Senate Passes Defense Authorization Bill

It's official. The Senate, by a vote of 86-13, has passed the $662 billion NDAA, which was passed by the House yesterday.

The bill now goes to President Obama to sign, and his advisers are no longer recommending a veto over the detainee provisions.

You can read the detainee provisions here.

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    How (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by lentinel on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:07:30 PM EST
    will it feel - casting a vote next year?
    Kind of clammy I would imagine.

    Once he doesn't sign it (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:20:30 PM EST
    he's got it made. He'll have finally quit pretending to be a DC outsider.

    So Obama has finally arrived, and now he's not weak and powerless anymore like he has been pretending to be for three long years that have frustrated his would be lovers.

    He's finally grabbed hold of the reins and he'll be able to come out of the closet now letting his inner FDR bloom and start arresting investment bankers while shutting down the WOT and all the ridiculous imperial wars that are bankrupting the country, driving Republicans into extinction as he sails through a 2012 landslide into a permanent Democratic majority?

    It should also mean the end of all the terrorist attacks on peaceful Americans by mayors and blue suited goon squads all across the country?

    In fact now, having no law barring him that says he can't or that anyone can challenge him when he does, Obama can simply with the stroke of his pen or a nod to his chief of staff declare every GOP member in the House and the Senate to be "enemy combatants" and have them all disappeared by lunchtime tomorrow.

    It was his greatest eleven dimensional bipartisan initiative.


    Bush and Cheney must be humbled. They were incompetent amateurs.

    ...doesn't "veto" it (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 06:31:25 PM EST
    Harsh, and deservedly so. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:57:26 AM EST
    NYT Editorial Friday, December 16.   "Politics Over Principle".  'This week, he (the president) is poised to sign into law terrible new measures that will make indefinite detention and military trials a permanent part of American law. The measures, contained in the military budget bill , will strip the FBI, federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military, which has made clear that it doesn't want the job.

    The legislation could also give future presidents (Note: future presidents?) the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial.  ...Nearly every top American official with knowledge and experience spoke out against the provisions...and for weeks the WH vowed that Mr. Obama would veto the ..budget if the provisions were left in. ..the WH reversed field, declaring that the bill had been improved enough for the president to sign it now that it passed the Senate.  
    "..This is a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency. To start with, this bill was utterly unnecessary.  And, the modifications are nowhere near enough. ....it (now) allows the executive to grant a waiver for a particular prisoner to be brought to trial in a civilian court . But the legislation 's ban on spending any money for civilian trials for any accused terrorist would make that waiver largely meaningless.  

    The bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can't go into them all. Among the worst: It leaves open the possibility of subjecting American citizens to military detention and trial by a military court. The bill will make it harder to fight terrorists and do more harm to the country's international reputation.  The WH said that if implementing it jeopardizes the rule of law, it expects Congress to work "quickly and tirelessly" to undo the damage.  The WH will have to make that happen. After it abdicated its responsibility this week, we're not convinced it will.'

    He does not cave. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:34:24 AM EST
    When someone continually and repeatedly goes along on everything with someone else whom he "claims" to be opposing, it's not "caving".

    It's the plan.

    The intentional plan.

    And there are still some people cheering, even for this.


    The "I'll veto it" lie was just that. A lie to defuse opposition to what he was planning on all along.


    and, it was "utterly unnecessary". (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:49:06 AM EST
    Well, this statement needs analysis.  Why was it deemed necessary by the President and Congress?   Someone is scared, and it does not seem that it is just al Qaeda--after all we have been on them with global terror wars and shooting wars in several countries for years.   Could it be that social unrest in this country is the new terrorism?  

    Ding! (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 10:53:02 AM EST
    Exactly, Edger (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Zorba on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 06:01:30 PM EST
    I don't know how many times I have said to my friends who are Obama apologists, "No, he's not trying to be bi-partisan, he's not doing the only thing left to him because he has no choice- this was what he wanted all along!"  Obama is a neoliberal (with neoconservatism thrown in regarding foreign affairs).  And that in no way has anything to do with classical liberalism, at least, not the way I view liberalism.  I may have to start calling myself something else.  Populist?  Socialist?  I don't care- all I know is that, as I have said many times before, I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.

    Well, (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 06:10:04 PM EST
    maybe they could take A Trip Down Memory Lane With Senator Obama

    "The only bills that I've voted for, for the most part, since I've been in the Senate, were introduced by Republicans or by George Bush."

    -- Senator Barack Obama @ 2min 18sec

    As Glenn so rightly points out, (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:30:21 AM EST
    Obama's veto threat never had anything to do with the protection of civil liberties, but with the preservation of executive power (bold and italics in Glenn's original post):

    Obama's objections to this bill had nothing to do with civil liberties, due process or the Constitution. It had everything to do with Executive power. The White House's complaint was that Congress had no business tying the hands of the President when deciding who should go into military detention, who should be denied a trial, which agencies should interrogate suspects (the FBI or the CIA). Such decisions, insisted the White House, are for the President, not Congress, to make. In other words, his veto threat was not grounded in the premise that indefinite military detention is wrong; it was grounded in the premise that it should be the President who decides who goes into military detention and why, not Congress.

    Even the one substantive objection the White House expressed to the bill -- mandatory military detention for accused American Terrorists captured on U.S. soil -- was about Executive power, not due process or core liberties. The proof of that -- the definitive, conclusive proof -- is that Sen. Carl Levin has several times disclosed that it was the White House which demanded removal of a provision in his original draft that would have exempted U.S. citizens from military detention (see the clip of Levin explaining this in the video below). In other words, this was an example of the White House demanding greater detention powers in the bill by insisting on the removal of one of its few constraints (the prohibition on military detention for Americans captured on U.S. soil). That's because the White House's North Star on this bill --  as they repeatedly made clear -- was Presidential discretion: they were going to veto the bill if it contained any limits on the President's detention powers, regardless of whether those limits forced him to put people in military prison or barred him from doing so.

    And, Glenn goes on to dispel the myth about the closure of Guantanamo - that while Obama may have promised to close the facility, he was committed to preserving what Glenn calls the "core injustice" of Guantanamo - indefinite detention.  Given Obama's actions over these last three years, and the provisions of the NDAA, I don't know how anyone could argue otherwise.

    The door of unlimited executive power that Bush and Cheney opened in their eight years, that Democrats in Congress refused to try to close when they had the opportunity, Obama has steadily and firmly been removing the hinges from, with, to my utter shame, the help of fellow Democrats, and it only remains to be seen what happens when the door comes all the way off - which I now fear it will.

    It's truly horrifying to me.

    I think historians will look back (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:02:44 PM EST
    and write that bush spent years trying to kick it down, but this, this, was when the the door came all the way off.

    Congress is now an anachronism.

    Will it be be defunded and disbanded in favor if deficit fighting budget cuts one day, since now all power rests in the white house? What need is left for the bread and circuses?

    Chris Floyd was a prophet?

    Tomorrow is here. The game is over. The crisis has passed -- and the patient is dead. Whatever dream you had about what America is, it isn't that anymore. It's gone. And not just in some abstract sense, some metaphorical or mythological sense, but down in the nitty-gritty, in the concrete realities of institutional structures and legal frameworks, of policy and process, even down to the physical nature of the landscape and the way that people live.

    The Republic you wanted -- and at one time might have had the power to take back -- is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it's not there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready exploiters of 9/11, whored by the war pimps of the 2003 aggression, gut-knifed by the corrupters of the 2004 vote, and raped again by its "rescuers" after the 2006 election. Beaten, abused, diseased and abandoned, it finally died. We are living in its grave.
    How can this be? The answer is simple: the United States is no longer a democratic country, or even a degraded semblance of one.
    Yet the belief persists that if there are not tanks in the streets or leather-jacketed commissars breaking down doors, then Americans are still living in a free country. I wrote about this situation almost six years ago -- six years ago:

       It won't come with jackboots and book burnings, with mass rallies and fevered harangues. It won't come with "black helicopters" or tanks on the street. It won't come like a storm - but like a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality has taken its place.

        As in Rome, all the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns - plenty of bread and circuses for the folks. But the "consent of the governed" will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small group of nobles who rule largely for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.

        To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among this elite, and a degree of free debate will be permitted, within limits; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to govern or influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized - usually by "the people" themselves. Deprived of historical knowledge by an impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, not thoughtful citizens, and left ignorant of current events by a media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control.

    Full Metal Jacket (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by NYShooter on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 11:52:36 AM EST
    Getting closer, and closer

    Another hint regarding OWS: "Changing Society as we know it."

    A few days ago I began giving my thoughts as to OWS's goals & procedures. The first one I mentioned was that they intend to live as if we actually are a Constitutional Democracy.

    The second is to define the word, "promise," and to force the implementation of that word throughout our society. For example, a dollar bill is a promissory note; if you steal one, you will be arrested and prosecuted. The Government "promises" that that dirty slip of paper is backed by the full faith and credit if the U.S.A. and that the note is legal tender for all debts, public, and private. Our entire society functions on a series of promises, and violating one will get you in a whole heap of trouble.

    OWS intends to put that theory to the test. In other words, why are some promises absolute, inviolate contracts, while others are broken willy nilly, with no fear of repercussion?
    I'm talking, of course, about the promises our "Leaders" make, and then break with impunity. If you, as a homeowner, break your promise to make payments on your mortgage, you lose your house. If the President promises to filibuster the FISA-Immunity bill, and breaks that promise, nothing happens.

    So, to put it simply, why are some promises inviolate, and others simply a hoax?

    Obviously, much more has to be explained, but the simple concept OWS wants to test is, if the rich and powerful can break promises as they deem fit, why can't everyone else? Or conversely, if the average person must keep his/her promises, why don't the rich and powerful?

    These are brave and beautiful souls (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by sj on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 12:38:12 PM EST
    If this is true, I am completely humbled by their courage.  I know that I don't have it.

    It is so early (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by NYShooter on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 04:32:16 PM EST
    in their gestation that the only prudent course, IMO, for we observers is to lay back, watch, and learn. From all, or most all, of the comments I've read so far folks seem to insist on defining them in terms analogous to past movements with which they're familiar. Following that pattern they will be consistently wrong in their understanding of this group.

    I would like to ask the skeptics a simple question: If your goal is to change our society, for the majority of people, for the better, how would you do it when the opposition, the plutocrats (or oligarchs) hold a trillion to one advantage over common people in money, power, placement, and sociopath souls? It can't be done, most people recognize that, and that's why it hasn't been tried. People have the atitude, what's the use? And they're right.

    Enter OWS, and using tactics never tried before have enjoyed successes deemed impossible, and in such a short time.

    And, while they don't have a traditional organizational chart in their operations, the fact that they adhere to "everyone's voice being heard," simple human nature should prove that the smartest voices will, not just be heard, but will become what, for OWS, forms something resembling "Leadership."

    I'm sure of one thing: If we could, by some magic, fast forward a year, or two, or three, we'd realize how dumb most of us are vis-à-vis our impressions today.

    It will be fascinating.......and dangerous. These are brave, brave people.


    Somewhat not OT (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:16:59 PM EST
    The US security firm formerly known as Blackwater, which was barred from Iraq over a deadly 2007 shooting, renamed itself a second time Monday.

    USTC Holdings, the investor consortium that acquired ex-Blackwater firm Xe Services in December 2010, announced ACADEMI as the new name and brand for Xe Services.

    The rebranding came as President Barack Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Monday, marking America's exit from a war launched to oust Saddam Hussein.

    "We have had a year of extraordinary changes that have resulted in a new, better company," ACADEMI president and chief executive Ted Wright said in a statement.

    "I know that everyone at ACADEMI shares in this commitment to promote the highest standards of ethical conduct, compliance and integrity in all of our activities.

    "We are already the best operationally. We are going to become the best at governance," Wright said, adding "we still have much work to do."

    December 12, 2011
    Once called Blackwater, firm changes name again

    Well, check off another Obama (none / 0) (#5)
    by KeysDan on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:28:37 PM EST
    accomplishment: the vote was bipartisan.  It seems that the detention of US citizens, or not, is still unclear.  From the link above: the second controversial provision "deny suspected terrorists, including US citizens seized within the nation's borders, the right to trial and subjects them to indefinite detention."   The provision includes a Senate-panel compromise that says nothing in the legislation may be "construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of US citizens, lawful resident aliens in the US or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the US."  Senator Levin objected to the criticism, but Senator Feinstein and Senator Leahy would introduce legislation to ensure that no US citizen is held indefinitely without a trial. So far, the accounts are confusing.

    I imagine (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 07:49:19 PM EST
    Jose Padilla, and Democratic and Republican reps and the president, are still "unclear" about whether or not he was actually held for three and a half years as an "enemy combatant" until, after pressure from civil liberties groups, the charge was dropped and his case was moved to a civilian court.

    Probably a good thing they picked him up then, and not now....


    The vote was not just bipartisan (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by shoephone on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:41:39 PM EST
    It was nearly unanimous.

    I wasn't planning on voting for b.s. artist Maria Cantwell anyway, but now I have more reason to heckle her wherever and whenever possible. I denied her my vote in 2006, when she was running around town holding rallies with then-senator Obama, and telling her constituents how she had "no regrets" about voting for the Iraq War Resolution.

    The powers-that-be who seek to destroy our Constitution often travel in pairs. CYA trumps Bill of Rights every time. But let's remember, it was Alberto Gonzales who told us those rights had become antiquated. The Dems are now fully fledged modernaires.


    The rich have all the rights they need... (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 09:47:52 PM EST
    ...As for the rest of us, something's bound to trickle down.

    And you can be sure (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by shoephone on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 10:38:04 PM EST
    it will be sticky and smelly.