Thursday, March 5, 2009

Open Thread

Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss

Supreme Court urged to drop enemy combatant case on Yahoo News.

Al-Marri's lawyers filed papers to the Supreme Court late Tuesday asking the justices to keep the case alive because the government "has not renounced the legal authority under which al-Marri was designated and detained as an 'enemy combatant' and has made no commitment that al-Marri will not be re-designated and re-detained as an 'enemy combatant' in the future."

The Obama administration once again continues the course of the Bush administration. What they desperately don't want is a Supreme Court decision that states the obvious. Under the US Constitution, a President can not order the indefinite detention of a person.

Of course, the great lie is put forward that Obama is different from Bush.

The transfer signals that Obama is likely to handle accused terrorists in a significantly different way from the Bush administration's aggressive use of preventive detention.

That's a total, bald-faced lie. This case is being handled in exactly the same way the Bush Administration handled the Padilla case. That is they kept him in a military brig up until the moment when the Supreme Court threatened to rule against their power to do so. Then they hurriedly filed criminal charges against Padilla before telling the Supreme Court not to rule because the arguments were no longer valid. Obama is doing EXACTLY what Bush did.

Ron Paul on War Lies

Ron Paul on War Lies

This is a short video of a speech made on the floor of the US House of Representatives, so no text excerpts. Follow the link to watch it.

One giant problem we have is that our efforts are always splintered into separate little pieces, while we never unify behind a single effort. We see that in our protest efforts, where we always have separate groups staging their own protests. Or in the current case, we see the groups that are closer to the Democrats refusing to protest at all against a Democratic President's wars. What we don't see is one mass unified protest.

We see it in campaigns, where we splinter off into separate campaigns. In the last election, there were three separate candidates who all took nearly identical positions on issues like opposing the wars, opposing the attacks on civil liberties, and calling for the prosecution of Bush/Cheney officials for their crimes. Barr, McKinney and Nader all had nearly identical positions on key issues like these, but they ran three separate campaigns instead on one unified campaign.

Our goal is of course to return America to being a nation with a government 'of the people, by the people and for the people' to recall Lincoln's wonderful turn of a phrase. To do that, we must throw out of power forces that are powerful in their own right, and which also have the power of the incumbency in controlling the power of the US. We want a country that puts the interests of its people first. But if we achieve that, the people and forces now in control will lose wealth, power and influence. And they are determined to hold on to just that.

We face an uphill battle in every fight we wage. We face a government that is turned against us. We face a corporate media that serves the interests of those in power and not our own. We face deceit and trickery. We face dirty tricks and sabotage. We face an enemy that can spend great amounts of money to defeat us and not release its hold on what they regard as the golden goose making even larger sums of money for them. Its nothing for them to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to retain their control over billions of dollars.

I don't say this to discourage or depress others. I say this to point out that its critical that we stop being stupid. When we fail to unify. When we all splinter and go our separate ways, we weaken ourselves. And we already seem to be fatally weak. One key measure of this is that our political campaigns are lucky to get say 2% or 3% of the vote.

Its ridiculous for us to fail to unify to oppose such great power. So, go give a listen to this speech by Ron Paul, and ask yourself what parts of this you disagree with. Then ask yourself in the last election why we ran two separate campaigns in the primaries (Paul and Kucinich) when neither had anything close to the strength required to challenge in either party? Then ask yourself why we ran three separate Presidential campaigns when none had anything close to the strength required to challenge Obama or McCain?

There is great agreement between the dissenters on the left and the dissenters on the right. Sure, there are differences. But why can't we focus on what we agree on, which to me happen to be the key issues of ending these wars, returning our economy to one that benefits the people and not the elite, and cleaning up our corrupt elections and government?

So, follow the link and watch this speech.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Impeach Obama!

Obama DOJ Defies Federal Judge from "The Washington Independent"

So on Friday, in a move that Al-Haramain’s lawyer called “mind-boggling”, the Obama administration told the federal court, once again, that it did not have the authority to order the government to make the critical document in the case available to the organization’s lawyers. The decision to reveal the document, wrote the government, “is committed to the discretion of the Executive Branch, and is not subject to judicial review.”

We've already had him break his campaign promises to withdraw from Iraq. And we've already had what's been a combination of a refusal to investigate and indict criminals from the last administration combined with an active defense to shield them. As a part of that work to shield the Bush criminals, the Obama administration has taken up exactly the same sort of fascist arguments about the power of the executive that the Bush administration used.

Now, in front of at least one federal judge, those don't seem to have worked. A judge is ordering that defense lawyers be able to see a document that the Bush/Obama administration considers to be a 'state secret.' The defense lawyers would have to obtain security clearances to even see the document, and would not be allowed to make it public. The document is important because it is purported to state that their client was indeed under NSA surveillance. The government has made other lawsuits about their illegal spying go away by contending that the plaintiffs had no 'standing' to sue as they couldn't prove they were the targets of the secret and illegal spying. So, I'm guessing that's the reason this document is important in this case.

So, a federal judge has ordered the Obama administration to make this document available. And the Obama administration is now in OPEN DEFIANCE of a federal court by REFUSING to do so.

The original design of this country's government was to have three separate but co-equal branches of government. The idea was that each would provide checks and balances against the others grabbing too much power and destroying our sacred liberties. One would suspect that a case like this, where the government has been engaging in illegal and unconstitutional spying on its own citizens is precisely the sort of case that the framers of our constitution had in mind when they create this system.

And note very, very carefully, this puts the Obama administration as taking exactly the same positions as the Bush administration in claiming unconstitutional powers for itself. And by claiming that its 'national security' powers somehow trump and over-ride the other branches of government.

During the last two years, as the Democratic controlled Congress refused to investigate or control the unconstitutional executive powers claimed by the Bush administration, one could get the sense that perhaps they didn't do so because they wanted those powers for themselves on the day they grabbed power.

The Democrats are fully in power today, and they are vigorously defending the executive's right to exactly those same powers that the Bush/Cheney group of criminals so obnoxiously claimed for themselves.

Anyone wishing they'd voted for McKinney or Nader last time? Or willing to start right now to be putting together the long grassroots campaigns we need for 2010 and 2012?