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Monday Morning News and Views: More Broken Promises

This morning I want to highlight the latest presidential broken promise: Obama’s failure to follow through on his executive order of January 22, 2009 to close Guantanamo. Last Thursday, the day before the promised closing date, press secretary Robert Gibbs said the White House still has no timetable for when the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will be closed, if ever.

This is an excellent essay by Stephen Handelman: The Guantanamo Conumdrum.

Civil liberties advocates warn the President’s failure to close the military prison, as promised, will lead to “grave consequences”

Will Guantánamo Bay ever close? On Jan. 22, 2009, President Barack Obama won worldwide praise when he signed an executive order pledging to close the controversial military prison “no later than one year from now.”

But on the eve of the anniversary of his promise last week, an anonymous “administration official” told The New York Times that up to 50 detainees would continue to be held at Guantánamo without trial for an indefinite period: they were, he explained, too difficult to prosecute, but too dangerous to release.

Last week, Dakinikat blogged about Scott Horton’s recent piece in Harpers about the “suicides” that were really murders. Andy Worthington, an activist and author of a book on the prisoners at Guantanamo also blogged about Horton’s article. Worthington writes that the knowledge of the cover-up of the murders of three prisoners

should lead to robust calls for an independent inquiry, but the problem may be that almost every branch of the government appears to be implicated in the cover-up that followed the deaths.

As Horton describes it, an official “suicide” narrative was soon established, and widely accepted by the media, if not by former prisoners and the dead men’s families. With extraordinary cynicism, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, the commander at Guantánamo, not only declared the deaths “suicides,” but added, “I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” What was not mentioned were the rags stuffed into the prisoners’ mouths, even though this knowledge was widespread throughout the prison. Horton adds that when Col. Mike Bumgarner, the warden at Guantánamo, held a meeting the following morning, “the news had circulated through Camp America that three prisoners had committed suicide by swallowing rags.”

Truly, is there any hope for our country? Look how far down the road to fascism we have gone! In another piece, Obama’s Countdown to Failure on Guantanamo, Worthington writes:

Barring some frankly unattainable miracle, this will be the week that President Obama’s international credibility, regarding his promises to undo the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” detention policies, takes a nosedive.

The President began well, freezing the much-criticized Military Commissions trial system on his first day in office, and, on his second day, issuing executive orders requiring Guantánamo to be closed within a year, and upholding the absolute ban on torture that had been so cynically manipulated by the Bush administration.

and then he goes on to document the series of cowardly actions by the Obama administration that have led to this point. Will Obama ever do anything to change course from the Bush administration’s cynical policies? It doesn’t look that way. In fact, the latest plan is to hold 47 Guantanamo detainees indefinitely without trial. There were protests from human rights groups.

“If you close Guantanamo but leave individuals detained without charge or trial you’re just making a cosmetic change,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented several Guantanamo detainees in federal court cases, blasted the administration.

“Today was supposed to be the deadline by which President Obama would close Guantanamo. Now it will be the anniversary of the president’s decision to abandon our most fundamental constitutional principles,” the center said in a written statement.

Amnesty International USA chimed in with a stinging criticism.

“If the president accepts the DOJ task force recommendation to hold anyone indefinitely, this policy will not keep Americans safe; instead it will ensure that Guantanamo will continue to be al Qaeda’s top recruiting tool,” said Tom Parker, Amnesty’s policy director for counterterrorism.

I heard a rumor this morning that the WH is now backtracking on this, but I couldn’t find a link. It’s hard to see what they will be able to do at this point–especially as long as Obama wants to “look forward, not back” and continue using his Justice Department to protect Bush and Cheney from accountability for their war crimes.

Finally, 20 combat veterans visited lawmakers on Capital Hill to demand that Obama’s executive order of a year ago be honored. There is a video at the link.

Today, 20 combat veterans are still on Capitol Hill, representing over 2000 veterans who signed the letter telling Congress to support President Obama’s call to close Guantanamo prison as a matter of national security. The world knows Guantanamo is where Americans abuse, torture, and “suicide.” Videos of these atrocities are then used to recruit anti-American terrorists.

The veterans of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are also urging immediate public action to permanently close the U.S. Death Camp, Guantanamo, stating, “For too long the prison at Guantanamo Bay has remained a blight on the American conscience. Guantanamo is a recruiting tool for terrorists that undermines our troops and undermines our security.”


Some other opinions on the state of our nation from around the ‘net:

In the New York Daily News, Mike Lupica has suggestions for President Obama’s SOTU address:

There is a State of the Union speech Barack Obama should give Wednesday night, needs to give and won’t. There is a speech he should write and deliver without input from all those geniuses around him who didn’t see Scott Brown’s pickup truck coming until it ran them all over.

That speech would begin this way:

“There are people who say I was a far better candidate than I am a President, and you know what? So far, they’re right about that. It is why I pledge to you tonight to become something more than the President of words.

“The theme of my campaign was ‘Change We Can Believe In.’ So far, I can see why even those who voted for me now wonder if that was one more empty slogan. But my hope, from this day forward, is to give our country change it can actually SEE. If I can’t, I realize I’m on my way to being just one more American out of work.”

Recently detoxed Obama supporter Robert Kuttner also wonders if Obama has the ability to go beyond “just words.”

The loss of Ted Kennedy’s former senate seat seems to have gotten the president’s attention. Obama is belatedly getting in touch with his anger, as it were. He has turned up the rhetorical heat against the banks. But will he walk the talk?

Are we seeing a true shift in the Obama presidency where he revises his theory of change and discovers that political progress sometimes requires confrontation before you reach consensus? Or are these simply gestures of expediency and desperation?

So far, the signals are mixed. With the State of the Union Address getting drafted and re-drafted, debates are still raging inside the White House: Should Obama, after the Massachusetts wake-up call, be more conciliatory, or more feisty; more progressive or more centrist?

On the banking front, Obama has begun signaling a welcome populism. First, even before the Massachusetts vote, he called for a surtax on bank profits — a relatively small and symbolic gesture than neither brings in a lot of money nor alters the banks’ toxic business models, but a start.

It’s a start? To me it still sounds like just “signaling,” symbolism, and P.R. strategy. Just words, so far as I can tell.

Cornell West is “calling out” Obama (video): From the transcript:

We need democratic policies, not technocratic policies. Your economic team has little or no concern about poor and working people. Job creation is an afterthought. You say the recession is over, but 10.2% of our precious citizens are still unemployed, and many of those have given up working. How deep is your love for poor and working people? Don’t be seduced by the elite.

followed by bla-bla-bla, lots of praise and general sucking up. Not really a call-out. But elsewhere at Truthdig there is a righteous rant from Chris Hedges on the recent SCOTUS decision that handed over what was left of our democracy to huge corporations.

Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place.

The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment. They can be the self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party, acting as if they are part of the debate and feel vindicated by their cries of protest.

Finally, at The Boston Globe, news that Obama may have finally called on Elizabeth Warren for help with the economic crisis: The woman Democrats need

ON THE day after Tuesday’s electoral loss, the Obama administration brought an unfamiliar face to the White House – Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor noted for her staunch advocacy on behalf the middle class and fierce criticism of the bank bailouts. Perhaps the administration will take a more aggressive approach to Wall Street, along the lines of what Warren wants. But for Democrats to truly take ownership of the economic crisis, Warren will need to play a more prominent role. Not just her ideas, but the force of her personality is needed.

Warren and the Democratic Party need to think seriously about her prospects for higher office. Going into 2012, Massachusetts Democrats will have no shortage of candidates to choose from, eager, party-trained politicians ready to take a run. Republican Scott Brown’s victory to the US Senate last week made clear that voters crave something besides the norm: someone from outside the traditional political structure who can speak to their everyday, bread-and-butter concerns in a credible way. Warren fits the bill.

Amen to that!

As always, please add your own favored links in the comments.


104 Responses

  1. Supposedly the SOTU will focus on jobs. Probably just more words from the President of words.

    • Will he focus “like a laser beam?”

    • maybe he’ll focus on Jobs’ tablet.

    • After 8 yrs of W and 1 year of O, they should really rename it to the FU address.

      • We are in year 10 of not having a real President or a real leader. How much longer can this last? And really we’ve had 1 real President since Johnson left office. Absolutely amazing.

    • “focus on” needs to be a SOTU drinking game cue. Because Dear Leader is not going to tell us anything he has actually done, or any concrete plans he will do – just what he will “focus on”.

      BTW, as much as I often dislike Bill Kristol, he got in a real zinger on one of the morning shows yesterday. He was discussing Obama’s new “take on the banks” stance, so he said he spoke about it with a WH person. He said he wanted to see if there were actually some good policy ideas in there, since he does (amazingly) believe some corrections need to be made against abuses.

      He says there was no there there. The WH staffer handed him what amounts to a brief press release. He LAUGHED. There was no “white paper”, which is what he was looking for. No actual detailed policy proposal. No nuts and bolts of how this re-regulation was to be done. He said that previous administrations, both R and D, have issued white papers for a new policy initiative – something with substance. Obama handed out a 2 paragraph screed that amounted to campaign bluster with no teeth.

      More “smoke and mirrors” presidenting. It’s a PR move to look “populist” and “feisty”, and not much else.

      • “focus on” needs to be a SOTU drinking game cue.

        also “let me be clear”

        • “I’m fighting for you.” “I won’t stop fighting for the Middle Class.”

          Should be “I never started fighting for the Middle Class, but I won’t stop what I’ve been doing.”

          • Oh, don’t forget “I have always said…”

          • “Obama to announce new initiatives for middle class.

            President Barack Obama, determined to show he understands middle-class struggles, is offering new initiatives meant to help people pay bills and save for retirement. …. designed to show sympathy with a frustrated public. ‘We are fighting every single day to put Americans back to work,’ Obama said in a statement released by the White House.”


            Let me guess — the benefits start in 2014. Oh, and he has no details yet, but is hoping for bipartisan support.

            The proposals are the result of the work of a middle class task force that Biden had headed.

          • That “proposals from Biden’s task force” paragraph is really from the news article, not my snark. What would Joe Credit Card Company know about middle-class problems?

          • Apparently coming in the Sotu is, “rescuing restoring rebuilding our foundation.” He’ll have to explain what he means by foundation. Because right now his foundation appears to be contributing more to wall street.

  2. Dissociated Press:

    Suicide bombers struck near three hotels popular with Western journalists and businessmen Monday just as Iraq announced the execution of Saddam Hussein’s notorious cousin known as “Chemical Ali.” At least 36 people were killed and more than 80 injured, security officials said.

    The blasts — coming in a span of about 15 minutes in downtown Baghdad — came shortly before state television announced that Ali Hassan al-Majid had been hanged.

  3. The CDS Administration:

    Such programs are, notably, much less far-reaching than Mr. Obama’s expansive first-year agenda of passing an economic recovery package, bailing out the auto industry, overhauling the health care system, passing energy legislation and imposing tough new restrictions on banks. That agenda has left him vulnerable to criticism that he is using the government to remake every aspect of American society.

    Top advisers to the president insist that Mr. Obama is not in retreat and are resisting any comparisons to the kind of small-bore initiatives that the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, used to try to get his presidency back on track.

    “In no way does this represent a trimming of the sails,” one adviser said on Sunday, referring to the package.

    • make that the CDS Oministration

    • I am really tired of Alexrod being the face and voice of this administration. Don’t they have a Labor secretary? Who is the Labor secretary, anyway?

    • Funny how those “small-bore initiatives” of Bill Clinton’s, that Teh One is resisting comparison to, actually worked.

      • They worked because the American people have a (in many ways justified) distrust of big govt. That is just a fact, and all the “but the majority of the country is really Liberal, they just don’t know it!” whining in the world will not change that FACT.

        Clinton got things done because he did simple, popular, small, common-sense reforms that WORKED. He showed the people in small, concrete ways that govt was not always a) over-reaching, and b) a wasteful fuck-up.

        That built trust, which then gave him the political capital to ask the people to trust him for the next initiative.

        Obama has done the opposite. He is actively reinforcing every damn meme that govt is power-mad, ineffective, interested in it’s own advancement, not the People’s, and out to destroy the middle class.

        • Yeah, and Clinton had EXPERIENCE from governing Arkansas, where he had numerous successful programs to improve health, education, etc. {{Sigh}}

          • Yep. Independents are the key. They turned on Bush not because they are all lefties at heart, but because they felt BULLIED and LIED TO by the GOP.

            The solution to that is not to be bullied and lied to by the Left, and the Dems are discovering that fact. But seem to be learning nothing at all from that discovery.

  4. Some Obamabot has been getting the same LTE published in papers all over the country under different addresses. She denies working for Axelrod, but the rw blogs are in an uproar.

    If they had paid attention instead of calling Obama a socialist, they would have known about Axelrod’s astroturfers long ago.

    • There are multiple Obot Astroturfers they have found now. Heh.

    • I’ve been wondering since the story broke –is “Ellie Light” a signal to someone, either to newsrooms or to someone paying for this letter writing or what? Why use the same person/name? Maybe someone would have still noticed the same letters popping up under different names, but this is just seems too obvious.

      • Bernanke will be confirmed. Some (erroneously, IMO) think that the sudden market dip was a response to BO’s tough bank talk. Bull – the banksters know that’s no threat.

        That little market panic muscle-flexing was a warning to reappoint Bernanke OR ELSE. We crashed it once, and we can crash it again. The oligarchs have spoken, so Bernanke it will be.

        • Krugman talks about Bernanke again today in the Times. He’s all over the place these days. Now Bernanke is responsible for creating new jobs? Thru what, cheap money? Paul sounds like he’s hyper-ventilating. Can’t imagine him as Fed Chair, getting all worked up and agitated.

        • I heard on the Thom Hartless show that the stock dip had even more to do with China economic policy changes of trying to cool things down for fear of a new bubble forming. MIght be true. Of course after saying that he went on and on about the evils of Clintonomics, so who knows. He’s nuts.

      • The Lightbringer….since Barack isn’t doing anything for the people, perhaps this is how he is spending his time 🙂

    • I expect Ellie Light is who nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, as well. Hopefully, some eager investigative journalist will find out who it it…

      My guess is it’s Plouffe.

  5. Krugman: Bernanke Should Be Reappointed

    gee – PK thinks he knows it all – wonder how he would do as Fed head


    • That has got to be one of the most tepid endorsements I’ve ever read. According to Krugman, the criticisms are all true, but if Bernanke isn’t reappointed, his successor could be even worse.

      If the best thing you can say about someone is that the devil you don’t know could be worse than the devil you do, you might as well not say anything at all.

      • One word springs to mind: condescending

      • That’s how they keep getting away with this…same with the people who the parties decide to mentor and run for office….vote for this guy, ’cause that one will be worse.

    • Interesting comment by Kevin de Bruxelles in a thread over at Naked Capitalism:

      I remember reading about six years ago in a French journal about the real function of Paul Krugman. I’m paraphrasing because I can no longer find the original source but they claimed his job is to protect the wealthy elite’s left flank. As a respected left-leaning opinion maker, he was to build liberal street credibility by being a rare pundit who could give voice to the truth, but only on issues where the decision was no longer in doubt (the Iraq War for example). But on issues of vital importance to the corporate elite, at the time the article was written it was primarily globalization, but since then we see this on TARP, corporate health care, TBTF, etc. his job was to cash in the political capital he had previously gained to divide liberal opinion enough to help get these elite-enriching policies past. He serves the vital purpose of setting the frontier of polite leftist opinion; any further to the left of Krugman and you are in the wilderness and in danger of being branded a radical. In any closed system of media control, he was the crucial voice to own. If any good is coming from the economic crisis and its aftermath, it is that Krugman’s power to push liberal opinion is diminishing.

      If this is true, it would explain so much. How often, recently, have many of us wondered why Krugman seemed to be supporting the conservative option rather than the liberal option on any particular idea?

      • but this doesn’t gel with Krugman’s behavior during the Clinton/Obama primaries… or does it? hmm…

        • I think it does.

          • a rare pundit who could give voice to the truth, but only on issues where the decision was no longer in doubt (the Iraq War for example).

            so then during the primaries when Krugman’s columns were more critical of Obama, Obama was a done deal and it was all for show?

          • this was Krugman *before* Iowa:

            I’d add, however, a further concern: the debate over mandates has reinforced the uncomfortable sense among some health reformers that Mr. Obama just isn’t that serious about achieving universal care — that he introduced a plan because he had to, but that every time there’s a hard choice to be made he comes down on the side of doing less.

          • Just so. It all ties in so well. It’s the same as the Dems always sounding very liberal while a Repub is President, but, the minute a Dem becomes President, they renege on all their earlier pledges.

          • One thing does explain pretty much everything about Krugman – he does not believe the national debt has any meaning – which actually makes me curious what Paul’s view is on our defense policy and position as a superpower. Guessing he’s a hawk.

  6. Politico says Beau Biden has confirmed he’s not running for Joe’s old Delaware Senate seat. That’s tough when he doesn’t think he can win.

    • I hate that, because he bucked his dad and fought hard for Hillary in Nevada. But he’s now tarred with the brush of the NooDem party.

    • Oops, sorry – not awake yet. I was thinking of Reid’s son, who I believe is also bowing out. Biden Jr I could care less about.

      *yawn* I need another coffee, before I have more brain farts.

      • I think this is good news. Now Biden can resign as vp and run for his old seat in the interests of the party and HRC can be appointed as the new VP.

  7. Can we stop throwing around the word fascism as if it meant “any time the government does something evil?” Fascism is a dictatorship based on the cult of a single person who embodies in himself the national or racial “idea”-it is a rather specific thing, and not the same as dictatorship in general, much less the still partly-democratic, partly-oligarchic situation we have right now. America could become fascist, but there is little evidence it will so far.

    As for people being murdered in custody and covering it up, that has a long history as well as any student of American prisons and police forces (or interventions in Central America) can attest.

    The government under Bushbama has not betrayed some ideal past, it has reverted to behaviors that marked much of our history (the oligarchy of the Gilded Age, the spying of Hoover’s FBI, the foolish military interventions of the height of the Cold War, the failure to truly deal with economic collapse of the Hoover administration etc.). We survived and even prospered in spite of our flaws in large part because liberals were made of stern stuff, and worked-sometimes for decades-to make change.

    Obama’s squandering of a moment that both offered the chance for and demanded an FDR is tragic, but there is no reason to think it is fatal. (If there is a fatal threat facing us it is Global Warming. And frankly, I don’t think Hillary or even a President Gore would do what needs doing on that front..)

    • Obama is a fascist. The cult of personality is there, the contempt for basic liberties is manifest, and the jackbooted thugs are well on the way to destroying whatever is left of a democracy in this country.

      The only hope remaining lies in the 2010 elections. Ideally, we the people can regain control of congress and impeach this monster. At a minimum, we have to hope that his legislative plans come to nothing.

      • OK, someone missed her meds today. :mrgreen:

        I don’t like Obushma, either, but come on

    • Tragic, but not fatal, and not to worry about fascism for now? Decades to make change? Sorry, but I disagree with the “calm down” tone of your comment. I hope you would agree that the anger, worry and disappointment that bb’s post engenders is, indeed, the stern stuff of liberals.

    • “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” ~ Benito Mussolini

      Fascism, Anyone?

      Number 5 of the 14 defining characteristics of Fascism:

      5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

      • Rampant sexism + Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause = SARAH PALIN’S WOMB OF EVIL! IT’S COMING TO GET YOU!

    • FDR’s definition of fascism:

      The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

    • “and worked-sometimes for decades-to make change.”

      A suggestion to just give Obama more time? Since it’s not actually “fatal” yet?

      And the “frankly, I don’t think Hillary … would do what needs doing” is nothing but a ploy to get attention away Obama.

    • “tdraicer, on January 25th, 2010 at 11:26 am Said
      “Can we stop throwing around the word fascism as if it meant “any time the government does something evil?” Fascism is a dictatorship based on the cult of a single person who embodies in himself the national or racial “idea”-it is a rather specific thing, and not the same as dictatorship in general, much less the still partly-democratic, partly-oligarchic situation we have right now. America could become fascist, but there is little evidence it will so far.”


      “In 1929, Italy was hit hard by the Great Depression. The Italian economy, having just emerged from a period of monetary stabilization, was not ready for this shock. Prices fell and production slowed. Unemployment rose…

      Trying to handle the crisis, the Fascist government nationalized the holdings of large banks which had accrued significant industrial securities… This economic model based on a partnership between government and business was soon extended to the political sphere, … , the Fascists began to impose significant tariffs and other trade barriers. [see HR1 — the “Buy American” clauses]

      In 1935, Mussolini boasted that three-quarters of Italian businesses relied on the government. Various banking and industrial companies were financially supported by the state. … with the special aim of rescuing floundering companies.

      Mussolini also adopted a Keynesian policy of government spending on public works to stimulate the economy. Between 1929 and 1934, public works spending tripled to overtake defense spending as the largest item of government expenditure.”


      • Are you insinuating that government spending on public works to create jobs is a bad thing? That was not the problem with Mussolini and the fascists. The problem with them was that they took away their citizens rights and freedoms, got embroiled in a war, chose the wrong side and did many evil things such as political assassinations. That is what is wrong with fascism and we are well down that path since 2001. Fascism is a very scary thing. I don’t think we are there yet but the pump is certainly primed.

        • “…took away their citizens rights and freedoms, got embroiled in a war, chose the wrong side and did many evil things such as political assassinations. ”

          Those are just external symptoms of the disease. Fascism is state control. It is the antithesis of free society.

          The real danger with fascism is that it is NOT a very scary thing. It seems wonderful: everyone taken care of, society improved, everyone has enough to eat, the trains run on time, orderly business transactions, etc.

  8. His royal whiny pants Andrew Sullivan is calling Jill Dorson a “big baby” (Dorson is the Independent from RCP who “feels sorry for herself” that she voted for Obama.)

    • Too funny. She is a big baby, but that’s because she’s an adult who allowed herself to be hookwinked.

  9. When it comes to Gitmo, Obama’s idea is not to CLOSE it, but instead his plan is to MOVE it…and, that’s nothing but a big waste of millions of taxpayer dollars.

  10. OT – Dr. Socks does it again


    I just love her sarcasm, she’s always on the money! 😕

  11. I got this is an e-mail today



  12. Plum Line:

    As you’ve probably heard, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz revealed the other day that he’d torn into Robert Gibbs in a private conversation, telling him he’s “full of sh*t” and that the Obama White House is “losing its base.”

    Now Gibbs emails over his account of their conversation, and it probably won’t do much to turn down the temperature: He says he pointedly accused Schultz of misleading viewers about the Dem health care plan in order to “get people to watch his show.”

    I think those two gentleman should settle it the old fashioned way – with a duel.

    Hand grenades in a coat closet sounds about right.

  13. Another e-mail




  14. Byron Dork:

    The White House is not disputing a report that FBI agents questioned accused Northwest Airlines bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for just 50 minutes before deciding to grant him the right to remain silent and provide him with a court-appointed lawyer — a decision that led Abdulmutallab to stop talking and provide no more information.

    The FBI does not grant rights, the Constitution does.

    • The Constitution does not grant rights, our rights are inherent as human beings. The Constitution exists to protect those rights.

      • But according to OUR Supreme Court enemy combatants and presumably anyone labeled a terrorist is NOT a human and therefore has no rights. I guess it is all in the interpretation even though when I read it the Constitution is crystal clear. Then again, at that time Slaves were only counted as 3/5’s of a person.

        • Please provide a link to the Supreme Court decision or opinion that stated that “anyone labeled a terrorist is NOT a human and therefore has no rights.”

      • I think the constitution mostly exists to limit the powers of government. We have our rights inherently, and governments don’t tend to protect them, they tend to take them away. So the focus in the constitution is one of limiting those that would try to take our rights away.

  15. Obama’s arrogance and CDS is astounding. Berry spills the beans on the reason he is stepping down in Arkansas:

    Berry recounted meetings with White House officials, reminiscent of some during the Clinton days, where he and others urged them not to force Blue Dogs “off into that swamp” of supporting bills that would be unpopular with voters back home.

    “I’ve been doing that with this White House, and they just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry said. “They just kept telling us how good it was going to be. The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.”

    He seriously believes that he can do whatever the fuck he wants, and the sheer force of his personal appeal will make it so, because he is after all so much better and more beloved than that nasty “riding dirty” Clinton ever was.

  16. From Joe Bageant (emphasis and brackets mine):

    After the ceding of issues and principles to ideology, the only exposure to politics the people got was to ideological warfare. And the only way they got to vote was based on ideology. The left was entirely sucked into this game. Now it’s the only game in town and will remain so. You cannot backtrack on pure meanness once it is unleashed, because if you quit playing the game, soften up and exhibit compassion, the opposition eats you alive next election. Calls you the kumbaya crowd and mocks you mercilessly through its extensive network of media puppets, a la Beck, Limbaugh. The crowd loves mockery. Meanwhile the nation continues to rot under a soulless ideological sun. Perishing for want of a drink from compassion’s cup.I think many Americans voted for Obama because in their minds he represented the promise of a more compassionate America. They forgot, or chose to forget, that the promise was a political promise. Which is to say it was all either just smoke [BHO], or unfulfillable by even the best intended mortal [HRC] in such a heavily armed high stakes whorehouse. Some of the best among us have thrown in the towel, lost all faith in the political process. Frankly, in my 63 years as an American I’ve never seen more hearts broken nor more bitter people created by a single event. And that includes the Vietnam War.

  17. Thrush could have purchased a daily pass (according to the paper’s website) to view the article. Makes me suspicious when he doesn’t take the time to do that.

  18. >Obama is a fascist. The cult of personality is there, the contempt for basic liberties is manifest, and the jackbooted thugs are well on the way to destroying whatever is left of a democracy in this country

    Absolute rubbish. Obama’s fan club has already pretty much collapsed, and was mere modern “branding” compared to the cults around true fascists. And the “jackbooted thugs” who would crush Obama’s enemies don’t exist. (One simple way to tell America isn’t fascist-if it was no one here would dare say so out loud, except in praise.)

    As for the Duce, his explanations of (or rather justifications for) fascism can hardly be taken at face value. But to demonstrate the histoirical complexiity that most who fling the word care to ignore, I’ll point out that none of Franco’s Spain, Horthy’s Hungary and Ionescu’s Romania were fascist: instead they were all military dictatorships in which the native fascist parties were kept on a short leash (and in the case of Romania, crushed by force when they tried to take power).

    There are elements that could lead to fascism in the American body politic-they have existed for many decades. But there is no sign of their coming together in the way that would actually produce a fascist dictatorship, and those who imagine otherwise need to read a lot more history (and I don’t mean Wikipedia) and/or take some nerve pills. We are no closer to fascism now than we were during the Red Scares at the end of WWI or in the early 50s-not very close. As for an oligarchy buying off the government-we’ve been there before as well.

  19. Make sure you have a barf bag handy. Crap from Kornblut, in the Stenography Post:

    The Internet (and mainstream media, too)

    Obama is the first truly wired president, the first to have Internet access at his desk and to converse regularly via e-mail. This fingertip access sends him “constantly” online, said one senior adviser, and the information he finds there influences his thinking and some of his deliberations. He also “uses the Internet like a normal adult,” said another aide, “reading news articles, checking sports scores.”

    As for what Obama reads online, his advisers said he looks for offbeat blogs and news stories, tracking down firsthand reporting and seeking out writers with opinions about his policies. Obama was particularly interested in Atlantic Online’s Andrew Sullivan’s tweeting of the Iranian elections last year, said an aide, who requested anonymity to discuss what influences the president.

    When they spoke for attribution, administration officials played down the notion of a Googling commander in chief.

    “I don’t think time permits him to be surfing all the time,” Axelrod said, adding that the president reads “magazines like crazy,” including the New Yorker, the Economist, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. “There are some commentators whose views he’s interested in, and he’ll read blog items.”

    “Periodically, I mention to him articles that I have found particularly interesting, and that he might find interesting, and a very high fraction of the time he has already read them and has some kind of reaction,” economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers said.

    Across the administration, people who work closely with the president said he remains fond of his BlackBerry and communicates directly, rather than running everything through his chief of staff. He sometimes sends e-mails late at night, an updated version of the late-night phone calls to the brain trust that President Bill Clinton used to place.

    Obama watches plenty of television, too. He flips through cable channels, sometimes lingering on the “cable chatter” he has disdained in public, aides said. And he keeps an eye on his staff, including press secretary Robert Gibbs, whose daily briefings are broadcast live on C-Span. “Certainly he will catch Robert’s briefings,” former communications director Anita Dunn said. “He’ll say, ‘Robert, I just saw you getting asked X.’ ”

    But Valerie Jarrett, the adviser who is personally closest with Obama, cautioned against over-interpreting his channel surfing. “Most of his television revolves around [ESPN’s] ‘SportsCenter.’ I don’t think there are a lot of television shows he gets inspiration from other than sports,” she said, laughing.

    • I’m at a loss here. The internet has been around for a lotta years – it was started as a Defense department net (arpanet – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARPANET). What on earth makes these people think Obama is the first? Are they delusional? I’ve been on the internet since 1982. Mind you, it wasn’t the same, yet, it was there, and it had a lot of good information, if you knew where to go and how to construct your commands (P.s. I was working on Sun workstation which was standard in our area for anyone in an engineering and associated field – not microsoft) IT was a long time ago, and I must admit I have trouble remembering all the details cause I’ve been out of the business for a long time, but there was a massive, must go to database back then, housed in the U.S. that we all accessed, however, there were certain areas that one could not touch. Even an attempt would result in an investigation. If these doofusses believe that Obama is the first president to be internet aware, then in my opinion, they are dreaming in technicolor – or totally ignorant..

    • So he reads Sullivan, the New Yorker, the Economist, and watches alot of sports. Explains so much. Establishment elitist who has more time for recreation than women or the hungry, homeless and jobless. Not reassuring.

  20. OK, everyone, time to play, pick the caption. Take a look at this image:
    My caption for this:
    Gibbs: Look at these blogs. Even after everything we’ve done and said, they still think we’re liberal.

  21. Am I being just obnoxious and narrow minded in thinking that having the potus watching espn in the oval office is somehow disgusting? Do these fools not understand that this country is on the edge of an economic cliff from which there is no rescue? They damn well need to be working on these problems 24/7.

  22. >funny, you don’t seem to have a clue what Fascism is.
    Why don’t you go read some and then come back and explain to the rest of us what you have learned. Start here:

    Funny, I’m a student of Eurpean history in the 20th Century (and author of a soon to be published history of WWI) who has read literally hundreds of books dealing with actual fascism. So sorry, I don’t need web links to fill me in. You, otoh…well, ignorance in this case is clearly not bliss.

    But I will point out that the “Obama is fascist” nonsense is basically no different than the “Clinton is a fascist” rants that filled the web in the 90s. It was ridiculous then, and it is ridiculous now.

  23. This is meant to be satire about Leno and NBC from the Journal Op/Ed. But invoking H!tler and Stalin so casually is callous at best.


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