Quote of the day

Glenn Greenwald’s assessment of Senator Harry Reid now that Congress has renewed the Patriot Act:

This is amazing: in 2005, Russ Feingold led a filibuster, supported by Democrats and 4 Republicans, to block extension of the Patriot Act in order to ensure that reforms were added (he was ultimately unsuccessful). Just look at the fear-mongering claims the GOP spewed about that, and more so, look at what Harry Reid was saying back then as he opportunistically pretended — like so many Democrats — to care about such matters because doing so was a means of bashing Bush for partisan gain:

Senate Democrats yesterday began filibustering a proposal to extend the USA Patriot Act, raising the probability that key provisions of the anti-terrorism law will expire in two weeks….

Republicans warned that allowing the current provisions to expire could have devastating consequences and said Democrats would be punished in next year’s elections for letting it lapse.

“The Patriot Act expires on December 31, but the terrorists’ threat does not,” Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, said….

“We killed the Patriot Act,” boasted Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to cheers from a crowd at a political rally after the vote….

Republicans privately marveled that Democrats would open themselves up to being blamed for the Patriot Act’s demise.

“For our colleagues to allow it to expire is to play with fire,” said Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican. “It is to take the chance that terrorists will not act in that interim, in that period where the act falls and we’re relegated to using the authorities that we had before September 11th” ….

Mr. Bush issued a statement crediting the Patriot Act with protecting “American liberty” and saving “American lives” since its passage after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“These senators need to understand that the Patriot Act expires in 15 days, but the terrorist threat to America will not expire on that schedule,” Mr. Bush said. “The terrorists want to attack America again and kill the innocent and inflict even greater damage than they did on September 11th — and the Congress has a responsibility not to take away this vital tool…to protect the American people.”

“‘We killed the Patriot Act,’ boasted Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, to cheers from a crowd at a political rally after the vote.” To say that Harry Reid and the Democrats have now fully adopted Bush and the GOP’s fear-mongering tactics — on exactly the same topic — is to understate the case. And to say that Harry Reid — who previously demanded that the Park51 Community Center be moved and that Guantanamo detainees not be tried in the U.S. — is a duplicitous, soul-less, craven, worthless politician is also to understate the case.

Partinost über alles! Not at all! America’s militaristic corporate state über alles!

John Ashcroft gets a new job

Spencer Ackerman reports that:

The consortium in charge of restructuring the world’s most infamous private security firm just added a new chief in charge of keeping the company on the straight and narrow. Yes, John Ashcroft, the former attorney general, is now an “independent director” of Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater.

Ashcroft will head Xe’s new “subcommittee on governance,” its backers announced early Wednesday in a statement, an entity designed to “maximize governance, compliance and accountability” and “promote the highest degrees of ethics and professionalism within the private security industry.”

In other words, no more shooting civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan; no more signing for weapons its guards aren’t authorized to carry in warzones; no more impersonations of cartoon characters to acquire said weaponry; and no more ‘roids and coke on the job.

Ashcroft was George Bush’s first Attorney General and, as such, the law enforcement officer who oversaw Bush era lawlessness, which included the implementation of the security regime authorized by the Patriot Act (this and this).