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Back to Basics

If you keep up with the news, you probably know that Congress recently approved a bill that allows for the revocation of habeas corpus and permits the President to define what constitutes torture, among other things. I don’t want to turn this website into a political forum, but let’s say I’m less than comfortable with this.

A good friend of mine, Blaze Miskulin, has come up with a cool idea for registering a protest to the Military Commissions Act of 2006. He’s going to send a copy of the U.S. Constitution to each member of Congress who voted for the bill, highlighting the points where the two documents clash. He’s looking for co-signers on the letter. If you’re so inclined, you could chip in a few bucks to help cover the copying and postage too.

To quote another great American work of art:

“We got to take these bastards. We could fight them with conventional weapons. That could take years, cost millions of lives.

”In this case, I think we have to go all out. I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.“

”We’re just the guys to do it.“

Comments 19

  1. So as to keep with your wishes and not turn this blog into a political forum, but to contribute usefully to anyone who is interested in this topic, I offer the following.

    First, you can read the text of the Military Commissions act here. It is 86 pages long and a lot of important stuff is buried, as usual, so please read it. You can read the debate, bill, and see who voted how at the Library of Congress website here and here.

    Honestly, I haven’t read all 86 pages of the bill yet (but I have read the Constitution many times), and I share concerns that others share. I may not share panic, but concerns? Yes.

    Second, while Blaze’s idea is cool, and even those who disagree with Blaze (note: I am not saying I do) would have to admit that it is a good idea, it is not necessarily the most effective way of sharing your concerns. Do it, certainly, but also make sure to email, snail mail, and CALL your Representative. Make sure that your communications are not “cut and paste” rather that they are personalized. Personalized communications are more effective and calling is the most effective personalized communication. Call the office of your Representative and be polite but stern, that’s what the elderly do and they tend to get what they want.

    My advice stands for those who both agree and disagree. I think we do a great diservice to ourselves, our country, and our neighbors when we don’t express our opinions to those we have given charge to make laws for us.

  2. So as to keep with your wishes and not turn this blog into a political forum, but to contribute usefully to anyone who is interested in this topic, I offer the following.

    First, you can read the text of the Military Commissions act here. It is 86 pages long and a lot of important stuff is buried, as usual, so please read it. You can read the debate, bill, and see who voted how at the Library of Congress website here and here.

    Honestly, I haven’t read all 86 pages of the bill yet (but I have read the Constitution many times), and I share concerns that others share. I may not share panic, but concerns? Yes.

    Second, while Blaze’s idea is cool, and even those who disagree with Blaze (note: I am not saying I do) would have to admit that it is a good idea, it is not necessarily the most effective way of sharing your concerns. Do it, certainly, but also make sure to email, snail mail, and CALL your Representative. Make sure that your communications are not “cut and paste” rather that they are personalized. Personalized communications are more effective and calling is the most effective personalized communication. Call the office of your Representative and be polite but stern, that’s what the elderly do and they tend to get what they want.

    My advice stands for those who both agree and disagree. I think we do a great diservice to ourselves, our country, and our neighbors when we don’t express our opinions to those we have given charge to make laws for us.

  3. Fixed the links and killed a typo too. Thanks for the links. It’s always good to have easy access to original sources.

    I agree that Blaze’s symbolic gesture here is just that, which is why the Animal House quote fit. I also agree that it’s best to make yourself heard in as many different ways as possible. Speak, advocate, and vote.

    I’m fortunate in that I have a great deal of trust in my state and local reps. My mother runs the Beloit offices of Tammy Baldwin, our congresswoman. My stepbrother Dan is running Governor Doyle’s re-election campaign. I’ve known our state senator since I was a kid.

    This means that I can’t do much more with the people who represent me, other than help keep them in office. Instead, I need to ask others to speak to their representatives. I can contact those representatives directly, but it’s not as effective as a message coming from one of their constituents.

  4. Post
    Author

    Fixed the links and killed a typo too. Thanks for the links. It’s always good to have easy access to original sources.

    I agree that Blaze’s symbolic gesture here is just that, which is why the Animal House quote fit. I also agree that it’s best to make yourself heard in as many different ways as possible. Speak, advocate, and vote.

    I’m fortunate in that I have a great deal of trust in my state and local reps. My mother runs the Beloit offices of Tammy Baldwin, our congresswoman. My stepbrother Dan is running Governor Doyle’s re-election campaign. I’ve known our state senator since I was a kid.

    This means that I can’t do much more with the people who represent me, other than help keep them in office. Instead, I need to ask others to speak to their representatives. I can contact those representatives directly, but it’s not as effective as a message coming from one of their constituents.

  5. You forgot to mention Susie’s job in Jeff’s office and your friends in the State Assembly (Mike Sheridan and Chuck Benedict).

    Yes, Mike Sheridan’s staff person is a nerd who reads your blog (irregularly).

  6. You forgot to mention Susie’s job in Jeff’s office and your friends in the State Assembly (Mike Sheridan and Chuck Benedict).

    Yes, Mike Sheridan’s staff person is a nerd who reads your blog (irregularly).

  7. Hi Tim!

    Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, I did blow past Susie’s job, plus the long service of her husband-to-be, as well as Mike and Chuck. There’s also the years my mother worked for Les Aspin and served on our city council before that. I didn’t want to overwhelm people with the fact that I’ve been stuffing campaign literature into doors since I could walk. 🙂

    Mike’s not my rep, although my wife works in the area, and we certainly support him. Good luck in the election!

  8. Post
    Author

    Hi Tim!

    Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, I did blow past Susie’s job, plus the long service of her husband-to-be, as well as Mike and Chuck. There’s also the years my mother worked for Les Aspin and served on our city council before that. I didn’t want to overwhelm people with the fact that I’ve been stuffing campaign literature into doors since I could walk. 🙂

    Mike’s not my rep, although my wife works in the area, and we certainly support him. Good luck in the election!

  9. If you are going to Susie and Mark’s wedding, I will force you to sign my LOTR Core Book. Fair warning…

    While on the subject of LOTR RPG, I just want to say that I thought it had very nice balance of mechanics while remaining truthful to the spirit and flavor of the original text (far, far more than Peter Jackson’s movies). ICE’s MERP sucked in that way. The Rolemaster critical tables were fun with a good gamemaster but cumbersome and very un-Tolkien. I love your rules for LOTR, but sadly, have never been able to play with them. (My current group plays D&D because it is the Lingua Franca of RPGs and because we only get to play once every other month.) In that way, Decipher’s LOTR to me has been like HOL (Human Occupied Landfill)… A game that is wonderful to read. (Of course, the comparison is not quite accurate because HOL was largely unplayable while LOTR is very playable. My friends just like telling stories in the systems they already know.) So, in short, good work to you and your co-writers.

    I hope to meet you on the 18th.

    -Tim

    PS – I know Mike’s not your Rep, but in order to throw around that sort of political knowledge on a gaming blog, I had to mention Mike in order to introduce myself. As you said, “I don’t want to turn this website into a political forum.”

    PSS – Please say hello to your mom for me.

    PSSS – I’m also freaked out by the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. I hope that my daughter doesn’t have to grow up whispering, “Remember, remember the Seventeenth of October/Habeas corpus and plot/I can think of no reason why the President’s treason/Should ever be forgot.”

  10. If you are going to Susie and Mark’s wedding, I will force you to sign my LOTR Core Book. Fair warning…

    While on the subject of LOTR RPG, I just want to say that I thought it had very nice balance of mechanics while remaining truthful to the spirit and flavor of the original text (far, far more than Peter Jackson’s movies). ICE’s MERP sucked in that way. The Rolemaster critical tables were fun with a good gamemaster but cumbersome and very un-Tolkien. I love your rules for LOTR, but sadly, have never been able to play with them. (My current group plays D&D because it is the Lingua Franca of RPGs and because we only get to play once every other month.) In that way, Decipher’s LOTR to me has been like HOL (Human Occupied Landfill)… A game that is wonderful to read. (Of course, the comparison is not quite accurate because HOL was largely unplayable while LOTR is very playable. My friends just like telling stories in the systems they already know.) So, in short, good work to you and your co-writers.

    I hope to meet you on the 18th.

    -Tim

    PS – I know Mike’s not your Rep, but in order to throw around that sort of political knowledge on a gaming blog, I had to mention Mike in order to introduce myself. As you said, “I don’t want to turn this website into a political forum.”

    PSS – Please say hello to your mom for me.

    PSSS – I’m also freaked out by the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. I hope that my daughter doesn’t have to grow up whispering, “Remember, remember the Seventeenth of October/Habeas corpus and plot/I can think of no reason why the President’s treason/Should ever be forgot.”

  11. Hi Tim:

    I plan to be at the wedding, despite the fact that it runs against the Michigan-Ohio State game. The things I do for my family!

    As for the suspension of habeas corpus, my hope is that the Supreme Court will strike it down as soon as it gets a chance.

    Anyhow, I’d be happy to sign your book, and I look forward to meeting you in person. Thanks for all the kind words. And good luck, again, to Mike!

  12. Post
    Author

    Hi Tim:

    I plan to be at the wedding, despite the fact that it runs against the Michigan-Ohio State game. The things I do for my family!

    As for the suspension of habeas corpus, my hope is that the Supreme Court will strike it down as soon as it gets a chance.

    Anyhow, I’d be happy to sign your book, and I look forward to meeting you in person. Thanks for all the kind words. And good luck, again, to Mike!

  13. I will be sneaking peeks at that game after the ceremony and during the reception (I’ll show you a bar just across the street).

    If it makes you feel any better, I can only count on watching games during odd-numbered years or after the first Tuesday in November during even-numbered years.

    On the 18th, the Badgers have a lame, non-conference game against the Buffalo Bulls (who have only won one game this year).

  14. I will be sneaking peeks at that game after the ceremony and during the reception (I’ll show you a bar just across the street).

    If it makes you feel any better, I can only count on watching games during odd-numbered years or after the first Tuesday in November during even-numbered years.

    On the 18th, the Badgers have a lame, non-conference game against the Buffalo Bulls (who have only won one game this year).

  15. Hi Tim:

    Yeah, Mark and my father have already clued me into the sports bar. I told them if I disappeared for a bit between the ceremony and the reception, they’d know why.

    I know what you mean about your football-watching schedule. Still, it’s a sacrifice worth making for the chance to do good work!

  16. Post
    Author

    Hi Tim:

    Yeah, Mark and my father have already clued me into the sports bar. I told them if I disappeared for a bit between the ceremony and the reception, they’d know why.

    I know what you mean about your football-watching schedule. Still, it’s a sacrifice worth making for the chance to do good work!

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