Slow news day

We’ll start with the explosive news story of the day (Ha! It’s not that Keystone State Turncoat! The guy who felt free to condemn Jim Jeffords’ 2001 switch to independent!. And no… it’s not about swine flu, either… despite pork producers’ insistence that the name is hurting business. And indeed, it’s not even the confirmation, finally, of a Health and Human Services Secretary, former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius… an HHS Sec in place for the signature health care program of the Administration… perhaps…)
It IS this story: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection (as in IN YOUR FACE, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, FOR EVEN THINKING ABOUT ADOPTING A BUSH-ERA POLICY) of a blanket claim to state secrets immunity in a suit brought by torture victims (including Binyam Mohammad) against Boeing’s Jeppesen Dataplan subsidiary (The Travel Agent for Torture[TM]).
What’s the signifance of that story, TD? I mean, we know you get all obsessive over GTMO and torture and all that sort of sh*t… but… I mean, surely these other things are important stories, right? Especially Arlen “All-is-forgiven-now” Specter, right?
Ummm… wrong. The only thing that Specter’s self-interested switch (he was going to lose a GOP primary to former Rep. Pat Toomey… Arlen is a man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience) accomplishes is to remove any cover the President might have had if his agenda proves unsuccessful or unpopular: although 51 senators is usually considered a majority, with Harry Reid in the unfortunate (for the rest of us) position of Majority Leader, 60 seemed to be needed… so Arlen obliges and takes us there (assuming Al Franken ever manages to get himself sworn in… )
That said, the President seemed to have no major problems passing the major signature programs he wanted with Specter in the ranks of the GOP: deficit spending as far as the eye can see to cover (apparently) bold initiatives in education, health care, energy research and other cool sh*t that we liberals are supposed to kvell over, with a slight nod to progressive taxation… except, of course, that on closer review, the initiatives aren’t so bold (except for the spending part). Since he could already pass those things with Specter’s assistance whether Specter called himself a Republican or a Democrat or a Klingon… nothing has really changed that much, frankly, save the label (and possibly, eventually, the committee chairmanships… Arlen’s pretty damned senior in the Senate). Sorry, Arlen… but the guy who complained that the Military Commissions Act was setting the clock back 800 years and then voted for it anywayis just not an o.k. guy in my book. While I’ve gone down to Pennsylvania on Election Day the last two federal election cycles to assist Democratic candidates, I’m not sure I can go in good conscience to support you, Arlen. Sorry. I just don’t see this as all that “big” a story, though it certainly seemed explosive and shocking when I first read about it.
No, no. What DOES matter is the quiet judicial revolution to restore the Constitution that seems to be breaking out all over the place (except for the D.C. Circuit) with today’s development in the West Coast’s Ninth Circuit (home of Judge Jay “Bugs” Bybee)… pretty big. In this case, the Obama Administration has made it clear that it intends to protect the torturers even from disclosure, let alone from actual accountability: the Ninth Circuit’s “in your face” will doubtless force the Obama Administration to rethink whether it wants to risk a Supreme Court repudiation of its adoption of a Bush-era policy… or whether it wants to do what it was elected to do and what the President took an oath to do: uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic (and the current Republican party leadership would have to be considered strong enemies of the Constitution right about now, and John McCain, I’m looking right at you, a**hole.)
So there. A huge day for our Constitution… though, as this comes from a lower court… we’ll just have to stick around and see if this sticks.