Jan 302012
 

Conor Friedersdorf

A major defense of the president exaggerates Obama’s accomplishments and misses the point: his scandalous transgressions against rule of law.


After reading Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek essay about President Obama, his critics, and his re-election bid, I implore him to ponder just one question. How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican ran promising to do the following?

(1) Codify indefinite detention into law; (2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process; (3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens; (4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets; (5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible; (6) enter and prosecute such a war; (7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports; (8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots; (9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy; (10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits; (11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries; (12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed); (14) reauthorize the Patriot Act; (13) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.

I submit that had Palin or Cheney or Rumsfeld or Rice or Jeb Bush or John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney proposed doing even half of those things in 2008, you’d have declared them unfit for the presidency and expressed alarm at the prospect of America doubling down on the excesses of the post-September 11 era. You’d have championed an alternative candidate who avowed that America doesn’t have to choose between our values and our safety. Continue reading »

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 Posted by at 9:25 pm
Jan 302012
 

By Tom Engelhardt

(Tehran, FNA) The Fars News Agency has confirmed with the Republican Guard’s North American Operations Command that a new elite Iranian commando team is operating in the U.S.-Mexican border region. The primary day-to-day mission of the team, known as the Joint Special Operations Gulf of Mexico Task Force, or JSOG-MTF, is to mentor Mexican military units in the border areas in their war with the deadly drug cartels.


Iran has 3 Russian-built Kilo class submarines patrolling the Persian Gulf. Iran is also producing its own submarines.

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This article originally appeared at TomDispatch. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Iranian Aircraft Carriers in the Gulf of Mexico
It Can’t Happen Here

By Tom Engelhardt

Exclusive: New Iranian Commando Team Operating Near U.S.

(Tehran, FNA) The Fars News Agency has confirmed with the Republican Guard’s North American Operations Command that a new elite Iranian commando team is operating in the U.S.-Mexican border region. The primary day-to-day mission of the team, known as the Joint Special Operations Gulf of Mexico Task Force, or JSOG-MTF, is to mentor Mexican military units in the border areas in their war with the deadly drug cartels.  The task force provides “highly trained personnel that excel in uncertain environments,” Maj. Amir Arastoo, a spokesman for Republican Guard special operations forces in North America, tells Fars, and “seeks to confront irregular threats…”

The unit began its existence in mid-2009 — around the time that Washington rejected the Iranian leadership’s wish for a new diplomatic dialogue. But whatever the task force does about the United States — or might do in the future — is a sensitive subject with the Republican Guard.  “It would be inappropriate to discuss operational plans regarding any particular nation,” Arastoo says about the U.S. Continue reading »

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 Posted by at 3:55 pm
Jan 302012
 

By jerry lanson

Last week’s “dust-up on the tarmac” between Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and President Obama typifies the kind of pack conformity coverage that fills wide swaths of the 24-7 news hole. These stories provide easy conflict but little content. They are grist for punditry but contain few calories. And in the end, none of us know what we’re missing when so much attention is paid to the trivial.

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In 2006, Columbia University professor and New York Times columnist Samuel Freedman published “letters to a young journalist,” an inspirational entreaty that among other things calls on would-be reporters to “accept the burden of independent thought.” Continue reading »

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 Posted by at 3:26 pm
Jan 302012
 

By Eric Boehlert

Wannabe kingmaker Roger Ailes (below) is facing an open revolt. More and more despondent conservatives are expressing alarm over the unfolding Republican primary season and what they see as the party’s dwindling chances of defeating President Obama in November.

A report from MediaMatters
Roger Ailes, image from wikipedia

Wannabe kingmaker Roger Ailes is facing an open revolt.

More and more  despondent conservatives are expressing alarm over the unfolding Republican primary season and what they see as the party’s dwindling chances of defeating President Obama in November. Spooked at the general elections prospects facing frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (especially Gingrich), members of the so-called Republican Establishment seem to want to reboot the election season and try their nominating luck again.

Sorry, it’s too late. Continue reading »

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 Posted by at 3:16 pm