News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: American-Style Tyranny

Friday, March 31, 2006

American-Style Tyranny

I have just finished watching the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on Sen Russ Feingold's censure resolution of the President for his NSA domestic spying program.

It seems to me that Feingold's side was trounced in this hearing. All the hearing did was to give Specter more grist for his own bill. ...

Until Feingold and others undermine the idea that the US is at war, their continued desire to see the President's domestic spying program as illegal will falter.

I say this with some trepidation. I think the Bush admin is a clear and present danger to the life of the Republic. Unfortunately, I think the admin. has the Congress over a barrel.

We are witnessing the bitter weeds of what our representatives in government sowed in their cowardice and fear when they gave the President a broadly phrased and open-ended resolution to use military force.

All I can say is, the country has some dark days ahead of it. Perhaps these days are necessery. They will serve as a form education into what American-style tyranny looks like.

I imagine all that those who oppose this usurpation of power by the Bushites have to hope for is that the Supreme Court will judge as broadly as possible in the Hamdan case and declare that the President has set up war crimes trials in a time when: 1) there's no war and 2) there's no national emergency (for if there were, then the President might be able to invoke martial law-type powers).

That is, as Justice Breyer stated in a question to General Clement during his presentation of the government's case for a military tribunal against Hamdan:

JUSTICE BREYER: ... And, in my mind, I take their argument as saying, "Look, you want to try a war crime. You want to say this is a war crimes tribunal. One, this is not a war, at least not an ordinary war. Two, it's not a war crime, because that doesn't fall under international law. And, three, it's not a war crime tribunal or commission, because no emergency, not on the battlefield, civil courts are open, there is no military commander asking for it, it's not in any of those in other respects, like past history. And if the President can do this, well, then he can set up commissions to go to Toledo, and, in Toledo, pick up an alien, and not have any trial at all, except before that special commission." (pp. 66-67)

Now, I am sure there are nuances to this that I'm not getting, since I am not a lawyer. In fact, I have read one commentary on the Hamdan arguments that suggested that the Justices will nto want to judge broadly in this case--meaning by that they will not take on the big issues about whether it's a war or not.

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