Transformation: Obama Goes From "Impotent" To FDR In A Flash

I watched with some amusement a rehash of the Impotent President debate of last year during the health bill debate. This time it was the New Beltway (the former JournOListers) repeating their arguments in response to Glenn Greenwald's complaints about President Obama's performance regarding civil liberties. The not so new mantra emanated from Jonathan Bernstein:

The Presidency Is Weak. Really.

[Greenwald's piece [. . .] is ignorant nonsense that betrays a deep lack of understanding of how the government of the United States works. Is the idea of an "Impotent, Helpless President" a joke? No, it's basic American politics.

(Emphasis supplied.) One of Glenn's responses here. I always thought this line of defense would have a short shelf life because, honestly, calling Obama weak and impotent is not a very good political strategy for Democrats, even of the Beltway variety. And lo and behold, not a week later Obama is now FDR. In this recommended dkos diary, Rachel Maddow is toasted for finally seeing the light. And this morning, dkos' DemfromCt favorably links to this Economic Times piece:

Barack Obama is about to affix the tightest handcuffs on Wall Street in decades, adding a finance reform bill to his historic health overhaul, and boosting his claims for a transformative presidency.

Jonathan Bernstein must think Rachel Maddow, DemfromCt and the Economic Times are "betraying a deep lack of understanding of how the United States government works."

Actually, what the New Beltway demonstrated yet again was a lack of good faith in this discussion. As Greenwald pointed out:

As I've acknowledged from the start, the President does have some constraints in the area of domestic policy and will not always be able to move Congress to do what he wants. The complaint has been not that Obama is omnipotent and thus failed to get good progressive bills, but that he did not use his substantial leverage to try (again, just contrast what the White House did on the war supplemental bill). But the claim that he has virtually no leverage to influence what Congress does on domestic policy is silly, and to see how true that is, just look at the central role the White House played in killing the public option and -- according to its own Treasury official -- is now playing by dictating which progressive provisions will be killed from the financial reform bill and which ones will remain.

One thing that has always baffled me is why the New Beltway gets so angry at activists agitating? What precisely would they have them do?

For the most part, this is a stale debate meaning precisely nothing intellectually, politically or in terms of policy. At one point I thought it had some ramifications regarding whether there would be Netroots issue activism and whether the New Beltway would be perceived as the Netroots. In the end it had none. There is no Netroots activism and the New Beltway is just the latest version of Democratic Party media advocates.

Much noise signifying nothing.

Speaking for me only

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    The decision to defer to BP for so long (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 09:38:33 AM EST
    and the negative consequences of that decision might have finally shown the Obama cheerleading squad that there are big risks associated with portraying a leader as "impotent".

    It is comedy in a way.  Monty Python couldn't have written it better.  "It's not his fault!  He's in charge!!!"  That's been their line up until now.

    Now he's FDR.

    Okay.  Whatever.

    But my guess is they'll return to the first line soon enough and claim that he's can't be Superman because he can't find a phone booth to change in in America anymore.

    Such a waste of a series of huge opportunities.

    Have they figured out yet (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 09:50:14 AM EST
    when the new deal is being delivered? Since he's only been in office a year and a half. ;-)

    Scheduled to arrive as soon as (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:00:10 AM EST
    the Republicans buy into it.

    Heh! (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:02:16 AM EST
    Are they holding their breath?

    Well, I am and I'm getting dizzy. nt (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:05:41 AM EST
    I'd be careful (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:09:35 AM EST
    In this case that could lead to permanent oxygen deprivation, and make you say things like "Leave Obama alone! He's only be in office for...! Isn't he just that greatest!" ;-)

    Gee, those "handcuffs" (5.00 / 10) (#9)
    by Anne on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 11:21:09 AM EST
    that Obama snapped onto Wall Street are so onerous that the stocks of all the mjor banks and investment houses went up...kind of like the stock in health care companies went up after Obama really stuck it to that industry...

    Come on...the most stringent and consumer-friendly and -protectionist provisions of FinReg were taken out of the bill...in much the same way that the best of the health whatever elements got stripped out.  Why?  Because the people Obama's been playing footsie with didn't want them; now there's some FDR-like leadership for you.

    And then, there's the Cat Food Commission, conveniently stacked with the 14 votes - out of 18 - it will take to make recommendations to Congress for cutting the deficit - recommendations that won't be made until after the mid-term elections, so that (1) the recommendations and the vote will not factor into the elections, and (2) so that any lame duck member of Congress on his or her way out the door will have one last chance to stick it to the great unwashed.

    For more Obama-approved leadership, check out David Dayen's piece on "America Speaks," the not-so-subtle propaganda effort headed by Peter G. Peterson:

    The America Speaks meetings held in 19 cities across the country today, funded to the tune of $1 billion dollars by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, were a study in how subtle messaging and deficit hyping can mold and shape opinions that move the public toward right-wing solutions about slashing social spending. Despite an insistence of neutrality, organizers of this series of town hall meetings allowed their agenda to show through, particularly in their presentation of options for how to deal with the nation's fiscal future. But attendees in Los Angeles and around the country weren't totally buying it in the first half of the meeting.


    America Speaks has the support of a number of Washington-based organizations, and they claim to represent a broad spectrum of ideological interests. But the main funder is Pete Peterson, who has waged a decades-long effort to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And this emphasis was certainly reflected in the event today.

    One interesting note for those who think Obama shouldn't be velcroed to Pete Peterson: Peterson's foundation is providing the funding for the deficit (Cat Food) commission staff.

    If $1 billion dollars is being spent on this "advocacy group," and the head of the Foundation which is spending that money is also funding the staff of the Cat Food Commission, if one of the co-chairs of the commission - Alan Simpson - is also a big detractor of Medicare and Social Security, can anyone make a convincing argument that the fix isn't in?  This is Obama's commission, so isn't it fair to believe that this is also Obama's agenda?

    I'm pretty sure that FDR is rolling in his grave at top speed.

    Hey, if you're on the side of Corporate America, if you think the sick, the disabled, the poor and the elderly are living the sweet life on your dime and don't deserve help, if you think preventive detention makes sense, think privacy is only for people who have something to hide, and think women really would be happier barefoot and pregnant, then I guess Obama's everything you hoped he would be - and more.

    And isn't it great to think that these are the things people are beginning to identify as the Democratic Party agenda?

    Hmmmm.... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Romberry on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 11:25:31 AM EST
    Gee, those "handcuffs" that Obama  snapped onto Wall Street are so onerous that the stocks of all the mjor banks and investment houses went up...kind of like the stock in health care companies went up after Obama really stuck it to that  industry...

    Noticed that, didya? Obviously they need to come up with new distractions. "Look over there! Sarah Palin!" seems to be losing some of its effect. Here, let's talk about Dave Weigel...


    Cat Food Comm shows early success (none / 0) (#16)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 12:38:27 PM EST
    Peterson's $1 billion is being well spent.  Liberal sites are touting more progressive ideas but Peterson must be celebrating.....Two preferred options out of the initial city forums... to Reduce spending on health care and non-defense discretionary spending by at least 5% and to raise the age for receiving full Social Security benefits to 69 has been a great return for him.  Huge, huge wins for the Cat Food Commission directly hitting their target of MCR, MCL and SS.  I don't see how he could have asked for more.

    I haven't dug into it yet (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 02:42:07 PM EST
    I'm too exhausted from spin right now.  Anyone know where the forever kickbacks to the banks are? If their stock went up its in there somewhere.  Debtors prison for the rest of us though.  Things couldn't be more pathetic!  Maybe when DemfromCT and the Britney Spears wing of the Democratic party (I really like that labeling) have some handcuffs snapped on them they'll lose their penchant for cheerleading.  Being bubbly simply for the sake of being bubbly, pulling bubbly right out of your arse, it borders on sociopath :)

    "The Presidency is Weak" (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by shoephone on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 12:10:55 PM EST
    Funny how nobody thought that when GWB was busy taking us into wars and ruining our economy with tax cuts for the rich.

    The "It's not Obama's fault!" crowd bores me.

    Frank Rich, in his Sunday Opinion piece, (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 12:13:03 PM EST
    makes a point of the coziness of media-types and the affect on reporting by indicating their wonderment on Michael Hasting's Rolling Stone's scoop.  Politico, Rich notes, derisively theorized that Hastings got the McChrystal story because he was a freelance journalist rather than a beat reporter and could risk "burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal's remarks."--a sentence edited out later, seemingly under criticism by Andrew Sullivan.

    Moreover, Rich reminds his readers that then uncelebrated reporters such as Woodward and Bernstein and Seymour Hersh brought the unvarnished truth to their work.  Since lunching with the president on June 17 at the White House, it has been interesting to watch for tamping down of some of the Obama administration criticisms by attendees, Rachel Maddow, Gail Collins and Eugene Robinson.  Never underestimate what can be achieved by hanging a lamb chop in the window.

    at the end of Jon stewart's piece (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 12:53:31 PM EST
    on the Hastings angle of the McC flap, he shows a female reporter, not sure who, tut-tutting 'one thing is for sure, he (Hastings) won't have access anymore.'  Stewart had a great line about it being called journalism. I'll look for a link.

    The only thing that gives me hope is the generation of people seeing the press through Jon Stewarts eyes. I hope they realize it is funny in a tragic way, not a ha-ha way.


    Link (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:06:23 PM EST
    Stewart link about Hastings access. The whole thing sums up the media today.

    Well, Woodward is not now (none / 0) (#20)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:25:13 PM EST
    and never really was an "outsider", actually.

    But his overall point is not without merit.


    I see Greenwald does not need my help (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:19:02 PM EST
    How anyone can call his typically well documented opinions 'ignorant nonsense' is beyond me.

    I'll pick up on Greenwald's last paragraph -

    Similar to what they did for Blanche Lincoln, the Obama White House unleashed its OFA Army to help protect a Blue Dog incumbent against a progressive challenger.  Being able to do that, or not do it, or doing it in the other direction (i.e., to support the primary challenger) sounds to me like some pretty substantial leverage to use over members of Congress.

    Call it leverage, call it the ability to effect a 'shakedown', whatever. It it the use of presidential influence that is effective. Of course it is not written in the Constitution as a presidential power. But it is the way presidents get things done with Congress. Obama knows how to use it when he wants to. He just doesn't want to do it for many Progressive programs or civil libertarian ideals.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:39:21 PM EST
    I do not think that Obama wanted to close down Gitmo, to satisfy progressives or liberals. His pro war position has been clear. His position on indefinite detention is clear, although reframed as a Geneva protected POW situation. Closing down GItmo was, imo, intended, among other things, to wash a large "stain" off the cloth of US international relations.

    I do not think that his desire to erase the "stain" was a rhetorical bone thrown to progressives. IMO, he wanted to reverse international disgust over US hypocrisy in order to make his job of pursuing US interests in the international community easier.

    Activism is a good thing. Actually believing that Obama was lying, about wanting to close down Gitmo, seems silly, imo, as clearly it serves his interest as POTUS. But political operatives and politicians have a job to do, lying for political gain is certainly one of the key components in both toolboxes.


    The problem is (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 02:18:19 PM EST
    When he was campaigning he said, "I will close Gitmo down." What we didn't see was Rahm in the background, whispering, "unless the R's push back a little. Then we'll just throw our hands up, shrug our shoulders, and say, very sadly, we tried."

    I guess some of us wish he would try just a teensy weensy little bit harder.

    I guess that's being naive, you know, voting for someone based on what they say during a campaign.


    Ummm (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 03:19:48 PM EST
    Yes, it is naive to believe that campaign promises are a done deal, particularly promises that involve Congressional approval.

    What we didn't see was Rahm in the background, whispering, "unless the R's push back a little.

    Well you discredit your argument with such a gross understatement.  Not only are the "R" not pushing back a little, as you suggest,  the "D"s, save for six are against any measure that would fund the closing of Gitmo.

    Not to mention that no state wants any prisoners. Durbin cannot convince his constituents to house Gitmo prisoners.

    Here is a snippet revealing the insignificant "pushback" you describe:

    Plans are moving ahead for the federal government to buy the practically new but little-used state prison in Thomson, possibly by year's end.

    So says U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, in a news release I have just received.

    U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Egan, chimed in later to say that the prison will open without terrorism suspects now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Manzullo went ballistic last fall when President Obama wanted to put "Gitmo" prisoners in Thomson, straining his relationship with Durbin, a close friend of the president and supporter of the move.

    It's a moot point now because many in Congress were in no mood to put the terrorist suspects here. The Gitmo move is, for all practical purposes, dead.


    Hell, the bastion of liberalism in America, NYC, does not want to even try those who were allegedly involved with blowing up the WTC, in Federal Court Manhattan.


    Also (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 03:45:03 PM EST
    When he campaigned, and when he signed an executive order to close Gitmo days after assuming office, Obama did not have to contend with this:

    In a clear setback for President Barack Obama, Senate Democrats moved Tuesday to both wipe out $80 million in new funding for the closing the Guantanamo detention facility and bar the administration from moving prisoners to U.S. soil until there is a more detailed plan provided to lawmakers.....

    ...This was well illustrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's seemingly contradictory comments following a Democratic caucus luncheon Tuesday. Reid said that closing Guantanamo was the right decision but "We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States." Asked next, if he could see a day when Guantanamo detainees might be transferred to prisons on American soil, Reid refused to clarify his remarks. "We don't want them around," he said.



    Well, we'll never know (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 06:51:39 PM EST
    But one thing I do know is that if it was Ronald Reagan or even the man/boy dunce Bush wanting to house the Gitmo clients in the U.S. they would be here, da bing, da bang, da boom.

    The problem with our guy is that nobody fears him, especially after having taken every issue that was meaningful, and worthwhile....off the table; before debate had even begun.

    It's just about a thing called Leadership.

    Like I said, we'll never know.


    This funding to close it thing (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 08:24:27 PM EST
    is a red herring.

    He can simply follow his own executive order, and send them home:

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to effect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (Guantánamo) and promptly to close detention facilities at Guantánamo, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, I hereby order as follows:


    Sec. 3. Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo. The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

    He needs NO additional funding from Congress for this.

    If congress forbids moving them to somewhere else in the US then he doesn't need additional funding either to move them or send them home.

    He can use the remainder of Guantanamo prison's already approved annual operations budget of about $125 million a year or so that has been continually approved by Congress for years to either move them or send them home, since he won't need it for nonexistent Guantanamo operating costs for the rest of the year after he sends them home or moves them.

    So really the funding argument is a red herring anyway. He's had all the funding he needs all along.

    I also doubt he'd have any problem finding Democrats in Congress who would want to close Gitmo if he showed some determination to do so, since they've threatened to do it before now.

    What he needs is the desire and the will and the intention to follow through on his own words.

    But this own words were empty promises made while campaigning for votes, and they produced all the result he intended for them to produce.

    They helped him win an election.

    "I will reject a legal framework that does not work,"  Obama  said, his words slightly drowned out by the loud applause that  erupted. "There has been only one conviction at Guantanamo. It was for a  guilty plea on material support for terrorism. The sentence was nine  months. There has not been one conviction of a terrorist act. I have  faith in America's courts, and I have faith in our [Judge Advocate  Generals]."

    "As president, I will close Guantanamo, reject the  Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions," he  continued. "Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice  provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists ... Our Constitution  works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not  subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not  arbitrary."

    That was three long years ago, when the world was led  to believe that Hope and Change was more than just a campaign slogan.

    Why he even bothered with his Executive Order is a mystery, other than to prolong a honeymoon with voters, and to be able to point to it and then blame Congress or Republicans when nailed about it.

    In any case, one senior official said, even if the administration concludes that it will never close the prison, it cannot acknowledge that because it would revive Guantánamo as America's image in the Muslim world.

    "Guantánamo is a negative symbol, but it is much diminished because we are seen as trying to close it," the official said. "Closing Guantánamo is good, but fighting to close Guantánamo is O.K. Admitting you failed would be the worst."

    He wants to be seen as "fighting" to close it.

    But he does not want to be seen as doing any more than "fighting" to close it.

    It's a damn good thing no one in the "Muslim world" knows about Guantanamo. If they did then he'd really have a problem...


    No (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 08:38:12 PM EST
    It is not politically viable, nor logically feasible, to send all these prisoners "home" (assuming their countries of origin would accept them, which many countries will not). And, they can't move the prisoners to the Thomson facility because of clauses in the latest Defense Appropriations bill (emphasis mine):

    It's from Politico, but here's a good synopsis:

    ...is the administration's response to the House Armed Services Committee's passage on May 19  of several anti-Guantanamo-closure amendments as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2011. The committee barred the use of any Defense Department funds for closing Guantanamo or buying a replacement prison in Illinois, even though the administration wanted to use as much as $350 million for those purposes.. Lawmakers also demanded a bunch more reports on any proposed detainee transfers to other countries--a process already subject to significant Congressional oversight.

    This document contains the official administration reaction to that bill. The May 27 Statement of Administration Policy from the Office of Management and Budget contains a couple of veto threats relating to unrequested funding for the Joint Strike Fighter and also includes a bunch of objections to other aspects of the bill. But look for the section highlighting the administration's issues with the Guantanamo language. Look. No, go on. Keep looking......Okay, you get it. Nothing there. (I believe this is what Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is dinging the administration over in Savage's article.)

    What happened the next day? Well, Republicans apparently rolled the administration amidst some procedural confusion, winning a huge 282-131 House floor vote for what amounts to a ban on transferring any Guantanamo prisoner to the U.S. for any purpose, including a civilian trial. Technically, the restriction applies only to DoD funds, but it's hard to see how any prisoner could be transferred from Guantanamo without some coordination with DoD, which it would be prohibited from expending any resources on.

    The administration's response to these developments has not been outrage or even a strong public defense of President Barack Obama's Guantanamo policy. Instead, it had no comment on the House floor vote. More recently, the administration has signaled it might try to use Justice Department money to buy the Thomson prison, even as the prospect of actually moving Guantanamo prisoners there seems to be slipping further and further away.

    I think he already has (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 08:47:18 PM EST
    enough excuses, and I think he's happy he has them.

    They save him making the effort to find a way.


    The problem is right there in your quote... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 08:50:18 PM EST
    Last paragraph...

    The administration's response to these developments has not been outrage or even a strong public defense of President Barack Obama's Guantanamo policy. Instead, it had no comment...

    They are not trying. If he wanted to close it they would be trying...


    Oh, I ABSOLUTELY agree (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 08:58:03 PM EST
    Don't forget that he had a 60 vote majority in the Senate too, so if he wanted it done, he could have quoted Ramses II from The Ten Commandments:

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

    So let it be written, so let it be done. (none / 0) (#35)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 09:07:51 PM EST
    Is a presidents Executive Order. As far as I know it has force of law. The only thing it's missing is the will to turn it from words to action.

    Congress can override (none / 0) (#36)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 09:18:39 PM EST
    A presidential executive order with legislation that conflicts with the EO.  Seems like that's what's happening with the Defense Appropriations Bill. The president can override that with a veto, of course, but Obama is not going to veto a defense appropriations bill - not in an election year.

    Actually I doubt that Obama (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 09:32:04 PM EST
    would contemplate vetoing any war funding bill, ever. In any year.

    He could also find enough democrats who would add funding and authorization to house the detainees in the US by adding it as a rider to a war funding bill to guarantee himself what he needs to do that, since he also would never contemplate releasing them and has no intention of charging them with crimes (even though he went through with the kabuki over that to seduce his followers).


    As I said above (none / 0) (#38)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 09:33:57 PM EST
    I doubt he'd have any problem finding Democrats in Congress who would want to close Gitmo.

    If he wanted to close it.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:14:54 PM EST
    2007, talk is cheap, voting to close the place is another thing all together.

    Well, let me ask you Edger, why do you think Obama wants to keep Gitmo open?

    There is nothing in it for Obama to keep the place open, imo.

    There is nothing in it for the congresscritters to take on Bush's problems, meaning moving detainees to their home state. Only downside big time.

    Six democrats voted. Levin, who appears to be the most vocal has nothing but tough on terror bs on his website, nada about closing Gitmo.

    Durbin, at least has given the Federal gov ownership of the Thompson prison. But the Ill state congress has quashed all effort to allow gitmo prisoners to be held there.


    I don't know. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:18:56 PM EST
    What I know is that he's making no effort to get it closed. His office has admitted that.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#41)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:28:46 PM EST
    And the reason would be that there is little or no interest in taking the detainees. F'ing Harry Reid said: We don't want them here.

    Durbin gave it the best shot. His state is blocking the move. Obama bought the Thompson prison in Dec 2009, but the move to bring any Gitmo detainees has been blocked, not only by Ill congress but by 90% of the Senate, and that is only because 4 or 5 senators did not vote.

    Americans are just inhumane, vengeful, and do not realize that they are no longer immune to the same kind of treatment.


    Would that be why he's stopped trying? (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Edger on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:43:26 PM EST
    Just inhumane? Vengeful?

    As far as I know there are other countries that have offered to take them.


    Well (none / 0) (#45)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 11:44:27 PM EST
    One thing that appears to be the case is that domestic politics is trumping International law, US Civil Rights, and US Federal Law.

    If this ever gets sorted out I think that the victims of US abuse, false arrest, and detention will have large monetary claims against the US.

    And to be clear:

    Closure of the detention facilities at the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is a goal repeated in the National Security Strategy, with the stated purpose not necessarily to respect and ensure human rights per se, but rather "to deny violent extremists one of their most potent recruitment tools." A human rights approach to ending the Guantánamo detentions would include the principle that any detainee not charged with a recognizable criminal offence for trial under fair procedures in an independent and impartial court - not a military commission with impoverished due process guarantees reserved for foreign nationals alone - should be immediately released, while ensuring that no-one is forcibly returned to a country where he would face human rights violations.

    The US authorities should drop any intention to construct a system for indefinite "national security" detention without criminal trial of anyone who is not recognised as a prisoner of war in connection with an international armed conflict. To simply move the detention practices put in place at Guantánamo to some other location would be as hollow a gesture as would be pronouncing the terms of universal human rights while depriving them of any real meaning or effect.


    It also appears that repealing the AUMF would be a really good thing. Do I think that is going to happen? Not a chance.


    Isn't that why progressives want (none / 0) (#42)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:36:38 PM EST
    to shut it down too?

    I do not think that his desire to erase the "stain" was a rhetorical bone thrown to progressives. IMO, he wanted to reverse international disgust over US hypocrisy in order to make his job of pursuing US interests in the international community easier.

    Progressives are on his side on that one. There are practical reasons to close Gitmo - it is not just a rhetorical thing. I don't think Obama is lying about wanting to close it, or at least he wasn't lying during the campaign. Now I think it is probably accurate to say he is learning not to want what seems to have the highest political price to accomplish.


    He doesn't believe in progressive or (none / 0) (#21)
    by inclusiveheart on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:28:45 PM EST
    liberal government.  He won't pursue it and he will protect the people who will protect him from having to go in that direction.  That should be clear to most people watching by now.

    That's easy! (4.40 / 5) (#10)
    by Romberry on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 11:21:27 AM EST
    One thing that has always baffled me is why the New Beltway gets so angry at activists agitating? What precisely would they have them do?

    Easy answer. It's the three S's: Sit down. Shut up. Send a check.

    (It's all part of the adoption of the Britney Spears school of political activism which says "I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.")

    This whole "Obama is weak because the presidency is weak"...no, wait!..."Obama is the new FDR" thing from the Britney Spears wing of the Democratic Party is hard to keep up with. Maybe someone should put out a calendar so I can keep up with which position falls on which day.

    Get Over Yourself & Get With It! (none / 0) (#12)
    by seabos84 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 11:33:17 AM EST
    Katy Perry "California Gurls"


    is THE latest crises ...



    Setting the table for Wed. 3 Nov. (none / 0) (#8)
    by seabos84 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 10:31:16 AM EST
    whatever happens on Tuesday 2 Nov., they'll have the groundwork laid for

    "Man The Battle Stations Against Mean Meanies XXVICVCLLMMXXX 2012

    Give Us Your Time
    Give Us Your Money - OR

    the mean meanies will take away all the astounding things we've done and all the great progress we've made!"

    I recall skimming some recent baloney from (ha ha ha) bob schrum about how great the great 0 is,  (maybe it was in a BWD diary -PUKE- on dkos that I skimmed for grins and giggles) and it was watching ...

    hannity? o'reilly? it was an alternate universe from the fake left or phony middle instead of a universe of hard right angles.

    as the fortune cookies say - 'may you live in interesting times'


    No money from me this go around (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 11:44:09 PM EST
    Wait (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 12:21:13 PM EST
    I thought the comparisons to FDR were so, 2008 and 2009.

    I know recycling is in vogue, but recycled talking points?

    But BTD... (none / 0) (#22)
    by ruffian on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:31:19 PM EST
    For the most part, this is a stale debate meaning precisely nothing intellectually, politically or in terms of policy.

    Without this debate how can you calibrate your activism based on its likelihood of success?

    Love the term (none / 0) (#28)
    by Maryb2004 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 04:48:02 PM EST
    New Beltway.  

    Transformative? (none / 0) (#46)
    by lilburro on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 08:17:19 AM EST
    Our economy's still in the crapper, and the Gulf is covered in oil.  Financial reform is very important, but the problems that need a heroic fix aren't getting fixed.