Prepare for an anti-Obama Shit Fit

This will get ugly:

The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, has drafted an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that bypassing Congress could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.

***

One administration official suggested the White House was already trying to build support for an executive order.

“Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order,” the official said. Such an order could be rescinded and would not block later efforts to write legislation, but civil liberties groups generally oppose long-term detention, arguing that detainees should either be prosecuted or released.

The Justice Department has declined to comment on the prospects for a long-term detention system while internal reviews of Guantanamo detainees are underway. The reviews are expected to be completed by July 21.

Not only will this infuriate a certain portion of Obama’s base, but using an executive order for this also completely undercuts any defense regarding his inaction on DADT. I’m not sure what will be funnier- the hysterics of the PUMA crowd or the idiots on the right wing who will crow that Bush has been vindicated, completely missing that the executive order will be issued in order to help Obama repudiate Bush’s handling of Gitmo.

Either way, this will be a long week.

*** Update ***

More from Marcy Wheeler, and a “WH official” deflates the trial balloon here.






96 replies
  1. 1
    gbear says:

    Obama has thrown himself under the bus and slapped us all in the face.

  2. 2
    robertdsc says:

    We’ll see what happens once the fur starts to fly.

  3. 3
    Rosali says:

    I’m not sure what will be funnier- the hysterics of the PUMA crowd or the idiots on the right wing

    PUMA = right wing idiots

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    Ugh. What a freak’n mess. The real tragedy here is that – twenty or thirty years from now – I am completely confident that Obama’s position on Gitmo will be used like FDR’s Japanese Internment Camps and Lincoln’s resending habeus corpus arguments to give us another round of vile and anti-American constitutional roll-backs.

    After 250 years, a document like that really does get frayed around the edges.

  5. 5
    mcc says:

    Okay, so

    Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order

    …why?

  6. 6
    JenJen says:

    PUMA, or Bushies?

    I’m going with both. Same thing, really.

    Ahh, I see Rosali got there first. :-)

  7. 7
    Mr Furious says:

    It’s Mark Sanford’s fault.

  8. 8
    inkadu says:

    This may be a stupid question, but…. if he has all this executive power, why can’t he use it to close Gitmo?

  9. 9
    Jen Once says:

    Anyone got any better ideas? “fire everyone in Congress” is taken these days.

  10. 10
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    Oh noes, Obama is like Bush! I can haz gaymarriage naow?

  11. 11
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Batten down the hatches and expect a shitstorm of progressive commenters bringing on the “Obama is as bad as, or worse than Bush”.

    I don’t much care what the wingnuts do, since they are insane.

    And I don’t know what people expect him to do. Dem CC’s won’t allow them to be brought here and tried in federal courts, nor with Military Commissions at Gitmo. and other countries won’ take them.

    I guess he’s just supposed to give them bus money and turn em loose in Anyplace, USA,

  12. 12
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Thank you, Democrats in Congress.

  13. 13
    El Cid says:

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m pretty sure that this is not about Barack Obama but about what U.S. policy is with regard to basic god-damn notions of the rule of law and rights to charges and trials. Last I recalled, I was a damned citizen who was supposed to give a shit about what my government did in my name. My care about how this affects Barack Obama is zero.

  14. 14
    Keith G says:

    Don’t forget the gay blogging elite. Once they recover from their Pride hangovers, they’ll be louder than ever.

  15. 15
    inkadu says:

    My superficial and shallow understanding is that these guys can’t be tried because they are some ripe grapefruit on the fruit of the forbidden tree; so I like to blame this back to Bush. If you torture 500 hundred people, and 10 of them actually turn out to be bonafide threats, what the hell is Obama supposed to do? Maybe it’s better to that a guilty person go free than an innocent be imprisoned, but generally the guilty don’t kill 2,000 people at a time.

  16. 16
    Ian says:

    Not understanding how this “completely undercuts any defence regarding his inaction on DADT”.

    With DADT, he wants congress to legislate, and figures if he writes an executive order, congress will use that as an excuse to kick the can down the road rather than be forced to actually deal with it.

    In this case, if I’m understanding the article correctly, he does NOT want congress to legislate, so is trying to head them off at the pass, so to speak.

    Could be I’m missing something here, but seems to me that (completely setting aside the issue of whether or not this is actually a good idea), these are two different situations, where he’s got two different goals, so he’s using two different strategies…

    -me

  17. 17
    inkadu says:

    We remove one of the three dimensions from Gitmo and send it, and all of its inhabitants, off into space as a 2-dimensional plate of glass.

    It’s what Jor-El would want.

  18. 18

    The commentariat here is getting lazy. Let’s end this thread right here: This is excellent news for John McCain!

  19. 19
    Martin says:

    …why?

    Because getting Congress to do anything is fucking impossible. I think the concern is that because Congress is full of pussies, the only way they’ll support closing of Gitmo is to legislate indefinite detention. Should the supreme court support that legislation, then it’s law forever.

    If however, it’s done by executive order, it can still be ruled unconstitutional, just as a Congressional act can, but repealing it in the future requires convincing only one person.

    In a nutshell:

    Thank you, Democrats in Congress.

    And I have to agree that if Obama is willing to do this with a stroke of the pen, he should have repealed DADT before that very pen ever hit the table. At the very least it would have been politically wise to do.

  20. 20
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Martin:

    And I have to agree that if Obama is willing to do this with a stroke of the pen, he should have repealed DADT before that very pen ever hit the table. At the very least it would have been politically wise to do.

    DADT is a Public Law. so how can he repeal it with an executive order? Answer to my question. He can’t.

    And I don’t know of any law that mandates we imprison people indefinitely without trial. Quite the opposite in fact.

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    Maybe it’s better to that a guilty person go free than an innocent be imprisoned, but generally the guilty don’t kill 2,000 people at a time.

    Maybe the public wouldn’t let Presidents get away with criminal acts if the effect of those actions were that 2,000 people would die at a time.

    I don’t wish any ill will on my fellow citizens, but Obama should let the guilty go free in such a public way that it would be clear to any and all that the reason we need to take things like torture seriously is that it leads to us having to release dangerous terrorists back into the world. Any lives stemming from that is the price we pay for not holding our leaders to the rule of law – and he should say precisely that.

    Sure the wingnuts would never learn that lesson, but a lot of others would. Do it at the SOTU where it really can’t be missed and where the pundit airtime has already been booked to talk about it.

  22. 22
    vishnu schizt says:

    Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, caught between a rock and a hard place. Whatever, you can’t climb out of a bucket of shit without.. I love me some dems screaming about Obama when the alternative is what? The clenis? McGrumpy and two faced sack of shit? I’m going galt in my own way, realizing that we are fully and incontovertably fucked, I think it is time to buy some chickens, plow my back yard into a full garden, get more ink and become everyone’s version of the complete dirty fucking hippie that I am. No credit cards, no TV, no car payment. Just my dog, a shitty subaru, a yoga mat and a homebrew. Fuck you Washington, DC!

  23. 23
    ChrisB says:

    Trial balloon dutifully floated.

  24. 24
    Martin says:

    DADT is a Public Law

    And here I thought it was an executive order all along. How the hell did I get that wrong?

  25. 25
    ronin122 says:

    Well looks like I’ll be avoiding DailyKos (and probably most lefty sites) for a week, or until something else newsworthy happens. Gonna check right now to see if they have the DADT talking point regarding the E.O.

    Nope the topic itself hasn’t even reached the diaries. Half of it is either bitching about the Michael Jackson coverage or whining about Keith Olbermann (for some reason a few natives have been shrill about him reading the Sanford emails on-air or for some other odd reason that never is made clear, or the MJ coverage which well everyone was doing). The rest the usual topical diaries on whatever.

  26. 26
    inkadu says:

    When I was going door-to-door stumping for Ned Lamont, I talked with old guy working on his garden outside. I was excited to find out that this guy used to be very involved in local politics, was on the school board, the Democratic Town Committee, etc. What an asset, I thought, if I could only get him interested.

    After listening to my spiel for five minutes, he told me, “I was excited about politics for a long time, and, ultimately, nothing happened. I worked hard at it, and nothing really changed. You’re young, and you’re new at this, but some day, you’ll know what I mean.”

    Today might be that day.

  27. 27
    Darius says:

    Politico reports:

    A White House official disputes the accuracy of the WaPo-ProPublica report that the administration has drafted an order to hold some detainees indefinitely. “There is no draft executive order,” the aide said. “The task force has not finished its work on these issues.”

  28. 28
    inkadu says:

    Martin – I thought DADT was an executive order, too, because it was Clinton’s first shit storm. He wanted to just make gaiety out-and-out legal for the military, and the military and the religious reich beat him into a corner.

    Beat him… heh.

  29. 29
    Napoleon says:

    Obama has totally lost me. I can not imagine voting for him again. The system in this country is so broke it is amazing.

    I was stunned today that someone like Ezra Klein would post something like this that almost gives up on this countries system.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.c.....llage.html

  30. 30
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Martin:

    Well, I didn’t know Bill Maher had dated Ann Coulter. Now that’s embarrassing.

  31. 31
    Martin says:

    Well, I didn’t know Bill Maher had dated Ann Coulter. Now that’s embarrassing.

    No, it’s only embarrassing if you’re Bill Maher. In the same way you can’t put your glow-in-the-dark spiderman underoos next to the sun and say they’re bright, you can’t say ignorance about that relationship is embarrassing.

  32. 32
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Ian:

    With DADT, he wants congress to legislate, and figures if he writes an executive order, congress will use that as an excuse to kick the can down the road rather than be forced to actually deal with it.

    He has shown absolutely no interest, apart from vague platitudes, in trying to get Congress to actually do anything about this. I think Obama himself is trying to kick it as far down the road as possible.

  33. 33
    Mary says:

    You lost me on this:

    the executive order will be issued in order to help Obama repudiate Bush’s handling of Gitmo

    Obama issuing an executive order allowing people to be indefinitely detained at GITMO or other environs doesn’t help Obama repudiate Bush’s handling of Gitmo – it endorses and affirms it.

    @20 – well, the War Crimes Act is a public law as well, but it is Executive policy and decision that is preventing prosecutions of known torturers and war criminals.

    While I’m not thrilled to say it, as CIC and President, Obama can set the policy on strict, lax or non-enforcement. So he can basically set policies in place that would pretty much de facto mean it wouldn’t be enforced.

  34. 34
    inkadu says:

    Damn facts.

    Don’t ask, don’t tell is the common term for the policy about homosexuality in the U.S. military mandated by federal law […] The policy [DADT] was introduced as a compromise measure in 1993 and approved by then President Bill Clinton who, while campaigning for the Presidency, had promised to allow all citizens regardless of sexual orientation to serve openly in the military, a departure from the then complete ban on those who are not heterosexual.

  35. 35
    Epicurus says:

    Mr. Obama’s strategy (so far) is so subtle that few understand its brilliance. But that’s the beauty of it…re: Ezra Klein’s post; I think it’s spot on. And I express that opinion as one who reveres the Constitution. However, for several years, the American political system has been broken. My personal theory is that the safeguards enacted after Watergate have only made the problem worse. The increasing influence of corporate interests in the Congress and the horror of the Cheney Administration (oh, sorry, it was “President” Bush….) have broken many fundamental institutions and traditions in this country. Mr. Obama is juggling many plates, but imho, he is keeping them in the air for now. Only time will tell if his policies will succeed.

  36. 36
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Mary:

    We were talking about “repealing” it. He can decide to not enforce it, but will be open to lawsuits from people who approve of DADT.

    @20 – well, the War Crimes Act is a public law as well, but it is Executive policy and decision that is preventing prosecutions of known torturers and war criminals.

    And I’m sure there will be upcoming lawsuits to challenge this. But unlike DADT, it has complications of classified materials and very dicey questions of conflicts of interest.

  37. 37
    hittites says:

    It’s nothing personal against Obama. No constitution, no country, just like before. This fucking bone-in-the-nose cultural wasteland has to be undermined, subverted and sobotaged for the safety of the world.

  38. 38
    Comrade Dread says:

    “Obama is as bad as, or worse than Bush”.

    Well, no.

    But the facts remain that Obama (or his functionaries) are embracing an unhealthy amount of Bush-era doctrine regarding Executive power and secrecy claims.

    This is disturbing and his feet should be held to the fire by his base for doing this.

  39. 39
    MikeJ says:

    I think executive orders to ignore the law are a bad idea all around. I picture some wingnut JAG still prosecuting cases of DADT violations and then becoming a martyr. “John Doe thrown out of military for upholding his oath to defend the constitution.” Too much tsuris over something that congress has to fix anyway.

  40. 40
    Tsulagi says:

    My care about how this affects Barack Obama is zero.

    I’d go with that. Have the same amount of sympathy for Sanford so I guess that makes me a bad apple.

    DADT is a Public Law. so how can he repeal it with an executive order? Answer to my question. He can’t.

    Wrong. Obama acknowledged as much saying he wouldn’t end DADT the way Truman ended segregation in the military via executive order. Said he wanted end it via consensus building, bipartisanship, and that transparency stuff as he would in closing the Gitmo detention facility and indefinite detention.

    Actually, he wouldn’t even have to address DADT. He could simply issue an executive order suspending discharges due to sexual orientation. But I’m guessing he intends to keep his powder really, really dry on this one.

  41. 41
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Wrong.

    You can’t repeal a Public Law with an executive order. That’s just a fact. As I said in a later comment, he can just not enforce it, but would leave himself open for lawsuits.

  42. 42
    bystander says:

    Preventive Detention Proposal via NPR

    NPR story: Proposal Offers Specifics On Preventive Detention
    http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....=105940019

    Designing Detention: A Model Law for Terrorist Incapacitation
    Introduction:
    http://www.brookings.edu/paper.....ittes.aspx

    Full Paper:
    http://www.brookings.edu/~/med.....wittes.pdf

  43. 43
    Mike in NC says:

    I didn’t know Bill Maher had dated been savagely and repeatedly raped by Ann Coulter. Now that’s embarrassing.

    Please get them facts straight!

  44. 44
    John Cole says:

    Obama issuing an executive order allowing people to be indefinitely detained at GITMO or other environs doesn’t help Obama repudiate Bush’s handling of Gitmo – it endorses and affirms it.

    Read the piece again. I was about to unload on Obama until I read it twice, and saw that it was the civil liberties who are advocating the executive order in the interim until congress can summon the courage to legislate. And, the reason he would use an executive order is to continue to close Gitmo, a repudiation of Bush era policies.

    At least that is the current spin/trial balloon.

    He could simply issue an executive order suspending discharges due to sexual orientation.

    Which he does not want to do and I agree with him, but if he issues an executive order regarding detainment, it undercuts his argument for not issuing an executive order regarding DADT.

    Which is what I said in the damned post.

  45. 45
    ronin122 says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Said he wanted end it via consensus building, bipartisanship, and that transparency stuff

    I know I am preaching to the choir here, but when will it be time for Obama and the rest of the Dems to stop this bipartisanship fetish of theirs? It’s clear the Republicans are never going to play ball with ANY THING that might actually do us some good, things that should have been done many years ago, so what the fuck are we trying to shoot for?

    And yes I am trying to avoid devolving into the hypothesis that, since nowadays “bipartisanship” means “capitulate and give pretty much everything the GOP wants, sometimes without getting them to vote along with you”, it’s just a code word for “we’re not gonna really try to get this done”. Kinda hard to not think that way though with this obsession with trying to please a minority of wankers to piss off the majority of the country. Forget DADT though, name an issue and it’s the case. DADT, DOMA, Climate change, health care reform, financial reform against the shit that led to those very expensive bailouts, the stimulus, and so on.

  46. 46
    Robin G. says:

    My temptation here is to say, “Just wait, Obama’s playing the long game.” And that may well be, but… I’m becoming nervous about how often we seem to need to say that. There’s a part of me that worries I’m moving from “realistic expectations” to “gullible.”

    Of course, I thought Obama was done about 50 times over the course of 2008, so I readily acknowledge that he’s a lot cleverer than I ever see at the time.

  47. 47
    Tsulagi says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    You can’t repeal a Public Law with an executive order.

    Why bother? He wouldn’t need to repeal it. As CIC, or as president via executive order, he can suspend its enforcement. He can also do an end run around DADT as I mentioned by suspending discharges due to sexual orientation. He already has the authority to suspend separation from the services. More than a few experienced that first hand in recent years when they found their asses stop-lossed.

  48. 48
    Tsulagi says:

    Which is what I said in the damned post.

    Heard it. And agree.

  49. 49
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Well, no. But the facts remain that Obama (or his functionaries) are embracing an unhealthy amount of Bush-era doctrine regarding Executive power and secrecy claims. This is disturbing and his feet should be held to the fire by his base for doing this

    I’m not going to try and defend everything Obama has done regarding the legacy lawsuits from the Bush era. But I will say that there is a difference between what he does in his own actions outside of those lawsuits. IE.. Is he torturing people, is he misusing Rendition to have people tortured for info, Is he misusing the state secrets clause of the constitution etc..etc..

    It seems to me that people confuse the two and the two very different government realms they reside. With the Bush lawsuits, they are in the legal realm, where a whole lot of hazards exist by just dropping those lawsuits and walking away, that don’t exist in the policy realm he is responsible for.

    Things like inadvertent release of non-related secrets and methods and sources. Also getting precedents set that go to far. It looks to me like what he is doing is letting these cases play out in the legal realm to their ultimate conclusion, prolly let the Supreme’s decide their fate and preserving a sense of separations of power he believes strongly in.

    When there is evidence that he is wrongdoing in real time policy, then I will be concerned.

  50. 50
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Heard it. And agree

    Why the fuck are you arguing with me when you agree with Cole that he shouldn’t issue an EO suspending enforcement of DADT? jeesh.

    @John Cole:

  51. 51
    Tonal Crow says:

    I call B.S. on “prolonged detention”. If some of these guys have committed crimes, they should be tried for them. If the evidence is too weak, or too sensitive to present in court, then they’ll be acquitted and we’ll have to free them. That’s called “American justice”. Also, how dangerous could any of these guys be after having been detained incommunicado for 5+ years? Does some Afghan goatherd know how to build the Doomsday Device? Or is Obama afraid of the backlash he’d get from letting justice take her course?

    Too, “prolonged detention” will be used to “justify” preventive detention for all sorts of other reasons. It’s bad enough that we already use it to turn child molesters’ determinate sentences into indeterminate ones [1]. Next it’ll be, what? Drug dealers? People who look at nekkid pictures of kids on the internet? People who take illegal drugs? Pregnant women who might — conceivably — not take adequate prenatal precautions?

    Nothing Obama has done disgusts me more than his backtracking on “prolonged detention”.

    [1] If the offense is bad enough, we should sentence them to life. If we’ve already sentenced them to less than that, we don’t get a “do over” by using preventive detention.

  52. 52
    Tsulagi says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    Wrong again, Comrade. On the part I was agreeing with. Take it away, Cole…

    but if he issues an executive order regarding detainment, it undercuts his argument for not issuing an executive order regarding DADT.

  53. 53
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Yea right. You haven’t been right about anything yet in this thread.

  54. 54

    What, specifically, do people want Obama to do? Congress already passed a law stating that he can’t use public funds for closing Gitmo and bringing anyone to the mainland without their approval. They’ve made it damned clear that that means, among other things, that there are certain prisoners that they are going to insist that he hold. That leaves the following choices:

    1) Leave the prisoners in Gitmo under the current regime.
    2) Leave the prisoners in Gitmo under a changed regime
    3) Try to make the accommodations necessary to get Congress to give him the approval needed to close the place down and bring them to the States, where, if nothing else, things will be logistically easier
    4) Do the Reagan/Bush thing and just declare that Congress doesn’t have the power to tell him how to use money.

    Those are your choices. Pick one. Unless you can explain to me how, legally, there are any other options, let me know. Bush handed him this problem, and he’s got to deal with it. Is it your position that you want him to junk his other priorities and let this turn into an all consuming fight with Congress, which he will probably lose?

    Yes, I think the Democrats in Congress are that useless. You’ll never break a filibuster in the Senate.

  55. 55

    I call B.S. on “prolonged detention”. If some of these guys have committed crimes, they should be tried for them. If the evidence is too weak, or too sensitive to present in court, then they’ll be acquitted and we’ll have to free them. That’s called “American justice”. Also, how dangerous could any of these guys be after having been detained incommunicado for 5+ years? Does some Afghan goatherd know how to build the Doomsday Device? Or is Obama afraid of the backlash he’d get from letting justice take her course?

    Maybe, but the first thing he’s scared of is that, if he doesn’t do this, Congress won’t even let him put the prisoners in front of a court in the US.

  56. 56
    Tsulagi says:

    @Comrade Stuck: Don’t pout. It could be a sure tell running you afoul of DADT.

  57. 57
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Don’t pout. It could be a sure tell running you afoul of DADT.

    Just More Tsulagi shit

  58. 58

    The Marcy Wheeler post linked in the update is weak. Her conclusion is at odds with even the quote in the post. From the quote:

    Little information on bin Attash’s case has been made public, but officials who have reviewed his file said the Justice Department has concluded that none of the three witnesses against him can be brought to testify in court. One witness, who was jailed in Yemen, escaped several years ago. A second witness remains incarcerated, but the government of Yemen will not allow him to testify.

    Administration officials believe that testimony from the only witness in U.S. custody, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, may be inadmissible because he was subjected to harsh interrogation while in CIA custody.

    Now, Wheeler:

    First, there was a great deal of FBI work done on the Cole before the torture started. Are you saying we captured and held someone based on Rahim al-Nashiri’s word, and not on real FBI information?

    Aside from forgetting that the FBI might have had other evidence besides interrogations, which may well be inadmissible for its own reasons, she completely omits that there were *three* sources, not one. Only one of these sources is inadmissible because of torture. The others can’t testify due to some combination of Yemeni negligence and intransigence.

    Wheeler has opted for the inflammatory rather than the truth.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    inkadu says:

    Tonal Crow:

    Or is Obama afraid of the backlash he’d get from letting justice take her course?

    The American system is very broken. Believe me, if we let out a terrorist on a technicality that went on the plan another successful attack, it would become politically impossible to ever let any brown-skinned foreigner out of detention ever again.

    Obama has a very sad historical duty, which is to animate a dead system of government with strings and electric shocks. I don’t think anything he does on this issue will outlast his administration. The trend of an American military empire ruled by an unrestrained president has been accelerating since at least Nixon, without much complaint from any significant faction.

  61. 61

    A lot of people, even on the left, still don’t seem to understand Barack Obama. This leads them to make assumptions that aren’t necessarily warranted by the known facts. We’ve all said that he plays the long game, that he’s very cautious, that he is, by nature, a consensus builder and a counterpuncher, and that he’s very subtle. Some don’t seem to realize the implications of this.

    For some good reasons, including the fact that it’s a very successful strategy for him, Obama often keeps his goals and motivations hidden. He’s patient, and, as he said this week, he doesn’t operate on a 24-hour news cycle. This means more than that he doesn’t let the press stampede him. It also means that it’s frequently impossible to figure out exactly what he’s up to, and exactly why he’s doing the things he does. More so than any politician I can remember, it’s difficult to make definitive statements about his actions. Bush wanted to be that hidden, but it was actually pretty easy to figure out what he wanted.

    I’m not trying to be an apologist for him here. For all I know, he really is up to the nefarious things that people are accusing him of. Concluding that he is, though, depends upon just as many guesses as to his plans as concluding that he’s playing the long game, and we’ll all be happy when we see his hand revealed.

    None of actually knows what the fuck is going on. We don’t know what the private memos say, or what gets discussed in the private briefings. If you remember the campaign, these guys don’t leak, at least not yet and not unapproved. I suspect that Rahm enforces a level of omerta that would make the mob blush.

    Remember, there are a number of people in the legal parts of this administration with a long track record of being on the side of the angels. Marty Lederman is one of them. Now, maybe he’s really disappointed, but he’s fighting a rearguard action while also being a good team player and not saying anything. Or, maybe, he’s hard at work and, for whatever reason, this is something he approves of, or at least thinks is the least bad alternative.

    Honestly, I have no idea how long it’s going to take to find out the answers to this. It’s something that I suspect is going to be frustrating for those of us on the outside for at least four years. If not on these particular topics, then on others. Everyone should have known that this was going to be the case from the word go. It’s what Obama does.

  62. 62
    Tonal Crow says:

    @JMN Is Now asiangrrlMN’s Official Stalker: There are some other options. First, Congress did not “pass[] a law stating that he can’t use public funds for closing Gitmo”; it denied his request for funding to be used specifically for that purpose. It has always been a Presidential power to reallocate unrestricted funds from a related purpose (e.g., general military operating funds) to accomplish such a purpose. Second, some of these guys (e.g., KSM) have or probably have committed war crimes. Therefore, they should be eligible for indictment by the ICC at The Hague, or by Spain under its “universal jurisdiction” statute. He might be able to hand them this hot potato.

    I agree that Obama has a very full plate of very important priorities. This problem does seem like a distraction from them, but it’s about absolutely fundamental issues. Are we the “land of the free, and the home of the brave?” Or are we the land of the expedient, and the home of the blowhard coward?

  63. 63
    matoko_chan says:

    They have no idea just how illin’ Obama is….look….he purged the bioluddites and fake scientists from the Presidents Council on Bioethics….and apparently HotAir and the rest of the frothers didn’t even feel the blade slippin’ in.

    “Reid Cherlin, a White House press officer, told the New York Times that Obama saw the panel as “a philosophically leaning advisory group” handpicked by the Bush administration, and that he wanted to appoint a new bioethics commission that instead offered “practical policy options.”
    Dr. Peter Lawler, chairman of the department of governmental and international studies at Berry College, was one of those terminated by Obama — via a note saying he would no longer be a member of the council by the end of the next business day.”

    hahahahah!!!!

  64. 64
    inkadu says:

    @JMN Is Now asiangrrlMN’s Official Stalker: I think your post can be summarized with, “Obama is smarter than me.” I used to criticize him during the campaign but stopped; I couldn’t argue with the resutlts.

    Obama knows what he’s doing, even if we don’t always know what is he is doing. Unfortunately, to be effective, you can’t always be throwing chum out of the back of the boat for the diamond-toothed base.

  65. 65
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Therefore, they should be eligible for indictment by the ICC at The Hague, or by Spain under its “universal jurisdiction” statute. He might be able to hand them this hot potato.

    Why would the ICC have any interest in taking the “hot potato” when the US refuses to allow any Americans to be under its jurisdiction for war crimes?

  66. 66
    radish says:

    As I said in a later comment, he can just not enforce it, but would leave himself open for lawsuits.

    Er, no. Sorry, but this here is pure grade A horseshit.

    1. Lawsuits filed by whom, exactly? Straight military personnel? Congresscritters? Fred Phelps? Ever hear of something called “standing”?

    2. “…the President may suspend any provision of law relating to promotion, retirement, or separation applicable to any member of the armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national security of the United States…” 10 USC 12305

    I will say this, though — I thought finding the actual language of that statute was going to require some research and a trip to LII, but it turned out to be right on the very first page I looked at, which was the fucking wikipedia page for stop loss that you didn’t bother to look at.

  67. 67

    @Tonal Crow:

    There are some other options. First, Congress did not “pass[] a law stating that he can’t use public funds for closing Gitmo”; it denied his request for funding to be used specifically for that purpose. It has always been a Presidential power to reallocate unrestricted funds from a related purpose (e.g., general military operating funds) to accomplish such a purpose.

    This is not “some other option.” This is what I listed as #4.

  68. 68
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @radish:

    Lawsuits or not, circumventing DADT is a bad Idea, and I agree with how he’s handling it.

    If you don’t like that, then you can go……well you can just disagree radish.

  69. 69

    @radish:

    I will say this, though—I thought finding the actual language of that statute was going to require some research and a trip to LII, but it turned out to be right on the very first page I looked at, which was the fucking wikipedia page for stop loss that you didn’t bother to look at.

    Yes, it is easy to find, and you argue it wrong. From 10 USC, Section 654:

    “(e) Rule of Construction.— Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that—
    (1) the member engaged in conduct or made statements for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service; and
    (2) separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.”

    Notice the “and” between parts (1) and (2). For processing not to be required, separation must not only be in contravention to the best interest of the service, but the statement must also have been made for the purpose of terminating the service.

    As for your quote from 10 USC, 12305, you left out a rather important part. Here’s what comes before that first ellipsis you included:

    “(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, during any period members of a reserve component are serving on active duty pursuant to an order to active duty under authority of section 12301, 12302, or 12304 of this title . . .”

    In other words, what you quoted only applies to members of the Armed Forces in the Ready Reserves, and it means that the fact that they have finished their period of active enlistment does not mean that they can’t be called back to active duty. It has nothing to do with someone who is kicked out of the service altogether for a violation of DADT.

    So, before you go calling something “pure grade A horseshit,” you might want to avoid dishonest selective quotation.

  70. 70
    Xanthippas says:

    “Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order,” the official said. Such an order could be rescinded and would not block later efforts to write legislation, but civil liberties groups generally oppose long-term detention, arguing that detainees should either be prosecuted or released.

    Uh, which groups? I troll the internets far and wide, but I can’t recall seeing any prominent civil liberties group arguing that the President should circumvent Congress and assert the same authority as President Bush did. Now maybe they have to do that to make the bed-wetters in Congress happy and thus get Gitmo closed (a proposition I don’t really buy) but that’s not the same thing.

  71. 71
    John's Minions says:

    Hey, sorry that we’ve been gone so long, but we borrowed a time machine and forgot to write down the date we left on.. sheesh, would’ve sworn it was this Fall.

    Anyhow, we just got back from the year 2060 and want to report that the release of the last Gitmo detainee that year is one of America’s greatest national embarassments. It’s really too bad that we couldn’t of just released them and had the FBI keep tabs on them like we did with Soviet defectors, would have cost a lot less too.

  72. 72
    gex says:

    @Comrade Stuck:
    From Dan Savage’s blog:

    The widows’ and widowers’ plight came to the attention of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano within days of her taking office. That according to her spokesman Matt Chandler. He says broader immigration and border policy has proven quite complicated. But this was something Napolitano decided to take an early stab at.Matt Chandler: “There were some sad cases there. We had a responsibility to not only enforce the laws of this country as they are written, especially as it pertains to immigration. But we also have a responsibility to do so in a practical and commonsense way.”Napolitano has ordered deportations of surviving spouses and their children deferred for two years. That gives Congress time to fix the law if it chooses to.

    So the head of the Department of Homeland Security can suspend the enforcement of the Widow’s Penalty in order to give Congress time to “fix the law,” but Barack Obama—the President of the United States, Commander in Chief, Janet Napolitano’s boss—he can’t suspend enforcement of DADT to give Congress time to “fix the law.” Is that it? Or is Obama administration only capable of recognizing an injustice and taking action when the lives of heterosexuals are being destroyed?

    Comrade Stuck:

    DADT is a Public Law. so how can he repeal it with an executive order? Answer to my question. He can’t.

    You were saying?

    Listen, it’s pretty clear that no matter what your stance on the gay issues are, that you don’t support doing anything about them at this time. And you are free to feel that way. But quit making shit up to pretend like there’s nothing that can be done now.

  73. 73
    Jen R says:

    I don’t really care what Barack Obama’s motivations are. It’s not our job to read his mind and try to guess whether he’s playing the long game or has been co-opted by the forces of evil or is just waiting to cast a spell that will make his opponents’ +4 Swords of Manliness crumble to Cheeto dust in their hands.

    It’s our job to make it known, to him and to Congress, that we want to see justice done. It’s our job to put pressure on and keep it on.

  74. 74

    @gex:

    You were saying?

    Yes, he was saying that it’s a public law. I quoted the relevant portions in #68.

  75. 75
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Listen, it’s pretty clear that no matter what your stance on the gay issues are, that you don’t support doing anything about them at this time. And you are free to feel that way. But quit making shit up to pretend like there’s nothing that can be done now.

    No thanks for telling me what I think. Maybe you just could have asked.

    As I have stated before on this blog and this topic, the best way it seems to me is to quietly convince the Joint Chiefs to just not enforce it, until it can be repealed. And I would guess that is what is happening behind the scenes right now.

    You are asking Obama to publicly snub a standing law and just take the political consequences in stride. Not to mention him looking like GWB and doing what the fuck he wants./

    It is a public law and anything he does to circumvent it, is just that, circumventing a law that contrary to what many think, is one that a lot of people still want enforced. Inside and out of the military. And your right, I am rapidly getting to the point where I don’t two shits about gay rights with all the shitslinging that goes on.

  76. 76
    The Moar You Know says:

    The American system is very broken. Believe me, if we let out a terrorist on a technicality that went on the plan another successful attack, it would become politically impossible to ever let any brown-skinned foreigner out of detention ever again.

    @inkadu: We have a winner. If this happens, people of the future will talk of the freedom available under the red, white, and blue – of Russia or France.

    We damn near threw the constitution under the bus the first time around. It won’t take much more to persuade Americans that the price of freedom from attacks by brown people, that being your constitutional rights, is an acceptable one to pay.

  77. 77
    anonevent says:

    @gex: Are we back at this again? There were a number of people, like Robert Reich, that were saying that the best way for Obama to get health care passed was to focus on it to the exclusion of everything else. On a post on GOS I had to write that while I agreed, and I believe that the political capitol he would gain from doing that would allow him to do more things, there were people going apeshit on GOS and Balloon Juice that he hasn’t delivered everything he promised on gay rights issues and people were mad. And we’re still at it.

  78. 78
    gex says:

    @anonevent: I’m not disagreeing about the timing or focusing on the other issues actually. I just sincerely doubt there will be a day when straight people think there are no more important issues. So whatever. I will try to tone down the angry posts on the topic.

  79. 79
    radish says:

    @JMN Is Now asiangrrlMN’s Official Stalker:

    Oops, how embarrassing. Accidental though. I was so surprised that it was right in wikipedia I didn’t look to see what subtitle it was in.

    I still think the general line of argument is horseshit though. Partly because of standing problems (no, seriously, who is filing this lawsuit exactly, and what sort of relief are they suing for?), but also because Presidents do stuff like this all the time and in practice it’s not actionable except through political pressure or impeachment.

  80. 80
    MikeJ says:

    but also because Presidents do stuff like this all the time and in practice it’s not actionable except through political pressure or impeachment.

    “If the president does it, it’s not illegal” is not a road I’d like to go down, even if I agree with the action you desire.

  81. 81
    koolism says:

    This is embarassing:

    I’m not sure what will be funnier- the hysterics of the PUMA crowd or the idiots on the right wing who will crow that Bush has been vindicated, completely missing that the executive order will be issued in order to help Obama repudiate Bush’s handling of Gitmo.

    Hahaha, how funny.
    Nevermind the fact that this won’t make those right-wingers wrong. But you’ll still giggle anyway will you. Because Obama will close Gitmo. The place where basically nobody is held anymore, unlike the prisons he isn’t closing and has already defended indefinite detention at. The ones where sentators and AGs don’t go for photo op trips. The ones where he’s already gone beyond Bush’s legal arguments in court regarding indefinite detention and executive power.

    I guess you see a punchline in there somewhere.

  82. 82
    mclaren says:

    This is the point at which the American people have to send a message. A general strike seems in order. Shut down the country until the rule of law is restored.

    Once habeas corpus and the right to a trial and a jury of your peers gets taken away, there’s nothing left.

  83. 83
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @radish:

    Presidents do stuff like this all the time and in practice it’s not actionable except through political pressure or impeachment.

    You mean like GWB. Or as Mikej said on Nixon. You should give this up before you hurt yourself. And as far as standing , and lawsuits go, you know people will bring them if there is any way way around the standing issue.

    That’s not the main issue though. That is what Mikej said and what I’ve been saying. It’s just the wrong way for a president to behave.

  84. 84

    […] his endorsement of some of Bush’s most controversial positions. Yeah, count me among one of Balloon-Juice’s right-wing idiots. What a moron I am for noticing that Obama hasn’t come up with any better ways to keep […]

  85. 85
    different church-lady says:

    Good god, John, I cannot believe it’s now reached a point where I need to read Balloon Juice first in order to understand what people will soon be shrieking incoherently (but verbosely) about on DailyKos.

    In other words, “thank you!”

  86. 86
    Svensker says:

    @El Cid:

    This.

  87. 87
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @JMN Is Now asiangrrlMN’s Official Stalker:

    Forgot to say. Good work JMN.

  88. 88
    Jonny Amplesack says:

    Meet the new boss, leftwing saps.

  89. 89
    El Cid says:

    @Svensker: Thanks. Sometimes I think I’m living in crazy world.

  90. 90
    myiq2xu says:

    How does Obama “repudiate” Bush by copying him?

  91. 91
    Svensker says:

    @El Cid:

    Thanks. Sometimes I think I’m living in crazy world.

    You are.

  92. 92
    myiq2xu says:

    I was about to unload on Obama until I read it twice, and saw that it was the civil liberties who are advocating the executive order in the interim until congress can summon the courage to legislate.

    Both Glenn Greenwald and Jeralyn have debunked that lie.

  93. 93
    windy says:

    If you torture 500 hundred people, and 10 of them actually turn out to be bonafide threats, what the hell is Obama supposed to do? Maybe it’s better to that a guilty person go free than an innocent be imprisoned, but generally the guilty don’t kill 2,000 people at a time.

    But if the guilty kill 200,000+ people over a longer period of time, then you are supposed to “look forward” and let them enjoy their lucrative book deals and speaking tours.

    Makes sense.

  94. 94

    […] indefinitely without any judicial process. The White House denies that a draft order exists (via John Cole) thought there is no denial that they are considering such a move. I found this quote from the Post […]

  95. 95

    @John Cole: Read the piece again. I was about to unload on Obama until I read it twice, and saw that it was the civil liberties who are advocating the executive order in the interim until congress can summon the courage to legislate. And, the reason he would use an executive order is to continue to close Gitmo, a repudiation of Bush era policies.

    I second Xanthippas–who are these mysterious “civil liberties groups” which are apparently kosher with the idea of throwing folks down the memory hole? It’s profoundly lazy journalism not to cite anyone, but it’s apparently effective, since it enables patently foolish arguments like the above.

    Seriously, John. You believe this nonsense?

    But hey, perhaps anyone harshing the relevant mellow is just a PUMA, or doesn’t understand Obama’s secret long-term plan, or is simply throwing an anti-Obama Shit Fit. Anything to avoid noticing that the President’s office is making shit up to justify a policy of disappearances that wouldn’t be out of place in Latin America in the 1970s.

    @windy: But if the guilty kill 200,000+ people over a longer period of time, then you are supposed to “look forward” and let them enjoy their lucrative book deals and speaking tours.

    I’m reminded of Pascal’s Wager; if the level of police-state madness is proportional to the threat level, then all you have to do is fluff the threat sufficiently to justify whatever you want to do. There’s a reason why infinite payoffs distort rationality.

  96. 96
    Trod says:

    Yes, the alternative, while not perfect by any means, would have been better.

    McCain would not have tried to rush us into this health care disaster.

    He opposed the USELESS stimulus that passed.

    He wouldn’t have spent MY tax money to buy some welfare recipient a new car.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] indefinitely without any judicial process. The White House denies that a draft order exists (via John Cole) thought there is no denial that they are considering such a move. I found this quote from the Post […]

  2. […] his endorsement of some of Bush’s most controversial positions. Yeah, count me among one of Balloon-Juice’s right-wing idiots. What a moron I am for noticing that Obama hasn’t come up with any better ways to keep […]

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