Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why I Am Not Supporting Ron Paul

If you were to listen to the cheerleaders in our gated communities of this country, you would think that Ron Paul was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  The near cultishness of these followers, including a close friend from my undergrad days, is alarming and yet at the same time amusing (rivaling any hippie commune in the late '60s).  There is just something about watching a white person under the age of 40 wanting to keep his stock options untaxed, and his porn unmonitored, that makes you wonder about the future of our increasingly trivial polity.

There is even an attempt by right-wing Ron Paul supporters to try to appeal to progressives to vote for their most favored libertarian.

Sadly, many of the libertarian lemmings on the left will be crawling over to the Ron Paul train on their hands and knees, as they always do (yes, Mr. Cockburn, that includes you) when faced with the possibility of selling their souls, but I will not be one of them.   Take the libertarian appeals with a grain of salt because they continually whitewash every single one of the less savory aspects of Ron Paul with ad hominems and defenses that would be handled quite differently if committed by someone they politically disliked.

Ron Paul: The Good Side

This is not to obfuscate the positive contributions of Ron Paul on issues that count (and there are a few).  One, he is opposed to our interventionist foreign policy, voting against the war in Iraq (although it should be noted that Ron Paul, in spite of what he and his defenders say, voted in favor of the war in Afghanistan back in 2001).  And this is not a recent or newfound position.  Paul has been one of the more consistent critics of our foreign policy since the beginning of his Congressional career, dating back to the '70s, opposing the existence of NATO during the Cold War.  He is the most vociferous and erstwhile opponent of our imperial ways of any presidential candidate in the two major parties since Dennis Kucinich.

Two, Ron Paul is the only candidate in the current presidential field (in the two parties) who openly condemns the war on drugs, our government's addiction to law enforcement tactics to execute this incarceration spree, and what it has done to us politically and economically.  Paul is not the only elected official willing to challenge the war on drugs and our prison industrial complex (the result of the war on drugs), but he is the only one who is running for POTUS who thinks this way.

In addition, Rep. Paul opposes the Patriot Act (from the start and still does to this day), the National Defense Authorization Act, and he is on record as wanting to abolish foreign aid to the apartheid state that is Israel.  Those are not minor stances.  He has taken them time and again, even to his political detriment in his own party.  It is also why he will never win the presidential nomination in the Republican Party (who supports all of those policies as a matter of principle).  It is also why I at least have some modicum of respect for Ron Paul and believe him to be the only member of the stupid party in Congress who is not bought and sold by some interest group.

None of these positives should be ignored when passing any judgment on Ron Paul or his ideological inclinations, and it is why I understand some progressives for taking a serious look at Rep. Paul's candidacy.

Ron Paul: The Bad and Ugly

Unfortunately, Ron Paul has a downside, and the reservoir of that downside is as immense and deep as any of the other congregation of bigots in the Republican presidential field.

No matter how much anyone wants to sidestep it, the blatant racism and hatefilledness of Ron Paul's newsletters back in the '90s is sickening.  Here are just some of the views that Ron Paul wrote/signed off on.

"If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be." - Ron Paul, 1992
"Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." - Ron Paul, 1992
"We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such." - Ron Paul, 1992
"What else do we need to know about the political establishment than that it refuses to discuss the crimes that terrify Americans on grounds that doing so is racist? Why isn't that true of complex embezzling, which is 100 percent white and Asian?" - Ron Paul, 1992

Contrary to the complaints by Ron Paul supporters of a media conspiracy in bringing up the newsletters, it is nothing new.  The media has given extensive coverage to the newsletters throughout the 2000s, even back when Paul ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 (the details of which I gave coverage to on this site).  According to Ron Paul, he never wrote any of this, or cannot recall it.  Paul himself has stated that he never read his own newsletter, but merely signed off on it.  It has been rumored more than once that Lew Rockwell (the chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute) wrote the offending passages which, if true, shows that racialist attitudes on the libertarian right are no less foreign today than they were 60 years ago when libertarians opposed the civil rights movement on the grounds of states' rights (the same enabling concept that makes them sympathize with those who owned the very people they denigrate today).

Even assuming that Ron Paul is telling the truth, and let us say he is, he signed off on this newsletter and employed a white supremacist to write under his masthead.  If he did not read it, he is even worse for being a fool and incompetent, something Paul is not noted for being, which led me to believe four years ago (and today) that he is lying through his teeth about writing/reading his old newsletter.  He almost certainly did read it before he signed off on the passages, at the very least (and likely wrote it).  In fact, contrary to what Ron Paul supporters will tell you, Paul himself took responsibility for what he wrote/signed off on (depending on who you believe) back in 1996.

Do I believe for one minute that Ron Paul is the second coming of the Ku Klux Klan?  No, that seems very unlikely when considering that Paul has never ran his campaigns based on those issues.  What is more more likely is that Paul wrote/signed off on the newsletter's racism because he knew such expressed sentiments with his (almost exclusively) white readership would sell.  After all, it was a profit-making enterprise, something that should be familiar to anyone who believes money is the most important thing in life.

Ron Paul and Libertarians: In the Heart of Evil

Position-wise, and most dangerously, like with all libertarians Ron Paul supports unregulated capital.  He can call himself an opponent of corporatism, but he only opposes direct government subsidization.  Something you will never hear Ron Paul say is that we should take it a step further and abolish all preferential tax credits for corporations (save for an abolition of the tax code) and for that matter eliminate corporate charters and contracts enforcement for corporations, since all of the aforementioned take place under the watchful eye of our government.  Why would he support such government ownership and oversight of the rules?  Because libertarians believe that corporations are humans and that we are atomistic individuals who should selfishly pursue money in this system of unfettered capitalism (i.e., economic stratification, poverty, and misery for most of the population).

That might not sound so horrible, if you have economic resources or if you play a game of Monopoly.  What Ron Paul does not stress and what his supporters hate to mention, is that this means the abolition of child labor laws, the abolition of the right to collectively bargain (and for any unionization, at least legal recognition [a 20th century invention in the U.S.]), and the abolition of public education and what remains of our lessening social safety net, particularly Social Security and Medicare, which Ron Paul has declared un-Constitutional and should be abolished.  Here is Rep. Paul in a more open moment.

Naturally, as a presidential candidate, Ron Paul has partially reversed himself and now states he likes these programs after all.  And the best way to preserve the social safety net?  By cutting the living daylights out of it, of course!

Think about this.  Ron Paul considers Social Security slavery, but wants to preserve it by abolishing education and public housing.   This hypocrisy should not sound unfamiliar because Rep. Paul feels the same way about those who have been real slaves in this country.  Again, I will let Rep. Paul speak for himself.

This is not some newsletter.  It is the honest expressions of the man.  Ron Paul supports the Confederacy and lives the illusion that the best way to get rid of owning other human beings is through market forces (i.e., buying their freedom and compensating those who owned and treated slaves like animals), even though the market supported and made slavery viable for over two centuries (the first holding company on the New York Stock Exchange traded and sold slaves).   This is not unlike his son's declaration that the civil rights movement was unnecessary because market principles (the real motivating fetishism of libertarianism) could have eliminated segregation.

What Rand and Ron fail to note is that these institutions were culturally and politically supported (and overwhelmingly so by those at the top of the racial caste), and no market in the world is going to change what politics and culture maintains (for example, there is a supply and demand for harvesting and selling of human organs, but our cultural mores and laws do not permit it).  Moreover, slavery in the U.S. became the most profitable institution in American history because (not in spite of) the capitalist industrial revolution with the invention of the cotton gin.  Actually, many historians date Eli Whitney's invention with being one of the economic rationales to spread slavery, which became a lightening rod politically throughout the early 1800s after U.S. expansion westward.  If Ron and Rand Paul had it their way, we would still be dealing with these issues today because they never would have adjudicated and resolved them in 1865 or 1965 (back when the market and Southern culture commanded their presence).

I am not of the mind that either of the Pauls are white supremacists.  They are libertarians and motivated by other factors first (primarily economic), but like with Barry Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act their ideology embodies its greatest weakness--to recognize that markets do not answer all problems in society and sometimes, dare the thought, government intervention is necessary to remedy quandaries not infrequently caused by their side, and politically and culturally defended as traditions in need of preservation (a phenomenon of the right that plagues us to this day on gay marriage).  And they recognize this, which is why the catchall defense for the failures of the market for libertarians is to blame what few government regulations that do exist (even when never used), or opine about the importance of maintaining unregulated capital over all else (even if/when they do not provide for optimal returns).  The blind faith in the correcting nature of their economic system (which encourages people with economic resources to dismantle the commons and segregate themselves from everyone else) borders on the kind of ignorance one typically sees in a religious person who rationalizes the inattentiveness of their skygod after a prayer is not answered.

The inability of libertarians to care one wit for someone who does not have disposable income is the most grievous part of their ideology.  Notice again the hypocrisy of a Ron Paul or most libertarians' refusal to want to abolish state-contracts enforcement or corporate charters, while simultaneously advocating for the elimination of the National Labor Relations Board and the right of a working person in this country to form a labor union and collectively bargain for a higher wage (since that means legal and state recognition of such organizing, which situationally is interpreted as 'big government').  And that is the kernel of the evil, yes, the evil, of libertarianism and of laissez-faire capitalism.  The legal/state preservation of the owning class over (and at the expense of) everyone else.  It is why at the end of the day the right in this country supported and fought to preserve slavery, opposed the abolition of child labor, opposed unions, opposed the income tax, and public education.  Libertarianism (just a more socially liberal strain of conservatism) is an ideology centered on the negation of civilization and denial of society to dodge paying its bills.  That is the fatal flaw of libertarianism and no cutbacks on military spending and non-enforcement of anti-terrorism laws will ever be able to mitigate it.

Sounds like a harsh judgment to our stockholding friends?  This is the world we lived in before the age of child labor laws and the 8 hour work day (maladies that were abolished by government, contravening market forces).

This is the kind of society we had before there were unions, OSHA, and safety regulations for workers, like coal miners.

About half of my family tree was wiped out by that industry in the pre-union and pre-OSHA days from black lung and mining accidents.  The fate of those men (my grandfather, great grandfather, great-great grandfather, and at least a dozen great uncles and cousins, all killed by that industry's safety standards under the invisible hand) is of no consequence to the libertarian because, after all, it is the market and the market can never be wrong (and should only be 'corrected' by trying to buy it).  Like the tollbooth, to the libertarian we are only human if we can afford to cross their arbitrary/state-sanctioned and enforced rule of corporate humanness.  Otherwise, we are just expendable atoms.

If Not Ron Paul, Who?

I know what I have written is heretical to the Ron Paul supporters and will get me flamed or red-baited, but I do not care or expect a libertarian to understand.  You cannot be that narcissistic and then pretend to care about people outside of your life after reading one blog post.  It is an appeal to anyone who views those below the upper 1% income tax bracket as full citizens that should be given equal treatment and the same opportunities in life.  To them, to you, who should I vote for?

If you read this blog or any of my posts, including the ones in the 'best of' blogroll, I am no friend of Barack Obama.  I voted for him back in 2008, knowing that I would not vote for him in 2012, foreseeing many of his betrayals.  That is because Barack Obama was never a real progressive.  Yes, that is hard for Ron Paul supporters or any person who watches Fox "news" to believe.  You think he's a Communist.  A Communist who gave us a "government takeover" of healthcare.  You will never hear them tell us how a government subsidy for a private insurance plan is the same as government ownership and takeover because to them if the government so much as passes wind at someone less fortunate than they are, then that is Communism.  I debated a fellow once, where I live in the South (yes, he is a native Southerner), who assert to me that libraries were Bolshevist because they were supported by government.  That is how reactionary our politics has become in this country, a contribution given to us in part by the Ron Pauls and libertarians.

Barack Obama, the "Communist-socialist Islamist," is the same "Communist-socialist Islamist," who has given this country payroll tax cuts, extension of the Bush tax cuts (after running against them), support for free trade, opposition to a single-payer healthcare system (real socialism, for those of you paying attention), appointed a deficit panel that wants to gut Social Security, caved in to Republicans for a Congressional (and extra-Constitutional) "super" committee to legislatively address the deficit (and put Social Security and Medicare on the table for cuts), and appointed to his economic team the very people (Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers) who pushed for the recension of the Glass-Steagall Act back in the late '90s, helping to facilitate our economic collapse in 2008.  I either anticipated or knew all of that was coming (excepting the Bush tax cut extension), and yet I still voted for this man, just to spite the Republican Party of the Bush era, which I blamed partly on voters like myself who pulled the lever (or punched the chad) for Ralph Nader back in 2000  (buyer's remorse is always 20/20).

What I did not expect, and what has disappointed me to no end, is the level of depravity and constant flip-flopping of the Obama administration on the few issues he ran on back in 2008 that attracted me to vote for him, especially on the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, and national security vs. civil liberties.

This was Barack Obama back in 2008.

In the past three years, President Obama has gone back on every one of those sentiments (with the notable exception of an executive order banning torture).  The current administration has supported the extension of the Patriot Act, warrantless searches (which he previously critiqued as violating Constitutional values), turned whistleblowers like Bradley Manning into criminals (after giving support to laws that would protect them), and has expanded on George Bush's actions with even greater calumnies, like having a personal private hit list filled with the names of alleged (but not charged) terrorists (including American citizens), who are to be killed on sight by our government.  No charges, no trials, just murdered.  This administration has already killed our own citizens in this manner.  We afford trials for the likes of Jerry Sandusky and Jeffrey Dahmer, but if you are deemed to be a terrorist (on the word of one person [with absolutely no legal oversight]) then you can be killed.

And then there was the National Defense Authorization Act.  President Obama has threatened to veto the bill because of his opposition to some parts of the legislation.  But like with our pullout from Iraq, it is not a policy outcome he wants.  Indeed, he supports the worst parts of the bill, according to one of its sponsors, Rep. Carl Levin.  And just what are the worst parts of the bill he supports?  The arrest and detention of American citizens by the U.S. Army without warrant, held (potentially for life) without charge or access to an attorney and family.  In essence, the current administration in theory is supporting (or so reassured by one of the bill's sponsors) the ability of the U.S. government to disappear its own citizens, negating the Fourth and Sixth Amendments, habeas corpus, and the Posse Comitatus Act.   On my most cynical day as a voter in 2008, I never anticipated or imagined this.  

On account of the aforementioned, and these are only some of the administration's deviations, I will not and can not in good conscience support his re-election. 

So, if not Ron Paul or Barack Obama (or anyone in the Republican field), who should I support?  I honestly do not have an answer at this point.  I only know who I will not be voting for, and it will not be Barack Obama or Ron Paul.  Why sell my soul to vote for one imperfection over another?  If I do vote for anyone, it will be a real progressive, something which those of us on the left need to take to, instead of going into a coalition with people who want to abolish the tax code (and this country's poor) so we do not go to war over moderated believers in the system and all of its moles.  These candidates are two sides of the same coin, as much as they would like to portray themselves as being agents of change.  Doubt me?  Ask Ron Paul and Barack Obama their view on universal government-run healthcare.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

National Defense Authorization Act: Declaration of War Against Us

Whenever future civilizations, studying our downfall and ultimate demise, wonder when our empire decided it best to feed on us, arrest us, oppress us, and utilize outright state-sanctioned murder to protect the property of its elites, they will need to look no further than the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act.  This fine piece of legislation passed through the Senate today with a 93-7 vote.

20 Things You Should Know About the Bill That Could Ruin America

Last week the U.S. Senate passed 93-7 a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that includes provisions giving the military the right to detain you forever and without charge if they think you're some kind of terrorist. Consider it an early holiday present! There is no exchange policy, sorry.
President Barack Obama can get rid of the Act's indefinite detention provisions by using his veto powers. He says he might do just that, so there is hope. But Hopey could also change his mind at the last minute and let the language become law. Civil libertarians from all sides of the political spectrum are very anxious about the final call he'll make.

Even though you can't do much to prevent the provisions from taking effect, here's a list of 20 details about them. Maybe the info will come in handy when you finally flee to Saudi Arabia ISO political refugee status and have to explain how your country was oppressing you:
  • 1. The provisions were passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—enacted for the last 48 years or so to provide funding for the military and all our wars. (The act for fiscal year 2012 awarded $662 billion for defense spending.) Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) took the lead in promoting them, making passage a bipartisan effort/failure.
  • 2. Initially the provisions passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without a single hearing. The Senate didn't want to spoil the surprise for everybody.
  • 3. Because of the provisions, the NDAA now says the military can detain anyone deemed to be "a part of" or deemed to have "substantially supported" Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or "associated forces." You can be on the battlefield, or you can be PayPaling money to your local terrorist cell while sipping your latte at a Starbucks—doesn't matter. Even though we captured Saddam, Osama, and Anwar al-Awlaki, these powers are still necessary. Don't question.
  • 4. The bill grants power to the military to arrest U.S. citizens on American soil and detain them in military prisons forever without offering them the right to legal counsel or even a trial. This isn't a totally new thing: "dirty bomb" plotter Jose Padilla spent three-and-a-half years as an "enemy combatant" until he was finally charged. But Padilla's detention was unusual and sparked a huge outcry; the new provisions would standardize his treatment and enable us all to become Jose Padillas.
  • 5. Some people are trying to say that language regarding indefinite detention (Section 1031) doesn't apply to American citizens, but it does. However, the mandatory detention requirement (Section 1032) includes an exemption for American citizens, which means the military doesn't have to imprison you forever and ever "unless ordered to do so" by the president. You better remove that Nobama bumper sticker from your truck.
  • 6. The provisions could last as long as fruitcake lasts. We covered this earlier.
  • 7. Many important people oppose the provisions, including FBI Director Robert Mueller, the CIA, the military, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, the Director of National Intelligence, and your mom (unless she's a U.S. senator).
  • 8. A group of 26 retired generals and admirals wrote a letter to the Senate saying the provisions "reduce the options available to our Commander-in-Chief to incapacitate terrorists," and will "do more harm than good." The Senate obviously ignored them.
  • 9. According to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who opposes indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, an American can be deemed a "terrorist" after just one hearing. Finally, the government promises to work efficiently on something.
  • 10. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) tried to kill the provision on indefinite detention with an amendment that required Congressional review of these brand-new military detention powers, but his effort failed 60 votes to 38.
  • 11. All the Republican senators supported the provisions except for Paul and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).
  • 12. Former Vice President Dick Cheney was in attendance for the vote on behalf of the waterboarding lobby. Every time he heard the words "indefinite detention," he got an erection.
  • 13. None of this stuff will ever affect people who are innocent of terrorism-related crimes, unless the government wrongly accuses them.
  • 14. As pointed out by Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald, the provision dispenses with Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution, which provides that nobody can be punished for treason without heightened due process requirements being met." Goodbye, Art. 3 Sec. 3! Send our regards to the 4th, 8th, and 14th Amendments.
  • 15. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the provisions' most vocal supporters, put it this way to the New York Times: "Citizens who are suspected of joining Al Qaeda are opening themselves up 'to imprisonment and death ... And when they say, "I want my lawyer," you tell them: "Shut up. You don't get a lawyer. You are an enemy combatant, and we are going to talk to you about why you joined Al Qaeda."'" Shut up, fool! Lindsey Graham hates it when you talk.
  • 16. Some of the senators who passed this shit don't really know what they are talking about when they talk about "enemy combatants" and their status under existing law.
  • 17. President Barack Obama has stated he'll veto the provisions because they would "raise serious and unsettled legal questions and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets." They're also confusing.
  • 18. The provisions will militarize America even further and—in Graham's words—"basically say[s] in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield." Your backyard is a microcosm of the war on terror. Just think of that every time you host a barbecue.
  • 19. They could disappear from the NDAA if the House and Senate conferees who meet in conference committee this week decide to get rid of them.
  • 20. Texas Republicans have somehow worked sex with animals into all this.
Now for the good news: Greenwald at Salon says none of this indefinite detention without a lawyer stuff changes the status quo that much. It only codifies what's already been happening in the U.S. for the past few years. So you've been living under these conditions for a while now, but look—you're still not in jail. Just be more careful about what sorts of opinions on the government you post on Twitter, and don't say anything nice about Al Qaeda, and you'll be fine.


Nice to see the Republicans in Texas were able to use the bill to change the UCMJ to legalize bestiality for our military personnel.  I guess we now know their values and what makes them tick.  

Out of fairness, I will list the seven Senators who still believe in some modicum of human freedom.  Yes, dear right-wing left, there are Republicans on this list (even a couple of tea partiers).  Let them receive praise, as they deserve, alongside anyone else remaining who still wants to preserve our basic constitutional rights.

Tom Coburn (Republican-Oklahoma)
Tom Harkin (Democrat-Iowa)
Mike Lee (Republican-Utah)
Jeff Merkley (Democrat-Oregon)
Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky)
Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont)
Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon)

Next to these seven brave souls, an entire chamber of Congress today decided to declare war on the citizenry of this country.  Understand that this legislation, if implemented, means the end of habeas corpus and your 4-6th Amendment rights in our Constitution.  That is not being rhetorical.  It is the cold hard reality of the bill.

One, our army will be able to, in the name of anti-terrorism, conduct domestic law enforcement functions, which countermands the Posse Comitatus Act.  And you are wrong, Sen. Rubio.  The army will be operating as a domestic police force, which is exactly what the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits.  You do not need to be on a military patrol to constitute the act's ban on using the army to enforce civilian law.  As a lawyer, Senator Rubio, you understand and know about this law (I learned about it as an undergrad and in law school) and you know that it bans the use of the army to enforce the 'laws of the land' (i.e., civilian law).  There is no way you can be honestly ignorant of this.

Two, our national government (through our army) will also be able to use the military to arrest you (yes, native-born American citizens [and yes, even those of you who are non-Muslims]) without warrant, search your property without a warrant or cause, and hold you indefinitely without charge.  And yes, that means potentially you could be kidnapped by your government and sent off to Guantanamo Bay (although one can only hope the president's executive order banning torture is being followed there).

Three, our national government, under the guise of national security, will have the right to use anti-terrorism as a rationale to have you assassinated on American soil--again, without charge or trial, and on the sole orders of the POTUS.  And this not only applies on American soil.  You can be given the same treatment abroad, as well.  In other words, this law basically declares war on you no matter where you are, and do it without any legal recourse and ability to challenge a charge made against you (since any charge will be made without the benefit of counsel or in a civilian court).

There is no shortage of hyperbole to call this for what it is because the summation of this bill is to cancel our rights.  It is a rank assault on our Constitution and worse on all of us as American citizens.  We are not to be trusted with rights that we claim to have, by a document that is to no longer apply to our lives, because the likes of Joseph Lieberman and John McCain say so.  And while I commend President Obama for denouncing parts of the bill, there are more than enough votes to override his veto (if this were to happen).  I do not think I need to tell you what the Republican Congressional leadership and every one of the party's presidential candidates not named Ron Paul think.  Of course, you already know the answer.

These are the same people who compare a government subsidy for a private insurance plan to a communistic threat to American values, but who simultaneously support domestic law enforcement tactics that are right out of North Korea.  Even Cuba (yes, Cuba) requires its government to charge you with a crime after arrest.  On his worst day as president, Lincoln admitted that the suspension of habeas corpus was his worst act and one he felt would damage his judgment by future historians.  We are now enshrining a totalitarian government in our country and making it, as Chalmers Johnson called it, our mortal enemy and nemesis.  And even if the courts rule it unconstitutional, consider that 93% of the US Senate felt it acceptable to allow the U.S. Army to arrest you without warrant, hold you indefinitely, possibly torture and/or kill you, without charge, without trial, without legal recourse, regardless of your innocence, guilt, or global residence.

I spend quite a bit of time on this blog chronicling the crimes of this country, especially our corporations and government (at this point seemingly joined at the hip), but even Wal-Mart has an appeals process for employees before firing them (even though such a policy is only in its corporate guidelines, not in its charter).  We have a Constitution requiring our government to charge us with a crime after arrest, to respect our privacy and personal property, and almost the entire Senate today desecrated the memory of James Madison, shredding over two centuries of the rule of law and the bedrock of our liberties in this republic.  Even if we survive this assault legally, we now know what the U.S. Senate thinks of us and our laws and traditions, and sadly I doubt today will be the last day we see the likes of a John McCain (or whoever replaces him) expanding the powers of our police state to abolish the remainder of our rights, so that we are mindless automatons living in a shell of a liberal Constitution as meaningful as the Soviet Union's constitutional provisions protecting free speech under Stalin.  If that is not evil, then I will never know what is.