Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fundraising Opportunities

Back in the day, when I lived on 110th street, CNN was a part of my daily diet. I woke up, turned it on, went to the computer, and spent 20 or so minutes availing myself of information. Sure, Paula Zahn annoyed me, and the other guy, Blinky (I don't remember his name, I only remember that he has a serious blinking frequency problem) was distracting to watch, but I felt that it was the 1010WINS of national and international news: 20 minutes and you were pretty good to go for the day.

Then September 11th happened and, like others, I spent a lot of time watching television. But after two or three months, I became pissed off, "Man in Nebraska tells local radio station he is positive terrorists will next attack his corn field. We have him live in the studio to discuss his national security concerns." So then I stopped watching CNN. Apparently just in time. As the cable news wars heated up, the news became unrecognizable and the news I was interested in was replaced, a lot of the time, with missing white girls and tornadoes. I went back to reading my news.

But every now and again I'll tune in just for a quick refresher. And I'm so glad this morning was one of those days.

You see, fellow Nutmeggers, our esteemed Senator Lieberman has given me the greatest gift of all. He has said something so utterly preposterous as to make your donations flood my nascent campaign office. Our senator, the guy we keep electing despite compelling reasons not to, has suggested that citizens of this country, if arrested on suspicion of being involved with terrorists while abroad, should be stripped of his citizenship so that he would not be able to avail himself of our legal system and could, instead, be sent to military court. (And I'll link to the FoxNews story so that I can't be accused of unfairness and imbalance.)

Let's try that again:

Joe Lieberman has penned a bill that would allow the State Department to strip a U.S. citizen of his citizenship if it deems him affiliated with a terrorist organization (for the sole purpose of trying him without, for example, due process).

Lieberman claims that this is no different from stripping citizens of their citizenship if they serve in a foreign army (and I've never quite understood how the kids who go play soldier in Israel for a year get around this). But, as with many things, nuance is important. If you join, say, the Botswanan Army, there's probably a piece of paper that you signed somewhere pertinent to that assignation. If, on the other hand, you end up (stupidly, and possibly with criminal intentions, though I like courts and such to make those determinations) hanging out with some guys at a mosque in Pakistan, we don't really know what your intent is. Yes, the war of the future is not going to be between uniformed soldiers of sovereign nations, but might this not be getting a little out of hand.

I will freely admit that I'm one of those "100 guilty men go free so 1 innocent man isn't falsely imprisoned" kind of people, but let me be more bloodless for a second (and check out my logic, voters): if allegiance to a foreign terrorist organization (TO) is tantamount to participation in a foreign military (FM), don't we then need to extend Geneva Convention (GC) rights and responsibilities to our dealings with foreign terrorist organizations? If TO = FM and FM = GC then TO = GC. Idiots.

But we don't want to be bound by the Geneva Convention when dealing with terrorists - they aren't members of, say, a foreign army, whom we must treat humanely, they're, well, terrorists. And if you join up with them you will be stripped of your citizenship the same way people who join foreign armies are.

It is obvious that, contrary to perception, we are willing to sacrifice quite a bit of essential liberty for temporary safety, I just think the esteemed senator may have drunk an especially heady brew of Kool-Aid on this one. And that it's probably time for retirement. And that you'd be way better off with me as your senator. (Full disclosure: I am pro-Mexican and anti-"wo Sie Ihre Papiere sind.")

I know that terrorism is scary.

But Joe Lieberman is scarier.


  1. As somebody wrote in an email list I'm on, after somebody else pointed out that there's nothing in the constitution about taking away citizenship: "Maybe we need a law that strips the citizenship of elected officials who propose taking our rights away.... Don't they agree to uphold the constitution when they are sworn in. Didn't Sen. Liberman just violate that oath?"

  2. I just commented to devoted partner that it's nice to see progress: in only about a generation and half, Joe Lieberman has come around to the kinds of "progressive" policies that killed pretty much anyone his family knew/was related to/had heard of in Europe.

    Who said irony is a dead art?