Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

They hate us for our freedom

i generally try to stick to subjects on which I might have something special or at least idiosyncratic to add, and I resist dropping my own halfpenny worth on the topic du jour. But I mean, really. Goodness gracious. Heavens to Betsy. It seems the Congress needed to do something about the executive branch demolishing the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, the rule of law, and 100 years of progress on international norms of conduct, so the solution is to legalize it all and grant the President of the United States the powers pertaining to a psychopathic dictator.

This is the effect of the legislation which has passed the House of Representatives and is now being debated in the Senate:

If, in the opinion of George W. Bush, I have "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" (let's say, by giving to Pakistani earthquake relief, as I urged people to do here last year), he can declare me an unlawful enemy combatant and make me disappear forever into a military prison, where he can have me tortured, with no recourse to the legal system, except that I will be tried by a "military tribunal." That I happen to be a U.S. citizen doesn't protect me. Oh sure, he wouldn't do that -- this bill is only directed at people who support terrorists on purpose, not to worry.

The punditocracy has ruled that this is a clever political maneuver by the Republicans. If Democrats vote against the bill, they will be enablers of terrorism, and it will redound to Republican advantage at the polls. It can happen here. It is happening here. It has happened here.

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