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Friday, October 06, 2006

Habeas Corpus is dead

On September 27, 2006, Congress voted in HR 6166 into law as the Military
Commissions Act of 2006. With it, Habeas Corpus is under a death sentence. It is not presently dead simply because the fed has no desire at present to bury it. However, do not deceive yourself. This bedrock of jurisprudence is legally dismantled.

The salient portion of the Act runs:

"No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider
an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an
alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United
States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting
such determination."

What the act does is give the executive branch the power to declare not just aliens (I don't have a problem with that, they are not citizens and thus not afforded the rights of citizens) but also U.S. citizens, "unlawful enemy combatants."

Anyone who donates money to a charity on a list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and imprisoned indefinitely now.

Any citizen could be convicted on the basis of coerced testimony and hearsay by a military tribunal, and NOT afforded the judicial protectections afforded him under the Constitution. Theoretically, without a smattering of judicial review (I don't consider military judicial review the same as civil review), a citizen could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant," held without trial for unlimited period of time, tried in a military court, and even be put to death.

And no one could challenge this in court.

Habeas corpus is a fundamental right that the state does not have the power to lock you up forever arbitrarily and without review of a court. The constitution provided for both the court structure and the consequent legal structures built into our judicial systems.

I usually don't have time or patience for the howling chicken littles who proclaim "fascism" at every turn and see the collapse of the constitution on a daily basis. This one really scares me, though.

Do Greedy Spinach Merchants Want To Kill You?

Lew Rockwell has a great post on the difference between the market correcting its own mistakes and the government getting involved.

Rational basis for banning gay marriage?

Ann Althouse (one of the better commentators on the law today) surmises that "rational basis scrutiny is the appropriate level of review" for this issue.
My problem with this approach is that "rational" has ceased to mean "using reason" and has devolved into Rationalism in its more refined form of using human thought apart from revelation at all to derive truth.

My comment: It depends really on what you believe the basis for rationality itself is. It is not enough just to declare that arguing against order presupposes it (it does).

The problem with many good and insightful thinkers is that they are standing with both feet planted firmly in the air. That is, you presuppose an ordered, moral universe and ignore the metaethical questions that such a worldview demands. In doing so, you slip in a utilitarian assumption with the deftness worthy of a card sharp (I don't think you see it yourselves, frankly).

Rationality itself demands presuppositions which land you in "Moralsville," where you MUST let those damned fundamentalists have a place a the table. Of course, that changes the whole nature of the debate.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

You HAVE to check out this video

It is a shot of an Iranian mullah who got a little worked up. It has evidently been on the web for some time, but I just found it. Someone posted it with the music score from a European techno band named 42 O Zone. The song is "Balla la di." I could not stop laughing. I especially got a kick out of the guy draped in a green shawl on the left.

God help us if these loons ever get nukes.

I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

For those who did not hear last week or so...

Syd Barrett has died. A gifted genius, he was the guitarist and driving force behind Pink Floyd, until he was replaced by David Gilmour. He completely ruined his mind with drugs, and spent the last 30 years or so of his life in and out of mental institutions, living in solitude with his mother......, (if you are wondering where some of the allusions to "Mother" come from in The Wall). He was miserable, insane, in poor health (diabetes) and mentally ruined. "To kill, steal and destroy" are the operative terms for those who read the old book.

I pray the grace and peace this poor guy missed on earth are found in eternity.

Health Care, Government, Efficiency and the Consumer

I read a really fine article by Milton Friedman (one of my heroes) on the state of Medical Care in the USA.

It was so good that I thought I would quote it below:
We have a socialist-communist system of distributing medical care. Instead of letting people hire their own physicians and pay them, no one pays his or her own medical bills. Instead, there's a third party payment system. It is a communist system and it has a communist result. Despite this, we've had numerous miracles in medical science. From the discovery of penicillin, to new surgical techniques, to MRIs and CAT scans, the last 30 or 40 years have been a period of miraculous change in medical science. On the other hand, we've seen costs skyrocket. Nobody is happy: physicians don't like it, patients don't like it. Why? Because none of them are responsible for themselves. You no longer have a situation in which a patient chooses a physician, receives a service, gets charged, and pays for it. There is no direct relation between the patient and the physician. The physician is an employee of an insurance company or an employee of the government. Today, a third party pays the bills. As a result, no one who visits the doctor asks what the charge is going to be—somebody else is going to take care of that. The end result is third party payment and, worst of all, third party treatment.

Here is a link to the article.