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“Preventive Detention” And Prisoners Of War

enter Glenn Greenwald writes:

cialis order In the wake of Obama’s speech yesterday, there are vast numbers of new converts who now support indefinite “preventive detention.”  It thus seems constructive to have as dispassionate and fact-based discussion as possible of the implications of “preventive detention” and Obama’s related detention proposals (military commissions).

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levitra mg available I hope by now my ability to disagree with and criticize President Obama is not questioned. Thus, when I say that I think there may be merit in a detention regime (the military commissions proposal seems fatally flawed to me as described) that detains known combatants in a manner that is compliant with the Constitution and the Geneva Convention, I hope my argument can be addressed seriously. I do not think Glenn’s post considers the possibility that President Obama’s proposal may in fact be such a Geneva Convention compliant detention regime. More . . .

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To Whom It May Concern

quanto costa il levitra generico in italia Some of you may have noticed my absence from this site. Most of you probably not. But to clear up any misinterpretations, I am not boycotting this site. It is just that I have been horserace blogging at my other site Talk Left. DD is not about that.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=cialis-professional-from-online-drugstore-60mg When I have something of substance to write about, you can be sure I’ll write it here as well.

source site Hoping that the New Year has gone well for all of you so far.

From The “Pols Are Pols” File

So when you discuss politicians, some folks seem intent in believing pols are not pols. My old refrain remains the same. During primary season, the cult of the candidates is strong. Consider this discussion of the non/tepid support for Ned Lamont and the strong support from Establishment Dems of Joe Lieberman.

As you can see, for members of a candidate cult, this is irrelevant. The most honest answer is this is what Establishment politicians do. They act in their own political interests as they see them. I never railed about these Establishment pols’ actions during the Lamont/Lieberman campaign because that is what I expected them to do.

Of course, some pols act against the Establishment position when they perceive it is in their best political interests. Chris Dodd’s admirable actions yesterday are an example of that.

Folks put too much stock in the motivations of pols. What matters is what they do, not why they do it. The answer to the why is always the same – to win elections.

Judge the what. Reward the actions you approve of. Condemn the actions you disapprove of.

Be a smart consumer of your politics. Remember that pols are pols and they do what they do.

“They All Disappoint”

The best show on television today is “The Wire.” In subsequent entries, I’ll explain why I think so. Its new season, Season 5, starts in January and The Wire will be one of the things I write about. Season 4 focused on politics a good deal.

At the finale to Season 4, the new mayor of Baltimore, where the show is set, is faced with the dilemma of doing “the right thing” and doing what he perceives is the right thing politically (the plot point involves “eating shit” so the Baltimore schools get money it needs vs. what’s right for his shot at being Governor. You know what he does.

Afterwards, his close aide, who fought the campaign with him, discusses this with the chief of staff of the former mayor, saying “can’t believe he left the money on the table.” The former COS responds “they all disappoint.” And indeed, they do. They’ve all disappointed, even Lincoln, FDR and Bobby Kennedy.

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it is true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren’t them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothing more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight to pressure DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker or the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It’s more important BY FAR than “fighting” for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

More on this theme in a week or so. I’m traveling.  

“They All Disappoint”

The best show on television today is “The Wire.” In subsequent entries, I’ll explai why I think so. Its new season, Season 5, starts in January and The Wire will be one of the things I write about. Season 4 focused on politics a good deal.

At the finale to Season 4, the new mayor of Baltimore, where the show is set, is faced with the dilemma of doing “the right thing” and doing what he perceives is the right thing politically (the plot point involves “eating shit” so the Baltimore schools get money it needs vs. what’s right for his shot at being Governor. You know what he does.

Afterwards, his close aide, who fought the campaign with him, discusses this with the chief of staff of the former mayor, saying “can/ believe he left the money on the table. The foremr COS responds “they all disappoint.” And indeed, they do. They’ve all disapppointed, even Lincoln, FDR and Bobby Kennedy.

As citizens and activists, our allegiances have to be to the issues we believe in. I am a partisan Democrat it s true. But the reason I am is because I know who we can pressure to do the right thing some of the times. Republicans aren’t them. But that does not mean we accept the failings of our Democrats. There is nothig more important that we can do, as citizens, activists or bloggers than fight DEMOCRATS to do the right thing on OUR issues.

And this is true in every context I think. Be it pressing the Speaker of the Senate majority leader, or the new hope running for President. There is nothing more important we can do. Nothing. It’s more important BY FAR than “fighting” for your favorite pol because your favorite pol will ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, disappoint you.

In the middle of primary fights, citizens, activists and bloggers like to think their guy or woman is different. They are going to change the way politics works. They are going to not disappoint. In short, they are not going to be pols. That is, in a word, idiotic.

Yes, they are all pols. And they do what they do. Do not fight for pols. Fight for the issues you care about. That often means fighting for a pol of course. But remember, you are fighting for the issues. Not the pols.

More on this theme in a week or so. I’m traveling.  

Gitmo Argument In SCOTUS Today

Today, the Supreme Court heard cases related to the Guantanamo detention cases.

For background on the issues, see my post here and here.

Slate Trumps Time: Publishes Response To Saletan On Race And IQ

Unlike Time, which blocked all responses to Joe Klein’s factually challenged column on FISA, via Matt Yglesias, Slate has published a response by Stephen Metclaf to Will Saletan on race and IQ. The nuts:

Much of Saletan’s précis of the rest of the research surveyed in “Thirty Years of Research Into Race Differences on Cognitive Abilities” is highly questionable. His takeaway regarding the “admixture” studies is precisely the opposite of what an American Psychological Association task force concluded the studies show-that more “European” blood in a black American does not make him smarter. Saletan points up the problems with a favorite study of the environmentalists, into the IQ outcomes of children fathered by foreign soldiers and raised by (white) German mothers. This study showed that kids with African fathers scored the same as those with white fathers. But, Saletan says, it suffers from a fatal flaw: Blacks in the military had been screened for IQ. Saletan concludes, “Even environmentalists (scholars who advocate nongenetic explanations) concede that this filter radically distorted the numbers.” But this is flatly untrue. The two most prominent environmentalists, Richard Nisbett and James Flynn, have dismissed this very objection. Both have pointed out that white soldiers were also screened, and so had higher IQs than the general white population. James Flynn has argued extensively that the black-white gap in the military was the same as in the population at large.

In essence, Metcalf demonstrates that Saletan, like Joe Klein on FISA, simply did not know what he was writing about. It is to Slate’s credit that it was willing to publish such a demolition of one of its regular writers. Score another one for honesty for Washington Post Company, which allowed Krauthammer to be demolished today.

An Annie Hall Moment: Krauthammer Contradicted By Groundbreaking Stem Cell Scientist

From Annie Hall:

. . .  MAN: Now, Marshall McLuhan–

WOODY ALLEN: You don't know anything about Marshall McLuhan's work–

MAN: Really? Really? I happen to teach a class at Columbia called TV, Media and Culture, so I think that my insights into Mr. McLuhan, well, have a great deal of validity.

WOODY ALLEN: Oh, do you? . . . Oh, that's funny, because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here. Come over here for a second?

WOODY ALLEN: Tell him.

MARSHALL McLUHAN: — I heard, I heard what you were saying. You, you know nothing of my work. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing.

WOODY ALLEN: Boy, if life were only like this.

Sometimes it is. Via Josh Marshall, Charles Krauthammer gets his comeuppance on some nonsense he wrote on stem cell research. Groundbreaking stem cell researcher James Thomson delivers it:

Krauthammer's central argument — that the president's misgivings about embryonic stem cell research inspired innovative alternatives — is fundamentally flawed, too. Yamanaka was of course working in Japan, and scientists around the world are pursuing the full spectrum of options, in many cases faster than researchers in the United States.

Ah, sometimes life IS like this.

A Snag In The Campaign For War With Iran

Is Cheney Wailing?

A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.

The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to be major factor in the tense international negotiations aimed at getting Iran to halt its nuclear energy program. Concerns about Iran were raised sharply after President Bush had suggested in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III,” and Vice President Dick Cheney promised “serious consequences” if the government in Tehran did not abandon its nuclear program.

The finding also come in the middle of a presidential campaign during which a possible military strike against Iran’s nuclear program has been discussed. The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran’s ultimate intentions about gaining a nuclear weapon remain unclear, but that Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.”

“Some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways might – if perceived by Iran’s leaders as credible – prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program,” the estimate states.

I have always believed the Iran scare was mostly a red herring by the cynical Bush Administration (not the Cheney cabal however) to take the focus off of IRaq and and that the only way there would be war with Iran would be if a pretext was concocted via the Iraq Debacle. I think that is more true than ever.

Thus, being firm on the Kyl Lieberman is admirable but being firm on NOT funding the Iraq Debacle is MUCH MORE important. It is one of the principal reasons I am displeased with Senator Jim Webb’s actions on these issues.

Chavez Constitutional Referendum Narrowly Defeated

mishima brings us this report:

Chavez Loses Constitutional Vote

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez suffered a stunning defeat Monday in a referendum that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely and impose a socialist system in this major U.S. oil provider.

Voters defeated the sweeping measures Sunday by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent, said Tibisay Lucena, chief of the National Electoral Council, with voter turnout at just 56 percent.

She said that with 88 percent of the votes counted, the trend was irreversible.

Opposition supporters shouted with joy as Lucena announced the results on national television early Monday, their first victory against Chavez after nine years of electoral defeats.

Credit to Chavez for respecting this result. It sounds strange to say that, but Latin America, unfortuately, is not famous for its fealty to democracy.

 

Sen Webb: Congress Will Fund The Debacle In Iraq

I am watching Senator Webb’s appearance on Meet the Press this morning and in response to Tim Russert’s playing President George Bush’s statement that Congress capitulate to his demand that the Iraq Debacle be funded without conditions, Senator Webb basically said that Congress will provide funds for Bush Iraq Debacle.

Senator Webb talks a good game, but as he has done all year, the bottom line is he will vote cede Congress’ Constitutional Spending Power. He will not vote to stand up to Bush. In the next breath he is real strong on nonbinding resolutions about Iran.

When asked by Russert about Joe Biden’s call to impeach Bush if he attacks Iran, Webb hems and haws and says that the SPENDING POWER is the way to stop Bush from attacking Iran.

Excuse me Senator Webb, IF Bush does attack Iran, basedon your statements on Iraq funding, I would expect that you will vote for funding there too.

Senator Webb is a real mess on these issues.

Why Am I Uncomfortable With An Editorial I Agree With?

Today the NYTimes Editorial Board publishes an editorial urging Venzuelan voters to reject Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s constitutional proposals:

Since he took office eight years ago, Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, has grabbed more and more power, exploiting his nation’s oil wealth to buy up popular support. Now there are hopeful signs that his plan to become president for life may be too blatant for the electorate to swallow.

Tomorrow, Venezuelans are scheduled to vote on a package of constitutional reforms proposed by Mr. Chávez that would grant the president control over nearly every major political institution, as well as the option to stand for re-election as many times as he wants. A few months ago, it looked like Mr. Chávez would easily get his way. A survey last week by an independent pollster found that 49 percent of Venezuelans opposed the changes and only 39 percent supported it. We hope those numbers hold.

. . . Now there are signs that more Venezuelans have decided to take a stand and vote no. This referendum is too important to miss. Opponents are calling for a massive “no” vote. For the sake of Venezuela’s battered democracy, voters should heed the call.

I agree with this editorial. But the fact that it is run in what I believe is our most important Media institution does not sit well with me. I am not sure that my feeling is right. In fact, I know that if the editorial merely described Chavez’s actions without urging a specific vote on the referenum, I would not feel this way. It is the urging of citizens of another country how to vote that bothers me.

Is that a meaningful distinction? I honestly do not know. My reaction is at the gut level. What do you folks think?  

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