The Walkerville Weekly Reader

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Walkerville, VA
Monday, February 26, 2024
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Beltway vies over abuse powers

White House says abuse of civil rights is an executive responsibility; Congress claims such power for itself alone; FAA reserves power to abuse women.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced last week that military tribunals were immune from civil rights requirements, setting off a firestorm of debate on Capitol Hill over who has the authority to manage military tribunals. Some members of congress called for congressional oversight over such tribunals, while others supported presidential oversight.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for sharing responsibility for such tribunals between the legislative and executive branches. Schumer called further for a full removal of due process rights for “anyone accused of aiding and abeting the enemy”. Schumer further defined “the enemy” as “terrorists, people who support civil rights, and the National Rifle Association.” Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa) agreed, saying that “if you support civil rights, you have no rights.”

Specter and Schumer disagree on the responsibility for implementing such powers. According to Specter, “the right to set up military tribunals rests with Congress.” Schumer said, however, that while “ultimate authority for military tribunals rests in the commander-in-chief,” such powers may “safely be shared between the executive and legislative branches”. According to Schumer, both branches should maintain separate accusatory powers. “If the White House says they’re guilty, they’re guilty,” said Schumer, “and if congress says they’re guilty, they’re also guilty. There’s no reason to fight over this power.” According to Schumer, “there is more than enough guilt to go around.” Schumer did add that while Congress does have the power to accuse members of the executive branch, the executive branch has no such power over the legislative branch.

President Bush disagreed, stating that the constitutional prohibition on detaining members of congress does not apply to military tribunals. “Treasonous activity nullifies that prohibition, therefore if we accuse a member of congress of terrorist activity, they may be arrested or detained with impunity.”

Specter said that he would soon introduce a bill setting up a Congressional Subversives Authority for the identification and incarceration of subversive elements within the United States. “The CSA will be powered to identify subversive citizens of all stripes, and once identified, to isolate them from American society.” According to Specter, since such subversives, once identified, have no civil rights, “we should be able to quickly stamp out all forms of terrorism from within.”

In a separate conference, Schumer added that while he supports the CSA in principle, he did not want to override executive authority in the war on terrorism. “The CSA should have equal footing with the executive branch, not override it,” said Schumer. He will be introducing a bill to foster a “good-natured competition” between the two anti-terrorist organizations. “My bill will create a Terrorist Olympics,” said Schumer, “where each branch will compete for awards in the war on terrorism.”

Schumer said that current awards planned for the Terrorist Olympics include “The Dershowitz Award for Most Creative Justification for Probable-Cause Torture” and “The Louima Award for Most Civil Rights Violations on a Single Asshole”.

Both Senators agree that the new law enforcement organization will need new recruits, and they hope to hire from “the best law enforcement in the land”. Specter said that special attention will be given to resumes that include service with the Los Angeles Police Department, the New York City Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

“The federal government must expand,” said Schumer, “if we hope to incarcerate all potential enemies of the state. These agencies are experienced at dealing with potentially undesirable citizens.”

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld agreed. “Our interest in this case is not law enforcement,” he said on announcing the tribunals, “but in gaining the power we need to silence all potential government critics. Criticizing the president is criticizing the government. Criticizing the government is criticizing the United States. Enemies of the United States do not deserve civil rights.” Rumsfeld said that

Schumer agreed, adding “Criticizing the Congress is also criticizing the government.” Specter agreed, saying that the new CSA will have authority to detain “any person guilty of criticizing any member of congress.”

While the executive and legislative branches vied over the general power to abuse rights, the Federal Aviation Administration staked its future on the power to abuse women within airports. “We don’t get enough at home,” said FAA spokesperson Winston Smith. “It’s time to start feeling up female passengers.”

Congressional spokespersons were upbeat over the FAA decision to implement gender oppression within United States airports. Senator Schumer called it “a good-faith concession to Taliban mediators”, but said that the United States has “a long way to go” before it gains parity with Taliban oppression.

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