Wednesday briefing and open thread

“This is a chilling document … Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen.” ~Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU

I’m very disturbed by the drone strikes targeting American citizens. If you’re an American and this doesn’t bother you then I have to wonder whether you really understand the magnitude of this. I don’t have a solution to the problem they’re trying to solve, and I want to protect America too, but I don’t believe in this. There has to be a better way.

You can read more about this from Marci here.

Ok, so I’m thinking about reducing the frequency of the briefings. I just can’t keep up with doing them on a daily basis on top of all of the other blogging & research I do each day. Who would have thought that a professional blogger would have less time to blog than an amateur blogger? But it’s true. I enjoy doing the briefings and I really like them when they’re done well, but I don’t have the bandwidth to put out a quality daily briefing anymore. They actually get a lot of traffic (if not comments) and incoming links, but they usually take me longer than any other post of the same length. I’ve been thinking that a format like the old Michigan Politics series would be a good alternative.

And on we go. 8 people plead guilty to misdemeanors from the right to work protests. Details here. No word yet on this and this. Not a surprise really, since authority usually can do whatever the hell it wants. Especially if it’s carrying pepper spray.

More over the jump.


Dale Hansen has an excellent post on the fact that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t guarantee a right to privacy.

The reality is that while the second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, it doesn’t guarantee the right to privacy. This pervasive NR-sponsored idea that the second amendment gives all Americans access to a nearly unlimited arsenal without any of the oversight and restrictions that accompany our other constitutional rights is the biggest impediment to solving the American gun violence crisis.

Here’s a sad.

From C&L:

The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation …

The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.

For once, maybe the government will actually do something for its citizens instead of big business.

Psych.

“But the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) isn’t going to build the network itself. The agency allocates spectrum for certain uses to spur private investment—someone else will have to find a reason to build it.”

Which basically means that the Michigan Telecommunications Act comes to Washington. So yeah, it’s for big business.

Mark Brewer has an opinion piece in Detroit News on Snyder’s budget. I love his conclusion:

We’re well on our way to becoming a top 10 state for wealthy corporations. But who will want to raise their children here when we’re at the bottom in nearly everything else?

Ruth Johnson caves and issues licenses to DREAMers. Poor lady, you know she’s hurting.

Finally, I’m going to be on Night Shift with Tony Trupiano tomorrow night at 9:35pm. We’ll be talking guns. So all you folks out there who like to troll-rate me for disagreeing with you on the word “infringement” should call in. Details at www.thetonyshow.org.

I’d really like to get a weekly youtube gun debate going with someone from Michigan Open Carry, but usually the gun advocates are just too emotional to talk with. I don’t need to give up any of my valuable time to someone who can’t deal in facts. If you listen to the gun discussions these days, the proliferationists skip the facts and go directly to the “what if…?” For example, “I need XYZ because what if 18 robbers come knocking at my door?” I just don’t have the time for that imaginary bullshit. But if there is someone who can discuss it without, you know, trying to troll or troll-rate me to my face, then I’d like to do that.

My new best friend:

Off topic: The first official riders in New York City’s first subway, 1904

Census Daily Wednesday, February 6th. On this date in 1899, the Senate ratified the Treaty of Paris, concluding the Spanish-American War of 1898. The treaty, negotiated in Paris the previous December, was opposed by 27 senators; not opposed to peace, but to the overseas territorial acquisitions. Spain ceded Puerto Rico, Guam, and — for a few years before independence — Cuba to the United States, along with selling the Philippines for $20 million. The Philippines became independent after World War II, but Puerto Rico and Guam are still U.S. territories. Guam’s population in the 2010 Census was over 159,000, while Puerto Rico was home to 3.7 million residents.


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Comments

  1. Hunter Watson says:

    “This is a chilling document … Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen.” ~Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU.

    I’m a liberal, but aren’t all killings of enemies in war-time and on the battle field extrajudicial? I have great respect for the ACLU but are we not at war with Al Queda and the Taliban whether or not that state of affairs makes any sense regarding our actual interests? And when at war have we not felt free to attack the HQs of the enemy in efforts to kill their senior leadership? And is a drone different in principle from manned aircraft or artillery or special forces in carrying out the attacks? And didn’t Al Queda strike us first? And didn’t the Taliban act as accessories to 9-11?

    As to the American, what was he first and foremost, an enemy of the officer class irrespective of his nationality, or an American? And if he was an American first why are we thus disentitled to kill him on the battlefield? I think we’ll find that he got all the process that was due under war time conditions. After all, had he been captured and brought to military justice he could and most likely would have been executed as a traitor.

    • This isn’t about killing enemy combatants on a battlefield, or killing Americans who are doing business with an enemy combatant on a battlefield. It’s about killing American citizens on the basis that the government has determined that the citizen poses an imminent threat to the US. And the term ‘imminent’ is broadly defined, and the government does not need to present any evidence that an attack will take place in the near future.

      • Hunter Watson says:

        Christine said:

        “This isn’t about killing enemy combatants on a battlefield, or killing Americans who are doing business with an enemy combatant on a battlefield.

        Of course it is. The former is the precise precedent you cite. It is indubitable that he transformed himself into an enemy combatant. You can’t remove that fact from the precedent. Therefore the precedent much to narrow to fit your fears.

        And then she said:

        “It’s about killing American citizens on the basis that the government has determined that the citizen poses an imminent threat to the US. And the term ‘imminent’ is broadly defined, and the government does not need to present any evidence that an attack will take place in the near future.”

        But the actual precedent you cite is not recognizable in the language you use to describe it. Alwaki (sic?) was in fact a senior enemy combatant in wartime. Our Commander in Chief’s duty is to protect the American people from such as he. Don’t we have a right as Americans to his protection on these facts?

        Do you dispute the fact that the man left the United States voluntarily to become an active Al Queda military commander and that we are at war with Al Queda? Let’s say for the sake of the argument that these things are true and also that his acts are treasonous for which there is a federal death penalty. Why should we not have the right to kill him *in situ* as we do any other Al Queda commander? Why should the American people or our allies be put at further risk simply because he is of American origin? Surely you do not believe that we not may not take any measures against him unless we capture him first? And that in the meantime he would be free to advance al Queda’s manifestly terrorist schemes against us, e.g., the USS Cole, 9/11, the embassy bombings in Africa, etc.

        As to the defintion of battlefield, we need to recall that the struggle against Al Queda is not exactly conventional warfare. Are we to be denied the right to kill their commanders from afar when they have chosen to wage war from hiding, and across borders, guerilla style, and have given primacy to murdering civilians in order to change government policies?

        Forgive me but I think those who are struggling to see a *civilian* precedent here are carrying it much too far. Citizenship involves not just rights but duties. Alwaki (sic?) forfeited his rights to more than military “process” full well knowing that he would be tracked down and killed if not captured. He assumed the risks of both war and treason. That’s what happens when you war against your own country on behalf of an enemy belligerent.

        • hi Hunter. I appreciate your opinion & comments, but I’m talking about the policy and the legal justification of this, not the specific incident of killing Aulaqi.

          • Hunter Watson says:

            Fair enough, Christine. I felt that the particular event which highlighted the issue deserved evaluation. Context helps illuminate the principle involved.

            But the more I think about the overall trends the more I too am concerned. Have you seen Paul Craig Roberts’ article circulated this morning? He’s an angry man and tends to write rants, but this one is chilling. It is entitled “It Has Happened Here”.

            Best,

            Hunter

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