TOM THE DANCING BUG: So... You've Been Indefinitely Detained! Helpful Information From Your U.S. Government!



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  1. If this is in effect until hostilities end can’t we just say that the war is over, because the terrorists have clearly won?

    1. I haven’t seen Percival around lately… he seems to have disappeared.  I’m sure he’s fine, though. If the US government secretly and indefinitely detained him for associating with time travelers, i’m sure they’d either have told us, or let him out by now.

  2. Anyone here still thinking of voting for Obama next election? Please step forward so I can laugh in your face.

    1. Yep, there is no doubt Newt Gingrich will reverse these policies should he be elected.  He’s the obvious choice really. 

      1. Palin rides around in a constitution bus, maybe she’s seen the constitution up close, or (gasp) even read it. Vote her president and Putin won’t rear his head over the pacific or something.

      2. “Yep, there is no doubt Newt Gingrich will reverse these policies should he be elected.  He’s the obvious choice really.”

        We have, from Obama, the first ever open assassination of a US citizen by the US military (twice!  with one of the victims a 16 year old boy), and the repeal of Habeas Corpus, and people are still beating the dead “lesser of two evils” horse.


        I would rather not participate than lend my endorsement to a murderer.  Fuck Obama.  Fuck this corporate controlled, fascist war machine of america that abandons the citizens of this country to poverty and death while orchestrating oppression and torture in other countries.  Fuck it.

        I’m not dropping out.  Nope.  I’m in this fight for the long haul.  But I will NOT, not for ONE MINUTE, let the democrat puppets think that they get a pass just because they’re not republicans.

        And you can save your tired bullshit about how I’ll be throwing my vote away.  That shit’s been playing on repeat since at least the 1960’s.  With all the momentum in OWS here in the states, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see 3rd party and/or independent candidates on a real upswing this year.  And if not, fuck it.  I’ll vote my conscience anyway.  I consider voting for a war criminal to be “throwing my vote away.”

        1. We have, from Obama, the first ever open assassination of a US citizen by the US military

          Strictly speaking, just the first successful and publicly admitted one. Past presidents have planned them; they just haven’t pulled them off.

        2. Not that Americans are known for your interest in what people from other countries think about you, but can I just say that I would rather live Obama’s tenure 100 times over than have Bush’s 8 years again. I really hated America for a while there and while I agree that Obama has been disappointing in some areas, he has hit others out of the park.

        3. I like that, and I almost fell for it until you added that line about the momentum of the OWS here in the states. Really good post, and sarcasm at its best. Thanks for the hours of laughter I’ll have because of it today.

    2. He is still the lesser evil. By a wide, wide margin. The Rep. party is putting forth a pack of vermin. They make Bush II look like a Boy Scout.

    3. nope. This was last straw. (Was previously “will hold my nose and vote”.) My state won’t go red anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Local and congress are what’s important. And oh yeah, since money is speech, our speech doesn’t really add up to squat anyway. What’s on TV?

  3. What’s your alternative?

    You *cannot* vote for an alternate liberal-leaning candidate in a first-past-the-post democracy without weakening your ‘side.’

    FPTP voting has, as its stable endpoint, a two-party state. That’s where the USA is right now, and barring major voting reform, against which both sides are unified in their opposition, you will never have anything but a choice between Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich.

    1. There are no sides; there is only America and its citizenry, and the vast majority have bought into this idea that they only have two choices. It is time to turn aside from political parties — which are only concerned with maintaining power — and put our faith in people. It requires people to step up who want to govern the nation fairly and others to support and vote for them. It can be done, if we have the will.

      1. Who is “we”?

        Decisions are made at the margin. All of Boing Boing’s audience combined amounts to a tiny fraction of the electorate. Consider the following scenario:

        A first-past-the-post election is being held with three candidates. 49% of the population is guaranteed to vote for Candidate A. 48% is guaranteed to vote for Candidate B. 3% is undecided, but miraculously, they’ve organized themselves enough to make their decision as a single unit. This particular election’s results are widely understood to be crucial to the jurisdiction’s future.

        The 3% consider Candidate C to be the only “good” choice. They find Candidate B mediocre at best and Candidate A utterly god-awful. Who will the 3% choose to vote for?

        If they pick C, the votes will be split 49/48/3, and Candidate A will win. If they pick B, the split will be 49/51/0, and Candidate B will win. Being only 3%, their only rational choice is Candidate B.

        Everybody who might listen to you is part of that 3%.

          1. I don’t see the flaw. As I’ve laid it out, B is still preferable to A, by whatever margin. The magnitude of the difference doesn’t really matter any more than that of the B/C difference.

      2. You’re right, the vast majority have bought into this idea that they have two choices.  They don’t seem to realize that it’s really only one choice.  No matter who we vote for, the same things happen.

        The people who are good enough and smart enough to govern fairly are too good to get the nomination and too smart to be politicians.

        1. I like this scenario, even though it’ll never play out ANYWHERE:

          Judge: “You have been found guilty of intelligent decision making, consideration for your fellow human and awareness of the global impact of your decisions. You are hear-by sentenced to  no less than 4 years at hard labor as the President of the United States”

          Victim: Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

          Anyone who *wants* to be elected to any position, be it President or County Dog Catcher, is by definition the wrong choice for the job.

          1. “…be it President or County Dog Catcher…”

            Don’t forget cops!

            This is awesome.  This system, more or less, is implemented in “Songs of a Distant Earth,” by Arthur C Clark (think I’m right on the name and author).

          2. querent: Cops aren’t elected. And many cops who actually want to be police ARE right for the job. Would you honestly want to rely on officers who hated their jobs & thus avoided doing them whenever possible?

            Yes, some police are useless, stupid, violent, and/or mentally unstable. But not all of them are. The problem, in my opinion, is that they aren’t psych-screened often enough, nor disciplined harshly & quickly enough for abusing their power and shirking their duties.

    2. Wait, we have a liberal-leaning candidate now?  I thought we had a choice between Neo-Conservatives and 90’s Conservatives?

  4. This cartoonist clearly hates America.  Well, it’s been nice reading his stuff over the years.  Wait, I mean. . . uhhh. . . not “nice” but “informative”, so that I might better understand America’s enemies.  Right?  OK?  (long slow exhale)

  5. People aren’t “disappeared” in America! Only in lawless dictatorships can intransitive verbs be used to make passive verb forms.

    Very nice. I may just need to use this as an email signature.

  6. Oh, and also… In before someone proposes electing a gay-hating, anti-abortionist, global-warming-is-a-hoax goldbug as the solution to our problems!

    Oh… too late…

  7. I’ve been infinitely detained by a governement that wants more and more to control my behavior.

    Problem is, i can still influence the way people think.

  8. It’s almost like intellectuals across the land have been warning us about this for a very long time. Chomsky, Nader, Hedges, Graeber, Stiglitz, Lessig, Klein, Bey, Goodman, Gonzalez, West, Palast, Zinn (rip) et al please feel at ease with the sock down your throat. Get the gimp.

  9. Gitmo is just a bad solution to a bad problem. You’re in the field, these men you found were either shooting at you earlier, or other people are telling you they are with the Taliban, insurgents, AL-Queada or what have you. Now you have 3 options:

    1) Shoot them all, and let god sort them out.

    2) Let them go, hoping they learn a valuable life lesson and go back to dirt farming.

    3) Detain them somewhere.

    OK – you’ve detained them, they are secure, you’ve interrogated them to the point that nothing new is going to come of it – now what? You have 3 options:

    1) Let them go, hoping they really aren’t marauding terrorists and that they learn a valuable life lesson, letting bygones-be-bygones.

    2) Continue to detain them.

    3) “Try” them, often with little ‘hard’ proof (see option 1).

    Now you’re Obama, and inherited this mess. What do you do?

    1) Order Gitmo closed, hoping like hell no one from there blows anything up until after the 2012 re-election.

    2) Just keep the status quo and keep it open.

    3) Come up with an elegant solution that frees the innocent, and tries and convicts the guilty.

    This doesn’t excuse expanding powers – but there really is not clear solution to the original problem and the current one.

  10. Actually, in my view Obama signed a bill containing language he disagreed with rather than shut down the American military by not signing it, which, let’s admit it, would be a completely unprecedented and extremely dangerous act. I blame certain members of Congress for the non-correction of the language permitting unlimited detention of American citizens, not the President. As for the famous “End of Hostilities”, I’m trying to assume that it will be September, 2012, when the last American combat forces are supposed to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. The logic for this is that the detentions have always been pegged to the AUMF of 2001, which came into existence to support the invasion of Afghanistan. Therefore, when that invasion finally drains away into the sewers of history (supposedly) sometime next September, the hostilities upon which the indefinite detentions are based will finally have ended.

    1. Because allowing the military to indefinitely detain American citizens without even the pretense of a trial is not a completely unprecedented and extremely dangerous act?

      1. Neither the president nor Congress can allow that. It’s unconstitutional, and will be challenged successfully if anyone tries. Yes, even with the Roberts court. Simple laws do not trump the Constitution. So in effect, Obama signed, under protest, a big law with a single unconstitutional clause in it, because: (1) the rest of the law was critically important; (2) the offending clause is ambiguous and is unconstitutional under only one reading; (3) under that reading, the unconstitutionality is so obvious, that there is no question at all that it will fall if challenged; and (4) because of the controversy about this already, there is no doubt that it will be challenged if an attempt is made to implement the unconstitutional interpretation. So, huge, direct, negative impact if vetoed; insignificant to nil risk of harm due to that clause if passed.

  11. I am going to vote for the craziest candidate that is electable, because I want to watch rome burn. The only way it will get better is if it gets worse… much, much, MUCH Worse! Only then will the rest of the 99% get their pitchforks and light their torches. OWS was the first indicator of a potential tsunami of public anger starting to form. Without “the straw” candidate (as in,..the last straw) that anger will simply just simmer and bubble up periodically until it can be marginalized, while the monied interests continue to squeeze the last drops of value out of our country.

    1. Hence my support for Paul. No more bandaids. No more extension of wars. No more expansion of empire. There is no easy way to get where we want to be. Either admit you prefer to perpetuate empire for the sake of your own personal comfort, or sink the fucker.

      1. Hm. Let’s see…

        -Ron Paul denies the very real science of evolution, despite the fact that all of biology, epidemiology, and genetic research is based on it.
        -He wants to prevent unwed couples from being able to adopt – ensuring that even more children will be left without families.
        -He wants to ban abortion, thus violating our Constitutional right of bodily domain & signing the death warrant for women who cannot medically carry to term without dire consequences (ectopic pregnancies happen, you know).
        -He seems to think that offering a low-cost public health care option will cause health care costs to rise, despite evidence to the contrary in at least a dozen other countries.
        -He wants to do away with the Sixteenth Amendment – and while I hate paying income tax, it does pay for our roads, schools, waterworks, power grids, police, military, and at least a dozen other public services we take for granted.
        -He wants to reinstate “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which (until recently) forced homosexuals in the military to hide & lie about their sexual identity in order to keep their jobs & avoid harassment or worse from their squadmates.
        -He also thinks that private prayer, by students, is illegal in public schools – but it is not. Staff-led or other mandatory/school-sponsored prayer & religious activity IS. In other words, a teacher cannot lead a class prayer, or demand that students attend a religious function; a student or student body can, however, pray whenever they like (so long as it does not disrupt classes or other school functions). The very existence of Christian Councils and student prayer groups in nearly every school in America shows this.

        Essentially, Ron Paul does not do research; whether it’s from laziness or willful ignorance, I can’t say. He also does not understand the powers that the President actually holds, and seems to forget about those other two branches of government that are in place specifically to balance out the power of the President.

        I’m sorry, but he’s only slightly better than Palin, imo, and that’s only because he actually has a few GOOD ideas. Not enough, unfortunately.

  12. Um, has anyone here done anything so radical as to actually read the offending two sections of HR 1540 (1031 and 1032)?  1032 has very explicit language:

    (b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
    (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

    (2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

    1031 is less explicit, but still well within the capability of a good constitutional lawyer to file a solid amicus brief:

    (e) Authorities- Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

    HR 1540 Subtitle D

    1. I’ve already debated this over at reddit. The issue is that many of theses public laws and codes contradict each other. As in my info below you can see that the government can already detain you if you’re a US citizen. The Applicability in this new public law is applied after an earlier law is used. There are so many of these laws and codes it’s just about impossible to know what they’ll use against an individual.

      -Reposted from another site:
      I just spent almost an hour looking up various US Public laws and codes. This caught my eye:

      Public Law 107 – 40 – Authorization for Use of Military Force SEC. 2.(a) it allows for the president to use force against any nation, organization or person who participated, aided, etc.

      The NDAA section expands upon this. It appears to me that Public Law 107-40 allows for the detention of US citizens. So once you’re detained you have to prove your citizenship. This in itself is a bit scary. There are so many public laws that I don’t know what the hell else might be attached to these two documents. Remember this administration (I’m sure the last one did too) killed a 16 yo US citizen without trial. What public law authorized that I wonder?

      [Edit] Shit, I’m probably on some list now that I’ve posted this!

  13. I don’t get it. Do you remember those first two years in office? I do and I remember opening the paper every morning saying, “This guy is trying everything.” One huge initiative after another was being introduced, then liberals stayed home in 2010, and BAM! the Tea Party roadblocks went up. Why are we doing this? You really want to throw in the towel to a bunch of wingnuts racing to see who can destroy America faster all while waving around a Constitution they haven’t read? I’m not saying the system is perfect or Obama, but I didn’t expect it (or him) to be, and I refuse to equate the two parties. I’m not ashamed to say I’ll vote for Obama just as I’ll stand by my belief that we would have been far better off under eight years of Gore.

  14. If we hand over political positions to the far right by refusing to go to the polls, then what you get is compromise (yes, the whole point of a functioning democracy) that’s far more to the right than we want, BECAUSE WE CHOSE NOT TO GET INVOLVED. He’s not running this government alone.

  15. ARRRGH! All of these arguments about who should and should be president are myopic and futile. It was not the president who wrote this years NDAA. It was not the executive branch that voted for it.
    The problem is with your local Senators and Congressmen. While you worry about the presidential election we have members of our legislature who have sat for decades destroying our country. We need to vote our legislators out and replace them. This is where you can make a difference. The presidential race is over rigged and makes little difference. However, our lawmakers can be easily replaced and they should be.
    Here are the people responsible for this travesty.

  16. Anyone who’s pissed off about voting for Obama because it turns out he was not liberal enough clearly doesn’t understand that this country is never going to be to your liking. But anger’s the fun of political involvement.

    btw, watched O’rly interview Clinton the other night and Clinton sounds like an effing genius compared to what I hear these days.

    1. Anyone who’s pissed off about voting for Obama because it turns out he was not liberal enough clearly doesn’t understand that this country is never going to be to your liking.

      With any luck, the civilized world will nuke us from orbit and take care of the problem.

      1. The philosophical stance of “My way or the obliterationway” is the source of your discomfort.
        And in that Fox interview, Clinton, who doesn’t care for Gingrich, spoke of how the two foes hammered out issues together. Arm-twisting, horse-trading, compromise. The way Washington politics has always been done. President Obama is exactly not that. Chris Mathews was right: he just doesn’t like dealing with people, never makes phone calls. It’s the fundamental qualification for the job he took. A complete FAIL.

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