Tag Archives: Fox News

911 attack Civilian Trials vs. Military Tribunals – What’s the Fuss?

So now we’ve got all manner of partisan hatchetmen coming after President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for deciding to try Khalid Shiekh Mohammad and the men charged in connection with the 9/11 attacks in a New York civilian courtroom.

Khalid Shiekh Mohammad
Khalid Shiekh Mohammad

Holder says he’s going after the death penalty, but that doesn’t seem to be good enough for the likes of Rudy Giuliani.

The so-called “hero of 9/11” took time out of his busy schedule this weekend to Fox News that the President “just doesn’t get it” when it comes to the war on terror. Rudy, of course, does get it.

He’s the guy whose recommendation for chief of homeland security will instead be going to jail after the holidays. But, no matter. He’s an expert at these things after all.

Am I the only person who gets the irony of a former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York saying the current US Attorney for the Southern District of New York can’t handle this trial? That Rudy Giuliani spews this crap on national TV is offensive.

Then there are those who whine about Khalid Shiekh Mohammad and his cronies having a platform to spout anti American rhetoric.

Whether their cases are held in civilian courts or military tribunals, they’ll do that. People may forget, but that’s just what they did at their arraignment, and virtually every appearance before a military tribunal to date. By the way, in case anyone’s forgotten, they have confessed, and say they want to be put to death. Just what else do the tribunal advocates want?

Fact is, none of these GITMO detainees have actually faced justice up to now. Trying them in New York does pose some legal obstacles, but the benefits of showing American justice in the light of day far exceeds them. I remain opposed to the death penalty for anyone, but if the nation’s bloodlust over 9/11 is to be sated, what difference does it make what type of court reaches that conclusion?

And then there is the record, which Rudy Giuliani and his ilk  avoid talking about at all costs. From a Huffington Post piece by Brian Levin from Cal State University.

“After 9/11 the government prevailed in civilian criminal courts in some high profile extremist cases like that of the “Lackawanna Six” (participation in al Qaeda terror training), attempted airline “shoebomber” Richard Reid, al Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui, attempted terror camp organizer James Ujaama, New York City bridge bomb plotter Iyman Faris, Al Qaeda supporter Jose Padilla, and lesser figures like Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin, and white supremacist Matt Hale.”

However, justice isn’t on the agenda for Rudy and his fellow travelers, partisan attacks are. He tries to tie together President Obama’s deliberations on Afghanistan (“He has delayed inordinately in making this decision about the war strategy in Afghanistan,”), the Ft. Hood massacre (“He doesn’t get the fact that there is an Islamic war against us.”) along with the civilian trial decision to make Barack Obama look soft on national security.

What a joke, coming from this man.

Rudolph Giuliani
Rudolph Giuliani

In Rudy’s world, taking the five defendants and Major Hasan together and shooting them without trial, followed by nuking Afghanistan would solve all our problems.

Maybe keeping him off TV would work better. What do you think?

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Obama vs. Fox News; Limbaugh vs. Sharpton- Important to You?

We interrupt your valid concerns about the Senate Finance Committee vote on healthcare reform, President Obama’s deliberations on Afghanistan, and how to put the country back to work for a couple of stories that got quite a bit of ink over the past 48 hours or so.

On the one hand, it looks like the Obama Administration has taken the gloves off regarding Fox News. White House communications director Anita Dunn was blunt. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

Well, DUH!!!

The administration is just realizing this? Fox had known all along that their bread would be buttered by using their opinion programs to savage this president. In fact, they’ve made hay with Dunn’s remarks, and are just as sure to get a ratings bump as David Letterman was with his sex scandal. The people who watch Fox News expect Obama bashing. That’s a big reason why they watch. An attack by the White House also gives the pouter pigeons (O’Reilly, Beck, et al) at Fox News an inflated sense of their own importance on the public stage. Perhaps it would have been better to deal with them as the enemy in private.

The other story distracting attention from whether we’ll have the public option involves another right wing media blowhard. Rush Limbaugh is part of an ownership group that wants to buy the St. Louis Rams football franchise. Why is anybody’s guess, since the Rams are currently winless. This is the same Limbaugh who disparaged Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb as a product of affirmative action. He also called the NFL, paraphrasing here, like the Crips and Bloods without weapons.

Enter Rev. Al Sharpton, never one to back away from a good public fight. He doesn’t think Limbaugh should own an NFL franchise, and he’s asked for a meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell to express his concerns. He’s been joined by the head of the NFL Players Association, and several current players in asking the league to deny Limbaugh. El Rushbo, in his resp0nse, brings up Sharpton’s involvement in the Tawana Brawley incident of more than 20 years ago, and the media feuding goes back and forth.

al_sharpton2

For some people, who owns an NFL team, and stating the obvious about a right wing cable news network may be just as important as whether healthcare reform will afford more Americans access to quality care. Or whether more American kids will die in a seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. Or whether our unemployment rate will continue to hover around double digits for the foreseeable future. I don’t happen to be one of them. Is it wrong to say I could care less if Rush Limbaugh owns a losing team? Or even whether the Obama Administration views Fox News as the enemy? You tell me.

NB: I know writing about this stuff makes me seem hypocritical. Sorry.

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Obama on Healthcare – Mission Accomplished? Politics and health

President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress was masterful on several levels, the first being political.

That doesn’t mean it was a triumph for those (like me) who want to see every American have access to quality healthcare. That, however, wasn’t the President’s purpose.

Barack Obama after healthcare reform speech
Barack Obama after healthcare reform speech

He wanted to make his position on reform clearer to many people who spent the summer being whipsawed by reports of death panels and socialism.

Whenever politicians speak these days, I try not to watch cable news coverage of what they’re saying. That means I was one of the few people who was happy Fox News chose not to cover President Obama’s speech. In fact, two minutes before it was scheduled to begin, I turned on C-Span, the one place where I didn’t have to listen to the endless spin that has become virtually all cable news these days.

Once the niceties were out of the way, I saw an extraordinary performance by this President. There was a point when he was describing the insurance exchange component of his plan that I thought to myself (with some dismay), “He’s throwing the public option under the bus”. But he didn’t. Instead, he looked to mollify those who oppose it by saying only 5% of Americans will use it.

Downplaying the importance of the public option wasn’t my favorite part of the speech, but if your goal as a progressive is in fact to see progress, that President Obama made Wednesday night. His invocation of everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to Teddy Kennedy to John McCain to Chuck Grassley was brilliant.

Brilliant, that is, if you want to get a bill passed.

Sad to say, the Grassleys, McCains, and other Republicans will likely avoid the hand of bipartisanship as extended by Barack Obama. They’ve got an election to contend in 2012, and a healthcare reform bill championed by Barack Obama and passed this year would all but doom their chances at running a competitive race. They still think they can channel all that rage they saw at town hall meetings last month into something that will maintain the status quo. That’s why Cong. Joe Wilson yelled out “You lie!”  in response to Obama’s assertion his plan won’t cover undocumented immigrants. Universally condemned, this fool couldn’t apologize fast enough.

So what does President Obama’s speech mean to hard working Americans who worry about health coverage for themselves and their families? Hope, I would think, not the hope that comes from advocating a universal, single payer plan, but hope nonetheless.

As for Republicans, don’t expect more than two or three to back the Obama plan in the Senate. I think he’ll still have to play hardball to get it passed, but pass it and sign it he will.

What do you think?

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