Wednesday, August 02, 2006

If you think the Bush administration has lost the power to astonish you, take our word, you ain't heard nothin' yet


On her Air America Radio show this morning, Rachel Maddow was all over a story that as of then had apparently been reported only by the Washington Post--and on page A4!

The head gives no idea of the story's earth-shattering potential. You have to read on through at least the first two grafs:

White House Proposal Would Expand Authority of Military Courts

A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

Did you get that?

Anyone, absolutely anyone, could be brought before these "commissions" (not to be confused with the illegal old "tribunals"), and for absolutely any reason, totally at the discretion of the secretary of defense.

Naturally, since these people don't give a damn about any stinkin' Supreme Court—hey, it's just a matter of time before that f--kin' old asshole Stevens croaks anyway, and we've got plenty of Alito-like fascists ready to replace him—the new commissions will have all the features we imperial-presidency advocates loved so about the old tribunals:

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

What it comes down to is: We in the gummint—oops, in the all-powerful "unitary-executive" branch of gummint--are infinitely wise, and if we're the tiniest bit suspicious of you, we can see to it that you spend the rest of your life rotting in a hell of our choosing. If we're feeling generous, when you kick the bucket we'll notify your next of kin to pick up the remains. But don't count on it. Remember, we don't hafta. We don't hafta do nothin', scumbag! Basically, we point our finger at you, and it's all over--you're guilty as charged. (And we don't even hafta tell you about that!)

It is, essentially, the system of "justice" developed and perfected by the late Joseph Stalin.

Rachel went on to theorize, in the "Underbelly" segment, that the "right-wing scheme machine" tactic at work here is bluffing. At least she hoped that that''s what it is, that these people really don't believe they could actually get such a proposal enacted into law.

The way the bluff would work is this: By laying out in statutelike detail a plan that so vastly exceeds, by so many orders of magnitude, the most savage assault on the fundamentals of the U.S. Constitution since it was adopted, the presidential-imperialists of the Bush administration are trying to blow American minds to the point where a slightly scaled-back version, while only minimally less extreme, and although itself far beyond the frontiers of anything that might previously have been deemed even discussable within the framework of our system of government, will now seem "reasonable."

Do you ever wonder, when George W. Bush uses words like "freedom" and "democracy," exactly what images he has in his head?


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