Barry Goldwater is spinning the dials … or spinning in his grave

Ham Radio QSL Cards - Barry Goldwater

When Garrison Keillor is pissed, you know things are bad. He has a very brief article saying that with our suspension of habeus corpus, we take a step toward totalitarianism. You really should read it but if you’re too busy,

It’s good that Barry Goldwater is dead because this (vote by 65 senators) would have killed him. Go back to the Senate of 1964 — Goldwater, Dirksen, Russell, McCarthy, Javits, Morse, Fulbright — and you won’t find more than 10 votes for it.

None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Idea. (more)

Regarding this photo, KB8WFH, a shortwave operator says Barry Goldwater, former senator and presidential candidate was a ham. I have a card from his memorial radio station.  The “QSL” cards are post cards that Ham Radio operators send each other to confirm contacts with each other.   Read more by visiting him.

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2 thoughts on “Barry Goldwater is spinning the dials … or spinning in his grave

  1. KB8WFH says:

    Greetings, all.

    I am KB8WFH, the holder of the Barry Goldwater picture listed above. As a gentleman’s agreement with farlane, I have asked to be able to post my viewpoint to his comments per using my QSL card. Farlane gracious agreed.

    While I have always been reluctant to put words in people’s mouth’s (especially those who can not respond), Barry may well have agreed with Keillor’s point of view…or not. Who’s really to say.

    But Mr. Keillor’s point of view can be addressed directly. It is bewildering to me that many consider terrorists to be “combatants.” Beheading, ransoming and torture of journalists, peace activists, contractors, democratic politicians are certainly not in the Geneva convention and I have seen no reports suggesting that’s what we are doing to the terrorists we capture. Even as such, no one has been considering treating them with the clearly evil treachery which which they treat us at any chance they get.

    I am not suggesting that what they do to use justifies doing anything with no moral consideration to them. But as such, their actions do clearly display that they (terrorists) are not enemy combatants and are in fact, cowardice murders who must be laughing them selves silly at what considerations are being afforded to them as they plot their next murderous rampage as soon as they see a weakness and we drop our guard. It is a strong and deep divide I have with the main-stream Democratic party: Terrorism is not a sophist law enforcement issue, its war.

    We (America) have gone out of our way, even to the cost of our own soldier’s lives or the loss of getting terrorist leaders, to not kill civilians, destroy their cultural and religious sanctity, etc. That being said, there is an irrefutable truth: war is Hell and we didn’t start this one. Unpleasant things will thus happen. But to suggest our soldiers and the President condone and are looking for loop-holes to torture anyone we mildly suspect is as absurd as it is repugnant. I am also bewildered with what Mr. Keillor and those like-minded considered “torture.”

    Upon request, I’ll ill be happy to introduce anyone to people I know (combatants) who survived WWII prison camps in Japan, the communist tortures in Viet Nam, etc. Abuse of any arbitrary off-the-street lightly suspected individual is abhorrent. I don’t see that happening. No credible evidence I have seen suggest such from the main-stream media to the soldiers I know and have spoken to who were/are there.

    Extracting information in the way I have seen described, even in Keillor’s remarks included, is so obviously justified and necessary when used upon people who ARE planning, HAVE committed and WILL perpetuate terror and torture against ANYONE (Iraqi, American or otherwise), its opposition is bewildering. Just because we wouldn’t want it done to us doesn’t define it as torture. The politicians that have passed the legislation that Keillor is criticizing have done the right things, violating no one’s American legal or universal human rights. I have yet to see a valid criticism as such made.

    We extract information from known terrorists. We are not the Gestapo pulling off non-believers and “suspecting them by virtue of our office” as Shakespeare said (in his play, Much Ado About Nothing, interestingly enough)..

    Democrats and liberals, fear not. Now, my Republican employees in Washington have done such a wishy-washy job at doing what I sent them there for and are too busy trying to convince an unsympathetic opposition party that they can be gotten along with, those who disagree with me are likely to be satisfied in the torture that I will likely have to endure in November….the Democrats win the majority in the house. So don’t sweat it too much…looks like my political opposition will get their way anyway. Then I’m sure all the terrorism will stop.

    Again, my thanks to farlane for accommodating my post. His courtesy and civility in the arena of ideas is greatly appreciated.

  2. farlane says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful post, KB8WFH. A couple of comments:

    I don’t think anybody is suggesting that a mere change of a few elected officials will “solve” the massive problem of terrorism. I know that I am not suggesting this

    What I am suggesting is that torture is not only illegal under international law, it is immoral and repugnant. What’s more, there are studies that show that the quality of information obtained via torture is very poor.

    However, the thrust of Keillor’s argument (as I understand it) and the thrust of my own is that one of the bedrocks of our government is the concept of habeas corpus. Wikipedia has a simple, but accurate definition:

    Latin for “you [should] have the body”, in common law countries, habeas corpus is the name of a legal instrument or writ by means of which detainees can seek release from unlawful imprisonment. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order addressed to a prison official (or other custodian) ordering that a detainee be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he or she should be released from custody. The writ of habeas corpus in common law countries is an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action.

    Staying with Wikipedia, Article 1, Sec 9 of the US Constitution says: The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

    It’s instructive to note that the current war on terror is the only case when habeas corpus has been suspended except for a period during the Civil War. In WW II the right was still available.

    By removing the requirement that a prisoner be confronted with evidence against him or her we also remove a check upon our government, a check that our Founders thought important enough to specify. A check that has only been suspended once previously in our nation’s history.

    The ACLU, an organization that gets endless grief for working to protect the liberties that some of our elected officials find troublesome, has this to say about the recent vote for the Military Commissions Act of 2006:

    Additionally, the bill undermines the American value of due process by permitting convictions based on evidence literally beaten out of a witness or obtained through other abuse by either our government or other countries. Government officials who authorized or ordered illegal acts of torture and abuse would receive retroactive immunity for many of these acts, providing a “get out of jail free” card that is backdated nine years.

    In the closest vote today, the Senate rejected by a 51-48 vote an amendment by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to preserve minimal protections of the courts in their historical and constitutional role as a check on the executive branch, through habeas corpus.

    “Nothing could be less American than a government that can indefinitely hold people in secret torture cells, take away their protections against horrific and cruel abuse, put them on trial based on evidence that they cannot see, sentence them to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and then slam shut the courthouse door for any habeas petition,” said Christopher Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “But that’s exactly what Congress just approved.”

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