Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ Consitution

How do Republicans live with themselves these days?  Seriously?  Complete and massive denial of reality?  Capitulation of all decent values in order to support the torturer-in-chief?  I'm especially curious how all the conservative Christians reconcile Jesus' message (he didn't spend a lot of time preaching against gays) with this pro-torture administration.  Anyway, thanks to Kevin Drum for highlighting this Bruce Ackerman column which concisely sums up the problems with the Republican bill to deal with suspected terrorists:

The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House,
authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy
combatants, even if they have never left the United States….It also
allows him to seize anybody who has “purposefully and materially
supported hostilities against the United States.” This grants the
president enormous power over citizens and legal residents. They can be
designated as enemy combatants if they have contributed money to a
Middle Eastern charity, and they can be held indefinitely in a military
prison.

Not to worry, say the bill's defenders. The president can't detain
somebody who has given money innocently, just those who contributed to
terrorists on purpose.

Get that?  United States citizens can be arrested and held without the right to prove they have been unjustly imprisoned.  This is not America!  This is the sort of practice of every totalitarian regime that has ever existed.  This could not be a more disturbing and blatant undermining of core American values.  I believe there is a word for a leader who can imprison his citizens on his own say-so and keep them their indefinitely: dictator.

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The army

Great article in by Fred Kaplan in Slate, entitled, “How Bush Wrecked the Army.”  Apparently, top generals, active and retired, are concerned that are efforts in Iraq are basically ruining the quality of the U.S. Army.  The choice tidbits:

Meanwhile, to meet enlistment targets, the Army has raised the maximum age of recruits to 41, lowered their required aptitude scores,
and?in another recent gulp?relaxed moral and disciplinary standards.
The Army has always waived these standards to let in a small number of
applicants. But since the Iraq war, this number has risen
substantially. In 2001, just 10.07 percent of Army recruits were given
moral waivers?i.e., were allowed into the Army, even though they had
committed misdemeanors or had once-prohibited problems with drugs and
alcohol, records of serious misconduct, or disqualifying medical
conditions. By 2004, this number had risen to 11.98 percent. But in
2005, it soared to 15.02 percent. And as of April 2006, according to a
fact sheet obtained from an Army officer, the number has leapt to 15.49
percent….

Schoomaker's central complaint is that he doesn't have the money to
maintain the Army's global missions. The president and the Congress can
pony up the money (a lot more money) or scale back the
missions. To do otherwise?to stay the course with inadequate
resources?is to invite defeats and disasters.

In case that's not clear enough, “staying the course” without adequate resources is exactly what we are doing. 

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