Saturday, June 24, 2006

too funny

i hope yours works better, mike

The Worst Ruling of the Week

...a ruling, on July 14, by Federal Judge John Gleeson, that the government can detain noncitizens indefinitely without explanation so long as that end of that detention is “reasonably foreseeable.”

The case before him was Turkmen v. Ashcroft, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights [1]"on behalf of male Muslim noncitizens from Arab and South Asian countries who were swept up by the INS and the FBI in the dragnet that followed September 11," the center notes.

Judge Gleeson also ruled that the government could single out people on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. “If applied to citizens,” he acknowledged,” this singling out “would be highly suspicious.”

Calling the decision "profoundly disturbing," Rachel Meeropol, an attorney for the center, said it gives the green light to detentions of noncitizens "at the whim of the President."

Gleeson’s ruling would have justified the Japanese internment camps for all except those who were citizens at the time. (David Cole, one of the attorneys in this case, makes this same point in a great article he wrote for the LA Times [2].)

In the here and now, it’s an especially distressing ruling because it bestows a blessing on one of the Bush Administration’s many powergrabs after 9/11. With the Ashcroft Raids, Special Registration, and other policies, the government rounded up 5,000 immigrants and deprived them of their due process rights.

And Judge Gleeson says that’s OK?

The Fifth Amendment says “no person” shall be deprived of due process.

The Fourteenth Amendment echoes that, and says “no person” shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Now the Bush Administration and Judge Gleeson are willfully ignoring those amendments. And they are treating immigrants as less than persons.

How sweet it isn’t.

Republican Candidate Calls for Forced Labor Camp for Immigrants to build wall

Don Goldwater, nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, caused an international stir this week when EFE, a Mexican news service, quoted him as saying he wanted to hold undocumented immigrants in camps to use them "as labor in the construction of a wall and to clean the areas of the Arizona desert that they're polluting."

The article described Goldwater's plan as a "concentration camp" for migrants.

Goldwater, a candidate for governor in Arizona, said in a statement Friday that his comments were taken out of context. He said he was calling for a work program for convicted nonviolent felons, similar to "tried and tested, effective and accepted practices" used by state and local jails.

But two Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jim Kolbe, called Goldwater's comments "deeply offensive" and asked state Republicans to reject his candidacy in the Sept. 12 primary.

thank God for the religous right

Republican congressional hopeful John Jacob believes the devil is impeding his efforts to unseat five-term Representative Chris Cannon.

He says there's another force that wants to keep him from going to Washington and the devil is what it is.

Jacob says that since he decided to run for Congress, Satan has disrupted his business deals, preventing him from putting as much money into the race as he had hoped.

Jacob said during a Wednesday immigration event that the devil was working against him, then reiterated his belief yesterday in a meeting with The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board.

He says there's been a lot of adversity, and there's no question he has had experiences that believes are due to an outside force.

How to save the world

A question of priorities: hunger and disease or climate change?
TWO years ago, a Danish environmentalist called Bjorn Lomborg had an idea. We all want to make the world a better place but, given finite resources, we should look for the most cost-effective ways of doing so. He persuaded a bunch of economists, including three Nobel laureates, to draw up a list of priorities. They found that efforts to fight malnutrition and disease would save many lives at modest expense, whereas fighting global warming would cost a colossal amount and yield distant and uncertain rewards.

That conclusion upset a lot of environmentalists. This week, another man who upsets a lot of people embraced it. John Bolton, America's ambassador to the United Nations, said that Mr Lomborg's “Copenhagen Consensus” (see articles) provided a useful way for the world body to get its priorities straight. Too often at the UN, said Mr Bolton, “everything is a priority”. The secretary-general is charged with carrying out 9,000 mandates, he said, and when you have 9,000 priorities you have none.

So, over the weekend, Mr Bolton sat down with UN diplomats from seven other countries, including China and India but no Europeans, to rank 40 ways of tackling ten global crises. The problems addressed were climate change, communicable diseases, war, education, financial instability, governance, malnutrition, migration, clean water and trade barriers.

Friday, June 23, 2006

the smoking gun?

The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday.

"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a quickly called press conference late Wednesday afternoon.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

... a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."The official said the findings did raise questions about the years of weapons inspections that had not resulted in locating the fairly sizeable stash of chemical weapons. And he noted that it may say something about Hussein's intent and desire. The report does suggest that some of the weapons were likely put on the black market and may have been used outside Iraq.