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As Gibbs Attacks Progressive Critics, ACLU Says Obama White House Enshrining Bush-Era Policies

It’s disappointing that the administration uses this kind of language to respond to thoughtful and considered criticism. I think it debases political discourse in this country. And part of the Press Secretary’s job is to make sure that political discourse is civil and informed.
ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

As White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs attacks progressives for comparing President Obama’s polices to George W. Bush’s, we look at a new ACLU report on how the Obama administration is permanently enshrining into law many of President Bush’s most controversial policies.

The report, "Establishing a New Normal," warns: "There is a very real danger that the Obama administration will enshrine permanently within the law policies and practices that were widely considered extreme and unlawful during the Bush administration."



ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies, Deborah Weinstein,<>, in AlterNet<>
Fear of an unchecked, unaccountable government permeates the report, particularly in the section about targeted killings.
On torture, U.S. must clean house

Summary: Barack Obama, Change We Can Believe In: Week of August 15

2 New Items including:

  • ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies
  • The 'Professional Right' Goes Unchallenged by 'Amateur Left' in the White House

David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Adam Zyglis

ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies, Deborah Weinstein,, in AlterNet

  • Fear of an unchecked, unaccountable government permeates the report, particularly in the section about targeted killings.
  • On torture, U.S. must clean house

The 'Professional Right' Goes Unchallenged by 'Amateur Left' in the White House, Keith Olbermann Special Comment, Countdown, MSNBC, in Common Dreams

Corporate Sponsored Government

  • In the shadows: Already, political and industry groups have begun raising huge sums of money because of the Citizens United ruling.
  • 79 percent (of respondents in a survey) believe it's important that a candidate commit to reducing the influence of corporations over elections.
  • "While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics." Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissent to Citizens United.

The Progress Report

In an activist 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a decades-long ban on the use of corporate money in elections with its ruling in the Citizens United case in January, opening the floodgates to unlimited, anonymous spending on political campaigns by corporations, unions, and advocacy organizations. Reactions were swift, as many voices joined the dissenting justices in expressing concern that the ruling "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation."

Lawmakers quickly set to work on a bill, unveiled in April with bipartisan support, designed to mitigate the negative effects of the Supreme Court decision. The legislation -- called the DISCLOSE (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections) Act -- seeks to secure transparency in the electoral process through provisions holding corporations to a number of disclosure rules. President Obama called it the "toughest-ever disclosure requirements for election-related spending by big oil corporations, Wall Street and other special interests...trying to buy representation in our government." The Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group, said the bill would "shine a powerful light on...corporate political expenditures." However, corporate lobbyists and many leading Republicans, who cheered the Citizens United decision as a victory for First Amendment rights, called the DISCLOSE Act an attack, as U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue put it, on "constitutionally protected speech." However, as Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his dissent (to Citizens United), "While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics."


The Far-Right's Anti-Mosque Mania Spreads from Ground Zero to Across the U.S., Pointing to Dark Politics Ahead

  • The phony 'debate' over the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former World Trade Center portends darker things to come.
  • The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing

Stephan Salisbury,

There is a distinct creepiness to the controversy now raging around a proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan.  The angry “debate” over whether the building should exist has a kind of glitch-in-the-Matrix feel to it, leaving in its wake an aura of something-very-bad-about-to-happen.

It’s not just that opposition to the building has coalesced around a phony “Mosque at Ground Zero” shorthand (with its echoes of dust, death, and evildoers). Many have pointed out -- futilely -- that the complex will be more than two blocks from the former World Trade Center, around a corner on Park Place, and will feature an auditorium, spa, basketball court, swimming pool, classrooms, exhibition space, community meeting space, 9/11 memorial, and, yes, a prayer space for Muslims. The shorthand still sticks.

Nor is it just that this is only the most visible of a growing number of nasty controversies over proposed mosques in Tennessee, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Illinois as well as Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and Midland Beach, Staten Island, in New York City.  Such protests are emerging with alarming frequency. Nor is it simply that political leaders -- from Republican presidential wannabes to New York gubernatorial hopefuls -- have sought to exploit the Lower Manhattan controversy. (Sarah Palin demanded that “peaceful Muslims” step up and “refudiate” the plan; Newt Gingrich denounced the building of such a “mosque” as long as Saudi Arabia bars construction of churches and synagogues; Rick Lazio, a Republican campaigning for the governorship of New York state, asserted that the plan somehow subverted the right of New Yorkers “to feel safe and be safe.”)



The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing, The Progress Report

  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
  • Zero Tolerance

These Empty Spaces

We are an idea, and all of us are bound to it through the ink that explains us on old pieces of parchment. We are an idea, and in that idea, we can locate our nobility, our strength, and the better angels of our nature. Too many of us, including our president and congressional representatives, have forgotten this. Perhaps, if we remind them in strong enough terms, if we make We The People a true force for right instead of a catch-phrase, things would get better. Until then, the idea that is America will continue to wither, and the empty spaces within will endure.

William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t

(Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

My purpose in this life is to chronicle the events of our time, to shine a light on events and actions that damage us all, to reveal good works whenever they actually happen, and when possible, to show people places and times where they can make a difference should they choose to get involved. In the ten years I've been at it, I have seen everything: wars and rumors of wars; economic collapse and environmental calamity; state-sanctioned murder and torture and rape; theft, graft, fraud, deception and greed vast and dense enough to bend the light.

I have also seen millions upon millions of people pour into the streets to raise their voices as one against all these terrible things. I have seen people hurl themselves into political campaigns that have no hope of succeeding because they believed in the candidate, because the campaign message mattered as much as winning, and was made of so much truth that it required their labor. I have seen previously disconnected people get plugged in somewhere, anywhere, because they could no longer abide the silence of the sidelines.