Death Panel: Obama Delegates Hit List To Panel of Unnamed Officials

I recently ran a couple of columns (here and here) and postings criticizing President Obama’s assertion of the right to kill citizens as a presidential prerogative. It now appears that he has delegated the selection of targets for killings to a panel of unnamed officials who determine which people should be killed without a trial or even a charge. When it comes to citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki, the killings raise serious constitutional problems that are being kept from the courts by the Administration.

The identity of the members of the death panel are secret. There is no public record of their decisions or the basis for the kill order. Indeed, neither the target nor the public will necessarily know that it was this panel that ordered the killing.

While civil libertarians are raising voices of concern over such extrajudicial killings of citizens, the Obama Administration has portrayed “the killing of Awlaki as a demonstration of President Barack Obama’s toughness toward militants who threaten the United States.” It has worked. Even conservatives are cheering the killings of the two citizens. Apparently, death panels in health care are enough to rally thousands in opposition but an actual death panel produces nary a yawn if the targets are hated. The fear is that this is how the rule of law dies — to the cheers and thunderous applause of citizens.

The results of the panel are simply submitted to the President, who retains the authority to countermand their decisions.

Obama has the distinction of putting the first citizen on the list. As noted in the earlier postings, Bush killed a citizen who was riding with a target, but Obama outdid his predecessor again in ordering the killing of a citizen.

Source: Reuters

149 thoughts on “Death Panel: Obama Delegates Hit List To Panel of Unnamed Officials

  1. ” … a subset of the White House’s National Security Council …”

    ” … The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive information. …”

    ” … The panel of principals could have different memberships when considering different operational issues, …”

    All quotes taken from the cited source above.


    We are in deep, deep trouble … death panels to death squads

  2. When I heard Harold Koh speak on the issue of the president’s “right” to ordain and kill anyone he declares a terrorist, I believe one of the most chilling aspects of that speech was his statement that he had looked over all the files at the president’s request and he could vouch for the fact that they were all bad guys.

    What struck me about this statement, was: 1. that Koh thought his actions had anything to do with Constitutional law and 2. that he seemed utterly convinced of both his right to make the determination and 3. that his determinations were absolutely, unquestionably correct.

    Apparently, unlike even the Bush administration, there has been no dissent in giving the executive and his minions this new “right”. Evidently, Obama didn’t even have to shop around for his own John Yoo. His people all thought it was a fabulous idea.

    The public has yet to see any “legal” memos justifying these actions because they are declared, “state secrets”. Thus, as JT pointed out, these decisions have effectively written out judicial review of executive actions.

    There is no part of this that is in our Constitution. In fact, our Constitution was designed precisely to prevent such things from occurring. I find it all terrifying, especially because too many in our population do not question what is going on. Left and Right, many behave as authoritarian good Germans. Support for this illegal and immoral action must end.

    (originally posted in response to Elaine’s writing on this topic.)

  3. Glen Greenwald: “…So a panel operating out of the White House — that meets in total secrecy, with no known law or rules governing what it can do or how it operates — is empowered to place American citizens on a list to be killed by the CIA, which (by some process nobody knows) eventually makes its way to the President, who is the final Decider. It is difficult to describe the level of warped authoritarianism necessary to cause someone to lend their support to a twisted Star Chamber like that; I genuinely wonder whether the Good Democrats doing so actually first convince themselves that if this were the Bush White House’s hit list, or if it becomes Rick Perry’s, they would be supportive just the same. Seriously: if you’re willing to endorse having White House functionaries meet in secret — with no known guidelines, no oversight, no transparency — and compile lists of American citizens to be killed by the CIA without due process, what aren’t you willing to support?

    Of all the things I’ve seen over the past several years, easily one of the most repellent has been the number of people — especially journalists — who are running around definitively asserting that Awlaki had an “operational role” in Terrorist plots and had “taken up arms” against the U.S. even though they have no idea whether that’s actually true (Politico‘s Roger Simon: “U.S. citizen living overseas and plotting the death of American citizens from, let’s say, Yemen, you can say hello to our little friends, the 100-lb. Hellfires”; Josh Marshall: Awlaki was “a key leader of an international terrorist group, organizing and inspiring terrorist attacks within the US” ). Just consider how even the anonymous government officials who spoke to Reuters in order to defend the Awlaki killing characterize the “evidence” they have to support that claim:

    The Obama administration has not made public an accounting of the classified evidence that Awlaki was operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks.

    But officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.

    For instance, one plot in which authorities have said Awlaki was involved Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underpants.

    There is no doubt Abdulmutallab was an admirer or follower of Awlaki, since he admitted that to U.S. investigators. . . . But at the time the White House was considering putting Awlaki on the U.S. target list, intelligence connecting Awlaki specifically to Abdulmutallab and his alleged bomb plot was partial. Officials said at the time the United States had voice intercepts involving a phone known to have been used by Awlaki and someone who they believed, but were not positive, was Abdulmutallab.

    Someone spoke to someone on “a phone known to have been used by Awlaki”: maybe it was Abdulmutallab, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was Awlaki, maybe it wasn’t. Who knows? Who cares? Some officials “believed” it may have involved those two, so it’s time to kill Awlaki. Remember, Good Democrats hate the death penalty because they think it’s so terribly barbaric to execute people whose guilt is in doubt (even if, unlike Awlaki, they’ve enjoyed an indictment and full jury trial, lawyers, the right to examine evidence and to confront witnesses, multiple appeals, and habeas petitions). There’s also this:

    Awlaki was also implicated in a case in which a British Airways employee was imprisoned for plotting to blow up a U.S.-bound plane. E-mails retrieved by authorities from the employee’s computer showed what an investigator described as ” operational contact” between Britain and Yemen.

    Authorities believe the contacts were mainly between the U.K.-based suspect and his brother. But there was a strong suspicion Awlaki was at the brother’s side when the messages were dispatched.

    There was a “strong suspicion” — not that Awlaki participated in this email plotting, but that he was “at the side” of someone who did. Who needs “beyond a reasonable doubt’? That is so pre-9/11. ”A strong suspicion” that he may have been next to someone plotting an attack: that’s the McCarthyite standard Democratic Party loyalists are holding up to justify the due-process-free execution of their fellow citizen by a secret, lawless White House “panel.”

    What’s crucial to keep in mind is that nobody can see this “evidence” which these anonymous government officials are claiming exists. It’s in their exclusive possession. As a result, they’re able to characterize it however they want, to present it in the best possible light to support their pro-assassination position, and to prevent any detection of its flaws. As any lawyer will tell you, anyone can make a case for anything when they’re in exclusive possession of all the relevant evidence and are the only side from whom one is hearing; all evidence becomes less compelling when it’s subjected to adversarial scrutiny. Yet even given all those highly favorable pro-government conditions here, it’s obvious — even these officials admit — that the evidence is “partial,” “patchy,” based on “suspicions” rather than knowledge.

    But no matter. Officials in the Obama White House and then the President decreed in secret that Awlaki should die. So the U.S. Government killed him. Republicans who always cheer acts of violence against Muslims are joined by Democrats who reflexively cheer what this Democratic President does, and now this death panel for U.S. citizens — operating with no known rules, transparency, or oversight — is entrenched as bipartisan consensus and a permanent fixture of American political life. I’m sure this will never be abused: unrestrained power exercised in secret has a very noble history in the U.S. (Reuters says that the only American they could confirm on the hit list is Awlaki, though Dana Priest reported last year that either three or four Americans were on a hit list).

    Anyway, look over there: wasn’t it outrageous how George Bush imprisoned people without any due process and tried to seize unrestrained power, and isn’t it horrifying what a barbaric death cult Republicans are for favoring executions even when there’s doubt about guilt? Even for those deeply cynical about American political culture: wouldn’t you have thought a few years ago that having the President create a White House panel to place Americans on a CIA hit list — in secret, without a shred of due process — would be a bridge too far?”

    My fellow citizens, who are we?

  4. I think all the talk about Republicans is a psychological defense mechanism for Democrats. While very true and very important to consider that Rick Perry (or someone like him) may eventually get the power to draw up his own citizen execution list, right now, that power is being wielded by a Democratic president, Mr. Obama.

    The problem with these murders is not only that they will occur in the future under some other president, but that they are occurring right now, under the current president.

    Democrats must condemn the current president for these illegal actions. It will take the voices of as many people as possible, objecting loudly to these extralegal actions. I am asking Democrats for your voice against the actions of Mr. Obama. This can’t be put off to the future when it is happening now.

  5. The policy’s of Mr. Bush are in place for a reason. I am happy that Mr. Obama is continuing these. This has to be upheld.

  6. “The policy’s of Mr. Bush are in place for a reason.”

    Those reasons, however, have nothing to do with protecting America or the Constitution.

  7. Jill, I wanted to thank you for elevating the discussion on this topic so substantially. Unfortunately I think the gravity of the situation will not be clear to most Americans until it is far too late. All of us who recognize it now must try raise awareness nonetheless.

  8. Jill,

    I hate to say I agree with you….I don’t know how it can get any worse when one of your own who promises to uphold democracy is the greatest offender of the constitution…

    I was willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and for the last few months things that have become revealed have shaken my belief in the President as well as the Office of the President….It is very possible as Mike S has stated we could be living with a Puppet in office regardless of who is in power… If we could get someone that actually would do what they say…maybe we could return to the Rule of Law….and the honoring of the Constitution and Bill or Rights….. .

  9. Puzzling,

    Thank you and I agree we must try, no matter what.

    A.Y., Your first sentence is a backhanded statement on your part and I wish you would have been more gracious towards me or just left it out.

    If by puppet, Mike S. means someone who willingly will do the bidding of the ruling elite, I would agree with him. If he means that Obama was an innocent who was then corrupted by the ruling elite, I would have to disagree with him and point to a great deal of evidence showing that Obama believes in the same ideology as those he works for and has been a completely willing participant in every wrongdoing all along.

    That said, I do not believe elections will restore the rule of law. While some people say no one should vote, I do not agree with this either. Voting perhaps still matters as long as people are really careful about who they vote for–lots of research, eyes wide open, no denial, no war and financial criminals of any kind. But I feel the best chance we have of restoring the rule of law is through people power.

    I cannot say people power will be successful because we must face down the extremely powerful, well armed, unimaginably wealthy and completely ruthless people who do run the nation. Even so, some endeavors are worth doing even with little chance of success because engaging in them is a form of concern (even love) for others and one’s nation.

  10. — “If you want to picture the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–for ever.” George Orwell

  11. Time…..Jan. 20th (any inauguration year in recent history)
    Place… Oval Office Immediately following the inauguration and speeches.

    New President says “This is great I’m gonna make great changes, I’m gonna keep every one of my campaign promises. Unlike that predecessor of mine.

    Mysterious Man in a Black Suit says “Whoa there, Sunny Jim. You can fufill this and that campaign promise And we will choose which and when, But you will toe the line . OR ELSE.”

    The New Pres is shown such evidence that he falls right in line and follows instructions. The mysterious Men don’t care which party you belong to because it will work for them either way.

    Paranoid??? Maybe. but maybe not.
    *spooky music plays and end scene*

  12. Obama is a politician first and the rule of law only matters when his interests coincide with the law. With Americans and the media leading the cheers on the Awlaki killing we are in trouble. This conduct by Obama should not come as a surprise. After Obama secured the Democratic nomination and before the November election Obama switched his view on telecom retroactive immunity. So long as Obama sees a benefit in his neo conservative ways they will continue. Now that both parties have adopted these policies we must vote against both in the coming election. Spread the word and we can take our country back.

  13. A good time to view “The End of America”…

    (2008 documentary by filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, based on Naomi Wolf’s book)

  14. Geeze….and when I posted the thought of this being akin to the Star Chamber…it was kind of poo pooed…Oh well…let the Kos run it….I’ve already expressed my thoughts….

  15. Jill, It’s always good to see your postings. And today’s comments are spot-on.

    AY, Regarding, “this being akin to the Star Chamber”, I agreed with you
    when you wrote it…, but didn’t comment… I was probably all out of steam, at the time…

    AY’s comment:

    There are domestic twists to this insanity, but the truth has yet to come to light… I trust that it will.

  16. Jill,

    It is what it is…even people you normally disagree with…if you are open minded enough they will eventually say something you agree with….Just for the record….

  17. In the Reuters article that Prof. Turley linked to, there was a very interesting statement that was made by the administration sources: “They confirmed that lawyers, including those in the Justice Department, were consulted before Awlaki’s name was added to the target list.”
    If this true, it must mean that John Yoo and Alberto Gonzalez are working for the Obama Administration!

  18. raff,

    In my reading the star chamber had no ultimate authority…If I recall in reading that it was used in England to decide who was Jewish and worthy of expelling…Not to be confused with the later Court of the Star Chamber that decided cases of Treason…which had roots in a single united Monarchy…England and Scotland….then the rules and proceeding changed….

    I seem to recall seeing a movie in the early 80’s staring Michael Douglass…that exacted revenge on people getting away with murder on a technical….like 1983 or so…I think it was called Star Chamber….based in Hollywood…

  19. Anonymously Yours 1, October 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Geeze….and when I posted the thought of this being akin to the Star Chamber…it was kind of poo pooed

    Gene and Jill mentioned it too, as did I.

  20. If Al Gore had become president we would not be in this mess.



  21. Bdaman,

    I happen to think that if Gore had been actually he selected after he had been elected to office that we would not have a lot of this financial woe that we have today……

    Count me in as being a Democrat on that day…..

  22. Correction:


    I happen to think that if Gore had been actually selected after he had been elected to office that we would not have a lot of this financial woe that we have today……Nor would we be fighting a Bush War….

    Count me in as being a Democrat on that day…..

  23. Yeah maybe then but look at him now.

    24 hours of climate reality BAW HA HA HA HA

    Americans are beginning to get educated on the so-called science of global warming. They are no longer believing Gore hook, line and sinker. The more America becomes informed, the more they turn away from the global warming propaganda.

    In a poll of 1,500 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People&the Press, released Thursday, the number of people saying there is strong scientific evidence that the Earth has gotten warmer over the past few decades is down from 71 percent in April of last year and from 77 percent when Pew started asking the question in 2006. The number of people who see the situation as a serious problem also has declined.

    The steepest drop has occurred during the past year, as Congress and the Obama administration have taken steps to control heat-trapping emissions for the first time and international negotiations for a new treaty to slow global warming have been under way. At the same time, there has been mounting scientific evidence of climate change — from melting ice caps to the world’s oceans hitting the highest monthly recorded temperatures this summer.

    Since 2006, across every party line including Democrats the belief that there is evidence that global warming exists has gone down drastically. Democrats has seen a drop of -16%, Republicans -24 and Independents -26%.

  24. New Rasmussen Poll Sends Al Gore Into Meltdown

    A new Rasmussen poll shows the American public trusts the objectivity and credibility of impassioned global warming “scientists” about as much as used car salesmen, and boy is Al Gore ticked. If Michele Bachmann is Newsweek‘s Queen of Rage, Al Gore must be America’s potty-mouthed King of Bizarre Temper Tantrums.

    According to Rasmussen Reports, 69% of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that some climate scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say it is “very likely” scientists have done so. Only 22% of poll respondents do not think it is likely that some scientists have falsified research data, with 10% undecided.

    Even most Democrats no longer trust increasingly activist climate scientists to tell the truth about scientific data.

  25. And some folks still believe in the tooth fairy….I am not a proponent of Global Warming…I am a proponent of the shifting axis….but there is more to agree with Gore on than Bush….and even including Obama..

  26. I’m with ya AY. One thing for sure we in one big mess.

    I think the streets are gonna be filled with blood here shortly. Just look at theses crazy fools in the street.

    Round’em all up I say and send them to some sort of recreational camp:)

  27. Damn! What is the name of that movie with Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie when Freeman’s character was ordering the assassination of peopl First it started with a few and then it got out of control until the people closest to him also ended up on that list. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Life is stranger than fiction indeed.

  28. If round em all up and put them in some camp means….the Politicians….I agree with you….if it is the people protesting….then…not so much….Too much like let them eat cake….

  29. Bdaman,
    The wall street protestors are peaceful and they are there for a great cause.
    As to this issue of the secret panel charged with placing Americans on a hit list, is the problem at hand. Don’t lump the OWS protestors with the false labels that Fox News and other Main Stream Media folks have been using.

  30. Another “Star Chamber” reference:

    Even Those Cleared of Crimes Can Stay on F.B.I.’s Watch List

    Published: September 27, 2011

    The F.B.I. procedures encourage agents to renominate suspects for the watch list even if they were already put on it by another agency — meaning multiple agencies would have to be involved in any attempt to later remove that person.

    The procedures offer no way for people who are on the watch list to be notified of that fact or given an opportunity to see and challenge the specific allegations against them.

    Chris Calabrese, a counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, called the watch list system a “Star Chamber” — “a secret determination, that you have no input into, that you are a terrorist. Once that determination is made, it can ripple through your entire life and you have no way to challenge it.” (end of excerpt)

  31. Gene H and Slarti:

    you guys are right, I have seen the light. Rand is wrong and the Kochs suck. I think we need to tax the rich and you are right about national health care as well, great idea. And stimulus? We need more.

    Pollution? No problem tax the polluters and get the EPA on their behinds.

    thanks for educating me, I really appreciate it.


  32. “Turned Violent”

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Scores of protesters were arrested in Manhattan Saturday as a march against social inequality turned violent.

    Hundreds of people carrying banners and chanting “shame, shame” walked between Zuccotti Park, near Wall St. and Union Square calling for changes to a financial system they say unjustly benefits the rich and harms the poor.

    At least 80 people were carted away in police vehicles and up to five were hit with pepper spray near 12th St. and Fifth Ave., where tensions became especially high, police and organizers said.

  33. I think President Obama may just be trying to uphold a great American tradition. Remember Dick Cheney’s death squads that Seymour Hersh talked about a couple of years ago?

    Seymour Hersh: Secret US Forces Carried Out Assassinations in a Dozen Countries, Including in Latin America
    Democracy Now
    March 31, 2009

    Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh created a stir earlier this month when he said the Bush administration ran an “executive assassination ring” that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving,” Hersh said. Seymour Hersh joins us to explain.

  34. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly had some strong words for “Occupy Wall Street” protesters Thursday, blaming participants for starting skirmishes which led to more than 20 arrests on Wednesday.

    “What they did is they counted. They actually had a countdown — 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 — they grouped together, they joined arms and they charged the police. They attacked the police. They wanted to get into Wall Street, they wanted to occupy Wall Street,” Kelly told reporters.

    “Sanitation is a growing concern,” Brookfield said in a statement. “Normally the park is cleaned and inspected every weeknight. . . because the protestors refuse to cooperate. . .the park has not been cleaned since Friday, September 16th and as a result, sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels.”

  35. Bdaman,

    Do you really blame the protesters? Or do you think that its possible with the standing garrisons, militias a/k/a police departments incited the incidents….or even escalated them in any way….

  36. Maybe I am wrong but I see Elaine as more of an Elizabeth Warren independent democrat rather than a republican.

  37. Bdaman,
    The Tepublicans were not gassed because they were not challenging the powers that control the economy. AY, when the police gassed defenseless people in their pens, who was instigating that?

  38. And then there’s this, from the Reuter’s article:

    “When the name of a foreign, rather than American, militant is added to targeting lists, the decision is made within the intelligence community and normally does not require approval by high-level NSC officials.”

  39. Do you really blame the protesters? Or do you think that its possible with the standing garrisons, militias a/k/a police departments incited the incidents….or even escalated them in any way….

    Who do you think is going to win.

    The song that comes to mind of what will be next is, “Who let the dogs out.”

  40. Anon nurse, I’m glad you posted that quote, it was going to go into my comment also. A couple of days ago I said in a comment that given time mid-level managers in organizations no one has ever heard of will be putting the names on the lists and that they’d be Americans on American soil. The mechanisms already in place are designed (as the article states) to protect the President from liability. I still predict that soon the President will be entirely shielded as more authority migrates downward to these ad-hoc committees. And you know, there’s a certain kind of person that would consider being called in to one of those meetings the high point of their career. They’re not going to want to give that power up. for their own sick reasons. These aren’t good people trapped on a dark path, they’re where they are because they like it, like the torturers.

    Just how totalitarian does a country have to become before people realize that we are living in a state governed by a mindset and actions that we spent 40 years fighting a cold war against? That it’s not a slippery slope anymore but only the question of, now that we’ve hit the bottom of that slope and started digging, how low will we go. Our government is IMO now in the hands of sick and depraved people.

    Thanks also for the ‘End of America’ video also.

  41. 2Jill.
    Regular readers of Greenwald know where to find his writings. Those who are not regular readers might appreciate a link.

    I don’t mind reading a lengthy post if what I am reading is the individual poster’s words of opinion. If what a poster wants to present is someone else’s lengthy opinion then please do as Elaine or anon nurse or Swarthmore mom do and post excerpts and then the link.

    I’ve stopped reading your posts because they are so often just a repeat of someone else’s opinion verbatim. Further, some of us have limited memory space and the longer a thread grows the more difficult it is to load. Some of that problem would be lessened if you simply posted the link.

    For instance —×2068758

    Thank you

  42. Now why did you have to rag on Jill…..She has the right to post the way she does and you have the right to ignore reading it…I am sure we have people on here that regularly ignore others posts for various real or imagined reasons….I can say that I enjoy reading the cut to the chase facts that are posted with the links…

  43. The Tea Party was right. Obama does have a Death Panel.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley was right. Obama does want to kill Grandma.

    I was wrong. I voted for Obama.

    That won’t happen again.

    I’m moving farther to the left. Much farther.

    And I’m going to see if I can find my steel pot.

    And wear it all the time.

    Watch the skies!

    And don’t vote for the lesser of two evils.

  44. HenMan,

    You are going in the wrong direction…..As another poster and I have discussed…What if they had a selection for none of the above…who would win…..I agree that it is a good ideal to vote…..It is a great idea to make yours count….even if not main stream….I had no problem voting for Nader and would do so again if presented the opportunity……It is just a shame that we are in the mind set of the lesser of two evils….a better opportunity must present itself and soon….what happens is most people reach the point of apathy…especially after all of the political commercials….wouldn’t it be nice if that money could go to a more noble cause….such as food for the hungry…but the ads do generate jobs in the media world…so there is that…As has been said…Keep on keeping on….and Keep Austin Weird…….

  45. AY-

    My friend Swarthmore Mom keeps reminding us of dire consequences if Obama is not re-elected. I recently went back and forth with Sw Mom about the “lesser of two evils” theory. Every day that Obama is President we learn of more wrong doing- more violations of the law, more assaults on common decency, more kowtowing to money. At what point does he become the equal of two evils. I think he has already crossed that line. As far as civil liberties and the rule of law are concerned, what is the difference between Barack Obama and George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld, or John Yoo?

    What is Obama’s re-election slogan going to be? “I will protect you from the terrorists if it kills you”?

    Surely we can find a better Democratic candidate than this. How can anyone justify voting for this sell-out? How much more do we have to see from this man before we reject his actions and stop believing his silver-tongued bullshit?

    Progressive? No.
    Liberal? No.
    Democrat? No.

    Establishment toady? Yes.
    Servant of the Military-Industrial Complex? Absolutely.
    Employee of the Wall Street bankers? Undoubtedly.

    Lesser of two evils? Not anymore. Just one of two evils.

  46. AY,

    “Better be careful or someone might think you are going republican….”

    Not in this life.



    Swarthmore mom,

    “Maybe I am wrong but I see Elaine as more of an Elizabeth Warren independent democrat rather than a republican.”

    I’m definitely a supporter of Warren.

  47. HenMan, et al,

    I have to say that the only reason I can see to keep Obama in office is the SCOTUS. We cannot afford to have another young uber-right-wing ideologue appointed to the Court. That would happen if the Republicans got the Presidency and an opening came available.

    As for the other attributes, or lack of them, I agree.

  48. Most of what you say about Obama is true, Henman, but I still don’t want to surrender all three branches of government to the republican tea party. Those judges are in for a very long time, and I can’t forget that the republican platform wages war on women.

  49. S.M.,

    Like you, I fully and unconditionally support a woman’s right to abortion. Therefore, I would absolutely not vote for Obama in hopes of securing that right.

    Obama has already denied that right to some of the most vulnerable women in our nation, the women in the high risk insurance pool. This denial shows me other important things about Obama –he really doesn’t care about the health and well-being of women. Women’s “rights” are a political tool. If he thinks he can get political mileage by betraying women and helping his donors (in this case insurance companies), he will do it.

    If Obama believed in and understood the dire need that our poorest and most vulnerable women had in needing abortions, he could not and would not have denied them coverage.

    Therefore we should not rely on a person who sees every decision as a cynical calculation having nothing to do with actual well being and social justice. The moment you trust someone like that to do the right thing, you have made a mistake in evaluation of that person and what he will do.

    We further need to consider the larger context we now face. We are a nation without the rule of law. The supreme court has been as much a part of the dismantling of our Constitution and its protections as the Congress and the executive branch. We now have the rule of fiat by the executive. This executive has already demonstrated by his actions that he simply does not care about women’s rights, to abortion. It does not make sense to ignore this fact and have a belief which is contrary to reality.

    I agree completely with you that Republican candidates will work very hard to eradicate women’s right to abortion. Therefore, I would not vote for any of them either.

    One important way to protect women (and everyone’s) rights is to vote for a third party candidate who has not betrayed women and other people, both here and abroad. I’m also certain that voting, even third party, will not return the US to the rule of law or a state of justice. We the people will need to go to bat for we the people. The govt. is too far gone for even the best willed person to do this alone.

  50. Elaine M.,

    You get the ability to be an Independent Democrat….I am crushed….I can’t be an Independent Democrat…even in the remotest sense of the word…Don’t you think that is sexist…….

  51. HenMan,

    You better be careful about that bow-tie….it might really be a camera…..And I don’t see how voting for Obama today would make really any difference….If his record is consistent….he’ll make a sell out appointment….but then again he is not that good of a negotiator…he probably would not get anything for it…..

    Just like the Jobs bill…used to be the GOP and some Teabaggers were for it…but since…he is for it they are against it….second thought….I think I know how he feels….

  52. The Moral Imperative of ‘Activism’
    October 6, 2011

    “On Sept. 18, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern gave a talk about “activism” to a conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, focused on the need to confront the military industrial complex. Now, as the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington gets underway, his words take on a special resonance.”

    by Ray McGovern

    (Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army officer and a CIA analyst and now is happy to be described as an “activist.”)

  53. Blouise, Did I ever tell you that one of my best friends is the legislative director of Planned Parenthood in the upper midwest? So far they are supporting Obama. The republicans have made her job a nightmare.

  54. SwM,

    Back in April when John Boehner was trying so desperately to use the budget stalemate to defund Planned Parenthood (Title X), Obama said no … then the Senate said no …Obama is no more a part of the War On Women than I am … teabagging bullshit.

    Sherrod Brown had over 20,000 Ohioan callers who signed onto his call in townhall meeting on the subject of Planned Parenthood and the War on Women. Perhaps your friend has a Senator that can help along those same lines.

  55. anon nurse,

    The Moral Imperative of ‘Activism’
    October 6, 2011

    Some of the statements and quotes that McGovern makes are so … “proper amount of anger” … shall we say?

    I like the discussion he set forth about the Greek activist who realized that his country’s language did not have a word meaning “the appropriate amount of anger” for a given situation. Cool observation.😉

    It perhaps, like psychoanalysis has done here in the USA, had engendered an aversion to proper anger.

    So, as a remedy that activist indicated that anyone who inhabits a realm where injustice is all around, but does not become angry (in the proper degree), “sins”.

    I think he was saying if you do not have the appropriate amount of anger when injustice is growing around you, then you will be absorbed by that growing injustice.

    In general then, too little anger (to the point of ignoring the growing injustice), or too much anger (to the point of loosing it to violence) is a sign of having been absorbed by injustice.

  56. Dredd,

    That is a very profound thing to write!

    “I think he was saying if you do not have the appropriate amount of anger when injustice is growing around you, then you will be absorbed by that growing injustice.

    In general then, too little anger (to the point of ignoring the growing injustice), or too much anger (to the point of loosing it to violence) is a sign of having been absorbed by injustice.”I think he was saying if you do not have the appropriate amount of anger when injustice is growing around you, then you will be absorbed by that growing injustice.

    Thanks to anon nurse for the original link!

  57. Speaking as someone who strongly objected to the impeachment of Clinton but advocated it against Bush for things like detaining American Citizens captured in the U.S. for years without charge, or the “Black Site” prison network, or the large-scale violations of the Fourth Amendment (that we still know little about, as like Obama, the Bush Administration successfully invoked State Secrets as a way to avoid judicial review), isn’t it intellectually dishonest to not similarly call for impeachment proceedings against Obama for the use of these “Death Panels?”

    In short, if a person advocates for a certain action against members of the other party, isn’t it contradictory to not expect similar calls against the official from your party when he or she implements a similar (if not worse) policy in the future?

    Thus, if like me you thought Bush should have been either prosecuted or impeached for the way he prosecuted the ‘war on terror,’ doesn’t this new revelation about Obama demand that you at least admit the same treatment should be applied to Obama?

    Isn’t it the time then for Obama to be impeached, if not prosecuted as he seems to have not only emulated the Bush Administration’s tactics, but actually gone beyond what they were willing to do?

    Another point is that, whether you agree with me or not about the above, isn’t the lack of coverage or outcry about this policy, in either the press or in the public, even more scary than the revelation about yet another Constitutionally-violative secret Executive Branch itself?

    I know some will argue that it’s the press’ fault for not reporting on this more widely, but the Reuters story really should have created a groundswell of shock about the audacity of such a policy and its potential further abuse, right?

    It’s as if we unquestionably believe “It Can’t Happen Here.” Maybe I’m wrong (and I’m not exactly out in the streets protesting myself) but, outside of a few blogs, I haven’t heard anyone who’s really concerned about this, as if they think it only involves people they’ve heard are “terrorists” who live in a far away land and thus protects rather than potentially applies to them.

    What also scares me are the false narratives circulating, such as “the evidence against these ‘terrorists’ is clear.” The indisputable fact is that we don’t know whether the evidence is clear because the Obama Administration maintains that (1) the evidence is a state secret, and (2) asserts that despite its refusal to reveal this secret to anyone outside the administration, it can order the killing of a U.S. citizen.

    The combination of the radical nature of this policy and the lack of concern on the part of most people and most of the press worry me greatly.

    I actually hope now that the Occupy Wall Street protests grow in strength and in scope and that they include the impeachment of Obama in their objectives as this policy, no matter what party you belong to which one hold the Presidency, this power is incompatible with a functioning democracy and its existence threatens it greatly.

  58. David,

    I for one am all for impeachment and prosecution of Obama so long as that criminal investigation and prosecution includes the Bush Administration and their lackeys as well. Justice requires equity and equity requires equal application (and protection) of the law. We’ve had both a Republican and now a Democratic administration that have violated the Constitution and broken Federal laws. Neither party is protected by the Constitution and the criminal actors in both parties should be held accountable for their actions.

    But the GOP doesn’t get to put on a trial for Obama without cleaning out their own house at the same time. We’ve had enough political theater in this country already. If justice is going to be served? She is both blind and even handed.

  59. An article from April 8, 2011 … the CIA’s rational:

    “Being a US citizen will not spare an American from getting assassinated by military or intelligence operatives overseas if the individual is working with terrorists and planning to attack fellow Americans.” He added, “We don’t target people for free speech; we target them for taking action that threatens Americans.” (Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence)

  60. “He added, ‘We don’t target people for free speech; we target them for taking action that threatens Americans.’”

    “I won’t sting on the way across the river,” said the Scorpion to the Frog.

    The best way to prevent the abuse of power? Is not to grant the power in the first place. That especially goes for powers that are prime facie unconstitutional from the onset.

  61. It seems that anything that is time consuming or takes over your life can be considered a cult…

    Definition of CULT

    1 : formal religious veneration : worship
    2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
    3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
    4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator
    5a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
    b : the object of such devotion
    c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

  62. OS and Swarthmore Mom-

    Do you really want to endure four more years of Barack Obama on the off chance that a Supreme Court Justice will die or resign during his second term? Do you still trust him to make a wise choice after watching him move to the right on issue after issue? And make one compromise after another demonstrating his lack of political and moral values? Do you trust him not to make a deal with the Republicans behind closed doors to approve his choice in exchange for throwing Social Security and Medicare under the bus? Or appoint a dubious middle-of-the-road candidate to prevent another Government shutdown blackmail?

    The choice does not have to be Barack Obama vs. a Republican. It could be Bernie Sanders, or Dennis Kucinich, or Russ Feingold, or any of a dozen other men or women with actual Progressive political standards and actual moral values. Don’t “settle for” Obama. There are better choices. And the times demand that we make better choices. The status quo stinks and the stench worsens every day.

  63. Blouise,

    for some this place could be considered a cult…The Greatful Dead could have what people call groupies or cult followers…it all depends on your view points….and Especially Grandchildren……

  64. HenMan,

    I am not advocating trowing Obama under the Bus…but for lots of folks…he has not lived up to his campaign promises….I think I had made the same point you did earlier about Obama being a sell out…

    It seems like the story about being hung……

    There is good news and bad news….The good news is I got the rope that I can get the rope your going to hang with on sale….The bad news is your still going to hang…Do you want to add the increased expense to your cost of incarceration…..or would the last one we used be a problem for you…..

    It is all a matter of perspective…

  65. HenMan,

    I was going to really push for Dennis but then I discovered his deep admiration for Ron Paul … yuck!

    So now it’s Russ Feingold.

    Bernie Sanders does seem to have a more balanced view of Ron Paul than Dennis has … so maybe Bernie.

    I worked against the nomination of Obama last election and will continue to do so this election but, quite frankly, I don’t expect to have any greater success this time around than last time.

  66. Correction:

    There is good news and bad news….The good news is I can get the rope your going to hang with on sale….The bad news is your still going to hang…Do you want to add the increased expense to your cost of incarceration…..or would the last one we used be a problem for you…..

    It is all a matter of perspective…

  67. Romney’s speech on foreign policy was very hard line, and he commits to American exceptionalism. Henman, If there is a better choice on the ballot, I will vote for him or her. So far there is none and the primary filing dates are approaching. All of the people you mention have said they are not running. I understand your disappointment with Obama. Yes, I would vote for him because of the court appointees.

  68. SwM,

    Every elected official I have ever met sees himself/herself as President … ambitious to a fault so no matter what they say, I never count them out.

    I doubt anyone can mount a serious threat to the incumbent … however, I will encourage them to try.

  69. Henman. There is a draft Bernie Sanders movement but Kucinich and Feingold have said they are not running. I would not vote for Kucinich now, either. I liked him in 2004 but favored Dean more.

  70. I supported Carter. I was never a supporter of Ted Kennedy. I was lukewarm for Jack and strong for Bobby.

    Re: expensive … yes … the time to have stopped Obama was four years ago but everybody bought into his rhetoric and few looked at his actual record. They saw what they wanted to see.

  71. Blouise,

    I am not sure what you are saying…If I have it correct….Everyone (or almost everyone) was looking at anyone but a Bush or Bush endorsed protegee…. if that is not what you mean then would you expound upon this…Thank you…

    In all honesty, I do not see a real difference between Bush or his successor…Just call me naive….

  72. SwM,

    Tex worked for Hillary … he was a huge supporter … first and only time he involved himself in politics.

    I worked for Kucinich though I liked Hillary.

  73. “In all honesty, I do not see a real difference between Bush or his successor…Just call me naive….” (AY)

    okay … you’re naive :)

    I see many differences but one glaring similarity … they both do whatever the CIA tells them to do.

  74. SwM,

    I recognize the importance of the Supremes, how could one not after spending time on this blog. but the whole lot of them gives me the creeps. That being said, I agree with you and OS on the matter of dem/rep appointments.

  75. If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you were not a races

    Vote for somebody else in 2012 to prove your not a dumb-ass.

    Nuff said

  76. Bda,

    lol … that’s a far better way to put it than Obama is part of the War on Women

    You should condense that into a bumper sticker.

  77. Regarding a primary challenge or third party candidate. I am a very practical person who did not just ride into town on the turnip truck or watermelon wagon. A primary challenge would be a total waste of time, money and energy. What potentially electable Democrat would run against an incumbent Democratic President. I like

    , but he is too smart to run. Kucinich has about as much chance as that famous snowball in hell. The average voter regards him as the Democratic version of Michelle Bachmann; i.e., batshit crazy.

    A third party candidate? During the Clinton years, a third party candidate from the right gave the Presidency to the Democrat. In 2000, a third party candidate from the left gave the Presidency to you-know-who. We see how that worked out. We got Alito and Roberts out of that deal.

    Nader said there was “no difference” between Bush and Gore. Really? I am sure President Gore would have appointed neo-conservative ideologues who would have given us Citizens United anyway. Not!

    Obama is the only game in town right now. Hopefully the right wing will self-immolate. Again, as an acquaintance repeats incessantly, “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid.”

  78. I fat-fingered that last comment. “I like ———, but he is too smart to run.

    Should read: “I like Russ Feingold, but he is too smart to run.”

  79. Blouise,

    I still do not understand…but, you said…”I was referring to the democrats and their field of candidates vying for the nomination.” I think cover anyone but the Bush or Bush protege….


    okay … you’re naive

    I see many differences but one glaring similarity … they both do whatever the CIA tells them to do.

    And like I said…what are the differences….Bush got us a war….Obama got us two….If we are going one up he is doing one hell of a job…Both have done a game on SS…whether by tacit admission or omission…the end result is the same…

    What good is the Sct…Bush and Obama have basically thumbed their noses and thumbs at them….As you can see…I am not a follower of any cults….

    5a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
    b : the object of such devotion
    c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion…

    That is why most religions need to be considered a cult and a threat…

  80. Yes OS,

    Well said….Now what do people like me…and there are others that are disenfranchised with the whole damn system….

  81. OS,

    What do we do…sell our collective conscience….or keep being sold fear….the lesser of two evils….I realize that both party’s do it….so does religion…that is how they keep you in the fold…because you are different than them…as has been said…now Perry is selling the Morman Cult…Fear….Should we as reasonably educated people keep buying into it…or when should we say…enough….

  82. AY, at this point, it is about protecting the next SCOTUS nomination. There may or may not be an opening during the next five years, but some are getting older and may retire or pass away. We cannot take a chance on a President Perry (or other Gooper) making that nomination.

  83. Yes, I knew that about Perry. Look for the next Repub president to nominate an anti-choice, pro-creationist/intelligent design, anti-stem cell research, anti-science ideologue for the next SCOTUS opening. Because that is what their fundie owners want and expect.

    If that does not scare you, nothing will.

  84. OS Posters on this blog have accused me of spreading fear about Rick Perry so I appreciate your comments. Headed to Mi Cocina.

  85. SwM…..

    It is not just Perry, it is all of them. There may not be all that much difference between Obama and the Republican candidates on the economy and war crimes, but right now my concern is the SCOTUS appointment. I try to stay focused on what the future will be well beyond an Obama second term.

  86. OS,

    I have stated that I wanted someone else to run but Obama….and there is a fat chance in hell of that happening….So, I said I was looking outside the box….Anyone that was mentioned was denounced by another poster and easily discounted…and in not so friendly of a manner….Then I was accused of being a Republican…but it is ok for another poster to make some remarks about the current president and that’s really ok…they are an Independent…I thought that I was about as independent as they came…But I was labeled a Republican….and because ALL republicans are against Choice, I was against Choice…even thought I had stated many times that I think the Government should stay the hell out if peoples lives,,,,but then I became a women hater that needed to be viewed with askance….Then they said they were in fear…..

    So now we can switch to other poster that got not nearly as a warm reception as I got…..I think they were then attacked for having views which disagreed with the original disturber…and they responded with why must you inject fear in every conversation…So…it is true…if you look at a response to an attack as an attack….then they must be being attacked…It is really simple….

    I already ate today at but Bar B Que today……..

  87. OS,

    I have already said that I would most likely cast a ballot giving it to Obama…by voting against the Other Guy….Unless a viable 3rd party candidate get in and then I do not know….this was why I was shocked when I got labeled a Republican….But hey Shit happens….maybe it was something else…who knows as I do not care….

  88. raff, that is why I said what I did above about Perry and his ilk.

    While the ultra-right wails about George Soros, the Koch brothers, Art Pope and their ilk pour many more millions into promoting an agenda that, at the bottom of it, is anti-democratic and anti-American. Just read the posts by Roco, Bron and the other RW trolls, both paid and volunteer.

    Obama has a lot of warts on his political butt, but the other side is worse by every metric.

  89. Ladies and Gents-

    The man you are discussing as a candidate for re-election just appointed a panel of anonymous people to prepare a list of Americans and others to be murdered in cold blood without charges or a hearing or a trial. Don’t overlook this or forget this. Barack Obama did this. Not George Bush, not Dick Cheney. Barack Obama a.k.a. the “Lesser of Two Evils”. Former teacher of Constitutional law. Really.

  90. If all that was true…why haven’t we taken Castro out? How about Chavez….They have no intention of taking anyone out high ranking…why…because the message that it sends….The chilling effect….Anyone recall Bin Laden’s body disposal?

  91. Sunday, Oct 9, 2011
    The Awlaki memo and Marty Lederman
    By Glenn Greenwald


    UPDATE: Like Lederman, David Barron — the acting OLC Chief who signed off on the Awlaki memo — was, as I wrote in January, 2009 when praising Obama’s “excellent OLC appointees,” an advocate of the idea (in the Bush years) that “the President’s ‘war powers’ have been wildly overstated” during the War on Terror. In fact, Barron had co-written a Harvard Law Review article with Lederman urging greater restraints on the war powers of the Commander-in-Chief. Citing that article and Lederman’s history of advocacy, I wrote when their appointments were announced:

    It is virtually impossible to imagine that particular group of individuals placing political allegiance to Barack Obama over the principles they have so forcefully advocated over the last several years.

    I cringed multiple times when I saw that statement today, as (at least as it applies to Barron and Lederman) I obviously could have not been more wrong (since leaving the Obama DOJ, Lederman blogs at OpinioJuris, where he defends Obama’s civil liberties record — about which the ACLU Executive Director said this — with greater fervor and absoluteness than Jay Carney does). Whatever else is true, this is why the President’s underlings should not be unilaterally and secretly determining the scope of his powers when acting against American citizens.

    Meanwhile, Marcy Wheeler unsurprisingly raises several other important points about the Awlaki memo. (end of excerpt)

  92. Secret lists, secret court orders, secret government. It will be interesting to see if and where Applelbaum will be detained and tried, in a criminal court, if he has committed criminal acts, or a secret court for people that are just a pain in the ass to the government.

    “US tracked email of Wikileaks volunteer: report
    (AFP) – 2 hours ago
    WASHINGTON — US authorities have obtained a secret court order to force search giant Google and a small Internet provider to hand over information from email accounts of a volunteer for whistleblower website WikiLeaks, a report said…. The revelation of a secret court order raises questions around US authorities’ ability to obtain information on people’s digital correspondence — by email and cellphone — and whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates constitutional protections over search and seizure”

  93. “Secret lists, secret court orders, secret government.” -lottakatz

    Secrets, as you say, lottakatz, and so many damn lies, as was the case during the Vietnam years. As I keep saying on this blog, there are is something terrible going on domestically… When it’s exposed, it will be a game-changer. We need some good whistleblowers and soon…

    Thanks for the links.

  94. “The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.” In light of everything the U.S. Government has been able to seize regarding Appelbaum without a single search warrant — laptops, cellphones, cameras, memory sticks, Twitter activity, electronic goods of his friends, interrogation via forcible detention, and now lists of his email correspondents and other information showing his email activity — is there any rational conclusion other than to view that Amendment as an absurd joke?” -Glenn Greenwald

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