Nuremberg Revisited: Obama Administration Files To Dismiss Case Against John Yoo

John Yoo is being defended in court this month by the Administration. Not the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration. As with the lawsuits over electronic surveillance and torture, the Obama administration wants the lawsuit against Yoo dismissed and is defending the right of Justice Department officials to help establish a torture program — an established war crime. I will be discussing the issue on this segment of MSNBC Countdown.

The Obama Administration has filed a brief that brushes over the war crimes aspects of Yoo’s work at the Justice Department. Instead, it insists that attorneys must be free to give advice — even if it is to establish a torture program.

In its filing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department insists that there is “the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military’s detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict.” Instead it argues that the Justice Department has other means to punish lawyers like the Office of Professional Responsibility. Of course, the Bush Administration effectively blocked such investigations and Yoo is no longer with the Justice Department. The OPR has been dismissed as ineffectual, including in an ABA Journal, as the Justice Department’s “roach motel”—“the cases go in, but nothing ever comes out.”

The Justice Department first defended Yoo as counsel and then paid for private counsel to represent him (here). His public-funded private counsel is Miguel Estrada, who was forced to withdraw his nomination by George Bush for the Court of Appeals after strong opposition from the Democrats.

Yoo is being sued by Jose Padilla, who was effectively blocked in contesting his abusive confinement and mistreatment as part of this criminal case and in a habeas action. The Bush Administration brought new charges to moot a case before the Supreme Court could rule. The Court previously sent his case back on a technicality.

It is important to note that the Administration did not have to file this brief since it had withdrawn as counsel and paid for Yoo’s private counsel. It has decided that it wants to establish the law claimed by the Bush Administration protecting Justice officials who support alleged war crimes. They are effectively doubling down by withdrawing as counsel and then reappearing as a non-party amicus.

The Obama Administration has gutted the hard-fought victories in Nuremberg where lawyers and judges were often guilty of war crimes in their legal advice and opinions. The third of the twelve trials for war crimes involved 16 German jurists and lawyers. Nine had been officials of the Reich Ministry of Justice, the others were prosecutors and judges of the Special Courts and People’s Courts of Nazi Germany. It would have been a larger group but two lawyers committed suicide before trial: Adolf Georg Thierack, former minister of justice, and Carl Westphal, a ministerial counsellor.

They included Herbert Klemm, who was sentenced to life imprisonment and served as minister of justice, director of the Ministry’s Legal Education and Training Division, and deputy director of the National Socialist Lawyer’s League.

Oswald Rothaug received life imprisonment for his role as a prosecutor and later a judge.

Wilhelm von Ammon received ten years for his work as a justice official in occupied areas.

Guenther Joel received ten years for being an adviser (like Yoo) to the Ministry of Justice and later a judge.

Curt Rothenberger was also a legal adviser and was given seven years for his writings at the Ministry of Justice and as the deputy president of the Academy of German Law

Wolfgang Mettgenberg received ten years as representative of the Criminal Legislation Administration Division of the Ministry of Justice,

Ernst Lautz (10 years) had been chief public prosecutor of the People’s Court.

Franz Schlegelberger, a former Ministry of Justice official, was convicted and sentenced to life for conspiracy and other war crimes. The court found:

‘…that Schlegelberger supported the pretension of Hitler in his assumption of power to deal with life and death in disregard of even the pretense of judicial process. By his exhortations and directives, Schlegelberger contributed to the destruction of judicial independence. It was his signature on the decree of 7 February 1942 which imposed upon the Ministry of Justice and the courts the burden of the prosecution, trial, and disposal of the victims of Hitler’s Night and Fog. For this he must be charged with primary responsibility.

‘He was guilty of instituting and supporting procedures for the wholesale persecution of Jews and Poles. Concerning Jews, his ideas were less brutal than those of his associates, but they can scarcely be called humane. When the “final solution of the Jewish question” was under discussion, the question arose as to the disposition of half-Jews. The deportation of full Jews to the East was then in full swing throughout Germany. Schlegelberger was unwilling to extend the system to half-Jews.’

It was the “ideas” that these lawyers advanced that made the war crimes possible. Other officials were tried but acquitted. All of these officials used arguments similar to those in the Obama Administration’s brief of why lawyers are not responsible for war crimes that they defend and justify. Bush selected people like Yoo to justify the war crime of torture. If they had written against it, the Administration might have abandoned the effort. The CIA director and others were already concerned about the prospect of prosecution. The Obama Administration’s brief revisits Nuremberg and sweeps away such quaint notions. Indeed, the brief for Yoo could have been used directly to support legal advisers Wolfgang Mettgenberg, Guenther Joel, and Wilhelm von Ammon.

If successful in this case, the Obama Administration will succeed in returning the world to the rules leading to the war crimes at Nuremberg. Quite a legacy for the world’s newest Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Defenders of the Administration insist that the brief does not expressly gut Nuremberg or reference war crimes. Of course, that is the point. The brief does not make any exception for liability for legal advice when it is part of a torture program or war crime. When combined with the Administration’s refusal to appoint a special prosecutor for the torture program (and the President’s promise that no CIA employees would be prosecuted), the brief closes the circle: there will be no criminal or civil liability for the war crimes committed by the Bush Administration.

The only reference to substantive criminal prosecution is in the following abstract statement:

That is not to say that the actions of a Department of Justice attorney providing advice should go unchecked. Department of Justice attorneys, if they abuse their authority, are subject to possible state and federal bar sanctions, see 28 U.S.C. § 530B, investigation by both the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General, as well as criminal investigation and prosecution, where appropriate. If Congress believes that additional avenues of recourse are necessary in cases where Department of Justice attorneys provide legal advice regarding matters relating to war powers and national security, it could enact appropriate legislation. Given the sensitivities of such claims, and the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding matters of national security, however, this is a clear case where “special factors” strongly counsel against the recognition of a Bivens action.

“[W]here appropriate” are the key words. The Administration has already blocked criminal prosecution for torture. More importantly, this case is about Yoo’s involvement in creating that program. However, even in assisting in the establishment of a torture program, the Administration insists that there can not be civil liability (let alone criminal liability). If the Administration wanted to maintain the rule created at Nuremberg, it would have stated clearly that no privilege or law protects a lawyer who is assisting in the establishment of a war crime or torture program. Of course, the Administration has already said the opposite. Obama and Holder have stated that “just following orders” is a complete defense for CIA employees (here).

The effort to ignore the clear position of this Administration shows the dangers of a cult of personality. Just as conservatives ignored Bush’s violation of core conservative values on the budget and big government, some liberals are ignoring Obama’s violation of core liberal values on civil liberties and privacy.

For the DOJ brief, click here.

182 thoughts on “Nuremberg Revisited: Obama Administration Files To Dismiss Case Against John Yoo

  1. WTF!!!

    This on the heels of the Senate Democrats’ and the President’s blatant and massive capitulation to the insurance industry on health care reform is too much. Obama a Socialist? Hardly! In my view, he may as well be called a Republican.

  2. Holder and Obama were more quickly corrupted by power than any men I have seen in my lifetime.

    Rcampbell, I voted for Obama because I did not want a Republican in the W.H.; however, we have even gotten something worse. What a gut-wrenching hypocrite for whom I voted, thinking that no one in my Party was uncorrupted enough to run this country for at least 8 years.

    There has to be a way to stop this maddening abuse of this Executive power.

    On legal principle alone, I would think that any noncorrupt lawyer would be outraged by what is happening here.

  3. what did you expect from him? he is all smoke and mirrors, a fabrication created by others and used as a tool by others.

    Bush snookered me, welcome to the club of people who wished they had voted for someone else.

  4. Byron There was no one else to vote for. Hillary is about the same as Obama. We know what happened to Edwards. We were not going to vote for McCain-Palin.

  5. Here is what free advice concerning torture legally consists of: Torture is against the law of the US. It is against international law. You may not legally engage in any form of torture. Would you like to go over any and all circumstances in which you, Mr. President, feel torture is legal? Let me go through those with you one by one and I will tell you why you may not engage in torture under any circumstances, even those you have just mentioned. If you persist in going ahead, I will resign and make public each and every one of my objections to your proposed/actual use of torture.

    There you have it. Free and fair advice, based on the law, not how to subvert the law but how to follow it. The executive and his minions are not free of the law, they are bound by it. The president takes his one and only oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. I know this won’t happen, because it never did with Bush, but Obama should be impeached.

  6. Swarthmore mom:

    you are right, hopefully in 2012 there will be decent people on both the top tickets. although my side doesn’t look too good at this point. Mostly religious right compassionate conservatives. I had my fill of those with W, never again.

  7. “His public-funded private counsel…”

    This is salt in the eyes and the wounds of injustice.


    As a longtime Republican, I had to virtually force myself to vote for Obama. However, as you say, he was the only candidate for whom I could vote. I had an obligation to vote since I did not vote in 2000 because I saw what Bush was and I could not/cannot stand Gore’s V.P. pick Joe Lieberman.

  8. I’m just posting this in case anyone hasn’t seen the video of Yoo’s testimony in June 2008, in the House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Detainee Interrogation, being asked by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI):

    “I didn’t ask Yoo if Yoo ever gave him [that] advice! I asked Yoo, ‘Do Yoo think the president could order a suspect buried alive?!?'”

  9. rcampbell 1, December 9, 2009 at 7:21 pm
    “WTF!!! This on the heels of the Senate Democrats’ and the President’s blatant and massive capitulation to the insurance industry on health care reform …”

    I was one of the people that recieved an e-mail over President Obama’s signature asking for money and promising to ‘never give up’ on health carereform. I opened the email during “The Ed Show” and went ballistic. I replied of course:

    Original letter:

    (My name removed)

    “As we head into the final stretch on health reform, big insurance company lobbyists and their partisan allies hope that their relentless attacks and millions of dollars can intimidate us into accepting the status quo.

    So I have a message for them, from all of us: Not this time. We have come too far. We will not turn back. We will not back down.

    But do not doubt — the opponents of reform will not rest. So I need you to fight alongside me.

    We must continue to build out our campaign — to spread the facts on the air and on the ground, and to bring in more volunteers and train them to join the fight. I urgently need your help to keep this 50-state movement for reform going strong.

    Please donate $5 or whatever you can afford today:

    Let’s win this together,

    President Barack Obama”

    My reply:

    “Where is universal coverage or a strong public option? Unless there is a strong public option or universal care ‘health reform’ is just a give away to the health insurance companies and through my taxes I’ll not only pay almost 5K for my own insurance (the employer pays about 7K) but subsidies for others mandated by law to join the insurance scam. Meanwhile, my rate raise letter for next year has already been sent to me (12%) along with a listing of my REDUCED benefits. And you want me to send you money? So you can do what, help elect more Democratic quislings? Buy Joe Lieberman a holiday gift for all of his support on this issue. I had been a lifelong Democrat but you folks are just to pitiful for me to support anymore with money or votes. Shame on you.

    Fee free to write me again when there is a final signed bill that has universal coverage or a strong and effective public option.

    (My name removed)”


    They have some nerve.

  10. The Professor is on Olbermann (as I type) giving his views on this case- he’s kind’a pissed it seems, voice went up a bit there:-) You go Prof! Good on you.

  11. This case is especially disturbing because they did not have to file anything in this case. We taxpayers are already paying for his private attorney so why are we paying for a Justice attorney to file an amicus brief as well?

  12. lottakatz,

    I think you should have sent Obama back his own letter and asked for his help, $5.00 or whatever, to help you achieve Universal, single payer coverage. Then submit your own website to Obama for his contribution to the cause! Everyone who got that stupid e-mail should do the same thing. That could be interesting.

  13. I voted for change and not for a continuation of Bush administration policies. Prior to the national election, I spoke with my representative about pursuing the law-breaking of the Bush administration. He told me he would support efforts to bring people who broke our laws to justice.

    Is it all just lip-service and hollow campaign promises?

    Apparently so.

    Thank you Mr. Turley and Mr. Olbermann for an open and intelligent discussion as always.

  14. I had such high hopes as a supporter of this President.
    I am outraged, disgusted, and so disppointed in this administration.

    The President is gambling with his base (they think we will forget) and is quickly ensuring that he will not be re-elected. No one to blame but himself

  15. Mr. Turley, I want to thank you for your many appearances on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC program. You do a great service to the Bar and your presentation and demeanor do much to inform laypeople on the outrageous conduct of the Bush Administration and the mind-boggling behavior of the Obama Administration. This behavior is clearly not change we can believe in and I hope you will continue your work.

  16. O.K.,

    I wrote this comment about 4-5 mins. ago. I appears and disappears from the screen. This has been happening to my posts a lot. Has it happened to anyone else?

    I wrote to lottakatz,

    You should take Obama’s letter and send it back to him asking for his support, $5.00 or whatever for universal single payer healthcare. Then you could give him your website where he could send his contribution. I think everyone who got that stupid e-mail should do the same thing. It would make an impression!

    (So let’s see if this shows up.)

  17. I am so trying to find a silver lining in all of this. I can not believe the Obama DOJ wastes one moment defending Yoo. But hell, if I were in an office and had the chance to argue for some form of immunity, anticipating that one day I might be sued for advice I had given, I would be tempted to do what Holder’s office did in filing their amicus brief. Maybe the brief was submitted for purposes of morale at Justice. Even if that is the case, that doesn’t say much about Obama, Holder, et al. I hope Obama’s DOJ’ position is given short shrift by the Ninth Circuit.

    My feelings have shifted to PISSED. I spent a lot of time working on the Obama campaign (and claim the credit for McCain-Palin’s early exit from Michigan.) This is not change.

    Amicus brief, the link:

    Professor Turley, glad to see you on Keith’s show.

  18. Jill
    1, December 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I wrote this comment about 4-5 mins. ago. I appears and disappears from the screen. This has been happening to my posts a lot. Has it happened to anyone else?

    It was happening to me yesterday- some of my postings never showed up.

    You’re right, I should have hit on him for some money to pay my new improved health insurance costs. The good thing about getting an email from a politician is it’s easy to just hit ‘reply’ and tell them what you really think.
    I’ll third what Thomas Barton,JD also, it was a good interview.

  19. Obama is wrong to do this … Not why I worked to get him elected. He is losing his main base of support with these types of Republican -like policies.

  20. As outrageous as it is disappointing for those of us who actually believed that this Administration stood for something besides its own preservation. Here’s an excerpt from “Judgment at Nuremberg” that Obama should have watched and vowed never to forget:

    “… under a national crisis ordinary -even able or extraordinary — men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination …”

  21. When Philip Zelikow appeared before the Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee earlier this year, he criticized the purported legal basis for many of the Bush administration’s actions as he responded to questions from committee members. One point he made wasn’t in direct answer to a question, but a point he wanted to make anyway: that within the dubious legal framework that the previous Justice Department had devised, torture against a US citizen in this country, not just against foreigners held in CIA custody, could be deemed proper too. It seemed obvious that Mr. Zelikow specifically wanted to insert that legal opinion. Why, since he didn’t tend to ramble in his answers? I believe he had reason to suspect that the torture of a US citizen had actually taken place and wanted the committee to look for it. (And if you are reading this, Mr. Zelikow, thank you very much for your comments then. I am the person, or one of the persons, that Ms. Rice was no doubt having qualms about in her increasing upset about the process of domestic torture going on during the Bush administration.)

    You have wondered why the Obama administration was busy spending its own (the public’s) money and its influence to defend John Yoo, the attorney working for the Bush administration’s Justice Department, the one whose “legal” work set up the Bush administration’s torture policies. The reason they decided to defend John Yoo is clear to me. It isn’t that they care so much about Mr. Yoo; it’s that they care about themselves, including President Obama. He’s responsible for the continuing torture taking place here after he took office, and continuing with his knowledge and consent. The precedent they hope to establish with the aid of the court on that earlier case is that the President and the Justice Department’s FBI can torture and not be held legally accountable for atrocities they participate in or are responsible for okaying. They are reversing Nuremburg because they know I don’t intend to stay quite about the domestic torture going on here with the knowledge and approval of the President. I am in the process of writing to members of Congress now.

    (Note: I am not an Obama hater, and do not disapprove of most of his administration’s policies. I was ecstatic when he was elected. I was _certain_ he’d end the horrors here, and return our country to the rule of law. But making the FBI community and its director happy are apparently more important than returning our country to the rule of law. No doubt there’s political safety in ignoring very serious bodily harm intentionally applied by persons who behave like thugs, but it’s not the right thing to do for the country, to say nothing of what it does for current and future innocent persons subjected to the New FBI and their New Way of doing things.)

    The Office of Technology Assessment hasn’t been around for a long while now to give a fair assessment, a label, for the effects of the illegal technology now being used in the “interrogations” program the FBI is conducting. This treatment is not likely labeled torture, as those who want to use it have no incentive to ask that it be so labeled. But some of these “treatments” are similar to the “no-torture” waterboarding, in that any normal person who is honest would define many of its current activities just that way. It’s a condition for carrying out those immoral aims that the torture they want to conduct under some other name is also super secret to almost everyone except for the direct targets of the harm. The change in the Freedom Of Information Act and the secrecy invoked during the Bush administration (and continuing now) means that a target can’t show a verifiable reason for needing legal help to end what is happening to them under an FBI false patina of legality.

    In fact the process was initiated by intentionally letting me know of their interest in the most shockingly open way possible. The FBI knows my status. I know my status. But no one else knows, and I have no way whatsoever of proving it in order to get legal help. The FOIA legal lie succeeded in allowing the FBI to maintain its illegal terrorizing operations. What could be more Unamerican than that?

    I wrote Attorney General Eric Holder a very long letter in late January 2009, shortly after he took office, and sent a carbon copy to President Obama. I arranged to have a Post Office delivery receipt only for the letter addressed to Mr. Holder, but apparently at least that letter did get delivered; someone stamped the receipt with Mr. Holder’s signature. If the copy for the President arrived as well, then I’d suppose that Greg Craig saw it. In fact, I’d guess that Mr. Craig’s departure is at least partly related to a serious disagreement with an executive decision in the handling of my case.

    In the most wishful sort of thinking, to resend my letter might have been helpful, but it would have to be pure fantasy now to believe that the President was unaware of the content of what Mr. Panetta had said to the Congress, and pure fantasy to believe that the President is unaware of what is happening to me now. No one has done anything to stop harming me, while at the same time the administration has made a string of decisions walking away from the rule of law and invoking secrecy where it might concern torture and secret harm. In my letter to Mr. Holder, I offered to answer any questions and to do so under oath. But no one has ever contacted me. They just kept up their program of intentional harm.

    A recently announced Justice Department policy on secrecy sounds as if this administration is making great improvements for future suspects. In my opinion, this policy is in line with all the ‘trust me’ kinds of good intention policies of the Bush administration, and it won’t do anything for someone being tortured. If my status weren’t still being kept secret, I’d have long ago received an answer to my letter to the Attorney General. I frankly doubt that this “new” policy is anything new at all, and I hope it doesn’t derail strong legislative attempts to return our country to the rule of law.

    The new “interrogation” structure within the FBI, headed by a man who’ll need no heads-up on the use of the new technology to achieve torture, should be no comfort at all to anyone wishing for the United States to quit torturing people. To the contrary, it’s a huge red flag; the FBI itself is largely responsible for my torture. They still do have the equipment they got from the CIA, they have been trained to use it, and they are still using it without mercy and apparently without fear of legal repercussions. Proclamations notwithstanding, much of what they are doing is plainly torture, and all of it is harmful. It’s being used on an American citizen and in a framework designed to deny me due process.

    The experience gained by the FBI-CIA using me in their pilot program demonstrated that it’s possible to achieve the same degree of harm, the same degree of terror, and much more permanent damage through the use of the newer equipment on suspects or whomever they choose to use it on. It’s no longer necessary to use primitive implements like waterboards for torture; the newer technology equipment leaves no records of what it does, and leaves no evidence of the bodily damage taking place for the tortured person that can’t presumably be explained some other way. I am expecting that if nothing is changed, this equipment will sooner or later cause a heart attack or stroke for me. Probably sooner. If asked, the simple explanation from the FBI will likely be that I was an old overweight diabetic, and well, heart attacks and strokes are not uncommon in that group of people.

  22. […] Twist and Shout December 10, 2009 Posted by judylobo in Jewish Stuff, Photography, Politics, Videos, Zoos, wildlife. Tags: Barney Frank, Hanukkah, John Yoo, Jonathan Turley, Obameter, Orrin Hatch, torture trackback Remember my obsession with torture, torture memos and John Yoo, the author of of the torture program in the Bush Administration?  Guess what?  The Obama Administration is defending him in Court. Holy Bad Idea! Jonathan Turley discussed this issue with Keith Olbermann on Countdown last night. You can watch that appearance here. You can read the entire article from Turley’s blog here. […]

  23. Alls I can offer and it is not much. Sluts come in many ways. So Obama how big of a slut are you. There I have said something nasty about Obama. Still don’t trust him. I trust Biden more so or give me a Willie.

  24. All I can say is its sad…and it gives one the feeling of hopelessness….It never dawned on me that Obama was going to be such a lightweight…I had such high hopes and now more than ever they have been dashed..since Jan it becomes more and more apparent that Obama wasnt/isnt ready to be president…On another blog there was a article about the presidnent calling up congressman John Conyers up just recently to complain that Conyers was demeaning him the congressman is one upstanding fellow and a very early supporter of Obama…but he doesnt understand what happened to the promises made but not delv., and he said so O got his feelings hurt….so sad, so sad

  25. Yes, well, it is difficult to prosecute Bush/Cheney if said prosecution will then extend to Clinton/Albright. Yes, I know Gore was prez.

    Going after Yoo puts a democrat president in moral and legal jeopardy, in my opinion because is appears that Clinton is a war criminal in Serbia.

    Both he and Albright also stand guilty (whether or not in a court of law, I don’t know) of having continued to support sanctions against Iraq and Saddam when even the UN (partners in this crime) began to back off of the sanction after it became obvious that children were dying in DROVES.

    And if we are going to hold presidents and their agents responsible for war crimes, I’d like to see Clinton and crew added to that list and the whole matter brought out in a court of law.

    The least estimates of this slaughter in Iraq is about 300,000 children, the most 500,000.

    Democrat politicians never do things because they are just or virtuous, they do things only to secure power and protect their evil doings.

  26. “If successful in this case, the Obama Administration will succeed in returning the world to the rules leading to the war crimes at Nuremberg. Quite a legacy for the world’s newest Nobel Peace Prize winner.”

    I couldn’t bring myself to listen to Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech this morning.

    Obama and his administration are proof that there is little difference between the two major political parties.

  27. The Neocons are the enemy and they are in both parties and both houses.

    The issue is a violation of the Constitution pushed by fascists. I don’t give a damn what their name is or what letter they put behind it. Partisanship is a distraction tactic used by both sides to draw attention from the fact both parties have members who need to be in prison if not shot for treason. Put Cheney on trial. Since Obama wants to continue Bush’s violation of the Separations of Powers Doctrine with his signing statements and is now actively protecting a treasonous traitor, you can put him on the stand for treason too. You can stand Lieberman up there right next to him since he’s obviously in the bag for AIPAC – an organization caught hiding spies used against the US on multiple occasions. Put them ALL on trial.

    As long as you put EVERY g-damned signatory to PNAC and every corporation participant in Cheney’s Secret Energy Task Force up there with them.

    The issue is fascists are dictating law to Congress and using it to cover their crimes. Crimes as serious as treason. The issue is the people corporatist trolls and apologists like you work for.


    Screw your partisan distraction, Tootie. Partisanship is the biggest lie in the system. There is no difference between either graft riddled, corrupt and incompetent party except who signs the checks: one works for big oil, the other for the insurance/health care/Pharma lobby. Both are criminals destroying the system more effectively than ANY terrorist ever could. Simply because they are narcissistic, myopic, amoral, venal scumbags WHO ARE VIOLATING THEIR SWORN DUTY TO PROTECT AND UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. Don’t be too happy the guy on “the other side” is a traitor too. It’s like saying “that guy is a murderer just like my guy is!” If you’re focused on party affiliation, you are simply distracting from the FACT that it’s a two-headed coin being flipped. The problem is companies like Exxon and the pols they purchase outright from K. St.

    Not everyone is as easily distracted as the half-fact vested-interest in fascism crowd.

    No man is my king. They act as such at their own risk. I don’t give a damn if they are “from the Government” or not. I’m a free man with loyalty to the Constitution – not the rest of their nonsense ego-worship and greed. Since the Constitution is manifestly out the window with trying to protect Yoo, so is any obligation I feel to show restraint if screwed with. They are the ones who broke the social compact. They will be the ones to pay the ultimate price. I have no compunction about destroying those who would try to make me their slave. I don’t give a shit WHO they are or who they work for.

    That goes for Cheney.
    That goes for Obama.

    But party has nothing to do with it.

  28. Buddha is Laughing:

    You are obviously quite clever (though not so brave since you addressed me several paragraphs down in your last post, after all, my name IS Tootie–it’s not so scary is it?) please tell us all what partisanship I represent.

  29. Elaine,

    I heard selected sickening clips. They were appalling. The prize could have and should have been withdrawn. There was a petition to rescind the prize and this is what I wrote on mine:

    “You will make a mockery of the Peace Prize by awarding it to President Obama. I understand that you based this on your hope for him, but now reality must be the deciding factor. The reality is Obama secretly has our military killing civilians in Pakistan. The reality is he has escalated our troops and contractors in Afghanistan. The reality is we are setting up more military bases around the world than ever before. The reality is Obama wants weapons dominance in space and cyberspace for the US.

    It is time to recognize these actions will be rewarded by giving him a peace prize. The prize will be a mantle of lies, covering death and destruction throughout the world. Do not weave this mantle and present it as a gift, for it will be used to terrible purposes.”

    I fear Obama will make Bush’s illegal actions “legal” by getting Congress to approve them. Should he successfully remove the Judiciary from any oversight of his actions, our nation is sunk.

  30. Dredd:

    Do you folks talk about the Council on Foreign relations around here? The CFR explains why both parties are partners in crime.

  31. Tootie,

    Awww, upset because you didn’t get top billing? If you think I’m not brave, come to KC, stop at any Kinko’s and tell me where you are at online. I’ll be glad to meet you. I tell you everything I say here right to your face. Unless you have a gun, I’m not really worried and even then you better be further away than where I can touch you. I’ve been shot at. Have you? Quite frankly I think an assessment of bravery from the Cheney-Chickenhawk crowd is pretty funny.

    You RNC – Corporatist schill.

  32. From the ACLU:

    “ACLU Teleconference TODAY at 10:30 AM: The Obama Administration and Impunity for Torture
    Experts Will Discuss Major Civil Lawsuits, the Forthcoming OPR Report and the Obama Administration’s Efforts to Shield Bush Administration Officials From Accountability for Torture

    NEW YORK – December 10 – Despite substantial evidence already in the public domain that senior members of the Bush administration were directly involved in the illegal torture program, efforts to achieve accountability have been repeatedly stymied by the Obama administration. The American Civil Liberties Union will host a teleconference today, Thursday, December 10 at 10:30 a.m. EST to “connect the dots” on the following issues:

    Criminal Investigation: Since the beginning of his administration, President Obama has discouraged a full-blown criminal investigation of the torture program, arguing that the country should look forward, not backward. While Attorney General Eric Holder launched a “preliminary review” on August 24, 2009 into “whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations,” that investigation is narrowly circumscribed and does not encompass senior officials who authorized torture or senior government attorneys who facilitated it. The investigation is exceedingly limited in scope even though a report of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which is expected to be released imminently, reportedly underscores the central role that government lawyers played in justifying the Bush administration’s torture policies.

    Civil lawsuits on behalf of torture victims: In case after case, including the ACLU’s case against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the CIA extraordinary rendition flights, the administration has tried to block accountability and redress for torture victims by improperly asserting the “state secrets” privilege. The ACLU will be arguing the Jeppesen case before an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on December 15. The Obama administration also filed a friend-of-the-court brief December 3 in a case brought by Jose Padilla against torture-memo author John Yoo, arguing that the Constitution does not provide a civil remedy to prisoners who were deemed to be “enemy combatants” and then tortured in U.S. custody.

    Civil lawsuits for disclosure of torture files: Notwithstanding its stated commitment to transparency, the Obama administration continues to withhold crucial documents relating to the Bush administration’s torture program, including documents relating to the CIA’s black sites, transcripts in which CIA prisoners discuss their torture in those black sites and photographs showing the abuse of prisoners in Defense Department custody. The ACLU continues to fight for comprehensive disclosure of the Bush administration’s torture files and has moved to hold the CIA in contempt for its destruction of videotapes showing prisoners being waterboarded. The CIA is scheduled to process for potential release by December 23 a batch of documents describing the reasons and people behind the CIA’s destruction of the videotapes.

    Teleconference featuring ACLU experts discussing major civil lawsuits, the forthcoming OPR report, lack of transparency and the Obama administration’s efforts to shield Bush administration officials from accountability for torture, followed by a question and answer period for members of the media

    Jameel Jaffer, Director, ACLU National Security Project Ben Wizner, attorney in the ACLU’s rendition lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Alex Abdo, attorney in the ACLU’s torture FOIA lawsuits Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel

    TODAY, Thursday, December 10, 2009 10:30 a.m. EST

    United States: (800) 288-9626
    International: (612) 332-0335

  33. Buddha Is Laughing:

    Top billing? Which other poster was mentioned by name outside of me?

    Oh, I’m quite aware that violent people and stalkers posting online, so forgive me if I don’t meet you anywhere.

    On earth.

    How will you prove I’m a republican?

    In the same fashion as I will prove you are a member of the Nation of Islam?

  34. Buddha,

    Is it possible not to get involved further with Tootie on issues that don’t relate to the topic at hand? I believe these types of back and forth really distract from the thread and sometimes they get quite ugly. There’s going to be a lot of bait and switch attempts on this topic and I’m hoping to avoid letting that happen. Thanks for considering this request.

  35. Torture is against the law.

    Treason is against the law.

    They are both war crimes. One by chance of timing and terms of treaties as well as Federal law, the other by definition as found in the Constitution. If something is unconstitutional, it’s illegal.

    Violation of the Separation of Powers Doctrine is unconstitutional. Every time a signing statement is used to generate law, that law is illegal and should not be obey no matter which President signed off on the illegal practice. Signing statements are for dicta – expressing an opinion. Any other use is illegal and any “authority” derived from them is illegal and invalid.

    SCOTUS appointing a President based on political grounds in contravention of the popular vote instead of ordering another election is unconstitutional.

    Letting corporations dictate law, a legislative duty held in sworn trust by our representatives that they are to draft and promote laws based on the common good of their constituents, not which corporate donor gave the most last graft cycle is unconstitutional.

    Holding people indefinitely and without charge is unconstitutional.

    Searching people’s records, businesses and homes without judicial review and approval is unconstitutional. So is listening to their phone calls, reading their mail (both kinds) and monitoring their internet and library usage.

    DISCLAIMER: This list is not comprehensive, but the point should be self-evident.

  36. Freedom of Speech is an incredible gift. With it comes power. I’m afraid it is the power to shoot ourselves (as a country) in the foot at times. Life is full of complicated emotional issues. We don’t really have to be qualified to make judgements on those complicated issues, do we? I like when facts are reported. Keep those in power in check, but let them do there jobs. How easily we turn on our leaders. Self-fullfilling prophecy is part of this country’s problem. If we don’t like ourselves, who will?

  37. Jiil–

    I agree. I said something of the same kind yesterday on another thread.

    Here’s an excerpt of something Tootie addressed to me yesterday at another post:

    “Multiculturalism is very bad. That is the whole point for why Christians resisted it.

    “We are a civilization in decline. That is why conservatism is a superior political philosophy for us in America, it preserves and conserves.”

    I’ve decided not to respond to people when they write racist, bigoted comments such as that–or to respond when people leave crass, vulgar comments.

  38. I agree with Jill.

    This thread is my best source of info and explanation,with regards to the Yoo case. One-on-one battles will surely drive people that are trying to learn the facts and potential consequences away.

    That being said, I always appreciate BIL’s opinion and insight.

  39. Jill,

    Your input is appreciated, but wrangle your way, I’ll wrangle mine. See the above post. There is no need to give rope in this instance.

  40. Bittersweet,

    We use facts to keep those in power in check. Shutting up and trusting them to do the right thing is not the way of a free, strong people. That is for people who want a father figure to take care of everything for them.

    The president took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the United States. In this and many other instances, he has failed utterly to abide by his oath. I will not remain silent as the president breaks the law and neither will many others. For breaking the law he should be impeached.

  41. Elaine:

    Please, don’t be afraid. And never let anyone accuse you of racism for your frank and open discussion of race or racial issues.

    You do realize it is more likely to be a racist viewpoint to assume multiculturalism refers to race? When did I ever use the term “multiracial” or “multiracialism” to describe anything anywhere on this blog?

    And, I trust, you must aware that the word bigot doesn’t refer to people who have controversial opinions you do not like, but that it refers to those who won’t tolerate others with controversial opinions you do not like?

    I learned long ago, from Thomas Sowell, that multiculturalism is a bad thing–a very bad thing. It leads to violence and conflict.

    Sowell writes in an article called “Journalists Exalt Ideology of Multiculturalism”(1994.Oh my, has it been that long!):

    “There is not a speck of evidence that the multicultural agenda promotes harmony. In fact, there are growing indication that it foments mutual hostility.”

    “Whatever the theory of multiculturalism, if you want to see multiculturalism in action, you need only look at the Balkans, Northern Ireland[whites], Lebanon[semites], Burundi[blacks] and wherever else identity has been hyped, at the cost of blood and lives.”

    Oh, if you didn’t know (and it seems highly possible) Sowell is black.

    Is he a racist too? In your opinion?

  42. Jill I don’t think there will be a movement to impeach Obama except maybe by the birthers and tea party folks. They certainly won’t be trying to impeach because of the torture issue. Not to remain silent is a good thing but to talk of impeachment of democratic president by a democratic congress is not realistic. I guess you could hope for right wing republicans to take over at the midterm elections.

  43. The use of “enhanced interrogation” by the United States is not new, it was used by US Army prosecutors and approved by the Military Tribunal sitting in judgement at the Malmedy Massacre trail held at Dachau in 1946.

    Although the Military Tribunal allowed testimony obtained through torture and convicted the defendants, many to death, the subsequent uproar (and Cold War politics) caused those sentences to be commuted to Life and even then the longest serving defendant (Colonel Joachim Pieper) was freed in 1956.

    See: A Peculiar Crusade – Willis M Everett and the Malmedy Massacre by James J Weingartner c2000 ISBN: 0-8147-9366-5


  44. A person who shamelessly accepts and wears a false medallion under false pretenses is as contemptible a person as humanly possible. What a disgrace Mr. Obama is becoming after we thought the past 8 years of a pitifully loathsome fool and his administration were squarely behind US.

  45. Swarthmore Mom,

    I said earlier I didn’t think impeachment was going to happen. It never happened to Bush and it most certainly should have. There is nothing undemocratic about impeachment. The president has committed offenses that are impeachable. If Republicans take over in the midterms there will be absolutely no difference in policies between the supposed “opposing” parties. Obama has adopted or magnified all of Bush’s policies in every regard. What would be different is this: more of the population would be up in arms about the policies. For whatever reason too many Democrats have allowed the president and the congress they now control to act as if they were the Republican party. I am hoping that is starting to change as people wake up to this fact. If John McCain had done 1/3 of what Obama has done, people would have been screaming months ago. It’s well past time to push back as citizens. Parties don’t matter, only actions. The actions of the two parties have been identical. Time to rise up and fight back against anyone of any party who would destroy our Constitution and screw over the people of this nation. Let me give but one example on the matter of war since this is peace prize day: (I will post it in the next box)

  46. “Barack Obama, the anti-war candidate, has proven to be a perfect decoy for the military industrial complex. Consider all the opposition and bad press Bush received when he announced the surge in Iraq. Then consider this:


    The Bush surge in Iraq deployed an extra 28,000 US troops. Under Obama, back in March, a surge in Afghanistan, that also further escalated operations inside Pakistan, deployed an extra 21,000 troops. However, in an unannounced and underreported move, Obama added 13,000 more troops to that surge to bring the total to 34,000 troops. Obama actually outdid Bush’s surge by 6000 troops and brought the overall number of US troops in Afghanistan to 68,000, double the number there when Bush left office.

    Where opposition was fierce to Bush’s surge, barely any opposition was expressed during Obama’s surge. Part of the reason for so little political and public backlash was the cleverly orchestrated psychological operation to announce the beginning of US troop withdrawal from Iraq. While the drawdown in Iraq has been greatly exaggerated in the US mainstream media, as of October, Obama still had 124,000 troops deployed in Iraq (not counting private military contractors).

    When Obama casts the illusion of a 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan, one just needs look at the reality of the situation with the over-hyped withdrawal in Iraq.

    Now, with Obama’s latest surge announcement he will again be adding a minimum of another 30,000 US soldiers. This means that Obama has now led a bigger surge than Bush… on two separate occasions within the past nine months of his new administration.

    Obama has now escalated deployments in the Af-Pak region to 98,000 US troops. So in Af-Pak and Iraq, he will now have a total of 222,000 US troops deployed, 36,000 more than Bush ever had – 186,000 was Bush’s highest total.


    The amount of private military contractors deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan is rarely reported on in the US mainstream press, but a Congressional Research Service investigation into this revealed that a record high 69% active duty soldiers are in fact private mercenaries.

    Although the administration is yet to disclose how many private mercenaries will be deployed in the latest surge, it is believed that the 69% ratio will remain in tact.

    The Pentagon released a report showing that Obama already had a total of 242,657 private contractors in action, as of June 30th. 119,706 of them in Iraq, 73,968 in Afghanistan, with 50,061 active in “other US CENTCOM locations.”

    Back in June, Jeremy Scahill reported on these findings: “According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of ‘Private Security Contractors’ working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan….”

    Plus, we must mention, the immense dangers of having private military contractors as 69% of our fighting force. For those of you unaware, private military contractors are hired from all over the world. Any former soldier, from any country, is welcome to come and fight for a salary – a salary that is often significantly more than what we pay our own US soldiers.

    These mercenaries have a vested interest in prolonging the war, for as long as there is a war, they have a well paying job. So it is easy to infer that a significant percentage of these contractors will not have the US soldiers, or US taxpayers, best interests at heart.

    Obama continues to feed this out of control private army by pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into shady and scandalous companies like Blackwater, who recently changed their name to Xe Services, because they destroyed their reputation by committing numerous war crimes in Iraq. A recent investigation by Jeremy Scahill revealed the extent to which Blackwater is involved in covert operations inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. In some cases, Blackwater is not working for the US, but were hired by covert elements inside Pakistan. When it comes to private contractors, the fog of war grows ominous, exactly who is fighting for whom is unclear. The crucial factor is who paid them the most that particular day.

    The US military can give them $1000 today, and an enemy can give them $1000 tomorrow, when you have people who fight for a payday and not for a country, you get chaos. This leads to a breakdown in the chain of command, effectively turning a military operation into a covert intelligence operation, where you’re never really sure if the person you are fighting with is on your side or not.

    A federal investigation by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, revealed in June: “More than 240,000 contractor employees, about 80 percent of them foreign nationals, are working in Iraq and Afghanistan to support operations and projects of the U.S. military, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Contractor employees outnumber U.S. troops in the region. While contractors provide vital services, the Commission believes their use has also entailed billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse due to inadequate planning, poor contract drafting, limited competition, understaffed oversight functions, and other problems.”

    Before this latest surge, there were over 123,000 US and NATO troops in the Af-Pak region, and 200,000 Afghan security forces, supporting the US effort. According to US intelligence sources the total number of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the region was estimated to only be about 25,000, giving the US led forces a minimum of a 12 to 1 troop advantage.

    When you add in estimated private soldiers, you get an approximate minimum of a 17 to 1 advantage.

    Although Obama opened his war speech by mentioning al-Qaida as the main justification for this war, consider this AP report: “national security adviser James Jones said last weekend that the al-Qaida presence has diminished, and he does not ‘foresee the return of the Taliban’ to power. He said that according to the maximum estimate, al-Qaida has fewer than 100 fighters operating in Afghanistan without any bases or ability to launch attacks on the West.”

    Does it seriously take a surge of hundreds of thousands of troops to contain what amounts to “less than 100″ al-Qaida members?

    Any serious war strategist will tell you that the most effective way to combat the remains of the al-Qaida network, is through an intelligence operation, and statistics prove that escalating more troops into the region will only fuel further acts of terrorism.


    Speaking of fueling hatred toward the US, other than a huge troop increase, there has also been a sharp increase in the use of unmanned drones. The New Yorker reports: “According to a just completed study by the New America Foundation, the number of drone strikes has risen dramatically since Obama became President. During his first nine and a half months in office, he has authorized as many C.I.A. aerial attacks in Pakistan as George W. Bush did in his final three years in office.”

    The unmanned drones have caused major controversy due to the high number of civilian causalities they cause. However, as the study stated, the Obama Administration continues to increasingly rely upon them.

    So summing up these statistics, we have the most fierce and technologically advanced military force in history, vastly outnumbering what amounts to be a ragtag army of peasant farmers with guns, and our best option is supposed to be an increase in troop levels?”

  47. I don’t think the parties are identical although more so than I care for. I just don’t get how the Palin folks or teabaggers are going to unite with the far left to overthrow the status quo.

  48. That goes for Cheney.
    That goes for Obama.
    But party has nothing to do with it.

    Yes it does cause they are partying like it’s 1999

  49. Tootie–

    Definition of bigot taken from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:

    “One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.”

    I will admit that I may be intolerant of intolerant people.

    I was raised a Catholic and attended a parochial school. I still remember being told by one nun that we should never enter a Protestant church. That didn’t make much sense to me—even when I was a kid. After all, I was also being told to treat my brother as myself and to love all God’s people.

    Regarding the following:
    “Whatever the theory of multiculturalism, if you want to see multiculturalism in action, you need only look at the Balkans, Northern Ireland[whites], Lebanon[semites], Burundi[blacks] and wherever else identity has been hyped, at the cost of blood and lives.”

    I think what happened in the Balkans, Lebanon, etc., has much more to do with people being intolerant of one another than it has to do with multiculturalism. Some people seem to love to hate others who come from different cultures, different ethnic backgrounds, different races—or who belong to different religions or political parties. Such people use their differences as an excuse to do terrible things to one another. Unfortunately, some of these hateful people become powerful and convince/compel others to follow them and do their bidding–just as Hitler did.

  50. On this blog in particular, the terms racist and bigot are thrown about like Mardi Gras beads. As reader/commenter Jill pointer out the ad himonem attacks are distracting and rude.

  51. Tootie 1, December 10, 2009 at 10:42 am


    Do you folks talk about the Council on Foreign relations around here? The CFR explains why both parties are partners in crime.

    We talk about most anything around here. The good Professor has an astute eye for things we should consider.

    His eloquent post together with his appearance on Keith Olbermann last evening are classics.

    May I ask you to a dance:

  52. Here is what is reprehensible: that Jonathan Turley – who unquestionably knows better – has wholly misrepresented the contents of the DOJ brief. Here is a link to the brief, for anyone who is interested in actually knowing any actual facts about the administration’s position:

    The brief is limited to one narrow Bivens argument. It says nothing like what Turley claims it says and in no way, shape or form does it implicate the Nuremberg convictions or the principles that guide them.

    This post is so irresponsible and dishonest that I am simply flabbergasted. Shame on you, Professor Turley. Has your need to be on television gotten so out of control that you will seize on any opportunity to distort the significance of legal issues just to get onto Countdown.

    History does not judge the purveyors of self-interested propaganda highly. You have lost any and all credibility you ever held with me after this one, Professor. You know better, but you do it anyway.

  53. On this blog in particular, the terms racist and bigot are thrown about like Mardi Gras beads. As reader/commenter Jill pointer out the ad himonem attacks are distracting and rude.

    and if the Professor doesn’t win the ABA Award you have to wonder if it had any effect on the outcome.

    Just Sayin

  54. Robert,

    Not to speak for Elaine, but sometimes the word bigot is perfectly acceptable. For example, when someone has acted like a bigot. If – or forbid, when – you call someone a Christ Killer, I’ll be glad to describe you as a bigot every chance I get too.

    There is a difference between an attack and an accurate description which goes to credibility and veracity of a declarant.

    If you find that distracting, use some of that free will to move right on to the next post. The corollary of free speech is the freedom to ignore – a right exercised by many Americans with an unhealthy gusto. Go ahead. Exercise it if you like. No one will stop you. No one will ever know but you and like most vices harmless in moderation.

    Enjoy your Constitutional Rights while you still have the few left untouched by the bad guys. I have been and will continue to do so. I certainly hope both you and Elaine continue to enjoy the remnants of liberty. Especially Elaine. She’s a hoot and has a wonderful way with words.

    Your rights are a wonderful thing. Constitutional Rights like the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishments. Like torture. Which is what this thread is about.

    And no one with a shred of decency should ignore, condone, pardon, excuse, apologize for or defend those who torture prisoners under ANY circumstance yet alone based on a tissue paper thin bullshit rationale like Yoo provided to give torture “sanction” under the color of authority. The Constitution is clear. So is Federal law. Police officers in this country have been tried, convicted and sentenced to prison for waterboarding.

    Yoo is a torturer and there is blood on his hands just as sure as if he was doing the abuses himself. And Obama is defending him just like Bush did.

    No one is above the law. Not Bush. Not Cheney. Not Yoo. Not Obama. Violating the Constitution is simply unacceptable and the very worst kind of treason.

  55. Obama’s acceptance speech for the Nobel

    Furthermore, America cannot insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves. For when we dont, our action can appear arbitrary, and undercut the legitimacy of future intervention — no matter how justified.”

  56. I happen to think that John Yoo’s torture memos are legally indefensible. But there is still a problem that people seem to be glossing over. In order to prosecute John Yoo successfully, or even to find him liable civilly, you would have to prove that John Yoo did not believe the advice he gave in his memos. And the problem is that he seems sincerely to believe that his cracked interpretation of the law is correct. And there is another principle at stake here, which is that lawyers must be free to give advice that they believe is correct. If they are acting beyond the bounds of professional standards, they might be liable for malpractice (but that is not the claim in this case, I don’t believe). If they are giving advice that they know is wrong, and they are doing it to promote torture, then they might be liable for war crimes. But if they are giving advice that they believe is correct, then the theory of the case in question seems doubtful, and the Obama administration is probably on solid ground in submitting a brief that defends the principle that lawyers should not be liable for advice they give in good faith.

  57. Correction

    Furthermore, America in fact no nation can insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves. For when we dont, our actions appear arbitrary, and undercut the legitimacy of future intervention — no matter how justified.”

    This part edited by Muaww

    and this becomes particularly important for the purpose of military torture beyond self defense or defense of one nation against another.

  58. Good point Joe, but people want Obama to go for the kill on this and because he’s not, regardless of your and Michelle’s explanation it just doesn’t cut the mustard.

    Say it aint so, Joe

  59. Can we prosecute attorneys for giving bad advice? Isn’t that the door we’re looking to open?

    What crime did Yoo commit by giving his opinion? Was it a criminal act for him to give his opinion? If we can’t point to the law that subjects him to prosecution for giving a wrong opinion, how can we apply due process?

  60. Mr Turley,

    Nuremberg was a criminal matter. Yoo is a civil matter. Is it possible (not being snarky, just wondering) that the administration is exonerating lawyers from being PERSONALLY LIABLE civilly. That is, Padilla could sue the United States as a whole, but not John Yoo individually?

  61. Tootie—

    I was raised in a “monoculture.” All my family and all my friends were Roman Catholic. I didn’t have any Protestant friends, any Black friends, any Asian friends, etc. Then I went to college and later began working. I also taught at a large university with a diverse student population for several years. Over time, I began to include among my acquaintances and good friends people from many different cultures. Once I got to know these individuals, I learned that we had much more in common than we had differences.

    In the past several years, in fact, I have become close friends with two women who come from backgrounds very different from mine. One of the women is a Chinese-Korean American; the other is a Taiwanese American. They are both successful children’s authors. They don’t look much like me—but we have much in common. We three share a passion for books and children’s literature, the same sense of humor, a love of children, a belief in close family ties—as well as a belief that it is best to be open-minded. I think my life has been enriched because I have come to know these women so well–and because I have been willing to open up my circle to include people who may appear—on the surface—to be so different from me.

    You can choose to live in a closed society with a belief that multiculturalism is not a good thing. That’s your prerogative.

  62. His opinion was plain language unconstitutional and ergo prime facie illegal advice. The sole purpose of the memo was cover for a crime and don’t give me that “his opinion” horseshit either. If an attorney advises an illegality? He’s culpable too. If he’d advised robbing a bank, he’d be a co-conspirator. If someone dies, he’d be a felony murderer. Just because Yoo “thinks” torture is fine is right wouldn’t make it justifiable or legal either. He could opine the moon is Gorgonzola. Doesn’t make him right or sane. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law on either side of the bar. Torture is not negotiable. 1L’s know this. Or they are supposed to. If his “opinion” is the problem, he’s free to have it, but when crimes are committed based on his opinion, he should pay that price.

    It’s called Professional Responsibility.
    It’s called Equity.
    It’s called Justice.

    If he really thinks torture is such a grand ideal, he should carry his worthless ass to Saudi Arabia and live under Sharia. Because according to the Constitution, multiple treaties and Federal law, waterboarding is torture and illegal. His “opinion” to the contrary not withstanding. Criminally negligent advice at best.

    And torture? His fitness to practice law isn’t just questionable. So is his humanity.

    So yeah. Open that door. The courts are supposed to be triers of fact. The facts are John Yoo is provided inadequate cover to crimes committed by Cheney and Bush so they wouldn’t be drug from the WH and hung on the lawn when people found out the scope of their crimes and now Obama is covering for him too.

    Open the damned door already.

    Well screw that and screw them. If America endorses and protects torturers, it deserves to fail. Because at that point, we are the enemy.

  63. Robert–

    “On this blog in particular, the terms racist and bigot are thrown about like Mardi Gras beads.”

    I may have erred in using the word racist in a previous comment. I may have inferred more from the quote of Tootie’s that I posted along with my own comment—and from other comments Tootie has made at other posts on the Turley blog. But I doubt that I erred in using the word bigoted in describing what s/he said.

  64. Let me echo Michelle @2:20…

    Gimme a break.

    The underlying issue in the Padilla matter is Quirin and the underlying issue in the amicus is Bivens.

    Nuremberg? That’s not even a C minus effort by a hack blogger, but as Michelle so aptly put it, I guess discussing the realities of the amicus doesn’t get you on TV.

  65. After reading this disturbing news and later hearing Professor Turley on “Countdown” last evening, I recall what that little demagogue George Wallace once said about both political parties, “there’s not a dimes worth of difference between the two parties.”
    How true! Obama is tunring out to be a major disappointment who has little or no principles or convictions. I’m seriously considering changing my party registration to “Independent” in early 2010 and leaving the Democratic Party.

  66. BIL–

    “I certainly hope both you and Elaine continue to enjoy the remnants of liberty. Especially Elaine. She’s a hoot and has a wonderful way with words.”

    I’m planning to hang on to every remnant of liberty that I possibly can.

    It warms the cockles of me heart to know that you think I’m a hoot and have a way with words. I do my best to express my opinions coherently. I also try to keep certain personal proclivities in check when speaking my mind at the Turley blog. That is sometimes difficult for an individual who is an inveterate w*se*ss.

  67. Prof. Turley,

    Is this action not making Obama and his administration culpable for the war crimes committed under the pretense of legal authority during the Bush years? Doesn’t this amount to either obstruction or becoming an accessory after the fact in all the torture and other war crimes that occured during the Bush reign of terror?

    Is it not the obligation of the other signatories of the convention on torture to pursue the investigations and prosecutions of substantial allegations of the commission of such crimes? I understand well the destruction this does to the integrity of the US legal system, but if our international partners value the rule of law will they not be obligated to pursue investigations into such crimes and to prosecute if investigation warrants it?

    I would be very interested in your response to these questions.


  68. To Michelle and Shannon,

    1) Torture is a crime.

    2) Waterboarding is torture.

    3) U.S. v. Parker, et al. Ask Sheriff Parker if waterboarding is a crime or a civil matter. He and his deputies were all convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for waterboarding prisoners into confessing to drug crimes they didn’t commit. But this doesn’t matter! It happened in the 80’s. In addition, there is the fact that civil and criminal liability are not mutually exclusive. Sorry, but you won’t be going on to the Showcase Showdown.

    4) The C effort is from the “torture is fine” crowd and the “Yoo should be free to advise criminal action as an attorney” crowd. Get a clue. The advice he rendered was illegal. What was done based on that advice was illegal. Rationale and reason are not the same damn thing. He is a co-conspirator, not a protected attorney representing a valid Constitutional interest regardless of client. Being a member of the bar is not shield for criminal activity any more than being President is a shield for illegal activity. Criminals are where you find them, be they at your house or the White House. And since the White IS my house, I want all the criminals thrown out and punished – including their fascist lackeys. It’s my right as a citizen.

  69. Well, Buddha, then you should file your own suit — because Padilla’s isn’t structured to do what you want it to do… any more than the amicus is structured to ‘support’ what you or Turley want it to.

    I used to think this playing fast and loose with the facts and at hand and rampant use of semantic substitution was limited to the wingers…

    Much like Turley, you dodge the facts of the case at hand because you’ve got a point you want to make (one that I happen to agree with, by and large).

    The idea of wanting to prove a point and thinking ‘any old case will do’ isn’t a system I want any part of…. It’s Orly Taitzian nonsense – and when it comes to the law, it really doesn’t matter that, in a vacuum, one is a legitimate issue and the other is nonsense.

  70. Ooo. Comparing me to Orly. What’s next? Going to question my patriotism?

    Much like a troll, you ignore the fact you’re defending a prime facie criminal, Shannon. The wishful thinking here is yours.

    Any old crime will do as long as it’s in furtherance of another crime. He’s a conspirator to commit treason. And torture is a felony committed in furtherance of that other more damning felony. What Bush did was provide material aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war (treason) by letting them use torture (a crime proper on it’s own by Federal law and case law – that you don’t like it is tough shit) as a recruiting tool despite the fact that experts agree that torture is shit for an intelligence gathering technique. Despite the fact that torture is illegal in it’s own right. Despite that it’s inhuman.

    This is in addition to the fact that he took our military from a legitimate military goal of capturing those responsible for 9/11 (all but one a Saudi national) in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia and sent them to invade a country that had NOT attacked us – despite being unfriendly to us. To this day, Saudi Arabia has not only not paid a price for what they did, they’ve been given special treatment by the Bush White House. Special treatment Obama is continuing by protecting people like Yoo. Why was this? Bush’s business partners – the Saudis. He is in bed with the people who attacked us as much as bin Laden is. And he couldn’t send Daddy’s golf buddies to prison, could he? Bush and Cheney’s treasons committed by traitors standing on the shoulders of people like Yoo. Treason done to make personal profit. Like thieves.

    Torture is a crime and saying it’s legal AS LEGAL ADVISE is also a crime if it’s used in the furtherance of another crime as well as being a crime proper (criminal negligence at a bare minimum but I say outright violation of Federal law and the Constitution).

    And since we disagree, let’s have a trial. Trials are for when people have differences. Trials are supposed to be triers of fact. If you’re not afraid of the facts, then get the Hell out of the way of prosecuting Yoo. He’ll be exonerated if you’re right. If not? He and Cheney can share a cell.

    You keep on trying to justify torture though. It’s funny. Almost as funny as you trying to equate me with an loon like Taitz. Any regular reader here is just laughing their ass of at that.

    I have bits of troll tougher than you stuck in my teeth.

  71. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

    Did Yoo levy war against the United States? He must have! If he didn’t, what enemy did he adhere to? Or is waterboarding considered aid and comfort?

  72. Elaine:
    You wrote:

    “You can choose to live in a closed society with a belief that multiculturalism is not a good thing. ”

    I choose nothing as my government has foisted genocide on me through immigration without my permission. It has done so after promising (in 1965) that immigration would not disrupt our ethnic makeup. They lied and continue to do so.

    That said, the only immigrant I’m interested in having come here to this country is the kind (or group) that is most apt to fit in and not be a burden to the native born Americans who invite them in. I’m interested in immigrants who accept our culture and traditions and even become a part of them. To expect otherwise is to invite conflict, not because you and I disagree with them, but because THEY disagree with us.

    I notice that the people you specified are oriental Asian in background (which is also a part of our immigrant heritage). They are the best immigrant group outside of westerners of European descent.

    They work hard, do well in school, avoid crime, get married, are good citizens, and become good parents. This is unlike the majority of immigrants the government is currently flooding the country with who have higher crime rates, higher dropout rates, higher abortion rates, higher out of wed lock rates, higher drug rate, higher rate of accepting handouts, and often refuse to mix in or often even learn our language.

    Some cultural groups are better than others and certain groups have already proven that the door should be shut to them because of the overall negative characteristics of that group. This is based on their actual conduct that they were responsible for and not based on any ethnocentrism on my part. It is silly not to refer to the evidence because we are afraid of being labeled racist.

    Unlike you, I’m not ashamed of having grown up with my own ethnic group or race. This is a form of self-hatred and it causes a lot of trouble. Most people in nonwhite nations, likewise, do not have a shred of embarrassment about being monocultures and are happy to be who they are. It seems white people have some sort of hang-up about being white.

    You may think multiculturalism is fine and dandy but it seems that you are not living where the rubber meets the road at the lower end of the socio-economic scale where the impact of careless immigration policy and its damaging effects are a disgrace.

    And for the future of the nation, a threat.

  73. Dredd: December 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm


    We talk about most anything around here. The good Professor has an astute eye for things we should consider….

    Dredd, Agreed, an astute eye. Thanks for responding and thanks for the link to your blog, looks interesting.

  74. Tootie–

    “I’m interested in immigrants who accept our culture and traditions and even become a part of them.”

    What you mean by OUR culture and traditions? Can you clarify that for me?

  75. I had previously read the complaint filed by Mr. Padilla and the order of the trial court denying (in most respects) the motion to dismiss. I have now read the government’s amicus brief in support of dismissal and write to voice my complete disagreement with the comments of Shannon (identity unknown) and Michelle (identity likewise unknown). I find that their views are not only overwrought, but miss the point of the litigation entirely.

    Mr. Padilla’s claims are common law tort claims arising out of the alleged violations of various provisions of the constitution and of the federal statutes. In asserting his right to proceed with these claims, he relies on the Bivens holding that with certain exceptions damages are recoverable for the violation of constitutional rights by a federal agent. The exceptions relate to situations in which Congress has enacted an alternative remedy for the alleged wrongs or where “special factors” make it advisable that the courts refrain from adjudicating the case in the absence of some affirmative action on the part of Congress.

    Mr. Yoo urged that a Bivens remedy was not available to Mr. Padilla due to a number of “special factors,” including the discretionary authority of the executive in time of war, the risk of disclosing national security secrets, the inappropriateness of judicial involvement in foreign policy matters and the fact that Mr. Padilla had been designated an “enemy combatant” by the president under authority specifically granted by Congress. Mr. Yoo’s arguments are completely consistent with the discredited Bush/Cheney doctrine which holds that when the president is conducting a war, whether declared or undeclared, he is free to do whatever he wishes unless and until Congress stops him.

    Mr. Yoo has a privilege defense and a qualified immunity defense. However, every lawyer knows (as Buddha has stated correctly and in his usual forceful manner) that an attorney is not free to assist a client in the commission of a crime, either through the pretense of providing legal advice or actual participation in the crime itself. The claims against Mr. Yoo are predicated on allegations that his opinions did not constitute good faith efforts to provide legal counsel, but were intended to be, and were utilized for the purpose of, providing legal cover for actions which both he and his clients knew were violative of statutory and treaty law. Since the opinions were drafted with the knowledge that they would be relied upon by the administration in its treatment of detainees, Mr. Yoo is charged with knowledge that persons taken into custody and subjected to the treatment which he approved were likely to suffer injury. The issues of Mr. Yoo’s good faith and causality are classic jury questions. It is not an easy case for the plaintiff.

    The administration is concerned not with Mr. Yoo’s personal welfare, but with the implications of the suit. We already know that the Obama administration has declined to investigate or prosecute war crimes, despite substantial competent and frequently unassailable evidence that they were committed, apparently having bought in to Alan Dershowitz’ contention that any prosecutions by a sitting administration of a previous administration’s actions are inherently political and, therefore, bad for the country. I confess that this logic escapes me, since it literally means that immunity from prosecution for war crimes attaches to members of an administration as soon as the succeeding president takes the oath of office. But that is a topic for a different thread.

    Since the administration is concerned, it wishes to stop the Yoo case from going forward and creating pressure to do all of the things that Pres. Obama and Mr. Holder do not wish to do, like upholding the rule of law by enforcing the laws prohibiting torture. Hence the amicus brief.

    The first clue that the administration is up to no good with its argument is the highminded and lofty language employed by the lawyers. It touches upon all of the usual bases for judicial restraint: national security, state secrets, etc. But at bottom the brief is a plea for absolute immunity for lawyers advising the president. There is a great deal of earnest hand-wringing over the awful harm to thoughtful decision-making should legal advisors refrain from providing candid and honest opinions out of fear of possible prosecution should their judgments prove wrong. There is the argument that a remedy already exists for a lawyer’s abuses through bar imposed sanctions, though the authors do not explain how this benefits Mr. Padilla or a similarly situated plaintiff. There is the argument that Congress has provided Mr. Padilla an alternative remedy by means of review under the Administrative Procedures Act. Wonderful.

    The amicus brief spends thirty some pages to say very little. And anyone who believes that granting absolute immunity to the president’s legal advisors does not offend the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg verdicts is either ignorant, disingenuous or both. Given the Supreme Court’s preference for deferring to the executive branch whenever the government uses the magic phrase “national security,” however, I do not feel confident about Mr. Padilla’s appellate prospects.

  76. Elaine: “What [do] you mean by OUR culture and traditions? Can you clarify that for me?”

    Allow me.

    “7-Eleven pioneered the convenience store concept way back in 1927 at the Southland Ice Company in Dallas, Texas. In addition to selling blocks of ice to refrigerate food, an enterprising ice dock employee began offering milk, bread and eggs on Sundays and evenings when grocery stores were closed. This new business idea produced satisfied customers and increased sales, and convenience retailing was born!”

    Oh thank Heaven for 7-Eleven!

  77. After reading this long thread, I am wondering if we have a troll responding under different names? We seem to be hearing the same response on the Yoo matter. The Fox News talking point that going after Yoo is improper because he was “just giving advice”. I thought Buddha dispatched that worn out, weak argument. As Buddha stated, “The sole purpose of the memo was cover for a crime”. Yoo was trying to fit his advice around the torture already being done prior to the date of his memos. He was hoping that his memos would never see the light of day. He guessed wrong.

  78. Mike A.,

    I was hoping you would weigh in on this. I knew you would take the arguments one by one and explain what was really going on. You did a great job. I am very grateful for your extensive analysis and ability/willingness to read through all the briefs, etc.

  79. Tootie–

    P.S. I was wondering if the American Indians invited your culture group to come live on this continent. Some of the Christian European immigrants who settled here and their descendants were pretty good at genocide. They killed untold numbers of the original “native-born Americans.”

  80. Tootie: various postings with allusions to bigoted, racist and white power memes culminating in “…Our culture…” at 1, December 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm
    People, this crap being left at the ‘fessor’s door is a failing of your restraint.:-) Srsly, what is it about DNFTT that is so hard to understand. From a trolls POV it’s not about dialog, it’s about being indulged enough to be allowed to do a full reveal. I sound like I’m ranting at my blawg buddies but I’m actually finding this humorous; did no one else see that it was coming? Shaking head, DNFTT, DNFTT, DNFTT.

  81. Elaine,

    I have seen the behavior of Tootie before by others. When there is a topic that the administration does not want discussed they send in someone or several people to make certain the topic goes off track. I believe that is what is happening with Tootie.


    That is correct. Torture had already begun. There were many people stating correctly that it was against the law, that it was a war crime, and that those who ordered, abetted or engaged in it were legally liable for war crimes. Dick had to go through several attys. to get someone to craft the response he wanted. Yoo willingly answered the call.

  82. Jill, thanks for the very kind words. I’m just sorely disappointed in Pres. Obama’s take on law and war. Jingoism couched in reasonable language is still jingoism.

  83. Jill–

    I think you know that I agree about NFTT. I may have been the seed from which part of this “strayed” conversation grew. I guess I was trying to prove a point about why I used certain words in an earlier comment. I wanted to see if I was correct in what I had said. I really don’t like to accuse people of things for which they aren’t guilty.

  84. I get that Elaine. I just think Tootie has not acted in good faith on several threads now and I’m guessing he or she or it (sometimes they’re just computer programs) isn’t interested in your good faith answers (although I admire you for them!) I’m really glad you started posting here. You’ve added a lot to this blog.

  85. Mike Appleton,

    I too was anticipating your comments. Thank you.

    By default, governmental Amici curiae often seem destined to become base, bloated pufferies.

  86. Bob, Esq.,

    Some friends of mine grandfather started 7-Eleven. They did know how to throw one hell of a party and the bubble did burst for them as well.

  87. Mike A.,

    No feeding the trolls? But I yield to lottakatz on this. She is probably sitting in her chair praying. I hope that’s as far as it goes!:)

  88. Mike A :DNFTT: Do Not Feed The Trolls // NFTT: No Feeding The Trolls

    Jill to Elaine, glad you’re posting here.
    I second that totally. And I get to second that first! Also, I wasn’t in any way putting down your postings, your good faith was never in question.

  89. lottakatz–

    But one shouldn’t FTT when advocating against such practices herself. From this day forward–I’m not even going to leave a bowl of water out for TT.

  90. […] Oh, those Bush era State Secrets? Obama wants to keep them, too. But it’s a nit. Move on. The birkenstockers’ granola is now splashed with a dose of DoJ defending John Yoo, advancing l… The American Department of Justice summoning the spirit of Roland Freisler and Eichman. After Bush. […]

  91. My apologies to my po’tree mintur, the T-Blawg Po’hit Lariat Ms. EM’ and for manglin’ the beautifully melodic luv ballad, ‘You, You, You’

    You Yoo, Yoo
    You are such a foo, foo, foo
    Democrats gone blue Dog blue
    Somethin’ smells like doo, doo, doo

    Sue, Sue, Sue
    Let Padilla sue, you Yoo
    That will make our dreams come true
    Convict Number 2-2-2

    Bridge Verse:

    The war quartet was meant for each other
    Sure as hell is below
    They were meant for each other
    War crimes are so apropos

    Screw, Screw, Screw
    The Constitution too, too, too
    The Bills Of Rights go Boo Hoo Hoo
    Under Holder’s law purview

    Instrumental Interlude with them beautiful strangs a’playin’ with them harps

    Glue, glue, glue
    Obama’s stuck to war, Bush, ‘n Yoo
    Torture Memos Boo! Boo! Boo!
    Obama’s Term is Through! Through! Through!

    This is meant as parodic satire regarding two men I so wanted to succeed; Mr. Holder—by my supporting his confirmation—and Mr. Obama—by my voting for him, although I am a longtime conservative Republican who was born in the South during the 1940s.

    Regarding Mr. Yoo—he is a disgrace to the legal profession and decent, honest, ethical lawyers everywhere should band together to denounce their colleague-in-law.


  92. FF LEO–

    Ima hopin’ you mean po’tree mentor–and not Minotaur.

    Well, you done yer mentor proud! I doubt yer in need of my hep enymor.

    Here’s a little Yoo verse I wrote meself some months back. Sorry I don’t know how to do italics for certain lines in this poem–which is a takeoff of a knock knock joke.

    Knock Knock!
    Who’s there?
    Halloo! It’s Yoo!
    Yoo Who?
    John Yoo. That’s who.
    The Yoo who wrote the torture memo?
    THAT Yoo!
    Yes, it’s THAT Yoo. That’s true.
    You, Yoo, cannot come in. Shoo, Yoo,
    Head to hell where you’ll get your due!

    Knock Knock!
    Who’s there?
    Boohoo! Boohoo!
    I beg your pardon. Boo…Who?
    It’s Yoo—not Boo! Sorry…I was feeling blue.
    Now open the gate and let me through!
    As I recall, I bid YOU adieu.
    Now go to hell like I told you to.

    Knock Knock!
    Who’s there?
    It’s me. It’s Yoo.
    Let me in or I’ll make a great big hullabaloo!
    Pooh, Yoo, you’ve done some things that you should rue.
    Now it’s time to sit and stew.
    The devil said you’re overdue!
    Let me in. I’m begging you!
    Sorry, Yoo—no can do.
    It’s time for you to barbecue
    Down with the fire and brimstone crew.
    Adieu. Toodle-oo. Don’t come back. SCREW, Yoo!

  93. “What: Shame on YOO!

    When: Sunday, December 13, 11am-12noon

    Where: John Yoo’s House, 1241 Grizzly Peak, Berkeley. Click here for a map.

    I hope you’ll join us at Yoo’s this Sunday, rain or shine.

    Friends, we had a fantastic action at John Yoo’s house on November 22, when David Swanson and about 30 wonderful activists gathered for the protest, singing, and a “banishing ritual” aimed at bringing Yoo to justice. See the report, links to Indybay and CODEPINK articles, and video below. We’ll be back at John Yoo’s house this Sunday from 11-12 noon for the monthly protest of the “Torture Professor”. Join our call for his dismissal, disbarment, and prosecution for complicity in torture. Yoo is still teaching at UC, still writing and speaking outrageous nonsense about how his actions kept our country safe after 9/11, and still confident that he’s immune from accountability and justice. Our message is that torture is never legal and Yoo must be prosecuted. Flyers, banners, Yoo masks, jail outfit and handcuffs available at the protest. Please bring cameras. Media alert will go out Friday.” (

  94. Obama has a way with words but his actions give lie to so much of what he says … I’m very disappointed at what he has failed to accomplish and deeply surprised that he failed so easily. Is there anything, besides his own advancement of course, that the man will fight for?

  95. Tootie,

    I voted for Mr. Obama simply because there was no other person for whom I could vote. He deserved the opportunity, especially given his education as a Constitutional lawyer. However, he has shown Democrats, Republicans, and Independents that he is an abject hypocrite and a base liar.

    Senator McCain in a short, angry, war mongering, sick little man with a Napoleonic complex and he displayed his overt stupidity by picking Palin as a running mate. McCain/Palin were the Banty rooster and his clucking, religiously insane hen.

    Al Gore is an unintellectual dullard and should not be a spokesperson for “global warming.” His Nobel Peace Prize for “Climate Change” is a joke, similar to Obama’s prize. I could not vote for Gore, especially since he chose Lieberman as his V.P. I despise Bill Clinton and George Bush about equally. I voted for Kerry because Bush is a complete religious fool and my vote was an attempt to get him out of office, although Kerry is not presidential material either.

    I doubt that I will ever have the opportunity to vote for an honest, intelligent, ethical man or woman for the presidency in my lifetime. I had many college professors and others in academia who I admired, although those people never seek public office, largely because they are too intelligent, honest, and ethical. Furthermore, the general electorate is too stupid and unread to comprehend what intellectuals and real scholars could bring to politics.

  96. FFLEO: Song lyric.
    Brilliant. That was sincerely excellent. The Turley blog has an abundance of lyrical and poetic talent. Take THAT Legal Satyricon, the Turley blawg has legal opinion AND fine art!

    Jill, Thanks, that’s a good image, here’s another one:

  97. Former Fed Leo:

    Thanks for the explanation. I voted for a third party candidate for the first time since I became a republican and voted for Reagan. I voted for Mitt (though I left the GOP several years ago) when I saw that the jerk McCain was making a come back AFTER he was nearly out of the race. but I wanted to vote for Ron Paul.

    Anyway, I voted a third party candidate because I don’t vote for members of the baby killer party (democrats). EVER.

    Sarah Palin is a NORMAL person (i.e. she isn’t a member of the corrupt, usurpatious, and subversive class: the Ivy League). I would prefer normal people run his country, the Ivy League types are currently destroying it.

  98. Tootie:

    I went to a state college. Am I a “normal person”?

    Or will my degree follow me forever as an intellectualist disqualification?

    I guess one has to be nothing short of a Palinesque nitwit to be “normal” around here I guess.

  99. Tootie,

    There are some normal, well-educated people who post within this blawg who would make good congresspersons and higher office holders.

    You demonstrated in your last post that you are capable of independent thought when voting for a candidate. Most of my close relatives also like Ms. Palin, to which I can only say that I am astounded.

    I never thought I would get to vote for a black man (or multi-racial) in my lifetime, either and I would gladly cast my vote for a qualified woman, although to date no good woman has come forward.

  100. “Sarah Palin is a NORMAL person (i.e. she isn’t a member of the corrupt, usurpatious, and subversive class: the Ivy League).”


    All too “normal” I am afraid.

  101. Well it isn’t even that she’s “one of the least intelligent public officials”- Congress is crammed with even stupider people. And if she weren’t intelligent in some way, we wouldn’t even be talking about her.

    The reason Palin is so popular is that she’s made herself THE symbol of empowered American anti-intellectualism. Everything about her persona has been carefully designed from the ground up to appeal to as many unintelligent, frustrated people as possible. She makes them proud of their impaired, shallow worldview, she appeals to their understandable anger, she demonstrates that success doesn’t necessarily follow intelligence and sophistication, and she’s done a good job at convincing them that the corruption that they witness in politics and government is not the product of money and power, but of control by a sphere of overly intelligent know-it-alls who are too smart for their own good.

    Note that the style of her attack isn’t directly aimed at raw intelligence itself. That simply wouldn’t wash. She aims a little to the side, at an “elitism” that essentially means overeducated people. People with higher educations tend naturally to be overrepresented in government the world over, so “people with Ivy-League educations” make a good target.

  102. maverratick,

    There is one problem with what you posit. She didn’t do this on her own (nor is she capable of it). Palin was put in this position by those who wish to exploit the stupid among us with her pretty face as they are easily distracted by shiny objects, but she has not demonstrated the depth of thought capable of devising even a somewhat subtle strategy like you describe. All evidence in fact points to her being about as subtle as herpes by nature and only capable showing any kind of subtlety or sophistication when wrangled in by her PR crowd. Other than that, you’re dead on.

  103. I have heard and seen people put shinny things in trees to keep some birds away. Is this the same principel?

  104. Ms. EM’ & lottakatz,

    Thank Yoo, erm, You both. The 1953/54 hit has always been a favorite of mine. I used to sing it in the mid-50s while swinging in an old truck tire swing my dad clove-hitched by rope to a big ol’ live oak tree.

    Then, many years later, I sang the song–along with ‘High Hopes’ and others–to my young son while pushing him in a swing my wife and I had made for him out of chains and canvas.

  105. buddhaislaughing:

    OK, actually I was reluctant to say she was intelligent. (I really have to work on resisting my occasional temptation to appear “fair and balanced”.) When I said “Everything about her persona has been carefully designed from the ground up to appeal to as many unintelligent, frustrated people as possible” I did mean designed by others than herself.

  106. Wow.

    That may be one of the largest trackbacks sections we’ve ever had here.

    It just goes to show you – the Bush Co. war crimes are not going to go away.

  107. Victor’s Justice

    John Yoo is lucky he is on the winner side in this current war. If this were Germany in 1946 he would probably have a rope around his neck.

    And therein lies the problem.

    In 1946 many Germans looked upon the Nuremberg Tribunal as nothing more than Victor’s Justice. Indeed, in the case of Admiral Doenitz several US Naval officers voiced dismay at his conviction for “crimes” they too had committed in the course of the Pacific War. (see The Anatomy of the Nuremberg Trials by Telford Taylor p567) Likewise, as Robert McNamara recalls, in the film Fog Of War, General Curtis Lemay commented to him in reference to the fire bombing of Tokyo, “He had better win the war.”

    Ever since Nuremberg, and the subsequent trials of Doctors, Lawyers, Concentration Camp Guards and Waffen-SS Soldiers, we have been at pains to prove that these were not simply Victor’s Justice, but in fact were the enforcement of the common standards of human decency. That even the conduct of a war has limits.

    However, if John Yoo is not held to account for his actions then we confirm what the doubters claimed some 60 years ago, that despite our noble talk, Nuremberg was nothing but Victor’s Justice.

  108. Quote:

    Supreme Court Rejects Guantanamo Detainees’ Torture Case

    The justices rejected the appeal without comment Monday. Four British men say they were beaten, shackled in painful stress positions and threatened by dogs during their time at the U.S. naval base in Cuba from 2002 to 2004.

    The Obama administration opposed high court review of the case, adhering to its practice of defending Bush administration officials against allegations from one-time suspected terrorists or Taliban allies.

  109. “Ever since Nuremberg, and the subsequent trials of Doctors, Lawyers, Concentration Camp Guards and Waffen-SS Soldiers, we have been at pains to prove that these were not simply Victor’s Justice, but in fact were the enforcement of the common standards of human decency. That even the conduct of a war has limits.

    However, if John Yoo is not held to account for his actions then we confirm what the doubters claimed some 60 years ago, that despite our noble talk, Nuremberg was nothing but Victor’s Justice.” (from Narukami posted above)

    This response fits as well into the supreme courts rejection of rights in FFLEO’s post above. I know this country has done many, many horrific things during its brief existence, but I never believed I would witness all three branches of govt. folding into a dictatorship of systemic, lawless, cruelty. I am so sad, because I love the US and we have so many good people here. I am watching those people and this nation go down at the hands of despots.

  110. Jill–

    And where’s the fourth estate? Too many members of it have been missing in inaction for too many years. They’d prefer to cover Palin’s book signings and stories about the many mistresses of Tiger Woods. Real investigative journalism is work. There are no immediate rewards for in-depth stories that take time to research.

  111. I thought this was worth posting:

    “In his opening Nuremberg address, Justice Robert Jackson said:

    “The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberative and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.”

    He called Nuremberg defendants “men of a station and rank which does not soil its own hands with blood. These were men who knew how to use lesser folk as tools. We want to reach the planners and designers, the inciters and leaders….” The same standard applies to America under binding US and international laws.” (from

  112. Jill wrote: “… I never believed I would witness all three branches of govt. folding into a dictatorship of systemic, lawless, cruelty. I am so sad, because I love the US and we have so many good people here. I am watching those people and this nation go down at the hands of despots.”

    Heartbreakingly eloquent.

  113. Jill
    1, December 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm
    I thought this was worth posting:

    “In his opening Nuremberg address, Justice Robert Jackson said:

    “The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberative and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.”

    Absolutely right Jill.

  114. Narukami wrote: “Ever since Nuremburg….., we have been at pains to prove that these were not simply Victor’s Justice, but in fact were the enforcement of the common standards of human decency. That even the conduct of a war has limits.

    This too, bears repeating. Decency abounds, but without accountability, it will not prevail, I fear.

  115. From

    “Perhaps a Grand Jury in Washington Will Answer the Question of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Regarding Who Is Accountable for a War Started on the False Claims that Iraq Had Weapons of Mass Destruction
    By Francis T. Mandanici

    In an interview this month in The Washington Post, the former UN chief nuclear weapons inspector and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2005), Mohamed ElBaradei, was asked why the United States got it so wrong on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. ElBaradei responded that he has discovered that the United States decision to go to war was based on regime change and not based on whether Iraq had WMDs. He asked: “How do you justify that almost a million innocent civilians have died as the price of getting rid of a dictator? Who is accountable for this at the end of the day, after it was found that there were no weapons of mass destruction?”

    Perhaps a grand jury will answer his question on accountability. Pending in Washington at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia is a report and request to the grand jury that it conduct an investigation of the Bush Administration’s false and fraudulent statements that Iraq had sought uranium for a nuclear weapon.”

  116. A very sad day for justice…


    Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 8:07 PM
    Justice Official Clears Bush Lawyers in Torture Memo Probe
    By Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman

    For weeks, the right has heckled Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for his plans to try the alleged 9/11 conspirators in New York City and his handling of the Christmas bombing plot suspect. Now the left is going to be upset: an upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the “torture” memos of professional-misconduct allegations.

  117. […] Obama delivered his Nobel lecture, his ironically-named justice department was working to immunize torture lawyer John Yoo from any liability for constructing the legal foundation upon which the Bush administration’s […]

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