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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
endorse nearly everything said in the following commentary and linked
films... but add a few comments afterwards...
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
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.
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.
"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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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
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.
Attorney at Law
Permission granted to distribute in full with
Freedom In America Is NOT Dead...
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.
Oppose This, You Have To Recognize That A Casual Attitude Won't Cut It
I observe in part three of the title essay in 'Upholding the
Law and Other Observations':
So, What Do We Do?
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:
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
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.
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
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:
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
That This Goes Beyond Mere Politics
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
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..
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.
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
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?
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?
will answer my own questions: The power being claimed by this
administration has nothing to do with its phony "war
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
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?
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...)
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.)
And Uphold The Rule Of Law Everywhere And In Everything
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.
other things in that regard,
out of your chair and on your feet. Thousands of you have joined state
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.
the way, this might be a very good time to learn the simple legal
sleight-of-hand behind all federal gun control laws.
'Gun Control And The Federal Government' in
Law and Other Observations'.
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
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."
Joe Sobran has written a significant
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.
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...
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.