Feb
5

‘Imminence’ Front, It’s A Put On




Posted at 21:43 by HTML Mencken

The DOJ’s position that Americans can be murdered by drones if the Preznit wants them murdered by drones is founded on a tortured and torturous expansion of the definition of “imminent threat,” “self-defense,” “senior operational leaders,” “feasible capture,” and probably several other plain-meaning words and phrases I’ve missed in the Isikoff article because my head is about to explode. In the end it doesn’t really matter what words, phrases, legal doctrines, and common-sensibly agreed-upon definitions they’ve subverted in order to legally break the law; it’s just a means to the end of maximum executive power. Ambitious, amoral lawyers have always delighted powerful men by coming up with newer, more clever ways to twistify the rules in order to make those men more powerful and this is no exception. I dunno what to do about it; no, Mr. Sobchak, no one gives a shit about the rules.

Lawyers will be lawyers, Presidents (at least, post-Nixon) will be authoritarian bastards, and psychopaths will be psychopaths; corrupting, in respective order, words, power, and human moral decency. A select few manage to do all three. Here’s the Shorter version of Michael “Jennifer” Rubin’s exercise in Orwellian Bugfuckery:

Immoral human rights activists, if they succeed in stopping or curtailing the use of drones, will bully terrorist-hunting governments into killing even more civilians.

Cf., kinda.

And then here’s an excerpt of Crazy Davey Horowitz’s non-drone-related but just as Orwellian description of what happened to African-Americans when the housing bubble burst (as pasted by Powertool Scott Johnson):

Defending the victims of job destroyers is morally and emotionally stronger than defending rich “job creators.” It creates sympathy and arouses anger. It inspires concerns about justice. It’s how the Democrats’ recruit and energize their troops. It’s the way — the only way — Republicans can neutralize the Democrats’ attacks on them as defenders of the rich, and return their fire: by framing them as the enemies of working Americans and the middle class.

During Obama’s four years in office, African Americans – middle-class African Americans – lost half their net worth as a result of the collapse of the housing market. That’s one hundred billion dollars in personal assets that disappeared from the pockets of African Americans because of a 25-­year Democratic campaign to remove loan requirements for homebuyers. Yet in 2012, Republicans were too polite to mention this!

The fingerprints of Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barney Frank were all over the subprime mortgage crisis. The campaign to remove loan requirements for African American and other minority borrowers started with Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act. It snookered thousands of poor black and Hispanic Americans into buying homes they couldn’t afford, which they then lost. How traumatic is the loss of one’s home?

By securitizing the failed mortgages, Democratic bundlers on Wall Street who had poured $100 million into the 2008 Obama campaign made tens of millions off the misery of those who lost their homes. In other words, with the help of Clinton, Frank and Obama, Wall Street Democrats made massive profits off the backs of poor black and Hispanic Americans. But Republicans were too polite to mention it. Here was a missed opportunity to neutralize Democrat attacks on Republicans as the party of the rich and exploiters of the poor. It was an opportunity to drive a giant wedge through the Democratic base.

The whole thing (distributed in pamphlet form by Freepers near you) is like that. Kudos to Horowitz for combining the Hitlerian Big Lie with the Orwellian Inside-out Lie so grandly that it amounts to an artificial singularity of dishonesty, overwhelming and impervious to any rebuttal, sucking-in all orbiting truths until maximum entropy is achieved. Sure, you could throw Matt Taibbi’s entire archive at it, but for the people Horowitz is targeting who are already True Believers or nearly so, it wouldn’t make a dent.

Also, too: I’d forgotten I wrote this.

142 Comments »

  1. Shakezula said,

    February 5, 2013 at 21:51

    The shorter of Drone Strikes R OK is the same as Pre-emptive Cyber Attacks are Just Dandy:

    Because we want to, and we can.

  2. Chris said,

    February 5, 2013 at 21:56

    How traumatic is the loss of one’s home?

    I’m sure that’s been at the forefront of your mind during the last four years of screaming about lazy bums wanting houses they couldn’t afford and how the whole crisis happened because we bailed them out.

  3. Shakezula said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:02

    I’m kind of looking forward to the day the NeoCons give up on African-Americans completely.

    The condescending “Me, neocon, me friend! Obama, Democrat, Obama bad!” talk for the stupid monkey people bullshit is now less amusing than the Welfare Queens in Cadillacs bullshit that came before. At least they could offer us some shiny beads or something.

  4. bughunter said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:19

    Just last night watched the recent Moyers & Company discussion about this, and the “optics” are bad enough without having a document “leaked” that basically does for Obama’s remote controlled assassination what John Yoo did for Cheney’s torture.

    If you have half an hour, it’s worth a watch. The White House really doesn’t have a leg to stand on here, morally, ethically, legally or even politically although this is not a turd that the GOP is going to inject into the impellers unless/until they somehow believe they’re not going to get covered in shit themselves.

    Also, too: Taibbi.

  5. kc said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:23

    {{{{{HTML!}}}}} Babe!

  6. bughunter said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:48

    Rubin:

    It is ironic that criticism of the piece among the left stopped when President Obama came to office and made drones his signature counter-terror tool; it seems among many progressive websites, politics trumps principle.

    Bull. Fucking. Shit.

    There are indeed a few lefty bloggers (lookin’ at you, Zandar) who automatically defend Obama from any criticism, from the left or the right, but they’re a niche. Any president is going to have such supporters. But most of the progressive press I’ve seen has been VERY critical of BHO’s policy of extrajudicial assassinations, of US Citizens and others.

    The real problem is that until this day, most of the beltway media VSPs refused to level *any* criticism at the White House for these killings, and almost never acknowledged there was any criticism. But you don’t have to look very far to find it.

    But Rubin, in true wingnut style, falls back on projection to make his bullshit case. It’s Always Projection strikes again.

  7. Pupienus said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:50

    I have been very disappointed by many of Obama’s actions and inactions. When he appointed John “Mr. Torture” Brennan to head the CIA that I got mightily pissed.

    IMPEACH!

  8. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:53

    It never ceases to amaze me how a piece of legislation from 1979 can be blamed for a recession 20-odd years later, but we must never, ever hold any actual Wall Street bankers responsible for anything.

    As for drones, if you want to argue against war in general, I’m with you. If you’re arguing that drones are somehow less moral than, say, artillery shells or missiles fired with the same (or lesser) intel, you lose me.

  9. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:58

    See I knew when I saw the memo this morning that smarter people than me would write stuff about it so I didn’t need to. Thanks HTML!

    The world sure is gonna be a fun place once everybody has flying death robots. Good thing people are already working on anti-drone clothing.

  10. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 5, 2013 at 22:59

    As for drones, if you want to argue against war in general, I’m with you. If you’re arguing that drones are somehow less moral than, say, artillery shells or missiles fired with the same (or lesser) intel, you lose me.

    I think the morality argument is that it’s easier to use drones — they seem sanitary somehow.

    The real issue is that the memo says basically “Fuck all y’all, we’ll kill whoever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want, no matter who you are. Yes, citizens included.”

    The drones are kinda a side issue ’cause it makes it easier for them to actually act on their psychopathic tendencies.

  11. tensor said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:00

    *Sigh* Back when John “We Will Torture” Yoo was penning his dreck, we Islamo-fascist loving libs (thanks, Hitch, for giving Pantload that entree) warned everyone how hard it is to claw such powers back from our rulers. Right-wingers who acquiesced then can SFTU big-time now.

  12. bughunter said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:07

    If you’re arguing that drones are somehow less moral than, say, artillery shells or missiles

    No, we’re not.

    It’s the policy of letting one branch of the government convict and execute a US Citizen without even requiring there even be any evidence, much less allowing a judge or jury to examine it.

    They could be assassinating people with iocaine powder or rusty spoons, it doesn’t matter. The drones just make it easier to pull the trigger, and are harder to hide from.

    I used to work for a company that makes military surveillance drones, and get very fed up with how many people, even smart techie people, reflexively make the association between drones and autonomous killing machines… Terminators from the sky…

    flying death robots

    See?

    They’re planes that have pilots. The pilots just sit in a trailer at McDill or Nellis… or in an aircraft carrier offshore, or are hunkered down behind that hill over yonder. They don’t do a single thing that a pilot doesn’t tell them to do.

  13. Shakezula said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:07

    No one could have possibly foreseen that a Neeeegro would have this kind of power.

  14. Major Kong said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:11

    The drones just make it easier to pull the trigger

    And that’s part of the problem.

    To kill someone with an aircraft requires exposing a pilot to enemy fire and the chance that they will be killed or become a “political football” as a POW.

    It’s just easier politically to do it via remote control.

  15. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:11

    I think the morality argument is that it’s easier to use drones — they seem sanitary somehow.

    The “sanitary” aspect is no big mystery—no pilots. All other things being equal, I’d rather not risk the lives of American pilots, and that’s even before I knew of Major Kong.

  16. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:18

    It’s the policy of letting one branch of the government convict and execute a US Citizen without even requiring there even be any evidence, much less allowing a judge or jury to examine it.

    Sometimes on a battlefield the military has to be judge, jury and executioner. They can’t very well approach a bunch of entrenched, armed hostiles, reading them their Miranda rights through a bullhorn. And I’m sorry, but the fact that Anwar al-Awlaki was technically an American citizen when he was killed does not disturb me very much.

  17. Helmut Monotreme said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:24

    Right-wingers who acquiesced then can SFTU big-time now.

    Sadly, no. The right wingers who stood back and watched, or even cheered when the Bush administration started torturing people were wrong then, but they aren’t wrong if they say the way this administration is using drones is mistaken, unethical or evil now. Clearly they just want to impeach Obama for something. That makes them nearsighted and partisan. Despite that, when they call the current drone policies an unconstitutional overreach, they are correct. Just as the people in the anti war movement who are against every war are sometimes mistaken, on the drone issue they are correct.

    It is uncomfortable when you find partisan hack and opportunists on your side, but there is a legitimate complaint. Their goals are different, i.e. impeach Obama, our goals are to get Obama to stop using drone attacks and advance US interests in a way that doesn’t make us all complicit in the murder of more civilians.

  18. bughunter said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:29

    JFC, I went back and read that Rubin bit again. After the first two, every fucking sentence is either a fallacy or projection. And I’m certain he knows it, but after being paid to write that kind of Orwellian Bugfuckery for years, he believes that what he’s supposed to do.

    Now I’ve got that throbbing behind the eyes…

  19. bughunter said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:32

    And that’s part of the problem.

    Only incrementally. A club is easier than a fist. An axe is easier than a club. A spear is easier than an axe. A bow is easier than a spear. A gun is easier than a bow. A missile is easier than a gun. And a drone is easier than a missile.

    The real problem is not the weapon. It’s the policy.

  20. Bozo the Cocksucker said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:33

    Top obscure ‘Oo song reference.

  21. Bozo the Cocksucker said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:34

    Well, relatively obscure.

  22. Major Kong said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:45

    Sometimes on a battlefield the military has to be judge, jury and executioner.

    While I don’t disagree, the definition of “battlefield” is getting to be pretty fuzzy.

    Wasn’t the last administration pretty much saying “The battlefield is where ever we say it is – even if that means Manhattan”?

  23. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:52

    Wasn’t the last administration pretty much saying “The battlefield is where ever we say it is – even if that means Manhattan”?

    If they killed anyone in Manhattan I’m not aware of it. I think in terms of violations of their rights, the people in Manhattan (and Brooklyn, the Bronx, etc.) worry a lot more about their local police than they do about drone strikes.

    (Some people more than others, of course.)

  24. Major Kong said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:58

    I’m just pointing out the huge potential for this to be misused.

    They’re basically saying “We can kill anyone we deem to be a threat, any time, anywhere, just because we say so.”

    You’re talking to a guy who’s dropped a lot of bombs on a lot of people. I’m not exactly squeamish about killing bad guys.

  25. John Revolta said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:06

    Well, relatively obscure.

    People forget.

  26. kc said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:07

    Bitter scribe, it isn’t just about “the use of drones.” The first line of the article says: A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

    Are you cool with that in general?

  27. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:09

    They’re basically saying “We can kill anyone we deem to be a threat, any time, anywhere, just because we say so.”

    OK, that is a concern, but I see it as a separate issue from the use of drones as such. Drones could only be used as weapons in an area of active hostilities, no? Whereas the DOJ white paper attempts to justify assassinations of Americans and others “in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities.” That leaves out Manhattan, but you’re right, it’s an awfully wide net.

  28. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:13

    kc–I posted before I saw your post. To answer you directly, yes, I do find that disturbing, but as they say in real estate: location, location, location. If someone is killed on or near a battlefield, that’s different from being, say, shot on the streets of Prague.

  29. Helmut Monotreme said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:13

    the Michel Rubin article makes a big stink about ‘proportionality’ as if using smart bombs or drones was wrong simply because it massively outguns the target. As if that’s what makes killing immoral. Not that Michael Rubin belives killing is immoral, he open advocates for targeted assassination. Which just goes to show that Michael Rubin doesn’t understand “thou shalt not kill” in the same way I do.

    The US military establishment, as far as I can tell, is great for busting up high contrast targets; battleships, aircraft carriers, missile silos etc. As we go down the spectrum of targets, from obvious military assets to some guy wearing robes who may or may not want to hurt us, it becomes much harder to make that distinction. To get to the Afghanistan question, some random guy standing around with an assault rifle might be a Taliban insurgent or he might be herder who got that AK from the CIA back in the 80s and uses it to protect his herd from those bastards who are always stealing his goats, but from 30,000 feet, they look pretty similar.

    So, speaking personally I’d rather let the Taliban organize ‘their we hate the US clubs’ and so thoroughly infiltrate them with snitches that the first time anyone suggests anything more violent than beach volleyball they can be met with a shitload of teargas and rubber bullets. If you feel punitive you can even give them the POW treatment for a month or so, then send them home shaved bald and wearing an orange jumpsuit, and let them explain to their friends why they look so well fed if they didn’t tell us everything they know. Because killing them wont stop them. It will stop one alleged terrorist and radicalize five or ten more. But a known identified and tracked terrorist is worth ten or a hundred dead ones. And a double agent is worth a couple hundred more. We need to roll up whoever is funding them and disrupt the network of resupply and financing. If you even think its worth playing in the sandbox, that’s the way to win.

  30. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:31

    flying death robots

    See?

    They’re planes that have pilots. The pilots just sit in a trailer at McDill or Nellis… or in an aircraft carrier offshore, or are hunkered down behind that hill over yonder.

    Fine: “flying remote controlled death robots.”

    They don’t do a single thing that a pilot doesn’t tell them to do.

    Yet.

  31. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:38

    If someone is killed on or near a battlefield, that’s different from being, say, shot on the streets of Prague.

    We already know Love Is A Battlefield so why not Prague too?

  32. tensor said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:49

    Sadly, no. The right wingers who stood back and watched, or even cheered when the Bush administration started torturing people were wrong then, but they aren’t wrong if they say the way this administration is using drones is mistaken, unethical or evil now. Clearly they just want to impeach Obama for something.

    Bingo. That is ALL they want to do. They will not, not ever, not under any circumstances, debate any aspect of these issues. Their goal is to get the Democrat out of the Oval Office, period. They want every last prerogative of said office, legal or illegal, good idea or bad, retained for their next Big GOP Daddy (or Iron Lady).

    Hence, they can all go STFU already. If they want to say anything, we can arrange appropriate sessions in The Hague.

  33. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    February 6, 2013 at 0:55

    There are indeed a few lefty bloggers (lookin’ at you, Zandar) who automatically defend Obama from any criticism, from the left or the right

    Not to mention, Bitter Scribe.
    ~

  34. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    February 6, 2013 at 1:00

    And TBogg, of course.

    (Comment the 2nd: For the first time in my life, I agree with Josh Trevino.)

    When Bush and Cheney blew up people for corporate profits, it was a war crime!

    But when Obama does it, it is for USA FREEDOM™.

    ~

  35. Pupienus said,

    February 6, 2013 at 1:12

    Not to mention, Bitter Scribe.

    Whoa! Couldn’t see THAT ONE coming!

  36. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    February 6, 2013 at 1:41

    I learned my skills in ninja blog school, Pup.
    ~

  37. Lex said,

    February 6, 2013 at 1:57

    Well, Obama’s gone Bush the Lesser one worse. From torture to extrajudicial assassination.

    And someone needs to hit David Horowitz and the Powertools over the head with a copy of Barry Ritholtz’s book “Bailout Nation” until their heads explode or the book does. Because as Nick Nolte’s boss observed in “48HRS,” the truth’s a little different.

  38. Substance McGravitas said,

    February 6, 2013 at 2:32

    Well, Obama’s gone Bush the Lesser one worse.

    Nobody’s perfect.

  39. bughunter said,

    February 6, 2013 at 2:45

    And don’t get me started on BHO’s warrantless wiretapping fetish, either.

    And then whistleblowers, also too…

    I’ll pretend I didn’t write that.

  40. Fenwick said,

    February 6, 2013 at 2:45

    we can arrange appropriate sessions in The Hague.

    I also want the US war criminals who tortured, authorized torture, or enabled (*) torture. They will never be brought to justice in the United States. The International Criminal Court is the only hope. A guilty verdict wouldn’t result in prison, because we are above the international criminal court. Being such a truly exceptional nation, the US has not ratified the treaty. A guilty verdict would dump the torturers’ reputations into shithole.

    What I really want to see is investigation, indictment, prosecution, and TRIAL. The evidence needs to be under an international spotlight. (Imo, Isreali war criminals should also be be brought to trial for Shatila.)

    (*) I’m looking at you, John Yoo, David Addington, and Fredo Gonzales.

  41. bughunter said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:02

    Oh, looky. A little more info on Citadel survivalist homesteader Christian Kerodin:

    Kerodin, who declined requests for a telephone interview, was convicted in 2004 of federal extortion charges and illegal possession of a firearm in a case in which he posed as a counterterrorism expert and attempted to coerce shopping mall owners in the Washington, D.C., area to hire him to improve security, according to court documents. He served 30 months in federal prison. While the conviction makes it illegal for Kerodin to possess a firearm, residents of the Citadel would be required to own guns and to pledge to train together and use them if the compound were attacked.

    IOW: He’s trolling the ATF.

  42. bughunter said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:08

    John Yoo, David Addington, and Fredo Gonzales

    … and Dick Fucking Cheney.

    I’ve read so much about it this past week I forgot the source (it might have been linked by HTMLM, even) but Dick Fucking Cheney had a goddamn hardon for using torture, so much so that he would check up on the interrogators to make sure they used torture. If they didn’t, they were out.

    I have a very short list of people I want to see tried, convicted, and put in front of a firing squad, and he’s on it. And considering what he’s responsible for, that would be a disproportionately humane sentence.

  43. Major Kong said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:15

    To paraphrase Lincoln:

    Whenever I hear any one arguing for torture I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on them personally.

  44. Fenwick said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:20

    Well, Obama’s gone Bush the Lesser one worse. From torture to extrajudicial assassination.

    .

    And don’t get me started on BHO’s warrantless wiretapping fetish, either.

    And then whistleblowers, also too…

    I’ll pretend I didn’t write that.

    I’m glad you did. Obama has faithfully served the Surveillance, Secrecy, and Security State in his first term. And he’s gotten the ball rolling for his second term by nominating Brennen to head the CIA. 8 years of Bush, followed by 8 years of Obama: After 16 years the Surveillance, Secrecy, and Security State will be cemented in place.

    ((Guerilla Voters Cadre 18 urges Sadlies to cogitate on the SSSS….especially those who live in any Deep Blue or Deep Red state and voted for this President, implicitly endorsing the SSSS with your vote. Comrade Fenwick is grouchy today.))

  45. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:27

    Oh bite me, Thunder. Go post another picture of a sunrise to your own boring-ass blog.

  46. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:32

    Fenwick: This shit pisses me off as much as the next guy but pretending that voting for Stein makes you somehow less complicit in America’s current shitshow of foreign policy than oh, I dunno, a Romney voter is just silly holier-than-thou bullshit.

    Our, and I use that word purposefully, policy of all war all the time will be an ugly stain on all of us. Let’s figure out something to do about it.

  47. The drones said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:34

    But, but, but, we are so precise. Our guidance systems have never failed. We strike each target precisely and dependably. Our materials, assembly, and maintenance are absolutely perfect. We have never had any communication-and-control systems failures that impaired either our controllers or our flights in any way whatsoever. We are reliable and versatile. We are perfect in every way.

    It is true our strikes occasionally produce collateral damage to property. The targeted vehicles. Nearby vehicles. The targeted houses. Nearby houses. Whatever. But all that nonsense you may have heard about the slaughter of wedding parties and funerals is pure bullpucky. Those were Taliban cadres assembling on foot in large groups. A few Taliban openly carried automatic rifles; most concealed their weapons under their clothing. Sometimes we encountered sporadic automatic weapons fire intended to destroy us. These cadres were really lousy shots. Also many cadres had forced children to join them. That shows you how despicable and morally-depraved the Taliban are.

    We have never, ever killed anyone who wasn’t a terrorist. Sometimes our detonations kill more than one terrorist. Anyone in the proximity of our blasts is certainly Taliban or a Taliban-supporter. Otherwise why were they so close?

    We are perfect. And our controllers half-way around the world are perfect, too. And the intelligence for target location and selection is perfect. We are precise and perfect.

    We are expensive, expendable weapons. Very expensive. That’s because we are perfect. Can you put a price on perfection?

  48. tensor said,

    February 6, 2013 at 3:35

    Guerilla Voters Cadre 18 urges Sadlies to cogitate on the SSSS….especially those who live in any Deep Blue or Deep Red state and voted for this President, implicitly endorsing the SSSS with your vote. Comrade Fenwick is grouchy today.

    Blow it out your bunghole, Komerad. I had a choice between two candidates who would abuse the powers Bush appropriated, or was given. I chose the one who was less of an entitled elitist. Why? Because it makes clawing back those powers less difficult. As I warned W.’s enablers, it was never going to be easy.

    Washington owned slaves; Lincoln was a racist. FDR refused asylum to Euopean Jews. LBJ blew apart an innocent country. Bill Clinton signed banking deregulation. There never has been an American president with whom I completely agreed, and smug perfectionism solves nothing.

  49. The drones said,

    February 6, 2013 at 4:00

    This shit pisses me off as much as the next guy but pretending that voting for Stein makes you somehow less complicit in America’s current shitshow of foreign policy than oh, I dunno, a Romney voter is just silly holier-than-thou bullshit.

    You assume a lot, don’t you? I did not vote for Stein. I voted for Bernie Sanders, as I did in 2004. Voting is an expression of a person’s political will. If you are aware of my past political posts, you must surely know that I despise both wings of the Corporate Party and have for decades. The vote is the only weapon I have. My voting is consistent with my political will, regardless of how crudely you characterize it.

    The only thing worse than a Two-Party system is a One-Party system.

  50. Fenwick said,

    February 6, 2013 at 4:01

    Oh shit. Blew my cover. Yet another Fenwick nym fail.

  51. Fenwick said,

    February 6, 2013 at 4:04

    smug perfectionism

    See above. Ist paragraph. Last sentence

  52. Fenwick said,

    February 6, 2013 at 4:07

    Good lord. It’s after 9 PM (in Charm City). I’ve wasted way more time in Sadlyburg than I meant to. Everybody that wants to, step up and take your shot. As fast as HTML is putting up posts, I doubt I’ll be able to reply.

  53. Fenwick said,

    February 6, 2013 at 4:15

    Just saw tensor’s comment…

    I had a choice between two candidates who would abuse the powers Bush appropriated, or was given.

    Exactly.

  54. CRA said,

    February 6, 2013 at 4:20

    It’s uh, neat how drones bring together so many things we’ve incrementally come to accept, at least provisionally. Too lazy to make a list. Roll ‘em all into a device and set of policies and wow, now I really have something to be ineffectually skeptical about.

    I think we’d do fine without the fucking drones, just like I think we’d do fine without torture, or all our overseas military bases for that matter. The whole maximal approach to defense is vastly more insane than just choosing defensible means and living (or dying) by them. But no, we are so important and so exceptionally good that nothing is too shady for our 99.9999% dominance (while the money lasts) to justify in shaky theory.

    Pardon me for not engaging the topic at a deeper level. I don’t have it in me lately.

  55. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 6:37

    Whatever Fenwick/cadre/drone/Helen/whoeverthefuck you’re pretending to be this moment. Stein/sanders/romney–they all lost. You still live here and take an active part in being American just like the rest of us. Pretending you’re less complicit somehow while not either leaving or starting a revolution is just a bunch of hot air.

    My history on this shit is pretty clear both here and at my joint — it’s seriously fucked up and I hate it. There are things we can do to try to change it and a bunch of smug bullshit. Guess which one I think you’re most fond of?

  56. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 6:50

    And, yes I have had a few beers and am feeling especially assholish.

  57. Helmut Monotreme said,

    February 6, 2013 at 7:38

    The mention of Obama’s drone warfare really gets us in to a circular firing squad doesn’t it? I think there’s some common ground we can all agree on.

    1. Drone warfare is overused both inside active theaters of war (Afghanistan) on more or less military targets and outside of them (Yemen etc) on so called terrorists, in both cases with insufficient regard for positive identification of legitimate targets and insufficient effort to prevent collateral damage.

    2. The continued military presence in Afghanistan and, to the extent it continues, in Iraq is undesirable for many reasons including that’s it’s an immoral neo imperial occupation of a sovereign independent country, that its a unsustainable expense in tough economic times, and that it’s geopolitically counterproductive and will be ineffective in its goal of reducing terrorism and may result in blowback sooner rather than later. The counterarguments to these reasons most typically emploed by conservatives, neocons and so-called centrists boil down to “but 9-11!”, “no it isn’t!” and “nuh-uh!”.

    3. the best way to end the war in Afghanistan and end the drone strikes is where we all fall apart. Since some of us view the president as an irredeemably corrupt willing participant in American Imperialism, their solutions are going to differ from those who see an embattled president winding down the war as fast as he can without leaving a dangerous power vacuum in the middle east. Still others see a weak president far too willing to listen to the his advisers in the pentagon and CIA lest he be considered weak on terrorism. Some advocate working within the established party machine by working on behalf of anti war factions in the Democratic party and creating one in the Republican party. Some advocate public action and anti war protests on a massive scale, some advocate for 3rd party solutions to ‘punish’ extant parties at the ballot box and in their donation coffers, while others hope for the criminal prosecutions of those they consider to be war criminals.

    All of those viewpoints have at least an element of truth to them, and since none of us are senior administration officials, we have a hard time judging which one of those options is closest to the truth. we can only interpret the biased data being fed to us through a media far more interested in ad revenue than being a messenger of truth or fact checking administration or opposition officials, and the press releases of the military industrial complex.
    So what do we do? we learn to work together. We have to. If the Oil barons and snake handlers of the right can work together to do everything from fighting abortion rights in all fifty states to pushing the most permissive gun legislation this side of Somalia and drilling for oil everywhere in between, we can work together too. We don’t have to even like each other as long as we can focus on what’s important. We can’t afford the bitter recriminations and purity purges that so crippled the Republicans in the wake of the Tea Party movement.

  58. Candidoc said,

    February 6, 2013 at 8:28

    Helmut,

    Thank you for putting *this* out there. We need to get serious about doing something about these abuses, and it won’t happen by circling up the firing squad. The bitter recriminations and purity purges ye speak of are the real enemy of us getting something done.

  59. tensor said,

    February 6, 2013 at 9:06

    We don’t have to even like each other as long as we can focus on what’s important.

    Bingo.

    We can’t afford the bitter recriminations and purity purges that we dearly hope have so crippled the Republicans in the wake of the Tea Party movement.

    F’zd.

  60. cousinitt said,

    February 6, 2013 at 9:26

    I’m not sure what Obama’s motivations are. All the Sadlys seem of one mind. Y’all sound like wingers. What is the difference between espionage and drones?

  61. John Revolta said,

    February 6, 2013 at 11:39

    All the Sadlys seem of one mind

    What thread have YOU been reading?

  62. wiley said,

    February 6, 2013 at 12:01

    Thank you, Helmut. Well said.

  63. A bad idea said,

    February 6, 2013 at 14:20

    Major Kong said,

    February 5, 2013 at 23:11

    It’s just easier politically to do it via remote control.

    A way to cure that problem is mandatory executions for any drone pilots who lose their drones.

    You know, like in that one Star Trek episode.

  64. Gary Ruppert said,

    February 6, 2013 at 15:13

    The fact is, drones are useful to kill enemies of USA, as long as they are in the right hands. Obama is not the right hands because they are black. Also, it was Democrats who forced the banks to loan to blacks and hispanics and poor and caused the financial crisis, the banks are the victims, they had no choice and stop lying about why. If we deregulate the banks and cut taxes the crisis will be over and freedom will rain.

  65. Matt said,

    February 6, 2013 at 15:35

    Shorter Dave Horowitz: “N**GERS N**GERS N**GERS!”

    The RW is going to keep that zombie lie around forever, aren’t they? You’d think a dude with a last name of “Horowitz” would be a little more circumspect about tarring entire ethnicities with blame for a BANKING crisis…

  66. Major Kong said,

    February 6, 2013 at 15:54

    Juan Cole says it better than me:

    http://www.juancole.com/2013/02/objections-houses-killing.html

    My issues with this are:

    1. The “battlefield” is defined as “the entire world”.
    2. The “war” is never ending.
    3. An “enemy combatant” is anyone we happen to point a gun (or a drone) at.

  67. Gary Ruppert said,

    February 6, 2013 at 15:55

    The fact is, this is a fact. A banker told me so, that it was the fault of poor stupid people they had to make loans to, they were forced to. If only they could say no to a loan for a black person without PC Police arresting them for being PC and not sensitive enough, there would have been no financial crisis. Also, shrinking government lowering taxes and having no regulations will go along way to restoring USA to greatness, as well as getting rid of the usurper and his gun grabbing minorite patrol.

  68. Provider_UNE_AndPlayersToBeNamedLater™ said,

    February 6, 2013 at 16:53

    1. The “battlefield” is defined as “the entire world”.
    2. The “war” is never ending.
    3. An “enemy combatant” is anyone we happen to point a gun (or a drone) at.

    Within two hours of 9/11 I predicted that within the week I would hear an administration spokesperson or someone high up in the Republican party would suggest a war against the world (at least the dusky hued one) that would last at least past the next election cycle. Three days later Cheney did not disappoint.

    The “War on Drugs” always provided the template for point Number 3.

    The main lesson the Neo-cons learned from the first Gulf War was that Poppy pulled out too soon*.

    *vpr**

    **It is always about penis with them***

    ***and a penis is just a potential projector of power

  69. Provider_UNE_AndPlayersToBeNamedLater™ said,

    February 6, 2013 at 17:01

    The fact is, this is a fact. A banker told me so, that it was the fault of poor stupid people they had to make loans to, they were forced to. If only they could say no to a loan for a black person without PC Police arresting them for being PC and not sensitive enough, there would have been no financial crisis. Also, shrinking government lowering taxes and having no regulations will go along way to restoring USA to greatness, as well as getting rid of the usurper and his gun grabbing minorite patrol.

    Shorter Gary R:
    Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, Minorite!!!

    …this is a fact. A Banker told me so…

    I hope and pray to my personalized invisible sky buddy that this is parody, but it is indistinguishable from the thoughts in actual human heads.

  70. eataTREE said,

    February 6, 2013 at 18:11

    Forsooth. Have I just witnessed a liberal circular firing squad voluntarily disarm? Such a thing has not been seen in our time: surely, this is an omen.

    (Speaking of Horowitz: Am I the only one who suspects that he personally trolls liberal blogs from time to time, including this one? His weird racial fixation is… quite distinctive.)

  71. Helmut Monotreme said,

    February 6, 2013 at 18:19

    Forsooth. Have I just witnessed a liberal circular firing squad voluntarily disarm?

    No, I think we all just got sleepy.

  72. Pryme said,

    February 6, 2013 at 18:37

    Regardless of how people feel about this (I don’t like this at all, BTW) I hope no one lets this distracts them to the point where they say, “Well, I’m not gonna vote in 2014! That’ll learn ‘em!” That’s how we got into the Tea Party mess in 2010.

    Vote for more Al Frankens, Elizabeth Warrens and Alan Graysons and we’ll begin to curb this craziness.

  73. Pupienus said,

    February 6, 2013 at 18:40

    Speaking of PENIS.

  74. Shakezula said,

    February 6, 2013 at 18:57

    Pryme said,

    February 6, 2013 at 18:37

    THIS.

    At the very least, one should vote because if the GOP has its way, you won’t be able too unless you can find the special notice in the basement in the room with the sign on the door that reads “Beware of the leopard.” (Note: There really will be a leopard in there.)

  75. Provider_UNE_AndPlayersToBeNamedLater™ said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:06

    (Note: There really will be a leopard in there.)*

    This brought forth the first chuckle of my day.

    *at the very least a very convincing recording of a leopard. Remember these bastages is cheepskates.

  76. bughunter said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:13

    I’m not sure what Obama’s motivations are.

    I have always suspected that when Obama entered office and took the reins of power he discovered that he’s riding a tiger that had a mind of its own… It’s not hard to conclude that certain parts of the US government -e.g., the military and intelligence community- are beyond the influence of any single president.

    In other words, he may not like the situation, but found it impossible to change and unsafe to even oppose.

    Imagine you get put into office and discover an entire institution of professional killers and assassins (character or otherwise) have decided that they will do whatever is necessary to maintain the status quo. If you’re someone like Cheney, who came up thru their ranks, it’s not a problem. But if you’re the first blah president with a background as a populist rabble rouser, you’ll be politely warned from the get go that if you try to dismantle that murder and assassination apparatus you’ll become its target. And, hint-hint, you wouldn’t be the first…

    Not saying it’s a firm conclusion, but I can easily see it happening.

    And as for the “circular firing squad” I don’t think there’s been any bullets… maybe a little mud and spittle. But as far as I can tell it’s been in the spirit of camaraderie. There’s been general agreement that the violation of due process is a tragic and scandalous thing, and more so because it is enabled by the “remote control” drone technology.

  77. Major Kong said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:23

    I have a new diary up over at Kos:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/06/1185024/-Nukes-Part-1

  78. Shakezula said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:25

    And it can’t hurt to contact your friendly neighborhood PotUS and express your displeasure.

  79. Shakezula said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:33

    Thanks MK. Very enlightening.

    I skipped the article about massive amounts of radiation being good for you because I’m still recovering from the Sensible Nazis event.

  80. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:37

    Imagine you get put into office and discover an entire institution of professional killers and assassins (character or otherwise) have decided that they will do whatever is necessary to maintain the status quo. If you’re someone like Cheney, who came up thru their ranks, it’s not a problem. But if you’re the first blah president with a background as a populist rabble rouser, you’ll be politely warned from the get go that if you try to dismantle that murder and assassination apparatus you’ll become its target. And, hint-hint, you wouldn’t be the first…

    I’d love to believe that but I imagine you’re giving him too much credit. He probably just sees it as the pragmatic thing to do. Other than being relatively sane as a Senator about Iraq, it seems like he’s been pretty happy to be WARPREZNIT, so it really isn’t all that surprising. All the “centrist” Dems like him are scared to death of being labeled “soft on terra” so it’s unlikely he’d ever do anything to risk that.

    And the American public (with help from a lapdog media) has collectively yawned about all of it, so why take the risk.

    And as for the “circular firing squad” I don’t think there’s been any bullets… maybe a little mud and spittle. But as far as I can tell it’s been in the spirit of camaraderie. There’s been general agreement that the violation of due process is a tragic and scandalous thing, and more so because it is enabled by the “remote control” drone technology.

    This.

  81. DAS said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:51

    I’m glad we’re back to stuff I can agree with y’all about: how horrible the security state is, the GOoPers are projecting again, etc. I’ll even throw in random swipe at the Likud for y’all: anybody who cares for Israel’s long term survival as a democracy and even as a Jewish state wouldn’t let them anywhere near the reins of power.

    I don’t think I can add anything to this conversation that hasn’t been so cogently pointed out previously (although I may have some random thoughts about the morality as well as “strategery” — in terms of actually projecting strength rather than projecting “we have better toys than you” which just makes the terrorists our psychopaths have chosen to hate on more envious of our psychopaths and hence more determined to show our psychopaths and unfortunately the rest of us a thing or two — of bombs vs. drones). But as to this:

    The campaign to remove loan requirements for African American and other minority borrowers started with Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act. It snookered thousands of poor black and Hispanic Americans into buying homes they couldn’t afford, which they then lost.

    Even though I am Whitey McPinkskin (or more ethnically appropriately Lavan Rosighautnik), I do happen to have some second hand knowledge about this (that effects me personally as it is part of how come I live in a building with poor ventilation and not enough parking and too far away from public transportion to really live without a car): requirements were not removed, if anything banks still require more from African-Americans and Hispanics. It’s just that instead of saying “no, we don’t lend to the melanically enhanced”, they say “you are a higher risk, so therefore we have to charge you more interest even if it means you are more likely to default than if we charged you less interest”. Also, housing discrimination hasn’t gone away either (hence my point about where I live, i.e. which co-op my wife knew she could buy into and be allowed in by the co-op board): if you are African-American, for example, you know that there are some places where you just don’t even try to purchase (and if you don’t know, you’re real estate agent will steer you in the “correct” direction) — e.g. some co-op boards will reject applications by the melanically enhanced (for whatever reason they give) and some won’t. And guess which buildings are nicer, more centrally located, etc.?

  82. DAS said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:59

    All the “centrist” Dems like him are scared to death of being labeled “soft on terra” so it’s unlikely he’d ever do anything to risk that. – OBS

    This wouldn’t matter if voters actually didn’t fall for this crap. The thing about being in a democratic republic is that, ultimately, Pogo’s dictem about who the enemy is applies; also, the government is like soylent green and made of people (and by people). If politicians really felt that they needed to be sensible, etc., to win, then they would be that way.

    But in a political environment where you have people (e.g. my parents) who pretty much would agree with Obama 100% not sure whom to vote for (until Romney sealed the deal for them to vote against him by making that 47% comment) because “both sides are equally bad and the truth is somewhere in the middle” (which allows the extreme right to define where that middle is via their shifting of the Overton window with the help of an all too eager “even the liberal media”) and people like some folks I know from my shul who are “tribally” Republican so they vote for the GOP and call Obama a socialist even as they say things (e.g. about the labor theory of value) far to the left of anything Obama has ever espoused even during his “Bill-Ayers Community Organizer” days, it’s no surprise that Dems think that they have to be “not too liberal” in order to win.

    So yes. What you just said OBS.

  83. bughunter said,

    February 6, 2013 at 19:59

    He probably just sees it as the pragmatic thing to do. [...] All the “centrist” Dems like him are scared to death of being labeled “soft on terra” so it’s unlikely he’d ever do anything to risk that.

    Given how his domestic policy has been pretty much entirely conceding ground to the right in order to try to be “practical,” I suspect your conclusion is at least as accurate as mine. It’s very likely a combination of both.

  84. HTML Mencken said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:00

    It’ll be a few more hours before I can put a new post up, sorry.

  85. Shakezula said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:05

    A FEW HOURS???

    An outrage, I tells ya.

  86. DAS said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:08

    In re Major Kong @ 15:54: Bingo!

    Let Congress declare a war (as per the constitution) or the president, as commander in chief, direct the military to keep us safe from foreign enemies. That’s fair enough (even if it involves drones rather than sending out pilots in planes), even if we can debate the morality of that. But to have a blanket statement that on the POTUS’s say so, the executive branch can unilaterally decide to execute someone? That’s going way too far: what happens when the president decides he doesn’t like blue-eyed, red-headed Sadly, No! commentators whenever they wear flannel shirts to work (oops … I’m wearing a flannel shirt to work today)? At least in a declared war (or even an old fashioned undeclared “police action”) you know whom you are attacking, where and when so that way non-combatants (although when there is a draft, that is somewhat a meaningless distinction) hopefully have a way to avoid being killed.

    Of course, I suspect all the “take it as far as possible” arguments Bush & CO and now Team Obama are making are just about shifting the Overton window so the usually suspects who would be pushing back against the war now are stipulating that war is ok, just not giving the POTUS or his designees power to drone attack anyone anywhere.

  87. Pupienus said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:14

    How the hell are we going to put the toothpaste back in the tube? I don’t see it happening.

  88. Substance McGravitas said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:19

    It’ll be a few more hours before I can put a new post up, sorry.

    No apologies necessary. Thanks for all the recent work.

  89. bughunter said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:19

    OK, if we have a few hours then let me change the focus slightly:

    As a former drone engineer, whose responsibilities were developing payload and mission concepts, I can tell you that drones with missiles aren’t the biggest threat to society.

    As weapons, they’re just another way to lob explosives. Nothing new, here. Not a disruptive tech. But long term, the real effect of the coming ubiquity of UAVs will be the creation of a surveillance state. Surveillance drones make up the vast majority of UAVs built and sold, and they’re getting sneakier. There are small drones the size of a sparrow that can perch on a lamppost to peek in your window, and large drones that can stay aloft for weeks and months with cameras that can continuously record video of an entire city at once.

    Combined with image recognition software that can automatically recognize and track faces, vehicles etc., our privacy will continue to be eroded. The state will always know where you are and what you are doing.

    This is the truly scary thing about drones. I predict that accessories like hoodies, very wide-brimmed hats, and jackets or shoes that hide or alter your gait will become fashionable…

  90. tigris said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:26

    Combined with image recognition software that can automatically recognize and track faces, vehicles etc., our privacy will continue to be eroded. The state will always know where you are and what you are doing.

    I predict government employees will be struck by a plague of death by boredom.

  91. eataTREE said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:27

    I sort of wish the AUMF hadn’t, for all intents and purposes, repealed the War Powers act. In the context of lawful, declared hostilities, I have no problem with drones killing high-value targets such as enemy commanders (after all, we’ve been doing it since Daniel Morgan ordered snipers to shoot General Fraser at the batttle of Bemis Heights in the Revolutionary War, and how is it OK to do it with a musket but not a flying robot?). However, there seems to be no distinction between “hostilities” and “foreign policy” anymore; Congress was supposed to be the ones to keep this in check, but (like most things this century) they royally botched the job.

  92. Substance McGravitas said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:29

    How the hell are we going to put the toothpaste back in the tube? I don’t see it happening.

    Good things have happened in the past and they can happen again.

    If only there had been a strong precedent set around the jailing of presidents…

  93. Shakezula said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:32

    Nope. The “best” (ha ha) we can hope for is either the MAD like situation we have with nukes or people come up with a way to jam them so they’re no longer as practical.

  94. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:54

    This is the truly scary thing about drones. I predict that accessories like hoodies, very wide-brimmed hats, and jackets or shoes that hide or alter your gait will become fashionable…

    Didja see my link from earlier? Not the most fashionable or useful stuff yet, but it’s already heading that direction. I figure the banning of hoods, masks, and certain kinds of makeup and stuff will be implemented shortly after the drones become ubiquitous.

  95. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:58

    Before this thread dies, I just want to belatedly congratulate Mencken on one of the cleverest headlines I’ve ever seen on this blog.

  96. DAS said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:04

    I just want to belatedly congratulate Mencken on one of the cleverest headlines I’ve ever seen on this blog. – Bitter Scribe

    Which one? HTML Mencken has been on a roll with the clever headlines as of late (even if I don’t always agree with him).

  97. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:09

    HTML Mencken said,

    February 6, 2013 at 20:00 (kill)

    It’ll be a few more hours before I can put a new post up, sorry.

    Sorry!?! We’re in posting-frequency heaven these days. No reason to be sorry at all.

  98. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:14

    Which one? HTML Mencken has been on a roll with the clever headlines as of late (even if I don’t always agree with him).

    This one’s great (‘specially for a Who fan like me) but the “Likud it or not…” was excellent too.

  99. Shakezula said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:14

    Certainly very ear-wormy.

  100. Thread Bear said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:29

    I have a little transponder in my car window that allows me to zip past toll booths without having to stop and pay. Very convenient, but the downside is they no longer need to use an expensive drone to track me.

  101. Anonymous said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:29

    They’re basically saying “We can kill anyone we deem to be a threat, any time, anywhere, just because we say so.”

    Sadly, no! This is from the first sentence of the DOJ memo in question, which a lot of folks clearly didn’t read:

    “This white paper sets forth a legal framework for considering the circumstances in which the U.S. government could use lethal force in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa’ida or an associated force of al-Qai’da…”

    It goes on to cite the AUMF for legal justification. Remember, the AUMF gives the president the ability 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.”

    In other words, this is a very specific program that can only be used against a limited pool of people in a particular set of circumstances. The President is not asserting the authority to use drone strikes whenever against whoever for whatever reason, despite the slippery slope chicken littles who want you to believe this means Obama can call in the drones next time there’s an Occupy Wall Street or Tea Party rally.

  102. DAS said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:41

    Anonymous @ 21:29 — I am too tired (if I were up to doing that much work, I’d be writing a paper we’re trying to get out next month) to find cites/quotes, but that’s not what the admin is arguing (at least in public). I imagine the admin is not really serious about the broader powers they say they have (and are only making those arguments to shift the Overton window so what they really want as outlined in the memo goes unopposed as the civil liberties groups argue against the slippy slope and not the memo itself). But still, the argument is out there (even implicit in the memo) that everything is 100% the president’s call.

    For instance, who determines what is “an associated force of al-Qai’da”? Pres. Chimpy said “if you are not with us, you are against us”: by that logic the president could determine your local old person delivering home heating oil to poor folk care of Citgo to be a “senior”, “operational” leader of an associated force (Venezuela, which is not “with us” and ergo is “with Al Qai’da).

  103. Whale Chowder said,

    February 6, 2013 at 21:57

    It’s the policy of letting one branch of the government convict and execute a US Citizen without even requiring there even be any evidence, much less allowing a judge or jury to examine it.

    Far, far behind so maybe this has been discussed thoroughly. If so, ahem away.

    In any case, this is the nub of the issue, to me. I don’t necessarily have a problem with drone strikes as a tactic but I’d sure like to see some thorough outside review of the targeting decisions by a separate-but-equal branch of our government. Some group, perhaps, who was equipped to judge the quality of the evidence against the potential executee and maybe who could provide a check or balance against the Executive.

    Wouldn’t that be cool?

  104. DAS said,

    February 6, 2013 at 22:04

    Whale Chowder: Checks? Balances? Have you gone MAD(isonian)?

  105. Major Kong said,

    February 6, 2013 at 22:07

    Combined with image recognition software that can automatically recognize and track faces, vehicles etc., our privacy will continue to be eroded. The state will always know where you are and what you are doing.

    I predict a massive backlash against this the moment we start orbiting drones overhead gun shops.

  106. Substance McGravitas said,

    February 6, 2013 at 22:27

    The point of the post above is that the vetting for “imminence” – among other things – is ridiculous. I think drones vs. OWS is ridiculous, but so’s the quality of the justification.

  107. Pupienus Maximus said,

    February 6, 2013 at 23:54

    Combined with image recognition software that can automatically recognize and track faces, vehicles etc., our privacy will continue to be eroded. The state will always know where you are and what you are doing.

    The big problem with that is the state _won’t_ know but they will think they do. Cory Doctorow covered the ground pretty well in Little Brother>/i> which you should read post haste if you havent already.

  108. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    February 7, 2013 at 0:07

    That’s one hundred billion dollars in personal assets that disappeared from the pockets of African Americans because of a 25-­year Democratic campaign to remove loan requirements for homebuyers.

    For the love of fuck, anti-redlining measures were put into place to remove race as an impediment to lending, they in no way encouraged banks to lend money to people without sufficient means to repay.

    These mofos don’t believe that a black middle-class or prosperous working-class ever existed. Who am I kidding, wingnuts knew that there were prosperous black people, they just took steps to nip that sort of thing in the bud.

  109. Shakezula said,

    February 7, 2013 at 0:24

    Here’s what I don’t get. Well, one of many things. Say we accept that it was the horrible lazy brown people who killed the housing industry.

    What’s the next logical step? Obviously it would be to push for legislation that says thou shalt not lend money to darkies. Someone who was so inclined could even cite their reams of research (cough) that proves letting black people buy is bad for the black people. You could call it the Minority Lending Protection Act.

    But it won’t happen and it hasn’t happened and it will never happen, because (once again) this isn’t about fixing anything, it is about finding a way to package one’s bigotry that won’t get one tossed out of polite society.

  110. Helmut Monotreme said,

    February 7, 2013 at 0:24

    wingnuts knew that there were prosperous black people

    I think that’s giving the average Gary Ruppert too much credit. The only prosperous African Americans they see are those in sports or entertainment. (Herman Cain of course is an exception) I like to think of myself as well read, but I hadn’t heard of the Tulsa race riots until I started reading lefty blogs, and I know for sure it wasn’t in any of my US history classes while in school or university.

  111. Shakezula said,

    February 7, 2013 at 0:25

    Meanwhile, Michigan is pushing for vag. cams.

  112. Substance McGravitas said,

    February 7, 2013 at 0:27

    Meanwhile, Michigan is pushing for vag. cams.

    Is the internet not enough?

  113. Nym said,

    February 7, 2013 at 0:41

    I figure the banning of hoods, masks, and certain kinds of makeup and stuff will be implemented shortly after the drones become ubiquitous.

    I think there are already some hood and mask bans on the books, thanks to the KKK. They might just get enforced more vigorously.

  114. Shakezula said,

    February 7, 2013 at 0:51

    I believe this is where I say Penis!

  115. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    February 7, 2013 at 1:24

    What’s the next logical step? Obviously it would be to push for legislation that says thou shalt not lend money to darkies. Someone who was so inclined could even cite their reams of research (cough) that proves letting black people buy is bad for the black people. You could call it the Minority Lending Protection Act.

    I think the real teahadis would support that, just look at how the righties portray anti-redlining laws as laws that forced banks to loan to black home-buyers regardless of their credit ratings. They love to distort things to support their prejudices.

  116. Aiken SC Sheriff Mike Hunt said,

    February 7, 2013 at 2:17

    Hay-ell. In mah grandaddy’s day, it was ill-ee-gull for a niggrah to even own an otta-moh-beele, much less borrah money from a baink. In fact, to this day, any niggrah drivin’ thru mah county in anna thang finer thanna Ford is gonna git pulled over if he don’ watch hissef. An if he don’ think thah’s rite, then we’ll jus’ put a beetin’ on his black ass and charge him with assault.

  117. VCarlson said,

    February 7, 2013 at 3:21

    The main lesson the Neo-cons learned from the first Gulf War was that Poppy pulled out too soon*.

    That was my Dad’s theory, kinda. Dad thought Poppy had miscalculated the strength of the opposition, and we won too soon, so he wasn’t a war Prez during the election. I always maintained that was one of the reasons Junior was so hot to attack Iraq. Worked, too.

  118. Major Kong said,

    February 7, 2013 at 3:47

    I figure the banning of hoods, masks, and certain kinds of makeup and stuff will be implemented shortly after the drones become ubiquitous.

    Oh, you were talking about those other kinds of masks and hoods. Never mind.

    Now what was that safe-word again?

  119. Substance McGravitas said,

    February 7, 2013 at 4:06

    The drones’ll just get smaller and fly into whatever orifice is available. Look out goatse!

  120. bughunter said,

    February 7, 2013 at 4:19

    Sub, you jest, but anyone who’s read Vernor Vinge or Neal Stephenson isn’t laughing…

  121. Is President Obama Really a Marxist? said,

    February 7, 2013 at 4:59

    President Obama says that income taxes must be raised on the rich because they don’t pay their fair share. The indisputable facts from official government sources say otherwise.

    The CBO reports based on official IRS data that in 2009 the top 1% of income earners paid 39% of all federal income taxes, three times their share of income at 13%. Yet, the middle 20% of income earners, the true middle class, paid just 2.7% of total federal income taxes on net that year, while earning 15% of income. That means the top 1% paid almost 15 times as much in federal income taxes as the entire middle 20%, even though the middle 20% earned more income.

    Moreover, the official data, as reported by CBO and the IRS, show that the bottom 40% of income earners, instead of paying some income taxes to support the federal government, were paid cash by the IRS equal to 10% of federal income taxes as a group on net.

    Any normal person would say that such an income tax system is more than fair, or maybe that “the rich” pay more than their fair share. So why does President Obama keep saying that the rich do not pay their fair share? Is he ignorant? Wouldn’t somebody in his Administration whisper to him that he is peddling nonsense?

    The answer is that to President Obama this is still not fair because he is a Marxist. To a Marxist, the fact that the top 1% earn more income than the bottom 99% is not fair, no matter how they earn it, fairly or not. So it is not fair unless more is taken from the top 1% until they are left only with what they “need,” as in any true communist system. Paying anything less is not their “fair” share. That is the only logical explanation of President Obama’s rhetoric, and it is 100% consistent with his own published background.

    Notice that Obama keeps saying that “the rich,” a crass term implying low class social envy, don’t “need” the Bush tax cuts. That is reminiscent of the fundamental Marxist principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

    Good tax policy is not guided by “need.” It is guided by what is needed to establish the incentives to maximize economic growth. The middle class, working people and the poor are benefited far more by economic growth than by redistribution. That is shown by the entire 20th century, where the standard of living of American workers increased by more than 7 times, through sustained, rapid economic growth.

    But President Obama’s tax policy of increasing all tax rates on savings and investment will work exactly contrary to such economic growth. It is savings and investment which creates jobs and increases productivity and wages. Under capitalism, capital and labor are complementary, not adversarial, exactly contrary to the misunderstanding of Marxists. More capital investment increases the demand for labor, bidding up wages to the level of worker productivity, which is enhanced by the capital investment.

    Increasing marginal tax rates on savings and investment, however, will mean less of it, not more. That will mean fewer jobs, and lower wages, just as we have experienced so far under President Obama, with median household incomes (hello middle class) declining by 7.3% (a month’s worth of wages) during his first term, even faster after the recession supposedly ended in 2009. That will only get worse in Obama’s unearned second term, which can only be explained as “democracy failure” analogous to “market failure.”

    If the tax increases are limited to those who earn $1 million or more, I don’t know if that alone will be enough to create a recession, as I am certain would be the result with Obama’s original policy of targeting couples making over $250,000 a year, and singles making over $200,000.

    But there is so much in the Obama economic program that is contractionary. His second term promises enormous new regulatory burdens and barriers. The EPA is shutting down the coal industry, and Interior will join with it to sharply constrain oil production further, despite Obama’s duplicitous campaign rhetoric taking credit for the production produced by the policies and efforts of others. I expect Obama’s EPA to burden natural gas fracking until it goes the way of the coal industry as well, stealing new found prosperity for many Americans. All of this will sharply raise energy prices, which will be another effective tax on the economy.

    Moreover, President Obama has said that a priority in his second term will be global warming, even though global temperatures have not been increasing for 16 years now, and the developing world led by Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries), which are contributing to “greenhouse gases” at a much greater accelerating rate than the U.S., have rejected sacrificing any slice of their economies to that ideological phantom. While even the Democrat Congress of Obama’s first term failed to adopt “cap and trade,” EPA is advancing with global warming regulations that will cost the economy trillions in still another effective tax.

    Then there are the onrushing regulatory burdens of Obamacare, including the employer mandate, which will require all businesses with 50 employees or more to buy the most expensive health insurance available. That will be an effective tax on employment. As Obamacare forces up the cost of health insurance, that will be still another effective tax increase on all employers already providing health coverage. Hundreds of regulations still in the pipeline under the “Dodd-Frank” legislation are already forcing the financial sector to contract, and threaten the business and consumer credit essential to full recovery.

    In addition, few are adequately considering the longer term contractionary effects of the Fed’s current policy mischief. For years now, businesses and investments have been launched all over the country based on the near zero interest rates, and even below zero real rates, that Fed policies have perpetuated, along with the easy free money . When those rates inevitably rise back to normal, most likely after these Fed policies have resparked inflation, the basis for those businesses and investments will be gone, and many if not most will go into liquidation, which will be highly contractionary as well.

    However, I am certain in any event that the Obama tax increases will result in less revenue rather than more. Obama has been proposing to increase the capital gains tax rate by 58% on the nation’s job creators, investors and successful small businesses, counting his Obamacare tax increases that take effect on January 1 as well the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. While his misleading talking points say there will be no tax increases for 97% of small businesses, that counts every Schedule C filed for every part time or hobby sole proprietorship, however marginal the earnings. The small businesses that would bear President Obama’s originally proposed tax increases earn 91% of all small business income, and employ 54% of the total private sector U.S. work force, as reported in Investors Business Daily on November 9.

    Over the last 45 years, every time capital gains tax rates have been raised, revenues have fallen, and every time they have been cut, revenues have increased. The capital gains rate was raised 4 times from 1968 to 1975, climbing from 25% to 35%. The 25% rate produced real capital gains revenues in 1968 of $40.6 billion in 2000 dollars. By 1975, at the higher rate, capital gains revenues had plummeted to $19.6 billion in constant 2000 dollars, less than half as much.

    After the capital gains rate was cut from 35% to 20% from 1978 to 1981, capital gains revenues had tripled by 1986 compared to 1978. Then the capital gains rate was raised by 40% in 1987 to 28%. By 1991, capital gains revenues had collapsed to $34.4 billion, down from $92.9 billion in 1986, in constant 2000 dollars adjusted for inflation.

    Obama’s capital gains tax increase next year will reduce capital gains revenues again as well.

    Similarly, when President Bush slashed the income tax on corporate dividends, dividends paid soared, and revenues from taxation of those dividends soared along with them. With Obama’s tax on dividends reversing that Bush tax cut, those revenue gains will also be reversed.

    Finally, those earning over $1 million are the most financially agile of all taxpayers. They can move, shelter, and transform income more easily than anyone else. Most likely, the number of American millionaires, or at least American taxpayers reporting a million in income, will plummet after the Obama tax increases, and so will income taxes paid by millionaires.

    Of course, if the tax increases and other policies of Obamanomics push the economy back into recession, total federal revenues will decline rather than rise. Federal deficits and debt will soar further, along with unemployment and poverty, while jobs, wages and incomes decline further. That is what happened the last time federal economic policy followed the preferred prescription of the Washington Establishment, and also adopted a package of tax increases, in return for chimerical spending reductions, when George H.W. Bush was President.

    Can such public policy malpractice make any sense? President Obama says it is “fair” in his redistributionist sense of fairness. But what is fair about fewer jobs, lower wages, and higher unemployment, poverty, federal deficits, and national debt, at the price of higher taxes, for anybody?

    What is fair is a flat tax, where everyone pays the same tax rate, which is true equality. Under such a tax system, if you dear reader make 10 times what I do, then you pay 10 times what I do, not 20, 30 or 40 times, as advocated by so-called “progressives,” (a polite, Americanized term for Marxist). If President Obama wants Warren Buffett to pay the same tax rate as his Secretary, he can adopt that flat tax, and the economy will boom. But President Obama seems to think that the increased dependence of further recession best suits his political interests, and those of the Democrat Party, rather than the independence fostered by a booming economy. See what I mean by “democracy failure?”

  122. Bitter Scribe said,

    February 7, 2013 at 5:54

    Why can’t our copypasta trolls ever dish up some good porn instead of libertarian boilerplate bullshit?

  123. Jeffraham Prestonian said,

    February 7, 2013 at 6:02

    Why can’t our copypasta trolls ever dish up some good porn instead of libertarian boilerplate bullshit?

    That might require an original thought.

    Oh, wait. You said “porn.”
    .

  124. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    February 7, 2013 at 6:08

    It’s almost been long enough that the copypasta troll is amusing. And by almost long enough I of course mean not nearly long enough at all.

  125. Smut Clyde said,

    February 7, 2013 at 6:38

    The drones’ll just get smaller and fly into whatever orifice is available.

    Cybercandiru!

  126. Major Kong said,

    February 7, 2013 at 6:54

    Jeffraham needs this for when it’s raining:

    1959 Scootercar

  127. VCarlson said,

    February 7, 2013 at 7:14

    It’s almost been long enough that the copypasta troll is amusing. And by almost long enough I of course mean not nearly long enough at all.

    If “not nearly long enough” means “never,” I agree.

    Talk about “wall o’ text,” too. I’m one of those obsessive readers, but since I’ve decided I don’t have to finish everything I start reading, I didn’t go beyond somewhere in the second paragraph, and only the occasional word or phrase while bouncing down the wall.

  128. VCarlson said,

    February 7, 2013 at 7:15

    That scootercar is the bee’s knees.

  129. Crissa said,

    February 7, 2013 at 7:36

    I don’t know what your take on it is, but I find all this whining about drone strikes disingenuous, especially from the right.

    Oh, it’s okay to hit people’s houses with heavy machine gun fire from over the horizon or shell their town to rubble or drone strike their favorite bar… But if there was an AMERICAN there, oh no!

    WTF, a human is a human.

    And on the left, I find it pisses me off because people using the IT’S A CITIZEN argument seem to forget that DOZENS OF innocent CITIZENS are killed by police each year with barely a nod to their civil rights. Hey, if they were a CITIZEN maybe they could afford to sue for damages? Oh, that makes it tons better! Not.

    Or maybe I’m a little sore on this, being as my father and at least one best friend were shot and killed by police wrongly asserting that they had the right to take a life.

  130. Crissa said,

    February 7, 2013 at 8:14

    > There are small drones the size of a sparrow that can perch on a lamppost to peek in your window, and large drones that can stay aloft for weeks and months with cameras that can continuously record video of an entire city at once.

    Yeah, except that’s illegal already, numbskull. They can’t use cameras on you except in public places and they can’t go peering into windows or with poles or IR cameras without warrants. Yeah, we need a better system of warrants and reviews, but there’s no reason to freakin’ lie about it.

  131. VCarlson said,

    February 7, 2013 at 8:55

    Yeah, except that’s illegal already, numbskull.

    So is having a civilian killed on suspicion of being A Bad Person.

  132. bughunter said,

    February 7, 2013 at 9:05

    Yeah, except that’s illegal already, numbskull. They can’t use cameras on you except in public places and they can’t go peering into windows or with poles or IR cameras without warrants.

    Right. And they can’t kill people without a trial with a judge and lawyers and evidence and stuff.

    Go climb a pole and sit on it, asshole.

  133. John Revolta said,

    February 7, 2013 at 9:11

    They can’t use cameras on you except in public places and they can’t go peering into windows or with poles or IR cameras without warrants.

    DOZENS OF innocent CITIZENS are killed by police each year with barely a nod to their civil rights

    O_o

  134. tigris said,

    February 7, 2013 at 17:21

    Is President Obama Really a Marxist?

    I heard some tea party guy on a local radio show bitching about Obama’s crony capitalist buddies, then about his Marxism in the next clause of the same sentence.

  135. Shakezula said,

    February 7, 2013 at 17:38

    People who read Stephenson aren’t laughing because they’ve been crushed under one of his 5,000 page tomes.

    (Seriously – read Zodiac, and then stop.)

  136. Bob Kelley said,

    February 7, 2013 at 22:03

    I’m sorry, but the only objection I have to the drone war is pragmatic. A good case can be made that drone strikes and particularly the killing of innocent bystanders recruits more terrorists than it kills. Vietnam was a good example where running up the body count did nothing but convince ordinary Vietnamese that they were ruled by a puppet American government.

    The ‘war on terror” is indeed a war, albeit one against a non-state actor. Any and all enemy combatants are fair game, specifically including American citizens. Capture them if you can, a la John Lindt, but I would not put American lives at risk in order to do so.

  137. Crissa said,

    February 8, 2013 at 0:06

    Uhh, sorry, but it’s not illegal to kill someone who is committing a crime or is an imminent danger to others that cannot be otherwise captured.

    I’m sorry you don’t fucking know about people getting fucking shot and their killers walking free because they were police.

    It has nothing to do with being a citizen or not.

    Don’t fucking lie.

  138. Crissa said,

    February 8, 2013 at 0:14

    Like http://educate-yourself.org/cn/ianbirkspdmurderer18fab11.shtml or any of other dozens of people who are shot and at most their family gets some amount of restitution.

    It wasn’t until the 1980′s that we even recognized that police shouldn’t just shoot people. But there’s still no system of protection for civil rights when a police or other police agency decides that you’re a threat. No court, no warrant, nothing. Bang, you’re dead. If you’re lucky there’s a huge outcry and the agency has to pay out. If you’re not, you get forgotten, or labeled a criminal.

    I’ve said this many times before, and I’ll say it again.

  139. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge said,

    February 8, 2013 at 1:47

    The Romans learned about hiring some of the barbarians to protect you from the rest…now it’s our turn.

  140. Mooser said,

    February 11, 2013 at 19:58

    Our military has finally found the President they want to be left holding the bag. Obama is their chump.

  141. Mooser said,

    March 21, 2013 at 0:13

    I’ll say it again. Obama is the overwhelming choice of our country’s military and intelligence agencies for the president they would most like to see holding the bag. And Obama’s legacy will be (in foreign policy) that of America’s greatest chump. “Pres. Obama, you are the only man in America smart enough to make the Bush foreign policy work! Thank God you were elected.” “You know, General, you are right, I am that smart”

    What a chump.

  142. Mooser said,

    March 21, 2013 at 0:15

    Asw a matter oif fact, Pres. Obama’s remarks and speeches from Israel will show, I am sure, that smarmy chumpness he excells at.

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