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Wednesday, Sep 28th

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Scared Cheney puts his head in the noose

The former vice-president fears being held to account on torture and is lashing out.

Barack Obama’s most underrated talent is his ability to get his enemies to self-destruct. It takes a lot less energy than defeating them directly, and helps maintain Obama’s largely false patina of apolitical niceness.

Growling and sneering, Cheney accused the new president of actively endangering the lives of Americans by ending the detention and interrogation programmes of the last administration, and vowing to close Guantanamo Bay. It’s hard to overstate how unseemly and unusual this was.

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Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason? Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes

Legal expert Michael Ratner calls the legal arguments made in the infamous Yoo memos, "Fuhrer's law."

The memos lay the legal groundwork for the president to send the military to wage war against U.S. citizens; take them from their homes to Navy brigs without trial and keep them forever; close down the First Amendment; and invade whatever country he chooses without regard to any treaty or objection by Congress.

I thought this was -- and is -- certainly one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, making the petty burglary of Watergate -- which scandalized the nation -- seem like playground antics. It is newsworthy too with the groundswell of support for prosecutions of Bush/Cheney crimes and recent actions such as Canadian attorneys mobilizing to arrest Bush if he visits their country.

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PNAC is Back

A newly-formed and still obscure neoconservative foreign policy organization is giving some observers flashbacks to the 1990s, when its predecessor staked out the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy that came to fruition under the George W. Bush administration.

The blandly-named Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) – the brainchild of Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, neoconservative foreign policy guru Robert Kagan, and former Bush administration official Dan Senor – has thus far kept a low profile; its only activity to this point has been to sponsor a conference pushing for a U.S. "surge" in Afghanistan.

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Cheney says U.S. can torture but can't heal

In his interview with CNN's John King -- his first television interview since leaving the vice presidency -- Cheney revealed a view of federal power that is incoherent and hypocritical.

According to recently released legal memos from the Bush-Cheney administration, the former vice president believes that the federal government can ignore the First Amendment and suppress free speech and freedom of the press as part of its "war on terror."

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Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes 'executive assassination ring'

At a “Great Conversations” event at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.”

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Obama orders Bush signing statements review

resident Barack Obama on Monday ordered a review of George W. Bush's guidelines for implementing legislation passed by Congress, at the same time saying that he would employ his own version of how he wants the government to follow the law.

In a memo to senior government officials, Obama said they must check with Attorney General Eric Holder before relying on any of Bush's signing statements for guidance. Bush often issued a statement when signing a bill into law, and critics said the statements at times showed government officials how to circumvent the law if Bush disagreed with it on constitutional grounds.

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Obama's Middle-Class Task Force Has No Middle Class

Still, the middle class may have a better shot at making ends meet than at influencing the Middle Class Task Force. That's because no member of the Middle Class Task Force is actually middle class. While defining America's most beloved demographic group has never been an exact science, most academics agree that the term refers to anyone earning between $30,000 and $100,000 a year. (Median household income in the U.S. hovers around $50,000.) Every member of the President's task force - from Biden ($227,000) to Council of Economic Advisors chair Christina Romer ($172,000) to energy secretary Steven Chu ($191,000) - makes well over $150,000, putting them in the top 5% of wage earners.

TVNL Comment: So what's new? Welcome to America.

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