The most bigoted, angriest segments of our population are in full cry. Every day provides them with new opportunities to spread deceit and misinformation. No matter what the administration tries it is met with derision and accused of failure by conservatives who have become the driving force of the Republican Party - - advocates proudly proclaiming conservative ideals with no sense of how the ?loyal opposition? is meant to behave. Worse, some recently elected officials have begun to set right-wing agendas in motion.
And just when you thought the ghosts of government past might have drifted off into the ether former New York Governor Pataki held forth about the attempted bomb attack in Times Square. Never mind that the combined efforts of local police, the FBI and the Office of Homeland Security managed to apprehend the perpetrator in a matter of days, Pataki claimed the incident was an example of the administration?s weak national security credentials. Why wasn?t the man identified as a potential threat he asked, as if every similar individual could be successfully tracked by our intelligence apparatus or that evolving terrorist tactics could ever be totally anticipated and pre-empted. That is the reality we face and suggesting that the current administration is inept or inattentive only encourages our enemies to believe we are weak or ineffectual.
Then, in the face of the BP mess, everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Heck-of-a-Jerk Brownie unleashed bizarre scenarios faulting the president for his response to what some like to call his ?Katrina.? For the ?drill-baby-drill? crowd the current disaster is deemed a rare occurrence that shouldn?t deter us from continued off-shore drilling. However, explosions and oil spills at other BP rigs suggest that these ventures are not risk-averse. And contrary to assertions that off-shore drilling reduces dependence on foreign entities, the oil such ventures produce is sold on the international market - - a profit-making enterprise not necessarily geared to the furtherance of our national energy interests.
But what is so deplorable about the charges leveled at the president after this dreadful incident is their sheer malevolence. In a self-serving attempt to excuse his incompetence with respect to Katrina, former FEMA director Michael Brown claimed the President responded slowly to the BP leak so that environmental damage would discourage future deep-sea projects. Obama, he said, never supported ?big oil? or off-shore drilling so the BP accident gave him a perfect opportunity to suspend such operations. Not only was there no delay, but so far the president still supports some off-shore drilling. In any case, coming from the likes of Brown, his allegation was slanderous and beyond outrageous.
Limbaugh, in an equally improbable narrative, suggested that the BP explosion might have been the work of ?environmental wackos? although safety infractions that could have caused the current disaster had previously been cited at other BP locations where mishaps occurred. He mused that the timing of the explosion and subsequent leak were decidedly ?suspicious.? But to imagine that zealots made their way onto a distant oil rig to perform a bit of domestic terrorism was absurdly outlandish even for Limbaugh.
And as disturbing evidence of how quickly the democratic process can be perverted Virginia is taking a sharp turn to the right. Celebrate-the-Confederacy month was just the beginning. State Attorney General Cuccinelli is currently probing the research of climate scientist Michael Mann formerly at the University of Virginia in an attempt to discredit Mann (now Director of the Earth Science Center at Penn State) and his research about climate change - - charging him with ?fraud against taxpayers? for the use of grant money in pursuit of his studies. Cuccinelli has also filed a lawsuit against implementation of recently enacted health-care legislation. Apparently Virginia has plenty of money to spend on wide-ranging. Politically-motivated lawsuits.
There may be legitimate reservations about what the president and his team propose, but Republicans in Congress and partisan pundits falsely proclaim the ?stimulus? a failure and say the country is less safe, as if words alone were their own justification regardless of what facts might indicate. Opponents seem not to understand, or just don?t care, how destructive and dispiriting mindless rants about the president are, how they undermine our image abroad and threaten our way of life as well as our national security.
President Obama for his part needs to rethink his reliance on some members of his team who remain stubbornly committed to establishment agendas - - hardly the change supporters had hoped would inform the new administration.
I am reminded of the words of our founding father, Thomas Jefferson. 3/4ths of this Senate are not fit to polish his statue. The words this titan among men once said were . . . "The bank mania... is raising up a moneyed[...]
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Several major Democratic officials spoke positively about the proposal, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Noting that the State Department already had the authority to rescind the citizenship of people who declare allegiance to a foreign state, she said the administration would take a hard look at extending those powers to cover terrorism suspects.
United States citizenship is a privilege, she said. It is not a right. People who are serving foreign powers or in this case, foreign terrorists are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens.
(Emphasis supplied.) This is incorrect as a legal matter in my view. The 14th Amendment states that:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Once you have become a citizen (by being born in the United States (as defined by Congress) or having become a naturalized citizen), your citizenship, and the rights the attach to it (for example, the right to vote) are rights that can not be taken from you without due process.
the Lieberman bill sounds like a draconian solution. I assume the Senate has thought through the constitutional issues but I would want to see what the standards are for stripping someone of their citizenship and what opportunities they would have for notice and to challenge the decision... It certainly seems like a far-reaching step."
I doubt Senator Lieberman has considered these points. And neither has, it seems, the Secretary of State.
Speaking for me only
Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, and argued that critics of Justice's handling of terrorism cases "threaten to imperil American security."
"It did not" deter our investigation, Holder said of the reading of Miranda rights to Shahzad. "As we have seen in prior investigations, the giving of Miranda warnings has not deterred people from talking to us and Mr. Shahzad is, in fact, continuing to cooperate with us."
"[Mirandizing] is not conferring a right on somebody or giving them -- treating them in a special way," Holder said. "It is allowing us to make sure statements they give to us will be admissible in court." The Attorney General then went through a list of terrorist suspects who were given the Miranda warnings "and still ultimately decided to speak with the government."
Holder's strongest pushback, however, came against those critics who have urged him to abandon efforts to try terrorist suspects in criminal courts instead of military tribunals.
"We want to make sure that we use all the tools that we have available to us in trying to prosecute this war," the Attorney General said, in defense of criminal proceedings. "If you were to take from us the ability to use the federal courts, you will weaken our ability to win this war. You will weaken the strength of this nation. We have to have the ability to use the Article 3 courts, the reformed military commissions, our military power, our diplomatic power. We need to have all these tools so that we are successful in this fight against al Qaeda and others who would do this nation harm."
That's the argument that has to be made, apparently ad nauseam. There were a grant total of 390 people convicted on terror-related charges from September 11, 2001 to March 18, 2010. The military commissions that Lieberman, Graham et al. would have apply to any suspect, U.S. citizen or otherwise, picked up in the field of battle or otherwise, have convicted a grand total of three.
Civilian courts work, and work well for protecting both national security AND the constitutional rights of defendants. As Holder says, the "strength of this nation" is inextricable from the strength of the Constitution.
TONY PEYSER FOR BUZZFLASH
For reasons that have always struck me as paradoxical, one place where Republicans totally excel Democrats is in their ability to survive sex scandals. Admittedly, Bill Clinton managed to get that ball pretty far down the field for the Democrats in the[...]
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TONY PEYSER FOR BUZZFLASH
The reason its prospects at this particular moment
Are now looking especially thin? It
Seems in the internet era, weekly news is passÚ --
We want info that?s up to the minute.
Citigroup (NYSE:C) said it found “no evidence” that it was involved in erroneous trades, a finding supported by futures market CME Group Inc., after U.S. equity markets plunged today. About $700 billion of U.S. stock-market value was wiped out in less than 10 minutes when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell the most since 1987, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Erroneous trades may have contributed to the drop, exchanges said today. Citigroup’s activity in futures markets “does not appear” to be irregular or unusual, CME Group, the world’s largest futures market, said in a statement today. “We, along with the rest of the financial industry, are investigating to find the source of today’s market volatility,” Citigroup spokesman Stephen Cohen said in a statement. “At this point, we have no…
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A year ago, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor launched a conservative ideas factory to tackle the country's big problems, a move that at the time was hailed as a huge development toward Republicans becoming relevant again. Good news: all the country's[...]
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