June 12, 2008 archive

Supreme Court Slaps Bush, Congress on Habeas Corpus

By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional the provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that suspended the use of habeas corpus by detainees in Bush’s “war on terror.” The MCA was pushed by Bush, and overwhelmingly approved by Congress, including both supposed anti-torture politician John McCain and many Democrats.

From Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion:

Security depends upon a sophisticated intelligence apparatus and the ability of our Armed Forces to act and to interdict. There are further considerations, however. Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers. It is from these principles that the judicial authority to consider petitions for habeas corpus relief derives….

The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, a part of that law….

Congress has enacted a statute, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA), 119 Stat. 2739, that provides certain procedures for review of the detainees’ status. We hold that those procedures are not an adequate and effective substitute for habeas corpus. Therefore §7 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), 28 U. S. C. A. §2241(e) (Supp. 2007), operates as an unconstitutional suspension of the writ. (Thanks to Phil at Daily Kos for the quotes)

Four at Four

  1. The United States has a New criminal record: 7.2 Million, reports the Washington Post. “The number of people under supervision in the nation’s criminal justice system rose to 7.2 million in 2006, the highest ever, costing states tens of billions of dollars to house and monitor offenders as they go in and out of jails and prisons.” America spent about $45 billion in 2006 to keep two million people in jail or prison , another 4.2 million people on probation, and 800,000 people on parole. States are opting for privately run prisons to alleviate overcrowding.

    Black men, about one in 15, were most affected, and Hispanics, one in 35, were well represented among offenders. The number of women in prison “rose faster in 2006 than over the previous five years,” mostly in Hawaii, North Dakota, Wyoming and Oklahoma, the Bureau of Justice Statistics report said.

    In 1980, about the time that tough sentencing laws, particularly for drug offenses, began to be passed by federal and state legislators, 1.8 million people were in the system and $11 billion was spent on corrections.

  2. The Los Angeles Times reports Guest workers in U.S. say they are being exploited. “On Wednesday, … a dozen workers from India ended a four-week hunger strike that was meant to highlight their allegations that a guest worker program is abusing foreign laborers and shutting Americans out of decent jobs. The workers… came to the U.S. to work in a Mississippi shipyard, lured by assurances of permanent residency. Instead, they said, they ended up in substandard living conditions, with reduced wages and promises of a green card that never came. Their protest was designed to illuminate a guest worker program that critics say is rife with exploitation and can be repaired only with congressional action.” Guest workers are the slaves of the 21st century.

  3. The Bush administration wants to expand their so-called “missile defense” system in Europe. According to The New York Times, Defense War Secretary Robert Gates is pressing NATO on missile defense expansion. An anonymous official claims “the United States would press alliance members to agree on options for a defensive system against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. That future NATO missile defense system would cover territory across the southeastern rim of the alliance Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey. Portions of those nations – including almost all of Turkey – would not be covered by the longer-range missile defense system the United States hopes to install in Poland and the Czech Republic”. There is no gaurantee this M-I-C boondoggle will do anything other than enrich Republican doners and escalate tensions with the Russians. This article is a classic example of NYT propaganda.

  4. Bay Windows reports With love and pride, Governor Deval Patrick’s daughter comes out publicly.

    On June 14, 2007, the day that lawmakers finally voted down an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution, Katherine Patrick stood outside the State House and looked up at her father. Gov. Deval Patrick was standing on the front steps, surrounded by a jubilant crowd of hundreds that mobbed the brick sidewalk and spilled halfway across Beacon Street. As they cheered the defeat of the amendment – an effort led by the governor, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Sal DiMasi – Katherine had never before felt more proud of her father.

    “Because, of course, he didn’t know that I was gay then,” the 18-year-old recalls. “So, for someone so publicly to fight for something that doesn’t even affect him was just like, ‘That’s my dad,’ you know?” she says with a laugh. “That’s all I could think. I was very, very proud to be part of this family, and this state in general.” …

    “As private of an issue as it is, we’ve sort of had to come to terms with the fact that we are a public family and there you give a part of yourself away,” says Katherine. “And we also … wanted people to know that it’s not only something that we accept, but it’s something that we’re very proud of. It’s a great aspect of our lives and there’s nothing about it that is shameful or that we would want to hide.”

    Gov. Patrick is worrying how much his daughter’s wedding is going to cost. Grin.

Leaving Bushworld……..222 days

Justice Kennedy, today: To hold the political branches have the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will is quite another.



From 2002:

“That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” the Bush aide told the journalist. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to study what we do.”

Veterans call for Impeachment

Veterans For Peace presented 22,000 signatures calling for Bush impeachment to Rep. Conyers (D-MI)

The Real News Network Video

{They haven’t transfered the video over to their YouTube site as of yet}

Is A Price Ceiling For Gasoline Off The Table?

Today, as I drove past a local intersection in upstate, Eastern New York with 2 gas stations, Mobil and Sunoco, and observed that the price of unleaded regular was now $4.169/gallon, I said aloud, making a terroristic hand gesture, “Basta ja!  Enough already!  Somebody needs to freeze the price right where it is before it gets even higher.”  Sometimes the truth is said in anger.

Maybe what’s needed in the short term is a price ceiling on gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil.  Admittedly this would not be a long term solution to America’s lack of an energy policy, but it might provide some short-term relief to consumers.  And it would provide far more relief than the bogus McSame proposal for a “gas tax holiday.”

John McCain: The Opacity Of NOPE!

T-Shirts and Stickers Now Available

In this historic election year, the people have a choice of unprecedented clarity. The presidential candidates for 2008 offer a uniquely stark contrast of policy and vision. One has embraced a theme of hope that is inspiring millions and setting a new course for national renewal and unity. He has ignited a grassroots revolution of citizen activists committed to bringing change to an arrogant, unaccountable, dishonest, and incompetent government.

The other is John McCain.

In contrast to Barack Obama’s campaign of optimism and hope, McCain offers a vision that is squarely focused on obstacles. Its opaque negativity fairly precludes it from even being described as a vision at all. It might be more accurately expressed as The Opacity NOPE!

Peace? Nope. Health care? Nope. Fair trade? Nope. Tax equity? Nope. Choice? Nope. Environment? Nope. Get the idea?

NewsFlash! Human Beings Ruled to Have Human Rights!


The Detainees at Gitmo have been “granted” Habeas Corpus.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.


The court said not only that the detainees have rights under the Constitution, but that the system the administration has put in place to classify them as enemy combatants and review those decisions is inadequate.

The administration had argued first that the detainees have no rights. But it also contended that the classification and review process was a sufficient substitute for the civilian court hearings that the detainees seek.

We’ll have to wait for real analysis to see all the ins and outs…but this seems like a huge blow to George Bush’s War OF Terror. Humans have just been ruled human, no matter what label ‘the Authorities’ try to pin on them to dehumanize them. Whatever else may happen today, this is already a good day.

Update: The money quote From Justice Kennedy, h/t to Adam B


Our basic charter cannot be contracted away like this. The Constitution grants Congress and the President the power to acquire, dispose of, and govern territory, not the power to decide when and where its terms apply…. Abstaining from questions involving formal sovereignty and territorial governance is one thing. To hold the political branches have the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will is quite another. The former position reflects this Court’s recognition that certain matters requiring political judgments are best left to the political branches. The latter would permit a striking anomaly in our tripartite system of government, leading to a regime in which Congress and the President, not this Court, say “what the law is.”

New Fox Sitcom! Everybody Loves Bush!

Well, our least favorite President of all time and forevah, George W. Bush blew into Rome, Italy yesterday to be greeted by adoring fans and happy little Italian warmongers.  

The President, who may not be particularly popular here in the United States of America packs him some serious WOW! power over in the “Old Country” across the pond.  Even the Pope was shaking his BUSH – ONE MORE TERM! pom-pom’s as Airforce One touched down on Italian soil.

OK.  Now that the dream sequence is over for the opening show of our new Fox Sitcom, let’s discuss what really greeted our Cowboy-In-Chief when Air Force One touched down on Italian soil.

Supreme Court Rules Against Gitmo Kangaroo Courts

Good news for a change.  In 5-4 decision the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that internees at Guantanamo are entitled to have their cases heard by a U.S. Federal Court.

So much for an October execution of KSM to improve Republican prospects in the election (or just make its theft more credible).

This AP Story is just a stub (update: now enough details to quote)-

Supreme Court backs rights for Guantanamo detainees

Associated Press

4 Minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

The justices handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The vote was 5-4, with the court’s liberal justices in the majority.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”

Unions “Seething” over Obama Selection of Furman as Economics Policy Director

Labor union officials and some liberal activists were seething Tuesday over Barack Obama’s choice of centrist economist Jason Furman as the top economic advisor for the campaign.

The critics say Furman, who was appointed to the post Monday, has overstated the potential benefits of globalization, Social Security private accounts and the low prices offered by Wal-Mart — considered a corporate pariah by the labor movement.

LA Times

We all support Obama against McCain.  And many of us support the labor movement also.  Our support of Obama is not the kind of support that believes he can do no wrong: that’s for those who support Bush.  

Labor leaders are rightly critical of Obama’s choice of Jason Furman as

the economic policy director.  While I continue to support Obama and work for his election, I must speeak out here.  This is the wrong direction.    

More after the fold.

What is it With Sex and those Connected to (R)’s

Who manage to get appointed to plume federal jobs, that we pay the salaries for, by the way.

I just caught this little gem a few minutes ago, will FOX and O’Really be reporting on this, seems right up the O’s alley.

Docudharma Times Thursday June 12

Vetters Must Be Vetted

By Those Who Should Be Vetted

Thursday’s Headlines:

Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

Strike on Iran nuclear sites under discussion again

Kurdistan’s muckraking media test free speech limits

Factories close, supermarkets empty and jets run out of fuel as truckers’ strike bites

Miliband defends Lisbon Treaty

Pressure on opposition to halt poll and share power with Mugabe

Darfur novelist returns personal narratives to the people he left behind

Key Afghan donor meeting in Paris  

US airstrike kills 11 Pakistani soldiers in ‘cowardly and unprovoked attack’

Cuba to abandon salary equality

Robert Mugabe’s militia burn opponent’s wife alive

From The Times

June 12, 2008

Jan Raath in Mhondoro

The men who pulled up in three white pickup trucks were looking for Patson Chipiro, head of the Zimbabwean opposition party in Mhondoro district. His wife, Dadirai, told them he was in Harare but would be back later in the day, and the men departed.

An hour later they were back. They grabbed Mrs Chipiro and chopped off one of her hands and both her feet. Then they threw her into her hut, locked the door and threw a petrol bomb through the window.

The killing last Friday – one of the most grotesque atrocities committed by Robert Mugabe’s regime since independence in 1980 – was carried out on a wave of worsening brutality before the run-off presidential elections in just over two weeks.


4 killed as tornado hits Iowa Boy Scout camp

Officials say about 40 injured as storm slams camp for leadership training

MSNBC News Services

 BLENCOE, Iowa – A tornado tore through a Boy Scout camp in the remote hills of western Iowa on Wednesday, killing at least four people and injuring 40, and setting off a frantic search to reach others in the piles of debris and downed trees.

Most of the injured had been on a hike when the tornado struck, authorities said, leaving them without protection from the deadly winds. A search and rescue team deployed after the 7 p.m. twister had to cut their way through branches during a lightning storm to reach the camp where the 93 boys, ages 13 to 18, and 25 staff members were attending a weeklong leadership training camp.

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