Category Archive: Lawmakers in Action

Senators who lie to America; Senators who let them

As originally posted in the reader-diary section of; the post’s 2009 comment thread is available at that link.

Although I recognize that Congress is now a closed-door dealmaking club, hostile to liberty – a Party-dominated institution that allows itself to be run by the President as an unConstitutional Parliament, so that the House and Senate no longer function as an open, democratic federal legislature – I can expose and refute some of the false and misleading, or willfully ignorant, claims made by a few Senators while the 2010 Defense Authorization Bill – containing yet another flawed version of Military Commissions – was recently lauded-instead-of-debated on the Senate floor (before passing late last Thursday, 87-7).

Some “debate” rebuttal offered in the absence of principled participation by Senators who know better:

Senator Whitehouse, who won’t confront specious allegations: “I don’t want to get into a discussion right now on whether military commissions are a good or bad idea…”;

Senator Leahy, who won’t amend or block provisions he knows to be flawed: “I am concerned that some of the modifications proposed by this [military commissions] amendment would depart from the traditional protections provided by CIPA. For example, CIPA requires the Attorney General to certify that the disclosure of certain information would cause identifiable damage to the national security of the United States. Here, an unidentified “knowledgeable United States official” would make that declaration, instead. This amendment also imports a new standard that would require a judge to consider whether disclosure of information would be “detrimental to national security.” It would further prohibit the accused from appealing a court order allowing the Government to withhold access to information based on an ex parte proffer by the Government. This marks a serious departure from CIPA’s framework for allowing defendants to reconsider such rulings in order to ensure that they are allowed meaningful access to evidence and can present a thorough defense.”;

Senator Feingold, who will only insert an unspoken sentence or two into the record the day after the bill passes, to mark his purported displeasure: “I remain concerned that the military commission process is so discredited that it may not be possible to fix it. And I have yet to hear a convincing argument that other options for bringing detainees to justice–the civilian Federal criminal justice system and the military courts martial system–are insufficient or unworkable.”

Here are some of the assertions by their colleagues that these Senators let pass unremarked and unchallenged [bracketed commentary and emphasis added]:
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