The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

Obama: Executive Order to Close Guantanamo


This morning President Obama signed four executive orders (I’ll provide the link when the white house puts the text up) shutting down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. (Click Here for the video)

He signed the first Executive Order:

“In order to affect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the DOD at Guantanamo and promptly to close the detention facility at Guantanamo consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the united states and in the interest of justice. We will be setting up a process whereby [Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now].”

The second order:

“Ensures that anybody detained by the US for now is going to have to abide by the army field manual. we believe the afm reflects the best judgment of our military, that we can abide by a rule that says we don’t torture that we can still effectively obtain the intelligence that we need.”

The third:

“set[s] up an special inter-agency task force on inter-agency on detainee disposition […] they are going to provide me with information on how we are goign to deal with the disposition of some oft he detainees that may be currently in Guantanamo that we cannot transfer to other countries, who could pose as serious danger to the US but we cannot try because of various problems related to evidence […] and detainee policy going forward so we don’t find ourselves in these kinds of situations in the future.”

And the final is a more specific order asking for the delay of a detainee whose case is currently before the supreme court in order to properly review evidence.

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January 22, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Executive Orders, Guantanamo Bay, Nathan Schmitt, Video | 1 Comment

Senate Passes Telecom Immunity Bill

Yesterday, July 9, 2008, the Senate (the House has passed it as well) passed H.R. 6304, the telecom immunity bill.

Under Title II, Section 802, the bill states that:

[…] a civil action may not lie or be maintained in a Federal or State court against any person for providing assistance to an element of the intelligence community, and shall be promptly dismissed, if the Attorney General certifies to the district court of the United States in which such action is pending[…]” [and there is a list of qualifications you can read if you click the hyperlink above]

It should be noted that the protection is only for civil actions from which citizens may seek damages; there is no protection from criminal charges being brought against parties. As far as the accountability of telecoms goes, and any other party for that matter (as defined under Title II, Section 802), there is still some degree of accountability to which these parties may be held, but it is specifically criminal.

What this means for the American people is that private citizens may not sue for damages (compensation for losses of any sort) as a result of surveillance. The offending parties may only be sued by the United States government, thereby providing no just compensation for transgressions against private citizens, and can only result in the punishment of the offending parties.

This is a very, very sad day for America as well as the United States Constitution and anyone who believes in it. Here is the text of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

And Obama voted for it…What is happening?…I’m starting to get that feeling about Obama that I got about McCain when he flipped from a harsh critic of the Bush Admin to a supporter of them. Not that the big O is joining the ranks of the Bush Administration by any means, but his vote in favor of this bill is, in my mind, a serious transgression against the people of the United States. And that’s from an Obama supporter.

There’s another thing that’s bothering me. The bill is ridiculously sloppy. For example, Title II, Section 802, Paragraph 5 (which is one of the circumstances under which the Attorney General may dismiss a relevant case):

“(5) the person did not provide the alleged assistance.”

Excuse me? What? The Attorney General’s job is to argue cases, not to decide them.

I’m really ashamed to be an American right now.

I’d like to just leave you with this, the Presidential Oath of Office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The President regularly referrs to his oath and states that it is his job to protect the American people. I don’t know if he wasn’t paying attention when he took it or if he just forgot what it says, but he swore an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution, NOT the American people.

If we Americans don’t wake up and do something, we deserve what’s coming to us.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, Bills, Congress, FISA, George W. Bush, Video | 2 Comments

Phase 2: Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Phase 2 of the Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence was released this past Thursday. In a press conference about it’s release, Senator Jay Rockefeller stated that, “In making the case for war administration officials distorted the facts or were not supported by the facts, and said that they knew or should of known were not true.

The Huffington Post is sadly one of the few news sources that really covered it. Below is an excerpt, kind of the meat of it:

“the breadth of the Committee’s citations of examples in which the Bush administration’s comments were not supported by intelligence could reignite public dissatisfaction over the war. According to a release from Rockefeller’s office that was provided to The Huffington Post, these examples include:

— Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.

— Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

— Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.

— Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.”

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Congress, George W. Bush, Iraq War, Jon Stewart, Nathan Schmitt, Senate, The Media, Video, White House | , | Leave a comment

Barack Obama Speech: “A More Perfect Union” on Racism

By Nathan Schmitt

Barack Obama speaking on race in Philadelphia, PA at the Constitution Center on March 18, 2008.

I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet as this campaign has been ridiculous, on all sides, to say the least. However, I very much appreciate Barack Obama’s willingness to talk about race in a mature manner. There hasn’t been much maturity in politics or the news media lately.

March 19, 2008 Posted by | "The Candidates", 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Race Issues, Video | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Signing Statement: National Defense Authorization Act for 2008

By Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Searchable) (H.R. 4986) along with a signing statement effectively giving himself the power to ignore sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222. Here is a quick summary of these four sections:

§ 841 “established a commission to be known as the `Commission on Wartime Contracting'” that is essentially in charge of investigating defense contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

§ 846 Provides “protection for contractor employees from reprisal for disclosure of certain information” relevant to violations of law regarding such defense contracts.

§ 1079 States that the various heads of Intelligence must deliver requested Intelligence information, within 45 days of such a request, to one of the congressional Committees on Armed Services.

§1222 Prohibits the use of alloted funds for the creation of permanent military bases in Iraq or for the U.S.’s “control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

I’m not quite sure from whence the President claims this authority because he does not explicitly (or implicitly) state why he thinks he has such power. There are however three constitutional provisions that speak directly to this question:
Art. I, § 8, ¶ 12: Congressional Enumerated Powers:

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years[…]

This provision vests the power of Military Appropriations specifically in Congress.

Art. I, § 8, ¶ 18: Necessary and Proper Clause:

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution [the powers] vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States […]

This provision states (along with Art. I, § 1, ¶ 1) that Congress is the sole legislative body and that it has the power to make laws that it deems necessary and proper to uphold the Constitution.

Art. I, § 7, ¶ 2 & 3: The Presentment Clause:

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated […]

This clause lays out the process which a bill must go through to become a law.

The first provision clearly implies that the President does not have the power to overlook Section 1222 of H.R. 4986. It really doesn’t get any more black and white: the power of military appropriations was vest explicitly and distinctly to Congress and the President’s signing statement is therefore in direct conflict of the Presentment Clause.

As far as the other three sections that the President posits to negate, the language of the Presentment Clause is very clear in stating “If he approve[s of the bill] he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections.” This is not a debate of any kind, I’m simply at a loss. The President assumes the power he does on the basis that he wants it, and not on any Constitutional provision, law, statute, case, precedent, etc…

Wow…

February 13, 2008 Posted by | Bills, Committee on Oversight, Congress, George W. Bush, House of Representatives, Impeachment, Iraq War, Jon Stewart, Nathan Schmitt, Presidential Vetos, Video | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Common: “A Dream”

By Nathan Schmitt

“A Dream” by Common

January 14, 2008 Posted by | music, Nathan Schmitt, Video | , , | Leave a comment

This is Just Absurd but Funny (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

November 13, 2007 Posted by | Nathan Schmitt, Video | , | Leave a comment

On Strike: Writers Guild of America (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Writers Guild of America went on strike earlier this week asking for a royalties increase on media sales. Above is a video, albeit a crude one, that outlines the general terms of the strike. Here is a page of the latest news on the strike. According to United Press International,

Anxiety is rippling through the U.S. entertainment industry as it appears the Writers Guild of America strike could stretch into 2008.

Hopes for a fast resolution are wilting as neither the WGA, nor the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television producers has made a clear attempt to revive talks since negotiations broke down Sunday night, Variety.com said Wednesday.” (1)

The affected shows range far and wide from daily shows such as “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” and “The Late Show with David Letterman” to series such as “24” and “Lost” will go into re-runs and not finish out their seasons, respectively.

November 8, 2007 Posted by | Nathan Schmitt, Video, WGA Strike | , , | Leave a comment

Dennis Kucinich: Dick Cheney Impeachment Resolution (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Yesterday, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich presented the House with a resolution for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney (Video above). House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Democrat) immediately moved to table the resolution, but the motion was shot down by a vote of 251-162, more than half of the votes against tabling were Republican. A summary:

House Democrats on Tuesday narrowly managed to avert a bruising debate on a proposal to impeach Dick Cheney after Republicans, in a surprise maneuver, voted in favor of taking up the measure.

Republicans, changing course midway through a vote, tried to force Democrats into a debate on the resolution sponsored by longshot presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.” (1)

Also,

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “impeachment is off the table” and Congress is focused on responsibly getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, covering 10 million uninsured children and meeting national priorities long neglected by the Bush administration, said her spokesman Nadeam Elshami.” (1)

November 7, 2007 Posted by | Congress, Dick Cheney, House of Representatives, Impeachment, Nathan Schmitt, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Keith Olbermann: Harsh Criticism of the Bush Administration (Video)

By Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Last night, Keith Olbermann had some very harsh words for President Bush regarding the Bush Administration’s use of water boarding, among other issues. He directly addresses the President. Very harsh.

But at last this frightful plan is ending with an unexpected crash, the shocking reality that no matter how thoroughly you might try to extinguish them, Mr. Bush, how thoroughly you tried to brand disagreement as disloyalty, Mr. Bush, there are still people like Daniel Levin who believe in the United States of America as true freedom, where we are better, not because of schemes and wars, but because of dreams and morals.

And ultimately these men, these patriots, will defeat you and they will return this country to its righteous standards, and to its rightful owners, the people.” (1)

Also, Olbermann talks about former U.S. Acting Assistant Attorney General Daniel Levin:

“‘Waterboarding is torture,’ Daniel Levin was to write.

Charged — as you heard in the story from ABC News last Friday — with assessing the relative legality of the various nightmares in the Pandora’s box that is the Orwell-worthy euphemism “Enhanced Interrogation,” Mr. Levin decided that the simplest, and the most honest, way to evaluate them… was to have them enacted upon himself.

Daniel Levin took himself to a military base and let himself be water-boarded.” (2)

November 6, 2007 Posted by | Countdown with Keith Olbermann, George W. Bush, Nathan Schmitt, Torture, Video | , , , | Leave a comment