Thursday, December 22, 2011
Obama Prepares to Authorize Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens for First Time Since McCarthy Era–Glenn Greenwald on NDAA
The $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last week includes controversial provisions that could usher in a radical expansion of indefinite detention under the U.S. government by authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. “Congress, with the Democrats in control of the Senate and a Democratic president, is about to enact into law the first bill that will say that the military and the United States government do have this power,” says Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com blogger and constitutional law attorney. “It’s muddled whether it applies to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, but it’s clearly indefinite detention, and there’s a very strong case to make that it includes U.S. citizens, as well, which, as we know, the Obama administration already claims anyway, and that’s what makes it so dangerous.”
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Glenn, I wanted to ask you about a not wholly unrelated issue, and that is the issue of the military authorization bill that President Obama threatened to veto if it continued to contain the provisions about the treatment of terrorism prisoners, people who could be picked up, Americans in the United States, without trial, without hearing, and held indefinitely. President Obama has dropped the veto threat, saying the changes have satisfied him. Your thoughts?
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, let’s remember that under the status quo, because of the way that the Bush and Obama administrations have interpreted their own powers in the original 2001 authorization to use military force, they already claim, the executive branch does, the power to indefinitely detain people. That’s what’s happening right now at Guantánamo. It’s what’s happening at Bagram and several other facilities. And the Obama administration has vehemently defended this power to put people into prison without any trial or charges for as long as they want to keep them there. Additionally, they—the Obama administration claims the power to target even American citizens as enemy combatants, and not just to detain them indefinitely, but to kill them, as well. That’s what they did with Anwar al-Awlaki, far from any battlefield, based on this theory that they already have this power, even before this bill is passed.
With precisely one year left for the world and all of its inhabitants, at least according to the Mayans, not to mention on the day of the Winter Solstice, it is only fitting that US debt, net of all settlements for all already completed bond auctions, is now at precisely $15,182,756,264,288.80. Why is this relevant? Because the latest annualized US GDP, according to the BEA, was $15,180,900,000.00. Which means that, as of today, total US debt to GDP is 100.012%. Congratulations America: you are now in the triple digit “debt to GDP” club!
Who cares what happens in Iowa — if anything — anyway?
My personal favorite comes direct from the unyielding mind of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican who insists that American voters don\’t care which candidate wins the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3.
\”People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third,\” said Branstad. \”If (Mitt) Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and other states.\”
Losing Iowa helps in New Hampshire? So it\’s not winning that counts, its losing? What the?
Is he high?
Just what the devil is wrong with the Republican bigwigs these days? Their minds can\’t be besotted by Hopium. That\’s a liberal Democratic leaf for Democratic pipes depressed that Chicago\’s City Hall has run the country into the ground. So Republicans must be smoking something else, something just as potent: Dopium, a leaf so powerful that it allowed many Republicans to call themselves \”conservatives\” while embracing a series of big government programs and federal bailouts from the Bush administration, not to mention two wars.
These days, Gov. Branstad isn\’t alone. The entire Republican establishment is babbling similar nonsense about the importance of being earnest and a loser in Iowa.
Meanwhile, the Republican-media high priests — yes, the GOP has its own hierarchs — are now in full-throated roar. From the secular pulpits they predict unending torment and Obamanation for anyone foolish enough to embrace the current heretical teachings.
And the name of this heretic?
Ron Paul, the Texas congressman and libertarian who is leading most polls in Iowa with a message of cutting government, including the defense budget, and staying out of wars.
Republican officials are pushing back on claims in the media and competing GOP campaigns that a likely Ron Paul victory in the January 3 Iowa caucuses would be meaningless because critics view the Texas congressman as a political gadfly.
“It would be a mistake to call an Iowa win by Paul irrelevant,” said a Republican official closely monitoring the campaigns in Iowa.
The main reason: Voters in Iowa believe that Paul is the only candidate in the field with the authenticity to talk about the budget issues they are focused on. “The talk in Iowa is about spending, deficits, and debt, and Ron Paul has been talking about those issues for five years,” said a key official closely monitoring the Iowa race that Paul now leads.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011