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Thank you, Lord Fyre. As English isn't my native tongue, I sometimes do learn new words and such, this being one of them.

I might actually have use for that word in my writings, whether they be for my D&D setting or for some novel I might some day write down.

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Icyshadow wrote:

Thank you, Lord Fyre. As English isn't my native tongue, I sometimes do learn new words and such, this being one of them.

I might actually have use for that word in my writings, whether they be for my D&D setting or for some novel I might some day write down.

Still, it seems an apt description of the current U.S. Government.


I never claimed otherwise, now did I? :P


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You want to change the paranoid securitheatre, then you need different people in charge. When someone claims that "freedoms need to be balanced", blacklist that person permanently. When someone makes serious budget cuts but leaves security intact, same thing. When someone promises to close Guantanamo but doesn't, same thing. After that point, always ask why those things happened whenever those people want your vote again. Tell them this, in no uncertain terms. Unless they then correct their tune, and you see action on it, don't vote for them again. It is better to vote for someone who doesn't stand a chance to win than to vote for someone who might win but will never give you what you want. Even if other things they intend to do might be stuff you want.

To change the american voting system, you need to be active. Every opinion counts, and if yours is clear enough, people will listen. Even if it takes forty years, even if you never see the effects. So long as you accept voting for one of two parties, BOTH of which intend to boil you, mr Frog, you're not ever going to get a change happening.

Thr truth is, few people in the top political layers now are untainted. Check people's voting history and what bills they have written. ASK THEM WHY. Send letters, especially during election season, and tell them that you have a very hard time voting for someone who voted to do x, y and z. If they ignore you, talk to others about it. Sure, the media is under many thumbs, but you can still act in such a way that your view gets noticed. Corruption is a dangerous accusation for them.

Don't ignore lower level elections. They are what make options available higher up. Democracy exists, but you can't be satisfied with voting (R) or (D) in every election you get to participate in and believe anything will change.

But first and foremost: Discuss civil liberties with others, and question the problem of the war on drugs/terror/the Long War. Unless others learn why things happen and what might happen, this is never going to change.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Sissyl wrote:
Don't ignore lower level elections. They are what make options available higher up. Democracy exists, but you can't be satisfied with voting (R) or (D) in every election you get to participate in and believe anything will change.

That is true.

The militarization of your local police is just as much part of the problem as Obama.


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-I live in a nameless country that has one of the worst human lefts situations in the world. I am using certain terms so that my post is not observed by certain interested parties. Over in Peking, as I am let's talk about real issues. Granted the US is going in the wrong direction, but let's talk about a few things.
-Educators are forbidden from even mentioning any events of a certain year that was rather square
-The number of people who died under a certain politcial leader are not mentioned, but his picture is on all the money. ALL of it.
-The country has fought wars with all their neighbors, but the majority of the people consider their country 'peaceful' and do not know they forcibly annexed a certain plateau.
-Students are encouraged to 'rat' on other students for not being patriotic enough.
-A certain political test, which has a certain party line, is required to be admitted to grad school
-The vile and danerous website youtube is banned.
-Norway is banned from selling fish due to, interfering in local politics via nobel prize.

Let's not forget America has quite a bit lower to fall.


Absolutely. The US is not nearly as bad as it could be. That is why it is necessary to stand up for that fight NOW. Just saying "other places are worse" will just mean you don't do anything, and your country gets worse. Every such step makes the struggle that much harder to fight and win, and it gets that much more difficult to engage people in improving their country.


-I simply think the economy in the US has to get much worse for people in America do get crazy. Although we had unemployment that was high, we haven't had a perfect paradigm shift like the great depression. Too many people though 'occupy wall street' was jus a neo hippy protest to make pot legal, and people shouted get a job. How anybody could shout get a job, when unemployment in the US is higher than the EU average is bizarre.
-The US will change when people start killing each other in the streets Mexican Drug War Style, we aren't there yet.


The US will always change. Change is the only constant. About unemployment: The only two things that seem to work and have money in the US are security and military. We know that security is a massive money sink that increases the cost of every transaction, typically for very little return. So... in hindsight, it really isn't surprising that the US economy has tanked, that nobody has jobs, or that other economies are growing more important world-wide.

In one interview long ago, Usama bin Laden said that his goal was to get the US to crash economically. Nobody paid attention to that, but my analysis is that he certainly managed to do so. Money was diverted from productive sectors to security and military. Nobody has a job now - big surprise. What is surprising is that the government never saw that coming. It isn't the first time something like this has happened, either. The Smoot-Hawley Act is a very good example of peerless economic stupidity.


Icyshadow wrote:

You know what? I'm not even going to entertain you with a response anymore. I see no reason to bother anymore.

If this thread and all the other news lately haven't shown you that the US is a police state by now, you're beyond hope.

I'm the one beyond hope? I'm the one putting words in your mouth?

I started by asking you what you thought we should do. And described problems with some options.
You're the one who came back with

Quote:

I see your plan is to sit and do nothing, which is of course the worst thing to do. Props to you, jeff.

They're ready to detain people indefinitely. What else is there left aside from a violent uprising by this part?

And then attacked me for saying you were giving up on democracy and turning to violence? You may not have said "giving up on democracy", but that's what a violent uprising is.

As for "is a police state", that depends very much on what your definition is. We're definitely more of one than we were 20 or 30 years ago. Probably less of one than we were much of the time before that. It also depends on where you live and what color your skin is. Obviously the surveillance has increased with technology, but that's not the only marker.
But calling us one also diminishes the term when applied to actual police states. You know, ones where talking about this kind of thing in public would get you locked up.

Do we have problems? Certainly. Do those problems justify violently overthrowing the government, probably leading to the death and displacement of millions and hoping that somehow the outcome of that struggle is a more democratic and less repressive system than we have now?


Sissyl wrote:
Absolutely. The US is not nearly as bad as it could be. That is why it is necessary to stand up for that fight NOW. Just saying "other places are worse" will just mean you don't do anything, and your country gets worse. Every such step makes the struggle that much harder to fight and win, and it gets that much more difficult to engage people in improving their country.

Reminds me of the people who always go like "well, it could be worse" until the worst case scenario occurs.


thejeff wrote:

Yes, but what?

....

World wide socialist revolution?

F@&#in' a right!!!

(I don't mind if you put things in my mouth, Comrade Jeff)

[Waggles eyebrows]


I'd say US is more surveillance state than police state as none of shootings were ever stopped from recent years. The military industrial complex still needs more boogeyman to justify it's own corruption though & terrorists everywhere is it's meal ticket.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:

I see your plan is to sit and do nothing, which is of course the worst thing to do. Props to you, jeff.

They're ready to detain people indefinitely. What else is there left aside from a violent uprising by this part?

Are you planning on leading the charge to storm the Bastille? Are you yourself ready to take up arms in revolt? The country is run on a heavily complicated interweaved system, how much are you willing to break in the name of.... whatever.


thejeff wrote:

[...]As for "is a police state", that depends very much on what your definition is. We're definitely more of one than we were 20 or 30 years ago. Probably less of one than we were much of the time before that. It also depends on where you live and what color your skin is. Obviously the surveillance has increased with technology, but that's not the only marker.

But calling us one also diminishes the term when applied to actual police states. [...]

Guantanamo. Imprisoning citizens of different country (possibly countries) while denying them right to due legal actions. Confirmed cases of torture.

This is one terrifying proof how easy it is to quickly establish an instrument of repression. After all, the facilities can be adapted to allegedly criminal individuals of any type.

Note: I am not claiming nor considering US to be a "police state". I would however urge to remember Bradley Manning & Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden, as symptoms of issues that should be officially addressed and cleaned up. Though, if I were to speculate, the case of Agent Orange bodes ill for any reasonable resolution (hint: major financial compensation and official acknowledgement of blame for Agent Orange victims would be a start).


ruemere wrote:
thejeff wrote:

[...]As for "is a police state", that depends very much on what your definition is. We're definitely more of one than we were 20 or 30 years ago. Probably less of one than we were much of the time before that. It also depends on where you live and what color your skin is. Obviously the surveillance has increased with technology, but that's not the only marker.

But calling us one also diminishes the term when applied to actual police states. [...]

Guantanamo. Imprisoning citizens of different country (possibly countries) while denying them right to due legal actions. Confirmed cases of torture.

This is one terrifying proof how easy it is to quickly establish an instrument of repression. After all, the facilities can be adapted to allegedly criminal individuals of any type.

Note: I am not claiming nor considering US to be a "police state". I would however urge to remember Bradley Manning & Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden, as symptoms of issues that should be officially addressed and cleaned up. Though, if I were to speculate, the case of Agent Orange bodes ill for any reasonable resolution (hint: major financial compensation and official acknowledgement of blame for Agent Orange victims would be a start).

I don't disagree. As I said "more of one than we were 20 or 30 years ago". But that was a particular moment in time. And we got there from much worse without a violent revolution.

McCarthyism. Imprisoning citizens of Japanese descent during WWII. Imprisoning pacifists based on speeches against the war effort during WWI. Far worse on state and local levels against non-whites or the working poor throughout our history.

If we're a "police state" and justified in violently overthrowing the government now because any other approach is hopeless, why weren't we at so many other times during our history? And if we were, since we recovered then, why can't we now?

Same for government corruption. Not denying we have some serious issues, but historically speaking, not bad at all. Really. Doesn't mean we shouldn't protest and complain and push back, but also doesn't mean we should despair and turn to violence.

It's been worse before. We've fixed it before.


Which, you know, requires actually fixing it instead of saying "we have issues but place/time is/was worse". What is relevant is how many of the principles of Rule of law and the core freedoms of the free and open society that are intact, because governments don't instate those, only take them away, unless there is a compelling reason to. Like the threat of civil war, for example. So, go through them for yourself: Innocent until proven guilty? Habeas corpus? Limited time you can be detained without a trial? Freedom of expression? Freedom of information? Not having your communication supervised by the state? Freedom to participate in political life, including peaceful demonstrations, without getting imprisoned? And so on... Doesn't look good, does it? The President can declare someone, even an American citizen, an enemy combatant, which gives him the right to detain that person indefinitely or (IIRC) even have that person killed.

No. I don't seriously think things were this bad before.


HarbinNick wrote:

-I simply think the economy in the US has to get much worse for people in America do get crazy. Although we had unemployment that was high, we haven't had a perfect paradigm shift like the great depression. Too many people though 'occupy wall street' was jus a neo hippy protest to make pot legal, and people shouted get a job. How anybody could shout get a job, when unemployment in the US is higher than the EU average is bizarre.

-The US will change when people start killing each other in the streets Mexican Drug War Style, we aren't there yet.

There's a reason we subsidize food production so heavily.

Dark Archive

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People! It's made...out of people.


Sissyl wrote:

Which, you know, requires actually fixing it instead of saying "we have issues but place/time is/was worse". What is relevant is how many of the principles of Rule of law and the core freedoms of the free and open society that are intact, because governments don't instate those, only take them away, unless there is a compelling reason to. Like the threat of civil war, for example. So, go through them for yourself: Innocent until proven guilty? Habeas corpus? Limited time you can be detained without a trial? Freedom of expression? Freedom of information? Not having your communication supervised by the state? Freedom to participate in political life, including peaceful demonstrations, without getting imprisoned? And so on... Doesn't look good, does it? The President can declare someone, even an American citizen, an enemy combatant, which gives him the right to detain that person indefinitely or (IIRC) even have that person killed.

No. I don't seriously think things were this bad before.

You're comparing theoretical abuses of broadly written laws with actual abuses. Despite claims that the President can arbitrarily detain or kill anyone at a whim, even citizens in the US, it hasn't been used that way. The ways it has been used are bad enough and I'm not defending it, mind you.

I'd say most of the rights you list have existed only in theory for the majority of the population for most of the country's history. They certainly didn't exist if you were black or Native or, to somewhat lesser extent, whoever else wasn't considered white at the time. Or look at the early Union movement? Freedom of expression? Sure, as long as you weren't a communist or an agitator. Government troops busting strikes. Obviously the surviellance tech is better now, but it's not like the authorities haven't always tried to infiltrate and spy on political groups. Look at the 60s. We're essentially undoing protections put in place in the 70s - Church Committee. But they didn't exist before then and we fixed it.

And I'm not saying all this to say "Don't worry about it. We're not as bad as we used to be so there's no need to do anything." I'm just trying to counter the "It's so horrible that there's no way back from here except revolution" argument. We've been worse before and we've been able to improve. We can do it again.


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"Theoretical abuses" is a very poor choice of phrase for something that should more clearly be described as "tools that can now be used as needed when the government wants to clamp down". That they haven't been used yet is actually completely irrelevant. The actual abuses are pretty magnificent as they are, and are directly dependent on the "theoretical abuses". Extraordinary rendition, waterboarding and other torture methods, indefinite detention camps in extraterritorial areas, massive surveillance... None of this would be possible without the legal basis for it. Removing habeas corpus for crimes of terrorism, for example. You can't separate the two processes.

As for the "declaring someone an illegal combatant", it HAS been used precisely that way, against an American citizen. I don't remember his name right now, but someone here may be able to help me.

Revolutions typically aren't a good idea (tm). Lots of blood, lots of corpses, and no guarantee of improvements. I don't see it the way Icyshadow does. Revolution is what happens when the government leads a miserable country where people suffer, and feel that there is no alternative to suffering other than violence. A central issue in this decision is what other methods of change are available... and if the government has power enough to shatter any organized attempt at change, society comes that much closer to the revolution we don't want. Don't underestimate the desire to make one's country free for one's children and loved ones to live in.

That is the MAIN reason these abuses must stop. Once they go too far, a violent tyranny or a violent revolution WILL be the result. I hope American politicians are wise enough to see that allowing change is a vital security valve for every democracy.


Sissyl wrote:
"Theoretical abuses" is a very poor choice of phrase for something that should more clearly be described as "tools that can now be used as needed when the government wants to clamp down". That they haven't been used yet is actually completely irrelevant. The actual abuses are pretty magnificent as they are, and are directly dependent on the "theoretical abuses". Extraordinary rendition, waterboarding and other torture methods, indefinite detention camps in extraterritorial areas, massive surveillance... None of this would be possible without the legal basis for it. Removing habeas corpus for crimes of terrorism, for example. You can't separate the two processes.

As opposed to the days when cops would just beat confessions out of people and they'd hold up in court. Or when mobs would lynch blacks there would be no convictions even if it went so far as a trial. How was all of that possible without the legal basis? People just ignored the law.

These "new" tools can be used against scary brown terrorists, because people will accept that. Theoretically the President can declare anyone an "enemy combatant" and send drones after him, but if he does that to anyone who doesn't fit the profile he's dead politically. Probably impeached. Whatever you think the law technically says, he can't just use it as tool when the government wants to clamp down.

Sissyl wrote:
As for the "declaring someone an illegal combatant", it HAS been used precisely that way, against an American citizen. I don't remember his name right now, but someone here may be able to help me.

Not precisely that way. Against an American citizen, yes, but against an American citizen openly working with Al-Queda in an area of Yemen not under government control so we couldn't extradite him or even send in troops to capture him without a major operation.

Get back to me when it's used on a citizen in the US just to clamp down on political dissent.

Sissyl wrote:


Revolutions typically aren't a good idea (tm). Lots of blood, lots of corpses, and no guarantee of improvements. I don't see it the way Icyshadow does. Revolution is what happens when the government leads a miserable country where people suffer, and feel that there is no alternative to suffering other than violence. A central issue in this decision is what other methods of change are available... and if the government has power enough to shatter any organized attempt at change, society comes that much closer to the revolution we don't want. Don't underestimate the desire to make one's country free for one's children and loved ones to live in.

That is the MAIN reason these abuses must stop. Once they go too far, a violent tyranny or a violent revolution WILL be the result. I hope American politicians are wise enough to see that allowing change is a vital security valve for every democracy.

I hope so too. The problem is a lot of Americans are perfectly fine with them as long as they're only used on scary brown people and not on real Americans like them. Remember that scary brown people aren't Real Americans(tm) even if they are citizens.


I found Hamdi and Padillo with a quick search. I am not read up on it. Both were apparently American citizens.

As for scary brown people: The only way this is going to resolve itself well is if we can recognize each other as humans. Even terrorists. The processes of fanaticism are the same as those political parties, churches et al use to exert influence over people. Part of being fanatic, or "loyal" is not questioning, and not thinking. The politicians think it is only okay when they do it... if someone else does it, they are terrorists.


You could also take a look at the treatment of the uyghurs that have been held at Guantanamo for more inspiration. Apparently, when their cases were reviewed, there was not enough evidence to hold them, and half their number was suddenly sent off to Albania three days before the review. This, in turn, got China upset about breaking some kind of deal with them. Apparently, then, America did China favours by holding politically problematic people for them, outside American territory, indefinitely, and without trials.


Citizen Sissyl: We are concerned that you are experiencing, perhaps, unusual...stress...please report to Floor 42, Room 101 of the MiniTruth at your very earliest convenience for...assessment.


....exactly my point. Thank you, Mr. O'Brien.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Sissyl wrote:
....exactly my point. Thank you, Mr. O'Brien.

I know that Mr. O'Brien is making a joke, but ... it is really happening.


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Note that veterans are people who have chosen to risk their lives in order to... yes: make their country free, for their children and other loved ones. It should come as no surprise that they are being targeted. It speaks volumes of the competency of a government that is unable to reciprocate in loyalty even to those who have proven their loyalty.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Sissyl wrote:
Note that veterans are people who have chosen to risk their lives in order to... yes: make their country free, for their children and other loved ones. It should come as no surprise that they are being targeted. It speaks volumes of the competency of a government that is unable to reciprocate in loyalty even to those who have proven their loyalty.

It is not the government's competency that I am questioning here. ... this is more about our government's rapidly eroding ethics. (Very Evil people can still be highly competent.)


Lord Fyre wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
....exactly my point. Thank you, Mr. O'Brien.
I know that Mr. O'Brien is making a joke, but ... it is really happening.

this is a bit out there. Anything more credible or at least calmer?


Competency, not in "able to get things done", but as in "able to represent the American people", Lord Fyre. It is... or maybe I should say... it SHOULD be the prerequisite of every government. And I think you can forgive me for saying that I don't think Americans in general fit the description "Very Evil people".

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Freehold DM wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
....exactly my point. Thank you, Mr. O'Brien.
I know that Mr. O'Brien is making a joke, but ... it is really happening.
this is a bit out there. Anything more credible or at least calmer?

Calmer, yes. You have do decide for yourself what you consider credible.


Sissyl wrote:
You could also take a look at the treatment of the uyghurs that have been held at Guantanamo for more inspiration. Apparently, when their cases were reviewed, there was not enough evidence to hold them, and half their number was suddenly sent off to Albania three days before the review. This, in turn, got China upset about breaking some kind of deal with them. Apparently, then, America did China favours by holding politically problematic people for them, outside American territory, indefinitely, and without trials.

Again, scary brown people detained for things plausibly related to terrorism. In Hamdi's case, the SC ruled against the adminstration and he was released and deported. In Padilla's the legal manuevering is more complicated, but he was eventually tried in civilian court, which kept the SC from ruling on the legality of his detention.

Also note that in Boumediene v. Bush (2008) the SC has ruled that all detainees, foreign or citizen, have the constitutional right to challenge their detention in US courts.

I fully agree that this power goes too far, but it's also not the "pluck political opponents off the street and disappear them" power it's often painted to be. The courts do have supervision over it. If it's blatantly abused, for example used against anyone not easily painted as having ties to Islamic terrorism, there will be a huge political backlash.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Sissyl wrote:
Competency, not in "able to get things done", but as in "able to represent the American people", Lord Fyre. It is... or maybe I should say... it SHOULD be the prerequisite of every government.

I was merely disagreeing with your definition of "Competent."

Strictly speaking the Tea Party members of the Republican congressional delegation ARE effectively representing their constituents when they attempt to defund Obamacare. But, that doesn't mean that they get much done.

Sissyl wrote:
And I think you can forgive me for saying that I don't think Americans in general fit the description "Very Evil people".

True. HarbinNick makes it clear that there are still FAR worse places.

And, there are very few individuals who would qualify as "very evil." But, even people with the best of intentions can end up doing some very bad things.


Lord Fyre wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
....exactly my point. Thank you, Mr. O'Brien.
I know that Mr. O'Brien is making a joke, but ... it is really happening.
this is a bit out there. Anything more credible or at least calmer?
Calmer, yes. You have do decide for yourself what you consider credible.
Quote:

In 2009, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security began a program to monitor white supremacists and “militia/sovereign-citizen extremist groups” for terrorist activities.

Included among the suspected terrorists were Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Obviously, DHS should immediately stop monitoring any group that recruits, or even tries to recruit, veterans.

As we all know, veterans are incapable of violence against their government or their fellow citizens.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

thejeff wrote:

Obviously, DHS should immediately stop monitoring any group that recruits, or even tries to recruit, veterans.

As we all know, veterans are incapable of violence against their government or their fellow citizens.

That is an enormous amount of law enforcement resources being used to "watch" people who have not committed a crime.

Quite the opposite, they have provided exemplary service to their fellow citizens.


Lord Fyre wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Obviously, DHS should immediately stop monitoring any group that recruits, or even tries to recruit, veterans.

As we all know, veterans are incapable of violence against their government or their fellow citizens.

That is an enormous amount of law enforcement resources being used to "watch" people who have not committed a crime.

Quite the opposite, they have provided exemplary service to their fellow citizens.

Unlike the hysterical ranting on that first site you linked, it really looks like they're not watching veterans as a group. They're monitoring white supremacist and extremist militia groups, even if those include veterans.

Some of these groups advocate violence or other criminal behavior. Some engage in it. I would hope they're concentrating on those that do.
This is pretty much standard law enforcement practice. Monitoring potential problem groups, trying to head off serious problems before they actually are carried out. As long as it isn't carried to far: infiltration of law-abiding groups, sting operations, etc, I don't have a problem with it. The alternative is doing nothing until after the crime actually happens.

Do you have any actual evidence for how much law enforcement resources are put into this program? Or even if it still exists?

BTW, here's an actual news article on it. From 2009, unfortunately.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

thejeff wrote:

Do you have any actual evidence for how much law enforcement resources are put into this program? Or even if it still exists?

BTW, here's an actual news article on it. From 2009, unfortunately.

So, in answer to your points:

  • Yes, I have no doubt the the program still exists.
  • It is also clear that Law Enforcement is very aware that this program has a potential for abuse (by "overzealous" agents). Note the distinction between well intentioned but overzealous" agents vs corruption.


  • My dear Lord Fyre; I'll put you to the question. Names, names, names; time-and-place, time-and-place.

    No fuss, now! Please, come along, now. That's it; quietly is best.


    Lord Fyre wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    Do you have any actual evidence for how much law enforcement resources are put into this program? Or even if it still exists?

    BTW, here's an actual news article on it. From 2009, unfortunately.

    So, in answer to your points:

  • Yes, I have no doubt the the program still exists.
  • It is also clear that Law Enforcement is very aware that this program has a potential for abuse (by "overzealous" agents). Note the distinction between well intentioned but overzealous" agents vs corruption.
  • Any actual evidence?

    For it still existing or for the "enormous amount of law enforcement resources"? What percent of the FBI's budget is devoted to it, for example?

    I don't really doubt it does still exist, but the Internet is so full of right wing sites ranting about how evil it is that Obama is targeting our brave noble veterans that any actual information on the program gets lost in the crazy.


    thejeff wrote:
    Sissyl wrote:
    You could also take a look at the treatment of the uyghurs that have been held at Guantanamo for more inspiration. Apparently, when their cases were reviewed, there was not enough evidence to hold them, and half their number was suddenly sent off to Albania three days before the review. This, in turn, got China upset about breaking some kind of deal with them. Apparently, then, America did China favours by holding politically problematic people for them, outside American territory, indefinitely, and without trials.

    Again, scary brown people detained for things plausibly related to terrorism. In Hamdi's case, the SC ruled against the adminstration and he was released and deported. In Padilla's the legal manuevering is more complicated, but he was eventually tried in civilian court, which kept the SC from ruling on the legality of his detention.

    Also note that in Boumediene v. Bush (2008) the SC has ruled that all detainees, foreign or citizen, have the constitutional right to challenge their detention in US courts.

    I fully agree that this power goes too far, but it's also not the "pluck political opponents off the street and disappear them" power it's often painted to be. The courts do have supervision over it. If it's blatantly abused, for example used against anyone not easily painted as having ties to Islamic terrorism, there will be a huge political backlash.

    Thanks for the information. But you are wrong: If the executive branch of the government wants to use it as "pluck political opponents off the street and disappear them", it will be used as such if it still exists. It is quite telling that the SCOTUS had to stop the executive branch from doing that, and a clear ruling was avoided in the second case.


    I, of course, believe that international proletarian socialist revolution is totally called for, and has been so for over a century, but leaving that aside:

    There was a report a while back, I can go look for it if necessary, that Holder said, effectively, "Yeah, we can assassinate any American citizen we need to, but, don't worry, if it ever came to that we'd be so far gone, you'd have a lot more to concern yourself with."

    And that makes a cynical, borderline paranoid, perhaps delusional (but I don't think so) commie like myself wonder, well what does that mean? If things were as far gone as, what? Egypt? Greece?

    And if austerity measures continue like they do, and the economy continues to go into the toilet, and the environment continues to deteriorate (I know, Madame Sissyl, you've got problems with that one, but just go with it because it's an effective argument against Comrade Jeff) and mass protest movements were to break out, well, what then? What if Occupy had mobilized millions instead of thousands?


    Lord Fyre wrote:
    thejeff wrote:

    Do you have any actual evidence for how much law enforcement resources are put into this program? Or even if it still exists?

    BTW, here's an actual news article on it. From 2009, unfortunately.

    So, in answer to your points:

  • Yes, I have no doubt the the program still exists.
  • It is also clear that Law Enforcement is very aware that this program has a potential for abuse (by "overzealous" agents). Note the distinction between well intentioned but overzealous" agents vs corruption.
  • No, you can't draw a distinction between overzealousness and corruption when it comes to laws. That is akin to saying "it's okay if the government has the right to kill any citizen if they feel like it without a trial, because it won't be misused". Laws that exist WILL be used once circumstances reach a certain point. The corrupt people will say that it's no problem, it's just a few nonspecified people being overzealous.

    Or you're saying that, you know, what laws exist doesn't matter.


    Sissyl wrote:
    thejeff wrote:
    Sissyl wrote:
    You could also take a look at the treatment of the uyghurs that have been held at Guantanamo for more inspiration. Apparently, when their cases were reviewed, there was not enough evidence to hold them, and half their number was suddenly sent off to Albania three days before the review. This, in turn, got China upset about breaking some kind of deal with them. Apparently, then, America did China favours by holding politically problematic people for them, outside American territory, indefinitely, and without trials.

    Again, scary brown people detained for things plausibly related to terrorism. In Hamdi's case, the SC ruled against the adminstration and he was released and deported. In Padilla's the legal manuevering is more complicated, but he was eventually tried in civilian court, which kept the SC from ruling on the legality of his detention.

    Also note that in Boumediene v. Bush (2008) the SC has ruled that all detainees, foreign or citizen, have the constitutional right to challenge their detention in US courts.

    I fully agree that this power goes too far, but it's also not the "pluck political opponents off the street and disappear them" power it's often painted to be. The courts do have supervision over it. If it's blatantly abused, for example used against anyone not easily painted as having ties to Islamic terrorism, there will be a huge political backlash.

    Thanks for the information. But you are wrong: If the executive branch of the government wants to use it as "pluck political opponents off the street and disappear them", it will be used as such if it still exists. It is quite telling that the SCOTUS had to stop the executive branch from doing that, and a clear ruling was avoided in the second case.

    Except that in neither case were they "political opponents", but were detained for their alleged links to terrorism.

    And the later case means they do have access to the courts to challenge their detention.


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    Mr. O'Brien, RM 101 wrote:
    Citizen Sissyl: We are concerned that you are experiencing, perhaps, unusual...stress...please report to Floor 42, Room 101 of the MiniTruth at your very earliest convenience for...assessment.

    We have always been at war with Eurasia! We will always be at war with Eurasia!


    And if someone in the executive branch was to claim a political opponent had links to terrorism, say, supported by surveillance data that was deeply classified?

    Or, even better, if data was fabricated to implicate someone had ties to terrorism?

    No, it is completely untenable to have such powers ANYWHERE in the administration.


    Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

    I, of course, believe that international proletarian socialist revolution is totally called for, and has been so for over a century, but leaving that aside:

    There was a report a while back, I can go look for it if necessary, that Holder said, effectively, "Yeah, we can assassinate any American citizen we need to, but, don't worry, if it ever came to that we'd be so far gone, you'd have a lot more to concern yourself with."

    And that makes a cynical, borderline paranoid, perhaps delusional (but I don't think so) commie like myself wonder, well what does that mean? If things were as far gone as, what? Egypt? Greece?

    And if austerity measures continue like they do, and the economy continues to go into the toilet, and the environment continues to deteriorate (I know, Madame Sissyl, you've got problems with that one, but just go with it because it's an effective argument against Comrade Jeff) and mass protest movements were to break out, well, what then? What if Occupy had mobilized millions instead of thousands?

    Well, according to the law and assuming the government is following the strict letter of the law and not going beyond it in these exceptional circumstances, then I suppose the President could designate the Occupy leaders as enemy combatants based on their links to Al-Queda (or the other related groups that the program applies to) and detain or assassinate them as needed. Of course, if he's following the law and they don't have such links, he can't. If he detains them without such links, they'll be able to challenge that in court. If he just kills them, then I'm not sure what the process to challenge it would be. Probably just political at that stage, but he's already not following the law.

    Which is the point. Of course they can assassinate any American citizen. They've always been able to. They just can't do it legally. Or with political impunity. And they still can't.

    Now, if everyone panics over millions of Occupiers and Congress passes a special War Powers Act allowing the detention or assassination of protestors, then that will go to the courts. Of course we've been there before too. At least in past wars with the Japanese internments and arrrests of pacificists and other objectors in WWI.

    Let me turn the question back at you Comrade: Given the situation you describe, do you really think the US government would act any differently if this particular law was repealed before then? Or would they just find a different fig leaf? "I'd love to order drone strikes on the Occupy protestors. If only Congress hadn't repealed that law that really wouldn't have applied to them anyway."


    thejeff wrote:

    Well, according to the law and assuming the government is following the strict letter of the law and not going beyond it in these exceptional circumstances, then I suppose the President could designate the Occupy leaders as enemy combatants based on their links to Al-Queda (or the other related groups that the program applies to) and detain or assassinate them as needed. Of course, if he's following the law and they don't have such links, he can't. If he detains them without such links, they'll be able to challenge that in court. If he just kills them, then I'm not sure what the process to challenge it would be. Probably just political at that stage, but he's already not following the law.

    Which is the point. Of course they can assassinate any American citizen. They've always been able to. They just can't do it legally. Or with political impunity. And they still can't.

    Now, if everyone panics over millions of Occupiers and Congress passes a special...

    Well, let me go look for that Holder report, because, IIRC (and I maybe I don't [bubble bubble bubble], it didn't have anything to do with al-Qaeda.

    In the meantime, only tangenitally related piece on Democracy Now! that was making me cry.


    [Sorry about the delay: was taking a phone call from a potential girlfriend]

    Well, here's the letter.

    And here's some commentary.

    "But that categorical limitation on the President’s authority to kill depends upon their definition of 'imminence,' which we learned from a leaked Justice Department white paper last month, is extremely broad."

    And here's MSNBC on that extreme broadness, although, indeed, it does bring in al-Qadea and related forces (like the ones "we" are/were allied with in Syria/Libya?) again.

    Comrade Jeff wrote:
    Let me turn the question back at you Comrade: Given the situation you describe, do you really think the US government would act any differently if this particular law was repealed before then? Or would they just find a different fig leaf? "I'd love to order drone strikes on the Occupy protestors. If only Congress hadn't repealed that law that really wouldn't have applied to them anyway."

    No, I don't. As I said back in the Comrade Knife's first NDAA thread a while back, I think that if one thinks the blood-soaked American imperialists are constrained by their own laws, then one is delusional. Or, as you put it: "Of course they can assassinate any American citizen. They've always been able to."

    COINTELPRO was happily bumping off Panthers and AIM members (more scary brown people) for years before Watergate got Nixon in trouble.

    I think the likelihood that Obama (or his successor) is going to bump off establishment political opponents is pretty slight. I think that if a genuine radical mass movement were to erupt (say, like the thirties, or the late sixties), the state would be bumping off people left and right.


    Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

    [Sorry about the delay: was taking a phone call from a potential girlfriend]

    Well, here's the letter.

    And here's some commentary.

    "But that categorical limitation on the President’s authority to kill depends upon their definition of 'imminence,' which we learned from a leaked Justice Department white paper last month, is extremely broad."

    And here's MSNBC on that extreme broadness, although, indeed, it does bring in al-Qadea and related forces (like the ones "we" are/were allied with in Syria/Libya?) again.

    Well, Holder's response there seems about right to me.

    What do you want him to say?

    Would you prefer an absolute "No, the US Government or any of its agents absolutely will not under any circumstance kill US citizens on US soil without a trial."?

    Does that including using lethal force against US citizens actively attacking others? Would it have included shooting down the hijacked planes on 9/11? The hijackers weren't US citizens, but the passengers were. Should it have made a difference if they were?

    Mind you the Rand Paul asking this question was the same one that said this after the Boston bombing

    Quote:

    I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him…

    If there’s a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them out, heat-seeking devices being used, I’m all for law enforcement.

    I just like to point that out, whenever RP & drones comes up.

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