Top Obama Aides Embrace Bush’s War on Terror Rhetoric and Enemy Combatant Policy

225px-elena_kagan_1This has been a uniquely bad week for civil libertarians. The Obama Administration appears to be rushing to dispel any notions that Obama will fight for civil liberties or war crimes investigations. After Eric Holder allegedly assured a senator that there would be no war crimes investigation and seemed to defend Bush policies, Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan, Obama’s Solicitor General nominee, reportedly told a Republican senator that the Administration agreed with Bush that we are “at war” and therefore can hold enemy combatants indefinitely. In the meantime, Obama himself seemed to tie himself in knots when asked about investigating war crimes and leading democrats are again pushing for a symbolic “truth commission.” I discussed these issues in this segment of Countdown this week.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) both raised the issue with Kagan. Both supported Bush’s policies. Graham asked Kagan: “Do you believe we are at war?”

“I do, Senator,” Kagan replied.

One would have hoped that a solicitor general nominee would ask if he meant a constitutional war or a policy war. We have declared wars on everything from illiteracy to inflation. However, the framers treated war as a more serious matter that required a declaration (though Congress has effectively gutted that requirement through the use of resolutions). If we are at war, when does it end? Terrorism will continue for centuries. Will we remain at war with war time powers being exercised? Since the Solicitor General is required to apply the law with precision, Kagan’s reply is extremely alarming.

Graham then asked “If our intelligence agencies should capture someone in the Philippines that is suspected of financing Al Qaeda worldwide, would you consider that person part of the battlefield?” “Do you agree with that?”

Kagan replied, “I do” and the marriage with the Bush policies was complete. So much for change. Both Holder and Kagan have now taken such a vow with Senators in order to secure their confirmations. The message appears to be a uniquely English approach to government. We will continue policies and laws that can do great harm to civil liberties, but we will use them in a beneficent way. Your “change” is not that we will get rid of the policies. Your change is that you get us. This “trust us we’re the government” approach to civil liberties was precisely what Madison and other framers rejected. To have a well-respected academic voice such views is a terrible disappointment for civil libertarians, who are being offered a meaningful commission as a type of air kiss toward war crimes.

For the full story, click here.

117 thoughts on “Top Obama Aides Embrace Bush’s War on Terror Rhetoric and Enemy Combatant Policy

  1. There are many things wrong with this. There is already clear evidence of crimes, that’s not an open issue. If no one is above the law and should be investigated when evidence points to the fact that they broke the law, that would seem an open and shut case for investigating the bush administration.

    I listened to Senatory Leahy last night and in many ways I am sympathetic to what he said. The problem is he feels prosecutions will fail because those being investigated will just stonewall. I agree with that, but don’t think his panel will help that problem. These same people will just stonewall Congress. That’s what they’ve been doing (there are no consequences, even the refusal to show up for hearings). So I must agree with JT as a matter of law and practicality–prosecutions are a must. It’s harder to stonewall the courts than Congress, although certainly not impossible. Nevertheless for the reasons JT outlined it is the course this nation should take.

  2. Thanks Jill, you took the words right out of my mouth..BUT, JT seems to have been aggressively promoting the REQUIREMENT we have as a nation to uphold our International obligations. Treaties aren’t worth the paper they are written on if the signatories don’t abide by their agreements.

    BUT, words and even open criticism are easily ignored by those with a vested interest in this debate and many just want to see this swept under the carpet. Even the day-to-day layman can openly demand action but it seems to no avail. Is the legal community as a group prepared to make enough noise that Holder can’t ignore this OR do we continue to just get guest appearances and gnashing of teeth…??

  3. JT,
    Saw you on Keith last night and you made your points clearly and perfectly. The caution of the MSM/Beltway Insiders/punditocracy to clearly state that crimes were committed that demand exposure/censure and real punishment is both a failure of will and a lack of understanding of the lasting ill effects of ignoring these vile actions.

    “Wars” on anything except other nations are adroitly used to garner public support by bad politicians. They are meaningless expressions usually signaling the beginnings of boondoggles. While I believe the Obama Administration knows better,(indeed even many in the opposition know better) given the almost total shallowness of the MSM and punditocracy to see past the falsity of meme premises, they fear the headlines and opprobrium that would result from honest answers. They therefore respond in safe memes out of cowardice and duplicity. I may like Obama and have good hopes for him, but he and his advisers are not “above the fray” (cliche me)or the fear of speaking true. That is why you from your pulpit and we as citizens must always continue the pressure to keep them honest. Based on this I sense my need for another White House call in the immediate future.


    I’ll say it again.

    OUR INTERNATIONAL STANDING WILL NEVER BE REPAIRED WITHOUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION GOING TO PRISON. Got that? It’s not supposition either. Read some foreign policy journals, you semi-literate Washington jackasses.

    Not punishing them is not an option unless you just WANT trouble. Because trouble is what you’ll get. And not just from the “rest of the world.”

    You can only kick someone so long before they kick you back.

    Everyone, EVERYONE in Washington would be well served to remember that. Because soon, people are going to need an outlet for their growing anger and mistrust. It’s human nature. When someone hurts you or steals from you, you will eventually hurt them back. That’s a fact.

    Who do you think is going to bear the brunt of that anger?

    Johnny the pizza guy and Phyllis who works at the car dealer? Or the politicians and banks/bankers that are stealing them blind and pissing on their INALIENABLE rights and the Constitution?

    Soon, a foreclosure won’t end in a suicide, but a murder. Maybe a mass murder.

    Soon, someone is going the break the law who never broke the law before because they see no justice in unequal application. If one “class” is/remains visibly immune to the law, no one will follow the law. Play Monopoly with a cheater sometime if you doubt this. Go to any playground with bad or no supervision or rules.

    Soon, politicians of any stripe will be in danger any time they are in public and not much safer at home. And I mean all of you, from the mayor of the dinkiest town to Senators. You’ll be in danger from the very people you’ve surround themselves with as servants and guards in your sloth, vanity and greed. It’s easy to kill someone who can’t/won’t cook for or defend themselves. Ask Agatha Christie. The easiest element in the food web to remove without negative consequence are apex predators, but if you remove algae, we all die. And if you create just the right conditions, the algae is far more dangerous than predators. Ask a biologist. Are you getting the picture, Washington?

    Soon, the thieves of Wall St. and K Street will be running for their venal, corrupt little lives. Because mob justice will hot on their trail. I must confess the thought of Cassidy & Co. and Merrill Lynch on fire and their boards running in fear makes me giggle.


    Because We the People know who is screwing them over . . . again. Ask them. They are telling you but you won’t listen.

    You’ve had more than one guess, Washington. I’ve demonstrated time and again, I draw from a wide knowledge base that’s width is only matched by its depth and I’m not basing any of this on the retrograde concept of “partisanship”. I operate off observation, fact, logic and the Constitution. That being said, my feelings will in no way be hurt if you politicians don’t listen. My ego is not invested in this. YOURS is.

    Your time to get this right is nearing an end. Soon people will simply start getting hurt. It won’t a revolution like 1776 either. It’ll be much much uglier. Anarchy Plus. That’s not a threat. That’s just another valid observation of human nature. Go on, test my average. I was right about a concerted effort to remove our liberties under the guise of fighting terrorism, real or manufactured, almost ten years before Bush. I was right about Bush before he took office in saying, “This is the guy to watch.” I was right about Iraq on the day of invasion. I am right about who really attacked us on 9/11, Saudi Arabia and about Bush being their boy. I’ve opened a lot of minds. I’ve beaten every Neocon troll, both the paid and the brainwashed variety, I’ve ever faced.

    How? Because I READ ALMOST EVERYTHING, I PAY ATTENTION AND I HAVE EXCELLENT LOGIC AND ANALYTICAL SKILLS. Better than yours by a long shot, Mr. Average Politician. Because I can leave my ego out of it. You’ve demonstrated you are 100% incapable of taking “you” out of your analysis. That’s not a sign of good leadership. That’s a sign of mental illness.

    The sad part is that most of you have the same training I do. Maybe not as high a quality, but essentially the same. You just didn’t pay attention because you were perpetually focused on yourself. Just like you are now. And if successful evolution has one rule, it’s PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS. When you don’t, that’s when the lions get you. You are failing this test again, right now, and the cost is going to be HUGE. Again, not a threat, but a prediction.

    What are the chances I am wrong about this?




  5. I’m increasingly dissapointed in the new administration’s approach to civil liberties. It isn’t only that there is no desire to investigate the potential misdeeds of the past government but that there is a subtle continuation of the same policies even when the President pledges to close Gitmo and end secret prisons –his version of “looking forward.” Dean Kagan’s statements and the recent in court admission that the U.S. will continue to rely on the “state secrets” defense in a civil matter are disturbing.

    One question which I’d be interested in hearing more thoughts from Prof. Turley about would be why Ms. Kagan adopted her position on enemy combatants. Is it that she’s always felt this way or is she saying what she thinks the senators or the president wants to hear? Perhaps, she’s echoing the current state of the law but will be advocating a change in position when she’s arguing to the High Court. That last possibility seems more implausible given the state secrets defense but the President has indicated that this will be an area for future review.

  6. Excellent interview Professor Turley.


    Dagnabbit Man! Please quit being so dang meek, doggoneit all!

    Constitutionally and rule of law speaking, Buddha is Crying seems more appropriate. As Clinton might say, some of us “feel your pain.”

    Given this critical rule of law issue, along with TARP I, II, ad infinitum…

    Nothing is making any sense except for nonsense…

  7. Jill has been warning us for weeks that the Obama administration seemed to be backsliding on the issue of torture and the treatment of enemy combatants. I have discounted those concerns, preferring to believe that the new president wanted to keep that debate in the background until he had assembled his cabinet and dealt with the current economic urgencies. I have also followed Prof. Turley’s television appearances and have been buoyed by his continued insistence on the rule of law. However, I am gradually coming to the belief that Jill was right and that the Administration does not share Prof. Turley’s passion for the Constitution. The most recent comments by Dean Kagan are particularly disturbing since she will be the administration’s principal legal advocate. Surely the president understands that the efforts of senate Republicans to secure advance assurances in the form of what amount to de facto pardons is highly improper and unethical. Why can’t his nominees just say so when confronted by Bush apologists in committee hearings? I can no longer comfort myself with the fact that these assurances have no binding effect. The cumulative impact of statements from various Obama appointees since the inauguration is extremely troubling. I expected better from this man. We have the right to expect better. The nation requires it. I have come to the conclusion that I was a bit naive and that constant pressure will need to be brought to bear to prevent the atrocities of the Bush years from slipping quietly into the fog and acquiring semi-legitimacy over time through silence. Neglect in this instance is not benign.

  8. JT,

    good job with KO, keep up the good work. I am extremely disappointed with how the new administration seems to be handling this matter as well as issues such as rendition, willingness to prosecute and go after war crimes and especially the recent argument by the Obama DOJ in regards in its assertions of state secrets to get whole cases thrown out of court (piggybacking on what Bush Admin did). Glenn Greenwald has been doing an excellent job in calling out the new administration and those trying to cover for them on the issue of state secrets.

  9. When it comes to Obama, Jill sees the world through a jaundiced eye, as it were.

    I, in particular, and others, do not discourage participation in the process of ‘change’, but have, indeed, grown weary of the constant anti-‘Bama barrage – the cut n’ paste cacophony which has only escalated in the past 21 days.

    Obama inherited this mess from Bush et al who should be the ones who taking the heat – not the new administration and certainly not in the first three weeks.

    In fairness, in ‘moving forward’ Obama deserves at least some credit for rescinding the infamous OLC memos within his first days, as well as practicing damage control in a number of other important areas while continuing to assemble his team.

  10. I voted for him. I gave him money. I don’t expect the Obama or Congress to do a thing about the unambiguous crimes of the previous administration. I’m sure the thinking in the White House is that we have to focus on fixing the economy, and any revelation of just how criminal the previous administration was will only make the markets skittish, further hurting the economy.

    In the end, Obama and Congress will act like chicken shits.

    When the Republicans get back into the Whitehouse there will be naked facism.

  11. The War on Terror is a fabrication.

    The fact that Obama supports and is allowing the continuation of the invasion of Afghanistan (and let’s face it,Pakistan as well) is very disappointiing and add that to Panetta’s retracted statement on ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ and now these developments with
    Elena Kagan.

    I voted for him but I am keeping a close eye.

  12. If there is civil war is it the haves against the have nots, the right against the left (the right will win that one they have guns), black against white, whom is going to be fighting whom?

    My guess is that the constitutionalists arent going to win that one.

  13. Buddha,
    I thanks for the link I missed it on Huff Post. As I read it I began to feel breathless and had to consciously calm myself, lest the rising rage in me would bring on angina. These Judges deserve the worst that can happen to them and the officials who oversaw these facilities contracts should be fired. The outsourcing of governmental responsibility has been a favorite theme of the corporatists. Its fallacy is that corporations can do it better and cheaper. The reality, even with so-called non-profits is that these entities exist for self-perpetuation and the benefit of their executives. They are by definition amoral entities and must be regulated closely.

    Why anyone would believe that a corporation could run a youth facility or prison in a humane lawful manner is answered by the “magical thinking” of five year olds. The inviolability of the market and its ability to ensure good results is a myth for children and objectivists.

    I wish these judges all the disgrace and discomfit that can be heaped upon them. However, there are others who have allowed this and they too must pay.

  14. Bron,

    You nailed on the first try.

    It will be the haves vs. the have nots.

    I’ve said all along it’s not about party or left or right. It’s about criminal and anti-social behavior by a minority that screwing it up for everyone. You may see ancillary conflict in the area of race or party affiliation (depending on where you live), but no one is going to care if you have a D or an R by your name when the shit hits the fan – just that you hurt them and payback is due. It’s just going to be on. As far as left and right? It’s going to end in the left winning simply because the far right authoritarians who think that might makes right are apparently incapable of math. Somewhere around 36% of Americans say they are Republicans. Of those, only about half are in the Palin/Fascism camp. That’s about 15%. Guns or not, that’s not a winning margin. It is indeed the Constitutionalists that will win eventually. How many corpses that will take, well, that’s another story.

    Bron, you’ve come a long way and that post shows it. Now you’re thinking.

    I’m glad you picked the red pill. To further The Matrix analogy by poor paraphrase of Morpheus, “I never said it would be easy, only that it would be true.”

    Congratulations on waking up.


    Now don’t nod off.

  15. MikeS:

    I dont think we have seen a true free market in the US for about 100 years. It is a bastard stepchild of capitalism and socialism. How much did “government oversight” have to do with this problem?

    The market is morally neutral. I would trust the combined judgement of 300,000,000 million people making personal decisions about resource allocation over a group of 1000 highly trained PhD’s in economics, it was tried in the Soviet Union and did not work and the mixed economy that we have is not working all that well either. The governments role is as referee with the constitution as the “rule book”.

    Any company that breaks laws should be punished to the fullest extent possible. And I believe the profit motive is the best thing to keep companies honest. Government regulation dosent seem to do a very good job and lends itself to corruption. I think the evidence of the last few months is example enough.

    And quite frankly I dont understand the objectiion to objectivist thought, the left has more in common with it than the right does. Mostly in the area of civil liberties. Objectivits are for personal freedom but not to the point of anarchy. Most of them are atheists, they believe in abortion rights, they think homosexuality is ok, the right to die, and on and on.

    I would very much be interested in your reasons for being so ardently opposed to this line of thinking.

  16. Buddha:

    I actually thought the civil war thing was a bit extreme (well actually nutty) until I was reading something by an author I respect and he was saying that he is amazed that it did not happen in the 70’s, I think he mentioned 74 or 76. At that point you had my attention. And I do believe he thought it would be between the haves and the have nots.

    My question then is how will the constitution be the winner in the end? Are not property rights a very basic right? If the mob or collective if you like, take from people on the basis of economic status arent we all in trouble? I am just a middle class guy but I have more than say a guy working as a clerk for a construction company, is he entitled to my property by virtue of his economic status? And so on up the ladder. I see only loosers in a civil war of that nature.

  17. Bron98:

    Maybe you should read “Wealth of Nations” instead a merely some neo-con slanted summary that you posted here. No where does Adam Smith argue that the market is “morally neutral,” or that government acts only as referee. Smith understood that capitalists left to their own devices would transform society into a “Bleak House” landscape:

    “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is im-possible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and jus-tice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.

    A regulation which obliges all those of the same trade in a particular town to enter their names and places of abode in a public register, facilitates such assemblies…

    A regulation which enables those of the same trade to tax themselves in order to provide for their poor, their sick, their widows, and orphans, by giving them a common interest to manage, renders such assemblies necessary.

    An incorporation not only renders them necessary, but makes the act of the majority binding upon the whole.”

    The Wealth of Nations, Book I, Chapter X

    And the most prescient passage of all:

    “The proposal of any new law or regulation which comes from [businessmen], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

    The Wealth of Nations, Book I, Chapter XI

  18. Mespo:

    first of all I am not a neo-con, secondly my understanding of Wealth of Nations is that Adam Smith understood that businessmen were sons of bitches and so he thought the market/invisible hand was the best way to offset those tendencies.

    Why do you think government can fill this function? they are humans to with the same failings. by your own admission our government is corrupt, what makes you think they can oversee the economy any better? From my vantage point government is far more corrupt than business.

  19. The Constitution wins when the rule of law is restored. Property rights have nothing to do with criminal and anti-social behavior except as objects of abuse by those who are stealing and want rationale. There a huge difference between earned wealth and stolen wealth or blood money.

    Is it fair that the haves will be lumped together? Perhaps not, not all of them are bad actors. That’s why turning over the guilty now to avoid loss of innocent life is critically important. The real fight will be over right vs. wrong (criminal/anti-social vs. not, Constitutionalists vs. Fascists) and equal protection, it’ll only look like class warfare because of the nature of fascism/corporatism. Indeed, many of the harmed will be harmed for defending a legal fiction or the principles of their own shortsighted greed. Most don’t care about people with just wealth, only those with blood money and legal fictions that act as soulless barricades for the sociopaths to hide behind. A guy who manufactures clothing is a long way from a defense contractor like Halliburton or Raytheon or the scumbags of Wall St. arbitrage, but they are just as likely to get blowback as not simply because when trouble hits, they’ll be visibly indistinguishable from the bad guys. No one is going to care that you both have a Lamborghini and a steak, only that they are on foot because they got fired, their kids are hungry and you’re sitting next to the guy that robbed them. Look, I’d rather avoid all this because a lot of hard working innocent people are going to get hurt in the fallout, but the simple truth is a small minority of the wealthy (the Neocons) have ruined this country and it’s economy at the expense of us all. And they did it out of pure ego and greed. Evil. Pure and simple. How many houses does a man need? Not want. NEED. Empire is a game with potentially fatal consequence and they should have thought about that before they hijacked the GOP and the Federal government. When your “want” impinges on others “needs”, that’s the fundamental recipe for trouble. If it gets that far and should their be collateral damage, that blood will go to the Neocon ledger as well, not the Constitutionalists. They broke the letter of the law and the rule of law. We the People will bring it back one way or another. We prefer the least amount of force possible, but it’s like judo. The more the Neocons resist or the harder they fight, the worse the damage will be. Any true martial artist prefers the least damaging outcome, but they are prepared to kill if required by the actions of an intransigent opponent. But it’s not just to take someone’s property, that’s not the motive. The motive is justice, equity, the rule of law and self-defense.

  20. Bron98:

    “Why do you think government can fill this function?”


    Because Smith believed it could. Former Chair of the President’s Council of Economics Advisors and UVA Professor Herbert Stein explained in his famous essay, “Adam Smith Did Not Wear an Adam Smith Necktie:”

    [T]he people who wear the Adam Smith tie are not doing so to honor literary genius. They are doing so to make a statement of their devotion to the idea of free markets and limited government. What stands out in WofN, however, is that their patron saint was not pure or doctrinaire about this idea. He viewed government intervention in the market with great skepticism. He regarded his exposition of the virtues of the free market as his main contribution to policy, and the purpose for which his
    economic analysis was developed.

    Yet he was prepared to accept or propose qualifications to that policy in the specific cases where he judged that their net effect would be beneficial and would not undermine the basically free character of the system. He did not wear the Adam Smith necktie.

    These cases were numerous, and some of them are surprising. I give here a list, certainly incomplete, largely derived from Viner’s article on Smith written for the sesquicentennial of the WofN. (The parentheses are mine.)

    The government could legitimately do the following:

    – Protect the merchant marine and give bounties to defense-related manufacturing industries.

    – Impose tariffs on imports in order to bargain for reduction of tariffs by other countries.

    – Punish, and take steps to prevent, dishonesty, violence and fraud. (Does this include the SEC, and would prevention of violence justify measures to assist ghetto youth?)

    – Establish indicators of quality of goods, such as the sterling mark for silver. (Does this justify the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Commission?)

    – Require employers to pay wages in cash rather than in kind. (Could the government conversely require employers to pay part of wages in the form of health benefits?)

    – Regulate banking.

    – Provide public goods, such as highways, harbors, bridges and canals. (What about railways, airlines?)

    – Run the post office. (Also telephone, the information highway?)

    – Grant patents and copyrights.

    – Give a temporary monopoly to a trading company developing commerce in new and risky regions. (Is this industrial policy, managed trade?)

    – Require children to have a certain level of education.

    – Provide protection against communicable diseases.

    – Require the streets to be kept clean. (Environmentalism?)

    – Set a ceiling on interest rates.

    – Impose discriminatory taxation to deter improper or luxurious behavior.”

  21. Buddha:

    I think that’s what Stein was trying to say. They can also be a badge of stupidity when the wearer does so to promote some reductio ad absurdum argument.

  22. Mespo:

    I thank you. I need to read it again, it has been awhile. Does government need to perform those oversights? What about UL or Consumer Reports? They provide a valuable function and give a “sterling mark” to the products they test and evaluate. I do agree that some things need to be under government control-defense, fire, police, courts. Maybe highways, you can make an argument for private toll roads especially the major interstates. Why cant you have private companies/organizations providing the sterling mark, why does it have to be government?

    I honestly belive that most of what the government does can be done by the private sector more effectively and for cheaper cost. I actually dont think neocons believe in smaller government (look at Bush)they just want to take your money and give it to religious charities to give away.

  23. The private sectors job is profit. To earn a return on capitol they stay one to two steps ahead of gov regs. mespo & BIF put it more eloquently here:


  24. Buddha,
    I liiked the Slate linked article. We do need to start making some noise about the war crime investigations that should be a no brainer. I still have confidence that Obama/Holder will do more than they are showing now, but even I am getting anxious when I read what Dean Kagan is saying. I think it is time that Obama needs to realize that we are at war alright. We are at war with war criminals trying to cover their crimes and those same criminals and their comrades are also trying to defeat Obama before he even gets started. He needs to do what Bush did. Declare that he is using his alleged Article Two power to state that Lindsey Graham is an enemy combatant and can be held indefinitely.

  25. Thanks JT for beating the drum on this issue. Thanks to KO as well for having you on his show repeatedly. You express the problem and solution clearly. My stomach turns with this posting and watching the street signs Obama appears to be constructing.

  26. Sir Thomas More: What would you do? Cut … through the law to get after the Devil?

    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? … [D]o you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

  27. Buddha:

    I have spent the entire night thinking about your civil war and I get on the blog and Mountaires has pretty much sumed up the conclusion I came to. Once you are involved in a civil war, I think we can call that a constitutional crisis, how is the rule of law restored? Can it actually ever be restored at that point? Who is to say that once it is restored, it will be the same document with the same guarantee of rights and the same limitations on government?

    I personally do not believe a mob of have nots is going to give too much thought to constitutional restoration (I know, your theory is the haves havent either). Hopefully this catharsis will take place within the proper bounds of government. So I think I finally see what you are talking about.

    I am now not so sure that Jefferson was right about his “Tree of Liberty”. He assumes men such as himself and Madison would be holding the shovel for that bit of gardening. From your point of view it will be the have nots and you are probably right.

    So those are my concerns and questions.

  28. BHO is a brilliant Populist, a brilliant fake… All one needs to do is count the times he has violated his own words regarding ‘Change We Can believe In’… And it’s only three weeks into the game. Yes, I got conned too, but gave my money to Ron Paul!


  29. Sell out mutt Obama is a fake just like all blacks who decried the bogus racism for ages but once they get their foot in the door of power using race they do a 180 switch and join the elite typical of all the black failed regimes worldwide and in American citiies or towns.
    Idiot Bush had everyone in tears about Congo Rices terrible upbringing in the south among the racist yet then this bitch hit the ground running and lying her ass off aqbout everything and showed no residual effects of this tramatic childhood experience.
    Its the same everywhere. Blacks have said nothing about the sell out flip flops of Obama in everything and the ending the war in Iraq or Afghan or even recent Gaza holocaust. Why? Just like Howard Stern proved in Harlem before the election using McCains platform as their messiah Obamas platform while interviewing blacks who agreed with everything in reverse proving their have no grasp of any issues and are only after power for themselves.
    Obama is a sell out and nothing but Chicago slickster corrupt politician who will get worse as time goes and it really dosent matter because his OJ voters will back their messiah regardless of anything he does since he is the mutt messiah and is to be trusted always and works in mysterious ways ..

  30. Ah, Mr. mann, it’s always so nice to hear from the ragged remnants of the Republican base, the base of the base if you will. You predicted the present state of affairs all along, didn’t you? After all, you display the astonishing prescience of those blessed with that special combination of ignorance, racism and a somewhat tenuous grasp of both reality and the English language. Well done!

  31. Turley is absolutely right. Obama said that no one was above the law, yet he wanted to apply that standard only going forward. I am sorry, Mr. President, but any time alleged crimes are being discussed, they have already happened. By your own statement, the only time someone is eligible to held to account is when they are caught in the act. Everything else that we are talking about has happened in the past. That is, except for what your own administration is planning for the future. But, of course, I am sure you will not be very willing to investigate, either. It seems apparent that the application of “enemy combatant” status will be applied to people at the discretion of the president. But why shouldn’t it be? It was written into law by congress and signed into law by Bush. This goes to the very heart of why simply changing presidents was never, and will never be an answer to a lawless U.S. government. This president will simply assume the powers that were achieved for the executive branch by the previous president.

  32. Bron,

    The mob proper won’t care about the Constitution. They’ll only care about revenge. It will be up to people like me and the regulars to pick up the pieces. It’s not a job I’m unwilling to do, but it is most certainly not the preferred outcome. It will be a bloody and painful mess. That is exactly what I wish to avoid by punishing the guilty now. Systems that are complex and dynamic behave strangely when error is introduced. First, there are flutters of instability, isolated error, but as error compounds, instability accelerates.

    You can see this error compounding already in the global financial markets data. Eventually you reach a point of “singularity” (to borrow the sociologists term) – an event of system wide impact from which there is no return. A critical error. The result of such an event is either systemic collapse or the fundamental nature of the system changes as it seeks to regain equilibrium. The Neocon’s desired “changes” in this case would be essentially be the same as the collapse of liberal democracy and the Constitution – the net result is the same, systemic collapse. This is what defines them at their core as the enemy within. The critical weakness in Neocon thinking is that they will be able to “enforce” their changes and hold power to “define the new system” (guess who they want on top?) when history shows us, with examples as “mundane” as the tainted peanut butter by the way, of why fascism always fails.

    It is pure ego, and hence pure evil, to think that there is something special about Neocons that will allow them to succeed at a model that is as, if not more so, historically proven as invalid as pure communism turned out to be. It is this arrogance and ego worship that is their true Achilles’ heel. They cannot see the throats they are cutting are their own, blinded by dreams of unlimited power and avarice that are just ego induced delusion. But you are essentially correct that when the singularity happens it won’t look like traditional revolutions past. That’s why I described it in terms of Anarchy Plus. It’s going to be something the Neocons and indeed the “Jeffersonian Constitutionalist Liberal small D Democrats” like myself can anticipate the actual form of yet in high resolution detail for a simple reason – instability is by definition largely unpredictable in specific in detail. We won’t know the shape of this until it’s too late to take specific remedial action. You can see it coming, you can trace the root causes, but you are reduced to a certain amount of supposition about outcome until events start to unfold and then it may be too late. Uncertainty is by definition not 100% predictable, you can make projections of likely outcomes, but that is cold comfort. That is why I seek to undo instability before it arises. As bad an outcome as fascism is, uncertainty is even worse. Will We the People be able to pick up the pieces? Or is true anarchy going to result? Will the Union fractionate? None of that changes that uncertainty and instability is the only outcome guaranteed by the Neocon’s naked ambitions because their “dream” was dead at the gate – founded upon their ego and inability to learn from humanity’s past mistakes as evidenced by their adoption of the proven failed model of fascism. An idea built on a faulty foundation, their eventual doom is CERTAIN. The flip side of that coin is that although their doom is certain, We the People’s success in repairing the damage the Neocons do self-destructing is not. Because the extent and level of that damage at singularity is still unpredictable. If the Union fractionates, it’s game over. It is self-evident that the avoidance of instability is the best course to avoid disaster. As they teach in Aikido, “The best way to avoid trouble is not to be there when it starts.” The best way to avoid trouble at this point is to restore the rule of law, incarcerate the guilty and seize their assets as reparations to attain what Learned Hand called “the shadow of justice”.

    Otherwise, it’s going to get really ugly before the Neocons eventually fail at the game of Empire like every other attempt throughout history. But fail they will.

  33. The problem is the person. Her name is Kagan. She is another Israel first scumbag just like her kinsmen Robert Kagan. Of course she agrees with the Bush admin. There is NO change coming with these people in positions of power.

  34. Bob,

    I think it comes down to war against a state of mind, specifically ego worship and sociopathy.

    But don’t get me wrong.

    But I’m all for a war on those pesky gerunds. DAMN YOU STRUNK & WHITE! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

  35. Bron,
    You’re new more reasoned incarnation shows that getting the fact that it isn’t the political position expressed here that causes reaction, but your means of expressing it. This is a community of pretty independent minds and I think “groupthink” is antithetic to most of our beliefs.

    In answering your queries I think Mespo and Buddha did yeoman work and there is no need for me to expand upon their well-covered territory. Mespo’s comments were especially important because few realize how Adam Smith has been de-contextualized in the service of the greedy and the ignorant. I will respond though to some other questions you raised that have not been fully covered, or directly addressed to me:

    “The market is morally neutral. I would trust the combined judgement of 300,000,000 million people making personal decisions about resource allocation over a group of 1000 highly trained PhD’s in economics”

    I agree a theoretical free market would be morally neutral, but such a market does not and will not exist. The reason is simple and doesn’t take economic theory to divine. The nature of running a business is to keep increasing market share. Microsoft is a good example. They have an overwhelming market share in OS and used that to parlay that into other software contexts. At one point Wordperfect for instance, was a far superior word processor than was MSWord, then Microsoft’s marketshare and built-in incompatibility issues basically destroyed Wordperfect. The same was true with Lotus 123 and MSExcel. Windows is a clunky, error ridden OS, when compared to Apple, Linux, etc. and yet most people, myself included, are forced to use Windows simply because of its’ market ubiquity.

    I use that only to make my point that a truly free market cannot exist because the nature of business won’t let it. By the same token businesses left to their own devices will conspire together to set prices above market value to maximize profit. See gas prices/OPEC as an easy example. So contrary to popular mythology the market is not about 300,000,000 making decisions, it is about rigging the game to increase profits. By the way I’m not even saying this tendency is immoral because I wouldn’t expect the CEO of a corporation to act differently, since she/he would be fired otherwise. As for highly trained PhD’s in economics I would have little faith in them. Economics is an art not a science, perhaps somewhere years down the line it will become a science, but right now it’s a bunch of viewpoints influenced by political persuasion and personal economic interests.

    “Any company that breaks laws should be punished to the fullest extent possible. And I believe the profit motive is the best thing to keep companies honest. Government regulation dosent seem to do a very good job and lends itself to corruption. I think the evidence of the last few months is example enough.”

    Government regulation actually had been fairly effective from the
    FDR era until Ronnie came into the White House. The profit motive as I explained above doesn’t keep companies honest. It is by nature amoral, apolitical and owes no loyalty to national boundaries. A business must simply maintain or increase market share and maintain or increase profit. If it can do so by moving its’ manufacturing base from the US to China for instance, where the work force is basically slave labor, it will do so. This is despite how well the American workers have performed for them because the bottom line is the only determinant.

    “And quite frankly I dont understand the objectiion to objectivist thought, the left has more in common with it than the right does. Mostly in the area of civil liberties. Objectivits are for personal freedom but not to the point of anarchy.’

    You are correct when it comes to civil liberties there is common ground between objectivists and civil libertarians. However, a belief in civil liberties is not a left wing or right wing belief.
    FFLEO is not a man of the Left wing and he believes in civil liberties, as does Ron Paul and Bob Barr (their abortion stands notwithstanding. My contention though is that under objectivism civil liberties will mean little. Sure we’ll be able to have sex and get high, but what about the other stuff. Rand is ridiculous because she postulates that the people who rise to the top of such a system will be people like John Galt, Ragnar Deneskjold and finally Dagny Taggart. She believes in the purity of the marketplace, whereas as I’ve delineated above I believe that is rather childish mythology when one looks at the facts.

    In an Ayn Rand world manufacturers would strive to produce the best products, workers could individually negotiate their salaries based solely on their abilities and people would live and let live.
    This won’t happen. Rand fails to take into account the irrational human ego and that is a fatal flaw. Most people who strive for power have a need driven by ego (really a shorthand expression that takes tomes to expand upon), greed and sexuality. In an objectivist world these people would quickly kill Rand’s heroes and take power with arms and terror. As time went on they would expand into a hereditary aristocracy and a new feudal age would begin. History proves this to us over and over again. Rand’s heroes, who she conveniently/unrealistically paints as super people would lose out because their “I’m for me alone philosophy” would lose out to a ruthless leader(s)philosophy of “Follow me, I’m strong…or I’ll kill you” philosophy. Rand postulates a human race/society that doesn’t yet exist and may never come to pass.

    Someone wise but unknown, Al Lottman, said many years ago on a radio program while debating Objectivists:”Government exists to keep the guy with the gun from pointing it at me and taking everything I have.” Objectivism carried out to its’ logical extent can’t do that. Now one could argue that in an objectivist society you and your friends could get their own guns and therefore provide your own protection. The truth I learned on my violent schoolyard many years ago is that no matter how tough you are there is always someone tougher. In objectivist society the toughest sociopaths win and John Galt gets shot from behind by a follower who thinks he should be the leader.

    “Objectivits are for personal freedom but not to the point of anarchy”

    Nice thought but ultimately futile. Who controls the forces that keep anarchy at bay? The police/military. Who do they report to and how easily can the leaders be bought off? Still comes down to the most powerful, richest and heavily armed get to run things and objectivism makes their path to power much easier than any other system.

    “Maybe highways, you can make an argument for private toll roads especially the major interstates. Why cant you have private companies/organizations providing the sterling mark, why does it have to be government?”

    Check out the feudal history of toll roads. They are monopolies that can raise prices and enforce their own law at will. If you’ve got commerce that moves by truck the toll road operator then has control over that commerce. Build a competing toll road and the two toll road operators collaborate to maintain the same stranglehold, while raising prices even further to maintain their profit.

    Private companies are more easily bought off and co-opted. Look up the history of money and banking to see where private minters devaluated content to raise profits. Consumer’s Report can be bought off, or its’ means of distribution strangled so their judgments don’t reach the public. Private entities making judgments about the workings of other private entities doesn’t work. See the current financial crisis where the news has come out that the supposed independent bond rating companies cooked their ratings to satisfy the Investment Banks/Hedge funds they were rating. Standard and Poors, etc. were not immune to undue influence and neither is Consumer Reports.

  36. Mike,

    On a geek note, I was never happier than the day I switched to Linux. The only thing I use Windows for now is games. For the technically disinclined, I suggest Ubuntu, for the more techie, any Debian based distribution will do. Linux with Open Office and Firefox is not only more stable than Windows, it’s a hell of a lot faster and every bit as productive. And it’s free. Got to love the free and the functional. I had toyed with Linux many years ago, but I was never happy with the available shells, but the quality of the available interfaces has increased dramatically in the last 3 years. I’ll go so far as to say the Nautilus shell Ubuntu is currently using is pretty. I recently read a comparison between Ubuntu and Windows 7 and Ubuntu still outperformed. For what that’s worth . . .

  37. I’m not certain what’s going on here. Information proving torture is occuring in Gitmo, presented to Obama has been “blanked out”.

    “US defence officials are preventing Barack Obama from seeing evidence that a former British resident held in Guantánamo Bay has been tortured, the prisoner’s lawyer said last night, as campaigners and the Foreign Office prepared for the man’s release in as little as a week.

    Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the legal charity Reprieve, which represents Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed, sent Obama evidence of what he called “truly mediaeval” abuse but substantial parts were blanked out so the president could not read it.

    In the letter to the president [PDF] , Stafford Smith urges him to order the disclosure of the evidence.

    Stafford Smith tells Obama he should be aware of the “bizarre reality” of the situation. “You, as commander in chief, are being denied access to material that would help prove that crimes have been committed by US personnel. This decision is being made by the very people who you command.”

    It is understood US defence officials might have censored the evidence to protect the president from criminal liability or political embarrassment.”

  38. I have always agreed with the reasoning of Mr. Turley on this issue and why not investigating and prosecuting these war crimes sends a very bad message not to mention involves those in not doing so in obstruction of Justice. That said the two best means I can think of to do this are either 1. The Justice Dept appointing a Special Prosecutor or 2. The House reissuing the Independent Counsel act, which was allowed to expire because it was poisoned by Ken Starr. The reason these two methods would be preferable is because neither are partisan or even would have to involve partisan appointees.

    The difficulties I see is that there doesn’t seem to be enough Dem support for either nor enough support coming from the Obama Admin and I would claim if anything the Obama Admin is trying to prevent these investigations by not making it clear to Holder that he should appoint a Special Prosecutor to look into these very serious charges. What’s worse is the Obama Admin thru its Justice Dept just invoked “State’s Secrets” to block the release of documents in the civil cases of five foreign detainees that has been winding its way thru the Federal Court system. This was the same abuse of power objection used by the Bush Admin.

    The only other legal remedy I am aware of that might be employed to force the Obama Administration to investigate these Bush crimes would be a writ of mandamus but not sure if a sitting President would be immune from a civil action like this or who would have standing to sue for this remedy and even if those tortured would have standing, it still isn’t a method that has a good track record with issues as substantial as these are. But even if mandamus got shot down by the courts it might create enough of a shot to jolt the Obama Admin into upholding the rule of law. It certainly would be something I would consider attempting if I thought I have standing and could create a damage to allege.

    RJ Crane,

  39. Buddha,
    Thanks for the geek note I will check out Ubuntu. I already use Firefox and Open Office and they far surpass Explorer and Office. Infinitely less annoying.

    Loved your comment where the following came from, i’m so there with you in that thinking:

    “It is this arrogance and ego worship that is their true Achilles’ heel. They cannot see the throats they are cutting are their own, blinded by dreams of unlimited power and avarice that are just ego induced delusion.”

    Causes me to mention another great movie from 1969 called “The Damned(Gotterdammerung)” by the great Italian director Luccino Visconti. This movie was rated X in the US less for the sex than for its’ political commentary. It was a fictional following of the fortunes of the Krupp(armaments)Family as they descended into a hell of their own making. The film starts with this all powerful family latching onto Nazism, with the belief that they could control it with their money and power. It comes to its conclusion as the family is destroyed by its’ hubris. Long movie, great direction, acting and writing.

    It lays out fictionally what you lay out factually regarding the Neo-Cons and their belief that they will be in power. Fools like Wolfowitz, et al. believe they’re kingmakers, but wind up as pawns/courtiers, fawning over the behinds of the ruthless bastards that seize power. It is the common error of the politically involved pseudo-intellectual. The problem is they usually cause a ton of death and destruction with their provision of dogma for the punditocracy and the gullible. The USSR and China are great reference points for this. In both instances there were intellectual apologists promising all power to the people, in the end both countries wound up and remain fascist.

  40. Mike,

    I’ll have to check that out. If I didn’t wish to protect my true identity, I have a personal Krupp’s story about how far the mighty have fallen. I’ll just say it involves alcoholism and drug addiction, possibly prostitution. If by chance we get to have a beer together some day, I’ll tell you the story.

  41. What should we do? I just received Senator Leahy’s email request to sign his online petition. Luckily, the wisdom of Prof. Turley has kept me from supporting Leahy’s Truth Commission (obviously).

    Still, if the Senator is unable to collect a significant number of signatures, is it going to look like Americans aren’t interested in pursuing investigations?

    Worse, is this a ploy to derail the accountability movement? Call me cynical…

  42. Really great stuff, thank you. I don’t think its just egos for these “neo-Bolsheviks”. Who is backing them and why? There is huge money being made from our ruinous “western trade/wars/money borrowing/lending policies”. We have been importing debt and exporting jobs at home and creating huge destruction and instability abroad. Why? An old Chinese saying is “stir up water to catch fish”,….. Who is getting the fish? The only ones that can save us now are the Lawyers. There must be full INDEPENDENT judicial investigations and then prosecutions if required or, our entire systems creditability is universally shot. The only alternative is a revolution at some point, which must be avoided at all costs.

  43. meistre,

    I really think flooding the WH with “the evidence” might have some chance of getting attention. Obama said is there was evidence of war crimes then he would investigate. So, let’s send the evidence! Here’s some now from the CCR:

    “February 12, 2009, New York and Washington, DC—Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit confirm Department of Defense involvement in the CIA’s ghost detention program, revealed three prominent human rights groups today. The groups—Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ)—today released documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and U.S. Department of State (DOS), resulting from their lawsuit seeking the disclosure of government documents that relate to secret detention, extraordinary rendition, and torture. At a public press conference, the groups revealed that these documents confirm the existence of secret prisons at Bagram and in Iraq; affirm the DOD’s cooperation with the CIA’s ghost detention program; and show one case where the DOD sought to delay the release of Guantánamo prisoners who were scheduled to be sent home by a month and a half in order to avoid bad press.”

    I think the whole idea of the “war on terror” is the linchpin for most other abuses of executive authority. It justifies domestic spying, renditions, torture, indefinite detention and every other abuse of the rule of law. That Kagan, and by extension Obama supports it is a real sign of danger.

  44. Jill 1, February 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    “I’m not certain what’s going on here.”

    Breakthrough!!! Whew…

    Civics 101: Separation of Powers

    The legislative branch makes the laws
    The executive branch enforces the laws
    The judicial branch interprets the laws

    Rule of Law: No one is above the law.

    Probably the most accessible part of the equation is the legislative branch which is why I keep advocating for constituents in their respective states to contact their Senators and Representatives in Congress.

    My credibility remains intact. Nice try, though.

    I don’t need to have my news cut n’ pasted from other blogs only to have it folded, spindled, mutilated and regurgitated on my shoes.

    Original thoughts and factual information, on the other hand,
    are welcome.

    Turlees should strive to maintain sterility – prior to inserting
    foot in mouth.

  45. Patty,

    I can only speak for myself and not as a formally trained scientist like yourself, but I always try to practice sterile lab protocols. But by the same token, there is that whole Alexander Fleming thing . . .

  46. MikeS:

    thank you for taking time to educate me. I actually do see your points and I understand. And I agree that human nature is a very difficult force to control. I think your point about need driven ego is very good and I think I understand it to a point.
    Namely that they are externally motivated, they need the big car, fancy house, cute girlfriend, big wads of cash and control of others lives is the ultimate motivation. I am sure it is more complex than that.

    I have to say that I wish I would have come in here a little differently, the issues analysis is very interesting and the perspective is certainly different to what I am used to.

    Please accept my sincere apologies for my bad and boorish behaviour.

  47. Bron,


    For my part, apology accepted. You must have taken two of the red pills. Also, for my part, I’m sorry I had to put on my war face. I’d rather talk this way, it’s more productive and less incendiary. I keep my demon on a leash for a reason and I really don’t enjoy using him. That’s why I chose Buddha Is Laughing instead of Shiva Is Angry. Good show, man. A sincere apology is a sign of character. There’s hope for you yet.

  48. President Obama will be hoe in Chicago this weekend.
    the address is here:

    5046 South Greenwood Ave,
    Chicago, IL 60615

    Gong forward this might be a way to keep the constructive pressure up on the executive branch.

  49. Patty,

    I can only speak for myself and not as a formally trained scientist like yourself, but I always try to practice sterile lab protocols. But by the same token, there is that whole Alexander Fleming thing . . .
    Indeed. Fleming counseled early on against creating antibiotic resistance as a result of prescribing too little, too much,
    and/or unnecessarily. It’s preferable to know what your dealing with first – before reaching for the big gun broad-spectrums…

    p.s. I trust you have Feb 18 marked on your calendar as the day
    the Obama WH is expected to clarify its position on the Bush era retroactive immunity claims.

  50. Patty,

    Oh yeah. It’s marked. To me, that’s the day the batters can really tell if they might to have to charge the mound.

  51. Bron,
    No apology needed, but thank you for the thought. We’re all here to contribute, to learn and to educate. I’ve said before that I first realized I was on the beginning of the long road to wisdom, when I realized how little I knew. Yes there are a lot of smart people here in JT’s merry band, but we are all learning to help each other try to puzzle things out. In the end though an open minds trumps IQ points every time.

  52. Bob: “Just for clarity’s sake, Are we at war with a gerund form of a verb or a state of mind?”

    Buddha Is Laughing: “Bob, I think it comes down to war against a state of mind, specifically ego worship and sociopathy. But don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a war on those pesky gerunds. DAMN YOU STRUNK & WHITE! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!”

    Bob: “Wait a minute… Statue of Liberty… that was OUR Planet! You maniacs … you declared war on a tactic!”

    “Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war.” — von Clausewitz

  53. Bob,

    Next time they remake “Planet of the Apes”, I’m sending them your name as a potential screenwriter. You and seamus, who seems to display an alarming amount of knowledge about Soylent Green. Could there be a renaissance of Chuck Heston remakes in the offering?

  54. Buddha,

    Two things.

    First, in the words of Phil Hartman as Charlton Heston: “Solyent Green is still people.”

    Second, if you didn’t get the Simpsons reference, you need to see the episode entitled “Deep Space Homer”

    SIYOM (Stay In Your Own Movie),


  55. So we have our report on the state of terrorism aroung the world. Thanks to cheneybush it’s a disaster. Theoretically, we could have a terrorist attack on the US by the end of next week. Almost everyone in intelligence says it’s a matter of when, not if.

    That’s a real good reason to jetison the idea of the “war” on terror and get right into treating terrorism as a crime. We can’t solve the increased risk of terrorism left us by the previous administration in a few weeks or months but we can turn on a dime in how we deal with terrorism.

    Our last attack took us down a very bad road. Congress and the nation as a whole ceeded way too much power to the executive because, “we were at war”. It was dangerous to criticize bush for a long, long time. People who did were called traitors. Paul Krugman wrote about the real fear that crippled critical evaluation of Bush’s actions. We gave over innocent Muslims to be picked up and interrogated, gave up our civil liberties, Congress authorized the “patri-idiotic act” and AUMF with little debate and less information. We accepted the unacceptable in so many ways. We must never let that happen again.

  56. “Mike S,
    About that Ayn Rand v. Thrasymachus riff …

    When I wrote that comment I had no idea who Thrasymachus was.
    I was forced by your post to see whether this guy was Greek to me.

    From reading the two links above I now understand your comment and the aptness of your making it. Although more reading and research is called for because the links scratch the surface and so my understanding of him and Plato is as yet superficial. Whether I do it or not is problematic since I’ve always been a “Gordian Knot cutting” kind of guy and philosophy makes my head ache.

    Also in the mid 70’s I attended an elegant party for the faculty and student’s of Columbia’s School of Philosophy. As I wandered the party stoned on mescaline (it was the 70’s after all)I eavesdropped on the knots of philosophical discussion and after a bit I started a quiet chuckling that continued for the rest of the party. I had noticed that the discussions at base were really ritualistic mating calls of people trying to get laid.

    Damn Bob, I admire the breadth of your knowledge and that of the others here. You have shown it over and again in your comments. That’s why my learning at this site far exceeds my educating. However, you have to realize that at times it’s hard for an old hippie geezer like me to keep up.


  57. “I am right about who really attacked us on 9/11, Saudi Arabia and about Bush being their boy.”

    Why do you think Saudi Arabia attacked us? What was their motive?

  58. Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone

  59. “if you are not a socialist before the age of 25 you have no heart, if you are a socialist after the age of 25 you have no mind” ~ Winston Churchill

  60. Money and destabilization so they could spread Wahibism unrestricted in the ME. Iraq was in their way as a non-theocratic state. We, under a normal Presidency, would not have allowed them to be aggressors in the ME, but because Bush was in bed with the evil bastards, he attacked Iraq instead of those who really attacked us. All of the hijackers but one were Saudis operating out of Afghanistan. Not a ONE was Iraqi. Saddam didn’t tolerate terrorist organizations within his borders. They were a threat to him. He’d have killed them faster than we would. That alone should make it self-evident who attacked us. Add to that their 100% non-cooperation in bringing the terrorists to justice and cutting off their funds – most of which come from Saudi Arabia. Their perpetual screwing with oil prices for no reason but greed. You think $4 a gallon gas was an accident? And that it went away when their bought and paid for tool BushCheney was on the way out of the White House? Follow the money. It’s not hard. It’s called “bait and switch”. One doesn’t have to be psychic to connect the dots. It’s classical military strategy to turn your enemies against each other. And make no mistake, they do consider us the enemy. They played Bush like a violin, but Cheney was in on it – him and the Secret Energy Task Force.

    But this is as far as I’m going to rehash this.

    It’s been gone over in here time and again. I should caution you that if your desire is to DEFEND them, now would be a good time to just walk away. They have no defense. Every attempt here has failed. Feel free to try if you just want an evening of frustration though. You can’t defend a terrorist theocratic repressive retrograde fascist police state who provided the money and manpower for 9/11. Evil is as evil does.

  61. I’m not going to try and defend anyone. Frankly, I don’t know what to think about the subject so I am always curious to hear what others think. This is only my second time reading here so I’m not familiar with the previous discussions. Thank you for your reply.

  62. Query,
    How do I delete an immoderate comment “awaiting mediation” and that on re-reading don’t really want to submit. Any answers site moderators or commenters?

  63. Advice anyone?

    I received Senator Leahy’s email request to sign his online petition. Luckily, the wisdom of Prof. Turley has kept me from supporting Leahy’s Truth Commission but it worries me that, if the Senator is unable to collect a significant number of signatures, is it going to look like Americans aren’t interested in pursuing investigations?

    Worse, is this a ploy to derail the accountability movement? Call me cynical…

  64. meistre,

    Leahy isn’t important as his methodology is flawed, but his vocal intent is important. He gets that something needs to be done and is willing to risk political capitol to say so. That in itself is a good sign even if he doesn’t know what to do. No, there is more than one way to skin this cat (don’t start with me PETA people, I have a 24# purring ragdoll in my lap right now and I’d be more likely to skin you than him). A recent USA Today poll showed the majority of Americans want a criminal investigation, although they differ on methods. Leahy is off base. All he can think about is political theater because that’s all he knows. An independent prosecutor on the other hand, say one that was originally appointed by the Bush administration who has a record of upholding the rule of law despite politics, one who has been a vocal critic of Bush illegalities . . . do you think it was an accident that Patrick Fitzgerald is staying on under Obama?

    I suggest watching what happens in the DOJ scandal. I’ve said all along that this is analogous to Watergate. It’s not the crime that’s going to get them, it’s the cover up. But people do want something done. And DOJ is the cover up.

  65. Mike Spindell: “From reading the two links above I now understand your comment and the aptness of your making it. Although more reading and research is called for because the links scratch the surface and so my understanding of him and Plato is as yet superficial. Whether I do it or not is problematic since I’ve always been a “Gordian Knot cutting” kind of guy and philosophy makes my head ache.”


    I assure you I have no deep understanding of Thrasymachus outside of Plato’s inclusion of him in certain dialogues; most notably The Republic. Accordingly, when I reference Thrasymachus it’s merely shorthand method of alluding to the idea that “justice is the interest of the stronger.”

    And not for nothing, but compared to Plato I find reading Ayn Rand as easy, agreeable and enjoyable as sucking mud through a straw.

    N.B. Sucking mud through a straw ‘makes my head ache.’



  66. Bob,
    Missed your comment on Albert Hoffman’s dying. He was 102. His work with psychedelics and self-experimentation were important and groundbreaking. However, they were eclipsed in the public mind by Leary’s showmanship, Kesey’s Pranksters and the Grateful Dead. Leary’s and Kesey’s excesses encouraged ill considered usage. Then too, the demonizing and fear created by the Nixon years, replete with its’ horror stories (some real) closed the book on its’ experimental possibilities.

    This is a loss, because under highly controlled conditions, it can be of benefit to some and add further to our knowledge of the cosmos and consciousness. My long past experiences are what keeps me in the Deist, rather than agnostic/atheist camps. Experiencing the fragility of what we call reality led me to see that there are many other possibilities of reality in this universe.

    However, using it and the other stronger psychedelics for recreation is a chancy proposition, since environment and mood strongly influence the experience. During my last trip in 1980 I experienced an almost psychotic break and was literally saved from death by a quick thinking friend and my training as a psychotherapist. I understand that some serious experiments are beginning again, if so, I hope the recreational excesses of people like me are not repeated.


  67. Mike,

    Per Kesey’s pranksters, I thank them for helping ‘open the eyes’ of the Grateful Dead. Per Timothy Leary, I side with Hunter S. Thompson in deeming him a complete fraud. For ’empirical’ reasons that need not be stated here, I never bought into the argument for needing a ‘controlled environment.’ I can say that ‘better living through chemistry’ can offer one a whole new perspective on Kant’s Critique; enabling one to extrapolate a ‘Matrix-like’ view of the world circa 1987 based on a book written two centuries prior. It can also make one realize that you can only be young once, but you can be Jungian forever. And finally, it can also lead one to the epiphany that Mel Brooks’ 2,000 Year Old Man was right when he said:

    “Eat nectarines; half a peach, half a plum, it’s a hell of a fruit.”





    I’m pretty sure I posted this link to the Albert Hoffman story:

  68. Afterthought:


    In reviewing my last post I felt constrained to add that I hope you don’t find my glibness as deminimizing in any way of your horrific experience circa 1980 or your remark that the subject be taken seriously; e.g. as seriously as the Canadians took it while experimenting with treatments for alcoholics.

    I simply thought the notion to be implicit thus necessitating levity.

    ‘Thus necessitating levity?’ Jesus H. Christ, I’d delete that but it sounds like a German comic…

    ‘You will have fun in sie following order…’

    Anyway, I hope you know what I mean; if not about the German comic that is.



  69. Bob,
    I not only took no offense but agreed with your clarifications of my murky statement regarding controlled environment. Although one way to go by controlled environment I didn’t necessarily mean in some lab with psychologists and psychiatrists in attendance.

    My bad trip came because I experienced it with a bunch of people who I didn’t fully trust and that affected perceptions. My first bad trip (only two bad ones of many taken) happened in the 60’s and I was with people who later moved to Hawaii and became a cult.I would have been more correct in saying an environment that one considers benign, with some loved ones perhaps.

    Part of the reason I gave up psychotherapy was because I found many practitioners, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists had not done the needed work on themselves and thus used their patients for their own catharsis. Hence the problem with controlled studies.

    Thompson had Leary correct, as he did so much else. I liked Kesey, even still have copies of his magazine “Spit in the Ocean.” He actually led a pretty exemplary life. The problem came with “The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test” and Tom Wolfe’s
    hipper than thou cum breathless writing style. It turned it in the public’s eye into the same minstrel show laden with hyperbole that Leary was pushing. Kesey wasn’t really that kind of guy and was more sincere in outlook than Leary who envisioned himself the Pied Piper of Psychedelia. Wolfe actually got some of that right when he wrote of the NY meeting between the Pranksters and Leary.

    Almost all those I knew went through those psychedelic years with no burnout or flashbacks. They later had good lives and raised good children. The Nixon backlash, facilitated by the inability/lack of desire to communicate to the non-Psychedelic public what was going on, allowed the beginning phases of the War on Drugs, that was hatched under Nixon and codified under Reagan. It became a great Republican selling point.

    In truth one can only look at this via levity since that is what the experience lent itself to. The only problem I have with your comment is that you forgot that you’re dealing with a 60+ retired guy who doesn’t text, blackberry or IM. What in hell does SIYOM mean and for that matter as I’ve seen in other comments, BIL? Googling doesn’t help me find their meaning. I know I am the old fart at this site, but all of you please take pity.


  70. Mike Spindell: “My bad trip came because I experienced it with a bunch of people who I didn’t fully trust and that affected perceptions.”

    And there it is; the touch stone of all bad trips:

    “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)

    As long as you’re not lying to yourself, you don’t need a landing crew or psychedelic ATC to help you down. You just walk away and ‘become part of another movie;’ either yours alone or somebody else’s.

    “What in hell does SIYOM mean and for that matter as I’ve seen in other comments, BIL? Googling doesn’t help me find their meaning.”

    I don’t know what BIL is; it may be the acronym SIYOM skewed by a text reader.

    SIYOM is “Stay In Your Own Movie” which is merely a phrase like “Beam me up Scotty” that I borrowed &/or created from Tom Wolfe’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”

    You can pretty much pick up all the inflections of meaning for the phrase from there; be the hero of your own life; don’t let others control your perceptions since perception is reality… etc.



  71. This is what I mean when I say the “war on terror” must go: Here’s a new report:

    “The UK and the US have “actively undermined” international law in the way they fight terrorism, a report by judges and lawyers has said.

    The independent International Commission of Jurists carried out a three-year global study.

    It concluded that many measures introduced to fight terrorism were illegal and counter-productive.

    It called for justice systems to be strengthened and warned that temporary measures should not become permanent.

    The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is a non-governmental organisation which promotes the observance of the rule of law and the legal protection of human rights.

    After a painstaking study carried out over three years in several countries, the panel of eminent lawyers and judges concluded that the framework of international law that existed before the 9/11 attacks on the US was robust and effective.

    Lack of safeguards

    But now, it said, it was being actively undermined by many states and liberal democracies like the US and the UK.

    The report remarks upon the extent to which undemocratic regimes with poor human rights records have referred to counter-terror practices of countries like the US to justify their own abusive policies.”

  72. Bob,

    I have to take slight issue. Not all personalities are suited for the experience. Interactions may vary as the packages sometimes say. I have a couple of friends who should NEVER try a psychedelic – their tenuous grip may come loose and for one college friend, it did. He’s barely fit for human companionship now. He did do a ridiculous amount though, but I digress. My experience mirrors yours, but there was that one time when circumstances beyond my control made the suckiness factor shoot to the high 90th percentile. It wasn’t crippling or dangerous to me, but it did give me a window to understand “bad” in that context. I think your first time should DEFINITELY be supervised.

    I’ll share the story, I kid you not, of Jack and Diane. Friends of mine in college. They knew I had done it, wanted to try it, but wanted me to act as safety. They provided for my entertainment, but I did not partake as safety was my job. It’s a good thing too. They eventually wanted to go outside. It was night, breezy and nice, not a big shock from the controlled environment of their house. Very pleasant actually. But from the park they could see an all night grocery store. Full of people and bright lights and crazy colors and textures. They wanted to go in. I advised against it. They were insistent. I relented on the one condition, “I say leave, we leave, no argument, no questions.” They agreed.

    We’ll just say it was a short, jarring visit that shaped their opinion of the experience. But they left when I said time to go and thus we avoided the need to discuss with the police why Diane decided climbing up on a table display of fruit was a good idea (don’t get any more ideas PETA) or Jack’s desire to rearrange the cereal aisle by color and box size.

    Just food for thought.

    Personally, I found it most instructive and useful over all. It helped me realize the truth that there is no spoon long before The Matrix was a gleam in the Wachowski’s eyes. But it also cooked my boy B’s brain. I’m not saying it’s all bad (far from it), just that it’s risky – like any drug, and safety is never a bad idea. This is one substance that should it be legal should require some sort of medical screening/supervision.

  73. Bob,
    “Stay in your own movie” are words to the wise. They rate with
    “Don’t Panic.”

    Takes one, to know one and somehow I knew you’d been there.


  74. Buddha,

    We’re not in disagreement; you’re absolutely right. My apologies for making a somewhat limited rule of thumb sound more general than intended.

    Parsing out the language used in this area of discussion, and the intended audiences, can get incredibly clumsy however you may find a few of the added dimensions interesting. (N.B. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried to put this in writing before)

    For example, when I wrote what I did, my intended audience was those who are conscious of the subject matter being discussed on a similar level to myself. But consider what I refer to as the ‘plastic person;’ i.e. someone who lies to himself. Consider further two different varieties of plastic people; the one that lies to himself consciously and the one who doesn’t know they’ve been lying to themselves and/or been lied to.

    Per the first plastic person, i.e. the one who Consciously lies to him/herself everyday — strip that person of the ability for self deception via chemistry, and presto — bad trip.

    But then consider the second plastic person; those who don’t know they’ve been lying to themselves, and/or have been lied to, and then strip them of the ability for self deception. Sure you have a bad trip, but you also have a completely different moral dilemma.

    The first plastic person may or may not have had it comin’. They could grow morally or not based on their reaction to the experience. But what of the second plastic person? Can we even refer to the second person as being truly ‘plastic?’ I really didn’t intend to segue to this but, what do we say of the second plastic person if they simply were woken from their
    Matrix-induced slumber? Should everyone be compelled to wake up? Shall we deem them victims, or reluctant heroes perhaps?

    So, what I’m sayin’ Buddha, is that you’re right.

    Buddha: “Not all personalities are suited for the experience. Interactions may vary as the packages sometimes say. I have a couple of friends who should NEVER [take the red pill] – their tenuous grip may come loose and for one college friend, it did.”


    (and that should not read BIL since I don’t know what BIL means)



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