Why “State Secrets” Immunity Matters

Following up on yesterday’s sadness: If you’re not sure why it’s so sad that the Obama Administration is doing exactly what the Bush Administration did with state secrets, here’s why it matters:

When the executive branch invokes the state secrets privilege to shut down lawsuits, hides its programs behind secret OLC opinions, over-classifies information to avoid public disclosure, and interprets the Freedom of
Information Act as an information withholding statute, it shuts down all of the means to detect and respond to its abuses of the rule of law – whether those abuses involve torture, domestic spying, or the firing of U.S. Attorneys for partisan gain.

(Quoting Russ Feingold.) Why why why would the Obama Administration want to do that? Is this a case where AG Holder just hasn’t had time to order a change in policy (Glenn Greenwald says there’s no way that’s possible—they knew this was coming and could have asked for more time if that’s what they wanted), or….? I just can’t see anything but bad here…

More from the NYT.

Wha? How? Why?

This makes me want to cry:

Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ Lawsuit

The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

A source inside of the Ninth U.S. District Court tells ABC News that a representative of the Justice Department stood up to say that its position hasn’t changed, that new administration stands behind arguments that previous administration made, with no ambiguity at all. The DOJ lawyer said the entire subject matter remains a state secret.

This is not going to please civil libertarians and human rights activists who had hoped the Obama administration would allow the lawsuit to proceed.

I just don’t understand. During the campaign I didn’t believe all the Obama critics who said he was all talk, preaching a gospel of “hope” without anything real behind it. Yet, evidence seems to be mounting that, to some extent, that was true. It’s hard not to agree w/Glenn Greenwald’s assessment: “There is no viable excuse, or even mitigation, for what they did here.”

Excuse me. I have some crying to do.

Yes we Did!

This is news that never gets old: Obama won! Ok, so it’s not news. You know this. As usual, I’ve been scooped. Still, I can’t get over it. Amazing.

And yet… He’s not a magician. He’s not our saviour. And there’s only so much a president can do. Obama is planning to reverse a bunch of the Worst President Ever’s policies, but it’s not like he can wave a magic wand to make that happen.

I’m excited. I am. And very glad. But I’d rather keep expectations low and be pleasantly surprised than hear a chorus of denunciations against Obama six months or a year from now when his administration has failed to meet my unrealistically high hopes. It’s exciting and amazing enough that he won.

He won! Yeah!

In a week…

The mind boggles at what is going to happen next Tuesday. Will we wake up next Wednesday to President Obama? The polls suggest “yes,” but what do polls mean in an age off electronic voting?

Yeah, I’m paranoid. But am I paranoid enough?

Honestly Obama’s 30 minutes of prime time tonight bothers me. What is he doing? Things appear to be going his way. Is now the time to do something so odd, ostentatious, and almost unprecedented? I’ve heard comparisons to Ross Perot; he apparently did something like this in 1992. Of course, Obama is in an entirely different position now than Perot was then, but I still just have this bad feeling that this tv spot is going to backfire, making Obama look cocky or giving him the opportunity to say/do something that is going to change the momentum. How could viewers not be disappointed? We’ve heard so much about this tv special there’s no way it could live up to expectations. So how can that sort of disappointment — “Oh, he was fine, but he didn’t really say anything that blew my doors off” — how can that be good for his campaign?

But I know nothing. Just thinking out loud.

On the up side, it’s fun to hear reporting and punditry about the in-fighting and recriminations beginning w/in the Republican party. NPR just featured a Republican complaining that the Republicans have become just like the Democrats in the past six years or so, there’s no difference between the parties, he’s disgusted w/the Republicans, they deserve to lose for abandoning their values, etc. It’s funny b/c that’s exactly the criticism Democrats and others further left were making back in 2000. Remember Nader’s tweedledee and tweedledum argument?

It’s sort of fascinating to look back at that whole argument now. I admit I bought it. Back in 2000 I was disgusted w/the Democratic party. I even (gasp!) voted for Nader. (But note: I lived in a state that went solidly for Gore; had I lived in a swing or Republican state, I might have voted differently.) I agreed with the argument that Democrats deserved to lose if they weren’t going to take strong stands on the issues that were really important to them. I believed, w/Nader, that a Democratic loss would teach us all a lesson and make the Democratic party stronger for the next elections.

It turned out I was wrong. It didn’t take long after Bush was installed as pResident for us to be reminded of the differences between him and what Gore likely would have done, and we all know what happened in 2004. Instead of Democrats learning their lessons and coming back strong in 2004, we got another four years of Worst President Evar.

Now we’re a week away from possibly changing things. Not that I’m counting chickens here, but I don’t know what I’ll do if McCain wins. What I do know is that if the shoes change feet, so to speak, and Republicans continue to be the ones dismayed and despairing about their party and the future b/c their party just lost the election, well, I won’t be losing any sleep over that. What goes around, kiddies…

Sadly, it looks like I won’t be able to get into the big election night rally downtown. Tickets are already gone.

Women Against Sarah Palin

We are not in the habit of criticizing women in the public sphere, as we usually feel we should support our female compatriots with as much encouragement as we can. However, Sarah Palin’s record is anti-woman. Feminism is not simply about achieving the power and status typically held by men. It’s about protecting and supporting the rights of women of all classes, races, cultures, and beliefs. Palin’s record and beliefs do not align with this. She was chosen by John McCain specifically because he believes that American women will vote for any female candidate regardless of their qualifications. He is wrong.

You might want to read this.

Via The Suburban Ecstasies, which also notes that McPain ’08 is lying and will be more of the same culture of secrecy and dishonesty we’ve had for the last eight years..

Women Against Sarah Palin

We are not in the habit of criticizing women in the public sphere, as we usually feel we should support our female compatriots with as much encouragement as we can. However, Sarah Palin’s record is anti-woman. Feminism is not simply about achieving the power and status typically held by men. It’s about protecting and supporting the rights of women of all classes, races, cultures, and beliefs. Palin’s record and beliefs do not align with this. She was chosen by John McCain specifically because he believes that American women will vote for any female candidate regardless of their qualifications. He is wrong.

You might want to read this.

Via The Suburban Ecstasies, which also notes that McPain ’08 is lying and will be more of the same culture of secrecy and dishonesty we’ve had for the last eight years..

Snooze

It’s really perverse how hitting the snooze button on the alarm is like a trigger to make me fall immediately and deeply asleep, only to be rudely awakened again 9 minutes later when the alarm goes off again. On some deep psychological level I think this must be ruining my life.

Now that the Democratic primary is really (more or less) over, three things:

  1. Regarding misogyny, it seems true to me that our society has a greater taboo against public denigration based upon race than it does against public denigration of gender. So yeah, perhaps Hillary (two Ls) was stereotyped and gender-bashed in ways that Barack (with a C) was not race bashed. It was subtle, but sometimes that’s the worst kind of critique. I’m sure w/in a year or two there will be a dozen books analyzing this
  2. It would be really cool to have an Obama/Clinton ticket, but can you imagine being President Obama w/both Bill and Hill in your White House telling you what to do all the time? I can’t see it working.
  3. Lots of things are younger than McCain.

Misogyny Insanity

Listening to the NPR tell me that groups of Hilary Clinton supporters are going to vote for McCain if Obama becomes the Democratic candidate. Exqueeze me? You think the media and the Democratic leadership have been unfair to Clinton because she’s a woman, so your response is to vote for yet another old white male who believes far less of what you believe than does Obama? This is a strategy? This is reasonable? This makes any sense whatsoever?

I don’t think Hilary should stop this madness because I’m a misogynist. I think Hilary should stop this madness because she’s encouraging the kind of insanity voiced by these supporters. She could easily have put an end to this weeks ago by simply saying, ok, it’s not going to happen this year, let’s all get behind Obama. She could have done that w/a great deal of dignity, she could have claimed victory in many ways, and she could have kicked McCain in the balls by helping to further unify the Democratic party. Instead, she fights on, encouraging extremism and division w/in her own party, and for what?

As the NPR story says, someone has to lose. If you want to say that Hilary lost because too many people just want to keep women down, well, ok. So does that mean Obama won because so many people want to lift black men up? Could it be Obama ran a better campaign? Could it be his speeches and positions on issues just resonated more with more voters? Could that even be possible?

Nah, No way. It’s all about woman-bashing. Absolutely.

Grrr.

Misogyny Insanity

Listening to the NPR tell me that groups of Hilary Clinton supporters are going to vote for McCain if Obama becomes the Democratic candidate. Exqueeze me? You think the media and the Democratic leadership have been unfair to Clinton because she’s a woman, so your response is to vote for yet another old white male who believes far less of what you believe than does Obama? This is a strategy? This is reasonable? This makes any sense whatsoever?

I don’t think Hilary should stop this madness because I’m a misogynist. I think Hilary should stop this madness because she’s encouraging the kind of insanity voiced by these supporters. She could easily have put an end to this weeks ago by simply saying, ok, it’s not going to happen this year, let’s all get behind Obama. She could have done that w/a great deal of dignity, she could have claimed victory in many ways, and she could have kicked McCain in the balls by helping to further unify the Democratic party. Instead, she fights on, encouraging extremism and division w/in her own party, and for what?

As the NPR story says, someone has to lose. If you want to say that Hilary lost because too many people just want to keep women down, well, ok. So does that mean Obama won because so many people want to lift black men up? Could it be Obama ran a better campaign? Could it be his speeches and positions on issues just resonated more with more voters? Could that even be possible?

Nah, No way. It’s all about woman-bashing. Absolutely.

Grrr.

Let it end!

Today is finally the day of the Democratic presidential primary in Pennsylvania. Keep your fingers crossed that today will finally put an end to the godawful self-swiftboating the Democratic party has been giving itself for the last many weeks. Let’s have a decisive win for Obama and move on to making the case that he’s going to be a better president than McCain, ok? Priorities, people, priorities!