Monday, September 18, 2006

Congress is powerless to absolve Bush of capital crimes and torture charges

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy 

Bush is in a heap of trouble. The US Congress should be impeaching Bush —NOT conspiring with him to cover his backside! Whatever torture compromise may work its way through an intimidated Congress, it must not help Bush. The US Constitution requires nothing less than a Constitutional Amendment to relieve U.S. obligations under the Geneva convention. At least one Constitutional provision means that nothing legal can get Bush off the hook for the crimes that he has already committed.

Bush seeks an ex post facto law that will make legal —after the fact —his violations of the Geneva Convention having to do with torture.
No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

—US Constitution, Article I
That means that Bush cannot commit crimes and make them "legal" later. That includes his having ordered summary executions and brutal tortures, only to have them made legal ex post facto, The Constitution flatly states that it doesn't work that way!
George Washington University Professor and Countdown resident Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley joined Keith tonight to discuss the legal implications of President Bush’s proposed changes to Article III of the Geneva Conventions. Keith raises an obvious yet seldom mentioned point: Is the Bush administration trying to retroactively legalize crimes it very well may have already committed? Wouldn’t be the first time.
—John Amato, Crooks and Liars
Bush is beyond help from a mere act of Congresst. It'll take either the second coming or a constitutional amendment to change any US treaty obligation; the chances of that happening are very, very slim.
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

US Constitution, Article VI, Annotations
Therefore, the Geneva Convention is the supreme law of the land and Bush is subject to it even if Congress should pass a measure that attempts to pardon him or, in any other way, absolve him of the capital crimes that he has already committed.

 US Codes, Title 18, § 2441. War crimes bind the US to the those international treaties which address issues of war crimes, crimes against the peace and crimes against humanity. Bush deliberately violated all of them. There is probable cause to bring severe criminal charges against Bush now. If the US government had not been hijacked by a handful of crooked corporations, Bush would already have been impeached, tried, and removed from office to stand trial in ordinary criminal courts. Partisan politics has kept him in office.

Meanwhile in London, Britain's Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith warns that the US risks "international condemnation" should it try to renounce Geneva or limit its obligations. Goldsmith's comments come after a US Senate committee rejected changes in the law that Bush had demanded. An alternative measure has been proposed by GOP Senator John McCain and supported by former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who stated earlier:
The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.

—Colin Powell
The world has every reason to doubt. There is no moral basis for the US position and the actions taken on Bush's watch. Bush, like Hitler before him, has thumbed his nose at US international obligations though we are bound to them by our own Constitution —the supreme law of the land.

The media has done the American public a disservice, dealing with this story in Orwellian terms, calling torture "tough questioning" or "stringent interrogation techniques" or some other absurd euphemism. Bush, himself, calls it "an alternative set of procedures"! Hey! We're talking about torture, folks! It's a crime! And when death results —as it has in fact —it's a capital crime prohibited by federal laws, punishable by death.

Moreover, it will take a constitutional amendment to undo those obligations and even that will not exonerate Bush after the fact. Bush perpetrated a fraud upon the nation in order to wage of war of naked aggression, itself a war crime under the Nuremberg Principles. Then, in the course of waging that criminal war, Bush violates Geneva which he now pressures Congress to abjure. My position is: it is not Geneva that Congress should abjure —but Bush! Instead of papering over his crimes with what Bush hopes will exculpate his sorry ass, the Congress should be drafting his impeachment.

An update:

People have died under U.S. torture

Published: September 23, 2006
The writer of the Sept. 21 letter of the day, "They may be detained, but they get food," ignores the Pentagon's admission that more than 20 detainees deaths have been classified as homicides in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.
These deaths were at the hands of U.S. soldiers and civilian contractors, in our facilities. Decent food, medical treatment and humane conditions did not help these detainees. They are dead through some means of torture.
The letter writer also suggested liberals don't understand the enemy we face. Quite the contrary, we see the inhumanity all around and question the leadership, direction and tactics of our war against terrorists.
The US War Crimes Act of 1996 makes it a felony to commit grave violations of the Geneva Conventions. The Washington Post recently reported that the Bush administration is quietly circulating draft legislation to eliminate crucial parts of the War Crimes Act. Observers on The Hill say the Administration plans to slip it through Congress this fall while there still is a guaranteed Republican majority–perhaps as part of the military appropriations bill, the proposals for Guantánamo tribunals or a new catch-all “anti-terrorism” package.
As David Cole of the Georgetown University Law Center pointed out in the August 10 issue of The New York Review of Books, the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rusmfeld “suggests that President Bush has already committed a war crime, simply by establishing the [Guantánamo] military tribunals and subjecting detainees to them” because “the Court found that the tribunals violate Common Article 3–and under the War Crimes Act, any violation of Common Article 3 is a war crime.” A similar argument would indicate that top US officials have also committed war crimes by justifying interrogation methods that, according to the testimony of US military lawyers, also violate Common Article 3.
Lo and behold, the legislation the Administration has circulated on Capitol Hill would decriminalize such acts retroactively.

Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith, The Nation 
From Joseph Story's venerable Commentaries on the Constitution:
§ 1339. Of the same class are ex post facto laws, that is to say, (in a literal sense,) laws passed after the act done. The terms, ex post facto laws, in a comprehensive sense, embrace all retrospective laws, or laws governing, or controlling past transactions, whether they are of a civil, or a criminal nature.

—Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§§ 1338--39
And from a more contemporary commentator, the syndicated liberal talk personality from KCAA, Los Angeles:
There is no slicker way to exalt Bush above the law than to simply make legal the laws he's already broken. ...
I have more to say about ex post facto attempts to make legal the numerous crimes Bush has committed but first the Hamden decision to date: In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, handed down June 29, the United States Supreme Court ruled that George W. Bush exceeded his authority. Neither the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), nor the so-called inherent powers give Bush a legal authority to set up military tribunals at Guantanamo.
For those of us who have maintained for some time now that Bush is a "war criminal" -- who has breached not only international conventions but also U.S. criminal codes -- the high court's decision is vindication. In effect, SCOTUS has said that for a period of some five years, the Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney gang has been guilty of violating the Third Convention on treatment of prisoners of war as well as a U.S. federal law of 1996 which binds the U.S. executive to those relevant parts of the Geneva convention.
Predictably, a conspiratorial GOP is scrambling to let Bush off the hook, even though he is most certainly guilty of violating U.S. and international law. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says that Congress will reverse the Supreme Court's declaration and Sen. Arlen Specter is already at work on the language of the bill. I submit to Sen. McCain that Congress does not have the authority to reverse a decision of the supreme court; it can only pass a new law addressing its objections. Moreover, there is no precedent for excusing culprits ex post facto! On it its face, this is unfair; but more importantly, unconstitutional
No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

Article I, U.S. Constitution
Bush and his GOP co-conspirators are routinely at odds with the supreme law of the land but also simple common sense. Because ex post facto laws change —after the fact —the legal consequences of acts already committed, the ex post facto law becomes an instrument of oppression and tyranny. Hoping to crack down on dissenters, for example, a government need only make the voicing of certain opinions a crime but only after they've been printed, broadcast or spoken. Such a government need only make the law, round up the usual suspects, and prosecute them for actions that were legal at the time of their commission. Conversely, the dictator-in-chief in such a society need only subvert the very foundations of law and order itself and demand that his actions be made legal —after the fact! Convenience is the enemy of the rule of law.
—Barry Gordon, summa cum laude political science, California State University, Los Angeles; J.D. Loyola Law School, 1991, BarryTalk.com
A law, however, cannot be denominated retrospective, or ex post facto, which merely changes the remedy, but does not affect the right.

—U.S. Supreme Court, HOLLINGSWORTH v. STATE OF VIRGINIA, 3 U.S. 378 (1798)
The Torture President
Additional resources:
I am pleased to have been picked up by a French language blog called Paroles de Québécois Here's a portion of the story they wrote about the ex post facto issue:
J'ai mentionné précédemment que Bush cherchait un pardon rétroactif pour les crimes qu'il a commis en relation avec la convention de Genève sur le traitement des prisonniers. Heureusement, la voie qu'il poursuit est anticonstitutionnelle en raison de ce petit "bout de papier" (le terme utilisé par Bush pour référer à la constitution, ironiquement le seul et unique devoir du président est de la faire respecter), particulièrement cette ligne révélatrice:
    No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

    —US Constitution, Article I
Howard Zinn's name has come up several times now in the comments section. Here's Zinn's latest essay:
America’s Blinders

By Howard Zinn

April 2006 Issue

Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?
The question is important because it might help us understand why Americans—members of the media as well as the ordinary citizen—rushed to declare their support as the President was sending troops halfway around the world to Iraq.
A small example of the innocence (or obsequiousness, to be more exact) of the press is the way it reacted to Colin Powell’s presentation in February 2003 to the Security Council, a month before the invasion, a speech which may have set a record for the number of falsehoods told in one talk. In it, Powell confidently rattled off his “evidence”: satellite photographs, audio records, reports from informants, with precise statistics on how many gallons of this and that existed for chemical warfare. The New York Times was breathless with admiration. The Washington Post editorial was titled “Irrefutable” and declared that after Powell’s talk “it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.”
It seems to me there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture, and which help explain the vulnerability of the press and of the citizenry to outrageous lies whose consequences bring death to tens of thousands of people. If we can understand those reasons, we can guard ourselves better against being deceived.
One is in the dimension of time, that is, an absence of historical perspective. The other is in the dimension of space, that is, an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. We are penned in by the arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior.
If we don’t know history, then we are ready meat for carnivorous politicians and the intellectuals and journalists who supply the carving knives. I am not speaking of the history we learned in school, a history subservient to our political leaders, from the much-admired Founding Fathers to the Presidents of recent years. I mean a history which is honest about the past. If we don’t know that history, then any President can stand up to the battery of microphones, declare that we must go to war, and we will have no basis for challenging him. He will say that the nation is in danger, that democracy and liberty are at stake, and that we must therefore send ships and planes to destroy our new enemy, and we will have no reason to disbelieve him. ...
An update from my good friends at Bad Attitudes:
Donald Rumsfeld is onto something when he suggests that opponents of Bush’s occupation of Iraq are at best appeasers like Chamberlain and at worst Vichy collaborators like Marshal Pétain. World War II parallels to Georgie’s Excellent Adventure actually do exist, although not where our Secretary of “Defense” finds them. They’re in Casablanca.

Doesn’t the Nazi, Major Strasser, remind you of Rummy himself? And of course to most of the world (all of the Arab world), Feldmarschall Rumsfeld’s Iraqi “terrorists” look strikingly like that heroic resistance fighter, Victor Laszlo.

--Speaking of Invidious Comparisons


102 comments:

John Perry said...

Great piece Len. I was not aware of the Constitutional amendment aspect.

Now all we need are some people with the balls to prosecute these Bush murderers for their crimes against America and the world.

Anonymous said...

That's the real problem now, isn't it? Who is going to enforce our laws? Not Bush. Not Gonzales. Congress and the federal courts have no enforcement power in our system.

Unknown said...

Sharon, you hit the nail on the head. There is fat chance that Bush or Gonzales will perform their constitutional duties in good faith —if at all! Therefore, our "government" is illegitimate. Bush is not merely refusing to live up to his oath of office, he is deliberately subverting it and attempting to change the intentions of the founders and the Constition by an unconstitutional fiat. I agree with many astute authors, including Sydney Blumenthal, who have at last recognized that Bush is NO conservative. His regime is, rather, a radical, revolutionary regime that unless checked will inevitably end American democracy forever. It may already be too late. However unpopular Bush may be, a triumvirate consisting of the corporate establishment, the military/industrial complex and a hard care 30 percent of the population are aligned with Bush's fascist ambitions.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, there you go again, taking the Great Deciderer out of context. He never said he wants to amend the Geneva Convention's Common Article III - he just wants to CLARIFY it a little! There, now aren't you ashamed of yourself? All that kerfuffle over a little bit of innocent clarifying.

Nope, you're right; Bush can call it what he wants, too many people are on to his modus operandi. There can't be many people left who don't catch on that, when Bush wants to amend something that's been the way of doing things for years and years, it's because that way of doing things limits his exercise of raw unaccountable power. Raw unaccountable power in the hands of a halfwit like Bush is like a chainsaw in the hands of a...ummm...well, a different halfwit.

Anyway, as Vierotchka astutely pointed out, even if the U.S. was 100% behind this betrayer of every honest American value - it's not the province of the United States to modify International Law without agreement from the World body. If the U.S. had that kind of clout, they wouldn't be seeking status of forces agreements with the Iraqi government, to ensure American soldiers can't be called to account by Iraqi law. They'd just issue a proclamation that stated, "American soldiers can do as they please, so say we; so say we all, world without end, Amen". Of course, they don't do that, because it's illegal. What posesses this talking turnip, that he thinks he can bend and twist International law that holds sway over most of the world? You might want to back off on the Kool-Ade, Mr. President.

I truly hope the next time we see Bush, he's over in Costume trying on his orange jumpsuit for his role in "Dead Man Walking 2006". If it's any comfort, you probably won't have to do it again. Bush is the worst president in 100 years - by the time another whackjob like him comes along, with the manipulative support of another Grima Wormtongue like Karl Rove, we'll all be dead.

Unknown said...

John, thanks and welcome to the blog!

Article VI is one of seven articles in the main body. Article VI deals with the Legal Status of the Constitution itself —summarizing in the founders' bullet proof style the authority of the Constitution, laws pursuant thereof, treaties, and the liability of the judiciary to rule consistent with the charter itself. Some have likened this article to the Constitution literally "boot strapping" itself, priming its own pump, if you will. By whatever metaphor, the second sentence in VI is literally the Constitution declaration its own supremacy over statutes, exeuctive orders, or any other instrument by which governing bodies may declare their will. So —if Bush wishes to "clarify" Geneva, it will require a Constitutional amendment.

Unknown said...

Mark, you wrote: Anyway, as Vierotchka astutely pointed out, even if the U.S. was 100% behind this betrayer of every honest American value - it's not the province of the United States to modify International Law without agreement from the World body.

Indeed, Vierotchka was absolutely correct. Only the signatories of Geneva can amend it as a body and until that time, Article VI states FLATLY, and without any ambiguity, that the US is bound to Geneva as it is bound to the Constitution itself.

Bush is just flat wrong...and, if he knows himself to be wrong, then he is deliberately lying again. Sartre would have called that bad faith, mauvaise foi!

Gracie said...

I'm so glad you summed this all up in layman's terms as the pundits, excluding Keith, are spinning this round and round with their usual doublespeak leaving those of us to wonder WTH has happened to this country?

This administration not only promotes torture but dares the legislation or the American people to question these illegal policies. It's the overall arrogance of it all which is so unprecedented in nature along with the acts themselves. Can you believe we are even discussing this topic as if were part of everyday conversation now? This is crazy! After watching his press conference on Friday, I honestly thought the man was going to explode with that childish tantrum.

Your piece gives me a shred of hope that this administration finally went too far and will not get away with it this time. I thought for sure the Plame incident would have nailed them but they slithered out of that one. Let's hope this nightmare ends soon for all of our sakes.

Excellent summary, thanks so much!

Sorry for the rant, I got a little carried away.

Unknown said...

Indeed, it is a nightmare. Now I understand what millions of German citizens —alarmed by the rise of Hitler —must have felt when they saw their bretheren, seemingly hypnotized, gathering for rallies at Nuremberg, starry-eyed, crazed, becoming fanatics. I grew up believing that my country was the "good guys". Apparently, I was wrong.

Fuzzflash said...

Len, you mention, " The Constitution flatly states that it doesn't work that way! I've been screaming about this for a long time now. Maybe the time has come to be vindicated"
Bloody oath it has, and banging on about it, you have been. Some sage once waxed about nothing being as powerful as an idea whose time has come. And at last there are an increasing number of citizens who are hip that the fix is in. Word on the street says they're ready to rumble. Btw, what's the object laterally adjacent to Uncle Sambo's right shoulder?
Rant on, Gracie, rant on. All the regulars around here find it(the act of unburdening oneself) quite therapeutic,and all do so to varying degrees. By sharing our hopes, dreams and ideas we empower each other.

Unknown said...

Fuzzflash, you wrote:

By sharing our hopes, dreams and ideas we empower each other.

Your eloquence is inspiring. As Lazlo told Rick: "This time I know our side will win!"

Anonymous said...

Well said, fuzzflash (I think the object of which you speak is a set of manacles enclosing wrists)! I agree with Gracie that it's remarkable the stage to which affairs have progressed, relatively without exciting comment. Everybody bought that "9-11 changed us forever" line of guff, as if it justified the ridiculous lengths to which the Bush administration has gone to remake the world.

Then everybody bought the myth of American exceptionalism, that Americans would set Iraq on the straight and narrow where others had failed. Perhaps it would have been possible, had it not been clear from the outset to Iraqis and to everybody except Bush followers that America was there for oil, and to remake Iraq in America's image, not to mention a strategic staging-point for reordering the entire Middle East.

It's sad that Americans allowed this to happen to themselves - not everyone, obviously; some were on to the game from the get-go, but they were shouted down as unpatriotic and treasonous - but enough to put that blasphemy in the White House for a second term. But it's not too late to make amends. Watch out, because the next choreographed squirm is going to be an effort to paint any embarrassment to the president as an embarrassment to America. Don't fall for it. You'll be told that putting the president on trial will make the US the laughingstock of the world. Don't fall for it.

Putting that assclown on trial, and holding him accountable for the things he arrogantly claimed the right to do even though a couple of hundred years of American history said they were an abomination, is justice. No more, no less.

Fuzzflash said...

Sidney Blumenthal concludes his post on Huffie today:

"Bush imagined that he would use the period surrounding the 9/11 commemorations to revive his popularity and lift the Republican Party before the mid-term elections on the national security theme. His atmospherics, however, have been blown away by his grim realities. Going into the election, he has split the Republican Party and forced the country to face a debate on torture."

Scrumptious.

Gracie said...

Len, whoa, you can’t imagine how many times I’ve felt & said the exact same thing re: Hitler but few seem to get my meaning. It’s terrify, isn’t it to watch this unfold while screaming at the top of your lungs yet people can’t hear it?

Fuzzblash, I seem to be ranting more these days since the stakes are far higher than I even like to admit. Thanks for your kind words, it’s nice to be among kindred spirits and especially such welcoming ones.

It’s amazing, Mark. Who could have imagined 6 years ago that these radicals would have been this successful in gaining all the more power as an empire while keeping the M.E. in a constant state of turmoil.

The death and destruction these guys have caused will take a lifetime to rebuild, sad to say. I agree they aren’t conservatives but extremists moving this country so far to the right you’d hardly recognize the place. They are NOT above the law and it’s shocking to hear the apologists constantly using Orwellian language to try and convince the people it’s all OK.

These posts have really had a profound affect not because I’m unaware but the way in which it’s written that pulls it all together in both a terrifying yet hopeful way.

Truthfully, I don’t think they will ever pay for the damage caused to this county. Thanks again for the warm welcome everybody.

Anonymous said...

Yes We Can. Impeachment followed by a trip to the Hague is exactly what the USA needs to begin to rebuild its moral stature. This is attainable - a little down the road perhaps but we absolutely must try. We the People should stop underestimating our power. This struggle is not new but has been re-fought over and over through the ages. The only thing different now is the stakes.

"First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Anonymous said...

You'll be hard put to beat my rants, Gracie. But, hey, go your hardest. :)

Anonymous said...

Trip to The Hague?
Don't think so:
The Hague invasion act : http://www.hrw.org/press/2002/08/aspa080302.htm

Anonymous said...

I despise that carpetbagger squatting in my White House. His appointment as President set the stage for what amounted to a coup. He so reminds me of Death Row inmates on the eve of their execution denouncing murder by the state. Never mind that they themselves are murderers, when facing that deadly cocktail that will stop their heart from ever beating again, they suddenly and miraculously become Death Penalty opponents. So it goes with Bush. His crimes are of monstrous proportions, he knows it, and is absolutely frantic with fear that for once in his pampered, elitist life, he will be held accountable. In all my 54 years as a guest on this marvelous Earth, I can truthfully say I have NEVER voted for a Republican. I am a yellow-dog Democrat and I wear that distinction as a badge of honor. When this national nightmare is over, and I choose to believe it will end, I wonder how many Bush supporters/apologists will claim they are modern-day partisans, much as the post WWII French did. Having lived in the country for some time now, my sense of smell has grown more acute. And I can smell a Republican from miles away. This I know. I will never stop fighting for my beloved country, by whatever means necessary. Our Constitution is not "just a goddamn piece of paper" as Bush has said. It is a living embodiment of our laws and the principles which guide our moral compass. And that "pesky" Bill of Rights is our conscience, and we must honor it everyday. We the People will stand. We the People will not kowtow to this false bushgod. We the People will not bow to a criminal imposter posing as the President. We the People. WE THE PEOPLE. We will not lose hope. We will not lose our soul. We will see the sun gloriously rise again. The long night is almost over. And We The People will rejoice.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with the feelings here, there is a point not being considered...

Our government in general does not want to talk about accountabability. Doing so puts the spot light on themselves.. and VERY few in the government can claim to be clean or actually working for the people.

-Dave

Unknown said...

"First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Well said! BTW —where is that quote from? Anyone know?

Our government in general does not want to talk about accountabability.

Indeed, they do not! And that's just one of the things for which they are MOST accountable.

I despise that carpetbagger squatting in my White House.

You are not alone on this forum where I am sure your sentiments are shared abundantly.

Mark E. Smith said...

Wasn't it Gandhi?

This gang owns the cops, the courts, and the military.

Yes, to Bush the Constitution is just a piece of paper, and he doesn't believe that laws apply to him.

There are death camps all over this country waiting for us to protest so that they can kill us all.

That's why I do not advocate violent revolution. I advocate nonviolent revolution. I advocate withdrawing our monetary support for this illigitimate regime and the corporations running it. Buy gas only from Citgo. Buy produce only at farmers' markets. Don't buy at big box stores and don't buy brand names. Don't contribute to political parties. Simplify your life so that you don't earn enough to have to pay taxes.

Corporations don't pay taxes. The rich don't pay taxes. Every penny this government has it either takes from us or borrows from foreign countries. If we stop supporting it, it will be bankrupt.

A consumers' revolution isn't something that can be handled by Homeland Security and crowd control gear. This regime only exists because we are supporting it. Let's see it exist on the proceeds from the supposed 30% that favor it. Most of them either don't pay taxes or are on the government payroll.

If you really oppose tyranny, you have an obligation to yourself to stop supporting it. This gang only thinks they own the courts and the cops. This is America and when you stop paying people, they don't stay bought. Every bit of power this regime has comes from us, not just in the Constitutional sense, but in a practical economic sense.

If you're against torture, if you're against the war, if you're against the Bush regime, just stop financially supporting them. Any changes you have to make to your lifestyle are nothing compared to what innocent people being tortured in secret prisons or being killed in wars based on lies are going through. If we stop paying for it, the whole thing comes to a crashing halt.

We not only can, we must.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, Hillcountrygal, that was well said, and encouraging. It is refreshing to see in print that GEORGE BUSH'S VALUES ARE NOT AMERICA'S VALUES! It is absolutely critical for America's acceptance back into the world community, from which its rogue behaviour and apparent values have ostracized it. I am confident a different suit surmounted by a Democratic lapel button rather than a Republican one is not going to cut it. There must be a clear statement that America will no longer pursue this destructive path.

There have been fools like Bush before, although perhaps never of such an order of magnitude, who imagined military strength, money and boldness were all that was needed to reorder the world to their pleasure. We see again, as we have before, what happens when morals, reason and compassion are left out of the equation.

Accountability is coming for you, Mr. President; implacable, unswerving, its hooves muffled as for a funeral procession.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mark Smith, that was a powerful post. I guess I must have been typing at the same time, so I didn't get to read it until I sent my own. That line of reasoning is worthy of a forum by itself!

Do you feel the momentum gathering, building? What the people have given away, so can they repossess.

Anonymous said...

The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.

—Colin Powell


Beginning???? The world has been full aware for years of the fact that there never was any moral basis whatsoever in the so-called "fight against terrorism" farce!

Anonymous said...

Len Wrote: Indeed, it is a nightmare. Now I understand what millions of German citizens —alarmed by the rise of Hitler —must have felt when they saw their bretheren, seemingly hypnotized, gathering for rallies at Nuremberg, starry-eyed, crazed, becoming fanatics. I grew up believing that my country was the "good guys". Apparently, I was wrong.

I have the exact same feelings Len. (After reading "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn I feel the wool has permanently been removed from my eyes, however. I am able to see that much of history has been ‘spun’ to encourage this belief, when in reality, we have often NOT been the “good guys”).

Ever since this bozo was appointed king in 2000, I have been watching as more and more people seem to be losing their sensibilities & their sense of decencies. There is literally a crazed look in their eyes. Like Hill Country Gal, I can literally sense them close to me. Not so much smell them, but as soon as I see their faces, I just know they have been partaking of the Kool-Aid. This must be how the good people of Germany felt as those around them became brainwashed by the Nazi party.

Gracie wrote:Len, whoa, you can’t imagine how many times I’ve felt & said the exact same thing re: Hitler but few seem to get my meaning. It’s terrify, isn’t it to watch this unfold while screaming at the top of your lungs yet people can’t hear it?


Me too Gracie. I am summarily dismissed as a complete loon whenever I have made the comparison. But now, it seems that they are the loons. I can't believe - absolutely cannot believe - that the Geneva Convention is now under attack. This is symbolic of everything that is wrong with this administration. It comes down to what differentiates a civilized force (even one involved in an illegal war) from the Gestapo. Shouldn’t this be beyond question - even to a sociopathic ruler? American is summarily moving out of the "civilized nation" column and into "Third Reich-land". Axis of evil anyone? I have never been more saddened, embarrassed and ANGRY at my country as I am right now.


Hill Country Gal wrote: I can truthfully say I have NEVER voted for a Republican.

Me either.

Gracie wrote: These posts have really had a profound affect not because I’m unaware but the way in which it’s written that pulls it all together in both a terrifying yet hopeful way.

This blog and all of the intelligent comments really do pull it all together. Len - quoting the relevant parts of the constitution was very helpful. Also, thanks to Mark for recommending that I visit!

attobuoy said...

Don't you people get it??!! Haven't the Bush "signing statement" tactics made it clear to you??!!

Look, here's the thing: Bush is asking the Senate to do a "signing statement" on the Geneva accords, 59 years after they were adopted. By "clarifying" their "understanding" of what article 3 has "always meant" they would then vitiate it, in the same way that Bush uses signing statements to vitiate congressional bills that he signs. In this way it would "not" be retroactive.

Can you people squinch your eyes up funny, look a little sideways, and understand the picture?

George Orwell, eat your heart out; this is a tactic that you can only wish you'd thought of.

Anonymous said...

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win." - Mahatma Ghandi

:)

Jennie said...

It's nice to see like-minded people with sensible reasoning!

I have to say that Bush Co has been acting like a weasel ever since he campaigned for the presidency. It still amazes me that no one got suspicious or raised a red flag or something when Bush, Cheney and their closest advisors requested not to speak under oath when the 9/11 hearings were being conducted. Everyone thought that was okay, well, except me. To me, they knew exactly how they impeached Clinton, and Bush Co. was not going to fall for doing anything under oath and get caught.

Bush Co continues to weasel through such challenges and use tactics to remain unscathed. It's all because they know the tactics they used to convict the opposing side, and know how to avoid getting pinned themselves.

Our challenge is to find the right tactics to circumvent their weaseling ability to avoid punishment.

attobuoy said...

Ben, Bush can't pardon himself. But he cn pardon Cheney, then resign and let Cheney be President, and Cheney can then pardon Bush. Sort of like when Ford pardoned Nixon.

Anonymous said...

Revolution - I am grateful for seeing the ‘r’ word popping up now and again of late.

There is no will to impeach the criminal members of the Bush regime, members of both Houses of Congress have violated their oaths of office but there is no recall provision available to the American people, AND our voting system is rigged.

The majority of the American public appears to have resigned themselves to the thought that we are powerless. If we can’t remember what our forefathers did when faced with tyranny, and muster up the courage to do the same, this grand democratic experiment is doomed to fail.

Now what are we going to do?

JeremyHussell said...

"This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

It looks to me like this says "The Constitution, Federal laws, and treaties the United States enters into override State constitutions and laws.", not "Congress can't back out of treaties the United States enters into."

I don't believe it would take a constitutional ammendment for the US to back out of the Geneva Convention. However, I don't think this matters, since the ex post facto rule still applies.

Anonymous said...

Oh and the entire bush administration looks like nazis to me.

They even have their Hitler youth program

http://www.jesuscampthemovie.com/

Unknown said...

JeremyHussell, VI must be taken as a whole. For example

The Constitution, Federal laws, and treaties the United States enters into override State constitutions and laws

does not mean precisely the same thing as:

his Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The key is the phrase all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.

That puts our obligations under Geneva on the same level as the Constitution itself. The changes Bush seeks will amend Geneva itself —not merely whether or not we are to be a signatory to it. Neither Bush nor the Congress may amend Geneva as Vierotchka has pointed out. Now —the US, if it wishes, may withdraw from Geneva altogether but that is an entirely different issue. At the moment, Bush has not yet proposed that.

Anonymous said...

And...btw Len, that will remain so even if the idiots in congress give the chump his way and ultimately unilaterally withdraw from the conventions.

Even that would not remove a later legal basis for his and darth cheney's arrest, trial and conviction as war criminals.

It's kinda like getting your mom and dad agree to let you smoke dope in the house. Doesn't make it legal.

Ben said...

Gah. Excuse my typos.

attobouy: Dunno why he couldn't pardon himself. Maybe that's right, but I don't know why. He certainly couldn't stop an impeachment that way, but I think he could prevent a criminal trial or extradition.

Got an explanation for why he couldn't pardon himself? Aside from the political consequences.

Len Hart: You haven't addressed the points made in the linked comment, which clearly explain that the Supreme Court has interpreted the constitution to allow retroactive legalization of crimes. Common sense to the contrary.

This bill is still unconstitutional, but not because it is ex post facto. It isn't.

Anonymous said...

As usual, someone going on nonsensically about the Geneva conventions doesn't seem to have actually read them. It's publically available. And it's not that long. Who, and under what circumtsances, do the Geneva conventions actually apply to?

This post is endemic of intellectual laziness.

Unknown said...

This post is endemic of intellectual laziness.

Ad hominem. Had you checked this site, you would have known that I have quoted extensively from Geneva. But the "intellectually" lazy would not have known that.

You also used the word "endemic" incorrectly. Look it up!

Anonymous said...

Wow! My head is going back and forth like I'm watching a ping-pong match! This post is really attracting some heavy hitters. Whatever the outcome, what's most encouraging to me is; if this level of awareness exists regarding constitutional law, then Bush's status as a general lawbreaker can only gain broader knowledge.

The most negative thing is how long he has managed to get away with his Imperial maneuvering, despite that level of awareness.

Unknown said...

From Findlaw:
"1817 Even though a law is ex post facto and invalid as to crimes committed prior to its enactment, it is nonetheless valid as to subsequent offenses."

In other words, Congress may decriminalize an "act". But —as state above —the law is only valid as to "subsequent" offenses. Put yet another way, NO LAW can absolve Bush.

See:Frank v. Mangum, 237 U.S. 309, 344(1915); Ross v. Oregon, 227 U.S. 150, 161 (1913). However, an unforeseeable judicial enlargement of a criminal statute so as to encompass conduct not covered on the face of the statute operates like an ex post facto law if it is applied retroactively and violates due process in that event. Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 U.S. 347(1964). See Marks v. United States, 430 U.S. 188 (1977) (applying Bouie in context of Sec. 9, cl. 3).
But see Splawn v. California, 431 U.S. 595(1977) (rejecting application of Bouie ). The Court itself has not always adhered to this standard. See Ginzburg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463 (1966).

Anonymous said...

Hey, Alex; you probably got lulled into a false sense of security when you were able to toss off "nonsensically" without a hitch. The rest of your grammar and spelling are swill. It probably doesn't reflect your intellect, and certainly isn't a good advertisement for it.

I realize being able to "spell good" and use big words in the proper context is no flag of Constitutional and Geneva Convention expertise, and you might well be such an expert. But such ability makes that possibility more credulous.

Unknown said...

Common sense and case law agree: it is the height of absurdity to believe that that a murderer may be absolved by making "murder" LEGAL after the fact.

Now...I cited several sources including the concluding annotation. But, in the end even the law must serve common sense, logic, and our shared values. Laws or jurisprudential systems that fail to do that must be changed.

Our criminal justice system must serve us; not the other way 'round. Mr. Bumble was correct. If Bush can get gotten off so easily, then "...the law is a ass, a idiot! [sic]"

Unknown said...

From Wikipedia: "In reference to criminal law, it may criminalize actions that were legal when committed; or to aggravate a crime by bringing it into a more severe category than it was at the time it was committed; or to change or increase the punishment prescribed for a crime, such as by adding new penalties or extending terms; or to alter the rules of evidence in order to make conviction for a crime more likely than it would have been at the time of the action for which a defendant is prosecuted. Conversely, an ex post facto law may decriminalize certain acts or alleviate possible punishments (for example by replacing the death sentence with life-long imprisonment) retroactively....Generally speaking, ex post facto laws are seen as a violation of the rule of law as it applies in a free and democratic society. Most common law jurisdictions do not permit retroactive legislation, though some have suggested that judge-made 'law' is retroactive as a new precedent applies to events that occurred prior to the judicial decision. In some nations that follow the Westminster system of government, such as the United Kingdom, ex post facto laws are technically possible as parliamentary supremacy allows the parliament to pass any law it wishes. However, in a nation with an entrenched bill of rights or a written constitution, ex post facto legislation may be prohibited."

Anonymous said...

Len, as I quoted above: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win." - Mahatma Ghandi

:)

Anonymous said...

Len, these people (whom I believe to be one or two posting under several handles and none) sound a lot like someone who posted to you on the Smirking Chimp, don't you think?

Unknown said...

Len, as I quoted above: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win." - Mahatma Ghandi

Thanks, Vierotchka. Considering the timing of your post, I will interpret that to mean a "win" for our side. Clearly —Bush is attempting to bully congress into passing a law that he doubtless hopes will absolve him of his numerous violations of Geneva, Nuremberg, and our own US Codes, Title 18; Section 2441.

obvious said...

Len, it would appear that while you are morally right, you are technically wrong. I hope the POTUS is eventually arrested for war crimes fwiw.

Unknown said...

Len, these people (whom I believe to be one or two posting under several handles and none) sound a lot like someone who posted to you on the Smirking Chimp, don't you think?

It's possible...although there are several other sites linking back today.

I enjoy a lively debate as much as the next guy, but, efforts to impugn my comments because I am not a lawyer are simply ad hominem attacks. From this point on, folks, I will start deleting ad hominem attacks. This will not devolve into a freeper board.

Anonymous said...

i looked on the chimp but can't find the article. can you please link it??

Anonymous said...

Len - I think some of these posters may be sock puppets. It's really no that hard to appear as if you are transmitting from a different ISP if someone knows what they are doing.

Unless you know who they are, I'd quit responding.

Unknown said...

i looked on the chimp but can't find the article. can you please link it??

I dont have a permalink to that article. Sorry.

People are not impugning your reasoning solely on the basis of the fact that you are not a lawyer. They are impugning your comments on the basis of your invalid attempts at legal reasoning, and rightly so. Calling these comments ad hominem simply provides an easy way out, despite the fact that they clearly do not criticize you personally and for no reason.

Incorrect! My reasoning was impugned with the fallacious implication that because I was not a lawyer my reasoning was incorrect! A non sequitur! And, if that was not the case, then why was it brought up?

Secondly, an ad hominem attack is, by defintion, an attack not upon the person —not the argument.

Additionally, it was implied that because I made a legal argument (still valid BTW) that I was confined to a legal argument. Not so! The name of that fallacy is non sequitur.

The implication that I have taken a "easy way" out is neither true, nor to the point and is, therefore, a strawman fallacy as well as an ad hominem attack on the style of my argument rather than the substance which you have, in fact, never stated fairly or addressed [strawman].

My position is completely unchanged and unassailed.

Worth repeating: it is absurd legally, morally, logically to absolve a murderer —ex post facto —for crimes that he has already committed. I will be happy to tell that to any judge, anywhere, anytime.

Unknown said...

Pam, you are probably correct. Well, having sliced up the last absurdity, I may resort to the delete button. We regulars, as you well know, may not always agree, but we never attack one another. I was on a championship debate team in my younger days. I can definitely say that some of the tactics pulled here would have gotten you thrown off the stage. : )

Unknown said...

Re: Mark Hey, Mark Smith, that was a powerful post. I guess I must have been typing at the same time, so I didn't get to read it until I sent my own. That line of reasoning is worthy of a forum by itself!

Indeed it was a very powerful post —an article in itself.

Anonymous said...

I have not engaged in any personal attacks (unless pointing out flaws in reasoning suddenly counts as a personal attack), and I have no interest in doing so.

Do you think that we cannot read all you've written, and that we have the attention span of a TV-addicted crack-head? Your very words in this thread bely your latest affirmation. You remind me of my kid brother emphatically and comically authoritatively and glibly asserting that he had absolutely not touched the jam-jar, yet had jam all over his face!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Len; well, that was a day! Is that a record for comments? The issue certainly caused a spike.

In my opinion, everybody was fairly courteous, and some of your respondents sounded like they really knew law. The only possible exception was Alex, who had kind of a snide tone and didn't really provide any substantiation for his (or her) suggestion that you hadn't read the Geneva Conventions. I thought Ersatz and Marblex were very measured in their responses - they just happen to disagree with you on the technical interpretation of law.

Nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't say it was a personal attack just because you're not a lawyer. After all, if there were only a single clear interpretation of the Consitution, unambiguous and incontestible, how could a talking pile of shit like John Yoo suggest the President could gather unto himself unimagined executive power in wartime, including the actions now under debate? If it was obviously unacceptable, why did an entire Congress let it go? Is this habitual, the legislative body never bothers to check if you're telling the truth if you just say, "everything you previously thought is wrong; the Constitution actually says this"? Of course not.

The fact remains that no law is so clear that none may contest it. Everybody knows murder is against the law, but there still seem to be shades of gray, and murderers certainly walk free sometimes, for various reasons. They were drunk. They were crazy. They made a mistake, and killed the wrong person, so it should only be manslaughter. The point is, lawyers feel even clear-cut law is sufficiently open to interpretation that it can be successfully argued. Constitutional law is no exception.

Debate is healthy, and I can't imagine such a liberal blog as this one would want to stifle it. It isn't a matter of winning or losing, because we're all going in the same direction - only the vehicle is under argument!

Unknown said...

Mark, I can't remember which one of them brought up the lawyer bit but it became a refrain after that. I simply refuse to get involved in that. I could have listed the famous lawyers I've interviewed in depth —but didn't! And I am reluctant even now to mention it because just as ad hominems are fallacious, so are appeals to authority. Obviously what might have been a "debate" devolved into a sophmoric and meaningless tit for tat. I think this forum —and me —deserves better than that.

How about I show up on THEIR blog, and, start off with you're young, wrong, and stupid; so why won't you debate me? and why are deleting my shit?

Secondly, I would have been more than happy to have indulged but for their butt headed insistence that I kowtow to their point of view. As you say —it's not about winning or losing.

I will entertain any opposing point of view except the one that insists that I submit and espouse their point of view. Finally, the most egregrious and most tiresome aspect was the fact that in almost EVERY instance my position was misstated and mischaracterized. Do people not read anymore?

Fuzzflash said...

Len, the potency of your original post has drawn fire from some rather high powered arrivistes ,indeed. Condesending,patronising and ever so keen for you to doff the cap or tug the forelock to them, as Mr. Dickens might have said. The tenor of their yent "Mr. Hart, just admit that you are wrong" and their out of hand disdain for the Wiki suggest recent graduates or undergraduates at best. Any luck with your approaches to John Dean re an interview? His opinions on the aforementioned discussion would be most interesting.

Unknown said...

Thanks Fuzzflash. The original post will stand but no one comes on this board and makes any demand of me or any one posting here. And we will simply not be spammed.

Interesting, Fuzz, the Wiki only confirmed the Findlaw annotations that I had quoted earlier and, in each case, I was confirmed but promptly ignored.

I may not be interviewing Dean but am at work on a review of Thom Hartmann's new book which I highly recommend. It's the book I wanted to write but Hartmann beat me to it and has most probably done a better job.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

It is bitter irony that the CIA is using a group still labelled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

One week still before my processor arrives. i miss you all...

Unknown said...

Dante Lee, welcome back! Heard about your computer problems. This forum looks forward to your speedy return to cyberspace and this forum. You are missed, mon ami.

Unknown said...

An excerpt from Dante Lee's link:

The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.

The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.


If you think the Iraq war is an utter disaster...just wait!

Fuzzflash said...

Dante Lee, mighty fine to see that you've still got fire in your belly. Nobody's been near your chair on the porch. Just needs a mite more occupyin' when your new motor's up and runnin'.

benmerc said...

Well Len, have to catch the breath after that one!

It was all very interesting, but traveled well beyond my understanding. I will say at some point a guest should just agree to disagree, certainly when the trains are not meeting. But the exchange did reveal how complex, but fragile the law is in it's many aspects. As Mark stated above, all law is open to interpretation on some level and at some point by some individual, it just seems to be so. I have never viewed law as forever carved in stone just so...that is what people create Gods for (the other flawed human belief systems). Never the less it was a very lively exchange, everyone stuck to their guns, and you sure will not be accused of having a boring blog by any stretch...that was some well applied heat!

On another subject, how did you all view Jr’s little speech today? Much of the MSM tagged it as being; "conciliatory", "Reaching out" etc, etc...I found it typically myopic, accusatory with plenty of finger wagging in his smug manner...in other words, S.O.S., just another day.
If this is Bush's attempt to make more friends, as usual, we are in a world of hurt.

When they panned the audience with the camera, most people seemed to have an annoyed expression, it appeared to be universal. His delivery was almost manic...few breaks, just a fast paced blurting. And as with most Bush speeches, for one reason or another, one does not want to listen to them in their entirety. So, I got a great feel for how the U.N. looks at this man, with their pained look and feigned applause. Wish I could convey how a majority of Americans feel at this point in time. We are very tired and fed up with this whole charade, there are better ways to run a country, and work with the global community.

webmaster/assistant said...

I'd be interested if you can find a legal case where the prohibition against ex post facto laws was applied to forbid the *decriminalization* of something. Certainly the intent of the clause, both that and the bills of attainder bit, is the opposite--to make it impossible for the Congress to illegalize the fact that, last week, you cut down a tree in your yard. Your theory is rather like understanding "bills of attainder" to forbid Congress from picking out an individual for benefit, rather than punishment. And of course that's done all the time. These clauses are to prevent insults to justice, not sudden showers of mercy. But it's nice to see a liberal reading the constitution literally--or perhaps literal-mindedly--rather than relying on such will-o-wisps as "intent" and "historical usage." Now, about that gun clause...

Incidentally, the President can, as executive, pardon himself and anyone else he wants as far as criminal prosecution goes. He can't pardon his way out of impeachment, of course, but there's fat chance of that.

Fuzzflash said...

Hot Damn! We got ourselves ANOTHER 'live one here.

('scuse me fer cussin')

Anonymous said...

Indeed - one who has no blog, either. :D And isn't it strange that, of all the countries which forbid ex post facto laws to be made, the US' text is seemingly the most unclear and difficult to understand?

Unknown said...

I don't believe for one minute that the President can pardon himself. The idea is ludicrous on its face. Secondly, it's a stupid idea. And, if that is the law, then the law "...is a ass" and ought to be changed —possibly starting all over with a new national convention. Which, by the way, I've already advocated.

Here's what OUGHT to happen from both a moral, legal, and practical standpoint: George W. Bush is simply arrested, jailed and tried for the crimes for which there is probable cause that he stand trial NOW!

And I don't have to be a lawyer to have that valid opinion.

Unknown said...

I've had this debate before...with an aid to my congressman who laced his absurdities with the seditious, anti-American idea that not only could the "President" be exonerated AFTER commiting crimes by making them all OKEY DOKEY, he was NOT bound, in any way, to Geneva, Nuremberg or any other treaty or convention.

That's baloney, of course. But, just as the NRA reads the Second Amendment and deliberately ignores fully one half the language, Bush apologists are simply choosing to ignore those portions of the law they don't like. And, only lawyers are allowed to state an opinion! Absurd!

And isn't it strange that, of all the countries which forbid ex post facto laws to be made, the US' text is seemingly the most unclear and difficult to understand?

Indeed! Great point! Those out to save Bush's criminal ass read the VI in the same way NRA members read the Second Amendment. With blinders. But, it's understandable. The incipient monarchists would prefer Bush not be bound by law or decency; they would prefer he just make it up as he goes along, sort of like he's done in Iraq.

Unknown said...

Allowing Bush the power to pardoning himself places him above the law. I will concede that Bush believes himself above the law —but that only underscores the nature of the crisis we face. The man who dares call himself our President has an anti-Democratic vision of his role and his powers. He is a would-be King in bad need of a good lesson.

Not even European monarchs got away with claiming to be above the law, or, relatedly, the state itself. When Charles I claimed, as Bush has claimed, a "divine right" to rule, Parliament beheaded him.

Clearly —there are a handful of monarchists in this nation who would elevate Bush above the Constitution. This issue, it would appear, is just the latest battleground. The people must speak clearly on this issue: Bush is NOT above the law. And people need not be lawyers to espouse to articulate the right side of this debate: Bush MAY NOT pardon himself; Bush MUST stand trial for the crimes that he has committed against the American people, the Constitution, humanity, and the peace itself.

Unknown said...

Helen Thomas: Bush: 'L'etat, C'est Moi'

benmerc said...

conservative webmaster sez:
"But it's nice to see a liberal reading the constitution literally--or perhaps literal-mindedly--rather than relying on such will-o-wisps as "intent" and "historical usage."

The very two protocols conservatives rely on when their religious brand promotes church and state. Please save the hypocrisy of your speech and ideology for it's proper venue. And just remember...it was the "Liberals" of the day that wrote the Declaration and most certainly the important parts of the Constitution...else wise we would still be a monarchy, now there's some "will-o-wisp" historical reality for you.

As far as Bush being unimpeachable, unless you have a crystal ball or something, I would not discount the possibility. And if he does squirm by, I predict he will be hounded by discredit and lawsuits for some time after his term, at the very least. That will be his "Legacy"...We shall see how many conservative "think tanks" help raise money for the GWB library, indeed, for the man that does not read.

benmerc said...

Len,

That was another great reality check dished up by HT. She has been the thorn in the paw of their hubris from the start. Not much gets by that women, hence the despise they reserve for her.

Unknown said...

BenMerc said...

As Mark stated above, all law is open to interpretation on some level and at some point by some individual, it just seems to be so.

And the idea that one must be a lawyer to form an opinion is a pernicious one. I am alarmed by the number of people who have never read the Constitution —a state of affairs which seems to me to be related to the insidious idea that one has to be a lawyer to form an opinion on this subject or to understand the meaning of a single, simple sentence.

Never the less it was a very lively exchange, everyone stuck to their guns, and you sure will not be accused of having a boring blog by any stretch...that was some well applied heat!

I like a lively debate. But you can rest assured, benmerc, that I will never attempt to impugn your position because you are not a lawyer. Nor will I ever DEMAND that you admit you are wrong because you're not a lawyer.

Much of the MSM tagged it as being; "conciliatory", "Reaching out" etc, etc...I found it typically myopic, accusatory with plenty of finger wagging in his smug manner...in other words, S.O.S., just another day...If this is Bush's attempt to make more friends, as usual, we are in a world of hurt.

It's another pose and, yes, we are in a world of hurt. I read Thom Hartmann's views on Thom Paine last evening. I will share those views with this forum. Hartmann does us a valuable service by reminding us of writers like Thom Paine, who helped form the very progressive atmosphere in which our republic was formed.

His delivery was almost manic...few breaks, just a fast paced blurting.

Our national problems have their root in Bush's personal problems and his dysfunctional personality. That's not only sad, it's tragic.

We are very tired and fed up with this whole charade, there are better ways to run a country, and work with the global community.

Because of Bush's either/or personality, we will either emerge stronger or we won't emerge at all. I am not optimistic about about the future of this country. Bush is simply the symptom of powerful movements that are easily seen to have begun with the ascension of Ronald Reagan: corporate rule, absurd and alarming inequalities, "personhood" for corporations, the dominance of the Military/Industrial Complex, the disappearance of the middle class, our deteriorating infrastructure, the utterly failed criminal justice system, the utterly failed educational system, and the fact that the incomes of 99.99th percentile have risen almost 500 percent while almost everyone else LOST ground.

Pam said...

Here's what OUGHT to happen from both a moral, legal, and practical standpoint: George W. Bush is simply arrested, jailed and tried for the crimes for which there is probable cause that he stand trial NOW!

Here, here!! And for those who say this would be a "national embarassment," I disagree. The embarassment is how we the people are allowing this maniac to ignore our laws. It would show the international community that no one is above the law in america.

Anonymous said...

This quote by Donald Rumsfeld seems apropriate today.
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."
My brain actually has a spasm when I read that irrational statement. If heaven can't help us, we must help ourselves and each other.

Anonymous said...

I posted here because someone linked this article by Len in another blog/forum. Prior to that, I knew nothing of either Len or this blog. I was curious as to how anyone could argue that the prohibition on ex post facto laws could apply to decriminalization of conduct, so I thought I'd check it out.

I'm an attorney, and a conservative, which I didn't try to conceal. I posted as "anonymous" just because I was too lazy to create an identity.

Nobody -- liberal or conservative -- should weaken their position by making bad arguments in support. That's what I think Len did here. Now whether the President can pardon himself is what us lawyers would call "sui generis", meaning its a unique question that might have a unique answer. I think you could make a very good argument that he cannot. Otherwise, you could have the ridiculous situation of a President committing multiple rapes/murders, then pardoning himself. The courts would reject that, in my opinion, because the power to pardon is one for which there is no legislative check or balance. So I think there's a good argument on that point, and one on which I'd agree with you guys.

As to the ex post facto issue, that's a different critter because it requires that Congress pass a law. Also, there have been many occasions when courts have changed their interpretation of a law, effectively decriminalizing conduct that previously was criminal, and releasing those confined under those laws. The effect of that is no different than Congress passing a law that retroactively decriminalizes something.

As to the "common sense" approach, consider what happens if an unintentional drafting error in legislation leads to a bunch of people being convicted under a law that nobody intended to result in criminal penalties. Len's reading of the ex post facto clause would mean that those people are all screwed. Congress could vote unanimously to repeal that law retroactively, and the President could sign it. Yet, those people would still be stuck in jail for 20 years despite the fact that nobody wants that to happen. Now THAT is the law being an ass. Yet that's the result that Len's reading of the ex post facto would compel. Why should someone remain in prison when society agrees they should not?

The ex post facto clause was intended to be a protection for individual citizens so that they couldn't be thrown in jail for something that was legal at the time they did it. That's how its always been interpreted, and that's the common law history of that doctrine as well. Whatever some non-Americans may say about it in Wikipedia is beside the point.

And if you really want to rely on Wikipedia, then rely on the whole thing. Check out the wikipedia link for "ex post facto", and you'll see a related link to the legal doctrine of "lex retro non agit", which basically means the same thing, and has been proposed for merger into the "ex post facto" entry. And that related definition says, in part:

"Another example of transgression of lex retro non agit rule are the rehabilitation laws, which work the other way around, annulling former penalties. But one of law functions is protecting citizens against a state, so that’s usually viewed as a non-controversial and acceptable exception.

You can choose to believe that or not. But I wouldn't recommend taking Len's argument on "ex post facto" outside of this forum, whatever the merit of the other points he made. All that will happen is the knowledgeable people will focus on that point and pummel it, and the rest of your argument will get lost.

Just a suggestion.

Unknown said...

I did not RELY on Wikipedia. I quoted it. Moreover, your implication that Wikipedia was my only source is false. You are not merely lazy, you may be dishonest.

I was too lazy to create an identity.

At last, you insult this board and with a recommendation that you fail to support. I wonder: what interest do you have in trying to discredit me among those who chose to post here? You claim to be a lawyer but you don't make a case; you make smarmy implications that I should not be believed. You argument sounds more like a GOP PR man than that of a lawyer.

I was too lazy to create an identity.

I fail to see how characterizing yourself "lazy" will, in any way, enhance your credibility on this forum. Otherwise, I would have considered that self-characterization to have superfluous.

Nobody -- liberal or conservative -- should weaken their position by making bad arguments in support. That's what I think Len did here.

No one this forum has done that —but the detractors who irrationally demanded that I agree with them impugned my moral and common sense argument because I'm not a lawyer. Ad hominem! My argument itself —based upon law, morality, logic, our shared western values, and just plain common sense, remains unassailed.

It is absurd on its face to exonerate by making legal —after the fact —crimes that Bush has already committed. Watch the Jonathan Turley interviews. He's a Consitutional Scholar.

Clearly —Bush's interest in getting a compromise through Congress is for the express purpose of limiting his exposure to some 30 thirty felonies (as I recall) that he is alleged to have committed in connection with a program of torture that is, itself, prohibited under Geneva. Moreover, Geneva, under Article VI of the US Constitution expressly and unambiguously states:

"... This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Now whether the President can pardon himself is what us lawyers would call "sui generis", meaning its a unique question that might have a unique answer. I think you could make a very good argument that he cannot. Otherwise, you could have the ridiculous situation of a President committing multiple rapes/murders, then pardoning himself. The courts would reject that, in my opinion, because the power to pardon is one for which there is no legislative check or balance. So I think there's a good argument on that point, and one on which I'd agree with you guys.

Didn't you mean to says "we lawyers" not "us lawyers"?

It is my firm opinion that the President cannot pardon himself (an issue not address in my original article, btw)! Moreover, if a loaded SCOTUS should decide that the Presidency is self-pardonable, then a Constitutional Amendment should close the loophole. The very concept of a President pardoning himself is, in lay terms: stupid. It is also dangerous, a recipe for tyranny. I don't have to be a lawyer to tell you that.

As to the "common sense" approach, consider what happens if an unintentional drafting error in legislation leads to a bunch of people being convicted under a law that nobody intended to result in criminal penalties. Len's reading of the ex post facto clause would mean that those people are all screwed. Congress could vote unanimously to repeal that law retroactively, and the President could sign it.

Nope! My position doe not lead inexorably to that conclusion. Another example is marijuana —a benign drug that should be de-criminalized. Should we allow marijuana users to languish in prison after the use of marijuana is legalized as it may well be one day? I think not. Marijuana usage, however, differs substantively from torture or murder in which irremediable harm is inflicted upon a third party. Should those offenses be excuse —ex post facto? CERTAINLY NOT! My position remains: it is both stupid and lawful to absolve someone ex post facto who has been accused of heinous crimes. The cases are just not analogous at all.

But I wouldn't recommend taking Len's argument on "ex post facto" outside of this forum, whatever the merit of the other points he made.

Please don't condescend to this board. Many of those posting here may not be lawyers but I take some pride in being among a handful of blogs on the entire internet that is regularly linked to by Mensa.You had been doing fine but for that final, subtle ad hominem in which the implication is clear: your recommendation is based today, as it was yesterday, on your implication that your argument (in fact, no argument) is stronger because you are an attornyey and I am not. It is, at bottom, just another ad hominem. Those posting here are bright, articulate and draw upon a vast amount of experience and knowledge. They can decide for themselves if my arguments have merit. No person in his right mind would excuse by making legal after the fact the acts of a mass muderer. Yet —that is precisely what you are trying to sell to this forum simply because you're a lawyer and I'm not. Patently absurd!

SadButTrue said...

The argument that only a lawyer may talk about the law is dangerous in that it turns the law into the possession of an elite minority. Only those who have the time and money* to earn a law degree have a valid opinion? An absurdity!! This goes hand-in-hand with the recently revealed method of hiring people for the lucrative 'rebuilding' jobs in Iraq. Cronyism, pure and simple, 'it's not what you know it's who you know.' Whatever in the world became of 'of the people, for the people, by the people'?
It seems to me that the Republican party has been maneuvering for some time to institute a rigid class structure in America, serving only the 99.99 percentile that Len mentioned earlier. In so doing they are re-fighting the American Revolution, from the side of the Earls and Lords that America fought to rid themselves of. How long before an overt attempt is made to reassert the despicable droit de seigneur?

Unknown said...

Sad, I am not convinced he IS a lawyer. And, if he is, I wouldn't hire him. If he had a case on merit, he would have made it. He would not have found it necessary to preface his remarks. A good lawyer makes a case on merit, on the facts of the case and the law —not on "authority". His case is: I'm a lawyer; trust me! There's a lawyer like that on The Simpson's.

Secondly, I've known lots of lawyers. I have never known ONE who won a case simply because he/she was a lawyer. In some of the complicated corporate cases I've covered [ PENNZOIL CO. v. TEXACO INC., 481 U.S. 1 (1987)], the courtroom was FULL of lawyers. Some of them were smart. Can you imagine the uproarious laughter that would have greeted any argument of the form: I am correct because I'm a lawyer!!!

I interviewed Sen. Sam Ervin, a recognized expert on the Constitution. He did not tell me that he was right because he was a Senator, or because he was an expert on the Constitution. He presided over the Senate hearings on Watergate. He never cited that fact as making correct —in itself —any argument that he may have made.

An early mentor was Warren Burnett —a brilliant defense attorney who lectured me somewhat sternly on the Bill of Rights. Although Texas Monthly magazine granted him the monicker "Heir apparent to Clarence Darrow", Burnett never claimed that because he had been so named, that his interpretation of the Bill of Rights was correct. When he lectured me, he cited case law. He made a case on MERIT! And he never told associates that I was wrong about anything because I was NOT a lawyer.

This goes hand-in-hand with the recently revealed method of hiring people for the lucrative 'rebuilding' jobs in Iraq. Cronyism, pure and simple, 'it's not what you know it's who you know.' Whatever in the world became of 'of the people, for the people, by the people'?

It became: Government of the corporations, by the corporations for the corporations. There is a word for that: FASCISM! We contract out the management of our prisons to big corporations who then conspire with GOP office holders to scuttle REAL reforms in the criminal justice system or, indeed, any social program that might address the problem of crime in a real way. Likewise, we are subcontracting the conduct of war itself to the likes of Halliburton who will lobby congress for more wars of lucrative and naked aggression. We are screwed daily by Reagan's legacy, a legacy that has been embraced and massaged by Bush.

It seems to me that the Republican party has been maneuvering for some time to institute a rigid class structure in America, serving only the 99.99 percentile

According to the Census Bureau, the year 1969 was the most egalitarian year in American history. It was the culmination of a trend that clearly began with FDR who understood that a nation based upon a fair and progressive tax system would put money in the pockets of a working and productive middle class would spend that money and invigorate a thriving economy. Trickle down economics has had the empirically observable effect of making the rich much, much richer and the poor ...well, the poor have almost fallen off the chart. By the end of the Bush Sr's misrule, only the upper quintile had prospered after some 15 years of VOODOO ECONOMICS. It's even worse now. The numbers which will paint a graphic picture of the very worst administration in American history are tragic, sobering, shocking!

Unknown said...

Earlier I had written: CERTAINLY NOT! My position remains: it is both stupid and lawful to absolve someone ex post facto who has been accused of heinous crimes. The cases are just not analogous at all.

Typo! Of course, I had intended to write: it is both stupid and unlawful to absolve someone ex post facto who has been accused of heinous crimes.

Jennie said...

In our Irish community, we are respecting the anniversary of the death of a freedom fighter: Robert Emmet.

After researching the valiant efforts of Emmet and the struggles he faced, I see many of the same struggles with the corporate take-over of the United States.

After the rebellion of 1798, the British forced a Union with Ireland. The British hoped that they could lull the Irish into submission, as they had with the Scots in 1707. Emmet stated that this submission by the Irish to allow the Union was "the silence of politics, in a state of persecution." It was during the rebellion of 1803, when after a foiled attempt to regain Dublin Castle, Emmet was captured and executed. Emmet's famous Speech on the Dock was delivered to the court the day before his execution.

If only we had a man like Robert Emmet today...

Anonymous said...

If he had a case on merit, he would have made it.

The case was made by a fellow named Ersatz who cited to the correct cases, and I agreed with his citations. Interestingly, it appears that his comments have vanished. So I'll do it again.

Here is a findlaw link to Calder v. Bull, the seminal case on ex post facto laws.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=3&invol=386

I can't cut and paste Findlaw, but I encourage all who are following this to look at that case, and in particular, the 7th paragraph of Justice Chase's opinion -- the one beginning "I will state what laws I consider ex post facto laws."

Ignore me, insult me, I don't really care because I don't know you people. But read the case, and that paragraph in particular. And if you know how to use findlaw, you can see that the case is still valid law as it pertains to criminal acts. So before you continue insisting that you are correct, how about reading that case? Oh, and here's another SCOTUS case from 2000, Carmel v. Texas, that reaffirms Justice Chase's analysis.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=98-7540

Only those who have the time and money* to earn a law degree have a valid opinion? An absurdity!!

Not true. Some laypersons have very good knowledge of certain aspects of the law. And some don't. What is inarguable is that it is the Supreme Court, not individual opinions regarding what makes "sense", that determines whether or not a law violates the Constitution.

So, Len, I suppose that if you want to argue that the Supreme Court's interpretation of "ex post facto" is wrong, and that your opinion is correct, you're certainly entitled to make that statement. But I suspect most others won't consider your opinion quite as authoritative as the Court's.

I take some pride in being among a handful of blogs on the entire internet that is regularly linked to by Mensa.

I can't believe you played the Mensa card. I think there should be a corollary to Godwin's Law that says you just lost.

You had been doing fine but for that final, subtle ad hominem in which the implication is clear: your recommendation is based today, as it was yesterday, on your implication that your argument (in fact, no argument) is stronger because you are an attornyey and I am not.

No. My argument is based on the fact that I'm relying on the Supreme Court, and you're relying on Wikipedia. As for that particular comment I made, I was directing it to some others, not to you, in the hope they wouldn't damage their credibility by making a poor argument elsewhere.

There is no shortage of topics on which Bush is subject to reasonable attack. But this tangent about "ex post facto" laws is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

Erzatz and Jobu are one and the same - your syntax and logical fallacies are identical, as are your reading comprehension challenges as well as your microscopic attention spans. You'll be deleted yet again, I reckon, and deservedly so. Whatever disguises you'll come under in the future will most probably be as transparent and flimsy as the ones you've assumed so far. Alternatively, your posts might remain, but remain without responses, ignored.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and being Supreme Justices doesn't confer on any of the Justices the imprimatur of infallibility and incorruptibility, as we know and have witnessed too well too often, jobu, and I don't for one minute believe you're a lawyer, either. I conjecture that you may at best have tried to become one but flunked out very early in the process. That you are a "conservative" (eeeewwwwwww!) is quite obvious, and your infantile arrogance and clinging to all the fallacies that have been pointed out a number of times betrays one who is very young in years, inexperienced, and with an inflated yet groundless sense of self importance; or, if in middle age, one who has never developed much beyond adolescence.

Unknown said...

Vierotchka said..Erzatz and Jobu are one and the same - your syntax and logical fallacies are identical, as are your reading comprehension challenges as well as your microscopic attention spans.

I am inclined to agree. When "they" have posted enough, I'll have one of my linguistic buds do a stylometric study. Performed by a recognized expert, it might even be admissible in court. If he continues to spam this cite, I will trace rt his IP.

I conjecture that you may at best have tried to become one but flunked out very early in the process.

Jooboo also doesn't write like a lawyer.

...your infantile arrogance and clinging to all the fallacies..

Those may be the only characteristics that he shares with the attorneys I've known.

Unknown said...

Jen wrote: After the rebellion of 1798, the British forced a Union with Ireland. The British hoped that they could lull the Irish into submission, as they had with the Scots in 1707.

Jen, I am of Scots-Irish and Native American descent. But I am quite sure that my forebears landed on these shores before the events of 1798 that your refer to. In fact, it was my great, great grandfather, I believe, who was born about that time. He was actually photographed as an old man.

Thanks for your post. Here's an excerpt from Emmett's speech from the dock: "My lords, you are impatient for the sacrifice-the blood which you seek is not congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim; it circulates warmly and unruffled, through the channels which God created for noble purposes, but which you are bent to destroy, for purposes so grievous that they cry to heaven."

When our would be dictator has resorted to every dirty trick in the book to consolidate absolute and dictatorial power in this nation, it is important to remember the sacrifices that "freedom fighters" have made that we might have enjoyed —but for an hour —the blessings of liberty.

What makes me angry, livid, outraged is that there are obviously so many now who willingly sell it all out.

Fuzzflash said...

".....is what us lawyers would call....."

Ever so 'umble you is Mister Jobu, sir, ever so 'umble. Unctious is what them uvva lawyers are. You is clearly a gentleman of high learnin' and social distinction. We's ever so grateful for your patronage, Mister Jobu, sir.

Unknown said...

: ) That's a very impressive performance, Fuzzflash. But can you say "...the law is a ass" in that voice?

Fuzzflash said...

'Ere........ wot's your game ven, guv?

O' course the bloody Law's an arse!

Douglas Godfrey said...

The Geneva Conventions CANNOT be ammended or changed during the course of a covered conflict. No law that purports to change the US's obligations under the conventions can take effect until AFTER the current conflict ends. This has been the rule for all of the POW treaties since the Haugue conventions signed before WW1.

The ONLY way the US can change it's Geneva obligations during the conflict is to completely widthdraw from the Geneva treaty and reject ALL of the geneva conventions.

Anonymous said...

I'm no lawyer, but I play one on TV.... haha...

Anyway, several days ago, I mentioned on AmericaBlog that this new push by bush is the "MOTHER OF ALL SIGNING STATEMENTS"

By all these comments, I guess I was right, Len, great analysis, I have added you to my faves'!!!!

Unknown said...

"...the ex post facto law becomes an instrument of oppression and tyranny. Hoping to crack down on dissenters, for example, a government need only make the voicing of certain opinions a crime but only after they've been printed, broadcast or spoken. Such a government need only make the law, round up the usual suspects, and prosecute them for actions that were legal at the time of their commission. Conversely, the dictator-in-chief in such a society need only subvert the very foundations of law and order itself and demand that his actions be made legal —after the fact! Convenience is the enemy of the rule of law."

—Barry Gordon, summa cum laude political science, California State University, Los Angeles; J.D. Loyola Law School, 1991, BarryTalk.com

lesliemai said...

excellent piece,

Unknown said...

Alas, I have read CARMELL v. TEXAS referenced by the faux lawyer. I am more convinced than ever that the poser who posted here is not a lawyer. There is absolutely NOTHING in the judges opinion that excludes or refutes the arguments that have been made against ex post facto laws on this very forum. The opinion doesn't even address the issues raised here. But —the comments section is inadequate. I am busy today but as soon as I am free, I will add an update to the main article addressing specifically that issue.

Anonymous said...

EX POST FACTO CLAUSE - A misnomer in that actually two Constitutional clauses are involved. The U.S. Constitution's Article 1 Section 9, C.3 states: 'No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed,' and Section 10 says: 'No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law. . . .'

The 'words and the intent' of the Ex Post Facto Clause encompass '[e]very law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed.' Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. (1 Dall.) 386, 390 (1798) (opinion of Chase, J.).

An ex post facto law is a law passed after the occurrence of an event or action which retrospectively changes the legal consequences of the event or action.

Unknown said...

Thanks Fuzzflash, lesliemai, Godfrey, High Crimes, and Vierotchka. Vierotchka, your bolded definition sums it up; there is abolutely nothing in the definition of ex post facto that would exclude what I will refer as the "converse" of the common misconception that faux lawyers are trying to peddle. Nor —is there any exclusion of the converse in the opinions cited.

Additionally, Barry Gordon is correct: "Conversely, the dictator-in-chief in such a society need only subvert the very foundations of law and order itself and demand that his actions be made legal —after the fact! Convenience is the enemy of the rule of law." In any case, it is my opinion that you and Barry are correct as stated and that would remain my opinon EVEN if the cited Caremll v Texas said what is falsely claimed it said.

Moreover, no one on this board is compelled to BELIEVE what is said by a lawyer simply because he's a lawyer. EVEN if Carmell v Texas said what the faux lawyer falsely claims it said, I would work to get it overturned. If it said what was claimed it said, it would have been wrong. Since Bush v Gore, it should clear: SCOTUS can get it wrong. At last, it is absolutely absurd to exonerate —after the fact —the crime of mass murder.

Anonymous said...

Constitution as pertains to President pardoning himself:

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7:

"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1:

"The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

I'm not claiming in any way that the analysis I am about to link to is authoritative, correct, or even well-reasoned. However, an argument is laid out here [http://citizenspook.blogspot.com/2005_09_11_citizenspook_archive.html] that the President cannot pardon himself or any civil officer of the government from underlying crimes in cases of impeachment, where the Senate votes to convict.

I offer it only as food for thought. The topic and the arguments for and against deserve to be made, if anyone cares to refute or develop such arguments. Please inform me if this link is off-base or missing something important, I'd love to know, although it seems very premature to hope for any justice for our current administration.

Unknown said...

although it seems very premature to hope for any justice for our current administration.

I would have written it thus: "...it seems very premature to hope for any justice FROM our current administration."

We don't have a President. Bush stole the election; Gore got more votes in Florida. Bush v Gore is the very, very worst decision ever handed down by SCOTUS —so bad, in fact, that even the Bush v Gore court added the cautionary, if cynical, proviso that it was NEVER to be cited as precedent by future courts. Yet, it was Antonin Scalia who had said prior to Bush v Gore that the role of the high court was precisely that: the making of case law.

In other words, the five crooked judges KNEW Bush v Gore to have been a disingenuous and purely partisan exercise in raw judicial power. It had NOTHING to do with the 14th which was, I suppose as good a pretext if any if you real intent is to defraud the American people and effect a coup e'tat. I suppose the mere imprimatur of legitimacy, in a GOP dictatorship, is better than none at all.

Besides —the Bush v Gore cited the 14th as justifying their hearing the case, yet FAILED to address the alleged violations of the 14th. They handed down a decision which didn't even address the issues that they claimed they were "gonna" address.

The GOP is not a political party. It's a crime syndicate.

Karen McL said...

Haven't read all the comment threads above yer (so if this was mentioned...mea culpa for bringing it up again)

BUT -- This actually may be an *argument* for Democrats supporting this Piece-o-Shit GOP crafted legislation -- SO that they don't get caught again in the trick-bag of *weak-on-terrorism* Rovian crap. Then, they have a Better Chance to take the majorities in one or both houses This Fall.

And once that is done, these laws can be undone, or expost-facto challeneges can be made, further all the investigation necessary to exposure of the multiple levels of law breaking can finally occur, checks & balances be reasserted...etc.

As much as it PAINs me to say it (and it not only PAINs me but F**king Infuriates ME beyond belief) but this may be be the best STRATEGIC way OUT of this nightmare.

Anonymous said...

You mistakenly seem to think this Administration or Congress cares about the Constitution. It does not even care about "law," with 750+ signing statements that GWB will not enforce. And treaties? Well, Geneva just hit the dust. I think the situation is arguably described as totally lawless. The public and the Democrats watch as benign spectators. How Mighty have we fallen?

Unknown said...

I understand that Bush cares absolutely nothing about the rule of law. His administration is utterly lawless, but this latest outrage is just one of many reasons that is so.

But, at the same time, the rational arguments must still be made to those who do still care. Someday, when Bush is sittin' in the dock at the Hague, we will need to know and understand fully what Bush stole from us and the world.

Down with Bush; Down with his sorry new world order, his half-assed bananna republic and the disgrace —the UTTER disgrace that he has brought to this nation.

Sebastien Parmentier said...

Imagine kids playing in a sanbox at chasing each other with a real gun. Now, imagine a political party playing politic with a historically hugely important bill that repudiates two hundred years of progress in human rights... for the sole purpose of bedeviling the other party in election televised ads.

This is real. This has happened today. Today, what was left of Americas reputation as a champion of human rights has been utterly destroyed and the American people have let this historical act to happen without a hint of disaprobation or concern?

An American style dictatorship is growing right before our eyes. When it'll become full blown and kicking, we cant blame anyone else but ourselves.

The future of this world gets somber by the day.

whig said...

Trackback: Here is your constitution, please read.