Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011

President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country . . . and citizens partied only blissfully into the New Year.

Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely.

Obama insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. As discussed earlier, the White House told citizens that the President would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. That spin ended after sponsor Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House that insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision.

The latest claim is even more insulting. You do not “support our troops” by denying the principles for which they are fighting. They are not fighting to consolidate authoritarian powers in the President. The “American way of life” is defined by our Constitution and specifically the Bill of Rights. Moreover, the insistence that you do not intend to use authoritarian powers does not alter the fact that you just signed an authoritarian measure. It is not the use but the right to use such powers that defines authoritarian systems.

The almost complete failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue is shocking. Many reporters have bought into the spin of the Obama Administration as they did the spin over torture by the Bush Administration. Even today reporters refuse to call waterboarding torture despite the long line of cases and experts defining waterboarding as torture for decades. On the NDAA, reporters continue to mouth the claim that this law only codifies what is already the law. That is not true. The Administration has fought any challenges to indefinite detention to prevent a true court review. Moreover, most experts agree that such indefinite detention of citizens violates the Constitution.

There are also those who continue the long-standing effort to excuse Obama’s horrific record on civil liberties by either blaming others or the times. One successful myth is that there is an exception for citizens. The White House is saying that changes to the law made it unnecessary to veto the legislation. That spin is facially ridiculous. The changes were the inclusion of some meaningless rhetoric after key amendments protecting citizens were defeated. The provision merely states that nothing in the provisions could be construed to alter Americans’ legal rights. Since the Senate clearly views citizens are not just subject to indefinite detention but even execution without a trial, the change offers nothing but rhetoric to hide the harsh reality. THe Administration and Democratic members are in full spin — using language designed to obscure the authority given to the military. The exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032) is the screening language for the next section, 1031, which offers no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial.

Obama could have refused to sign the bill and the Congress would have rushed to fund the troops. Instead, as confirmed by Sen. Levin, the White House conducted a misinformation campaign to secure this power while portraying Obama as some type of reluctant absolute ruler, or as Obama maintains a reluctant president with dictatorial powers.

Most Democratic members joined their Republican colleagues in voting for this unAmerican measure. Some Montana citizens are moving to force the removal of these members who they insist betrayed their oaths of office and their constituents. Most citizens however are continuing to treat the matter as a distraction from the holiday cheer.

For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment. 2012 is when the nation embraced authoritarian powers with little more than a pause between rounds of drinks.

So here is a resolution better than losing weight this year . . . make 2012 the year you regained your rights.

Here is the signing statement attached to the bill:
————-

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2011
Statement by the President on H.R. 1540
Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.” I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.
The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.

Source: ABC

682 Responses

  1. This man has broken the law and should be held accountable.

    He has no morality, no compass and no shame. I wonder how he even looks his children in the face after signing this piece of garbage.

    Mr. President, you sir, should be ashamed of yourself and your actions.


  2. Isn’t this sentence missing a not?

    It is [not] the use but the right to use such powers that defines authoritarian systems.


  3. Thank you so much for blogging this, and for noting how little it’s been covered by mainstream media. So, so important. I see a continuing erosion of our civil liberties and citizens standing around blinking like livestock in response.


  4. on 1, January 2, 2012 at 10:29 am Richard Faircloth

    Sickening. I just wonder how he’ll use this new-found power to further his destruction of our country.


  5. Weird that you would refer to it “Indefinite Detention of Citizens” when the law specifically states that it is changing no laws of treatment of citizens. And it’s doubly weird that even though Levin was the one pushing for the inclusion of citizens in the language, for some reason you’ve stated that it was the White House. I’m also baffled by the attention this NDAA is getting when it hasn’t changed any policy from previous NDAAs, and no stink was raised about it.

    But what do I know? I only read the NDAA and previous ones.


  6. on 1, January 2, 2012 at 10:35 am Anonymously Yours

    I am horrific shock that folks still support this person as being the lesser of two evils….I guess the same can be said about….Adolph….Joe…John…Fidel….they were just interested in the best for the country…and misunderstood…


  7. Josh S… if Turley’s (and many of our) concerns are unwarranted, why would Obama have added the signing statement: “I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.”


  8. The support of “liberals”, “progressives” or whatever they are calling themselves for Obama is proof of several things. First, “left” leaning people like to believe they are too bright, too “in the know” to be taken in by propaganda. Their support of Obama proves that propaganda is very effective on both the right and left side of the population.

    I am speaking here to those who support Obama. Being taken in by propaganda is not a function of intelligence or of being right wing. It is a much more sophisticated operation than that. You will know you have bought into propaganda when you are supporting a candidate who implements actions which would normally be an anathema to you. Pick the log out of your eye. Oppose the injustice of your own candidate.

    To imprison other people without trial is heinous and it is authoritarian. If you claim you are not an authoritarian, then don’t act like one and support this action or Obama, the man who took it.

    For the rest of us we need to understand how deeply censorship of reality goes in our society. It not only takes place in the MSM, it takes place on sites which are dedicated to the pretense that they are “right wing” and “left wing”. The way out of propaganda is awareness and an absolute conviction to stand for justice.

    Do not contribute time, money or verbal support for Obama or any other candidate who supports the same things as he does. We have the power to refuse consent. We have the power to speak out. We should use that power.

    Authoritarian regimes take root not just because evil people conceive of and support them but because people who consider themselves “good” go right along with the heinous crimes of their “leaders”. But we don’t have to keep going along with these crimes. It will be our refusal as citizens to countenance this cruelty and these crimes that is the only chance we have to prevent them. Be courageous. Be honest. At least try to stop what is wrong. This is wrong. Obama is wrong. Congress is wrong. Speak up. If you are a Democrat, speak up against wrong doing by Democrats and Republicans. If you are a Republican, speak up against wrong doing by Republicans and Democrats. Join with your fellow citizen on behalf of justice. It is our only hope.


  9. ….read the content of this provision again. Also, review who pushed for implementation and wording. The reason this “issue” isn’t being covered by the “mainstream media” is because it’s flat-out not true. The author of this blog post is either bissed, misinformed, or neglected to read and understand the policy before running his mouth and riling up a bunch of other people who have no idea about the “act.” It’s truly amazing how people rely on propagandic headlines, not even content, in developing opinions. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually.


  10. Does the executive even have to tell us when this power is being used?

    Is this the end of Posse Comitatus?

    Low long until this power is used against domestic “terrorist sympathizers”?

    Politicians?

    Or, as we’ve learned from history, that can never happen here?


  11. http://opiniojuris.org/2011/12/31/the-ndaa-the-good-the-bad-and-the-laws-of-war-part-i/ Lawyer friend referred me to Marty Lederman’s opinion on the final bill. He says that the bill was improved through input from civil and human rights activists, some members of congress and the Obama administration.


  12. Hey Josh, go read it again! This time with your eyes wide open.


  13. This is another example where his actions speaks louder than words.
    The best President money can buy.


  14. Amnesty slams Obama for signing NDAA into law

    http://presstv.com/usdetail/218980.html

    Excerpt:
    The human rights group Amnesty International blasted President Barack Obama for signing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on New Year’s Eve.

    The $662 billion defense spending bill contained highly controversial provisions regarding the military detention of terrorism suspects. While signing the bill, Obama issued a signing statement – a controversial way for the president to circumvent Congress’ intent – in which he pledged that the new laws would not violate Americans’ constitutional rights.

    But Amnesty said the signing statement was not enough.

    “Despite expressing serious reservations, the Obama administration has paved the way for legislation that will authorize indefinite detention. The bill places enormous power in the hands of future Presidents, and the only answer the President has is to say ‘trust me,’” the group said in a statement.

    “Once any government has the authority to hold people indefinitely, the risk is that it can be almost impossible to rein such power in. President Obama has failed to take the one action – a veto – that would have blocked the dangerous provisions in the NDAA. In so doing, he has allowed human rights to be further undermined and given al-Qaeda a propaganda victory.”

    Amnesty has been a long-time critic of the counterterrorism detentions at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, which the group claims are unlawful and a violation of human rights. By signing the NDAA into law, Obama also prevented the closure of the prison facility at Guantanamo.

    The American Civil Liberties Union also criticized Obama for singing the act into law. “President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” Anthony D. Romero, ACLU’s executive director explained in a media advisory on Saturday. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.” Raw Story


  15. Careful what you write, Prof. You can now be detained, indefinitely, without trial.


  16. Is this challengeable in the Supreme Court or do you have to wait until an American citizen is actually thrown into Gitmo?


  17. time for revolution is approaching? .. the old style, mass riots, charing cross king beheadings?

    nothing else will attract attention


  18. As Josh S. points out you seem just as willing to bend facts and reality to suit a simplistic view of the world as you see it as many of the comments on your site are willing to do. I see little difference between your arguments here and the right’s notion that 2 cells in the womb have more rights to healthcare then 45 million woman, children, the aged, and the disabled.

    I suspect you would have also voted with the confederacy instead of Lincoln since he too suspended similar rights. Are there no exceptions in your world or are you as absolute as the rightwing on guns, abortion, and religion?

    I think you really said it it all when you described yourself as a “civil liberterian”. Like most so called liberterians they tend to be selective in their liberties and who is entitled to them just as they have a selective view of reality.

    I suspect that a gay soldier who now benefits from the end of DODT might disagree with you about what is the worst assault on personal liberty.

    Make no mistake, the assault on personal liberty by government, corporations, religion, and many other groups is real and must be challanged. But at the same time the greatest challange to liberty in its full dimension is not Obama, and it is not this bill. If you can’t see we face a larger war and greater threat then perhaps we have already lost the real war.


  19. @Josh S: The bill specifically gives the military and Intelligence agencies sole discretion in determining if ANY person is an enemy combatant, and should be detained indefinitely without charges or trial. That specifically includes citizens, because the Senate rejected an amendment that excluded citizens. The language about “not changing the legal rights of citizens” means nothing in light of the power granted to the military, Intelligence, and their common leader: The President, who has already asserted and exercised the “inherent power” to have the CIA kill an American citizen he personally declares an “enemy” wherever they are found, in combat or not, including on American soil.

    Your rights are gone, so is your freedom of speech. If the military decides you are causing trouble, they can whisk you away to prison under this law, and you do not have the right to speak to an attorney, the do not have any responsibility to inform your family or anybody else about their kidnapping of you, and you will never get to tell anybody but your cell mate, if you even have one, about how your right to free speech, an attorney, or due process. As far as the world is concerned, you will have just vanished. I think you’d be lucky if anybody even knew it was the Administration that vanished you.

    The two parts of the law are self-contradictory, you cannot have rights and ALSO grant the military or CIA this power. Which half of this law do you think the Military, CIA, and President will point at when they want to eliminate a citizen causing them trouble?


  20. S.M.,

    Do you find this bill acceptable? Is so, why?


  21. Many in this forum would like us to believe that the signing of this bill by the President is fully supported by the left. That assertions is so far from the truth. NDAA is a dream come true for the extreme right. Even Henry Kissinger just tweeted how much he loves President Obama for signing NDAA into law.


  22. JQ,

    It is more accurate to say that this is an extreme right wing bill and extreme right wing president who is supported both by people on the extreme right (such as most of the PNAC group) as well as people who identify themselves as being on the “left”.

    Trying to pawn this off on the right wing alone is disingenuous and a form of propaganda. It does not fit reality.


  23. “Brace yourself. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be terrifying.” -Chris Hedges from “The World As It Is.”

    http://www.c-span.org/Events/In-Depth-with-Author-and-Journalist-Chris-Hedges/10737426679-1/


  24. Jill, Absolutely not, but I read a variety of legal opinions which I am in the process of doing to fully understand the laws. I don’t trust everything Glenn Greenwald says to be fact. He is one pundit that I have diminished respect for after the Ron Paul column the other day. He is not considered to be a top constitutional lawyer.


  25. Dear President Obama:
    I know that you will read this post because you are a discerning lawyer and edited the Harvard Law Review. Well discrern this. In your election I personally drove approximately 240 voters to the polls for the Democratic Party and particularly to get you elected. This time around I will be working for Ron Paul or a Libertarian Candidate. There is no reason to be a Democrat. The descendants of the Nuremberg Trials are watching your conduct. If you have time for some reading on the subject look up “The Judges Trial” and if you do not have any books on the subject obtain Tyranny On Trial by Whitney Harris. Google Herr Altstoffer. The dismantling of the law to then persecute people is a WAR CRIME.


  26. Is President Obama a gutless New Democrat who compromises before the fight or just a mendacious hack, perhaps these two thoughts constitute a tautology? Might we consider that the thought of losing the power of the Presidency has made concrete Obama’s political schizophrenia that could be expressed by the split between the political Obama and the rhetorical Obama? Yet shouldn’t we be reluctant to judge this talented legal scholar as incapable of a betrayal of the Great Writ, by commission or simple inattention, or does that stretch credulity to point of nullification? Or, have we reached the point at which there is no turning back, on the subversion of the idea and practice of constitutional governance, and that we are living in an age where the crisis is the rule rather than the exception, to put it Schmittian terms?


  27. Swarthmore Mom:

    Marty Lederman was one of the authors of the secret memo authorizing the killing of al-awlaki, an american citizen who had not been charged with a crime:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/world/middleeast/secret-us-memo-made-legal-case-to-kill-a-citizen.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    <>

    Perhaps a bit of conflict of interest on his part as he’s so closely embedded with the administration.


  28. I got into a argument at TPM last week — being attacked by several apparently koolaid drinking dems — for objecting to this law. The attackers gave all the usual spin including this noxious idea that the law is benign. Even I can cognize that a law that doesn’t change any existing rights, at a time when those “rights” include assassination of American citizens abroad, means less than nothing.

    It was a minor diversion for me and I just got into commenting and attracted this attack. I had foolishly thought that at least some TPM commenters had some more sense. Actually, when I used the example of LBJ lying to Americans about not sending “American boys to fight and Asian war”, one person came out of the woodwork to affirm that was a legitimate formatory moment.

    Also FWIW, here is the TPM link to the little story. Typical for TPM there is no criticism of Obama admin and virtual stenography for the admin spin. Looks like the comments have been taken off line.

    And, FWIW, you wouldn’t believe the.nasty nasty ad hominems they had to say about Glen Greenwald. And called me a bad dem, which really hurt ; – ( Not.


  29. S.M.,

    I am glad you do not support this law. I wish you would stop speaking out on behalf of the man who signed it.

    In Nov. of 2010 I heard Harold Koh lay out Obama’s authority to kill anyone, anywhere, including American citizens. This action by congress and the signing of this “law” by Obama merely codifies his claimed powers.

    Basically, like Bush before him, Obama has said there is permanent war–the GWOT and war which he declares is in effect. Because he has declared we are in a state of permanent war (also a claim of Bush) he will conveniently have these rights as long as he maintains that we are at “war”.

    One of the essences of an authoritarian regime is permanent war. Please do not support a man who asserts such dangerous and illegal powers for himself.


  30. Trudy, I don’t accept what Lederman says as gospel, either. What he wrote was a considered opinion, though.


  31. Jill, With all the Paul supporters around here not a chance.


  32. http://www.coherentbabble.com/latest.htm (the full text of the signing statement)


  33. re “1zb1″ @ 11:05,

    “But at the same time the greatest challange to liberty in its full dimension is not Obama, and it is not this bill. If you can’t see we face a larger war and greater threat then perhaps we have already lost the real war.”

    And what would that “greater threat” be than extinguishing basic constitutional rights?

    Maybe we should have a discussion about whether the so-called GWOT fits the definition of war or is more appropriately handled as a police/law enforcement issue, at least domestically? That would seem to be the hook on which these super patriots hang their hat, perhaps giving more credit than is due to the knee jerk, fear induced excuse for endless war.


  34. A sad day in America is made worse by the confusion over this indefinite detention issue. The Obama that I voted for would have vetoed this bill, as Truman had done before him in a similar situation. I think we should also look at the Democratic Senators who voted for this bill. The same Dem. Senator(Levin) who claims the White House asked for the indefinite detention of citizens to be left in voted for the bill so I am not sure how to take his statements. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think only 14 Senators voted against this bill, including Durbin, Wyden, Franken along with some Republican Senators. Even Senator Paul voted against this bill for christsakes! The rest who voted for the bill should also be held up to scrutiny. This was a rebuke to the Bill of Rights and should be overturned. While we are at it, let’s rescind the AUMF or put a time deadline on it! Make Congress and the President come back to get a declaration of War.


  35. You guys who attacked Lyndon LaRouche for telling you this was the nature of Obama- A Nero/Hitler mentality OWE LAROUCHE A BIG APOLOGY.
    You can start by telling your Congressman over the Congressional Recess that Impeachment Papers are presently waiting to be served on Obama NOW!!
    Click on http://www.larouchepac.com/node/20069 for an interview with Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois on the urgency of the Introduction of Impeachment .


  36. rafflaw,

    As far as I can tell, these politicians are talking out of both sides of their mouths. How can we trust any of them?

    Look at what happened to Russ Feingold. Wasn’t he the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act?

    Most members of the mainstream media are a bunch of hacks who only care about their careers–not about providing citizens with the truth. They give us two sides of every story and think their job is done.


  37. Seems to me like it’s not sound or necessary to conflate objection to these detention provisions on Constitutional grounds with all the easily lampooned aspects of contemporary libertarianism. It’s a dishonest conflation perhaps advanced by some who have an agenda? What could that be besides defending Obama — even at this cost??


  38. http://www.publiceye.org/larouche/truestory.html

    Just a portion of the article:

    Attacking Environmentalism

    Pro-LaRouche publications have been at the forefront of denying the reality of global warming and have denounced Greenpeace and other ecology groups. 21 One of the major planks of the LaRouche platform is the immediate construction of numerous nuclear power plants.

    The LaRouchites have a long history of snooping on environmentalists and other progressive activists and groups, and providing biased and distorted information to the media and government law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

    In fact, the industrious LaRouchites have run what is essentially a private international intelligence gathering operation for decades.24 For a time, top LaRouche aides supplied information to Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council.25 They have falsely accused environmental activists (and civil liberties activists) of plotting terrorism.

    Thuggery

    During a five month campaign called “Operation Mop-Up,” some LaRouche supporters used fists and martial arts weapons to break up meetings and beat up LaRouche’s opponents on the political Left in the 1970s. Many targets of LaRouchite thuggery were injured and some were even hospitalized. At the time, one progressive publication described the LaRouchites as “Brownshirts of the Seventies” because of the similarity of these attacks to those carried out by Hitler’s “Brownshirt” thugs in the 1920s.


  39. This legislation should not have been part of the defense bill. It should have been voted up or down separately. Probably would have had a lot more votes against it if that had been the case.


  40. Fear, including the global war on terror, is now the excuse for anything, and this law passing with only fringe outrage proves it works. 100% of civil liberties can be taken with impunity, all they have to do is point at the bogeyman, say he is going to kill you if you do not submit, and a super-majority of people cave, Democrats and Republicans alike. No proof necessary, and no restraint necessary, not even any logic is necessary, because as the same authoritarians will tell you, the bogeyman acts without reason!

    Or claim the world’s financial system will collapse and we’ll all be eating in soup kitchens if we do not bail out the banks and give the crooks amnesty and be sure to hide exactly who the beneficiaries and profiteers of the bail out will be. Do you want a great depression?!?

    We have entered a new age with 9/11, the discovery by the government and their military-industrial-banking owners that absolutely anything can now be justified to the American people by fear and the false promise of safety and security, no matter how illogical or implausible or unconstitutional. Anything.


  41. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-ndaa-heres-the-scariest-most-outrageous-part-2011-12 Possible republican VP nominee, Rob Portman, received nearly $300,000 for backing the bill from lobbyists that will benefit.


  42. “This legislation should not have been part of the defense bill. It should have been voted up or down separately. Probably would have had a lot more votes against it if that had been the case.”

    And the point is? If a separate vote was down, O is off the hook? If a separate bill passed, then the real, courageous O-man would veto it.

    Sorry, that water is already under the bridge. He had the chance. Congress never would have left the military without funding; a way would/could have been found. Obama lied and/or caved. Again.

    The signals from the WH were that Obama would cave, therefore Congressional dems, in particular didn’t, even need to stand on principle. I guess that’s your point; that they would have. How that in any way relieves Obama fom ultimate responsibility for passage I don’t know. And, frankly, with regard to the extinguishing of Constitutional rights with the stroke of a pen, I don’t care too much about the technicalities. They’re all complicit. Just don’t claim Obama didn’t have his hand on the switch.


  43. Don S, It is cleaner. Is the legislation or the derision of Obama more important? It would also be more honest to not post under so many names. Your focus is always on Obama. I wonder when Romney is nominated and elected if you will still focus totally on Obama.


  44. Think Progress, another admin-oriented outlet, headlines the reservations in the signing statement, and in the body of the story only reprints the signing statement — does not comment on the whole debacle except to say it was “controversial. Commenters are more to the point although, on my scanning, they don’t highlight TP’s weak tea of a story.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/12/31/396018/breaking-obama-signs-defense-authorization-bill/


  45. […] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011 President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him […]


  46. DonS,

    You must understand that only certain minorities may post as faux Mexicans. Today, you have been called out for things only certain people can do. If you don’t change your stance on Obama the sanctimonious side will evolve.


  47. “It would also be more honest to not post under so many names”

    Could you be more specific SM? I have published under “DonS” for over 10 years (when Prof Turley was still just Res Ipsa prior to blog!) except when the stupid vagaries of certain blog protocols elude my attempts. Usually I just give up.

    I am basically apolitical, and I certainly don’t see Obama as guarantor ofmuch. That part is right.


  48. Elaine,
    you are right about the MSM, but they only give two sides of the same side! But they did not cause this problem. The politicians did and they are trying to point the finger everywhere but at themselves.
    Swarthmore,
    You are right that if the indefinite detention language was not combined with the defense reauthorization it may have gotten more no votes, but I don’t think it would have been defeated. Just look at the amendments that failed. If the Senators had any guts, they would have voted no and explained to the public why. I think the public would have understood.


  49. Obama, history is calling you on line one.

    It’s calling you a villain on par with George Bush and Dick Cheney.

    Quite frankly, I have to agree with history.

    Shall I put the call through or are you content to wait until history comes for a visit?


  50. Oh yeah, SM, I forgot — I did publish here once under “I’m not even going to give my handle”, because I live in a very small town, have alluded to my professional role in that town, and am easily identified by anyone who can connect those dots. And I’m not a public figure who get’s paid to have opinions so, given the constraints of that particular circumstance, it ain’t happening.

    You?


  51. Self Centered Vinny, Go back to selling whatever. Sorry I must have confused you with another FDL poster, Don S.


  52. s’ok . . .


  53. @Gene H.

    Now that we know Obama is full of lies and has no respect for the Constitution or civil liberties, and no qualms about war, and not even a passing respect for the welfare of the 99%, I have long wondered precisely what his goals have been all along.

    I have yet to come across a motivational explanation that satisfactorily explains the authoritarian right-wing, corporatist leanings. I don’t think he cares about the history books, he could easily have been a beloved populist just by keeping his campaign promises. I don’t think he cares about the financial benefits coming; he was already a legitimate multi-milliionaire author, and as a famous Harvard law graduate, could undoubtedly have earned many millions more.

    He has obviously thrown us under the bus, IMO consciously and of his own volition, but I still cannot figure out even a plausible motivation for him to do that. If it isn’t money or ego, what in the world is motivating him?


  54. “Just look at the amendments that failed. If the Senators had any guts, they would have voted no and explained to the public why. I think the public would have understood.” — Raffflaw

    You bet the public would have understood. You don’t have to be a raving sort of libertarian to either make that case or understand it. But, of course, it’s easier, and lazier, to hide behind the exigencies of military funding and the boogeyman of ‘soft on terror’.

    And getting home for the Xmas turkey of course.


  55. The head of the demonic party has spoken, if only he weren’t a token.


  56. The Constitution of the United States and our Bill of Rights is the law.. Obama is not a dictator.. if he signs anything that is not in-line with the law,, it is invalid….and because he has taken the step beyond his right and has violated his oath of office.. he must be impeached…Congress must move immediately…on this,, it is their duty as representatives of the people..


  57. Do they even have a clue? Of course not. To be a president and be clueless is like thinking George Bush understood economics, they just don’t get it.


  58. I agree with Tony C. The basis of all of this is our “leaders” and our own actions after 9/11. At that point “we the people” gave up on standing for the rule of law. In the US rule of law became the rule of fear.

    For a time, around 2004-2007, some people broke free of the rule of fear and began to criticize Bush for his unconstitutional policies. Since the reign of Obama, fear is again the coin of the realm.

    It is why Democrats must be given the seven dwarfs and the Republican of the month club–so they will be afraid, very afraid of candidates who hold the exact same positions as their own candidate.

    Only fear can cause people to be so open to propaganda that the truth no longer matters, that their own conscience no longer matters, that harming others is meaningless, that they cannot see that voting for an authoritarian is voting for an authoritarian.

    Until we quit being afraid and regain our conscience this will be a police state.


  59. I am glad you do not support this law. I wish you would stop speaking out on behalf of the man who signed it. – Jill to Swarthmore mom

    Agree with me or shut up?

    @Swarthmore mom: Your opinion is valid and supported by the many links you’ve cited. I disagree with your opinion on President Obama but I would never deny your right to express it.

    @Jill: Your own words to Swarthmore mom indicate a certain sympathy with the very law you profess to dislike.


  60. Tony,

    “He has obviously thrown us under the bus, IMO consciously and of his own volition, but I still cannot figure out even a plausible motivation for him to do that. If it isn’t money or ego, what in the world is motivating him?”

    I’m pretty sure that greed and ego worship are bottomless pits. That being said, Obama – like the President and Vice President before him – may simply be evil. Evil is not a term that I bandy about lightly, but I think it certainly applies to Bush (possibly mitigated by stupidity) and Cheney (simply evil without a doubt), but it could certainly apply to Obama. A con man is no less a villain because their spiel was beguiling. There could also be unknown (to the public) benefits for aiding and abetting the rise of authoritarian fascism. It is possible to speculate on the nature of such benefits endlessly: from the mundane to the outer edges of science fiction. Ultimately, what his motivation is for pissing on the Constitution and civil rights is irrelevant in the light of his actions.


  61. Hugh,

    I said I wished it and I do. I didn’t tell her not to say things. There’s a big difference. Reread what I actually said.


  62. Hugh,

    They should both run for office. They can tell you sympathetically that you are screwed and we can use this screw driver anyway that suits us best. They can do this in the same bated breath.


  63. “For a time, around 2004-2007, some people broke free of the rule of fear and began to criticize Bush for his unconstitutional policies. Since the reign of Obama, fear is again the coin of the realm.” — Jill

    I was thinking about that the other day. I recall the war of words around the net where many of us were not loathe to utter the words facist, facism, totalitarian, etc. Then, what, lulled into complacency, hope with O, time/distance from the Cheney/Bush, neocon gang? Whatever.

    In the meantime, what has changed around the issues of civil liberties and the national security state and the erosion of civil rights?

    Nada. Things have, if anything, gotten objectively worse and, under the tweedledum fear-ridden dem administration none-the-less. So the MIC, corporatist, right wing fear mongering machine seems to have become a feature, not a temporary bug, in our decrepit democracy.

    Those who think we pick on Obama too much need to recognize he seems plenty comfortable with the power projecting aspects of the imperial presidency in the defense, national security realm. That same element, essentially of bully pulpit, exists were he to use it to return to the rule of law. He doesn’t; and keeps burnishing his ‘center right’ creds. So, who you gonna believe, the hype or your own eyes?


  64. Hugh, Power, control, authoritarianism…….. glad you picked up on it.


  65. […] Away More Civil Liberties Obama signed the NDAA, allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens, blogs Jonathan Turley: It was a symbolic moment to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking […]


  66. Obama is simply an impostor that never would have made it to the seat had Bush announced the land marking case sealed into the Hague Treaty as International Law by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Pedro Cortez

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/21486454/Complaint

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/21486698/International-Claim-Oct-10-2004

    that ended the cartelic rule of bait and switch plaguing the indigenous as well as the visitors of this land. THEY stand in united treason against all flesh and blood.


  67. If it isn’t money or ego, what in the world is motivating him? – Tony C to Gene H

    @Tony C: A complete lack of comprehension as to the role of the President under the Constitution and within this federal constitutional republic. To put it simply, he has always been and will always be on a power trip. Power for power’s sake.

    Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln


  68. As William Shakespeare might have said it were he alive today….

    Why do we Impeach Obama?? Let me count the reasons:

    1. Starting Wars With No Congressional Authorization. (consult Jonathan Turley on that one…. I think he can help you on that one)
    2. Assassinations of US Citizens With No Due Process or charges ever brought against them. (consult the US Constitution)
    3. Using drones to kill Unknown Numbers of People in Unknown Numbers of Countries. (Apparently Obama really gets his kicks from this-consult Washington Post article on Obama illegal use of drones from last week)
    4. NDAA Signing and Signing Statement- Both Impeachable Acts

    So, save your outrage, Obama’s Impeachment (or forced resignation or removal by the 25th Amendement, Section 4 of Obama ) I S THE ONLY RESPONSE or shut up…..
    Click on http://www.larouchepac.com/node/20069 or

    http://www.larouchepac.com/node/20307

    Interviews with Professor Francis Boyle on the Urgency of
    Removing Obama NOW TO STOP WORLD WAR 3!


  69. I said I wished it and I do. I didn’t tell her not to say things. There’s a big difference. Reread what I actually said. – Jill to Hugh

    @Jill: Wishing is always the first step. “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” was not a command. Stop trying to pretend to an intellect you do not possess and you will cease insulting everyone else’s intelligence.


  70. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-fineman/george-w-bush-election-2012_b_1179655.html “Bush still reigns even if we can’t see him in Iowa”.


  71. I wonder how they’ll cover this on the 11th grade American Studies Regents Exam. Given the silence of the fourth estate (aka the media) it looks like Constitutional Law has become a meaningless elective; like basket weaving.


  72. “troublesome” priest I believe.


  73. Hugh, yes Sir!!!


  74. another sockpuppet…………………….


  75. Jill,
    “The basis of all of this is our “leaders” and our own actions after 9/11. At that point “we the people” gave up on standing for the rule of law. In the US rule of law became the rule of fear.”

    I agree and would add that 9/11 was most probably an act of colusion between the terrorists and GWBush. Such tactics as killing thousands of US citizens would not seem unreasonable to a man who was raised and trained by Nazis. His family’s history of support for and/or membership in the Nazi party is extensive.

    Similar tactics were used extensively by the Nazis during WWII. Blaming crimes on Jews. Blaming the Poles for attacking Germany. Staging and/or spreading false rumors of atrocities against Germans living in the Czeckoslovakia. All designed to manipulate the German people to rage and indignity and convince them of the need to defend the Fatherland.

    9/11 did what it was supposed to do. It scared the American people into agreeing to give up their rights. it was the first in a plan of denial and Fascist Authoritarianism and this new law is just another item in the plan. Obama signed it because he is being paid to betray America by the same people who pay the Republicans. Need I say the 1%. Of course GW is of the 1%.

    You can pick any name for them that you wish. Mazis, Fascists, Authoritarians, Uber-wealthy Money Mongers, the 1%, Corporate Masters.
    It doesn’t matter what name we give them or which they choose for themselves such as “The New World Order”. Their actions will be the same and their actions will take away our rights unless we Move to stop them. Their actions will cestroy our country and in short order.

    The blatancy with which they now act is a telling change. It shows that they no longer feel the need to hide and everytime we let them get by with anything it strengthens them and encourages more blatant actions and more until suddenly; wee find that everyday we must all wake up to the morning prayer for our “Dear Leader”.

    Joe,
    The Congress will not impeach. They do not represent the people. They represent the same interests that The President represents:
    Goldman-Sachs
    Morgan Stanly
    JP Morgan-Chase
    Bank of America
    Haliburton
    Lockheed
    Boing
    General Dynamics
    etc.


  76. Especially those …..Mazis…..watch out for those guys.


  77. @Will: Troublesome is the modern usage (turbulent cite is found in Knowles Oxford Dictionary of Quotations p. 370) but it’s all oral tradition.


  78. on 1, January 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm Vandal Hurricane

    I was hoping for him to belt out an oldie like Offer Acceptance and Consideration, or at least something to describe the battle of the forms nightmare that is this case: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2011/12/27/pay-what-you-want-businesses-sue-non-paying-customers/


  79. angryman,

    Just like Lt. Aldo Raine likes his Nazis in a uniform, the one thing about Mazis is that you can identify them by their excessive use of Minotaurs.


  80. @Hugh: I think accusing Obama of a lack of “comprehension” is ridiculous, we knew when he was campaigning he taught Constitutional law, and taught it well according to both his university superiors and his students.

    IMO, a simple egomaniacal power trip doesn’t explain the consistently far right preference; it would be much more satisfying to crush the strong than to crush the weak, and it would simultaneously make him a populist President beloved by the majority (that elected him to do that).


  81. @Tony C: You are correct. Comprehension was not an adequate choice.

    I am, however, as curious as you appear to be as to his real motivations.


  82. Hugh and Tony C.,
    I will render a guess that Obama signed it in order to improve his reelection chances. According to his “advisors” he has to stay tough on terrorism! But those same advisors just don’t seem to give a rats ass about the Constitution. But, as I mentioned earlier, the vote in the Senate was one of the most Bipartisan efforts since Obama was elected.


  83. Tony,

    “it would be much more satisfying to crush the strong than to crush the weak”

    It would also be a lot more work and much riskier than crushing the weak while sucking up to the strong. Never underestimate laziness, cowardice and/or obsequiousness as a motive.


  84. Ouch. Sick puppet.


  85. In other censored news–“MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Liberty Square has been retaken. New York, get down there now! See below for Live updates from the ground.”

    Go to occupy wall street website for details of police brutality, arrests and courageous citizen action!


  86. […] perverted priorities, but provisions that rightly perturbed civil libertarians, particularly surrounding the issue of indefinite detention and codifying the Bush Administration’s sordid legacy into law. As people were celebrating […]


  87. I consider myself a non-hysterical liberal, and I’m a registered Democrat. I own guns. It’s time to buy more. I also imagine that the former sentences will one day allow the government to “disappear” me. Fuck Obama. And yes, I’m still going to vote for him.


  88. I’m going to raise the question I raised last week, with regard to something Prof Turley said on C-Span ( http://jonathanturley.org/2011/12/19/turley-on-c-span/ ) to wit: shortly after assuming office Obama decided noone would get to the right of him on national security issues. No real citation for this, but it certainly seems to have played out this way. The detention issue can be framed, first and foremost, as a national security issue.

    As someone noted above, the Constitution doesn’t seem to be a real concern, merely a talking point with this administration, overall.

    And, too, as was stated, election, election, election.

    But I also am intrigued by the ‘motivation’ question and, as a practicing psychotherapist for 30 years, have lots of tantalizing clues and ideas. But, in actuality I doubt there is one primary psychological trait or practical consideration that explains all. As to whether he is simply a cynic, or some psychological ‘deviant’, or actually believes he is doing good . . . well, living in that bubble, with all the sycophants around, of course he believes he is doing right and good . Oh yeah, and it’s a great election strategy he must think and, after all, without O’s reelection our freedoms might be in jeopardy, doncha know.

    I’m not so sure about the election strategy part — eviscerating the Constitution might not work so well. People got sick of it under Bush (except for the ~20% dead enders). Likely with Obama too. But of course Bush got his second term anyway. So might Obama.


  89. Figure Obama has about a 50- 50 chance with Romney as the opponent. Romney’s ties to Wall St. are deep, and the unions don’t like him but with so many unmotivated voters he could win. Romney has already become a big time Iran hawk. If either Gingrich or Santorum is the nominee, then look for Paul or Bloomberg to run on the new American Way Party.


  90. Swarthmore,
    I don’t think Romney has a chance, without fraud.


  91. raff, when has committing a little fraud here and there stopped that bunch?

    Up in Wisconsin, the Recall Walker folks have been threatened, assaulted, had their signs and petitions destroyed and the latest is death threats. But according to that O’Keefe fellow and his handlers, all the voter fraud is on the side of the poor, minorities and Democrats.


  92. OS,
    funny how that works. The recall effort in Wisconsin has over 500,000 signatures and still climbing. Walker is going to be toast.


  93. This sounds exactly like the administration’s argument that they wouldn’t support the original language because they believed the Executive Branch already possessed this power… of course, stated in a way that makes it kind of, sort of appear that they disagree with the language when they’re really just disagreeing with which branch of government “owns” the right to indefinite detention. Disgusting how so many news outlets our reporting this (only now) and only with the “he reluctantly signed it” caveat.

    “[…] In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.”


  94. @Seamus: I am a non-hysterical liberal, I own guns too. I have voted in every Presidential election since Carter, and always for Democrats. I have never voted for a Republican. Our judges must declare a party, I typically vote for the Libertarian judges, on the grounds that at least in my area they are the least likely to engage in harsh sentences for drug violations. (I do not use drugs, alcohol or tobacco, but I think it is a civil liberty).

    All of that said, I will vote for my first Republican ever if Ron Paul is the nominee. Otherwise, I will not vote for Obama, no matter what the fallout may be, just on the remote chance that gridlock might prevail. If Obama is re-elected, Republicans will not oppose the destruction of the Constitution and Democrats have an excuse to go along, they are following their leader.

    I’d rather give Democrats an excuse to oppose and filibuster, frankly, and I think the defeat of Obama would be attributed to “weakness” and failing to sufficiently appease his base. The persistence of the outrage over the “public option” will come up, and I would hope that the defeat of Obama would signal to the House and Senate Democrats that there is only so far they can go, and would motivate them into entrenched opposition and legislative grid lock.

    I really don’t know what to do to reverse the damage, but at least stopping the advance of the damage would be something. There is no chance of that if Obama gets another term. I voted for Obama twice. There will not be a third time, no matter who the Republican nominee is.


  95. rafflaw 1, January 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    … as I mentioned earlier, the vote in the Senate was one of the most Bipartisan efforts since Obama was elected.
    ===================================
    That is the real eyebrow raiser.

    The only time congress can be bipartisan is when they shred the Constitution to steal our human rights.

    Not a sane picture, so we must consider what is inducting this insanity.


  96. Tony C, Like in 2010 when you said that if Feingold and the democrats lost, things would get better. Didn’t seem to work out that way. At least you are consistent in that you always want the incumbent democrats to lose no matter who they are.


  97. It is hard to tell a batshit crazy woman anything.


  98. It would also be a lot more work and much riskier than crushing the weak while sucking up to the strong. Never underestimate laziness, cowardice and/or obsequiousness as a motive. – Gene H to Tony

    @Gene H: That is a most astute observation.


  99. One thing that has changed the political landscape is Citizens United. The Super Pacs can take aim at anyone with no accountability. Much as I don’t like Gingrich they have destroyed him in Iowa and will play a huge role in 2012.


  100. Hugh, I agree with you and gene on motive.


  101. Tony C, Like in 2010 when you said that if Feingold and the democrats lost, things would get better. Didn’t seem to work out that way. At least you are consistent in that you always want the incumbent democrats to lose no matter who they are. – Swarthmore mom to Tony C

    @Swarthmore mom: I did not realize Tony C was advocating the defeat of democrats like Feingold in 2010 as a means to improve the situation. That does put his obvious support for Ron Paul under a different light.


  102. Now Playing at A Website Near You:

    “The Annals of NerObama.”

    Click on http://www.larouchepac.com/node/21044

    Obama, A Carbon Copy of Emperor Nero.


  103. @Swarthmore: You are lying. In 2010 I did not say that “things would get better,” I said that if you do not punish bad actors they will continue to be bad actors, and our only chance of things getting better was to get rid of the incumbents and let things get WORSE, so that new Democratic candidates would have a chance at the seats of the corrupted Democractic incumbents.

    I still believe that is the only chance of things getting better, because no new Democrat has the slightest chance of beating a Democratic incumbent in a primary, but a new Democrat does have a chance of beating a one-term Republican if the district is split enough that a Democrat was winning it in the past. Even if the former incumbent ran again, the proof that he lost to the now-incumbent Republican would put him at a big disadvantage in the Democratic primary. A new Democrat could win both the primary and general election, and potentially do a better job, as a freshman, of representing actual progressive or liberal principles.

    The only thing that will wake up Democrats is the pain of Republicans fucking them over. What do you think happened in Wisconsin? I believe the Democrats will take it back, but whether they do or not they certainly got motivated by the bad acts of Republicans, didn’t they?

    I am consistent in that I want the politicians that are destroying the Constitution to lose their elections, no matter which party they are in. I’d rather have iffy new blood than entrenched bad blood.

    This is 2012, and we will have to see how many freshmen Republicans get ousted by a resurgence of progressive voters. I hope a lot of them.

    You are lying when you say I claimed things would get better, I never did, and I have told you that repeatedly, so you are purposely misrepresenting me. My claim then, and now, is that voting for a corrupt or unprincipled politician because they are a Democrat gives them further license to be corrupt and unprincipled, and the only way to fix it is to punish it, even if that causes us pain for cycle. Letters do not work, petitions do not work, encouragement does not work, outrage does not work, nothing works if the politician figures you will vote for him no matter what. And the only way to replace a corrupt, incompetent, or self-serving back-stabbing incumbent is if he loses to the other party. There is no way to convert an unprincipled politician into a principled one, and there is no way to replace an unprincipled incumbent and keep the seat. Period. To think either thing is possible is pure fantasy.

    That is what I said in 2010, and I reiterate it now.


  104. […] Away More Civil Liberties Obama signed the NDAA, allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens, blogs Jonathan Turley: It was a symbolic moment to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking […]


  105. Tony C. We got rid of some progressives and they were replaced by tea partyers. You said that even Kucinich should go. That is not a lie. Some day I will go back and get the quotes but I don’t have time now.


  106. Tony,

    Remember you cannot argue with someone who has proven that they are biased and batshit crazy. They are conscienciousless, they have not the capacity to understand. It is like trying to argue with someone that they are Jesus. You can try all you want. Keep up the fight.


  107. @Swarthmore mom: I will do my own research and look at the archives. If it proves to be that Tony C was advocating Dennis Kucinich’s defeat then his present support for Ron Paul comes as no real surprise.

    @Pietro2: I have only been here for a few months but in that time I have come to understand the use of sock puppets. You are fooling no one.


  108. @Swarthmore: I did say Kucinich should go, he got rolled by Obama on the Patriot Act, or did you forget that? Besides that, Kucinich is incompetent, he has never passed a single progressive piece of legislation. He is a placeholder.

    As for Feingold, you will recall I conceded he was the least of the offenders, but he failed to filibuster, put a hold on, or exercise ANY of his considerable Senatorial powers against the Patriot Act, and he KNEW his NAY vote was entirely symbolic and would have no effect whatsoever. In the end he got rolled too, it was threats that prevented him from going any further.

    I will say the same thing about Al Franken now: After criticizing the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, he voted to extend it! I had hopes for Franken, but in my eyes he has betrayed the Constitution and is just another lying, unprincipled politician. In my eyes there is no excuse for not doing everything in one’s power to stop the degradation of civil liberties. I believe in the social safety net and I have no problem with taxes high enough to support it, but I have priorities, and Constitutional Rights come first no matter how much that may hurt my other priorities. Without Constittutional rights, the rest is doomed anyway.

    You still seem to be baffled by the entire idea, so what if progressives lost to tea partiers? The entire idea is that the corrupt and unprincipled have to lose for us to have any chance to get somebody with progressive principles in the seat: Who did you think they would lose to? A Democrat posing as a Republican?

    Wake UP! I never said THIS cycle would be better, I said the only chance to GET better was to suffer through a loss in order to open the seat to a REAL progressive with principles.


  109. Tony C, Much of the discussion is under the “Biden threat laments the lethargy of democratic voters.” You blast democrats in general but particularly Feingold and Kucinich. Here is what you had to say about Kucinich: “Kucinich is blocking the seat from somebody that would actually use their constitutionally granted power to make something happen”. Your criticism of Feingold is even harsher. Kucinich did not face much of a challenge and easily won, but Feingold was swept out by the tea party republicans in Wisconsin.


  110. Hugh, The sockpuppet is certifiable.


  111. TonyC,
    So who is the REAL progressive? Ron Paul?


  112. That is the truth. Anyone that still resides in Elwood Park should be. The crime rate is awful and the houses are way to small.


  113. I also want to thank you for covering this issue. Drudge finally coverered it half hazardly in small letters which were linked to an AP article that was filtering the real damage this President has caused by signing this NDAA into the law of the land.

    It is a dark day in America.

    And still people sleep. . .

    Thank you for your voice.

    We stand with you.


  114. @Hugh: No need, I did argue for the replacement of Kucinich, he caved to Obama because his committee seat was threatened, he openly admitted he voted against his principles because he didn’t want to lose his committee seats. In other words, his self-interest in campaign contributions trumps his principles.


  115. Romero of the ACLU cameout in full attack mode, I am waiting for the court case to start.
    I think the reason it was signed when it was for 2 reasons: 1) Holiday no one would take notice, and relatively few did
    I wonder also if it was done with an eye towards the fight from Boehner for the new debt ceiling (one presumes) debacle.coming shortly.
    One has to pick their fights. The signing statement was better then nothing and allegedly addressed his major concern.
    (That is not to say I support this. Every time I am disappointed with Mr. Obama he does something right and as soon as I am willing to support him again by going door to door and phoning complete strangers he turns around and does something to newly disappoint. If it holds he will not give in again to continuing the Bush tax cuts and allow himself, and the country, to be held hostage by Boehner and his minions to get the debt ceiling raised.)


  116. I don’t get the freakout over this. The WH said they can KILL you without a trial. People are worried about a little indefinite detention (which we already have)?


  117. Good point, Justin…

    Justin, through the use of a humorous metaphor, has just shown what a bunch of fools people are, who argue over meaningless points, while Emperor Nerobama, has just declared he is WORSE THAN HITLER, and most of you have nothing to say about that.
    You just change the subject… blah, blah,, blah, blah, blah.,

    Face the reality and Impeach Obama or admit you personally don’t care a whit about the nation, posterity, the Constitution, and above all, yourself…….


  118. Well, looks as if comments have gone Godwin. That means any meaningful discussion is over and the pie fights can begin in earnest.


  119. I’m splitting two posts I put way upthread but were held, due to excess links I imagine. One links to ACLU which was just mentioned:

    Jeralyn, at Talk Left — though not very far left ; ), ain’t happy http://www.talkleft.com/story/2011/12/31/163346/61 — links to David Cole in New York Review as well, and quotes ACLU.

    David Swanson get’s frontpaged at FDL, takes a looks, and says Obama is now king,

    http://my.firedoglake.com/davidswanson/2011/12/31/obama-crowned-himself-on-new-years-eve/


  120. @rafflaw: So who is the REAL progressive? Ron Paul?

    There are none that I can find that will stand up for their principles.

    Ron Paul is not a progressive, and believes in many things I find reprehensible, but my priority at this point is civil liberties and the restoration of Constitutional rights, because I believe without them progressive ideals are impossible, they are the foundation upon which progressivism must be built. So I will vote for and promote civil libertarians, and I will not support those that work toward the destruction of them, no matter what progressive advances they may promise. The promises are meaningless if they come with a police state.

    For those poor fools that cannot follow logic and require an authority figure to tell them what to think, let me quote Professor Turley from the post above: “For civil libertarians, the NDAA is our Mayan moment.”

    He identifies himself as a civil libertarian, and equates this loss of civil liberty with the apocalypse. I am not over-reacting, progressivism is meaningless, conservatism equally meaningless, Turley is right and I no longer care how flawed Ron Paul is if there is any chance of him and his stubborn libertarian ideology restoring the Bill of Rights to a position of power.


  121. And for those who can wade through Marcy @ Emptywheel’s continual attempts to be even handed, though she comes up with futility, there’s this:

    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2011/12/31/163346/61

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2011/12/31/start-out-the-new-year-with-indefinite-detention/


  122. @Swarthmore mom: Ah yes, the Tea Party. Originally constituted by Ron Paul supporters and then arrogated or bought out by the Republican Party.

    http://www.thepoliticalguide.com/Profiles/House/Ohio/Dennis_Kucinich/

    The above link is a quick way to fact check statements others have made about elected officials.

    “Dennis Kucinich sponsored a total of 112 bills. Of those bills, 4 have come to a vote on the floor of the house or senate and 1 have become law. Over that time, the average representative in this office sponsored 103.172 bills with an average of 10.9203 being voted on and 4.0636 becoming law. Since 1997. has been a co-sponsor on 3354 bills 287 of which were voted on and 109 became law. The average for a representative in the same office over the same time was to co-sponsor 1727.9203 bills, with 93.102 becoming law and 255.5292 being voted on.”


  123. @Otteray Scribe: A point well made and perhaps a signal that it is time to leave the field and pick a rose or two.


  124. Yes, it is so sad when guest(s) pose under multiple sock puppets accounts. Let the pie flying start the clown is in charge.


  125. @ Carol L. “Every time I am disappointed with Mr. Obama he does something right and as soon as I am willing to support him again by going door to door and phoning complete strangers he turns around and does something to newly disappoint. If it holds he will not give in again to continuing the Bush tax cuts and allow himself, and the country, to be held hostage by Boehner and his minions to get the debt ceiling raised.)”

    Don’t ya just feel like a sap? I mean this constant dangling on a string like we’re puppets that can be played. It’s that old hopey changey thing I guess. We already know what the insiders think about the ‘professional left’

    As to the Bush tax cuts, I wouldn’t hold my breath, although that’s exactly what they hope you will do until the very last moment when, for some oh-so-persuasive reason it will be necessary to kick the can down the road until after the election because you know, just because. Remember this whole debt ceiling/Bush tax cuts thing never should have been linked from the beginning, and it was not necessary to cave on it last December (2011). Don’t fool yourself; Obama could care less about returning to the Clinton levels. It all plays into the BIG game, and that would be cutting entitlements. The worse things look, the better the chance is for the GRAND BARGAIN, ie., selling out the middle class.

    Again.


  126. correction to 7:12: Bush tax cut ‘cave’ was Dec 2010.


  127. Don, Im trying not to (feel like a sap) but it does get harder and harder.
    Funny how the debt ceiling/spending was not linked when McConnell, Boehner, Cantor,voted repeatedly to raise ceiling limits during Bush years. I felt at the time he did have to capitulate because of the credit rating issue (which turns out did not matter a whit-or so it appeared.). If he does not listen to his base this time, if we have a replay of last time, he will lose so many of us there will be almost no point in running. (Hyperbole, but still…. (oh sry ’bout those periods (:


  128. You will be wrong when I is right.


  129. @ Carol, “Don, Im trying not to (feel like a sap) but it does get harder and harder.Funny how the debt ceiling/spending was not linked when McConnell, Boehner, Cantor,voted repeatedly to raise ceiling limits during Bush years.

    That’s right, and basically it was a replay of the shut-down-the-government scenario that Newt lost total credibility over back in the 90’s. A game of chicken between Boehner and Obama in which Boenher was virtually certain to lose until, inexplicably, Obama caved.

    There is no explanation.

    Sorry, all, to be off topic. But, in a way it does figure into the immanent question of just whose team Obama is playing for?


  130. carol, Could be a low turnout. Romney won’t inspire the far right although he is trying, and Obama won’t inspire the far left. Read on another blog that women that oppose Ron Paul are being called insane and much worse in the blogosphere. Don’t know whether it is an organized effort.


  131. Not all women are insane, just ask.


  132. Don’t mean to sound obtuse but my reading of the law focuses on sections 1021 & 1022, not 1031 & 1032. Section 1021 is titled the “AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE..” Per subsection (b) of 1021, “covered persons” include those who planned or aided in the 9/11 attacks and those who aid or support al Quaeda or the Taliban. Under subsection (c) those covered persons may be held until the end of hostilities (not indefinitely), or bound over for trial under the modified Miltary Commissions Act, or transfered to civilian courts, or sent to his home country. Subsection (e) of Section 1021 states that construction of this provision as applied to US citizens and resident aliens will not modify or affect existing law or precedent. Subsection (d) provides that nothing in the law affords the President more power nor dimishes his authority under the congressional authorization issued under the War Powers Act also known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2011.

    Presumably subsection (e) of 1021 includes the SCOTUS decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld which recognized the power of the government to detain enemy combatants, but ruled that detainees who are U.S. citizens must have the ability to challenge their enemy combatant status before an impartial judge. Also the SCOTUS case of Hamdan v. Rumsfield is implicated for non-US citizens requring that Military Commissions be authorized by Congress and have basic procedural saferguards found in the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It would be hard to imagine US citizens getting less protection than non-US combatants so I would expect these protections to apply across the board.

    Section 1022 provides for the right of the military to hold “covered persons” captured during hostilities. The Section is entitled “MILITARY CUSTODY FOR FOREIGN AL-QAEDA TERRORISTS.” “Covered persons” is defined as members or affiliates of al-Quaeda, or those who plan or participated in attacks on the USor its partners. Those covered persons may treated as those persons covered by Section 1021. Sub-section (b) makes this Section (1022) inpplicable to US citizens or resident aliens.

    As I read the statutes,US citizens have the right to contest their designation of enemy combatants under Hamdi and thus are not precluded from habeas relief. Also US citizens should at least get the protections of the UCMJ and the Geneva Convention. This is precisely what US ciizens enjoyed before the enactment of the NDAA of 2012.

    This is certainly not a perfect solution and fraught with traps for civil libertarians, but I don’t see how the sky is falling any differently than it was after Hamdi or Hamdan. I also understand the concern that the statute mightbe used against US citizens, but I do not see the courthouse doors being shut given the language and case which the statute clearly incorporates.

    I’m happy to hear opposing views.


  133. @ mespo

    Yes, the definition of ‘covered persons/ We all know anyone can be charged with anything to bring preliminary charges or to scare the hell out of the rest of us.

    (OT, why isn’t this approach being taken with the banksters, who should be charged with a whole lot of stuff, just because most of it is probably true though possibly unprovable according to current standards).

    Comes down to burden of proof perhaps, and whether one thinks the GWOT/911 changed the landscape so much that basic Constitutional understandings must be scraped.

    Admittedly, I’m just a GW law grad who never seriously practiced, but basic reasoning takes one so far as to ask the question: should one be required to parse the sections and subsections of laws that so fundamentally abridge Constitutional rights?


  134. Don S:

    Parse is what we do!

    Seriously, I think constitutional scrutiny requires a careful parsing of these sections. NDAA is, after all, the law of the land passed by Congress and signed by the President. I think a lot needs to be established about the power of the Executive in time of war. It’s a barren wasteland opinion-wise. JT is rightly concerned about the defeat of amendments meant to guarantee civil liberties but it may be that those amendments were seen as superfluous given Hamdi and Hamdan. We’re caught on a tightrope between the opposite poles of Madison (“Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad.”) and Cicero (“Laws are silent in time of war.’). It’s hard to know whether to stay put or step forward.


  135. Mespo,
    That was an outstanding job of parsing!


  136. Mespo,

    Here is the answer to your questions. It is long, but worth reading. Also, as I said earlier, Harold Koh laid out Obama’s claim that the could declare anyone he wished, anywhere in the world a terrorist. He also claimed that Obama could detain or kill such a person on his own word. This was in a speech which you can get from the Dept. of Law at the University of Michigan. The talk took place on Nov. 11, 2010. This law is the codification of Obama’s illegal claims. First they came…

    “Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention

    Section 1021 of the NDAA governs, as its title says, “Authority of the Armed Forces to Detain Covered Persons Pursuant to the AUMF.” The first provision — section (a) — explicitly “affirms that the authority of the President” under the AUMF ”includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons.” The next section, (b), defines “covered persons” — i.e., those who can be detained by the U.S. military — as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” With regard to those “covered individuals,” this is the power vested in the President by the next section, (c):

    It simply cannot be any clearer within the confines of the English language that this bill codifies the power of indefinite detention. It expressly empowers the President — with regard to anyone accused of the acts in section (b) – to detain them “without trial until the end of the hostilities.” That is the very definition of “indefinite detention,” and the statute could not be clearer that it vests this power. Anyone claiming this bill does not codify indefinite detention should be forced to explain how they can claim that in light of this crystal clear provision.

    It is true, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, that both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly (i.e., silently) already vests the power of indefinite detention in the President, and post-9/11 deferential courts have largely accepted that view (just as the Bush DOJ argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly (i.e., silently) allowed them to eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by law). That’s why the NDAA can state that nothing is intended to expand the 2001 AUMF while achieving exactly that: because the Executive and judicial interpretation being given to the 20o1 AUMF is already so much broader than its language provides.

    But this is the first time this power of indefinite detention is being expressly codified by statute (there’s not a word about detention powers in the 2001 AUMF). Indeed, as the ACLU and HRW both pointed out, it’s the first time such powers are being codified in a statute since the McCarthy era Internal Security Act of 1950, about which I wrote yesterday.

    Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF

    This myth is very easily dispensed with. The scope of the war as defined by the original 2001 AUMF was, at least relative to this new bill, quite specific and narrow. Here’s the full extent of the power the original AUMF granted:

    (a) IN GENERAL- 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.

    Under the clear language of the 2001 AUMF, the President’s authorization to use force was explicitly confined to those who (a) helped perpetrate the 9/11 attack or (b) harbored the perpetrators. That’s it. Now look at how much broader the NDAA is with regard to who can be targeted:

    Section (1) is basically a re-statement of the 2001 AUMF. But Section (2) is a brand new addition. It allows the President to target not only those who helped perpetrate the 9/11 attacks or those who harbored them, but also: anyone who “substantially supports” such groups and/or “associated forces.” Those are extremely vague terms subject to wild and obvious levels of abuse (see what Law Professor Jonathan Hafetz told me in an interview last week about the dangers of those terms). This is a substantial statutory escalation of the War on Terror and the President’s powers under it, and it occurs more than ten years after 9/11, with Osama bin Laden dead, and with the U.S. Government boasting that virtually all Al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated and the original organization (the one accused of perpetrating 9/11 attack) rendered inoperable.

    It is true that both the Bush and Obama administration have long been arguing that the original AUMF should be broadly “interpreted” so as to authorize force against this much larger scope of individuals, despite the complete absence of such language in that original AUMF. That’s how the Obama administration justifies its ongoing bombing of Yemen and Somalia and its killing of people based on the claim that they support groups that did not even exist at the time of 9/11 – i.e., they argue: these new post-9/11 groups we’re targeting are “associated forces” of Al Qaeda and the individuals we’re killing “substantially support” those groups. But this is the first time that Congress has codified that wildly expanded definition of the Enemy in the War on Terror. And all anyone has to do to see that is compare the old AUMF with the new one in the NDAA.

    Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill

    This is simply false, at least when expressed so definitively and without caveats. The bill is purposely muddled on this issue which is what is enabling the falsehood.

    There are two separate indefinite military detention provisions in this bill. The first, Section 1021, authorizes indefinite detention for the broad definition of “covered persons” discussed above in the prior point. And that section does provide that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” So that section contains a disclaimer regarding an intention to expand detention powers for U.S. citizens, but does so only for the powers vested by that specific section. More important, the exclusion appears to extend only to U.S. citizens “captured or arrested in the United States” — meaning that the powers of indefinite detention vested by that section apply to U.S. citizens captured anywhere abroad (there is some grammatical vagueness on this point, but at the very least, there is a viable argument that the detention power in this section applies to U.S. citizens captured abroad).

    But the next section, Section 1022, is a different story. That section specifically deals with a smaller category of people than the broad group covered by 1021: namely, anyone whom the President determines is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force” and “participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.” For those persons, section (a) not only authorizes, but requires (absent a Presidential waiver), that they be held “in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.” The section title is “Military Custody for Foreign Al Qaeda Terrorists,” but the definition of who it covers does not exclude U.S. citizens or include any requirement of foreignness.

    That section — 1022 — does not contain the broad disclaimer regarding U.S. citizens that 1021 contains. Instead, it simply says that the requirement of military detention does not apply to U.S. citizens, but it does not exclude U.S. citizens from the authority, the option, to hold them in military custody. Here is what it says:

    The only provision from which U.S. citizens are exempted here is the “requirement” of military detention. For foreign nationals accused of being members of Al Qaeda, military detention is mandatory; for U.S. citizens, it is optional. This section does not exempt U.S citizens from the presidential power of military detention: only from the requirement of military detention.

    The most important point on this issue is the same as underscored in the prior two points: the “compromise” reached by Congress includes language preserving the status quo. That’s because the Obama administration already argues that the original 2001 AUMF authorizes them to act against U.S. citizens (obviously, if they believe they have the power to target U.S. citizens for assassination, then they believe they have the power to detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants). The proof that this bill does not expressly exempt U.S. citizens or those captured on U.S. soil is that amendments offered by Sen. Feinstein providing expressly for those exemptions were rejected. The “compromise” was to preserve the status quo by including the provision that the bill is not intended to alter it with regard to American citizens, but that’s because proponents of broad detention powers are confident that the status quo already permits such detention.” (Dec. 16, Glenn Greenwald)


  137. […] And serious is the best description for the thrashing given President Obama by Turley in his recent piece. The issues central to this debate are difficult for me; as a fervent Obama supporter, his record […]


  138. “I think a lot needs to be established about the power of the Executive in time of war. It’s a barren wasteland opinion-wise. JT is rightly concerned about the defeat of amendments meant to guarantee civil liberties but it may be that those amendments were seen as superfluous given Hamdi and Hamdan. We’re caught on a tightrope between the opposite poles of Madison (“Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad.”) and Cicero (“Laws are silent in time of war.’). It’s hard to know whether to stay put or step forward.” (mespo)

    Thank you, mespo, for that was a very helpful post in focusing my thought process.


  139. […] in the history of our country . . . and citizens partied only blissfully into the New Year. (more…) […]


  140. I have read all of the comments above and I scrutinized the Mespo comments. No one else has brought up a couple of things which are glaring. The first are the 1933 Parallels. Some of you have a knowledge of history and might recall the Reichstag Fire and thence the Reichstag Decrees. The Nazis used the burning of their parliament (Reichstag) to blame communist terrorists and set aside all protections of civil liberties. The Holocaust Museum (the U.S. Holocaust Museum provides in part the following:

    On February 27, 1933, the German parliament (Reichstag) building burned down due to arson. The government falsely portrayed the fire as part of a Communist effort to overthrow the state.
    Using emergency constitutional powers, Adolf Hitler’s cabinet had issued a Decree for the Protection of the German People on February 4, 1933. This decree placed constraints on the press and authorized the police to ban political meetings and marches, effectively hindering electoral campaigning. A temporary measure, it was followed by a more dramatic and permanent suspension of civil rights following the February 27 burning of the parliament building.
    Though the origins of the fire are still unclear, in a propaganda maneuver, the coalition government (Nazis and the German Nationalist People’s Party) blamed the Communists. They exploited the Reichstag fire to secure President von Hindenburg’s approval for an emergency decree, the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State of February 28. Popularly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, the regulations suspended the right to assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other constitutional protections, including all restraints on police investigations.

    WELL, no Americans seem to analogize the downing of the Twin Towers with the Reichstag Fire and the subsequent disembowlment of civil liberties by each government, the Germans in 1933 and Americans after 9/11. Hitler did not do it by Decree and neither did Bush or Obama.

    The Second, events which no one on this blog has mentioned are the International Court at Nuremburg comprised of the United States, England, France and Russia in 1945 and thereafter Nuremberg War Trials conducted by the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg immiediately after the international trials. “The Judges Trial” was strikingly similar to what Americans could face in an international tribunal today if there was such an enterprise. Please Google that phrase or Herr Altstoffer. We set up ourselves as Saints in 1945 and 1946 and proclaimed to the world during these trials that the deprivation of rights would never happen again.

    I believe that the Hague Conventions and other bodies of jurisprudence should have a full airing on this blog. Otherwise we are just urinating into the wind in the context of neo cons, democrats, republicans, and lapsed Catholics.

    I would like to see someone on this blog draft a House Bill to sanctify the right of habeas corpus to any American any where in the world to bring a Writ before any United States District Judge or Magistrate by mail, email, or hot air balloon. Then request Ron Paul to introduce it forthwith or ask him to get off the pot. A series of similar legislation needs to be crafted to repeal some of this Reichstag Fire legislation passed in the previous ten years. I hate to say it but I believe that our President is of the mindset of a predecessor who not all that long ago made the statement: “Let others wallow in Watergate.” He signed this Act into law and we need an alternative.

    Liberty First.


  141. The failure of the media is only matched by the disinterest of too many people in the full implications of this bill and its erosion of our democratic rights. We all need a dose of seriousness to clear away the illusions that prevent us from seeing reality posed by this dangerous development. An appropriate response to this terrible turn of events must be expressed from the broadest democratic constituency as soon as possible. A national call to defend democracy, rallying defenders of human rights is in order.


  142. Jill:

    Thanks, Jill. I read Greenwald and Iusually respect his opinion. However, his is far from a measured response. He is an absolutest in matters of civil rights and I believe he overstates his case. Let me say by way of disclaimer that the NDAA cold be used to infringe rights but as currently written I don’t see that within the four corners of the law. Greenwald says that “until the end of hostilities” means “indefinite.” I think the exact language goes “It simply cannot be any clearer within the confines of the English language that this bill codifies the power of indefinite detention.” Well that is not legally true an Greenwald knows it as a lawyer. There is never any specific time when hostilities end in a war, but we know there always is an end. For example, we know al Quaeda is on its last leg structurally and we are even now negotiating with the Taliban to end their resistance in Afghanistan. We also know the SCOTUS does not consider the detention of conbatants as “indefinite.” Justice O’Connor writing in Hamdi expressly stated:

    Hamdi contends that the AUMF does not authorize
    indefinite or perpetual detention. Certainly, we agree that
    indefinite detention for the purpose of interrogation is not
    authorized. Further, we understand Congress’ grant of
    authority for the use of “necessary and appropriate force”
    to include the authority to detain for the duration of the
    relevant conflict, and our understanding is based on longstanding
    law-of-war principles. If the practical circumstances
    of a given conflict are entirely unlike those of the
    conflicts that informed the development of the law of war,
    that understanding may unravel. But that is not the
    situation we face as of this date.

    Thus the “end of hostilies” is not an indefinite detemtion though the exact date of the end may not be known. Imagine the government being required to state exactly when a war will end. That is untenable.

    Greewald also goes too far in contending that Section 1022 exempts US citizens from the requirement of military detention but not the power of the military to detain them. But that position ignores tthe rules of statutory construction and the express language of subsection (a) which states the military “shall” detain covered persons. Thus, the military has no discretion to decide who to detain as its powers derive solely from the statute to do so. The military must detain all covered persons except for “US citizens” and “resident aliens” to whom the requirement for detention does not apply. And let’s face it, if the detainer is mandated to detain everyone covered except you and has no statutory power to do otherwise, does it really matter that through some contorsion of language, the detainer may have some unstated etherial power to detain you too? It’s neither logical nor likely.


  143. President Obama has been contacted by victims of advanced, energy based technologies and has given no reply.

    He has continued to ignore victims who are struggling to survive the torture of energy weapons that have been developed by the military for decades.

    I publish here (my last column): http://www.examiner.com/civil-rights-in-cleveland/microchips-military-uses-and-criminal-allegations
    My website is: http://www.cfasw.net

    Please help us and publicize this issue. This has got to come out and have President Obama and the congress confronted with it. We need a congressional investigation. Victims are around the world and across the U.S. who need to be heard, protected and have their lives and health restored.


  144. Liberty1st:

    You are wise to consider the parallels to 1933 in recent events, and you’re in good company with the likes of Naomi Wolf and others. However the comparison fails when you consider Bush voluntarily gave up his power by the election of 2008. Also there is no radicalized para-military force attached to either party used to intimidate those with whom they disagree. Finally, I see no move to nationalize industry or scapegoat members of society as a policy of either party. While there are always threats of facism, there are not enough signs to conclude it’s by design or inevitable.


  145. Good posts, mespo.


  146. […] 31. In addition to $662 billion for the “defense” budget, this bill also includes  very dangerous provisions mandating “indefinite detention” for terrorism suspects without formal charges or […]


  147. on 1, January 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm Neurotic Parrot

    Good post mespo727272.


  148. This doesn’t just violate The U.S. Constitution, it violates the God Damn Magna Carta..!


  149. Oh yeah let’s remember Pontius Pilate was “Reluctant” as well..


  150. What, are you kidding Mespo? No organized force to intimidate. Just because it’s not allied with any one party doesn’t mean it isn’t their under the banner of both parties.

    You’re in danger of being a joke.


  151. You are using the section numbers from the Senate version of the bill instead of the final, differences resolved, House version of the bill that was signed into law. You want 1021 and 1022, not 1031 and 1032. Otherwise, spot on.


  152. DonS:

    I am waiting to see who this paramilitary force is who’s been intimidating you. Please explain how you’ve been detered in any meaningful way by members of any organized or disorganized facist group.


  153. TJ:

    Last time I looked the Magna Carta and the judgments of Pontius Pilate were — at best — merely persuasive authority in our courts. Let’s keep it within the past hundred years or so


  154. Love the article.

    My only quibble is this gibberish:

    You do not “support our troops” by denying the principles for which they
    are fighting.

    US troops, with rare exception, fight to serve Imperial need for resource control and extraction. To write such an absurdly naive sentence after so many war crime sprees(Not in any specific order: Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Cuba, North America etc..) is quite astonishing. It’s nice rhetoric. But the history of US military action in the real world, beyond idylls of patriotic idolatry and rank nationalism, displays the endless abattoir of Capital’s expansion.


  155. […] Rounds Of Drinks” Posted on January 2, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog Constitutional expert Jon Turley writes: You do not “support our troops” by denying the principles for which they are fighting. They […]


  156. mespo,

    While I agree with your technical dissection of the statute (and did a couple of weeks ago when you first mentioned it in passing), I think the problem here is the creation of a possible base for some fascist dipstick at the OLC like Bybee or Yoo to make an argument for indefinite detention. It’s not like the the White House hasn’t relied on specious and suspect legal reasoning for justifying criminal and civil wrongs in recent history. This is a hook on which they could hang a coat. To drastically shift metaphors, it’s not the pebble that kills you. It’s the avalanche. Erosion is erosion. As you say, it may be neither logical nor likely as a matter of statutory construction, but that does not mean impossible and any legal basis that could be used to rationalize future bad acts at this point only serves to weaken the structural integrity of civil rights in general.

    As to this statement? “While there are always threats of facism, there are not enough signs to conclude it’s by design or inevitable.” I think there is pretty good evidence to conclude that it is by design – just look at the corporatism that went into the “decisions” to not prosecute the previous administration for war crimes and sit quietly as both Halliburton and Blackwater fled the jurisdiction in what can only be described as a blatant flight from prosecution, although I will agree that inevitability is still undecided.


  157. on 1, January 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm Neurotic Parrot

    To think that Obama is not capable of exceeding the powers vested in the president, just look at the last Bush. He clearly does not understand the constitution of the United States of America.


  158. Gene:

    There are always risks and the law is always subject to the intellectual integrity of the men and women who administer it. Soviet Russia’s Constitution guranteed free speech but no one took responsibility or had the courage to enforce the provision. Bottom line is that our freedom depends on the leaders we select. If that fails, our loss of freedom falls squarely on our shoulders.


  159. Since fascism has been brought up in the comments, and Godwin’s law has been invoked, I will add this tidbit I learned about today. It appears the group Anonymous has decided to take on the Neo-Nazis. The voice over is computer generated and appears to have been translated into English from German. One intelligence expert of my acquaintance thinks it has also been run through an automatic translation of either French or Spanish as well, possibly to further disguise the original writer. Some of those people are dangerous, and Anonymous has learned a lot from their experiences with the Zeta drug cartel.

    Here is their just released video.

    For more on this with some comments, Horace Boothroyd III has a story up. I have come to the conclusion that since the OWS protests started, Horace has given up the luxury of sleeping. He seems to be on top of all the interesting breaking stories.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/02/1050961/-Operation-Blitzkrieg:Anonymous-Takes-on-Neo-Nazis


  160. Mespo: “Also there is no radicalized para-military force attached to either party used to intimidate those with whom they disagree.”

    ***

    Well, there is the FBI and their pesky Administrative Security Letters and the authority of other government agencies to use Administrative Subpoenas. We really can’t know how effective they and their users are at intimidation because its illegal and punishable by incarceration for victims of such letters to disclose that they are/were a target. Unless that is, they receive permission to make such disclosures from the inquiring agency.

    My dad was a very politically aware and active guy. About a couple of years before he died he started to lose his ability to follow and remember an argument. (He lived to be 93 so he had a good run of it, all and all.) So when I was discussing the 2008 election with him and the erosion of the Bil of Rights he said he just couldn’t follow what was going on; too much information. I encapsulated it thus: well pop, they’re taking us back to 1930…in Germany. I believed so then and still do.

    I think to minimize the use of government agency tools like Security Letters (and the expanded ability to gather information on citizens post-911) to intimidate or even blackmail people because such agencies are not overtly para-military in nature is verging on faith-based thinking. We are both old enough to remember what J Edgar did with old-school shoe leather and file folders.
    ——-

    Excellent info-graphic:

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security/surveillance-under-patriot-act

    —-
    “The Justice Department’s Inspector General has reported that between 2003 and 2006, the FBI issued nearly 200,000 NSLs.”

    http://www.aclu.org/national-security-technology-and-liberty/national-security-letters


  161. I wonder if this has anything to do with concealed and/or secluded concentration camp-like facilities spotted around the United States.


  162. http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/02/final-curtain-obama-signs-indefinite-detention-of-citizens-into-law-as-final-act-of-2011/

    We (ACLU of Oregon) had a birthday party for the 220th Anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights on 12/15/11 … Who knew that we could have scheduled the funeral for a mere fortnight later?


  163. Swathmore Mom, they rely on a low turnout. (I would not be surprised at all if they have turned on women)
    I read these wonderfully literate and well parsed posts here and am astounded at the profundity and thought that goes into them; but the truth is the population at large does not care. They do not vote so that the presidential ‘mandate’ is essentially meaningless. Bush won with 51% of the vote in 2001 with a 51% * voter turnout so his mandate, that the media by and large affirmed, was from essentially 1/4th of the population.
    As long as people do not care this bill, as well as all the parts of the “patriot” Act that infringe on our civil rights, have and will continue to easily become the law of the land. When more of the country wakes up to what they have lost hopefully it will not be too late to turn the tide (assuming that it is not already).

    *(http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html)


  164. Carol,
    I agree that most people don’t understand or care about civil rights issues. You can get their attention through their pocketbooks.


  165. Rights are not rights if they can be ignored, abridged, suspended or otherwise infringed upon

    saw that at a site i lurk at

    http://www.rangeragainstwar.blogspot.com/

    don’t know if they’re his words or someone else s. seemed to fit though.


  166. Rafflaw, sad but true or through the potential loss of their lives or the life(s) of someone they love. The Vietnam protests happened, in part (I believe) because everyone had potential loss, the draft meaning anyone’s son, nephew, friend, could be drafted. Suddenly we were all effected. I think OWS has somewhat started down that path. I feel citizens united ignited it but OWS is also pocketbook (and I am sure some would say tea party too.)
    (Cant find post with the ? but me too, yes, yes, and yes.


  167. Oh, it might seem to be a bit over reaching to analogize the Reichstag Fire Decrees with the Defense Authorization Act of this year, and in the years since 9/11. On the other hand it was not Hitler who passed the Decrees which divested Germany of civil liberties. It was Von Hindenberg. He, like Bush, left office freely. He left Germany and hence Europe exposed to the tyranny which followed.
    We Americans felt saintly enough to prosecute various Germans, as well as other Nazi collaborators, and the one trial which stands out is The Judges Trial. The analogy today is sublime. They were at war, Our statute just enacted says we are at war. The Reichstag Fire Decrees obviated civil rights protections to go after the great evils. As does the Bill just signed by Obama.

    Folks in America had better start some self examination here. There is still a courtroom in Nuremberg. The rest of the world at some point may just decide to put it to use. A drone by another name is the V-2. How diferent is the Muslim prisoner today from prisoner seventy years ago who was a gypsie or jew. But they blew up the World Trade Center Twin Towers the statute just signed by President Obama says and they are still on the loose. But they burned the Reichstag, the Reichstag Fire Decrees said….. But our President is no Hitler, the naysayers smirk and say. Von Hindenburg was not Hitler I say.

    Never again.
    –Liberty1st.


  168. Carol,
    I agree that OWS is a good start.


  169. Here is some material from the U.S. Holocaust Museum on the Reichstag Fire Decrees and President Hindenburg:

    “Though the origins of the fire are still unclear, in a propaganda maneuver, the coalition government (Nazis and the German Nationalist People’s Party) blamed the Communists. They exploited the Reichstag fire to secure President von Hindenburg’s approval for an emergency decree, the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State of February 28. Popularly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, the regulations suspended the right to assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other constitutional protections, including all restraints on police investigations.
    Justified on the false premise that the Communists were planning an uprising to overthrow the state, the Reichstag Fire Decree permitted the regime to arrest and incarcerate political opponents without specific charge, dissolve political organizations, and to suppress publications. It also gave the central government the authority to overrule state and local laws and overthrow state and local governments.”


  170. You guys are as bad as the republicans trying to find conspiracy and government authoritariansism around every corner. NDAA has passed every year for the last 48 years. It is nothing more than a military budget appropriations bill. I have perused this bill and found it to be no more detrimental to American civil liberties than any of the past authorization bills. If you choose to live in fear then please feel free to join the republican party.

    What you should be concerning yourself with is the Supreme Court ruling that Corporations are entities that have freedom of speech just the same as any American citizen or that Corporations can now legally contribute as much money as they see fit to any candidate they choose, or revolving door politicians/lobbyists who continue to maintain a stranglehold on
    Congress even after these politicians leave office.

    This is just another ploy by the right wing to divert attention away from the real issues, that movements such as OWS and other grassroots organizations, such as corporate corruption, political corruption, bailing out companies deemed to big to fail while our small business are choked out of existance by government and multinational corporations.

    If you guys fall for this,then the next Iraq war that comes down the pike, you will buy hook line and sinker just like every other time republicans used this tactic. They used it in the 50’s with McCarthy leading the way looking for “reds”. They used it in Korea which ended up dividing the korean peninsula into two nations. They used it in Cuba by trying to overthrow their dictator and replace him with Castro and when he wouldn’t cower to American dominance, he brought in the russians for self defense and we have been starving those people ever since. We used this tactic again in Vietnam telling the American people that Americans were attacked in the Bay of Tonkin only to find out decades later it was a lie just like WMD’s in Iraq. There have been 35+ military conflicts since WWII including assassinations and the overthrowing of sovereign governments, in order to wield control over those governments.

    The only way that the Republicans can win is to use the age old strategy of fear to divide us so that we are more easily manipulated. And every time one of their schemes blows up in their face, they immediately have another one ready to put into action.

    The military is not preparing to come knocking on your door, There never were any WMD’s, The President is not from Kenya and he is not using someone else’s social security number. The tooth fairy, santa clause and the easter bunny are not real either. The more we continue to fall for these tactics, the more they will continue to send out propoganda to divide us. They promote right wing propoganda because THEY FEAR US, “the people”, as well they should. They fear that we are finally seeing through all of their smoke and mirrors. They fear that we are a threat to their livelihoods and careers. The people should never fear it’s government, the government should fear it’s people.

    The greates hoax ever played on mankind was when the devil convinced us that he doesn’t exits. If you take most of the really unimaginably stupid stuff the right says and make it irrelavent, then they will have nothing to hide behind any longer and can be exposed for what they truley are. Mindless, ignorant neocons who only have their personal interests in mind and not the interests of the American public as a whole. They don’t want everyone to share the same freedoms that they share and they feel it is their personal responsibility to make sure that minorities and gays and anybody else who does not think or look like them, do not get those rights. And if we are willing to fight for those rights they want to make sure we have to fight to the point that they think we will give up our endeavors.

    They consistantly claim victory on every issue even before the fight has begun. Why do you think that is? It is to intimidate us into believing that our cause is not worthy or it isn’t justified. That’s why they make the odds seem so insurmountable, to test our resolve, to break our spirit, to keep things just as they are.

    You can read into anything, whatever doomsday scenario you choose but be warned. We have a common enemy and he is right in front of us. And we can ill-afford to take our sights off of him. We can no longer be divided by lies and misinformation from the right. Especially when they are wrong.


  171. JamesUSMC 1, January 3, 2012 at 3:45 am

    You guys are as bad as the republicans trying to find conspiracy and government authoritariansism around every corner.
    ===========================================
    Most experts agree with the expert who posted this, Professor Turley.

    Your military training is a questionable source for expertise in this area.


  172. To all the conservatives who have posted before me, I must ask “where have you been for the past decade?” This NDAA has done nothing more than codify practices openly utilized by the previous administration. During that time, Congress did nothing to curb serious abuses. While I agree that President Obama has failed to champion a more civil libertarian attitude, I blame Congress and their pandering to terrified constituents for this situation.

    Reichstag? 1933? Give me a break. Watch Fox News for an hour and you can find the source of Levin and McCain’s support.


  173. The comment above s suggests that military training would or lack there of would render one to be a questionable source for expertise. I for one did not rise to the level of corporal like uncle Adolph. Detention of any person without charge, without review, in secret locations, forever or until the perceived threat from Muslims, yippies, lions, tigers and bears is evaporated is tyranny. Those who espose indefinite detention of any person are dumb nazis and those who advocate this for our citizens are worse. Human rights are set forth and supposedly protected by the Constitution, which our President, Senators, House members, military men and women swore to protect, preserve and defend.

    WE are the country which pushed the English, French, Russians into trying the Nazis for war crimes and we conducted additional war tribunals at Nuremberg immediately after the four power International tribunals. The United States signed the Hague Treaty. A treaty trumps a congressional budgetary act. The Republican Party does pose a greater threat to civil liberties. But, as in 1933, it was the not so nasty guy named von Hindenburg who was President who pushed the Reichstag Fire Decree into law not his successor Herr Hitler. Our President Obama might be better trusted to rule our lawless state than say Mitt or Newt, but Occupy Wall Street and and our other energetic must focus a step further into what the corporate powers have thus rendered unto Caesar. It aint no salad.


  174. @JamesUSMC: Funny guy, first you accuse us of falsely seeing conspiracy, and then you tell us the things we should worry about are …. conspiracies!!

    And they are. The Citizens United decision is just one result of a conspiracy, a concerted effort by the wealthy, in particular the wealthiest corporations, to subvert the US Government, by purchase of loyalty to their agenda.

    What is their agenda? To avoid any liability to workers, citizens or residents of the countries they operate in, to avoid all taxation and tariffs and fees of any government anywhere, to freely exploit, endanger, enslave, kill and discard workers when that is profitable, and to freely pollute, ravage and destroy the environment and any living thing within it as they see fit.

    There is a conspiracy, the continual and vague “war on terror” is just another way to subjugate the citizens, the elimination of their rights here sets the precedent for further erosion later. Because those rights and equality in the court are pesky things.

    The wealthy do not have to worry about their rights, they have already effectively achieved their elite status in our courts. All it takes for them to thwart justice or delay justice indefinitely against a member of the 99% is money and lawyers, the only time they every worry is if their opponent is ALSO of the 1%.

    So the next step for them is to have the government do the job for them, so that the peasants can pay for their own suppression. The police gladly do their bidding against the OWS protesters, with clubs and pepper spray and tasers, but it is made more difficult when the rabble has the right to assembly, and freedom of speech. They need the rabble to quake in fear of both immediate physical injury and bankrupting lawsuits and incarceration. They need the police to be like knights of old, enforcers with the power of immediate execution for disobedience. And that means taking away the defenses of the rabble: Their constitutional rights.

    Perhaps you, James, are the one that should wake up and see the whole cloth. There is one conspiracy in this world, and although it has morphed throughout the centuries as religions, monarchies, and various forms of oppressive government, it has always been, and shall always be, the rich against the rest, they royals against the peasants, the church commanding their flock of paying sheep, the elite preserving their status and privilege to subjugate others, with brutality and impunity, to feed their greed.


  175. Your otherwise excellent commentary is missing one thing: the remedy. The remedy for this situation is the removal of Obama from office, either by impeachment or by invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. Removal of Obama from office is the only way we can get our Constitution back.


  176. […] And serious is the best description for the thrashing given President Obama by Turley in his recent piece. The issues central to this debate are difficult for me; as a fervent Obama supporter, his record […]


  177. JTs post was cross posted on Common Dreams. Here is an important response: “Posted by Crowsnest an 2 2012 – 7:05pm

    I have read the pertinent sections 2021 and 2022 of this law as signed by President Obama. It seems to me that the greatest danger this law has introduced is the vagueness of the crimes. When someone takes my car without my permission and without the intent to return it to me that is a theft. However, who has the authority to determine whether a person is a “member of al-Qaeda or an associated force”? Do these organizations have “membership dues and cards?” Apparently only the President is authorized to make that decision without any review by any U.S. or international court. Who protects a detainee against “false arrests”? You say that false arrests never occur? Wow! Check Guantanamo!

    The detainee does not even have to be a member of al-Qaeda or associated force but have “planned an attack against the United States or a coalition partner”. What precisely is the nature of a “planned attack?” Would the publication of the “Pentagon Papers” have qualified? What if the “planned attack” is the retaliation by foreign non-military citizens against U.S. Armed Forces or of a coalition partner that has committed a war crime in their country? Numerous such “planned attacks” in retaliation seem to have occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan.


  178. One possible thing you can do about this: “Amnesty International and over 45 other organizations will protest the NDAA and Guantanamo in front of the White House on January 11–the 10th anniversary of the “war on terror” prison. Sign up at http://www.amnestyusa.org/jan11


  179. James Madison said “If Tyranny and Oppression com this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”


  180. Liberty1st 1, January 3, 2012 at 8:11 am


    WE are the country which pushed the English, French, Russians into trying the Nazis for war crimes and we conducted additional war tribunals at Nuremberg immediately after the four power International tribunals.
    =============================================
    Correction.

    We WERE that country.


  181. So…how’s that ‘hope and change’ working out? Hmmm?


  182. The president being given the authority to invoke or revoke indefinite detention reeks of martial law! I can’t help but wonder why that was justified into the NDAA. What was it that determined that martial law is a necessary contingency?


  183. I’ve been loath to comment here, or even read the comments, especially because I could anticipate the reactions of many commenters for who I have a deep respect. I must side with Mespo’s analysis on this because I think it the most measured. This is not the disaster it is being made out to be. Beyond his analysis of the law I will add my analysis of the broad spectrum of American history, of which I have a dim view with respect to actual civil liberties. Our Constitutional liberties have been breached time and again in our past. These encroachments have come both in times of conflict, as well as in times of peace. Many of them have come about simply because the Administration at the time was impelled by the influence of money to intervene by declaring “breaches of the peace” by citizens coming together to exert their constitutional rights.

    Quite recently we can cite the concerted violent effort against OWS nationwide. The response of the Chicago Police in 1968 is another example, as was the Kent State massacre. Prior to that was the Cold War actions against those presumed to be Communists by Joseph McCarthy and HUAC. The imprisonment of Americans of Japanese heritage takes us back further in our history. Preceded by the attack on the D.C. “Bonus Marchers” by Douglas MacArthur. Preceded by the infamous “Palmer Raids”. Preceded by four decades of attempts to break the solidarity of our nascent labor movement in the late 19th Century. If pressed I could go back further in time and actually triple the instances of the disregard for the Constitution
    in American. This is precisely why Franklin added his comment “If they ca keep it”.

    My point is first that it is because of my knowledge of American history, coupled with my deep respect for our Constitution, that issues of civil liberty have always been uppermost in my political thought. Secondly though, having lived through the rampages of McCarthyism/HUAC as a boy, the 60’s protest movement as a young man and the Iraq debacles as a senior citizen, I am aware that terrible encroachments upon civil liberties, affecting a great many people are a common phenomenon in our history. Given this perspective, I am alarmed, but not surprised by the possibility’s this legislation entails.

    The disappointment with Obama did not begin with his signing this bill, but started early on in his decision not to prosecute the prior administration for treason. It then followed as he continued to prosecute these illegal (and stupid) wars and the horrible damage wrought by incarcerations and targeted killings. We had hoped that he would turn away from the policies of
    Bush/Cheney, but he profoundly disabused us of our hopes. I write here to castigate Obama, not to praise him.

    However, by the end of this New Year we will have to either reject, or re-elect him. What is a civil libertarian to do? In the case of Jonathan Turley and Glenn Greenwald, people who have spent a lifetime defending these numerous Constitutional encroachments of long standing and thus proving their ethical/moral/legal strength in the process, it is perhaps a simple decision and I could understand if they are unable to vote for such a disappointment as President Obama.

    To make this personal, as only it can be for an individual citizen, I will vote for Obama unless an unforeseen alternative with a good chance of winning arises. While Ron Paul seems an attractive alternative to many progressives, I have written on other threads my distrust and distaste for the man. I personally believe he is the most dangerous person in the Republican field and the one most likely to destroy our civil liberties. When Obama ran all we had to know his core beliefs were the encouraging statements statements of change he made. I Paul’s case we have a history replete with the likes of The John Birch Society, a bigoted newsletter and an anti-abortion stance that is hypocritically drawn.

    Saying he would leave abortion up to the States is a tongue in cheek way of saying he will destroy it. Even if certain States keep it legal, as before Roe v. Wade, those women without funds will be unable to obtain the most personal of legal rights. I’m old enough to know that before Roe v. Wade abortion was common among the wealthy via Puerto Rico, Mexico and Cuba. Some might say that in the broad perspective abortion is not the major civil liberties concern and my guess is that those saying it would be men. If he will let his religious beliefs affect this most personal of civil rights for women, while justifying it hypocritically, there is really no trusting that he will not find justification for encroachment upon other civil liberties. I invite the reader, who may be much younger to peruse the history of the John Birch Society and what it stands for. Having done that please then explain to me and justify why he was a speaker at their
    40th Anniversary.

    Every Republican running, including Paul initially supported both current wars. They all initially supported the Patriot Act, as in truth did many Democrats. Civil Liberties do not exist in a political vacuum. Most historical American Civil liberties encroachments were direct results of efforts to protect the American system of rule by a wealthy elite, or in the interests of that rule. Every Republican candidate is committed to continue that rule by wealth, Obama is very mildly opposed. At the sacrifice of my “political and civil liberties purity” and in the absence of an immediate short term resolution of the problems that have destroyed our middle class, created a surveillance state and has overwhelmingly incarcerated black men in record rates, I’m supporting the proven hypocritical President. Call me a sell-out pragmatist if you will, but I am far too fearful of the present alternative.


  184. Republicans and Democrats are both owned by corporate America. This includes the president and most of congress. I agree that Obama is wrong for signing the NDAA, but many here suggest he should be impeached for it. How could congress impeach Obama for signing an act that they both drafted and voted into law. To impeach the president would be to impeach themselves. I am pretty sure congress is not going to do this.


  185. Hey wait wait wait. Mr Turley I have agreed with and respected you for many years and you are free to interpret this bad bill as you see fit.

    However!

    Why did you only post a portion of the signing statement attached to the bill? The weak and rhetorical part?

    This is the statement in it’s entirety and it says considerably more. If it is still insufficient in your view by all means criticize, but don’t pretend it doesn’t exist and mislead all these people.

    Yesterday after reading this article I believed the statement you posted was complete. I had no reason to believe otherwise.

    The complete statement can be found here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/31/statement-president-hr-1540


  186. I hope I am not the first to point out this horrific typo/editing error:

    “… sponsor Senator Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan) went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House and insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision.”

    It should read “… it was the White House that insisted …” Even resorting to brackets (“… the White House [that] insisted …”) would have helped a great deal.


  187. Mike, well written (as lways) and I agree wholeheartedly.
    My sadness at OWS when put in context of Kent State, etc (while not as horrific) is that what should have been the clarion call, the pepper spraying of the protestors who were sitting on the ground and virtually helpless to resist, was reported and then essentially ignored. What would it take to get the people involved, another Kent state? It scares me to think that may be what is necessary and even then, would the media effectively ignore it as they have much of OWS?


  188. If anyone is so inclined – I just called white house to tell them how I feel about this betrayal. The people who take the calls are volunteers. It has worked in his changing positions before (not often but I forget what in the health care bill he brought back as one example (there truly are more, well at least one.) 1-202-456-1111


  189. @Mike S: I believe that is a falsehood, please show us where Ron Paul ever supported the Iraq war, or the Patriot Act. He voted against the Patriot Act in 2001, again in 2005, and again just recently, and spoke out against it from its introduction as a violation of civil liberties.

    Ron Paul also voted against the Iraq War Resolution, and said repeatedly at the time the United States should go after Al Qaeda and that there was no evidence provided by the Bush Administration linking Iraq to Al Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks. He also insisted, to no avail, that the Congress had to vote to declare war to go to war, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were unconstitutional. He said all of that while Bush was President.

    To claim that Ron Paul was “for” these travesties is disingenuous at best; you are mis-remembering your history in the light of your prejudice against him.

    As for civil liberties, abortion remains an open question. Even I do not believe it is morally acceptable to abort a normally developed infant that can survive outside the womb a week before it would normally be born. There is a line to be drawn, and although I do not believe that line is at conception, or even before brain development, I DO believe there is a point of normal fetal development and survivability before birth in which abortion can be seen as the murder of a normal human being with inherent rights. Transporting that fetus a few feet outside the mother would make killing it a murder, and I do not think the definition of “murder” should depend that heavily upon physical location. If the mother is in grave danger, perhaps there is an exception. If the choice is truly either the mother OR the infant, a judgment need be made. If the infant is going to be permanently disabled, physically or mentally, a judgment must be made. But barring such extenuating circumstances, there is a level of normal brain and circulatory maturation and survivability which entitles the fetus to a right to life, and I refuse to consider either conception or birth as some magical act that grants personhood.

    I am an atheist and scientist, Ron Paul is neither, and like most of America, he does believe in magic, specifically souls and ensoulment. To claim a difference of opinion on abortion is evidence of a willingness to abrogate all our other rights is as silly as claiming that my disbelief in Gods is clear evidence that I have no moral compass, or I have no compassion, or I have an inherently evil nature.

    None of that is true. Ron Paul’s abortion stance is rooted in his religious beliefs, mine is rooted in my non-religious and scientific beliefs.

    I never read Ron Paul’s speech to the Birchers, but I would bet, that like most of his speeches, he believes the government is too big and too intrusive and needs to back off, which happens to be a component of what the Birchers believe. Like all politicians Ron Paul gets some of his campaign support by preaching to the choir. That doesn’t mean he will serve their every whim, it means the Birchers in general want smaller and less intrusive government, and Paul wants a smaller and less intrusive government, so the Birchers can make common cause with him by supporting his campaign and voting for him.

    In that respect, Paul is no different than Obama or any other politician, talking to a group doesn’t make them a servant of that group, and it doesn’t mean they drank the Kool-Aid. As long as there is a legitimate common cause (and in Paul’s case of talking to Birchers, a smaller and less intrusive government would be an entirely legitimate common cause), I do not suspect a speech of being anything other than an innocuous solicitation of campaign contributions and votes.


  190. Mike Spindell’s post is very reasonable, including the nod to Mespo’s analysis, though I read such analysis as unnecessarily conciliatory. Where Obama is concerned, we know where that has gotten us.

    As a student of history one should also acknowledge what horrible epochs resulted from the fear or racist or xenophobic periods that included to real and attempted suppression of civil rights and perversion of Constitutional principles. Probably none of them went away because there was a sudden outbreak of conscience among the pols and power possessing beings. More like reaction just became muted over the years and decades, until the next outrage that couldn’t be covered up, and that got the middle class worked up enough to peep.

    The common thread, to my thinking, is that folks of conscience must not give any quarter to those forces that would hedge, nibble or outright trample on basic Constitutional rights.

    As to legal interpretations, and parsing, well maybe there will be some rollback in the courts but I doubt anyone here is holding their breath — or should — it takes too long.

    Action, even political action, must accompany outrage. Whether that includes or even recommends voting for Obama (because the alternatives are perceived as worse) . . . I’m not even sure it matters.


  191. […] OBAMA SIGNS NDAA INTO LAW AS FINAL ACT OF 2011 This gives the president the power to detain American citizens indefinitely without charging them.Then he attatches a statement that he doesn’t intend to use it.WTF did he sign it for in the first place? http://jonathanturley.org/2012/01/02/final-curtain-obama-signs-indefinite-detention-of-citizens-int… […]


  192. Amazing, the Remedy is posted here and none respond to it in any form. The whole USA is/was a hoax.

    Judgment comes.

    Wake up your living souls.


  193. Selah.


  194. NY’s Occupy media arm[selectively] evicted.

    Protest of NDAA part of plan for today.

    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/01/03/live-blog-for-occupy-movement-ows-media-raided-by-nypd-plus-ndaa-protests/

    Another darn coincidence. Just a few more broken eggs in the glorious mess we [damn well better] call democracy.


  195. Good article we are still keeping up on you. From Red and the Oak Ridge 18.


  196. What part of Obama’s, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America” didn’t you understand? How can anybody be shocked about anything this guy does, says (outright lying or obfuscating), sponsors or signs? Fundamental means….of or relating to [our] foundation or base which is [our] Constitution and [our] Bill of Rights……so…what will circumventing the Constitution and Bill of Rights bring to American citizens? President Barack Obama signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens….and we deserve everything we get for letting this happen to us!


  197. Mespo: “I think a lot needs to be established about the power of the Executive in time of war. It’s a barren wasteland opinion-wise. JT is rightly concerned about the defeat of amendments meant to guarantee civil liberties but it may be that those amendments were seen as superfluous given Hamdi and Hamdan.”

    A few questions:

    How does Article III empower SCOTUS to deem amendments to the constitution as ‘superfluous?’ Call me crazy, but I seem to recall that the only way that could be done was under the procedures laid out in Article V.

    Where in the constitution does it state that the powers of the Fed can be increased by deeming a rhetorical device such as “the war on terror” as a literal ‘state of war’ as understood by the founders?

    Justice O’Connor’s wishful thinking aside, how exactly does one measure the beginning and end of “war” against a gerund form of a verb or a state of mind?

    Jon Stewart: “So when the war on terror ends, and terror surrenders and is no longer available as a human emotion, you are free to go.”

    What safeguard is in place to ensure that the present or future executives do not abuse their power by fraudulently defining U.S. citizen-detainees as ‘fair game’ under the statute?

    And finally, why are you not alarmed by the mere creation of a procedural vehicle that only serves to codify a greatly increased likelihood of violating the constitution?


  198. on 1, January 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm Anonymously Yours

    mespo, Mike S., and Bob,

    You have all make excellent points….

    FYI…I have been without cell or internet service since yesterday morning…Finally a router issue was resolved with the purchase of a new one….

    It appears that AT&T will limit your service on a cell if you exceed so many data bites of transmission….It took me 30 minutes to play a game on the phone….


  199. Bob said, “And finally, why are you not alarmed by the mere creation of a procedural vehicle that only serves to codify a greatly increased likelihood of violating the constitution?”

    To which I must say . . .


  200. @Bob, Esq: Jon Stewart (and his writers) really cut through the bullshit in a hurry, don’t they? Love that quote.


  201. Maybe some of the smart people here can answer a question for me. Regarding the so-called War on Terror: Terrorism is a tactic. It is NOT an enemy. Declaring war on terror is like declaring war on a flanking action or war on aerial surveillance.

    You declare war on an enemy. I listened to FDR declare war on Japan and the Axis powers, and that is how it should be done. I don’t recall FDR declaring war on dive bombing attacks or torpedoes.

    Osama bin Laden is dead. So is Saddam Hussein. So are a whole lot of other people. If the the Afghans or Iraqis cannot run their own governments, then so be it. A friend of mine who is a Muslim and a psychiatrist, observed they have been living and fighting this way for three thousand years or more and there is absolutely nothing the western powers can do to change the culture. It will have to evolve and change by itself.

    So what the hell is “war on terror?” How do you declare war on an enemy that does not exist except in the minds of criminals and law enforcement?


  202. Dear Fellow Citizens, Republicans, Democrats, So Called Liberterians Civil or Otherwise, and Whatever You Care to Call Yourself,

    I invite in all sincerity and curiosity any and all of you to answer these questions:

    What period in American history from our founding to the present do you believe most represents in principle and reality your ideals and why?

    1zb1


  203. @Otteray: Would it help to call it a war on terrorists?

    That is a specific target, certainly, it is people that use terror as a tactic. If you declare war on enslavement, you really mean slavers, right? If you declare a war on drugs, you really mean to fight drug dealers, or perhaps drug addiction, or both.

    I am not sure getting the grammar right helps, the problem is not in the grammar, it is in declaring a functionally endless war, or a war that can only be ended by a draconian police state that monitors and tracks everybody on the planet 24/7. A cure worse than the disease.

    In our lifetimes and for the foreseeable future beyond that, we will never be free of drug addiction, we will never be free of terrorism, we will never be free of corruption, or murder, or any other crime.

    Being specific about the target doesn’t help if there is no way to define victory against it. The administration does not WANT to be able to define victory against “terror,” they WANT an endless state of war so they have an endless excuse to exercise the oppressions, secrecy, and corruptions they can only justify in wartime. No-bid contracts to cronies? Hey, it is a matter of national security, so not only is it no-bid, it is Eyes Only, and you will be tried for treason if you try to leak it. Understand, soldier?


  204. […] Read more. Related Posts:Senate votes for indefinite detention of Americans by the US militaryObama is “against” indefinite detention (again)As he signs NDAA (whenever that is), Obama will issue a signing statement3 Big Lies about the military detention billVideo of Sen. Levin saying White House wanted fascist language in NDAA is FAKE! (D’oh!)Powered by Contextual Related Posts January 3, 2012   //   General   //   No Comments   //   […]


  205. @ OS “How do you declare war on an enemy that does not exist except in the minds of criminals and law enforcement?”

    Marketing fear and jingoism doesn’t seem all that hard; just need a sick and deluded and/or unprincipled group of “patriots” and some slick and similarly deluded and/or unprincipled ad men dressed up as messaging consultants, like the incomparably despicable Frank Luntz. Presto, you’ve go a plan that the public can hypnotically groove on for, well, we’ll see how long. Oh, and it of course helps to have a pathetic excuse for journalists.

    Ultimately it’s about playing on the primal fear of the unknown and integrating that fear within every policy issue and discussion, foreign and domestic. And, in the end, it trumps all other contributing ‘explanations’ for controlling policy. Even when ‘fear of terror’ doesn’t register all that high on the public radar, it is still a ‘safe’ cudgel to beat back competing ideas.

    Fact is, who can you name who is willing to debunk the really marginal reality to one’s vulnerability to “terror”, of the “serious” policy players? Until there is a message and a positive percentage in mouthing it — or some high profile type with extraordinary courage — no one will.
    .


  206. Tony, my point exactly. It is the militarization of law enforcement functions. That is a road we do not want to tread.

    While we are at it, they can declare War on Stupid People Who Shoot Into The Air, Reckless Drivers, Drunks, and so forth.

    Moving to an island off the coast of Scotland is looking better and better.


  207. Right. Fighting the “war on terror/terrorism” doesn’t mean winning it; it simply justifies it’s existence. Bush/Cheney were pretty candid, and I would say thrilled, about their being no definable end point. And now we all happily mouth “GWOT” as if it had some essential meaning; each disconnected data point can be used to gin up justification for the whole.


  208. But people did get sick of the wars and the lies for a while back in 2004-2007, with many people, actually a huge number world wide, protesting the illegal invasion of Iraq.

    I’m not certain that terror as it has been defined will keep working.

    However, authorities are really ramping up on “domestic terror”. DHS has scheduled a secret meeting on Jan. 12 to talk about ways of dealing with domestic terrorists (I believe they most likely mean OWS).

    Authorities are afraid. They are already using private armies to quell the protests. Did mespo and others forget that Blackwater was first on the scene in New Orleans and shot at least 4 people (that we know of)? Have people not seen the “police” who don’t have badges or any form of ID on them, (as they are legally required to have) clubbing people and making arrests? Who are they? What about the division of the army left on American soil to combat “civil unrest”. Finally, as others have observed, who needs a military when the police have been militarized?


  209. “Moving to an island off the coast of Scotland is looking better and better.” (Otteray Scribe)

    You’d miss your mountains and have to eat fish everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


  210. OS, DonS, Jill, Mike S, Blouise, Gene, Tony S, Bob, et als:

    No where in the discussed statutes is there deemed to be a “War on Terror” nor is detention conditioned on the end of the “War on Terror.” The hostilities refered to in the statute concern the conflict with the Taliban and al-Quaeda and state as such. OS’s point is a good one and points up the need for precise language in dealing with matters of state and law. Our war is with the Taliban, al-Quaeda and their affiliates and allies. When those hostilities end — and they will — those prisoners of war are entitled to release under the conditions of the surrender or principles of international law.


  211. OS: “Terrorism is a tactic. It is NOT an enemy. Declaring war on terror is like declaring war on a flanking action or war on aerial surveillance.”

    Precisely. My bad; I forgot to include that with gerund form of verb (terrorizing) and state of mind (terror).

    Tony C.: “If you declare war on enslavement, you really mean slavers, right? If you declare a war on drugs, you really mean to fight drug dealers, or perhaps drug addiction, or both.

    I am not sure getting the grammar right helps, the problem is not in the grammar, it is in declaring a functionally endless war…”

    Actually, it is by use of intentionally vague grammar that malignant disciples of Orwell create rhetorical devices to justify the existence of otherwise illegal and/or immoral policies.

    As DonS mentioned “Fighting the “war on terror/terrorism” doesn’t mean winning it; it simply justifies it’s existence.”

    Take for example the claim “They hate us for our freedoms.”

    Who are ‘they?’

    As Joesph Heller demonstrated so eloquently…

    Yossarian: Those bastards are trying to kill us.

    Dobbs: Who’s trying to kill you?

    Yossarian: Everyone of them.

    Dobbs: Everyone of who?

    Yossarian: Everyone of who you think.

    Dobbs: I haven’t any idea.

    Yossarian: Ah…then how do you know they aren’t?

    McWatt: What’s that called?

    Aarfy: Sophistry.

    =======

    And as to the kaleidoscopic frauds upon which these statutes are founded …

    “What right did they have?”
    “Catch-22. […] Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing. […] What does it mean, Catch-22? What is Catch-22?”
    “Didn’t they show it to you?” Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. “Didn’t you even make them read it?”
    “They don’t have to show us Catch-22,” the old woman answered. “The law says they don’t have to.”
    “What law says they don’t have to?”
    “Catch-22.”


  212. Naysayers are forever chiding “but when has the FBI ever knocked on your door”. Well it doesn’t take the actual experience of personal repression to mold one’s behavior; just the knowledge of the theoretical possibility is enough. As has been pointed out, with NDAA provisions, the mechanism is in place for actual action. A few well placed domestic “detentions” will drill the message home. Don’t get out of line. Preferably, don’t even think about getting out of line, but definitely don’t act on the thought.

    So I’d have to say, on balance, I’m not impressed by assurances that the NDAA doesn’t authorize my immediate detention (and I’m not so sure about that). I want to know the actual justification for why it goes as far as it does?


  213. @ mespo “The hostilities refered to in the statute concern the conflict with the Taliban and al-Quaeda and state as such.”

    I take your point. How broad or narrow is that distinction and what right, as an American citizen, do I have to challenge the interpretation when summarily snatched (a hypothetical of course).

    For example, I could say, “the Taliban’ is not our enemy, and they have a right to fight for what they want”. Or “al-Quaeda has various elements, some of whom are freedom fighters as much as [name you favorite]”. And I could get really heated about it, you know, like screw the US going around telling others how to live their lives. I wish “they” would kick our butt so the US gets it’s nose out of others business.

    And, you know, I could actually see myself thinking and saying such things only I’m afraid 1) I wouldn’t do it loudly, in public or the wrong people would hear and I could wind up snatched . . .

    Far fetched?


  214. ESTADO DE SITIO. THAT IS NOT A PERSONAL GAFFE. This institutional bipartisan decision marks the establishment in the USA of what we call in Latin America: ESTADO DE SITIO


  215. Mespo,

    You are just wrong. The president defines the war and the warriors. His minion Koh said it on tape and that’s what this whole law is pinned on. You may have noticed that no matter how many number 1,2 or 3s in al Qaeda, the “war” is never over. And since when do we blindly go after terrorists in a war instead of using law enforcement? You used to think that was wrong under Bush.

    Al-Qaeda also keeps changing location to wherever the govt. wants to go to war. The president (really the military/CIA/private contractors/military-financial complex) is using drones just about every day in at least 6 nations on his rational that he’s going after al -Qaeda and affiliates. All those civilians he keeps killing, including children, must be future affiliates because that’s whose getting killed.

    Check out what is being done to Omar Kadhr. It is not legal. Yet, Obama is doing these illegalities to Kadhr because he defines as a “terrist”, just like the “law” now says.


  216. “@Mike S: I believe that is a falsehood, please show us where Ron Paul ever supported the Iraq war, or the Patriot Act. He voted against the Patriot Act in 2001, again in 2005, and again just recently, and spoke out against it from its introduction as a violation of civil liberties.”

    Tony,

    It wasn’t a deliberate falsehood as in : “false·hood (fôls h d ). n. 1. An untrue statement; a lie. 2. The practice of lying. 3. Lack of conformity to truth or fact; inaccuracy”, it was a mistake. However,you are always precise in your verbiage so I’ll take it as the attack it was. Nevertheless, I was incontrovertibly wrong and I admit it. I confused his initial Afghan vote:
    http://www.thepoliticalguide.com/Profiles/House/Texas/Ron_Paul/Views/The_War_in_Afghanistan/ with Iran and that was wrong on my part and I admit. I was also dead wrong on his vote on the Patriot Act, with no excuses.

    Now it is possible that you might have cut me some slack and just said “Mike I think you made a mistake, which I would have admitted to as I do know, but
    I would guess you let your anger at being disagreed with slip and so you chose falsehood as a term of opprobrium. So be it.

    “To claim that Ron Paul was “for” these travesties is disingenuous at best; you are mis-remembering your history in the light of your prejudice against him.”

    I assume you mean disingenuous as in its common meaning below:

    “disingenuous – definition of disingenuous by the Free Online …
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/disingenuousdis·in·gen·u·ous (d s n-j n y – s). adj. 1. Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating: “an ambitious, disingenuous, philistine, and hypocritical operator, ..”

    However, beside that loaded word choice you also feel competent to judge me on a psychological basis and accuse me of prejudice. Funny that, since on another thread I defended you against an attack of your being prejudiced by 1zb1. Perhaps I should have chastised with “yon Tony is an honorable man” because in truth my political position on Obama is much closer to 1zb1 than yours. I don’t play like that Tony, so being accused of my being blinded by my political prejudice, does cause me to take offense, particularly when it is coming from someone against which were I of a mind to, I could label with the same blind prejudice against Obama. I don’t have to though, because as I have acknowledged many times before, that I can well understand why someone would resolve never to vote for Obama.

    “As for civil liberties, abortion remains an open question. Even I do not believe it is morally acceptable to abort a normally developed infant that can survive outside the womb a week before it would normally be born.”

    Pray tell Tony just how often does that scenario occur? That particular scenario doesn’t render abortion and “open question”.

    “If the mother is in grave danger, perhaps there is an exception”.

    Perhaps Tony? If it was a choice between my wife’s life and the fetuses life, I’m choosing my wife. That is the reason that may non-Catholics would never choose to give birth in Catholic Hospitals, where the choice was the fetus over the mother.

    Now let’s be clear here who exactly is being disingenuous. The abortion argument rarely concerns pregnancies beyond the first trimester. I know you have had some issues regarding the differences between the sexes from your involved discussions on other threads. Believe as you wish, but please don’t disabuse people’s intelligence when it comes to Ron Paul. He wants abortion ended. To me the very idea that the state can intervene to for a woman to carry a child to term is a heinous civil rights
    violation raking right up there with torture and preventive detention. I’ll tell you why tony for years my work dealt with the results of unwanted pregnancy’s and the lives wrecked by them. It is a crime against women to take control of their bodies, yet may a male ca twist it into a balancing act, because it’s not going to happen to him.

    “To claim a difference of opinion on abortion is evidence of a willingness to abrogate all our other rights is as silly as claiming that my disbelief in Gods is clear evidence that I have no moral compass, or I have no compassion, or I have an inherently evil nature.”

    To claim the right of the State to control a woman’s physical processes to such an extent that she is unable to abort an unwanted pregnancy is ample evidence to me of a willingness to abrogate other equally important rights and shows a blatant patriarchal disregard for women. I guess for you, unlike me, it is a viable position, perhaps because after all it is only about women and we know if the become pregnant unwittingly they’re probably sluts. Wasn’t it your opinion Tony that men have stronger sexual urges than women (or at least yearn for more partners)
    so these unwanted pregnancies no doubt only befall sluts, unusual in their sex drives.

    “Ron Paul’s abortion stance is rooted in his religious beliefs, mine is rooted in my non-religious and scientific beliefs.”

    So you’re fine with a Presidential candidate who is firm in his religious beliefs to the extent that he would want to impose them on people who don’t have the same beliefs? A interesting civil libertarian point of view to say the least.

    “I never read Ron Paul’s speech to the Birchers, but I would bet, that like most of his speeches, he believes the government is too big and too intrusive and needs to back off, which happens to be a component of what the Birchers believe.”

    Tony, as a scientist it would behoove you to do some research into just what the John Birch Society is. It is an avowedly racist and anti-Jewish organization that believes that society should be run by the most powerful, who by the dint of their wealth have been divinely chosen to lead. They are perhaps one of the most vile political groups in this country’s history. They are the equivalent of an upper class Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Paul was invited to and accepted the invitation to make a speech at a significant anniversary in their history. You simply shrug that off as accepting help where it is offered?

    “In that respect, Paul is no different than Obama or any other politician, talking to a group doesn’t make them a servant of that group,”

    This is not a mainstream group Tony. These are dangerous right wing radicals and most serious politicians wouldn’t be caught dead involved with them, except those of a like mind. You accuse me of drinking the Kool-Aid so to speak. You dismiss his vile newsletters, you make the JBS seem almost normal ad you find his anti-abortion stand acceptable. That’s the bed you make with Ron Paul Tony, lie in it. A song for you
    from someone old enough to have lived through an age where civil liberties were just as threatened:


  217. Funny how the Birchers seem to be making a comeback to respectability, or maybe never lost it, with some figures. Sort of like Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter trying to rehabilitate Joe McCarthy. What an age we live in.


  218. Mespo: “Our war is with the Taliban, al-Quaeda and their affiliates and allies. When those hostilities end — and they will — those prisoners of war are entitled to release under the conditions of the surrender or principles of international law.”

    Really?

    O’Connor: “Hamdi objects, nevertheless, that Congress has not authorized the indefinite detention to which he is now subject. The Government responds that “the detention of enemy combatants during World War II was just as ‘indefinite’ while that war was being fought.” Id., at 16. We take Hamdi’s objection to be not to the lack of certainty regarding the date on which the conflict will end, but to the substantial prospect of perpetual detention. We recognize that the national security underpinnings of the “war on terror,” although crucially important, are broad and malleable. As the Government concedes, “given its unconventional nature, the current conflict is unlikely to end with a formal cease-fire agreement.” Ibid. The prospect Hamdi raises is therefore not far-fetched.”


  219. The president has signed a law granting unconstitutional powers to the executive branch and has attempted to mollify his critics by simultaneously signing an unconstitutional signing statement promising never to use those unconstitutional powers. How comforting.


  220. mespo,

    I am attempting to take a reasoned approach to this matter and appreciate your learned opinion. I am not ignoring the concerns expressed especially by Bob, Gene, OS, and our host. I am also trying to keep the personal politics (Obama -v- Paul) on the back burner when contemplating this law.

    Following is an interesting article published approximately 4 hours ago.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/03/taliban-leaders-guantanamo-bay-deal


  221. @Mespo: And who do you think is the leader of the Taliban or Al Qaeda that speaks for all of them and can actually surrender and we can trust has the power to effect an end to all hostilities?

    There is none. These are not organized states, the administration can (and will) declare Al Qaeda as active for as long as they wish, and it is impossible to prove there are no Al Qaeda left anywhere in the world.


  222. http://balkin.blogspot.com/2012/01/ndaa-and-military-detention.html Discussion by Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the ACLU.


  223. I have more things to say on this topic, but I’ve been so angry about it that I can hardly think straight. Mespo, I appreciate your analysis, but the “war on terror” is a nonsensical phrase. We can, and do, call any concerted effort a war on something. We militarized what should have been handled as a law enforcement issue. Al Qaeda expressed hatred for our freedoms, so our response is to gradually abolish them. And those who say the new statute merely formalizes existing practices miss the point. We have created a situation in which the chief executive has the authority to determine in his or her discretion whether a citizen of this country has been providing “assistance” or “support” to terrorists. The Administration claims wide latitude in exercising that discretionary authority, which means that the executive branch gets to decide what constitutes “assistance” or “support,” which means that the executive branch has been granted legislative authority.

    The reference to Lincoln is also a red herring. The Constitution authorizes suspension of habeas corpus in the event of rebellion or invasion. The Civil War pretty easily fits into that provision, and Lincoln’s unilateral declaration was ratified by the Congress.


  224. i respect the man a little but he has dropped the ball here just as the ball was dropping in times square…


  225. mespo,

    I’m not saying you’re wrong as a matter of statutory analysis.

    I’m saying statutory analysis took on a whole new meaning after Bybee, Yoo and the Bush Administration got done with the idea.

    They’ve proven that any amount of contortion – even to the point of being prime facie absurd and/or ridiculous like the Yoo and Bybee memos – is an “appropriate tactic” when attempting to provide themselves the appearance of legality to avoid the consequences of their manifestly illegal acts.

    The NDAA’s wording just gives them a bigger box to twist in than the previous laws they’ve sought to circumvent. Your assumption that they’ll rely upon the traditional methods of statutory analysis and interpretation relies upon two implicit factors. 1) That they are ethical actors 2) interested in proper legal reasoning and analytical methodology.

    If the last two administrations have shown us anything about themselves and the corrupted Washington culture that is without doubt?

    It is that they are manifestly not ethical actors (let alone legal) and methodology be damned if they think the ends justifies the means.

    The sad thing about this scenario is that you are right as a matter of logic and legal reasoning on the issue of statutory analysis. Compounding the malaise though, I also think I’m right (and Bob if I may be so bold as to speak for him) in saying that a statute won’t change the likelihood of a bad outcome from the NDAA’s vaguely worded provisions based upon the already existing and known misdeeds of both the Bush and Obama administrations. No excuse or rationalization is too flimsy for the corporate puppets of either party in seeking to appease the wishes of their paymasters.


  226. This is not the first “war” we’ve fought against a disoganized terrorist organization. In 18th & 19th centuries we fought an ongoing series of sea battles with the Barbary Corsairs who terrorized the sea lanes of the Mediterranean for hundreds of years and captured hundred of thousands of sailors and impressed them into slavery. American administrations had paid tribute and ransomes to these pirates and at one point about 20% of the US budget was used to ransom captives. Jefferson eventually tired of these sea terrorists and sent armed ships of the line to quell these seizures on the high seas. These Barbary Wars seemed just a fomidable and unending as the current crisis but eventually a victory was achieved by James Madison in 1815 resulting in the signing of the Barbary Treaties. That episode led directly to the formation of the US Navy and gave birth to the very Ameican notion of “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.” The point of this history lesson is that wars against terrorists are nothing new and do eventually end. Hostilities with terrorists do cease,and prisoners of war are repatriated to their home countries. Some on the left may say they don’t but history says they do.


  227. That wasn’t a ball Obama dropped in Times Square in New York on New Year’s Eve; Look a little closer…. it was a drone.


  228. @Mike: Use definition 3. If I thought it was a LIE I would have said so, I thought it was absolutely false, and as I said, I thought your prejudice against Ron Paul was coloring your memory of his actions. Whether you take offense is your choice, it was not my intent. Obviously I am not talking about racial prejudice, but ideological prejudice, which I myself hold for many a Republican, free-marketer, blinkered Democrat and over-the-top supernaturalist.

    I am not chagrined to have such ideological prejudices, they are a natural consequence of learning a simple pattern: People that think like that do not think very well; clinging to those ideas despite logic and failure tells me something about the functionality of their brain.

    I can certainly understand holding a prejudice against Ron Paul, I hold one myself! The guy is intractably wrong, and intractably stubborn. He won’t see sense. He doesn’t back down. Which is why I think there is a chance he could save the country, because he is a rabid Constitutionalist and has proven himself so at every turn I have seen.

    *********
    Pray tell Tony just how often does that scenario occur?

    Statistics do not enter into my decision on morality, if a hypothetical is possible, and this one is, it must be answered. The question, IMO, is when does a fetus become a human? The answer, IMO, is when the cortex becomes operational; it is (IMO) what separates humans from animals.

    Perhaps Tony?

    As you acknowledge. But, okay, if it is GRAVE danger then no “perhaps” about it, it is the women’s choice. The gray area is in “danger,” all pregnancies carry danger, so I do not necessarily agree that a 1% risk of injury gives a women a 100% license to kill another human being. Once the fetus is a human, I think parental responsibility sets in and it is no longer just a part of her body she can do with as she pleases. It has become her dependent, and she can no more kill it, starve it, poison it or injure it than she can a born child.

    I do not believe in absolute choice for a full nine months no matter what, I believe in absolute choice during the first trimester, and that about halfway through a pregnancy choice begins to narrow rapidly, and there must be good rational reasons to terminate, not just “I don’t want to.”

    we know if the become pregnant unwittingly they’re probably sluts.

    My mother became pregnant unwittingly; by my father, when they were both 15. When they were married, he was still 15, but she had turned 16. Two of my younger sisters became pregnant unwittingly, at 16 and 15. Among the extended family I see every Christmas, seven women became pregnant at 15 or 16 unwittingly. They are not sluts. In every case, they were in love, and by their age I can tell you their frontal cortices were far from fully developed, so their impulse control in a heightened emotional state was essentially non-existent. I blame evolution, it is an idiot. (Plus all those offspring turned out awesome).

    who is firm in his religious beliefs to the extent that he would want to impose them on people who don’t have the same beliefs?

    No I am not. I am not “fine” with Ron Paul. I am less “fine” with Obama, Romney, Perry, Newt, or anybody else that has a chance.

    What I think is the damn house is on fire, and you want to negotiate with the firemen over the amount of water damage there will be on the couch. I do not think any setbacks in abortion rights Paul can plausibly accomplish will offset the good he can do in getting the police state and surveillance state and perpetual, secret war state under control if he had the power of the Presidency.


  229. And Gene I’m not saying you’re wrong either as I freely acknowlege bad men can do bad things in the face of and even under the auspices of good law. At the end of the day, however, cooler and more rational heads do prevail. Yoo and Bybee have been repudiated for their contorted legal analyses and the US government no longer adopts their reasoning. Logic does prevail so long as their are good men and women who recognize it as an imperative. I am not prepared to concede that everyone is corrupt and that everyone is out to dismantle the country. As our Marine commentator notes above that fear mongering is the province of our opponents on the right. We have laid claim to the territory around reason and logic, and I am unprepared to concede this high ground to speculation, emotion, and reckless supposition.


  230. I remember, occasionally, why I don’t practice law and why so much about ‘the law’ turned me off early on. God bless my parents. I stuck it out for them.

    But, still, to me, the ‘best’ are those who reduce things to the logical, the simple, the relevant, the probable.


  231. Jeez mespo, I’m glad you’re good with any amount of imprisonment without trial. That’s been working out so well for the people we’ve taken and tortured/killed.

    There is no war on terror. That is a tactic of the administration, not reality.


  232. MA: well I guess when foreigners under the direction of and with the aid and support of another country fly planes into the WTC that doesn’t count as a form of invasion in your book.

    “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” Article 1 Sec 9 USC.

    Oh, I forgot, they didn’t have planes back then and the enumerated powers didn’t mention planes so that doesn’t apply. (yes that is sarcasm)


  233. Jill:

    Like centuries of established law both here and abroad I have no problem with the detention of prisoners of war who have sworn to kill us until the end of hostilities. Likewise, I have no problem with denying prisoners of war access to US courts excepting only the right to fairly determine if they are, in fact, prisoners of war. These detainees are not being punished by their detention; they are being prevented from returning to the battlefield to kill, maim, and injur the young people of this country who’ve shown the courage to leave their homes and fight on freedom’s front line. So yes I have no issue with indefinite detention of our enemies without access to the legal remedies they profess to detest for as long as it takes to completely and utterly defeat them in battle or cowl them into submission. Do you? Really?


  234. mespo,

    I agree with all of that, however, I don’t think reasonable suspicion of a vague statute that could be used to rationalize some very bad and most unconstitutional acts is the equivalent of fear mongering. I think given recent history, it’s merely prudent.

    Let’s assume that Obama does nothing untoward with the wording found in the NDAA and leaves citizens unmolested. Do you trust any of the GOP crowd to do the same? Or a DNC challenger to Obama? Many of us hoped that Obama would roll back the steps the Bush Administration took toward creating a unitary executive. He made the right promises and he had the right background to understand the Constitutional and civil liberties danger that expansive executive power creates, yet he has run roughshod over the Separation of Powers Doctrine every bit as much as Bush did. Congress could do a lot to remedy the overreaching of power by the Executive from both parties (just like they could do something about the overreaching of SCOTUS in Citizens United), but considering the same political monied culture that created our Presidents creates our Representatives and Senators, I don’t see a lot of hope of Congress stepping up to the plate and acting as a check on the balance of powers. With a caveat. They might if something horrible enough happens, but by then, it may be too late. We’ve previously spoken at length about the malformed and self-servicing ego that politics attracts in these days of unlimited political spending. I think as a collective, Washington won’t overcome its inherent narcissism until reality gives them a substantive bloody nose as a wake up call – the question being whose blood and how much. Perhaps I just see a lot less logic in Washington than you do. But the NDAA? Speaking only for myself, fear isn’t my personal reaction, nor is that the what I wish to create in others.

    It’s not irrational fear I’m talking about.

    It’s reasonable skepticism.

    I don’t think of the NDAA as a moment to encourage emotionalism. Emotionalism is what got us into the PATRIOT Act in the first place. As you say, fear is the tactic of the right and it is a heinous and ill-considered tactic. But the NDAA can be a moment to encourage logic coupled with skepticism. A teaching moment. The right tools to keep from having the wool pulled over your eyes are reason and skepticism. However, fear (or any overly emotional response) clouds reason. There is nothing to fear here that didn’t exist before the NDAA was signed, but there is plenty to be skeptical of enough to merit vigilant attention to the consequences.


  235. DonS:

    “But, still, to me, the ‘best’ are those who reduce things to the logical, the simple, the relevant, the probable.”

    ****************************

    Kudos to your parents, and, with respect to your plea for simplicity in the understanding og life, I can only say, “If only it were true?”


  236. Gene:

    We can always agree on prudence in accepting history, skepticism of the ethics of our leaders, and the reasoned approach to defending our freedoms. Emotionalism has no place and its practitioners look small.


  237. Gene said:

    “[b]oth Halliburton and Blackwater fled the jurisdiction in what can only be described as a blatant flight from prosecution . . .”

    Indeed they did. Their coprporate offices moved to Dubai, if memory serves me right, in the waning days of the Bush administration.


  238. @ mespo “These detainees are not being punished by their detention; they are being prevented from returning to the battlefield to kill, maim, and injur the young people of this country who’ve shown the courage to leave their homes and fight on freedom’s front line.”

    We are now into sardonic, heavily bullshit realm. Whose chain are you trying to jerk?


  239. “The hostilities refered to in the statute concern the conflict with the Taliban and al-Quaeda and state as such.”

    The Taliban are our friends not our enemy.

    The Taliban are not our enemy, says Biden as U.S. prepares to negotiate prisoner transfer deal

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2076564/Taliban-enemy-says-Joe-Biden-US-negotiate-deal-end-Afghanistan-war.html


  240. And as such they shall be set free

    Taliban leaders held at Guantánamo Bay to be released in peace talks deal

    US agrees in principle to releasing top officials from Afghanistan insurgent group in exchange for starting process of negotiations

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/03/taliban-leaders-guantanamo-bay-deal


  241. And for all those who disprove of Obama, I say you are all a bunch of racist who cant stand that a black man is in the White House.


  242. “And for all those who disprove of Obama, I say you are all a bunch of racist who cant stand that a black man is in the White House.”

    Now there’s an irrefutable statement!

    In my actual opinion, we’re all prejudiced in some way but you make even this tautology questionable.


  243. mespo,

    You believe what the administration tells you? That every person we have captured and detained is guilty? You must know by now that is an absolute lie. The US govt. has detained the innocent. That’s the truth. It still detains the innocent.

    Please have the courage to read Andy Worthington on Omar Kadhr, child soldier. His imprisonment was not and is not lawful. The US govt. is detaining and torturing people who are innocent in Afghanistan, in the black prison. Some of these people got out and have spoken out. The US govt. has allocated 100 billion just recently to a private contractor to expand the black prison. People who go there have no way of proving their innocence. That’s not what our nation should be about, not ever.


  244. OT on the Iowa caucuses:

    Robert Reich
    @RBReich Robert Reich

    “Waiting for the results the #iacaucus is like waiting at the airport for someone you don’t know, don’t care about, and believe is deranged.”


  245. anon nurse, A three way tie so far.


  246. Jill:

    “You believe what the administration tells you? That every person we have captured and detained is guilty? You must know by now that is an absolute lie. The US govt. has detained the innocent. That’s the truth. It still detains the innocent.”

    *************************

    Not sure where you’re getting your information but I suggest you read Boumediene v. Bush (2008) where the SCOTUS specifically held that detainees were entitled to habeas relief despite the prohibition of the revised Military Commissions Act of 2006. This case along with Rasul v. Bush (2004)(Rasul was released, by the way) clearly establish the rights of detainees to have access to American courts to determine their status as prisoners of war. To give you some perspective this was a right denied to German prisoners in the good ol’ days of WW2.

    As to these allegations of “black prisons” where the US unlawfully detains persons, I say these extraordinary claims will require extraordinary proof before I find anyone guilty of intentionally abridging anyone’s rights.

    Please know the left can be every bit as dogmatic and obfuscating as the right.


  247. DonS:

    “@ mespo “These detainees are not being punished by their detention; they are being prevented from returning to the battlefield to kill, maim, and injur the young people of this country who’ve shown the courage to leave their homes and fight on freedom’s front line.”

    We are now into sardonic, heavily bullshit realm. Whose chain are you trying to jerk?”

    ************************

    Not trying to jerk anyone’s chain, just explaining the law of war to you. Let me know if want the cites.


  248. I see that in Iowa right now at 9:52 EST, the Frothy Mix, the Hair and the Old Doc are all tied at 23% each with the Serial Adulterer coming in at 13%. Cowboy Fighter Pilot is at 10% and Manic Grin is last among the actives at 5%


  249. mespo, I guess it was just the glutenous prose that led me to suspect irony. No idea you were informing on the law of war, such as it is.

    BTW, since the US seems committed to excuse enhanced interrogation, I wonder if the law of war, detention, etc., even applies to us anymore.


  250. Addnote: Those figures are with almost a third of the caucuses reporting.


  251. 46% in – Santorum @ 24%


  252. http://my.firedoglake.com/shahidbuttar/2012/01/03/what-comes-next-the-future-of-the-ndaa/

    Excerpt:

    This is the final part of a 3-part FAQ about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that began with Another Assault in the Dead of Night and continued with Torture Enabling Expanded Detention.

    The first installment explained how the NDAA could be used as a tool for political repression, especially in concert with parallel powers expanded by the PATRIOT Act, and upheld by the Supreme Court, that apologists for the NDAA have generally ignored.

    The second installment explained how our nation’s failure to pursue accountability for torture enabled the NDAA’s passage, and also portends the recurrence of torture under the domestic military detention regime the NDAA has authorized. It concluded by noting that torture could create artificial legitimacy for military detention by coercing confessions from whomever is subjected to it.

    Put simply, allowing torturers to go free created the conditions to politically whitewash abuses whose predictable recurrence the NDAA will enable. When torture recurs, it will in turn confer false legitimacy on a profoundly un-American system and undermine political will to restore limits on our government’s power, however deviously it may develop in the future.


  253. Great update anon nurse! I agree that the big mistake was not punishing torture.


  254. With 60 percent in Santorum -25 Romney – 23 Paul – 21 Santorum only spent $120,000


  255. SwM,

    Please let it be The Frothy Mix. The fall election would be like shooting at a stationary target.


  256. OS, Hope so, It has tightened again for Romney and Santorum. Third place has now been called for Paul. I think the publicity Paul received during the last week kept some democrats from turning out for him.


  257. SM,

    Does it matter?

    The rap on Iowa: it doesn’t represent the rest of the country – too white, too evangelical, too rural.

    -NBC News Andrea Mitchell


  258. puzzling, You are lowering expectations. lol. Santorum is ahead by 13.


  259. Rand Paul does not look too happy……….


  260. Sixty three years ago in 1948 the International Declaration of Human Rights were promulgated and subsequently adopted by almost all nations on the planet including the USA. Here are the Articles:

    Article 1

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    Article 2

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

    Article 3

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Article 4

    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

    Article 5

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Article 6

    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

    Article 7

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

    Article 8

    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

    Article 9

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

    Article 10

    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

    Article 11

    (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

    Article 12

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    Article 13

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Article 14

    (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    Article 15

    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

    Article 16

    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    Article 17

    (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

    Article 18

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

    Article 19

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Article 20

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

    Article 21

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

    Article 22

    Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

    Article 23

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

    Article 24

    Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

    Article 25

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

    Article 26

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    Article 27

    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

    Article 28

    Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

    Article 29

    (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    Article 30

    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

    From the foregoing enumerated rights the following are violated by President Obama, the Congress and the American people by the provisions of the NDAA which provide for the detention of persons without charges and without any recourse: 2, 3, 5, 6 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 30.


  261. The whole bunch of them are radioactive for anyone with half a brain and a grain of sense. The theme song for the lot of them should be, ‘Send in the Clowns.’


  262. SM,

    I made my prediction back in November, here.


  263. puzzling, Maybe not Rubio but Martinez of New Mexico.


  264. SM,

    We have agreement… finally. Martinez is a very strong possibility for VP.


  265. I am with OS. None of the current Republicans presidential candidates are worthy of the White House.


  266. liberty1st:

    I find it telling that no place in your diatribe against the American people and its leaders do you mention the Taliban or al-Quaeda as violators of the International Declaration of Human Rights. I wonder if you can name another nation who after subjugating a tyrant and installing self determination among an oppressed people withdrew its troops without exacting a toll in tribute. One of the marks of credibility is acknowledgement of actions that don’t fit your paradigm; one of the marks of fanaticism is failure to do so.


  267. Jill:

    Khadr pled guilty to the murder of combat medic Christopher Speer and was represented by counsel in a plea deal. He admitted extensive knowledge of his father’ support of al-Quaeda and apologized to Speer’s widow at trial though he showed no signs of remorse for killing her husband. Speer, by the way, had won a citation for just 2 weeks before his death for saving two Afghan children trapped in a minefield. Khadr, a Canadian citizen then age 14, was captured on a battlefield in Afghanistan following a four hour firefight. If your looking for sympathy from me for abuses he allegedly suffered while in captivity after tossing the grenade that mortally wounded a genuine American hero, please know I’m fresh out after using it on Mrs. Speer and her two young children.


  268. Jonathan:
    I think that this New Years post needs a new post along the topics raised. I represent two sets of clients. Honus Wagner and Mrs. al-Malawki.
    Both are fictional but have the following facts:
    Honus Wagner is locked up at a jail in Yemen run by an American company called Halliburton at the behest of the USA government and wants release.
    Yemen is not a signatory to the International Court of the Hague. Neither is the USA. Honus has a brother sitting in my office and we want to bring an action to release him and an action to sue those responsible for his damages. Honus is a citizen of California. I intend to sue the United States, Halliburton, Dick Cheney as an agent of Halliburton, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, and 1985(3) and the violations of civil rights thereof including violations of the 1948 Treaty signed by the U.S. for human rights violations. I seek damages and injunctive relief in the form of release. I claim that any deeense that abstention applies because I seek equitable relief of a criminal prosecution is not applicable because there is no criminal prosecution and I am seeking relief under the treaty as well as section 1983. I also have a habeas corpus pleading ready to go.
    Readers please chimne in on the following issues which I know that you are interested in: venue, which court of appeals would I want to be in? Ninth Circuit? Why not the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals? This is going to end up in a U.S. Court of Appeals why not another one than the 9th or DC? Too many judges on the DC Circuit have aspirations to sit on the Supreme Court and do not want to offend the President or his successor?
    Claims and theories: Is Section 1983 and the conspiracy provisions of section 1985(3) applicable where the victim is in a foreign spot (can not call it a country) called Yemen? What about the defenses raised under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 which purport to justify detention forever, without charge, without notice, in secret, in Yemen, against anyone, citizen or not? Are Treaty provisions applicable in U.S. District Court whether in conjunction with sectin 1983 or standing alone?
    What other legs do I have to sue for release and damages?

    Second plaintiff. Mrs. al Mawlaki is fictional. She is a citizen of California and so was her husband who was admitttedly killed by a U.S. Drone in Yemen purposely and the action was admitted by the President of the United States. Mrs. al wants to sue for damages and to sue everyone she can nail. Same issues as above except she doesnt seek release (husband is dead) or injunctive relief for dead H, but she has a son in Yemen at risk and seeks injunctive relief.

    Jonathan, the holiday topics of music and good cheer are behind us and I would think that these topics deserve an airing. Excuse the typos.


  269. […] the theGuardian.uk web site.  From there I saw that the Guardian had gotten this information from John Turley’s blog post.  I even found this information at the Huffington Post.  Where is the outrage from the Civil […]


  270. mespo,

    You know that Kadhr pled that deal so he could at least return to Canada, not because it was the truth. He was to have been released to Canadian authorities in Oct as part of the deal Obama forced him to take. Obama has yet to release him.

    Obama further violated the laws of war by prosecuting a child soldier in the first place. You did not support such things under Bush. What happened?


  271. mespo,

    I suggest you look up Scahill on black prisons. This is well known to people who don’t turn away from the truth. As a bonus, here’s a link to another of our black sites (there are many more):

    http://www.thenation.com/article/161936/cias-secret-sites-somalia

    Telling the truth is not being dogmatic, it is telling the truth. I believe you are not willing to face the truth. That is a form of intellectual cowardice that has real consequences for the lives of others.


  272. Khadr was captured in 2002 at the age of 15. How is Obama responsible for capturing him?


  273. S>M.,

    Obama was responsible to release him. Instead, he refused to follow the law and kept a child soldier imprisoned. He also refused to investigate the torture of Kadhr and continued his torture under his presidency. Even now, Obama is refusing to follow the law in abiding by the terms of Kadhr’s plea deal.


  274. […] New Year’s, President Obama was happily signing the National Defense Authorization Act (as Jonathan Turley discusses here). As you may recall, the NDAA contains a hilarious provision that requires anyone accused of […]


  275. OT:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/iowa-the-meaningless-sideshow-begins-20120103

    Excerpt:

    …as Dylan Ratigan continually points out, is that the candidate who raises the most money wins an astonishing 94% of the time in America.

    That damning statistic just confirms what everyone who spends any time on the campaign trail knows, which is that the presidential race is not at all about ideas, but entirely about raising money.

    The auctioned election process is designed to reduce the field to two candidates who will each receive hundreds of millions of dollars apiece from the same pool of donors. Just take a look at the lists of top donors for Obama and McCain from the last election in 2008.

    Obama’s top 20 list included:

    Goldman Sachs ($1,013,091)
    JPMorgan Chase & Co ($808,799)
    Citigroup Inc ($736,771)
    WilmerHale LLP ($550,668)
    Skadden, Arps et al ($543,539)
    UBS AG ($532,674), and…
    Morgan Stanley ($512,232).


  276. @mespo: Anybody might plead guilty after spending nearly a decade in prison being illegally tortured. It would hardly surprise me if a person failed to show remorse when apologizing for something he knows he did not do, but was told by a lawyer it was the only way to ever leave Guantanamo.

    The facts of his capture, the lack of evidence, his imprisonment for years, the reports of torture and deprivation at Guantanamo, all of that is enough to doubt his “confession.”

    If we can PROVE somebody is guilty we have the responsibility to do that, and we did not. If we cannot PROVE somebody is guilty we let them go, that is the system of law the Founders intended, because they understood the slippery slope of letting the government just imprison people without proof or evidence. it is precisely that sort of Imperial decree of guilt they were trying to avoid, and they decided (I think rightly) it was morally better to let the suspected-guilty walk than to imprison the innocent.

    The same thing applies here. If you are so certain Khadr is guilty, where is your proof? Hearsay? His confession after being waterboarded and threatened with life imprisonment? Your blind trust in an Administration that has provably lied to us, on exactly this topic, innumerable times?

    That attitude is precisely what has destroyed this country, blind fear and swallowing propaganda whole.

    That system of the founders is one more thing Obama destroyed. Here is his system, laid out before us in a public speech:

    1) If we can convict them in court, we will try them in court.
    2) If we cannot convict them in court, we will try them in a military tribunal.
    3) If there isn’t enough evidence to convict them in a military tribunal, we will just hold them indefinitely.

    In other words, no matter what, proof or not, the prisoners are in jail for life, and there is no way out. No trial, No proof? No problem. And what once applied only to Guantanamo detainees now applies to all citizens, all the President need do is decree a citizen to be an enemy combatant, accomplice, supporter, or sympathizer with Al Qaeda. No evidence? No proof? No problem, they aren’t allowed any defense. Or maybe like Khadr, if they somehow get some publicity, they will someday get an attorney with a career in and paid by the very organization that is imprisoning them, to encourage them to make a false confession.

    That is the system you endorse, blind faith in proven liars.


  277. Elaine, Thanks for posting the Scahill interview.


  278. This is what it will look like when he decides you are a threat.


  279. anon nurse, I guess we will have president Romney, then. Wall St. now prefers him and so do the Super Pacs. Santorum spent very little and tied in Iowa. He and Gingrich are combining to stop Romney. Paul underperformed. Think that independents and democrats were turned off by the newsletters and did not show up for him..


  280. Bdaman:

    was that missile from Home Land Security?

    Are we still considered racists if we dont like the President’s policies?

    NDAA – National Dictator Authorization Act


  281. Two key words from the RT interview with Scahill:

    blowback and radicalization


  282. The way to get a good candidate elected is to: 1. stop supporting a bad one and 2. get moving in supporting a genuinely good candidate

    Anyone who wants to do this can do it. There is the Green Party and the Justice Party. No one can tell you you can’t vote for them because they don’t have money or press coverage. Citizens can vote for whomever they want.

    Most importantly is to take note of what is occurring right now and oppose it. Unless you are for imprisonment without trial, then don’t support it. Speak out. Even if you will get arrested, have the courage to speak out.

    Those who do support imprisonment without trial are under no obligation to pretend otherwise and should continue to support Obama and any other candidate on the far right who agrees with this position.


  283. Not voting for the 1 or 2 percenters, That enables Gordon Gecko Romney to win. Did not voter for Nader in 2000, either. If christo fascist Santorum prevails which is probably unlikely, I still won’t vote for the 1 or 2 percenters.


  284. …but everyone knows that in the end, once the primaries are finished, we’re going to be left with one 1%-approved stooge taking on another. -Matt Taibbi

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/iowa-the-meaningless-sideshow-begins-20120103#ixzz1iVDsGvk5

    Excerpt:

    …but everyone knows that in the end, once the primaries are finished, we’re going to be left with one 1%-approved stooge taking on another.

    Most likely, it’ll be Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama, meaning the voters’ choices in the midst of a massive global economic crisis brought on in large part by corruption in the financial services industry will be a private equity parasite who has been a lifelong champion of the Gordon Gekko Greed-is-Good ethos (Romney), versus a paper progressive who in 2008 took, by himself, more money from Wall Street than any two previous presidential candidates, and in the four years since has showered Wall Street with bailouts while failing to push even one successful corruption prosecution (Obama).

    There are obvious, even significant differences between Obama and someone like Mitt Romney, particularly on social issues, but no matter how Obama markets himself this time around, a choice between these two will not in any way represent a choice between “change” and the status quo. This is a choice between two different versions of the status quo, and everyone knows it.

    The real fight against the status quo is coming in places like the Supreme Court of Montana, which with this recent ruling correctly identified the real battle lines in the upcoming political season by boldly rejecting the concept of unlimited corporate campaign spending.

    It’s coming in places like the courthouse of federal Judge Jed Rakoff, who recently rejected a dirty settlement deal between the SEC and Citigroup. It’s on the streets in the OWS protests and even in the Tea Party, which in recent years unseated countless Republican party lifer-stooges over their support of the bailouts (like Utah Senator Robert Bennett, who was hounded at a party convention with chants of “TARP, TARP, TARP!”).

    This widespread and growing movement against the twin corrupting influences of money on our politics and state patronage on big business is going on everywhere – on the streets, in these courthouses, in the homes of people refusing to move after foreclosure, even in the antitax movements and the campaigns against state pensions.

    The only place we can be absolutely sure this battle will not be found is in any national presidential race between Barack Obama and someone like Mitt Romney.

    The campaign is still a gigantic ritual and it will still be attended by all the usual pomp and spectacle, but it’s empty. In fact, because it’s really a contest between 1%-approved candidates, it’s worse than empty – it’s obnoxious.

    It was always annoying when these two parties and the slavish media that follows their champions around for 18 months pretended that this was a colossal clash of opposites. But now, with the economy in the shape that it’s in thanks in large part to the people financing these elections, that pretense is more than annoying, it’s offensive.

    And I imagine that the more they try to play up the drama of these familiar-but-empty campaign rituals, the more irritating to the public it will all become. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, before the season is out, the campaign itself will become a hated symbol of the 1% — with the conventions and the networks’ broadcast tents outside the inevitable “free speech zones” attracting protests the same way the offices of Chase and Bank of America did this fall.

    Or maybe not, we’ll see. In any case, the dreary campaign to choose the next imperial administrator — the One Percent-Off, let’s call it — starts tonight. It’s the same old ritual, but I just don’t think it’s going to fly the same way this time around. (end of excerpt)


  285. Boy, you really are a screamer, aren’t you?

    “Your blind trust in an Administration that has provably lied to us, on exactly this topic, innumerable times? That attitude is precisely what has destroyed this country, blind fear and swallowing propaganda whole. ”

    So if people don’t believe the world is quite as simple minded as your 4 year old’s view of reality it means they “blindly trust” and “swallow propaganda whole”? I can tell you this much, I definitely don’t blindly trust you. You are what is known as a 5th column (willfully or otherwise).

    Perhaps you would care to enlighten everyone exactly what was the period of time you refer to before the country was destroyed by “that attitude” ? When exactly was the idealized world you refer to that is now being destroyed?

    And of course do you have all the facts to make your pronouncements? You believe nothing you hear from “government” and everything from anyone who criticizes what you already hate.

    I hate to remind you, that even in the constitution they foresaw the possibility that life was a sometimes more complicated then what you are apparently capable of understanding. They actually gave the president this power. Every 4 years the rest of us can then decide whether or not he/she used it wisely and for good purpose or not, including the fact that even with the best intention justice sometimes fails so you try and fix it (even through the supposed justice system mistakes are made).

    Fact is you don’t want to fix it, you don’t even care about reality. You are not interested in less government or better government. What you want is no government. (Hate to tell you but you can kiss that disability claim of yours good bye in your world)

    Don’t forget the question; just when was that world you admire so much that is now being destroyed by Obama and everyone’s ignorance but yours? Are you really that full of yourself or that deep in your neurosis to image that if people don’t believe the government blew up the world trade center or every other government conspiracy floating in your mind that they can not still have a healthy caution about “government” and politicians.


  286. S.M.,

    You support far right positions so your vote for Obama makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is your criticism of other voters who also support the same right wing positions. But, carry on!


  287. anon nurse,

    That is such an excellent summation of the situation. Thanks for posting it!


  288. Jill, Could you be specific about what far right positions that I take?


  289. It’s a mistake to blame Obama for this.

    This new authoritarianism won’t have a charismatic leader.

    We’ll be subject to the machinery of law; our citizenship will be taken from us, and we’ll become recognizable only as consumers, defined by the new scientifically adjusted corporatist feudalism.

    There is no Mao, no Stalin, no Hitler anymore. The very institution of government is turned against the citizenry.


  290. Jill, You are the one that previously expressed support for both Erik Erickson and the tea party. I don’t want to dig out the quotes but I can.


  291. I received a belated reply from Sen Webb regarding the NDAA to a message from my message prior to the NDAA vote. The ‘meat’ of his stock reply is this:

    “I share your concerns with these provisions. There are serious constitutional issues at play regarding broadly-defined military operations inside the United States, and there is a long and uncomfortable history among other countries that have taken this kind of approach. We need to be very clear. We must very narrowly define how the military would be used and–quite frankly–if it should be used at all inside our borders. I would note that my concerns in this regard were almost universally shared by our nation’s military, law enforcement and intelligence leadership.

    “It is for this reason that I cosponsored an amendment introduced by Senator Udall which would have stripped these provisions from the bill, and instead require a joint report from the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General regarding the appropriate role of the Armed Forces of the United States in detention and prosecution. Unfortunately, this amendment was defeated by a vote of 38-60.

    “As your representative in the Senate and in my role on the Senate Armed Services Committee, please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as the Senate continues to debate military detention policy. . . ”

    He doesn’t address the detention of citizens without trial per se. Nor of course does he say that in the end he voted for the bill and why.

    Clearly, though, he has some concerns. This is not something simply lefty, pinko, anarchistic, hand wringing progressives are dreaming up.


  292. Jill, You have even made disparaging comments about Elizabeth Warren. I realize a lot of Paul supporters are having a bad day but it is not my problem. Good day.


  293. SwM,

    Interesting percentages in Iowa. Paul certainly improved his numbers over ’08 and Romney with his first place finish was less than 1% higher than his second place finish in ’08. Of course Iowa is no real predictor as the eventual nominee in ’08, McCain, only got 13%.

    The ticket this time around will be similar to any other year … organization.

    In checking other blogs I find a cute little trick being put into play by republican operatives … calling Obama supporters far right. Obama has co-opted republicans on both the tax and national defense issues which leaves them holding a somewhat empty bag. It’s a cute little spin.


  294. Blouise, interesting………..


  295. Bachmann Just dropped out.If you combine Perry’s and Bachmann’s votes, there is another 15 percent for Santorum.


  296. “It’s often safer to be in chains than to be free.”
    -Franz Kafka

    We have been opting for safety since September 12, 2001.


  297. @1zb1: I see little point in discussing anything with a person that begins and ends with categorical claims about my character they cannot possibly know. You are a liar.

    For the benefit of others, I will point out your question is a transparently inept trap, I imagine you secretly think you will pounce the minute somebody answers it.

    Name any historical year, and there are injustices to be found there. Persecutions and subjugations of a race, a gender, a religion. Cronyism and corruptions of government at the Federal, state and local levels. Racial inequality, bigotry, subjugation, endangerment, sociopathic corporations or police or the military out of control, secret wars and profiteering. THAT is what 1zb1 intends to pounce upon. If you cite a period as having the right approach for government, he will accuse you of supporting whatever was most despicable about the time. As if the two are inevitably linked, and they are not. We can have a social safety net without a gigantic military. We can have a robust economy without waging secret wars or granting immunity to banksters or secretly exploiting coerced labor overseas. We can have a less corrupt government without engaging in slavery or systemic racism.

    The horrific policies of any given time are not a necessary part of the laudable policies of that time. The Glass-Steagal act was a good in itself, it neither produced nor supported the blatant racism, misogyny, or religious bigotry and status quo white male supremacy of the 30’s, when it was passed.

    Thus there is no period that can be safely named. The past informs us, of both the best and the worst that can be done, so we can craft a more ideal future. The past cannot be changed. The future can, and we have already seen where unfettered dictatorial powers of indefinite detention without charges or trial and execution by decree will lead, and it is not freedom.


  298. Since the Iowa primary has gotten weaved into this thread, here’s a good look at the situation from Marcy Wheeler with a focus on, well, several things including Ron Paul as a useful foil to expose other candidates:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/01/03/crackpots-dont-make-good-messengers/


  299. […] for New Year's, President Obama was happily signing the National Defense Authorization Act (as Jonathan Turley discusses here). As you may recall, the NDAA contains a hilarious provision that requires anyone […]


  300. A bit of good news? (Blouise, Your thoughts on Cordray?)

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/defying-republicans-obama-to-name-cordray-as-consumer-agency-chief/?hp

    “In December, Mr. Cordray’s nomination was rejected after Democrats failed to achieve the 60 votes they needed to move his nomination forward.

    The power struggle between the financial sector and its check-cashing, card-carrying customers has developed into one of the fault lines along which the political parties are playing out their own rivalries as the election year arrives.

    Mr. Cordray is a former attorney general of Ohio noted for his aggressive investigations of mortgage foreclosure practices. Currently in charge of enforcement at the consumer agency, he was nominated in July to lead it.

    Previous opposition from Republicans led to the withdrawal of Elizabeth Warren from consideration for the post. She is a Harvard law professor who was the driving force behind the agency’s creation and is now a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Massachusetts.”


  301. Mike Appleton: “We have created a situation in which the chief executive has the authority to determine in his or her discretion whether a citizen of this country has been providing “assistance” or “support” to terrorists. The Administration claims wide latitude in exercising that discretionary authority, which means that the executive branch gets to decide what constitutes “assistance” or “support,” which means that the executive branch has been granted legislative authority.”

    Mike A.,

    As always, I concur with your straight forward meat and potatoes analysis above.

    The expansive discretionary power granted to the executive within the NDAA serves no purpose other than to decimate the separation of powers doctrine by enabling the executive to undermine the constitution in the very manner described by John Locke:

    To wit: “When the governor, however intitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule; and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion.”

    http://constitution.org/jl/2ndtr18.htm


  302. anon nurse,

    I have had several official dealings with Mr. Cordray when he was Atty. General here though none of them were in regards to consumers but were mainly issues regarding Civil Service matters. He did have a consumer-oriented focus as state attorney general.

    I liked him. He’s politically savvy meaning he won’t be flummoxed by that cesspool that is inside the Beltway and he also has strong ethics. He can be one tough cookie. It’s a good appointment.


  303. http://www.abajournal.com/blawg100

    There’s a winner? (We know who the winner is no matter what the final vote count is…, but the Turley Blawg appears to have the highest number of votes — 425…


  304. Thanks for your insights, as always, Blouise. Maybe we’ll start to see some of the “change” that we were promised…


  305. anon nurse,
    Good news on the recess appointment. and I hope the Turley Blog gets its title as No. 1!


  306. Rick Santorum would be a fine president, wouldn’t he?

    *****
    Rick Santorum’s Top 10 Most Outrageous Campaign Statements

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/01/04/397355/rick-santorums-top-10-most-outrageous-campaign-statements/

    Excerpt:
    1) ANNUL ALL SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: Arguing that gay relationships “destabilize” society, Santorum wouldn’t offer any legal protections to gay relationships and has pledged to annul all same-sex marriages if elected president. During his 99-country tour of Iowa, Santorum frequently compared same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs, beer, and paper towels and even tried to blame the economic crisis on gay people. As Santorum explained back in August, religious people have a constitutional right to discriminate against gays: “We have a right the Constitution of religious liberty but now the courts have created a super-right that’s above a right that’s actually in the Constitution, and that’s of sexual liberty. And I think that’s a wrong, that’s a destructive element.”

    3) CONTRACEPTION IS ‘A LICENSE TO DO THINGS’: Santorum has pledged to repeal all federal funding for contraception and allow the states to outlaw birth control, insisting that “it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

    4) GAY SOLDIERS ‘CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR PEOPLE LIVING IN CLOSE QUARTERS’: During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in October, Santorum defended his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by arguing that gay soldiers would disrupt the military because “they’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.” He also suggested that “there are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore.”

    5) OBAMA SHOULD OPPOSE ABORTION BECAUSE HE’S BLACK: During an appearance on Christian television in January, Santorum said he was surprised that President Obama didn’t know when life began — given his skin color. “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people,” he explained.

    6) WE DON’T NEED FOOD STAMPS BECAUSE OBESITY RATES ARE SO HIGH: Speaking in Le Mars, Iowa in December, Santorum promised to significantly reduce federal funding for food stamps, arguing that the nation’s increasing obesity rates render the program unnecessary.

    7) ABORTION EXCEPTIONS TO PROTECT WOMEN’S HEALTH ARE ‘PHONY’: While discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban in June, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony.” “They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective,” he said.


  307. SwM,

    Santorum’s problem is similar to Newt’s … no real organization on the ground.

    These primaries are mainly used by candidates to fine tune their organizations. Rather like taking a play on the road to do the rewrites and work out the kinks before going to Broadway. Romney and Paul have the best organizations … Santorum’s is almost nonexistent and he isn’t even entered in some states.

    Think back to ’08 and the contest between the Obama and Clinton organizations. Obama siphoned off many of the old Bill Clinton people who became part of his machine. Hillary’s people kept mis-stepping whereas Obama’s just got stronger and stronger.

    I really think, and it has nothing to do with the Paul supporters on this blog, that Paul would provide the greater challenge to Obama in the general election. The Republican Party won’t let that happen because he doesn’t tow the Republican line but if they did permit it, Obama would be in real trouble and actually have to work to get re-elected.


  308. Blouise, Paul needed democratic crossovers to win. Most could not stomach crossing over because of his bigotry.


  309. Bob, Esq.:

    That was a very timely cite to Locke. Of course, Congress has been ceding authority to the executive branch for years, primarily to avoid responsibility for tough decisions in my view. Based upon today’s news regarding Cordray, it appears that the President can only abuse his authority by making recess appointments.


  310. Elaine, I liked your post on Santorum. I find it especially appropriate that his comments on obesity were delivered to a gathering of Les Martians.


  311. SwM,

    But he’d get them never-the-less because so many democrats are pissed off. Emotion drives voters all the time. Just read postings on this blog.

    Besides, if we are really honest about it … there are a lot of racists and anti-women in this country. Romney is closeted on both issues but Paul is out there. The debate would be focused and, in my opinion, good for the country. (With Romney there will be no real debating and everyone will pretend the problems that truly divide us don’t exist.) Of course I’m a realistic idealist and have to laugh at myself because I know it’s been decades since either the Republican or Democratic Party have honestly contemplated “what is good for the Country”. It’s mainly, how do we get power and how do we keep power.

    It’ll be Romney -v- Obama and Obama will ho-hum himself to victory.

    Interesting side note … Romney’s organization is doing to Paul’s organization what Obama’s did to Hillary’s … making their supporters strident.


  312. Bob,Esq.,

    The Locke quote and the manner in which you placed it … highly persuasive.

    I’ve been thinking about this law so much that my head hurts.


  313. “S.M.,
    You support far right positions so your vote for Obama makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is your criticism of other voters who also support the same right wing positions. But, carry on!”

    “[Mespo]
    Telling the truth is not being dogmatic, it is telling the truth. I believe you are not willing to face the truth. That is a form of intellectual cowardice that has real consequences for the lives of others.”

    I must say that I stand with the “far right” SwM and the “intellectual coward Mespo. My problem is that I remember the 60’s Movement very well having been a part of it. There were a certain small group of pro civil rights, anti war people who were just as intolerant as Nixon’s “Silent Majority”. Had they gained power they would have been no better than those they decried. There were roughly three distinct strains to this collection of “radicals”. The first were the true believers like the Mao’ists and Trotskyites. The second were those that believed society (the government) would have to collapse and things get so bad for people, that they would violently revolt. The third were mostly interested in maintaining their “political purity” thereby smugly believing themselves better than others less “committed”. In truth there was sometimes overlapping of these strains.

    The common factor though was their inability to do the one thing that they were always exhorting others to do: Organize. They failed primarily because their smug, self-satisfaction turned off people who were potential allies. They did manage to have enough impact on the Left to ensure Richard Nixon’s election over Humphrey because after all “both of them are the same”. How quickly they forgot Humphrey’s history as a courageous champion of civil rights at the 1948 Democratic Convention. So they kept may people sitting on their hands, or voting third party and Richard Nixon came in.

    The Viet Nam war was only four years old at the time, but under Nixon it lasted an additional seven years. It was escalated; more troops were sent and died; Cambodia and Laos were invaded; and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were killed and maimed. On the home front the murders at Kent State and the spreading of Cointelpro helped wipe out both the Civil Rights and the Anti-War movements. The former assisted by flooding Black areas with Heroin from the “Golden Triangle” via CIA planes in return for the cooperation of the poppy producing warlords.

    I guess though as they and their intellectual descendants remember it Humphrey was no better than Nixon. Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it and while in their minds they remain pure, it’s the rest of us 99% that will suffer. This old “Right Winger” is voting for Obama, with all his faults that I’ve pointed out numerous times. There really is a significant “lesser of two evils”.


  314. […] to resuscitate the economy did nothing though he did try, he has just signed a bill into law that allows the President to indefinitely detain US citizens, and the situation with Iran has worsened with him stating that the US was "not taking any […]


  315. on 1, January 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm Anonymously Yours

    This has been fun to watch…..I have enjoyed reading each and everyone’s input….


  316. Mike Spindell,

    Your post at 1:17pm was very, very nicely put.


  317. Very good post, Mike S. I well remember what happened at the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. Despite my anger, I cast my vote for Humphrey and have never regretted it.


  318. Blouise,

    Thank you. Most who know me personally see me as a Radical as do my Liberal children, who think Daddy is a little far out. However, my experience in the 60’s/70’s taught me that all who professed to side with me, were not necessarily those I’d want on my side. This also was a learning curve thing, as I learned that all who wore denim, tie-dye, long hair and beards weren’t hippies.


  319. Mike A.,

    The problem for both of us is that we lived through that time as young men and yet haven’t let nostalgia for times past cloud our memories.


  320. Mike S.

    lol

    I never wore tie-dye or denim but I was a hippie at heart … still am.

    Very true; “all who professed to side with me, were not necessarily those I’d want on my side.”


  321. Mike S.:

    At least you produced liberals. I wound up with a Libertarian, a Republican and one who believes it’s all a waste of time.


  322. Blouise,

    I used tie-dye as a metaphor. Never wore it. My style was Mexican Wedding Shirts slashed almost to the navel, boy I had some fine looking chest hair then before my heart attacks. Wore Wrangler Jeans, both blue and black, with metal star studs up the seams. Also had two jumpsuits, I was thin back then, a denim one and a black denim one with brass zippers that I wore for special occasions. I cut quite a figure at family weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, plus i’d bring the joints. I had good times back then personally, but it was in the context of working with poor people, disabled people and in an awful political system.

    Mike A.,

    How my kids wound up as liberals I’ll never know. I never thought they took me seriously and I was’t the type of father to impose my beliefs. One of my children is currently quite well known in Democratic Party circles, the other works with disabled children.


  323. Mike S. & Mike A.,

    I, too, remember the 1960s and 1970s.

    When people bring up voting for a third party in 2012, I think how different our country might be today if Al Gore had become president in 2001. There is one thing I’m sure of–we wouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq.

    P.S. Some political “purists” seem to think that racism and bigotry are minor problems.


  324. “Some political “purists” seem to think that racism and bigotry are minor problems.”

    Elaine,

    Isn’t that the truth. Great line I always quote (perhaps paraphrase) was spoken by James Garner to Julie Andrews in the superb 70’s anti-war movie “The Americanization of Emily.”

    “God save us from the moralists of this world, they’re the ones who get everyone else’s back broken”.


  325. The U.S.A. Presidential Oath of Office:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Mr. Obama has violated his oath of office.

    Professor Turley works to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

    I’m glad someone is doing it.


  326. Elaine. Al Gore was on Link TV last night talking about the election. He sounded good. Both of my kids are quite liberal for being raised by a far right ring mother. One reason I sent them out of state to college was to escape the Texas mentality.


  327. Bob,

    I guess we have to question what a number of elected politicians have in mind when they take an oath to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution to “to the best of their Ability.”


  328. Mike S et all,

    Mexican wedding shirts … how well I remember … loved ‘em … also white poet shirts on men.

    Never did drugs … saw too many friends (music field) overdose.

    Both my children are far left liberals. One married a liberal but the other one married a conservative who we occasionally beat up at family dinners.


  329. “Both of my kids are quite liberal for being raised by a far right ring mother. ” (SwM)

    lol :evil:


  330. Mike S:

    Well done at 1:17 pm as always and I joyously welcome you to the ranks of the intellectually feeble. As most readers of my comments know, that’s dead-on correct as to me. :D The truth is that I fear extremism and knee jerk reactions at both ends of the political spectrum. I’m old enough to recall that virulent strains on the left were every bit as troublesome as their counterparts on the right during those tumultuous 60s and early 70s.

    My point has always been we need to get rid of the rhetoric, non-sequiturs, and emotion-laden reactions and look at the language of the legislation through the context of recent history. There ARE valid concerns as Senator Webb and others, including JT, noted. However, the Statue of Liberty is not being hauled down. There are no credible reports of American citizens being secreted away by military police into dark, hidden dungeons. To contend otherwise without real proof, makes one like Chicken-Little or, dare I say it, like those more than willing to blame their fellow citizens first without so much as a indictment or trial for the vilest offense one can do in a democracy — impose a tyranny. I don’t demean anyone’s deep concern about a challenge to civil liberties or their patriotism in calling attention to it, but like you, I recall the attacks on civil liberties in the 60s which led directly to opening the door to all manner of both freedom and licentiousness in the 70s. There was no coup, no dictatorship, and no hauling off of Americans to Gulags. The latter, some might recall, happened in the good ol’ days of the 40s amid “America’s Greatest Generation.”

    It’s quite cyclical really and the Republic did not fall when Nixon’s obvious attempt at a right-wing coup was thwarted in large measure due to the good sense of the federal bureaucracy and the American judiciary. I heard hues and cries of anarchy then too, and all manner of predictions of dire circumstances right around the corner. Like most boogey-men they were never there, but some people prefer fear to facts; titillation to truth; and recklessness to reason. So be it. Live and learn. Think of the predictions in 2008 when “W” and Cheney were in office about an “October surprise” that would lead to Bush cancelling the general elections in November and remaining in office. Never happened, but the chickens were in full sprint on that one.

    I don’t ignore credible warnings, and I don’t think anything is impossible politically. I just have learned over half of a century that the American people, given enough time, do have a pretty good sense about things that affect their freedom and their pocketbooks. They won’t sit idly by when their fellow countrymen (and women) innocently suffer, and most importantly we’re a damn sight stronger, as a people, that any twit politician or panty waist demagogue can ever imagine. We’ ve got a strong family heritage spanning about 240 years of freedom, a proud attitude, and tenacity in spades. That’s plenty of proof that we won’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water, even as we defend ourselves from people (and yes, Jill, like the admitted grenade throwing 15-year-old Khadr, who was caught on video planting roadside bombs for our troops and for whom his own Canadian Supreme Court failed to order his extradition, likely out of fear) bent on our destruction. That’s good enough for me — intellectual cowardice and all.


  331. Some political “purists” seem to think that racism and bigotry are minor problems.

    Right, because if they aren’t placed as more important than the right to a trial, freedom of speech, the freedom to congregate, and the freedom to publish, the “purist” must think they are trivial. Isn’t that how the thinking goes?

    I will remind everybody it was the fundamental civil liberties that led to the diminishment of racism and bigotry and rights for women and the civil rights act. A Constitutional Rights challenge is what led to Roe v. Wade in the first place.

    When you rank these derivatives above the source law they sprang from, you risk losing both, and that is what is happening now, as Obama renders ever more of the Bill of Rights irrelevant. As he does, he increasingly eliminates the foundational principles underlying the advances you hold dear, while removing your means to protect them, the very means you used to achieve them.

    Racism and bigotry are not small problems; but they will not be solved without civil liberties, so the destruction of civil liberties is the problem that takes priority. Bush was the one presiding over that destruction, and I thought Obama was the solution, but he embraced the destruction and continued it. So yes, now Obama is the destroyer of civil liberties, and now the options have gotten much worse, but the patient (our country) needs emergency surgery to save its life and there is no time left to do that without causing pain.

    You accuse me of trivializing racism and bigotry, which I have not done, while you clearly trivialize the Bill of Rights, the lifeblood of all social advance in our lifetimes. Those advances did not flow from beneficient Presidents, they came from people exercising their rights. Go ahead and elect Obama and forget them, because they will be subverted into non-existence, and when they are swept away so will be everything that rests upon them.


  332. mespo,

    “The truth is that I fear extremism and knee jerk reactions at both ends of the political spectrum. ” (mespo)

    That is my concern, personally, and what attracted me to your post in the first place.

    I also believe the concerns stated by Gene, Mike A, JT, Bob, OS, and anon nurse are warnings (heads-up, if you will), not predictions.

    As to intellectual cowardice … if you can picture yourself in a Mexican wedding shirt, you are no intellectual coward. ;)


  333. Tony C.,

    “When you rank these derivatives above the source law they sprang from, you risk losing both, and that is what is happening now, as Obama renders ever more of the Bill of Rights irrelevant.”

    I guess you’re accusing ME of ranking “these derivatives” (racism and bigotry) above the source of the law and of clearly trivializing “the Bill of Rights.” Did I do that? Maybe you can explain to me how I did that.


  334. “Racism and bigotry are not small problems; but they will not be solved without civil liberties”

    Tony,

    They won’t be solved either by a racist bigot, who denies his true self when confronted with facts about his associations, supporters and newsletters. Nor will they be solved by people who absolve this person from his past indiscretions. His belief in State’s rights is the key to his duplicity. History has shown that the greatest threats to democracy come at the State and Local level.


  335. Jones:

    “There is no Mao, no Stalin, no Hitler anymore. The very institution of government is turned against the citizenry.”

    I think you are right, the bureaucrats have their jobs to protect and their turf to increase. I sometimes wonder if there is another government operating below the surface which has its own agenda and will protect itself at all costs.


  336. Blouise said, “I also believe the concerns stated by Gene, Mike A, JT, Bob, OS, and anon nurse are warnings (heads-up, if you will), not predictions.”

    Hey, look! There’s a giant gorilla climbing up that building!
    What do you mean you saw that movie?
    No. Really. There is a giant gorilla climbing up that building.
    Okay, okay . . . go on in then.
    Me? No thanks. I’ll wait out here. Somewhere in New Jersey.
    Yeah, I know. It’s a tough call, giant rampaging gorilla or a couple of days in Jersey, but once you get out of Newark, New Jersey is nice. If it was all like Newark, I’d go in too.
    Do you have any last words you’d like to leave other than, “There’s no gorilla up there”? No? Those are going to be some famous last words, I tell you.


  337. Bron, yes there is.

    This is summary and docs US general denial of truth.

    The final blow against the United States Federal Government started in 1970 and was complete in 2004, with accumulating 
criminal evidence of The USFG et al continuing to this day. As a
 correctional officer and later a legal service supervisor Charles W.
 Isley/Iseley uncovered and prosecuted the entire secret cartel known 
as the UNITED STATES. All evidence shows this corporation was a lock
out and lock down covert system of entrapment, theft, murder, and 
treason resulting in the conviction of the entire organization in 37
high crimes and misdemeanors.

    The USFG is out of business as of 2004 and to this day refuse to
 notify the people of this release, they lost, and there refusal to
 stand down is even further proof of their guilt, this has been THE
BIGGEST SECRET CRIME PERPETUATED IN ALL TIME.

    In Merchant Law, in the Common Law, International Law, and especially in Universal Law in Remedy has been provided for the STATE OF EMERGENCY THE ENTIRE GLOBE FINDS
ITSELF IN,

    All are hereby noticed:

    Notice of Exigency et al that removes any and ALL so called judges,
 administrators and officers, of all municipal, state, and federal,
 sealed by The Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortez’ in
 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania AND International Law. There is NOTHING 
that can challenge this or stop it.

    http://www.scribd.com/Notice-of-Exigency/d/21486707

    Supporting International Commercial Claim of Admiralty Administrative
 Remedy also Sealed:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/21486698/International-Claim-Oct-10-2004

    Affidavit of Universal Class Membership:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/24543757/General-Executive-International-Order-Blank

    Original victorious complaint:

    Complaint

    This is to inform anyone and everyone:

    By authority of the First Secured Party all Living Souls are notified,
 Charles W. Isley/Iseley and the people are now the Secured Party and
 owner of all property formally controlled by the UNITED STATES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, the Federal Reserve Bank, and all associated bodies, plus. 
The above impostors, governments, banks, and associates have
 deliberately failed to notify the people of this fact of international 
law and turn over control. They have attempted to frame Charles W.
Isley/Iseley, kidnapped and held his son for over 25 year through 
entrapment and frame. They have refused to pay on the orders put before them. They have assassinated anyone on the inside that has tried to help.

    Partial list of the assassinated:

    Nelson Rockefeller

    
Jessica Beth Savitch


    Martin Fischbein


    Patrick N. Curran

    
Robert F. Fromhold

    Just to name a FEW…

    and the complicit found guilty parties:

    Past and present Presidents

    Past and present Attorney General of the Sate of Pennsylvania, and the


    United States

    Bucks county court of pleas and Judges and administrators

    UN, ICC officers including Ban Ki Moon

    and on and on, and on and on,

    The Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, is on the
 record in the clerks office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the true 
seat of the Peoples Republic, the united States union of America,
 sealed by The Secretary of the Commonwealth of the same. This act that 
stops the confiscation of property, homes and the destruction of the
 Indigenous People, Their Land and Sea, and removes and jails the guilty parties.

    This is by International Law and entered into the Superior Common Law
 Court of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as Universal Law 
superseding any other Law.

    Common Law is restored to its position of the protection of the People 
and is the interim law of the land now and until the adversarial
 content is eradicated and the People restored to their rightful place. The feudal system of statute so called laws has
 been terminated. All People are freed from the bondage of it’s grip.

    In all cases the Class Leading: Secured Party: Honorable Charles W. 
Iseley/Isely, Is the Supreme Judge. Any and all levels of any
 municipality; administrators and officers and employees of the
 corporation, employees of the crown, and the Federal Reserve, et al,
 are hereby ordered to take notice and beware of any treasonous
 violation before the court, lest you find yourself eternally 
restricted and duty bound by the court.

    Notice will be served upon the Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to
 turn over the keys to the city and copied to City Counsel, as well as 
the complicit major and minor media. Once in place, there will be a national campaign to repeat this process throughout the Land.

    This Notice will be served eye to eye, with all Philadelphians and nationals welcome and encouraged to attend.

    Refusal will result in a already underway total recall campaign.


  338. Elaine M.:

    Your point about Al Gore in 2000 is well taken. Had Ralph Nader not been on the ballot, the Democrats would have taken Florida, no one would be familiar with the phrase “hanging chad” and the misbegotten Bush v. Gore decision would not be staining the pages of the Supreme Court Reporter.


  339. @Elaine: It is not racism and bigotry that are derivatives, it is the corrections we have made to racism and bigotry that were derived from the Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech, assembly to protest, of the press, of habeas corpus, and so on. Those corrections are new law, and sometimes amendments, that came about as a result of people exercising their civil rights. That is what makes those corrections “derivative,” which is not a pejorative term, it is simply descriptive of how they came about.

    The Constitutional Bill of Rights is the “source law” I am talking about, without those rights the derivative corrections would not exist, and will eventually cease to exist. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are being rendered irrelevant by Obama, it began under Bush and Obama has willfully embraced and extended every one of the civil rights eroding policies of the Bush Administration, and gone even more horrifically forward.

    Do you have the right to assembly and protest on public land? Not any more, not without risking pepper spray, tasing, beating, firehosing and dragging, and now (because of Obama) incarceration indefinitely and without charges.

    Do you have the right to free speech? Not really, express support for the plight of Palestinians and you can be charged as a conspirator. Openly express support for Wikileaks and you will be treated as a criminal.

    Do you have the right to be free of unwarranted search and seizure of your property by the government? Not if you want to fly across the country, you must literally appear naked before government agents and if you resist that it is a crime, you can be arrested and detained.

    Dare you refuse an arbitrary order by a cop? Just recently a cop got away with beating a teen he told to “stop looking at him.”

    You also do not have the right to privacy in your home; in your communications on the phone or Internet, you do not even have the right to take a photograph of a building or your child in an airport.

    Is any of this getting better? No. When your civil liberties are gone, your other achievements in social justice and fighting racism and bigotry will simply fall by the wayside. The loss of our civil liberties is the loss that trumps everything else, simply because once they are lost nothing else will remain standing. There will be no way to protect it, because people will be too afraid of governmental retaliation to stand up and say anything.

    Look at the Obama Administrations war on whistleblowers and Bradley Manning in particular. They are torturing that man, because they want to set the example for anybody that even thinks of telling the truth about the lies our government is telling us. Look at the “Occupy” protesters, how many people are willing to join them at the risk of getting tased, beaten, or arrested and held for days without charges? Shall we call them “domestic terrorists?”

    Re-Electing Obama means endorsing the predations on your rights he has already committed, and in the next term he will just engage in more of the same. Whatever you fear from Ron Paul, racism or bigotry, he won’t have the power to get it into law. You have far more to fear by giving Obama four more years to collude with the Republicans and the Corporations to turn the Bill of Rights into a fairy tale.


  340. @Mike S: They won’t be solved either by a racist bigot,

    First, you do not know he is either one, and second, his entire legislative career has been Constitutionalism and civil rights first. So his history says he may indeed restore our civil rights or at least stop the erosion if nothing else, and stop the militarism, and corporatism, and the war on drugs, and the surveillance state, and the unconstittuional searches.

    Will Obama do ANY of that? No, he has proven by his actions he will not, and in fact has proven time and again he will do the opposite.


  341. Tony C.,

    You’re avoiding my questions.

    BTW, I didn’t say I planned to vote for Obama in 2012. I haven’t made up my mind yet.


  342. Gene H.,

    Ok, Ok …. Fire!!


  343. “First, you do not know he is either one,”

    Tony,

    I do know he is both. It is proved by being a guest speaker at a JBS significant anniversary party ad by publishing a racist ad bigoted newsletter. By your reasoning if he had spoken at a KKK celebration it would only have been because they both are interested in States Rights. Tony, the JBS IS the KKK for rich people. If it isn’t prove me wrong. The main proponents of States Rights in the last 150 years have always been racists in the South. You think Paul is not aware of that, really?


  344. “It is not racism and bigotry that are derivatives, it is the corrections we have made to racism and bigotry that were derived from the Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech, assembly to protest, of the press, of habeas corpus, and so on. Those corrections are new law, and sometimes amendments, that came about as a result of people exercising their civil rights. That is what makes those corrections “derivative,” which is not a pejorative term, it is simply descriptive of how they came about.”

    Tony,

    Nice bit of hoop jumping but your guy is a racist as shown by his own deeds, so all the hair splitting is futile.


  345. Mike,
    I agree that Paul knew what his newsletters said and he knew what speaking to the Birchers would mean.


  346. anon nurse,

    Not in denial … just don’t want to say too much


  347. Mespo,

    I’m sorry, but your argument regarding “the language of the legislation through the context of recent history” is as persuasive as claiming a five year old child should be permitted to continue possessing a loaded handgun he just picked up simply because he hasn’t hurt or killed anybody yet.

    In fact, your ‘recent history’ approach to adhering to the constitution (e.g. separation of powers) is so cavalier and bereft of principle that it’s tantamount to approving of legislation codifying said child’s ability to possess the handgun.

    With all due respect…


  348. Bob, Esq:

    I guess what I was saying is that you have to view the legislation in the context of the procedural and substantive safeguards for detainees articulated by the Supreme Court in their Constitution-based opinions in Hamdi, Hamdan, Rasul, & Boumediene, and left undisturbed by the text of the statute. If that’s the perception of a five-year-old, that’s one smart five-year-old.


  349. I’m saying that Obama is much like Dean Wormer. He has put US citizens on double secret probation–a little known power that accrues to him in a time of chaos!

    There you have the NDAA, mespo!


  350. To me, it comes down to the vagueness in the NDAA provisions. Too many weasel words, too much room to weasel, and a recent history of many weasels in the hen house. I was always taught as a matter of good drafting practice that precision in writing law was the enemy of potential abuses and that laws should be as narrowly tailored to achieve their specific intent or goal. Precedent restraining the potential abuses of these provisions is a weak chain at best. We’ve had two administrations that demonstrated that the Rule of Law is meaningless to them. We have a SCOTUS so deranged they think corporations are actually people. Are the provisions of the NDAA the end of the Constitutional protections of the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments? No, not in an of itself. Does the vagueness of the wording present a clear and present danger to those rights? Given recent history, I think there can be little doubt. The NDAA is a warning sign. It is not the fire proper.


  351. Tony C:

    I think where many of us take issue with you is in your absolutist view of civil rights. No Founder, including Jefferson and Madisom, ever took that view. Civil rights, and specifically those articulated in the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, were always balanced against the government’s need to maintain order and protect the citizenry from enemies foreign and domestic. That’s why you can’t carry a gun into a courthouse, or incite a riot in the public square with your words, or even deny the police the opportunity to search your house without a warrant if they arrest you there. The First, Second, and Fourth Amendment rights are always balanced against society’s need to function as a society.

    It was Jefferson, who knew a thing or two about individual rights who quite famously said, “No government can be maintained without the principle of fear as well as duty. Good men will obey the last, but bad ones the former only. If our government ever fails, it will be from this weakness.” (Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 1814).

    Likewise, Madison eloquently explained the need to balance order with individual freedom in perhaps his most famous words:

    “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

    – Federalist Papers, No. 51


  352. Gene H:

    No arguing the wording is subject to abuse, but as we all know, words in statutes get changed all the time. You’re right to sound the warning, but to make the change requires a persuasian that our interets will not thereby be compromised. That’s the challenge — if you ascribe any good will to the proponents of the legislation, at all.


  353. TC: paranoid, delusional, persecution complex, and schizophrenia seems to fit your character very nicely. You may recall your response to a very earliest post of mine was to be defensive about your disability. I made no suggestion at the time that it was either physical or mental, but somehow you managed to divine that I meant to suggest it was a mental problem.

    Based on that, your current rant and others let me add to the list of disorders you exhibit here as more then a bit of god complex. If we are to believe your comments here only you understand how rotten the world is and just about everyone else is a liar, idiot, stupid or something beneath contempt. Along those lines let me add a bit of grandiosity and NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) – the more your selfworth is question the more you rant and attack others to prove otherwise.

    There seems to be more then a little sense of persecution in there as well. TC is the character you have chosen to be as represented by your words you have presented (its all we have to go on because there is simply no reason to believe anything you say is true). Whatever the real person is I and everyone else here can only go by the character as exists in the words of TC, almost certainly a pseudo name to protect your identity. You claim to be a far left liberal, and yet you vehemently support someone who is a far right libertarian (whatever that is) to frame it as politely as possible. By that contradictory position it would suggest the persona that goes by the tag of Tony C. is also schizophrenic. Now if the person who hides behind TC is not that then I guess it might also make you a liar pretending to be something that you are not. But of course we have no way to know who the real person is behind the persona of TC as presented by your words here.

    Of course, I ask you a fairly simple straight forward – and I thought reasonable question since you so hate everything, to share something that you don’t hate. Once again your paranoia kicks in and you assume I am in a game of trying to trap you. It seems by your response there is no way to have asked the question without triggering your paranoia. (or maybe you might be thinking right now this was the real trap and you actually did fall right into).

    But thank you for your response anyway. If I can muddle through the rant you gave I gather you think there never was a better time? But don’t let me put words in your mouth. You said, “Thus there is no period that can be safely named. The past informs us, of both the best and the worst that can be done, so we can craft a more ideal future.”

    So in this less then perfect world of yours just what is the ideal future you envision given the reality of the world as it is (which according to you sucks)?

    Now as far as me being a liar (like schoolyard brawl, your a liar, no I;m a liar, no your a liar), the facts are based on everything you have said, it is you in your persona of Tc that is the real liar. And by the way, The persona of TC here clearly should be seeking disability for a deep and profound psychological disability.

    Btw: as to that derivative nonsense, I would remind you the Constitution was written and ratified several years before the Bill of Rights was even created. In other words, the BoR, using your reasoning is derivative of the Constitution (if by no other means by the provisions for amending the constitution.) As I pointed out in other places, Article 1 Sec 8 and 9 provides a number of powers that I doubt you like but they do seem to take precedent over the bill of rights in line with your derivative notion.

    “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it;”

    “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

    Now I realize in your diminished capacity you may think Obama is the most horrific person in the world (just goes to show what a bad judge of character you have since you claim to have voted for him but now find him to be just about the worst person ever born) merely for signing a bill that basically gives him a power that is more or less provided for in the Constitution (that you claim to prize and understand so well – do pardon my laughter here); and has been used ennumerable times throughout American History. Apparently the founders understood better then you that in an imperfect world there are occasions for extreme acts.

    Now if you think a bigot and racist whose policies pretty much match the economics that got us into the current mess, and whose foreign policy pretty much is the same that helped set the stage for 100 million people dying in WW2, then by all means you go right ahead and rant for Ron Paul even though he would take away as many rights from some as you believe he will give to others.

    In the meantime I’ll be thinking about the 30 million more people who have health care that never did; the Gay soldiers that won’t have to worry about DODT; the seniors, poor and disabled who still have their SS and Medicare; the autoworkers who still have jobs; the woman who still have a right to choose; the two woman now on the supreme court; a dead bin laden; and the families of soldiers coming home from Iraq.

    You on the other hand can think about how much the world sucks and nobody knows it but you.

    Hey, here’s a concept for you why not share all the positions RP has on all the subjects he doesn’t talk about on his website.


  354. Gene H,

    Now you are confusing me … and remember I have no training in writing laws.

    “The NDAA is a warning sign.” That’s how I originally interpreted your stance but then you gave me the gorilla saga. So, I took your words deeper and you tell me it’s not the fire proper. What am I missing … seriously.


  355. Blouise,

    To quote Carl Denham, “It wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.”

    I picked King Kong for that specific reason. Kong himself became a danger when he was taken out of the context of his natural environment. Just so, a vague law becomes a danger when it is (mis)applied in inappropriate contexts. If you missed anything at all, it was my use of a sideways geek joke as metaphor. Mea culpa. Just remember to keep an eye on that gorilla. :D


  356. Gene,

    Whew! Missing the metaphor is far better than failing to understand your position.

    Affectionately, :mrgreen:


  357. Clearly you are not commenting on the text as it reads in the final bill passed in regards to the detention of prisoners in regards to U.S. citizens. Here is a link to the actual pass bill: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1540enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr1540enr.pdf

    Let me help you out a bit. Skip all the way to H. R. 1540—265 and follow along:

    (e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States

    Then read H. R. 1540—266 here:

    (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States

    Now lets just go all the way to the title of your post again:
    “Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011″

    I am fairly certain the only one spreading misinformation is you.


  358. Also, if you are going to quote the President’s signing statement, you should really just post a link to the entire letter, vs. only selecting the portions that speak nothing of section 1021 and 1022.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/31/statement-president-hr-1540


  359. @1zb1: Did not read it. You are wasting your time.


  360. Tony C:

    I read it, rather interesting. But I would say you arent a narcissist or someone with schizophrenia. A healthy ego, certainly.

    I always get a kick out people who paint other people with those traits when they dont agree with what they have to say. It is so proletarian [in the Roman sense].


  361. Every time I start thinking that I can vote for the incumbent with a clear conshious I read something like this:

    “Obama’s War on Whistleblowers”

    “This is a chilling little speech by Jesselyn Radick, a Bush administration whistleblower who was harassed aggressively by the Department of Justice, on how matters have gotten much worse for government whistleblowers under Obama, both in numbers and the ferocity of the retaliation.”

    (linked from BoingBoing)

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/01/obamas-war-on-whistleblowers.html

    One of the commenters to the linked article asks if the NDAA would allow the president to imprison and indefinitely detain a whistleblower.

    Depending on the subject of the leak, I would say so. If not this President based on the nature of his outlook, then possibly another president? The vagueness of section1021 regarding ‘support’ for al-Quaeda is subject to abuse for non U.S. citizens and citizens alike.The whistleblower in the linked article would have cause for concern. What about Julian Assange?


  362. Bron, I can only go by his postings here. They fully support everything I said as metaphorical of his online persona, ([Frankly] I could care less who he is in real life, I kind of doubt he even has one):

    “Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

    I think if you read his posts its fairly apparent he thinks he is the only one who understands the world (or the constitution) and goes into a screaming fit if you challange him or disagree.

    As for schizophrenia, this is a guy who claims to be “far left liberal” but VEHEMENTLY supports a “far right liberterian”. He goes nuts if you say he’s not a FLL and goes equally nuts if you don’t support RP. if that is not a case of schizophrenia (metaphorically) what is? Needless to say if he’s not schizophrenic about this that would strongly suggest he is being less then honest about one or the other.

    Now, I would also point out his whole bit about “derivitive” and the BofR is rather typical of “liberterians” who live with a somewhat limited grasp of reality. They draw the line in reality wherever it suits their limits of it. If what follows the BofR is derivitive of the BofR then by the same reasoning the BofR is derivative of of what precedes it.

    The founders where not Libertarian (or as I think of them “Anarchists in sheeps clothing”). The winning side in the debate over the future of the country believed in the importance of a effective central government. They tried the articles of confederation and its didn’t work. They also understood the world is not a simple place and they essentially granted the government the powers in the constitution needed to deal with that reality. People can argue whether such power was used wisely or for good cause or whether the current state of affairs warrants them and to what degree but the power is in the Constitution whether Tony, Turly, or anyone else likes them or not.

    Some people, (myself) believe we live in a world that is a bit different then other times. Just a few crazy people who come in all shapes and sizes can now cause catastrophic death and destruction. Wars are not just fought with armies, bombs, and bullets; the battlefield is no longer just a place, but its everyplace. Is that a fairly wide open definition? Does it invite the possibility of an open ended excuse for government to take over our lives? Of course. But guess what we have all pretty much turned that over to corporations awhile ago.

    I personally would rather have Obama using those Constitutional powers (that have always existed and frequently been used in the past). I trust him far more then RP or any of the rest of them to balance my freedom with the reality of the world we live in. Are there abuses of this or any power? DUHHHHHH of course. That’s why I’m glad to have Mister Turly, the ACLU, and many others keeping us reminded for those who sometimes forget.

    But for the simple minded its easy to pick out one “right’ and claim freedom will live or dies on that right. 2nd amendment Gun rights seem to fit that category for a number of people. Not even registering a gun fits with their take on the 2nd Amendment. But do you hear them scream about the 7th amendment and the right to a trial in civil matters when it comes to ‘Tort Reform”.

    Everybody has got their own grass to mow. I’ll accept that TC is well intentioned. Unfortunately, even if true (and I’m suspicious of that) the outcome of his intention is the very worst possible outcome of all. Besides, how can he be right when I know I’m right ;)


  363. Bron, I do want to apologize if I did not originally make clear that all the psycho mumbo jumbo is all metaphorical. Lets face it, most everyone here is a virtual persona. None of us know who the real person is or what they are really like. We’ve made it fairly easy for people to hide behind these virtual personalities. Some think it cowardly but that another issue. So it seems talking about these virtual personalities using virtual psychology makes perfect sense. Nobody actually takes anything from a virtual anonymous persona seriously, do they?


  364. 1zbz1:

    I dont think he is an anarchist or even a libertarian.

    Yes, libertarians are anarchists but they are pretty up front about it from what I can tell.


  365. 1zb1:

    Personally, I think they do. Something about the “permanency” of the written word. Even when anonymous, I dont think people like being told their ideas wont hunt. David Hume thought Machiavelli a dunderhead and a good many people today look on Machiavelli as a great genius and have almost no idea who David Hume is or what he thought. David Hume was probably far superior to Machiavelli in terms of intellectual ability.

    There are some universal human truths, like do unto others and if you keep that fork going in and out of your mouth the scale goes up. But as far as opinions, you know what they say and people ought not to take other’s castigation too much to heart or mind. They dont have all the answers either even if they are cocksure.


  366. Bron: it often seems some folks even have more then one


  367. Bron, okay lets just call him a “Ron Paulitist”. But if a=b and b=c doesn’t it follow that a=c


  368. A = A, Aristotle via Ayn Rand. All anyone needs to know, with the exception in Ron Paul’s case that conception = human life, and the age of the world =
    6,000 years.


  369. @Elaine: You’re avoiding my questions.

    I am? I didn’t see questions. Unless you are talking about this:

    I guess you’re accusing ME of ranking “these derivatives” (racism and bigotry) above the source of the law and of clearly trivializing “the Bill of Rights.” Did I do that? Maybe you can explain to me how I did that.

    In which case, yes of course you did, by sarcastic implication, when you posted this: P.S. Some political “purists” seem to think that racism and bigotry are minor problems.

    We both understand the English language, this is a sarcastic attack on so-called “purists” that trivialize racism and bigotry. What do the quotes around “purist” indicate? Normally, disdain for the title, and therefore in this sentence a rejection of their (the purists) conclusion.

    I will put aside your misinterpretation of “derivatives,” I was perhaps unclear and have tried to re-address that already.

    The rest of your point remains, and I answer it thusly: I do not have to believe something is a minor problem in order to rank other problems as more important to solve first.

    By analogy, if I am a passenger in a car and the driver has a heart attack on the freeway driving at 70 mph, the heart attack is a serious problem. But it is more important to get the car under control and brought to a stop; I cannot administer CPR to a seated driver in an out of control car doing 70 mph. The car (our country) is careening out of control, which is evidenced by the erosion of our civil liberties (the topic of a large percentage of Dr. Turley’s serious legal opinion posts).

    This is not to say there are not other major problems, but if we lose control of the car and our rights to speak out and protest and demand change without fear of big brother retaliation (which I think is precisely what Dr. Turley means is happening with his Mayan Apocalyptic language) then those other major problems will not be solved and any progress made against racism and bigotry will be lost.

    Which brings us to Ron Paul. Ron Paul was born in 1935, and that is significant for the following reason: He was sixteen in 1951, so his entire childhood (and emotionally formative years) was steeped in socially acceptable and legally supported racism, homophobia, and paternalism toward women. Although it is not always true of individuals, it is a fact of American culture at the time.

    Our attitudes and personality and emotional mindset are formed very early in childhood and are very difficult to overwrite. I would guess that Ron Paul probably has to struggle against the unbidden bigotry of his childhood indoctrination, just as many of us have had to reject the beliefs and attitudes of our own parents.

    In the end I do not think it is relevant if Ron Paul occasionally has a racist thought, or a homophobic thought. The question is whether he acts on them, and in that sense, I see racism as analogous to sexual thought. I do not think a man is a cheat if he finds another woman sexually attractive, he is a cheat if he attempts to act on that attraction. I do not subscribe to the Biblical view, the frontal cortex developed for a good reason, to help control the baser instincts. The measure of a person is not whether they HAVE the baser instincts, but how well they control them.

    Ron Paul was born and raised with racism, but he has not pushed for any racist laws. Anecdotes also suggest he is a homophobe, but he specifically voted against the homophobic laws of DADT, and twice, when virtually every other Republican was voting for them.

    If there are “purists” here, it is those people that insist Ron Paul is out on the sole criteria that they believe he is a racist, or he is pro-life. It does not matter to them whether he has those prejudices under control despite his childhood culture. They are litmus test purists focused on a single personality attribute: It makes no difference to them if the Constitution becomes meaningless, and rights are lost, and the country becomes a police state, and the elderly are tased to death, and the young get physically abused for protesting or have their lives destroyed by prison sentences for pot possession. It makes no difference if soldiers are maimed and killed by roadside bombs, or innocent foreigners are tortured to death. The purist position is that even if these all of these ills and damages could be stopped, the candidate must first be pro-choice and politically correct on race. Even if no crime was committed and only free speech was exercised, and no racist policy was ever proposed or passed by the candidate, his culturally instilled prejudices are a deal breaker. Better to turn the country over to a dictatorial egomaniac that has murdered US Citizens than have the country saved by a flawed candidate. That is the “purist” position, and I put it in quotes to indicate my disdain: If one flaw is enough to disqualify a candidate, then signing the NDAA, the topic of this thread, proves Obama is not just prejudiced against our civil rights but willing to insist his prejudice against us be given the force of law, and that is a worse flaw that should disqualify Obama.

    For the record I despise racism, it is an ongoing and pernicious problem. My family is multi-racial, and family members I love have been the victims of it.

    But no matter how distasteful it may be, we vote on one issue at our peril, and if we lose our civil liberties and let this country continue on the Bush/Obama path to a militarized police state, with violent dispersal of protesters and “free speech zones” and an Internet lock-down on free speech with perpetual war-time dictatorial powers, we will have lost any ability we have left to solve that problem.

    You may not have asserted a vote preference, but I will assert an anti-preference: I think a vote for Romney, Santorum, Newt or Obama is a vote to extend the dominance of the 1%, perpetual war, and the continued drive to make the Bill of Rights an irrelevant fantasy.


  370. Also for the record, I am not a libertarian.

    On the social side, I am only “libertarian” in the same sense as many liberals, I do not believe the government has any business dictating what we do with our bodies sexually or with drugs, I believe they should stay out of religion entirely (including professions of faith in the military or any ceremony or inauguration), I am not concerned if gays get married, I think abortion is unconditionally a woman’s choice for at least the first four months of pregnancy, and other such positions. I believe in the Bill of Rights and our civil liberties.

    Unlike libertarians, I think corporations and business must be heavily regulated or, as history has shown repeatedly and in the last few years, they will veer into the highly profitable practices of oppression, abuse, fraud, physical and financial endangerment of employees and clients, coercion, lies, corruption, sabotage, lawsuit and patent abuse, and many other such despicable practices. I DO believe in competition, I do not think government should choose winners and losers, I only believe they should establish the rules of fair play and then enforce them equally on ALL enterprises, both for-profit and non-profits and their own operations.

    Unlike libertarians, I think a strong safety net and infrastructure and education are both desirable and in the long run economically beneficial to the country, because those give all people the opportunity to maximize their potential and become who they want to be, not just the children of the wealthy.

    I see that as an investment in the future: For the most part those that maximize their potential also maximize their economic productivity and consumption, which benefits all of us. I think a strong safety net, infrastructure and educational system can be the difference between being a dishwasher or waitress or bartender and having a professional career, like an engineer, attorney, or M.D.

    So no, I am not a libertarian, I disagree with Paul’s philosophy and thinking, I do not like or admire him, but I stand for civil liberty first, and so does he, and none of the other candidates do, and that is why I endorse Ron Paul.


  371. “Which brings us to Ron Paul. Ron Paul was born in 1935, and that is significant for the following reason: He was sixteen in 1951, so his entire childhood (and emotionally formative years) was steeped in socially acceptable and legally supported racism, homophobia, and paternalism toward women. Although it is not always true of individuals, it is a fact of American culture at the time.”

    Tony,

    In defense of Ron Paul’s bigotry you have gone from the ridiculous, to the sublime and now have passed into the realm of the indefensible. In defending Paul, after being to the wall with his John Birch Society connections, not to mention the David Duke endorsement, you are now admitting that he “possibly” has racist tendencies:

    “I would guess that Ron Paul probably has to struggle against the unbidden bigotry of his childhood indoctrination, just as many of us have had to reject the beliefs and attitudes of our own parents.

    In the end I do not think it is relevant if Ron Paul occasionally has a racist thought, or a homophobic thought. The question is whether he acts on them, and in that sense, I see racism as analogous to sexual thought. I do not think a man is a cheat if he finds another woman sexually attractive, he is a cheat if he attempts to act on that attraction. I do not subscribe to the Biblical view, the frontal cortex developed for a good reason, to help control the baser instincts. The measure of a person is not whether they HAVE the baser instincts, but how well they control them.”

    All well and good Tony, except that by being close to the JBS which is the KKK for the wealthy, Mr. Paul seems to have not made enough of a struggle to be considered free of his “understandable” childhood indoctrination.

    “Ron Paul was born and raised with racism, but he has not pushed for any racist laws. Anecdotes also suggest he is a homophobe, but he specifically voted against the homophobic laws of DADT, and twice, when virtually every other Republican was voting for them.”

    However, Mr. Paul is a firm believer in “States Rights” and so probably believes that the proper place to pass these laws is on the State rather than Federal level. If as you acknowledge there is still within him some residual racism and homophobia, given his Presidential ambitions, he is like most other Pols exhibiting “deniability”.

    “If there are “purists” here, it is those people that insist Ron Paul is out on the sole criteria that they believe he is a racist, or he is pro-life. It does not matter to them whether he has those prejudices under control despite his childhood culture.”

    “Under control” Tony, I think not, duplicitous is the proper adjective. He want’s the anti-abortion choices made by the individual States and if you don’t get where that is going, you are less perceptive tha I’ve given you credit for being. The racism to is is to be decided on the State level and here comes Jim Crow again. If he had these “tendencies” under control then he wouldn’t be appearing at JBS Anniversary’s and truthfully they wouldn’t have invited him if they felt otherwise.

    “They are litmus test purists focused on a single personality attribute: It makes no difference to them if the Constitution becomes meaningless, and rights are lost, and the country becomes a police state, and the elderly are tased to death, and the young get physically abused for protesting or have their lives destroyed by prison sentences for pot possession. It makes no difference if soldiers are maimed and killed by roadside bombs, or innocent foreigners are tortured to death. The purist position is that even if these all of these ills and damages could be stopped, the candidate must first be pro-choice and politically correct on race.”

    “Politically correct on race” Tony, you know I think maybe you doth protest your leftist leanings a bit too much. “Politically Correct” is first of all a phrase developed by right wing propagandists to make fun of people protesting racism. If I make a racist joke on TV and people protest the racism the they are being “politically correct” because we all know that racism is over……or do we. You also set up false equivalencies because racism in this country is every bit as violent and evil as those atrocities you enumerate. Look at the rate of black unemployment and incarceration.

    “For the record I despise racism, it is an ongoing and pernicious problem. My family is multi-racial, and family members I love have been the victims of it.”

    Yeah Tony I know, and some of my best friends are Blacks and Jews. The fact is you are willing to vote for a racist/bigot because of your obsession with Obama, even though that bigot may well lead our country further down the road toward a feudalistic plutocracy, Christian Fundamentalism, Creationism, misogyny and homophobia. All because you are disappointed that Obama, in some instances, has not erased the Bush legacy.

    “I think a vote for Romney, Santorum, Newt or Obama is a vote to extend the dominance of the 1%, perpetual war, and the continued drive to make the Bill of Rights an irrelevant fantasy.”

    I know that’s what you think and in respect to Paul you are demonstrably dead wrong. His philosophy is an unfettering of the 1%. It is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, without the atheism. His defense of civil rights
    is mediated by his championing of States Rights. It is the same result via different methodology. Tony as I said before and it is no less true now:
    Ron Paul is your old opponent Stephen Grossman, without the integrity
    of belief (albeit wrong) that Grossman exhibits. That you are blind to this is to me only a manifestation of your hatred for Obama, which apparently blinds you to all reason.


  372. Tony,

    I wasn’t being sarcastic. I was asking for an explanation as to why you thought I did something that I didn’t do. I’d prefer one that was clear and concise and to the point. You have in the past misinterpreted what I’ve written in comments and/or inferred things that I never implied.

    Just a thought: This talk about voting for Ron Paul in the presidential election in 2012 is, I think, a pipe dream. I very much doubt he’ll be the Republican candidate. What chance do you think he has of running at the top of the Republican ticket?

    BTW, I wouldn’t vote for Paul for a myriad of reasons. I posted some of them on another thread. They include–among other things–his positions on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, evolution, EPA. Regarding his newsletters–from which he made money: He should tell the truth about them…and apologize.


  373. Bush-era whistleblower faced even more intense harassment under Obama

    By Cory Doctorow
    Wednesday, Jan 4

    http://boingboing.net/2012/01/04/bush-era-whistleblower-faced-e.html


  374. Lottakatz,

    I posted the same links without first skimming the comments since yesterday afternoon! (Like minds…)


  375. Gene,

    Too bad you didn’t post this thread because I think it is going to surpass the record number of comments made on “What Makes A Good Law…….” The advantage to yours is that it at least pinned Grossman down to only one thread on the blog. I didn’t realize that it was Tony’s inability to temper himself that added to the ongoing dialogue. He fails to get that I don’t give a damn if people want to support Obama, or not. That is their choice and I understand why they might choose not to. To me though, supporting Paul is a disastrous alternative. Now my particular prejudice in this is being Jewish. The JBS is not only racist, but has been anti-Jewish cum NAZI since its inception. Paul’s ties to it are unforgivable in my estimation.


  376. @Elaine: I do not know what chance Ron Paul has; my guess is about 20%. I do not think Romney is as strong among Republicans as people think; he is perpetually lukewarm. I also think people underestimate the Constitutionalist support of Ron Paul among the still idealistic under-30 crowd. If my university is any indication, many of the young Obama voters will be Ron Paul voters this election. Constitutional principle and the rule of law carries a big stick for students, and they sympathize with the brutality being exercised on the Occupy movement, which is primarily their peers.

    But as Taibbi has said, it is probably a contest between Romney and Obama, two one-percenters that would advance the agenda of the 1% in different ways, but both to the extreme detriment, in both physical pain, lives lost and financial cost, of the American People.


  377. Mike,

    President Ron Paul? Ron Paul and the John Birch Society
    by Andrew Reinbach
    7/5/11

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-reinbach/president-ron-paul-ron-pa_b_890037.html

    Excerpt:
    During the Vietnam War, an Army major famously told reporter Peter Arnett “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it”

    Welcome to Dr. Ron Paul’s (R.-Tx) prescription for America. If he ever becomes President, you won’t recognize the place.

    Rep. Ron Paul’s got a public image as a sort of amiable eccentric — Uncle Fuzzy in DC. He favors legalizing marijuana, getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan and generally cutting the defense budget, and ending corporate welfare — all positions that get him a sympathetic hearing with a lot of Americans. And he knows how to sound sensible, principled, and down-to-earth.

    That’s good for him, because it helps camouflage one of the country’s most extreme right-wing politicians — a very close ally of the John Birch Society (JBS), which is best understood as a sort of seed bank for right wing ideas, rather than an active political agent — but one with long arms in today’s political landscape.

    Rep. Paul’s ideas are so extreme that no sensible voter would give him a second look if it wasn’t for the Uncle Fuzzy persona.

    How extreme? Here’s some of what Uncle Fuzzy told a group of young followers he’d do if he made it to the Oval Office.

    * Allow anybody to mint money by passing the “…Free Competition in Currency Act, which repeals legal tender laws and all taxes on gold and silver.”;
    * Force the FDA and the FTC to allow any dietary supplement onto the market “…unless they have clear evidence that the manufacturer’s clams are not true.” This is a prescription for endless lawsuits.
    * Kill Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for future generations;
    * End Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits for people getting them now –but giving them “…time to prepare for the day when responsibility for providing aide is returned to those organizations best able to administer compassionate and effective help–churches and private charities.”
    * Fire up to 800,000 federal workers through attrition, not filling vacancies for “non-essential” jobs.
    * Veto budgets he didn’t like;
    * Substantially defund federal education programs;
    * Likewise, defund the Byrne Grants that help local police fight interstate crime; something even the conservative Heritage Foundation opposes.

    Not very fuzzy, is it? And that’s just part of his list. You can read the whole text here.

    Where did Rep. Paul get these ideas? Well, mostly from the seed bank of the John Birch Society. While he’s not a member, he’s been close to it since at least the 1970s.

    “Ron Paul may not be a member of the John Birch Society, but you need a micrometer to tell them apart,” says Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates who’s been tracking the JBS and other right wing groups for years. Berlet sometimes writes for The Huffington Post.

    In recent years the JBS has played a major — and acknowledged — role in the Tea Party, which is better known for being funded by the likes of the Koch Brothers.

    The Koch Brothers, who deny they’re JBS members, are themselves sons of a JBS founder, Fred Koch. The JBS itself says it never discloses its member list.

    But the JBS makes no bones about its connections to the Tea Party. “We’ve been helping train the Tea Party for some time, teaching it how to organize and avoid some of the mistakes we made,” says Bill Hahn, a JBS spokesman.

    Rep. Paul himself has no problem discussing his close JBS ties. Giving the keynote address at the JBS’ 50th Anniversary dinner, for instance, he said “I’m sure there are people in this room who probably helped me at that time [win the 1976 election] because I know so many of you have over the years.”


  378. Speaking of Paul, Glenn Greenwald strikes back at the myriad of folks attacking him for supposedly endorsing Paul — and he explains the distortions — laying most of the blame at the feet of those propelled by Democratic orthodoxy.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/01/05/democratic_party_priorities/singleton/


  379. here is what my congressman responded when I emailed him and asked why he supported the bill:

    “I was proud to support passage of the NDAA for FY12 on May 26. We as a nation have a sacred obligation to support the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families who sacrifice so much in the name of defending our freedoms. This legislation meets that obligation by providing $690 billion for defense-related programs next year. It includes a 1.6% pay increase for military personnel, and it extends certain special pay and bonuses for active duty and reserve personnel. Improvements to military housing also will continue thanks to $15 billion in new investment.

    The bill also protects and expands health benefits for our military families. It limits any future growth in TRICARE premiums to the rate of the military retirement COLA. Reserve members will now be able to access behavioral health services during training exercises or other unit assemblies. In addition, the 20 communities with the highest concentration of wounded warriors will receive $60 million to offer enhanced career-development training as these veterans continue on the path to recovery.”


  380. @Bron: In other words, your Congressman is saying, look how much money I got these guys in return for giving up your Constitutional rights. We sold your rights for a good deal more than they were worth, didn’t we?


  381. Elaine:

    those seem like libertarian views to me. I guess the JBS has been coopted by Dr. Von Mises and Murry Rothbard among others.

    But I am not sure how letting people use gold and silver for money is fuzzy thinking? It would certainly sustain the value of a dollar or at least let you know, based on the metal price, what an oz. of silver or gold is worth at any given time.

    You cannot inflate gold and silver, you can increase the supply but it costs a certain amount of money to extract it from the ground so the price can only go but so low.


  382. Bron, did you specifically address the detention provisions of the bill, because your congressperson sure didn’t? As posted upthread, mine (Webb) did attempt to amend the bill but voted for it in the end), on the basis of concern for the military operating within the country. He didn’t address the Constitutional deficiencies of due process either.


  383. Mike,

    Thanks, but at 1,981 comments to “Good Law” as of this morning, I think I won’t start to sweat losing the crown until somewhere around the 1,200 mark. In re Tony’s intemperate style of argumentation, you’re not the first person to mention that to me, but you are the first to do so in camera. The phrase I’ve heard used more than once is “bull in a china shop”. However, in Tony’s defense, everyone has a blind spot of some sort and while bullheaded at times, I’ve found that Tony’s intemperance can make him logic resistant at times but not logic proof. In re his support of Paul as Obama alternative, I too find it puzzling that he doesn’t see the correlation between Objectivism and Paul’s platform. Is it fueled by simple hatred for Obama? Maybe, but I suspect that at the root of his (I think misplaced) support for Paul rests more on general discontent with the civil rights records and policies of the other choices in candidates. That Paul has a couple of planks in his platform that are attractive to civil rights reformers is without question. However, even the in nature we see the folly of making decisions on narrow scope or single issues. The angler fish has a very attractive lure, but fish that pursue it end us as dinner.

    As both you and Elaine allude to, it’s the totality of Paul’s platform that makes him untenable (which I agree is disastrous for many reasons). For every right step in the direction of civil rights, Paul would be taking two steps back and a sidestep toward corporate feudalism. Perhaps Tony’s reaction is that of a ship’s captain caught out at sea in a storm – any port is a good port – however, he didn’t take into account that the island is inhabited by cannibals and the bay is shallow. Paul is no different from his Rand worshiping brethren and in the end, that is what all Objectivists are; a sort of social cannibal, thriving off of the exploitation of others. He’s all about liberty as long as that liberty includes the oligarchical right of the few to exploit the many without fear of repercussion. He’s no different from any other purchased via graft candidate in that respect; Republican or Democrat. As repugnant as Obama has proven to be (and I won’t be voting for him), I find Paul to be easily as bad a choice as Santorum or the now defunct Bachmann and they are both theocratic lunatics. Which is to say I find the idea of supporting Paul somewhere in the vicinity of where Insane Street crosses Unwise Avenue. Not only does he stand little chance of winning the nomination, if elected, he would be a disaster; either he’d get some of his most radical and damaging agendas enacted or he’d be stalemated by Congress ala Carter.

    The real question to me isn’t who are the college kids going to find attractive in the primaries. If they have impact, I don’t think it will be felt until the general election. The real question is who are the disenfranchised moderate and traditional conservatives going to vote for? Who has appeal to the independent moderates from the GOP stable? In answering that question, I have to give a slight edge to Romney. While his lukewarm nature and obvious political whoreish-ness may seem like a weakness to some, it does paint him the moderate compared to his competition. I think this combined with older moderate and traditional conservatives more likely to vote in primaries than younger voters gives Romney a tactical advantage. In the end though, barring some game changing event, I don’t think there are enough people like me (who simply won’t vote for Obama again on principle) to ruin Obama’s chance to win in a field with competition such as the GOP is fielding no matter who wins the nomination. Is it a slam dunk? No. But most people, including many registered Republicans, realize that the current GOP field ranges from more of the same (Romney) to disaster waiting to happen (everyone else except maybe Huntsman who stands zero chance of winning the nomination).

    In the end, I don’t think it matters. The slow road to fascism, the fast road to fascism, the road is currently leading us to the same place. Until the damage of Citizens United is undone and political spending is severely constrained, we are still on the road to Italian style corporate fascism in a way that would have made Mussolini proud. We as a country need to correct that problem and start putting both pols who sellout their oath to protect the Constitution and serve We the People and their corporate paymasters in prison (and seizing their assets) in addition to holding our domestic war criminals responsible for their actions. The Rule of Law must be restored and put to work for all citizens. There will be no justice until the lady is again blind and the unbalancing thumb of political spending is removed from her scales. And in the end, that is what is driving the general dissatisfaction with government: social, civil and criminal injustices unpunished due to monied political influence.


  384. DonS:

    No I did not, I assumed [I guess wrongly] that he would know why I was asking. I guess not or he just decided to ignore that part of it. My guess is he didnt even read it or just read a one paragraph synopsis with staffers recommendation.

    By the way Webb is my senator as well. I was actually surprised he voted for it. Warner is a company man so I was not surprised by his vote.

    I would classify Warner as a good competent bureaucrat but not a statesman or a person concerned with political philosophy. If it works then do it, not a person of any deep conviction.


  385. anon nurse,

    That video really lays it out. Thanks for posting it. We often forget what is happening internationally in this nation and looking at our foreign policy reveals a great deal about what this govt. is about.

    Tony C.

    As to the racism of Ron Paul, I would say he is a racist or at least he certainly was one. What I find bizarre is Obama is also a racist. So if being a racist is a reason to not vote for Ron Paul, why isn’t a reason not to vote for Obama? Obama is very dicey on abortion as well. He’s disallowed the poorest and most sick women from buying abortion coverage and his supposed scientific administration has forbidden young women from the morning after pill without permission. Those things should raise questions as to the sincerity of Obama’s position on abortion for his supporters. Yet, of course, they do not.

    Further, Obama has given the small gains of the health insurance company bill to the states to decide. That’s after ruling out universal, single payer coverage from the beginning.

    As to Iran, I hear all the fears that Ricky will attack Iran. Meanwhile, we have ships steaming to the straights as we speak and we’re sending troops into “help” Israel. This to me doesn’t border on the surreal, it is surreal.

    I do not believe that any of the above concerns are that meaningful or real to Obama supporters. If they were, they would preclude a vote for him as well as all the other candidates who hold the same positions. Something else is going on here. I would say one aspect of that something else is propaganda.


  386. Bron,

    My guess is he never read it at all and you got a form response.


  387. Gene H:

    Did you know that Mussolini was a socialist before he invented fascism?


  388. Gene H:

    actually that should have read “while he was inventing fascism”.


  389. Gene H:

    Of course, the letter was probably a form letter. He doesnt have time to respond to everyone personally he is doing the work of fucking up the country.


  390. Bron, so we can surmise that if, indeed, your letter went to Webb, as did mine, given the option his response (churned out by the standard paragraph mill) is to avoid raising the Constitutionality/detention/military control issue unless absolutely questioned on it. You’d think he would be as proud of opposition to detention as he is to blow his patriotic military trumpet. Maybe not . . .

    Warner, I agree, a functionary and, sadly, a pretty right leaning one.


  391. Bron,

    Do you know that you still don’t have a clue as to what either political science term means? If you did you’d know that Mussolini’s political polarity swapped when he resigned from the Socialist Party in 1915 (over Italian support for the Allies – feeling the Left had abandoned the best interests of Italy) and he then spent the rest of his life promoting the far Right practice of corporate fascism. Just as not all Republicans were always Republicans and not all Democrats were always Democrats, that Mussolini took a radical turn is his political beliefs is only relevant because the turn he took was for the worse based upon the outcome of both his work and his decisions. Yeah, that changing his politics really worked out well for him personally and for the country of Italy, if by worked out well I mean him being beaten and hung in public and Italy getting the crap kicked out of them. Sell your false equivalences to someone else.


  392. Gene,

    Your post at 12:31pm is a Bravo Gem in its analysis of the candidates.

    As to Tony, who I enjoy reading and debating … there are times when his responses remind me of a certain poster whose reaction to the name “Nancy Pelosi” is always intensely predictable. ;)


  393. Thanks, Blouise.


  394. Gene,

    I don’t think Paul will restore the rule of law as I said the other day. I won’t vote for him because of that. We need rule of law restored pronto.

    However JT and Tony C. do believe he will restore the rule of law. While I disagree with them on that point, their arguments which flow from their genuine commitment to our Constitution are excellent, passionate, well reasoned and moving. In addition, Greenwald makes a good argument on the importance of Paul’s candidacy to opening debate on important issues in our society. Paul really is, of now, the only one of candidates considered likely to have a chance at winning, that raises issues such as the rule of law, wars of empire and the loss of civil liberties.


  395. Iowa was Paul’s best chance to win a state, and he did not succeed. He has virtually no chance because many of the republican primaries are winner take all. I doubt that he wins one state.


  396. DonS:

    I just sent to my congressman in my local district.

    Did Webb send you the same verbiage as my congressman did?


  397. Gene H:

    It was just a fact I learned. Certainly not all socialists are fascists. That would be illogical.


  398. “GOP Field Suddenly Frightened As Super PACs Break Out Of Lab”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/05/2012-election-new-hampshire-primary-super-pac_n_1186413.html “Super PAC Disclosure Requirements Hot Topic Of Conversation Among GOP Candidates”


  399. I am not a Ron Paul fan but I doubt he is a racist where he thinks real racism comes from:

    “If places of public accommodation were free to racially discriminate, how much racial discrimination would there be? In answering that question, we should acknowledge that just because a person is free to do something, it doesn’t follow that he will find it in his interest to do so. An interesting example is found in an article by Dr. Jennifer Roback titled “The Political Economy of Segregation: The Case of Segregated Streetcars,” in Journal of Economic History (1986). During the late 1800s, private streetcar companies in Augusta, Houston, Jacksonville, Mobile, Montgomery and Memphis were not segregated, but by the early 1900s, they were. Why? City ordinances forced them to segregate black and white passengers. Numerous Jim Crow laws ruled the day throughout the South, mandating segregation in public accommodations.

    When one sees a law on the books, he should suspect that the law is there because not everyone would voluntarily comply with the law’s specifications. Extra-legal measures, that included violence, backed up Jim Crow laws. When white solidarity is confronted by the specter of higher profits by serving blacks, it’s likely that profits will win. Thus, Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights represented government countering government-backed Jim Crow laws.

    One does not have to be a racist to recognize that the federal government has no constitutional authority to prohibit racial or any other kind of discrimination by private parties. Moreover, the true test of one’s commitment to freedom of association doesn’t come when he permits people to associate in ways he deems appropriate. It comes when he permits people to voluntarily associate in ways he deems offensive.”

    Maybe that is what Paul has in mind.


  400. @Gene: I too find it puzzling that he doesn’t see the correlation between Objectivism and Paul’s platform.

    I see it clearly, and I will also stipulate that Paul is a free market idiot, and I am in hard line opposition to it. Paul (and Objectivists) have a woefully deficient and fictional understanding of how the brain works, and humans work and respond to stimulus, hardship, opportunity, and society. I will even stipulate I think there is a high probability Paul is a racist (and I find it astonishing Mike S. dismisses the deep-rooted effects of childhood cultural indoctrination into social attitudes, I thought they were obvious.)

    So I understand all of that.

    Of all people, even though we have traded insults before, I would think you would understand this argument: I am willing to suffer any pain it takes to restore the Bill of Rights and get this militarized police state under control before it becomes intractable. The pains we might suffer under Paul’s idiotic philosophy are injuries we can heal once he is gone, the loss of the Bill of Rights is a fatal wound that will not heal.

    And I believe (perhaps wrongly) that Paul is the only candidate that would find a way to permanently limit the power of the Presidency, including his own. I believe it would take a President to do that.

    The Congress isn’t going to pass an alternative currency bill, they aren’t going to strip federal courts of jurisdiction, they aren’t going to abolish Social Security or Medicare, they aren’t going to pass racist laws. Democrats would filibuster and have a field day.

    But Congress might pass laws or Amendments that REDUCE the power of the President. As Commander in Chief, he might wrestle the military and the 3000 Intelligence agencies to the ground. As the Chief Executive, he might deprioritize the war on drugs, and with the pardons he promised for all non-violent pot offenders, immediately end the destruction of young lives over smoking something less harmful (and less addictive) than drinking alcohol.

    There is no puzzle, Gene. Paul is an idiot, an Objectivist, a Free marketer, probably a racist and homophobic old man, but he calls himself a Constitutionalist FIRST, and his actions for decades have borne that out. He is a cement-head ideologue that has been blindly faithful to the Constitution at every turn. That is his value.

    Perhaps nobody else is as alarmed as I am, and everybody thinks the NDAA is not so bad, citizen assassinations are not so bad, torture is not so bad if it is kept secret, the endless war is not so bad, the warrant-less search and property seizure and pervasive eavesdropping are all not so bad. Let us just keep playing the Rs vs Ds, because it is all just low-grade entertainment and Spielberg’s next movie is far more important than who runs the country.

    I think the truth is far more apocalyptic and before Obama is done the America we believed in will be nothing but irrelevant papers and stories. Oh, you will be free! (as long as you toe the line and watch what you say and do what you are told without question). Ron Paul may be a sledge hammer, but he is the only tool in the drawer that has any chance of derailing this train.

    I have a conference to prepare for and then attend next week, I do not know when I will be able to post again. Thanks for your posts, everybody.


  401. Bron asks “Did Webb send you the same verbiage as my congressman did”

    No. I posted the meat of Webb’s response upthread somewhere, and withdraw my previous surmise, though not my disappointment in Webb.


  402. “Mike,
    President Ron Paul? Ron Paul and the John Birch Society
    by Andrew Reinbach”

    Elaine,

    Thank you for that it rounds out the arguments against Paul that I’ve been making..While it’s true I’m going to vote for Obama I’ve been very clear on my criticism of the President, so I really understand the people who won’t vote for him. However, to present Ron Paul as a viable alternative is folly, given what I know of him, now bolstered by the stuff you presented.


  403. Tony,

    “…everybody thinks the NDAA is not so bad, citizen assassinations are not so bad, torture is not so bad if it is kept secret, the endless war is not so bad, the warrant-less search and property seizure and pervasive eavesdropping are all not so bad.everybody thinks the NDAA is not so bad, citizen assassinations are not so bad, torture is not so bad if it is kept secret, the endless war is not so bad, the warrant-less search and property seizure and pervasive eavesdropping are all not so bad.”

    Perhaps others are as alarmed as you–and perhaps not everybody thinks the NDAA is not so bad, citizen assassinations are not so bad, torture is not so bad if it is kept secret, the endless war is not so bad, the warrant-less search and property seizure and pervasive eavesdropping are all not so bad.

    How is Paul going to work his magic? He won’t be elected president. He has about a 1% chance of being the 2012 Republican nominee. Let’s talk about reality.


  404. Tony,

    “I am willing to suffer any pain it takes to restore the Bill of Rights and get this militarized police state under control before it becomes intractable.”

    As am I with the caveat that I’d prefer the cure not be as damaging as the condition. Would Paul forfeit the expanded powers of the unitary executive? Or would he – having the power – use it to further his more extreme agenda items? A civil libertarian without all the crazy baggage Paul carries would get my vote too.

    Here’s where we differ.

    “The pains we might suffer under Paul’s idiotic philosophy are injuries we can heal once he is gone, the loss of the Bill of Rights is a fatal wound that will not heal.”

    I agree with the later but not with the former. Paul’s idiotic philosophy could just as easily bring the whole house down as losing the Bill of Rights. One would bring fascism, other a more militant form of fascism, but both would bring fascism with slightly different flavors of authoritarianism. The United States of Privatized Social Services versus the United States of Raytheon. It’s clear you see the dangers inherent in Paul, but I think you might be underestimating the potential scale of damage. True – and as I mentioned the possibility of – Congress would stalemate many of his more drastic ideas. That is, however, not a guarantee. What’s to keep Paul from misusing the already abused signing statements to make law by Imperial fiat like Bush and Obama before him when frustrated by Congress and/or the Courts? Not a goddamn thing at this point. We both know his Austrian School economics are ultimately antithetical to civil and human rights no matter how good his game is on trying to convince people otherwise. Paul talks an internally contradictory game between his political policy and his economic policy so I can’t trust him to be a man of his word on restoring the Rule of Law and the Bill of Rights. Even if stalemated on everything but the RoL and BoR, the alternative is a Citizen’s United funded Congress having their way on everything else for four years. Not exactly a confidence building scenario either.

    “Perhaps nobody else is as alarmed as I am, and everybody thinks the NDAA is not so bad, citizen assassinations are not so bad, torture is not so bad if it is kept secret, the endless war is not so bad, the warrant-less search and property seizure and pervasive eavesdropping are all not so bad.”

    I think the opposition to these items is quite clear and the dangers they represent are well appreciated in this forum.

    “Let us just keep playing the Rs vs Ds, because it is all just low-grade entertainment and Spielberg’s next movie is far more important than who runs the country.”

    True of many perhaps, but keep in mind on a Venn diagram that those primarily interested in entertainment and the audience of this blog have a very small overlap.

    “Ron Paul may be a sledge hammer, but he is the only tool in the drawer that has any chance of derailing this train.”

    Perhaps, but at what cost? And we are back to the point where we differ.

    Enjoy your conference.


  405. TC: clearly your online virtual persona needs a break. Getting out in the real world for a bit will do you good. Hope the sunlight doesn’t cause you to melt.

    You said, “He is a cement-head ideologue that has been blindly faithful to the Constitution at every turn.” I certainly agree with the “cement-head” and “blind” part but his and your notion of “faithful to the constituion” was clearly not intended to include the United States Constitution.

    Meanwhile, have a great presentation. Glad to hear that disability of yours in the real world has gone away.


  406. If you actually read some of the stories and background you find these cases are not quite as simple as the hyped headlines and simple minded would like to think:

    “When President Obama took office, federal employees who had exposed wrongdoing or were considering doing so had reason for hope. Eight years of the Bush administration’s relentless retaliation against whistle-blowers had ended, and Obama spoke encouragingly of transparency and due process.

    Since then, the administration has taken some positive steps for whistle-blowers, most notably in (unsuccessfully) advocating legislation to protect them and in loosening the government’s grip on public information. However, its treatment of national-security and intelligence whistle-blowers – arguably the ones we need most – has been brutal. It has pursued multiple prosecutions of such whistle-blowers on espionage charges.”

    Note that the charges against one was dropped and the other ended with minor plea agreement.

    As someone who had a Top Secret Clearance divulging secrets you are entrusted with is not something to be taken lightly.

    As one commentor said of another story:

    “”When the Obama administration assumed office, they continued and amplified the Bush-era harassment of Radack. ”

    Where does she say this? I have listened to the audio twice now, and have read her Wikipedia article. Everything that she talks about is about what the Bush administration did to her.

    And it’s not a minor point. The entire point of this post, and almost every comment below, is based around this claim that the Obama administration has amplified the harassment of Radack.

    I don’t have any problem with criticizing the Obama administration, but I wish people didn’t have to resort to falsehoods to do so. It cheapens you. ”

    There was an old saying during WW2; Loose lips sink ships. Clearly we want a system that encourages accountability, limits waste, and reveals the truth, but in the cases I looked at it was not clear those who went to the press did not have better and more effective ways to act. The notion that anybody anytime who doesn’t like or think things are being done in a way that is acceptable to them should call up the Times has its own problems.


  407. “I am willing to suffer any pain it takes to restore the Bill of Rights and get this militarized police state under control before it becomes intractable.”

    Tony,

    How noble of you save for the fact that if any candidate in this race gets elected you won’t suffer any pain at all. You’ve alluded to the fact that besides being a scientist, you’re a successful businessman. If that’s the case you’re not suffering the pain of the average Americas as the safety net frays; jobs pay little and are scarce; and homes are foreclosed. Now will you suffer the pain of no health care, no Medicare and no Social Security. Why, because as you have told us you’re very successful financially.

    “The pains we might suffer under Paul’s idiotic philosophy are injuries we can heal once he is gone, the loss of the Bill of Rights is a fatal wound that will not heal.”

    Tony you are not part of the “we” who will suffer, by your own admission. So it shows the true humanist in you that you are willing to let millions suffer through all this, because after all Tony will be okay.

    “Paul is an idiot, an Objectivist, a Free marketer, probably a racist and homophobic old man, but he calls himself a Constitutionalist FIRST, and his actions for decades have borne that out. He is a cement-head ideologue that has been blindly faithful to the Constitution at every turn. That is his value.”

    The only thing Ron Paul has been blindly faithful to is his belief in creating an “objectivist” America. Don’t worry about a thing though Tony, you can stand the pain, it’s only the rest of us who can’t. I’m sure we’ll have your sympathy though.


  408. “True – and as I mentioned the possibility of – Congress would stalemate many of his more drastic ideas. That is, however, not a guarantee.”

    Gene,

    As far as Congress “stalemating” anything that is true, but for one very good possibility and that is if in the Obama loss, all of Congress turns Republican. Given the gyrations that Republicans have gone through to please the extreme right wing of their party. The possible control of all three branches would be a disaster of the worst consequences. Eric Cantor as Speaker of the House, Mitch McConnell/Lindsey Graham Senate Majority and pick your Republican in the WH and things would quickly get ugly, with feudal fascism moving from the likely to the inevitable.


  409. “I think the truth is far more apocalyptic and before Obama is done the America we believed in will be nothing but irrelevant papers and stories.”

    Tony,

    Just what American era since the Revolution are you referring to? Damn it
    Tony, I thought you knew better than that. America has never lived up to its Constitution and BoR. That’s precisely the reason we have these problems today.


  410. “What I find bizarre is Obama is also a racist”

    Jill,

    I know he’s a fascist/communist/Islamic/Kenyan but this charge is new to me. Just how is he a racist?

    .


  411. January 5, 2012
    Canaries in the Data Mines

    Civil libertarians raise alarm over America’s national surveillance network.

    BY Nan Levinson

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/12427/canaries_in_the_data_mines


  412. Ron Paul’s Strange Bedfellows
    Katha Pollitt
    The Nation
    January 4, 2012

    http://www.thenation.com/article/165440/ron-pauls-strange-bedfellows

    Excerpt:
    It’s a little strange to see people who inveigh against Obama’s healthcare compromises wave away, as a detail, Paul’s opposition to any government involvement in healthcare. In Ron Paul’s America, if you weren’t prudent enough or wealthy enough to buy private insurance—and the exact policy that covers what’s ailing you now—you find a charity or die. And if civil liberties are so important, how can Paul’s progressive fans overlook his opposition to abortion and his signing of the personhood pledge, which could ban many birth control methods? Last time I checked, women were half the population (the less important half, apparently). Technically, Paul would overturn Roe and let states make their own laws regulating women’s bodies, up to and including prosecuting abortion as murder. Add in his opposition to basic civil rights law—he maintains his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposes restrictions on the “freedom” of business owners to refuse service to blacks—and his hostility to the federal government starts looking more and more like old-fashioned Southern-style states’ rights. No wonder they love him over at Stormfront, a white-supremacist website with neo-Nazi tendencies. In a multiple-choice poll of possible effects of a Paul presidency, the most popular answer by far was “Paul will implement reforms that increase liberty which will indirectly benefit White Nationalists.” And let’s not forget his other unsavory fan base, Christian extremists who want to execute gays, adulterers and “insubordinate children.” Paul’s many connections with the Reconstructionist movement, going back decades, are laid out on AlterNet by Adele Stan, who sees him as a faux libertarian whose real agenda is not individualism but to prevent the federal government from restraining the darker impulses at work at the state and local levels.

    It’s all pretty incoherent for a man often praised as principled and consistent and profound—if states could turn themselves into a Christian theocracy, could they also turn themselves into socialist mini-republics? If they can ban contraception, can they also compel contraception? For people who see Paul as an antiwar candidate who will restore the Bill of Rights, it’s almost bad manners to bring up his opposition to just about every piece of progressive legislation passed in the last 200 years, from the Occupational Safety and Health Act and membership in the UN to Federal Deposit Insurance and requirements that undocumented immigrants be permitted treatment in ERs. But come on! This man has been a stone reactionary his entire life. Consistent? Not to harp on abortion, but an effective ban would require a level of policing that would make the war on drugs look feeble.


  413. Tony C. writes the same feelings as I have. It is literally as if nothing Obama does matters. Yet killing a 16 year old child, torture, rendition, endless war, imprisonment without trial, failure to prosecute for war and financial crimes–this short list, even one of those actions should shock the conscience, yet the reaction of so many people is as if nothing happened. That is scary and disturbing to me. I keep wondering why these actions are acceptable to people. The only answer I get is supporters don’t want a Republican doing these types of things. But my question remains, why would you accept anyone doing these things?

    Once you have accepted these actions, is there any limit to what you will give over to your leaders? Why on earth would you believe in or believe that anything a person who did these things said to you would be true? That doesn’t make sense. It is a suspension of fundamental reality to trust a person who has killed a boy for no reason or who tortures or who would imprison the innocent.

    How do people come to the point where they will accept these actions? I really don’t understand this. Is it because you don’t imagine this will every happen to you or anyone you care about? By why don’t you care whether it happens to someone who is a complete stranger. It scares me that my fellow citizens don’t seem to care what is happening to strangers. That is the essence of “First they came”. More importantly, even if one is never taken, others are being taken, right now. Who are we as a people if we turn away from the suffering of others? It is as if I do not know, nor can I comprehend Obama supporters.

    Tony writes and I agree with him: “Perhaps nobody else is as alarmed as I am, and everybody thinks the NDAA is not so bad, citizen assassinations are not so bad, torture is not so bad if it is kept secret, the endless war is not so bad, the warrant-less search and property seizure and pervasive eavesdropping are all not so bad. Let us just keep playing the Rs vs Ds, because it is all just low-grade entertainment and Spielberg’s next movie is far more important than who runs the country.

    I think the truth is far more apocalyptic and before Obama is done the America we believed in will be nothing but irrelevant papers and stories. Oh, yoju will be free! (as long as you toe the line and watch what you say and do what you are told without question).”


  414. Thanks, anon nurse, for the link at @ 8:54.

    A good read.


  415. DonS, My pleasure…

    Blouise, You in denial? Never! It wouldn’t even occur to me.

    ——————————————-

    “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.” -Thomas Paine

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Defiling the Constitution, Betraying the Founders
    by Ray McGovern

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/01/05-3

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/219083.html (Dave Lindorff (Philadelphia), Don DeBar (New York), and Ray McGovern in a panel discussion of the implications of the President’s signing of the NDAA)


  416. TC, what a nice list. Ever hear “actions speak louder then words”. Not surprisingly you don’t grasp that most of your list is actually all about “rights” and civil liberties. Equality, Poverty, healthcare, education, the right to choose what happens inside your own body and life or who you marry are all the embodiment of the constitution and bill of rights. They are where your delusions about what the words and meaning of the constitution and bill of rights meet the reality of people’s lives. (forget your derivitive nonsense)

    You claim to believe in your list but your choice of RP says you believe in something else to the point they mean nothing. Kind of like most of the Republican/tparty that talks family values but cheats on their family. In most places they call that hypocrisy or a lie.

    Like your own frequent comments, a few posts basically ask “where is the outrage” at what you view as the horrible, horrible things Obama has done with regard to your little pet issue. What you have just made clear is you only have one issue and no other issue matters at all (even when they are actually all about your own pet issue but you can’t grasp such a concept).

    In your limited view of reality only that issue (or rather your limited view of that issue) matters and if everyone else doesn’t feel the same outrage there must be something wrong with them (as opposed to something wrong with you).

    People who live in the real world can actually be outraged over many things. But unlike children who have a limited view of everything they understand reality is a bit more complex. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect choices and the sign of an adult is they have to make the best choices with what they have as compared to you and Ron Paul’s child like notion of what is. In fact your idea of “civil liberty” is like Herman Caine’s 9-9-9 tax plan – sounds pretty good and simple in principle but once you actually read it the plan is nonsensical and filled with exceptions.

    I am completely unapologetic for Obama (unlike some here). I will support him without reservation. Given reality I believe he has done an amazing job (and sometimes even brilliant such as dealing with the debt hostage crisis) and outfoxed the Repulbican/Tparty nut cases time and again.

    I believe we are in the midst of the second fighting of the Civil War. That’s my pet issue. We either have hope for the future with Obama and the Democrats (as imperfect as that may be) or we take a giant step onto the dark ages with the likes of Ron Paul and the Republican/Tparty whack jobs.

    So maybe my question for you and some of the others is not about your outrage with Obama over your pet issue to the exclusion of everything else, but where is your outrage with what Republicans have done and what they say they will do in the future, including Ron Paul?

    But really, don’t bother yourself answering that. It was meant rhetorically. Your simplified grasp of everything about reality and the constitution would make it rather meaningless.


  417. Swarthmore mom, It’s a despicable ad.


  418. You leaderhosen had me goin for a while, but I’m not one to take anything at face value. so I did some research and this is what I found. http://www.republicansforobama.org/node/9821 and http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2011/12/24/caucuses-tea-party-constitution-progressive-hr-1540/ . I suggest you people do some research starting with the above. If you think Ron Paul is the answer then you are TRULY are UNINFORMED.


  419. F2S,

    I have read some say that some of Ron Paul’s ideas are attractive and some do sound pretty good but I certainly don’t think he is the answer to anything but a Faster Fascism but then……well I don’t think any of these guys are the answer. Republican or Democrat. They are the problem; not the solution.

    I won’t presume to speak for anyone else of course.


  420. AMS: your answer is essentially to vote for Ralph Nader. We all know how that turned out: Eight years of GWB; Citizens United, Iraq, and you name it. And because I don’t think you are a complete fool I have to assume that is exactly the outcome you want – divide democrats and republicans win.


  421. 1zb1,

    Exactly how can you divide what is not united to begin with?


  422. A reasonable assumption but incorrect. Like Mike I sometimes assume familiarity with my beliefs.

    No. I don’t believe that a third party candidiate has a chance; even if we could find one.

    I support a slightly more radical proccess. I don’t believe any attempt to clean up the system will succeed if it is initiated through the current system or the system as it exists at least. I believe that a massive movement of the people; a general strike; and widespread civil disobedience is the only answer. Not a violent revolution but a non-violent Occupation of the system to force the changes we need to make the system work for all Americans.
    Though I suspect the 1% won’t agree.

    I support this more radical solution because if the system is corrupt; you can’t expect the system to correct itself.
    Once the private money is out of our political system; our political leaders will be free to act to benefit the people instead of the corporations.

    I hope Obama wins this year. But I don’t expect him to do anything more than he has done.
    I expect in fact I am certail that whoever wins; the conditions for Americans will just get worse unless we also Occupy the Government and make it change.

    Still a reasonable assumption and it would probably be my hopeless course if I still had any faith or belief in our Government or Political System.

    I suppose; just to be safe; i should give more thought to the election but my heart will never be in it again untill we take care of the bigger problem of corruption and money or corruption of money or corruption by money or however you look at it.


  423. YOGI, the whole point of the constitution was to “manage” differences. That a single nation even with its differences had a better chance of survivial then a group of individual states, groups, etc. Conflict is inevitable (at least for the present) but how you deal with them and resolve them is what is at issue.

    If everyone agreed with me there would be no conflict (that’s a joke).


  424. 1zb1,

    That is affirmative. Now, if you recall the Federalist papers, they will give you the directions to achieve the result that we seek.

    In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradnally induced, by a like motive, to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful.

    51


  425. Yogi,

    “In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights.” and ” In the extended republic of the United States, and among the great variety of interests, parties, and sects which it embraces, a coalition of a majority of the whole society could seldom take place on any other principles than those of justice and the general good;”


  426. AMS SAID: “I suppose; just to be safe; i should give more thought to the election but my heart will never be in it again untill we take care of the bigger problem of corruption and money or corruption of money or corruption by money or however you look at it.”

    And just who is the “WE”? Since you are sitting this out in the comfort of your living room making pointless posts on a blog, just who is going to be the “we”.

    If you are waiting for the end of “corruption and money or corruption of money or corruption by money or however you look at it” you will probably be waiting until the end of time. There are plenty of bad guys all over the place,. If you are going to wait until they are all gone before you are going to do anything to get rid of them then guess what happens….


  427. […] According to legal scholar Jonathan Turley, the NDAA represents “one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country.” […]


  428. @Mike Spindell: How noble of you save for the fact that if any candidate in this race gets elected you won’t suffer any pain at all. You’ve alluded to the fact that besides being a scientist, you’re a successful businessman.

    How noble of you, Mike, because if Obama gets elected you won’t be the Muslim cleric targeted for assassination, or the innocent Arab indefinitely detained, or the Whistleblower tortured and held without charges. You won’t be the villager burying the charred remains of your children in Pakistan, killed in an undeclared and unconstitutional CIA war. It probably won’t be you attending the funerals of soldiers killed by the endless war machine (which may well include my Marine nephew). It probably won’t be you watching the lives of nephews and nieces ruined forever over idiotic drug charges (or like me, bearing the expense of having them defended.)

    You accuse me of ignoring the pain of others for political expediency, I suggest you do not use weapons that can be turned against you.

    I do not believe either of us wants to ignore the pain of others; I balance the probable minimal effect of Ron Paul’s stance against abortion, and the probable effect of continued war losses under Obama, and I firmly believe the net effect is far LESS pain with Paul, without trivializing the fact that there will be pain with either choice.

    The reason I believe Paul means less pain is that I do not believe that in four years Ron Paul can accomplish any stitch of the social agenda you accuse him of, and nobody has shown me even a plausible scenario in which he could. If our 51 Democratic Senators refuse to filibuster a Paul anti-abortion move, we are lost anyway. We are most likely to gain a Senate Seat (via Scott Brown) but even if we lose some, we can filibuster. Democrats will stop Ron Paul’s social agenda, and Ron Paul will stop the shooting wars and drug wars and corporate welfare and restore the rule of law and save countless lives in the process, both the lives of soldiers and the lives of non-violent drug offenders currently senselessly imprisoned.


  429. Paul is not in going to be on the ballot in the fall unless he runs as a third party candidate. It is Obama versus the person, Bain Capital. Buddy Roemer finished behind Perry in last place. Last night was the coronation of the Downton Abbey family. Even Rush Limbaugh criticized Perry and Newt for being socialists .It appears to be over. Coulter and Mark Levin are on board too, Tony C.


  430. Now all the talk is about whether Romney will pick swing staters ,Rubio or Portman, as vp. But anybody is better than Obama even Bain Capital.


  431. Tony C.,

    Do you actually believe that Ron Paul is going to be the Republican nominee? If not, what’s the point of the Obama vs. Paul argument?


  432. Elaine,

    I don’t think Paul will win the Republican nomination however there is a real importance to his campaign. He is raising issues that Democrats do not want raised. That is the argument of Glenn Greenwald and others. It think it makes sense.

    Tony C. and Mike S. are talking about things that make Democrats very uncomfortable. It’s a discussion that would not likely take place without Paul having enough supporters to bring these problems with president Obama to a public forum. It can also help Democrats to start thinking about voting for candidates who they might actually agree with such as Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein and even, Buddy Roemer. I will also point out that Ron Paul might run his own third party ticket.

    We don’t know the future, but we do know what is happening in the present. I am hoping that what Obama, Congress, the financial industry and the Pentagon are doing is worth taking on right now. War crimes and financial fraud are happening right now and they are undermining our society. IMO, we are failing to address these horrible crimes because we are distracted by fear.

    That is why I keep urging people to pay more attention to the present and spend less time worrying about the future. If we concentrate on the present we have a chance at ameliorating the future.


  433. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/06/ron-paul-useful-idiots-on-the-left The Guardian lays out the reasons that I am uncomfortable with Paul.


  434. @Elaine: I still think Ron Paul has about a 20% chance of being the nominee.

    For whatever reason, Republicans hate Romney. I don’t know if it is his Mormonism so much as the fact that he comes off as a phony every single time he speaks. When all other anti-Romney candidates have given up, I think Ron Paul could still take it from him, and if he makes a third-party run, I think Ron Paul will get more support from ex-Obama supporters like me; at least I know some in my camp.

    In any case, I agree with Glenn Greenwald and others, even as a third party candidate, or even if Paul is destined to lose, I want him to deliver the anti-war, anti-drug-war, anti-secrecy, anti-corruption message he is delivering.

    Even if we are destined to lose the fight for what is right, the resistance costs the enemy their resources and slows their progress and we can hope our resistance will contribute to their weakness and eventual demise.

    I want Ron Paul in the race as long as possible to inform voters, both Democrats and Republicans, of exactly what they are voting for when they vote for Obama or Romney: Autocracy, endless covert war, corporatism, the Imperial Presidency, and the elimination of their own rights, including their rights to free speech and protest.


  435. Tony,

    Back at you, if you want to go the route of pain and suffering. You won’t be the family of five evicted from their home, living in their car, because of the jobs lost through an ongoing depression. You won’t be the thirtyish man with young children, who can’t afford a heart transplant. You won’t be a disabled war veteran whose PTSD goes untreated because of cuts in the VA. You won’t be the 16 year old rape victim forced to carry the baby of her rapist to term, nor will you be the Doctor arrested because he tried to help her with her abortion. You won’t be the forty-ish victim of MS, unable to receive SS Disability benefits and forced to live in a shelter. Nor will you be the children suffering the lifelong effects of malnutrition because their food programs have been ended. You won’t be the students whose intellectual growth is stunted by the teaching of “Intelligent Design”, along side evolution in school. You won’t be the Emergency Room patient in critical condition turned away because they had no health insurance. As for the decriminalization of drugs, don’t hold your breath because their is a very powerful lobby that would have Congress block any Paul initiative and this is true actually for the reasons you think Paul couldn’t effectively implement any of his screwball ideas.

    If you want, I could go on with this list and match every possible atrocity you list, with two grislier ones brought about by a Paul, or other Republican Presidency. Your reasoning about 51 Democratic Senators, or less, blocking the harsher aspects of a Republican victor can be turned around against you also. Congress has blocked the closing of Guantanamo for instance under Obama, yet he takes your fall. http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/09/2580557/congress-rule-keep-obama-from.html . Obama is faulted for not overcoming this, yet you see the same thing happening when a Republican President tries to initiate any of the draconian policies they all believe in. When you voted for Obama Tony, were you voting for President, or for a progressive Superman, waving away the encrustations of decades of ultra-conservative wealth propagandizing our people and in the process moving the Democratic Party to the right via buying Congress?

    As has been pointed out though, Paul will probably not get the nomination, but in your universe I guess it doesn’t matter which one wins, because nothing worse could go on with anybody but Obama. As to the insertion of your Marine nephew by you, in a effort to find some way you would be personally affected, since you tacitly acknowledge your financial stability is fine either way, all that’s keeping us from a war with Iran and him out of harm’s way, right now is Obama. The MI Complex war chant has begun and it has little to do with Israel and much to do with oil. My guess is Obama understands the folly of this, but he is being pressed hard. Your guess is I suppose as long as it’s anyone but Obama, things will work out just fine.


  436. S.M.,

    Are you uncomfortable with denying poor and really sick women abortion? Are you uncomfortable with the havoc visited on women’s reproductive capacity in other nations by the current president’s authorization of DU and other chemicals in attacks upon civilians? Are you uncomfortable with the racist policies of the current president?

    There are reasons to oppose Paul. Many of the reasons you site would be reasons to oppose Obama. This lack of ethical consistency is disturbing.


  437. “I want Ron Paul in the race as long as possible to inform voters, both Democrats and Republicans, of exactly what they are voting for when they vote for Obama or Romney: Autocracy, endless covert war, corporatism, the Imperial Presidency, and the elimination of their own rights, including their rights to free speech and protest.”

    Tony,

    So essentially you are saying there is no difference between Obama and Romney. You’re wrong and if you don’t get it by now, there is little I could do to change your mind.


  438. Paul wants to eliminate abortion for everyone and get rid of the Voting Rights Act. My brother in law that is an ER physician told me that under Paul’s plan people would just die in the ER. At least Paul is consistent. He wants no help for the poorest countries or the poorest people. Not voting for him or Romney. If you want to vote for him Jill, go ahead. Buddy Roemer came in last so Paul is your better option.


  439. “There are reasons to oppose Paul. Many of the reasons you site would be reasons to oppose Obama. This lack of ethical consistency is disturbing.”

    Jill,

    What is disturbing is your continuing to think of yourself as a paragon of ethics and SwM and me as some moral lepers because we disagree with you. Your way gets us probably Romney and we all know how much better off we will be then, of course in your mind they’re both the same, so your end game for making a difference is what exactly. SwM and I have done more than our fair share of criticism of Obama, however, people need to make reasoned political judgments and not react merely from hatred. To condemn this country to a Republican debacle, with all the pain it would cause simply because of animus, seems to me to be highly unethical and amoral. If one chooses to descend to the level of name calling, I would say that they do so out of lack of a real justification for their inconsistency.


  440. Jill,

    “Tony C. and Mike S. are talking about things that make Democrats very uncomfortable.”

    Are they things that make Republicans uncomfortable too?

    BTW, Buddy Roemer has been excluded from the Republican debates. Could the reason be his stance on not taking any PAC contributions or money from special interests? I think being confronted with questions about that in debates would surely make the Republican candidates uncomfortable. One has to wonder why debate moderators and members of the news media don’t bring up the subject.


  441. Mike S.,

    Regarding your post at 10:43 am today: You said it better than I ever could have.


  442. Elaine,

    I agree with you. These questions would most certainly make any Republican of conscience uncomfortable. And yes, I think Buddy Roemer is being excluded because he is asking Republicans uncomfortable questions and asking them to be better people.

    Since this is a liberal/Democratic/libertarian site I do not put that much emphasis on arguing with Republicans here but one could certainly make every argument I make about president Obama about most of the Republican candidates. I have no issue with that idea. It’s completely true and accurate.

    S.M. and Mike S.,

    This is from Glenn Greenwald. I know you don’t approve of him but it’s the argument, not the person, who counts. He writes about exactly what you’re arguing above:

    “4) As we head into Election Year, there is an increasingly common, bizarre and self-evidently repellent tactic being employed by some Democratic partisans against those of us who insist that issues like indefinite detention (along with ongoing killing of civilians in the Muslim world) merit high priority. The argument is that to place emphasis on such issues is to harm President Obama (because he’s responsible for indefinite detention, substantial civilian deaths, and war-risking aggression) while helping competing candidates (such as Gary Johnson or Ron Paul) who vehemently oppose such policies. Thus, so goes this reasoning, to demand that issues like indefinite detention and civilian deaths be prioritized in assessing the presidential race is to subordinate the importance of other issues such as abortion, gay equality, and domestic civil rights enforcement on which Obama and the Democrats are better. Many of these commentators strongly imply, or now even outright state, that only white males are willing to argue for such a prioritization scheme because the de-prioritized issues do not affect them. See here (Megan Carpentier), here (Katha Pollitt) and here (Dylan Matthews) as three of many examples of this grotesque accusatory innuendo.

    There are numerous glaring flaws with this divisive tactic. For one, it relies on a full-scale, deliberate distortion of the argument being made; demanding that issues like indefinite detention, civilian deaths and aggressive war be given high priority in the presidential race does not remotely advocate the de-prioritization of any other issues. For another, many women and ethnic and racial minorities – as well as gay Americans — are making similar arguments about the need for these issues to receive substantial attention in the election.

    More important, it’s irrational in the extreme to argue that self-interest or “privilege” would cause someone to want to prioritize issues like indefinite detention and civilian causalities given that the civil liberties and anti-war advocates being so accused are extremely unlikely themselves to be affected by the abuses they protest. For the most part, it isn’t white males being indefinitely detained, rendered, and having their houses and cars exploded with drones — the victims of those policies are people like Boumediene, or Gulet Mohamed, or Jose Padilla, or Awal Gul, or Sami al-Haj, or Binyam Mohamed, or Afghan villagers, or Pakistani families, or Yemeni teenagers.

    Put another way, when you spend the vast bulk of your time working against the injustices imposed almost exclusively on minorities and the marginalized — as anyone who works on these war and civil liberties issues by definition does — it’s reprehensible for someone to deploy these sorts of accusatory tactics, all in service of the shallow goal of partisan loyalty enforcement. Those who were actually driven primarily by privileged self-interest would want to de-prioritize these issues in a presidential campaign, not insist on their vital importance.

    And that is this real point here: what’s so warped about those who employ this tactic for partisan ends is how easily it could be used against them, rather than by them. All of the authors of the three accusatory examples linked above (Carpentier, Pollitt, and Matthews) — as well as most of those Democrats who have now sunk to explicitly arguing that such matters are unimportant — are white and non-Muslim. To apply their degraded rhetoric to them, one could easily say:

    Of course they don’t consider indefinite detention, invasions and occupations, and civilian slaughter to be disqualifying in a President or even meriting substantial attention in the presidential election — of course they will demand that everyone faithfully support a President who continues to do these things aggressively — because, as non-Muslims, they’re not the ones who will be imprisoned for years with no trial or have their children blown to bits by a U.S. drone or air strike, so what do they care?

    I don’t employ or endorse that wretched reasoning, but those who do — such as the authors of the above-linked accusations — should have it applied to them and their own political priorities; they deserve to reap what they are sowing.

    Indeed, The Washington Post today has an excellent article on the millions of civilian deaths which the U.S. has caused over the last several decades and how steadfastly those civilian deaths are ignored in U.S. political and media discourse. The article is by John Tirman, the executive director and principal research scientist at the MIT Center for International Studies who just released a book on that topic. One primary reason that these deaths receive such low priority is because Americans are unaffected by these casaulties and can thus easily de-prioritize them as aberrational:

    This explains much of our response to the violence in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. When the wars went badly and violence escalated, Americans tended to ignore or even blame the victims. The public dismissed the civilians because their high mortality rates, displacement and demolished cities were discordant with our understandings of the missions and the U.S. role in the world.

    These attitudes have consequences. Perhaps the most important one — apart from the tensions created with the host governments, which have been quite vocal in protesting civilian casualties — is that indifference provides permission to our military and political leaders to pursue more interventions.

    To invoke the exploitative, accusatory tactics of Megan Carpentier, Katha Pollitt, Dylan Matthews and the other accusers linked above: it’s much easier to view these policies as non-disqualifying and to insist on their de-prioritization in favor of other policies because their white, non-Muslim privilege means that they aren’t the ones who are going to be indefinitely detained, assassinated without due process, or have their homes and children targeted with drones and cluster bombs. Muslims have a much harder time so blithely acquiescing to such abuses — as do non-Muslims who are capable of protesting grave injustices even when they’re not directly affected by them. Again, that is not a form of reasoning I accept or use — there may be all sorts of reasons why one would want these policies to be de-prioritized or at least not be seen as disqualifying beyond selfish, privilege-based indifference — but those who spew those kinds of smears should understand how easy it is to subject them to those accusations.

    Ultimately, it really isn’t that complicated to understand why many people consider these issues to be so imperative. Those struggling to understand it should go read Lakhdar Boumediene’s Op-Ed. Or this story and this Op-Ed about a 16-year-old boy and his 12-year-old cousin whose lives were ended when the 16-year-old was targeted (in secret and with no checks) with a drone strike in Pakistan. Or these newly documented findings of ongoing abuse of detainees at Bagram. Or the dozens of Yemeni women and children killed by a U.S. cluster bomb. Or the secretive process by which the current President has seized the unilateral power to target even U.S. citizens for assassination.

    There are many reasons why one might insist on attention being paid to these issues, even in an Election Year. As I explained in my response to Carpentier’s lowly Guardian attack, self-interest and “privilege” are not among them. If anything, those traits are likely to produce exactly the opposite reaction, i.e., that these issues not be prioritized because empowering one’s own political party and caring about issues that personally harm oneself is the overriding goal.


  443. Elaine,

    Thank you. I must admit that what I find disturbing is that I have literally written hundreds of comments denouncing the same things Jill/Tony have denounced, yet my support for Obama is seen as some kind of litmus test for my political morality. I’m highly moral politically and have proven it, yet I’m also someone who has been through all of this before and watched how a hatred for the war and LBJ, translated into its ultimate escalation and then
    28 out of 44 years of Republican Presidents who have virtually destroyed all of the gains of the “New Deal” in an actual sense and in the erasure of its principles from the tenor of American Debate. One fails to see the lessons of history at their own and others peril. I’ve seen this tune played on the Left before and while I have been and remain a radical in outlook, I am too realistic a person not to foresee that dangers inherent in ignoring the Laws of Unintended Consequence.


  444. I have some respect for Greenwald but do agree with Guardian’s piece that Greenwald would not suffer under Paul’s policies like a poor elderly person of color would.


  445. Mike,

    I’d say we saw some of those “unintended consequences” when Republicans like Scott Walker and John Kasich were voted in as governors.

    I, too, have been critical of President Obama. I’d say there is nothing wrong with your political morality. We must all determine what we believe is the most moral political position for ourselves.


  446. Jill,

    I like Glenn G.. He is a highly principled young man. In your selection though he sets up a straw man and then proceeds to demolish it. His straw man does not represent my views and the views of those I agree with so I don’t accept it in refutation. I understand that Glenn has backed himself into a corner with this, just as you have, with his dislike for Obama so strong that he is willing to rationalize the true horrific effect that Obama’s loss would cause to the 99% of us.

    Glenn was born in 1967 and it was in 1967 that I became enmeshed in the Movement against the repression of Civil Rights and the Viet Nam War. I had been to many marches before that of course but in 1967 I had started work and become a activist in the most successfully radical labor union of its time and was a participant in its second strike against NYC, which was mainly about increasing benefits to NYC Welfare Recipients.

    By the time Glen was 8 the Viet Nam war had ended. He was no doubt a precocious child, but I was already a young man aging, with those years spent in radical endeavor. What is happening now on the Left is little different. It is the impotent posturing of people more willing to blame their natural allies for failing a test of political purity, than for damning and defeating those on the Right causing the political chaos. I heard the same rallying calls back then and the same promises to organize…..organize! only to see the defeat of their hopes via the frailty of too little, too late.

    The OWS Movement has been the best thing around but it is barely 6 months old and it is too early to see if it will find equally effective follow-up
    strategies. It can choose to change the nature of the battle by finding further effective rallying memes like 1% vs. 99%, or it can get lost by being co-opted by those “hotheads” among them, giddy with early success and unwilling to do the hard work needed to effectively rally a Movement. Now you can accuse me all you want of being “unethical” or even “bull-headed”, but I see no alternative right now except to support Obama and also elect a Democratic Congress, with people like Warren and Cranston. While it is true that both parties are in the main Corporatist, among the Corporatists there is a divergence of opinion on how to govern. I think that divergence is key until a Movement to overthrow Corporate control actually solidifies to the point it can get a seat at the table of power. This view comes not because I am less radical than you or Tony, there’s not a chance of that, but because my being radical is informed by years of experience about the errors even radicals make. The greatest mistake is in refusing to make common cause with those who have intertwined interests, because they don’t fully agree with you. That road leads to Nixon and later Reagan. The problem is we have already swung the pendulum so far to the Rights that more of that leads us straight to Fascism and then game over.


  447. Mike,

    I have to agree with Elaine that there is nothing wrong with your political morality. Even though I won’t be voting for Obama and I have a perfectly valid ethical claim as to why, I understand and support your position as to why you will. My choice to opt out of this Morton’s Fork dilemma does not eliminate the problem for others or us collectively as a country. Your solution – the lesser evil – is a valid solution and given the choices probably the one I’d make were it not for my particular professional objections to the man.


  448. Gene,

    As you’re aware I’ve known your opinion on not supporting Obama for quite awhile and respect you for it. Where I get touchy is, where others who dislike Obama, for very valid reasons, don’t respect that I also am aware of the negatives, yet am making what I consider to be my rational choice. The truth is that too many Americans are blind to the issues that most of us here see and that “most of us” includes almost all political viewpoints at this blog.

    There are many reasons that many Americans miss the nuances in politics, that have little to do with willful ignorance and/or immorality.. The presence of elite propaganda influencing human minds is age old. It works because few of us have the inclination and/or leisure to dig more deeply into things. Having spent a good deal of my work life with two jobs and raising a family, I understand how hard it is to also try to keep current on the affairs of governance.

    To the extent possible, given the influences that fog people’s minds it is incumbent upon us with information, to try to inform those with less time on their hands, as to the pitfalls in our political reality. Not as an “Elite” touching the “unwashed masses” with our wisdom, but as equally frail humans trying to make sense of a confusing life. We don’t make connections and forge organizational strength, by alienating potential allies.
    This is why It disturbs me that people with whom I have a lot of common agreements, question my morality for not sharing their total viewpoint. This is not only a disservice to me, but it is a poor way to go about changing anything. Unfortunately, their attacks on me require me to attack them in kind. This makes common cause difficult to achieve and promotes the mythology that homogeneity is the basis of common cause.


  449. Agreed, Mike. Tests of political purity – like any test of social “purity” – are a tool of division. Not only is the tool divisive by its nature, but it is often blunt as well. Tools for dividing have their place, but one should endeavor to make sure they are as sharp and refined as possible and applied when proper and necessary. Then again, I’ve always been a measure twice, cut once kind of guy.


  450. MS. apparently i did not pass YOUR litmust test on how to control the corrupting influence of money, but oh well we can certainly agree on your comments here.

    Not voting for Obama is the same as voting for a 3rd Term for George W. Bush. However, imperfect anyone may think Obama is, not whole heartedly supporting and voting for him now is the same as voting for a 3rd Term for George W. Bush; it’s the same as voting for 2 more members of the Supreme Court like Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia. It’s the same as voting for no hope over some hope.

    In the real world that is the reality.

    Promoting Ron Paul as any alternative is both false on the merits and wrong on the outcome. It amounts to a vote for a 3rd term for George W. Bush. The notion that Obama has done anything comparable to what has happened under the Republicans or what will happen if they are elected again is absurd in the extreme.


  451. Mike S and SwM,

    Your ethical consistency and political morality has been challenged?

    By whom? Over what?

    Once those two questions have been answered then the challenge falls flat.

    It’s the ever popular “holier than thou” approach. Hilarious, given the characters of the men and women who have been offered as alternatives to Obama.


  452. “MS. apparently i did not pass YOUR litmust test on how to control the corrupting influence of money, but oh well we can certainly agree on your comments here.”

    1zb1,

    I think you’ve got it wrong. My blog on “America’s Transcendent” Issue was attacked by you as being naive and wrong in content. I responded to your attack. Must I show you the intemperance and disdain with which you attacked me for even writing it?


  453. MS. sure, whatever you say.


  454. on 1, January 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm Anonymously Yours

    Mike,

    I respect your right (as well as anyone elses) to vote for and to campaign for or to not do the same for anyone of your choosing…I have yet to call anyone out for that…..

    I did read an interesting piece from Move on as well as some other political sites that I am subscribed to….Something that I find humorous was someone saying that Obama’s biggest fear is for Huntsman to get the nomination…Keep in mind that I think Paul Tsongaus was probably the best Democratic Candidate that we had had in awhile….

    I then thought about how many times I have crossed over to vote for a weak GOP candidate that would dilute the vote of the stronger one, so that I’d have a Good democrat to vote for in the General Election….I wonder how many so called good voters are sidelining the other guy by doing this….

    Obama is a Democrat in name only….This is my opinion….he has championed one cause while doing the other…he campaigned on one theory but has consistently done mediocre or let it hang…..I will say that Obama is finally getting a clue that he may not be the shoe in that he’d hoped for….

    I liked Bill Clinton…..He may have been challenged in a lot of areas…but skill and diplomacy was not one of them….He was smart….I am still leaning for Huntsman and hope that he gets the nod….But if not….I’ll more than likely vote 3rd party if an option or Obama if I have to hold my nose….

    it is sad when you are voting the lesser of the two evils….and that it has become not a choice but the only option…..


  455. Now for the Ron Paul supporters among us who say he will eliminate all those bad things like war, torture etc., because of his strong belief in constitutional values, i give you this from his morning interview on MSBC:

    “It’s not constitutional, but I wouldn’t put that on the list,” he said. “You know, if we want a perfectly free society, you can’t wave a wand and get everything you want. So you have to work our way out of this.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/ron-paul-new-hampshire-primary-results-2012_n_1199068.html

    So explain to me please why you think that he’s willing to ignore his Constitutional values in one area, but will make good on them in another. Eliminating Head Start would get him widespread support among Congressional Republicans, but eliminating Guantanamo would cause those same congress people to anger. It seems Mr. Paul understands the
    basis of accommodation and so might not follow through on what you might think he would.


  456. “Obama is a Democrat in name only….This is my opinion….he has championed one cause while doing the other…he campaigned on one theory but has consistently done mediocre or let it hang…..I will say that Obama is finally getting a clue that he may not be the shoe in that he’d hoped for….”

    AY,

    Surprise. I agree with you. However, sometimes we only see things with the wisdom of hindsight. By today’s standards Dick Nixon is a Liberal. Obama is a centrist Republican, which is how far the line has been moved to the Right. Obama is the same politically as Bill Clinton, who you like and who I don’t, even though I voted for him twice. Had they not tried to impeach him over stupidity I would have no sympathy for him at all.

    Clinton’s collapse on Welfare Reform was more monumental than most in the public realize. By then I was in the upper reaches of NYC’s HRA, its’ “Welfare Department” and I knew first hand how that “reform” was being applied and the “monsters” reigning as Commissioners, under Giuliani, applying it. His support for destroying Glass/Steagall was also a crucial starting point for the financial crisis.

    The deal to me is better a centrist Republican in Democratic clothing, than a fascist hiding as a Conservative in Republican garments. I don’t think our viewpoints are that far apart.


  457. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/in-health-care-brief-obama-doj-needles-scalia-on-precedent.php?ref=fpa

    I dont understand what Obama is doing here, either. The whole political scene is one giant clusterfuck, imho. Bush policies that seemed impossibly wrong are now law, common sense is out of the mix in law enforcement all over the nation.

    The lesser of two evils seems to be our only choice this year. The momentum of OWS will be important, but it may be too early to make structural changes that the nation needs to bring us back into balance with our ideals…


  458. Republican National Committee Files Brief Seeking To Allow Corporate Funding Of Campaigns
    By Ian Millhiser on Jan 11, 2012

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/01/11/402358/republican-national-committee-files-brief-seeking-to-allow-corporate-funding-of-campaigns/

    One of the few remaining limits on corporations’ power to buy and sell American elections is that corporations are not allowed to give money directly to federal candidates. Citizens United frees them to spend billions of dollars running ads or otherwise trying to change the result of an election to suit their interests, but corporations cutting checks directly to candidates or to political committees such as the Republican National Committee is one of the few things the Supreme Court’s conservatives have not yet imposed upon the country.

    If the RNC gets its way, however, that will soon change. In a brief filed yesterday in the Fourth Circuit, the RNC argues that the federal ban on corporate donations is unconstitutional in large part because it applies across the board to all corporations:

    Most corporations are not large entities waiting to flood the political system with contributions to curry influence. Most corporations are small businesses. As the Court noted in Citizens United, “more than 75% of corporations whose income is taxed under federal law have less than $1 million in receipts per year,” while “96% of the 3 million businesses that belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have fewer than 100 employees.” While the concept of corporate contributions evokes images of organizations like Exxon or Halliburton, with large numbers of shareholders and large corporate treasuries, the reality is that most corporations in the United States are small businesses more akin to a neighborhood store. Yet § 441b does not distinguish between these different types of entities; under § 441b, a corporation is a corporation. As such, it is over-inclusive.

    This attempt to make mom and pop stores — as opposed to Halliburton — the face of the RNC’s argument is clever, but it does not change the implications of their argument. If a court accepted the RNC’s argument, it would have to strike down the entire federal ban on corporate donations — leaving Exxon and Halliburton free to give money to any candidate they’d like. Congress might be able to restore part of this ban by enacting legislation. But, of course, that would require any such bill disadvantaging corporations to survive John Boehner’s House and Mitch McConnell’s filibuster.

    Moreover, if the court accepts the RNC’s argument, it will effectively destroy any limits on the amount of money wealthy individuals or corporation can give to candidates. In most states, all that is necessary to form a new corporation is to file the right paperwork in the appropriate government office. Moreover, nothing prevents one corporation from owning another corporation. For this reason, a Wall Street tycoon who wanted to give as much as a billion dollars to fund a campaign could do so simply by creating a series of shell corporations that exist for the sole purpose of evading the ban on massive dollar donations to candidates.


  459. “Clinton’s collapse on Welfare Reform was more monumental than most in the public realize.” (Mike S)

    Truth

    =================================================

    “The lesser of two evils seems to be our only choice this year.”(shano)

    The lesser of two evils has always been our only choice … from the contest between Thomas Jefferson / Aaron Burr /John Adams/ Charles Pinckney and John Jay in 1800 to today, political operatives have constantly invoked the evilness of one candidate over the other.

    =============================================

    One of the tactics at play here is to get those who would ordinarily vote for Obama to stay home. If you can’t support him 100% then you are compromising your own political values (shame, shame) by voting for him so … stay home … that’ll show him. Suppress your own vote out of righteous indignation.


  460. BTW … Republicans are very worried about their numbers especially as all this big show over the last few months did not draw the Iowa voters to the caucuses as hoped. Democrats may have their problems with Obama but Republicans can’t get their people excited about anyone … lots of republicans will be sitting this one out.


  461. @Mike S: You seem to have missed my point. If I am unaffected by my choice, my choice can be the unbiased lesser of two evils, and I think that is Ron Paul.

    I did not think I was electing a superman when I voted for Obama, I thought I was electing a principled man, and I am not. I helped elect an evil man, a liar, and a sociopath. I am not criticizing him for things he could not prevent, but for his conscious choices and direct lies. He ordered the assassination of Awlaki, and two weeks later, the assassination of his 16 year old son. Also with no evidence.

    It was OBAMA that threatened to veto the NDAA bill because it had an exception to indefinite detention for citizens, and forced that exception out, then lied about it. Just like he lied about the public option, as we know now, he threw that under the bus the first thing, recruited Joe Liebermann to be the bad guy, and lied for six months about how he was trying to get it in. All after promising on air he would veto a bill without a public option, all when public polling of the public option was favorable by over 70%. Same thing with FISA as a Senator, he was going to filibuster it, right up until he voted for it without a peep. Same thing on lobbyists and transparency in the White House: Do you think he was forced to hire lobbyists? Do you think Republicans forced him to hold secret meetings with Pharma and the Medical Insurance industry, and to hold more secret meetings than BUSH? Do you think he was forced to dispense with trials and hearings and invent the new Kangaroo Court system that ensures anybody he declares a terrorist will be incarcerated forever? NO. Obama is a liar, he wasn’t forced on any of this stuff, he volunteered.

    So you will vote for a sociopathic liar, murderer, and a man that has proven his evil by one direct act after another, because you are a tribalist that has no choice, because no level of conscious overt betrayal by your party will ever be enough to reject them. Good for them, they can be as evil as they wanna be, and they will still have your vote.

    You aren’t even choosing the lesser of two evils, you are just flat choosing evil on the grounds of partisanship.


  462. I am seriously concerned that you are holding President Obama to an impossible standard given this new McCarthy era we have had since 2001. You are not helping liberals, civil liberties or even the cause of the Constitution, you are simply piling on and using this as a cudgel as if there was an alternative. When you have worse to contend with, you be sure you look in the mirror and thank yourself for making it happen. 48% of this country does not trust or approve of him and you think he can take on this obstructive Congress, aggressive Tea Partiers, and apathetic beaten down nation? The people experiencing “almost a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome” relationship with their “captors” is you, my previously respected friend.


  463. “So you will vote for a sociopathic liar, murderer, and a man that has proven his evil by one direct act after another, because you are a tribalist that has no choice, because no level of conscious overt betrayal by your party will ever be enough to reject them. Good for them, they can be as evil as they wanna be, and they will still have your vote.”

    Tony,

    First of all your characterizations of Obama are absurd, but you are entitled to them.

    Second, your level of vitriol towards me is obnoxious and is not a reflection of how I’ve addressed you.

    Third, you clearly don’t give a damn about your guys economic policies because they won’t hurt you, which to me exhibits lack of empathy for those they will hurt.

    Fourth, you are exhibiting this rage after being shown the truth as in:
    “It’s not constitutional, but I wouldn’t put that on the list,” he said. “You know, if we want a perfectly free society, you can’t wave a wand and get everything you want. So you have to work our way out of this.” This truth is that the man you support is no bulwark of Constitutional adherence, merely another egotist cleverly positioning himself. You have no answer to this but rage, simply because as time goes on we see that the person you’ve invested so much in, may actually be the most evil of all the candidates.

    Fifth, you have even admitted that this man is probably a racist and a bigot, but you don’t care. Tony, very frankly I could see you in 1933 Germany, looking at the doddering fool Von Hindenburg, the runaway inflation, the mismanagement of government and seeing the guy with the mustache as your preference, even though he’s got some silly racial ideas. You wouldn’t worry, the laws won’t allow him to implement any of those policies. JBS=WCC=KKK=AB=NAZI. You fail to realize that at your peril and that of this country.

    Sixth, How dare you play that tribalist bullshit. I’ve fully explained myself as to why I’m acting as I am. You have been constantly backtracking as every new revelation about Paul has come out to the point you’ve even justified his racism due to his age and where he grew up. Well when you grow up in Austria and spend your adult years in Bavaria I guess a little Jew hatred is justified, by your standards. When you’re Teutonic too, I guess it’s understandable why you’d hate blacks. As a Texan, dislike of Mexicans come naturally also since the Mexicans tried to steal Texas lands. It doesn’t matter though because Paul has said he’d stop all this bad stuff and the Congress won’t let him get away with any shenanigans, will they?

    Seventh, as I’ve made clear with Gene this is not about your not wanting to vote for Obama, I’ve even addressed that to you directly and said I could understand why and have no problem with it. This is about you supporting the most right-wing Conservative of the past 30 years as a viable alternative and claiming progressive bona fides simultaneously. I don’t doubt you as a progressive, but I do doubt the intelligence of your support for a misogynist bigot.

    Eighth, unlike your endless dialogue with that idiot Grossman, who surprisingly has shown more adherence to objectivist values than the man who named his son after Rand, this dialogue with me ends here Tony. I’ve proven you wrong and done so with facts and links following your guys words and deeds. I’ve got too many more important things to do than trade barbs with you, because from your overall performance here, in your mind you may not always be right, but you’re never wrong. Respond with all the vitriol you ca muster Tony, I don’t care, I’ve proven you wrong and that was the only point I was trying to make.


  464. Tony,

    “Just like he lied about the public option, as we know now, he threw that under the bus the first thing, recruited Joe Liebermann to be the bad guy, and lied for six months about how he was trying to get it in.”

    I wasn’t aware that was the reason for Lieberman’s actions regarding the health care bill. I thought that there might have been another reason.

    *****
    Why does Joe Lieberman oppose healthcare reform? Ask his wife
    Both Lieberman and Evan Bayh have spouses who have profited from the healthcare industry
    By Joe Conason
    Salon, 10/29/09

    http://www.salon.com/2009/10/30/joe_lieberman/singleton/

    Excerpt:
    If Democrats are disappointed by Joe Lieberman’s threat to filibuster any healthcare reform bill that includes a public option, they shouldn’t be. Despite all of his past promises to support universal healthcare, nothing was more predictable than the Connecticut senator’s fealty to the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists.

    Much the same can be said of Sen. Evan Bayh, who emerged from hiding on healthcare to announce that he too plans to filibuster against reform with the Republicans, regardless of what his constituents and Americans in general plainly want. Like Lieberman, his state is home to powerful corporations that want reform killed — and like Lieberman, his wife has brought home very big paychecks from those same interests. . (UPDATE: A report published in a South Bend paper Thursday night says Bayh may now support a floor debate.)

    The Lieberman family’s financial ties to the health industry are no secret, yet their full extent remains unknown. During her husband’s 2006 reelection campaign, Hadassah Lieberman’s employment as a “senior counselor” to Hill & Knowlton, one of the world’s biggest lobbying firms, briefly erupted as an issue, especially because the clients she served were in the controversial pharmaceutical and insurance sectors. Exactly what she did for those clients has never been disclosed.

    At the time she joined the public relations and lobbying conglomerate in the spring of 2005, she expressed the touching hope that she would somehow be able to help those in need. “I have had a lifelong commitment to helping people gain better healthcare,” she said in a press release. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with the talented team at Hill & Knowlton to counsel a terrific stable of clients toward that same goal.” Less than a year later, having pocketed $77,000 in salary, she quit without explanation — just as her husband was facing a tough primary that he would eventually lose. Throughout the campaign, Hadassah Lieberman, her husband and their spokespersons explicitly refused to discuss her professional activities, except to note that she had not been required to register as a lobbyist.

    But her stint at Hill & Knowlton was merely one episode in a professional lifetime devoted to the corporate health sector. For most of the past three decades, Hadassah Lieberman has been employed by either pharmaceutical companies or the lobbying firms that represent them — starting with nearly a decade in the “public affairs department” at Hoffman-LaRoche from 1972-81, followed by stints at Pfizer, where she spent four years as “director of policy, planning and communications,” and APCO Associates, a major lobbying firm where she served as a “senior associate” in its large healthcare division before retiring in 1998.

    She went back to work when she joined H&K, an outfit that became notorious for its billion-dollar defense of the tobacco industry. Not long after her contract began, Sen. Lieberman introduced legislation vastly extending patent protection for pharmaceutical companies — notably including GlaxoSmithKline, a top client of his wife’s firm.


  465. Blouise, I caught the drift in 2010 when Tony C insisted that Grayson, Kucinich and Feingold should be defeated, and Jill spoke so favorably of the tea party. Don’t vote for the corrupt democrats or you are immoral was the message they presented.The tea party won and Grayson and Feingold were defeated.


  466. on 1, January 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm Anonymously Yours

    Mike,

    Point noted….and that is scary that tricky Dick can be viewed as a centrist…I guess I am reaching a point in life that I want someone that can be trusted…so I suppose that if they can be trusted they are not going to be popular…..I am tired of associating trust with folks that have proved over and over that they are psychopaths/psychopaths…


  467. @Elaine: Yes, Liebermann’s wife is a lobbyist for the health care industry; however, as I read it at the time, Rahm Emanuel admitted in one of his characteristic expletive laden rants that the White House negotiated away the public option early on, and he personally recruited Liebermann to be the foil for Obama. I believe the Democratic Senators knew that, and the deal Obama had cut, and that is why Liebermann was not punished in any way by the Democratic Caucus (he was an Independent) and why, ultimately, the public option was defeated.

    Liebermann was certainly making money (via his wife) for extending the debate on the public option, but he was also a Senator that wanted his cushy Committee seats, and they would have been threatened if he just acted alone. Reid is another corrupt autocrat with the right to simply strip Liebermann of his seats, if the Senate REALLY wanted to pass the public option. So it was a marriage of convenience: Obama needed a foil to play against, Rahm found the perfect man for the job, and Liebermann was allowed to make an indirect fortune, be the bad guy, and take the blame for the death of the public option in place of Obama without any punishment by Reid (who also blocked punitive action against Liebermann floated by those members of the Caucus that WANTED a public option).

    That is my understanding. It was Obama that ditched it, the rest was a D.C. political theatre production. It was also Obama that promised the universal mandate to insurers, and promised to block re-importation of drugs for the Pharmacies. Both of those are huge payoffs to the industry, and what else was promised I do not know, but they also haven’t lost their legalized monopoly status or pricing power.


  468. Tony,

    Is this the deal you’re thinking of?

    Rahm Emanuel Personally Pressed Reid To Cut Deal With Lieberman: Sources
    3/18/10

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/14/rahm-emanuel-personally-p_n_391786.html

    Excerpt:
    Rahm Emanuel visited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his Capitol office on Sunday evening and personally urged him to cut a deal with recalcitrant Sen. Joe Lieberman, two Democratic sources familiar with the situation told the Huffington Post.

    Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, has long been identified as leading a faction of White House advisers who have been pushing the Senate simply to pass any health care bill, no matter how weak.

    His direct message to Reid (D-Nev.), according to a source close to the negotiations: “Get it done. Just get it done.”

    Politico reported Monday morning that the White House had pressed Reid to cut the deal after Lieberman (I-Conn) insisted the Senate drop a provision, which Lieberman himself has long favored, to allow those 55-64 to buy in to Medicare. Lieberman is threatening to join a Republican filibuster of the bill if the provision isn’t dropped.


  469. Blouise, yes, I will be voting for Obama again. I’m just sending money I would have sent to politicians this election year to OWS instead.

    No woman in her right mind would vote for Ron Paul, imho. He is terrible in his stance on any issues concerning women in America.


  470. Great link Elaine!
    You are right Shano. Any woman voting for any of the Republican candidates is troublesome.


  471. @Mike: I haven’t backed off on anything, I began by saying that nothing trumps civil liberties, and I haven’t backed off on that. Abortion does not trump civil liberties, racism does not trump civil liberties, nothing trumps civil liberties. I do not see how that would make me a Hitler supporter. I am against Obama because he is destroying the freedoms codified in the Bill of Rights, and I am not for anybody that thinks that is a good idea, or has actually voted for it.

    Obama is violating and destroying the civil liberties guaranteed in this country for 200 years. Ron Paul is not, and if you read his actual words, what he said was that Head Start is unconstitutional, but like social security and medicare it must be transitioned away from. In the case of social security and medicare, he says that citizens were made promises by their government and have been paying into it, and it would not be fair to cut them off now, that it would take a generation to transition to self reliance.

    He was implying a similar thing about Head Start, it is not on his hit list but (he thinks) needs to be transitioned away from.

    The bit about the magic wand is his entirely correct and rational contention that not everything can be changed at once without causing chaos; that what he regards as unconstitutional programs must be unwound over time to prevent a complete disaster. He did not say he would keep HeadStart forever (even though I think we should).

    I disagree with Paul about what is and is not constitutional in social programs, but his refusal to take the ax to HeadStart on his first day in office is not a betrayal of his Constitutional beliefs, it is just an acknowledgement that he is neither insane or unfair.

    And finally, your tribalism is betrayed by your claim that my characterization is absurd. It is factually correct, not absurd. He ordered an unconstitutional hit on Awlaki; he had no right to do it, no power to do it, and Awlaki is dead. That is no different than a mob boss ordering a hit. Isn’t that murder? Do you deny he has overtly lied to us? Do you deny he has taken overt acts that abrogate the Bill of Rights?

    The fact that you THINK that characterization is absurd simply spotlights your tribalism: It makes no difference how many crimes he commits, you are going to vote for him no matter what. Which means your “reasons” are all just excuses for or dismissals of Obama’s behavior so you can do what you were always going to do anyway; vote for your side, because as far as I can tell, THAT is more important to you than the Bill of Rights or the Rule of Law.


  472. @Tony C: I find it odd that you can so demean someone else’s “tribalism” even as yours is so vehemently expressed. How is that exactly? Your “tribe” is better than Mike’s or mine? Not hardly and darned sure not Ron Paul’s!

    Of course some things trump civil liberties. Crimes, aiding/abetting/supporting/financing terror comes to mind but there are certainly others, like blatant discrimination. Civil liberties are not a magic shield for dirty deeds, and too many people have used them for same.

    You would be against Obama even if he had vetoed this bill and went down in flames on the altar of civil liberties for suspected terrorists, which is precisely how that would have played in the political back alleys, the Conservative media outlets and among the conservative right wing talking heads. President Bush was “protecting” this nation and only Obama, 10+ years later is “destroying” it with virtually the SAME tools. Funny how that works.

    The “spotlight” is on you dude.


  473. Tony C.,

    I believe Mike provided you with plenty of reasons for why he plans to vote for Obama. He isn’t going to do it because “tribalism” is more important to him than the Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law. It seems you sometimes feel you can interpret for yourself how/why other people think/act as they do. Either that or you really can’t comprehend what other people’s reasoning is when it differs from yours.


  474. Sandi Sanders,

    I hold Obama to his oath of office. There is no sense in electing a man who destroys your own form of govt. You can go ahead a elect Romney at that point.


  475. Sandi, yes, you are probably right about the Obama/Bush comparison the right wing would hammer, and with PAC money other right wing orgs as well.

    Well said, but it is a crying shame that we have been pulled so far to the right by Corporate Media in America that our choice in the election is between a Republican/NeoLiberal (Obama) and fascists, oligarchs or fanatics after the Bush catastrophe..


  476. Yes shano, it is beyond a darned shame. I am not proud of the compromises that the deep divisions and unmitigated intimidation from the right have caused us to offer. It is so easy to throw out that old “un-American” epithet and they do it with such ease and such passion that we cringe and back down because their propaganda machine actually puts out product people “buy” and ours apparently just blows air. If Obama loses this election it will prove that only the threat of Palin won it last time.

    It also makes me crazy that they have so successfully labeled Obama as a “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Marxist”, “secret Muslim” when he is in fact so much like them only with some level of conscience.


  477. Mike, I feel your pain…. boy am I glad i was out doing something productive today instead of wasting time replying to the lunatic fringe.

    Not voting for Obama is the same as voting for a 3rd Term for George W. Bush only worse. However, imperfect anyone may think Obama is, not whole heartedly supporting and voting for him now is the same as voting for a 3rd Term for George W. Bush only worse; it’s the same as voting for 2 more members of the Supreme Court like Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia. It’s the same as voting for no hope over some hope. Staying home and not voting is the same as voting for a 3rd Term for George W. Bush only worse. Supporting or voting for Ron Paul is the same as voting for Ralph Nader only worse. Remember what that got us.

    I’m assuming most people are smart enough to grasp that concept which is obviousely a big mistake on my part.

    Anyone who thinks there is absolutly anyway that having Ron Paul or any Republican/Tparty Candidate in the Whitehouse (or controlling congress) will not be signficantly worse or in any way beneficial then having Obama in the Whitehouse and a congress controlled by Democrats is so completely disconnected from facts and reality as not be be worth spending even one moment of time on.

    Yes people have a right to be ignorant, and I will defend that right with my life if necessery, but I just wish for once that so many people did not feel the need to exercise that right all the time.

    I realilze that is mostly an emotional rant, but since facts, history, or reality seem to carry so little weight around here why bother with anything else.


  478. @Sandi: You confuse me with yourself, perhaps. I am not in Ron Paul’s “tribe,” I despise free market thinking, I love the FDA, Department of Education, the EPA, Social Security, and Medicare. Seriously. I even liked Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, had they stuck to their original service intent (instead of becoming corrupt loan banks).

    (I probably agree with Ron Paul on the Federal Reserve, however, they have become a tool of the banksters and corrupt politics that was never intended.)

    Ron Paul is not of my tribe. That said, neither is Romney, Bush, or Obama, because THOSE guys are corrupt, lying bastard corporatists in service to the 1% and destroying civil rights. Ron Paul is the only candidate on the correct side of civil rights, the only candidate on the correct side of ending the thoroughly racist war on drugs, the only candidate on the correct side of ending covert CIA wars that are killing children (ours and theirs), and the only candidate that even SAYS he will end the Imperial Presidency, and I believe him.

    Ron Paul is an Ayn Rand idiot, I have decimated the logic of Ayn Rand with hundreds of posts, full of logic (not emotional dismissal, actual original reasoning) and compelling hypotheticals the Randians simply cannot answer. If you doubt my opposition to the Ayn Rand Objectivist nonsense and Ron Paul’s idiotic economic free market drivel, just go read there, I think any person with sense will find it impossible to believe I would actually support that addle-brained bullshit and argue that convincingly against it.

    But Ron Paul is a Constitutionalist first, and in the current dire straits where your rights to free speech are now limited to “free speech zones” and the government has asserted the right to shut down any website at any time, your right to be free from warrantless search no longer applies in airports, on the Internet, or to your email or telephone calls, the OWS rights to assembly and protest are being met with pepper spray, tasers, beatings with clubs and false arrests and false charges of resisting arrest, your right to a hearing or trial or lawyer are now gone, and your very right to life has been rescinded, it seems time to me to go with the only Constitutionalist in the race, no matter his other views, and no matter what tribe he comes from. I want my rights back, and Ron Paul the stubborn Constitutionalist is the only chance left to get them back.


  479. shano,

    Please, when contemplating donations, place Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Alan Grayson of Florida on your list of possible recipients. OWS’ goals need the support these three offer.


  480. Tony C.,

    I trust the conference went well.


  481. SwM,
    ;)


  482. Blouise,

    Elizabeth Warren has already received nearly $6 million in campaign contributions. I wonder how much of that came from the wizards of Wall Street?

    BTW, I hope your husband is doing well. I’ll keep him in my thoughts.


  483. @Blouise: All is well, thanks!

    I will contribute to Elizabeth Warren, btw. That is one Senate seat we can get back, and as far as I know, she has been honest with us.


  484. Elaine M.,

    I fell relatively safe in opining zero dollars to Warren from Wall Street. I have donated twice to her campaign and will do so again once my taxes are finished.

    The Chamber of Greed has put forth quite a nasty ad campaign against Brown here in Ohio. The fact that he has always worked hard to maintain jobs for the people in Ohio is something the foreign interests who fund the Chamber dislike. His strong support for women’s issues is something that angers the fundies … he has a strong wife (Connie Schultz ) and three daughters in their 20’s. The man practices what he preaches. He has always provided real support for veterans. Live in Ohio and have a problem with anything tied to your military service … Brown’s office staff will take care of it within a week. Republicans have a hard time convincing some of their fundies who have served in the military and experienced Brown’s help to vote against him.

    These state races can make all the difference. We don’t have much control over the Presidency but get the right Senators and Representatives to Washington and we gain control in many areas.

    Tex and I thank you


  485. Tony C.,

    Welcome back.

    Warren needs all the financial help she can get as, naturally and quite understandably, Wall Street has gone whole-hog against her. I concur that she appears to be honest regarding her motivations and intentions.

    I’m a big one on exercising control at the state level … and not just my own. I look around, find candidates I like and send them money … most of my money goes to democrats but some of it goes to independents (third party people) and republicans. I make judgments based on my individual political values. It’s fairly easy to make those judgments by studying their voting records wherever they have served in office. (That’s why most of Obama’s actions didn’t take me by surprise … it was all there in his voting records. I didn’t send him money when he ran in Illinois. More about that later … gotta get Tex moving :) )


  486. How do people feel about the Supreme Court Appointments by Obama of Kagan and Sotomayor?

    With 2 and maybe 3 Justices likely to retire in the next 4 years do you think there will be a difference between the appointments of Obama versus Romney or any of the Republicans? How so?

    Do you think it will make a difference regarding Civil Liberties, Corporate interests, and other key issues in who gets appointed and by which side? Do you even think it matters at all who gets appointed?

    In general, who would you rather have to advance your interests: The Roberts side of issues or the Ginsburg? Who will most likely make appointments favorable to your positions: Obama or a Republican/Tparty?

    Do you think who controls the Senate, particularly a need for a super majority, will impact on the appointments?

    How important is it to you who sits on the Supreme Court?


  487. @1zb1: At least since Clinton, the Supreme Court Justices have played the waiting game: If they are inclined to retire, they wait for a President likely to appoint a member of their ideological tribe.

    Depending on their analysis of the political situation, and barring unexpected death, progressives retire under progressive Presidents, and conservatives retire under Conservative Presidents, so the balance of the court tends to be that there is a one-vote swing.

    The Supreme Court makes a difference, but the balance of ideology is very difficult to change. Justices have strong opinions, the job does not seem terribly stressful or demanding even for 90 year olds, and that means they are loathe to abandon a seat and be replaced by their opposite.

    If you look at the stats since 1950 or so (which I did back when Kagan was being appointed) most do not die for ten years or so after retirement; only about 25% or so die in the same presidential term in which they retired. Quick death after retirement suggests a knowledge that their end was near (due to cancer or some other illness). Much delayed death suggests they were not in particularly ill health at retirement, and thus they retired by choice, and they certainly are not strangers to politics or ideological battles: I think they care about their successors and pick their retirement times to maximize the odds of a like-mind being appointed and carrying on their legacy, not overturning it.

    It is one reason I think the “who will they appoint” debate is a bit overrated, there is about a 75% chance that appointments will not change the balance.

    Roberts (a conservative) replaced Rehnquist (a conservative).
    Sotomayor replaced Souter (who voted liberal).
    Kagan replaced Stevens (who voted liberal).

    It isn’t a guarantee, but the correspondence is much stronger than chance, which means I do not weigh the Supreme Court nomination power too highly. If a Republican gets elected, I would suspect Scalia (75, with 25 on the court) or Thomas (63, with 20 years) might choose to retire. They are both Constitutional originalists, so I think that would apply if Ron Paul got elected, too.


  488. Sorry Tony but that was weak…. You can’t seriousely believe what you just wrote.

    So you think if a Republican is in the Whitehouse and Ginsberg retires they will appoint a liberal?

    CU was all republican appointed conservatives. Currently the divide is roughly 5-4 conservative leaning… the so called swing vote has tended to be even more conservative then past swing votes.

    More later… got to go…


  489. @1zb1: Are you purposely obtuse?

    The point was that Ginsburg won’t retire with a Republican in office because she isn’t stupid and she knows she’d be replaced by her ideological opposite, and if she wants to retire and thinks a Republican will win, she will retire under Obama.

    I do not know how to make this clear to you: Liberal or Progressive judges only choose to retire under Liberal or Progressive Presidents, Conservative judges only choose to retire under Conservative Presidents.

    I provided the three most recent examples. Ginsburg does not live in an intellectual vacuum, and Ginsburg is still working at 78 because she thinks it is important, and because she thinks it is important she will not be replaced by a conservative if she can help it. Ginsburg will not retire under a Republican unless she is at death’s door, or has a stroke that mentally disables her.


  490. Tony C, Ginsburg has had both colon and pancreatic cancer. It would be nice to be able to get a liberal for Kennedy’s seat and switch the court toward a more progressive point of view.


  491. @Swarthmore: I was unaware of that. If it isn’t under control, then come July or August, if polling suggests Obama will lose, I expect she will retire.

    That is my logic. If it looks clear Obama will win, I think it is a toss-up.

    In the event Obama lost re-election, it would be interesting to see what happens if the President nominates a candidate, and the Senate simply rejects his selections until he is out of office and the Republican is in. That would seem like a Constitutional crisis to me. Could the Supreme Court intervene?


  492. Swarthmore mom, thank you for pointing out to TC the fairly well known. All the liberal-middle judges are old or sick. All the Conservative judges (the ones who decided CU and Bush v Gore) are relatively young by comparison. There is a very high probability due to health or age that at least 2 and maybe more liberal judges will have to retire in the next 4.5 years.

    If there is a republican president it is guarantteed they will be replaced by even more conservative then the current court.

    For people who claim to be so upset over CU the notion that it doesn’t matter who gets elected or who is appointed to the Supreme court is fairly idiotic. The notion that they are willing to hope a 78 year old woman with a history of serious illness is going to hang in their for another 4 years or so is the height of lunacy.


  493. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/bolton-endorses-romney-citing-strong-defense-posture/ How will Paul reconcile an endorsement of Romney? Paul supporters hope he won’t but there is speculation that he will if he is invited to speak at the convention.


  494. @Swarthmore: Ginsburg’s colon cancer was treated successfully in 1999, that is twelve years ago without a recurrence. Her Pancreatic cancer was caught at an early stage and removed successfully, two years ago.

    The key word is “she had cancer,” she no longer does. She is not on death’s door, and her life expectancy is longer than four years.

    She has said just recently “she has no plans to retire anytime soon and still wants to match Justice Louis Brandeis, who stepped down at age 82.” (2015).

    In the same article she said she would be there “at least” until 2012, and that she is in good health.


  495. TC, i can really see just how important civil liberties are to you and being a far left liberal….

    “and the Senate simply rejects his selections until he is out of office and the”… gee , you think that might happen?


  496. @1zb1: All the liberal-middle judges are old or sick. All the Conservative judges (the ones who decided CU and Bush v Gore) are relatively young by comparison. [emphasis mine]

    Patently false. Kennedy is a swing vote, and libertarian, and 75. He does not lean toward the social safety net, and has both voted for and advocated for restrictions on abortion.

    The Conservatives are Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts, they are respectively 75, 63, 61, and 56. The average age is 63.75 years.

    The liberal-middle are Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, they are 78, 73, 57 and 51. The average age is 64.75 years, and include the youngest and third-youngest members of the court.

    You don’t know what you are talking about; I understand you are looking to pick a fight, but you can’t land any easy punches here, you will have to do more work or just suffer looking like a dumbass.


  497. @1zb1: Oh and btw, the swing vote Kennedy was part of the 5 vote majority that decided Bush v. Gore in favor of Bush. He reportedly says he “has considered” overturning Roe v. Wade, but has settled for affirming restrictions on the right instead, including a failed attempt to criminalize late term abortions. He has voted against gun control laws, he was the swing vote in allowing the Boy Scouts to ban homosexual scout masters. In my view, he is not a liberal or progressive.

    If we count him among the conservatives, the average age of conservatives on the court rises to 66: OLDER than the average liberal-middle of 64.75. Although, I do not think a year makes any difference whatsoever, I am just pointing out how wrong you are.


  498. @ Tony C, I appreciate the reply Tony but you are the one who was talking about “tribes”, not me. If I have a “tribe” it is Democrats, liberals and progressives and Ron Paul is not in it.

    I respect “free market thinking” as long as it is like even Adam Smith admitted it needed to be, accompanied by a regulatory system. I do not “love the FDA, Department of Education, the EPA, Social Security, and Medicare” but I respect what they were meant to do and what they have accomplished for our nation. I think they are all too bureaucratic, top heavy, and no longer mission centered and are all in need of serious reform and oversight. Our problem is everything in this nation is political, leveraged and loaded for bear, whether we are hunting bear or not.

    There is no department, organization or government service that cannot be corrupted and is not the victim of fraud, abuse and/or political gamesmanship. We do not elect leaders; we elect sound bites and corporate packages. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of Corporate America and can’t even admit it.

    Obama is of my tribe. I remain proud of my vote and proud to give it to him again. Not because he is the best this nation has to offer, but because he is what is offered. The idea of voting for someone not on the ballot or unelectable is a pipe dream this nation cannot risk. I agree that Obama is a corporatist but I disagree he is “in service to the 1% and destroying civil rights”. The idea that “Ron Paul is the only candidate on the correct side of civil rights” is just laughable IMO. He would have us go back to Jim Crow in a nano-second and forget gay rights being recognized by the likes of him!
    He will NEVER win the nomination much less the Presidency so his sides, while arguable, are irrelevant. He is as imperial as a candidate gets and no I do not “believe him” any more than Romney or Gingrich or the other clowns who are exponentially worse than Obama. He is the kind of President who could destroy this nation. He is a radical and not the good kind IMO.

    I disagree that “Ron Paul is a Constitutionalist first”. I believe he is an “AynRandian” first and I find it odd you do not think so. Free speech rights are rights that have been so abused and pushed to unhealthy limits by haters that I fully understand the limits many seek and accept for them. When the only exercise a right gets is abuse, it is no longer a right, there is a line and Fred Phelps, Sovereign Citizens, Black Panthers, Muslim Brotherhood, KKK, Race Haters and Gay Bashers all cross it daily with their hate and vitriol and hell no, I will never applaud or defend that as the price for my free speech. I do not have to accept child molesters to have children either. Zealotry is not a good guard. Excess breeds excess.

    If you think that only a “Constitutionalist” is the answer, you are asking the wrong question IMO. And it is blind madness to say his other views don’t or should not matter. If “Ron Paul the stubborn Constitutionalist is the only chance left to get them back”, your rights are gone for good.


  499. @Sandi: He would have us go back to Jim Crow in a nano-second and forget gay rights being recognized by the likes of him!

    On the contrary, without me endorsing Ron Paul’s view, Ron Paul has explicitly, on tape, affirmed that had he voted on the civil rights law, he would have voted for everything that restricted government from discriminating based on race, including the Jim Crow laws, his disagreement was with whether it was Constitutional for the government to dictate who a private company must serve, and that on the grounds that the Constitution does not give the Federal Government the right to dictate the terms of a trade that occurs entirely within a State, which service at a lunch counter obviously does.

    As for gay rights, perhaps you should look at his voting record: Ron Paul voted twice to repeal DADT, despite the fact that he was going against his party and there was plenty of Republican cover for him to vote otherwise, led by John McCain.

    Ron Paul has also been consistently opposed to the war on drugs, on the grounds that your body is yours to drug if you want to do that. The war on drugs is the most racially and economically biased program in existence, the rich and celebrities, including politicians, can flout the laws at will and even brag about using drugs on TV. If they get caught, they get rehab, community service they do not have to do, or literally a few hours in jail before they are released.

    Poor blacks or Hispanics can be sent to jail for years over trivial amounts. Ending the war on drugs at the Federal level, as Paul has repeatedly promised to do and could actually execute as Chief Executive, and giving Presidential pardons to all non-violent drug offenders in jail, as Paul has also repeatedly promised he would do, would free FAR more minority offenders than white offenders, and far, far more poor offenders than rich ones.

    Your view that speech should be restricted is laughable, your pride in voting for Obama is sad, and your ignorance about the actual voting record of Ron Paul and your willingness to accuse him of things he has never done betrays the fact that you are, simply, a tribalist, you have swallowed the claims of the media without question, without the least bit of curiosity, evidence, or skepticism, without one minute of independent research.


  500. P.S. In case that wasn’t clear, Ron Paul would have voted for abolishing the Jim Crow laws as unconstitutional; he has said, more than once, he does not think the government has the right to discriminate based on race or religion. And that is, btw, the reason he is opposed to affirmative action; he believes that unequal consideration based on race, either positive or negative, is unconstitutional and unfair.

    And again, I am reporting those views, not endorsing them.


  501. Even the National Review does not believe Ron Paul and I am “ignorant” not to? Please!

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/286658/trouble-ron-pauls-defense-jonah-goldberg

    “f Paul’s explanations are to be believed at face value, he’s a shockingly naïve man. If your goal is to persuade people that the libertarian cause is free of bigotry, courting support from bigots is a really stupid way to do it.”

    I agree, maybe he is just stupid, but I will not accept your support as validation when that is not what my “lyin’ eyes” are telling me.


  502. TC. I think after Sandi Saunder’s very well said response you must have completely lost it. Rational is simply not within the range of your thinking.

    As I said, “Currently the divide is roughly 5-4 conservative leaning… the so called swing vote has tended to be even more conservative then past swing votes.” (in other words the court is moving more and more and more right)

    Thank you for making a perfect point for my case. With the liberal side of the court already so tenuous and heavily outweighed by the right you are willing to jepordize all that you claim to support in support of someone, even if elected (not happening) who would only make it worse by his twisted notions of the constitituion and the country.

    Given that RP has embraced the Republican/Tparty on the basis of its so called less government and more market driven principles he has also embraced its social policies that invade on personal freedoms. (in other words he compromised his beliefs in one area for the sake of his other so called beliefs.

    On that basis, why didn’t he embrace the Democratic party on its personal freedoms and work to make it more to his econmic polilcy likings? Afterall we all know (and he has acknowledged) that the Republican/Tparty is all about freedom to exploit in the Boardroom but not freedom in the bedroom or freedom when it comes to a woman’s own body, or other personal freedoms. If he was willing to split his alligance why not on the Democratic Side?

    In any event there is no escaping the fact that unless you believe the Supreme court doesn’t matter at all, you are willing to throw the future of the court on the fire for the sake of someone you claim to not believe in and despise. Makes perfect sense in some altered universe but not in reality.

    *note, I would have been more then happy if the CU decision came down against unlimited corporate/special-interest/wealthy spending even though it has been my argument that such spending would have just found other ways to rip us off while raising other problems for civil liberties. For example, Adelson would have still been able to spend large amounts of money to promote his agenda in other wasy. As far as I am concerned Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas are among the worst and most dishonest judges ever to sit on the court. If a Republican/Tparty person is elected we will likely get another one to join them…. there won’t be any swing vote on anything for generations to come. Furthermore, even if the liberal side could hold out for 4.5 years who says a Republican/tparty would not get re-elected for another term?

    People keep saying “its the economy, stupid.” For me, “its the supreme court, stupid.” You have clearly not thought this through.


  503. TC: The Right leaning swing vote and 2 Liberal judges are among the 4 oldest. Scalia is the 4th one. Based on age the liberal side of the court has a 3 to 1 higher potential for loss of a member. Almost certainly with the current Senate no judge can be confirmed in the next 10 months. If Obama losses there is a near certainty the court will move 5-4 to the right with a sixth vote to likely be more on the conservative side. Under the Republican’s if the swing vote retires it will become a solidly conservative replacement (and young) for a solid 5-4. If Scalia leaves he would be replaced by someone even nuttier but the court make up would still be right leaning. If either of the liberals retire it will become a solidly conservative 5-4 with the sixth swing vote being the current conservative leaning. In theory you could also wind up with a 7-2 conservative court if all the oldest judges retire during a republican administration.

    Redo your math and your thinking.

    (Note: the right has managed to make “conservative” into a positive word and liberal into a negative word).

    Needless to say age is not the only factor on who will leave the court. And of course the make up of the senate comes into play. But only a fool would want to risk it against such odds.


  504. It also appears he voted against MLK day and he or his ghostwriter bragged about it in his infamous newsletter too.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/01/mlk-day-fact-check/251037/


  505. @1zb1: Backpedal all you want, for the statement I answered you were either ignorant, lying, or just making shit up because you didn’t think anybody knew any different, and like all tribalists, you will just spout anything, because the truth and facts do not really matter to you at all, you have no principles by which you abide. If you need to cheat, rewrite history, be an apologist for a criminal, lie, hurl unfounded insults, whatever, you will do it, because nothing is more important to you than winning, not lives, not even your own self-respect.

    And I can help you prove it to yourself: Name any principle Obama could violate and actually lose your vote.

    I feel certain there will be none, because you do not vote on principle or actions, you vote on the party. Obama could vote to outlaw abortion, and he would still be the lesser of two evils in your mind. He could agree to gut Social Security and Medicare entitlements (he already did that implicitly with his catfood commission) and he would still be the lesser of two evils in your mind. He could declare war on Iran, and he would still be the lesser of two evils in your mind. He could extend and amplify the Bush Tax Cuts, and he would still be the lesser of two evils in your mind.

    There is no bridge too far for you, because it is obvious to me that in your mind, Democrats are always the lesser of two evils, no matter what they do. That is not a principled position, it is a tribalist position, and lazy thinking. Or just non-thinking, because obviously thinking is too much trouble for you.


  506. “…your pride in voting for Obama is sad,.”
    Tonyc.
    I am very proud I voted for Obama for many reasons. He did get done some of what he said he would do, and this in spite of an obstructionist congress.
    I am also very disappointed in some of the things he has done, and the holding of Americans indefinitely is a major blow to my hopes for what he would do but the vote was appropriate as was, and is, my proud in pulling the lever for him..


  507. “I feel certain there will be none, because you do not vote on principle or actions, you vote on the party.”

    Supporting an objectivist, misogynist, racist bigot is not principle, it’s blindness.
    Tony you’ve gone from the ridiculous, to the sublime, to the absolutely creepy and I do understand all to well that you’re not even aware of it. It is one thing to pledge not to vote for Obama, that can well be a principled, moral stand, even if I don’t agree with it. It is quite another, in the face of all the evidence presented to support this man who stands for much you purport to abjure. Where you come off though arrogating to yourself the ability to understand those who disagree with you is beyond appalling. With your support for Paul you are revealing yourself as tunnel visioned in principle and strikingly naive in thought.


  508. TC: Take your medication. Get outside whatever hole you live in and go for a walk. Smell the air (hopefully it will be relatively breathable where you are) and enjoy the light. Try to get some oxygen to your brain. Take a baby asprin to avoid having a stroke. If you delerium does not improve call 911.


  509. @Carol: I voted for Obama twice and contributed several hundred dollars to his campaign. I am not proud to have helped a criminal lying dictator into the White House. The price for whatever good he has done is the literal irrelevancy of your rights as a citizen, the price is an autocratic police state, and infinitely higher than any good he has done.

    Even on something like DADT: As Commander in Chief and President of the United States, he could have, from day ONE,

    a) Simply commanded the military to prioritize prosecutions of DADT lower than parking tickets and gym locker thefts,

    b) and then PARDONED anybody convicted of DADT, as is his unlimited Constitutional right as President, and allowed them to continue to serve, as was his right as Commander in Chief.

    Instead, he waited two years and let about 700 more gays lose their military careers so he could make a big election-year show (in 2010) out of repealing it.

    Truman racially integrated the military by Executive Order, AND integrated women into the military by Executive Order. Certainly, if Obama was acting on principle rather than votes, he could have effectively nullified DADT by executive order and presidential pardon. Instead he turned it into a circus, so both sides could raise money.


  510. It is my contention that the so called “left” wing is now fully authoritarian. It suppresses dissent. Attacks such as telling people to take their medication, like the one above, are ways to try and silence people for stating ideas that go against left wing obedience training.

    1z: If you have an argument, make one. If you make remarks about medication then I know exactly who you are and what you are doing. You are an authoritarian who wishes to silence dissent. No true leftist person of conscience would do such a thing. You reveal much about your own and the govt.’s fears with your post.


  511. OT and perhaps old news to some:

    “DOJ urges judge to side with plaintiff in Baltimore police taping case
    In court filing, Civil Rights Division says Baltimore Police deleting man’s videos violates rights”

    By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

    8:16 p.m. EST, January 11, 2012

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/breaking/bs-md-ci-aclu-doj-videotaping-20120111,0,7691935.story


  512. How’s that COINTELPRO trolling approach working out for you, 1zb1?

    Yeah.


  513. Jill…. boy the thought police are working late tonight. according to you “No true leftist person of conscience would do such a thing”. If you actually read his rant a few lines above you would realize there was nothing to actually respond to. And if you didn’t have your nose so far stuck up in the air about who is and isn’t left, liberal, or whatever you would appreciate it was the best response to the none comments from a self righteous blow-hard.

    As for Glen, its probably working just fine someplace, but if you really think you are worth the time and effort of a computer to deal with you I have to say you really are more delusional then I thought.

    In the meantime, hey Jill, and Glen got any thoughts on the Supreme Court or you just going to spend the night with vacuous comments? At least TC started out trying to make an intelligible response even if it made no sense whatsoever.

    I think I have made it pretty clear in my remarks voting for anyone other then Obama is going to likely lead to an even more conservative supreme court and even more likely to result in CU type decisions in the future. What do you think?


  514. Tony C, I simply do not believe you. If indeed you “voted for Obama twice and contributed several hundred dollars to his campaign” and you now call him a “criminal lying dictator” there is a real disconnect in YOUR thinking not in his. Are you too young to know how politics and politicians work or do you not understand the limits on a President’s power? Either way you do not sound like an “Obama voter”, you sound like a person who supports Ron Paul and is a virtual one issue voter. How you could have voted for or donated to Obama is a true mystery given what I have read from you in the past two days.

    I wish Obama had fought a little harder against this legislation but he was not the one who sold us down the river and there is no “new” power grab or fear factor for normal law abiding citizens. The boat for restoring and maintaining all civil rights sailed after 9/11 and until we face our fear and quit cowering at the sound of the TP/GOP, we will not get them back. Expecting Obama to “rescue” us is too simple to credit, that cannot be what you expected.

    One issue voters obsess as you have done and I find it hilarious that you are so willing to overlook in so much in Ron Paul, and so little you can credit to Obama. There is no “autocratic police state” and there is not one coming.

    I disagree with your position on DADT, If Obama had played “Imperial President” with an edict as Truman did (with the backing of the Supreme Court Obama does not have), he would have been facing impeachment hearings. They fought tooth and nail as it was and he went by the book. You seem to want an alternate reality when this one is all we have.

    Now all homosexual soldiers and the world knows this was not some “Obamarule”, this was a chosen, considered, well implemented plan to welcome them fully from now on. It matters IMO.

    You seem to think principle can only mean acting by edict even as you talk against an “autocratic police state”. Do you even see the dichotomy there? You seem to think Obama can only be effective if he dies on the sword of righteousness.

    You want to support Ron Paul, you go for it. If you hope to make him sound more attractive to us than Obama, save your fingers.


  515. Sandi: WELL SAID!


  516. I’m not sure who Glen is, 1trollboy1, but I am sure it’s about time you changed your identity. This one’s about outlived any utility.


  517. Gh…. another meaningless nothing from a nobody. r u illiterate or do you just pretend to be?


  518. Really? Is that the best you’ve got, 1zb1?

    Because if it is, your anti-left/left act is much better.

    You should stick to the script.


  519. gh: don’t you ever get tired of saying nothing… strain your brain a little and talk about the supreme court… I’m betting you don’t even grasp the implication of what it will mean to the court if there is a R/Tparty president. And your affraid to even admit your position on it.


  520. You seem to be under the impression that I take orders from you.

    Then again, you have a lot of incorrect impressions.


  521. BTW, given your willful ignorance about the dangers of Citizens United, I think I’ll stick to my own counsel on the composition of SCOTUS.


  522. @Sandi: I think acting from principle means not compromising on principle. There is often room for compromise without violating one’s principles; but sometimes there isn’t. I do not compromise on my principle that citizens cannot be ordered killed without due process. No matter how many times the media asserts they are guilty, no matter how many times the President or anybody else says they are guilty, the government shall not ORDER a citizen killed without DUE PROCESS, and there are NO exceptions.

    Compromising on principle is why we now have free speech ZONES, compromising on principle is why the government can use force against peaceful protesters, compromising on principle is why the government can now literally strip search you without a warrant and jail you if you refuse, compromising on principle is why the government can now record every email, every phone call, every tweet and every posting (including this one) made on the Internet. Speaking of which, the government has recently asserted the right to shut down a website, without any due process, if a corporation complains about it: And when that happens, I am sure you will find an excuse for them.

    If that is not an autocratic police state, it certainly is not freedom.


  523. GH You are hereby ordered by me NOT to share your thoughts on SCOTUS (note: this was computer generated.)


  524. @Mike S: Supporting an objectivist, misogynist, racist bigot is not principle, it’s blindness.

    I think it is blindness to assume somebody is a misogynist simply because they are pro-life; it is an explicitly religious viewpoint on when human life begins, and assuming it is driven by a hatred for women or a belief they are inferior in any way is simply wrong. It is not misogyny.

    I have detailed my abortion views and the science behind those views elsewhere; essentially I have no problem with abortion in the first half of pregnancy, regardless of the health of the fetus or mother (i.e. even if both are perfectly healthy), and increasingly larger problems once the fetal brain has a working cortex. In the final four weeks of pregnancy, I too would prohibit the abortion of a healthy fetus in a healthy mother that was not raped. That fetus is a living human being that can survive on its own outside the womb. In my view, abortions between the 20th week and 35th week (a normal pregnancy is 39 weeks) is a matter for a medical board to review, there are no bright lines, and only a medical board can assess relative risk to the two people involved (the fetus and the mother).

    I am not a misogynist for that belief, I am a scientist, and birth is not a magical event that turns a non-human into a human being. Neither is conception, or drawing a first breath. It is biological mechanics that put the burden of pregnancy on women, or equivalently, deny it to men.

    I do not subscribe to the view that I or anybody can do whatever I want with my body to the point of endangering or killing another human being. I am not an objectivist that thinks of my body as some kind of property.

    **********

    As for racism, I think it is blindness to rank somebody’s personal biases as more important than their public policy. I do not think you can point to a single public policy of Ron Paul’s that is racist. The only evidence you have for Ron Paul being racist is newsletters written by James Powell. So please, rather than hearsay, please find me a quote somewhere, a public policy stance, that would be deemed “racist.”

    @Mike S: It is quite another, in the face of all the evidence presented to support this man who stands for much you purport to abjure.

    WHAT evidence? You have hearsay and conviction by association and nothing more. Was attending the sermons of the “God DAMN America” Reverend Wright “evidence” against Obama? No. Was serving on a board with a guy that tried to bomb a government office evidence of Obama’s terrorist leanings? NO.

    Show me something Ron Paul did or said that is racist, or misogynist, and we can talk.

    @Mike S: Where you come off though arrogating to yourself the ability to understand those who disagree with you is beyond appalling.

    I see. Read your next sentence.

    @Mike S: With your support for Paul you are revealing yourself as tunnel visioned in principle and strikingly naive in thought.

    Gee Mike, have you arrogated to yourself the ability to understand me?

    That aside, I do not compromise my principles, and I am not the one that is naive. Is it naive to believe a President can hold office and obey the Constitution and not break any laws? I do not think so.

    Is it naive to believe the President should exercise the powers GRANTED to him by the Constitution, and challenge or ignore or veto the laws that are UNconstitutional, and stand firm on the principles of the Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law? I do not think so.

    If your claim is that I am naive to think that rules and laws apply to politicians, or that the law is too complex to actually be followed in all circumstances, then I think it is YOU that are naive.

    This is not that hard to figure out, ask any of the lawyers here. Read some arguments from the professionals, like Turley or Greenwald or even the Supreme Court. The language is clear and the arguments are frankly no more complex than high school chemistry or algebra.

    I am not “tunnel visioned” in principle, that is derogatory. I believe there are principles we cannot compromise, I believe there are lines we cannot cross. Like the founders, and partially because I am convinced by their arguments and partially because of my own thinking, I believe in absolute prohibitions on some government actions.

    That is not “tunnel vision” or “naivety,” that is how we avoid autocracy, a police state and the rule by intimidation into which we have fallen. That is how we ensure the government is our servant and not our master, which is how the world should be.

    When I debate, even with a “D” student like Grossman, I at least try to find some factual or logical inconsistency in their thinking, and answer to it. I freely admit that in this forum, where I can comment freely without attribution, I do not restrain myself from answering vitriol with insult.

    But I at least try for logic first. You (and others) are dismissing my charges against Obama, his actual crimes against the Constitution and treaties as baseless, without evidence. You (and others) are convicting Ron Paul of misogyny and racism and bigotry, without any evidence of anything he has done other than association, but of course the same rules do not apply to Obama’s associations. (To be clear, association is not proof of guilt in either case.)

    If I am naive about how politics really works, I think Professor Turley must be just as naive, look at how many articles he writes about Obama violating the Constitution. Poor, dumb, Turley, doesn’t he know how the world works? I question why you even read him, Mike, the poor bastard seems to think a President can follow the law and the Constitution. How dumb can Turley be?

    Let me note I am not appealing to Turley’s authority, I have no need, I have my own brain and can provide my own logic. What I am pointing out is that you and other posters defer to the authority of Turley, and ignore logic and facts and valid argument of others. You convict Paul of being evil without evidence, and believe in Obama despite the evidence of his evil doings.

    I do not accept dogma and I do not defer to any intellectual authority, ever. (I may agree with them and their argument, but that is not deference.) I am capable of changing my mind, and I have grown out of the childish belief that I can get what I want without any cost, sometimes getting what you want demands pain and sacrifice of other things you want. I supported Obama largely because I mistakenly thought a Constitutional scholar was the man to undo the Constitutional damage done by Bush. I was wrong, he has escalated it, along with the corporatism and endless covert wars and surveillance state and corruption that I despise.

    So I changed my mind. No amount of liberalism and the social programs I believe in is worth abandoning the Bill of Rights and rule of law. I don’t care how good the King treats us, I do not want a King. What I want is a military and an intelligence apparatus and a police force that is the SERVANT of the people, and a government that is the SERVANT of the people, not the MASTER of the people.

    If you’d rather be a monarchist, that is up to you, but it is a principle I will not compromise.


  525. 1zb1,

    Are you so stupid that you think COINTELPRO is software?

    Apparently so.

    Let me break this down for you.

    COINTELPRO is an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program. COINTELPRO proper was (and probably still is in these days of the PATRIOT Act) a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the FBI aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations. You know, disruptive, like you are with your passive-aggressive anti-left/left rhetoric. It’s not very original and here it’s not going to be effective. So instead of talking about what you want to talk about, let’s talk about your methodology as applied to your message instead.

    It’ll be a hoot.


  526. “I think it is blindness to assume somebody is a misogynist simply because they are pro-life; it is an explicitly religious viewpoint on when human life begins, and assuming it is driven by a hatred for women or a belief they are inferior in any way is simply wrong.”

    Tony,
    A person is allowed to personally be against abortion. What is impermissible is to have the State act on enforcing your beliefs. If you do, the you are a misogynist in the true sense of the word.

    “mi·sog·y·nis·tic (m-sj-nstk) also mi·sog·y·nous (-sj-ns) adj.
    Of or characterized by a hatred of women”.

    For the State to take control of a woman’s body, is not only misogynistic, but evinces a Patriarchal view of womanhood that is closely aligned with hatred, enough to be undifferentiated. Just because a male desires to have sex with a female does not connote his acceptance of her equality.

    “I am not a misogynist for that belief, I am a scientist, and birth is not a magical event that turns a non-human into a human being.”

    Well if you want to play the qualification game I’m a Institution Trained Psychotherapist, with a Ivy League Degree ad in my professional opinion based on your writing I see you as quite the misogynist. Don’t pull your “I’m a scientist” game on me Tony, I’m not biting.

    “WHAT evidence? You have hearsay and conviction by association and nothing more. Was attending the sermons of the “God DAMN America” Reverend Wright “evidence” against Obama? No. Was serving on a board with a guy that tried to bomb a government office evidence of Obama’s terrorist leanings? NO.
    Show me something Ron Paul did or said that is racist, or misogynist, and we can talk.”

    Ron Paul published a newsletter that contained racist diatribes. End of of story,
    though there is much more evidence.

    “Gee Mike, have you arrogated to yourself the ability to understand me?”

    Tony do you really think that no one is reading the thread will see where you have continually characterized me and others in a manner that would indicate you know our motivations. This is so childish on your part that I find it unexpected, I had thought better of your debating skills. I can only assume we have hit a nerve with your blind support of Paul, who it is clearly a racist, a bigot, the most conservative member of the house and finally a man who by his own words has shown your belief in his unwavering support of human rights is tempered by politics. Sadly, your blind support Tony for such a man indicates a dogmatism I had previously thought you were above.

    Now seeing your pattern, no doubt you will try to throw back Obama at me. That would be facile on your part. My argument here is about your support for a potential Fascist(=KKK=WSC=JBS), not about your hatred for Obama. Gene
    has been equally vociferously opposed to Obama for quite some time. The difference is that Gene hasn’t supported a racist/bigot/misogynist as an alternative.


  527. Tony,

    I’ve got to say that I find your reasoning for supporting Paul to be . . . interesting. Like I’ve said, I understand why parts of his platform sound attractive to reformers, but the rest of it really is horrendous. Even as a question of lesser evils, Paul’s negatives simply don’t get him out of triage. The duplicity of his cross-purposed message runs deep. He talks a lot about liberty but suggests policies that are anything but liberating in practice. I have to go back to my earlier analogy of a port in a storm. I just don’t think you’re adequately seeing that all ports are not created equal and the one you’ve chosen has hidden (and not so hidden) dangers.


  528. Tony, I am a scientist and am Board Certified in my field. I like to think I have a better than average grasp of the English language. Gene and Mike Spindell are absolutely on point with their comments just above.

    To use the port in a storm analogy and make it more precise, don’t’ forget some harbors are mined.


  529. @Mike: Oh, I see, so it is okay to be personally against murder, but having the state act on that belief is simply wrong. It is okay to be against fraud, or employee endangerment, or theft, but having the government act on those beliefs is simply wrong.

    How is being pro-life any different? If people believe that all abortion is murder, of course they will try to get the government to act on that belief.

    The only question left is whether they advocate for tyrannical enforcement of a minority over the majority, and that is something Ron Paul has specifically not done. His attempts at pro-life have all been entirely legal maneuvers, within the system defined by the majority, and entirely capable of being defeated by the majority.

    So you are wrong, it is not misogyny or hatred of women, or sub-classing women. It is not even Patriarchal. It is simple, the fetus is a person for some time before birth, it is not some kind of inanimate property that is suddenly converted to personhood by drawing breath.

    I am behind on office work at the moment, hopefully I will have more time later to respond more fully.


  530. GH: gee, u r a rocket scientist. finally figured out how to search the web, cut and paste. do you wake up this stupid in the morning or do u work at it through the day. try reading some of your own posts some time. btw: you may need a port in a storm but most smart people know enough not to go out in the storm in the first place. but the smart part would let you out.

    Meanwhile, I’m going for a run while you strain your brain to come up with something idiotic to say. don’t hurt yourself too badly in the process – you might have trouble sitting down. (oh, and this was written by a bot)


  531. I think it is time to have my religious belief, that all men who want to control women’s bodies should be tossed into Gitmo, presented and backed by the Koch Brothers and Ron Paul supporters everywhere. I don’t hate these men, I just believe that mysognist men deserve to be put in jail. I realize I am a minority in this belief, but with the right amount of monetary support, I can get my minority view entered into the law books.


  532. That’s right, 1zb1. Go straight to insult when your methods are exposed. Trolls aren’t very bright, but you are predictable.


  533. Oh, poor, poor Gene, he can dish out the insults (very poorly) but can’t take it. Lets feel sorry for him. Gene, you really are a joke. And thank you for NOT talking about SCOTUS as I commanded. (too bad you have no sense of humor at all)


  534. Please continue to prove my point.

    As for your “command”, you should really not do hallucinogens before lunch.

    Let’s talk about the fact that you are trying desperately to change the topic of this thread to SCOTUS composition in the light of Obama potentially not being re-elected (a what? a . . . wait for it . . . scare tactic) versus the actual subject of this thread which is Obama pissing on the Bill of Rights by not vetoing the NDAA.

    Let’s talk about that instead.


  535. GH, you are joking, right. you really don’t get it do you? give me a ring when you get that brain transplant. maybe then you will be able to chew bubble gum and tie your laces at the same time.

    In the mean time I get the BoR and CU are important to you but SCOTUS is not. The sign of a true idiot.

    Keep following those commands. Cha Cha Cha.


  536. What you don’t get is that you keep insulting me because I won’t let you change the subject without pointing it out.

    I know, I know, it must pain you to go off script, but do try to keep up.

    The subject of this thread is Obama’s dismal performance on civil rights issues. If you want to talk SCOTUS there is a perfectly good thread directly about SCOTUS and their deficiencies here.


  537. gh do you have any clue how really stupid you sound? (fyi: this a computer generated response)


  538. Do you realize how trollish you sound?

    The topic here is still Obama’s dismal record on civil rights.


  539. GH: wrong again. the subject, to be literal, is “Final Curtain: Obama Signs Indefinite Detention of Citizens Into Law As Final Act of 2011″ . Its your opinion (and Mr. Turley’s) that it is dismal, largely because you are obviousely incapable of seeing the world or reality through anything other then a pinhole.

    Your simple mind is clearly not capable of grasping beyond one simple idea at a time. In your view Obama has a “dismal record on civil rights”. According to you it his “record” at issue not a particular item. In considering a record a reasonably intelligent person (not applicable in your case) looks at the whole record and not just the items that support your biase. So for example his appoints to the Supreme Court in your simple mind have no bearings on Civil Liberties. Similarly his ending DODT has no bearing on that record. And of course fighting for SS and Medicare as part of people’s rights doesn’t fit into your bias either because you can’t grasp that its hard to worry about civil liberties when you are living in poverty or have no healthcare.

    But you just keep looking through that pin hole thinking you know jack about Civil Liberties.

    In the meantime you continue to demonstrate my command over you by NOT talking about SCOTUS. Thank you.


  540. The topic here generally speaking is indeed Obama’s dismal record on civil rights. The item in question here is simply another example of that record. If you wish to base your contentions on specificity instead of the entirety of his record on the issue of civil liberties, then you are committing the logical fallacy of simple cause. Your contention in defense of your attempting to change the subject is the fallacies of semantic argument, ignoratio elenchi and the mind projection fallacy. Also, your “command”? Just goes to show you wish to manipulate the topic of conversation. Like a good lil’ distraction troll. However, if you think you have some control over me, you are simply delusional.

    The topic is still Obama’s dismal record on civil rights. Generally speaking. And you’re still a troll trying to change the subject.


  541. @Mike S: Ron Paul published a newsletter that contained racist diatribes. End of of story, though there is much more evidence.

    Ron Paul lent his name to a publisher that produced 240 newsletters under Ron Paul’s banner, by various authors. The author that first wrote about these newsletters (which are unavailable for scrutiny) at the New Republic said there were nine of those 240 newsletters, in sequence, that contained racism-suggestive slurs, and the final one with most of the slurs was the only one with a byline: James Powell.

    Ron Paul bears some responsibility for the racism under his banner, just as Ariana Huffington would bear some responsibility for any racial slurs under the banner of “The Huffington Post,” but in neither case would it be evidence of their personal racism. The short duration of the racism in the letters, if the New Republic author is believed (and since we cannot access the full 240 of them), indicates that somebody shut down James Powell (probably Lew Rockwell).

    Ron Paul claims he did not read the letters that were going out; the editor and publisher and chief writer of the newsletters, Lew Rockwell (also Paul’s former chief of staff) has indicated he did not clear the content of newsletters with Ron Paul before sending them, and he was not the only ghostwriter, and that he did not write the nine racially charged letters.

    In any case, perhaps I miscommunicated: Show me a racist law or policy which Ron Paul himself has publicly supported or demanded, as a Congressman. Show me this abuse of power you so vociferously insist he would exercise.

    I do not believe you can. And I am not “throwing Obama at you,” I am simply stating that I can show you MANY things Obama has actually done to undermine the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and you cannot find one single thing Ron Paul has done as a Congressman to do that, or even tried to do as a Congressman to do that, or even promised as a candidate to do that.

    The closest I can even think of is his promise to use the Constitutionally granted powers of the President to minimize the impact on citizens of what he considers unconstitutional drug laws, via pardons for non-violent offenders. I do not consider than an abuse of power, he would not be pardoning his minions (like Bush did with Libby) or friends or campaign contributors (like Clinton apparently did). I consider it an exercise of power, and a constitutional check and balance against the excesses of past politicians.

    Everything else he has proposed has been a perfectly Constitutional action of the President, or a legal bill that would have to be voted upon by the House and Senate and approved. I doubt that would happen, but if it does I still believe in Majority Rule, even if the Majority is an idiot.

    You may prefer the Imperial Presidency, but sooner or later a Republican is going to hold the White House and we will rue the day we gave the Presidency such permanent unilateral and unconstitutional powers for a few years of expediency.


  542. Posted on Friday, January 13, 2012

    Indefinite detention: Instrument of tyranny

    By ALLEN S. KELLER AND YANG-YANG ZHOU

    Excerpts:

    When President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act on New Year’s Eve, he codified policies of arbitrary and indefinite detention for terror suspects including possibly U.S. citizens. Alexander Hamilton referred to such policies as the “favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.” Based on our experience in evaluating and caring for victims of torture and human rights abuses from all over the world, Hamilton was right.

    Regardless of the law’s applicability to U.S. citizens, indefinite detention in a military facility without charge can be tantamount to torture, causing profound health consequences.

    Omoyele Sowore, a Nigerian-born journalist and pro-democracy activist, is a former client of our program. When Mr. Sowore recently spoke at an event marking the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, he poignantly noted that when a nation chooses national security over basic freedoms, it becomes a great danger to its own people. He was originally describing African dictatorial regimes.

    For protesting government corruption in Nigeria, Mr. Sowore was abducted, detained, shackled and beaten on eight separate occasions – each time in an unknown location, uncertain when his imprisonment would end. However, rather than the physical abuse, he recalls the uncertainty and inability to challenge his arrest as what caused him the most suffering.

    “Indefinite detention is absolutely torture. It breaks your body, your will and your dignity. Most people, who have never been tortured before, do not know that the worst part is the psychological rather than the physical.”

    With the 2012 elections approaching, President Obama should reread and reaffirm his own inaugural words: “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. … Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake.”

    In our work with torture survivors we are inspired by the lengths our clients take to flee tyrannies and gain legal status in this country because they believe so strongly in our American ideals. In defense of these ideals, we urge for not only the full repeal of the indefinite detention provisions under the NDAA but also a deeper assessment of how we ever allowed this to happen in the first place.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/01/13/135794/indefinite-detention-instrument.html#storylink=cpy


  543. @Mike S: In case my earlier sarcasm fell flat (as it often does), my point was that all laws are essentially morally inspired, from murder on down. People do not want murder to be illegal because they buy into some arcane logic about property rights over their body, they want murder to be met with life ending punishment because being murdered frightens them at a visceral level and life ending punishment is a deterrent (life ending by execution or, for some, by lifelong incarceration).

    Murder is morally wrong, theft is morally wrong, fraud is morally wrong, false testimony is morally wrong, usually coercion without any publicly granted authority to use it is morally wrong.

    I believe explicitly, and virtually everybody I discuss it with agrees, that a primary function of government is to protect the weak from the strong that would exploit or abuse them. It is the police, and the courts, and the military that should hire the professionals that can stand and fight the predators, and the vast majority of America wants the government to do that.

    So it is not surprising to me if pro-lifers want the government to prohibit what they believe to be a morally repulsive act equivalent to murder, they think that is the government’s job, to protect the weak (an infant unable to defend itself) against the strong.

    That is no more misogyny or hatred of women than demanding actual murder be outlawed. What they have is a hatred of murder. I cannot stress enough that I disagree with them on whether it is murder, but I think it is a slur and a false equivalence to claim that a hatred of murder is a hatred of women, or even Patriarchal. You do not have to believe women are second class citizens to men in order to demand that women do not get some special privilege to commit a murder.

    As for my own views, they are indeed scientific. Shall you now insist that a perfectly healthy full term infant is not a human being until it draws a breath? On what grounds? Ridiculous raw assertion? Superstitious religion? A belief in the magical properties of gas exchange? Or just a desire to be right that is so dominant you will say the fuck with facts?

    An infant is independently viable for several weeks before it would be naturally born, and its location (in or out of the womb) should make no more difference in its human right to life than it makes to mine if I am in my kitchen or in my living room.

    The infant is a human being well before it is born, and as such, decisions on abortion should not be determined unilaterally by the Mother and what affects her alone and how she happens to feel about it. They have become decisions about the continuance of two linked but independent lives; and the law should be involved to balance the rights of both. I do not think either life has an absolute claim on preeminence. And since I think abortion IS an absolute right for the first 20 weeks (and should be available as a free service to mothers paid for by taxpayers), I believe any normal, expected risk involved in childbirth was assumed by the Mother in carrying the fetus to half-term.

    Many pro-lifers are undoubtedly misogynists and/or patriarchal and/or religious zealots that make them both, but the pro-life position is not inherently either misogynist or patriarchal, it is simply a mystical miscomprehension of biology.


  544. Tony,
    You confuse me with S.Grossman. I have made my position abundantly clear and provided my reasoning. You are clear to the point of being dogmatic in your support of a man who I believe to be a racist, bigoted, misogynist. What more is there to say beyond that we disagree most strongly?


  545. @Mike: What more is there to say beyond that we disagree most strongly?

    I suppose you could tell me how you come to the conclusion that is okay for a woman to murder her infant five minutes before birth and not okay five minutes later; that would be a start, explaining what magical biological transition occurred there, and what logic you employ to think that is the dividing line for granting a fetus personhood.

    But I suppose you cannot, because it really is not logically supportable by science or reason and you know it, and you aren’t going to admit anything that might strip your label of misogynist from a pro-lifer, no matter how inaccurate it might be.

    So what more is there to say? Nothing, you have been clear to the point of being dogmatic in your support for a man I believe to be a war criminal, a murderer, a liar, a corporatist, a torturer and a fraud, and you are clearly so invested in a Democrat being your champion that no number of crimes can dissuade you.

    Unlike Grossman, I will leave you with the final insults on this topic.

    Fire at will.


  546. “I suppose you could tell me how you come to the conclusion that is okay for a woman to murder her infant five minutes before birth and not okay five minutes later; that would be a start,”

    Tony,

    No insults, just your quote to show how much you’ve twisted the abortion reality to justify your support for a misogynist, racist, bigot. The last words are yours since in every response here you’ve added to the indictment of your own position.


  547. Think of it this way: inside the house and outside the house. Get the difference.

    “Government” makes countless decisions about who lives and who dies, but in your world of rights a woman can not make the same decision even when it involes her own body. You are going to make it for her. And by your own reasoning any moment compared to the next moment is arbitrary so why do you give any right to a woman to chose what happens in her own body?


  548. @1zb1: Think of it this way: inside the house and outside the house. Get the difference.

    No. Is your right to life different inside your house and outside your house?

    When another person’s rights would be violated by your actions, it becomes a matter of law whether you can take those actions and cause that harm, or you are bound to restrain yourself.

    That is the entire question: When the fetus becomes a human being? I contend it is irrational, magical thinking to assert a normal healthy infant that can survive on its own has ZERO human rights prior to delivery.


  549. TC: Apparently I need to explain the metaphor. An “intruder” inside your house has different rights then one outside YOUR house. YOU have different rights in how you deal with the “intruder” depending on whether they are inside or outside.

    Abortion is the taking of the POTENTIAL for life. You picked a somewhat arbitrary point in development of a fetus (note the distinct term used to describe this potential) as a bright line not to be crossed at about 20 weeks. What is that based on? Why not 19.95 vs 20?

    As you say, “how you come to the conclusion that is okay for a woman to murder her infant five minutes before birth and not okay five minutes later…and what logic you employ to think that is the dividing line for granting a fetus personhood.”

    While that is currently ABOUT the most premature live birth I have no doubt in time medical technology will make it feasible to keep a fetus alive from at or very near conception. On the other hand many fetus born premature much later do not survive.

    Some anti-choice groups want to define life as beginning at conception. But then we get into the problem that EVERY egg is really the potential for life. So from your reasoning (and theirs not providing an egg with fertilization would be as much a taking of life (the POTENTIAL for life) as aborting the fetus at 20 weeks.

    Until the fetus is born and leaves the womb it still depends on the mother for its survival. It draws essential sustenance from the mother.

    What you did not address however, is the fact that society at large makes decisions that take lives, both effecting fetus as well as people of all ages. How much we allocate money on medical research and what areas of research; what we consider acceptable levels of pollution; who gets medical care and who doesn’t; what we call a crime; how much we spend on education; when we go to war; and the list is endless. Nearly every decision we make as a society causes some people to live and others to die. Many decisions we make as individuals may also effect the lives of others.

    So for me, this is fairly simple choice for a complex issue. If society can make life and death decisions about the actually living, the notion that a woman can not make decisions about what happens inside her own body when it comes not to the actually living but to the POTENTIAL for life, that is a personal decision for a woman to make that no else, especially men, have any right to make for her.

    Lets go back to the house. If a robber is on the outside you don’t typically get to shoot them, but if they are inside your house you have different rules by which you can act.

    Apparently, when it comes to “rights” you don’t mind giving life and death decisions to others but you have a problem giving it to a woman when it comes to what is going on inside her own body and her own life.


  550. @1zb1: You picked a somewhat arbitrary point in development of a fetus (note the distinct term used to describe this potential) as a bright line not to be crossed at about 20 weeks. What is that based on? Why not 19.95 vs 20?

    That is a lie, I stopped reading your post there. I explained this earlier. It is not an “arbitrary” point, it is a biologically informed point, it is the point in development when the cortex can be operational. The cortex is what distinguishes humans from other animals.

    I also did not set a bright line; except in one direction: prior to 20 weeks, I see no biological reason to restrict abortion. Any resemblance to a human is strictly physical; there is not a human brain there.

    As I said before, the line stops being bright at 20 weeks, and increasingly less bright as we approach 39 weeks, and it should be subject to a hearing. The fetus can survive on its own by week 34 or so, it is by then a human being, and should have human rights. The whole point is that there is no bright line between 20 and 34 or so. And the ENTIRE time it is a life, not a potential life, the only decision is whether it is the type of life we can legally and unilaterally choose to end (like we can with food animals or pets), or is it the type of life it should be illegal to end, like an infant’s?

    And it is not an “intruder,” that is the most ridiculous analogy I have ever heard. When an Intruder leaves your house, do you become responsible for their life? Can you be prosecuted for failing to take care of them? It is idiotic. Further, an intruder is a serious threat to your life, you do not know if the intruder has a weapon or can overpower you. A healthy infant inside a healthy mother is not a threat to her life. In the case where a pregnancy IS a threat to life, if a board of MDs agrees upon that, abortion is warranted. Abortion is not warranted because a mother decides in the last month she no longer wants to go through with it.

    That is also not the only case for which somebody must suffer to avoid harming somebody else. For example, say you need a heart transplant, and will die without one. A suitable donor exists, but he is in a coma, expected to die but stable without life support. If he dies, you get the heart. You still cannot kill him to get his heart, and if you die first, well tough luck. No matter how important to you his death might be, no matter how pointless his continued life may be, killing a person is not an option.

    Just so you know, I won’t be reading your posts after the first lie. If that is all you know how to do, or you are so illiterate you cannot read or understand mine, I suggest you do not waste your time.


  551. TC, you are what is commonly referred to as schmuck, but that is besides the point.

    You said, regarding my post, “That is a lie, I stopped reading your post there. I explained this earlier. It is not an “arbitrary” point, it is a biologically informed point, it is the point in development when the cortex can be operational. The cortex is what distinguishes humans from other animals.”

    No matter how you cut it you picked an arbitrary point for defining when an abortion is not okay and when it is okay in your world. You have also picked an arbitrary measure based on the development of the cortex.

    By your arbitrary standard, why not use, for example, week 8 when all the parts are in place and there is electrical brain activity? Regardless, in either case the fetus is unable to survive outside the womb without artificial means.

    By your simple minded arbitrary standard one could just as easily pick 8 weeks as a bright line and it would make just as much (or little) sense.

    And yes you did pick a bright line. In your world before 20 weeks abortion is allowed and after 20 weeks it is not. And by your own comments what’s the difference between week 19.95 and week 20.00 other then your arbitrary measure based on your self selected but arbitrary standard. In any event, essentially 2 cells in womb after fertilization have as much (or nearly as much) potential to develop to birth as 8 weeks or 20 weeks and in either case they are incable of surviving outside of the womb except possibly by extreme artificial means.

    But the issue is not about even about when the potential for human life begins but rather who gets to make the decision for a woman about what is happening within her body and her life. You? Some politician? Some religious view? I think not. I think it is a decision for the woman, herself to make as long as what is going on is taking place inside her body, and not some schmuck like you.

    You can wiggle all you want but in the end you are fish on a hook.

    I didn’t bother with the rest of your comments because, as I said you are schmuck.


  552. Tony C You say “Further, an intruder is a serious threat to your life, you do not know if the intruder has a weapon or can overpower you.” The same is true of an embryo. You do not know if its presence will potentially kill you or overpower you. You presume healthy. That is not necessarily the case, and not known, sometimes, for months.

    “In the case where a pregnancy IS a threat to life, if a board of MDs agrees upon that, abortion is warranted. Abortion is not warranted because a mother decides in the last month she no longer wants to go through with it.”
    Okay, the woman’s life and health is at stake, let’s wait a couple of days, sometimes even just hours is all that is necessary for a woman to be in jeopardy, while we can convene a board of doctors. (I guess in your scenario this group of docs would be kept in a room in a hospital so they would be immediately available. Let’s see, Tony, if you are having an MI or or other life threatening issue, you will happily await for a group of doctors to be brought together to decide if your life is worth saving. Don;t think so.
    And Tony abortion is not done in the lst month just for the heck of it. If you have ever heard of such a case it is only because it is not the commonplace or even somewhat commonplace.Women do not willy nilly have abortions. It is only those who are anti choice who like to frame it in that kind of picture.


  553. “Women do not willy nilly have abortions. It is only those who are anti choice who like to frame it in that kind of picture.”

    Carol,

    That is an excellent point. Also the so-called late term abortions are exceedingly rare and I defy anyone to show evidence that they are performed
    whimsically, rather than as a life or death of the mother issue. However, what really ticks me off is the idea of mostly men, that a woman shouldn’t have control over her body, due to certain religious beliefs. While Tony tries to frame the argument “scientifically”, such framing fails when balanced against
    a woman’s personal choice.

    The way anti-abortionists, Tony included based on his arguments, try to frame the picture is a emotional one, so let me offer an emotional counterbalance. I was born in the 1940’s to a mother who was told not to carry me to term because it would have serious health implications for her. After my birth, with my birth contributing to it, my mother had four heart attacks, three strokes, major depression and prescription drug addictions. She died 75% paralyzed from her final stroke at age 54. I am grateful to be alive and have led a productive life, but my mother had many extraordinary qualities as a person and was an intelligent, beautiful woman whose thinking was far ahead of her time. She made a choice for which I am grateful, but given the misery that followed her for a lifespan of only 17 years after my birth was my birth worth it for her? The effect her infirmities had on me as a child required ten years of psychotherapy for me to heal. The wild life I led, that could have seen me dead within years of her death, saved only from my recklessness by extraordinary luck, who is to say but her that her choice was correct? I look askance at males, who with smug certainty, would force a woman to abide by their decisions.


  554. Mike, I am so sorry for what your mother went through and the effects it had on you. Should some man have made the decision for her? Thank you for sharing your difficult story.
    In my family there have been 3 abortions: my sister, out of wedlock. Her body, her choice – and she was wholly incapable at that time to be a mother.
    My other sister, who was given an xray thru the abdomen for a back problem, no one realizing she was about 6 weeks pregnant. Her doc, who did not perform abortions, insisted she have one. The fetus was so malformed, and incompatible with life, that they would not even tell her the sex to try and help her not have fantasies about what might have been.
    Then there was my mother who had to go before a male judge and lay bare her personal and confidential medical history to this non medical person to get permission for an abortion. It was granted but what kind of humiliation did they require before she was allowed?
    People like tony haven’t a clue what it means to be pregnant when your body cannot handle it, when you cannot handle it, when a life is at stake. If he paid more attention to what happens to women, including when they had to go into the back alleys: dark, unsterile offices of people who represented they could do abotions or when they resorted to wire hangers, maybe he would get how dangerous anti-choice is.
    I have never been pregnant but had I been I do not think I could ever have had an abortion; but that gives me no right to force that decision on someone else.


  555. Tony I missed your earlier response to meabout regretting voting for President Obama.We have seen what the repubs do and say when he uses his executive orders ability. You have to pick your battles. With an obstructionist congress, McConnell and Boehner sayiing and doing everything to obstruct this president, Mr Obama is often in a no win situation. Am I disappointed in, for instance, signing the appropriatioins bill? You betya. Do I however wonder if this compromise (adding the signing statement) was done so the debt ceiling coming up shortly will hopefully be less of a fight this time? Yes. I also think that, hopefully, when (not if, please) he wins reelection he will fix the appropriations bill.


  556. Bravo Carol,

    Well said indeed.


  557. @Carol: And Tony abortion is not done in the lst month just for the heck of it.

    Fine, if you truly believe that, then you should have no problem making it illegal for a normal, healthy woman to abort a normal, healthy fetus in the last month “just for the heck of it,” because that law should never come into play.

    Right?

    Or will you now insist that a normal, healthy woman DOES have the right to abort a normal, healthy fetus in the last month, even if she is in no exceptional danger from the birth, for any reason she deems fit, including no particular reason at all?


  558. @Mike: Shall you now start lying about me?

    I am not an anti-abortionist, I am pro-choice throughout most of the pregancy, and I have no magical belief about conception or pregnancy, or birth. Birth is not the dividing line for being a person.

    I am as far from emotional about this as it gets, I am analytical about this, and if you could forego your magical, emotional thinking you would realize that personhood is in the brain, not in the lungs or imparted magically by contact with air or light, and the fetus in the last month is no less a person for being inside a mother.

    I am not an anti-abortionist, in my book woman are free to abort their pregnancy for the majority of their pregnancy. That is plenty of time to make a decision to proceed, entirely at their own discretion. But if they have NOT chosen to abort before their fetus is undoubtedly a person, THEN they have accepted the risk and responsibility of carrying it to term, barring the development of unforeseen exceptional danger to either mother or fetus.

    I am an anti-absolutist, based on REASON, not emotion.


  559. Tony I think any reasonable person could tell I mistyped, based on the entire preceeding paragraph, I meant to write ‘abortion is not done in the last month just for the heck of it.’ (Although I doubt very few women, if any, would tell you they go thru the discomfort and potential risks of an abortion, even in the first month, just for the heck of it.)
    The fact that you seem to believe many women would happily abort in the last month of pregnancy is further proof of, well heck, your schmuckhood, as previously noted.


  560. Re Santorum. just got this in my email
    “Last June, one of Rick Santorum’s campaign staffer sent him an email that stated that having a female president would pose a threat to children because it was against God’s will “to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state.”1 It’s clear that the notion children would be harmed by a female president because it is against God’s will is not only absurd but harmful.”


  561. TC, there is absolutely nothing in your comments about this subject
    (or for that matter your Ron Paul rants) that are in anyway related to being “analytical” or “reason”.

    You say you are “pro-choice” but you are only “pro-choice” as long as it meets your definitions of life (a definition that makes no sense). A little reminder what “pro-choice” actually means: the right of a woman to decide what happens with her own body. YOU or anyone else do not get to tell someone else what happens inside their body. You do not get to decide the health and life issues or consequences for someone else with regard to what happens inside or with their body. You do not get to draw the bright dividing lines for a woman of what is or is not a person inside her body when it comes to her choices or when she has that choice or does not. You are not the judge and jury of the circumstances of what a woman does inside her own body. You are not the judge and jury of what constitutes “unforeseen exceptional danger”. To even attempt to do so is the ultimate contempt for a woman and her individual rights. Being pro-choice is not about when life begins whether at conception or at any point during development (your own choice about such life is completely arbitrary) but the right of a woman to make the choice for herself within her own body.

    Your pseudo analytics is neither analytical or reasoned. You fit perfectly to being a Paulite. Like RP and the rest of the Republican/Tparty/So-Called-Liberterians the only rights they are really interested in are their own. If they were really concerned about life they would be worrying about healthcare, poverty, education, and the environment. Instead of taking away the rights of a woman to make her own choices within her own body they would worry about the lives of the living.


  562. @Carol: You didn’t answer the question, it was clear. If you do not believe it will happen, then you should not mind outlawing it. If you DO mind outlawing it, then you think it is the choice of a normal, healthy woman, with no unusual risk factors for giving birth, to abort a normal, healthy infant that can survive on its own outside the mother’s body.

    I do not think that is a choice. I believe a normal, healthy infant that can survive on its own is already a person. I believe that abortion harms that person by depriving it of life. I believe my rights, or anybody else’s rights, do not extend to situations that cause harm to others, with the exception of avoiding imminent harm to one’s self.

    It takes most of a pregnancy before a fetus is a person, and that is plenty of time for a normal, healthy woman to decide she did not want to go through with her pregnancy for any reason, including whim. I do not want to stop her from that, when the fetus is not a person. Perhaps she broke up with the father, perhaps she lost a job and is concerned about affording the health care, or concerned about her ability to find a new job while obviously pregnant. Perhaps the opposite, a new job demands travel and risk (like reporting in a war zone) and a pregnancy would get in the way. There are many pragmatic reasons for a woman to terminate a normal, healthy fetus. Just because you don’t think most women would do it, is not proof others would abstain. Nor do I demand they DO abstain, if the fetus is not a person.

    But once the fetus IS a person, by virtue of allowing the pregnancy to proceed that far I believe she has assumed all the normal risks of delivery, and if no abnormal risks of delivery have developed, I think she is morally obligated to go through with it, because her rights and her body are not the only rights or body at stake.


  563. Tony C, It is rare there are late term abortions. Make it unlawful then the woman in jeopardy may well lose her life or her health while the court goes throughs its manipulations. Since illegal, a roomful of docs would not be sufficient. Look, I think that when a late term abortion is done and the fetus is born alive and able to survive, the instances that have been reported (and let’s remember news is the uncoimmon, not the common) but is killed by doc is wrong. Maybe that should be prosecuted as murder (but tat is for another time)
    To get back to at least a part of the original subject, maybe you would like the law to be indefinite detention of women who are in the last trimester of pregnancy so they will not willy nilly decide ‘heck, I’m bored, think I’ll go have me an abortion.’


  564. You know? I’ve been listening to this argument for years; ever since I was a child and I have never understood the big argument over when life begins.

    What we have here are two completely seperate questions. To accuratly assess my opinion it must be two opinions.

    1) My moral opinion

    2) My political opinion

    So:

    1) The confusion isn’t really over when life begins; be it heartbeat; cortex activity; conception; or birth.

    Abortion is much older than our ability to make such distinctions and the ability to do so is wholely dependant on technology; which might or might not be available to us at any given time depending on our circumstances. Prior to this ability; decisions were made every day that meant life or death for the unborn.

    Biblically; The Bible says that killing a pregnant woman is killing two people. it makes no distinction as to the stage or progress of the pregnancy. It says nothing about saving the life of the mother.

    I believe that life begins at conception.

    I think but I don’t know that many people who argue otherwise secretly believe this also but are reluctant to say so because it is an inconvevient thing to believe if you wish to approve abortion but don’t wish to feel morally culpable for a death.

    I say Abortion is killing a human being from the time of conception on.

    I believe that to do so is wrong.

    To do so to save the life of the mother is wrong but totally understandable;

    To do so just because you screwed up and forgot to use protection or you didn’t bother and are not ready for a baby is murder.

    BUT: My moral or religious opinion need have no importance to anyone but me because;

    2) My Political opinion is that in a Free Nation, I don’t have the right to tell you what you can do with your property.

    You can dispose of your property and yourself as you see fit with the sole proviso that you do not in the course of this disposition; restrict or deny the rights of another person.

    So in my mind; if you choose to kill yourself; no problem. If you also try to kill your child as part of the plan; now we have a problem because you are infringing on his/her rights.

    However; as long as a child is unborn; the “State” should have no voice in what you do. After-all it isn’t really a citizen until it is born in this country. It is however connected to it’s mother and is dependent on her for life.

    It doesn’t matter if the fetus could survive with the latest in medical technology. It doesn’t matter that it might survive on it’s own if it were delivered. It doesn’t matter.

    It is part of the woman as far as we; her neighbors and the State should be concerned.

    As I said; I personnally believe it is murder and I wish we could all just say, “Ok, it’s muder but I am going to do it anyway”

    My answer is, “Ok, that’s between you and your God/Conscience”.

    What I would not expect; as a result of this is not a mad rush to the Abortion Clinics to get those low introductory rates or the multiple abortion discount. I wouldn’t expect the number of abortions to change where they are currently available easily and I would expect them to increase where it is more difficult either because of availability or; shall we say; local culture.

    What I would expect to see is womwen using their intellect and hearts to make decisions for themselves and do what they really think is best for them and the unborn.

    I would expect to see a surge of educational and technical aids for mothers who are in doubt as to the course they should follow.

    I would expect that in time the abortion rate would drop signifigantly when fear, uncertainty, and ignorance are done away with.

    I would expect to see vast improvements made to our Foster Care and Adoption systems so that a young mother might feel safe in leaving her infant there for care and adption. (This is a HUGE problem and many young mothers; especially those who have come up through the system say they would rather abort than send a child through what they suffered at the hands of cruel and abusive Foster Parents; instituions etc.)

    I would expect that most mothers would rather chose life if they thought the child was safe and well cared for and loved.

    Those who still chose to abort willy-nilly as a minority do; it should be said; will find that repeated abortions are dangerous to your health and reproductive system; and Nature will take it’s course and deal appropriately with those who flout her rules. Nature. Not us. Not the State.

    Nature.

    Neither God nor Nature requires the assistance of humans to enforce their rules.

    How dare we presume to make such a decision for a woman.

    She must be allowed to make her own decision. if she or her husband to her life over that of an unborn child; it isn’t our place to say no. We are not the ones who will live with the decision; right or wrong.

    The weight of such matters whichever way you decide is heavy and not taken or lived with lightly I am sure.

    Whether you will be judged guilty for a decision you make; be it an emergency or not; is not for me to decide. It is not for the State to decide.


  565. Sorry; I did want to say that if it was me and my wife was going to die if an abortion were not performed; I believe I would save my wife; even though I believe I might be judged guilty of murder by God. I’m human and I don’t know if I would be strong enough to let her die although I suspect she might chose the opposite and I would have to honor her decision.

    It is a terrible choice and I can’t imagine that women are just running around getting pregnant and having abortions without thought. Not most anyway.


  566. “However; as long as a child is unborn; the “State” should have no voice in what you do. After-all it isn’t really a citizen until it is born in this country. It is however connected to it’s mother and is dependent on her for life.

    It doesn’t matter if the fetus could survive with the latest in medical technology. It doesn’t matter that it might survive on it’s own if it were delivered. It doesn’t matter.

    It is part of the woman as far as we; her neighbors and the State should be concerned.”

    AMS,

    For an American person of faith yours is the correct position. Far be it from me to argue anyone’s faith with them, but they shouldn’t impose their faith on others. I am a Jewish deist, which some might say puts me on the fence between belief and non-belief, however, I’m not into proselytizing my ideas to anyone else. How in hell would I know the secret of life, no human does in my opinion, but some are so comforted in their beliefs that who am I to dispute them? We are all frail beings, living a confusing, bittersweet existence and I won’t begrudge anyone the comfort they can find.


  567. @Carol: I do not know how many times I have to qualify this, I think you are being purposely obtuse to avoid the obvious: I am just fine with exceptions being made if the woman has any unusual risk factors for giving birth. If she contracts cancer, is in a car accident, whatever.

    In the calculus of which life is more important, I think her life is more important, and it is entirely up to her if she wants to take an unusual amount of risk to birth the child; and if she is not conscious to make that decision, the presumption of the MD should be to abort and save her.

    Stop trying to twist my words into saying I want her to sacrifice or risk her life to give birth. I haven’t said that. I won’t say that. The question is unambiguous: If the pregnancy is normal, if the fetus is normal and healthy and can survive on its own outside the womb, if the mother is not taking any unusual or exceptional risk by giving birth, does she or does she not have the right to kill the fetus?

    I contend she does not, I contend that particular fetus is a person with rights. And I am not moving the goalposts, I am proposing the obvious extreme. I actually believe the fetus gains personhood before that, but this is the extreme case that should provide an obvious answer.

    It isn’t a hard question, and in this question the mother is not in any more jeopardy than any other mother, and she had plenty of time to unilaterally decide to abort before the ninth month.

    Now I am sure you will find a way to misinterpret this and answer some other question I did not pose.


  568. @AngryMan: After-all it isn’t really a citizen until it is born in this country.

    It is not only citizens that are protected from murder and assault, it is all persons. It is still illegal to kill an illegal immigrant, or a tourist, that is not a citizen of the United States.

    Thus your argument falls apart, it does matter when the fetus becomes a person, because then they have the right to life, which cannot be abridged by another person (the mother) on a whim.


  569. The inability to seperate the moral right from the legal one is the reason you can’t find harmony.

    There is none.

    But whether you think it is Ok or not doesn’t come into play.

    What I think is right doesn’t come into play.

    Why should I feel that I have the right to make such a decision for a woman?

    Isn’t she as capable of doing that as i am?

    Why do I need to agree with her choice.

    I don’t understand the need people seem to have to legislate everything and have everyone do as we think is right.

    Isn’t the essence of freedom the right to decide for yourself and deal with your god later?

    Why must we all do the same?

    It is the opposite of freedom.

    Just last week I heard Rick Santorum saying that we need strict abortion and other laws to make people do right.

    He said, “We can’t just have everyone running aroundd doing whatever they want”

    Isaid, “Why not” Thats why we live here in America.

    That is supposed to be the motivator for us to have started this country in the beginning.


  570. @AngryMan: Why should I feel that I have the right to make such a decision for a woman?

    To be sarcastic, why should you feel that you have the right to make the decision that theft shall be illegal, or murder, or rape, or drunk driving, or kidnapping, or child pornography?

    it is all the same reason, collectively we decide how to protect people and what is permissible behavior and what is not, from murder down to speed limits and graffiti.

    Unless you believe in complete anarchy with no law at all, then whatever gives you the right to decide, for yourself, that other crimes should be crimes is the same thing that gives you the right to decide, for your self, whether (and when) a fetus is a person before it is born.

    Nobody should decide the law unilaterally, but you certainly should feel like you have the right to weigh in and try to influence the course of society in their decision, because as a member of society you do have the right to decide what is and isn’t wrong, to have an opinion, and try to promote it, that is part of the process of forming new law, or overturning old law.


  571. I stand corrected as to the protection of non-citizens but that doesn’t affect my argument. I still say that if it is inside a womans body; we must trust her to do the right thing. But if she does not; it is not our right to judge her actions.

    Until the child has seperated from the mother; it is part of her and she is the only one who can decide it’s fate.

    We should hope and I would expect that the vast majority of women will never encounter this choice.
    Of those that do; the vast majority will handle it with maturity and with full consideration as to the consequences for the unborn and for herself.

    Only a small minority of women and girls treat abortion as a means of birth control.

    I would also expect to see educational and technical programs to end the ignorance associated with abortion. Only an informed person is able to make an intelligent decision. But the decision is hers never the less. So what we should be doing… but I am repeating 1zb1.

    I do not understand the need that you have to control the actions of others. Not just you of course. I hear the same things from both Conservatives and Liberals. Both want to decide what others should be allowed to do.

    Let me tell you what others should be allowed to do. Any damn thing they want to as long as it does not infringe on another persons rights.

    The Conservatives say No Abortion and the Liberals want to argue over when it is Ok and when it is not. When is a baby; a baby? Hmmm. Or more to the point; when is a multi-celled organism a human?

    If we take a Human Egg and we introduce it to a Human Sperm; both of these being the product of a Human Body; the result will be a Human Zygote.

    If we leave it alone it will divide and reproduce itself and begin to specialize cells etc. and it will become a Human Embryo.

    If we still restrain ourselves and allow it to grow it will become a Human Fetus.

    And if unmollested and allowed to leave it’s mother it will become a Human Infant.
    (At this point it becomes an individual; seperate from it’s mother; and it make the decision to live: which we assume until it is old enough to actually act of it’s own accord; thus the parents can’t for instance kill an infant and claim it lost the will to live etc.)

    At what point during this process would you say the organism is Not Human?

    “It’s not a human until it has a heartbeat.” So the heart isn’t human until it begins to beat?

    “It isn’t human until it has a Cerebral Cortex” I believe you said; or what it the Frontal Cortex?

    Whichever; therefore the Cortex in question requires let’s say 100 billion cells to function. You would say that if we kill the baby when the cortex has only 99 billion cells; it isn’t a human but if we wait a week and it grows to 100 billion and starts working; it is a Human?

    Does that really make sense to you?

    Why don’t you folks all just grow a pair and tell the truth? It is a living human being from the moment of Conception and to interfere with it’s development at any point is killing a Human Being.

    I consider an act of blatant cowardice to attempt to justify abortion by denying the child’s humanity. it is well below the dignity of a free man to split hairs over when it is a life or a human or a child.

    No justification is required. You do what you feel you must or should.

    Even if that means killing an unborn child. It is killing.

    I’ll admit it and I’ll admit that under certain circumstances I would choose to kill an unborn child rather than live with the alternative.

    I will not make this decision lightly. I will search my soul for the right thing to do but in the end if I believe it is the best thing; I will kill that unborn child. I will not call it Abortion. I will call it what it is and i will take responsibility before my god.

    I will not attempt to rationalize my act by asking Biologists to tell me detailed information about he level of development etc. so I can try to avoid the guilt that must and should come when we kill another person. I will know as do many who decide for abortion that they are killing a Human Being.

    However; killing a human being is not always wrong even if the victim is an adult.
    If someone enters my home and threatens me; I have a right to kill that person.
    By the same logic if an unborn child is threatening the life of it’s mother she has a righ to kill it.

    Kill it. We won’t Abort it like a poorly executed mission; we won’t send it over the Rainbow Bridge; we won’t Put it to Sleep; Put it Down; Euthanize it; or send it to La La Land.

    We will kill it. If I am right we will all have to justify that action and if I am wrong; no worries right?

    But the one thing that I can’t tolerate or understand is people’s unwillingness to call it what it is; do what they want or need to do and live with it.

    Few women indeed would consider killing an unborn child unless they felt compelled to do so for one reason or another.

    I don’t like the way the opponents approach this issue.

    They make it seem like they are waging a Holy War against a nation of Maniacal Baby Killing Women who are just waiting for the Ok to start killing every fetus that they conceive.

    Foolishness.

    But whatever the reason; a woman has a right to decide when it is her only choice or when it is the best for her and/or her unborn child.

    I guess my question is; What makes you believe that you have a right to decide issues of morality for another person? I never have understood the desire to force your will and your choices on others.

    People do wrong things. All people. Not our business Tony; unless they infringe on another person’s right like you do when you deny a woman the right to decide if abortion what she needs to do.


  572. Santorum’s wife was reported as saying she was not sure her decision was correct about placing her life in jeopardy to have their last child. Obviously Santorum still believes he would rather have had the child then his wife if that was what happened as a result of continuing the dangerous to the Mrs. Santorum birthing.
    (AGM had to add the caveat birth control, none, is 100% effective)
    Well heck Tony, If she is of sound mind, healthy and there is a healthy pregnancy maybe detaining her against her will is the safest way to assure she does not choose to abort in the ninth month, or 3rd trimester, which you seem to think is a common occurrence – maybe one reason why you are being called a misogynist) but, for argument’s sake, if a woman decided to abort in the ninth month, healthy baby, healthy mother (and again the rarity of this is astronomical) then let her abort. After all if healthy baby then let baby live and put it up for adoption. Then everybody is happy. Right?


  573. @Angry: it isn’t a human but if we wait a week and it grows to 100 billion and starts working; it is a Human? Does that really make sense to you?

    Yes. A clump of living human cells is not a person. A mole is such a clump, and harmless. A tumor is such a clump, and can be removed. If a diabetic has a leg amputated, the leg is not a person.

    Consider this: When is it okay to stop life support on a person? When their brain stops functioning. Not any other part of their body. A person can lose any of their limbs and still be no less a person, they can lose organs and we will try to save them, the one thing that is the difference between me being alive and me being dead is whether my brain is functioning (and it is still functioning even in patients in deep coma; We feed them by IV and keep them alive). Even if a heart fails to beat properly, if we can we will keep somebody alive using a pacemaker or an artificial means of circulation.

    Person-hood resides in the brain. Period. Everything else is fuel supply, sensory equipment, manipulative equipment, or reproductive equipment, in service to the brain.

    Then what of the brain? What is unique about our brain that makes us human? It is certainly not the neural machinery that runs our circulatory or muscular or digestive or sleep or reproductive or sensory systems; those are evolutionarily ancient and simple, dinosaurs had them.

    It isn’t even our more esoteric abilities: We are not the only animals with self-awareness; we share that with (at least) apes, dolphins, elephants and corvids. We are not the only animals with altruism and sharing, it has been observed in these same animals. We are not even the only animals with an apparent language, dolphins can apparently communicate, by sound alone (in separated tanks connected by speakers & hydrophones) a several-step combination of moves to release a tasty fish from a trap.

    What we know is different, and uniquely human, is the degree to which abstractions can be employed, predictions made, logic used, and categorizations made. Put simply, we are the only animals that can make and execute long term plans, we may be the only animals that can make conscious plans more than a few days into the future. We may be the only animals that imagine different futures and effect actions now to try and achieve one instead of another.

    Even chimpanzees do not think ahead more than a few hours; that has been shown recently by convincing experiments (where they go hungry in the evening if they do not think ahead at lunch, yet day after day after day, they never learn and always go hungry). Other self-aware animals also seem to be limited in their foresight, and in their levels of abstraction (just one level, basically).

    All of that difference goes on in our cortex. Yes, it may be centered in the frontal cortex, but I am not completely convinced these functions are exclusive to it; other parts of the brain are active too when we engage in them.

    What makes humans different from other animals is our ability to think, project, predict, plan, categorize, and use many levels of indirection. All of that is in the cortex, and once that is functional, I think that confers the presumption of the rights of person-hood. Once we are certain it won’t be working again (brain death), I think that rescinds the presumption of the rights of person-hood, and we can morally decide to withdraw life support and let the body die.

    That is also why I believe once a fetus has a working cortex, it has the presumption of the rights of person-hood, regardless of whether it is in utero or not.

    The functionality of the cortex is, I believe, a consistent standard of person-hood, on either end of the life, in utero or on the deathbed.


  574. Listen Tony; I am totally in agreement with your very eloquent and engaging description of the human brain and the comparison to animals.

    Remember I believe that it is a human from the time of conception and for myself I give any unborn child at any stage all of the rights i would give any child after it’s birth.

    But; (and this is a tough one) I could conceive of a scenario where I might be forced to decide to allow even a child or my wife or myself to die or be killed to save the family. It is possible that I might not be able to live with that decision after it is done and I may want to check out early but nevertheless. That’s the same discussion really because i support all rights I include the right to end your life if you decide to.

    But I digress. In the same way; I might decide to allow an unborn child to be killed to save my family i.e. my wife.

    For me and for almost all others; this would be a heart-wrenching decision.

    Having said that; I do not have the right to decide what goes on inside a woman’s body. Neither do you. Neither does any Government.

    You see; you say one point I disagree and I say conception; someone else might make an argument for another point in the development. There are at least two possibilities because the scientific answer that you offer will not suit everyone. Myself for instance.

    We could go on arguing over when life begins etc. to no avail.

    But that just isn’t the point.

    Whenever life begins or we call it a person it is still inside of another; already viable functioning aware human being and that human being is the only one who should make that decision. I don’t know what else to say.

    Either we have a free country or we don’t.

    Either we believe in the right of man to make his own choices or not.

    We can’t and shouldn;t try to set a point that we chose either biological; chronological; or random.

    The point is set. It is inside a woman and she owes me no explanation for her decision as to it’s future.

    Only her God. Why are you not satisfied to allow God to judge? He will anyway.

    Or if you don’t believe in a god; then kharma will surely handle the matter.

    As I said; the person who makes the decision to kill an unborn child lives with that choice and the necessity of that choice.

    It is a very callous person who will not feel the effects of that decision for life. How do we then come along and presume to condemn her on top of her own conscience?

    I just don’t understand and you never answered my question.

    What makes you believe that you or I have the right to make these rules and decisions?

    Why would you want to take on such a thing?

    Of course the Free Country point is the only one I find pertinent.

    That clears the whole thing up and leaves the decision and the consequences to the person they belong to; the mother.

    Leave it at that and it won’t matter when the Frontal Cortex is functioning.

    My opinion; your opinion; doesn’t matter. Only Mom’s

    After all; you are free to decide such things for your own family if you need to and you probably believe you would make the right choice.

    So why just you. Why is not each person allowed to decide for themselves and their family.

    Because you fear they will make a different decision than you or I perhaps?

    Because you and I are so far superior and more qualified tahn the mother?

    Please; that is just arrogance. I’m sorry but you just don’t have the right period.
    Sorry I went on so long. If you don’t get my point then I give up.
    Anytime men have tried to be free; someone comes along and thinks they know better; believes they are m ore qualified to lead; etc.

    Why is Free such a frightening concept for folks like yourself?


  575. @Angry: Either we believe in the right of man to make his own choices or not.

    The right to make his own choices does NOT include the right to harm another person. Period.

    I presume you also believe murder should be illegal. Isn’t that restricting the right of a man to make his own choice to kill his rival?

    I presume you also believe that killing another person is not always a crime, it could easily be self-defense: Although it is not always justified to end one life to save your own (for example, you might die without a heart transplant, but that does not justify you having a donor killed for his heart), it is sometimes morally justified to use lethal force to protect a life (even somebody else’s life).

    That is the situation you refuse to acknowledge: If you give her permission to end her pregnancy no matter what the reason then you are giving her permission to kill another person for trivial, juvenile reasons.

    Forget all the justifiable reasons for terminating a pregnancy, such as the mother’s life being in danger. That isn’t the question.

    You only want to answer the easy question and completely ignore the hard question: With NO mortal danger whatsoever to the mother, and a perfectly formed and disease-free infant in the womb that can survive just fine on its own, why doesn’t that infant have any rights at all?

    Your answer is that you are just a magical and hypocritical thinker, somehow it is a person but has no rights whatsoever, then by virtue of being exposed to the air, it is a person that does have rights.

    We do have rights to decide what we do, but
    a) Those rights do not give us license to kill others for no good reason,
    b) Some of those decisions cannot be undone: She had plenty of time to terminate the pregnancy and she did decide what to do, she decided to commit to the completion of it, and by the ninth month it was too late to back out.

    When soldiers make their decision to enlist in the military, they are also committed in an analogous way. They cannot back out, even if their life is in lethal danger: They made a decision, and they were committed.

    The same analogy applies here: The woman had time to decide she did not want to be pregnant, if she allowed that time to expire, she committed to the birth (with an option out if any unusual risk arose), and she cannot back out on a whim.


  576. @Angry: Or if you don’t believe in a god; then kharma will surely handle the matter.

    I do not believe in anything supernatural at all; I do not believe we will be judged by anybody but other people, and I do not believe in supernatural payback (Karmic Justice). That is for the movies and stories, which I like, but it is just a comforting fiction.

    In the real world, the sociopaths, serial killers, rapists, frauds, child molesters, slavers, thieves, mobsters and murderers get away with their crimes for life, and die peacefully in their sleep of old age. You should not project the guilt you would feel for destroying lives on them, they seldom feel guilt or regret, or they would not have done what they have done in the first place.

    I am not comforted by your fantasy of imaginary justice, I am only comforted by the drive for actual justice. There is only one thing the criminals understand, and that is why they are criminals: Overwhelming force. There is only one way for the 95% of normal, caring people to obtain actual justice: band together against the people that try to take what they want by force, fraud, subterfuge and thievery.

    But in order to band together and present a united front, we have to define what is and isn’t right, and what is and isn’t justice. We have to define the law and agree that everybody abide by it, even if that prevents them from “making their own choices.”

    It is not ME that should decide, and it is not the mother: It is society that should decide when person-hood begins and ends, it is society that should come to a majority consensus. They have, but such decisions are subject to change, and that is what I argue for; a change that better comports to what we know of biological science and how that should inform person-hood, and rights.


  577. Ok Tony; now you want to narrow the scenario a bit. I realize that your earlier interaction was concerning Third Trimester Abortion but I believe we had not specified that and our conversation took on a less specific question. However I am prepared to discuss Third or Late Term Abortion.

    There are points of intersection so let me answer your prior……..comments first.

    “I presume you also believe murder should be illegal. Isn’t that restricting the right of a man to make his own choice to kill his rival?”

    I believe you meant legal so I will answer that. I do not approve murder.

    I don’t approve of Abortion but what I approve of or would chose for myself or my family doesn’t enter the discussion.

    I realize that this is a tough pill to swallow but if we want to be free; we must allow others the same right.

    That will by it’s very nature create situations where we disagree with a person’s action so vehemently that we want to stop them.

    As an example: Suppose you are at a neighbors house (i love these extreme scenarios; make it so much more fun); In the door walks a man; with a knife and he proceeds to come straight down the hall toward your neighbor in the kitchen; screaming “I will kill you Joe”

    Now you and the neighbor are just back from softball practice and he is standing there with his baseball bat standing next to him.

    He could probably subdue the intruder by picking up his bat and nailing the guy. Knife against bat? Knife usually looses.

    Instead however; he runs to the closet; pulls out a shotgun; turns and removes the intuder’s head with one blast. Entirely possible.

    I know you already understand my point but for the sake of continuity:

    The question is: Should your neighbor have picked up the bat and used it to fend off the attacker? Or was he justified in getting his gun and killing the man?

    Let us assume that you disagree with his extreme action.

    You would probably feel that he is a murderer and deserves punishment in your choice of severity.

    But suppose you were to find that this attacker was actually a stalker and your neighbor had been dealing with him for years though this was the first time he attacked? Would that make a difference to your opinion of him?

    He may not have told you about his stalker. He may not have told anyone; believing the man to be a non-violent nuisence more than anything. (Bad judgement yes but…).

    He has no documentation in Police reports; no video; telephone tapes or letters. Nothing to prove what he knows of this man.

    Now you in your blissful ignorance tell the Police that he is a murderer and could have used the bat.

    He will more than likely be convicted and you will feel that you made a good and right decision……………………….and yet your neighbor will be in prison for killing a dangerous staker.

    You can say he should have reported the stalker. You can say he should have saved evidence. But the fact remains that if we knew what your neighbor knew; most people; I think; would agree that he was justified in killing his attacker.

    Really; only he knows for sure.

    To avoid that possibility; all we need do is allow that man the freedom to defend his home; family; and himself as he sees fit regardless of what you or I or anyone else thinks he should have done.

    This is not the perfect Analogy I know but it is close enough.

    That is what Freedom is all about. People making their own decisions; to the best of their ability in a society where knowledge and information are part of the culture so that they have all of the best scientific and spiritual opinions that they might need to make an intllegent decision.

    It’s about de-stigmatizing pregnancy; as a part of the culture and making help available to any pregnant female regardless of age so they will come for help and protection.

    If we want to be a free nation; that is our responsibility; to provide the means for free people to learn; understand; and decide.

    Even a pregnant teenager; who by the way might well not be pregnant if contrceptives were available to anyone; anytime; anywhere; Free. A worthwhile expenditure for our Government if ever there was one.

    But accidents happen and even teenage girls are human (despite whatever rumors you may have heard to the contrary); and that is where all the rest comes into play and hopefully; likely I believe that the number of Late term Abortions would drop to almost nothing in cases where the fetus and mother are healty.

    I sincerely believe in the ability and intent of most people to to the best; most merciful; thing when they understand the alternatives and are given clear options.

    But of course that still leaves us with Joe and betty Sleeze who; through no fault of their own have no conscience and don’t see anything wrong with killing a viable fetus. Yes it does.

    You know; even though I know that most; the vast majority of Abortions are done in the early stages of pregnancy; and I know I have no right; I am almost tempted to say that once a fetus has reached a point where ir can survive without the mother; the child should be required to be induced soas to preserve the fetus alive and allow it to be adopted.

    If the fetus and mother are healthy; it would seem the logical choice. I can’t think of a good reason a person might have to insist on the death of a healthy child rather than allow it to be saved. but if I were setting a stage to draw the line (which I will not) I would think the child should be able to survive with no more than normal care. I think we would at this point need to once again decide degree and intent. How much care are we willing to allow? if it needs incubation and life support for 3 months; is that viable? I can’t say. That is another reason i say it is best left to the mother to decide; right or wrong.

    To be honest; at the point where a fetus can survive outside the womb it really isn’t a case of abortion when both are healthy.

    You got me on this one Tony. I am sorry folks but i must say that if Abortion is not neccesary to save the life of the mother; and the fetus is able to survive on it’s own; it is too late for an Abortion. Early delivery and adoption are the only choices if we wish to avoid committing murder I fear.

    Early delivery even by C-section if it is the mothers choice would allow for the satisfaction of both issues.

    I can’t imagine that any of you would argue in support of this. it is for all intents and purposes; the same as having a baby and then deciding to have it euthenized for no reason.

    I don’t think that this falls under Abortion. This is a different action altogether.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_termination_of_pregnancy

    United States: In 2003, from data collected in those areas that sufficiently reported gestational age, it was found that 6.2% of abortions were conducted from 13 to 15 weeks, 4.2% from 16 to 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks.[12] Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual study on abortion statistics does not calculate the exact gestational age for abortions performed past the 20th week, there are no precise data for the number of abortions performed after viability.[12] In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.[13]

    1.4% at or after 21 weeks. But a fetus can’t survive on it’s own until 24 weeks generally speaking of course.

    Babies born at 24 still require incubation and extensive medical care to survive.

    You see the problem? We are right back at defining viability.

    If for no other reason; this would stop me from a non-medical/neccesary abortion.

    I don’t believe that your Frontal Cortex marker is right. I believe it is at conception that I must set my point but I don’t believe I can set that point for others. It’s not my place.

    You see? You can’t legislate this type of thing and I’m back to where i started because I don’t believe this is a common problem; I don’t believe it would a happen as often as it apparently does if we treated the problem correctly; and I don’t believe it is our place to decide for a woman if she needs an abortion.

    I am happy to leave that to her conscience.

    I will just make decisions for myself and allow others to do the same. if that means that a few infants are killed by uncaring parents; it is the nature of a free society that some will act in bad faith or with malice. we can’t allow this to restrict our right to govern our own body male or female. It is a hard pill. It does suck. but it is the only way to maintain our freedom.

    I fear we can’t have it both ways no matter how much we would like to.

    And how do you blame a mother who feels unable to keep a baby for not wanting it to enter the Foster Care system. It is rife with abuse; neglect; and heartache.

    No I think we just step back and let women make their own decision.

    Look at that. Talked me out of my confidence in my position and right back into it.

    I do understand the issue with third trimester abortion and I wish i had a better answer but i don’t think legislating it is it.

    At the risk of repeating myself:

    Given the choice between Freedom for Americans and losing a few viable unborns OR saving them all and allowing Government to set the limits; I go with Freedom.

    Allowing the Government to legislate morals; decide what is Ok for us to have or smoke or do is how we got here to begin with.

    I believe even you will be wishing you let those few babies go when you see this as just another way the Government keeps us at each others throats and you see that allowing this decision to be made by Government is asking them to step in where they don’t belong and is the opposite of what we should be seeking. Once you let them set this limit; it opens the door for them and allows so much more control over our lives.

    Of course right now they already have the control and we need to take it back. This is no time to worry about a few unborn children. I am sorry if i sound cold but let’s get our freedom back and then we can sit down and try to find a really workable solution that will help everyone
    I don’t feel the urge to police others choices where clear lines are not visable and there certainly are no clear lines here. Not for me.


  578. @Angry: You missed the point entirely.

    The point is this: If you believe murder should be illegal, and murder should be punished, then you believe society has the right to control the behavior of people. Period.

    If you believe theft of property should be illegal, and you believe thieves should be pursued and tried and punished, then you believe that society has the right to control the behavior of people. Period.

    If you believe in law of any kind, then you believe in society, by some means or another, determining that some behaviors are crimes and shall be punished or disallowed. Period.

    Once you admit that society, by majority vote or by expert elected panels voting or by some method has the right to determine what is and is not acceptable behavior, then you have to admit that not all decisions are really up to individuals and their own morals. Murder in anger can be outlawed, even if you DO think that is sometimes justifiable.

    Societies determine acceptable behavior, not individuals, and if the society is fair (all laws apply to all persons equally) then presumably the majority won’t suppress themselves very much, and we will have a great deal of freedom. But there is no such thing as absolute freedom, the only system that delivers that is one where murder, theft, rape and slavery are not punished, and that is just brutal anarchy that nobody really thinks is “freedom” except for crazy people.

    You need to redefine what your idea of “freedom” is; true freedom is to be free from oppression, free from coercion, free to choose your own life, to earn more or earn less, be more educated or less educated, to be protected from subjugation and predation by those stronger than you, to not be discarded and left to die of starvation or disease just because you weren’t lucky enough to be born smart or rich or gifted.

    Freedom doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it means to you. I believe the first role of government is to protect the weak from the strong, and I do not care how vanishingly small a percentage of abortions are of healthy infants within healthy mothers in the final month of pregnancy, that number means nothing, they are persons that should not be aborted.

    When it comes to people, one murder is too many. If we find someobdy has killed an adult we do not just trust in their judgment to decide if that was a murder or not, so if you think a healthy mother aborting a healthy infant is killing a person, why would we automatically trust in the judgment of the killer?

    We should not, in either case: We need to see if the killing was justifiable, and in the case of abortion, that is something that can be done ahead of time. And in both cases, we can define the hypothetical situations that determine justification, such as self-defense, or a threat to the mother’s health or life.

    The situations are not different. Freedom is the freedom from oppression, not the freedom TO oppress.


  579. Once again Tony you’re ignoring the basic tenets of the social compact; i.e. the very boundaries that prevent the compact from becoming illusory.

    That would be the distinction between tyranny and usurpation.

    “AS usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to.”

    It is tyrannical per se to exercise power over an individual’s right of self ownership; e.g. promulgating a duty of virtue (duty to self) as if it were a duty of right (duty others).

    “Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself.”


  580. @Bob: Perhaps I do not believe in self-ownership, I find it repellent to think of a human being as property, and whatever metaphor is intended by “self-ownership” is weak anyway: We do not afford all the rights of property to people over their bodies. We do not allow them to sell themselves into slavery, we do not allow them to sell their spare organs, we do not allow a man to sell himself up to be murdered for the pleasure of a sadist. On a similar note, we do not allow one man to be paid to serve another man’s prison sentence. We also do not have any legal problem sending soldiers, firemen and police into lethal danger, we presume they knew what they were getting into when they volunteered, and it is too late to back out now (particularly for soldiers, who can be legally executed for refusing to follow such orders).

    On top of that, by basic principles of logic, if one person exercising their rights infringes on another person’s rights, then the law must determine whose rights shall be restricted or rescinded. They can do that by covering the obvious exceptions in written law, or deciding unanticipated cases in court before a judge.

    So we return to the original question: When is the fetus a person? And I return to my original answer: Sometime before birth.

    I really do not comprehend how others can have any definition of person-hood that pays zero attention to the human to which the definition will apply, it makes no logical sense to me. The infant in the womb one minute before birth, and the infant held aloft one minute after birth, is physically identical in every respect, internally down to the molecule. If one is a person, and one is not, then person-hood depends not on any definition of mental capacity, species, or anything else, person-hood is a state divorced from the person completely, and granted arbitrarily.


  581. Tony C: “Perhaps I do not believe in self-ownership, I find it repellent to think of a human being as property, and whatever metaphor is intended by “self-ownership” is weak anyway: We do not afford all the rights of property to people over their bodies. We do not allow them to sell themselves into slavery…”

    Tony,

    Did you ever ask yourself whether you comprehend a topic before commenting on it?

    First, (our) society does not afford or confer rights; rights confer power not vice versa. To even suggest otherwise is repulsive.

    Second, the definition of tyranny is the exercise of power over an inalienable right; as opposed to usurpation which is the exercise of power over an alienable right.

    To wit: ““AS usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to.”

    Within the confines of the social compact, slavery is not an option; to be declared legal or illegal. Why? Because, as I said before, it is tyrannical per se to exercise power over an individual’s right of self ownership.”

    And why is that? Because the right of self-ownership is inalienable.

    “Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself.”

    Thus, when society exercises power over an individual’s [INALIENABLE] right of self-ownership, we call that TYRANNY.

    Please make a note of it.


  582. @Bob: You quote Locke, a philosopher, and his statement is mere assertion. You might as well be quoting the Bible, whatever Locke writes is not some inherent part of our Constitution, no matter how much he may have influenced the founders, they chose the logic they would employ, and this quote was not part of it.

    Locke’s raw assertion does not trump that of anybody else. Philosophers are required to justify their arguments and Locke doesn’t bother to even try, he just assumes we will agree. It is his axiom, and it is flawed, and any conclusion he reaches with arguments resting upon it are flawed as well.

    It is a pretty ridiculous way to argue, to just keep shouting that I am wrong. Just because you are misled by Locke does not mean I must follow. I have my own brain, I do not need to rely on reverence or revelation.


  583. It is an interesting position you take.

    You claim not to believe in a god and yet you wish to defend the sanctity of human life and wish to insist that a mother not end an unborn one.

    I submit that without a god; there is no sanctity of human life. Without God; man becomes just another biological organism in a long line of biological organisms that have arrived and disappeared and any notion that we are superior due to our ability to envision the future is strictly a Biblical one and not part of any biological definition or evidence.

    You also reject Lockes statement of human autonomy.

    If there is no God; Then the highest form of life known to us is us.

    That being the case; we are our own ultimate authority. (having no greater being to seek guidance from)

    If you disagree with that; what or who is the ultimate authority over human action?

    Man; born into this world; without a higher authority is bound to follow no law other than his own. If not; then who is he subordinate to?

    John Locke:“To properly understand political power and trace its origins, we must consider the
    state that all people are in naturally. That is a state of perfect freedom of
    acting and disposing of their own possessions and persons as they think fit
    within the bounds of the law of nature. People in this state do not have to ask
    permission to act or depend on the will of others to arrange matters on their
    behalf. The natural state is also one of equality in which all power and
    jurisdiction is reciprocal and no one has more than another. It is evident that
    ll human beings – as creatures belonging to the same species and rank and orn
    indiscriminately with all the same natural advantages and faculties – are equal mongst themselves.

    You can say that Locke is simply asserting without proof.

    But Locke’s asertion is so obviously true’ no further proof is required.

    If Lockes statement of the natural state of man is not correct; we must be subservient to something or someone else.

    If you can not tell me who else holds authority over him; then we must
    revert to Locke’s statement that he is his own master.


  584. angrymanspeaks:

    Very, very nicely done. Bravo.

    Reminds me of Tolstoy’s short story, Master and Man. Salvation by living for the benefit of others. No deity, needed.


  585. @Angry: I submit that without a god; there is no sanctity of human life.

    I need no supernatural reason to value life, I value my own life, the life of my wife, my child, my family, and virtually everybody on the planet.

    I will accept that I do not “sanctify” life, it is not supernatural, and the right to life is not inviolate. But, speaking as an atheist, people are given ONE life, and it is finite. I have far more reason to revere life than a person that imagines they can look forward to an eternity of life, either in an afterlife or through reincarnations or ascendance to Nirvana, because I believe that death is the end of a person and there is nothing after it.

    So of course I value life; and more than you. I think when a person is killed they have been deprived of something. Religionists, on the other hand, think that no matter how many years were lost, they were an infinitely small fraction of an infinitely long existence. Religionists do not even think the dead were deprived forever of their company, because they will all meet again someday, in a perfect place.

    Atheists have far more reason to revere and respect life than others do, we do not need magic to put life in a class by itself in terms of value. And I cannot speak for all atheists, but the judgments I make about life are relative to other lives: I do not demand that a mother sacrifice her life for her child’s, that risk is her choice. Likewise, if the infant has deformities or disabilities that will require far more of the mother’s life than a normal child, I think that is grounds for her deciding to abort. And several other such caveats, but what I refuse to consider is that she can choose to abort a normal, healthy, late term infant for reasons that have nothing to do with life risk. She cannot abort because she has decided childcare would interfere with her new job.

    As for Locke, I do not have to do anything. But I will put this to you: Suppose the mother nurses a born baby, and she is alone and cannot afford formula. Do you think she has the right to just stop nursing, because her breasts are HER body and she cannot be compelled to use them to feed the baby? Does she have the right to just leave the baby in the crib to starve to death, because her body is HER body and she cannot be compelled to go buy formula, work for money to buy formula, or even call somebody to come get the baby?

    I do not, the Locke argument is ridiculous on its face. Once the baby is born, the mother has a responsibility to care for it, and that responsibility ALSO demands the use of her body, whether she likes it or not. So why can we demand she use her body to care for another person, but we cannot demand she use her body to give birth to the person that is already inside her?

    It is illogical to claim it both ways, society has the right to set law that compels people to take certain acts, and they cannot refuse on the grounds that they own their body and nobody can tell them what to do with it. Some of their choices create responsibilities, failing to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus becomes a person should be one such choice.


  586. Tony,

    Your approach to the constitution reminds me of the monolith in 2001 A Space Odyssey; it just appears out of no where with no foundation whatsoever.

    The words of Locke, Montesquieu, Aristotle, etc.? Mere assertions garnering no assent from the founders?

    The constitution just came into being and therefore you’re licensed to interpret it any way you like?

    Not for nothing, but ignorance by design is not a particularly persuasive mode of juristic analysis.


  587. “You claim not to believe in a god and yet you wish to defend the sanctity of human life and wish to insist that a mother not end an unborn one.”

    AMS,

    The entire argument in that comment: Priceless!


  588. Tony You do not debate, you proclaim, proclaim that you are right: ” “Locke’s raw assertion …. It is his axiom, and it is flawed, and any conclusion he reaches with arguments resting upon it are flawed as well.

    Okay, hard to argue withthat proof you offer, of your opinion.
    Atheism is a choice as is being of Faith, and by the way not all those who are religious believe there is a ‘life’ past this one.. (Your argument is flawed because your facts are wrong. period)

    No one can force a mother to breast feed. By your argument, because she has breasts and the ability to use them to feed, she should be forced to do so – after being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy (and there are many reasons to choose abortion, including being able to continue to work, etc. You apparently would like women to go back to at least say the 50’s where she wore pearls and stayed at home to have a nice snack ready for little Beaver and his brother. Do you really want to force your daughter, cousin, niece, or any other woman to carry as pregnancy to term caused by a rapist or through incest? Or are those 2 reasons also specious in your lexicon?

    You also write “Does she have the right to just leave the baby in the crib to starve to death, because her body is HER body and she cannot be compelled to go buy formula, work for money to buy formula, or even call somebody to come get the baby?

    No, she cannot do that, it is incumbent on her, if she is emotionally capable of realizing the situation, to call someone You say though she should be forced to go to work to be able to buy formula for her baby? Well Tony, if she is working to afford formula, she sure as heck will not be able to afford child care.. What about the father, Tony? Unless is was a parthogenic birth there is a father somewhere., Where in your argument(s) do you even suggest he step up to the plate, either before or after birth – to buy the formula, or call for help?

    Your arguments continue to support the argument that you faith is misogyny.

    Your arguments are not well thought out, often outright illogical merely throwing anything at the wall thinking it ‘proves’ your points..


  589. @Bob: The constitution just came into being

    I do not believe the Constitution just came into being, I am sure the founders were influenced by others, precisely as I am. I also feel pretty sure that like me, and unlike you, the founders did not just parrot others, they distilled the thinking of their time and produced a compromise they could agree upon.

    If all of the founders agreed with Locke, there would be no need to compromise, they could just quote Locke in long paragraphs as their justification for their implementation of government. They did not.

    IF they believed that Locke’s claim of the body being property was the central justification for law, they could have incorporated it, verbatim, into the Constitution. The entire Constitution is a prescription for computing what is fair law, the restrictions on the government. Why wouldn’t they include the central justification as one of their inviolate principles?

    The answer is the obvious one, they knew of it, and chose to exclude it. I imagine for reasons similar to those I provided; it makes no sense when examined in detail, in makes no sense when one examines the pragmatic effects of such a claim. Any responsibility any person has to do anything demands the use of their body, if you cannot compel a person to perform an act, then the notion of “responsibility” is empty, it means nothing.

    I did not claim the founders were not influenced by Locke, my claim is that it really doesn’t matter: Whatever they liked from Locke they used in drafting the Constitution, whatever they did not like they did not use, and if the Constitution does not reflect or endorse the thinking of Locke in some respect, that omission or disagreement in the Constitution is by design. If it quotes Locke or paraphrases Locke to some extent, that is also by design.

    It is a mistake to think that because Locke wrote something, the founders agreed with it. Locke presented arguments for his philosophy, and like good intellectuals the founders selected from those the ones they felt were compelling, and from other writers, other arguments they felt were compelling, and they resolved the conflicts to arrive at a consensus philosophy of government they could all sign.

    Locke’s principle of self-ownership did not make the cut, in any form, not as a quote, and not even in paraphrase. You may argue that the resulting inalienable rights granted are similar to Locke’s conclusion, but Locke’s self-ownership justification for that is just not in there, probably because the founders did not want to include all the implications of it.

    Which is what you are trying to do with it in defending late-term abortion of healthy persons in healthy mothers; you are denying she bears any responsibility for her choice to let her pregnancy progress to that point; or you believe that no responsibility can ever trump her self-ownership, which means “responsibility” doesn’t have any real meaning.


  590. Tony C.: “If all of the founders agreed with Locke, there would be no need to compromise, they could just quote Locke in long paragraphs as their justification for their implementation of government. They did not.”

    Ignorant fool.

    http://www.anesi.com/q0033.htm

    “IF they believed that Locke’s claim of the body being property was the central justification for law, they could have incorporated it, verbatim, into the Constitution. The entire Constitution is a prescription for computing what is fair law, the restrictions on the government. Why wouldn’t they include the central justification as one of their inviolate principles?”

    Hamilton wrote Federalist 84 with people like you in mind.

    Tell me Tony, did freed of the press exist between before 1787 or between 1787 and 1789?

    Hamilton: “I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”

    And with language like this: “You may argue that the resulting inalienable rights granted are similar to Locke’s conclusion, but Locke’s self-ownership justification for that is just not in there, probably because the founders did not want to include all the implications of it.”

    You obviously have no grasp of the document or the principles involved whatsoever.

    Inalienable rights granted?

    lol


  591. @Bob: No, you are the illiterate fool. I know full well Locke was paraphrased and parts of Locke logic were lifted. The fact that Locke provided some ingredients does not mean Locke logic was blessed by the founders in its entirety as gospel.

    As for Hamilton, he was overruled, was he not?

    I agree I mispoke in saying “inalienable rights granted,” I should have said inalienable rights asserted by the founding fathers. I still stay there is a reason they chose to enumerate them and did not include Locke’s generating principle of self-ownership: Probably because they chose to enumerate examples of what they could agree upon and leave out what they could not agree upon. Hamilton and Jefferson were not the only people that had to sign it, and if something they wanted was not in it, or something they did not want in it is in it, it is highly probable they were overruled by vote.

    If you believe that influence by Locke implies complete dogmatic acceptance of Locke, then you are an irrational fool.


  592. @Carol: Do you really want to force your daughter, cousin, niece, or any other woman to carry as pregnancy to term caused by a rapist or through incest?

    Of course not. I would recommend she abort as soon as she knew she was pregnant. If she CHOSE to carry a child for 7 or 8 months, knowing it was the result of rape or incest, then she knowingly accepted the responsibility of bringing it to term.

    You are hysterically misstating my position. I do not claim that woman should be subjugated in any way to men, and not more than men. I am claiming that both men and women have responsibility for their choices; I have no problem compelling the father as well, by demanding he support his child or go to prison.

    How is he going to accomplish that support? He may be rich and have money he doesn’t have to work for, I suppose, but in most cases the demand for support will translate into us compelling him to work, to use his body and time, and perhaps risk injury, in order to meet the responsibility he assumed by making his choices.

    In a very real sense, the woman has more choice than him: because I do not think he has the right to compel an abortion. That is her choice. Thus any choices he made that resulted in him impregnating her are irreversible for him, but she has seven months of pregnancy to decide if she wants to commit to a birth, which is seven months more choice than he gets.

    It is irrational to outlaw the abortion of a non-person, a clump of cells without a brain. But I think that a late term normal fetus is a person, and it is ALSO irrational to deny the rights of personhood to a fetus one minute, and then grant that exact same fetus the full rights of personhood in the next minute, to allow it to be killed on a whim one minute, and sixty seconds later declare killing the exact same biological entity a murder.

    It is also idiotic to claim the mother has zero responsibility for the fetus in one minute, and can be sent to jail for endangerment in the next.

    Choices carry responsibilities. There is plenty of time in which a fetus cannot survive on its own, and does not deserve the presumption of personhood. What I advocate is not enslaving women, but giving them a deadline: If you cross this point in the pregnancy, say six weeks before a normal delivery, the only acceptable reasons for abortion are exceptional danger to the mother or abnormal development of the fetus.

    If the mother wants to abort, she must get it done before that date, otherwise she has committed to the responsibility of giving birth and caring for her infant. The father is likewise committed to his responsibility as well.

    You are so obsessed with the selfish rights of the mother, you have chosen to ignore that there is another person in the equation.


  593. Tony C.: “If you believe that influence by Locke implies complete dogmatic acceptance of Locke, then you are an irrational fool.”

    Well I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t; isn’t it Tony? Then again, if you were the least bit familiar with the origins of property law, the law of sovereignty (i.e. running with the land) and the basic rule of construction per the social compact, you wouldn’t be inserting such inane premises into my argument and reducing them to absurdity.

    You’re not even familiar with the basic rule of construction per the constitution. And how do we know that?

    Tony C.: “As for Hamilton, he was overruled, was he not?”

    No Tony; as much as you’d like to reinvent history to fit your ‘arguments’ Hamilton wasn’t ‘overruled.’

    Where do we find the ‘rules of construction’ for the U.S. Constitution?

    Did you say the Ninth and Tenth Amendments?

    No, no you didn’t. Why, because your unique take on American jurisprudence illustrates your lack of comprehension per the theory of natural rights (as espoused by Locke and Montesquieu) used by the founders in constructing the Declaration and the Constitution.

    From Wikipedia (for brevity’s sake):

    When the U.S. Constitution was sent to the states for ratification after being signed on September 17, 1787, the Anti-Federalists argued that a Bill of Rights should be added. One of the arguments the Federalists gave against the addition of a Bill of Rights, during the debates about ratification of the Constitution, was that a listing of rights could problematically enlarge the powers specified in Article One, Section 8 of the new Constitution by implication. For example, in Federalist 84, Alexander Hamilton asked, “Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”[1] Likewise, James Madison explained to Thomas Jefferson, “I conceive that in a certain degree … the rights in question are reserved by the manner in which the federal powers are granted”[2] by Article One, Section 8 of the Constitution.(a.k.a Rights confer power; not vice versa. Get it yet?)

    The Anti-Federalists persisted in favor of a Bill of Rights during the ratification debates, but also were against ratification, and consequently several of the state ratification conventions gave their assent with accompanying resolutions proposing amendments to be added. In 1788, the Virginia Ratifying Convention attempted to solve the problem that Hamilton and the Federalists had identified by proposing a constitutional amendment specifying:[3]

    That those clauses which declare that Congress shall not exercise certain powers be not interpreted in any manner whatsoever to extend the powers of Congress. But that they may be construed either as making exceptions to the specified powers where this shall be the case, or otherwise as inserted merely for greater caution.

    This proposal ultimately led to the Ninth Amendment.

    In 1789, while introducing to the House of Representatives nineteen[4] draft Amendments, James Madison addressed what would become the Ninth Amendment as follows:[5]

    It has been objected also against a Bill of Rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution.

    Like Alexander Hamilton, Madison was concerned that enumerating various rights could “enlarge the powers delegated by the constitution.”[5] To attempt to solve this problem, Madison submitted this draft to Congress:

    The exceptions here or elsewhere in the constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people; or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.[5]

    This was an intermediate form of the Ninth Amendment that borrowed language from the Virginia proposal, while foreshadowing the final version.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

    Calling me an irrational fool does not make you any less ignorant.


  594. @Bob: Calling me an irrational fool does not make you any less ignorant.

    Calling me ignorant does not make you any less irrational. Hamilton and Madison WERE overruled, because they objected to the enumeration of rights, and the enumeration of rights proceeded against their wishes, so they got the Madison backup plan, which put an asterisk on that enumeration. They lost their primary objective, which was no enumeration at all, and it is probably a good thing because they were dead wrong, and countless freedoms have been protected because of the specificity of the enumeration. Not just before the courts, but in the refusal of common police and public prosecutors to even consider spurious charges they know are protected by “freedom of speech” or “freedom of religion.”

    All of that, and Locke and self-ownership are still not mentioned in the Constitution. The “other” rights retained by the people does not include whatever you want it to include, and it certainly does not include the right to harm another person without compelling reason.


  595. Moving the goal posts…

    Bob: “Hamilton wrote Federalist 84 with people like you in mind. Tell me Tony, did freedom of the press exist between before 1787 or between 1787 and 1789?”

    Hamilton: “I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”

    Tony C.: “As for Hamilton, he was overruled, was he not?”

    Bob: “No Tony; as much as you’d like to reinvent history to fit your ‘arguments’ Hamilton wasn’t ‘overruled.’ Where do we find the ‘rules of construction’ for the U.S. Constitution? Did you say the Ninth and Tenth Amendments? No, no you didn’t. Why, because your unique take on American jurisprudence illustrates your lack of comprehension per the theory of natural rights (as espoused by Locke and Montesquieu) used by the founders in constructing the Declaration and the Constitution.

    (See Wikipedia 9th Amendment cite above)

    Tony C.: “Hamilton and Madison WERE overruled, because they objected to the enumeration of rights, and the enumeration of rights proceeded against their wishes, so they got the Madison backup plan, which put an asterisk on that enumeration. ”

    Sorry Tony, but if Hamilton or Madison were overruled, there would have been no ninth amendment and we would be living in a world where your arguments regarding this matter would be correct.

    Thankfully, we don’t live in your world.

    “I conceive that in a certain degree … the rights in question are reserved by the manner in which the federal powers are granted”

    Rights confer power; not vice versa.

    Twas always thus and thus will always be.


  596. @Bob: Of course they were overruled, clearly, and by your own quotes, they did NOT want the enumeration of rights in there, and the enumeration is, in fact, in there. Call it what you will, but they did not succeed in their original goal. Case closed.

    And I am not moving the goalposts, you are: I did not start arguing this tangential point, my argument is that Locke’s writings about self-ownership are not IN the constitution, so those quotes from Locke mean nothing; they are your philosophy, not mine, and have no more impact on my view than some of the equally specious reasoning that can be found in Marxist or Buddhist or Christian or Scientologist philosophy.

    What the evidence shows is that a majority of founders believed “other rights” exist, they signed off on it. So do I. But I am also certain the founders knew they were writing a standalone legal document that would have to speak for itself, and that makes the absence of any Lockean self-ownership generating principle for those “other rights” glaring. They certainly knew of it.

    As for “rights confer power,” I already conceded my error above, I misspoke, I should NOT have said “granted,” I should have said “asserted.” That’s twice, how many times do I have to say it?


  597. Dmitro Woychuk

    I wonder if Obama and cohorts also had Bradley Manning in mind when they they signed this Bill H.R. 1540.
    Hum ???


  598. “excewptional damage to the woman” Hmmm, who decides what is exceptional, Tony? You? She has to have a c section and may end up needing a hysperectomy to proceed with the birth. Is that exceptional? Or is exceptional, she will die? Is coma sufficient risk?
    You are so mired in your own little world of belief that you do not want to consider what others have said.
    I will repeat this once, since maybe you need at least 2 times to read something beforegetting it. (Sry, I am not usually snarky but you bring out snarkiness in people). If there is to be an abortion, late term, and the fetus is born alive, (And again, women do not willy nilly take the risk of late term abortion unless there is medical reason. (Yes, you may have an example of one or two but anecdotal is not the common, it is anecdotal) and docs do not take that risk wither (see above parenthetical comment). then the fetus should not be killed, what we have heard sometimes happens. That is wrong, I doubt one person would disagree that you do not ,murder an alive child.that can survive outside of the womb, even if the product of an abortion.
    What happens Tony when there is a late term miscarriage? Do you want the woman priosecuted for abortion? After all it is late term and a pregnancy that is no more. What if she had doubts about the pregnancy? Does that make a miscarriage suspect?

    You also wrote “In a very real sense, the woman has more choice than him: because I do not think he has the right to compel an abortion. That is her choice. Thus any choices he made that resulted in him impregnating her are irreversible for him, but she has seven months of pregnancy to decide if she wants to commit to a birth, which is seven months more choice than he gets.

    First it sounds as though you do have a problem with compelling a man to work, you cite using his body, time, and possibly risk injury but for some reason you do not bother with that reasoning when saying a woman who cannot breast feed should be compelled to do the same.So if the man may risk injury, use his body and time, compelling him to work is not such a good idea (?) but compelling the woman, who now has a baby to take care of should find work..

    Your reasonig is often bozarre. You and I obviously will not find compromise, I offer, you resist any and all ideas that do not mirror yours.
    Debate is fun, informative, and often instructive when both sides come to use their faculties and not merely repeat thier position over and over. Fox news, repubs (esp it seems) strategy: a lie or in your case a position repeated becomes the truth. No. Tony, it does not.

    This is my last word on this with you Tony.. It is no longer fun, instructive or informative.


  599. @Carol: What happens Tony when there is a late term miscarriage? Do you want the woman priosecuted for abortion?

    No, of course not. Abortion is a willful act, an accident (even of biology) is not. Like any accident, if there is evidence it was staged or an intentional act to harm another person (the fetus) then it should be investigated.

    What if she had doubts about the pregnancy? Does that make a miscarriage suspect?

    Possibly, it depends on the evidence. If I have witnesses that hear a wife threatening the life of her husband, and the next day he ends up dead of a heart attack, it will be investigated as a murder with her the primary suspect. So your hypothetical is no different: The fetus was a person, the person is dead, police and prosecutors should be convinced her “doubts” were not translated into action.

    it sounds as though you do have a problem with compelling a man to work,

    Actually none whatsoever. You misread me. I have no problem compelling any person of typical physical and mental health to work to meet their responsibilities. Heck, if a male volunteers to be a Marine or Infantryman, I have no problem compelling them to risk their life in battle. They have a responsibility, for a choice they made.

    This is not bizarre logic, it is uniform: Both men and women can be compelled to work to meet the responsibilities incurred by their own choices, even if that involves the use of their body and time (as all work does, including my own). In some cases, even if it endangers the body.

    What is bizarre about that?

    you resist any and all ideas that do not mirror yours.

    I resist ideas that are unfair or make no logical sense. You are right, we will not find compromise, because I do not compromise on those principles. In this case, what I find makes no sense is your absolute refusal to acknowledge the personhood of a normally developed fetus that is about to be born.

    That is not logical to me, in any way. It means that personhood has nothing whatsoever to do with the person. I do not think that makes any sense. How can being a person not have anything to do with who you are?

    The fetus just before birth IS a person, just as much a person as it will be at the moment of birth. Birth is not magic.

    But it is also impossible for me to think of a barely visible spherical blob of cells as a person, it just is not. So when does one become the other? I turn to the end of life to decide. When is it legally permissible to end the life of a patient? When they are brain dead. The brain defines the person at that point, and it should define whether the fetus is a person or not.

    That is logic, it is not bizarre. I do not want to subjugate women in the least, I believe in full equality of men and women, in pay, rights, education, office, anything. I just do not have a problem compelling men OR women to use their bodies to meet their accepted responsibilities.

    Women are the only people with the biological equipment to become pregnant. If they do not voluntarily abort in the first seven months they have in effect accepted the responsibility of going through with the pregnancy, just as a soldier, by signing his enlistment papers, has accepted the responsibility he may be injured or killed in battle.

    I am not subjugating either the mother or the soldier. In fact, the soldier might be compelled to put his life in grave danger, but I would not compel mothers that far; I would not demand that the mother risk anything more than is normal for a pregnancy (which is already defined by boards of OB/GYNs).

    Likewise for the father of a child, I have no problem compelling HIM to work to support his kids. They were also the result of his choices.

    This is not a sexist thing, males and females can be equally compelled for different reasons. I am not even denying choice, there is plenty of time for a woman to learn she is pregnant and choose to end it before I have any concern whatsoever that the fetus has become a person.

    I am not even denying ALL late-term abortions. The infant’s life is not more important than the mothers; and I am not opposed to aborting infants that will be disabled and require care for the rest of their life.

    I do not understand why you think my reasoning is bizarre, I find it bizarre that others so vociferously deny the personhood of an infant about to be born.


  600. Tony,

    You ignorant slut.

    Hamilton and Madison were not overruled in the context which you originally contended above. Hamilton’s objection ripened into the ninth amendment; a rule of construction to ensure idiots like you don’t bastardize the constitution.

    The inalienable right of self ownership exists analytically; i.e. the concept of the predicate self-ownership is contained within the concept of the subject inalienable rights of mankind.

    Your argument that the Founders would have placed the right of self-ownership within the constitution if that’s what they intended is a load of horse shit because, one last time, the constitution does not confer any rights whatsoever.

    None; zero; zilch.

    The Bill of Rights is merely a set of further defined restrictions of power of the Federal government. Hell, it wasn’t until 1925 that the Supreme Court created the incorporation doctrine to compel states to protect the right of free speech.

    Regardless, you keep insisting you won this argument. That is, you won the assent of the audience. Show me a poster here who accepts your line of reasoning and I’ll show you a juristic moron.


  601. Carol Levy: “What if she had doubts about the pregnancy? Does that make a miscarriage suspect?”

    Tony C. “Possibly, it depends on the evidence. If I have witnesses that hear a wife threatening the life of her husband, and the next day he ends up dead of a heart attack, it will be investigated as a murder with her the primary suspect. So your hypothetical is no different: The fetus was a person, the person is dead, police and prosecutors should be convinced her “doubts” were not translated into action.

    Carol,

    You should have asked him if women who suffer miscarriages due to working too hard and putting their bodies through excessive stress should be prosecuted for manslaughter or negligent homicide.

    c.f. Duty to Rescue


  602. @Carol: Right, because that is absolutely NOTHING like anything I said.

    What is your crazy obsession with detention? I have certainly never mentioned it, it is entirely a fiction in your own mind. We do not detain innocent people to prevent them from committing crimes, even if they have the means to commit crimes and the motive to commit crimes.

    People are innocent until proven guilty; if a mother is developing a normal fetus and has crossed the limit of voluntary abortion, and she unilaterally chooses to abort the child anyway, she has committed a crime, she has killed a person, and she should be punished. I do not condone “preventive detention,” it is a mark of dictatorship. Bush and Obama condone it, but I do not.


  603. Hey Carol,
    I can’t believe this thread is still running.

    I fear you are correct and we have said all we can about Abortion. Tony will never accept the idea of freewill or freedom as it was intended to exist under the Constitution.

    Tony has an idea that he just popped up out of nowhere with an intact set of morals and principals which derive from??????

    The idea that he values life without a supernatural reason is all well and good but I suspect that if he were to trace the roots of those principals he would find that they derive from supernatural belief of one form or another.

    The idea of the sanctity of human life was not a common one among people until the Bible layed out the basics. Prior to that it was common for people to kill each other and sacrifice each other etc. I might even suggest that the notion of throwing ones living infant or child into a fire or other grizzley form of sacrifice would qualify as more painful and cold hearted than todays abortions.

    This was true because man had no standard of behavior other than that which was either promulgated by various local shamans or tribal leaders.

    Wherever the Bible came from; it is the first recorded source of morals codes and standards ever written and it’s standards have survived until this day.

    So much so that people like Tony; live their whole life believing they are just naturally good when any morals or ethics he has can be traced directly to the Bible.

    You can call it supernatural if you wish but the sourse of the Bible is not as important here as the fact of its influence on man in general and it’s staying power.

    Having said that I do believe Tony when he says he doesn’t believe in a god; and I believe he tries to llive by the standards he says he does.

    I just don’t think he understands the origins of those standards.

    The other thing I wanted to say is really for Tony.

    Tony,

    First of all; this argument about a mother killing a nearly full term baby rather than deliver it. Where did you here of such a thing happening? Can you provide documentation of the incident? I can’t imagine a mother walking in 8 months pregnant and saying, “I want an abortion”; if the baby was healthy.
    Or a doctor agreeing to do it (as Carol already mentioned).

    Second; What good do you believe you are doing by attempting to control abortion laws to keep an otherwise normal mother from killing an infant. If she is the kind of person who would seek to kill a healthy viable child for no reason; don’t you think she might also smother it after it is born.

    What you want to do is place rules and definitions and laws that would endanger women by requiring them to gain the approval for an abortion.
    This in order to stop the extremely limited number of women who are cold enough to seek one for no reason.

    But you won’t stop those women. That type of person has no conscience. They will kill if that is their inclination.

    It is wrong to institute legislation that might result in the prosecution of even one women who miscarried or who believed her only choice was to abort; perhaps not having the excellent health care options that would allow her to know what was going on in her own body. perhaps she lives in Texas where the Governor is closing down all the prenatal clinics the poor women use for their health care; because they also perform abortions.
    So no health care for poor women anymore.

    Instaed he has opened a series of Counseling Centers where pregnant women can go to be instructed on why they should not chose abortion.

    If you think that is wrong; look in the mirrior. It is exactly the same thing you propose.

    Take away health clinics / endanger lives to stop abortions.
    Rick perry says who can have an abortion

    Take away the right to decide / endanger lives to stop a very few to no abortions.
    Tony C. says who can have an abortion.

    The fact that your definition of who should and should not is different from Rick’s; doesn’t change the identical intent and the irrepairable harm done to the many women who will be caught in your trap to stop something they would never chose and that may not even happen.

    I’m still not sure this is an actual problem. Documentation Man. Documentation. Please.

    To be honest; I would be more in favor of holding Doctors responsible for performing an abortion where the fetus could be delivered and suvive.

    A woman goes seeking an abortion. The Doctor says we can take the baby but not kill it. The Doctors are the responsible; knowledgeable parties here. they should be the ones to decide how to safely end a pregnancy; not the pregnant teenager in trouble.

    I don’t believe that these girls and women go for help hoping or wishing to kill anything.

    They just want the pregnancy ended. So if you end it by abortion or by delivery of one type or another; the result for the mother is the same. But if a woman says she needs to end a pregnancy at any time; we should be concerned about helping her to do so in the safest way as quickly as possible.

    I suspect that as long as the baby is out of her body; she will be just as pleased to have it live as not.

    Oh; Tony; the notion that you are willing to allow the Government; the Constitution; or anything else to dictate to you what rights you have is frightening.

    What will you do when they tell you to show up for resettlement in the West Tony?

    Climb on board the train like a good sheep?

    The Constituion is a piece of paper that was written by a bunch of greedy Smugglers and Capitalists to protect their business interests and it has since been influenced primarily by those business interests as we see in our discussion of corporate funding of political campaigns etc.

    The Constitution grants no rights; recognizes many specifically; and also recognizes that other rights are inherent to the people that are not mentioned in the Document.

    In order for men to form a society; it requires the consent of the members. Each member being a person unto themselves whether we like it or not. Thus each person is recognized to have the authority to say Yeh or Nay to the formation of that society.

    The basic unit of mankind is not society.
    It is the individual man who excercises his natural right to self determination (thus self-ownership) when he agrees to join with others at all. He has the right to disassociate himself from the society if he wishes at any time.

    In ancient days he would have the right to go off and live on his own in the wilderness; apart from others and then do anything he wished without fear of punishment or censure.

    Today however; a man would be hard put indeed to find such a place; unclaimed by some society or the other.

    Still it is his right if he can manage it. And chances are; he would follow a moral code we would be comfortable with. But if not; not.

    This is why the idea that society is here for the benefit of the man not man for the benefit of society; while so strange and backwards to you is exactly the idea that stands the test of time because we see the repeated results of the opposite.

    You must at least understand that Society is an invention of man.

    Man never makes anything that does not serve a purpose for him.

    The purpose of Society was to provide safety in numbers.

    Not to provide good fellowship while we sacrifice our kids together;

    or a good place to find those who like the same sex positions;

    or a good place to find those who smoke the same natural herbs;

    or eat the same foods;

    or even speak the same language neccesarily.

    The expectation that all who live in a Society would think; believe; and act the same didn’t come unitl one man sought control over another so that he could profit by it.

    The most successful men who wished this were those who had “God” behind them.

    Whether it was Marduk the fiery god who required the burning of live children; the Hebrew god of Abraham; or the Jesuits who conquered the New World far more effectively than the Conquistadors ever did; they all had men who sought to control people in their name.

    There is no reason that men cannot live together and yet be different people with different codes of behavior and morals.

    All that is required is for us to allow it. For us to resist the temptation to insist that others live as we do.

    Still; you will say; does that mean we must accept a murderer?

    No; but it might mean we must accept the word of a man who has just killed another man and stays to accept the guilt.

    A man who says it was self defence (but the evidence is questionable);

    a man who says he didn’t intend to drop a heavy object on someone etc. unless the evidence is ironclad.

    And it does mean that we stop approaching crime and criminals as though it was a big game of Chess.

    Stop the adversarial nature of our “Justice” system and institute a co-operative system designed to seek the truth.

    The right to self-ownwership does not need Locke to write about it.

    It doesn’t require the Constitution to recognize it.

    The right to self ownership and self governing are inherent in the individual nature of man as he was first found here and the individual nature of his brain.

    They are obvious in mans refusal to accept the rules of the very Society he chose to be a part of when those rules were no longer in defense of his rights but an attempt to deny those rights for whatever spurious reason.

    We should live; not with a mind to compelling conformity of others; but with a mind to setting a good example and influencing our neighbors by our obvious success and happiness.

    In this way we can do more to stop such (still questionable) acts as the aborting of a viable late term fetus,

    And by our good example and our providing another choice for all women; a choice that would truly extricate them from their situation that is causeing them to make such a (still undocumented) choice; we will be far more effective without denying women their rights.

    After all; we don’t imprison all drunks because drunks kill people sometimes. Sometimes they kill perfectly healthy; viable; individuals.

    No more should we imprison women; who find themselves in untennable situations due to their pregnancy; even life threatening situations regardless of the viability of the fetus.

    If you were a ninety-five pound girl and your 200 pound boyfriend; who got you pregnant; says you’ll go get an abortion or he will cut your throat; who will she go to for help?

    The Police? Nope. They can’t help you until a crime is committed. Ask them.
    “To Protect and to Serve” It should say, “To Inflict and Get Serviced”

    To her Mom and Dad? Because they will be a real help against a 200 pound man with the will to kill in cold blood.

    No Tony; that poor girl is going strait to the Clinic and beg for an abortion.

    Even if she is due next week. he wants it gone today or she dies tonight; and she believes him.

    No; it’s bullshit that you are willing to allow such things to befall our young women; most of whom are pregnant to begin with because of the kind of society we have allowed to grow here; in order to stop a (possibly non-existent group of murderers) who; if they exist; are very few in number.

    But the number of young women beaten or killed or left without help or otherwise damned will not be few. It will be many if you have your way Tony.

    And watch out; your fleece might get caught in the…………………..Oooooh!

    BAAAAAH!


  604. @Bob: I didn’t win the assent of the audience, I don’t really care. The point isn’t to win, the point is to have the better logic, for those people that can follow logic, and believe that logic is what wins.

    I have it. You don’t. If like you 99% of the people cannot allow logic to supercede their emotions, then fine, that is their disability. Maybe some day they will get over it. In the meantime, I write for those that can follow it, and correspond with those that can argue with it.

    You are correct (for the third time), the Constitution does not grant rights. It does assert we have certain specific rights that the founders, collectively, thought it was important to BE specific about. Obviously, they did not, collectively, think any right of “self-ownership” was important enough to be specific about it.

    Plus, they called it the Bill of RIGHTS for a reason; the rights are indeed phrased as restrictions on government, but a third grader could figure out the restrictions were entirely in the service of detailing a RIGHT of the people. There is no other plausible way to interpret the title, the “Bill of Rights.”

    So now you will resort to “analytic” existence, as part of the “inalienable rights of mankind.” Yet the founders could not have possibly believed that, they believed in the death penalty for non-murder offenses, such as horse stealing. They believed in lashes as punishment. They believed in slavery, for goodness sake.

    Either they had a much different definition of “inalienable” than we do, or self-ownership was simply not among the “inalienable” rights of mankind.

    It is not in the Constitution. But once we leave the realm of reality and enter the realm of your imagination, I suppose all sorts of things could be in there, “analytically,” or “implicitly.” Maybe you can find us Ben Franklin’s secret decoder ring so we can parse it.


  605. @Angry: I won’t read you if you lie about me.

    The Bible is not the first book of laws. The earliest evidence anywhere we have for the Torah is from about 600 BC. Here are other laws that predate it:
    # Code of Urukagina (2,380-2,360 BC)
    # Cuneiform law (2,350-1,400 BC)
    # Code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (ca. 2050 BC)
    # Laws of Eshnunna (ca. 1930 BC).
    # Codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1870 BC).
    # Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1790 BC)
    # Code of the Nesilim (c. 1650-1500 BC)
    # Hittite laws (ca. 1650–1100 BC).
    # Hebraic law / Torah / Old Testament (ca. 600 BC).

    In particular, the Code of Hammurabi predates the Torah by about 1000 years, and is lengthy, explicit, and for the most part secular, it is far more detailed than anything in the Bible.

    You simply do not know what you are talking about.

    You are also wrong about my moral code, it has no supernatural basis.

    I suppose your mind is so chaotic and full of hatred for other people that you just cannot imagine living your life by any moral code without the constant threat of eternal damnation hanging over you. It must be really hard for you to constantly resist those voices in your head urging you to murder, rape, and steal.

    So, even if it is hard for you to imagine, just accept that I am different than you: I do not need a threat to behave fairly or kindly towards others, I can give to charity without seeking supernatural approval points, I care for my extended family because I love them and they love me, I care for others because I have empathy and their suffering provokes anguish in me. They do not have to have eternal souls to feel pain, or defeat, or despair, or to have hopes, or be in love or dream of a better life or to laugh until they are out of breath. I do not need a fantasy to add value to their life, they do not have to be eternal. Their innocent joy in life adds joy to my life, the pain inflicted upon them inflicts emotional pain on me.

    I guess you need the crutch, you don’t have the strength or empathy it takes to act honorably on your own. I have no need of a God to take credit for what goes right or take blame for what goes wrong in my life, I will not redirect my responsibility. I do not need blessings, or luck, or approval of anybody but the persons I love. When it comes to my actions the buck stops with me, for better or worse.


  606. Ignorance on parade: “What the evidence shows is that a majority of founders believed “other rights” exist, they signed off on it. So do I. But I am also certain the founders knew they were writing a standalone legal document that would have to speak for itself, and that makes the absence of any Lockean self-ownership generating principle for those “other rights” glaring. They certainly knew of it.”

    Ignorance on parade: “So now you will resort to “analytic” existence, as part of the “inalienable rights of mankind.” Yet the founders could not have possibly believed that, … Either they had a much different definition of “inalienable” than we do, or self-ownership was simply not among the “inalienable” rights of mankind.

    Ignorance on parade: “It (the inalienable right of self ownership) is not in the Constitution.”

    Deductive reasoning is analytic; it requires no reference to the external world, it does not add to our store of knowledge; it merely rearranges it.

    Deductive reasoning can also be counter factual; as when you begin with the premise that the social contract as understood by the founders does not exist. This would include the genesis right of all property rights; i.e. the inalienable right of self ownership.

    You fail to win the assent of the audience simply because you insist on using counter-factual premises in your reasoning.

    All celestial bodies are made of green cheese

    The moon is a celestial body

    Therefore the moon is made of green cheese.

    Yes, the inalienable right of self-ownership is not mentioned in the constitution; but that’s about as sound as arguing that the ninth amendment is made of green cheese.


  607. Sorry, Tony. As a matter of legal reasoning and jurisprudence, Bob is indeed correct. The 9th and 10th Amendments are direct results of Hamilton and Madison’s positions. In addition, Madison and other legal writers at the time of the amendments viewed the 9th and 10th as twin guardians of our federalist structure of government. Over the years, the courts have continued to uphold them as federalist rules of construction.


  608. Gene and Bob, Esq.,.
    You are working overtime in trying to convince Tony C. of the errors of his unique view of our history. Maybe he is behind the Tennessee bill to erase slavery from their history books too!


  609. This has gotten ridiculously tedious even by my low standards.

    BTW:the laws of physics, and by extension chemistry and biology (call it nature if you will or science if you prefer) predate all “written” laws of “man” by at least 14 billion years. In other words we have on one hand facts and reality (as best we understand them at any given time through the “scientific method”) and on the other hand a collection of codified human prejudices and ignorance built upon millenniums of other peoples prejudices and ignorance. Needless to say we have as always a large percent of the population that prefers prejudice and ignorance over facts and reality.

    So happens even our founders understood this when they wrote: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God “.

    TC: you have to come up with a new line besides the one about lying, or else people might think you have a persecution complex. It would also help if you reduce you rants to a more concise length. Verbosity and persecution complex don’t go well together. In the future I promise to try and shorten my rants next time I have something useless to say.


  610. @1zb1: It would also help if you reduce you rants to a more concise length.

    I offer logic and reason to defend my position, you offer shouting. I admit shouting takes less text, it just isn’t ever going to make anybody think to defend their position. Which means you might as well not write anything at all.


  611. tc: you calling your rants “logic and reason” is like calling the bible the word of god because it says so. both statements make no sense whatseover.

    “E=MC^2″ proundly changed our understanding of the universe and increadibly impacted on every aspect of our lives. It doesn’t take a wind bag like you to explain something when it is valid or true, but it does take one like you to make something sound sensible when it is in fact senseless.


  612. @Bob: Yes, the inalienable right of self-ownership is not mentioned in the constitution; but that’s about as sound as arguing that the ninth amendment is made of green cheese.

    That is a false equivalence, it is just like arguing that the Constitution is based upon Judeo-Christian principles when it was specifically not. Oh, the religionists can point at art-1-sec-7 and say, look, they except Sundays in the count of work days for the President, that is their wink and nod to the Christian day of rest!

    Just because the Constitution happens to produce the same results as something Locke advocated, or the Bible advocated, or atheist philosophy advocates, does not constitute a wholesale endorsement of those philosophies.

    For example, atheists like me also revere life, property rights, and keeping our vows, promises and contracts: The constitution supports the atheist conclusions. There is clear evidence in numerous letters that Thomas Jefferson was an atheist. The Constitution does not mention God, not even in the oath of office. But that DOES NOT mean the Constitution analytically includes the principles of atheism, that is an overreach.

    What it means, logically, is that there is obviously more than one path to arrive at the conclusion. In my view that is what they did, if various paths of philosophy all lead to the same conclusion, that is stronger evidence for the robustness of the conclusion than any of the logical threads leading to it.

    Because of that I think the founders chose to simply assert the conclusion, because the conclusion was robust, they could get a majority to vote for the conclusion, even if they could not agree on the philosophical underpinnings that led them, individually, TO the conclusion.

    Locke is not included analytically, the Bible is not included analytically, Paganism and Jefferson’s atheism are not included analytically. The Constitution is a standalone document. In my opinion as a logician, the other inalienable rights of mankind do NOT include anything specific, like the right of self-ownership (or more contentiously, the right to financially support people like Julian Assange that are disliked by our government).

    In my opinion as a logician, the phrase is there to create the presumption of a right, but leave the legality of specific acts up to future courts; much like the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by due process.

    Consider this hypothetical: If self-ownership is a presumptive right, why should the USA outlaw selling one’s organs? A person can donate a liver lobe, a lung, a kidney, a cornea, skin (for burn victims), even a hand or foot, and recover from the surgery with no (or little) decrease in life expectancy. If the foot is the transplant in question, then of the two people in the waiting room scheduled for psychological counseling, one of them is going to be wearing a prosthetic foot for the rest of his life. Why do we prohibit a rich injured man from paying the uninjured man some large sum of money to accept that lifelong burden in his stead? According to Locke the foot is the uninjured man’s property, after all, and if he is of sound mind and firmly believes the money will change his life, then by Locke’s principle of self-ownership, he should be able to sell his foot, to dispose of his property as he sees fit.

    I do not subscribe to that view (although other countries disagree with me) because of the implications. I do not know the particulars of why the US courts agree with me, but probably for the same general reason: they do not like the implications.

    But it also means they reject an absolute application of Locke’s principle of self-ownership. It is not, analytically, in the Constitution under the rubric of other inalienable rights of mankind, not in the view of our courts.


  613. TC: you said: “In my view that is what they did, if various paths of philosophy all lead to the same conclusion, that is stronger evidence for the robustness of the conclusion than any of the logical threads leading to it.”

    If ever there was a monument to your complete lack of “logic and reason” it is demonstrated by your own words.


  614. Tony says “I offer logic. Tony “Logic is neither a science nor an art, but a dodge. ~Benjamin Jowett. May7be Benjamin and you have met.

    Angrymanspeaks, me neither.(:

    Bob, esq. I also negleced to ask him if a woman who drinks or smokes,should be prosecuted or held as someone guilty of attempted murder.

    Tony, I mentioned detention, one to see if you felt that a pregnant woman has to be watched over possibly held somewhere official so she does not do something you consider wrong. I also mentioned it in an,effort , as I specifically wrote, to get the discussion more on tract (It was also supposed to be mildly tongue in cheek but that was more in my thght as i wrote it then the way it appeared although nothing, and apparently noone, can pierce your inability to see past your own illusions and illogic.


  615. @1zb1: “E=MC^2″ proundly [sic] changed our understanding of the universe and increadibly [sic] impacted on every aspect of our lives. It doesn’t take a wind bag like you to explain something when it is valid or true,

    Ha! You think that E=MC^2 is obviously true? I think every physicist on the planet when it was introduced would laugh at you, including Einstein. In fact, Einstein might be pissed at you for so cavalierly trivializing the work he put into his most famous postulate.

    The correctness of Einstein’s 1905 derivation of E=mc^2 was criticized by Max Planck (1907), who argued that it is only valid to a first approximation.

    Einstein himself produced six different proofs over forty years, and none of them were valid, they all contained assumptions he could not justify, or had fatal logic errors discovered by others. The first general (but still limited) proof of E=mc^2 for which physicists could not find a flaw was produced by Max Laue, a German physicist, in 1911, while Einstein’s proofs were still in question and under fire. Famously, Einstein reviewed and agreed with Laue’s proof, but then a few years later when he attempted to recapitulate Laue’s proof before an audience, Einstein failed to include one of Laue’s critical arguments, so the proof he presented was still flawed. A more general proof than Laue’s was produced in 1918, by Felix Klein.

    Still, further criticisms were leveled by Herbert Ives (1952) and Max Jammer (1961), asserting that Einstein’s derivation “begs the question,” i.e. it subtly assumes precisely what it attempts to prove.

    Finally, in 2008 (just four years ago) Hans Ohanian (a physicist and textbook author) argued, in yet another peer-reviewed paper, that Einstein’s original derivation was wrong for still other reasons. (Which does not necessarily dispute the result, just Einstein’s reasoning that led to the result.) Here is a copy of Ohanian’s review and critique, for those interested.

    You think it is “obvious” because it is celebrated and famous; your proof is by authority or by acclaim, and authority or acclaim does not make it true, correct, or easy to explain. I am sure Einstein would say the same.

    The chair of Department of Mathematics where I did my undergraduate work had a common retort for students that dared to claim something was obvious: “If it is so obvious to you, come to the board and write us your simple proof.”

    So get up, come to the board (and glory!), we cannot wait to applaud your genius. Prove to us that E=mc^2.


  616. @Gene: As a matter of legal reasoning and jurisprudence, Bob is indeed correct. The 9th and 10th Amendments are direct results of Hamilton and Madison’s positions.

    I did not argue that point, I agree with that point. I argued that Hamilton wanted NO enumeration of rights, and that is not what he got.

    However, this is all tangential to the central question we began with, and so is current legal reasoning and jurisprudence. I am not dismissing the importance of that in general, but my argument is not so much about what is currently legal or illegal regarding abortion, but what should be legal and illegal. I think the legal reasoning that allows unconditional late term abortion is flawed reasoning.

    In defense, Bob thinks that Locke’s principle of self-ownership decides the matter, so that has led us to this tangential issue: Why should I believe Locke? His principle of self-ownership is not in the Constitution, and our courts clearly do not adhere to that principle absolutely, so they do not consider it inalienable. Prostitution is outlawed, organ selling is outlawed, people can be compelled to undertake acts, even acts that endanger them (soldiers and cops and firemen for starters).

    My logic is that Locke’s principle is not law, and by counter-example not considered by our government to be one of the “other” inalienable rights of man as Bob claims it is, and on top of all of that, no rights allow any of us to deprive another person of life without just cause.

    It is hypocritical (in my view) to say a woman’s self-ownership gives her the right to kill an infant a few hours before birth (whether any examples exist or not), but a woman’s self-ownership does NOT allow her to engage in sex for money. Why should a harmless act be prohibited but a harmful act allowed without question? (and I say “harmless” in the sense that the exact same act is legal without question when payment is not involved.)

    To the extent “self-ownership” is cited by law, it is very selectively cited, it is clearly not considered an inalienable right, because it is alienated in some circumstances.


  617. Tony C.: “That is a false equivalence, it is just like arguing that the Constitution is based upon Judeo-Christian principles when it was specifically not.”

    No, it’s not; just like the ninth amendment is not made of green cheese.

    I’ve grown tired of you and your counter-factual premises.


  618. Carol,

    Actually, the drinking and smoking would go to a negligence type charge since there’s no evidence of specific intent to kill.

    Still, you may want to think about how it all compares to the common law duty to rescue; i.e. in that there generally is none.


  619. Tony,

    The majority of states don’t allow late term abortions except in extenuating circumstances. The Supreme Court has held that late term bans must include such exceptions for threats to the woman’s life, physical health, and mental health. The grey areas being argued currently are all about defining the boundaries of these exceptions under various (and variously worded) state laws, but no state to my knowledge allows unrestricted late term abortions. The key to Roe is viability. Most pro-lifers don’t want limits on late term abortions, which are both scientifically and legally reasonable. They want abortion banned period. The problem with your analysis rests in improper seating of the issues legal reasoning. Roe wasn’t decided on the issues of self-ownership. It was decided on the right to privacy via the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Two different lines of logic.

    “My logic is that Locke’s principle is not law, and by counter-example not considered by our government to be one of the “other” inalienable rights of man as Bob claims it is, and on top of all of that, no rights allow any of us to deprive another person of life without just cause.”

    The confusion here is inalienability and enumeration are separate issues. The principle of self-ownership, the right itself, is inalienable, but that does not mean it cannot be limited and it is not required that it be enumerated to be found in the law. Inalienability is a quality of rights that only applies to your ability to transfer your rights, not for the law to define the boundaries of those rights. Defining the boundaries of rights under the social compact is the very essence of law and what defines the limitations accepted for the mutually gained benefits of society.


  620. Bob esq, I am not a lawyer but negligence sounds like the way to go although someone like Bob may well argue a woman knows she could potentially kill or irrepairably harm a fetus with alcohol, tobacco (or drugs).
    The no duty to rescue may be the reason docs have killed babies born from late term abortions (according to some news reports but then the killing of a viable fetus is news because it is the uncommon).
    Tony continues to ignore the just keeping the baby alive. If it is viable when a late term abortion is performed then turn it over to children’s services. That idea would deflate his argument because he seems to prefer finding a way to call women murderers.


  621. @Carol: Tony continues to ignore the just keeping the baby alive.

    You are lying about me. I have not “ignored” that, it is what I am arguing in favor of. Giving birth to the baby and then turning it over to child services would be fine by me; my objection is only to killing it before it is born. Any legal thing that can be done with the child after it is born is not anything I am arguing about, I am strictly arguing about what can be done before that happens.

    If it is viable when a late term abortion is performed then turn it over to children’s services.

    Turn what over? A dead body? An abortion kills the fetus by design, a delivery preserves the child, even if the delivery is by C-section. If the child survives the “abortion” then it wasn’t an “abortion,” it was a “birth.”

    he seems to prefer finding a way to call women murderers.

    Bullshit squared, it is YOU that is struggling to find ways to insist I am a monster bent on subjugating women. A woman is a murderer only if she kills another person.

    If a woman wants to escape responsibility for a child, she cannot necessarily just induce birth and then hand it over to child services, if she gives birth she may bear financial responsibility for the child. Child services only takes children in danger. If she endangers the child to make child services take the child, she will likely be committing a crime, and can be punished. If she kills the born child, she is guilty of murder. The way out, if she wanted to escape responsibility, would be to kill the child by abortion before she gives birth. That is the scenario I argue against, restricting the right of a woman to have a late term abortion without just cause, as a matter of Constitutional law.

    And before you tell me nobody would do that, we have murders of children by their mothers just this year because the mothers decided they couldn’t afford them, and didn’t like them because they got divorced from the father, and other such emotionally insane reasons. Read the news, woman drown their normal, living children, do not try to tell me there are no women that would kill a ninth-month fetus for purely emotional reasons.


  622. Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. You terminate and can still have as the product of that pregancy a live child. Period. You want to ignore that.
    And sure you tell a social worker I dont want this child, simple as leaving the hospital without it (you are aware I assume of the safe haven hospitals have just for women who do not want/cannot take the responsibility of a child.) children’s services would find placement, whether with a relative or not depending on circumstances.
    Tony from your vehemence and refusal to really read and understand what many of us have written, I have to think you had a sad experience in your own life with this kind of situation or a woman who did not want to proceed with a pregnancy in which you, or someone close to you, was involved.
    If so I am sorry for the sadness you experienced.


  623. @Carol: I have had no sad experiences with either pregnancy or abortion.

    An abortion that results in a live child is called a “birth,” not an abortion. You do not get to redefine the language to make yourself “right” in some weird sense. My entire thesis from the beginning is that the fetus obviously becomes a person sometime before birth and once it does it has the rights of a person, including the right to life, and cannot be killed at the whim of the mother. Trying to inject some fantastical live abortion into that equation is just you grasping at straws.

    But I’ll go along, if a late-term fetus can survive on its own and is not injured or killed in the process of terminating the pregnancy early, I am fine with that too. The objective is to protect both lives when that is possible.


  624. […] Le rideau est tombé : Obama a promulgué la loi autorisant la détention illimitée des citoyens en guise de dernier Acte pour l’année 2011 Publication originale le 2 janvier 2012 par Jonathan Hurley sur jonathanturley.org […]


  625. […] vagueness is at the heart of the NDAA scandal as recently discussed on the blog here, here and here. While the NDAA poses a threat to your 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights, the newest attack of […]


  626. […] vagueness is at the heart of the NDAA scandal as recently discussed on the blog here, here and here. While the NDAA poses a threat to your 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights, the newest attack of […]


  627. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_polite_conference_rooms_where_liberties_are_saved_and_lost_20120326/

    The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost
    Email this item Email Print this item Print Share this item… Share

    Mar 26, 2012
    AP Photo / John Minchillo

    Chris Hedges is suing the president over the National Defense Authorization Act, which legalizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process.

    By Chris Hedges

    I spent four hours in a third-floor conference room at 86 Chambers St. in Manhattan on Friday as I underwent a government deposition. Benjamin H. Torrance, an assistant U.S. attorney, carried out the questioning as part of the government’s effort to decide whether it will challenge my standing as a plaintiff in the lawsuit I have brought with others against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the Homeland Battlefield Bill.

    end of excerpt


  628. Someone You Love: Coming to a Gulag Near You

    by Chris Hedges
    Apr 2, 2012

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/coming_to_a_gulag_near_you_20120402/

    Excerpt:

    “There are now 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private companies that work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States, The Washington Post reported in a 2010 series by Dana Priest and William M. Arken. There are 854,000 people with top-secret security clearances, the reporters wrote, and in Washington, D.C., and the