Saturday, December 17, 2011

More Obama derangement syndrome about "indefinite detention"

As you may know, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which funds the military and most liberals/Democrats are not happy about some provisions in the bill that the Republicans insisted on including.

Of course as happens so often, some liberals/Democrats express their concerns rationally and others have a habit of using things like this to fuel their "Obama derangement syndrome" (ODS). A good example would be the contrast between how someone like Adam Serwer (who has been a pretty harsh critic of President Obama on civil liberties) handles it with how the king of ODS Glenn Greenwald deals with it.

If you want to do the hard work of being an informed citizen, I'd encourage you to take a look at those two articles and make up your own mind about what's going on here. I have another purpose in mind for what I want to talk about.

What has bothered me most about the ODS crowd on these issues is how they are so insistent on ignoring history and/or current practices that don't feed their need to blame President Obama for everything. To listen to them, you'd think that the U.S. had never tortured anyone before Bush/Cheney came along and that, until Bradley Manning, no prisoner in this country had ever been subjected to solitary confinement. As I wrote about before, in his new book Glenn Greenwald seems to think there was some utopian time in our country's past where the "rule of law" reigned supreme. It all reeks of incredible ignorance.

And Greenwald is up to it again in his poutrage about NDAA. His big beef on this one is all about the issue of "indefinite detention." Unlike others who have critiqued his take on all of this, I was struck by one short sentence in his article about it that I linked above.

But this is the first time this power of indefinite detention is being expressly codified by statute.

That is simply not true. First of all, you have to acknowledge that the real crime in the first place was in declaring a "War on Terrorism." Because once we are legally "at war," the law allows for holding prisoners indefinitely until the hostilities have ended. Like most countries, this has been common practice for the U.S. The problem is with declaring war on a tactic instead of a country (or alliance of countries). Its the indefiniteness of the war that is the issue here.

And secondly, as I've written about before, Greenwald also completely ignores that there is one arena in our prison industrial complex where indefinite detention has been practiced for decades. I don't know the particulars in other states, but here in Minnesota, we have as many as 600 people who have been indefinitely detained because of sex crimes.

Among their ranks are more than 40 elderly offenders, some in wheelchairs; low-functioning adults considered to be little risk of re-offending; and young men without felony records who were hastily committed to the sex-offender program after completing juvenile sentences.

The most outrageous of cases includes:

...a Rice County man who was convicted of possessing child pornography as a juvenile and ended up at the program's Moose Lake facility when he became an adult.

Now I know that people freak out over sex crimes in a way that they don't over other criminal activity (seems to be true of "terrorism" as well). And the media has done a great job of convincing folks that "once a sex criminal...always a sex criminal," just as they created the myth of the super predator that sent thousands of (mostly black) young men to jail for life.

But whether you agree or disagree with the practice of indefinite detention for sex crimes, Glenn Greenwald is simply wrong when he suggests that its never been codified into our laws before.

For me, that doesn't make it right. Its simply yet another example of the selective poutrage by folks like Greenwald and why - until they embrace ALL of the victims of these kinds of practices - I'll simply write them off as ignorant at best and suffering from Obama derangement syndrome at worst.


  1. You know that Greenwald is on the Koch brothers' payroll? He's a fellow of and writes for their Cato Institute? Greenwald is the original KochWhore.

  2. No - most all of the GOP provisos have been modified, things have been returned to the status quo ante, and indefinite detention does not exist in the bill since there is annual review. Everything now is in keeping with SCOTUS rulings we progressives wanted on the rights of detainees, and Dianne Feinstein got her amendment on exclusion of US citizens and resident aliens from ANY of the provisions. Why are we still talking about an OLD version of the bill, when the one that passed is what we wanted? Who the freak cares what the GOP tried to do - it did not succeed.

    S.1867 is not what it was prior to the December alterations, so pull your knickers back up and stop getting them in a wad.

  3. Anonymous @ 11:06

    I have to wonder if you actually read what I wrote. I made a point of staying out of the fray about what is/isn't in the bill. I'd refer you to the Adam Serwer article for what I think is a fair assessment of that.

    My "knickers are in a wad" about something else entirely.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Jim,

    As you've seen here before, if you want to disagree respectfully, you are more than welcome to do so. But I'll not put up with that kind of crap here.

  6. Oh Good ! You are in that "I am so dignified that I do not deem it necessary to reply when people point out what stupid things I say"

    Direct challenge here: Can you write one single sentence that doesn't sound like a JR High Schoolgirl's composition project?

    Your blog and your rules- but you know and I know that I just won- and I won big time. When liberal hypocrites start deleting posts and going into cover-up mode they are exposed for the frauds that they are.

  7. I see that the Greenwald minions have made their way from their master's house to this sanity zone...

    Keep up the good work! It is ironic that Salon makes a list of hacks (darn accurate) and fails to acknowledge the elephant in the room, namely the boy from Ipanema with his ODS.

  8. LAC- You have missed the point entirely! The post has nothing to do with Greenwald. I'm told it has something to do with letting sex offenders out of jail- or something.

  9. No Jim, you missed the whole point.

    If you want to come here to name-call and be disrespectful - your comment will be deleted. And if you take that as some kind of be it.

  10. But you don't you call people names in every post? You label people as bigots, and you call people racist, you name-call all day long.

    Name calling is alright if the name in question is correct- sort of a "if the shoe fits"

  11. Jim in St Louis;
    When you don't agree with a blogger or anything on
    that blogger's site you go to another site.
    where people have like minded views.

  12. andryce-
    Speak for yourself, not for others.

  13. Smarty? You still there? Still trying to think up a way to spin an answer? C'mon just spit it out (you should excuse the expression)

    Do you think that dangerous pervert/predators should be kept in jail or not?

  14. Jim in St Louis
    You know people always say don't feed trolls
    but i don't mind LOL

  15. Jim - I'm still here.

    When you ask a question or state an opinion that is in any way related to what I've written, I'll be happy to respond. Otherwise...not so much.

  16. Raspberries!

    Every time you get challenged in the comments you say that the person 'misunderstood' what you were tying to say. Or that they 'missed the point' Its not just me, but anyone who doesn't reply with Amen.

    Maybe it is because you are a poor communicator.

    I'm asking you to actually state your opinion as gleaned from that tortuously convoluted post above.

    Do you think that dangerous pervert/predators should be kept in jail or not?

    My opinion is that if they are deemed a threat then they should remain locked up.

  17. MN 'indefinitely' interns supposed sexual deviants and you people or at least the blogger thinks that equates with the US indefinitely interns citizens or any other deemed threat without due process. There is no other example to be found in US law. Find one.

  18. Anonymous @ 7:14

    Please notice that you are labeling someone a "sexual deviant" who was in possession of pornography as a juvenile (from the article cited above). If that is how you see the world, I'd suggest that there are an awful lot more people who should be indefinitely detained.

    Folks like you throw around "sexual deviant" in the same way the right uses the "terrorist" label. There's not much rationality in either case.

  19. Whatever. What do you want to use? Still you use an example that is clearly not even close to Obama and his indefinite detention. So whatever you want to call them is fine with me. Still give an example of prior case law which is what Mr Greenwald stated that there is none. Once again, indefinite detention with 'no due process'. I am waiting.

  20. If you'd bothered to read the article I linked to, you'd find that what I'm talking about is people who have been tried, convicted and served their sentence. After that, they are committed to indefinite detention on the grounds that they might offend again.

    So let me review what GG said:

    "But this is the first time this power of indefinite detention is being expressly codified by statute."

    As I said, that statement is not true.

  21. Okay, you can't take a one sentence and state that is the full position. You know this but still do it. GG, as you call him, is refering to indefinite detention without due process. Because someone or team in the White House declare someone a terrorist or associating with terrorist can be detained indefinitely without due process. So you equating this with MN would mean a mayor in a MN city would have to pick out a person and describe him as a person who might commit a 'sex crime', being delicate now, and have him detained without due process. Is that the way MN law is? Nope and you know it. So please, one more time, give me case law that states that the executive branch on its own action or knowledge can detain indefinitely? No where in the bill does it declare that someone must be first intitled to due process.

  22. Nice attempt at hyperbole. But what you're suggesting as an analogy has absolutely no bearing on what is in NDAA.

  23. The bill that passed on Thursday included several problematic provisions, the worst of which could allow the military to detain Americans indefinitely, without charge or trial, even if they're captured in the U.S.
    Al Franken who voted against the bill.

  24. Doesn't it give you pains at all that every Republican voted for your bill. Every Republican. Wow that is awfully great company there.

  25. Excuse me one Republican apparently didn't like the smell of this turn and voted against it. Can you guess who?

  26. My bill?????? WTH are you smoking?

    Nowhere in the post I wrote or in any comment I've made have I defended this bill - or any practice of indefinite detention for that matter.

    Its ridiculous to try to discuss things with people who come loaded with that kind of baggage.

    And actually 6 Republican Senators and 43 House Republicans voted against it. A total of 47 Democratic Senators voted for it.

  27. Alright so you are against the bill then? But the President, who you do support is going to sign the bill into law. And still you can't give me a case law that agrees with this bills indefinite detention without due process. So what was the purpose of your blog post here? I have asked you this since 7:14PM. Two hours and twenty minutes I am asking the same question. What case law states or ever stated that indefinite detention is legal without due process?

  28. Mo'nin', Ms. Pants

    As LAC said up above, I see you've been discovered. :-) Fortitude, girl.

    Re: this matter, some of my thoughts are that, firstly, PBO knows more about law, being the Constitutional scholar that he is, than just any number of people who believe they know more. Therein, this being a Defense Bill with, additionally, people depending on it to get paid, he said he'd veto it unless some language was taken out. It was. So...

    For this and, probably, any number of matters, it would really be nice if there was such a thing as the line item veto. There isn't.

    As I've pieced it together, this would appear to be a bad Bill. HowEVer, it was a HORRIBLE Bill initially. I also, as I would see it, don't believe that U.S. citizens are just going to be rounded up and indefinitely detained. There is no evidence of this based on what PBO consistently attempts to do (of course, there is the minor aside that it's written into the Bill that that can't happen).

    Consider, those of you that, yet again, feel that Obama doesn't know what he's doing, or that he caved again or whatever the disappointment of the moment would be that, back in '10 something did NOT happen. Because of that we have a LOT of Republicans doin' that voodoo that THEY do. So...

    Nov. '12. BE there. VOTE for him and a Congress that will work with him.

    Less of this mess will happen.

  29. Mornin' Blackman - and thanks...hangin in there.

    I'm not much into the kinds of conversations so many want to have about this kind of thing. Being focused on whether or not you "won" an argument and/or needing to pin someone down as for/against this bill just doesn't interest me. It is what it is and, as you said, has now been improved from worse to bad. Its also been passed with a veto-proof majority. So there you have it.

    My interest in writing this piece was that much of the commentary on this kind of thing tends to miss so much of our history as well as the breadth of these issues. As I said, the result of doing that most often becomes an excuse to pile on President Obama. So my conclusion is that its likely related to ODS rather than a real interest in the issues.

  30. Gotta love the poster who calls it "Obama's" bill ... and then "your" bill. Freedom Works is back on patrol I see.

    (The sex crimes references... Uh ...?? What the ... ???)
    Poor choice of subject matter in my opinion Ms. Pants. I know you can do better than that!

    The hysteria over this bill is obviously (obvious to me anyway) the work of Karl Rove & company ... America's premier fear & anxiety merchants! This is what Rove and his groups do best. They decide upon which direction everyone's attention will be newly focused and then steer everyone's dialogue that way, and away from whatever it is that they feel needs some relief. And they have an outstanding record of success in doing so. If you think back for a moment to 2000 ... and again to 2004, you'll realize that we've seen this act before.

    To me it's all quite simple. The bill of rights is what they call the first 10 amendments to the constitution. NOTHING short of another constitutional amendment can usurp any part of our bill of rights. Since this NDAA bill is not a constitutional amendment, that's pretty much the end of the story as far as I can tell.

    Plus of the other posters nailed something else. The language that THE REPUBS .... (NOT Obama, and NOT Ms.Pants) wanted the bill to contain has been scrubbed thanks to Feinstein and a few other diligent Dems.

    The NDAA scourge is over folks. Please go back to focusing on the real enemy. The 1% club. And quit letting Rove and his fright specialists lead you around by the nose.

  31. One issue: those sex offenders were convicted and given a sentence. Much different than never being tried in the court of law.

  32. The fact that something is being done as you claim (the practice of sex offenders being indefinitely detained) doesn't mean it's codified in law. When something is codified in law it's given the weight of statutory authority. What law was passed authorizing the indefinite detention of sex offenders? What? Oh, right, there isn't one.


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