Just like Maddow after Jindal, I am rendered speechless by the DOJ memos released on Monday. Most were by my former Con Law professor; among the notable exceptions was the repudiation of these policies last October.
Holy Constitutional Law, Batman.
* DOJ – Office of Legal Counsel memos
* NYT (3/3)
* LAT (3/3)
* links to the memos with brief annotations at salon.com
* Jack Balkin @ Balkinization (3/3 7am)
* Scott Horton @ Harper’s (3/3 716am)
* Dan Froomkin @ the Washington Post (3/3 12:52 pm)
* Glenn Greenwald, 3/3
Obama halts all regulations pending review
17 hours ago AP 2009/01/20
WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President Barack Obama’s first acts is to order federal agencies to halt all pending regulations until his administration can review them.
The order went out Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Obama was inaugurated president, in a memorandum signed by new White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. The notice of the action was contained in the first press release sent out by Obama’s White House, and it came from deputy press secretary Bill Burton.
The waning days of former President Bush’s administration featured much debate over what rules and regulations he would seek to enact before he left office.
(also? i loved that whitehouse.gov flipped over right about noon. badgerbag tells me that the old robots.txt was like 2500 lines long, but the one is only a couple of lines long. heh.)
Ross Douthat’s op-ed in the NYT is a showcase for the deceptive rhetoric of the right. The piece is a long paean to the supposed reasonableness and willingness to compromise of the anti-choice movement. He wraps up by attempting to lay the “blame” on Roe and Casey for the “failure” of Americans to reach peace on safe and legal abortion:
But no such compromise is possible so long as Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey remain on the books. These decisions are monuments to pro-choice absolutism, and for pro-lifers to accept them means accepting that no serious legal restrictions on abortion will ever be possible — no matter what the polls say, and no matter how many hearts and minds pro-lifers change.
Wow. Where to begin.
I’m contemplating Bush’s potential pardon of his various underlings for their roles in torture or other illegal actions, and I’m angry.
The Presidential pardoning power can be and should be used for humanitarian reasons — for mercy, or for justice, when for whatever reason those are not available through ordinary means. There’s also a good argument for using it for “national reconciliation” — e.g., pardoning the Viet Nam draft dodgers, or (gag) pardoning Nixon. (Those situations are clearly distinguishable, obviously, but even though I firmly disagree with the Nixon pardon, it’s a reasonable argument.)
But the pardoning power should not be available for use to eliminate responsibility for one’s own misdeeds, and for members of the government that includes actions committed on orders. Members of the government already receive a wide variety of protections for “following orders”. Use of the Presidential pardon power to pardon those who followed one’s own illegal orders is the worst kind of self-dealing, and it places the President above the law. Since “[t]he President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” it’s clear that impeachment for such crimes was envisioned. Yet pardoning one’s underlings for their illegal activities render it virtually impossible to prosecute the superior that ordered the actions — the President thus protects himself from any such impeachment or other prosecution.
It’s regularly stated that the Presidential pardon power is “plenary” and virtually unlimited, but there must be some level of absurdity. Can the President pardon himself for, say, ordering the massacre of Congress and the suspension of the Constitution? Or bribe an investigative commission and then pardon himself for doing so? Well, yeah. Bush I showed us that they can, with his Iran-Contra pardons. So here we go again. There is just no fucking justice or accountability for members of this administration. God that makes me angry.
update 2/28: See, this is why I should save my wrath until after the fact. I could have used it so much more effectively ….
The NYT tells us today about Kevin Martin & the FCC’s new plan to relax the cross-ownership rules, which restrict large corporations from dominating entire urban markets. And, on the same page, on the same day, a story that has all the classic hallmarks of the Bush approach to the environment: scuttle environmental protection schemes that are working, destroy wildlife, and lie about science. New battle of logging vs. spotted owls
god I’m tired. 460 more days is a very long time.
Sometimes one despairs and relies on others to speak truth to power. Many have done so with respect to with respect to the “Military Commissions Act of 2006″, but
Kent Keith Olbermann‘s was particularly eloquent.
update: Ahem. Apparently that’s Keith Olbermann, and Kent Brockman. Another sign of aging, because I would never ordinarily confuse the grey/blonde Simpson’s reporter with the grey/blonde MSNBC reporter.
“[The media] would still roll over for Bush in tonight’s debate, if only he had told his lies crisply and with folksy assurance.”
From Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog., Saturday 12-June-2004:
Torture: A last recourse we may require sooner and sooner
The Medium Lobster has been disquieted of late at by the latest round of Iraq torture scandal news. There has been much uproar – among that irritating minority which have not been studiously scrutinizing the week’s top story, the beatification of Ronald Reagan, at least – regarding the powers of the president and the incompatibility of torture with a liberal democracy. In the midst of all this, the Medium Lobster would like to offer those with cooler heads some perspective as to the merits of harsh interrogation.
Imagine there is some weapon of mass destruction planted by terrorists in the heart of a city, ready to go off – a “ticking bomb,” if you will. Would it be wrong to torture a terrorist to find the location of such a device and save the millions of lives at risk? Hardly. Now, what if instead of torturing a terrorist, interrogators had to torture a confederate of that terrorist – some associate who would know where the terrorist was so they could locate that ticking bomb? Is that dirtying of our hands such a high price to ask in the goal to protect millions? I think not. Now, what if instead of a terrorist’s comrade, interrogators have a terrorist’s relative or neighbor? Is it still justified to go as far to save innocent lives? I should hope so! And what if that terrorist has a lot of relatives and neighbors – hundreds, even? Would it be wrong to grant blanket authority to torture hundreds of prisoners knowing full well that any of them could have the crucial information required to save a city? Certainly not! And what if the threat we’re faced with is not a bomb at all but an even more pernicious threat – a rogue nation with the potential capability to someday construct that bomb? Would it not be America’s right – no, her duty – to invade that country, occupy it, and set up a system of torture-like interrogations to rid that country of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction once and for all? Absolutely!
Indeed, the most unsettling question being raised by these latest news items is not the issue of torture itself, but the question of whether America will be strong enough to use that torture to defeat the enemies of life and liberty. The Medium Lobster can only hope that this great nation will retain its nerve.