jolted back into life. Now we know the awful truth. Death is permanent.

And it’s coming for us.

Throw it in the Woods?

This entry was posted on December 14, 2011 at 11:50 am and is filed under Features, Politics, Slide Show. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.”