Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Imperial Presidency With Cavity Fighting Fluoride Protection!

Maryland State Police labeled members of a Montgomery County environmental group as terrorists and extremists days after they held a nonviolent protest at an appearance by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. at a Bethesda high school.
Police files released to the activists reveal that the governor's security detail alerted the state police's Homeland Security and Intelligence Division to what troopers guarding Ehrlich described as "aggressive protesting" by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network in 2005.
A review by The Washington Post of those and other files given in recent days to many of the 53 Maryland activists who were wrongly labeled as terrorists in state and federal databases shows an intelligence operation eager to collect information on the protest plans of a broad swath of nonviolent groups from 2005 to at least early 2007.
Those groups included not only death penalty and Iraq war protesters who were spied on by undercover troopers in a 2005-06 surveillance operation exposed in July, but also those who opposed abortion, the manufacture of cluster munitions, globalization and the government's expansion of biodefense research at Fort Detrick.

The above is the opening of Lisa Rein and Josh White's "Many Groups Spied Upon In Md. Were Nonviolent" (Washington Post). And with such scary news, it sure is a lucky break that we've got a Gerry Ford in to make us all believe in a corrupt government again!

Repeating Michael Abramowitz' report that Barack would be shelving the cry for Senate approval (of the treaty) is backed up by Raed Jarrar (Raed in the Middle) who details how the transition site set up by Barack has already altered the position on Senate approval. And no our so-called 'left' (Katty and Matty et al) will not say a word. Howard Zinn won't say one damn word. Marjorie Cohn will plaster that idiotic grin on her face and look as if she's in search of Jim Jones.

That's how a Gerry Ford works. He's a transition figure. Brought in just to restore faith in a corrupt system.

So since the election, Barack's decided the Constitution doesn't matter (no need for Senate approval of a treaty) and he's pissed off Guantanamo attorneys (who, honestly, deserve it for endorsing him -- you get what you deserve when you endorse someone whose history does not back up his words, you got played, shouldn't have gone home with the first man who offered to buy you a drink). Elaine covered last night how the White House is being told not to worry about breaking the law (including international law) by implementing and overseeing torture.

Ford pardoned Tricky Dick. The Bully Boy didn't need a pardon because the Democrats and their 'left' voices were too damn chicken to impeach, too cowardly. So this generation's Gerry will just busy himself making sure the empire has a toothy smile.

Remember all the lectures we've gotten for months and months and years and years about the rule of law? It no longer matters. That was all garbage tossed out to get you to vote Democrat and it's why those 'brave' 'left' voices aren't screaming their heads off right now as Barack indicates that toothy is the only real difference between him and Bully Boy: The Imperial Presidency With Cavity Fighting Fluoride Protection! And a great minty taste!

For those in doubt, refer to Chris Floyd's "The Era of Magical Thinking: SOFA Smokescreens and Presidential Power" (Baltimore Chronicle):

Of course, going this far into the weeds on the details of the "agreement" ignores the fact that the entire process is actually a brutal sham. Disregarding for a moment the murderous nature of the Hitlerian war crime perpetrated on Iraq by the American government -- which removes the situation from any kind of "normal" considerations of diplomacy -- what we have here are negotiations dealing directly with the very essence of a nation's sovereignty, and America's continuing, intimate -- and armed -- involvement in that nation's life. It is absurd in the extreme to pretend that this is not a treaty-level matter, requiring full debate and a vote in the Senate, but simply a side issue to be left up to the President's discretion.

Yet that is the case. Bush makes the deal alone -- after all, as Obama continually reminds us, "we only have one president," and even if he is a twerpish, murdering, nation-gutting son of a bitch, we should all defer respectfully to his judgment. All Obama asks is that any agreement to extend the war crime in Iraq will provide "sufficient protections for our men and women in uniform." As for "sufficient protections" for the Iraqi men and women -- and children -- out of uniform, who have been killed and displaced by the millions, our singular president and his successor have little to say. As always, they play no part in these high affairs of state. And neither, apparently, do the American people, or their elected representatives.

But all of this is entirely in keeping with our cowed and craven post-Republic era, where in the end, all must yield to the prerogatives of the "commander-in-chief." The constant use of this title as a synonym for "the presiden"t is yet another mark of our democratic degradation. For of course the president is only the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in wartime -- not the military commander of the entire country. It has been astonishing to see the erasure of this distinction not only in the popular mind but also among our powerful elites. It is one of the clearest expressions of the true state of the Union: a nation that has willingly submitted itself to rule by a military junta, surrendering, without a shot, the liberties it once claimed as its very raison d'etre.

So now we lurch from election to election, hoping that this time we will get a "good" commander, a benevolent tyrant. Witness the plethora of recent articles in our most august journals, wondering anxiously what Obama will do about the concentration camp in Guantanamo, and issue of "preventive" indefinite detention, and the torture techniques instituted by Bush, and the secret, warrantless wiretapping of the American people, and the "signing statements" that ignore the Constitutional authority of the elected legislature and impose the arbitrary will of the president, and all the other authoritarian powers now claimed by the Unitary Executive.

In other news, we've noted Lance Hering before. He disappeared over two years ago. He was arrested last week. Denver News Story's "Police: Missing Marine, Dad Photographed Together In September" notes:

A photo album of Lance Hering's showed him with his father and Kimberly Pace -- the woman he was saying goodbye to when he was arrested at a Washington airport Sunday -- at a festival in Nevada two months ago, the Boulder Daily Camera reported on Wednesday.
The three were photographed attending Nevada's Burning Man festival in September, according to an arrest report released Tuesday.

I'm failing to see how a non-violent offender (Hering went AWOL and also had some burglary issue from 2004) warrants the government going after a parent or how they think it helps them with the PR war. Rob Ollikainen's "Planning to surrender, AWOL Marine says" (Peninsula Daily News):

Lance Hering, the Colorado Marine who faked his disappearance for more than two years, told police he had planned to turn himself in before he was arrested with his father at William R. Fairchild International Airport on Sunday.
The Port Angeles Police Department released a report Tuesday containing statements from the 23-year-old estranged lance corporal that say he was on his way to see a psychiatrist in Virginia and an attorney in Texas before turning himself in at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in Oceanside, Calif.
Hering, an Iraq war veteran who disappeared on Aug. 30, 2006, near Boulder, Colo. -- setting off the largest search in Boulder County, Colo., history -- was based at Camp Pendleton.

Iraqi refugees are in the news. AFP reports a meet-up in Jordan Thursday among "U.N. and Arab League officials" and "[e]xperts from Iraq, Syira, Lebanon and Egypt" as well as reps from Turkey and Iran to discuss the Iraqi refugee crisis. And AFP notes:

Returnees are generally people with no other choice, according to Damascus-based Peter Harling of the International Crisis Group, co-author of a recent report on Iraqi refugees.
"Only those who no longer have the means to survive in Syria are going back," he said.
"The great majority remain cautious, and those who can stay here or in Jordan do so while waiting to see how the situation evolves."
Statistics from the Iraqi ministry for migrants and the displaced show that some 8,000 Iraqis have returned from abroad since the beginning of the year.
United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) figures show that during October just 280 refugees returned home, among them 125 from Syria and 103 from Jordan.
Convoys of returning Iraqis leave Amman once or twice a month, but the chance to go home rarely attracts more than a few dozen people. The most recent convoy arrived on Sunday in Baghdad and comprised 91 refugees, the UNHCR said.

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