1 May

“Listen to what I say; not see what I actually do.”

                                       
Trays of halal meat for detainee meals are stored in a refrigeration unit at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. BOB STRONG/REUTERS

Trays of halal meat for detainee meals are stored in a refrigeration unit at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. BOB STRONG/REUTERS

A selection of lunch meals offered to detainees are displayed in a food preparation area at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. BOB STRONG/REUTERS

A selection of lunch meals offered to detainees are displayed in a food preparation area at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. BOB STRONG/REUTERS

I heard it again on the Today Show this morning: Two days into his presidency, by Executive Order, President Barack Obama called for closing Guantanamo but was blocked by Congress at every turn.

Really?!

Essentially, a segment of mainstream media in their lazy journalism (or liberal bias) is merely adopting the excuse and language used by President Obama in his press conference yesterday.

Time Swampland headline: President Obama Sides With His Guantanamo Bay Protesters

CBS News headline writes “Obama: Guantanamo Must Close

The Guardian headline: Guantánamo ‘not in the best interests of the American people’, says Obama

USA Today headlines Obama: We need to close Guantanamo Bay

LATimes writes Obama renews call to close Guantanamo prison

Ok…

Amusing headline at ABC News today, reporting the AP: Guantanamo Strike Still on Despite New Obama Vow Really?! You mean to say President Obama’s awe-inspiring vow renewal didn’t inspire the detainees to buy into the bull-rhetoric and end their hunger strike?

fb_guantanamo

But not everyone in the liberal side of the press is blind to his silvered-tongue demagoguery of the issue.

NYTimes Editorial Board:

We were pleased that Mr. Obama pledged to make good, finally, on his promise to do just that. But that reaction was tempered by the fact that he has failed to do so for five years and that he has not taken steps within his executive power to transfer prisoners long ago cleared for release. Mr. Obama’s plans to try to talk Congress into removing obstacles to closing the prison do not reflect the urgency of the crisis facing him now.

In wake of recent problems at Guantanamo and news of the detainee hunger strike finally making its way into the public mainstream consciousness, President Obama was made to address the issue:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Bill Plante.

Q: Mr. President, as you’re probably aware, there’s a growing hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, among prisoners there. Is it any surprise, really, that they would prefer death rather than have no end in sight to their confinement?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is not a surprise to me that we’ve got problems in Guantanamo, which is why, when I was campaigning in 2007 and 2008 and when I was elected in 2008, I said we need to close Guantanamo.

I continue to believe that we’ve got to close Guantanamo. I think — well, you know, I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.

Now Congress determined that they would not let us close it and despite the fact that there are a number of the folks who are currently in Guantanamo who the courts have said could be returned to their country of origin or potentially a third country.

I’m going to go back at this. I’ve asked my team to review everything that’s currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I’m going to re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that’s in the best interests of the American people.

And it’s not sustainable. I mean, the notion that we’re going to continue to keep over a hundred individuals in a no man’s land in perpetuity, even at a time when we’ve wound down the war in Iraq, we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan, we’re having success defeating al-Qaida core, we’ve kept the pressure up on all these transnational terrorist networks, when we’ve transferred detention authority in Afghanistan — the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried — that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop.

Now, it’s a hard case to make because, you know, I think for a lot of Americans, the notion is out of sight, out of mind, and it’s easy to demagogue the issue. That’s what happened the first time this came up. I’m going to go back at it because I think it’s important.

Q: (Off mic) — continue to force-feed these folks — (inaudible) —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I don’t — I don’t want these individuals to die. Obviously, the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can. But I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this. Why are we doing this?

I mean, we’ve got a whole bunch of individuals who have been tried who are currently in maximum security prisons around the country. Nothing’s happened to them. Justice has been served. It’s been done in a way that’s consistent with our Constitution, consistent with due process, consistent with rule of law, consistent with our traditions. The — the individual who attempted to bomb Times Square — in prison serving a life sentence. Individual who tried to bomb a plane in Detroit — in prison serving a life sentence. A Somali who was part of al-Shahab (sic) who we captured — in prison.

So we can handle this. And I understand that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, with the traumas that had taken place, why, for a lot of Americans, the notion was somehow that we had to create a special facility like Guantanamo, and we couldn’t handle this in — in a normal, conventional fashion. I understand that reaction.

But we’re not over a decade out. We should be wiser. We should have more experience at — in how we prosecute terrorists. And this is a lingering, you know, problem that is not going to get better. It’s going to get worse. It’s going to fester.

And so I’m going to — as I’ve said before, we’re — examine every option that we have administratively to try to deal with this issue. But ultimately, we’re also going to need some help from Congress. And I’m going to ask some — some folks over there who, you know, care about fighting terrorism but also care about who we are as a people to — to step up and — and help me on it.

It’s Congress’s fault. It’s Bush’s fault.

An-image-of-President-Bar-001

The parts of the transcript that were emboldened comes from Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare Blog who sees right through the “Era of Transparency” president:

The President’s comments are bewildering because his own policies give rise to the vast majority of the concerns about which he so earnestly delivered himself in these remarks.

Remember that Obama himself has imposed a moratorium on repatriating people to Yemen. And Obama himself has insisted that nearly 50 detainees cannot either be tried or transferred.

True, he would hold such people in a domestic facility, rather than at Guantanamo Bay. But so what? does the President not understand when he frets about “the notion that we’re going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no-man’s land in perpetuity” that if Congress let him do exactly as he wished, he would still be doing exactly that—except that the number might not reach 100 and the location would not be at Guantanamo? Does he not understand his own policy proposals—to maintain a residual group of detainees indefinitely—when he worries that “When we transfer detention authority in Afghanistan, the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried, that is contrary to who we are. It is contrary to our interests and it needs to stop”? Does he not understand when he intones that we are wiser now than we were after 9/11 and no longer need a site like Guantanamo to hold non-criminal terrorist detainees that he is proposing to build a new one?

Pardon me, but I don’t get it.

In a follow up post, Wittes mentions Glenn Greenwald emailed that he was in agreement:

So glad you wrote this—it’s been driving me crazy forever:

Even though you’re writing it with a different motive than I have (I think you’re mad that Obama is slamming a policy you believe in—indefinite detention—and then are quite rightly pointing out that he shouldn’t be doing so since he supports such a policy), the key point is constantly ignored: before Congress did anything, Obama’s plan was simply to move Guantanamo, not close it, and keep its defining system of indefinite detention.

I just don’t know how to get people to understand this. They’ve been told so often that Obama tried to close Gitmo but Congress stopped him that they can’t realize that, though narrowly true, it’s extremely misleading.

Wittes writes:

Obama is unwilling to give up the benefits of Guantanamo—the ability to detain enemy fighters and leaders outside of the criminal justice system—but he wants nonetheless to partake of the rhetoric of its delegitimization. I believe in detention in some circumstances, but I also think we need to be honest about what those circumstances are and what makes detention legitimate within them; those of us who believe in detention need to be up front about where we differ from people like Greenwald, who reject it on principle. For Obama to talk in the language of the ACLU when what he means is that he wishes to hold fewer people than are now at Guantanamo and to do so at Location B, rather than at Location A, is profoundly dishonest—and more importantly, it has the effect of delegitimizing a policy to which Obama is, in fact, committed.

And my favorite line from his post:

I respect Greenwald’s right to dissent from Obama administration policies. I do not respect Obama’s right to dissent from his own administration’s policies.

Remember that the previous administration had also sought avenues for closing Gitmo.

Wittes concludes,

If Obama had meant that he wants to bring to an end detention—which is legitimate as long as hostilities continue—as he brings hostilities to a close, he could have said as much very simply. He didn’t need to go on a rant about how much we had learned about how to handle terrorists over the last ten years. He didn’t need to wring his hands about how much damage Guantanamo does to America’s image. He could simply have stated that detention under the laws of war is proper as long as hostilities continue, that he hopes to bring hostilities to a close in short order, that releases will be inevitable at that point, and that Congress should give him more flexibility with respect to transfers now. Instead, he described himself as fighting against a policy he has, in fact, adopted.

Guantanamo-protest-via-AFP

This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Baracks Broken Promises, Guantanamo, Media, MSM Bias. Bookmark the permalink. Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 10:31 am
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21 Responses to “Listen to what I say; not see what I actually do.”

  1. Wordsmith says: 1

    Dana Milbank at WaPo: President leading neither from the front nor behind…just a presidential bystander:

    Some in the room chuckled. Obama didn’t. “You seem to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities, and that my job is to somehow get them to behave,” he said. “That’s their job. . . . I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions.” He instead spoke of creating “a permission structure” for Republicans to do what he wants.

    Obama is correct about the dysfunction, and the difficulty of passing even uncontroversial bills. But his stance was frustratingly passive, as if what happens in Congress is out of his hands. It’s the president’s job to lead, and to bang heads if necessary, regardless of any “permission structure.” Obama seemed oddly like a spectator, as if he had resigned himself to a reactive presidency.

    Where is the leadership?

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  2. Dc says: 2

    Wordsmith, you are reading my mind!

    I posted this earlier in another thread/post:

    Perhaps this is OT, but…related….Obama says he has a problem with holding people at Gitmo indefinitely. He even says what are we going to do? Hold them till they are dead? The answer is “yes”. Because in the same paragraph with the irony meter bending over backwards, he suggests that our judicial system is working and a better place for them…because we already have some of these people in jail for life. Um…that would mean they are going to die in jail/captivity…no?

    So, it’s ok to allow them to be silent, and lawyer up, and it’s ok to hold them in a US overcrowded prison until they die, it’s ok to kill them on the spot with a drone, but it’s not ok to keep them in gitmo until they are dead or interrogate them harshly. It sounds like to me…Mr Obama thinks we have a “moral” crisis about how we deal with people trying to kill us and blow up our towns.

    Lastly, the only “rock” Obama doesn’t want to turn over in his investigations …is the one that has information about how his admin screwed up.

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  3. Budvarakbar says: 3

    @Dc: I think you are leaving at the end of your last sentence: — accidently, on purpose.

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  4. This one says: 4

    Did you forget the GOP denied the funding to close Gitmo over and over again? Once again, the GOP drives the car into the ditch then blames Obama for not getting us out while they hold on to the steering wheel.

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  5. Wordsmith says: 5

    @This one:

    Did you forget the GOP denied the funding to close Gitmo over and over again? Once again, the GOP drives the car into the ditch then blames Obama for not getting us out while they hold on to the steering wheel.

    I’m sorry, but which party held a majority in both houses of Congress during President Obama’s first 2 years in office?

    So essentially you’re also parrot-pushing the President Bystander’s line: Congress is to blame.

    Glenn Greenwald on President Obama’s 2011 EO:

    I’m writing about this merely to address the excuse from the White House and its loyalists that the fault for this policy, this inability to “close Guantanamo,” lies with Congress, which forced the President to abandon his oft-stated campaign pledge. That excuse is pure fiction.

    It is true that Congress — with the overwhelming support of both parties — has enacted several measures making it much more difficult, indeed impossible, to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. But long before that ever happened, Obama made clear that he wanted to continue the twin defining pillars of the Bush detention regime: namely, (1) indefinite, charge-free detention and (2) military commissions (for those lucky enough to be charged with something). Obama never had a plan for “closing Guantanamo” in any meaningful sense; the most he sought to do was to move it a few thousand miles north to Illinois, where its defining injustices would endure.

    And how about that Bagram detention facility? Shhh….

    Continuing with Greenwald:

    The preservation of the crux of the Bush detention scheme was advocated by Obama long before Congress’ ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. It was in May, 2009 — a mere five months after his inauguration — that Obama stood up in front of the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives and demanded a new law of “preventive detention” to empower him to imprison people without charges: a plan the New York Times said “would be a departure from the way this country sees itself.” It was the same month that the administration announced it intended to continue to deny many detainees trials, instead preserving the military commissions scheme, albeit with modifications. And the first — and only — Obama plan for “closing Guantanamo” came in December, 2009, and it entailed nothing more than transferring the camp to a supermax prison in Thompson, Illinois, while preserving its key ingredients, prompting the name “Gitmo North.”

    None of this was even arguably necessitated by Congressional action. To the contrary, almost all of it took place before Congress did anything. It was Barack Obama’s position — not that of Congress — that detainees could and should be denied trials, that our court system was inadequate and inappropriate to try them, and that he possessed the unilateral, unrestrained power under the “laws of war” to order them imprisoned for years, even indefinitely, without bothering to charge them with a crime and without any review by the judiciary, in some cases without even the right of habeas review (to see why claims of such “law of war” detention power are so baseless, see the points here, especially point 5).

    In other words, Obama — for reasons having nothing to do with Congress — worked from the start to preserve the crux of the Bush/Cheney detention regime. Even with these new added levels of detention review (all inside the Executive Branch), this new Executive Order is little more than a by-product of that core commitment, and those blaming it on Congress either have little idea what they’re talking about or are simply fabricating excuses in order to justify yet another instance where Obama dutifully “bolsters” the Bush War on Terror template. Indefinite detention and military commissions are continuing because Obama worked from the start for that goal — not because Congress forced him to do so.

    Sure, I guess we can blame Bush, still…Bush’s fault that Obama coat-tailed, piggyback-rode, and took ownership responsibility of adopted Bush-era policies:

    UPDATE: Headlines certainly do speak volumes on this story. ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer, who has been covering this story in detail for some time, today writes about Obama’s Executive Order under this apt headline:

    In particular, she details how — despite some moderate new benefits to detainees — the new Executive Order has its genesis in the Bush/Cheney regime:

    While the order is new, most of the ideas it contains are not. This is the third time such a board has been created for nearly the same purpose. Two similar processes to review detainee cases were in place during the Bush administration. Like its predecessors, the Obama administration’s review process will operate outside the courts and will be subject to no independent review.

    As always, the most harmful aspect of the Obama legacy is that he has converted what were once controversial right-wing Bush policies into unchallenged bipartisan consensus, to endure indefinitely and without any opposition from either party. And, to underscore the point once more: Obama’s plan as President (as opposed to as a candidate) was never to dismantle the Bush/Cheney system at Guantanamo; before Congress acted at all, his only objective was to preserve its core, defining features and then move that system to Illinois.

    Maureen Dowd:

    Then he put on his best professorial mien to give his high-minded philosophy of governance: Reason together and do what’s right.

    “But, Jonathan,” he lectured Karl, “you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and for the American people.”

    Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.

    He still thinks he’ll do his thing from the balcony and everyone else will follow along below. That’s not how it works.

    How can the president star in a White House Correspondents’ Association dinner satirical film pretending to be Daniel Day-Lewis playing Barack Obama in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Obama,” and not have absorbed the lessons of “Lincoln”?

    “Some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress,” he said in an alleged joke at the dinner Saturday night. “ ‘Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?’ they ask. Really? Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell.”

    He insisted primly on Tuesday: “I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions. I can urge them to. I can put pressure on them. I can, you know, rally the American people around those common-sense solutions, but, ultimately, they themselves are going to have to say ‘We want to do the right thing.’ ”

    He said that if lawmakers are worried about primaries and afraid that working with him will be seen as “a betrayal,” he can try to “create a permission structure for them to be able to do what’s going to be best for the country.”

    A permission structure?

    He might do better to remember what Jeremy Irons’s pope says on “The Borgias,” “Do you not see that even the impression of weakness begets weakness?”

    After Syria, Obama discussed another issue where he came across like a frustrated witness to history, rather than shaper of it. After putting the moral quandary aside for political reasons, he finally began urging once more that the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, be closed. A hundred prisoners there, held for a decade without trial, are on a hunger strike, some being force-fed Ensure through tubes in their noses, despite opprobrium from the American Medical Association.

    Dianne Feinstein, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the White House Thursday urging the administration to review the status of 86 low-level detainees who were designated for potential transfer more than three years ago but remain in Cuba.

    Asked about the hunger strike, the former constitutional law professor in the White House expressed the proper moral outrage at holding so many men “in no-man’s land in perpetuity.” But it sounded as though he didn’t fully understand his own policy.

    Closing Guantánamo doesn’t address the fundamental problem of rights. Obama’s solution, blocked by Congress, is to move the hornet’s nest to a Supermax prison in Illinois — dubbed “Gitmo North” — and keep holding men as POWs in a war that has no end. They’re not hunger-striking for a change in scenery.

    It’s true that Congress put restrictions on transfers of individuals to other countries with bad security situations. But, since 2012, Congress has granted authority to the secretary of defense to waive those restrictions on a case-by-case basis. The administration hasn’t made use of that power once. So it’s a little stale to blame Congress at this point.

    The senior senator from Kentucky has been a leader in Keep-Terrorists-Offshore. Maybe, if the president really wants to close Gitmo, he should have a drink with Mitch McConnell. Really.

    What?! No FOX News citation? No Rush?!

    Since, like the Bystander-in-Chief, you believe Congress- excuse me, apparently a GOP Congress (lol)- is to blame, then you are in agreement that President Obama has been an ineffectual, impotent “leader”?

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  6. Tom says: 6

    @Wordsmith:

    I’m sorry, but which party held a majority in both houses of Congress during President Obama’s first 2 years in office?

    A majority doesn’t mean much, unless it’s filibuster proof, because the Republicans employ that reflexively. The House is even worse. Because of gerrymandering there is a large contingent of extremists who aren’t representative of the US population as a whole and who will never compromise on anything. So the idea that this elusive quality ‘leadership’ will lead to ‘getting stuff done’ is highly problematic. Your argument is actually quite similar to Maureen Dowd’s after the gun vote, which she blamed on Obama’s inability to bend Congress to his will, even for a cause that is overwhelmingly popular. This argument assumes the ‘bully pulpit’ is a real quantifiable thing, which is another problematic argument. The current system leaves the President with very little he can do in concrete terms to influence a vote.

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  7. MataHarley says: 7

    Tom: A majority doesn’t mean much, unless it’s filibuster proof, because the Republicans employ that reflexively

    For the first two years (Jan 2009 to Jan 2011), it was. Often even more so since Olympia Snowe and a couple other pseudo Republicans constantly voted with the Dems.

    You should go back and look at the votes, Tom. The Dems are equally liable for Gitmo remaining open because many of them shared something in common with the GOP… they didn’t want to bring the enemy combatants to US soil, where their entry would make the threshold of prosecution far more stringent, and house them in US facilities that were questionable as to being secure enough. Not to mention since prison is a prolific breeding ground for militants, they had a captive audience (literally) for baking up more terrorists.

    I notice you missed Wordsmith’s reference to Bagram, yes? Well, Obama didn’t need Gitmo because he had Bagram Airfield. He could close “Bush’s” detainee facility, and keep his own open, suffering no political backlash. I did a post on Obama’s stance that the detainees there didn’t have Constitutional rights back in February of 2009. In fact, at the time, I mentioned we could cure the Gitmo problem by just shipping them all out to Bagram. (with a withdrawal in progress, that’s no longer feasible now…)

    But then no one wanted to pay attention to the Bagram parallel to Gitmo since that would be politically inconvenient. Once can’t protest Gitmo and ignore Bagram, and retain a shred of credibility. You are either against detaining enemy combatants indefinitely, or you aren’t… no matter where they are bunked. Obama played both sides of the fence, supporting Bagram and the Bush philosophy, but using Gitmo as a political tool. Wasn’t much successful at either endeavor.

    Me? I’m fine with both. No enemy combatants should be brought to US soil. And I think terrorists, such as the Boston boys, should be designated enemy combatants despite their citizenship status so that interrogation can be more lengthy prior to Mirandizing. You can be an enemy combatant as a US citizen, captured on US soil, yet still be tried in federal courts. (can’t try them via military commissions) Just a few regs different which is an advantage for HUMINT.

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  8. Dc says: 8

    @This one:

    It’s more like the RNC ran the car out of gas…and the DNC took over…pushed the car off a cliff, watched it catch on fire and roll to the bottom…then when confronted with what they did….said: “well…you drove the car till it ran out of gas”.

    Idiots.

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  9. Dc says: 9

    @Tom:

    Tom, it must be simply amazing to you that these congressmen throwing monkey wrench into everything keep getting elected? They are there to represent their constituency. I’m assuming you know that. It seems to me what you are arguing is…that other more “populated” states should be able to over ride these people and decide things for the “majority”. That would be a pure democracy.

    Perhaps polling should replace the congressional system? (ie., if 90% of the people want something..congress should not be voting against it). I would suggest..perhaps…that there “might” be a problem with that polling. But, even if it were true…it represents a fundamental misunderstanding of our system of gov.

    We live in a constitutional republic, that is founded on the principal of ‘protecting’ minority blocks by giving them more power to block the “majority” from running rough shod over them. And there certainly were not a lot of you guys complaining about it when Nancy Pelosi and co…were utilizing it to give Bush a headache in his 2nd term, blocking and obstructing and making sure they needed the same 60 votes to pass anything. THAT…you said (figuratively speaking)…was democracy.

    Maybe this is news. But we are not a “democracy” (ie. most votes wins…therefore requiring 60 votes is obstructionism and not fair). We are a constitutional republic (like Rome)…which affords certain tools in gov for the minority block to utilize in order to block and obstruct the “majority” to keep the power of them in check. There are profound reasons why that’s important and much has been written about it. But, all you have to do to understand it is be on the minority side of any given issue you feel strongly about.

    People will clamor for a “democracy” UNTIL their particular interests aren’t the majority anymore. THEN…it kinda sux doesn’t it?? And the tools we have in our republic (which is based on democratic principals..without being a pure democracy), when utilized by the side you agree with to block and obstruct legislation you disagree with…is wonderful (democracy). But, when utilized by the “other” side….is a crime.

    This is something that even Robert Byrd understood….who used the filibuster to try and block, obstruct, civil rights legislation in 1964. He later recanted such positions, but always understood the need and value of the tools and sought to protect them when his own party, while in majority power…sought to rewrite the rules and throw some of them out.

    I saw a Bill Maher show the other night…where he went on for a few mins about how the democrats need to rewrite the constitution to throw all these things out. When the majority of people (meaning NYC, Chicago, etc) want something….it should happen. And he wanted to throw out electoral college to get rid of the “yahoo” vote from the flyover states. Let me just ask you…would you want to live in a country like that? Because I have to tell you…if it’s not self evident….majorities come and go. Would you still feel the same if the majority party that controlled the whitehouse and senate was pushing for legislation that you disagreed with strongly? (remember…the laws are for EVERYBODY…not just your majority).

    Of course if they did manage to rewrite the constitution, etc…and NYC, etc..all ended up with permanent majorities…why would we even bother to vote? They win. Everytime. And then they could tell people in Nebraska not to drive a pickup…because they (in NYC, Chicago, etc) have horrible problems with pollution. And they could tell them not to have a rifle because gun crime is a problem where they live. And they could go on and on about recycling, and etc…while they live 100 stacked ontop of each other in a few square feet…and have to sell their trash to other states…to keep from being buried in it.

    There’s a reason the constitution is written the way it is and the rules of politics have evolved as they have. And the people who wrote them were well aware of the difference between a “pure” democracy…and one based on a constitution. They wrote them to overcome the deficiencies of other systems.

    It’s fairly normal to hear politicians cry foul over being hogtied by procedural rules by their opponents that prevented them from ramming whatever it is they want through congress. We also have a long history of demonizing and demagouging political opponents in this country. None of this is somehow “new” or something discovered and introduced by “Republicans”.

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  10. Nan G says: 10

    Word,
    You’ve got the facts on your side.
    What does the Left do when the facts are against them?
    Liberal activist Meg Lanker-Simons faked a ”hate-rape” threat against herself…..making it look like conservatives were behind it!
    http://www.campusreform.org/blog/?ID=4731
    Other Liberals swat their opponents, calling police about a violent family member and falsely claiming to be at a conservative’s address. Police them surround the conservative’s home and terrorize the family under the false assumption someone is homicidal inside the house.
    http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/lt1800/swatting-against-conservative-bloggers-continues-u

    Obama wants us to believe his BS when even he admits that’s all it is.
    Keep exposing what it is Obama actually does.
    It is damning.

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  11. Dc says: 11

    I would just add….watching CNN…Rudy is on. Talking about Gitmo. Guests are trying to insinuate that force feeding with ensure through the nose is some kind of mistreatment/torture. Rudy pushed them on the point that terrorists are treated better at Gitmo than they would be in a fed prison in the US (food, facilities, etc). But, would any US prison allow a prisoner on a hunger strike to die? Or ….do they “FORCE FEED THEM THROUGH THE NOSE” with ensure??? What kind of BS argument is this?

    Hospitals every day force feed people through their nose with ensure to “SAVE THEIR LIVES”. It’s an act of compassion…not an act of torture. We feed them so they WON”T DIE. What would the same people argue if we just let them die??

    Can I buy a vowel here? Last I heard…if you sentence someone to life in prison…you are holding them indefinitely. Second…those on death row…are going to be executed. Not made uncomfortable. Executed.

    Perhaps we need a liberal/progressive to english dictionary?

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  12. Nan G says: 12

    @Dc:
    There was a real scandal back when some of the early GITMO detainees went home…..fat.
    Just as our borders are being crossed more because of the possibility of an amnesty, so, too, these fat prisoners at GITMO must lose some weight based on the rumor Obama is going to close GITMO and either let them go home or be in other prisons where other Muslims might see them and report on their non-fighting-weight condition.

    A REAL hunger strike will cut you down to death in 66 days, as we saw with Bobby Sands of the IRA in 1981.
    THESE detainees have supposedly been on ”hunger strikes” for months and years….but only recently have they actually stopped eating.

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  13. Liberal1 (Objectivity) says: 13

    Regardless of whether only six Democrats in the Senate voted to fund the movement of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, the Congress still blocked Obama’s plan—which is the factual antithesis of the article’s thesis.

    Incidentally, extreme conservatives a constantly saying that Democrats (and Obama) had control of the Senate for the first two years. The following site might serve to sway their minds: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/did-the-democrats-ever-really-have-60-votes-in-the-senate-and-for-how-long/

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  14. johngalt says: 14

    @Liberal1 (Objectivity): @This one: @Tom:

    All three of you seem to be forgetting that during Obama’s first term, and prior to the midterm changing of the House and gains by the GOP in the senate in 2010, that Obama and the Democrats rammed through two controversial pieces of legislation that became law, the Stimulus and Obamacare. As well, they also were able to pass another piece of legislation, the 2009 Omnibus bill, that also was contentious in nature.

    Two bills opposed almost in entirety by the GOP and another that was passed in nearly the same way, and you three want to rewrite history to state that the Democrats couldn’t do what they wished during that period of Obama’s presidency.

    If Obama really had wanted to close Gitmo, during that time, and the Democrats agreed with him, there wasn’t a damn thing the GOP could have done to prevent them from doing it. Which means that one or both of Obama and the Democrats DIDN’T really want Gitmo closed, and Obama’s blaming of it not being closed due to the GOP is pure BS.

    You three are swallowing the narrative the WH is pushing without using critical thinking skills that would lead you to the fact that Obama is lying. And if Obama is lying about this, then what else has he been spoon-feeding you that you swallow down without a second’s thought on whether or not he is telling the truth.

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  15. Mully says: 15

    A leader leads. A whiner whines.

    If he was a leader this entire conversation would not be happening.

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  16. MataHarley says: 16

    @Liberal1 (Objectivity): Incidentally, extreme conservatives a constantly saying that Democrats (and Obama) had control of the Senate for the first two years. The following site might serve to sway their minds:

    Mercy…. take a close gander at the various voting % power for the first session of two years… from your own link.

    The two independents are guarantee “Dem” votes because it’s socialist Bernie Sanders, and former Dem Joe Lieberman. Add two to the lowest Dem count of 55 – for six days only – in those years, and you have 57.

    Now add the three GOP Senators that constantly voted with the Dems – Olympia Snow, Susan Collins and Oregon’s Gordon Smith – to that 57 and you have filibuster power. All three are better described as center at best, and center left at worst.

    There doesn’t need to be a “D” behind the name to have the 60 votes. An “I” or a faux “R” works just as well in reality.

    So your attempt to say the Dems did not have the power to do whatever the heck they wanted before the 2010 midterms is simply pie in the sky horse manure. And it has nothing to do with “extreme” on either side of the aisle.

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  17. This one says: 17

    Ah….the GOP changed the passage vote to 61. Remember?

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  18. Aqua says: 18

    @This one:

    Ah….the GOP changed the passage vote to 61. Remember?

    Um…..no they didn’t. The rule was changed from two thirds to three-fifths in 1975, but the democrats. It remains in place today. If you have proof that it has been changed, please share it with the rest of the world.

    1975, the Senate, controlled by Democrats, revised its cloture rule so that three-fifths of senators — usually 60 — would be required to limit debate. The exception was the vote to change Senate rules, which would still require a two-thirds majority.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/73695.html#ixzz2SFRH9oDD

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  19. MataHarley says: 19

    @This one, not sure where you acquired your civics lessons, but it doesn’t take 61 votes for “passage” on most legislation. Votes needed are dependent upon what’s on the floor, and it’s subject matter.

    The “supermajority” of 60, or 3/5ths, is what is necessary to evoke cloture… or in lay terms, to end the debate and move on (i.e. to end a filibuster designed to halt a bill’s progress).

    There are some specifics that still require 2/3rds vote (which still isn’t 61… sigh). Those would include, but not necessarily limited to, things such as suspending or amending chamber rules, ratifying treaties or postponing treaty consideration indefinitely, removal from office via impeachment conviction, proposing Constitutional Amendments, and overriding a Presidential veto.

    In the latter’s case, it would be ludicrous to think that a Dem POTUS would veto a Dem majority Congress passed bill. Ergo pointless to discuss whether the 111th Congress had the power to override an Obama veto. What they would be concerned about is could they stop any GOP opposition. And that answer is yes, with the aid of two Indy’s and three reliable faux GOPers.

    For most bills outside of these subjects, and unless Senate rules are evoked specifically or filibustered, it only takes a simple majority of 51 to pass most legislation.

    Some civics lessons reading for you INRE votes.

    A 2010 CRS publication about Senate supermajority votes.

    A Mar 2009 primer article from FAIR.org, with extra internal links about bill passage and votes required.

    Thus the reason I pointed out that Lib’s own link documented the filibuster power possessed by the 111th Congress in my comment above (not “passage”), making them virtually unstoppable for any GOP obstruction.

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  20. Dc says: 20

    Mata, first thank you! You always do a good job with offering information. Appreciated.

    It should also be noted that both sides play a role in how often a filibuster and subsequent vote for cloture might be used and/or needed. For instance, writing a piece of legislation without input from the other side, with no deal making or compromise or debate that included the minority bloc…then offering a vote on it without allowing amendments…pretty much ensures that that piece of legislation is going to be filibustered. (ie. “I won”)

    One could even bring up bills they “know” will not pass…just to have the other party oppose it so they can blame them for it not passing, or for filibustering, etc…ie., for being obstructionist. This is all part of the politics of Washington. The bottom line is….no matter who is in power…you aren’t going to get much through in such a manner if there is vast disagreement and/or mistrust across party lines. The fact that there are many more filibusters today…shows just how vast that disagreement and mistrust is. I think the President and congressional leadership share equal responsibility for that.

    Another point left out of those linked discussions *(ie., think progress) with charts showing the use of the filibuster going up in later years…is it removes the context of what they were voting “on”. There are years when not a whole lot is going on and its’ routine business passing bills. And there are years of vast contention over issues that are being voted on. Now..ever single piece of legislation they seek to pass is contentious. Lets see…a Gov Sponsored Health Care System, A $$$$ stimulus program that wasted billions, new regulations and taxes on businesses, gun control, etc.? Within each one of those subjects…MULTIPLE bills and amendments. So, the times we live in play a role in this too.

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  21. Blake says: 21

    @This one: This One, closing Gitmo wouldn’t be hard- just take some of the 1.6 billion rounds of pistol ammo that Homeland Security has been buying, and put a bullet into each muslim head in Gitmo- case closed, Gitmo closed, and the sharks can dine well. What’s so hard about that?

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