Category Archives: Executive Powers

You See, Michael Berry, These People are Your Friends

Michael Berry was trying to be all sensible and fair today — he says “fair enough” enough every day — but he sidestepped his good buddy’s complete nonsense last night — Rick Perry is who I am referring to.

Well, this nonsense has been brewing for a while.  These are the people who are Michael’s friends.   These are the people who think that the Constitution is everything and they are fighting for their FREEDOM — as Chris Baker is always stuck on.  Both of them are free to lie on a 50,000 watt scream machine, so I don’t know why they bellyache so much.

Doing pro bono work is part of being an attorney.  At times, some very good attorneys step up and do their best to protect individuals from the vigilantes in our midst.  Can Berry or Baker explain their brethren to me?  Why is there a problem with very good well-qualified attorneys working for the justice department?  Why the witch hunt?

Could it be that they see the writing on the wall?  With the embarrassment that was the Rick Perry election, do they know it’s actually now over and they are trying to take out as many people as they can?

Can anyone give me any insight into the crazy that is the conservative/republican/libertarian “movement”?

It Takes Time, I Guess

Ashcroft can be held liable for violating the civil rights of those picked up in the sweeps after 9/11 of people as “witnesses” who then were considered terrorists without a shred of evidence.

Even though it’s taken a long time, as with almost all legal cases, this is a very good step forward.

What am I missing?

I’ve never had cable, but the complete craziness that is Glenn Beck draws me like a magnet.  So what if only 1% of the people in this country watch him — the point is to get more, no?

His radio show can’t compete with Limbaugh or Hannity, so that’s why he always sells the visual on his radio program.  Dimwit Pat Grey (Gray) late of local Houston radio can’t be of much help.

Kathleen (commenters are fun!) seems to think Beck is the man of truth.

This way lies rebellion and dare I say it: treason.

I just had to put that in there :)

Classes start tomorrow and I am already behind.  Fall is such an ass-kicker.

If Kathleen had a job, what would she do?

I suggested that we have some tissues and wipes in our classrooms.  We get the benefit (I guess) but I spurred my boss to go with a more environmentally negative solution.

CRAP

At this point I just want to survive her.

Some Pre-Debate Thoughts

First up:  Bad Karma or just plain stupid?  Jerome Corsi thought it would be a good idea to go to Kenya to sell his smear book about Obama.  He also wanted to meet with Obama’s half brother. (Some people have no understanding of people who value honor.  Obama’s half brother doesn’t want the attention — he feels ashamed of himself, but has taken responsibility for his actions and life.  Why can’t people just leave him alone?)  Corsi was detained and then deported.  (Even handed but interesting article herefrom the CSM.)

Finally free or not quite?  The Bush administration lost in court again but will appeal.  Federal Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered that 17 Uighurs be released from Gitmo 6+ long years after they were turned in tho the U.S. military for a bounty.  The basis of the appeal?  Same old same old:

The Justice Department said it planned to seek a stay of Urbina’s order. His ruling “presents serious national security and separation of powers concerns and raised unprecedented legal issues,” said Brian Roehrkasse, a department spokesman.

I got one of my retirement account statements yesterday — it’s a little one from a part time gig I had right after grad school, not my main one) and it has lost a little over 10% in value.  In a way I’m lucky — my accounts have time to recover.

Bill Bennett got something right — stopped clock or has he come to his senses?  This morning Bennett was looking for and giving advice to McCain for the debate.  Overwhelmingly, the verdict is that McCain has to look at Obama.  Perhaps easier said than done for McCain.

I saw two more cars with Obama stickers today in the parking garage — only one McCain so far.

The last segment on the News Hour tonight is especially good.  The description:

Poet Kwame Dawes teamed up with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to create a multimedia Web site called “HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica.” The interactive site pairs his poetry with music, essays and video from people living with the disease and their caretakers.

As for the debate, I don’t think it will be a game-changer either way.  Obama’s numbers, particularly in individual states, are not only holding, but improving.  My favorite wingnut Kathleen is responding on cue to the recent McCain rhetoric:

I fear for our country. I fear that we may elect Obama, the man who taps on the window and smiles and seems so harmless, but in the end hurts us. (This refers to a story from her youth earlier in the post.)  I fear he will hurt our country in ways that can’t be measured. I don’t mean that Obamais a bad person. I am speaking metaphorically. I mean that the socialistic things he wants to achieve and his misunderstanding of the war on terror will make us so much less of a country and hurt us for generations to come.

He is the dangerous one.

As a persistent Bush supporter (she defends him to this day), I guess it’s understandable that she doesn’t realize the deeper meaning of what she is saying.

Another Book on Torture

Scott Horton writes No Comment for Harper’s.  I started reading him  because he’s followed the politicization of the Bush Justice Department.

Today he has up a post that’s a question- answer thing with Jane Mayer, whose book The Dark Side came out yesterday.  The subtitle is: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.  I don’t check Horton every day, but I’m glad I did today.  Here’s part of Horton’s intro to the interview:

In a series of gripping articles, Jane Mayer has chronicled the Bush Administration’s grim and furtive dealings with torture and has exposed both the individuals within the administration who “made it happen” (a group that starts with Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington), the team of psychologists who put together the palette of techniques, and the Fox television program “24,” which was developed to help sell it to the American public.

He’s also got an audio interview link up.

I heard Horton the other day on Pacifica when John Yoo and David Addingtonwere in front of John Conyers’ committee “testifying.”  I watched most of it on C-Span online.  It was truly frustrating.

Also this week, the attorney’s for Canadian Gitmo detainee Omar Khadr release a short portion of a video“interview” of Khadr (when he was a teenager) by someone from the Canadian government.  I can’t bring myself to watch it, but I have read about it.  He was in a program happily called “frequent flyer” where detainees were not allowed to sleep by moving them from one cell to another every couple of hours, were fed a erratic times, and exposed to extremes in temperatures, in plan to happily “soften them up.”

I don’t know what else to say, except that it’s the 21st century, right?

A Barbaric Circle Made Complete

From the NYT via memeorandum – The plan for interrogations at Gitmo orginated from the methods (which the U.S. classified as torture) used by Red China on U.S. military personnel during the Korean War — which btw — resulted in mostly false confessions from said personnel.

So, let’s get this straight:  The Red Chinese tortured U.S. military personnel during the Korean War.  The torture results in false confessions, i.e. admitting to the U.S. using germ warfare, among other atrocities.  These men were later interviewed and they detailed what was done to them.  The military then incorporated this information into SERE training.  Then the Bush Administration decides that it would be a good idea to use the same techniques our government had long claimed was torture on detainees at Gitmo.

One more time — to just pound it home — The Bush Administration took torture techniques from Red China,  known to have produced false confessions, and used them in some completely misguided attempt to get TRUE confessions from the detainees in Gitmo.

These ‘techniques’ aren’t lawfully used by the DoD anymore, but Bush made sure the CIA still can.

I’m sure that the genius who came up with this thought something along the lines of, “Well the Chinese didn’t get it right, but we can!!!!”

A “fun” factoid from the article — these are the same techniques used by cults to brainwash initiates.  That’s just great. /sarcasm

 Added: Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly  + comments

Legal Expert Not So Honest?

Gerald Treece has been the legal expert ‘go-to guy’ for the media in Houston for years.  My impression of him, whenever he gives his opinion, has always been that he was fair.

Recently, I’ve heard him a couple of times on Dan Patrick’s radio show.  What I heard from him today has given me seconds thoughts about just how fair, much less accurate, he actually is.

He and Patrick were discussing the SCOTUS case regarding Gitmo from last week.  After briefly trashing Justice Kennedy, Treece said that he was really surprised by the decision because ti was the Democrat Congress that had passed the MCA.

Ooops!  That’s wong.

I’m not going to change my opinion of him based on that one statement (no matter how telling it is).  But it’s hard to figure out how someone in his position — big dog in a law school, often on radio and television because of his legal expertise — could get something so wrong by accident.  By using the term Democrat the way he did — perhaps he was playing to his audience.  By trying to say that the congress was controlled by the Democrats in 2006 smells like what other Republicans have been trying to do in the run up to the election — blame everything on the Democrats. 

Friday Evening Notes and Links

Steny Hoyer and Pete Hoekstra were just on the News Hour chatting about FISA.  Hoekstra was harping on how the House should have stayed in session/passed the law he favors and fear-mongering in general.  At the end he repeated that Bush had threatened to postpone his trip to Africa.  Hoyer pointed out that all of the key Dems are in D.C., but that Hoekstra, at that moment, was back home.  Zing!  Hoekstra was literally phoning it in.  As I read somewhere last night — separate out the telecom immunity and pass a survilance bill if it’s so important.  Otherwise, STFU.

Tonight on Red, White, and Blue (my favorite show), the Republican candidates for Harris County D.A. face off.  It should be interesting.  Unfortunately, I think they tape it early, so there will probably be talk about Chuck Rosenthal concerning his possible resignation, even though he finally did so today.  (In the face of a law suit to oust him, not because of pressure from the party.)

As I may have mentioned, KathleenI don’t use my real name while bloggingMcKinley is back at the Houston Chronicle commons.  She’s back to deleting comments — mostly mine — that she considers ‘rude.’  (I pointed out that she doesn’t know how Texans go about selecting a presidential nominee.)  She’s also still acting as if people who read her chron blog can’t figure out where her blogspot blog is.  Like all gossips, she thinks that the the people she’s bad-mouthing will never find out about it, and then she’s taken it to a hole ‘nother level — by ignoring the nature of the intertubes.  It’s sad, actually.  At any rate, she hasn’t deleted all of my comments — in fact, she’s posted a couple this very evening.  I’m thinking she won’t make it to November.

As I was researching something for work this afternoon, I came across a debate that is simmering around the news yesterday that the U.S. plans to shoot down a dud spy satellite.   When I heard about this, I thought, damn, that’s $1 BILLION wasted.  Will we taxpayers get any of that back.  But through reading about how the reason the government gave were so remote to be virtually impossible, I thought, what if they miss?  What would the rest of the world think if the U.S. misses its own target?

Something else of interest — there’s a poll out today, taken in Texas by a Texas firm, that shows McCain and Huckabee in a dead heat in Texas.  (Soppy Poppy will endorse McCain Monday.)  Those wacky Texas Republicans think Huckabee is better on national defense and that McCain is better on the economy.  They are very entertaining.

Lastly, (for now) a linkto a very funny powerpoint explanation of what happened with the sub-prime loans.  (You have to click on the image to get the slide show.) Funny and sad.  And as Roberto said today, why not reward those of us who made good decisions on our home purchases?  And as was pointed out on the blog where I found this, why should the people who profited from this get off lightly, get to keep their money, and then everybody has to clean up their mess — while they get to keep all of the money they made off of it.

Wow, R,W&B is excellent.  Kelly is trying to push the far right position.  (i.e.  if the prossecution knows that someone is guilty, they should be allowed to strike African American voters.  Pat Lykos is a judge that I remember running down in my paralegal days.  Doug Perry is the BEST.  He is slow and fat.  Jim Leitner would be the best (even considering that there is a Dem running).  Given that I won’t crossover, I hope that the Republicans will vote for Leitner.

Ahh, admitting that Chuck Rosenthal led a racist office, by all of them.   How will the Republicans be less racist is the question.

Go David!  Judge Lycos accuses David of demogogging.  That’s rich.  Leitner is stuttering, but making the point.  Those that are potentially race involed should be closely lookeed at.

Kelly, “I’m clean.  I don’t know.  My husband didn’t participate in any race thing.  I am clean. ” Douggy is back.  I think he’s that favored candidate of Rors

   

Divestment and Bush’s Idea of Foreign Policy

Bush signed a bill that will allow state and local governments to divest from Sudan.  From an article in the Sudan Tribune, published last Friday,

The US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of a Senate version of “Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007″ on December 18th.

The bill aims at providing protection from lawsuits to State and local divestment efforts in Sudan to sanction it over the Darfur crisis labeled genocide by the US administration.

The bill also allows asset managers to divest from foreign companies operating in Sudan without being deemed in violation of their fiduciary duty. Also no government agency shall grant federal contracts to companies believed to be conducting business in Sudan unless they certify otherwise.

The Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007 specifically targets the main sources of revenue of Khartoum; oil, power production, mining and military equipment. It will only impact foreign companies since most American businesses are prohibited from dealing with Sudan under executive order issued in 1997 by former president Bill Clinton.

The legislation was sent to Bush last Friday along with other bills which were all signed with the exception of two including the divestment bill.

The US administration has been intensively lobbying Congressmen to kill the bill citing concerns over limiting the president’s constitutional powers to conduct foreign policy.

To me, this is yet another way that Bush is still trying to increase executive powers.  I’m going to have to do a little more research, but divestment made a big difference in ending apartheid in South Africa, no?

From what I can tell, Bush added a signing statement instead of vetoing the bill.  I guess it’s one thing to side with an inmate on death row, but yet another to appear to side with something Bush himself called genocide.  From a Reuters article:

But he said some provisions of the new law could interfere with his ability to conduct foreign policy and therefore he would “construe and enforce this legislation in a manner that does not conflict with that authority.”

At least I can say this for the Bush administration: they have a unitary vision concerning the unitary executive.

Preview for Frontline’s ‘Cheney’s Law’

 The LATimes has the preview here.  I actually just wanted to find a way to work this in, Mrs. Cheney on some cable teevee show:

 “Do you think America’s ready for a woman president?”

“I think that we’ll choose our president on the basis of qualifications and I think when I vote it’s going to be about national security.   So far as I can see, the Republicans are stronger along those lines.  But I have to admit to a certain bias here.  To get back to my book for a minute, in my book there’s a lot of geneological research, you know going back, Dick’s family, my family, these heroic and amazing tales of people who went west.  But one of the things I discovered was that Dick and Obama are eigth cousins.  Is that an amazing thing?  Yes, if you go back eight generations they (we?) have a common ancestor. “

“So, you’re for Barack Obama?”

“No, but I just, I thought I should admit this fact as evidence that maybe I’m not completely objective about Mrs. Clinton.” 

 Say what?  Mrs. Cheney — things to do:  dodge question? check; hawk book? check; toss out a nonrelevant fact just to say Dick and Barack Obama in the same breath? check; end up sounding utterly ridiculous?  mission accomplished.