No One Had His Back

Yet another example of Obama trying to do the right thing, but not one Democrat had his back:

The accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, may remain behind bars without trial indefinitely because of disagreement over his trial location, according to the Washington Post.

The Obama administration has concluded it can’t go ahead with its original plan to have the trial in federal court in New York because of opposition from lawmakers and local officials, the Post said. There is little support for reviving an effort to hold a military trial at Guantanamo Bay, according to the Post.

Obama administration officials said Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators can be held under laws of war, until a trial location is agreed on, the newspaper reported.

The latest coward to run like hell was none other than the Governor-elect Cuomo. Why? Who knows. He would have had four years for the issue to die down, but he caved prematurely. And the rule of law is even on Cuomo’s side!

And it has been like this on any number of issues. Remember the Senate vote on Gitmo? Appropriating funds for the Supermax prison? And on and on. The White House gets a rep in certain circles for not fighting, yet every single time they try to fight, our cowardly, sniveling Democratic congress undercuts him. Yet rest assured, Obama will receive all the blame.

It really is disgraceful what a bunch of wimps Democrats are. Such a shame that Grayson lost. At least one Democrat would say the right things.

*** Update ***

Greenwald responds that I am wrong:

John Cole argues that this is the fault of Congressional Democrats, not Obama, because this is “yet another example of Obama trying to do the right thing, but not one Democrat had his back.” No. First, there’s no indication that Obama — as opposed to Holder — ever cared about or even was in favor of civilian trials; shortly after Holder made his announcement, numerous reports indicated that Rahm Emanuel was furious and the Obama White House quickly took away the power to decide from Holder. Second, Cole is definitely right that there was (as usual) ample amounts of Democratic cowardice to go around, but it’s just not true that “not one Democrat had his back.” As but one of many examples, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) “‘applauded’ Holder [] for ‘the decision to bring those individuals responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center to New York’.” Pat Leahy and Russ Feingold did the same. And 45% of New Yorkers favored having the trial there, compared to only 41% opposed.

I’ll defer to Glenn’s superior knowledge about the decision-making process and agree that this is solely the WH and DOJ’s call regarding KSM. I will, however, argue that there were “many examples” of congressmen and other political figures rushing to support the decision to try KSM in NY. Gerald Nadler and the soon to be former Senator Feingold do not a quorum make. On the other hand, there are multiple examples of members of Congress who, the moment the decision was made to hold the trial in NYC, immediately undercut and OPENLY attacked the administration’s decision. I think Glenn and I both trust the judgment of Jane Mayer, so I’ll defer to her version of events in the days after the Christmas Day Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted attack:

After the Christmas Day incident, conservative pundits lambasted the Justice Department’s handling of Abdulmutallab, who had concealed in his underwear a bomb that ignited but failed to explode. When the plane landed, Abdulmutallab was taken to a hospital for treatment; at Holder’s directive, he was arrested as a criminal suspect. (The F.B.I., the C.I.A., and the Pentagon signed off on Holder’s decision.) F.B.I. agents questioned Abdulmutallab for some fifty minutes, under what is known as the “public-safety exception” to the right to remain silent. He divulged time-sensitive intelligence: he had been trained in Yemen, by affiliates of Al Qaeda, and had obtained explosives from them. After he received medical treatment, a Justice Department source said, he started to “act like a jihadi and recite the Koran.” He stopped coöperating and demanded a lawyer, at which point authorities read him his rights. On “Inside Washington,” Charles Krauthammer declared that it was “almost criminal” that Holder had allowed Abdulmutallab access to an attorney. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, appeared on ABC, saying, “Why in God’s name would you stop questioning a terrorist?”

Joseph Lieberman, the Independent senator from Connecticut, released a statement declaring that Abdulmutallab was “an enemy combatant and should be detained, interrogated, and ultimately charged as such.” Then, to the dismay of Justice Department officials, the Obama Administration’s top intelligence official, Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence, appeared at a Senate hearing and, under harsh questioning from Republicans, second-guessed Holder’s decision to turn Abdulmutallab over to the F.B.I. (Blair later said that his remarks had been “misconstrued.”) Soon, even Democrats were attacking Holder’s decisions. In a letter to Obama, Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, suggested that holding a trial in New York was dangerous. “New York City has been a high-priority target since at least the first World Trade Center bombing,” she wrote. “The trial of the most significant terrorist in custody would add to the threat.”

The death blow was struck by New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who had previously pledged his support to Holder. On January 27th, Bloomberg distanced himself from the Justice Department, saying that a trial in New York would be too expensive. For months, companies with downtown real-estate interests had been lobbying to stop the trial. Raymond Kelly, the commissioner of the New York Police Department, had fortified their arguments by providing upwardly spiralling estimates of the costs, which the federal government had promised to cover. In a matter of weeks, in what an Obama Administration official called a “classic City Hall jam job,” the police department’s projection of the trial costs went from a few hundred million dollars to a billion dollars.

Senator Charles Schumer, of New York, quickly released a statement echoing Bloomberg; the wisdom of moving the trial away from lower Manhattan, he said, was “obvious.” Then, on February 1st, Schumer told the Daily News that he opposed the idea of a 9/11 trial taking place anywhere in New York State. Officials in Pennsylvania and Virginia—the two other states where the 9/11 attacks occurred—began declaring their opposition to hosting the trials, too.

Obama and Holder have never had the support of the Democratic caucus, and usually, the caucus has worked to undercut him. Again, Glenn is right that the ultimate decision may rest with Holder and Obama, but he is ignoring every piece of evidence that shows what an uphill battle they face. Again, I’ll refer to little things like the Senate voting 98-0 to screw Obama regarding his plans for Gitmo, or the removal of all funding to purchase a Supermax jail, and on and on.

Usually around now, someone somewhere will bring up the old canard of “Bush would have done whatever he wanted.” And sure enough, Bush would have probably done what he wanted. But there is a key difference- If Bush had said “We’re going to try KSM in NYC because we aren’t afraid of the terrorists and this is the American way,” every single Republican would have trampled Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube in a rush to get to a microphone to agree with Bush. Chuck Schumer and most Democrats would have been right behind them. And that was the point of this post, and what Glenn seems to really be missing. This wasn’t an attempt to defend Obama from bad decisions, this post was an attack on the Democratic party for being a bunch of craven, cowardly pushovers who talk a good game but cower every time the Republicans say anything. And like I said, Obama will always be on the receiving end of the blame, even though he bucked his own party and attempted to do the right thing.

In fact, Obama framed the issue just as I stated above- that we have nothing to be afraid of. From the comments:

Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday fought back against criticism that trying accused Sept. 11 terrorists in New York City poses a risk, saying that U.S. courts have safely tried terrorists, and that Americans should not “cower” in anticipation of the trials.

Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder said terrorists — including those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — have been prosecuted in the federal courts for years. He also said more than 300 convicted international and domestic terrorists remain in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

“We need not cower in the face of this enemy,” Holder said. “Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is sturdy, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready.” He added that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly believe the upcoming trials can be held safely.

Also from the comments:

Americans should not be “fearful” of the prospect that five men accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks will go on trial in New York City, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.

“I think this notion that somehow we have to be fearful, that these terrorists possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking them up and exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake,” he told CNN, according to early excerpts of an interview released Wednesday.

And just for clarity’s sake, let’s remember that Bush never did try to do the right thing and hold trials. To the contrary, Bush was the one who opened Gitmo, tortured KSM, and created this whole god damned mess. Obama and Holder are trying to do the right thing, and are getting no help whatsoever.

247 replies
  1. 1
    chopper says:

    no, obama is the one who caves. this is obviously all on obama.

  2. 2
    Svensker says:

    The question I have is why aren’t Obama and his troops doing any arm bending? Or why not go on the airwaves and publicly shame some folks? If he’s going to go down in flames because nobody’s got his back, then he needs to make his own case directly and loudly, explain why it’s good for the country, and then say that he can’t get anyone to back him up. You can’t just quietly let it go by because it enhances the sense of weakness — he won’t cross anyone or point fingers even if they are undermining him.

  3. 3
    Sweet Fanny Adams says:

    Indeed. “How has Barack Obama failed you today?” should be a tag line.

  4. 4
    Pete says:

    Bully pulpit! Overton window! Get mad!

    etc ad nauseum

  5. 5
    c u n d gulag says:

    These simpering assholes are afraid of what FOX, Rush, etc., are going to say.
    Well, listen you stupid MFers, They’re going to say bad shit about you no matter what you do, so, it MIGHT help your cause, and the people of this country, if you stood up every once in awhile and did the right thing.
    Whoreporatists. You’re no longer Democrats, most of you don’t stand for anything I stand for. So you might as well drop the lable Democrats, and take up Whoreporatists. And it’s not like the Republicans aren’t worse, it’s just that they’re honest about their blatant greed and dishonesty.

    When can we have a party that stands for regular folks, not corporations and the wealthy? What do we need to do to start?

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Grayson won’t be a serving member of Congress after January 3, 2011, but I am very hopeful that he’ll leverage his combination of high principles and media savvy into some kind of national platform. (I can think of plenty of MSNBC hosts I’d like to see replaced, but actually I don’t think I’d want to see Grayson tethered to GE corporate.) He’s too valuable a conscience and a spokesman to just disappear.

  7. 7
    aliasofwestgate says:

    @Svensker:

    That would be nice, except none of the news stations bother to air his full speeches. If they do? You get a small portion of it, and the rest is taken up by the Villagers pontificating and none of the message actually getting through.

    They might mention his rallies, but do they get down to what was said? No. Do they bother to air it outside what is seen on CSPAN? No. Very hard to twist arms on a pulpit when the speeches aren’t even shown to the general public.

    I remember far too much of Bush’s speeches being uninterrupted and clearly shown. Obama doesn’t get the same treatment on the airwaves.

  8. 8
    TR says:

    Excellent post.

  9. 9
    Sweet Fanny Adams says:

    @aliasofwestgate: This is the thing. He can talk and explain all he wants, but if it’s not covered in the popular media, it’s like he never spoke at all. And you are right, even when they do cover what he says, there’s always some some useful idiot(s) to parse and “interpret” whatever he had to say (and usually in the most negative way possible).

  10. 10
    cathyx says:

    @aliasofwestgate:

    Do you think that if Obama wanted to give an interview to any of the news channels, he would be turned down?

  11. 11
    PeakVT says:

    More fuel for the Divided Dems narrative. Oh, joy. Thank you, Congresscritters.

  12. 12
    lawguy says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Obama can’t fail he can only be failed. God forbid that he should exhibit some leadership. That would not be the president’s job.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @lawguy: WTF?

  14. 14
    Rey says:

    Its because he’s Black er, half-Black…

  15. 15
    Sweet Fanny Adams says:

    @lawguy:
    Please explain what he should do in this instance to show leadership? Should he go ahead and insist that the trial be held in New York? Should he use force to make them comply if they still refuse? What?

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    He would have had four years for the issue to die down, but he caved prematurely. And the rule of law is even on Cuomo’s side!

    He would have had four years to RUN on it. “Hey, I’m the governor that presided over the successful trial and conviction of a terrorist mastermind partly responsible for the most terrible terrorist attack in American history.”

    If ever there was a time to run out the “Mission Accomplished” and “Victory in America” banners, it would be at the end of that trial. Ronald Reagen and Richard Nixon would have LOVED to get their faces in front of the camera during every second of that media spectical.

    But not the Democrats…

  17. 17
    DCPlod says:

    @lawguy:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Obama can’t fail he can only be failed. God forbid that he should exhibit some leadership. That would not be the president’s job.

    Yeah, if Obama’d only used the invisible hand of the bully pulpit, the Senate vote against closing Gitmo might have been just 80-20 instead of 90-6!

  18. 18
    Ted says:

    Amen. Don’t forget, too, that we wouldn’t have had all the drama this week about Obama “caving” on the upper income tax cut extension if the House Democrats hadn’t already done so a couple of months ago. They wouldn’t take a vote that might have saved some of their sorry asses on 11/2, even though it was Nancy Pelosi, who unlike Obama doesn’t need to grow a pair, who urged them to do the right thing.

    Unfortunately, though, even Grayson pandered when it came to Israel:
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsme....._uber-haw/

    This is also the case with our other progressive firebrand, Anthony Weiner.

  19. 19
    gnomedad says:

    @cathyx:

    Do you think that if Obama wanted to give an interview to any of the news channels, he would be turned down?

    Good point. I’d like to see this.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    Someone remind me of the attacks that occurred after Zacarias Moussaoui was tried? He might not have been the mastermind but he was willing to board a plane and kill Americans.

    @SiubhanDuinne: I agree with you. The only democrats on the news make Harry Reid seem like a strongman.

  21. 21
    DCPlod says:

    As for Glenn Greenwald, well, after he called the snarktastic “What The Fuck Has Obama Done So Far” site propaganda, highlighted and praised the ‘rebuttal’ site (showing that among other things, he has zero self-awareness or sense of humor), I came to the conclusion that his ODS is incurable.

  22. 22
    Corner Stone says:

    I’ll admit I don’t know enough about it so I’m asking, but why does the federal DoJ need anyone’s permission to use their infrastructure to conduct a federal trial?

  23. 23
    BTD says:

    Of all the “Leave Obama Alone” apologias, this is easily the weakest.

    Andrew Cuomo has precisely ZERO say on where and whether KSM is tried.

    Yes, this is a “political” decision, by Obama.

    Cuomo announced position is also political.

    But Obama’s decision is the one that actually matters in terms of whether KSM is tried, and whether he is tried in NY.

    As it happens, I do not think it matters that much in terms of substance and I actually think a properly administered military commissions trial, with all the due process guarantees required under the UCMJ adhered to, in Gitmo is the much more appropriate thing to do with KSM.

    But Cole’s post really screams out for the line a previous commenter uses – Obama can never fail, he can only be failed.

    Absurd post.

  24. 24
    BTD says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It doesn’t. Cole has written an asinine post.

  25. 25
    lacp says:

    @Corner Stone: They don’t. They’re probably concerned that Congress would do something hinky with DOJ funding – wouldn’t be the first time.

  26. 26
    Roger Moore says:

    @cathyx:

    Do you think that if Obama wanted to give an interview to any of the news channels, he would be turned down?

    I don’t think he would be turned down. OTOH, I don’t think an interview would be the best way of getting his point across. The network would want it to be a genuine interview, i.e. they ask questions and he answers them, so the networks would start out in control. More importantly, the network would be sure to edit it heavily, allegedly for length but incidentally cutting out anything he said that went too far against the corporate line. Despite what people say, Obama doesn’t have a conduit straight into America’s living rooms any time he wants it. Anything that goes through big media is filtered to fit big media’s agenda.

  27. 27
    Tyro says:

    Regardless of whether I’m disappointed in the president or nit for caving on these issues, it is just as paretic if not more pathetic to see house and senate dems constantly and consistently buckling on these things.

  28. 28
    WyldPirate says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Well, listen you stupid MFers, They’re going to say bad shit about you no matter what you do, so, it MIGHT help your cause, and the people of this country, if you stood up every once in awhile and did the right thing.

    The same goes for Obama. But what does he do? He backs down. Case in point is his language re:tax cut renewals.

    There isn’t a whole lot stopping them from having military tribunals at Gitmo, either. That’s not the optimal course in my opinion. I think KSM should be tried in NYC –or, alternatively–somewhere like Ft. Drum. But that shit isn’t going to happen because most Dems are indeed spineless.

  29. 29

    @Ted: Do you realize there are only about 15 Democrats(out of the present number of Democrats in the House & Senate combined right now) who don’t reflexively support Israel? Three of them are Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold and Bernie Sanders.

  30. 30
    Davis X. Machina says:

    He can talk and explain all he wants, but if it’s not covered in the popular media, it’s like he never spoke at all.

    Covered or not, it matters only a little. Thus it has always been so. Even for Clinton. Even for Reagan.

  31. 31
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    No, actually you have written an asinine comment. not your first, btw

    A coalition of 18 senators — including two Democrats — have introduced a bill to yank the Obama administration’s funding for a civilian trial.

    And those two dems, and likely others would be all that was needed to de fund any proposed trial, just like the 90 to 6 vote to de fund closing Gitmo and housing those prisoners here. But yes, Obama could go balls to the wall on this issue and pound the bully pulpit on those congress folks, both dem and republican, when overwhelmingly the public is on the bedwetters side as well. That would be a waste of time, and quite stupid for Obama to do, other than to give GG a rush, and force him to find some other way to blame Obama for everything that is wrong with this country.

  32. 32
    Mr Furious says:

    do you think that if Obama wanted to give an interview to any of the news channels, he would be turned down

    I actually think Obama is at his worst in this setting. He was terrible on TDS before Election Day…

  33. 33
    WhatAreWeDoing says:

    I agree with John Cole.
    We all sat back while the tea people took over the townhalls as if THEY were the majority.

    We know that the MSM and the right wing media and the left wing media are all excessively critical of Democrats while the MSM and the right wing media are neutral or laudatory of Republicans.

    We know they breathlessly report every word salad that Sarah Palin tweets as is it carries as much or more weight as a complicated (aka boring but grown up ) point that Obama tries to make.

    We know that few understand that 41 senators trump 59 or just how deep the rot has grown in the last thirty years.

    Yet we pile on, along with the Republicans, threatening to vote for Nader or to primary Obama, as if we would like to see a SCOTUS where Sotomayor and Kagan are the only liberals, and Scalia is to the left of a new Republican president’s picks.

    This is how they always win, and we shoot ourselves in the foot.

    Our “purity” will just get us even further to the right, so that it will be even harder for the next Democrat, and we can pile on him too…..

  34. 34
    WyldPirate says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ll admit I don’t know enough about it so I’m asking, but why does the federal DoJ need anyone’s permission to use their infrastructure to conduct a federal trial?

    Exactly.

    I think the hold up is due to fear of the political optics.

    I can see NYC and the Federal facilities there being a problem due to the hoopla over security. There are other alternatives to a Federal Courthouse in the middle of Manhatten, though.

  35. 35
    cathyx says:

    @Roger Moore:

    So if the interview might get edited, he should not even attempt it. He should always back down and never stand up for his point of view because there will be always be those who speak out against what he wants and they have a bigger microphone. That’s losing without even trying.

  36. 36
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    Oh noes! They have introduced a bill!!!!!!

    Are you fucking kidding me? First,no such bill will EVER pass.

    Second, if such a bill ever did pass, then the President could and should veto it as unconstitutional.

    Third, if the President was afraid to veto it and wanted to litigate in the courts, he would get it ruled unconstitutional.

    Of all the asinine defenders of Obama, you are among the worst.

  37. 37
    jon says:

    If Obama wanted to play hardball on this issue (actual hardball and not the Beltway television version,) he’d just declare that if no Federal court will try this guy he’ll just be freed. Eventually, some court in some out-of-the-way place can fill up it’s motels and hotels with press guys and security details and so forth for a few months to a year, stimulate the local economy, and be the place where the eventual guilty verdicts American Justice demanded got handed out. Or the case could go very badly for the government, considering how the evidence was gathered. But that’s nothing to worry about, is it?

  38. 38
    Maude says:

    @WyldPirate:
    We could have the trial in NJ. Christie can play tough guy, not afraid of terrorists. And double bill the Feds.
    Of course, it would one heck of a commute to get from NYC to Jersey without that tunnel.

  39. 39
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mr Furious: He didn’t help himself on 60 Minutes either.
    IMO, Obama is the kind that needs a foil. He was brilliant at the HCR roundtable meeting with Republicans.

  40. 40
    cathyx says:

    @Maude:
    Awesome post.

  41. 41
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    First,no such bill will EVER pass.

    Are you fucking kidding me? Congress defunded closing gitmo 90 to 6 in the senate, way more than enough to over ride any veto, and for a lawyer, you sure are dumb. There is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about congress exercising it’s plenary powers of the purse. There is no constitutional requirement for KSM to be tried in civilian court, versus a military tribunal.

  42. 42
    Cacti says:

    @General Stuck:

    But yes, Obama could go balls to the wall on this issue and pound the bully pulpit on those congress folks, both dem and republican, when overwhelmingly the public is on the bedwetters side as well.

    And in the end, maybe he changes the minds of 4 or 5 senators. Hell, I’ll be generous. Let’s say he gets 10-15 on board. That still puts the Senate 79-21 against him.

    There is no political will in Congress to close Gitmo or give KSM a civilian trial. They have nothing to gain from doing it, and no consequences to face if they don’t.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    Roger Moore says:

    @cathyx:
    No. The point is that the ease of getting your message across is directly proportional to how much the media likes what you’re saying. That’s why the Republicans have such an easy time with messaging. They say their message, and the media repeat it endlessly. When the Democrats try to give their message, they get ignored or mocked, or their words get twisted.

    Just look at this most recent flap about Axelrod. The media wound up ignoring his message and instead parsed his words so they could claim he was saying something completely different and closer to what they wanted. Do you really think it’s a good idea for the President to give exclusive interviews in that kind of environment? I don’t. I think he’s much better off sticking to speeches and press conferences, where he has some confidence that his words will be repeated verbatim and without editing.

  45. 45
    Kryptik says:

    @General Stuck:

    Never underestimate the spinelessness of Democrats when the sword of ‘National Security’ hangs over their heads.

    We live in a world where pantswetting fear and hysteria are what passes for ‘bravery’ and ‘courage’, and where anything less than waterboarding terrorists who ‘deserve’ it is sheer cowardice.

    This isn’t our country anymore, we just live in it, and the Republicans are probably working on that little problem too.

  46. 46
    El Tiburon says:

    @El Cid:
    While I believe GG is 100% correct, I think Cole was referring more to the political calculus that caused Obama to cave…again.

    So Cole is correct: democrats are sniveling cowards. But Obama could and should adhere to the law and do what is right. But, he won’t.

  47. 47
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    In 2008, many people in the US say they are tired of the strong-arming bully type and vote in someone saner.

    The saner guy works with congress to get legislation written into law that other presidents have tried but failed to achieve in 60 years. He prevents a second great depression, but there’s dissatisfaction because unemployment is still high. His achievements are historic but members of his own party undermine him all the time because he doesn’t do the strong-arm bullying thing they are used to.

    The opposition party goes insane with projection and calls him all the things that they truly are. His party stays silent and some begin to agree with the opposition party. Some in his party campaign on their *opposition* to his historic achievements, get crushed in the elections and still think *he’s* the problem.

    His achievements are overlooked because in 22 months in office he has not undone all the ills of the last 30 years and also because he doesn’t come across as the type of guy you want to have a beer with. The roles and responsibilities of members of the other branches of government are overlooked in the rush to pillory him.

    He is a long-distance runner leading a country of sprinters. If all things stay the same, I don’t think this story ends well.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    @Cacti:

    Yes, and polling has been running 2/3 against civilian trials, . No politician in their right minds is going to buck those numbers. There are no heroes in politics, and that includes Obama. Dem politicians are cowards because an overwhelming majority of their voters are.

  49. 49
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @General Stuck: Lincoln. Emancipation.

  50. 50
    General Stuck says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    There is always an exception or two out there. Point taken.

  51. 51
    Ned Ludd says:

    @BTD: @Corner Stone:

    Obama doesn’t need anyone’s permission to go ahead and conduct federal trials. John is trying to confuse the issue and slam Glenn without actually responding to the substance of Glenn’s post.

    John’s argument boils down to this: How can you expect Obama to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law when some Democratic politicians will be all whiny about it?

  52. 52
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    As you seem unable to grasp, I have been addressing the KSM trial issue.

    I never mentioned closing Gitmo, which frankly I have never cared about and still don’t. I do not understand the fixation on putting the detainees in a Super Max. How is that supposed to help exactly?

    The issue is not Gitmo, it is a good process for status determination.

    This part of your comment also misses the point:

    “There is no constitutional requirement for KSM to be tried in civilian court, versus a military tribunal. ”

    No one says there is. The point is there is no law, nor could one be passed, nor would one be constitutional, that could deny the Executive Branch the power to try KSM in a civilian court or in a military tribunal.

    Now, if you read carefully, I expressed my own preference for a military tribunal in Gitmo. But the point stands, the President has all the authority he needs to do either.

    That’s precisely why Holder is announcing the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’s decision on the matter, not what Andrew Cuomo thinks.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    “No politician in their right minds is going to buck those numbers. There are no heroes in politics, and that includes Obama.”

    Which makes Cole’s post asinine.

  55. 55
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @El Tiburon: Yes but as Glenn shows, there are Democrats who are on record strongly in favor of trials. So Obama didn’t have their backs, either.

    If we’re going to put things in those terms.

  56. 56
    Tim H says:

    LOL! Obama was hoping for cover from Cuomo? Possibly Holder should have kept his trap shut about trials if no follow-thru was planned.

  57. 57
    ChrisNYC says:

    Just want to say that Alan Grayson is an asshole.

    Here’s a taste of his undermining Obama in May 2009, you know, 5 months into his term, complete with fanning the flames of “growing frustration in Obama’s own party” and an assertion that “things are not going in the right direction.” For good measure, at that early point, he was careful to deride support for the President as due to “loyalty,” i.e., couldn’t have any rational basis.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/onli.....ayson.html

    Somehow, the interviewer forgot to ask him why he was so outraged about Obama’s Afghanistan strategy since Obama, you know, campaigned on it. Democracy, schemocracy, I guess.

    As for his “saying the right things,” I’m not sure that stating that he is “not terribly concerned about the well-being of the Shiites, the Sunnis, or the Kurds” in Iraq does it for me. Maybe since we destroyed their country, we should care a little about them? I see where helping Iraqis could include staying or leaving, but, man, saying, “We need to get out because who gives a shit about these people”? Grayson doesn’t share my values!!!!

    Plus, if he’s such a political genius, what gives with him losing in 2006? Christ, the guy only won in 2008 — maybe that had a bit to do with who was at the top of the ticket?

  58. 58
    Lolis says:

    @BTD:

    Why are you so confident no such bill would pass? As others have said, the Gitmo funds bill passed nearly unanimously with even some people’s misplaced hero, Feingold, voting for it.

    Sure Obama could veto it. Sure Obama could force the issue and we could spend months fighting about an issue in Congress and the media. Maybe Obama would win on this very unpopular trial. Obama would have spent a lot of energy on something that in the long run is purely symbolic.

  59. 59
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    No one says there is. The point is there is no law, nor could one be passed, nor would one be constitutional, that could deny the Executive Branch the power to try KSM in a civilian court or in a military tribunal.
    Now, if you read carefully, I expressed my own preference for a military tribunal in Gitmo. But the point stands, the President has all the authority he needs to do either.

    Can you read and comprehend, congress can stop the executive branch from doing about anything by simply de funding it. Or, passing a law that says not one dime of federal money can be spent on doing something congress doesn’t want them to do. Now if that de funding relates to something that is constitutionally required, then the president has a case in court, a good one. But again, there is no constitutional requirement for trying KSM in civilian court versus a military tribunal, so that is that, if congress doesn’t want it to happen by denying the funds to do it.

    And the example of using Gitmo and it’s vote in congress, and it’s defunding, only to highlight the same mindset and opposition in congress and the public for bringing KSM and the others onto American soil for any reason whatsoever. Same difference.

  60. 60
    Nick says:

    @Svensker:

    The question I have is why aren’t Obama and his troops doing any arm bending? Or why not go on the airwaves and publicly shame some folks? If he’s going to go down in flames because nobody’s got his back, then he needs to make his own case directly and loudly, explain why it’s good for the country, and then say that he can’t get anyone to back him up. You can’t just quietly let it go by because it enhances the sense of weakness—he won’t cross anyone or point fingers even if they are undermining him.

    Oh, you don’t remember?

    Forced to defend the US government’s decision to move five September 11th conspirators from Guantanamo Bay to New York for trial, the US president said people’s concerns would disappear once the verdict is reached. “I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) and when the death penalty is applied to him.” He then backtracked, saying, “What I said was people will not be offended if that’s outcome. I’m not prejudging them. What I’m absolutely clear is that I have complete confidence in the American people and our legal traditions.

    http://www.euronews.net/2009/1.....-ny-trial/

    Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday fought back against criticism that trying accused Sept. 11 terrorists in New York City poses a risk, saying that U.S. courts have safely tried terrorists, and that Americans should not “cower” in anticipation of the trials.
    Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder said terrorists — including those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — have been prosecuted in the federal courts for years. He also said more than 300 convicted international and domestic terrorists remain in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
    “We need not cower in the face of this enemy,” Holder said. “Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is sturdy, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready.” He added that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly believe the upcoming trials can be held safely.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....=120530053

    Americans should not be “fearful” of the prospect that five men accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks will go on trial in New York City, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
    “I think this notion that somehow we have to be fearful, that these terrorists possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking them up and exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake,” he told CNN, according to early excerpts of an interview released Wednesday.

    http://news.smh.com.au/breakin.....-impi.html

    No offense and don’t take this personally, but I getting fucking sick of people complaining that Obama hasn’t done things he’s actually done. He defended the trial, no one had his back, least of whom were the cowardly pussies who call themselves Democrats I live amongst here in New York City.

    He did the right thing and got burned by the cowards who call themselves the American people.

  61. 61
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @General Stuck: Not an exception though. It took a war for him to get away with it, even though it was right, and supported by a noisy minority.

    No war, and Lincoln’s just another chapter in Profiles in Courage.

  62. 62
    Nick says:

    @BTD:

    Obama can never fail, he can only be failed.

    In this case BTD, he was most definitely failed. No one defended him. He was left to defend himself. Of course he was going to lose.

    and he had the permission he needed to do it, namely that of the government of NYC.

  63. 63
    Ned Ludd says:

    The Obama administration has concluded it can’t go ahead with its original plan to have the trial in federal court in New York because of opposition from lawmakers and local officials, the Post said.

    So Obama can assassinate people he decides are a threat without any judicial review; but he also can’t bring anyone to trial if he decides that he might get criticized for doing that.

    The common thread here is Obama’s dismissive attitude towards the judicial branch.

  64. 64
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    Obama at least made the effort to do the right thing, I don’t consider that as particularly heroic, but it is doing his job, where Cole’s post points out that congress is not doing their job, and is, or would, legally prevent Obama from carrying out his duties, by using their powers of the purse. So no, Cole’s post is spot on, in every way that is relevant here.

  65. 65
    BTD says:

    @Lolis:

    Why didn’t a “no civilian trial for KSM” pass then? Why are you so sure it would?

    But more importantly, UNTIL such a law id passed and the President signs it or Congress overrides the President’s veto, and if such a law survives a court challenge, the Justice Dep’t has the power to try KSM in a civilian court.

    To wit, RIGHT NOW, it is the President’s call. In some hypothetical that you can concoct, Obama might be powerless, but in the world we actually are in, he’s not.

  66. 66
    Nick says:

    @General Stuck: .

    But yes, Obama could go balls to the wall on this issue and pound the bully pulpit on those congress folks, both dem and republican, when overwhelmingly the public is on the bedwetters side as well.

    He did, but of course the professional lefties won’t remember. If it didn’t work, it never happened

  67. 67
    Nick says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    How can you expect Obama to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law when some most Democratic politicians voters will be all whiny about it?

    Fixed

  68. 68
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    Oh well, hooray for Obama! Actually, I disagree, I thought the whole idea was stuipid on policy and politically. It was stupid of Holder to want to try KSM in NYC. Rahm was right on this.

    And here is the bottom line, Obama can still “do the right thing” right (as John Cole defines it) right now. You just do not want to accept this obvious fact.

    I have not written a word of criticism of Obama on this because, frankly, KSM getting a civilian trial in NYC is one of the least important issues I can imagine. And I think the issue should be decided against a civilian trial in NYC for KSM and instead he should have a military trial in in Gitmo.

    My beef is with this ridiculous post by Cole.

  69. 69
    Nick says:

    @WyldPirate:

    But what does he do? He backs dow

    after a fight. He fought for what’s right and then when he lost, he accepted defeat and moved on.

    Isn’t that what you people wanted? A Fight? You got one. You lost. Fucking deal with it.

  70. 70
    J sub D says:

    The more Obama and the Dems cave to the far right, the bigots and the bed-wetters, the more emboldened they become. That was Harry Reid coming out against the almost on ground zero YMMA community center, right?

    Well, he kept his seat and that’s what really matters. Having party members elected is far more important than staying true to your civil rights and civil liberties rhetoric. After all, selling your soul for votes is a time honored tradition in both political parties.

    IANAL but I’m fairly certain that if the federal government brings federal charges against somebody in federal custody they can hold the trial before a federal judge in any damned federal court they wish. Governors and mayors can be cordially invited to pack sand.

  71. 71
    Nick says:

    @BTD: You can’t deny though that Obama was out there alone on this.

    I too think he should’ve just tried KSM in a military trial and moved on. Glenn Greenwald and few lefties would bitch and moan, but they don’t matter.

    There is no incentive to do “the right thing.” But I’m surprised none of you would even give him an once of credit for trying.

    Actually, no, I’m not surprised.

  72. 72
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    He needed defending did he? Then maybe he should have made a different decision.

    Of course, the reality is he did not need defending if he believed in his policy.

    I repeat, I do not give a rat’s ass if KSM is tried in a civilian court in NYC. I think it is one of the least important issues imaginable.

    Butif Obama And YOU think it is important, then you have to deal with the reality that it is the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION who is deciding not to implement this important policy, not Andrew Cuomo.

  73. 73
    Lolis says:

    @BTD:

    I am not sure it would pass. I was asking you since you act like an expert, why you were so sure it wouldn’t pass. Thanks for not answering my question.

  74. 74
    alwhite says:

    Look, there is no doubt that there are a lot of spineless Ds, and Ds that are as pocketed by business as their R brothern. That does not forgive President Obama for the weak-ass behaviour he has shown whenever there was a negotiation coming up. Why should a D stand up & fight for the public option when the leader of his party gave it away for free before they even began?

    There is a lot of shit the Ds have going on & plenty of blame to go around. Neither Obama nor the representatives deserve a pass.

  75. 75
    J sub D says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Well, listen you stupid MFers, They’re going to say bad shit about you no matter what you do, so, it MIGHT help your cause, and the people of this country, if you stood up every once in awhile and did the right thing.

    QFMFT.

  76. 76
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    Why should I give him an ounce of credit for a policy I think does not matter?

    Why should I given him an ounce of credit for not implementing a policy at all?

    He didn’t do it. I don’t care that he didn’t do it, but it seems incredible to demand that he get credit for a policy HE decided not to implement.

    This is insane.

  77. 77
    Cacti says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    So Obama can assassinate people he decides are a threat without any judicial review

    Then of course you must concede that Abraham Lincoln was history’s greatest assassin.

    His Union Army killed at least 90,000 American Citizens without charge, trial or sentence.

  78. 78
    Nick says:

    @BTD:

    He needed defending did he? Then maybe he should have made a different decision.

    Yes, maybe he shouldn’t have done “the right thing.” If he’s smart, he won’t try it anymore.

    Of course, the reality is he did not need defending if he believed in his policy.

    What? The public is nearly unanimously against it! It doesn’t matter what he thought, it needed to be sold to the public, and he was the only one doing the selling.

    Butif Obama And YOU think it is important, then you have to deal with the reality that it is the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION who is deciding not to implement this important policy, not Andrew Cuomo.

    I don’t think it’s important. I don’t think Democrats should ever doing anything remotely unpopular because they’ll be buried for it. I’m just getting livid at so-called progressives who leave him out to dry. He made the attempt to do the right thing and was forced to back down in the face of massive public resistance.

    He can’t ever win with you people.

  79. 79
    Cacti says:

    And as an aside…

    Is anyone even a tiny bit surprised that Andrew shuck and jive Cuomo would try undermine the POTUS right out of the gate?

  80. 80
    BTD says:

    @Lolis:

    I am sure it would not pass because, as the Gitmo funding issue demonstrates, Congress was ready to demogogue the issue and simply did not have the votes.

    General Stuck tells you there were an entire 18 votes for it in the Senate. A veto proof bill that even got scheduled (Dems control the Senate you know) would require 67 votes.

    Not to even mention the House for the past 2 years. 290 votes required for a veto proof majority.

    By contrast, General Stuck was POSITIVE the public option NEVER had a chance even though it had over 50 announced supporters in the Senate and actually passed the House.

    Look, maybe your question was honest, but come on.

  81. 81
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    And here is the bottom line, Obama can still “do the right thing” right (as John Cole defines it) right now. You just do not want to accept this obvious fact.

    Obama could come out and push for single payer, or reinstating Glass Steagall, and any number of issues that would be righteous and force them all to a vote in congress, even knowing they would fail, but for what? So internet progressives could feel all warm and fuzzy and get their black knight in shining honor buzz on. While wasting precious time on other issues much more relevant to peoples lives in this country.

    When in this case, RIGHT NOW, democrats in NY and around the country would not support him, and have declared such publicly, even some of the lefts prog heroes. Get real BTD. And the vote failed in the House by one vote, well before many dems have now read the pol tea leaves and want no part of having these prisoners on American soil, as per the Gitmo vote.

    Your complaint with Cole is petty and more technical than with substance.

  82. 82
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    WTF? Why in gawd’s name should I defend a policy I do not agree with?

    What the fuck are you talking about?

  83. 83
    Nick says:

    @BTD:

    Why should I give him an ounce of credit for a policy I think does not matter?
    Why should I given him an ounce of credit for not implementing a policy at all?

    No, THIS is insane. Why are you even commenting on this thread anyway, because you’re upset John has an opinion that doesn’t make Obama look like a criminal

    This is why Democrats lost, not because their pussies, but because they have no fucking backing. Why should you give him credit for a policy you don’t think matters? Because you call yourself a goddamn progressive and he faced a hostile public with an unpopular decision favored by progressives and fought for it.

    Be part of the team, or get the fuck out of the way.

  84. 84
    Corner Stone says:

    “Nothing Can Be Done!”

  85. 85
    J sub D says:

    @cathyx:
    News channels? The POTUS could get two hours of prime time from any network by just hinting he’ll sit down and talk with a journalist.

    Blaming MSM bias for your misfortunes is road well traveled. The GOP paved it a couple of decades ago and still find it a convenient route. It was transparent bullshit back then. Now it’s truth?

  86. 86
    Nick says:

    @J sub D:

    The POTUS could get two hours of prime time from any network by just hinting he’ll sit down and talk with a journalist.

    he did that, next

  87. 87
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    By contrast, General Stuck was POSITIVE the public option NEVER had a chance even though it had over 50 announced supporters in the Senate and actually passed the House.

    Nope, wasn’t positive, but wasn’t willing to take the risk of unraveling the shaky coalition just get get the senate fixes done, and not after becoming more informed that pushing a PO through the reconciliation process was likely impossible to have anything like a workable bill, with the arcane procedural obstacles, that would likely have it looking like a Frankenstein monster on the other side of passage, if it could have been passed.

  88. 88
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: What happened to the pretzels? I like pretzels.

  89. 89
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    Typical nonsequitor bullshit from you.

    What makes this different than your examples is that Obama needs approval from NOBODY on this.

    Not Andrew Cuomo, not the Congress, not me or Nick. No one.

    It is entirely his Administration’s call.

    You try the “60 votes” nonsense on THIS issue? Really? It really demonstrates how past the bend you are.

    Next you’ll tell me the President has to issue assassination orders for Al Awlaki because Congress might pass a bill. (BTW, I agree with the President on THAT issue too.)

    Your comment encapsulates everything that is wrong with this strain of defense of Obama – it pretends he is powerless. Of course he is not all powerful (though on this he pretty much is), but he is the most powerful pol in the country, still.

  90. 90
    ChrisNYC says:

    @Ned Ludd: The “without judicial review” thing is a lie.

    First, Al-Awlaki can get judicial review if he wants it. Second, the lawsuit by his father doesn’t challenge the right of the govt to do targeted killings of Americans or anyone else. It challenges the designation of Al-Awlaki as a target. Third, the lawsuit does not seek to impose judicial review on the executive’s decision to put someone on the list. Instead, it seeks only for the court to establish “general limits” for the executive to abide by, without court review.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/J.....-al-Awlaki

  91. 91
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    I see, some uncertainty about THAT, but
    POSITIVE that Congress would pass a bill defunding a KSM civilian trial.

    Interesting how that works with you.

  92. 92
    Ned Ludd says:

    Last year, Drew Westen was our Cassandra:

    Consider the president’s leadership style, which has now become clear: deliver a moving speech, move on, and when push comes to shove, leave it to others to decide what to do if there’s a conflict, because if there’s a conflict, he doesn’t want to be anywhere near it…

    But Obama really doesn’t seem to want to get involved in the contentious decisions. They’re so, you know, contentious. He wants us all to get along…

    I don’t honestly know what this president believes… What [Americans are] seeing is weakness, waffling, and wandering through the wilderness without an ideological compass. That’s a recipe for going nowhere fast – but getting there by November.

    It is morally repugnant that Obama backs down so easily when it comes to defending the Constitution, and equally repugnant that his supporters are so quick to apologize for him. As Westen points out, if you don’t have the courage of your convictions, if you shrink in the face of criticism of your values, expect electoral defeat.

  93. 93
    Nick says:

    @BTD:

    What makes this different than your examples is that Obama needs approval from NOBODY on this.

    This isn’t entirely true BTD, he needs to approval of local government to help with law enforcement and to agree to pay for security with federal reinbursments.

    He did that, he had Bloomberg’s approval.

  94. 94
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    I always love the “why are you on this thread” line. What is it supposed to mean exactly?

    I am on this thread, for the same reason you are, to wank about a Cole post.

    IS that all you got? Really?

  95. 95
    Nick says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    It is morally repugnant that Obama backs down so easily when it comes to defending the Constitution, and equally repugnant that his supporters are so quick to apologize for him. As Westen points out, if you don’t have the courage of your convictions, if you shrink in the face of criticism of your values, expect electoral defeat.

    He DID fight for this. He DID use the so-called bully pulpit.

    Why are you so allergic to the reality that he only did this after a year of fighting for it? Is it because you can’t possibly imagine good may not always be triumphant?

  96. 96
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    No, he doesn’t. If he wants, he can send in the entire FBI and Secret Service if he wants to protect the Federal building. Oh BTFW, Bloomberg is on board with the trial. Last I looked, the NYPD was under his control,. not Cuomo’s.

    Sheesh, let’s keep pretending.

  97. 97
    Nick says:

    @BTD: Why? Doesn’t this topic not matter to you?

  98. 98
    Ned Ludd says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    Westen’s quote in my earlier comment should include the first three paragraphs of text . Why is DK the only progressive blog with a comment box that’s not a pain to use?

  99. 99
    Kryptik says:

    If there’s any one thing that I can point too as proof that we’re irreparably fucked for years to come, this thread is it.

    Republican Monolith vs. Democratic backbiting and utter cowardice. Fuuuuuuun times.

  100. 100
    Nick says:

    @BTD:

    Oh BTFW, Bloomberg is on board with the trial. Last I looked, the NYPD was under his control,. not Cuomo’s.

    No, it’s under Ray Kelly’s, who has been undermining Obama since Holder first announced this, saying they weren’t consulted and the city can’t handle the terror threat it’ll cause.

  101. 101
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    The topic of stupid defenses for Obama interests me.

    Cole’s post is about that, not about the actual issue of where KSM is tried.

  102. 102
    Ned Ludd says:

    @Nick:

    Why is the Constitution so unimportant to liberals? I didn’t realize that “after a year of fighting”, the Constitution becomes completely optional. And I’d like some links to show all that “fighting” Obama did on this issue over the past year.

  103. 103
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    Ray Kelly works for Bloomberg.

  104. 104
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    Your arguments have been demolished that Cole’s post was asinine, now you have nothing but anecdotes left. The public is overwhelmingly against trying these guys here, about every dem pol has been eagerly, to any camera available declaring it a bad idea that they can’t support Obama on this, and because Obama isn’t dumb enough to go all rambo on the issue, you hang your hat on dems not being dumb enough to call a vote that would embarrass them and Obama. After they already voted to not house any Gitmo prisoners on American soil, let alone keep them here for a public trial.

    Funny how that works with you.

    I just hope I’m not in need of a lawyer and you are the last one left on the planet.

  105. 105
    Nick says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Lincoln. Emancipation.

    was that really heroic? I mean slavery was unpopular in what was left of the country, and Lincoln had never meant blacks to be free happy Americans, he thought they’d go back to Africa.

  106. 106
    Nick says:

    @BTD:

    Ray Kelly works for Bloomberg.

    Someone should tell Ray Kelly.

  107. 107
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    General Stuck, the all powerful arbiter of “destruction” on Ballon Juice threads has made the FINAL DECLARATION!

    Would that Obama was as willing to use his power as you are.

  108. 108
    J sub D says:

    @Nick:
    So the meme I hear bandied about here that the MSM is keeping Obama from getting his message out is_______________?

  109. 109
    Nick says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    Why is the Constitution so unimportant to liberals?

    Because if fellow Americans don’t care about it, you’re not going to get them to

    And I’d like some links to show all that “fighting” Obama did on this issue over the past year.

    see my comment at #60.

  110. 110
    BTD says:

    @Nick:

    If Obama decided to have the KSM trial in NYC, I am positive Bloomberg would.

    He’s a Decider type. For better or worse.

  111. 111
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    Would that Obama was as willing to use his power as you are.

    Would that BTD was willing to use his brain as Obama and Cole does.

  112. 112
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    He’s a Decider type. For better or worse.

    Go ahead BTD, admit it. You miss George Bush, don’t ya? huh?

  113. 113
    sal says:

    What exactly does Obama fight for? This is his problem with the ‘professional left’. It’s not that he doesn’t get progressive legislation passed, etc., but that he doesn’t fight for it. Endless negotiating and compromising is not fighting. Trying to accomplish what you want, retreating only when there’s no choice, and then only tactically, is fighting. Starting from your own 30 yard line instead of the other teams 30 yard line is not a good way to score a touchdown or even a field goal.
    I can understand not getting single payer, cap & trade, etc. What I don’t like is not even trying, or retreating at the first puff of pompous pontification.

  114. 114
    Nick says:

    @BTD: Apparently he didn’t, because Ray Kelly has been playing his Cassandra role for the better part of the year.

    One of those “If he decides to do it here, we’d have to comply, but he should do it somewhere else because he’s putting everyone at risk” roles.

  115. 115
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    Yep. We need more brainy types like you and Cole on Presidential power.

    Good news for you, Obama sees it your way – the Presidency is irrelevant is the philosophy of the day.

  116. 116
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Nick: My point was, it wasn’t heroic. Done in 1861 or early 1862 it’s heroic. Leaders lead when followers are ready to follow.

  117. 117
    Nick says:

    @sal:

    What I don’t like is not even trying,

    Then you should be thrilled in this situation, because he actually DID try.

  118. 118
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    As usual, you “brainy” types misunderstand Bush’s failures. They were about policy, not process.

    Except of course when he broke the law.

    As far as I know, no one has urged Obama to break the law. The opposite in fact.

    Fear not, you have “won” the argument and Obama is now officially irrelevant. Only Andrew Cuomo matters now.

  119. 119
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    Well, at least I know it is not unconstitutional for congress to block these trials by not paying for them. And I didn’t even go to law school.

  120. 120
    Ned Ludd says:

    @General Stuck:

    So internet progressives could feel all warm and fuzzy and get their black knight in shining honor buzz on.

    If you think the only reason to uphold the Constitution is “So internet progressives could feel all warm and fuzzy”, then why do we even have a Constitution? It appears the whole thing can get tossed if it becomes inconvenient, as Nick puts it, for more than a year.

  121. 121
    ChrisNYC says:

    @BTD: There is the little problem of Bloomberg already having come out against it, on cost and hassle, not security or fear.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes......-trial/?hp

  122. 122
    Nick says:

    @Ned Ludd: I’m not even sure why we still have a Constitution when the fucking American people don’t even believe in it.

    The document is only good as the public its supposed to govern.

  123. 123
    Cacti says:

    @General Stuck:

    Go ahead BTD, admit it. You miss George Bush, don’t ya? huh?

    Going against a majority of the public, the Congress, the State of New York, its Governor, and the NYC Police Commissioner…

    Hell, at least Bush had a congressional majority.

    If Obama is going to pick some lefty hill to die on, couldn’t it at least be something more useful than whether KSM gets a trial in federal district court?

  124. 124
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    Actually, that would be unconstitutional.

    You probably would not need to go to law school to know that but maybe it would help you.

  125. 125
    Anton Sirius says:

    Noted: BTD lost this useless flame war sometime around the incoherent post #80.

  126. 126
    General Stuck says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    If you think the only reason to uphold the Constitution is “So internet progressives could feel all warm and fuzzy”, then why do we even have a Constitution? It appears the whole thing can get tossed if it becomes inconvenient, as Nick puts it, for more than a year

    I will repeat it once more. There IS NO CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT FOR KSM TO BE TRIED IN CIVILIAN COURT IN THIS COUNTRY. none. And while I don’t like it, the SCOTUS has ruled that these prisoners can be held under the rules of war, indefinitely. But I don’t believe the story that they will be, and I suspect Holder will bite the bullet and take on the left and try them by military tribunal at some point/ Of course, depending if his prog highness GG gives his permission.

  127. 127
    General Stuck says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    If you think the only reason to uphold the Constitution is “So internet progressives could feel all warm and fuzzy”, then why do we even have a Constitution? It appears the whole thing can get tossed if it becomes inconvenient, as Nick puts it, for more than a year

    I will repeat it once more. There IS NO CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT FOR KSM TO BE TRIED IN CIVILIAN COURT IN THIS COUNTRY. none. And while I don’t like it, the SCOTUS has ruled that these prisoners can be held under the rules of war, indefinitely. But I don’t believe the story that they will be, and I suspect Holder will bite the bullet and take on the left and try them by military tribunal at some point/ Of course, depending if his prog highness GG gives his permission.

  128. 128
    BTD says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    Apparently he was for it before he was against it.

    But now we know, Cuomo and Bloomberg are in charge!

  129. 129
    General Stuck says:

    Shorter BTD – Why can’t Obama be more like Bush? amirite?

  130. 130
    Ned Ludd says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    First, Al-Awlaki can get judicial review if he wants it.

    In most states that have the death penalty, they hold the trial before they order the execution.

    Admittedly, it would make prosecutors’ lives much easier if they could simply sentence people to death – without going to court – and then leave it up to the defendants/targets to try to get the sentences revoked. Of course, if the defendants ever turned themselves in, they would simply be held forever without a trial.

    America – where the Constitution is worth fighting for, for a whole year!

  131. 131
    BTD says:

    @Anton Sirius:

    That settles it then. Congratulations to the winners!

  132. 132
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    Shorter Stuck, why can’t Obama be more like Bush 41? amirite?

  133. 133
  134. 134
    Menzies says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    This is exactly what I’d said right up to and after election night.

    This country doesn’t deserve this President. Pure and simple. Americans (hereafter “you gringos,” because I was born and raised in the Caribbean and I’ll be damned if I lump myself in wholly with y’all) are political toddlers. They’re not alone in this, so are the French, the Greeks, the Italians, and pretty much every other nation, but the problem is that they act as if they’d somehow achieved along the way a kind of maturity that you just don’t see reflected in their decisions.

    Sure, I can see a few external factors in how this came to be. Fox News, especially, but in general the whole 24-hour news cycle. Right-wing talk radio. FreedomWorks and other astroturf groups. Loads and loads of corporate money flowing like honey.

    But on the other hand, for some sociocultural reason that I haven’t yet had enough time on the mainland to decipher, a goodly amount of the electorate let it happen, either by not voting or by allowing themselves to be suckered by any number of reasons.

    Call me an Obot if you want: I’ll answer that whatever my disagreements with Glenn Greenwald’s style he’s exactly right on nearly everything for which he hits up this administration, and that I think Obama and his bunch were stuck in “Really? We have to run against these idiots?” mode that they completely failed to work on any kind of outreach or messaging.

    Fuck, even if I’m glad in the long run that Bennet and Coons are going to the next Senate, the fact that they were facing Ken Buck and Christine O’Donnell already tells you that part of the electorate is so incredibly reactionary, both literally and figuratively, that they won’t just vote against anyone with a “D” next to their name but they’ll vote for the craziest bastard around.

    Argh. I’ve only been up here three years and already y’all are making me go crazy. I think I’ve found my home for life.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @sal:

    I can understand not getting single payer, cap & trade, etc. What I don’t like is not even trying, or retreating at the first puff of pompous pontification.

    Oh, FFS. So now passing the health insurance reform bill counts as “not even trying”? Financial reform passes, but it doesn’t count so you can say they “didn’t even try”? The stimulus passed, but because it wasn’t big enough, you get to pretend it never happened and claim they “didn’t even try”?

    I can understand people wanting Obama to throw the Hail Mary pass to score a touchdown and being disappointed when he kicks a successful field goal instead, but can you please stop pretending that no legislation passed and that was because he “didn’t even try”?

    Your real complaint is that Obama didn’t win the way you wanted him to.

  136. 136
    BTD says:

    @Cacti:

    I would not want him to die on this hill .I did not want him to pick this hill.

    But Cole’s thesis is Obama retreated from the hill because Andrew Cuomo said something.

    Which is ridiculous.

  137. 137
    Damian says:

    There’s a spectacular amount of hand-waving going on here. It’s truly impressive, I must say.

    The point, which so many appear to be so desperate to ignore, is not about Obama, it’s about all of those who (as it appears at this point) pretended to be taking a principled stand on the rule of law and the constitution during the Bush administration, only to forget about that almost entirely as soon as it became politically difficult to follow through on their stated aims.

    That also includes Obama, of course, but he’s not here to defend himself. GG is asking the rest of you to explain how your reaction during the Bush era matches your reaction at this point, considering exactly the same excuses could have been, and probably were, used by people on the right, and which you obviously didn’t think a great deal of at the time. If you are correct about the issue at this point, is that not then evidence of extreme partisanship during the Bush administration? Consistency is a tricky thing to master.

    I suspect that some will point to intent, but I would then ask, at what point does an individuals actions begin to falsify their stated intent? Not to mention the fact that it is trivially easy to pretend to be for all kinds of things, only to then use the supposed “political reality” to back away from it at a later date.

    I’m not suggesting that political reality is never an issue, only that we should all be mindful of how easy it is to say that you are for the rule of law and the constitution during a speech. It’s when you are actually in a position to act on your supposed beliefs that really matters, and we should all have an idea of the point at which we begin to distrust an individuals stated intent in favor of their the intent as revealed by their actions.

    Otherwise, the individual becomes infallible, and our ideas about them unfalsifiable.

  138. 138
    John Cole says:

    BTD- I’m not really defending Obama here. I’m merely point out what a bunch of simpering, gutless, cowardly assholes the majority of the Democratic party is. Obama can still do the right thing and hold the trial htere, but I doubt he will, and I know where I will put the majority of the blame.

  139. 139
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Where will you put the majority of the blame John? Andrew Cuomo?

  140. 140
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    I don’t want Obama puking in the Japanese Prime Ministers lap. But I did vote for Bush 41 against the inept Dukakass, and 43 is nothing like the father in that family.

    Otherwise, with human faults, you may have noticed, I do like Obama and think he is doing a pretty good job overall, considering the insane political climate we currently reside.

    Not perfect, but I can think of no dem that would do better.

  141. 141
    Nick says:

    @BTD:

    But now we know, Cuomo and Bloomberg are in charge!

    Well when they have to bear the brunt of security costs and popular opinion, yeah, they’re in charge.

  142. 142
    Nick says:

    @BTD: It’s not “Andrew Cuomo” It’s the people of New York.

  143. 143
    Ned Ludd says:

    I’m pretty sure that, after a year, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave up fighting for civil rights. I think the turning point was when politicians started criticizing him. I mean, who could stand up to that?

  144. 144
    Nick says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    I’m pretty sure that, after a year, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave up fighting for civil rights.

    Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the President of the United States and this is not the same thing as American citizens being treated unfairly.

    Put 200,000 on the National Mall demanding KSM has a civilian trial in New York and maybe you’ll see some movement in that direction.

  145. 145
    Corner Stone says:

    Has Congress passed a law relevant to this topic since Boumediene v. Bush?
    Otherwise isn’t that majority ruling the law of the land on how we deal with detainees?

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    I’m pretty sure that, after a year, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave up fighting for civil rights. I think the turning point was when politicians started criticizing him.

    Sorry, I forget — which elected office did MLK hold that required him to get a majority of Congress to agree with him in order to pass the laws he wanted? Are you getting him mixed up with LBJ, who did push the legislation through Congress even though he knew (and said) that the Democrats would be punished for it for decades to come?

    You do realize, of course, that claiming that the problem is that Obama isn’t the same as MLK Jr. makes you look like a jackass who’s upset because he didn’t get a Magic Negro who would fix all of his problems, right?

  147. 147
    Kryptik says:

    You know, all this makes me realize is that Schoen and Caddell were wrong but not the way I initially said.

    There’s no point in Obama rescinding power and preemptively not seeking reelection. The sad fact of the matter is, Obama doesn’t run things. He never has. The Republican ‘base’ of Teabaggers, moneyed corps, lobbyists, and general whackaloons have and will always rule this country like a pack of crazed monkeys, ever and anon. Nothing Obama can or will do will ever change that, because the sad thing is that he never won. He may have the figurehead, but it becomes more and more apparent that he wasn’t meant as a leader. He was meant as a punching bag and a strawman to solidify the acceptance of our right-wing lords and kings. Arguements can be made about whether he fought this or not, but it’s getting harder to argue that the fix is utterly and totally in, and all this is a sideshow.

    Plain language: we’re fucked, we were always fucked, and if you’re not a Republican, then the country things you should be fucked forever.

  148. 148
    General Stuck says:

    @Cacti:

    Some folks think that once an election is over, the people have spoken and don’t have an ongoing say in giving consent to govern in real time. Take Bush for example, he wanted so much to gut SS by privatizing it, he made it is numero uno issue for his second term. In approximate numbers to this issue of where to try KSM, the people on that proposal did not give their permission and no vote was pushed for by the wingnuts and Bush. But at least that was a consequential issue, as opposed to where KSM is, or is not tried.

    The point is that public participation in governing never stops, and when the opposition is so strong, even amongst some of the most liberal politicians in the land, and for Obama to bull his way forward on civilian trials in such an environment, when no constitutional requirement is present, would be even more Bushian than GWB. If the left would stop demagoguing the military commissions, then this would not be even an issue, and the wishes of most Americans by large majorities would be realized.

    It is a democracy, though albeit sometimes, like with Lincoln and Emancipation, the gawds and Abe were right to defy popular opinion. I doubt gawd gives a shit where KSM is tried.

  149. 149
    John Cole says:

    Where will you put the majority of the blame John? Andrew Cuomo?

    A.) Quit being a douchebag. You know god damned well it wasn’t just Andrew Cuomo undermining the administration. The entire god damned party caved the moment Holder made an announcement. Are you systematically incapable of arguing honestly? Christ, I hope you never work death penalty cases.

    B.) I would put the blame 50% on Obama and Holder and 50% on the craven, cowardly, gutless Democrats. At this point, I can’t even blame the worthless media or sociopathic Republicans. They are both lost causes.

  150. 150
    Ned Ludd says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Nice of you to bring race into this discussion, because of course the only reason I would bring up Martin Luther King, Jr. is because he was black, not because he was a great leader. Next time I want to illustrate leadership, I’ll make sure to only use whites as examples.

    And Obama doesn’t need “a majority of Congress” to hold a trial in federal court. He just needs backbone.

  151. 151
    BTD says:

    @General Stuck:

    Neither can I think of a Dem who could do better.

    But unlike you, that makes me unhappy.

    Because A Dem should do better. Hell Obama could have and should have done better.

    I think he should have been great. FDR great.
    I really do.

    On some level, I am going to do what I abhor in others – shift the blame from Obama to the people around him.

    They told him he could not be great. He could have been.

  152. 152
    John Cole says:

    What is so awesome about this is that if Obama and Holder DID stick to their guns and hold the trial in NYC, here is the post we would see from BTD the next day at Talk Left:

    I’m looking around and I see a lot of progressive people crediting Obama for holding the trial in NYC. I don’t understand why he deserves credit, when he is just doing what he legally should. Only Obama sycophants would credit him for following the law.

    speaking for me only

    Anyone want to challenge that?

  153. 153
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    John, I personally PRE-caved on the issue. I thought it was a bad idea and that KSM should have been tried in a military tribunal in Gitmo. Hell, I don;t think we should be closing Gitmo . The issue is not Gitmo it is the fairness of the status determination hearings.

    But here’s the thing, did anyone NOT imagine the reaction to these decisions? I figured they had made the calculus and were going to see it through. Apparently no one did think it through.

    I actually do not “blame” Obama at all on either the KSM trial or the Gitmo issue on the substance (though they must try KSM in a military commission, not hold him indefinitely.)

    I just do not see the point of bringing up Andrew Cuomo on this. At this point, does he even matter on this decision? Wouldit have been different if Cuomo and anyone else you can think of had supported the decision? If so, why? And why would you expect them to support it? Indeed, as you note in your update, the expected people DID support it and do support it. That should have been anticipated.

    So, FTR, I think NOT trying KSM in a civilian court in NYC is the right decision, and the real mistake was saying you would a year ago. But the decisions are those of the Obama Administration. This is not a “Congress can stop him” issue, as some in this thread seemed to think.

  154. 154
    General Stuck says:

    @BTD:

    I never expected for a second for Obama to be “great”, I voted for a cool headed highly intelligent techocrat more than anything. And a competent one. I don’t and will not lay the mantle of saving the realm by his lonesome on Barrack Obama’s shoulders, as he has enough to overcome presidenting while black, the first to do this.

    He is as much as any president in my lifetime, trying to fulfill his campaign promises, one by one. It is not his fault there are others with a say in what turns out. Some issues I wish he would push more for, and expect others to have those also. But there is not a lack fucked up things in this country, and it will take a fair amount more time than 2 years to fix.

    Somebody on the left has to support and fight for this guy, not everyone can be a full time critic. And there is no shortage of full time Obama critics on the lefty blogs. When I get the time, from neverending battles to knock down Zombie memes that never stop, I can be a critic more myself.

  155. 155
    John Cole says:

    @BTD: Let me get this right. You’re mad at Obama and Holder for attempting to do better than even you wanted/expected, and falling short because of no support whatsoever from their own party?

  156. 156
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    No we would not. I defy you to find a post where I ever supported the decision in any way.

    John, you have me confused with someone else.

    Look up the posts where I support Obama on INDEFINITE DETENTION and the war in Afghanistan.

    Yesterday, my co-blogger Jeralyn Merrit expressed her disappointment in the reports that KSM will not be tried in a civilian court, because she thinks that is the right policy.

    I wrote about college football, which was more important to me than where KSM is tried.

  157. 157
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    I’m not mad at them at all. I thought YOUR POST was ridiculous, pre-update.

    I’m fine with what Obama and Holder are doing here, though I think they made a mistake in announcing a civilian trial for KSM in the first place if they were not going to see it through.

  158. 158
    Cacti says:

    @BTD:

    I just do not see the point of bringing up Andrew Cuomo on this. At this point, does he even matter on this decision?

    Of course it matters. Are you really that naive?

    The Democratic governor-elect of NY just handed the President’s political enemies a sword to stab him with any time the issue is discussed.

  159. 159
    FlipYrWhig says:

    This right here is quintessential Greenwaldian wankery:

    First, there’s no indication that Obama—as opposed to Holder—ever cared about or even was in favor of civilian trials

    It’s all about what you _indicate_, what you signal you “care about.” That way it’s up to the observer to decide that the indications and signals were not up to par, and blame the politician not for what he did or didn’t do or why, but because now you know, deep down, that he must not “care” because he didn’t “indicate” that he “cared.” And all of you fuckers who constantly beat the drum about not fighting, preemptively compromising, all the usual masturbation, fall for it every. single. time.

    BTD is being more aggravating that usual, but at least he’s not saying that the problem is what Obama “cares about,” he’s saying that Obama isn’t making the right decision and could make a better one. That’s Greenwald’s one arrow: “I can’t tell that he cares, so he definitely doesn’t.” It’s the only thing he ever says. He’s a joke.

  160. 160
    Menzies says:

    @BTD:

    I’m going to toss two cents in this, as a New York resident. (And as a karate expert, I will not talk about anyone else up here.)

    Cole is bringing up Andrew Cuomo as an example of a strong Democrat with a popular following who nonetheless undercuts the leader of his own party. Cuomo’s support for such a decision would give Obama the support of a name brand, of a dude who has served as NY Attorney General and who’s got a pretty good record of public service, plus legendary prowess.

    This post isn’t about whether Obama should’ve tried KSM in civilian court in NYC. It’s about the fact that if the Democrats had lined up behind him to support the decision, not just Leahy, Nadler and Feingold, the trial might be happening, but it won’t due to Obama’s no-drama approach combined with the cowardice of the majority of the Democratic caucus.

  161. 161
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ned Ludd: Activists don’t have to get legislation passed. Brave activists never have to compromise, because it isn’t their role. It’s not a helpful comparison. Legislators and executives _really do_ have to compromise. The president doesn’t rule by fiat or by tone-setting.

  162. 162
    Corner Stone says:

    Ha! Lieberman, DiFi and Lil Chuckie Schumer are the Democrats who don’t have Obama’s back, according to the articles cited at top.
    I’d go into battle with that triumvirate anytime.

  163. 163
    Nick says:

    @Ned Ludd:

    He just needs backbone.

    which he had for a whole year. Do you really think MLK would have had any influence on civil rights if other black leaders and black folk said “oh, gee Martin, i like what you’re saying and all but, I’m going to risk it by backing you”

    A leader is only so good as his followers.

  164. 164
    Kryptik says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I loathe the phrase as a whole due to how denigrating it is to a whole country’s history…but I believe the term ‘Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys’ fits too damn well for these three putzes. Moreso than the usual application of the term, dare I say.

  165. 165
    Corner Stone says:

    And this is edition #472 of Come the Fuck On People!
    The Right is going to hammer Obama no matter what he does. Making decisions based on that calculus is a quick trip to irrelevancy.

  166. 166
    Corner Stone says:

    @Menzies: Let Cuomo hang on his own cowardice.
    There’s no demonstrated need to go in with him.

  167. 167
    Nick says:

    @John Cole: That’s the posts I read on FDL and OpenLeft a year ago, and when Obama started pounding the payment on tax cuts

    That’s the professional left’s mantra…when the President fights, shrug your shoulders and say “he’s supposed to do this, I’m not giving him credit” and leave him out to dry, then when he loses the fight, pretend like he never fought at all and then say you would’ve been happy if he had just fought.

    And if he was to continue with this civilian trial thing and lose support because of it and find himself in a precarious political situation for doing what the left wants, they’d just complain he didn’t “use the bully pulpit” and convince the public. It’s the “messaging,” not the fact that the public never supported it to begin with.

    This way you can never be wrong. It’s very convenient you see.

  168. 168
    BTD says:

    @Cacti:

    The dreaded “Now who’s being naive” line?

    I meant mattered to the decision making process.

    I think the decision was made a while ago myself.

    Is Andrew Cuomo an asshole? He always has been, just like his dad.

  169. 169
    BTD says:

    @Menzies:

    Andrew Cuomo lost a primary to Carl McCall.

    He is no super pol. I spend a lot of tijme in NEw york and lived there for years.

    Andrew Cuomo is not all that at all. He caught some lucky breaks – Spitzer’s demise in particular.

    Cuomo’s opinion just doesn’t matter very much.

    Let me put it this way, do you REALLY think New York is in play for Obama in 2012?

  170. 170
    WyldPirate says:

    @Nick:

    A leader is only so good as his followers.

    Hmmm. That must be why Obama is going to “follow” the Rethugs…
    ‘Soul-searching’ Obama aides: Democrats’ midterm election losses a wake-up call:

    The advisers are deeply concerned about winning back political independents, who supported Obama two years ago by an eight-point margin but backed Republicans for the House this year by 19 points. To do so, they think he must forge partnerships with Republicans on key issues and make noticeable progress on his oft-repeated campaign pledge to change the ways of Washington.

    He’s going to “forge partnerships” with the very same people who have clearly stated on numerous occasions–and demonstrated by every action over the past two fucking years—that their intention is to insure Obama has a failed presidency.

    That’s really strong leadership insanity.

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @WyldPirate: First of all, in order to get anything passed, he actually _will_ need help from Republicans. Second of all, people like to hear about the parties working together. The Republicans will _look bad_ by continuing to scorch the earth and refusing to deal. If the Democrats do it back and say, “There’s no way we can work with those dumbfucks,” then you both get nothing done _and_ look like you’re not even willing to try. People _really do_ value the willingness to try and come together, to look like you’re meeting in the middle. That’s why _even Republicans_ have from time to time tried to chide Obama for being “partisan” and not “reaching out,” which is beyond ridiculous, but still they say it _because people like to hear it_. OK, maybe Republicans don’t like to hear it, but _people_ do. Being hardcore back might excite the really hardcore part of the Democratic party, but that’s not a big part of the party.

  172. 172
    chopper says:

    @BTD:

    i guess that’s the difference between being a realist and an idealist. i feel the same way, that no other dem would do a better job. and while it is sad that that’s the reality, it’s the reality, and if you swim in cynicism you’re likely to drown in it.

    a lot of you guys belong to the ‘jewish mother’ school of politics. you’re never really pleased by anything that isn’t exceptional. yeah, you’ll admit that the dude is doing a pretty good job, after someone drags it out of you following two days of bitching.

  173. 173
    Menzies says:

    @BTD:

    Agreed on Cuomo, but the reason you and I know he’s not a super-awesome politician is because we’ve been here. To the country at large, unless they’re tuned into NY politics, he’s a former SecHUD who’s now Governor of New York and the son of a former Governor.

    I’m not talking about Obama’s electability in New York, I’m talking about the national view of his policy. Cuomo’s opinion matters the same as any other Democrat’s opinion matters, because it allows the GOP to say “Hey, even the Democrats don’t support this! The President isn’t just going against bipartisanship, he’s going against his own party’s position!”

    @Corner Stone:

    Agreed there. I understand John’s point, but at this point I think in Obama’s place I’d be pissed enough to just tell the Governor to fuck off.

    Of course, that’s why I’ll never be President. That and no one’s going to give me a pass to run as a native Puerto Rican for a few decades yet.

  174. 174
    chopper says:

    @BTD:

    why would he put the blame all on cuomo? cole brought the dude up as “the latest coward to run like hell” on the issue, that’s all. one in a litany of dems who turned tail and ran. he didn’t say or imply that cuomo is the lever on which the whole thing goes.

  175. 175
    Kryptik says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    My problem here is that the republicans were able to made platitudes about bipartisanship and cooperation, while simultaneously being as reflexively partisan and obstructionist as possible, and yet were successfully able to paint Dems as the reflexively partisan ones, despite Dems caving to them time and time again, in the spirit of ‘bipartisanship’.

    There has to be some give here, but all indications seem to be pointing toward continued capitulation toward the GOP while still allowing the GOP projection to continue ad nauseum to ridiculously effective extents.

  176. 176

    And one other point:
    Blaming the uppity Kenyan ursurper means that nobody else ever has to say they’re sorry.
    As long as everything that goes poorly in America can somehow be blamed on Obama, the rest of the Democratic party and the progressive left are off the hook for making any difficult or nuanced or imperfect decisions. They can, like FDL and Greenwald, just scream “He’s doing it wrong!!!” without having to come up with realistic plans for how he could actually achieve the right thing in a country where 60 million people voted for John McCain (as opposed to Tbogg’s fantasy baseball gumdrop tree country).
    In the grander scheme of things, worrying about which prison KSM will spend the rest of his life is probably fairly far down on the Obama administration’s scale of priorities. He tried to do the right thing and got enough negative pushback that I’m not surprised he won’t spend any more time or energy dealing with it

  177. 177
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    You surrender with the President you have, not the one you wish you had.
    .
    .

  178. 178
    chopper says:

    @Cathie from Canada:

    exactly. everyone seems against obama and holder on this one. the american people, his own party, the governor and state government of new york, the mayor and police commissioner of NYC, all are against this trial happening here.

    can’t blame the dude for not making this a hill to die on, as much as i’d prefer KSN get a civilian trial here. and i live in NYC.

  179. 179
    WyldPirate says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    First of all, in order to get anything passed, he actually will need help from Republicans.

    He didn’t get any help from them the past two years. What makes you think they will help now?

    The Republicans will look bad by continuing to scorch the earth and refusing to deal.

    “Refusing to deal” really crippled them two weeks ago, didn’t it?

    People really do value the willingness to try and come together, to look like you’re meeting in the middle.

    Centrist Democrats value this and Republican moderates used to value this. There are no moderate Republicans anymore.

    People hate weakness or the appearance of weakness in their leaders. What people are seeing now is Obam constantly giving ground to the people he is supposedly leading. That is why his support is crumbling on both the far left and in the middle with independents (with the independents, there are some turnout and demographic issues, though)

    That’s why even Republicans have from time to time tried to chide Obama for being “partisan” and not “reaching out,” which is beyond ridiculous, but still they say it because people like to hear it. OK, maybe Republicans don’t like to hear it, but people do.

    None of this will matter a whit if the economy is still in the shitter in two years. People are either afraid of losing their jobs, have lost jobs or know someone who has.

    The thing Rethugs do better than anything is to play the “fear” card. They chide about Obam being partisan only to throw meat to their base and to fool the independents who don’t pay attention.

  180. 180
    chopper says:

    @WyldPirate:

    what people are seeing now is Obam constantly giving ground to the people he is supposedly leading. That is why his support is crumbling on both the far left and in the middle with independents (with the independents, there are some turnout and demographic issues, though)

    well, that’s what you’re seeing, and let’s face it, you’re biased as hell against the guy. in the real, non-blog world, his approval rating has barely changed in the last year, being generally between 50 and 45. i think now it’s at 47 or so, even going up a little after the midterm.

    it’s easy to read left-leaning blogs and start extrapolating what you read to the rest of the country. it’s foolish as well.

  181. 181
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @WyldPirate:

    He didn’t get any help from them the past two years. What makes you think they will help now?

    I don’t. But I think he has to _say_ that he expects them to help.

    “Refusing to deal” really crippled them two weeks ago, didn’t it?

    You’re right. But, like Kryptik pointed out above, the Republicans successfully made it seem like the Democrats _didn’t_ deal. That’s what all that talk of ramming things down throats was all about. Republicans said that Obama had gone too far with his pet projects. It basically worked.

    None of this will matter a whit if the economy is still in the shitter in two years.

    True. My view is that “partisanship” vs. “bipartisanship” is a refraction of concern for why the economy isn’t working. It must be, independents and not-particularly-tuned-in people think, that Republicans and Democrats aren’t coming together to solve the nation’s problems. Democrats have been in the majority, and they must have “overreached.” In other words, “bipartisanship” is a kind of code for “knocking off the bullshit and getting things done.” Republicans in this past election successfully made people think that they stood for knocking off the bullshit. As they continue to take up nothing but bullshit, that pose will hurt them.

  182. 182
    WyldPirate says:

    @chopper:

    well, that’s what you’re seeing, and let’s face it, you’re biased as hell against the guy. in the real, non-blog world, his approval rating has barely changed in the last year, being generally between 50 and 45. i think now it’s at 47 or so, even going up a little after the midterm.

    You’re forgetting some crucial elements by looking at these poll numbers.

    First, and least important, is the fact that he is getting down towards the zone of approval where there is cause for concern.

    Second, and most important, is where his support is and where it is disintegrating.

    Obama’s support is strong still in urban areas and on the coasts. It appears to be crumbling in a huge swath across the Midwest and a couple of large southern states that he won. These are some of the hardest hit areas economically and they are some of the whitest parts of the country.

    Explain to me how Obama wins again if he doesn’t carry Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and perhaps even Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota?

  183. 183
    Nick says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Explain to me how Obama wins again if he doesn’t carry Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and perhaps even Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota?

    he doesn’t and he would still have the most successful first term a President has had since FDR.

    If people who deserved to win actually won elections, Pelosi would still be Speaker, Feingold would still be a Senator, and Senators Scott Kleeb (D-Nebraska) and Ned Lamont (D-Connecticut) would’ve given us the votes we needed for a public option.

    But they didn’t because life isn’t fair, and politics is very unfair.

  184. 184
    WyldPirate says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You’re right. But, like Kryptik pointed out above, the Republicans successfully made it seem like the Democrats didn’t deal. That’s what all that talk of ramming things down throats was all about. Republicans said that Obama had gone too far with his pet projects. It basically worked.

    FlipYrWhig, the Rethugs always get away with pinning the blame on the dems with HUGE assists from the press corpse.

    They played the “weak on defense” card for years and got away with it. Reagan, Bush I and Bush II all doubled the national debt and were basically responsible for each of the recessions since 1980 (Nixon had a lot to do with that one).

    But who gets charged with being fiscally irresponsible? Was it Dubya who started two fucking wars and cut taxes and funded the wars with emergency supplemental budgets? Or was it Obama, who did the responsible thing and said “we know we are going to have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, let’s put it on budget and have those extra hundreds of billions of dollars on the budget and have them show up in the deficit (not that I think this was wrong to do this, mind you).?

    Who sold to the american public that jailing KSM or even having a trial i the US was an existential threat to the US. Who sold to the American public that Iraq attacked us on 911? Who sold the American public the fact that tax cuts and trickle down economics was going to make us all rich and prosperous? Who sold the american public the idea that going back to per-Great Depression laissez-faire capitalism was a good idea?

    My point is that Rethugs are good at selling lies to the American public. It is all they are good at. And the American public, is, in general, pretty fucking gullible and they are especially gullible when they are afraid.

  185. 185
    Sly says:

    I’m beginning to think that 99.9% of disputes between people on issues like these is not being able to make the distinction between activism and governance.

    An activist is like a guerrilla; to a large degree they are able to pick and choose their targets, have a great deal of fluidity in the tactics they can bring to bear against an enemy, and the result is that you don’t have to play much in the way of defense. Success or defeat boils down to willpower.

    So when the administration pursues a tactic you don’t agree with, the activist mindset logically concludes that it is an issue of ambition; if you don’t care enough to make a risky gambit, you don’t care at all. Most of the criticisms I see from the left typically end up here. Obama didn’t push for the public option because he really didn’t want it. FinReg wasn’t good enough because he’s too beholden to Wall Street interests. Counter-terrorism policy isn’t radically different from the Bush administration because, secretly, Obama thinks just like Bush on counter-terrorism policy. He’s not fighting for gay rights in the manner you think he should because he really hates gays despite all the speeches and actions he’s done to indicate the contrary.

    But governing is different that activism in one key respect: Your ability to dictate the terms of a battle is greatly diminished, largely because you have to put more focus on defense. You’re waging war on multiple fronts against multiple adversaries. You’re more like a member of an occupying army, and victory or defeat, in the long term, boils down to logistical efficiency and not ambition. You’re not a guerrilla, but you’re probably fighting against a whole bunch of them.

    So when the administration is doing something that puzzles you, it is likely a matter of them trying to find the best way to marshal the political resources at their disposal. In most cases this boils down to Congress, but there are a host of other concerns as well that they must (and are) taking into consideration that you likely aren’t. This isn’t to say that the administration will always be right in terms of tactics, its just that the nature of their position dictates that their tactics must be different than the ones to which you have become accustomed.

    But as the cliche goes: When the only tool you (think) you have is a hammer, all your problems end up looking like nails.

  186. 186
    inflector says:

    Here’s the plan to get Obama’s back on DADT and repeal of DOMA and regaining momentum:

    Read the Battle Plan for Dan Choi’s Army.

    We are meeting in Gettysburg this Friday on the 77th anniversary of Lincoln’s Address and then we will walk the 100 miles to Washington, DC for a rally on Monday where we will demand full equality and show the world that the Tea Party and Glenn Beck do not speak for us.

    The time to take a stand is now.

    History calls. Will you answer?

  187. 187
    WyldPirate says:

    @Nick:

    he doesn’t and he would still have the most successful first term a President has had since FDR.

    I don’t see that being what history shows unless he wins a second term.

    Why? Because HCR reform will be overturned within six months of having the Rethugs in control of the Oval Office in 2013. I’m not too sure that they won’t get some of it repealed in the next Congress. The are enough Dems in the Senate that will defect and go to the Rethug side, especially closer to the election. Obama will probably veto it, but I could see him “compromising” and dealing part of it away.

    If the economy recovers, Obama won’t get credit for that. First, Obama is going to cave on the tax cut extension–at the very minimum to the 500K level and probably waving them all. If that happens and if the economy recovers in the least, the Rethugs will succesful spin it that it was the tax cuts that reversed the failed Obama stimulus.

  188. 188
    Nick says:

    @WyldPirate:

    I don’t see that being what history shows unless he wins a second term.

    history, too, is often unfair.

  189. 189
    chopper says:

    @WyldPirate:

    You’re forgetting some crucial elements by looking at these poll numbers.

    first and foremost ‘wyldpirate doesn’t like the president’.

    First, and least important, is the fact that he is getting down towards the zone of approval where there is cause for concern.

    jesus, that’s generic. what is that magic level anyways? he’s been around 50% for the last year. if that’s close to the ‘troublesome zone of approval’ he’s been there for a long time.

    Obama’s support is strong still in urban areas and on the coasts. It appears to be crumbling in a huge swath across the Midwest and a couple of large southern states that he won.

    well if his numbers haven’t cratered, then an equal amount of new support must be coming from somewhere. why isn’t his approval dropping like a stone if he’s lost so much support?

    or is it that you’ve been in an echo chamber for too long?

  190. 190
    lawguy says:

    @Nick: Who did Obama first appoint? Rham. Who did he get to give the invocation at his innaugural? The fat homophobe from Colorado. Who did he appoint as the sec. of def? A long time Bush loyalist. Who did Obama appoint as his economic advisors? Those who destroyed the economy.

    Who did he arm twist when he did arm twist? It wasn’t the conservatives it was the liberals to force them to follow more conservative positions.

    The result of all those political calculations of Obama? Historic losses in the mid-terms.

    In other words Obama started out screwing those who would have been his strongest supporters and who would have gotten his back. So in the end I guess you are right there is no way Obama is going to get any support from the democrats at this point in time.

  191. 191
    Nick says:

    @lawguy: What does this have to do with the topic?

    Are you saying liberals shouldn’t defend him when he’s right because he let some anti-gay reverend give a prayer at his inauguration? He’s only entitled to your support if he never does something you disagree with? Is there such a politician?

    Jeez, I’d throw you under the bus too. He has better luck with the tea party.

  192. 192
    General JAFO Willibro says:

    [Once again,] Obama and Holder are trying to do the right thing, and are getting no help whatsoever.

    Filibustering the stupid FISA amendments, ending the wars, bringing back habeas corpus, getting a public option, helping DADT die after it’s already been declared unconstitutional — who knew Obama just wouldn’t be able to do a SINGLE THING unless he had bipartisan consensus for every decision?

    Weak, Cole, weak. As weak as Obama.

  193. 193
    Nick says:

    @General JAFO Willibro:

    who knew Obama just wouldn’t be able to do a SINGLE THING unless he had bipartisan consensus for every decision?

    How many Republican votes did the stimulus and HCR get?

    You fucks need to stop lying, makes you look weak.

  194. 194
    ino shinola says:

    Like many of the holes Brother Barack has dug for himself, this one was knee-deep within weeks of his inauguration.

    Unprovoked aggressive war? Well shucks, who among us hasn’t lied to kill a few brown folks now and then.

    Executive-sanctioned torture? Aw gee, we all get a little overenthusiastic now and then.

    World economy near collapse because of unvarnished corruption in banking? Maybe if we just slip the boys a few hundred billion they’ll behave themselves.

    Unprecedented engagement of young people in politics? How about appointing Rahm Emmanuel to keep the kids fired up.

    The man had his moment, and he either didn’t know it or didn’t care. It’s too late.

    Juan, your loyalty is admirable, I just can’t get that fired up anymore.

  195. 195
    Nick says:

    @ino shinola: What is with you people and your need to lie?

  196. 196
    TaosJohn says:

    Obama’s only in it for the money, only thing that explains the whole shitteroo. He’ll quit early, just like Sarah Palin. You can take that to the bank.

    (He will…)

  197. 197
    LJM says:

    Greenwald’s best point is:

    Obama took a Constitutionally-mandated oath of office that he “will to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” I wasn’t aware that Constitutional guarantees and the rule of law could be dismissed with the wave of a presidential hand because members of the President’s party in Congress want it to be. If that is true, then that reasoning justifies most of what Bush and Cheney did as well. The whole point of having a Constitution is that the Government is barred from doing certain things (e.g., depriving someone of liberty without due process of law) even when majorities demand it. This is Obama’s doing; he ran on a platform of restoring the rule of law and the Constitution even when political expediency demands otherwise; and nothing forced him to abandon Holder’s decision.

    I would add that if you support a guy who opposes gay marriage and supports detaining suspects without trials and prosecutes government whistle blowers at unprecedented rates (while ignoring the crimes of the previous administration), and who literally and hypocritically laughs at the idea of ending the prosecution of people who smoke pot (like he used to) and who does things like this…

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runew.....38;mggal=6

    (of course, if YOUR family members are maimed and murdered to score political points, it will be of great comfort to know that the man who enabled it wasn’t a Republican)

    …you really should just face facts and start calling yourself a conservative.

  198. 198
    Joseph Nobles says:

    By the way, I really like Greenwald much more than a lot of people here, but even I recognize that the statement “Greenwald responds that I am wrong” can simply be assumed to have happened.

  199. 199
    Ronrab says:

    John, if congressional Democrats are doing the wrong thing by not supporting trials, isn’t Obama doing the wrong thing by not supporting trials?

    That the Democrats in Congress are opportunistic cowards terrified of the right is not news, and I think also the wrong issue, here. Obama wasn’t hired to do the easy thing; he was hired to do the right thing. Most particularly, he was hired to uphold the law. Choosing to ignore the law, /no matter how well justified it is/ or how hard it is to support it, is wrong.

    Am I glad I’m not in Obama’s shoes? Yes. Am I glad I’m the one who doesn’t have to make these decisions? Yes. Am I glad I’m not holding the line in the face of supposedly like-minded individuals who stab me in the back instead? Yes.

    But then, I didn’t run for President.

    If you don’t want a tough job, don’t run for President.

  200. 200
    bago says:

    Why don’t you call your congressman and ask them why they think New York is too weak to uphold the constitution and hold a trial for a terrorist in chains.

  201. 201
    Ronrab says:

    Let me try and further clarify: I think John Cole is correct. I think if he said the sun rose this morning, he would be correct, too. It would also be just as irrelevant to the discussion.

    The first thing you think worth commenting on when you hear Obama has overridden his own Attorney General to defy the law should not be ‘dang it, Congress didn’t have his back’. It must be, it has to be, ‘the President of the United States is ignoring the law,’ just as if a Republican tried to do the same thing.

    The law is not a convenience or a matter of political expediency.

  202. 202
    bago says:

    Someone needs to form the “America is too damn scared!” party.

  203. 203

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    What on earth does such a longwinded, melodramatic and one-sided summary of The Trials And Tribulations of Poor Honorable Barack Obama have to do with the undeniable fact of flip-flopping on not only his campaign rhetoric but his previous statements re: the KSM trial?

    This isn’t about mean lefty bloggers being so mean to Obama that he gets a sad from all the mean things they’ve said and governs less effectively. There isn’t a single one of you that denies that Obama has massively flipflopped on this issue; it’s all down to rationalizations about a) how it’s ok to do this as long as it’s politically expedient and b) how none of this would be a problem if the darn liberals stopped pointing it out. If you think the issue here has to do with anything other your guys’ mind-blowing ability to rationalize complete about-faces in policy that then please, do make the case that Obama hasn’t actually changed his position on this.

    Otherwise maybe step back and have a look at what a piece of work this thread really is. One guy thinks that as long as you “try” to do the right thing for a year it’s cool to eventually just give up and take a shit on the Constitution. Cole himself claims he’s not trying to shield Obama from criticism for bad decisions but just can’t keep from finishing his post out by complaining that Obama’s getting all the blame. Which is it John? Obama’s made bad decisions but don’t you dare attempt to assign a share of blame to him? It’s ok that Obama’s made bad decisions because “the Democrats” are spineless pussies? (You guys know what party the President’s in right?)

    I mean, just wow. You guys have gone the full Bush supporter in less than two years. Cheap shot I suppose, but: about what I’d expect from a bunch of authoritarian ex-Republicans. Pretty sad.

    Oh well– off to ignore FDL and think thoughts that aren’t particularly supportive of Hillary Clinton, regardless of what any of you might find it convenient to assume.

  204. 204
    General Stuck says:

    @johnny walker:

    Cheap shot I suppose,

    Not so much cheap, as dumb as a fencepost, like the rest of your comment. and those of the other pea brain shit kickers wiping up the ass end of this thread.

  205. 205
    LJM says:

    @Ronrab:

    This is inarguable. And much more succinct than my comment. Thank you.

  206. 206
    Nick says:

    @johnny walker: your PUMA is showing

  207. 207
    LJM says:

    @General Stuck:

    Not so much cheap, as dumb as a fencepost, like the rest of your comment. and those of the other pea brain shit kickers wiping up the ass end of this thread.

    One usually has to go to Red State or Free Republic to encounter this level of discourse. Perhaps you’re lost?

  208. 208
    Nick says:

    @Ronrab:

    It must be, it has to be, ‘the President of the United States is ignoring the law,’ just as if a Republican tried to do the same thing.

    Except at first he followed the law and got burned for it. that’s the point. What incentive does he have to do this? Does anyone have to do this, if his or her own so-called “supporters” won’t stand by them

    and “because its right” isn’t applicable, this is politics. No one is going to go down doing “what’s right” because besides the ego someone has about their jobs, inevitably the person who replaces you would do “what’s wrong” anyway and do it worse.

    i.e. Senator Ron Johnson is going to make many progressives wish at least a Blue Dog was in that seat.

  209. 209
    Nick says:

    btw, Greenwald a year ago

    According to The Associated Press, Eric Holder will announce later today that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 defendants will be brought from Guantanamo to New York to stand trial, in a real criminal court, for the crimes they are accused of committing. This is a decision I really wish I could praise, as it’s clearly both politically risky and the right thing to do.
    An open criminal trial under our standard system of justice, accompanied by basic precepts of due process, is exactly the just and smart means for punishing those responsible for terrorist attacks. It announces to the world, including the Muslim world, that we have enough faith in our rules of justice to apply them equally to everyone, including to Muslim radicals accused of one of the worst crimes in American history. Numerous family members of the 9/11 victims have long argued that real trials for the accused perpetrators are vital to providing real justice for what was done — I expect to have an interview later today with one of those family members — and holding the trial in New York, the place where 3,000 Americans died, provides particularly compelling symbolism. So this component of the Obama administration’s decision, standing alone, is praiseworthy indeed.
    The problem is that this decision does not stand alone. Instead, it is accompanied by this:
    Holder will also announce that a major suspect in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, will face justice before a military commission, as will a handful of other detainees to be identified at the same announcement, the official said.
    It was not immediately clear where commission-bound detainees like al-Nashiri might be sent, but a military brig in South Carolina has been high on the list of considered sites.
    So what we have here is not an announcement that all terrorism suspects are entitled to real trials in a real American court. Instead, what we have is a multi-tiered justice system, where only certain individuals are entitled to real trials: namely, those whom the Government is convinced ahead of time it can convict.

    so instead of backing the President on a good decision, he says he can’t praise it, because he has another problem.

    The left will always find something to gripe about, therefore a Democratic President will NEVER have a base of support to do anything right

  210. 210
    General Stuck says:

    @LJM:

    The law is, as defined by the Supreme Court of this land, is that KSM and others can be held indefinitely under the laws of war if a president so chooses, and never see the inside of a court house. So don’t base your idiotic conclusions on anything rule of law in this case, because you are wrong and any trial beyond a battlefield hearing per those laws of war are not required.

    Whether Obama is following through on his own initiative or promise however is debatable, as is the moral rightness or wrongness of not trying these folks in a civilian or military court, but not the lawfullness of Obama’s actions or inactions.

  211. 211
    General Stuck says:

    @LJM:

    That wasn’t discourse. It was dismissal of an idiot. As is this comment.

  212. 212
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @johnny walker: Project much?

  213. 213
    LJM says:

    @General Stuck:

    Conservative loyalists on the other side will say the exact same thing about water-boarding, along with indefinite detention. But since we’re not in a legal state of “war,” it’s certainly debatable whether or not acting as if we are is legal.

    What’s NOT debatable is “Whether Obama is following through on his own initiative or promise…”

    That is a plain, objective fact to anyone who isn’t blinded by juvenile partisan loyalty (and in your case, having the increased burden of a dysfunctional personality).

    Again, you go ahead and support the guy who think that homosexuals don’t deserve the same rights as heterosexuals and that it’s okay to blow up and burn to death foreign children (hey, it’s not like they’re your kids, or even American, so Fuck Yeah, man! Right?). It’s the least one might expect from someone like you.

    Adios Amoeba! I gotta go because you’re stinkin’ up the joint.

    (I hope one day you can look back at yourself now and think, “Damn, I was sure a huge asshole.” It’s really your only hope for any kind of personal growth on your part. Good luck with that.)

  214. 214
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck:

    The law is, as defined by the Supreme Court of this land, is that KSM and others can be held indefinitely under the laws of war if a president so chooses, and never see the inside of a court house

    Unless there has been a relevant law passed by Congress that changes the decision of Boumediene v. Bush then your statement just isn’t correct.

    On June 12, 2008, Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion for the 5-4 majority holding that the prisoners had a right to the habeas corpus under the United States Constitution and that the MCA was an unconstitutional suspension of that right.

  215. 215
    General Stuck says:

    @LJM:

    Adios Amoeba! I gotta go because you’re stinkin’ up the joint.

    Goodbye and good riddance, Amoeba.

  216. 216
    ino shinola says:

    @nick

    Gee, I’m sorry. Just did a little research on the internet and found that I was wrong. Obama quickly extracted us from our costly, futile wars, he conducted a masterful PR campaign to inform the public of the Bush administration’s war crimes and human rights violations, even going so far as to call them unconstitutional and torture, he appointed an economic team that had warned of impending problems for years and been highly critical of Wall Street, his administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to help the victims of the financial collapse and prosecute fraud, and Rahm Emmanuel is actually a harsh critic of business as usual in Washington. I miss him already, he was so inspiring for the young people. My “lies” were actually just not being well informed. My apologies.

    Just more “change” than I can absorb, I guess.

  217. 217
    Corner Stone says:

    @Nick:

    so instead of backing the President on a good decision, he says he can’t praise it, because he has another problem.
    __
    The left will always find something to gripe about, therefore a Democratic President will NEVER have a base of support to do anything right

    First, Greenwald should not be considered “the left”. But his criticism is consistent with what he always says. The decision for a trial is the right one and he wants all detainees to have the same outcome. Open trials in actual courts.

  218. 218
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    A habeous corpus determination, or adjudication is not the same as a trial on the merits. And that is what a “battlefield hearing” satisfies that I mentioned, under international rules of war. To determine whether or not these are combatants in said war, and that is all. Nearly all the original detainees have been released loosely to satisfy habeous corpus. We have 50 left, many of which would be released if we could find a country to sponsor them. Then there are the ones we have enough untainted evidence against, such as KSM who has confessed outside of being tortured, to be convicted of their terrorist acts. And the rest would have been brought to our soil, some for trial, and others to arrange for their release somewhere in the world. And above all, to close Gitmo. Congress legally blocked this with a veto proof vote.

    So to answer your question, the habeous corpus determination has likely been met, it is a full criminal trial the SCOTUS left open, per holding these prisoners under those laws of war. I want them tried, if not in civilian court then a legally viable military commission. But Obama is breaking no actual law in holding them at least until AQ has been defeated, ever how that would be determined. I don’ think Obama wants to do this, nor I, but congress has the purse.

    So my dispute is with the part claiming Obama is not obeying the law in not trying these people, wherever, which just isn’t the case, legally speaking. As long as military commission meet USCMJ standards, the left ought to shut up and let Obama do it that way.

  219. 219
    Nick says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The decision for a trial is the right one and he wants all detainees to have the same outcome. Open trials in actual courts.

    Oh gee, I can’t imagine why people who blew up a motherfreaking U.S. Navy vessel and killed US SOLDIERS would stand trial in a MILITARY court vs. people who blew up civilian targets.

    Who’d thunk there would be a difference?

  220. 220
    kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    You’re talking about two different things.

    The habeas petitions are being heard, and have been being heard, since 2009.

    Whether the state can hold them is a different question than where the state can try them. It’s my understanding that there are now 48 who are still in legal limbo: they can’t be tried and the original Obama Administration review identified them as too dangerous to release. I think we end up with 48 of the remaining 174 presenting the biggest (down the road) hurdle. That dilemma will make the current controversy look small.

    This definitive list of all the court rulings relating to habeas corpus petitions submitted by the prisoners at Guantánamo, as delivered by judges in the District Court in Washington D.C. (and as mandated by the Supreme Court in June 2008) follows on from my ongoing coverage of the habeas petitions and my recent project, “Guantánamo Habeas Week,” in which I presented a list of the 47 habeas corpus rulings made at that point, with links to the articles I had written over the previous 19 months analyzing the judges’ rulings, and also wrote six new articles examining, in depth, seven recent unclassified opinions issued by the judges.

    This is the best source I’ve found if you’re actually interested in tracking the individual detainees, but there’s a lot there.

  221. 221
    kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    A habeous corpus determination, or adjudication is not the same as a trial on the merits.

    Well, I apologize Stuck. You had that distinction :)

    I’ll just go back to work now…

  222. 222
    Corner Stone says:

    @Nick: Well, let’s talk about Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the supposed mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. He was captured by the CIA in 2002. In the UAE, far from any battleground. He was subsequently held in Gitmo as an enemy combatant.
    “Court filings in August 2010 revealed that the Obama administration is not planning to prosecute al-Nashiri any time soon. “no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future.”
    So it looks like he and KSM are in fact being treated exactly the same.

    ETA and to further my point, they are not different and both should have trials in court. Terrorism should be treated as a criminal action. Battlefield actions should be dealt with on the battlefield.
    Giving in to the Cheney mentality isn’t helpful.

  223. 223
    kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    I followed the habeas petitions a bit, but it’s a lot to read, and I lost track. This is as of July of this year:

    On Thursday, in the District Court in Washington, D.C., Judge Paul Friedman took the tally of victories by the Guantánamo prisoners to 37, out of 51 cases decided, when he granted the habeas corpus petition of Hussein Almerfedi, a 33-year old Yemeni, and instructed the Obama administration to “take all necessary and appropriate steps to facilitate the release of petitioner forthwith.”

    Of course, immediately after that, they have to repatriate to their home country or deal with the humanitarian problems of doing that, if the home country is somewhere like Yemen.

  224. 224
    General Stuck says:

    @kay:

    Of course, immediately after that, they have to repatriate to their home country or deal with the humanitarian problems of doing that, if the home country is somewhere like Yemen.

    This is one of the big problems. The Saudi’s have developed a repatriation program for jihadis with some success and one or two notable failures. I don’t think any other country has done that.

    We could release them here, even under the watchful eye of the witness protection program, but Obama would likely get impeached and removed from office, and Malkin and her army of idiots would be searching for them morning noon and night. And would likely find them, which would not end well, I am sure.

    Otherwise, you just can’t drop them off in some shithole desert with 50 bucks and say good luck. That is how Bush would do it.

  225. 225
    Nick says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Well, let’s talk about Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the supposed mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. He was captured by the CIA in 2002. In the UAE, far from any battleground. He was subsequently held in Gitmo as an enemy combatant.

    For blowing up A MILITARY TARGET

  226. 226
    kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    That is how Bush would do it.

    It’s an even bigger issue than that, on the habeas petitions, because there are two “blocs” of judges, one group conservative, one group liberal, and they’re battling it out on what some of the terms mean. Like “affliated with AQ” We don’t have a solid definition for that, because Bush punted and it never got to hearing.

    I got this flash of rage watching that nitwit on his book tour this weekend.

    He and his Federalist Society buddies left a huge fucking mess behind when they ran off. 9 years out and we don’t have common definitions to work with, which is bad for the state, of course, but really sucks if you’re a detainee, because how are they supposed to prepare for hearing? Judges are using two different sets of words, in terms of meaning.

  227. 227
    Corner Stone says:

    @Nick: You can yell it in all caps all you like, doesn’t change the facts. He was captured in the UAE and detained in Gitmo. Last time I checked we were not at war with Yemen.
    If Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was suspected of bombing a US military base in Germany he’s still be a terrorist with due process and a trial after he was captured.

  228. 228
    General Stuck says:

    @kay:

    Yes, the double speak Bush injected into our body politic is one of his most damaging legacies for this country. And with terrorism what started it all was talking out of both sides of their mouths on whether this was a “war”, or dealing with a bunch of “illegal combatants” (the worst of the double speak imo)

    Or, when it suited their immediate purpose, to dodge one set of laws, it was a war, and to dodge another set of laws, it was not a war, but some kind of animal hunt with no laws to what they did, for justifying things like torture, indiscriminate detention without habeous, and indefinite detention, when it suddenly became a war again and they were something like POW;s but with no article 3 GC’s protection, because they were also so called illegal combatants.

    Obama has to unwind all of this bullshit, and seemingly with no help from even his own party.

  229. 229
    Nick says:

    @Corner Stone:

    If Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was suspected of bombing a US military base in Germany he’s still be a terrorist with due process and a trial after he was captured.

    No, actually, he wouldn’t. That would still set the stage for a military trial, because the military has jurisdiction.

  230. 230
    Corner Stone says:

    @Nick: Based on what?
    A grand jury indicted the supposed mastermind of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, and that was classified as a terrorist act.
    Where are you pulling your precedent from? Links please.

  231. 231
    Nick says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Based on what?

    Based on the fact that it was the MILITARY that got attacked

    A grand jury indicted the supposed mastermind of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, and that was classified as a terrorist act.

    So was the bombings at the embassy that killed CIVILIANS which he was also indicted for.

  232. 232
    Corner Stone says:

    Do you have even one citation to base this assertion on? Can you not find even one?
    Because repeating the same thing over and over “MILITARY”, does not make something true. Even if you use all caps.

  233. 233
    Nick says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Do you have even one citation to base this assertion on? Can you not find even one?
    Because repeating the same thing over and over “MILITARY”, does not make something true. Even if you use all caps.

    you need citations to prove the U.S.S. Cole is military property? What did you think it was, a luxury cruise?

  234. 234
    General Stuck says:

    @Nick:

    Maybe i can help to resolve this little kerfluffle. There are some real legal questions on whether or not acts of terrorism on foreign soil can be adjudicated in American civilian courts, even if the target is the American military. It is a gray area to try terrorists for these on American soil. Whether military or not. But military commissions do allow for it when the target is military, like the USS Cole.

    But this is not the case with a KSM trial, where the act was conducted on American soil, whether the alleged perpetrators are American citizens or not, that they can be tried in our domestic courts, and with the option of also trying KSM et al for 9-11 in a military tribunal.

    From my reading this is the CW I think among legal wizards, but if I am wrong, they can correct me.

  235. 235
    Jake says:

    I have a question: Does Glenn Greenwald just troll the internet for mild defenses of the President to attack? I fucking hate that guy.

  236. 236
    DPirate says:

    The people who actually write their reps protesting stuff like this just want the prisoners dead – efficiently and with much suffering. All the nonsense about safety and fear is hyperbole.

  237. 237
    Ronrab says:

    @Jake: Does [Jake] just troll the [comments] for [something by Greenwald] to attack?

    Seriously, what does this comment add in any way to the conversation? Especially the insightful ‘I fucking hate that guy’ finisher?

  238. 238
    Nathanael says:

    Schumer’s lost it. I’m through with him unless he “gets it”.

    Actually, I believe that good deeds have no support in the US Senate, apart from the now-departed Feingold.

    It is unfair, however, to say that good deeds have no support among the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which consistently does have Obama’s back when he does the right thing. It has practically no Senate members, please note.

    Andrew Cuomo in NY? I didn’t expect a damn thing from him, we had a really poor field in NY lately, and he came out in favor of stupid when he backed the asininity of a “property tax cap” (with no arrangement to pay for public services like fire protection and schools, naturally).

    He won by default because Paladino is one sick puppy who sends bestiality porn to his business associates.

  239. 239
    Nathanael says:

    Regarding the dopes who say “oh, Congress tied Obama’s hands”, please note that Congress passed laws purporting to give the President the power to do practically anything, especially violating the Bill of Rights, and the power of the purse is no more enforceable. Suppose Obama closed Gitmo and tries people in federal court.

    What is Congress gonna do, sue him? Response: “state secrets”, goodbye, end of story.

    Now if Obama were actually obeying the Constitution in other regards, I would give more credit to the idea that he should obey bullshit orders from Congress. *But he’s not*, as Greenwald has documented, so why doesn’t he use those dictatorial powers to do the right thing every now and then? Instead he only uses them to do the *wrong* thing.

  240. 240
    Nathanael says:

    FYI, “conservative pundits”, Bloomberg (Republican mayor of NY), Chuck “banker’s friend” Schumer and Diane “what the heck is wrong with her” Feinstein are not much of a set of examples for the claim that Democrats in general didn’t have Obama’s back.

    Saying that the Democratic caucus in the Senate practically acts like Republicans? Yes, yes, you have a basis for that.

  241. 241
    brantl says:

    Glen was right, you were wrong. Some democrats did have his back. You said none. You were wrong. Language actually often has definite meaning. Let’s not abrade that any more than it already has been abraded.

  242. 242

    @c u n d gulag:

    When can we have a party that stands for regular folks, not corporations and the wealthy? What do we need to do to start?

    What we need to do is destroy all television sets and television broadcasting within the US borders. Once we take that very basic step, we can start taking steps to build a party for ordinary people with serious expectations that it’ll be allowed to work.

  243. 243
    lawnorder says:

    there are multiple examples of members of Congress who, the moment the decision was made… immediately undercut and OPENLY attacked the administration’s decision

    John, what did Obama (and the WH) do when Democrats tried to punish Joe Lieberman for undercutting Obama’s own election ?

    What did he do when GOP kept undercutting his proposals ?

    What did he do when Blue Dogs gave him (and us) the finger ?

    His bipartisan fetish and refusal to discipline his own party created this monster. People can smell his weakness. And they take advantage of it.

    It didn’t need to be that way.

    PS: What pisses me off most is that Obama can be energetic and vicious.. To punish progressives.

  244. 244
    Billy Bob Tweed says:

    Umm, John,

    I like Jane Mayer too.

    But the dissent you provide us (in her pull-quote) is comprised of Charles Krauthammer, Rudy Giuliani, Joseph Lieberman, Dennis Blair, Dianne Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg, Raymond Kelly and Charles Schumer.

    That, good man, does not a Democratic quorom make.

    Respectfully,
    BBT

  245. 245
    300baud says:

    @brantl:

    Glen was right, you were wrong. Some democrats did have his back. You said none. You were wrong. Language actually often has definite meaning. Let’s not abrade that any more than it already has been abraded.

    This sort of nitpickery distracts from useful discussion.

    Yes, John was wrong on the precise meaning of his chosen words. His actual meaning was something more like “effectively none” or “practically none”, and he surely could have said that.

    On the other hand, skilled readers know that people do not always say precisely what they mean, and that maximum precision interferes with other things that we’d like from writing, like brevity, aesthetic appeal, and emotional clarity. Did anybody really think the meat of John’s point was that precisely zero point zero zero zero percent of Democrats publicly agreed with Obama rather than zero point zero zero one? If so, they need to learn to interpret a little.

    Of course, it’s no wonder that Glen Greenwald doesn’t get this. I love his points and his clarity of thought, but his utter inability to be brief costs him a lot of readers, and therefore a lot of impact.

  246. 246
    Jake says:

    Ronrab

    “Seriously, what does this comment add in any way to the conversation? Especially the insightful ‘I fucking hate that guy’ finisher? ”

    It has everything to do with Greenwald being whiny little shit, how’s that for a motherfucking finisher?

  247. 247
    brantl says:

    @300baud: Nope, say exactly what you mean. Mean exactly what you say. Does wonders for people actually knowing what the fuck you meant.

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