Monday, April 30, 2012

"The WSJ: There Are No Civil Liberties. Suck It America"

 "The WSJ: There Are No Civil Liberties. Suck It America"
by Karl Denninger

"Why am I not surprised reading something like this in the WSJ?

    "The tea party movement has generally been constructive, but every so often it runs off the road. A case in point is its emerging condominium with the anti-antiterror left to block terrorist detentions. This strange alliance has developed in response to one of Congress's rare bipartisan achievements—the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). That bill affirmed the long-standing distinction between civilian justice and the rules of war by letting the President detain terrorists (including U.S. citizens) captured anywhere and question them as long as necessary. A President can decide to try them in either military or civilian courts, and the right of habeas corpus to challenge detention in court, established by the Supreme Court's 2004 Hamdi decision, is unchanged. This modest law has sprouted a burst of political delusion in several states and Congress. A tea party outfit called the Tenth Amendment Center calls the law "an unconstitutional and dangerous federal power grab"—though the statute merely codifies existing practice under Presidents Bush and Obama. In the wilder tea party precincts, the talk is that in a second term Mr. Obama might round people up, a la Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor."

Well that isn't because we've done it before, is it? Actually, it is.  We did do it before.  And not only did we not reverse that decision and apologize until far too late to matter, we didn't even make people whole then.

    "The paranoia is showing up in state legislatures, and this month Virginia became the first to forbid state employees from "assisting" the feds "in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of any citizen" under the provisions of the NDAA. This means that as of July 1 in Richmond a state trooper could not arrest the likes of the late Virginia cleric-turned-terrorist-recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki because he might end up in a military brig. A U.S. missile targeted and killed Awlaki in Yemen on Presidential orders, but Virginia police couldn't detain him."

You might first try finding probable cause to arrest him before shooting him with a missile. We do still have that, right?

    "The law now on the books carries a presumption of military detention for suspected terrorists because the top priority is to find out what they know. War fighters need to learn what a terrorist has been plotting, where he has been, who his co-conspirators are, and what else is planned. The priority in civilian court is assessing guilt and punishment, which can come later."

Who's a suspected terrorist?  Anyone the government says is?  And what check and balance is on that?  None, right?  Never mind that it's damn hard to appeal when you're dead.

    "In 1942, a military court ordered the execution of six Nazis, including an American citizen, who were captured after having come ashore from submarines off the U.S. East Coast. Yet some tea partiers want to let today's version of infiltrating Nazis get the same rights as burglars."

On the contrary; we would like those six arrested, tried, and then executed. See, that's the point.  First you arrest them, then you try them, and only after finding them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt do you execute them. The ACLU and Tea Party, along with Libertarians, are not uninformed about the faux "war on terror."  There is in fact no such war. War is a declared thing.  Congress has not declared war.  We are therefore not at war.  QED.

There's a reason the Constitution has the provisions it has regarding war, regarding habeus corups, regarding civil rights.  There's a reason we originally had 10 Amendments to the Constitution passed with it; they're an inviolate part of the whole.  If the WSJ (or anyone else) believe that the Constitution needs to be "updated" to deal with a "more modern" warfare paradigm, then let's see an attempt to amend it.  Propose the amendment, pass it in the Congress, ratify it in the States. That's the right way to do it.  It's hard to do.  It's hard on purpose; it's supposed to be hard, because the Constitution should not be modified for frivolous or transient cause.

I argue that there are damn few terrorists interested in getting into the United States and doing anything, well, terrible.  That's the point of terrorism, right - to terrorize. Well, where are they? I hear all the time that the TSA is "making us safer."  Ok, where the are the felony arrests for attempts to blow up planes or bring guns on board for nefarious purpose?  I haven't seen any in the papers.  But those are civilian felonies and if they happen they are tried in civilian courts.  We know the TSA people can be bribed (because they've been caught doing it for drugs) and we know they're not honest (because they've been caught stealing things) so there's no question that this alleged "security" is full of holes like swiss cheese.

If all these e-vile terrorists wanting to kill us, literally by the thousands, were real we'd have lists of arrests in the papers every morning and more than a few would have succeeded by now. There haven't been any. Really, I mean it. There haven't been any, from a statistical point of view. That's good, by the way, not bad. Yeah, there's two instances of Mr. Bad Guy that are out there in the more than a decade since 9/11 - Mr. Shoe-bomber and Mr. Ball-bomber, both of which failed and both of which, it appears, the government knew about and may have allowed on board with known-defective devices.

But here's the point: Both originated outside the United States. Where is the domestic threat? Yes, we've had a couple of nutballs yell "Allah Akbar!" as they start shooting people, including one at a military base. But our government didn't call that terrorism or the alleged perpetrators terrorists, did they? Why not? I have a greater probability of being hit by lightning going to the mailbox this afternoon - and it's a beautiful blue-sky day here - than being shot or blown up by a terrorist.  I'm singularly unconcerned about it.  On the list of 99 things I worry that may some day kill me, terrorism is in about 5,462nd place.

I wish I could say the same thing about my "faith" in our government and due process of law.  But I can't. The simple fact of the matter is that the 4th Amendment isn't a very rigorous standard.  Obtaining a warrant showing probable cause to believe that someone is going to do something evil and has the means and motive to do so is pretty easy.  In fact it's an extremely low standard, below that of civil evidence for a lawsuit by a country mile.  You simply need to show reason to believe under a reasonable man's standard, not proof.  The warrant let's you obtain your evidence. Is this an onerous requirement?  No, it's not.  In fact it's the only means to prevent the jackbooted abuses that we served up upon those in WWII that happened to have eyes that slanted the wrong way, despite them being American citizens and having absolutely no evidence of having ever done anything to harm this nation or her people.

I can make this nation almost completely-free of gun crime, for example, in one single day.  You simply need to make me dictator.  Once you do I'll go door to door, stop people on the street and search anywhere I want.  If you have a firearm I will confiscate it and then shoot you with it.  To avoid this you may turn in your guns before I get to you.  I need no probable cause for any such search nor to murder you.  I simply need to find a gun anywhere you could conceivably use it. The gun crime rate would go to near zero in an afternoon. Of course what I'd be doing is basically what Hitler did.  And others before and since. But I promise you, if you made me dictator I wouldn't do those evil things Adolph did - I'd just make society "safer."

You trust me, right?

I hope not. But that is exactly what the Journal thinks we should do. My response fits in one word: No.”

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