Guantanamo Bay

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.

Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, And The Shameful NeoCon Attack On America’s Legal System

The latest controversy of the day among many on the right, led principally by Liz Cheney and William Kristol, involves attacking Justice Department lawyers who represented alleged members of al Qaeda or the Taliban detained at Guantanmo Bay.

As Kristol puts it:

[L]awyers now at the DOJ worked on the historic Boumediene case. That case established the Gitmo detainees’ right to challenge their detention in habeas corpus hearings. In effect, the habeas proceedings have taken sensitive national security and detention questions out of the hands of experienced military and intelligence personnel, and put them into the hands of federal judges with no counterterrorism training or expertise. That lack of experience shows. For example, in one recent decision a federal judge compared al Qaeda’s secure safe houses (where training, plotting and other nefarious activities occur) to “youth hostels.” The habeas decisions are filled with errors of omission, fact, and logic.

Still other lawyers did work on behalf of these well known terrorists: Jose Padilla (an al Qaeda operative dispatched by senior al Qaeda terrorists to launch attacks inside America in 2002), John Walker Lindh (the American Taliban), and Saleh al Marri (who 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sent to America on September 10, 2001 in anticipation of committing future attacks).

Now, we don’t know what assignments these lawyers have taken on inside government. But we do know that they openly opposed the American government for years, on behalf of al Qaeda terrorists, and their objections frequently went beyond rational, principled criticisms of detainee policy.

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:

Podcast: Q & A With Bob Barr: Guantanamo Bay Detainees Heading To The United States?

In a special podcast, Jason and Brett interview Bob Barr to further explore his thoughts regarding the plan to possibly bring prisoners detained as part of the War on Terror to the United States for trial.

On Monday, former Congressman Barr, along with Grover Norquist and David Keene released a joint statement supporting the proposal.  In the interview, Barr discusses federal prisons, habeas corpus, and indefinite detention of these prisoners.

You can download the podcast here (13 minutes/12 MB). The introduction music is “Easy Skankin’” by Bob Marley, one of the former Congressman’s favorite artists.

You can subscribe to the RSS of JUST our podcasts here, or you can find our podcasts on iTunes here.

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?”.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t think the 5 Taliban Barack Obama released from Guantanamo are a threat

Hillary Clinton

“What difference, at this point, does it make?” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now famously exclaimed during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Benghazi. As it turns out, that seems to be her attitude toward the release of 5 Taliban fighters in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, as well.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today,” Clinton, who is promoting her new book “Hard Choices,” responded to a question about whether the release of 5 Taliban fighters held at Guantanamo Bay were a threat to U.S. national security. Her response?

These five guys are not a threat to the
United States
. They are a threat to the safety
and security of Afghanistan.”

Clinton shrugged off reasons why Sgt. Bergdahl may have fallen into enemy hands in the first place. Since the transfer, questions have arisen about whether Bergdahl abandoned his post willingly. Those who served with him have not been altogether forgiving of his disappearance and capture.

But Clinton seemed to trivialize his disappearance. “We want to get an American home, whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed or they jumped,” she said. “We try to rescue everybody.”

Check out the video:

Barack Obama is the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be, constitutional law professor warns

Barack Obama and Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon would envy the power that Barack Obama has consolidated into the Executive Branch. In this new, unrecognizable system of government, a president can change laws arbitrarily, paying no mind to the two other coequal branches of government.

During an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity on Wednesday evening, Jonathan Turley, a Georgetown constitutional law professor and political leftist, explained that President Obama’s flouting of a law requiring that his administration notify Congress before the transfer of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is just latest example of the “uber-presidency.”

“[U]nfortunately our system is changing, and it’s changing without a debate, or even a discussion as to what we’re going to do in the future when we have a three branch system, a tripartite system but one branch is so dominant,” Turley told Sean Hannity. “What’s emerging is an imperial presidency, an uber-presidency as I’ve called it, where the president can act unilaterally. This is only the latest example of that.”

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.

US Government prepares to go after Wikileaks

A couple of United States Senators are planning action against Wikileaks in the wake of the disclosure of thousands of sensitive documents:

On Thursday afternoon, senators will be briefed by Administration officials on the recent massive leak of classified documents by the website Wikileaks, a chance for them to ask questions and determine if a legislative remedy is necessary. Several key members made clear that they stand ready to take legislative action, if necessary.

White House officials have said that everything should be on the table in response, and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed that sentiment Thursday, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We, as a country, need to make sure this never happens again. We, as a country, should do all we can.”

This in response to a question by Sen. John McCain, top Republican on the defense panel, during a hearing on whether or not to repeal the military’s current ban on gays serving openly.  McCain said he was “concerned” about the leaks and that “someone needs to be held responsible.”

Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., joined McCain in expressing alarm at the public release of information that officials have said damaged U.S. national security and put Americans in harm’s way.  Levin said Congress should act, if necessary, and afterward told Fox, “It may be appropriate. I don’t have enough information yet.”

The chairman said he would attend Thursday’s closed-door, senators-only briefing, which includes top officials from the State Department, Pentagon, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to ask questions, and then make a determination at some point on what Congress should do.

The Justice Department has already announced a criminal investigation into the matter.

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