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It's always strange when one sees an event like this happening. Jose Padilla is stuck in a Navy brig in South Carolina, devoid of his constitutionally guaranteed rights as an American citizen because he was labeled an enemy combatant by President Bush in 2002.
Then Attorney General John Ashcroft said Padilla wanted to set off a radiological dirty bomb. Now, he's been indicted by the current AG, Gonzalez, and the charges have nothing to do with dirty bombs. It's about conspiring to murder individuals overseas. He was held for three years in a military prison in South Carolina. The new indictment doesn't even mention the dirty bomb.
So what does this say about our country? What does it say about the administration? Should the president have unlimited authority in a situation like this? The answer is a resounding NO.
The current administration has consistently worked to strip away the rights guaranteed to us by the constitution. That document guarantees us certain rights and Bush, Cheney and others seek to undermine. Sure Padilla may not be quite the upstanding citizen. He's got a record of being a gangbanger. But this type of thing needs to end. Every time we do something else, it's a more dehumanizing. I used to think we were slowly eroding our rights. Now it looks to be moving along rather speedily.
I make no bones about it. I'm an idealist and an optimist. Perhaps it makes me a bit naive as well but government's don't have to operate like this. We can protect our nation without stripping away the principles we were founded on.
posted by Stithmeister @ 8:49 AM
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The sad fact is, we are in the first stages (at least) of a fascist state. In the last few years we've had such things as:
The Supreme Court stating that you MUST provide your ID upon request of law enforcement, even if you are not accussed or even suspected of wrong doing.
Ever expanding laws (Not just the 'Patriot' act) allowing unbelievable degrees of invasion of privacy, such as the ability of the law to freely pilfer/ search your garbage, without any permission and it being used as a justified reason for a search warrent and other invasions of privacy.
The extended degree of requirements on setting up a bank account of any type. In the interest of stopping 'Terrorist' a 8 year old setting up a savings account for buying a longed for bike will require a rather lengthy set of proof that he is not secretly funding Terrorsit groups.
We currently do not 'require' identification, but it has become a defacto law. Try telling an officer you do not have a license or other ID and see how well they believe you. I personally am thinking that the key to the future is to start making use of Cash, 'Gift/Credit Cards' and 'Pay-Pal'. I really wish that I had the foresight to have set up a second identity years ago when it was easier. For those who might think that they don't have a paper trail already, I suggest you look at a lovely little web-site...
Though listed as a resource for Private Investigators, it's available to anyone. I've tried a few sample searches that you can use for free. I have decided that if I can find this much this easily, then we are all well & truly screwed. This is the baseline stuff. Think what the government or 'law' can pull up on you if it decides to come after you.
Currently, the only thing keeping you from the same fate as Mr. Padilla is the fact that the government hasn't bothered to come after you... yet.
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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