Today's What the F**k Award
I've been reading a book about democracy and our Constitution. I plan to write a post or two on this book once I'm finished, but wanted to pause here to hand the author today's "What the F**K" award. Its given in recognition for the following passage from "Chapter XII, Individual Liberty and the Economic System," The Spirit of American Government:
Individual liberty in any real sense implies much more than the restriction of government authority. In fact, true liberty consists, as we have seen, not in divesting the government of effective power, but in making it an instrument for the unhampered expression and prompt enforcement of public opinion.
Ah, yes: public opinion. The truest expression of pure democracy in action. And what better way to impose the will of the masses on the minority but through force of government? Yes, why not marry those two strongholds of liberty? I foresee only good things coming out of that union. <sarcasm off!>
Another Bumper Sticker
Have you ever had one of those moments where an idea just pops into your mind that screams, "Good idea!!"? Well, I had one of those moments today while watching a program on television. I'm not exactly sure what inspired me, but a portion can be attributed to Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage's t-shirt which states, "I reject your reality and substitute my own." From this and from my frustration in seeing individuals trampled by the ignorance of the majority, I came up with this new bumper sticker:
Pearls of Wisdom
I thought the following Pearls Before Swine cartoon...
...went nicely with this story about Wesley Snipes's run-in with the Internal Revenue Service:
Snipes indicted for tax fraud
TAMPA, Fla. - Actor Wesley Snipes was indicted Tuesday on eight counts of tax fraud, accused of trying to cheat the government out of nearly $12 million in false refund claims and of not filing returns for six years. (Click here
to read the rest of this article.)
"cheat the government out of nearly $12 million..." Gotta love their choice of words!
Where I've Been
Paradise is only having to do the things you want to do. Life is having to do the things that you don't want to do.
~Don V. Bangert, III
It's been an "interesting" couple of weeks. As you may have noticed, my blogging has fallen off to near nothing. There's a reason for that. About a week and a half ago, my wife handed me a pregnancy test that showed we were pregnant. While this is amazing in itself, what is astounding about that event is that we didn't think we could have any children. So, you can imagine my surprise to see that we were expecting.
Understand this: we've not had the best luck in the child department. Our history shows one miscarriage and two ectopic pregnancies. For some reason, it seems that natures god is hell-bent on not letting us have a child. Its been a rough row to hoe, but it's been almost eleven years since our last foray into this arena. This is why I said we didn't think we could have children. After the two ectopic pregnancies, we figured the last remaining tube was damaged so badly that it wasn't allowing eggs to pass.
Naturally, our first reaction to a positive pregnancy test was to get an ultrasound to make sure the baby was in the uterus. The last thing we wanted to do was have a third ectopic pregnancy. Last Friday, we received confirmation from radiology that the embryo was where it was suppose to be. (Happy, happy! Joy, joy!) It was not to last.
Sunday morning, my wife told me that she began spotting, and Sunday evening saw what looked like a "normal" period beginning. As anyone who's experienced a miscarriage can tell you, this is never a good sign that your having a normal pregnancy. We went into the doctor's office on Monday (who, I might add, was an incredibly compassionate doctor) for a pelvic exam.
The doctor informed us that the uterus was still closed (good news!), but said that only gives us about a ten percent chance that the embryo is still inside (bad news!). Our hopes for a child are riding on a ten percent chance. Wednesday, my wife has another ultrasound scheduled. They should be able to tell if it is still in there or not. That will be a little bit more "life" we'll have to endure then. I've got my fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch... When my wife and I first got married, she drug me down to a pet shop in Marysville to look at the cutest little floppy-eared Black Lab puppy she ever saw. We didn't have to buy him, she told me. She just wanted me to see him. She was right. He was just too damned cute. Needless to say, he came home with us. He's been the best dog anyone could ask for. Our companion and protector for over thirteen years, he's become one of our children.
About two weeks ago, we noticed he wasn't eating his food like he normally does. To make matters worse, he went into his dog house and refused to come out. We ended up having to take the roof off and pushing him out. Our 100 pound masculine dog withered away into a 55 pound cancer patient. I'll save you all the gruesome details. Monday, we noticed that he was leaking blood from his penis. That's not good. It usually means organ failure. We also discovered some rather large (golf ball sized) knots around his neck. We suspected, and our vet confirmed they were cancer.
Yesterday, on top of everything else, we had to let poor Moglie go. Man, I'm going to miss him! I'm just thankful I got to share in his life. It still hurts to think he's gone. The only consolation is to know that he no longer hurts. I love you, Mo, and I'll miss you, my friend.
Like I said at the beginning, Life is having to do the things that you don't want to do.
(Note: This post has not been proof-read. To be quite frank, it was hard enough to write the first time through.)
Massachusetts Emasculation Project
Its a pretty sad day when children are no longer allowed to be children. School officials at an elementary school south of Boston "have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable." (I'm quoting from this article.)
Gone are the days of scraped knees and elbows. Never again will children know their limits through trial and error; being learned on the playground and through interaction with their friends. I'm like most people. I hate to see anyone get hurt, especially a child. But I understand the role pain plays in the learning process. What better explanation is there for feeling pain? What other purpose could pain serve than to say to us, "Don't do that again." To suppress playground activities that could lead to bumps and scrapes will only serve to emasculate our children.
It won't be too many more years before these children become young adults. From this I can see two potential outcomes. The first would be that because they don't understand how much pain they can endure, they will fear all pain. This fear will cause them to become prey to anyone who threatens them with bodily harm. The second scenario is the complete opposite. Because they don't understand pain, they have no respect for it and will do crazy and reckless stunts like driving their cars through city streets at over 100 miles per hour. In other words, they will think they are invincible because they have never experienced pain brought on by bodily harm. Even today, we can see this phenomenon of reckless disregard for life and property in our youths.
And if you think this is an isolated event, you're wrong. Quoting again from this article:
Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., also recently banned tag during recess. A suburban Charleston, S.C., school outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.
"I think that it's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere, who has two children at Willett, about 40 miles south of Boston. "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."
I second her comment. I say let our kids be kids. As parents, we must understand that sometimes our kids will get banged up while playing. There's no need to sue for every bump and scrape your child may endure.
Death of the Republic
As you may have read, today is earmarked to be the day our Republic dies. President Bush is set to sign into law the blatantly unconstitutional Military Commissions Act of 2006. How long would you guess before an American citizen is tried under these military commissions. The clock is running. I'm guessing about six months for Americans who are right now held in custody, and about nine months after that "conviction" for any American citizen who is arrested and determineded to be an "unlawful enemy combatant." Naturally, the test case will involve an American citizen who is of Arabian or Persian dissent. Once they get a precedent set, the gloves are off. We all become fair game.
Here are a couple quotations for you to take with you:
(A) The term 'unlawful enemy combatant' means (i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces); or (ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense. (Source: Military Commissions Act of 2006 [pdf]) "President Bush is going to mark this bill signing as a historic moment because it is a law that he knows will be effective in preventing terrorist attacks and keeping Americans safe," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Bush needed the legislation because the Supreme Court in June said the administration's plan for trying detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law. (Source: Bush to sign law on terror suspects)
Think about this, in the definition of Unlawful Enemy Combatant, there is no language that precludes American citizens from being designated as such. Furthermore, this bill still does not address the Supreme Court's concern that these newly created commissions are not violative of U.S. and international laws governing prosecutions of war crimes.
Handicapped by Bureaucracy
Bill Bonner's article at LewRockwell.com this morning closed with a conversation he had about being handicapped-compliant with the building department bureaucracy . He explains that he is having to install both an elevator and an extra bedroom just in case he happens to have a handicapped visitor in the future. In his article, he recites his conversation with the building architect who is explaining to him why he must now install these "necessities" for the handicapped:
"You don't understand, Monsieur," continued the architect. "The law insists that you be prepared for a handicapped person. Whether he actually ever shows up or not is another matter. And let us suppose you only get one person in a wheelchair every five years. You may think, how silly it is to invest 25,000 euros in a special elevator for the man when you could easily help him up the stairs...there are only three steps to the front door, by the way. But the law requires that this man have the ability to be as independent as possible. He shouldn't have to rely on you to help him up the stairs. He should have the same freedom of movement...at least insofar as his condition allows...as any other person."
I'm not sure if this conversation is quoted verbatim, but even it were not, the general sentiment is the same and universal: the law says you have to provide these for the handicapped, so comply. What struck me was the sentence, "[The handicapped] shouldn't have to rely on you to help him up the stairs." But he is relying on you, isn't he. More to the point, he's relying on the police powers of the state to force you to spend "25,000 euros" to help him up the stairs. Think of it this way. Instead of you helping him up the stairs if he happens to wheel up to your entrance, he's gotten the state to make you provide him some form of mechanical aid that will be at his service whenever he chooses to enter your building. You are no longer required to aid him in going up and down the stairs. Your money has done that for you.
To say that he shouldn't have to rely on you for help would only be true if he actually pulled himself up the stairs on his own. To put in a ramp, an elevator, or to hire a man to stand there to assist him is to aid him up and down the stairs. To have the government force you to provide those things on his behalf is the same as him holding a gun to your head while you installed them. It's still coercion.
Mr. Bonner closes his article with this final quote from his architect:
"Thank you for your thoughts on the matter," interrupted the architect, taking back the conversation. "But the Department of Public Health and Safety is not the least bit interested. You've got to put in another bedroom and an elevator."
That about sums up bureaucracy... Comply, or else.
Iraqis Deaths: More Than Just Numbers
You probably saw the headline this morning, "Study: 655,000 Iraqis die because of war." My first thought was, "Over half a million people... Man, that's a lot of people!" My mind then started comparing those numbers to other death tolls from previous wars. See this page at Wikipedia for a chilling list of wars and disasters by death toll. There certainly has been a lot of people killed in the name of politics.
Back to the article. The second paragraph called into question the timing of the release of this study. It was insinuated that the study's release was politically motivated. While I don't doubt that for a moment, I have to question the logic of the accusation. On the one hand, we have the release date of the study being of a political nature, but at the same time, the subject of the study is itself a creation of politics. In my mind, you can't have it both ways. You don't get to cherry-pick when information is released that may be politically damaging to you when the subject of the information is what you're trying to protect from the sphere of politics. Make sense? I hope so... This reminds me of Bush v. The New York Times when the paper release their stories telling of both torture and spying.
As for the picture above, I took the relevant quotes from the article and overlaid them on a picture dating back to May 21, 2003, that showed Iraqis in search of remains of their relatives among bags containing bodies pulled from a nearby mass grave, inside a makeshift morgue near Karbala, Iraq. I hoped to demonstrate with this picture that the Iraq war is more than just "politics" to the flesh-and-blood people who are dying while Americans bicker about the timing of death toll studies. Those who have to collect the bodies of their loved-ones from the morgues surely must find some comfort in all our squabbling.
...and we wonder why they hate Americans so much!
A Slow Blog Day
Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to be the topic de jour?
Last night, I attended my first-ever city council meeting. It was interesting to say the least. The topic of discussion was about the gambling tax I mentioned a few posts ago. I expressed to the council my views on the subject of taxation, opening with the quote, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." I then pointed to the business owners and then to the employees that had come down to lend their support to the business owner and reminded them that this new tax had the potential to destroy both the business and the employee's lives through loss of employment. Lucky for me, public speaking was made easier because a couple of the council members were long-time customers of mine. It will be interesting to see how this gambling tax issue shakes out...
NewsWithViews.com has an excellent lineup of articles today. Here's a brief summary of each:
Would You Hire This Congress to Run Your Business?, by John W. Slagle
Mr. Slagle takes a hard look at corruption in politics using a Capital Hill Blue study done a few years back as his backdrop. I especially liked his recommendation for single term limits on elected officials to help thwart corruption.
Some Choice: Socialist Democrats or Fascist Republicans, by Pastor Chuck Baldwin
Pastor Baldwin doesn't mince words. The problem with our government is that voters have no choice at the ballot box, i.e. there is no longer the choice ot the lesser of two evils--both parties are just as evil. And I quote:
"As things stand now, we do not need to fear al Qaeda, Iran, or North Korea near as much as we need to fear the abuse of power from within our own government. There is no question in my mind that we have the military power and strength to fight off any foreign enemy. The bigger question is, Do we have the moral power and strength to fight off those within our own country who would strip us of our freedoms? How we answer that question will determine our ultimate destiny."
The Republic's Nemisis: 2-Party Addiction, by Nancy Levant
This article can be best summed up in her own words:
"If you hate Democrats for being Democrats or Republicans for being Republicans, and then vote based upon such loyalty, you've ended every possibility for the survival of this nation. I could end here, with this statement, but for the sake of bitter truth, onward we go."
And she does, exploring such avenues as Agenda 21, the New World Order, etc.
Bureaucratic Tyranny, by Jim R. Schwiesow
This was an interesting read. I think many of us forget the role our elected sheriffs play in society. Mr. Schwiesow's article serves as a refresher for us through an example of federal oppression (USDA) committed against a farm that was allowed through the complicity of a local sheriff. The question was asked whether this sheriff could have stopped or at least stalled the ransacking of this farm by federal agents. Mr. Schwiesow explains that, in fact, it could have been stopped and should have been stopped.
How Far Would You Go For The Truth?
Minute of Angle and South Puget Sound Libertarian were kind enough to let me know Aaron Russo's "America: Freedom to Fascism" was playing at the Yelm Cinema until Thursday, October 12. As this may be my only chance to see it on the "big screen" my wife and I decided to make the trek. Round trip, the car's odometer puts our little adventure at about 220 miles. I also want to send a special Thank You! to the Yelm Cinema for having the guts to carry such a controversial film.
And now for my review of the film: Go see it! (Be prepared to be mad as hell when you leave the theater, though.) This film decimates any attempt the government has made to explain away the Tax Honesty Movement's claim that the Income Tax is being fraudulently levied on American wage earners. The film also informs the viewer of the forthcoming National ID and the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips.
A brief synopsis of the film:
Determined to find the law that requires American citizens to pay income tax, producer Aaron Russo ("The Rose," "Trading Places") set out on a journey to find the evidence. This film which is neither left, nor right-wing is a startling examination of government. It exposes the systematic erosion of civil liberties in America since 1913 when the Federal Reserve system was fraudulently created. Through interviews with U.S. Congressmen, a former IRS Commissioner, former IRS and FBI agents and tax attorneys and authors, Russo connects the dots between money creation, federal income tax, and the national identity card which becomes law in May 2008. This ID card will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips which are essentially homing devices used to track people. This film shows in great detail and undeniable facts that America is moving headlong into a fascist police state. Wake up!
Annexing the House Advantage
Lets suppose for a moment that you and I live in a large neighborhood governed by a charter. Under this charter, monthly dues are imposed to help keep up common areas such as the local kid's playground and the roadway. Now, lets further suppose that one day I come to you and tell you that I'm planning to increase your share of the monthly dues by ten percent. What do you suppose the first question out of your mouth would be? If you're like me, it would be to ask why.
How would you react if I told you the reason I was imposing a greater burden on you was due to the people visiting your 'type' of home? In other words, because of the 'type' of home you have, the community has decided that your 'guests' are generating a greater expense to the overall neighborhood. Again, I'm guessing you would probably insist on seeing some evidence, some empirical data, or at the very least a cursory study supporting my assertions.
How would it sit with you if I then told you that my conclusion is mostly based on an abstract interpretation of the evidence and it would be extremely difficult to point to any one thing that would actually support my claim? If you're getting the feeling that I'm patting you on the head while telling you to just 'trust me' then you're absolutely right. To add insult to patronizing injury, I've just insinuated that your 'guests' are a bunch of low-life degenerates. Are you mad yet? Well, you damned well should be.
What do you think? Are the reasons I've given good enough for you to hand over more of your money to me? Am I justified in asking you to just trust me as I take more of your wealth? Or am I robbing you? Am I using your situation and your particular lifestyle against you to pick your pockets because I've got the public's support on my side?
Now that we're on the same page, I want you to read a quote from my local paper. It has to do with a new tax on gambling that the city of Lake Stevens wants to adopt. A couple of years ago, Highway 9 Casino moved into the Frontier Village area. Just recently, this area was annexed by the city of Lake Stevens. As you'll read, it hasn't taken long for the city to start milking the newly annexed cash cows for all they're worth. Below is a prime example of beaurocratic hyperbole explaining why the local government needs to fleece the public for more of its treasure:
For the second time in just over a year and a half, the Lake Stevens City Council is considering implementing an ordinance establishing a gambling tax. The proposed ordinance would levy a ten percent tax on gross receipts of all card games and a five percent tax on gross pull-tab receipts.
According to Chief Randy Celori, the city needs extra law enforcement manpower to police the calls generated by gambling-related activities. The chief said it is not possible to draw a direct correlation between gambling and the amount of crime generated, but that the impact is significant.
Understand what Chief Celori is saying: it's not possible to attribute gambling to the crime rate. If it's not possible to measure the impact gambling has on crime rates, then how can he say that it's significant? To be significant there must be something to compare it to. Only a fool would fall for this kind of political rhetoric. If I were the casino owner, I'd inform the city council that a lawsuit was forthcoming unless they could produce measurable data showing how the casino has affected the crime rate in the community.
In my opinion, the city's use of the 'trust us' excuse is nothing more than public-approved extortion. These folks are trying to run a business in a state that has no problem taking up to half of the business's profits through taxes, licenses, and fees. With the imposition of the smoking ban and this tax on gambling, there won't be a business left to tax. (Unless, of course, that's their goal--to drive them out of business.) We must all remember that the casino is already paying for police services in the taxes it currently pays. For the city to impose an even greater burden on this business, the city must prove a greater burden on it's policing services. Remember that the power to tax is the power to destroy. If you don't believe this to be true, then watch how long it takes for excessive taxes to cause this casino to fold.
If I were walking down the street and saw the president, vice president, one of my representatives, senators, or any other public servant who I thought was doing a disservice to his office and country, I wouldn't hesitate to let them know. Being elected into that position gives me the right to express to them--good or bad--my opinion of their job performance. If they don't like my criticism, they can quit or make improvements.
That's basically what a Denver-area man did when he saw Vice President Dick Cheney in Beaver Creek. Steve Howards and his son walked to within a couple of feet from where Cheney was standing surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible." He then walked on, according to a lawsuit filed against a member of the Secret Service for causing him to be arrested.
Ten minutes later, according to Howards' lawsuit, he and his son were walking back through the same area, when they were approached by Secret Service agent Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle Jr., who asked Howards if he had "assaulted" the vice president. Howards denied doing so, but was nonetheless placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.
This is another example in a growing list of dissent being suppressed by this administration through the use of police tactics. Howards, in my opinion, is absolutely correct in alleging his arrest was in retaliation for having expressed out loud his dissatisfaction with the vice president's Iraq policies. His arrest violates both his Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure and his First Amendment protection of free speech.
Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, the Clock is Running
Election season, in my opinion, brings out the worst in politicians. This is the point in the political process where we get a glimpse into their souls. How? By looking at how they plan to keep a tight grip on the power they have. This is usually done through the threat of impending doom to make sure you vote for them out of fear instead of reason. Many writers think that this season will be no different; that this year's tactics will include the "gathering threat of annihilation by a nuclear Iran." I, however, think the evidence points to something even more sinister than that. You may recall that about a month ago I wrote:
If the President does not pursue the first option, then consider the clock running on the second. Hmm... Sixty days from now would put us in the middle of October. Could this be an indication of an upcoming October surprise or am I just paranoid? Only time will tell.
What I was writing about was President Bush's announcement that the nation "is at war with Islamic fascists." The options mentioned were:
[T]he President [could] go back to Congress and ask for a brand new AUMF that allows him the authority to wage war on "Islamic fascists". This would satisfy the requirements found in the War Powers Resolution (see 50USC1542). Either that, or he could wage an undeclared sixty days war on Islamic fascists. However, when the sixty day period ran out he would be required by law to end it or ask Congress for an extension (see 50USC15449(b)).
Wikipedia, among others, includes in it's definition of 'Islamic fascists' the nation of Iran.
That bit takes care of the past. Now lets look at the present. While listening to the American Radio Show, Dave Champion read from an article that stated:
The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.
Now for the future... Tick-tock, tick-tock, the clock is running. Unfortunately, time will only tell will these events will lead us (the batteries in my crystal ball seem to be dead). I just hope that Americans fully understand what life will be like if our supply of oil runs dry. Quoting from this Time magazine article:
Next, there is oil. The Persian Gulf, a traffic jam on good days, would become a parking lot. Iran could plant mines and launch dozens of armed boats into the bottleneck, choking off the shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz and causing a massive disruption of oil-tanker traffic. A low-key Iranian mining operation in 1987 forced the U.S. to reflag Kuwaiti oil tankers and escort them, in slow-moving files of one and two, up and down the Persian Gulf. A more intense operation would probably send oil prices soaring above $100 per bbl.--which may explain why the Navy wants to be sure its small fleet of minesweepers is ready to go into action at a moment's notice. It is unlikely that Iran would turn off its own oil spigot or halt its exports through pipelines overland, but it could direct its proxies in Iraq and Saudi Arabia to attack pipelines, wells and shipment points inside those countries, further choking supply and driving up prices.
Remember these things in the coming weeks and months. The plans have already been made. The only thing left for the politicians to do is to sell it to the American people. How about it, America? Are you in a 'buying' mood?
Military Commissions: Our Own Volksgerichtshof
Today's post was going to be about how the judiciary in this country was being destroyed by the other two branches of our government. On the one hand we read about how Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is threatening the courts with a complete restructuring unless they fall in line with the demands of the executive branch. On the other, we have former House Speaker Newt Gingrich explaining how the courts need to be overridden if they don't interpret the laws in a way that more closely reflects the "will of the people." Of course, the "will of the people" is just an excuse to allow for the overriding of Supreme Court decisions. I thought to myself that these were surely signs that our new one-party government was pushing to decimate any and all judicial review of their actions.
You see, in the 1930s, Adolf Hitler ran up against the same sort of problems while building his own fascist government in Germany. In order to accomplish his goal of a total police state, characterized by arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of political and ideological opponents in concentration camps, the existing judicial system had to be done away with. To do this, he had to create another judicial system to deal with those placed under "protective custody." Let's turn to this web page for a proper explanation:
In Nazi terminology, protective custody meant the arrest--without judicial review--of real and potential opponents of the regime. "Protective custody" prisoners were not confined within the normal prison system but in concentration camps under the exclusive authority of the SS (Schutzstaffel; the elite guard of the Nazi state).
The Third Reich has been called a dual state, since the normal judicial system coexisted with the arbitrary power of Hitler and the police. Yet, like most areas of public life after the Nazi rise to power in 1933, the German system of justice underwent "coordination" (alignment with Nazi goals). All professional associations involved with the administration of justice were merged into the National Socialist League of German Jurists....
The article continues:
Hitler determined to increase the political reliability of the courts. In 1933 he established special courts throughout Germany to try politically sensitive cases. Dissatisfied with the 'not guilty' verdicts rendered by the Supreme Court (Reichsgericht) in the Reichstag Fire Trial, Hitler ordered the creation of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) in Berlin in 1934 to try treason and other important "political cases." Under Roland Freisler, the People's Court became part of the Nazi system of terror, condemning tens of thousands of people as "Volk Vermin" and thousands more to death for "Volk Treason." The trial and sentencing of those accused of complicity in the July Plot, the attempt to kill Hitler in July 1944, was especially unjust. All the indicators seem to be pointing to the creation of a "People's Court" here in the United States. What was really scary was to discover that I wasn't the only one to pick up on this, either. Jacob G. Hornberger had also written about this very topic in his September 27th editorial posted to his website, The Future of Freedom Foundation, titled Decimating the Constitution with Military Tribunals. In it, he explains:
As I pointed out in my article How Hitler Became a Dictator, after the terrorist strike on the Reichstag, which enabled Hitler to secure the Enabling Act that temporarily suspended civil liberties in Germany, a German judge, while convicting one of the defendants, acquitted others, much to Hitlers chagrin and disapproval. After all, they were obviously terrorists. How dare that German judge find them not guilty?
So, Hitler decided to implement a new independent judicial system within Germany to try terrorists and traitors. Known as the Peoples Court, it became nothing more than a judicial lapdog to carry out prosecutions, convictions, and punishments in accordance with Hitlers will. In fact, it was the infamous Peoples Court that convicted German college students Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends in the White Rose organization and quickly tried and executed them (3 days after their arrest) for treason for distributing antiwar and anti-government pamphlets. That's when it occurred to me that Gonzales and Gingrich weren't actually trying to set up their version of a People's Court, they were telling the existing Court's to not interfere with their newly created courts founded under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (pdf). They were like a couple of wolves guarding a fresh kill from outsiders. With the passage of The MCA, a whole new set of "courts" were created to try "unlawful enemy combatants" that would for the most part be independent from any judicial review. These new courts--actually called commissions--would try alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by military commission. Furthermore, these newly-created commissions limit the accused rights. Reading from the MCA, we learn that (citing the more relevant parts):
(d) INAPPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS.
(1) The following provisions of this title shall not apply to trial by military commission under this chapter:
(A) Section 810 (article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to speedy trial, including any rule of courts-martial relating to speedy trial.
(B) Sections 831(a), (b), and (d) (articles 31(a), (b), and (d) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to compulsory self-incrimination.
(C) Section 832 (article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to pretrial investigation.
(g) GENEVA CONVENTIONS NOT ESTABLISHING SOURCE OF RIGHTS.
No alien unlawful enemy combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights.
There's been a number of articles written on what you can expect if you find yourself staring down the barrel of a military commission, so I won't bother rehashing those finer points here. The point I want to make is that we're, as a nation, well on our way to embracing fascism in the United States unless we stop it now. I have to wonder if one would find articles in Germany's newspapers (circa 1930's) written by concerned Germans warning their fellow countrymen they were headed towards a dictatorship unless they stood up for their rights and the rule of law. If you take the time to read the lessons History has to offer on this subject and compare those lessons to what we see going on right now in this country, it really is chilling how far down this road we have traveled.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."