Saturday, June 16, 2007

The new model Gaza.

Well, W.'s whole democracy-on-the-march-in-the-Middle-East-thing has pretty much gone down like a flaming Zepplin, hasn't it? Lebanon is a basket case; Iraqi's fleeting purple-fingered "triumph" has become a pornographic nightmare of blood and violence, which just get's worse expodentially every week; and now -- as if things were bad enough -- we have Hamas taking over Gaza by force of arms.

Hey, that's just great! Obviously, the best way to have dealt with a Hamas electorial victory back in January of 2006 was to cut off all foreign aid to the PA, to show the Palestinian people the errors of their ways. Then, naturally, you just expect that they'd reject Hamas, cozy up to America's and Israel's chosen leader, and we'd get on with the two-state solution.

No? That's not how it works?

Today the WaPo sums up the situation:

"In his final 18 months as president, he faces the prospect of a shattered Palestinian Authority, a radical Islamic state on Israel's border and increasingly dwindling options to turn the tide against Hamas and create a functioning Palestinian state."

Now the new plan is to isolate Hamas, along with everyone unlucky enough to be stuck in Gaza, and shower aid on Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. Great idea! That'll work.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is habeas corpus a corpus?

The WaPo reports:

"A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that President Bush cannot indefinitely imprison a U.S. resident on suspicion alone, ordering the government either to charge Qatari national Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri with his alleged terrorist crimes in a civilian court or release him. 'The President cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian, an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention,' the panel found."

How far away from the Founding Father's original vision have we wandered when a federal court has to actually write . . . "In the United States, the military cannot seize and imprison civilians, let alone imprison them indefinitely. This is so even if [the president] calls them 'enemy combatants." [AP]

Really? I thought for sure the constitution gave the President dictitorial powers whenever he felt like using them. Has anyone consulted Al Gonzales on this ruling? I think we need another work around. Oh but wait, he's kind of busy fending off votes of no confidence focusing on "on the next 18 months and sprinting to the finish line." All he's concerned about now is avoiding being fired and indicted. Just make it to that finish line, baby!

But here comes big, bad, old Pat Leahy to poop on the president's parade. He's working on restoring habeas corpus to the detainees at Gitmo. Just last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out the "Habeas Corpus Restoration Act" by a vote of 11-8. Only one Republican voted yes, just keep that in mind when people look back on thee dark days and wonder how we ever got to this point. These guys would sell their own mothers to cover their political asses.

Pat Leahy writes:

"It is hard to see how there can be legislation to eliminate the constitutional right to habeas corpus when the Constitution is explicit that habeas corpus may not be suspended except in time of invasion or rebellion, and we do not have either of those circumstances present. . . "

Supreme Court Justice Taney wrote that even the great rail slitter had no right to suspend habeas corpus, even it there was an invasion or rebellion.

Andrew Young at writes about the famous Ex parte Merryman case that:

"Chief Justice Roger Taney addresses Lincoln’s claims of sweeping executive power. He directly challenges Lincoln’s claim that his duty to faithfully execute the nation’s laws justifies the suspension of habeas corpus. The clause that requires the president to 'faithfully execute' the laws, Taney says, does not permit him to 'execute them himself, or through agents or officers, civil or military.' Instead, the president’s duty is to assure that no outside force interferes with the government’s execution of the laws. Therefore, he must help the judicial branch if some outside force threatens the judiciary’s power; he does not have the right to utilize the military to usurp judicial authority."

That's when you get a pliant Congress to legislate the courts out of it. Neat trick. To be continued?
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