Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 19:04:25 -0400
To: Recipient List Suppressed:;
From: Shel Horowitz 

Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 11:30:12 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Keillor on the Detainee Act - well expressed

Congress' Shameful Retreat from American Values
Garrison Keillor  Published October 4, 2006

I would not send my college kid off for a semester
abroad if I were you.

Last week, we suspended human rights in America, and
what goes around comes around. Ixnay habeas corpus.

The U.S. Senate, in all its splendor and majesty,
decided that an "enemy combatant" is any non-citizen
whom the president says is an enemy combatant,including 
your Korean greengrocer or your Swedish grandmother or 
your Czech au pair, and can be arrested and held for as 
long as authorities wish without any right of appeal to 
a court of law to examine the matter. If your college 
kid were to be arrested in Bangkok or Cairo, suspected 
of "crimes against the state" and held in prison, you'd 
assume that an American foreign service officer would be 
able to speak to your kid and arrange for a lawyer,but 
this may not be true anymore. Be forewarned.

The Senate also decided it's up to the president to
decide whether it's OK to make these enemies stand
naked in cold rooms for a couple of days in blinding
light and be beaten by interrogators. This is now
purely a bureaucratic matter: The plenipotentiary
stamps the file "enemy combatants" and throws the poor
schnooks into prison and at his leisure he tries them
by any sort of kangaroo court he wishes to assemble
and they have no right to see the evidence against them,
and there is no appeal. This was passed by 65 senators 
and will now be signed by President Bush, put into effect, 
and in due course be thrown out by the courts.

It's good that Barry Goldwater is dead because this would 
have killed him. Go back to the Senate of 1964 -- Goldwater, 
Dirksen,Russell, McCarthy, Javits, Morse, Fulbright--and 
you won't find more than 10 votes for it.

None of the men and women who voted for this bill
has any right to speak in public about the rule of law
anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third
Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Ideal. Mark
their names.

Any institution of higher learning that grants
honorary degrees to these people forfeits its honor.
Alexander, Allard, Allen,Bennett, Bond, Brownback,
Bunning, Burns, Burr, Carper, Chambliss,Coburn,
Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo,
DeMint,DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Frist,
Graham, Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison,
Inhofe, Isakson, Johnson, Kyl, Landrieu, Lautenberg,
Lieberman, Lott, Lugar,Martinez, McCain, McConnell,
Menendez, Murkowski, Nelson of Florida, Nelson
of Nebraska, Pryor, Roberts, Rockefeller, Salazar,
Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stabenow,
Stevens, Sununu,Talent, Thomas, Thune, Vitter,
Voinovich, Warner.

To paraphrase Sir Walter Scott: Mark their names and
mark them well. For them, no minstrel raptures swell.
High though their titles, proud their name, boundless
their wealth as wish can claim,these wretched figures
shall go down to the vile dust from whence they
sprung, unwept, unhonored and unsung.

Three Republican senators made a show of opposing the
bill and after they'd collected all the praise they
could get, they quickly folded. Why be a hero when you
can be fairly sure that the court will dispose of this
piece of garbage.

If, however, the court does not, then our country
has taken a step toward totalitarianism. If the
government can round up someone and never be required
to explain why, then it's no longer the United States
as you and I always understood it. Our enemies have
succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made
us become like them.

I got some insight last week into who supports
torture when I went down to Dallas to speak at
Highland Park Methodist Church. It was spooky. I
walked in, was met by two burly security men with
walkie-talkies, and within 10 minutes was told by
three people that this was the Bushes' church and that
it would be better if I didn't talk about politics.
I was there on a book tour for "Homegrown Democrat,"
but they thought it better if I didn't mention it. So
I tried to make light of it: I told the audience, "I
don't need to talk politics. I have no need even to be
interested in politics -- I'm a citizen, I have plenty
of money and my grandsons are at least 12 years
away from being eligible for military service." And
the audience applauded!

Those were their sentiments exactly. We've got ours,
and who cares?

The Methodists of Dallas can be fairly sure that
none of them will be snatched off the streets, flown
to Guantanamo Bay, stripped naked, forced to stand for
48 hours in a freezing room with deafening noise. So
why should they worry? It's only the Jews who are in
danger, and the homosexuals and gypsies. The Christians
are doing fine. If you can't trust a Methodist with
absolute power to arrest people and not have to say
why, then whom can you trust?

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