October 20th, 2006



An Important New Tool For Spreading The Truth Has Been Posted!!




Please Spread This New Film Widely




"Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."

-Thomas Paine


Guest Commentary

I endorse nearly everything said in the following commentary and linked films... but add a few comments afterwards...


Every once in a 217 years of our US Constitution an event comes along that is relevant to every listserv in the United States of America -- because it concerns the most basic possible right under the US Constitution that provides the framework for our entire country and our elections.    As described further below, that overarching framework radically changed October 17, 2006, which therefore greatly affects this listserv and operates as a once in 217 year exception to its relevance rules.  Put another way, this list owes Freedom a funeral since freedom is now dead.   So here it is:
Habeas corpus -- it's your most fundamental legal right, your right to go to a court and get an order requiring the government to prove that it is holding you in prison with proper legal authority to do so. Without that right, one necessarily lives in a dictatorship.  President Bush today on October 17, 2006 signed a bill repealing that law, meaning that the administration need not comply or show compliance with law any more with regard to who goes to prison or Gitmo. 
While it supposedly applies just to terrorism cases, that doesn't prevent it from ending the rule of law in the United States for our newly all-powerful Executive.  This is true not just because terrorism is construed so broadly in the prohibition of "material support" for terrorism (which by the way has already been held to include a lawyer's press release on behalf of a terrorist client) but because the administration NEED NOT PROVE IT'S REALLY TERRORISM because they don't need to answer to any court in the land at any time.
Even "Justice" Scalia wrote in the Hamdan case that "the very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive. "   That very core of liberty died on October 17, 2006 with the signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and its elimination of habeas corpus.
Oh yeah, it also legalized torture wholesale.  While misleadingly purporting to prohibit a few forms, upon full analysis it prohibits none.   But who's going to know since your relatives won't be able to find out where you are anyway, right? 
And today also a lawyer was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison for the simple act of issuing a press release on behalf of a terrorist client in prison.  While this terrorist is a genuine terrorist, there's nothing in the law that distinguishes between serious terrorists and innocent terrorists (if there is such a thing) but in any case, remember, they don't need to comply with habeas and show that you are guilty anyway!   At most, they just think to themselves "this guy's a terrorist" and you disappear into the torture chamber with no right to be heard from, even indirectly through your lawyer, which you have no enforceable right to anyway. 
Even public opinion will likely not catch up with this because people will just disappear and who knows, maybe the missing person just went off on a lark or a fugue to start a new life, right?
Consequently, on October 17, 2006 freedom died in the United States of America.  We now live in a dictatorship.  We live in a dictatorship even if you think George W. Bush will be a wise and beneficent king or dictator.  It is defined as the possession of absolute power as opposed to checks and balances.
In the Keith Olbermann commentary at the first youtube link below; I agree with Professor Turley (Constitutional Law) that people "really have no idea how significant this is."  Turley says we now have an "absolute ruler" which is really just another way of saying dictatorship.   He's not kidding.  I'm not kidding. 
I'll be releasing an extended (and devastating, early readers say) critical piece on this within 48 hours, but in the meantime and after that please consider the importance of this issue is at a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL.   It's not an "issue" that we form polite activist groups to respond to.  
The Executive Branch now has full discretion to imprison anybody they want to without charge or trial or bail and there will be nothing anybody can do except beg the King.  I.e. there's no rule of law applicable to the administration.  EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN LAW was essentially repealed, because the administration need not prove to anybody that it has complied with the law by indefinitely detaining you, your relative or anyone else. 
Keith Olbermann's commentary, with Professor Jonathan Turley
The only thing I don't agree with Turley on is this:  There is not a giant Yawn, there are a lot of people shocked, many crying, millions disturbed, millions more waking up.  It's always hard to be among the first to know and to wait for the rest of the country to catch up, but somebody has to be in that position.  Let's not, because we are among the first millions to wake up, send out the message that getting the American dream back is relatively hopeless based on the Yawn seemingly heard today.  After all, there is no media echo besides Olbermann to get the word out and reinforce it.  But there will be.  I also disagree with Turley's approach, even as he makes strongly worded comments that are nevertheless scholarly and restrained in tone and volume, because it's inappropriate and (if you believe in Constitutional rights) not unlike talking in a similar dispassionate tone when a masked man walks into your local elementary school with automatic weapons drawn. 
For a more appropriate tone, here's another two minute video below that was filmed right before this bill was signed but it nevertheless applies to this situation, and gives advice on what to do when "they come for your freedom."  Paul Revere said "the Redcoats are coming".  Today, "the Redcoats already came."
This situation of legalizing torture and eliminating habeas corpus is WAY WAY WAY "out there" in terms of extreme.  Bush and his administration are incredibly isolated now, seeking to legalize the very things we prosecuted ourselves in WWII like waterboarding.  If I hear anyone even IMPLY that we live in a free country, the correction will be swift.  WE DO NOT LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY ANY MORE.  PERIOD.
The hopeful note is this:  We can recognize how incredibly isolated both in the world and in our own country this Administration is, and we can turn away, and withdraw any remaining support and respect.  But, if we react just in fear, whether fear of Gitmo or fear of torture or fear of terrorists, the dark curtain of dictatorship will descend further and their power will consolidate.   In the end, Americans will not be denied freedom in a struggle for freedom on their own soil.

Paul Lehto
Attorney at Law
Permission granted to distribute in full with attribution.


Freedom In America Is NOT Dead...


...but its mortal enemies are increasingly showing their hand, and it is in greater need of defense today than it ever has before.  The analysis by Jonathan Turley, Keith Olbermann, and Henry Rollins presented above is entirely correct as to the manner in which this oath-breaking, treasonous power-grab under the ludicrously contrived pretext of "war on terror" will play out, if allowed to do so.  IF YOU DON'T ACT TO OPPOSE IT, YOU WILL ALLOW IT TO PLAY OUT.


To Oppose This, You Have To Recognize That A Casual Attitude Won't Cut It


As I observe in part three of the title essay in 'Upholding the Law and Other Observations':

So, What Do We Do?

First, we open our eyes, and, like the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes, recognize and admit some disquieting truths.  Among them is that restoring the rule of law-- the true law-- is going to be resisted by the entrenched beneficiaries of the prevailing status quo, and is thus going to require dedication and sacrifice.  It is not going to be accomplished by a part-time effort. 

John Adams, speaking during the time of the American revolution, instructs us thusly:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

Adams’ formula worked out, as far as it went.  But he stopped short in his prediction-- incapable of imagining, from the perspective of his own immersion in affairs of substance and moment, what would actually come to pass in the fullness of time.  Had he looked further, he would have reluctantly continued, “…so that my more distant descendants have the leisure to study television, and the sports page.” 

We cannot afford such distractions.  We must turn off the tube and tune in to reality.

We must study politics, and war.


Edmund Burke, a British Member of Parliament and contemporary of Adams, addressed parliament in 1775 regarding the aspirations of the colonists for liberty, observing that,

“In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole: and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies become suspicious, restive, and untractable, whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for.”

Burke goes on to further describe aspects of the American character, and the reasons why Britain cannot succeed in maintaining the subjugation of the colonies.  His last argument (prior to dryly pointing out that three thousand miles of ocean hinder the British purpose) is this:

“Permit me, Sir, to add another circumstance in our colonies, which contributes no mean part towards the growth and effect of this untractable spirit. I mean their education. In no country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study. The profession itself is numerous and powerful; and in most provinces it takes the lead. The greater number of the deputies sent to the congress were lawyers. But all who read, and most do read, endeavour to obtain some smattering in that science. I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business, after tracts of popular devotion, were so many books as those on the law exported to the plantations. The colonists have now fallen into the way of printing them for their own use.”

Burke correctly recognized that it was the American’s knowledge of the law that made them a people impossible to hold under illegitimate power.  Not because that study reveals a magic spell that makes tyrants and would-be tyrants dry up and blow away, but because a study of the law arms the student with the moral certainty needed to sustain the long-term commitment which the struggle for liberty against the ambitions of despotism always requires.

We must study the law, and arm ourselves with the moral certainty that the defense of liberty requires.


Thomas Jefferson observed that,

“It is the natural course of things that government should gain ground and liberty yield.”

In saying this, Jefferson did not mean that the defense of liberty is a fool’s game.  He meant that like rust-- its counterpart in the physical world-- political corruption never sleeps, but those against whom it contends, do.

Those sons and grandsons of John Adams, who set aside the study of the arts of politics and war, turn their attention instead to other pursuits once the battle for liberty seems well-fought, and won.  They install their servants into positions of responsibility and immerse themselves in their families, their businesses, and their pleasures.  They lose the habit of jealously guarding their rights.

They become complacent, and distracted, and when the servants offer to take charge of certain of their affairs, those distracted and complacent sons and grandsons are compliant.  It is then not long before those distracted and complacent sons and grandsons return home to find that the locks on the house have changed, and the helpful servants hold the keys.

The fact is, the battle for liberty is never over.  Power WILL be exercised over everything that it can be in this world.  Who exercises it is determined not as a matter of right-- which can be sorted out, and written down, and considered finished.  Who exercises power is determined as a matter of will.  Frederick Douglass explained this to us when he thundered,

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will.  Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they have been resisted with either words or blows, or with both.  The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress.”

Rust never sleeps, and neither can we.  We must put aside our distractions; abandon our complacency; and study the law, and the arts of politics and war.


Understand That This Goes Beyond Mere Politics


This is not a partisan issue.  This is not a matter of 'Democrats versus Republicans', or even 'Statists versus Individuals'.  This is a matter of would-be tyrants with a raw and despicable contempt for the rule of law versus anyone and anything that stands in the way of their degenerate ambitions to seize, secure, and exercise power OVER YOU AND ME.  There is nothing even remotely legitimate or honest about this ambition.  Just to furnish the simplest and most obvious illustration: Even if there WERE a war against "terror" or "terrorism" going on (there most emphatically is not, and it is a ridiculous concept in any event...), nothing would justify or legitimize the provisions of the "Military Commissions Act", the "USA Patriot Act", or any other draconian expansion or consolidation of power in response.  It should not yet have disappeared down the collective memory-hole that as recently as 17 years ago, a 44-year-long, intense, world-ranging conflict with an enemy backed by the resources of the largest nation on the planet, armed with 30,000 nuclear weapons, and with well-established practices of infiltrating its agents and operatives into America on a constant basis, and working its will through state-less client organizations all over the world as well, was successfully concluded WITHOUT the use of warrantless wiretaps, the suspension of habeas corpus, torture, etc., etc..


The simple fact is. these measures DO NOT serve the purpose of defending against an enemy of the American people.  The ONLY purpose these measure serve is that of allowing the executive to do things that it ISN'T CAPABLE OF DEFENDING AS LEGITIMATE, since the sole practical effect of each of these measures is to eliminate the executive's obligation to make such a defense.


Habeas Corpus, for instance, is NOT a "get-out-of-jail-free card".  All habeas corpus provides is a (usually) one-shot chance for a prisoner to argue (in front of a representative of one of the three branches of the government established by the Constitution, by the way, who was appointed by the executive, with the approval of Congress) that he or she hasn't actually done anything wrong (or isn't really an "unlawful enemy combatant", etc.).  The only thing the government has to do in order to continue to hold the prisoner in the face of a writ of habeas corpus is make a rudimentary case that there IS legitimate cause for doing so.  That is, habeas corpus acts solely to prevent the government from holding as prisoners those whose imprisonment cannot be even rudimentarily justified.  That's all it does.  The only reason for wanting to be rid of it is to facilitate illegitimate imprisonments.


The other loosening-of-the-reins measures relentlessly sought by this administration, and the political hacks behind it (whose efforts in this regard, and presence in Washington, far predates that of George Bush) are of the same character.  They all serve to put the acts of the executive behind closed doors, and to spare it the obligation to defend the lawfulness of its acts.  Why?


"The innocent have nothing to fear", is the sly subtext of the administration's campaign for the usurpations for which it lusts.  Well, that concept cuts both ways.  If the administration's intended use of power is innocent, why is it seeking to prevent the courts, and the public, from overseeing its activities?  Why is it striving so hard to see to it that its targets will not have a fair chance to challenge the legitimacy of its dealings with them?  What is this administration afraid to have exposed to the light of day?


I will answer my own questions: The power being claimed by this administration has nothing to do with its phony "war on terror".  This power is being claimed in order to eviscerate the political process.  The purpose is to put teeth behind the proposition-- already vigorously flogged by this administration and its equally corrupt apologists-- that opposition to anything done by the executive amounts to "giving aid and comfort to enemies of the United States"-- the determination of the nature, extent, and activities of which the executive has arrogated solely to its own discretion, of course.  I'm sure that it has escaped no one that the Bush administration has long been working hard to establish the proposition that domestic policy of every sort is intimately intertwined with the overall "war effort", hasn't it?


If Americans don't stand up now-- around the water-cooler, in the classroom, in the courtroom, in church and in the streets-- and make clear that the Rule of Law will be upheld and enforced-- come hell or high water, and the convenience or approval of the state be damned-- it won't be long before it will be too late for words.  Whistling past THIS graveyard will quickly see those vocalizing, and rallying opposition to anything the government wishes to do without the inconvenient restraints of Constitutional limitations on its authority, and the need to answer to the people, silently begin to vanish into the opaque custody of the executive and its shiny new Star-Chamber mockery of due process.  Frankly stated, this measure is a key component of a fast-tracked assault on the fundamental processes of self-government that every American patriot that ever shed blood for his country was acting to defend.  (See Chris Floyd's article below on the new "DHS" initiative to sift data for "unfavorable" opinion of the administration and its policies...)


What we face in this crisis goes beyond politics-- it is, in fact, inherently apolitical, and political considerations are not only immaterial, they are counter-productive.  Take your allies where you find them, in what has now become a struggle to preserve the very structure of law under which civilized political processes can continue.  Standing up now will likely mean standing beside people who disgraced themselves apologizing for the offenses of previous political hacks, and even some who served as cheerleaders for the current gang in recent years, prior to waking up.  So be it.  Right now, if Hillary Clinton called for a meaningful show of opposition to this administration, I'd be there.  (She still wouldn't get my vote later, but I'd be there today.)


Defend And Uphold The Rule Of Law Everywhere And In Everything


The key characteristic of the enemies of the law is that they are relentless in their efforts.  They attack reason and right on all fronts, all the time, knowing that corruption is self-sustaining.  A citizen that can be persuaded, or intimidated, into compromising the rule of law in one area will find the next compromise easier to make.  WE MUST BE AS RELENTLESS AND OVERT IN OUR DEFENSE OF THE RULE OF LAW AS ITS ENEMIES ARE IN THEIR ASSAULT UPON IT.


Among other things in that regard,


  • Re-claim the control over your purse-strings that the Founders intended for you to exercise, by learning and invoking the truth about the "income" tax.  Make no mistake about the moral and practical power this represents-- it is enormous.


  • Get out of your chair and on your feet.  Thousands of you have joined state groups, but I doubt that five hundred of you have ever actually met in person.  The internet IS critically important.  But in terms of political and social impact, and motivational energy, hitting the "send" and "receive" buttons in our jammies between sips of coffee or beer isn't even in the same league as assembling with our compatriots, live and in person.


  • Raise your voice and speak the truth.  The enemies of the law rest their ambitions on the fact that a large swath of American society is disengaged from reality.  Help change that fact.


  • Keep your powder dry.




By the way, this might be a very good time to learn the simple legal sleight-of-hand behind all federal gun control laws.

See 'Gun Control And The Federal Government' in

'Upholding the Law and Other Observations'.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government."

-Thomas Jefferson


"…the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference, they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."

- George Washington







Joe Sobran has written a significant column that I hope everyone reads.  Sobran persuasively argues in favor of casting automatic, no-questions-asked votes for all challengers in every contest, on the basis that breaking the hold of incumbents on their seats is a positive consequence, regardless of the qualities of whatever challenger may end up elected.  In light of the current, incredibly dangerous insanity infecting Washington today, Sobran's argument makes even the idea of voting for Republican or Democrat challengers (in races in which no Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate is running) sound pretty virtuous.




Notwithstanding that the event was a tragedy for all involved and affected thereby, I cannot help but note that the 50-story New York city skyscraper struck by a plane Wednesday afternoon-- with a proportionately much larger impact and fire than those suffered by either WTC 1 or 2 (and infinitely larger than those suffered by WTC 7)-- is still standing, well more than 102 minutes later...


Those continuing to be taken in by the ridiculous and thoroughly debunked mythology about the events of 9/11 endlessly promoted, and relied upon, by the Bush administration and its fellow travelers really need to wake up, and do so quickly.  Another good three-part video on this subject, which might help, can be found here.