Northern Valley Beacon

Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains----- E-Mail: Enter 'Beacon' in subject box. Send to:

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Congress guts the Bill of Rights

For a time, some Republican Senators resisted George W. Bush's quest for totalitarian power in their objections to the detainee bill he asked from them. Negotiations were held, compromises made, and the President won.

Well, for a time we were encouraged that there seemed to be a non-partisan stance in favor of civil rights.

The bill has been reported by the press to deal with terrorists taken prisoner. What the press has ignored is that the bill gives the president the power to designate even American citizens as terrorists or terrorist supporters and deny them the legal due process required by the law.

An analysis on TPM Cafe makes the case that the bill largely repeals the Bill of Rights:

Of the original 10 amendments to the Constitution of 1787 - IV, V, VI, VII and VIII are directed at arrest, trial and punishment. The bill passed by the Senate yesterday, and already rubber stamped by the house, effectively repeals all of these Amendments, because it allows a class of people declared by executive fiat to be treated in a manner which is separate from the rest of the judicial system.

All three of South Dakota's Congresspeople voted for this bill, and their staff members have received calls and have given statements on their votes. Sen. Johnson voted for the Military Tribunal Bill, but he did acknowledge the problems:

But in this case, the President is asking that we expand the definition of an enemy combatant. It isn't just people we capture on the battlefield anymore. It might be your next door neighbor who is in this country legally. And this legislation would allow them to be taken into custody without being told charges or seeing evidence or having access to lawyers and without hearings. That is a very strong use of the American power against people who are here legally.

Johnson offers the hope that the spirit of the Constitutional guarantees will be observed when American citizens are involved, and he suggested that the bill should have a sunset provision so that Congress can review whether the Bill of Rights was abused or ignored. And he states that the bill will eventually have to stand challenge in the Supreme Court.

That is a lot of comfort. One of the most devastating aspects of the Military Tribunal Bill is that it takes the appeal process away from the courts and makes them relevant at the whim of the president. With the mental acuity and motives demonstrated by the president currently in power, that should scare the bejesus out of us--including Sen. Johnson and Rep. Herseth.

One of our correspondents has pointed out that the country is so focused on insurgents and the atrocities committed daily in Iraq and, now, Afghanistan that it does not see that true American democrats are being given more reasons everyday why an insurgency of some kind in America may be necessary to preserve the human rights our country stands for. Hopefully, that insurgency will be in the form of a challenge that reaches the Supreme Court. We hope our preservation of the Bill of Rights will not rest upon our exercise of our Second Amendment rights.

But with the way the world is going and the mentality of the American rightwing, we are facing either a renaissance of our principles or a renewal of our revolution.

The New York Times has one of the more definitive analyses of the Military Tribunal Bill.

Somedays, I wish we could blame Republicans for our congresscritter's votes, rather than be ashamed of our Democratic representatives.

The Democrats voting for the Bush Torture legislation cut and ran on the constitution. They are roll me over and screw me again Democrats.

How many times does Sen.Johnson have to be lied to by Bush,Inc to grasp that Bush is a liar? He seems to be an incredibly slow learner.

And Herseth..Whalen has a list of some of her votes that suggest she rides around on a decision merry go round and her vote depends on where she falls off.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel with Bush policies.

Start writing books on the severely courage-challenged Democrats.
Post a Comment

<< Home


May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?