The Grilling Season
By ROBERT B. SEMPLE Jr.
Exhibit A is the House’s astonishing performance last week. The Republican majority passed the Ryan budget-to-nowhere (it has no chance of Senate approval), a political manifesto full of tax cuts and other nice things for people who don’t need them and almost nothing for a scared and suffering middle class. Yet House leaders did not lift a finger to muster a majority for a two-year extension of a transportation bill (already approved by the Senate) that would actually create jobs in hard-pressed states and communities.
The rational constituent might ask: Why can’t lawmakers pass a routine transportation bill? Why, for that matter, block sensible efforts to encourage fuel-efficient cars and cleaner energy sources? Why oppose a straightforward reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, crucial to combating domestic violence and sexual assault? Is there nothing — not the shooting of Trayvon Martin or even one of their own, Gabrielle Giffords — that can shame them into fixing the nation’s porous gun control laws?
The answers are that the Republicans, particularly those who control the House, are disorganized, often narrow-minded, terrified of the National Rifle Association and in thrall to the oil companies. Still, the questions should be asked — even if lawmakers try to change the subject by blaming President Obama for $4-a-gallon gas, their default issue when all else fails.
Majid Khan’s ‘fair deal’: a bad deal for
Contrary to the assertion of the March 5 editorial “A fair deal for a terrorist,” Majid Khan’s plea deal does not demonstrate that all is well with the military commission system. Instead, it underscores that trying cases before the military commission system remains a risky proposition on shaky constitutional grounds.
This system, now in its third incarnation, continues to face lengthy litigation over the legality of trying individuals for offenses that do not constitute war crimes. For example, Mr. Khan was charged with crimes such as terrorism and conspiracy that are not considered war crimes under international law and that were only later deemed crimes in the military commission system. Prosecuting people for conduct that was not a crime when they committed the act violates the ex post facto prohibition enshrined in the Constitution and the international legal principle of legality.
Mr. Khan’s plea deal is ultimately a loss for the integrity of the
The writer is an attorney with Human Rights First.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs