June 29th, 2004

I called it!

Well, just one day after the Supreme Court said that the Guantanamo detainees should have access to U.S. Courts, our government has created a military tribunal for them. Can these people not read? What part of “U.S. Court” is unclear?

Of course this is no surprise as this administration’s approach to everything is to try to wring all that it can out of any opportunity. Just as it created “enemy combatants” and the Court let that slide, the Court might say this is enough, even though it seemed pretty clear to me that this wasn’t what was envisioned. The modus operandi is clearly “let’s do 100 things that we know are wrong because we might get away with at least a few” and between the media and the courts and the legislature it usually works out that way. The rule of law is being worn away in front of our eyes and we are just too tired to fight. Sickening.


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 28th, 2004

Could the wagons be circling already?

It hasn’t been a good summer for the Bush Adminstration, what with Abu Ghraib and the 9/11 commission and Michael Moore to rub the salt into the wound. But something tells me things might get much, much worse.

No-one’s saying it out loud yet, but the indications are there. Joe Klein in Time suggests that the recent irritability of Bushies — Cheney’s F-bomb, Wolfie’s blast at journalists — is related to looming revelations, rather than events already passed. Could it be the forthcoming tome from an anonymous CIA official describing failures in the war on terror? (As the author of Primary Colors, Klein has experience in anonymous revelations.) Or could it be simmering scandal around the uranium-from-Niger-to-Saddam story, hinted at on TalkingPointsMemo? And could those hints be related to these conspiracy-laden ramblings about an impeding coup d’√©tat by the CIA following the Valerie Plame outing? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 28th, 2004

Yoda Nader Becomes… emmhuh? Strange it is!

Nader calls Moore a ‘giant beach ball’

Quoting the WaPo quoting Nader:

Nader, whose 6-foot-4 frame is a lean 190 pounds, said Moore’s former Naderite friends are “trim and take care of themselves. Girth they avoid. The more you let them see you, the less they will see of you.”

Mmmm… Girth. Sign of the Dark Side. Make fun of Nader they do, know not he is the lone Jedi, defending the Republic!


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 28th, 2004

Justice?

I’m starting to think that we need a category of “politics (yippee!)” as things have gone so well for us lefties lately.

Anyone else think it isn’t coincidence that the Iraqi transfer (read “huge news story”) happened on the same day that the Supreme Court issued rulings going in large part against the Bush administration? Seems like the slap-down is playing sloppy seconds to the Iraq news.

As for the rulings– the Court did slap down Bush, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. It is unclear what the practical effect will be. We will have to wait and see how the government acts– they might choose the obstinent route and “interpret” the opinions very narrowly, which would just delay things while more lawsuits play themselves out.
Read the rest of this entry »


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 28th, 2004

More SCOTUS analysis

SCOTUSBlog has an excellent analysis of the decisions (link courtesy of Atrios). The headline: “Hamdi and Padilla Appear to be a Huge Loss for the Government.”

They start with the big line from Stevens’ dissent in Padilla (essentially an argument for deciding against the case on its merits, instead of sending it back to the lower courts on technical grounds):

“At stake in this case is nothing less than the essence of a free society. Even more important than the method of selecting the people’s rulers and their successors is the character of the constraints imposed on the Executive by the rule of law. Unconstrained Executive detention for the purpose of investigating and preventing subversive activity is the hallmark of the Star Chamber. Access to counsel for the purpose of protecting the citizen from official mistakes and mistreatment is the hallmark of due process. Executive detention of subversive citizens, like detention of enemy soldiers to keep them off the battlefield, may sometimes be justified to prevent persons from launching or becoming missiles of destruction. It may not, however, be justified by the naked interest in using unlawful procedures to extract information. Incommunicado detention for months on end is such a procedure. Whether the information so procured is more or less reliable than that acquired by more extreme forms of torture is of no consequence. For if this Nation is to remain true to the ideals symbolized by its flag, it must not wield the tools of tyrants even to resist an assault by the forces of tyranny.”

To which we can only say, Yeah! (And, perhaps, note a subtle slam at the Court’s own hand in deciding the last election for the people. Sort of a “well, we really Cheneyed that one up, so we better get it right here” moment, italics mine.) It’s also a good idea to brush up on the history of the “Star Chamber,” to see where we would have ended up if Bush et al. had gotten their way here.

SCOTUSblog continues:

In Hamdi, four Justices, including Justice Scalia, conclude that Hamdi’s detention itself is unlawful — a result that Hamdi himself barely argued for (his briefs being more focused on the opportunity to challenge his enemy-combatant status). Four other Justices — Justice O’Connor, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy and Breyer — conclude that Congress’s 9/18/01 authorization of military force (AUMF) authorizes detention of a “narrow” category of persons: those who are “part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners” in Afghanistan and who “engaged in an armed conflict against the United States there.” They read the AUMF to authorize detention of such persons “for the duration of the particular conflict in which they were captured” (because, says the plurality, such detention “is so fundamental and accepted an incident to war as to be an exercise of the ‘necessary and appropriate force’ Congress has authorized the President to use”).

The plurality goes on to emphasize, however, that the detention must be “to prevent a combatant’s return to the battlefield,” which the plurality views as “a fundamental incident of waging war.” This means that Hamdi can be held, the plurality concludes, not until the end of the “war on terror,” which the plurality acknowledges may not come in Hamdi’s lifetime, but only until the end of the “active combat operations in Afghanistan.” And here’s the key sentence: “Certainly, we agree that indefinite detention for the purpose of interrogation is not authorized.”

This should mean that Padilla’s detention — which the Government acknowledges is principally for the purpose of interrogation — likewise is not authorized. Even if Justice O’Connor’s opinion might not conclusively dictate that result, there are (at least) five votes for it: the four dissenters in Hamdi, as well as Justice Breyer, who joins the Stevens dissent in Padilla.

In other words, taking the three cases as a whole, not even the Republican-appointed majority is prepared to back the Bush junta on this one.


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 28th, 2004

A good day for the Republic

In a stunning slapdown for the Bush junta, the Supreme Court came through on the side of liberty in three separate post-9/11 cases. As the NYT posted by jay in good targets


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 28th, 2004

Support Your Independent Movie Theater

After the parade yesterday afternoon (Hi Jay! Hi!), we went down to see Fahrenheit 9/11. (I laughed. I cried. I got a little queasy. I laughed some more. I cried some more.) On the way out my friend N. said this: Didn’t I read somewhere that Loews is owned by The Carlyle Group?

Yup, it’s true. There’s a decent blog post here discussing why this matters – in case you’re one of the 8 or 9 people in Seattle who read this and haven’t seen the movie yet. And if you are, you might think about going to the Neptune instead.

My movie going companions are looking in to what else Carlyle owns that we’ve been buying or using and are wondering if it isn’t time to seek those things elsewhere.

Aside: things I loved about seeing the movie here in Seattle? The way a guy down in the front row let how a horror movie scream the first time Condi appeared on screen and the way everyone burst in to applause when our guy Jim McDermott showed up.


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 27th, 2004

Is That a Cell Phone In Your Pocket or…

Having recently purchased a cell phone small enough to fit comfortably in my front pants pocket, this report on sperm motility piqued my interest. Not that I’m looking to impregnate anyone, but I guess this is evidence that I cannot necessary assume that there are no negative physical effects.

If cell phones could provide reliable and reversible sterility, their market would become even wider. Think of the branding opportunity! Actor: “My Trojan-brand cell phone offers a higher becquerel rating than any other phone currently on the market.” [Cut to picture of nuclear cooling tower covered in colossal condom.]


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 26th, 2004

Presidential Respect

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 last night at the Neptune, which was followed by a speech by Jay Inslee. Inslee asked us all to commit 911 minutes to actual campaign action. Viewers were definitely anti-Bush, but Kerry wasn’t terribly popular; considering that this was an event organized by Democracy for Washington, the post-campaign Dean-centric organization, that’s not surprising.

Watching the film, I felt surprised that so many in this country would vote for our current fratboy-in-chief. If this happens again… Inslee claims there’s a lot of anger brewing across the country, and I hope he’s right.

I’ve been reading news stories about attendance and reactions, and I don’t think there are going to be many surprises in that regard (with Dan Bartlett’s comment being the prevailing feeling among Bush supporters).
Read the rest of this entry »


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon

June 26th, 2004

Just like Miss Cleo

Check out the genius of White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett on “Fahrenheit 9/11″:

“This is a film that doesn’t require us to actually view it to know it’s filled with factual inaccuracies.”

Need I comment?


Social Bookmarking: del.icio.us Digg it StumbleUpon