Holder Promises to Follow the Law on Any Torture Investigation But Fails to Mention Special Prosecutor

holdereric Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that he will “follow the law” in deciding whether to pursue criminal charges against Bush officials for the torture program. While first reported as a major advance, the statement conspicuously does not mention the appointment of a special prosecutor, an essential component to any investigation since the Justice Department featured heavily in these allegations.

Holder stated “We are going to follow the evidence, follow the law and take that where it leads. No one is above the law.” That is a great statement and much appreciated. However, the Justice Department should not be investigating itself. The Justice Department is notorious for a certain lack of vigor in the investigation of its own attorneys and any investigation without a special prosecutor from outside of the department would be viewed with considerable skepticism. There is an obvious conflict of interest and it is again bizarre (and worrisome) that Holder is resisting such an obvious step.

In the meantime, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a timeline on the program. Sen. Jay Rockefeller released the declassified report. Rockefeller has been a source of considerable criticism for his alleged knowledge of the unlawful surveillance and torture programs for years and his role in blocking any serious investigation. The timeline indicates that the work on the torture program began before the legal memos used later as a defense by Bush officials.

For the full story, click here.

95 thoughts on “Holder Promises to Follow the Law on Any Torture Investigation But Fails to Mention Special Prosecutor

  1. NPR just reported that Obama would like a 9/11 type commission. This is a cover up. I hope information continues to flood out and that the people in our populace to include those in the govt. continue to press as hard as possible to restore the rule of law. We cannot let lawlessness stand. We need to take back our govt.

  2. A former prosecutor was on Olberman last night and she said if a special prosecutor was asigned that,all the information would be shut out to the public.

    She sighted the scooter libby case,when once that happened,we the public were kept in the dark.

    I think this is the only place to get a correct answer to that notion.

  3. Mr. Turley,

    Thank you for the information. Since you assume that Holder is resisting appointing a special prosecutor, I wanted to know what the standard procedure would be. Is that the only first step in investigations, or if there seems to be impropriety found by the Justice Department in their initial investigations, could they then appoint a special prosecutor?


  4. Jill:

    “NPR just reported that Obama would like a 9/11 type commission. This is a cover up.”

    no truer words were ever spoken on this blog.

  5. The good news in all of these memos that have been declassified is that the nonsense that was used as legal reasoning is open for all to see how foolish and wrong headed and how illegal these tactics were and as far as we know may still be utilized at Gitmo and elsewhere. Holder is moving slowly, but there will be so much damning evidence in the public eye in the next several weeks, that investigations will be demanded from every corner of the country. I don’t know if it will be a Special Prosecutor, but there will be several investigations into these Bush regime felons. We will see some “perp” walks in the near future.

  6. I would like to both look back and at the present.

    Past: The illegal wiretapping and other surveillance of American citizens preceeded 9/11. Cheney and Addington were in the basement of the WH on the afternoon of 9/11 talking about where to put detainees so they would not be able to avail themselves of the protections afforded by the Geneva Conventions. Yesterday we learn that the highest officials in the Bush administration were asking for torture techniques before, as JT points out above, the OLC memos were written. We obviously don’t have the full story yet by any means, but we certainly have a great deal of credible, documentary evidence which would justify an immediate criminal investigation. Which leads me to the present.

    Present: Our law is clear. The evidence suggesting massive violations of our law is overwhelming and credible. I am struck by the lack of action by Holder and Obama. They should be out in front on this issue (actually they should have been on it shortly after Obama’s oath of office). Yet we have many distubing indications that they do not intend to have a valid investigation into the evidence.

    We further have every indication that Obama is adopting/perpetuating many of the same positions of the discredited bushcheney presidency. The Electronic Foundation, for example, says we should no longer call the warrentless surrveillance a Bush program, it is an Obama program.

    As was also revealed yesterday, there are a number of ghost detainees that the Obama administration still will not reveal their whereabouts. There were two credible allegations of torture at Guantanamo reported last week, torture that has been occuring under the presidency of Obama. The Obama administration has not followed our equally clear laws on prosecution for financial crimes.

    We cannot afford to ignore either the past or the present. There is lawlessness in this nation at the highest level. It must not be allowed to continue or to be swept under a rug.

  7. NPR is wrong… or, more likely, you heard it wrong.


    … “Mr. Obama said he was “not suggesting” that a commission be established. But he also sketched out the parameters for a panel that would look much like the one that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that “if and when there needs to be a further accounting,” he hoped Congress would examine ways for it to be conducted in a bipartisan fashion. Some Democrats are pushing similar proposals on Capitol Hill…

    …But Mr. Obama said Tuesday that he feared a Congressional inquiry would turn partisan and divide the country. “I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively,” he said, “and that it hampers our ability to carry out critical national security operations.” He said he would prefer an inquiry “outside of the typical hearing process,” with “independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility…”

  8. Patty C:

    “He said he would prefer an inquiry “outside of the typical hearing process,” with “independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility…””

    if you have to do it that is the way to do it, that has been one of my big reservations from the beginning (along with others), the partisanship would be overwhelming and would detract from the real issue(s).

    Let this be truly fair and impartial and above reproach and let the chips fall where they may. And if Bush or Chenny do time, as long as it is fair, I can live with that.

  9. From Patty C’s link:

    Obama is quoted as stating:

    “with “independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility…”

    Yes, President Obama, and that *one* independent participant would be *a* special prosecutor.

  10. eniobob,

    This is *not* the time for ‘vox populi’ but a time for the legal system to function now that the people have spoken.

  11. I have been pondering, why a Special Prosecutor was not now name. I questioned it at first and thought.

    If no charged are filed yet, it can be investigated easier, it can be seen as a due diligence inquiry, it can not be used as a partisan battle, it can be used as a tool of leverage for the administration (Hoover style), the decision will not be tainted anymore than it is already tainted and as we have become aware the wheels of justice especially in the federal arena move slow and not always fairly. I think that the current administration is trying to do the right thing and the administration is new for all practical matter. The impending consequences not only affect the USA as a whole but the reputation of the US as a whole.

    I don’t know how many people thought the former ruler of Iraq got a fair deal. I don’t. I don’t really see a lynching for Cheney, Rice or Bush in the near future or even at all. But I do see some retribution.

    I do like what Meghan McCain had to say about the Republicans being out of touch with Main Stream America.

  12. President Obama is trying to represent the interests of the broadest base of Americans and for that I think he should be applauded. A “truth and reconciliation” commission won’t satisfy my gut desire for vengeance on members of the Bush regime who blatantly violated the Constitution, but I’m not so sure that a diet of vengeance is best for my overall health. I can see some folks losing their law licenses, but maybe it’s the “adult” decision to reconsider the national ordeal of long drawn out trials that will undoubtedly become legally arcane, lose public support over time and deepen the chasm that divides our country.

    What I do think the country needs is an affirmation that certain individuals made bad decisions and/or wrote incorrect legal opinions and/or took certain extra-Constutional authority. These things cannot go into history without comment in order to a)reestablish the Constitution’s primacy, b)prevent future administrations from viewing these Bush-era actions as legal precedent unless they’re officially repudiated and c) put the Bush legacy in the ashcan of history where it belongs.

  13. JT has argued many times (as have others) that the most non-partisan way to deal with this situation is to appoint a special prosecutor. This person would do a thourough investigation and if charges were warrented, bring them.

    Obama is relatively new to the political scene but the people in his administration at the very highest levels are old hands. He is surrounded by people from Bush I, Bush II and Clinton, so I don’t think it’s accurate to say this a a group of people who just wouldn’t know how to handle the situation. They know how to handle it, they just don’t want to do the right thing.

  14. As the public knowledge stands, we know laws have been broken. To continue now with a ‘truth’ commission by our biased ‘leaders’ for a trial in the public, is tantamount to a civilized Islamic-style public stoning with vacuous words as our stones.

    If one thinks that the rule of law is supreme, then a ruler of law, known as a Special Prosecutor, must be appointed. I do not know who that person would be nor even if any present-day constitutionally brilliant legal scholar exists with all of the requisite skills, legal standing/credentials, integrity, honesty, impartiality, humility, and political unbiasedness who is deserving of such an appointment.

    There is only one such constitutional legal scholar who comes to mind, Professor Jonathan Turley.

  15. Dredd,

    I saw the coalition of the willing redefining the question on torture not, is it against the law but does it work? No, it doesn’t work and yes it’s against the law. It’s scary how quickly the propaganda is taken in.


    I’m having trouble with your statement that enforcement of our laws as a desire for vengence. That’s not what the rule of law is about. We specifically have the rule of law to avoid the taking of vengence. A broad coalition of people would like to have the rule of law returned to the United States. Mespo has it right when he said: “We already have a “truth commission.” We call it the federal grand jury system.

  16. Dredd,

    I saw the coalition of the willing redefining the question on torture not, is it against the law but does it work? No, it doesn’t work and yes it’s against the law. It’s scary how quickly the propaganda is taken in.


    I’m having trouble with your statement that enforcement of our laws is a desire for vengence. That’s not what the rule of law is about. We specifically have the rule of law to avoid the taking of vengence. A broad coalition of people would like to have the rule of law returned to the United States. Mespo has it right when he said: “We already have a “truth commission.” We call it the federal grand jury system.

  17. My objection was to the misquote…!

    Anybody who pays attention to what I have been saying here for the last year and a hlaf knows where I stand.

    In addition, I would suggest a little thought be given to where we want to end up, before jumping head first off this cliff.

    Obama said he wasn’t not suggesting anything. What he said was ‘given a choice’, his preference would be to have an independent bipartisan panel etc…

    And what JT said was ‘the EASIEST thing to do would be to appoint a special prosecutor’ – who, by nature of appointment, outside of the Justice Department, would be non-partisan.

  18. Jill,

    While I do appreciate and respect your view, the practicality of the situation has more attenuating consequences that have not been thought out.

    I don’t know what you training is in but, If you go to work and you demand that a former boss be held accountable for all of his or her misdeeds that affected you and the company as a whole where would that get you. Not very far, especially if it is a publically traded corporation.

    In this situation acting in haste like the former administration quick to act without thinking of the consequences will get us right back into the problems that started the whole thing to begin with.

    I may not remember a lot about History, but I do remember a certain special prosecutor appointed by the Nixon Administration that resigned rather than doing what he thought was illegal. I think that a lot of people in the Bush administration should have resigned rather than act. When you surround yourself with yes men or women you are bound to get shit on you and people are uncomfortable in telling you so. This reminds me of the emperors new clothes.

    Anyone who does well in Public Office has a certain amount of Narcissism. They have to in order to get over the fecal matter one must sift through on a daily basis.

  19. Jill

    I certainly don’t intend to demean our justice sytem in any way. However, if the point is to seek the truth and place it in the public record versus to punish indivuals, our system allows for alternatives. I agree our Constitution was left a very ill patient by the last administration. The question is what medicine to use to heal the patient. My suggestion was to apply a medicine that remedies the immediate illness without causing alot of damage to the patient’s long term health.

  20. rcampbell,

    How do you feel about providing justice for people who were tortured? Do they deserve justice or should they be allowed no recourse in a court of law? How do we remain a country who is based on the rule of law if we exempt our most powerful people from legal consequences for their illegal actions? Why are only the poor, middle class and unconnected held accountable? How does this maintain a justice system? To me that failure to investigate the powerful undermines the rule of law. JT has made this argument much better than I can, and I believe he is correct.

  21. Jill,

    No one disagrees with what you are saying. It is how we get there that may take a little while. You don’t till the soil, plant the seeds and expect a crop the next day.

    Somethings take time and patience. It does not mean that somebody may be prosecuted. Our society has become so wanting in immediate gratification that they forget that the factory has to be built.

    15 years ago, I would not have imagined this way of communicating and the next thing is the cell. How impatient are we when we want something now. We have gotten used to the ease and get upset when it does not work the way we want.

    The harvest will take some time.

  22. I agree with mespo that “[w]e already have a ‘truth commission.’ We call it the federal grand jury system.” However, there is a real utility to having a bit more openness in this case. As many of you know, FRCP 6(e) requires that grand jury proceedings be kept secret, but it only applies to the official participants, not witnesses, whom are free to speak about their testimony. I do not disagree with with the Supremes rational for justifying secrecy either (prevention of witness tampering, encouraging testimony, reduction of flight risk from those facing potential indictment and protection of innocent testifying parties implicated but not charged).

    However, the way the Federal government has blatantly abused the “state secrets” and “national security” arguments in recent years combined with the politicization of the DOJ and the fact that the major parties facing indictment are well-known and the crimes they are being investigated for affect the basis of all of our law, I say a modification of the secrecy rules ever so slightly for this one instance could have great psychological utility in restoring the faith in process to the average citizen.

    People, rightfully so, inherently distrust secrecy. Even more so because of the recent blatant abuses of secrecy by Bush Co. There is also precedent for runaway grand juries, albeit mostly at the state level. Since a claim of a runaway jury is the most likely mechanism for the Neocons scream about a “witch hunt”, why not disarm them before hand by shining a little light on the process? Since the violations in question are not just rooted in the Constitution, but the primary parties in question are Constitutionally empowered officers, this case addresses the very basis of ALL of our law. It’s importance to not only justice, but the very basis of our legal system I think merits more openness as it effects We the People at the most fundamental level – either we are a government of laws as envisioned by our Founding Fathers or we have become a government of men that deserves to be torn down and rebuilt inline with the ideals upon which the Constitution, DoI and Bill of Rights are based. The people have a right to know.

    The problem I see when looking at how to create greater transparency is the very rational reasons for secrecy previously mentioned. To function as a finder of fact in preparation of filing indictment, the grand jury must have the leeway to ensure not only the most truthful and revealing investigation possible, but to ensure compliance of reluctant parties.

    After wrestling with the nature of a priori and a posteriori argument, I see less problem with “inline/real time” disclosure of a priori matters before a grand jury than with a posteriori matters. Items definable as pure logic issues not requiring experience/evidence to argue can likely be made public and retain the valid utility of secrecy required to analysis of issues that by their nature would require testimony to a posteriori events/facts/evidence in general. However, that quickly devolves into a nearly intractable epistemological quagmire especially if you get a Kant-head like Bob involved. Real time disclosure I feel is not an option.

    So my proposition is simple.

    Due to the serious nature of the crimes suspected, the “trusted” positions of those suspected of said crimes and the threat these issues pose to the basis of our entire legal system that a full transcript of the grand jury proceedings be made public the day a decision, either for indictment (likely as they are prima facie torturers IMHO) or not (unlikely IMHO), should be made available.

    This is possible because secret does not mean unrecorded. To this end, I have to say state secrets and national security arguments be damned in this instance. While I would prefer a full unexpurgated transcript, I would support limited redaction to protect ongoing intelligence gathering operations. But let’s face it, the questions at bar are not about intelligence gathered by traditionally legal means (I’m not naive, I know that the nature of this beast is at best gray.). The questions at bar about about criminal action by the Executive in direct contravention of the Constitution, Federal law and international treaty. Anything not related to ongoing operations should be published and that should be EVERYTHING related to torture since Obama has publicly stated that torture is not an ongoing practice.

    I’d like your thoughts on this, Turley regulars.

  23. Buddha,

    Here’s something else to think about. I’d like to hear your opinion on this also. (from Ray McGovern)

    “One issue of some urgency has been overlooked in the media, but probably not by those complicit in torture by the CIA and other parts of the government. That issue is the need to protect evidence from being shredded. There has been no sign that either Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair or CIA Director Leon Panetta has proscribed the destruction of documents/tapes/etc. relating to torture, while decisions on if and how to proceed are being worked out.

    Many will remember how Oliver North (when the crimes of Iran-Contra were being uncovered) and Alberto Gonzales (when White House involvement in the Valerie Plame affair was becoming clearer) made such good use of the days of hiatus between the announced decision to investigate and the belated order to safeguard all evidence from destruction.

    One would think that Attorney General Eric Holder, or President Barack Obama himself, would have long since issued such an order. Indeed, the absence of such an order would suggest they would just as soon avoid as many of the painful truths about torture as they can. The issue would seem particularly urgent in the wake of Obama’s gratuitous get-out-of-jail free card issued to CIA personnel complicit in torture. They might well draw the (erroneous) conclusion that they have been, in effect, pardoned by the president and thus are within the law in destroying relevant evidence-to the degree that being within the law matters any more.”

  24. Prof. Turley,

    I know that in a normal investigation involving the DOJ a Special Prosecutor or the equivalent thereof would be appointed and that you have called for that. Given that the Obama administration is fearful of the consequences of conducting an investigation and enforcing the law, is there any alternative to the appointment of a Special Prosecutor that is not a mechanism for whitewashing the crimes that have occured?

    I would like to see a genuine, untainted professional criminal investigation of all the matters involved in the US torture program during the Bush years that will follow the trail wherever it leads. I’m wondering specifically if the matter could be handed over to international authorities? Former Gen. Karpinski was on Countdown last night and was adament about having some sort of international panel investigate and prosecute. Is something of this kind even possible?

    Frankly, I don’t trust the Obama administration or AG Holder to do their duty in this matter. I believe that if forced by public and international pressure to investigate, they will bend over backwards to clear any and all participants and they will treat the entire thing as a political matter instead of a criminal matter. They are afraid, they don’t view what occured as a crime or series of crimes but instead as a policy dispute as the President has said many times. They will clearly do anything to avoid doing their duty if possible. What are the available options?

    Thank you! And thank you for being a voice of reason and an advocate for equal justice and the rule of law!

  25. Jill,

    I agree that preservation of evidence is a key issue. However, given the scale of crime and the “spooky” nature of many of the participants, if you’ve ever read mystery novels or seen a good political thriller, might I suggest that someone out there wanting to avoid prison is holding on to “an insurance policy”. Also, look at our government from a raw efficiency standpoint. Complete destruction of records of a crime of this scale is probably unlikely as a function of complexity. This does not however obviate the need to issue such an order protecting said evidence.

  26. Jill’s Q: How do you feel about providing justice for people who were tortured?

    A: In favor.

    Jill’s Q: Do they deserve justice or should they be allowed no recourse in a court of law?

    A: Justice and legal recourse.

    However, these questions and answers seem entirely seperate from the issue of whether or not to prosecute individual top level Bushies. I fully endore investigating these activities in open door sessions (not behind closed doors as proposed by Sen. Feinstein) and publishing the names and offenses for the world to see.

  27. rcampbell,

    How are the separate issues? cheney and bush and others ordered the torture. This torture has resulted in murder. It is becoming clear that they and other top officials approved specific acts of torture, time and time again. Why then should their prosecution not be an action required for legal redress of their victims? If no one is above the law is to mean anything, then no one really has to be above the law (especially the top people). Remeber, Obama can pardon anyone and that would be a better way to go.


    Yes, the public order to preserve any and all documentation should be issued immediately.

  28. Although it may have gone unnoticed, indeed why should it be, I’ve been limiting my comments on this topic of late and since we’ve all come to know each other to a degree, I feel I owe you my confreres, an explanation. Jonathan, to me has been doing his part to force this issue and should continue to do so. He is an advocate for the rule of law, for constitutional justice and for a better America. I glory in his growing exposure, not because of some vicarious glory, but because I know he is one of the Law’s and our Country’s treasures. That is why I spend so much time here.

    Another reason is that I’ve come to genuinely like all the regulars here and many of the new folk that have added their voices. I think too that in my various comments I’ve established my bono fides as to my commitment to justice and to humanity. So after that overlong preamble, you know I do get wordy, here’s the point.

    As each new revelation arrives, as each off the cuff remark by our President is analyzed for its purity of content, as each new horror is revealed and as each new statement is parsed endlessly in distrustful fashion, all we do is enforce and reinforce a kind of hysteria (sorry that’s my word choice)akin to the sky is falling and Obama lied to us.

    I watched the Presidential election with a tenseness that was literally giving me angina and I was mainlining nitroglycerin to stave it off. I didn’t take a Xanax because I did not want my perceptions dulled and I can’t drink anymore due to my health. My attention was glued to the screen as results drifted in because I wanted the horror of the last 8 years to end, not because I had an overwhelming commitment to the Democratic Party or to its’ front runner.

    We won and despite whatever pessimism some may feel the horror has ended. Being 64 and with a lifelong commitment to a better America I’ve lived through much and suffered much pain politically. The artificial “Cold War,” McCarthyism, Eisenhower, the death of JFK, Viet Nam, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton’s phony impeachment and finally Bush 2. A big part of the success of the “know nothings” has been that their opponents (us) expend just as much energy in fighting with each other, pessimism and distrust, as they do fighting the enemy. The enemy is not a creature of Left or Right philosophy, but those who would believe in the innate rule of hierarchy and endeavor to insert themselves into it. Fueling this battle for those who worship status and status quo, has been the “Washington Village of serious people” and an MSM that with some exceptions serves as propagandists.

    With every fiber of my being I want to see Bush/Cheney and their whole cabal disgraced and punished for their crimes. I believe it will happen and my reading is that the genius of our President is that he is orchestrating it. At the same time there are economic reforms to be made, wars to be ended and national health care to be instituted. People are going to need jobs also and must be rescued by a now barely existent safety net. It is less then 100 days since the inaugural and I believe great strides have been mad on many fronts, despite the recalcitrance of the President’s own party, the emptiness of the opposition and the power of money. Let’s not fail to support JT in protesting this issue, but please let’s keep it all in perspective.

    I’ve lived through a time such as this before, where I was playing a bit part on the stage and I must say that some of the people then who I followed didn’t have a clue, as they told me confidently there was no difference between Nixon and Johnson. History proved them wrong, but those old heads still living, honored in their old age, are still getting it wrong blinded by the myopia of their own conviction as to the nature of truth. Nader and Vidal come to mind but there are many others. Change, in the absence of hope is always a loser and optimism is what keeps movements and people alive. The time for action is upon us, but the time for despair is a long ways off.

  29. Mike,

    What can I say; you complete me.

    BTW, you are aware that sovereignty runs with the land; aren’t you?

    Remember that Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions recorded against 13 colonies circa 7/2-4/1776?

    I bring it up because Obama’s ‘sovereign immunity’ argument seems to be precluded by the restriction against the following:

    “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate”

  30. Mike S.,

    Your verbosity is never an issue because you always say something of value. But I put a somewhat convex question to you just so there is no misunderstanding between you and I as your statement shows me that there may be some in re some of my methods of choice. Have you ever wondered why I take Obama to task the way do? I know for a fact I swing at him just as hard as I do at Bush Co. (well, maybe not just as hard but close).

    Every lever needs a fulcrum, the importance is the direction of the work achieved. In music, point without counter point can devolve into noise instead of symphony. Every fool needs a straight man to maximize the laugh. A fencer without a counter-foil is merely shadow dancing.

    As Ursula le Guin states so beautifully:

    Light is the left hand of darkness
    and darkness the right hand of light.
    Two are one, life and death, lying
    together like lovers in kemmer,
    like hands joined together,
    like the end and the way.

    At my harshest, I may seem the right hand and I know this. But to change to the terms of Dickens, am I the Ghost of Christmas Present or the Ghost of Christmas Future?

    Just something to think about as I consider you a friend. I want clarity between us as to my intentions concerning truth, justice and the American way.

  31. Buddha,
    How many damn times must I say give it your best and him the worst for you to believe that I mean it? I think by now I’ve got a pretty good idea where you’re coming from and I dig your hyperbole, not to mention interest in a certain literary genre.
    In many ways we are kindred souls and I do like the Buddha I see. I don’t want people to shut up because I think this is the kind of public pressure being courted by the Obama administration strategically. You don’t think that I have been continually calling the White House and Congress? My point is that people should not take to heart what is essentially political stagecraft. Play your part, but understand that much of what we see is Maya. In truth I think you’ve known that all along

  32. “BTW, you are aware that sovereignty runs with the land; aren’t you?”

    You may not be aware but I flunked NY Property Law twice at St.Johns University Law School, which along with my being involved with the school shutdown after Kent State, the fact of the hair I had then touching my shoulders, Mexican Wedding shirts open to the navel, jeans studded with silver stars and a propensity to smoke forbidden substances instead of studying;
    served as the basis for my flunking out and not joining you all in the profession. Taught me a valuable lesson though and in truth I am aware of that phrase, though it calls to me over the haze of of my misspent but enjoyable youth.

  33. Mike and Buddha,

    I’m reminded of Roosevelt’s response to Sidney Hillman, “I agree with you. Now go out, and make me to do it.” That has been my guiding philosophy in how I relate to those who are placed into office as my representatives.

  34. Iraq and Afghanistan were oil wars. They could not have been started without “anthrax” and “9/11.”

    Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate 9/11 and unwind the whole ball of wax from there.

    It goes a lot deeper than torture…

  35. Former Federal Leo:
    As I said after my question,To me this only place to get the correct answer.
    And I have not been proven wrong.Thanks!!

  36. This administration is setting precendent if it retroactively prosecutes. Obama better be darn sure that he never does anything questionable(or his minions. Fair is fair. It could come back to haunt him.

  37. mj

    I think I can speak for all the regulars on that issue when I say, “There’s no problem with that.”

    In fact, many here (including myself) have argued that either the law applies to all or it applies to none. The Rule of Law and Equal Protection are at the heart of this matter. If Obama screws up, then he can go to prison too, but the truly dangerous precedent would be to say the President is above the law because that would make him King. The concept of divine rulers above the law doesn’t fly in this forum. The U.S. was founded as a country of laws not men in part to avoid the abuses of monarchy. King George and Grand Vizier Dick are about to get a wake up call. One way or another.

  38. Buddha IS Laughing

    Guess the remake would be Remington-Bacon!

    Actually Whooliebacon is an obscure reference to Superstition Mountain.

    If we don’t clean house now and I mean all of it, what will some future administration be willing to do in the coming Water wars…

  39. One thing that to me seems to be an almost defining characteristic of President (and before him candidate) Obama is that his first reaction to issues is quite frequently disappointing to me, but as time goes by his position changes for the better. I find this trait extremely comforting evidence of an intelligent mind reacting to increasing information (especially after the last 8 years). The pace of the news cycle and sheer volume of information and commentary available on the web tend to make us impatient when events don’t move quickly. While I agree with Buddha’s goal of putting public pressure on President Obama and AG Holder, I think that this should be done in a measured way (although the call to prevent the destruction of evidence is obviously an urgent matter). Right now it seems to me that the best thing for this whole process is for as many of the facts as possible to come to light – while the the prosecution of war criminals is important, this is certainly not the only important issue right now and the President has to do what is best for the country. He seems to think (and I agree) that getting embroiled in this right now would hyper-politicize the Washington environment and make dealing with things like health care difficult or impossible. If a light is shined on the facts and an overwhelming majority of the people come to see torture as a stain on our national honor and an ineffective means of interrogation, then prosecution will become not just possible but inevitable. What is needed now (in my opinion) is not the passionate advocacy of a rush to judgement, but a calm, logical refutation of the inevitable attempts by the advocates of torture (as seen by the Cheney media blitz) to reframe the debate in such a way that they can take a position (“it kept us safe”) that prevents the public from turning against them.

  40. Slarti, you make some very thoughtful points. Many of us (including myself) have become so familiar with the shoot from the hip and never change your mind style of decision-making over the past 8 years that we’re having trouble adapting to someone who takes some time to think things through. My main concern now is to make certain that torture policy remains on the front burner. Given what has been coming out the last few days, I no longer see that as a problem. The floodgates are almost fully open.

  41. Mike A.,

    I disagree. Glenn Greenwald’s column addresses how many news orgnaizations won’t even refer to what happened as torture. I listened to Diane Rehm this morning and she said,”what some people may refer to as torture”. The propaganda is coming fast and thick. “Moving forward”, “retribution” instead of rule of law, “torture works”, “there’s a lot going on”, etc. These catch phrases are all attempts to turn people away from paying attention to what was really done.

    JT has pointed out many times that Obama does not have to be involved in this at all. We have an AG. We have clear national and international law. We have highly qualified attys. who are more than capable of taking on this job while Obama tends to the other pressing issues facing our nation. In fact, by not moving forward on investigations he is guaranteeing a partisan fight. He also keeps himself involved with something that isn’t really his business except to get out of the way and follow the law (per JT). If the DOJ can defend the people who misprosecuted Ted Stevens (which they are doing), if they can offer help to defend CIA interrogators (which they have offered), if they can defend Alberto Gonzales against a detainee (which they are), certainly there are attys. available to help in a war crimes investigation. The evidence is rather clear, even if we do not yet have all of it. A special prosecutor could move forward with the available evidence. Deals could be made to commute or pardon in exchange for the full story from each person.

    There is obfuscation about this issue going on right now. In truth, there is a bright line. If we don’t take care of this we are not acting in accord with the highest values of the United States.

  42. Excellent discussion folks!
    My 2cents:

    I think the guest on Olbermann’s show that EnioBob referenced at the top of the thread was correct: let the info flow and become part of the pubic record and debate. If it’s public now it can’t be lost or destroyed later and some of the principles are not shy about shooting off their mouth at this point. The more that is revealed now insures that those public statements and documents can be used later. The information also serves ti raise awareness in the pubic and increase pressure for a resolution of some sort.

    I was very unhappy with the Libby investigation because appoiting Fitzgerald took the issueit out of the public spotlight and left the direction it would take (and the outcome) entirely in Fitgerald’s hands.

    Slartibartfast raises a good point that I have argued on other sites: Obama is a smart fighter, a counter-puncher that wil take hits early i a match i order to get an insight into his opponents moves and strategy. He takes a position or refuses to take a position and later bring his position more in line with the public opinion. He leads in part by following, gets a mountain of political cover, and improves his rating. He’s going to need a mountain of political cover on this issue too so waiting until there is a persistant and loud drumbeat for action is a very smart move.

    (yea, yea, I know there are mis-spellings, My ‘puter died, I can’t get a new HD installed until tomorrow and I’m on a Mac- which I don’t know how to use. But I had to have my JTsite fix and couldn’t resist posting.)

  43. LottaKatz,

    I can’t spell on my best days! Help me understand your guys position with a few examples. You say:

    …”Obama is a smart fighter, a counter-puncher that wil take hits early i a match i order to get an insight into his opponents moves and strategy. He takes a position or refuses to take a position and later bring his position more in line with the public opinion.”

    Which issues are you refering to in that statment?

  44. eniobob,

    This blawg is must reading for people of all occupations who want to understand the nuts-and-bolts, working side of the rule of law, the Constitution, and especially those Bill of Rights be must exercise and uphold to further avoid losing those inalienable rights we all cherish in a free society.

    I have learned abundantly from this site. Professor Turley keeps the law interesting and current in a lighthearted, but informative and factual manner. I especially appreciate the attorneys/lawyers who weigh-in with their lifelong experiences in the legal profession while we have contributions from many ‘paralegals’ here who ferret out current events for us all to question, refute, debate, or simply ruminate over when the anger, astonishment, and/or humor subsides.

  45. Jill,

    I can’t speak for LottaKatz (although as a MAC user, I will encourage you to learn how to use the MAC – you might find it’s better…), but the issues that come to my mind quickly are Jeremiah Wright and Blago (not even going to try to spell it). I also think we have seen progress on this issue just this week – starting with what Rham Emanuel said on Sunday about not prosecuting the authors of the memos, to what Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday (watching him try to avoid saying that it was a change in position was amusing😉, to President Obama saying that he would support a bipartisan commission and that it was the Justice Department’s decision (which I think most of us here would agree is the correct position). I think that you would agree (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that whatever President Obama should do, this issue is a hot potato that could derail his entire agenda at a time when we as a country can ill afford it. That being the case, I certainly can’t fault him for moving in a cautious, deliberate matter. I don’t really care how long it takes (within reason) as long as it is done right in the end. I hope this clears up my position.

  46. Anonymously Yours 1, April 23, 2009 at 8:56 am


    No one disagrees with what you are saying. It is how we get there that may take a little while. You don’t till the soil, plant the seeds and expect a crop the next day.
    Speak for yourself! I disagree almost daily…
    like this morning, in fact…

    Patty C 1, April 23, 2009 at 8:28 am

    My objection was to the misquote…!

    Anybody who pays attention to what I have been saying here for the last year and a half knows where I stand.

    In addition, I would suggest a little thought be given to where we want to end up, before jumping head first off this cliff.

    Obama said he was not suggesting anything. What he said was ‘given a choice’, his preference would be to have an independent bipartisan panel etc…

    And what JT said was ‘the EASIEST thing to do would be to appoint a special prosecutor’ – who, by nature of appointment, outside of the Justice Department, would be non-partisan.

  47. This was an amazing read for me. I apologize for getting here so late, but I had to work late. I have to agree with many of you here that the investigation should be as open as possible to make sure all citizens are able to see what the evidence is against these felons. I am concerned if it goes into the special prosecutor’s hands, we may never see much of the real evidence. Theh truth commission is not my favorite either because too much politics is involved and if you have an even number of Republicans and Democrats, I can guarantee that the Republicans will all vote against the prosecution, no matter what the evidence shows. Look at how they have acted during the last 8 years. To expect them to change their spots is a dream.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that the Independent Prosecutor may be the best way to go if he/she is required to produce a non-redacted report for all to see and all hearings should be televised.
    Finally, Mike S., I love your discussion of your mindset during the Kent State murders. I was just thinking about Kent State recently because the 39th anniversary is coming soon and I spent the early morning of my 19th birthday in Jackson County, Illinois jail for unlawful assembly just after the Kent State shootings.(I beat the rap!) How can anyone ever forget their first full body cavity search? Priceless.

  48. SB,

    Thank you for your response. I want to wait for Lottakatz before I say anything. I do want to include the latest from Obama according to reporting by TPM.

    “Obama: On Second Thought, Scratch That Commission Idea
    By Zachary Roth – April 23, 2009, 6:36PM

    Is President Obama flipping back again on the subject of how to conduct torture investigations?

    His press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters today that Obama had met with congressional leaders, and told them that he no longer favored the idea of a bipartisan commission to probe the issue. “The president determined the concept didn’t seem altogether workable in this case,” said Gibbs.

    That follows Obama’s comments Tuesday, in which said that if an investigation was going to happen, he favored the bipartisan commission approach, rather than having congressional hearings.

    As for the notion of appointing a special prosecutor — which would seem to be the only way to really hold wrongdoers accountable — that idea doesn’t appear to even be on the table.”

  49. https://jonathanturley.org/2009/04/23/holder-promises-to-follow-the-law-on-any-torture-investigation-but-fails-to-mention-special-prosecutor/#comment-49150
    So, Jill, now you copy from TPMuckraker because I have, lately? Get a life – of your own!

    And some legal training would help, as well!

    p.s. What time was that post from TPM yesterday.
    After mine, you say?


    In the last few weeks, I notice my comments here are somewhere between a week or two ahead of the pundits and/or their guests. It’s very satisfying when I listen to people like Isikoff saying the very things I’ve just said.

    I am complete with my contributions to this blog AND ‘the world’, on this issue – despite the petty jealousy displayed here.

    I know what I am talking about and I’m not waiting for kudos from people who echo my words while simultaneously attempting to exclude me from the conversation. It won’t work!

    I’m claiming them for myself
    – at the risk of ‘tooting my own horn’… Beep Beep😉

  50. Prof. Turley:

    Greetings from East Haven, CT.

    If you would please; what evidence would be considered unambiguous proof that the lawyers Bybee, Yoo and Brandbury deliberately misinterpreted the law against torture

  51. Jill, I don’t think the train can be stopped at this point, regardless of what anyone says. We know from history that conspiracies fall apart as soon as one person begins to speak. Once that breach occurs, facts start coming out, if for no other reason than that all of the participants become concerned about protecting themselves. That is why Dick Cheney, who publicly uttered three or four sentences in eight years, is quickly becoming a virtual motor mouth. And I’m pretty confident that more than a few members of the journalism profession are privately having lustful thoughts about the bountiful Pulitzer prospects over the next few years. I believe that this will play out much like Watergate did.

    And it should. We have had a dysfunctional government for too long and the airing of all of the dirty laundry is absolutely necessary. It cannot be treated as simply a matter of enforcing the law, because the problems are political as well as legal. I view government as a organism. The illness is not limited to the executive branch. The whole purpose of checks and balances is to prevent one branch from dominating the others. The fact that the executive has been out of control for years reflects the failure of the legislative branch to prevent it. Thus when members of Congress insist that we need to forget about “retribution,” what they really mean is that they would prefer not to be held accountable for any of the excesses in the executive branch.

    While the legislative branch was ceding authority to the president and essentially abandoning its oversight obligations, the executive was busy corrupting the judicial branch by politicizing the DOJ through ideological screening and purging. That enabled the executive to create a platoon of compliant lawyers who could be counted on to fashion legal opinions supporting whatever policies the White House chose to adopt from time to time. Career lawyers who objected were simply forced out. That is why the question of “good faith reliance” on legal opinions has especial significance in this situation.

    The anticipated investigations by both congressional committess and aggressive reporters will gradually expose all of the political failures and simultaneously uncover whatever evidence is out there relating to the violation of criminal statutes. It will then be the responsibility of the legislative branch to reassume its proper constitutional role through established political procedures and of the judicial branch to prosecute those who have committed crimes through established legal procedures.

    We have to act with the assurance that the American public has sufficient maturity to examine the facts as they emerge and accept whatever painful truths those facts reveal about our government and our society. This process is not about retribution. It is about restoration. To attempt to accomplish that without uncovering all of the breakdowns would be like trying to rebuild a home without removing all of the hurricane debris from the foundation.

  52. Prof. Turley:

    Greetings from East Haven, CT.

    If you would please; what evidence would be considered unambiguous proof that the lawyers Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury
    deliberately misinterpreted the law against torture

    You didn’t ask me, but on its face, that Yoo wrote a memo arguing in favor of the use torture, which is clearly against the federal statute and international treaty, and was signed by his boss, Jay Bybee, regardless, but which was later rescinded when it became public pretty much says it all, I’d say.

  53. Mike A.,

    I agree with what you said. What I was pointing out is something different–that is, propaganda is flying thick and fast. We need to be aware of this as citizens so we don’t fall for these lies. There is enormous pressure to stop criminal investigations. The CCR has a very good anaylsis of this pressure if you have time to read it.


  54. Jill,

    CCR? I didn’t know Credence Clearwater Revival did political analysis (I’m teasing a little, but I would like to know what you’re referring to so I can check it out). Your point about propaganda was exactly the one I was trying to make: We need to focus on exposing the propaganda, not on applying pressure – as long as the truth wins out the pressure will become overwhelming.

  55. Slartibartfast,
    Nice to see a new contributor. I like the stuff you’ve written and your take on things. I too have no idea what CCR is, but then I was called to task recently for using MSM as short for mainstream media. I’m an old Fart, won’t text and so au courant acronyms sometimes confuse. Welcome aboard.

  56. SB,

    That was funny. It means the Center for Constitutional Rights. They feel it’s very important to keep up the pressure for prosecutions. See what you think:

    (Michael Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights quoted in Jeremy Scahill)

    “We have reached a critical political moment on this issue. Obama has been forced or pushed to open the door to prosecutions, an opening I thought would take much longer to achieve. If there was ever a time to push that door open wider and demand a special prosecutor it is now. We have documented and open admissions of criminality. We have Cheney and Hayden admitting what they approved these techniques; and Cheney saying he would approve waterboarding again. We have the Senate Armed Services Report detailing how the torture program was authored and approved by our highest officials in the White House and employed in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan. And we have thousands of pages of proof. There is public outrage about the torture program and the media in the U.S. and the world are covered with the U.S. misdeeds.

    So at this moment, instead of human rights groups getting together and calling for a special prosecutor what do they do? Call for a commission. What this call does and it must be said strongly is take the pressure off what is the growing public push for prosecutions and deflects it into a commission. Outrage that could actually lead to prosecutions is now focused away and into a commission. Think if this list of human rights groups had demanded prosecutions. We would be closer and not farther from the goal.”

    Here’s their site:


  57. Jill,

    Thanks for the link – I’ll check it out. I don’t have a problem with keeping the pressure on (in fact I agree with it) and I also agree that the whole commission idea is a bad one (a way to defuse the pressure and potentially avoid prosecutions). What I don’t want to see is quick official action (as I posted on another thread, I don’t want to see anything out of the White House except for “It’s AG Holder’s decision”) because quick action is much more likely to be a commission rather than a special prosecutor, it would prematurely stop the torrent of information we’re getting right now, and it could be incredibly politically damaging to the administration. I don’t necessarily agree with the thesis that more extreme calls (for prosecution rather than a special prosecutor) would have had a better effect – I think what needs to be done is to move public opinion and the more extreme a voice is the easier it is for the very people we need to persuade to ignore it. I’m all for keeping the pressure on – but remember the goal of the sermon is to reach everyone, not preach to the choir.

  58. SB,

    Public opinion is already there. It is the president and the AG who do not want to act, not the public. I also must keep with my point from the Condi Rice thread that asking people who are being tortured to wait for that “perfect” time is morally wrong to me. The president is quite popular. Brave people in our govt. will continue to put out information. Legal investigation into war crimes is the law. It is justice. If we do not clean up our own mess now we may never do so.

  59. Mike S,

    Thanks, I stumbled onto this blog as I had seen Professor Turley on CKO and RMS* and I was looking for arguments to debunk what I had read on a blog about the natural born citizen issue (which I found here in spades) and liked the polite tone and vigorous debate. As a scientist (I’m a mathematical biologist) I’m always up for a good argument and likely have a very different view of proof and evidence than most posters here and as someone who has no legal training it’s interesting to see what those of you with a much better understanding of the law think of my ideas.

    *Countdown with Keith Olbermann and the Rachel Maddow Show for those of you not up on your TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms).

  60. Jill,

    I don’t agree that “public opinion is already there”. I haven’t seen any polling on this, but I think that if you divided people into three groups: a) Appoint a special prosecutor; b) have a commission; and c) torture is effective and necessary for national security a majority of the people would fall into groups (b) and (c). Keeping in mind that although the president is very popular he’s also got several other items on his agenda which are equally important (if the economy collapses then war crime prosecutions aren’t going to happen no matter what) and given President Obama’s pragmatic focus (I think he clearly would much rather concentrate on the economy and health care rather than war crimes and I don’t think that’s a bad thing) I don’t think that the time is ripe until group (a) is the majority and group (c) is marginalized. I don’t believe that anyone is currently being tortured, so no one is being adversely effected by waiting. I agree that investigating war crimes is both a legal and moral obligation, but I’m much more concerned that this mess get cleaned up correctly than it get cleaned up quickly.

  61. Slartibartfast,

    I must admit I appreciate your perception of the realities that I and a number of others perceive as crucial before this side of the Obama administration commences.

    When I was in college I read a number of books and one of them was the US CIA’s prediction of what Adolph Hilter would do and why and what the particular circumstances were for each scenario. I got interested in this because my girlfriend, Fiance, wife, exfriend and exwife, but mother of our children was a first generation American in New York. Her family was from the Ukraine.

    Ya want to talk about a History Lesson for a Texas boy whose family moved to Texas with the Specific Intent to Steal the Land from the Mexicans. It was quite a cultural shock for me.

    But anyways the book facianted me. I learned a lot about the psycholigical warfare that we played and the role the Ukranians played in Nazi Germany.

    So I understand what you are saying and why you are saying it.

  62. Slartibartfast (what the heck kinda name is that away!) said:

    “As a scientist (I’m a mathematical biologist)”

    Well, I am a semi-competent ‘rithmetical genus too; 1 rabbit + 1 rabbit = 1 X 10 to the sixth power widdle wabbits.

    Oh, and I done looked up that name of yourn and, dude; man, you are in serious need of a haircut, shave, Just for Men dye, and mega-gallons of Geritol…

    Welcome aboard this legal starship as we wade through—or hitchhike across—this vast galaxy of governmental corruption with Professor Turley as the brightest Star in our legal Universe while accompanied by his attorney/lawyer lieutenants posting here who help guide us with their legal interpretations—a fine, shining star-filled blawg indeed.

    (snarky, tongue-in-cheek turned-off) Welcome again Slubarfit….oh, whatever!

  63. FF LEO,

    Snarkey, Hmm, Speak only for yourself. I do not want to have to have you reminded of the netiquette.

    Really it is nice to have reasonably intelligent life form here. I try and strive for such. Maybe one day I will figure out that if you don’t put two Male Rabbits in the same cage that you will get more rabbits. Somehow or another the Moral Majority heard about my Abomination at Easter and picketed out front. Something about Breeding Homosexual Rabbits.

    You never know about them folks. But then again I do not understand how you can get more rabbits after a lighten storm from a female if she is alone. But do remember that this is Texas and some Republicans have to have something to do.

    And Kinky aka Richard Friedman is Running for Governor.

    Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys. That are pretty good.

  64. Anonymously Yours,

    You know something AY, I just do not get about 99.9% of your ‘wit’. Most of the time I just think ‘Say What!’ You stated in at least 2 threads to yourself that “I amuse me” and I thought, ‘I wonder why’. However, you do make some intelligent posts and who am I to judge another person’s wit when mine is perhaps often misunderstood. All I know for sure ‘n for certain is that all of the commenters combined cannot even touch ‘fesser Turley’s witticisms and they never will.

    Therefore, post away, I am no person’s moderator here and your thoughts that remain on topic are sometimes—no doubt—better than mine are, and more legally valid if legal interpretations are involved. I am a father and I could not imagine what it is like to lose a child as you have had happen, especially if there is doubt and regret for things not done or said.

    Finally, I will just say that I look forward to your experienced comments derived from your lawyering and there is no doubt that I will at least smile at your witticisms—the few that I *get*–and those that do not involve minor vulgarisms. I can find that urban language abundantly on the web and the language I seek here is one of law, process, fact, and justice, with some clean wit mixed in for spice and metaphoric humor.

    In the final analysis, I gain multitudes more from the commenters here than I could ever repay; I sometimes even get *free* legal opinions and you know what laypersons say about the value of that…Thanks

  65. “I also must keep with my point from the Condi Rice thread that asking people who are being tortured to wait for that “perfect” time is morally wrong to me.”

    I think this tack is somewhat unfair. If the prosecutions started tomorrow these people wouldn’t get out any earlier.
    What is being struggled with is how do you let them out, after you’ve driven them perhaps insane. I know that I could not be like Nelson Mandela, who after being tortured and imprisoned for decades manged to maintain himself with composure and direction. If I had been one of those tortured, or now being imprisoned, my hatred towards the US would know no bounds and I would gladly strike back at them even if it meant my death.
    The horror that was Bush/Cheney is ongoing and sad to say it must be resolved prudently, not in the stroke of a pen. It is a terrible position to be in, especially if you despise torture as I believe President Obama does. Easy answers usually do not yield good decisions.

  66. FFLEO,
    I love it when you get all “Aw shucks” on us because it is fun. However, despite the “country guy persona” we all know you’re a lot more sophisticated then you let on.

  67. FF LEO,

    I’m glad to have exposed you to Hitchhiker’s Guide and hope that you read the book (obviously I’m a big fan). For the record, in real life I’m bald (by choice, not nature (yet)) although I do have a somewhat unruly goatee. Your comment brings up one burning question in my mind: What is a LEO?

    Make sure you know where your towel is.

  68. Slar..:

    Well I was once called a lion (as in leo) by a woman, but that was 26 years ago and now that I think back on her comment she might have, in retrospect, called me a liar instead!

    Part of my federal career was as a law enforcement officer (LEO is the correct abbreviation)

  69. Mike Spindell,

    Back in the 1960s/70s you and I were the polar opposites. You with your long hair, beads, marijane, and my cowboy clique would have yelled at you with your protest signs—once we spit out our snuff or chaw in disgust—hey, you buncha dirty, hippy, pinko-commie-draft-dodgin’-anti-Murkan losers, if you don’t love it leave it, go suck on your funny weed, stone-head freaks.

    To which your flower child clan would have likely retorted: Peace brothers, we mean you no harm, we shall overcome, mellow-out man, chill, you got your rope we got ours, goat-ropers like ya’ll ain’t such a drag, you’re just wigged-out ‘cause you see us with our cool, outa sight foxy hippy chicks and it gets your goat to know we will be groovin’ the groove with them while you are bad trippin’ out hangin’ with those green-teethed tabaccy chawin’ cowgal skinks! Man, our Old Ladies are groovy! Can ya’ dig it, bummer huh?

    Oh, “those were the days, my friend…”. Now, as I read this blawg and listen to some of your life’s story—by the way, you are the most open person posting here—I reflect back on that era and think; what if I had met and associated with a hippy guy like you. All I know now is that you are one decent old man who has done his duty to help improve society, in a much different way than I tried, but we both ended up devoting our careers to this government that is now turning into a pitiful disgrace and a discredit to the soldiers—including my brother, friends, and fellow soldiers I helped to train as medics—who gave their lives in Viet Nam. Then there is Bush’s Inferno that he should stand before a tribunal to answer for his high crimes and the lies that have caused so much death and destruction.

    From one old goat-roper Republican to one old Hippy Democrat, Peace Brother…”There is a season, turn, turn, turn…”

    Oh, and tell your Old Lady that this square said hello and that he thinks she has a good Old Man…

  70. Mr. LEO:

    Your words are a gift. Man let’s stay open to all the possibilities, now and in the weeks and months ahead. The truth is what we’ve been waiting for and it’s started to flow.

  71. FFLEO,
    Thank you for the kindness and back at you. Here’s the funny thing though. Back in the 70’s (73, 75, 77, 78, & 79)I drove cross country. I avoided the South because of “Easy Rider” and also Oklahoma and Texas for similar reasons and rather unreasonable statutes regarding grass. Made it to the left coast two times, but most of my time was spent in Colorado, the Dakotas (camped a week by the Sturgis Rally in 77 and learned to ride a motorcycle), Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona. I looked as I described myself except my full beard (trimmmed though for vanity’s sake)made me look rather fierce. I’m six foot but because of a large head people think of me as bigger. I write this description as a way of saying I appeared, though wasn’t a fierce looking guy.

    Spent much of that time camping in national parks and also stopped into small towns, where KFC was the big restaurant open on Saturday night. I was clearly a stranger, yet admittedly accompanied by a good looking. Also spent some time in local bars, where I was also not familiar. In all that time no one said more to me than the usual meeting stranger stuff and I never felt anything other than hospitality, although mixed with curiosity about my background and my own about theirs.

    We humans develop different cultures and attitudes, but if you look someone in the eye and see malice or trickery, why then you can relate. I loved the West I saw and the people that populated it. This was even true in Salt Lake City where me and my girlfriend at the time were kinda strange looking for the area. Knowing your intelligence and measured view of the world I’m sure we would have been just fine if we met back then. Now we’re just two old farts, who’ve become wise to the ways of the world through an openness to experience and that’s why I enjoy your comments and relish your point of view. A persons value doesn’t shine through his politics, it is exposed through his decency and openness to reevaluate his premises.


  72. but if you look someone in the eye and (don’t) see malice or trickery.

    Damn I should proofread better but my wife is calling me to bed to watch Antiques Roadshow, a guilty pleasure.

  73. Mike Spindell said:

    “but my wife is calling me to bed to watch Antiques Roadshow, a guilty pleasure.”

    Well Mike, at your age going to bed to watch an Antiques’ Roadshow is like lookin’ in the mirror, isn’t it?

    BTW, you definitely highlight your agedness when TV in *bed* becomes more of a guilty pleasure than other such pleasures…

  74. FFLEO,
    I’m certainly not the man I once was, but occasionally I get those old flashes. The funny thing is I remember my hormonal urgencies of age 15 to 40 fondly, but I am now glad to be rid of the overriding urgency. It led to some bad choices on my part. The woman who finally chose to be with me cured me of my old wandering ways. The joy of her companionship and my family outranks every else I’ve done in my life. I’ll let you in on another secret though and that is I’m a sucker for HGTV and American Idol. Oops I feel my image on this board is slipping.

  75. Mike,

    My image of you has not slipped or faltered, Sir. You fall squarely within the human species by exhibiting many of our species’ frailties and you are simply willing to admit it a bit more openly than others and I do.

  76. Re: Jill, …what issues…

    I was thinking (like Slartibartfast)about Wright. Also the money to faithbased groups that discriminate in hiring (as I recall he requests from many representatives in the religious community across denoninations asking him to change his criteria regarding open hiring as a prerequisite) and now investigations into torture.

    I also see his position on executive compensating as having changed in response to public pressure. As a Senator he was aware of the initial bailout package he voted for and while I can’t be sure, I suspect that he was aware of the bonus money and various incentives (in aggregate) slated to be paid out. If the economy is what occupies center stage with him I imagine he gets regular if not daily updates and unlike Bush, actually asks questions.

    It seems to me that his movement to the center (for lack of a better description) has been ongoing for months throughout the later part of his campaign. Most of that movement IMO has been in rsponse to political pressure and the advice of his ‘experts’ such as the military in convincing him to alter his timetable for a pull out in Iraq. I don’t believe the change in position is in any way unusual for a candidate, from my observations. I am disappointed but not surprised of his protection of the power seized for the Executive Branch. Very disappointed.

    I am coming to realize though that between Republican obstructionism and Blue Dog Democrats that the change we were waiting for doesn’t have a chance until 2010 or later (if it comes at all.) I’m not unhappy with the Presidents first 100 days- I’m sure McCains would have looked quite a bit different.

    **After a gi-normously expensive fix for my ‘puter including a new HD (expected problem) it shot craps again last night ‘DISK READ ERROR – Please insert system disc…’ and I’m on a friends Mac laptop for a few hours again today. My computing days may be seriously curtailed or numbered ;-( **

  77. LottaK,

    A Disk Read Error is fatal. I noticed that FormerFederalNothing said he was a computer guy. I had one DRE, I bought a new computer, and if your old system is over 4-years-old that is what I suggest. I might get a iMac next time myself. Good Luck

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