BP CEO suggests that food poisoning, not toxic sludge, is problem for sick cleanup workers

“I’m sure they were genuinely ill, but whether it was anything to do with dispersants and oil, whether it was food poisoning, or some other reason for them being ill, you know, there’s a — food poisoning’s clearly a big issue when you’ve got a concentration of this number of people in ten pre-cabs, ten pre-accommodations, it’s something we have to be very, very mindful of. It’s one of the big issues of keeping the army operating, I mean armies march on their stomachs.”

~ Tony Hayward, BP Chief Executive Officer

You can’t make this shit up.

I mean, it’s really and truly one of those arrogant beyond belief, did-he-really-just-fucking-say-that moments that used to precipitate bloody revolutions and heads in buckets.  He may as well have said there’s no shell fish, let them eat my shit.

And this from the guy who also recently pointed out that the Gulf of Mexico is indeed a very large body of water.

“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume…”

No shit, really mother fucker?  Perhaps you’d like to prove your point by going for a little swim?  We’ll gladly help you into the water.

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Greenwald: Who are the real “crazies” in our political culture?

Glenn Greenwald wrote a terrific piece yesterday in which he splendidly makes a point that I’ve attempted to make repeatedly in this space.  That point is that any viable challenge to the two party corporotocracy will be immediately marginalized by the propaganda arm of the American Empire, known popularly as the corporate mainstream media.  Think Ross Perot, Ralph Nader, the Tea Party, and as Greenwald points out in his piece, Ron Paul.  And please don’t tune out at this point because you don’t like Ron Paul and/or the Tea Party, because as Greenwald makes clear, this isn’t about supporting them, it’s about making the point that those people have NOT been in charge over the past 20-30 years as the United States has crashed the world economy, engaged in multiple illegal wars of aggression, outsourced its industry and blue collar jobs, attacked the civil liberties of its citizens, allowed a corporate takeover of the government, and destroyed an entire ecosystem.  And yet, they are are the ones who are marginalized as nutty as they try to provide an alternative to the people who DID cause all of those problems.

But like I said, Greenwald’s piece is tremendous on its own, so here it is.

Who are the real “crazies” in our political culture?

Friday, May 28, 2010 10:29 ET

One of the favorite self-affirming pastimes of establishment Democratic and Republican pundits is to mock anyone and everyone outside of the two-party mainstream as crazy, sick lunatics.  That serves to bolster the two political parties as the sole arbiters of what is acceptable:  anyone who meaningfully deviates from their orthodoxies are, by definition, fringe, crazy losers.  Ron Paul is one of those most frequently smeared in that fashion, and even someone like Howard Dean, during those times when he stepped outside of mainstream orthodoxy, was similarly smeared as literally insane, and still is.

Last night, the crazy, hateful, fringe lunatic Ron Paul voted to repeal the Clinton-era Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (or, more accurately, he voted to allow the Pentagon to repeal it if and when it chooses to) — while 26 normal, sane, upstanding, mainstream House Democrats voted to retain that bigoted policy.  Paul explained today that he changed his mind on DADT because gay constituents of his who were forced out of the military convinced him of the policy’s wrongness — how insane and evil he is!

In 2003, the crank lunatic-monster Ron Paul vehemently opposed the invasion of Iraq, while countless sane, normal, upstanding, good-hearted Democrats — including the current Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Senate Majority Leader, House Majority Leader, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, and many of the progressive pundits who love to scorn Ron Paul as insane — supported the monstrous attack on that country.

In 2008, the sicko Ron Paul opposed the legalization of Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program and the granting of retroactive immunity to lawbreaking telecoms, while the Democratic Congress — led by the current U.S. President, his Chief of Staff, the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the House Majority Leader — overwhelmingly voted it into law.  Paul, who apparently belongs in a mental hospital, vehemently condemned America’s use of torture from the start, while many leading Democrats were silent (or even supportive), and mainstream, sane Progressive Newsweek and MSNBC pundit Jonathan Alter was explicitly calling for its use.  Compare Paul’s February, 2010 emphatic condemnation of America’s denial of habeas corpus, lawless detentions and presidential assassinations of U.S. citizens to what the current U.S. Government is doing.

The crazed monster Ron Paul also opposes the war in Afghanistan, while the Democratic Congress continues to fund it and even to reject timetables for withdrawal.  Paul is an outspoken opponent of the nation’s insane, devastating and oppressive “drug war” — that imprisons hundreds of thousands of Americans with a vastly disparate racial impact and continuously incinerates both billions of dollars and an array of basic liberties — while virtually no Democrat dares speak against it.  Paul crusades against limitless corporate control of government and extreme Federal Reserve secrecy, while the current administration works to preserve it.  He was warning of the collapsing dollar and housing bubble at a time when our Nation’s Bipartisan Cast of Geniuses were oblivious.  In sum, behold the embodiment of clinical, certifiable insanity:  anti-DADT, anti-Iraq-war, anti-illegal-domestic-surveillance, anti-drug-war, anti-secrecy, anti-corporatism, anti-telecom-immunity, anti-war-in-Afghanistan.

There’s no question that Ron Paul holds some views that are wrong, irrational and even odious.  But that’s true for just about every single politician in both major political parties (just look at the condition of the U.S. if you doubt that; and note how Ron Paul’s anti-abortion views render him an Untouchable for progressives while Harry Reid’s anti-abortion views permit him to be a Progressive hero and even Senate Majority Leader).  My point isn’t that Ron Paul is not crazy; it’s that those who self-righteously apply that label to him and to others invariably embrace positions and support politicians at least as “crazy.”  Indeed, those who support countless insane policies and/or who support politicians in their own party who do — from the Iraq War to the Drug War, from warrantless eavesdropping and denial of habeas corpus to presidential assassinations and endless war in the Muslim world — love to spit the “crazy” label at anyone who falls outside of the two-party establishment.

* * * * *

This behavior is partially driven by the adolescent/high-school version of authoritarianism (anyone who deviates from the popular cliques — standard Democrats and Republicans — is a fringe loser who must be castigated by all those who wish to be perceived as normal), and is partially driven by the desire to preserve the power of the two political parties to monopolize all political debates and define the exclusive venues for Sanity and Mainstream Acceptability.  But regardless of what drives this behavior, it’s irrational and nonsensical in the extreme.

I’ve been writing for several years about this destructive dynamic:   whereby people who embrace clearly crazy ideas and crazy politicians anoint themselves the Arbiters of Sanity simply because they’re good mainstream Democrats and Republicans and because the objects of their scorn are not.  For me, the issue has nothing to do with Ron Paul and everything to do with how the “crazy” smear is defined and applied as a weapon in our political culture.  Perhaps the clearest and most harmful example was the way in which the anti-war view was marginalized, even suppressed, in the run-up to the attack on Iraq because the leadership of both parties supported the war, and the anti-war position was thus inherently the province of the Crazies.  That’s what happens to any views not endorsed by either of the two parties.

Last week in Newsweek, in the wake of the national fixation on Rand Paul, Conor Friedersdorf wrote a superb article on this phenomenon.  While acknowledging that Rand Paul’s questioning of the Civil Rights Act (and other positions Paul holds) are “wacky” and deeply wrong, Friedersdorf writes:

Forced to name the “craziest” policy favored by American politicians, I’d say the multibillion-dollar war on drugs, which no one thinks is winnable.  Asked about the most “extreme,” I’d cite the invasion of Iraq, a war of choice that has cost many billions of dollars and countless innocent lives. The “kookiest” policy is arguably farm subsidies for corn, sugar, and tobacco — products that people ought to consume less, not more. . . .

If returning to the gold standard is unthinkable, is it not just as extreme that President Obama claims an unchecked power to assassinate, without due process, any American living abroad whom he designates as an enemy combatant? Or that Joe Lieberman wants to strip Americans of their citizenship not when they are convicted of terrorist activities, but upon their being accused and designated as enemy combatants?

He goes on to note that “these disparaging descriptors are never applied to America’s policy establishment, even when it is proved ruinously wrong, whereas politicians who don’t fit the mainstream Democratic or Republican mode, such as libertarians, are mocked almost reflexively in these terms, if they are covered at all.”  Indeed, this is true of anyone who deviates at all — even in tone — from the two-party orthodoxy, as figures as disparate as Dennis Kucinich, Noam Chomsky, Howard Dean or even Alan Grayson will be happy to tell you.

* * * * *

The reason this is so significant — the reason I’m writing about it again — is because forced adherence to the two parties’ orthodoxies, forced allegiance to the two parties’ establishments, is the most potent weapon in status quo preservation.  That’s how our political debates remain suffocatingly narrow, the permanent power factions in Washington remain firmly in control, the central political orthodoxies remain largely unchallenged.  Neither party nor its loyalists are really willing to undermine the prevailing political system because that’s the source of their power.  And neither parties’ loyalists are really willing to oppose serious expansions or abuses of government power when their side is in control, and no serious challenge is therefore ever mounted; the only ones who are willing to do so are the Crazies.

Thus, for the two parties to ensure that they, and only they, are recognized as Sane, Mainstream voices is to ensure, above all else, the perpetuation of status quo power.  As Noah Millman insightfully pointed out this week, those on the Right and Left devoted to civil liberties and limitations on executive power find more common cause with each other than with either of the two parties’ establishments.  The same is true on a wide array of issues, including limitations on corporate influence in Washington and opposition to the National Security State.

That’s why the greatest sin, the surest path to marginalized Unseriousness, is to stray from the safe confines of loyalty to the Democratic or Republican establishments.  To our political class, Treason is defined as anyone who forms an alliance, even on a single issue, with someone in the Crazy Zone.  That’s because breaking down those divisive barriers can be uniquely effective in enabling ideologically diverse citizens to join together to weaken power factions, as Alan Grayson proved when he teamed up with Ron Paul to force the uber-secret Fed to submit to at least some version of an audit (backed by several leading progressives joining with Grover Norquist and other Crazies to support it), or as Al Gore proved when he brought substantial attention to Bush’s war on the Constitution by forming an alliance with Bob Barr and other right-wing libertarians.  Preventing (or at least minimizing) those types of ad hoc alliances through use of the Crazy smear ensures a divided and thus weakened citizenry against entrenched political power in the form of the two parties.  Obviously, the more stigmatized it is to stray from two-party loyalty, the stronger the two parties (and those who most benefit from their dominance) will be.

If one wants to argue that Ron Paul and others like him hold specific views that are crazy, that’s certainly reasonable.  But those who make that claim virtually always hold views at least as crazy, and devote themselves to one of the two political parties that has, over and over, embraced insane, destructive and warped policies of their own.  The reason the U.S. is in the shape it’s in isn’t because Ron Paul and the rest of the so-called “crazies” have been in charge; they haven’t been, at all.  The policies that have prevailed are the ones which the two parties have endorsed.  So where does the real craziness lie?

* * * * *

Just to preempt non sequiturs, this isn’t a discussion of Ron Paul, but of the irrational use of the “crazy” accusation in our political discourse and the effects of its application.

BP’s Apocalypse

“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume…”

~ BP chief executive Tony Hayward, May 14th, 2010

What a complete fucking asshole.

Oh, and have you seen anything quite like this photo on the TV news?

It’s a photo from a passenger airliner, and it seems to show an absolute fuckload of oil (fuckload is an esoteric industry term which means really a goddamn lot).  If that photo pisses you off half as much as it does me, then at the very least, please join the Boycott BP page on Facebook.  Then, follow through, and you know, actually boycott BP, as the only way to make a point with lying, corporate pieces of shit is by impacting their profits.

And speaking of lying, corporate pieces of shit, were you aware of the fact that the dispersant BP is using (Corexit) in the gulf is MORE TOXIC  and LESS EFFECTIVE than other available dispersants?  And were you aware of the fact that the company that manufactures Corexit (Nalco Co.) shares an executive with BP?  And once again proving that you can’t keep a lying, world destroying piece of shit down, I just discovered that in 2003, none other than Goldman Sachs was part of a three-pronged group that purchased Nalco, so they were not only a key player in destroying the world’s economy, and facilitating the greatest wealth transfer in, well, all of recorded history, but they can now take pride in the knowledge that they’ve had a small hand in bringing about the 7th sign of the Hopi Indian end times prophecy, but I suppose I digress.

I’m not much of a TV watcher, but I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Democracy Now! last night and caught Amy Goodman’s interview with Carl Safina, President of the Blue Ocean Institute.   He was knowledgeable, passionate and well spoken, and I was incredibly moved by his response to Goodman’s question “Who do you think should be in charge of this cleanup operation?”

“BP had a lease to drill.  They did not have a lease to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.  They did not have a lease to blow oil into the environment.  They did not have a lease to disperse the oil and try to hide the body.  They don’t have a lease to clean up.  They did not have a lease to make fishermen sick.  They did not have a lease to tell the United states that we’ll keep using a dispersant that’s banned in Europe, even though you’re telling us to stop using it.  They should have been shoved out of the way on day 2, and there should have been a war council of all the other oil companies that know how to drill to focus on stopping the oil from coming out of the hole, and then BP’s responsibility, they ARE responsible … their responsibility should be what they’re good at; pay money.  Pay money to the United States.  They’re on our property, they’re in our water, they’re making our people sick and destroying our wildlife – pay money and have the United States take over.”

I can’t find a clip of the entire interview to post, but below is a sizable clip that includes the part excerpted above.

Now, I’m not suggesting that this is a simple problem to solve, but I AM stating, quite emphatically, that the lies and profiteering must stop immediately.  First and foremost, anybody with even half a brain, including the Nobel laureate currently occupying the American empire’s throne, should understand that BP is NOT the organization that should be heading up this cleanup, seeing as it was their bottom-line-is-God approach that led to the blowout to begin with, and it was their obfuscation of the scope of the problem over the ensuing weeks that have gotten us into the extremely unfortunate position we find ourselves in now.

Safina was on to something important when he said that we need a “war council of all the other oil companies that know how to drill.”  We need many more independent voices involved in this, including foreign governments, as the gulf stream feeds waters that impact many other nations.   BP obviously has too much to gain/lose to be trusted, and as I indicated above, it’s literally beyond my comprehension that they have been allowed to run this show for over a month, using hundreds of thousands of gallons of a dispersant that is far more toxic than the alternative, while having the extra added benefit of cutting their losses by virtue of their part ownership of the company.

Aren’t you sick and goddamned tired of the lying, cheating, stealing corporotocracy that is now in charge of the world?  I mean, fucking really????  Are our heads really that far up the corporate ass that our elected officials allow this horseshit to go on, and we allow them to allow it?

Please get angry about this.  Tell them that you’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it any more.  Or join the Facebook group and then forget about it.  Just please do something to let them know that they can’t get away with ruining our world any more, or they’ll keep on ruining it, and profiting from it, and laughing all the way to the off-shore bank.

Crimes Are Crimes – No Matter Who Does Them

Here’s something else that will make oodles of self-described liberals and progressives mad at ME instead of mad at Obama.  I’m talking about the ones who seem to have checked their consciences at the door to the Hope and Change Magical Ball, where extrajudicial assassinations are normalized, troop surges in undeclared wars are suddenly ok, the continued deterioration of our civil liberties is excused, and push-button murder is reduced to the same type of twisted punchline as W’s famous “where are those dadgum WMDs hiding?” schtick.

This phenomenon of liberal progressives allowing a supposed liberal progressive President to get away with the exact type of corporo-militarist policies that precipitated howls of “FASCIST!!!” when they were carried out by a Republican President is precisely why the election of Barack Obama was an act of system legitimizing brilliance.

Until people (of ALL political philosophies) view leaders through the unbiased lens of intellectual honesty, instead of through Democrat-colored, or Republican-colored glasses, we will continue to get the corporo-militarist asshole leaders that we deserve.

Thankfully, we finally have a group of high-profile progressives who see the Obama administration as nothing more than a continuation of the corporo-militarist junta that has ruled the United States for the past three decades (at minimum).   Please read on to see what you can do to help this group raise awareness, so that we might stand a chance in reclaiming a government that represents normal people, instead of one that only represents corporo-militarist interests.

Crimes Are Crimes – No Matter Who Does Them

Join Cindy Sheehan, Cornel West, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Ray McGovern, Carl Dix, Bill Quigley, William Blum, Joyce Kozloff, Ann Messner, David Swanson, Sunsara Taylor, Stephen Rohde, Fr. Bob Bossie, Peter Phillips, Jed Stone, Tomás Olmos, Peter McLaren, Jodie Evans, Margaret Lawrence, Matthis Chiroux, Larry Everest, Andy Worthington, Blasé Bonpane, William Ayers, Dahr Jamail, Kathy Kelly, Mike Gravel, Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, Donald Freed, Frank Summers, Rocky Anderson, Tom Morello, Ann Wright, Edward Asner, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Michael Ratner, James Cromwell and M. Cherif Bassiouni in saying:

The things that were crimes under Bush are crimes under Obama.
Outrages under Bush are outrages under Obama.
All this MUST STOP.
And all this MUST BE RESISTED by anyone who claims a shred of conscience or integrity.

In the past few weeks, it has become common knowledge that Barack Obama has openly ordered the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, because he is suspected of participating in plots by Al Qaeda. Al-Awlaki denies these charges. No matter. Without trial or other judicial proceeding, the administration has simply put him on the to-be-killed list.

During this same period, a video leaked by whistleblowers in the military showing U.S. troops firing on an unarmed party of Iraqis in 2007, including two journalists, and then firing on those who attempted to rescue them – including two children – became public. As ugly as this video of the killing of 12 Iraqis was, the chatter recorded from the helicopter cockpit was even more chilling and monstrous. Yet the Pentagon said that there would be no charges against these soldiers; and the media focused on absolving them of blame – “they were under stress,” the story went, “and after all our brave men and women must be supported.” Meanwhile, those who leaked and publicized the video came under government surveillance and are targeted as “national security” threats.

Also during this period, the Pentagon acknowledged, after denials, a massacre near the city of Gardez, Afghanistan, on February 12, 2010, in which 5 people were killed, including two pregnant women, leaving 16 children motherless.  The U.S. military first said the two men killed were insurgents, and the women, victims of a family “honor killing.”  The Afghan government has accepted the eyewitness reports that U.S. Special Forces killed the men, (a police officer and lawyer) and the women, and then dug their own bullets out of the women’s bodies to destroy evidence. Top U.S. military officials have now admitted that U.S. soldiers killed the family in their house.

Just weeks earlier, a story broken in Harper’s by Scott Horton carried news that three supposed suicides of detainees in Guantánamo in 2006 were not actual suicides, but homicides carried out by American personnel. This passed almost without comment.

In some respects, this is worse than Bush. First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of “terrorism,” merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly. Second, Obama says that the government can detain you indefinitely, even if you have been exonerated in a trial, and he has publicly floated the idea of “preventive detention.” Third, the Obama administration, in expanding the use of unmanned drone attacks, argues that the U.S. has the authority under international law to use such lethal force and extrajudicial killing in sovereign countries with which it is not at war.

Such measures by Bush were widely considered by liberals and progressives to be outrages and were roundly, and correctly, protested. But those acts which may have been construed (wishfully or not) as anomalies under the Bush regime, have now been consecrated into “standard operating procedure” by Obama, who claims, as did Bush, executive privilege and state secrecy in defending the crime of aggressive war.

Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration has refused to prosecute any members of the Bush regime who are responsible for war crimes, including some who admitted to waterboarding and other forms of torture, thereby making their actions acceptable for him or any future president, Democrat or Republican.

We must end the complicity of silence and say loud and clear:

The things that were crimes under Bush are crimes under Obama.
Outrages under Bush are outrages under Obama.
All this MUST STOP.
And all this MUST BE RESISTED by anyone who claims a shred of conscience or integrity.

The Landless Peasant Party

“Man is the only animal on earth that has to pay to be here.  How did we manage that?  Our basic need for shelter has been turned into a way to make the most money possible for the property market.  How did we arrange that???

~Deek Jackson, The Landless Peasant Party

I think it’s about time that we start a United States chapter of the Landless Peasant Party.

Wait, what is the Landless Peasant Party?

I’ll allow the party leader, Deek Jackson, to explain.

In my opinion, Deek gets it like few others.  He understands that even though we have cell phones, cars, video games, and flat screen TVs, we’re all still basically cogs in the corporate elite’s war and profit machine.  A machine that enriches the few on the backs of the many, all while destroying the earth.

Here’s a bit more to ponder.

And while you’re at it, pay a visit to Deek’s FKN Newz site as well, for weekly updates on how current events are tightening the neofeudal yoke on peasants everywhere, or as Deek often says:

“Here’s the weather, the planet’s fucked, it’s your fault, and it’s getting worse.  Have a nice weekend.”

Alan Grayson introduces the War Is Making You Poor Act

Take a good, hard look at this graph.

Now listen to what Alan Grayson proposes we do about it.

Obama wins the right to detain people with no habeas review

Obama wins the right to detain people with no habeas review

Friday, May 21, 2010 13:22 ET

By Glenn Greenwald

Few issues highlight Barack Obama’s extreme hypocrisy the way that Bagram does. As everyone knows, one of George Bush’s most extreme policies was abducting people from all over the world — far away from any battlefield — and then detaining them at Guantanamo with no legal rights of any kind, not even the most minimal right to a habeas review in a federal court.  Back in the day, this was called “Bush’s legal black hole.”  In 2006, Congress codified that policy by enacting the Military Commissions Act, but in 2008, the Supreme Court, in Boumediene v. Bush, ruled that provision unconstitutional, holding that the Constitution grants habeas corpus rights even to foreign nationals held at Guantanamo.  Since then, detainees have won 35 out of 48 habeas hearings brought pursuant to Boumediene, on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to justify their detention.

Immediately following Boumediene, the Bush administration argued that the decision was inapplicable to detainees at Bagram — including even those detained outside of Afghanistan but then flown to Afghanistan to be imprisoned.  Amazingly, the Bush DOJ — in a lawsuit brought by Bagram detainees seeking habeas review of their detention — contended that if they abduct someone and ship them to Guantanamo, then that person (under Boumediene) has the right to a habeas hearing, but if they instead ship them to Bagram, then the detainee has no rights of any kind.  In other words, the detainee’s Constitutional rights depends on where the Government decides to drop them off to be encaged.  One of the first acts undertaken by the Obama DOJ that actually shocked civil libertarians was when, last February, as The New York Times put it, Obama lawyers “told a federal judge that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush’s legal team.”

But last April, John Bates, the Bush-43-appointed, right-wing judge overseeing the case, rejected the Bush/Obama position and held that Boumediene applies to detainees picked up outside of Afghanistan and then shipped to Bagram.  I reviewed that ruling here, in which Judge Bates explained that the Bagram detainees are “virtually identical to the detainees in Boumediene,” and that the Constitutional issue was exactly the same: namely, “the concern that the President could move detainees physically beyond the reach of the Constitution and detain them indefinitely.”

But the Obama administration was undeterred by this loss.  They quickly appealed Judge Bates’ ruling.  As the NYT put it about that appeal:  “The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight.”  Today, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals adopted the Bush/Obama position, holding that even detainees abducted outside of Afghanistan and then shipped to Bagram have no right to contest the legitimacy of their detention in a U.S. federal court, because Boumediene does not apply to prisons located within war zones (such as Afghanistan).

So congratulations to the United States and Barack Obama for winning the power to abduct people anywhere in the world and then imprison them for as long as they want with no judicial review of any kind.  When the Boumediene decision was issued in the middle of the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”  But Obama hailed it as “a rejection of the Bush Administration’s attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo,” and he praised the Court for “rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.”  Even worse, when Obama went to the Senate floor in September, 2006, to speak against the habeas-denying provisions of the Military Commissions Act, this is what he melodramatically intoned:

As a parent, I can also imagine the terror I would feel if one of my family members were rounded up in the middle of the night and sent to Guantanamo without even getting one chance to ask why they were being held and being able to prove their innocence. . . .

By giving suspects a chance — even one chance — to challenge the terms of their detention in court, to have a judge confirm that the Government has detained the right person for the right suspicions, we could solve this problem without harming our efforts in the war on terror one bit. . . .

Most of us have been willing to make some sacrifices because we know that, in the end, it helps to make us safer.  But restricting somebody’s right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer. In fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe.

Can you smell the hypocrisy?  How could anyone miss its pungent, suffocating odor?  Apparently, what Obama called “a legal black hole at Guantanamo” is a heinous injustice, but “a legal black hole at Bagram” is the Embodiment of Hope.  And evidently, Obama would only feel “terror” if his child were abducted and taken to Guantanamo and imprisoned “without even getting one chance to ask why and prove their innocence.”  But if the very same child were instead taken to Bagram and treated exactly the same way, that would be called Justice — or, to use his jargon, Pragmatism.  And what kind of person hails a Supreme Court decision as “protecting our core values” — as Obama said of Boumediene — only to then turn around and make a complete mockery of that ruling by insisting that the Cherished, Sacred Rights it recognized are purely a function of where the President orders a detainee-carrying military plane to land?

Independently, what happened to Obama’s eloquent insistence that “restricting somebody’s right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer; in fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe“?  How does our policy of invading Afghanistan and then putting people at Bagram with no charges of any kind dispose people in that country, and the broader Muslim world, to the United States?  If a country invaded the U.S. and set up prisons where Americans from around the world where detained indefinitely and denied all rights to have their detention reviewed, how would it dispose you to the country which was doing that?

One other point:  this decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which serves to further highlight how important the Kagan-for-Stevens replacement could be.  If the Court were to accept the appeal, Kagan would be required to recuse herself (since it was her Solicitor General’s office that argued the administration’s position here), which means that a 4-4 ruling would be likely, thus leaving this appellate decision undisturbed.  More broadly, though, if Kagan were as sympathetic to Obama’s executive power claims as her colleagues in the Obama administration are, then her confirmation could easily convert decisions on these types of questions from a 5-4 victory (which is what Boumediene was, with Stevens in the majority) into a 5-4 defeat.  Maybe we should try to find out what her views are before putting her on that Court for the next 40 years?

This is what Barack Obama has done to the habeas clause of the Constitution:  if you are in Thailand (as one of the petitioners in this case was) and the U.S. abducts you and flies you to Guantanamo, then you have the right to have a federal court determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold you.  If, however, President Obama orders that you be taken to from Thailand to Bagram rather than to Guantanamo, then you will have no rights of any kind, and he can order you detained there indefinitely without any right to a habeas review.  That type of change is so very inspiring — almost an exact replica of his vow to close Guantanamo . . . all in order to move its core attributes (including indefinite detention) a few thousand miles North to Thompson, Illinois.

Real estate agents have long emphasized “location, location, location” as the all-determining market factor.  Before we elected this Constitutional Scholar as Commander-in-Chief, who knew that this platitude also shaped our entire Constitution?