Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Assassinations OK'd By Judge Bates, Let's Add 14 Year Old Hookah Smoking Israeli Boy

Eugene Robinson
John Avlon

"Congress is buried under a crushing surplus of cynicism, while the White House seems paralyzed by a deficit of courage." - Eugene Robinson
"There is one point of growing agreement between the left and right: this president is a lousy poker player, with no love for the tough-minded gamesmanship of high-stakes negotiations. He believes in reasoning together, even with unreasonable people. This honorable approach leaves him liable to get rolled." - John Avlon

It may prove that having wikileak's founder Julian Assange arrested in Britain was the best thing that could have happened to him right now. Nobody likes living in a jail cell, but the alternative could have been that President Obama puts him on his personal assassination list... In a ruling today, Federal Judge John Bates (insert Master jokes here) said that having an assassination list is the kind of decision that only rests with the executive branch and is not open to judicial review

The judge further avoided answering any of the other questions regarding having an assassination list in the first place. Here's the blurb from the NY Times: "A federal judge threw out a lawsuit on Tuesday that sought to block the American government from trying to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a United States citizen and Muslim cleric accused of playing a significant role in Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen.

The ruling clears the way for the Obama administration to continue to try to kill Mr. Awlaki and represents a victory in its efforts to shield from judicial review one of its most striking counter-terrorism policies.

The court not only rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that Mr. Awlaki’s father had no standing to file it on behalf of his son, but held that decisions to mount targeted killings overseas are a “political question” for executive officials to make — not judges." Instead of getting into any ethical questions, the judge threw out the court case based on the father filing the case to protect his son, and only the person Anwar al-Awlaki has the right to file. The argument is that when a decision to take the life of an American born citizen, that decision should be open to a judicial review. The judge said it ain't so, the President can kill anyone he wants to. Thank god this decision didn't happen when Dick Cheney was still in charge, since this kind of hit list originated with him, with George Bush adding Osama bin Laden after 9/11. They both used mercenaries to find and kill people on the presidential list, and towards the end of Bush's term he was even hiring commando units from Britain and Germany in trying to find bin Laden. I guess the next thing to do is to find out who else is on the hit list without getting themselves added, too.
“If the court’s ruling is correct, the government has unreviewable authority to carry out the targeted killing of any American, anywhere, whom the president deems to be a threat to the nation. It would be difficult to conceive of a proposition more inconsistent with the Constitution, or more dangerous to American liberty.” - Jaleel Jaffer, ACLU Lawyer

The most disheartening part to me about this whole wikileaks affair, is how quickly American companies like Amazon and Paypal turned feral on their own customer by kicking him out of their systems at the slightest pressure from the government. Another reason why Meg Whitman should not have been elected as Governor of California? There is something vaguely sinister about this, and once Mr Assange is turned over to Sweden to face sex charges, he will then be sent to the US, who will try to put him away like he was Manuel Noriega. I guess that's what you get for tilting at windmills in our modern age of drive-by shootings and suicide bombers; your romantic self-image doesn't match up with the reality based disconnect... If the military had already repealed its Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, then Private Manning wouldn't have been so bitter and not have downloaded all of those files... As a result, more of the dumb and mundane will be classified top secret, surfing the Internet to sites not approved by your government may result in your loss of using the Internet and having your hard drive confiscated by your local police. The madness will build to a crescendo when a 14 year old boy gets put on the hit list and ends up assassinated, in a not too distant day and age when a hookah-smoking 14 year old boy can start the largest forest fire in the short history of Israel. Questions inevitably get asked, like if Israel is not prepared to put out a fire by itself, how can it possibly be ready to fight a country like Iran?

With the distractions of the wikileaks and the forest fire, Israel and the US had stopped pointing their fingers at each other and blaming the other for the stopped negotiations over a Palestinian state. Today the US will announce that its pressure on Israel to stop building in disputed areas is not working. Instead, we hope to resove where the borders will be for the state without having to sit down again, then Israel can build all it wants, as long as its not within the agreed upon boundaries. Already Argentina and Brazil have recognized Palestine as a separate state, that coincides with the PA's push for recognition as a state from the UN. It has become a game of chess, and every time Israel blocks one move, another strategy must be employed. Maybe Israel can use those illegal settlers to replant the areas burned by the forest fire instead of the illegal workers it has imported to do manual labor, then reward the children of those people by kicking them out of the country and denying them any chance at citizenship, a strategy that is hoped to be adopted here in the US by the fervid anti-imgrates...

Are you thrilled that the Bush tax cuts will be extended for another two years, that is, if some Democrat doesn't decide to filibuster... add another $90 billion to the deficit over the next two years, if that's what you are concerned about. Myself, it's the realization that it doesn't matter one bit whether the tax cuts are extended or they expire, because either way will not do anything towards providing jobs. Our economy will not bounce back within the next two, four, or even six years enough to bring the jobless rate down significantly. If someone tells you different, they are lying or misinformed, probably both...

My biggest gripe with my conservative brethren is that they believe that a tax cut will solve everything, therefore they don't bother to come up with any more ideas. I have finally begun hearing some people talk how we need to rebuild our manufacturing base. The Chinese have the world-wide market in solar panels locked up, so we need to be more innovative in the alternative energy markets; after all, we can't rely on clean coal technology forever... Otherwise, there will be a world-wide escalation of nuclear plants and technology, with Iran leading the way, our future resembling a nuclear meltdown, with the poorest countries on each continent turned into a waste dump for the others...

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