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And, yes, I DO take it personally: We're talking about the end of the Constitution and 225 years of constitutional history and Leahy's proposal is "extremely dangerous"
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Saturday, March 07, 2009

We're talking about the end of the Constitution and 225 years of constitutional history and Leahy's proposal is "extremely dangerous"

the release of the secret bush administration legal memos is stirring up a righteous storm...

raw story...

His presidency now a smoldering memory, Harper's contributing editor Scott Horton thinks that perhaps he wasn't kidding after all. In a March 3 column, Horton extrapolated on "George W. Bush's Disposable Constitution," expanding on his thoughts during a Thursday broadcast of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Since the Monday release of nine previously-secret Bush administration legal memos claiming that the president has the power to ignore the Constitution when fighting terrorism, experts have almost unanimously denounced both their legal reasoning and their conclusions.

"These memos provide the very definition of tyranny," Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday. "These memos include everything that a petty despot would want."

Olbermann's Thursday guest was just as strident as Turley in his view of the prior administration.

"We may not have realized it at the time, but in the period from late 2001-January 19, 2009, this country was a dictatorship," wrote Horton in his Harper's article.

here's scott horton talking with keith olbermann...

and, in spite of my support for patrick leahy's "truth commission," i find the point that michael ratner makes in talking with amy goodman on democracy now, rather compelling...
I think essentially that the Leahy commission is an excuse for non-prosecution. It’s essentially saying, “Let’s put some stuff on the public record. Let’s immunize people. And then,” as he even said, “let’s turn the page and go forward.” That’s really an excuse for non-prosecution. And in the face of what we’ve seen in this country, which is essentially a coup d’etat, a presidential dictatorship and torture, it’s essentially a mouse-like reaction to what we’ve seen. And it’s being set up really by a liberal establishment that is really, in some ways, in many ways, on the same page as the establishment that actually carried out these laws. And it’s saying, “OK, let’s expose it, and then let’s move on.”


[T]here’s a lot of pressure in this country right now for prosecutions. I mean, the polls indicate that people want to see a criminal investigation. We’ve had open—open and notorious admissions of waterboarding by people like Cheney. And we know that waterboarding is torture, even according to Obama.

So, how do you diffuse that pressure? And one way you diffuse it is you set up a, quote, “truth commission” that’s going to give immunity to people. And then, as Leahy himself says—the word he used, I think, is that he objects to those “fixated” on prosecution. Well, you know, it’s a legal requirement that you prosecute torturers in your country. And yet, he calls us “fixated” on it and wants to make this excuse.


This is not about mistakes. This is about fundamental lawbreaking, about the disposal of the Constitution, and about the end of treaties. So I think, actually, that Leahy’s current proposal is extremely dangerous.

ratner goes on to spell out in detail the horrifying extent of what had been put in place under the bush administration...
[W]hat we see in these memos—and I recommend them to everybody, because you read these, you are seeing essentially the legal underpinnings of a police state or a dictatorship of the president. There’s no doubt about it. That’s what it is, and it’s not theoretical. ... [W]hat happened here was one of these memos said the military could operate in the United States, and operate in the United States despite the Posse Comitatus law, which prohibits the military from operating in the United States. And when it operates—this is really extraordinary—they can arrest and detain—“arrest” is not the right word—kidnap anyone they want and send them to a detention place anywhere in the world without any kind of law.

And then, on top of that, they can disregard the First Amendment. So this conversation we’re having right now, they could say, “Well, this is harmful to the national security of the United States”—that’s what these memos say—“this type of conversation is harmful, and we can ban this conversation.” And then they could put the military at the door to the firehouse and come in and say the Fourth Amendment, the one that protects us against unlawful searches, that the military could walk in here, search all of us and see if we have anything they don’t like on us. So, no First Amendment, no Fourth Amendment, no Fifth Amendment—essentially, the end of the Constitution and 225 years of constitutional history.

yes, it's hair-raising stuff, but nothing that folks like me and and number of others have been saying all along... something else that many of us have been saying is that we simply MUST have accountability for these shocking abuses... nothing else than facing facts square in the face is going to put this behind us...

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