Thursday, February 7, 2008

What "Change" Means, Minimally

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have signed on to the American Freedom Campaign's pledge to restore constitutional sanity, which calls for these commitments:

Fully restore the right to challenge the legality of one's detention, or habeas corpus, and the right of detained suspects to be charged and brought to trial.

Prohibit torture and all cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Prohibit the use of secret evidence.

Prohibit the detention of anyone, including U.S. citizens, as an "enemy combatant" outside the battlefield, and on the President's say-so alone.

Prohibit the government from secretly breaking and entering our homes, tapping our phones or email, or seizing our computers without a court order, on the President's say-so alone.

Prohibit the President from "disappearing" anyone and holding them in secret detention.

Prohibit the executive from claiming "state secrets" to deny justice to victims of government misdeeds, and from claiming "executive privilege" to obstruct Congressional oversight and an open government.

Prohibit the abuse of signing statements, where the President seeks to disregard duly enacted provisions of bills.

Use the federal courts, or courts-martial, to charge and prosecute terrorism suspects, and close Guantanamo down.

Reaffirm that the Espionage Act does not prohibit journalists from reporting on classified national security matters without fear of prosecution.
John McCain and Mike Huckabee have refused to sign to these commitments. Nor have they signed on to Ron Paul's American Freedom Agenda Act, a similar set of correctives to the excesses of the Bush-Cheney junta:
Repeal the “Military Commissions Act of 2007” and thereby restore the ancient right of habeas corpus and end legally sanctioned torture by U.S. government agents

Restore the ”Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” (FISA) and thereby outlaw warrantless spying on American citizens by the President of the United States

Give Congress standing in court to challenge the President's use of "signing statements" as a means to avoid executing the nation's laws

Make it illegal for government agents to kidnap people and send them abroad to be tortured by foreign governments

Provide legal protection to journalists who expose wrong-doing by the Federal government

Prohibit the use of secret evidence to label groups or individuals as terrorists for the purpose of criminal or civil sanctions.
Shame on any politician of any party who won't stand unequivocally behind these basic principles. Any president-elect who recites the presidential oath of office next January without having committed to these principles will be ipso facto in violation of that oath and thus worthy of impeachment the moment the oath is concluded. This should not be controversial.

(H/T Ed Brayton)

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