Judge blocks NDAA

Calling it an act of Congress that infringed on constitutional rights, a New York federal judge blocks NDAA, the bill that allows Americans to be held indefinitely on vague grounds. Yes, we still have some principled judges left:

A federal judge is blocking legislation authorizing the government to indefinitely detain without trial an “individual who was part of or substantially supported” groups “engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”

Tuesday’s decision by a New York federal judge halts a key terror-fighting feature of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act and is a blow to the Obama administration. The government urged U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest not to adopt a nationwide ban on the measure, saying the move would be “extraordinary” and “unwarranted” (.pdf).

But the judge, ruling in a case brought by journalists and political activists, said the law was too vague and did not provide clear guidance on whom the government could indefinitely detain.

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I’d just like to say how strangely different my life is since I’ve been on the medication. Mostly, I feel that I have more hours in my day. When I wake up, I feel awake. I can concentrate on things. I actually plan several things for one day now, and it’s not a big deal. So hopefully I’ll have a job soon with medical coverage and can continue along this strange new path.

Yeah, right

I’ll believe it when I see it happen. Unfortunately, lobbyists only need to buy off a couple of Democratic Senators to preserve this crazy, dysfunctional system:

A frustrated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said he will likely push for changes to filibuster rules if the Democrats retain control of the upper chamber next year.

“I’ll just bet you … if we maintain a majority, and I feel quite confident that we can do that, and the president is reelected, there is going to be some changes,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “We can no longer go through this, every bill, filibusters [even] on bills that they agree with. It’s just a waste of time to prevent us from getting things done.”

It remains unclear, however, if Reid would have the votes to change the Senate’s rules, which would require a simple majority vote at the start of the new Congress. Should Democrats retain control of the Senate, they will likely have a razor-thin majority in 2013. Only one or two defections could lead to defeat of the motion, as all Republicans are united against such a change in rules.

We’re not supposed to understand the game, so the players still pretend outrage. Bah.

You betcha

Someone on one of my email lists sent out Obama’s statement in which he said he would not support extensions of the Bush tax cuts.

I shot back an email that said “I will not sign any version of the health care act that does not include a public option” with the comment that with Obama, statements like this are only an opening gambit.

And this morning I see this:

Two days after the White House said it would not extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich under any circumstances, multiple Democratic senators refused to rule out the same scenario.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), both of whom are facing re-election fights this fall, refused to take a positionon ending the cuts when asked Thursday, The Hill reports:

“If you want to do something in the spirit of compromise, you don’t start out by saying, ‘I refuse to do this’ or ‘I refuse to do that,’ ” said McCaskill. “It’s not my preference to extend tax cuts to multimillionaires — that’s not my preference — but I want to keep every option open in the spirit of compromise.”

Said Nelson, “I can’t get into a hypothetical.”

According to The Hill, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor (D) was also undecided on the issue.

So once again, an elaborately choreographed simulation of democracy will take place, and the outcome will be that the president will be “forced” to sign another extension. We all know this, right? And this is why people are so very weary of this game. Because no one ever comes out and discusses a piece of important legislation on its actual merits, it’s a game of symbolism and misdirection. It’s so exhausting to listen to this bullshit.

Dear God, I wish we had Harry Truman again.

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