I'm not sure whether this blog's supposed to discuss sports exclusively, but if it is, as the title suggests, merely a place for disagreement, I submit politics as a topic. Doyle has often (though definitely not always) played the part of Bush apologist, resulting in (and probably for the express purpose of causing) my unabated fury.
So, what about the bill Congress just passed that eliminates habeas corpus for "enemy combatants"?
The facts: Congress just passed a bill, part of which revokes habeas corpus for foreign citizens deemed "enemy combatants." Our country can now, for the second time in its history (the other being the Civil War, when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus but did not eliminate it), legally detain human beings forever without saying why. They can revoke personal freedom at will.
Worse yet, the bill expands the definition of "enemy combatant." The term now means anybody who "has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." It used to mean a person who had engaged in hostilities against the US, but now it pertains to "supporters."
Of course, that raises (not begs!) the question: what constitutes "support"? And at what point will the government officially adopt what until now has been the mostly implicit assumption of the entire neoconservative flag-waving, sticker-sporting movement -- that criticizing the government is supporting terrorism?
At what point will critizing the government get you thrown in jail? I can almost guarantee that Connor will call that a "breathless" or "ridiculous" statement. However, it's about a half-step from being a legal fact in America. Bush could extend the bill to apply to American citizens with an executive order -- it wouldn't even need to go through Congress. The federal government is currently considering charging a man who sold a satellite TV package including the Hezbollah channel with "supporting terrorism." That man, a Pakistani citizen, could now be kept in jail for the rest of his life without charges. Legally. Not in ten years, not in some mythical 1984 world liberals are painting to scare people. Right now, a man could lose his freedom for selling satellite TV in America.
My take, in brief: It's the single most flagrant affront to our country the Bush administration has perpetrated -- worse than the Iraq war, worse than the Patriot Act (though similar in spirit), worse than the incomprehensible deficit, worse than the unprecedented voting irregularities that helped them win two consecutive presidential elections.
It doesn't completely eviscerate the Bill of Rights. Not yet. However, I do think it's only a matter of time until the term "enemy combatant" will be used against Americans. And once you say that you can take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights becomes irrelevant. So does democracy itself.
Bush has consistently given himself and his administration powers the executive branch was never supposed to have under the Constitution. He now has a power no American president has ever had -- indeed, a power greater than that of every British king since the Magna Carta.
Without habeas corpus, the entire Bill of Rights becomes irrelevant. Who cares if you have freedom of speech if the government can legally imprison you for exercising it? If in a year or two, national columnists get thrown in prison for critizing Bush, how many are going to continue to do so?
The entire push to eliminate habeas corpus is probably a result of the many habeas corpus cases brought by GITMO detainees labeled "enemy combatants," including the Rasul v. Rumsfeld case. Essentially, the administration said and believed that it had absolute powers which it didn't. Now it does. And if Rumsfeld was claiming the right to detain any "enemy combatant" -- including US citizens!!! -- that long ago, do you really think this current bill won't soon be expanded to include you and me?
So, tell me again how "ludicrous" it is to call the Bush Administration fascists. They've clearly demonstrated their fascist ideals. I'm going to call them that as long as I can -- which, apparently, won't be long.