Posted by: quiscus | March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013

1. “Charles Krauthammer’s false statement about the US Constitution

To justify the president’s War on Terror policies, the Washington Post columnist spreads a demonstrable myth

Krauthammer makes a claim about the US Constitution that is so patently false as to be retraction-worthy. He writes (emphasis added):
“Now we’re talking about a larger, more controversial issue: the killing-by-drone in Yemen of al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki. Outside American soil, the Constitution does not rule, no matter how much Paul would like it to.”

That italicizied claim from Krauthammer – that “outside American soil, the Constitution does not rule” – is a very common assertion and thus widely believed. But it is factually false. And there can be no reasonable dispute about this.

To begin with, think about what it would mean if Krauthammer’s claim were true: does anyone think it would be constitutionally permissible under the First Amendment for the US government to wait until an American critic of the Pentagon travels on vacation to London and then kill him, or to bomb a bureau of the New York Times located in Paris in retaliation for a news article it disliked, or to indefinitely detain with no trial an American who travels to Beijing or Lima or Oslo and who is suspected of committing a crime? Anyone who believes what Charles Krauthammer said this morning – “Outside American soil, the Constitution does not rule” – would have to take the patently ludicrous position that such acts would be perfectly constitutional.

But to see how false is Krauthammer’s claim, it’s unnecessary to engage in that kind of reasoning. The law is crystal clear on this matter. In 1957, the US Supreme Court decided the case of Reid v. Covert in which this exact question was conclusively decided: does the Bill of Rights restrict what the US Government does to US citizens on foreign soil? The Court answered the question as decisively and unambiguously as the English language permits (emphasis added):

“At the beginning, we reject the idea that, when the United States acts against citizens abroad, it can do so free of the Bill of Rights. The United States is entirely a creature of the Constitution. Its power and authority have no other source. It can only act in accordance with all the limitations imposed by the Constitution. When the Government reaches out to punish a citizen who is abroad, the shield which the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution provide to protect his life and liberty should not be stripped away just because he happens to be in another land.”

How can any Washington Post editor read what the Supreme Court said and not compel a retraction of Krauthammer’s claim? ”

2. “37 Percent of People in US Are Completely Lost

Six percent of Americans believe in unicorns. Thirty-six percent believe in UFOs. A whopping 24 percent believe dinosaurs and man hung out together. Eighteen percent still believe the sun revolves around the Earth. Nearly 30 percent believe cloud computing involves… actual clouds. A shockingly sad 18 percent, to this very day, believe the president is a Muslim. Aren’t they cute? And Floridian?

Do you believe in angels? Forty-five percent of Americans do. In fact, roughly 48 percent – Republicans and Democrats alike – believe in some form of creationism. A hilariously large percent of terrified right-wingers are convinced Obama is soon going to take away all their guns, so when the Newtown shooting happened and 20 young children were massacred due to America’s fetish for, obsession with and addiction to firearms, violence and fear, they bought more bullets. Because obviously.

In sum and all averaged out, it’s safe to say about 37 percent of Americans are just are not very bright. Or rather, quite shockingly dumb. Perhaps beyond reach. Perhaps beyond hope or redemption. Perhaps beyond caring about anything they have to say in the public sphere ever again. Sorry, Kansas.”


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