Fran Townsend is on CNN trotting out a new line of bullshit, and that is releasing the memos was bad because now the CIA will no longer be trusted by our allies because we can’t keep a secret. These people have no shame.
Also, I will note that for whatever reason, the libertarians over at Reason have multiple hissy fits up about the DHS report from the other day, several stories up about pirates, a couple about pot, and the only mention of the real issue of the day (one would think) for libertarians, the OLC memos detailing how we tortured people, is in a link round-up.
Because you have to have priorities, you know. They do manage to execute a near flawless Cavuto Mark in their current top story, though: “Obama on Warrantless Surveillance: As Bad As Bush? Worse?”
Remember- they aren’t saying he is as bad as Bush or worse, they are just asking! I can’t believe I read Reason for all those years. What a joke.
I will defend them on one account- if you consider the number of people tortured because of those memos and the number of people impinged upon by our immoral and insane drug laws, there is a much larger net loss of liberty (if you could neatly quantify liberty) by our marijuana laws. It isn’t even close. So I do give those guys credit for never wavering on that front. But jeeebus. Torture. No thoughts in the past 48 hours on the memos?
*** Update ***
Can someone come up with an angle on how the OLC memos prove Obama is worse than Bush? Then maybe we can get the folks at Reason to notice the memos.
Blake Himsl Hunter
I can’t believe I used to have a subscription to REASON!
I can believe I’ve never been to that site (Reason). Hell, I’ve never even heard of it before today.
As for the meme on Obama’s helping the terrorist by releasing the memos, it’s just part of the bigger mean–Obama is soft on terror. This, in itself, is part of the overarching meme–that Democrats are pussies.
Nothing to see here.
They should change their name to "Reason?"
I think the average Libertarian is so used to voting Republican that they’re just reflexively supportive of the Bush Administration.
Heaven knows our allies never had reason to distrust the CIA before.
Reason has been crappy for a long time. In fact, I don’t know if they were ever really very good. They’re always focusing on some small annoyance, meanwhile the Gov is driving a Mack truck (do they have Mack trucks anymore?) over the Bill of Rights. Ho hum.
Just came away from a work-related chatboard where the "libertarians" there are defending torture. Please tell me this really is a small percentage of our population, because otherwise this country is not worth living in anymore. Seriously. I just can’t get my head around the fact that ordinary Americans can actually think that torture is a good thing.
Damn you all. I’m going to have to clink the link and see this site for myself now, aren’t I?
Ok. Read one article on the ‘culture wars’ of gay marriage and that was enough.
In addition, they are way too fond of making their titles into questions. No thank you.
I sometimes like to read the James Randi forums, but I can’t post there for very long because I invariably run up against someone who claims to be Libertarian, defending torture.
How can I argue with a psychopath on whether or not torture is wrong? Either you have a moral compass or you don’t. I can argue with you if you think taxes are too high, or you don’t like gay marriage. But emulating Pol Pot is something that somehow seemed out of bounds and I just don’t know how to debate with them without wanting to rip their eyes out of their heads (figuratively).
joe from Lowell
They used to be better. Hit & Run used to win awards for being the best political site on the web.
I don’t know what happened, but it’s really turned into a joke. Was it Tim Cavanaugh leaving? I tend to think not, because Matt Welch is a pretty smart, interesting writer. I really think something about Barack Obama and the 2008 election drove them around the bend.
Hey, at least you only read it. I used to be a frequent commenter.
@joe from Lowell: Matt Welch, when he is on his game, is awesome. All of them have moments when they are excellent. But you combine them, sheesh.
I just have no idea what happened over there. It is like they have turned Hit and Run into the written equivalent of a fart combined with that Republican self-assured smirk we all know and love (the one they break out when they are 100% wrong about something but really think their talking point is clever- see Joe Scarborough).
I saw on HuffPo that Ron Paul is criticizing Obama for not prosecuting, but seriously why doesn’t Ron Paul rally support in the Senate for a bipartisan torture commission? He actually has grassroots influence and could help sway public opinion. But I have no doubt Paul is unwilling to act, like most Congressional Democrats. Congress is much better placed to launch investigations without it seeming like a political vendetta. But I think it is obvious they are relieved Obama does not appear gung-ho for prosecutions, and probably encouraged this behind-the-scenes. None of these people want to expend any political capital either.
Libertarians are people who have no idea what the hell they’re saying and proudly shout it from the top of every intertube at the tops of their electronic lungs.
@Lola: For starters, Ron Paul is not a Senator.
It’s okay, I used to think Megan McCardle occasionally had good things to say. I even said as much in her comments sector.
"Whew", I’m glad I finally admitted that. I imagine this is what it must feel like to finally admit you’re an alcoholic…
For me that happened sometime in the early 90’s.
As an ally, you can trust the CIA to change your democracy into a dictatorship.
I know it’s been a long week when I realize I can’t even spell my own screen name correctly.
I assume this is because Weigel was the glue that held their reasonability together. Haven’t seen anything reasonable at their blog since Weigel went to the Independent.
Watching the News Hour right now: Why is everyone still using euphemisms for the t word, harsh interrogation techniques and the like? Why is our media so wishy washy?
From what my own sources tell me, the CIA has not been trusted by our allies since the day Dick Cheney decided to burn NOC agent Valerie Plame for petty political reasons, putting numerous intelligence assets at risk.
At that point, every other intelligence agency in the world had to suddenly reassess what the Americans knew about them, and cut off lots of access.
A couple of days ago I actually saw Ron Paul assert that the Depression didn’t end until after WWII. His evidence was that there were shortages during WWII. sheesh…
Townsend is one of the worst of the Bush hacks. She & others have been asserting that releasing the memos mean that the terrorists will know what we do to our prisoners. Duh…they ALREADY know. It’s reminds me of the Nixon bombing of Cambodia. That had to be top secret too….for reasons of "national security" ..nah… for reasons of Republican security. Once again, Americans are the last to know.
The only "libertarians" who do anything significant to promote Liberty are the kind who work for, volunteer at, and contribute to organizations like the ACLU and the EFF. The rest pretty much spend their time theorizing, contemplating, think-tanking, Rand-wanking, and voting GOP. Oh, speaking of the ACLU, let’s give them props for — among many other things — pressuring Obama into releasing the torture memos.
He’s a Representative.
And I think you mistake his supporter’s zeal for actual power.
To most of the GOP establishment, Ron Paul is the crazy grandpa they’d like to send to the home. Most of the time he’s rightly criticizing them for their stupidity (which makes them feel bad), but the rest of the time, he’s going off on a tangent about how they used to carry an onion in their pocket for good luck back in his day.
Say what you will about Reason, but at least they’re not as bad as Cato.
I used to go there to read Dave Weigel, but since he’s moved to the Windy, there’s no longer any need.
Mark Levin is on the local yap radio during my drive home. Mostly, I listen for the lolz. Man, I thought he was going to stroke out over Janeane Garofalo’s appearance on Countdown last night. But I think she’s spot on: the spittle flying from the right wing has nothing to do with taxes or spending. It’s racism, pure and simple.
Leelee for Obama
I feel for you, John. That’s how I feel about the WaPo and the NYT. They used to be newspapers. I’m not sure what they are now.
And then Fran Townshend-who can we blame for her?
Bush’s hires are unlike any other I’m familiar with, at the change of an administration. I wonder if their inability to actually LET GO is because they haven’t found work?
It’s like if you fired someone, and they kept showing up in the workplace parking lot, all red-faced and spittle-flecked, following you around, haranguing you.
You’d tell them you needed a "change in direction", that it wasn’t personal, that they’d do better elsewhere. They’d persist, still insisting they did a great job…
Then finally you’d just have to call the police.
I stopped reading reason’s blog, Hit & Run, last summer. They just completely ignored the “FISA Amendments Act of 2008” — the FISA legislation that gave the telecoms retroactive immunity and legalized “many of the warrantless eavesdropping activities George Bush secretly and illegally ordered in 2001” (Greenwald). You would think libertarians would be upset about this — or at least talk about it.
The FISA bill was first introduced in the House in June 2008 (HR 6304) and finally passed the Senate on July 9, 2008. Take a look at the Hit & Run posts on Civil Liberties or Privacy from these months. Only two posts were written about FISA — one of which wasn’t even written until after the legislation had already passed. In contrast, liberal blogs were filled with criticism of the legislation and Obama’s cave-in.
Reason postures on civil liberties, but the big telecom corporations wanted retroactive immunity, so reason’s libertarian principles had to be safely hid in the closet until this legislation was passed.
@kay: That’s my stapler.
Also never mentioned over there – the Pittsburgh Police shooting. Probably for the best though, every shooting thread turns into an anti-gun control/"shame no one had their concealed carry"/mocking the dead depot.
You say this as if you are surprised by this fact of life.
They will not stop until their infestation into the heart of democracy is expunged. The playing board is so tilted right that it’s better to just overturn it and start over with fresh pieces.
Hit & Run has gotten a bit too shrill and petty since the dawn of the Obama era. Certainly Obama deserves his lumps. But most of the stuff that ends up there really doesn’t matter too much in the big picture. The worst offender (since Michael Young seems to have been left out of the loop) seems to be Michael Moynihan, the majority of his posts seething old school resentment against those filthy fucking patchouli soaked hippies in the cause of ragging against some leftist who doesn’t actually matter to the US. Gillespie is great when he gets on a pop culture inspired roll. Unfortunately, those rants are a lot of hipper than thou bluster usually over some fairly minor issue.
Radley Balko does the most significant posts there. At this point, I think he may be carrying the rest. Were it not for him, I could imagine Reason going by the wayside.
Libertarians are conservatives who don’t like the religious part, for whatever reason.
Balko’s definitely the only saving grace at Reason, but you can just read his blog (theagitator.com) to get the highlights. Even still, he can be lolbertarian sometimes.
As proud libertarians we DEMAND that our government keep its activities secret from its own citizens! This shows how much we value FREEDOM.
People who demand to know what policies their government is following, even when it’s illegal, are the true enemies of democracy.
Real democracy is when your government deceives you and acts to break laws without telling you. What kind of crazy Founding Fathers would want their citizens knowing what the Executive was doing?
Sadly, this country is not worth living in anymore. When the rule of law gets suspended in secret, inside torture chambers, it tends to disappear in public too.
Case in point:
"A pastor (of all people) gets pulled over in Arizona at an internal anti-terrorism checkpoint and refuses to submit to a vehicular search (as per his fourth amendment rights). Hilarity ensues as authorities break his car windows with hammers and shoot him with a taser."
The rule of law has disappeared in America. I’m preparing to sell my house and leave. You’ll want to follow suit before the last train permitted out of the country leaves and you’re stuck in the police state.
It was about the time the Italians were tracking some key terror suspects and the CIA got them to tell them who they were, you know to "cooperate" and the CIA swooped in and arrested them before a) there was full evidence and b) (more importantly) before they led investigators to the full network of contacts.
So, FUBAR, all around by the CIA. The Italians actually put out arrest warrants on our agents in that case, as I recall.
I can’t remember exactly when I stopped reading Hit and Run. I think it was about the time that the posts became dominated by (1) howlers from Moynihan and Mangu-Ward, (2) cultural commentary (with a libertarian twist!) from Kerry Howley, and (3) updates from Ron Bailey on the march toward monopoly by various pharamceutical and/or agro-chemical companies (either cheering their successes or lambasting their setbacks), with only occasional sane stuff from Weigel and Balko. (I did always appreciate your comments, Joe!)
Although I was tired of the schtick, I never considered them complete hacks until the 2008 election rolled around and they went off the deep end, as discussed here. Absolute silence on candidate positions (and later actions by Pres. Obama) affecting civil liberties. Lots of chatter on topics that were also playing big on wingnut sites. Last time I checked, it seemed that the sane commenters had all left and it was just the scary ones still going strong.
I’ve suggested before that John ought to move Hit and Run to the "Blogs We Monitor and Mock as Needed" category.
joe from Lowell
@ John Cole
Kathryn Mangu-Ward, Ron Bailey, and Michael Moynihan do not have moments when they are excellent. Some of them do, but some of their writers are just godawful.
It goes a little something like this: "Unlike you naifs, I understand that there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, and therefore, no difference between Barack Obama and George W. Bush. I’m so smart."
Well, maybe the rule of law is dead in Arizona, which doesn’t say much for John McCain, I suppose.
OTOH, I was traveling up to Chicago from Atlanta by car a few years ago and was pulled over around Murfreesboro, TN; there was a big white SUV right in the median of I-24, unusually plain-looking, with tinted windows IIRC, and I gave it a good looking-at as I drove by. As I passed by I noticed a small blinking blue light in the grill. Oops. Ten seconds later I noticed it pulling onto the road and I just knew I’d done Something Suspicious.
He claimed I’d crossed over the yellow line on the inside of the road next to the median, which is certainly possible because I was going on only about five hours’ sleep and might not have controlled my car well enough when I passed him, but I suspect he pulled me over because I’d looked at his car so hard. He asked to search my car, I said no (standing on Fourth Amendment principle, supposedly–what’s an "unreasonable" search?), and he just ignored me. He had a drug-search dog which he said would bark if he sniffed something. The dog barked; the officer did a thorough search; he found nothing. (I’m told an officer can provide a signal to the dog to get the dog to bark.) He was quite apologetic in the end; apparently he’s still living in a world where having long hair and dressing all in black (which I was that day) means I must be a drug dealer or something… All I can say is, who are these guys younger than, oh, 50 who are still living in their fathers’ world? I guess the conservatives just taught their children well (apologies to Graham Nash).
P.S. He was about to write me up for not having a seat belt on because I’d already unbuckled it by the time he came to the window. I’m pretty religious about my seat belt, and he actually believed me.
Cato has been unrelentingly harsh on Bush, Executive power excesses, and war. They’ve hosted Greeenwald 2x for approving presentations.
So what the hell are you meaning to say?
What’s Obama up to with these two seemingly contradictory decisions?
Imagine him, over the course of a month, consulting all those ex-CIA Directors and assorted other highly interested and placed stake holders. Asking about prosecution of CIA and release of the memos. He was able to give each of them half of what they wanted. Shrewd?
I hope he’s disabled the opposition’s best criticism, "He wants to prosecute our CIA patriots who were only doing their jobs."
More importantly, I hope he’s released the memos in full knowledge that their impact will start a ball rolling which cannot be stopped short of justice.
Do I sound naively optimistic? Am I falling into the 11th dimensional chess trap?
I hope not.
joe from Lowell
By releasing these memos, Obama has fostered the creation of a movement for prosecution and accountability that will be out of his control, and will push for those things whether he will find it convenient or not at some future point in his administration.
He made a leap by releasing these memos, knowing that the act can’t be undone, and that the force it produces will not be under his control.
You don’t need to postulate that he has a secret plan formulated, and that events on this subject will be going according to this plan when they unfold, in order to give him a great deal of credit here. It isn’t a question of trusting him, because the progress yesterday’s release set in motion isn’t something he will be able to control.
It was bullshit on Bush and it’s bullshit on Obama. Blue bullshit or Red bullshit is still bullshit.
i caught the editor of reason, nick gillespie, on cspan, hawking and lending credence to an author peddling lies about how fdr made the depression worse.
anybody unable to recognize revisionistic history for what it is, who disregards data which shows unemployment lowered, under FDR, year by year, and calls that making the depression worse – isn’t playing with a full deck.
Wingnut chickenhawks should be forced to sit in a hot sweaty room and have John Stoltz or Brandon Friedman EXPLAIN to them , along with the Army supplied Powerpoint, that this is SOP since the frikkin 90’s. They’re just afraid it will hurt their recruiting efforts, I think.