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28 Feb 2012 21:59


Politics: President Obama exempts US citizens from indefinite detainment

  • then On the last day of 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act which, amongst other things, allowed for the indefinite detention of US citizens suspected of terrorism.
  • now Obama signed a policy directive today that exempts US citizens from that provision in the bill (Section 1022, if you’re keeping track). Here’s the fact sheet released by the White House. source
  • » Some nuance: Although the language in the bill as signed did permit for US citizens to be indefinitely detained, it did not mandate this. Obama actually said at the time that he wouldn’t implement the law such that US citizens would face this possibility, so his signing today of this directive is in line with what he’d pledged. Our take: While this development will surely please Obama’s base, we’re scratching our heads as to why the White House announced it on the day of what’s become the most important primary in the Republican nominating contest so far (Michigan). It’ll likely get completely lost in the news cycle amidst all the primary coverage, which would seem to blunt its political utility. Color us baffled.

11 Oct 2011 16:04


U.S.: Officials say FBI foiled Iranian-backed bombing plot

  • Iranian bombing plot stymied by FBI: American officials reported today that the FBI infiltrated and derailed a terrorist plot backed by Iran. The plan involved paid collusion from an elite Iranian security force to the Zeta drug cartel of Mexico (unbeknownst to the Iranians, the contact they believed to be with the Zetas was cooperating with the FBI). The intended outcome was a bomb going off at a Washington D.C. restaurant, which would have killed Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. This is big news, as a publicly disseminated example of Iran as a state supporter of terrorism; it has been viewed as such by the U.S. State Department since 1984. source

22 May 2011 11:28


Politics: Herman Cain: National security’s off my agenda … until I’m elected

  • Herman Cain doesn’t want to talk national security. At least not until after he’s elected. “The right approach is that the day I’m elected, I would start on that plan. I think it is disingenuous to tell the American people what I would do,” he told Fox News Sunday this morning. OK … so, we understand that he might not be privy to the documents that Obama has at his disposal, but seriously? National security isn’t something you, as a presidential candidate, are allowed to ignore. This is one of the reasons people will want to vote for you. Waiting to explain your national security plan until after people have put you into office — forcing people to go in blind on one of the key things a president does — is a dangerous stance that will not fly with mainstream voters, Herman. source

09 May 2011 22:38


U.S.: If you’ve ever wondered what Obama’s National Security team would look like as superheroes, you’re in luck

  • We like that they didn’t go with the obvious choice of making President Obama Superman. We also like the visual of Joe Biden dressed as the Flash, as he looks reluctant to even stand up and stretch, let alone go somewhere quickly. source

14 Feb 2011 20:13


U.S.: PATRIOT Act renewal passes House – with simple majority in tow

  • last week It appeared a far-right uprising had sidelined the PATRIOT Act’s renewal in the House, with the bill falling short of the two-thirds total it needed to succeed.
  • this week By passing the bill with rules that only required a simple majority, the extension will go over to the Senate. The vote totals were nearly the same as last week. source

08 Feb 2011 21:07


Politics: PATRIOT Act renewal not sure thing … thanks to the Tea Party

  • renewal The House is going to vote on whether or not to permanently extend the PATRIOT Act, that uber-controversial privacy-exploiting leftover from the Bush era.
  • denial Unfortunately for the GOPers pushing the bill’s renewal, this isn’t the same Congress that passed the bill, and the party’s Tea Party backers may not support it. source

05 Dec 2010 11:59


Politics: Columbia University to public affairs students: Don’t read Wikileaks

  • Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.
  • A message from Columbia University’s Office of Career Services • Offering a word of advice to its School of International and Public Affairs that reading the Wikileaks data dump and talking about it could endanger their chances of ever working with the State Department. The recommendation was forwarded to them by an alumnus now working at the State Department. Meanwhile, the State Department itself claims it hasn’t made an official statement on anything like this. But by us posting about this, we’ve hurt our future job chances. Damn. source

29 Oct 2010 12:04


Politics: Noted Bush-haters Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson also dislike Obama

  • The idea that you can continue to keep human beings in detention offshore is an insult to us as a civil society and everything we stand for. I think the same thing can be said about the clandestine renditions. We need to shine a light on all of that and let it lead us where it may.
  • Former U.S. diplomat (and husband of Valerie Plame) Joe Wilson • Ripping on the Obama administration for not doing enough to stop Bush-era methods of security, including closing the base at Guantanamo Bay. Some of this is, of course, personal: Wilson’s wife was outed as a spy by members of the Bush Administration after Wilson publicly doubted the administration’s reasons for starting the Iraq war. Still interesting, though, that they’re ripping on Obama for this, too. In other news, the couple is about to get the Hollywood treatment – “Fair Game,” starring Naomi Watts and SEAN FREAKING PENN, sounds like an awards-season racehorse. source

08 Oct 2010 11:02


U.S.: Revolving door: National Security Adviser James L. Jones heads out

  • Another one bites the dust! Obama’s National Security Adviser is only the latest in a long line of folks to exit the revolving door of the Obama administration as midterms heat up. He’ll be remembered for this post, along with this photo. His replacement? Thomas E. Donilon. source

01 Jul 2010 20:35


Music: The odd couple: Aretha Franklin and Condoleeza Rice, in concert

  • condoleeza On top of her diplomatic skills, she’s an accomplished pianist who once played for the Queen of England.
  • aretha The Queen of Soul, on the other hand, once wore an embarrassing hat to Obama’s inauguration – a diplomatic faux pas. source