Posted by: quiscus | March 26, 2010

March 26, 2010

1.  “US, Russia agree to big new cuts in nuclear arms; Obama sees step toward world without nukes

2.  “Obama’s Plan to Assassinate Americans

Even in World War II, the United States did not attempt to assassinate U.S. citizens who went over to the enemy, but that has now changed with President Obama’s overseas contingency operations. On Feb. 3, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that the United States government has developed procedures for killing American citizens abroad who are “involved” with groups threatening to carry out terrorist acts directed against other Americans. Three U.S. citizens have already been approved by the White House for summary execution as soon as actionable intelligence is developed to enable a pilotless drone’s hellfire missiles to do the killing.

Killing dissident citizens without due process is not a unique practice. Libyans, Iranians, and Soviets all did it in the 1980s and 1990s. But it is unusual in a liberal democracy where there are restraints on depriving a citizen of his life. The odd thing is that no one who matters seems too disturbed. No congressional committee protested, the New York Times only ran a short discussion thread on its online opinion page, and the Washington Post relegated the story to page 3 without any follow-up.”

3.  “Vanishing island solves India-Bangladesh dispute”

4.  “Scotland Yard asks London Internet cafe owners to monitor their customers’ Web files”

5.  “Greenspan: The Financial Crisis Was Caused By A ‘Once-In-A-Century’ Event • Taleb: Any Pilot Who Doesn’t Know About Storms Shouldn’t Be In the Cockpit”

6.  “Anti Coup Resistance a Target of Extrajudicial Killings: Honduran Professor Assassinated”

7.  “War Criminal Tony Blair Should Not Be Allowed on Malaysian Soil”

8.  Ugh:

“The horrible prospect of Supreme Court Justice Cass Sunstein

A media consensus has emerged that the retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the 90-year-old Ford-appointee who became the leader of the Court’s so-called “liberal wing,” is now imminent.  The New York Times‘ Peter Baker has an article today on Obama’s leading candidates to replace Stevens, in which one finds this strange passage:

The president’s base hopes he will name a full-throated champion to counter Justice Antonin Scalia, the most forceful conservative on the bench. . . . The candidates who would most excite the left include the constitutional scholars Harold Hongju Koh, Cass R. Sunstein and Pamela S. Karlan.

While that’s probably true of Koh and Karlan, it’s absolutely false with regard to Sunstein, who is currently Obama’s Chief of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.  From the beginning of the War on Terror, Cass Sunstein turned himself into one of the most reliable Democratic cheerleaders for Bush/Cheney radicalism and their assault on the Constitution and the rule of law.

The person who many believe is the leading candidate to replace Stevens — Obama’s Solicitor General Elena Kagan — has a record that is almost as bad as Sunstein’s when it comes to executive power abuses, civil liberties, and “War on Terror” radicalism.  Unlike the Sotomayor-for-Souter substitution, which essentially maintained the Court’s balance, replacing Stevens with the likes of Cass Sunstein or Elena Kagan would move the Court dramatically to the Right, especially in the areas of executive power and civil liberties, where a fragile 5-4 majority has provided at least some minimal safeguards over the last decade.  Whatever else one might want to say about Cass Sunstein — or, for that matter, Elena Kagan — it is simply false to claim that they would fit within the so-called “liberal” wing of the Court on matters of executive power and civil liberties.  The replacement of John Paul Stevens could have a very radical impact on the Supreme Court, and it’s certainly not too early to begin combating pernicious myths about the leading candidates.”

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