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Are Americans in Line for Gitmo?

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"Also impressive are the Sheriff's get tough policies. For example, he banned smoking, coffee, movies, pornographic magazines, and unrestricted TV in all jails. He has the cheapest meals in the U.S. too. The average meal costs between 15 and 40 cents, and inmates are fed only twice daily, to cut the labor costs of meal delivery. He even stopped serving them salt and pepper to save tax payers $20,000 a year.

"Another program Arpaio is very well known for is the pink underwear he makes all inmates wear. Years ago, when the Sheriff learned that inmates were stealing jailhouse white boxers, Arpaio had all inmate underwear dyed pink for better inventory control. ... Arpaio looks forward to many more years as Sheriff of Maricopa County."

Again, I am not making this up. You can check out the sheriff's Web site for yourself for still more.

I have to concede that I find the last sentence about Arpaio's future plans somewhat reassuring because if he plans to stay in Maricopa County, it means his policing policies would stay limited to a fairly small geographic area (although perhaps that's not good news for the people of Maricopa County).

But things could be worse if a President Perry picked Arpaio to take over the Department of Justice and Attorney General Arpaio had a chance to incarcerate more of us in tent prisons. But Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder hasn't exactly shown himself to be a great defender of constitutional rights either.

Perry Strutting His Stuff

Back in New Hampshire, after Arpaio provided a lackluster introduction, Perry took the stage, offering unctuous thank yous to Sheriff Joe. Perry then reminded us forcefully that he is a "law and order guy."

That resonated with me in an unusually personal way -- so much so, that I missed some of his other by now notorious remarks, like his appeal for all those 21 or over (sic) to vote for him in the New Hampshire primary and those from 18 to 21 to work hard and look toward the day when they too can vote. (sic)

Still, the words "law and order" stuck in my mind. I thought under what law did Perry several months ago call on Attorney General Holder to prosecute me and the other passengers on the Audacity of Hope, the U.S. Boat to Gaza, as it challenged Israel's blockade?

Because Perry had been busy glad-handing folks off to the side when I rose to plead guilty to booing Arpaio, the governor didn't see who it was. And, as luck would have it, he called on me for the first question of the Q & A:

"I'm Ray McGovern, and I thank you for coming here, Governor Perry. My question pertains to a letter that you wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder on the 28th of June of this year, and I quote: 'As governor of one of the largest states, I write to encourage you to aggressively prosecute those on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, who plan to interfere with Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza.'

"You may not have been aware that, three days previous, the State Department spokeswoman was asked three times whether Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza was legal and she refused to say the blockade was legal. I was one of those passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, and with my co-passengers we were wondering what you, as the governor of Texas, a 'law and order' person ... under what law did you wish to prosecute my co-passengers and me?"

Perry turned his response into a commentary on how much he supports Israel -- no matter what. Like all of his rivals for the Republican nomination (except Ron Paul, who generally refuses to play this craven game), Perry is not about to let anyone outdistance him in expressing unqualified support for Israel.  And so, he began:

"The issue was that ... a ... I am a very strong supporter of Israel. ... I've made my point; I must stand with Israel. ... I'm going to stand with Israel. ... And you're free to go stand with who you want to, Sir, ... but I will be standing with Israel."

"No matter what?" I asked. "No matter what" was his emphatic response that can be heard beneath a crescendo of applause from Perry supporters. [To watch the video of this encounter, click here.]

How Far Will It Go?

With the new language in the NDAA, it would appear that Gov. Perry and others might soon have all the law they need to stifle acts or words that give support to Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran or any other perceived threat to Israel, at least after Obama signs the legislation and some smart lawyers get to work on the definition of "associated forces."

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

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Anyone who writes on this website is now in danger... by Steven G. Erickson on Saturday, Dec 3, 2011 at 7:50:47 PM
haven't commented for a while...... by Jill Herendeen on Sunday, Dec 4, 2011 at 7:42:46 PM
To any Senators or Congressperson who voted for th... by Steven G. Erickson on Sunday, Dec 4, 2011 at 10:48:08 PM
... are among us. They reside in the open within ... by Dennis Kaiser on Monday, Dec 5, 2011 at 8:37:17 AM
James Madison - the greatest threat to our freedom... by Lance Ciepiela on Saturday, Dec 3, 2011 at 10:29:08 PM
It seems the U.S. army is recruiting returning vet... by marko polo on Sunday, Dec 4, 2011 at 9:12:11 AM
I thought I heard NPR mention something about the ... by Taylor on Sunday, Dec 4, 2011 at 6:14:00 PM
What is the job description for the US Attorney Ge... by John Jonik on Sunday, Dec 4, 2011 at 5:57:22 PM
someone as a enemy combatant? ... by bogi666 on Monday, Dec 5, 2011 at 1:50:17 PM
It will be criteria number one.... by Robert Tracey on Monday, Dec 5, 2011 at 2:10:47 PM
Obama has no need for Gitmo. His modus operandi is... by Perry Logan on Monday, Dec 5, 2011 at 3:51:30 PM