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Thursday, A sorry excuse for news

This story from Glenn Greenwald (referring to stories in the NYTimes & Washington Post) makes me Throw Up ::

Confirmed: Obama authorizes assassination of U.S. citizen

Today, both The New York Times and The Washington Post confirm that the Obama White House has now expressly authorized the CIA to kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield.  I wrote at length about the extreme dangers and lawlessness of allowing the Executive Branch the power to murder U.S. citizens far away from a battlefield (i.e., while they’re sleeping, at home, with their children, etc.) and with no due process of any kind.  I won’t repeat those arguments — they’re here and here — but I do want to highlight how unbelievably Orwellian and tyrannical this is in light of these new articles today..

As Glenn goes on to point out ::

No due process is accorded.  No charges or trials are necessary.  No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations (which he has done vehemently through his family).  None of that.

Instead, in Barack Obama’s America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens — and a death penalty imposed — is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone’s guilt as a Terrorist.  He then dispatches his aides to run to America’s newspapers — cowardly hiding behind the shield of anonymity which they’re granted — to proclaim that the Guilty One shall be killed on sight because the Leader has decreed him to be a Terrorist.

Plus — See the first Update.  The President himself knows (or used to know) that it’s wrong.


The health care/insurance issue isn’t as settled as you might think:

BostonBoomer sent me this link:

Massachusetts Health Insurance “Market” Just Failed, And There’s Worse to Come

Jon Walker writes about the decision of private health insurers in Massachusetts to withhold offers for new plans in the state’s Health insurance “Connector.” That follows the Boston Globe report of a decision by Massachusett’s insurance regulator to deny most of the requests by insurers to raise their insurance premiums.

Jon traces the problem to the absence of a public option, which could guarantee consumers an alternative/safety net if the private insurers withhold their products. He also faults the ability of private insurers to sell insurance outside the exchange/Connector. I think he’s right, but there’s an even more fundamental problem at work here, and it reminds me of what happened in California’s electricity market.

The short version is that Massachusetts appears to be inadvertently fostering an artificial shortage in health insurance. And they’re doing it for the same reasons that California authorities inadvertently created or exacerbated artificial shortages in electricity that repeatedly caused blackouts during the 2000-2001 crisis.

We’ve seen this before, and unless Massachusett’s Governor and regulators are smarter than California’s Governor and Public Utility Commission, this is not going to turn out well. So what’s going on? . . .

And from the New York Times, some cost estimates ::

How Much Will the High-Risk Pools Cost?

Premiums may be no higher than the average cost of an individual policy in the area covered by the plan. This is a significant improvement over current high-risk pools in some states, where premiums can be twice as high as a typical policy. In addition, older people in the new plans cannot be charged more than four times younger ones. The maximum out-of-pocket expenses that people in the new plans will be required to pay is $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families.

No more than 4 times as much as younger ones.  Isn’t that sweet?

l0


Kyrgyzstan opposition seizes power in unrest that leaves dozens dead

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan
Opposition leaders in the small, mountainous Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan seized power in the capital early Thursday after thousands of protesters ransacked government buildings and riot police fired on crowds, killing dozens of people.

If these links seem random, disjointed and uninspired it’s probably because they are.  I’m going through a transition period that seems most similar to that period right after our invasion of Iraq after months of protest.

It’s implied that the news seems mildly interesting but not actually important:

Thinking about the story about Obama’s call for the assassination of al-Alwaki — isn’t that actually a Death Squad — and not just a health insurance reform metaphor? It seems like a big deal – a major change in direction – but, The New York Times story linked to by Glenn (above) is filed under Middle East & the Washington Post story is under the World Desk.  Both stories buried far from the front page.

If the Times & the Post planned to follow up on these stories would they be buried like that?

That’s what I’m thinking about.  What about you?

89 Responses

  1. Oh, and please share your links!

  2. Foxes guarding the hen house…Go Brooksley Born!

    Fed Reviews Find Errors in Oversight of Citigroup

    The panel heard a strong defense of the Fed from its former chairman, Alan Greenspan, who fended off a barrage of questions about the Fed’s failure to crack down on subprime mortgages and other abusive lending practices during his tenure.

    But the excerpts, culled from thousands of documents turned over to the bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, painted a troubling picture of the Fed’s oversight of Citigroup both before and after Mr. Greenspan left the Fed — and again after Citigroup received three taxpayer-financed bailouts.

    A particularly sharp exchange occurred between Mr. Greenspan and Brooksley E. Born, a panelist and former regulator who clashed with Mr. Greenspan and members of the Clinton administration over derivatives regulation — and lost that battle. In tough questioning on Wednesday, Ms. Born called on Mr. Greenspan to defend his longtime deregulatory bent.

    “The Fed utterly failed to prevent the financial crisis,” she said. “The Fed and the banking regulators failed to prevent the housing bubble. They failed to prevent the predatory lending scandal. They failed to prevent our biggest banks and bank holding companies from engaging in activities that would bring them to the verge of collapse without massive taxpayer bailouts.”

    “Didn’t the Federal Reserve fail to meet its mandates, fail to meet it responsibilities?” she added.

    Mr. Greenspan replied that there was a failure: an underestimation of the “state and extent” of financial risks and the ability of private counterparties to assess them.

    “The notion that somehow my views on regulation were predominant and effective at influencing the Congress is something you may have perceived,” he said. “But it didn’t look that way from my point of view.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/08/business/08panel.html

    • (laughing) “The notion that….”

      • Why does Alan Greenspan still have a microphone–can someone please explain why anyone is listening to this man?

        • Maybe for the same reason John McCain still gets invited on the all the Sunday shows and Donna Brazile appears on CNN? They are favorites of the corporate media?

          I can remember the day when actual liberals were interviewed on TV. I guess it must have been back before Reagan. I can recall the days when you could even hear from someone like Noam Chomsky on TV. Those were the days….

          • people in this country don’t know what a real socialist looks like or sounds like

          • It’s kind of sad because we have an actual socialist in Congress and just about all the things that have been proposed by the Obama admin and been called socialism has been opposed by the socialist in Congress.

    • I listened to that hearing with Born & Greenspan; it was such a delicious moment for, professionally, to hold him accountable.

      Watching the same Commission hearing now on C-Span 2: they’re pretty much ripping Robert Rubin a new one….factually, thoroughly.

      I was unaware that it was actually Citigroup that “invented” the suprime mortgage concept and later, the CDO’s that sliced and diced them; other bankers followed their lead.

      Is it just a coincidence that Citigroup has laid pretty low, while other banking hustlers have been trashed by the administration and the press?

      • Citigroup is still on life support.

        • I knew that, Dak (they took $45 Billion in aid), but I was really talking about the rage in the public media—Citigroup was not as obvious a target as Countrywide and others, given that Citigroup actually originated the concept Countrywide et al ran wild with, slicing and dicing them into traunces and CDO’s, and then selling this crap all over the world as AAA investments.

          I got no axe to grind here, but I’ve watched a whole lotta these Congressional C-Span things, and this is the first time I’ve seen 2 whole days dedicated to Citigroup itself, given that they were the creators of suprime, CDO’s, etc.

          I’ll say it: Given their connections because of Rubin and the Dem Party, I suspect they were being given some political cover in the initial public rage and Congressional flogging.

          That’s what I really meant by “laying low.”

      • But it was noticeable that today Born’s questioning of Rubin was not in the least hostile, and that later he pointed out that he did not oppose regulating derivatives.

        In fact, he supported regulating them.

        I have not seen the Frontline program, but it wouldn’t be the first time the media gave a wrong impression for the sake of creating a stir.

        • Born wasn’t hostile, but she’s so professional that it’s hard to know whether she knew he wasn’t telling the whole truth in his answers.
          There were several other questioners who were not as “polite” as she was, and who seemed to think he was “remembering” incorrectly.

          I’m not sure, now—but the “The Warning” on Frontline did , indeed, give the impression that Rubin joined Greenspan and Summers and Gramm and others in rejecting her urging of regulation, and ridiculed her for suggesting any such thing.

          For whatever else, she was right all along.

          • But the impression given by Frontline is incorrect. No one today challenged Rubin today when he said he supported regulating derivatives and in fact agreed with Born.

            He said early in the hearing that Born was right, and she didn’t raise the issue at all in her questions.

            She was right, and so was he.

          • You must not have seen Angelides come in later and literally rip him a new one , setting most of the blame for Citigroup’s failures squarely on Rubin’s shoulders. There were others watching Rubin very doubtfully, with light disgust on their faces.

            Rubin may claim that now, but he didn’t speak forcefully against Summers or Greenspan THEN.

          • I did see it, including Angelides. What Angelides said had nothing to do with my point, which was about regulating derivatives.

            I have seen enough media to know that one should always check what they say with the facts.

          • As to people’s supposed facial expressions, I don’t think analyzing that is worth anything.

  3. Initial jobless claims increase unexpectedly
    New claims for jobless benefits increase unexpectedly, while total benefit rolls drop

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Initial-jobless-claims-apf-355511092.html?x=0&.v=7

    So, how will Kos & Co. rationalize Obama’s (a.k.a. Bush III) insistence of the rule of law regarding closing Guantanamo and extended rendition, but in some cases it’s ok to just shoot someone down like a dog in the street? My head hurts.

    • At what point is it no longer “unexpected?”

      When their predictions are more based in reality?

      • No one could have expected … means they were too busy counting their bonuses to pay attention.

    • “My head hurts.”

      I’m having the same feelings I had when GW Bush was in office. So many egregious things going on, I don’t know which battles to put my energy into.

      • I feel exactly the same way.
        Sometimes, during the Bush administration, I ‘d pretend that I had emigrated to another country and just ignore the news for a few weeks, It helped keep me sane; I think I’ll try that again.

    • “This is great news!”
      -Harry Reid

  4. Assassinating a US citizen is an impeachable offense, imo, but it is ironic that even a hypothetical GOP 2011 congress won’t impeach him for this because he’s assassinating a “terrorist”, after all. How do we know he’s a terrorist? Because the WH said so.

    • …. “everyone knows he is”

    • I’ve been watching TL and other blogs for the required civil liberties outrage. Not a peep from Jeralynn or Digby. Only Glenzilla, with close to 600 outraged comments.

      Jeralynn’s busy discussing Dancing With the Stars. Ugh.

      • Just Suburban Guerrilla, Susie’s talking about it.

      • I guess Glenn Greenwald must feel pretty embarrassed about voting for Obama at this point:

        Just to get a sense for how extreme this behavior is, consider — as the NYT reported — that not even George Bush targeted American citizens for this type of extra-judicial killing (though a 2002 drone attack in Yemen did result in the death of an American citizen). Even more strikingly, Antonin Scalia, in the 2004 case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, wrote an Opinion (joined by Justice Stevens) arguing that it was unconstitutional for the U.S. Government merely to imprison (let alone kill) American citizens as “enemy combatants”; instead, they argued, the Constitution required that Americans be charged with crimes (such as treason) and be given a trial before being punished. The full Hamdi Court held that at least some due process was required before Americans could be imprisoned as “enemy combatants.” Yet now, Barack Obama is claiming the right not merely to imprison, but to assassinate far from any battlefield, American citizens with no due process of any kind.

        Unbelieveable. I hate to think who the replacement for Stevens is going to be. We might as well be living in 1930s Germany.

      • http://www.talkleft.com/story/2010/4/6/151227/0783

        Jeralyn put up a post about it, she just used a really boring, soft headline and generated no interest from her readers. Then, one has to remember that her readers are currently afraid to say anything that might be considered critical against the administration and risk the bully attacks from her resident pitbulls.

  5. I just watched a video of a crazy ass, 96 year old bungee jumper at CNN. http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-429989?hpt=C2
    In one thought I think it is amazing and the next I am wondering if he’s wearing a diaper. I’m a rather boring, safety conscious person, a real chicken, so this to me is amazing! It may not be “news” but it’s interesting to see what people will do for “fun” these days. I guess at 96 he isn’t afraid of dying.

    • It’s not dying, it’s ending up paralyzed and on a ventilator for the rest of my life.

  6. I think that Obama’s ordering an assassination of an American citizen could credibly come under the Constitutional prohibition of bills of attainder and as such would most certainly be an impeachable offense. The irony is that the right wingers who’ve been yawping “Impeach Obama!” for his so-called “socialism” and “Muslim sympathies” will be just fine with an extra-judicial murder, as long as the victim is brown (or at least off-white) and speaks Arabic.

  7. Spammy got me–not sure what triggered him.

  8. I am waiting for groups such as Moveon.org, Worldcantwait, or Unitedforpeace to organize some form of marches and protests but I am not holding my breath. It seems OBamaLove has clouded all common sense and decency. Where is the outrage?

    • I’d like to see Eric Holder in a press conference, answer questions about the 9-11 killer needing law and order, but this guy on the hit list NOT.

      I’d like to see a press brave enough to ask those questions.

      But I won’t hold my breath.

      • Does Eric Holder have pressers? I don’t recall seeing him much. Seems like we used to hear from Reno, Meese, and Gonzalez a lot on things but maybe it’s just me and my old lady memory failing.

  9. this set a very dangerous president’s if it becomes ok for BO and acceptable to do this then whats next .will it become acceptable to assassinate
    any united state citizen anywhere for any reason. ?

  10. Yeah — I feel the same way about motorcycle riding. I have friends who are avid cyclers and I mean no offense to anyone who does it but it strikes me as the height of recklessness. I’ve known many, many, many people killed or permanently debilitated by a motorcycle accident. Last year a friend of mine was in shock trauma after one of these and the ICU doctor told his wife that 90 percent of people in shock trauma are motorcycle-accident victims.

    Just seems like way, way, too high a price to pay…of course, these days I’m terrified to even drive a car with all the morans out there texting while driving.

    Oh, and Obama is worse than Bush. There, I said it and I mean it. He’ll get horrible, wingnut-wet dream policies passed that Bush could only dream about, and befuddled Democrats will continue to support him.

    • At that point, they won’t be wingnut-wet dream policies anymore. They’ll be policy, and the precedent will be set.

      Unless, of course, the SC, down the road, throws it out. But that would take someone with courage and stature to object and take it to the SC. I don’t hear the ACLU complaining yet, do you?

  11. ok repubs conserve tea party people your been saying BO should bempeachable for some time now . so hers your chance to go for it now uv got a lagit reason Assassinating a US citizen is an impeachable offense. go for it.

  12. This one really has me puzzled from the AP:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html?x=0&.v=1

    About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.

    • That’s almost unbelievable. Almost half of us pay no income taxes?

      As for the death order, Obama is now a full fledged war criminal on his own and could stand trial in the Hague. Maybe along with Bush and Cheney, in a just world.

      • wow, so much for that inspirational Nobel peace prize … major FAIL

        • You know you’ve went too far when you’re as far right as Andrew McCarthy, who loves O’s assassination order.

      • It’s not strange at all when you realize that the 20% of the population holds 85% of the wealth. When the remaining 80% divvy up the 15% that’s left, the fall-off curve is going to be pretty steep.

        My question is, why aren’t that top 20% paying 85% of the taxes?

        • Because tributes, er, taxes should flow to them. Why else did they buy all those politicians & judges for?

        • It’s the New Feudalism. Welcome to Anno Domini 1390.

    • The poorer ones will still pay social security and medicare taxes if they have jobs, not to mention gas taxes, sin taxes, sales taxes, etc.

    • I was going to link to this — I’m really sorry it got dropped. In one of the stories I read they even walked through the tax return of a mythical couple.

    • That’s very hard to believe.

      I thought the Alternative Minimum Tax was intended to prevent that kind of problem

      I don’t know anyone personally who’s getting out of paying any taxes.

      • I’ve been pretty amazed at the checks I’ve been getting back from the IRS for several years. The Lifelong learner tuition credit has really helped me pay for schooling. The tuition in Louisiana is so low for residents it amounts to having tuition paid for in my circumstance. It’s why my exhusband is thrilled to have the kids go to university down here.

    • This is actually nothing new.

      With all the whining, American still pay little to no taxes compared to any other industrialized country.

      Let’s not even get into what corporations in the US pay in taxes. It always make me guffaw when Rightwingers claim that corporation would leave the US because of “punitive taxes”.

      • They DO leave, in a sense. They open offices in foreign countries (London, Bermuda, Caymen) and keep much of their money in THOSE branches instead.

        International corporations are notorious for doing this (GE, Texaco, Citigroup, etc).

        Those taxpayer subsidies GE got for building solar and wind energy parts? That money was spent on their factory in China, where the minimum wage is $5.50 per hour—-muuuuch bigger profits for GE, which they turn around and donate to Obama campaigns.

        • Forgot to add: India is literally salivating over all the new jobs they’ll get when the Healthcare computerized records jobs are outsourced over there. They’re “gearing up” for all the new work to be done.

        • Yes, since BO shelved the plan to raise 200 billion taxing the profits of overseas operations of US multinationals, these companies will continue to expand in developing markets where costs and taxes are both lower. If BO had gone ahead with the plan to tax those profits at US rates, many of the jobs bleeding out of the country would have been pulled back. The threats made by Microsoft, GE and others that they would then be compelled to incorporate and move their HQs outside the US was a ridiculous bluff that BO willingly fell for.

  13. Did anyone see this?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wife_selling
    It supposedly was featured on the front page of wikipedia on April 1 and it is still up. I had to read the discussion to find out it was someone’s idea of an amusing April Fool prank.
    Ha, Ha, Ha, selling women while they laugh and appear to enjoy it. What’s for next April, some amusing lynching? Jokes about Jews in car ash trays? Child pornography ? No, wait, not appropriate, those are groups we have to treat with respect. /sarcasm

    • that’s disgusting!

      • Remember the old soup commercials–“my wife, I think I’ll keep her”–what brand was that?

        Not funny, especially when you think about how economically dependent women were back then.

        My landlady’s husband just moved back in, after several months absence. When he left the last time, at two in the morning, there was blood all over the floor, a police car in front, and the children were screaming. For several weeks after, the wife had two black eyes and bruises on her face. But what choice does she have? She has a newborn and speaks no English. When he was gone she had to go to the church pantry for food. She is risking her life to feed herself and her children, while Wikipedia yuks it up about selling women.

    • The worst part is that the article appears genuine. I am filled with rage.

    • Doesn’t wikipedia have some guideline about hate speech? I can’t see some similar thing about African Americans staying up that long–or for that matter even being put up in the first place.

      Is there a wiki-lawyer in the house?

  14. I’m trying to figure out why the public can’t make the insurance company antics in Mass a major bonus for themselves. This is the stuff class action lawsuits should be made of, and really should be the beginning of the end for these crooks. Are the shareholders going to be happy if the antics cause massive cancellations of policies? I think this could be turned to our advantage, and the D’s need to be really concerned about the public reaction to this come November.

  15. I wonder what the rules of engagement are on the murder? If he is saying, “bomb them even if an American citizen is around,” then that’s one thing. If he is saying “go find this person and kill him,” then that’s another thing, and is deplorable and impeachable. Frankly, I’m not sure, as usual, what he is saying.

    • It’s the second one. He’s on a target list for both military and CIA.
      I think it should be criminal to target non-citizens also, but targeting a US citizen for death should be a clear line even to the most hawkish, imo.
      It’s one thing for me to suspect that the CIA does actually do black ops assassinations, it’s another to know that they actually have NSC meetinsg and get the President’s approval on who goes on The List. “How about this guy, sir? Oh, yeah, real bad egg that one. Highly undesirable. Check out that beard, ugh. Shoot on sight.”
      What ever happened to arrest warrants? Miranda rights? Innocent until proven guilty?

  16. “the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA is authorized to kill”

    I think both of those news stories are spinning this to make it more ambiguous and a little more interesting. The above statement from Washington Post does not make it seem like there is a hit out. It sounds more like they are after the guy, if they can’t catch him quietly, they are allowed to use force. NYT makes it sound a little less defensible but I cannot imagine that this is any different from them saying: this person is a threat, get them by any means necessary. The existence of the prison at guantanamo suggests that they at least try to catch them first.
    If this guy is actively hostile and an imminent threat, his rights kind of go out the window in the same sense that if you are pointing a gun at someone, the police shoot you rather than reading you your rights. Any support for that analogy? I think it applies, assuming that they will attempt to apprehend him without killing him, which is likely.

    • I think there’s a difference between an authorization to use deadly force and an green light to assassinate some one.

      • oh, and deadly force is usually reserved for some one who’ll pull a weapon on you, not some one who incites others to violence

      • Agreed. I’m just wondering if that’s what has happened here, authorization to use force, but is being spun to sound more ominous than it really is.

        ok I revisited the nyt story and found:
        “and Reuters reported on Tuesday that he was approved for capture or killing.”
        That statement is really making me feel like the ‘targeted killing’ headline is glamorizing an almost non-story about authorization to use force…

        “his inclusion on those lists had to be approved by the National Security Council, the officials said.”
        Some of the facts are based on statements from not one anonymous source, but a vague plural anonymous source.

        no disagreement in principal; I also hope that the president is not ordering hits. but some of these writers will spin stuff to create a story from nothing and I’m getting a strong bs vibe from this.

        • oh one more thing. I just noticed that the times placed this article in the /world/mideast section. I think they would have given it more prominince if they believed it.

  17. There’s a problem anytime you have “suspected” and “authorized to kill” in the same sentence. We don’t–or at least generally haven’t, up to now–executed “suspects” without arrest, trial and at least a show of due process.

    Analogies don’t count in law. If this guy acutally points an actual gun at someone, he’s a legitimate target for either the pointee or law enforcement. If he doesn’t, he’s innocent till proven guilty, and deadly force is not Constitutionally acceptable.

  18. I think this guy probably has been conspiring with others to hurt the US. I have no patience for these brats, sons of educators and businessmen, who grow up in privilege and take it for granted. Dilettante ideologues.
    However I do not think we can just order a hit on this guy and I am assuming that what Obama is doing is putting a scare in to the guy to get him to come forward and tell what he knows.

  19. S.3081 – Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010 in the Senate Judiciary committee “outlines the process by which Americans may be held indefinitely, without notice of their Miranda Rights, and without ever being charged with a crime. Worse, detainment of an individual according to the legislation is authorized by mere suspicion that the individual did or seeks to harm any asset of the United States government or any civilian target.” (article at truth is treason)
    So they’ll be able to lock you up permanently without charges if they suspect you’re going to free a chicken at a US biolab. They don’t even have to think you’re a real terrorist, just that you plan to damage something they own.
    It is co-sponsored at least by Senators: Scott Brown (R-MA)
    Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Jefferson Sessions (R-AL), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS); David Vitter (R-LA) was a co-sponsor but took his name off.

  20. My 50 year old cousin lost his job last summer during the surge of layoffs under our new economy and administration. This morning he died.

    He loved his job, and the layoff was very difficult for him to handle. He was already fighting liver disease, but that was the turning point…he stopped fighting.

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