Sunday, October 08, 2006

Why the Military Commissions Act Trumps All Other Issues

Some Democrats are having a hard time understanding why I, a 24th district Democrat, am opposing both the campaign of Democratic congressional candidate Michael Arcuri and the campaign of Republican candidate Ray Meier.

Although I disagree with Michael Arcuri on many issues, and am generally concerned with Michael Arcuri's arrogant attitude toward voters, my oppositon to Mike Arcuri is ultimately based on one issue: The decision by Michael Arcuri to support George W. Bush's Military Commissions Act.

The Military Commssions Act is more important than any other issue in this campaign, because the Military Commissions Act is a grave threat to America's Democracy. The Military Commissions Act gives the power to imprison people without any official legal recognition of their imprisoned status - because the act takes away habeas corpus protections. The Military Commissions Act also sets up outrageously unfair standards for criminal conviction (including the ability to start a trial before a full investigation of the alleged crime has even been committed).

In practice, the Military Commissions Act will give the President of the United States the powers of a dictator. When the President of the United States can imprison people just because he says that they've committed crimes, Americans are no longer free to speak out against the President without fear of being thrown into prison for doing so.

Maybe the President will use this new power, and maybe he won't. The trouble with the Military Commissions Act is that we'll never know if the President is using his new power - because the law also allows for the imprisonments, torture, and convictions according to new low standards of justice to remain secret from the American people forever. Once this new law goes into effect, we will never know when the President is using his new powers. People could start disappearing into the secret prisons run by the President without us ever finding out about it.

This makes the Military Commissions Act a more important issue than any other - more important than the Iraq War, more important than the environment, and more important than a woman's right to choose. The reason is that with the Military Commissions Act, we will have no assurance of an ability to freely counter the President on any of these issues. Without the ability to exercise free dissent, all issues are at risk.

To promote Democratic issues, we first have to have the freedom to do so without fear of punishment for our dissent from the Republican position. The Military Commissions Act makes it possible for the Republican government to punish us for dissent. Therefore, the Military Commissions Act must take priority over all other issues.

Michael Arcuri either doesn't understand this, or he doesn't care. Michael Arcuri's support for the Military Commissions Act is a mistake of the highest order. To preserve our right to dissent, we need Democrats to stand united against the Military Commissions Act. For that reason, we need to oppose Democrats like Michael Arcuri who defect from the Democratic Party mainstream and support the Military Commissions Act.


allen Carstensen said...

You're starting to sound like a broken record. Many of us agree with you about the horrible bill, but we realize that the only hope of getting sanity back in Washington is to vote the damn Republicans out.

Here's the legislation Nancy Pelosi says the Democrats will introduce in the first 100 hours if we give them back the House.
*implement the 911 commission recommendations.
*break the link between lobbyists and legislation
*raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25/hr
*cut interest rates on student loans
*allow medicare and medicaid to negotiate with big pharma for lower drug prices
*broaden federally funded stem cell research
*raise tax rates on the rich back to where they were during Clinton
*Russ Holt's hr 550 finally is allowed to floor for a vote

Not a bad start, but Jon says we can't vote for a Democrat who has said he would've voted for a horrible bill. Hmm.

24 Independent said...

Allen, are you paying attention to what I'm saying? Lately, it seems that you're willfully ignoring the content to make the same old argument over and over again.

You cannot reliably promote ANY other issue when the President of the United States has the power of a dictator. It's because I care about most of the issues you list that I have to oppose Michael Arcuri.

Michael Arcuri says he stands with George W. Bush's move to take away habeas corpus and grab the power to imprison anyone merely by declaring them an "enemy". That makes Bush unstoppable.

You think Congress can thwart a President who is above the law? What is the point of getting a Democratic Congress under such circumstances, UNLESS that Democratic Congress will repeal the Military Commissions Act that gives George W. Bush unprecedented totalitarian powers as President?

Show me where Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid say that a Democratic Congress will repeal the Military Commission Act, Allen, and then I'll consider supporting Michael Arcuri again.

Pelosi and Reid haven't made any such statement, and that disturbs me.

It disturbs me that Democrats have gotten sidetracked by a sex scandal like the one that got Bill Clinton impeached, and seem to care little for the loss of their own liberty.

A horrible bill, Allen? You know damn well that it's much more than that. Our ability to dissent from the Bush agenda on ALL issues is threatened by the Military Commissions Act.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call being a pedophile the same as having sex with an adult pig under your desk, Jon.

I realize this issue trumps all issues as you say, but only for you. It's your blog so you can pick the issue that trumps all issues.

Being in Iraq at all trumps this issue in my mind.
Health care trumps this issue for me
The economy trumps this issue for me

You may think my issues are just not the right ones but they are the ones important to me and that is why I will not vote for any republican especially not Ray Meier. There are people who will agree with you but I also bet these issues trump your issue for most working Americans including most democrats.

Anonymous said...

The difference, 2:39, is that Jon gives reasons for his opinion that the Military Commissions Act trumps other issues. They're good reasons, with a solid argument behind them.

You don't.

I'm noticing this consistently: The people who defend Mike Arcuri aren't using logical arguments. They're just making assertions.

Jon gives well thought out arguments, which the pro-Arcuri Democrats can't seem to counter.

Yet, these Democrats keep on supporting their candidate. Even after he supports torture.

This is insane.