Wednesday, December 30

Republicans Love The Torture; Hate American Values

David Shuster discusses Obama and his response to the Christmas Bomber with Republican Congressman and Former FBI Agent Mike Rogers.

Rogers: Are you saying want to extend the Constitution to Foreigners?

Shuster: What about upholding the Constitution?

As it turns out the Supreme Court has already settled this question w/Hamdan v Rumsfeld - the 14th Amendment Requires Equal Protection all "Persons" not just "Citizens". They still have Habeaus Protection under the Courts (even though Bush and Congress attempted to strip if from them) and Bush's first set of Military Commissions were found completely illegal.

What's amazing about this is that this FBI Agent doesn't trust the FBI to be able to get the job done. Shuster points out that none of the suspects who have been tried via Civilian Courts have been able to "Get Away With it" (and he should hsve slso mentioned that the Military Commissions have FAILED many times, particular in the case where charges were dropped against one of the Cole Bombers because he had been Tortured).

“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution. [...]

The Military Commission Process is completely tainted, and should be avoided unless there literally is no other choice.

But let's be realistic here, people like Cheney, Rove and Rogers here are concerned with whether the susepct is brought to Justice - they're arguing for Jack Bauer Justice where this person could be interrogated for information with no-holds-barred. Particularly not Miranda or that peska annoying Constitution in the way.

It doesn't matter that other FBI Agents, ones who've actually gone undercover inside al Qeada and done successful interrogations deny that any abrogation of the Constitution or Miranda is necessary:

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.

We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.

There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics.

Yet these Wingnuts are still in love with techniques that have Never been shown to generate accurate information.

The Supreme Court has already settled this w/Hamdan v Rumsfeld - the 14th Amendment Requires Equal Protection all "Persons" not just "Citizens"

Sad to say, this is how they think Terrorism Should be Handled:


Why do Republicans Hate the Constitution?

Here on Hardball you have Ron Christie beating the Republican Drum that the problem with Obama is that he's trying to Use the Constitution to fight Terrorism?

This just aired today and trascript is not up yet - but please watch to see how Joan Walsh put this little Golem wannabe in his place.


As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.

Yeah, That would be just like the Lawyer and Trial the Bush Administration gave to Richard Reid the last person to use PETN to try and blow up an American Plane? Or how about Jose Padilla? Or how about the other 200 plus terrorism suspects who're were succesfully tried and convicted - yes, even during the Bush Administration?

Meanwhile it seems that the "Masterminds" behind the Underwear-Bomb Plot were released form Gitmo by Bush against the advice of the Military that they represented a continued threat?

Brian Ross of ABC News reports that two of the four men behind the plot to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day were actually prisoners of the United States and that, under the leadership of President George W. Bush, were released into a Saudi art rehabilitation program.

According to Defense Department records, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi (now known as Muhamad al-Awfi) and Said Ali Shari were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay in 2007 despite allegations of material support for military operations in Afghanistan. Naturally, they were never tried on those charges and al-Awfi reportedly was refused access to his own passport to refute allegations made against him. Shari was reportedly killed in an airstrike on Christmas Eve, and is suspected in the murder of 6 Christian missionaries in Yemen.

Both the families of al-Awfi and Shari attribute their radicalization to their years in detention at Guantanamo Bay.

Let's repeat this point - these guys were NOT terrorist before they were detained at Gitmo as quite a bit of evidence has shown many of those held there are completely innocent, but the experience of being unlawfully detained (and very likely mistreated) was itself the Spark that radicalized these men and led to the Christmas attack.

And Cheney thinks this is what we need to keep doing?

Also Abdul Muttalab received his Visa and Passport and traveled to the U.S. TWICE under the Bush/Cheney Administration.

Sadly this lunacy is not just coming from Cheney, there's also Gingrinch.

In the Obama Administration, protecting the rights of terrorists has been more important than protecting the lives of Americans. That must now change decisively. It is time to know more about would-be terrorists, to profile for terrorists and to actively discriminate based on suspicious terrorist information.

And there's Karl (Unsanctified Marriage Quitter) Rove.

CARLSON: This President was not notified until three hours after this incident became known. Is that a long time? It seems like a long time.

ROVE: Look, they woke him up immediately to tell him he won the Nobel Prize but couldn’t bother to interrupt his vacation for three hours to tell him a terrorist tried to bring down a plane on Christmas Day. And the President waits 72 hours before we hear from him, and it’s over 72 hours from the time of the incident to the time that the President spoke today, and then the President said some things that are simply not true.

President Bush didn't respond to the Richard Reid Shoe Bomber attack until 6 days later, and only because he was asked about it by a reporter at the end of a press conference - he never made Any kind of formal statement on it.

This bull is what we get from the people behind the President who didn't come off his vacation when he received the August 6th PDB that said "Al Qaeda Determined to Attack the U.S."

They got some nerve.

Eric Massa on Ed Responds to Cheney and Christie.

Massa: I'm sick and tired of the former Vice President taking shots at this administration for the creation of problems he was largely responsible for. It's like he has Political Tourettes!

Again despite what Matthew's claims Massa isn't the only one pushing back on this hard - The White House has Slammed Back.

To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.

Bellicose Attack is all the have, particularly when it's Republican Senator Jim Demint who is currently blocking the confirmation of the new TSA Head. It's been Republicans in Congress who've blocked funding and deployment for bomb sniffing equipment and full body scanners - yet they think they have credibility on "Fighting Terror"?

What's their solution : Call Jack Bauer?

The repeated whine coming from all of these Neo-cons is that Foreign Fighters shouldn't be subject to the protections of the Constitution - because if they get "Miranda Rights" and the ability to "Remain Silent" to cross examine witness and present evidence in their defense - it's BAD FOR AMERICA?


When people like Cheney and Gingrich and even Rove were sworn in to their government jobs they didn't swear to protect the American people, they didn't swear to protect American buildings, they didn't swear to protect Aircraft - THEY SWORE TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION.

Yet repeatedly the first thing they want to jettison in the face of each and every threat - no matter how incompetently executed - is run screaming from the Constitution at the highest speed possible.

And here's an example of Alan Colmes handing a serious Smack-Down to Wingnut Talking Points on Terrorism. Nice Job Alan.

Tantaros: But the point now is that we cannot discount this, we cannot use terms like 'manmade disaster' and go after -- it seems like this administration is more interested in going after Republicans, and going after the previous administration, than going after our real enemies. When you say, 'Don't blame Barack Obama' --

Colmes: That is an outrageous smear, an outrageous smear against an administration that's trying to do the right thing, that cares about this country. The implication that this administration or Democrats don't love America, don't want to protect America, don't want to protect the American people -- that's an outrageous smear against Democrats.

Tantaros: Alan, I don't blame just Barack Obama, like you said, Alan. I blame you, I blame Nancy Pelosi, and I blame the left and the liberals who are trying to weaken our country.

"Weaken the Country?" by having the country not just TALK TOUGH but actually Be Tough enough to live up to it's ideals and values instead of cowering in fear?

Republicans and Republicans ONLY want to pretend this is a debatable point, but it's not - not since the Hamdan v Rumsfeld decision which determined that even "Enemy Combatants" were indeed protected by the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions.

The Supreme Court announced its decision on 29 June 2006. The Court reversed the ruling of the Court of Appeals, holding that President George W. Bush did not have authority to set up the war crimes tribunals and finding the special military commissions illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Conventions.

I think that tells everything we really need to know about these Patriotic Pimps.


Tuesday, December 29

Specter Lets the Big Black Obstruction Cat Out of the Bag

All of us who've been paying attention have known this for some time, but to have it so openly confirmed is a rare and special moment - Here's Senator Specter Blowing the Whistle on the Republicans Not-So-Secret Plot to use Obstructionism to retake the White House in 2012.

Via TPM.

During his appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) appeared to give out some inside dirt from his days as a Republican -- alleging that the GOP plotted early to stop any bipartisan cooperation with President Obama, and to instead look towards the 2012 election.

"I'd like to pick up on what Sen. DeMint says about the process. I think the process was very bad. But the process was really caused, in large measure, by the refusal of the Republicans to deal in any way," said Specter.

"Sen. DeMint is the author of the famous statement that this is going to be President Obama's 'Waterloo,' that this ought to be used to break the president," said Specter, referring to the political battle over health care. "So that before the ink was dry on the oath of office -- and I know this, because I was in the caucus -- the Republicans were already plotting ways to beat President Obama in 2012."

It's not often that a Senator will divulge private conversations from within the party caucuses. In Specter's case, he appears to be dishing out information from his former party caucus, declaring that they decided early on to focus on opposing Obama politically, and they now complain about a lack of bipartisanship that they themselves caused.

They told exactly what they were doing right up front...

The sad reality that we have to face is that this strategy has absolutely worked, it has sparked a wave of Democratic Fraticide we haven't seen the likes of since the Clinton/Obama Fued of the Primaries which some thought would fracture the party permanently.

The other day I watched near battle royale going on between Katrina Vanden Huevel of the nation and Jane Hamsher of Firedog Lake. It wasn't pretty:

JaneHamsher Well @thenation has come a long way. Opposing the Senate health care bill makes you Ralph Nader says @KatrinaNation

JaneHamsher So @KatrinaNation, you believe it's "Naderite" & "hurts progressive agenda" to say Obama is responsible for #hcr bill, and we should stop?

KatrinaNation @janehamsher Jane, Listen--I do respect your views & your right to criticize Obama/my retweeting that post did not mean I agree w/ it all!

JameHamsher RT @KatrinaNation Respect your views / how is that when you RT post telling me to stop criticizing Obama on #hcr?

JaneHamsher Point of the post is I'm "hurting progressive agenda" by criticizing Obama & should stop, not so "big tent" @KatrinaVandenheuvel @thenation

KatrinaNation @janehamsher Hope you'll contribute your view to Nation forum/ Obama @ One. If I didn't respect your right to criticize why seek your input? 8:44 PM Dec 27th from web in reply to janehamshe

KatrinaNation I hope progressive community in 2010 finds ways to disagree that don't divide us --as we work to mobilize, push power & build better future. 8:46 PM Dec 27th from web

JaneHamsher Criticizing the President on Health Care is “Naderite” and “Hurts the Progressive Agenda”: Ka... #publicoption

JaneHamsher If @thenation is shushing the President's critics on #hcr I hope everyone is relishing it @schwanderer, that's news.

KatrinaNation Jane-goodnight & let me try again. Point of MY posts: I do believe in big tent & your right to criticize O/Thanks for caring. 8:52 PM Dec 27th from web

This is how progressives are talking to each other - largely because Republicans have strategically abandoned the field and given all the power to people like Lieberman, Landrieu and Nelson.

These are the people on the other side of the argument:

These people can't be reasoned with. They can not be argued into a better position. Reason has completely LEFT THE BUILDING in their house.

Sspecially with Demint, even though he's recently denied it he did indeed say Republicans need to make Healthcare Obama's "Waterloo..."

That is their true face - not this:

Jim Demint is a member of The Family as well as being the One Lone Senator whose been holding up the new head of the TSA from Confirmation. Because of Demint the agency has no leader, yet even after the failed Northwest Airlines Bombing attempt Jimmy contends he's doing the right thing because he oppose "Collective Bargaining" that would delay security improvements.

Instead, the post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has held up President Obama’s nominee in an effort to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union. DeMint, in a statement, said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s alleged attempted attack in Detroit “is a perfect example of why the Obama administration should not unionize the TSA.”

Unions are more scary than terrorists? Really?

Demint was also among the 30 Republicans who Voted against the Franken Anti-Rape Amendment doing so on the grounds that it would threaten Binding Arbitration.

Ok, so a deals a deal when someones been Raped - but when it comes to benefits for TSA Workers the last thing we want is for them to have an extra 15 mins for a coffee break.

He also opposed the New Hate Crimes Bill... because y'know a "Hate Crime" isn't really a Crime is it?

A Hate Crime is a not just a single Crime - it's an act of intimidation and TERRORISM. It's TWO Crimes, therefore it should be addressed as such.

These guys are willing to take down the President, to allow the Nation to be unprotected and attacked by Terrorists, to allow our Soldiers and Citizens to be victimized by Contractors, to allow people of color or of an unpopular religion, or sexual orientation to be terrorized and harrassed without protection?

They. Don't. Care. All they want is to regain Power at ANY COST.

We Progressives may disagree with each other, we might vigorously fight each other over various points within specific legislation - but the one thing we can't do - is let these FracKing NutBalls Back into Power again.