Thursday, December 15, 2011

Suspending the Bill of Rights of American Citizens

Abandon all hope ye, who enter here. Where's here? In terms of the space-time continuous, United States, "Bill of Rights" day in Decemeber 2011. Here is also a major red line in terms in the balance between protection of rights and life.
The reason for the quote and the puns is that yesterday the House approved the rule for the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). That means today, the 'Bill of Rights' day could see Obama sign the 'Indefinite Detention' bill into law that will allow nothing less than suspension of the Bill of Rights for Americans deemed to be 'terrorists'.
I am quite hawkish about fighting terrorism, but we're about to cross a major line here. Where are the brakes that will stop the government from declaring terrorists of tomorrow? How about enablers of terrorists, surely they could be a dangerous fifth column? Do conservative bloggers who use harsh language against liberals qualify? Well, that depends on who sets the rules. Now, I'm willing to forego demands to push for jailing of people like Arianna Huffington, for the sake of ensuring the freedom of speech for everybody.
What is very odd about this law is that while the law, sponsored by Senators Levin and McCain, did not originally cover American citizens, but the Obama administration insisted and the broader law was approved by the House yesterday.
Senator Grahm provided a clear example of the new law, as applicable to a terrorist. However, the same message would receive by an innocent person persecuted by an over-empowered government:
“And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer."

Weren’t these the same people who cried that Bush took away our civil liberties? I'm worried about the medium and longer-term implications of this. This is one of those rules that can only be safeguarded by never making exceptions.

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