If you watched MSNBC this week, you might have thought the government’s foreclosure settlement with the big banks was a victory for ordinary citizens. Oh, really? More here.
I watched a few minutes of MSNBC’s coverage of the Iowa caucus Tuesday night and marveled at the network’s agonizingly in-depth coverage. Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow looked and sounded orgasmic. Would the dashing Rick Santorum edge out that wild man Mitt? Oh, oh!
Here’s Matt Taibbi giving the non-event its proper due:
…The Iowa caucus, let’s face it, marks the beginning of a long, rigidly-controlled, carefully choreographed process that is really designed to do two things: weed out dangerous minority opinions, and award power to the candidate who least offends the public while he goes about his primary job of energetically representing establishment interests.
If that sounds like a glib take on a free election system that allows the public to choose whichever candidate they like best without any censorship or overt state interference, so be it. But the ugly reality, as Dylan Ratigan continually points out, is that the candidate who raises the most money wins an astonishing 94% of the time in America.
That damning statistic just confirms what everyone who spends any time on the campaign trail knows, which is that the presidential race is not at all about ideas, but entirely about raising money…
…The campaign is still a gigantic ritual and it will still be attended by all the usual pomp and spectacle, but it’s empty. In fact, because it’s really a contest between 1%-approved candidates, it’s worse than empty – it’s obnoxious…
No, folks, the news out of the Oval Office isn’t really any better for those who fear the erosion of our civil liberties:
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at ACLU, said Wednesday night that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 was still highly problematic despite changes to the bill.
“It was an awful bill before and it is an awful bill now,” he told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Provisions within the legislation would authorize the U.S. to indefinitely detain suspected terrorists anywhere in the world without charge or trial, and require them to be held in military custody. Civil liberties advocates and others were furious at lawmakers for the broad scope of the provision, which could have allowed U.S. citizens on U.S. soil to be indefinitely detained without trial.
Obama threatened to veto the entire bill because of the provisions, which he said were “inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”
The latest version of the bill, drafted by the House-Senate conference committee, kept the provisions. But it exempted U.S. citizens from the requirement for terror suspects to be held in military custody and included language stating that the bill did not extend new authority to detain U.S. citizens.
Due to the changes, the White House announced Wednesday it would not veto the bill.
The bill forces federal agencies to treat non-citizen terrorism suspects as enemies waging war against the U.S. rather than criminals. FBI Director Robert Mueller said the provisions would disrupt, rather than strengthen, efforts to fight terrorism in the U.S.