Thursday, May 31, 2007

Keith Olbermann goes ape-shit over Military Commissions Act. Why isn't America?

I don't regularly watch Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC. I would, but watching cable news makes me feel dirty. That said, Olbermann really went postal last October when Bush signed his name at the bottom of the Military Commissions Act. The Act enables Dubbya to trump up his executive powers by being able to declare someone — perhaps even a US citizen — an "unlawful enemy combatant", and thus lock them up without a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law (aka: habeas corpus). This is supposed to be only targeted at terrorists who try to claim Geneva Conventions prisoner of war protections.

The President argues this was necessary so that we can protect America from the "bad guys", but since this Bush lies like a wet dishrag, how am I as an American trust his motives on anything he does? And what's to ensure the next President will use this new power ethically? Where are the checks and balances? Al Gore's recent book The Asssault On Reason covers this topic rather well:
President Bush has declared that he has the hertofore unrecognized inherent power to seize and imprison any American citizen whom he alone determines to be a threat to our nation - without an arrest warrant, without notifying them of what charges have been filed against them, and without even informing their families that they have been imprisioned. The president claims that he can simply snatch an American citizen off the street and him or her locked up indefinitely-even for the rest of his or her life-and refuse to allow that citizen the right to make a phone call or talk to a lawyer-even to argue that the president or his appointees have made a mistake and imprisoned the wrong person.

Here is a snippit of an interview Olberman did with Professor Jonathan Turley, who teaches constitutional law at George Washington University
OLBERMANN: "Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?"

TURLEY: "It does. And it's a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president. In fact, Madison said that he created a system essentially to be run by devils, where they could not do harm, because we didn't rely on their good motivations. Now we must. And people have no idea how significant this is. What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values."

Like so many other recent erosions of our democracy (warrant-less wire taps and state sanctioned torture to name a couple), it went quietly... no riots, no protests. Probably because we have no clue what the Act was about. Our society remains pacified by American Idol and Paris Hilton, and meanwhile we slowly loose what makes us a great country. Melodramatic? Take a poll of how many people have even heard the words "habeas corpus", much less know what it is. I can't really blame anyone for wanting to watch escapist TV in their spare time, everyone needs a break, but if we don't know what we have, so how can we make sure we don't loose it? Now, poll who knows who won Dancing With The Stars. Nuff said.

Here's Olbermann putting his MAD on:

OTHER OPINIONS:SOURCES:,, youtube, wikipedia, The Assault On Reason, Al Gore

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Honestly this blog is as if two people wrote it. the video im commenting on here the write of this blog seems to be intellegent and that the government is obviously becoming overpowered. But then again the charlie chaplin thing? like c'mon have some common sense.