Another reminder

John is, of course, absolutely correct that the folks who led us down this security rabbit hole in the first place were the Republicans – albeit, with the aid of most of the Democrats at the time (a few stalwart civil libertarians on the right and the left opposed the security power grabs – Russ Feingold, Ron Paul, etc.) Nonetheless, it was the Republican party that was in charge when they formed the DHS, the TSA, started torturing people, wire-tapping sans warrants, detaining P.O.W.’s indefinitely at Gitmo without trial, and so forth.

Thank God the Democrats have changed all that.

It’s all well and good to point out the hypocrisy of the Republicans here. The Charles Krauthammers of the world deserve it. But I care more about the people who hold the reins of power now – and the Obama administration and Democrat-controlled congress have not scaled back their war-on-terror powers in any meaningful or sustainable way. That’s also useful to remember when you fly this holiday season. The Republicans may have gotten the ball rolling, but the ball is still rolling under the Democrats.

Another thing to remember is that your team will only hold on to their seats for a limited amount of time. When they’re out of office, whatever power they accrued will transfer over to the Republicans, who, despite their current hypocrisy on the matter, will quickly return to their old ways, heaping fertilizer on the worst parts of government all in the name of national security. Then the Democrats, after supporting these programs when they came to a vote, will campaign against them, win, and continue whatever programs they campaigned against. And so on and so forth ad infinitum.

Bipartisanship is terrifying in practice.

Or, as Jason Kuznicki puts it:

It works like this: The majority party supports the growth of government power, under its aegis. The minority party can’t do much about it. We are a democracy, and minorities have fewer resources in a democracy. Rather than fight, lose, and be seen as a loser, the minority acquiesces.

When the minority party becomes the majority, nothing changes. Once again, the majority party supports the growth of government power, under its aegis. The minority acquiesces. The cycle repeats.

And naturally, it only takes one little, tiny security failure for all of this to get much worse.

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236 replies
  1. 1
    bago says:

    E. D. stick in there. Keep ’em honest.

  2. 2
    Carnacki says:

    The ombudsmen at The Washington Post and the New York Times are worthless so in that sense you’re just like an ombudsman for this site.

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    I guess it would be impolite to mention that Michael Chertoff was Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security.

  4. 4
    superluminar says:

    How about the minority party appoint an in-house critic to keep it honest? They could even hold a vote about whether or not to keep him…

  5. 5
    Annelid Gustator says:

    That’s some fiiiinnee ombudsmanship!

    Seriously, though, the ratchet effect is real–the pawl is our bleating fear and recrimination. A damn shame we’ve got so many bedwetters.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    Ahh, yes, everybody does it so blah blah blah. Except for this current fatal flaw.

    When the minority party becomes the majority, nothing changes. Once again, the majority party supports the growth of government power, under its aegis. The minority acquiesces. The cycle repeats.

    The current minority is stamping its feet hard, pouting on the national stage at ever-increasing volumes and is clearly willing to take down vital parts of the economy, government and national security in order to get its way all the time because that’s the only bipartisanship they recognize.

  7. 7
    bozack says:

    I care more about the people who hold the reins of power now

    That is fair enough. Here’s how I look at it.

    The GOP/Tea Party is completely malign, devoid of any principles whatsoever. Yesterday they said you need to vote for the Bush administration version of the DHS bill or you were the same thing as Osama bin Laden; today they will bark to high heaven about screenings; tomorrow they will pass a law exempting Muslims from First Amendment protection and requiring them to report to detention centers.

    The Democrats are absolutely terrified that the GOP will say mean things about them. So they go along with the awful stuff the GOP starts, regardless of its merits. (Not everyone agrees with me on this; some people think the Democrats are very happy to invade countries for no reason, to provide the military-industrial complex with unnecessary security theater boondoggles, etc.).

    The GOP’s eager bullying and moral bankruptcy is more to blame for the current state of things than the Democrats’ acquiescence. Not to say that the Democrats deserve cookies for their actions– they certainly deserve spankings. But they’re not the root of the problem, IMHO.

  8. 8
    rageahol says:

    I’m not even going to read what you wrote because you are a colossal shitbag, and i want mr. cole to ADD FUCKING BYLINES TO THE GODDAMN RSS FEED IN THE ARTICLE TITLE OR AT LEAST AS THE FIRST LINE IN THE ARTICLE BODY SO THAT I DONT HAVE TO READ YOUR McARDLE-ESQUE TWADDLE.

  9. 9
    meh says:

    hmmm you guys had 8 years to fuck the country up – how bout you give us half that time to fix it…mkay?

  10. 10
    superluminar says:

    @Carnacki: Damn, you’re quick!

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    The minority acquiesces.

    Is that what I’ve been watching the last two years, acquiescence? Could have fooled me.

  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    Just a little word on manners and respect and proper English and little things of that nature…

    Democrat-controlled congress

    Is not only borderline illiterate, but is disrespectful, rude, and pretty much says you are in love with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Karl Rove.

    I really don’t believe I have to read this kind of bullshit from a BJ front pager.

  13. 13
    Violet says:

    Another thing to remember is that your team will only hold on to their seats for a limited amount of time.

    I have a team? This I did not know.

    One of the things I detest about modern politics is this “team” concept. It’s so much easier to pit “us” against “them” if we’re Red Team or Blue Team.

    Screw that. We’re all in the same country and I want the country to succeed, to do the right thing for its citizens, and do the right thing around the world without bankrupting us in the process. If there’s a team for that, I’m ready to join.

  14. 14
    Adam C says:

    So put some effort into pinning down why this is. I put a large part of the blame on the antiquated, undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system (which we in Canada share). In my observation, this leads inexorably to a two party system where the parties take turns trading off absolute power in the cynical cycle that Kuznicki accurately describes.

    In a more democratic system, multiple political parties are able to obtain representation in the government. Seldom does any one part have a majority, so the minorities are provided with resources to fight against bad policy. As well, most of the minorities don’t have realistic ambitions of becoming unchecked majorities, so they have less incentive to fight for increased government power.

    It’s fine to lament the fact that you have no good electoral choices, and that our democracies are poor at best. But you should also recognize why it is that your system is failing you.

  15. 15
    WyldPirate says:

    Keep at ’em, ED. You’re right on this.

    Just get ready for the whining from the Obots. “It’s hard to change things”, “the media is against him”, “the Rethugs are big lying meanies”, etc, ad nauseum.

  16. 16
    NR says:

    @meh: This would be a valid response if the Democrats were trying to fix things. But they’re not. They are wholeheartedly embracing the worst of Bush’s national security policies. Hell, in some ways, things have gotten worse under Obama – even Bush never authorized the assassination of an American citizen without due process of law.

  17. 17
    NR says:

    @WyldPirate: “We don’t have 60 votes in the Senate.”

    That’s their favorite excuse.

  18. 18
    Lolis says:

    Democratically controlled Congress. I’ll give Kain the benefit of the doubt here. He just sucks at grammar. Maybe Anne Laurie can give him some lessons.

  19. 19
    TooManyJens says:

    Thank God the Democrats have changed all that.

    I think you’ll find that unlike “our newly found believers in individual rights and limited government on the right”, most of us aren’t cheering on these abuses and demanding more when the Democrats do it.

    False equivalence is false.

  20. 20
    Tonybrown74 says:

    Obama administration and Democrat-controlled congress have not scaled back their war-on-terror powers in any meaningful or sustainable way.

    Democrat-controlled?? Really, E.D.???

    WTF!

  21. 21
    samson says:

    Terrorist events will happen. The question is not if, but when. If the Democrats do not do everything the Republicans insist must be done to try to prevent it, the Democrats will be vilified and demagogued when something does occur. Instead of having a reasoned debate about practical security measures and how much privacy and liberty we wish to trade for the promise of marginally more security, it has devolved into political posturing and too often form over substance.

  22. 22
    cleek says:

    the way it really works is this:

    it’s a ratchet.

    no sane politician would dare put his name on something that could be seen as making things “less safe” for Americans. if another attack happens. besides the political risks, from a simple safety standpoint (even if the safety provided is illusory) nobody would take it upon themselves to remove a barrier.

    no politician will ever dismantle any of these security things until “the threat” has been completely gone for so long that it was the butt of his grandparent’s jokes.

    that’s why these things should never have been implemented in the first place. they can’t be got rid of. and that’s also why it was such a terrible idea to rhetorically (and in some cases, legally) escalate our response to 9/11 to the level of “war”. this “war” will never end. we are stuck in a war posture effectively forever.

    the GOP fear-mongered this country into a bunch of terrible policies and behaviors. they took us places we can’t walk back from. that’s the price of fear-mongering. but, hey, if it gets “conservatives” elected, it’s all good.

    so, yeah: blame the Dems. blame the motherfucking Dems for giving us 10 years of “objectively pro-terrorist” and “fifth column” and “9/11! 9/11! 9/11!”.

  23. 23
    Cycloptichorn says:

    Woah! I don’t see how you could post this without admitting that a major reason that the Dems haven’t dismantled Republican-era security state functions is because Republicans have SPECIFICALLY used such dismantling as a campaign tactic against them. With some success.

    The ball is still rolling because the Republican party is still rolling it. They demonize any attempt to stop the ball from rolling or even any discussion of how to roll the ball slower. And I must say that there has been no real outcry from the Libertarian wing of the Republican party to stop them. At all.

    Discussing this issue without even mentioning the way that domestic politics affects it is truly ridiculous. You probably should have considered this before posting.

  24. 24
    Punchy says:

    the Obama administration and Democrat-controlled congress have not scaled back their war-on-terror powers in any meaningful or sustainable way.

    /glances furtively in both directions, stares back at Kain:

    Dont you know you cant criticize Obama’s myriad failures on this blog when Cole’s in town?

    Cue his excoriating but almost-certain missing-the-point, shut up, that’s why rebuttal post in 3…2…1

  25. 25
    Starfish says:

    @rageahol: What RSS reader are you using? I can see the byline just fine, but that typically means I have to click on the title in Google Reader.

  26. 26
    geg6 says:

    Having got my writing bitch out of the way, I don’t completely disagree with you on this. However, I still have more faith in Democrats when it comes to civil and individual rights than I will ever, ever, ever, ever trust a Republican. Obama’s record is better than Bush’s as a whole even if it still sucks.

  27. 27

    @rageahol:
    Oh, my.

    Do you also send emails to Markos over at DKos? You might fit in. Just saying . . .

  28. 28
    somethingblue says:

    @geg6: Am I missing something here? A Democrat-controlled congress is a congress controlled by Democrats, no? It’s not at all like “Democrat Party.”

  29. 29
    NR says:

    @Cycloptichorn: So basically, what you’re saying is this:

    Republicans do bad things because they’re evil.

    Democrats do bad things because they’re terrified of the Republicans.

    I fail to see how the latter is any better than the former.

  30. 30
    TR says:

    Kuznicki’s point about how the party in power always acquiesces to the expansion of the federal government is very convincing. Until you remember that one of those two parties practically worships at the altar of “smaller government.”

    Yes, both sides do it. But only one of them is being hypocritical to its alleged principles in doing so.

  31. 31

    Security:

    When are we going to start inspecting-the-heck out of property shipped into the country and around the country?

  32. 32
    Annelid Gustator says:

    it only takes one little, tiny security failure for all of this to get much worse.

    Or another election in which the party that has learned nothing at allthat the incumbent is fucked when the economy is in the ditch re-takes control. You are a moron if you think it a good idea to hand the reins over to the same assclowns who drove us into the ditch in the first place. That is all. There is no other choice because that is the world as we have it. Onesie, twosie, sure it feels great, but there are FIVEHUNDRED FUCKING THIRTY FIVE members of Congress, and the incumbency reelection ratio in this recent election was above 80%.

  33. 33
    geg6 says:

    @cleek:

    I honestly can’t think of a thing you’ve said in the last few days that I disagree with. Considering my typical cynicism and lack of desire to ever agree with anybody, that’s pretty amazing.

  34. 34
    Carnacki says:

    @Cycloptichorn: I’d be interested to see if Kain can point to how he supported candidates opposed to those measures in 2002, 2004, 2006, etc., instead of cheering on those who enacted them now that he wants to blame the Dems for not moving fast enough to dismantle them.

  35. 35
    Adam says:

    E.D., your point on the Dems’ not being much better on the “security power grabs” is fair to an extent…but come on, do you honestly believe that, if the situation was reversed and this was implemented by the Bush administration, the right would be up in arms about this? Absolutely not. They’d be behind it 100%, telling everyone that this is another necessity in the War On Terror, and if you don’t support it you’re just another America-hating cheese-eating surrender monkey wuss. And the Dems’ reaction would be pretty similar to what it is now.

    Whatever your feelings are on the issue, looking at the political reaction shouldn’t go any further than realizing that the republican party platform has one plank – opposition to anything the Obama administration proposes. The possibility that this might force them to take positions starkly opposed to ones they held scant years ago doesn’t deter them from following their platform.

  36. 36
    WyldPirate says:

    @NR:

    @WyldPirate: “We don’t have 60 votes in the Senate.”
    That’s their favorite excuse.

    A-yup. That and the fear of the blame the Rethugs will cast their way in the event of the next terrorist attack.

    The thing that that the Dems don’t seem to get is that the Rethugs are going to blame them regardless of whether or not they are responsible. I don’t know how many more fucking times Nancy is going to have to jerk the football away from Charlie Brown for them to realize this.

  37. 37
    John O says:

    Power seeks power, absolutely and always, on this ED and I agree.

    However, the modern great war on civil liberties was started under the auspices of the Great War on Drugs, an almost entirely GOP Administration deal; Nixon started it by ignoring his own commission’s recommendations on the evil weed, and Reagan made it official (“Just Say No!”) and the politics were just too tough for the typically weak Dems to handle. Being painted as soft on drugs equated strikingly quickly with being soft on crime.

    So, as usual, the “but they do it too!” argument is a waste of time.

    The point is we are showing a bunch of clear signs of empire deterioration, of which this is only one.

  38. 38
    MBunge says:

    @Adam C: In a more democratic system, multiple political parties are able to obtain representation in the government.

    I see no evidence that such a system produces better results.

    Mike

  39. 39
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Re: “I’m not even going to read what you wrote because you are a colossal shitbag.”

    The intolerance of differing opinions observable at Balloon Juice can be compared to the growth of the security state. There is a fundamental reason for this.

    The Truth has a certain ring to it.

    Guards!

  40. 40
    Larry Signor says:

    I can’t pretend to know how a bunch of millionaires thinks. Their politics probably has more to do with money than egalitarianism.

  41. 41
    Earl Butz says:

    At this point in history, you would have to be willfully blind to not understand that in our two-party system, the two parties are fighting for the honor of who gets to drive the car over the cliff.

    Where’s the party for those who wish to not drive the car over the cliff?

  42. 42
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @somethingblue:

    No … if you allow for that use, it is then assumed that the House is controlled by one Democrat vs. being controlled by the DEMOCRATIC Party.

    Ugh!

  43. 43
    BottyGuy says:

    Even as a certified liberal (I cast my first vote for that notorious liberal Charles Percy (Republican) of Illinois), I guess I agree with ED here. Republicans did scared the country into instituting Orwellian security measures and wars, and also scared Democrats into continuing them.

    As far as I can see, we Americans are chicken shits, Democrats are chicken of anything that the Repubs bring up in terms of “National Security”, and Republicans keep dishing the shit.

  44. 44
    TooManyJens says:

    @geg6:

    Democrat-controlled congress

    Is not only borderline illiterate, but is disrespectful, rude, and pretty much says you are in love with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Karl Rove.

    Bullshit like “the Democrat Party” is a huge pet peeve of mine, but I’m not sure you’re right on the grammar of this one. Suppose we were saying that the Congress is controlled by lobbyists (an unthinkable stretch, obviously, but come along with me for the thought experiment) — wouldn’t we say “our lobbyist-controlled Congress”?

    It’s an inelegant construction, but I’m not sure it’s actually wrong.

  45. 45
    WyldPirate says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    Shorter Cycloptichorn: Republicans demonize everything the Democratic Party does and some things they don’t do.

  46. 46
    geg6 says:

    @Tonybrown74:

    Beat me to it. Yes, this.

  47. 47
    Earl Butz says:

    I’m not even going to read what you wrote because you are a colossal shitbag

    @rageahol: While I disagree with your take on E.D., I’m totally stealing this line.

  48. 48
    geg6 says:

    @TooManyJens:

    It’s the Democratic Party, which full of many Democrats of which Nancy Pelosi is one (badass) Democrat. Thus, when a congress is controlled by Democrats, it is Democratically-controlled.

    This is the problem.

  49. 49
    meh says:

    @NR:

    They are trying – sadly the GOP is better at obstructionism than the Democrats are at getting bills passed. That’s the way it is, and will go for a while. However, to paraphrase that old bigot, Mr. Churchill, Americans will do the right thing after they have expended all other options. The GOP is a dying, regional, theocratic train wreck that is heading for defining end. Be it in 2 years or 12, or 20 – it’s coming and they all know it. I mean, shit, Zoroastrianism lasted for over 300 years. You guys being around for a hundred is a drop in the proverbial bucket. In the end, it’s all about GIGO. Thus the eulogy of the GOP.

  50. 50
    me says:

    Commenting in reply to Kain seems especially pointless when you know he’s never going to read it.

  51. 51
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @TooManyJens:

    As I mentioned before, a Democrat is an individual. The [House of] Congress is not “controlled” by an individual. It is controlled by the party.

    Let’s not get it twisted.

  52. 52
    Adam C says:

    @MBunge:
    Let me know when the Germans start torturing people then. Otherwise, the evidence is pretty broad that your system is sucking.

  53. 53
    Larry Signor says:

    @rageahol: Eriks erudition and manners certainly are preferable to your in-valiant, self-fellating pomposity. His momma be proud of him. Yours should whup your silly ass.

  54. 54
    somethingblue says:

    “citizen-led initiative” = led by a citizen or citizens
    “industry-sponsored research” = sponsored by an industry or industries
    “student-centered learning” = focused on students or (the generic) student.

  55. 55
    Gus says:

    Those of us on the left who squawked about the PATRIOT Act and other manifestations of the security state predicted this. What president is going to give up powers once they’re given to him? People don’t run for president because they don’t want power. Isn’t this shit obvious?

  56. 56
    scav says:

    On the up-side, it is rather amusing watching ‘mercans seriously lose their shit because A) they insist on hogging center stage and B) they have so much shit to work with.

  57. 57
    noncarborundum says:

    @somethingblue:

    You are correct, dear Sir or Madam. The U.S. Congress is not controlled by Democratics, regardless of what some people with knee-jerk sensibilities and no real ear for the language may think.

  58. 58
    WyldPirate says:

    @somethingblue:

    Seriously off-topic, but…

    “student-centered learning” = focused on students or (the generic) student.

    ..the above has to be the stupidest term ever coined.

  59. 59
    Alex S. says:

    I think that the few glimpses of hope in this area can all be found in the Democratic Party – but they aren’t very successful, just look at Russ Feingold’s fate (Cheney might say that civil rights don’t matter). And this whole civil rights/terrorism complex is the one area where Obama truly deserves to be criticized. The DHS is part of the executive branch. Janet Napolitano could probably stop the scanning, Obama could tell her to do so, but they don’t want to be perceived as “weak on terror”. And a bureaucracy never voluntarily surrenders its powers.

  60. 60
    MattR says:

    @Gus: The only shame is that I was using Hillary Clinton as my boogeyman. Barack Obama would have been much more effective, but nobody really knew who he was at the time.

  61. 61
    John O says:

    @somethingblue:

    I find this to be correct, but mostly I can’t blame ED for skipping the semantics portion of the debate. It embarrasses me.

    I just wish he would engage on SOMETHING. He’s like a drive-by shooter.

  62. 62
    Poopyman says:

    @Gus: To some of us, yes.

    I think Kain is afflicted with the common (on the Right) inability to consider that people on the other “team” don’t subscribe in toto to their leaders’ philosophies and practices. While folks on the right seem to swallow Limbaugh’s pearls of wisdom whole and hang on Beck’s every word, they can’t quite grasp that we, more often than not, are tearing out are hair while listening to Obama or Reid and screaming “NO! You IDIOTS!!” at the TV.

    So we get the sort of screed we have up top, and no amount of rebuttal is really going to have an impact on the next Kain post.

  63. 63
    scav says:

    @John O: Drive by shooter? Works from his perspective. I always envisioned him as more of a scratching post: a static target for people sharpen their claws on — which is more a teleological approach I guess.

  64. 64
    cleek says:

    @MattR:
    ahh… the good ol Hillary Test ?

  65. 65
    TooManyJens says:

    @Poopyman: Great, and depressing, point.

  66. 66

    I am not an EDK fan or defender but I could see myself using a construction like Democrat-controlled Congress and you’d really be going somewhere strange to link me to the GOPers.

    When the rules of Congress (the Senate is included) are considered talking about control is a bit of a reach. This does mean that the Democrats get a bunch of “credit” for the stuff passed under GWB’s GOP Congress.

    There is a real cost to fear mongering and it is pretty simple, people get scared and stupid and short-sighted and don’t get over it quickly.

  67. 67
    Poopyman says:

    @John O:

    He’s like a drive-by shooter.

    More like the kid who leaves a flaming bag of poo on your porch, then hides in your bushes, giggling.

  68. 68
    Josh James says:

    ED, seriously? This is your take, the Republicans did something bad, but the Dems also enabled them and you care more about the people in power NOW, so therefore you’ll gonna hang what was done before on them?

    Seriously, that’s your argument? That’s your thesis, and I couldn’t really bring myself to read more because … seriously?

    Can you please LINK to the articles and blog posts in which you raged about the abused of the Bush administration, fumed at them when they were the power NOW and you were most concerned with what they were doing in terms of civil rights, etc … because honestly, I’m not buying that you’re being completely honest about this.

    how can I, when you just lobbed it off on the minority Dems who allowed Bush to do what he did?

  69. 69
    jrg says:

    I agree with cleek. It’s a ratchet.

    That said, I think I’ll stick with the side that allows the opposition party to show up at rallies with assault weapons over the party that raises the terror alert level every time a stinky turd is about to hit the news stand.

    In other words, it sucks that no one will dial down the police state because they know they’ll get blamed for the next terrorist attack, but I’d rather have a government that does not use the police state to scare the rubes into surrendering more rights EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF a terrorist attack.

    But if believing that the Dems and Reps are identical helps you sleep at night, E.D., go right ahead.

  70. 70
    Dave says:

    I’m not even going to read what you wrote because you are a colossal shitbag

    Please, please, please: make this a new post tag.

  71. 71
    WyldPirate says:

    @Poopyman:

    While folks on the right seem to swallow Limbaugh’s pearls of wisdom jism whole and hang on Beck’s every word,…

    There. Fixed. Now everyone that reads it will have to bleach their eyes and brain. Mwahahahaha!

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam C: 1933-1945? Sorry, you started it; you invaded Poland*

    (*) Fawlty Towers, not Godwin, so there.

  73. 73
    Martin says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    Woah! I don’t see how you could post this without admitting that a major reason that the Dems haven’t dismantled Republican-era security state functions is because Republicans have SPECIFICALLY used such dismantling as a campaign tactic against them. With some success.

    That cuts both ways. Democrats are more than happy to campaign against Republicans for wanting to touch the 3rd rail as well. Does anyone think that a Republican willing to debate dismantling part of the security state wouldn’t have been eviscerated by their Democratic opponent for being weak?

    What’s lacking is a rewarding function to counteract the penalizing one. The political campaign process today is nothing but negative reinforcement. So long as we have a political system (everything from money-driven campaigning to Fox News commentary) then politicians are going to be massively risk adverse to actually fixing problems.

    If people want TSA fixed, regardless of who does it, then they need to figure out how to build a positive reinforcement cycle around that. Right now, the only thing I can think of is that each of these issues needs a credible champion who have bandwidth with the public to present these issues in a sensible way.

  74. 74
    John O says:

    @Poopyman:

    Yep, that’s much better, though I didn’t find this one to be exceptionally pooey. It’s just the standard chicken-egg argument, ignoring the fact that Republicans tend to be MUCH more comfortable, as a bloc, with authority than are Dems.

    (Adding that the Dems are much more comfortable with authority than *I* am, which is why I refuse to call myself one, or at least one big reason.)

    This alone makes them more complicit to the expansion of the security state.

  75. 75
    Poopyman says:

    @WyldPirate: I am shocked –SHOCKED! — that there is adolescent behavior going on in this blog.

  76. 76
    NR says:

    @meh: No they’re not. It’s not a matter of the Democrats trying to end Bush’s national security policies and the Republicans obstructing them. The Democrats are not trying to end Bush’s national security policies; they are supporting and continuing them.

    “The mean old Republicans are obstructing us” excuse doesn’t work here, because these policy changes don’t have to go through Congress. Obama could end these abuses today, single-handedly, if he wanted to. So obviously, he doesn’t want to.

    And this is not even getting into the fact that Obama is even worse than Bush in some ways, ordering the assassination of an American citizen without due process of law.

    The Democrats are not trying to make things better. They are actively making things worse.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Adam C says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Oh, that Hitler and his multi-party democracy! Can’t he see he’s ruining it for the rest of us?

  79. 79
    Pangloss says:

    @cleek: Nicely put.

  80. 80

    I notice that the blame for the national security state seems to be getting recent references, one really ought to go back to RICO which was the “war” on crime, more specifically the Mafia. People applaud these things because they think it only applies to a despised group, rather than all of us.

  81. 81
    WyldPirate says:

    @Josh James:

    ED, seriously? This is your take, the Republicans did something bad, but the Dems also enabled them and you care more about the people in power NOW, so therefore you’ll gonna hang what was done before on them?
    Seriously, that’s your argument? That’s your thesis, and I couldn’t really bring myself to read more because … seriously?

    You should read what he wrote again. What you say is clearly not E.D.’s entire argument.

    On top of that, E.D. has a point re: most of the Dem’s fully supporting the worst abuses of the nanny state implemented by the Rethugs. It was marketed that way and the rethugs terrorized the Dems into voting for the Patriot Act. And most of the Dems DID vote for it and other heinous bits of legislation that have eroded or rights and privacy.

    And what is this incessant demand for E.D. to link to all the arguments he or someone else has made with every post he makes?

  82. 82
    taylormattd says:

    Dear ombudsman.

    I’d like to lodge a complaint about use of on-the-one-hand-ism by Mr. Kain.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  83. 83
    John O says:

    “Ratchet” is perfect. That’s just how it is, politically.

  84. 84
    geg6 says:

    OT, but looks like TLC’s rating bonanza isn’t quite the bonanza they might have thought:

    http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/bl.....op+Stories

    Tee hee.

  85. 85
    mark says:

    Uh, the government is still torturing people? I did not know that.

  86. 86
    ant says:

    Hey Kain, I agree. It fucking sucks.

    Got any suggestions on what to do about it?

    Shall we impeach president Obama for infringement on our civil liberties?

    Would that help you think?

  87. 87
    spoot says:

    This fear mongering stuff happened before in the 50’s with the House Unamerican Activities Committee and the Red Scare stuff. We had people naming names and black lists and McCarthy and everybody was afraid to stand up to him and his ilk until the tide turned and people got fed up with his excesses and that guy Welch got up and stopped McCarthy’s attack with his famous line, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

    And my family was rounded up after WWII and sent to Relocation camps because of hysteria. All except me, as I was born after the war had ended. My parents suffered long term emotional scars from that experience and it colored my childhood, but eventually America gained it’s senses and eventually our family came out of it to a good life in California.

    I do have faith in the sense of the American people, that eventually they shake loose of the hysteria and get fed up. I mean it’s never a foregone conclusion so it can be a little anxiety making to see this happen but I still have hope.

    This country has been rocked on it’s heels, first with 9/11, and then with the international financial meltdown. Both have rocked our Norman Rockwell view of ourselves. Suddenly it’s like we’re in some sort of Goya horror painting. People don’t know if there is such a thing as solid ground anymore so they go into denial or abject fear or rage. Reason has a hard time getting in there. We get obsessed with enemies, real and imagined, and waste all our time and energy on paranoid schemes, instead of dealing with reality.

    I don’t care about whether it’s the GOP or the wimpy Dems that are perpetuating this state of affairs, it’s obvious that it is the zeitgeist of the moment, like it or not.

    We will wake up from this either back in some state of normalcy or in chains. I still am banking on the former but if it’s the latter we should all learn Chinese the better to serve our new masters!

    Just kidding – I think.

  88. 88
    celticdragonchick says:

    @WyldPirate:

    I don’t know how many more fucking times Nancy Lucy is going to have to jerk the football away from Charlie Brown for them to realize this.

    Other than that, I concur.

  89. 89
    geg6 says:

    @Adam C:

    You know who’s country had a multi-party system when he became Chancellor? And shortly thereafter, torture became the least of their problems?

    I know you do.

  90. 90
    WyldPirate says:

    @Poopyman:

    I am shocked—SHOCKED!—that there is adolescent behavior going on in this blog.

    So sorry, but times are hard in the WP crib and I have to find cheap ways to amuse myself in these troubling times even if I have to get in touch with my inner 12-year old of days gone by.

  91. 91
    kindness says:

    When I read E.D.’s posts I frequently clench my jaw really hard.

    So….E.D….You are right. Democrats, specifically this administration has not done what I would prefer. I would prefer we went back to the ways things were handled prior to bush43. You know, that warrants were issued before telephones or e-mail was tapped. That prisoners had to be charged with a crime in order to be held. That no one was tortured for any reason.

    That didn’t happen. That is one of Obama’s most profound disappointments to my mind. Sadly liberals like me don’t hold much cachet in Washington.

    But E.D. is too flippant in pointing at Democrats. Yea, we ‘progressives’ (liberals) aren’t listened to but we have all these blog sites up and we actually say our fearless leaders are dicks & immoral assholes….this site being one of ’em. Name one right wing site that ever said anything that wasn’t completely fluffing about bush43. None of them. Not one. For all their ‘principled constitutional originalists’ they are all a bunch of bullshitters & lying hypocrites.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it ED.

  92. 92
    celticdragonchick says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Um, ewwwww…!

  93. 93
    Midnight Marauder says:

    John is, of course, absolutely correct that the folks who led us down this security rabbit hole in the first place were the Republicans – albeit, with the aid of most of the Democrats at the time (a few stalwart civil libertarians on the right and the left opposed the security power grabs – Russ Feingold, Ron Paul, etc.) Nonetheless, it was the Republican party that was in charge when they formed the DHS, the TSA, started torturing people, wire-tapping sans warrants, detaining P.O.W.’s indefinitely at Gitmo without trial, and so forth.
    __
    Thank God the Democrats have changed all that.

    Here’s the problem with little pithy comments like this. At some point, when this issue is eventually addressed, what party do you think will be the one to address it? Will it be the one filled with feckless, easily demagogued representatives who finally learn to show some fucking fortitude and pass some reforms, just like they always do? Or will it be the political party who cheerleaded the creation and advancement of all these civil liberties infringements when “their team” was behind them, only to turn around and cynically use them to attack the current Democratic administration?

    What Republican Party are you imagining that is going to take on any of the issues you listed in your aforementioned paragraph? Yeah, I get it. There are tons of corrupt and tainted assholes in both parties, no doubt. But when you examine the nature of the parties as a whole, there is no contest in determining which of them will actually correct the problems that plague us currently in the near and distant future.

    Another thing to remember is that your team will only hold on to their seats for a limited amount of time. When they’re out of office, whatever power they accrued will transfer over to the Republicans, who, despite their current hypocrisy on the matter, will quickly return to their old ways, heaping fertilizer on the worst parts of government all in the name of national security.

    And then people like you will just excuse their rank obstruction, sabotage, and cynicism because that’s just how the things work in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

  94. 94
    geg6 says:

    @noncarborundum:

    And you don’t know your English. But then, this is the country that eagerly jumped to add “misunderestimate” and “refudiate” to common usage. Un-ironically.

  95. 95
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    And this is not even getting into the fact that Obama is even worse than Bush in some ways, ordering the assassination of an American citizen without due process of law.

    Really? Clearing the military to bomb an al-Qaeda location that contains an American citizen if necessary is worse than imprisoning a man under sensory deprivation conditions until he goes insane? Or insisting that a 13-year-old be tried for murder as an adult for his actions during a raid on his camp? Or keeping ethnic Uighurs that you know are innocent in Guantanamo Bay because you don’t want to piss off China? Telling the military that it’s okay to attack an al-Qaeda camp where an American citizen is cooperating with the enemy is worse than all of those things?

    You have a very strange definition of “worse.”

  96. 96
    catclub says:

    “And naturally, it only takes one little, tiny security failure for all of this to get much worse.”

    No, it actually does not even take that. All the successes ratchet it up as well. Also, when Chertoff’s company comes up with another new and expensive scanner, we will buy that too.

  97. 97
    Poopyman says:

    @WyldPirate: Wait, you’re apologizing to a guy named “Poopyman”? For being adolescent?

    Man! You must be a Democrat!

  98. 98
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @NR:

    The Democrats are not trying to make things better. They are actively making things worse.

    Fuckin’ context. How does it work?

  99. 99
    Poopyman says:

    @geg6: Should there really be a hyphen i n “un–ironically”?

  100. 100
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, it is hard for me to get excited about a missile strike on some shithead who is openly conspiring and working with the enemy, whether he is an American or not. He knows what can happen and he bought his ticket, so to speak. The warcrimes committed knowing by the previous administration are something else completely.

  101. 101
    bago says:

    I’m stuck in #snOMG, what’s your excuse? Other than a provocative post challenging your assumptions, with a pinch of gratuitous nipple tweaking (Democrat-controlled)? As someone who was birthed into a “right of Limbaugh nigh-cult Christian” household, migrated through libertarianism, and settled roughly in Chomsky territory, I appreciate a good a vigorous debate. It’s clarifying. I am officially shaming anyone who is making ad hominem attacks, and questioning their value in a debate.

    You got called by a bago. On the internet!

  102. 102
    Nick says:

    Has no one taken into considering the underwear bomber into this whole mess?

  103. 103
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @cleek:

    it’s a ratchet.

    Yup.

    So instead of bashing each other over the head arguing over who is responsible (because that solves so much), let’s try to think of some examples from the past where a ratchet was successfully dismantled (or at least blunted), figure out why and how that worked, and see how it can be applied to our contemporary security theater.

    The obvious parallel is the War on [some] Drugs, but that doesn’t help much because that ratchet is still going.

    What about the end of Prohibition in the 1930s ?

  104. 104
    John O says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    And there we have my personal winner of the internets today, so far. Kudos.

  105. 105
    bago says:

    The previous post works better with a definite subject, but given that it was meant to partially address the rate of posting, consider the subject to be those who are focused primarily on the identity of the ‘speaker’ (typer?), rather than on the content of the message.

  106. 106
    edwin says:

    Relativity: A grook with no reference whatever to the two-party system

    To wear a shirt that’s relatively clean,
    You needn’t ever launder off the dirt
    If you possess two shirts to choose between
    and always change into the cleaner shirt.
    — Piet Hein

  107. 107
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Clearing the military to bomb an al-Qaeda location that contains an American citizen if necessary

    Of course, that’s not what he did. Educate yourself.

    The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki,

    The key words here are “targeted killing.” Even Bush never tried that.

  108. 108
    Martin says:

    @NR:

    And this is not even getting into the fact that Obama is even worse than Bush in some ways, ordering the assassination of an American citizen without due process of law.
    The Democrats are not trying to make things better. They are actively making things worse.

    Ok, that’s just bullshit.

    During this entire campaign from late 2001 until now, we’ve been targeting members of Al-Qaeda without consideration of nationality. That’s been true in every conflict. If you fight on behalf of the group you’ve identified as the enemy (in this case Al-Qaeda) then you’re a target without due process. That was true in WWII. It was true in the Civil War. It’s ALWAYS been true. And it’s not even a matter of debate that al-Awlaki is acting on behalf of Al-Qaeda – he’s professed as much many times.

    I guarantee Bush targeted Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobody is out there collecting passports – or did the military commit some kind of crime when they shot John Lindh?

    But no, the Democrats are not trying to fix this. Neither party is going to bother trying right now. We’ve wandered down the wrong path on security and getting back on the right path is going to be long and arduous. The public needs to be educated. Congress needs to be educated.

    The security system we have is horrible and invasive and massively expensive relative to what it gets, but it more-or-less does what it needs to do, and there are things not working in this country that will get the attention first. I’m sure we’ve all pounded in a nail with a wrench at one time or another because we didn’t have time to run to the store to buy a hammer. That’s our security state – pounding nails with a wrench. But the nails are getting pounded.

    Congress is not well designed to deal with all of the national problems we have. It’s too small, too slow, too procedural, and too caught up in trivialities that they’ve also been tasked with. Seriously, the urgent business of naming post offices shouldn’t be obstructing dealing with the security state, but it does. That it cannot deal with all of these things simultaneously is not a partisan issue but one of workload.

  109. 109
    WyldPirate says:

    @Poopyman:

    Wait, you’re apologizing to a guy named “Poopyman”? For being adolescent?
    Man! You must be a Democrat!

    LOL. Dang skippy I am. And a flaming liberal to boot although I do have a bit of a fiscal conservative streak in me especially when it comes to DoD expenditures (I think their budget should be slashed by about 75%).

    But I am very mean to Obama and other Dems for being feckless, unprincipled fucks at times according to some of my critics. Some have even accused me of being a paid plant funded by conservatives.

  110. 110
    Annelid Gustator says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: why, you’re right! it is a ratchet!

    ETA: I just feel so lonely. Won’t someone pwn me?

  111. 111
    RareSanity says:

    @somethingblue:

    TonyBrown74 beat me to it as well…but,

    Am I missing something here? A Democrat-controlled congress is a congress controlled by Democrats, no? It’s not at all like “Democrat Party.”

    First of all, it is grammatically incorrect, as TonyBrown said. However, in this instance, the correct form would be Democratically-controlled Congress.

    And let’s be clear, this is not just some folk with their panties in a bunch and being overly pedantic, this whole “Democrat-party” crap is a slap in the face originating from conservative windbags. Either E.D. made an honest grammatical mistake (which I sure will be corrected, if so), has only investigated in the last 8-10 years, what the correct plural possessive form of the noun “Democrat” is (highly unlikely). Or, actually buys into the elementary school rationalizations of why the gasbags started saying it in the first place.

    I don’t have any particular venom to spit at E.D. However, seeing that term in his post, made me immediately stop reading. If it was a mistake, fix it!

    If not, I’ll join the peanut gallery of saying, “Eat a bag of dicks!”

  112. 112
    WyldPirate says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    Thanks for the correction. I was thinking of the comic strip “Nancy” for some odd reason and inserted that in for Lucy.

    Must be early-onset Alzheimer’s kicking in. Hell, at least if it’s that I won’t be worried about the fact that I don’t have health insurance or that the Rethugs are hell-bent on repealing HCR.

  113. 113
    bago says:

    @Nick: Some of us considered it, and thought that from an operational standpoint, it was genius. We are so obsessed with security theater that we take off our shoes to scan for something that doesn’t show up on x-rays. Every freaking day! Making us go to the undies was a genius jujitsu move on their part. The sad part is that we’re so fucking stupid that we fell for it, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    Speaking of educating yourself, you might want to read the articles that Greenwald links to rather than taking everything he says at face value:

    The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

    Yep, I’m crying a river of tears over this guy being targeted for capture or kill. What’s your plan, to wait for him to actually blow up an airliner full of people before we take any action against him?

  115. 115
    Adam C says:

    @geg6:
    Wait: is this suddenly a serious line of argument? Hitler literally burnt down the fucking parliament building before he started torturing people. Democracy was dead.

  116. 116
    MikeL says:

    @ Wyldpirate

    When you used the term Obot is when I stopped paying attention to you. If you have a valid point to make you can make it without being a douche.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam C:

    Hitler literally burnt down the fucking parliament building before he started torturing people.

    Actually, he didn’t — it has now been pretty much proven that the Reichstag Fire was set by Marinus van der Lubbe. So it really was Hitler seizing the moment rather than creating the moment.

    But geg6 was being snarky anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

  118. 118
    Poopyman says:

    @bago: On the other hand, there’s an organization out there that convinced a guy that it would be in his best interests to blow his nuts off.

    Such an organization cannot be dismissed lightly, but can we as a nation not have a bit of perspective?

    (Edited for clarity)

  119. 119
    WyldPirate says:

    @RareSanity:

    I’m not excusing E.D. here, but it could be that he has heard the incorrect and intentionally pejorative use of Democrat so many times that he thinks it is correct.

    You know…one of those “repeat a lie enough times until it finally becomes the truth” sort of situations that the Rethugs are so famous for?

  120. 120
    Carnacki says:

    @WyldPirate: In a post replying to Cole’s “Something to keep in mind while we all listen to our newly found believers in individual rights and limited government on the right. I mean, welcome to the fight, but the hypocrisy is staggering.” it is worth asking whether Kain is a newly found believer in individual rights or if he supported the abuses he complains about now in the past.

    At West Virginia Blue, I and other have consistently pounded those who supported warrant-less wiretapping, torture and other Constitutional violations without regard to whether the politician was a Democratic senator or Republican representative from the state. Kain supported those who enacted the policies and now he wants to say Democrats were just as responsible.

    It was the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D) who warned of imperial presidencies in the wake of 2001. Too many failed to heed his warnings then.

  121. 121
    geg6 says:

    @Poopyman:

    Probably not. But when I typed it, it didn’t look right, so I stuck the hyphen in.

    And a Google search shows it being spelled both ways. However, since my first instinct was no hyphen, I will take the hit and say I was wrong.

  122. 122
    El Cid says:

    @spoot: It may not have played a big role in ending HUAC, though it did indicate a group not intimidated, USSR / Russia scholar and KPFA (Pacifica volunteer independent radio in Berkeley) commentator Bill Mandel was brought before HUAC and read them the riot act to the assembled Committee.

    He repeatedly clarified that he refused to testify and refused to answer any questions of allegations against him unless the witness be present and his lawyer was present.

    When he was demanded to clarify if he had ever been etc. a member of the Communist Party.

    Honorable beaters of children, sadists, uniformed and in plain clothes, distinguished Dixiecrat wearing the clothing of a gentleman, eminent Republican who opposes an accommodation with the one country with which we must live at peace in order for us and all our children to survive.
    __
    My boy of fifteen left this room a few minutes ago in sound health and not jailed, solely because I asked him to be in here to learn something about the procedures of the United States government and one of its committees. Had he been outside where a son of a friend of mine had his head split by these goons operating under your orders, my boy today might have paid the penalty of permanent injury or a police record for desiring to come here and hear how this committee operates.
    __
    If you think that I am going to cooperate with this collection of Judases, of men who sit there in violation of the United States Constitution, if you think I will cooperate with you in any way, you are insane! This body is improperly constituted. It is a kangaroo court. It does not have my respect, it has my utmost contempt.

    It should also be noted that these comments were loudly applauded within the hearing. And he claimed that 5,000 students were assembled outside in the first major white student protest since WWII.

    If you’re curious, you can hear the whole Mandel denunciation and insulting of the Committee here (only the long version works).

  123. 123
    Adam C says:

    @mark:

    Uh, the government is still torturing people? I did not know that.

    Well, the current administration’s official stance is that you’re not torturing anyone right now, but there isn’t anything wrong with the torture that happened before. That’s kind of a distinction without a difference.

    Meanwhile, what’s really amazing to me is that this thread is dominated by people making excuses for the Democrats without expressing any interest in fixing the system.

  124. 124
    samson says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    Prohibition was ended because few took it seriously. Most everyone still drank; i.e., most thought it was a stupid law. Also, prohibition opened the door to too many criminal enterprises and their violence and corruption. Collectively, we thought the law was stupid and the resulting criminality self-defeating and intolerable. In short, it doesn’t seem like much of a useful analogy.

  125. 125
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    I hereby propose the Balloon Juice Godwincratic law: as a BJ thread continues the probability converges on 1 that there will be comments involving Nazi comparisons juxtaposed in immediate and comic proximity with heated arguments over use of the terms ‘Democrat’ vs. ‘Democratic’.

  126. 126
    El Tiburon says:

    @geg6:
    All in all a minor point, but I agree with you.

  127. 127
    geg6 says:

    @Adam C:

    Wait. And is this suddenly a serious line of argument? Are you saying that Hitler wasn’t democratically elected Chancellor in a multi-party system? Or that Hitler wouldn’t have ever tortured anyone had the Reichstag fire never happened?

    Seriously?

  128. 128
    Gardenvarietygator says:

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself……..is profoundly to the point and guess who encouraged the fear and STILL is and guess which party mostly speaks in rational tones not hyperbola? You evidently still haven’t noticed that our fearful populace STILL has the mental habit of think the Republicans are “tougher” which is a left over that won’t die from the cold war and is currently again handicapping the Democratic leaders from just coming out and saying this is all stupid and useless. Obama tried to close Gitmo and our election cowardly congress (both parties) sabatoged it by withholding funding and pressuring the states with super max sites to wimp out. We the cowardly voters are the pressure on the politians but the fear was whipped up by Republicans and they are still doing it. That coward Chiney actually said that even one percent risk of attack was too high and we should attack any country that theoritically threatened us……….disregarding the imorallity of this as well as the sheer stupidity in not considering if the risks to us would increase if we invaded nor what the heck we were going to do with said “liberated” country ie our soldiers would just keep dieing. Risk is life and sometimes you just have to suck up and ignore scare stories. We kept on during the cold war which had lots of real danger on a much bigger scale and frankly we including our leaders didn’t have THAT much ability to prevent the dangers. Why the heck did we allow this hysteria over what isn’t a huge danger drive us crazy? Well the republicans leadership couldn’t resist …….I don’t know glory? power? They still are feeding the monster. I don’t here any democrats fanning that fire. I’m sure there are a few because thats people but its not the leaders so…….no I don’t consider them equally bad. Its not good but……in a democracy if most people get bad ideas……they get their way. Price we pay. Try to calm your neighbors down and preach courage not fear.
    I thought from the first (after 911) that some people actually wanted to live in dangerous times…so they could think of themselves as another greatist generation.
    I totally don’t agree that Obama and company are as bad. Torture was stopped, some other stuff isn’t so good, its not what I want. Actually what I want is war crimes trials. I’m not going to get ’em while the voting population still thinks terrorism is really that serious a threat. The voters thats us are the cause of the politicians …….we are not sure and we are not supporting those who have spoken out so things aren’t getting much better.
    One significant improvement though is this administration actually obeys when courts rule against them instead of stalling or ignoring which the Bush people did. that is significantly better

  129. 129
    geg6 says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Maybe it’s just because of the people with whom he associates?

  130. 130
    Annelid Gustator says:

    @Adam C: such a bs comment. Every single day, half the commentariat here is all “man, the President is really letting us down by not directing Holder to prosecute.”

  131. 131
    Michael D. says:

    I love how E.D. makes his points and the chief argument here becomes whether or not “Democrat-controlled congress” is rude or correct. I’ll settle it. It’s correct. Congress was controlled by Democrats. I supposed if you didn’t want your fee-fees hurt, E.D. could call it the “Democratic-controlled congress.”

    When Nancy Pelosi is asked her political affiliation, she will say, “I am a member of the Democratic Party” or (more likely) “I am a Democrat.”

    “Democratically-controlled” is wrong. Democratically refers to a process – not a party, as in “George W. Bush was not elected democratically.” It’s even more wrong grammatically when @Lolis uses it without the hyphen and then tells E.D. he’s the one who sucks at grammar.

  132. 132
    pragmatism says:

    someone’s smoking the sticky ombudsman again. it gives you a mellow “false equivalence” high. i think mcmegan is ED’s dealer.

  133. 133
    Adam C says:

    @geg6:
    Thanks for treating my argument seriously. Obviously, since Hitler was democratically elected, democracy is evil and we should go back to monarchy instead. You win.

  134. 134
    RareSanity says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Maybe…

    That would also mean that I have very wrongly assume that E.D. is a generally intelligent guy. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

    I think E.D. is a generally intelligent guy that used that particular phrase, on purpose, to communicate a point he was trying to make:

    “All you guys are pointing your fingers at the Republicans with regard to the issue of rights. When you should be pointing at yourself and the rest of your Democrat Party members, for not stopping it.”

  135. 135
    geg6 says:

    @El Tiburon:

    True, it’s minor, but maybe not so much. Someone can tell me to go get fucked three ways to Sunday and it won’t bother me much. But using Limbaugh/Beck/Rove frames for me and my compatriots will send me right around the bend into Hulk-land.

    And after all the drama over E.D.’s manners over the last week or so, I would think he’d maybe think before typing things like this.

  136. 136
    Adam C says:

    @Annelid Gustator:
    I’m not pretending that no-one is criticizing the Democrats. I’m complaining that no-one is addressing the possibility that the system is failing and needs to be fixed. Pointing fingers at the only two parties gets nowhere.

  137. 137
    geg6 says:

    @Adam C:

    Your argument was treated with the seriousness it deserved.

  138. 138
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: We captured John Walker Lindh (the “American Taliban”) and he is serving time in prison.

    But I guess you’re fine with extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens based on nothing more than accusations by the executive branch that they’re involved in terrorism. Good to know. Does this only apply to Democratic presidents, or will you be cheering President Palin on when she does it, too?

  139. 139
    Annelid Gustator says:

    @Adam C: ahem. “directing Holder to prosecute.” Step one.

  140. 140
    WyldPirate says:

    @Carnacki:

    n a post replying to Cole’s “Something to keep in mind while we all listen to our newly found believers in individual rights and limited government on the right. I mean, welcome to the fight, but the hypocrisy is staggering.” it is worth asking whether Kain is a newly found believer in individual rights or if he supported the abuses he complains about now in the past.

    Of course it is far to ask him that question, Carnacki. OTOH, to be fair E.D. does mention the “civil libertarians on the left and right” voting against the “bedwetters”. Additionally, in the next paragraph, E.D. says this:

    Then the Democrats, after supporting these programs when they came to a vote, will campaign against them, win, and continue whatever programs they campaigned against.

    I think E.D. rightly nails many Dems on their spinelessness and “finger-in-the-air” opportunism. To me, this is a truism of politicians in America and the rest of the world. It’s also true of the public who acts like a huge herd of sheep.

    Perhaps the problem is that E.D. doesn’t forcefully admonish the Rethugs enough to suite many of the readers of this blog. I dunno. What I do know is that some of the disdain for his posts is likely due to the like-mindedness (or perhaps it is the sheep-like nature of people in general) of many of the posters here that brings out the catcalling set.

  141. 141
    Poopyman says:

    @geg6:

    But using Limbaugh/Beck/Rove frames for me and my compatriots will send me right around the bend into Hulk-land.

    IIRC, I first heard it out of Newt’s purdy little mouth. But then again, it seems to have sprung organically out of the Right and everyone was using it simultaneously. Funny about that.

  142. 142
    Adam C says:

    @geg6:
    So, I argue that the first-past-the-post system is undemocratic and has led you to the political swamp you are in. One party creates huge problems and your only option is to vote for the other party regardless of the fact that they’re only marginally better. I suggest that a more democratic system with multiple political parties would help to solve this problem.

    Your response is to yell ‘Hitler’ and say you’ve taken me seriously. Again, thanks.

  143. 143
    Martin says:

    @Carnacki: Yeah, Byrd was on the right track there. Anyone who has worked in a bureaucracy knows that the time to get something right is at the start. Once you start down the rabbit hole, it’s really goddamn hard to back up, so make sure you’re jumping down the right one.

    Right now, the only way to get this right is to, effectively, destroy the old institution, and nobody can do that in public view. It’s a nasty problem, and I’m not surprised nobody is doing anything about it.

    Honestly, if they did, a commission like the debt commission is probably the right way to go. Put a handful of Congressmen, both parties, both houses, along with a reasonable number of bonafide security experts in a room for 6 months and give an up-or-down vote on the results. Everyone gets deniability. Nobody gets blamed for being weak.

  144. 144
    Josh James says:

    @WyldPirate:

    As I stated up front, I found his thesis to be suspect and written to directly enflame those who aren’t Republican … if that wasn’t his point, perhaps he shouldn’t have led off with it, hmmm?

    Basically he’s dumping the excesses of the Bush administration on Dems in that opening salvo, among other things, and then says he worries about the now and goes on to dump on the current Dems in power and … I stopped reading, as that I find that lede suspect.

    And I stated rather baldly why I wanted him to source his past posts raging against the abuses of the Bush administration … he claimed to be worried mainly about those in power NOW … I don’t believe him in that regard and asked for sources to prove so … it’s a reasonable request.

  145. 145
    geg6 says:

    @Adam C:

    Um, no, I didn’t take you seriously. And do we really have to get into why a multiple party system is not the be-all and end-all that people like you think it is and that it specifically will not work in the U.S.? Again? Go take a few poli-sci classes on the American political system, along with a few on American history (especially constitutional history) and then we can talk seriously.

  146. 146
    Michael D. says:

    @Adam C: For what it’s worth, I agree with you. A multi-party system leads to less abuse of power. I’ll just point to my home and native land, Canada, and say, “there!”

    Universal healthcare
    No military industrial complex (people often say that Canada relies on the US for it’s defense – an argument that becomes moot when you figure we don’t do anything to the world to make them want to kill us.)
    Better labor laws
    Very few guns
    Great(er) education system
    More progressive taxation
    Marriage equality
    Integrated armed forces (we’d never consider a “compromise like DADT, for example)

    And a multi-party system that, while it can be a pain the the fucking ass – it works because it prevents a lot of the abuses we see in the US.

    But maybe our “Eh”dolf is just waiting in the wings or hasn’t been born yet.

  147. 147
    Josh James says:

    @WyldPirate:

    BTW, I certainly don’t excuse Pelosi for not trying to impeach Bush, nor do I think Obama’s track record with the prisoners being held without due process is something to put up with (and no assassination of American citizens, please!) but that’s besides the point …

    The point is, these police state tactics got their start and momentum under George W Bush and his cronies, and anyone who objected to them was steamrolled by conservative writers and pundits …

    Should Dems have stood up to them? hell yeah … but it didn’t start with them, they didn’t birth it or champion it … neo-con republicans did.

    It’s an important point, and ED lost me when he tried to pass it off as a sin on both sides … it’s a tad more than that, a lot more.

    And it’s why i said, seriously? and stopped reading …

  148. 148
    WyldPirate says:

    @geg6:
    Yep, it could be. I’m just trying to judge his posts by what he writes here, though. I’ve got to admit that I have skipped most of them in the past–just like I skip most of Anne Laurie’s–because I don’t find them interesting. I figured I would read this one and the comments and see what the fuss was about.

    @Rare Sanity:
    Maybe E.D.’ is intelligent and maybe he’s not. I don’t know and I don’t necessarily know that this is the type of venue that one can make a definitive evaluation of someone’s intelligence.

    I do think that it is good to hold up a mirror to yourself (or your political party) and have a lot of bouts of “introspection”. That’s just me, though. I know my shit stinks pretty bad, but I’m not particularly thrilled with hanging around a bunch of people who are in deep denial that their shit never stinks and you can go to hell for even suggesting that it does. I mean for fuck’s sake, that’s what authoritarians and Republicans do.

  149. 149
    bago says:

    there’s an organization out there that convinced a guy that it would be in his best interests to blow his nuts off.

    Exactly.

  150. 150
    Carnacki says:

    @WyldPirate: I said in a post the other day I don’t dislike the Kainster as much as many here, but I had little use for libertarians who don’t understand their theory and how it applies to the real world. In this post, he not only does not admonish the Republicans, who he had supported during the time period at issue, enough not just for many readers of this blog but to be intellectually honest to acknowledge that it was the Republicans, aided by a compliant media, that made it impossible for Democrats like Byrd to have an honest debate on the issue.

    There was a grievous harm done to the nation by Republicans who should have known better and canvassing the streets in ’04 I got an idea of the reality they created that Democrats had to operate in.

  151. 151
    Michael D. says:

    The Republicans and Democrats (or Democraticals or Democraticallys or whatever) are so close on so many issues that they need a third-party (at least) to moderate their views. There has to be a left wing party that one of these parties HAVE TO go to to get support for an initiative.

    The Democratic Party in the US would seem quite conservative in Canada. The New Democratic Party in Canada and, to an extent, the Bloc Quebecois have really pulled Canada in a good direction because the Conservative and Liberals MUST rely on them for votes if they want to retain power.

  152. 152
    slag says:

    America-hater.

  153. 153
    WyldPirate says:

    @Josh James:
    Josh, I certainly see how you arrived at your opinion and interpretation of E.D. post. I can also see how E.D. perhaps wasn’t forceful enough to satisfy you in his condemnation of the Rethugs.

    The thing is, there are varying degrees of feelings about these sorts of things on this blog, in political parties and between individuals. His post was a couple of hundred words at the most. I can see that he might not have offered up a strong enough condemnation of the Rethugs or that he may have been too harsh for your taste in his criticism of Dems for your taste.

    This is a blog, though. It has a comment section where people are encouraged to voice their opinions and argue with those that post (or rail against their ideas). BJ has one of the best–if not the best comment sections on the intertoobz. That is what makes it such a cool place to visit.

  154. 154
    geg6 says:

    @Michael D.:

    I really don’t know how many times we have to tell non-US citizens that the United States is not Germany or Canada. Please read something about the American political system and its history, especially the history of parties. We’ve actually had a multi-party system in the past. Doesn’t work well in our system. Never has.

    And this worship of such systems is not necessarily warranted, based on my studies of such systems as an undergrad. Hell, take a peek at Italy today.

  155. 155
    chopper says:

    wow, it’s michael D! shouldn’t you be shitting on this blog on someone else’s blog?

  156. 156
    shortstop says:

    Hey, y’all! I just talked to E.D. and he said to extend his apologies for his unusual lack of follow-up to a post. I don’t know if you know this, but he can’t post in the BJ threads from work, and his lunch is only half an hour long. By the time he finished extensively engaging in comment threads for his other blogs, he barely had time to get a post up here before the grindstone summoned his nose. He even went without eating lunch to address us! Glad he took the time to post this, though; aren’t you? There’s no way a Kain response to Cole’s post would have kept until tonight, and I was really missing E.D. since his last visit.

  157. 157
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    If you will send BJ a money order for $5.00, and enclose a stamped, self addressed envelope, a certificate explaining the point of ED’s post, and also good for one free carwash at any Shell station with a carwash, will be sent to you by return mail.

  158. 158
    Moik says:

    ED: I dislike you personally because I was told to, and therefore disagree with whatever it was you said. Also, though correct your grammar infuriates me by somehow being a slur against the repressed majority party of congress.

    John: I demand you add a tag or ranking system to denote posts by people I disagree with, and add an “I Don’t Like ED” filter so that I don’t have to spin my mousewheel 1.5 times to skip his posts.

  159. 159
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Correction: The certificate will only be redeemable for the carwash. No explanation for ED’s post is available.

    We apologize for any confusion.

  160. 160
    rageahol says:

    @Starfish:

    As i’ve mentioned in previous postings, i use iGoogle and canto, neither of which shows me a byline.

  161. 161
    Josh James says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Condemnation?

    I don’t know that THAT’S what I was aiming for … I hope for honesty, I guess … I felt the thesis was dishonest, as that it implied that this was equally the fault of both sides … which is false, in my view.

    You’re right, I could have read the whole thing he posted but … I didn’t.

    I’m entitled to do that, I can walk out of a movie before it ends, too (and have) and state, honestly, that the first half of MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND was so boring I couldn’t sit through the rest, this is why the first half didn’t work, etc … and I’d be honest in doing so … that’s how I approached my comment.

    i don’t often leave comments, but I read this site every day, and
    E.D. is the only one who often gets me to leave one (and I should add, I did leave one positive one some time ago, too) because I feel that there’s a disconnect in his thoughts and how he expresses them … it’s not judging him as a person, mind you, he may (and probably is) the nicest guy in the world … but I often find his conclusions to be suspect (when I’ve taken the time to read them) and, well, dishonestly formed … that is, formed before the facts, and then the facts are bent to fit the reality previously decided on, rather than the realty that actually exists.

    Certainly if I want outrage against Republicans, I can find that. I’m looking for original thought that’s honest and opinions based on reality-based facts and experiences … I certainly don’t agree with John about everything (can I add that I’m so happy he invited Angry Black Lady, I lurve her) but generally I find he comes to his conclusions and opinions honestly.

    Just my opinion, of course, no more or no less.

    And I agree, I’m a big fan of Balloon Juice … I should comment more, I guess.

  162. 162
    El Tiburon says:

    @geg6:
    Hey, don’t get me wrong, I think when wingtards use this type of Luntzian language, it is childish and shows to me a lack of seriousness. Saying that, I guess if you are going to have a discussion with these people, you have to decide to overlook their childish tendencies to argue the actual substance,

  163. 163
    WyldPirate says:

    @Carnacki:
    You and I are pretty much on the same wave length regarding our disdain for the Rethugs and the damage that they have caused to the country. I can also see where E.D. criticism of the Rethugs could be taken as rather tepid (as was his criticism of the Dems, IMO).

    I don’t know very much about E.D.’s past history of posting here as I rarely read his posts or where he has posted in the past. To me, that doesn’t matter too much as I’m not going to go back and read all of that shit as I have better things to do.

    I suppose where I depart from your ideas on the Dem/Rethug divide is that while I’ll acknowledge that the Rethugs and the media have “poisoned the well” WRT to “honest debate” over contentious issues, I won’t readily excuse Dems for not having the stones to stand up and point out the fact that that is what the Rethugs have done and don’t have the gonadal fortitude to point out that they lie about everything. Perhaps you don’t excuse Dems for their failure to do this. I don’t know. What I do know is that one rarely sees it being done by Dem pols or the media and until it is, it will take a damn long time to sway public opinion.

  164. 164
    Alwhite says:

    I’m sorry, did I miss something? Your point was . . .? That Dems have fallen down on the job . . .? I know you can’t really waste bits on the intertubes but this comes pretty close.

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    But I guess you’re fine with extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens based on nothing more than accusations by the executive branch that they’re involved in terrorism.

    You probably should be paying more attention to current events instead of wanking off to months-old Greenwald columns. Al-Awlaki has been indicted in the Yemeni courts.

    But I’m guessing a criminal indictment isn’t good enough for you so, again, I have to ask, how many people will have to die before you think we should be allowed to try to capture or kill Al-Awlaki? A nice round number is fine.

  166. 166
    JohnR says:

    @ Mneomo, um Menomoso, ah, you there:

    Yep, I’m crying a river of tears over this guy being targeted for capture or kill.

    But, you know, you should be. Not for him; he is pretty clearly a scumbag, but for the Constitutional principle that American citizens have certain rights which cannot be dispensed with arbitrarily. You know, just like the legal and moral principle that there is never, under any circumstance, justification for torture, and that the US is bound, under US and international law, to investigate and prosecute any such actions by anyone involved. Thank goodness we have such clear, pragmatic thinkers as yourself to help us understand that “principle” is merely a word, and that “situational morality” is a positive conservative value. I suppose the only positive here is that Obama is doing this right out in the open, so we can all see what we have now embraced.
    I’m glad that ED is back posting, although I do wish that he’d man up and participate in the commentariat’s big orgy afterward. I thought conservatives were all about toughness and taking it like a man. Read into that what you will.

  167. 167
    Adam C says:

    @geg6:
    I like to think I understand the American political system fairly well. I don’t see why it has to be married to a first-past-the-post electoral system. And I’m not aware of anything in the US Constitution that says there can only be two parties. In fact, I’m pretty sure there haven’t always been two.

    But if you’re satisfied with the two shitty parties you have, feel free to stick to arguments about which one is shittier.

    @Michael D.:
    Mostly I fear that our system will soon go the way of the Americans’. It often feels like we’re just another election away from a “Unite the Left” movement that will give us our very own “right vs. centre-right” bipartisanship.

  168. 168
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JohnR:

    But, you know, you should be. Not for him; he is pretty clearly a scumbag, but for the Constitutional principle that American citizens have certain rights which cannot be dispensed with arbitrarily.

    Read my comment right above yours: al-Alwaki has been indicted in the Yemeni courts and is being tried in absentia. Now that he has been indicted and is being tried, what’s your next argument defending him?

    Thank goodness we have such clear, pragmatic thinkers as yourself to help us understand that “principle” is merely a word, and that “situational morality” is a positive conservative value.

    Silly me, I thought that indicting someone and putting him on trial was a good thing. I guess it’s only good if it’s not someone that Greenwald whipped you into a frenzy about his rights being violated.

  169. 169
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @Michael D.:

    Oh, fer fuck’s sake …

    If you want to get into the mother-fucking semantics, what he could have said was the Democratic Party controlled Senate (or Congress). Instead, he used what is perceived as a pejorative term used by wingnuts.

    My (and geg6’s) point was that, if you are going to use a term that is considered pejorative, why the fuck would you want to read the rest of what he said?

    It’s like a homeless guy calling me a faggot after I refuse to give him change. It’s as if insulting me is going to now make me reconsider his point.

    If it were truly a mistake, he should just change it.

  170. 170
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Michael D.:

    The Republicans and Democrats (or Democraticals or Democraticallys or whatever) are so close on so many issues that they need a third-party (at least) to moderate their views. There has to be a left wing party that one of these parties HAVE TO go to to get support for an initiative.

    You don’t need an actual party for that to happen. You just an engaged and informed citizenry that actually gives a fuck about the current state of their country to actually do something about it.

  171. 171
    Death Panel Truck says:

    I love how E.D. makes his points and the chief argument here becomes whether or not “Democrat-controlled congress” is rude or correct. I’ll settle it. It’s correct.

    No, it’s not. When the GOP is in charge, the full name of the party is used: “Republican-controlled Congress.” When the Democrats are in charge, it is a “Democratic-controlled Congress.”

    Now it’s settled. ;)

  172. 172
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    But I guess you’re fine with extrajudicial assassinations of American citizens based on nothing more than accusations by the executive branch that they’re involved in terrorism.

    Has the guy been killed yet? I don’t get the fulmination now over how bad it will have been that Obama undertook a possible policy that may happen in the future _or may never happen_.

  173. 173
    Michael D. says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You just an engaged and informed citizenry that actually gives a fuck about the current state of their country to actually do something about it.

    Apparently, we did that in 2008. Remember all this hope/change stuff?

    And yet, the Democrats are so scared shitless of Republicans that they pretty much do whatever the conventional conservative “wisdom” is at the moment.

    It worked well, don’t you think?

  174. 174
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Actually, he didn’t—it has now been pretty much proven that the Reichstag Fire was set by Marinus van der Lubbe.

    Historians disagree as to whether Van der Lubbe acted alone or whether the arson was planned and ordered by the Communists (or the Nazis themselves, as a false flag operation). The responsibility for the Reichstag fire remains an ongoing topic of debate and research.

  175. 175
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I know that “Democrat party” is a deliberately disrespectful construction. But I don’t see that there’s anything wrong with saying “Democrat-controlled Congress.” You would say “Republican-controlled Congress” and “Communist-controlled Congress” and “fascist-controlled Congress” and “moderate-controlled Congress” and “peckerwood-controlled Congress.” You wouldn’t say “communistically” or “fascistically” or “peckerwoodicly.” I suppose you _could_ also say “Democratic-controlled Congress,” but I’m not sure it’s better.

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    True, there is still some debate, but most of the signs point to Van der Lubbe being the culprit. It’s definitely not as simple as, “Hitler set it. The end.”

  177. 177
    IM says:

    1. Hitler was actually appointed, not elected. The lesson, as drawn after 1945 is that the presidency was to powerful. The proportionate representation system was kept. Your mileage may differ.

    2. As far as I understood, the civil rights record of pr system versus fist past the pots system is neither here nor there. The ratchet effect can be observed in many countries. All western countries after all have some sort of “war on drugs”, have anti-terrorism legislation etc.

    3. I reject the libertarian framing. There is, especially in this neolibaral age, no trend of government growth, at least if we talk about the welfare state. Rather the reverse. Furthermore, whatever E.D. and his friend think, a growing government is not per se a bad thing. Or a good thing either. It depends on why and for whom government is growing.

  178. 178
    slag says:

    If someone’s looking for a somewhat relevant approach to this issue, TNC, touching off Fallows brings it:

    The question I’m always left with after reading this is this: How do you get to a place where, as a society, we cultivate a mature approach to risks facing us?

    That’s the question I’m always left with as well. And admittedly, I don’t have any good answers to it. But I know how not to get there. Faux News shows us how not to get there really really well.

    Both sides are not equal on this issue. No matter how cringe-inducingly weak-assed Democrats are. The enemy of the civil libertarian is fear. And, not coincidentally, fear is the current Republican’s best friend.

  179. 179
    Moik says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So, our government can sentence a US citizen to death based on the yet-to-be-determined outcome of a trial in another country? Man, my civics classes must’ve sucked to skip something that important.

    And you throw out the phrase ‘capture or kill’ as though it’s six and a half of one, half a baker’s dozen of the other. There’s a pretty fine distinction between apprehending a suspect to put them to trial and incinerating everything within a fifty-foot radius of them with a drone-delivered missile.

  180. 180
    JohnR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What Moik said.

    Pretty fancy reasoning. You must be an MBA.

  181. 181
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Moik:

    So, our government can sentence a US citizen to death based on the yet-to-be-determined outcome of a trial in another country? Man, my civics classes must’ve sucked to skip something that important.

    Of course, he wasn’t actually “sentenced to death,” although I know Greenwald lurves to throw that phrase around. If he is captured alive, they don’t bring him back to the States and throw him in the electric chair. He goes on trial, same as anyone else.

    And you throw out the phrase ‘capture or kill’ as though it’s six and a half of one, half a baker’s dozen of the other.

    No, I throw out the phrase because it’s accurate to what the actual order is: capture him if possible, but it’s okay to kill him if capture isn’t possible.

    I’m guessing that when the FBI says people are “wanted dead or alive,” you start screaming about how they’ve been sentenced to death by the government, right? After all, it’s the exact same thing.

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JohnR:

    Pretty fancy reasoning. You must be an MBA.

    MFA in Screenwriting, actually. But thanks for playing.

  183. 183
    Moik says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Of course, he wasn’t actually “sentenced to death,” although I know Greenwald lurves to throw that phrase around. If he is captured alive, they don’t bring him back to the States and throw him in the electric chair. He goes on trial, same as anyone else.

    No, I throw out the phrase because it’s accurate to what the actual order is: capture him if possible, but it’s okay to kill him if capture isn’t possible.

    Those statements contradict each other – if he’s killed by a drone strike, then no, he is not going on trial as he is Constitutionally guaranteed. Semantically, I guess he is not being ‘sentenced to death’ as he is not being convicted by a jury of his peers; neither is he being sentenced by a judge. That’s the point. He is an American citizen, accused of a crime – he’s entitled to a fair trial, end of story.

    If and when he’s convicted, I’ll be right next to you at the barbecue.

    I’m guessing that when the FBI says people are “wanted dead or alive,” you start screaming about how they’ve been sentenced to death by the government, right? After all, it’s the exact same thing.

    Um.. that’s not a thing, or at least not since, what, the 20’s? You’re right, I scream myself raw every night about that and the death of Vaudeville. Goddamn radio, usurping the place of live entertainment like Jesus intended.

  184. 184
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Moik:

    Those statements contradict each other – if he’s killed by a drone strike, then no, he is not going on trial as he is Constitutionally guaranteed. Semantically, I guess he is not being ‘sentenced to death’ as he is not being convicted by a jury of his peers; neither is he being sentenced by a judge. That’s the point. He is an American citizen, accused of a crime – he’s entitled to a fair trial, end of story.

    So any time a suspect is killed in a shootout with police, you start picketing the police station protesting about the extrajudicial murder of an innocent person, right? After all, they hadn’t been convicted of anything and yet the police killed them, so it couldn’t be anything other than an execution without trial.

  185. 185
    Moik says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So any time a suspect is killed in a shootout with police, you start picketing the police station protesting about the extrajudicial murder of an innocent person, right? After all, they hadn’t been convicted of anything and yet the police killed them, so it couldn’t be anything other than an execution without trial.

    Apples to oranges, and a pretty bad strawman to boot. If al-Awlaki is killed in a firefight with US soldiers, fine. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. ‘Shootout with police’ != ‘Targeted assassination by CIA’.

  186. 186
    General Stuck says:

    @Moik:

    He is an American citizen, accused of a crime – he’s entitled to a fair trial, end of story.

    Au contraire. Not end of story. American citizens are also subject to domestic and international rules of war. Meaning if you run with an enemy of the US in a lawful conflict, then you are not necessarily entitled to a trial. It would be best to capture the guy, and try him, but not legally necessary. With room for moral judgments made by a POTUS to make a choice. We have been over this here at this blog.

  187. 187
    Bob Loblaw says:

    I suppose the question I would ask people like Mnemosyne on the topic, that doesn’t get asked very often that I’ve seen for whatever reason, is what if the policy towards Awlaqi propagates globally?

    Would you have a problem if Interpol were to begin using armed drones as the CIA does? What about Russia? After all, if the obvious gaping flaw in the global security system is that lawless states and safe havens exist and are not correctable through governmental and economic policy changes in any reasonable timeframe, and we now have the technology to work around that flaw in a surgical manner, is there any reason not to do it?

    Do you believe that automated drones have a place as a cornerstone of 21st century global criminal justice, or do you believe this is a unique circumstance in a unique war that serves no precedent for anything beyond that?

  188. 188
    Moik says:

    @General Stuck:

    Au contraire. Not end of story. American citizens are also subject to domestic and international rules of war. Meaning if you run with an enemy of the US in a lawful conflict, then you are not necessarily entitled to a trial. It would be best to capture the guy, and try him, but not legally necessary. With room for moral judgments made by a POTUS to make a choice. We have been over this here at this blog.

    We’re not at war against Yemen, and the legality of declaring war against a stateless organization (al Qaeda) or a concept (Terror) is dubious. Besides which, this all falls under the aegis of the AUMF, which isn’t even a declaration of war anyway.

    Also, thank you for not pursuing the “Well, you must [INSERT HYPERBOLE HERE], right?” template – it’s nice to actually, you know, have someone debate what I’m saying, rather than what they imagine I say.

  189. 189
    General Stuck says:

    @Moik: The AUMF satisfies the legality of fighting AQ, and the UN backs it up and notes the international nature of the conflict. It is a legal war by ours and international law. The question of what is a battlefield is nebulous, and lends itself to debate about what to do with someone in say Yemen. Present with armed comrades of AQ, and unwilling to surrender. When there is permission from the sovereign governments of such a country, Personally, I make the call of “battlefield” by what would likely occur if there was a criminal arrest attempt. The presence of military weaponry and a cadre with a chain of command makes it likely such an arrest attempt would be more akin to a battle fought in a war and by a military force, rather than service of an arrest warrant that could be handled with civilian police. YMMV. But please quit calling this an illegal war, or implying it. This is a false meme that makes reasoned debate impossible.

  190. 190
    catpal says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    What Republican Party are you imagining that is going to take on any of the issues you listed in your aforementioned paragraph?

    This sums up this very unserious rant.

    So will we read EDs rants in 2011 when the house Repubs spend all of their time “investigating” the Obama admin – but the new Repubs spend ZERO time – on passing any bills that are helpful to civil liberties – or the country in general.

  191. 191
    E.D. Kain says:

    @WyldPirate: Thanks Wyld.

  192. 192
    El Cid says:

    I would suggest that if people have not seen this story, it should be included on the front page.

    White House: Terrorists Have Discussed Use of Prosthetics to Conceal Explosives
    __
    By JAKE TAPPER, HUMA KHAN, SHARYN ALFONSI and LEE FERRAN | ABC NEWS
    __
    U.S. intelligence has picked up terrorists discussing the use of prosthetic or medical devices to conceal explosives, sources tell ABC News…
    __
    …Thomas Sawyer, a bladder cancer survivor, said he was humiliated after a pat-down broke his urostomy bag, leaving the 61-year-old covered in his own urine. Sawyer said he warned the TSA officials twice that the pat-down could break the seal.
    __
    Cathy Bossi, a long-time flight attendant and breast cancer survivor, said the TSA made her take off her prosthetic breast.
    __
    “She put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What is this?’ I said ‘It’s a prosthesis because I’ve had a breast cancer,'” Bossi said. “And she said, ‘You’ll need to show me that.'”

    ‘LADY YOU’VE GOT ONE SECOND TO TAKE THAT FAKE BOOB OFF OR WE’LL BLOW IT OFF!’

    Also, these urostomo-fascists have already been warned that they cannot carry large amounts of liquid on the planes. Who are we to assume there aren’t liquid accelerants in this so-called ‘urostomy bag’?

    What, are we to give up our airline security because we’re afraid of hurting people with fake limbs or an inability to pass urine and feces properly?

  193. 193
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Moik:

    Apples to oranges, and a pretty bad strawman to boot. If al-Awlaki is killed in a firefight with US soldiers, fine. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. ‘Shootout with police’ != ‘Targeted assassination by CIA’.

    No? From the NY Times link:

    The possibility that Mr. Awlaki might be added to the target list was reported by The Los Angeles Times in January, and Reuters reported on Tuesday that he was approved for capture or killing.

    Weird, that’s what I’ve been saying all along.

    Under normal circumstances, the CIA would not be allowed to attack an al-Qaeda encampment if they knew an American citizen was there. They have now been given a special directive that they do not have to hold back because of the presence of an American citizen.

    Sorry, sounds a whole lot like a shootout situation to me.

  194. 194
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    I suppose the question I would ask people like Mnemosyne on the topic, that doesn’t get asked very often that I’ve seen for whatever reason, is what if the policy towards Awlaqi propagates globally?

    Deciding whether or not drones should be used in the CIA’s effort to capture or kill al-Alwaki seems to be outside the scope of this conversation. I’m not making an argument for or against drones one way or the other, so I’m not quite sure how we went from “can the US target a US citizen who is aiding the enemy?” to “should they use drones to kill him?”

  195. 195
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Chuck Butcher:
    __

    I notice that the blame for the national security state seems to be getting recent references, one really ought to go back to RICO which was the “war” on crime, more specifically the Mafia. People applaud these things because they think it only applies to a despised group, rather than all of us.

    True that. Back in the late 1970s, I was one of the DFH feminists agitating for the feds to use RICO against the first wave of “anti-abortionist” womens’ health clinic bombings. Very Serious People kept telling us that we were mocking an earnest, important weapon in the Crime Wars.

  196. 196
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Because the method of the operation is critical to judging whether or not it is a good and just idea worth pursuing. Capturing tends to be out of the question when Hellfire missiles are involved, I’ve noticed.

  197. 197
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Because the method of the operation is critical to judging whether or not it is a good and just idea worth pursuing.

    Given that we’re arguing the constitutionality of putting a “capture or kill” order on an American citizen, that seems like a very strange way to decide whether or not it’s constitutional. I’m pretty sure the Founding Fathers didn’t say anything about hellfire missiles when writing the Bill of Rights.

    If you’re saying that you see no problem with the government issuing the capture or kill order and the only question in your mind is “how?” that, again, is a completely different question from the constitutional question of whether or not the president can issue a capture or kill order against an American citizen working with the enemy.

  198. 198
    agorabum says:

    @cleek: I feel like we had one chance to get it right, right at the very beginning.
    We could have announced that the system was designed to prevent bombings, and the system worked, in general, as designed (really; several of the hijackers triggered warnings, and it resulted in extra searches of their checked luggage).
    But now the system has changed, and, in addition to locks on the cockpit door, every passenger on a plane now has a duty to fight hijackers.
    Call on America to be brave.
    No one wants to call for bravery anymore, though.

  199. 199

    […] at Balloon Juice, John Cole and E.D. Kain have excellent points to make about the whole molestation security procedures that one has to […]

  200. 200
    mclaren says:

    @Adam:

    E.D., your point on the Dems’ not being much better on the “security power grabs” is fair to an extent…but come on, do you honestly believe that, if the situation was reversed and this was implemented by the Bush administration, the right would be up in arms about this?

    Who cares?

    Kain’s point is that although the Democrats squawk, they haven’t done a goddamn thing to eliminate ANY of the anticonstitutional totalitarian Stalinoid illegalities implemented by the drunk-driving C student and his torturer sidekick.

    Who gives a fuck if the Democrats protest? If they never do anything to stop the policies they claim to dislike when they get power, then the Democrats are lying.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like torturing people — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like kindapping American citizen and hurling them into dungeons without charges or a trial — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like sending federal goons to molest women and children in public — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like sending assassination squads to murder American citizens without a trial or chages — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like slaughtering innocent children and women in Afghan wedding parties by means of missile-armed drones — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like invading third world countries and indiscriminately murdering the world’s poorest people for no justifiable reason — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like building up the war funding and increasing the funding for our already insanely overfunded military — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

    The Democrats clearly and obviously like war, war, war, war all the time everywhere in the world, non-stop eternal war for no reason against people who never did us any harm, war that will never end, war that just goes on and on and on and on and on, decade after decade, war forever in every corner of the globe that bankrupts America and turns our society into a martial law garrison state — because the Democrats continue to do it when they’re in power.

  201. 201
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think it’s entirely constitutional, unfortunately.

    Not that state secrets bullshit they played around with at the hearing, that was rather embarrassing; but while the powers the administration’s asking for are unprecedented (so is the world we find ourselves in technologically), it’s all in step with the accepted reading of the AUMF and all legal decisions made since.

    Of course, the death penalty is totally legal too. That doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a bad idea.

    I think all sides need to be honest about the situation. Awlaqi isn’t some innocent dude, by any indication. And his dispatch won’t be analogous to Waco or anything like that. It will be a careful, lengthy operation where we get infiltrators within his tribal circle, track his alleged movements ceaselessly, wait for one fleeting window of opportunity, and then bomb his ass back to the stone age. That’s what this is about.

  202. 202
    Annelid Gustator says:

    @E.D. Kain: E.D. I was bustin yer balls at 5 or wherever about the ‘budsman thing. And I think you are right about the mechanism, but just dead wrong in turnng away from the only set of folks who plausibly can be said to give a flip about these issues–particularly when the only alternative in our broken polity is the very same set of people who made the mess inthe first place. You’d need a lot more turnover to escape them (even if the Tea party people were anything other than Rs with a bad choice of imagery).

  203. 203
    mclaren says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    Yeah, it is hard for me to get excited about a missile strike on some shithead who is openly conspiring and working with the enemy, whether he is an American or not. He knows what can happen and he bought his ticket, so to speak. The warcrimes committed knowing by the previous administration are something else completely.

    Good. Let’s follow that logic to its rational conclusion.

    By speaking out against the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution of the united states, which require due process, charges, and arraignment and a trial by a jury of hi/r peers before any American citizen can be murdered by our government, you have identified yourself as someone who is openly conspiring and working with the enemies of America.

    The enemies of America are fanatics who do not believe in the rule of law and who glory in the murder of innocent citizens. By wiping your ass on the rule of law and adulating the murder of an American citizen against whom no charges have ever been filed and who has never even been demonstrated to have committed a crime, you, Celticdragonchick, have become an enemy of America.

    You are now, by our own definition, an enemy combatant.

    So it’s hard for me to get excited about an assassination squad breaking down your down and blowing your head off, Celticdragonchick. You knew what could happen and you bought your ticket.

    The crimes committed by the previous administration are something else completely.

    See how it works, Celticdragonchick?

    Once it becomes permissible to throw out the rule of law and make an American citizen into an unperson and assassinate that person without accusing hi/r of any crime or brinigng charges in a court of law, we descend into barbarism.

    And you know what barbarism means?

    It means that the assassinations and the “targeted killings” and the execution squads and the tortures and the extrajudicial murders spread like wildfire. If it’s okay to murder an American citizen without charges because he allegedly “conspires” with some shadowy enemy in some nebulous way we can’t define exactly, why isn’t it okay to murder an American citizen for saying he hopes the Chinese take over America because America has turned into a totalitarian shithole (something John Cole has been known to say on the front page of this goddamn blog)? Okay then — pretty soon you move on down to assassinating American citizens without charges and without a trial because they say “dangerous” things. And then pretty soon you start assassinating American citizens without charges because they are ‘suspected of being subversives.” And then pretty soon you start assassinating American citizens without charges because they hold the wrong ideas. And at that point we’re in full-on fucking Stalin’s Russia.

    People like you, Celticdragonchick, and people like Mnemosyne, were the ones who cheered the NKVD as they hauled away “suspected subsersives” in the USSR to Siberian gulags…until you got hauled away yourself.

    You see, when you erase the rule of law for one person, the rule of law tends to vanish for everyone.

    Everyone.

    If it’s justified to torture an American citizen because he might have info about an al Qaeda attack, surely it’s justified to torture an American citizen because he might ahve abucted a little girl. And surely then it’s justifed to torture an American citizen because he might have raped a bunch of girls and unless we stop him, he’ll just rape again. And then surely it’s justified to torture an American citizen because we think he’s a serial mugger and that has to stop — think of the children! And then surely it’s justified to torture a guy if he spoke out against the American government by advocating that President Palin be impeached, because that man is insulting the dignity of the state and if the state loses its majest and authority, that threatens the very foundations of our society.

    Autoritarian bully-worshipers like Mnemosyne reliably speak up to applaud torture and murder without charges or a trial, because Mnemosyne is a sociopath, and we expect that kind of response from a clinical sociopath. The sociopath just wants to watch people suffer. Because sociopaths have no empathy and no normal human compassion, a sociopath like Mnemosyne finds it interesting and amusing to see (or imagine) people being murdered or tortured, especially if it’s done without a trial or without charges, because that will redouble the anguish and the horror of the situation.

    But we don’t expect to hear ordinary people with a conscience applauding the torture and murder of American citizens without a trial and without charges, Celticdragonchick. We don’t usually expect to hear that kind of insane barbarism from average folks like you.

    Which tells us, as Kain pointed out in his original post, that we are seriously fucked. It’s over, folks. We’re just marking time, waiting for our version of Stalin who will take the eagerness of people like Celcticdragonchick to throw out the rule of law and run it right to its logical conclusion.

    Very soon now, in only a few years, I predict Celticdragonchick will be eating lunch in a restaurant and somebody next to her will say “This isn’t the America I grew up in, the goddamn president is a torturer and a murderer and a disgrace and he needs to be ridden out of office on a rail and tarred and feathered” and someone sitting next to her will stand up and pull out a gun and blow the guy’s brains out.

    And as Celticdragonchick wipes the guy’s brains out of her face and stares down at the blood and brain matter that has splattered her plate of chicken-fried steak and mashed potates, the guy next to her with a gun will pull out a badge and show it to everyone in the restaurant.

    And he’ll announce, “This has been a targeted killing of an enemy combatant. I’m an agent of the Department of Homeland Security. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.”

    And at that moment, when Celticdragchick looks down at the red thing on the fork she was about to put in her mouth and realizes it’s a skull fragment from that “enemy combatant” who spoke out against the president, Celticdragonchick will finally understand the full extent of her folly and her degradation, and she’ll start to scream.

    But by then it’ll be too late.

  204. 204
    E.D. Kain says:

    @John O: Both parties are drug warriors. See California for proof.

  205. 205
    E.D. Kain says:

    @mclaren: Co-sign.

  206. 206
    General Stuck says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    @mclaren: Co-sign.

    Are you insane?

  207. 207
    Keith G says:

    @General Stuck: Any port in a storm.

  208. 208
    General Stuck says:

    @Keith G:

    Yea, well he dropped anchor in Dante’s Inferno this voyage. jeebus.

  209. 209
    JohnR says:

    Ah, just got back from Harry Potter vs. The GOP, and I see that not much has changed. Mnemo continues to be found somewhat missing the point – if the President can unilaterally declare an American citizen to be unprotected by the specific measures guaranteed to _all_ American citizens by the Constitution, then where are we? The reason I thought you were an MBA (but screenwriter is also quite applicable, thanks) is that you argued from your conclusion in order to rationalize away any potential twinges of conscience (and here I may be giving you too much credit, but I’ll be generous..). This logic allows us to restrict the First Amendment only to those forms of speech we find acceptable, etc., etc. McLaren took the bit between his teeth and ran away with it a bit, but his basic point is sound, even though his hyperbole allows you to comfortably and airily dismiss his ‘shrillness’ in fine, sensible, David Brooksian fashion if you so desire. Yup, “Mr. Dirtbag” is very likely a shit, and if found by special forces or caught in a military shootout would cause no particular regret if killed while fighting. Assassination is different, though, whether it’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” or not, simply because he is an American citizen. “Killed while trying to escape” is illegal simply because when the powerful have no restrictions, those of us who aren’t powerful have no recourse. I thought that’s what the Constitution was all about.
    If you wish to go the Beck/O’Reilly route and accuse your opponents of wanting the US to be attacked by The Enemy because they value the Constitution over fear, then be my guest. We’ve been having that argument since before the Constitution was even finished, and the Constitution has been losing steadily.

  210. 210
    Kiril says:

    You know ED makes a good point here, one that the hated Matthew Yglesias made over and over during the Bush years: power, once given, is rarely given back voluntarily. These things have to be resisted when it’s your guy in charge, because otherwise, it will only continue under another administration until it is considered normal and unobjectionable. Now we see how a constitutional law professor deals with the situation handed to him.

    (For those that don’t know me, I am a diehard Obama man.)

  211. 211
    mclaren says:

    @General Stuck:

    The AUMF satisfies the legality of fighting AQ, and the UN backs it up and notes the international nature of the conflict. It is a legal war by ours and international law. The question of what is a battlefield is nebulous, and lends itself to debate about what to do with someone in say Yemen. Present with armed comrades of AQ, and unwilling to surrender. When there is permission from the sovereign governments of such a country, Personally, I make the call of “battlefield” by what would likely occur if there was a criminal arrest attempt. The presence of military weaponry and a cadre with a chain of command makes it likely such an arrest attempt would be more akin to a battle fought in a war and by a military force, rather than service of an arrest warrant that could be handled with civilian police. YMMV. But please quit calling this an illegal war, or implying it. This is a false meme that makes reasoned debate impossible.

    As an ignorant pathological liar and a clinical sociopath, General Crackpot Fake Name is of course telling lie after lie after lie. Standard operating procedure for him.

    And, as tiresome as it is to have to rebut his insane and obviously foolish lies, not doing so might create the false impression that he’s making sense, instead of merely using sophistry to justify whatever tortures and murders the murderer-in-chief in the Oval Office has decided to unconstitutionally commit today.

    The AUMF satisfies the legality of fighting AQ, and the UN backs it up and notes the international nature of the conflict.

    This of course is an obvious lie, and the proof is clear: a country can’t declare war against a person.

    General Crackpot Fake Name is too ignorant and too incompetent and, like all sociopaths, too uninterested in fact or logic to recognize it, but the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 created a state monopoly of violence. Ever since that time, it has been illegal for an individual to declare against the state, or for individuals to declare war against other individuals. Ever since the Peace of Westphalia, only states can legitimately go to war — and they can only go to war against other states.

    President Obama has in effect declared war against a person, Ansar Al-Awlaki. That’s grossly unconstitutional and illegitimate at a basic level. The state cannot go to war against an individual.

    In return for getting a monopoly on legal violence, the state must adhere to certain rules: if the states wants to murder a citizen, the state must first bring charges against that person, then arraign that person and let a magistrate determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring that person to trial, then put that person on trial and present the evidence against him, and finally let a jury of hi/r peers decide that person’s guilt or innocence.

    That’s the way it works in civilized society.

    The government cannot just send helicopters and a tank to our house and blow you up and kill your family and then announce “Well, the United States is at war with General Crackpot Fake Name. We had to do it.”

    That’s illegitimate. That’s illegal. That’s a gross violation of the constitution. You can’t do that in a civilized country.

    Now, it’s worth noting that this state monopoly on violence is exactly what separates barbarous hellholes like Somalia or Afghanistan or Liberia from civilized societies like America.

    Here’s the first in a series of eight videos called “The Vice Guide to Travel in Libera.”

    When you watch this video, you’ll enounter a society without the rule of law. In Liberia, the state no longer has a monopoly on violence — anyone can kill anyone, and they can get away with it. Tribes kill other tribes, and there’s no law, no justice, nothing but guys like General Butt Naked dragging a small child into his compound and cutting his heart out and then passing it around to his pre-teen soldiers to they can eat part of it and smear the blood on their bodies and then go out with their AK-47s and kill the other tribes led by other so-called “Generals.”

    That’s what a society looks like the rule of law goes away and the state loses the monopoly on violence. You get barbarism. Mass murder. Child armies. People tearing the hearts out of kids because they think it gives them mystical power. Eternal war, everyone killing everyone, Pol Pot’s killing fields, swamps full of skeletons.

    That’s what happens when the state loses the monopoly on violence.

    That of course thrills a clinical sociopath like General Crackpot Fake Name. He loves that kind of subhuman shit, he probably masturbates to it compulsively. Sociopaths like General Crackpot Fake Name lacks normal human attributes like a conscience or empathy, so he finds the prospect of child soldiers tearing peoples’ hearts out and eating them exciting and interesting. If you have no empathy, I guess any extreme form of behavior might seem interesting. Pouring acid on someone’s eyeballs? Hey, probably makes an interesting sound. Let’s see what that’s like. Skinning someone alive? Wow, I wonder what someone looks like without their skin, let’s see.

    That’s the mental landscape of a sociopath.

    The rest of us recoil with horror. But sociopaths like General Crackpot Fake Name and Mnemosyne, they just get all warm ‘n excited by the prospect of that kind of evil horrific shit.

    And this is why sociopaths like General Crackpot Fake name and Mnemosyne advocate insane unconstitutional crimes like the president of the United States declaring war on a private citizen. They don’t care about the illegality of it, they just secretly hope America will turn into Somalia or Liberia. Because they’re genuinely curious what people look like without their skin, and they want to see.

    Out here in the real world, for people like the rest of us who are not sociopaths, it’s very clear from a legal standpoint that the AUMF is unconstitutional on its face. The AUMF effectively declares war against an individual. The president of the United States can’t do that. No head of state has been able to do that since 1948, when the Treaty of Westphalia was signed and gave states a monopoly on violence — but only against other states.

    I’ve been through this before, I’ve reiterated it over and over and over again, but the sociopaths and the authoritarian bully-worshipers keep repeating the same lies and the same sophistries and the same circular reasoning and the same garbled logic and the same demented foolishness over and over and over and over again, so I have to keep knocking down these deliberate lies and bogus claims and self-contradictory analogies and phony arguments again and again and again and again.

    As I’ve pointed out many many many many many many times before, the AUMF is unconstitutional for at least six different reasons.

    [1] The AUMF is unconstitutional because it’s a resolution, not even a law. In any case, even if the AUMF were a law, the controlling legal authority here in regard to Al-Awlaki is amendments five and six and fourteen of the constitution of the United States.

    Amendment Five
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

    Is Al-Awlaki in the U.S. army or the U.S. Navy? No? Then he can’t be killed without “a presentment or inditcment of a Grand Jury.”

    The fifth amendment of the constitution is very clear. It doesn’t say “…unless Americans are really really scared.” It doesn’t say “…except if two jet planes crash into a couple of skyscrapers.” The fifth amendment says it is unconstitutional to murder an American citizen without presenting an indictment to a Grand Jury and using due process, which means charges, arraignment, a trial before a jury of a his peers, and sentencing in a court of law.

    And here’s Amendment Six:

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    The fifth amendment requires bringing charges against a citizen the government wants to kill, and the sixth amendment species the details of the kind of trial — it can’t a star chamber with some secret judge making secret charges using secret evidence. It can’t be some military goon saying “Yeah, sounds like the creep’s guilty, grease him.” It has to be a public trial with an impartial jury of the States and district wherein the crime shall have been commited.

    And notice something else: the accused must “be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation; (and> be confronted with the sitnesses against him; (and) have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and…have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

    That’s in the sixth amendment of the constitution.

    So what are the crimes of which Al-Awlaki is accused?

    Nobody can explain that. General Crackpot Fake Name has danced around that. He won’t address that point. You know why?

    Because there are no charges.

    Al-Awlaki has not been accused of any crimes.

    As far as I can tell, Al-Awlaki has committed no crimes. He’s talked trash about America. Guess what, buckaroos? John Cole has talked trash about America. He calls it “a joke of a country.” Lots of people talk trash about America. That isn’t a crime.

    Where’s the evidence against Al-Awlaki?

    There is none.

    Obama and company have produced not one single crap of evidence to show that Al-Awlaki has commited any kind of crime.

    Where are the witnesses against Al-Awlaki?

    None. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. There are none.

    So let’s summarize: we’ve got a guy against who no one has produced any evidence, who has not been accused of any identifiable crime, with no witnesses against him, who has never been charged or arraigned or arrested…and because of some resolution by congress, General Crackpot Fake Name is trying to tell us it’s legal for the govenrment of the united states to murder this U.S. citizen.

    Do you begin to sense to level of horseshit General Crackpot Fake Name is trying to feed you…?

    Summary murder of an American citizen on the basis of…a resolution by congress. No evidence. No charges. Nothing. Just a resolution.

    Here’s a pop quiz that explodes General Crackpot Fake Name’s bogus reasoning in an instant:

    Q: The congress passes a resolution saying it’s okay for the president to rape underage girls. Does that make it legal?

    A: No. A resolution can’t make a grossly unconstitutional crime legal.

    No matter how many resolutions congress passes, you can’t erase the fifth amendment or the sixth amendment of the constitution. If you don’t like those amendments, amend the constitution to get rid of ’em. But don’t try to use the kind of bogus sophistries General Crackpot Fake Name and others like burnspbesq and soonergrunt and the rest of the totalitiarian bully-worshipers have tried to use to cover up the glaring fact that ordering the murder of a U.S. citizen without charges and without trial is grossly unconstitutional and a violation of the fifth amendment and the sixth amendment.

    [2] The AUMF is inapplicable to Al-Awlaki because (even if it weren’t grossly unconstitutional, but let’s leave that aside for a moment) the AUMF says its purpose is

    “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

    Was Al-Awlaki resopnsible for the 9/11 attacks?

    No?

    Then the AUMF is inapplicable.

    End of story. Look at the language of the AUMF itself. Your claims disintegrate. Your assertions blow up and melt down.

    The AUMF cannot possibly be used to authorize Al-Awlaki’s murder becuase the AUMF is specifically designed to target the people resopnsible for 9/11 and clearly and obviously Al-Awlaki isn’t resopnsible for the 9/11 attacks. He wasn’t involved, he didn’t participate, he didn’t have any knowledge, he had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

    So citing the AUMF in a failed and futile effort to justify Al-Awlaki’s murder is complete bullshit, and the proof is in the lanuage of the AUMF itself.

    [3] The AUMF is self-contradictory and therefore legally null and void.

    One of the most basic requirements of any law is that to be valid, it must not contradict itself. For example, you can’t pass a law saying “All citizens must stop wearing clothes in order to comply with the law, but walking around naked is a crime.” That’s self-contradictory. Any law that’s self-contradicotry is legall invalid. It’s null and void.

    The AUMF is self-contradictory because in Section 2 (a), the AUMF mandates:

    That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    This self-contradictory because the force that is necessary is inappropriate, and the force that is appropriate is not as much as is necessary. We’ve seen this throughout the entire misguided “war on terror” dementia.

    Appropriate force treats 9/11 as a police operation. Track down the suspects, bring ’em to justice, try ’em in a court of law. That’s how Europe has dealt with terrorism. That’s how ever other country faced with terrorism has dealt with terrorism: by dealing with it as a police matter. Investigate the crime, identify the suspects, amass evidence, arrest the criminals, try them, and convict them.

    But America decided not to do that. That’s the appropriate level of force, but it can’t stop terrorism. And Americans decided the wanted not just to punish terrorism, but to stop terrorism forever everywhere int he world. To do that, America had to go to war everywhere int he world, forever. War without end. War in every nation on earth. War, war, war, war, war, troops everywhere, and no rule of law — no criminal proceedings, but instead bogus military tribunals so phony and so rigged and so corrupt that the army’s own chief prosecutor at Gitmo resigned in protest, calling it a “kangaroo court.”

    So the AUMF is invalid on its face since it requires an impossible contradiction. It requires necessary force (war everwhere on earth, throw out the constitution, military tribunals, assassination squads, torture chambers) but it also requires appropriate force (police powers, the rule of law, evidence, civilian trials, no torture, no summary execution of suspects by assassination squads).

    Therefore the AUMF is invalid and must be thrown out as any kind of justification for any sort of use of force against Al-Awlaki since it is legally null and void because of its internal self-contradictions.

    [4] The AUMF is grossly illegal on its face because it cites the War Powers Resolution, but War Powers act was specifically designed to prevent endless undeclared wars like Vietnam. Without declaring war, congress cannot continue to authorize military force indefinitely. And now approaching 10 years after the initial resolution, it’s pretty god damn clear that undeclared war that continues indefinitely is exactly what we’re looking at right now.

    Therefore the AUMF is illegal and invalid since its authorization expired long ago and it cannot be used in a vain effort to legalize grossly illegal undeclared wars which continue forever without any time limit.

    [5] The AUMF is grossly unconstitutional because the constitution is very specific about what is required to deploy American forces overseas for any length of time. The congress has to declare war. You can’t do that with a bogus resolution mandating some vague wish-washy “authorization of force.”

    Congress has to declare war. Congress must declare war against a country. Ever since the Treaty of Westphalia it’s been impossible and illegal and illegitimate to declare war against people or familiar or a religion or anything else. Ever since the Treaty of Westphalia, nation-states have had a monopoly on legal violence — but only against other nation-states.

    So what nation has congress declared war on?

    None.

    Forget the AUMF, can’t be used to justify anything involved Al-Awlaki.

    [6] The AUMF is unconstitutionally vague. It mandates vague nebulous “military action” against something somewhere shomehow. And when does it end? Doesn’t say. How much can it expand? Doesn’t say. What are the limits? None.

    This is bullshit.

    The AUMF is a grossly unconstitutional declaration of vague incoherent intention to attack someone somewhere and keep doing it for as long as anyone feels pissed off. That’s unconstitutional. You can’t do that in America.

    Throw it out, the AUMF is garbage.

    So let’s summarize:

    General Crackpot Fake Name has spewed various ignorant lies and sophistries in a failed and futile effort to justify the unjustifiable murder of a U.S. citizen without charges and without a trial.

    I’ve now thoroughly debunked Crackpot Fake Name’s lies by showing in detail how the AUMF is legally invalid in at least 6 different ways. This horseshit wouldn’t stand up ten seconds in a court of law…which is exactly why Obama won’t charge Al-Awlaki with a crime in a court of law.

    Because any judge in America would throw out this garbage in five second. He’d shout “Where are the charges?”

    And when ignorant incomeptent sociopaths like Crackpot Fake Name stammered “There are no charges, your honor–” the judge would bang his gavel and yell “Case dismissed! The defendant Al-Awlaki is released on his own reocvgnizance! Bailiff, get him out of my courtroom — and don’t you bring a goddamn defendant in here again without charges or evidence, or I’ll hold your ass in contempt!”

  212. 212
    scarshapedstar says:

    And naturally, it only takes one little, tiny security failure for all of this to get much worse.

    I doubt it. A white President gets a mulligan for letting 3,000 Americans die and reading a children’s book while he does it.

    A black President gets a coup. You really expect anyone to believe that these Teabaggers will rally around him after “another 9/11” and gladly offer him dictatorial powers?

    These redneck fucks took offense when he told them to keep their tires inflated.

  213. 213
    General Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    LOL, Mclaren. Maybe Kain or JohnR will “co sign” this manifesto of psychosis. Good to know I can still pull your whackadoo string.

    Everything in my comment you quote is absolutely legally solid, even Cole pretty much gave way to the legality of Obama’s capture or kill order, the last time we visited this. The constitution is not a suicide pact and citizenship will not protect you when you join the other side in a LEGAL conflict against your own country. Whether it wise politically or morally for mr. Alwaki to become a casualty at the behest of the US military, of the war he chose to fight, is another question, but legally, Obama is on solid ground.

    This has been the case in every war or conflict this country has engaged in, whether it be Americans joined with the German army in WW2, or whatever the war. The AUMF is the law of the land, and fulfills congresses plenary power to authorize the executive branch to conduct warfare against the AQ. period. If you think not, then file a lawsuit and see what happens. Or you could just continue to post thoroughly unhinged rants against General Crackpot on a blog that many of us will continue to point and laugh at.

  214. 214
    JohnR says:

    @scarshapedstar:

    These redneck fucks

    Now hold on there, Bobbalooie! Speaking as a former redneck fuck, I have to point out that plenty of redneck fucks, both former and current, aren’t cowardly authoritarian “purity of essence” guys. Jerks, yes; assholes, sure – it’s our God-given right to be absolute, sociopathic dumbfucks if we want, but usually that hostile attitude applies to our natural enemies: city-folk. Those who restrict their fear and hate to just them uppity Blacks are as likely to be fearful urbanites with lily-white necks as they are to be manly macho tough-guys acting out their GI Joe fantasies in Armpit, Montana.
    Well, on that conciliatory note, I must go. Time to sleep the sleep of the just and pure of heart. And for what it’s worth, The History of the Potter World, Part I was entertaining enough, but once is plenty. On the other hand, I’d go back and see Megamind again in a heartbeat. I think I will.

  215. 215
    mclaren says:

    @General Stuck:

    (to E.D. Kain)

    Are you insane?</Blockquote)

    Notice the debate style typical of General Crackpot Fake Name: no facts, no logic, no evidence, no legal reasoning, no rational discourse…just accuse your opponent of being insane.

    Absolutely typical of the clinical sociopath.

    Take a look at Dr. Donald Hare’s Sociopathy Checklist.

    It’s a list of the traits you find in clinical sociopaths. Notice the traits General Crackpot Fake Name and Mnemosyne have displayed in the course of this discussion:

    4. PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

    Accuse anyone who disagrees with you of being mentally ill. E. D. Kain dares disagee? He must be insane. Standard tactic for a sociopath.

    5. CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS- the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

    Mnemosyne tries this in a truly infantile display of sophistry:

    Of course, [Al-Awlaki] wasn’t actually “sentenced to death”…

    Oh, right, and if a mugger shoots you in the stomach, the mugger won’t actually be doing you injury, it’s the bullet propelled by gunpowder that will do the damage.

    When you see something that seems so grotesquely stupid on its face that you can’t believe a rational human being would actually something like that in a vain effort to cover up or justify some depravity, it’s a sure bet that you’re dealing with a sociopath who has wound hi/rself into logical knots in an especially imaginative effort to manipulate people. The sociopath, you see, is blind to the effect of this kind of sophistry on normal human beings who have a conscience. The rest of us regard this kind of logical calisthenics in defense of barbaric murder with a mixture of horror and disbelief — but to a sociopath like Mnemosyne, it’s a particularly clever dance of logic of which she’s particularly proud.

    6. LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT — a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and un empathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

    Notice that neither Mnemosyne or General Crackpot Fake Name ever exhibit any signs of sadness or regret that a U.S. citizen will be murdered. As clinical sociopaths, their only regret is probably that they won’t be able to be present in person to take trophies, like body parts.

    7. SHALLOW AFFECT — emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

    Notice that the full range of emotions displayed by Mnemosyne and General Crackpot Fake Name ranges from A to B — all the way from viciousness to sadism. I call this “the Dick Cheney tell.” If the only stuff that ever comes out of someone’s mouth is sadistic calls for killing, torture, murder, war, death, mutilation, degradation…well, you can be pretty sure there’s something wrong at a basic level with that person as a human being.

    The world is a wonderful place with lots of amazing things happening. We’re sending robots to other planets, imaging DNA molecules, a new type of X-ray microcope lets us image an entire cell’s internal structure in one flash. New forms of arm (geolocation, augmented reality) and music (using new controllers like the Microsoft Kinect) and literature (interactive hypertext) are springing up all around us. The 21st century is an era of wonders. Yet here we stick, mired in war and torture and medieval death, death, death, death, death, death. Can I be the only person who sees something terribly, horrible, grotesquely wrong with that?

    8. CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY — a lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

    A person with a conscience, when faced with a basic challenge to his advocacy of murdering a U.S. citizen might stop for a moment and ask himsef: “Am I missing something here? What about Al-Awlaki’s family? What about the man himself? What will happen to people like him if we let assassination squads murder U.S. citizens indiscriminately? Think of the anguish, the torment the victims of Soviet NKVD death squads suffered…imagine the horror and loss felt by the families of Pol Pot’s victims…can I really justify opening the door to that kind of hell for the families of American citizens?”

    But no. Sociopaths feel no remorse. So the only reaction we get from sociopaths like Mnemosyne and General Crackpot Fake Name is a cold backlash of savagery.

    I’m only suprised that Crackpot Fake Name and Mnemosyne haven’t accused Kain or myself of kiddy rape or selling drugs to infants or icepicking puppies. That’s the way a sociopath usually operates — come back hard, accuse your opponent with any lie, use any smear to distract bystanders from the shocking inadequacy of the sociopath’s logic and the total paucity of facts in the sociopath’s argument.

    9. PARASITIC LIFESTYLE — an intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

    Mnemosyne is a screenwriter. Need we say more?

    I always wondered who wrote the scripts for shitshows like Saw and Hostel, those torture-porn films featuring scenes involving women getting blowtorches applied to their eyeballs until they scream and die.

    Now that I know Mnemosyne is a screenwriter, I understand where those scripts come from.

    10. POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

    Call E. D. Kain insane. Sure. Why not? Accuse anyone of anything, that’s typical of General Crackpot Fake Name’s irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats and aggression.

    I’m amazed Crackpot Fake Name never applied to the Department of Homeland Security. Perhaps he did, and he failed the psych test.

  216. 216
    JohnR says:

    @General Stuck:
    I’m not authorized to edit my own comment? What is this world coming to!
    Anyway, almost got away clean – well, short one:

    but legally, Obama is on solid ground

    Absolutely! So was Bush when he authorized torture. Completely rock-solid ground. Yep, no doubt about it. When the Constitution is a Rohrschach blot, anything goes, and it’s all legal!

    Welp, that’s really it. Feel free to knock me down in the mud and kick me in the head with a steel-toed boot. I can take it..

  217. 217
    General Stuck says:

    @JohnR:

    Ever hear of the war powers act? Until it is struck down by the courts, it is the law of the land, and the AUMF complies with the requirements of congress authorizing the executive to conduct military operations in any way they see fit. Long as other international treaties are also complied with. Which is the case with the AUMF via UN security council actions.

    Torture is always illegal and not comparable to this situation. It was a flat defiance of all domestic and international laws of behavior and it is absurd to use as an analogy for what we are discussing on this thread.

  218. 218
    General Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    The Court of Mclaren Has ruled.

    so say we all

    Now who brought the rubber chickens?

  219. 219
    E.D. Kain says:

    @me: Actually I tend to read them all but only respond to a few. I’m not really in this to argue endlessly in the comments. That’s just not why I blog, and nor will it ever be.

  220. 220
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Larry Signor: Thanks, I appreciate that a great deal.

  221. 221
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @mclaren:
    No, dude, you’re reasonably insane.

    A hysterical gift that keeps on giving (keep on with the exploding head in the soup meme, comedy gold), but pretty fucking insane.

  222. 222
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Josh James: I constantly criticize the right and the war mongers on the right. It’s just absurd and lazy of commenters here to say otherwise.

  223. 223
    mclaren says:

    @JohnR:

    General Crackpot Fake Name has no facts and no logic and no legal precedents to back up his empty claims.

    Therefore he falls back on proof by mere assertion.

    The moon is made of green cheese. How do we know? Because he said so. Quod erat demonstrandum.

    Out in the real world, even practicing lawyers like Armando over at TalkLeft admit that the AUMF is invalid and unconstitutionally vague. Practicing lawyers like Armando who try to justify “enemy combatant” claims by the president use other legal reasoning, because the AUMF falls apart the instant you look at it. As you can see above, I had no trouble at all dissecting the AUMF and demonstrating its gross unconstitutionality on at least six different bases.

    Unlike General Crackpot Fake Name, I actually have facts and logic to present. Let’s start with Blackstone’s Commentaries from English common law:

    [T]rial by rack is utterly unknown to the law of England; though once… [the] ministers of Henry IV [Lancaster]… laid a design to introduce the civil law into the kingdom as a rule of government… erected a rack for torture, which was called in derision the Duke of Exeter’s daughter, and still remains in the Tower of London; where it was occasionally used as an engine of state, not of law, more than once in the reign of queen Elizabeth.

    But when, upon the assassination of Villiers, duke of Buckingham, by Felton, it was proposed in the privy council to put the assassin to the rack in order to discover his accomplices, the judges, being consulted, declared unanimously, to their own honour and the honour of English law, that no such proceeding was allowable by the laws of England…

    [William Blackstone, IV, 25, 326 of his Commentaries on the Laws of England]

    So for some 472 years, legal precedents in common law throughout the civilized world have held torture and extrajudicial murder illegal and illegitimate. (William Felton assassinated the Duke of Buckingham in 1628.)

    Earlier, the Magna Carta specifies that

    “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”

    A mountain of legal precedents establish that torture and extrajudicial murder are wholly illegitimate and illegal in Western common law ever since the 17th century.

    Yet General Crackpot Fake Name proclaims that extrajudicial murder and torture are “legally…on solid ground” despite the condemnation of four centuries of legal scholars, four centuries of legal precedents decrying these barbarities as illegal, and literally hundreds of supreme court rulings which declare:

    “it was not left to the legislative power to enact any process which might be devised. The [due process] article is a restraint on the legislative as well as on the executive and judicial powers of the government, and cannot be so construed as to leave Congress free to make any process ‘due process of law’ by its mere will.”

    [Supreme Court ruling, Murray v. Hoboken Land, 59 U.S. 272 (1855)]

    It cannot possibly be made more clear or more specific than that. The Supreme Court of the United States has specifically ruled that congress cannot legislate due process out of existence, or bend and twist it by means of whatever legal calisthenics it might like to employ.

    The Supreme Court of the United States has specifically and repeatedly ruled that due process is set forth in the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution, that congress cannot wipe out or alter due process by merely passing a law, and that due process rests on a thousand years of legal precedent going back to the time of William the Conquerer (ca. 1028 A.D.)

    As you can see, unlike General Crackpot Fake Name, I have a mountain of legal precedents and facts and a vast armamentarium of logic to support my assertion that extrajudicial murder is wholly illegal and illegitimate regardless what resolutions congress passes, and that it has been judged so by courts of law for more than a thousand years.

    And what has General Crackpot Fake Name to support his claim that Obama is “legally…on solid ground” in ordering the summary murder of a U.S. citizen without charges and without a trial and without even alleging (let alone trying to prove) that a crime was committed by Al-Awlaki…?

    …He calls me insane.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the caliber of argument that supports the summary execution of American citizens without trial and without charges.

  224. 224
    General Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    The moon is made of green cheese

    Personal foul. I made no such claim. Well, maybe once, before the first cup of coffee.

  225. 225
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Michael D.: Thanks man. I know I’m right on this one but I appreciate the back-up. For instance, you would also say “Republican-controlled congress” if the tables were turned.

  226. 226
    mclaren says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    No, dude, you’re reasonably insane.

    A hysterical gift that keeps on giving (keep on with the exploding head in the soup meme, comedy gold), but pretty fucking insane.

    Spoken like a true Soviet commisar. I’m sure you pine for the good old days when the solution to dissent was for Soviet apparatchiks to declare any Soviet citizen who agitated for basic human rights “mentally ill” and confine him to a mental hospital and inject him with subcutaneous sulphur until he died.

    “Those who peacefully engage in political dissent, those who attempt to exercise minority, ethnic or national rights…as well as those whose activities are merely bothersome of the Soviet authorities, frequently find themselves sent to prisonlike `special psychiatric hospitals’ administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (which also runs the Soviet prison system) or so the ordinary psychiatric hospitals of the Ministry of health. Beyond any reasonable doubt, the forcible commitment or the threat of commitment in either an ordinary or special psychiatric hospital is being used as an official Soviet government instrument to suppress dissent.”

    [Gershman, Carl, “Psychiatric Abuse in the Soviet Union,” Society, Volume 21, Number 5, 1974, pp. 54-59]

    I’m delighted that commenters like Bob Loblaw have called me “insane” because this shows us where their sympathies really lie. These people clearly yearn for another Stalin, a strong man of steel, who will guide the American people to a great new utopia…built on a mountain of corpses.

    These are the people who approve of Obama’s unconstitutional tortures and kidnappings and summary murders of American citizens with approval and applause.

    Regard well people like Bob Loblaw, and shudder.

  227. 227
    worn says:

    @mclaren: Wow, that’s so tenditious it makes me want to take my dentures out and gum some pudding

  228. 228
    mclaren says:

    @worn:

    Say anything, everything, call me all the names you can think of…all to distract attention from the fact that not one person on this forum can come up with a single legal or factual or logical justification for president Obama ordering the extrajudicial murder of a U.S. citizen that passes the straight-face test.

  229. 229

    @cleek:

    the GOP fear-mongered this country into a bunch of terrible policies and behaviors. they took us places we can’t walk back from. that’s the price of fear-mongering.

    It takes two to tango. If the Dems had have gone against it, then things would be different. The counter-narrative is harder to make, but it is better in the long-run. Obama was against the Iraq War when the majority was for it, but reaped the benefits in 2008.

  230. 230

    […] empirical sanity. ED Klain, it looks like, survived the attempted purge at Balloon Juice, to to try to beat some sense in the yokels over there. Roderick Long commented in my previous post that Keith Olbermann has been pretty good on this […]

  231. 231
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Hack-tastic!

    It’s a Republican Party and a Republican-controlled House, but when it’s a Democratic Party, it’s not a Democratic-controlled Senate, but Democrat controlled??

    I dare you to even find a reference’s from before 2006 when that pejorative phrase was used.

    You are so full of shit, I can’t believe you haven’t choked to death yet.

  232. 232
    Sasha says:

    It is my belief that part of the failure of the Dems to roll back egregious policies begun by Republicans is political cowardice. Frex: Had the Dems attempted to stop the porno-scanner rollout earlier, they would have been hammered for being not taking the terrorist threat seriously and unconcerned about saving American lives.

    Not that I’m excusing their cowardice, but let’s realize that the motives between the two parties are not the same.

  233. 233
    dms says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    You come the closest to “figuring” this out. This tricky thing is “Republican” serves as both noun and adjective. As a noun, its political counterpart is “Democrat”. As an adjective, its counterpart is “Democratic”. “Democratically” is an adverbial construction; however, I’m not aware of its political counterpart…”Republicanly”?

    So, here’s an idea:

    Why not type “a Congress controlled by Democrats”?

  234. 234
    brantl says:

    ED seems to have a problem remembering that the Republicans rah-rahed these policies in the first place, they are gumming up the legislative works as much as possible on any repeal of this shit, and they are ready to play gotcha politics in the event that any attack happens.

    They are going to claim that they happened because the grown-ups in the Democratic party “didn’t care about the public, they just wanted to whine about people’s civil rights”.

    It’s pretty goddamn hard to have a committee run things in a grown up way, when 40% of the committee (that was the Senate for you ED, in case your attention deficit disorder kicked in and you forgot that) is a bunch of middle-schoolers running around spouting nothing but “neener, neener, neener!” all fucking day, and lying about the actual circumstances they find themselves in, because they’re actual circumstances and stance are indefensible.

  235. 235
    brantl says:

    @NR: Yes, he did. On loads of people. And lots of aimless killing, to boot.

  236. 236
    worn says:

    @mclaren:

    Way late to reply for I’m with family during the holiday and have had more important things to do than what I feel I am about to waste my time doing now:

    If you go back and read what I wrote, I think you will find your assertion that I called you names is simply incorrect. My reply was to your laundry list post itemizing what “Democrats clearly and obviously like…” It was this screed that I labeled tendentious. Honestly, I really know very close to nothing of you or your motives, and I can tell you are quite passionate about the subject of the current administration’s actions in regards to the final disposition Al Alwaki. Nevertheless, upon re-reading what I initially responded to (as well as your subsequent vitriol aimed at other posters) I completely and unabashedly stand behind my chosen descriptor.

    The sad thing is that I am more prone to agree with you than not on the subject of extrajudicial killings, as well as the abuse of the War Powers Act. But the simple fact is that your combative rhetoric is such to cause the complete and almost instant alienation of a potential ally.

    Also, attempting to influence the opinions of others* isn’t helped by assigning/assuming completely inimical motives to folks who have a different viewpoint that you (see: Gen Stuck & Mnemosyne and your armchair psychiatrist’s judgement of them to be “clinical sociopaths”). Nor is your consistent addressing of the former by a insulting moniker of your own devising in any way cute or insightful. I mean, let’s be for real here for a moment, OK? Pretty much every commenter here goes by a virtual nom-de-plume. Perhaps your name really is “McLaren” and perhaps you feel this bequests upon you some sort of superiority to those who choose handles. The irony is not lost on me, however, that your nick is anonymous and so is functionally equivalent to a “fake” name.

    I hope you will notice that in the words above I avoided any sort of ad homenim attack on you personally. I am merely questioning your rhetorical style and whether there is any utility to be realized in employing this approach. Dale Carnegie penned a pretty popular tome that touches on this idea. It might be wise to give it look before setting out the vinegar bowl.

    I’ve spent way too much time on this. Now I need to go help my daddy with the cookin’…

    *I assume this, instead of preachy harangues for their own sake, is/was your motivation?

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  2. […] at Balloon Juice, John Cole and E.D. Kain have excellent points to make about the whole molestation security procedures that one has to […]

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