May 29, 2009
May 27, 2009
I mean, don't get me wrong. The most disappointing thing to me about Obama's adoption of Bushian Doctrine on Guantanamo, military commissions, "preventive detention," and escalation of the war in Afghanistan, state secrets (which he has actually expanded), and shielding from prosecution any violations of FISA or the Convention Against Torture, is that the most predictable result of such passivity and acquiescence has now come to pass. Since Barack is a liberal hero, he has succeeded in educating the half of the country which resisted Bush's depradations against the Bill of Rights and lawless approach to governing that it was, after all, okay. You can feel it in the air. Except for a few holdouts, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights, promotion of the Bill of Rights is seen as part of a "leftist agenda." The most dangerous thing about Obama's enthusiastic adoption of the Cheney doctrine of "preventive detention without trial and without charges" (which so clearly violates the 5th Amendment rights of "any person" (not just Americans) is that it now vests in people the final decision on whether someone is set free or imprisoned. Not a set of laws. Not a predictable system of procedures. The say-so of a politician.
May 26, 2009
I was probably as surprised as the next bleeding heart liberal that it would be Barack Obama, a Constitutional law professor, who would come up with the idea of formalizing our "perpetual preventive detention without charges or trial" policy for dealing with terrorist suspects. I shouldn't say "suspects," actually; maybe "suspicious individuals" or "suspicious Muslims" would be closer to the mark. In his recent speech, delivered ironically enough in front of a mural of the Constitution at the National Archives, Prez O outlined the 5 categories of individuals detained by the U.S. held at Guantanamo and elsewhere. That actually would be a good movie title for Michael Bay or Ang Lee or one of those guys who concoct movies for teenage boys, mainly using an Apple computer instead of a camera. "The Fifth Category." That's not bad. In fact, instead of writing this blog...
May 25, 2009
Carolyn Lochhead, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, yesterday did her usual good work in laying out the essential nugatory facts about the national finances. Her piece is here at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/24/MN2B17PDPL.DTL&hw=lochhead&sn=002&sc=718 . What I like about her analyses is that she's already up to date on the essential vocabulary of Medicare, Social Security, GDP, national debt, et cetera, and so doesn't have to rediscover these facts each time she writes about our looming catastrophes. For example, Ms. Lochhead appreciates that when a government official, say with the General Accounting Office, refers to the "Social Security Trust Fund," he means "nothing." That is, Trust Fund = Zero. This simplifies one's understanding. Similarly, she comprehends the distinction between the external national debt (owed to China & Japan) and the internal national debt (owed to the various "Trust Funds.") With respect to the second category, a "moral imperative" only will force us to honor this debt to ourselves, which is to say, the promises are not worth the paper on which they're written (and stored in that famous file cabinet in West Virginia).