Left-wing MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow has aired a surprisingly penetrating critique of President Barack Obama’s new prolonged detention, or preventive detention, policy, a policy announced in Obama’s May 21 speech at the National Archives. Under this policy, suspected terrorists may be held indefinitely by the executive branch without trial, based on the presumption that they may commit a crime in the future.
Chicago radio “shock jock” Erich “Mancow” Muller took his listeners’ advice and voluntarily underwent waterboarding on May 22 and reluctantly concluded it was “torture.” Mancow had earlier pooh-poohed the conclusion that waterboarding was torture (though the U.S. government prosecuted as war criminals some Japanese soldiers who had conducted waterboarding against U.S. soldiers, and even court-martialed a U.S. soldier who had engaged in it in Vietnam). Vanity Fair journalist Christopher Hitchens also volunteered to be waterboarded last year after being challenged to do so.
President Barack Obama in a May 21 speech outlined a new policy of preventive detention, without trial, for people he suspects might commit crimes in the future. Flanked by copies of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence in the address at the National Archives, Obama’s speech would have been more appropriately given at the Blu-Ray release of the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report.
In a speech given on May 21 at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said President Barack Obama and other officials have largely "mischaracterized" the Bush administration's approval of "enhanced" interrogation techniques. Cheney said: "The interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other efforts failed. They were legal, essential, justified, successful, and the right thing to do."
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been forced to meet with state legislative leaders “to begin the painful process of slashing state spending after voters rejected five ballot measures intended to balance the budget through a mix of tax increases, borrowing and the reallocation of state money,” reported the New York Times on May 20. “The only ballot measure to succeed was one that prevented lawmakers and constitutional officers from getting raises in times of fiscal distress.”