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Glenn Beck Gets It Right

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Posted on May 4, 2010
Times Square
AP / David Goldman

New York police officers stand at the intersection of West 45th Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square, near where a car bomb was found.

By Robert Scheer

What if Faisal Shahzad, the alleged Times Square car bomber, had turned out to be an illegal immigrant from Mexico? Imagine the fuel it would have provided to those who are using national security as an excuse for cracking down on hardworking immigrants in Arizona. The reality is that the terrorists who have attacked us, every one of the 9/11 hijackers included, all had their papers in order.

Shahzad had entered the country back in 1999 on a student visa and then was granted an H-1B visa, offered to those whose technical skills are needed in the economy. At the time of his arrest he was a naturalized citizen, and there is no evidence of his ever having broken any laws in getting to that status. Another point of interest is that the “weapon of mass destruction” he is charged with attempting to detonate was as primitive as it gets, and was the basic part of a woefully inept attempt to employ the fertilizer bomb technique used with horrid efficiency in the Oklahoma City bombing by several—born in the USA—self-defined patriots. 

The Times Square car bomb, while certainly capable of inflicting death on scores of innocents and destroying nearby structures, hardly qualifies for WMD designation and indeed would seem to mock our highly warranted concern over such threats. The case is also a reminder that the massive defense budgets for high-tech warfare that have pushed close to a trillion dollars a year since the 9/11 attack are beside the point in countering terrorists who turn firecrackers into bombs. This man was caught because of old-fashioned police work, after officers were alerted initially by a vigilant Times Square T-shirt peddler.

And while some Republican politicians, led by Sen. John McCain, attempted to turn this into an occasion for attacking civil liberties and stoking the Miranda rights debate, it is clear that the investigation moved forward in an extremely effective and expeditious manner with full regard for constitutional protections.

Credit Glenn Beck of Fox News for breaking with that sort of demagoguery and asserting that the rule of law is basic to our freedom and not just an inconvenient indulgence. “He [Shahzad] is a citizen of the United States, so I say we uphold the laws and the Constitution on citizens,” Beck had the guts to assert in a Fox broadcast. “If you are a citizen, you obey the law and follow the Constitution; [Shahzad] has all the rights under the Constitution.” Beck added, “We don’t shred the Constitution when [doing so] is popular. We do the right thing.”

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Compare those profound words of wisdom from one that many liberals loathe to the advice from a former Democratic Party vice presidential candidate for whom many of us voted.  Sen. Joe Lieberman went further than McCain and argued for summarily obliterating all constitutional rights for citizens charged with terrorism. Lieberman even suggested stripping them of their citizenship before they are convicted of any crime:

“I think it’s time for us to look at whether we want to amend that law to apply it to American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, whether they should not also be deprived automatically of their citizenship, and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with a terrorist act.”

If ever a real WMD is used against us, such as a primitive nuclear weapon in a suitcase smuggled into Manhattan, look to Lieberman to demand we do massive roundups of tens of millions of suspicious folks in sight, opening wide the concentration camps. If a fizzled attempt to explode propane in a car in Times Square can drive Lieberman to summarily sacrifice centuries of this nation’s devotion to the rule of law and protection of the individual, it wouldn’t take much to send him into the dark world of totalitarian madness.

It is safe to argue that almost every society in the history of the modern world has experienced acts of terrorist violence that make that car bomb in New York City seem like a drunk’s pathetic rendition of a recipe from the “Anarchist Cookbook.” Throughout the world, far deadlier threats are an ongoing reality, and yet America has often urged restraint in reaction to such dangers, asserting that the abrogation of individual freedom, particularly in times of duress, makes a society weaker, not stronger. That is the advice we gave Russian leaders only a month ago when they were dealing with much more serious threats.

Fortunately, we now have a president and an attorney general who embrace that indelible wisdom in defense of due process at home as well. It is a very good thing that Lieberman is not a heartbeat away from ruling—and ruining—us all. 

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, May 5, 2010 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

The Massive mobiization, and paranoid creation of high tech snooping and intrusion into the daily lives of Americans, after 911 served two purposes.

This was done to protect the country from Terroists, both foreign and domestic.

But many believe there was also an intent to intimidate political opposition to the military industrial complex in the USA, and the plutocracy that controls it.

Because the plutocracy fears the power of the people in this country just as much as it does terrorists who come here illegally. After all they are only 1% of the population.

Without using the apparatus of government to serve their means, and the use of fear to justify it, then the economic and political agenda they have set for this country might be more dificult to achieve using covert methods.

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By BobZ, May 5, 2010 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

Whether Glenn Beck gets it is irrelevant. As they say “a clock is right twice a day”.
His usual absurdities have created much of the “tea bagger” mentality in this
country. Even drunks occasionally sober up. Why give credit to Beck for thinking
like an ordinary progressive.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, May 5, 2010 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

You really don’t get it, do you Mr. Scheer?

First and foremost not all the 9/11 murderers “had their papers in order”.  Several over-extended their student visas.  The so-called 20th hijackers was detained (unable to complete his own goals) for immigration violations.

Second, and equally important, Al Qaeda has stated very publicly their determination to attack the U.S. employing any means possible.  Low and high tech.  Beef up high tech and the enemy will go low.  Concentrate on low tech and they will go high.  Such is the nature of warfare.

It’s worth noting that the 1993 WTC bombing attack was, in part, hatched in the American prison system by the “Blind Sheik” and others using very “low Tech” (high impact) explosives costing only a couple thousand dollars.  That bomb did over a $1 Billion in damages.  The plan was to topple the entire building and murder 20,000 human beings.

-

You and others continually, at times willfully, minimize the threat in order to force your world-view into submission.

You have been wrong for over a decade Mr. Scheer.

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By oldog, May 5, 2010 at 6:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am astonished when someone brings up the concentration camp scenario, as if it were some
unthinkable nightmare that of course, could never
happen here. Right now we have close to a million
people in concentration camps for the unforgivable
affront of catching a disease: drug addiction.

Every reputable scientist and medical professional
will acknowledge that addiction is a disease, and yet
we continue to send patients to prison rather than
hospital.

Our decades long war on drugs has failed miserably
with an ever-rising number of addicts. We facilitate
the enrichment of hundreds of thousands of criminal
enterprises that supply our cravings and destabilize
countries next door and around the world. We ravage
the lives of millions of United States citizens who
will never hold a decent job after being branded a
felon. The cost of maintaining prisons, courts and
police officers better focused on protecting our
citizens from violent offenders, is staggering. How
many collateral crimes of armed robbery, home
invasion, and swindling of the elderly are generated
by the need of addicts to accumulate the hundreds of
dollars a day needed to purchase the artificially
expensive illegal drugs only smugglers will provide?

I’m sure it must be very gratifying to lock up that
nasty addict who probably stole our T.V. How does it
feel knowing we are guaranteeing that he/she will be
back to do it again because our short-sighted
‘revenge’ does nothing to solve the problem?

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By raquer, May 5, 2010 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why the suprise that a conservative would adamantly support the “Rule of Law”.??

Rule of law is part and parcel of Conservatism.

Conservatives understand that the Rule of Law is absolutely the foundation of our civilization and if it fall we will see the end of a civilization that has provided more for the most in comparison to any other civilization.

While I respect much of the writings I find in Truth dig, I wonder why so little attention to Rule of Law and its overriding importance to us all.

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By linxx, May 5, 2010 at 5:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is this, play pretend hour?  How obvious does a false flag black ops fraud have to be?

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By Thomthum, May 5, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

Even a broken clock is right twice a day!

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farmertx's avatar

By farmertx, May 5, 2010 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Okay, what have they done with the real Glenn Beck? It really makes me wonder when someone who always spouts hateful rhetoric suddenly changes and says something sensible.
It’s sorta like Sarah saying Maybe we should re-think this offshore oil drilling thing.
The Constitution, despite the efforts of the previous administration, is the backbone of this Country. It allows Beck and the others of his ilk to say the inane things that they say without fear of being jailed or worse.

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Magginkat's avatar

By Magginkat, May 5, 2010 at 5:15 am Link to this comment

When I read the headline “Glenn Beck Gets It Right”, I thought for sure the Rapture was upon us!  smile

As for LIEberman and McCain, those jokers seem to be trying to out do each other with craziness.  The founders of this country would have probably hanged them after they were given a fair and speedy trial.

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By elwoodpdowd, May 5, 2010 at 5:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again Mr.Scheer gets it wrong. What this whole affair shows is how ineffective and stupid is the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the whole way this so-called War on Terror is being perpetrated. Violating the consitutional rights of 300 million innocent Americans in the attempt to uncover the plots and schemes of a few thousand fanatics is beyond lunacy. This guy didn’t turn into a terrorist or a radical Islamic Fundmanlist last Tuesday- and yet he was a fully naturalized citizen.  Illegal immigration is not the issue here- and Glenn Beck shouldn’t be quoted about politics anymore than Sarah Palin should or Britney Spears.

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By jerihurd, May 5, 2010 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

Glenn Beck and I agree on something?  Is it the apocalypse?

He’s gone up a notch in my book.

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By vrajavala, May 5, 2010 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

This economist would like to perpetuate the fallacious myth that Americans are “above” certain jobs, and that is why we have illegal immigrants. B.S.

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By Mike, May 5, 2010 at 3:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think NOTHING should happen to a US citizen because of
affiliation - constitutional right to assembly.  Neither
do I think anything should happen based on charges or arrest.

And I think any US citizen arrested, charged and tried,
should be entitled to FULL rights guaranteed under the
constitution.  We’re already in a quagmire stripping convicted felons of their right to vote with no coherent explanation
as to why or the beneficial correlation of the two - being
a felon (or ex-felon) and the denial of the right to vote.
Let’s not open up another cesspool by denying citizenship
based on affiliation or charges.

Conviction on the other hand, “CONVICTION” of the crime of terrorism, of the nature and severity of that engaged in at Times Square, in my mind merits having one’s citizenship taken away.  One who would plan, prepare for, and execute such an act (successful or not) has demonstrated willful contempt for the country that has granted him or her lawful residency by birth or by oath with a reasonable expectation of some degree of allegiance or loyalty in return.

Most of us, even when we disagree with what is done in our
name by those we elect to govern us, acknowledge that we are a nation of laws not of men and conduct ourselves accordingly.

These exceptions represent a threat to that governance. 

In that context, losing their citizenship as a consequence, is not unreasonable or unwarranted.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, May 5, 2010 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

The American media keeps harping on the “question” of whether the fact that this
guy is a US citizen gives him the right to a fair trial.

But in actuality, the fact that he’s a citizen is hardly relevant. The constitutionally
guaranteed rights of the accused are supposed to apply to all - even non-citizens
- who are arrested and accused of crimes in this country.

Yes, Amurkins, even if a (gasp!) French guy were arrested for, say, a baby
rape committed in the US, he’d have the same right to a fair trial that any
American citizen would.

American high schools don’t teach civics any more, and it shows. Every day, in
every way, the Murkin people get stupider and stupider.

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