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Author Topic: Elizabeth Warren.
BlackBlade
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Mr. Card has written an essay about this, but I'm going to link TWSJ's article instead.

Link.

I have been a very staunch supporter of many of President Obama's policies as well as his character. It may be that in his opinion Ms. Warren is exactly right for the job, and extremely talented, and in many circumstances unorthodox moves like these are the right medicine in a crisis.

Unfortunately, we are not in a crisis that requires this sort of fast movement. It's not right that anybody could ascend to such a senior position where they have so much influence that the legislature is cut out of the process. Mr. Card's critique that this sets a very dangerous precedent is exactly right. What is to stop a person from appointing lackeys to work "under" those approved by congress to a cabinet level position? For all intents and purposes the congress is completely locked out.

I have very pro federalist sentiments, but this is too strong a drink for me. I am writing President Obama, and my representatives that this move needs to be opposed absolutely. I expect that the executive branch will always find creative ways to gain just a bit more control, and when they go too far, that is when the other branches slap their wrist.

I disagree that this is an impeachable offense, but it simply cannot stand. It may not come to anything now, or even in the near future, but the fact the door to cronyism is that much more open is too dangerous in of itself to leave to chance.

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Lyrhawn
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The silly part isn't so much the endrun around Congress, it's not waiting for Congress to go into recess so he could use a recess appoint to put her in the office legally. ::sigh:: That's what he should have done. I won't even bother with Card's summation of events. I think some of his criticisms are valid, but they're drowned out by the rest of his shouting.

My thoughts on the matter? I love Elizabeth Warren. Everything I've read about her makes me pleased as punch that she was in charge the Congressional Oversight Committee for TARP, which from all accounts that I've read she has presided over splendidly. The only reason, the ONLY reason that she never would have been appointed is that when Congress was doing Wall Street reform, she cried bloody murder when they gutted the most important reforms from the bill. If she had kept her mouth shut, she'd probably be fine, as she's otherwise well respected. But she'd suffer political retribution for speaking out against the politics that gutted what should have been a really important bill that a LOT of people were in favor of.

There's more than one injustice here. Obama shouldn't have done this, and I think it should be undone. But the fact that Warren never would have been consented to was just as heinous an offense in my opinion. Republicans in the Senate are holding up appointments by the dozens in the hopes of either watering down the candidates or getting their own candidates into those spots in the next administration. The "advise and consent" clause was invented to ratify the president's choice as qualified, not for political gamesmanship, just as the recess appointment was designed for a time when Congressmen had to travel hundreds of miles by horseback and recesses could take months, necessitating a loophole for emergencies.

Both sides have surrendered their stewardship of that particular section of the Constitution...but Obama's way of dealing with it is wrong. While I remain pissed off about how Congress deal with these things, this isn't the way to solve it.

Oh, and because I can't quite stop myself: Card calls this a rubber stamp Congress? PLEASE. What are they rubber stamping? You can't complain that Obama has done NOTHING and then on the other hand complain that Congress is rubber stamping his nothingness. The fact of the matter is that Obama hasn't really done anything, I agree with you there. Obama is really doing what Republicans have claimed to want for decades; he's letting Congress do all the legislating. Frankly, I think it has been a disastrous experiment. If anything he's been THEIR rubber stamp, not the other way around. And he's STILL not getting his people confirmed for the dozens of offices, mostly judicial, that lie vacant because of Republican hold-ups. Democrats confirmed dozens of judicial appointments that they didn't like during the Bush era, but when Obama came to office, they slammed the gates shut on it, only letting through SCOTUS picks that after much hand-wringing didn't even end up being that controversial.

I'm sick to death of all of this. Congress, by the way, is not locked out of the process. Frankly I see why Obama has done what he's done, for the reasons I cited above. They aren't doing their jobs correctly, so he went around them. If they wanted to, they could pass a new law that eliminates her position entirely. They could take the issue to SCOTUS and have Obama slapped down. They have plenty of recourse. It's just stinging how thinly veiled Obama's move is.

They all need to grow up and stop treating government as a zero sum game. No one has to win all the time.

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Chris Bridges
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I don't like the move, it smacks of desperation. Recess appointment would only have gotten her in there a year (and, of course, also would have gotten an outcry from the opposition) but it would have been above board.

But it was not ripping apart the Constitution, as OSC declares, with the clear implication that Obama would like nothing more than to ignore the entire document. I especially liked the rightwing squawking point alluded to here:

quote:
This is what dictatorship looks like, boys and girls. And Obama has been doing it all along. What do you think his "czars" are?
They're special assistants whom the media refers to as "czars," just as they have been ever since Roosevelt. Obama has 39 so far, according to Wikipedia, some of whom are holdovers from the previous administration. I don't recall OSC becoming enraged over GWB's impressive czar collection (32).

I kind of like Bruce Ackerman's suggestion at the WSJ:

quote:
Here is the deal: The Senate should change its rules to require an up-or-down vote on all executive branch appointments within 60 days. In exchange, the president should sign legislation to require Senate approval of all senior White House appointments. By reaching this agreement, the president regains the powers to govern effectively and the Senate regains its authority to approve all major appointments—regardless of their location in the executive branch.
As it stands, the government we have now cannot and apparently will not govern. Instead it prefers to jockey for position, spike the opponent's play without ever working to compromise and make a better one, and play to the crowds to make good campaign commercials.
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Lyrhawn
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I like the first part. But, as it happens, doesn't the Senate already have some confirmation powers over senior White House staff positions? Chief of Staff and other positions that get security clearance to do their jobs all have to be confirmed, no? As for people like the Director of Communications and the like, I don't think the Senate should have a say, that's an overreach into Executive territory.

But I love the idea of a 60 day limit on an up or down vote. At least they'll be on record as having voted someone down, and they can answer for the vote, then the conversation can really start on the Senate approval process. But I think the President should be free to choose his own staff.

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natural_mystic
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Mr. Card has written an essay about this, but I'm going to link TWSJ's article instead.

Link.

I have been a very staunch supporter of many of President Obama's policies as well as his character. It may be that in his opinion Ms. Warren is exactly right for the job, and extremely talented, and in many circumstances unorthodox moves like these are the right medicine in a crisis.

Unfortunately, we are not in a crisis that requires this sort of fast movement. It's not right that anybody could ascend to such a senior position where they have so much influence that the legislature is cut out of the process. Mr. Card's critique that this sets a very dangerous precedent is exactly right. What is to stop a person from appointing lackeys to work "under" those approved by congress to a cabinet level position? For all intents and purposes the congress is completely locked out.

I have very pro federalist sentiments, but this is too strong a drink for me. I am writing President Obama, and my representatives that this move needs to be opposed absolutely. I expect that the executive branch will always find creative ways to gain just a bit more control, and when they go too far, that is when the other branches slap their wrist.

I disagree that this is an impeachable offense, but it simply cannot stand. It may not come to anything now, or even in the near future, but the fact the door to cronyism is that much more open is too dangerous in of itself to leave to chance.

Do you think this is worse than a (not uncommon) recess appointment? If so, why?
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Strider
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I think the idea that Obama is somehow setting any new precidents for executive privilege is laughable...regardless of the appropriateness of this action.
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Geraine
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I believe it was Ford that said something like "An Impeachable Offense is whatever the House of Representatives decides it is at any given time" or something along those lines.

The Constitution says the President can be impeached for "bribery, treason, other high crimes or misdemeanors."

Constitutionally I'm not exactly sure Obama is impeachable. If Republicans take the House though, I guess they can interpret the Constitution in such a way that what he did is an impeachable offense.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Do you think this is worse than a (not uncommon) recess appointment? If so, why?
Yes, because a recess appointment is still a part of the Constitutional process. This isn't. You can't install department heads at the level of an assistant but give them the powers usually given to Senate-approved positions.

The appointment process in general has become a farce if you ask me, and maybe this will bring some much needed attention to it, but it's certainly different.

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just_me
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OSC says:
quote:
You appoint her to a much lower-level position, an advisory one that doesn't require Senate confirmation. But then you instruct the Secretary of the Treasury not to interfere with any of her decisions and make sure they're carried out.
and I can see where the concern there is.

Now, I haven't searched high and low, and my Google-fu may be weak, but I haven't seen any proof that any instructions of the kind were given. And until I'm convinced that such instructions were given I'm going to get bent out of shape about this...

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Samprimary
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This sort of thing was exactly what I was talking about when I noted that the paralysis of legislature results in the arrogation of executive privilege, just to keep the system operating. Overuse of the filibuster means that this stuff will happen as a result. Congress is locked out because congress is locked up.

The Vast Proclamations about what Card insists this entails are, of course, wildly inaccurate agitprop, but he long ago convinced me that he doesn't understand or desire to accurately represent these things after he declared certain forms of judicial representation, entirely intended by the constitution, to be 'the death of democracy,' alongside other apocalyptic narratives.

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Herblay
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BB: Do you think that your preface of being such a staunch Obama supporter lends your argument credibility?

What makes anyone believe that this level of influence hasn't been leveraged by EVERY president. And certainly, with the amount of scrutiny that Obama is under, any appointment could be interpreted as a "power grab".

Appointed to the TARP committee by Harry Reid, it isn't like Warren is a wacko nutjob. She's actually pretty even keel, for a liberal.

Compare this sensationalist crumb to Bush Jr's waterboarding or spying-on-the-public. Who abused power?

At least it says something for the LACK of scandal in our current presidency, when conservative nutjobs think that THIS is an impeachable offense.

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Lyrhawn
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I think the average Anti-Obama conservative automatically equates unconstitutional with impeachable offense, and since they offer up the charge of unconstitutional on virtually everything he does, this is just a drop in the bucket.

And that's a shame too, because while I don't think this is impeachable by any means, I do think that it highlights a serious problem in the way our government works (or doesn't) at the moment. This is a "teachable moment" in many ways, but that lesson will get drowned out by the crazies. Unless people move what "what" to "why" here, this is just a sideshow.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
The silly part isn't so much the endrun around Congress, it's not waiting for Congress to go into recess so he could use a recess appoint to put her in the office legally.

Would that have been legit? "Vacancy" doesn't mean a new office that's never had someone in charge. It means an office where the person in charge leaves or dies.
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fugu13
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Vacancy means vacancy; an office that exists but is not filled. It doesn't matter why that vacancy has occurred: if it exists, the President has the power to fill it with a recess appointment.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
BB: Do you think that your preface of being such a staunch Obama supporter lends your argument credibility?
Did I say that it did? I stated my heretofore strong support and contrasted it with the criticism I was about to make.
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Blayne Bradley
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To me BBs words were "I'm a tad disapointed" not "I voted for him but I made a mistake hur hur"
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Herblay:
Compare this sensationalist crumb to Bush Jr's waterboarding or spying-on-the-public. Who abused power?

Why is it that the best anyone can do to defend the clown in the White House is to compare him to the previous clown in the White House? Damn, but Obama is lucky to have had Bush.
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Scott R
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quote:
Compare this sensationalist crumb to Bush Jr's waterboarding or spying-on-the-public. Who abused power?
The irony is that Obama is expanding the government's ability to spy on the public.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Compare this sensationalist crumb to Bush Jr's waterboarding or spying-on-the-public. Who abused power?
The irony is that Obama is expanding the government's ability to spy on the public.
Everything Bush did that was bad (and that is a huge list) has been outdone by Obama. Sending troops overseas? Check. Tanking the economy? Check (blank check, to be precise). Infringing on civil rights? Check. Ignoring disasters? Check. Signing statements? Check. Lack of visibility? Check. Gaffes? Check. Renditions? Check.

It's like he's trying to outBush Bush.

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Samprimary
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That's a fitting amount of unfounded rhetoric. I know that you're basically allergic to anything Obama does, but that last post got a little bit ridiculous.

Do you believe that Obama's response to the gulf coast oil spill 'outdoes' the poorness of Bush's response to Katrina?

Do you believe that Obama's extension of combat operations in Afghanistan is 'outdoing' the poorness of having gone into and neglected the region in the first place?

Do you believe that Obama has used more controversial signing statements than Bush?

Do you think anything Obama has done on the civil rights front has been as problematic as the Patriot Act?

By 'tanking the economy,' do you presumably mean 'the economy will tank again because of Obama, certainly' as opposed to asserting that Obama's administration was the cause of the economic crash that preceded it?

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Blayne Bradley
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Yeah Lisa check your factcheck there on the economy issue.
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Herblay
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I can't see that Obama has "outdone" Bush on a single one of those things. And most of Obama's problems were inherited.

Sending troops overseas? Iraq is essentially over (because of Obama). And now he's cleaning up the rest of Bush's mess in Afghanistan.

Tanking the economy? Really. You're going to blame Obama for that?

Infringing? Like Sam said, do you remember the Patriot Act?

Do you remember Katrina? Are you really comparing it to the oil spill?

What about the positive things?
- Credit card reform
- College loan reform
- THE ECONOMY
- Iraq
- Headway on issues like gay civil rights and marijuana legislation

What did Bush do that was positive?

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msquared
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Herblay,

Iraq is over becuase of Obama? You have got to be kidding. I might give you the rest, but that one is revisionist at best.

msquared

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Do you believe that Obama's response to the gulf coast oil spill 'outdoes' the poorness of Bush's response to Katrina?

Absolutely.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Do you believe that Obama's extension of combat operations in Afghanistan is 'outdoing' the poorness of having gone into and neglected the region in the first place?

Absolutely.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Do you believe that Obama has used more controversial signing statements than Bush?

Really? We're counting, now?

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Do you think anything Obama has done on the civil rights front has been as problematic as the Patriot Act?

Absolutely. Not to mention the fact that he extended the Patriot Act.

quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
By 'tanking the economy,' do you presumably mean 'the economy will tank again because of Obama, certainly' as opposed to asserting that Obama's administration was the cause of the economic crash that preceded it?

I'm saying that he worsened an already bad situation immeasurably.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Absolutely.

The first one's pretty telling; all are expected, however. The Katrina debacle was pretty much unquestionably more terrific and damaging an instance of wide-reaching incompetence on the federal level which Obama's response could not have touched; Obama doesn't even get a 'heckuva job' moment, yet to you it is unquestionably worse.

quote:
Really? We're counting, now?
To people like me, tracking the rates at which either president desired to engage upon wode-reaching signing statements like this is actually important in deciding when a presidency is better or worse than another, yes. I've been counting, and you can start too!

But, more importantly, what's your position overall on signing statements?

quote:
I'm saying that he worsened an already bad situation immeasurably.
And would you in particular have desired immeasurably that TARP have never been passed? Certainly. A better question would be whether or not you think that TARP prevented another recession.
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natural_mystic
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Do you think this is worse than a (not uncommon) recess appointment? If so, why?
Yes, because a recess appointment is still a part of the Constitutional process. This isn't. You can't install department heads at the level of an assistant but give them the powers usually given to Senate-approved positions.

The appointment process in general has become a farce if you ask me, and maybe this will bring some much needed attention to it, but it's certainly different.

As you have pointed out, the recess appointment has really lost its raison d'etre. It is now simply a way to get around Congress; as such I don't really see much difference between the two approaches. However, if Warren is still here in two years (without having got a confirmation) I will agree that what Obama did was worse than a recess appointment. The criticisms advanced by both the WSJ article and OSC in his screed could be made for a recess appointment. I don't recall a similar screed when Bush was doing his recess appointments, and I would guess the WSJ did not likewise criticize Bush. Which just suggests that one should take such articles with a grain of salt.

The bigger takeaway from this is that the Senate is completely dysfunctional.

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natural_mystic
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
[I'm saying that he worsened an already bad situation immeasurably.

It would be interesting to hear you argue this.
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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
[qb]Do you think anything Obama has done on the civil rights front has been as problematic as the Patriot Act?

Absolutely. Not to mention the fact that he extended the Patriot Act.


You're right. He did extend three provisions by a year.

Someone needs to update Wikipedia.

[ September 29, 2010, 10:17 AM: Message edited by: Herblay ]

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Lyrhawn
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Two of the provisions during the re-authorization bill in 2006, one of which had to do with roving wiretaps, were given an extended sunset date to December 31, 2009. I don't know what happened after that.

Even if it was the case that Obama signed off on extending it, that utterly pales in comparison of the bill's passing in its entirety back when it was first passed in 2001.

The only civil rights problems that come to mind might have to do with the enforced insurance provisions of the health care bill, but other than that I can't really think of any. Even that one has so many opt out clauses that mainly affect those the enforcement was initially targeted towards. It's hardly a massive wave of infringement. Though I have to say, I don't like it, not unless we're doing single payer.

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Mucus
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quote:
Obama signs Patriot Act extension without reforms

Privacy advocates had called for greater oversight on aspects of the Patriot Act that give the government broad powers. But the version Obama signed Saturday moved through Congress unchanged.

March 1, 2010

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0301/Obama-signs-Patriot-Act-extension-without-reforms
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Mucus
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As for civil rights, here's a good summary by the Amnesty International
quote:
In litigation implicating the USA's international obligations to ensure accountability and remedy for past human rights violations, the Obama administration has all too often adopted a stance that promotes impunity and blocks remedy. For example, in its first year it has:

* invoked the state secrets privilege to seek dismissal of a lawsuit brought by five detainees for the human rights violations, including crimes under international law, they say they were subjected to in the CIA "rendition" programme;
* opposed a lawsuit brought by four UK nationals for the torture and arbitrary detention to which they say they were subjected in Guantánamo, the administration arguing that it was "not clearly established" at the time of the men's detention that they had the rights they said were violated and that the officials concerned were therefore "shielded" from civil liability. In December, the US Supreme Court sided with the administration and declined to take the case;
* intervened to petition a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against John Yoo, a former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the US Justice Department, for the role the lawsuit claims he played in unlawful detention conditions and interrogation techniques. The Obama administration argued that the context of "the detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict… implicating matters of national security and war powers" counselled against the "judicial creation of a money-damage remedy";
* maintained the Bush administration's denial of and opposition to access to lawyers and courts for those held at the US airbase in Bagram in Afghanistan, cementing the accountability gap for abuses committed there and the detainees’ lack of effective remedy for them;
* refused to release of photographs and other documentary material relating to detainee abuses.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/feature/us-continues-look-other-way-war-terror-abuses-20100120

And we can add this latest gem:
quote:
In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That’s not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”: in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.
http://www.theagitator.com/2010/09/27/tyranny/
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Flying Fish
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http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/121775-senate-blocks-recess-appointments
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natural_mystic
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The Kenyan, socialist plot fails. Much ado about nothing?
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