John Seiler
September 4, 2008

I watched the GOP convention tonight and was not surprised, but still dismayed, at the attacks by the speakers on America liberties. Romney and Palin both attacked the rights of “terrorists” to constitutional protections.

Romney blabbed:

Is a Supreme Court liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitution rights?

Palin chirped of Obama:

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights?

Both times, I noticed the crowd at Nuremberg — excuse me, Minneapolis — rabidly cheering these attacks on American liberties.

What Palin and Romney did not note is that a “terrorist” is anyone the president says is a terrorist. Although this possibly was slightly reduced by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, anyone in the world, including American citizens, could be branded a “terrorist” and held, possibly indefinitely, in detention. Even Romney and Palin might be held that way, never to be heard from again.

And as H.L. Mencken pointed out, the test cases of liberty seldom involve the top people, but those at the margins, or even at the bottom. If everyone deserves the same rights, then everyone’s rights must be defended. And “everyone” includes even real terrorists.

It’s not surprising that, under Bush, first “terrorists,” real and imagined, had their rights abridged, then everybody else did, too. As Glenn Greenwald has reported on the scene from Minneapolis — here, and here, and here – even peaceful protesters’ houses have been raided before the convention even began, and reporters were arrested.

Palin: Nice lady, bad company

Palin gave a great speech. But her foreign policy and civil rights sections clearly were written by the anti-American Neocons who run McCain’s campaign, and who hate our liberties with a passion. She’s a nice lady who’s put in with a bad crowd, as Lew Rockwell pointed out.

Palin’s nickname is “the Barracuda.” But even a barracuda would be devoured by a gang of killer sharks — in this case, Bush, Cheney, McCain, Liberman, and the Neocons.

If America is about anything, it’s liberty protected by the Bill of Rights. Bush, Cheney, McCain and the others have spent the past 8 years assaulting the Bill of Rights as it never has been in our history.

Romney’s ambition

The oleagenous Romney also said:

John McCain hit the nail on the head: radical violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it!

That’s rich coming from a Mormon. Like Islam, it has a history of polygyny (although Muslims can have only 4 wives), bans booze, and has some terrorism in its past. And a lot of Republicans consider Mormonism a cult (see comments section here).

I don’t have anything against Mormons myself, I’m just pointing out that, if Mormons were judged by Romney’s rhetoric, he might end up at Guantanamo just for that.

Most of his speech was a preparation for a presidential run in 2012 by continually saying conservatism is better than the liberalism of Obama. But just 2 years ago he was a liberal himself.

What a night

Republicans at the convention must be feeling so giddy tonight they could float up to the moon.

But if you believe in America’s principles and tradition of liberty, it was a night to despair.

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