Friday, November 11, 2005

NYT: "Senate Approves Limiting Rights of U.S. Detainees" (Eric Schmitt)

The Senate voted Thursday to strip captured "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of the principal legal tool given to them last year by the Supreme Court when it allowed them to challenge their detentions in United States courts.
[. . .]
If approved in its current form by both the Senate and the House, which has not yet considered the measure but where passage is considered likely, the law would nullify a June 2004 Supreme Court opinion that detainees at Guantanamo Bay had a right to challenge their detentions in court.

[. . .]
Nearly 200 of roughly 500 detainees there have already filed habeas corpus motions, which are making their way up through the federal court system. As written, the amendment would void any suits pending at the time the law was passed.
The vote also came in the same week that the Supreme Court announced that it would consider the constitutionality of war crimes trials before President Bush's military commissions for certain detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a case that legal experts said might never be decided by the court if the Graham amendment became law.

The above is from Eric Schmitt's "Senate Approves Limiting Rights of U.S. Detainees" in this morning's New York Times.

The vote passed thanks to five so-called Democrats who felt this was just the thing the country needed. Five Democrats voted for this ___. The five idiots, losers, creeps and disgusting ___s? No list of disappointments is ever complete without Joe Lieberman.

Kent Conrad's spine goes in an out. On this vote, it collapsed yet again allowing him to join the five. Ben Nelson (Nebraska) who's does the best Joe Lieberman impression in the Senate is a famaliar face on lists of disappointments.

Fourth on the list, Mary Landrieu -- who apparently has tired of waking the displaced from Hurricane Katrina to traipse through shelters for photo ops and footage (which she'd be wise not to use in a 2008 campaign). If you missed it:

AMY GOODMAN: They said they didn't want to us film inside there. Has anyone been allowed to film?
WILLIAM ANSARDI: Mary Landrieu was here with her film crew.
AMY GOODMAN: The senator?
WILLIAM ANSARDI: The senator, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Did they ask your permission to take your picture?

WILLIAM ANSARDI: They didn’t ask my permission. She came in and did showboating up there, and they took pictures of everybody sleeping about 10:00-10:30 at night. I didn't see her ask anybody how they were doing or anything. But she just come in and did her little crew. And she left. I haven't seen her since. Peyton and Eli Manning came here and they did more for the spirit of these people than what Mary Landrieu and all these other great politicians we got.

The fifth vote was Ron Wyden. I'm not sure whether it's fair to make a joke about Wyden because I'm honestly not sure he knew what he was voting for. Take yesterday:

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Wyden, we only have 30 seconds. I just want to follow up on the discussion we had earlier, you might have caught the tail end of, and that is that the President's appointment of Stewart Simonson, who is head of Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness within the Department of Health and Human Services being the former corporate council of Amtrak. Do you think this is another example of crony appointments that could endanger this country like Michael Brown, former head of FEMA?
SEN. RON WYDEN: This should be a very important hearing where he's questioned thoroughly about how he's going to act in the public interest. Too often these kinds of appointments are just skated through. Those days are over.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, he already is head of it.
SEN. RON WYDEN: Well, I think what we've got to do is look further into his background and make sure that the positions that he's going to stake out are in the public interest.

"Too often these kinds of appointments are just skated through. Those days are over." "This should be a very important hearing where he's questioned throughly . . ."

From the HHS website:

Stewart Simonson was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on April 28, 2004.

A year and a half ago Simonson took office and Wyden thinks they should question him before he assumes the position . . . that he's been serving in for over a year and half?

Like I said, I'm not sure Wyden knew what he was voting for. Maybe the newlywed's mind is on other things?

The five should be all embarrased to show their faces. They should be ashamed of themselves. We can take comfort in the fact that none serve on the Judiciary Committee since their vote is a slap to the judiciary. It's also a slap against what America is supposed to stand for.

Mia e-mails to note Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman's "What John Kerry Definitely Said About 2004's Stolen Election and Why It's Killing American Democracy" (Columbus Free Press via Common Dreams):

In recent days Mark Crispin Miller has reported that he heard from Kerry personally that Kerry believes the election was stolen. The dialog has been widely reported on the internet. Kerry has since seemed to deny it.
We have every reason to believe Miller. His recent book FOOLED AGAIN, has been making headlines along with our own HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008.
As in his campaign for president, Kerry has been ambivalent and inconsistent about Ohio's stolen vote count. Soon after the presidential election, Kerry was involved in a conference call with Rev. Jesse Jackson and a number of attorneys, including co-author Bob Fitrakis. In the course of the conversation, Kerry said "You know, wherever they used those [e-voting] machines, I lost, regardless if the precinct was Democratic or Republican."
Kerry was referring to New Mexico. But he might just as well have been talking about Ohio, where the election was decided, as well as about Iowa and Nevada. All four of those "purple" states switched from Democratic "blue" in the exit polls as late as 12:20am to Republican "red" a few hours later, giving Bush the White House.
A scant few hours after that, Kerry left tens of thousands of volunteers and millions of voters hanging. With Bush apparently leading by some 130,000 votes in Ohio, but with a quarter-million votes still uncounted here, Kerry abruptly conceded. He was then heard from primarily through attorneys from Republican law firms attacking grassroots election protection activists who dared question the Ohio outcome.
In the year since that abrupt surrender, Theresa Heinz Kerry has made insinuations that she thought the election might have been stolen. But there has been no follow-up.
Now we have this report from M. C. Miller that Kerry said he knew the election was stolen, and then denied saying it. Coming from Kerry, the inconsistency would be entirely consistent.

["Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, available at and Their upcoming What Happened in Ohio, with Steve Rosenfeld, will be published by The New Press in spring, 2006. "]

Rod e-mails to note today's scheduled topics for Democracy Now!:

* New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer on whether the C.I.A. can legally kill prisoners.
* Arianna Huffington on the resignation of New York Times reporter JudyMiller.
* And famed writer Octavia Butler joins us in our Firehouse studios.

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[Note: Post corrected. Not Douglas Jehl as the author of the first item, Eric Schmitt. My apologies.]