Left taking issue with Dems on civil liberties

civil liberties

Most people seem to come to libertarianism from the right.  It honestly makes sense when you think about it.  The right tends to be a place of minimal government and typically argues for more freedom.  The problems kick in on some specific issues.  Many libertarians came to libertarianism after searching for a more consistent ideology.

Me?  I’m a bit of an oddball.  I came from the left.  I came from a place of seeking more consistency on the issue of civil liberties that I was getting from the Democrats.  There have been times when I wondered if there was ever being a small “L” libertarian in the Democratic Party.  Based on what’s being reported over the party’s new platform, I can see that is a resounding “no.”

The piece points out several issues where the Democratic Party has decided to back away from their stances on civil liberties just four years ago.  Issues like indefinite detention, closing Gitmo, illegal wiretaps, and racial profiling all pretty much continue without any modification from President Bush’s era.  Even torture, for which many wanted heads on the proverbial pikes, has reportedly continued despite an executive order ending the practice.

So which conservative or libertarian publication makes such remarkes about President Obama and the Democratic Party?  Townhall?  Nope. Red State? Not even close.

The Weekly Standard? No. The National Review? Hardly. Reason? Wrong again. Try the left leaning Mother Jones.

Many on the left are less than pleased that Obama has done so poorly on civil liberties.  That says nothing over any meaningful move on gay rights (besides the appeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) or a host of other issues.

Podcast: ObamaCare news, “Saved & Created” Jobs, Cory Maye’s New Trial, Guantanamo Bay Detainees, Guest: Mike Hassinger

On November 16th, the national debt for our nation broke the $12 trillion dollar mark.  JasonBrett and Doug had joked on Twitter about getting together to “celebrate” this accomplishment by having a few drinks.  Since geography prevented us from meeting together in a physical location, we took this opportunity to officially toast to the federal government’s mortgage of our futures and those of future generations with their out of control spending.

Joining us as a guest for such a “joyous” occasion, we were joined by Mike Hassinger, a political consultant with Landmark Communications.

Together, they discuss:

Torturous Terms of Art

The matter of torture has been discussed over the past several years in connection with its use as a “tool” in the “Global War on Terror” or the “Overseas Contingency Operation” as it has now been called. Dick Cheney has been recently making rounds in an attempt to salvage some credibility and to fuel the partisan fire.

Gitmo Prosecutor Quits Due to Lack of Fairness in System

The Los Angeles Times ran a stunning piece in this Sunday’s paper detailing the resignation of Lt. Col. Darrel J. Vandeveld, the man who was prosecuting nearly 1/3rd of the pending trials for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. Vandeveld, a self described conformist, became disenchanted with “the system” set up in Cuba over issues relating to fairness and lack of due process for the very prisoners he was suppose to prosecute. He lays out accusations of intentional withholding of exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys by military officials, and even goes so far as to say he reached out to a defense attorney to ask “how do I get myself out of this office?”.

Gitmo Numbers

From our friends at Young Americans for Liberty and @bonniekristian

$800,000: Annual cost to tax-payers of maintaining one prisoner in Guantanamo Bay.

166: The number of prisoners currently in Gitmo.

86: The number of prisoners currently in Gitmo who have been cleared for release but not actually released.

46: Detainees scheduled for indefinite detention without charge or trial.

15: The age of arrest of the youngest Gitmo detainee ever, Omar Khadr, who was “tortured and refused medical attention” because he would not confess.

15: The number of prisoners under the age of 18 who have been kept at Gitmo.

9: The number of inmate deaths at Guantanamo Bay.

6: The number of those deaths suspected to be suicides.

2009: The year Obama was supposed to close Gitmo.

ACLU scores candidates on civil liberties

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released a candidate report card, dubbed Liberty Watch 2012, that weighs the Republcians hopefuls, now-Libertarian Gary Johnson and President Barack Obama on various civil liberties issues, including ending torture, closing Gitmo, and ending the surveillance state.

To be clear, I don’t necessarily agree with the ACLU on all of the issues weighed, but the group has been great on fighting for privacy and personal liberty. The ACLU’s rundown on these issue, from the perspective of the Republican candidates, is interesting:

Just in time for the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, we’re releasing a report card today, with the ACLU’s Constitution and civil liberties experts providing a critical assessment of the major candidates of all parties, grading them with four to zero constitutional “torches” on seven key issues, including national security, immigration, marriage equality and reproductive choice. More issues will be added.

We may surprise some people in that the scores in the report card — which is viewable here — don’t divide along party lines. In fact, the report card reveals a deep ideological rift in the GOP.

Our experts found that Republicans Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman earned solid scores, with four, three and two torches across most major categories, although both received one torch on marriage equality and none on reproductive rights.

Rumsfeld a “Defender of the Constitution”? Um, no

On Thursday at CPAC, the American Conservative Union will give Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense in the Bush Administration, the “Defender of the Constitution” award. Over at The New American, Thomas Eddlem is puzzled by this:

Former Bush administration Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who helped inaugurate the Bush-era torture policy and locked up American citizens without trial, will receive a “Defender of the Constitution” Award from the American Conservative Union at the group’s annual CPAC conference. Rumsfeld will be promoting his soon-to-be-released book, Known and Unknown, at the CPAC conference.

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Wednesday, January 19th

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

Terrorists for Team Edward

You would think that reading the Twilight book series would be used as a form of torture, but Gitmo detainees apparently like the angsty story about sparkly teen vampires and warewolves:

While the 181 men being held in the prison wait to learn their fates after the administration fell through on its January 2010 deadline to move them out,  90 percent now live in a communal environment that includes Skype, the online video chat service, and access to a 17,000-book library.

That’s up from 40 percent of detainees a year ago.

The “Twilight” series, a hit among so-called “tweens,” is also popular with detainees, the camp’s “librarian” said.

I wonder if they’re on Team Edward or Team Jacob.

KY Senate: Trey Greyson Lies About Rand Paul’s Position On Guantanamo Bay

Trey Grayson is out with another hit piece against Rand Paul and, like his 9/11 commercial from a few weeks ago, it’s full of distortions:

Nice try, Trey, but here’s what Rand Paul said about this issue back in November:

For Immediate Release
November 19, 2009

BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY – Leading United States Senate candidate Rand Paul today criticized the Obama administration’s decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and try terrorism suspects in United States Civil Courts.

“Foreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution,” said Dr. Paul. “These thugs should stand before military tribunals and be kept off American soil. I will always fight to keep Kentucky safe and that starts with cracking down on our enemies.”

Dr. Paul believes in strong national defense and thinks military spending should be our country’s top budget priority. He has also called for a Constitutional declaration of war with Afghanistan.

Nice try, Trey.

But it’s a lie.

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