J. Edgar Hoover Seeked to Imprison 12,000 Americans Suspected of Disloyalty

The New York Times reports that recently declassified papers showed that J. Edgar Hoover wanted to suspend habeas corpus and imprison 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty:

Hoover sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, 12 days after the Korean War began. It envisioned putting suspect Americans in military prisons.

Hoover wanted President Harry S. Truman to proclaim the mass arrests necessary to “protect the country against treason, espionage and sabotage.” The F.B.I would “apprehend all individuals potentially dangerous” to national security, Hoover’s proposal said. The arrests would be carried out under “a master warrant attached to a list of names” provided by the bureau.

The names were part of an index that Hoover had been compiling for years. “The index now contains approximately twelve thousand individuals, of which approximately ninety-seven per cent are citizens of the United States,” he wrote.

“In order to make effective these apprehensions, the proclamation suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus,” it said.

Habeas corpus, the right to seek relief from illegal detention, has been a fundamental principle of law for seven centuries. The Bush administration’s decision to hold suspects for years at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has made habeas corpus a contentious issue for Congress and the Supreme Court today.

The Constitution says habeas corpus shall not be suspended “unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.” The plan proposed by Hoover, the head of the F.B.I. from 1924 to 1972, stretched that clause to include “threatened invasion” or “attack upon United States troops in legally occupied territory.”

Let’s hope that Dick Cheney isn’t reading this plan and working on how to implement it.

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Ron Paul Misquoted Regarding Retaliation if Attacked


Ron Paul has come under criticism for a recent comment. I believe this started at Free Republic, but it is now being mentioned on several conservative blogs. The claim, based upon taking a portion of the response in the video above, is that Paul said, “A president has a responsibility to, uh, you know, retaliate against an attack. I don’t think there’s been a good example of a need to do that throughout our whole history.”

Viewing the actual video clearly shows that this misrepresents Paul’s view. The actual question dealt with first strikes, as opposed to retaliation, but Paul did stray from this specific question. Paul included his views that Congress should declare war as called for in the Constitution as opposed to the president deciding to attack. Paul went on from that point to speculate that theoretically a situation could arise where immediate retaliation would be necessary and it wouldn’t be possible to get a declaration of war from Congress. This is what Paul was speaking of when he said there was never an example of a need to retaliate. While there have clearly been attacks on the country which required a response, it was possible in each case for the president to go to Congress for a declaration of war. This also could have been done following the 9/11 attack.

There are many reasons to question whether Ron Paul should be president, but contrary to the claims being spread by conservatives this statement is not one of them.

Huckabee Misleading About Ten Commandments in Supreme Court

Earlier I posted about Mick Huckabee’s statement about hanging the Ten Commandments in the White House as I debunked his claim that they form the basis for our laws. During the same interview Huckabee justified hanging them in the White House by saying that the Ten Commandments are in the Supreme Court. Steve Benen both linked to my earlier post here and gave some important details about the Ten Commandments hanging in the Supreme Court.

Steve noted that “there’s a frieze just below the ceiling in the court’s main chamber that depicts the evolution of the law over the past several centuries. As part of the decorative horizontal band, there’s a depiction of Moses cradling two tablets, which is obviously meant to represent the Ten Commandments.” Moses is only one small part of the frieze:

Also included are Confucius, Mohammad, the Old Testament’s Solomon and Hammurabi, founder of the ancient Babylonian Empire. (Ironically, Hammurabi is depicted being given his famous law code by Shamash, the Babylonian sun god, meaning that the sole depiction of a deity at the high court is a Pagan god.)

The frieze also contains non-religious figures who shaped the law, such as Napoleon, Charlemagne and ancient Greek and Roman figures. The clear purpose of the frieze is to educate about how the law developed, not endorse religion or state that U.S. law is based on a specific religious code.

Bill Clinton to the Rescue?

Back in 1960 when Richard Nixon was running for president, Dwight Eisenhower was asked about what matters of substance Nixon had contributed as vice president. Eisenhower couldn’t come up with an answer. I was reminded of this when reading the coverage in The Washington Post on Hillary Clinton making use of Bill now that her campaign is in trouble:

For all his talk about the 1990s, though, the former president does not go into great detail about the role his wife played in his administration, instead simply leaving the impression that she was part of the team that brought about the decade’s gains.

He credits her with helping create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, after her push for universal health care failed, and he talks about her trips abroad, building ties in foreign countries and speaking out on controversial subjects such as women’s rights in Beijing and female genital mutilation in Africa. He briefly mentions her assistance in achieving peace in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.

At times, his pitch for his wife is focused so much on his own accomplishments as president that it almost sounds as if he himself is running for reelection.

Clinton often claims experience as reason to support her over Obama, but it is far from clear as to how valuable Clinton’s experience was as First Lady, especially as her major project, health care reform, was a fiasco. Similarly, despite supposedly being more experienced, it was Obama and not Clinton who recognized that supporting Bush on Iraq would turn into one of the worst foreign policy disasters in our history.

I wonder what Al Gore makes of all this. Gore has been criticized for distancing himself from Bill Clinton in 2000. If Bill Clinton winds up not helping Hillary, will this vindicate his decision?

Hillary Clinton vs. Cartoon Sex

Wired reports that Hillary Clinton is continuing her crusade against video games and is now taking on cartoon sex:

Hillary Clinton is still outraged that  Rockstar Games left a sexually-themed mini game nestled in its best-selling  Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2005.

You’ll recall the kafuffle when the deactivated love scene was found buried in the code for the otherwise wholesome car jacking, cop-killing shooter. The unfinished mini-game featured clothed characters simulating sex acts. To access the scene, randy teens had to download and install a special patch developed by a Dutch coder, expending more effort than it takes to find real, human adult content on the web.
That all led some cynics to suspect Clinton of grandstanding when she called a press conference to denounce Rockstar and demand a Federal Trade Commission investigation into San Andreas. The ESRB re-rated the game to AO for “adults only,” raising the minimum age of purchase from 17 to 18 years old — a crucial year in which a teen develops the necessary psychological defenses to resist the Siren song of polygon porn.

But in a response to a questionnaire from the watchdog group Common Sense Media, Clinton reveals today that she still sees the affair as a victory for child safety. She describe her introduction of the doomed Family Entertainment Protection Act as a response to the “illicit” sexual content in San Andreas, and says, as president, she’d support regulation of the gaming industry.

“When I am President, I will work to protect children from inappropriate video game content,” she told CSM.

This position has Hillary Clinton aligned with Mitt Romeny and Joe Lieberman but on the opposite side as many of the other Democratic candidates:

That puts her on the same page as Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who told CSM that the U.S. needs to “get serious against those retailers that sell adult video games that are filled with violence and that we go after those retailers.” Clinton’s fellow Democrats John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson said they’d rather give the industry a chance to self-regulate, at least initially.

Clinton’s Family Entertainment Protection Act would have made it a federal offense to sell adult-rated video games to minors. It never passed, but similar state laws have been struck down as unconstitutional.  Clinton’s co-sponsor on the bill, Joseph Lieberman, had his own video game nemesis: Stubbs the Zombie, who, like too many politicians, needs braaiiiins.

Ron Paul Backs Creationism, Denies Evolution


As is seen in the video above, Ron Paul shows a total lack of understanding of modern biology as he rejects science in response to a question on evolution.

This is not the first time I’ve noted that, despite his training as a physician, Paul has taken positions which vary from established science. Paul has supported legislation to eliminate the legal distinction between a zygote and a fully developed human. His support for the ban on so-called partial birth abortions can also be seen as taking an anti-science position considering the lack of medical validity of the term “partial birth abortion.”

While Ron Paul will never win a major party nomination or have enough influence on public policy to really matter, this is of some concern as Paul’s view does influence a small but noisy crowd. There are two general characteristics of the group which spams the internet supporting Paul: 1) they tend to follow their leader and lack the ability to think for themselves and 2) they are intolerant of the views of others and will spread their beliefs regardless of how absurd they are.

Just as Ron Paul’s followers have spent the last few days making lame excuses for Paul’s refusal to return the contribution from a white supremacist and neo-Nazi, we can now expect them to spam the blogosphere with all the usual bogus arguments given in favor of creationism.

Huckabee’s Law

Mike Huckabee was talking with reporters about religion and morality and said he “wouldn’t hesitate” to hang the Ten Commandments in the White  House. Huckabee said, “The Ten Commandments form the basis of most of our laws and therefore, you know if you look through them does anybody find anything there that would be all that objectionable? I don’t think most people would if they actually read them.”

This makes me wonder if Huckabee has both read and really thought about the Ten Commandments and the Constitution, which truly is the basis of our laws. The Constitution, although written by many religious men, was intentionally written as a secular document without reference to God other than to prohibit a religious test for office. The Ten Commandments is obviously a religious document, and the majority of it has nothing to do with our laws.

Commandments such as “Thou shalt hold no other Gods before me” are not only irrelevant to our laws but would be unconstitutional. The same is true of “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” as well as “Thou shalt not take the name of thy lord in vain.” Out of the ten, it turns out that only three commandments, those against killing, stealing, or bearing false witness (perjury) are related to our laws. Thirty percent hardly makes the Ten Commandments a basis for our laws.