First non-citizens, now the rest of us, losing rights

There’s a big party taking place next door, and I can’t sleep. So, I’m laying here, making my way through Glenn Greenwald’s most recent piece for Salon, and trying not to get too depressed. If you haven’t read it, you probably should. Here’s how it starts.

A primary reason Bush and Cheney succeeded in their radical erosion of core liberties is because they focused their assault on non-citizens with foreign-sounding names, casting the appearance that none of what they were doing would ever affect the average American. There were several exceptions to that tactic — the due-process-free imprisonment of Americans Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, the abuse of the “material witness” statute to detain American Muslims, the eavesdropping on Americans’ communications without warrants — but the vast bulk of the abuses were aimed at non-citizens. That is now clearly changing.

The most recent liberty-abridging, Terrorism-justified controversies have focused on diluting the legal rights of American citizens (in part because the rights of non-citizens are largely gone already and there are none left to attack). A bipartisan group from Congress sponsors legislation to strip Americans of their citizenship based on Terrorism accusations. Barack Obama claims the right to assassinate Americans far from any battlefield and with no due process of any kind. The Obama administration begins covertly abandoning long-standing Miranda protections for American suspects by vastly expanding what had long been a very narrow “public safety” exception, and now Eric Holder explicitly advocates legislation to codify that erosion. John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduce legislation to bar all Terrorism suspects, including Americans arrested on U.S. soil, from being tried in civilian courts, and former Bush officials Bill Burck and Dana Perino — while noting (correctly) that Holder’s Miranda proposal constitutes a concession to the right-wing claim that Miranda is too restrictive — today demand that U.S. citizens accused of Terrorism and arrested on U.S. soil be treated as enemy combatants and thus denied even the most basic legal protections (including the right to be charged and have access to a lawyer)…

And to think I really thought that all of bullshit this would end when we elected a professor of Constitutional Law.

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  1. Jules
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Your last sentence perfectly encapsulates how I feel. I remember having a conversation with a friend, prior to the election, in which I said that I hoped Obama was really masquerading as a moderate and would turn out to be a real liberal once he became Prez. It never occurred to me that the opposite scenario could turn out to be the case. Hearing people call him a socialist is beyond a bitter irony. Would that it were so.

  2. Jules
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    And then there’s this
    What could be wrong with having a privatized spy ring with an agenda, providing “intelligence”?

  3. Kyle
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    There’s no reason to be afraid… unless, of course, you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing.

  4. Posted May 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Fuck you Kyle. You give away your rights…I want mine intact. I am a citizen of this country, and I have certain unalienable rights afforded me by my fathers and their fathers. So…who are the conspiracy nuts now? I hate to say we told you so…but…well you know how the rest of that goes. I live right, and don’t do anything wrong, but I don’t need to live in fear of misrepresentation of action either. What a cocksucker…I wish I never voted for that asshole.
    2000-10 party over
    Oops out of time
    So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s … 1984!

  5. Kyle
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    As long as they don’t take away the fucking right to swear.

  6. Glen S.
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I shudder to think how much worse things would have been had McCain/Palin been elected in 2008 … but I still think Obama has been a huge disappointment, so far.

    The 2008 election demonstrated a real appetite for meaningful change … but on so many issues — ending the wars, restoring the constitution, reforming heath care, energy and climate change policy, financial reform, labor rights, civil rights, etc. — the Obama administration has not only failed to deliver, but they have consistently failed to take on entrenched interests on behalf of ordinary Americans, often using the elusive goal of “bipartisanship,” as a handy excuse.

    Since there literally is no telling what kind of “tea-party”-inspired nightmare candidate the Republicans will choose to nominate in 2012 — I’m not going to say that I won’t vote for Obama next time. But, if I do, at least I won’t have any illusions about who (or what) I’m voting for.

  7. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Not to say I told you so or anything, but I told you so. Where’s your spoonfulls of bacon grease now, Moses?

  8. Posted May 17, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Add this to the list: the Supreme Court has ruled that people who have served out their full sentance can be held indefinitely if they might be dangerous. No new crime committed or alleged, no new trial, you have no rights.

  9. Kim
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Looks like Obama needs to be reminded who got him elected.

  10. ytown
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a lot of buyers remorse. Glad to see people coming to thier senses.

  11. ytown
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    their senses , whoops

  12. kjc
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    i don’t think remorse is the right word. i doubt that people who are disappointed in obama wish they’d voted mccain/palin.

  13. Andrew
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    McCain Palin would have been an absolute nightmare. Worse than hoards of locusts. We’d be at war in Iran, Halliburton would be handling domestic security, and public schools would be closed in favor of online faith-based programs.

  14. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    McCain and Palin would have nearly identical policies, but with different rhetoric and timing for different target audiences.

    The two major parties, with exceptions who will conveniently remain forever in the minority, are two heads of the same crony “capitalist” big government tyranny dragon. The heads bicker and argue and call each other evil, and pretend the only safe place to hide from the “bad” head is in the “good” head’s toothy maw. Then they pass laws to make it impossible for third parties to win enough to make a difference.

    I’ve overextended the metaphor, but you get the idea. It’s really hard for us to look past the emotional blood-pumping partisanship we’ve all been raised with, and see reality for what it is, but deep down, we all know it’s true.

  15. dp in ypsi
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    so someday soon in AZ: if you don’t “show your papers” are you branded a terrorist and exported?

    if so, where do you get exported to?

    … a FEMA prison camp, perhaps?

    maybe this will be a pitch for new jobs… prison camps for former Americans who didn’t have their papers and were branded terrorists.

    isn’t it fitting/ironic that Lieberman of all people would suggest revocation for those branded terrorists?

    and as is often the case… Brackinald is right… those that argue that McCain/Palin would have been somehow worse would also likely argue that a baseball bat would hurt less than a cricket paddle because it has rounded corners… bordering on strategically inept this position is, one can almost never win a sustained battle when positioned from a point of weakness at the get-go. if the oil rig had not gone down Mr. Obama would be using his charm to whisper drill baby drill into the ears of Americans, throw in a sprinkle of new nuclear power plants and wadda ya know, you got the same darn policy as the previous folks. granted he throws a bone to the do-gooders who want weatherization and CDBG money, but that’s more politics than anything else.

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