Wednesday, May 5, 2010

John McCain: Banana Republican

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

I started composing this piece in my head yesterday, shortly after hearing a news snippet that linked a statement by gold-peddler Glenn Beck with a statement by Arizona's angry geriatric senator, John McCain. My initial opening line was going to be: "Is Glenn Beck really smarter than John McCain?" Upon reflection, however, I was very uncomfortable using the adjective "smart" or its comparative form, "smarter," in any reference to either of those windbags.

So, allow me to rewind and make the same point in a more accurate manner.

Is John McCain really dumber than Glenn Beck? If the answer to that question is dependent on their knowledge of the importance of the United States Constitution to the preservation of our basic freedoms, then sadly the answer must be yes. McCain, it seems, thinks that Constitutional rights should not necessarily be afforded to Americans who are accused of terrorism. The bombastic Mr. Beck, on the other hand, understands the importance of all Americans being afforded Constitutional protections, even if they are accused of terrorism.

At issue is the Miranda warning where a policeman or officer of the court is obliged to tell a suspect of his right to contact an attorney and his right to remain silent. Dick Cheney told us all, through deed and action during the dark and awful years of the Bush administration, that the Constitution was an encumbrance whose main purpose was to provide protection to bad guys. Cheney and company argued that you could get far more information from someone by beating or torturing it out of them than by civil interrogation.

Experts have said all along that intelligence gathered through torture is not reliable because someone who is being tortured will say anything to get the pain to stop - and will often tell the torturers exactly what they want to hear, whether it is true or not.

Certain conservative troglodytes smelled red meat last December when the Obama administration let the Department of Justice interrogate the Christmas day "underwear bomber," a Nigerian youth named Farouk Abdulmuttalab. They wanted to let the public know that all kinds of valuable intelligence would be lost if it was not quickly beaten out of the kid. But the Department of Justice went about gathering information in a more humane - and much smarter - manner. They brought the boy's family over from Nigeria and had them talk to him. That old fashioned, non-lethal approach led to the underwear bomber singing like a canary. He gave lots of credible information to his captors.

Now we are dealing with another terrorist, and this one is an American citizen. Faisal Shahzad was arrested for leaving a car bomb in Times Square. This time certain conservatives are howling because the suspect was read his Miranda rights, a protection routinely afforded to all Americans, regardless of the type of crime that they are accused of committing. Senator Joe Liebermann, a pompous pillar of pure poop, feels that any American accused of terrorism should lose his citizenship - then that pesky old Miranda warning wouldn't be a problem.

John McCain, who gets stupider by the day as he tries to fend off a right-wing primary election challenge from radio clown J.D. Hayworth, is angry (isn't he always?) that Shahzad was read his Miranda rights. He sees that as some form of criminal coddling, and would prefer that interrogators pull out a few fingernails and snap a bone or two as they do their job. But Shahzad spilled his terrorist guts without having any bones broken or testicles smashed.

My theory is that McCain's Panama roots are showing. He is beginning to act more like a paranoid ruler of some Central American banana fiefdom than the noble statesman he once aspired to be.

And it was Glenn Beck (another radio clown) who took McCain to school over the importance of not messing with Constitutional rights. Beck understands and appreciates the Constitution of the United States of America, a document that allows him to say outrageous things about the government without fear of being dragged off to a secret gulag somewhere in the drifting sands of Arizona.

Wake up and smell the freedom, John. The Constitution protects the rights of all of us, terrorists and senators alike. It is what our brave people in the military put their lives on the line to defend, and it should not be invoked and revoked at the whims of politicians or other mere mortals.

John, you more than many, understand the actual price of freedom. It's time that you returned to being true to what you know is right - and quit being a dick!


Mike Box said...

We should always remember and never forget that the Miranda warnings serve a dual purpose.

The Miranda warning serves a criminal defendant with substantive and procedural safeguards against self-incrimination and puts that person on notice to their rights for the effective assistance of counsel.

Those are important Constitutional rights.

Turn the coin and you see that the benefit of the Miranda warnings is to preserve evidence for prosecution.

When law enforcement has a bright line showing them what they can do and still get a conviction then they perform their jobs effectively.

There is a public safety exception to giving the warnings. If the criminal defendant has information that is immediately necessary to protect life and property then law enforcement's interrogation can go on a bit longer.

Some on the right just don't get it. We want the bad guys put in prison. Our criminal justice system works pretty well. It works a whole lot better than the Military Commissions system! So if you want the bad guy to go to prison, then you give the Miranda warning.

Even John Ashcroft got that one right!

Reed said...

I understand reading the Miranda rights to an American citizen. Say we were to capture a terrorist on American soil who was not a US citizen, would we still have to read the Miranda rights to him? Would you Rock, or you Mike think that is what we should do? I'm not steering in any direction, I'm just curious.
Also, what is the origin of the Miranda rights?

JennsR said...

Terrorism is an act of war! The only good part of this article was the title... My favorite store coupled with my favorite candidate for this election!!!