“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

To accept lawful killing by the US Government, you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors. You have to believe they are properly identifying people who pose an imminent (or quasi-imminent) threat to national security and killing them by blowing people up from a distance. To accept this you then accept that we do not need a Fifth Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution.

Jacob Sullum|Feb. 4, 2013 11:29 pm REASON

The Justice Department white paper on "The Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa'ida or an Associated Force," noted earlier tonight by Mike Riggs, fills in the fine print of the license to kill claimed by President Obama in several ways, none of them reassuring. The main conclusion of the paper, which was obtained by NBC News, is that "it would be lawful for the United States to conduct a lethal operation outside the United States against a U.S. citizen who is a senior, operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force of al-Qa' ida without violating the Constitution or...federal statutes...under the following conditions: (1) an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; (2) capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and (3) the operation is conducted in a manner consistent with the four fundamental principles of the laws of war governing the use of force"—i.e., "necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity." Here are five points worth highlighting:
1. There may be other situations in which the president believes he has the authority to order the death of someone he perceives as an enemy. As the Justice Department repeatedly warns, "This paper does not attempt to determine the minimum requirements necessary to render such an operation lawful, nor does it assess what might be required to render a lethal operation against a U.S. citizen lawful in other circumstances."
2. The determination of whether someone is in fact "a senior, operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force" is made entirely within the executive branch, presumably by the same "informed, high-level official" who decides whether the target is an imminent threat.
3. The "imminent threat" determination is not really a distinct step in the process of authorizing summary execution by drone. "The condition that an operational leader present an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future," the paper explains. For example, "where the al-Qa'ida member in question has recently been involved in activities posing an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States, and there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities, that member's involvement in al-Qa'ida's continuing terrorist campaign against the United States would support the conclusion that the member poses an imminent threat." In other words, identifying someone as a current or past operational leader is pretty much the same as deciding he poses an imminent threat.
4. Although the requirement that capture be "infeasible" could be read as ruling out drone attacks within the United States or in friendly countries willing and able to assist in the apprehension of suspected terrorists, the paper identifies no geographic limit on lethal strikes against people deemed to be imminent threats. It explicitly rejects the notion that attacks should be limited to "the zone of active hostilities." (Hence the drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.) As for obtaining permission from the government of the country where the target is located, the paper says "a lethal operation in a foreign country would be consistent with international legal principles of sovereignty and neutrality if it were conducted, for example, with the consent of the host nation's government or after a determination that the host nation is unable or unwilling to suppress the threat posed by the individual targeted." In other words, firing missiles at a suspected terrorist is permissible under international law only if the host nation's government 1) agrees to allow the attack or 2) refuses to allow the attack.
5. Although permission from the host nation's government clearly is not required for a drone attack, the white paper says capture may be deemed "infeasible" if "the relevant country were to decline to consent to a capture operation." The president also may decide to kill rather than capture if he believes the latter would pose "undue risk to U.S. personnel." And lest you think that the determination of whether death by drone is justified would benefit from a second opinion, the white paper notes that "feasibility would be a highly fact-specific and potentially time-sensitive inquiry"—i.e., not the sort of thing anyone outside the executive branch should be second-guessing.
More generally, the white paper fleshes out the Obama administration's argument that U.S. citizens killed by drones are getting all the process that is appropriate in the circumstances; hence the Fifth Amendment, though implicated, is not violated. And since these targeted killings are lawful acts of self-defense, the Justice Department says, they do not violate the law against killing U.S. nationals in foreign countries or the executive order banning assassination. After all, "A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination." Duh,
The problem is that to accept this position, you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors. You have to believe they are properly defining and inerrantly identifying people who pose an imminent (or quasi-imminent) threat to national security and eliminating that threat through the only feasible means, which involves blowing people up from a distance. If mere mortals deserved that kind of faith, we would not need a Fifth Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution.


  1. “In full accordance with the law”, is probably the most dangerous utterance in the United States. Think not, consider how quickly the law was changed to allow a man to marry a man. How quickly laws were changed because of 911. How complicated and malleable our legal system is to our rulers and masters.

    How about those Super Bowl commercials?

    1. I was heartened that there were no ads for limousines, only pickup trucks.

  2. Rachel Maddow, no less. Was it Jenny that stated that we need an American Party?

  3. What an observation: Rather than closing Guantanamo, we simply allow the executive branch to kill at will. What other country besides the US and Israel kill at will with sanctioned government assassinations? There is a club to be proud of.

    1. If you were honest. Which you are not. You would find that Russia, China, France, England, India and all of the nations of the world kill anyone they choose without even having a panel to go over it.

    2. Russia and China are all too obvious.

      The arab countries too. Though of course the weighty factor here in making a judgement is who is getting killed and who is doing the killing.

      England is a little better, I would imagine. I would stick up for Sweden.

    3. Canada and New Zealand, maybe. Perhaps Australia.

    4. .

      As usual, the two sides of the argument that are prominent here.

      Take a look at the link I posted yesterday on renditions. The countries that took part with helping the US with the renditions is interesting, Canada, Sweden, Iran, 54 in all.

      Take a look at the countries not on the list, Israel, France, Russia, etc.


    5. Depends on how you consider "help". If memory serves Canada's help was exchanging information. Who the CIA then renders and where is a different matter.

    6. .

      From the Guardian article I linked to, it was indicated that Canada allowed the use of its air space for the renditions, and at least in one, case precipitated the rendition of one of its citizens to Syria by giving the US what turned out to be false information on the man.

      The man was renditioned out of New York to Syria where he was tortured for a year. As far as I recall, Canada made no requests for his release until the man's relatives began filing lawsuits. To its credit, Canada eventually admitted its guilt and paid reperations, something the US has never done.

      Is that the only case of Canada's direct involvement? Who knows.


    7. MI6 and 007, Duece.

      The French sinking the GreenPeace boat, killing a crew member.

      The Russians and the fella that died, radioactively, in London.

      Princess Di?

  4. We have a problem and we need more than a new political party. Up until now, so called "big government" was protecting citizens from “small government” as exemplified by the civil rights legislature and more recently by Lawrence v. Texas decision of the US Supreme Court. The threat of arbitrary behavior toward selected citizens because of unproven behavior, absent judicial review , using danger to the state as an excuse, is a very slippery slope.

    To no surprise to many here, most Americans will salute the killings.

    1. Jenny I suggest you move to the Gaza Strip, they treat your kind well..


    2. .

      Yea, well, suggestions are like assholes, everyones got one.

      "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

      Mark Twain


    3. I am sure Quirk was responding to WiO.

      Jenny - well said!

      I think it possible the current admin might allow some case to make it to SOCTUS to see how they'd rule...

      ...possible, but probable? I dunno.

    4. "What is Squat” is not exactly Mensa.

    5. Coming from you Jenny that is a compliment.

      No one that lives breathes and sleeps white power aryan nation crap like you would ever be confused for a MENSA member.


  5. CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries 'offered covert support'

    Report finds at least 54 countries co-operated with global kidnap, detention and torture operation mounted after 9/11 attacks

    Ian Cobain, Tuesday 5 February 2013 02.00 EST
    Jump to comments (482)

    John Brennan
    John Brennan, Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA. The report's release appears timed to coincide with his confirmation hearing. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    The full extent of the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme has been laid bare with the publication of a report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world's governments covertly offered support.

    A 213-page report compiled by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organisation, says that at least 54 countries co-operated with the global kidnap, detention and torture operation that was mounted after 9/11, many of them in Europe.

    So widespread and extensive was the participation of governments across the world that it is now clear the CIA could not have operated its programme without their support, according to the OSJI.

    "There is no doubt that high-ranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorising human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and the impunity that they have enjoyed to date remains a matter of significant concern," the report says.

    If the money is right, seems to be lots of co-operation out there. In such a world it begins to seem doubtful that 'a new political party' is up to the task of making things right tomorrow morning. Or that the next revolution but one is going to do much to change the human race. Even those that howl the highest about the Federal government often co-operate with them. Including myself. And yourself.

    There was lots of support for a little water up the nose here, under some circumstances, back in the day. And, it does seem reasonable enough under some circumstances. But everything is a slippery slope.

    I learned again yesterday that the government always is seeking more control. In a baby step towards redemption, I declined to sign yesterday with the Feds on a certain program that would have been somewhat financially beneficial in the short run, but the requirements down the line were too onerous, and 'in perpetuity' too. I didn't like the sounds of that 'in perpetuity' stuff, sounded like some kind of eternal flame over one's tomb. I learned others are making the same choice.

    Nearly everyone I spoke to yesterday was in a hell of a bad mood, for some reason. Even though the grip of old man winter is beginning to loosen a little.

  6. Senator Mendendez, for his part, seems to like his hookers young.

  7. Here you go, you read it I don't want to -

    Democrats selling voter data to retailers?
    posted at 10:01 am on February 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

    The Democratic/Retailer alliance.

  8. And, heh, 3-J's wife in hot water too

    February 5, 2013
    Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s wife target of federal probe
    Rick Moran

    Prosecutors can be lovable sometimes. It all depends.

    But where are the Inspector Generals when we need them most?

    Free Wampum Day calls.


    1. (everyone is urged to try and become a better Hobbit today)

  9. .

    Baltimore Looking For Safer City To Host Super Bowl Parade

    UPDATE: Ravens Super Bowl Parade Marred By Floatjacking

    BALTIMORE—Following the Ravens’ victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Baltimore officials confirmed Tuesday that they are currently seeking a safer, less crime-infested city to hold the team’s celebratory parade. “Though we are all excited about our Ravens bringing home the Lombardi Trophy, we must make the safety of parade attendees and the players our number-one priority—and that means keeping the celebration far away from Baltimore,” said mayor’s office spokeswoman Ganesha Martin, who noted that parade planners had proven unable to map out a suitable motorcade route within the city limits that wouldn’t lead the procession through urban neighborhoods notorious for poverty, drugs, and brutal gang violence. “We’ve been scouting out a number of cities in which fans can cheer on their victorious Ravens without putting themselves in immense danger, including Boston, New York, and Pittsburgh. Honestly, San Francisco is pretty high on our list right now, and doesn’t have nearly as many homicides.” City officials are reportedly resolved not to repeat the same mistake made in 2001, when the decision to hold the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade in Baltimore led to the near-fatal stabbing of Ravens head coach Brian Billick by a homeless crack addict 30 seconds into the ceremony...

    Baltimore Considers Chicago, D.C., and Detroit as Safer Venues for Superbowl Parade


  10. Seems, to me, that if one is running around in Yemen, with the 'Evil Doers' and the US launches a Maverick missile at the miscreants, there is no real problem.

    Now if the Federals expand the armed drone program, to Chi-town or Detroit, I'd have misgivings. Look how well deploying an armored Combat Engineering Vehicle in Waco didn't go.

  11. And if the Federals used the military to patrol the frontier, well ...

    I'd support that mission.

    1. Would you support the Feds grabbing a guy in one country and then sending them off to another 'friendly' country, like Syria, so they can interrogate them and supply those Feds with the info gleaned?

    2. What, you think their should be some judicial review before the selection is made? Or, maybe, that anyone but American citizens are suitable for this kind of treatment? But, obviously, you Gag, have no problem with rendition in general.

    3. You always have a strong opinion of what I think.

    4. and it is based on what you write:

      "Depends on the "guy."" Means just what I wrote - that there are some situations in which you don't have a problem with rendition. I'm trying to figure out what those situations are. Did you mis-represent what you believe in that 1:10:00 post of yours?

    5. .

      Well, spit it out Gag.

      You say it depends on the guy. Rat says, hey if someone is walking around in the neighborhood of a 'bad guy' that's their problem.

      Who decides who is the guy? Who decides who is the 'bad guy'? And that person, woman, kid, walking around in the neighborhood, just collateral damage? No reviews, no indictments, no warrants, no trials? What if the 'perp' just happens to have the same name as someone on the 'list'? We've seen that before. Just a matter of "Shit happens"?

      Supposedly, we went to war with Libya because Ghadaffi was killing his own people. But here, it's national policy and no one gives a shit.

      Someone made the point today that in general the public is willing to go along with this to get along. Why worry me with unpleasantness? It doesn't affect me and I already have enough problems.

      You made the point yourself, yesterday, on a different subject,

      Gag ReflexMon Feb 04, 10:35:00 PM EST
      Useful idiots, Deuce. We have been numbed into submission.

      Gag ReflexMon Feb 04, 10:36:00 PM EST
      Submissive useful idiots.

      Gag ReflexMon Feb 04, 10:39:00 PM EST
      Some of you will say, "not I" !!

      Yeah ok.

      Welcome, to the club.


    6. What do you think, did I misrepresent myself?

    7. I took you at your word but it seems you are backing off it. I have no idea what lurks in your dark heart.


    8. .

      You tell me.

      Your writing is usually succinct, going directly to your point. Its sparcity sometimes leaves some obvious follow-up questions.

      Your quotes from yesterday are clear regarding the nation as a whole but the answer to this morning's questions depends on whether you consider yourself part of that 'we' you were talking about.

      From you posts this morning, it appears you show at a minimum 'selective umbrage' on some important questions of both constitutionality and morality.

      I could be wrong, you tell me.


    9. See not only do you assume you know my opinion but also the shade of my heart.

    10. .


      This isn't that damn complicated. When asked if you supported rendition you responded,

      Depends on the "guy."

      When Ask asked for a clarification, you merely said,

      You always have a strong opinion of what I think.

      When I point out that your position might put you in with the same group you complained about yesterday, you ask

      What do you think, did I misrepresent myself?

      When I answer, you complain

      See not only do you assume you know my opinion but also the shade of my heart.

      Face it, since your initial declarative sentence in support of rendition, you have given us nothing, no clarification, no rationale, no justification, merely the impression that you are being picked on.

      If I have picked on you, please accept my apology.


  12. We have without the slightest doubt, created far more jihadis than we we have killed.

    1. Can you provide proof? Or are you just shoving your opinion out there?

    2. .

      IMO, we have created multiple times more jihadis than we have killed.


    3. I don’t believe the Israeli propaganda no matter how often you try to post it. The perma-victim role has worn thin. The classic example is the overstated reporting of rocket attacks on Israel. Vastly more ordinance has been fired from Israel at Gaza than the reverse every month for the last few years. You cannot separate the situation in Gaza from Israel’s relentless colonization, dispossession and degradation of the Palestinians on the West Bank, all of which have negative impact on the civilian population.

    4. jenny: I don’t believe the Israeli propaganda no matter how often you try to post it.

      Not to worry Jenny, you views are in stone no matter what the truth is....

      jenny - "The perma-victim role has worn thin."

      Jenny, you sound like a life long criminal.....

      Jenny - The classic example is the overstated reporting of rocket attacks on Israel.

      Israel reports the numbers of attacks, rockets and mortars, we are so very sorry if the billions spent on anti rocket shields work.

      Jenny - Vastly more ordinance has been fired from Israel at Gaza than the reverse every month for the last few years.

      So sorry that Israel fires back at those that shoot rockets at civilians. You make a compelling argument that the USA and Britain should not have used more bombs to fire back at Germany during ww2.. We must be fair after all

      Jenny: You cannot separate the situation in Gaza from Israel’s relentless colonization, dispossession and degradation of the Palestinians on the West Bank, all of which have negative impact on the civilian population.

      Wow, big words... Jenny, how is your colonization of America working out for ya? Forget about those Injuns..

      One standard for everyone else, no standards for the Israelis?

      Jenny, will you admit that Israel has as MUCH RIGHT to build on the west bank as the arabs? NO?

      Then will you admit that the Jews were thrown out of their homes in the 1920's in Hebron by the Arabs? NO?

      Where should all the Jews go? Gas Chambers? Or "just back to where they came from" and if that is the standard does it apply to all the arabs as well and while we are at it, you and your family?

      where did you come from Jenny?

      whose land are you occupying?

      or do you only care about a fake nationalistic people self named "palestinians"?

    5. So killing jihadis only makes them spawn more?


      talk about a defeatist mentality...

      Killing jihadists kills them.

      Now if you kill them and then arm, fund and appease the offspring? that grows the virus...

    6. Just how many of the 850,000 European and Russian settlers were thrown out of their homes in Hebron during the twenties? No one threw them out of Russia and there are no more gas chambers anywhere. Why would native Arabs want Eastern Europeans and Russians creating hostile settlements amongst them? Are you so stupid that you really believe such rot? What they are is opportunists and squatters.

    7. Jenny, they are not the issue.

      Let's talk about the 950,000 jews thrown out of their historic homes in arab world between 1948-1967.

      The thousands of Jews thrown out of their homes in Hebron lived there for thousands of years. As did the Jews of jerusalem, safed and numerous other towns and villages.

      You are all hung up on the russians that came?

      How about all the arabs that are settling all over europe, canada and the the USA? Is that ok?

      Just what land should the Israelis be allowed to keep according to your world view?

    8. Jenny do you think that the "rot" of eastern european and russian jews just simply arrived into the west bank?

      Or do you view all jews as squatters and opportunists?

      Tell us Jenny, what is the rightful lands of Israel????

    9. Immigration of Arabs into France, where they take up residency under French law is not analogous to Europeons immigrating to Palestine and creating a new country that seeks to exclude Palistinians.

    10. Jenny do you think that the "rot" of eastern european and russian jews just simply arrived into the west bank?

      Or do you view all jews as squatters and opportunists?

      Tell us Jenny, what is the rightful lands of Israel????

      Can't you understand what you read? She asked if you believe such “rot?” The term as used means “nonsense.” She did not call them “rot.”

    11. If you were honest. Which you are not. You would find that Russia, China, France, England, India and all of the nations of the world kill anyone they choose without even having a panel to go over it.

      An example of your honesty?

    12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. The 'Proof' would be in Anbarr Province in Iraq.
    Any part of Southern Afghanistan, in Pashtun country.

    Both are locales where US presence became a recruiting tool for the radicals.

    Though I'd submit that 'Hollywood & Wall Street' have done better at 'Creating' a rallying theme for the Islamoids than the US government.

    1. Ah, so you have no actual proof. Just conjecture...

      By your logic America should have created more Nazis than they killed...

      But you have Rat logic...

    2. There was the study done that found radical terrorist attacks increase during an occupation. Not conjecture, at all. US occupation of Iraq radicalized a large portion of the population.
      The differences between Iraq and Germany in 1946, well, the Germans were whipped puppies, the Iraqi, not so much.

      I just do not have access to the library to find the text of the study, but...
      Phones are better than nothing, but they're not the old tower of power hardwired into the web.

      Have a happy!

    3. nice excuses.

      But we "occupied" Japan too...

      were they whipped puppies also?

      or is this an example of excusing the reason to fit the explanation?

    4. desert ratTue Feb 05, 04:37:00 PM EST
      Immigration of Arabs into France, where they take up residency under French law is not analogous to Europeons immigrating to Palestine and creating a new country that seeks to exclude Palistinians.

      Israel never sought to create a nation that was arab free. That's why today Israel has a 20% population that is arab. 1.2 MILLION of them are citizens of the state of israel.

      Now the other arab occupied areas of the middle east? That make up the OTHER 899/900th? Almost to a man Jew free...

      Get your facts straight Rodentman...

    5. Israel and the proposed state of palestine were not created in a vacuum.

      Israel and the Jews had already been promised their rebirth in their homeland by the league of nations.

      from the river to the sea it was promised to the jews for their restoration.

      Now all of the area after the ottomans were beaten were up for grabs

      The arabs? conquering hoards that came in in the 7th century? they created 21 arab nations stolen from the other natives that lived there.

      Oil? helped create arabia, throwing throwing the hussein family out on their asses giving them iraq and transjordan...

      Israel has a right to it's lands.

      The UN stated in resolution 181 and 242 that the west bank were DISPUTED.

      arabs and jews settle into the west bank.

      if the jewish settlements are "occupation" then so are the arab settlements.

      that is being honest..

  14. Chill out, Q, I was just having some fun with my boy, Ash.
    Posting from an iPhone is exhausting.

    I agree with Rat for the most part regarding rendition, but disagree with you on Libya. The US went after the Col. Because he was accepting non US currency for his oil. That's a big no no.

    1. .

      That's fine, Gag.

      You've stated you case, one I disagree with, but at least it's clearly stated.

      No problem.

      Well, no problem as long as you realize that my apology was merely with tongue in cheek.



    2. Yeah, clearly in that he defers to Rat and Rat has said virtually nothing on the topic of rendition in this thread. Rat did say he supports the Feds executing folk outside US borders at will though.

    3. I have never said much about rendition, ash, anywhere.

      Sending foreigners to their home country ...
      Where the governments then treat those folk as suspect.

      54 Countries, all told, cooperating with us.
      With hundreds of occurances, if not more ...

      And only a couple of 'Horror Stories' of errors made. Where the misidentified were compensated, financially.

      Seems a useful tool in the War on Terror.
      If there is a War on Terror.

      The Authorization to Use Force still stands.
      The Authorization is wide ranging and empowers the President to target anyone that aids those that attacked US on 11SEP01.

      The 'Imminent Threat' is a Standard not mentioned in the Authorization. It is a self imposed limitation the Executive Branch has hobbled itself with. One assumes to protect the Civil Liberties of the miscreants.

    4. rat wrote:

      "Sending foreigners to their home country ...
      Where the governments then treat those folk as suspect."

      Is that true? They only send them to their "home" countries? I don't believe that is the case - the CIA sends suspects to countries that employ, ummmmm, more creative methods of interrogation than is allowed in the US. I don't think the CIA restricts the destination country only to the suspects "home" country.

    5. .

      54 countries cooperate with the US, including Iran, Pakistan, Syria, etc. It must be ok.

      Compensation rat? How do you compensate a person for being held and tortured for a year. Also, as far as I know the US has never even officially admitted to rendition much less paid 'compensation'. National security don't you know. Top secret.

      One question for both rat and Gag, purely informational. You have both indicated you have no problem with the US policy, Gag on 'targeted killing' and rat on rendition.

      I'm curious. Do you accept the fact that if the president says he has evidence that these people are terrorists and therefore doesn't need to go through the formalities of warrants, indictments, judicial review or trials, that he automatically does possess such information and that it is correct.


      Do you just not give a shit one way or the other.


    6. And if, for instance, that terrorist is a US he citizen it makes no difference?

  15. I do not know, ash, how the Executive branch handles where the suspect is sent. I had thought that it. Was 'Home'. That may be an incorrect data point, or not. It is my current understanding of how the program operates, an understanding that may be ill informed.

    Just ONE reason I do not comment on the subject.

  16. The Congressional Budget Office's just-released economic forecast for 2013 is dispiriting, to say the least. The GDP is expected to grow by only 1.4%, the unemployment rate will "stay near" 8%, the deficit will reach $845 billion, and ObamaCare will cost 7 million their health insurance.

    The CBO says things will improve after that, but after three years of being told by the government and its media that "prosperity is just around the corner," you'll just have to pardon my cynicism. The media, however, will talk only about how much better the CBO says things will get, because that's what Obama would want them to do.

    What these numbers really mean is that millions of Americans are about to face yet another year of chronic joblessness and economic hardship -- which just didn’t have to happen. Reagan inherited an economy in much worse shape than the one Obama inherited. But Reagan's tax and regulatory policies got out of the way of the economy, and as a result, the engine of American ingenuity was unleashed and the economy exploded. Millions of jobs were created, millions were lifted out of poverty into the middle class, and poverty decreased.

    Obama, however, decided he knew better than history and did the exact opposite of what Reagan did. New taxes, ObamaCare, untold numbers of regulations, and an overall Narrative that toxified success, individualism, and the pursuit of prosperity.

    And just look at us now.

    After four years of Obamanomics and heading into five, poverty is up, the GDP is in negative territory, incomes are falling, and the deficit, according to the non-partisan GAO, is unsustainable.

    And yet, just this Sunday, there was Obama on “60 Minutes” intentionally crippling the economy with more uncertainty with talk of new tax increases.

    1. tax increases AND spending cuts, oh my! - crippling a way of life dependent upon how much the Feds give and take.

  17. Last week's confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel made clear it's past time to retire that hackneyed phrase "World's Greatest Deliberative Body." Eight hours of questioning by the Senate Armed Services Committee allowed plenty of bloviating, grandstanding and browbeating—but, apparently, not enough time for serious deliberation over key policy questions facing any new Pentagon chief.

    On Thursday, tallied up the issues the committee prioritized. In a hearing transcript running to nearly 60,000 words, the word “drone” doesn’t show up even once.

    Meanwhile, Saturday's Washington Post reports, the drone war is expanding across Africa, turning "kill lists and drone bases into fixtures for a fight expected to last another decade or more. The U.S. military recently disclosed plans to build a drone base in the west African country of Niger to conduct surveillance flights over neighboring Mali,” and it hasn’t ruled out using armed drones.

    1. .

      I personally could care less if Hagel is appointed SOD or not. Based on his performance in the senate nomination hearing, perhaps he is too stupid to run DOD. Or given the fact that he didn’t stand up to neocon wig jobs like McCain, Graham, and Inhofe, perhaps he is too craven to stand up for his own convictions.

      That being said, the point make in the quote Deuce put up above is a good one. The roles and responsibilities of the SOD are spelled out online by the Congressional Publishing Office within the U.S. Code. If you read the job description, you will see that the SOD is basically head administrator of the military. He is not the SOS, he doesn’t set foreign policy, he tries to assure the military will be able to support any job they are asked to do in support of the foreign policy that is set. Given the budgetary and other constraints he is presented with, if he sees something that will prevent him from carrying out that basic role, he has the responsibility to make that known to the President and Congress.

      It appears many sheeple, including some here, have bought into the political charade put on by the GOP during the hearing. As I recall, there were about three different streams here, stretching over days, where the bulk of the posts were put up by a couple of posters quoting the pathetic mewlings of the GOP wig jobs and the conservative posts that egged them on.

      The point on the drones above is also picked up over at Buzzfeed where they did a count on the questions that the committee asked of Hagel. Instead of asking questions on issues Hagel will actually be responsible for as SOD, such as

      Plans for adjusting to a reduced budget.
      The role of women in combat.
      The growing amount of military suicides.
      The military pivot to Asia.
      Capabilities and challenges.

      He was instead asked about factors not included in his job description.

      For instance, Buzzfeed counted 166 questions about Israel—an important ally, but more important than every other ally combined? There were 144 questions about Iran. No one wants Tehran to build nukes, but U.S. intelligence does not believe Iran has an active weapons program and there is no evidence that the Iranian government cannot be deterred, as were Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. Surely there are options short of war. And is Iran that much more important than Afghanistan, where Americans continue to die, which rated only 20 questions? Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) fixated on Iraq, an invasion that should never have been launched, irrespective of the impact of the “surge.” And from which, if he hadn’t noticed, U.S. troops have been withdrawn.

      Nothing else received serious attention at the hearings, not China, not budget cuts, not North Korea, not the continued draw down of NATO forces, not Russia, not Venezuela, not the growing reliance on drones, zip, nada, nothing.

      Politicle kabuki for the mal-informed.


  18. We didn't shoot any jihadis in Egypt and now they run the place. So this shooting jihadis and the numbers of them is a tricky question. Perhaps we should have supported Mubarak. But then we forget, Barky will side with muslims. That is what he said, and did too, sided with the MB. Now we are giving tanks and planes to the jihadis, which is really really dumb.

  19. Everyone should go to their city council meetings and demand their city be a drone free zone.

  20. Here is one inevitable result of our stupid policies -

    Ahmadinejad Visits Egypt, Signaling Realignment

    1. .

      He also plans on visiting outer space.

      Be afraid. Be very afraid.


    2. When is he arriving at your place?

  21. Not shooting jihadis hasn't helped the Danes -

    Failed Assassination Attempt Against Lars Hedegaard
    February 5, 2013

    The intrepid, erudite journalist/historian Lars Hedegaard, head of the Danish Free Press Society survived an apparent assasination attempt by a jihadi.

  22. The first ray of hope for an ambitious and hard-core Muslim Brotherhood leader by the name of Mohamed Morsi to assume that his hour had struck emerged when it became clear that the United States has thrown its loyal ally, Hosni Mubarak, under the bus.

    Georgy Gounev teaches and lectures on the ideology and strategy of radical Islam in Southern California. He is author of the book entitled "The Dark Side of the Crescent Moon" that explores the international impact of the Islamization of Europe. In addition, other articles by Gounev can be found in the American Thinker, Gatestone and ""

  23. Desert Rat Says:

    Europeons immigrating to Palestine and creating a new country that seeks to exclude Palistinians.

    Jenny Says:

    Why would native Arabs want Eastern Europeans and Russians creating hostile settlements amongst them?

    So this begs the question.

    What borders do Rat and Jenny and Deuce find acceptable for a Jewish State?

  24. Do Jews have a right to occupy The western wall?

    Or for that matter should Jews have the right to ANY of their holy sites?

    Or is that right reserved for Arabs Christians and Moslems only?

    Should the 21 nations of the arab occupied middle east be allowed to be Juden Free? And if so, does this give Israel the right to drive out of Israel 1.2 million arab citizens of the state of israel?

  25. It's clear that the Rat pack doesn't think Israel has a right to be.

    That is being honest.

  26. A Montana Highway Patrolman pulled a car over on I-15 about 40 miles south of Great Falls recently. When the Patrolman asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver answered that he was a Shrine Clown with a specialty as a magician and juggler and he was on his way to Spokane to do a show that night at the Shrine Hospital and didn't want to be late. The Patrolman told the driver he was fascinated by juggling, and if the driver would do a little juggling for him that he wouldn't give him a ticket.

    The driver told the Patrolman that he had sent all of his equipment on ahead and didn't have anything to juggle.

    The Patrolman told him that he had some flares in the trunk of his patrol car and asked if he could juggle them. The juggler stated that he could, lit or unlit, so the Patrolman got three flares, lit them, and handed them to the juggler.

    While the man was doing his juggling act, a car pulled in behind the patrol car. A drunk good old boy from Havre, who had spent the day visiting various establishments on the way to Butte, got out and watched the performance briefly. He then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and got in.

    The Patrolman observed him doing this and went over to the patrol car, opened the door and asked the rather "well oiled" fellow what he thought he was doing.

    The drunk replied, "You might as well take me to jail, 'cuz there's no way in Hell I can pass that test."

  27. I have never discussed ...

    Israel's right to exist...

    It is a subject of no impotance.
    A discussion with no substance.

    Israel is a political construct of Europeon guilt and military superiority.

    It will exist as long as the Europeons can maintain that superiority.

    But no country can claim a 'Right' to existance.
    Countries are temporary things.

    1. Thanks for not answering the question, I take your non-answer as no you do not believe in Israel's right to be a nation.

      Your official membership card in the international israel haters society is on it's way.

    2. The right honorable gentleman from Arizona has spoken.

      It's all a bunch of meaningless bull shit, but, he has spoken.

  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  29. .

    From WaPo

    President Obama’s plan to install his counterterrorism adviser as director of the CIA has opened the administration to new scrutiny over the targeted-killing policies it has fought to keep hidden from the public, as well as the existence of a previously secret drone base in Saudi Arabia.

    The administration’s refusal to provide details about one of the most controversial aspects of its drone campaign — strikes on U.S. citizens abroad — has emerged as a potential source of opposition to CIA nominee John O. Brennan, who faces a Senate confirmation hearing scheduled for Thursday...


  30. Paddy phones an ambulance because his mate's been hit by a car.

    Paddy: 'Get an ambulance here quick, he's bleeding from his nose and ears and I tink both his legs are broken.'
    Operator: 'What is your location sir?'

    Paddy: 'Outside number 28 Eucalyptus Street .'
    Operator: 'How do you spell that sir?'
    Silence.... (heavy breathing) and after a minute.
    Operator: 'Are you there sir?'

    More heavy breathing and another minute later.

    Operator: 'Sir, can you hear me?'
    This goes on for another few minutes until....
    Operator: 'Sir, please answer me. Can you still hear me?'

    Paddy: 'Yes, sorry bout dat... I couldn't spell eucalyptus, so I just
    dragged him round to number 3 Oak Street .'


      Posted here by The Cleaning Lady in the ago.

  31. .

    The Drone Wars.

    The rat says people shouldn't be hanging around the 'bad guys'.

    From the NYT

    SANA, Yemen — Late last August, a 40-year-old cleric named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber stood up to deliver a speech denouncing Al Qaeda in a village mosque in far eastern Yemen.

    It was a brave gesture by a father of seven who commanded great respect in the community, and it did not go unnoticed. Two days later, three members of Al Qaeda came to the mosque in the tiny village of Khashamir after 9 p.m., saying they merely wanted to talk. Mr. Jaber agreed to meet them, bringing his cousin Waleed Abdullah, a police officer, for protection.

    As the five men stood arguing by a cluster of palm trees, a volley of remotely operated American missiles shot down from the night sky and incinerated them all, along with a camel that was tied up nearby.

    The killing of Mr. Jaber, just the kind of leader most crucial to American efforts to eradicate Al Qaeda, was a reminder of the inherent hazards of the quasi-secret campaign of targeted killings that the United States is waging against suspected militants not just in Yemen but also in Pakistan and Somalia...


  32. A magnitude-8 earthquake struck Wednesday off the Solomon Islands, generating a tsunami that damaged houses along the coasts near the epicenter, U.S. watch centers said.


    A magnitude-6.3 quake had struck minutes earlier in the same area. There were at least two aftershocks measuring above magnitude-6 following the larger quake.

  33. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The people of the Falklands are British and have chosen to be so. They remain free to choose their own futures, both politically and economically, and have a right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter.


    "The UK has administered the Falklands peacefully and effectively for nearly 180 years.

    "We want to have a full and friendly relationship with Argentina, as neighbours in the South Atlantic and as responsible fellow members of the G20, but we will not negotiate away the human and political rights of the Falkland Islands' people against their will or behind their backs."

  34. The military is poised to extend some benefits to the same-sex partners of service members, U.S. officials said Tuesday, about 16 months after the Pentagon repealed its ban on openly gay service.

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not made a final decision on which benefits will be included, the officials said, but the Pentagon is likely to allow same-sex partners to have access to the on-base commissary and other military subsidized stores, as well as some health and welfare programs.

  35. Jay Carney, the chief spokesman for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, wants you to know that President Barack Obama's controversial use of drones isn't just sort-of borderline defensible. Nope:

    "These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise," Carney said. The government takes "great care" when deciding where and whom to strike, he added.


    And in case you want to rest easy that Obama has top men on it, here's a summary of the process written by NBC News' Michael Isikoff, who leaked the confidential memo the administration didn't want you to see:

    [T]he confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a more expansive definition of self-defense or imminent attack than described by Brennan or Holder in their public speeches. It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.

  36. After Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was shot last Saturday, contacted sources in the Texas military and found out that many units statewide were warned about a possible shooting. Members of the Texas National Guard, State Guard, Air National Guard and regular U.S. Army received security briefings related to possible upcoming shootings or other attacks against active duty members, reservists or veterans.


    Although the briefings did not specify any particular threat, the troops were told to be on high alert against shooters, kidnappers, or other attackers. Despite the current security risks facing the military, the Texas National Guard and State Guard troops have recently been ordered to stop carrying concealed weapons while wearing the uniform.

  37. There was speculation that the pace of their advance was being constrained by the fact that the retreating rebels are holding western hostages, including eight who are French. Fears have mounted about their safety as the French intervention has moved closer to where several of them are thought to be held.

    In a sign of normalcy, the mayor's office of Timbuktu will open for the first time in 10 months on Wednesday, the city's mayor, Ousmane Halle said.

    "The city is now secure. There are ongoing patrols by French and Malian soldiers, and we no longer have any reason to fear an attack by the Islamists," he said.

  38. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  39. Let's cut to the chase here with all this drone talk and ask what it all really means as a practical matter. Does it mean Barky can target Ash up there in Canada?

    If that is a possibility, the White House needs to put up an on-line suggestion box "Citizen Participation: Drone Attack Suggestion Box, Great White Operations Area" where those of us so inclined could park a name or two.


    Not to make light of any of this. I've been for impeaching Barky since day one.