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Garrison Keillor: Embracing the Subtle Upside of Terror

 
 
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 10:05 am
Embracing the Subtle Upside of Terror
By Garrison Keillor
The Chicago Tribune
Wednesday 25 October 2006

We are engaged in a struggle between freedom and the forces of terror, my little macacas, and mostly I side with freedom, such as the freedom to look at big shots and stick out your tongue and blow, but of course terror has its place too. The dude strolling down our street at night does not break into our house to see what's available because he is terrified that if he's nabbed, his girlfriend Janine will run off to Philly with her ex-boyfriend Eddie who's been hanging around. She's the best thing in Benny's life right now. So he walks on by and leaves our stereo be.

The terror of everlasting hellfire kept me away from dances until I was 12 years old and away from smoking cigarettes until I was 15. So that's good. Dancing was briefly thrilling, and then I caught sight of myself in a mirror and I haven't gone to a dance since. Fear of ridicule is powerful too.

A lack of terror may encourage crooks to operate brazenly, knock over the candy stand, trip the nuns, hurl garbage over the balcony, and that's why you have cops, and also to keep the college kids from getting sick in our shrubbery.

But now the federal government is extending the frontiers of terror with the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legalizing torture and suspending habeas corpus and constructing a loose web of law by which you and I could be hung by our ankles in a meat locker for as long as somebody deems necessary. "Any person is punishable ..." the law states, "who knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States" and when it comes to deciding what "knowingly and intentionally" might mean or who is the enemy, that's for a military commission to decide in secret, with or without you present. No 5th Amendment, hearsay evidence admissible, no judicial review.

People came to America to escape this sort of justice. The midnight knock on the door, incarceration at the whim of men in shiny boots, confessions obtained with a section of hose, secret trial by star chamber. One is reminded of Germany, 1933, when the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act to give the chancellor the power of summary arrest and imprisonment, a necessary tool for the defense of the homeland against traitors, Jew-lovers, terrorists.

Not that this is a bad thing. Who am I to say? Maybe we've been too lenient with enemies of the state. A period of stark repression might be a rich and rewarding experience for all of us. But when the Current Occupant signed the act last week, the difference between freedom and terror did suddenly shrink somewhat. It makes you wonder: What if Vice President Dick Cheney does not wish to give up power two years from now? Maybe he has other priorities. If an enemy of the United States - a Democrat, for example - appeared to be on the verge of election, perhaps Mr. Cheney, for the good of the country, would be forced to take the threat seriously and head for an undisclosed location and invoke his war powers and shovel a few thousand traitors into camps and call up his friends at Diebold and program the election results that are best for the country, or call the whole thing off.

OK by me if it's OK by you. I don't imagine that coffee sales will be affected or that Paris Hilton will be, like, "Whoa, this is so not cool," and, like, text-message her buds to join her on a hunger strike. The greeters at Wal-Mart will still smile and the football season will go on. They might flash a bulletin at halftime, "Terror Threat Forces Postponement of Election," and most people would be OK with that. If Mr. Cheney thinks it necessary to suspend the Constitution for a while, surely he has his reasons. The man inspires trust.

They won't have to torture me to get a good confession. I am a professional writer of fiction, my little monkeys, and if they turn the bright lights on yours truly, beans will spill by the bushel, names will be named, and dates, and stories will be told one after the other. Everybody who ever done me wrong, I am going to implicate them up to their dewlaps. A trial with hearsay evidence allowed and no cross-examination is tailor-made for a novelist. Throw me into that briar patch, Br'er Bush.

--------

Garrison Keillor is an author and host of "A Prairie Home Companion."
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,315 • Replies: 20
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:03 pm
He hates america and he loves evil. Keillor is a traitor. He doesn't understand the real america. Never has. He's comforting the terrorists. He probably has a bowl of milk and stem cels for breakfast. Lake Wobegon is filled with commie trout that you aren't allowed to fish with automatic weapons or dynamite. Arrest him. Wrap him in a UN flag and set it afire.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:22 pm
You'd think Keilor would have read the law he speaks of before writing about it.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:35 pm
I think what Keillor wrote was meant to be satire, McG...
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McGentrix
 
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Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:38 pm
Quote:
But now the federal government is extending the frontiers of terror with the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legalizing torture and suspending habeas corpus and constructing a loose web of law by which you and I could be hung by our ankles in a meat locker for as long as somebody deems necessary. "Any person is punishable ..." the law states, "who knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States" and when it comes to deciding what "knowingly and intentionally" might mean or who is the enemy, that's for a military commission to decide in secret, with or without you present. No 5th Amendment, hearsay evidence admissible, no judicial review.


I understand much of what Keilor writes is satire, but the above quote doesn't seem very funny or satirical. People like BBB read it and I wonder if they believe it if for no other reason then Keilor wrote it.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:41 pm
McGentrix wrote:
Quote:
But now the federal government is extending the frontiers of terror with the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legalizing torture and suspending habeas corpus and constructing a loose web of law by which you and I could be hung by our ankles in a meat locker for as long as somebody deems necessary. "Any person is punishable ..." the law states, "who knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States" and when it comes to deciding what "knowingly and intentionally" might mean or who is the enemy, that's for a military commission to decide in secret, with or without you present. No 5th Amendment, hearsay evidence admissible, no judicial review.


I understand much of what Keilor writes is satire, but the above quote doesn't seem very funny or satirical. People like BBB read it and I wonder if they believe it if for no other reason then Keilor wrote it.


Mebbe so, but the same is probably true for some people who read or watch Ann Coulter. Neither should be taken too seriously...
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parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:41 pm
When someone quotes from the law I suspect that means they have at least looked at it long enough to get the quote.


Or was your statement meant to be ironic McG?
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:42 pm
Keilor has associates in Canada.
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parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:46 pm
And he was married to a socialist for a while. (She was from one of them Scandanavian countries so was obviously a socialist.) We can't possibly trust him.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 12:48 pm
Why shouldn't one take Garrison Keilor seriously? Nothing in the quote you all are discussing is false.

I think Garrison Keilor is dead serious about the current administrations campaign to destroy American protections of human and civil rights. I certainly am.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 01:01 pm
Nah, nothing is false...

Quote:
Sec. 948a. Definitions

`In this chapter:

`(1) UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT- (A) The term `unlawful enemy combatant' means--

`(i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces); or

`(ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.

`(B) CO-BELLIGERENT- In this paragraph, the term `co-belligerent', with respect to the United States, means any State or armed force joining and directly engaged with the United States in hostilities or directly supporting hostilities against a common enemy.

`(3) ALIEN- The term `alien' means a person who is not a citizen of the United States.


Sec. 948c. Persons subject to military commissions

`Any alien unlawful enemy combatant is subject to trial by military commission under this chapter.


Yeah, he read it and should be taken honestly... Rolling Eyes
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 01:47 pm
All due respect, McG, but that just says that US citizens are not subject to military commissions. But there is nothing in this bill (or others that I know of) that says that the government must try all of its prisoners. Certainly the definition of 'enemy combatant' that you posted doesn't preclude citizens from being labeled as such.

Also, Keillor says "you or I". Is Keillor a citizen? Am I? Are you? Many of us are long time legal residents but not citizens. Is it ok, that what he said is definitely true for those of us?
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McGentrix
 
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Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 01:58 pm
FreeDuck wrote:
All due respect, McG, but that just says that US citizens are not subject to military commissions. But there is nothing in this bill (or others that I know of) that says that the government must try all of its prisoners. Certainly the definition of 'enemy combatant' that you posted doesn't preclude citizens from being labeled as such.

Also, Keillor says "you or I". Is Keillor a citizen? Am I? Are you? Many of us are long time legal residents but not citizens. Is it ok, that what he said is definitely true for those of us?


Begging your pardon Freeduck, but Kielor expressly says "Any person is punishable ..." whereas the law clearly defines who the law effects and it is NOT "Any person". He is exagerrating the point and his hyperbole needs to be pointed out. The left is trying to spread so much propaganda about this act in an effort to make it seem more then it really is.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 02:24 pm
Well, he's quoting the law and he calls this an expansion, which it is. Does he explicitly say that it applies to citizens?
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 02:46 pm
FreeDuck wrote:
Well, he's quoting the law and he calls this an expansion, which it is. Does he explicitly say that it applies to citizens?


Does he need to explcitly say it, or is his implication enough to get his words repeated?
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 02:46 pm
give me garrison keillor anytime ; he is neede as a counterweight to bill o'reilly - who right now is spouting off 'his wisdom' on oprah .
i have several of garrison's books and listen to his radio-program when we can pick it up from NPR while driving along the st. lawrence river across from N.Y. state .
i enjoy his wry sense of humour - i never find him offensive - he never resorts to screaming or shouting others down (which o'reilly thinks he has to do if people have a different opinion - "BULL" seems to be one of his favourite shouts ).
hbg
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 02:47 pm
give me garrison keillor anytime ; he is needed as a counterweight to bill o'reilly - who right now is spouting off 'his wisdom' on oprah .
i have several of garrison's books and listen to his radio-program when we can pick it up from NPR while driving along the st. lawrence river across from N.Y. state .
i enjoy his wry sense of humour - i never find him offensive - he never resorts to screaming or shouting others down (which o'reilly thinks he has to do if people have a different opinion - "BULL" seems to be one of his favourite shouts ).
hbg
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Oct, 2006 02:48 pm
McGentrix wrote:

Does he need to explcitly say it


I don't know, does the Military Commissions Act need to explicitly say that US citizens are not subject to any provision of the act?
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Nov, 2006 06:21 am
ebrown_p wrote:
Why shouldn't one take Garrison Keilor seriously? Nothing in the quote you all are discussing is false.



This part:

    "Any person is punishable ..." the law states, "who knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States" and when it comes to deciding what "knowingly and intentionally" might mean or who is the enemy, that's for a military commission to decide in secret, with or without you present. No 5th Amendment, hearsay evidence admissible, no judicial review.

is completely false.

The law limits the authority of the tribunals to non-citizens only.

The law also limits habeas corpus for non-citizens only.
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oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Nov, 2006 06:22 am
FreeDuck wrote:
All due respect, McG, but that just says that US citizens are not subject to military commissions.


Since Garrison Keillor was saying that anyone could be *punished*, he was talking about the military commissions (as they are the part that does the punishing).

Since the military commissions do not apply to everyone, Garrison Keillor was spewing nonsense when he said that *anyone* could be punished.



FreeDuck wrote:
But there is nothing in this bill (or others that I know of) that says that the government must try all of its prisoners. Certainly the definition of 'enemy combatant' that you posted doesn't preclude citizens from being labeled as such.


True, but a US citizen would have the right to challenge their detention in the courts.

If it turned out that they were justly labeled an unlawful combatant, it would be entirely proper to hold them in incommunicado detention until the end of the war.
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