Thursday, December 29, 2011

West Meets East

A sobering article by Patricia Williams in The Nation raises concerns about new threats to our civil liberties:
“You know these are interesting times when Glenn Beck, Dianne Feinstein, Rand Paul and the ACLU all stand on the same side of an issue. The issue in question is Subtitle D of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), particularly Sections 1031–1033, being discussed by the House and Senate as I write and headed to the president’s desk any day now. These hastily added, under-the-radar provisions, co-sponsored by Senators John McCain and Carl Levin, would allow for the indefinite military detention of any person alleged to be a member of Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces.” The provisions also apply to any person who supports or aids “belligerent” acts against the United States, whether the person is apprehended beyond our borders or on domestic soil. . . . Under this law, if the Defense Department thinks you’re a terrorist, there would be no presumption of innocence; you would be presumed a detainee of the military unless the executive decides otherwise. . . . You will be an “unprivileged enemy belligerent,” with limited rights to appeal that status, no rights to due process, or to a jury, or to a speedy trial guided by the rules of evidence.”
I have always considered myself to be a liberal and proud of it. “Bleeding heart liberal,” that’s me. But these days, I sometimes find myself agreeing with Libertarians and true conservatives and people of various political persuasions. Perhaps the political spectrum is not a line but a circle. Perhaps if one goes far enough west, it becomes east. Perhaps the erosion of freedom in America is becoming so egregious that we will find our common ground and the 99% will speak with one voice.

Speak out, America, while you still can.

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