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Dec 292011

That song parody has been swimming around in my head for the past week or so, as I wondered why no one more creative than I had put that together this year.  Of course, someone had.

His name is Adam Kontras… and my only complaint was that he didn’t put the second N into Gingrich’s name…. Otherwise, it’s spot on perfect!

Dec 272011

I’m guest hosting the Randi Rhodes Show all this week! In addition to talking with some great guests, we’re re-living some of the more notable moments of 2011 during our annual year in review.

The talented folks at JibJab put it all to music too…

Today on Randi’s show, we’ll listen back to the news from May and June. And we’ll talk with Lisa Graves of the Center for Media & Democracy about their big project of 2011- ALECexposed, and the effect ALEC had on voter suppression laws.

In hour two, I’ll be joined by one of the most influential voices in the progressive blogosphere. Digby will weigh in with her thoughts on the most important stories of the year, predictions for 2012 and, as one of the powers behind the Blue America PAC, will fill us in on some of the more important congressional races for next year.

As we continue our year in review, we’ll be joined by John Fugelsang for a funnier look at the year that’s coming to a close.

Listen live at or any of her affilliate stations, and feel free to call in at 866-87-RANDI.

While I’m in for Randi this week, Shane-O is guest hosting my show.  Big thanks to him for that, and to you for being with us!



Dec 192011

I’ve been vilified on the internet for daring to attempt to reason with people who won’t criticize our president, even in light of horrible abuses of our constitutional rights as citizens.

I’ve learned my lesson: tweeting while sick and attempting to reason with the unreasonable are two things I will no longer do. When my thoughts are muddled, I’ll stay off the twitter machine.  And I’ll no longer engage those who don’t debate in good faith.

That said, I have many reasons to be worried about the provisions in the Defense Authorization Act the allow for the indefinite detention of anyone deemed to be a terrorist – or even a terrorist sympathizer.

One who argued with me about this provision in the bill kept referring to a 1 1/2 page summary of the 900+ page bill – and badgered me repeatedly with “did you read it? I read it!..”   Well, a summary does NOT tell you what’s in the entire bill.

It went on, sounding a lot like Monty Python’s Argument Clinic “Yes there is. No there isn’t. Yes there is. No there isn’t…”  We were discussing whether or not there is language in the bill pertaining to detention of US citizens.

Hal Sparks referred me to Sec 1031, paragraph b, part  1 … which reads

    (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

And I pointed out that it says there’s no REQUIREMENT to detain US citizens, but there’s nothing that prohibits it.  I suggested he read Section 1031, which he claimed

Hal Sparks

@HalSparksHal Sparks
@nicolesandler section 1031 isn’t even in the final bill
Well, actually, it is.  It’s just nicely hidden.  Right there above Section 1032, you’ll see a heading that reads
Just click there… go ahead… you’ll find Sec 1031.
Actually the back and forth between Hal Sparks and me was pretty civil.  It was the nasty trolls who jumped in afterward that brought it down to ugly level.  I won’t bother you with that, other than to say I’m sorry if you were caught up in the middle of it. I’ve learned a good lesson.  The block button and I are now very friendly!
Even if you don’t want to take my word for it… here are a few other people you can trust.  Senator Bernie Sanders, in an email after the vote on the NDAA on Thursday wrote:

“The bill continues to authorize heavy spending on defense despite the end of the 9-year-old war in Iraq. Ironically, the Senate vote came on the same day when Defense Secretary Panetta was in Baghdad officially declaring that our military mission there has ended and that virtually all of the combat troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year. At a time when we have tripled defense spending since 1997 and spend more today on defense than the rest of the world combined, I get concerned that my deficit-hawk friends say we’ve got to cut Social Security, Medicare, education, health care and other programs that help working families, but when it comes to defense spending the sky is the limit.

This bill also contains misguided provisions that in the name of fighting terrorism essentially authorize the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens without charges. While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and the civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans.” (emphasis mine)

Need more?  How about Congressman Jerrold Nadler, speaking Saturday morning on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If that doesn’t do it for you, how about Senator Ron Wyden?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If you need more, read this or this or this or this or this or this or this or this …  I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Again, I’m not worried that President Obama might try to paint me as a terrorist sympathizer because I criticize some of his actions — but I do worry that a future president (Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, Rubio ….) might.

And I’m sad that some people who claim to be progressives chose to get nasty with those of us who are questioning the chipping away at our civil liberties.  Once again, if they keep fighting people who are ostensibly on the same side, we will likely lose.

Rather than stand up for what’s right, they seem to be fighting against those trying to protect what’s right…

Today on the show, after laying out my case on the NDAA, I checked in with my friend Zach Roberts.  Zach is a photojournalist who works with Greg Palast and on a number of other projects.  He’s been covering Occupy Wall Street and, for his troubles, was arrested on Saturday.

Saturday was the two month anniversary of the beginning of the Occupy movement, and the one year anniversary of when a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire, prompting the start of the Arab Spring.

Talk about having our civil liberties taken from us!  The cops should be protecting the protesters, not arresting them…

In the second hour, as she does every Monday morning, I was joined by Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars for a recap of the Sunday talking head shows.  She usually gives us a truly eloquent written recap but, thanks to internet difficulties, you’ll have to just follow the links below and check it all out there…

Dec 152011

I’ve spent the last two days digging deep into this story.  Yesterday on the Randi Rhodes Show, I interviewed Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Keith Ellison, both of whom expressed concern over the provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that allow for indefinite detention of anyone suspected of being a terrorist .. or even a terrorist sympathizer.  That applies to both citizens and non-citizens.

I also spoke with Politico’s Josh Gerstein who had posted “On National Defense Authorization Act, Obama Pulls Veto Threat” while the show was in progress.

On the House floor Wednesday afternoon, lawmakers disputed the impact of the bill. Some Democrats said the bill authorized a kind of permanent war and could lead to U.S. citizens being detained without trial. Republicans and a group of Democrats from the House Armed Services Committee said those fears were unjustified.

“This legislation erodes our society and our national security by militarizing our justice system and empowering the president to detain anyone in the United States, including American citizens without charge or trial,  without due process,” Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said. ”If this is going to continue to be the direction of our country, we don’t need a Democratic Party, a Republican party, an Occupy Wall Street party or a Tea Party. We need a Mayflower party….this legislation goes too far.”

This morning, I was joined by both Marcy Wheeler and Jason Leopold to discuss the issue further.  Marcy has been doing an amazing job covering the controversy surrounding this bill at    Just this morning, she wrote

There are two explanations for why Obama backed off his veto threat on this point, then. First, we know the Administration did make a request regarding the language in the AUMF clause, though before it issued its veto threat.

As I reported last month, the big change between the original language and the Senate bill in this clause was the removal of the language exempting US citizens from indefinite detention. And that was a change made at the request of the Administration.

The initial bill reported by the committee included language expressly precluding “the detention of citizens or lawful resident aliens of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.”  The Administration asked that this language be removed from the bill. [my emphasis]

If you want more on that, scroll down to the video in yesterdays post of Senator Carl Levin explaining just that!

Of course, I spent an hour or so after today’s show defending myself from supposedly progressive trolls on twitter excoriating me for my concern that our civil liberties are at stake here.

As I discussed with Jason Leopold this morning, even if US citizens were not included in the act – the idea that anyone should be imprisoned by the US indefinitely without any chance of a trial or eventual release is an atrocity and something this nation is supposed to be above.

But the twitter bots attacked!  People who call themselves progressives actually went on the attack against me for daring to point out that this is mighty dangerous territory! I’m waiting on the threatened malicious blog post (OMG!) and the “chirpstory” (whatever the fuck that is).

What a shame these people don’t have anything better to do than attack others who are looking out for them!

In the second hour of today’s show, I was joined by my friend Jeremy Koulish of Main Street Insider to talk about this week’s 90 Second Summary. This week, it deals with Congressman Ted Deutch‘s OCCUPIED amendment…

And we wrapped up the day (and my one-day back on the show this week) with John Fugelsang to lighten things up a bit. We talked about the Sexy Liberal Tour that I had the pleasure of seeing last weekend!

BTW, if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for your favorite liberals, the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour, Vol. 1 is now available via iTunes!

I’ll be back Monday – all week long!  Sorry for my extended absence.  I’ll try not to let it happen again!

Dec 082011

Here I am in Washington DC with a free day!  Yes, there was a march from the mall up to the Capitol and a group of people went in to try to see John Boehner (his office called the police and the citizens were told to leave or they’d be arrested).

As I was standing at the labor rally calling for good jobs in the shadow of the Capitol, an email arrived from Senator Bernie Sanders‘ office alerting me that he had introduced the first constitutional amendment in his entire congressional career.  It’s called The Saving American Democracy Amendment, and would overturn the heinous Supreme Court Citizens United Ruling which allows virtually unlimited anonymous corporate contributions to political campaigns.

December 8, 2011

Warning that “American democracy in endangered,” Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that allowed unrestricted and secret campaign spending by corporations on U.S. elections. The first constitutional amendment ever proposed by Sanders during his two decades in Congress would reverse the narrow 5-to-4 ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Elections Commission.

In that controversial decision almost two years ago, justices gave corporations the same First Amendment free-speech rights as people.

“There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by a constitutional amendment,” Sanders said of the effort to override the court decision that he labeled “a complete undermining of democracy.”

Sanders’ Saving American Democracy Amendment would make clear that corporations are not entitled to the same constitutional rights as people and that corporations may be regulated by Congress and state legislatures. It also would preserve the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press. It would incorporate a century-old ban on corporate campaign donations to candidates, and establish broad authority for Congress and states to regulate spending in elections.

Sanders proposal in the Senate is a companion measure to a constitutional amendment introduced in the House by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.). “The dominance of corporations in Washington has imperiled the economic security of the American people and left our citizens profoundly disenchanted with our democracy,” the congressman said. “I look forward to working with Sen. Sanders to save American democracy by banning all corporate spending in our elections and cracking down on secret front groups using anonymous corporate cash to undermine the public interest.”

Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, praised the proposal. “Sen. Sanders’ amendment returns us to shared understandings that democracy is for people. Public Citizen applauds and endorses the amendment, and thanks Sen. Sanders for his long-time campaign to reduce excessive corporate power.”

Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, also applauded the amendment. She said it would “root out the rank corruption of our elections by for-profit corporations.” No other amendment proposed in the Senate, she added, “has so definitively confronted the twin problems created by judges who have improperly granted rights to corporations, without democratic consent, and who have used their seats on the bench to favor the wishes of corporate CEOs.”

A proposed amendment originating in Congress must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate in order to be submitted for consideration by the states. Ratification by three-fourths of the states is required to amend the Constitution.

Upon reading the email, I immediately responded to Sen Sanders’ communications director, inquiring if I might be able to get a few minutes with the senator for an interview on this wonderful development.  He thought it might be possible, and said he’d get back to me.

At around 2pm he let me know that Bernie had to preside over the Senate for the next hour, pushing his schedule back, so an interview wasn’t going to happen.

Luckily for me, I had been in the process of going to the Senate gallery to watch the proceedings, and I responded to that message saying I was heading there at that moment.  I then checked all my electronics, including the cell phone, and entered the gallery.

I watched a couple of votes on the payroll tax – both of which were defeated. It was fairly uneventful, but fascinating to watch the swagger of some of the Senators (Scott Brown and Marco Rubio especially), and the interaction between the members.  Much better than C-Span, though I did miss the captions on the screen telling me what they were voting on.

I finally decided it was time to leave, as many of the Senators left after casting their votes.  I got my precious electronics back from their safe perch, and checked my messages.  There was another message from Michael Briggs in Sen. Sanders office – this one telling me that he would be speaking on his amendent right after the votes, somewhere around 3pm!

Oh shit!  I immediately turned around, checked my stuff and went back through the three layers of security to get back into the gallery (to the surprised looks of the many people I had just passed on the way out!).

I got inside just in time to hear Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was then the presiding over the chamber, recognize the gentleman from Vermont.

Yes, I was sitting right above for this wonderful speech from the man I wish was my Senator, Bernie Sanders:

Awesome, huh?

Dec 082011


Occupy DC faces off with cops on K Street

Yesterday there were two kinds of assholes on K Street.

The first group is there permanently.  They’re the ones who buy off members of Congress and get them to do their bidding.  On behalf of the K Street lobbyists, Congress passed bad laws and did nothing to stop the Wall Street excesses and theft from the 99% that led to the destruction of our economy.

That’s why almost two thousand people converged on Washington DC this week – to Take Back the Capitol.

On Tuesday, we descended on 99 congressional offices to tell our representatives that we need good jobs now and that we will no longer stand for corporations calling the shots in this county.

On Wednesday, it was K Street’s turn.

Not dampened by the continual downpour, massive groups of people marched through the streets of DC, all winding up at K Street and 16th.

As we moved down K toward 15th, we noticed the Occupy DC encampment there.  Those occupiers decided to join in on our action.

There was a dichotomy within the group.  Some of them were saying on the people’s mic that we’re all on the same side; essentially that we are one.

There were others, however, who had a holier-than-thou attitude.  A young woman with long dreadlocks actually had the nerve to tell me that because I’m not camping out at McPherson Square, I’m not part of the movement.

This poor girl has probably never held a job in her life, let alone lost one due to the crashed economy.  I can pretty much guarantee she’s never owned a home, let alone lost one due to the banksters fraudulent activities.

After the larger Take Back the Capitol groups left K Street after making our point (minus a few of the younger, more radical occupiers from around the country who stayed with the Occupy DC crowd), the mood changed.

With my handy android phone, I was able to stream live … it was right around this point, as all the protesters were moved onto the sidewalks, and a few decided to make a point and get arrested.  Then we were all allowed back on the sidewalk.. I was puzzled, to say the least.

What was a peaceful march turned into provocation.  The protesters that remained, for the most part, seemed intent on turning a great day ugly.

They set up tents and tables in the middle of intersections, snarling traffic throughout the city.  (Note: Not a great way to get the average person on your side).

As the cops pushed the crowd toward 14th street where they had erected a human barrier, the protesters got more defiant.

All of the cops I saw seemed not very happy to be there. They acted with restraint. But blogger  Aaron Krager witnessed one  cop overturn a table on which two protesters were standing….

All that was left was the one final line pictured above. By now, the protesters were sitting on the wet pavement, and a huge crowd surrounded them.

It all ended with the cops removing the protesters one by one and arresting them.  No pepper spray, rubber bullets or other “less lethal” weapons used.  Other police forces could learn a lesson from how the cops handled this.

Yes. The many of the lobbyists on K Street are assholes and should be thrown in jail.  But the same goes for some of the Occupy DC protesters on K Street yesterday.

Dec 072011

Yesterday I told you how a group of around 30 constituents from Florida’s 22nd congressional district went to Allen West’s office to meet with him. (We were part of a much larger group that went to visit 99 congressional offices in all, on behalf of the 99%.)

Only four from our group were allowed to speak with our congressman — I was not among them (not sure if it was because the receptionist was a bitch and I told her so, or because I’m me – probably some combination of the two).  I spoke with them after the meeting who told me that he

  • wouldn’t answer a direct question
  • answered only in talking points
  • told them not to waste their time getting “bullshit degrees” from college
  • was a condescending asshole who seemed not to hear a word they said

Well, Mr. West went on the Fox business channel last night and decided to lie about the meeting, saying the four who were allowed to meet with him “left with their tails between their legs.”

I think not Mr. West.


By the way, while we were there, I spoke with Angela Sachitano – Allen West’s communications director.  I’ve spoken with her in the past – with numerous invitations for the congressman to join me on the air on either my show or Randi Rhodes’.

I informed her that I’m guest hosting for Rhodes again Monday through Wednesday of next week, and would appreciate a few minutes of Mr. West’s time  She didn’t answer me.

Should you be so inclined, feel free to call her and ask the Congressman West appear on the air with me to answer some questions.  The number is 202-225-3026 and her email is


Dec 072011

I’m in Washington DC this week for a massive action “Take Back the Capitol”.

Today was a thing of beauty, as thousands of the 99% visited 99 congressional offices to tell our representatives that we need more jobs and less corporate influence over this country.

I was in a group of around 30 people from Florida’s 22nd district who wanted to meet with the man who is supposed to represent us — Allen West.

After waiting a couple of hours, West’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff (along with the help of three Capitol Police they somehow needed by their sides) said that West would meet with three of our group. After saying that we all wanted to meet with our congressman, they agreed to allow a fourth.  Mighty generous of them, eh?

The rest of us? Denied.  So we’ll just deny him a second term.  Sound good?

Dec 052011

I’m heading back to Washington DC tonight – along  with thousands of 99ers!   From the official website:


Thousands will converge on the nation’s capital to show Congress what democracy looks like, shine a light on corporate greed and the human suffering it has caused, and demand justice for the 99%. For four days we’ll hold spirited but peaceful actions, speak-outs, and protests—from the halls of the Capitol to the offices on K Street—as well as spend time together learning and sharing stories, ideas, and inspiration.

A few highlights:

  • Monday, December 5 – Set up the People’s Camp. After checking in, pitching tents, and creating signs and banners, an orientation and entertainment will be hosted by OurDC, a local organization of unemployed and underemployed 99%-ers.
  • Tuesday, December 6 – Take Back the People’s House. From the People’s Camp, we’ll form groups and fan out to congressional offices, remind members of Congress that the Capitol is the People’s House, and demand that theyrepresent the 99%.
  • Wednesday, December 7- “Make Wall Street Pay.” We’ll swarm K Street, the lobbying center for the world’s most powerful corporations, and track down those responsible for crashing the economy and causing millions of 99%ers to lose their jobs and homes—while failing to pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Thursday, December 8 – Demand Justice for the 99%. The day’s events will include multiple speak-outs throughout the Capitol, a national prayer vigil with unemployed folks and faith leaders, a mass march on key congressional leaders, and a lively jubilee action.
  • Friday, December 9 – Take It Home. We’ll pack it up and head home, where we need to keep the pressure on our representatives in Congress to do right by the 99%.

The awesome Shane-O will hold down the fort on RadioOrNot, and I’ll call in with reports each morning.  I’ll do my best to post reports here each evening too.  Stay tuned!

This morning on the show, I spoke with Jay Chambers, an unemployed iron worker who was on the bus heading down to DC from Boston to participate in the Take Back the Capitol events.  It should be a big week.

But those aren’t the only big actions planned.  Tomorrow – Dec. 6 – is a national day of action for Occupy Our Homes


My pal Greg Basta or NY Communities for Change, one of the many organizations participating in that day of action, joined me for a few minutes to give some of the details for tomorrow!

As we do every Monday, I spent the second hour of the show with Nicole Belle of Crooks & Liars.  She watches the Sunday talking head shows so we don’t have to… and we talk about ‘em, with audio! Here’s what she brought us today:

Once again, the Sunday morning talking heads prove that what’s true for the 99 percent is not necessarily what needs to be discussed.

Retiring congressman Barney Frank finds the whole Republican line up so ludicrous that he feels like he’s casting a remake of “The Wizard of Oz”.

To prove Barney’s point, Michele Bachmann voiced the patented Frank Luntz talking points on the Occupy protesters, claiming that their goal is ‘having other people pay for their stuff.’ Ironic from a person whose own small business (her husband’s reparative therapy clinic) relies on government money.

Quite inexplicably to me, Newt Gingrich is now the forerunner in the Republican primary. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. But if Republican voters think they’re getting someone who will bring a new tone to the White House…someone who isn’t corruptible and committed to strong conservative values, I’m not sure Newt’s the first guy who should come to mind. In addition to the sheer overwhelming amount of oppo research on the man, it’s pertinent to remember that Gingrich isn’t personally very popular in Washington, even within his own party. Sen. Tom Coburn told Chris Wallace that he found Newt lacking in leadership and was not the kind of person to bring the country together.

And that’s not the only place that Newt fails. According to rival Rick Santorum, Newt fails on a social conservative level, putting those all-important issues ‘in the back of the bus’.

Ron Paul doesn’t want you to count him out, however. Despite the fact that he’s never enjoyed frontrunner status within the GOP, he assured Candy Crowley that he is the “flavor of the decade”.

And speaking of Candy Crowley, she actually did get around to talking about the 99%…if only to show her complete ignorance of them. In discussing the latest unemployment report, she wanted to know who these ‘discouraged workers’ were and why there weren’t looking for work. Alice Rivlin, of the Brookings Institution and the Simpson/Bowles Deficit Commission, guessed that maybe it’s because their spouse has found a job and they don’t need one themselves.

I told you Jackson Browne will be appearing at Freedom Plaza this afternoon, after a visit to Zuccotti Park last week… Here’s some video from that!


I’ll talk to you and Shane-O tomorrow morning, live from DC, radio or not!

Dec 012011

I get that John McCain would author a bill that would allow everyday US citizens to be indefinitely detained by the military and held without charge.  But Senator Carl Levin? Et tu?

Apparently.  The two authored the Levin/McCain  bill, aka Section 1031 of the National Defense Authorization Act  …   Actually, as the ACLU reports:

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

The entire text of  S. 1867 – the National Defense Authorization Bill is found here;  the section dealing with the indefinite detention we’re talking about is found beginning on page 359.

Enter Sen. Mark Udal of Coloradol, who introduced the Udall Amendment, which

would have replaced the rules with a call for US military and intelligence officials to study the plan and offer their own blueprint for how to interrogate and detain alleged extremists. (via Raw Story).

Unfortunately, 15 Democrats in the Senate plus Joe Lieberman voted down the Udall Amendment proving that they either don’t understand or simply don’t care that they’re shredding the US constitution.  Of course, all but two Republicans (Rand Paul and Mark Kirk) voted against it.

I’m not surprised about the Republicans (the party name should go into the dictionary as the definition of hypocrisy).  But I am deeply disturbed about the 16 Democrats who voted against it:

  • Casey
  • Conrad
  • Hagan*
  • Inouye
  • Kohl
  • Landrieu
  • Levin*
  • Lieberman*
  • Manchin*
  • McCaskill*
  • Menendez
  • Bad Nelson*
  • Pryor
  • Reed*
  • Shaheen*
  • Stabenow
  • Whitehouse

Marcy Wheeler put that list together, and added the asterisks to the names of the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who voted against the Udall Amendment. (Note: I wouldn’t have included Lieberman on a list of Democrats. Marcy did, likely because he caucuses with the Dems.)

Glenn Greenwald at Salon wrote the best analysis of this vote/situation that I’ve seen thus far in “Congress Endorsing Military Detention, a New AUMF”.  I recommend reading the entire thing for a better understanding, but a few sections jumped out at me:

… the bill’s three most important provisions:

(1) mandates that all accused Terrorists be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than in the civilian court system; it alsounquestionably permits (but does not mandate) that even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil accused of Terrorism be held by the military rather than charged in the civilian court system (Sec. 1032);

(2) renews the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) with more expansive language: to allow force (and military detention) against not only those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and countries which harbored them, but also anyone who “substantially supports” Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” (Sec. 1031); and,

(3) imposes new restrictions on the U.S. Government’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo (Secs. 1033-35).

President Obama’s possible veto of Levin/McCain

Most media discussions of Levin/McCain assert that President Obama has threatened to veto it. That is not quite true: the White House’s statementon this bill uses language short of a full-on veto threat: “the President’s senior advisers [will] recommend a veto.” Moreover, former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith makes a persuasive (though not dispositive) case that it is unlikely that the President would veto this bill. Most likely, it seems to me, is that the veto threat will be used to extract concessions in order to have a bill that the President will sign.

Let’s be very clear, though, about what the “veto threat” is and is not. All things considered, I’m glad the White House is opposing this bill rather than supporting it. But, with a few exceptions, the objections raised by the White House are not grounded in substantive problems with these powers, but rather in the argument that such matters are for the Executive Branch, not the Congress, to decide. In other words, the White House’s objections are grounded in broad theories of Executive Power. They are not arguing: it is wrong to deny accused Terrorists a trial.Instead they insist: whether an accused Terrorist is put in military detention rather than civilian custody is for the President alone to decide. Over and over, the White House’s statement emphasizes Executive power as the basis for its objections to Levin/McCain:

Broadly speaking, the detention provisions in this billmicromanage the work of our experienced counterterrorism professionals, including our military commanders, intelligence professionals, seasoned counterterrorism prosecutors, or other operatives in the field. These professionals have successfully led a Government-wide effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents over two consecutive Administrations. The Administration believes strongly that it would be a mistake for Congress to overrule or limit the tactical flexibility of our Nation’s counterterrorism professionals.

Oy,  Again… you really should read the whole thing.

On the show this morning, we talked about that story and much more with Howie Klein.  In addition to blogging at, Howie oversees the Blue America PAC (along with Digby and John Amato)…  Blue America typically works on House races, but also has a Senate page up to support a few very worth Senatorial candidates!

Among many other things I found on Howie’s blog this morning was this gem.. from the Ron Paul campaign!

And to close out the week, I talked with comedian John Fugelsang about the everything from the Levin/McCain bill, the GOP slate of candidates, President Obama to the Sexy Liberals Tour which comes to South Florida next weekend and last night’s Grammy nominations.

Listen anytime to the podcast… and we’ll be back Monday morning, Radio or Not!

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