So... the entire United States is now a battleground

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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:46 pm UTC

I don't think that selfishness and maliciousness are mutually exclusive. If anything, maliciousness is probably selfish: unless you're in a cult or terrorist organization, I'm not too familiar with people who act maliciously for reasons other than their personal gain.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Eyat » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:45 pm UTC

Has any of the commentary mentioned this might be in response to fear that the drug cartels might become too powerful on the southern border? If they eventually out gun the border patrol there like they do the local police in mexico could that be why they wanted to suspend posse comitatus? Now I am not saying this is right or caused by anything other than fear, just asking if anyone has heard that floated about.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Zamfir » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:33 pm UTC

Do you need any reason besides the war on terror? The consensus sems pretty clear (in politics) that all this stuff has to be possible. The question is whether the president can just order them, or needs this law. Especially now that the people under target aren't related to 9/11 anymore, so the mandate has to be bigger.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Tirian » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:07 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:
IcedT wrote:It's not like I think somebody is trying to pave the way for a South American-style presidential dictatorship, but if I did I'd think they were they were doing a good job.
I find this the scariest part. I've always believed that one should believe maliciousness when incompetence will suffice. I just find it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference. How many times does one have to muck things up before it is safe to say that they are incompetent on purpose?


I think it's a matter of what people are being incompetent about. What I suspect is going on behind the scenes (without direct evidence, of course) is that all these people who have been entrapped by FBI stings over the years to perform simulated terrorist acts are un-indictable and yet almost certainly bad guys whose freedom is a threat to the United States. I don't know what the right answer to that riddle is, but I can see why people would find "innocent until proven guilty" is a hard pill to swallow when the crime in question is mass murder.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:08 pm UTC

Here's the wired article: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12 ... detention/
It's a bit strongly worded, but I think for good reason. It ends with the following.
But there’s a reason this measure goes into the defense bill: Voting against the defense bill is usually considered political suicide. That’s why the bill will almost certainly pass tonight. If Obama backs down from his veto threat, get ready to see Americans at Guantanamo Bay.

My concern is that the language is extremely broad. The law covers not only people who are taking up arms against the US, but also:
OpenCongress wrote: (2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
To me, "substantial support" is pretty vague, but should at least include giving money. Also note that it doesn't specify that the person has to be helping the organization attack America, but rather leaves the language open to "substantially support." So the way I read it, if a Red Cross volunteer decides to support the Taliban in its sanitation efforts in Afghanistan, that's grounds for their indefinite detention by the military.

Are Youtube videos "substantial support?"
Are song lyrics?
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:21 pm UTC

I'm kind of skeptical of an article that refers to the targeting of al-Awlaki an "execution" when it clearly a military operation. But I don't think this bill could stand up in court: it's a blatant violation of the 6th amendment, as the article says.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Belial » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:26 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:I don't know what the right answer to that riddle is, but I can see why people would find "innocent until proven guilty" is a hard pill to swallow when the crime in question is mass murder.


Everyone *always* finds that a hard pill to swallow when they have a bad guy in front of them who is, c'mon you guys, so totally guilty you don't even know.

Which is why it had to be codified in the first place, otherwise people would throw it out the window the first time they got worried or upset.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:28 pm UTC

And, to be comfortable with it, it helps to remind yourself that, if somebody is so obviously a murderer or whatever, you shouldn't have trouble proving it. Criminal cases are not like mathematical truths: the ease of proof is not inversely correlated with the obviousness of the conclusion.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby yedidyak » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

The problem arises when the proof is inadmissible in a court.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:20 pm UTC

Yeah, occasionally the system fails because allowing something as an exception would do more harm than good :|
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Belial » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:24 pm UTC

Generally, because allowing evidence gained through unacceptable means would be basically saying to the people who collected that evidence that the method isn't actually unacceptable. Or more like "Oh, we'll say it's unacceptable, but once you have it we'll totally use it to make that collar stick". So go ahead and violate someone's rights as long as you turn out to be right.

And they always think they're right (it's hard to operate under the opposite assumption). Basically, there has to be the threat that someone guilty will walk free and it will be all your fault, or else no law enforcement would ever follow the rules of evidence.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:36 pm UTC

At the same time, reasonable evidence might be discarded because the only way to gather it would be illegally, and so those gathering the evidence did so hoping that it could be used and thus a guilty man wouldn't walk free. But, like I said, occasionally you encounter unfortunate situations like that.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:49 pm UTC

Thinking on this further, the main problem is not the scope of the bill, but the enormous problems with indefinite detention.

Regardless of whether or not you think someone should be thrown into Gitmo for giving some cash and/or rap video shoutouts to the Taliban, one thing that should not ever happen is for the military to be able to throw you into Gitmo, claiming that you provided "substantial support" to terrorists, and then never have to prove it.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Anaximander » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:53 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Thinking on this further, the main problem is not the scope of the bill, but the enormous problems with indefinite detention.

Regardless of whether or not you think someone should be thrown into Gitmo for giving some cash and/or rap video shoutouts to the Taliban, one thing that should not ever happen is for the military to be able to throw you into Gitmo, claiming that you provided "substantial support" to terrorists, and then never have to prove it.


Yes. This is the suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus? Why? Under what pretext? This is a constitutional no-brainer:

"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

Where is the rebellion? Where is the invasion?

IcedT wrote:I guess what troubles me most about this is that it reinforces the stance that terrorism is the executive's sole domain (gtfo, independent judiciary and lower levels of government), and that the executive isn't constrained by law in how they handle it. It's not like I think somebody is trying to pave the way for a South American-style presidential dictatorship, but if I did I'd think they were they were doing a good job.


This too. Setting precedent for this sort of power is a dangerous thing. History is littered with examples of what happens when this type of authority winds up in the wrong hands. The road to hell is paved with good intentions AND South American-style presidential dictatorships.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:55 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Thinking on this further, the main problem is not the scope of the bill, but the enormous problems with indefinite detention.

Regardless of whether or not you think someone should be thrown into Gitmo for giving some cash and/or rap video shoutouts to the Taliban, one thing that should not ever happen is for the military to be able to throw you into Gitmo, claiming that you provided "substantial support" to terrorists, and then never have to prove it.

Honestly, I could maybe understand these detention rules if there was at least a mechanism for compensating people who are wrongly detained or for disciplining the people responsible for their imprisonment. It's giving the military-intelligence establishment the power to disappear anyone, and protecting them from any kind of responsibility for the consequences. This is like Junta Rule 101. Good thing Newt hasn't had his way with the judiciary yet and we can expect this to get struck down immediately.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Minerva » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:28 am UTC

The OP article is written by infamous anti-science crackpot and conspiracy theorist Mike Adams, of Natural News etc. (in)fame, so forgive me if I don't take this seriously at all.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:39 am UTC

Minerva wrote:The OP article is written by infamous anti-science crackpot and conspiracy theorist Mike Adams, of Natural News etc. (in)fame, so forgive me if I don't take this seriously at all.

Have you read the rest of the thread? I didn't even read the OP article, I read the original text of the bill and a few news articles relating to it. It really does declare the United States a battleground, and it really does allow for indefinite military detention without trial at the president's order, regardless of citizenship.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:38 pm UTC

I just quickly read(skimmed) the Senate version of the bill, then did several searches for 'guantanamo, detain, battle, combatant, and a few others'.

I could find no provision that would allow locking up US citizens as enemy combatants.. or for any other reason.

Seems like a sensationalist story to me. If anyone could point to the exact part of the bill that claims to do what the OP was claiming please copy/paste or give us directions to the offending portion of that large bill.

Oh, you also should probably be aware that the SCOTUS said all the detainee's deserve trials... so I doubly highly doubt the validity of this story.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Роберт » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:59 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I just quickly read(skimmed) the Senate version of the bill, then did several searches for 'guantanamo, detain, battle, combatant, and a few others'.

I could find no provision that would allow locking up US citizens as enemy combatants.. or for any other reason.

Seems like a sensationalist story to me. If anyone could point to the exact part of the bill that claims to do what the OP was claiming please copy/paste or give us directions to the offending portion of that large bill.

Oh, you also should probably be aware that the SCOTUS said all the detainee's deserve trials... so I doubly highly doubt the validity of this story.

Section 1031, depending on how you interpret it.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Telchar » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:03 pm UTC

The most bizarre thing is that the POTUS has said he will veto the bill, but only because it errodes the power of the executive to find terrorists...wtf?
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:The most bizarre thing is that the POTUS has said he will veto the bill, but only because it errodes the power of the executive to find terrorists...wtf?

I thought that too. That explanation has to just be a stunt to avoid the "HEEZ WEEK ON TRRRSTS!" debate that would spring up if he shot it down on the grounds that it was a reckless and illegal erosion of citizens' rights.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby buddy431 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:54 pm UTC

IcedT wrote:
Telchar wrote:The most bizarre thing is that the POTUS has said he will veto the bill, but only because it errodes the power of the executive to find terrorists...wtf?

I thought that too. That explanation has to just be a stunt to avoid the "HEEZ WEEK ON TRRRSTS!" debate that would spring up if he shot it down on the grounds that it was a reckless and illegal erosion of citizens' rights.

My impression is that he was objecting to the rules laid out on how to deal with captured terrorists - have to be handled by the military, and such. I think that's a legitimate concern, although you're right, probably second to his real objections.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Glass Fractal » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:26 am UTC

IcedT wrote:
Telchar wrote:The most bizarre thing is that the POTUS has said he will veto the bill, but only because it errodes the power of the executive to find terrorists...wtf?

I thought that too. That explanation has to just be a stunt to avoid the "HEEZ WEEK ON TRRRSTS!" debate that would spring up if he shot it down on the grounds that it was a reckless and illegal erosion of citizens' rights.


What does it tell us when the government is too scared of its people to tell them when it's protecting their rights?

Tirian wrote:I don't know what the right answer to that riddle is, but I can see why people would find "innocent until proven guilty" is a hard pill to swallow when the crime in question is mass murder.


If you have proof he's guilty it shouldn't be a problem. That's sort of the point. One of the things we use courts for to decide who is guilty and who is innocent.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:37 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:
IcedT wrote:I thought that too. That explanation has to just be a stunt to avoid the "HEEZ WEEK ON TRRRSTS!" debate that would spring up if he shot it down on the grounds that it was a reckless and illegal erosion of citizens' rights.

What does it tell us when the government is too scared of its people to tell them when it's protecting their rights?

It tells me that the American right is more reactionary than it's been in decades, for one thing.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:41 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:
Tirian wrote:I don't know what the right answer to that riddle is, but I can see why people would find "innocent until proven guilty" is a hard pill to swallow when the crime in question is mass murder.

If you have proof he's guilty it shouldn't be a problem. That's sort of the point. One of the things we use courts for to decide who is guilty and who is innocent.

To go with that, presumably the punishment for mass murder would be quite significant- making it even more important that you ensure that the person is guilty before punishing them. Just because a crime is a significant one doesn't make it a good reason to ignore laws guaranteeing the rights of the accused- if anything, they should be more important to protect. If you're wrongly convicted of illegal parking, you get a couple hundred dollars in fines. If you're wrongly convicted of mass murder, you'll be in prison for life, if you're lucky, or suffer the death penalty if you're not.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Thesh » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:43 am UTC

Anaximander wrote:"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

Where is the rebellion?


Generally speaking, committing, planning, or willingly aiding in acts of violence against your country is considered rebellion.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:57 am UTC

Thesh wrote:
Anaximander wrote:"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

Where is the rebellion?


Generally speaking, committing, planning, or willingly aiding in acts of violence against your country is considered rebellion.

Treason, yes. But rebellion implies something much more focused, organized and concentrated than anything attempted by the home-grown Islamists we know of.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Thesh » Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:06 am UTC

Considering the law only applies within the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force:

http://news.findlaw.com/wp/docs/terrori ... 23.es.html
(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.


So no, it doesn't apply to homegrown terrorists.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:47 pm UTC

Wait- what? I can't tell if that's an argument for or against it, or if it's just a tangent. Really not sure what you're driving at.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Thesh » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:07 pm UTC

I'm neither making an argument for or against. i'm just saying that it's not a violation of the constitution.

Personally I think the reaction to this bill is akin to making a mountain out of a molehill, and sensationalist media is all for that. As I said on page one, the objections people have aren't so much to this bill, but the lack of checks and balances in the war on terror as authorized by the 2001 bill.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby IcedT » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:11 am UTC

I can't speak for anyone else here, but I see the 2001 bill as excessively broad and setting a bad legal precedent, but there's nothing about it that strikes me as unconstitutional. The DAA enlarges the problems of the 2001 bill by suspending habeas corpus and putting a limited form of martial law in place, which is expressly forbidden except in cases of rebellion. Although rebellion is a subjective term, I think it's pretty generous to call unconnected incidents like the Fort Hood shooting or Al-Awlaki promoting jihad as something on par with the many historical rebellions we've had, which involved mass and unified uprisings within the US's borders with clear and shared political goals.

I should also clarify that I'm not concerned that these laws will be applied in a dystopic way, but if something like this were passed in, say, Russia, would anyone have doubts that it would be used to suppress dissent? It would take a serious disintegration of American society and institutions for the military to realistically be able to abuse this kind of power, but with the same kinds of people who support bills like this pushing to erode the rule of law elsewhere, and with the possibility of a global economic slump, it'd be idiotic to leave something like this on the books because "it'll never get that bad." It betrays a reactionary and totalitarian way of thinking that is poisonous to how this country or any other republic should operate.

It's a struggle not to Godwin this up, but suffice it to say that liberal societies (in the classical sense) can and do backslide into authoritarianism. It's important to fight the symbolic backslide before things get serious, because by time they really suspend everyone's rights it'll already be too late.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby buddy431 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:54 am UTC

The language in the bill has been changed enough that the president has dropped his veto threat

http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/14/politics/congress-defense-bill/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby FrancisDrake » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:23 pm UTC

The bill has quite a bit of interesting sections. One of the most interesting sections, was between page 318-322. I don't know for sure, but it looks like any commercial communications could be shut down on the grounds that it is disrupting America's GPS system. I also wonder, what is consider commercial communication?

Another interesting article, was the Utility disruption to Military installations which is on page 94 section 345. I don't know what to make of it, but it looks like an increase in military protection of natural utilities on US soil. section 345 makes more sense when you get to page 519 section 2101, which looks like a huge article on the construction of military bases throughout the US.

I also like section 131 on page 21, which is on the procurement of extremely high frequency satellites. I wonder how high the frequency is? I know microwave is great for communication, but that frequency is weak, x ray could be a possibility, but the word extreme sounds more like UV or Gamma?
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:03 pm UTC

FrancisDrake wrote:I also like section 131 on page 21, which is on the procurement of extremely high frequency satellites. I wonder how high the frequency is? I know microwave is great for communication, but that frequency is weak, x ray could be a possibility, but the word extreme sounds more like UV or Gamma?


"Extremely high frequency" (EHF) denotes a specific frequency band - it's a technical term, not a handwave range. Per Wikipedia, it's the 30-300 GHz band (wavelength of about 1 mm to 10 mm), still within the radio band but getting close to infrared.

I seem to remember some issues with one of the AEHF satellites they were trying to launch earlier; this section looks like a relatively straightforward authorization for funding more of them.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby sardia » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:22 am UTC

Aren't those satellites used for our submarine fleet? It's designed to penetrate ocean waters or am I thinking Extreme Low Frequency? =\
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby caisara » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:37 am UTC

FrancisDrake wrote:The bill has quite a bit of interesting sections. One of the most interesting sections, was between page 318-322. I don't know for sure, but it looks like any commercial communications could be shut down on the grounds that it is disrupting America's GPS system. I also wonder, what is consider commercial communication?


Not my field of law.

Usually the terms used by the statue are defined at the beginning of the statute. That said, sometimes they punt to regulatory agencies or the courts, which they may be doing here. I suspect it means any communication used for (a) the purposes of communicating between business entities and/or individuals and (b) not for governmental or military use. But that's just an educated guess. I stopped working in law, so I can't find the real answer for you.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:31 am UTC

sardia wrote:Aren't those satellites used for our submarine fleet? It's designed to penetrate ocean waters or am I thinking Extreme Low Frequency? =\

It's low frequencies for the ocean. As you get to smaller and smaller wavelengths, the energy of the signal dissipates much faster when encountering surfaces- water, walls, trees, clouds, whatever. It's why they use sonar in the ocean- soundwaves are a fairly low frequency (human hearing is typically approximated as 20 Hz to 20 KHz), so the signal can propagate farther without losing it's strength. EHF communication will have a higher available bandwidth, but will encounter that issue of energy dissipation- you can boost the signal power to get around that, to some extent, but usually the extra power needed is too much to be practical.

Edit: Might be confusing for those not familiar with the terms: small wavelengths correspond to high frequencies, and large wavelengths to low frequencies. Hopefully that all makes sense.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Arrian » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

Just came across this FAQ from Lawfare, which seems like the best politically neutral explanation of the big questions about the NDAA yet. The intro:

The volume of sheer, unadulterated nonsense zipping around the internet about the NDAA boggles the mind. There was a time–only a few months ago–when the NDAA detention provisions were the obscure province of a small group of national security law nerds. Now, however, this bill has rocketed to international notoriety. The added attention to it is a good thing. It’s an important subject and warrants genuine debate and discussion. The trouble is that much of the discussion is the intellectual equivalent of the “death panel” objections to the health care bill. While certain journalists have done a good job covering the controversy, it’s much easier to get bad information than good. The reader who wants answers to simple questions faces a confusing array of conflicting information.

Here then, as a public service, is an NDAA FAQ–a simple attempt to lay out the key questions people are asking about the NDAA and answer them as simply and neutrally as we can. Many of the answers here we have discussed in greater depth elsewhere on the blog. We will link to those posts for readers who want greater depth. This is an overview, a Guide for the Perplexed.
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:01 pm UTC

According to that FAQ, no one should be concerned that this law codifies the authority of the President to order United States citizens into indefinite military detention because: Presidents Bush and Obama have said "I totally have that authority already."

So no one should be pissed that their representative signed away their sixth amendment rights because the last president to acknowledge those rights was Bill Clinton. Huzzah!

It also acknowledges that there's an expansion of that authority in that it extends from "military can detain Taliban" to "military can detain anyone who 'supports' the Taliban" after it says there's no expansion of detention authority. Generally it can be summarized as "It's not a big deal, but technically everything you've read about this bill is true, but civil liberties aren't that big of a deal, so shut up you whiners."
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Re: So... the entire United States is now a battleground

Postby Glass Fractal » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:24 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Generally it can be summarized as "It's not a big deal, but technically everything you've read about this bill is true, but civil liberties aren't that big of a deal, so shut up you whiners."


Generally it can be summarized as: "It doesn’t significantly expand the government’s detention authority, doesn’t authorize detention of citizens, doesn’t really mandate the military detention of other terrorist suspects, and doesn’t do more to prevent the closure of Gitmo than does current law."

More like a commitment to not change various bad things for the next year than a plan to send us all to FEMA death camps.

Also the bill gives more rights to detainees than they've had before but we can't have any facts about this thing getting out now that Libertarians have latched onto it as a symbols of government evil.
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