Obama Abandons Transparency

Glenn Greenwald writes:

Earlier this week, I noted that the Senate had passed -- with Obama's support -- a pernicious amendment to the spending supplemental bill, jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, that empowers Obama and the Pentagon, at their sole discretion, to suppress any "photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States."

That is bad enough. This is so much worse:

The amendment has no purpose other than to expressly allow the President to conceal evidence of war crimes (torture) and to block the Supreme Court from ruling (as two federal courts have already held) that the Freedom of Information Act compels disclosure of those photographs.

Blocking Judicial Branch review of Executive Branch actions is simply the tactic of scoundrels. The Obama Administration is acting like scoundrels on this matter. It is despicable and inexcusable.

It is good to see that Barney Frank will not stand for it. Jane Hamsher has the details:

I contacted Frank's office to ask why he switched his vote [on the Iraq Supplemental]. He called me back himself, and immediately started talking before I had a chance to say "hello." I asked him if he was basically saying that the IMF was a worthwhile trade-off for the supplemental. He shifted gears quickly, read me like a dirty book and said that it was also the only chance to get the Lieberman FOIA amendment out of there.

Huh? "You can have the war and the IMF, or the war and the pictures," he said. I admit I didn't realize that when the Senate passed Joe Lieberman's Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 that it was attached to the supplemental. . . . "I told them [the administration] that they have no chance of passing this if the pictures are in it," said Frank. "There are many Democrats who are very upset about that. . . . I let them know that if it doesn't come out, it won't pass. If they insist on the photos, they won't get the IMF."

Frank is right. This secrecy bill is simply despicable and unacceptable.

Speaking for me only

< Stuart Taylor: Conservative Roberts Court Is Judicially Activist | Call Your Congresspersons: Vote No On Supplemental >
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    There's (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 08:55:35 AM EST
    been lots of dispicable things going on. Why should people come out and vote for this kind of stuff in 2010 or 2012? I see no reason to.

    Couldnt agree more (none / 0) (#45)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:36:54 AM EST
    Where is our Secretary of State on this outrage?

    She is just (none / 0) (#46)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:41:44 AM EST
    yet another presidential minion paid to fawn over him, too.  Frankly, I can't watch her anymore.  She nauseates me.  She sold her pride for a little power.

    However, she has less ability to do anything about this than CONGRESSIONAL dems do. And Congressional Dems are all for it, so why shouldn't minion Hillary be for it too?


    Sounds to me (none / 0) (#50)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:53:06 AM EST
    that Congressional Dems are against it, actually

    Who knows (none / 0) (#53)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:56:30 AM EST
    what will happen.  

    The Senate just passed it.  House Dems, who knows? If they were clearly against it, we wouldn't need the post BTD just made about contacting key senators.


    Ooops (none / 0) (#55)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:58:11 AM EST
    Key House members.

    This isnt (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:50:27 AM EST
    a foreign policy issue. It's a legislative issue and it's Obama's time bomb and the members of congress who support it.

    Isnt this a reaction (none / 0) (#52)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:54:00 AM EST
    to the Iraqi government reaction?

    The Iraqi government (none / 0) (#54)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:57:21 AM EST
    is a US puppet.  Do you really think Maliki makes decisions about these things?

    I have to quibble with the word (5.00 / 10) (#6)
    by dk on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:09:27 AM EST
    "abandon" in the title of your post.  Mustn't one previously have practiced transparency in order to abandon it?

    yes one must (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by TeresaInPa on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:03:21 AM EST
    but for "the One" simply saying you are transparent is enough.  Be a good democrat and do not listen to that PUMA behind the curtain.

    Apparently, it was largely (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:18:23 AM EST
    conceptual - preached but thus far not practiced much.

    Well you know my take by now (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:10:07 AM EST
    What ever keeps war criminal General McChrystal safe is what Obama will do.

    tracy (none / 0) (#20)
    by TeresaInPa on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:04:39 AM EST
    I have not read any of your posts on this subject.  I hate to be dumb, but who is he and why does Obama want to protect him?

    Thank you Teresa (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:50:15 AM EST
    An opportunity to speak about the whole deal as I see it.  General Stanely McChrystal is the man who Obama has tapped to take over in Afghanistan.  He's very much a powerhouse of a soldier, barely even knows how to sleep.  He has a history mostly made up of special forces and he took over JSOC.  McChrysal ran JSOC from Aug 2003 to Sept 2008.  JSOC is not a transparent branch of the military, it is all mostly classified and covert.  Dubya and Rumsfeld loved McChrystal's work though, he did bomb the  crapola out of Zarqawi to get him and he identified the body.  He is also credited for REALLY why the surge worked.  He ran assassination teams in Iraq that made surgical assassinations among all the trouble makers.  Trouble is......the vaccum was only later filled by someone else now wasn't it?  The blood still runs in the streets in Iraq.  But I guess we didn't lose Baghdad when it was getting iffy there for a bit....that would have been embarassing I suppose.  Everything's classified though so if they ever effed up and killed innocents you will never know about it. And McChrystal ran camp NAMA where soldiers tortured before, during, and after the Abu Ghraib scandal.  When Obama says that the soldiers in the photos we haven't seen have been punished we just have to take his word for it but we don't get to know names and places and details like we did the England and her bad apple friends!  The whole deal is total crap.  At camp NAMA military personel did not wear a uniform, nor did they use their real first names with each other and no last names.  It has made investigating claims of torture at camp NAMA literally impossible. If they really thought you knew something or you had done something camp NAMA was your first stop, after they were done with you they shipped you to Abu Ghraib. McKeirnan was running Afghanistan and he is a conventional soldier.  He obviously wasn't going to ignore the Geneva Conventions or allow anyone under him in Afghanistan do it either and I'm guessing it got him fired, Obama and Gates kicked his butt to the curb and now they want Stanely McChrystal confirmed in the Senate to head Afghanistan.  Stanely McChrystal is a war criminal and they all know it but they want to use him because he is good at what he does and they want him to save the toppling of Kabul like he saved the toppling of Baghdad.  Because God knows Iraq is a better place now that we still seem to have control of Baghdad.  To give credit where credit is due, Sullivan is all over this too. We are selling our souls though in an attempt to hang onto Afghanistan.  I doubt in the end it will be worth the price paid.

    I guess presidents (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:55:35 AM EST
    eventually discover that they need conscience-less leaders to make their efforts look good.

    It would certainly sadly seem so (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:03:43 AM EST
    I think about everything we learned about war from WWI and WWII and Korea.....and then losing our souls in Vietnam where we had operation Phoenix going on.  We refuse to learn from having our own soldiers tortured or what torturing others in the war zone got us in the end.  I know I'm a purist on this issue but after that what is left......degrees of torture?

    Or that is what they are told and they (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:29:08 AM EST
    are dumb enough to believe it.

    Keeping Gates around was in my estimation a clear signal that not much if anything was going to change at the Pentagon or the CIA.

    Someone really ought to send Obama one of the biographies about LBJ.  LBJ would have been considered one of the greatest presidents in our history were it not for Vietnam and his deference to the advice from "The Best and the Brightest"...


    I don't (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:15:43 PM EST
    think a biography of LBJ would really help much.

    That presupposes that Obama is a leader in other areas.  As we've seen that simply isn't the case.

    Obama couldn't carry LBJ's underwear.


    Well, it might help. (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:28:53 PM EST
    LBJ knew how to get things passed and he wasn't tormented by all that bipartisanship baloney; and not for nothin' he had a lot to say later in life about his failings in not following his gut on Vietnam and placing his trust in TB&B crowd.  Seems to me that Obama should be looking at that history right about now.

    Well, it doesn't take (none / 0) (#64)
    by brodie on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:52:22 PM EST
    a genius to get things passed when your party enjoys a 68-32 (!) advantage in the senate and something like a 295-140 margin in the House, as LBJ did after the 64 elections.  And as for "bipartisan", it did take Dirksen and other Repubs to overcome the southern Dems filibuster on the 64 CR bill however, and much of the behind the scenes work there was done not by the supposed master of Congress Lyndon but by ML Mansfield and floor leader Humphrey.  

    As for "his gut", it seemed to be at war with his stubborn stupidity about how he wasn't about to be "the first president to lose a war" and with his insecure insistence on not welcoming dissenting points of view on especially foreign policy issues -- a rigid, uninformed and unsophisticated FP mindset that was largely in place prior to TB&TB allegedly misleading the poor fellow.

    Somehow, I don't think Obama will follow in Lyndon's idiotic footsteps and massively commit US troops to a quagmire in Afghanistan, even with Gates and some of the other non-liberals on board, for however long.  Not if he wants to be a 2-term president, that is.  And I think the ambitious and smart Obama is mighty determined, given all the domestic problems to deal with, not to stubbornly go down the same almost insane path that Lyndon chose even with many top leaders in his own party (outside the WH, like Mansfield and Russell) telling him he was headed to disaster.

    Not that I won't be watching O closely however, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.


    A few things: (none / 0) (#67)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 05:04:35 PM EST
    The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were passed in a bare knuckled fight that Johnson could easily have bypassed - and personally would have been better off without.  He wasn't interested in bipartisanship as a value system - he was a vote counter - and when he wanted to pass something he counted votes - he didn't care where they came from as long as he had the majority he needed.

    Whether or not you accept any of LBJ's excuses for the Vietnam debacle - I am not certain that he was being totally honest myself - he did admit his mistakes of ignorance and ego which I think is an instructive tale for present and future Presidents.

    Obama has a lot to deal with on the foreign policy front and he is working with a defense and intelligence apparatus that was culled by George W. Bush to be predominantly run by pretty one-dimensional hawks.  "Smart" doesn't necessarily cut it when everyone in your midst who is held up as an "expert" is hitting a single note - that's where LBJ - who was a pretty smart guy - failed in part.

    Finally, if I were you, I wouldn't be worrying about Afghanistan as Pakistan right now.


    It's debatable (none / 0) (#68)
    by brodie on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 08:23:35 PM EST
    whether Lyndon could have bypassed the CR and VR issues and not have paid for it, in either case, with a serious political backlash from the Dem white liberal base, blacks and even from white moderates.  By early 64, even minority leader Dirksen was signalling that he wouldn't join with southerners to kill it.  

    On the 65 VR Act, there was the enormous sympathetic pub from the brutal Selma marches, and elsewhere even Repub Gov George Romney (!) was out there helping lead a voting rights march.  Sorry, but Lyndon had to act as he eventually was forced to do by Dr King and an increasingly large and diverse group of leaders.

    As for LBJ admitting VN mistakes, I'm not familiar with your "ignorance" and "ego" references.  Specifics w/cite?

    Re Obama's FP team, while this current bunch isn't ideal, there is at least some variety in top positions.  Moderately lib SoS Clinton for one.  Experienced VP Biden too.  Neither are reflexively hawkish and would be considered to the left of Gates and a few others in O's advisory pipeline.  

    Moreover O, unlike LBJ, doesn't bring to the WH a fixed in concrete attitude on FP, as cold warrior to the core LBJ did.  O of course famously was anti-Iraq War before the presidency; Lyndon, otoh, was the same hawk in the senate as he was in the vice presidency and as he was as president.  He was the true believer in Ike's domino theory and apparently never developed the ability to skeptically examine his cold warrior attitude.

    Johnson famously didn't want to hear dissent -- and exiled or froze out those who dared speak out, including his VP! Soon enough, TB&TB -- those fancy Harvard types around LBJ he inherited from JFK --  all learned to give Lyndon what he wanted to hear, until they could no longer play the game.  Obama has shown no such signs of personal insecurity but, to the contrary, has expressly encouraged a mix of honest and different views.

    I'm optimistic, generally, about O's ability to successfully handle FP matters more or less to my satisfaction.  But it's early ...


    Excuse me (none / 0) (#71)
    by cal1942 on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 10:57:07 PM EST
    but the landmark public accomodations Civil Rights Act was passed before the '64 election.

    It should also be noted that in those days it took 67 votes to stop a filibuster not 60.

    Additionally, a significant part of those 68 Democrats in the Senate after the '64 electuions were Dixiecrats, so simply citing the figures in such a bland fashion obscures reality.

    Obama has failed to act regarding the finance industry, the source of so many of our problems (beyond the subprime debacle).  The damage done to the nation by this industry in the last three decades is monumentally comprehensive.  Obama's efforts to maintain the status-quo in the finance industry is HUGE.  He's also failing, so far, to act boldly regarding health care coverage at a time when he has big majorities in both Houses and a public fed up with the health care system.  If anything Obama has diminished public support of universal care by his failure to consider single-payer and his bland, vague promotion of a public insurance option, an option that may well pass but in a state so watered down that it will probably be meaningless.  LBJ had bigger obstacles to the passage of Medicare.   The entire medical community, business and ideological conservatives fought furiously and hard against Medicare.  LBJ was able to pass single-payer coverage for those 65 and older.

    You might try actually having an idea of what you're talking about before implying that LBJ had it easy. There simply is no comparison between the two, they are in totally different leagues.  One is a Hall of Famer from the big show.  The other is only a listless caretaker of the status-quo.

    I repeat. Obama couldn't carry LBJ's underwear.


    lol (none / 0) (#69)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:14:17 PM EST
    Who would want to? Them's some nasty drawers.

    Beginning with possibly having people bumped off early on in his "rough and tumble" career, to blatantly rigging elections in Texas, later working with the Kennedys the way Trotsky worked with Stalin, to swallowing the domino theory in Southeast Asia farrago of nonsense whole hog and escalating the bloodbath in Vietnam at a cost of tens-of-billions in tax dollars and tens-of-thousands of lives..

    You HAVE to be kidding.


    what? LOL (none / 0) (#72)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 04:11:54 PM EST
    first of all, EVERYONE swallowed the domino theory in those years.  The only guestion was if we believed we could fight a war there and win.  We could not and LBJ knew that but listened to the experts instead of himself.. as far as the rest of what you said about him... tin foil hats back in style?

    thanks Tracy (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by CST on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:57:40 AM EST
    I know you've been talking about this a while, definitely good to get an insider view.  I certainly knew none of this or who any of these people are.

    The problem with having a president (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:34:02 AM EST
    who is fawned over.  I'd rather have one who is disliked by media, etc.

    Agree, but it doesn't even have to be dislike (5.00 / 6) (#18)
    by Democratic Cat on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:50:40 AM EST
    Simple skepticism would do.  That is -- or should be -- the role of the press.

    That's what (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by cal1942 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:18:37 PM EST
    the press was SUPPOSED to be.

    Trans: I'll never get over (none / 0) (#70)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:26:35 PM EST
    people running a run-of-the mill American political campaign against a holy figure to whom so many unspoken taboos and protocols apply.

    I live in a liberal city in Western NY and the radio station with the most powerful signal is telling people all day long that Obama (he has that name for a reason!) is a Marxist Leninist who's unspoken ambition is to harm this great nation irreparably and permanantly.

    Dont tell ME. "They" are all afraid to criticize him.


    He's also fawned over by most Dems--which is a (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by jawbone on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:34:58 AM EST
    separate problem and it makes elected Dems wary of not supporting everything The One wants.

    Be worried. Be very, very worried.


    When the Dems took congress (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:45:08 AM EST
    and the WH I expected them to stop the practice of funding the wars through the process of supplemental spending bills. I thought they wanted the wars to be funded in the normal defense appropriations, to avoid the supplementals being used as political footballs.

    Now I see why they did not - they like the ability to use the supplementals as political footballs.

    So I am disgusted on two counts - the Lieberman-Graham-Obama amendment on its face, and the continued use of supplemental spending bills with crap amendments attached. Good for frank and what remains of the liberal coalition in the House for treating this amendment like a poison pill.

    FYI:This year's (none / 0) (#21)
    by JThomas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:08:42 AM EST
    budget was done by Bush,hence the necessity of supplemental spending bills to finance the wars. Bush did not put the cash for wars in his budget.

    Obama's first budget,the 3.6 trillion dollar one, has the war spending in there. It is for the fiscal year starting  10/1/09.

    Would the legislation put forth by Lieberman/Graham preclude the pictures being used in a court case vs torturers?

    If not, then I can live with this. Isn't that the real reason people want to get these photos out there anyway?
    It can't be some purient interest to view people in distress, I assume?
    If this would preclude the use of the photos in court cases, then I agree it is very bad.


    What court cases? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:13:37 AM EST
    They don't intend to prosecute anyone for torture.

    Defying the FOIA whenever they want by passing ad hoc legislation is perfectly okay with you?  Would it have been just as okay if the Bush Administration had done it?  I know, I know, Obama is trustworthy though ;-).  What about when a Republican is running the show?  (and yes, the pendulum does swing). Do you want this kind of precedent on the books?


    OK, I agree (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by JThomas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:32:13 AM EST
    it is a bad precedent. But, I admit that as someone who has a son in the military who was recently in Iraq(not involved in prison detail or detainee security)and still have some of his buddies over there in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I am concerned about blowback on them if all of these horrible photos hit the worlds newspapers.

    Maliki supposedly was adamant that the publication of these photos could trigger much additional violence in Baghdad where my son's friends are stationed. He has had buddies close to him injured and killed already and I am really praying that no more go down for their sake as well as his mental stability.

    So, I see both sides, but unless there is a true compelling reason to publish these photos, I would rather they stayed secure unless needed to prosecute culprits all the way up the chain of command.


    I think (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:36:07 AM EST
    that the damage is already done, and not prosecuting for torture is just as dangerous as releasing the photos.

    more dangerous (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by CST on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:59:02 AM EST
    releasing the photos might prevent this type of abuse from happening in the future.  Not prosecuting for torture encourages people to do it again.

    It's true (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:05:10 AM EST
    And Maliki is a US puppet.  He'll go along with whatever we tell him, so his opinion doesn't matter.

    And it really feeds the fire of discontent (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by inclusiveheart on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:15:18 AM EST
    amongst the populations who were tortured when things like this are swept under the rug.  Furthermore, instead of making a distinction between good folks and our military, government and country who would do the right thing and the people who did the wrong thing - it pretty much makes us all look like bad guys.  I'd be much more worried that the perception is that our military and government appear to be interested in protecting the torturers and the torture policy than I would be about the effects of photos released in an effort to pursue justice.

    Thanks for that info about the spending bills (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:19:30 AM EST
    but regarding the FOIA amendment, it is just too much executive power for my blood to give the president the right to abbrogate FOIA at will.

    "acting like scoundrels" (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Andreas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:37:30 AM EST
    They are not simply "acting like scoundrels". They are scoundrels - and worse. And those who helped to elect Obama by declaring that he would be different share responsibility.

    Big McCain fan,huh? (1.00 / 2) (#37)
    by JThomas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:10:37 AM EST
    Too bad your guy lost, but it happens.

    That is a false dichotomy (5.00 / 6) (#39)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:17:24 AM EST
    If you don't like that Obama was elected, you must be a McCain fan?

    Maybe some of us figured out that Obama was a scoundrel way back in January.  

    Regardless, your acceptance of everything Obama does is a disservice to you -- and to your kid in Iraq.


    This from (5.00 / 0) (#61)
    by JThomas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:33:54 PM EST
    someone who opines that everything Obama does is wrong?

    The President is clearly human and will make mistakes...but he is not 100% wrong like some seem to indicate daily on here.

    So, I am doing a disservice to my son and his army buddies by supporting a position by the President and Maliki that releasing photos could cause Americans and Iraqis to die or be wounded?
    I just do not agree.


    No, you are not doing a disservice (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by vml68 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:50:01 PM EST
    to your son by wanting to protect his life and the lives of others. You are doing a disservice to him by not upholding what he is over there risking his life for, Liberty and Justice for All.

    So, I am doing a disservice to my son and his army buddies by supporting a position by the President and Maliki that releasing photos could cause Americans and Iraqis to die or be wounded?

    US Army:"This We'll Defend."

    US Marine Corps:"Semper Fidelis"(Always Faithful)

    US Navy:"Honor, Courage, Commitment"

    US Air Force:Integrity First,Service Before Self,
    Excellence in All We Do.


    I don't support (5.00 / 9) (#65)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 01:07:53 PM EST
    bailing out the banksters
    indefinite detention
    taxing health benefits
    the subject of this post.
    not prosecuting torture
    the anti-constitutional (separation of church and state) hiring of an anti-choice person for the HHS: Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  
    staying in Iraq indefinitely
    warrantless wiretapping

    etc, etc.  If you support these things then your candidate should have run on them.  He ran AGAINST all of those things, but supports them now.

    And yes, Maliki is all for the coverup.  He happens to be a puppet, hired by Bush and perpetuated by Democrats.  Did you really believe that purple finger voting nonsense that Bush tried to pull on us?  Maliki serves at the pleasure of the US.  He knows that and will say anything Obama wants him to say.  If you believe anything else about him, then you haven't been paying much attention.

    If you think covering up the crimes of the US government is good for the soldiers in Iraq, then more power to you too.  And good luck with that.

    And make sure your candidate runs on that next time.


    Kucinich would not have stood for this (none / 0) (#59)
    by domer5000 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:20:30 PM EST
    Not a McCain (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:53:10 AM EST
    fan but it seems that while he didnt win in person the conservative ideas are still ruling the day. He might as well have won the election. All of his policy is getting instated.

    And who is rallying to their cause? (none / 0) (#56)
    by Cream City on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:07:17 PM EST
    Progressives or conservatives?  Disquieting report can be seen here on declining numbers at a recent progressives' conference vs. rallying numbers at a conservative counterpart.

    Complacency can be the downfall of any cause.


    Neither Democrats nor Republicans (none / 0) (#42)
    by Andreas on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:26:37 AM EST
    When I first read about this earlier (5.00 / 8) (#41)
    by Anne on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:20:46 AM EST
    in the week, I was as astounded as I was outraged, and my anger was not restricted just to the two co-sponsors of the amendment, or to Obama, whose role in this is unclear, but who has done nothing to stop it.  What I could not understand is how there was not one word of this printed in any mainstream publication or covered on the TV or radio; the day I clicked on Salon was the first I knew anything about it.

    Where is the Obama who - rightly - railed about the secrets and over-reaching of the Bush administration?  Oh, wait - that was Candidate Obama - I keep forgetting that he feels no obligation to be held to anything he said those two years he was campaigning.  Sheesh, what was I thinking?

    Guess it shows, too, how little attention our members of Congress are paying to the legislation they are voting on; what do you bet that some of them found out about this for the first time reading Glenn?  Am I wrong to think Hary Reid must have known about this?  Who requested unanimous consent for a voice vote?

    There is no question in my mind that this has to be stopped.  No more of this stuff we heard for 8 years about how the supplemental spending bill has to pass to make sure our men and women in harm's way have all they need to do their jobs.  Isn't it even more important to keep the Constitution and basic principles of this democracy out of harm's way, protected from the power-hungry?  I don't even know how much longer we can claim to be the country we all thought America was if our new strategy is to just pass retroactive legislation to keep those who are committing crimes against the country from ever having to be held accountable for them.  

    We should have been able to expect more from a constitutional lawyer who calls himself a Democrat, but I have to question his bona fides on both counts.  

    For those of you who will say that this is not Obama's doing, that this is coming from Lieberman and Graham - two Senators from whom this shouldn't have been unexpected - you know, we all know, that Obama is fully aware of it, and his silence on the subject should chill you to the bone.

    lucky for the media (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:27:39 AM EST
    he is on his world tour so they dont have to talk about any of this.

    timing is no accident, I'm sure (5.00 / 6) (#47)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:48:45 AM EST
    State Secrets hearing on C-SPAN (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by oldpro on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:50:32 AM EST
    right now.  

    Fantastic beginning with statements by the subcommittee chair, Nadler, ranking member Sensenbrenner (very revealing) and an outraged chair of judiciary whose comments were scathing re his president's policy inclinations re secrecy.

    Somewhat on topic (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by ChrisO on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 02:40:05 PM EST
    I continue to be frustrated by the Dems inability to counter the way the Republicans are framing the torture memo debate. The contents of the memo do not matter one whit. The Republicans have managed to press the point that torture is only wrong if it doesn't work, and that the Dems are on the defensive now because the memo demonstrates that torturing prisoners is effective. Every time we argue that torture is ineffective, we play into their hands. Whether we got actionable intelligence through torture or not isn't the issue. If there's a serial killer on the loose in an American city, why not start rounding up suspects and torturing them?

    I grew up in the 50s, when as schoolkids we routinely rehearsed what we would do in the event of a nuclear attack. We laugh now about the silliness of hiding under desks, but the fact is there was an undercurrent of anxiety in the country, especially during the Cuban missile crisis, that can't be overemphasized. I remember looking in the sky as a jet was flying overhead, and wondering if it was a Russian bomber. But despite facing a threat from an actual superpower with the capacity to launch thousands of missiles, there was never (that I know of) a serious discussion that we should be using more torture.

    Talking about the Republicans releasing sensitive information just keeps the focus on that worthless memo. I wish some Dem would stand up and challenge the entire premise. It's harder to talk about right and wrong and the soul of the country, but it's a discussion we need to keep having.

    Of course, they might "get" all three (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 08:52:24 AM EST
    if the House Republicans flip back.

    Splain, I'm way behind here (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:05:16 AM EST
    They voted for the supplemental (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:06:18 AM EST
    and now they say they intend to vote against it.

    They voted for the supplemental (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:08:39 AM EST
    prior to this addition and now they need to vote again with it added in?  I truly don't often get some of the procedure when supplementals are added.

    I'm getting confused also (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:17:19 AM EST
    I thought a spending supplement already went through and was signed. The one where they slipped in the guns in Nat Parks thing?

    I wish they would just quit attaching sh!t to bills. Just do them straight up and down and if they don't have the balls to run it through on it's own without slipping it in on another one, oh well.


    It's not possible (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Steve M on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:19:53 AM EST
    The federal government has far too many functions for every single detail to be passed as a standalone bill.  I agree that it wouldn't work like that in a perfect world, but there are only so many legislative days in the year.

    Well then how about (none / 0) (#12)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:26:04 AM EST
    no slip ins? Craft the bills with which ever ones they want to go in together and don't slip things in at the bottom of the 9th? It's just frustrating. . . .

    And I need to correct myself above, it wasn't spending, it was the credit card one. {need more coffee}


    That's just not how it works (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:26:54 AM EST
    I am personally happy that Congress has the flexibility to do things at the last minute.

    Well, maybe when they do something (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by nycstray on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:32:34 AM EST
    at the last minute I agree with, I'll agree with you ;)

    Not quite (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:12:52 AM EST
    Thank you so much andgarden (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:21:38 AM EST
    Boy how things change.  Almost nobody has an ounce of integrity in any of this now :)  This is really going to floor the wingers in uniform, and the military intelligence dude who works with my spouse....of course he wants the military protected from its war crimes and now suddenly the D's are all over it.  He's a big Conservative too, not an irritating in your face nasty one (he's actually a very nice guy and his daughter babysits for us) but nothing politically happening at the moment that affects our military reflects any of the past uniformed winger rhetoric.

    did you read further down (none / 0) (#16)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:38:29 AM EST
    about the inability to determine who was stop-lossed? Amazing.

    Yeah, I caught that (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:20:53 AM EST
    and I also don't understand how you can't easily easily find the stop lossed soldiers in any of the databases.  It's very peculiar, yet about par for the course due to the fact that the military is a giant bureaucracy and the past administration spoke a lot about loving and appreciating soldiers for the cameras, but it was all about warm bodies carrying weapons for them and nothing more.

    Do differing versions of supplementals go through (none / 0) (#29)
    by jawbone on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:39:29 AM EST
    reconciliation committee?

    And then the reconciled bill is voted on, or does the Senate just send the amended bill back to the House for a full new vote?

    Confused here!


    Lots of ways they can do it (none / 0) (#30)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:41:49 AM EST
    I don't know what procedure they've chosen this time. Probably an "amendment to the amendment. . ."

    Is Frank saying (none / 0) (#62)
    by Steve M on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:47:36 PM EST
    that we have to choose between the photos and the IMF funding, or that the Republicans have to make that choice?  I'm a little confused.