Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Proper Care and Feeding of Aliens

I thought I’d respond to a blog entry by MikeT, but I figured the reply deserved a post of its own. I appreciate his thoughtful critique of my viewpoint dealing with the question, “How should we treat detained aliens accused of being enemy combatants?” I know it’s a contentious issue, with people adamant on both sides. If you missed my earlier posts on the matter, you can find them here and here and here.

As a beginning point on this issue, one first must ask himself : “To whom does the Constitution apply?” The Constitution’s Preamble answers this question:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.

So at the outset, we’re told that this is a document written by Americans, for Americans.

To quote Mike: That said, I think you will find nothing in the Bill of Rights that supports the notion that there are separate basic rights between citizens and non-citizens when it comes to being detained and brought before a court, civilian or military.

I disagree. Article 1 Section 8 Clauses 10 and 11 of the Constitution tell us that Congress has the power:

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

It goes without saying that “Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas” include acts of aliens. Congress is empowered to define and punish these, as well as “offenses against the Law of Nations,” which references absolute moral law, or the laws that aid relations between nations, or as Founder James Wilson put it, “The law of nature.” If Congress can “make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water,” this necessarily includes rules regarding treatment of aliens. In exercising these mandates, Congress has created legislation designating power to the president and U.S. military to create military tribunals for the trying and sentencing of enemies of the United States.

Amendment Five recognizes the right to indictment by a grand jury, but abrogates that right in certain situations. What are the exceptions? . . .except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger. . .

If our own military isn’t entitled to this constitutional protection in wartime or public danger, how much more so is this true for aliens?

Amendment Six: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law. . .

It’s an imaginative stretch suggesting an application of this Amendment to aliens who have never stepped foot on American soil.

As for aliens within U.S. borders, the Constitution doesn’t specifically address their treatment.

The answer to these problems lies outside the Constitution’s text, and is found in the historically enacted policies of the United States and the Founders’ intentions. So let’s look at those.

George Washington approved the military trials and executions of British spies and saboteurs during the Revolution. Hamilton served as Washington’s military secretary, and aided in bringing about these executions. So from the beginning, we see due process for foreign enemy combatants, but not in the same form as that received by Americans. I’m aware of no later repentance of these acts by either man—even after the Constitution’s ratification.

An 1806 congressional act signed into law by Thomas Jefferson imposed capital punishment on alien spies through courts martial. We have due process protected, yet a distinction between citizens and aliens.

FDR utilized a military tribunal against German spies captured in American territory, resulting in the execution of most of the captives. Again, a distinction between citizens and non-citizens.

In post-WWII Nuremberg, a war crimes tribunal tried and sentenced Nazis who had aided and abetted Hitler’s grotesque schemes. Americans played pivotal roles in these trials, and at no point were the criminals treated like U.S. citizens, or tried in a civil-court atmosphere.

The reality is that making distinctions between citizens and aliens in the enactment of due process has constitutional provision, historical precedent harkening back to the founding era, and past Supreme Court agreement. The current SCOTUS ruling on this issue breaks with all of the above. As I have said before, it is a recent innovation in American jurisprudence.

A slight digression: isn't it interesting how SCOTUS has zero qualms about breaking precedent, when leftist activism comprises the agenda? This is true even in cases like the one at hand, in which the Supreme Court has a consistent past record of supporting the policies in place.

I’d like to address this, as well: Part of this is because the very notion of an "American citizen" didn't even exist when the Bill of Rights was enacted.

I disagree. It was understood at the time that people were citizens of their respective states, and citizens of the larger entity, the united States of America. The states were sovereign, to a degree, but they also were subject to federal rules that superseded that sovereignty, for as long as they remained members of the union. Just as authority was divided, citizenship pertained to the member states, and to the confederation as a whole.

Is You Is, or Is You Ain't?

A Zebra dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates. As he enters, he asks St. Peter, "I have a question that's haunted me all of my days on earth. Am I white with black stripes, or am I black with white stripes?'

St. Peter said, "That's a question only God can answer."

So the zebra went off in search of God. When he found Him, the zebra asked, "God, please - I must know. Am I white with black stripes, or am I black with white stripes?"

God simply replied "You are what you are."

The zebra returned to see St. Peter once more, who asked him, "Well, did God straighten out your query for you?"

The zebra looked puzzled. "No sir, God simply said 'You are what you are.'''

St. Peter smiled and said to the zebra, "Well then, there you are. You are white with black stripes."

The zebra asked St. Peter, "How do you know that for certain?"

"Because," said St. Peter, "If you were black with white stripes God would have said, 'You is what you is.'"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Euro Invaders Need Not Apply

U.S. deporting Christian pastors:

Honesty could cost Christian pastor Keith Thomas his citizenship because he cooperated with immigration officials, disclosing two minor marijuana convictions he incurred when he was a young man in England 33 years ago.

Thomas, 53, is working without pay, fearing deportation from the U.S. and separation from his family. He was denied a green card based on convictions that were expunged in 1982. Thomas told WND he has documentation to prove his clean record since the 1975 conviction and that he has always been truthful with officials, but he doesn't understand why people who enter the country illegally are allowed to stay when he is facing the citizenship battle of his life.

Pastor Thomas, you need to get with the times, amigo. Just dye your skin brown, change your name to Paco Taco, and affect a crayzee lateeno accent, like joo hardlee speek Eeengleesh. Joo know wha-dye-meen, mayn? Better yet, just dispense with Eeengleesh all together and learn Spanish. It’ll come in handy when communicating with your next-door neighbors; just think: you’ll have thirty new friends living beside you. Bonus points if you begin worshipping Quetzalcoatl, and mucho additional points if you can spell your new god’s name correctly.

Isn’t this a nifty story? We have a white guy from America’s ancestral homeland, who came to the U.S.A. all legal and proper. He was frank about his not-so-checkered past and wants to be an American citizen. Naturally, the government wants no part of him. We’ll have no white guys spreading Christianity around here. No sir! Diversity dictates that we disallow further Eurotrash from blighting our shores—especially if they wrap their bones in blanco devil skin and bear a cross.

On the other hand, if you’re a troglodytic sub-literate with a rap-sheet longer than Pancho Villa’s mustache, no intention of assimilating, a middle-finger salute to American ideals and a chica carrying a baby about to drop anchor, why, you’re a shoo-in! Heck, el presidente will don his sombrero, take up his castanets, dance the cucaracha, and chug tequila with you till the vacas come home. You’ll become a regular member of his familia.

Only a perverse system with nefarious priorities would turn away a man like Pastor Thomas, while embracing common criminals as saints.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama's Ideal

I direct your attention to remarks made by Barelyblack Obama about a year ago, in which he discussed America’s religious status:

"Whatever we once were, we're no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers," Obama said during a June 2007 speech available on YouTube.

This is silly and misleading, because no one has ever argued that we are “just” a Christian nation. Historians recognize that Jews, atheists, and agnostics were present virtually from the beginning.

He’s also making light of the fact that Christianity played a greater role in this nation’s formation than any other philosophical or religious outlook.

"Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it's because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us," he said.

More nonsense. Inherent within religious belief is its divisiveness. Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bushism all are forces that create enmity or schism. Go back as far as you can in recorded history; you’ll find people divided along religious lines—even falling into numerous sects within the same religion. The latter is called denominationalism. Religion can unite people—as exemplified in Christian brethren gathering together in pursuit of missions, witnessing, or other church-oriented goals--but it doesn’t necessarily bring peace and harmony to warring views. The implication, here, is that religion typically unites the divided, and current factionalism is an historical aberration. Notice also the connotation that the “Christian Right” is not just wrongheaded, but evil.

Asked last year to clarify his remarks, Obama repeated them to the Christian Broadcast Network:

"I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers," Obama wrote in an e-mail to CBN News senior national correspondent David Brody.

"We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community," wrote Obama.

I think he’s using “sectarianism” in its traditional definition: (noun) sectarian spirit or tendencies; excessive devotion to a particular sect, esp. in religion.

So is this a plea for universalism? Obama’s past remarks insinuate that the answer is yes; he’s on record suggesting that there are many pathways to Heaven.

This is more devaluing of Christianity’s influence on America’s founding. He approaches each religion as equivalent in prominence, import, and popular devotion. He ignores the reality that a Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu nation would not be the United States of America. Let me summarize in one word the effect this trio of religions had upon America’s construction:


How do we “translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens,” when our multicultural populace holds values that conflict with and contradict each other? That’s quite an undertaking.

By the way, it’s worth noting that most of America’s religious dilution (or “diversity,” if you prefer) emanates from unrestricted immigration, with a heavy emphasis on migrants from the third world. Also related are the constant belittlement of Christianity, and the general downplaying of our American heritage. Forget history; we need “social studies.”

"My intention was to contrast the heated partisan rhetoric of a distinct minority of Christian leaders with the vast majority of Evangelical Christians – conservatives included – who believe that hate has no place in our politics.

So Christian Right=hate. Got it. I wonder why it is that partisan rhetoric is wrong only when it comes from Christians on the right side (pun intended) of the political spectrum?

"When you have pastors and television pundits who appear to explicitly coordinate with one political party; when you're implying that your fellow Americans are traitors, terrorist sympathizers or akin to the devil himself; then I think you're attempting to hijack the faith of those who follow you for your own personal or political ends," wrote Obama.

As if Obama’s remarks on religion don’t represent his “own personal or political ends.” Sure. And why is it wrong for a pastor to “coordinate with one political party?” Isn’t that what nearly all voters and politicians do? In point of fact, some Americans are “traitors, terrorist sympathizers, or kin to the devil” herself—Hillary Clinton. I suppose he believes that such people don’t exist—you know, much like U.S. history of the past 200-plus years.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Alien American

I'd like to supplement my past comments about the treatment of detainees accused of being enemy combatants, and the recent SCOTUS decision regarding this issue. I think it's an important topic, deserving of further discussion.

After having read articles and blog posts on this subject, and participated in online conversations, I've reached the conclusion that most people adhere to one of two positions:

Position 1: These detainees act like animals, and therefore should be treated like animals. They have no intrinsic rights of any kind. Locking them up, throwing away the key, and letting them rot into perpetuity fosters no moral qualms in our hearts. If you don't agree with our take on the treatment of these rabid dogs, you're unpatriotic.

Position 2: These detainees aren't just human beings with God-given rights; we're going further than that. These people deserve to be treated indistinguishably from American citizens. The U.S. Constitution applies to them as much as it applied to Teddy Roosevelt. They are entitled to American trials on American soil, in front of American judges, with American juries of their "peers" (as if American citizens are peers of non-resident aliens), with American representation (up to and including ACLU representation, if that illustrious organization is so inclined); this includes the nigh inexhaustible post-trial appeals process. If you don't agree with indulging the fantasy that these folks are Americans, you're an enemy of liberty.

Make no mistake: I see both of these positions as extreme and morally questionable.The first ignores the biblical description of human beings as creatures made in God's image; the second shows contempt for the concepts of nationhood and citizenship. I'm not advocating a centrist viewpoint; I'm interested in what is right. That may sound quaint to some, but it's the focus of my thoughts on this matter.

I take a Third Position, and I believe it is a minority stance: I think incarcerated aliens deserve recognition and protection of the inborn rights derived from their Creator, that one of these rights is an entitlement to a form of due process. Simultaneously, non-citizens have no justification for expecting treatment equal to that of citizens; they are not empowered to the same measures of privilege or forbearance as those of Americans.

I see this as the proper course, because it respects the importance and dignity of Man, while preserving the singular characteristics of American citizenship and nationhood.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Today and every day, I'm thankful for my earthly father, as well as my Father in Heaven.

Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Americans in Turbans

I recently stated that all human beings have the right not to be locked away without due process; freedom from unjust imprisonment is a basic right of all men, in my opinion.

That said, the Supreme Court’s new ruling wasn’t what I had in mind.

I don’t believe that foreign terrorist suspects should be treated like American citizens. We live in a time when the concept of citizenship rests on shifting sands. If our Constitution applies in its entirety to foreigners, then what is the distinction between citizenship and non-citizenship? Put another way, if everyone is an American, then no one is an American; U.S. citizenship has no meaning.

There’s a difference between allowing a form of due process, and pretending that someone was born in the good old U.S. of A., with all the attendant rights of American citizenship extended to him.

These people were not born in the U.S.; they are not citizens of the U.S.; nor are they legal residents of the U.S. In point of fact, the guilty ones vehemently hate our country, and would love nothing more than the opportunity to kill as many Americans as possible.

When we conducted war crimes trials in post-WWII Europe, we recognized the right of even Nazis to due process. And we managed that task without indulging in the fantasy that they loved baseball and apple pie, pledged allegiance to the U.S. flag each morning before frying a few Jews, and softly sang “The Star-spangled Banner” every night before tucking their swastika-motif blankets under their chins and going beddy-bye.

Origin of Mankind

A little girl asked her father, "How did the human race come about?"

The father answered, "God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so all mankind was made."

Two days later she asks her mother the same question.

The mother answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys, and we developed from them."

The confused girl returns to her father and says: "Dad, how is it possible that you told me that the human race was created by God and Mom says we developed from monkeys?"

The Father answers, "That's simple, honey. I told you about the origin of my side of the family, and your mother told you about her side."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Diversidad Es Bueno

A double-double-plus-ten secret memo just turned up from the McAmnesty campaign records. Therein, Juan had laid out his list of names for future cabinet members and advisory staff. He also received a hearty stamp of approval from Presidente Jorge Bushandez.

When congressional officials got wind of his plans, they chastised him for his “lack of diversity.” He didn’t have enough women on the list. His choices follow below:

Antonio Garcia
Doroteo Salazar
Porfirio Ramirez
Miguel Jesus-Otilio Francisco
Guadalupe Hidalgo
Manuel Noriega
Juan Valdez
Ignacio Fernandez
AnaLucia Calderon
Placenta Tejada
Lucinda “Loco” Lopez
Luis Guzman
Yo Quiero Morales
Puto Pena
Agua Aguilar
Ojo Caliente
Madre Dee Dios
Vaya Con Dios
Hernando de Soto
Alejandro Cruz
Montezuma Vasquez
Atahualpa Muerto
Tenochtitlan Adios
Concepcion Infecundo
Extranjero Ilegal
Mojado Segundo
Hector Elizondo
Adama Olmos
Pendejo Patricio
Bobolito Vila
Julio Cesare Chavez

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shipped Out

An article about the U.S. operating prison ships has been on the waves for a couple of days, now.

Personally, I couldn’t care less if the government keeps prisoners in land-based prisons, barges on San Franfreako Bay, or domed cities on the Moon. It doesn’t concern me.

What does give me pause is the notion of imprisonment without trial, which is one of the claims being tossed about in the news. The accusation appears true.

I understand that many if not most of these people wore no uniform and represented no specific country, when captured. Still, all human beings—whether in military fatigues or civilian attire—have basic human rights; and I expect my government to respect those rights. One such right is extending some sort of due process to those accused of a crime.

What is the primary purpose of a trial? The obvious answer is to determine guilt or innocence. Trials are the principle mechanisms by which humans make such determinations. So if no trial takes place, how is guilt or innocence ascertained? No examination of evidence—impartial, or otherwise—has taken place. No one has spoken in his own defense. No one has even made an open case against the defendant.

Such scenarios foster corruption, injustice, and abuse. Where is mistreatment more likely—in a trial whose proceedings are known and open to the public, or in semi-secretive detention without trial or hearing of any kind?

Some might argue: “But, Wes, these people are terrorists who were caught red-handed committing atrocities against American troops. There is no doubt as to their guilt.”

I understand the argument, and I’ll respond in two ways:

First, I seriously question the assertion that every single one of these people, without exception, was nabbed with the smoking gun in hand, as it were.

Second, if the case against the accused is so damning, then there’s no reason not to conduct a military trial, properly convict and sentence the criminal, and be done with it. The verdict no doubt will be swift, and the justice found in due process and openness will be satisfied.

Monday, June 2, 2008

“Palestinian” Schoolyard Song

Allah loves his people—
Those who will submit—
The rest are worth far, far less
Than day-old camel spit.

Women, don your hijabs,
And your burkas, too;
If we catch you unchaperoned,
We’ll make mincemeat of you.

Son, grab your bombvest
Filled with nails and screws,
And kill the dirty kaffirs,
And their slinking pets, the Jews.

Give them short-cropped haircuts—
Use your scimitar—
Take a whole lot off the top.
Allahu akbar!