Fortunately, the White House is issuing a pretty stiff veto threat to a law invalidating the US Constitution and pretty much Western Civilization for those accused of terrorism (or supporting terrorists, of course, or possibly knowing something about terrorists…) and locking people up indefinitely, US citizen or otherwise.
Yet, as usual, we have a Republican Party that long ago stopped caring about due process for non-Republicans and enough chickenshit Democrats peeling off at the slightest whiff of being “weak” to get it passed in the Senate. Where’s Newt Gingrich with a history lesson when you need him?
I thought they were going to start firing staff for on-air flubs?
I hadn’t been paying attention to the semantics but it’s no surprise that the Republican party’s cable network would try to assert that George W. Bush’s tenure began after September 11th and that the Fort Hood shootings constituted a terrorist attack. Republicans have been praying since last January that something would happen that they could point to as an example of Obama’s lack of diligence and God answered them with Fort Hood (or Allah since there wouldn’t be a story had the shooter been Caucasian). Never mind the fact that men and women actively serving in the military can’t by definition be considered victims of terrorism. What’s important is that Obama wasn’t there to stop the bullets Jack Bauer style and has therefore not “kept the nation safe”. It’s a not so subtle shuck; you have to insinuate that Obama is blameworthy for Fort Hood yet at the same time excuse Bush who was clearly forewarned prior to 9/11. But then again, Flight Suit Boy wasn’t responsible for anything that happened after 9/11 so why should he accept responsibility for anything that happened before?
In the United States, the Obama administration is in the process of appealing a sound federal appellate court ruling last April in a civil lawsuit by Mr. Mohamed and four others. All were victims of the government’s extraordinary rendition program, under which foreigners were kidnapped and flown to other countries for interrogation and torture.
In that case, the Obama administration has repeated a disreputable Bush-era argument that the executive branch is entitled to have lawsuits shut down whenever it makes a blanket claim of national security. The ruling rejected that argument and noted that the government’s theory would “effectively cordon off all secret actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the C.I.A. and its partners from the demands and limits of the law.”
This is a huge topic on the internet, one liberals and centrists are having with each other over the disappointment with Obama for picking up too many Bush-era habits of mind and practice. Even if it’s more rope-a-dope with some eventual plan to make the courts hem Obama in with rulings that become political armor. “We no longer violate human rights simply by uttering the words ‘national security.'” (because the courts told me I couldn’t anymore…) It’s still playing with innocent people’s lives. Much less worthy things have been given 24/7 coverage.
Yet it’s just not sexy enough for reporters, who would also have to look back at how they stood by while Bush re-wrote the rules or threw them out altogether. Wingers make a hot stink over getting an ACORN scoop and get bowed down to, while everybody ignores Obama playing it Beltway centrist on human rights.
Is this what teabaggers are talking about when they scream about feeling like Jews in 1939? Of course not. They think tyranny is social health care. As long as rightwing terrorists get due process, they’re happy.
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Just imagine if we had a counter-insurgency strategy against gangs, one conceived with as much brainpower and lateral thinking as the military could generate. What if we actually had enough armed forces on watch in our troubled areas to stamp out crime? Not as killers, as peacekeepers. Coupled with the end of the Drug War and reliance on fully staffed rehabilitation services…the possibilities are endless. If nothing else, outposts keeping an eye out, enabled to do nothing more than alert police (and defend themselves). Or if you’re about to say “I knew you were a fascist!” just use them to patrol ports and borders. And we get the manpower by bringing back troops collecting dust in Germany, South Korea, et al. Keep a small gang abroad for specific hot spots and missions in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Collect scalps, stand back. And the defense budget is slashed.
The bottom line: nobody is a fiscal conservative today if they aren’t willing to take a big bite out of defense spending. The teabaggers have nothing to say about the military industrial complex, so they have nothing to say.
Millions of people in this country â€” particularly young people â€” already have surrendered anonymity to social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, and to Internet commerce. These sites reveal to the public, government and corporations what was once closely guarded information, like personal statistics and credit card numbers.
“Those two generations younger than we are have a very different idea of what is essential privacy, what they would wish to protect about their lives and affairs. And so, it’s not for us to inflict one size fits all,” said Kerr, 68. “Protecting anonymity isn’t a fight that can be won. Anyone that’s typed in their name on Google understands that.”
Thus the government can read all of your e-mail and listen to all of your phone calls whenever it wants and if you don’t shut up about it, you’re letting the terrorists win.
If a person gets tortured, but no one sees or hears him, did he really get tortured?
Stephen Gray, and independent British journalist has a very intriguing documentary,that will be aired on PBS.Â Â Â The documentary is called “Extraordinary Rendition”.Â He interviews some of the victims of rendition, all carried out by the CIA.
Up until now we have heard that our gov’t has been outsourcing torture. That it’s not really Americans who are doing it, that they hand the victims over to authorities in countries where torture is common. However:
The dark prison was run by the Americans,” a former inmate, Bisher al-Rawi, tells Grey. â€œIt wasnâ€™t Afghani people flying the aircraft, it wasnâ€™t Afghani people who sort of shackled me and did whatever they did to me. It was Americans.â€
Although some of the victims of Rendition are genuine suspects of terrorism, there are countless who are not.Â The most famous being Maher Arar, the Syrian Canadian programmer, who was deported to Syria and tortured and then released without explanation or any charges against him.
Amy Goodman interviewed him yesterday about this documentary.
This is what he told her after he had interviewed a victim of rendition in Egypt who was also released without explanation or any charges:
And he also leaves behind dozens of people that he says are still in Egyptian jail, and they all wear a white uniform. The uniform says â€œinterrogationâ€ on it. And that means they havenâ€™t been charged with anything. They are still there, held in secret, without access to any lawyers, and theyâ€™re held indefinitely. And they’re all people who have been sent there by the CIA in the rendition program.
If you live in an area where PBS does not air, or if they aren’t airing this program it will be available on their website later this week.
I am really interested in seeing how NeoCons defend this. I guess the same way they defend the Patriot Act and other erosion of our civil liberties…
If anyone saw it when it aired, please leave your comments, I’d love to hear about it.Â I missed it.
A U.S. military strike against Iran would have dire consequences in petroleum markets, say a variety of oil industry experts, many of whom think the prospect of pandemonium in those markets makes U.S. military action unlikely despite escalating economic sanctions imposed by the Bush administration.
The small amount of excess oil production capacity worldwide would provide an insufficient cushion if armed conflict disrupted supplies, oil experts say, and petroleum prices would skyrocket. Moreover, a wounded or angry Iran could easily retaliate against oil facilities from southern Iraq to the Strait of Hormuz.
I was wondering out loud this morning during an NPR report about this very subject this morning on my way to work.Â HowÂ much would the online devoted want this confrontation if they had a taste ofÂ five or six dollarÂ a gallon gas, runaway inflation or increased American casualties in Iraq?Â Â Have they seen a map of the region and noticed Iran’s geographic advantages?Â Have they thought of who is supposed topick up the tab for this latest adventure?Â Taking into consideration the vastÂ disconnect between the way people live their lives and their understanding of theÂ systems that makeÂ it possible it’s not at all surprising to think that some believe that an attack on Iran would be another entertaining blip on theÂ cable newsÂ video game console.
Â Â Â He and others noted that Iran would not need to attack well-guarded facilities in places like Saudi Arabia or harass tankers in the U.S.-patrolled Strait of Hormuz, at the head of the Persian Gulf. It could simply collaborate with Shiite forces in southern Iraq to cut off Iraq’s roughly 1.7 million barrels a day of production, further weakening its neighbor while driving up prices for its own exports.
“Certainly when you lose 2.5 million barrels a day of Iranian production, which is the most likely case scenario, that will literally just make the market go berserk,” al-Awadi said. Asked whether the companies he worked with had contingency plans, he said, “The oil industry does not have contingency plans. We are not military people.”
Right, because that’s whatÂ big government is there for; to provide a hedge against risk.Â Either through subsidies or protection against externatilities, the energy industry is hugely dependent upon the government to protect them against theÂ real world (eg-free markets) which is why I don’t think we’re going to act against Iran.Â Whether or not fools like Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and the rest of the online devoted realize it, economically and militarily we are in a considerably weaker position now than we wereÂ ten years ago and cooler heads are well aware that an attack on Iran would be a disaster for the country.
WASHINGTON â€” The Senate narrowly rejected legislation on Wednesday that would have given military detainees the right to protest their detention in federal court.
The 56-43 vote fell four shy of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa. It was a blow for human rights groups that say a current ban on habeas corpus petitions could lead to the indefinite detention of individuals wrongfully suspected of terrorism.
President Bush and conservative Republicans counter that the ban, enacted last year, was necessary to stem the tide of legal protests flooding civilian courts.
Of course. Let’s streamline the whole legal system. If we just eliminated all the appeals, lawyers, judges, trials, and hell, even detentions, we could sort problems lickety-split. If you’re accused of terrorism, U.S. citizen or not, instant execution. Sure, it involves a little clean-up time, but only if you use bullets. Just give our law enforcement officials nice little cyanide syringes (ala this episode of Star Trek: TNG) and they can get home in time for supper.
But yes, anyway, the GOP says no on habeus corpus and the Bill of Rights. They’ve made their position painstakingly clear, year after year, so debating where they stand is pointless anymore. The only question for a person to ask themselves is, “Do I also agree with abolishing the 800 yr old cornerstone of our Republic and our liberty?” That should make one’s choices in the voting booth extraordinarily clear.
Before the vote, Democrats excoriated the GOP plan, which Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said “provides a weak and practically nonexistent court review.”
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., angrily chastised his colleagues for bending to the administration’s will.
“The day we start deferring to someone who’s not a member of this body … is a sad day for the U.S. Senate,” Feingold said. “We make the policy _ not the executive branch.”
Likewise, civil liberties advocates said they were outraged that Democratic-led Senate would side with the White House.
“We’re hugely disappointed with the Democrats,” said Caroline Fredrickson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The idea they let themselves be manipulated into accepting the White House proposal, certainly taking a great deal of it, when they’re in control _ it’s mind-boggling.”
The article has Republicans saying things like, “Al-Qaida is not going on vacation this month,” and Bush’s plan is “…more likely to protect the American people against terrorist attacks by those who want to do us harm.” Republicans fear-monger, Democrats drop their pants and hand Bush whatever he wants. Yes, it’s only for another six months, but since when do the Democrats start operating in Friedman Units? Gives me the itchy feeling that in six months, the Democrats are just going to cave again. If they flinch on stopping funding for Iraq, it’ll be certain.
Despite the tensions, the two countries appear to have common concerns – both support the Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and neither wants the Iraqi state to collapse completely.
Deep-seated opposition in Iran to any talks with the US has been largely overcome since Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, last year backed the idea.
Iran has become increasingly concerned at the growing strength of militant Sunni groups, including al-Qaeda, in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion and at insurgentsâ€™ links with Saudi clerics and officials. Such groups regard Shia Muslims as infidels and have attacked both Shia civilians and shrines in Iraq.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a war by proxy within the borders of Iraq and it’s a good sign that we’re sitting down with at least one side to address their issues.Â The question remains, however, over when this administration plans on confronting the greater threats of Saudi sponsored militant Wahabism (you know, the group responsible for 9/11?) and al-Qaeda sponsorship by our good buddy Pakistan.
Are Americans starting to catch onto the fact that Bush and the Republican Party have been pathologically unserious about terrorism, and that 9/11 was nothing but an excuse for wars and executive power they already wanted? Andrew certainly has.
The president’s trope has been that we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here. It’s a notion dependent on the absurd idea that a disparate, lateral organization of religious fanatics is somehow unable to to both. The truth appears to be: we are training them over there so they can come and murder us over here. We are honing their guerrilla skills by night, have provided them training by day, have either given them arms ourselves, or allowed Iran and Syria to send munitions. The icing on the cake is that the chaotic occupation has allowed some terrorists to skim the oil export industry for the money to keep the killing going indefinitely, and that the maintenance of an occupation of the Muslim country provides an over-arching motive for a new wave of terror. And so all we’re doing is waiting to see when this wave of Bush-created terror comes ashore.
I really don’t think the Republicans get the terror threat, do you? They just don’t take national security seriously as a party.
To be fair, it was Andrew’s trope at the beginning of the war too, but he’s paid his dues (a little more respect for those of us who were telling him why he was wrong then wouldn’t hurt, though). It seems elementary, but in practice it’s a lot to ask of someone to change their mind. Politicians have grown wary of “flip-flopping” in recent years, but there is a middle ground. The opposite end of the spectrum is George W. Bush, pathologically incapable of keeping up with the facts, rigidly stuck in an ideological fugue.
Even worse, to run as a GOP candidate you have to essentially affirm everything Bush has done and said, even if you gussy it up with some talk of “incompetence.” You have to be as completely swallowed up in a simplistic manipulative vision of foreign policy, full of platitudes to keep people settled while outrageous blundering takes place.
George W. Bush has not simply failed to fight Al Queda and Islamic radicalism, he has helped them flourish. Has this country ever been failed so greatly by a president?
WASHINGTON â€” Lawmakers who say the military has kicked out 58 Arabic language experts because they were gay want the Pentagon to explain how it can afford to let the valuable specialists go.
Seizing on the latest discharge, involving three specialists, House members wrote the House Armed Services Committee chairman on Wednesday that the continued loss of such “capable, highly skilled Arabic linguists continues to compromise our national security during time of war.”
Former Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Benjamin said his supervisor tried to keep him on the job and urged him to sign a statement saying he was not gay. Benjamin said his lawyer advised against signing because the statement could be used against him later if other evidence surfaced.
Bill Clinton wanted to open the doors in the military to gays, got slammed in the face, and compromised with Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell. The policy is obviously wrong, but offered gays the chance to enter the military without lying and prove their service to the country. And it offers us the chance to witness the Pentagon throw away valuable resources in the War on Terror that we cannot spare because of continued immoral discrimination against homosexuals. We should know what to do next.
Usually after you’ve been riding a bike for awhile the training wheels come off. But in Bush’s case, we have a remedial president who requires special accommodations in order to function. The job has been over his head from day one, and remains so, even though he’s had water wings, lane bumpers, those spoons with the extra big handles, everything. So now we have a war czar.
Congratulations, Republicans, you’ve effectively perfected a system allowing any idiot to be president. I didn’t say it allowed him to be a good president, but hey, get him that second term and stay committed to revisionist history for the next several decades and you can get decent returns. Don’t buy it? Please, you know damn well that if Iraq stabilizes within the next fifty years Republicans will be begging for Bush’s face on Mt. Rushmore.
‘Tis a pity…with just a few more years, Republicans could have gotten Bush a crown and a fancy chair and we’d be electing a prime minister to do the actual job of governing. Reagan was the first attempt, Bush II the second…beware the third, folks.
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Finally, the future decline of Saudi production implies that peak total liquids is forecast to occur in mid 2009. This means that coordinated conservation plans need to start now.
Further evidence supporting Saudi Arabia’s production decline continues to emerge. The evidence is not only technical and economic, but also behavioural. The analysis of the further evidence, described below, shows that Saudi Arabia is highly unlikely to produce over 8.5 million barrels/day of crude oil and lease condensate, on an annualised basis.
Saudi Arabia is in decline now. This means that the world’s production is in decline now. Future supply will be unable to meet forecast demands. Governments, corporations and individuals need to start making coordinated plans to prepare for the decline in world production.
I think we all know who’s to blame for Peak Oil. Yeah, that’s right….Bill Clinton!
I think it was Atrios that said that this was a collossal waste of resources and while I agree with that assessment I have to add that this sounds like a fantastic job.Â Paid travel, easy-going co-workers, no heavy lifting.Â Sign me up:
From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.
They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the departmentâ€™s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.
From these operations, run by the departmentâ€™s â€œR.N.C. Intelligence Squad,â€ the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.
But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped â€œN.Y.P.D. Secret,â€ the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.
Cake assigment if there ever was one considering that the peopleÂ you’re investigatingÂ make no efforts to conceal their activities or their opinions.
Here’s an instructiveÂ snippet taken from the International Relations Center website featuring an interview with Chomsky:
Shank: How can the U.S. government think an attack on Iran is feasible given troop availability, troop capacity, and public sentiment?
Chomsky: As far as Iâ€™m aware, the military in the United States thinks itâ€™s crazy. And from whatever leaks we have from intelligence, the intelligence community thinks itâ€™s outlandish, but not impossible. If you look at people who have really been involved in the Pentagonâ€™s strategic planning for years, people like Sam Gardiner, they point out that there are things that possibly could be done.
Frankly, the scope with which Bush is turning America into scorched ground has become too great and horrific to describe.
The investigation and movement for Alberto Gonzalez to resign is our nation’s chance to look at the Bush machine.Â The fact is that the prosecutor purge is just plain common ordinary mundane trivial business as usual for the Bush administration.Â That’s how they roll.Â That’s who they are.Â It’s their modus operandi.Â For six years the Republican Congress gave Bush a blank check as long as he could cast every move he made as “Strong on terror (nevermind the facts).”
The administration of George W. Bush has had the misfortune of being both misguided and completely unethical in the pursuance of their madness.Â His successors want to keep the course steady.Â It’s time to reject those who looked to Bush as a source of vision and wisdom for the past six years, those who enabled him every step of the way.Â Their judgment has proven to be in consistent errancy.
2008 marks a fork in the road for the direction of America.Â Even those of us who liked the idea of taking down Saddam have realized that it is time for America to show the world a different face, one that represents us far, far better than the thundering failure that is the Bush administration and their disciples.
The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.
Coming right after Bush’s signing statement, the pattern is evident.Â Bush still thinks he can do whatever he wants, and is, with the hiring of a new lawyer, gearing up to spend the next two years trying to prove it.
I shall expect our shiny new Democratic Congress to start leaning hard on privacy issues, and knocking Republicans into being in the right place at the right time:Â supporting them.Â Do we really have to put a Democratic President in office to enlist GOP support?
It’s worth a shot, I reckon.
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Contrary to signed treaties the United States has long endeavoured to weaponize space in it’s efforts to realize what is commonly refered to as “full spectrum dominance”. There are a few obvious benefits. Firstly, weapons in space would be a necessary defense against threats that have the ability to compromise space based systems of communication, commerce, etc. Secondly, given the substantial technological lead the US enjoys in space technology research and development, such systems would be useful as a new and effective lever of power both psychologically and realistically (or “realpolitik” if you’re an asshole). In a very enlightening statement published by the United States Space Command, the great interest in space as a serious theater of combat is made quite clear. The pdf file can be found here and it’s an interesting read. It’s a refreshingly sober assessment and lacks the vain histrionics most conservatives employ when talking about matters of national security.
Here are a couple of examples:
Although unlikely to be challenged by a global peer competitor, the United States will continue to be challenged regionally. The globalization of the world economy will also continue, with a wwidening of “haves” and “have-nots.” Accelerating rates of technological development will be increasingly driven by the commerical sector – not the military.
The medium of space is the fourth medium of warfare – along with land, sea, and air. Space power (systems, capabilities, and forces) will be increasingly leveraged to close the ever-widening gap between diminishing resources and increasing military commitments.
Probably not.Â It’s safe.Â You’ll be just fine.Â You’re in danger, of course, but from him.Â Don’t be afraid of the Bush administration and two more years of rubber-stamping Republicans.Â They will save you.Â They will protect you.Â Vote for them, and they will make the dark scary people go away.
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The Sunday New York Times featured an editorial that effectively takes the Boy King and his administration to task for bungling the supposed War on Terra. While this administration is fond of striking the fife and drum pose, they say their intentions (and results, for that matter) have been largely askew. The NYT charges that the adminstration is more interested in expanding the role of the executive rather than in finding Osama bin Laden.
Enter Michelle Malkin with an ace analysis designed to get the mouth-breathers half-cocked and ready for some blogging fury:
Which side are they on? The New York Times settles the question definitively with a hysterical, unreality-based lead editorial today recycling the BDS attacks on the War on Terror–but even more so with this disgusting pictorial tribute to Iraqi terrorists killing American soldiers, spotted by the vigilant Charles Johnson at LGF.
Of course, the only thing hysterical about this entirely staid editorial is the typical far-right response to it. Not only hysterical but delusional. Keep in mind that the “traitor” brand was earned by the Times for printing a story concerning the “secret” monitoring of bank records. A story that the Wall Street Journal ran concurrently and was a well known fact considering that the president himself bragged about it several times before.
With GW’s poll numbers regarding the war on terror in the toilet the far-right seems to think that the recipe for success is more of the same.