Monday, February 8, 2010

Palin & Sen. Collins Need "A Kid's Guide to the Constitution"

In an interview conducted by Chris Wallace prior to her appearance at the Tea Party Convention, Sarah Palin said:
"...[regarding] Attorney General Eric Holder, she labeled his handling of captured terrorists -- "allowing them our U.S. constitutional protections when they do not deserve them" -- a firing offense."
This is a meme I've been hearing a lot of over the past week or so. Somehow constitutional protections have shifted. In her response to President Obama's State of the Union, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said:
"...he [Abdul Mutallab] was given a Miranda warning and a lawyer, and, not surprisingly, he stopped talking. How did we get to this point? How did the Obama administration decide to treat a foreign terrorist, who had tried to murder hundreds of people, as if he were a common criminal?” 
She discusses, in her approximately 5-minute response, other issues related to the 'foreign terrorist' and then states:
“But, today, I want to discuss another failure – a failure that occurred after Abdul Mutallab had already been detained by authorities in Detroit – an error that undoubtedly prevented the collection of valuable intelligence about future terrorist threats to our country.” 

Once afforded the protection our Constitution guarantees American citizens, this foreign terrorist ‘lawyered up’ and stopped talking,” says Collins. “When the Obama administration decided to treat Abdul Mutallab as an ordinary criminal, it did so without the input of our nation’s top intelligence officials.”
American citizens, 'foreign terrorist,' 'do not deserve them.' Terms we have been hearing over, and over, and over again from pundits and politicians when talking about Guantanamo, the trial of Sheik Khalid Mohammad, and now the treatment of Abdul Mutallab, the Christmas Day Bomber as he is so frequently called.

Collins and now Palin berate Obama and the Justice Department for extending rights provided under the Constitution to foreigners as if this is somehow granting them special privileges which by extension must mean that they are soft on terror.

While I admit that the two named above are clearly terrorists, the term has become almost meaningless as, for example, all resident at Guantanam are labeled such when clearly many of them are not. If they were all indeed terrorists, then President Bush and his Justice Department would not have released so many of them and we would not now be working on the release of others.

Collins is clearly mandating torture--excuse me, enhanced interrogation, for Abdul Mutallab when she complains about him 'lawyering up' after being given his Miranda rights. She and others complain that by providing him lawyers and allowing him constitutional protections, we will not get intelligence information we need to protect this country. She is trying to impress upon the American people--after all, she is a United States Senator--that constitutional rights and protections belong only to American citizens--they do not.

The Republican playbook appears to be the same over the past 40 years. Say it often enough, and people will believe it. It does not have to be true, just say it over and over again, and people will begin to believe you. Think Swiftboat, Bush's National Guard Records, weapons of mass destruction and the reasons we went to war in Iraq (a Zogby poll last month shows that 37% of Americans still believe there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, Sarah Palin clearly believed it as recently as the 2008 presidential campaign if you believe campaign aides).

The media does not seem to provide corrections of fact anymore, only corrections of speech (i.e., so and so did not say this, they actually said that). The media no longer checks facts given to them by government officials nor do they gather information on their own, they simply report what they are given as 'press releases' or provide the venue for politicians and others to appear and say, unchallenged, whatever they want.

Unfortunately, saying someone is a terrorist over and over again does not make it so. Saying that foreigners are not entitled to the rights and protections afforded American citizens while on this soil is simply not true no matter how many times you say it. The Republican Party was very successful building a strawman when Dan Rather unfortunately used false documents to report a truthful story. No one paid any attention to the story, nor later supporting evidence; the story became instead about Dan Rather. When Bush lied in his State of the Union Speech about weapons of mass destruction and Joe Wilson (not the Congressman) wrote about his role in verifying that fact, another strawman was built which outed Wilson's wife Valerie Plame so that the story became not the lie, or the lack of weapons of mass destruction, but rather who said what to whom when about an undercover intelligence officer and whether Joe Wilson could be believed because he was married to her. Always, always make the issue about something else. Attack the person, ignore the evidence, and never address the issue itself.

As far as whether or not foreigners have the right to equal protection under the Constitution? Our founding fathers seemed to think they should.

The Constitution, Article III (The Judiciary), Section 2 says that: (emphasis added)
"The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.


The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed."
Sadly for Susan Collins, at the same time that she was giving her little speech, Abdul Mutallab was talking--quite freely--to intelligence investigators. He had been talking with the FBI for several days at that point because, according to Jason Linkins at Huffington Post

"One of the principal reasons why his family came back is because they had complete trust in the US system of justice and believed that Umar Farouq would be treated fairly and appropriately," the senior official said. "And that they would be as well."

"The FBI and Abdulmuttalab's family approached the subject and "gained his cooperation. He has been cooperating for days," the official said."

As Jason said, "Sucks to be Susan Collins!"

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.


  1. Thank you for posting this Kyra. I am so tired of our elected officials not knowing, or purposely lying to the masses about what is in our Constitution

  2. great post. too bad those teabaggers and company don't know much about that constitution they are always bragging about...

  3. I guess poor Sen. Collins was absent for a couple of semesters of Government at St. Lawrence University.

    Perhaps she should use a little palm writing to remember exactly what the Constitution says.

  4. You're just finding out now that some of those wingnuts are advocating torture? Half your country advocate torture because they are afraid and have no respect for the law or are lacking in human decency.

    And they don't understand that part of the purpose of writing the Geneva accords was to protect their own.

  5. Anonymous - I think they're purposely lying. It's a case of if you say it often enough...

    Anonymous - the teabaggers are the sheeple who can't be bothered to educate themselves and vote buzzwords and party, even if the party no longer stands for what it once did

    sunnyjane - I think Sen. Collins knows very well what the Constitution says, she's just toeing the party line. The leadership says jump, and she asks how high.