Bump and Update: The Obama Administration is circulating a draft of an executive order allowing for up to a year to close Guantanamo. As the Center for Constitutional Rights says, that's too long.
It only took days to put these men in Guantanamo, it shouldnt take a year to get them out. We are proud that President Obama made addressing Guantánamo one of his first acts in office. Yet we are disappointed that he outlined no concrete steps for closing the base and gave his administration an entire year to sort out its plans meaning that some men could have been detained indefinitely in terrible conditions for eight full years. Surely he could do better.
President Obama should commit to dismantling the military commissions, not just suspending them, and to prosecuting any cases before federal criminal courts real courts with real laws.
Original Post: How to Close Guantanamo
The ACLU has submitted a five step plan (pdf)to the Obama administration for closing Guantanamo. A component of it is ending the show trials created pursuant to the Military Commissions Act.
You can read their plan here (pdf). The final appendix to the plan contains a list of all of the detainees still held at Guantanamo, and their country of origin.
“On Day One, President Obama kept his promise to halt the unconstitutional military commissions by ordering the prosecution to seek a 120-day suspension. Had the proceedings continued, the Bush administration would have permanently tied his hands and stopped him from being able to fulfill a top level campaign promise. Within the next 120 days, we trust that the President's team will be studying and finalizing plans and a timeline for permanently closing Guantánamo, shuttering the military commissions and ensuring justice is served in the best of American traditions.
President Obama's ‘time out’ comes at the perfect time in these shameful military commissions and shows he means business on Day One. President Obama has to restore an America we can be proud of again by once and for all shutting down Guantánamo and its shameful military commissions.”
On Monday, the ACLU delivered to the Obama transition team its comprehensive plan to close Guantánamo and handle the remaining detainees. The plan was sent to White House Counsel Gregory Craig, Attorney General designate Eric Holder, Secretary of State designate Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, among others, to be considered alongside the Department of Defense proposal commissioned by Secretary Gates.
I'm not sure that the discussion surrounding the Democrats' 50-state strategy couldn't stand to be a bit more sophisticated. A party's resources are finite, and those resources are always going to be allocated unequally between different states and different congressional districts depending on the probability of the party winning office there and other factors. Under Howard Dean, that allocation was significantly flatter than it had been under previous DNC administrations. That turned out to work out very well for the Democrats, as they won office in numerous states and districts that were once assumed not to be competitive.
It sounds like, under Tim Kaine, the Democrats will be moving to a somewhat more top-heavy resource allocation. The allocation is still likely to be broader than it had been in the pre-Dean years, however, and the Democrats are still likely to field viable candidates in a higher proportion of states and districts than the Republicans do. The key intraparty battles will not be those to determine if, say, a congressional candidate in Arizona gets more resources than one in New Jersey. Those sorts of things can be settled "scientifically" on a return-on-investment basis: how much does a marginal dollar spent in AZ-6 go toward strengthening the Democratic majority in Congress than one spent in NJ-11?
Rather, the real battle will be the one that Chris Bowers highlights:
In short, the DNC will be moving away from the long-term, decentralized, fifty-state strategy of Howard Dean's tenure, and toward serving as a short-term, centralized re-election effort for President Obama in 2012.Emphasis added. One can imagine a lot of scenarios in which there is a potential trade-off between enhancing Barack Obama's election chances (and/or his political capital) and those of a downballot candidate for Congress or some other office. In the special election in Georgia, for instance, Barack Obama did not want to visit the state because he evidently felt that stumping for Jim Martin would be a poor use of his political capital. That might or might not have been the "correct" decision (in retrospect, since Martin got beaten badly, it looks wise). But the point is, there is a trade-off there: Obama's interests versus those of a congressional Democrat. And with Obama largely taking over the DNC, such trade-offs are liable to be resolved more often than not in Obama's favor.
Two things happened yesterday, and they were not, for the future of the country, of equal importance. First, George W. Bush stopped being president. And second, Barack Obama became president. In the arc of the moral universe, in the grand sweep of[...]
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Glenn Greenwald / Salon:
Mohammed Jawad and Obama's efforts to suspend military commissions — (updated below - Update II) — This is a very good and important step — not only because of its substance, but also because it was something Obama did almost immediately, even before his first full day in office:
In his classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois says that the looming unasked question[...]
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This is the kind of shit that the MSM concern themselves with. I mean seriously, how can he even ask the question? They spent four years after Bush was elected by the Supreme Court - rather than the public - telling us all to get over it, and he has the gall to question Obama's legitimacy?
I wish I could say that I was surprised but I'm not.
Tags: Chris Wallace, Fox News, Barack Obama, Inauguration Oath, Chief Justice, John Roberts
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A federal judge declined to mandate that Vice President Cheney turn over all his office's documents to the National Archives before leaving office because ... wait for it ... a low-level documents custodian in the OVP said she would make sure they[...]
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The celebration is over and today President Barack Obama has hit the ground running.
White House press secretary Gibbs announced that President Obama placed calls to President Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel, King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority this morning and expressed his "commitment to active engagement," in pursuing peace in the Middle East, and that in the aftermath of the recent conflict in Gaza, will work to consolidate the ceasefire and "facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza."
In related news, the Washington Post is reporting that former senator George Mitchell will be named as special envoy to the Middle East.
This afternoon, the President will be meeting with his economic advisors, as they continue to tackle the number concern of Americans and the top priority of his administration. While the Senate has voted to release the second $350 billion in TARP funds, and Congress is moving forward on presenting the President with an economic stimulus bill for his signature, the administration is still awaiting the confirmation of Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, that has been held up following the revelation that Geithner had failed to pay some taxes several years ago.
Later, the President will meet with military leaders to discuss the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq, fulfilling a pledge made on the campaign trail. Attending the Situation Room meeting will be Vice President Biden, Defense Secretary Gates, National Security Advisor James Jones, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command David Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq General Ray Odierno (via video conference).
Spencer Ackerman at the The Washington Independent raises some interesting questions on what will happen at this meeting:
It’ll be interesting to see what tone is struck at the meeting — who hits it off with Obama, who makes compelling arguments to Obama, and who doesn’t. Will the subject of faster-paced withdrawals from Iraq and into Afghanistan come up? If so, who will advocate them, and who will push back? Will the Petraeus-Odierno alliance on cautious withdrawals from Iraq remain in place, or will there be some divergence of views now that Petraeus is responsible for more than just Iraq?
Given the importance most of us attach to the President making good on his pledge to get our troops out of Iraq, the answers to these questions are eagerly awaited.
Supreme Court won't revive online content law — Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition — WASHINGTON - The government lost its final attempt Wednesday to revive a federal law intended to protect children from sexual material and other objectionable content on the Internet.
Mark Sherman / Associated Press:
Anti-porn online law dies quietly in Supreme Court — Featured Topics: - Barack Obama - Presidential Transition — WASHINGTON - A federal law intended to restrict children's access to Internet pornography died quietly Wednesday at the Supreme Court, more than 10 years after Congress overwhelmingly approved it.