Weekend Download - May 15 through May 17
Friday, May 15, 2009
The Weekend Download is a compilation of announcements and news that happened last Friday. Announcements are often made and news is often broken on Fridays to avoid its negative impact. Fear not concerned citizen, Daily Danet has your back.
If you had better things to do on Friday, here is what you missed:
Obama keeps military tribunals for detainees
Although he campaigned against them by calling them a “legal black hole”, it took Obama less than four months in office to adopt the Bush policy of military tribunals for detainees in the global war on terror. Liberal activist groups were incensed that Obama decided to keep the tribunals, rather than allowing detainess to be prosecuted in Federal court, a practice in effect prior to 9/11.
Critics of federal prosecution for terrorists argue that such prosecutions would be ineffective as it would require the United States to publicly disclose sensitive and classified information regarding sources and methods of intelligence gathering. In addition, critics point to the paltry 15 year sentence given to Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. al-Marri arrived in the U.S. on September 10, 2001 and was tasked with carrying out cyanide attacks following the airplanes-as-missiles attack. Even though he was part of the 9/11 conspiracy, his sentence, which may yet be reduced for time served, equates to less than two days for every victim of the September 11 attacks.
In response to its liberal critics, the Obama administration has promised “enhanced” due process rights in the tribunals. As always, the administration provided no details on what that might mean; especially given the already large panoply of rights afforded detainees. Once again, all hat, no cattle.
US releases Boumediene from Gitmo
In a related story, the Obama administration released Lakhdar Boumediene, the Algerian at the center of the Supreme Court case that allowed detainees to contest their captivity in U.S. federal courts. Boumediene, who has been at Gitmo since 4 months after the September 11 attacks, was captured in Bosnia and is thought to have planned an attack on a US Embassy there. Boumediene was released to his relatives in France.
Dr. Thomas Frieden Appointed to Head CDC
Obama appointed Dr. Thomas Frieden, the current New York City health commissioner, to head the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (formerly known as the CDC). Although Dr. Frieden is not very well known, he was the driving force behind the Nanny State initiatives in New York City, including the banning of smoking in bars, the banning of trans fats, the requirement that restaurants and coffee shops post caloric information, and the violation of patient privacy for “preventable diseases” such as diabetes. Dr. Frieden has also spent public funds to produce NYC themed condoms. Soon your medical records will be available to government bureaucrats and you won’t be allowed to drink, smoke, or eat. But at least the condoms will be free.
Panetta Rebukes Pelocchio
Current CIA Director and former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta, issued a soft rebuke of Nancy Pelocchio, who had accused the CIA of “l[ying] all the time” and intentionally misleading her and Congress over enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. Panetta’s statement said that “It is not [CIA] policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values,” but also invited Congress to sort out what actually happened. The Obama administration Glibbsily declined to comment. Mrs. Pelocchio offered yet another explanation of her position on Friday, saying that when she said she wasn’t briefed about that thing she was briefed about, it was the Bush administration that didn’t brief her about the things she was briefed about, not the CIA. Nancy, we hear your district may be laying off dog catchers, but good luck nonetheless in your next office.
Obama corrects yet another misstatement
On Thursday, Obama announced that a consortium of health care groups had agreed to cut costs by 1.5% each year for the next 10 years. On Friday, the president of the American Hospital Association, a member of the consortium, had to correct Obama; the actual agreement was to reduce costs gradually over 10 years, ending up at 1.5% in the tenth year. (It’s only the difference between saving a little more each year until you save $10,000 per year and saving $10,000 a year for 10 years.) Optimists claim the Obama administration merely wanted to make an announcement quickly and screwed up the details. Skeptics claim that Obama is trying to set the bar too high, in order to ensure failure and use it as leverage to enact his own healthcare plan.