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Archive for June 12th, 2009

Talking Iraq in Iraq

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Talking Iraq in Iraq

ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Stephen Colbert interviews Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, and asks where we are now in the war, what “trust exercises” he does with the Iraqis and just what is the difference between Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran? Check out this clip from Wednesday night’s “Colbert Report.”

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Megan Hustad on Class in America

Two memoirs—Eve Pell’s “We Used to Own the Bronx” and Christopher Buckley’s “Losing Mum and Pup”—demonstrate, each in its own way, that all that glitters is not gold and that the price exacted by extreme social anxiety is very high indeed. A feast of the higher gossip and raw meat for social anthropologists.

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Senators Who Opposed Tobacco Bill Received Top Dollar From Industry

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Senators Who Opposed Tobacco Bill Received Top Dollar From Industry
WASHINGTON – Among the 17 senators who voted against allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco are some of the top recipients of…

Obama Gives Up On Bringing Released Gitmo Inmates To U.S.
The Obama administration has all but abandoned plans to allow Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared for release to live in the United States,…

Andy Worthington: Who Are the Four Guantanamo Uighurs Sent to Bermuda?
The Uighurs should never have been held at all; the Pentagon was only interested in them because of the intelligence they might have provided about the activities of the Chinese government.


Gingrich says it’s “unimaginable” to Mirandize suspects in Afghanistan, but Bush reportedly did so

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Gingrich says it’s “unimaginable” to Mirandize suspects in Afghanistan, but Bush reportedly did so

On the June 10 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich characterized “[t]he idea that we pick up, in a war zone, a terrorist” and read them Miranda rights as “unimaginable. It’s worse than anything Jimmy Carter ever did. It’s worse than anything that President Bill Clinton ever did.” Gingrich made the comment while discussing a June 10 Weekly Standard article reporting the claim of Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) that “the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan.” However, neither Gingrich nor host Sean Hannity noted that hours earlier on Fox News, the author of The Weekly Standard report, senior writer Steve Hayes, reported that the FBI also Mirandized people at “specific bases” during the Bush administration.

On the June 10 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, Hayes stated: “Well, it’s interesting that back in the campaign, if you remember, this was a punch line for Republicans. You know, Barack Obama would like to read detainees their Miranda rights. And now we find out that this is, in fact, happening.” Hayes then added: “There are reports that this was happening on specific bases as going back as early as July 2008. But what Mike Rogers seems to be saying is that this is happening on a more consistent basis, and that the FBI and the Justice Department don’t want to talk about it.”

Additionally, on Special Report, Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that “[t]he Justice Department saying tonight that detainees at Bagram have been Mirandized in the past.” Griffin also stated that Justice Department Dean Boyd stated that “[t]here has been no policy change nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas” and that “there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas at both Bagram and in other situations in order to preserve the quality of evidence.”

From the June 10 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

HANNITY: You know, the Obama administration terrorist relocation program, because the first Gitmo detainee is now on U.S. shores.

But The Weekly Standard is reporting tonight that the Obama Justice Department — and now we’re gonna show tape of Obama saying he’d never do this, that’s coming up a little bit later on the show — that he quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high-value detainees captured or held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according to Mike Rogers.

GINGRICH: This is — Congressman Rogers on the Intelligence Committee was in Afghanistan. This report in The Weekly Standard is unimaginable. It’s worse than anything Jimmy Carter ever did. It’s worse than anything that President Bill Clinton ever did.

The idea that we pick up, in a war zone, a terrorist, and the first thing we do is say to them, “We want to make sure you understand your rights. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney.”

First of all, that’s just not true. They are not American citizens. They are not in the American criminal justice system. These are enemy agents in a war. I think this is — we have got to recognize these folks are going to get a lot of people killed if we continue down this road of crippling our intelligence capability, crippling our military capability, crippling our FBI, and pretending that terrorists are Americans.

HANNITY: Well, it’s frightening on a scale that I never thought possible in America.

From the June 10 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

GRIFFIN: Bret, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd has just issued a statement saying that there has been no policy change. I’ll quote: “There has been no policy change nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas.” But he adds, “While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas at both Bagram and in other situations in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees.”

So there you have it, Bret. The Justice Department saying tonight that detainees at Bagram have been Mirandized in the past — Bret.

[…]

[begin video clip]

ROGERS: It’s already in the field. I have witnessed it myself, talked to the people on the ground. It’s obviously there. We have talked to the FBI. They said, yes, we’re trying to rule this out.

I don’t think it’s, as I said, well thought through. We think this is a DOJ initiative. But it hasn’t been well advertised, it hasn’t been well talked about. And, certainly, I’m not sure it was all that well coordinated amongst all the agencies.

ROBERT GIBBS (White House press secretary): I have no reason to disbelieve a member of Congress, but I don’t know any of the circumstances that are involved around it.

REPORTER: Would it come as a surprise to the White House if that’s what would be happening?

GIBBS: It’s not a surprise to me.

[end video clip]

BAIER: What are they talking about? Senior House Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Rogers from Michigan — he is also a former special agent for the FBI — just returned from Afghanistan and said that suspected terrorists at the detainee facility in Bagram were being read their Miranda rights by FBI agents there.

Let’s bring in our panel on this. Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio; and Jeff Birnbaum, managing editor digital of The Washington Times.

Steve, you broke this story on The Weekly Standard. I should point out the DOJ released a statement — Department of Justice — saying, “There has been no policy change nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas. While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas at both Bagram and at other institutions or situations in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees.”

What about all of this?

HAYES: Well, it’s interesting that back in the campaign, if you remember, this was a punch line for Republicans. You know, Barack Obama would like to read detainees their Miranda rights. And now we find out that this is, in fact, happening.

There are reports that this was happening on specific bases as going back as early as July 2008. But what Mike Rogers seems to be saying is that this is happening on a more consistent basis, and that the FBI and the Justice Department don’t want to talk about it.

They are not eager to have this become a public issue, because I think, you know, largely, the American public is not going to be in agreement that detainees, especially detainees overseas, should be read Miranda rights — you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to a lawyer. The government will provide one for you if you can’t afford one, what have you.

So, what I think we’re seeing now is confusion, as Mike Rogers says. Nobody knows what’s going on. The CIA apparently did not know how often this was happening or that it was happening at all. Really very few people know a lot of the details of this. Mike Rogers is somebody who seems to.


Did Von Brunn See Significance In The Number 88?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Did Von Brunn See Significance In The Number 88?
Is there a significance to the fact that James Von Brunn allegedly carried out this shooting at the Holocaust Museum at the age of 88? Eighty-eight is a number with particular significance in Neo-Nazi circles. The eighth letter of the…

Allen Stanford’s New Lawyers: Admiralty And Maritime Law Experts
Remember our old friend Allen Stanford? Matthew Goldstein, who had been covering the Stanford story closely at BusinessWeek, and has now moved to Reuters, has an interesting catch about the cricket-loving billionaire’s curious legal strategy. Goldstein reports that Stanford last…

Von Brunn Revered By Some Neo-Nazis
James Von Brunn appears to be a kind of revered elder statesman of the hardcore white supremacist movement. A 2003 posting on the Neo-Nazi website Storm Front, by “The Celtic Pit Dog,” asked readers to wish him good health after…


You Want Fries with That?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

You Want Fries with That?


The Terrorist Threat: Right-Wing Radicals and the Eliminationist Mindset

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

The Terrorist Threat: Right-Wing Radicals and the Eliminationist Mindset
Understanding the dangerous worldview that led to the murder of an innocent doctor and an attack at the Holocaust Museum.

The Hummer: America’s Favorite Wasteful Toy Has Moved to the Land of Mao
China now owns one of the West's most decadent consumer products.

Hey Progressives: Why Don’t you Care About the "Drug War" Like You Care About Other Issues?
If the 500,000 nonviolent drug offenders in jail had white faces, would society allow it?

Hey Progressives: Why Don’t you Care About the "Drug War" Like You Care About Other Issues?
If the 500,000 nonviolent drug offenders in jail had white faces, would society allow it?


Will A House Vote Today Help Ahmadinejad Win?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Will A House Vote Today Help Ahmadinejad Win?
The right-wing of the “pro-Israel” (in quotes because they are anything but) commentariat is worried. It is beginning to look like President Ahmadinejad might lost Friday’s election. In Congress, there have been several attempts this week to push through anti-Iran…

Supporting Wars of Necessity, Defending Wars of Choice
Thanks to everyone for your posts so far on the themes raised in my book. I would like to pick up on some of the comments and questions. First, I draw the distinction between wars of necessity and wars…


O?Reilly Defends Gay Penguins: ?God Made The Penguin That Way?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

O?Reilly Defends Gay Penguins: ?God Made The Penguin That Way?
Last night, Bill O’Reilly discussed the “gay penguins” at a zoo in Germany with guest Dennis Miller. O’Reilly shocked Miller by being eminently tolerant of the penguins, saying the zoo should “leave the penguin alone” because “God made the penguin that way”: O’REILLY: Number one, if the penguin’s gay, leave the penguin alone. God made the […]

Last night, Bill O’Reilly discussed the “gay penguins” at a zoo in Germany with guest Dennis Miller. O’Reilly shocked Miller by being eminently tolerant of the penguins, saying the zoo should “leave the penguin alone” because “God made the penguin that way”:

O’REILLY: Number one, if the penguin’s gay, leave the penguin alone. God made the penguin that way and I agree — I mean, I’m not one of these guys who thinks you should be converting anybody to anything. If you’re that way, and you’re not hurting anybody, I think you and I agree, we’re libertarians. So who cares? … If they’re happy, they’re happy. That’s my philosophy.

Watch it:

If only O’Reilly were as tolerant of gay humans; alas, his record shows quite a different picture:

— O’Reilly complained that J.K. Rowling is making children “tolerant” of homosexuality.

– O’Reilly warned that if gay marriage were allowed, people could marry ducks, turtles, and dolphins.

– O’Reilly censored a photo of two men kissing.

– O’Reilly claimed J.K. Rowling is a “provocateur” for “the gay agenda” of “indoctrination.”

– O’Reilly was disgusted by a transgender couple, saying, “Imagine a poor kid getting born into that family.”

– O’Reilly was furious that “thousands of gay adults showed up and commingled with straight families” at a Padres game, and suggested that gay couples hugging were making “over-the-top displays.”

In O’Reilly’s world, gay penguins should be left alone, but gay people should be mocked, reviled, and censored.


Senate Approves Bill to Allow FDA Regulation of Tobacco

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Senate Approves Bill to Allow FDA Regulation of Tobacco
Landmark legislation approved by the Senate yesterday will give the federal government sweeping new powers to oversee tobacco products, allowing regulators to control factors including the amount of addictive nicotine in a cigarette and how that cigarette is packaged and marketed.

Obama Gives Up on Resettling Cleared Guantanamo Detainees in U.S., Officials Say
The Obama administration has all but abandoned plans to allow Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared for release to live in the United States, administration officials said yesterday, a decision that reflects bipartisan congressional opposition to admitting such prisoners but complicates…

Report Faults Bush Officials Over Utah Land Auction
A new report from the Department of the Interior says that Bush administration officials did not follow longstanding practices when they auctioned off 77 parcels of Utah land for oil and gas drilling while keeping the National Park Service in the dark about potential drilling near park land.

President Obama Holds Town Hall on Health Care
SPEAKER: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA [*] OBAMA: Thank you, Green Bay! Good to see you! Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much! Thank you! Thank you! (APPLAUSE) Please, everybody, have a seat. It is great to be back in Green Bay. We are hoping that both the Packers and the Bears do better …


Is Sonia Sotomayor Playing the Race Card?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 12th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

Is Sonia Sotomayor Playing the Race Card?
Roger Simon, Politico

Obama, President of a Deranged Nation
Charles Pierce, Esquire

TARP Payback Is Nothing to Cheer