“We Tortured Some Folks”: Obama Admits United States Committed Acts Violating Federal and International Law

President_Barack_Obamatorture -abu ghraibFollowing the admission that the CIA hacked Senate computers and lied to Congress, President Obama today affirmed that it did indeed torture people. This admission (while belated) is an important recognition by the United States of what is obvious from a legal standpoint. However, that also means that CIA officials violated both federal and international law. The question is why Obama began his first term by promising CIA employees that they would not be tried for what he now describes as “tortur[ing] some folks.”

Despite the prior lying to Congress, Obama insisted that he had “full confidence in John Brennan.” As noted before, the Obama Administration is clearly unwilling again to discipline, let alone charged, any CIA personnel for hacking into congressional computers.

The President then turned to the Senate report on our torture program and affirmed his earlier 2009 statement that this was torture — plain and simple:

Even before I came into office, I was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values. I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And, you know, it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong. And that’s what that report reflects.

Just a few points are warranted here.

First, torture is a war crime and the United States has insisted that it was at war. We have an obligation to investigate and prosecute any officials responsible for torture. Instead, both the Bush and Obama Administrations threatened countries like Spain and England for even investigating aspects of these crimes. Saying that we “tortured some folks” is not compliance with these law – either domestic or international

Second, it does not matter if we are “afraid” or angry under international law. These treaties clearly reject defenses like “just following orders” or justified torture.

Third, Obama has yet to explain his promise to the CIA employees after taking office. After his election, various high officials said that Obama told them privately that no Bush or CIA officials would be prosecuted. His staff denied the stories but he then soon thereafter told the CIA staff precisely that.

Finally, not only has the United States refused to hold our own officials to the same standards that we impose on other countries, but those responsible for our torture program are giving interviews and writing books in plain sight. In the meantime, the Administration has successfully blocked torture victims from seeking judicial review or relief in our courts.

That record makes the admission that “we tortured some folks” a bit less satisfying. No one familiar with the cases in this area should seriously doubt that we tortured people. What remains unclear is how we can justify not prosecuting those responsible. We may have “tortured some folks” but we never “prosecuted other folks.”

Source: ABC

359 thoughts on ““We Tortured Some Folks”: Obama Admits United States Committed Acts Violating Federal and International Law

  1. Given this and the hacking of senate computers how can he say he has confidence in Brenner/CIA? That is very disturbing

  2. Brennan has to go and any and all CIA personnel have to be prosecuted for the original torture issues as well as this latest illegal spying. Any politicians that approved of and authorized the torture, need to be in jail.

  3. I love the word “folks.” I got it from black friends. I use it often. You don’t use that good natured term as subject in a sentence regarding torture. When Obama speaks w/o teleprompter his insular nature and arrogance really is obvious.

  4. Yes, and we do run around the world insisting that other nations prosecute for torture. I would think those countries could argue they were afraid and thus felt the need to torture. Why are they supposed to hold people accountable but the US is not?

    After 9/11 there was not simply one voice claiming how fabulous it was to torture people. There were many in the intelligence community who spoke up about it both as wrong ethically, wrong as far as a way to get actionable intelligence and dangerous because of blowback. All of this is glossed over in Obama’s sanctimonious statement. I hope people will not buy this speech, but instead, look at what was actually done, not to a few people as a mistake, but to many people as a systemic policy.

    Under Obama, torture continues. He has no right to even speak on this topic as a moral actor. He’s just an actor.

  5. Not prosecuting the torturers is wrong, no matter who is not persuing it. I agree Leej, he needs to be distancing and denouncing Brennen. I suspect that there are a whole lot of people in Congress who don’t want him to prosecute on both sides of the aisle. Instead of suing Obama, why don’t the Republicans demand that the Obama Administration prosecute?

  6. It’s a good idea Annie. It’s also something Democrats could and should do. Congress should demand these prosecutions, no matter what party they hail from.

  7. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/EnsuringLawfulInterrogations
    Executive Order 13491 — Ensuring Lawful Interrogations
    …All executive directives, orders, and regulations inconsistent with this order, including but not limited to those issued to or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals, are revoked to the extent of their inconsistency with this order……
    I tweeted him and asked if he recalled this order.

  8. http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2014/08/01/what_obama_talks_about_when_he_talks_about_torture.html

    …Most of these changes were sound. Some caused inconvenience. But some, like expanded surveillance, raised difficult questions about the balance that we strike between our interests in security and our values of privacy. And in some cases, I believe we compromised our basic values — by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.

    So after I took office, we stepped up the war against al Qaeda but we also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted al Qaeda’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.

    Why is Obama reiterating this now? Because the report is on the way, and because by being blunt he can go further than the authors of the report will go. (They do not use the word “torture.”) And because Obama’s approach to the topic, like his approach to the issues discussed in the NDU speech, is an assurance that the worst practices ended when he took over.”

    Nick, that is a right wing charge, he relies on the teleprompter. Watch the debates and other times like town halls without a teleprompter. He does quite nicely on his own

  9. From the president’s statement I am not inclined to believe any prosecutions will occur, unless a scapegoat is found.

  10. Oh my, this needs an Irish Poem!

    Beyond The Pail???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    The President said “We ‘re all sinners!
    From the pros to us youthful beginners.
    And ‘neath daggers and cloaks
    Hey, we tortured some folks.
    No big deal. We just need a good spinner!”

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  11. Hi folks,
    You hear about some folks who were harsh on some other folks a few years back when some elected folks had a chance to get the folks that started this folks-y mess to begin with?

    Now, some Official folks are trying to defend other Official folks about the folks they tortured. And these same Official folks are defending the spying these other Official folks did on other Official folks overseeing the folks who are now caught lying about the folks they tortured.

    Folks, the madness stops when Elected Representative folks demand prosecution of the folks who orchestrated, performed and now, attempting to hide the fact that the folks they tortured was illegal.

  12. Annie
    Wha??? And you think supine Dems will actually act? It’s their man in action now… It’s never when their man is involved.

  13. Folks,
    Remember when Madam Speaker folk took accountability off the table?
    Now our folksy Nation is saddled with a teetotaling folkman with a bad tan!

  14. This and other great comments are at Glenn’s twitter: “Also, we blew some folks up with robots. Lotta folks, come to think of it.”

    Max, I see you made another comment but it doesn’t show up in the comments section.

  15. Annie
    I have made it clear to my House Rep that until he acts to repair this National tragedy of torture and spying, he does not get my vote this fall… But what am I to him but one voter.

  16. Hi Jill,
    This is comment #4 in 10 minutes. This is #5
    I see all of them. Odd that it says I made a post yet it doesn’t show for you?

  17. Max-1, I think not voting DemoRepublican scares these people. They like to appear legitimate. I believe this is why both parties try very hard to keep third parties off the ballot and use amazing resources to keep people voting outside the box! So keep on telling him. If enough people do this, it can only help.

    There is a reason that two women, one a presidential candidate, the other a vice presidential candidate not only weren’t allowed to be considered for the year of the woman, they were arrested and shackled to their chairs during the presidential “debate”. If the major parties aren’t scared they would not have to do crap like that.

  18. Two things: 1. What an odd and casual way to announce “We tortured some folks.”, regardless of where you stand on this…too casual & dismissive…however, if waterboarding is torture…then where are you with drones that kill US Citizens without due process (and innocent civilians)? 2. If he believes an out of control CIA did this ( or that it was rationalized in an inappropriate way to the Executive branch), how does he stand by Brennan for lies/spies AND obvious contradiction to “smidgeon” of corruption. The man’s ability to demand you deny your lying eyes and believe his double talk is really, really disconcerting.

  19. Max, my comment showed up, then disappeared, now it shows up. It has not shown up in the comment list yet! Some folks comments just don’t show up!

    The accounts of torture or horrifying. Of course the report comes out Friday night with the president all but dismissing that anything happened. ARGGG!

  20. I still hold with Yoo that it is NOT torture and is enhanced interrogation. The Geneva Convention is not rock solid on water boarding. No permanent damage is done.
    As for the sheriff who was convicted, laws change. We used to convict people for sodomy, now we let them marry. Want to go back to putting sodomites in jail?

  21. Max-1 – Obama has not met a legal obligation he cannot dodge. If he goes after this, he would have to go after the IRS, EPA. DEA, Border Patrol, etc. Half of his administration would be meeting in prison.

  22. Max-1, please don’t feel that way. You are not just ‘one voter’ you are a citizen of the United States. Not only is your vote important but you owe it to other citizens to do your duty and vote. When you don’t vote, then unethical politicians win because you know they are getting ‘their’ votes to vote. Your one vote is part of a much larger voice that we need to use so that we can fix this nation.

    As to this whole issue, I agree that prosecutions need to be done and it shouldn’t stop until everyone who is culpable is brought to justice. My largest concern is that our DOJ does not seem to be interested in justice these days. They are interested in politically beneficial prosecutions that make a headline, but true justice is rarely meted out these days.

    RFB

  23. Jill
    It especially scares Jim McDermott. In Seattle, we have a nasty habit of electing outside the norms for real progress… $15 dollar/hr min. wage was not a Demo/Rep idea. It was a wave of Socialist popularity. Democrats used to be able to hang their hats on those kinds of results… Now, they measure their successes based on Republican standards of keeping the little guy down. They just do it with a progressive mask on, for the truthiness effect!

  24. RealFake Brit
    I am encouraged. Thank you. No, I don’t feel small and yes, we are all important when it is election time. I said what I said as how We, the People are treated BY our Representatives… They have lobbyists to meet and re elections to raise money for. It’s the ongoing process of job security that keeps them blind to the call of the People and the Law of the Land.

    He knows the deal is up… yet keeps protecting the criminals.

    Heros are made of will to do the right thing, even when unpopular with their peers… Instead, he toes the Party line of “what crime?”

  25. So the CIA “tortured some folks”? So, does Obama excuse the Klan for lynching some “folks”? Or is that different? I’m so confused-these situational ethics are really tough to keep straight!O_o

  26. It’s curious how anyone can accept the idea that a crime is evil if others do it but OK if we do it. If people go along with that idea, there is no logic or reason to any legal system.

  27. RealFake Brit
    “My largest concern is that our DOJ does not seem to be interested in justice these days.”
    = = =
    I remember the days of 2007 when Democrats screamed of corruption and partisanship from the Bush DoJ.

    Memories… or living nightmares of their own destiny?

  28. Not torture…
    Not drone wars…
    Not Gitmo…
    Not spying…
    Not illegal use of force in Libya…

    But the ACA?

    The U.S. House of Canards

  29. This truly does make clear that the US is in a state of completely lawlessness. Statutes are clear, admissions, however ridiculous they sound, have been made. Folks aren’t steppin’ up to the plate and follow’n the law round these here parts!

  30. Question:
    If Congress refuses to act to remedy…
    … At what point does it become a conspiracy to cover up?

  31. Jane, “Dismissive” is how Obama acts all the time now, whether he’s talking about Putin, unconstitutional executive orders, Republicans, torture victims. It is his “To cool for school” swagger as this country goes down the toilet. It is overcompensation from a guy who was in way over his head.

  32. Oh, and Paul C,
    Why should we re elect a Congress that lacks the will to make good on their Oath of Office?

    In a real democratic society not shielded from truth and information there would be a 90% turnover… but watch, there will be a 90% retention instead.

  33. Paul C
    The Constitution, Article II, Section 4:
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleii
    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    Is Executive Branch authorizing torture NOT a high crime?

  34. Max-1 – since several Sen and Rep have already said they are not running again. I am not sure 90% is not an over-reach.

  35. The real question here is what the war criminal-in-chief says right after stating that we did some things that were wrong. What exactly are the things we did that were right because I can’t think of a single thing we did that was right from the passage of the PATRIOT ACT to the AUMF to the complete dismantling of a major crime scene with a whole lot of evidence being shipped off to China. Not one right thing was done at least not anything I recognize as right.

  36. Max-1 – there is also the political practicality of the impeachment. Right now they might be able to get the votes in the House to impeach Obama, but not the votes in the Senate to convict him. And, if Obama were to be impeached and convicted, Joe Biden is president. Who wants that?

  37. Paul C
    I might even argue that since Obama is obligated to enforce the Law regarding torture and to date has refused to press the matter, he too should be implicated…

    It’s like the Chief of Police refusing to arrest his former boss who’s a known torturer…

  38. They didn’t bother with Bush and Cheney who had the memo from Woo (yoo- forget his name) that said torture was legal.

  39. Max-1 – I was asking how wants Biden as President? And there does not seem to be an avenue for impeaching cabinet secretaries.

  40. 2 wrongs don’t make a right but it is presented here by way too many that this is something done under Obama. I am not happy that it continued but at least he stopped some of it. I didn’t hear all this the president is a criminal in chief etc when Bush was at the helm and saying waterboarding isn’t torture etc.

  41. Paul C
    There is precedence.
    The Use of Impeachment
    http://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Impeachment/

    The House has initiated impeachment proceedings more than 60 times but less than a third have led to full impeachments. Just eight—all federal judges—have been convicted and removed from office by the Senate. Outside of the 15 federal judges impeached by the House, two Presidents (Andrew Johnson in 1868 and William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton in 1998), a cabinet secretary (William Belknap in 1876), and a U.S. Senator (William Blount of North Carolina in 1797) have also been impeached.

    Blount’s impeachment trial—the first ever conducted—established the principle that Members of Congress and Senators were not “Civil Officers” under the Constitution, and accordingly, they could only be removed from office by a two-thirds vote for expulsion by their respective chambers. Blount, who had been accused of instigating an insurrection of American Indians to further British interests in Florida, was not convicted, but the Senate did expel him. Other impeachments have featured judges taking the bench when drunk or profiting from their position. The trial of President Johnson, however, focused on whether the President could remove cabinet officers without obtaining Congress’s approval. Johnson’s acquittal firmly set the precedent—debated from the beginning of the nation—that the President may remove appointees even if they required Senate confirmation to hold office.

  42. Well, I think a lot of what we know now was still secret before Obama was elected. Having said that, as a former marine, I never condoned the former WH policy on torture (including waterboarding). As you say, two wrongs to make a right.

  43. Max interesting article. It says that Obama has been covering for Bush….We can be sure about one thing: The Obama White House has covered up the Bush presidency’s role in the torture program for years. Specifically, from 2009 to 2012, the administration went to extraordinary lengths to keep a single short phrase, describing President Bush’s authorization of the torture program, secret….”

  44. If the house republicans do decide to impeach Obama it will have nothing to do with torture. They do not have a case nor do they care to have a case against him on those grounds. They will impeach over the ACA or for failing to torture some immigrant child by giving him or her amnesty and therefore not upholding the law of the land. Boehner has his civil suit but could get pushed further on the ACA and possibly immigration after the election. In any case although the republicans will probably take the senate by a vote or two, they will not have the necessary 60 for impeachment.

  45. leej
    http://www.opencongress.org/wiki/Efforts_to_initiate_the_impeachment_of_President_George_W._Bush#Resolution_by_Rep._John_Conyers_to_investigate_Bush_for_impeachable_offenses_in_2005

    * Preparations for detention, interrogation and treatment of detainees, or lack thereof, made in the planning stages of the Iraq conflict prior to March 19, 2003,
    * Knowledge of abuses and mistreatment of detainees during the Iraq conflict after March 19, 2003,
    * The investigation of abuses and mistreatment, or lack thereof, the results of these investigations, any sanctions or punishment of offenders, and any efforts to keep these reports either from supervisors, officials or the public,
    * An examination of all prison facilities, including the High Value Detainee facility at Baghdad airport and secret prisons or “black sites” for detaining individuals outside the United States.
    * The extent to which civilian, military, or intelligence officials expressly authorized, willingly ignored, or created an atmosphere that condoned the abuses and mistreatment that occurred at Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

  46. SMM, You are partially correct and mostly giving out wrong information. Republicans have already taken impeachment off the table, just as Pelosi did with Bush. They are covering each other’s butts, that must be clear by now.

    If they did want to impeach Obama over torture they would have at least three reasons: 1. failure to enforce the laws of the United States (his oath of office) 2. being an accessory to torture after the fact and 3. as I showed you on another thread, engaging in torture himself at Gitmo, Bagram and other sites of Extraordianary Rendition.

    It is simply propaganda to keep talking about Republicans without acknowledging basic truths about Democrats as well–these parties are full of people who condone torture and both parties presidents are guilty as hell of torture.

    At a certain point, it does become tiresome to lie to other posters about basic reality.

  47. Lee, I know you came to this blog more recently, but if you look at the archives you will see JT and many posters consistently called for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Please check that out.

  48. Max-1, What is interesting is that Bush authorized both torture and assassinations. Both continue to this day.

  49. The WH has no class. They are harassing Ginsberg to retire in a panic that she’ll die when Republicans control things. I know politics ain’t beanbag but damn.

  50. Jill – since Bush had legal coverage, it was not torture but enhanced interrogation. Obama is responsible for assassinations, without question, even has spoken about his ‘kill list.’ But one of the duties of any country and the chief executive of any country is to defend the country. If you are at war, and yes there is a War on Terror, and you assassinate a terrorist, you have done your job.

  51. Yeah, right. Several republicans spoke of impeachment this week and one is in a leadership position. If you think anyone is going to hold impeachment hearings on torture based on the contents of the websites you posted you are politically naive. I think the possibility of impeachment hearings in the house over the ACA and immigration is still a possibility.

  52. No kidding SWM, seriously why does Jill continue to think any Republican would vote to impeach based on torture? The ACA is more egregious in their eyes.

  53. This impeachment craziness by Dems and the WH is absolutely surreal. They are grasping @ straws. This gets the cultist fired up[see a few here] and money flowing. What I am fascinated by is whether otherwise intelligent people like SWM actually believe this stuff or if they are just going along w/ the scam. We need Kim Dienes to untangle this pathology if she’s here this weekend.

  54. SMM,

    Those positions are legal positions. JT has explained them very well and you can read about them in the archive. You were on this blog when he made those arguments.

    Really, I cannot see how you can morally defend Obama over his many crimes.

    As a partisan, Obama’s cruelty and lawlessness appears not to matter to you. That is exactly what I saw in Republican partisans under Bush. At some point, US citizens must value other’s lives and well being over their party leader.

    It really is difficult to watch heinous crimes dismissed by you and others here as of no consequence. I have no understanding as to why you are even upset with Republicans other than you don’t want them doing what Obama and other Democrats are doing. There is no logical or ethical reasoning behind complaining about lawless Republicans while excusing lawless Democrats. It just doesn’t make sense. Time to care about what happened/is happening to others in our nation and this world. We need everyone on board to stop this. Please try to be against murder and torture and for the rule of law, even when it means going against your own party.

  55. Annie, you and SMM seem unable to make a honest argument. I did not say they would impeach Obama, I said there are three reasons concerning torture that they could if they wanted to. Those same three reasons would also apply to Democrats who wanted to impeach Obama over torture.

    I ask that you start giving an accurate account of my arguments. It doesn’t show intellectual integrity to misrepresent them.

  56. Jill, I do apologize if I misread you, but you give mixed signals at times. It would’ve been clearer if you would’ve said “if they wanted to, but they won’t.”

  57. Jill, They’re circling the wagons and shooting @ anything that moves. Intellectual honesty is out the window w/ Obama “folks.” A little history. In 1998 the Republicans were poised to gain seats in Congress which happens virtually all the time in off year elections. The impeachment of Clinton helped the Dems gain seats in an off year election for the first time in 60 years. They’re drawing to an inside straight.

  58. Jill, do you know that Nick here has said he’s in favor of keeping GITMO opened and to keep the detainees there indefinitely?

  59. Jill, You have given just about every democratic leaning woman a hard time during the years I have been on this blog while avoiding criticism of the right wing posters. Most of the women are gone now. Nick does the same thing. Maybe ,there is that spot where the far left and far right meet.

  60. Hi Jill, Cant agree more! I have a friend like that who continues to feel so proud of the “first black president” despite the outrageous behaviors. I have concluded that it is just not worth it to try to reason with him about this issue. We can see only what we CAN see….

  61. That’s it, I guess. We “tortured some folks.” Our version of a reconciliation commission. The final word. We can now rest peacefully because we have come to terms with our wrongs. How reassuring. How forward looking. How pathetic.

  62. Nick Spinelli–do you recall that after 9/11, President Bush said in a speech that we would “hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act”? That’s the first time I recall a president inappropriately using the term “folks.” I don’t believe it’s a “black” thing. I remember cringing at the time. This situation is no less awkward, but Bush did it first. Just saying.

  63. When it comes to Bush and Obama, arrest them on war crimes and crimes against humanity, try them then hang’em and I care not in which order. Then go after all the rest of those jokers.

  64. SMM, I have spoken truthfully to any person, of any gender, who supports the powerful in the commission of crimes against the people of this and other nations. If you are a woman, and you are a Democrat, that is no concern to me. What is of concern to me is that you will support murder and torture when committed by Democrats. Not every woman or Democrat agrees with you that torture and murder by a Democratic president or other Democrats is acceptable. I support those women and those Democrats, I do not support you in your quest to excuse, justify and write out of existence the true harm against other people, to include other women and Democrats of any gender that is visited on us by any lawless politician of any party. I don’t know how to be any clearer than that.

    I would not expect you to understand what I just wrote but other people will.

  65. “That’s the first time I recall a president inappropriately using the term “folks.” I don’t believe it’s a “black” thing.”

    Tavis Smiley makes it a black thing when he drops the “s” and refers to folk as plural.

  66. @ Jill, some people just cannot shake a delusion, JT had recently talked about a “cult mentality” and I agree with him, as usual.

  67. The US is above international law. Yea, we tortured some folks, but let’s not feel too guilty and prosecute those responsible, including John Brennan and his ( and our) Commander in Chief. The Nazis could have said the same thing-” we had to exterminate all these millions of inferior people because ethnic cleansing was the necessary goal of the Master Race”. ( Israel is giving the same justification for the killing of innocent folk in Gaza.) Apparently, committing war crimes is acceptable if special people decry it. Are we any different than the German people who tolerated the Nazi atrocities, until it became normalized behavior, if we do not demand punishment for those who have committed war crimes?

  68. I agree with Mike’s words.

    To me it harks back to 2010 when Representative Charles Rangel received his censure before the House of Representatives.

    Having read the proceedings and the allegations made against him. I thought something substantive would be levied. But, he was required to stand in front of the house while the Speaker admonished him. He then gave a rather weak in my view confession to having brought shame to his office. And that was it.

    With what he had been accused of in his ethics misdeeds this was a empty punishment.

    I guess it shows in DC how those in the political class can just vibrate their vocal chords in a certain manner, and all is forgiven.

  69. maxcat06

    Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, who, upon resignation, was charged with articles of impeachment.
    ============================
    When Nixon resigned the process in the House stopped, so there was no debate and vote to impeach.

    The issue became moot.

  70. We Tortured Some Folks” – Obama

    Word Origin & History

    folk
    O.E. folc “common people, men, tribe, multitude,” from P.Gmc. *folkom (cf. O.Fris. folk, M.Du. volc, Ger. Volk “people”), from P.Gmc. *fulka-, perhaps originally “host of warriors;” cf. O.N. folk “people,” also “army, detachment;” and Lith. pulkas “crowd,” O.C.S. pluku “division of an army,” both believed to have been borrowed from P.Gmc. Some have attempted, without success, to link the word to Gk. plethos “multitude;” L. plebs “people, mob,” populus “people” or vulgus. Superseded in most senses by people.

    folks
    “people of one’s family,” 1715, colloquial, from plural of folk.

    Volkswagen is the folks car.

  71. pfigen – using ‘folk’ or ‘folks’ is more of a regionalism. There are linguists who can from exactly how you are using what part of the country you picked it up in. I use both ‘you guys’ and ‘you folks’ to include the same group of people. Some of my female students were offended by ‘you guys’ since they did not see as gender inclusive.

  72. William Seff – you are upset about a little waterboarding but you probably support killing babies.

  73. Mike Appleton wrote, “That’s it, I guess. We “tortured some folks.” Our version of a reconciliation commission. The final word. We can now rest peacefully because we have come to terms with our wrongs. How reassuring. How forward looking. How pathetic. ”

    https://jonathanturley.org/2014/08/01/we-tortured-some-folks-obama-admits-united-states-committed-acts-violating-federal-and-international-law/#comment-1248903

    Well said, in a nutshell. And it bears repeating.

  74. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/blaming-the-messenger-not-the-message “The political world’s reaction to chatter about presidential impeachment took a curious turn this week, when Republicans and a variety of pundits directed their ire at Democrats – for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense.

    Karl Rove, a stalwart in the area of political propriety and forthright campaign-season rhetoric, said on Fox News this week, “[President Obama] is playing with the American people by suggesting a constitutional crisis where none exists…. Shame on him and shame on those people in the administration who participate with him.” Ron Fournier, naturally, is thinking along similar lines.

    There’s no denying that Democrats are delighted that so many congressional Republicans have raised the specter of impeachment. The GOP made this a campaign issue, and in an election year, Dems appear eager to ensure the issue backfires on the Republicans who brought it up.

    What’s less clear is the justification for the double standard. This week, it seems the public has been confronted with an odd condemnation: when Republicans talk about impeachment, it’s fine, but when Democrats talk about what Republicans are talking about, it’s an outrage.

    E.J. Dionne explained today that issue goes beyond “the open demands for throwing Obama out from Sarah Palin, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) and many others on the right wing. The deeper problem lies in the proliferation of loose impeachment talk linked with one overheated anti-Obama charge after another.” “

  75. From “The Atlantic”:

    Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?

    It’s difficult to cross man with details on every secret drone strike you’ve authorized—especially the legally dubious ones.

    by Conor Friedersdorf
    Aug 1 2014, 6:00 AM ET

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/08/does-john-brennan-know-too-much-to-be-fired-by-barack-obama/375431/

    Excerpt:

    Perhaps Obama has always believed and continues to believe that Brennan is doing a heckuva job. But just as secret torture acted as a cancer on the U.S. government, encompassing acts so barbaric and criminal that, even recently, the CIA spied on a Senate subcommittee investigating the subject, America’s semi-secret policy of semi-targeted killing rendered everyone involved complicit in activities sufficiently dubious that all desire their secrecy. Would you fire a guy who knows as much about your most morally fraught acts as Brennan knows about who Obama has killed in secret? Yeah, me neither. This isn’t the biggest cost of presidents who hide arguably illegal actions by declaring them state secrets. But it is certainly one of the costs.

    There’s inevitably a need to review the job performance of people party to these secrets. They typically keep their jobs. So George W. Bush left us a CIA staffed partly with people willing to torture, and Obama will likely leave us with a CIA that includes torturers, people willing to kill American citizens in secret without due process, and people willing to spy on their Senate overseers. The Senate intelligence committee was established precisely to stop this sort of thing from playing out, but it is failing in its duties, as yesterday’s crimes spawn today’s efforts to spin or suppress those crimes. If the Senate doesn’t act now to rein in the CIA, what will it take?

  76. Nothing like some red meat Maddow on a nice summer, Saturday, morning. I’m sure you could provide a link from her buddy Al Sharpton claiming everyone opposed to Obama is a racist. I’ll quote one of your favorite pundits, Paul Begala, “That dog don’t hunt.” However, I have always loved Don Quixote and marvel @ your quixotic attempt to salvage this failed President and prevent November from being a blood bath. Do you think Ginsberg should resign like the WH is pressuring her to do? Take one for the team, as it were. She has told them to kiss her ass and I don’t blame her.

  77. nick, It has nothing to do with trying save a failed president. It is about confronting the spin of your right wing noise machine. That is probably my only reason to be on this blog these days, and probably not a sufficient reason to stay. Like you said before most of my friends are gone and the only remaining democratic women are Lee and Annie. I am sure they could use some support but probably that alone is not a sufficient reason to continue to post here and read your interpretations of the news cycle. They are often misleading and false.

  78. The Democrats need the Republicans and the Republicans need the Democrats! But they don’t need any body else.

  79. It was a left echo chamber when I arrived. I know you think it is a right echo chamber now but that simply is not the case. It is much more diverse here now. I celebrate diversity. Ideologues like to keep to their own kind. You’re tough. You’ll stay. At least I hope you do. I do always laugh when you say things like “You’re right wing noise machine.” I know you don’t believe me when I say I voted for Nader and have never voted for a Republican Prez. Although I think I would vote for Christie. You probably don’t believe me when I say I ALWAYS voted for Feingold. It simply doesn’t compute. Your hardware brain circuits are not programmed to allow that data. Perception is reality, and your prism distorts. It’s those damn appearances on Fox that has the old timers in a tizzy. Admit that @ least.

  80. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – I accept only the OED for word origins.
    ============================
    That is how narrow mindedness works, and it shows.

  81. We have a new Dear Leader:

    Following the quick collapse of the cease-fire in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to force a truce with Palestinian militants on Israel.

    Sources familiar with conversations between Netanyahu and senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration “not to ever second guess me again” on the matter. The officials also said Netanyahu said he should be “trusted” on the issue and about the unwillingness of Hamas to enter into and follow through on cease-fire talks.

    The Obama administration on Friday condemned “outrageous” violations of an internationally brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and called the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier a “barbaric” action.

    (Netanyahu Tells U.S. ‘Not To Ever Second Guess Me Again’ On Hamas).

  82. If I remember correctly, we “hung some folks” for waterboarding, mainly Japanese officers? Anyway, anyone who doesn’t think waterboarding isn’t torture should just try it. Ask Hitchens (well, not now, obviously…). He didn’t think it was a big deal–but he was really quick to let the handlers know what he thought about it once it started.
    Yes, the scary thing here is that we have stomped on the Geneva Convention articles as “quaint” (according to Rumsfeld). As the world begins its divide into two main camps again, how can we possibly claim the high ground? The problem is here that some “folks” seem to think we have a divine or otherwise claim to being exceptional, thereby absolving us of any sin internationally. The chickens will be–and are starting to come home to roost. It would go a long way in the future if we rooted out all the perpetrators and applied just action to them–especially the most heinous three, plus Yoo, from the previous nightmare administration.

  83. Psychotherapy (or debating) a delusion is not a good use of the limited time we have on this planet, that itself has a limited time . Sometimes delusions can be quite refractory to the medicines, as well . Just like there are terminal physical illnesses , there are terminal delusions that cannot respond to any treatment (or debate) . We need to just accept that fact , and unless a delusion raises safety concerns , we can’t really do much , but to accept the fact that this person is going to have this delusion no matter what the evidence to the contrary is. (Definition of delusion: unshakeable belief despite evidence to the contrary ) . If they are confronted , they would just leave and go to another doctor/blog.

  84. Max thanks for the link. Sad thing is that the cosponsors, absent Bernie Sanders (I) were all democrats. If this was a question of law, in either case, Obama or Bush, then there would be bipartisan condemnation and co sponsors.
    (And Jill, I have been on this site for many years.)

  85. Mind, I hate to concede to your argument, but there is a lot too it. I would love to be completely wrong, and sometimes, for my son’s future, tell myself I am. Shortly before my father died, we discussed the Iraq invasion. I was horrified that it actually happened, because we knew it was phony. It was the whole duck story. I said, well, they won’t be there long, they’ll bomb them, secure the oil, and that will be the end of it. My dad said, “no way, they’ll be {urinating} around there for 10 years or more, as long as they can keep spending the money on it.” I try to stick my head back in the sand, but it doesn’t stay.

  86. Protecting war criminals and engaging in crimes ,both from the federal and international point of views , are not impeachable offenses ? Only lying about sex is an impeachable crime ?

  87. Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told a student audience last week that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration.” (Washington Post).

  88. @nicks

    I remember there being a whole lot of rabid lefties when I posted here before who swore up and down they weren ‘t rabid lefties. I remember one was really mean and caed me a lot of names and ignored any facts I gave him. There seems to be a lot more balance now, and not near as hateful.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  89. Dredd – that is because the OED is the be all and end all when it comes to the meaning and source of words. Why should I, or you for that matter, accept second or third best?

  90. 29, I’m of the view that it is NOT safe to let the people be out in the community who defend the indefensible . Iraq like crimes are more likely to happen again as people who were involved in that not only got away with murder(s) but the following president actually made the previous criminals look better. Your dad had good insight

  91. Dredd – would you really expect Sulick to say anything different? He lips are glued to Obama’s backside.

  92. Mind – what you consider indefensible is just your opinion, not fact. Thinking it does not make it so. If that were true there would be no progressives in this world.

  93. “Is psychiatry being used for political repression in Russia?”

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2962706-3/fulltext

    After Stalin’s death in 1953, his forced labour camps were shut down and a new mode of repression for dissidents emerged: declaring them insane and locking them away in psychiatric institutions. It’s impossible to say exactly how many were incarcerated between the 1960s and the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, but it’s estimated that as many as a few thousand were diagnosed with disorders such as “sluggish schizophrenia”, and subjected to involuntary treatments—some, for years on end. Not all survived.

    Although this was widespread and systematic abuse, van Voren—who has authored a report to the European Parliament entitled Psychiatry as a tool for coercion in post-Soviet countries—is worried that conditions may be ripe for a repeat performance. His report cites a number of cases over the past decade or so in which people who have criticised or made claims of corruption against local officials, businessmen, or the church have been arrested and placed in psychiatric institutions for assessment. He says such incarceration is an intimidation tactic which shows that the medical profession is still capable of abusing psychiatry. “It’s not a daily reality but my fear is that there is an atmosphere that allows it to happen and the [psychiatric] profession won’t stand up and say ‘no’ because there is no professional body or training to tell them what the limits are”, he says.

    (How about in the U.S.? Some would say that it’s being used here, now, as well, albeit still beneath the radar of most.)

  94. Wonder,

    People toss around the word “delusion” without understanding its meaning.

    And by the way, “clarity”, in conversation, is a good thing.

  95. @anon,
    I’m glad you REALLY understand the meaning of delusion. Let’s hear about the meaning of grandiosity and narcissism now …

  96. Sure , we all have beliefs , we have to settle on some basics , otherwise you can also say that it is just an opinion that “mutilating female genitalia is wrong”. For evolution to continue , we will have to establish something if we are to ever move to the nearest star system before sun swallows earth .

  97. Release of heavily redacted CIA torture report delayed

    McClatchy Washington Bureau

    Published: 01 August 2014

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20140801-release-of-heavily-redacted-cia-torture-report-delayed.ece

    Excerpt:

    WASHINGTON — The release of the scathing findings of an investigation into the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods will be delayed “until further notice” because the Obama administration blacked out large portions, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said late Friday.

    “A preliminary review of the report indicates that there have been significant redactions. We need additional time to understand the basis for these redactions and determine their justification,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement.

    She issued the statement only hours after the White House returned the document to Feinstein after it completed a declassification review that followed a similar procedure undertaken by the CIA.

  98. Anon, Tell me more , what you really want to say when you say “spouting” can you be a little more judgmental or shall I say “clear” ?

  99. I think mespo’s question is a good one–who is running this govt.? Obama’s response to the torture report is pathetic, laughable and shows a complete lack of self respect, let alone concern for what happened to “folks”.

    There are only a handful of people in the Congress and courts who take torture seriously and they can’t get traction on resolving these crimes. No one in the executive branch will take action because they still engage in torture. This means we are in real trouble. This is deep state America.

    Squeaky, it is correct to say that torture is best used for obtaining a confession to anything you want a confession for. A false confession made under torture was used as part of the other phony evidence for making illegal war on Iraq.

    LJC, I didn’t say you hadn’t been on the blog for years. I said, before you came on this blog (unless you have switched from another name) then you would have seen JT and many posters saying that Bush and Cheney should be impeached.

  100. @jill ,
    This has been his pattern , of being dismissive , of these types of concerns. I guess as long as people continue to like/rationalize him he will continue to behave similarly . It will become a problem for him only if a significant portion of his supporters start to dump him , as I doubt that he would be able to correct himself then , after believing all these years to be the God’s gift to this nation.

  101. Jill wrote:

    I think mespo’s question is a good one–who is running this govt.?

    We should all be asking the same question:

    “Who is running this government?”

    Wicked sh*t taking place on U.S. soil — things that still haven’t come to the fore.

    Good people with any modicum of power need to be seriously seeking the answer to that question. “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.” And evil is flourishing.

  102. Spouting, I agree that Obama has been consistent in being dismissive of and refusing to follow the law on torture. I also agree that there is a huge problem with his supporters refusing to hold him to account for his many illegal and cruel actions. I think though, we need to bring the picture out much wider than Obama.

    That’s why I think mespo’s question-who is running this govt.? is so important.

    We are facing the failure of all three branches to act in accordance with the rule of law. Why?

  103. anon, I really agree with you on this: “Good people with any modicum of power need to be seriously seeking the answer to that question. “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.” And evil is flourishing.” Everyone needs to act for the good, right now.

  104. Jill – I think the rule of law really only applies when a rule has been made law. You will have to be much more specific with exactly is bothering you.

  105. Jill, I dont want to believe in conspiracy theories, just yet. I think at least a significant number of problems that we are encountering are related to weak characters, herd mentality (JT calls it cult mentality, i believe) , wanting to appear smart than BEING smart. Decades ago I had read a book by the title of “I am ok you are ok”, I think that reading can help to understand at least some of the problems we are talking about here. I believe a lot of our current problems, especially with our leadership, can be understood by becoming aware of how people interact with each other and what drives those interactions, whether one mocks at the opponents or navigates out of conflicts while keeping his respect for the people who may even genuinely have no respect for him.

    I am not saying that our leaders need psychiatric help, but I do believe that when one’s body language and words are full of contempt, when one laughs/mocks at his opponents in campaign rallies, he/she does need some intervention, as with this kind of behavior the only way he can have the political opponents work with him would be to just ignore his disrespect and try to find a common ground, and that can be hard while he continuously mocks them. He is the President and he needs to be bigger than the people he mocks. And no, a coming election should have no impact on his behavior if he really wants to follow the constitution/laws, and hold people accountable.

  106. mindset – the President of the United States got his head handed to him today by Israel. That ought to give him a shock for the week.

  107. Paul, here’s US law: ““The State party [the United States] should ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention, or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in command positions, are prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims are provided with effective remedies.”

    I hope that is specific enough for you!

  108. Jill – could Yoo’s legal justification not be clear enough? Enhanced interrogation is NOT torture. Now, if Obama declared it torture and then decided to continue doing it, then he is at risk.

  109. Jill, JT, What does the law say about a president who ignores the crimes of the previous administration, before committing his own, and mocks the people by telling them that we have to look forwards…?

  110. “We are facing the failure of all three branches to act in accordance with the rule of law. Why?”

    I’m relatively new to this blog and this is the first time I’ve seen such agreement from people that have otherwise disagreed with each other. Jill has asked, in my opinion, the most important question (see above).

    What would be the result of government being used for purposes other than it was designed? What would be the result if we promoted a culture where there were no moral absolutes? What would be the result if we used the law as a weapon against the unalienable rights of its citizens; all in the name of a greater good?

    Would it look something like what we have now?

  111. wondering, JT did write about this before on several occasions. The law clearly states that a president must prosecute for the crime of torture. Prosecution is not optional. I would do a search on this site for various posts he has made explaining this.

    Paul, Yoo is a repulsive joke. He claims it is “legal” to torture a child to get the parent to talk. In our system, you can’t demand a piece of paper from your lawyer stating that you didn’t break the law to cover your a**. Further, you ignore that other people w/in the Bush administration clearly stated that torture was torture. The way forward is to adjudicate this in a court of law.

    Obama continues to torture as well as to protect prior torture. Since our govt. is not functioning I doubt he is at much risk of anything other than higher fees at speaking events after the first woman president is elected.

  112. @Jill,
    that is a scary thought, if you are referring to the woman that I think you are. And no I don’t say this because I am a “right wind nut”, Im not even a republican. I just hope my vote does not go wasted.

    So, if a President is bound to prosecute such crimes and he does not, then nothing legally can be done? Of course nothing is going to be done by the Republicans/Democrats in the congress. Sorry I am new to this blog and do not know if there are some legal remedies to tame such presidents and congress..?

  113. Jill – Obama has Holder giving him coverage. All these ‘shalls’ and ‘musts’ that are in laws are only wasted ink if they are not followed. If the lawsuit by the House can do anything we will see if other suits are brought. Someone earlier mentioned using FOIA requests, but government bodies are now ignoring them and you have to file suit to get them enforced. The latest emails are not coming from voluntary submissions by the administration (they of the destroyed hard drives).

  114. ME: “We Tortured Some Folks” – Obama

    Word Origin & History

    folk
    O.E. folc “common people, men, tribe, multitude,” from P.Gmc. *folkom (cf. O.Fris. folk, M.Du. volc, Ger. Volk “people”), from P.Gmc. *fulka-, perhaps originally “host of warriors;” cf. O.N. folk “people,” also “army, detachment;” and Lith. pulkas “crowd,” O.C.S. pluku “division of an army,” both believed to have been borrowed from P.Gmc. Some have attempted, without success, to link the word to Gk. plethos “multitude;” L. plebs “people, mob,” populus “people” or vulgus. Superseded in most senses by people.

    folks
    “people of one’s family,” 1715, colloquial, from plural of folk.

    Volkswagen is the folks car.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – I accept only the OED for word origins.
    —————————–
    ME: That is how narrow mindedness works, and it shows.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – that is because the OED is the be all and end all when it comes to the meaning and source of words. Why should I, or you for that matter, accept second or third best?
    ==========================================
    ME: Show me the “OED” (Old Extinct Definitions) definition and word history for folk/folks, and provide a link.

    Or shut up and read (OED Unchanged – Old Extinct Definitions) to see how narrow minds devolve.

  115. Dredd – just for your ignorance, the OED is the Oxford English Dictionary, the Holy Grail of the meaning of words and how they change. You are pushing the envelope again.

  116. wondering, Other than mass, peaceful protest by our citizens I don’t think much will get done. Here is one example of taking on a lawless govt. The mothers of the plaza in Argentina began as a small group of people who wanted to know what the govt. had done with their children and grand children. More and more, members of the society joined in their march. The govt. was finally brought down. (The following is from wikipedia)

    “The Mothers’ association was formed by women who had met each other while trying to find their missing sons and daughters. Many of the disappeared were believed to have been abducted by agents of the Argentine government during the years known as the Dirty War (1976–1983); the “disappeared” were often tortured and killed before their bodies were disposed of in rural areas or unmarked graves. The 14 founders of the group were Azucena Villaflor de De Vincenti, Berta Braverman, Haydée García Buelas; María Adela Gard de Antokoletz, Julia, María Mercedes and Cándida Gard (four sisters); Delicia González, Pepa Noia, Mirta Baravalle, Kety Neuhaus, Raquel Arcushin, and Senora De Caimi. They started demonstrations on the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace, on 30 April 1977.

    In that period, many people were highly fearful of attracting the government’s attention, as it was exterminating the opposition. Taking strength together by marching in public, with some coverage by the press, by the following year, hundreds of women participated, gathering in the Plaza for weekly demonstrations. They made signs with photos of their children and brandished their children’s names. The government tried to marginalize and trivialize their work by calling them “las locas” (the madwomen).[1]

    Together with the number of disappeared, the movement grew and gained international attention during the years of the Dirty War. The mothers cultivated international attention, seeking to build pressure by other governments against the Argentine dictatorship by publicizing the many stories of the “disappeared”. In 1978, when Argentina’s hosted the World Cup, the Mothers’ demonstrations at the Plaza were covered by the international press corps in town for the sporting event.[1] Villaflor had been searching for one of her sons and her daughter-in-law for six months. The government arranged for her to be taken to the ESMA concentration camp on 8 December 1978.[citation needed]

    The military has admitted that over 9,000 of those kidnapped are still unaccounted for, but the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo say that the number of missing is closer to 30,000. Most are presumed dead. An estimated 500 of the missing are the children born in concentration camps or prison to pregnant ‘disappeared’ women; the babies were given in illegal adoptions to military families and others associated with the regime. Their mothers were generally believed killed. The numbers are hard to determine due to the secrecy surrounding the abductions.

    During this period, Azucena Villaflor, Esther Careaga and María Eugenia Bianco, three of the founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, were also “disappeared”. After the fall of the military regime, a civilian government commission held in 1984 put the number of disappeared at close to 11,000. Human rights groups and the Mothers believe the figure is much higher, because the military and security forces destroyed records before ceding power to a democratic government.”

    This action took great courage, intelligence and perseverance. It did not prevent protesters from being killed. Still, it is an example to us all.

  117. Jill – if the government gets to the point where they are ‘disappearing’ citizens, I think you can expect pushback.

  118. John Oliver, Glenn Greenwald and others have explored what it has meant to change from a nation which had the rule of law (with major gaps) into a nation where elites rule by law, such as we see now. Laws become a weapon of the powerful to take down their enemies and suppress dissent. Mass surveillance/propaganda is a part of that program.

    Without the rule of law, citizens do not have protection from the powerful. We see the disastrous results of this all around us.

  119. Paul, Muslims were in fact disappeared and tortured after 9/11. If you look into the occupy movement, extreme violence was used against the protesters, to include this govt.’s plan to execute those whom they considered as leaders in the movement.

    There has been some push back, but not nearly enough.

  120. Jill – you are telling me the Obama administration was trying to execute members of Occupy? Hell, they were a danger to themselves.

  121. Paul, Muslims were disappeared. I have linked to one case in prior threads. The govt. kidnapped and tortured this man even though they knew he was innocent. They finally dumped him off in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Europe. He thought he was going to be shot in the back. Miraculously, this did not happen and he was helped by locals back to safety and brought his case to trial in the US. It was dismissed on the grounds of state secrets.

    In fact, Muslims were simply taken from their homes, for example, in Detroit. Some were questioned and released. Others were summarily deported with no one knowing what had happened to them. Others were interrogated using the new methods and eventually released after several months.

    Finally, under Obama, several US citizens have been disappeared via drones.

    Yes, this govt. had plans to kill members of occupy.

  122. Here’s the problem. How far up are we going to prosecute? It wouldn’t be just to only prosecute those who actually carried out the torture since the torture was sanctioned by Bush and Cheney. This wasn’t the work of a bunch of loose canons. Should we prosecute a former President and Vice President? What affect will a prosecution of a former administration have on our long history of peaceful transitions of power?

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t prosecute anybody, just that it’s not as simple as some of you make it out to be.

  123. Paul C. Schulte

    ME: “We Tortured Some Folks” – Obama

    Word Origin & History

    folk
    O.E. folc “common people, men, tribe, multitude,” from P.Gmc. *folkom (cf. O.Fris. folk, M.Du. volc, Ger. Volk “people”), from P.Gmc. *fulka-, perhaps originally “host of warriors;” cf. O.N. folk “people,” also “army, detachment;” and Lith. pulkas “crowd,” O.C.S. pluku “division of an army,” both believed to have been borrowed from P.Gmc. Some have attempted, without success, to link the word to Gk. plethos “multitude;” L. plebs “people, mob,” populus “people” or vulgus. Superseded in most senses by people.

    folks
    “people of one’s family,” 1715, colloquial, from plural of folk.

    Volkswagen is the folks car.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – I accept only the OED for word origins.
    —————————–
    ME: That is how narrow mindedness works, and it shows.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – that is because the OED is the be all and end all when it comes to the meaning and source of words. Why should I, or you for that matter, accept second or third best?
    —————————–
    ME: Show me the “OED” (Old Extinct Definitions) definition and word history for folk/folks, and provide a link.

    Or shut up and read (OED Unchanged – Old Extinct Definitions) to see how narrow minds devolve.
    —————————–
    YOU:Dredd – just for your ignorance, the OED is the Oxford English Dictionary, the Holy Grail of the meaning of words and how they change. You are pushing the envelope again.
    =========================
    Before you trolled here I had this conversation with another “personality” like you who said the same thing.

    He would always soil himself when I pointed out that “his elite dictionary” (same as yours BTW) said the same thing as the one regular people used.

    Now again, what does “your Holy Grail of the meaning of words” 1% dictionary say about the words “folk / folks” that the one I used does not?

    Your brain thingy is hanging out your envelope again if you can’t show a significant difference.

    Because you are using a phony “argument” posing as something other than rubbish.

    Which leads to the definition of “a phony.”

  124. Nick anecdotally says “folks” came from blacks.

    Does Paul’s “Holy Grail” dictionary say it came from blacks too?

    Does the Lone Ranger, Superman, and Bush II use Paul’s “Holy Grail” dictionary or instead use Nick’s Anecdotal Word Origination Private Dick anecdotal experience?

  125. He has just stated the grounds for his own impeachment and the basis for the criminal prosecution of many from the Bush administration. In fact by refusing to prosecute, he himself is violating several international treaties which the United States is a party to (And no, Dumb-Ass, treaties are not international law (USA! USA! USA!) Read your damn Constitution. Is Obama less of a criminal than Bush? Yes. Does he deserve a legal pass for couching criminal acts in cuddly language (Man he likes to use the word folks a lot when he’s got his BS groove going full throttle). No one will do anything. Who cares. I actually hope the ass-wad Republicans impeach him. Maybe we can lance this boil.

  126. seamus

    He has just stated the grounds for his own impeachment and the basis for the criminal prosecution of many from the Bush administration. In fact by refusing to prosecute, he himself is violating several international treaties which the United States is a party to (And no, Dumb-Ass, treaties are not international law (USA! USA! USA!) Read your damn Constitution. Is Obama less of a criminal than Bush? Yes. Does he deserve a legal pass for couching criminal acts in cuddly language (Man he likes to use the word folks a lot when he’s got his BS groove going full throttle). No one will do anything. Who cares. I actually hope the ass-wad Republicans impeach him. Maybe we can lance this boil.
    ===============================
    Only the Senate can do the impeachment.

    The House crafts the “indictment” which the Senate puts to trial.

  127. I know Dredd, but thanks for the “School House Rock” primer. I hope Elizabeth Warren gets some backing to run for the POTUS. “When to going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Hunter S. Thompson.

  128. Jill ,
    I read your post above , regarding what can be done . So I guess there is no legal remedy for a lawless president ? The example that you cited may not work here , as before it takes strength the people involved may get disappeared using NDAA etc . There maybe people monitoring this blog or our online activity and wonder how even this peaceful activity can be perceived by NSA . Another obstacle will be our American press . You said with some help from press the movement in Argentina grew , I doubt that with our msm that kind of work can be expected . Just look at greenwald how he was treated on MTP.

    I’m surprised that the legal system at present does not have a remedy for a lawless president . The founders must have never anticipated this kind of situation where the congress will act as a self loathing body.

  129. Jill re going to the streets and protesting. When we were in Vietnam people had a ball in the game (or whatever the cliché is) and they went to the streets and ultimately were heard. Unfortunately I think most people don’t see this as being important because it does not personally effect them. (I would love to know what the heck happened to Occupy.)

  130. “I’m surprised that the legal system at present does not have a remedy for a lawless president.”

    Does it not seem logical to review what role the legal system has played in the creation of a lawless President before one seeks their remedy?

  131. slohrss29: “Shortly before my father died, we discussed the Iraq invasion. I was horrified that it actually happened, because we knew it was phony.”

    http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.htm

    Q: Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?

    A: No.

    One, the Iraq enforcement was compliance-based. President Bush’s presentation of intelligence did not and could not trigger OIF. By procedure, only Iraq’s noncompliance could trigger enforcement, and only Iraq’s compliance could switch off the enforcement.

    The prevalent myth that OIF was based on a lie relies on a false premise that shifted the burden from Iraq proving compliance with the UNSC resolutions to the US proving Iraq possessed WMD. In fact, the US as the chief enforcer of the UNSC resolutions held no burden of proof in the Iraq enforcement. Iraq as the probationary party held the entire burden to prove Iraq was compliant and disarmed. The question of “Where is Iraq’s WMD?” was never for the US President to answer; it was always one of the questions Saddam was required to answer to the chief enforcer’s satisfaction in order to pass the compliance test.

    OIF is often isolated out of context and misrepresented as a new policy by Bush. In fact, OIF was the coda of the US-led enforcement with Iraq that began in 1990. Iraq’s guilt was established as fact from the outset of the Gulf War ceasefire and presumed in the enforcement of the UNSC resolutions. The basic presumption of the disarmament process was anywhere Iraq provided deficient account of its weapons imputed possession. Thus, had Bush presented no intelligence on Iraq’s weapons, the compliance-based enforcement procedure would have been the same because Saddam was guilty until he proved Iraq was compliant and disarmed.

    Two, it is undisputed that Iraq was noncompliant at the decision point for OIF. Inspectors’ reports throughout the UNSCR 1441 inspection period made clear Iraq had failed to sufficiently account for documented NBC stocks and cooperate to the mandated standard along with other violations. On March 7, 2003, UNMOVIC reported to the UN Security Council that Iraq presented “about 100 unresolved disarmament issues”.

    The public controversy is over Bush’s presentation of intelligence on latter Iraqi NBC stocks and programs. In the context of the Saddam problem, Clinton and Bush officials were obligated to judge the intelligence in an unfavorable light for Iraq, and 9/11 compelled US officials to increase their wariness due to Saddam’s belligerence and guilt on terrorism. Again, the “clear and present danger” of Saddam was imputed from Iraq’s noncompliance, not Iraq’s demonstrated possession of WMD stocks, due in part to the proven success of Saddam’s “denial and deception operations”, which included hidden stocks.

    The intelligence that Bush presented was the intelligence that was available. Congressmen, Democrats and Republicans, who independently reviewed the intelligence largely shared Bush’s determination. Bush’s mistake was presenting the intelligence to the public inapposite of its actual, circumscribed role in the operative enforcement procedure. The imprecision of intelligence due to Saddam’s deception was a known issue from the beginning and accounted for with Iraq’s presumption of guilt, burden of proof, and standard of compliance. For ODF, President Clinton had cited only to Iraq’s noncompliance in terms of insufficient cooperation and deficient account of weapons when he declared “Iraq has abused its final chance” and imputed the “clear and present danger” of Saddam. Clinton’s citation of noncompliance as the reason for bombing Iraq matched the operative enforcement procedure. When Clinton endorsed Bush on Iraq, Clinton stayed consistent with his justification for ODF by citing to the threat, heightened by the 9/11 attacks, of Saddam’s “unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons”.

    Bush cited properly to Iraq’s noncompliance as Clinton had done for ODF, but Bush also cited to the intelligence, despite that the intelligence could not trigger enforcement. Propagandists pounced on Bush’s error of presentation to shift the burden of proof from Iraq to the US, but the mistake does not change that Saddam was noncompliant at the decision point for OIF and Bush properly applied the operative enforcement procedure.

    Three, albeit irrelevant to the enforcement procedure at the decision point for OIF, the post-war findings in the Duelfer Report corroborate Iraq was in violation of its weapons obligations. Although Bush improperly characterized the pre-war intelligence as “evidence”, the normal and proper role of intelligence is indicators, and the pre-war intelligence correctly indicated Saddam was in breach of Iraq’s weapons obligations.

    Four, it is undisputed that Saddam was in violation on non-weapons issues, such as illicit trade outside the Oil for Food program (which funded Saddam’s weapons procurement) and humanitarian and terrorism standards. They were also triggers for the military enforcement. Saddam’s non-weapons obligations are often overlooked, yet they were as serious as Iraq’s weapons obligations. For example, the no-fly zones were the most visible, dangerous, invasive, and provocative component of the ‘containment’, yet the no-fly zones were not part of weapons-related enforcement. Rather, they helped enforce UNSC Resolution 688, which demanded an immediate end to the repression of the Iraqi civilian population.

    The truth is Saddam was rearming and noncompliant on the weapons and non-weapons mandates of the UNSC resolutions.

  132. Dredd – I have sent a fair amount of time in the OED when I was working on my Masters. You are not quoting the OED, because it is laid out differently. Quit making things up. And really, there is no reason to soil oneself over the meaning of a word.

  133. Dredd – the House impeaches, the Senate convicts or fails to convict. Clinton was impeached, Johnson was impeached. Neither was convicted.

  134. Jill – disappeared in the South American terminology seems to mean disappeared for good. You seem to be using as disappearing for a period of time. To my knowledge Obama has had the power (or thinks he has the power) to kill Americans by drone attack. I am not sure if he has acted on that or not. I certainly think it is wrong, but, like Yoo and Bush, he has a legal backing from the DOJ or somebody saying he has the right.

  135. Simms – most executives of countries have blanket immunity in their own countries for acts like these. However, cabinet officers would be liable.

  136. jill: “illegal war on Iraq”

    The full response that I copy and pasted is trapped in moderation, but you can read it here:
    http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html#wasOIFlegal

    The too-short response is you’re position is incorrect, arguable, and incorrect.

    Excerpts:

    A1: There is no domestic legal controversy. Under American law, the whole 1990-2011 Iraq mission, including the 1991-2003 ceasefire enforcement and 2003-2011 post-war peace operations, was legal.
    . . .
    Under Presidents Bush (the father) and Clinton, Congress had made clear the President was authorized per Public Law 102-1 to use military action to enforce Iraq’s compliance with all relevant UNSC resolutions, including the Gulf War ceasefire.
    . . .
    In Spring 2003, Saddam’s continued material breach of the Gulf War ceasefire was confirmed when Iraq failed its “final opportunity” (UNSCR 1441) to comply with the weapons and non-weapons mandates of the UNSC resolutions.
    . . .

    A2: While there is no domestic legal controversy over OIF, there is an international legal controversy over the US-led military enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire between 1991 and 2003, including but not limited to Operation Desert Fox and Operation Iraqi Freedom – i.e., the episodic view that UN authorization was required for each US military action, versus the American progressive view that a priori and de facto authority for the US-led military enforcement of the UNSC resolutions carried over the legal authority of the original Gulf War authorization to enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire and subsequent UNSC resolutions.
    . . .
    It is undisputed that Iraq was in material breach of the weapons and non-weapons mandates of the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions in Spring 2003. The disagreement was whether the US President or the UN Security Council, which included Saddam’s ally in Russia, held the ultimate authority to order the enforcement of the credible military threat of regime change in response to Saddam’s failure to seize his “final opportunity” (UNSCR 1441) to comply with the UNSC resolutions.
    . . .

    A3: There is neither a domestic nor international legal controversy over the 2003-2011 US-led occupation mandated to “take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq”. As in the occupation following the Serbian regime change, the peace operations following regime change in Iraq were conducted with UN authorization. For example, see UNSCR 1511 (2003): … Also see UNSCRs 1546 (2004), 1637 (2005), 1723 (2006), 1790 (2007), and the 17NOV08 agreement between the US and Iraq.

  137. Paul C. Schulte,

    To understand post-9/11 counter-terror policy, you have to look at the pre-9/11 counter-terror policy, particularly as developed by President Clinton in response to the rise of the al Qaeda and Saddam problems:

    http://www.e-ir.info/2012/12/02/the-myth-of-george-w-bushs-foreign-policy-revolution-reagan-clinton-and-the-continuity-of-the-war-on-terror/

    The PL 107-40 premise of “[The] President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States” wasn’t a novel formulation on Sept 11, 2001. It was the standing, activated policy from prior administrations.

  138. There is a legal remedy to a lawless president. It is impeachment. Impeachment should happen but will not because we also have a largely lawless congress.

    The judicial system has pretty much sided with lawlessness by the executive, with some important exceptions. But regarding torture, the courts have disallowed redress of harm in almost every ruling.

    This is why I think it will take a mass citizen movement to have any hope in correcting what is happening in the US. I presented Argentina as an example of people who faced down a deadly, completely lawless regime. I think the points other people made about how the US is different from Argentina are valid. So, it is up to us to think about those difference and confront them so that we may also act to benefit our society, returning to the rule of law.

    Paul, Obama has actually bragged about killing American citizens, including killing a 16 year old boy. I don’t know how you missed it because he crows about it often and people stand and deliver their clap to his lawless cruelty. Every society has people who love the powerful. They love to be “close” to their brand, they love their “leader”. It is my hope that these people will snap the hel^ out of it and starting loving justice.

  139. Help me understand the role that you are implying;”

    Endeavor,

    “Is it possible for a lawyer to be objectively neutral when advising public officials who were elected to their positions by a political majority or appointed to their positions by elected politicians? And if objective neutrality is possible, is it desirable, or even required?” on the topic; “THE ETHICS OF LAWYERS IN GOVERNMENT” during the HOFSTRA’S 2009 LEGAL ETHICS CONFERENCE

    So, is it possible? This would be a good place to start.

  140. Professor Turley,

    Enhanced interrogation does present a moral dilemma. However, it is not the same moral dilemma across the spectrum. There are double, and triple, standards, and it’s important that we not conflate them as you do. Terrorists are a different kind of enemy and the War on Terror is a different kind of war than a state-v-state war. It has elements of law enforcement and normal war, but also elements that distinguish it from either.

    In the normal spectrum of nation-state cooperation and competition involving uniformed soldiers and even, to a different degree and kind, special forces and spies acting as agents in the employ of sovereign nations, the conventions are clear. In my mind, that debate is settled. By compact (treaty), it is mutually committed that the rules agreed among sovereign nations regulate the international affairs among those nations and their agents. I agree that America should follow the rules when competing with the other nations in those international compacts.

    At the same time, the bottom line is always the real bottom line of competition. If we are in a state-v-state contest, the stakes are high enough and/or our opponent breaks the rules, then we must do what we must do to compete. In a state-v-state contest, though, there should be a high bar for bending the rules and an even higher bar for breaking them.

    The terrorists are not privileged to be protected by any such bar. The actors we are competing against in the War on Terror are not covered by the compacts as employed agents of other enfranchised nations. Aside from the compacts, terrorists are not tethered by the various levers that nations have with each other.

    Should we gravitate to our ethical standards even against terrorists? Yes, but with the terrorists, we should err on the side of practical consideration, not compelled by an inapposite mandate of international rules.

    Besides the blanket imputing of legal protections to stateless, out-law terrorists, I am troubled by the moral hazard of the marginalization of the practical stakes with the particular terrorists with whom we’re competing. You seem only tragically bothered at a remove by the terrorists’ actual harms and dangers. You seem only moved to an impassioned call to action by your opposition to the practical means of countering the terrorists.

    This debate is important. But there are 2 sides to it. America has a pragmatic tradition and an idealistic tradition.

  141. Well impeachment , when you have people like Durbin and Reid in the senate , is not going to happen . I was hoping that there was some other legal and peaceful way to address the lawless behavior by a president who will have his party’s support no matter what . One problem That I see with the republicans is that they are very afraid of impeachment idea themselves because of the Clinton experience . However , I think that’s a poor judgment , to project that experience on to this president , as in Clinton’s case a large number of people didn’t feel very strongly , and had thought that to be an overkill , but I think that it is different with the current situation . Republicans maybe underestimating the number of people who are outraged by the behavior of this president. Bigger problem is the democratic control of the senate .

    As far as his bragging about killing people including citizens without trial , I will add that he has even joked about killing with drones if someone tries to date his daughters . I think despite all the fuss about him being the president with the highest IQ, he is not that smart and definitely not very self aware . (True humility comes from self knowledge ) .

    By the way , anyone has any comment on 80% civilian casualties in Gaza, and how the news, that the US has replenished the weapons for Israel to continue the massacre, will sound to someone who has just seen his child getting amputated with the Israeli bombardment and another daughter die in front of him ? Is this the best way to deal with terrorists who can hardly kill anyone from their “rockets” ? There has to be a more sophisticated and civilized way to deal with Hamas ….

  142. slohrss29: “I said, well, they won’t be there long, they’ll bomb them, secure the oil, and that will be the end of it. My dad said, “no way, they’ll be {urinating} around there for 10 years or more, as long as they can keep spending the money on it.” I try to stick my head back in the sand, but it doesn’t stay.”

    I guess your dad recalled that the US in its capacity as leader of the free world has traditionally followed war with long-term nation-building peace operations, whether with Germany and Japan or Afghanistan and Iraq.

    http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2013/03/10-year-anniversary-start-Operation-Iraqi-Freedom-thoughts.html

    [The] US historically has followed victory in war with a long-term presence and comprehensive investment in the post-war. As the World War 2 victors, we learned the importance of securing the peace after the war and not repeating the post-war mistakes made by the World War 1 victors.

    We gain little from war itself because war is destruction. The prize of war is the power to build the peace on our terms. The long-term gains we historically associate with wars have actually been realized from our peace-building following those wars. To resolve the Saddam problem and then leave Iraq without first responsibly securing the peace would have been a contradiction of all our acquired wisdom as leader of the free world, an inhumane abandonment of the Iraqi people, and a short-sighted, enormously risky gamble that invited new problems.

    http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html

    Q: The reasons for OIF seemed to change. Was OIF about WMD or democracy?

    A: OIF was about both. The issues of Iraq’s WMD and regime change in Iraq were tied together. There was a bundle of reasons in the body of US laws and UNSC resolutions on Iraq. The short answer to ‘Why?’ is ‘All of the above’.

    President Clinton explained the union of the issues with Operation Desert Fox:

    The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with the new Iraqi government, a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. … Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

    Before Operation Desert Fox, regime change for Iraq had become a legal mandate with the Iraq Liberation Act. Clinton explained the US policy when he signed the Iraq Liberation Act:

    Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are: The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and lawabiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region. The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq’s history or its ethnic or sectarian makeup. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

    The regime change mandate was based on Clinton’s conclusion that achieving Iraq’s compliance would require regime change either with a voluntarily rehabilitated Saddam complying or, the much likelier way, Saddam removed from power. The source of the “clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere” was not Iraq’s WMD, but rather the intrinsic nature of Saddam’s regime within and outside Iraq. Iraq’s WMD was a symptom only, albeit a very dangerous symptom, of the cancer afflicting Iraq: Saddam’s rule, unreconstructed.

    When Saddam failed to comply volitionally in his “final opportunity” (UNSCR 1441), the objectives set by Clinton to resolve the Saddam problem were achieved by OIF: Iraq in compliance, Iraq at peace with its neighbors and the international community, and Iraq internally reformed with regime change.

    For America the liberal hegemonic leader of the free world, the regime change that brought Iraq into compliance meant shepherding post-Saddam Iraq to a pluralistic liberal society, commonly called democracy.

  143. Eric , you mentioned practical , let me ask you this , do you have indisputable data to support that torture works ? I understand that you think that it is ok to reduce ourselves to the terrorist’s level if we are in asymmetric war . Your opinion I think is not uncommon , but I would rather die than to become one of those . We all are different , I understand .

  144. Endeavor,

    It’s a lot more than only your moral self-image and life at stake in the War on Terror. It’s a lot more than American lives at stake. If anything, non-Americans are more threatened than Americans by the terrorists, and if we choose to continue as an effective leader of the free world, then the War on Terror is our test.

    Think of it like pegging currency. Whatever it takes to neutralize the enemy and prevent the reification of their vision for the world, counter-terrorism against terrorists like al Qaeda cannot ever make us the same as terrorists like al Qaeda. The bottom line is we know the kind of peace that’s their ultimate goal and we know the kind of peace that’s our ultimate goal. We know our default social condition. We know theirs, too.

    We should navigate by our ethical principles and default to them. But the priority is to defeat the enemy and win the security, stability, and dominance that’s practically necessary to define the peace on our terms.

    Do I know whether enhanced interrogation works? Why, when, and how it works? What was used and how and why it was used in the immediate urgent, exigent circumstances that followed the 9/11 attacks? I don’t know. I only know that whatever we did in our 1st reaction to 9/11, however imperfect and maculate it undoubtedly was at the beginning, was effective. I know it was done in good faith. I know context matters. I know respecting the enemy matters. I know winning this contest matters.

  145. Endeavor – just finished seeing the film “Ender’s Game” and he show the dilemma of dealing with an enemy that you think is going to attack again. The book is taught in military colleges.

  146. Endeavor – since you do not see yourself in the role of interrogator using enhanced techniques, that is why you were not hired. That means nothing less for you as a person, just that it is not your cup of tea.

  147. I believe that if the door was opened on prosecuting US intelligence and government officials for their counter-terrorism efforts, Clinton officials would be threatened, too. Our competition with al Qaeda didn’t begin on 9/11. It escalated throughout the 1990s.

  148. Eric,
    I appreciate your candid response, that you do not know whether torture works.

    I have no doubt that these barbarians will have no problem in torturing and killing their captives. I have no doubt either that if Hamas has F-16s, tanks and other weapons supplied and replenished by a super power it will use those weapons to kill innocent civilians in Israel. In other words , I expect them to behave that way, based on what I know about them, just as I do NOT expect us to behave similarly.

    When they (terrorists) are our captives, we can either behave like them, or behave as members of a more advanced society, using more evidence based approaches to get the correct information from them. I think there is a lot of data to suggest that torture is counterproductive. Why would we want to regress to a lower level behavior when we do not even have the data to support that it is going to produce accurate information, and in the process violate our own laws and values? To me that is not worth it. If torture is so effective that it is worth regressing for, then I would like to see a clear evidence for that, before even engaging in a debate about it. Lets say that there is a conclusive scientific evidence for the efficacy of Torture (and not something similar to a placebo response), then we need to debate and change the laws, and not just change the name from torture to “enhanced interrogation”.

    I believe (and yes I do not know), that in the remote future when our descendants will look back in time and see how we handled the issue of terrorism, how our presidents dealt with it, and what kind of characters were able to get our votes, they would wonder/ask what the heck was wrong with us. In order for homo sapiens to survive into the distant future, I believe, we will have to change our thinking dramatically, as if our thinking does not evolve in parallel to our tech advancement, we may not be able to survive for long. We get the kind of leaders that we deserve. I am hoping that in the next 100 years, after 25 presidential elections, voters will be at a level where we can deserve better presidents. In order to produce an advanced voter population we need to encourage critical thinking in our schools. Teachers need to induce a fire in students to really understand Science, and not rote learning to just pass tests.

    Paul, thanks for the movie suggestion, I will check that out, I thought that was a fiction.

  149. Folks

    From the OED (Paul’s Holy Grail):

    Origin

    Old English folc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch volk and German Volk.
    ———————————————–
    From the dictionary of the 99% (the one I used):
    folks: O.E. folc “common people, men, tribe, multitude,” from P.Gmc. *folkom (cf. O.Fris. folk, M.Du. volc, Ger. Volk “people”),

    Oh that “Holy Grail” … gotta luv it …

  150. Dredd – the OED has a lot more if you are really citing it. Where is the rest? And where is a cite to the OED?

  151. My comment about the Holy Grail user who could not find the link to the OED in my comment got eaten.

    If you want an example of my past usage of the OED when it has a better presentation can be seen here.

    It is in the first sentence of that post.

  152. Dredd – I have told you before that the way you link behind words does not show up on my computer. If you want me to see your link, you have to use the link not hide it behind a word or words.

  153. Dredd – there is a big difference between the Oxford Dictionary which you cite in your article and the Oxford English Dictionary.

  154. ROBINSON: There was a contradiction yesterday that I’m still struggling to understand. The leadership statement, when the [border bill] didn’t pass essentially said, ‘Well, there are plenty of administrative things that President Obama can do and should be doing at the border, and that was a day after the House voted to sue President Obama for taking administrative actions.

    COLE: (Laughs)

    ROBINSON: So, how does that square?

    COLE: Well, I’m not going to disagree with you because it’s a point I made myself in conference. Look, you can’t say on the one hand that the president’s overreaching by acting without legislative authority and direction, and then refuse to give him legislative authority and direction in another area. So, I don’t disagree with what you have to say at all.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/gop-wants-obama-circumvent-congress-less-and-more

    (From Maddow yes but a quote not her opinion)

    Once again if the repubs say it it’s okay (Let the president take action for us)
    If it is not something they like (The president taking executive action on the ACA (of course it was after the repubs pounded him about the employer mandates which was what he changed) then he should be sued.

    They need to pick a lane.

  155. And in the UK, another torture coverup: The Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation programme, due to be released in days, will confirm that the US tortured terrorist suspects after 9/11. In advance of the release, Barack Obama admitted on Friday: “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

    Now, in a letter to the human rights group Reprieve, former foreign secretary William Hague has confirmed that the UK government has held discussions with the US about what it intends to reveal in the report which, according to al-Jazeera, acknowledges that the British territory of Diego Garcia was used for extraordinary rendition.

    “We have made representations to seek assurances that ordinary procedures for clearance of UK material will be followed in the event that UK material provide[d] to the Senate committee were to be disclosed,” Hague wrote.

    Cori Crider, a director at Reprieve, accused the UK government of seeking to redact embarrassing information: “This shows that the UK government is attempting to censor the US Senate’s torture report. In plain English, it is a request to the US to keep Britain’s role in rendition out of the public domain.”

    Lawyers representing a number of terrorist suspects held at Guantánamo Bay believe their clients were rendered via Diego Garcia. Papers found in Libya indicated that the US planned to transport Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, an opponent of Muammar Gaddafi, and his wife via the territory, an atoll in the Indian Ocean leased by Britain to the US. The government has denied Belhaj was rendered via Diego Garcia, but there are suspicions that others were held on the atoll.”

    find at Guardian

  156. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – there is a big difference between the Oxford Dictionary which you cite in your article and the Oxford English Dictionary.
    ======================================
    Yes, such as:

    “The OED: key features
    Historical dictionary.
    Helps you to discover how English words and meanings have changed over time.

    oxforddictionaries: key features
    Current dictionary.
    Provides current definitions of English words as they are used today.

    The very Old English is not readable by most modern American English speaking people.

    Which may be why you are stuck in the past (Holy Grail Dictionary) of incoherent obscurity or may be why you don’t keep up with those you converse with today.

    That may be why some of the other bloggers here who are making comments today point that out to you too.

    If you want to show a difference in the word “folks” between or among dictionaries, then show us what you are talking about by linking to the OED version … unless of course you don’t have a subscription and are bloviating.

  157. Jill

    And in the UK, another torture coverup: The Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation programme, due to be released in days, will confirm that the US tortured terrorist suspects after 9/11. In advance of the release, Barack Obama admitted on Friday: “We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

    ===================================
    Dissenters have been pointing out U.S. torture since way back before Iraq was invaded.

  158. Dredd – one of the features of all dictionaries is that they are all at least one year out of date. The OED tells what the word originally meants, where it came from and gives you the sentences they found it in as the meaning changed. You can see the progress of the word. It is the difference between driving a Rolls Royce and a VW Bug.
    Any definition that you are using is probably changing as we comment.

  159. Endeavor: “I believe (and yes I do not know), that in the remote future when our descendants will look back in time and see how we handled the issue of terrorism, how our presidents dealt with it, and what kind of characters were able to get our votes, they would wonder/ask what the heck was wrong with us.”

    What is a leader?

    What are the essential duties and responsibilities of a patriarch (or matriarch) and alpha of the pack, particularly when the pack faces a threat?

    American dominance, with the kind of social condition that’s practically enabled by American dominance, is not an entitlement or default state. It’s earned – and lost – in competition.

    You seem to be assuming a safe, secure, American-dominated future defined by a social condition where we won the War on Terror by such a lopsided margin that the terrorists and their fellow travelers were reduced to a marginal footnote, the harms caused by terrorists to us and others were acceptably low, and our descendants have been gifted the luxury of judging the competitive ethical behavior of the US as the heaviest consideration of the historical episode.

    If we can win the War on Terror by such a lopsided margin that we’re able to hand off to our descendants the uneasy sentiment that, in hindsight, we overreacted at times and compromised our values while solving the terrorist problem, I’ll take that trade-off.

    Anyway, I’m afraid the opportunity has come and again for a victory that allows the luxury of our ethical behavior to be the heaviest consideration. At the point that Bush handed off the War on Terror to Obama, we had earned a superior practical position – most pivotally with geopolitically critical Iraq – from which we could win the War on Terror so perhaps our descendants could judge us unkindly for earning an American-dominated world for their sake. That opportunity is now gone.

    The deliberately self-caused loss of our superior position under Obama has been incredible. The heavy-lifting was done with Bush. Obama simply needed to stay the course with Iraq and the Bush Freedom Agenda like Eisenhower stayed the course from Truman. Yet Obama failed to reach even that minimum threshold of leadership. Obama didn’t even fritter away our superior practical position in the War on Terror with better ethical behavior.

    Well, maybe now we’re on course for our descendants to judge us more kindly for losing the contest to the terrorists, instead.

  160. “Explore the OED and oxforddictionaries.com entries for ‘car’ to see the differences:

    ‘car’ in the OED | ‘car’ on oxforddictionaries.com

    Examples of questions you can answer with the OED

    *Is a particular word from Yorkshire or Australia?
    *What were the new words to talk about horseracing in 1700?
    *Which words do we trace back to Shakespeare?
    *Which decade sees the most words relating to football first recorded?
    *What are the 93 nouns that have been used for rain throughout the history of English?
    *Who contributes the earliest known evidence for more English words, Chaucer or Milton?
    *How are social changes reflected in language, from the 250 words related to motoring dated from 1900-09, and the number of film-related words from between 1920-1939?”

    (Comparison).

    So, you brought up the OED in response to my using a definition of “folks” for what reason?

    This perhaps:

    *Is “folks” from Yorkshire or Australia?
    *What were the new words to talk about “folks” in 1700?
    *Which “folks” do we trace back to Shakespeare?
    *Which decade sees the most “folks” words relating to football first recorded?
    *What are the 93 nouns that have been used for “folks” throughout the history of English?
    *Who contributes the earliest known evidence for “folks,” Chaucer or Milton?
    *How are social changes reflected in language, from the 250 words related to “folks” dated from 1900-09, and the number of film-related “folks” from between 1920-1939?”

    You think that your BS is a coherent practice contributing to this conversation?

    Or does the use of the word “torture” bring up your apologetics for Cheney, Bush II, and your other political associates?

  161. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – one of the features of all dictionaries is that they are all at least one year out of date. The OED tells what the word originally meants, where it came from and gives you the sentences they found it in as the meaning changed. You can see the progress of the word. It is the difference between driving a Rolls Royce and a VW Bug.
    Any definition that you are using is probably changing as we comment.
    ============================
    Which is like I say, a lousy canard and a BS diversion as used by you.

    So what word scares you the most, “torture” defined as what your political idols illegally did, or “folks” which everyone knows they meaning of as used today?

    Diversion of the type you practice is a sign of insecurity and intellectual dishonesty designed to cover up the insecurity.

  162. Dredd – you still haven’t cited the OED for the word ‘folk’ or ‘folks.’ And you can BS about it as much as you want, still you sidestep the issue at hand.

  163. Dredd – your ad hominem attacks are getting so common I am beginning to accept them as a standard part of your writing. That is what scares me.

  164. Endeavor

    … let me ask you this , do you have indisputable data to support that torture works ? …
    ==========================
    Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 says: “Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

    The C.I.A.’s 1963 interrogation manual stated: “Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex ‘admissions’ that take still longer to disprove.

  165. Paul C. Schulte

    ME: “We Tortured Some Folks” – Obama

    Word Origin & History

    folk
    O.E. folc “common people, men, tribe, multitude,” from P.Gmc. *folkom (cf. O.Fris. folk, M.Du. volc, Ger. Volk “people”), from P.Gmc. *fulka-, perhaps originally “host of warriors;” cf. O.N. folk “people,” also “army, detachment;” and Lith. pulkas “crowd,” O.C.S. pluku “division of an army,” both believed to have been borrowed from P.Gmc. Some have attempted, without success, to link the word to Gk. plethos “multitude;” L. plebs “people, mob,” populus “people” or vulgus. Superseded in most senses by people.

    folks
    “people of one’s family,” 1715, colloquial, from plural of folk.

    Volkswagen is the folks car.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – I accept only the OED for word origins.
    —————————–
    ME: That is how narrow mindedness works, and it shows.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – that is because the OED is the be all and end all when it comes to the meaning and source of words. Why should I, or you for that matter, accept second or third best?
    —————————–
    ME: Show me the “OED” (Old Extinct Definitions) definition and word history for folk/folks, and provide a link.

    Or shut up and read (OED Unchanged – Old Extinct Definitions) to see how narrow minds devolve.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – just for your ignorance, the OED is the Oxford English Dictionary, the Holy Grail of the meaning of words and how they change. You are pushing the envelope again.
    —————————-
    YOU: Dredd – one of the features of all dictionaries is that they are all at least one year out of date. The OED tells what the word originally meants, where it came from and gives you the sentences they found it in as the meaning changed. You can see the progress of the word. It is the difference between driving a Rolls Royce and a VW Bug.
    Any definition that you are using is probably changing as we comment.
    —————————–
    YOU: Dredd – your ad hominem attacks are getting so common I am beginning to accept them as a standard part of your writing. That is what scares me.
    =================================
    That “all dictionaries” includes your Holy Grail which is more out of date than the others because they don’t do “meanings now” they do “meanings then.”

    Which is why you can’t give a coherent definition of “folks” that is better and more up to date than the one I gave.

    Yet you insert a phomy notion of intellectual superiority because you know the name of a famous dictionary which you think will impress someone other than yourself.

    What scares you is that your insecurity and intellectual dishonesty on this particular issue of “folks” is obvious and out in the open for all to see.

  166. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – one of your sources is at least 20 years old and the other is over 50 years old.
    =====================
    False.

    But even if so that would make them hundreds of years more recent than those you can’t present for shame.

  167. Well, one of them dates to 1987 and the other you stated was from 1963. How is that false. Another typical ad hominem attack.

  168. Dredd – do you have a software program that makes up these attacks for you or are these all you? I have been extremely straightforward. I told what the dictionary was and you found the wrong one. My problem with the dictionaries you are using is that they shorthand the meanings of a word. The nice thing about the OED, which is common knowledge to anyone who has done any real research which involves the meaning of words, is that you get the ‘Full Monty’ of the word. It is not a claim to intellectual superiority it is just more experience in the field.

  169. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – one of your sources is at least 20 years old and the other is over 50 years old.
    ==========================
    Your incoherence requires me to reply to two possible (at least) things you could be saying.

    If you are talking about the Army and CIA manuals (only you know) then my reply is that so what … it proves this information has been known for a long time.

  170. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – do you have a software program that makes up these attacks for you or are these all you? I have been extremely straightforward. I told what the dictionary was and you found the wrong one. My problem with the dictionaries you are using is that they shorthand the meanings of a word. The nice thing about the OED, which is common knowledge to anyone who has done any real research which involves the meaning of words, is that you get the ‘Full Monty’ of the word. It is not a claim to intellectual superiority it is just more experience in the field.
    =============================
    You are being intellectually dishonest again, by adding another diversion and another falsehood.

    You have not provided a definition of “folks” in all your diarrhea of words that mean nothing.

  171. Learn to reference the comment you are in reference to when you make a reply.

    Unless, as usual, you only wish to be incoherent to everyone except yourself.

  172. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – do you have a software program that makes up these attacks for you or are these all you?

    ========================
    The one trick pony “he has one trick to last a lifetime but that is all he needs …”

  173. Dredd – waiting for you to use a reputable source for your definition of ‘folk.’ And yet another ad hominem attack from you. I am going to have to make a macro just for you.

  174. Paul C. Schulte

    Dredd – waiting for you to use a reputable source for your definition of ‘folk.’ And yet another ad hominem attack from you. I am going to have to make a macro just for you.
    =======================
    Just use the one trick pony macro your handlers gave you and change the name.

    That way we won’t know its you. (wink, wink)

  175. Endeavor: “using more evidence based approaches to get the correct information”

    Context matters. Patient interrogation to build a solid court case and exigent interrogation to gather time-sensitive information to possibly prevent a terrorist attack on us or someone else impose fundamentally different considerations.

    It’s not like our interrogators are ignorant about the pros and cons of enhanced interrogation, but it does often seem their critics are deliberately ignorant about the context of the interrogators’ task.

    From what I gather, it wasn’t either/or. Conventional methods of interrogation familiar to typical law enforcement practice weren’t eschewed.Rather, the interrogations weren’t cut off when they reached the limit of conventional interrogation.

    If we assume that enhanced interrogation was used to pick up where conventional interrogation failed, that goes to the difficulty of comparing and measuring the utility of enhanced interrogation versus conventional interrogation.

    Correlation vs causation, right?

    It’s like I say to people who see a correlation between US military presence and trouble spots in the world and conclude the US military is to blame for the trouble: If the problem wasn’t very difficult to begin with, then US soldiers wouldn’t have been sent to it. I assume if a terrorist wasn’t very hard to crack, then enhanced interrogation wouldn’t have been used on him.

    I only have a lay person’s view of the subject that’s influenced by popular culture. For example, the movie Zero Dark Thirty implies that a piece of intel from enhanced interrogation got us a piece that combined with other pieces to get us bin Laden. That depiction is controversial and disputed. What is less disputed is the depiction in the movie Battle of Algiers where outright for-real torture by the French military was practically effective against the insurgency. However, the practice came with too high of a political price. So the French chose to withdraw and surrender Algeria, similar in some ways to how America has chosen to surrender the Iraqi people to ISIS rather than pay the political practice of effective leadership.

  176. Oops. Fix: So the French chose to withdraw and surrender Algeria, similar in some ways to how America has chosen to surrender the Iraqi people to ISIS rather than pay the political practice price of effective leadership.

  177. Just posted a comment re: Pres. Obama and torture in an earlier article on this site and reposting here:

    A Kabul chief of the NDS (National Directorate of Security) whose nickname in Afghanistan is “Torturer in Chief” has been found living in a pink house near Los Angeles. Not unlike another man and former Kandahar governor who then became chief of the NDS, Asadullah Khalid, another torturer, these two were somehow given a safe home here since Pres. Obama ‘no torture campaign’.I am certain they aren’t the only ones. Both men were so brutal that even the US and allies in Afghanistan tried to get them demoted or simply thrown out of their positions. With men like those living freely in the US we just have to connect the dots: the USG can’t afford that those men can reveal direct US collusion in torture. If men like these are allowed to live here, Pres. Obama is making a mockery of his supposed ‘end torture’ campaign. Any new person elected to president most likely gets led straight to the offices of the CIA as soon as the swearing-in is done. That is where people make sure he knows who really is in charge. Link to the story of Haji Gulalai, living among us is as follows:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mystery

  178. Els DL – presidental candidates are regularly briefed on intelligence. They get the same briefings as the current President (the ones this one blows off).

  179. Eric , I would like to remind you , that you have said that you do not know whether “enhanced interrogation” works . Anyway , may be in 100 years you will see things differently and you would not feel the need to say that others may be “deliberately ignorant”, or who knows I may see things your way or I may be calling others “deliberately ignorant” , but one thing I do know is that I will be dead by then. I have learned ,from my current growth/lack of it , is that the things that one finds annoying in others , e,g., verbal and non verbal arrogance of this president , can also be the things that we may have failed to become aware of within our own self , and because of that concern , I will hesitate to continue this exchange as I see it has a potential to deteriorate in a superego driven exchange and that is something I want to stay away from. It was interesting to see your responses.
    Have a good day .

  180. Thanks Dredd for sharing the info on interrogation. I was asking for indisputable scientific data to support efficacy of torture , may be there is none . As someone who has done a lot of research on the workings of human mind ,for my professional and personal interests , I’m not surprised to see what you copied . In some undeveloped societies people strongly believe that exorcism works for mental illness , and no amount of evidence can convince them of the biopsychosocial basis of such illnesses . If we want to stay on top , we will need to stay away from scientifically untested conclusions .

  181. Endeavor – what Dredd has offered us is old news as Hillary would say. When this information was operative, homosexuality was both illegal and a mental illness. And if you actually read the manual from the US Army, some of their techniques could easily be considered ‘enhanced interrogation.’ It really is a fascinating manual. I do hope since they made it available to the public that they have updated it.

  182. Endeavor,

    Your emphasis on “evidence based approach”, which we know well in the legal field, implies that you haven’t understood our interrogators’ priority tasking in the wake of 9/11. Actionable intelligence and evidence are not the same thing.

    That’s a separate issue from the utility of enhanced interrogation, but I’m skeptical of the premise that interrogators who were at minimum trained professionals, perhaps even experts, would deliberately choose ineffective methods for the great responsibility we gave to them in the wake of 9/11.

    Again, my understanding is that conventional interrogation was not rejected but rather, exigency dictated that enhanced interrogation picked up where conventional interrogation failed. That doesn’t necessarily mean enhanced interrogation could be counted on to produce actionable intelligence or evidence where conventional interrogation had failed to do so, but rather that our interrogators were diligent in their duty to have done their best to counter the terrorists and thereby save lives – and not only American lives.

    Do I know whether enhanced interrogation works? Again, I don’t know. But I do know that our counter-terrorism strategy following 9/11, which undoubtedly was imperfect, was nevertheless effective. Vilifying, even threatening to prosecute, men and women for doing a vital duty the best they could, and doing it effectively in the moment it mattered the most to us, is wrong.

  183. “Like you said before most of my friends are gone and the only remaining democratic women are Lee and Annie. I am sure they could use some support but probably that alone is not a sufficient reason to continue to post here and read your interpretations of the news cycle.”

    SWM–
    The sufficient reason for you to stay is that we, as Americans, need to meet and discuss over articles like this, even if the discussions get messy at times. If we fade into our comfort zones of discussing only with those with whom we agree, then our country is really lost. Your voice is important here, just as Elaine’s and Blouise’s perspectives are (and others). Seeing issues from only one side of a perspective limits understanding and I’d rather my understanding not be limited. And, it’s not just perspective. You have read things that I haven’t. When you share articles, you enhance everyone’s understanding.

    While I don’t always agree with you, I enjoy hearing your perspective. There are non-Big D women (and probably men) here who value your input and participation.

    The diversity represented in the discussions here does not happen much in real life over coffee, unfortunately. Let’s do the best we can. I’ll get my cup of tea. SWM, are you having tea, coffee, or caramels? :)

  184. Observer, your statement is unequivocally opposed to what I wrote, yet it is unsupported and does not promote meaningful discussion. Why do you disagree with my statements?

    I disagree with SWM on nearly everything but I’m glad she’s here, sharing her thoughts. I want an open, thoughtful, courteous, well-supported debate on the issues at hand–can’t have that if there aren’t opposing views! I can learn from opposing viewpoints, understand where others are coming from (rather than rely on the all-too-often straw men thrown about by pundits and politicians), refine my positions, or possibly even change my position, even if it’s but a minor change. I can hope that even people who have diametrically opposed perspectives may be open enough to do the same.

    I am with Jill on dissolving the whole red-state/blue-state concept, the Democrat/Republican concept and really look at what’s going on in our government. Yes, people can be frustratingly entrenched in their ideas (on both sides of the aisle), but so what? If they are open to continuing the debate then all hope is not yet lost that there can be a meeting of minds. If not, then we are free to disagree and that’s okay, too. I have lost nothing.

    From Antigone:

    I beg you, do not be unchangeable:
    Do not believe that you alone can be right.
    The man who thinks that,
    The man who maintains that only he has the power
    To reason correctly, the gift to speak, the soul—
    A man like that, when you know him, turns out empty.
    It is not reason never to yield to reason!

  185. “I am with Jill on dissolving the whole red-state/blue-state concept, the Democrat/Republican concept and really look at what’s going on in our government.”

    Prairie Rose,
    Excellent post! Discovering “what’s going on in our government” won’t be as challenging to civil discourse as defining “what SHOULD be going on in our government”. I’ve participated in some very hostile, partisan blogs and without exception; the one question that will clear a room is “how does that [issue] better secure the unalienable rights of ALL citizens?”

  186. Prairie Rose: “I am with Jill on dissolving the whole red-state/blue-state concept, the Democrat/Republican concept and really look at what’s going on in our government.”

    The shortcoming of partisan blinders is especially stark when it comes to the War on Terror. Saying that, however, I do place much of the blame on the Democrats for the partisan corruption of the discourse on those issues for this reason: Democrats are the most responsible for setting misleading artificial markers for the discourse at 9/11 and the Iraq regime change as the start points for those issues when in fact, those events actually marked the decade-plus-long trends of the al Qaeda problem and Saddam problem coming to a head.

    Which is to say, Bush’s record dealing with al Qaeda and Saddam cannot be properly understood out of line from Clinton’s record dealing with those problems. Both problems matured during the Clinton administration and preoccupied Clinton’s whole presidency. Clinton set up the US policy approaches to both problems that Bush carried forward after 9/11.

    The necessary critical context of the Clinton-Bush continuity with the War on Terror has been lost, however, in the partisan corruption of the discourse.

    For example, when I explain the law and policy basis of Operation Iraqi Freedom to correct the prevalent false narrative, ie, that OIF was based on lies and illegal – such as I do upthread with slohrss29 at August 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm and jill at August 2, 2014 at 8:02 pm – I cite to Clinton for the most part. Clinton, not Bush, is the best source for understanding OIF. The only original part of Bush’s case against Saddam was the updated threat calculation from 9/11, which Clinton endorsed based on his still-fresh perspective from his Iraq enforcement. I find that Democrat partisans are flummoxed by the strong Clinton-Bush continuity on Iraq.

    Another example is the topic of this post. The discourse usually emphasizes US unconventional counter-terrorism practices following 9/11. In fact, US unconventional counter-terrorism practices preceded 9/11 with Clinton’s efforts against the rising al Qaeda. 9/11 heightened the US counter-terror campaign, but it didn’t begin on 9/11.

    I wonder whether Democrat partisans calling for the heads of Bush officials for the War on Terror realize that opening the door to prosecuting the Bush administration also opens the door to prosecuting the Clinton administration.

    I think they would realize that if the discourse on the War on Terror was conducted in a proper bi-partisan context as a continuous course from Clinton to Bush.

  187. Very well-worded reply Eric. I would have to counter your argument is based on the premise that the US is the supreme source of world authority. I think is a common error for most right-wing folk. Once the leap of faith card that we are the ultimate world order enters into the discussion, it reduces the argument for the simplistic Bush-era continuity. You could also draw a strong conclusion that Bush-era policy has failed in every other middle-eastern, north African Islamic enclave. Democracy gave those people just what they wanted, the ability to vote in an religious-autocratic government. And who are we to say that is wrong?–we only say that because we lose the ability force those people to do our bidding. They have to figure it out for themselves from here. We had to do it here after much blood-letting and soul-searching, while telling the British to stay out of it.

  188. slohrss29 – Some important (I cannot remember who) said that people deserve the government they elect. I would say it is not our job to dictate the outcome of freely held elections. However, if someone has been stuffing the ballot box then I think we or someone else can step in.

  189. That’s a good point, but the problem is where do you find impartial “ballot box stuffers” who don’t want to further an agenda. We keep assuming somehow, somewhere there is a fail-safe human solution to these dilemmas, and there is none.

  190. slohrss29,

    The US as the standard-bearing, weight-bearing leader of the free world isn’t only a “right-wing” American identity. It’s the defining liberal American identity of the modern era. Bush reacted to 9/11 by adopting a paradigmatically liberal American foreign policy.

    To wit, President Kennedy’s oath (1961): “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

    To wit, President Clinton’s counsel, specifically regarding the US-led enforcement with Iraq (1998): “In the century we’re leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community; fear and hope. Now, in a new century, we’ll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past — but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.”

    To wit, President Bush’s pledge (2001): “As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world.”

    Liberal reform is more than simple majority-vote democracy, which is why nation-building peace operations require such a long dedicated process. The Arab Spring was where the hard-earned preparation by the leader of the free world met pivotal opportunity – precisely the kind of historic moment Clinton had envisioned as a “remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past.”

    Obama should have stayed the course from Bush like Eisenhower stayed the course from Truman. Armed with Iraq the Model, the Bush Freedom Agenda, and his own transformational reputation, Obama was set up to become the all-time great American President who changed the course of history.

    Instead, the degenerating state of affairs you describe has been caused by Obama’s deviation from the course he inherited from Bush.

    Obama ostensibly retained Bush’s liberal goals, but Obama lost the necessary means to achieve those goals when he dropped the Bush Freedom Agenda and abandoned Iraq, which had been set to be a keystone regional strategic partner. Obama disastrously adopted a feckless ‘lead from behind’ approach to the Arab Spring where the opposite – sure-handed American leadership – was needed.

    The progressive liberal continuity from Clinton to Bush was broken between Bush and Obama. Presented with the “remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past”, Obama instead, incredibly, applied American power in ways that could have been purposely designed to undermine liberal reform and empower illiberal forces.

    For example, from http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-question-for-romney-and-obama-about.html :

    In Libya, Obama stretched the novel and controversial international legal theory of Responsibility To Protect past the breaking point to use American power to effect regime change. Obama even touted his legally sloppy, politically limited, ad hoc Libya intervention as the smarter alternative to the Iraq intervention. Yet after regime change, Obama neglected to build a new liberal government in Libya to replace Qaddafi’s regime. Libya has since fallen into chaos where Islamists have flourished.

  191. Roses , I just disagree with you , that we should never make a judgment after seeing broken record and predictable messages one after another from someone . It is interesting to see that you are surprised that someone disagrees with your comment , that in your opinion , it appears, is oozing with wisdom . In my opinion even the totally useless things in life can have some value but that does not mean that we have to forget the bigger picture and think that the comparatively more important things are so few that we can still waste time on reading the comparatively useless opinions. Now you will say that what is useless to me may not be useless to you , true , but I never said that WE disagree with you , I said ‘I’ disagree with you . I’m sure you feel the same way about my right to disagree with you. Let me throw in another opinion of mine , I think the “team of rivals” concept that some bragged about re. this president’s administration , is so problematic and based on a misunderstanding of so many basic things that it will require a book to explain .

  192. Rose,
    By the way , I’m not suggesting that someone should not be here , I’m just disagreeing with the basic premise of your comment . I have the option to skip whose comment to skip and whose not to . Best predictor of the future behavior is said to be the past behavior , and with that in mind I can use my time more productively , even when there are comments from someone whose main thrust is ” if it were not for the republicans it would have been heaven”.

  193. Prairie Rose, Brava! I seek out people w/ whom I disagree and read and watch all types of news. I don’t want to discuss issues in an echo chamber. That would be hell for me, heaven for too many. Where you been?

  194. John Oliver – with the amount we spend on foreign aid, there is almost no country that is not important to us. It does not have to be for national defense purposes for us to intervene or get someone else to intervene.

  195. Nick – wasn’t it a meme of Obama’s when he was elected that he was reading Team of Rivals and wanted to put together a cabinet like that? And then it all went to hell in a handbag.

  196. Paul C. Schulte, John Oliver,

    The short answer is WW2.

    However, while WW2 is the inflection point for the modern era of American leadership of the free world, even that’s an inadequate place to start. Why was the US involved by the Axis and Allies in their battle royal in the 1st place?

    The US has been stretched out on the international scene for a long time, way before we became the leader of the free world by co-winning WW2. As conspiracy theorists and political scientists both know, war isn’t just war. War is in the context of everything else.

  197. Paul, Obama did indeed say that. It was all part of the narrative that he was the next Lincoln. Now, he would settle for the next Carter,

  198. And, although ashamed, I am honest enough to admit that @ that point in his tenure, when Obama was putting together his cabinet, I was hopeful that he would put together a team of rivals. I got hoodwinked.

  199. Paul, I find that whole concept of team of rivals as offensive. Didn’t he belittle Clinton for her foreign policy credentials in the primaries, and then he chose her for SOS? When asked about that he ridiculed the journalist for having believed his words. If I was his voter and I had not supported clinton for some reason and then I heard him say that to the journalist, that would have been the end of my support for him, as that shows a character problem, doesn’t it?

    I want to see independent thinkers with similar goals, not a team of rivals, that is insane to think that is the way to govern, just like it is insane to have just the people who will worship you, no matter what

  200. Nick Spinelli: “Now, he would settle for the next Carter”

    Check out http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/barack-carter-article-1.1847138

    Before Obama, GOP or Dems POTUS, we assumed a normal range of US foreign policy with standard premises about US interests and approach. Even if you looked harshly on President Carter’s record, you at least acknowledged that Carter acted within the normal range, wherever he fell on it, and upheld the standard premises about US interests and approach. Obama has not.

  201. leej, Not true, although Obama did not lie when he said that. At that point Sen. Gregg was touted as being in the Cabinet but he withdrew.

  202. True Nick. (The reason I wrote that was because he has certainly included “rivals” in his cabinet.

  203. Observer – there is some thought in Democratic circles that supporters of Obama cannot go for Hillary.

  204. Many of Obama supporters came late to him after Ms. Clinton lost the primary and are happy to be for her (absent who knows what happening, her not running, for instance)

  205. leejcaroll – I think every Republican President had more Republicans in his cabinet than Obama.

  206. Paul Schulte:

    There may be grumbling, but Obama supporters will flock to Hillary Clinton if there do not appear to be any viable (i.e., electable) alternatives. I twice voted for the President, but I am considerably to the left of Ms. Clinton, and I expect that gap to widen if she becomes the Democratic nominee.

  207. Paul, probably a typo you wrote (?) but I would hope every repub pres had more repubs in their cabinet then Pres Obama

  208. leejcaroll – I would agree that the original Hillary supporter will stick with her, but it will make it hard for original Obama supporters to move to her because they had to buy into the attacks of Obama on Clinton.

  209. schulte: it’s not how many that matters most, it’s where they sit in cabinet that counts. Bush had Democrat heading up Transportation, Obama had Gates, a Republican in charge of Defense. Moreover, his Treasury picks have been DINOs.

  210. leejcaroll – this is what I was responding to.

    leejcaroll
    Obama had more repubs his cabinet then any other president.

  211. Mike – it appears that Obama is supporting anyone but Hillary. Supposedly she played the game and went in his cabinet for his supporting her for President. As usual he is not (if the sorry is true) fulfilling his end of the bargain. So far he has put forward Michelle and Joe Biden as possibles.

  212. I must be kissing your poit Pul. (I cant find the page I had opened earlier that listed which presidents had bipartisan picks although no repub has ever had dem sect of defense as with Hagel

  213. Eric, very well-stated reply. I’ll see if I am up to the task…

    I refute your claim that Presidential authority goes beyond the physical boundaries of the United States. I am sure the rest of the world would concur in that statement. This is the neoconservative ideal spelled out. It’s good to see it this way, because it makes its folly very clear.

    This point of view of the US solely dictating terms that the rest of the world will follow is an argument in a bell jar (that happens to be inside I-495) set within in a larger reality. It belies reality. It is reflective of DC hegemonial and hubris-laden ideals. Once again, it is out of touch with reality in the most fundamental of senses. For Nietzsche fans, we have killed God, and the neocons think God is now them.

    As stated previously, it is a profound error to equate the solution with a western culture, such as Germany, to the islamic states of the middle east. Most Americans are of German descent. Germany bears no resemblance to any of the Islamic countries today. Plus, there was the added timely dynamic of the new cold war that engulfed the continent again at the conclusion of WWII. A strong Germany helped protect surviving Germans as well as the rest of the world, and helped create the deadly balance of mutually assured destruction.

    Also, you keep pointing out where to stay the course. We have never won a peace outside of Germany at the end of WWII. You can take credit for a peaceful Germany all you want, but the new-found strategy served the West (except for France, who on several occasions when asked where their nuclear arsenal was pointed, it was “in all directions.”). Your conclusions are drawn with very sketchy references.

    A recent example of failure to win the peace. When the Soviet Union collapsed (as then super-smart guy Robert Gates admitted they didn’t know it was coming, but watched on CNN) and Gorbachev said it was done and was going home, once again, we said we would as well–and we never did. We didn’t forge our swords into plowshares—we continued the war and took it right to the border of Russia. Now we have backed them into a corner and try to dare them to make a move. More example of neoconservative hegemony that serves no one.

    There is a separate, but important article to consider, and that would be, where is the source of moral authority that a group of individuals who feel they have the right to spread death and destruction as the tools of change, but also the moral authority of taking the wealth from a population to do this deed.

    New post today from the Professor. We have a mountain of debt. We can’t afford nation-building. We’ll become yet another empire that has collapsed from the inside.

    Hate to you Wikipedia, but it offers some George Washington perspective. From Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington%27s_Farewell_Address

    Washington goes on to urge the American people to take advantage of their isolated position in the world, and avoid attachments and entanglements in foreign affairs, especially those of Europe, which he argues have little or nothing to do with the interests of America. He argues that it makes no sense for the American people to wage war on European soil when their isolated position and unity will allow them to remain neutral and focus on their own affairs. As a result, Washington argues that the country should avoid permanent alliance with all foreign nations, although temporary alliances during times of extreme danger may be necessary, but does say that current treaties should be honored although not extended.

    The cold war ended in 1990, it was time to end NATO. Let the people who live in the middle east sort it out for themselves, as we did here in the 1860s. I am not for isolation. I am for trading and making money from the whole world for the betterment of the citizens of the United States. Seems to work pretty well for Germany these days.

  214. “President Obama’s despicable whitewashing of torture”

    “His even-handed shtick wears very badly applied to absolute evil”

    By Ryan Cooper | 6:13am ET

    http://theweek.com/article/index/265780/president-obamas-despicable-whitewashing-of-torture

    Out of the horror of World War II came one of the great achievements in all of human history: the Geneva Convention of 1949. It was a statement from humanity to itself that, in the aftermath of the bloodiest war in history, some decency might still be rescued. Despite the millions of senseless dead, despite all the mass murder and genocide and terror bombing, despite all the filth and hypocrisy and witless incompetence, the Convention states these things shall be held inviolate in war:

    Wounded and sick soldiers shall be treated humanely, and medical facilities shall be off-limits to attack.

    The same shall be true of wounded, sick, or shipwrecked sailors, and humanitarian ships.

    Prisoners of war shall be treated humanely.

    Noncombatants shall be treated humanely.

    In 1988, President Reagan signed into law a treaty adding another stipulation to the list:

    Torture shall be absolutely forbidden.

    Reagan was no saint. His foreign policy caused tens of thousands of pointless deaths in Nicaragua alone. But he worked hard to get this treaty passed, and it is to my mind his greatest achievement. It added a bright star to the narrative of human progress.

    During a press conference last Friday, President Obama confirmed that the United States has officially thrown that star into the dirt and stamped on it repeatedly, for reasons of incompetence and cowardice.

    Said Obama:

    With respect to the larger point of the RDI report itself, even before I came into office I was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.

    I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen, and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots.

    Let’s compare that to the text of the Convention Against Torture:

    No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

    Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of President Obama (aside from his unflappable, even cadence) is the way he instinctively tries to understand and legitimize both sides of every debate. When well applied, as it was during his famous speech on race during the 2008 campaign, it adds needed nuance and complexity to difficult subjects.

    Torture, on the other hand, is a simple subject that has little nuance or complexity. It is an absolute evil that has no place or function in a civilized, decent society. It is illegal under United States law. Only a complete idiot would try to use it to gather intelligence. Its only effective uses are thoroughly totalitarian: to intimidate, punish, and extract false confessions.

    President Obama’s on-the-one-hand-but-on-the-other shtick amounts to nothing but vile political cowardice when applied to torture. It’s also, unsurprisingly, grossly misleading. The Bush torture program was not some panicked misstep in the weeks after 9/11; it was a coordinated effort continued up through 2004 at least, and probably beyond.

    And even if it weren’t, what a pathetic excuse 9/11 makes. There is no “unless you are really scared” carve-out in the Convention. 9/11 was a horrifying crime, no doubt, but it simply does not stand comparison even with our Civil War, let alone history’s worst events like the Battle of Stalingrad. A terrorist attack does not justify shredding the most sacred touchstones of liberal democracy and taking up techniques pioneered by the Gestapo.

    All this makes that word “sanctimonious” absolutely infuriating. These “patriots” did not have “tough jobs,” Mr. President; they committed war crimes on orders from practically the entire top echelon of the previous presidential administration. They violated the United States Constitution, grievously harmed the security of the nation, and pillaged the best, most unambiguously good part of the legacy of President Reagan. (War crimes, I might add, which were pitifully, ridiculously ineffective at obtaining anything whatsoever of positive value.)

    But since his administration has refused to prosecute those war crimes, it seems clear that Obama has been made thoroughly complicit in them. Earlier in the press conference Obama reiterated that he has “full confidence” in CIA director John Brennan, who is in hot water for spying on his Senate overseers (another outrageous crime) as they worked on a scathing report about the CIA’s torture program. Until there is a serious reckoning, I suspect the evil of torture will similarly taint all future presidents.

  215. http://aattp.org/liz-cheney-americans-who-tortured-detainees-are-heroes-and-patriots/ “The segment, entitled Enhanced Interrogation, featured Crowley asking the former Wyoming U.S. Senate candidate about Obama’s remarks from earlier in the week, when he admitted that “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

    This got Cheney fired up:

    “You know Monica, this president is an utter disgrace. He’s got a situation where, as your last two reports showed, you’ve got crises erupting around the world. And he is expending more time, more energy, more passion, more aggressive activity in targeting and going after patriots, heroes. CIA officers and others who kept is safe after 9/11. He’s lying about what they did, he’s slandering them, he went to Cairo and did it in 2009.”

    She added, “Today he did it from the podium of the Oval Office. It’s a disgrace. It’s despicable.”

    It’s so nice to see that the Cheney didn’t fall far from the (prison camp) fence.

    Contrary to Cheney’s comments, Obama’s administration hasn’t been pursuing legal prosecution against anyone associated with the interrogation program. But why let the truth get in the way of a good lie?

  216. SWM – Cheney is right. Obama is slandering them. Slandering does not mean pursuing legal prosecution against them.

  217. slohrss29,

    A neoconservative is essentially a Wilsonian liberal in the Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy lineage, relabeled.

    That’s a reason for the incoherence of President Obama’s foreign policy. In the partisan contest, Democrats have relied on the false narrative against Operation Iraqi Freedom to seize political advantage, especially with Obama’s presidential election in 2008. Yet the truth is OIF was right on the law, justified on the policy, and defined by essentially liberal principles.

    That might have worked out okay for us if the Democrats, while vilifying President Bush, also rejected Bush’s essential liberalism, as you do. Except they haven’t.

    The Democrats and Obama have continued to claim the traditional liberal goals they share with Bush. In the partisan arena, the Democrats have turned the trick on their fundamental contradiction by rhetorically relabeling Bush’s post-9/11 liberal foreign policy as neocon, said pejoratively (liberal:neocon :: studious:nerd).

    However, in the real world, abjuring Bush’s practical means to achieve the liberal goals has rendered American leadership a feckless failure. At the same time, Obama’s continuing claim of the liberal goals while advantaging the Islamists versus the region’s liberals has made America leadership a betraying liar. “Disengagement” is used a lot to describe Obama’s foreign policy, but that’s incorrect. Obama has engaged plenty, just not in progressive, constructive ways.

    I agree we did good work with Germany. Of course, Germany isn’t the whole post-WW2 story of American leadership.

    I served in Korea (after the war, of course). For a long time, post-Japan Korea was thought to be highly unlikely to succeed, more than post-Saddam Iraq, for historical, economic, political, cultural (pretty much all the social) reasons. Plus we screwed up a lot, and badly, with Korea after taking over stewardship from Japan. At the 8-year mark, where we left Iraq, the progress of 2011 Iraq was far ahead of 1953 Korea. The rise of Iraq with US presence in a relatively short period, despite difficult circumstances during that period, compared to the subsequent fall of Iraq due to the premature removal of US presence is instructive both on Iraq’s potential and the need for a long constant US presence to realize that potential. Like the West, East Germany comparison with a long constant US presence, comparing the development of southern Korea with a long constant US presence to the development of northern Korea without US presence is instructive of the bottom-line necessity for a long constant US presence with Iraq.

    I’m undecided on the merits of the current US intervention with Russia, which also has roots with Clinton. That said, your cite of Russia highlights one of the themes in my responses to Endeavor: The basic nature of the geopolitical arena is competition.

    Indeed, Germany is competing with Russia and looking to the US as a partner in their regional contest.

    Russia shedding the USSR and saying that ought to make the US and NATO go away doesn’t mean Russia shed its competitive interests. When Russia opposed the US on Iraq going back to Clinton’s Iraq enforcement, it did so out of self-interest. From our point of view, our reasons to enforce with Iraq were anchored in US national interests going back to at least the Carter administration. For the Russians, the underlying premises of the US intervention with Iraq were the same for US intervention in Russia’s claimed sphere of influence. Russia tied together the US-led Balkans intervention and the US-led Iraq enforcement. For Russia, stigmatizing the US on Iraq was about impeding the US on Russia.

    Like I said, American leadership of the free world is weight-bearing and standard-bearing. Like I said to Professor Turley, America has a pragmatic tradition and an idealistic tradition. Whether it’s about us “trading and making money from the whole world” or about Professor Turley’s desire for US ethical leadership for the whole world, American effectiveness achieving our global goals requires a practical foundation of security, stability, and the dominance necessary to define the peace on our terms.

    Can we achieve our global goals in the essentially competitive geopolitical arena while lacking the practical control of alpha of the pack? I doubt it, but I’m open to considering alternatives that might work for us practically.

  218. President Obama’s Whitewashed History of U.S. Torture

    The Bush administration’s interrogation policy cannot be written off as a panicked aberration that ended in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

    Conor Friedersdorf Aug 4 2014

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/08/president-obamas-whitewashed-history-of-us-torture/375509/

    “Despite the danger of torture being used again in the near future, Obama is using rhetoric and drawing on the credibility he gained by opposing torture to present what the Bush administration did in more flattering terms than reality justifies, even as he continues letting the CIA repress much of the Senate torture report. When elected, he promised hope and change, not equivocation and whitewashing.”

  219. Eric,

    First off, I have to commend you on your superbly worded response. I would only hope I could get my thoughts out as tidy. It is a pleasure to read.

    I agree with you on neoconservatism being a new name for a Wilsonian liberal. I think you did a great job pointing out the heart of the philosophical disconnect that makes the Obama foreign policy such a shambles. I feel both W and Obama share a Wilhelm III self-possessed idealism that they don’t know how–or what to do with it. Yes, Obama says “disengage,” yet he keeps poking at situations all the time. Plus, we know Nixon went to China (pardon me while I push back here, need to applaud some of Nixon’s high points). Obama wouldn’t even talk with Putin at the G7. This is cowardly. If we have the high ground as claimed, why don’t we talk to Putin? We talked to Soviet premiers after they bulldozed people in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. That isn’t going to happen because that isn’t the plan. So, on top of Obama’s conflicting ideals and actions, we have parts of government–the deep state, I guess–that seems to be carrying out its own agenda. Apparently we have a “left-hand, right-hand disconnect on our foreign policy, with the “Wilsonian” NED (the Arab Spring and color revolutions) and State Department (Victoria Nuland’s famous “I ‘heart’ the EU”) exporting liberal regime change all around the planet, Obama poking a drone in here and there, and leaving the whole stinking sack of policy to someone else to clean up.

    I have to disagree on Germany and Russia. Russia is a huge market for German goods. And I have read that Germany sells more goods to that part of the world than the United States. I have also read where they are getting tired of our “big stick” diplomacy. Also saw a couple of photos of Merkel looking quite relaxed with Putin at the World Cup.

    Also, I feel the Arab Islamic countries have to have their 30 Years War. I guess we could do the Suleiman thing, but I think that would not work out as well as it did in the 16th century.

    If it were the 50s again, I would have to agree that we would be the benevolent alpha of the pack. We have lost so much since then, and I don’t think the people running the table have a clue as to the depth of effort it would take to get that respect back. Also, I don’t know if we actually have the money to get that respect back. Feels like we’re more on the road to becoming Not so Great Britain.

  220. anonymous: “Only a complete idiot would try to use [torture] to gather intelligence. Its only effective uses are thoroughly totalitarian: to intimidate, punish, and extract false confessions.”

    That’s why they used enhanced interrogation with (not in place of) conventional interrogation rather than torture.

    I doubt that our interrogators who were at minimum trained professionals and likely included experts, and tasked with a grave responsibility, were “complete idiot[s]” who opted to use methods that don’t work for an urgent time-sensitive task.

  221. slohrss29,

    The contest is EU v Russia, not US v Russia, and Germany is EU. The US is helping the EU. From what I gather, trade is part of the conflict in that Russia is opposed to the EU pulling Eastern Europe away from Russia’s orbit and into the EU’s social economic orbit.

    The difference between us and the British Empire is that we’re not an empire. Since WW2, we’ve been a hegemon of a world order. The difference is why, if you’re not looking with the right lens, it looks like the US is less important than we are. Our leadership has been about the setting, empowering a necessary community condition and enforcing community rule sets – ie, defining the peace on our terms – rather than expanding franchise ownership.

    That has its pros and cons. Pro is that we don’t have to carry the burden of empire. Con is that we carry the burden of enforcement.

    I get why some people want to share the burden of enforcement with a multipolar world. I understand that others take it a step further and believe that if the US would stop meddling altogether, the world would sort itself out and find a naturally stable, peaceful balance. I don’t think so. I think the state of nature for interactive diverse humanity is neither stable nor peaceful. I think the Taliban and the World Wars are representative of the world’s nature and that’s where the alternative leads if we let go.

  222. “I think the state of nature for interactive diverse humanity is neither stable nor peaceful.”

    I absolutely agree and I believe a fundamental miscalculation we make in foreign policy is to believe American democracy is exportable. Our pre-1776 history created a culture that was primed for independence and democratic self-government. This was our first “fundamental transformation” and it wasn’t achieved in 6 years or 60 years; more like 150 years. We have an extraordinary history that is no longer taught to our own citizens and if we can’t teach it here then we certainly can’t export it.

    The demand for freedom and the security of unalienable rights must be internalized by the society itself; it cannot be thrust upon them by a “well-intentioned” foreign policy. All the proof you need of this is to look at the transformation of our own culture over the last 100 years. That pre-Declaration history is not prominent in our childhood education and as a result, we have a society largely ignorant of our government’s chartered purpose. It has now become politically fashionable to weaponize government and the security of one’s “rights” is one election away from being lost. Even American democracy is no longer American; at least as it was originally intended.

  223. I don’t have that much of a problem with torture. However, I have a huge problem with denying and hiding it. If we are doing it, then we need to justify it, and if we can justify it, we have no reason to hide it. Then there is the issue of letting others do it for us so we can pretend we aren’t involved. Under respondeat superior, shipping our torture candidates off to a friendly dictatorship to pull teeth for us really isn’t any different than doing it directly, just as shipping folks off to Guantanamo is not really any different than shipping them to the mainland as far as responsibility goes, law be damned.

  224. Observer,
    “Roses , I just disagree with you , that we should never make a judgment after seeing broken record and predictable messages one after another from someone . It is interesting to see that you are surprised that someone disagrees with your comment ,”

    Thank you for clarifying. I was not in the least surprised that someone disagreed with me, just that no reason was given. Saying you disagreed “on so many levels” is ripe with interesting details left unsaid. I cannot learn from opposing views if reasons for the opposition aren’t given–and I want to learn and understand.

    Your original reply seemed to indicate that you didn’t think SWM should stay, which was why I replied as I did (the topic of my comment to her was about reasons I’d like her to stay). I’m glad I misunderstood your reason for disagreeing (didn’t have much to go on, though).

    To be clear, I never said that people shouldn’t be able to make judgments. Not sure how you came to that conclusion. I was trying to convey to SWM that I’m glad she posts here and want her to continue.

    “I think the “team of rivals” concept that some bragged about re. this president’s administration , is so problematic and based on a misunderstanding of so many basic things that it will require a book to explain”

    If you know of a book that does so, I’d gladly take the recommendation. :)

  225. Nick,
    “Where you been?”

    Herding cats (my kids), visiting family and friends, and trying to stay ahead of the weeds in my gardens and getting food “put up”.

  226. Observer,
    “I’m not suggesting that someone should not be here”

    Thank goodness! :) I greatly misunderstood you. Sorry about that.

    “I have the option to skip whose comment to skip and whose not to”
    Of course.

    “Best predictor of the future behavior is said to be the past behavior , and with that in mind I can use my time more productively , even when there are comments from someone whose main thrust is ” if it were not for the republicans it would have been heaven”.”

    An understandable position.

  227. Observer,
    I know you directed your comment to Paul, but I wanted to chime in.

    “I find that whole concept of team of rivals as offensive. Didn’t he belittle Clinton for her foreign policy credentials in the primaries, and then he chose her for SOS? When asked about that he ridiculed the journalist for having believed his words. If I was his voter and I had not supported clinton for some reason and then I heard him say that to the journalist, that would have been the end of my support for him, as that shows a character problem, doesn’t it?”

    Excellent observation about a character issue.

    “I want to see independent thinkers with similar goals, not a team of rivals, that is insane to think that is the way to govern, just like it is insane to have just the people who will worship you, no matter what.”

    Good point. Rivals are going to make the issues about themselves and discussions will devolve into partisan bickering and undermining, whereas your view allows for inter-party disagreement without things easily becoming disagreeable. Team of rivals does sound a bit like an oxymoron.

  228. John Oliver,
    “The demand for freedom and the security of unalienable rights must be internalized by the society itself; it cannot be thrust upon them by a “well-intentioned” foreign policy.”

    Well said.

  229. Sadly, Prairie rose that is how politics works. You say whatever about your opponent in the primaries and then it is a lovefest among them all as they support the winner, no matter how abhorrent, supposedly, his (her) policies positions were

  230. leejcaroll,
    “Sadly, Prairie rose that is how politics works. You say whatever about your opponent in the primaries and then it is a lovefest among them all as they support the winner, no matter how abhorrent, supposedly, his (her) policies positions were”

    Yes, this is unfortunately quite accurate. Says a lot about the character of most of our politicians (and, dear me, about us if we participate in the lovefest!). Not only that but it makes anything about the government seem extremely disingenuous.

    Do you think a majority of Americans want this sort of behavior to change, a majority of people are oblivious and participate themselves, or a majority are resigned that this is just how politics works and are apathetic that it will ever change?

    (Or, all of the above, depending on the weather.) :)

  231. Prairie Rose I think people feel there is nothing we can do about it. It all comes down to money, and with McCutcheon and Citizens United the individual is even further squeezed out. (Not sure it is apathy, although there is a lot of that, the turnout shows too many don’t care, or are turned off by the process as much as a feeling of helplessness.)
    Money backs the candidates and they have to do whatever they can to continue getting the money and try to ‘kill’ their opponents.
    I think the electorate understands this and at the end of the day put their hands up, say well that is always the way it is in the primaries, and go on their way to picking one of the 2 left standing.

  232. John Oliver,

    To set the record straight, the purpose of the Iraq enforcement was not a liberalizing regime change. The purpose was Iraq’s compliance with the Gulf War ceasefire.

    Iraq’s compliance with the UNSC resolutions was necessary to assure Saddam could be trusted with the peace after the Iran-Iraq War, brutal Kuwait occupation, and Gulf War. If Saddam failed to comply, then he could not be trusted with the peace and Iraq’s compliance would be brought about with the completion of the suspended Gulf War.

    We wanted Saddam to stay, but we needed a compliant and therefore rehabilitated Saddam. From 1991 to 2003, we tried our best to rehabilitate Saddam until finally, with Operation Desert Fox in 1998, Clinton pronounced, “Iraq has abused its final chance.” After that, we had only 3 options left with Iraq: kick the can on the stalemated, toxic, and broken failed-disarmament-called-‘containment’ (status quo); surrender the Iraq enforcement and free a noncompliant Saddam (out of the question); or bring about Iraq’s compliance with the last remaining enforcement measure – credible threat of regime change (resolution).

    Despite Clinton’s pronouncement, Bush gave Saddam a 2nd final chance to comply with the UNSC resolutions in 2002. In Spring 2003, Saddam refused his “final opportunity” (UNSCR 1441) and Iraq’s compliance was brought about with regime change. So, what do we do then with post-Saddam Iraq?

    The answer is the same thing we did following the WW2 regime changes: secure and build the peace.

  233. Prairie Rose, thank you.

    Eric,
    “The answer is the same thing we did following the WW2 regime changes: secure and build the peace.”

    I grew up in the Cold War era and joined the Navy in 1979 (retired in 1999). I was in the Gulf in 1990 and my ship refueled in Kuwait the day before Iraq attacked. My naiveté regarding bad actors throughout the world was in believing all the citizens needed was liberation from the tyranny and then freedom and democracy would follow. This worked to a large extent after WWII because we were returning cultures to a pre-existing state. This strategy doesn’t work when a culture is not familiar with the brand of democracy you are willing to provide. A “hearts and minds” strategy is to “reestablish” trust towards a peace and freedom that previously existed. It will not work in a culture that has generations of distrust towards the western culture.

    What do we do with post-Saddam Iraq? We become resource independent, we reestablish the capability to defend ourselves against any threat, we rebuild trust with our allies.

  234. John Oliver,

    One of my memorable experiences as a freshly minted private in the mid 1990s was listening to my NCOs, Desert Storm veterans, share their war stories during downtime in the field. The takeaway, besides the need to improvise-and-adapt, was their warning that our going back to Iraq was “when, not if” because the disarmament had failed and Saddam was doing bad things in open defiance of the ceasefire.

    John Oliver: “What do we do with post-Saddam Iraq? We become resource independent, we reestablish the capability to defend ourselves against any threat, we rebuild trust with our allies.”

    That’s an evasion, not a solution.

    The Iraq enforcement was originally intended to be a rapid 1-2 year procedure to keep a rehabilitated Saddam in charge, but that failed. The Iraq enforcement progressed, exhausting every non-military and lesser military enforcement measure, until bombing Iraq and the credible threat of regime change also failed. Finally, the enforcement culminated in completion of the suspended Gulf War.

    Situation: The US-led coalition is now occupying Iraq with the ethical responsibility and UN mandate to secure and stabilize Iraq for the post-Saddam transition.

    You’re the President in 2003. What do you do with Iraq at that point?

    Are you saying the US should have dropped our own modern heritage as leader of the free world, precipitously withdrawn from Iraq after we ousted Saddam (except perhaps for whatever the Iraq Survey Group and UNMOVIC needed to finish their work), and whatever happens to Iraq happens with whatever compounding harms?

    Consider this possibility when “we rebuild trust with our allies”: What went wrong over the course of the 1991-2003 Iraq enforcement was less the US, the dutiful chief enforcer, than our rivals and putative (non-Anglo) allies who pursued self-interests viz the Iraq situation, which of course informed Saddam’s (mis)calculations.

  235. John Oliver: “This worked to a large extent after WWII because we were returning cultures to a pre-existing state.”

    Arguably the European piece, not the Asian piece. Liberal reform shouldn’t have worked for Asian countries like Japan and especially Korea according to their history and culture.

  236. Eric,
    You say I’m being evasive but what do we accomplish with the three things I suggested? What position does this put us in with the region when we are no longer dependent on their cooperation? If we are to regain this so-called modern heritage as leader of the free world (where is this definition found?) then eliminate ALL characteristics of the follower we have become today.

  237. leejcaroll,
    “Prairie Rose I think people feel there is nothing we can do about it.”

    This is sad and scary because what it entails is that the government “of the people, by the people, for the people” is gone. If people feel this way then they won’t act, and I want people to act. The system as it stands now is not in our collective best interest–it is in the best interest of the politicians and corporatists, as is often discussed here.

    “I think the electorate understands this and at the end of the day put their hands up, say well that is always the way it is in the primaries, and go on their way to picking one of the 2 left standing.”

    I think that is an accurate, but unfortunate, assessment (I was hoping you were more optimistic than I!). :) But, if we continue picking one of the 2 left standing, then that is not a real choice and we’re stuck with power-hungry people whose character is questionable.

    So, what would help people not feel helpless?

    Could the 17th Amendment be repealed so more local leverage could be applied to senators?

    Could redistricting rules be changed so people being elected are more moderate, reflecting a wider cross-section of viewpoints and hopefully preventing partisanship?

    Could the number of people a House Rep represents be decreased (and the number of House Reps increased) to more accurately reflect the growth in population, and, so people’s views don’t get washed out as easily?

    What else should be repealed, amended or overturned? Do they require a Constitutional Convention (considering far too many politicians on the Hill are unlikely to vote against their own self-interest)?

    I do not want to, or my country to, ‘go gentle into that good night’. I’m tired of the status quo.

  238. John Oliver,

    If you’re a Navy veteran, then you know America as leader of the free world because you were a piece of it. Your job spanned the globe. Or maybe working on the ground with locals makes a difference. Maybe serving post-Cold War makes a difference, too.

    Your suggestions are general policy goals. None of them is an applied solution for the specific Saddam problem.

    Place yourself in Bush’s shoes at the decision point. Maybe you secretly curse at your father for not resolving Saddam in 1991 and leaving a mess that was dumped on Clinton who dumped it on you, still unresolved and worse for wear. Maybe you wish the US could retire the Carter Doctrine and Reagan Corollary to the Carter Doctrine that prompted your father to intervene with Iraq in the first place. None of that changes the festering Saddam problem and the short set of options that were all harsh even before 9/11. But before 9/11, you could at least kick the can, keep up the ‘containment’ charade, and watch Iraq for an “imminent” conventional military threat. 9/11 changed the threat calculation and took away that option.

    What do you do about noncompliant Saddam with Clinton’s warning, “Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.”?

    What do you do with Iraq after Saddam’s final refusal to comply triggers the last enforcement measure?

  239. Prairie Rose gerrymandering could be outlawed so there is as you say more voices heard from the reps district.
    Citizen Unites and McCutcheon overturned or the senate taking action (but would they bute the hand that feeds them? Sanders with cosponsors does have a bill but is it going anywhere?)
    I think a part of it is the way the elections work, withsuch over the top nastiness and outright lies. Why bother when both sides lie, provably, to get what they want.
    I have heard folks say it should be illegal to lie in political ads but that goes against first amendment.
    If you cant trust a politician when theyre running, why bother to vote because they have proven they are untrustworthy.
    The media has a part in this, they are not independent, non biased, Fox bing the worst, at least MSNBC does present opposing voices such as morning Joe and in interviews, not often but a heck of a lot more often then Fox which mostly skewers opposing ideas, thoughts, etc.
    When a president like Bush, (I don’t have Obama numbers at hand although he won by more then Bush’s “Mandate” wins but only 52% of the population voted and he got more then half of that he was wupported, by vote, by slightly more then /4 of the population.
    It is illegal not to vote in some countries, think it is Australia (going by memory here) I think maybe making voting mandatory would help. People would come to the polls (yes some will vote for mickey mouse or vote without knowing the issues but that is also the case now) and let their voices be heard. Also they mioght find that this causes them to become more informed.

  240. leejcaroll – I would like to see a law making it illegal to lie on TV either on the regular new or during commentary. You lie, the program dies. No one connected with the program works in TV again.

  241. leejcaroll – it would no difference if you did it intentionally or it was accidental. Death penalty for all around.

  242. Paul commentary is opinion. (my problem is often they don’t bother to mark it as commentary) Outright lies have gotten some people tossed, like Rather as the first example that comes to mind. Fox re[eatedly has been shown to lie but nothing ever happens.
    The lies are important because people believe them and choose their candidates often based on the lie. (as a corollary look at the autism vaccination issue, proven repeatedly no connection to autism and yet people like Jenny McCarthy had the stage to foist the lie on people and many did not vaccinate based on people like her (I know idiocy to believe a TV personality but that’s another issue) Epidemics of measles and whooping cough has been the result.)

  243. Repealing the 17th would be a significant step in making Senators more accountable to the states rather than the lobbyists.

    Teaching people critical-thinking skills so that they know how to determine the information they receive is based on facts and then to draw reasonable conclusions without ideological filters. Proof this is lacking is when one opines about the slant of one media outlet over another.

    Make voter ID’s mandatory and to that end, provide whatever service is necessary to make them available.

    Require every incumbent prove how they honored their oath of office or term limits; maybe both. If that won’t work then require a civics exam for a voter ID.

  244. John Oliver,

    You still haven’t answered the question.

    Angelo Codevilla: “They responded to the Muslim regimes’ incitement of anti-American violence by trying to settle their internal conflicts and reforming their societies. As a result, today the only people in the world who fear American military action are the American people themselves.”

    People like Codevilla, not nation-building, are why Americans “fear American military action”. Bush’s counter-terrorism was effective in practice, but distorted in the politics.

    Contra Codevilla, respect and fear of American military action is an element of US-style nation-building. In the context of US-style nation-building, “[settling] their internal conflicts and reforming their societies” requires military dominance to establish security, stability, and define the peace on our terms.

    Our nation-building successes, Cold War and today, only work when our military is respected and feared. When US-style nation-building is effective, eg, Iraq before we prematurely left, that infers we have established dominant alpha status in the pack – dominant enough to impose our will and reliable enough for the people with their lives at stake to buy in with us rather than the enemy.

    Imagine the level of respect for and fear of the American military that was needed for the Anbar Awakening in Iraq, in the heart of the Muslim world. We earned that status with the nation-building COIN “surge”, but I doubt we have it anymore.

    Our leadership isn’t about owning territory like a colonial empire. It’s about the setting, community condition and rule sets. Yet rather than enforcement, Codevilla posits a simple trip-wire of total destruction or no action, which might sound good to a layman, but actually opens a wide range of activity where rogue actors can simply calibrate to achieve their goals. That’s a formula for disorder and perpetual conflict spinning up.

    Bush’s counter-terror response to 9/11 was designed to reform the international immune system with a more robust approach to the emerged modern threat. Codevilla’s opposition to enforcement fails to account for the reach of modern extra-national actors in combination with rogue actors. In fact, what he advocates – working with and pressuring local regimes to stop the terrorists in their sovereign territory – was already routine counter-terror practice pre-dating 9/11 and continuing into the War on Terror. It’s not enough by itself.

    As I pointed to upthread, it’s a myth that Bush led his foreign policy with regime change. Bush, compatible with Codevilla’s position, acted against the Taliban and Saddam only after they refused to comply and end their threat. However, war is not just war. War is in the context of everything else. It’s not like sports where the game resets to zero on a game-clock and we go home while the groundskeepers reset the field. Winning a war but short-shrifting the post-war aftermath, as Obama has done, only leads to new problems, including the likely cancerous regrowth of a worse version of the same problems.

    When President Washington made his farewell address, we were already entangled in foreign, European affairs. We began in a global empire and we won our independence with foreign help. We’ve never stopped being entangled with the world. Then we won WW2 and didn’t go home because we remembered what happened after we went home after WW1. America is a world leader, like it or not. Commission or omission, we have an effect. I suggest reading Bush’s baseline policy speeches in the wake of 9/11. You can start with the ones linked here:
    http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2004/10/perspective-on-operation-iraqi-freedom.html

  245. [Warning! Opinion to follow]: What do progressive Democrats and progressive Republicans have in common? Nation-building; with the Democrats focused on domestic policy and the Republicans focused on foreign policy. Keep in mind, neither finds the constitution anything other than an obstacle to their ends and the ignorant mind the grease for their means.

    Eric,
    I appreciate your passion in defense of your position and I once shared that stance. My views have changed as I’ve studied the Enlightenment Era philosophers, our founders, Bastiat and Toqueville, and others. I’m certain to adjust my thinking on policy matters from time to time; but the foundation of my opinions are firmly anchored in natural rights theory.

    You mentioned cancer and that seems to be a good metaphor for the only legitimate purpose and justification for foreign entanglements. The world (not unlike America) would be more easily “controlled” if everyone shared the same beliefs. But human nature being what it is I’m actually in favor of the differences.

    If one begins with the view that every nation is sovereign and the people within it responsible for the government they allow, then when or why should we become involved in their internal struggles? Our founders drafted a document to make a case for foreign entities to support and “get involved in” our struggle for independence. The British government was a cancer on our unalienable rights and the Declaration’s justification for our right “to alter or to abolish it”, did not include the foreign entities remaining to “help” us build a nation.

    Our foreign policy (again in my opinion) seems to create the cancers we are then forced to fight. Where are the formal Declarations requesting not only our intervention, but entanglement in nation-building? It’s one thing to be the beacon of freedom, liberty, equality, democracy and natural rights. But there is a significant difference between shining the light and attempting to etch it into the hearts and minds of an indifferent culture. If they aren’t asking for it then no amount of effort, resources or lives can give it to them.

  246. leejcaroll,
    “Prairie Rose gerrymandering could be outlawed so there is as you say more voices heard from the reps district.”

    Getting it outlawed is the tricky part because it goes against the power-hungry politicians’ “best” interest.

    “Citizen Unites and McCutcheon overturned or the senate taking action”

    I will need to look into these since I’m not quite sure exactly what they entail. I try to stay up on the news, court rulings, etc, but I haven’t gotten the details on these and I don’t want to rely on what journalists or politicians say is in them.

    “but would they bite the hand that feeds them?”
    Too true. This is where it gets tricky in a lot of areas. Would they vote against gerrymandering? Would they repeal the 17th amendment? Yikes. We might be looking at Constitutional convention or something…ugh.

    “If you cant trust a politician when they’re running, why bother to vote because they have proven they are untrustworthy.”

    I wish there was a “none of the above” option on the ballot. That could conceivably empty Congress and cause a terrible upheaval for a short while, but at least our voices would be heard and hopefully better candidates would step forward.

    “The media has a part in this, they are not independent, non biased”

    I agree the media is a problem in how they present the news, but I really can only comment on newsprint media (no TV, so no way to comment objectively on TV news). I’d like to see an analysis of the degree to which MSM newspapers/TV news vetted President Bush versus President Obama, or, the number of times Edward Snowden was called a leaker versus a whistleblower on the various networks.

    As far as TV news goes, the exit polling, I think, probably skews the results of elections.

    “It is illegal not to vote in some countries, think it is Australia (going by memory here) I think maybe making voting mandatory would help.”

    Interesting, but there really are some people that I’d rather they just continue to not vote. The don’t know who the candidates are, let alone what their platforms are. I know there are people that do that now, but I’d rather they not blindly cancel out my vote. Also, this goes against my belief that people should have the freedom to not participate. Heck, even President Obama (and plenty of others) have voted “present” when they don’t want to participate.

    Are you thinking of mandatory voting as kind of like jury duty, a duty of every citizen that can only be escaped by exigent circumstances?

    “Also they might find that this causes them to become more informed.”
    How so? This seems far too optimistic (see, you are more optimistic than I!).:)

  247. John Oliver,
    “Repealing the 17th would be a significant step in making Senators more accountable to the states rather than the lobbyists.”

    Absolutely. But, how do we put the genii back in the bottle? Senators are unlikely to support such a power-limiting bill.

    “Teaching people critical-thinking skills so that they know how to determine the information they receive is based on facts and then to draw reasonable conclusions without ideological filters.”

    “Without ideological filters” are the operative words. The media and our dear politicians have us as a whole so entrenched in red state/blue state, conservative/liberal, Democrat/Republican partisan bickering that objectivity is going to be difficult to achieve.

    How do you propose teaching people critical-thinking skills? Schools aim to achieve this but fall woefully short quite often. What would you change or improve?

    “Make voter ID’s mandatory and to that end, provide whatever service is necessary to make them available.”

    The last half of this statement is crucial.

    “Require every incumbent prove how they honored their oath of office or term limits; maybe both.”

    The first idea seems rather tricky and an arena in which half-truths or spinning would be the SOP, barring egregious and obvious failures. I’m generally in favor of term limits (not sure of the “limit” that would be reasonable, though). Again, how would such a bill be passed when it limits the power of politicians? Back to a Constitutional convention?

    “If that won’t work then require a civics exam for a voter ID.” Do you mean for people running for office? 😉

  248. “I believe we need to restore our chauvinistic commitment to the American progressivism that shaped much of the 19th and 20th centuries.” JFK

    “The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq’s history or its ethnic or sectarian makeup. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else.” Bill Clinton
    http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html#whatOIFabout

    “For America the liberal hegemonic leader of the free world, the regime change that brought Iraq into compliance meant shepherding post-Saddam Iraq to a pluralistic liberal society, commonly called democracy. “ Eric

    I honestly haven’t read your entire body of work Eric, but what I’m looking for is a formal document from the Iraqi People that indicates THEY want to join the international community and all that comes with it; something that says if they can get foreign assistance to remove the current regime that they will take on the heavy-lifting of self-governance.

    Quite frankly, I don’t see how what you’ve provided refutes what I represented our foreign policy to be. That being said, I certainly would support a policy to bring about regime change if the Iraqi people shared in the commitment for the security of equality, life, liberty and property.

  249. Prairie Rose I like that analogy, yes just like jury duty.
    I am already so pessimistic as to what has happened to the electoral process and the antipathy of voters that it can’t go any lower ); but hopefully if you are required to vote a decent number of folk would decide being informed is in their own best self interest.
    I used to watch the TV news religiously but stopped a long time ago so youre not missing much, or anything, by not seeing it yourself (or heck a lot of what else is on the tube) I get my news online and a lot of it from this blog with the prof posting about news items and issues you don’t see in the mainstream media, including huff post,aol news etc

  250. John Oliver,

    As I said under the other post, you quoted me, not JFK. I suggest the Kennedy inaugural address for your purpose.

    Still no love with the auto-mod. Let’s see if this version works.

    The purpose of the Iraq enforcement from HW Bush to Clinton to Bush was not regime change for liberal reform. The purpose of the Iraq enforcement was achieving Iraq’s compliance with the Gulf War ceasefire so a rehabilitated Saddam could be trusted with the peace. After exhausting the non-military and lesser military enforcement measures at the point of Operation Desert Fox, the only measures left to compel Saddam’s compliance were the credible threat of regime change and, failing that, the last measure of regime change.

    To wit, Paul Wolfowitz:

    We did not go to war in Afghanistan or in Iraq to, quote, ‘impose democracy.’ We went to war in both places because we saw those regimes as a threat to the United States.” Once they were overthrown, what else were we going to do? “No one argues that we should have imposed a dictatorship in Afghanistan having liberated the country. Similarly, we weren’t about to impose a dictatorship in Iraq having liberated the country.

    In terms of leading with liberal reform in his post-9/11 liberal strategy, Bush’s Freedom Agenda was collaborative. While underlain by American dominance, it was not forced.

    To wit, President Bush:

    For decades, free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability, and much oppression. So I have changed this policy. In the short-term, we will work with every government in the Middle East dedicated to destroying the terrorist networks. In the longer-term, we will expect a higher standard of reform and democracy from our friends in the region. Democracy and reform will make those nations stronger and more stable, and make the world more secure by undermining terrorism at it source. Democratic institutions in the Middle East will not grow overnight; in America, they grew over generations. Yet the nations of the Middle East will find, as we have found, the only path to true progress is the path of freedom and justice and democracy.

    You know, for someone who’s against holding other peoples to American ways, you’re extraordinarily formulistic about demanding an American-type Declaration of Independence. The uprisings, repression, lives lost, and suffering that compelled UNSCR 688 and eventually the extension of the no-fly zones virtually to the outskirts of Baghdad don’t impress you as carrying at least as much weight as a “formal document” by a cabal of elites who may or may not have actually represented a plurality of colonists at the time? Tough crowd.

  251. Eric,
    What seems to be the most common misunderstanding of our republics longevity is the belief all we need is a system of laws to make it work. The 150 years leading up to the Declaration are why our constitution works. Lincoln expresses it far better than I can in his “Fragment on the Constitution and Union”:

    “All this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all” — the principle that clears the path for all — gives hope to all — and, by consequence, enterprize, and industry to all.

    The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate. Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government, and consequent prosperity. No oppressed, people will fight, and endure, as our fathers did, without the promise of something better, than a mere change of masters.

    The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word, “fitly spoken” which has proved an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple — not the apple for the picture.

    So let us act, that neither picture, or apple shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken.

    That we may so act, we must study, and understand the points of danger.”

    Abraham Lincoln
    January 1861

  252. leejcaroll,
    “Prairie Rose I like that analogy, yes just like jury duty.”
    I’m still going to have to mull over this idea for awhile. The jury duty angle is appealing, because jurists do seem to take their job seriously, so perhaps voters would take their job seriously, too.

    Yet, the libertarian in me wants to reject required voting; it seems contrary to a free republic. And, I don’t know if required voting would actually fix anything because it seems the elements of money in politics and the media-frenzy (not to mention the existence of the 17th Amendment) almost do more to affect the process and choices of potential candidates than whether or not people vote.

    Mandatory schooling doesn’t make the students value their education more, so I’m not sure people would value their votes more either, especially if the system still seems “rigged”.

    In some ways “being informed is in their own best self interest” (in our case) just ticks us off and stresses us out. :)

  253. John Oliver,

    A sophisticated grasp of liberal philosophy is needed only for the controlling elites. Culture is not prerequisite. The acculturation of a liberal belief system in the people, while often concurrent, follows on basic elements like security, stability, civic function, and economy.

    Developing the culture is a lesser included element in the practical nation-building process. Even for the new American citizens with an Anglo heritage and basic elements largely in place, figuring out the social politics was a process. The Constitution was only created after a clumsy 1st attempt at national governance. George Washington turned down monarch status as our first chief executive.

    There was no spectral philosophical consensus, beyond the elites, that pre-existed the American founding and then reified, fully formed, upon independence. It was no less organically grown with us than with the nations we’ve built.

    In the organic process, our nation-built hosts have mixed our input with their culture and arrived at different places than our forebears. The Germans, Japanese, and Koreans are not like Americans nor each other. They’re each liberal in their own way.

    And that suits us. As said by President Bush up front, America’s primary motive with the post-9/11 liberal strategy was not an ideological crusade. Our primary motive was practical: a stable world.

    The US normally deals with unsavory, illiberal competitors in the international community. A nation must pass an exceptionally high bar of incompatibility in order to warrant regime change as the Taliban and Saddam did.

    As such, our nation-building standard is not platonic ideal mini-America’s. Instead, the standard is practical: a compatible nation that can be a peaceful, functional partner in the international community. That’s the standard we achieved in our European and Asian nation-building. That’s the standard we were progressing towards with Iraq before we prematurely pulled stakes.

    The lead challenge to American liberal nation-building is not philosophical difference. Culture is not prerequisite. The lead challenge is the practical contest for the security and stability that’s the necessary foundation to build everything else. When we control basic security and stability, the rest follows. When we lose control, the rest can’t work.

  254. Prairie I don’t think the mandatory schooling is an apt analogy. Those are kids. They can’t see past themselves and their immediavy. Hopefully for most adults they understand that the future will be important to them and vote on that basis.
    Maybe if one was required to vote enough of us would take and stand and demand citizens, for instance be changed through law so that people are no longer corporations.
    I have felt for a long time if we had the draft people would not have accepted Iraq and Afghanistan war. at least not without Bush giving an exit strategy, so we did not end up with another Vietnam. Their self preservation, or that of their children, nephews, nieces, friends, friends kids etc would cause them to raise their voices up, as they did with Vietnam.
    If you have to vote and see that you are then a part of the problem (astounds me the number of times I read/hear people saying “I didn’t vote so don’t blame me” for whatever is going on that people don’t like) maybe if they knew they would have the “blame” or the “credit” they would make an effort to learn about what they are doing when they pull that lever. They would behave as the protestors did and clamor through their vote for the changes they want made.
    (but then again, maybe I just want to be Peter Pan and fly ((*_*)) )

  255. “There was no spectral philosophical consensus, beyond the elites, that pre-existed the American founding and then reified, fully formed, upon independence. It was no less organically grown with us than with the nations we’ve built.”

    Eric,
    Just to be clear in your meaning; are you saying the laundry list of grievances in the Declaration of Independence were not also those of the people the 56 signers represented?

    “A sophisticated grasp of liberal philosophy is needed only for the controlling elites. Culture is not prerequisite. The acculturation of a liberal belief system in the people, while often concurrent, follows on basic elements like security, stability, civic function, and economy.”

    Is there a better articulated message representing the progressive philosophy? I believe you intended that to represent our foreign interests but it but it works quite well domestically.

    In either case, I reject it.

  256. leejcaroll,
    “I don’t think the mandatory schooling is an apt analogy. Those are kids. They can’t see past themselves and their immediacy. Hopefully for most adults they understand that the future will be important to them and vote on that basis.”

    That is a good point. But, in order to make mandatory voting work (and not just an exercise in futility), then the other aspects of “the system” need to change, too.

    “If you have to vote and see that you are then a part of the problem (astounds me the number of times I read/hear people saying “I didn’t vote so don’t blame me” for whatever is going on that people don’t like) maybe if they knew they would have the “blame” or the “credit” they would make an effort to learn about what they are doing when they pull that lever.”

    This is also a good point and also one that I think our elected officials should have to abide by–no voting “present”! If they vote present then they cannot be held accountable but people will still elect them because a) name-recognition, and b) they don’t remember anything negative about the politician since the politician didn’t make any hard voting decisions.

    “(but then again, maybe I just want to be Peter Pan and fly ((*_*)) )”

    This sounds good, too–and far more fun. Some days I’d rather just fly off to Neverland or some other inhabited island and start over from scratch. :)

  257. Good discussion, leejcaroll. Now, for our ideas to take hold and our republic saved. Ahhh…all in a few days’ work. 😉

    Here’s a recap of the ideas we’ve discussed that could be taken to various state/Fed congressmen for consideration. If I miss any, please add them.

    –Outlawing gerrymandering (put the control of the districts in the hands of the state?)
    –Citizen United and McCutcheon overturned (any other bad laws or decisions?)
    –Repeal the 17th Amendment
    –Make voter ID’s mandatory and to that end, provide whatever service is necessary to make them available.
    –Make voting mandatory in the manner that jury duty is mandatory
    –Allow on the ballot “none of the above” as a choice
    –Require congressmen to vote yay or nay–no voting “present”, but allow for a longer period of time prior to the vote so laws are not shuttled through without having been read
    –Term limits (for both houses or just senators?)
    –end exit polling

    Any others?

  258. Since you asked Prairie Rose:

    – End the multi-question decennial surveys for the census. Limit it to the short form only to provide the information necessary to fulfill the constitutional requirement.
    – On the issue of voter ID: require a civics exam to get the ID; require the same passing score as is now needed for new citizens (I believe it’s 70%)
    – Require retesting every 2 years for 79% and below; every 4 years for 89% to 80%; every 6 years for 90% and above). This is to make continuing civics education important.
    – Make all Congressional representatives ineligible for House committees whose district voter participation is below 50% and/or whose average test score is below 70%
    – Make all Senators ineligible for committees whose state voter participation is below 50% and/or whose average test score is below 70%.

  259. John Oliver,

    What you’re rejecting as “progressive philosophy” is just how human society works mechanistically. As process, you can replace “liberal belief system” with X belief system.

    The error in your approach to natural rights is conflating the individual with the social. The original premise of natural-rights philosophy draws a direct line from God to individual man. How individuals socially form and interact in the world, God leaves that up to us. The practice of individual rights, however natural, depends on the construction of the social setting.

    Construction of the social setting is with competition.

    I had the privilege of reading an original copy of the 1st draft of the Declaration, handwritten by Thomas Jefferson, on public display.

    President Jefferson understood the competitive social process. He competed to build the American nation he envisioned, even with “the blood of patriots and tyrants”. Jefferson expected the social competition to be never-ending.

    The Declaration ranges wide. Most of its issues are practical, not philosophical, though the whole is couched in a particular political frame. At the time, was a plurality of colonists actually on board with its grievances and remedies? I guess so because the Declaration reads like a laundry list of grievances comprehensive enough so that some were actually edited out for the final draft. In turn, were the colonists who were on board with its grievances and remedies also on board with Jefferson’s vision for the American nation? I don’t know.

    I do know in practice, the social development (acculturation) of the philosophy of America, while concurrent, followed on the practical development of America. Of course, the two were not wholly separate courses. Law and government are intersections of the practical and philosophical.

    How long did it take to nation-build America? A lot longer than 8 years and longer than America’s modern nation-building stewardships. See the Civil War, and that didn’t fully settle the issue. Like Bush said: generations.

    Domestic policy and foreign policy, while each requires a set of checks and balances, need to be practiced separately with different mindset and approach. While our values should play a role, foreign policy should be competitive first with America and Team America foremost. As was the case with Bush’s post-9/11 foreign policy, the philosophical should serve the practical.

    The competitive first-and-foremost approach that best serves our foreign policy should not be the same as our internal approach with domestic policy. They’re different hats. The distinct nature of the policy areas is reflected in the Constitution.

  260. Prairie Rose I would go further with the no voting present. I would make it that all votes go on the record by name, no voice votes with the “ayes (or nays) have it, the vote being decided on how the speaker wants to hear which is louder.

  261. This is interesting re repeal 17th amendment. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2014/02/conservatives_17th_amendment_repeal_effort_why_their_plan_will_backfire.html
    I am not for the repeal.
    As for exit polling it is my understanding that since they forced the networks to not tell the results until the polls were closed, so that they could no longer do it in the east and have the western voters be impacted by the results. http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/194410/exit-poll-data-will-be-examined-in-quarantine-room/

  262. I like your list though. (although I am not sure personally how I feel about term limits. On the one hand it is a good idea, on the other then each time you have to spend auite some time getting the new guys up to speed which could considerably hinder the work of the congress.
    JohnOliver not sure I could agree with the ones y ou pose but sure would be interesting to see what would happen if those were put to the test.

  263. Excellent emptywheel posting this morning:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2014/08/11/cias-torture-pushback-gets-more-artful/

    Marcy Wheeler:

    “Which is why this is my favorite line from Grenier’s piece.

    Goodness. If even a substantial portion of this were true, I would be among the first to advise that CIA be razed to the ground and begun all over again.

    This is coming (as Grenier alludes to but doesn’t fully lay out, just as he lays out the suggestion that CIA resumed torture after he refused in early 2006) from a guy who tried to stay within the law, stopped torturing after the Detainee Treatment Act forbade it. It is, perhaps, the best line, given the impasse we’re at.

    CIA has become the instrument of illegal actions, an arm of the Executive that evades all law, precisely because of its corrupted relationships with both the Executive and Legislative branch.

    So, I take you up on the suggestion, Robert Grenier. Let’s raze the damn thing and — if a thorough assessment says a democracy really needs such an agency, which it may not — start over.”

  264. John Oliver,

    I think this sums up the difference in our positions.

    You: Do we have a (philosophical) natural right to intervene and nation-build?

    Me: Do we have a (practical) competitive interest to intervene and nation-build?

  265. I’m for repealing the 17th and it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than returning each state the right for representation in the federal government. As originally constructed, the lower chamber was for the people and the upper was for the state. The 17th took the vote away from the state and effectively created a 535 seat Legislative branch representing the interests of the people. The states no longer have direct representation in the federal government.

    A chief argument for the 17th was the prospect of corruption. Corruption, as has been proven over time, is inherent in government. The 17th simply made it easier to corrupt Senators by moving those seeking to influence Congress out of the individual states and centering their power in D.C.

  266. tossaway: “I don’t have that much of a problem with torture. However, I have a huge problem with denying and hiding it. If we are doing it, then we need to justify it, and if we can justify it, we have no reason to hide it.”

    I meant to respond to this a while back and got sidetracked.

    Your view is more in line with the Bush approach to the issue.

    The issue is exigency.

    If it’s an action we need to take due to exigent circumstance, then we should take the action without penalizing our leaders and agents for doing what needs done.

    But if that exigent action is one that we don’t want to normalize or ‘creep’ outside the need, then we should construct a box for it. Thus, when the exigency is resolved, we can uncouple the box with the action contained inside and cleanly remove it from normal practice.

    Martial law works like that, though there are other legal routes.

    My understanding is the Bush approach, eg, the Yoo memo, was intended to construct just such a modular way to take exigent action while also containing it to the exigent circumstance.

    The mistake by Obama was to devalue the exigency as “expedience” and removing the modular legal structure containing the exigent actions.

    But then, when Obama then discovered the actions were in fact exigent, and not merely expedient, he neglected (or deliberately chose not) to provide a legal containment for them. Blurring the lines drawn by the Bush administration was politically expedient by removing the visible political target Obama had used to attack Bush, but Obama’s uncontained approach threatens that exigent actions will normalize and ‘creep’ outside the need.

  267. I can think of no better analogy for this issue than the Africanized Honey Bee (Killer Bee). A biologist decided to take “expedient” action and introduce one bee culture into another; all for the greater “honey” good. Unfortunately, the unintended consequence has led to a loss of containment within the region. We are now faced with the need for “exigent” action.

    So, for the record; I have no problem with the exigent action of “water-boarding” Killer Bees, but I do have a problem with the expedient action that led to it.

  268. leejcaroll,
    “I would go further with the no voting present. I would make it that all votes go on the record by name, no voice votes with the “ayes (or nays) have it, the vote being decided on how the speaker wants to hear which is louder.”

    The DNC should consider this, too, since there was that bruhaha during the election over whether or not to include commentary about God on the platform or some such thing. No biased ears then.

  269. Prairie, I did not bother to look up dem because I have no doubt they used voice votes but you made this partisan. Here is what the repubs did, as one example. http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/28/13531281-gop-approves-delegate-rule-changes-over-vocal-objections GOP approves delegate rule changes over vocal objections

    Republican leaders pushed through contentious changes to delegate rules over the objection of conservatives and supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

    Loud boos erupted Tuesday on the floor of the Republican National Convention as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, ruled that a voice vote was sufficient to approve credentialing rules for delegates at future conventions.

    Delegates shout in protest over changes in Republican party rules that would restrict the impact of grassroots movements, before a vote to adopt the new rules during the second session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012.

    Chants that sounded like “Seat them now!” did battle with chants of “U-S-A” from supportive delegates seeking to shout the protestors down.

    The rules change essentially tightens party control over the manner in which delegates are allocated and bound to candidates.

    The repubs even in their own convention do not tolerate much dissent

  270. Prairie Rose, hadn’t looked at the other page I had opened re repub convention. But saw this as I went to close the window:
    Witnesses say that Teleprompter scrolled “the ayes have it” even before the voice vote was taken. Also, video of the rule change vote at the Republican National Convention shows that the vote seemed to be a toss up with no clear winner and yet the ayes were immediately declared winners. This declaration was drowned out by loud booing. Also, before John Boehner called for the vote, he asked if there were any objections and there were clearly people who objected and yet John Boehner said there were none.Other witnesses say that they were purposely held up in the convention bus so that they would miss the vote in the rules committee. Also, news outlets reported that Romney had two of the rules committee delegates removed and replaced with delegates who would vote for the Romney Rule Changes. These committee delegates being held up and replaced prevented a minority report because there were not enough committee members – http://www.texasgopvote.com/issues/stop-big-government/evidence-shows-rnc-rigged-vote-rule-change-republican-convention-2012-004544#sthash.cSsbML9O.dpuf

    Ironically this is from a right wing GOP site It turns out but they have the video so you can decide for yourself.)

  271. John Oliver: “I do have a problem with the expedient action that led to it.”

    That’s just how the sausage is made. All our wars have mundane back-stories, including the ones with the pretty myths, like America’s origin story.

    It’s simply war in the context of everything else. War isn’t source. War isn’t whim. Politics by other means, right? And politics cover everything mankind. The nature of the world is competition and war is the crest of competition. War is consequential cause and effect because the whole competition is consequential causes and effects.

    The normative international community is the best way we know how to tame the beast of mankind’s competitive nature. The error is not the wary handler’s. The error is by people, like this blog’s host, who mistake the normative international community as mankind’s nature and believe it is the switch that makes the tiger growl.

  272. leejcaroll,
    “Prairie, I did not bother to look up dem because I have no doubt they used voice votes but you made this partisan. Here is what the repubs did, as one example.”

    I did not intend in any way to make the conversation partisan (sorry, my tired brain could only remember what the DNC did to disenfranchise their members–it seemed particularly unfair because the guy doing the vote redid the voice vote like three times before going with the teleprompter cue or something https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cncbOEoQbOg). You are quite correct that the RNC was also guilty (I could only remember bits and pieces of the issue and was too tired to research the examples).

    “The repubs even in their own convention do not tolerate much dissent”
    Yes. Grrrr. So much for that Big Tent idea.

    “Witnesses say that Teleprompter scrolled “the ayes have it” even before the voice vote was taken. Also, video of the rule change vote at the Republican National Convention shows that the vote seemed to be a toss up with no clear winner and yet the ayes were immediately declared winners.”

    Thank you for jogging my memory. :) So, voice votes just really need to be done away with at every level. Though, do you suppose they’ll do a voice vote to determine whether or not that’ll happen–with the ‘nays’ having it on the teleprompter even before the vote is taken? 😉

  273. leejcaroll,
    The Slate article about the idea to repeal the 17th Amendment was interesting but did not address why I think it ought to be repealed. Actually, I thought I was the only one (until this thread) who thought it ought to be repealed–I didn’t know others had floated the idea!

    I think it ought to be repealed because it would give people at a local level more control over who is on the Hill. I am very put out with Pat Toomey and would like to elect someone else. However, I’d have to convince a huge number of people that don’t even live near me that Toomey should be replaced, many of whom vote on name recognition only. If I could convince people in my state legislator’s district that Toomey needed to go, then we’d have a better chance of effecting change. We could drive the 10 minutes to our state legislator’s office and have a conversation with him and he could work to pull Toomey back from the Hill. I could also converse with friends in a neighboring district, and if they, too, are put out with Toomey, they could do the same thing with their state legislator.

    As it stands now, I feel I have very little power to effect change with my senators and that is very unhealthy for our country because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to feel this way.

    While I understand Sen. Mitchell’s point regarding why he thought the 17th Amendment was a good idea, I’d like to read both sides of the historical argument. I’ll reread the Slate article again, but it’ll have to wait til morning at least. My daughter’s fair entries are due Thursday, so we have to make sure everything is completed and ready by tomorrow and I have beets to can on top of all this! :)

  274. PrairieRose, LOL, Yep, that’s exactly what they would do I would bet. (Voice vote to require rollcall votes so they can say the “nays” have it.)

  275. PrairieRose, I blame Toomey on Joe Sestak. He jumped the line. If Specter had won (and he would have had Sestak not taken votes from him) there was a better chance his coattails would have given us a dem governor. Had he been unable to fulfill his term Sestak might have been appointed.(my take on it). Corbett has made a mess of things, If he loses Toomey will end up getting tossed (I hope)
    As for the 17th It might well become even more partisan, the republican or dem dominated legislature putting in their own puppets federally. I prefer the people having a choice (as limited as they have become but still the social positions alone are important distinctions.)

  276. One thing the 17th amendment accomplished was make already corruptible politicians easier to target by lobbyists. Instead of having to influence the members in 50 state legislatures, they just packed up and a moved onto K Street.

    But by all means, keep pretending any semblance of the 10th amendment is of concern to the U.S. Senate.

  277. “That’s just how the sausage is made. All our wars have mundane back-stories, including the ones with the pretty myths, like America’s origin story.”

    Eric,
    You have previously alluded to the insignificance of cultural transformation as a precursor to the whole nation-building scheme:

    “The lead challenge to American liberal nation-building is not philosophical difference. Culture is not prerequisite. The lead challenge is the practical contest for the security and stability that’s the necessary foundation to build everything else. When we control basic security and stability, the rest follows.”

    This would mean of course you can dispel the “myth” of Salutary Neglect and its rather “mundane” influence on the overall quest for our independence.

    Surely the colonists were far more pragmatic than the predominant “back-story” would lead us to believe; because if their “lead challenge” was for “security and stability” then they need look no further than to the soldier being quartered in their home. Or is that another myth?

  278. John and Prairie Rose – it appears that the Democrats in Arizona are taking some of your advice and not putting their top candidates on the primary ballot where there would be a run-off with independents who can vote. They will be voting for the candidates in caucuses.

  279. Yes, but it happened with the best intentions. And those guys in Guantanamo. Maybe half of them did nothing and the other half we cannot try as we cannot divulge the evidence. But whichever half, we can’t let any go free, because after a few years in Guantanamo all they’d probably do if we release them is take up a gun against the US, even if they were pacifists before we locked them up. So, you see, there’s nothing we can do really. It’s all for your best.

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