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Sen. McConnell Is Afraid, He Wants KY Terror Suspects Transferred To Guantanamo Bay

5:42 am in jerks by Bill Egnor

The Kentucky Crying Turtle, Mitch McConnell

The Kentucky Crying Turtle, Mitch McConnell by DonkeyHotey

There are a lot of problems without the United States military tribunal system. Not the least of which is that we have set a separate track for some prosecutions when it comes to terrorism and terrorism related crimes. This leads to a confusion of effort but also risks the expansion of our gulag in Cuba.

Take the example of two men who were arrested in Kentucky. Waad Alwan and Mohanad Hammadi, two Iraqi men arrested in May on charges of trying to send Stinger missiles and other weapons to Al Qaeda related insurgents in Iraq. Both men were part of the refugee program that has allowed 56,000 Iraqi’s into the United States.

Mr. Alwan was, apparently, an insurgent himself who came to the U.S. with the intention of getting out of Iraq, where he was wanted, and gaining a U.S. passport which would allow him a much greater freedom of travel world wide.

He had been under investigation by the FBI since sometime in 2009. The details are sketchy but he had been working with an FBI informant who gave him weapons to ship to Iraq with the express intent of attacking Americans there.

All of this is pretty standard for anti-terror cases but it is when we get people like Sen. Mitch “Box-Turtle” McConnell involved that we see the perils of our “two track” justice system in regards to terrorism. The Senate Minority Leader is loudly saying that he wants the two men transferred from Federal custody to Guantanamo Bay.

Here is part of what he said, from the Courier-Journal article:

In a Senate floor speech, McConnell said he wanted to “get these men out of Kentucky.”

“Send them to Guantanamo where they belong,” the Kentucky Republican said. “Get these terrorists out of the civilian (court) system — and out of our backyards. And give them the justice they deserve.”

There are a lot of problems that that single sentence. First off it is hard to understand how a court system that is designed to let evidence that would never see the light of day in Article III courts be admissible is going to be any kind justice. (continued…)
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Friday Constitutional – Special Bonus Edition!

5:49 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Happy Friday and Welcome to a bonus installment of Friday Constitutional! This is the repost of my seemingly never ending series about the Constitution of the United States of America. Up to now we have focused on reading and giving a layman’s interpretation of the Constitution.

This week we will take a slightly new direction we will talk about some of the influences of on the construction of the Constitution itself. Specifically we are going to look at what role the governance of the Iroquois Confederacy or the Huadenosaunee had on the structure proposed and ratified by the Constitutional Convention in 1787. For those that have not been following this series and who are interested in the previous installments, you can find them at the following links;

Friday Constitutional 1 – Preamble, Article One, Sections 1 And 2
Friday Constitutional 2 – Article One, Sections 3 And 4
Friday Constitutional 3 – Article One, Sections 5 And 6
Friday Constitutional 4 – Article One, Sections 7 And 8
Friday Constitutional 5 – Article One, Sections 9 And 10
Friday Constitutional 6 – Article Two, Section 1 (Part One)
Friday Constitutional 7 – Article Two, Sections 1 (Part Two), 2, 3, And 4
Friday Constitutional 8 – Article Three, The Judicial Branch
Friday Constitutional 9 – Article Four, Relationships Between The States
Friday Constitutional 10 – Articles 5, 6 And 7
Friday Constitutional 11 – 1st And 2nd Amendments
Friday Constitutional 12 – 3rd And 4th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 13 – 5th And 6th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 14 – 7th, 8th, 9th And 10th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 15 – 11th And 12th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 16 – 13th And 14th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 17 – 15th, 16th and 17th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 18 – 18th, 19th And 20th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 19 – 21st, 22nd And 23rd Amendments
Friday Constitutional 20 – 25th And 25th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 21 – 26th And 27th Amendments

The idea that the Huadenosaunee structure of government between the nations that formed this body had an influence on the US Constitution is fairly contentious. I am sure that there will be those that want to dispute this connection, which is just fine, as long as we do not fall into the trap of either hero worship for the Framers or our abiding problem of American Exceptionalism.

As a process improvement guy I have found the best ideas are often ones you take from others who have been down the same road you are following, so if, as seems at least somewhat likely, the Huadenosaunee influenced the foundational document of our Republic, there is no shame in that, it just good resource management on the part of the Framers. Regardless of where the concepts came from, it was the Framers that gave us the Articles and the Bill of Rights, and these concepts have served us well (for the most part) for the last 224 years.
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Jethro Bodineism Watch – Rand Paul Edition

5:47 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Rand Paul - Caricature

Rand Paul - Caricature by DonkeyHotey,

 

To my great chagrin no one in the national media has picked up the Bodineism meme, but they are starting to get the picture that there are some elected officials, particularly Republican elected officials, are about as dumb as sack of hammers.

The particular Jethro that I am talking about today is Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Of all the folks that I have compared to Jethro Bodine, Sen. Paul is probably the closet to the mark. By all accounts he is a pretty genial guy with a good smile and a nice manner. He is also so clueless as to be a text book (given that all books are printed in text, wouldn’t that make them all text books?) example of self-satire.

Most recently Sen. Paul (gods greater and lesser that gives me chills just writing it, ugh) has managed to trample the 1st Amendment with his “ideas”. Some of us on the Left side of the Blogasphere were more than a little happy that he was holding up the PATRIOT act renewal, by wanting to insert some amendments that would lessen the ability of the government to spy on its own citizens.

That was a good thing, but it does not mean that he was doing it from a deep understanding of the Constitution. You see after his ploy failed he went on Sean “The Manatee” Hannity’s radio show and said the following:

I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps, you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

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The Pentultimate Friday Consitutional – 26th And 27th Amendments

5:34 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Happy Friday and welcome to the last of the Friday Constitutionals (Wow, that is surprisingly hard to write!)! This is the final installment of the respost of my 21 week series on the Constitution of the United States. For those of you just coming in, where have you been the last five months? In any case this series takes a layman’s look at the founding document of our nation and its system of laws. If you are interested in the previous installments of this series, you can find them at the following links:

Friday Constitutional 1 – Preamble, Article One, Sections 1 And 2
Friday Constitutional 2 – Article One, Sections 3 And 4
Friday Constitutional 3 – Article One, Sections 5 And 6
Friday Constitutional 4 – Article One, Sections 7 And 8
Friday Constitutional 5 – Article One, Sections 9 And 10
Friday Constitutional 6 – Article Two, Section 1 (Part One)
Friday Constitutional 7 – Article Two, Sections 1 (Part Two), 2, 3, And 4
Friday Constitutional 8 – Article Three, The Judicial Branch
Friday Constitutional 9 – Article Four, Relationships Between The States
Friday Constitutional 10 – Articles 5, 6 And 7
Friday Constitutional 11 – 1st And 2nd Amendments
Friday Constitutional 12 – 3rd And 4th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 13 – 5th And 6th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 14 – 7th, 8th, 9th And 10th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 15 – 11th And 12th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 16 – 13th And 14th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 17 – 15th, 16th and 17th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 18 – 18th, 19th And 20th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 19 – 21st, 22nd And 23rd Amendments
Friday Constitutional 20 – 25th And 25th Amendments

This week we will look at the 26th and 27th Amendments and have a little summary about what I have learned from this experience.


Amendment Twenty-Six:


Section One:

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age

.
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Friday Constitutional 20 – 24th And 25th Amendments

5:30 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

FridayConstitutional

Happy Friday and welcome to Friday Constitutional! We are getting very near the end of the repost of this series. If you have missed any of the previous installments you can find them at the links below:

Friday Constitutional 1 – Preamble, Article One, Sections 1 And 2
Friday Constitutional 2 – Article One, Sections 3 And 4
Friday Constitutional 3 – Article One, Sections 5 And 6
Friday Constitutional 4 – Article One, Sections 7 And 8
Friday Constitutional 5 – Article One, Sections 9 And 10
Friday Constitutional 6 – Article Two, Section 1 (Part One)
Friday Constitutional 7 – Article Two, Sections 1 (Part Two), 2, 3, And 4
Friday Constitutional 8 – Article Three, The Judicial Branch
Friday Constitutional 9 – Article Four, Relationships Between The States
Friday Constitutional 10 – Articles 5, 6 And 7
Friday Constitutional 11 – 1st And 2nd Amendments
Friday Constitutional 12 – 3rd And 4th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 13 – 5th And 6th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 14 – 7th, 8th, 9th And 10th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 15 – 11th And 12th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 16 – 13th And 14th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 17 – 15th, 16th and 17th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 18 – 18th, 19th And 20th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 19 – 21st, 22nd And 23rd Amendments
Today we will look at Amendments Twenty-Four and Twenty-Five.

Amendment Twenty-Four:

Section One:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

As you can tell from the text of Section One this Amendment was enacted to combat the poll tax many Southern States had enacted to reduce the number of African Americans from voting. It is very clear; there can be no test for the right to vote based on taxes, either being paid at the time of the poll or being owed. You can be an indicted tax evader and still have the right to cast your vote.
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Yale Suspends DKE House For “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal” Chants

5:52 am in banality of evil by Bill Egnor

stop rape

stop rape by Shira Golding, on Flick

 

In October of last year the Delta Kappa Epsilon pledges and the members who were “tapping” them went out and marched by the Yale Women’s Center chanting “No means yes, yes means anal” and “My name is Jack, I am a necrophiliac, I f**k dead women”. All good fun and games by a bunch of guys right? Wrong.

There is this boys will be boys culture in this country, and especially in some fraternities that is appalling. I get accused of being a humorless liberal, but there is no humor in statements and acts like that which can only intimidate.

Think about the mind set that you would have to have to think something like this was funny. You’d have to think you were being bold to make a statement like that, somehow charmingly shocking to go the Women’s Center and be a sexist jackass. Then to bring a whole group of men and chant about forcible rape (after all what else could No means Yes, possibly mean).

Try to put yourself in the shoes of a 18 year old female Freshman from a smallish city in the Midwest. What would she think about this? That is just a prank and there is nothing threatening to her or indoctrinating to the boys chanting it? Does anyone really think that is going to be the take away?

Yesterday the Dean Mary Miller sent out an e-mail to the entire Yale community announcing that the Executive Committee (made up of faculty and students) had concluded that the DKE chapter and individuals in it had violated Undergraduate Regulations by their actions.

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Friday Constitutional 19 – 21st, 22nd And 23rd Amendments

5:23 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

FridayConstitutional

Happy Friday and welcome to the 19th installment of Friday Constitutional! As nearly everyone that is reading this knows by now, this the repost of my series looking at the Constitution of the United States. For those that missed any of the other installments or are coming in now, you can find all of the previous installments of this series at the following links (I just realized that the links for this series are longer than some folk’s essays. What does that say about me?):

Friday Constitutional 1 – Preamble, Article One, Sections 1 And 2
Friday Constitutional 2 – Article One, Sections 3 And 4
Friday Constitutional 3 – Article One, Sections 5 And 6
Friday Constitutional 4 – Article One, Sections 7 And 8
Friday Constitutional 5 – Article One, Sections 9 And 10
Friday Constitutional 6 – Article Two, Section 1 (Part One)
Friday Constitutional 7 – Article Two, Sections 1 (Part Two), 2, 3, And 4
Friday Constitutional 8 – Article Three, The Judicial Branch
Friday Constitutional 9 – Article Four, Relationships Between The States
Friday Constitutional 10 – Articles 5, 6 And 7
Friday Constitutional 11 – 1st And 2nd Amendments
Friday Constitutional 12 – 3rd And 4th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 13 – 5th And 6th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 14 – 7th, 8th, 9th And 10th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 15 – 11th And 12th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 16 – 13th And 14th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 17 – 15th, 16th and 17th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 18 – 18th, 19th And 20th Amendments

Amendment Twenty One:

Section One:

The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section one is short and sweet; that mean old Amendment Eighteen is repealed. Twenty-four years after the Temperance Movement managed to impose its morality on the nation, we collectively wised up. The supposed cure for drinking was far worse in real terms than the disease. There should be a lesson here for both the supporters of the so-called War On Drugs and any other group that would try to legislate morality. It does not work and it often leads to other problems for your society.
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Bigoted Ex-Bush Official Sues HRC And Karl Rove Under RICO

5:34 am in banality of evil, jerks by Bill Egnor

Law Suit Against Data Retention

Law Suit Against Data Retention by hgn_rocket_science, on Flickr

What do you do when you have been caught breaking civil service rules left and right as a Presidential Appointee and consequently been forced out of that job? Why of course you sue everyone in sight under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act. Which is exactly what the former Office of Special Counsel chief, Scott “I got no clue” Bloch is doing.

Let’s back up a little bit so everyone can remember the facts about Mr. Bloch. The Office of Special Counsel is charged with protecting federal whistleblowers. That is actually the mandate of this office, to make sure that when someone notices illegal or improper acts happening in the federal government and comes forward, this office looks into the it and they make sure that the person reporting the misdeeds is not retaliated against. Or at least that is what they are supposed to do. This is also the office that is supposed to enforce the Hatch act, which prohibits using government resources for electioneering purposes.

Now you have to remember that this was the criminal Bush administration, so they were not really keen on having any kind of actual enforcement neither of the Hatch Act nor, for that matter having whistleblowers come forward. This was the Administration filled with John Yoo and Monica Goodling after all. It was a place where Karl Rove went to Executive branch departments and gave Power Point presentations on helping Republicans win new seats and defend old ones.

So, there is good ol’ Scotty at the helm of the office that would get any complaints. He was, until recently that is, a “good Bushie” and did what you might expect. He started out purging his office of anyone who disagreed with him on summary dismissal of whistleblower claims. He is also started to retaliate against people in his own office for disagreeing or complaining about his actions. Real nice from the guy who was supposed to protect whistleblowers.

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Waterboarding; Cheney Still Advocating For It

5:03 am in banality of evil by Bill Egnor

, on Flickr”]DSC_0104

DSC_0104 by g[wiz

 

On Fox “News” this Sunday criminal Former VP Dick Cheney said the following about returning to the use of waterboarding in terror interrogations:

I certainly would advocate it; I’d be a strong supporter of it

This is an area of contention that I have had with President Obama nearly from the first days of his administration. Namely the purely political decision not to follow through on our legal responsibility to investigate any credible allegations of torture and to prosecute those who were found responsible.

The fact that the criminal Bush Administration admitted to waterboarding at least three of our detainees, which has been by US and international law an act of torture and a potential war crime yet none of the top level people have ever been investigated for it is a national shame that will not be wiped away for a long time to come.

Worse it has left the issue of torture and waterboarding in particular open. At this late point it is easy to get academic about this form of torture. Given that I thought I would give everyone a taste of what is would be like to be waterboarded. This is a first person fictionalization of it, it is my best attempt to reproduce what a person would feel in that situation.

Warning: if you have been a victim of torture, you might not want to read this. I have been told that it can be triggering for traumatic memories and while I want everyone to get as visceral as possible an understanding of torture I don’t want to traumatize anyone:

Your feet are shackled, and so are your wrists. When you were lead into the room you saw that it did not have the usual table, this room had a board, and a drain in the floor.

You are blindfolded by the guards and roughly forced to lie on the wet wooden board. Even though you are shackled they tie you down to the board with three ropes, one across your chest, on across your waist and one across your legs. You are now completely unable to move, your head is below the level of your feet making the blood rush to your head.
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Friday Constituional 18 – 18th, 19th And 20th Amendments

5:30 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

FridayConstitutional

Happy Friday and welcome to Friday Constitutional! This is the repost of my series taking a laymen’s look at the United States Constitution. If you have never read the whole Constitution, here is your chance! If you have not read it recently, well, no time like the present, eh? If you are looking for the previous installments of this series, you can find them at the links below:

Friday Constitutional 1 – Preamble, Article One, Sections 1 And 2
Friday Constitutional 2 – Article One, Sections 3 And 4
Friday Constitutional 3 – Article One, Sections 5 And 6
Friday Constitutional 4 – Article One, Sections 7 And 8
Friday Constitutional 5 – Article One, Sections 9 And 10
Friday Constitutional 6 – Article Two, Section 1 (Part One)
Friday Constitutional 7 – Article Two, Sections 1 (Part Two), 2, 3, And 4
Friday Constitutional 8 – Article Three, The Judicial Branch
Friday Constitutional 9 – Article Four, Relationships Between The States
Friday Constitutional 10 – Articles 5, 6 And 7
Friday Constitutional 11 – 1st And 2nd Amendments
Friday Constitutional 12 – 3rd And 4th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 13 – 5th And 6th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 14 – 7th, 8th, 9th And 10th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 15 – 11th And 12th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 16 – 13th And 14th Amendments
Friday Constitutional 17 – 15th, 16th and 17th Amendments

This week we start off with the 18th Amendment, and no I did not plan it so that we would look at 18th Amendment in the 18th installment, you guys give me way too much credit!

Amendment Eighteen:

Section One:

After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section one is the meat of this Amendment. It prohibits the sale, manufacture and importation of all intoxicating liquors in the United States and all its territories. It is pretty startling at in its scope. Like Proposition 8 in California this is one of the very few times that there is an Amendment that removes existing rights. Interestingly the right to consume these beverages is not prohibited.

This Amendment the only Amendment that was every repealed in a wholesale manner rather than just modified. The reason for this was that it was a catastrophic flop. Not only did it eliminate the consumption of alcohol by the people of the United States, it is a proximate cause for the vast increase in organized crime during the 20’s and 30’s.
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