Thirty Three Things (v. 69)

Thirty Three Things — By on July 7, 2008 at 1:19 am

1. God Is Not Dead Yet — How current philosophers argue for his existence.

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2. William F. Vallicella on God in the Declaration of Independence

By my count, there are four references to God in the Declaration of Independence.

In the initial paragraph, we find the phrase “…Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God….” The phrase ‘Nature’s God’ rules out pantheism: God is distinct from Nature. In the second paragraph, there is the phrase, “…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights….” Combining these two references, we may infer that the God being referred to is not merely a deistic initiator of the temporally first segment of the physical universe, but a being involved in the creation of the human race. For if God endowed human beings with rights, this endowment had to occur at the time of the creation of human beings, which of course occurred later than the beginning of the physical universe. In traditional jargon, God is a creator continuans rather than a mere creator originans. He is not a mere cosmic starter-upper, but a being who is continuously involved in maintaining the universe in existence.

So if by ‘deism’ is meant the doctrine that God is a mere metaphysical cause of the universe’s beginning to exist who is thereafter uninvolved in its continuing to exist, then the God of the Declaration is non-deistic.

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3. How To Lose Belly Fat

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4. The problem with Prozac

…[T]he success of Prozac hasn’t simply transformed the treatment of depression: it has also transformed the science of depression. For decades, researchers struggled to identify the underlying cause of depression, and patients were forced to endure a series of ineffective treatments. But then came Prozac. Like many other antidepressants, Prozac increases the brain’s supply of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. The drug’s effectiveness inspired an elegant theory, known as the chemical hypothesis: Sadness is simply a lack of chemical happiness. The little blue pills cheer us up because they give the brain what it has been missing.

There’s only one problem with this theory of depression: it’s almost certainly wrong, or at the very least woefully incomplete. Experiments have since shown that lowering people’s serotonin levels does not make them depressed, nor does it does not make them depressed, nor does it worsen their symptoms if they are already depressed.

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5. The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating

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6. Quote of the Week: “Here’s a fundamental irony: At about the time that the first empirical evidence is accumulating to support the Christian doctrine of dominion — that God has granted to the human race a delegated but effective authority over the planet, as evidenced by our impact on not just local but global environments — you see Christians shrinking back from the doctrine.” — Rusty Pritchard, ‘Dominion’ means dominion

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7. How are wines arranged in the store?

The wine aisle in your grocery store is probably organized this way. Yes, I know there is a California section and an Import section and even a jug/box wine spot, but look within each wine display and you’ll see the clear price stratification effect. The wines you have come to buy are probably on the shelf just below your natural eye level, so that you cannot help but see those special occasion wines just above them (and the higher priced wines above them on the top shelf). Cheaper wines are down below, near the floor, so that you have to stoop down to choose them.

The physical act of taking the wine from the shelf mirrors the psychological choice you make — reach up for better (more expensive) wines, stoop down for the cheaper products. The principle will be the same in upscale supermarkets and discount stores but the choices (what price wine will be at the bottom, middle and top) will differ as you might expect.

(HT: Marginal Revolution)

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8. Top Ten Things Kids Stick Up Their Noses

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9. What Happens To Your Body If You Drink A Coke Right Now? (HT: The Presurfer)

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10. How English Is Evolving Into a Language We May Not Even Understand

In China, this sort of free-form adoption of English is helped along by a shortage of native English-speaking teachers, who are hard to keep happy in rural areas for long stretches of time. An estimated 300 million Chinese — roughly equivalent to the total US population — read and write English but don’t get enough quality spoken practice. The likely consequence of all this? In the future, more and more spoken English will sound increasingly like Chinese.

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11. Chart of the Week

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

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12. Lift Magic allows anyone curious about cosmetic surgery, but too frightened to go under the knife, to see an improved version of themselves at the click of a mouse. Lift Magic offers a virtual makeover for prospective plastic surgery patients, so they can see how they might look after eye-bag removal, a nose job or a face-lift. (HT: The Presurfer)

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13. World Population Approaches 7 Billion

World population is projected to reach 7 billion only 4 years from now. The world added its 6 billionth resident in 1999. Today, the population is approximately 6.7 billion. World population growth is slowing down – it took about 12 years for the world population to rise from 5 billion to 6 billion while the increase from 6 to 7 billion is a 13 year time span

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14. Francis Beckwith asks “Are You Prochoice When it Comes to Drilling in ANWR?

Here’s how you find out: if someone tells you that there are embryonic stem cells buried at ANWR, would you drill? If you answer “yes,” your inner liberal should have no problem if the embryos were replaced by oil.

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15. Dorothy Sayers on the doctrine of hell:

There seems to be a kind of conspiracy, especially among middle-aged writers of vaguely liberal tendency, to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of Hell comes from. One finds frequent references to the “cruel and abominable mediaeval doctrine of hell,” or “the childish and grotesque mediaeval imagery of physical fire and worms.” …

But the case is quite otherwise; let us face the facts. The doctrine of hell is not “mediaeval”: it is Christ’s. It is not a device of “mediaeval priestcraft” for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin. The imagery of the undying worm and the unquenchable fire derives, not from “mediaeval superstition,” but originally from the Prophet Isaiah, and it was Christ who emphatically used it…. It confronts us in the oldest and least “edited” of the gospels: it is explicit in many of the most familiar parables and implicit in many more: it bulks far larger in the teaching than one realizes, until one reads the Evangelists through instead of picking out the most comfortable texts: one cannot get rid of it without tearing the New Testament to tatters. We cannot repudiate Hell without altogether repudiating Christ. (A Matter of Eternity, 86)

(HT: One Eternal Day)

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16. The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote. (HT: Neatorama)

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17. Timewaster of the Week: Last Egg Standing

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18. Wheel scary: Chinese anti-terror police practice killing drills on scooters

atps.jpg

Members of the country’s armed police unit practised on the Segway models that have been re-named ‘Anti-Terror Assault Vehicles’ in the eastern province of Shandong. (HT: The Presurfer)

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19. Christopher Hitchens and Waterboarding (Part I) — After Christopher Hitchens wrote a Slate article suggesting that waterboarding wasn’t really torture, readers suggested that he try it himself.

The “official lie” about waterboarding, Hitchens says, is that it “simulates the feeling of drowning”. In fact, “you are drowning – or rather, being drowned”.
He rehearses the intellectual arguments, both for (“It’s nothing compared to what they do to us”) and against (“It opens a door that can’t be closed”). But the Hitch’s thoroughly empirical conclusion is simple. As Vanity Fair’s title puts it: “Believe me, it’s torture.”

(HT: Boing Boing)

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20. Christopher Hitchens and Waterboarding (Part II) – Phillip Carter on “Stupid Is As Hitchens Does”

Honestly, I thought we learned in grade school to be a little smarter than this – that it wasn’t necessary to stick a metal fork in the electrical socket to know there was electricity there. Unfortunately, for some people personal experience trumps all other forms of learning, and they must learn at the school of hard knocks. Or, in this case, the school of hard torture.

(HT: Andrew Sullivan)

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21. World’s Strangest Vehicles (HT: The Presurfer)

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22. From Conan O’Briens’s commencement address for Harvard’s Class of 2000:

I’ve dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve.

Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you’re desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.

I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I’m as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good.

So, that’s what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good. Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over.

(HT: Neatorama)

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23. How to Fold a Broadsheet Newspaper

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24. Alan Jacobs on biblical literalism:

[M]any gays and lesbians decry the “literalism” of “Christianists” who cite Biblical sources to condemn homosexuality — but that’s nonsense. After all, it’s not like there’s a possible symbolic meaning for statements like “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination” or “the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another [and] committed shameless acts with [other] men.”

Conservative Christians do indeed take those statements literally, but then, so does everyone else, because there’s not another way to take them. The real question is wholly different: whether those passages are to be granted authority, whether people should defer to them and see them as worthy of obedience. That’s the real disagreement here: whether what the Bible says — always assuming that it has been rightly understood — on these matters is binding upon us. It has nothing at all to do with “literalism.”

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25. LOLCat of the Week

cat
more cat pictures

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26. Totlol is a brand new community-moderated video website designed to be enjoyed by those between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.

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27. 10 Outdated Men’s Fashions That Still Have The Charm

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28. Archaeologists find silos and administration center from early Egyptian city– A University of Chicago expedition at Tell Edfu in southern Egypt has unearthed a large administration building and silos that provide fresh clues about the emergence of urban life. The discovery provides new information about a little understood aspect of ancient Egypt — the development of cities in a culture that is largely famous for its monumental architecture.

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29. Einstein was right, McGill astrophysicists say — Researchers at McGill University’s Department of Physics – along with colleagues from several countries – have confirmed a long-held prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, via observations of a binary-pulsar star system. Their results will be published July 3 in the journal Science.

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30. ‘Mind’s eye’ influences visual perception — Letting your imagination run away with you may actually influence how you see the world. New research from Vanderbilt University has found that mental imagery–what we see with the “mind’s eye”–directly impacts our visual perception.

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31. Looking for the Fountain of Youth? Cut your calories, research suggests — Want to slow the signs of aging and live longer? New Saint Louis University research suggests cutting back on calories could be a promising strategy. Calorie restriction has long been shown to slow the aging process in rats and mice. While scientists do not know how calorie restriction affects the aging process in rodents, one popular hypothesis is that it slows aging by decreasing a thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), which then slows metabolism and tissue aging. A new study in the June 2008 issue of Rejuvenation Research, found that calorie restriction – cutting approximately 300 to 500 calories per day – had a similar biological effect in humans and, therefore, may slow the aging process.

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32. Prevalence of religious congregations affects mortality ratesLSU associate professor of sociology Troy C. Blanchard recently found that a community’s religious environment – that is, the type of religious congregations within a locale – affects mortality rates, often in a positive manner. These results were published in the June issue of Social Forces, a leading journal in the field of sociology.

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33. Inside the Space Station




  • ucfengr

    Re: 19 & 20:
    That Hitchens volunteered to be water boarded should tell us something about the gray area that water boarding resides in. Does anybody think that Hitchens would have needed to have his finger nails pulled out with pliers or have a red hot poker applied to his sensitive regions to prove to himself that these are torture? I suspect not.
    In my opinion, what this argument revolves around is what rights do foreign terrorists engaged in war against the US have? Do they have the same rights as US citizens (i.e. access to civilian courts, protection against self incrimination, right to trial by jury)? The courts seem to be moving in that direction, in essence giving unlawful combatants more rights than lawful combatants. If unlawful combatants have these rights, then any type of coercive interrogation is improper. It is also arguable that calling in an air strike on terrorist camps would be illegal. We couldn’t do that to holed-up bank robbers, could we? Now, if you don’t believe that terrorists have the same rights as US citizens, then how they are treated should be governed by the military necessity and any appropriate treaties. Since no terrorist organizations are signatories to any international treaties and they certainly don’t attempt to abide by any of their provisions, we are not obligated to confer upon them any rights, and any rights we do give then should be governed more by military necessity than by benevolence. Obviously, I tend towards the latter position; as such I believe that coercive interrogation techniques, including water boarding, are an appropriate tool to use for the gathering of intelligence from terrorists.

  • http://morphed2fly.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    The year that God died, I graduated from high school and was confronted with the heathen inhabitants of college life…It was actually the first time I was truly confronted with the possiblilty that I was a totally delusional Mary Poppins.
    While we were not what I would call sepratists in our family, we definitely associated with an exclusively Christian crowd.
    Just as I can still see and experience the actual place I was when President Kennedy was assasinated, I can still remember exactly where I was when it was announced to me by my roomie that God was indeed dead. In shock, I wondered aloud,”When was that I distinctly remember hearing from Him this morning.”
    We were both art majors, but from totally different worlds. She ran with a definitely hippish group… I was with the lets all wear the same pink dress on Friday sorority crowd. I sure took a lot of heat for that pink dress with my art major friends.
    Roomie and I were great friends throughout our college years. I’m sure the painting she laid in the middle of the living room floor and I stepped in bare footed has garnered her a real chunck of change by now. *: )
    I hope that she looks back on the years that we shared and remembers that neither she nor her Peace Corp friends could convince me that God, even if dead, would not rise again.

  • ucfengr

    Re 1:
    One of the things this really highlights is how much Christians need a vibrant and intellectual atheist movement to hone our own ideas and thoughts. Lack of competition makes us intellectually lazy. Even though I disagree with Harris, Dawkins, et. al., I think the attention they have gotten has has forced Christians to head back to the intellectual gym for some hard workouts.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    That Hitchens volunteered to be water boarded should tell us something about the gray area that water boarding resides in. Does anybody think that Hitchens would have needed to have his finger nails pulled out with pliers or have a red hot poker applied to his sensitive regions to prove to himself that these are torture?
    Some people like to cut themselves with knifes or burn themselves. Does this mean putting a cig. out on someone’s skin is a ‘grey area’?

  • http://www.schooleyfiles.com Keith Schooley

    ucfengr writes, “In my opinion, what this argument revolves around is what rights do foreign terrorists engaged in war against the US have?”
    The answer to that is, “Where do rights come from?” It’s not the US Constitution; the Declaration of Independence states clearly that people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and the Bill of Rights makes clear that the rights not expressly given to the Federal government inhere either in the States (presumably based on their own Constitutions) or in the people. Rights are rights because they come from God and we have them because we are created in God’s image; they don’t come from the State and we don’t have them because we are US citizens.
    Bottom line for me is, it’s clearly not right for people to be locked up indefinitely (six years running so far) and subjected to whatever “harsh interrogation” the government deems appropriate, with no due process, just on the government’s word that these are Bad Guys. Let’s say that the interrogators figure out, after all this time, that someone they have is the wrong person. What’s their incentive to _ever_ let that person go? That would be an invitation to massive lawsuits and enormous negative publicity.
    The Bill of Rights was written not to give Americans special rights vis-a-vis everyone else in the world; it was written as a recognition of the necessity of limiting the powers of government, in light of the abuses the colonists had suffered under the British Crown. It may be that most of those being held really are Bad Guys; but then, that’s the excuse every government in the world uses for holding political prisoners.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    There is a myth among some of the Bush Kool-Aid drinkers (ucfengr) that there is a real debate over giving enemy combatants all the rights of an American citizen (odd since this administration’s legal theory is that even they have no rights should the all knowing Executive deem them an enemy combatant).
    Keith
    Bottom line for me is, it’s clearly not right for people to be locked up indefinitely (six years running so far) and subjected to whatever “harsh interrogation” the government deems appropriate, with no due process, just on the government’s word that these are Bad Guys. Let’s say that the interrogators figure out, after all this time, that someone they have is the wrong person.
    It’s already happened. In some cases the gov’t tries to make believe people who’ve never done anything against America are its enemies (some are being held for the crime of taking up arms against the gov’t of China…when did we vote to fight for the gov’t of China? Beats me). In other cases it has simply let them go without any examination of what errors in the system could allow an innocent person to be held for so long. In yet others it has lied about the people it let go. Scalia, for example, recently got egg on his face when he wrote that 30 men released from Gitmo had ‘returned to fight against the US’…turned out that ‘returning to the fight’ included simply giving an interview to a newspaper or publically criticizing policy.
    The question here is not whether non-citizens have the exact same legal avenues available to them as citizens but whether any of this nonsense has done anything to make us safer.

  • ucfengr

    The answer to that is, “Where do rights come from?” It’s not the US Constitution; the Declaration of Independence states clearly that people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and the Bill of Rights makes clear that the rights not expressly given to the Federal government inhere either in the States (presumably based on their own Constitutions) or in the people. Rights are rights because they come from God and we have them because we are created in God’s image; they don’t come from the State and we don’t have them because we are US citizens.
    Well, that’s interesting, but clearly the government has, under certain circumstances, the authority to deprive people of their liberty and even their life irregardless of where you, or I believe our rights come from. If you are a Christian, Romans 13:1-4 describes from whom governments derive their authority and their role they are assigned. I suggest you read it.
    Bottom line for me is, it’s clearly not right for people to be locked up indefinitely (six years running so far) and subjected to whatever “harsh interrogation” the government deems appropriate, with no due process, just on the government’s word that these are Bad Guys.
    I think there are many people who don’t understand what “due process” is. It is not a guarantee of a trial before your peers or access to a lawyer, it is merely the process that that is due; it may differ depending on the circumstances. For example, I never heard anybody dispute that the government as the authority to lock up indefinitely lawful combatants. Lawful combatants do not have a access to the courts or right to legal discovery. They do not have the right to challenge their confinement. But, there are apparently a lot of people who believe that unlawful combatants (i.e. terrorists) are entitled to more rights that combatants who obey the “Laws of War” (i.e. wear identifiable uniforms, don’t deliberately target civilians, treat captured soldiers according to appropriate treaties and conventions, etc.). I really don’t understand the mindset that seeks to reward these people’s disregard of civilized norms.
    The Bill of Rights was written not to give Americans special rights vis-a-vis everyone else in the world; it was written as a recognition of the necessity of limiting the powers of government, in light of the abuses the colonists had suffered under the British Crown.
    From the preamble to the Constitution:
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    In other words, the founders, who wrote the Constitution envisioned it applying to themselves and their descendants, in other words the People of the United States. There is certainly no indication that they intended it to apply to foreigners at war with the US.

  • ucfengr

    There is a myth among some of the Bush Kool-Aid drinkers (ucfengr) that there is a real debate over giving enemy combatants all the rights of an American citizen (odd since this administration’s legal theory is that even they have no rights should the all knowing Executive deem them an enemy combatant).
    What, you didn’t mention that I hold the unfashionable view the Bush is an honest and honorable man in your lame efforts to discredit me? You must be slipping. Of course, in his statement Boonton does manage to show his own ignorance. The Bush administration does not hold a legal theory that “enemy combatants” have no rights; they do hold a legal theory that holds that we don’t have to treat “unlawful enemy combatants” as well or better than we do “lawful enemy combatants”. People like Boonton believe that “unlawful combatants” have more rights than “lawful combatants”. As I have mentioned before, I know of no one who disputes the right of the executive to detain indefinitely, lawful combatants, but somehow unlawful ones have, at least the right to appeal their detention in US courts.

  • http://morphed2fly.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    Wheelly scary indeed…The picture claims them to be Chinese…but, who wheelly knows….

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Well, that’s interesting, but clearly the government has, under certain circumstances, the authority to deprive people of their liberty and even their life irregardless of where you, or I believe our rights come from.
    Not in question. Last time I checked, though, our gov’t consists of 3 branches.
    I think there are many people who don’t understand what “due process” is. It is not a guarantee of a trial before your peers or access to a lawyer, it is merely the process that that is due; it may differ depending on the circumstances.
    Nice use of circular reasoning there (if you’re in a process you’re getting due process). Again no court has ever ruled that detainees are entitled to the same process US citizens are but it firmly found the Bush administrations proposed system of kangeroo tribunals did not qualify.
    In other words, the founders, who wrote the Constitution envisioned it applying to themselves and their descendants, in other words the People of the United States. There is certainly no indication that they intended it to apply to foreigners at war with the US.
    A. The Decl. of Indep. clearly states that rights are univeral to all humans. While the preamble of the Constitution talks about the US system of gov’t, there is no language in it to indicate that the founders were rejecting the DOI, only that they were implementing it for the US (as opposed to France, Englang, Germany etc.).
    B. The Tenth clearly states that the Federal gov’t only has the powers given to it an all other powers and rights are reserved for the states or the people. Again recognizing that fundamental human rights are universal and not the domain of just citizenship or just the territorial US. You are confusing the fact that because the founders were writing a document for the gov’t of the US with the erronous argument that the founders had rejected Jefferson’s ideals & were embracing a Roman Empire model (in Rome, you may recall, citizens had rights everyone else was essentially at Rome’s mercy).

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ucfengr
    The Executive has no right to indefinately detain ‘lawful combatants’. POWs are required to be released when hostilities come to an end. If the President tried to hold people who were improperly deemed combatants (say German civilians captured during WWII or Japanese POW’s after the war had ended) they would have the right to challenge their confinement in the courts. The definition of a lawful combatant is pretty clear cut but that’s not to say a scenaro couldn’t develop where there’s confusion over whether or not a person was a lawful combatant.
    BTW, speaking of discrediting yourself yet again…you put forth the discredited myth that lawful combatants have to sign treaties or abide by their terms. Not true. Both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan clearly violated all the rules of war yet their captured POWs were entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Human rights are not a receipocal trade deal where countries get to violate the rights of those who come from nations that abuse them.

  • ucfengr

    Not in question. Last time I checked, though, our gov’t consists of 3 branches.Nice use of circular reasoning there (if you’re in a process you’re getting due process). Again no court has ever ruled that detainees are entitled to the same process US citizens are
    But, apparently “unlawful combatants” are entitled to more “due process” than “lawful combatants”. Again, no one is challenging the right of the military to detain indefinitely captured “lawful combatants”, it is only “unlawful combatants” that have the right to challenge their detention, in essence rewarding them for the uncivilized conduct.
    but it firmly found the Bush administrations proposed system of kangeroo tribunals did not qualify.
    Yes, because we all know that the military is incapable of giving a defendant a fair hearing.
    The Tenth clearly states that the Federal gov’t only has the powers given to it an all other powers and rights are reserved for the states or the people.
    The Constitution also clearly makes the President the Commander in Chief of the military. That roles gives him the authority to detain enemy soldiers in a time of war.

  • ucfengr

    The Executive has no right to indefinately detain ‘lawful combatants’. POWs are required to be released when hostilities come to an end.
    No, they are not. German POWs were not released on V-E day, nor were Japanese on V-J day. They were released when the military determined it was appropriate to release them, not before. The US and Britain were holding German POWs as late as 1949. War criminals were held longer.
    BTW, speaking of discrediting yourself yet again…you put forth the discredited myth that lawful combatants have to sign treaties or abide by their terms. Not true. Both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan clearly violated all the rules of war yet their captured POWs were entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions.
    Who discredited it? You? Forgive me if I don’t accept you as an authority. First, Germany did treat US and British prisoners IAW the Geneva Conventions. All 3 countries were signatories. But Germany did not treat Soviet prisoners IAW the conventions as they were not signatories. That fact would seem to discredit your alleged discreditation.

  • ucfengr

    I must have forgotten to close italics in post 12. Must never forget to preview post. Here is how it should read:
    Not in question. Last time I checked, though, our gov’t consists of 3 branches.
    What role does the Constitution grant the Judiciary in the conducting of war? Well the President is Commander in Chief, and the Congress funds the military, but I see no role for the Judiciary. Perhaps you could enlighten us all.
    Nice use of circular reasoning there (if you’re in a process you’re getting due process). Again no court has ever ruled that detainees are entitled to the same process US citizens are
    But, apparently “unlawful combatants” are entitled to more “due process” than “lawful combatants”. Again, no one is challenging the right of the military to detain indefinitely captured “lawful combatants”, it is only “unlawful combatants” that have the right to challenge their detention, in essence rewarding them for the uncivilized conduct.
    but it firmly found the Bush administrations proposed system of kangeroo tribunals did not qualify.
    Yes, because we all know that the military is incapable of giving a defendant a fair hearing.
    The Tenth clearly states that the Federal gov’t only has the powers given to it an all other powers and rights are reserved for the states or the people.
    The Constitution also clearly makes the President the Commander in Chief of the military. That roles gives him the authority to detain enemy soldiers in a time of war.

  • ucfengr

    BTW, speaking of discrediting yourself yet again…you put forth the discredited myth that lawful combatants have to sign treaties or abide by their terms
    From Article 2 of the 3rd Geneva Convention:
    “Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.
    The clear text of the convention says that it is a reciprocal agreement. The parties are only bound to treat non-signatories in accordance with the Convention only if the said power accepts and applies the provisions of the convention. So much for “discrediting the myth”.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    What role does the Constitution grant the Judiciary in the conducting of war? Well the President is Commander in Chief, and the Congress funds the military, but I see no role for the Judiciary. Perhaps you could enlighten us all.
    The same role is plays in peacetime. “Commander in Chief” is not another way of saying “all bets are off, anything he wants goes”.
    But, apparently “unlawful combatants” are entitled to more “due process” than “lawful combatants”.
    The only thing that deserves quotation marks is “more” in that sentence. Lawsful and unlawful combatants are entitled to due process. It’s not ice cream, you don’t get more and the other guy less. The President must apply due process in determining people it claims are lawful combatants are in fact that just as much as it must when determining unlawful combatants.
    No, they are not. German POWs were not released on V-E day, nor were Japanese on V-J day. They were released when the military determined it was appropriate to release them, not before. The US and Britain were holding German POWs as late as 1949.
    Technicalities there on the first point. POWs may not be held indefinately. That does not mean the doors of the prison camps are opened the very moment the newspaper headline screams ‘victory’.
    War criminals were held longer
    Unrelated issue. Alleged war criminals have pending charges in front of them. They must be given a fair trial and released if found not guilty. If they are found guilty they are given the punishment determined by law and are no longer POWs.
    Yes, because we all know that the military is incapable of giving a defendant a fair hearing.
    Typical of the neo-cons these days, blame the military for the administrations screw ups. The military is perfectly capable of giving a fair hearing. The system put in place, however, must meet the requirement of due process. The joke the administration presented doesn’t even come close
    The Constitution also clearly makes the President the Commander in Chief of the military. That roles gives him the authority to detain enemy soldiers in a time of war.
    So what? No one has disputed that. You seem to equate checks and balances with the removal of a constitutional power. What would you say if a rogue President decided that newspaper critics of his policies were really enemy soldiers and tried to detain them? You seem to think this is some sort of video game where if the President gets to eat the ‘war mushroom’ & the ‘commander in chief’ one his invincible power is turned on and he is immune to all checks and balances. Doesn’t work that way.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The clear text of the convention says that it is a reciprocal agreement.
    Not quite. I stated two things. First that that even those who don’t recognize the Geneva Conventions are still subject to its protections. Second human rights are not a receiporical trade deal. I suggest you read Article 3 of the very same Convention you quoted:

    Article 3 In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions…:

    & Article 5

    Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

    There is no escape clause in either the Constitution or Geneva Conventions that allow the gov’t to implement an ‘anything goes’ policy at the whim of the President.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    BTW, the key difference between a lawful and unlawful combatant is only that an unlawful combatant can be held responsible for his actions. For example, a lawful combatant who shoots down a US fighter plane is a POW and cannot be punished for murder or destroying US property. An unlawful combatant can. There is, however, no escape clause from justice. Due process applies. Only in this sense is ucfengr correct when he whines that ‘lawful combatants’ get less due process. They get less because they have immunity so they don’t need due process to begin with except in limited cases such as a POW charged with war crimes or a legal dispute over whether or not someone is a lawful combatant. In those limited cases due process applies. Commander in chief or not the President cannot, for example, try war criminals by flipping coins or make his actions immune from legal scrutiny by declaring ‘lawful/unlawful combatant’ without due regard for the facts.

  • Jim S.

    Boonton,
    Apparently, no one bothered to tell the recently rescued Ms Betancourt that God was dead. No one bothered to tell her captors about the rules of the Geneva convention either. Neither did anyone bother to tell those critters in the jungle about their “innate morality because they exist” either. Link: http://www.inforumblog.com/?p=1698

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Jim S.
    Indeed, I’m happy that my country sets its standards a bit higher than the lawless rebels of Columbia’s FARC. You should be too.

  • ucfengr

    The same role is plays in peacetime.
    Really, what role is that?
    “Commander in Chief” is not another way of saying “all bets are off, anything he wants goes”.
    What you seem to be arguing is that the Judiciary is the repose of “all bets are off, anything 5 Supreme Court Justices wants goes”. Otherwise how can you assert that the Supreme Court can act as a Super Commander in Chief, overruling the person the Constitution delegates Commander in Chief authority to on its own whim.
    Technicalities there on the first point. POWs may not be held indefinately.
    Well then, how long is the definite period they can be held for? A week, a month, a year? You can’t say until the end of hostilities because that is an indefinite period. So tell us all, what is the definite period that POWs can be held for?
    That does not mean the doors of the prison camps are opened the very moment the newspaper headline screams ‘victory’.
    Well wouldn’t that be the cessation of hostilities? V-E day marked the date of the unconditional surrender of Germany. That is the date hostilities ended. Using your definition all German POWs should have been released on that day, yet many were held for years after wards. You appear to want to have it both ways, that there is a definite-indefinite period during which POWs can be held, but there is not. POWs can be held until the military releases them. They have no access to courts and they are unable to appeal their detention.
    Typical of the neo-cons these days, blame the military for the administrations screw ups. The military is perfectly capable of giving a fair hearing.
    Nice try at a bit of Ju-Jitsu there, but it was you that called the Military Tribunals “kangaroo courts”, not me.
    The system put in place, however, must meet the requirement of due process.
    You keep throwing out the term “due process”, but I don’t think it means what you think it means. Due process does not mean “access to courts”. “Due process” is a legal term meaning the process a person is due. What process are foreign terrorists engaged in a war against the US due? The same as a US citizen? Less? How much less (or more)?
    No one has disputed that. You seem to equate checks and balances with the removal of a constitutional power. What would you say if a rogue President decided that newspaper critics of his policies were really enemy soldiers and tried to detain them? You seem to think this is some sort of video game where if the President gets to eat the ‘war mushroom’ & the ‘commander in chief’ one his invincible power is turned on and he is immune to all checks and balances. Doesn’t work that way.
    The Congress has approved of every action the President has taken. You keep wanting to imagine that the President has acted as a rogue agent; he hasn’t. So, in essence what you are arguing is that the Supreme Court is a Super Commander in Chief and a Super Congress, able to overrule the Executive’s and Legislature’s enumerated powers on the whim of 5 SC justices. That is not in the Constitution.

  • ucfengr

    Article 3 In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions…:
    So, is the Global War on Terror not of an international character? If I remember my high school geography class neither Afghanistan nor Iraq are part of the US. That would seem to make this conflict of “an international character”.
    Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.
    You seem to be operating under the illusion that a US court is the definition of a competent tribunal and that the US military is just picking up people willy-nilly and shipping them off to Gitmo. I really don’t understand why you think a civilian court is more competent to determine the status of captured combatants than a military one would be. The military one in the field has, you know, actual experience in dealing with combatants and evaluating their status, unlike a civilian court half a world away.

  • ucfengr

    Commander in chief or not the President cannot, for example, try war criminals by flipping coins or make his actions immune from legal scrutiny by declaring ‘lawful/unlawful combatant’ without due regard for the facts.
    I know you want it to be the case that President Bush is just picking up people off the street and sending them to Gitmo to be water boarded, or “trying them by coin flips”, it would make your irrational hatred appear somewhat rational, but there is just no evidence that it is or that the President has asserted the authority to do so.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Really, what role is that?
    See the Constitution. Article 3
    What you seem to be arguing is that the Judiciary is the repose of “all bets are off, anything 5 Supreme Court Justices wants goes”. Otherwise how can you assert that the Supreme Court can act as a Super Commander in Chief, overruling the person the Constitution delegates Commander in Chief authority to on its own whim.
    Not anything goes, their job is to abide by the Constitution.
    Well then, how long is the definite period they can be held for? A week, a month, a year?
    Part IV, Section 2 Article 118

    Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.

    Subject to the provisions of the third paragraph of this Article, Parties to the conflict are bound to send back to their own country, regardless of number or rank, seriously wounded and seriously sick prisoners of war, after having cared for them until they are fit to travel, in accordance with the first paragraph of the following Article

    You keep throwing out the term “due process”, but I don’t think it means what you think it means. Due process does not mean “access to courts”. “Due process” is a legal term meaning the process a person is due
    Wow, the Civil War was devoted to enshrining circular reasoning into the Constitution.

    Due process (more fully due process of law) is the principle that the government must respect all of a person’s legal rights, instead of just some or most of those legal rights, when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. In the laws of the United States, this principle gives individuals a varying ability to enforce their rights against alleged violations thereof by governments. Due process has also been frequently interpreted as placing limitations on laws and legal proceedings, in order for judges instead of legislators to guarantee fundamental fairness, justice, and liberty. The latter interpretation is analogous to the concepts of natural justice and procedural justice used in various other jurisdictions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Due_process
    The Congress has approved of every action the President has taken….
    I’ll ask again, what if a President declared as Command in Chief that critical newspaper writers were enemy soldiers? Rival members of Congress? Feel free to pretend this happens both with or without Congressional consent. You’re employing a logical fallacy of fighting the hypothetical here. I don’t blame you, if you confronted that hypothetical you’d see how weak your argument is.
    You seem to be operating under the illusion that a US court is the definition of a competent tribunal and that the US military is just picking up people willy-nilly and shipping them off to Gitmo. I really don’t understand why you think a civilian court is more competent to determine the status of captured combatants than a military one would be.
    Well first off we have had cases where people were shipped ‘willy-nilly’ to Gitmo. Probably less due to the military ‘just picking up people’ and more to misunderstandings, dubious acts by bounty hunters, and nominal allies in Afghanistan using the military to settle domestic scores. Second off, no one ever asserted that such hearings had to happen in the civilian court system. The military has its own court system but it too is subject to the Supreme Court. The problem is that the kangeroo court Bush proposed (and yes got Congress to pass) does not meet the min. standards of a competent tribunal, which is what the last SC case found.
    I know you want it to be the case that President Bush is just picking up people off the street and sending them to Gitmo to be water boarded, or “trying them by coin flips”, it would make your irrational hatred appear somewhat rational, but there is just no evidence that it is or that the President has asserted the authority to do so.
    No that is not the case. It would seem that the problems we are having have less to do with Bush making decisions by coin flip and more to do with arrogance and a refusal to listen to people that know better. But the coin flipping illustrates the problem with your theory. AS Command in Chief the President very well could plan military strategy flipping coins & the SC can’t do a thing about it. Can he try war criminals likewise? Determine who is an enemy soldier? War criminal?

  • ucfengr

    See the Constitution. Article 3
    I’ve read it and it describes no role for the judicial branch in the conduct of war, so again, what roles does the Judicial Branch have in the conduct of war.
    Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.
    Well, hostilities haven’t ended yet, so it would seem that we are in compliance with the treaties requirements. I would note that this is an indefinite period of time because it is impossible to predict how long the current conflict will go on, just as it was impossible in 1939 or 1941 to know how long WW2 would go on.
    Due process (more fully due process of law) is the principle that the government must respect all of a person’s legal rights, instead of just some or most of those legal rights, when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property.
    That doesn’t contradict what I said at all. So again, what “due process” is a foreign terrorist engaged in a war against the US entitled to? Is that same as that of a US citizen? Is it more or less? How much? You keep dancing around the question, throwing out the term “due process” without allowing that “due process” entails different things for different classes of people.
    I’ll ask again, what if a President declared as Command in Chief that critical newspaper writers were enemy soldiers? Rival members of Congress?
    Is there any indication that the President asserts the authority to do this or that he has any plans to do so? Sounds like the Leftist version of the “ticking time bomb scenario”. What if Bush declares himself President for Life and Pontificus Maximus? Gee, what if the Boston Celtics win the Super Bowl or Tiger Woods win the Nextel Cup?
    The problem is that the kangeroo court Bush proposed (and yes got Congress to pass) does not meet the min. standards of a competent tribunal, which is what the last SC case found.
    You keep throwing around the term “kangeroo court” as if it were synonymous with military tribunals, which is what Bush proposed and Congress authorized. If you don’t believe the military is competent to judge the status of prisoners, just say so. Its not an uncommon sentiment from your side that military folks are just a bit lower on the evolutionary scale than you are. And let’s be honest about what the court did, five justices assumed the role of Super Commander in Chief and Super Congress and asserted their authority over the President and Congress in conducting a war, contrary to how he Constitution delegates authority.
    Well first off we have had cases where people were shipped ‘willy-nilly’ to Gitmo. Probably less due to the military ‘just picking up people’ and more to misunderstandings, dubious acts by bounty hunters, and nominal allies in Afghanistan using the military to settle domestic scores.
    Well, that wouldn’t be willy-nilly then, would it? Any more than the police relying on an informant that turned out to be less than reliable or a prosecutor relying on faulty eye-witness testimony would be.
    AS Command in Chief the President very well could plan military strategy flipping coins & the SC can’t do a thing about it.
    The Constitution does allow that; of course there is no evidence it has ever happened, but the President does have that authority. Should the Supreme Court have had the authority to overturn FDR’s decision to accept only unconditional surrender; something that military largely opposed?
    Can he try war criminals likewise? Determine who is an enemy soldier? War criminal?
    Somebody has to determine it. The Constitution gives the President authority to conduct war. That authority is not subject to Supreme Court approval. That seems to indicate that the President has that authority. What, other than the fact that a small majority agrees with you, makes the Supreme Court (or any Court) a better authority for making those determinations.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Well, hostilities haven’t ended yet, so it would seem that we are in compliance with the treaties requirements.
    You’re tripping all over yourself here, you don’t even remember why you were asking about when POWs are to be returned home. If you can’t keep up then keep it simple.
    So again, what “due process” is a foreign terrorist engaged in a war against the US entitled to? Is that same as that of a US citizen? Is it more or less? How much? You keep dancing around the question, throwing out the term “due process” without allowing that “due process” entails different things for different classes of people.
    Due process means the gov’t cannot deprive a person of life, liberty or property without giving them a fair hearing. If you want to know what that means in more detail I would suggest a few years of law school or at least dozens of books. What that means in detail has been the subject of several hundred years of legal thought and history. Lesson 101, due process is used to make such determinations as whether or not a person is a terrorist engaged in a war against the US. For example, one of the detainees has taken up arms only against the gov’t of China. The President can no more unilaterally declare him an enemy soldier than he can declare the editors of the NY Times enemy soldiers.
    Is there any indication that the President asserts the authority to do this or that he has any plans to do so? Sounds like the Leftist version of the “ticking time bomb scenario”. What if Bush declares himself President for Life and Pontificus Maximus?
    Notice how ucfengr turns our government tradition on its head. We are a nation of laws, not men. The reason President Bush does not declare himself President for Life is not because he is too nice a guy to do such a thing but because our laws do not permit it. This is in contrast to the Roman Empire who did allow themselves to overturn their principles if they believed they found a Great Man(tm).
    Anyway, I’ll answer your hypothetical. If a president declared himself president for life such a statement would be devoid of meaning since the Constitution makes no such provision for such a thing. He could be subject to impeachment but that wouldn’t be necessary. All branches of gov’t would be obligated to ignore any such assertion.
    You keep throwing around the term “kangeroo court” as if it were synonymous with military tribunals, which is what Bush proposed and Congress authorized. If you don’t believe the military is competent to judge the status of prisoners, just say so.
    I only recall saying that the tribunal system struck down by the SC was a kangeroo court. I never said that the military could not try accused terrorists nor has any court decision nor relevant critic of the President’s policy. In fact the military has a pretty good system of court martial that can handle serious cases where the evidence needs to remain classified. Again this is just more myth making on your part.
    Well, that wouldn’t be willy-nilly then, would it? Any more than the police relying on an informant that turned out to be less than reliable or a prosecutor relying on faulty eye-witness testimony would be.
    Lesson 102 on due process. This is why we have it, to make an objective judgement of fact. At this moment about half of those detained at Gitmo have been released and others have very dubious cases against them. By the own admission of this administration, their accuracy rate is less than coin flipping.
    The Constitution does allow that; of course there is no evidence it has ever happened, but the President does have that authority. Should the Supreme Court have had the authority to overturn FDR’s decision to accept only unconditional surrender; something that military largely opposed?
    Should such a case have come before the court they would have ruled that there is no Constitutional provision for the military to challenge the decision of a President to press for unconditional surrender. However the SC does have authority to rule over disputes about the extent of the President’s Constitutional power which is why if a President did have newspapermen arrested as ‘enemy soldiers’ they could press their case to the SC. See, you don’t have to fight the hypothetical. Instead you make childish projections.
    Somebody has to determine it. The Constitution gives the President authority to conduct war. That authority is not subject to Supreme Court approval. That seems to indicate that the President has that authority.
    Judging is a judicial function, not an Executive one. Congress can set up courts that have exclusively military jurisdiction but that doesn’t alter the fact that such functioning is the Judicial Branch. Authority to conduct war does not supercede the different powers of the three branches of gov’t. For example, the President cannot order the military to borrow money to fund a war against Iran. He cannot order the military to tax a portion of income for such a war. Hell, even if the military found a giant safe filled with gold bars buried in Iraq’s sands he cannot order that money be spent as that would violate the power of the legislative branch.

  • ucfengr

    Boonton, you keep validating my point that you really don’t know what “due process” looks like. You use the term like some sort of magical talisman, in a vain attempt to hide that fact that you have no clue what you are talking about.
    Judging is a judicial function, not an Executive one.
    And conducting a war, including the disposition of captured enemy soldiers, is an Executive function, not a judicial one. You may consider that as Lesson 1 in the Separation of Powers class.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    1. The capture of enemy soldiers is an Executive function.
    2. The determination that those captured are, in fact, enemy soldiers is a judicial one.
    3. The disposition of captured enemy soldiers is a function of all 3 branches (Congress approves treaties and writes laws, the Judicial system holds trials for war crimes, and the Executive handles the disposition of hostilities)
    The only person here pretending due process is a magical tailsman is you. “Person gets the process he is due” How absurd! You do realize flipping a coin would actually be a process there don’t you?

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Ucfengr and Boonton,
    Hi guys!
    Waterboarding is certainly torture. We shouldn’t use it unless there is a very dire, very time-constrained emergency, and even then we probably shouldn’t use it.
    However, our government has confirmed that less than a handful of the highest-profile suspects were ever subjected to waterboarding. While water-boarding apparently remains an option that the executive branch is reluctant to formally surrender, no one is contemplating using it any time soon.
    This extremely limited use of water-boarding sounds justified to me. That is my judgement as a person and a citizen, but I cannot pass more definitive judgement since I lack both knowledge and expertise.
    Anyways, the real reason I’m posting is to give you a heads-up that I left another comment on the intelligent design comment thread.
    Since I’ve already determined that waterboarding is torture, maybe we should now address the question of whether your discussion of the separation of powers in wartime constitutes cruel and unusual commentary ;)
    Peace and love,
    Matthew

  • ucfengr

    Since I’ve already determined that waterboarding is torture, maybe we should now address the question of whether your discussion of the separation of powers in wartime constitutes cruel and unusual commentary ;)
    It probably does; certainly for me, anyway.

  • ucfengr

    the Judicial system holds trials for war crimes,
    Not really. After WW2, war criminals were tried by military tribunals. Last time I checked, the military was part of the Executive Branch.

  • ucfengr

    2. The determination that those captured are, in fact, enemy soldiers is a judicial one.
    No, it’s not. German and Italian POWs captured during WW2 did not have access to the US judicial system.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ucfengr,
    You seem to think the military is a 4th branch of gov’t…it isn’t. A judicial tribunal inside the military is not an Executive function but a judicial one. You’re also confusing appealate power with judicial review. Congress can and does limit the power of various courts to hear appeals but it cannot limit the SC’s original jurisdiction nor can it violate due process and shield itself from judicial review by cutting off appeals to the Court.
    Matt,
    Thank you for playing the role of the Red Cross and putting the breaks on a sep. of powers debate.
    This originally began when ucfengr charged that since Hitchens volunteered to be waterboarded, then it can’t really be torture. That’s not much of an argument. I’m sure Hitchens was waterboarded with kid gloves & that minimized the psychological torture of the act even if the physical sensations were kept the same. Kid glove waterboarding, though, would be pointless as a policy. There are plenty of testimonials from people who were waterboarded by people they had less friendly relations with and torture it is.

  • ucfengr

    You seem to think the military is a 4th branch of gov’t…it isn’t.
    You really are an idiot, aren’t you? As I clearly stated in the post you responded to, the military is a part of Executive Branch of government.
    A judicial tribunal inside the military is not an Executive function but a judicial one.
    Sorry, wrong again moron. Military judges and lawyers are members of…., wait for it…the military, and as such, they serve the Executive Branch, not the Judicial.
    You might ask why I am being so free with the insults here, it is because I am tired of dealing with your blazing stupidity. This will be my last response to you.
    My apologies to everyone else.

  • ucfengr

    This originally began when ucfengr charged that since Hitchens volunteered to be waterboarded, then it can’t really be torture.
    Blazing stupidity and a deliberate misstating of what I said. What I said was “That Hitchens volunteered to be water boarded should tell us something about the gray area that water boarding resides in”, note that is not the same as saying water boarding isn’t torture; it’s more akin to saying that there isn’t a consensus. But hey, Boonton is a moron, so I really don’t know why I bother.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I suggest you consult:
    http://sja.hqmc.usmc.mil/JAM/MJFACTSHTS.htm
    Specifically:
    The foundation of military law is the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution provides that Congress has responsibilities to make rules to regulate the military; it also establishes the President as Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
    In other words, the Military Justice system is not an outgrowth of the Commander in Chielf powers of the President but Congress’s right to make laws. See also (bolded items I highlighted)

    Congress exercised its responsibilities over military justice by enacting the Uniform Code of Military Justice – the “UCMJ.” The UCMJ is legislation that is contained in Title 10 of the United States Code, Sections 801 through 946. It is the military’s criminal code. It was enacted in 1950 as a major revision of then-existing military criminal law, and became effective the following year. … The UCMJ has been amended on a number of occasions since then, with significant changes occurring in 1968 and 1983. Some of the primary changes enhanced the role of trial judges. The need for qualified military judges, who were experienced attorneys, to be in charge of the judicial process and all courts-martial was made clear. Also, the requirement to have a licensed attorney as defense counsel in courts-martial was established. In 1984, there was another substantial revision to the MCM and the military rules of evidence became substantially the same as the Federal Rules of Evidence used in our Federal court system. The procedural requirements were also changed into Rules for Courts-Martial.

    Like other JUDICIAL functions, both Congress and the President have a role. Congress writes laws, allocates funds for courts etc. The President appoints judges etc. But the fact remains the judicial system is independent of the Executive…even in the military. The President cannot overrule a court martial that found someone not guilty, he cannot invent his own list of crimes EVEN THOUGH he is commander-in-chielf of the armed forces. To see the difference, the President is perfectly free to overrule his commanders on military tactics and strategy, he can micromanage the military down to the squad level and below if he wants too.
    That, nevertheless, does not alter the fact that the seperation of powers remains. Even in the military there is a distinction between Executive, Judicial and Legislative functions and authority.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Ucfengr,
    I am not a constitutional lawyer or even a vanilla lawyer, so I don’t have any special expertise I can claim in this discussion.
    I would tend to agree with your side of the arguments, but I have to admit that Boonton’s points have a smidgeon of merit. Whether that smidgeon is on the scale of a flea or tick, or rather on a microscopic scale, I’m not sure. But there does seem to be something there.
    As to whether Boonton is a moron in this comment thread, or creating a good fascimile of one:
    I think we all are susceptible to being morons: if you wake someone up in the middle of the night, for example, he is not going to be particularly well-oriented and insightful. On comment threads, if one doesn’t read carefully, or use the preview function judiciously, one’s otherwise brilliant post can come across as painfully moronic.
    So perhaps we should be patient, even a little indulgent, when someone’s remarks rub us the wrong way.
    That said, I didn’t find Boonton’s comments to be the least bit moronic.
    This point in particular, for instance, is both correct and cogent:
    Congress can and does limit the power of various courts to hear appeals but it cannot limit the SC’s original jurisdiction nor can it violate due process and shield itself from judicial review by cutting off appeals to the Court.
    I still agree with you for the most part. But Boonton’s not being a moron.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    See also:
    http://www.armfor.uscourts.gov/Establis.htm

    The Court[United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces], an independent tribunal established under Article I of the Constitution, . . . regularly interprets federal statutes, executive orders, and departmental regulations. The Court also determines the applicability of constitutional provisions to members of the armed forces. Through its decisions, the Court has a significant impact on the state of discipline in the armed forces, military readiness, and the rights of servicemembers. The Court plays an indispensable role in the military justice system.

    Note again the military judicial system is not a function of the President’s role as commander-in-Chief. It is a part of the judicial branch no different than the civilian courts. There is nothing in the Constitution or the history of the US that indicates the role of commander-in-chief includes the right to set up judicial systems outside the parameters of the Constitution.
    UCfengr’s confusion here is unnecessary.
    1. Military action is under the role of the commander-in-chief.
    2. Judging is under the role of the judicial branch.
    Invading a village is a military action. Taking 30 people prisoner in that village is likewise. Judging what those 30 people are is a judicial role. The Geneva Convention says POWs have to be judged by a competentant tribunal if they are either lawful combatants (in which case they don’t get ‘more due process’ they actually get immunity), unlawful combatants (in which case they can be tried for criminal charges) or civilians.
    A tribunal is a judicial function and congress has to set one up to properly comply with the conventions. Congress can limit the appeallet power of the courts it sets up just as it limits its jurisdiction (Tax Court, for example, doesn’t hear cases not related to taxes). Nonetheless, what it sets up must abide by due process. What that means, as I said, can take us into thousands of pages of legal thought over the last few hundred years but for purposes here it can be boiled down to the rules of the court must be essentially fair.
    If they are found to be unlawful combatants they must be either tried for crimes or treated as civilians. (For example, the Geneva Convention refuses to recognize child soldiers as lawful combatants even if they are uniformed and otherwise act as part of a regular army. That doesn’t mean captured child soldiers are put on trial while adult ones get a POW camp to wait out the war in). Again a trial is a judicial role and while Congress can set up the court with legislation the President signs it still must abide by due process before issuing punishments.
    There’s still tough issues here but what has not been established is the ‘unitary Executive’ idea that holds commander-in-chief somehow makes the President able to create a whole seperate gov’t.

  • ucfengr

    I still agree with you for the most part. But Boonton’s not being a moron.
    What he’s doing is being a good debater. He knows he can’t win on the merits of his arguments so he keeps trying to keep the focus on minor, tangential points. He throws out the term “due process” but refuses to describe what he thinks “due process” should look like for captured foreign terrorists; whether he thinks that it should be the same for them as it is for tax-cheats or muggers. Nobody’s arguing that foreign terrorists aren’t entitled to “due process”, certainly I am not, but I don’t think “due process” for captured foreign terrorists is the same as it is for US citizens. I don’t know what Boonton thinks, because even after repeatedly asking him, he won’t answer, preferring instead to focus on tangential issues and Bush bashing.

  • ucfengr

    I still agree with you for the most part. But Boonton’s not being a moron.
    What he’s doing is being a good debater. He knows he can’t win on the merits of his arguments so he keeps trying to keep the focus on minor, tangential points. He throws out the term “due process” but refuses to describe what he thinks “due process” should look like for captured foreign terrorists; whether he thinks that it should be the same for them as it is for tax-cheats or muggers. Nobody’s arguing that foreign terrorists aren’t entitled to “due process”, certainly I am not, but I don’t think “due process” for captured foreign terrorists is the same as it is for US citizens. I don’t know what Boonton thinks, because even after repeatedly asking him, he won’t answer, preferring instead to focus on tangential issues and Bush bashing.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Boonton,
    [ I wrote: ] “Perhaps the biggest difference is that there isn’t a Darwinist campaign to take over the world, one country at a time, through violence and terror and imposition of penal laws against creationists. In other words, I think you would agree that the relation of the West to Islam and Islamism is a lot more urgent …”
    [ You replied: ] You’re overselling Islam’s power here. What countries has Islam taken over? Can you name one whose take over date was after Columbus discovered America?
    I’m not the least bit worried about Islam taking over the world. I’m concerned about Islamism destroying the world in a misguided attempt to take it over.
    How could Islamism do this? By pushing Iran to nuke Israel; by pushing rival Sunni and Shiite regimes into a nuclear arms race that leads to some other nuclear conflict; by training terrorist hordes to destabilize various countries through terror campaigns of ever-increasing deadliness and sophistication.
    Islam is not, in itself, guilty of any of these things. But it is the underlying ideology that the Islamists use to pursue their ends.
    You are right that it is a very open question whether the Islamists will enjoy any further success. But why is that? It is because the United States responded to 9/11 by taking out two evil regimes, and because President Bush has been very proactive in keeping Iraq democratic (remember that the national government is democratic right now and has been since at least early 2005) and in pushing hard for the non-proliferation of WMDs.
    We need to stay on top of the situation or risk losing the gains we have purchased at such a high price.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Oops, I posted that comment to the wrong thread!
    Who’s a moron now? :)

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Ucf,
    You believe one thing (which I also believe), and Boonton believes another.
    Boonton’s points haven’t knocked your argument down to the mat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is wrong and you are right. He could just be groping for the proper places to poke holes in your logic, and having a tough time making this strategy successful. Not because he’s wrong, mind you, but because his hole-poking needs bigger holes with more connections among them.
    I don’t think you should attack his motives, which are very likely pure. You should attack his arguments, or failing that, just politely demur to continuing the discussion. We’re all in this together, so why not relax and enjoy the ride, if that’s possible.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    What he’s doing is being a good debater. He knows he can’t win on the merits of his arguments so he keeps trying to keep the focus on minor, tangential points. He throws out the term “due process” but refuses to describe what he thinks “due process” should look like for captured foreign terrorists;
    1. I notice that ucfengr makes a habit of simply assuming he is right and ending it there. Does he honestly think he lives in a world where everyone agrees with him and simply disputes him because it’s an amusing pass time to annoy him with nitpicks?
    2. I’ve defined due process several times for you, please refer to #38 or any of the other posts where I’ve done so.
    3. I’ve made it clear several times now that the determination of what a captured person is is highly important to this debate. You ignore this issue by simply assuming everyone an administration holds is a “captured foreign terrorist” on the word simply of the President. When I point out that this leaves the door open for massive abuse of power unless it has a Constitutional check (such as seizing critical journalists), your only response is that Bush is a swell guy who would never do such a thing and I must harbor secret fantasies about him being evil.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Since I’ve mentioned it twice in this thread (once by accident), I should probably provide a link to the “intelligent design comment thread”:
    Celestial Teapots, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, and Other Silly Atheist Arguments
    It’s got intelligent design vs. Darwinsism, it’s got atheist vs. divine morality, and it’s got your apocalyptic clash of civilizations (towards the end). What more could one ask for? ;)
    I particularly recommend Damian’s posts in the thread, which include comment 73, comment 121, and comment 125.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Since I’ve mentioned it twice in this thread (once by accident), I should probably provide a link to the “intelligent design comment thread”:
    Celestial Teapots, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, and Other Silly Atheist Arguments
    It’s got intelligent design vs. Darwinsism, it’s got atheist vs. divine morality, and it’s got your apocalyptic clash of civilizations (towards the end). What more could one ask for? ;)
    I particularly recommend Damian’s posts in the thread, which include comment 73, comment 121, and comment 125.

  • Drew I.

    The video of the astronauts is phenomenal. What an amazing experience that would be… If you step back and really think that we can safely put people in outer space, it’s stunning…
    That’s why kids dream of being astronauts.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    It’s got intelligent design vs. Darwinsism, it’s got atheist vs. divine morality, and it’s got your apocalyptic clash of civilizations (towards the end). What more could one ask for? ;)
    A rare comment thread where the 50 more recent posts are probably more interesting than the first 50 posts. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, get in on it now before someone buys the movie rights!

  • http://morphed2fly.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    ucfengr
    …picking up from Matthew…three consecutive shorter posts does not make for kinder more compassionate posting…it’s still grueling *: )
    Drew…I agree and hope their dreams will always have the possibility of coming true.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Just in case anyone is still listening, the recent court ruling on Ali al-Marri demonstrates the problem with the Bush/ucfengr view of the law.
    Al-Marri was a legally in the US when he was arrested and charge with credit card fraud. He had lots of stolen credit card numbers and he was about to stand trial. The Bush administration declared him an unlawful combatant and has been holding him for years. When pressed with a habaus corpus suit, the administration submitted ‘evidence’ which consisted only of an affidavet from a DoD official saying al-Marri was an Al Qaeda sleeper agent.
    Now keep in mind we have no idea who this guy is. He can be a sleeper agent or he might just be a regular criminal. But notice the administrations sweeping claim, it can declare anyone an ‘unlawful combatant’ and that person doesn’t have to be picked up on a battlefield or in a foreign country but could be in the US and could even be a citizen (and unlike this guy, the person doesn’t have to be picked up after being charged with a crime).
    Being picked up, though, is not the problem. What’s the problem is the assertion that the role of Command-in-Chief means that ‘evidence’ to support it can consist of nothing more than a person in the administration saying “this guy’s a sleeper agent” and nothing else & then have the person held forever without trial.

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