September 29, 2006
Boing Boing: Protest DRM in NYC this Saturday!: "On Saturday, at 3pm Free Culture @ NYU in collaboration with DefectiveByDesign.org will be protesting DRM and the iTunes Music Store at the Apple Store in Midtown Manhattan, which is at 59th St. and 5th Ave."
If you're going to spend time and energy protesting, is Apple DRM really the most protest-worthy issue in the world today? Does the fact that Congress is happy to give the President unchecked power to detain and torture? But compared to Congress giving the green light to totalitarianism, is a business decision is such an egregious problem?
New York Times: Antiterrorism Bill on Detainees, Geneva Conventions - Rushing Off a Cliff:
Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.
Taken together, the bill's provisions rewrite American law to evade the fundamental principles of separation of powers, due process, habeas corpus, fair trials, and the rule of law, principles that, together, prohibit state-sanctioned violence. If there is any fixed point in the historical understandings of constitutional freedom that help to define us as a people, it is that no one may be picked up and locked up by the American state in secret or at an unknown location, or without opportunity to petition an independent court for inspection of the lawfulness of the lockup and of the treatment handed out by the state to the person locked up, under legal standards from time to time defined by Congress. This core principle should apply with full force to all detentions by the American state, regardless of the citizenship of detainees.
Steve Vladeck, National Security Advisors, Is the Analogy to the Alien and Sedition Acts Too Generous?
The MCA, in its current form, would preclude federal jurisdiction over virtually any habeas petition filed by a non-citizen detainee in the war on terrorism. That is, Congress is, for lack of a better word, too scared that the courts might just take issue with such a blatant assault on long-held, well-established conceptions both of individual rights and limitations on governmental power. And so, in one fell swoop, Congress is showing its arrogance all while arrogating what may well be the most important check in our system of checks and balances -- the countermajoritarian role of the courts in checking the excesses of the political branches.
Michael Froomkin, Dear Senator Reid, "History will judge you cruelly. The best outcome will be that this is a long bad blip, like the Alien and Sedition Acts, or the Japanese Internment; but the worst outcome is that this becomes emblematic of a turning point in which our Senate, like the Roman Senate before it, presided over a great society's moral and then political decline."
Bruce Ackerman, LA Times: The White House Warden - Los Angeles Times:
This dangerous compromise not only authorizes the president to seize and hold terrorists who have fought against our troops 'during an armed conflict,' it also allows him to seize anybody who has 'purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.' This grants the president enormous power over citizens and legal residents. They can be designated as enemy combatants if they have contributed money to a Middle Eastern charity, and they can be held indefinitely in a military prison.
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate: The Blind Leading the Willing
Passage of the new detainee legislation will be a different sort of watershed. Now we are affirmatively asking to be left in the dark. Instead of torture we were unaware of, we are sanctioning torture we'll never hear about. Instead of detainees we didn't care about, we are authorizing detentions we'll never know about. Instead of being misled by the president, we will be blind and powerless by our own choice. And that is a shame on us all.
Jack Balkin: What Hamdan Hath Wrought: "The MCA continues to recognize that certain conduct is illegal, but attempts to eliminate all judicial remedies for such violations."
Aziz Huq, Findlaw Writ: How The Military Commissions Act of 2006 Threatens Judicial Independence
The MCA's triple assault doesn't just assail Hamdan, harm the courts, and undercut the abstract principle of judicial independence. It also inflicts collateral damage by degrading America's reputation for decency and fairness among friends and foes at a time when we need all the allies we can muster. The MCA should not become law - and if it does become law, its patent due process violations should doom it to be struck down as unconstitutional.
Politically easy and correct are not always the same thing. Senate Vote.
The Show with Ze Frank: Obituary: "Habeas Corpus was found dead in his Washington apartment today having been stabbed 65 times in the back. Mr. Corpus leaves behind Mrs. Corpus and three hundred million children. Please send condolences and flowers to yourself."Posted by Andrew Raff at September 29, 2006 11:14 AM