Keith Olbermann: The Day Habeas Corpus Died. "Today, 135 years to the day after the last American President (Ulysses S. Grant) suspended habeas corpus, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006."
"At its worst, the legislation allows President Bush or Donald Rumsfeld to declare anyone — US citizen or not — an enemy combatant, lock them up and throw away the key without a chance to prove their innocence in a court of law. In other words, every thing the Founding Fathers fought the British empire to free themselves of was reversed and nullified with the stroke of a pen, all under the guise of the War on Terror."
Turley: "People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system.—The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."
President Bush Signs 2006 Military Commissions Act President Bush has signed into law one of the most controversial acts of his time in the White House. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 strips detainees of the right to file habeas corpus petitions to challenge their own detention or treatment. It expands the definition an enemy combatant and gives the president the power to detain them indefinitely – including US citizens. Secret and coerced evidence could be used to try detainees held in U.S. military prisons. The bill also immunizes U.S. officials from prosecution for torturing detainees captured before the end of last year.
Several Arrested in White House Protest Against Detainee Law Outside the White House, several demonstrators were arrested at a protest that drew more than one hundred people. The activists wore orange jumpsuits and brandished dog leashes to represent the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo.
Unidentified protester: "We reject that the act repudiates a half-century of international precedent by allowing the President to decide secretly and unilaterally what abusive interrogation methods he considers permissible."
What a nice October surprise - gas prices are down! How is that possible, especially in the middle of hurricane season and with continued instability in the middle east? Is the price of oil being manipulated in advance of the US Presidential election? Nah, that's crazy - that would be a conspiracy, a RICO lawsuit, right ?
"The good news is gasoline analysts say gas prices should drop to $2 a gallon by Thanksgiving. The bad news? Turkey will be $80 a pound." - Jay Leno
The Senator raps about the Internets and 'Net Neutrality.' Thankfully Americans have highly competent - and un-corruptible - legislative representatives like Ted looking out for our best interest the tubular bell-cos and cable-cos that want to create two tiers on the Internet - a fast lane for the duopolists, and a dirt road for the rest of us.
If Ted was around 100 years ago when power companies refused universal service to rural areas, today we'd all be walking around in the dark.
"Howard Dean's presidential campaign hired two Internet political "bloggers" as consultants so that they would say positive things about the former governor's campaign in their online journals, according to a former high-profile Dean aide.
Zephyr Teachout, the former head of Internet outreach for Mr. Dean's campaign, made the disclosure earlier this week in her own Web log, Zonkette. She said "to be very clear, they never committed to supporting Dean for the payment — but it was very clearly, internally, our goal." The hiring of the consultants was noted in several publications at the time.
The partisan Democratic political bloggers who were hired by the Dean campaign were Jerome Armstrong, who publishes the blog MyDD, and Markos Zuniga, who publishes DailyKos. DailyKos is the ninth most linked blog on the Internet, according to Technorati, a measurement service, and in October, at the height of the presidential campaign, it received as many as one million daily visits.
The two men, who jointly operated a small political consulting firm, said they didn't believe the Dean campaign had been trying to buy their influence. Both men noted that they had promoted Mr. Dean's campaign long before they were hired and continued to do so after their contract with the campaign ended."
"There can be no defense of syndicated columnist Armstrong Williams' disgraceful grab of public money from the Education Department to tout President Bush's No Child Left Behind law while posing as an objective journalist. But focusing on one man's ethics disaster misses the larger and more important story of the Bush administration's pattern of placing propaganda in U.S. news media.
Williams' contract was part of a $1 million Education Dept. deal with public relations giant Ketchum that produced "video news releases" designed to look like news reports. Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services hired Ketchum to produce videos touting the administration's controversial Medicare plans, also disguised as news segments. Many stations aired the spots with no explanation to viewers that they were watching government propaganda. The Government Accounting Office called the use of taxpayer money for the project illegal, but did not require that the money be repaid."
If Congressional Democrats are as outraged as they say they are about William's media machinations, they will demand that Williams repay the money, (he says he won't), that Bush prohibit government agencies from paying journalists for faking news about their programs, and ferret out any other journalists that have shilled for government agencies."
"Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban has called on President Bush to cancel the lavish inauguration parties planned for later this month and instead donate the money saved - some $40 million - to victims of the Asian tsunami. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team won't say how much he has given to the disaster victims, but his Dec. 31 proposal on his Web site has generated controversy - and support - on the Internet. The Presidential Inaugural Committee is raising $30 million to $40 million from private donors and says it doesn't plan to cancel any of the nine inaugural balls or the three so-called "candle light dinners" that donors of $250,000 and $100,000 get with the president and first lady. Mark Cuban says he voted for President Bush. Asked if it was fair to deny Bush supporters a celebration, he replied QUOTE "Since when is the level of celebration defined by the amount spent?"
"There are only two things that could endanger Social Security's ability to pay benefits before the trust fund runs out. One would be a fiscal crisis that led the U.S. to default on all its debts. The other would be legislation specifically repudiating the general fund's debts to retirees.
That is, we can't have a Social Security crisis without a general fiscal crisis - unless Congress declares that debts to foreign bondholders must be honored, but that promises to older Americans, who have spent most of their working lives paying extra payroll taxes to build up the trust fund, don't count.
Politically, that seems far-fetched. A general fiscal crisis, on the other hand, is a real possibility - but not because of Social Security. In fact, the Bush administration's scaremongering over Social Security is in large part an effort to distract the public from the real fiscal danger.
There are two serious threats to the federal government's solvency over the next couple of decades. One is the fact that the general fund has already plunged deeply into deficit, largely because of President Bush's unprecedented insistence on cutting taxes in the face of a war. The other is the rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid.
As a budget concern, Social Security isn't remotely in the same league. The long-term cost of the Bush tax cuts is five times the budget office's estimate of Social Security's deficit over the next 75 years. The botched prescription drug bill passed in 2003 does more, all by itself, to increase the long-run budget deficit than the projected rise in Social Security expenses."