well past jaded

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well past jaded

Postby the_orf » April 12th, 2010, 2:56 pm

Jeff wrote:
"Man, I can't wait to be jaded by Obama."


Well, sir, here is your chance:
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn ... ssinations

Personally, I was already jaded to the possibility that executive authority and the advice of all the lifetime miliary and counter-intelligence staffers in the closed-circuit of the presidency would alter somebody's previously-stated viewpoints on how to proceed in certain scenarios.

But this? Claiming powers and issuing orders that are specifically prohibited by the Constitution, something which he railed about during his campaigns? And then, to use the same claims of executive power to authorize the assassination of a U.S. citizen--without going through any trial or due process? I'm beyond jaded. I'm freaking appalled. I was appalled when the previous administration claimed they could eavesdrop on anyone and everyone, and now this administartion is going even further.

Regardless of your opinions on health insurance reform, TARP, nuclear arms reduction treaties, Pell grant funding, or whatever else Obama has done, this executive order should outrage you. Fans of the Constitution and civil liberties should be up in arms about this. Hell, even MSNBC's Keith Olberman, who's about as big a left-wing cheerleader as there is, called out Obama on this. His story on it (aired last Thursday, April 8) can be found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#36241433

Ugh.

Ick.
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Postby kbadr » April 12th, 2010, 3:06 pm

Dupe Process.

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Postby Jeff » April 12th, 2010, 3:39 pm

Thank you for the update, Orf. Reading this makes me want to throw up tears. I can only find solace in that the assassination has not taken place yet, and that Obama's body count isn't nearly as large as Bush's yet, and that it's still much nicer to listen to Obama's voice than to that of the previous president.
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Postby York99 » April 14th, 2010, 10:21 am

Allow me to play Devil's Advocate.

Before jumping to conclusions on this, I'd like to hear the White House's explanation. That article seems to be very one-sided.

From one of the updates:
Generally, guilt is determined by having a trial where the evidence is presented and the accused has an opportunity to defend himself -- not by putting blind authoritarian faith in the unchecked accusations of government leaders,


The key word is "generally." The difference is that we can be specific with this guy. And SPECIFICALLY, we have intelligence that this guy IS bad... just like bin Laden. I imagine we have an assassination order on Osama bin Laden and few people would care if he was "given a death sentence" without a proper trial. I sure as shit wouldn't have cared if that soldier or Marine who found Saddam Hussein in his hole shot him right there and dragged him through town square.

The only difference in the two is that this guys was born in America. To be fair, that's a HUGE difference. But if we have good intel that this guy is recruiting and organizing for an enemy of the United States and that capturing him to put him on trial might not be feasible where killing him is, then there is a good argument for treating him like any other dangerous enemy and getting rid of the threat.

Just a thought. "Journalism" is so slanted and sensationalized and under-researched now that you really need to consider multiple sources* from multiple angles before jumping to an opinion.

*And Salon.com plus Keith Olbermann does NOT constitute multiple sources, in my opinion.
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Postby Curtis + computer » April 14th, 2010, 2:55 pm

York99 wrote:The key word is "generally." The difference is that we can be specific with this guy. And SPECIFICALLY, we have intelligence that this guy IS bad... just like bin Laden. I imagine we have an assassination order on Osama bin Laden and few people would care if he was "given a death sentence" without a proper trial. I sure as shit wouldn't have cared if that soldier or Marine who found Saddam Hussein in his hole shot him right there and dragged him through town square.


The problem is that that isn't how executive authority works. Either the President has the authority to order the assassination without trial of an American citizen or he doesn't. Legally, it makes no sense to say "The President doesn't have the power to do this unless he's REALLY SUPER DUPER SURE that the person being assassinated totally deserves it", no more than it makes sense to say "All citizens have a right to a trial unless we're really really confident that they don't deserve it."

This is even more problematic when the order is being placed in the context of a somewhat nebulous "War on Terror" (or "Global Struggle Against Extremism", or whatever you prefer) that has no defined end. Also, expansions of executive authority tend to persist. If we grant Obama this latitude, we are also granting it to all future presidents. Not a pleasant thought.

Even if you believe the President should have this power in some limited way, there should be SOME KIND of legal framework in place. Some way of acquiring a "warrant" for this kind of action, as it were, but even that makes me feel kind of queasy.

You or I may not have lost much sleep if the soldier who found Saddam killed him right there, but him being put on trial for his crimes was a much better outcome, even if the execution itself ending up being a fiasco.

Another thing: There is tendency to greatly overstate the reliability of our intelligence. Remember how solid our intelligence was about WMD in Iraq? Think about how many detainees at Guatanamo have been proven to be innocent, who have just been the victims of informants who were acting on some vendetta or chasing reward money. Even in the world of national security professionals, there is a lot that is unknown, a lot of ways to make mistakes, and an over-reliance on hearsay.

Finally, let's be clear: The issue here has nothing to do with what happens on the battlefield. If Anwar al-Awlaki is out there shooting at our soldiers or if he is shacked up in a terrorist camp that is targeted for bombing, he will be killed and his killing will be considered legal.

(P.S. I'm not naive enough to think that this kind of thing has never happened before. Our government has certainly been involved in illegal assassinations before, though not necessarily of US citizens. The difference is no one ever tried to make the argument that they these actions were LEGAL. The law is an essential curb on behavior; the executive who ordered an illegal assassination would have to be so sure of it that he was willing to face the law over it some day.)
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Postby Curtis + computer » April 14th, 2010, 3:09 pm

York99 wrote:*And Salon.com plus Keith Olbermann does NOT constitute multiple sources, in my opinion.


Also, I would like you to cite specific objections to Greenwald's reasoning and evidence in the article, rather than saying that he is immediately suspect because he does not hide his opinion on the issue.

You may say that he has a "slant" (and that's true, as we all have our "slants"), but I would simply say that he has a point that he is trying to argue and is presenting the evidence in support of his point. You may disagree with his point, but you are essentially saying that simply BECAUSE he is trying to make a point, because he is not "disinterested" (how exactly could you be a disinterested party when the issue is so significant?), his evidence and reasoning is automatically suspect.

This is how people fall into the trap of, "I'm a centrist. I read what The Nation has to say about an issue, then I read what the National Review says about it, and then I split the difference and assume the truth is somewhere in the middle." This is how people end up being CNN, in other words. Sometimes -- most of the time, even -- the truth is not in "the middle". Sometimes one person is right and the other person is wrong.
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Postby LuBu McJohnson » April 14th, 2010, 3:46 pm

Curtis + computer wrote:Sometimes one person is right and the other person is wrong.


Indeed. And if I may add some historical context...

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Postby York99 » April 14th, 2010, 4:45 pm

First, I agree with everything said here and with all doubts as to the legality of this presidential order.

My point is that it doesn't seem that we have enough information. I'm no expert, but I think that we can kill anyone who presents a clear and present danger to the security of the United States or Americans or certain American interests abroad.

Is this the case? Maybe. Maybe not.

Curtis + computer wrote: I would like you to cite specific objections to Greenwald's reasoning and evidence in the article, rather than saying that he is immediately suspect because he does not hide his opinion on the issue.


My specific objection is not what he's written, but what he's left out -- namely a response from the White House or the DOJ (save for a single word, "right," with almost no context).

There is nothing wrong with opinion journalism. I have the news running pretty much all day. CNN is boring and Fox is past the point of absurd. I watch MSNBC because it's entertaining and I can usually spot when they're not being fair and balanced (to borrow a phrase).

But I also read and watch for opinions counter to my own and those presented on MSNBC. I don't think anyone should split the difference. But they should weigh the arguments and then use their own judgment in forming an opinion... and people should be open to changing their opinions, as well.
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Postby the_orf » April 15th, 2010, 8:40 pm

York99 wrote:I'm no expert, but I think that we can kill anyone who presents a clear and present danger to the security of the United States or Americans or certain American interests abroad.

Is this the case? Maybe. Maybe not.


Ummm... I'm going to have to go with "Not."

Our laws define only two ways of determining if one is guility of presenting a clear and present danger: (1) a courtroom trial; (2) immediate and imminent physical threat (e.g., somebody is shooting at you). If you can prove your case in one of those two ways, then you can kill 'em, either by a court-approved execution or by a self-defense return of fire. But that's pretty much it.

Just because you know somebody wants to do you harm, that doesn't mean that they have or they will. And even if you think you've got undeniable evidence that the bad guys are really, really bad, it's still up to the judicial branch to decide the matter---not the executive or legislative.
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Postby Brian Boyko » April 15th, 2010, 10:31 pm

Well, you can always be so jaded that you pack up and move to another freakin' country.

Like, you know, someone y'all know did.

(Seriously, every single one of you should move to Wellington and keep me company.)
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Postby mpbrockman » April 16th, 2010, 7:39 am

Out of curiosity, has anyone here read the Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 04121.html

or the NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world ... yemen.html

or even the rather liberal Guardian article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8606584.stm

?

While acknowledging the targeting of an American citizen as "extraordinary", none of these articles express much in the way of surprise or condemnation.

Having watched the Olbermann interview I find it interesting that near the end when Olbermann decides to play devil's advocate for a moment, he and the former CIA man seem to agree that the assassination itself isn't the problem. Rather it's the reliability of the intelligence leading up to the assassination. Certainly a valid point, but hardly a condemnation of targeted assassination as a matter of principle.

I also found myself a little annoyed trying to follow the links posted in Greenwald's article. They were often circular (leading back to Greenwald's own previous writings) rather than to the external citations I expected. In two cases where they did lead elsewhere; one was to an interview with Al Awlaki's father speaking for himself (not for his son as Greenwald's article implies), saying that his son would never do such things "he's a good American boy" - and the other was to an Al-Jazeera interview with Al-Awlaki in which he voices his support for Nidal Malik Hasan and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Here is a link to the Al Jazeera interview: http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010 ... 76870.html

Food for thought - at what point does the accidental nature of one's place of birth become superseded by the decisions and actions of one's later years?
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Postby Jeff » April 16th, 2010, 7:36 pm

mpbrockman wrote:Out of curiosity, has anyone here read the Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 04121.html

or the NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world ... yemen.html

or even the rather liberal Guardian article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8606584.stm

Aulaqi corresponded by e-mail with Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, Tex., last year. Aulaqi is not believed to have helped plan the attack, although he praised Hasan in an online posting for carrying it out.

I dunno. I dunno. I've been thinking about this, especially because the start of this thread quotes something I said a while back.

I totally get the principle at stake here. And I more-or-less believe in the virtue of American justice being the task of the American judicial system alone. And I fear what the creation of lawful exceptions to that principle can lead to-- like, more and more exceptions, to name an obvious example.

But then I look at the italicized item about Awlaki above, and I think, you know, fuck that guy, praising a disturbed military doctor for murdering a bunch of people at Fort Hood. If that's only one of several strikes against the guy, then go ahead and take him out.

Then I think, well, I'm a pacifist and I'm completely against the death penalty, so what am I doing considering that this authority for assassination is acceptable? I'm against the war in Iraq, I'm against the war in Afghanistan, and I don't trust the wagers of the ridiculously-named War on Terror. I think if we spent all those trillions of war dollars on feeding Afghanis and being so friendly to our enemies as to make attacks against us seem reprehensible to all humans with half a head of compassion on their shoulders, we'd get a lot farther down the road to peace in the Middle East.

Then I think, well, that's a bunch of fanciful idealism that doesn't stand a chance in the era of humanity in which we currently live, so if we're going to fight a war, then let's do it right.

Then I remember, ya know, the more people we threaten and kill, the more ugly we become, even if the people we're killing are supposedly the bad guys, and to make matters worse, the killing of innocent civilians is proven inevitable, and has occurred in the many tens of thousands, since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

So I dunno, y'all. There are always awful, atrocious, despicable events occurring in this miserable, backwards world. And there are beautiful and joyous and loving and wonderful things, too, or else nobody would want to stick around.

Obama just declared that, as part of his health care reform, gay partners of health care recipients are entitled to their partners' health insurance just as equally as that of traditional spouses. That's a really sweet step forward for us. And although a number of my political views may be different from his, I'm not ready to be jaded by President Obama yet.
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Postby York99 » April 19th, 2010, 11:13 am

the_orf wrote:
York99 wrote:I'm no expert, but I think that we can kill anyone who presents a clear and present danger to the security of the United States or Americans or certain American interests abroad.

Is this the case? Maybe. Maybe not.


Ummm... I'm going to have to go with "Not."


The question I was asking with the "Is this the case?" was 'Is this guy posing a clear and present danger?' and not asking about the legality.

Orf, you responded that "immediate and imminent physical threat" was justification.

My point remains that we don't know.

Maybe he has hostages. Maybe he has control over some big weapons and has them pointed at a US Embassy. Maybe the DOJ has found that "immediate and imminent physical threat" can be applied more broadly than "somebody shooting at you."

Within this thread, conclusions have been jumped to based on one article by one guy at one news source (that tends to lean in one particular direction) with quotes from other articles with not much context.

I'm not making an argument pro or con for the assassination. I'm making an argument against jumping to conclusions. Just as a legal court hears both sides, the court of public opinion should be open to hearing all the facts.
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Postby mpbrockman » April 19th, 2010, 2:57 pm

Interesting twist. The site revolutionmuslim . com has posted a message to Trey Parker and Matt Stone after the last episode of South Park featuring Muhammad in a bear suit. The posting warns the Matt and Trey will "end up like "Theo van Gogh". Those of you not familiar with the story of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh may wish to become so. Just wiki him and maybe read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel".

There's a video running on this site featuring the faces of Trey, Matt, Theo and others. It also lists the addresses of Comedy Central and South Park offices. The voiceover? A sermon from al-Awlaki concerning the "rightness" of killing those who would demean the prophet.

Those of you who don't want to check out the Islamic website (I can understand if you don't want that in your browser history) can find the CNN rundown here:

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/19/se ... rk/?hpt=T2

I'm keeping my eyes and ears open on this one and what I'm finding isn't pretty. Justin - how much information will it take for you to decide removing this guy from the planet would be a boon? Orf, when do you think he will have abrogated the responsibility inherent in free speech.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » April 19th, 2010, 3:34 pm

i love the irony that they're playing EXACTLY into South Park's hands. i'd love to see Matt and Trey take on this guy directly. satire does more to undermine, demean and destroy guys like this than bullets ever could. Obama should form an elite lampoon hit squad. :p
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