Friday, October 10, 2014


I applaud the president for wanting to do this, but they'll never let him:
The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said....

The administration hopes to tamp down controversy by reducing the inmate population by at least half through quickly transferring Guantanamo detainees cleared for release....

Nonetheless, administration officials say the detention center can't be closed without sending at least some of the remaining inmates to the U.S. mainland.
The reaction to this is 100% predictable:
Unilateral action "would ignite a political firestorm, even if it's the best resolution for the Guantanamo problem," said American University law professor Stephen Vladeck. Republicans are sure to oppose it, while Democrats could be split, he said.
This is where the entire heartland -- certainly the entire white heartland -- will turn into a bloc of seal-the-borders crazies. To heartlanders, it's going to feel like a border invasion -- and it will probably come at the same time as executive action on immigration, as well as continued fear of Ebola and Enterovirus-68. I live in a city that's full of foreigners, so I don't quite understand this, but if you live in a place where everybody looks like you and talks like you and change happens slowly, these all seem like the same sort of invasion. I find that way of thinking utterly illogical, but everything I know about Americans tells me it's how most of them think.

The polls certainly aren't on Obama's side:
A Gallup poll released in June said 29% of Americans support closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and transferring detainees to U.S. prisons, while 66% oppose the idea.
And if this is Obama's sense of how Americans will be mollified, he's nuts:
Part of the administration's strategy for reducing political opposition to lifting the ban on transferring detainees is to whittle the number in Guantanamo to the point where the cost of maintaining the installation is unpalatable. The annual cost per inmate is $2.7 million, in contrast with $78,000 at a supermax prison on the mainland, officials say.

"As the number becomes smaller at Guantanamo, the case for domestic transfers...becomes that much stronger," a senior administration official said.
You can raise heartlanders' blood pressure to dangerous levels just by telling them about a federally funded cow-flatulence study that cost taxpayers $50,000 (even if the study is very useful in understanding the spread of atmospheric toxins), but millions, billions, even trillions of dollars spent defending America against The Other is just money well spent. Defense spending is free! Everyone knows that! It adds nothing to the debt or deficit!

How ugly will this get? This ugly:
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) on Friday vowed to block all legislation in the Senate with a prolonged filibuster if President Obama tries to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States....

Roberts made a similar threat back in 2009, when Obama originally signaled he wanted to relocate detainees to the United States. At the time, the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, as well as a maximum-security prison in Obama's home state of Illinois were being considered to house the prisoners....

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is traveling through the state this week on Roberts's campaign bus, said he would join the filibuster. Roberts predicted he would have broad support from his colleagues.

"I will have help on this. I can see John McCain there and I can see Lindsey Graham there and I can see Kelly Ayotte there and I can see a whole bunch of other people there," Roberts said.
Me too -- them and a lot of Democrats.

Wonder how soon this is going to start showing in campaign ads for Roberts -- and for Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, Scott Brown, etc., etc.

I'm sorry to say that this effort will not succeed. On this, America is provincial and irrational, and not even remotely liberal.


UPDATE: John Boehner speaks.
"Even as Islamic jihadists are beheading Americans, the White House is so eager to bring these terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the United States that it is examining ways to thwart Congress and unilaterally re-write the law," Boehner said in a statement. "Not only is this scheme dangerous, it is yet another example of what will be this administration’s legacy of lawlessness."
You can't behead Americans from inside a freakling supermax prison. But it's futile -- Americans just can't understand that these prisoners lack superpowers.


Victor said...

This is like the aftermath of 9/11.

NYer's and DCer's after 9/11 were much, much, less terrified than the rest of the Murkan Heartland - who went banana's!

When W was handing-out post 9/11 terror-bucks, small towns in the states of Podunk, Middle-of-Nowhere, Empty, and Huh?, got more money per-capita than NY, DC, and PA - where the terrorists did their damage.

American's are fools.
Our "Justice" system - corrupt and screwed-up as it is - is fully capable of handling any, ANY, terrorist.

But, of course, our conservatives jobs are to make people in the Murkan Heartland piss and shit their pants.

And the sheeple are scared.
They don't want ISIS fighters coming over here, giving them Ebola, and then, cutting-off their heads.

FSM, some days, I really hate this country - and have no hope!

Anonymous said...

You can chop heads off in prison though!

Ken_L said...

Once upon a time, conservatives were fond of quoting Acton's maxim about the corrupting effects of power; usually when explaining the inherent flaws of communism. Since America became the sole global hyperpower, they don't seem to mention it so much. Funny that. Because so many actions that have brought America into disrepute, from bombing people via drones to life imprisonment at Gitmo without trial, are done simply because they have the power to, and principle be damned.

Anonymous said...

The Republican Party should just consolidate behind one slogan permanently: Bad People No In Here. It's all they run on anymore.

Unknown said...

Obama (wrongly) caved on this issue shortly after his election. Why in god's name does he revive it at this time? Wait a month, then he can roll around in this minefield all he wants.

Anonymous said...

Obama didn't "cave" on it, his own party stabbed him in the back repeatedly, and continues to do so.

Yastreblyansky said...

Anyway the administration is already denying the rumor, "vehemently".

Steve M. said...

What Karoli said.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Everything is Obama s fault.