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Liberal Outrage

Public Hearing on Force-Feeding a Threat to National Security?

Every day it's another story about another thing our government wants to be secretive about.

The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to hold a highly anticipated court hearing on its painful force-feedings of Guantanamo Bay detainees almost entirely in secret, prompting suspicions of a cover-up.

Justice Department attorneys argued to district judge Gladys Kessler that allowing the hearings to be open to the public would jeopardize national security through the disclosure of classified information. Should Kessler agree, the first major legal battle over forced feeding in a federal court would be less transparent than the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

Attorneys for Abu Wa'el Dhiab, a Syrian detainee on hunger strike whose court challenge is slated to begin next week, said the government was using national security as an excuse to prevent the public from learning the extent of a practice that the judge in the case has considered brutal.

They also sealed the videotapes of the force-feedings. Other than covering up prisoner abuse, i'm not sure what issues of national security could come up in a case about breaking a hunger strike. Did they call in undercover agents to perform the force-feedings? Are they wearing shirts embroidered with their passwords?

And this was supposed to be the less conservative (batshit crazy) administration.

By min | September 30, 2014, 2:22 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

State of our media

Blogger begs comedy show to expose conflict of interest on cable news.

By fnord12 | September 29, 2014, 6:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link



Meanwhile, in the real world after-tax corporate profits as a share of overall national income are at an all-time high but median household income is lower than it was in 1999. So for the plight of the overtaxed American corporation to become a leading cause of concern for a Democratic former president and potential First Gentleman of the United States is a bit peculiar.

By fnord12 | September 29, 2014, 10:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Fed vacancies

Matthew Yglesias on "Obama's biggest economic policy mistake".

By fnord12 | September 17, 2014, 6:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Lead again

Kevin Drum has the latest evidence of how our switch to unleaded paint and gasoline reduced crime. I know i link-blog about this a lot, but i really do think it's incredibly important, sort of the greatest environmental clean-up story most people don't even know about let alone being critical for understanding crime statistics.

By fnord12 | September 17, 2014, 6:05 PM | Liberal Outrage & Science | Link

The Homeless for Fracking

Some funny business going on at a hearing on fracking in North Carolina.


Another 18 or so men sported turquoise-colored "Shale Yes" T-shirts. Some of them expressed confusion about why they were in Cullowhee. A handful removed their shirts or turned them inside out after anti-fracking supporters quizzed them about their knowledge of fracking. One of the men told The Herald he stays in a Winston-Salem homeless shelter and came because he had been told it would help the environment. He said he felt misled. The man, an Army veteran receiving mental-health care, refused to provide his name or additional details, saying he didn't want any trouble. To prove his story, he fished in his pocket and produced a Bethesda Center For The Homeless business card.

The men who would talk - none were willing to provide their names -- seemed nervous. They asked reporters to close their notebooks when other people approached. One warned another to be quiet. They denied receiving money to attend the hearing.

And here:

"They were clueless," said Bettie "Betsy" Ashby, a member of the Jackson County Coalition Against Fracking. "At least two of them I met definitely came from a homeless shelter. One of them even apologized to me and said, 'I didn't know they were trying to do this to me.' One said, 'I did it for the...' and then he rubbed his fingers together like 'for the money.'"


One man, who identified himself as "Christian Bradshaw," initially said, "We feel we did not know about none of this." But later he adds, "We're pretty much out here supporting the needs of energy (and) jobs."

His friends begin laughing. One of them covers his face with his hat. Another man, wearing a T-shirt with marijuana leaves on it that says, "Please Keep on the Grass," yells a comment about legalizing marijuana as he heads into the auditorium.

A man wearing a turquoise "Shale Yes" shirt and an identification badge tells Ashby, "They're here to learn." When the cameraman approaches, the man flips the ID badge around.

Ashby said one of the men told her he didn't want to talk because he feared the trip organizers would not give him a ride back to Winston-Salem.

"They were scared," Ashby said. "I don't think they had any idea what they were getting into. Once they realized it, they were very uncomfortable. They were completely clueless about what fracking is. They're being exploited seven ways to Sunday."

By fnord12 | September 16, 2014, 12:33 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

State secrets all the way down

To get all Glenn Greenwald for a minute, one reason that liberals have been disappointed in Obama isn't because, like, he failed to fight Republicans hard enough and stuff. It's because in several ways he's continued some of the worst policies of the Bush administration when it comes to the NSA and drone warfare and a relatively obscure topic, state secrets privilege, which is where the government gets court cases thrown out because, they claim, allowing them to go forward would threaten national security. The use of the state secrets argument increased dramatically under Bush but then continued (Greenwald would say increased) under Obama. The latest example is particularly egregious because the court case is not even against the government. It's against a (supposedly) private advocacy group that a business owner is suing for defamation.

The Justice Department intervened late Friday in a defamation lawsuit against United Against Nuclear Iran, a prominent advocacy group that pushes for tough sanctions against Tehran. The government said the case should be dropped because forcing the group to open its files would jeopardize national security.

The group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so-called state-secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity.

The lawsuit is brought by a Greek shipping company that has been accused of doing business with Iran by United Against Nuclear Iran. Presumably the company thinks they can prove that United Against Nuclear Iran's accusation is hurting their reputation and profits. They tried to subpoena the group's donor list, maybe to show that a rival business is among their contributors. The issue may seem trivial to us, but this company now has no recourse to the law thanks to the intervention of the government. This could nepotism, it could be an indication that the government is engaging in illegal propaganda, or it could "just" be a continued case of overreach of the state-secrets privilege. Regardless of which it is, it seems fishy and a more real type of Federal government abuse of power than the stuff you see Tea Party and Libertarian types complaining about. Which is too bad because it would be nice to see a left-right coalition on issues like these.

By fnord12 | September 15, 2014, 9:45 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Did we win?

Yesterday was the "Battle for the Net" and so we had the image below at the top of our website. I'm fairly confident that due to our vast influence, we convinced the FCC to support net neutrality. But just in case, here's the image again in a blog post:

By fnord12 | September 11, 2014, 7:08 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Executive Disorder

Looking at the reaction to Obama's decision to delay his executive action on immigration, i'm reminded about how this was supposed to be the year of the executive order, but so far that hasn't really been the case.

But right now i'm actually just thinking about the political strategy behind this recent decision. So regardless of whether immigration reform is a good thing and whether or not the executive order would have been constitutional (i think yes to both, but it's besides the point here), does delaying the order make sense?

The idea is that it's supposed to help red state Democratic senators. But anyone that is against immigration is going to vote against the Democrat regardless of whether or not this executive order was issued. And anyone that would only be motivated to vote because of this issue seems to have more reason to get to the voting booth if it means they have a chance to help Republicans take back the Senate to prevent the order. Meanwhile, all of the pro-reform supporters are demoralized and angry at Obama and the Dems for this, making them less likely to vote, donate, help with get out the vote operations, etc.. So the whole thing makes no strategic sense to me.

I guess i'll wait until after the election and see all the people interviewed who say, "Yep, i was going to vote for the Republican but since President Obama decided to wait until after the election to issue the executive order, i decided to vote for the Democrat (or not vote).".

By fnord12 | September 8, 2014, 12:48 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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