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Update [2005-7-27 15:46:52 by Armando]: From the diaries by Armando. Edited to bring the good stuff up top.

Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian who was arrested in 1999 with materials and a plan to bomb LAX airport on New Year's 2000, was sentenced today to 22 years in prison.  He was useful for a while in providing information, but has refused to assist the US any further in recent months.

It's important that he was caught by our border guards (yay us!), and that he's locked away.  But what's more important is the way his trial was handled.  He is no less a terrorist than Mohamed Atta - just less successful.  And he's much more of a terrorist than Jose Padilla, who has not and likely will not see an attorney because he's an "enemy combatant".  9/11 didn't change who or what these people are, it only seemed to change who we are, and that makes me sad.

It seems to make the judge in the Ressam case sad, too.  His incredibly powerful words while sentencing Ressam are below, with no further comment from me.

The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is twofold:

First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.

Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.

I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.

Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.

Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel. {emphasis switzer's}

The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.

Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.

It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will be in recess.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:11 PM PDT.



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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm off to the airport (4.00)
    so won't be around in comments.  Gotta take Mrs. Switzer off for her swanky bizness trip.
    •  Gotta love (4.00)
      Good ole Coughenour.  Even though he is pretty damn liberal, he was appointed by Reagan in the early 1980's (a fact which he says embarrasses him) only because his former Bogle & Gates law partner Slade Gorton recommended him.  He is the kind of judge that would never get nominated by a republican today.
    •  Gimme a buzz when you get back (none)

      Don't it just make ya wanna throe up?

      by RonK Seattle on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 03:14:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But the system DIDN'T work (none)
      Yay, he got convicted, which was obvious from the start.

      But as someone else pointed out, his sentence is less than what you would get for growing pot.  He planned to kill hundreds or thousands of people, and for each of those counts of attempted murder he gets what, a few days each?

      •  Nonsense (none)
        1-10 years for pot.

        (For what it's worth, I do not support putting people in jail for growing, possessing, or using pot. I suspect there are bigger threats to society that might be more effective uses of our jailing dollars than confining a bunch of stoned hippies for being stoned.)

      •  The law doesn't predict facts not in evidence (none)
        He wasn't charged with attempted murder because there are no identifiable victims.  The law has to work with the evidence in hand; was he hoping to kill people?  Yes.  Do we know how many?  No.  The prosecutor can't guess or just make up a number.  

        The system worked because he was treated as fairly as any US citizen would be - he was given counsel, allowed to present evidence, and he was charged with the crimes appropriate to the evidence at hand.  

        This is NOT a discussion about sentencing guidelines for pot possession.  It isn't relevant to this case.  A message was sent that our justice system treats everyone equally, and we don't have to get into eye-for-an-eye bullshit, nor do we have to abandon our principles just because we're afraid.

  •  outstanding (4.00)
    so glad somebody said this.  it won't get press, though.
    •  Press (4.00)
      This IS press.
    •  Be the press (4.00)
      As noted directly upthread, dKos is the press. You don't have to be part of the MSM to be the press. In the early days of our republic, there was no MSM. The press consisted of those willing to put some time and energy into communicating with their fellow citizens on the news of the day.

      Everyone here has the power to communicate with others. What this judge said is part of the news of the day. Clip it, quote it, pass it along. Be the press.

      I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

      by homeland observer on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:53:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  From CNN: Front Page (4.00)
      "We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely or deny the defendant the right to counsel. ... Our courts have not abandoned the commitment to the ideals that set this nation apart," he said.

      CNN article

      "What is hateful to thee, thou shalt not do unto thy neighbor. This is the whole of the Law, the rest is only commentary" Rabbi Hillel

      by modthinglet on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:01:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yay for federal judges (4.00)
        I've appeared before a few.  I always get along with the conservative Republicans on the bench; believe it or not, the only judge I have had trouble with is one appointed by Clinton!

        Let's remember what the federal judiciary did in the Schiavo case:  NOTHING. They swatted the US Congress and Jeb away as if they were flies. Moreover, the Florida judge who had the case was a Republican, if I recall. He stuck to his guns, despite death threats and getting thrown out of his Church.

        Let us also remember that the defendant's involved in the first WTC bombing were tried in a Federal court.  They had vigorous counsel and a public trial. They were convicted.

        There is no reason for holding people for years without charge, without a lawyer.  Bush and his cronies have no respect for the American judicial system.  Even Timothy McVeigh got a trial, and had counsel. We used to be a country where due process pertained to all.

        The best thing about the federal judges is that, despite Bush's attacks, they remain true to the Constitution.  Lifetime appointments insure that they don't have to check the way the wind blows politically before they issue a ruling.  

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:37:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Our court system works... (none)
        but only in places where they have jurisdiction.  They have none over an "enemy combatant" who surrenders to US soldiers after spending previous moments firing bullets at those very same soldiers.  They cannot be charged with attempted murder in our federal court system.

        What gets me is that he ONLY got 22 years.  22 years sounds like a lot, but it means he'll be out in his 50's.  Can a 55 year old drive a car full of explosives into an airport?  Ummmm... yeah.  So Richard "shoebomber" Reid gets 3 life sentences, 4 20year sentences, and 1 30 year sentence.  Essentially he's locked up for life.  What's the difference here?  Why does this terrorist get off so much easier?  What kind message does this send to other terrorists who would try and kill innocent Americans here on US soil?  Come and try and kill us, if you're successfull you'll be rewarded in heaven, if not, then you can stay with us for 20 years and we'll give you another chance.  Someone put me straight.  Why is this such a GREAT decision?  Just because the judge seems to denounce GITMO?  This sentence seems awfully light.  Maybe I'm missing something here.  Somebody shed some light on this.

        •  Ummm... (none)
          "Our court system works, but only in places where they have jurisdiction.  They have none over an 'enemy combatant' who surrenders to US soldiers after spending previous moments firing bullets at those very same soldiers.

          Like Jose Padilla?  

    •  Suggested musical bit (none)
      Has anyone else noticed that the new, "balanced," NPR is using hymns more often as musical punctuation to news stories and features? For the most part, its instrumental versions, no texts, a clever bit of pandering to the devout who are devout probably slips by listeners unfamiliar with the hymnal (aka, the damned).

      So, as long as NPR is getting religion, may I suggest a tune to run after they report the good judge's powerful and moving remarks?

      "Once to Every Man and Nation":

      Once to every man and nation/ comes the moment to decide/ in the strife of truth with falsehood/for the good or evil side.

      Actually, the text has been set to a couple of tunes. I'd be happyy with either one of them.

  •  Well said (none)
    Poor guy won't ever get on the SCOTUS, it seems he can take a stand, as opposed to the current nominee.

    In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. -HL Mencken

    by sq1 on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:41:18 PM PDT

    •  He's a Reagan appointee! (none)
      Yet he has rendered some of the more reasoned yet progressive decisions in recent years on such varied areas as Microsoft litigation, immigration, the environment, etc.

      He's one of the reasons I have kept my mouth shut on the Roberts nomination. Believe it or not, I truly believe that being the one to make the call makes one render wiser decisions. From what I know of Roberts, regardless of his personal beliefs and biases, he is a good man. Just like Earl Warren was a good man and John Brennan was a good man.

      Note, Shrub is not the man making the calls in this administration. He's just the figurehead.

      Give a man a fish, he dines today, teach him how to fish, he dines tomorrow, teach him how to sell fish and he eats steak! Anon.

      by Serendipity on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:03:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope so (none)
        But anyone who was on the Bush side in Bush vs. Gore is a traitor to the Constitution, and has quite a lot to answer for.

        Preventing the counting of American votes in a Presidential election is perhaps the most un-American thing one can do. Especially when it goes against the will of the majority, who voted for Gore by half a million nationwide.

    •  THIS is a good SCOTUS Nominee (none)
      You are probably right, but this guy is the kind of person you want on the high court.  

      To the judge, I can only say, "AMEN!"

  •  Worthy of Future Mention (4.00)
    It may not get mention in the press.

    But here's hoping that one day it makes the required reading for law school classes

  •  Bravo to the judge! n/t (none)

    "You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

    by marylrgn on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:42:58 PM PDT

  •  Guess what the Republicans would say about this? (4.00)
    There goes one of those activist judges shooting off his mouth again.

    But on a serious note, his words ring true. I often wonder what kind of intelligence they will get from enemy combatants who have been in confinement for years and out of the 'terrorist loop.'

  •  Aaron Brown, Ted Koppel and Keith (4.00)
    should all be informed.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:43:21 PM PDT

  •  Double Wow! (4.00)
    I would not add to that powerful statement, it stands alone.

    Also, Rassam has given the FBI crucial information and there is no indication that they had to torture him to obtain that information.

    To thine own self be true - W.S.

    by Agathena on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:46:47 PM PDT

  •  Bartender! (none)
    A bottle of your finest scotch for this gentleman!

    God, I wish I could do that for real...

    "Who told you that you were naked?" Genesis 3:11

    by mrhelper on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:47:01 PM PDT

  •  Saying what he said took guts. (4.00)
    Proof positive that heroism still exists.
    •  Which is exactly why (none)
      we appoint Federal judges for life. They need to be able to make decisions based on law, not politics.

      Imagine, this guy still believes in the American system of jurisprudence! What a concept.

      I can only hope that there are more like him on benches across the land.

      It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

      That is one of the few times over the last five years that statement has been made when it hasn't been a lie. Good on you sir.

  •  it's not often anymore (4.00)
    that diaries give me chills.  But this one did.  

    Since not everyone will click on the link, I think it's important that the person who said those powerful words be named here:  Judge John C. Coughenour.

  •  Let's write him (none)
    Can someone here from the Seattle area give us a little guidance in terms of addressing a paper letter to this judge?  (I assume it would be something like the (King?) county courthouse, but a better answer would be, well, better.)

    I, for one, would like to write him a sincere thank-you note for saying something that important that well.

    •  The Honorable John C. Coughenour (none)
      United States District Court
      Western District of Washington
      700 Stewart Street
      Seattle, WA 98101

      Every man has three characters: that which he shows, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has...Alphonse Karr

      by exmearden on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 02:00:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just send a postcard - Thanks for Rule of Law, (none)
        NOT Rule of Guantanomo -- or some such thing

        nothing personal, but,

        NONE of us are going to write ANYTHING which adds to a very




        Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders"

        by rmdewey on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 02:25:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  me too (none)
          and postcards are best since all the mail carriers and staff see them as they come in
          •  politic'ing of the courts (none)
            It strikes me as an odd idea to write letters to a judge who ruled in your favor and/or issued a statement you liked.

            Writing to a judge is not the same as writing to a legislator it seems to me.

            Hmm, strange, don't know how to say it. Help. Disagree?

            •  I don't think its its a problem (none)
              Folks were talking about thanking him for his deliberatly public statements, on issues concerning us all. Its not about thanking him for or arguing with the ruling, which I think would be wrong (assuming you would not know the facts and evidence of the case, etc.)
              So I don't see the harm.
              My 2c.
  •  too bad (none)
    too bad he didn't get caught with a few hundred worth of crack, then we could put him away for life! //snark

    Good for that judge, telling the chickenshits who've been running this joint how fucked up they are.

    Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by racerx on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:52:22 PM PDT

  •  Woo Hoo! (none)

    One of those strict constructionist judges, it appears, who interprets the Constitution according to what it actually says.  Or is he a judicial activist?  I get so confused . . .

  •  A judge who believes in the rule of law (4.00)
    Now that's a judge I'd like to see on the supreme Court: a judge who truly believes in the rule of law.

    Accountability moment, my ass!

    by orthogonal on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:54:19 PM PDT

    •  So lets put him there (none)
      Lets win the election in 2008 and put him, or another judge like him on the bench.  My favorite part about his statement is how "un-activist" he really is.  In a lot of ways, he is speaking from an incredibly strict interpretation of the constitution.  Lets get some judges like that nominated and then lets get them confirmed.  That means winning the elections in 2006, 2008, 2010, and all the elections between and after those.  Lets put someone on the supreme court with the amount of courage that this man has.

      "I think war is a dangerous place." - George Bush

      by Nameless Soldier on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:51:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I went with Boy. Gosh, wow. (4.00)
    Good for the judge.

    It's important to remember that it is only the willingness of our government to respect the limits on its power embodied in the Constitution that makes us free.

    (One of the reasons I loathe the flag burning amendment.  People did not die for the flag.  They died for the limits on government specified and freedoms protected in the Constitution.  It is a poor tribute to their service to alter the Constitution by expanding government power and curtailing Constitutionally protected freedoms.)

    "What is hateful to thee, thou shalt not do unto thy neighbor. This is the whole of the Law, the rest is only commentary" Rabbi Hillel

    by modthinglet on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:54:44 PM PDT

  •  WOW (none)
    A Brave and amazing statement; not much can be added.
  •  He's a revered federal judge (4.00)
    who was recently honored as judge of the year by the King County Bar Association in Seattle.

    Give a man a fish, he dines today, teach him how to fish, he dines tomorrow, teach him how to sell fish and he eats steak! Anon.

    by Serendipity on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:56:00 PM PDT

  •  A cooling off period (2.50)
    After WWII the US made every nazi soldier spend two years in confinement.  It was, in fact, a cooling off period.  It is rarely talked about, nor complained about by the Germans.  They were enemy combantants and they knew they would spend two years locked up.

    How long can you keep somebody locked up without charging him or her? Isn't it time yet?

    I'm thinking the real problem is that these men, if not before, in confinement have grown to hate Americans and are now a real threat to the troops on the ground.

    American Engineer :== loser!

    by jnmorgan on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:56:59 PM PDT

    •  huh???? (none)
      "rarely talked about" -- I'll say.  A minute of Google searching doesn't turn up a single reference to any such confinement.  Have you got a cite?  And whoever rated that comment a 4 without checking it out, sheesh!
      •  That would have been against the Geneva... (none)
        ...convention, too (back when we cared about such things).  The conflict was over, therefore all prisioners of war should have been released.

        I've never heard of this before.  I smell BS.

        •  This Never Happened (4.00)
          I believe the above writer may be mistaken.  There was no imprisonment of all Nazi soldiers.

          I suspect the writer may be confused by the attempt by the Nuremburg prosecution to have proof of membership in the SS considered primie facie evidence of guilt of crimes against humanity.  Justice Jackson and his prosecutors tried to convince the Nuremburg tribunal that Nazis could be convicted of crimes against humanity merely by proof of membership in the SS.  Once the prosecution proved a defendant belonged to the SS, the burden would have shifted to the defendant to prove his innocence of the charge.

          The Nuremburg judges ruled for the German defense team on this issue.  Towards the end of the war Germans were drafted into the SS as well as the Wehrmacht.  Other SS units maintained their original function as body guards.  The tribunal ruled that any prosecutor had to present actual proof that the defendant committed or ordered crimes against humanity - merely being in the SS was not enough.

          The Nuremburg tribunal was in my book the highpoint of creating an international system to enforce justice and world peace.  Too bad the Bush-Chaney-Rove regime thumbs its nose at the Hague tribunal, and violated the other of the two charges levied against the Nuremburg defendants - conspiracy to launch agressive war.

          •  Hague tribunals (none)
            My problem with the Hague tribunals, especially the one with Slobodan Milosevic, is that it is so damn slllooooww.

            What has it been, five years since that trial started? Haven't some of the judges and lawyers died during the case, causing even more delays?  Ridiculous. Didn't the Nuremberg trials take just months?

            If there is going to be an international war crimes court, at least make it speedy and effective. Trials that drag on for years are not the answer.

          •  Hell, even the Pope was SS. (none)
  •  Another quote from the same judge (4.00)

    In an Op Ed piece that Judge Coughenour wrote for the Post Intelligencer on the 212th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution, he observed: "The Constitution cannot enforce itself. Like any written law, it is subject to manipulation by those who would undermine its principles while paying tribute to its words. We should be at least as concerned, then, with creating a commitment to the values of the Constitution in today's society as we are with celebrating the past."
  •  Again, WOW!! (none)
    For the first time, I am truly speechless.

    Umbrella drinks to Judge John C. Coughenour!

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -Plato

    by Bcre8ve on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 12:59:09 PM PDT

  •  Bravo - a place where the system still works (none)
    It was my first impression while reading the 9/11 Timeline (see link: 911)  ) that the system was in place to prevent terrorism.

    It simply failed to do its job, every step of the way.

    In this case, the border guards did what they should do, the court system did what it should do, and voila, justice.

    If only we had enough sunshine everystep of the way through the entire system -- something like an Open Source Government.

    If only.

  •  There was a lot of (4.00)
    back room dealing in this case, and I was going to post a diary about it, but didn't want to get troll rated just because some people have authoritarian tendencies around here.

    Ressam was cooperating with the authorities for the longest time.  He had been promised a sentence of 15 years, and thought that it was a good deal.

    However, the prosecutors renegued on the deal, and pressed for 35 years.  At this point, Ressam stopped cooperating and even stopped eating.

    The judge in this case mentionned that he hoped that Ressam would cooperate with the authorities, and by giving Ressam 22 years ( which works out to about 15  because of time served) Ressam is more likely to do this now - not because of the prosecutors, but because of the judge.

    So, the judge is an unsung hero because of the length of the sentencing as well.

    I've heard of many cases where the attitudes used by federal authorities changes the level of cooperation of detained suspects, and not in a positive way either.

    Someone should make this public and show how they are harming the American public by doing unethical things such as reneguing on plea bargains - which I may add, are quite common in all types of criminal cases.  

    •  From the Globe and Mail: (4.00)
      The judge hoped Mr. Ressam would consider using the three months to consider providing more information about other suspects.

      U.S. prosecutors had urged Judge John Coughenor to impose a 35-year sentence on Mr. Ressam in hopes that a severe penalty might persuade him to change his mind about testifying against two other suspects in Canada and Britain.

      However, Mr. Ressam refused to co-operate.

      His lawyers have said their client's previous co-operation was a significant aid to security agents in efforts to understand the way al-Qaeda operates after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. They asked for a sentence of less than 20 years.

      Mr. Ressam, who trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, provided detailed descriptions of his training there and identified individuals who were also in the camps.

      But, the prosecutors decided to get tough on Ressam, and decided that foregoing this information was more important than seeming "tough" even if it meant going against their promise.  

    •  Thanks (none)
      For the back-story.
  •  Judge Coughenour is a Reagan appointee (4.00)
    Formerly a partner at Bogle and Gates and a rock ribbed Republican.  Heard him speak a couple years ago and it was interesting.  His daughter's experiences growing up and entering the work force seem to have changed his opinions on some issues.

    Be that as it may, Coughenour is a conservative judge, but a fair one.  I am impressed by his statements.  

    His address for snail mail is:  

    Judge John C. Coughenour
    US District Court for the Western District of Washington
    700 Stewart Street
    Seattle, WA  98101

    •  I called Judge Coughenour (4.00)
      at 206-370-8800

      and talked to a nice woman in his office.  I told her I was calling from North Carolina to thank Judge Coughenour for his strong stand for our Constitution and our system of justice.  She seemed pleased---I'll bet they don't get many Thank Yous.

      •  I talked to what sounded like a nice young man (none)
        and thanked him for his eloquent words.  Ive never called a judge before to thank him for a virdict but I think this is important.  The man said that he would pass it on.  I feel proud of this judge and have renewed faith that there are people out there in positions of power who know right from wrong.  

        But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

        by calipygian on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 02:09:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'll give him a call later on (none)
      Bet he'll be surprised to get a phone call from a servicemember from Iraq.

      What time zone is that? West Coast? Hmm, 4 pm there now, probably ought to call soon.

      In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

      by jabbausaf on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 04:06:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shades of John Adams (none)
    Reminded me instantly of Adams' defense of the British soldiers at the trial of the Boston Massacre ~
  •  NOOOOO!!! (none)
    Not another activist judge presenting this so-called "logic" that you speak so highly of!!
  •  We should praise the border guards, too (none)
    I was up at the Canadian border the weekend this arrest gook place.  The weather where I was in Northern Idaho was terrible with roads washed out.  My kids and I drove into Canada but almost didn't get back into the US because I had temporary plates and a temporary registration.  My kids are adopted and we don't look like each other and the border guard, a nice but very firm woman, was very careful to check our bona fides.  I was grateful and understanding at the time.  The border guards did a great job catching him and everyone was on very high alert for the Millennium.  
  •  Terrific statement (4.00)
    This judge, a republican appointed by a republican president, gives me hope.

    And now, a visit to bizarro world:

    Freeper SmithL writes:

    "We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely or deny the defendant the right to counsel ... our courts have not abandoned the commitment to the ideals that set this nation apart," the judge said in court.

    This Judge is still in a pre-9/11 mindset.

    Freeper TChris chimed in:

    "We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely or deny the defendant the right to counsel ... our courts have not abandoned the commitment to the ideals that set this nation apart," the judge said in court.

    Yeah, it worked great! It only took, what, over five years to deal with one terrorist! Gee, Wally, if we could only get the US military to take out terrorists like that, everything would be just ducky!

    What a flippin' idjit.

    As much as this judge's perspective gives me hope, the idiocy of the freepers drags me down.  

    I gotta stop going over there, even out of morbid curiosity.  They're nuts.

    •  All hope is lost on the fearful (n/t) (none)

      From Europe? Join the fun at the European Tribune!

      by hesk on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 03:16:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't subject yourself to it (none)
      I understand what you're saying, and I agree that it does no good, and some harm, to spend much time at sites like FR.

      The harm is to yourself, as you've noted.

      I'm not saying 'be an ostrich.' I'm just saying that it does no good.

      My opinion.

      "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

      by RubDMC on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 03:31:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I understand, but you can't let it get you down (none)
      this judge's perspective gives me hope, the idiocy of the freepers drags me down

      I know it feels that way, but I know you won't let it drag you down.

      There is evil in the world. SmithL and TChris may be displaying evil of the ignorant, banal sort, rather than the malignant, purposeful sort, but evil none the less.

      We will never stop fighting it. Battles won and battles lost, we will never surrender to it.

      Because there is good in the world also, because it's worth fighting for that, because every one of us, every day, can make a small difference.

      Oh, yeah, and because District Court Judge John C. Coughenour ROCKS! :-)

  •  More Cracks In the GOP Facade (4.00)
    This is precisely the types of cracks that Howard Dean and the rest of the Progressives should be pumping their wedges into.  

    Even though this judge is supposedly a "Republican Judge" appointed by a Republican, he still speaks the truth that all of us here at dKos can agree to.    If only someone in power on the progressive side could hold up this sort of Republican appointee in honor and point to him as a sort of rosetta stone that explains what we're about.  We don't even have to agree with every single one of his rulings.. in fact, we shouldn't!  The point is to demonstrate that we're on the side of reasoned debate and we're certainly not the party of "activist judges" - that's the Republicans.

    See, we Progressives are just like you!  We want the government to operate fairly, for everyone.  

    We hate that some people feel like they need to burn the flag, but we will fight for their right to do it.  

    We don't want our pristine wilderness areas destroyed for profit, just like all those of you who call yourselves "Sportsmen for Bush."

    We support our servicemen and women, but we also want our military to fight for the right reasons, just like you.

    All of us can go on and on... where are the politicians that are saying the same?  Is Hackett the only no-bullshit progressive out there right now?


  •  Dutch Justice a LIFE sentence (none)
    Murder execution style of Theo van Gogh - an outspoken film producer of "Submission" and criticaster of the Islam - by Mohammed Bouyeri, an Islamist and radical of Moroccan descent - LIFE sentence, no early release possible.

    In two day trial, the multiple judge bench pronounced the heaviest sentencing possible in the Netherlands, due to Bouyeri's extreme Islamist beliefs and no repentance. Judges considered the murder and act of terror, a new law made possible in the last year due to tougher legislation. Bouyeri will be confined in prison with such arrangement, he is not free to spread his Islamist teaching to other Muslims inside, or outside the cell.

    Mohammed Bouyeri was provided counsel, but did not offer defense during the trial.


  • Ricin - Al Zarqawi - Bly Oregon - Niger    @ European Tribune
  •  great statement (none)
    and good choice in front-paging it.

    Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

    by tunesmith on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:22:16 PM PDT

  •  It's encouraging (none)
    to see that there are still good, thoughtful, and wise judges out there. I hope that judges like this and others of integrity within the legal profession who understand the importance of an independant judiciary will do their best to expose to the rest of the nation the threat that The Federalist Society is to our constitution.

    I did not like fascists when I fought them as a diplomat for 23 years and I don't like them now in my own country. - Ambassador Joseph Wilson

    by HootieMcBoob on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

  •  This is what we are fighting for (4.00)
    This is what we're fighting for. This right here. Justice. Bringing the power of the law to bear on those who threaten our lives and wellbeing. This is what the GOP seems to have utterly lost sight of in their sophomoric cynicism about government, that the justice system DOES work, and that by following the principles of justice we all, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Unitarian, and etc. are made better as a nation thereby.

    Justice does not come from George Bush's pronouncments. It does not come from the heated mouths of right wing radio hosts. Justice comes after carefully weighting the facts, deciding guilt or innocence, and punishing appropriately. Together with liberty and democracy, justice is part of the triumverate that makes nations strong, wise, and beneficial for all.

    Republicans arrogantly crave power unchecked by those who are not a part of their inner circle, so they will downplay this, if they pay attention to it at all. And the next time the DLC spouts of more of their self-destructive, misguided claptrap, point them at this case and scream: "THIS! This is what I stand for, you idiot! Justice!"

    Have you ever heard the sound of a Nation Rocked to Sleep?

    by JamesC on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:27:45 PM PDT

  •  YESSSS (none)
    Say it again.  THAT is why we love our country.
  •  YESSSS (none)
    Say it again.  THAT is why we love our country.
  •  Wow (none)
    If only we had someone with morals like that in the White House!

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:43:30 PM PDT

  •  Excellent Post (none)
    9/11 didn't change who or what these people are, it only seemed to change who we are, and that makes me sad. (emphasis added)

    The manifold atrocities inflicted upon this republic daily by this administration, all under the umbrella-excuse of 9/11, i.e. the assault on our civil liberties, the quotidian details of Rove's (and the Cheney Cabal's) ruthlessness, the assault on our environment, the assault on our privacy, a foreign policy (beginning with Reagan) that has exacerbated extremist ideologies and increased terrorism as a tactic, the hypocrisy of CAFTA, unbridled hegemony, etc., tend to distract us (or more accurately, the MSM) from issues like the Padilla case,  the intrinsic issues of human rights that are most trenchant in Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo/torture techniques/military tribunals and a chauvinist dismissal of the Constitution, resulting in a Kafkaesque world of horror in which complacency is capitulation.  It makes all of us sad.


  •  Sunlight, sunrise and sunset (2.00)
    Agreed.   Human rights, civil rights, is what KEEPS us safe.  If we give those up, then we are in mortal danger.  That's why even terrorists must have their day in court.

    22 years.  Is there early time off for good behavior?

    So, in about 2027, he will be out and about.  Let's see... my kids will be 25 and 28, possibly flying through LAX on a trip somewhere.  

    Ahmed was born in 1967.  That makes him about 38 now, and about 60 years young when he gets out of prison.  Plenty young enough to complete his mission.  I hope he's had second thoughts by then!

    I wish it had been a life sentence.  There are some people, like terrorist bombers and serial child molesters, who just aren't safe to be let loose.  Isn't it a great thing that our society gives people a second chance to blow up the people, or rape the kids, that they didn't get to the first time around?  

    It's the price of freedom, and it's worth the price, as long as my kids aren't blown to pieces because they're flying through LAX at the same time that Ahmed gets out of prison and finishes what he started.

  •  OMG, Justice works! (none)
    Vigilante style vengeance on the other hand makes the problem worse.  It's like the GOP have no idea what history is, or what to do with it.

    If we abandon our allies and their issues, who will defend us and ours?

    by Bryce in Seattle on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 01:53:44 PM PDT

  •  My suggestion: (none)
    Tie him to a chair and have Sonia Braga sit on his face and slice him with with a razor blade.


    "She did NOT... sit on my face!"
    - Clint Eastwood, THE ROOKIE.

    Defending bad taste and liberalism since 2005.

    by jurassicpork on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 02:02:42 PM PDT

  •  I just sent this to my senators (none)
    and suggested they might try to get the reaction of any Supreme Court nominees they may encounter.
  •  His comments almost make me cry (none)
    This judge is a true patriot.  And his remarks are precisely why Gitmo is a crime and wrong and anyone who supports Gitmo hates America and what it stands for.  

    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

    by calipygian on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 02:04:03 PM PDT

  •  So much for (none)
    The horrendous sin, according to Karl Rove, of seeking indictments against terrorists.  Maybe, in Karl's version of the world, justice doesn't exist; in ours, it does.
  •  now that is some strong shit, man :) (none)
    and i love the "we will be in recess" ending... really gives it a nice finality.
  •  hey--he didn't call him an evil-doer. (none)
    The entire counter terror effort  went off the rails when  Bush called the evnts "this... this... crusade."    Judge knows this effort  is actually a defence of Reason and Progress.
  •  I spent 2 months in Judge Coughenor's court (none)
    last fall. I was a juror on a major taxfraud/money laundering case that went from Halloween to New Year's Eve.  He's an amazing presence--warm and ready to laugh, plus sharp and brooking no bullshit.  It was my only experience in the jury box, and I left it with huge respect for him.  Which was reinforced when I read his words today.  Great job, Judge.

    "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney

    by 2kate2 on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 03:06:21 PM PDT

  •  That judge is my hero (none)
    That judge is awesome. He's the one who should be appointed to the Supreme Court. Who's with me?
  •  Typical... (none)
    ...just heard the news blurb on NPR at the top of the hour and the only comments were on how the gov't didn't get the 35 year sentence they were hoping for. Also mentioned that Ressam was cooperating then inexplicably stopped cooperating, and that's when the gov't started pushing for 35 years.  Some comments above seem to contradict that story.

    Of course, no mention at all about the judge's eloquent admonition about abuse of the rule of law in secret tribunals.

  •  WOO-HOO!!! Recess!!!!! (none)

    Don't it just make ya wanna throe up?

    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 03:15:04 PM PDT

  •  This is what I call (none)
    a hell of a judges "opinion". Just awesome. Up yours B*sh! Just my opinion.
  •  Border Patrol ??? Canada ??? (none)
    What border patrol ?? I just crossed back over from Canada at Ft francis/International falls two weeks ago and passed through totally unmolested ! OK a CBP Canadian Border Patrol officer did ask me how the fishing was and did I have anything to claim but that was it noda on the US side , I would've brought this up in a diary but my week probation isn't over yet ----- Dbone,

    Stop Bitchin !
    Start a Revolution !

  •  Just to be devils advocate (none)
    I have to say that my gut reaction was that the guy should have gotten more than 22 years.

    I guess he did cooperate, still I would have kept him in prison till he was at least 70 yo

  •  This Deserves Repeating... (none)
    It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

    I took the same oath as an officer in the US Army and couldn't have said this any better.  

  •  This subject to be covered on KCRW (none)
    Just heard a promo for the show "Which Way L.A." on KCRW, the Santa Monica-based public radio station, in which the announcer said the terrorist was convicted, but that a journalist says the judge has a "soft spot."  Sounds like pure Repub drivel.  

    Non-Angelenos can listen to a webcast or podcast here.

  •  ACK!!! (none)
    Somebody hose me down!

    I just took a mud-bath at the Freeper-slime-o-rama to see what they have to say about the Judge's fine words.  Here is one of the more enlightened comments:

    "We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely or deny the defendant the right to counsel. ... Our courts have not abandoned the commitment to the ideals that set this nation apart,'

    Oh BARF! Just freakin' BARF! #$%&@#$#@&!!

    Forget the myths the media's created about the White House. The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand. - Deep Throat

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 04:36:23 PM PDT

  •  Great up until... (none)
    ... "the terrorists will have won."  

    Anytime someone (regardless of ideology) starts yammering on about how if we do this or don't do that "the terrorists will have won" I want to vomit.  The phrase deserves a corollary to Godwin's rule of Nazi analogies.

  •  A little more honesty, please... (none)
    First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.

    Most of what this dude said was echoing slogans created by the White House to advance their fascist agenda.  Not.  Impressed.

    So - the judge stood up for the Constitution - and that's a good thing.  Credit where credit is due.  But let's not get carried away here - he's a judge.  I was hoping we'd eventually find a judge who would stand up for the Constituion.

    Reminds me of a quote from Noam Chomsky - after hearing all that 'resolve' bullshit:

    A good way to stop terrorism is to stop participating in it.
    -- Noam Chomsky

    Preach, Brother Noam - preach.

    Donna Frye for San Diego Mayor! She got cheated last time - help us now.

    by shmooth on Wed Jul 27, 2005 at 07:16:05 PM PDT

  •  Where's Karl? (none)
    From the title, I thought this would be a suggestion for the next talking point. A conciliatory GOP-sounding talking point that would pre-indict Fat Karl: We shouldn't pre-judge Karl Rove, he deserves to be judged in the sunlight of a public trial.

    or somesuch.

    This was actually much more inspiring than that.

  • Close


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